Looking for a unique wedding registry option? Try a kitchen appliance registry.

 

Photograph courtesy and copyright of Jess Badgley Photography (www.jessbadgley.com).

Unique wedding ideas are quite difficult to come by in the modern age. With a variety of wedding registry options, you have probably heard yourself saying:

“What is a gift I can get this couple that they do not already have?”

“I would like to buy something from the registry, but everything on the registry in my price range is taken!”

“I want to give the couple something that is very functional that will last them years.”

“I want to contribute to their new home, but am not sure what to buy.”

If you have encountered these pre-wedding dilemmas, we are here to help. Have you considered remodeling your kitchen as your primary registry idea? It is a viable option that can prove useful for decades to come. Plus, every time you visit your beautiful new kitchen or open that stainless steel refrigerator you’ve always wanted that dispenses hot water (wow!) you can think about all of your wonderful family and friends who contributed to your new space.

Not sold on the idea? We understand. It sounds strange at first. Plus, buying major appliances can be a lifetime investment. Don’t fret, we’re with you. We are with you through every step of the buying process, which often includes a year-long process (although we can make it as short as you need it to be). From initial design, to cabinetry planning, to appliance research, selection, buying, installment, and follow-up – we are there.

If you are not located in our service area, but like the idea, suggest creating a registry to your local independent appliance retailer. When the time comes, here’s how to start.

  1. Contact your local independent retailer. Ask if they would be willing to be wedding registry participants. Some smaller retailers may not have the capability for order-ahead payment forms, so this is an integral first step.
  2. Create a realistic budget for a kitchen. If you are not sure what you need or what would fit into your budget, call us. We at H&H are happy to review what products fit your needs while making your guests’ wallets happy. Here are some initial guidelines to consider when creating a budget:

How to Create an Appliance Budget:

            Think of a fair, initial number for your kitchen. List how many pieces you would like to include. Package ideas include:

  •             Basic: Refrigerator and range/wall oven (2,000+/ can be less, depending on items and colors).
  •             Mid-Level: Refrigerator, wall oven/range, ventilation (hood), dishwasher, microwave (3,000-4,000+).
  •             The Upgrade: Refrigerator, wall oven and range, ventilation, dishwasher, wine cooler (custom based on need).
  •             The Fully Monty: Refrigerator, multiple ovens (steam oven, professional range, wall oven or double wall-oven), full wine refrigerator, dishwasher or multiple dishwasher drawers (custom based on need).

It is typically fair to estimate $50-$75/100+ per guest in receivable gifts. Estimate how much you could receive based on your guest count, and work this into the budget. You can also include the registry if you are having an engagement function or bridal shower where guests may want to send gifts.

Include installation costs in total price. Installation, custom cutouts, built-ins, and flush install are generally extra, and the last thing we want is for you to incur an additional cost that was not planned for. Make sure to bring up installation costs with your independent appliance retailer when talking about a general quote. Have your experienced appliance planner estimate these costs for you.

Remember, upgrades are extra. Now, this is your dream kitchen, so do not skimp if you will eternally look at that white refrigerator and wish it were stainless. However, when you are asking for a price quote, specify the color of the appliances, as stainless versus color often is a different price. Custom panels and handles for refrigerators and dishwashers are often extra and not included (strange, we know), as well. Ask if you can work this into the quote while keeping other costs down.

Ask about package deals. Many brands now offer packages that include free appliances if you buy a certain number. Some examples are Thermador’s 1-2-Free program and Dacor’s cash back program.

Once the budget is set, here are your next steps in promoting your registry.

  1. Tell your guests about the registry and push its importance. Include information about the registry in the invitations. H&H Appliance Center can create an invitational graphic that matches your invitations, describes the products you like, and tells guests how to participate in the registry (for a small fee). If you do not end up receiving enough gifts to qualify for a specific product, we will create a plan in advance to address this. Make sure any independent retailer you work with has this plan, as this is a unique idea for most small businesses and must be addressed to ensure seamless success.
  2. Single out one or two products that you really need, rather than a whole kitchen. Guests may be hesitant to add their gift to a registry that only includes very luxurious products. If you are choosing a high-end line, choose only one or two products to put on the registry, not an entire package.

Still not convinced? We would love to schedule a personal wedding consultation with your family if you are considering the idea. Feel free to fill out our contact form or e-mail Nicole@hhappliance.com for more details.

 

Special thanks to Jess Badgley for kindly supporting some photographs for this post from her own professional portfolio. You can see more of her work or request a session with her here.

Photograph courtesy and copyright of Jess Badgley Photography (www.jessbadgley.com).

 

GE Cafe Appliances Kitchen Remodel: Adam and Sam

11025652_1545930892348835_8416812027931027392_nEvery so often we receive photos from customers that appreciate the appliances they have purchased from us. This week, we would like to feature our Warehouse Manager Adam’s family kitchen that was recently remodeled. When Adam and Sam were originally considering a remodel, they opted to go with an industrial kitchen theme. After a few changes of mind, they chose a more neutral look. The appliances Adam and Sam chose are part of the GE Cafe series, including a refrigerator, range and microwave.

1. The Refrigerator: The GE Cafe French Door (product link). This is a very popular H&H seller, due to the competitive price combined with a high-end look. For those tea and hot water fanatics, this is one of the only refrigerators on the market that dispenses hot water for you. In Fall of 2015, the newer models will even be dispensing coffee via Keurig K-Cups

Another perk to this product is its Energy Star certification, meaning your house will save hundreds annually compared to an older machine by using less electricity. Plus, you will not need to sacrifice space, this refrigerator has depth and can fit that milk on the door just fine.

2. The Gas Range: GE Cafe 30″ Free Standing Range with Baking Drawer (product link). With an automatic convection setting and baking drawer, this range provides an oven and a mini-oven for cooking. When you are not using the oven you can also use the lower cavity for storage. Boasting a self-clean setting, a 20,000 BTU burner, and 5,000 BTU simmer burner, this stove can accommodate any dish you are preparing. We also think the red kettle is a nice touch to Adam and Sam’s Cafe range.

3.  The Microwave: GE Cafe Over the Range Microwave (product link). The GE Cafe microwave accents the accompanying two products above while also acting as a convection oven and speed oven when needed. The backlit control panel is also a perk.

The black and gray backsplash is a popular trend that we have seen much of  and is similar to the backsplash in our Bosch and Thermador showroom. Tile backsplashes can be a DIY project, if you do your research. This tutorial provides a comprehensive tile backsplash install we recommend if tiling for the first time.

No kitchen would be complete without family approval, right? If you took notice of the kitchen photo, you will see a bone with the name “Oswald” hanging over the sink. Oswald is Adam and Sam’s prized puppy (he is so revered that we even wrote a blog post about him when we first started our blog). Oswald and his brand new sister, Brody, gave their seal of approval of the family’s kitchen, although they prefer to stick to the living room. Here you can see Oswald making sure Brody is comfy on the couch.

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 Do you have a remodel you would like to share? We would love to hear your remodeling stories!

5 Kitchen Hacks You’ll Thank Us For Later

With a new year comes a new kitchen, right? Although many wish to remodel their kitchens come the start of the new year, sometimes it’s not financially feasible or you aren’t quite sure how you want to remodel yet. Whether you are in the final touches of a remodel, recently remodeled, or are not planning to in the future, here are top kitchen hacks for the modern household. There’s a little something below for all types of kitchens.

Hack 1. When remodeling, build cabinet storage into the countertops. This is an easy yet aesthetic way to produce more storage room for cutlery and countertop foods and gadgets. It’s a relatively inexpensive alteration, especially if you are remodeling the entire kitchen and have free reign over countertop material.

Install in-counter storage for your fruits, bread, and vegetables.

Hack 2. Use towel racks and “s” hooks to hang mugs, potholders, and oven mitts. Make sure to grab some stylish mitts, first! For this hack you will need some wall space, as this is not ideal for a tiny kitchen with only cabinet walls and windows. This is a great way to decorate a wall without art and with functionality.

Towel rack and s hooks...could be used upside down under cabinets too

Lacking the funds for a stainless upgrade but desperately want one? Try –

Hack 3. Line black or white dishwashers with stainless contact paper for a flawless stainless look. Try this $9.99 paper from Amazon for a $10 upgrade without the hassle. We suggest sampling a small area first. In case you do not like the look or are having trouble smoothing out the paper, it will be easy to remove it. Here is a tutorial on upgrading your appliances with stainless contact paper or even an artsy print. For a few extra bucks, you can even paint your fridge or dishwasher, although it may be tougher than contact paper.

Give your appliances an expensive-looking makeover with stainless steel contact paper.

 

If you do not have children or curious pets in the house, consider Hack 4. Using a double-sided magnetic strip to mount knives on the wall for a dramatic look. These strips sell for as little as $17.99 and are an excellent way to “sharpen” your kitchen look.

Small Space Kitchen Tip: Use a Double Magnetic Knife Holder

Hack 5. Build smaller appliances and storage into cabinetry. We see this hack quite often, and it is becoming more popular with newer kitchen remodels. Coffee machines, microwaves, and specifically designed shelving for certain items (cups, bakeware) are three ways to design cabinetry for functionality. Most commonly, shelving is built to hide microwaves. Make sure to check for the proper electrical hookups for the appliances you are planning to stash behind the scenes!

Hide a slide-out coffee bar or kitchen appliances behind folding doors.

6. Organize the inside of your refrigerator with a small lazy Susan.

Fridge Turntable

Bonus Hacks

We couldn’t leave you without some additional food prep hacks to add to the kitchen hacks of a lifetime. Here are our three top food hacks that you won’t believe:

1. Keep frozen grapes on hand to act as ice cubes in white wine without watering it down. 

Frozen Grapes: fantastic little cubes for keeping your wine chilled without watering it down.

2. Use an old CD case as a bagel holder for transport. This is truly a genius hack. CD holders can be reborn as bagel caddies.

3. Freeze olive oil with fresh herbs for a continuous supply of fresh herbs. 

33. Freeze Your Herbs in Olive Oil to Keep them Year Round | 42 Clever Food Hacks That Will Change Your Life

Top 5 Pumpkin Recipe Picks for the Fall

‘Tis the season for autumn squashes, nutmeg, and pumpkin. We are extremely sad to see the grill cover go on, but are equally excited to start using these recipes. And if you’re from our area (Central NJ) you know that there is an abundance of local fall growers to get your pumpkins and squash from! These five recipes serve as our top five picks this fall.

Have a favorite fall recipe? We would love to showcase yours on our blog or Facebook page.

1. Pumpkin ravioli with brown butter sauce and pecans by JuliasAlbum.com. We really have no words for this one other than delicious.

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2. Pearled barley salad with apples, pomegranate seeds and pine nuts by FoodandWine.com. This recipe is wonderful because it is healthy, can be made all year ‘around, and is vegan.

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3. Pumpkin crepes with beer and cinnamon apples and a chocolate drizzle by Joanne-EatsWellWithOthers.com. Crepes are fantastic at any time of year, right? Why not spice up your crepe recipe using this delectable drizzle.

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4. Pumpkin spice latte popsicles by PurpleHouseCafe.com. This recipe includes dairy but could be modified using coconut milk. Pumpkin popsicles are perfect for that not-so-cold-yet fall day.

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5. Pumpkin seed pesto by CookLikeAChampionBlog.com. What an interesting alternative to the traditional pesto.

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Announcing Dacor’s DacorMatch Color System: Coming to H&H this Fall!

Customization is in high-demand for the modern kitchen designer, and Dacor’s just made your range customization 100% easier by offering ovens in virtually any color – as long as you provide Dacor with a swatch of the color you would like. Do you have an older almond oven that is rapidly aging and would like to replace but never had the proper color option? That is now addressed through Dacor’s DacorMatch Color System. The ability to match almost any color is finally arriving this fall. Not only does this provide a chance for the reinvention of the kitchen, it enables vintage kitchen lovers to bring back colors that they loved in the past, such as Avocado (Pictured below by an old Frigidaire advertisement), Coppertone, and Almond (but in reality, would you want to bring these colors back when you can now invent new pastels in virtually any shade?).

Dacor is also offering 10 pre-determined color choices, as quoted by Dacor’s Director of Business Development, Kevin Henry on his blog and in the official press release by Dacor,

“In addition, the DacorDesignTeam has hand-selected 10 vibrant color choices for its wall ovens and ranges including Cordon Bleu, Sangria, Tangerine, Crimson, Smoke, Black Tie, Arctic, Citron, Envy and Radiant Orchid, the personal favorite of movie star and TV host, Oprah Winfrey and the 2014 Pantone Color of the Year.” 

Below is an example of one of these colors. It is a beautifully constructed light purple, which would fabulously complement jet black, or gray cabinetry.

What do you think of the new DacorMatch Color System? We would love to hear the colors you would put in your kitchen.

How to Cook Rice

Do you ever wish you could cook rice the way it is served in Korean or Japanese restaurants? Nikita here, and I am here to give you an Asian secret that my mother and grandmother have taught me about the art of cooking rice.

To make that moist sticky rice that some restaurants have, takes more than just boiling the rice or putting in a rice cooker. The best way is to have a rice cooker, but not everyone has one so just a pot will do!

The secret: you must to soak the rice beforehand. The longer you soak the rice, the sticker and moist the rice will be. My family usually soaks the rice the night before all the way through the day until we are ready to eat. This may seem like a long time, but take my word, it will be worth the wait.

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When ready to cook, drain the water, still keeping the rice in the pot. Fill with water again based on how much rice is being cooked. Be careful, this is an important step. Putting too much water will cause the rice to be watery, and not enough water will cause rice that is al dente – and we don’t want that. Cover the rice completely but do not drown it.

If using a rice cooker, press the button to cook and relax for a bit.  If you are using the stove, make sure you keep the pot covered and on low heat. Every couple of minutes check and stir. The next part is the waiting game. You need to ensure the rice absorbs all of the water. Sometimes you may need to add more water if it starts to burn on the bottom of the pot. Try here and there to cook it to your liking!

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Did you know you can also steam rice in a steam oven? Stay tuned for our post on how to steam rice using Miele’s steam oven. It’s easy, effective, and the most nutritious way to cook.

Enjoy! If you have other ways of how to cook rice, I would love to learn different ways people and cultures cook! Email me at nikita@hhappliance.com

Kale Smoothie

Kale is the vegetable that everyone is raving about. Not going to lie, but the taste of kale by itself is not the most pleasant thing.  In an older post we gave you a recipe for Kale chips, which are DELICIOUS!

When I was in college living in Baltimore, I wanted to have healthy smoothie recipes that were delicious but at the same time were healthy. I am not a big breakfast person, so this smoothie was the best solution. I have seen many recipes on Pinterst about Kale and blueberries and other ingredients. I think I have perfected a recipe.

All you need is:

1 Cup of Kale (fresh is preferred),

3 ounces of Plain Greek Yogurt

1 tablespoon of Almond Butter

1/2 a cup of Frozen Blueberries

1/2 a cup of Frozen Pineapple

3/4 cup of Water

1 Banana. (Most important part)

Of course if you are not a fan of blueberries or pineapples, they can be substituted to your likings. Add all these ingredients into a blender and ENJOY!

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I have been trying to find away to make sure that the taste of kale did not come through the smoothie. I finally mastered this recipe when a coworker of mine told me to add a banana and it will mask the taste of Kale. It worked! The smoothie may look like a weird color, but do not judge until you try!

Email me at nikita@hhappliance for substitutions you have done! I am always interested in a new recipe!

Nikita’s Laundry Room Makeover: Laundry Reorganized

I went into my laundry room the other day to find that I was overwhelmed with clothes and all other sorts of miscellaneous things that happen to end up in the laundry room. After a quick look around I thought to myself, “this calls for a project!”

After recently graduating from college, I found that my funds were lacking, and wanted to reorganize on a small budget. Rather than buying fancy baskets and other accessories to organize, I found easier, inexpensive ways to organize my laundry room and still look classy.

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Of course, both my washer and dryer are from H&H Appliance Center. This set is no longer sold, but Whirlpool makes the Duet pair that are slightly larger but have the same functionality – I like this set because it’s  quiet and able hold many items. The best part of this set is that they have storage capability built underneath. Many people underutilize the storage space for this set. As you can see, my family had put items haphazardly around. Although we had a great storage space, they weren’t using it!

My first stop was Target. I bought a 3-part laundry basket which came in handy with laundry sorting (Whites, Colors, Delicate). We have about 4 laundry baskets in the house that I was aware of at the time of organization. This made it easier when bringing laundry down for washing.

After the bins I bought a drying rack, because not everything can go in the dryer. Unfortunately I learned from experience in college, when I shrunk one of my favorite sweaters. Before the reorganization we were using a small rack that my grandmother bought me to play house with as a child – it was absolutely time for an upgrade.

I used the space underneath the washer to store dog grooming tools. As most people do, I keep other items in the laundry room that are completely unrelated to laundry.  Under the dryer, I stored spot cleaning tools for clothes; the placement of the tools is great because they are within reach when I am cleaning. Keeping dog toys and grooming tools in the laundry room is a nice idea when there are smaller dogs in the house and they need a little area to find their toys. When they need grooming I am now able to sit on the ground and be within distance of the compartment.

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VOILA! Clean and under $50. I decided to store the drying rack between the dryer and the sink. This space is perfect, as it is out of the way while cleaning but still reachable.

If you have any suggestions on how to improve my project, I would love to hear them. Please send your thoughts to nikita@hhappliance.com.

Contés Pizzeria

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On Witherspoon Street in Princeton, there is a pizzeria that has been around for decades. Nicole and myself had the pleasure of going to lunch there last week, and we would love to chronicle our trip. The owner, Ciro Baldino, gave us nothing but the best service. He recommended the Ciro pizza, made by himself, which features “all of the things you like”. The process includes asking the customer what toppings they like, and Ciro determining which mix of these ingredients will make the perfect pizza for that particular customer. Our Ciro pizza included pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and a few secret ingredients. Because we can’t tell you all of the ingredients, we recommend trying Conte’s for yourself. Being there was like a little slice of Italy.

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We never visit a location without relating it to our own business, and soon we will attempt to recreate a Ciro pizza using a grill. Baldino recommended using pizza stones, otherwise the pizza dough could fall through the racks of the grill and burn. Using a pizza stone also ensures that the pizza will cook all the way through. We do sell these pizza stones from companies such as Napoleon, Weber, and Big Green Egg.

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During our visit we had the wonderful opportunity to ask Mr. Baldino a few questions. Conte’s uses a commercial GE refrigerator, very typical of this type of business.

Have you been to Conte’s? We’d love to hear about your experience.