February is American Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, but heart disease is preventable and controllable.  Here are some steps you can take to help prevent heart disease:

  • Eat a healthy diet – include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Adults should have at least 5 servings each day.  Eat foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.  Limit salt or sodium in your diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease.  Your doctor can calculate your body mass index (BMI) to determine whether your weight is in a healthy range.
  • Exercise regularly – Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.  It is recommended that adults engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
  • Monitor your blood pressure – High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis.  You can check your blood pressure at home, at a pharmacy, or at a doctor’s office.
  • Don’t smoke – Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease.  If you don’t smoke, don’t start.  If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible.
  • Limit alcohol use – Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure.  Men should stick to no more than 2 drinks per day, and women to no more than 1.
  • Have your cholesterol checked – Your health care provider should test your cholesterol levels at least once every 5 years.
  • Manage your diabetes – If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely, and talk with your doctor about treatment options.
  • Take your medicine – If you’re taking medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.

 

Go Red at home with these fun red products sure to brighten up any home!

american heart society heart health month

Heart Awareness Month

You can shop all of these and more at Living Direct.

Everyone should be able to find something in the list above that they can incorporate into their lives to keep their heart healthy.  When in doubt ask your doctor what they would recommend you do, as everyone is different.  We’d love to hear what steps you take to keep your heart healthy.  Please share below or on our Facebook page.

Also, check out our Pinterest board to shop these fun red products.

Introducing SMEG Retro Refrigerators

blue smeg retro refrigerator red smeg retro refrigerator pink smeg retro refrigerator

A recent addition to our line of kitchen appliances is SMEG, an Italian manufacturer that has been in the household appliance business since 1948. The brand is best known for their line of retro style refrigerators which we currently have available in ten eye popping colors (pictured are:  pastel blue, red, and pink).  Here at Living Direct, we are always looking for products that offer the maximum functionality for smaller spaces. SMEG retro refrigerators fit the ticket offering adjustable shelving, a wire bottle rack, a smaller energy footprint than regular sized refrigerators, and a clean minimalist design that works great in smaller apartments or homes.  Truly a statement piece, SMEG refrigerators are sure to liven up your kitchen by adding some retro pizazz with a burst of color.

Great Products for Outdoor Summer Fun

This time of year here in Austin, and I’m sure across the country, most people want to be outside – in the evening anyways. The heat can get pretty unbearable during the day in many places, but it’s the perfect time to throw an evening cook out. Families and friends can gather outside for barbeques and other outdoor fun. That’s why I’ve put together a list of products to help your outdoor get-together go off without a hitch!

1. Patio Sets

Royal Teak 5 Piece Patio Set

Everyone will enjoy hanging out and chatting with each other in your beautiful patio set. The Royal Teak Collection 5 piece patio set encourages your guests to take a seat and stay for a while.

2. Grills

Bayou Classic Grill

Your hungry friends and family will love you for cooking them up a tasty meal in this Bayou Classic smoker grill.

3. Frozen Drink Maker

Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker

Long, hot summer days will have you looking for relief. Cool off with a fun and delicious frozen drink! With this Margaritaville frozen concoction maker you can make an assortment of refreshing, cold drinks.

 4. Outdoor Lighting

Real Flame Fire Column

Your party can go late into the night with the right lighting.  Lighting can create such a welcoming and beautiful environment.  This Real Flame Modesto fire column is sure to give your backyard a touch of flare!

5. Outdoor Electronics

Sunbrite Outdoor TV

What better way to entertain your guests than with an outdoor television!  You can enjoy being outdoors while still watching your favorite sports or TV shows.  This SunBrite 32″ all-weather outdoor LCD TV is a durable high definition television with aluminum casing designed for outside use.

 

Whether you’re hanging out with your family or entertaining friends, these items are sure to be winners.  Make your outdoor space into the welcoming oasis you’ve always wanted it to be.  And be sure to invite me over once you do!

Father’s Day Sale & Gift Ideas

Father's Day Banner

Just say NO to ties! Whether your dad uses the backyard to house his grill or his garden, keeps wine or beer in stock, we have the perfect gift to make his Father’s Day extra special – and none of them can be worn around his neck (at least not comfortably). Plus, we are currently offering an extra 5% off most products that are already discounted 20% off! Break the tie tradition and get on Dad’s good side with any of these choices:

For the Beer Enthusiast:

Krups Beertender Mini Kegerator   Nostalgia Electrics Kegerator   EdgeStar Dual Tap Kegerator   28 Quart Jockey Box

from left to right: Krups Beertender Mini Kegerator ($141.55*), Nostalgia Electrics Kegerator ($399.99), EdgeStar Stainless Steel Double Tap Kegerator ($616.55), 28 Quart 2 Faucet Red Jockey Box ($398.05)

For the Wine Lover:

Summit Countertop Wine Chiller   EdgeStar 26 bottle Wine Cooler   Koldfront 4 Bottle Wine Cooler   EdgeStar 155 Bottle Wine Cooler

from left to right: Summit 8 Bottle Countertop Wine Chiller ($341.24), EdgeStar 26 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler ($699), Koldfront 4 Bottle Wine Cooler ($94.99), EdgeStar 155 Bottle Dual Zone Wine Cooler ($1499.99)

For the Grill Master:

 Outdoor Greatroom Company Portable Gas Grill   Minden Master Gas Grill   Napoleon Mirage Grill   Grill Dome Infinity Series Kamado Grill

from left to right: Outdoor Greatroom Company 20″ Portable Gas Grill ($219), Minden Master Gas Grill ($479), Napoleon Mirage Grill w/Infrared Rear & Side Burner ($1899), Grill Dome Infinity Series Kamado Grill ($799.95)

For the Gardener:

Exaco ECO Square Rain Barrel   Brill Razorcut Push Reel Lawn Mower   Good Ideas Compost Wizard Standing Bin   Exaco 39 sq ft Green House

from left to right: Exaco ECO 70 Gallon Rain Barrel ($208.99), Brill Razor Push Reel Mower ($239.99), Good Ideas Compost Wizard Standing Bin ($128.25), Exaco 39 sq ft Green House ($427.49)

*NOTE: All prices are valid as of 6/14/12, but are subject to change.

What are you getting Dad this Father’s Day?

Introducing: Verona Ranges

Verona Range

We recently added a new line of professional kitchen appliances called Verona.  Verona has been manufacturing gas and electric ranges, cooktops and built-in ovens since 1958.  These professional appliances are designed and manufactured in Italy and only recently became available in North America.  Verona prides themselves on style, affordability and quality and their instant presence in the designer appliance marketplace proves their commitment to those values.  Check out these stunning, European-designed appliances and start re-imagining that dream kitchen of yours.

Slow Cooker Recipe: Whole Chicken & Vegetables

slow cooker chicken

If there is one thing that I love when I want to prepare a no hassle meal, it is having a slow cooker.  Many people I know just use their slow cooker for making queso or other dips for parties and never realize the full potential of what you can prepare with them.  Slow cookers can cook just about anything from soups, stews and chilis to whole chickens, braised lamb and roast duck.  More often than not, you are able to just throw in your ingredients and let your slow cooker do all the work.  It’s definitely a way to impress your family and/or guests and let them think that you spent hours in the kitchen cooking, when really the only thing that was cooking for hours was your slow cooker.

My go-to meal in my slow cooker is chicken and vegetables.  I use a whole chicken and whatever vegetables I have on hand at the time.  It’s so simple and the chicken is so tender when it’s done it falls right off the bone.

Whole Chicken and Vegetables

Ingredients

2 cups broth or stock (chicken or vegetable)
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 8 oz package of mushrooms
3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika

Directions

1. Add a layer of vegetables to the bottom of the slow cooker.
2. Combine all spices.
3. Rinse the whole chicken and rub with spice mixture.
4. Place chicken in slow cooker on top of the layer of vegetables.
5. Add the remaining vegetables and garlic into the slow cooker.
6. Pour the broth into the slow cooker. As the chicken cooks it will add more liquid as well.
7. Cook on low setting for 5-8 hours.
8. Use a kitchen thermometer to check if chicken is done before serving. (The internal temperature should be 180 degrees in the thickest part.)

What’s your favorite recipe to make in a slow cooker?

Top Commercial Products: EdgeStar Mini Fridge Freezer

EdgeStar Compact Fridge Freezer

We have exciting news about our compact refrigerator / freezer! The restaurant corporation, OSI, that owns Outback, Carrabbas, Bone Fish Grill and Flemmings is currently testing our compact refrigerator in the Houston, TX, market. So far, the results are overwhelmingly positive!

OSI has developed a new frozen cocktail that is being introduced in their Carrabbas stores. They have chosen the sleek, compact look of our CRF150SS as the storage unit for this new drink. Over the next month, we will be rolling out our unit to the national chain of Carrabbas. This is sure to be followed by Outback, Bone Fish Grill and Flemmings. So if you are at one of these fine, popular restaurants, be sure to order one of their new cocktails and take a look behind the bar – chances are you’ll see the EdgeStar CRF150SS keeping the libations frozen!

Ice Cream Maker Recipe: Peach Frozen Yogurt

peach frozen yogurt

The Cuisinart frozen yogurt, ice cream & sorbet maker was rated by Consumer Search as one of the best ice cream makers available. This unit allows you to make ice cream in a speedy 15 to 20 minutes, and even watch the entire process through the transparent lid. According to reviews, consumers say that they enjoy the model’s ease of use, and consider it to be an excellent value. This isn’t a one trick pony though! In addition to making frozen desserts, this ice cream maker also lets you create your favorite frozen beverages, including  strawberry daiquiris and pina coladas.

Here in Texas, the summers mean two things: hot weather and peach season. Fresh peaches are hard to beat, but peach ice cream is without question the best thing about summer. Here’s a lightened version to share with friends and family:

Summertime Peach Frozen Yogurt*

Ingredients

2 cups fresh diced peaches
2 cups low fat vanilla yogurt
⅓ cup sugar

Directions

  1. Mix the peaches, yogurt and sugar together in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Turn on your ice cream maker and pour in the ice cream mixture.
  3. Let your ice cream maker run for about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Serve with peach slices.

Makes eight ½-cup servings.

*Recipe adapted from the Cuisinart ice cream maker owner’s manual.

Is it Better to Make Baby Food from Scratch?

Baby Brezza Baby Food Maker

With celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian, Tori Spelling and others touting the benefits of making their own baby food, baby food makers are creating a huge buzz in the press lately. Most fads surrounding the Hollywood scene don’t have staying power, but this time they are definitely onto something.

Making your own baby food is great for your baby, because it allows you to know exactly what your little one is eating. You can maximize the nutrition count while avoiding the preservatives, additives and other potentially detrimental ingredients. In fact, the benefits of making your own baby food span beyond just health. In doing so, you are eliminating the use of all of the packaging, which ultimately reduces your family’s environmental footprint. And, possibly the best benefit of making your own baby food, you will end up with extra cash in your pocket! Recent studies show that you can save 50% or more on your baby food costs if you make it yourself at home.

The Baby Brezza baby food maker is an all-in-one solution, perfect for busy moms. Simply add your ingredients in the bowl, set your steam time and let the baby food make take care of the rest! The simple automated process steams and blends the food for you. Worried about creating a mess? Don’t be. Both the bowl and blade are dishwasher safe. Furthermore, the BPA and phthalate-free construction ensures that this product is safe for your kids.

Here is a great recipe from Baby Brezza for children 6 months & up:

Homemade Baby Food Recipe: Sweet Potato & Banana Puree

Ingredients

1 Medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice (2 cups, 10 ounces)
1/2 Small banana, peeled and sliced (1/3 cup, 1-1/2 ounces)
Optional: cinnamon or nutmeg to taste

Directions

1. Steam sweet potato for 20 minutes
2. Add banana and puree to smooth
3. Remove from bowl and add water, breast milk or formula to desired consistency
4. Optional: Stir in cinnamon or nutmeg to taste

Yields: 13 oz.

Top Commercial Products: EdgeStar Portable Fridge Freezer

EdgeStar 63 Qt Fridge Freezer

Our 63 Qt. portable fridge freezer by EdgeStar is going to be featured in Berks County Living Magazine in the upcoming months. This magazine targets the outdoor life of residents in the camping and sportsman community of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Portable fridge freezers are one of the most popular and highly-liked appliances available in the market. Lots of the users, especially people who are into road traveling and sports, prefer to have one portable fridge freezer with them. If you are into any kind of business or work that requires you to spend a lot time traveling and moving from place to place, especially during hot weather where there is a great need of cold drink, then without any doubt this portable fridge freezer is an ideal choice for you.

Secondly, while traveling in some areas it is quite impossible to get fresh and hygienic food. Having a portable fridge freezer with you allows you to keep fresh and healthy foods with you during your trips, so you don’t have to survive on fast food or waste money at restaurants.