Saturday, January 25, 2020

Loving these chili nights | E-Neighborhood Advisor

Did you know that there is an International Chili Society? And that their definition of traditional red chili is any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of BEANS and PASTA which are strictly forbidden. Chili lovers far and wide debate the use of beans in chili, and the preference is largely regional. Chili is thought to have originated in Texas, and recipes dating back as early as 1731 show it consisting only of meats stewed with peppers.

No beans about it, you can have chili however you like it. Here are two popular recipes for chili; one with beans and one without. Give them both a try and let us know which you like best!

With beans: Ree Drummond’s Simple, Perfect Chili

2 pounds ground beef
2 cloves garlic, chopped
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup masa harina
One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
One 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
Shredded Cheddar, for serving
Chopped onions, for serving
Tortilla chips, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving

Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic. Cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off the excess fat, and then pour in the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne. Stir together well, cover, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add 1/2 cup water at a time as needed.

After an hour, place the masa harina in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and stir together with a fork. Dump the masa mixture into the chili. Stir together well, and then taste and adjust the seasonings. Add more masa paste and/or water to get the chili to your preferred consistency, or to add more corn flavor. Add the beans and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with shredded Cheddar, chopped onions, tortilla chips and lime wedges.

Without beans: Jess Pryles’ Lone Star Beef Chili

2 pounds ground beef
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 can (10 ounces) of diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 can (8 ounces) of tomato sauce
1 and 1/2 cups beer (brewed in Texas preferred)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoon cornmeal or masa harina
Salt to taste

Set a large dutch oven over high heat. Add half the olive oil and brown the ground beef. Work in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan and stewing the beef in its own juices.

Remove the beef and set aside to drain. Add the remaining oil and onion, and cook until nicely browned.

Add back in beef, along with garlic, chili powder, cayenne, cumin and salt. Stir to combine.

Add in the beer, diced tomatoes and green chilies, and tomato sauce, then bring to a low simmer. Cover with a lid and allow to bubble and simmer so sauce reduces and thickens, and the flavors intensify, about 1 hour.

After an hour, stir through the cornmeal which will help to thicken the sauce. If sauce starts to get too thick, add a little water, and if it’s not yet thick enough, continue to simmer until desired consistency is reached.

Your Flooring Consultant,

Matt Capell
Phone (208) 288-0151
Fax (208) 917-6160

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Keeping the kids active in the cold weather | E-Neighborhood Advisor

We welcome winter. It brings the holidays and sweater weather. We snuggle under blankets on the couch while we watch movies and drink hot chocolate. The first snowfalls are magical. By mid-January, though, the thrill is gone. The delight in new Christmas toys is just a memory, and everyone is DONE with the boots, hats, scarves, gloves, coats ritual that occurs every time you go outside. Cabin fever has set in, and the house is full of restless energy. So, what's the cure?

There are lots of fun ways to play in the snow: build a snowman, have a snowball fight, make snow angels. But have you every painted snow? Fill three or more clear squirt bottles almost full of water. Add four to five drops of food coloring to the bottles to make safe snow paint. Then let your petite Picasso’s unleash their creativity while using the snow as a canvas.

Take advantage of all of the indoor time to introduce your children to letter writing. Break out the construction paper and stickers and have them make a card or send a note to a distant family friend or relative. The kids will be toasty and the recipient will get a heartwarming gift.

Start your spring seedlings using old paper egg cartons. Cut off the lid and have the kids fill each cup with potting soil and plant some seeds. Once the seedlings sprout and the weather warms, cut each cup from the tray and plant it—cup and all.

Have a spa day. Take warm baths, use facial masques, paint little fingers and toes. Drink sparkling grape juice, turn off electronics, turn on music and relax. You’ll miss the opportunity to indulge in days like this when all of the summer busyness returns.

Your Flooring Consultant,

Matt Capell
Phone (208) 288-0151
Fax (208) 917-6160

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Photo Finish | E-Neighborhood Advisor

If you were a particularly good boy or girl, you may have received a new smartphone for the holidays. Many people select their smart device not on the basis of how it works as a phone, but on how it works as a camera.

Use these tips and tricks from Hubspot and generate Instagram envy among your friends and family.

1. Use gridlines to balance your shot.
One of the easiest and best ways to improve your mobile photos is to turn on the camera's gridlines. If you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines, your photo will be more balanced, level, and allow viewers to interact with it more naturally. To switch the grid on ...
iPhone: Go to "Settings," choose "Photos & Camera," and switch "Grid" on.
Samsung Galaxy: Launch the camera app, go to "Settings," scroll down and switch the "grid lines" option to "on."

2. Set your camera's focus.
Today's phone cameras automatically focus on the foreground of your frame, but not every picture you take on your phone has an obvious subject. To adjust where you want your camera lens to focus, open your camera app and tap the screen where you want to sharpen the view.

If you're taking a photo of something in motion, for example, it can be difficult for your camera to follow this subject and refocus as needed. Tap the screen to correct your phone camera's focus just before snapping the picture to ensure the moving subject has as much focus as possible. A square or circular icon should then appear on your camera screen, shifting the focus of your shot to all of the content inside that icon.

3. Avoid zooming in.
When you take a photo from a distance, it's tempting to zoom in on something specific you're trying to capture. But it's actually better not to zoom in -- doing so can make the photo appear grainy, blurry, or pixelated. Instead, try to get closer to your subject -- unless it's a wild animal, in which case we would advise keeping your distance -- or take the photo from a default distance and crop it later on. That way, you won't compromise quality, and it's easier to play around or optimize a larger image.

4. Use natural light.
It's hard to find a great smartphone photo that was taken with a flash. Most of the time, they make a photo look overexposed, negatively altering colors and making human subjects look washed out. Take advantage of the sources of natural light you can find, even after dark. This gives you a chance to play with shadows or create a silhouette with other ambient sources of light, like traffic and surrounding buildings.

Remember, once you've taken your photo, you can use filters and apps to make the subject even more vivid, or to crop it to frame the subject correctly. The brightness, contrast, and saturation of the photo can also be adjusted accordingly -- all from your phone.

Your Flooring Consultant,

Matt Capell
Phone (208) 288-0151
Fax (208) 917-6160

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Celebrate a second New Year in January! | E-Neighborhood Advisor

This year, Saturday, January 25 marks the Chinese New Year. Celebrated by more than 20 percent of the world’s population, Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in China and to Chinese people all over the world. The holiday launches the spring festival, a time for saying good bye to cold weather and for welcoming the promise and rebirth of spring. There are celebrations with special foods and traditional decorations, and children are given “red pockets” for luck -- small, red envelopes filled with money.

Every Chinese New Year, a new zodiac animal is celebrated. Zodiac signs play an integral part in Chinese culture, and can be used to determine if you will be successful, find love, have a baby and so much more. 2020 begins the year of the rat. If you were born in 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008 or 2020, you are a rat. Rats are clever, quick thinkers; successful, but content with living a quiet and peaceful life. In Chinese culture, rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Because of their reproduction rate, married couples also prayed to them for children.

Not a rat? You can determine your Chinese zodiac and see its characteristics here:

More fireworks are set off on Chinese New Year than on any other day of the year, including the Fourth of July. According to Chinese legend, a monster named Nian would terrorize villages every New Year’s Eve. Most people would hide, but one brave boy drove him away using firecrackers. The next day, people celebrated their survival by setting off even more firecrackers. And that practice became a crucial part of the Spring Festival.

Check out for more traditions, taboos and information. Happy New Year!

Your Flooring Consultant,

Matt Capell
Phone (208) 288-0151
Fax (208) 917-6160

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Welcome to January 2020 | Capell Flooring and Interiors

Dear Friends,
Happy New Year! It feels like just yesterday we were bringing in 2019 – now we have officially hit 2020!!!
It feels unreal. So this month we will be kicking things off with all our plans and goals so we can make 2020 the
absolute best year ever. Imagine yourself closing the door on 2019 and let’s look at areas that we can improve
in 2020.  One area we should start with first is the home. Let’s be honest, your home is where all the ideas,
memories and comfort flow from. It’s a place of refuge from a long day at work or even a place where you
celebrate with family and friends. As Marie Kondo would say, start looking at the areas that don’t spark joy
for you.  It can be small improvements to begin with like new curtains; then you can work your way to more
noticeable improvements like the new flooring or new furniture. Even if its baby steps of progress like looking
for quotes it’s still a step forward. After planning improvements in your home, you can look at other goals you’d
like to achieve in 2020.  Maybe set some goals that you were scared to attempt in 2019. You’ve got this!
Your friend, 

Matt Capell