Every home cook has a few go-to recipes, quick and easy meals the entire family will enjoy.
According to the International Food Information Council’s annual food and health survey, 85% of Americans have altered their food habits since the pandemic began. Namely, they are eating out less and cooking more often at home.
However, there are only so many times you can serve lasagna, chicken and rice, meatloaf and casserole before your family grows tired of the same dinner menu. By now, your family has probably had its fill of spaghetti and meatballs, pot roast and grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s not only time to change what you’re cooking – it’s time to change how you cook.
Grilling is a great way to spice up mealtime. Food just has a different flavor and texture when it’s served hot off the grill. With Southwest Florida’s amazing fall, winter and spring weather on the way, it’s a great time to upgrade your grill game.
As summer winds down, manufacturers are offering special incentives to encourage grill masters to upgrade their outdoor kitchens. Here are six questions to ask yourself before buying a new grill:
What is your preferred heating source?
There are four primary options for grills: gas, charcoal, wood pellet and electric.
Gas and electric grills are quick to heat and offer little post-dinner cleanup.
Charcoal and wood pellet grills take longer to heat up, but the smoky flavor makes dinner worth the wait.
What foods do you want to grill?
Less experienced outdoor cooks often stick with hamburgers, hotdogs and bratwurst because they’re easy to cook.
Skilled grill masters, however, aren’t afraid to throw prime steak, ribs and even fresh-caught fish on the grill.
If you’re buying expensive cuts of meat, you don’t want to turn filet mignon into beef jerky by using a cheap grill.
Do you want to smoke or grill your food?
Grilling involves placing items over a higher heat level for a shorter period of time, giving meats a good seared flavor.
Smoking uses low temperatures for a longer period of time to keep a meat’s flavor and texture from disappearing.
Determine if you’re looking for a quick turnaround or willing to make it worth the wait.
What is the right size?
Small, tabletop grills generally have enough surface area to cook two split chicken breasts or four hamburger patties. They are great for camping, picnicking and taking on the boat.
However, if you have a large family or expect to invite neighbors or friends to a party, then you’ll need a grill capable of cooking entrées for every individual in attendance.
Much like a restaurant, the goal is to cook and serve all guests at the same time, so you want to avoid grilling two or three batches of food.
What is your budget?
Basic tabletop grills can cost as little as $15. Meanwhile, large top-of-the-line grills and smokers with side burners, storage, a temperature gauge and other bells and whistles can run $2,500 or more. Buying a grill is like shopping for a car – determine your budget before entering the showroom. Weber, Big Green Egg, Traeger and Napoleon are four of the most desired brands among grill masters.
How will my grill get home?
Stores have dozens of grill models on display. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the grill you will take home. Many retailers will give you a large, factory-sealed box full of parts that won’t fit inside most cars. Search for a store that offers expert knowledge, free assembly and free delivery.
The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association’s 2020 State of the Barbecue Industry survey found that 64% of U.S. adults own a grill or smoker. Behind baseball, grilling truly is America’s pastime.
About the Author
Scott Hamblen is chief merchandising and marketing officer at Sunshine Ace Hardware and Crowder Bros. Ace Hardware, which carry an extensive selection of grills, smokers, attachments, accessories and rubs. The Naples-based company offers free assembly and delivery of grills.
The City’s fertilizer ordinance regulates the application of fertilizer. Beginning June 1, the use of fertilizers containing nitrogen or phosphorus is prohibited.
This regulation was enacted to keep harmful nutrients found in fertilizer from washing off from lawns into storm drains during the rainy months. These nutrients impact the city’s canals and surrounding waters, leading to poor water quality and algal blooms. The fertilizer restrictions apply to citizens and commercial lawn services.
Here are the key points of the fertilizer ordinance:
Fertilizers containing nitrogen or phosphorus is not permitted between June 1 and September 30
No fertilizer use is allowed of any kind if a storm watch or warning is in effect
No fertilizers can be used within 10 feet of any body of water – measured from the top of a seawall.
The percentage of slow-release nitrogen content in any fertilizer used during the remainder of the year (October-May) must be at least 50 percent.
No grass clippings or vegetative debris may be swept or blown into stormwater drains, conveyances, bodies of waters, sidewalks or roadways.
The City’s fertilizer ordinance was adopted in 2010.
To protect and conserve crucial groundwater resources in aquifers for residents during the remainder of the dry season, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and Lee County announced mandatory irrigation restrictions today. Water irrigation restrictions will go into effect in all parts of Lee County to protect crucial water resources amid drought conditions. The new irrigation restrictions apply in all parts of Lee County, including Cape Coral, and go into effect starting tomorrow, April 25.
Members of Cape Christian recently supported Lee BIA Builders Care and its clients through the church’s annual “Serve Day Weekend,” completing home improvement projects for local families in need.
During Cape Christian’s annual “Serve Day Weekend,” held in early March, Cape Christian members took the church to the community, serving Southwest Florida through practical acts of kindness. As part of its community-wide initiative, the church partnered with Builders Care to identify local homeowners in need of home improvements and minor repairs. More than 40 Serve Day Weekend volunteers were joined by officers from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to support Builders Care and their neighbors in need. Special projects were completed simultaneously for three Builders Care clients, including landscaping clean-up and improvements, exterior painting and general repairs within the homes to improve accessibility.
“We were honored to come together as a team with Builders Care for our annual Cape Christian Serve Day Weekend. Instead of going to the church one weekend, we go out into the community to be the church and walked away feeling abundantly blessed,” said Jeff and Lanita Borngraeber, members of Cape Christian and Serve Day Weekend volunteers.
Volunteers play an important role in carrying out the mission of Lee BIA Builders Care, which has a mission to provide emergency construction services at no cost to needy and deserving elderly and/or disabled homeowners, and their families, who cannot obtain repairs through traditional means.
“Builders Care was so fortunate to partner with Cape Christian for its annual Serve Day Weekend, providing the gift of home improvements to help deserving homeowners and their families live safely and comfortably in their homes,” said Crystal Stouten, executive director for Lee BIA Builders Care. “We’re thankful for the generosity of all who volunteered to make a difference in the lives of the homeowners they served.”
After receiving a record number of donated goods last fiscal year, the Habitat for Humanity ReStores in Lee County were able to help offset the costs of building 65 affordable homes.
The ReStores accept gently used furniture, appliances and building materials from homeowners, contractors, and businesses. These items are later sold to the public at a discount rate and 100% of ReStore profits are used to build or rehab homes for local families in Lee and Hendry Counties.
With four locations in Lee County, the ReStore logged 18,846 donation drop-offs or pick-ups this year, an increase of 16% from 2017-2018.
“We make donating to the ReStore easy for our residents and partner businesses. Items can be dropped off at any of our four stores or a pick-up can be scheduled for larger items,” said Tammy Moran, vice president of ReStore Administration. “The more donated goods we receive, the more items we can sell to support Habitat’s mission of building decent and affordable homes.”
Through donations and volunteer labor, Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties built and sold a total of 65 homes to local families in fiscal year 2018-19. Families in need of a hand up partner with Habitat to build a place they can call home. Qualified Habitat homebuyers undergo a rigorous process of investing 300 hours of “sweat equity” and completing homeownership classes which include financial literacy and home maintenance.
“We know housing that is safe, healthy and affordable is foundational for families to thrive,” said Becky Lucas, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties. “Our ReStores are instrumental in supporting our vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.”
There are four ReStore locations in Lee County: South Fort Myers at 16133 S. Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs at 9080 Bonita Beach Rd., North Fort Myers at 31 Willis Road and a new store in Fort Myers at 15271 McGregor Blvd.