Create an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

Create an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

As we celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day this week, I thought it appropriate to share ways to create an Eco-Friendly Kitchen.  How you design your kitchen and go about your daily kitchen tasks, can make a difference in your home and community.

Eco-Friendly Kitchen Designs – Every so often we upgrade or remodel our kitchens.  Next time, consider eco-friendly options which can be stylish and affordable.

  • Recycled Materials – A variety of recycled materials are available to design and decorate with, like recycled glass used in kitchen décor and lighting fixtures.
  • Earth Friendly Products – New appliances approved by EPA Energy star program can use up to 50% less energy or water than older models.
  • Renewable Materials – Hardwood butcher block countertops from sustainably grown and harvested wood add warmth and charm to your kitchen. (Keep your butcher block healthy by following these tips from our previous blog).   Stainless steel countertops are non-porous, naturally antibacterial, and add a contemporary feel to your work space. Cork and bamboo flooring are renewable options with a “wow” appeal.
  • Eco-Inspired Decorating – Incorporate the natural beauty of fruit for added color in your kitchen. (Like lemons in my favorite teak-root bowl featured above).  Bamboo stalks in vases say environmentally friendly.  Small potted plants add style and color to empty spaces and help to purify the air.

Eco-Friendly Kitchen Habits – Simple steps, when done consistently over time, can create great habits!

  • Try “green” kitchen cleaners – Look for non-toxic, biodegradable and natural cleaning products.  Or DIY and make a home-mixed cleaner.  Baking soda, vinegar, and lemons are my favorite ingredients and can clean almost anything. Baking soda cleans, deodorizes and scours. White vinegar helps to cut grease, remove odors and some stains. Lemons are acidic with antibacterial effectiveness on surfaces.
  • Use your dishes – It’s just as easy to pull a plate out of the cupboard as it is to grab a paper plate. Cutting down on paper waste will lessen landfill waste.
  • Swap out your sponge – Use a cellulose sponge or eco–cleaning cloth.  Cellulose sponges are biodegradable while many household sponges are made of synthetic materials and are slow to breakdown in landfills.
  • Commit to a reusable sports bottle – Keep one handy and feel good about your decision not to grab a bottled water.
  • Remember your reusable bags – I love that so many people have adopted this habit, but the difficult part is remembering them.  Keep them in your car, handy for  carry-out food, grocery and mall shopping.
  • Buy locally grown food – Locally grown food has not traveled across the country for weeks to get to you.  This means fresher, tastier food and less global–warming pollution.
  • Fix the drippy kitchen faucet – Easy to ignore, dripping water can waste gallons of water a day.
  • Recycle, please – It only takes a few extra seconds.  I am so passionate about recycling. Have a garbage can devoted to recyclables.  I have mine in the laundry room closet, 10 steps from my kitchen.

Make one change now and strive to add another eco-friendly habit once a month.  Keep this in mind when you make daily decisions or when remodeling your kitchen.

Please share with us the steps you have taken to make a more eco-friendly kitchen.

And check out this complete resource for Safe Food Handling.

 

Spring Brunch Ideas

Spring Brunch Ideas

Throwing a brunch has always seemed like a daunting task to me –pleasing various palates with both breakfast and lunch foods, all while making everything look a little more fancy than usual? Not exactly my idea of fun. But I’ve been thinking about brunch ideas more lately, as this beautiful spring weather beckons me outdoors and encourages casual family events. I can totally pull this off! Even if you don’t have two chef brothers (I know – I’m the luckiest gal in the world!), the good ol’ internet is full of delicious and easy recipes (there’s one below!).

Use these simple brunch ideas, and you too can pull off a great spring event that will leave everyone talking!

Variety – Make sure you have options for everyone.

Breakfast is pretty easy, but make sure you have some good lunch options available, too; a spiral ham on a carving board next to  a cheese tray, for example, can be combined with croissants and condiments to make lovely sandwiches. You’ll also want to be aware of any vegetarians/vegans who may be attending. As much as I love bacon, it’s important not to make every dish meat-centric.  A pasta salad with fresh veggies will be a crowd pleaser. As far as drinks go, though, you can keep it pretty basic – a full bar is not exactly brunch appropriate. If you do choose to serve alcohol, keep it light –  mimosas or a pre made punch. You should definitely have coffee, tea, and water; throw in some lemonade or iced tea to keep things interesting, but anything beyond that is up to your personal taste.

Style – You don’t need fancy china to pull off a gorgeous brunch!

If I had to throw a party with all matching dishes, well… that just wouldn’t happen! You know what’s fun, though? Thrift store finds! Hit up your local thrift stores for an eclectic mix of vintage plates and serving ware – you can stick to a set color scheme or go all out and have a unique plate for every guest. You’ll make everyone feel special without breaking the bank! And if you don’t want to keep them, you can just donate them back (basically just renting dishes!). If you would rather have something more permanent, beautiful wood serving boards never go out of style, and can be used for years to come. Add a few displays of pretty spring flowers and you’ll be all set! Like your drink selection, you can take your decor as far as you’d like – just don’t clutter up your buffet table too much.

Simplicity – Don’t drive yourself crazy – it’s just brunch!

Even if you don’t want to cook, you can still satisfy your guests. A nice layout of pastries from your local bakery (or, you know…Costco), is perfectly acceptable when paired with a variety of fruits, cheeses, deli meats, etc.  The point is to spend time with your guests, right? You don’t have to provide show-stopping delicacies to have a good time.

Logistics – Hammer out those details!

Make sure you have plenty of seating for all of your guests, or at least areas where they can set their plates and drinks and eat comfortably. Cafe tables are a great option if seating space is limited. Also, if you can stick with foods that are fine at room temperature, you will save yourself the hassle of hot plates and ice baths. If you are serving something that needs to stay hot or cold, make sure you have the proper equipment – you want this to be memorable, but not because of food poisoning!

Now go forth and brunch!

To get you started, here is a great recipe for a savory taco quiche:

Taco Quiche

Courtesy of Sandy McGaffic

Yield: 8 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (9 inch) deep dish pie shell (frozen ok, just let it thaw for 10 minutes)
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 small can diced green chiles
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 eggs slightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash pepper

Garnish

  • shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, chopped or sliced tomatoes, sliced avocado or guacamole, black olives.

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Prepare crust and put in pan or pie dish; let stand 5 to 10 minutes before baking.
  • Bake pie shell 7 minutes; DO NOT PRICK PIE SHELL. Remove shell and reduce oven temperature to 375°.
  • In 2 quart sauce pan combine next 8 ingredients. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until ground beef is browned and onions are tender. Drain mixture. Layer shredded cheese, green chiles and ground beef mixture in pie shell.
  • In medium bowl combine eggs, half and half, salt and pepper. Beat with a fork or whisk until mixed well but not frothy. Pour egg mixture over ground beef mixture.
  • Bake 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with remaining ingredients. 

 

Butcher Block Care – Spring Cleaning Tips

Butcher Block Care – Spring Cleaning Tips

The weather is getting nicer, tulips are peeking up through the ground and I am reminded that it really is springtime – even though we still hear of snow storms across the country!  This means it is time for “spring cleaning”!  I may be an odd duck, but I actually find cleaning to be a bit cathartic.  When I am stressed I end up cleaning my kitchen to feel better. Maybe it is a control-thing.  Please tell me I am not the only one who feels this way?

So I thought it an appropriate time to share some butcher block care and cleaning tips for your kitchen.  My close friend, who spends a lot of time cooking and baking, was really surprised to hear that plastic cutting boards are less sanitary than wood cutting boards.  This learning has been blogged about and shared online for many years.  But if you have never heard of it, or need to be reminded of it again, here is the scoop.

For a long time it was believed that wood butcher blocks and cutting boards were more likely to harbor dangerous levels of bacteria; given that wood is porous, it would soak up juices from raw meats, allowing bacteria to seep down into the board. And this bacteria could pose a risk of contaminating the next food item placed on the cutting board. Plastic, because it is non-porous, was believed to be resistant to this bacterial invasion.

While it may not be entirely clear, research has shown that wood boards were actually more sanitary than the plastic boards.  It is believed that bacteria can get lodged in the nicks and gouges that form on a plastic cutting board.  High quality wood butcher blocks – made from Hard Rock Maple and other premium hardwoods – are more resistant to this type of knife damage.  Additionally, the wood used to construct these butcher block countertops, kitchen islands, kitchen carts, and cutting boards appears to have natural germ-killing properties which are not present in plastic!

Enough of the technical stuff, now for a few Quick Tips for Butcher Block Care:

  • Separate your FoodThe Partnership for Food Safety Education recommends using one cutting board for fresh produce and a different cutting board for raw meat, poultry and seafood to prevent cross-contamination.  We agree!
  • Wash Immediately – After use, always wash your cutting boards or chopping block with hot soapy water and dry with a clean towel.
  • Sanitize – Especially after exposure to raw meat. It is pretty easy to use 1 Tablespoon unscented chlorine bleach in one gallon of water. If you prefer, use straight white vinegar instead of diluted bleach solution.
  • Dry – Set cutting boards on edge to air dry completely.
  • Oil  – Once a month use a food-grade mineral oil like John Boos Mystery Oil or Beeswax Board Cream

At ButcherBlockCo we like to tout the many benefits of hardwood cutting boards and butcher blocks, and being more sanitary than plastic is one of our favorites.

Have fun cleaning!

 
“Three-Pointers” for Entertaining

“Three-Pointers” for Entertaining

 

It’s  March Madness once again.  I’ll never forget the look on my husband’s face last year when he walked in the door after watching the championship game. His team had won, yet all I saw was defeat, exhaustion, disappointment and …was it hunger?  Our neighbor had invited 5 of “the guys” over to watch the big game.  My husband, who usually doesn’t live and breath March Madness, decided, sure, it’s a good guy-thing to do, should be fun to hang a bit,  drink a little beer, eat a bunch of food and watch a good game.  I guess Fritos and bean dip was the best his friend could come up with!  Why four grown men did not have the courage to say, “hey, this is ridiculous, I’m hungry, let’s order a pizza” I will never know.

Well, March Madness should be all about basketball and not about going hungry. Honestly, it doesn’t take much work to pull together some tasty and relatively healthy food for the big game.  Aside from saying… go to Costco – they have everything you need….here are my “three–pointers” for entertaining:

Point 1 – Always have enough food – The best parties are the ones where the food lasts for the entire night.  Not much fun showing up an hour into a party and seeing only a few whole grain crackers left in a bowl!  It is always easier to have smaller amounts of several different kinds of food, than it is to have a lot of one kind of food.  That way if you have leftovers, it is pretty simple to store in your refrigerator or pantry for the next get together.  Try to have a protein – we’re talking meat –  available too, not just carbs.

Point 2 – Have a variety of drinks – Remember, just because you like wheat beer, doesn’t mean everyone likes wheat beer. Find a mainstream beer, or make it fun and get a wide variety of beer and make it an informal beer-tasting event too. I always have a white wine  on hand for those who don’t feel like having beer, or like me, never acquired a taste for beer. Again, pick a wine that is balanced between dry and sweet, like a Pinot Grigio (please no more Chardonnay).  And finally, keep in mind some folks may not want to drink alcohol, so always have water, soda or lemonade available.

Point 3 – Presentation matters – With very little effort you can make chips and salsa look like a fancy party! Put your chips in a fun basket, display appetizers on a unique cutting board or serving board, add olives or nuts in a few colorful bowls, and drape your serving area with a decorative placemat or tablecloth to pull it all together.

This March Madness, I suspect we will be entertaining.  My husband, who I consider just shy of “a chef” will surely want to whip together some special appetizers.  And I will do what I do, which is clean the house, do the shopping, and get all my serving pieces out of the cupboard to entertain with style!

 

 

It’s That Time of Year Again!

It’s That Time of Year Again!

It’s time for spring cleaning! The kitchen is a great place to start! As the most used room in many homes, it is important to have a kitchen that is organized in a way that fits your needs. Next time you prepare a meal, take note of where you keep things, and what you reach for most often, and how you use your storage space.

Reorganize to promote a good flow to your kitchen.

Do you find yourself walking across the kitchen to get a knife, or digging through a drawer to find your favorite spatula? Your commonly used kitchen tools should be within reach of the areas in which you use them – knives next to the cutting board, utensils next to the stove, etc. One of my favorite additions has been to add a small magnetic spice rack on the side of my fridge, so I can keep my most-used spices right next to the stove (but I pretty much just throw things in the pan with no rhyme or reason…). Now that is a smart use of storage space!

Found Space.

Trying to maximize storage space and organization in my own small kitchen, I have begun to understand the importance of “found space.” See, I have very little cabinet space, and you’ll remember my struggle with tripping over pans on my kitchen floor. I have a fairly big butcher block table with two drawers and a shelf, but it was a cluttered mess and I couldn’t accept that there was so much open space above the shelf (I can only stack my pans so high!). My solution was to add another shelf – it seems so obvious now, but for some reason it has taken me years to notice the potential in that big open storage space! I also added a pot rack above it, and have now turned an empty wall into functional storage space. (Can’t put holes in your walls? Think about a table/pot rack combo like this) When shopping for storage solutions in your kitchen, take into consideration how to best maximize the footprint of each item you choose – adding shelving, cabinets, or a pot rack will create extra storage space on a piece that takes up the same amount of space.

Country Butcher Block

John Boos Country Butcher Block via butcherblockco.com

 

Hide it when you don’t need it.

If you just need some extra workspace from time to time, I highly recommend a folding kitchen cart. The handy wheels make it easy to get your prep done in the kitchen and then roll your cart out to your party for serving. These fabulous options are easily compacted into a slim little number that will slide into your pantry or that storage space next to the refrigerator! Seriously, how cool is that folding cart shown in the header?!

Speaking of that storage space next to the refrigerator, have you seen these awesome DIY pull-out shelves floating around on Pinterest? Talk about found space! I am cooking up plans to build something similar to this in the very near future!

 

Space Saving

Source: learning-to-b-me.blogspot.com via Butcher Block Co. on Pinterest

 

Have you gotten creative with your kitchen storage space? We would love to hear your ideas!

At the End of the Rainbow

At the End of the Rainbow

Pot o’ Gold (Candice Whiting)

I have a bit of Irish somewhere in my bloodline, but it has never been a particularly dominant cultural force in my life. The only “Irish” thing I can remember from my childhood came from my second grade class on St. Patrick’s Day. When we arrived at school that day, we found little green boot prints running across the walls and into the air ducts. Our teacher told us Leprechauns had come to visit in the night to leave us St. Patty’s surprises. We had so much fun following the footprint trails to find our little pots filled with gold-wrapped chocolates and popcorn! So much fun, in fact, I made one for my son to surprise him! (The rainbow is made from eyeshadow!)

Now that I am no longer a wee one, however, my St. Patrick’s Day tastes have matured a bit, and I’d rather have a green beer and an Irish car bomb cupcake! I have been making this recipe from Smitten Kitchen for about three years now, and it never disappoints! Cocoa and stout in the cake, whiskey in the ganache, and Irish cream in the butter cream! How could you go wrong?!

I make them so often, I even bought a special tool to hollow out my cupcakes (which is totally unnecessary, but it does make hollowing out two dozen cupcakes quite a bit quicker)! I usually don’t add the ganache, as they are sinfully rich enough without it – just switch the filling to butter cream. If you don’t want the booze in yours, you can use Irish Cream flavoring instead, but only add a bit at a time – that stuff is potent! For St. Patrick’s Day, you obviously have to add green food coloring to the icing to make them festive! I have a sneaking suspicion these Irish car bomb cupcakes would be delicious with crème de menthe instead of Irish cream…I might have to give that a try!

I have made this as a cake, too, and it works out beautifully.

Without further ado, here’s what’s at the end of my rainbow:

Recipe here: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/01/car-bomb-cupcakes/

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes (Candice Whiting)

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes (Candice Whiting)

Does your family have a St. Patrick’s Day tradition? Is it more Irish than mine? I would love to hear how you celebrate!

Kitchen Fitness: Use it or Lose it!

Kitchen Fitness: Use it or Lose it!

Having grown up in a gourmet kitchen store, I have a fabulous collection of kitchen essentials. Unfortunately, I have a mass of non-essentials, too! I need to focus on my kitchen fitness!! Honestly, who really needs six whisks of the same style?

The new year brought a new home with a smaller kitchen and, let me tell you, this kitchenware collector did not adjust well! For a solid month we lived with pans literally stacked on the floor, utensils pouring out of boxes, and a butcher block table so overloaded with stuff I couldn’t even use it! After stubbing my toe on a cast iron skillet for the 27th time, I’d had enough. I painstakingly went through every piece of cookware, bakeware, gadgetry, and appliance and whittled my way down to a manageably fit kitchen.

A few of the more ridiculous things I ousted:

  • Five whisks (kept four!)
  • Three 8” fry pans. THREE!!
  • Two nasty 12” skillets
  • Two garlic presses
  • A brand new ravioli rolling pin (why??)
  • Two identical carrot ribboning tools (why I even had one is beyond me)

A few things I can’t live without:

  • Counter-space-hogging espresso machine
  • Super quality cookware and knives
  • Silicone spatulas (colorful AND functional!)
  • My KitchenAid mixer
  • Quality cutting boards
  • Cake pans (endless uses!)
  • Cheese graters (yes, plural – don’t judge.)

And a few things I WON’T live without:

  • Vita-Mix blender – Don’t use this enough to justify the hefty price tag, but it’s magic!
  • All 22 of my wonderful German knives (seven are steak knives – it’s not that excessive!) –I use about four of them regularly, but they’re all in one block, so getting rid of some won’t save me any space!
  • My 23-year-old gigantic Scanpan “witch’s cauldron.” I have used it exactly two times, but it’s the bee’s knees and holds 9.5 quarts of stew AND 23 years worth of family memories.
  • Absurd (someone said that!) amounts of cookware. After getting rid of about a dozen pans, I still have a full pot rack (excellent addition to a small kitchen, by the way) and then some.

Clearly I have a hard time letting go of things I might possibly-some-day-in-the-distant-future use (looking at you, pasta machine). Getting rid of some of my unnecessities, however, made me appreciate the value behind the pieces I kept. I can do just as much with a simple set of tongs, spatulas, and bamboo spoons as I could with the multiple boxes of utensils I chucked (donated, don’t worry).

before & after

Moral of this story is that investing in quality multi-tasking pieces not only makes sense financially, but will improve your kitchen fitness. Plus you end up with space to keep the occasional frivolous purchase (*cough* individual instant popsicle makers).

You know that feeling when you clean out your closet and it’s like you have a whole new wardrobe with room for new boots? It’s like that. So next time you throw a spatula in frustration because its fat rubber handle won’t fit into your utensil crock, do yourself a favor and get your kitchen fit!

What are your must-haves for the kitchen?

 

Nourish Your Soul in the Heart of Your Home

Nourish Your Soul in the Heart of Your Home

Important things happen in the kitchen, the heart of your home. Sure, it’s where families gather to seek physical nourishment, and that’s not unimportant. But it’s also a good place to nourish our souls by simply sharing the human experience. And the way we humans do this best is by sharing the stories of our days and the dreams of our nights; our failures as well as our successes; and our fears as well as our aspirations.

But it’s not enough merely to listen, or merely to be heard. That’s simply communicating. What’s important is that we understand, and that we be understood.

Once my mother sent me to the grocery store with instructions that were simple, or so I thought: “Please bring home one gallon of milk, and if they have any lemons, get 3.” It turns out they indeed had lemons, so I returned home with 3 gallons of milk, just as instructed. I’m a stickler for details, you see, but too often I get the details right, but I miss the big picture. It was easier for me to execute her literal request than to think through what Mom was really saying, or better, what she meant to say.

Fortunately, it was no big deal. We consumed all 3 gallons of milk before any went bad. But that’s not always the case when we humans prove our fallibility. Consider the case of our neighbors across the street – Mr. and Mrs. McDonald. Growing up, I was a close friend of three of their boys, and I will never forget this story. Mr. McDonald, backing out of the driveway, asked Mrs. McDonald, riding shotgun, for assistance, “Is it ok, or is someone coming?” After a quick look around, she answered both questions, “No, one’s coming,” with an ever-so-slight pause after the comma. You guessed it. Hearing that on one was coming, Mr. M proceeded to back into oncoming traffic and was none too pleased to remember that Mrs. M, like me, is a literal thinker. Who’s to blame? You decide; I know better than to get involved in disputes between neighbors, especially when they happen to be married to each other.

In this example there was a lot more to lose than a few bucks at risk should milk spoil. Fortunately, neither Mr. or Mrs. M suffered injury beyond a bruised ego. Nonetheless, this story is a good reminder that we must take the time and exert the effort necessary to ensure that our intended message is heard and understood, and if on the receiving end, that our interpretation is accurate. When in doubt, remember these simple words of clarification, “So let me get this straight.”

Here’s one more equally humorous, inconsequential story of miscommunication that could have easily turned out otherwise. J. Edgar Hoover, the long-time head of the FBI, was a stickler for well constructed inter-office memos. Among other things, he appreciated wide margins that could easily accommodate his responses to authors and notes to follow-on readers. One day, in receipt of a memo concerning national security that crammed so many words onto each page that he barely had room to pencil his comments, Hoover expressed his disdain by noting on the memo, “Watch the borders,” and returning it to its sender. Upon reading this warning from the famed and feared Director of the FBI, the memo’s author proceeded to clamp down security at all U.S. borders.

We’re all confident communicators, certain that our messages are clear and well understood. But all too often they are not. The next time you find yourself in the heart of your home telling and listening to stories of the day, make extra effort to ensure that you have conveyed or received the intended message. A small measure of clarifying or paraphrasing can help avoid simple misunderstandings that could lead to milk going rotten, dented fenders and bruised egos, and maybe even unnecessary border actions. Happy story telling.

A Remarkable Story Heard at the Kitchen Table

maple_butcher_block_countertop_2296

Here at the Butcher Block Company we love all things kitchen. So much happens in the kitchen – the Heart of the Home – where families and friends, sometimes joined by strangers, come together not just to share food and drink, but more broadly, to share the human experience.

The range of our interactions with one another in the kitchen run the gamut. We gather together there to pray collectively before partaking of food and drink; to celebrate momentous occasions and achievements and to comfort one another in times of distress. Over the dinner table parents upbraid as well as praise their children; and in some families, vice versa. Lovers and friends alike share with each other their most intimate thoughts, including feedback ranging from adulation to criticism. We update one another on the details of our days – whether significant or mundane, meaningful or inane. And we pass along stories from person to person, from family to family and from generation to generation.

The kitchen is where humans bond; where we laugh and dream together, and unfortunately on occasion, where we fret and mourn together. In short, the kitchen is where we come together and share the full spectrum of human emotions.

So here is the first of what we hope will be endless, memorable and moving Stories from the Kitchen.

A few years back, my wife, our two daughters and I were visiting my mother’s cousin, who happens also to be my Godfather, and his wife. Seated at their kitchen table, nibbling crackers and cheese, my Godfather recounted, for the benefit of my teenage daughters, a story that I had heard many times before, but that moves me more with every retelling.

Serving in the Greek Merchant Marines in World War II, “Uncle” George’s ship was torpedoed, but he had the good fortune to be rescued by another ship nearby. But as fate would have it, only 36 hours later that ship too was torpedoed by the Germans. Clinging to a life raft, he and four shipmates managed to hang on for dear life.

There, in those frigid waters, Uncle George prayed with all his heart and soul. He made a promise to God that changed his life forever. All he wanted was to live to see his mother and father once more. In exchange, he committed to devote what time and effort he could to serving God.

As it happened, a Canadian ship was not far away, but its current course would not bring it near the stranded Greek seamen. At least that was the case until the captain of the Canadian liner awoke from his sleep and on a hunch, changed his ship’s course by a mere 15 degrees. Lo and behold, the Greek sailors were discovered and rescued a second time, all within the span of 48 hours.

George K. Chimples emigrated to the U.S. after the war, where he became a successful businessman and philanthropist. Throughout his life, he more than fulfilled the bargain he struck that fateful night. Among his many acts of devotion and charity, Uncle George served as Chairman of United Greek Charities, founded an international Greek Orthodox fund-raising organization and served his faith at the highest level of lay leadership.

Now do you believe in miracles? Uncle George sure did. So do I. And now, my daughters do too.

The next time you gather with family or friends in the Heart of Your Home, don’t pass up the opportunity to share a story. They’re an important part of the human experience that we all share.