Health Up Your St. Patrick’s Day With Our Shamrock Shake Recipe

When you’re working on a healthier lifestyle, sometimes it means you have to give up some favorites. Many people look forward to the Golden Arches’ St. Patrick’s Day staple, the Shamrock Shake. However, those minty little treats are loaded with ingredients that aren’t exactly the best for us, not to mention nearly 900 calories per 22-ounce cup!

The recipe we’re sharing comes in at 1/3 of the calories and is full of healthy ingredients that are actually good for you! It’s easy to whip up in your bullet style blender, and satisfies paleo, vegan and keto diets alike. This recipe makes two servings, so you can share with a friend! We hope you enjoy!

Healthier Shamrock Shake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ to ½ tsp. mint extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Sweetener (like erythritol or stevia) to taste
  • 1 cup ice
  • Water (if needed)
  • Mint leaves (a few, if desired)

Instructions

  • Add coconut milk, avocado, vanilla extract, mint extract, salt, sweetener and mint leaves to a blender. Blend until creamy and smooth.
  • Add in ice, blend until thick and creamy, adding a little water if needed.
  • Serve with homemade whipped cream if desired.

“Spring” Into Home Maintenance

The harsh winters we experience here in the Capital District can often wreak havoc with our homes. That’s why it’s always a good idea to take stock in your home’s exterior, especially after a particularly snowy winter. When the snow melts, you might notice some things you didn’t necessarily see during the long winter months – and get them repaired before summer arrives!

Here are a few things to look out for when checking out your home:

  • Window Screens: Windy, stormy winters, ice buildup and more can cause damage to your home’s window screens. In order for them to do their job of keeping bugs out, they need to be in good shape. So replace any torn or damaged window screens before it’s time to let the fresh air in.
  • Roof Shingles: We recommend that you leave roof inspection to the experts. It can be dangerous if you haven’t had the proper training! Hire a roofing professional to check out your home’s shingles and make sure they’re not curling. Shingles that are can make your roof more susceptible to leaks, so getting them replaced as soon as possible is good practice.
  • Siding & Trim: Icy conditions can cause damage to your home’s siding and trim. Look at any wooden components of your home’s exterior in case there is any wood rot, cracking or other concerns (like termites). For brick or stucco homes, check for any crumbling, cracking or deteriorated mortar. If you see any issues, contact a professional to help with repair or replacement.
  • Gutters & Spouts: During the fall and winter months, leaves, pine needles and other debris can collect in your home’s gutters. Get them ready for spring rains by cleaning them out – again, due to safety concerns, we recommend hiring a pro to help.

Make sure you maintain your AC equipment this spring, too.

Of course, there is plenty you can do around the outside of your home in anticipation of the warmer weather, such as cleaning up any leaves, debris and waste from your lawn, and if you have flower beds, starting to prepare them for blooming and planting. And, you should give Family Danz a call for your AC maintenance needs, too. We’ll be more than happy to get your spring maintenance scheduled, so you’ll be all set for warmer days ahead.

Our Best Offer of the Year

march-sale-offerIf you’ve been thinking about upgrading your home’s heating or air conditioning system, there’s no better time than the present. That’s because right now at Family Danz, you can take advantage of our March Heating & Cooling Sale. You’ll be able to save thousands with our best offer of the year*.

When you upgrade to one of our high efficiency systems this month, you can get it all. But, these savings are only available throughout the month of March, so you have to act now.

When you take advantage of this offer, here’s what you’ll get:

  • $1,875 – Utility Rebate
  • $400 – Family Danz Discount
  • $600 – Humidifier
  • $200 – One Year FREE Maintenance

That adds up to $3,075 in total savings – making for one incredible deal. And, financing is available to qualified buyers**, so getting a new, higher efficiency heating or cooling system is easier than ever. But you have to hurry! Once March ends, so with this amazing deal. To learn more about how you can get into a new system this spring and save money, too, contact us online or call us at 518.427.8685, and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Family Danz Can Help You With Spring Maintenance

Winter seems to have lasted forever, but in just a couple of weeks, spring will arrive. Of course, living in New York we know that just because the calendar says spring is here, doesn’t mean we won’t still be in for some chilly weather. But, it’s still a good idea to start preparing for those warmer days ahead. One of the best ways you can do that is by calling to get your air conditioning maintenance scheduled with us.

At Family Danz, we know that maintaining your home’s air conditioning system is one of the best ways you can be sure it will operate effectively and efficiently. Getting your AC system the regular maintenance it needs not only helps your system run better all summer long; it also helps it last longer, too. Not to mention, you can choose a comprehensive maintenance plan that will keep your system in perfect shape and provide you with additional benefits as well.

By choosing a maintenance plan from Family Danz, you’ll enjoy:

  • Priority scheduling for emergency service
  • 15 percent discount on parts and labor
  • 24-hour emergency service
  • No overtime rates

And did you know, the most common problem with air conditioning units stem from a dirty system? When air filters and coils become clogged, your system will operate much less efficiently, and eventually may have issues that require repair. And, a dirty AC system is the perfect place for mold, bacteria and allergens to collect – causing not only inefficiency, but poor air quality as well. Getting your annual maintenance from Family Danz can help you avoid all of that!

Getting the annual maintenance your system needs is important to the life and efficiency of it. We’ll help you get the maintenance you need to keep your air conditioning system running properly now and for years to come. Scheduling service with us is easy – just give us a call at 518.427.8685, or fill out our online contact form, and we’ll be happy to assist you!

Family Danz Recipe Corner: Sweets for Your Sweet

Nothing says love quite like a sweet treat made from the heart. If you’re looking for something special to give your sweethearts this Valentine’s Day, why not consider making something yourself? In honor of the month of hearts and flowers, we’re sharing a recipe for cherry kiss cookies from Taste of Home. These delicious cookies are perfect to give to someone special. Whether you’re making them for a loved one, your co-workers, your child’s teacher or a friend, they’re sure to be appreciated!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. maraschino cherry juice
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 6 drops red food coloring (optional)
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup chopped maraschino cherries
  • 54 milk chocolate kisses, unwrapped

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and salt until blended. Add in cherry juice, extract and food coloring. Gradually stir in flour. Stir in chopped cherries.
  • Shape dough into 1” balls and place 1” apart on greased baking sheets.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. As soon as you remove from oven, press a chocolate kiss into the center of each. Edges may crack a little. Cool on cookie sheet for two minutes, and remove to wire racks to finish cooling.

If you haven’t had annual maintenance done on your furnace this year, why not show it a little love this February and schedule an appointment with us? Getting preventive maintenance will keep your furnace running all winter long. Just give us a call and we’ll be happy to set up a heating maintenance appointment with you.

Staying Safe During a Winter Storm

This time of year it’s inevitable – we’ll likely need to brace ourselves for a winter storm or two. When the wind howls and Old Man Winter kicks up a blizzard, you might find yourself facing some unpleasant situations. The best thing you can do is prepare yourself for winter weather in advance, so that you’re ready for whatever weather comes your way – and you’re able to keep you and your family safe and sound. The American Red Cross offers some tips that can help you stay safe in the face of harsh winter weather.

Be prepared.

First of all, assemble an emergency preparedness kit that contains items that can help you weather the storm. Plenty of water, non-perishable food items, a flashlight, a battery operated radio, and a first aid kit are all essentials for any kit. You may also want to have extra cash on hand, a toolbox with the essentials, and at least a week’s supply of any medications you may need. If there are infants in the house, make sure you’re stocked up on diapers and formula, and if you have pets, have pet food and extra water on hand for them, too.

Keep your pets in mind.

If you have pets, you’ll want to keep them indoors. If the outdoor weather is inclement, you may have to resign yourself to the fact that they’ll have to do their business indoors, too. Have extra cleaning products like disinfectant spray and paper towels on hand, as well as plastic bags for any waste. Make sure you’re stocked up on cat litter – in the winter, it’s not a bad idea to keep an extra bag of the non-clumping variety in the trunk of your vehicle anyway, because it can help your tires gain traction if you get stuck.

Prepare for power outages.

You also may want to prepare for a power outage, as can sometimes occur in severe winter weather. Keep extra blankets on hand, as well as sweaters, sweatshirts and pants, thermal underwear, heavy socks, and even hats and gloves. If the power goes out, gather the family in one room to maximize body heat for warmth. You might even want to consider having some active fun, like dancing or exercising, to help stay warm and generate more heat.

Let Family Danz help.

Another way you can be prepared for whatever winter has in store for us is by making sure your heating system has had the proper annual maintenance. At Family Danz, it’s important to us that our customers are comfortable – and safe. That’s why we’re happy to offer preventive maintenance, which will help ensure your heating system runs effectively and efficiently, even when outdoor temperatures are at their coldest. Just give us a call at 518.427.8685 and we’ll be happy to help you get the maintenance you need.

Stay Warm This Winter With Family Danz Fuel Delivery

Nothing is worse than running out of heating fuel, especially during the times when winter is at its coldest. Heating oil is costly, which is why you need a fuel oil delivery company that is up-front about fuel prices and strives to provide you with the lowest possible price on the best fuel products. When you rely on Family Danz for your fuel oil delivery, you’ll quickly discover that we provide you with the best value on premium grade home heating oil. What’s more, we offer special plans that will help ensure you never run out.

Our quality fuel oil contains detergents that keep your system running clean and at maximum efficiency. These heating fuel additives help extend equipment life, reduce service calls, benefit the environment and save you money now and in the long run. And, the plans we offer help you stay on top of your fuel oil needs, so that you won’t have to worry about running out on the coldest night of the year.

Learn more about Family Danz’s fuel oil delivery options:

  • Automatic Delivery: We’ll work with you to schedule automatic delivery at no additional charge, and give you options that will allow you to take advantage of our discounted budget and prepayment plans.
  • Will Call Delivery: If you prefer to call when you need fuel, we kindly asks that you contact our office when your tank gauge is between half and a quarter full, to allow ample time to schedule your delivery.
  • Budget Plans: Our budget plan is a 10-month plan that averages your usage and provides a discount off the market price of oil.
  • Prepayment Plans: With this plan, you prepay for your fuel based on the current price. You’re charged for the actual price of heating oil at the time of delivery, minus a prefixed discount.

We can help with your furnace service and maintenance needs, too.

Not to mention, when you work with Family Danz on your oil delivery needs, you can also count on us to help keep your oil-burning furnace running smoothly. As a full-service heating contractor, we can help you with any maintenance or repair need you may have for your furnace. And, should you need a replacement, Family Danz provides quality Bryant® heating products to help meet your needs, along with expert installation.

Don’t get left out in the cold this winter – count on Family Danz to help you get the heating oil you need to keep your family comfortable when those freezing temperatures hit! To learn more or to schedule a fuel delivery, please give us a call at 518.427.8685 and we will be more than happy to assist you.

When to Replace Your Hot Water Heater

You rely on your home’s hot water heater for a lot – cooking, cleaning, dishwashing, laundry, and personal hygiene – so when it fails, it can cause a major disruption to your household routine. Many homeowners don’t know there’s anything amiss with their hot water heater until it fails, and that can be an inconvenient, expensive venture. But if you know the signs of hot water heater failure, you can get ahead of it – and keep the hot water flowing in your home.

The Angie’s List website offers four signs you should watch out for:

  • Age of Water Heater: Knowing the age of your water heater is important. If you’re not sure, you can generally check by the equipment’s serial number on the manufacturer’s website. Or, your plumbing technician will be happy to help you. If you find that your water heater is 10 years old or more, it’s likely time to consider a replacement. When hot water heaters reach this age, the potential for leaks becomes much greater – and that can cause extensive damage to your home.
  • Dirty Water: Noticing rust when you run your hot water? This could be a good sign that your water heater tank is rusting on the inside. If you’re concerned it might be your pipes, try draining a few buckets of water directly from the heater. If it’s still rusty, then you likely need to replace your hot water heater soon.
  • Noisy Operation: Water naturally has minerals and other sedimentary particles that will, over time, gather in the bottom of your hot water heater tank. Heating the sediment will over time cause it to harden. The hardened layer of sediment can cause your hot water heater to lose efficiency, and cause wear and tear on the tank that can lead to leaks. The giveaway that you have a layer of sediment in your tank are banging or rumbling sounds during heat-up.
  • Moisture Around Tank: Moisture around the tank of your hot water heater can indicate a leak or a fracture. After checking other pipes, connections and fittings to make sure they’re not leaking, if you still notice water you probably need to replace your hot water heater.

Time to replace? Give Family Danz a call – we can help meet all your hot water heater needs.

Family Danz is ready to help you if you need a new water heater. We have many options available, and our expert plumbers can install your new system quickly, so you won’t have to worry about being without hot water in your home for long. Just give us a call at 518.427.8685 and we’ll help you explore your options and find the right hot water heater for your home and lifestyle needs.

Thanksgiving on a Budget – 5 Tips for Saving Money This Year

Many of us are guilty of over-spending. Some of us are seasonal over-spenders and some of us are chronic over-spenders. Regardless of where we fall on the spending spectrum, when we choose to, we can almost always find ways to reduce our expenses, especially during the holiday season. Here we will discuss five tips to skinny down your spending for Thanksgiving without sacrificing a delicious meal and wonderful memories with family and friends.

Our first tip is to take an honest look at your guest list. It is easy to over-invite, especially during the holidays, but often this can lead to overextending ourselves monetarily and with regards to our time commitment. While perhaps uncomfortable and unfamiliar at first, it is ok to say no or to let past guests know that you’re hosting a smaller group this year. In addition to saving money, a smaller guest list will allow for greater face time with each guest.

Regardless of the number of guests on your list, asking your invitees to contribute to the dinner will not only assist you in keeping your budget in line, but also reduce your own workload. Nearly everyone has a specialty dish or a favorite item that they would be happy to share with the group, which will also give your gathering more character.

It can be easy to try to please everyone on your guest list and fall into the trap of making too much food. Not only is this a budget killer but can also be a mood killer as the added stress of trying to remember exactly what each guest’s preferences are can be exhausting. Sometimes less is more and that can certainly apply in this situation.

Additionally, most grocery stores will be offering sales on Thanksgiving staples in the weeks leading up to the feast. Shopping these sales, and shopping smart, can help you keep your budget on track. Curate a menu, take inventory of the ingredients that you already have on hand and then make a list in anticipation of the sales, being careful to buy only what you need.

Our final suggestion depends on a number of variables so it will be up to you and your guests to decide if it works for you, but dining out may just be a less expensive option to hosting and preparing a Thanksgiving meal. Many restaurants that choose to open on holidays have a flat price, all-inclusive meal option and the only preparation required is making a reservation. While you sacrifice some control in this scenario, it can also all but eliminate the stress associated with hosting a holiday in your home.

5 Ways You Can Maximize Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Whether or not we’re ready for it, the time has come when we must again begin to use our furnaces. If you have somehow managed to postpone the inevitable, we salute you, but are also a bit cold just at that thought. While none of us enjoy forking over increased sums of money to the energy companies this time of year, it is a part of life in New England that we must accept. Here we will suggest five simple strategies for reducing your energy consumption (and consequently, your bill) this heating season. Even employing just one strategy will positively impact your wallet so choose those that will work best for your family.

Clean your furnace: First and foremost, we suggest scheduling a cleaning for your furnace. This should be done annually and will not only ensure that you are ready when it is time to flip that switch but will also help you prepare for any additional maintenance costs that may be lurking around the corner. We also recommend having spare furnace filters on hand and swapping them out at least once a season (although greater frequency is recommended in a home with pets).

Smart Thermostats: While your trusted HVAC professional is at work on your annual furnace maintenance, perhaps they can recommend a smart thermostat. These devices can quickly pay for themselves both monetarily and in terms of convenience as they can be controlled from your mobile device allowing you to never have to get out of bed in a cold house again! Additionally you can monitor the heat in your home while you are out for those days that you’ve forgotten to turn the heat down before leaving for the day or a weekend away.

Passive Heating: When it comes to saving money on your heating costs, the sun can be your seasonal best friend. Does your home offer excellent daytime sun exposure? Make the most of this positioning and open your window treatments during the day to allow your home to bask in natural light and slowly warm up. While your furnace takes a rest your bank account will be growing.

Cooler Nights: Sleeping in a cooler room is not only good for your financial health but your physical health as well. While you’re saving money sleeping in a colder bedroom your body is benefiting by working harder to stay warm (consequently burning more calories while also putting you into a deeper sleep). Additionally, a colder bedroom helps your body better produce melatonin, which not only helps with sleep quality but also promotes anti-aging.

Utilize your Ceiling Fan: Many of us live in homes equipped with ceiling fans but they often sit unused during the winter months just collecting dust. By simply changing the direction of the blades to a clockwise motion helps to trap the heat inside the room with the ceiling fan making it feel warmer.

There are a number of simple and often subtle changes that we can make to our homes and in our daily routines that can positively impact both the health of our environment and finances. If you’d like more information on how you can make your home more energy efficient this winter, give Family Danz a call at 518.427.8685, and we will be more than happy to assist you.