Recipe of the Month: Helping with Helpings

August 31, 2017 Uncategorized

If you are one of the blessed ones that did not lose everything, opportunities are open everywhere to help those that did lose it all.  A devastating amount of people in the Houston area are without homes, beds, clothing, but most crucially they are without nourishment.  While some shelters and disaster relief sites are at capacity and turning people and donations away, the Houston Food Bank is welcoming donations with open arms.

The Houston Food Bank has a history of providing disaster relief, but has never seen devastation on this scale.

They will provide food and supplies in the short term and for many months to come to residents in southeast Texas who will struggle to rebuild their lives.  The Food Bank will work closely with their network of partner agencies to ensure food is getting to those who need it most.  They also find ways to connect offers of help with those who are providing help.

If you need help
Call our helpline at 832-369-9390
Call 2-1-1

If you want to help those hit by Harvey

Donate Money
The best thing you can do to help the Houston Food Bank right now is to make a donation of money designated for disaster relief.

Our neighbors urgently need assistance.  The Houston Food Bank’s greatest need is for funds that will help us provide relief and continue recovery efforts.

Donations will be used for disaster relief until this year’s needs are met, and the remaining funds will support ongoing hunger-relief efforts.

Volunteer
Please register first so we can make sure you have a productive
experience
> Regular volunteer shifts apply, open daily (including Sunday)

Donate Food and Supplies
Drop off curbside at 535 Portwall
Now through Saturday, September 9
8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Saturday/Sunday

Most Needed Items

> Canned ready-to-eat items with pull tops: vegetables, fruit
> Protein in pouches or pull-top cans: tuna, beef stew, chili,
canned chicken
> Peanut butter
> Snacks: granola bars, breakfast bars, etc.
> Toiletries
> Paper goods
> Diapers
> Cleaning supplies: mops, mop buckets, brooms, bleach wipes,
bleach, garbage bags, bug spray

 

After the Storm

August 31, 2017 Outdoor Safety

After the Storm Resource Guide

A resource guide to help you get back on your feet after you have braved the storm United Way of Greater Houston has created After the Storm for you to use as a resource toward rebuilding your life. Whether you are trying to provide basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing, or you are struggling with the stress that is a major part of crisis recovery, you will find important and helpful information in this booklet. The entire content of this booklet is also available on the web HERE —for your convenience. The 2-1-1 Texas/United Way Helpline is always available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Let 2-1-1 be your first call when you don’t know who to call. Trained HELPLINE specialists are always available to listen to your questions, understand your needs and help you identify resources that are tailored for your specific situation. There are no words that can ease the losses you have experienced. Please know that there are many resources that can help you take those difficult steps toward recovery. United Way heals the past, shapes the future and makes today better for us all. Please know that United Way is here to help.

Very truly yours,

Anna M. Babin President and CEO

After the Storm

Hurricanes…tornados…earthquakes…tropical storms…floods…when the forces of nature are unleashed, the results are often devastating. There is little anyone can do to prevent or reduce the power of these natural disasters. This booklet is intended to serve as a guide along the path to recovery.

When a Crisis Strikes

Living through a major crisis produces many different types of feelings. You may feel anxiety, depression, confusion and tension. These feelings may cause a breakdown in our usual coping mechanisms. You may find it hard to function, behave in unexpected ways or have trouble making decisions. Although a crisis can result in a sense of anxiety, pain or hopelessness that makes it hard to cope, these same feelings can serve as motivation to look for help and develop new coping mechanisms. That’s where this guide comes in…we hope you will use it to guide your steps as you begin the rebuilding process.

The United Way put together these checklists as a guide during  recovery.

Things You Can Do for Yourself and Others

Get Into a Routine During this difficult period, it is especially important that you take care of yourself. As quickly as possible, resume your usual activity patterns. Establishing a regular routine will help you and other family members begin the recovery process.

Take Care of Yourself

Try to eat properly. Choose foods that include the basic food groups and offer a balance of fruits, vegetables, protein, carbohydrates and other essential nutrients. Limit junk foods, especially for children, and drink plenty of fluids. Healthy eating will help you rebuild your strength during the trying times ahead. Sleeping away from familiar surroundings can be very difficult. Make every effort to get as much sleep as possible so that you will be rested and able to face each day’s challenges. Return to regular sleeping times as soon as you are able to do so. This will help your body refresh and restore itself.

Take Control

Although it may seem that fate has taken charge of your life, it is essential that you reassert control as quickly as possible. Begin to plan for your recovery, even though you may feel that there is little you can do. Assess the damage you have experienced and identify resources that are available to storm victims. Make a list of tasks each day so that you can celebrate small successes as you build up to larger accomplishments.

Communicate

Share your feelings with others. Everyone affected by the disaster has a story to tell. Do not hesitate to share your experience and be a good listener for others who need to talk. Be open about your concerns, ask questions and express your emotions as they surface.

Tune In to Your Children

You know how overwhelming the disaster has been for you as an adult. Be sensitive to the fact that your children may be particularly in need of your love and attention. Encourage them to talk about their fears. Acknowledge their losses and allow them to take an active role in the recovery process. The structure of a regular routine is especially important for children. Be sure they eat properly and get enough sleep just as soon as conditions permit. At times like these, lots of extra hugs and kisses can be very therapeutic for you and your children.

 

A Roof Over Your Head

The experience of homelessness for those who have been forced out of their homes as a result of a natural disaster is particularly devastating. Suddenly, in spite of years of careful planning and saving, you may have lost your home and its valued contents. You may have lost treasured mementos and cherished possessions that are an important part of your history. If this is the case, you have reason to grieve. While no one can truly recapture all that you have lost, there is help available to help you begin again. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) If your area is declared a national disaster, you may qualify for financial aid. You are encouraged to apply for FEMA assistance or aid, regardless of the extent of the disaster you experienced. People who suffered damages from the storms are eligible for assistance through various programs offered by FEMA. If you are a renter, you may be eligible for a grant from FEMA to cover Short term rent assistance at a new location. The process involved in applying for FEMA may seem time-consuming. However, you may be missing an important source of financial assistance if you fail to take advantage of this opportunity. When you apply, please have the following information available: † Social Security number † Current and pre-disaster address † Telephone numbers where you can be contacted † Insurance Information † Total household income † A routing and account number from your bank (only necessary if you want to have disaster assistance funds transferred directly) Call the FEMA Helpline or check online if you need additional help or have questions. You can also learn the status of an application, additional services, or the location of specific services.

FEMA Application Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)

TTY # . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-800-462-7585

You can also apply online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

Additional Resources

The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army are two organizations that offer a variety of resources, particularly during the early stages following a disaster. Be sure to contact both to determine whether their services meet your current needs.

American Red Cross. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-877-500-8645 866-526-8300 (Local Houston Office)

Salvation Army . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 713-752-0677

TEXAS UNITED WAY HELPLINE  … 2-1-1

Recipe of the Month: Frozen Hot Chocolate

July 29, 2017 Outdoor Cooking

To keep in the spirit of our Project of the Month (Christmas in July) … we decided we would cool things down with a sweet twist on a traditional holiday treat.  July (and really the next few months to come) are too hot to drink anything other than something ice cold.  Enjoy this month’s recipe poolside, and before you know it the holidays will be here to enjoy the real deal.

Frozen Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

  • 6 fluid ounces milk
  • 1/2 cup hot cocoa mix (or two packets)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups crushed iced cubes
  • Whipped cream

Directions

Pour milk into blender.  Add hot cocoa mix and ice.   Blend first at low speed and then high speed until ice is finely crushed and slushy. Pour into a tall glass and top with whipped cream and a dusting of hot cocoa mix.  Serve with a straw and enjoy!  Happy hot holidays! ;)

“Cool Cabana”

July 28, 2017 Patio Design

 

 

Named “Cool Cabana” by Hearth & Home for August, this project in Houston is simply stunning.   This covered patio project was completed earlier this year and is not only attracting new neighbor friends for this homeowner, but it’s catching the eye of many.  This was also our featured Project of the Month for May of this year, to explore all the details, visit here.

 

 

 

For more cabana-esque projects, stroll through our gallery for freestanding patio covers.

A Festive Fourth

June 29, 2017 Outdoor Celebrations

We are about to help you throw the best birthday party of all … America’s birthday party!  The 4th of July should be spent with family and friends celebrating our country’s independence!  Be the “it” patio party this holiday … just add a little red, white & blue for an awe and ooh!   We have decor demos, tasty treats, boozy sips and kid-friendly fun on our Pinterest page! It’s stocked with patriotic pins great for ideas on how to perk up your patio.  Check out these clever ways to use mason jars, perfect for centerpieces, decorative candles and more.

Texas Custom Patios

Give them something to remember with this adorable DIY American flag backdrop, perfect for picture taking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Load up a clear mason jar with the something salty, sweet and super cute like these Patriotic Pretzel Dippers!

Texas Custom Patios

Something fun for the kids … homemade edible firecracker popcorn, made with POP ROCKS!  Watch out for the tasty lil’ explosion in your mouth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salute to this super salad that will leave you refreshed on a hot 4th of July!

Salad recipe 4th of July

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How ’bout some 50 Star Chicken and other festive foods for the main course?

Texas Custom Patios

End things with a real bang with these boozy bombs!

Red, White and Booze

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since the kiddos can’t have the cherries, how about this kid-friendly patriotic punch…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And top it off with some Star Spangled Sweetness!

Recipe of the Month: Secret Recipe Pulled Pork and Fire Cracker Cookies

June 26, 2017 Outdoor Celebrations, Outdoor Cooking

Independence Day is about celebrating our country, gathering around the delicious food with our family and friends and of course, fireworks!  We have a recipe that will have your party booming with flavor.  Plus, check out our Pinterest page below for some patriotic party plans!   But first, the main course …

Pulled Pork Barbecue Sandwiches

by Tyler Florence

Ingredients

Dry Rub:
Cider-Vinegar Barbecue Sauce:

Directions

Cider-Vinegar Barbecue Sauce:

Mix the paprika, garlic power, brown sugar, dry mustard, and salt together in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend all over the pork. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Put the pork in a roasting pan and roast it for about 6 hours. An instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the pork should register 170 degrees F, but basically, what you want to do is to roast it until it’s falling apart.

While the pork is roasting, make the barbecue sauce. Combine the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, salt, cayenne, and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Take it off the heat and let it sit until you’re ready for it.

When the pork is done, take it out of the oven and put it on a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes. While it’s resting, deglaze the pan over medium heat with 3/4 cup water, scraping with a wooden spoon to pick up all of the browned bits. Reduce by about half. Pour that into the saucepan with the sauce and cook 5 minutes.

While the pork is still warm, you want to “pull” the meat: Grab 2 forks. Using 1 to steady the meat, use the other to “pull” shreds of meat off the roast. Put the shredded pork in a bowl and pour half of the sauce over. Stir it all up well so that the pork is coated with the sauce.

To serve, spoon the pulled pork mixture onto the bottom half of each hamburger bun, and top with some slaw. Serve with pickle spears and the remaining sauce on the side.

Cole Slaw:

1 head green cabbage, shredded

2 carrots, grated

1 red onion, thinly sliced

2 green onions (white and green parts), chopped

1 fresh red chile, sliced

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 lemon, juiced

Pinch sugar

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Several dashes hot sauce

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the cabbage, carrots, red onion, green onions, and chile in a large bowl. In another bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss gently to mix. Season the cole slaw with the celery seed, hot sauce, salt, and black pepper. Chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

You can’t have a Fourth of July party without a little red, white, and blue!  These cookies from HEB (if you’re in the Houston area) are called Red, White & Boom Twisters … they have popping candy in the cream, so it’s literally a party in your mouth.  Oreo also makes a version that is pretty tasty, the kids will go wild over them!   Check out our Pinterest page for inspiration on patriotic sweets and decor ideas.

Happy Birthday, America!

The Secret To Success

May 26, 2017 Outdoor Living

We would like to thank VoyageHouston for taking the time to get to know Texas Custom Patios!  Below is a fantastic article getting to know the people that are making outdoor oasis dreams come true all over Texas.  And to think it all started with a simple deck …

 

 

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rob and Katherine Douglass.

Thirteen years ago, Rob Douglass had a vision to open a company that would create outdoor living spaces that would be as functional and as attractive as the inside of the home. Something that looked original to the home and not an add on. Initially, Texas Custom Patios built simple decks and pergolas, but the market was changing and the timing was perfect. Along with his wife, Katherine Douglass, and business partner, Steven Schell, Texas Custom Patios began building luxury outdoor living spaces complete with fully equipped kitchens, outdoor living rooms, outdoor fire features, entertainment centers, and specialized dining areas. The first full year in business, 2005, there were 44 projects completed … now, an average of 200 projects are completed each year. This includes the newly opened branch in the Dallas Fort Worth area. In order to grow to this level, Texas Custom Patios needed to develop crews from all the trades that are required to build the projects. They have sub-contractors that have worked with them for many years – framers, electricians, painters, masons, plumbers and more. Texas Custom Patios has 7 project developers in the Houston area and 4 in the Dallas Fort Worth area that work closely with each homeowner throughout the process of designing and building the dream outdoor living space.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road has been relatively smooth, although with any business there are always some struggles. When Hurricane Ike hit the area, there was a definite slump in business. Everyone was focused on repairing damaged homes – not just theirs but others that were less fortunate.

Homeowners took the time to help out in the community and put their own backyard dreams to the side for a while. The recent oil slump has had an effect as well – homeowners have taken precautions with their spending. We have noticed an increase in sales since the beginning of 2017, which falls in line with the economy getting stronger again.

Texas Custom Patios – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Texas Custom Patios has several unique assets that stand out from all the other patio competitors. Their key to success is designing and building a structure that does not look like an add-on, it looks original to the home’s design. No matter how old the house is, roofing, bricking, siding is all selected to blend with the structure of the home. It can be a challenge sometimes to figure out how to tie in substantial additions while maintaining the style of the original home, but we achieve success time after time. We focus only on outdoor living – we are not interior remodelers. There are many types of projects we build – patio covers, pergolas, screened porches, pool houses, room additions, outdoor kitchens, outdoor fire features, decorative patios, and more. When we work with a customer on their backyard design, we gather information and create a project within their budget. We offer suggestions on design and finishes to make the project a custom space for the homeowner to enjoy. The project developer works with the homeowner from start of design to completion of the project… the project is not handed off to anyone else. Texas Custom Patios also has a strong written warranty.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is defined when we have happy homeowners. Knowing we are building and creating their dream outdoor space is something we take seriously. When at the end of the project, we are told it was exactly what they imagined or it turned out better than what they thought, that is success. We are always looking to have satisfied homeowners – ones that will and do refer us to their friends and neighbors.

For more from VoyageHouston, click here!

Recipe of the Month: Grilled Mahi-Mahi Tacos with Mandarin Habanero Salsa

May 25, 2017 Outdoor Cooking

Now that’s a mouthful … but a delicious mouthful.  For this month’s recipe star we got a taste of inspiration from Hearth & Home.  The great thing about this recipe is if you’re fishy about fish, you can substitute the protein for grilled chicken or even steak.

Ingredients

Mahi­-Mahi Tacos 4 (5­6 oz.) Mahi­Mahi fillets

2 tbsp. olive oil 2 tbsp.

Pit Boss Mandarin Habanero spice

2 cups shredded red cabbage

1 cup sour cream

12 small corn tortillas

Mandarin Habanero Mango Salsa

2 mangos, peeled and diced

1/3 cup red onion, diced

2 tbsp. lime juice

1 tsp. Pit Boss Mandarin Habanero seasoning

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

 

Directions

Rinse the Mahi­-Mahi fillets under cold water and blot dry with paper towel. Rub fillets with olive oil, then sprinkle Pit Boss Mandarin Habanero seasoning over both sides of the fillets, rubbing the seasoning in. Set aside.

Prepare the Mandarin Habanero Mango Salsa by combining all ingredients in a medium­-sized bowl, tossing lightly to mix. Set aside.

Light the ceramic charcoal barbecue to 400°F. Place Mahi­-Mahi fillets directly on the grill and cook 5–7 minutes on each side. Remove the Mahi­Mahi from grill and let rest 5 minutes before pulling apart into small pieces. Carefully remove cooking grate from barbecue using oven mitts or grill grippers. Replace grill grate with heat deflector and place tortillas on heat deflector, heating for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until warm, but not hot.

Stack the tortillas in twos. Distribute the fish evenly between each set of tortillas.

Top with red cabbage, sour cream, and mango salsa. Serve immediately!

Sit back and listen to the “mmmms!”

 

 

Have a project in mind? We work throughout the Houston and Dallas - Fort Worth areas.

Our Customers Love Us

I am beyond impressed with the quality of the materials, the sub-contractors hired, and the overall final appearance of this project. This was our first experience with a contractor/home improvement project (beyond changing out shower heads, etc.), and I must admit that I am a little terrified to tackle anything else… I have been spoiled by Texas Custom Patios. Thanks, guys!

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