Recipe of the Month: Root Beer Ribs

Wow your friends and family with these sweet, tangy, fall-off-the-bone ribs.  Everyone will want to know your secret ingredient!

root beer ribs recipe

Root Beer Ribs

Yield:  4 – 6 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 racks baby back ribs
  • 1 bottle (2 liters) root beer
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Place ribs in large baking dish (I use my big roasting pan. I also generally cut each rack in half so I can get everything nestled in the pan easier). Pour all but 1 cup root beer over ribs. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons salt over ribs; cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight, turning once if possible.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove ribs from root beer and pat dry with paper towel. Discard root beer in pan; wipe pan dry. Place ribs back into pan. Add 1 cup water; cover tightly with foil. Cook 2 hours or until meat is nearly falling off the bone.
  3. Meanwhile, make Root Beer Barbecue Sauce: In small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until onion is soft, stirring frequently. Add remaining ingredients (including reserved 1 cup root beer and 1/2 teaspoon salt); heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.
  4. Just before ribs hit the 2 hour mark in the oven, preheat grill for indirect grilling over medium-high heat. Put bones on cooler side of grill, bone side down. Brush with some Root Beer Barbecue Sauce and cook 10 to 15 minutes, then flip. Brush with sauce again and cook until ribs are lightly charred and meat is falling off bone. Serve with any remaining sauce. Bring wet-naps to the table.

 

 

Recipe courtesy of foxeslovelemons.com

Memorial Day: 10 Ways To Show Your Gratitude

Our soldiers and veterans have sacrificed greatly for our country.  While we should always show our gratitude for their service, Memorial Day is a great time to do something a little extra special for our brave and faithful soldiers.

1.  Reach out to a military family in your community  

Invite them over for dinner or bring them a meal.  Something as simple as running an errand, taking a walk with them, or watching children for a few hours can mean so much to a family who has a deployed spouse.

2.  Visit an older or wounded veteran

A happy visit can brighten a day and help a veteran to know they are not forgotten.  Contact your local nursing home or VA hospital for guidance on who you may visit.  Need some inspiration?  The Walter Reed National Military Center provides plenty of creative ideas on their Facebook page.

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3.  Make patriotic cookies

A thoughtful treat and a heartfelt “Thank You” goes a long way.  You can pick a local veteran or speak to your local nursing home about passing them out to the veterans in their care.

Memorial Day Cookies

4.  Offer to do yard work or home repairs

Having a spouse or parent deployed overseas is stressful for families.  If the children are young, this time can be especially difficult for the parent at home.  Mowing their lawn, repainting a fence, helping out with home maintenance, or planting flowers will not only help the family tremendously, but can also give the deployed solider peace of mind that their family is being cared for.

5.  Volunteer to place flags on grave sites

Contact your local American Legion or VFW organization to volunteer your time.

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6.  Send a letter

AMillionThanks.org will help match you with a soldier.  Even a gesture as simple as a letter expressing your gratitude and support can brighten a soldier’s day.

7.  Grant a wish

WoundedSoldiersWish.org gives you the opportunity to help grant the wish of a wounded soldier.

8.  Fund a scholar

The Armed Forces Children’s Education Fund is a non-profit corporation that financially assists the educational needs of the surviving children of the U.S. Military men and women who lost their lives.

9.  Adopt a soldier

Why only show your gratitude on Memorial Day?  Adopt a soldier and show your support during his or her deployment.  SoldiersAngels.org will match you up with a soldier that would love your support.

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10.  Never Forget

We often view Memorial Day Weekend as a kick-off to our summer.  Beach trips, camping, and backyard barbeques will soon fill our warm summer days.  However, the real reason behind this holiday weekend is to honor, remember, and show gratitude to America’s fallen heroes.  We must never allow ourselves to forget!

DIY: Top 8 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s day is just around the corner.  Over the years, your mother has sacrificed, worked tirelessly, and shown you unconditional love.  Show her your appreciation with a thoughtful gift.  Here are eight Mother’s Day gift ideas that are sure to touch her heart.

Tea Cup Herb Planters

Give your mother a lasting gift that will flavor her dishes and brighten her kitchen or deck.

Tea Cup Herb Planters - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Bloom a Smile

Smiles are contagious!  This creative gift is sure to make any mother or grandmother grin from ear to ear.

Bloom a Smile - Mothers Day

 

Mommy Survival Kit in a Jar

Perfect for the busy mothers on the go.

Mommy Survival Kit - Mothers Day - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Paint Swirl Vases

This easy craft creates a beautiful center piece.  Fill with flowers and bring the outdoors in!

Paint Swirl Vases - Gift Idea - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Photo Flower Pots

What better way to showcase the precious little smiles of the children and grandchildren?

Photo Flower Pot - Gift Idea - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Spa in a Bag

Mothers that work tirelessly deserve a little spa treatment.

 

Spa In A Bag - Gift Idea - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Herb Garden Gift Basket

Everything she needs to start her herb garden all in one basket.

Herb Garden Gift Basket - Archadeck of Chicagoland

 

Footprint Step Stool

Create precious memories with footprints painted on a step stool.  Mothers and Grandmothers will adore this memento.

Footprint Step Stool - Archadeck of Chicagoland

Deck Safety Checklist

Family on Deck - Archadeck
May is deck safety month. With barbecues, outdoor parties, and summertime fun around the corner, now is the time to inspect your deck and make any repairs necessary. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Follow these guidelines to ensure a thorough inspection.

Boards
Look at the condition of your deck boards. Most wood will show some cracks and splits over time, but is the general condition of the boards good, or are the boards splintering and unsafe to walk on?

Every Connection
A deck should be built using a variety of fasteners and metal hardware connectors to create a continuous pathway to ensure deck stability and safety. Check to see if the appropriate fasteners and connectors were used when constructing the deck. Is the hardware in good condition or need to be replaced?

Structure
If visible, look at the posts, beams and joists that provide the structural framework of the deck. What is their condition? Is there any noticeable sagging between supports?

Attachment
The attachment of the deck to the house (at an area called the house band) is the area where most deck failures occur. Pay special attention to this area and check to make sure that the deck is properly attached to the house band with appropriate screws or bolts and that it is properly flashed for water protection. Nails should never be used for this type of attachment.

Foundation / Footings
The foundation / footings receive and support the weight (also known as the load) on a deck and the columns that bear on them. A footing that is sinking may cause a noticeable sag in an area or a column separating from a beam.

Exits
Check the areas where people exit from the deck. These exits usually involve stairs so be sure to check the condition of the material used on the stair stringers, stair treads and risers.

Rails
Look at the condition of the rail posts and sections of railing on the deck to make sure that the railing is secure. Check to make sure that the pickets/balusters are fastened securely and spaced no more than four inches apart.

If you’re not sure you want to take the responsibility of inspecting the deck yourself, look up a local company in your area and have a professional complete the inspection. Nadra.org and AngiesList.com are great places to find competent, trustworthy professionals or go to Archadeck.com to see if there are deck safety inspectors in your area.

Sizzling Grilled Chicken Fajita Recipe

Fire up the grill and give your taste buds a little “south-of-the-border” flavor!

Cihcken Fajitas

Sizzling Grilled Chicken Fajitas

6 servings (serving size: 1 cup chicken mixture, 2 tablespoons salsa, 2 tablespoons sour cream, and 1 tortilla)

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup green bell pepper strips (about 1 medium)
  • 1 cup red bell pepper strips (about 1 medium)
  • 1 cup vertically sliced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 6 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
  • 3/4 cup bottled salsa
  • 3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
Preparation
  1. Combine first 5 ingredients; reserve 1/4 cup marinade. Combine remaining marinade and chicken in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 3 hours, turning occasionally.
  2. Prepare grill.
  3. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and cover and grill 10 minutes on each side or until done.
  4. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers and onion; sprinkle with seasoned salt. Sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add reserved 1/4 cup marinade, and cook 2 minutes. Cut chicken into thin slices; add to vegetable mixture.
  5. Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, upside down, over high heat for 1 1/2 minutes. Turn pan over, and add chicken mixture. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Serve chicken mixture immediately with warm tortillas, salsa, and sour cream.

 

Courtesy of myrecipes.com

Win an Archadeck Cooler!

This weekend is going to be beautiful – perfect for grilling. Post a picture of your grilled dinner on our Facebook page and you could win a new Archadeck cooler!  Hurry, have your picture in by Thursday, April 3, 2014!

 

Grilling Pic

Beer And Brown Sugar Ribeye Steak

Ready to fire up your grill?  If sweet and tangy is what you’re looking for, then this beer and brown sugar marinade is for you!  

Beer and Brown Sugar Steak Recipe

Beer & Brown Sugar Ribeye Steak

Prep Time:  15 minutes plus marinating

Cook Time:  15 minutes

Yield:  4 servings

Ingredients
1/2 cup dark beer
1/4 cup teriyaki marinade and sauce
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 (1-inch thick) rib-eye steaks (about 3 pounds)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Directions:
Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a large shallow dish or zip-top plastic freezer bag.
Add steaks, turning to coat. Cover or seal, and chill 24 hours, turning once.
Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Remove steaks from marinade, discarding marinade. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Grill, covered with grill lid, 5 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness. Remove from grill, and let stand 5 minutes.
Recipe courtesy of yummly.com

 

Chicagoland Event Calendar: March – April

Sunshine, warm weather, fresh-cut grass, and hamburgers on the grill are on their way.  Don’t miss all the fun!  Jump into spring with Archadeck’s Chicagoland Spring Event Calendar!

Chicagoland Spring Event Calendar

Fairs & Festivals

Chicago Flower & Garden Show Navy Pier Mar 18 – Mar 23
Chicago Tattoo Arts Convention Rosemont Mar 21 – Mar 23
Northwest Celtic Fest Hoffman Estates Mar 22
Chicago Beer Festival Chicago Mar 22
Spring Festival: An Arts & Crafts Affair Villa Park Apr 11 – Apr 13
Handmade Market Chicago Chicago Apr 12
7th Annual Pinot Days Navy Pier Apr 26
18th Annual Art in the Park Elmhurst May 3 – May 4

Fundraisers

Small Heroes of Hope Gala Kildeer Mar 29
Taste Takes Flight Hoffman Estates Apr 3
Foodie 5K Run/Walk Wheaton Apr 12
11th Annual Cuisine for a Cause Lisle Apr 26
3rd Annual Soaring to Success Benefit Gala Chicago May 1
Derby for a Cause Chicago May 3
Walk MS Lake in the Hills May 4
MS Walk 2014 St. Charles May 4
First Midwest Half Marathon & 10K Palos Heights May 4

Kids & Family

Breakfast with Bunny Niles Apr 5
Bunny Bash Schaumburg Apr 12
Easter Egg Hunt Geneva Apr 12
Spring Egg Scramble Niles Apr 12
Underwater EGGstravaganza Schaumburg Apr 17
Easter Egg Hunt Berwyn Apr 18
Breakfast with the Easter Bunny Wheaton Apr 19
Egg Hunt Wheaton Apr 19
Sunday Family Fundays: Spring into Action Lincoln Park Zoo Apr 27

Shopping

Indoor Farmer & Artisan Food Market Evanston Mar 22 – Apr 26
Naperville Home & Garden Expo Naperville Mar 22 – Mar 23
Spring Craft & Vendor Show Darien Apr 5
Wedding Walk Downers Grove Apr 6
Crystal Lake Home & Garden Expo Crystal Lake Apr 12 – Apr 13
Wheaton French Market Wheaton Apr 19 -Ongoing
Annual Plant Sale Morton Arboretum Apr 26 –Apr 27

Comedy & Theater

Bill Bellamy Schaumburg Mar 20 –Mar 23
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Evanston Mar 21 – May 3
Blue Man Group Chicago Mar 21 – Ongoing
Les Miserables Oak Brook Mar 29 – Jun 8
Bill Cosby Naperville Mar 29
Cinderella (Ballet) Naperville May 2

Dining

West of West Wine Festival Chicago Apr 9
Easter Brunch at the Abbington Glen Ellyn Apr 20
Easter at Bin 36 Chicago Apr 20

Celebrating 10 Years!

I am one lucky man.  Outdoor living is my passion, and outdoor living is what we do.  It is a wonderful feeling to wake up each day knowing we are doing something we’re passionate about.  Designing outdoor spaces has long been my idea of fun.  Playing in our garden, designing our patio, and taking design classes at the Morton Arboretum were once hobbies for me.  I had built a good career for myself, but I was missing that passion I wanted to feel on a daily basis. So, I went on a search for a way to combine my career with my passion. This is when I discovered the Archadeck franchise.

Ten years ago, Integrity Enterprises Inc. dba Archadeck of Chicagoland was born.  On February 19th, we will celebrate our 10th anniversary.  It has been fantastic to go to work every day knowing we are sharing our passion with Chicagoland families.  We are creating beautiful spaces for families and friends to gather and enjoy the great outdoors.

Over that past 10 years, we have seen a lot of changes and faced a number of challenges.  We not only survived the worst economy since the great depression; we actually flourished.  Projects we build have evolved from decks, screen porches, sunrooms, and pergolas to include paver patios, front porches, and open porches.  Our team has grown and enhanced our capabilities, and our company now covers all of the Chicagoland suburbs.

Screen rooms, pergolas, decks, patios, sunrooms

When we first started building our franchise, we began in the northern counties of Lake and McHenry.  As opportunities opened up, we expanded to the west and south.  Today we service all of the Chicago suburbs.  In 2012, we moved our office and growing team out of our basement and into our current showroom close to Woodfield Mall.

Of course, this move coincided with one of our original goals.  My wife, Kristen, joined me in the business and became a Design Consultant.  We met at work 20 years ago and have since dreamed of working together again.  I know many people may think it would be difficult to work with a spouse, but we love it!  She has excelled, helping to push our company forward.  Our children often come in to hang out in my office while we meet with clients and prepare designs, giving them the opportunity to see firsthand what it means to own your own business.  Archadeck of Chicagoland is truly a family operation.

As we’ve grown, we have carefully selected great team members to add to our family.  Our very foundation is built on dedicated, hardworking, and talented carpenters and crews.  Without our crew leads like John, Chris, Sonny, and Manuel, our designs would never come to life.  Of course, our office team is no less important.  Wendy, Sarah, and Margo work hard behind the scenes to keep the operation running smoothly.  Alex, our newest Design Consultant, is creative and talented. Tim, our Construction Manager, ensures the building process runs smoothly each and every time.  Our team members are key to our ability to continue to create the stunning outdoor living spaces Chicagoland has come to expect from us.

Archadeck Team - Fun

One constant over the years has been our great clients!  The number of clients we design for has increased significantly over the last 10 years, and we have been blessed with really great people to work with.  They have allowed us to learn about their family’s outdoor plans so that we may offer our recommendations and ultimately build their new outdoor spaces.  We work hard to make sure the end result of each project is a happy client.  Consistent customer service awards and ‘A’ ratings on Angie’s List, as well as the Better Business Bureau, reinforce that we are getting good results.  Of course, the best feedback comes when our clients introduce us to their friends so we may build their new outdoor space.  We would like to express our gratitude for sharing us so often with your friends and neighbors.

Thank you for allowing us to design and build your backyard getaway for the last 10 years.  We can’t wait to create your next outdoor living space!

Chicagoland Event Calendar: February – March

Are you experiencing a little cabin fever during this cold, cold Chicago winter?  Chicagoland is always full of new and exciting things to get you out of the house and keep you busy.  Check out our event calendar for local shows, events, and fundraisers.  Enjoy the winter activities while you can, Spring will be here before you know it!

Chicago Event Calendar

Macbeth Chicago – Lincoln Park Feb 14 – Mar 2
Blue Man Group Chicago – Lake View Feb 14 – Ongoing
Phantom of The Opera Chicago – The Loop Feb 14 – Mar 2
Trapped in a Room With a Zombie Chicago Feb 14 – Ongoing
Aquatic Show Chicago Feb 14 – Ongoing
Indoor Farmer & Artisan Food Market Evanston Feb 15 – Apr 26
Late Nite Catechism Chicago – Lincoln Park Feb 15 – Ongoing
Chicago’s Original Brewery Tour Chicago – Lincoln Park Feb 15 – Ongoing
Chef Fest Oak Brook Terrace Feb 20
Daddy Daughter Dance Plainfield Feb 21
Girls Nite Out Elmhurst Feb 21
Mighty Con Comic Book Show DuPage County Fairgrounds Feb 22
Wedding Expo West Chicago Feb 23
The Rocky Horror Picture Show St. Charles Feb 28
Ramsey Lewis & John Pizzarelli Naperville Feb 28
Breaking Free – Kinetic Dance Company Naperville Mar 1
An Evening w/the Stars Oscar Night Gala Benefiting Autism Speaks Rosemont Mar 2
First Friday Gallery Night Crystal Lake Mar 7
Pink Droyd:  A Tribute to Pink Floyd Crystal Lake Mar 8
Healthy Children Conference & Expo Rosemont Mar 8 – Mar 9
Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade Elmhurst Mar 8
Handmade Market Chicago Chicago – Ukranian Village Mar 8 – Apr 12
Reptile Rampage Lake Forest Mar 9
Imagine Dragons Allstate Arena Mar 13
New Shanghai Circus Crystal Lake Mar 14
Comedian Bill Bellamy Schaumburg Mar 20 – Mar 23
Northwest Celtic Fest Hoffman Estates Mar 22
Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Glen Ellyn Mar 22
Chicago Beer Festival Chicago – West Loop Mar 22
Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live Chicago – Gold Coast Mar 26 – Mar 30
Bill Cosby Naperville Mar 29