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Brought to you by John Sciarra, Bernard's Garage - AUTOMOTIVE INSIDER -

BERNARD'S GARAGE - John SciarraSummer's imminent arrival means your vehicle's air conditioning system will soon be under serious strain.

If your A/C isn't as frosty as it used to be, but it's still blowing cold, the system may need to be recharged.

Manufacturers used to use a type of refrigerant known as R-12, or Freon, until researchers found it caused ozone depletion. As such, it's illegal to use Freon in vehicles built after 1994. Now, manufacturers use R-134a to keep things cold in the cabin.

Working on an air conditioning system is about as much fun as sticking your hand in a blender. Twice.

Unless you are skilled in vehicle maintenance, it’s safest to take the job to a professional.

An AC compressor is usually driven by your vehicle's serpentine belt, and as it spins, it pressurizes the system's refrigerant. It's this change in pressure that cools the air coming into your cabin. The best way to keep your compressor from failing is to have your A/C system serviced once a year.

If your compressor needs replacement, most responsible shops will recommend swapping out a number of periphery components at the same time.

Why? The easy answer is working on an air conditioning system is about as fun as sticking your hand in a blender. Twice.

To avoid draining your refrigerant, removing your compressor, installing a new unit and refilling the system with new cool stuff — only to have you come back in a week and say it's still not cold enough — it makes sense to replace the necessary components.

Bernard’s Garage

2036 SE Washington St., Milwaukie



Brought to you by Mike Nielsen of Snap Fitness - FITNESS INSIDER -

SNAP FITNESS - Mike NielsenAs the inspirational saying goes, “Live less out of habit and more out of intent.”

While it’s true that starting a fitness routine can be difficult, I offer the following tips to get you in the gym door and on the road to good health.

Assessment — New SNAP Fitness clients receive a free jump-start session, including consultation with a trainer. The assessment determines the client’s baseline, helps us guide their first steps, and is an opportunity to discuss adding personal training.

Cardio — The national recommendation for exercise for all ages and fitness levels is to get to the gym at least three days per week, and to do a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio per visit. Working out with a friend will make it more fun, help you feel more accountable, help you stay at the gym for more months and achieve a higher level of success.

Strength training is key to replacing fat with muscle, becoming leaner, stronger and improving balance. Do two to three sessions of strength training per week.

Nutritional guidelines — Instead of eating three large meals per day, eat five to six small meals. This will fuel your energy throughout the day and avoid post-meal sluggishness. Also drink 96 ounces of water daily.

Online help — SNAP has a complete online nutritional program and training center. Free with membership, it provides a personalized workout plan, sample menus and a complete library of instruction videos.

Snap Fitness

Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.



Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170



Brought to you by Mike Nielsen - Snap Fitness - Fitness INSIDER

Mike Nielsen, Snap FitnessStrength training is an essential part of an exercise program, even for someone who hasn’t been active in a while.

Lifting weights, using weight machines and doing core work increases muscle mass and bone density.

As we age, our muscles deteriorate (called sarcopenia) and bone density decreases.

Research shows that seniors are more susceptible to bone breakage that younger adults. As people age, their metabolism slows down. We are seeing more and more seniors joining gyms.

If we take the average adult between the ages of 40 and 50 and do basic strength-training three to four times per week for 90 days, the outcome can be life-changing.

Here’s a myth-buster: Muscle does NOT weigh more than fat! A pound is a pound. 

Muscle is, however, more dense than body fat and takes up less area than fat. If you were to start an exercise program complete with strength training, you would increase your lean body mass and decrease body fat.

The body takes up less space and metabolism speeds up, resulting in a higher BMR (base metabolic rate, the amount of daily caloric intake needed to maintain LBM and weight.) This reverses sarcopenia and increases bone density.   

Not everyone walks into a gym and knows exactly what to do. Snap gives new members an opportunity to meet with a Certified Personal Trainer, who assesses their body and their goals. 

Let’s get started.

Snap Fitness

Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.



Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170



Brought to you by John Sciarra, Bernard's Garage - AUTO MAINTENANCE INSIDER

John Sciarra, Bernard's GarageRegular maintenance on your car is, quite simply, a good investment.

For example, when you bring your car in for a timing belt — typically needed at 90,000 to 100,000 miles— it costs in the range of $400 to $500. But if it breaks, it might be $1,800 to $2,000.

At our shop, when we do it, we do it right. With the timing belt, we also replace the timing belt tensioner, idler pulleys, camshaft seals, water pump and coolant.

Mileage interval maintenance, which is only done by shops, should be done at 30,000, 60,000 and 90,000 miles.

The ideal scenario is to get the car into the shop about three times per year for inspections, which will find things like rodent damage, which is more common than you might think. It’s mainly squirrels in this area.

An inspection will also uncover leaking coolant or oil, as well as plugged-up air filters. Once a year, you should get a brake inspection.

We do complete automotive repair, including pre-purchase inspections for $150. That’s a comprehensive inspection, which can detect unforeseen problems and save you from buying a compromised vehicle.

Our average cost for an oil change is $38; $58 for a brake inspection.

It’s a small investment. We do it properly and can save you a lot of trouble and expense down the road.

Bernard’s Garage

2036 SE Washington St., Milwaukie



Mike Nielsen - Snap Fitness - Fitness INSIDER

SNAP FITNESS - Mike Nielsen“We are a friendly, success-oriented fitness center,” says Mike Nielsen, vice president and co-owner of Snap Fitness locations in Oregon City, Milwaukie and Canby. “We’re like the ‘Cheers’ of the gym world, where everybody knows your name.”

Nielsen has been a certified fitness coach for 13 years and has been with Snap for eight years. He says being a fitness coach is all about helping individuals achieve the best version of themselves.

“It’s not just something that’s done at the gym, but it’s a lifestyle change,” he said of Snap. “We focus on not only the physical but also the mental and emotional aspects of everyday life, to make sure we are able to achieve long-term success.”

He says Snap gyms have a family feel and a personal touch.

The gyms are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with monitored access for safety. Snap has more than 1,500 locations nationwide.

The fitness centers offer cardio, personal training, weight-loss programs, a health center, strength training and Olympic lifting. An online web page for members offers nutrition counseling and an online training center.

“Our members are our greatest assets,” Nielsen added. “We do all we can to make sure they have not only the best facility and equipment, but a wonderful experience.”

Snap Fitness


Milwaukie: 4200 SE King Rd.


Oregon City: 19703 S. Hwy. 213, Ste. 170


Canby: 1109 SW 1st Ave.


Brought to you by John Sciarra - Bernard's Garage - AUTOMOTIVE INSIDER -

BERNARD'S GARAGE - John SciarraAfter nearly 100 years of providing excellent full-service automotive repair and maintenance, Bernard’s Garage is a classic Milwaukie institution trusted by generations of customers.

Founded in 1925, old timers and area residents still remember Joe Bernard Sr., who would design and build custom car parts when his customers’ vehicles needed it. Joe Bernard Jr., a former Milwaukie mayor, helped modernize Bernard’s and continued his father’s tradition of excellent customer service.

The current owner, Jim Bernard, another Milwaukie mayor and current Clackamas County commissioner, has computerized Bernard’s—turning his father’s mechanics into today’s technicians.

Besides providing free pickup and delivery, Bernard’s offers DEQ repair and adjustments, check-engine light diagnosis, manufacturer-scheduled maintenance, brakes, steering and suspension repair, timing belt tune-ups, radiator and water pump work, as well as engine, transmission and air conditioning service.

“We are straight shooters and will let you know what the problem is and what the cost is upfront,” Operations Manager John Sciarra says.

Sciarra, an 18 year veteran of Bernard’s, has attained numerous specialty vehicle class certifications. With 26 years in the industry overall, Sciarra is our INSIDER for automotive excellence.

Bernard’s Garage is a 17-year-long supporter of the Milwaukie Farmers Market, a Milwaukie First Friday participant and frequently donates to the Annie Ross House, Milwaukie Senior Center and other local schools and events.

A member of the Clackamas County Chamber of Commerce since 1955, Bernard’s has been named Business of the Year twice since 2000, and has received the BRAG award from the county for practicing responsible recycling and waste management.

Bernard's Garage 

2036 SE Washington St, Milwaukie, OR.

(503) 659-7722


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Three cooks stir pots for shot at Golden Spurtle


The Golden Spurtle is up for grabs, and on Aug. 16 three competitors will heat up their burners in an attempt to cook their way to the 20th Annual Golden Spurtle World Championships, held in Scotland in October.

by: PHOTO COURTESY: BOB'S RED MILL - Paula Todora will be making 'Paula's Steel Your Heart Away Eggrolls,' filled with Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats, Granny Smith apples, walnuts and raisins mixed with sugar, spices and maple syrup; they are then fried until golden brown.Some background is in order: A spurtle is a traditional Scottish kitchen tool used to stir porridge. The Golden Spurtle is the prize given annually to the person who can cook the best bowl of porridge, using only water, oatmeal and a dash of salt. A specialty trophy also is awarded at the world championships for the most creative use of oatmeal in an unconventional dish.

The three finalists competing in the local cook-off on Aug. 16 are Camilla Saulsbury, from Nacogdoches, Texas; Paula Todora, from Keller, Texas; and Carl Youngmann, from Port Townsend, Wash.

In 2009, Matthew Cox, marketing director for Bob’s Red Mill and the first American to ever enter the competition, came away with the coveted Golden Spurtle for porridge making. Last year, Laurie Figone, winner of the Second Annual Bob’s Red Mill Spar for the Spurtle contest, also won a world title in Scotland, taking home the specialty trophy.

Now, as the Third Annual Bob’s Red Mill Spar for the Spurtle contest gets under way, a new crop of competitors is ready to demonstrate their cooking skills in front of an audience and a panel of judges.

The event kicks off at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, with a bagpiper leading competitors and dignitaries to the kitchen area of Bob’s Red Mill store on International Way in Milwaukie.

After a few introductions and remarks, cooking begins, and the clock will start ticking. In the competition, which “mirrors the one in Scotland,” three cooks must make their dishes in 30 minutes using only two burners, Cox said. “Then we wait in suspense while the judges select the winners.”

He was on the committee to view the contestants’ submitted videos and said that “all the presentations went way beyond what we have seen before. Their creativity was amazing.”

It was a tough job to narrow the 100 initial contestants down to the top three, but contributing factors included “great presence, simple but creative preparation, ideas that might spark the imagination for using oats, and dishes that might be successful in Scotland,” Cox said.

Saulsbury will dish up her take on dolmades, with a Scottish twist; Todora will make an eggroll stuffed with traditional apple-pie ingredients; and Youngmann will serve a buttered oats brittle that substitutes steel-cut oats for peanuts.

Camilla Saulsbury

Saulsbury is a fitness instructor, endurance athlete and busy mom, so she is very much into portable food.

“Many people may think of dolmades as Greek fare, typically grape leaves stuffed with a rice or meat mixture, but they are also Turkish, and I learned to make them from a Turkish friend in graduate school,” she said.

Saulsbury soaks the oats overnight, stir-fries them for a few minutes and adds some of her favorite Middle Eastern flavors and ingredients. The dolmades are then wrapped in kale leaves and served with a tahini-yogurt dipping sauce.

“I am a food blogger, food writer and cookbook author. I am not a professionally trained cook. I learned to cook from my parents, friends, reading everything I can about cooking and then experimenting. I switched careers a few years ago, from sociology professor to full-time food writer, and it was the best decision I ever made,” she said.

Paula Todora

Todora will be making Paula’s Steel Your Heart Away Eggrolls, filled with Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats, Granny Smith apples, walnuts and raisins mixed with sugar, spices and maple syrup; they are then fried until golden brown.

“Steel-cut oats are all about the heartland of America, so I wanted something that defined America, and what is more American than apple pie?” Todora said, adding, “This is an all-American dish with a taste of Asia.”

It was a fluke really, that she happened upon the eggroll idea.

“I was in the grocery store and picked up all the ingredients for pie, but I couldn’t figure out what to wrap it in. Then I passed by the eggrolls” and that served as her inspiration for her dish.

Todora, who sells commercial insurance for a living, uses cooking to add that spice of creativity to her life. She said she is not a contest person, but did win first prize for her appetizer in the Real Women of Philadelphia contest, using Kraft Philadelphia cream cheese back in 2011.

The Bob’s Red Mill competition caught her attention for two reasons.

“I eat steel-cut oats all the time, and the trip to Scotland spoke to me, because my mother’s family and my father’s family came from Scotland,” she said.

Carl Youngmann

Calling his contest entry Buttered Oats Brittle, Youngmann said “it is a wonderful example of an a-ha moment, because I had the idea, gave it a try right away, and was pleased with the results the first time.”

His brittle is a twist on the familiar peanut brittle, with the same burnt-sugar base as the traditional candy, but uses steel-cut oats in place of nuts.

Youngmann found out about the Spar for the Spurtle contest because it is printed right on the bag of oats, he said, adding, “Who doesn’t like a challenge? It’s always fun to see whether my ideas will strike others as having merit.”

Although he is not a food professional, he did note that long ago he was a finalist in the National Beef Cook-Off.

“I am retired from a varied career in mapping software development, computer graphics and medical device engineering. For fun, my wife and I have a letterpress studio where we indulge ourselves with hand-set type, ink and paper. We also like the challenge of recipe competitions,” Youngmann said.

“I’m excited to be competing in the Spar for the Spurtle. My wife and I use many of Bob’s Red Mill products at home, so it seems like a natural step to be going to the mothership to cook,” he said.

A trio of judges

Describing the trio of judges as an elite panel, Cox said they will taste all the dishes, consult with one another and choose one winner to head to Scotland for the world championships.

The three judges are Vitaly Paley, owner of Paley’s Place Bistro & Bar in Portland, noted cookbook author, and a 2005 James Beard award winner for Best Chef in the Northwest; Kim Sunée, best-selling author and “Iron Chef America” judge; and Lucinda Scala Quinn, executive editor of food and entertaining for Martha Stewart Living.

As for why he thinks the Bob’s Red Mill Spar for the Spurtle winners have been so successful in Scotland, Cox said he attributes it to great ingredients.

Oats are “a difficult product to make well. The preparation, whether getting them toasted, dried, steamed, rolled or chopped, makes all the difference. That is why we have won twice,” he said.

As for why people should come see the event, he said, “It is great fun, and they will get to see the store and get to see the passion we have for whole grains and porridge that is Bob’s Red Mill.”