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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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Healthful food could sway Super Bowl outcome


by: STAFF PHOTO: BARB RANDALL - Barb Randall suggests serving this Tropical Avocado Salsa with blue corn chips and sweet potato chips at your Super Bowl party.

Probably some of you are heading to MetLife Stadium to watch Sunday’s match between the Seahawks and Broncos.

While I wish you a safe journey, I don’t think you could pay me to sit outside in the blowing snow to watch the game. No, thank you very much — I’ll enjoy watching the Super Bowl from the cozy comfort of my home.

So that takes the pressure off figuring out how to keep warm and puts it where I like it: deciding what to serve to keep the cheering strong during the game. This might be the year to shake up the Super Bowl party fare.

Traditionally people serve heavier, meaty foods: brats, brisket, chilis, barbecued ribs, pizzas, nachos. Add the accoutrements: chips, salsas, gooey dips, brownies and more — plus beer, wines, cocktails. By the end of the game you are walking around feeling not nearly as fit as you’d like.

Not that I want to be a killjoy, but I think I might prefer going a little lighter this year. Can I get the traditional flavors without the added fats and carbs? I think so. A little Internet research gave me inspiration for tweaking the favorite tailgate flavors into more healthful combinations. Take a look.

Chicken wings are a favorite Super Bowl party food. We love the spicy flavor and maybe even the mess of eating wings. How about splashing some of that Buffalo sauce onto salmon? This recipe sounds tasty, and fun for a change.

Buffalo Salmon

Makes 6 servings

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup hot sauce such as Frank’s Redhot

1/3 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 (2-pound) piece salmon fillet with skin

Preheat oven to 425 F with rack in upper third. Lightly oil a shallow baking pan.

Melt butter with hot sauce and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper over medium heat. Set aside 1/4 cup sauce.

Toss panko with oil in a bowl. Put salmon, skin side down, in baking pan and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, then brush with remaining sauce. Sprinkle panko evenly over top of fish, then bake until panko is golden and fish is just cooked through, 16 to 22 minutes. Serve reserved sauce on the side.

Adapted from Gourmet, May 2008

We all love salsas, and this tropical fruit salsa will be a real treat. Step up your chip choice a bit: use sweet potato, blue corn and plantain chips to scoop it up.

Tropical Avocado Salsa

1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger

1 jalapeño, seeded if desired, chopped

1/2 clove garlic, chopped

Kosher salt

1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple plus more for garnish

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped plus a few sprigs for garnish

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered

2 ripe avocados, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Sweet potato, blue corn and plantain chips for dipping

Place the ginger, jalapeño and garlic on a cutting board. Using a large knife, chop the ingredients together until they are minced and well combined. Sprinkle the mixture with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and use the side of the knife to work the mixture into a coarse paste.

Transfer the paste to a medium bowl and add the pineapple, chopped cilantro, onions, tomatoes and avocados. Toss gently to combine. Add the lime juice and 3/4 teaspoon of salt and toss again. Taste and add additional salt if desired. Transfer the salsa to a serving bowl and garnish with a few pieces of diced pineapple and cilantro sprigs. Serve with the chips.

Cook’s note: If you are making the salsa ahead of time, you can refrigerate it cover for up to 4 hours. When ready to serve, stir well, transfer to a serving bowl and garnish.

Food Network Kitchens

Everybody loves pizza and Italian sub sandwiches. This salad has all the delicious components without the bulky bread.

Italian Sub Salad

3 cups bread cubes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 1/3 cups giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables), drained and chopped, plus 2 tablespoons brine from the jar

3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

1/2 cup sliced pitted Cerignola olives (black and green)

1/2 cup chopped jarred Peppadew peppers

1 large head romaine lettuce, shredded

2 ounces sliced mortadella, cut into thin strips

2 ounces sliced prosciutto, cut into thin strips

1 ounce sliced capicola, cut into thin strips

1 ounce sliced Genoa salami or hot soppressata, cut into thin strips

1 2-ounce piece aged provolone, shaved with a vegetable peeler

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss the bread cubes and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, tossing occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, toss the giardiniera in a large bowl with the basil, olives, peppers, romaine, mortadella, prosciutto, capicola, salami, provolone and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Drizzle with the giardiniera brine and toss. Let sit about 20 minutes to let the flavors combine.

Add the croutons to the salad and toss. Divide among bowls.

I am willing to bet you will have guests who would enjoy a mocktail rather than another alcoholic beverage. Serve this marvelous Razzmopolitan in a martini glass, and it will be just as festive and fun as the real McCoy.


Makes 7 servings, 1 cup each

7 servings, 1 cup each

1-1/4 quarts (5 cups) cold water

1 package (makes 2 quarts drink) or 2 packages (makes 1 quart drink each) Crystal Light Classic Orange Flavor Drink Mix

2 cups low-calorie cranberry raspberry drink

1/4 cup fresh limejuice

Add water to drink mix in large plastic or glass pitcher; stir until mix is dissolved. Stir in cranberry raspberry drink and lime juice. Serve over ice or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve in martini glasses with rims that have been dipped in water and sugar.

Cook’s note: For an adult-only version, substitute vodka for 1/2 cup of the water.

Adapted from Kraft Recipes

Football fans have lots of superstitions that they believe affect the outcome of a game. I’m banking on my serving healthier foods causing me and my guests to send stronger vibes the Seahawks’ way so they can bring home a win. If by chance, the Broncos prevail, it might mean somebody slipped something into my Razzmopolitan.

Bon Appétit! Make eating an adventure!

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281 ext 100 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow her on Twitter @barbrandallfood