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The official blog of Abt Electronics & Appliances

Archive for the ‘Abt Exclusive’ Category

Abt Volunteer Day At The Northern Illinois Food Bank

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

Just a few weeks ago, Abt had the opportunity to volunteer at the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva, IL. The Northern Illinois Food Bank is a non-profit organization and a member of Feeding America, whose mission is to provide healthy meals within the community to help stop hunger. During the day of service, our employees and their families had a chance to help out by sorting and distributing potatoes into sacks and also packaging different food into bags and boxes. Many of our employees found the volunteer day a fun and rewarding experience. With the generous contribution our volunteers put in, we were able to pack 1,894 pounds of food, providing 1,578 meals for those in need within the northern Illinois area!

Some of our employees enjoyed giving back to the community, see what they had to say about the volunteer day:

“​It was really awesome to see so many employees (and their families) giving back on their day off to help others.  I wasn’t sure what to expect walking in, but everyone at the facility, including other volunteers from other companies, were so warm and friendly.  We were having so much fun that the morning just flew by!  It was such a positive experience that I am definitely looking forward to doing again soon!”- Becky, HR

“My family and I were very happy that we were able to give our time to help other families. I always say, no one can do everything, no one has made it through life without someone else’s help.”-Nixa, Appliance Service Accounting

“It is also one of the most rewarding experiences the volunteer will ever have.”- Bill, Gen. Mangager

When it comes to volunteering, every little bit counts and makes a difference. If you want to know more about the Northern Illinois Food Bank, click here.

 

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Show Us How You Celebrate and LG TV Giveaway

Monday, February 1st, 2016

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We’ve been waiting all season long for the big game and it’s just days away! Do you have what it takes to get ready for game day? Show us how you get ready for game day for your chance to win a LG 43″ HDTV. It’s pretty simple to enter! Snap a pic of your awesome man cave, or of game day at a party with your friends! You can also show off your cooking skills and share a photo of the delicious food you made. Then, post your awesome game day pic on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram with @AbtElectronics and #AbtGameTime to enter.  Click here or “Learn More” for terms and conditions.  Good luck!

 

Need equipment for the game?  Click here to check our Game Day Guide and celebrate the big game with a win!

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Game Day Recipes

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Game Day is almost here and we know what it takes to throw a great party. Besides catching up with friends and enjoying the football game, the best part about Game Day parties is the food. Here at Abt, we have all the kitchen gadgets you need to cook up your favorite appetizers, drinks, desserts and more!

Mini BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders

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These mini sliders will be a big hit at your Game Day party! Perfectly sized sliders with delicious pork coated with tangy sweet BBQ sauce, your guests will be wanting more. This is a simple, yet delicious recipe, you can make this ahead of time with a slow cooker.

What You Will Need:

  • 2 lbs pork shoulder
  • 1 (12 oz) can soda
  • 1 cup Jack Daniel’s BBQ sauce (or you can choose your favorite BBQ sauce)
  • King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
  • Sliced pickles – optional

Directions

Place your pork in the slow cooker and pour the soda on top of the pork. Then you set your slow cooker on low for 6 hours.

After 6 hours has passed, let your pork rest on a cutting board for about 5 mins. When your pork is rested, take a fork or tongs and shred the pork meat back into the slow cooker.

Pour the BBQ sauce over the meat, (you can always add more sauce depending if you like it saucy or not) and toss the meat so that its coated well with sauce.

Then you take your roll, top it off with a generous amount of pork and pickles. Enjoy!

 

Beer Battered Onion Rings

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Everybody loves onion rings and this recipe will validate that! Beer battered onion rings may seem difficult to make, but it’s super easy to make in just 25 minutes in a frying pan.

 

What You Will Need:

  • 3 large onion- sliced into rings
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 2 tsps dried garlic powder
  • 2 tsps dried oregano
  • 2 tsps dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup beer of your choice
  • 1 cup oil (for frying)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, egg, oregano, garlic powder, parsley, salt, and pepper. Slowly pour the beer into the bowl, stirring until the batter becomes thick. You can add more or less beer if you prefer a different consistency.

Then, heat the oil in the frying pan over medium-heat. When the oil is finally hot, dip the rings into the batter and fry. Turn your rings once so it is browned evenly on both sides.

Once all the frying is done, grab your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy the deliciousness of onion rings.

 

Baked Buffalo Wings

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Buffalo wings are a must when you are throwing a football party. It’s actually pretty easy to make these baked buffalo wings at home. Usually you deep fry the wings but you can bake them too and still get the crispy skin! All you need is to bake the wings and toss them in  sauce that you can make with just 2 ingredients.

What You Will Need:

  • 2 lbs chicken wings
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup Frank’s hot sauce ( or your choice of hot sauce)
  • 1 tbsp butter

Directions

First, preheat your oven to 400F. Then, rinse your chicken wings and pat them dry. Place your chicken wings in a large mixing bowl, and toss the wing with oil, salt, and pepper.

After you have tossed the wings, place the wings on a lined baking sheet. Then, place the baking sheet on the rack in the oven. Bake the wings until they are crispy and golden brown, this should take about 45-50 minutes.

Once wings are baked, toss the wings with hot sauce and butter. Serve them while they’re hot with ranch or bleu cheese, and celery or carrots.

 

Football Chocolate Fudge Brownies

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You can’t finish a meal without desserts!  These football shaped brownies will satisfy every sweet tooth in the room and everyone will be wanting more. Baking these goodies is quick and easy. You simply mix every ingredient in one bowl, pour it in a baking pan, and then pop it in the oven.

 

What You Will Need:

  • 9” X 13” baking pan
  • Football shaped cookie cutter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • t/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup melted unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Chocolate fudge icing
  • Vanilla icing

Directions

First, preheat your oven to 375F. Lightly grease your baking pan and then set aside. In a large mixing bowl, add in the ingredients in the following order- flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, baking powder, eggs, butter, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.

Once you have combined the ingredients, using an electric hand mixer– beat the mixture until it’s smooth. Then once the mixture is smooth, pour the batter into baking pan.

Bake the brownies for about 25-30 minutes. Poke the brownies with a toothpick, if the toothpick comes out clean then the brownies are ready.

Take out the brownies when they are done, then let them cool down before you start cutting. After the brownies have cooled down, start making cutting your brownies into football shapes using a football shaped cookie cutter.

Then, take each football and spread chocolate fudge frosting on top and use vanilla icing as the lacing on the football.

 

Super Punch Bowl

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Quench your thirst with delicious adult punch, or you can make it kid-friendly also. This sweet and refreshing punch will be a hit at your party. It just takes 10 minutes to make,  it’s super easy and delicious!

What You Will Need:

  • 1- 16 oz can frozen pineapple juice
  • 1- 12 oz can frozen orange juice
  • 12 fl oz vodka -**omit to make kid friendly punch**
  • 2-2 liter bottles lemon lime flavored soda
  • 1 jar maraschino cherries
  • 4 oranges sliced in rounds
  • 1/4 cup of raspberries
  • ¼ strawberries, halved.
  • Ice

Directions

In a large punch bowl, combine all of the ingredients- pineapple juice, orange juice, vodka (or without), lemon lime soda, and then add the fruit  let them float on top- cherries, oranges, raspberries, and strawberries. Don’t forget the ice before you serve!

 

Classic Margarita

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Everybody loves a good margarita and it’s a perfect opportunity to drink one on Game Day. The best way to make a margarita is using a Vitamix, and yes we do carry Vitamix blenders in our Gourmet Shop.

What You Will Need:

  • 2 cups of margarita mix
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 cups of ice

Directions

Put all of your ingredients into your Vitamix Blender, in the order listed above, and place lid on top. Press the variable speed 1. Turn on the machine and slowly increase the speed to variable speed 10, then to high. Blend for about 45 seconds. Don’t forget to salt the rims of the glasses, then you can pour in the blended drink and enjoy!

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Brunswick Pool Tables at Abt

Friday, January 29th, 2016

Abt has long been a source for just about every electronic toy you can imagine. If you need to outfit your game room with a new LED TV, surround sound setup or video game system, we’re the place to find it. We recently decided to expand our entertainment offerings by delving into gaming options that are a bit more analog. If you’ve been searching for the perfect centerpiece for a truly enviable game room, look no further than a pro-level pool table from one of the most respected names in the game, Brunswick Billiards.

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Brunswick pool tables are crafted from the finest materials and built to Billiard Congress of America standards. Solid wood construction and the Brunswick-Certified 3-piece slate tops—which are diamond honed and precision machined to a consistent thickness within 1/100 of an inch—create a table with a sturdy, wobble-free stance. The woolen table cloth, made from a 75/25 blend of fine wool and nylon, and steam pressed for a finish that resists pulls and snags, ensures smooth ball travel for an impeccable gaming experience.

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Dozens of build options let you choose a Brunswick pool table that matches your gaming needs—and your style. Go with the Brunswick Oakland, sporting the iconic chestnut wood and green felt combo, to round out a classic game room. Or for something with a modern feel, consider the Brunswick Birmingham, with its distressed wood construction in a charcoal stain, topped with a slate blue felt and resting on custom cast iron legs.

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And if you’ve got a particular combination of features and colors in mind, Brunswick can even custom make a pool table to your specs. All Brunswick tables are delivered and assembled by Brunswick-certified installers, giving you a competition-quality playing surface in your own home. For more information on Brunswick pool tables at Abt, stop by our store in Glenview, or call one of our sales specialists at 888-228-5800. 

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Helpful Tips To Keep Your Home Warm

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

The cold of winter has fully arrived and naturally, the easiest thing for many homeowners to do is turn up their central heating. But more heat = higher monthly bills. So instead of cranking that thermostat up, try implementing some of the useful tips we’ve shared below to keep your house warm and save a few bucks along the way.

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Utilize Space Heaters. Space Heaters are a great tool to keep individual rooms warm, instead of heating an entire house. First, you want to make sure that your heater is on an even and stable surface in whichever room you will be producing the extra heat. Second, it’s a good idea to keep any flammable material at least three feet away from the space heater itself. Lastly, ensure that you remember to shut it off whenever you leave your home. We recommend heaters that shut off automatically if tipped over, because it’s better to be safe instead of sorry, trust us.

Move furniture away from vents and radiators. This may sound like a typical solution when winter comes around, but many times a couch, chair, or bed moved during the summer stays there in the winter, blocking the flow of heat into the room. This in turn wastes money and leaves us with cold rooms. Plus, when you have a forced-air system, blocking vents can cause a house-wide pressure imbalance that disrupts the heat flow in the whole system. So get up and move some furniture around!

Change the rotation of your ceiling fans. Set your fans to rotate clockwise in the winter and make sure to keep them turning at a lower speed. This drives warm air trapped at the ceiling back down towards the floor. Some ceiling fans may even have a “winter” setting you can activate with the simple switch of a button, so check your fans for this feature as it makes rotating a whole lot easier.

Install a smart thermostat. This is a great way to keep your bill low, and efficiency high. It’s convenient and eliminates the need to manually fiddle with your thermostat every time you leave the house. You’re able to program it with specific temperatures that change according to what you want, when at home or out. Keeping temps higher in the morning is best and once you’ve left you can program them to drop. Then, simply have the thermostat switch back to a comfortable temperature when you’re ready to come home. This is a great way to ensure your heating does not turn on without you being there. The Nest is one of the most popular smart thermostats on the market. It offers many useful features and syncs with your smartphone, giving you the control to change temperature from pretty much anywhere you may be.

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A smart thermostat eliminates the need to constantly make manual adjustments to your home’s heating system.

Add layers to your floor. This one’s not as obvious. If your wood floors are not insulated, it can result in your home losing about 10% of its heat. Carpets and rugs were created to make rooms warmer, and are able to trap in heat much better than wooden floors. We highly recommend to add a rug or carpet this winter to keep that heat indoors!

Close off unused rooms. Keeping doors closed to rooms you are not utilizing helps contain heat in ones that you do. Also, make sure to close vents in unused rooms to ensure heat gets directed to the areas you frequent most. This method helps prevent cold air from moving into the rest of the house. If you want to keep one room extra toasty, close the door and run a small space heater!

Keep your curtains closed at night. Another great way to keep heat from escaping through your windows when nighttime rolls around is closing the drapes. If you do not have drapes on your windows, a smart move would be to invest in some as they are capable of sealing in more heat.

But, let sunlight in during the day. At night you want to keep those drapes closed, but during the day you want to make sure to utilize all of that free heat radiating from the sun! Leave your drapes open in rooms where sunlight usually streams through and enjoy instant warmth!

Limit your shower usage. Showers are a great way to keep us warm when we’re feeling chilly at home. However, you don’t want your heating bill to go down just to have your water bill shoot up. This is the moment to time yourself when taking showers or invest in a low flow shower head.

Sometimes, the best option is simply keeping the person warm vs. the house. Layer up with sweatpants and a sweatshirt, pull out some blankets, sip on hot tea or lounge in your robe. The extra layers keep you warm and in turn let you lower your temperature. Don’t get too carried away now, we don’t want anyone resorting to wearing a jacket at home. So, keep those lowered temps comfortable!

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Don’t Lose Your Data: Tips For Backing Up Your Device

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

Electronics devices like cellphones, laptops, computers, and tablets are built to last you a long time, but during their lifespan anything could happen. Important documents, family vacation photos, research papers can be lost and cannot be retrieved if your device is not backed up. Backing up your device is simply copying existing files onto a secondary device. Just in case anything happens, you can backup your files onto an external hard drive, flash drive, software or an online storage. It’s encouraged to backup your device frequently so your files are always up to date. Since we are beginning a new year, here’s a couple of steps on how you can backup your device. There are two ways you can back up your device:

 

1. Local Back Up

A local backup is transferring data to a separate type of media. Local back ups are best for those who favor backing up devices, especially for important files like financial documents. Local backups arranges ways for us to store important data at another location, this way your documents are safe and not in the wrong hands.

backups-blogThe Advantages:

  • Backups and retrieving documents are fast and easy.
  • Documents can be placed at an offsite location, safe and hassle-free.

 

2. Online Storage

Using online storage or a “cloud” makes it easy and convenient to access your documents. Documents stored in a cloud can be accessed anywhere and by many devices, it is also safe because the documents are secured at an online location that can be accessed by a password you create.  Apple devices have iCloud to use for backups. Other devices can use OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and more. 

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Show Your Love With Pandora Jewelry

Friday, January 15th, 2016

We’ve got new PANDORA jewelry available at Abt, just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is exactly a month from today, that means there’s plenty of time to pick out the perfect gift for your loved one. Make her smile by giving her beautiful pieces from Pandora Jewelry. Come visit our store in Glenview and check out our new Pandora display in the Time Boutique. Our display showcases beautiful pieces like charms, rings, earrings, and bracelets, so come on in and show your love with Pandora.

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Wait there’s more! Starting today, Pandora has limited time offers that you can’t miss. The “Filled with Love” gift set comes with a leatherette wristlet and the “Petals of Love” gift set is displayed in a heart-shaped gift box. These wonderful offers are available until 02/15/16*

*While supplies last, limited time only.

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CES 2016 Recap: 4K Discs Are Here

Monday, January 11th, 2016

CES 2013 was the point when 4K staked its claim in the future of home entertainment. Concepts became reality, prices were reasonable, and enough brands showed off 4K TVs that it was clear the new format was viable. Adoption was sluggish at first, but as prices dropped further, there was almost no reason not to opt for an Ultra High Definition TV if you were in the market for a new set, except for one. The one source of doubt for those on the fence was a four word complaint: “there’s no 4k content.” That was a valid concern, as choices for actually watching 4K content were far and few between in 2014. But last year, we saw Netflix, Amazon and Vudu add 4K content, and players like the Roku 4 gave the ability to stream 4K for not too much dough. Still, we heard “there’s not enough 4K content.” Because regardless of the streaming options, the truth is that many of us still prefer our content served up in physical format. We can own it, lend it to a friend, put the box on the shelf, and play it whenever and wherever we want with no worry about internet speed or video buffering or compression artifacts. Well, that complaint can be put to rest, because the mythical 4K Blu-ray player is finally here.

At this year’s CES, we scoped out a pair of devices that will play the new 4k disc format, which is officially called “Ultra-HD Blu-Ray.”

 

 

Panasonic, who had shown off a prototype UHD Blu-ray player at last year’s CES, officially debuted their new model this year. The Panasonic DMP-UB900 is built around a new 4K processing engine, dubbed the “4K High-Precision Chroma Processor,” which promises to provide stunning picture quality not just from a 4K source, but also when upscaling 2K content. Audio should be killer too; it’s THX-Certified with a 7.1-channel analog audio output and a twin-HDMI system that isolates audio and video info to preserve quality of each signal. It will be networked connected so users can stream all manner of multimedia, including UHD videos and high-resolution Audio. Pricing and availability are still pending.

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Over 100 Ultra HD Blu-Ray titles will be available by year’s end.

4K fans who are ready to buy might be more interested in the Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-Ray Player. With a ship date planned for March of this year, Samsung’s 4K player will cost just $399.99, and is already available to preorder. Like the Panasonic, the Samsung UBD-K8500 will play 4K HDR content and also upscale non-4k video. Smart functions will let viewers stream 4K from their favorite service. 7.1 channel Dolby True HD output means truly lossless sounds to accompany every blockbuster movie you watch.

 

There were other UHD Blu-Ray players at the show that we didn’t get to see, like the upcoming Philips BDP7501.  And it’s likely we’ll hear announcements from the other major A/V brands within months. With the presence of multiple Ultra HD Blu-ray players available soon, plus the promise of over 100 major motion pictures released in the format by year’s end, it’s clear that 4K is here to stay.

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Watch Our CES Videos and Win!

Friday, January 8th, 2016

The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show has wrapped up for the year, but we’re not done yet! Stick with us all weekend and into next week as we continue to digest and recap all of the innovative things we’ve seen this week. And if you haven’t been watching the Abt CES videos, you should start! Look for the dancing hologram of our intrepid floor reporter, Josh, for a chance to win one of five $100 gift cards to Abt.

You can find all of our videos in the Abt CES YouTube Playlist, and what you’ll want to look for is this :

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When you do find him (PS, that example is a major hint as to one of the videos), follow the instructions here and you could win a $100 gift card to Abt!

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CES 2016: FitBit Blaze Fitness Watch

Friday, January 8th, 2016

In the world of fitness, FitBit is recognized as one of the most popular fitness tracking devices out there. This week at CES, the company unveiled its brand new FitBit Blaze – their second fitness watch to date. The Blaze is much different from what we are used to seeing from the brand and this year Fitbit has managed to deliver a Smartwatch that can compete in not only tech, but style as well.

Close-up of the sleek FitBit Blaze in a stainless steel band.

Close-up of the sleek FitBit Blaze in a stainless steel band.

Considering that the company occupies about 88% of the total health and fitness wearable market, bringing style to their technology is something many consumers’ have been waiting for. The fitness watch features a colorful touchscreen display and a collection of stylish leather and stainless steel band accessories to choose from. You can wear a casual band for working out and easily swap it out for a fancier choice when going out for the night.

Closer look at the FitBit display at CES of the different bands you can use to personalize the Blaze Fitness Watch.

FitBit display at CES.

The main purpose of the FitBit Blaze is still heavily focused on monitoring your fitness. It includes features such as PurePulse™Heart Rate monitoring, Connected GPS tracking, and On-Screen Workouts. Unfortunately, it does not come with built-in GPS to track your fitness on its own. However, you are able to tether it to your Smartphone and bring your mobile device along for a run or bike ride to still track your route. FitBit has also included On-Screen Workouts, a newer feature that allows you to choose from three popular workout plans accessible directly from your wrist. But perhaps the biggest difference that sets the FitBit apart from all the other fitness trackers is its SmartTrack feature. SmartTrack knows exactly what type of exercise you’re doing – without you having to touch a button. Whether you are hiking or bike riding, the built-in sensors detect your current workout and automatically log your movements for tracking. This applies to their sleep monitoring as well; the FitBit Blaze knows when you’re asleep based on your movements, so you don’t have to bother with simple tasks such as remembering to switch it into sleep-mode.

Last but not least, we absolutely cannot forget to mention that the Blaze fitness watch can also send notifications from your Smartphone to the watch. You are able to answer (or reject) phone calls, check out incoming text messages and receive calendar alerts, which is partially what allows it to hold a Smartwatch title!

All in all, the FitBit Blaze is a huge step-up for the brand in the wearable tech category. Not to mention, its thin and sleek design will surely appeal to fashionable health “techies” everywhere. Currently it’s only available to pre-order for the retail price of $199.95, with an expected arrival date in March of this year.

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