Entertain Like a Star: Your Storage Team Shares Their Recipe Faves

In a recent blog, Bobby, one of our Hollywood Storage Center storage consultants, shared some of the latest trends making their way into our backyards. Our outdoor living spaces have become an extension of our homes and a prime space for entertaining. Today, Bobby shares some of the Hollywood Storage Center’s team’s favorite recipes for entertaining during football season gatherings.


I’m back with a special edition of the “Store Like a Star” blog. Let’s call it “Entertain Like a Star,” because I’m sharing some of my storage team’s all-time-best football party recipes. My apologies for not being able to share the entire team’s recipes here; we certainly know how to cook here at Hollywood Storage Center…and how to eat! Want the whole collection of recipes? Just email us at jevans@hollywoodstoragecenter.com and we’ll send them to you. Enjoy!

Amanda’s Grilled Steak Tacos with Fresh Salsa (a family favorite for summer)PHOTO_HSCTO_Amanda-Castro-1636_2015-01-29


For the salsa

  • 2 cups diced watermelon
  • 1 cup diced mango
  • ¾ cup diced, de-seeded, peeled cucumber
  • ¾ cup diced jicama
  • 2-3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 serrano chili, with half the seeds
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons each of fresh chopped mint and cilantro
  • Salt, to taste

For the tacos

  • 4, 4- to 6-ounce top sirloin steaks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 white corn tortillas
  • ½ cup Cotija Anejo cheese


  1. Mix salsa ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat the grill to high. Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper. Place steaks on the grill, close cover and cook until charred (about 5 minutes). Closing the cover will help create a charred exterior and a softer, juicier interior.
  3. Turn steaks over, lower the heat to medium-high, and cook another 3 to 4 minutes for a medium-rare steak or 5 to 6 for a medium steak. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
  4. Heat tortillas on the top rack of the grill for about 1 minute per side or until warmed through.
  5. Place the sliced steak on the tortilla shell, spoon some salsa on top and sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.

Note: Cotija Anejo is a mild flavored Mexican cheese with a crumbly texture and can be found in the refrigerated section of most major supermarkets.


Dion’s Gourmet Short Ribs (when not busy hiking with his dog, Dion’s cooking up these beauties)Dion-Coleman-Hollywood Storage Center


  • 1 pound beef short ribs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 (12 fluid ounces) can or bottle stout beer
  • 1 cup beef stock


  1. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour until coated. Shake off the excess flour.
  2. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the ribs and cook until browned on each side (about 5 minutes per side).
  4. Remove ribs from the skillet and set aside. Add the onions and garlic to the skillet; cook and stir until the onions are tender (about 5 minutes).
  5. Return the ribs to the skillet and pour in the beer. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan, until all the browned bits have mixed in with the liquid. Pour in the beef stock, cover and simmer over low heat until very tender (about 2 hours).


Lindsay’s No Bake Peanut Butter Protein Cookies (natural and delicious morsels she makes all the time)PHOTO_HSCTO_Lindsay-Cochran-1612_2015-01-29


  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 small, very ripe banana, mashed (about ½ cup)
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 2 ½ cups quinoa flakes
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup chopped dark chocolate


  1. Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.
  2. Place the peanut butter, banana and maple syrup in a medium saucepan over low heat and stir until melted together and well combined (about 1 to 2 minutes).
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the quinoa flakes, milk and salt. Cool the mixture until no longer warm (about 10 minutes).
  4. Stir in the chocolate. Scoop the mixture by the tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheet. Use your hands to shape and flatten each scoop into a roughly ½-inch-thick round disc. Chill in the refrigerator until firm (at least one hour).

Note: The cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days, or in the freezer for up to two months.


You’ve come to rely on Hollywood Storage Center of Thousand Oaks for all your residential and business self-storage needs, and now we’re even sharing our cooking secrets! That’s full service! Remember us for storage units, moving boxes and supplies and moving truck rentals…and remember to give us a plug when your friends rave over your recipes at your next gathering.


PHOTO_HSCTO_Bobby-Brink_1587_2016-3-22This was a guest post from Bobby, a storage consultant who loves all kinds of hobbies, including outdoor entertaining. Thanks to the entire Hollywood Storage team for sharing their delicious recipes.

Readers: Have a great recipe for football season? We’d love to hear from you!

Here Come the Holidays! Decoration Organization and Storage Solutions

Like most of my co-workers at Hollywood Storage Center, I enjoy decorating my home for the holidays. Well, let me clarify that. I like when my home is decorated. I don’t particularly care for the prep work to decorate and I definitely could do without taking the decorations down. But, overall, it’s worth the effort.

Enjoy decorating year after year by storing and organizing decorations correctly.

My favorite holiday to decorate for is Halloween, and every year I tend to accumulate creepier decorations to add to the fun. Because of this, I’ve needed to figure out a system for keeping all my decoration in order. Over the years, I’ve become quite expert at it, so if you use these tips to take you through the holidays, you’ll be prepared for streamlined decorating for years to come.

Storing decorations:

Right-Sized Boxes – Ideally, decorations are best stored in their original packaging, but those aren’t always available. In order to keep your items in perfect condition, be sure to store them in boxes that are appropriate for their size.

– Partitioned cardboard wine boxes are perfect for storing articles that need to be separated from other items. Stuffing the free space with bubble wrap or tissue will help keep items protected.

– Egg cartons, secured with rubber bands, are excellent options for small items that are easily lost. Consider slipping these items into plastic zip-lock bags before placing them in the egg cartons to prevent them from moving around freely.

– Food storage containers are also excellent for storing breakable or easy to loose holiday decorations. Check out your local dollar store for inexpensive options.

– Hollywood Storage Center has more than 50 sizes of boxes, plus packing and protective materials, in stock. Choose larger boxes for light items that are not easy to damage. Choose shallow boxes for items that are fragile and be sure to pack the most delicate items at the top of the box.

Label Like a Pro – Boxes, boxes, boxes! If you don’t label them, you just might be pulling out your box of headstones when you need your Christmas tree.

– Color code – Call me a bit fanatical, but one of my best tips is to color code your boxes. I wrap a strip of orange duct tape around the boxes that store my Halloween decorations, brown around my Thanksgiving boxes and red around my Christmas boxes.

– Classifications – I’ve tried a few different tactics for classifying the items in each of my storage boxes, so feel free to use one of my ideas, or find a system that works for you.

– Open first/open last – You’re going to want to put certain decorations out first, and some you may or may not find time to get to. Labeling with a first/last system or other priority theme can spare you from opening boxes prematurely.

– Indoor/outdoor – Setting up outdoors is usually what takes the most time for me, and it’s not something you can easily do part way and come back to in a few days. Labeling boxes indoor or outdoor can help.

Moving boxes with location labels pre-printed for easy organization.

Moving boxes with location labels pre-printed for easy organization.

– Room of the house –  Just like when you’re moving, you really prefer not to havethe box with your special Thanksgiving dishes opened in the family room. Know where to open your decorations with a simple label for kitchen, family room, etc.

Trouble Items – Some items are just more difficult to store than others, but fret not, I have some tried and true solutions. For me, stringed lights have, in the past, been my nemesis. It can be incredibly frustrating detangling yards of holiday lights, but expensive to replace them each year. Consider these options.

– Flat cardboard – Wrap strings of lights around flat panels of cardboard. By cutting a small slit in each end of the cardboard, you can slip the ends of the wire through to keep it in place. Then, stack in a plastic box for safe storing.

– Spools – If you have many yards of lights, consider using electrical wire spools to wind them around. It makes for super easy set up the year after. Don’t have electrical wire spool lying around? Check your local fabric store to see if they have empty ribbon spool, or improvise using the cardboard roll from your paper towels or empty coffee cans.

Storage space – In California, we don’t always have the luxuries of residents in our neighboring states. Expansive walk-up attics, basements, deep closets, even garage space are all things we wish we had, or had more of. Luckily, with more than 50 sizes of storage spaces at Hollywood Storage Center, limited space in your home needn’t be a reason to forego a home that’s decorated for the holidays.

Let the holidays begin!


Dion-Coleman-Hollywood Storage CenterThis was a guest post from Dion, a member of the Hollywood Storage Center Clean Team™ and an organization guru. We’d love to hear your best holiday organization tips as well. Feel free to leave a reply below.

Feed Conejo Valley; Enter to Win $150 Gift Card to The Stonehaus

Food insecurity means not always knowing when you will have your next meal. For most of us, it’s hard to imagine, but statistically, one in five people face hunger issues on a daily basis. During the holidays, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to donate food to Manna Conejo Valley Food Bank and other charitable organizations, but Hollywood Storage Center wanted to get a jump on the holiday season. With your help, we can support Manna’s efforts to feed hungry people in the Conejo Valley.

During October, Hollywood Storage Center will be hosting a food drive. All donations will be provided to Manna. Additionally, every person that donates will be able to enter their name in our drawing for a gift card to enjoy $150 worth of food and drinks at The Stonehaus in Westlake Village!

Donate Food; Feed the Hungry in Conejo Valley.

What should you bring in to donate? Below is a list of the top priority items:

  1. Paper towels/toilet paper
  2. Coffee/Tea and cold drinks
  3. Mac and cheese
  4. Canned tomatoes/tomato sauce/tomato paste
  5. Canned mixed vegetables
  6. Pancake mix
  7. Crackers of all kinds
  8. Canned pasta, such as ravioli or spaghetti
  9. Canned stew
  10. Canned corn

Thank you for making a difference in our community! We look forward to having you drop by with your donations. While you’re here, pick up a free bag of popcorn for yourself, and if you’re in need of extra storage, we’d love to help you out with the perfect sized storage unit. Visit us seven days a week from 8:30 am to 6 pm.

Are You Ready for Some Football?

It’s football season!  And finally, with the return of the Rams, those of us in the Conejo Valley have a “home team” to root for. That means more gathering with friends and family to enjoy each other’s company, grill and hang out around the big screen TV. Below, our storage consultant, Bobby, shares his outdoor entertaining tips for at-home get togethers.


If you know me, you know I love the outdoors and can most often be found hiking in the hills surrounding Thousand Oaks or taking in the beauty of our California coastline. So, getting stuck inside for hours is just not my thing. Luckily for Californians, a day of at-home football doesn’t mean you’re trapped indoors. Today our outdoor living spaces are an extension of our homes and meant to serve as an additional living space.

How can you build out your backyard into an extension of your living room? Here are a few of the latest trends making their way into our homes.

Going Beyond the Grill
A grill is standard, as is some sort of eating area, but those who really love outdoor living are taking their outdoor spaces to a new level. The focus is around creating an outdoor kitchen designed for how you like to cook and eat. Love pizza? A wood-fire grill would be a good option for you. Fan of Japanese cuisine? Installing a hibachi grill might be on your wish list. There are plenty of options, from smokers to rotisseries and beyond that open up your culinary options.

Covered patio with fireplace, tv, and couch, with view of lush green grass and landscaping

Covered patio with fireplace, tv, and couch, with view of lush green grass and landscaping

Getting Techie
Many more homes these days are being outfitted with cutting-edge technology, and our outdoor living spaces are no exception. When it comes to watching the game outside, today’s sports fans have more options than ever before. Outdoor TVs are designed to keep the elements of nature out, but at the same time allow heat to escape, allowing them to survive the wilds of your backyard. Sound systems have come a long way as well, designed to withstand temperature variations and a wide range of weather conditions – not that we really have to be concerned with extreme weather!

Furniture That Feels Like Furniture
The rod-iron or plastic outdoor furniture options of yesteryear are, let’s face it, ugly. Luckily, today’s outdoor furnishings are not only attractive, but also extremely comfortable. There are chairs you can sink into, places to prop up your feet and couches comfortable enough for an afternoon nap. It’s no wonder we’re spending more time outdoors than ever before.

Comfort is king for today's outdoor furniture.

Comfort is king for today’s outdoor furniture.

Ready to upgrade your backyard living area, but need to store some of the other items taking up your outdoor space? Renting a temporary storage unit at Hollywood Storage Center has a space that will perfectly suit your needs.

Wondering what you might serve at your next backyard barbecue? The team at Hollywood Storage Center of Thousand Oaks has some ideas. Check back for my next blog and I’ll share some of my and my co-worker’s favorite at-home tailgating recipes.


PHOTO_HSCTO_Bobby-Brink_1587_2016-3-22This was a guest post from Bobby, a Storage Consultant who loves all kinds of hobbies. You might’ve seen him the last time you stopped by the storage center. Thanks for helping us get ready for football season, Bobby!

Readers: Do you have a favorite outdoor entertaining tip? Share it below!