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Neighborhood in Transition

August 11, 2014

I have noticed here in Boise that many neighborhoods are in various stages of transition. Let me give you an example with a bit of history.

Boise’s Lower Highlands was developed by Richard B. Smith in the late 1950’s. The first few homes sat at the ends of dirt streets for years before the real building boom took place. For the longest time, the Lower Highlands was “the” Highlands until a few years later when Crane Creek Country Club opened in 1963. The classic ranch style home was the rage after

Example of a Boise Ranch style home

Example of a Boise Ranch style home – this particular home is in The Bench neighborhood

World War II and Boise’s Lower Highlands was no exception.  The Lower Highlands is made up of ranch style homes and the homes built north of Curling were larger custom homes. One quirk:  in 1961, the infamous Highlands Community Fallout Shelter was built, a place that is presently used for music rehearsal space. Go back in history and read more about the Boise Bomb Shelter  for fun!

In the beginning, many families moved to this area for a larger home than they had in the North End neighborhood. I suspect many may have moved just for the newest feature, a garage! Children grew up, couples stayed or moved away, more families moved in. It was a one of Boise’s special neighborhoods at the time.

Our neighborhood is in a transitional phase. Many retired couples have chosen to stay in their same home, single professionals have purchased homes for the quality of living in a unique and private neighborhood, families have “one more kid” going to college. The best part of this transition is the new young families moving in. We can hear babies crying and children squealing. We can watch kids playing ball with their parents at Highlands Elementary and kids walking their dogs or perhaps the dogs are walking the kids.  In the mornings, children are riding their Christmas bikes to Highlands Elementary. On the weekends, those bike rides involve entire families.

The eclectic mix of neighbors in the Lower Highlands is representative of what the rest of Boise is as well. All ages, across the spectrum, and everyone waves hello. Neighbors take a break from their yard duty and chat when we walk by. We get offers of vegetables from gardens and flowers in full bloom. Everyone wants to know the names of our three dogs. Many neighbors can tell us stories of the days gone by. Other neighbors tell us interesting stories of how they landed in Boise, Idaho. (I always ask since I am a Realtor and curious!)

But it isn’t just the Lower Highlands. It is everywhere in Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Kuna, Star. We are all changing and getting to know each other again. I hope this trend continues. Perhaps you can be a trendsetter in your own neighborhood. If you don’t know your neighbors, get to know them!

#neighborhoods #neighbors #Boise #ranchstylehomes

Scones with Fresh Summer Berries

July 30, 2014

Summertime this year in the Northwest has produced an incredible amount of berries to pick to my heart’s content. But what to do with them became a question in my head and even entered my dream state. So many berries, how do I use them all in something different and delicious?? There is only so much sorbet I can make considering we don’t have an extra freezer in the garage.

I posted a Citrus & Fruit Scone recipe over the holidays that had lemon juice and zest.  In order to cut some fat calories, I also used plain non-fat organic yogurt.  So, for this batch, I changed things up a bit. The half cup of yogurt is now low fat vanilla flavor and a heaping measuring half cup full. I did add a teaspoon of lemon curd but that is because I am a bit addicted to anything citrus. If you don’t have it on hand, I am sure it won’t be too missed. It’s the fresh berries that matter!

Oh, and one more thing: freeze the berries. When you toss them in to the flour mixture, it will help them to not “bleed” so much juice. My raspberry scones bled a bit too much but to be honest, it was the consumption of a new Pinot Noir that caused me to forget a step.

Ingredients

2 cups quality flour

#Oregon blackberry, #Boise raspberry, #Eagle blueberry Scones

#Oregon blackberry, #Boise raspberry, #Eagle blueberry Scones

1/3 cup raw sugar

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 stick frozen, unsalted butter

1 cup frozen fresh berries

1 teaspoon lemon curd, optional

½ heaping cup vanilla lowfat yogurt

1 egg

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and adjust oven rack to middle portion. Pull butter stick from freezer as you gather your ingredients to your work surface. I have found that pulling the stick directly from the freezer is more difficult to grate. You want the stick firm but not hard.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Grate butter into flour mixture on the large holes of a box grater. Use your fingers to work in butter until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in fruit.

In a small bowl or large measuring cup whisk yogurt, lemon curd and egg until well blended.

Using large fork, stir in the yogurt mixture in to flour mixture until large dough clumps form. Use your hands if you have to in order to press the dough in to a ball. The dough will be sticky – this is okay! Don’t worry…..Just make sure it is not too wet. I did use a large fork so that I would get every bit of dough for my scones.

Place dough on lightly floured surface and roll gently until dough is covered lightly in flour. Pat dough in to a 9” cake pan to form a round, making sure your dough is just about an inch thick. Flip cake pan on floured surface. Sprinkle with raw sugar and press lightly into dough. Using a sharp knife, cut into 8 wedges. Place wedges on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes in a gas oven, about 17 minutes in an electric oven.

Cool for 5 minutes and serve warm. Bring to room temperature or microwave 15 seconds the next day. Or two days. Depends on how long they last! #scones #summerberries #blackberries #blueberries #raspberries

PS please forgive the poor pictures. I am seriously looking in to switching my iPhone to a Samsung.

Can you smell heaven?

Can you smell heaven?

 

July Checklist for Your Home

July 2, 2014

Summer is finally here in Boise, Idaho with the temperatures rising, events filling our calendars and barbecue invites every weekend. Just FYI, I prefer pool invites in the late afternoon for happy hour.

 

Lemon-Almond Cake with Greek Yogurt

June 10, 2014

I know, I should post more often. This is not a business blog or a recipe blog. It’s just a me sharing blog. So, today, I am sharing a healthy cake that I devised from about three or four different other recipes. Part of the quest was to find a way to make the cake work with almond flour. No other reason than I love almonds, not to mention lemons. As far as I’m concerned, a perfect pairing! Wait, does that mean I need to suggest a drink? A white chocolate mocha perhaps?

Ingredients

2 large free-range eggs ½ cup organic sugar
1 cup Greek yogurt, plain or vanilla Zest of 2 lemons
½ cup blanched almonds (or not, your choice) 1 cup almond flour
2 tsp baking powder 1 tblsp lemon curd
Powdered sugar Berries for topping
Lemon Almond cake with Greek yogurt

Lemon Almond cake with Greek yogurt

Heat oven to 325º. Using canola oil and flour, coat a round cake tin and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Whisk eggs and sugar with an electric beater in a large bowl until mixture thickens.  I actually used a small food processor, seemed to work for me. In separate bowl, combine yogurt, lemon zest, lemon curd and a pinch of salt. I left out the salt because I forgot and I am not a salt user. Just FYI. In medium food processor, finely chop the almonds until ground but still some texture.  In another bowl, add the almond flour, baking powder, almonds and combine well.

Slowly stir the yogurt mixture with the egg mixture. Fold the flour mixture in and blend gently.  Pour in to cake tin and bake for 30-45 minutes until cake is golden and toothpick comes out clean. After 30 minutes, cover with foil if cake appears to be getting too brown.

NOTE: if using self rising flour, only 1 tsp baking powder. For some reason, I have found using 2 tsp baking powder with almond flour helps it rise a bit better. Keep in mind that almond flour is just different but totally worth the taste!

Let cake cool completely if you can. Easier to get out! Sprinkle powdered sugar and garnish with berries.

May Checklist for Your Home

May 4, 2014

I don;’t know about you, but here in Boise, we had a wet Spring. Those dreary grey days actually inspired me to do some major filing, tossing, donating, and general organizing at home. I was in such a spring clean up mode that this blog was sorely ignored. My apologies. I have some fantastic recipes to post soon! In the meantime, this sage advice is not only for my good friends, but for past and present clients. And, for those of you just finding this blog, my “future” client(s)!!

 

12 Key Decorating Tips

March 12, 2014

If I have said it once, I have said this a thousand times: don’t paint your walls in color until you know what will go in the room. And that very same advice is Tip #1. Hello! It can be impossible to shop for accessories, bed linens, and what not if your room is already a color. Which is my task at hand for Paul’s house. Thank goodness I don’t mind shopping!

It’s Spring and You Know What That Means

February 28, 2014

Spring is right around the corner….and that means it is time for Home Maintenance To-Do List! – or, the annual 10 Home Maintenance Tips for Spring post

Spring in Idaho

Spring in Idaho

Our checklist is from several sources that we put together to help you focus on the most important areas that require attention. Check each item this Spring and get ready to enjoy the Summer!

  • Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and gutters are clear and free of debris.
  • Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and damage. Also, when water pools in these low areas in summer, it creates a breeding ground for insects.
  • Check the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Make repairs or caulk now before the spring rains do more damage to the exposed wood.
  • Examine roof shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during winter. If your home has an older roof covering, you may want to start a budget for replacement. The summer sun can really damage roof shingles. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified professional roofer.
  • Examine the exterior of the chimney for signs of damage. Have the flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep. Check the mortar and have any cracks or spacing filled.
  • Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. All exterior slabs except pool decks should drain away from the home’s foundation. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. When weather permits, power-wash and then seal the concrete.
  • Remove firewood stored near the home. Firewood should be stored at least 18 inches off the ground at least 2 feet from the structure.
  • Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, it is likely the pipe inside the home is damaged and will need to be replaced. While you’re at it, check the garden hose for dry rot.
  • Have a qualified HVAC contractor clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels. Change interior filters on a regular basis, at least every other month.
  • Check your gas and battery-powered lawn equipment to make sure it is ready for summer use. Clean equipment and sharp cutting blades will make yard work easier. Have your lawnmower professionally tuned up.

My guest blog post is from the professionals from Columbia Mortgage who are always looking out for your best interest! Columbia Mortgage offers the resources you need to make informed decisions regarding your real estate-related needs. Family-owned and operated since 1994, Columbia Mortgage is an independent mortgage broker with over 38 years of combined experience in the industry.

Thank you Tyler, Grant, and J.J. for your dedication and excellent service to my clients past and present!

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