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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!

Create a Neighborly Front Yard

February 17, 2014

I especially like the Little Free Library idea! There are all sorts of things we can do to beckon our neighbors over to say hello, chat about neighborhood happenings, or just get to know each other.

I usually do my neighbor chatting in the Boise Foothills when I hike with my labradoodle, Zeke. Now that the the trails are too muddy from recent rains, we are walking the ‘hood and getting to know our neighbors. So far we have met Joe and his dog for future play dates, the cat lady on the block, the designers on the other side of the block, friends from the past that I haven’t seen in years and new friends that we meet because they want to say hi to Zeke.

No matter who we meet, we are meeting our neighbors at their front porches or entry ways. There is something to be said about that.

Enjoy!

I’m Going Out on a Limb

February 7, 2014

“The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, and forgiveness.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

I am definitely going to go out on a limb today. I just cannot sit back and let it go.

that limb I mentioned

that limb I mentioned

I have been giving a great deal of thought to the events that have happened here in Boise, Idaho as a result of this year’s Legislative Session. Basically, I am stunned that discrimination based on ignorance and fear is alive and well in Idaho.

There is a “freedom of religion” bill that is wreaking havoc right now in Idaho. But is this supposed “freedom” in turn a form of discrimination? If not, what is it, really? I read the following in a blog http://crystalstmarielewis.com/ recently: “Are we as Christians burdening others with “the law,” despite Christ’s obvious disagreement with this sort of practice? The essence of Christianity is found in the impact we make on the world and not in our ability to follow a stringent moral code. “ Yes, indeed!

My heart is breaking for many of my friends right now. We should agree to disagree and remember that conversation can be the door that opens solutions. We can listen to each other and collaborate on this topic. Over 300 people showed up at the Statehouse in opposition, and yet lawmakers sent the bill forward. Did these elected officials choose to not listen to the people? Why?

The purpose of bringing up this subject is to create awareness of the suffering we cause when we impose our beliefs on others. I doubt God would approve of this sort of behavior. I firmly believe He wants us to act with compassion, love and understanding for each other.

In order to make that positive impact on life and hopefully the lives of others, I strive to demonstrate the same principles of compassion, love and understanding in my daily life. It takes a lot of deep breaths these days.

Peace, my friends.

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