Heart-Warming Dishes In A Flash

Posted October 4, 2011 by Connie Taylor
Categories: Amarillo Real Estate

Leaves turning to warm shades of orange, red and gold say it’s a great season to have fun outdoors. It’s also the time that will make you crave for heart-warming, tasty dishes.  You don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen preparing savory dishes and miss out all the fun outdoors, do you? No worries. Here are a couple of romantic dishes you can whip up in no time.

 

Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

This soup requires a bit of time to roast the veggies but that’s the perfect opportunity to prep the remaining ingredients. A quick puree in the blender yields a smooth, creamy soup that’s utterly satisfying on a cool or rainy evening. Like to serve it with a tangy sour cream, cracked black pepper, tender microgreens for brightness and crackers for a bit of crunch, but feel free to include your favorite soup accompaniments, such as chopped nuts, fresh herbs or a drizzle of great olive oil.

Good for 4 servings

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, halved, seeds scooped out
  • 2 pounds sweet potato, halved
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into ¼ inch dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sage, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • 4 – 6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • hot sauce to taste
  • lemon juice to taste
  • Garnish (optional)
  • Sour cream, microgreens, and crackers

Procedure:

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with the parchment paper or foil. Rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the cut sides and skin of squash and sweet potatoes. Season both sides generously with salt and pepper. Place the cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until tender when pierced with a fork. Make sure to check large ends. When cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh and place in a bowl.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium- high heat. Add onion and celery, and stir until beginning to soften, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and cook until very soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary, sage, and remaining spices. Cook until soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cooked squash, potato, a nice sprinkle of salt, and 4 – cups of broth. Simmer for 30 minutes. Puree the soup in a blender in batches or with an immersion blender. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Add more broth to reach the desired thickness. If the soup tastes a bit flat, add a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten.

 

Hanger Steak in A Coffee-Peppercorn Marinade

This steak requires a bit of forethought for marinating a day in advance, but the results are entirely worth it. Coffee adds a depth of flavor that pairs perfectly with dark meat. Be sure to ask your butcher to remove the long connective tissue that runs down the center of the cut.

Good for 4 servings

  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar and pestler
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season steak
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 ½ pounds hanger steak, about 3 pieces freshly ground black pepper

Procedure:

Combine the coffee, red wine, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, crushed black peppercorns, maple syrup, sambal oelek, Worcestershire sauce, salt and garlic ina shallow baking dish or a large Ziplock bag. Add the hanger steak and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, turning the steak occasionally.

Remove the steak from the marinde and discard the marinade. Pat the steak dry and season both sides generously with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast – iron skillet over medium – high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive and add the steak when the oil is very hot. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until dark brown. Turn the steak over and cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes for medium rare or until desired degree of doneness. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain and serve with the kale and faro salad.

 

 

Connie Taylor

Realtor

Keller Williams Realty

Office: 806-457-4810

Cell: 806-236-1370

www.AmarilloDreamHomes.com

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Texas Real Estate Goes Green

Posted September 21, 2011 by Connie Taylor
Categories: Amarillo Real Estate

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Everybody’s concerned about saving the planet today. After all, this is the only one we have to live. At least, today and the next half of a century we’re sure of that –Earth is the only planet for human kind.

As the tide of ecological alertness sweeps on to mankind, building owners pitch in to save Mother Nature by attempting to make their structure LEED certified.

LEED  (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is granted to a building if it passes the LEED Green Building Rating System. The building is rated in four levels – LEED Certified, LEED Silver, LEED Gold, and LEED Platinum.

Austin, Texas, has been the first to call for LEED certification in the United States. Dallas follows the Texas’ capital’s lead by issuing a resolution that all buildings owned by the city government should be at least LEED Silver – certified.  Frisco also goes green by using requiring LEED certification on all commercial projects.

Just last year, the Greater Texas Foundation designed something that has never been done before – the first LEED Gold – certified building. The completed structure, also one of the first LEED buildings, is in Bryan, Texas.

 

Connie Taylor

Realtor

Keller Williams Realty

Office: 806-457-4810

Cell: 806-236-1370

www.AmarilloDreamHomes.com

 

Wild Fires Set Most of Texas Ablaze

Posted September 14, 2011 by Connie Taylor
Categories: Amarillo Real Estate

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Wild fires have caused a lot damages in Texas, burning almost 4,000,000 acres of land this year as recorded in the Incident Information System.

Last week, the Texas Forest Service has been reported to have answered to over 100 fires including the 19 incidents yesterday which burnt 1,099 acres.

The wild fires have torched vast areas of land in the counties of Bastrop, Cass, Marion, Gregg and Palo Pinto. The disaster did not only leave charred trees and trails of ashes in several areas of Texas, but it also burned down a thousand homes and killed two in the county of Bastrop, and almost set twenty homes on fire in the county of Upshur, and a gas plant in Gregg county.

In Magnolia, main roads were closes as firefighters battled the fire. Residents helplessly watched the smoke rose, burning down properties and the forest.

Reports say that officials have declared that the fire near the state’s capital, Austin, is the most destructive among the 180 fires that have torched Texas.

In response to this disaster, Red Cross has provided a shelter for people and pets. The team also has mental health specialists to keep everyone calm after the catastrophe.

The fires did not only cause stress and worried the people who have lost their homes in the fire but also had the state firefighters worried about the winds picking up, damaging some more of Texas.

This information is presented by:

Connie Taylor
Keller Williams
ConnieTaylor@KW.com
www.AmarilloDreamHomes.com

Information is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed.

Avoid making Moving Headaches turn to Theft Headaches

Posted July 15, 2011 by Connie Taylor
Categories: Amarillo Real Estate

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On the REBAC Hotsheet this week, an interesting tip list from Intersections Inc. on how to avoid having your important paperwork and numbers get into the wrong hands.  This got me to searching for more helpful tips for all, and HireAHelper.com has a blog about good Moving Advice on how to avoid being the victim of any type of theft, including ID theft.

Moving is stressful enough, as is selling or buying your home.  Taking steps before the end rush will help you and your family avoid having to deal with theft and ID theft!

This information is presented by:

Connie Taylor
Keller Williams
ConnieTaylor@KW.com
www.AmarilloDreamHomes.com

Information is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed.

July 4th Trivia

Posted July 1, 2011 by Connie Taylor
Categories: Amarillo Real Estate

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With the long weekend ahead of us, I thought I’d do a quick post of July 4th Trivia!  You can be sure that these facts will be interesting tidbits to pepper your conversations with this weekend!  May yours be fun filled and safe!

http://www.chiff.com/a/fun-facts-fourth.htm – This list is trivia about the current celebration of the 4th, like who exports the most beef in the US (Texas), how many times have patriotic names (53 altogether), and other neat facts.

http://www.oldeducator.com/july4factsandtrivia.htm – This is trivia about more the history of the 4th, such as who all signed the Declaration of Independence, American flag etiquette, and a lot more interesting history.

http://www.teachervision.fen.com/fourth-of-july/printable/26546.html – For those with 4th to 8th graders, this is an excellent document tailored to that age group so they can impress all your relatives and friends with their knowledge!

Not trivia, but for a fun, quick, and delicious treat this weekend, go check out the Red, White, and Blue Chocolate Covered Strawberries!

This information is presented by:

Connie Taylor
Keller Williams
ConnieTaylor@KW.com
www.AmarilloDreamHomes.com

Information is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed.

Moving Tips

Posted June 24, 2011 by Connie Taylor
Categories: Amarillo Real Estate

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As with any summer, people are getting ready to move – sometimes as close as next door, and sometimes all the way on the other side of the globe.  No matter how far the move, having a timeline to help prepare you, check lists of what you should look out for, and tips for some of the trickier parts of moving such as with children and pets, are always good things!

Google is a powerful tool in the search for tips and lists, but to help save you some time, I’ve collected several of the better websites I found!

www.MoveAdvocate.com – A great resource for moves, focusing slightly more on long distance moves.

http://www.flylady.net/pages/Flying_MovingTips.asp – More focused on women, but still a great source of information on how to not be overwhelmed in a move.

http://interiordec.about.com/od/moving/a/org_movetips.htm – From About.com’s Interior Design section, it never hurts to reiterate the great tips!

http://www.upack.com/moving-resources/checklist.asp – A weekly break down of things to accomplish to make sure it all gets done in a timely manner.

What are your favorite packing tips – did they make it on any of the lists?  May your moves be safe ones, and if you need any help finding your home to move to Amarillo, Texas, just let me know!

This information is presented by:

Connie Taylor
Keller Williams
ConnieTaylor@KW.com
www.AmarilloDreamHomes.com

Information is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed.

Green Wedding Tips

Posted June 20, 2011 by Connie Taylor
Categories: Amarillo Real Estate

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‘Tis the season for love to grow!  In celebration of my daughter’s wedding, I wanted to share some green wedding tips for those of you planning (or helping to plan!) a wedding this summer!  Below I’ll just pick up a few of my favorite tips, but the article is full of a lot of great ideas.

You can start with the ring – of course check with your fiancé if she’d mind going a different route, but there are some great sustainable choices if you’re both willing to think outside the box!

Recycled and recyclable invitations – or even purely electronic invitations – are also a great way to save a few trees. Even reducing the amount of paper in your paper ones to a single page (without the envelope in an envelope) can make an impact, not only on the environment but also the budget!

Choosing sustainable fabrics for the wedding gown, everything from hemp-silk wedding gowns (examples can be found at Conscious Clothing’s website), vintage gowns with updated tailoring and accessories, to even getting a gown you’ll be able to wear again and again – options abound!

When you register for your wedding gifts, think of either asking for donations to charities both of you support, register through websites that will donate a portion of the purchases to a charity, registering at businesses that are dedicated to using local and fair-trade practices for their products, things of this nature.

Along the same vein, when giving out the favors to the guest, make them organic and usable, such as locally grown and made gourmet items like chocolate, fruit, etc., seeds in a commemorative container for easy planting, natural-made items like soaps or candles, and other things like these.

In the end, whether you go full green wedding or just pick a few of these that mesh with your plans, here’s to hoping your wedding day is grand and beautiful and may you and your intended be together for many years to come!

This information is presented by:

Connie Taylor
Keller Williams
ConnieTaylor@KW.com
www.AmarilloDreamHomes.com

Information is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed.