Wednesday, 17 December 2014 11:00

17 Holiday Decor Inspirations

For those who have decorating on their to do list, here are 17 wonderful holiday decor inspirations from msn.com's Lifestyles Home and Garden section. Inspirations include: garland on staircase, winter dinning table themes, enchanting entrances and more:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/decor/winter-holiday-photo-slideshow/ss-BBafAma?fullscreen=true&ocid=DELLDHP

Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 09:03

Holiday Giving - Great Gifts for Your Pets

We treat our cats and dogs like part of the family, so why not put a ribbon on something stylish and clever for your furry babies this year? For playtime, mealtime or just lounging around, we’ve collected some of the best gifts for cats and dogs from the Houzz Shop and houzz.com.

See and read more: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/34483763?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u874&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery4

Published in Landscaping

"Adding Japanese holly fern to your woodland garden is a great way to celebrate the holidays and create lasting memories,"
says Jay Sifford, a Houzz contributor. He continues,  "Many ferns show only brown, lifeless remnants of their former seasonal glory, making the few evergreen fern species even more valuable this time of year. Consider Japanese holly fern its seasonal interest is especially appropriate during the holiday season." Read more: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/34630846?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u873&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery17

Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 11 December 2014 10:55

Recipe Thursday - Irish Beef and Stout Stew

Here's a warm up and easy beef stew recipe. 

Ingredients:

4 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste

2 1/2 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed

2 medium onions, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium beef broth

1 can (14.9 ounces) Irish stout beer such as Guinness or Grand Ridge Hatlifter

10 garlic cloves, sliced

Coarse salt and ground pepper

2 boxes (10 ounces each) frozen baby peas, thawed

(You can add 2 inch chunks of carrots it does not change flavors.)

 

 Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, toss beef with flour; stir in tomato paste. Add potatoes, onions, broth, beer, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

2. Transfer pot to oven, and cook, covered, until meat is fork-tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir in peas, and season with salt and pepper.

 

 Prep: 25 mins

Total Time: 3 hours

Servings: 10

Courtesy of marthastewart.com


 

Published in Landscaping
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 14:15

Winter Landscaping Tips

Gardeners in snowy regions have plenty of reasons to get cold feet about winter: Plants are at rest and their bright colors dissipate, leaving a palette of white and gray. And with nothing to plant, they might think there are few winter landscaping tips -- or to dos, says Kelly Robertson for Better Homes and Garden. She continues - In fact, careful planning in spring, summer, and fall -- plus a few easy accents during winter -- can lead to a beautiful landscape that shines against the stark relief of the restful season. Learn how to add texture, color, and beauty to your yard with these six simple winter landscaping tips.
Read and See More:

http://www.bhg.com/gardening/landscaping-projects/landscape-basics/winter-landscaping-tips/

Published in Landscaping

Evergreen trees and shrubs provide structure and color in the winter months — and can attract wildlife too, says Frank Organ, a Houzz Contributor. He continues saying -  A wide range of trees and shrubs extend garden interest beyond springtime blooms, but many of them do not provide year-round appeal. When the colors of autumn fade and our garden’s bare bones become stark in winter’s clear light, hedging can provide that extra bit of seasonal interest.
Read and see more: 

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/32719176?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u855&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery15landscape-design-il-005

Hedge and Evergreens and Boxwood Landscape Ideas, Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

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Evergreens in a Formal Landscape Design, Wilmette, IL. Schmechtig Landscapes

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Evergreens around pool landscaping, Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

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Hedge Ideas in Front Yard Landscaping, Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

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Evergreens Front Yard Landscape Ideas, Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping
Friday, 05 December 2014 10:01

25 Gorgeous Holiday Mantels

Laden with boughs, lights and and more, these decorated fireplace mantels show a festive Christmas spirit and a creative approach.

Get inspired see more: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/5736320?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u845&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery12

 

Published in Landscaping

Easy Cheesy Fondue with Fingerling Potatoes, French Bread and Select Vegetables

Ingredients
12 fingerling potatoes, cut in 1/2, 1-inch baby potatoes may be substituted
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, plus some for drizzling
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 jigger dry sherry
1 cup half-and-half
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup grated Gruyere or Swiss
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups steamed broccoli florets
1 pound asparagus, trimmed of stems, tips reserved
2 tablespoons fresh chives, snipped or chopped
1/2 French baguette, cubed
12 cherry tomatoes
 Cornichons or baby gherkin pickles
 Marinated mushrooms
 Pickled onions


Directions

Cover potatoes with water and bring the water to a boil.

Salt the water and simmer potatoes 10 to 12 minutes, until just tender.

Drain potatoes and return to warm pot to dry the potatoes.

Drizzle potatoes with a little oil to keep them from discoloring and to shine them up.

 

Fill a second skillet or saucepan with 2 inches of water.

Cover and bring the water to a boil on the stovetop. Salt the water, replace the cover and reduce heat to simmer.

 

To a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, add 1 tablespoon oil and the chopped shallots.

Saute shallots for 2 or 3 minutes, then add sherry and allow it to almost evaporate, a minute or two.

Add half-and-half to the pan and reduce heat to low.

Cut cream cheese into 1-inch slices and add it to the pot.

Allow the cream cheese to slowly melt into the half-and-half, 5 minutes.

Add Parmesan and shredded Gruyere or Swiss to the sauce and stir until cheese is melted and fully incorporated.

Stir in lemon juice.

Season sauce with, nutmeg and black pepper.

Place a candle underneath a wire rack or warm a fondue pot.

Transfer cheese sauce to fondue pot or place saucepan over wire rack and burning candle.

 

To simmering salted water, add broccoli and cook florets, covered, 3 minutes.

Remove broccoli with a slotted spoon to a plate and add asparagus tips.

Cook asparagus tips 2 minutes, then remove with tongs to a plate.

Arrange the items for dipping on a large serving platter.

Garnish the cooked potatoes with chives.

Set the cubed baguette on the opposite end of the platter, to balance color.

Between potatoes and bread, arrange cooked broccoli, asparagus and cherry tomatoes.

Set out fondue forks or bamboo skewers for dipping.

Place small dishes of cornichons, marinated mushrooms and pickled onions near dipping station for accompaniments.


Total Time: 40 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 20 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy
Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray and foodnetwork.com

Published in Landscaping
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 10:22

To-Dos: Your December Home Checklist

Make your home warm and safe and set the mood for a happy holiday season you and your family will truly enjoy
Laura Gaskill, a Houzz Contributor shares 12 tasks to check off for an easier, safer and cozier month. Read more:

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/32472967?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u845&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery1

Published in Landscaping
Friday, 28 November 2014 09:17

How to Care for a Freshly Cut Christmas Tree

Keep your tree looking lush until the last ornament is packed away, with these tips for watering, stands and siting from Therese Ciesinski, a houzz contributor.  "Artificial trees may have increased in popularity, but for the purist, only a real tree will do. No matter how realistic it looks, an artificial tree can’t compete with the scent and feel of a real evergreen. It’s a living part of nature that, for a short time, we give a place of honor in our homes." says Ciesinski, "And no matter which kind of tree it is — spruce, fir, pine or cypress — once it’s indoors, the goal is to keep the tree fresh and green. This means keeping the needles pliable and on the tree until the holidays are over. And the only thing that does that is water, lots of it. Think of it like a big, green pet: Just as a dog or cat needs fresh water every day, so does a fresh Christmas tree. " Here are Therese's tips: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/20617685/list/how-to-care-for-a-freshly-cut-christmas-tree

Published in Landscaping
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