When the flowers fade, these leaves keep the garden looking good, says Benjamin Vogt, a Houzz Contributor.  He continues, native flowers are a celebration of living — they feed pollinators with nectar and pollen as well as other wildlife with seeds, and their leaves are used by caterpillars, bees and all sorts of other creatures. What’s good for nature is good for us, too, as we design gardens that are visually pleasing and welcoming to all. Here’s a list of native wildflowers from Vogt with unique foliage to spruce up your garden after the blooms have faded. Read More: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/50572792?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u1481&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery16


Schmechtig Landscapes, Lake Bluff Garden with Wildflowers

Published in Landscaping

You walk into your kitchen one day to find it buzzing with pesky little fruit flies zipping about your fruit bowl, or worse, floating lifeless in your guest’s glass of red wine, says Mitchell Parker, a Houzz Editorial Staff Member.  He continues, you’re not a slob, and you don’t leave your doors open, so where the heck do these things come from and why? And more important, how do you kill fruit flies?  Parker shares what fruit flies are, how to prevent them and how to get rid of them in your home, Read More: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/50945543?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u1481&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery5


Published in Landscaping
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 06:54

To-Dos: Your 2015 July Home Checklist

Crank up the ice cream maker, hang up the hammock and raise the outdoor umbrella. Summer's in full swing this month, says Laura Gaskill, a Houzz Contributor.  July is a month to celebrate summer in all its glory, continues Gaskill, so make a summer bucket list, swing in a hammock, invite some friends over and stay cool — these to-dos are as much about fun as they are about smart home maintenance and safety.
Read more: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/49986428?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u1456&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery0


Winnetka, Illinois, Outdoor Kitchen and Dining Area, Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping

Show your patriotic pride with a flag on your home’s exterior for the Fourth of July or all year round. Here are a few American Flag display idea's and etiquette to consider from Alison Hodgson, a Houzz Contributor, to commemorate or to celebrate! Read and see more:


Published in Landscaping

Just in time for your upcoming 4th of July cookouts, a Tyler Florence recipe. Florence seasons a pork roast with spicy-sweet dry rub, roasts it low and slow until it's falling apart and then served with a tangy cider vinegar barbecue sauce and topped his special homemade cole slaw.  Tyler Florence is all about food pairings and recommends to pair this entree with a dark beer!  Here's the Pull Pork and Cole Slaw recipes. Enjoy. 

Pull Pork Recipe
Dry Rub:
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1 (5 to 7 pound) pork roast, preferably shoulder or Boston butt

Cider-Vinegar Barbecue Sauce Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup yellow or brown mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pan drippings from the pork
12 hamburger buns
1 recipe Cole Slaw, recipe follows
Pickle spears, for serving

Cider-Vinegar Barbecue Directions:
Mix the paprika, garlic power, brown sugar, dry mustard, and salt together in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend all over the pork. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Put the pork in a roasting pan and roast it for about 6 hours. An instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the pork should register 170 degrees F, but basically, what you want to do is to roast it until it's falling apart.

While the pork is roasting, make the barbecue sauce. Combine the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, salt, cayenne, and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Take it off the heat and let it sit until you're ready for it.

When the pork is done, take it out of the oven and put it on a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes. While it's resting, deglaze the pan over medium heat with 3/4 cup water, scraping with a wooden spoon to pick up all of the browned bits. Reduce by about half. Pour that into the saucepan with the sauce and cook 5 minutes.

While the pork is still warm, you want to "pull" the meat: Grab 2 forks. Using 1 to steady the meat, use the other to "pull" shreds of meat off the roast. Put the shredded pork in a bowl and pour half of the sauce over. Stir it all up well so that the pork is coated with the sauce.

To serve, spoon the pulled pork mixture onto the bottom half of each hamburger bun, and top with some slaw. Serve with pickle spears and the remaining sauce on the side.

Cole Slaw:
Cole Slaw Ingredients:

1 head green cabbage, shredded

2 carrots, grated

1 red onion, thinly sliced

2 green onions (white and green parts), chopped

1 fresh red chile, sliced

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 lemon, juiced

Pinch sugar

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Several dashes hot sauce

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cole Slaw Directions:

Combine the cabbage, carrots, red onion, green onions, and chile in a large bowl. In another bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss gently to mix. Season the cole slaw with the celery seed, hot sauce, salt, and black pepper. Chill for 2 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence and foodnetwork.com


Published in Landscaping

It’s not too late to get these 8 vegetables and herbs going, says Marianne Lipanovich, a houzz contributor.  The beautiful garden you dreamed of planting in January is still a bare patch of ground in the hot July sun, don’t despair, Lipanovich continues, gardening articles and books generally recommend spring planting for summer vegetables — the standard caveat of “once the soil has warmed and all danger of frost has passed” is almost a cliché — it’s not too late to get your garden going. Here are Marianne's options to start gardening now: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/28671115?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u1421&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery19

Published in Landscaping
Wednesday, 17 June 2015 09:39

It's Time to Dress Your Patio and Deck

Get your patio and deck dressed for this summer.  Houzz.com says, if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to update.  Houzz continues, while your outdoor furnishings have served you well, after a few seasons it’s a good idea to let go of the rusted metals and faded fabrics and bring in fresh new designs that will last. Update with these stylish finds from the Houzz Shop:http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/49807384?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u1401&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery21



Hanging Planter Baskets, Container Pots and Outdoor Dining Furniture Set the Tone for the Winnetka Patio, Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 09 June 2015 19:09

New Sizzling Picks for The Grill Master

Outdoor season has finally arrived! Don’t let summer start without these outdoor cooking picks from the Houzz Shop (courtesy of houzz.com). These essential cooking gadgets will help you grill and smoke your food to mouthwatering perfection. So sear your way to barbecue bliss with this selection of grills, tools and accessories. See them all: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/49012679?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u1367&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery3

Published in Landscaping

These veggies are showing meat who's boss.  Here's a delicious portabella mushroom recipe from Back to Her Roots Healthy Eats and Yummy Treats that is stuffed with a cheesy, herbed tomato filling, these flavorful grilled mushrooms work as a side dish or a great vegetarian main dish. Enjoy this and the other 13 vegetable recipes courtesy of msn.com food and drink: http://www.msn.com/en-us/foodanddrink/recipes/14-grilled-recipes-that-make-you-forget-youre-eating-veggies/ss-BBkukUs?ocid=DELLDHP

Grilled Herb and Tomato Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

4 large portabella mushroom caps
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 Roma tomatos, diced
1/4 cup each minced fresh basil, parsley, and oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1.Preheat the grill over medium heat. Carefully remove the stems from the mushrooms, dice finely, and place in a bowl. Using a spoon, carefully scrape out the brown gills of the mushrooms, dice finely and add to the bowl with the stems.
2.Brush one tablespoon of the olive oil onto both sides of each of the mushroom caps. Place caps, stem side down on the preheated grill. Grill for about 5 minutes, or until just beginning to soften.
3.Meanwhile, mix all remaining ingredients (including the remaining olive oil) in the bowl with the diced mushroom stems and gills
4.Flip the mushroom caps over on the grill, and fill each cap up with 1/4 of the filling, making sure to really pack it in. Close the grill lid, lower the grill to low heat, and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are very soft and the cheese is melted.

 Courtesy of msn.com Food and Drink and Back to Her Roots Healthy Eats and Yummy Treats

Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 28 May 2015 17:46

28 Fresh Summer Cocktails and Mocktails

Go beyond the gin and tonic this summer and mix up cocktails and mocktails with garden-fresh fruits and vegetables says eatingwell.com; pick up rosemary and cucumbers to concoct a grown-up lemonade that will keep you cool on a hot day. Puree fresh tomatoes and jalapeños for a homemade Bloody Mary. Of course it’s a pleasure to drink these tasty tipples but it doesn’t hurt that they’re also packed with antioxidants. Here’s to summer courtesy of eatingwell.com!

See all 28 Recipes: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/fresh_summer_cocktails_and_mocktails

See all 28 recipes as a list: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/fresh_summer_cocktails_and_mocktails?slide=12#view_toggles

Cherry Smash
Celebrate fresh cherries with this mint-infused cherry cocktail. Black cherry-flavored seltzer gives the drink the most cherry flavor, but plain seltzer also works well.

Makes: 4 servings

Active Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

1 cup pitted fresh or frozen (thawed) cherries
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
8 teaspoons sugar
6 ounces (3/4 cup) dark rum
1/4 cup lime juice
3 cups cherry-flavored seltzer

1.Divide cherries, mint leaves and sugar among 4 glasses.
Mash everything together with the back of a wooden spoon.
Stir in rum and lime juice.
Fill glasses with ice and top with seltzer.
Garnish with mint sprigs.

Per serving: 161 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 2 mg sodium; 131 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (15% daily value).

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Exchanges: 1 fruit

Courtesy of eatingwell.com

Published in Landscaping
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