Gardeners and local food enthusiasts are growing ingredients for their lunches and dinners, but how about for their drinks, writes Annie Thornton of the Houzz Editorial Staff.   Amy Stewart, author of the New York Times bestseller The Drunken Botanist, has forged a different path into edible gardening, focusing on our lengthy, and alcoholic, ties to plants.

“We’ve been making alcoholic beverages from plants for at least 10,000 years, and probably longer,” Stewart says. “What I wanted to do with this
book was to get people to appreciate our long and storied history with plants and alcohol.”  Read more including the Lavender Martini recipe.

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/24139174?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u469&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery2

 

Published in Landscaping

Shake off the winter blues and spring into action to get your home in the spirit of the new season. Here's your April checklist for a smooth-running home.

My favorite Houzz contributor,  shares her list of to-dos:

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/24256534?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u469&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery0landscaping-gardens-001

Barrington Hills, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping

 Charlotte Albers, a Houzz Contributor has featured one of our project installations this week.  According to Charlotte, “The first day of spring, March 20, is a cause for celebration for everyone who has weathered a long, cold winter. We crave the sun as much as our gardens do and so it seems fitting to focus on sundials and the many ways they can be added to a garden scheme for beauty and practicality. 

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Schmechtig Landscapes garden installation, Winnetka IL.

Read more of her article: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/21790139?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u460&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery23

Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 13 March 2014 11:10

Recipe Thursday - Simple Roasted Chicken

It's Thursday again or as I like to call it almost Friday Eve. Here's our weekly recipe entry.

Simple Whole Roast Chicken – perfect every time and just in time for the weekend!
Ingredients:

1 – 4 lb. whole chicken
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 cloves of garlic crushed

Directions:

In a bowl mix the following ingredients: salt, sugar, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon.
Rub chicken with mixture. You can also rub some inside the chicken after rinsing and drying the chicken.  There will not be a lot of the mixed ingredients left to rub inside but it will work.
Cover chicken and place in fridge for 24 hours.
Preheat oven at 500 degrees.
Stuff chicken cavity with 8 cloves crushed garlic.
Place the chicken breast side down on rack in a roasting pan.
Roast 15 minutes in the preheated oven.  Reduce heat to 450 degrees and continue roasting for 15 minutes.  Baste chicken with drippings and reduce heat to 425 degrees.   Continue roasting for 30 minutes. (The chicken’s internal temperature should be 180 degrees.)
 Let stand 20 minutes before serving.
If you want the chicken browned, cook breast side up for the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 13 March 2014 11:10

Recipe Thursday - Simple Roasted Chicken

It's Thursday again or as I like to call it almost Friday Eve. Here's our weekly recipe entry.

Simple Whole Roast Chicken – perfect every time and just in time for the weekend!
Ingredients:

1 – 4 lb. whole chicken
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 cloves of garlic crushed

Directions:

In a bowl mix the following ingredients: salt, sugar, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon.
Rub chicken with mixture. You can also rub some inside the chicken after rinsing and drying the chicken.  There will not be a lot of the mixed ingredients left to rub inside but it will work.
Cover chicken and place in fridge for 24 hours.
Preheat oven at 500 degrees.
Stuff chicken cavity with 8 cloves crushed garlic.
Place the chicken breast side down on rack in a roasting pan.
Roast 15 minutes in the preheated oven.  Reduce heat to 450 degrees and continue roasting for 15 minutes.  Baste chicken with drippings and reduce heat to 425 degrees.   Continue roasting for 30 minutes. (The chicken’s internal temperature should be 180 degrees.)
 Let stand 20 minutes before serving.
If you want the chicken browned, cook breast side up for the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Published in Landscaping

One of my favorite Houzz contibutors Laura Houskell shares her thoughts about driveways and curb appeal, I couldn't agree more.

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Glenview, IL. Schmechtig Landscapes

Read Laura's article here:http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/24094147?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u451&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery2

 

 

Published in Landscaping

It's Recipe Thursday!

If you are like me, I cannot wait for the spring weather to arrive.  This cold weather and snow does not get me motivated to do anyrhing, especially after work, which includes cooking dinner!  

Here's an easy dinner recipe for tonight to be served with salad and hot bread with butter; completed in 30 minutes!

 

Ingredients:

1 pound ground round beef (85% lean) or 1 pound ground turkey

1 can (15 oz each) Manwich Original Sloppy Joe Sauce or Manwich Bold Sloppy Joe Sauce (it's more flavorful)

1-1/2 cups water

1-1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni, uncooked

3/4 cup shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese

 

Directions:

Cook beef or turkey in 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat stirring occasionally until crumbled and no longer pink: drain. (At least 7 minutes)  If using turkey, saute until no longer pink and crumbled, breaking up the turkey with the back of a spoon: drain. (At least 7 minutes)

Add Sloppy Joe sauce, water and macaroni to skillet; stir to combine.

Bring to a boil.

Cover and reduce heat to medium.

Cook 15 minutes or until macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally.

Top with cheese; cover and let stand 3 minutes or until cheese melts.

Makes 4: 1 1/2 cup servings.

Serve with your favorite salad and bread.

Published in Landscaping

Spring is coming and many homeowners begin to think about their home's property.  Whether you are staying or selling, the exterior spaces of a home are the first impression of any property.  Home buyers decide whether or not to look inside a house or take it seriously based on its curb appeal.  Friends and family view your home's exterior as a compliment to your individual taste inviting them to come and enjoy their surroundings bringing everyone together.

 

It's challenging to look at your own house in the same way a potential home buyer looks at the property.  You have become accustom to the way it looks
and functions and cannot see flaws and deficiencies.  Many times a home's outdoor landscaping is overlooked.  An attractive and well-maintained landscape
can add as much as 10 percent to the value of your home.

 

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Front Yard Entrance,Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Once the snow has melted, it is time to get started cleaning up your yard.  Do not wait until the very last minute to address the exterior of your home.  Give
yourself plenty of time to get everything looking just right.

 

Here's a checklist and tips for sprucing up your property's curb appeal whether you are going to stay or go:

- Spruce up outdoor containers. Container plants add considerable interest to patios and doorways where would-be buyers enter and exit the house. Such displays also demonstrate the endless possibilities for designing with container plants.

 

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Lake Forest, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

 

- Touch up the mulch. Nothing spruces up a place like a new application of mulch, so apply a fresh layer in all your garden beds. The color enhances the contrast of the surrounding plants and makes everything pop. What's more, mulch is relatively cheap and easy to apply.

- Plant some instant color. Seasonal color makes the landscape pop as well, and flats of annuals are also relatively inexpensive. Go for a splash of several colors or a more monochromatic scheme, whatever fits in with the look of your home.

- Shape unsightly or overgrown trees and shrubs. Regardless of the season, it's a good idea to tackle any overlooked pruning chores because nothing says neglect like a bunch of dead branches. The idea is to show how well not only the interior of you house is maintained but your garden too.

- Tidy up plants and if a plant is in such bad shape replace it or stick a decorative pot in its place.

- Edge plant beds and tree circles.

- Clean up water features. Get rid of any visible algae, remove leaves and clean filters so that the water is crystal clear. After all, a water feature that
doesn't look good or function properly can be an instant turnoff.

- Repair outdoor faucet leaks. A leaking faucet suggests that there may be other problems elsewhere with plumbing.

- Power-wash all dirty surfaces.  This will make walkways, patios and driveways look brand-spanking new, free of grungy and grimy surfaces.
Power washers also do a great job on cleaning fences, as well as brick and vinyl siding.

 

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Paver Walkway with Container Pots, Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

- When selling, stop thinking of the property as a home.  It's a commodity you want to sell for the highest price possible.
You can help make sure potential buyers want to come inside your house by spending some time working on the exterior appearance.

 

Consulting with a full-service landscape service firm provides you the exterior staging solution design, installation and maintenance
needs.

Published in Landscaping

June Scott, a Houzz Contributor and Landscape Designer based in the Los Angeles area published an article featuring one of our Winnetka, Illinois projects. Read all about the use symmetry, geometry and other principles of formal design to give even a modest garden a pleasing balance!

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/23847820/list/6-Basic-Elements-of-Classic-Garden-Style

Here are is another picture of the project followed by views from the entertainment/pergola area :

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Classic Informal Garden; Illinois Landscape Contractors Association Award; Winnetka, IL. Schmechtig Landscapes

 

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Garden Ideas; Winnetka, IL. Schmechtig Landscapes

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Patio with Pergola; Winnetka, IL. Schmechtig Landscapes

 

Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 27 February 2014 10:51

Give Your Patio Some Major Style

It is possible to create a stylish, welcoming outdoor room you'll love to spend time in from snoozefest to stellar.

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Schmechtig Landscapes, Patio HGTV Landscapers Challenge Award Winner, Chicago

From creating privacy and adding mood lighting to choosing furniture you love, Houzz contributor Laura Gaskill gives us 11 ideas to inspire your own patio. 

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/22942252?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u441&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery10

Visit Laura at Lolalina http://www.lolalina.com/ where she blogs about all things warm & cozy.

 

Published in Landscaping
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