Tuesday, 05 July 2016 13:56

Trees: Beautiful Money-savers

Besides the beauty trees offer our landscapes, energy conservation and pollution reduction are also achieved.  The Garden Council estimates
that one properly watered tree can produce a cooling effect in its lifetime equal to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
By planting trees that shade your property, you benefit from energy savings in the summer, and if placed correctly, screening from freezing winter winds. In addition, trees absorb atmospheric gases  along with fine particles of dust and soot and become living air scrubbers.  Trees are as beautiful as they are functional; they symbolize new life in the spring, and provide a beautiful palate of color in the fall. It all adds up to one fact: trees are good for you visually, environmentally and economically. 


Published in Landscaping

Supermarket Classic's all dolled up.  Homemade Snickers Bars and is easy to make. To view all homemade classics: Ho Ho's, Pop Tarts and more go to: http://www.msn.com/en-us/foodanddrink/featured%20recipes/homemade-zingers-ho-hos-pop-tarts-and-more/ss-AAd4uqI?ocid=DELLDHP#image=1

Homemade Snickers Bars


Recipe for one 9×13 pan.


Bottom chocolate layer:

1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips

1/4 cup peanut butter

Thoroughly grease you baking pan. Melt ingredients together in a saucepan or microwave, then pour into the baking dish and spread until even. Let cool and harden completely.


Nougat layer:

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup evaporated milk

1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 1/2 cup salted peanuts chopped, roughly chopped

1 tsp vanilla extract

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in sugar and milk, stirring until dissolved and bring to a boil. Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in fluff, peanut butter and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Turn off heat and fold in peanuts, then pour over bottom chocolate layer. Let cool completely.


Caramel layer:

1 14-ounce bag of caramels

1/4 cup whipping cream

Combine ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Let melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth – this took about 10 minutes for me. Pour over nougat layer and let cool completely.


Top chocolate layer:

1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips

1/4 cup peanut butter

Melt ingredients together in a saucepan or microwave, then pour over caramel and spread until even. Let cool and harden completely.

Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving, then cut as desired. These can stay at room temperature, but they do get gooey. I like them refrigerated best!

Note: for best results, buy one of the half-sheet aluminum cake pans at the grocery store. That way, you can pop the entire square out and cut from there!

Recipe courtesy of msn.com food and drink and howsweeteats.com


Published in Landscaping

Spring Vegetable Recipe at it's best.

Primavera With Prosciutto, Asparagus and Carrots

Kosher salt
1 pound penne or farfalle
1 pound asparagus spears, stems trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 cup snap peas
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces sliced prosciutto, jamon iberico or other high-quality ham, diced
1 large shallot, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade or low-sodium store-bought
3 tablespoons dijon mustard

Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt it generously and cook the pasta for 8 minutes; add the asparagus, carrot and snap peas and cook for 3 minutes. Check the pasta and vegetables to make sure they're cooked through but still have texture, then drain.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, add the ham and shallot and cook until lightly browned, 3 minutes or so. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the cream, stock and mustard and simmer for a minute or two, scraping up any brown bits.
Add the pasta and vegetables to the pan. Toss and cook for another 2 minutes, until cooked through and the pasta is coated. Taste for seasoning, add salt if necessary and serve immediately in warm bowls.

Total Time: 35 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 6 servings
Recipe courtesy of Ted Allen from In My Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Discoveries for Passionate Cooks for Food Network Magazine
and foodnetwork.com

Published in Landscaping
Monday, 20 April 2015 09:18

New Front Yard Landscaping Ideas

The best front yard landscaping draws the line of sight to the front door and features eye-catching color and textural combinations along the way, says Roseann Foley Henry. Here are a few simple but effective tips for boosting curb appeal with trees and bushes, your driveway and walkways, and more from Roseann Foley Henry and bobvilla.com.

First and foremost, don’t hide your door behind large shrubs and trees. You want your landscaping to sweep the eye up to the door, not block the view completely. Position larger plants and trees off to the sides, says Roseann, and keep them trimmed back to allow a full view of the door.


Front Yard Landscape Design, Winnetka, IL.,  Schmechtig Landscapes


Henry's second tip, don’t skimp on foundation plantings. A typical two-story home should have a bed about eight feet deep around the front to soften the view. Use plants of varying heights, different shades of green, and different textures to create an interesting mix. Use containers on the front steps and walkway to add variety and color, but not so many as to make things look chaotic. Keep it simple and elegant.


Front Yard Landscape Design Ideas, Glenview, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes 


Finally, Roseann says, don’t forget your hardscaping—that is, the walkway, driveway, and other hard surfaces. Little things like changing a straight walkway to one with a little curve or flair, or allowing plants to drape over a wall, can have outsized effects on your entry.


Lake Bluff, IL., Front Landscape Design Ideas with stone, Schmechtig Landscapes

See more photo ideas of front landscape design in our website and in Roseann Foley Henry's article:  http://www.bobvila.com/articles/bob-vila-radio-front-yard-landscaping/#.VTUjerlOWrR

Courtesy of  Roseann Foley Henry's  and bobvilla.com


Published in Landscaping
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 09:29

16 Landscape Ideas for Water Features

Here are 16 ideas for transforming different areas of your propery into a visual showpiece using water features and different border elements from a small formal pond and fountain to pools from Jeff Stafford and hgtvgardens.com. 

Read more: http://www.hgtvgardens.com/landscaping/water-features-ideas



Water Feature Ideas, Barrington Hills, IL. Landscape Company Schmechtig Landscapes



Front Yard Pond Landscape Design Barrington Hills, IL. Landscape Company Schmechtig Landscapes



Pool Ideas, Pool with Spa in Northbrook, IL. Landscape Design Company Schmechtig Landscapes



Pool Design, Winnetka IL., Landscape Company Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping

Simple salmon and sweet potatoes become a gourmet meal in 30 minutes, when topped with an easy, tangy lemon-caper sauce and spiked with a hit of spicy cayenne.

1 pound(s) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup(s) water
 1 bag(s) (6-ounce) baby spinach
 1/8 teaspoon(s) cayenne pepper
 4 piece(s) (5 ounces each) skinless center-cut salmon fillet
 1 lemon
 1 cup(s) dry white wine
 2 teaspoon(s) capers, rinsed
1/4 cup(s) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. In large microwave-safe bowl, combine potatoes, water, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover with vented plastic wrap; microwave on high 9 minutes or until tender, stirring halfway through. Add spinach; recover and microwave 2 minutes longer.
2. Meanwhile, sprinkle cayenne and 1/8 teaspoon salt on salmon. In 12-inch nonstick skillet on medium, cook salmon 10 minutes or until knife pierces center easily (145 degrees F), turning over halfway through. Transfer to plate. From lemon, finely grate 1/2 teaspoon peel onto fish; into cup, squeeze 1 tablespoon juice.
3. To skillet, add wine and capers. Boil on high 2 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half, scraping browned bits from pan. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice and parsley.
4. Divide potato mixture among plates; top with fish.  Spoon sauce over fish.

Serves: 4
Total Time: 30 min
Prep Time: 15 min
Courtesy of Good Housekeeping and triple tested!


Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 16 October 2014 09:00

Recipe Thursday: Chewy Pecan Squares

Recipe Thursday's Chewy Pecan Squares from my friend, chef and owner of Sage Gourmet in Hendersonville, North Carolina, Laurie Bakke. Enjoy!


1 1/4 lbs. Unsalted Butter - at room temperature
3/4 C. Sugar - granulated
3 Eggs - large
3/4 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
4 1/2 C. All-Purpose Flour*
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt*


1 lb. Unsalted Butter
1 C. Honey - wildflower
3 C. Light Brown Sugar - packed
1/4 C. Heavy Cream
2 lbs. Pecans - coarsely chopped

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.For the crust, beat the butter and the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, until light, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the batter with the mixer on low speed until just combined. Remove from the mixer.
 3.Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 18x12x1-inch baking sheet, making an edge around the outside. The dough will be very sticky; sprinkle the dough and your hands lightly with flour until the dough is spread out very evenly throughout the entire sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Allow to cool completely.
 4.For the topping, combine the butter, honey and brown sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted, using a wooden spoon to stir. Raise the heat and boil for 3 minutes. It is very important to cook for the 3 minutes, as this is bringing the boiled mixture to a candy-like consistency. Remove from the heat. Carefully stir in the heavy cream and pecans. The mixture will rise up, so be prepared to stir until the mixture starts coming together.
 5.Pour the mixture over the crust, trying not to get the filling between the crust and the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the filling is set. It does cook after the squares come out of the oven. Keep this in mind when taking out of the oven. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate into cold. Cut into bars and serve.

Notes from Laurie: *I prefer unbleached flour over bleached because I have found that bleached flour sometimes carries off-flavors and can taste flat.
*Use non-iodized salt since iodized salt can have a chemical taste.
*This makes a large recipe and can be divided by two for a smaller amount, if desired.

Courtesy of my friend Laurie and her cookbook Laurie Bakke's Kitchen. 
Visit Laurie at her new store, Sage Gourmet on Main Street in Hendersonville, North Carolina

Published in Landscaping
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 07:19

12 Classic Bulbs for Spring Blooms

There’s just one thing about bulbs that keeps them from being the perfect no-fuss plant: You have to plant them at just the right time. Come spring you may find potted containers full of blooms, but you won’t be able to find flats of bulbs to put into the garden for a spot of color. To have a spring bulb garden, you have to plant in the fall, says Marianne Lipanovich.  Now is the time. Read More:  http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/4135358/list/12-classic-bulbs-for-spring-blooms



Published in Landscaping
Monday, 13 October 2014 09:14

How Brick Fits Into Today’s Gardens

Natural brick is often considered a traditional building material. Frank Organ, a Houzz Contributor, shows us how people are using it in gardens in all different types of settings. See the the different patterns and inspirations: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/31701747?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u714&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery21


Brick and Stone Patio Ideas, Glencoe, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes 

Published in Landscaping
Monday, 06 October 2014 08:03

13 To-Dos: Your October Home Checklist

It’s a great time to clean your gutters, swap out seasonal clothes and wallow in favorite fall traditions, says Laura Gaskill, a Houzz Contributor. From raking leaves to sharpening knives, see which of these 13 to-dos make your list this month. Read More: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/31270174?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u700&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery3


Published in Landscaping
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