Consumer Real Estate News

  • Kick Winter’s Chill With Hearty Chowder

    6 February 2023

    (Family Features) Colder, shorter days call for a little comfort. Cozying up with a hearty meal on brisk winter evenings can help fight off the chill while savoring favorite flavors alongside the ones you love.

    Avoid venturing into the cold for a trip to the store by turning to a pantry staple like sweet potatoes. As one of the most versatile veggies, they’re easy to add to a variety of recipes while enhancing both flavor and nutrition. Perfectly suitable for both simple and elevated dishes, they can be baked, microwaved, grilled, slow cooked or prepared on the stove so their sweet taste never goes out of style.

    Their long shelf life – up to four weeks if stored properly in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from heat sources – means you can rely on sweet potatoes throughout the winter as an on-hand ingredient. Additionally, as a “diabetes superfood” according to the American Diabetes Association, they’re rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, all of which are good for overall health and may help prevent disease, making them a key source of nutrients during wintertime.

    When your family needs a warm-up on those frosty days, put sweet potatoes at the center of mealtime (with an added kick) in this Jalapeno Sweet Potato Chowder. Loaded with the flavors of winter comfort, it’s a filling meal that makes enough for a crowd so no one goes hungry.

    Visit ncsweetpotatoes.com to find more comforting meal ideas.

    Jalapeno Sweet Potato Chowder
    Recipe courtesy of the North Carolina SweetPotato Commission
    Servings: 6

    2 large North Carolina sweet potatoes, baked
    1 small onion, 1/4-inch diced
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
    2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
    1 1/2 cups whole corn kernels
    2 teaspoons minced jalapenos
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1 teaspoon salt
    chopped scallions, for garnish

    Peel baked sweet potatoes; discard skin and puree.

    In a soup pot, saute onion in butter until softened. Add pureed sweet potato and stock, as desired. Bring to boil, reducing liquid slightly.

    Add chicken, corn, jalapenos, heavy cream and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes.

    To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped scallions.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • The 2023 Color of the Year, and How to Use It

    6 February 2023

    It's that time of the year when paint companies and color experts weigh in with their top color pick for the new year. And for Benjamin Moore, that color marks a bold departure from recent years.

    While for 2022 Benjamin Moore selected a soothing, muted shade of sage green, October Mist, this year's color hails from the high-energy realm. Raspberry Blush is a vibrant, attention-getting shade of red-orange that will instantly add life to any room—the ultimate pop of color.

    The company admits that color experts had to push themselves out of their comfort zone in selecting this color, deciding upon a shade that makes a bold statement after originally selecting a softer color palette. And Raspberry Blush certainly does just that, conjuring up images of a summertime popsicle or a tropical garden.

    According to Benjamin Moore, while neutral colors on walls serve as the backdrop for bolder shades that take a starring role in a room's decor, this year, they wanted the wall-paint color to command the stage. The choice is a nod toward the trend of maximalist style and increasing color confidence. Here's how to use the color in your home:

    Create a high-energy living room. Using Raspberry Blush in your living room is an ideal choice if you love to gather with friends and family and entertain regularly. The color will energize your space and make your living room the life of the party.

    A cheer-filled dining room. Since the color is certainly invigorating, it's best suited for the social areas of your home, such as the dining room. With its infusion of reds and pinks, Raspberry Blush provides a warm, flattering rosy glow that is wonderfully suited to gathering around the table for a meal.

    Stand-out architectural details. Put the interesting architectural details of your home, like chair rail, wainscoting and moldings, under the spotlight by painting them in this stand-out color. Benjamin Moore recommends painting the entire wall from top to bottom—details and all—in Raspberry Blush for an artistic and provocative look.

    If the above ideas seem a little too daring given the bold nature of this hue, use Raspberry Blush for an accent wall or on built-in shelving to add new life and character to any room.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Avoid These 4 Outdated Bathroom Trends

    6 February 2023

    Your home's bathroom may be diminutive in size but it carries a big punch when it comes to your overall interior design. The small details can make or break the style you've worked so hard to achieve in other areas of your home, so don't give short shrift to bathroom decor. 

    According to the design experts at marthastewart.com, a bathroom's design should be conducive to the room's functionality—grooming, bathing, getting ready for the day, preparing for sleep—as well as its aesthetic appeal as a welcoming and serene space. One of these outdated design trends, however, will thwart these objectives:

    All-white. While outfitting your bathroom entirely in white—from paint to tile to towels—can certainly provide a fresh and spacious feel, it also requires an unrealistic level of vigilance to keep it clean. Designers also explain that this stark look can come off as cold and fragile. A quick fix for this pristine landscape is to introduce color in different textures. Think mood-lifting blue towels, calming green ceramics and plants, or a multi-colored floor mat. If you really do love a neutral look, weave in some earth tones, such as stone-colored linens or an earth-tone painted accent wall.

    Big bathtubs. While an oversized jacuzzi tub in the bathroom was an attractive feature a few years back, these days it's viewed as taking too much space, too much water and too much time to clean. If the idea is to use the tub as a design focal point, go for a traditional-sized tub in an unusual color or install some unique hardware. Another pro tip: Add uniquely designed wallpaper behind the tub. 

    Ornate vanities. Designers say that unless you have a historical home, ornate millwork in the bathroom is passe. Replace it with a more streamlined option, such as a shaker or flat-front style.

    Wooden beams. While ceilings outfitted with wooden beams offer a cozy, rustic look to a room, it's not the best option for a bathroom. Wood is notorious for absorbing moisture, which not only causes it to swell, but eventually leads to mold and mildew build-up. So unless you have advanced ventilation in your bathroom, wooden beams are not the best choice. If you'll really miss the warm feel that wood provides in the bathroom, opt for a teak shower bench. Teak is waterproof and mold-resistant, and can last more than 10 years, designers add.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • A Nutritious and Delicious Kale Salad Recipe

    3 February 2023

    Kale is the nutrient king of leafy greens. It’s filled with an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which provide you with a plethora of sustained health benefits. Though in itself, kale can be bitter in taste, it works as a wonderful, crunchy salad base. 

    Looking for a salad that’s rich in nutrients and in flavor? Look no further. This simple and delicious salad will sustain you throughout the day. Pack it for lunch on the go, or serve your friends and family. 

    Yield: 4 servings 
    Preparation Time: Approximately 45 minutes
    Ingredients 

    • 10 oz (approximately one bag) of shredded kale 
    • 15 oz can of chickpeas
    • 1 large or 3 small sweet potatoes 
    • 1 avocado 
    • 1 white onion 
    • Paprika 
    • Cumin 
    • Garlic Powder
    • Salt 
    • Pepper 
    • Olive Oil 
    • Honey 
    • Optional: Grilled Chicken 
    Let’s Get Cookin!

    Step 1: 
    Roast the Chickpeas
    Preheat the oven to 420°F. Using a strainer, drain the chickpeas. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. The chickpeas should be well-coated in seasoning. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30-45 mins, or until crunchy. 
    Pro Tip! Broil the chickpeas for the last 2 mins of their baking time to make them extra crispy. The broil setting is very hot so be sure not to forget about them. 

    Step 2: 
    Roast the Sweet Potato 
    Dice the sweet potato into small cubes. Drizzle with olive oil and season with paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. The sweet potatoes should be well coated. Place on a baking sheet. Set the baking sheet on the rack below the chickpeas. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until nice and crispy. 

    Step 3: 
    Prepare Your Ingredients
    While the chickpeas and sweet potatoes are roasting, rinse your kale and place into a large salad bowl. Cut avocado in half, dice and add to the kale. Dice your onion and add to the bowl. 

    Step 4: 
    Combine and Enjoy!
    Once the chickpeas and sweet potatoes are sufficiently crispy, remove them from the oven and let cool. Once cooled, add to the salad. You may also add grilled chicken if you’d like an added protein punch! Drizzle with honey, serve and enjoy! 

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • 3 Things New Homeowners Don't Know

    3 February 2023

    Becoming a new homeowner is an exciting milestone. It can also be an overwhelming process full of decision-making, seemingly endless paperwork and new responsibilities. When the dust settles and you officially sign for your new home, your work doesn’t end there. Many new homeowners don’t realize these important things. Don’t be caught unaware, be sure you understand these important tips.

    Your Insurance Needs to Be Updated
    Your home loan likely will require you to have adequate insurance on your house itself. This guarantees that in the event of an unpredictable situation, your lender will be protected. After all, if your house burns in a fire and is uninsured, the owner is unlikely to pay off the loan. 

    However, this is not all you need. If you and a partner purchased the home together, you will need to look into an updated life insurance policy. In the event of a death, the other person must be able to continue house payments, and the correct life insurance policy can help make that possible. Consult a financial advisor to see how you can best prepare for the unexpected.

    You Should Hone Your Handyman Skills
    Between maintenance tasks, small updates, and routine fixes, you will likely spend a lot of cash if you don’t learn how to DIY a few projects as a homeowner. Be sure you know your way around basic tools, and make certain you understand what annual maintenance needs to be completed to keep your home in its top form.

    Shadow a friend or family member as they complete odd jobs around their home. Be willing to help them and you may learn some skills and get a worker the next time you need assistance. If this isn’t an option, or you have a specific task you need to learn, consider signing up for a class at your local hardware store.

    You Should Keep Your Renovation Receipts
    While general repairs do not count, update and renovation costs to increase your home's basis. This means if you keep the receipts for any improvements to your home, you could find yourself saving some funds when you go to sell your home. This is because money spent on capital improvements can help lower your tax bill when you sell your home. Consult a tax professional to navigate this process. A higher cost basis reduces your total profit (or capital gain) and will result in paying fewer taxes at the time the seller purchases. For this reason, you will want to be sure to keep those receipts and save! 

    Published with permission from RISMedia.