Strawberry Corn Salsa

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Entertaining

Guacamole is one way to enjoy avocados in your summer dips but it can also elevate your salsas as well. Strawberries are in season and can add a surprising flavor to your salsas. Add in the summertime staple, roasted corn, to the mix and you just might have yourself one of the freshest summertime salsas on the table!

 

The addition of avocado to these flavors adds a creamy texture that balances out the crunchy roasted corn and red onions, and sweet juices from the strawberries. This salsa is versatile, and while great when paired with your traditional crunchy tortilla chips, is sure to be a hit when added to any burrito, taco, burger or rice dish.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of corn kernels from a fresh ear of corn, husked and cut from the cob. You can substitute if needed when no fresh corn is available to you.
  • 3/4 cup of diced red onion
  • 1 1/4 cups of finely diced strawberries
  • 1/2 a jalapeño pepper
  • 1 diced avocado
  • Small handful of diced cilantro
  • 1/4 cup green onions diced
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Feta cheese

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lightly drizzle olive oil over your corn, diced red onion, and jalapeño. Roast the pepper whole.
  2. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes. Your vegetables should be lightly browned and the juices will be aromatic.
  3. Turn the heat to low broil and roast for an additional 2 minutes. Keep an eye on them so that they do not burn.
  4. Remove from heat and allow ingredients to cool.
  5. Once ingredients are at room temperature, dice the jalapeño and set aside.
  6. In a bowl, gently mix all ingredients together and add a dash of salt to taste. 
  7. Add in the diced jalapeño to taste, keeping in mind that you can always kick up the heat if need be by adding more. 
  8. Top salsa with feta cheese and serve!

Tomato and Basil Open-Faced Sandwiches

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Entertaining

Are you ready to entertain this summer?  Once your home is ready for guests, your mind will turn to the food.  This recipe can be served for lunch or as an appetizer. It is perfect for summer and combines fresh and savory to make a refreshing and healthy sandwich! Make servings for one person or many, it is up to you. For appetizers use a smaller loaf of French bread. For open faced sandwiches, use a full size loaf of French bread.

What You Will Need:

Roma tomatoes

Fresh basil leafs

1 Clove garlic

French bread

Plain cream cheese

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Directions:

Turn your oven on to the broil setting. While it is heating up, rub a peeled fresh clove of garlic on the French bread. This adds a small hint of garlic. Next use a spoon to apply olive oil to the bread and then use the spoon to cover the entire side of the bread. Lightly add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and in to the oven. This will toast the bread. It only takes about 30-60 seconds, depending on the oven. It is best to keep a close watch, so not to burn the bread.

Once the bread has been toasted, turn the bread over and let it cool for about a minute. Next use a knife to spread on the plain cream cheese. You can vary the amount of cream cheese you want to use according to your personal space.

Chop up the fresh basil leaves so that it can be sprinkled over top of the cream cheese.

Slice the tomatoes and lightly salt them. Add the tomato slices to the cream cheese and fresh basil.

Ready to eat! Serve while still warm.

35 Things To Add To Your Porch

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Entertaining

Have you ever arrived at someone’s home and found the porch so beautiful that you didn’t even want to go inside? Some people have just the right touch for a creating an outdoor living space that makes you say WOW! In many cases this is a professional interior designer so if you have access to one, make good use of their advice. If you’re doing the job on your own, though, we have one main point of advice. Layer and accessorize the same as you would inside your house. Treat the porch like a room and it will be awesome! Here’s our huge list of 35 items that you can add to the porch.  Have fun!

  1. Rocking chairs
  2. Topiaries
  3. America Flag
  4. Ceiling Fan
  5. Drapes or sheers
  6. Flowering pots
  7. Couch and/or loveseat designed for outdoor use
  8. Hanging baskets of flowers
  9. Porch swing / Couch swing
  10. Hanging chairs
  11. Throw pillows
  12. Lanterns
  13. Decorative stools
  14. Bench with seating cushion
  15. Outdoor area rug
  16. Paint the ceiling if it’s covered
  17. Blue tooth sound system
  18. Coffee table
  19. Side tables
  20. Tray and serving set
  21. Fire pit
  22. Grill
  23. Baker’s rack
  24. Smoker
  25. Table and chairs for dining
  26. String lights
  27. Rope lights
  28. Roll down sun shade
  29. Border of natural mosquito and bug repelling herbs and flowers
  30. Large box with lid for delivery man to leave packages when you’re not home
  31. Dog kennel or crate so Fido can take a rest while guests dine
  32. Decorative magazine holder
  33. Coat stand with rain gear and protective head wear
  34. Shelf for outdoor shoes so they stay outdoors
  35. Extra flashlight in case you get locked out of your house at night

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Easy Slow Cooker Recipes

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Entertaining

When the cold weather sets in and the holiday planning begins to take up all of your time, it can be nice to come home to a hot meal each evening. With a slow cooker, you can prepare your meal ahead of time, set it, and come home to it ready and waiting at the end of the day. Best of all, many slow cooker recipes take just minutes to throw together, so you don’t have to scramble to get things set up in the morning either. Try these fast and easy slow cooker recipes for yourself this winter when you need a little hot comfort food at the end of a busy day.

Split Pea Soup

This split pea soup is hot, nourishing, and incredibly easy to throw together. Add a 16 ounce bag of split peas to your slow cooker, along with a peeled and diced sweet potato, a peeled and diced onion, and some cubed, pre-cooked smoked ham. Add a tablespoon of celery salt, a teaspoon of white pepper, one bay leaf and six cups of water. Now just set the slow cooker to low and let it simmer for 8 to 10 hours. This meal also reheats very well the next day as leftovers.

Chicken Stew

This hearty chicken stew recipe combines some unusual winter tastes into one fabulous meal. Just cut up two pounds of chicken thighs into small pieces and layer them on the bottom of the slow cooker along with one bunch of chopped kale, and one half of a cubed butternut squash. Add a cup of green peas, a teaspoon of white pepper, and one of cumin. Then just fill the rest of the cooker up with your favorite chicken stock or broth. Simmer on low for 8 hours and your stew is ready.

Turkey Chili

Make this turkey chili as spicy or mild as you want by varying the amount of spices. Add a pound of ground turkey to your slow cooker along with one can each of black, red, and pink beans. Two chopped onions, two chopped red peppers, a can of tomatoes, and three cups of tomato juice round it out. Now add a combination of white pepper, Ancho pepper, and chipotle pepper to your taste to spice things up. Cook on low for 8 hours and serve with sour cream. 

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When Preparing for Guests

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Entertaining

The holidays can be a joyous time filled with warm and friendly get togethers, love, and laughter. They can also be filled with stress as you attempt to prepare your home for your holiday guests. To help cut down on the amount of stress that seems to come with the territory this time of year, try preparing for your guests using some of these tips and techniques.

Plan Well Ahead

If you’ve been thinking about updating your guest bathroom or having the kitchen floor replaced before the holiday guests arrive this year, be sure to plan this well in advance. The busiest time of year for contractors is in the two or three months heading up to the holidays for just this reason; everyone wants their home to look good for the holidays. Plan and book your home renovation as early as you can to ensure that it gets done in plenty of time.

Anticipate Their Needs

If your guests are staying overnight or for an extended period of time, try to anticipate some of their needs so you can better accommodate their stay. Remember that holidays are stressful times for those that are traveling as well, and your guests may therefore forget things like toiletries or toothbrushes. They may also need a few comforts of home around so that they can relax once they arrive.

Prepare a basket with toiletries for them including things like soap, lotion, extra toothbrushes, tissues, and other items they may need. And stock up on their favorite tea, coffee, and brand of cookies as well. This will ensure that they can relax once they arrive – which means that you can relax as well.

Invest in Good Bedding

A good night’s sleep makes everyone more cheerful. Make sure that your guests are able to sleep well by investing in some good guest bedding. New air mattresses are available that fold away neatly, but blow up high enough to get them off the floor – perfect for extra or unexpected guests.

Have plenty of clean and fresh linens and extra blankets and pillows on hand and easily accessible by your guests as well. Leave them right out on a chair in the room they are staying in, right next to the basket of toiletries so they don’t have to bother you for anything.

The Qualities of a Perfect Guest Room

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Entertaining, Family

 

Do you have a spare room designated as the guest room; and yet you are unsure where to start decorating the space for a guest? 

Guests spaces don’t need to be confined to a spare bedroom.  Many spots in your home can be converted to make a comfortable, welcoming area for your friends and family to unwind.

First, ask yourself “What makes me feel comfortable and welcome when I am a guest?” A great place to start is to decide where your guest can sleep.  A comfortable bed is a great piece to have, however not everyone can provide the space for an extra bed. Consider a comfortable sofa sleeper, futon or air mattress. Don’t use second-hand sleeping material here – if you don’t want to sleep in it, chances are your guests won’t either!

A second item to set aside for your visitors is storage. To avoid awkward placement of travel gear, storage for at least one suitcase is ideal. 

Providing space for dressing is a nice amenity in a guest room or area. An accent or lounge chair is great for stashing a sweater while not in use or to give a sense of personal space.

Thoughtful touches such as a water glass with small pitcher, alarm clock, tissues and an extra blanket will ensure your guests that they are welcome and cherished.  Lighting makes for a comfortable space and is great when  getting dressed to winding down for sleep.

Most importantly, ensure adequate privacy for your guests. Window coverings, doors or even reassuring guests that the space is theirs after a certain time are a must in any type space.

Following these general guidelines will guarantee visitors will want to return to your company time after time.  

 

Island Range Hoods

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Entertaining, Hardwood and Laminate, Kitchen and Bath, Uncategorized

18283808_STwo big trends in home design merge in this house: kitchen islands and open floor plans.  The kitchen opens onto a larger room that a more formal dining area, anchored by a beautiful focal wall featuring large windows.  Having the same wood floors flow throughout the space makes the two spaces feel cohesive, which it is. One of the key features of this space is the open feeling created by the floor plan and ceiling height.  Having the range on the kitchen island lets the chef take full advantage of the view.  In an open concept space, venting the range with an exhaust hood is key to contain and minimize cooking odors throughout the room.

When ranges are placed on kitchen islands, there are two options for venting the range. One is to have the exhaust vent come up out of the counter as needed. The other is to have a four sided range hood that floats above the range. This kitchen has the second option.  A stainless steel exhaust hood is a popular choice in kitchens whether it is wall mounted or an island hood.

For an open concept kitchens like this, the island becomes the focal point of the kitchen space. Placing the range on the island is a good way for the chef to be able to engage with family at the counter or guests in the living room. Rather than having their back to the room, the chef can watch the action and join the conversation.

Tailgating Parties

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Entertaining, Events, Family

12925225_SFootball season is here!!!!! What does that mean? Tailgating parties. If you are lucky enough to have tickets to a game, good for you, but just because you couldn’t get tickets to the game – or your team’s on the road doesn’t mean you can’t have a tailgate party at home. Park your truck in front of your house or in the driveway, and decorate every square inch of it. Drag your television (with a long extension cord) and chairs out onto the lawn. But either way, this is how to have a great tailgate party.

If you are going to the stadium be sure you know all the tailgating rules.

Check the weather forecast. Pack umbrellas if necessary.

Good tailgating menus include the traditional hamburgers and hotdogs, but you can also think outside the box and do ribs or kebabs just to mix things up.  Cupcakes, pies or cookies are good dessert options. Bring beers and soda or if you want to get really creative concoct a cocktail based on your favorite team.

Pack your BBQ grill, charcoal, lighter fluid, spatula and tongs. Also remember to bring paper plates, disposable silverware, napkins and cups for beer or soda. It’s also not a bad idea to bring wet wipes, trash bags, a bottle opener and a football or Frisbee to throw around. Decide whether you need a table or intend to use the back of your truck as an impromptu surface.

Prepack your ice chest and cooler as much as possible the night before to save time when you’re heading out for the game in the morning and to be sure that all your beverages are cold.

Bring folding chairs so everyone can enjoy the tailgate in comfort. Think about how to broadcast the pre-game show and keep track of other games that are in progress. After all many of your guests are probably in a fantasy football league and they want to keep track of their teams stats.

Drink responsibly, please designate a sober driver. And most of all enjoy yourselves!

Football, Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Entertaining, Family

Let’s gear up for Monday Night Football! When temperatures drop and evenings become chilly, when there is a bite in the air and frost on the car windows in the morning you know that it’s fall. Before the heavy duty holiday entertaining starts why not have friends over for a Sunday or Monday themed football party.

Simply turn on the TV, set out coolers of beer and bottles of wine. Add some sodas, juices and bottled water for the kids.

For your menu serve a classic children’s favorite, but glam it up so it’s more gourmet and grown up. Yes, we are talking about tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. The soup can be made a day in advance. The day of the party slice, and skillet toast the bread, grate the cheese and then set everything out just before guests arrive.

Use the last of your home grown tomatoes to make a creamy tomato soup. Our favorite recipe follows:

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Yellow onion diced
  • 2 Garlic gloves, chopped
  • 4 Cups, chopped tomatoes
  • 3 Cups chicken stock, homemade if at all possible but low sodium from the store works too
  • Splash of Cream
  • Kosher Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Melt butter over medium high heat in a deep skillet. Add onions and garlic. Sweat the onions and garlic until they are clear and softened – about 15 minutes.

Add tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for another 20 – 30 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft.

Working in batches, transfer soup to the jar of a blender and puree until smooth. Return to saucepan and place over medium heat. Add the cream and season with salt and pepper. Cook until soup is heated through. If soup seems too thick, stir in some extra stock to thin. Makes 6 cups.

For the grilled cheese offer sourdough, rye, pullman or whole grain. Instead of American cheese or velveeta use cheddar, fontina, mozzarella, Gruyere and Swiss. Grate the cheese so that it melts more evenly.

Why not add ham (goes great with Gruyere), prosciutto (goes great with mozzarella), or bacon (goes with anything). Don’t forget spreads like whole grain mustard, sauerkraut, fig jam and for garnish – minced chives.

Let everyone make their own sandwich and cook them a la minute. Serve with a mug of tomato soup.

Now that’s what we call a party! Da Bears!