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A Fun Meal for these ‘Stay At Home’ Times

I am an introvert by nature but I am already going a little stir crazy with having to ‘shelter in place’. If the weather was a bit nicer here in Minnesota I at least could be sitting outside on our patio or doing yard work. But until then I am staying busy with projects in the home and getting creative in the kitchen.

I was looking for something different to make for dinner to help make some of this solitude more fun and I decided on Fondue! I know fondue isn’t totally new and different but for me I normally think of fondue for Christmas or New Years. Maybe it’s because that is a time of relaxing over a long meal rather than hurrying off to school activities or finishing errands.fondue sticks

We have more time right now so it’s a perfect time to lounge over a long meal.

I hunted down some recipes and my husband and I had a two person fondue party!! We didn’t do the hot oil thing but made a meal out of the cheese and then went right for the dessert! What a blast and so yummy. I wanted to share the recipes I used and of course you can get creative. A link to the website for the full recipe notes are within the title of the recipe with an easy recipe print option.

cheese fondue

Classic Cheese Fondue

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
25 mins
A classic recipe for cheese fondue that is easy to make and sure to impress your guests.

Ingredients

For the fondue:

  • 1/3 pound firm alpine-style cheese — such as gruyere
  • 1/3 pound fontina
  • 1/3 pound gouda
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup dry white wine — such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 clove garlic — minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Triple-Cheese-Fondue-35120Assorted fondue dippers:

    • Boiled baby new potatoes in their skins — quartered if large
    • Lightly steamed broccoli florets
    • Lightly steamed cauliflower florets
    • Lightly steamed asparagus
    • Button mushrooms — wiped clean and stems removed
    • Cherry tomatoes
    • Sliced firm apples — such as Granny Smith
    • Cooked sliced hot sausage
    • Cubed French, sourdough, and/or pumpernickel bread

Instructions

  1. Grate all of the cheeses. In a medium bowl, combine the cheeses with the cornstarch, tossing thoroughly to coat all pieces.
  2. In a stove-safe fondue pot or large heavy saucepan, bring the wine, garlic, and lemon juice to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the cheeses to the simmering liquid a little at a time, stirring well between each addition to ensure a smooth fondue. Once smooth, stir in the brandy, mustard, and nutmeg.

  3. Arrange an assortment of bite-size dipping foods on a platter. If necessary, carefully pour the fondue into a fondue pot. Serve with fondue forks or wooden skewers. Dip and enjoy!

Now for the really good stuff……

 

delish-chocolate-fondue-still001-1545405557

Perfect Chocolate Fondue

Yield: 6-8 servings        Prep Time: 10 minutes
 

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (see note)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (see note for other variations)
  • Lots of dipping options (strawberries, bananas, small rice krispie squares, vanilla cookies, etc.)

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, combine the chocolate, milk and cream and heat on low, stirring often, until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Don’t let it come to a boil; keep it on low heat.
  2. Once melted, stir in the vanilla extract. If needed, stir in heavy cream or milk a tablespoon at a time to adjust for a thinner consistency. Pour the mixture into a fondue pot or small slow cooker to keep warm while serving.
  3. Serve with dippers of your choice. We love: marshmallows, vanilla cookies, strawberries, rice krispie treats cut in little squares, bananas.
  4. Any extra chocolate leftovers (??) will keep well in the refrigerator – just reheat on low to have yourself another chocolate fondue experience.    chocolate fondue

 

So on your next trip to the grocery store for essentials…..grab these ingredients and have a party!

Selling Your Home When You Have Pets – Home Staging Minneapolis

Let me be the first to say that I love animals! Love love love. That does however exclude snakes 🙂

But…when I put my house up for sale I had to address the issue of my dogs and what I was going to do when I had showings. It is something you need to give some serious thought to and discuss with your Real Estate Agent.

Although it is disclosed that there is a an animal in the home, it is always best if the potential buyer never encounters or sees your pet. They do not always read all the disclosures or remember them from house to house and either way, it is best that when they enter your home they see no sign of your pet. 

This includes:

  • No Kennel
  • No Food and Water Bowls
  • No Beds or Toys

Now this is tougher for cat owners as if the cat if left in the home, the kitty litter needs to be left in the home. If that is the case make sure the kitty litter is in a concealed area. The lower level and such as the furnace room is best. Please make sure it is not on the main level and for sure not in one of the main living areas or a bath tub. A covered litter box versus an open one as pictured should be used and keep it clean!

 

Cats that run and hide when someone enters a house really aren’t much of a problem. If you have a social cat  that will greet the buyers at the door, you again may want to make arrangements for your cat to not be in the home.

 

Here are some general reasons why your pet should not be in the home:

  1. Some people just aren’t animal lovers and having them in the home freaks them out.
  2. Even if they are animal lovers they won’t know if your pet is friendly and may be uncomfortable.
  3. If your dog is a barker and is laying in a crate barking the entire time, the buyer will be annoyed and rush through looking at your home. Plus it will leave the buyer with a negative emotional feeling about your home.
  4. If the buyer sees dog beds, cat toys etc it triggers their mind to think about scratched woodwork or piddle on the carpet. They will put more scrutiny in viewing your home.
  5. Your pet may be injured – yes….not everyone grows up with respect for animals and people may poke or jab at your pet even in their kennels.
  6. If your pet hurts anyone for any reason in your home you are liable.

I want to bring up little furry critters like guinea pigs and also reptiles. If I saw a snake in a cage in a bedroom I’d be out of there SO FAST!! Have a friend or family member babysit little critters and reptiles while your house is for sale.

And let’s address odor. Unfortunately almost all pets can leave some kind of odor. Be aware of that and take some precautions with additional bathing and opening windows when possible to air out the house.

It is a pain when selling your home with pets (and kids which was a different blog post “Selling Your Home When You Have Young Children”), there just isn’t any way to get around it. When I sold my home I made arrangements that I needed a four hour notice of any showings so I could get home, get my Saint Bernards in the truck along with their beds, toys and bowls; wipe down all doggy slobbers and do a quick vacuum. The feedback I received was “I can’t believe there is a pet in this house.” Perfect! And little did they know it was two Saints totaling almost 400 pounds!

At least it was before I had three! (old photo…look how young I was!)

 

 

So give it some thought and then talk with your Realtor to see what works best for you and your pet.

 

 

A Mudroom Makeover!

I know the kitchen is the most important room in the house but the mudroom and laundry room get so much traffic and use that most people don’t want them to be dingy.

Renovating these rooms may not be on the top of a homeowner’s list but I have to say that it can not only make you happy as a homeowner but make a potential buyer do a little happy dance!

I have been working with these homeowner’s for quite a while, first assisting them with the sale of their home and then room by room in renovating their dream home. You can check out a previous blog post to see the first phases in “A Dream Home in the Country Comes True”.

This next phase may not have felt as glamorous but let me say that it turned out that way. I am going to share the before and after photos of the mudroom and then you will need to wait until my next post to see the laundry room. But, I will say ‘Hold On To Your Hats Folks!’

This mudroom was not only dated but extremely small. It was tight quarters and dark, not to mention containing some very outdated wallpaper. With four doors coming into this mudroom it also saw a lot of traffic.

 

 

 

 

The first phase was to rip out the existing closet that had doors banging into each other. You may wonder why you would ever want to lose a closet but in this instance the garage right outside will be holding locker systems so no storage was harmed in the transforming of this room. Well…it was harmed but not lost. LOL

 

 

 

Once the closet was removed a larger French door to the outside deck and gazebo area was added which really opened up the space and brought some much needed light. Then the pretty stuff started. Shiplap walls and ceiling painted white, luxury vinyl tile with a wood plank look put on the floors, and barn doors built by the homeowner. I’m going to add that he forged his own barn door hardware but DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. 🙂

Okay I can’t wait any longer…..here is the big reveal!!! Yes it is the same room…..the photos are in order and same angle as the before photos above. Yes it is the same room, or did I mention that already?

 

 

 

I just happened upon the steel bench when I was looking for accessories for the space and it worked perfectly with the mirror they had already found.

A couple cool metal signs and a some throw pillows in a vintage style fabric and it’s done. It probably didn’t seem quite that quick to the homeowners doing almost all the work themselves but it seemed pretty quick and flawless to me.

 

 

 

Although this remodel and update was done to enjoy…..which one do you think will bring more money and a faster sale when they go to sell? Take a look at some of the spaces in your home and determine if perhaps it makes sense to do some improvements now to enjoy yourself and then reap the rewards come selling time.

If you need assistance in making decision on which rooms to renovate or making selections for the best return on your investment, always call a professional Home Stager that also does Design work.

You won’t want to miss the next post when you see the reveal of the laundry room. You caught a little glimpse of it in these photos but just wait……..