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!

Prepare Your Home For Sale and Stay Safe During Covid-19

There are still many great reasons to sell your home during this time of fighting a virus. A concern to many however, and rightfully so, is coming into contact with others when you don’t know where they have been.

The nice thing about technology is that you can still have a certified home stager give you expert advice on how to get your home in top selling condition without having to come in contact with anyone.

I have done many ‘distance’ home staging consultations for clients with cabins out of town or living out of state. It can be done well to offer assistance in getting a home in top selling condition and still stay safe.

There are two options:

  • FaceTime/Skype with you:  Skype

This works well if there are two people present at the home. One to hold the phone and one to take notes. This option is helpful in that we can focus in immediately on problem areas.

It can be challenging in that it is difficult to hold the phone steady so that I can see clearly, background noise such as children in the home can be distracting, or if you are trying to take notes and hold the phone at the same time. This may be difficult for older clients, those not tech savvy or without a strong internet connection.

This option is nice however in that questions can be answered back and forth in real time.

 

Facetime

 

  • Send Me Photos of Your Home:

Living Room With this option I will provide a list of what photos you should take of your home. Email or text them to me and I will go through them and write up recommendations for each room. The list of recommendations will be emailed to you along with any questions I may have of the space. Either via email or by scheduling a follow up telephone call, we can go over your questions and discuss any questions that remain for me.

This option works great in that I can take my time viewing each room and the notes are already done for you. The photos also provide more detail and I can zoom in on corners.     Checklist

 

With either option there will be an opportunity to follow up with me to address any remaining or unanswered questions.    There may be times that a combination of the above makes sense.

 

When you are ready to schedule your Virtual Home Staging Consultation, I will provide you with more details and we’ll discuss the best option for you.

 

Hopefully this is a solution to a very short term problem. BUT I CAN HELP YOU NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE!

With stores and restaurants closed, now is the perfect time to be working on that checklist of things needing to be done before listing your home. Now is a great time even if you won’t be listing for many months. Got the time? Get ahead of the game!

 

 

 

The All Important Flooring Question

It’s bound to come up….

“I’m selling my home and I know I need to refinish these floors. What stain color should I pick?”

“I am updating my home and want to get rid of these honey oak floors, what color is in?”

“I’m replacing all my flooring and upgrading to hardwood, what color should I be looking at?”

I get that question many times a week and what I tell you today, wasn’t what I would have told you two years ago and it more than likely won’t be what I will tell you two years from now.

That’s just the thing…..trends change but the good news is there are some things that have not changed in the last decade. That lasting componet is that the floor should be in contrast with your wood work and kitchen cabinets.

 

5195 Ranchview Ln N-21

 

A few years ago very dark espresso floors were all the rage. They were stunning and still are but people quickly realized  how tough it was to keep them looking clean. You saw every little spec of dust.

Flooring then became lighter, first to a medium walnut, and now to the current floor trend which is very light. These photos are of a luxury home I staged for the Parade of Homes Fall of 2019.

 

5195 Ranchview Ln N-1

 

How long will this current trend last? Who knows!

If you are refinishing your floors for selling purposes, go with what is on trend.

If you are refinishing your floors and plan to live in your home many years, go with what you like but still contrasts with the wood elsewhere in the home. You can enjoy the beauty of the color and down the road at resell time, refinish them in the color that is current at the time.

Refinishing hardward floors is not cheap and it is a messy process. If you are unsure about stain colors be sure to hire a professional home stager to assist you.