Category Archives: Homes N Cooking

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SELLING YOUR HOME WITHOUT AN AGENT! THINK AGAIN!

Did you wake up this morning and decide you wanted to see your own home??  Have you heard horrific stories regarding Real Estate Agents and how all they want is to “cash the check”?  Are you considering putting a sign out on your lawn and seeing where that takes you in this low inventory market?  You might want to rethink this decision!!!

There are LOTS of good agents!  We frankly are right at the top of that criteria!  We handle transactions for beginning to end!  Ourselves!  We protect you from scary legal issues and once that new owner has the keys you can feel secure that all went perfectly.  Well we make it seamless!  A home purchase is one of the biggest transactions for a buyer.  No matter the price range!  The representation of a professional far outweighs the benefits of selling your own home!  These are the days of getting sued for “anything” by “anyone”!  A home seller just cannot know all the ins and outs of what a transaction entails!  When we present a client their complete care is our main focus!  We put your needs over our own every time!

Two normal people dealing with a sale.  No problems!  WRONG!  The owner or seller may have no clue as to what the real value of their property is.  They merrily go on Zillow and if they like what they see that’s “their price”.  If not they count on the home that just sold down the street and come up with that sales price.  Not considering that unless that home is EXACTLY like theirs this won’t work!  If they go with Zillow they most likely have a better chance of getting discovered by Brad Pitt for his next movie than to get that price.  Sellers are just not familiar with APPRAISALS!  I go to every appraisal armed with a report of the SOLDS in the neighborhood.  First of us all is “like for Like”.  Then I figure houses that have sold for less and for more and compare those to our listed property and adjust.  YES, appraisers can talk to me and truly do appreciate the work I help them with!  We do everything we can for the LENDER as he is HOLDING THE MONEY!

Don;’t even get me started on disclosures!  We as agents are held to a higher standard because we have licenses to protect!  Agents know how crucial it is to disclose, disclose, disclose!  Not to scare the buyers but to protect them and the sellers for any future problems!  YOU DIDN’T TELL ME YOU HAD A ROOF LEAK!!!Finding a Home Inspector is easy – finding a really good one – well that takes experience!  My partner goes to every inspection and “knows stuff”!  He can interpret issues professionally and knows what can be a problem and what isn’t.  Knowing the difference between a GFIC and a hot wired outlet is pretty important!

I could go on and on but too much for a single blog.  Neighborhoods, Schools, Parks, Shopping, STAGING, Marketing and so much more!  We do this every day!  A seller may have never left his block!  Hire an agent.  Interview a few!  Get client reviews!  Selling a home is like having a “short term” relationship while your home is on the market.  Hiring someone you like and trust can be a great experience!  And besides that you get the best price and terms on your sale.  Peace of mind is priceless!

 


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WORLD HOUSING AGENTS OF CHANGE!

 

I was introduced to World Housing yesterday at a company meeting.  Being in the Real Estate Sales business we sometimes loose the fact that the homes we are selling are hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.  We sit in our homes, in our favorite chairs with our children or pets by our side, and we stress about the silly things that happened today.  The story of World Housing Communities tugged at my hear and I decided that I needed and wanted to get involved.

World Housing Communities believes that safe, secure housing is a right that everyone deserves.  They travel the world to find inspiring, lasting community building partners and work with them to do what they are great at doing.  The company I represent has made a commitment to get involved with this amazing and heart tugging project.  A new home means a new start and the beginning of a life with safety, security and stability.  Things that most of us have worked for and obtained in our lives!  Stating copy from their information – what grows from this is restoration of dignity and hope for the future.  Communities begin to thrive, bringing up a new generation of healthy, educated and inspired leaders for their community.

It does take a village to build a village, and I believe that because Tijuana is at our back door we can relate to helping even more.  We will be able to “literally” see the results of our help and contributions.  We can change lives!  I just wanted to share my recent experience and will continue reporting as this project grows.  I feel lucky that I have my life,m my clients, my friends and family!  I now have a new focus and a new community to be involved with and help to thrive.  Let me know if you have questions regarding the Tijuana Project.  Check out World Housing web site!  You’ll be glad you did!


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HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND SAYING GOOD BY TO 2016!

We can’t say it hasn’t been an interesting year!  We as San Diego Coastal Homes have been blessed with having an amazing real estate year!  We couldn’t be more grateful for all our wonderful clients and the adventures we have gone thru with them!  Every home buying experience is an adventure!  Every home sale is a bit emotional and we navigate through the waters.   Understanding that a persons home is special and important to that seller!!    We try really hard to make transactions stress free as possible as purchasing a home should be a joyous and exciting time!  We have forged ahead with resolving foundation questions, truss cutting issues, and WHY WHY do people even think about cutting into trusses???  Termites eating their way from the ground up.  First time we had encountered subterranean termites.  Then we encountered it again!!!   Closing a transaction with clients that do NOT use the internet — driving for hours to make sure forms were property understood and signed.   People think this is an easy job – NOPE!  Yet what makes it easy is dealing with the wonderful clients we have and at the end knowing that we have served them well!!  I always try to do more than needed.  I am grateful that is more than appreciated!

The world is at an interesting time!  We seem to be regressing instead of going forward in how mankind treats each other.  So all we can do is be on the “winning” side and appreciate our country, our amazing veterans and service people that have kept and are keeping us safe, and that there is still more good than bad in the world!  Our election turned into a true reality show with many not liking either choice which is really sad.  Our foreign policy is dismal.  Everyday there is another disaster.   But the best way is to work together and instead of complaining try to do our best to make a difference.  Getting involved with some charity or organization that is meaningful to you.  I’m all about Veterans and hopefully can get more involved in 2017!

Of course every year is the same resolution – but this year I am going to TRY really hard to stay fit and healthy and stay away from life’s “noise”.  As a customer service expert I have to still focus on all that the profession of real estate brings – good and bad.  But to realize that all I can do is what I can do and that all the things I stress about are fixable!  It’s tough to be all about CLIENT SATISFACTION!  But no matter what it’s still my number one priority!!!   So HAPPY NEW YEAR AND WELCOME 2017!!!  We’re ready!


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Pork Chop With Romano Sauce

There is a wonderful restaurant here in North County that serves chicken with an amazing sauce.  I asked for the recipe but only got as far as the “ingredients”.  So I played around and came pretty darn close.  I used it with pork chops instead of chicken and it turned out really well.  The key is “arrowroot” as that is how I thickened it without using so much butter that an ambulance would show up at the door.  The sauce makes enough for chicken the next day.

FIXINGS:

  • 4 Pork Chops
  • 2 tablespoons – more or less olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Garlic chopped
  • 1 whole shallot – chopped
  • sprinkle of chili flakes
  • White cooking wine
  • Stalk of Rosemary – chopped  (NOT TOO MUCH)
  • 1/4 or so butter
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Juice of half lemon – more or less (TASTE when cooking)
  • Salt and Pepper – I use Lawry’s for both
  • Arrowroot for thickening

PREPARATION

Heat medium pot on medium heat.  Add olive oil and heat well — then add and sautee garlic and shallots until softened.  Add sprinkle of Chili flakes and rosemary- cook for about minute.  Add white wine, reduce and simmer.  Add beef and chicken stock, butter and lemon juice to taste.  Season with Lawry’s Salt and Pepper.

In a separate pan heat olive oil and season pork chops with salt and pepper. Cook n pan for 4 minutes on each side.  I use pork chops with bone in as I like their flavor more than boneless.

Pour Sauce over chops.  Add Arrow Root as needed to thicken sauce.  Maybe a tiny bit more butter.

Call 911 –  KIDDING

For the potatoes I just used baby red potatoes — par boiled them will soften .  Then used cast iron skillet and put in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, crushed garlic clove, and threw in potatoes.  When they start sizzling I used potato smasher and smashed them until they turned crispy.  Sprinkled a little Rosemary and smashed some more.  They are amazingly delicious!!!

 

 


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HOME BUYING LIFESTYLE CRITERIA

Home buying criteria is changing with the new crop of home buyers demographic including more young families.  Buying a home in 2016 is much more than what a floor plan or kitchen layout has offers.  Buyers are much more concentrated on “where to live” and “how to live”.  As agents making ourselves familiar with the activities and what neighborhoods have to offer to a buyer gives us a deeper connection to those buyers as well as showing sellers that we “know” their neighborhood!  For example I have gotten to love and know North Park really well though it’s 20 minutes from my office.  It’s all desire and knowledge of the area and market.

As a “lifestyle” agent we are pioneering the path that not only exposes what the “home has to offer” but what the “area has to offer”.  As always schools are important to families, but also quick access to parks, can dogs walk there, where are the soccer fields, the closest BBQ restaurant and so very much more.  I once had a client that HAD to walk to a nail salon.  Took awhile and she had to walk a bit farther- but it happened.

We are lifestyle tour guides and knowing what an area has to offer when a property is being marketed for sale gives us a much larger connection not only to the home but to the lifestyle it offers!


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TURKEY MEATBALLS WITH TOUCH OF PORK!

I Have been making Turkey meatballs forever strictly because of the perception of turkey being a healthy alternative to beef!  They have always turned out great but I thought I might “kick” them up a bit!  I am a good “Home Cook” but secretly I have found a Marinara sauce from Cosco that is AMAZING!  White Linen Marinara Sauce.  It’s super easy when making a last minute meal! I’m a cooking snob and only use this when I’m too rushed to make a sauce.  But truly it’s “DELISH”!

Pre Heat 375 degrees

FIXINGS

  • 1 lb ground turkey – NOT extra lean as that taste like sawdust!
  • 1/4 lb Gound Pork.  Don’t ask me what’s in it – got it at Gelson’s – they don’t kill you!
  • 1 egg- whipped
  • About 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 brown or white onion – chopped fine
  • 5 garlic – minced (the five garlic rule of HomesnCooking)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup – grated Mozzarella-  Actually shredded bag kind is fine
  • Lawry’s Seasoned Salt – few shakes
  • Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper – few shakes
  • Squirt of Tomato Paste

MIXINGS

Sautee the garlic and the onions until soft.  I find if I used them raw in the meatballs they turn out bit crunchy.  Great when eating carrot sticks – not so good on meatballs.

Let the mixture cool off a bit- then mix everything together until blended.

Wash your hands- important as keeps meatballs from sticking to your SKIN!

Spray large cookie tray with some Pam- no sticking!

Form meatballs – pick your size – see photo mine are about size of golf balls.  You KNOW what a meatball looks like!

Cook for about 30 minutes.  You can pick one apart to make sure they are cooked thru.  If smaller meatballs less time.  NO raw turkey for us!

Put into lasagna pan and cover with Marinara Sauce that has been pre heated.  Sprinkle with some diced Italian Parsley if you want to be totally fancy.

Serve immediately – DELICIOUS!  winner dinner! that can be cooked in less than an hour.  Serve with any kind of pasta that you like.  Or just as side dish with steamed veggies or salad.  Just keep quiet about the sauce:)

 


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BISTRO DRUNKEN CHICKEN WITH SHALLOTS!

 

Sometimes at the end of the day you just need to NOT eat Italian!  This recipe though it has all the Mediterranean goodness that we love on a daily basis – has a “bit” of French in it and came out wonderful!  I’m “all about the sauce”!  And I serve it over brown rice – but obviously can be white or basmati.  Whatever makes you happy!  I can tell you the CHICKEN was happy! With that 1/4 cup of Flaming Cognac!!!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-3 TABLESPOONS OF OLIVE OIL
  • LARGE TABLESPOON OF UNSALTED BUTTER
  • 2 LARGE CHICKEN BREASTS – CUT IN HALF – I — USED ORGANIC-  I swear I can tell the difference
  • LAWRY’S SALT AND PEPPER
  • ABOUT 10 LARGE SHALLOTS – PEELED
  • 5 GARLIC CLOVES
  • 1/4 CUP OF COGNAC-  You can buy fairly inexpensive one — it’s for cooking!  YES you can take drink!
  • 4 LARGE TOMATOES –  OF THE VINE ARE GOOD ONES.    Chop.
  • BALSAMIC DRIZZLE –  in gourmet section of store— just keep on hand- great over Burrata cheese

FIXINGS:

1.  In deep skillet heat the oil and butter over high heat.  Season with Lawry’s Salt and Pepper.  when fats

are hot but not smoking add the chicken and cook on one side till even golden brown.  About 5 minutes.

Flip to other side and again brown till golden.  Another 5 minutes.

2.     Reduce heat to medium high.  Add shallots and garlic burying them under the chicken at the bottom

of the skillet.  Saute covered, shake pan a bit until shallots are brown and chicken cooked.  About

20 minutes.

3.      Heat the Cognac in small pan over medium heat for about 30 seconds.  Ignite with LONG match and

pour oven chicken,  Shake pan till flames subside.  It will flame like crazy and Chicken is SO very

happy!

4.       Stir in tomatoes and  continue cooking until sauce is nicely blended.

5.        Drizzle a bit of the Balsamic Glaze on top.  Do not mix!

6.        Serve over rice.

YUMALICIOUS!  .  I promise – simple yet great dinner party dish!


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DEL MAR TORREY POINT ESTATES REMODELED OCEAN VIEW HOME

As agents we are fortunate when we sell homes to sometimes be able to watch the transformation that happens when a home is remodeled.  The owners of this Torrey Point Estates home purchased the property because of its location walking distance to Torrey Pines State Beach and of course the sweeping white water and night views from most of the rooms.  The buyer always wanted an beautiful bathroom to soak in a bubble bath and just relax in an luxurious setting under her chandelier!  Using the services of an Interior Designer you can see from the photos the amazing transformation from 1986 to 2015!  It’s magic!  A complete demolition was done and granite and marble finishes were brought in.  Custom cabinets were built to fit the bathroom’s exact measurements!  Designer mirrors and lighting frame the exquisite chandelier that hangs in the middle of the room!  Luxury next to the beaches of Del Mar,

Above the living room was enhanced by adding Espresso Maple Flooring and enhanced fireplace.  The  hardwood was combined with the slate flooring to add warmth to the color of the sea.   The entire home was updated with again professional Designer making sure that all the surfaces and floors incorporated the feeling of coastal living with supreme elegance.

when you see the photographs above you  can really understand the value that a home commands once it has been lovingly and professionally designed with attention to every detail considered!  Quality and location are two main ingredients when looking for the perfect home in coastal Del Mar.

Call for private showing and watch the crashing waves for yourself!  Just sitting In the living room with its warmth and style while looking at the waves of the Pacific will make you never want to leave!  California living at its best!


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Spring Cleaning and Declutering Ideas

From selling houses for many years I have seen my share of “clutter”!  It’s easy to work with a client to declutter their home because we are both excited to make the house look as open and fresh as possible.  However when I walk into my own house I think “well this would look differently if I was putting MY home on the market!  We have two dogs that we adore!  So much there are “duplicate” dog beds in at least three rooms of our house.  TWO beds in each room.  Well – there are two dogs after all!  So here are some ideas that will help declutter your house.  I have more – check next blog as don’t want to overwhelm anyone!

We put a chalkboard up on our kitchen wall.  It’s great when we run out of something, easy off, bananas, whatever.  We write it on the board and the next person going to the store knows exactly what we need. It works great!  If you have kids it would be very useful for school activities so everyone knows when to be on the hockey field!

A shelf in a kids room with baskets or colored plastic boxes works great for a place for hiding toys.  Plus it makes the room light up!  If you have a high couch or bed baskets are also a great storage area that can be “shoved” underneath the couch.  Take your camera equipment – lenses, filter, etc.  Stuff that you don’t every day is very stashable!

My kitchen is a mecca for organization!  I am a “home chef” meaning I own multiple sets of plates, tons of bowls, cook books galore, kitchen “Roosters”… you name it! I have a “restaurant style Stainless Steel” shelf,  See above – that works great!  I love the look it gives my kitchen.  Sortoff like its a William Sonoma store!  My favorite is the Fondue pot that I have never used and most likely never will.  Why do I keep it?  It’s cute!  If you have the room look online for “restaurant shelving”.    Its super easy to put together and again gives kitchen a great look!

If you are like me and tend to buy the same thing over and over because I don’t remember what I have.  Pasta for instance.  Get some glass containers and stick the pasta inside.  Not its airtight and will stay fresh.  I have this mysterious “tiny moth family” — the moths are tiny – the family is NOT!  I have cleaned the pantry – sprayed- hosed.  They just come back.  If they can get past the glass container the suckers can STAY here!

More ideas to come but these can get you started.  (and me- going to buy glass containers)


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Asparagus Risotto Topped with Garlic Shrimp

This recipe is a little time consuming because of the “stirring” of the Risotto – but honestly it is totally worth while as the result is just as good as any four star restaurant (in my opinion) and this is after only a little bit of wine while I stirred!

RISOTTO- INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small onion – chopped
  • About 12 thin asparagus – NOT the giant disgusting size.  If you absolutely have to use frozen.  I used fresh!
  • Use only the flowery part not the thick stems.
  • 2 Tablespoon EVOO
  • little hunk of good quality butter
  • 1 1/4 cups Italian Risotto rice
  • Container of Swensen’s Chicken Stock –  I use low sodium
  • 1/4 cup White Wine — Any kind – just NOT sweet (ugh)

FIXINGS:

Sautee the onion and asparugus in heated Olive Oil and Butter – about 5 minutes

Stir in the rice – stir until the white dot appears on the kearnel(s)   (yes you can see it)

Stir in the white wine — let cook down

Heat the stock until boiling — then keep “really” hot

Stir in about a cup of stock – stir stir stir

Keeping adding the hot broth into the mixture and stirring as you add, little by little because the rice needs to absorb the broth as it cooks.  Stir Stir Stir…. drink little wine….stir!

When the rice is cooked (it should not be neither too hard, nor too soft) take the saucepan off the heat flame.  I know it’s tricky to cook Risotto but the right texture makes ALL the difference between a good Risotto and a great Risotto.

At the end grate about four big “grates” of Parmesan cheese.  (Reggiano please)

Set aside and make shrimp

INGREDIENTS:(serving for two)

12 large shrimp-  devein- –   (mine had blue veins _ I do NOT know what those shrimp eat??)

Take lemon and give a good squeeze on top before seasoning

About 12-14 Cherry Tomatoes

1 large Shallot – chopped

5 Garlic – chopped

Magic Seasoning Salt – Prudhommes

Shake of Red Pepper

2 tablespoons EVOO

Hunk of good quality butter

FIXINGS

Heat Butter and Olive Oil

Add shallots and Garlic and sauté 5 minutes – Add Cherry Tomatoes for a couple of minutes

Season Shrimp with Seasoning Salt – Watch the “heat” –  taste with your finger as you shake

Add some seasoning pepper if you want a little more “punch”

Add shrimp and sautee

Finish with little pour of white wine and a shake of Red Pepper

YES you can taste the sauce and season to “taste”—

Serve over bed of Asparagus Risotto

AMAZINGLY GOOD !!!  Are you hungry yet???