Consumer Real Estate News

    • Infuse Bright, Nutritional Flavor Into Summer

      23 June 2021

      (Family Features) When families fire up their grills and turn to favorite summer recipes for filling meals, nutritional considerations are often not the focus. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. This year, you can rethink traditional seasonal menus by opting for main courses – and even desserts – that offer healthier returns by incorporating ingredients like whole oranges, which provide a multitude of nutritional benefits. 

      Adding an ingredient like California Valencia oranges to your family’s dishes means you’re including a rich source of vitamin C (70% of the daily value) and an excellent source of folate (20% of the daily value) in your seasonal spread. As a balance of sweet and tart, the extra juicy oranges reach their peak in summer, making them perfect for warm-weather recipes, juicing or as portable snacks to take along on adventures. 

      Plus, their anti-inflammatory benefits help support the body, especially as outdoor activities increase in the warm weather. The potassium found in oranges also helps support cell function, healthy blood pressure levels, bone health and hydration.

      When it comes to meal planning, oranges are a highly versatile fruit that can be added to both sweet and savory dishes, as well as beverages, cocktails, sauces, frozen desserts, smoothies and more. To introduce a depth of flavor and burst of nutrition to dishes, add a sprinkle of zest, segments or fresh-squeezed juice, or even grill the fruit to bring out the flavor. 

      Try combining them with tastes of the Mediterranean for dinner with Orange and Harissa Glazed Beef Kebabs or end your meal with a refreshing sweet treat like Orange Ice Cream the entire family can enjoy. 

      By introducing the sweetness of oranges to your warm-weather menu, you can infuse fresh flavor while rethinking family favorites. Visit CaliforniaCitrusGrowers.com for more information on California oranges. 

      Orange and Harissa Glazed Beef Kebabs
      Prep time: 2 hours
      Cook time: 20 minutes
      Servings: 2

      1/2 cup California Valencia orange juice, freshly squeezed
      2 California Valencia oranges, zested and segmented
      2 tablespoons harissa paste
      2 tablespoons honey
      2 tablespoons olive oil
      1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
      2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
      8 ounces beef tenderloin, cut into 2-inch cubes
      1 green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch squares
      1 red onion, cut into 2-inch squares
      16 broccoli florets, raw
      kosher salt, to taste
      black pepper, to taste
      cooked couscous
      mandarin chutney

      In a mixing bowl, combine orange juice and zest, harissa, honey, oil, mint and garlic; mix well.

      Add beef cubes and toss to coat; marinate 2 hours in the refrigerator.

      Using long skewers, build kebabs, alternating beef, peppers, onions and broccoli on each.

      Heat grill to medium-high heat.

      Season kebabs with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill until vegetables are cooked through and beef reaches desired doneness.

      Serve over a bed of couscous and top with mandarin chutney.

      Orange Ice Cream
      Prep time: 1 hour
      Servings: 6

      2 cups California Valencia orange juice, freshly squeezed
      1 1/2 cups whole milk
      1 1/2 cups heavy cream
      1/2 vanilla bean
      2 tablespoons glucose syrup or corn syrup
      1/4 cup non-fat dry milk powder
      2/3 cup granulated sugar
      3 egg yolks
      2 California Valencia oranges, zest only
      California Valencia orange slices, for garnish

      Prepare ice cream making vessels or units, such as old-fashioned churn or ice cream machines with motors.

      Reduce orange juice to 1 cup; ice down to chill.

      In a saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, cream, vanilla scraped pod and seeds, and glucose syrup until hot; remove from heat. Steep 30 minutes.

      In a bowl, combine milk powder and sugar. Add dry mixture into hot cream mixture. Whisk to combine. Return mixture to medium heat.

      In a separate heat-safe bowl, combine egg yolks and orange zest.

      In small increments, pour hot mixture over yolks and zest. Mix vigorously while pouring.

      Cook to 185 F.

      Remove from heat and pour through a fine strainer. Hand-blend until smooth.

      Ice down immediately. Add cooled, reduced orange juice. Hand blend to combine.

      Spin and freeze then follow directions according to the machine or vessel to make ice cream.

      Serve with orange slices.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Ways to Improve Your Life in Just 5 Minutes

      23 June 2021

      These are tough times to live through, and stress, for most of us, has increased over the last 15 months. But science has found that we can boost our physical and mental health significantly without taking much time at all to do it. These five easy actions can improve your well-being in five minutes or less.

      1. Take Your Vitamin D - Doctors say taking 2,000 IU of Vitamin D daily can support the immune system—especially important in the age of COVID—and may lower the risk of developing several types of cancer. 
      2. Pet Your Dog - A Harvard Medical School study showed dog owners had lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than non-owners—differences not explainable by diet, smoking or body mass index. Scientists believe dogs have a calming effect that lowers blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
      3. Make a Gratitude List - Take time each day to write down five things you're grateful for, such as your health, your job, your friends and even your cup of morning coffee. Studies show that expressing gratitude causes the brain to produce more dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain, and this simple exercise has been found to improve mood.
      4. Call a Friend - Feelings of loneliness and isolation can increase the risk of a heart attack, according to a study in the journal Heart. People who reported poor social relationships had a 29% higher risk of coronary disease and a 32% higher risk of stroke than people who have solid friendships. So, pick up the phone and call a friend you haven’t talked to for a while.
      5. Stretch - Take a few moments every day to limber up. It can benefit more than your muscles. Sports medicine doctors say stretching a few minutes a day will do wonders for your health, like better bone and joint health, improved balance, better flexibility and mobility, and lowered stress. That’s because stressed muscles are tight and tense, and simple stretching helps to relax them.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Why Condensation May Mean That It's Time to Replace Your Windows

      23 June 2021

      Condensation forms when an object is cooler than the surrounding air and water droplets accumulate on the surface of the cooler object. It can form on the inside or outside of a window, and also in between the panes of glass. In some cases, condensation is completely normal and nothing to worry about, but in other instances, it’s a sign that your windows need to be replaced.

      Condensation Inside Your Home
      When the interior of your house is warm, the windows are usually colder than other parts of a room because the windows come into direct contact with cold outside air. If moisture inside your house comes into contact with cool windows, condensation can form on the interior surfaces of windows.

      Using a dehumidifier can lower the humidity level inside your house, which may reduce or eliminate condensation on the windows. If condensation is only forming on the inside of some windows, that may be a sign that your home has drafts. In that case, using weather stripping to seal the areas around windows with condensation may take care of the problem.

      Condensation on the inside surfaces of several windows can also be a sign that your home has inadequate ventilation. If you don’t address the issue, high levels of humidity inside your house can lead to mold and mildew, which can endanger your family’s health and can cause physical damage to your home.

      Condensation Outside Your House
      Condensation can form on the outside surfaces of windows when there is moisture in the air outdoors and the windows are slightly cooler than the outside temperature. When condensation forms on the outside of windows under those conditions, it means that the windows are doing their job and providing good insulation, which isn’t allowing heat transfer to occur. 

      Condensation Inside Windows
      Double- and triple-pane windows have multiple panes of glass that can provide better insulation than single-paned windows. The space between the glass panes is filled with a gas, such as argon, that provides insulation. 

      If the seals break and the gas escapes, the windows can no longer provide adequate insulation. The loss of the insulating gas can allow hot air to enter your house in the summer and warmed air to escape in the winter. That can lead to high utility bills.

      If you see condensation that you can’t wipe away because it’s not on the surfaces of the windows, but rather located between the panes of glass, that means that the windows are failing. The solution is to install new windows.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • What to Buy and Not Buy at the Dollar Store

      22 June 2021

      Name brand products turn up at dollar stores for various reasons—manufacturer’s overstock, new packaging, misprinted labels and more—and they are joined by a host of no-name brands that may or may not be as safe, healthy or effective. 

      Some dollar store products, though, are awesome bargains. Others are definitely not. So, how do frugal shoppers know what the values are and what to leave on the shelf? 

      Dollar Store Items You SHOULD Buy

      Paper Goods -
      Napkins, paper plates, tissues and other paper products typically perform as well as those that cost twice as much at the grocery store.
      Cards and Gift Wrap - Save big bucks by buying your greeting cards and wrap here, as well as color coordinated party plates, napkins and cutlery.
      Spices and Herbs - Canadian-based Encore and other companies make FDA-approved seasonings, spices and herbs for dollar stores that are as fresh and tasty as those costing dollars more elsewhere.
      Household Cleaners - Most laundry detergents, fabric softeners, furniture polish and such at the dollar store are related to brands you would recognize and perform just as well at a far lower cost. Don’t forget the white vinegar, which is the cheapest way to clean many surfaces. 
      Dishes and Stainless Steel Utensils - A stainless steel whisk is the same whisk, whether it’s 99 cents at the dollar store or $5 elsewhere. Feel safe buying stainless steel cooking utensils, glassware and dishwasher-safe ceramic-ware at the dollar store and save serious dollars.

      Dollar Store Item You SHOULD NOT Buy

      Black Plastic Kitchen Utensils -
      While stainless steel is fine, these plastic versions may contain Bromine, which has been linked to cancer and birth defects.
      Plastic Food Containers - These may contain phthalates, which cause reproductive problems in lab animals and are found in high levels, especially in women, in the U.S. population. 
      Batteries - Most dollar-store batteries are carbon-zinc, which drain very quickly. Look for alkaline, as they last much longer.
      Vitamins - A Consumers Report study found that half the dollar store multivitamins they tested were missing at least one listed nutrient, and several vitamins didn’t dissolve adequately.
      Toys - Many no-name toys have sharp edges or pieces that can easily be swallowed. They are often flimsily made and break easily, and/or may contain lead paint.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 7 Tips for Planning an Extended Vacation

      22 June 2021

      (Family Features) If you’re making the most of this year’s vacation by planning an extra-long trip, you’re not alone. Whether it’s extra vacation days that accumulated due to pandemic restrictions or pent-up desire for a change of scenery (or both), travelers are planning longer getaways.

      In fact, Vrbo data indicates travelers are 34% more likely to book a stay of at least seven nights and 31% less likely to book a three-night stay this summer.

      “After a year of storing away vacation days, this summer is quickly shaping up to be the season of PTO for many employees,” said Melanie Fish, Vrbo’s travel expert.

      If you’re considering an extended getaway, consider these tips help ensure your trip meets your expectations.

      Adjust your budget to accommodate the needs of a longer trip. A longer getaway obviously means more days of lodging and more meals away from home, but don’t forget to account for other costs that come with an extended vacation like more days of parking at the airport and more entertainment expenses as a result of those extra days you’ll get to fill with fun.

      1. Choose a destination where you’ll find plenty to explore and enjoy over an extended period. Popular options this season on Vrbo include Outer Banks, North Carolina; Oak Island and Southport, North Carolina; Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Rehoboth Beach and Fenwick Island, Delaware; and Jersey Shore, New Jersey. All of these coastal destinations offer a mix of entertainment and relaxation for a chance to truly refresh and recharge.
      2. Create an itinerary, even if it’s loosely outlined, so you can make the best use of your vacation days. Keep an eye on the weather as you plan which days to spend on the beach or at the pool and when it might be better to see some sights indoors. Try to build in activities that appeal to each member of your travel party and aim for a balance between adventure and relaxation.
      3. Look for extended-stay amenities that offer convenience for your trip. When you’re away for a longer period of time, look for amenities that make your time more comfortable, like kitchens where you can prepare some of your meals.
      4. Shop for discounts to make a longer stay more affordable. For example, some Vrbo hosts offer discounts for new listings as well as week- or month-long stays. Travelers can use filters to find these discounted properties when searching for a place to stay.
      5. Avoid overpacking for an extended getaway. You may be tempted to pack extra clothes and other belongings, but that can weigh you down. Instead, choose outfits you can mix and match, and look for accommodations with laundry facilities so you can wash and re-wear clothing.
      6. Make arrangements to ensure your home life is in order. Being away for an extended period may mean a little extra work to maintain things back home. For example, you may need to arrange for someone to water your plants, take care of your pets, check your mail and receive deliveries.
      Start planning your extended getaway at Vrbo.com.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.