How to Add Value to Your Home Before Listing

We all have our own personal style, especially when it comes to decorating our home. Selling our home becomes a different story as you need to change your perspective from having your space with the character of your daily life to the perspective of the eye’s of the buyer.

Our eyes tend to work from the ground up and this reflects to the eye’s of the potential buyers when looking for work needed to be done on any home.

There are three areas to a home that show the most wear and tear but are also the easiest improvements:

  • Flooring

  • Wall treatments/Paint

  • Staging

Flooring -

Both carpet and hardwood floors show where the high-traffic areas are in your home. Whether the hardwood is more faded (from lots of sun or people exposure) or the carpet is more matted or discolored, the potential new home buyers will immediately notice.

Refinished or repurposed hardwoods, new carpet, or a professional carpet cleaning, will add thousands of dollars of value to your home. The floors will appear seamless, clean and up-to-date focusing the buyer’s eyes elsewhere, which you want to do!

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Wall Treatments -

Take a look at your home’s walls and notice the condition of what they are in along with what is currently on them. Are all walls painted or is wallpaper or a different texture in the mix? Are there chips, scratches, finger prints, dirt on the walls? Most likely you’ll need at least a fresh coat of paint. A simple, inexpensive solution that will end up adding to the value of your home with little cost to you. The walls are your home’s canvas and will be easy to tell if they’ve been updated.

Doors of any kind are important to consider as well. In the home above, we simply painted the wood closet doors white and it made a world of a difference to lighten up the space and blend together with the walls rather than be the room’s focal point.

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Staging -

Staging is a unique aspect Maple & Main focuses on as we not only want to help you sell your home, but create a home and space that fits your lifestyle and a potential buyer’s. The design behind the staging is what will make the difference of not just selling a home but making sure it is the best fit, not to mention quickly!

When setting up your home the key objective is to simplify your spaces. Too much furniture or decor makes a space look smaller than it really is and takes away from beautiful features of the structure of the home. Clean lines and no clutter is the goal.

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The above three improvements may be $5,000 — $10,000 of an investment but will add tens of thousands to your home when selling.

Happy fun fixer-upping!!

2 Refreshing Spring Cocktails

Spring is finally here and so are spring cocktails! 

With the weather changing comes a change in our taste buds as well. Hence, why we love lemonade and a not hot chocolate in the spring and summer months.

Bethanie and Brea here to share two of our favorite drinks you can try out when your outside enjoying the sunshine. 

First try the Cherry Blossom Tini.

A sake based cocktail, similar to a Cosmopolitan, making it light and perfect going into spring and summer. Perfect for a brunch or bridal shower, stepping up even the most casual event.  The alcohol content is fairly low making it easy to have simple flavors. 

 Supplies: 

  • Shaker

  • Jigger

  • Strainer

  • Stir Stick

Glasses of your preference, we used:

  • Martini glasses for the Cherry Blossom Tini

  • Mason jars for the Kentucky Mule

What you need for the Cherry Blossom Tini

  • Ice

  • 1.5 oz of sake (Fred Meyer’s only $8.00 — easy to find!)

  • 0.5 oz Cointreau Orange Liqueur (substitutes are fine!) 

  • 0.5 Cranberry Juice 

  • 0.25 (half of a jigger) fresh-squeezed Lime Juice 

  • 2 dashes of Orange Bitters (less is more!!) 

  • Lime garnish

Secondly, try the Kentucky Mule.

Similar to a Moscow Mule, but there’s a twist. Instead of vodka, you use bourbon (preferably bullet bourbon) for the Kentucky Mule - think Kentucky Derby style. With this kind of taste you can serve it anytime to enjoy with your friends and family to enjoy these beautiful seasons.

What you need for the Kentucky Mule:

  • Ice

  • 1.5 oz of bourbon (bullet bourbon is our fav!)

  • 0.25 (half of a jigger) of fresh-squeezed Lime Juice

  • 6 oz fill the rest with Ginger Beer

  • Lime garnish 

Overall, have fun with it! Get creative with what you have as far as barware, no need to restock your kitchen and who knows you could start a new trend! 

We understand you may want your kids to enjoy or maybe you’re cutting back on alcohol so we wanted to include some mocktails to try out as well:

Lime Rickey: 

  • 30ml Lime Juice

  • 30ml Sugar Syrup 1 

  • 15ml Orange Bitters

  • 120ml Soda Water

  • 1 Lime

The Real Shirley Temple: 

  • 45ml Grenadine

  • 180ml Ginger Ale

  • 1 Lemon

Have fun sippin!


Style & Design Tips: New Homeowners

 

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Intimidating is an understatement when you think of moving from a 500 sq. ft. apartment to then transitioning into a two-story home.

Let's talk style and design.

In styling an open living space, we were able to select rather large, statement furniture pieces. If you’ve ever lived in a large city where you search high and low for the smallest couch or the smallest chair the store has, this room is the exact opposite and gives you an endless amount of options when it comes to styling it. Who doesn’t love a good sectional? We’ve selected this custom sectional as most couch buyers don’t realize often times you can customize the look and style of your sectional if you have the time and patience to wait for it, otherwise what’s in stock could be fine as well. Adding accent chairs and ottomans is an excellent option too, as seen in this example.

This is the exciting debate with new homeowners as the decision is ultimately up to YOU.

With open concept rooms it’s important you define the space and have a set intention where you place each piece of furniture or decor as it allows the space to take its own shape. With hardwood floors, adding a large area rug to the space pulls the room together making it feel complete and homey.

Appliances, though not really decor, are often added immediately as they are part of our every day world. However, keeping them as neat and clean like a piece of art is just as important. Cords, gaming systems, DVDs, CDs, you name it, aren’t very cute to show off and would be better placed in storage elsewhere.

On the contrary artwork is extremely acceptable to showoff so putting a piece on an open wall could be a nice finishing touch to a room or even a mirror strategically placed to make a room feel larger.

Color is a key aspect that really finishes off a space. Where you put your color is where the eye will be drawn so a safe bet is to keep furniture pieces neutral so you can add color with pillows, plants and artwork and interchange as frequently as you’d like. Greenery is always good to implement not only because plants are beautiful but because they help clean your air making your home feel fresh and not stuffy.

Need some more inspiration? Check out these links to some of my favorite area rugs and pillows:

west elm

west elm

CB2

CB2

west elm

west elm

CB2

CB2

Target

Target

anthropologie

anthropologie

Target

Target

anthropologie

anthropologie

Seattle To Bainbridge Island Day Trip!

 

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Who knew a short 35-minute ferry ride could take us to a town with so much to offer? Let’s talk everything Bainbridge. 

The whole Maple + Main team ventured across the Puget Sound together. The Seattle ferry isn’t simply a mode of transportation itself, it’s a scenic experience of the surrounding areas and makes for a fun trip. 

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After arriving in Bainbridge, the team headed to the 5-star rated Good Egg restaurant. Good Egg utilizes fresh produce from the surrounding area.  Besides being a great restaurant, Good Egg also puts on fun events. Check out their events page here: https://squareup.com/store/goodeggbi

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With full bellies, the team was ready to have an exciting day of shop-hopping. Salt House was first on the list where Bethanie found a particularly special item called ‘Roman Salt’. Her son’s name is Roman whom recently finished culinary art school, so of course, she had to get it for him. 

90% of Salt House’s product are made in the USA with most being in the PNW. We love that! From small-batched foods to laundry detergent, there’s a product for you. https://www.salthousemercantile.com

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B.I. Barkery was a highlight for Brea as she found plenty of options for her beloved dog, Bear. This is the perfect spot for dog lovers with specialty items and organic treats. 

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Bon Bon Collections, specializing in ‘Bainbridge Island Fudge’, is a must visit where you’ll most likely be like Alise and go home with 5 lbs of fudge (she claims it was all for gifting ... yeah, right!). The fudge is made in-house daily and makes your visit that much sweeter! Plan the flavors you’ll want to try here: https://bonboncandies.com/flavors

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Churchmouse Yarns & Teas had a plethora of products that really pulled in each one of our team members. From clothes to dishware to their lavender products — grown in the San Juan Islands — one can easily spend hours just within this one shop. Stay up to date by signing up for their newsletter here:https://www.churchmouseyarns.com/pages/newsletters

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Seaside Station was our team’s last stop but it’s perfect to be your first stop being right by the ferry terminal. Located in an old gas station even the aesthetic is worth seeing. As a commuter market selling everything from flowers to hoodies, there’s something for everyone here. We loved the Bainbridge Island logo hoodies!

Our time quickly came to a close and we realized how much we didn’t get to see and do. Bainbridge part 2 is a must! Let us know your favorite things to do on Bainbridge and we’ll try them out our next trip. Happy day tripping!

What To Do: Enumclaw, WA

Brea and Stacie took a day trip to the town of Enumclaw to visit the must sees and dos.

First on the list was to go on a hike of Mount Peak (or Pinnacle Peak). 1.8 miles in length with an 1000 foot elevation gain, the hike is a ‘butt buster’ but very doable. With picturesque greens, we highly recommend making a visit as the hike is pet friendly and you’ll see many friendly faces along the way. One unique aspect of this trail is the basalt outcroppings (rapidly cooled lava tubes) near the summit and views of the White River and of course Mount Rainier. 

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Afterward, a well deserved pastry and latte at The Local: A Modern Day General Store and Coffeehouse was next on the list. They serve Stumptown Coffee and you can either take a seat and relax while you’re having a treat or take a walk through their general store.  

With the cutest knick-knacks at The Local, exploring the rest of the wide array of shops around town was a must-do. 

Bridget’s Boutique was one of our favorites as they sold clothing, jewelry and furniture, all matching your budget. They make a point to get to know you by name and provide a delightful shopping experience. 

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Another favorite, Nature’s Inventory, had an amazing product line from all natural essential oils to skin care to teas. A very passionate company about all that they do and sell to make life better. Focused solely on health, they wanted to make solutions to problems without all of the side effects. Inspired by their customer base, they are constantly working hard to meet every single one of their customer’s needs. The highest quality of ingredients, all natural and organic, consistent and incomparable prices - only $15.95 a bottle - they want to make natural products available to everyone. You won’t be disappointed.  

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After working up an appetite, a meal at the family owned Mint Restaurant and Ale House was next. We highly recommend the gyro and the ‘not your momma’s’ grilled cheese. With an incredible sense of community, we’ll always make a visit to the Mint every time we’re in town. Check out their menus here: https://www.thehistoricmint.com/menu/.  

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The Chalet Theatre is another must-do (we hit the $5 matinee). Not only do they show films but also live shows and sporting events! View all of their events here: http://chalettheatre.com.  Starting out in 1917, the theatre was home to the American Legion and even a manufacturing plant throughout WWII. Made into a movie theater in 1947, the walls are filled with the original tapestries and murals from the time. Ken Kerr bought and ran the theatre from 1977 until 2012, the year of his passing, but it is run by the same family today. 

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We headed to the new Headworks Brewing (kid and pet friendly!) for some beer to top it all off. Check out their beers on tap here: http://www.headworksbrewing.com/ontap. Located in an old Enumclaw laundromat, the team wanted to renovate an iconic space to bring together community, which is exactly what we experienced today. 

Pike Place Market Food Tour with Savor Seattle

Whether you’ve lived in Seattle for a few months or 20 years there is always something new to see at the world famous Pike Place Market. There are several types of tours visitors and locals go on, however, one is never enough. We decided to go on Savor Seattle’s VIP Early Access Tour at Pike Place Market. From well-known favorites to hidden gems we were pleasantly surprised and left with happy tummies. This tour is also a lot more than just food, too!  We learned so many things about Pike Place that we never knew!  We can't wait to do it again! 

Check out their site for all of the details including 7 other tasting tours: savorseattletours.com - Mark was our outstanding tour guide, maybe you'll have him too!


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Stop 1: Honest Biscuits 

Owner Art Stone first started making biscuits when he was only 4 years old with his grandma. After years of trying to replicate his grandma’s recipe, he finally felt he was catching up to her yet incorporating his own style into the biscuits creating the Honest Biscuits we all know and love today.

As described by a local baker as, “fluffy clouds of goodness," the biscuits are baked fresh everyday with all local ingredients including Washington’s Shepherd’s Grain flour. Unique twists inspired by other market favorites are used as well like, Bavarian Meat’s bacon, Beecher’s Cheese, Theo Chocolate and of course local fruit. 

Honest Biscuits are shared among several different farmer’s markets and seasonally alter flavors to reflect all of the different markets. You can check out their Find & Buy page here to see what farmer’s markets they’ll be located around Seattle: https://www.honestbiscuits.com/find-buy 


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Stop 2: Indi Chocolate

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Indi Chocolate is special not only for their great tasting chocolate and variety of products they supply, but because their cacao beans are sourced directly from farmers providing them with higher incomes. Their products made from cocoa butter range from teas to body care — including sun tan lotion!  

Being in Seattle, it also comes to no surprise Indi Chocolate loves their coffee. They have a cafe with specialty coffee drinks and their single origin drinking chocolate. Yum!

Be sure to try out a class here: https://indichocolate.com/blogs/classes


 
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Stop 3: Frank’s Quality Produce

“Quality” is our middle name. 

Frank’s Quality produce is 85 years and 5 generations in the making. With beautiful displays of fruits and vegetables hand trimmed and selected every morning, you’ll never miss it walking through the market.

Not only do they sell at the market but they deliver to many restaurants around Seattle. They hand craft gift boxes and fruit baskets as well. Is there anything they don’t do? 

Be sure to make a visit as their customer service is ‘unsurpassed’ and you'll sample the freshest fruits you've ever tasted.


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Stop 4: Pike Place Fish

Pike Place Fish is really what has made Pike Place Market the world phenomenon it has become today. 

From halibut to crab to salmon, there is something for all palettes. Maybe even try catching a fish like Brea! 

Place an order here: https://www.pikeplacefish.com/


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Stop 5: Market Spice

Beginning in 1911, Market Spice offers 140 different teas, spices, honeys, cookie, mints, sauces, their own candle line and so much more. 

Want to try a 1st place World Tea Championship winner?  Try the Cinnamon Orange bottled tea, it obviously can’t be beat.   

From their signature blends, to adding essentials oils and yet no sweetener, Market Spice is a must visit to find the spice that fits your life. 

View their extensive product line here: https://www.marketspice.com/


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Stop 6: Pike Place Urban Garden

Want to visit a place no one knows about? This urban garden will be for you. With fresh greenery all around and stunning views of Seattle - it’s a perfect place to take a moment to soak in the beauty, and if you’re lucky, maybe some sunshine. 


 
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Stop 7: Miss Cafe - Turkish Cuisine

If you’re a pizza lover and are willing to try something new, Miss Cafe’s signature Turkish Pizzas (Pides) are a must. With the perfect crisp, ground beef and some veggies you won’t be disappointed.  


Notice the little things: 

Rachel the Pig, aka a large golden pig in the middle of the market, is an actual piggy bank.

Supporting The Market Foundation, Rachel raises around $20,000 each year for education, local soup banks and senior citizens. If you rub Rachel’s snout and make a donation legend has it you’ll be going home with some good luck!  

Be sure to grab some donuts at the Daily Dozen Donut Company and trying their maple bacon donut. If you’re then craving some coffee stop by the original Starbucks where the company sold their first cup of coffee. 

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Bon appetit!

EASY Table Setting For Your Next Dinner Party

 

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Everyone loves the ease of entertaining an informal dinner. We are guilty all too often of pulling out the paper plates and serving things buffet style.  And if that’s what it takes for you to invite some friends over, great!  But it can be a nice touch to set a table and share a meal that you and a few close friends can gather around.

Having a sit-down dinner doesn’t have to be complicated.  We think it’s all about keeping it simple…. otherwise, the idea of setting a perfect table and trying to figure out what you’ll talk about all night may be enough to make you call in the take out.

Here are a few easy tips to keep the night lively, the table setting easy and elegant, and how to pull it off without a hitch.  And if you still want to get take out, make sure you order well ahead of time so you can put it in some nice dishes to make it look like you slaved all day over the stove! 

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We suggest setting the table the night before. That way it’s all done and all you have to work on is the meal.  A table setting is EXTRA easy if you use plain white dishes.  I love having colorful dishes, but about 10 years ago, I ditched my colorful set and bought clean, white, simple dishes.  They look great displayed in the cabinet, make the food look tastier, and add an easy elegance to a table setting. I don’t like spending a lot of money on dinnerware and I searched for something that would not break the bank yet would also hold up to everyday wear.  My favorite line is from Crate & Barrel.  They have a line of dishes called their Essential Dinnerware. It has simple, clean lines and its held up to just about everything I’ve thrown at it.  I have a few pieces that have chipped over the years, but the line is still around 10 years later so it’s easy to just buy another plate if the need arises.  The best part is that even though the line is porcelain, they are very inexpensive. A set can be purchased at a discount for $36.95 for 8 dinner plates, $29.95 for 8 salad plates, and $29.95 for 8 bowls. That’s under $100 for a whole set of 8!

Here is a link to the Crate & Barrel Essential Dinnerware Line: https://www.crateandbarrel.com/dinnerware-collections/essential-dinnerware/


Now for the fun part; setting the table! Here are some easy steps for a BASIC TABLE SETTING: 

  1. If you are using a placemat, set the dinner plate in the center

  2. Take a napkin (we suggest going to the dollar store and getting REAL white linen napkins). Fold them into a rectangle and place it to the left of the dinner plate.

  3. Place the fork in the middle of the napkin.

  4. Place the knife to the right of the dinner plate, blade facing in towards the plate. 

  5. Place the spoon to the right of the knife.

  6. Align all the silverware so that the bottoms line up with the bottom of the plate. 

  7. Imagine the dinner plate is the face of a clock.  Place the dinner glass at the one o’clock position of the dinner plate. Make sure the entire glass is on the place mat. You may need to position the plate and silverware lower towards the bottom edge of the place mat so they all fit. 

  8. OPTIONAL: If you are serving wine, or would like to serve a spritzer in a wine glass, place it to the outside right of the dinner glass. 

  9. Place a sprig of thyme or rosemary in the center of the plate at a slight angle.  If you are setting the table the night before. Wait to place the herbs until an hour or so before dinnertime. 


Voila! A basic table setting all ready to go!  

If you would like to serve a salad on a smaller plate, simply put your salad plate on top of the dinner plate.  You can put the sprig of thyme on top of that.  You can also put a smaller salad fork to the left of the larger dinner fork.  

Lastly, if you are serving soup or a saucy dish like curry, simply place the bowl on top of the salad plate or dinner plate.  

The important thing is not to stress about it!  You can stick with the basic setting for ALL occasions and you don’t need a salad fork if you don’t have one.  The table will look great either way. 

For a touch of color and seasonal interest, we like to add a few flowers to the table.  Do not go and spend big money on a fancy bouquet.  An inexpensive bouquet is all you need.  We like to cut the bouquet down and divide it among a few small vases or mason jars.  That also keeps them lower to the table so you don’t have a giant bouquet preventing you from seeing the person across from you.  

We also like to add a few votive candles to the table.  This can really set a relaxed mood yet you don’t have to worry about candle wax dripping all over.  


Dinner Playlist

The trick to a seamless evening is to have background music.  This does wonders to prevent the awkward silence that can arise when everyone is chowing down.  We suggest starting the music before guests arrive to set the mood right away. Here are a few of our favorite dinner party playlists on Spotify: 


Jazz - Dinner Party - By mark.hayhurst

An enchanting compilation of 94 of the best jazz artists from Billy Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Nina Simone and the rest of the best! Think nostalgic evening over candlelight, lingering conversations, and letting the dishes just sit as you reminisce all night. 

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1eIg0A4RHNrhJoYDVWTagC


Dinner Party Jazz: A Delicious Collection of Instrumental Jazz for Entertaining - Various Artists

A jazzy instrumental mix that you won’t have to think about. It will just play nicely in the background and add a light, happy mood.  

https://open.spotify.com/album/0u7h5OPzvahRQb5qC51d9R


Mellow Pop - by Spotify 

This is an easy going mix of easy vocal pop that plays nicely without getting weird or feeling like you need to forward a song.  

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DWYp3yzk1civi


Family Dinner Party - By Blaike Ford

This has a whopping 449 songs that include everything from BB King to Cold Play. It’s a nice mix of music that won’t get out of hand while still remaining upbeat.  449 songs in this mix means once you set it, you can forget it.  

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6bYC60qfmSeJQ2AgSLzD8K


And there you have it.  An easy table setting, mood-setting music, and you’re on your way to a memorable evening. 

Have fun! 

Written by Alise Roberts

Video by Bethanie Ferrando

 DIY Terrarium in 6 Easy Steps

 

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Now that Spring is upon us, it’s time to bring some life and color into your home! Terrariums are a fantastic way to freshen up any space. And better yet, they are SO easy. What's great about building a terrarium is that you can really make it your own and add elements that you love. For this one, I’ve added some stones that my kids brought back from the beach when they were small children. I never quite knew what to do with them, but adding a few to my terrariums is a fun way to be reminded of them. Here is a step by step guide to creating your very own springtime terrarium.

 
 

What you’ll need:

Glass Container, with or without lid

Charcoal 

Soil (specfic for the plants you are using)

Decorative rocks or pebbles for layering

Plants of your choice

Decorative moss and/or objects

Directions:

 
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The base: You definitely want to begin by laying down some charcoal in the bottom of your container. This will absorb the smells that can come with moisture. Place the charcoal in a mound in the center of the container. 

Potting Soil: Next we are going to mound some soil on top of the charcoal being careful to leave the outer edges by the glass container untouched.  Lay the soil in a way that creates a mound in the center so we can create some rock layers around the soil. We are using potting soil because we are using basic house plants, so potting soil is great, but if you are planting succulents or cacti, you will want to use soil that is appropriate for those species. 

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Rock Layer: Place the rocks on the sides, around the soil mound. You can purchase these potting rocks at any local nursery; mine are from Windmill Gardens in the Southend. Lay the rocks around the mound. We wanted to kind of mix it up with our terrarium, so we laid a layer of white rock in between each layer. As you layer rocks continue building soil in the middle and rocks on the other edges. 

Potting Soil: After the rocks are laid down, cover the entire top with a three or four inches of potting soil.

 
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Add the plants: The key to an interesting terrarium is choosing beautiful, contrasting foliage. We chose to use a taller green plant, one small green plant, and a fun pop of purple flowers. Gently place the plants in the top layer of soil. 

Finishing Touches: Put the final touches on by placing moss over the top layer of soil, and around the plants. Adding other accents like pinecones or some beautiful stone creates a fun and interesting look as well!

And just like that, you've got a beautiful terrarium! We love placing these in the center of a coffee or side table.  They also work as a great accent on a bathroom counter that has natural lighting.  Caring for them is pretty easy.  Watering needs to be done lightly and less often than other house plants since they have their own ecosystem in place.  

We are sure you’ll love your new terrarium as it brings a new life to your home.  Enjoy! 

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Wine and Cheese Pairing on a Budget

 

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Is there anything better than wine and cheese? We don’t think so!  We love putting together charcuterie and pairing it with our favorite wines.  But when it comes to entertaining, this can quickly add up.  

Entertaining doesn’t have to break the bank. There are some excellent budget wines and quality cheese that pair wonderfully and taste delicious.  We have put together a few of our favorites so that the next time you entertain, all you have to do is print out the list and go to your local grocery store.  

Most grocery stores also carry pre-packaged nuts and dried fruits.  You can typically find these “pairing packs” in the specialty cheese kiosks at stores like QFC, Safeway, and Hagen.  The one we picked up cost under $7.99 and included dried apricots, almonds, cashews, and cranberries.  Other additions to your charcuterie board can include salami, olives, and fig jam.  These also are easily found at the cheese kiosks. Don’t forget the crackers! 

Now, on to the fun part! 

These three wines and cheeses are all UNDER $20 and received high ratings or QPR (quality/price ratio)

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PAIRING #1

Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Cabernet Sauvignon + Cypress Grove Midnight Moon Gouda

You can’t go wrong with these two! Flavor and intensity are amazing.  The cab has flavors of plum, black cherry, anise & clove. This Dutch classic aged goat gouda is dense and creamy with a long sweet caramelized finish. 

Francis Coppola

Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 Vintage — $16.99

Cypress Grove Midnight Moon

Goat Gouda  —$7.00-$8.00


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PAIRING #2

Mark Ryan Vincent Board Track Racer + Esquirrou (ehs-keer-oo)

This wine was one of our favorites. It’s a Washington state red blend and ranks in the top 3% of wines from the Columbia Valley. It has some rich dark notes of blackberry and dark cherry with a super smooth finish. The cheese we paired this with is called, Esquirrou (ehs-Keer-oo). It’s a cheese from France and is made with sheep’s milk. It has a smooth, elastic texture with a nutty sweetness. This was the 2018 grand prize winner at the world cheese championships. You’ve got to try this one!

Mark Ryan Vincent Board Track Racer

Red Blend — $19.99

Esquirrou

$9.00


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PAIRING #3

19 Crimes The Uprising + Montemore 

With aromas of warm vanilla and caramel up front and blackberry jam, plum, and spice on the finish, this bottle is an absolute go-to for inexpensive red wine. The cheese we put with this one is Montamore Cheddar. It’s a sharp white cheddar blended with a moderate parmesan for a super delicious cheese blend! 

19 Crimes The Uprising

Cabernet Sauvignon - $11.99

Montamore

Sharp Cheddar and Parmesan Blend - $7.50

Our Favorite Salad Recipe! Citrus Cranberry Salad

 

CLICK TO WATCH!

 

Do you ever get to that point where you feel a lack of creativity in the kitchen? There’s nothing like sharing recipes to put an end ho-hum meal boredom!  Last week we asked you to send in your favorite go-to recipes and WOW, what fun that was! 

For everyone that submitted a recipe, we put your name in a drawing for $100 shopping spree to Whole Foods Market.  We are thrilled to announce that Terri DiMartino won!  Terri sold her Des Moines home with us a few years ago and we have enjoyed hearing about her and her husband, Pete, in their new ventures since they recently retired.  

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Terri submitted this super easy salad recipe that comes together in just a few minutes.  She calls it her anniversary salad because they just celebrated their 9-year anniversary and they make this salad a few times a week.  We can understand why!  This salad adds a twist to your everyday salad and the variety of flavors make it anything but boring!  We especially loved that all the ingredients are winter-friendly, so even when produce is hard to come by in the coldest months, this salad will be an easy one to make! 

Terri says that the best part of this salad is that all the ingredients can be purchased at Costco, a fave shopping place for them.  But really, all these ingredients are easy to find at any basic grocery store, so we love that too. 



Citrus Cranberry Salad

Here is what you’ll need: 

  • 4 cups of Power or Super Greens (usually a mix of baby chard, kale, and spinach)

  • 1 chicken breast, cooked and cubed

  • 3 cutie oranges, peeled 

  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries 

  • 1/2 cup pecans, lightly toasted and roughly chopped

  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

  • 1/2 cup of Walden Farms Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing 

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Just throw all the ingredients into a bowl, toss, then serve! 

The only work to this salad is cooking the chicken breast.  If you like to meal prep on the weekend, we found that it was super easy to bake, grill, or sauté a few chicken breasts ahead of time. Chop them up, put them in a storage container and VOILA! This salad pretty much comes together in 10 min or less.  

Here are a few other tips we noted: 

  • If you don’t have time to toast the pecans, they taste great raw, too! 

  • We didn’t find the Walden Farms Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette at the grocery store we went to, but we used Marie’s instead.  Pretty much any raspberry vinaigrette should do. 

  • Have fun with the chicken. Salt and pepper are just fine. But we threw some other herbs on it while cooking and it added an element of flavor.  Grilling would also be extra tasty! 

Another thing we loved about the salad is the color.  With the orange, cranberry, and bright greens, this salad is like a gem show!  It’s absolutely gorgeous and will add sparkle to your dining room table… that is if you can wait long enough to dig in! 

Confession time! After we filmed the video for this salad, we all grabbed forks, stood around the bowl, and went to town eating it right out of the communal salad bowl.  It was THAT GOOD!  

We hope you are inspired to try this at home.  Let us know if you do in the comments below!  

Before and After Reveal: Latona of Seattle

 

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What is it that draws us to before and after’s so much?  There is something uplifting about looking at a project that seems overwhelming, maybe even impossible, and seeing it transformed with new energy and purpose. 

That is what we love so much about helping our clients transform their homes. Of course, it’s the cherry on top when the process results in our listings selling for much more money and putting extra dollars in our clients pockets! 

One of our most recent projects was this fun Latona listing.  The home was being rented by a group of room mates and it needed a major overhaul to unveil the beauty that was hiding within.  Before we worked our magic, the home was cluttered and dark. There was way too much furniture and it was placed in areas that inhibited flow. 

When a home feels light and airy, it helps us to feel calm.  Since we want our homes to feel like a sanctuary, this is an important emotion we want prospective buyers to experience when they walk through our listings.  Here is how we transformed this home to show off its best features and create a calm, enjoyable experience for buyers. 

Lighten Up!

Paint is one of the single most important things to address.  It sets the mood for the entire space.  If the paint is too dark or if the color is not suitable, it can convey the wrong message and make a room feel much smaller than it actually is.  Fortunately, for the amount of impact it makes, it is also one of the least expensive things you can do. 

In this listing, we lightened all the walls to an off white color.  Because the home was built in 1960, the ceilings are lower and although the rooms are fairly large, they are somewhat disconnected.  This near white color on both the ceilings and walls gave the illusion of taller space and also enhanced the size of the room. Keeping the color consistent throughout the entire home gave it a better overall flow.  

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Living Room

This living room had way too much furniture.  The massive fireplace is oddly shape and it juts out into the room, taking up precious floor space. In most cases, we love fireplaces!  But the size and style of this one just didn’t work for the home.  As much as we would have loved to remodel it, that wouldn’t have been cost effective.  The name of the game with our transformations is to spend the least amount of money for the most payoff.  Since the design of this fireplace gives the room a narrow footprint,  it was important to keep the furniture minimal and also use pieces that were more petite in size.  This opened up the room to feel larger.  We used bold pieces that took the spotlight and brought attention away from the elephant in the room—the huge, oddly shaped fireplace. 

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Den

We have no idea what purpose a rug played in being hung over the French doors to this room, but it was hiding one of the best features of the home.  Double glass French doors opened up to a generous space beyond.  Because this room sits right off the entry and living area, opening up the doors made the entire main floor feel much bigger and brighter.  Now when you walk in the home, you get a much more energizing feeling and it also made our smallish living room feel much bigger!  Adding a desk and modern console showed buyers that this room worked great as an extension to the living room or played double duty as a library or office retreat. 

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Kitchen

The kitchen had been remodeled but it was quite long ago. The Corian countertop isn’t really in style, but the neutral color worked.  It would’ve cost far too much to update the counters and we felt that because they were still neutral, just a few small changes could modernize this space.  The appliances were old and tired so the seller brought in new stainless steel pieces including a higher end stove. By updating the appliances, fixing a crack in the counter, and bringing in a few minimal pieces, this kitchen feels stylish and shows off an expansive amount of space by removing unnecessary clutter.  

Flooring

Flooring takes a close second to painting when it comes to huge impact for the least amount of cost.  If the flooring is in poor condition or the carpet is dirty and dingy, it doesn’t really matter how much staging and work we put into the home.  Bad flooring will offset beautiful design.  It can make buyers feel that the home was not lovingly cared for and that there is much more work to do than there actually is.  These types of impressions can make a buyer look elsewhere for a home or offer a much lower price than it would have cost to replace or repair flooring.  

This home has hardwood flooring throughout the main level.  Even though they were in need of repair, that is the beauty of having hardwood floors. Restoring them back to their natural beauty is not too expensive and adds more value to the home.  

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The Basement

This basement was a hodgepodge of rooms lacking a clear purpose. Half the basement had cement floors, no trim work, and no lighting, so it technically was unfinished.  Adding carpet and trim, then hiring an electrician to run electrical and add lightning increased the value to the home significantly because it added finished square footage for very minimal cost.  Let us break this down a bit. The unfinished area was about 600 square feet.  Our sale price netted the seller $394 per square foot. 600 square feet multiplied by $394/square foot equals $236,400!  Yes, we think the minimal cost of carpet, trim and some electrical made this well worth it for our seller!  This was worth a team high-five! 

We’ll admit, we had a lot of fun with this project and we were thrilled the seller was open to making these changes.  The end result was a home that we were able to list for a much higher price than if the seller did nothing.  We were even more thrilled when it resulted in a sales price $45,500 over the asking price in just 33 hours!  

What do you feel made the most impact in this transformation?  We welcome your comments below.  And don’t forget, if you are thinking of selling a home, we’d love to offer a complimentary consultation to help you determine small changes that can help you get the most money when you sell. 

What To Do & Where To Eat in Downtown Puyallup

 

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There is a lot to love about Puyallup. Located southeast of Tacoma, this gorgeous town has a balanced combination of urban living and small town charm. Aside from the epic Washington State Fair, there are great restaurants, coffee shops, parks, and more!

We met up with Shaylee, from Clever Media, to check some fun spots around Puyallup! 

Anthem Coffee

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Lucky for us, Shaylee is an expert on local coffee shops, and introduced us to Anthem Coffee and Tea! This coffee shop is awesome! We ordered a “white lave,” a white mocha made with lavender espresso - delicious! Anthem coffee shop is also one of the only coffee shops in Puyallup that carries oat milk, which is a creamy, neutral-tasting milk that you won’t want to miss out on. And don’t forget to check out Shaylee’s coffee instagram, @thecoffeefreak

Looking for a bite to eat after your coffee? Right across the street from Anthem is an authentic wood grill pizza stand! They’re actually in the process of renovating the area where the pizza stand is to be a fun community space for food trucks, pop-ups, and stands! It’s going to be a really fun hang out spot—we can’t wait! 

Pioneer Park

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Pioneer Park is a gem. With a massive, manicured green lawn, paved pathways, and a large play structure, the park is a great spot to spend time outdoors with your friends or family! The Puyallup Library is also located next door to the park, and hosts great  community events. And if you like music, there is a an outdoor pavilion that holds local concerts! 

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Looking for a fun and exciting Saturday activity? The Puyallup farmers market in Pioneer Park is  a great way to check out local vendors, food trucks, and more! The market takes over this huge area, and is a great place for the community to come together. 

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Local Food Spots

Local Food Spots

There are many incredible places to eat in Puyallup! Here are just a few of our favorites that you’ll have to visit!

The Taco Bus: This local secret is a an experience you don’t want to miss — It’s literally a bus! They serve a delicious taco menu (even a beef tongue taco)! Who doesn’t love a good local whole in the wall? 

Trackside Pizza: This is an award winning pizza shop that serves delicious wood fired pizza. It is a fun family-friendly atmosphere and has some of the best pizza in town! 

Crockett’s Public House: This amazing restaurant was featured on the Food Network! You absolutely have to try their famous meatballs!

Head over to Puyallup and stop by these great spots! We promise you won’t be disappointed! 

A New Approach to Real Estate: Maple Main | Lifestyle • Real Estate

Today’s the day!  We’ve been anticipating this day for many months.  We’ve put in long hours, had tons of meetings, and did a lot of soul-searching.  We’ve had a lot of fun leading up to this day and we can’t believe its FINALLY here!

As much as we love what we do, we realized last year that change was needed.  We are passionate about homes.  We love helping buyers purchase and sellers sell. We especially love getting GREAT deals or selling our listings for WAY more than the competition.  But we have long felt that there is so much more to real estate.

A home is not just an investment.  Our homes provide security, control, belonging, identity and privacy.  Most of all, it’s a place that provides with a centering; a place we start and end each day.  It’s a place that we find comfort with those we love most and feel secure as we grow.  It’s the place we relax, refresh, and learn to become the individuals that we blossom in to.

 
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As Real Estate Agents, we wear a lot of hats through this process: coach, counselor, advocate, confidant and friend, just to name a few.  We get to laugh with people and sometimes we cry with them.  We learn about who they are, what they love most and what their passions are.  We have the privilege of helping them find that special place to call home, or the honor to sell this beautiful home where so many special memories have been made.  That is what WE love. 

Home is more than the houses we live in, it also about where you live.  It’s about enjoying the pleasures that living here in the Pacific Northwest affords us.  We LOVE it here.  We love the lakes and rivers, and the mountains and fields.  We love the laid back tree-hugging vibe and we love the sophisticated, elegant side.  WE love the food, the culture, and the inspiration that the Pacific Northwest gives us every day. 

For this reason, we have decided that we will no longer call our company JUST a real estate company.  Real estate is home and location.  Real estate is lifestyle.  Real estate is design.  Our new company will focus on that.  We are excited to announce that Alise Roberts and Company is now called Maple + Main.  Maple + Main is made up of 3 equal parts: Real Estate, Lifestyle, and Design. 

Of course, the center of what we do is all about helping others buy and sell homes.  This is our passion.  But, we want to offer our clients more.  We want to showcase all the amazing things we love about living in the PNW.  We will be creating video about some of our favorite things to to do, the best places to eat and the hidden gems in areas you may not have discovered yet.  We will be designing itineraries for everything from family day trips to date nights. We will be highlighting the latest local events and reviewing our experiences with them.  We will show you why this area is so special, and we hope that it sparks inspiration for you to try, visit, and enjoy these things with the people in your life, too!  

Design is also intertwined with real estate.  Instinctively, we reach out for attractive things: beauty literally moves us.  That is why every home should be designed to feel comfortable, look beautiful and reflect who we are.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a studio apartment in the city, a farmhouse in the country, or anything in between.  If we make our homes feel beautiful and special, it moves us to be happier and healthier (a scientific fact!).  Our Stylist will be showcasing special ways to make your house homier, more you, and more fun.  She will show you everything from the latest design trends, tips for organizing small spaces, to how to lighten up dark rooms.  If it has to do with design, detail or decorating, she’ll be showing you all about it in our weekly videos.  

We know how busy life can be, so we will focus on short clips that tell you all the details quickly.  We will link information on the various subjects and places we so you know exactly where to find out more about it.  Of course, this also means that we would LOVE to hear from you.  Where are your favorite places, what small businesses in the area do you feel deserve recognition, and what do you feel makes the PNW so special?  We want to hear about it!

We are so excited to build a community that is centered on everything PNW!  We have a lots of big plans for forums and events that you can link up with people that are passionate about the same things you are.   Do you love wine?  We’ll tell you where to go and what to buy!  Do you love to hike?  We have you covered!  Do you like to find new places with unusual cuisine?  We’ll review them!  Of course, in the meantime, we plan to sell lots of homes and tell you all about the real estate market, provide tips on what to do to make the most when you sell, and provide you with the latest expertise and marketing strategies.  If you are buying a home, you won’t find a team that knows the area, the market, and negotiating strategies better than us.  We love what we do, and we are thrilled to make real estate MORE than real estate. 

 
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Before and After Reveal: Premier Luxury in Montaire of Kirkland

 

WATCH THE VIDEO REVEAL!

 

We LOVED staging this gorgeous Kirkland home! With stunning features like a gorgeous kitchen and a jaw dropping master suite, it wasn't hard to make this house really stand out. We did face challenges with the massive room sizes, but we really love how this turned out! Staging is such a vital piece of selling a home. A large vacant area can be overwhelming, and using styling and staging techniques gives prospective buyers an idea of how they might live in the home. We love that these before and after photos show just how dramatically staging changes a room! Check out these great photos, and some fun design tips and methods we used when we staged the different spaces of this property!

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LIVING 

This large living space may seem intimidating when you see it as an empty room. Staging such a big area isn’t easy! We wanted to make this area feel warm, even with the size; these warm, calming colors really play off of that warmth from the artwork to the couches.

Design Tip:  You may not notice this little trick when you first walk in, but all of the artwork in this room ties together with themes and colors, to create harmony within the spaces. Because this space was so large, we used two facing couches on either side of the mantle, and added two armchairs facing the fireplace to really draw your eye to the center of the room. 

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KITCHEN

This kitchen is absolutely gorgeous. With a kitchen so beautiful, we wanted to stay really simple to let the kitchen speak for itself! Simple greenery and a few objects were enough to create a fresh and minimal feel. 

Design Tip: Play off of the original features when styling the space. Because the lights had a great mix of industrial glam, we styled the bar area with these gorgeous steel-based stools with wooden seats that also tie into the dining table! 

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DINING

This formal dining room is the perfect mix of cozy neutral, and modern sophistication. Using light neutral colors that feel light and airy really make this room feel calm and peaceful.

Design Tip: Use the main focal point of the room — in this case, the dining table — as the inspiration for the rest of the room design. This table is white marble, but actually has a lot of warm tones. Because of the warmth, we chose gold toned frames, and very simple art. We also chose clean white roses as the centerpiece to bring out the cooler tones of the table. The light chairs and rug really make this room a neutral beauty!

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DOWNSTAIRS

This downstairs area is perfect for entertaining. The built in bar, large living space, and sliding doors to the beautiful yard make this room any hosts dream!

Design Tip: This massive sectional was luckily left by the seller, and really helps give the room a proportional feel. Due to the dark brown shade of the couch, we styled it with very light, neutral pillows to break up the heaviness. We also tucked the cords up behind the TV to create a cleaner look, and used this great console table to balance out the wall space so that the TV doesn’t just feel like it’s floating on the wall!

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MASTER SUITE

Bedroom

This room is the epitome of cozy! We really wanted this room to be a really comfortable place to be. With light and neutral shades, warm textures, and simple design, this room is effortlessly serene.

Design Tip: If you’re mounting a TV in a master bedroom, style the space with a simple piece like this bench and cozy pillows! You really want balance out the space so it doesn’t feel like a floating TV, similar to the concept in the downstairs! 

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Bathroom

Isn’t this bathroom gorgeous?! We love all of the stunning tile details, gorgeous stand-alone bathtub, and amazing natural light. Some simple greenery accents and and resort-like white towels turned this bathroom into haven!

Design Tip: Don’t forget about the shower! To pull some added attention to this gorgeous shower, we added a plant and some objects. This small detail is an awesome way to keep the theme consistent and add a unexpected touch of fun!

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BONUS ROOM

The original owners used this room as a guest room, but we really felt like it would be great bonus room for prospective buyers to imagine! With the couch area on one side, and a kids area on the other, this room really feels like a fun place for the whole family!

Design Tip: One of our favorite parts of this house is this little kids nook! When families are looking at homes, kids are immediately drawn to fun spaces like this!

Loving this space as much as we are? Click the button below to find out all of the details about this beautiful home!

8 Autumn Recipes to Enjoy this Season

One of our favorite things about this autumn/winter season is spending time with friends and family through the beautiful art of cooking. There is just something special about these shorter days! We enjoy warm summer Seattle evenings, but autumn and winter are really the seasons where we love to spend cozy nights cooking at home. Preparing hearty fall meals — even if cooking isn’t your specialty — is an amazing way to gather the ones you love together. Your home should be a place that fills you up, nourishes you, and brings you closer to the people you love. And you know what they say — “the kitchen is the heart of the home!” We hope you all take time this season to slow down and enjoy longer evenings over home-cooked meals with your family and friends.

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One of our favorite things about this autumn/winter season is spending time with friends and family through the beautiful art of cooking. There is just something special about these shorter days! We enjoy warm summer Seattle evenings, but autumn and winter are really the seasons where we love to spend cozy nights cooking at home. Preparing hearty fall meals — even if cooking isn’t your specialty — is an amazing way to gather the ones you love together. Your home should be a place that fills you up, nourishes you, and brings you closer to the people you love. And you know what they say — “the kitchen is the heart of the home!” We hope you all take time this season to slow down and enjoy longer evenings over home-cooked meals with your family and friends.

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Red Wine Cranberry Braised Short Ribs

Half Baked Harvest

This is my all-time favorite food blog of them moment. If you love tender, fall-off-the bone ribs with a harvest, autumn twist, this recipe is for you! We are all about these delicious hearty ingredients and fun pop of cranberry! If you haven't already fallen in love with Half Baked Harvest, head over to her amazing website and check out all of her delicious recipes! 

INGREDIENTS

5 pounds bone in, beef short ribs

kosher salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 shallots, thinly sliced

4 carrots, chopped

2 cups dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon

2 cups low sodium beef broth

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 bay leaves

2 cups fresh cranberries

mashed potatoes, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

SLOW COOKER

  1. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large oven safe skillet, sear the ribs on both sides. Remove the ribs and transfer to the slow cooker. 

  2. To the slow cooker, add the onions, shallots, and carrots. Add the wine, broth, tomato paste, brown sugar, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper, gently stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. During the last 2 hours of cooking, add the cranberries. 

  3. Remove the thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves. Serve the ribs over a bed of mashed potatoes. Drizzle with the pan sauce. Enjoy!

OVEN

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

  2. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large oven safe skillet, sear the ribs on both sides. Remove the ribs to a plate. Add the onions, shallots, and carrots, cook 5-10 minutes or until the onions begin to caramelize. Add back the short ribs. Add the wine, broth, tomato paste, brown sugar, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves. Sprinkle over the cranberries. Season with salt and pepper, gently stir to combine. Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours or until the short ribs are tender and falling off the bone.

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Butternut Squash and Spinach Tortellini

Julias Album

We are huge pasta fans! Sure a great red or cream sauce is great, but adding in delicious flavors like butternut squash really makes traditional pasta feel like a cozy fall meal. This easy recipe will have your family and friends swooning!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup butternut squash puree

1 cup half and half

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning

2 cups tortellini uncooked

8 oz spinach , uncooked, fresh

2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add 1 cup of butternut squash puree, 1 cup of half and half, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, a pinch of paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the large skillet, on medium heat. While heating, stir all the ingredients to combine. Add about 1/4 teaspoon of lemon pepper seasoning - don't add all of it at once, add a little and add more, to your taste. Add the spinach on top of the mixture, cover with the lid, remove from heat. Let the spinach wilt in the pan, covered, off heat.

  2. While the spinach wilts, bring the medium pan of water to boil, add 2 cups of uncooked tortellini, and cook according to the package instructions (usually 7 - 10 minutes in boiling water). Once the tortellini is cooked, drain the water.

  3. Add cooked and drained tortellini to the skillet with the butternut squash sauce and spinach and stir to combine. If the sauce is too thick, add more half and half to thin it. Also, taste and add more salt, nutmeg and lemon pepper, if desired.

  4. Serve topped with chopped fresh parsley.

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One Pan Chicken and Potatoes with Garlic Parmesan Spinach Cream Sauce

Eatwell 101

All of your ingredients in one single dish so you only have that one pan to clean?! Sign us up! We LOVE one pan meals. This creamy and hearty chicken and potato dish is a fantastic fall dinner staple.

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons butter

1 pound chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on

1 teaspoon paprika

2 teaspoon Italian seasoning (thyme, oregano, basil – combined)

2 cups baby red potatoes, washed and quartered

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1 cup fresh spinach

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup (240ml) chicken stock

1 cup (240ml) half and half (half cream mixed with half milk, for a lighter cream)

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Season chicken thighs with 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, to taste.

  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken thighs, skin-side down, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes per side; drain excess fat and set aside in a plate.

  3. Melt remaining tablespoon butter in the same skillet. Add garlic, paprika, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, then add potatoes and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. 

  4. Stir in tomato and chicken broth and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes.

  5. Stir in and half-half, grated Parmesan cheese, spinach and crushed chili pepper flakes. Reduce heat to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

  6. Return chicken thighs to the skillet, skin side up, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until chicken and potatoes are cooked through. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with additional red pepper flakes and parmesan, enjoy!

Autumn Pumpkin Apple Stew

Well and Full

The name, Autumn Pumpkin Apple Stew says it all. We love this delicious, plant based dish! Adding apple to a stew may sound odd, but trust us, you’ll love these autumn flavors, and a cozy stew is the perfect fall weekday meal!

INGREDIENTS

Extra Virgin Olive Oil for sautéing

1 White Onion diced

4-5 Cloves Garlic finely minced

1 Cup Chopped Kale packed

1 15 oz Can Fire-Roasted Tomatoes diced

1 Cup Pumpkin Purée

4 Cups Vegetable Broth

2 Small Macintosh or Macoun Apples peeled and diced

1 Tsp Dried Parsley

1 Tsp Paprika

Lots of Fresh-Cracked Black Pepper

Pinch Cayenne

1/2 Tsp Dried Oregano

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large pot, bring a glug of olive oil to medium-low heat. Add in the diced onions and sauté until soft, a few minutes.

  2. Then, add in the garlic and stir until lightly fragrant, about a minute or so. Be careful not to let the garlic brown!

  3. Add in the chopped kale and stir it up well with the garlic and onion, for about another minute or so. 

  4. Then, add in the fire-roasted tomatoes, pumpkin purée, vegetable broth, diced apples, and all the spices. Whisk everything until it's all evenly mixed. Taste and adjust the spices if you'd like.

  5. Reduce heat to low, and let the stew simmer for about 30 minutes. 

  6. When done, remove stew from heat and ladle into bowls. Top off with a crack of fresh black pepper, if you'd like.

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Sweet Potato Pesto Gnocchi

Charley’s Health

Don’t let the sound of making home made gnocchi intimidate you! We love this easy, 20 minute pasta recipe! This dish is sure to impress your guests with is delicious fall flavors and beautiful presentation!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup mashed sweet potato

Pinch salt and pepper

Dash mixed herbs

1/3 cup gluten free flour

1 clove garlic

Olive oil for cooking

Handful fresh spinach

Sacla Free From Pesto

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To make the gnocchi, combine the sweet potato, seasonings and flour and mix until well combined and you’re left with a dough mixture.

  2. Spread a little flour onto a cutting board and roll out the dough to form a long sausage shape. Cut into small thumb sized pieces.

  3. To create the rolled effect, press each piece of gnocchi against a fork and roll towards you.

  4. Fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add in the gnocchi and allow to cook until they start to float to the surface, then scoop them out with a slotted spoon and place onto a side plate.

  5. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and add in the gnocchi and crushed garlic. Sauté so that they start to lightly crisp and then stir through the spinach and a few spoonfuls of the pesto.

  6. Once the spinach has wilted, serve onto plates and enjoy!

Autumn Harvest Salad with Pomegranates

Fox and Briar

With all of these amazing hearty meals, a lighter fall salad can be so refreshing! We love that this healthy dish still includes so many fun fall elements like delicata squash, farro, and pomegranate! This dish is great for busy weeknights when you’re looking for quick and healthy alternative to heavy fall dishes!

INGREDIENTS

1- 2 bunches kale, center ribs removed and torn into small pices (6-8 cups)

1 delicata squash, de-seeded and cut into half moons

1 cup cooked farro

4 ounces soft goat cheese (chevre)

arils from one pomegranate (about 1 cup)

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon chili powder

salt

pepper

FOR DRESSING

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1 garlic clove, pressed or finely minced

¼ teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

pinch of salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

  2. Toss delicata squash in 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper and chili powder, arrange in a single layer on a lined baking sheet, Roast for about 15 minutes, or until golden and tender. Set aside.

  3. Whisk together all ingredients for dressing (I use a mason jar to shake them until combined)

  4. In a large bowl,add kale, delicata squash, farro, goat cheese and pomegranate arils. Pour dressing over and toss to fully coat everything in the dressing.

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Roasted Sweet Potato, Squash and Chickpea Fall Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing

Running to the Kitchen

This hearty and healthy dish is a great alternative to meat heavy dishes! Chickpeas are a fantastic source of protein, and mixing chickpeas with maple tahini?! YUM! We are loving this unique dish full of flavors we are loving this season!

INGREDIENTS

1 small sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1 small delicata squash, seeded and chopped (you can leave the skin on)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon coriander

salt and pepper

1 - 15oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3/4 cup fresh cranberries

1/2 cup crumbled feta

1/4 cup minced red onion

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (I used sage and rosemary)

FOR THE DRESSING

1/4 cup tahini

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 small clove garlic, minced

salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

FOR THE SALAD

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

  2. Toss sweet potato and squash with the olive oil, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper and spread out on a baking sheet.

  3. Roast for about 15 minutes, tossing halfway through.

  4. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

  5. When squash is finished roasting, add to the bowl and toss to combine.

FOR THE DRESSING

  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.

  2. Pour into bowl with the salad ingredients and toss until evenly coated.

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Creamy Chicken Marsala

The Recipe Critic

A good friend texted me this recipe and gushed about how amazing it was. It’s simple, fast, and delicious! She swapped out the chicken breasts for chicken thighs and also added more mushrooms. I have this on my dinner menu this week.

INGREDIENTS

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced*

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1½ cups sliced mushrooms

½ cup Marsala wine** see note

½ cup chicken broth

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Fresh Chopped Parsley for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Add the chicken and lightly salt and pepper. Cook until lightly brown and cooked throughout. Remove chicken and set aside on plate.

  2. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil and sauté the mushrooms for 1-2 minutes. Add marsala wine and bring to a boil over medium high heat for 1-2 minutes. This allows the alcohol to burn out. Add the chicken broth, heavy whipping cream, ground mustard, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Place chicken back in the sauce and continue to simmer for about 1-2 minutes.

Notes from The Recipe Critic

*I like to slice my chicken breasts in half or buy them thinly sliced so that they cook quickly and easily.
** The alcohol in the marsala wine burns off during the cooking process. If you are worried about cooking with wine, they say this recipe makes a good substitute.
1/4 cup of white grape juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar


Loving this season of delicious produce as much as we are? Check out our blog post all about supporting local farmers and enjoying amazing fresh fruits and vegetables! Happy cooking, everyone!

5 Reasons Browns Point Might be the Perfect Community for You

 
 

We say it a lot, but it’s worth repeating. We are fortunate here in the Puget Sound to have so many waterfront communities available to us! Truly, there is nothing like this area. These waterfront areas will cost more, especially if you are right on the water, but there are still affordable options out there! 

Browns Point is one of these beautiful waterfront communities. This small area has so much going for it from great small businesses to affordable properties with waterfront access! We love this area for so many reasons, but here are a few reasons why we think Browns Point is an a great place to live!

Great Location

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Browns Point and Dash Point are two distinct communities that sit on a peninsula that juts out into Puget Sound and is right on the King and Pierce County border. These two are very unique communities; 3 sides of this area is surrounded by water, which gives it an island feel with absolutely stunning views! On the North and West side you look over the sound to Vashon Island, and to the South you look over Commencement Bay to Downtown Tacoma. What could be better than this serene view!

Beautiful Nature

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This is undoubtedly a beautiful area just because of its location, but what’s really special about Browns Point is the amazing parks. These are two beautiful options that locals can experience this area for all that it is! We love that this peninsula has so much dense nature even though while also being so close to the city!

Dash Point State Park

This 461 acre, beautiful park is full of trails that lead down to the waterfront which has to over 3300 feet of sandy beach shoreline. You can live in an affordable home and literally be at the beach every day if that’s what you desire. 

Lower Browns Point

Lower Browns Point is a tucked away community of homes. The residents love this area because its a quiet little community with very little traffic since all you have water all around you.  Though it’s a smaller, relaxed community, there’s a town center with shopping and some eateries. If you’re looking to get a little of the city feel, both Federal Way and Tacoma are just minutes away, for all of your big city shopping and conveniences!

Great Local Businesses

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The town center really is a great spot to enjoy some local businesses! With a brewery, a market, and great restaurants, the Browns Point town center is a fun little spot for the community to enjoy!

Here are a couple of the local favorites:

Brown’s Point Diner

A fun family friendly diner with a small town atmosphere.

Cliff House

A landmark restaurant overlooking Commencement Bay and Mt Rainier.

Opportunities for Boaters

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There are number of marinas that offer moorage options, which makes owning a boat much more flexible. So regardless of whether you live on the water or not, you can still have beach access, boat moorage, and a waterfront vibe with plenty of lifestyle options!

Affordable Home Options

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Of course, with all that water, there’s plenty of waterfront & water view properties.  However, It’s still going to be a bit pricey—but way more affordable than what you’ll find in Seattle! And there’s also plenty of other homes that while they don’t have the view, you’re still located in this prime area that is just minutes to waterfront beaches and parks.

As you can see, we LOVE this area! Contact our team today to learn more about Browns Point and the great opportunities in this community!

Fun Indoor Activities for Rainy Seattle Days

Now that we have officially crossed over into post daylight savings Autumn, those rainy Seattle days are feeling grayer and darker. With the beautiful autumn leaves everywhere you look, breaking out your favorite fall sweaters, and enjoying warm harvest meals, it does seem to be the coziest time of the year! You know we love those clear crisp autumn days spent hiking and enjoying all of the nature Northwest has to offer! There are SO many incredible things to enjoy outdoors during the fall.

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While we love the gorgeous hikes full of fall colors, and slow days spent at home this time of year,  sometimes it can be hard to know how to spend your evenings and weekend in the fall when it’s grey and rainy! Truthfully, a lot of us Seattelites are known for braving the rain and still enjoying the nature, but it does get a little soggy and gloomy sometimes. Luckily for us, the greater Seattle area is full of fantastic indoor activities that will get you through these rainy days!

Here are some of our favorite things to do when it’s best to stay inside! 

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Explore a Museum 

Is there anything better than wandering through a museum on a rainy day!? Seattle is full of art, culture, and beauty. From the stunning Chihuly Glass museum to the Seattle Aquarium, there really is an opportunity for everyone!  We love that museums can be a great afternoon if you're on a date, or spending the day with your kids. It really is a great way to learn and connect with art! Below are a few of our favorite museums:

Seattle Art Museum

General ticket: $24.95 (discounts for seniors, veterans, students, teens, children, members)

Wednesday 10 AM – 5 PM

Thursday 10 AM – 9 PM

Friday 10 AM – 5 PM

Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM

Sunday 10 AM – 5 PM

Museum of Flight

Tickets: $24 (discounts for seniors, military and veterans, students)

FREE the first Thursday of each month

Open daily from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Museum of Pop Culture

Tickets: $26 (discounts for seniors, military and veterans, students, kids, members)

Open daily from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum

Tickets: $26 (discounts for seniors, king county residents, youth, and children)

Sunday - Thursday 11:00am - 6:00pm

Friday - Saturday 11:00am - 7:00pm

Seattle Aquarium

Tickets: $29 (discounts for youth, children, members)

9:30am–5pm daily

Bellevue Arts Museum

Tickets: $15 (discounts for military, veterans, students, teens, children, members)

Free first Friday of the month

Wednesday - Sunday 11am – 5pm

Seattle Children's Museum

Tickets: $11.50 (discounts for seniors, military, children, infants)

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00am-5:00pm

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See a Show

Seattle has an incredible theater and music scene. With epic venues like the Paramount theater, and Benaroya Hall, there is a beautiful culture of performing art all throughout Seattle. We love getting to see these beautiful and fun shows especially during cozy and cold evenings! It’s a great way to spend some time with your friends and family and, of course, get out of the rain!

Here are some upcoming shows that you won’t want to miss this fall and winter season!

Annie

5th Avenue Theater

November 23-December 30

Tickets from $40


The Lion King

The Paramount Theater

December 13-January 6

Tickets from $95


Tu Dance and Bon Iver 

Paramount Theater

December 5-6

Tickets from $55

Michael Carbonaro live

Paramount Theater

December 1

Tickets from $65


Celtic Women

Benaroya Hall

December 11

Tickets from $75

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Visit Beautiful Tasting Rooms in Woodinville

One of our absolute favorite things is enjoying an evening with friends at some of the beautiful indoor tasting rooms in Woodinville! Sure, warm summer days are perfect for spending the day hitting 5 of your favorite smaller wineries, but the autumn and winter is perfect for cozying into one or two of the bigger wineries that have large indoor tasting rooms! We also love that Woodinville has incredible places to settle in for a long autumn dinner with friends!

DeLille Cellars

$20 tasting

Tasting Room Hours:

Sunday-Thursday 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Friday 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Columbia Winery 

$15 tasting

Tasting Room Hours:

11am-6pm daily, and until 7pm on Fridays


Chateau Ste Michelle

$20 tasting

Tasting Room Hours:

Daily 10:00am-5:00pm

We hope these amazing indoor activities give you a fall and winter season full of culture, community, and fun! Looking for other fun things to do this season? Head over to our local events page to check out all of the fun things to do in and around Seattle each week!