Conejo Valley Real Estate News

March 27, 2018

Classic Carrot Cake

Bunnies aren’t the only ones that love carrots—we love them too! They’re the perfect healthy and crunchy snack, and a versatile enough to use in desserts. Carrot cake is a wonderful Easter treat—and can be a nice break from all the sugary marshmallow and chocolate candies you’re bound to be enjoying this time of year. 

Ingredients

½ cup flour

 

The frosting 

 

Instructions:
The cake

  1. Set oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare baking pans by spreading shortening and heavily dusting with flour, and set aside.
  3. Mix together the sugar and the oil. Add the eggs, and mix again until smooth. Add the carrots, and stir.
  4. Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and add to the carrot mixture.
  5. Pour mixture into two prepared 8-inch baking pans.
  6. Bake 25–30 minutes. Let cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, and then remove from pan. Add cream cheese frosting after cake is completely cool.

The frosting

  1. Combine cream cheese and butter on medium-high until mixture is well blended and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Reduce speed to low, and slowly blend in powdered sugar.
  3. Increase speed to medium, and beat well until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Makes about 3 dozen cupcakes, or a 9″x13″ cake.
Posted in Recipe
Feb. 2, 2018

Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Chorizo, Lime, and Cilantro

Cauliflower can be used in just about anything, but is especially tasty in soup. Combined with spicy chorizo, you’ll want to have this dish ready to go on cool winter nights!

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
6-ounce chorizo, cut into ¼-inch dice (use Spanish-style chorizo in casing, not loose Mexican-style chorizo)
2 cups (2–3 medium) chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
8 cups (about 1½ lb or use packaged florets) cauliflower florets
5 cups chicken broth or stock
Kosher salt
½ cup sour cream
½ teaspoon grated lime zest
Freshly ground black pepper
Toasted breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Instructions:

  1. In a heavy pot, over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil until hot. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring, until slightly crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Reduce the heat to medium and add the leeks to the drippings in the pan. Cook, stirring often until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add the cauliflower, broth, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Purée the soup in batches in a food processor, blender, or food mill. (Or use an immersion blender to purée the soup in the pot.)
  3. Whisk together the sour cream and the lime zest and stir half the mixture into the soup. Season the soup with more salt if needed and with ¼ teaspoon or more black pepper. (Soup can be prepared two days ahead. Cook to this stage, then cool, cover, and refrigerate the sautéed chorizo and the sour cream separately. Reheat the soup over medium heat, stirring often.)
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish each serving with a dollop of the remaining sour cream. Serve with small bowls of chorizo, toasted breadcrumbs, and cilantro for sprinkling.
Posted in Recipe
Dec. 31, 2017

Sparkling Champagne Jello

A New Year’s Eve celebration is not complete without a glass of champagne—and these dazzling champagne jello flutes are the perfect way to combine your toast, and dessert, to ring in the new year!


Ingredients:

Champagne Layer

  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 gelatin packet
  • 1 cup champagne
  • ½ cup ginger ale

Cream Layer

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 gelatin packet

Decoration

  • gold sprinkles
  • corn syrup

Instructions:

Pour ½ cup of boiling water into a bowl. Add gelatin packet to the water, and stir gently.

Pour champagne and ginger ale into the bowl, and stir. Divide the champagne mixture into glasses, and chill in the refrigerator.

Once the champagne layer is set, combine sweetened condensed milk and 1 cup of boiling water, in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine ½ cup of cold water and 1 gelatin packet. Allow to set, (about 2-3 minutes).

Pour the gelatin mixture into the sweetened condensed milk mixture, and combine. Divide the creamy layer into the glasses, and chill until set. If you want, you can repeat the instructions for an additional champagne layer.

Once everything is set, take a small amount of corn syrup and dab it all around the rim of the glass. Place the glass upside down into a shallow bowl of sprinkles until the rim is covered. Sprinkle additional sprinkles on top.

Posted in Recipe
Dec. 19, 2017

Sugar Cookies

the only sugar cookie recipe you need this holiday season


One dessert that there’s always room for during the holiday season are sugar cookies. Simple to make and sweeter to eat, this recipe is perfect for any festive function.


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Cookie cutters

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and orange juice until combined. Slowly add the flour and the baking powder until mixed.
  3. Split dough into thirds, wrapping in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  4. Once the dough is firm, roll out onto a floured surface. Using cookie cutters, cut out the cookies into desired shapes at ?-inch thickness, and place on baking sheet 1 inch apart.
  5. Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly brown on the edges.
Posted in Recipe
Nov. 16, 2017

Spiced Cider Cocktail


Give your Moscow Mule a punch of fall flavor with tart apple cider and a hint of cinnamon. You’ll want to sip on this cocktail all season long!


Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces apple cider
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 ounces ginger beer
  • Ice
  • 1 apple slice
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions:

  1. In a glass, combine the vodka, apple cider, and lime juice. Fill the glass with ice, and sprinkle on the cinnamon.
  2. Top with ginger beer, and garnish with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick.

 

 

Posted in Recipe
Oct. 23, 2017

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

 

Pumpkin bread and chocolate chips are delicious on their own, but what about when they come together? Find out for yourself with this go-to comfort treat that can be enjoyed (devoured) during the fall.


Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:  

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together. Set aside.
  3. Beat together the sugar, oil, and eggs. Gradually beat in the dry ingredient mixture from step two.
  4. Once combined, gradually beat in the milk, pumpkin puree, and chocolate chips.
  5. Pour the batter into a greased 9’ x 5’ loaf pan, and bake for 55 minutes. Let the bread cool before taking out of the pan.
Posted in Recipe
Sept. 15, 2017

Strawberry Mousse Pretzel Pie


Strawberries are so delicious in summer, it’s imperative to use them in your cooking for as long as you can. This cool and creamy pie is full of fresh strawberry flavor, combined with salty, crunchy pretzels for a contrast of flavor and texture in every bite!

Ingredients:
CRUST

  • 2 cups finely crushed pretzel sticks
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

FILLING

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon strawberry gelatin,
  • or ½ (3-ounce) package
  • 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries, pureed and
  • strained, seeds discarded
  • 2 cups whipping cream, divided
  • ? cup sugar

Instructions:

  1. Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients; firmly press on the bottom, up the side, and onto the lip of a lightly greased 10-inch pie plate. Bake 10–12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven to a wire rack, and cool completely.
  2. Filling: Beat condensed milk, cream cheese, and gelatin at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add strawberry puree, and beat at low speed just until blended. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Beat ¾ cup whipping cream at high speed until soft peaks form; gently fold into strawberry mixture. Spoon into prepared crust. Cover, and freeze 8–12 hours, or until firm.
  4. Beat remaining 1¼ cups whipping cream at high speed until foamy; gradually add sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Spread over pie.
  5. Freeze 1 hour, or until whipped cream is firm. Serve chilled.
 

Give this scrumptious summer dessert a try, and let us know what you think! Share photos of your creation on Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #ALMbites.

Reprinted from Picnics, Potlucks, & Porch Parties: Recipes, Menus, & Ideas for Every Occasion. Copyright © 2016, Aimee Broussard.

Posted in Recipe
Sept. 14, 2017

10 Home Improvement Tips

LET ME HELP YOU MAXIMIZE THE VALUE OF YOUR HOME AND PUT IT ON THE MARKET

by Diane Brewer

 

1) REALTOR® CONSULTATION

Get the advice of a local Real Estate professional:

DIANE BREWER • (805) 390-3986 • ConejoValleyHome.com

Realtor® CalBRE LIC#01978606


2) INSPECTION

If you are curious about the appearance of something in your home, or the current

“shape” it is in, a physical inspection may be worth the fee. For instance, an unseen leak

can cause mold and flooring damage which can be quite costly if not properly repaired.

Getting a home inspection will eliminate any surprises and help you decide which repairs

to make up front, ensuring a smooth escrow.


3) PAINT

A simple color scheme update and touching up the base boards can really give a fresh,

clean sought after look.

LET ME HELP YOU PUT YOUR HOME ON THE MARKET

 

4) ACCESSORIES

Update your home décor to match the paint selection, such as coordinating throw

pillows, plants, towels etc. Replace overly worn area rugs and pillows with new ones

that compliment your interior and represent trending color palettes. Another option,

is to invest in home staging.


5) KITCHEN/BATH

The two rooms that benefit the most from home renovations are the kitchen and bath.

KITCHEN: You don’t have to start from scratch to make the kitchen great and earn

buyer applause. If you are on a smaller budget, replace outdated fixtures, knobs,

old floor mats/carpets and accessories. If you have a bigger budget, consider fully

renovating with new appliances, counters, and sinks.



BATH: The most cost effective change is to replace outdated vanity/fixtures and

handles/knobs on cabinetry, or add a new tile floor. This will give you the biggest bang

for your buck and a modern look for buyers. If budget allows, take the time to replace

and update the counter and tub or shower.


6) REGULAR MAINTENANCE

Walk around your home and make a list of little things that are broken, or in need

of repair. Individually, they may not seem important, but if each room has one thing

wrong, it can create an impression that the home is neglected.



Keep your home running smoothly. Often deferred maintenance ends up costing more

in the end, especially slow leaks. If your home exterior is landscaped, check for proper

sprinkler coverage. If you are worried you might have pests, mice or rats, don’t let one

turn into a family, hire a pest exterminator. Dropping removal and build up can turn

into a big expense often becoming worse than the seller was aware of. If you aren’t

comfortable doing the repairs, hire a local handyman to help eliminate some of these

problems down the road.


7) DE-CLUTTER

If you aren’t able to do this yourself or with the help of your Realtor®, hire a

professional to get you organized. Ultimately this will help your homes overall

appearance, and make the moving process much easier.


8) LANDSCAPING

Low maintenance, drought tolerant shurbbery and plants have become very popular

in recent years. Keep your yard as neat as possible, for a well manicured look. If your

landscaping could benefit from a spalsh of color, add in some vibrant, flowering

plants to the front and rear of your home. Potted plants can also work wonders as

if you wish to take them with you (make sure to disclose to buyers which items are not

included). If you don’t have any landscape, consider turf, gravel or bark in its place.


9) WASTE

Trash any old or broken items that are taking up wasted space in and outside of

your home. Broken lawn chairs, mis-matched or faded patio sets can easily become

eye sores to potential buyers. When it comes to the interior of your home, consider

letting go of too many knick knacks, old magazines and newspaper collections. If you

can’t decide, box them up and put any unnecessary items in storage.


10) STAGING

Staging can often help maximize the value of your home. Did you know that staged

homes spend half the time on the market than non-staged homes and typically sell for

more than 6% above asking price -Real Estate Staging Association. Talk to your agent

about whether or not your home is a candidate for professional styling services.

If you are able to accomplish all, or even some of these tips, your home will likely be

more appealing to buyers and ready to sell.

Posted in Selling Tips
June 23, 2017

BBQ Deviled Eggs

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 large eggs, hard-boiled and peeled

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

  • 1 ½ tablespoon sweet relish

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 cup finely chopped smoked BBQ chicken

  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • 2 ½ tablespoons of barbecue rub

  • 2 tbsp green onions, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Halve the eggs lengthwise. Remove the yolks and place in a small bowl. Mash with a fork. Stir in mayonnaise, relish, Dijon mustard, meat and salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients well. Spoon the mixture back into the egg white, or use a piping bag to pipe the filling neatly into the egg white. Lightly sprinkle each egg with BBQ rub and top with green onions.
  2. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours until ready to serve.
Posted in Recipe
May 21, 2017

Lemon Cornmeal Cake

If you like your cornbread sweet, fine but then call it what it is—a cake. This makes an excellent light breakfast with coffee or juice.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3½ tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Sift together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together eggs, sugar, and zest. Set over a small pot of hot water, double-boiler style, and whisk until warm to touch, about 2 minutes.
  4. Transfer the bowl to the mixer fitted with whisk attachment, and beat on medium speed until it thickens and lightens in color, and forms ribbons when the whisk is lifted, about 5–6 minutes.
  5. In another bowl, combine oil, milk, and lemon juice. Return mixer to medium speed, and drizzle this into egg mixture. Reduce to low speed, and add the combined cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt. Finally, drizzle in melted butter, and combine.
  6. Line an 8-inch metal loaf pan with parchment paper. Pour batter into the pan, and bake for 40–45 minutes, rotating once. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick or the tip of a sharp knife into the center of the cake—it should come out clean, and the cake should spring back when gently touched.
  7. Remove cake from the oven, and immediately sprinkle the sugar on top. Place pan on a rack to cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Carefully lift the cake out of the pan, and return it to the rack to finish cooling.
Posted in Recipe