Category Archives: Lifestyle

CBHarper Family Kitchen: Lasagna Boats

This time of year is the season of the squash. We typically see pumpkin, butternut and acorn – but not a whole lot of spaghetti squash recipes. One of our CBHarper Family members shared this delightful dinner recipe for lasagna boats. Great for children, vegetarian diets, carb-free and all-around food lovers. This version happens to be vegetarian, but add pancetta and you’re golden.

Ingredients:
4-6 small spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise with seeds scooped out
splash of olive oil
1 head garlic
1 lbs. italian tofu meat crumbles (or chicken sausage for the non-vegetarian version)
1/2 sweet Vidalia onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. fresh sage
1 tsp. fresh basil
1/2 tsp. salt and pepper (or to taste)
1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
1 1/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup provolone shredded cheese (fontina cheese also works well)
1 cup mozzarella shredded cheese

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 400º

988_4172684Drizzle olive oil, plus add salt and pepper all over the cut side of both squash halves. On a baking sheet place sliced squash cut-side down. Slice the top of garlic head and also place on baking sheet next to squash. Bake for about 30-45 minutes or until squash is tender.

Remove both items from oven.

Squeeze the roasted garlic from its husk into a bowl and set aside.

Scrape inside of squash with fork until it breaks down into noodle-like strands.

Reduce the oven to 350º

While the squash bakes it’s time to prepare your sauce. In large skillet, heat roughly 1 tablespoon of olive oil (you can add the pancetta at this time or opt for just the veggies.) Addthe onion, bay leaf, thyme and sage – cook stirring gently until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Push the onion herb mixture to one side of the pan.
Add a splash more olive oil to the center of the pan and add in the tofu crumbles (or meat). Heat until browned about 3 minutes.

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Add tomatoes, basil and water, then combine everything while stirring. Reduce to simmer about 15-20 minutes. Once sauce has thickened a bit remove bay leaf. Salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in mashed roasted garlic.

In medium sauce pan, we will make a bechamel sauce. Melt butter over medium heat and whisk in flour, blend constantly for 1 minute. Should form a thick but smooth paste. Slowly add in milk, continue whisking throughout. Simmer for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in provolone, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Let cool but stir occasionally.

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Assembling the boats is next. Layer the squash strands with the tomato (meat) sauce, cheese sauce and top with shredded mozzarella.

Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350º or until cheese is melting and slightly browned. Garnish with basil and enjoy!

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Inspired by this recipe.

New Braunfels Celebrates Dia De Los Muertos

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-10-31-51-amOctober 29th — New Braunfels’ inaugural Dia De Los Muertos Festival was held on October 29th at the New Braunfels Farmers Market.

A free festival filled with fun, cultural food, art & crafts, shopping, live music and entertainment, the Dia De Los Muertos New Braunfels Festival was an educational insight for the history of the day. This event was hosted by the Hispanic Business Alliance, a part of the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce.

One of our Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper, REALTORS® New Braunfels Sales Agents, Cynthia Leos, was there to enjoy the festivities. She was kind enough to share some snap shot from the days events. There is even a rumor that next year will host a costume contest!

Pictured below is Cynthia Leos and her son in costume from this year’s event, along with [right] a clipping of the news article in the Herald-Zeitung.

 

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CouponChief.com’s “A Mother’s Complete Guide to Halloween Safety”

CouponChief.com’s “A Mother’s Complete Guide to Halloween Safety” is a thorough but simple guide that provides a complete checklist to keep your kids safe on Halloween.

Did you know that child pedestrian accidents increase by 4x on that day? The guide is going to walk you through the steps that you can take to make sure your children will avoid injury, but won’t miss out on the fun.

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Read the full story here:
www.couponchief.com/guides/halloween_safety_tips

A special thank you to Deborah Hall from CouponChief.com for sharing these helpful guidelines to ensure everyone has a safe and happy Halloween!

A Gardening Story by Denise Barnhill

When a message from Denise Barnhill came across the email, we were so thrilled. She wanted to share photos of her garden and how much joy its brought her. It is these stories of simplicity and happiness that warm our hearts.

In her own words… Here is my gardening story. 

The "before" shot when we got everything planted.

The “before” shot, when we got everything planted.

I would like to share with others my story to inspire the love of gardening. The books say ‘home is where the heart is’ and ‘your home is your castle’. This REALTOR® has found a refuge in her own backyard.

On August 23rd, 2016 my youngest daughter Catherine said she would like to grow some eggplant. So we went to the nursery and purchase some plants to plant in the ground. One of those being an eggplant. So we dug up the dirt, made holes and placed the seedlings in the ground. In all, we planted 2 eggplants, 2 tomato, 2 strawberry, 1 zucchini and 4 pepper plants. We also placed 4 kinds of herbs into a pot – rosemary, peppermint, cilantro and basil. They are doing very well.

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This is our first garden and all of the plants are thriving and growing. Our recipe for success is to just add water and watch the plants grow.

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Buying and living in a home gives the homeowners a chance to sow gardens, works in their yards and learn about herbs and flowers to expand their knowledge and love of nature. It has been truly rewarding, looking forward to continue my journey in gardening.

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The "after" shot as you can see the plants are quite a bigger larger and full of vegetables.

The “after” shot, as you can see the plants are quite a bit larger and full of vegetables.

All the photos above were supplied and taken by Denise – what wonderful pictures!

Have questions for Denise? Or perhaps you’re looking for your next home to start your first garden? She can help with that too – give her a call or send an email:

Denise Barnhill, REALTOR®
dbarnhill@cbharper.com
(210) 865-5116

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CB Harper Family Kitchen – Easy Pumpkin Muffins

Are you busy but still love to make delicious food? Us too! It is nice to be able to make recipes from scratch but with work schedules and family, those made-from-scratch desserts do not often fit in the schedule.

These delicious muffins are perfect for breakfast, plus one can never have too much pumpkin during the Fall season! In fact, this is so easy you might already have all the ingredients you need right in your pantry.

Easy Pumpkin Muffins (with optional Cream Cheese Frosting)

Ingredients:
1 Box cake mix, spice flavor – Betty Crocker is the one we used
1 16oz. Can pureed pumpkin (the puree pumpkin and not the pie filling)
1 Package cupcake liners or non-stick spray.

Instructions:
1.) Preheat oven 350º
2.) Line cupcake pan with decorative paper liners (or use non-stick spray).
3.) Combine the Spice Cake Mix with the pumpkin puree and mix thoroughly until a thick batter consistency.
4.) Fill the cupcake pan and bake for about 18-20 minutes. Test for doneness.

While the muffins bake you can prepare this equally simple cream cheese frosting.

Easy Cream Cheese Whipped Frosting

Ingredients:
8 oz. Cream cheese softened
1 Cup granulated sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
(quality vanilla extract makes a huge difference, we used Rodelle brand)
1 1/2 Cups heavy cream

Instructions:
1.) In a non-plastic or porous bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
2.) In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese with sugar and vanilla until smooth.
3.) Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

Can use a large ziplock bag with hole cut in the corner to pipe frosting onto cooled muffins. Post pictures of your finished muffins here – we would love to see your culinary efforts!

 

CB Harper Family Kitchen – Homemade Cornbread

Served on those Fall evenings with some Texas style chili, this cornbread is sure to warm you up! There’s that blue box of cornbread mix that you can’t go wrong with of course. We’ve all had it in our pantry because it’s inexpensive and simple to make. Recently though, we wanted to test out some homemade recipes. It isn’t loaded with jalapeños, bacon or anything Texas cornbread might have but it’s absolutely delicious!

Homemade Cornbread

Ingredients:
4 eggs with the yolks and whites separated
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
(quality vanilla extract makes a huge difference, we used Rodelle brand)
3/4 cup melted butter
(again, you will want to use a good-quality  salted butter we used Kerrygold)
1 cup cornmeal
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Instructions:
1.) Preheat oven to 350º and grease a 9×13 baking pan.
2.) In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, milk, vanilla extract and melted butter. Whisk together until combined thoroughly.

3.) In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients; cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

4.) Combine the dry ingredients into the egg/milk mixture until just blended – do not over mix.

5.) In a non-plastic or porous bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

6.) Fold the egg whites into cornmeal gently until just combined.

7.) Pour batter into prepared 9×13 baking pan.

8.) Bake for 26-58 minutes, test with toothpick to ensure it comes out clean in the center.

9.) Remove from oven and allow to cool about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Optional: Add a small pat of butter atop slice when serving.

We want to hear from you – what are your favorite recipes? Would you like to see them published? Email them to PR@CBHarper.com

CB Harper Family Kitchen – Pumpkin Halloween Cups

These ghoulishly delicious treats are perfect snacks for Halloween parties of any size. October is truly the season of the pumpkin so in this edition, the CBHarper Family Kitchen brings you a sweet treat!

You can make these ahead of time for your Halloween or Thanksgiving party, plus they are really easy to make and customize. The recipe below is one we tried at home and customized a bit.

Pumpkin Pudding Cups

Ingredients:
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups cold milk
1 can of 15oz. pureed pumpkin
*1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (can be adjusted to taste)
*1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup vanilla sandwich cookies
1 can or container of whipped cream topping
8-10 Ball canning jars or other decorative serving container
* Individual spices can be substituted for premixed “pumpkin spice”

Instructions:
1.) In a large bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk. Let set for about 5 minutes – if you place in fridge it will set faster.

2.) Mix pureed pumpkin with spices. Then slowly stir in vanilla pudding into pumpkin until blended. (May or may not have a swirl pattern)

3.) Crush the vanilla sandwich cookies in a blender/food processor until its a crumb material.

4.) Set out your containers and add the pumpkin pudding about 3/4 way full. Then add a layer of cookie crumbles.

5.) Top with the whipped cream.
Optional:
add caramel or chocolate drizzle to the top.

6.) Chill until you are ready to serve and enjoy!

We want to hear from you – what are your favorite recipes? Would you like to see them published? Email them to PR@CBHarper.com

 

CBHarper Family Kitchen – Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin

With the summer grilling days behind us, we prepare for cooler weather (as cool as Texas gets around this time) recipes. Here at Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper, REALTORS® we have a treasure trove of recipes. As you prepare yourself for oven warming foods and evening by the fireplace, we want to share some delicious fall delights. We hope you enjoy!

Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin with Gruyere and Bacon:

Ingredients:
1 small baking pumpkin (or larger depending on family size)
Salt and Pepper
1 slice French bread
1-2 cups French bread cubed depending on size of pumpkin
1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded or cubed
1 cup Fontina cheese, shredded or cubed
1/2 package bacon, cooked crispy and chopped
4 stalks of green onions, chopped finely
3 tbsp. butter
2 fresh garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed
1 sprig fresh thyme, pulled from stem and loosely chopped
handful fresh chives
3/4 cup heavy cream

Instructions:
1.) Preheat oven to 350º degrees.

2.) Cut top off of the pumpkin and scoop out the strands and seeds. Salt and pepper the inside to taste.

3.) Mix the cubed bread, cheeses and bacon in a large bowl.

4.) In a sauce pan heat butter over medium heat. When butter begins to melt add green onions and garlic. Cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the bread mixture.

5.) Add fresh chives and thyme to bread mixture, then the cream last stirring together until mixed. Texture should be wet but not overly soggy. Adjust ingredients based on pumpkin size/taste.

6.) Fill pumpkin to the top with the stuffing. Put lid on the pumpkin and place on a baking sheet lined with non-stick aluminum foil.

7.) Bake for about 1 1/2 hours in the center rack of oven. Then take lid off add slice of bread and sprinkle with cheese. Cook for another 30 minutes.

8.) Serve alongside roasted turkey or ham and other trimmings.

 

We want to hear from you, what are your favorite fall recipes?

Rich O’Toole Making Music and a Home in Texas

home-blogRecently, one of our agents Kim Rosendahl out of the Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper, REALTORS® New Braunfels Sales Office brought us a story of a country musician and his home in the Texas Hill Country.

Founded on August 6th, 2008, Rich O’Toole a singer and songwriter from Houston, Texas, formed his band that officially broke into the music world. The debut album, Seventeen, was named “Best Album of 2006 That No One Told You About” according to Americana Music Times. With 16 top ten hit on Texas radio, Rich’s energy hasn’t fallen one bit after four years of touring nationally. (We included a link at the bottom of the article where you can get catch a listen).

Rich gave us the opportunity to ask a few questions about his career, home life and Texas.

Q. How did you get started in music? What drives your passion?

A. My mom bought me a guitar when I was 16. I was obsessed with baseball at the time but over the years my passion changed more to music.

Q. What do you enjoy most about living in Texas?

A. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas and attended Texas A&M University. So I will always call Texas home. The band and I travel all over the United States and I lived in Los Angeles the past two years. But I have always loved the Hill Country. So I bought a house and moved back. Thank y’all for that!

Q. What are you most proud of in your career, family life?

A. We have had 16 top ten songs on Texas Radio. It was a lot of hard work, so I am very proud of that. I am a single guy so I look forward to being married soon.

Q. How did you hear about Coldwell Banker? 

A. Y’all have always been a great company so it made lots of sense! Thank you I really enjoy my new Hill Country home. 

14469667_10154589668374600_442545265787008685_nWell, thank you Rich for taking the time to answer our questions and share your story! Interested hearing some Rich O’Toole music?

Visit his website here and listen to some boot-tapping country tunes off his fifth album Jaded:

www.richotoole.com/jaded/

All those songs are also available on iTunes so definitely check those out. You can also visit his facebook page here. If you’re on the market for a home in the Texas Hill Country, Kim Rosendahl is your gal!

 

ESPN San Antonio’s High School Athlete of the Week – Cody Massey

img_6108Ever in celebration of life and family, we bring a story from one of our support staff partners. Sharlene Richards, Accounting Administrator here at Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper, REALTORS® is the proud mom of Cody Massey.

So when Cody was named ESPN San Antonio’s Complete Emergency Care High School Athlete of the week, Sharlene was thrilled to share the news. Senior Quarter Back for the Steele Knights, Cody has worked tireless to earn this achievement.

 

Yesterday ESPN San Antonio interviewed Cody about this recognition live at Steele Stadium in Cibolo, Texas.

That “dab” touch goal celebration was a winner for sure! A special thank you to Sharlene for sharing this story and let’s all wish this young man best of luck in his upcoming games!

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Have a story about a star athlete in your life? Email us the story (with photos) at pr@cbharper.com and we’ll share it!