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4 Simple Recipes for Your Memorial Day Gathering

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summertime for many of us. We honor the lives of those who have fought for our freedom and spend time with friends and loved ones. It’s a time of picnics, pool parties and cookouts, all of which have something in common: great food!

To help you prepare, we’ve put together a list of simple recipes that will be easy winners for any Memorial Day gathering, whether you’re a host or just a participant. Read on for some delicious ideas that will help you spend less time in the kitchen and more time hanging out this Memorial Day weekend.

Taco Lime Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken is sure to satisfy, and this recipe by Closet Cooking is an easy-to-make, delicious centerpiece for your Memorial Day gathering.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (~2 limes)
  • 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts

Directions

  1. Mix the taco seasoning and lime juice, cover the chicken in the mixture and optionally marinate for 30 minutes to over night.
  2. Grill over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes per side, let sit for 5 minutes and slice before enjoying!

 

Photo by Blissful Basil

Grilled Corn on the Cob

There are few side-dishes that say summertime more than corn on the cob. Try this delicious recipe by Blissful Basil for a tasty twist on a classic recipe.

Ingredients

  • 4 ears of corn
  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • smoked paprika, to taste
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat grill over high until hot.
  2. If you want a bit of a char on the corn, pull back a few of the husks on each ear of corn. Place the corn directly on the grill, cover, and grill for 15 to 20 minutes or until the husks are charred on all sides, rotating occasionally. Remove and let cool until they can safely be handled.
  3. Remove the husks and silk from each ear of corn. You can either discard the husks completely or fold them back to use as handles.
  4. Use a pastry brush or your hands to spread the coconut oil over each ear of corn. Place the corn on a serving platter, sprinkle with the smoked paprika, spritz with the fresh lime juice, sprinkle with cilantro, and season with sea salt and black pepper. Serve.

Photo by DianaEatingRichly via Pinterest

Stove-Top Macaroni & Cheese

It’s not a real cookout if there’s no mac n’ cheese! This recipe for easy macaroni & cheese by Genius Kitchen requires only 30 minutes and serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 1cup butter
  • 1cup flour
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • dash black pepper
  • cups milk
  • cups shredded cheddar cheese or 8 ounces cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions.
  2. In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; stir in flour, and cook for 3-5 minutes stirring constantly to form a roux; add salt and pepper; slowly add milk, stirring well after each addition.
  3. Cook and stir until bubbly.
  4. Stir in cheese a small amount at a time until fully melted.
  5. Drain macaroni; add to cheese sauce; stir to coat.

Photo by Family Fresh Meals

Flag Fruit Dessert

This ingenious dessert by Family Fresh Meals takes just a few minutes to prepare. It’s also a relatively healthy option for a dessert dish.

Ingredients

  • 5-6 cups of red fresh fruit (i.e. strawberries, cherries, raspberries)
  • 2 cups of blueberries
  • 3 cups of yogurt or white chocolate covered pretzels

Directions

  1. Wash fresh fruit and dry.
  2. Lay out fruit and pretzels to represent the flag stripes.
  3. Place a small bowl of blueberries on the top left.

Now, Enjoy!

We wish you a great Memorial Day weekend, and hope these recipes make your gathering delicious!

 


Decorating for Summer Time: Summer Trends

As spring transitions into summer, the days will get longer and warmer. Summer is also the season of backyard cookouts, leisurely afternoons and pool parties. And whether you’re entertaining guests every week or prefer to relax in solitude, summer is the perfect time to update your home’s decor. 

Read on for a few of this year’s summertime decorating trends!

Floral Prints

Floral prints are “in” right now, and summer is the perfect time to incorporate them into your apartment’s decor. Whether it’s shower curtains, throw pillows or rugs, floral prints add a pop of nature to any room.

Check out The Spruce for more ideas!

Foliage & Flowers

If you’d like to bypass floral prints and go for the real thing, we encourage it! Placing flower arrangements around your apartment is a great way to create a summery atmosphere. Make sure you use warm colors for an upbeat, cheerful vibe. 

Other plants, like an ivy tree, can make your apartment look lush and tropical. According to The Spruce and Pinterest trend data, climbing plants are very popular this year.

Pops of Color

Mixing bright colors together will make your apartment feel vibrant and in the spirit of the summertime. House Beautiful Magazine suggests starting with neutral tones to “ground” the room, such as neutral colors for walls and bedding. Then, use items like cushions, rugs and curtains to bring bright pops of color to the room.

Geometric Patterns

Geometrics are also trending in 2018. One way to include geometric patterns into your decor is through artwork. Whether you purchase a piece of art or get creative and make one yourself, hanging geometric artwork on your walls allows you to incorporate bold design elements without permanently affecting your walls. Check out House Beautiful’s recommendations if you’d like more information.

Now that you know some of 2018’s biggest summer trends, get busy decorating!


Time-Saving Kitchen Tools and Appliances

Whether you’re cooking for a large group or just for yourself, saving time in the kitchen is a wonderful thing. It means more time spent with family and loved ones, more time for productivity, or maybe just more time for relaxing by the pool. And as the old saying goes, “time is money.” 

So we’ve put together a small list of cooking tools that will make your life easier, both inside and outside of the kitchen. 

Breakfast Sandwich Maker

Let’s start with waking up. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not treat yourself to a gadget that will help you eat a nourishing meal without missing a beat. Breakfast sandwich makers allow you to prepare a fresh breakfast — complete with eggs, your choice of meat, and other ingredients of your choice — that you can simply grab and go on your way out of the house. 

Garlic Peeler

These are small tools that will constantly come in handy. Place the garlic in its tube, roll, and suddenly you’ll have peeled garlic.

Sharp, High-Quality Chef’s Knife

This is an essential tool for any kitchen. A sharp knife will allow you to slice and dice produce quickly, saving you lots of time while preparing your meal. Make sure you know how to keep your knife sharp.

Immersion Blender

Immersion blenders are incredibly useful for quickly making smoothies, pureed soups, and sauces without leaving a mess behind. Check out this tutorial to learn more about why an immersion blender is such a useful kitchen appliance.

Colanders

A colander is a perforated bowl used for straining liquids from food. Using a colander is the fastest way to drain pasta, and they’re also a great container for washing vegetables.

Whisks

Having a large variety of whisks will allow you to specialize and expedite your whisking duties. For example, Bon Appetite suggests using large whisks for foods in large pots, medium whisks for soups and sauces, and small whisks for salad dressings.

High-Quality Vegetable Peeler

A sharp, resilient vegetable peeler will save you immeasurable amounts of time preparing any meal that calls for vegetables, and its ability to evenly remove vegetables’ outer skin will improve your presentation as well.

Heat Resistant Rubber/Silicone Spatula

Heat resistant spatulas are wonderful for mixing, stirring, and scraping pans. They are also great for quickly and evenly spreading condiments on bread, which makes for a lovely sandwich.

Scooping Measuring Cups

Measuring cups with handles attached allow you to quickly scoop ingredients like sugar and place them directly into whatever you are cooking with. Make sure you purchase a variety of cups for large and smaller measurements.

Jar Opener

Trying to open a jar that won’t budge is one of the most frustrating problems that occur in the kitchen, and even if it doesn’t affect your meal, it can certainly derail your good mood. Grab one in the kitchen aisle the next time you’re at the supermarket, and save yourself all that trouble once and for all.

If you’d like a list of even more tools, check out the official website of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Foodal, and Cooking Light. Now that you know how to save time in the kitchen, enjoy the summer with all the time you have left over!


Tips for Apartment Living with Pets

According to some studies, over half of the apartment renters in the United States own a pet. Living with pets can be a challenge, but for those of you that have pets, you know that it is well worth it to have your best friend around. We’ve created a list of tips to make living with a pet in an apartment an enjoyable experience (for you and your neighbors).

Read on for more info!

Establish Bathroom Routines

One of the most important parts of living with a pet is making sure they have a routine for bathroom breaks. Establish routine times to take your pet outside, and train them where it is acceptable for them to go to the bathroom. If your pet develops a routine, your chances of coming home to a mess are greatly reduced. This keeps your apartment clean and your guests happy.

When it comes to cats, make sure you place litterboxes in a relatively private place. 

Give Your Pets Time to Exercise

Allowing your pets to expend their energy will make your home much calmer. Certain high-energy breeds of dogs need exercise, and they love playing fetch and other games that require large amounts of space. If your job doesn’t allow you the time to take your pet outside to play very often, you can hire a professional dog walker to take care of it for you.

Consider the Breed

If you haven’t bought a pet yet but are planning on it, do some research and choose a breed that is well-suited for apartment living. Smaller, calmer breeds are ideal for apartments since they require less space to expend energy. Additionally, some breeds have more energetic personalities and aren’t advisable apartment pets unless it’s certain that you can provide them with plenty of time to play and exercise.

Pet-Proof Your Apartment

Before you allow your pet into the apartment, make sure it is safe for them. Inspect rooms at their level, making sure there isn’t any hazardous electrical wiring or harmful objects available to them. Place any clothing items that you don’t want to be chewed on in a location your pets can’t reach. Also, check out this list of potentially harmful plants and make sure they aren’t in your apartment.

Once you’ve taken these simple steps to make living with your pet safe and enjoyable, welcome them home! If you’d like more information on apartment living with pets, check out these great resources: Pets Best, BarkPost, and TripsWithPets.


Preparing Your Apartment for Hot Weather

The Louisiana summer is fast approaching, and you know what that means. Soon, temperatures will exceed 90 degrees, and everyone will be trying to beat the heat. 

The most important part of battling the summer heat is preparation. Read on for several tips on how to prepare for hot weather this year!

Inspect Your Air Conditioner

The first step in servicing your A/C is changing your filters. Air filters that are obstructed by debris cause your cooling system to work harder, increasing the potential for malfunction. 1st Lake requires residents to change their filters every 30 days, and we offer filters free of charge.

Inspect Ventilation 

If you have ventilation problems in your home, all the hard work you’ve done maintaining a clean air filter won’t matter. A simple check for drafts in windows and doors is the first step to addressing any issues. If you find any, notify management to take the next steps in protecting your apartment.

Finding cracks and drafts is also the first step to protecting against bug invasions. During the summer, bugs come out of hibernation and are more likely to find their way into your home. 

Setting the Temperature

It is recommended that thermostats be set between 75° – 78°. Turning the A/C below these settings only makes the unit run more and use more electricity. Also, turning your unit off during the day will only cause the unit to run longer that evening, as it will have to cool down the whole apartment before it reaches a comfortable temperature. This can also lead to higher energy bills and potential unnecessary A/C repairs.

Summer is a season to enjoy time with friends and family. Pool parties, outdoor cookouts, and leisure time will all be much more satisfying if your home is taken care of and prepared for the summer heat. Now that you have everything in order, enjoy the sun!