10999 W IH10 Ste 175
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Recipe: Quick and Decadent Dark Chocolate Mousse
This romantic dessert is a perfect finale for a Valentine’s Day dinner. It yields 3 cups of mousse
- 5 ounces dark chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons brewed espresso/coffee
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Place the chocolate, butter, and espresso in a microwavable bowl, and microwave in increments of 15-25 seconds, stirring each time until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, whip the cream and sugar with an electric mixer until firm, being careful to not to overbeat. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the chocolate mixture into the cream until it’s an even consistency and color. Spoon the mousse into ramekins or martini glasses, and garnish with fresh berries, shaved chocolate, or a mint sprig.
Can be served immediately or refrigerated for up to an hour.
Ask the Agent: This Month’s Question
I’m currently saving up for a home. I put aside a portion of each paycheck, but I’m looking for other ways to save. Any ideas?
You’re off to a solid start, but you can get creative to help speed your progress. Here are some ideas:
Keep a change purse with you for any coins you receive after breaking a bill; then stockpile them at home.
Sell what you don’t need or use. Craigslist, VarageSale, and eBay make it easy to sell clothing, electronics, and home goods.
Consider canceling cable, trimming your phone plan, and halting subscriptions until you reach your goal.
Set short-term goals. If you typically eat out several times a month, go restaurant-free for four weeks and put that money aside.
Shop strategically. Use points and rewards cards; they can quickly add up to free coffee, groceries, and health and beauty products, leaving you extra cash for your home fund.
||Your Dream FROG Can Add Space and Value to Your Home
Instead of just a place to store stuff (and maybe to accommodate your car), your garage may also be a moneymaker.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a FROG over your garage, you may be missing out on something.
Your finished room over garage (or FROG) could be the perfect spot for a game room, kids’ play spot, or best of all (financially speaking), a rental property.
FROGS and bonus rooms are widely popular with buyers these days. And while it certainly hasn’t reached the stage where you won’t be able to sell your home without a FROG, you will add value and may be able to get a higher price with one.
According to an article at ThisOldHouse.com, a FROG can be a cost-effective way to add space. In the article, architect Mary Dorsey Brewster notes, “An over-the-garage addition doesn’t increase a house’s footprint, which helps reduce costs…
But it also presents unique challenges in planning and construction.” These include local bylaws and fire and safety regulations as well as a host of potential structural and design problems.
Building your dream FROG won’t be cheap: you will need special insulation and will have to heat, cool, and plumb it – and that’s just for a start. You’ll also need an entrance, and you may have to install more windows or skylights to bring in natural light.
FROGs can add to your home’s curb appeal or they can look like poorly done add-ons. Hire experts to design and build your FROG. You’ll be glad you did.
Honor Valentine’s Day with a Special Date Night
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with dinner and a movie – it’s a classic for a reason – why not switch it up with something different on your next date?
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, here are some ideas for that special date night.
Couples can build anticipation for date night by creating Valentine’s Day advent-calendar type excitement.
Pictilio.com suggests filling fourteen envelopes with handwritten instructions for each day, like: “For a day, instead of texting, let’s send each other videos.” The lead-up to date night may have you falling in love with your partner all over again and can make the night that much more special.
Have other couples as friends? Try having an Amazing Race-style competition.
Half the couples will come up with the challenges and clues, while their partners are expected to run the race. The clues can lead the racers to meaningful places around the city, where they complete challenges like purchasing a gift for one’s partner using only the funds provided.
Once all the clues have been read and the challenges completed, why not greet the racers at the final pit stop with a hot, home-cooked meal courtesy of their partners?
Date nights don’t have to be confined to the evening hours. For the more rebellious couple, playing hooky and taking the day off from work together can give a boost to the relationship.
Couples could spend the whole day relaxing and enjoying each other’s company without the usual stresses of life.
If you’re short on time or cash, planning a special date night doesn’t have to be over-the-top. Just trying something new could be extra special: take a haunted tour of your city, indulge in a food-tasting adventure, or stay up to watch the sunrise together.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter what you do-it’s whom you’re with that matters.
Peckish? Sallow? It May be Lack of ZZZs
Incessant yawning and low energy are telltale signs of needing more sleep, but they’re not the only clues. According to Joseph M. Ojile, medical director at the Clayton Sleep Institute, there are other, less obvious signs of sleep deprivation:
Illness. Sleep debt can weaken your immune system, making it hard to fight off common illnesses like colds. When your body is otherwise healthy, it’s better able to fight off germs. If you’re sleep deprived, you might find yourself in a cycle of recovering only to very quickly get sick again.
Snacking. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body will try to find its energy from other sources-like food. Studies have shown that insufficient sleep can increase levels of ghrelin, the hunger-causing hormone.
Skin issues. Your skin needs adequate sleep to look its best. If your complexion looks a bit sallow these days, it could be the result of poor sleep.
Mood swings. Feeling irritable? Easily annoyed by small things you usually can shrug off? Maybe you’re not catching enough Z’s. You also might find yourself hard-pressed to make simple decisions or formulate a plan.
Wondering How Much Your Home is Worth?
How has the price of your home changed in today’s market? How much are other homes in your neighborhood selling for?
If you’re wondering what’s happening to prices in your area, or you’re thinking about selling your house, I’ll be able to help.
Click the market report below or select
San Antonio Real Estate Market and complete the requested information about your home!
Age in Place Later; Make Good Design Choices Now
Whether you’ve found the home you want to grow old in or you’re planning for an elderly relative to move in with your family, the design choices you make now should be made with a weather eye to the future.
You’ll want to consider adding those independent-living accessories now that will make life easier and safer for you or a relative down the road. Here are some suggestions.
Keep the kitchen safe and accessible by skipping trendy remodels that could transform it into an obstacle course.
Round the edges of countertops and shelves to reduce the risk of bumps and bruises. Place the microwave at or below counter height to eliminate the need to reach for hot dishes; frailer individuals have difficulty lifting and carrying cookware, which may cause spills and slipping hazards.
Also, make allowances for walkers or wheelchairs with lower countertops and extra space.
Consider installing a pull-out pantry with drawers that display all contents at a glance and permit easy access.
Note that U-shaped kitchen guidelines call for at least 60 inches (152 cm) of clearance between opposite cabinets, walls, or appliances; galley kitchens, a minimum of 40 inches (102 cm).
The bathroom can be a dangerous place for elderly people. Experts recommend you elevate the toilet, and install grab bars for getting in and out of the shower or tub safely.
Many designers are now including these features as a matter of course, so they needn’t negatively impact the resale value of your home.
Make sure the floors of your home are slip-resistant. Vinyl flooring offers good slip resistance and softness underfoot.
Tile floors should have enough grout and texture to grip. If your home’s interior has a few steps up to a landing or doorway, consider installing a threshold ramp; several kinds of affordable and easy-to-install rubber ramps are now available.
Well-considered changes now will make a big difference later.