Category Archives: General

Can Apartment Living Improve Balance Between Work & Play?

We spend our lives devoted to making a living, however, we never spend our time creating a life! It’s an increasing issue with Americans that our actual life is morphing into our business life.

Improving your work-life balance can be difficult but the facts have proven that apartment living can actually promote a more even balance between work and play. Let’s take a look at the affects of working long hours and how apartment living can help:

It’s no surprise that working long hours takes away from the time we have to enjoy life. When we work longer hours, we tend to feel more anxious, irritable, and depressed. Consequently, the more hours we work, the more we worry about work. The majority of our time is based on work, whether we are at the office or thinking about it.

Living in an apartment may seem like a downgrade compared to living in a house. Yet, the affects of apartment living seem to benefit our balance of work and real life more so than a house.

The best part about living in an apartment complex is that sense of community. When you live within close proximity of others, it is easier to meet new people whether it be in the pool, at a party, or doing laundry. Belonging to a community helps to alleviate the burden of constant work mode.

Recreational areas that are typically found in apartments are perfect for the 9-to-5 worker. With outdoor grills, pool areas, lounge chairs, and picnic areas, Foxwood Apartments has many different things to see and do that will ease your mind away from work and make it easier to spend time with family and friends.

Business amenities are also great to have in an apartment setting because residents are able to access their computers and internet flawlessly in addition to having fax and copy services provided. It’s important to have these services accessible to guests because you are able to get the documentation you need right when you need it, which saves on time and energy.

The convenience of apartment living is another bonus that helps balance work and real life. With on-site parking, laundry facilities, weekly maid service, and additional amenities, your life is much simpler. You won’t have to worry about picking up messes and running to the laundry mat. All you have to think about are the finer things in life like visiting with friends and doing things you truly enjoy.

It’s good to know that living in an apartment does have its benefits. Balancing out work and real life can be tough but the sooner we reach a safe point between work and living, we can start to appreciate the fruits of our labor and enjoy the things we really love to do!

Photo Credit:Emerille

Prepare your Apartment for Easter Brunch with Make-Ahead Recipes

Easter is just one week away! With these delicious spring recipes, you’ll have Easter brunch ready before the guests arrive.

This tasty egg casserole and refreshing peach orange cocktails will have everyone asking for seconds this Easter.

Make-Ahead Brunch Bake

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  • 8 ounces of fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 cups of southern-style hash brown potatoes, frozen
  • ½ cup of roasted bell pepper strips
  • 2 medium-size leeks, quartered, sliced, using bulb and light green parts
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of dill weed, dried
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups of milk or half-&-half
  • 1 cup of fresh Parmesan cheese, finely shredded

Directions

  1. Coat a 13×9 glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium-size skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add leeks and asparagus. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until crisp and tender stirring frequently.
  3. Add potatoes, bell pepper strips, salt, and dill. Mix together carefully and spoon into the sprayed baking dish.
  4. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Add the milk or half-&-half and beat well. Add in half the amount of cheese and mix well. Pour over the vegetables in the baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and cover with foil. Refrigerate the dish for 8 hours or overnight.
  5. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake, covered, for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the center of the dish is set. Let stand for 10 minutes and cut into squares. Garnish with red bell peppers if you’d like.

Enjoy!

Peachy Orange Cream Cocktail

Ingredients

Vanilla Simple Syrup

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 slices of fresh orange

Orange Cream Cocktail

  • 2 slices of fresh peach
  • 1 slice of fresh orange
  • ¼ ounce of Vanilla Simple Syrup
  • 1 ounce of vodka
  • 4 ounces of lemon-lime soda (about ½ cup)

Directions

  1. Split a vanilla bean down the middle and scoop out the seeds with a sharp knife. Set to the side.
  2. To make the Vanilla Simple syrup, mix sugar, water, vanilla seeds and bean in a saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium to high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside for one hour to cool. Take out the vanilla bean and pour the syrup into a glass jar. Cover and store into the refrigerator until used.
  3. To make a peach orange cream cocktail, mash up peach and orange slices and spoon into the bottom of the glass. Top with 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla simple syrup and vodka. Add ice and soda. Top with mint and fresh fruit slices if you want.

Bon Appetit! These Easter recipes were found on BettyCrocker.com

9 Useful Mobile Apps Dedicated to Apartment Living

Looking for some assistance to make your apartment lifestyle a little easier? These helpful apps for your mobile phone are great for apartment living, especially when roommates are involved and green living is a must!

Check out these great mobile apps that will ensure an easier lifestyle no matter where you’re living:

Split Bills Equally

Avoid splitting hairs over splitting the bills. If you have roommates that love to leave the lights on all day or use too many electronics, the smart mobile app called Green Envy will make splitting up the bills a breeze. Divide your energy bill based on rooms so that all your expenses are evenly distributed. No more bickering over a high electric bill with the roomies!

Share your Calendars & Schedules

Sync up with the roommates to ensure you are all on the same page! With the convenient app called Cozi Calendar, you’ll be able to share valuable information with your roommates like trash pick-up day, work schedules, birthdays, bill payment dates, and group outings. This personal coordinator will allow you and your roommates to make plans and think alike when it comes to your living situation.

Celebrate Green Living!

There is nothing more rewarding than buying products that will protect the world we live in. Whether you want to buy products that reduce animal cruelty or your carbon footprint, there are mobile apps that can guide you to a healthier, happier lifestyle.

Are you worried about the safety of the products you use? Shop smartly with this new app called GoodGuide. GoodGuide allows you to find healthy, sustainable products while you’re at the supermarket. Simply scan a product’s barcode and you’ll find detailed scores about their contribution to the world’s waste. Over 70,000 products and companies are available on GoodGuide.

Created by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics, the mobile app known as Cruelty-Free helps you choose cosmetics, personal items, and household staples that aren’t tested on animals. Keep our animals safe by using Cruelty-Free when you shop!

Want to reduce your carbon footprint? With this helpful app called FindGreen, you will be able to trace down green businesses in your community from the local cafe to bicycle shops and health stores. FindGreen lists over 56,000 green companies to help you live a greener lifestyle!

Find the Best Restaurants in your Area

It can be difficult to decipher which restaurants are highly recommended and others that should be avoided. With these two convenient restaurant apps, you’ll be able to search your area for the best locally owned restaurants in town! Dine with confidence with the help of the customer recommendations offered on Yelp and the randomized, “Spin the Wheel” rendition of Urbanspoon. These free apps will lead you to the top dining picks in your area! Try them this weekend to find your future favorite restaurant.

Watch your Home from Anywhere in the World

Whether you’re visiting the parents out of town or you’re becoming a world traveller, this intelligent app is perfect for watching over your home while you’re away. Home Watch, an inexpensive app for Mac users, is the perfect way to add a surveillance system to your home. Set up your system to take photos when motion is detected or program Home Watch to take photos every 30 minutes.

These images are then saved to your computer or uploaded to a cloud so they can be viewed from any computer, even your phone! This easy remote surveillance system is one you shouldn’t leave home without!

Who is Looking at your Computer?

Have you been curious to find out who has been trying to break into your computer? If you have sneaking suspicions, download this Security Camera app that catches the intruder in action! The app is very easy to use and here’s how it works: whenever your computer is turned on, it silently snaps a photo and saves it to a specific area in your computer.

You can have the photos uploaded to a Dropbox account so the photos are accessible from anywhere! This password-protected app makes sure no one can delete the pictures but you. And, the best part is, if someone steals your computer, you’ll probably be able to catch a photo of what the stealer looks like! Great app for homeowners, roommates, parents, and more!

Apartment Cooking: Best Last Minute Holiday Treats & Dessert Recipes

Having people over at the last minute to take in some holiday cheer? Last minute desserts are an absolute treat for unexpected guests and a delight to make even with limited time. Here are some fantastic and simple holiday desserts that all will love!

Warm up with delicious sticky buns or cool off with rich cream puffs. Either way, your holidays will be super sweet. Bon Appetit!

Holiday Sticky Buns

Ingredients

  • 12 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup of light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ cup of pecans, chopped into large pieces
  • 1 package (17.3 ounces) of frozen puff pastry, defrosted

Filling:

  • 2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2/3 cup of light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup of cranberries
  • ½ cup of white raisins

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Place a 12-cup muffin tin on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

2. With an electric mixer, combine 12 tablespoons of butter and 1/3 cup of brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mix in each of the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter/sugar mixture.

3. Lightly flour a wooden or stone surface. Unfold one sheet of the puff pastry with the folds running left to right. Brush the whole sheet with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each puff pastry sheer with 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons of the cinnamon, ¼ cup of the cranberries, and ¼ cup of the raisins.

4. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll, finishing with the roll seam-side down. Trim the ends of the roll about ½ inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equally sized pieces, about 1 ½ inches each. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make the total 12 muffin cups.

5. Bake for 30 minutes or until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to touch. Allow to cool for five minutes only.

6. Invert the buns onto parchment paper, easing the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon, to let cool completely.

This sticky bun recipe was found on Food Network. Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved

Cream Puffs with Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of milk
  • ½ cup of water
  • 9 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 ¼ cups of heavy cream
  • ¼ cup of confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large saucepan, over high heat, bring the milk, water, 1 stick of butter, and salt to a boil. Add the flour and remove from the heat. Stir until the dough forms a shiny mass. Using an electric mixer, beat the dough on low speed for 2 to 3 minutes, just until slightly cooled. Increase the speed to medium and beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well in between each egg. Be sure to scrape the sides of the saucepan as well.

3. Transfer the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a ¾-inch plain tip. Pipe 12 1½-inch mounds onto one baking sheet. Using a moistened finger, round the tops of the dough. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the puffs are golden, shifting the sheets halfway through.

4. Poke a ¼-inch-deep hole into the side of each puff and return them to the oven. Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar. Allow 2 hours for the puffs to cool and dry out.

5. Meanwhile, in a medium-size bowl, beat 1½ cups of the cream with the confectioners’ sugar using an electric mixer. Beat until firm, then beat in the vanilla extract.

6. Cut off the top 1/3 of each puff and scoop out the soft dough in the center. Spoon the cream into the puffs and replace the tops and stack on a plate. Chill for 10 minutes.

7. In a small saucepan, bring the rest of the heavy cream to a boil, then remove from heat. Add the chocolate and 1 tablespoon of butter and let stand until the chocolate is melted. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle some of the chocolate sauce over the puffs and serve, passing the remaining sauce around as a dip.

These delicious cream puffs are courtesy of Food and Wine Magazine.

Photo Credit: Charles Haynes

Apartment Living: Butternut Squash Recipes for Fall

This savory fall favorite is divine for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Experiment with these delectable butternut squash recipes for another alternative to weekday meals.

The butternut squash and bacon quiche is a filling breakfast treat for a very hungry bunch. The sage and squash lasagna is full of flavor for last minute dinner ideas.

So, what are you waiting for? Pick up some butternut squash and get to cooking fall’s favorite butternut squash recipes!

Butternut Squash and Bacon Quiche

Ingredients

Store-bought Flaky Dough Pie Crust (Use 9-inch pie plate to bake)
All-purpose flour, for rolling
8 slices of bacon
1 medium-size yellow onion, thinly sliced
¾ pounds of butternut squash, peeled, halved, and very thinly sliced
8 large eggs
½ cup of whole milk
½ cup of heavy cream
6 fresh sage leaves
Coarse salt and black pepper

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick dough all over with a fork when frozen. Bake dough like directions state on the package.

2. As crust is baking, cook bacon in a large skillet until it is almost crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon on paper towels. Add onion to skillet and season with salt and pepper. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Spread mixture evenly in pie crust. Top with squash, overlapping the slices. Add the bacon every few rows.

3. In a bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, and eggs. Season with salt and pepper and pour the egg mixture in the pie crust until the mixture reaches the top of the crust. Top with sage leaves. Bake on the center rack for 45 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, cut, and serve.

Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagna

Ingredients

3 ½ pounds of butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound of whole-milk ricotta cheese
½ cup of heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
½ pound or 2 cups of fresh mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated
2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/3 cup of loosely packed fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
1 ¼ cups of low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
Lasagna noodles, cooked
1 ¼ cups of Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Nutmeg, freshly grated
Coarse salt and fresh pepper

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss the squash, oil, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Season with pepper and bake until tender and light gold or for 25-30 minutes. Let cool.

2. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Combine the ricotta cheese, cream, yolks, mozzarella, and a pinch of nutmeg in a medium bowl. Season with salt.

3. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter. As soon as it starts to sizzle, add the sage and cook until light brown and slightly crisp at the edges. This will take about 3-4 minutes.

4. Place the squash in a medium bowl and mash ½ of it with the back of a wooden spoon. Leave ½ of the squash at whole pieces. Gently stir in the sage and butter mixture and stock. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Spread ¾ cups of the ricotta mixture in a 9-cup baking dish. Top with a layer of noodles, then spread ½ of the butternut squash mixture over the noodles. Top with a layer of noodles. Spread 1 cup of ricotta mixture over the noodles. Repeat the layering once more (noodles, squash, noodles, ricotta). Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over ricotta mixture.

6. Place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the cheese is golden brown, or 25-30 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Both Butternut Squash recipes are courtesy of Martha Stewart. Above is a photo of Martha Stewart’s Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagna.