with kristine wyatt

Recipe of the Month: Parmesan Chicken



3 tablespoons butter

6 skinless chicken cutlets

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon paprika

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt butter by placing it in a shallow baking dish in the oven for about five minutes. Remove dish from oven. Add chicken to the hot butter, sprinkle with half the oregano, salt, and a light dusting of paprika.

Cover dish with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, turn the chicken over, and spoon butter over chicken. Sprinkle with remaining oregano, salt, paprika, and Parmesan.

Continue baking uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.

What can I do now to prepare for spring buying season?

Spring is the best time to sell a home. After a dark winter season, spring is a breath of fresh air – literally. Here are some tips on readying your home to prepare for the upcoming spring buying season.

Conduct an early home inspection. Check inside for places where leaks, insects, and rodents can get in. Walk around your home and look for cracks, peeling, and chipped bricks.

Prepare for rain – spring is the wettest season. Ensure your entrance or mudroom is ready for wet shoes.

Paint. Nicer days are coming. Open the windows and enjoy an afternoon of painting.

De-clutter. Spring clean before spring arrives. Early buyers will appreciate a clutter-free, sparkling-clean home.

Boost curb appeal. February isn’t great for landscaping, but you can still spruce up your exterior. A tidy yard is a harbinger of spring.

Questions to Ask a Contractor Before You Hire

contractorIt’s renovation time, and, as part of your preparations, think about the last time you hired someone to rebuild or remodel your home.

There was probably an initial phone conversation, followed by a site visit where you were probably given a quote for the project and a discussion of a timeline. Then, they showed up to start the job.

You may have asked them for testimonials or photos of previous work. But did you ask if they had their own insurance?

According to experts, it’s essential that hired contractors and subcontractors are adequately insured. (Some experts suggest they should carry $1 million liability at minimum.)

If they’re not insured, the work they do for you comes at a high price. If they are injured, or if there is damage to your property because of their actions, you could be the one to take the financial hit. Your homeowners insurance may have to pay if the contractor doesn’t have a liability policy.

To avoid liability, it’s always wise to vet contractors at the beginning. Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations, and check out the candidates through your local Better Business Bureau. If you’re unsure about what credentials your contractor should have, contact the national contractors association.

Ask what insurance the contractor has before you hire. Then ask to see the

insurance certificate as proof that the contractor’s policy is in place. There have been incidences of forged certificates, so be wary.

Also, check the date to ensure it will remain valid throughout the entire period he or she will be working on your project.

Finally, be sure you can work with the contractor. Whatever the project, you must have a high level of confidence in your contractor; inevitably, things will go wrong on the job, and you need to be able to work closely with him or her to help solve problems.

Quitclaim Deed – What you need to know

A quitclaim deed is the simplest way that one person (the grantor) can transfer property, such as a house, to another person (the grantee). It is often used among family members to remove or change someone’s name from the property title. While the concept is simple and straightforward — relinquishing all ownership claims to a particular property — it’s also important to note what a quitclaim can’t do.

In renouncing the claim, the grantor makes no guarantee of promise that the property is free of debt. Another important distinction is that the grantor makes no promise that no one else claims to own the property. The quitclaim deed says, in effect, that the grantor is signing over whatever ownership he or she may have in the property. It does not even guarantee that the grantor has any ownership interest at all.

Providing all parties are in agreement, a quitclaim is a convenient way to establish title without the time and expense of litigation. A simple form is filled out, taken to a notary, and signed and stamped, making it legally binding. The document is then photocopied, distributed to all parties, and then filed at the local land records office.

Some title companies are reluctant to insure the title when a quitclaim deed was used to transfer title. They might recommend use of a warranty deed. A warranty deed conveys full title to the property and warrants that title against defects (sometimes referred to as a “cloud”), such as tax liens, legal judgments and unpaid debts. For this reason, warranty deeds are often used between buyers and sellers of property.

Waiting until Spring


We are only one week into 2015 and I have had several conversations with upcoming seller’s and buyer’s.  In all these conversations it’s almost identical… we want to wait until SPRING!

Pros of waiting:

1. Weather and landscapes are much more appealing for buyers for marketing your home

2. More homes to chose from

3. Prices are typically lower

Cons of waiting:

1. More competition

2. Interest rates are LOW… it’s hard to forecast what rates will be in a few months

3. Prices are higher

It truly is all relative.  Waiting for your home value to be higher in the spring to sell might cost you more money with your new purchase.  Why is that?  Typically a home value will go up $5,000 to $10,000 during peak months.  This means the home you are purchasing will too.  AND if interests rates are higher… this could actually cost you more too!

If you are ready to move, my advise is get off the fence and get into ACTION!

Want more information?  Give me a call or email me!

Roam or Home – Get Your Holiday Spirit On


For the holidays – or for that awful letdown period after – there are places designed to instill holiday spirit in the scroogiest of us. Consider these:

Zurich, Switzerland. The city of Zurich, Switzerland, is a Christmas-lover’s dream. Holiday markets are plentiful, and candles are set afloat on the Limmat River. Even Scrooge would find the mood magical.

New York, U.S. If you’ve seen the holiday movies, you’ll know that December in NYC is something to be seen. Marvel at the giant tree in Rockefeller Square, ice skate in Central Park, or lose yourself in Macy’s Santaland.

Quebec City, Canada. Narrow cobblestone streets lit by twinkly lights, incredible restaurants, and no shortage of snow make Québec City a romantic place to spend the holidays.

Aix-en-Provence, France. The region’s mild temperatures, with an average high of 54°F (12°C) in December, make it perfect for exploring its historic architecture and beloved annual Christmas market along Cours Mirabeau.

Sámara, Costa Rica. If your goal is to escape the cold, Costa Rica should be on your shortlist of warm weather options. Sámara, a beach town in the Guanacaste province, boasts a pristine beach, surfing, kayaking, sport fishing, and cozy beach bungalows with not a snowflake in sight.

Home. As the song goes: “There’s no place like home for the holidays.” If a trip away isn’t in the cards, make the most of time at home. Check My List on Netflix, whip up some comfort food, and get cozy with friends and family.

Recipe: Sweet Pepper and Basil Risotto

sweet pepper

Serves 4, and rings in a special New Year

4 cups chicken stock

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 ½ cups seeded and chopped red bell pepper

1 ¼ cups arborio rice

¼ cup dry white wine

½ cup shredded fontina cheese

½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

Salt and ground pepper to taste

½ cup fresh basil leaves, shredded

Heat stock in a saucepan and keep at a simmer. Heat olive oil in a large pot; saute onion, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Add peppers, season, and continue cooking until softened. Add rice, stir to coat with oil, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Add wine, and stir until almost completely evaporated. Add heated stock about half a cup at a time while stirring until liquid is mostly absorbed. Continue stirring and adding broth for 20–25 minutes until rice is al dente. Add the cheeses, and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in shredded basil. Serve immediately.

Recipe: Leftover Turkey and Cranberry Sauce Sandwich

sweet roll

Serves 4

Need some new ideas for post-Thanksgiving leftovers? This sandwich is easy and delicious.

12 ounces leftover turkey slices (breast or dark meat)

1 cup leftover turkey or other stock

4 sweet bread rolls

4 heaping tablespoons cream cheese

4 tablespoons leftover cranberry sauce (or more to taste)


Place the stock and turkey slices in a shallow pan and heat on low to warm through, turning once.

Meanwhile, cut rolls in half and warm in a toaster oven. Once warm, spread a heaping tablespoon of cream cheese on one side of the bread, followed by a tablespoon (or more to taste) of the cranberry sauce on the other half of the roll.

Lift the turkey slices out of the simmering stock and let excess liquid drip off, then add to the sandwich. Enjoy!

Easy Upgrade: Brass to Modern

IMG_3235It’s amazing how a simple fix can make a hug difference on what decade your home is in.  From 1990’s to the modern world in a matter of a few hours!  And depending on how many doors you have in your home it could only cost around $300.





Local Spotlight: Magnolia Hill Orchard

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Such a beautiful place to visit in the fall.  Locally owned by the very friendly Newcastle, CA.  Started in 1983 by Loren and Barbara Lewis it was one of the first mandarin orchards in the sierra foothills.   Their Satsuma mandarins are sweet, seedless, nutritious and delicious.  The store is open 7 days a week during the season and offers a variety of mandarin based jams, jellies and sauces.  Looking for a great gift for friends and family?  Magnolia Hill Orchard offers nationwide shipping for those perfect Holiday Gifts.  Go see them at 7370 Ridge Road, Newcastle or call us at 916.663.3739