Friday, October 30, 2009

Recipe: Roasted Chicken, Mommie Chicken

Why would I include a recipe for roasted chicken,  called Mommie Chicken?

There are probably as many recipes for roasting chicken as there are chickens.  Every time I see my son he asks if I have blogged about "Mommie Chicken"  which is how my son refers to my roasted chicken recipe.  So to keep peace in the family here is my version of roasted chicken; also known as Mommie Chicken. 

The real difference is that I roast the chicken Asian style instead of American style.  Which means I roast it breast side down.  The breast does not get that beautiful brown skin but it stays incredibly moist.  And you are not suppose to be eating that skin any way; just ask your doctor!

I roast  my chicken with either potatoes or rice and other vegetables.  Rice being the preferred starch in my house but both are good. 

I like to make sure we have leftovers.  The advantage of using just vegetables is that you have the makings for a great soup.  Leftover rice makes great fried rice. 

1 5 lb Whole Chicken (I prefer Rosies Organic)
1 bulb of garlic (2 if you really like it) peeled
1 small yellow onion diced
3 carrots, sliced
4 stalks of celery sliced
1 C rice or 2 baking potatoes sliced
1/2 C low sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
Any other sliced roasting vegetable that you like; zuchini, eggplant, mushrooms, leeks, shallots are all good additions. 

Preheat the oven to 425

Put all the vegetables and rice/potatoes in the bottom of a roasting pan.  Add the chicken broth. 
Clean the chicken and season with salt and pepper.  You may want to set aside some garlic and onion to stuff in the chicken for roasting.  Put the chicken breast DOWN.  I know it looks funny but it will taste so much better when it is cooked.  Rule of thumb is to cook 30 mins per pound on a chicken.  Sometimes you need to cook longer with all the vegetables.   I usually turn the oven down to 375 after 2 hrs of cooking time. Cook until the chicken juices run clear.  I usually take out the chicken and stir the vegetables a couple of times in the cooking process.

Carve up the chicken and serve.  Put the vegetables and rice/potato in a serving dish.

To make left over soup,  put the carcass, skin and left over meat in chicken broth (about 64 oz) with more onion and garlic.  Cook down for an hour and then chill. 

Skim off the fat and remove the bones and skin and add the left over vegetables  warm up and  then serve. 

Leftover fried rice.  Warm up the vegetables and rice add an egg and green onion and a touch of soy sauce.  Stir until the egg is cooked into the rice and serve.

I love anything  recipe that feeds my family a couple of great meals.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Anthony Lewis: A general contractor that stands behind his work in Silicon Valley

Anthony Lewis is a general contractor that stands behind his work in Silicon Valley.

To me the difference between a good and a great contractor is how they handle things that go wrong. Unfortunately sometimes things do go wrong and you need to have them fixed.  This is an area that I commend Anthony for being so extraordinary. 

Anthony was the general contractor for the kitchen remodel at my boyfriends house in Silicon Valley.  The job was done about a year ago and everything looked great. However, several months after the job was complete faint hairline cracks appeared in the tile job on the floor and continued to grow as time went by.  We called Anthony and he came out and looked at the floor and immediately volunteered that the floor needed to be repaired.  Once the repair job was underway it was apparent that the floor actually needed to be replaced.  Anthony came and inspected the floor and agreed and had his team remove the floor and replace it.  No drama; no excuses just get in and get it fixed.

I recommend if want to have peace of mind that your Silicon Valley remodel will stand the test of time call Anthony Lewis.

Anthony  Lewis

phone: 831 359-3928

Friday, October 23, 2009

Naglee Park: A Lifestyle Neighborhood

Why am I calling Naglee Park a Lifestyle Neighborhood? I know that several buyers I am working with are more interested in what the lifestyle is in the neighborhood and less concerned about what city it is located in.  They are looking for a lifestyle neighborhood. 

I think the reason for this trend is that more and more people telecommute so that they spend more time in their local neighborhood in Silicon Valley than they did ten years ago. When you were never home to enjoy your neighborhood other factors such as closeness to freeways or to schools had a higher priority. Now so many people are working from home and are working globally. By globally I mean they are on the phone in the early hours of the day with Europe or the East Coast and possibly on the phone late in the evening with Asia. They have to find time for themselves in snippets throughout the day. So with this global lifestyle what is available in your immediate neighborhood becomes more critical.  You want a lifestyle neighborhood.

I also think that walk ability has gotten to be a more important factor in the desirability of a neighborhood. If you are working from home all day it is nice to be able to take a walk in the afternoon to the dog park or to take a meeting or two in the local coffee shop that has Wi-Fi. It is also nice to have a couple of lunch options that do not include your peanut butter sandwich. 

I showcased one of these lifesytle neighborhoods in Silicon Valley last week, when I talked about the Shoreline West neighborhood in Mountain View. One of the great perks of my job is discovering neighborhoods across Silicon Valley that offers similar lifestyles.

I discovered Naglee Park neighborhood working with one of my buyers. We found a house in the Naglee Park area that they fell in love with and bought.  Naglee Park is a charming historical neighborhood that does not represent the San Jose that most people think of. It is a mixture of charming cottages, bungalows, Victorians and mansions.  Yet Naglee Park is close to the excitement of downtown San Jose. This is one of the few neighborhoods outside of San Francisco that could be featured in the television series; "This Old House"

I am hosting an open house on Saturday from 1 pm to 4 pm in Naglee Park.
510 S. 15th Street, San Jose CA

Drop by, say hi and see this wonderful home in Naglee Park and get to know the Naglee Park neighborhood

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Recipe: Fresh beets in a Balsamic and Blood Orange vinaigrette

I love the taste of fresh beets and the marinade I use on them makes a great vinaigrette for a green salad.  Sprinkle a little goat cheese on top and you have a meal.  I like to use watercress in my greens mixture as I love the contrast of the sweet of the beet with the spiciness of the watercress.

Fresh Beets Vinaigrette
1 bunch of beets; usually 3 to 4 med beets
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 C Blood Orange Vinegar

Cook beets on the stove top until tender.  Rinse in cold water and peel.  Finely slice and place in a bowel.  Add olive oil and vinegars.  Adjust based on your taste; I like a stronger vinegar flavor but you might like more of the olive oil flavor.
Salt and pepper to taste

Serving options

Salad-  serve with your favorite mix of greens and a soft goat cheese; include a nice baguette to catch all the leftover vinaigrette in the bowl.  Yum!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Want a stress free car buying experience? Contact Michael Borbet

Yes, you read that right, do you want a stress free car buying experience?  If yes, contact Michael Borbet at Mountain View BMW. 

If there is a transaction that is more stressful than buying a house it is probably buying a car.  And for most people they buy cars more often than houses.  That is why I am recommending Michael Borbet at Mountain View BMW.

 Five years ago I started looking for a  brand new BMW X3 after driving second hand elderly BMW's for years.  I did a great deal of research on the internet and decided on a particular model and color.   I sent  emails to all the local dealerships to see what they had in stock.  I hated the idea of going to a showroom floor and getting that car sale push before I knew what I wanted.  Most of the responses I got were along the lines of "come in and I will get you a great deal."

I sent an email to Mountain View BMW and got in contact with Michael.  Michael actually answered my questions!  When I had more questions he answered them.   He was courteous, responsive and never pushy.  He was professional in every way.  I set up an appointment with him to see the car.  Michael let me set the pace for my car  buying experience.  It was a painless experience to buy a car from Michael.

I hope I get the chance to buy another BMW from Michael soon, my X3 needs a new baby sister:-)  I am thinking something along the lines of the 2010 330 series.

I recently attended a real estate course and one of the topics was the importance of staying connected to your clients after they have purchased a house from you.  The instructor wanted to show that car sales people were not known for their client management skills and sarcastically  asked, “ Do any of you know a car salesperson that follows up with their clients?”  I raised my hand and said, “ Yes I do, Michael contacts me at least once a year to see how my car is doing.”   The entire room looked at me dumbfounded!  They had never heard from their car salesperson again.  Which I think is ironic, who as a group buys more new cars than Realtors?

Michael Borbet
Internet Sales Manager
Phone: 650-943-1050

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Recipe: Awesome Chicken and Vegetable Soup

One of the tricks I have learned to making a very rich and satisfying chicken and vegetable soup is to use some of the cooking techniques used for Chicken Gumbo.

I find that sauteing the vegetables and the chicken in a little olive oil adds a real richness of flavor to the soup. It takes extra time to nicely brown up the vegetables and the meat but it really makes a difference in the flavor of the soup.

We use a wide variety of vegetables in this soup depending what is fresh and what is in my refrigerator. I always use onion, celery, carrots and garlic but you can add leeks, shallots, parsnips, potato, squash to brown up and add flavor to the broth. I find really any hardy root vegetable is good that you enjoy as part of the browning process.

I also add some additional vegetables that need less cooking time to give a fresh flavor to the soup. As the soup is almost ready to serve I add things like kale, green beans, mushrooms, peas, etc. Anything that adds another vegetable flavor that you like and does not need or do well with a long cook time. This is also time to add some additional herbs if you like.

I use a mix of white and dark meat chicken as my family prefers that but white or dark only is also an option. We usually make a fairly large pot as the soup gets better over time and freezes well.

Sometimes I add homemade or store bought egg noodles as my family loves noodles in the soup. Very often I serve it without the noodles the first time and then add noodles to next day to give it variety.

Another note. I use almost exclusively organic and/or local ingredients. I find the flavor is better and I know organic and local are better for the environment.

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

1 yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
Any additional vegetables that your family loves
1 Tbls Olive Oil
2 1/2 lbs of chicken; cut up into small pieces boneless and skinless
64 0z Chicken Broth; low or no salt
Black Pepper
Fresh or dried herbs; tarragon, oregano, rosemary, thyme, etc. Which one's you use is your preference
1 lb of Kale or Spinach, chopped

Saute the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and anything else you have on hand in olive oil.  Cook until light brown.  Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is done and browned.  Add the chicken broth and herbs.  Cook for about 30 to 60 minutes.  Add kale or spinach and any additional herbs that you like.  Cook for approximately 10 more minutes and serve.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Homes for sale in Shoreline West Mountain View, CA

Are you looking for Homes for sale in Shoreline West Mountain View, CA?

Shoreline West is defined as the neighborhood north of Shoreline Blvd and south of Escuela Ave.  East of El Camino and West of Central Expressway.

The Shoreline West neighborhood became a distinct and different neighborhood from Old Mountain View in the 1990's.  What attracts many residents to the Shoreline West neighborhood is the diverse housing stock.  Shoreline West has new modern homes, charming bungelows, a few Victorians, condos, and apartment buildings.
However, what sold me on the Shoreline West neighborhood was the availability of single family homes with income property.  You can choose from several different combinations of configurations.  A home with a mother-in-law unit, a home with a duplex and there are even several homes with a triplex.  Four or less dwellings allow the home owner to get residential financing and still reap the benefit of having income property.

I once asked my neighbor, who has lived in the Shoreline West area since it was built, why there were so many homes with income property.  He said when the first Silicon Boom started in the late 50's early 60's residents were encouraged to build rental income property as an alternative to rezoning the area and building high density apartment buildings.  High density apartments buildings are more typical in the Rengstorff Park area further north.

The Shoreline West neighborhood is a short stroll to Castro Street.  Castro Street offers wonderful dining opportunities and tremendous nightlife. However, Shoreline West offers a quite sanctuary if you are not in the mood for night life but want easy access.

Most of the residents of Shoreline West have lived in the neighborhood for a long time and opportunities to buy in the neighborhood are competitive.  Please contact me if you are interested in knowing more about the Shoreline West Neighborhood or to preview any of the available properties in the neighborhood.

This is a typical 1950's Bungelow in Shoreline West      Cottage or Mother in Law unit

FACTS About the Shoreline West Neighborhood

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Castro Preschool, 505 Escuela Ave.; Childrens Learning Cottage, 675 Escuela Ave.; Wonder World, 2015 Latham St.

FIRE STATION: No. 1, 251 S. Shoreline Blvd.

NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Shoreline West Association of Neighbors (SWAN),, Mike Groethe,

PARKS: Castro School Park, Toft Avenue and Latham Street; Eagle Park and Pool, S. Shoreline Boulevard at Church Street

POST OFFICE: Mountain View, 211 Hope St.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Castro Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Los Altos High School

SHOPPING: Downtown Mountain View; California Street Market, 1595 California St.; Escuela Avenue at El Camino Real


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rachel Schneyer: Thrive Integrated Health

House projects are stressful; even if it is good stress.  I started seeing Rachel when I was remodeling my home in Mountain View.  The stress of managing the project was keeping me up at nights.

Rachel was able to help me better manage my stress through acupuncture and nutrition.  She got me to stop drinking coffee (well the real stuff I still drink decaf) AND to eat breakfast.  My dad has only been trying to get me to do that my whole life!

What was the benefit of no coffee and breakfast?  I lost 10 lbs almost immediately even though I had been working out for an hour or more every morning previously without losing a pound.  I had been training myself to starve not lose weight.  Plus I came home mean and hungry; my family hated me post gym work out!

Thank you Rachel! I am less fat and less mean:-)

I highly recommend you make an appointment with Rachel to reduce your stress and/or get your nutritional habits back on the right path.

Thrive Integrated Health
201 San Antonio Cir
Mountain View, CA 94040

(831) 295-0555

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I just presented my first offer on a house!

Like in any business it is the details that make you sweat and can also make you look like an idiot.  I wanted to be prepared and come across as an experienced professional to my buyer and the listing agent with this first offer.

I am so lucky to have an agent at the Keller Williams Cupertino that is great mentor.  He walked me through the process and made sure I knew what documents I needed to have to present the offer and left out others that were not essential. 

I put the offer together and drove over to the buyer.  I then walked the buyer through the offer.  I explained the terms and conditions and then had her sign and initial in all the right places.  I then put the package together and took it over to the listing agent to present.

I practiced what I was going to say several times in the car around why my client was offering the price she was offering.  I wanted to be prepared and was so scared of having the listing agent say, "Is this your first time?" 

I have presented so many contracts in my high tech career that have had terms and conditions that I knew were not exactly what the person on the other side was hoping for.  I know how to deal with the push back on why this was not what they were hoping to get.  I presented the offer with what I think was a strong case on why we were offering what we were.  The listing agent will present the offer to his seller and give him the reasons for our pricing and hopefully get back to us with a counter offer.

Now the fun part begins, trying to find that magic number in the middle that feels like a win/win to both sides.

Recipe: Marty's Cheese ball

One of the great things about connecting with people from your past on sites like Facebook is that people remember things you have forgotten.

One of things I had forgotten were all the cheese balls I used to make for the holiday season back in my college days. I use to give cheese balls and baked goods to my friends for the holidays.  Hopefully I can find my Baklava recipe from the good old days as well.  I made Baklava from a new recipe a few months ago and it was a disaster!

About 15 years ago I found out that I was extremely allergic to most dairy products. I am that annoying person who is always asking the waiter if they put cheese on it and if they do please don't put it on my food!  When I go out to eat I prefer to go to Asian places as I do not have to be the cheese police.

Lucky for Marty some how my old recipe filebox that my mom gave me in high school still can be found in my belongings.  So here is the cheese ball recipe.  Enjoy it for me, Marty!

This is a party size cheese ball!

8 oz cream cheese
1 1/4 lb blue cheese
1 1/4 lb sharp cheese
3 Tbl minced onion
1 Tbl Worchester Sauce
1/2  finely chopped nuts-walnuts or almonds are best
1/4 C parsley finely chopped

Mix all of the cheeses, onion and worchester sauce together to form a large ball of cheese.  Roll ball in nuts and garnish with parsley

Monday, October 5, 2009

First Open House: Done!

I had a great time at the Open House yesterday at 5063 Doyle Road San Jose, CA.  Everyone who attended the Open House was nice to talk to.  Some were neighbors who were just curious, others were looking to figure out what their house should sell for. Some were on that eternal quest to find the perfect house and a very small number were actually seriously looking for a house and ready to buy.  I had over 35 groups of people come through the house in less than 3 hours.  All told I saw almost a 100 people.

It was very much like a typical trade show.  The majority of the people are just curious or looking for  information; but a few are genuinely interested in what you have to sell and are real prospects.   I look forward to following up with the actual prospects and seeing if I can help them with their real estate needs.  It is amazing to me as this feels like I have been doing it forever.  And in the context of being a booth babe at a trade show I have been doing this for over 20 years!

One of the reasons I made this change to real estate is that I thought the definition of the perfect weekend was to go see what is for sale in the area.  I have learned so much about how not to treat your open house guests from attending so many open houses:-)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I am having an Open House tomorrow!

This feels so much like many nights before that I have spent getting ready for a big conference.  It's nice that is seems familiar instead of completely new.  It is eerily the same kind of activities I am doing the night before to prepare.

I am making sure my collateral is ready.  In fact, I just got back from the office from printing my brochures. I am mentally deciding which pair of shoes are the right shoes for standing for hours.  I have practiced my elevator pitch on the product.  I have studied the competitions; also known as comparable homes or comps.  I have reviewed the FAQ's.  What school district?  How old is the home?  Why are they selling?  Are the disclosures available? 

The big difference is I will be inside of the product tomorrow instead of demonstrating it on a laptop!

Wish me luck!