Photo by Creatv Eight on Unsplash

Time spent in the kitchen is almost always well worth the results at mealtime. But why spend more time in the apron than necessary when you could be spending time with the family or just relaxing. These five culinary accessories are designed to streamline the chef’s experience and help minimize food preparation and cleanup.

1. Food Processor

Considered a staple in any kitchen, a food processor is a wonderful countertop appliance that can accomplish countless culinary tasks quickly and efficiently. Most food processors come with an assortment of blades and accessories that allows cooks to chop vegetables, blend creamy fillings, make smooth sauces, grind, puree, shred and slice many kinds of foods. There are models that allow for mincing meats, kneading dough and even making juice. A food processor makes eating fresh, homemade foods a breeze.

2. Pressure Cooker

The electric pressure cooker is a long treasured appliance in kitchens around the globe—and for good reason. Not only can it replace other space-hogging tools like crockpots and rice cookers, but a good quality pressure cooker will cook an array of healthy foods (and even treats) far more quickly than traditional methods. Pressure cookers cook rice, pastas, beans, potatoes, meats, and specialty models are often designed to tackle tasks including boiling eggs, making yogurt and sautéing food. Craving oatmeal or a dessert like bread pudding? It can be whipped up quickly in a pressure cooker.

3. Air Fryer

Get fresh-out-the fryer crispy results without dealing with the mess and risks of grease. Not only will an air fryer provide the same results of a traditional oil fryer, but the foods that result are far healthier. Air fryers uses superheated air that circulates around the food in an extra-hot cooking chamber that penetrates foods from the outside in. Whip up crispy battered meats and vegetables and even a few cleverly chosen desserts without smelling up the house or creating a big mess of grease spatters with an air fryer. Some models even come with side ovens, making them a compact countertop appliance well worth the space.

4. Salad Spinner

Salad spinners are commonly used in commercial kitchens, and you should add one to your kitchen gadget collection, too. These wonderful machines are a simple two or three piece design that consists of a bowl, colander basket and lid with a handle crank. More than just a spinning device to dry out greens, veggies, pastas and fruits, spinners can also wash these foods with ease. Fresh herbs, mushrooms and tender foods will be protected, so less bruising and waste results.

5. High-Powered Blender

Most commonly recognized as the ultimate smoothie and milkshake maker, a quality high-powered blender can do far more than blend creamy drinks. This appliance can be used to make nut butter, sauces, soups, dips and even churn out fresh cream. Need to grind oats, quinoa or transform cane sugar into powder? No problem with a high-powered blender. As a bonus, the high speed of the motor gets warm enough to heat and cook certain foods as they blend.

Go ahead and treat yourself to these kitchen essentials, and streamline your culinary experiences in your new abode.

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Home sales have increased in Calgary and across Canada in January. PHOTO BY AZIN GHAFFARI /Postmedia

Albertans are a largely positive lot when it comes to the prospect of buying a home. That’s the finding of a recent national survey of Canadians regarding homeownership by Mortgage Professionals Canada.

The survey asked Canadians to rate from 1 to 10 their confidence in statements such as “Now is a good time to buy a home” with 10 being an excellent time and 1 being not at all a good time to buy.

Albertans scored an average of 6.38 versus 6.04 for the Canadian average on the aforementioned question.

Source: Calgary Herald.

Please read the full story here:

https://calgaryherald.com/life/homes/new-homes/a-good-time-to-buy-albertans-more-positive-about-housing-market-than-most-canadians

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SINGLE FAMILY
$279,000
40 Temple Place NE
Calgary, AB T1Y 3R9
Courtesy of 2% REALTY
MLS: Pillar9
 
 
4Beds
2Full1Half Baths

Welcome to this renovated, affordable and move-in ready 2-storey attached home on a quiet cul-de-sac. Features 3 +1 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a fully finished basement. Tons of upgrades including a newer kitchen with maple cabinets, quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, tile flooring, fresh paint throughout, newer washrooms. All windows and roof were replaced a few years ago. Newer stairs and laminate flooring on the upper level, newer carpet in the basement. Newer high-efficient furnace and more. Open floor plan, bright and sunny living room with a big window. A large kitchen with dining area oversees the maintained backyard with flowerbeds. Recent fence with a parking pad and RV gate. Upstairs there are 3 bedrooms and a full bath. The master bedroom is spacious with a big closet and window. One more bedroom and a den in the basement. A full bathroom and stacked laundry complete this level. Super location, close to shopping , school, transport, playground. 5 minute walk to the No Frills grocery store and U of C express (303) bus stop. Short drive to the Village square leisure centre and library. Great starter home or investment property. Call to book your private viewings!

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SINGLE FAMILY
$279,000
40 Temple Place NE
Calgary, AB T1Y 3R9
 
 
4Beds
2Full1Half Baths

Welcome to this renovated, affordable and move-in ready 2-storey attached home on a quiet cul-de-sac. Features 3 +1 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a fully finished basement. Tons of upgrades including a newer kitchen with maple cabinets, quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, tile flooring, fresh paint throughout, newer washrooms. All windows and roof were replaced a few years ago. Newer stairs and laminate flooring on the upper level, newer carpet in the basement. Newer high-efficient furnace and more. Open floor plan, bright and sunny living room with a big window. A large kitchen with dining area oversees the maintained backyard with flowerbeds. Recent fence with a parking pad and RV gate. Upstairs there are 3 bedrooms and a full bath. The master bedroom is spacious with a big closet and window. One more bedroom and a den in the basement. A full bathroom and stacked laundry complete this level. Super location, close to shopping , school, transport, playground. 5 minute walk to the No Frills grocery store and U of C express (303) bus stop. Short drive to the Village square leisure centre and library. Great starter home or investment property. Call to book your private viewings!

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(Saddleridge is one of the Calgary communities with the highest rates of home ownership at 80 per cent. PHOTO BY FILE /Postmedia)

"Suburban Tuscany in the northwest has a 92 per cent ownership rate;  Silverado in the southwest is at 91 per cent and Saddleridge in the northeast is at 80 per cent. Inner-city Bridgeland/Riverside has a 44 per cent rate; Lower Mount Royal is at 36 per cent; and Bankview is at 32 per cent, the latter of which has more multi-family than single-family homes." Source: Calgary Herald.

The full story is here: 

https://calgaryherald.com/life/homes/new-homes/home-ownership-ranks-high-in-calgary?fbclid=IwAR29z_kLdw_IDOAxjY-P5ZNtn0Lzl5YDbGIJNq5Vn0J0Gi9EgA0RDHykp1U

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Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Buying your first home is an exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming when you don't know what to expect. Below are some tips to help first-time homebuyers navigate this process successfully. 

1. Get pre-approved before you start shopping. 

Nothing is more upsetting than finding the home of your dreams, only to learn that you cannot qualify for the loan needed to purchase it. Before you begin shopping for a new home, meet with a lender to request a pre-approval. The lender will review your financial situation and provide you with a pre-approved loan amount. Once you know how much you can afford to borrow, selecting the right properties will be easier. 

2. Select the right real estate agent. 

One of the most important things you can do to ensure that the process of buying your first home goes as smoothly as possible is to hire the right real estate agent. Be sure to choose a local agent who is familiar with your area. It is also a good idea to research your agent's background and experience, as well as to read reviews written by past clients so you will know what to expect as you work with the agent. 

3. Don't overbuy. 

When purchasing your first home, it can be tempting to choose a property at the higher end of your price range. However, adjusting to a monthly mortgage payment can be challenging. Make this process easier on yourself by selecting a property in the middle of your price range if possible. This will make your monthly payments more affordable, leaving you with plenty of extra income to buy furniture, make repairs or even save for the future. 

4. Do your research. 

Before purchasing any new home, be sure to do plenty of research about the neighborhood and the property itself. Ask your real estate agent to provide any insight they may have about the area and the property in question. If you have questions about the property, get the answers you need before you make an offer. 

5. Ask for an inspection. 

When you make an offer on the property you hope to purchase, you have the chance to request an inspection. Regardless of the circumstances, it is always in your best interest to take advantage of this opportunity. Be sure to read the inspection report carefully and consider any items that were found to be dangerous or defective. 

Every first-time homebuyer feels a little anxious, but you can simplify the experience by following the tips above. 

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Although not everyone is a fan of carpeting, there are definitely benefits to having it in your home. The big question is, "Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?"

Well, that answer depends on a lot of variables, but if you happen to like the look and feel of carpeting, then it's probably worth having. Assuming the carpet fibers are made of a soft material, it offers an extra layer of comfort for walking barefoot and sitting on the floor. It also provides some minor benefits, in terms of both sound absorption and heat insulation.

One of the negative aspects of carpeting is that it tends to conceal dirt, allergens, and food crumbs. Depending on whether it's a stain-resistant carpet, keeping it looking clean could be an ongoing challenge. That, of course, would be especially true if you have children, pets, or a spill-prone spouse!

Although stain-resistant carpets are supposed to be easy to clean, you can't help but wonder if that applies to pet accidents and grape juice spills that aren't immediately cleaned up. Another possible pitfall of carpeting involves the risk of using carpet spot-cleaning sprays and solutions. Some cleaning products could cause the color of your carpeting to fade in the treated areas. So while it may remove the stain, it may also leave permanent faded spots in the area you cleaned -- hardly the effect you were aiming for!

If you or a member of your family has allergies or asthma, a carpeted floor could potentially trigger unpleasant symptoms, too. Since carpeting is known to harbor everything from dust mites and mold spores, to pet dander and pollen, it could be the source of discomfort for allergy sufferers and others.

From the standpoint of improved air quality and reducing allergens, carpets made of nylon, short fiber strands, and/or tightly woven strands are said to be less of an issue. Another partial solution is to ask family members and visitors to remove their shoes before entering a carpeted area. Pro tip: this is much easier to accomplish if you get everyone in the habit of removing their shoes at the front door.

For homeowners planning to put their property on the market in the near future, the presence of carpeting could have a negative effect on its marketability. That's not to say that carpeting is going to prevent you from being able to sell your home, but it may reduce the number of prospective buyers who are actively interested in it. If you happen to have hardwood floors underneath that carpeting, it may pay to remove the carpeting -- a sometimes difficult task, which is often best left to the professionals.

If you are getting ready to sell your home, remember, it's essential to clean your carpeting as thoroughly as possible before real estate agents show your home to the public. Hire a professional carpet cleaner, or check out some DIY articles on how to get those carpets clean.

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Image by vistawei from Pixabay

Did you know people are generally happier when they have something to nurture and tend to in life? That’s right. Taking care of plants can make you a happier person and improves your sense of well-being, which in and of itself might be motivation enough to start an indoor garden. If you need more proof that now is the time to try indoor gardening, consider the following benefits of the practice:

Benefits of Indoor Gardening: Why Start Today

Improves Your Air Quality

You likely already know the biological breakdown of the way plants produce oxygen. We won’t get too deep into the weeds with that. However, it’s worth noting that plants effectively absorb trichloroethylene, formaldehyde and benzene, while producing fresh, life-sustaining oxygen. This means your air quality will improve simply by having plants growing indoors.

Provides You Food

Another important benefit of an indoor garden is the food it can produce. You can grow herbs and vegetables, which will be right on hand at any point. Let’s face it, veggies and herbs can get pricey when buying them at the store or farmer’s market. If you have your own supply, you will not only have fresh, succulent foods at your fingertips, but you will save money as well. It’s also pretty neat to pull a leaf off a nearby herb plant to add to your pasta sauce or to spice up another dish you are working on. There is no better taste than fresh herbs in a homemade dish.

It’s Educational

Having a richly producing indoor garden can be a bit of a learning experience. After all, different plants thrive with varying combinations of water and indirect or direct sunlight. This means to successfully get your plants to grow, you have to learn a bit about what they require to thrive, which is an educational process and a fun challenge.

Plants Absorb Background Noises

Your home should be a sanctuary of sorts, blocking out all outside noises and stresses. What if your house itself is loud, though? How do you create the zen environment you want if your house is full of noise? An indoor garden is one solution. Why, you ask? Well, it’s because studies have proven that plant's leaves effectively absorb, reflect and diffract noise. This means a noisy space becomes less clamorous and more peaceful, simply from having plants inside.

They Are Attractive

Finally, having an indoor garden is pleasant to look at. Depending on the type of garden you have, you might enjoy plants that flower or bloom in attractive manners. Even if you plants are all green, they can be pretty to look at and provide interest to a space. For example, an indoor garden is a great way to furnish a sunroom or patio or to add some life to a dreary indoor room.

Indoor gardens have many benefits as you have seen outlined above. If you have ever considered trying your hand at indoor gardening, use this information as motivation to give it a whirl!

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