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Sunday, April 26, 2015

An Easy Way To Make Perfect Crepes

Few people know it, but crepes are easier to make than pancakes. Just don’t feel bad if you have to throw away the first crêpes of the batch. That’s standard practice. Sometimes it takes a few fails before you get the pan up to optimal heat. The ingredients are as follows:

  • 1¼ cups sifted flour
  • 1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1¼ cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon cognac
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 scant tablespoons very fine sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Put all ingredients except melted butter in a blender and blend on high until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Add melted butter and blend 15 seconds more. Batter should be slightly thicker than heavy cream. Refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 3 days before cooking.

2. Brush a heavy 8- to 10-inch skillet or crêpe pan lightly with oil. Set over moderately high heat until pan is just beginning to smoke. Remove from heat and pour a scant ¼ cup batter into middle of pan. Quickly tilt pan in all directions to cover. Pour any batter that does not adhere back into bowl.

3. Return pan to heat. Cook until crepe sets, about 30 seconds. Use your fingers or a straight 14 inch spatula to carefully flip crepe and cook until done, about 30 seconds. Repeat with remaining batter.

Sweet crepes also provide worthy wrappers for Nutella,  fresh berries; caramelized apples, pears, peaches or plums; custards; and jam. .Also,  dollops of whipped cream and just plain maple syrup always enhance the experience.. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Five New Ways To Get More Money When You Sell Your Home

1. Price your home as close to fair market value -Homes that required a 10%  price cut spent an average of 220 days on the market and sold for 2% less than the estimated value.

2. Make sure the last non-zero digit in your original asking price is a nine -For instance, the average US home that was listed for $449,000 wound up selling for about $4,000 more than a home listed for $450,000. What's more, comparable homes priced $1,000 lower than their counterparts sold four days faster on average. Why this works: Consumers are conditioned to see prices ending in nine as an attractive discount.

3.Make only modest upgrades to your home that restore the basic functions -Upgrading a bathroom from poor to decent completely changes the livability of the property and appeals to just about everyone. But if you add high end elements, you may actually turn off many prospective buyers. Also keep in mind that kitchen renovations have a lower return on investment than other home improvements. That's because buyers are very particular about what constitutes a dream kitchen.

4.List your house for sale in late March or later - Data indicates that listing very early has become so popular that you're better off  waiting until after the first few weeks of March or even the second week in April in some markets.

5. Write a carefully worded listing -Data shows that home with written descriptions longer than the median length of 50 to 70 words routinely sell for more than their asking price. That's because prospective buyers want details, and those extra words give added info that makes the home worth seeing in person.
Avoid words in listings that connote "small", "nothing special" or"needs work". These words include cute, charming, potential, quaint, needs TLC, and unique. Such words turn buyers off and can reduce the selling price by more than 2% to 7% of the asking price. With lower price homes, listings described as
luxurious beat the original asking price by 8%. Using the word impeccable beat the original asking price by 6%. In more expensive homes, listings with the word captivating boosted the sale price by 6.5%. And the word gentle referring to property description as in gentle rolling hills jumped sale prices by 2.3%. Words such as remodeled pushed up prices of homes in every price range by 1.7% to 2.9% and landacaped by 1.5% to 4.2%.

Bonus Tip: If you're buying a home, look for a Starbucks about a one quarter mile from a house. Between 1997 and 2014, US homes appreciated 65% on average. But near s Starbucks, that increased to 96%.