Tasty Spring Time Recipes!

Looking for fresh new recipes for this spring season? Check out our list of what fruits and vegetables are in this spring to make these tasty meals, created with seasonal ingredients like zucchini, asparagus, strawberries and more! Happy Cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound asparagus (trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 cup fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 5 ounces prosciutto, diced
  • 2 cups sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
  • 8 ounces grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Toss pasta with olive oil.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, roast asparagus, broccoli, bell pepper, and zucchini until flecked with dark brown. Set aside.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Saute garlic with prosciutto and sun-dried tomatoes until heated through. Toss with penne, roasted vegetables, and Parmesan. Place in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until hot.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 2.5 tablespoons raspberry jam
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 cups spinach
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 8 strawberries, quartered
  • 2 kiwi, peeled and sliced

Directions:

  1. Mix together raspberry vinegar, raspberry jam, and vegetable oil in a small container.
  2. Combine spinach, nuts, strawberries, and kiwi in a salad bowl. Toss with raspberry dressing.

What’s in this spring?

 

After a long winter, there’s nothing more welcoming than the sight of spring’s first vegetables: Crisp lettuces, earthy mushrooms, slender spears of asparagus, leafy spring onions, fresh peas, and green beans, and piles of bright rhubarb join year-round staples like garlic and beets as well as winter favorites nearing the end of their season. Below is a list of fruits and vegetables to look for this season as well as some expert tips for buying the best of spring’s bounty!

  • Spring Peas: Peas should be tender and the pod plump.
  • Blackberries: Ripe berries are large, plump, and deeply colored.
  • Swiss Chard: Harvest leaves under 4 inches and when tender.
  • Strawberries: Berries will have an even deep red all around.
  • Celery: Ripe when the stalks are 6 inches in length and clustered together.
  • Parsnips: Roots should be 1 to 2 inches wide and 8 to 12 inches long.
  • Beets: Best when harvested young, smaller than 6 inches.
  • Leeks: Harvest when stalks are around an inch wide.
  • Oranges: Ripe when the fruit has a firm texture with thin, smooth skin.
  • Carrots: Mature carrots will have a firm and tender texture.
  • Broccoli: Ready when the buds of the heard are firm and tight.
  • Rutabaga: Ripe when it is smooth and has purple-tinged skin.
  • Cauliflower: Ready when the heads are compact, white, and firm.
  • Avocado: Ripe when it has a slight sponginess to it and is dark in color.
  • Raspberries: Ripe berries are plump, large, and brightly colored.
  • Peaches: Ready to each when the color is deep golden.
  • Mushrooms: Freshest right after the veil breaks open.
  • Asparagus: Ready when spears are deep green or violet tinted.
  • Brussels Sprouts: Ready when the heads are firm and 1 to 2 inches.
  • Rhubarb: Freshest when the stalks are at least 10 inches long.
  • Cabbage: The heads should be firm all the way though when squeezed.
  • Bok Choy: Leaves may be anywhere from 6 inches to 2 feet when ready.
  • Radishes: Fresher when harvested young, roots no wider than an inch.
  • Artichoke: Look for a firm bulb with tightly closed inner petals.
  • Lettuce: Leaves will be well-ruffled and deeply lobed when mature.
  • Plums: Ripe when texture is semi-soft has a deep, even color.
  • Zucchini: Will be a deep green and around 6 to 8 inches in length.

 

Le Palais Apartments: Spreading Light With the Candlelighters of Houston

The sun was shining and the day was crisp. The line of people waiting to get into Kirby Ice House was so long that it wound around the building. Volunteers speedily checked people in, but this was no easy task. More than 200 people had shown up to participate in Candlelighters’ fundraising event for children battling and living with cancer.

The Margarita Taste-Off was a combination of high energy, deep conversations, exciting contests and prizes, lively music, and delectable treats, but most importantly, it was an event that brought the community together.

<img src="backyard.jpg" alt="Backyard full of people talking and eating">

An afternoon of flowing conversation, margaritas, and hope.

Richdale Apartments’ newest luxury apartment community in the heart of River Oaks, Le Palais was a proud sponsor of the event. Not only did we have the opportunity to contribute dollars, but Le Palais’ associates and residents also spent time speaking with attendees and participants. While food, music, conversations, and stories were a huge part of this event, it was the power of community that reverberated through the venue.

Co-sponsor, Le Palais’ associates ready to participate at the Candlelighters of Houston’s fundraiser.

Ms. Kelsey Tarpinian, Development Director at Candlighters Houston, took a moment to talk with us. She beamed as she spoke of the support the organization received from businesses like Le Palais Apartments. A young father then stopped by Le Palais’ table and spoke with us about his two-year-old daughter who was battling cancer. He shared that while he worked full-time, his wife and the little girl’s mother stayed home as the primary caregiver. He spoke about the emotional and financial difficulties the family faced and strongly shared his gratitude for the support he was receiving from Candlelighters.

We then walked around the tables set up in the backyard and noticed memorials to children who had fought cancer not only in the United States but around the world. While everyone spoke openly, they also drew immense support and strength from each other. The result of which was an event pulsating with determination, hope, and the power of community … not to mention, great margaritas.

Erin Kenneavy, Leasing Consultant at Le Palais expressed it best when she said, ‘As a new member of the Houston community, Le Palais, located in the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston at 1916 West Gray St., is honored to have played a strong supporting role at this event.’

Here’s the Scoop on Some of the Best Low Calorie Ice Creams

With so many brands, and even more flavor choices, it can be a cold and difficult task choosing the tastiest low calorie ice creams. We brought together a panel of taste testers to try some of the best low-calorie ice creams on the market today. You’ll find out the good and the bad so you can spend less time in the frozen food section wondering which ones are worth spending your money on!

Arctic Zero: Even if you weren’t a fan of Arctic Zero’s original lactose-free ice cream alternative,you need to give their new light ice creams a shot. Made from real milk, cream, and cane sugar, these pints contain no sugar alcohols, are non-GMO, and have a boost of prebiotic fiber.
Pros: Testers found the cookie shake flavor to be perfectly sweetened, with just the right amount of chocolate flavor.
Cons: Some testers thought the taste was chalky like a protein shake and not quite creamy enough. One tester thought the flavor was too “airy” or light.

Breyers Delights: This legendary ice cream brand prides itself on offering something for every type of ice cream eater, including people looking for a healthy treat. Breyers new Delights line of light ice cream offers 260 to 330 calories and 20 grams of protein per pint, thanks to added milk protein and stevia.
Pros: Testers said it had lots of flavor with the tart, fruity raspberry and plenty of fudge swirls throughout.
Cons: One tester said the flavor would be even better with which chocolate mixed in! Another thought it tasted too much like sherbert.

Ben and Jerry’s Moo-Phoria: If you love ice cream loaded with mix-ins, Ben & Jerry’s is most likely your favorite brand. You’ll be happy to learn they preserved that unique part of their ice cream in their Moo-Phoria light ice cream flavors. The result is a treat with 60 to 70 percent less fat and 35 percent fewer calories than traditional Ben & Jerry’s ice creams, but all the hidden-treasure goodness of Phish Food and Half Baked.
Pros: Most testers ranked this as their favorite healthy ice cream for its creaminess, rich flavor and the perfect amount of mix-ins.
Cons: Testers noted that this ice cream is the quickest to melt.

Enlightened: Enlightened crowns itself the best-of-the-best in healthy ice cream, logging even fewer calories, fewer grams of sugar and fat, and more protein and fiber than other healthy ice cream brands. They offer a wide variety of inventive flavors, logging in at just 60 to 100 calories per half-cup serving. Sweetened with zero-calorie erythritol and packed with fiber from corn, Enlightened promises not to spike blood sugar.
Pros: Testers loved the chocolate and graham cracker mix-ins. They said the flavor was just right and it the texture was perfectly creamy.
Cons: Testers didn’t note any cons for the S’mores flavor!

Halo Top: If you’ve been on Instagram anytime in the last year, you’ve likely seen Halo Top on your feed. This social-sensation brand uses organic stevia and erythritol to create sweet, creamy desserts that clock in at only 280 to 360 calories per pint. Their dairy-free flavors allow vegans and lactose-intolerant ice cream fans to get in on the hype too.
Pros: The sweetness and added sprinkles were the top pros for this pick.
Cons: Some testers thought the flavor was too rich, while others noted the texture to be “icy” and not creamy enough.

Pets of the Month

My name is Stella, and I’m a one-year-old teddy bear! I love living with my mom at TurtleCreek in West Des Moines, IA. Some of my favorite things are watching out the window, chasing the leaves outside, and getting belly rubs from all of our neighbors and leasing staff!

Hi! My name is Gustoph, but some people call me Goose. I live at The Lanesborough in Houston, TX. During the day, I like to lay around the house, but come 6 o’clock, I’m up and active to make sure my parents feed me on the dot! When I am in the right mood, nothing is better than a good belly rub!

Sparkling Strawberry Float

Ingredients:
• Strawberry Sorbet
• Chilled Prosecco (or champagne or ginger ale or soda)
• Diced fresh strawberries and/or sliced strawberries for garnishing the glass, optional

Directions:
1. Place a few small scoops of sorbet in a glass.
2. Pour chilled Prosecco, champagne, ginger ale or soda over the top.
3. Sprinkle with diced strawberries, if desired, and serve immediately.

The History of Valentine’s Day

For most people, Valentine’s Day means handwritten heart-shaped notes, thoughtful gifts of flowers or jewelry, and most importantly, time spent with a loved one. But why is February 14th considered the day of love? And how did the holiday start in the first place?

It turns out, nobody really, truly knows the true history of Valentine’s Day. But what we do know about the origins of Valentine’s Day isn’t all that romantic. The day is named, of course, for St. Valentine, but why? And which Valentine? There were apparently two Valentines executed on February 14 (albeit in different years) by Emperor Claudius II, reports NPR—the reason the church designated the day for the martyrs.

It’s possible that the heart-filled holiday is based on a combination of the two men, according to The New York Times. A widely accepted tale was published in The Boston Globe in 1965 and posits that one, Saint Valentine of Terni who was executed around 278 A.D., had been secretly officiating weddings for Roman soldiers against the emperor’s wishes, making him, in some eyes, a proponent of young love.

Many also believe that St. Valentine’s Day was designated by Pope Gelasius I in order to replace the ancient Roman festival Lupercalia. The debaucherous feast fell around the same time and involved a pagan ritual, which they believed promoted fertility. Following this flagellation was an equally strange tradition, in which men selected women’s names at random to decide who would remain together the rest of the festival, or if the match was successful, for life.

However, a University of Kansas English professor, the late Jack B. Oruch, had a different theory, notes the Times: Through research, he determined that the poet Geoffrey Chaucer linked love with St. Valentine for the first time in his 14th-century works “Parlement of Foules” and “The Complaint of Mars.” Therefore, Oruch claimed that Chaucer invented Valentine’s Day as we know it today. At the time, February 14th also happened to be considered the first day of spring since it was the beginning of birds’ mating season—perfectly appropriate for a celebration of affection.

Whether or not Chaucer can be fully credited, it is true that he and fellow writer Shakespeare popularized the amorous associations surrounding the day. Soon, people started penning and exchanging cards.

By the early 1910s, an American company that would one day become Hallmark began distributing Valentine’s Day cards. Flowers, candy, jewelry, and more followed, and the rest, of course, is history.

by Taysha Murtaugh

www.countryliving.com/life/a46353/history-of-valentines-day/

Four Unconventional Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day or Any Other Day!

After a while, the predictable Valentine’s Day gifts heart-shaped boxes of candy, overpriced dinners and bouquets of roses start to lose their appeal. This Valentine’s Day, rather than spending the night as you always do, we say bid adieu to all those dates and try something new with your special someone. To make the date planning that much easier, we’ve rounded up a few suggestions if you’re looking to switch things up.

Axe Throwing: Whether you’re planning on spending V-Day with your significant other or you’re planning an epic single night out for you and all your friends, look no further than axe throwing. This experience is so much more fun and can be booked with other couples, not to mention it’s indoors.

Karaoke: There’s no better way to truly get to know someone than by doing something spontaneous such as karaoke! Dedicate a song to your date and you’ll score serious brownie points.

Take a Dance Class: Trade up your dinner reservations and put on your dancing shoes and try a fun dance class. Chances are, you won’t catch on to all of the moves, but you’ll have a great time trying!

Visit a Board Game Cafe: Whether this Valentine’s Day marks your first date or your hundredth, a board game cafe is a perfect spot for couples to connect or reconnect over a game or two.

Check out more great date ideas at
https://29secrets.com/relationships/unconventional-valentines-day-date-ideas/.

Continuing Education and Why it is So Important

Many people graduate from college and jump into their career thinking that school is now in their past and they won’t ever need to write an essay or study again. However, it’s a proven fact that continuing education is the best way to keep your mind strong and can even be a confidence booster. Studies have shown that continuing to learn can help with everyday skills and improve the way your brain performs on a day-to-day basis.

Now, continuing education doesn’t have to mean going back to school or adding more to your student debt. It can be something as simple as taking a one-night class at your local community college or taking up a hobby like learning a new language. Anything that gets you excited and helps to keep your mind functioning at its highest level can be beneficial.

Another way to continue learning is to attend conferences or networking events to further your knowledge and connections. Being in the know of everything your industry offers, as well as being connected, is a sure way to have an edge over competitors in your field. You can also take courses on topics like HTML/CSS or the basics in design programs like Photoshop and Illustrator. In today’s world, the more tech knowledge you have, the better.

And for those of you who cringe at the thought of speaking in front of a group of people, there are classes to help with that as well. These classes help to enhance your professional skills like public speaking, negotiation tactics and ways to effectively market your company. Activities may include things like role playing and speaking in front of the class to help you gain experience and confidence that prepare you for the real thing.

Finally, in today’s world of everything being online, you can learn a new skill or hobby just by watching video tutorials. You can find instructional videos and how-tos for almost anything. Have you been wanting to take a photography class? Want to brush up on your cooking skills or try a new recipe? Just type it into the search bar and ta-da, hundreds of videos to choose from!

All that being said, get out there! Take the first step and research non-credit classes at your local community college or jump into that hobby you’ve always wanted to try. In your down time, you can also do brain exercises like the ones listed below to keep your cognitive levels on point. Remember, keep your mind active and never stop learning!

https://www.themuse.com/advice/schools-not-out-the-importance-of-continuing-education

Pets of the Month

My name is Hogan and I live with my mom at PrestonBridge Apartments in Dallas, TX! I am my mom’s 8-year-old male Shitzu/ Pomeranian bundle of joy. I love people and I go to see Brittney, the property manager, every afternoon. My mom says I have a wonderful personality and I’m a good boy because I seldom bark.

My name is Natasha! I am my parents’ 5-year-old Siamese fur-baby. I live with them at Tanglewood Apartments in Lincoln, NE. I am infinitely affectionate and more than a bit anxious when I can’t find mom or dad