A Quick Guide to Wine and Cheese Pairings


 

Wine Pairings

Valentine’s Day presents the perfect opportunity to indulge in life’s simple pleasures. But, pairing wine and cheese like the pros can be anything but simple. Whether you’re enjoying wine and cheese pairings today or any other day, being educated before heading to the grocery store can help your taste buds tremendously. Here are some quick tips on perfect pairings:

* Follow your taste preferences: If you don’t like a certain cheese or a certain wine, pairing it with something won’t change your opinion on the flavor.

* Try to match flavor profiles evenly: Avoid pairing mild cheeses with strong wines.

* The bolder the cheese, the bolder the wine should be: Cheese that has been aged for a long time needs to be paired with a full-bodied wine.


 

Cheese Pairings

Fresh/Soft & Bloomy Cheeses: Burrata, Ricotta, Mozzarella, Feta, Brie, Boursin
Pairs well with…
Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Moscato, Champagne

Cheese Pairings

Semi-Soft Cheeses: Havarti, Gruyère, Manchego
Pairs well with…
Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel

Cheese Pairings

Semi-Hard Cheeses: Cheddar, Gouda, Baby Swiss
Pairs well with…
Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Côtes du Rhône, Shiraz/Syrah, Merlot

Cheese Pairings

Hard Cheeses: Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino, Aged Manchego
Pairs well with…Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel, Chianti

Cheese Pairings

Goat Cheeses: Chèvre, Pavé, Rave de Provence
Pairs well with…Pino Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Rosé, Champagne

Cheese Pairing

Blue Cheese: Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton
Pairs well with…Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Zinfandel, Nebbiolo, Port

For more tips on the perfect wine and cheese pairings, visit HEB.com.

 

Market Your Luxury Home to the World


 

Market Your Luxury Home to the World

 

Selecting representation when buying or selling a luxury property is critical to your experience and success. Ebby Halliday Realtors offers clients whose homes are priced at $750,000 and above the advantages of its affiliation with Luxury Portfolio International, the luxury marketing arm of the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World network.

 

Luxury Portfolio International is a unified collection of the world’s most experienced, visible and highly regarded experts in luxury real estate marketing over 50,000 properties annually on the award-winning luxuryportfolio.com and in prestigious publications around the globe. Luxury Portfolio markets more $1 million-plus listings than any other luxury real estate network.

 

Luxury Portfolio offers sellers extensive search engine and social media strategies – ensuring their luxury listing is in front of today’s sophisticated consumers where and when they are searching. In addition to leveraging social media platforms, Luxury Portfolio utilizes international partner websites, such as juwai.com, which reaches beyond the Great Firewall of China to target the wealthy Chinese buyer, and wallstreetjournal.com, to reach affluent online viewers. Each property on luxuryportfolio.com is translated to nine languages and 60-plus currencies, which results in consumers visiting the site from almost every country each month.

 

Simply put, sellers who list with Ebby Halliday significantly increase the chances of attracting a qualified buyer to their luxury home due to our affiliation with Luxury Portfolio International. For buyers, finding a home is a personal process of discovery, and Ebby Halliday Realtors and the accomplished global network of Luxury Portfolio brokers is ready to assist in the journey. Explore luxury properties around the world at luxuryportfolio.com.

 

Learn more about Ebby Halliday Realtors, its Associates and all of its listings at the award-winning ebby.com.

 

PHOTOS: The estate home at 5326 Edlen in Old Preston Hollow exceeds all expectations. It is offered by Ebby’s Patricia Stampley for $8,650,000.

 

Market Your Luxury Home to the World

 

Market Your Luxury Home to the World

 

Market Your Luxury Home to the World

Market Your Luxury Home to the World

Market Your Luxury Home to the World

Market Your Luxury Home to the World

Market Your Luxury Home to the World

Market Your Luxury Home to the World

Market Your Luxury Home to the World

Market Your Luxury Home to the World

Market Your Luxury Home to the World

Market Your Luxury Home to the World

Market Your Luxury Home to the World

Market Your Luxury Home to the World

How to Make Your Bouquet Last Longer


Colorful roses background. Beautiful, high quality, good for holidays, valentines's gift.

 

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and that means flowers are flying off the shelves.

 

In fact, Valentine’s Day is the “second-largest holiday next to Mother’s Day for the floral industry,” according to 1800Flowers via Fortune Magazine. It’s estimated that Americans will spend $2 billion on flowers this year, according to GoBankingRates.com.

 

If you’re the lucky recipient of a bouquet of flowers, here are some tips on how to make your bouquet last longer.

 

1. Clean vases are a must.

If whatever container you’re putting your stems in isn’t clean, bacteria will continue to grow and kill your flowers. MarthaStewart.com suggests scrubbing the vase with a mixture of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water before rinsing.

2. If a whole leaf is submerged underwater, tear it off.

When leaves remain underwater, they decompose and bacteria grows. You must keep bacteria at bay if you want your flowers to last.

3. The colder the water, the better.

When you want to cook vegetables, you steam them with warm water until they wilt and soften. Think about it like this … if you use room temperature or warm water, you’re causing the flowers soften. The colder your water, the better your results.

4. Cut stems at a 45-degree angle.

When you cut flower stems with scissors, you are constricting the straw-like tube that allows nutrients to reach the top of the flower. Use a Swiss Army knife for soft stems and a pair of bypass cutters for woody stems. Cut the stems at a 45-degree angle.

5. Measure flower food precisely.

Avoid taking the easy route and dumping flower food into the vase with your flowers. Too much flower food will poison your flowers, and too little flower food is somewhat pointless. Use the directions on the packet of flower food to follow the correct food-to-water ratio.

6. Fresh water is a must.

Every two days, or when the water gets cloudy, replace the water in the vase. With each water change, it’s recommended to clean the vase. Use the same recipe as above.

5 Culinary Classes for Couples


Looking for something new to do with your partner? Try taking a culinary class! Whether you’re a self-proclaimed gourmand, or simply looking to dip your toe in the water of the culinary world, here are some courses you can find in North Texas. They may cost a small fee, but the memories will last a lifetime.
 
1. Mozzarella Company
Situated in Deep Ellum, the Mozzarella Company is a bustling cheese factory that produces almost 200,000 pounds of cheese a year. What better place to learn about cheese than from the experts? The Mozzarella Company offers three classes perfect for any cheese enthusiast: wine and cheese pairing, beer and cheese pairing, or hands-on cheesemaking. To see the schedule, click here. To make a reservation, call 214-741-4072 or email mozzcomanager@mozzco.com.
 
2. Central Market
Gourmet grocer Central Market offers a wide variety of classes at its various Texas locations. Learn how to make sauces, gumbo, or Korean BBQ from cooking school staff, or hone your knife skills and the latest cooking techniques. But wait…there’s more! Central Market also invites special culinary guests and celebrity chefs to teach various classes, so be sure to keep an eye on your nearest location’s calendar.
 
3. Sur La Table
Popular cooking retail store Sur La Table has a few locations across North Texas. While you may just be familiar with the store as a place to shop for kitchen items, each location also offers many different in-store cooking courses. Learn to make sweet treats like doughnuts, crêpes, or macarons, or opt for a culinary escape with courses centered around Thai food or Spanish tapas. The calendar is quite extensive, so you’ll be sure to find something in your budget on a date that’s right for you. Call your local Sur La Table for more details.
 
4. Kenichi – Ken’s Sushi Class
This modern sushi restaurant in Dallas’ Victory Park neighborhood offers sushi rolling classes once to twice a month. For $45, enjoy appetizers before learning to make a California, Spicy Tuna, or Veggie roll from Chef Ken McCullough. Classes are usually on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. For more information and to stay in-the-know for when classes are offered, follow Kenichi on Facebook. You can find upcoming classes or book a reservation on Kenichi’s Eventbrite page.
 
5. Stoney’s Wine Lounge Wine Pairing
This charming wine bar and lounge in the heart of Lakewood offers three wine pairing classes each week. The hour-long class is taught by owner Stoney Savage himself, and covers what to look for in wines that pair well with food. You’ll even learn about the various grape categories and what foods each one is known to pair with. The ticket price includes a tasting of six wines and seven bites such as nuts, chocolate, cheese, and sausage. Classes are offered at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays, and 6 p.m. on Saturdays. Purchase two tickets for $24 on Groupon.com, and then call 214-953-3067 to reserve your spot. An additional $8 per person is due upon arrival.

8 Luxury Homes We’re Crushing On


It’s Valentine’s Day, and we’re feeling the love for these eight North Texas luxury properties.

5326EdlenDrive5326 Edlen Drive | Dallas – Old Preston Hollow | $8,650,000
BrazosCourt2001 Brazos Court | Westlake | $4,900,000

4415 Lively Lane | Dallas – Lively Estates | $3,399,900
2109 Kimbrough Way
2109 Kimbrough Way | Irving – Cottonwood Valley | $1,395,000
LittleElm1213 Shahan Prairie Road | Little Elm – Lake Lewisville | $1,270,000
29 Balmoral29 Balmoral | Richardson – Hills of Breckinridge | $1,225,000
1300LincolnCourt
1300 Lincoln Court | Allen – Hamilton Hills | $1,240,000
MeletioLane
5606 Meletio Lane | Dallas – Melshire Estates | $1,199,000

 

To view all of our extraordinary listings, visit the all-new, mobile-friendly ebby.com.

5 Fondue Recipes for an At-Home Date Night


Fondue

Planning to stay in this Valentine’s Day? At-home date nights can be just as fun and romantic as hitting the town. If you’re in the mood to do something special from the comfort of your own home, sharing a pot of warm fondue can be a great experience. Here are five delicious fondue recipes perfect for a night in.
 
Don’t own a fondue pot? Don’t worry! You can mix the ingredients in a slow cooker and cover for one hour until everything is combined. For savory fondues, we suggest dipping cubes of crusty bread, cooked chicken breast, cooked sausage, boiled potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, or cauliflower florets. For sweet fondue, try dipping dried or fresh fruit, pretzels, graham crackers, marshmallows, and cubed angel food cake.
 
1. Traditional Cheese
• 1 garlic clove, halved (rub the pot with the garlic, discard)
• 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 2 cups Emmental cheese, coarsely grated
• 2 cups Gruyère, coarsely grated
• A few dashes of nutmeg
• Black pepper, to taste
 
2. Traditional Chocolate

 
3. Spinach Artichoke
• 1/3 cup light beer
• 1 cup chopped cooked spinach
• 1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
• Salt and pepper, to taste
 
4. S’mores
• 2 cups milk chocolate morsels
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 1 10-ounce package of marshmallows
• 1/4 cup crumbled graham crackers
• 2 tablespoons dark rum
 
5. Peanut Butter Chocolate

Fresh Listing Friday: Historic Farmhouse


FLF Logo

Happy Friday y’all! This week’s Fresh Listing Friday is a historic home in Commerce sanctioned by the Texas Historical Commission. Built in 1914, 2113 Mangum Street was restored in 2012 to include energy-efficient features, surround sound, and an elevator. The home is situated over a well, which irrigates the property, and also includes the original hardwood flooring and doors. The residence is also commercially zoned, making it the perfect potential location for a bed and breakfast or event space! Take a virtual tour below and see all the modern features this historical residence has to offer!

Need-to-know Details:

• Priced at $479,900
• 3,772 square feet: 4 bedrooms, 2.1 baths
• Situated on 2.3 acres
• Kitchen with granite countertops, custom cabinetry, and tumbled marble backsplash
• Spacious back patio

Historic Farmhouse
Front ExteriorHistoric Farmhouse
Front PorchHistoric Farmhouse
WorkshopHistoric Farmhouse
Kitchen and Breakfast Area
Historic Farmhouse
Formal Living AreaHistoric Farmhouse
Bonus Living Area
Historic FarmhouseCasual Living Area
Historic Farmhouse
Formal Dining AreaHistoric FarmhouseOfficeHistoric Farmhouse Historic Farmhouse
Master Suite
Historic Farmhouse
ElevatorHistoric Farmhouse
CarportHistoric Farmhouse
Back Porch
Historic FarmhouseRear Exterior
Historic FarmhouseAerial View

To view this listing, contact The Dee Evans Group at 972-772-1366 or DeeEvansGroup@Ebby.com.

10 Great Weekend Getaways


Valentine’s Day may land on a Tuesday this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get away to celebrate at a later date. Here are some of the best weekend getaway destinations that are perfect for a quick trip with your special someone.

 

Weekend Getaways
1. Broken Bow
This Oklahoma city may be known for its booming timber industry, but the tourism is growing too. Broken Bow is home to Beavers Bend Resort Park, Hochatown State Park, and two museums that house Native American artifacts.

Weekend Getaways
Photo courtesy of the City of Fredericksburg

2. Fredericksburg
The charming town of Fredericksburg is a romantic destination in the Texas Hill Country with tons of German colonial heritage and culture. You can find Bavarian-themed restaurants, beer gardens, and beautiful natural parks. The city is also the epicenter of over 20 local vineyards and wineries, offering the opportunity to taste and tour until your heart is content.

Weekend Getaways3. Glen Rose
Just a short drive southwest of Fort Worth, the city of Glen Rose offers outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and mountain biking. Visit Dinosaur Valley State Park and explore tracks of animals from thousands of years ago, or take a trip to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center and take a tour to see threatened and endangered species.

Weekend Getaways
Photo courtesy of Forever Lawn

4. Magnolia Market
Situated in Waco, about halfway between Dallas and Austin, the Magnolia Market is one of those destinations that is relatively newer to the getaway scene. Created by the couple behind HGTV’s Fixer Upper, the Magnolia Market is 2.5 acres of warm and welcoming stores and restaurants amidst huge grain silos and a barn.

Weekend Getaways
Photo courtesy of Paul Joseph/CC 2.0

5. Marfa
This quaint town in the middle of West Texas is a hub for arts and culture enthusiasts. Check out sights like the famous Prada Marfa, the Marfa Book Company, or a variety of other museums and galleries. Stay at the bohemian-style El Cosmico campground and enjoy the communal atmosphere, wide-open spaces, and scenic views.

Weekend Getaways
Photo courtesy of Nicolas Henderson/CC 2.0

6. Possum Kingdom Lake
Situated less than 90 miles west of Fort Worth, Possum Kingdom Lake offers over 18,000 acres of water, cliffs, and rolling hills. Camp or rent a cabin to enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, and fishing.

Round Top
Photo courtesy of Round Top Texas Antiques

7. Round Top
If you’re a fan of antiquing, this is the destination for you. Located southeast of Austin, Round Top is a small city (one of the smallest incorporated in Texas) that hosts some of the largest and most celebrated antique sales in the country. Stay at a shabby chic cottage inn or bed-and-breakfast and head out to explore the city and maybe find a treasure or two.

Weekend Getaways

8. San Antonio River Walk
This quintessential romantic Texas getaway is the perfect destination for a wide variety of entertainment options. Not only can you explore the historic San Antonio Missions and the Alamo, but you can also enjoy romantic restaurants, a zoo, and botanical garden.

Weekend Getaways9. Waxahachie
Anyone interested in architecture should put Waxahachie on his or her “must-see” list. Situated south of Dallas, the town features one of the most beautiful Texas courthouses as well as a many examples of Victorian architecture and gingerbread homes. You can also find plentiful state parks and wildlife in the surrounding area.
Weekend Getaways10. Wimberley
Situated on the banks of Cypress Creek and the Blanco River, Wimberley is a beautiful city surrounded by the Texas Hill Country. You can find a variety of outdoor activities as well as art galleries, shopping, and additional activities such as glass-blowing demonstrations at Wimberley Glass Works and herb classes at the Rough Creek Lavender Farm.

 

Want to Lower Your Down Payment?


 

5 Loans Without a 20 Percent Down Payment

 

The home-buying process can be exciting and stressful. The good news is that there are plenty of loan types out there to fit your individual needs. Trey Belmore, a loan officer with The Lending Partners, says, “There is a misconception among a lot of first-time home buyers in the marketplace that 20 percent down is a requirement to purchase a home, but that is not the case.”

 

Before modern mortgages came into existence in 1934, buyers weren’t able to qualify for a mortgage unless they had 50 percent down. That didn’t happen until the Federal Housing Administration decided to initiate a new kind of mortgage, which aimed at lower down-payment requirements in hopes of pulling the U.S. out of the Great Depression. They did this by insuring the mortgages and qualifying buyers based on their ability to pay back the loan. Private mortgage insurance, required for some Conventional loans, was authorized in the U.S. in 1956. The moral of this bit of mortgage history: It is much more affordable for buyers to purchase a home today than in the past, and, it is always advisable to have a loan officer by your side to guide you in the right direction.

 

FHA

The Federal Housing Administration is a great way to go, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. The benefits include a low down-payment of 3.5 percent, a lower interest rate compared to a Conventional loan, easier qualification with challenged credit (The Lending Partners qualifies as low as 600), higher debt ratios allowed, and no reserves requirement. This can assist buyers so all they have to pay for is their down payment. If a homebuyer chooses to move forward in purchasing a home in need of repairs, they can opt for an FHA 203k streamline, which means they can roll in the cost of repairs into their loan. Luke Wroten, a loan officer with Home Team Mortgage, says this loan type also allows higher seller-paid closing costs.

 

VA

If you are a qualified veteran or active-duty service member, a VA loan can help you purchase a home with no required down payment or no mortgage insurance; it does, however, require a funding fee, which can be rolled into the loan amount. The funding fee amount depends on the size of the loan amount and down payment, whether you served or are currently serving. Veterans can be totally exempt from a funding fee if they receive certain disability benefits. VA loans can even be used to finance homes exceeding the conforming unit, when combined with a down payment. It can range anywhere between 1.25 and 3.3 percent. You can qualify for a VA loan with a credit score as low as 600.

 

Conventional with Mortgage Insurance

If you have good or excellent credit this loan type might be right for you. You can be approved with a credit score as low as 620 with this loan type and a down payment as low as 3 percent, but the price of mortgage insurance weighs heavily on your score. The higher your credit score, the better your interest rate will be. There are two ways this loan can work for you: Single premium mortgage insurance lets you pay the full amount upfront each year. Though your overall rate will be higher, your monthly mortgage payment will likely be lower. The other option is to have the monthly insurance amount rolled into your mortgage payment so you pay less upfront. The good news about mortgage insurance is that if you make $75,000 or less each year it is tax deductible; the rate is tax deductible for people making over and less than this amount.

 

USDA

Are you looking for a home in a rural area? This loan type may be right for you. It gives you the option for 100 percent financing and comes without mortgage insurance. This program does carry stricter guidelines with employment and income. USDA has an annual fee which is similar to PMI. The annual fee is recalculated each year based on the new balance of the mortgage. The annual fee is currently only .35 percent, which began October 1, 2016. The annual percentage fee on USDA loans stays for the entire 30-year term, but because it is based on the annual mortgage balance, the dollar amount decreases each year. You can qualify with a credit score as low as 600, so be sure do discuss this with your loan officer.

 

Second Lien Option

You could use this loan type to avoid mortgage insurance and still put down less than 20 percent. Consider this option if your monthly mortgage payment would be lower than a loan option that requires mortgage insurance. As an example, if you have 10 percent to put down on your home and need another 10 percent to make your down payment the full 20 percent needed to avoid mortgage insurance, you could opt for a second loan to go toward your down payment. Contact your loan officer to see if you can qualify. There is not a set standard for a minimum credit score, so it may vary per situation.

 

Considering purchasing a home? Home Team Mortgage Company, Ebby Halliday’s affiliated mortgage company, has a track record of building long-lasting relationships by providing exceptional service with competitive rates. With an office in each Ebby Halliday branch, Home Team Mortgage loan officers offer the convenience of one-stop shopping, coupled with expertise to ensure peace of mind for borrowers and agents alike.

 

For all your mortgage questions and needs, contact Home Team Mortgage Company.

 

 

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for the Home


Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and we can feel the love in the air. To spread the love, we’re publishing a blog post each day until Feb. 14 on a different Valentine’s Day-themed topic. To start the series, here’s our Valentine’s Day gift guide for the home. Stay tuned!

VDayGiftGuide
Drawing a blank on what to get your friends or family this Valentine’s Day? Here are a few gift ideas that are perfect for the homebody. Plus, you can expedite shipping to make sure everything is here in time for the special day.

Valentine's Day Gift Guide1. Faux Hydrangeas – $49.99
While fresh flowers are always a good idea, faux flowers aren’t a bad alternative. The more you spend, the more realistic they will look, too. These hydrangeas add a pop of pink to any room.
2. Velvet Pillow – $29
Much to our pleasure, velvet is no longer just a winter fabric. Now, you can find this fuzzy fabric year-round in a variety of colors. This soft pink adds a hint of Valentine’s spirit to any home décor.
3. Diptyque Candle – $68
This limited-edition candle not only comes in beautiful packaging, but also releases the scent of two roses: Damascena and Centifolia. These roses offer rich scents, while currant and bergamot provide freshness on top. Other notes include lychee and geranium.
4. Amazon Echo – $179.99
Know someone hoping to make his or her home smarter? Amazon’s Echo is a hands-free, voice-controlled speaker that allows you to play music, control smart home devices, set alarms, and more.
5. Pink Wine Glasses – $7.95
These light pink glasses are a fresh twist on a classic glass.
6. Tassel Blanket – $250
This delightful black and white-striped tassel blanket is 100 percent wool and the perfect complement to year-round décor.
7. Apple Watch – From $299
While technically not a gift for the home, Apple watches give you the ability to turn smart lightbulbs on or off all from your wrist.
8. Cheese Knives – $35
There’s something romantic about wine and cheese, and these twig cheese knives are perfect for any pairing.