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Darling Homes’ Guide to Getting the Best Out of Spring in Houston

Known as The City With No Limits, Houston is America’s fastest-growing metropolis and is the place to be this spring with world-renowned festivals you won’t want to miss.

Need an insider’s view on where to go and what to do? The folks at Darling Homes have put together great insider tips to help you get the most out of each experience, from Houston’s famous Livestock Show and Rodeo in March to its exciting Dragon Boat Festival in May.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, from March 1 – 20, is one of Houston’s signature events. Held at NRG Stadium, this 20-day long festival of classic Southern fun benefits the youth of Texas, supports education and improves agricultural practices. With a variety of fun entertainment, from an exhilarating bull riding show to a parade and children’s carnival, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo offers events and activities fit for every age!

5 Great Things to Do

  • See rodeo entertainment with cowboys and cowgirls competing in tie-down roping, bareback riding, team roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling and more.
  • Indulge in Southern cooking from smoked meats, brisket, chicken and a Dutch oven dessert from Chuck Wagon and Houston’s Rockin’ Bar-B-Que Saloon.
  • Enjoy kid-friendly activities and entertainment including a children’s carnival, pony rides and a petting zoo.
  • Stick around for exciting concerts every night performed by country and pop superstars like Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Darius Rucker, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and so many more.

If you’re looking for a fun-filled day of great music, delicious food and lively entertainment, visit www.rodeohouston.com for tickets and more information.

DHH Spring Events 1

Mcdonald’s Houston Children’s Festival

Celebrating its 28th year on April 23 – 24, the Mcdonald’s Houston Children’s Festival offers fun for the whole family with music, entertainment, celebrity appearances and more than 300 activities that are sure to thrill your little ones. Dedicated to educating the public about child abuse and the purpose of Child Advocates, this event has quickly grown into one of Houston’s great fundraisers and charitable events.

5 Great Things to Do

  • See Baker Hughes’ Circus Town Zone with a giant space wheel, Cyr Spinning Wheel Acrobatics, trapeze stunts and a giant puppet palace for the kids to enjoy.
  • Indulge in a variety of delicious, family friendly food for sale and vendors.
  • Test your knowledge at the SABIC Super Science Zone with radical reactions, air adventures, a petting zoo and pony rides.
  • Ride on the festival’s giant swing and carrousel.
  • Take a tour through Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog or Gorton’s Smart & Crunchy Tour.

Guest Appearances from 2015 include Ronald McDonald, Disney Channel stars, Olivia Holt and Jordan Fisher, rising country singer, Kaylee Rutland and American Idol 2012 runner-up, Jessica Sanchez.

For more information, visit http://www.houstonchildrensfestival.com/tickets-info.

DHH Spring Events 2

Houston Art Car Parade

Houston is a great destination for weekends filled with artistic talents and energetic participants. Designed for those who enjoy creativity and cars, this unique event combines inventive artistry and automobiles to create this one-of-a-kind Art Car Parade on April 7 – 10.

5 Things to Do

  • See the Main Street Drag with eight unique caravans of brilliantly crafted art cars during the pre-parade art car convoy for a lively show.
  • Dress up for the Legendary Art Car Ball and enjoy live performances from The Suspects, Sam “Shake” Anderson, Gio Chamba and more.
  • Indulge in a delicious assortment of savory barbecue and beverages during the lively Art Car Ball.
  • Experience the official parade with nearly 300 art cars, bikes and motorized vehicles cruising the streets of Houston during the 29th Art Car Parade.
  • Delight in Houston’s Art Car Awards Ceremony where a panel of judges will honor and award the amazing talents and work from the art car artists.

To purchase tickets and for more information, visit http://www.thehoustonartcarparade.com/about-the-art-car-parade/.

DHH Spring Events 3

Bayou City Art Festival

For one weekend, Houston-area residents are invited to attend a celebration of fine arts and culture at the 45th Bayou City Art Festival, from April 29 – May 1, featuring more than 300 pieces of diverse artwork. While you’re there, meet the talented artists as you tour beautiful, outdoor galleries.

5 Great Things to See and Do

  • Experience Houston’s award-winning fine art festival featuring more than 300 pieces of beautiful artwork.
  • Enjoy live performances from local musical groups and artists performing during the festival.
  • Indulge in a delicious array of local foods from restaurant vendors including Indian, Chinese, BBQ and more.
  • Meet the talented artists behind the artwork as you tour diverse galleries.
  • Be a part of change. The Art Colony Association’s exceptional efforts and exciting festivals have raised approximately $3 million over the past 40 years to benefit local art and service organizations.

For more information, visit http://www.artcolonyassociation.org/.

DHH Spring Events 4

Houston Dragon Boat Festival

Ever wondered what a Texas Dragon Boat Race would be like? We’ve got you covered! Enjoy a full day of lively entertainment, Art Cars, delicious food trucks and, of course, Dragon Boating at Brooks Lake at Fluor from May 7 – 8. This fantastic event is a must-see!

5 Exciting Things to See and Do

  • See thrilling dragon boat races beginning every 15-20 minutes.
  • Eat a variety of delicious food and drinks from local vendors, including hot dogs, burgers and cheesesteaks from Bernie’s Burger Bus, Koagie Hots, Pho-jita and sweet treats from Yeti Sunshine.
  • Listen to live performances from local musical favorites.
  • Observe Chinese cultural practices and traditions, martial arts, dances, Chinese Yo-Yo and more.
  • Enjoy gorgeous views of Houston’s lush landscapes as dragon boats glide across the water against the Houston skyline.

For more information, visit http://www.texasdragonboat.com/.

DHH Spring Events 5

Food Kitchen Lifestyle

Dine and Entertain in Luxury this Holiday Season

Are you hosting the holidays at your house this year? Want to create the perfect holiday atmosphere for a get-together they’ll remember for years to come?

We’re sharing our favorite ideas for a holiday at home that will surprise and delight guests at every turn with an amazing menu and serving plan that will keep your guests happy and the party moving throughout the day!

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First, you’ll dazzle them with your choice of an amazing appetizer that stimulates the senses with sensational presentation and tantalizing tastes that are sure to please.

  • Your guests are sure to gather ‘round and enjoy the feeling of harvest and home with a harvest-inspired vegetable platter that’s so good they’ll think you’ve hand-picked each delectable piece from your own garden.
  • An artisan cheese platter is sure-fire hit. With an assortment of dried and fresh fruits, rich cheeses and seasonal nuts, this spread is sure to be a guest favorite.
  • Have plenty of people to please? Serve an assorted appetizer platter that offers it all: fresh fruit, a selection of artisan cheeses and crackers, antipasto and roasted nuts!

Antipasto catering platter with bacon, jerky, salami, cheese and grapes

Serve your appetizer and drinks in a central area that encourages guests to gather and mingle. An ideal location is a breakfast nook or kitchen island.

After appetizers, bring guests together in your formal dining area to enjoy a holiday dining experience that’s worth the wait. An elongated dining table with holiday tablescape decor that allows enough room to lay out each dish without causing clutter is ideal.

Avocado poached egg

Your holiday dinner is a time for you to show off your cooking and style. Start with a first course that whets appetites and sets the stage for an amazing meal that’s sure to rank at the top for beauty and flavor.

  • Start by serving a delicious holiday soup recipe topped with a colorful garnish and warm your guests after their holiday travels.
  • Then wow them with this classic Thanksgiving turkey recipe with a twist, garnished with fresh greens, pomegranate slices or cranberries, and other flavorful fruits for a bold, decorative statement that’s as good as it looks.
  • Add dazzle to your dining room table with fresh maple dijon roasted carrots and your best mashed potato recipe!
  • Then roll out a basket of piping-hot pumpkin shaped dinner rolls for that little something extra your guests can’t help but notice.

Scrumptious roast turkey chicken

Now for the fun part, dessert!

Shift the party outdoors before the sun goes down to indulge in your most spectacular holiday dessert fireside. Plush furnishings and plenty of space will allow guests to relax and enjoy each other’s company while partaking what’s sure to become a holiday classic, like cranberry layer cake, chocolate pear spice cake, pecan pie or your perfect pumpkin pie.

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Food

Delicious Recipes for Fall

Keep warm as the weather turns cooler with easy fall recipes made with our favorite fall ingredients. This is one of the simpler ways to make your home smell heavenly for the holidays.

Squash Gratin
This is the fall season in a skillet right here: Two kinds of cool-weather squash (butternut and kabocha) get a cozy blanket of breadcrumbs, parsley and cheesy goodness. Get this fall recipe.

Autumn Chowder

When the weather gets chilly, there is nothing better than comfort foods like this hearty chowder. It’s easy to prepare, and the aroma of it will fill the air throughout your home and makes your mouth water.

Recipe via Taste of Home.

Applesauce Chutney

We’re getting close to applesauce season, and if you’re in the mood for a little upgrade, then consider this exotic, but very easy, spiced apple chutney. This awesome sauce is super comforting and great for the holidays. Get this fall recipe at Rachel Ray Magazine.

Pear-Pecan Upside-Down Cake

Bosc pears step in for the usual pineapple or apple in this upside-down cake, which is made entirely in a slow cooker. Add the fruit, pour in the batter and then let the kitchen appliance handle the rest.

This delicious fall recipe is from the Food Network.

 

At Home Community Darling Difference Design Food Home Decor Lifestyle Tips

Host a Labor Day Soiree

This Labor Day, throw a backyard bash filled with food and fun for all – because a day off is always a reason to celebrate! Here are some tips:

Select Your Venue: Host your get together at home or change up the scenery and pick another place to party. Many of Houston’s top communities including Bridgeland, Cross Creek Ranch, Cypress Creek Lakes and more feature beautiful outdoor spaces, clubhouses and pools where you can host your soirée.

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Gather Your Guests: Labor Day is a busy weekend for everyone, so give your guests plenty of notice prior to the party. If you’re keeping it small with just a few close friends, give everyone a call to let them know your plans. For a bigger bash, go big and mail invitations.

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Choose Your Menu: The Food Network has plenty of mouth-watering recipes to include in your Labor Day spread. From personal grilled pizzas and American-style potato salad to flank steak with balsamic barbecue sauce and Dijon chicken wings, your guests will leave craving more!

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Determine Your Décor: Decide if you want to give your party a theme or keep it a casual get together. You can go all out with a patriotic theme or take Martha Stewart’s advice on decorating for a Labor Day bash and incorporate seersucker napkins and dip-dyed bamboo place mats.

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Food Lifestyle Tips

When Life Gives You Lemons

Nothing quenches a Texas thirst quite like an ice-cold glass of lemonade. Here are some refreshing lemonade recipes to help cool you off.

Classic Lemonade Nothing complements a summer day quite like an ice-cold glass of lemonade. Consider stirring in some fresh mint for an energizing twist.

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Raspberry Lemonade This low-calorie raspberry lemonade will quench your thirst without jeopardizing the summer figure you worked so hard for.

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Blueberry Lemonade This take on traditional lemonade is just the right blend of sweet and tangy. You’re just six ingredients and 5 minutes away from a delicious refreshment.

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At Home Community Darling Difference Design Food Lifestyle Travel

Brunch at Terrine

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At Home Food

Delicious Treats for Your 4th of July Celebration

For many of us, the Fourth of July means spending time with family, enjoying fireworks and eating plenty of food. Below are some simple, yet delicious recipes that are sure to satisfy at your Fourth of July bash.

dessert

Don’t have much time to whip up a dish for family and friends? These fruit dishes are hassle-free, festive and
easy to eat on the go at a backyard barbeque.

 cake

Imagine how surprised and delighted everyone will be when you cut into this pretty, patriotic cake. Baking and assembling a sweet masterpiece like this takes time, but the result is worth it!

popsicle

Flaunt the USA’s colors while indulging in these red, white and blueberry popsicles. They’re all-natural, healthy and will help keep you cool on a warm Fourth of July day.

 

Food

Halloween Treats Recipes

Halloween Treat Recipies

Spooky! Hauntingly Delish Halloween Treats

Face it, you need a break. Buying a new home can be exciting, but it’s Halloween, a great time for some monstrously fun moments with family and friends. So, for a now, put away your contemplation of new home construction or how to finance a home and make some enchanting, unforgettable edibles for the celebrations.

Need inspiration? Check out these recipes for frighteningly delicious Halloween treats.

 

Ghostly Sugar Cookies

 You’ll need a ghost-shaped cookie cutter for this recipe, but they’re not hard to find this time of year. Ghost Cookies are topped with a yummy cream cheese frosting and a couple of raisins or chocolate chips for the eyes. Have on hand flour, baking soda, softened butter, powdered sugar, an egg, vanilla, almond extract, and cream cheese. For step-by-step direction, see the full recipe.

 

Squished PEEPS® Cookie Sandwiches

Now, here’s a way to take full advantage of all that Halloween candy you probably have on hand. Colorful and gooey, these sweet treats call for Pumpkin Peeps; you can use any kind of Peeps for other times of the year. This recipe uses a modified soft bake chocolate chip cookie recipe with marshmallow Peeps, peanut butter, chocolate M&Ms and sprinkles.

 

Witchy Finger Cookies

These sugar-cookie fingers look so real, there’s definitely an ewwww-factor here. So, of course, they’re perfect for a Halloween party platter. Just roll out some sugar-cookie dough into thin finger-shaped lines (they’ll enlarge some when baked), place one almond shard on each for the finger nails, score the dough to make the knuckles, and bake. To see the full recipe and a photo of what these look like complete, go here and scroll down the page.

 

No Bake Oreo® Cookie Bat Pops

Your kids will have a great time helping with these easy pops. The yellow-chocolate dipped Oreos on a stick are super easy to make and are ideal for party favors. You’ll use lollipop sticks, Oreos, melted white chocolate, melted yellow chocolate, and for the bats soft black licorice and small red candies for the eyes.

 

Mummy-On-A-Stick

Mummy pops are easy to make, tasty and so cute they’re sure to elicit plenty of awww’s. This simple recipe transforms double-stuffed Oreo® Cookies, melted white candy, candy eyeballs and cookie pop sticks into yummy mummies. Spooky-good!

 

Spidery Peanut Butter Cookies

Easy to make, goofy to look at, yummy to eat. Just bake some peanut butter cookies and top with chewy milk chocolate caramels for the little spider bodies, red or black licorice strings for the legs, and mini candy-coated chocolate baking bits and black decorating gel for the eyes.

 

Crispy Candy Corn Puffed Rice Treats

Gather unsalted butter, miniature marshmallows, salt, puffed rice cereal, grated orange zest, grated lemon zest, and yellow and red food coloring. All of this makes for the colorful and flavorful puffed rice candy corn treats. Follow the recipe and you’ll have what could turn out to be everyone’s favorite Halloween goody.

Handmade delights are fun to create and are guaranteed to turn Halloween tricks into eerily tasty treats. Enjoy!