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Featured Recipe of the Week: Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls

The weekend is upon us and it sounds as though Saturday morning may be a dreary one. This recipe for Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls is the perfect way to get your family out of bed. This Group Recipes recipe will have your home filled with the scent of a delicious start to the weekend. Substitute cereal or toast for something that may take a little extra... Read More

The weekend is upon us and it sounds as though Saturday morning may be a dreary one. This recipe for Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls is the perfect way to get your family out of bed. This Group Recipes recipe will have your home filled with the scent of a delicious start to the weekend. Substitute cereal or toast for something that may take a little extra time, but also allows you to put in a little bit more love! Doesn’t the idea of a homemade, warm cinnamon roll, drizzled in cream cheese icing make you smile?

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1/4 c. Warm water (105-115
    degrees)
  • 2 1/4 c. flour; divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 T. butter softened
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar; firmly packed
  • 1 T. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

Frosting:

  • 6 oz. cream cheese; room
    temperature
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine 1/4 c. milk, sugar, salt, and 3 Tablespoons butter in a saucepan; heat until butter melts. Cool to 105 degrees to 115 degrees. Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in milk mixture, 1 1/2 cups flour, and egg; beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in remaining 3/4 cup flour. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic (this should take about 8 minutes) OR use a dough hook with your mixer and mix on medium speed for 5 minutes. Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees about), free from drafts (use Saran wrap over bowl), 1 hour (dough will not quite double in bulk).

Punch dough down; turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 12 x 8 – inch rectangle; spread with 2 Tablespoons of butter. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle mixture over rectangle. Sprinkle with blueberries. Roll dough jellyroll style, starting at long side. Pinch seam to seal (do not seal ends). Cut roll into 1-inch slices; place slices, cut side down, in greased 7 x 11 or 8-inch square pan. The size of pan you choose is up to whether you want really tall rolls or medium sized rolls. They will bake the same length of time. Brush tops with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from draft (again use Saran wrap over dish), about 40 minutes (rolls will not double in bulk). Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

For Frosting: Beat all ingredients together with a mixer until combined. Top warm rolls generously with icing after they have cooled slightly.

For more recipes, visit our blogs!

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Promoted Tweets vs. Promoted Accounts

A little birdie told me that you wanted to know about Twitter Ads and how you could use them for your small business. Did you know that, according to the digital intelligence firm Compete, Twitter followers are more than 60% more likely to visit your site and more than 50% more likely to make a purchase or recommend your company? I think... Read More

Advice for New Home Builders Part Two

Have you been on the edge of your seat waiting for the rest of the tips for building your new home? Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about you! Now, here is the rest of our list of Tips for Building a New Home: 6.  Before you agree to any plans a builder has showed you of previous floor plans or homes he has... Read More

NJ home insuranceHave you been on the edge of your seat waiting for the rest of the tips for building your new home? Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about you! Now,
here is the rest of our list of Tips for Building a New Home:

6.  Before you agree to any plans a builder has showed you of previous floor plans or homes he has done, make sure the plans have been modified to reflect your home as it will be built. As changes come up during the process, make sure to make those changes to your floor plan and get rid of the old ones. It’s also a good idea to have it in your contract all new plans and changes be initialed by you!

7. Have you been wondering how you will make sure you builder knows all of the small details to your plan? We recommend describing the complete home in writing and the builder should offer specifications
detailing as well. Include in these specifications not only what will be included, but also things that will not be included (that are noteworthy to your plan). Make these plans as clear as possible and have everyone involved in those specifics initial the plans. Wouldn’t you rather know before building that something may not be possible?

8. Communication is key and you will find this throughout the process! Always make sure you are being made aware of any changes and the cost of those changes to eliminate any surprises later on. Once again, put these changes in writing so there are no misunderstandings later.

9. If you have now made it through the stress of the above steps, congratulations! Your plans are complete! Now what? You should receive a firm price for your home from your builder completing the home as specified.
Some costs that you should make sure not to see listed as “allowance items” are fill cost, foundation height, governmental fees,  and utility connections.These costs can be HUGE and any builder should be able to estimate them.

10. Before any of this begins we suggest you have your builder visit the site before you purchase the lot. It’s important to make sure it’s good quality, starting with having a soil test done to make sure it’s build-able because correcting soil can cost around $50,000.  A soil test on your land before you purchase it and begin to build your home is similar to your home insurance. While, it can’t protect you against everything, paying that smaller amount for the test helps cover you for a never ending list of costs that could come up if something went wrong.

We should also remind you to contact your agent about your New Jersey home insurance before you build. You may be thinking you won’t need homeowners insurance until your home is built, but it’s also important to protect your home throughout the building process! When should you get insurance? Call today and our agents can answer your questions.

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Advice for New Home Builders Part One

Do you dream of building your own home some day or maybe that day has come and now you’re wondering where to start? There’s many different ways of approaching building your dream home and there will be more decisions than you can imagine before the building even begins! While we all want the two-story closet and custom built-in everything (thanks Pinterest), where do... Read More

New Jersey Homeowners Insurance Do you dream of building your own home some day or maybe that day has come and now you’re wondering where to start? There’s many different ways of approaching building your dream home and there will be more decisions than you can imagine before the building even begins! While we all
want the two-story closet and custom built-in everything (thanks Pinterest), where do you begin? Check out these 10 Tips When Building a New Home from Ask Rick. These tips will help you know what to expect and also what to address before the building begins. 

  1. The first step is choosing the right lot for your home. When choosing make sure you figure out what your  “building envelope” is. This is the maximum measurement of the exterior of the home you will be building. It’s important to know this before purchasing a lot not just so you make sure you have enough room, but also so you have enough room to build within local code restrictions.
  2. What do you want in your new home? Divide those things into three categories (1) must have, (2) would like to have, and (3) you can do without.  It’s important to have a balance among the three so that if changes in the budget arise you know what your priorities are.
  3. A lot of new home builders ask where the best place to find inspiration is. A good idea is to visit models and look through plan books or visit builder’s websites.   Not everyone can afford to consult with an interior designer, but you can probably find some of their great tips online. It’s a good idea to also reach out to others you know that have built a home before.
  4. Found a plan where you like a lot of it, but also don’t like a lot of things about it? Copy the plans and make notes on what you do and don’t like. Chances are your builder can create a plan combining 2 plans.
  5. Want to take it one step further? If your builder has a designer, meet with them with some sample plans of what you like and your list from number two. The builder can then combine various elements of those things you need and the layouts that appeal to you. 

Want to read the rest of the 10 Tips for New Home Builders? Check back in with us tomorrow and while you’re planning on building that dream home, call one of our agents about a New Jersey home insurance plan right for your needs!

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3 Tricks for Time Management in Internet Marketing

“Make use of time, let not advantage slip.”  William Shakespeare  When it comes to Social Media and Internet Marketing, time management is a key component for success. When compared to big brands with big marketing budgets, the small business can sometimes be at a disadvantage when it comes to managing their social media and Internet brand presence. Due to limited... Read More

“Fair” Weather in Massachusetts

This fall is already treating us pretty well when it comes to weather, making it the perfect year for outdoor fairs! While a couple of Massachusetts’ most famous ones are the Big E and the Topsfield Fair, they sure aren’t the only ones. Look no further than Discover New England, for your list of all the fun fair happenings throughout... Read More

buy car insurance online MAThis fall is already treating us pretty well when it comes to weather, making it the perfect year for outdoor fairs! While a couple of Massachusetts’ most famous ones are the Big E and the Topsfield Fair, they sure aren’t the only ones. Look no further than Discover New England, for your list of all the fun fair happenings throughout the year! Which of these fairs have you been too and which ones might you be scheduling in for this weekend now?  

The Big “E” in West Springfield, MA

Did you know this is the largest fair in the Northeast? A Massachusetts and Connecticut favorite, this fair has all of your fair favorites, with an extra dose of New England! Visit the Big E Super Circus, rides, crafts, and of course try the foods. Celebrate New England with a stroll down the Avenue of States where you can see replica’s of each New England state’s original statehouse and the best of crafts and foods from each.

Fall Nantucket Restaurant Week

When you think Nantucket you probably think of the summer time, but visiting a bit out of season could really work to your advantage. Restaurant Week in Nantucket offers you the chance to enjoy special pricing and unique menus at many of the island’s great restaurants. Running from September 24-30th, the week ends with a Junior Chef competition on the 30th. This is where three teams from Nantucket High School Culinary Arts Program compete with the help of a secret local ingredient and a chef from a local restaurant. Doesn’t that tempt you to try Nantucket in the fall?

16th Annual Stowe Oktoberfest in Stowe, VT

Don’t worry the freshly brewed Vermont beer may be for the adults, but the authentic German foods and fun actives, including a parade are great for the kids too! September 28th kicks off the free event with live music and a dancing kick-off party.

Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival in Boston, MA

Don’t be fooled by the name, Berklee’s Jazz Festival brings all types of music to your ears, including Latin and blues. The festival takes place on three stages throughout Boston’s South End and also offers great food throughout its 6 blocks of fun!

Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom: East Burke Fall Foliage Festival in Burke, VT

Celebrate the sights of fall September 29th at this Burke Vermont festival. After you catch the parade at 10:00am feel free to explore for local crafts, live music, a petting zoo, and a beer & wine tent! This festival offers a great opportunity for the whole family to take kick off fall together.

15th Annual Country Fair at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, MA

This fair will make you feel like you’ve gone back in time, in the best way possible! Get back to the basics with the Farmer’s Tent that is home to vegetables, flowers, maple sugar treats, and handmade cheeses. Aside from the food, there are also artisans throughout the fair selling handmade furniture, beautiful paintings, and handmade textiles. Worried the kids will get bored? Don’t be! There’s a tent just for them with old fashioned games and pony rides!

There’s no doubt that there’s lots of fun to be had outdoors throughout New England this fall. It’s always good to get the kids out of the house and show them the world beyond the computer! Before you shut down the laptop though you may want to get the MA car insurance policy you need. As much as we like to limit the family time on the computer, we have to admit it can make our daily tasks a bit easier. One of those things that you can now do
online is find, quote, & buy your auto insurance! Who knew the right Massachusetts auto policy is just a click away. Now you’re ready to shut down the computer, hit the road safely, and take in that fall air with your family!

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Featured Partner of the Week: Watertown Cleaning Service

As we head into a new season, could your home use a fresh cleaning? Why don’t you take the day off and get a little help from Watertown Cleaning Service, located on 1 Mattoon Rd in Waterbury, CT? Whether you can’t find the time with everything else going on or you would just like to have a professional come in, call... Read More

As we head into a new season, could your home use a fresh cleaning? Why don’t you take the day off and get a little help from Watertown Cleaning Service, located on 1 Mattoon Rd in Waterbury, CT? Whether you can’t find the time with everything else going on or you would just like to have a professional come in, call them today!

Watertown Cleaning Service can help you whip your home or office into tip top shape! With certifications in commercial carpet cleaning, color repair, floor care technician, water damage technician, odor control technician, and many more, they are sure to be qualified for your job. Along with the wide variety of certifications they have, technicians they have on staff, they are also a fourth generation company with over 60 years of experience. Now how’s that for someone you can trust to clean your home or office?

Have you gone green with your cleaning? So hasn’t Watertown Cleaning Service, using EnvirOx, a green seal certified and environmentally preferred cleaning product. Their products are great for the environment and great for your allergies. Call today at 203-596-0301and ask about their anti-allergen cleaning techniques that can help remove allergy irritants that may be hiding in your carpet or mattress! If you’re looking for more information on their services, certifications, or  want to see photos visit their website today.

Start this season with a home or office that’s so clean it feels like new and you won’t even have to lift a finger! Check out our blog for more featured partners!

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Foursquare for Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Foursquare is a great venue for free marketing. It allows your clients and customers to check-in at your location for their friends to see(similar to “checking-in” on Facebook, as well). Through Foursquare, you can claim your business location, offer a special to those who check-in at your business, and then sit back and let word-of-mouth take its course! Four updates... Read More

Featured Recipe of the Week: Pumpkin Fluff Dip

For many people, the best parts about fall are all of the fall flavors! Think the yummy taste of pumpkin with just the right amount of sweetness and what do you have? This Pumpkin Fluff Dip from AllRecipes is a fun and unexpected dip for those fall gatherings. You can even add spices to your liking for this relatively simple, and low fat dish! This... Read More

Easy Fall Recipes For many people, the best parts about fall are all of the fall flavors! Think the yummy taste of pumpkin with just the right amount of sweetness and what do you have? This Pumpkin Fluff
Dip from AllRecipes is a fun and unexpected dip for those fall gatherings. You can even add spices to your liking for this relatively simple, and low fat dish! This is a great addition to a fall dinner party, Halloween party, or even something unique to bring to those football parties. Want to step up your fall spirit even more? Carve and clean out a small pumpkin and serve your dip
inside!  

Ingredients

1 (16 ounce) container frozen
whipped topping, thawed

1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding
mix

1 (15 ounce) can solid pack
pumpkin

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Graham crackers for dipping

Directions

In a large bowl, mix together instant vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in the thawed frozen whipped topping. Chill in the refrigerator until serving.

For more recipes, visit out blogs!

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Hashtags & Your Small Business on Twitter

So, you’ve mastered Facebook for your small business and you are ready to see what you can do with Twitter. Allow us to help you! If you already have your Twitter account for your business set up and have already started to build up your network of followers, you are ready tackle hashtags. Are you wondering what a hashtag is?... Read More