outdoors

 

Have you heard the news? Shea Homes® has finalized the purchase of approximately 45 acres of land located just south of the southeast corner of Val Vista and Riggs Road in Gilbert. We’re bursting with excitement about our plans to build 90 luxury, single-family homes on the property, so it feels great to share the news with the world.

Land development for this beautiful new Shea Homes community is scheduled to begin this month, with current plans to open for first sales sometime in 2017.

And the location for this community couldn’t be better. If you’re not familiar with Gilbert, it’s located Southeast of Phoenix, and is truly an ideal place to live. See for yourself at http://discovergilbert.com/.

Discover GilbertPhoto Credit: DiscoverGilbert.com [read more…]

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Tips & Sips: 3 Must-Have Summer Parties

by Shea Homes on July 1, 2015

Host the 3 summer parties to make this season a hit in your neighborhood.From the Fourth of July, to Labor Day, to everything in-between, summer is meant to be spent in the open-air, enjoying blissfully unstructured, sunny days with loved ones. The epitome of the season? All of the backyard soirees – filled with dips, sips, friends and family – you can host to show off your envy-worthy outdoor space. Since we’re already in the summer-spirit, we wanted to pose a fun summer challenge to each of you: see if you can make time to connect with friends, family and neighbors over the next few months by hosting the 3 must-throw summer parties listed below.

1. Gather a Close-Knit Group

Busy schedules always seem to make getting together with close friends a little tough. But, with summer work schedules and people wanting to stay out later in the evenings to enjoy the warm evenings, it’s the perfect time to extend the invite to friends who you want to catch up with.

Since the get together will likely be on the smaller side, and be pretty casual – it is your closest friends, after all, they’ve probably seen you in your PJs before – opt for serving something a little special. Mules are all the rage right now, and it’s not just because everyone looks good sipping out of copper mugs (think of the backyard selfies you can take!)—they’re also downright dee-lish. This peach mule recipe from A House in the Hills is ripe for summertime. Fresh, muddled peaches are added to a concoction of vodka, peach schnapps and Grand Marnier. Of course, ginger beer is what makes a mule and what’s great is it also cuts the sweetness, so even those who don’t like sugary drinks will enjoy it. Serve some crunchy veggies with dip and salty snacks for the perfect mix!

Don’t want to spend that much time with a muddler in hand? Pin the recipe below to keep handy – it’s not only super refreshing to enjoy, it’s super easy to make! But, note, this drink isn’t for the faint of heart, too much “Grinning” can be a bad thing. Enjoy in moderation!

This gin cocktail will surely have you grinning!(click to enlarge)

Most of the time, chatting and reconnecting will take up most of the party amongst close friends, but if you’d rather have some entertainment to focus on, center your get-together around the release of a new summer television show (Netflix, anyone?), or a blockbuster that was just released. No matter what you decide, make sure your guests have snacks and beverages readily available at the beginning of your gathering, so you don’t have to spend time running into the kitchen to replenish the crudité.

Outdoor entertaining space for summer parties2. Host a Block Party Bash

Find yourself waving at the neighbors each morning but not even knowing their name? Remedy the situation and host an impromptu block party. Many folks head out of town on the holiday weekends, so try planning your celebration on an “off-weekend.” Print up a few flyer-style invites and deliver them door-to-door to everyone on your block. While you may already know some of your neighbors, this is the perfect way to extend the invite to those you don’t. When party day rolls around, simplicity is key so that you can mingle with as many people as possible and appease to as many tastes as possible. One safe bet: beer and BBQ. To be someone unique, try adding some of Anheuser-Busch’s newest creation, Oculto, to your cooler. Tequila is increasing in popularity and beer—well, beer has always been popular. Put them together and you’ve got the perfect summer drink, and you don’t even need a mixologist! While the beer doesn’t actually have tequila in it, it’s made with blue agave, which is what is used to make tequila. The beverage is also blended with beer that was aged in wood from tequila barrels – quite a different brew! Round things out with some non-alcoholic beer, sodas and plenty of water.

Of course, chips, salsa and guac are the perfect easy snack serve, but also try throwing some marinated carne asada on the grill, it’s an easy cut of meat to grill quickly and in large quantities for groups. Set up a DIY taco bar so everyone can build their own tacos to their liking.


Since many visitors will be new to your home, open up the back doors to make them feel welcome. Another helpful tip is to make sure everyone knows which restroom is designated for guest use – put up a simple sign that helps point people in the right direction.

Outdoor-indoor-home make perfect venues for summer parties 3. Round up Your Family – Reunion Style

It’s typical for families to spend time together during fall and winter holidays, but try instituting a summer reunion so everyone can keep in touch year-round. Since it’s likely you’ll have attendees of all age groups, prep your backyard with activities for everyone. Cornhole is a fun game all ages can take part in, but some people may rather just sit back on your patio furniture with their feet up. We love the idea of turning on a backyard fire pit as the sun goes down. While some may appreciate the added warmth as summer breezes sweep in, the kids will be itching to roast some marshmallows.

Comfortable indoor-outdoor seating areaIn terms of food, why not make it a potluck? Everyone loves sharing their holiday dishes at Thanksgiving, so give them the chance to show off their summer cooking as well. Serve a refreshing summer sangria that pairs well with just about any dish. Plus, you can make an alcohol-free version for the kids – serve it in a fancy glass with a straw and they’ll keep themselves entertained sipping on their “fancy” drink.

Refreshingly easy white wine summer sangria recipe(click to enlarge)

Will you accept the challenge to host these parties at your Shea home? We’d love to hear about them, and see any photos. Leave us a comment below, or share your photos with us on our Facebook or Twitter.

Have a great summer!

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Become a Backyard BBQ Master in 5 Easy Steps

by Shea Homes on May 20, 2015

Grilling tips for the backyard BBQ Master

Memorial Day weekend typically marks the unofficial, “official” start of barbecue season. Since you’re probably raring to spend as much time outdoors in the summer sun – which includes your meals, it’s time to study up on how to become the master of your backyard BBQ! If you’re ready to brush up on your grilling skills, keep reading for five easy steps. Or, if you’d rather delegate the responsibility to someone else in the household, just use that orange “Share” button for a not-so-subtle hint (it’s fun, we promise).

Tips for your summer bbq menu

1. Know the Grill Essentials

From the proper way to clean a BBQ grill, to knowing when a steak is medium rare vs. medium well and ensuring your pork loin has reached the proper internal temperature, knowing the basics of barbecuing will make your backyard gatherings run that much smoother, plus, you’ll look, and feel, like a total pro.

Ready to study up? Peruse some of these grilling articles:


 

2. Realize it’s NOT All About the Meat

While steaks, burgers and hot dogs typically come to mind for summer grilling, don’t limit yourself to protein– hit your fridge’s vegetable crisper for new barbecuing options. Adding additional items to the grill lessens the amount of time spent over a hot stove or heating up your home by turning on the oven. Some tasty ideas:

Squashes – brush zucchini and summer squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper before adding to the grill Peppers – jalapeños, red bell peppers and Anaheim chilies added right to the grill make zesty additions to salads and salsas Pineapple – delicious on kabobs or as an appetizer Avocado – great for a taco topper Potatoes – all types of potatoes can be added to the grill (including sweet potatoes), wrap them in foil and place directly on the coals or grate Peaches – the natural sugars caramelize and these fruits become the perfect topping for vanilla ice cream

 If you have a hard time sticking to veggies while grilling, try putting on some prosciutto wrapped asparagus or bacon and Brussel sprout skewers.

 

3. Develop a Signature BBQ Recipe

We all remember “Dad’s Steak,” “Mom’s Hamburgers,” and “Uncle Ron’s Roasted Chicken.” So, once you’ve played around with a few different grilling items it’s time to create and claim your signature recipe and legacy! Whether you develop your own secret barbecue sauce recipe, become queen of the kabobs or discover a tender skirt steak formula, this recipe should become your go-to, what people expect (and want) you to make when they come for a visit and so easy to make for you that you don’t need to consult a recipe. In the meantime, print out the recipe card below to keep track of any recipe modifications you make. And, once your dish is perfected, you can share the recipe with family and friends (unless you’d prefer to keep it a secret).

Printable bbq  Recipe Card

4. Get the Right Gear

While all you really need for a tasty BBQ’d meal is charcoal/propane, food and some tongs, it’s always fun to add some of the newest gadgets to your apron. After all, what is an artist without his or her tools?

When it comes to your grill’s set up, an outdoor bar or fridge stocked with refreshments nixes the need to run inside for beverages (plus, no dirty shoes tracking dust back inside!). Bar sinks also allow for easy food prep so you’re not stuck inside while your guests enjoy your outdoor space.

 

Outdoor BBQ area in custom homes

In terms of grilling accessories, the LA Times recommended a few must-haves, including some of our favorites:

  • Heat-resistant gloves, say “good-bye” to scorch-marked fingers
  • A grill basket for all those veggies you’ll now be adding to the grill
  • A reliable, digital meat thermometer so you can easily determine what the internal temperature of your food is

5. Plan Around Your Activities

The activities you have planned for the day should influence your BBQ menu. If a backyard baseball game is on the docket, simple fare like hotdogs or kielbasa may be ideal. Catching up with the families in your neighborhood at the table allows for slightly more elaborate, yet kid friendly, meals. Consider grilled chicken with a side of veggies and a chilled fruit salad for dessert.

 

Shea homes patio design, great for bbqs

If it is an adults-only invite, create an indoor-outdoor entertaining space guests can enjoy even as the evening cools. Set our sangria or margaritas with a few easy-to-eat apps in your inside dining area to keep bugs at bay while people mingle and create intimate conversation areas outdoors. Add to the ambiance by adding string lights and a few garden beds. Shea Outdoor Patio

Do you already have a backyard barbecue master in the house (maybe it’s you)? Share some of the recipes or tips you’ve seen in the comments below so others can try them, too.

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