The s’more, the merrier

smores3Winter has arrived in Chicagoland and that means two things; sweater weather and outdoor fire feature weather! As it turns out, both have a lot in common when it comes to their cozy benefits.  Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are now considered the “must have” accompaniment to any outdoor living space combination. Chicagoland outdoor fire features make the perfect partner to a backyard patio or porch, and outdoor fireplaces are often used to add style and ambiance to a screened porch or 3-season room. You may be asking “what’s all the hub-bub about?” If you have ever had the chance to sit in front of an outdoor fireplace on a crisp winter evening with friends and family–you already know the coziness of its warmth, the crackle of the fire, and the intoxication of watching the flames dancing–destined to draw you into their magic as it does a moth to a flame.

As if all these reasons weren’t enough, an outdoor fire feature is the perfect spot to prepare and enjoy sweet treats. An open flame is truly the only way to toast marshmallows and indulge in the age-old favorite – s’mores! The practice of making s’mores originated from a 1927 recipe for “some mores” which was published in Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts after Loretta Scott Crew, who allegedly made them for Girl Scouts by the campfire, is given credit for the recipe. This warm, delicious treats always leave you wanting some more, hence the name. Today the recipe is called s’mores which is thought to be a contradiction to the recipe’s original name.

homemade marshmallow s'mores with chocolate on crackers
homemade marshmallow s’mores with chocolate on crackers

The name s’mores stuck as a campfire favorite. However, the concoction of marshmallow and chocolate melted between two graham crackers has come a long way since the Girl Scouts first enjoyed it. Decadent variations of the original include everything from integrating brownies to indulgent Tiramisu into the mix!

Add an outdoor fire pit to your yard and roast s’mores year round right at home. Visit our website to fill out a form for a free consultation. Or, give us a call at 847.496.4333 or email us at chicagoland@archadeck.net.

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Grilled Ribeye Steak with Gorgonzola Butter

Low carb and gluten free, these delicious steaks are sure to please the whole crowd!

Melissa Sevigney from I Breathe I’m Hungry has once again wowed our taste buds with her recipe for Grilled Ribeye Steak with Gorgonzola Butter. This simple recipe, a blend of butter, Gorgonzola cheese, parsley, and garlic, is bursting with flavor.  Low carb and gluten-free, these delicious steaks are sure to please the whole crowd!  But don’t take our word for it; light up the grill and try them for yourself.

See the full recipe…

Steak Recipe - Grilled Ribyes with Gorgonzola Butter

Archadeck of Chicagoland Earns Esteemed 2015 Angie’s List Super Service Award

“It is an honor to receive this award as it represents our true commitment to providing our clients with the best quality, care, and customer service in the industry,” said David Berryhill, president of Archadeck of Chicagoland.

The Angie’s List Super Service Award reflects Archadeck of Chicagoland’s consistently high level of customer service.

Archadeck of Chicagoland has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2015.

Archadeck of Chicagoland Angies List Super Service Award 2015

With showrooms in Rolling Meadows and Naperville, Archadeck of Chicagoland is a local Design & Build firm that sets itself apart from competitors by considering customer service a top priority. Continue reading “Archadeck of Chicagoland Earns Esteemed 2015 Angie’s List Super Service Award”

Chicago Area Outdoor Living Trends for 2016

Archadeck brings you 2016’s top 4 outdoor living trends for the Chicago area.

As Jack Frost starts painting Chicagoland with his frosty charm and outdoor building begins to slow, we at Archadeck take a moment to reflect on the great year we had, favorite projects we built, and the trends we see coming for 2016.

Chicagoland Outdoor Kitchens

Designed for climates that cycle through seasons, these outdoor kitchens are durable enough to withstand cold Chicago winters so you can enjoy your kitchen summer after summer.  Completely customizable, Archadeck’s Chicagoland outdoor kitchens are designed to only include amenities you want and plan to use.

Belgard patio with stone grill surround and outdoor bar by North Chicago suburb patio builder Archadeck of Chicagoland

Built-In Fire Pits

Easily incorporated into your outdoor space, a built-in fire pit comes with plenty of design options, including the choice of wood burning or a gas line and ceramic logs or fire beads. Continue reading “Chicago Area Outdoor Living Trends for 2016”

4 Reasons to Plan Your Outdoor Living Project in the Fall

Make your backyard alive with fun and laughter, plan your 2016 outdoor living project now!

Summer is winding down and the crisp fall weather is moving in, bringing with it the brightly colored leaves, bonfires and hoodies, and pumpkin spice everything. Though you may be packing up your outdoor furniture and cutting back your perennials, now is the perfect time to start thinking about next year’s projects. Plan your 2016 outdoor living project now and make your backyard alive with fun and laughter!

TimberTech composite deck with paver patio by Chicago Suburb deck builder Archadeck of Chicagoland

Continue reading “4 Reasons to Plan Your Outdoor Living Project in the Fall”

2014 in review, thank you to all of our friends for sharing outdoor living ideas with us.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

5 Thanksgiving Traditions to Start This Year

5 thanksgiving traditions to start this year Archadeck of Chicagoland

What better way to kick off the holiday season than with new family traditions?  Here are five ways to make sure your Thanksgiving is festive and full of bonding, laughter, and delicious goodness!

1.  Grill Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Free up your oven, get rid of the mess, and add a delicious smoky flavor to your turkey this year.  Grilling your turkey is a sure fire way to prepare a tender and juicy Thanksgiving entrée!  See recipe…

Grilled Turkey - Thanksgiving Tradition

2.  Decorate the Christmas Tree

Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season.  What better time to start decorating than when you’re surrounded by friends and family?  Break out the carols, the ornaments handed down through the family, the delicious food, and start a tradition this year that will create years of laughter and memories.

5 Thanksgiving Traditions to Start This Year - Family Decorating Christmas Tree

3.  Create a Memory Video

Looking for a creative new way to share favorite memories and thankful moments from the past year? Grab the camera and make a video, going around the table so every person is included.  Don’t forget to include your aspirations for the upcoming year!  Keep the video to play next year before making a new one.  This is a great way to keep and share loving memories with your family.

 Thanksgiving Memory Video

4.  Leave the Phones at the Door

In this fast paced world, we sometimes forget to slow down and enjoy the time spent with our families.  Try going on a Tech Fast this Thanksgiving, and take the time to bond and connect with your friends and family.   Have a basket handy for the phones and ask your guests to join in.  It’s surprising how much time you’ll have when you’re not interrupted with the digital world.  Read more…

 5 Thanksgiving Traditions to Start This Year - Cell Phone Basket

5.  Volunteer for a Local Charity

Give back to your community and help those in need this holiday season.

  • Food Drive – Bring your neighborhood or community together by organizing a food drive to help support your local food pantry or shelter.
  • Donate toys – Bring a smile and a little comfort to a sick child while they are recovering in the hospital.
  • Visit an assisted living home – Make someone’s day by visiting those who are missing their loved ones during the holiday season.

For more ideas on how or where to volunteer, visit HandsOn Suburban Chicago to locate an charity near you.

Food Drive - Thanksgiving Tradition

tychay via photopin cc
: Another Pint Please… via photopin cc

Planning Your Project: 5 Reasons Fall and Winter is the Best Time of the Year

Fall is here, with its brightly colored leaves, crisp air, and cooler temperatures.  Many are thinking about packing up and preparing their decks and patios for the cold winter months.  At Archadeck, we are not only still building, but we are already planning for next spring.  If you’re thinking it’s time add a new screen porch or patio, or update your weathered deck, now is the time to start planning.

Deck Patio Pergola

  1. Choosing to build during the fall and winter months means you’ll have less of a wait time than during the spring and summer months.
  2. Less imposition on your daily life. Families tend to spend more time indoors during the winter months.  This makes it the perfect time to let the carpenters into the backyard to do their digging and building without being in your way.Screen Porch with Fireplace
  3. Extend the time you can spend outside. Not ready to bundle up inside yet? According to the latest trends, many homeowners agree.  We are seeing an increasing number of requests for outdoor fireplaces and fire pits.  The warmth of a fire allows you to spend more time outside when the weather grows cooler.
  4. A winter build just isn’t for you? That’s ok!  Now is the perfect time to find a contractor and lock in this year’s pricing.  This will help you to avoid the price increases often seen in early spring.
  5. Planning your spring build now ensures your project is at the top of the list. As soon as the ground thaws, you’re project will be ready to go.  Instead of spending your spring and summer vetting contractors and waiting on the completion of your project, your deck or patio will already be in place and ready to use.

Best Fall Recipes

Celebrate the changing of the seasons with the scrumptious desserts and treats, savory dishes, and sweet refreshments!

Best Fall Recipes - Archadeck of Chiacgoland


SCRUMPTIOUS DESSERTS & TREATS

  Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

These soft and fluffy pumpkin cookies won’t last long, a double batch might be in order!

Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Apple Cider Bread

Treat your taste buds to the warm, sweet Autumn flavors.

Apple Cider Bread Recipe

Apple Pie Fudge

Decadent fudge + Sweet apple pie = Flavorful explosions!

Apple Pie Fudge Recipe

Healthy Orange Jack-O-Lantern Cups

Delicious and healthy Halloween treat the kids are sure to love!

orange-jack-o-lantern-fruit-bowls

Pumpkin Gingerbread with Spiced Buttercream

Spiced buttercream tops off this sweet and savory blend of pumpkin and ginger.

Pumpkin Gingerbread with Spiced Buttercream Recipe

Spooky Boo Brownies

These adorable little ghosts are too sweet to be scary!

Spooky Boo Brownies Recipe


SAVORY DISHES

 Butternut Squash Risotto

Switch up the flavor of your risotto by adding tasty seasonal flavors!

Butternut-Squash-Risotto

Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops

Fire up the grill for these juicy and delicious pork chops!

Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops

Roasted Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar

A Fall favorite recipe – savory and sweet

roasted-acorn-squash-brown-sugar

Easy Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes

Healthy and delicious, this recipe will quickly become a family favorite!

Easy Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes


SWEET REFRESHMENTS

Apple Cider Sangria

Crisp and delicious, this drink is the perfect refreshment for a beautiful Fall evening.

Apple cider sangira

Pumpkin Spice Latte

These warm and tasty drinks usher in the new season.  Skip the line at the coffee shop and make your own!

Pumpkin-Spice-Latte-at-Home

Hocus Pocus Fizz

Bubbly fizz, colored sugar, floating cranberries….what more could you want in a tasty Halloween beverage?

Hocus Pocus Fizz Drink Recipe

Grilled Salmon

Looking for easy and delicious?  This flavorful marinade, with hints of lemon and garlic, preps and cooks in a pinch.  Serve up scrumptious, smoky salmon for dinner tonight!

Grilled Salmon Recipe

Grilled Salmon
Yield: 6 servings    Prep Time: 15 min    Cook Time: 16 min    Marinade Time:  2 hours 
Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets

lemon pepper to taste

garlic powder to taste

salt to taste

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Directions

1.  Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt.

2.  In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

3.  Preheat grill for medium heat.

4.  Lightly oil grill grate. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Recipe & Photo courtesy of Allrecipes.com