Vero Beach Real Estate News

So, this week it's pure comfort food...
The photo doesn't look so hot but the recipe is on fire, promise!
This baked mac and cheese is a family favorite recipe, loved by both kids and adults. I like to use a combination of cheeses including pimento cheese, layered in the dish as well as melted into a rich and creamy cheese sauce, for the ultimate in cheesy deliciousness!
It’s nearly the universal comfort food, and there are SO many variations!
I am sure you have your favorite but give ours a try!

Open up a bottle of wine and get cooking! 
I would drink...

Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel

Rich, ripe, concentrated  berries and spice on the nose, dark, sweet fruit fills the palate with a hint of black pepper. It’s wonderful to smell the raspberry aromas, taste the blueberry and blackberry flavors and feel the creaminess of the texture coating the palate. Low in tannins but high in viscosity, it’s a pleasure to sip.



  • 1 lb. dried elbow or fancy pasta
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half
  • 4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese - divided (measured after grating)
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese- divided (measured after grating)
  • 1 Container of Pimento Cheese
  • 1/2 Tbsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and grease a 3 qt baking dish (9x13").  Set aside. I used my trusty cast iron skillet.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  When boiling, add dried pasta and cook 1 minute less than the package directs for al dente.  Drain and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil to keep from sticking.
  • While water is coming up to a boil, grate cheeses and toss together to mix, then divide into three piles.  Approximately 3 cups for the sauce, 1 1/2 cups for the inner layer, and 1 1/2 cups for the topping.
  • Melt butter in a large saucepan over MED heat.  Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine.  Mixture will look like very wet sand.  Cook for approximately 1 minute, whisking often.  Slowly pour in about 2 cups or so of the milk/half and half, while whisking constantly, until smooth.  Slowly pour in the remaining milk/half and half, while whisking constantly, until combined and smooth.
  • Continue to heat over MED heat, whisking very often, until thickened to a very thick consistency.  It should almost be the consistency of a semi thinned out condensed soup.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in spices and 1 1/2 cups of the cheeses and container of pimento cheese, stirring to melt and combine.  Stir in another 1 1/2 cups of cheese, and stir until completely melted and smooth.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine drained pasta with cheese sauce, stirring to combine fully.  Pour half of the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish or skillet.  Top with 1 1/2 cups of grated cheeses, then top that with the remaining pasta mixture.
  • Sprinkle the top with the last 1 1/2 cups of cheese and bake for 15 minutes, until cheesy is bubbly and lightly golden brown.  

You can use your favorite cheese but I find this combo to be the best!
I used smoked jalapeño pimento cheese and it has a bit of a smokey flavor and spice but it's not too spicy
It's best to shred your own cheese I know it’s a pain, and it’s SO tempting to use the pre-shredded cheese in the bags.  But those bags of cheese contain a starchy substance that keeps the cheese from clumping, which also prohibits it from melting as well as it should.
If you love bacon, feel free to add some crispy, crumbled bacon to the topping, or even inside the mac and cheese as well!
I think chopped scallions are great on top too.
I’m a huge fan of the cheese layer on top, since it gets nice and crispy, I love tossing 1 cup of panko with 2 Tbsp of melted butter and using that as a topping. Sometimes lobster ends up on top and if you like truffle cheese, a bit goes on long way and adds unami. Or just go simple an enjoy!

I served this with grilled Rib Eye steaks and a big green salad.  
Something about mac and cheese and steak, a perfect match!

We carry many cheeses at our shop and of course the wine.
I used our Jalapeño Pimento cheese, Cave aged Gruyere and Coastal Cheddar. I just love this all melds together. If you're going fancy we have the best truffle cheese.

Bon Appetit!

Varietals and More

Posted by Maria Caldarone on September 7th, 2020 11:23 AM
16 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Lender infographic
Posted in:General
Posted by Maria Caldarone on September 1st, 2020 9:21 AM
Fall Home Checklist


* Trim tree branches and vegetation near roof.

* Check roof, siding and foundation for damage.

* Check chimney for loose bricks and missing mortar.

* Clean gutters and downspouts. Make sure water doesn't pool around foundation.

* Seal gaps and holes that could provide access for animals.

* Replace loose or missing caulking around windows and doors.

* Fertilize and reseed lawn

* If area to subject to freezes, shut off exterior faucets and irrigation system, and store hoses.



* Check attic and crawl spaces for leaks or moisture after wet weather.

* Check caulking around showers, bathtubs, sinks and toilets.

* Check faucets and supply valves for leaks or corrosion.

* Inspect water heater for leaks.

* Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

* Have a professional inspect/clean chimney. Test fireplace flue for tight seal.

* Test circuit breakers and ground-fault interrupter/arc-fault interrupters.

* Consider hiring a professional to inspect and tune up your furnace/HVAC system

* Change furnace filter and remove any materials that block air return vent.

* Clean dryer vent.



Sources: Amerispec Inspection Services,

Posted in:General
Posted by Maria Caldarone on August 18th, 2020 8:26 AM
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Posted by Maria Caldarone on August 11th, 2020 8:16 AM
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Posted in:General
Posted by Maria Caldarone on August 4th, 2020 8:37 AM
Reduce Home Strain with These Quick Fixes

The additional time that Americans are spending in their houses can lead to excess strain on different rooms of your home. Review these tips to get to know the areas to keep a close eye on and how to relieve strain to avoid overuse.



-  Clean your dishwasher filter to increase the longevity of your appliance.

- Make sure your smoke detector works and the batteries are fresh during a time when you’re cooking more often at home.



- Check under the sink manually for leaks or add a smart sensor to monitor them in real time with alerts sent directly to your smart phone.



- Consider replacing your light bulbs with LEDs to use one-fifth the amount of energy as you were using before.



- Review each hose in your washer and dryer for its condition by looking at the rubber exterior for cracking or brittle bits.



- Fix any water drains that may have flooded during last year’s hurricane season to divert water away from your home.


Source: Hippo Insurance

Posted in:General
Posted by Maria Caldarone on July 28th, 2020 10:34 AM
10 Reasons to List with a Realtor

1. Price. Homeowners who sell their homes on their own, typically generate $46,000 less than Homeowners who work with a Realtor.*

2. Access to buyers. Through the Multiple Listing Service, professional contacts and their own database of prospects, Realtors can help you reach the widest range of customers.

3. Sales skills. Realtors can evaluate your home and suggest improvements to get you maximum value, and they’re skilled at handling showings to generate a positive response.

4. Marketing expertise. Realtors know the best ways to advertise to attract buyers, plus they can use the marketing muscle of their brokerage to promote your home.

5. Knowledge of neighborhoods. Realtors know local communities cold and can help you find a replacement home in the nicest neighborhood and with the best schools.

6. Experience handling paperwork. Buying or selling a home involves reams of paperwork that can be hard to understand. Realtors thrive in this world.

7. Negotiation skills. With years of bargaining experience and expert understanding of the market, Realtors can help you close the deal at the price and terms you want.

8. Knowledge of service providers. Realtors can refer you to their network of top-quality lenders, lawyers, inspectors and repair people to make sure you get the best result in every stage of your deal.

9. Time. Realtors have the time and expertise to handle open houses, showings, inspections and the dozens of other tasks that would take you away from your work and regular routine.

10. Advice after closing. An experienced Realtor will continue to support you as questions pop up after the deal is done. 


* The typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 for agent-assisted home sales. NAR 2014 Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers

Posted in:General
Posted by Maria Caldarone on July 21st, 2020 8:18 AM

Looking for the best return on investment on the home you’re buying? Consider these factors, which identified by analyzing millions of sales nationwide:


1. Small Size. Over the last five years, homes under 1,200 s.f.  favorites of retiring boomers and first-time buyers  have appreciated by an average of 7.5% per year, while homes 2,400 s.f. or larger have risen just 3.8% per year.

2. Fewer bedrooms. The more bedrooms a home had, the less it appreciated since 2012. Homes with one bedroom increased by 7.2% per year; those with 2 bedrooms 6.6%; 3 - 6.3%, 4 - 4.9% and homes with 5 bedrooms 4.3%

3. Open floor plan. Having an open floor plan led to an average 7.4% appreciation per year. Less desirable? Granite countertops (2.5% annual appreciation) and stainless steel appliances (3% annual appreciation).

4. The right amenities. Homes with patios increased in value by 6.8% annually, while those with hardwood floors grew 5.7% and those with fireplaces 5.3%

5. Homes with views. Homes overlooking a park increased 7.9% annually;  those with mountain views 5.1% and those with lake views 4.9%.

6. Modern/contemporary style. Newer trumps older in architectural style, with modern/contemporary homes rising in value by 7.7% per year, followed by bungalows (6.5%), traditional (5.6%), ranch (4.5%), Craftsman (3.7%) and Victorian (2.2%).

7. Two-car garages. Homes with space for two cars appreciated by 6.4% annually, vs. those with one-car garages (6%) and those with three-car garages (just 3.8%).

8. Location. Homes in urban areas near mass transportation grew 8.4% in value per year. Those near good schools increased by 7.2%, and those near shopping by 6.5%.



Posted in:General
Posted by Maria Caldarone on July 14th, 2020 9:32 AM


1. Install smoke/carbon monoxide alarms on every level. Test monthly and replace batteries each year.

2. Buy an A-B-C multipurpose fire extinguisher for the kitchen where half of all fires occur. Check pressure annually.

3. Plug major appliances into wall outlets, not extension cords, which can overheat. 

4. Create escape plans for all rooms and place escape ladders in upstairs bedrooms.



5. Change locks on exterior doors and confirm all doors and windows lock securely.

6. Add security bars to sliding glass doors.

7. Trim shrubs near home to reduce spots where burglars might hide. 

8. Install motion-detector lighting to illuminate dark areas.

9. Consider adding a home alarm system.



10. Place wireless water alarms under washing machine and sinks.

11. Install flood-safe hoses on washing machine.

12. When leaving on trips, turn off water at main value to prevent floods.

13. Confirm homeowners insurance covers water and mold damage due to leaks and sewer backups. Some policies don’t.



14. Trim trees and shrubs so weakened branches won’t fall on home or be propelled into windows by high winds.

15. Install downspout extensions to carry heavy rains away from foundation.

16. If you evacuate when a dangerous storm hits, turn off utilities to deter flooding and fires. (See for advice.)



17. Inspect inside and outside of home monthly for signs of damage.

18. Replace/replace broken items before small problems become serious ones.


Posted in:General
Posted by Maria Caldarone on July 7th, 2020 8:20 AM
9 Ways to Prepare for a Virtual Showing infographic
Posted in:General
Posted by Maria Caldarone on June 30th, 2020 9:26 AM


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Sites That Link to This Blog:

Sand and Land Team | Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Florida Realty

3377 Ocean Drive
Vero Beach, FL 32963