Blog Posts by Sunset Magazine

  • 14 Easy & Delicious Slow-cooker Recipes

    Set your slow cooker in the morning and come home to inspired stews and more.


    Cider Pork RoastCider Pork Roast
    Cider Pork Roast with Apple-Thyme Gravy

    Delicious with cheesy mashed potatoes and a green salad, this dish is special enough for guests, but homey enough for Sunday dinners with the family.


    Yield
    : Serves 6 to 8
    Total: 7 Hours, 30 Minutes


    Ingredients

    1 boneless pork shoulder roast (about 3 1/2 lbs.), tied (ask a butcher to do this)
    1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 1/2 cups apple cider
    1/3 cup Calvados or other apple brandy
    1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme leaves, divided, plus sprigs for garnish
    1 teaspoon pepper
    4 Gala apples, peeled, cored, and sliced; divided
    3 tablespoons butter, divided
    1 tablespoon flour


    Preparation

    1. Sprinkle pork with 1/2 tsp. salt, then brown in oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, turning as needed, 10 minutes. Transfer pork and pan juices to a 5- to 6-qt.

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  • Top 10 Romantic Getaways

    Make this Valentine's Day weekend--or any weekend--special at one of these dreamy retreats.



    Big Sur, CABig Sur, CA
    Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, CA
    The most dramatically situated and architecturally ambitious of the Big Sur inns, Post Ranch Inn has rooms set along the bluffs and others tucked away in the forest. And what do we think of the clifftop rooms? Wow. As in: Wow, check out those end-of-the-earth ocean views and get a load of those James Bond-worthy bells and whistles. But also as in: Wow, $1,060 to $2,185 a night? Youch. Regular rooms start at $675--still a splurge, yes, but there's no dreamier perch. postranchinn.com.
    A bit steep? Try these more affordable romantic getaways.


    Methow Valley, WAMethow Valley, WA
    Rolling Huts, Methow Valley, WA

    Skip the snow cave, and check into a stylish winter perch. Tucked into the tranquil upper end of northern Washington's Methow Valley--where the loudest noise is the swish of cross-country skis--are the Rolling Huts, tricked out with platform beds, wood-burning fireplaces, and sleek

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  • 15 Great Recipes for Game Day

    No matter where team loyalties lie, football fans unite every season for food-filled game days. These recipes will keep everyone coming back for more.



    Grass-fed Burgers with Chipotle Barbecue SauceGrass-fed Burgers with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
    Grass-fed Burgers with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
    Top grass-fed burger with a sauce of smoked chiles, brown sugar, ketchup, molasses, orange juice concentrate, and garlic. The sauce is also excellent on grilled chicken and ribs.


    Yield: Serves 4
    Total: 35 Minutes


    Ingredients
    Sauce

    1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    1/2 cup ketchup
    2 tablespoons canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (about 3 chiles), plus 1 tbsp. sauce
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire
    2 tablespoons molasses
    2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
    1 teaspoon minced garlic


    Burgers

    1 1/4 pounds grass-fed ground beef
    2 teaspoons each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided
    1 red onion, sliced 1/4 to 1/2 in. thick crosswise
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
    4 slices Swiss cheese
    4 sesame hamburger buns
    4 slices

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  • Top 9 Hotels for Nature Lovers

    Stroll out your door and into paradise from these well-situated lodges.


    Bugaboo LodgeBugaboo Lodge
    Purcell Mountains, B.C.
    Bugaboo Lodge

    Say good morning to the glacier--from your warm, cushy bed. Next, tackle the blueberry-banana pancakes.

    Then hang on to your sunhat as you're whisked by helicopter high into the blue sky, up to the jagged peaks of the Purcells, and plopped in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

    It's called heli-hiking, and once you try it, you'll never hoof it uphill for a view again.


    Loews Ventana Canyon ResortLoews Ventana Canyon Resort
    Tucson, AZ
    Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

    Within minutes of leaving the resort's tony confines, you can hike into some genuine, 100 percent American wilderness.


    The monumental resort sits at the head of its namesake canyon in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, where saguaros crowd the slopes and huge boulders fill the canyon bottom.

    About 2½ miles of hiking offers a taste of the canyon's beauty, but if you're inspired, the trail climbs more than 3,000 feet into the heart of the

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  • 8 Cool DIY Terrariums

    In these mad-for-crafts times, terrariums are hotter--and easier--than ever. Create your own tabletop garden in 30 minutes or less.


    Brake fern and baby's tearsBrake fern and baby's tears
    Tabletop jungle

    Brake fern rambles above baby's tears in a Roost recycled-glass bubble terrarium from Velocity Art and Design ($121; velocityartanddesign.com).
    More DIY projects


    Conifer seedlingConifer seedling
    Tiny tree
    A narrow conifer seedling shows off its columnar shape in a tall jar (similar Burken jar $5; ikea.com).
    Gift plants--always in season


    A mini green jungleA mini green jungle
    Half-dome
    A mini green jungle of five-finger fern, lemon button fern, dwarf mondo grass, and Scotch moss thrives in a Terradome terrarium by Ric Lopez ($85; modernpast.com).
    Intro to ferns


    Assorted succulent cuttings Assorted succulent cuttings
    Dryscape

    Assorted small succulent cuttings cluster in the Vibe glass canister from the Container Store (42-ounce canister $8; containerstore.com).
    More on succulents


    A single button fernA single button fern
    Leafy greens

    A single button fern fills an Edda carafe with wooden-ball lid from Anthropologie ($38; anthropologie.com).


    A tiny patch of Irish mossA tiny patch of Irish moss
    Moss mound

    A tiny patch of Irish moss

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  • 9 Ways to Decorate with Patterns

    There's a secret to adding character to your home, no matter its age or style: pattern--lots of it. L.A. designer Amber Lewis regularly combines ethnic textiles--as many as a dozen at a time--for rooms that look effortlessly pulled together.


    If the tones match, it will look fineIf the tones match, it will look fine
    It's all about color
    When it comes to getting the right combo, "color plays more of a factor than the pattern itself," Lewis says. "You can mix pattern on pattern on pattern, and if the tones match, it will look fine." Lewis's method is easy to do at home: Put all the fabrics and pillows you're considering in a pile and take in the look as a whole. Pull out anything that appears off or doesn't have complementary tones.
    Decorating with color


    Build a quiet foundationBuild a quiet foundation
    Keep a neutral base
    White wainscoting. Walls the color of latte foam. A jute rug. The quiet foundation in the bedroom above creates breathing room for a multitude of prints. "A basic space lets you build on top of what's there and not feel like you have to work in pattern confinement," says

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  • 8 Best Thai Recipes

    Full of bright, bold flavors, these Thai dishes put takeout to shame.


    Ubiquitous street food in ThailandUbiquitous street food in Thailand
    Shrimp Pad Thai

    Quick and delicious, pad Thai is a ubiquitous street food in Thailand.


    Yield: Serves 8
    Total: 35 Minutes


    Ingredients

    12 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
    1/3 cup peanut or vegetable oil
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    8 ounces (30 to 35 per lb.) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
    5 green onions, cut into 2-in. pieces
    1 tablespoon dried shrimp*, minced
    2 cups bean sprouts, divided
    1/3 cup Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
    2 tablespoons ketchup
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 teaspoon red chile flakes
    2 large eggs, slightly beaten
    1/2 cup cilantro leaves
    1/3 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts (optional)
    6 to 8 lime wedges
    Sriracha* (Asian red chile sauce; optional)


    Preparation

    1. Soak vermicelli noodles in a bowl of very hot water until soft, about 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.

    2. Meanwhile, heat a large wok or frying pan over high

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  • 5 Iconic Palm Trees for Home Gardens

    They're graceful, they're amazing, they're iconic, defining Western skylines from San Francisco to San Diego; in Arizona and Hawaii. Here are five palms we admire.



    L.A.'s most visible symbolsL.A.'s most visible symbols
    Mexican Fan Palm (Washingtonia robusta)
    Bio: Planted to beautify L.A. streets for the 1932 Olympics, Mexican fan palms are the city's most visible symbols of the sun-and-surf good life. Phoenix has a passel of them too.

    Who loves 'em: Tourists and die-hard Angelenos, native and transplanted.

    Who doesn't: People who dismiss them as invaders that do nothing to cleanse or cool the air, or as costly nuisances (L.A. spent about $400,000 in one year cleaning up fallen fronds). Some city foresters prefer native shade trees such as oaks and sycamores.

    In their defense: "Studies show that Mexican fans are as effective as other trees at cleansing the air," says Donald R. Hodel, palm and tree expert and environmental horticulture adviser for the University of California Cooperative Extension. "But each tree has a smaller

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  • 12 Best Plants for Cool-season Color

    Brighten gray, drizzly days with the West's best cool-season flowers.


    Easy color from late fall through springEasy color from late fall through spring
    Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
    Annual
    Daisy-like calendula provides easy color from late fall through spring in mild-winter climates, and are long lasting in a vase.

    Choose classic orange and bright yellow, or opt for subtler shades of apricot, cream, and soft yellow. Branching plants are 1 to 2 feet high and 1 to 1½ feet wide and look great as masses of color or in a container.

    Calendula plants take full sun and moderate water. They will tolerate many soils as long as they have good drainage. Remove the spent flowers to prolong bloom.


    Shiny dark green leaves look great all yearShiny dark green leaves look great all year
    Candytuft (Iberis)
    Perennial
    Candytuft plants grow 8 to 12 inches high and wide; their narrow, shiny dark green leaves look great all year.

    Pure white flower clusters are carried on stems long enough to cut for bouquets. Choose 'Alexander's White' (pictured), 'Autumnale', or 'Autumn Snow; they bloom in spring and again in fall.

    Plants thrive in full sun or

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  • 15 Smart Ideas for a Green Remodel

    What we used to call "green" design is now just common sense. Take it from a contractor who called on his eco savvy to update his own home.


    By industry definition, Jeff King is a contractor specializing in sustainable building, but he'll be the first to warn you against the G-word. "Green has become so overused a lot of people don't take it seriously," says King, who became a certified green builder in 2004. So he reframed the conversation, telling his clients about the health benefits of cleaner air from zero-VOC paints, the dollars saved by radiant-heat flooring, and the durability of Caesarstone countertops--all choices that happen to be environmentally friendly.


    The new space feels biggerThe new space feels bigger
    Use space wisely

    Though it has a similar foot­print to the prior kitchen ("low 8-foot ceilings, red cabinets, dismal," King's wife, Margot Beall says), the new walk-through space feels bigger thanks to higher ceilings, glass-front cabinets, floating shelves, a pull-out pantry, and bright white surfaces. King added

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