Fabulous Honey Garlic Chicken

My favorite (at the moment) weeknight chicken:
This is a perfect recipe for a simple hot weeknight dinner made in a crock pot without heating up the house.

Honey garlic chicken in a slow cooker

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup honey
3 tbsp ketchup
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
Mix together the minced garlic, honey, ketchup, soy sauce and oregano. Pour this mixture over the chicken and stir to coat well.
Add the chicken to the slow cooker
Cover the slow cooker and cook for 3 hours on high. Top with sesame seeds and scallions.

Fun in the Sun in Central Florida

Aug. 25: Wine Walk & Art Walk, New Smyrna Beach. This is always a fun event. Stroll Flagler Avenue and explore over 100 interesting wines inside local pubs, galleries and restaurants during this monthly progressive wine tasting event. $25 tasting passports on sale day of the event at three locations along Flagler Avenue. If you have enjoyed this event before, bring back your official glass and get a discount for the wine walk event held 1 to 7 p.m. This event is held in conjunction with Art Walk. Local and visiting artists display art work, along with entertainment and demonstrations from 10 am to 5 pm.

Magical Dining Month

It is the start of magical dining month in Orlando. This will be the 13th season for this month-long event!

A three course meal with over 90 restaurants to choose from for $35.00 – what a deal! This is not only a good deal for diners, but a good deal for charities too, as $1.00 from each magical meal served during magical dining month is donated to pre-selected charities. The dates for this event are August 24th through September 30, 2018 and if you visit the Magical Dining Orlando site you will see the list of restaurants and their magical dining menus.

In 2017, two local non-profit organizations shared a total of $208,620.00 raised from this event. A record donation raised during 2017 magical dining month, it sure looks like we have a lot of foodies in the neighborhood. The two charities selected to receive the donations in 2017 were Freedom Ride and Base Camp.

Freedom Ride is a non-profit 501c, volunteer-based organization dedicated to enriching the lives and experiences of children and adults with disabilities in Central Florida through therapeutic horseback riding and related activities. If you would like to donate, or volunteer, you can find more information at www.freedomride.com.

Base Camp is a non-profit 501c organization based in Winter Park. What does Base Camp mean? Base Camp has double meaning; First it is an acronym for believe, achieve, support and educate and second it is symbolic of the encampments found at the base of a mountainside where climbers stop for rest, first aid, nourishment, and encouragement along their journey up the mountain. Base Camp offers a place to stop along the journey, a place to gain strength and support for the climb ahead while fighting a life-threatening illness. Base Camp provides a year-round base of support for children and families who are facing the challenge of living with cancer and other life-threatening hematological illnesses. Base Camp serves not only the children who are patients, but their brothers and sisters too. You can find more information at www.basecamp.org.

Central Florida is more than good food and kind acts. The longer we live in Florida the more certain we are that we are not only living life in a beautiful state, but we are living life surrounded by kind and generous neighbors and friends.

Labor Day

Wanted to wish y’all a happy Labor Day. Sending wishes early as the next newsletter won’t be out till after the Labor Day party is over! Labor Day signifies the unofficial end of summer and the start to the fall season. Well almost, as fall does not usually arrive in Central Florida until about November, then it basically lasts till February when spring starts. I just love it here!

Rental Property in Florida

How long should I hold on to my investment property?

ROI (return on investment) varies based on many factors, your costs to maintain the property; taxes, HOA, insurance, etc. If the investment property carries a mortgage, the interest rate is a factor as well. There is never a guarantee that a property will increase in value, but let’s say you did some solid research, purchased your property in a desirable location at a good price. This is where the old real estate adage applies; location, location, location. You can now assume your property value will hold, and most likely will increase by about 2%-3% per year. Yes, this is a modest increase, but in today’s real estate market this is a reasonable expectation. Markets do change quickly, and your investment property value rises or falls dependent upon geographical stability, age and condition, size and improvement, population movement, taxes, and the surrounding neighborhood. It is always a smart move to closely watch all investment properties to be certain that your investment is providing the return you anticipated. Of course, if your investment property is generating an income; it pays to hold that property until you have achieved your personal goal. I have many clients who purchase homes in anticipation of living or retiring to their investment property in the future. In the interim, the client has a home in a great location, purchased at a good price, that is generating an income. When they are ready to retire to Florida their home is ready to live in and enjoy.

Many clients also rent their Solivita home for the winter season; usually November thru April. During the other six months, they visit, vacation, and enjoy the benefits of owning a home in the award-winning community of Solivita. If you were to choose this option in Solivita your property would not generate an income but instead would cover the ownership costs and provide you and your family a great place to relax and vacation while you try out the fabulous Solivita lifestyle.

Not to be forgotten in the equation is the tax benefits of a rental property. However, you choose to manage your investments, home ownership is always a good choice to consider.

Hurricane Season Is Here

The Atlantic Hurricane Season started June 1st and hurricanes were the cause of major damage in Florida and the Carolinas during the 2016 and 2017 Seasons. Folks living in coastal areas are most at risk, but hurricanes also bring high winds and rain inland to Central Florida. Reminding us all of the old adage “Better to be Safe than Sorry”. Hurricane Irma in September of 2017 cut power to thousands of customers. Happy to say, Solivita has underground wiring and a secure power grid. SOLIVITA DID NOT lose power but, knowing you are prepared will bring peace of mind and comfort to you and those that love you.

Assemble an Emergency Kit, safeguard all important documents, keep your medication in a safe location, and sign up for emergency alerts by logging in to Polk County Emergency Management. https://polk-county.net/emergency-management.

As we know, severe weather can strike quickly, creating a variety of dangerous situations. We all have a responsibility to stay tuned to the National Weather Service, local media and emergency management for special warnings or instructions during severe weather events.

The Florida Heat

I always equate July and August in Florida to January and February in NJ. Lee and I lay low in the Florida heat, just as we did in the NJ cold, but still, I think I would rather live with the heat instead of the cold. In the summer, we swim in the pools in the morning and in the evenings. During the day we explore indoor activities rather than outdoor activities. Of course, lots of folks continue to play tennis, golf, bike ride, enjoy the outdoor walking trails, etc. but I would rather take time to enjoy the relaxed lifestyle Florida offers. We tend to visit museums, see an afternoon show, enjoy an art class or a lecture, or sit back in the AC and watch a movie. During this time of the year you can find me walking the indoor temperature-controlled track in Solivita or tending to our potted plants on the lanai. In our lanai we grow all kinds of herbs and tomatoes. Lee has even planted a few pots with pineapples, they have never grown large, but they sure are sweet. It is a pleasure to have fresh herbs and tomatoes growing near the kitchen. Easy to harvest, plus who does not love strolling out to their lanai to pick some fresh mint for tea, or some basil for a salad.

To help beat the heat, summer is a great time to vacation somewhere with cooler summer temperatures. Snowbirds come to Florida to enjoy the warmth in the winter, so why can’t we escape the heat and take a trip to a cooler climate? Alaska, Washington State, Oregon, Up-State NY, Canada, etc. The list of beautiful places, with cooler summer temperatures is endless. It is always fun to plan, and fun to visit another place on the planet. We live in Solivita, so another worry off the list is safety and security. Solivita is a safe and secure community, therefore we need not to worry about our homes while away.

No summer vacation for us this year, thanks to our great clients. Business has been brisk, and I am keeping my “nose to the grindstone” finding homes for lots of folks relocating to Florida or moving from one neighborhood to another. Always happy to help anyone achieve the “American Dream of Homeownership and a Beautiful Retirement.”

Freshen Up Your Look With Houseplants

Houseplants are good for lots of reasons. They embellish your interior spaces by adding beauty to your home, but that is not all they do. Plants remove toxins from the air, making the interior air in your home better for you to breathe. I just read a study commissioned by researchers at Kansas State University and they found that adding plants to a hospital room speeds recovery rates in surgical patients. A workplace study done by Dutch researchers discovered that employees in offices with indoor plants have a decreased rate of fatigue, colds, headaches, coughs, and sore throats. So, with these findings, we thought we would buy some beautiful pots and plant some lovely greens around our home and office. If you are a regular reader of our newsletter, you already know that we grow lots of herbs and tomatoes on our lanai, but we have never really added plants to our interior space. This week we took a trip to the Outdoor Store, found some great pots, Lee and I picked up some plants from Lowes, and we spent an afternoon potting. We added English Ivy and Boston Ferns to our living room, a peace lily to our bath and orchids and succulents to our bedrooms. We will let you know how our indoor garden grows and our experiment turns out in a future newsletter.

Audrey’s Salivating Solivita Turkey Burgers

We trust everyone had a Happy 4th of July. The fireworks were great again this year, and I hope you came out and enjoyed the fun. Thank you to all those that helped make Independence Day 2018 a great one. I enjoyed the additional bonus of a day off! In addition to enjoying the fireworks, we were invited to a BBQ with friends. We had a wonderful time and attended a delicious party with Audrey and Tim. Audrey made a fruity chilled sangria and served it with delicious turkey burgers on the grill. She has kindly shared her recipe with me, and I’m sharing it with you:

AUDREY’S SOLIVITA TURKEY BURGERS
1 ¼ Pounds Ground Turkey
½ Red Bell Pepper Chopped
1 Serrano Pepper Chopped
3 Tbsp. Feta Cheese crumbled
½ cup Jack Cheese Shredded
2 tsp Paprika
2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
5 Drops Worcestershire Sauce

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and shape the meat into four hamburger patties. Grill the burgers on the BBQ; or cook them on the stovetop. If you cook them on the stovetop, lightly coat a pan with Olive Oil and cook the burgers at medium heat until done.

These burgers are juicy and delicious, especially when placed on a toasted bun. We topped ours with avocado, onions, fresh tomato, lettuce, and mustard; but these juicy burgers are good topped with anything you like. They would also be good with bacon and more cheese too. Then again, how could more cheese and bacon make anything bad?

Interesting Facts about one of our Neighbors, the Alligator

Alligators are nesting, and we are at the end of alligator mating season. Alligator courtship begins in early April, and mating occurs in May or June. You might have heard some sounds you are unfamiliar with, and it could have been the alligators mating, as they are noisy. Males are the showiest of the species and they interest their mate by head slapping, vibrating their torso, bellowing, and jaw slapping. The females join in by making a sound more like a growl, but without the fanfare of the showy male. In the animal world, alligator courtship is lengthy, often extending 6-8 weeks with copulation occurring underwater quite a few times during courtship. Interesting fact: males and females may have multiple partners during a courting season and a single clutch of eggs may have multiple paternities.

By June, the female seeks the right location to build her nest. The female piles vegetation and compresses the materials she has gathered and diligently builds her nest. It can take a few days, or upwards of a month for the nest mound to be built. Once the female is satisfied with the nest, she climbs on to the mound and spends several hours slowly turning to make a depression on the top. She then deposits 20 to 50 oval eggs. The female returns to the water’s edge numerous times to gather muddy vegetation to pile on the depression. The incubation period is 65 days. As the alligator embryos develop, it is the heat in the nest that will determine the sex of a baby gator. A temperature of 91 degrees or higher produces a male, a temperature of 86 or below produces a female, and in between the two temps there is a 50-50 chance of either a male or female being born. Lee and I always enjoy getting to know our neighbors; and some facts about the local wildlife too.