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Recipe of the Month – Lorraine’s Inspired Chicken

The following recipe is inspired by our lunch in Café Longet and now I have had plenty of time to test and refine this VERY EASY RECIPE INSPIRED by our day trip to Venice.

Lorraine’s Inspired Chicken
4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Package 4 Oz. Boursin Cheese or Herbed Goat Cheese
½ Cup Shredded Mozzarella
4 Slices Prosciutto

Preheat the Oven to 400 degrees.

Use a meat tenderizer and pound the breasts until they are about ¼” thick. Pat dry and season with Salt and Pepper. Please a spoonful or two of Boursin on one end of each chicken breast, top with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese and roll the chicken up starting at the cheese filled end. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each piece of chicken and place in a baking dish with the seam side down. Repeat. This recipe serves four. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear when pierced with a fork.

I have been serving this delicious chicken with sautéed green beans, topped with roasted slivers of almonds or with sautéed spinach with garlic. This is easy and delicious, perfect for a weeknight meal or a tasty meal for company, when we are again entertaining in our homes.
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Seeing Florida One Town at a Time

In January before the shutdown, Lee and I spent a great day in Venice, Florida. A nice little town with a friendly downtown area, good shopping, a busy, local restaurant scene, a farmer’s market, and a quiet public beach. We shopped a few of the boutiques and purchased some Italian imported ceramics. The restaurants were spectacular, and our meal did not disappoint.

We had quite a few restaurants to choose from, so instead of enjoying just one restaurant, we enjoyed a “Moveable Feast”. Appetizers in Bodrum, a Middle Eastern Restaurant, Escargot and Salad in Café Longet the French Bistro, and Homemade Gelato at Ciao Gelato. A delicious, beautiful day in the Florida sunshine. The beauty of life in Central Florida is we are central to it all. Venice is only about 15 minutes south of Sarasota. This was the first time Lee and I spent any time on this part of the Florida Gulf Coast and we enjoyed the day and the community. We spent the morning stretching our legs with a beach walk before our afternoon feast and then shared a leisurely drive home through the farmland that spans the Central Florida backroads.
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Reopened and ready!

If you had planned to visit Solivita, but the Coronavirus has delayed your visit, Bella Verde Realty wants you to know you can visit us on the web and purchase your piece of Paradise remotely. We are fine here, staying #SolivitaStrong, praying for folks working to keep us safe, fed and healthy, praying for the unfortunate souls throughout the world who are sick, and the souls of those who have passed. We continue to pray for safe medical intervention and a vaccine. Times are trying for everyone, everywhere, but we are all in this together and together we will get thru this. During the last 60 days, for our safety and yours, many homes were Temporarily Off the Market (TOM), but we are happy to announce that since the state of Florida has opened, homes are back on the market and selling quickly!

Our website lets you take a Virtual Tour of any home in Solivita. If you do not want to wait, the time is now, wait no longer, Bella Verde Realty has you covered. Walk through our website and visit every home available for sale in Solivita. If, after visiting our site, you find a home you want to see, we will be happy to meet you, show you around the neighborhood, and personally walk you through a home, or virtually visit with you and walk you through homes on Facetime, WhatsApp or Skype. The market is moving quite briskly, as many folks are re-locating from the densely populated cities to a more relaxed and peaceful lifestyle.

Looking back at life in Central Florida before the Pandemic and all the fun we miss. We can assure you that fun times are returning as we are starting to see small groups of folks enjoying time together while maintaining a safe distance. Our friends and neighbors are being creative and hosting small gatherings in their driveways, on their lawns, or while parked in their golf carts. Our pools have reopened, our golf courses are green, and balls are again flying, and our walking trails are a great way to stay in shape. In Solivita, we have no excuse to not get out and enjoy a bit of Florida sunshine.

The good news is that our air is less polluted around the world, our roads are safer due to less traffic, gas prices are down and the pollution that flows daily from our factories into our rivers, streams and oceans has been reduced. Every coin does have two sides, and sadly the shutdown left a tremendous number of our fellow citizens unemployed and struggling. Solivita is a great community of folks and I am happy to report that together our neighborhoods have pitched in and helped to raise food and awareness for our local food pantries. We surely have a lot of caring folks in this community, thank you Solivita for making us proud to live, work and help lots of new folks find their perfect home in the Solivita sunshine.
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Bella Verde Realty and COVID-19: An Update!

Dear Bella Verde friends and family,

Hello from Central Florida! The good news for us is that we are all safe and hunkered down here in Solivita. The weather is lovely, Solivita looks absolutely beautiful, and all of our trees, grasses and flowers are in full bloom. Our Sandhill Cranes are busy taking care of their recently hatched young and we are enjoying the newborn baby alligators in our community . . . from a safe distance! The current situation cannot steal the joy and beauty of our natural surroundings. Only we as individuals can let that happen. It’s a joy each day to see the strength of folks here in Solivita as they quietly and safely go about their lives.

All of our Solivita neighbors are being diligent, kind and careful, and life is going on. Life may be different for us, but it’s different for the entire global community. We are all worried about staying safe, remaining healthy, and avoiding being infected by this virus. Most of our community may be retired and not stressed about losing their jobs, but many residents have suffered losses in their retirement accounts, which can be just as frightening. Whatever your position may be, there are challenges and obstacles to face.

The best news for us is that as of today, we have NO cases of COVID-19 reported. It’s a good sign so far and hopefully persists as time goes on. Solivita is still busy, but busy being quiet. Lee and I went for a walk yesterday and saw countless friends out walking, jogging, gardening, riding bikes, and cruising in their golf carts. Since the pools, clubs, restaurants and other group activities are all shuttered, we are learning how to enjoy the pleasures of our surroundings on an individual basis. Some of our neighbors are flipping through their recipe boxes, cooking in their kitchens and grilling on their lanais. In fact, during our walk we enjoyed the aroma of chicken roasting from a neighbor’s kitchen as it mingled with the fragrance of the orange trees in bloom. Pleasant and peaceful, we are all starting to enjoy the simple pleasures of an uncluttered life.

Lee and I are concentrating on our health, on the future, and of course, on what’s happening in the news. Daily we pray for every victim and their families, for our medical community, for our fellow citizens, and for a cure; so, we are busy, just a very different type of busy.

As far as real estate goes, WOW we are in a unique state of affairs now. We still have homes on the market for sale, we are still building homes, and we have many more homes in the pipeline that will be listed for sale, once this crisis is behind us.   In the interim, technology has blessed us with the ability to close sales on homes remotely and show homes to prospective buyers remotely. It’s amazing what we can do in the 21st century! All open houses are cancelled, and we are not showing owner-occupied homes for the safety of our residents. The community of Solivita is safe and strong, and the accolades our community has received speak for themselves. Visit us on the web and see how nice life is in Central Florida. Look through our videos, see our photos and read our blogs. We guarantee that once this virus is behind us, life will be good again for us all and real estate will be booming! We are preparing for the market boom! We are SOLIVITA STRONG.

Now’s the point when I want to hear about you. How are you doing? How is your community? Email me or comment and share your news today!

Spring wishes and happy thoughts,

Lorraine  and Lee Valdes
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Revised Train Schedule for the Orlando Magic Weekday Games

During the Orlando Magic Weekday Home Games this season, SunRail is running a special 10:30 PM southbound service train from Church Street Station to Poinciana. This gives us plenty of time to enjoy a nice dinner downtown before boarding the train home. In addition, if you are in Winter Park, you can leave Winter Park on the last train at 8:45 pm for Orlando, exit at the Church Station Station, enjoy a nightcap or dessert, and catch the late train home. The schedule is below for February thru April:

Wednesday 2/12, Friday 2/21, Friday 2/28
Monday 3/2, Thursday 3/12, Wednesday 3/19, Wednesday 3/25, Friday 3/27
Wednesday 4/1, Friday 4/10 and Wednesday 4/15

We may be 55 PLUS, but we still know how to party, so let’s show SunRail we are ready to ride the rails late into the evening!
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Florida Strawberries

This year’s crop is just starting to find their way to our markets, and this year every berry I have tasted is sweet as sugar. When Florida Berries are in season, I add them to almost every recipe I make; from a Fruit Smoothie in the Morning to Strawberries in a Garden Salad for lunch or a cool bowl of Chilled Strawberry Soup in the evening. Enjoy the seasonal bounty in our markets, courtesy of our local growers. Florida is also busy growing some great Blueberries and in March so when our Strawberries are out of season our Blueberries make their appearance in our local markets and in my kitchen.

Florida Strawberries are So Celebrated that Florida hosts a Strawberry Festival. It is an 11 day community event celebrating the strawberry harvest of Eastern Hillsborough County. Every year over 500,000 visitors flock to the festival, enjoy the entertainment, the livestock shows, exhibits and celebrate the Florida Strawberry. My favorite treat at the festival is the Famous Festival Strawberry Shortcake. It is always a fun afternoon. This year the festival will be from February 27 to March 8th and is located in Plant City. You can Visit the Festival on the web at:
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Boat Trip to Key West

Have you been to Key West by Boat? It is fun, easy and a perfect quick getaway. Grab the Key West Express from Fort Myers in the morning, arrive Key West in the early afternoon. A really, nice get away. No car needed in Key West, you can grab a cab, rent a scooter, a bike, walk, or take a pedicab to your hotel. The Key West Express will even arrange a hotel package for you. If one day won’t do it for you, and it doesn’t do it for me, you can arrange to Enjoy one or two evenings in Key West and hop back on the Ferry for a return trip to Ft. Myers. This is a relaxing way to enjoy the sights and fun that Key West offers. We drove down a few years ago and found the car to be a huge burden since the streets in Key West are narrow and busy. Warning - You must pack lightly; but what do you really need to enjoy a night or two in the Florida Keys; a bathing suit, flip flops, sunglasses, some sunscreen and a fun-loving spirit. Enjoy the Adventure; This is what Retirement is All About.
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Make Time for a Walk on the Wild Side along Reedy Creek

I have a friend who “knows all the good places”, and this is one of her Poinciana secret good places. Only open to the public on weekends, the trails provide an up-close look at more than a dozen old growth cypresses and wildlife along Reedy Creek. This is the perfect spot to enjoy a safe, short walk. Parking is available for your car and this secret spot is only a few miles from Solivita. A great way to start a Saturday or a Sunday Morning. Turn into the parking lot on Poinciana Blvd and follow the signs to the Boardwalk, it is wonderful. As you walk above the swamp notice the many stumps of large cypresses cut by hand during the 1930 – 1950’s. Watch alligators and water moccasins glide through the swamp. Enjoy the largemouth bass as they jump for flies. View the birds as they quietly perch in the trees drying their wings and enjoying the peace and quiet of Central Florida. In the spring you will see dozens of great blue herons in the trees. No need for your compass, the trail will loop around and return you to the parking lot. If you want to visit the swamp on the web please go to:
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The Boys Are Back In Town

The Boys from Flourish Have Moved into Town and are shaking up the party scene in Solivita. Brian and Richard have been successful Florists and Event Planners in Florida for over 30 years with locations now in Solivita and in Winter Park. We are happy to welcome and announce that the Boys are Back in Town and are not only old friends but our neighbors too. Brian and Richard planned and decorated Our Office and our Home for the Holidays. The results the Flourish Team achieved were stunning. We enjoyed a candlelit Christmas with festive, elegant decorations. I walked around amazed at our space when it was complete. Every guest commented at the transformation of our home into an elegant party space complete with fresh flowers, greens, candles and beautiful decorations. When the Flourish team was done with our shared vision, we hosted a Holiday Extravaganza Party in honor of the Bella Verde Team of Professionals. A wonderful opportunity for the group to enjoy shared time together away from work and a good time to celebrate the folks that help make Bella Verde Realty a Good Place to work and a Successful, Trusted Real Estate Firm.
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Inside Tip – For Selling Your Home in Solivita

We are often asked if we host open houses, Of Course We do. Remember Solivita is a Gated Community, so an open house is visited by residents and a few guests who are visiting the community. Rarely does an open house in Solivita produce a buyer; instead Open Houses in our Community produce the opportunity for your neighbors to take a peek at your home. In addition, the HOA guidelines in Solivita permit only one sign in front of your home, so unless your home is on a main thoroughfare, chances are your sign will not even be seen. Our Marketing Strategy is extensive. Nationwide, we target our marketing to the 50+ population using advanced Software and our “State of the Art” Marketing Team, plus we utilize all levels of Social Media. We also participate in the Solivita Broker Caravan every 2 weeks with the Cooperating Realtors in Solivita. This is the perfect opportunity for every realtor in the group to showcase their new listings and show your home to every Realtor in attendance. The Caravan offers a Wonderful Moment for your Realtor to highlight the special features of your home and property. Together the group discusses the features their buyer pool is seeking and the features in your home. In addition, this is a wonderful chance for our Realtors to provide feedback on your home and to formulate design ideas for their client presentation of your home. During a recent Realtor Caravan, over 30 realtors visited each of the homes we showcased. The week following the Caravan, quite a few homes were given showings and shortly thereafter were under contract. The Caravan is an invaluable opportunity to show your home off to the realtors, plus offers every realtor the chance to discuss their client needs and provide your listing agent the opportunity to show why your home is a MUST SEE on every Realtor’s Show List. When you are seeking a listing agent, one of the key questions to ask your realtor is “Are they members of the Solivita Broker Caravan”. Choosing a Realtor is an important financial decision and Participating Realtors in the Solivita Real Estate Caravan SUCCESSFULLY SELL HOMES!!!