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Decorating Fun for the Holidays Florida Style

Do you have rosemary growing in your garden? Rosemary is growing like a weed in my garden. Lee and I love rosemary in chicken, pork, and in roasted potatoes, but how much rosemary can one cook use? If you have too many branches to cook with, then decorate with rosemary. Build a wreath to surround candles on your table or sideboard. Layer rosemary with flowers in a vase, weave rosemary into your table decorations, place rosemary in a sachet to add a touch of piney fragrance to your living space; but most of all, enjoy the season and the bounty of the garden. This year I decorated my server with a combination of citrus leaves, oranges and limes, and rosemary sprigs. So far, I have enjoyed my display and the fragrance wafting through our home. Fragrant, beautiful, and inexpensive; I picked my decorations in my Solivita Central Florida Lanai Garden. I am planning to use the same type of display when decorating for Christmas with the addition of a few pinecones and some glass balls for sparkle; I am going to add green and silver to my Christmas Design this year. Be creative, you can also add some of the new battery-operated strands of lights to your display. Decorating can be fun and inspiring when we let our creative side guide us. I also stud oranges with cloves during the holidays. This is a unique way to enjoy the fragrance and beauty of fresh Florida citrus. In the medieval period, a pomander was carried as protection against infection in times of pestilence. Today, just pick a few oranges up at the roadside stand or a few from your tree, stud them with cloves, and place them in a lovely bowl. This makes a fragrant decoration and lends a touch of history to your home. A nice way to bring tradition into your celebration. We have company coming in for the holidays. Lee’s brother will be here, and it looks like Mom’s brother Joe may be here too. With company in the house, we are planning an easy holiday. A nice dinner, some laughs, and some shared memories. What more could we ask for then to share a holiday with our loved ones.
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17th Annual Fall Festival in Solivita

Every year this festival gets better, bigger, and is more fun, and this year was no exception. The Solivita team assembled a great group of folks, musicians, food and drink vendors, photographers, artists, painters, designers, and even had a Kidz Zone. Fun for the whole family. A really nice day to wander around in the sunshine, shop, and visit with neighbors. We enjoyed a great day at the festival. Purchased a few items and shared a glass of wine, a few laughs, and lunch with neighbors.
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Lee and Lorraine’s Thanksgiving Crostini

Lee and I love a good turkey dinner. We always make a few of our family favorites, Mom’s Italian Sausage Stuffing, Lee’s Favorite Wild Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts, and from my grandmother’s recipe box; Mrs. Bailey’s Chicken Soup. Over the years we have added many new favorites to our family table. This year we are keeping it simple and starting dinner with a crostini topped with goat cheese, prosciutto, and fig jam. Easy and delicious. 1 fresh baguette 1/8 cup olive oil Sea salt 4 oz. Goat Cheese Plain at room temperature 6 TBSP Fig Jam 3 slices prosciutto, each cut in half 6 fresh basil leaves Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Slice 6 one half inch pieces from the baguette on the diagonal. Place on a baking sheet and brush generously with olive oil. Sprinkle a little salt on each slice. Bake about 10 minutes, or until crisp but not too golden. Cool bread. Spread some goat cheese on each crostini. Spread about 1 TBSP of fig jam on top of goat cheese. Fold a half slice of prosciutto and place on top of each crostini. Lay a fresh basil leaf on each and serve.
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The One Plus One Giving Program for Foster Children

I am proud to say that even before the Christmas tree was decorated this year, gift donations began to roll in. The One Plus One Giving Program for Foster Children is in full swing. We are always happy to visit with you and accept all gifts you would like to share with these wonderful children. Please stop by our office to deliver your unwrapped gifts to the Christmas tree. The children served by the One Plus One Giving Program are ages birth to 18. What does One Plus One Mean? For every gift donated, Bella Verde Realty donates a gift. You give one and we give one.
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a special day devoted to the bounty of the season and a special day to be thankful. I find cooking relaxing, and while I prepare our Thanksgiving meal, I reflect on the year and the wonderful life that Lee and I have. We would like to thank all our clients, friends, and our neighbors and let you know that each of you are appreciated. You have placed your faith and trust in us, and we don’t know what we would do without you all. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you. I am truly grateful to be surrounded by the love of a kind and gentle husband, a loving, supportive family, dear friends, and wonderful neighbors. Lee and I wish you a bountiful, happy, healthy Thanksgiving. We have lived in Central Florida for almost 20 years and over those years feel blessed to be surrounded by such a caring community. We are truly humbled by the thousands of kind folks who volunteer their time to help others in Central Florida. A blessing in retirement is the gift of time, but a bigger blessing is that retired folks in Florida so generously give their time to others. Thank you Solivita and Central Florida for being so generous. Each volunteer we have met adds to our joy of living in this beautiful place. And of course, Bella Verde Realty is once again proud to sponsor a gift collection program for the over 500 foster children of Osceola County.
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Easy Halloween Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe comes together in a snap and is a delicious treat for the Chef and the lucky diners.
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken (a roaster from Publix will do)
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack Cheese with Peppers
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 (4.5 Oz.) can chopped green chilies drained.
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 8 (8 inch) flour or corn tortillas
  • Vege Cooking Spray
  • 1 cup (8 oz) shredded Monterey Jack Cheese with Peppers
  • 8 Oz of Sour Cream
  • 8 Oz bottle of green taco sauce.
Stir together first 5 ingredients. Coat tortillas with vegetable cooking spray. Heat them in a sauté pan just for a few minutes to soften them up. Spoon chicken mixture evenly over each tortilla and roll them up seam side down. Arrange in a lightly greased 13 x 9 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Add 2nd cup of Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese to the top of the Enchiladas and return to oven for an additional 15 minutes. Mix 8 Oz Sour Cream and 8 Oz. of Green Taco Sauce together and spoon over HOT Enchiladas and before serving or at the table. Sprinkle with any, or all, of the below toppings. Serve with toppings: diced orange peppers, diced tomato, chopped avocado, chopped green onions, sliced ripe olives, and chopped cilantro. If you really like “Kicked Up” Enchiladas add a diced Jalapeno to the first 5 ingredients.
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Holiday News Flash: Halloween to Hanukkah and Christmas.

Get ready because 2018 is flying by! This year, Bella Verde Realty is once again proud to sponsor the ONE PLUS ONE GIVING PROGRAM FOR FOSTER CHILDREN with the Guardian ad Litem Program of Osceola County. Last year, Bella Verde Realty, with the generosity of our friends, clients, neighbors, and vendors, collected over 1,000 gifts and donated them to the children that are served and supported by the Guardian ad Litem Program. Together we brought joy to many children during the holiday season. And this year, Bella Verde will be sponsoring the One Plus One Giving Program for Foster Children again. On Friday, November 9th, the Bella Verde Christmas Tree will be decorated and ready to start receiving all unwrapped gifts for children from the age of birth to 18. For every gift donated, Bella Verde Realty will match the gift; you give one, the children will receive two. This is a win-win program for the children, and for each of us who choose to participate during this beautiful holiday season. Please visit our office and donate to this gift giving program for children that will surely enjoy receiving a wonderful holiday gift and the knowledge that our community cares about them.
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Happy Halloween

Halloween has become a huge holiday. It’s time to decorate the house, carve the pumpkins, and decide what to do on 10/31. A few years back we went to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights with some friends, had a blast and enjoyed a frightful night. We are thinking this year may be a good year to “Do the Time Warp” and tiptoe down memory lane to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show. We will drag out the toaster and enjoy an evening filled with fun and share a toast to what was. Wondering, if after all these years, we will still find joy in the Rocky Horror Picture Show? I hope so. We may even be able to find a movie house showing the old flick, or a playhouse performing the show, but if all else fails we can always enjoy Rocky Horror Picture Show on our computer. The show may be dated, but we strive to keep current and have the latest software up and running.
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Great Day Trip from Solivita

Had the grandchildren in for a visit and we took them to Gatorland for some family fun. Our grandson was charmed by the alligators and crocodiles and our granddaughter loved the petting zoo and the action the animal shows provided. Gatorland is a throwback to “Old Florida”. The park is clean and fun and provides a great way to make special memories with friends and family. Gatorland is only 25 miles from Solivita on Orange Blossom Trail, or as the local’s call it “The OBT”. Florida residents can purchase an Annual Pass which will entitle up to 6 accompanying guests a discount from the General Admission. A nice, simple way to spend a day with the family without the huge cost of visiting one of the larger theme parks. If you have older grandchildren (ours are still quite young), you may want to book the Gator Night Shine Adventure to experience the sounds of the swamp at night in Gatorland’s Alligator Breeding Marsh. Gatorland will provide a flashlight and when you point in toward the water you will be amazed as the glowing red eyes of the gators keenly look back at you while they thrash about. We shared the Night Shine Adventure when some of our older cousins visited and it was an “Eye Opener” into swamp life in Central Florida.
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Game On

We are loving October and the fresh air blowing through Central Florida. Time to get out on the golf course and play a few rounds in the afternoon since the heat has been turned down. Lee is the golfer in the family and he loves to play on the two Championship Golf Courses in Solivita, but he is also happy to accept the challenge of playing on many of the other golf courses convenient to Solivita. Lee has kept a tally of the courses he has played over the last two years, and so far, his count is over 30. Florida has wonderful golf courses, and a round on a good course does not need to cost a fortune, we can usually find a discounted course by going to: and looking at their offers. Golf on my friends and swing away in Solivita style.