1. A Thanksgiving Recipe You’ll Want to Gobble Up

    What do you have to be thankful for this month? Perhaps your health, your family, a friendship, a good job, a new opportunity, your beautiful home, or even the opportunity to spend some quality time with the ones you love for the Thanksgiving holiday over delicious food.

    Most likely, you have Thanksgiving memories from when you were a younger child. From the decorations, to the cranberry dressing, to the pumpkin pie recipe passed down in your family, Thanksgiving is a day to carry on traditions, especially ones related to food.

    Where did those traditions begin? The First Thanksgiving took place in 1621 and contained turkey, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. Many of those foods have become staples in today’s traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Fried, baked, stuffed, or broiled, turkey, no matter how prepared, is the most common dish with more than 270 million turkeys raised for the holiday according to U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry.

    Of course, you can always start your own traditions, too! Our Neal Communities’ “Holidays” Pinterest Board is full of great ideas to get you started. From table runners, to centerpieces, to front door decorating ideas and even fingernail painting inspirations, new ideas are waiting for you to be discovered!

    We would love to hear your traditional and untraditional recipe ideas!

    Enjoy this delicious Chicken Apple Sausage and Feta Salad  from one of our very own Neal Employees!

    Salad Ingredients

    • 1 pack of Aidells Chicken Apple Sausage
    • 2 zucchinis cut into ¼ inch thick slices
    • Salt and Pepper
    • 1 Tbs. Olive Oil
    • Garlic Powder
    • Mixed Green
    • 1 package Feta Cheese (crumbled)
    • 1 Large Red Apple cubed
    • Sunflower Seeds
    • Pumpkin Seeds
    • 1 Tbs. fresh basil

    Dressing Ingredients

    • ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
    • 1 Tbs. Honey
    • Salt and Pepper
    • 2/3 cup olice oil
    • 2 Tbs Water
    • 1 Tbs chopped fresh basil
    • 1 Tbs chopped green onions

    Directions

    Heat an indoor grill-pan to medium to high heat (or regular pan if no grill-pan on hand).   Slice Sausages lengthwise and grill until browned on each side, approximately 5 to 6 minutes on each side.  Remove from grill and cut into bite size pieces.  Return pieces to grill pan until somewhat crispy.  Remove and set aside to cool.

    Coat Zucchini slices with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic powder.  Grill zucchini on grill pan on both sides, approximately 3 to 4 minutes on each side over med heat.  Remove from pan and set aside to cool.

    In large salad bowl, layer as follows:  mixed greens, feta cheese, apples, and sausages and zucchini.  Toss lightly and sprinkle with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and fresh basil.

    Whisk together all salad dressing ingredients in a bowl or a small jar or serving container.

    Dressing can either be tossed in or left on side to add by individual preference, and then ENJOY!

    Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving!


  2. Lower Your Energy Bill This Month!

    As a Floridian, you most likely can’t imagine your life without air conditioning. Rightly so considering the long summer days can get up to over 100 degrees and the humidity is thick as molasses. Good thing living on the Gulf Coast, we benefit from warm ocean breezes!

    Luckily, temperatures and humidity have dropped making this time of year the perfect time to save some money on your utility bills.

    This is a topic Neal Communities places a high value on, especially as the recent winner of the “Builder of the Year “at the Green Trends Conference. The award was presented from The Florida Green Building Coalition, the leading certifier of green projects in Florida.

    In a press release highlighting the award, president and CEO Pat Neal stated “ We were green before it was popular.” He continued stating, “ We are committed to staying current on sustainable building practices.”

    Here are some tips to cut your utility bill.

    Turn off the A/C. That’s right. We asked the unthinkable. Turn off the air, open some windows and breathe in some fresh air. You will be amazed at the difference you’ll see on your next bill from just a couple of days without your A/C running. If you simply can’t stomach the idea, consider setting it to 78 to conserve as much energy as possible without turning it off.

    Consider a Dimmer. With the ability to select the amount of light you need, you can conserve energy by dimming lights when possible.

    Line Dry Your Laundry. Challenge yourself to drying your clothes on a clothesline for one month. If this isn’t an option, try a drying rack. Bonus- you won’t have to clean the lint out of your dryer for a while either.

    Unplug the unused. If you aren’t using an electronic, toaster, blender, radio, TV, etc, unplug it completely. Surprisingly 75% of energy used by home electronics is consumed when the product isn’t even turn ON.

    Change your filters. It is recommended that you change you filter ever 30 days for maximize efficiency (hence minimum energy used).  These can be purchased at local stores even the grocery!

    Lower the temperature of your water heater. If you aren’t planning on being home for a couple hours, adjust the water temperature. 13% of your electricity goes into heating water. So by setting your hot water heater to 130-140 degrees, you can lower this percentage significantly. Just don’t forget to reset it if needed. Not exactly a handy man or woman? No problem. Check out this video for a step-by-step on how to accomplish this simple task!

    Going green isn’t just a fashion statement, it’s an effort to make this world a better place! Do your part to protect the earth and be rewarded by a smaller electricity bill. What will you do with all the money you save?


  3. Neal Communities Gives Back!

    Neal Communities places a huge emphasis on community.  As a local builder in Southwest Florida, we live, work, and socialize in the same networks as our homebuyers. Therefore, we hold ourselves accountable for bettering our community by being involved and giving back. We are not simply “building homes’ but are building communities, too.

    To achieve this goal, Neal Communities has donated funds for wildlife preservation, school projects, field trips, healthcare, the arts, and much more.

    Owner and founder of Neal Communities, Pat Neal, sits on many local boards, including school boards to insure the communities he builds homes in have top-rated school. Most of our communities offer homebuyer’s A-rated school districts for families with children or those looking to start a family of their own.

    This year, we celebrated five years of giving to B.D. Gullet Elementary in Lakewood Ranch. Taking it’s name from former educator and superintendent, the schools mission is “ to inspire all learners to dream, achieve, and develop a love of learning through curiosity, commitment, and compassion.” The elementary school is adjacent to Neal Community, Central Park. As the lead sponsor of the fundraising event, Neal Communities donated $10,000. The tournament began in 2008 as a way to provide much needed technological resources to students in the area.

    “Lakewood Ranch and its residents have welcomed Neal Communities, and we welcome the chance to improve our community schools with valuable resources whenever possible,” said Pat Neal, president and CEO of Neal Communities. “We enjoy making a difference in our area schools and we are proud of the improvements we’ve been able to be a part of,” said Neal.

    The event hosted eighty-six golfers allowing for the purchase of laptops, computer equipment, textbooks, technology resources to enhance students schooling. With the school constantly growing, the need for more and updated technology grows as well. This year, close to $20,000 was raised for the school.

    For more information about the event and other ways Neal Communities remains committed to giving back to the community, visit our website!


  4. November Fun

    Can you believe that it is already November? Neither can we! The cooler weather, impressive list of things to do this month, and the fact that holidays are just around the corner certainly make this month one to be thankful for.

    Here’s what’s happening around your Neal Community!

    Water lovers unite at the Sarasota Bay Water Festival which will feature SCUBA displays, paddleboard and kayak demos, performances by ski teams and live music. Over 60 local exhibits, food vendors, and entertainment will fill

    Football Fanatics, specifically Florida State Fans, Bobby Bowden will be visiting the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium on Nov. 8th at 7pm. Tickets are $25 for adults and $5 for students and benefit the Sarasota Medical Pregnancy Center.

    Hear ye, Hear ye!! Come one, come all to the Sarasota Medieval Fair taking place on November 9th at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds. Feast on turkey legs while watching an intense j

    oist of knights. Live theatrical performances, children activities, music and food fit for a king will be taking place all weekend.

    Foodies (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?) the Taste of Manatee will be held November 2-3 giving you the chance to stroll along the beautiful riverfront and enjoy great food, music, arts and crafts.  This is your chance to sample the cuisine of local restaurants.

    If you attend the festivals and stuff yourself on food, or if you just enjoy a challenging workout, consider competing in the Revolution-3 event in Venice. This 70.3 miles triathlon will begin near Sharky’s with a 1.2 mile swim in the beautiful Gulf . Next, competitors will bike 56-miles and finish with a 13.1 mile footrace to the finish line. Not interested? What if we told you there’s $50,000 in prizes? We thought so. Visit here for more information.

    Take a moment from your busy November schedule to remember our Vets! November 11th is Veteran’s Day. Sarasota will have a parade starting on main street and Osprey Avenue starting at 10 a.m. In Patriot’s Park of Venice, bring your chairs and salute the soldiers at this ceremony.

    Headed to the beach this month? Make sure to schedule some time to visit Siesta Key November 15-18th for the Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition.  Twenty extremely talented sculptors will compete for cash prizes. The sculptors will amaze you! And the next time you try to build a sandcastle, you are bound to have even more respect for the artists who compete.

    November 24th will be a night country music lovers will mark down considering Gretchen Wilson, Easton Corbin, Love and Theft, and more will be performing at the Desoto Music Fest. Gates open at 11 a.m. and will last all day so bring your chairs and cowboy hats to the Manatee Fairgrounds.

    Kick off the holiday season with the famous Venice Holiday Parade on November 30th. The 37th Annual Parade begins at 7 p.m. and will feature over 3,000 participants, 120 local companies, and draw over 40,000 viewers. The route runs from Park Blvd. to the Venice Community Center. Come early for the best seats and parking.

    This November, you’ll have more to look forward to than turkey and football  with all the events happening near you! Be sure to check out the events happening in your Neal Community, too!