1. DIY- Build Your Own Mason Jar Herb Garden

    With BBQ season in full swing and Easter cooking around the corner, we thought it might be fun to start growing your own personal herb garden! There’s nothing quite like having fresh ingredients to add to a tasty salad or main dish! Not only will it add a pop of color to your garden, it also tastes great, too! This DIY project is quick and easy and is one that the whole family to get involved with. For a list of materials and simple instructions click here! Visit our Pinterest page for more fun DIY ideas!

    (Photo: http://camillestyles.com/uncategorized/transformed-mason-jar-herb-garden/)

     


  2. A Night to Remember

     

    A few weeks ago John Neal Homes hosted a very special Realtor® event celebrating the opening of their newest model home in the Haddington neighborhood of Country Club East in Lakewood Ranch. Homes start in the $400’s and up in this community depending upon your lot and upgrades. Their new Palmavera model offers a spacious, refreshingly open floor plan that overlooked a small lake.

    Inside the spacious kitchen, John Neal Homes had brought in the celebrity Chef Tommy Klauber, and his staff from Polo Grill and Fête Catering and Ballroom, located on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch.

    The honored guests enjoyed a wine tasting with about eight various wines to try from Michael’s Wine Cellar. An array of hors d’oeuvres from Fête Catering, were served. From Moll’s Mac & Cheese Balls to hand picked Mini Blue Crab Cakes with a sweet chili dipping sauce; each appetizer was to die for.

    While guests toured this stunning home, John Neal was available to answer any questions about the property and the available upgrades. Meanwhile, Chef Tommy Klauber, demonstrated how to make his Sarasota Seafood Pan Roast.

    This surely was a night to remember! Good wine, good-looking food, gorgeous homes and great cooking skills.

     

     


  3. Spark Appetites With This 4th of July Dessert!

    Are you looking for the perfect summer dessert? Look no farther! This delicious fruit pizza is delicious and offers the nutrients (and sweetness) you are looking for. Not to mention, it’s super easy to make!

    Ingredients

    -One tube sugar cookie dough

    -One jar of marshmallow fluff

    -One 8 oz. box of cream cheese – softened. (fat free if you want to cut some calories!)

    -Your choice of fruits

    Directions

    -Roll out the sugar cookie dough onto a cookie tray in one sheet. This will be used as the “crust” of the “pizza.” Bake in oven according to package. Set aside and let cool.

    -Meanwhile, mix marshmallow fluff and cream cheese until smooth.

    -Slice fruits into

    bite size pieces for the toppings.

    -When the crust has cooled, spread the marshmallow fluff/cream cheese mixture over it.

    -Place the fruits on top.

    Fruit can get pricey at the grocery, so consider visiting a local farmers market to buy it instead!

    The Sarasota Farmers Market takes place every Saturday from 7am to 1pm.  You’ve been warned, with so many amazing vendors you will probably walk away with more than just fruit!

    In Venice, check out their local Farmers Market from 8am to noon on Tampa Avenue.

    Live further south? Don’t Miss the Fort Myers Market Thursdays between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. or the one in Naples called Third Street South on Saturday mornings from 7:30 until 11:30.

    To scope out the best prices, check out this list of fruit that is in season.

    Bon appetit!


  4. Planting your January Garden!

    The weather is finally cooler in the Sunshine state! It’s time to get outside and enjoy these ‘Chamber of Commerce’ Florida days! Now is an excellent time to plant herbs and vegetables in the garden! Many herbs will thrive now that temperatures are cooler, including tarragon, thyme, dill, fennel, and any of the mints. If vegetables are more your thing, why not experiment by planting cool season crops including beets, cabbage, turnips, lettuce, and broccoli.

     

    There is nothing more satisfying than enjoying the fruits of your labor and using your fresh herbs and vegetables in preparing sumptuous stews, soups and other culinary delights! Here is an example of one of our favorite soup recipes!

     

    Winter Vegetable Soup recipe - This quick one-pot soup is perfect after a busy day.

    Everyday Food, November 2009

    For more recipe ideas visit http://www.marthastewart.com/food

     

    Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
    • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 1 pound acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
    • 1 bunch kale ( 3/4 pound), ribs cut away and discarded, leaves torn
    • 5 1/2 cups (43.5 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth
    • 1 can (14 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed
    • 3 sprigs thyme
    • Grated Parmesan, for serving (optional)

    Directions

    1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium. Cook onion and garlic until fragrant, 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add squash and kale and cook until kale is wilted, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add broth, beans, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash and kale are tender, about 12 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper and serve with Parmesan, if desired.