Yep! We are still in Florida, but fly out tomorrow (whew!) to head back to the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. Steve and I are celebrating today, 14 years married and 24 years together! Wow, I know! It’s been a long rocky road, but we’ve made it through unscathed! and happy to still be together. I love you Steve, thanks for being my best friend…….
Well, it was a great night at Amici’s, Club Renaissance, Sun City Center, where we said goodbye to everyone before our flight back to Oz tomorrow. The girls and guys at Amici’s are amazing…..thanks for being our friends again. I’ll miss you all…..Julia (we hope to see you in Oz one day), Rebeka (thanks for spicing up my life!), Carrie (you’re crazy mate, but we love you), Cherry, Mike (thanks for looking after us mate!), Kimmy, Cindy, Ken, Mark, Ed (‘my’ amazing chef), Bob (the pro golfer and manager) and everyone else that made us always feel so welcome at Club Renaissance. Thanks to our friends Roe, Diamond Jim (we were never going to that dive ‘The wooden Nickle!’) Ingrid and Sam (saying prays for your op on Thursday Ingrid), Beverley and Bob (thanks for your advice Beverley), Terry, Erica and Marty, The Romeos, all the Golf Ladies and everyone at the Gym …….Lee, the inspirational Ray, Julie, Rick, Tom, Marsha and Ron, and all the other friendly guys that I don’t know their names. You can have your gym back now! Hope to see you all in a couple of years.
We visited a friend in Sarasota last night and as expected, we had another amazing time. Lenny’s apartment is on the edge of Sarasota Bay, with views to die for….and his Margaritas aren’t bad either!
This man sure knows how to entertain first class! He made us the best Margaritas on this planet along with finger food of mature cheddar nachos with sensational authentic salsa, pate, pretzels and crisps.
We were then chauffeured off to Marina Jack across the road. This place to eat and drink has always been a special spot of mine. Marina Jack has spectacular views over the Marina, downtown, Sarasota bay, Big Pass and out to the Gulf of Mexico.
There was a band playing while we were there and I took a small film which I will post at a later date. Steve and I felt we were back in the ‘land of the living’ after a rather lengthy spell, cooped up in Sun City Center! Not long now though until we enter back into Australia…..you little beauty!
The lovely chef at Amici’s makes this pasta dish for me with an extra spin….. loaded with lots of garlic and hardly any cream. The shrimp is always tender and the hint of fresh basil in the dish is gorgeous. This dish I have ordered every time I have been to Amici’s (which has been a lot!!!) Thanks Ed, it’s something I’ll remember well when I finally get back to Oz!
I have become best buddies with this lovely word whilst here in Florida! This word also has some chums too, called insufferable, insupportable, unbearable, unendurable and unsupportable.
Over the past week we have had storms producing heavy rain and the bird life here in Florida are loving the wet conditions that the storms have left behind. The beautiful little birds I captured at the back of the house, down by the pond are called Egrets. They are members of the Ardeidae family. Large numbers take over the golf course at times and are a sight to see.
Carmen and Roy, thank you both SO much for providing another few precious moments of vibrancy and fun to our very sedentary existence we have at the moment! Great to see you at the club and look forward to catching up again soon.
Below, is a photo of me and the two boys I left behind. These two Labs we looked after with so much love and kindness: I miss them SO much! Indi is 10 and Jester the monkey! is 3 years old.
It’s perfect weather here in Florida for barbecuing, so I marinated some steak last night in olive oil, cracked pepper and Italian herbs. How simple and delicious is steak on the barbie….served with home made garlic oven chips, it’s unbeatable. We threw some onions and tomato on with the steaks, made a green salad and bob’s your uncle!
How amazing it was for us to see a new little Sandhill Crane chick with it’s mother and father passing by our house today. Just a few days old I would say, happily following mum and dad down to the waters edge for a swim. I’ll keep an eye on this tiny little creature and hope it grows into a beautiful bird.
What amazing creatures these birds are. We had the pleasure of their company again today. They are welcome to visit anytime!!
The weekend is approaching fast and we are in Florida, so it only seems fitting to do a Mexican dish (there are quite a few Mexicans in this area! so there is no shortage of fresh jalapenos/Serrano chilies/Habanero chilies or what ever level of chili one is into!) Steve will make Margaritas to complement our Mexican Feast!
Well, I touched my nose slightly after taking this shot and the burning affect has started! Just a warning….be careful handling Habanero Chilies….good idea to wash one’s hands after handling these fiery creatures!
CHICKEN FAJITAS (SERVES TWO)
1 chicken breast (6-8 oz) cut into strips
1 green pepper (capsicum) cut into strips
1 large onion cut in half, then into slices
Garlic cloves smashed lightly, then cut into slivers
Chili diced finely
Olive oil (about 1 tablesp)
Fresh chopped coriander
Flour Tortillas (warmed through), guacamole, sour cream, salsa and a little grated cheese will accompany our chicken fajitas, along with a cooling Margarita! Fantastico!
1. Using a large pan or wok (if we were in Australia we would be cooking this all on the flat plate of the BBQ.) add half the oil with the onions and peppers.
2. Stir this on a high heat for a few minutes, then move to one side of pan and add the remainder of oil and then the chicken strips.
3. Stir fry the chicken until a little golden brown.
4. Bring the onions and peppers back to the centre of the pan and stir with the chicken.
5. Add the chili and garlic and stir fry for a minute or two.
6. Add the chopped coriander and a squeeze of lime juice if you like, then transfer to a serving dish.
We will lay out a table where the chicken fajitas are in a serving dish, the tortillas will be warmed through and served on a plate. We’ll include the guacamole, salsa, sour cream and grated cheese for people to help themselves……oh and a wonderfully chilled Margarita! Salud!
The Renaissance Club at Sun City Center has Happy Hour each Tuesday and Thursday. We take full advantage of this , of course! We usually stay on for a bite to eat after a few drinks…..it’s a lot of fun!
We are in Florida for Steve’s 51st Birthday and on a 31 degree day, we’ve been to the gym, gone for a swim and managed a little sunbathing! The weather is superb at the moment, perfect for pre dinner margaritas! One of Steve’s favourite drinks in a warm climate is the margarita. It’s pretty easy to make as long as you have good quality ingredients….and an ice machine helps!
All you need is 1 part Cointreau, 2 parts Tequila, lime juice or Margarita Mix and ice. Shake well and pour over ice. Fantastico!
This was a wonderful start to a fantastic evening. We had Roe join us from next door who we know and love well. She is a lot of fun and extremely entertaining! Poor Ken is still recovering from knee surgery and is in a fair bit of pain, but joined in with the celebrations.
We headed out to a great little pizza joint called East Coast Pizza. They specialize in New York Style Brick Oven Pizza. It was fantastic!
When we arrived back at the house, we sang Happy Birthday to Steve and he blew out some candles (impossible to fit 51 candles on the cake!!) He had a fantastic Birthday and everyone had a great night. Can’t wait for my Birthday which will be celebrated on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia…yippee!!!
My mum who lives in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia (with my dear old dad of course!) would be in raptures just as I am, to see such a massive, healthy Gardenia bush in full bloom. My mother loves this beautiful flower I think just as much as I do……it’s my favourite flower, along with Daphne. Growing up, mum had the most magnificent Daphne bushes…..very lush and healthy plants. When I started working in Advertising in Melbourne, she would always send back a large amount of Daphne with me when I visited at weekends…..along with a fridge full of home made goodies!!!! (gorgeous vegetable soup, corned beef, sausage rolls, bread, homemade jam and other amazing things) Thanks mum for looking after me (and everyone else!)
America…..the land of the huge and massive! People….food…cars….you name it! These oranges are he biggest ones I have ever seen. I am told they will be very flavoursome and juicy even though they have a thick skin. Can’t wait to try one! Perhaps after a swim…….
Yes, believe it or not this is Gina and Ken’s super dooper golf cart. The sides and roof come off if required or it can be water tight again with them back on. Steve and I love this cart ……we take it down to ‘our’ pool and gym a short distance away. It is allowed on some of the roads and there are special paths for these carts. We drive it down to the local club for drinks and happy hour! and the local shops in Sun City Center.
This is a brilliant, relaxing place that we are very fond of. The staff in the bar and restaurants are extremely friendly and many of them know us from our previous visits in the past. You can even have a meal or drinks by the pool with full table or recliner lounge service!!!
This is not unusual, I am told, to see these beautiful birds passing the house here in Florida. They don’t seem to be too wary of human contact and I was able to take this shot yesterday without disturbing them too much. The White Egret is another beautiful looking bird that frequents these parts also. They are a sight to see when they are in large numbers.
Alligators can also be seen…..not too keen on these creatures I’m afraid, but apparently they are no where near as aggressive as their Australian cousin, the beastly Crocodile!
Well, we finally arrived in Florida, after waiting for over an hour queuing at immigrations and customs at Orlando Airport. It was a good flight though, in respect to well behaved children and a good crowd of passengers. I would have to say, in my opinion, British Airways has deteriorated in so many ways. The fact that it’s flight crew were mostly older, nearing retirement age wasn’t my main concern. When drinks were served and hour or so into the flight, we asked if there were any snacks. No, there were no snacks.. We had over a nine hour flight ahead of us, so needed more nourishment than the rather mean serve of curry chicken and rice that was given to us, two and a half hours into the flight.(the other meal option was sausages.) Neither appealed to me, but to go without this meal was a painful thought on an empty stomach!! We had planned to make up some healthy baguettes to take with us but decided not to…..bad move! The other meal that was given to us was an hour before we landed! They called this ‘afternoon tea.’ This was a little sandwich that didn’t even touch the sides!!! I noticed the passengers around me seemed to be woofing theirs down also…….boy landing on solid ground was a great feeling!
So, we arrived in Orlando hungry but happy to be finally at our destination. Gina and Ken had a wonderful welcome for us…..a beautiful display of tulips adorned our bedroom and they had food!……smoked salmon and some lovely Pinot Grigio.