August 24, 2016

Patsy's Place {our vacation rental}

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.  J. Lubbock

When my mom passed suddenly last year, I was left saddened and scared.  I am an only child, whose parents are both gone now.  While I have wonderful immediate and extended family, I felt lost.  Would the boys ever know how much they meant to her and what would her legacy be to them.  My mom was a very hard worker who pulled herself up by the bootstraps and hustled.  When able, she traveled, laughed, wined, dined and enjoyed time with her family and friends.  She created an enviable life for a single mother on a modest income.  I'm so pleased that she was so comfortable in her last years and wanted for nothing.

So when the estate was settled and funds were socked away for us and the boys, we had some leftover.  I like to think of myself as adventurous, but if I am honest, I am not.  I am also not sensible when it comes to money.  Sure, I coupon and bargain shop and have a high FICO score, but that overpriced decor or pair of shoes will always win with me.  

So when deciding on whether to put more money in the stock market, or perhaps renovating our home, both did not feel right to me.  So we decided to flirt with the idea of investing in a vacation/retirement property.  We were sure of the location, near family and friends, in Southwest Florida, but what type (condo, single family, etc..) or how much to spend was a different story.  

I research everything. In every aspect of my life.  I am an avid reader.  I know we wanted the most cost-efficient place possible.  Not near the water (no flood insurance), no pool (high liability), safe neighborhood, low taxes, lots of tropical foliage and in mint condition.  

So a week or two after our decision to pursue this, on June 3rd, I saw our house on Zillow.  My aunt and uncle, who live nearby previewed the home for us on June 6th, we were under contract on June 7th and sold on June 28th.  

Our house is a 2 bed, 2 bath flipped home.  It needs nothing.  It is energy and storm efficient.  In order to save more money on insurance, we upgraded the electrical panel and added an alarm system.  A wind mitigation inspection, eased our minds, as it really is solid.  We added vinyl fencing to one side for complete privacy.  The tropical foliage is lush and beyond amazing around our yard and across the street.

So while we rent it out to sun-seeking snowbirds for the most part, we hope to enjoy it ourselves a few times a year before we retire permanently. (Which is like 15 years away, at least....!)

The best part was setting it up and decorating.  If I didn't have it, it was purchased at or below clearance.  Complete with board games, a crockpot and fake foliage pots (I can't water plants!)  I'm very please with how it turned out and will make a very comfortable and pleasing space for someone to spend their leisure time.

So without further is our little piece of tropical heaven that we call Patsy's Place in honor of our mother and grandmom.

Vacation rental 
Port Charlotte, Florida
2 beds ~ 2 baths
Close to boating, fishing, beach days, kayaking, swimming, restaurants, numerous parks, etc...
Fully stocked for a stress-free getaway. Grill, 2 patios, quiet neighborhood, abundant palms, tropical foliage and wildlife on property. Free wifi and cable. Bedroom 1 - queen bed. Bedroom 2 - 2 twins. All linens and cooking items available for use. An abundance of family board games. Beach chairs, towels and blankets, screen room and cooler available as well. Beautiful, modern decor.

Thank you for visiting!

May 12, 2016

Lighter Crabmeat Stuffed Mushrooms {recipe swap}

Lighter Crabmeat Stuffed Mushrooms

1 cup lump meat crab
6.5 ounces light spreadable cheese, garlic and herb
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp minced fresh basil
1/4 tsp garlic salt
3 green onions, minced
8 large white mushrooms
1/4 cup grated reduced fat white sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Reggiano Parmesan cheese
Olive oil to coat the baking dish

Quick rinse your mushrooms, remove stems, and set caps aside. Finely chop about the mushroom stems.

Mix cheeses (reserving a sprinkle for the tops before baking), crab, chopped stems, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, basil, garlic salt and onions. Fill mushroom caps with the crab mixture and place in a large, lightly greased baking dish. Top with the grated cheeses and Bake at 450ºF for 15-20 minutes. Garnish with green onions and serve warm.

Thanks for visiting!

May 6, 2016

Lighter Chicken Tetrazzini {recipe swap}

Lighter Chicken Tetrazzini

2-3 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
4 cups chicken broth (to boil chicken in)
1 box of whole grain linguini or spaghetti 
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened 
2 cans fat free cream of chicken soup 
1 1/2cup of light sour cream
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt + pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray casserole dish with cooking spray.

Rinse chicken breasts, pat dry and season with salt and pepper.  Put in pot and cover with 4 cups of chicken broth. Bring to a rapid boil, turn heat to low, cover and cook 20 minutes. Reserve a couple of tablespoons of broth for mixture.

When chicken is cooked, remove from pot and shred.

Cook and drain pasta. I used leftover chicken broth to rinse pasta. Layering flavors is everything.

Combine softened butter, soup, sour cream, chicken, reserved chicken broth and wine. Add cooked pasta and pour into casserole dish. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle mozzarella cheese. Bake for 15 more minutes or until brown and bubbly.

My boys went nuts over this, even asking for seconds. Can be made ahead, just bring to room temperature before baking. Serve with salad or sautéed green. So delicious!

Thanks for visiting!