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Couples cooking class at Publix' Apron Cooking School

by Lisa Castanet

Couples cooking class at Publix' Apron Cooking School

Where: Lake Miriam Square, 4730 S Florida Ave, Lakeland FL 33813
Time: 6:00pm
What: Cooking classes for up to 12 people.
Cost: $90.00 per couple
Contact: 863-647-4127

What a fun evening to enjoy as a date night out with your honey.  Recently, we enjoyed the weekend by attending this couples cooking class on a Friday night evening which began about 6:00pm and lasted until around 8:30pm.  There were a total of six couples so the smaller group setting makes for
a real hands on experience as everyone gets an opportunity to help in meal preparation and cooking.

The instruction for our dinner class was learning to grill fish.  There were four main dishes and a desert that we prepared as one big group. The preparation was not in this order but the menu included the following dishes.


A Dry Rubbed Grilled Grouper with Caramelized Leek and New Potato Hash. This was really fun to prepare and the instruction helped explain how to skin and cut the fish properly.  The leek and potato hash was fairly easy and a popular side dish.

A Grilled Salmon with citrus and Kiwi Salad.
This had to be the most popular dish of the evening and was really light and refreshing.  I never knew the easiest way to cut and skin a kiwi until this evening but it is similar to preparing avocados.

My favorite dish of the night was the Marinated and Grilled Mahi-Mahi Tacos with Rainbow Swiss Chard Slaw and an Avocado Lime Crema. This was quick and easy to make and if you want to cut out the carbs or wheat then I think it would be equally delicious atop salad greens. The Avocado Lime Crema was a combination of avocado, cilantro, lime juice and sour cream.  Go easy using this as a topping because it is pretty rich.

Finally, Desert was a Lemon Mint Pound Cake with Macerated Strawberries. I had the best time smiling and giggling watching my boyfriend while he worked the Kitchenaid mixer preparing the cake batter.  Probably the first AND last time I will witness that, HA! Honestly, the strawberries and cream would have been decadent enough.  They were delicious with mint and lemon juice and fresh made whipped cream.  YUMMM!!!!

The price of admission was worth seeing Deane "elbows deep" in all the food preparation alone.  I would say this is really a fun way to meet people and the time just flew by.  I have to congratulate the chefs for their humor and guidance which made for a relaxing and entertaining evening.  When was the last time you described making dinner like that?  Another really neat idea is to get a group of family or friends together and plan a couples cooking class just for your group.  Publix Aprons Cooking School offers all kinds of instruction and dinners and is very flexible with catering and classes.  Let me know when you get a chance to try this and give us some feedback - Oh, and photos!

Curtis Peterson Park Lakeland FL

by Lisa Castanet

Curtis Peterson Park Lakeland FL

Where: 3700 Cleveland Heights Blvd
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
What: Nature trails, boat ramp, fishing, picnic tables, softball, playground and rest room facilities
Reservations:  Contact the City of Lakeland for rental information about Eagles Nest Pavilion.

Enjoy a full day of Activities with your family!

The main entrance to Curtis Peterson Park is off of Cleveland Heights Blvd just behind the YMCA. 
This is a large park that hosts many activities on the weekends including boys and girls softball games. 
There are many covered picnic table areas with grills throughout the park.  Watch the games or route for your home team and then enjoy a team picnic afterwards overlooking the beautiful water views of Lake John.

There is a boat ramp for you to take off on a early morning or late afternoon fishing trip.  If you like watching nature, then you will enjoy the many trails to walk, bike or jog. You can also just relax by watching the many birds, turtles, fish and alligators that can be seen along the various trails if you are in quiet mood.

The Cleveland Heights entrance is for cars and boats but the park is accessible by a short walk, jog or bike ride from the very south end of New Jersey Road.

Curtis Peterson Park has hosted several events including small art festivals, pet appreciation festivals and local association meetings. You can rent the Eagles Nest Pavilion for special occasions and enjoy a covered and screened area for hosting a party with meals. Why not visit the park and explore everything Curtis Peterson Park has to offer and then plan your next birthday event!

Christina Park Lakeland FL

by Lisa Castanet

Christina Park Lakeland FL, more than just softball

Where:  625 W. CR 540-A Lakeland FL 33813
Hours:   Monday to Friday 5:00 am to 10:00 pm
What:    Softball fields, covered and screened picnic pavilion, outdoor picnic area and tables, children's 
playground, parking, rest room facilities, hiking and handicap accessible.
Reservations: Polk County Parks and Recreation 863-534-4340

History of Christina Park Lakeland FL Christina Park Lakeland FL

Originally a 20-acre parcel owned by Mobil Chemical Co, the Christina Recreation are was leased for $1 a year in the early 1960's.  In 1983 the recreation facility became a county park and the size was reduced to 17.5 acres with a donation through the Mobil Foundation which was a non-profit organization.

Polk County had invested approximately $150,000 to develop the park and was made possible due to the leasing arrangement and support of the Mobil Chemical Company.  In 2002 the county entered into initial meetings with a design consultant firm and plans were discussed to make the first major renovations of Christina Recreation area in 20 years. Once final renovations were completed  the Grand re-opening of the new park was celebrated on March 13, 2009 called "A Home of Their Own".


The new renovations to Christina Park included five softball fields with lighting and irrigation, dugouts and bleacher shelters complete with a concession building and restrooms.  There is a Grand Pavilion with restrooms which can be reserved for special events, numerous picnic areas including those with shelters and a covered outdoor grill. Enjoy walking through the pedestrian trail around the perimeter of the park and children will enjoy the state-of-the-art playground area.

So next time you feel like getting out for some fresh air I suggest you stop in on a weekend morning or afternoon and watch one of the local softball games, sit back, relax and have some refreshments at Christina Park Lakeland FL.  Interested in finding homes available for sale in south Lakeland?  Click this link and start shopping.

Streamsong Resort, luxury hotel and golf resort Central FL

by Lisa Castanet

Streamsong Resort, luxury hotel and golf resort Central FL

Where:   Resort: 1000 Streamsong Dr, Streamsong, FL 33834
 Clubhouse: 3000 Streamson Dr, Streamsong, FL 33834
 Located about 18 miles south of Mulberry in Central Florida
Golf Course:  Two 18-hole courses; Streamsong Blue and Streamsong Red
Accommodations: 216 rooms at Main Lodge and 12 rooms at the Clubhouse
Entertainment: Restaurant Fifty-Nine at the Clubhouse serves three meals daily and the Main Lodge has four casual and fine dining restaurants and a rooftop lounge.


The golf courses were designed by Tom Doak, Renaissance Golf Design and Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, Coore & Crenshaw. The courses were designed specifically with the walking golfer in mind. The course architecture takes full advantage of the natural setting and lay of the land.

The resort is already ranked one of the top courses in the United States by several industry publications with a goal in mind to be among the country's top 10! Tee times can be booked online at the Streamsong Resort website.
Golf packages include a Stay and Play from $575, per person, per night based on double occupancy. You can choose to walk the course, as designed, or carts and caddie services are also available. Events can be booked for groups of 20 to 288 players for golf outings or tournaments.

We have had lunch at Restaurant Fifty-Nine a couple of times and really enjoyed the atmosphere and artwork. The views from the clubhouse overlooking the course are really spectacular. You can dine inside and on the outdoor patio deck.  The full service bar and wine storage racks offer something for every taste and are very attractive in design and appearance.

Last month we went to lunch to celebrate my dad's 76th birthday.  We started with an appetizer of baked oysters from their dinner menu which were delicious. They were served on a bed of sea salt and seaweed making a unique presentation.  The oysters were baked and dressed with spinach and Bearnaise sauce. Then we each had different lunch entrees.  I enjoyed the blackened grouper sandwich with homemade tartar sauce and small side of potato salad.  Someone else in our group had the Rueben sandwich which was a large portion so eat a light breakfast. Some else ordered the Caesar salad with blackened grouper and another had the house burger.  We split a basket of home style fries and homemade tomato ketchup. When dining previously, I had the Ahi tuna salad which was also good.

The main lodge opened on Friday, January 17 2014 and a few people in our group were able to "peek" inside the lobby.  The architects and designers spared no expense on materials and interior decor.  The guestrooms and suites were designed by Alberto Alfonso of Alfonso Architects. Guestrooms feature floor to ceiling glass with water views and offer Queen and King-size beds.  Resort amenities include a full service spa, outdoor pool overlooking the lake and a fitness center at the main lodge and golf shop at the Clubhouse.  There are a variety of activities to enjoy when staying at the resort including a lakefront fishing dock, sport clay shooting range, trails for hiking and outdoor fireplaces.

Sounds like you will be enjoying a lavish, pampered stay and wonderful views around the entire resort facility.  Our visit was a short trip just to enjoy the atmosphere and a nice lunch.  When you get the chance, you should check out this beautiful place, Streamsong Resort, luxury hotel and golf resort Central Fl.

Publix Aprons Cooking School, Best night out in Lakeland FL

by Lisa Castanet

Publix Aprons Cooking School, Best night out in Lakeland FL

Where: Lake Miriam Square, 4730 S. Florida Avenue, Lakeland, FL 33813
Hours: Monday through Saturday, check monthly schedules at their website
What:  Cooking classes for all ages, demonstrations and 4 course dinners paired with wines and beverages
Cost: $40 and up (Check schedules and prices at their website)
Contact: 863-647-4127

Specializing in culinary classes, demonstrations and entertaining dinners and catering services.


Publix Aprons Cooking School Lakeland FL opened in November, 2012 and offers a variety of classes for ages.  Their classes cover cuisine from all over the world, trendy topics and seasonal interests.  They even have guest appearances from celebrity chefs.  Their culinary team of chefs includes Executive Chef Scot Hill, Soux Chef Michel Revy, Soux Chef Emily Roberts and pairing expert John Matson. There are several other team members, everyone is very friendly and they all exude an enthusiasm that is contagious.

I was lucky enough to experience a wonderful cooking demonstration and dinner with family and friends this past New Year's Eve.  Dare I say, it was the most enjoyable night out that we have had in a long time.  More than a dinner out; I would describe it as delicious dinner and a "show".
The dinner was held in their large demonstration room and it was the largest event they have had with 56 people who made reservations.  The doors opened for seating at 6:30 pm and the menu included a four course meal.  Each course featured one of the chef's demonstrating the preparation of the course while the other sous-chefs worked to plate each course for the attendees.  We were also given the recipes for each dish so we can enjoy cooking them at home.

The executive chef acted as emcee for the evening, introducing the other sous-chefs and sprinkling a dose of humor throughout the evening.  It was truly enjoyable for all diners and I am sure that I will see many familiar faces when I make future reservations.  Chef Hill also noted that they are planning on having guest chefs from local restaurants featured at special events in 2014 which I think will be really nice.


We started with a little bubbly, Chateau St Michelle sparkling wine. The first course was Champagne Tempura Lobster with Sweet Soy Aioli (my favorite of the night) paired with Chateau St Michelle Dry Riesling.









The second course was Indian-Spiced Roasted Duck with Mango Pickle paired with Villa Maria Chardonnay from New Zealand.




Third course was Seared Rib-eye with Duck Fat Fried Potatoes and Beurre Rouge sauce paired with Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon.








The fourth and final course was an Apple Tart with Thyme and Cheddar Crust and a sprig of fried Thyme as garnish paired with Folie A Deux Merlot.



I know the pictures are making you hungry and you will want to reserve your seat for the next dinner at Publix Aprons Cooking School Lakeland FL.  It was a very lovely evening and I know I will be attending many more dinners this year.  The next quarterly calendar is available at the store or online and includes several events.  The next dinner event January 18, 2014 is "Wine and Dine in Monterey" and January 25, 2014 is "Tuscan Steakhouse" and other classes.  February events include "Couples Cooking: French Bistro" and (just in time for Valentine's Day) a couple of dinner dates for "Valentine, By Mine".

Call or drop by the store to make your reservations and then share your experience with us on our Facebook page at  Bon Appetite!

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

Contact Information

Photo of Native Palm Team Real Estate
Native Palm Team
Native Palm Properties
5925 Imperial Pkwy, Suite #111
Mulberry FL 33860
Fax: (863)701-8309