Posted by Andrew Simac in M/I Homes Culture

From 80-degree Decembers to palm trees strung with lights, spending the holidays in Florida is a one-of-a-kind experience—especially for me, having recently made the move from the Midwest all the way down to South Florida.

Alongside hosts Cassian Bernard from M/I Homes in Dallas / Fort Worth and Lauren Blake from Whole Living Lauren, I got to share some of my new holiday traditions and recipes during our Home for the Holidays LIVE event. You’ll even get to learn a little bit about my big move and role in M/I Homes' brand new division.

Florida is a special place to celebrate the holiday season, and I hope you’ll be inspired to try out a new Floridian recipe from the list below for your own gatherings this year!

Seafood Recipes, Desserts, and Drinks for the Ultimate Florida-Style Holiday

The Best Bang Bang Shrimp

It wouldn’t be a true Florida holiday gathering without some seafood on the menu, and out of all the options, shrimp is always an easy go-to. That’s why I love to make Bang Bang Shrimp: a flavorful, zesty, and versatile dish that could be served as an appetizer or the main entrée! Serve it on a bed of lettuce, in a salad, on top of rice, with pasta, or simply as finger food.

The key ingredients include cornstarch, buttermilk coating, mayonnaise, siracha, and sweet chili garlic. This recipe from Well Plated by Erin is my favorite!

Plate of Bang Bang Shrimp on a bed of lettuce

A Colorful Fruit Tray

Setting out a vibrant plate of fresh fruit is a healthy and casual addition to any holiday party that also adds a pop of color to the table.

Although you can pick any fruit you choose, I prefer a combination of melon with cranberries, which all pair together well and offer a festive flare. Plus, Florida is the top watermelon-producing state in the United States! Consider adding a bowl to your tray with a yogurt or marshmallow-based fruit dip, too.

Up-close photo of a fruit tray with melon and cranberries

Mini Key Lime Tarts

Key lime pie is the staple of Florida desserts, and it’s always been one of my favorites. For holiday parties, we opt for smaller, key lime tarts as individual desserts our guests can take one serving at a time. They’re not messy, and you can dress them up for the holidays with (more) fruit and whipped cream on top.

These mini desserts are made with a graham cracker crust and smooth key lime pie filling. Sally’s Baking Recipes shares a fantastic and simple mini key lime pie recipe to follow, using only 7 ingredients!

Photo of a plate with several mini key lime pies with fruit and whipped cream on top

A Tropical Rum Runner

If you’re hosting for the holidays this year, you’ve got to try out a signature cocktail or mocktail for your guests to enjoy! Of course, rum is a part of all the best tropical beverages, so a drink I often serve is a refreshing rum runner topped off with a blood orange slice.

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. dark rum
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. banana liqueur
  • ½ oz. blackberry liqueur
  • Splash of grenadine
  • Blood orange slice

Q&A With Andrew: Making the Move to South Florida

What state did you move from?

I was born and raised in the Western Chicagoland suburbs, so it was certainly a big but exciting transition to move all the way down to Florida. A new climate, new wardrobe, new holiday traditions with family, and a new job, but I’m really enjoying it all.

Why did you move?

I began my role as Director of Sales for one of M/I Homes’ newest divisions, where we now build new homes in Fort Myers and Naples!

What’s different about how we construct homes in Florida vs. other states?

There are no basements here, which was a big adjustment for me coming from an area where most homes do include at least a partial basement. We also utilize cinderblock walls coupled with a spray foam insulation, which saves money for buyers while giving them a better overall home for the climate they live in.

What’s special about M/I Homes in Fort Myers / Naples?

This expansion is exciting in many ways! Vistera of Venice and Cassata Lakes are two brand new communities in some of the best locations. We’re excited to continue offering more and more new home opportunities as we grow and progress further south in Fort Myers then down into Naples soon. If you’re interested in a new home for yourself or a loved one in the area, be sure to stay up-to-date on our website for all the latest information.

Exterior image of a new construction home in Florida

Being in my new Florida home for the holidays will be extra special this year since I got to share a bit about myself and my own traditions with you. For even more holiday inspiration from around the country, watch the full Home for the Holidays event or explore our additional holiday guides!

Andrew Simac

Blog Author

With nearly 30 years of experience in the home building industry, Andrew has worked in a variety of sales-related roles. Though he’s a lifelong Chicagoan who grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago, he recently made the transition to the sunny state of Florida and joined the start-up team for M/I Home’s brand new Ft. Myers / Naples division as the Director of Sales. His broad range of passions include reading, traveling, and tennis, having made frequent visits to the US Open in New York.

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