At Home with John Newman

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, May 19, 2017

One Final Trip to my Childhood Home

During my visit with my mother last weekend in Richmond, we took a drive out to the family home in Orange, VA.  My mother lives with my sister and her family now and we decided a few months ago it was time to sell the house in Orange.  It was a difficult decision, but the right decision.  I took a few pictures of the surrounding country while I was walking around and I'd like to share those with you today.


In the tall, tall pines.  I remember when my father planted these pine trees.  They were itty bitty little wisps.  Just saplings.  And now they are at least forty feet high.


There have been some damaging winds over the past few years which have wrecked havoc on them. My mother moved in with my sister several years ago and rented the house for a few of those years. With no family member there on a regular basis, the house and grounds have fallen into disrepair, which was sad to see.


Here is a bird house that my father built many years ago.  I remember this in the back yard near the cherry tree.  A new family of birds of some description would move in every year.  I was always so intrigued with them.


He would lift the roof off every spring and clean it out and put down fresh straw or cedar chips for the new family.  I should have taken this with me.  I may go back before the closing date and pick this up and put it in my back yard.  I'm certain I will do that.


Just beyond the pine trees is this open field which houses several horses.  I particularly like this picture.  It almost looks like a postcard.


Here is another shot of the lot with one of the neighbors houses in the background.  We knew the people who lived in this house when I was young.  They long ago passed on.  I do not know the people who live there now.


I was trying to get a picture of these pine cones but it did not turn out quite as I expected.


And finally a picture of Little Burro who was out grazing on this sunny day.  He is in the lot to protect the horses.  And he does a very good job of it.  I remember taking Fletcher, my Bassett Hound for a visit many years ago.  He was intrigued by Little Burro and he went under the fence to take a closer look.  He quickly learned that Little Burro took his job very seriously when he gave Fletcher and little bite on his back.  That was enough for Fletcher to come back under the fence.

Selling the family home is never an easy thing to do.  But that is just the way things go.  We will let it go and cherish the memories we have of our years there.
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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Food and Flowers for Mother's Day

Continuing with our Mother's Day visit, we had a nice weekend visit with my mother and sister and her family.  I brought along a few goodies for the weekend.  Take a look.


First up were these delicious vanilla marshmallows from Dean & Deluca.  We have not made marshmallows here on At Home with John Newman.  But that may change in the coming weeks.  I would like to try to make them at home.  These were positively wonderful and a big hit, even with my mother.  I wasn't certain that she would have an interest in eating marshmallows, but she did.  I brought these mainly for the children, but everyone enjoyed them.


The next food item I brought was this beautifully decorated Gold Cake.


Here it is out of the box.  My mother thought this was quite beautiful and I must admit, it was very pretty.


A nice healthy slice for me on a china plate.  This was really delicious.  Just a plain gold cake with buttercream frosting.  Absolutely divine.  As our byline says, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. And this simple gold cake was just perfect.

I love this hot pink plate for my waffle.  I think waffles should only be served on hot pink plates.
On Saturday morning, we were graced by chef Gwen, my sister, and her Belgian waffle station.  I do not eat waffles very often.  They just are not on my daily food plan.  So this was a nice treat.


And and even better treat with butter and syrup.  I must say I enjoyed my waffle - singular, "waffle" - very much.  She can come to Crest Avenue anytime and make Belgian waffles.


My mother has reached an age where you don't know what to get her for birthday or Christmas -- or Mother's Day.  So a beautiful bouquet of white roses was what I decided on.


The flowers were stunning and not fully opened so hopefully she will enjoy them for at least this week.

A lovely evening on Friday, although Baxter and I were exhausted from fighting traffic for five hours. An even better day on Saturday.  And a quiet Saturday night before an early departure on Sunday morning back to Crest Avenue.  Happy Mother's Day, again, to my mother and all the mom's out there.
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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mother's Day 2017

Baxter and I drove to Midlothian, VA on last Friday afternoon to celebrate Mother's Day with my mother.  We left Crest Avenue at 3:00 PM with all good intention of arriving somewhere around 5:30 PM.  That did not happen.  The rain on this trip was torrential.  And consistent.  It poured rain the entire way.  We saw no fewer than four automobile accidents along the way.  Between the rain and the accidents, it took us five hours to get there.  It was a journey.  But we made it and we had a nice weekend with my mother.  There were flowers and food and all things a mother should have on this day.  I decided to spend a little extra time on the card this year.  Take a look.


I searched Google for an elegant Mother's Day pic and found this cute image with flowers.   I printed it on white cardstock.  Then I cut it out and found another sheet of cardstock in pink.  I cut out a small frame from the pink cardstock.  A 65 lb. works perfectly for this project.  You do not need anything heavier.  This weight is standard and readily available in Staples and Office Depot.


I laid the small pink frame atop the graphic and it fit perfectly.


Then I glued the graphic to the front of her card and then glued the pink frame on top of that.  I used an Elmer's Repositionable Glue Stick.


Here is the glue stick.  You can pick these up for $2.49.  Everyone needs one of these glue sticks in their arts & crafts room.

The care was very cute and made a nice presentation.  Yes, it took a little longer than just writing "mom" on the envelope, but it was well worth the added effort.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

I'm In Love with Biryani

This is the best video I have ever watched.  That's all I have to say.



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Friday, May 5, 2017

Let's Plate an Entree Using Our Freshly Made Tartar Sauce

As promised yesterday, I am posting pictures of the plated entree with the tartar sauce.


We begin with just a plain, white plate to which we added salad greens.  You want to thoroughly rinse and then spin in a salad spinner to remove access water.  I am very "Leona Helmsley" when it comes to salad greens.  No wet salad greens.  EVER!!


Dress the plate with a little Balsamic Vinaigrette.  I used a Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette, but that might be difficult to find.  Just use the regular.


Next, place your fish selection.  I used Alaskan Pollock which is quite delicious.  It also has very good qualities for eating healthy.  We can go into the advantages of eating Pollock another time.


A few quartered grape tomatoes and fresh mozzarella balls on the side.  And a healthy dollop of our delicious, freshly-made tartar sauce on top.


I got a little crazy and added some quartered grape tomatoes on top of the tartar sauce.


This was an excellent pairing.  The tartar with the Pollock was just amazing.  The balsamic vinaigrette added a nice bite.  This is an excellent combination and one that I am certain you will adore.  But let me tell you.  This tartar sauce is so delicious it would be equally as divine on fish sticks heated in the microwave.  I hope you will make this sauce this weekend.

*     *     *

And finally on today's post, we are off to Chincoteague Island, VA on Sunday.


Just a quick trip over to meet friends who are vacationing there.  It will be Baxter and me for the three hour drive.  We are packed.  The car has been filled up with gasoline and had an oil change. Baxter is going for a haircut with Cassandra at Paws of Enchantment at 2:00 PM today.

We will share snippets of our trip with you next week.  Everyone have a wonderful weekend.
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Thursday, May 4, 2017

We're Making Tartar Sauce at Crest Avenue

Earlier this week I shared with you a Salmon Fillet with Green Beans and Broccoli done in the microwave.  That dish included garlic butter as an accompaniment, which was very good.  In keeping with the theme, today I want to share with you a most delicious recipe for tartar sauce.  This is a true keeper.  You will always want to keep this recipe card in a kitchen cabinet so you have easy access.  It is quite easy to make and very delicious.  Let's get started.


First things first.  Let's start by finely dicing one teaspoon of onion.  This will not take very long but it is really the only chopping for the entire recipe, so I let to get it done and out of the way.


Now let's collect all the ingredients.  One cup mayonnaise.  Two tablespoons pickle relish.  One tablespoon dried parsley.  Two teaspoons chopped pimiento.  And, one teaspoon finely chopped onion.

Grab a medium sized stainless steel bowl from the cupboard and let's start assembling.  First in, one cup mayonnaise.  Use real mayonnaise.


Add pickle relish.  I use Vlasic Homestyle Relish.  But you could use any brand of sweet relish or even dill relish if you prefer.



Add one tablespoon dried parsley.


Add pimiento.


And finally, the finely diced onion.


Stir until incorporated.  You can use a regular dinner fork like I did.  Whatever method you use, just make sure to stir until all the ingredient are combined thoroughly.


I placed the finished tartar sauce in these little stainless steel bowls and placed them in the refrigerator.


If you are making this for a party, make it the night before and refrigerate so the parsley has time to wilt.  The same instructions if you are just making it for your own dinner.  It is best after it has set overnight in the refrigerator.

This is by far the best tartar sauce you have ever had.  There is no brand I can think of that is better. It is simple and easy to make and well worth the time.  Tomorrow I will plate an entree and use this tartar sauce in that presentation.  I think you will really like how it looks.
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Taking the Dog Out

I just could not help but share this with you today.


For some reason I found this hilarious.  Maybe because I am picturing myself and Baxter in this photo.  And he is coming home with me with a lampshade on his head, holding a beer. HILARIOUS!!
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