Posts Tagged ‘At Home’

At Home: First NJ Peaches of 2017 Season

July 16, 2017

They’re from Fralinger Orchards, in Bridgeton. Bought them at Wegmans which carries them every year. A peach of a peach!

At Home: NJ Peaches

At Home: July 4th Holiday 2017

July 6, 2017

On Monday, Jen came out to the house by herself because unlike her, Louis did not have the day off. Lunch was Hebrew National franks with the usual accompaniments — Batampte deli mustard and sour kraut — along with Busch’s vegetarian baked beans. I didn’t take any photos.

Jen spent part of the afternoon sketching.

At Home: J. Sketching

(More about her art work in a future post.)

Dinner started with Chilled Strawberry-Watermelon Soup I’d made earlier in the day.

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2017

For the main course, Beer Can Chicken. (The previous post, Beer Can Chicken Without the Can, is here.) This time, instead of beer, I filled the canister with white wine.

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2017

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2017

Accompaniment: Jersey Bi-Color Corn.

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2017

Dessert: Breyer’s Vanilla and the last of my Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream using pick-your-own strawberries.

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2017

The next day — the 4th — lunch for Michael and me started with homemade Yellow Squash Soup.

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2017

We then had some of the leftover chicken served at room temperature. To go with it, I made Macaroni Salad.

At Home: July 4th Weekend 2017

The weather during the entire holiday was perfect for dining al fresco and relaxing on the patio.

At Home: Spring Clean-up 2017

June 3, 2017

Bright and early Wednesday morning, Ed Wendel’s crew arrived to do our annual spring clean-up. It was actually a bit of a surprise because when I spoke to Ed a couple of weeks ago, he wasn’t sure exactly when he’d get to us since he was swamped with work, so I was figuring next week. And, by the way, no surprise that he’s swamped with work because when it comes to landscapers, he is the best!

Shortly after the crew started working, Ed stopped by to check things out. He’s one of our favorite people. We love having the chance to chat with him on a range of subjects.

At Home: Spring Clean-up 2017

At Home: Spring Clean-up 2017

His guys are ace pruners.

At Home: Spring Clean-up 2017

At Home: Spring Clean-up 2017

When the mulch arrives, the job is nearly done.

At Home: Spring Clean-up 2017

The finished product is always A++!

At Home: Spring Clean-up 2017

At Home: Spring Clean-up 2017

At Home: Spring Clean-up 2017

At Home: Spring Clean-up 2017

At Home: Spring Clean-up 2017

At Home: Spring Clean-up 2017

At Home: Spring Clean-up 2017

The tree that replaced the tree that replaced the tree that fell on our house has grown substantially and is doing very well.

At Home: Spring Clean-up 2017

At Home: Umbrella’s Up!

May 27, 2017

At Home: Umbrella's Up!

A Memorial Day Weekend tradition, it’s how we mark the unofficial start of the summer season.

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

May 21, 2017

During our trip to France in 1999, we visited Limoges. We bought a dessert set consisting of a large serving bowl and 12 dishes.

At Home:  Dessert Dish

I love that the design is perfect for the strawberry ice cream I made yesteerday using some of the berries we picked at Battleview.

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

At Home: Spring Colors

April 29, 2017

At Home: Spring Colors

White Dogwood Tree (?)

At Home: Spring Colors


At Home: Avocado Toast

February 18, 2017

At Home: Avocado

The avocado. WebMD calls it a “nutrient all-star” because it contains a myriad of vitamins and minerals that have lots of health benefit. And while the fat content is high, it’s monounsaturated fat, aka the “good” fat, that helps lower bad cholesterol.

No doubt the avocado’s most popular use is for guacamole which, of course, I’ve made occasionally (the recipe I use is via Diana Kennedy, the doyenne of Mexican cuisine). However, I more regularly use an avocado when making one of my favorite salads, the Cobb salad, in which it’s an important ingredient.

A few days ago, I made a Cobb salad for lunch – just for me because Michael preferred to have something else. That meant I didn’t use the entire avocado, so then the question: What to do with the rest? I did consider making guacamole but suddenly got this brainstorm. Avocado toast! Something I’d never made before. Actually, I’d never even eaten it before. Though it’s become quite trendy and is served in many restaurants, it’s not been on the menu in any of the restaurants we frequent.

A little Googling provided the info that avocado toast can be plain or adorned. Adorned sounded good to me. And I immediately had the idea of how mine would be adorned.

Though the recipes I looked at all called for hearty, very crusty breads, I used a fairly thick slice of brioche bread. Besides it being the only bread I had on hand, it happens to be really delicious especially when toasted. I mashed the avocado, mixed in a bit of lemon juice, and spread it on the toasted brioche. To the avocado base, I added these layers: chopped scallions, crispy bacon torn into small pieces, chopped tomato, cubed pieces of cooked chicken breast, a generous sprinkling of blue cheese, finely minced hard-boiled egg yolk, and the hard-boiled egg white finely chopped. Lastly, I spooned on some vinaigrette.

Et, voila!

At Home: Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast Cobb Salad

Not exactly a pick-me-up-and-eat-me type of avocado toast as a fork and knife were definitely required. Yum!

Jekyll & Hyde Weather

February 8, 2017


At Home 2017

At Home 2017


At Home 2017


At Home 2017

We’re in the 8-10″+ zone!

At Home: A Deer with Antlers!

January 11, 2017

Seeing deer in our backyard is not unusual. I’ve done posts about it before (here and here). But what caught our attention this time was something we’d never seen before: a deer with antlers!

Yesterday afternoon, as we were on our way out to do errands, we spotted him. Not having my regular camera at hand, I pulled out my iPhone from my purse. However, getting a decent photo wasn’t easy. I knew if I got too close to the window, he would run off. As it was, he kept moving though I finally managed to get a shot. Admittedly, not a particularly good one. When he finally stopped long enough for me snap the photo, he was standing at the side of the house just barely in the window’s range which forced me to the take the photo at an angle. I cropped it and enhanced it as best I could. I think you can make out the antlers.

At Home: Deer with Antlers!

There were two other deer with him neither with antlers. One was about his size and the other a bit smaller. Maybe a family? Nosing about in the snow, they were looking for something to eat.

This was not the first deer siting of the day. When I came downstairs in the morning, two deer were standing side-by-side outside the double kitchen window peering directly into the room. Not something that had happened before so a weird surprise. What were they thinking? “We’re hungry and there’s food in there!”? Even if I had thought about taking a picture — which I didn’t though it definitely would have made an interesting photo — that would have been impossible. As soon as they saw me, they moved away into the yard and, like the three deer later in the day, eventually disappeared into the woods.

At Home: Fixing the Chimney

January 9, 2017

Last Monday, Michael found a brick sitting on top of the air conditioning unit on the right side of our house. It had fallen from the top of one of the two chimneys.

You’ve probably figured out why we have two chimneys since I’ve no doubt that those who come here are smart! But just in case someone’s still scratching his or her head…. Our house, built in 1969, is in a large US Homes tract development. None of the various models included a fireplace. However, buyers could pay extra to have one built in the family room which is what we did.

At Home: Fixing the Chimney

The fireplace and the heating unit are served by the same chimney. For the first few years, we went crazy with lighting fires. Eventually, the novelty wore off, and I don’t remember the last time we lit a fire in the family room.

When we began furnishing the living room in the mid-‘70’s, we decided that a fireplace on the far wall would be a fine design element, so we had a contractor build it for us.

At Home: Fixing the Chimney

Ergo, the second chimney. We lit a fire in that fireplace right after it was built. And that one time was it! As I said, built as a design focal point.

Now back to the current issue…

The fallen brick had come from the chimney built with the house. When Michael looked up at that chimney’s top, he could see that other bricks looked loose. Definitely not good! Using Home Advisor, he contacted several masons. Affirmed, a company that does masonry as well as siding and gutters, said they would send a mason the next morning. Vinnie arrived a few minutes ahead of the scheduled time (points for that!), inspected the chimney and told Michael there was, indeed, a dangerous situation in need of immediate remediation. This would involve removing all the loose bricks in the section at the top and rebuilding it. The work would be done the next day.

On Wednesday, Vinnie came back with another mason, Henry. Not long after they started working, Michael came in to tell me that the situation was a lot worse than Vinnie had thought. The bricks in entire top part of the chimney down to where it widened (near our bedroom window) were loose. The project now entailed removing all the old bricks and rebuilding the chimney with new ones. There would be a new cap at the top, new flashing at the roof line, and waterproofing top to bottom. The other chimney would also be waterproofed. I stayed inside while Michael handled things and relayed this info to me. He also mentioned that they wouldn’t be able to match the brick. My response: I could care less. What’s important is to have a chimney that won’t fall down and possibly injure someone.

While Henry went off to get materials for the rebuild, Michael chatted with Vinnie. He told Michael that he and Henry came here from Albania where, obviously, they were masons. They are working for their uncle who owns the company.

Vinnie and Henry completed the process of removing all the loose bricks on Wednesday and began the rebuild. On Thursday, they returned with two more masons to speed things along.

At Home: Fixing the Chimney

At Home: Fixing the Chimney

At Home: Fixing the Chimney


At Home: Fixing the Chimney

Bringing Up the Concrete

While they were working, they discovered that a dead bird had become stuck in the chimney. After removing it, Henry came inside (Yes, he took his shoes off!) and thoroughly vacuumed the fireplace and cleaned out the ashes.

At Home: Fixing the Chimney

I don’t remember the last time it looked this clean!

At Home: Fixing the Chimney

I never saw the bird though Michael did. Happily, we didn’t have to deal with its disposal because Vinnie put it into the plastic bag with the ashes, and the guys took the bag with them when they left.

Before he went back outside, I chatted with Henry. Impressed with his English – accented but quite fluent – I asked if he had studied English before he came here. No, he said. When he arrived here six years ago, he didn’t know even one word.

The job was completed that afternoon.

At Home: Fixing the Chimney

Michael added our rave review to the ones posted previously on Home Advisor.