Author Archives: charlesprogers
Post by Alison Hein
My greatest inheritance from my maternal grandmother Emily is a pile of frayed newspaper clippings, notebooks, and handwritten, yellowed recipes. I take them out occasionally for inspiration, or for a good chuckle over popular recipes from the 1940s. But sometimes I find them frustrating – Grandma, is this page permanently marked for Glazed Baked Apples or Peach Cobbler? Who were you writing to in your handwritten Starlight Double-Delight Cake recipe when you wrote “Good luck, Little Mother”? Or were YOU the Little Mother?
Well, this time I hit paydirt when leafing through Heckers’ Household Hints. In addition to loads of great tips (e.g. – to take the place of a paper clip, go to the sewing cabinet for a dress-snap), I found many inspiring recipe ideas. Heckers’ suggests making a “Home Prepared Flour” to store in the fridge. Then, when time avails, use it to create a variety of yummy choices such as Pineapple Pom-Poms, Orange Fluff Cake, or Aunt Hattie’s Sugar Cookies. It was the Cheese Bacon Shortcake, though, that won me over. Modified, modernized and renamed for my fellow blogger friend, Bacon Biscuit (take a look at her great blog, coolcookstyle.com, I’m pretty sure the layers of crumbly, cheesy, buttery bacon-topped biscuit will grab you too. Thanks Grandma, for an inspirational breakfast in bed.
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 ¼ cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 uncooked bacon strips, cut in half
Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly grease pie pan and set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and mix with flour, using a pastry cutter if you like, until mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir vinegar into milk. Pour all at once into flour mixture, and stir until just mixed.
Roll out and press a little more than half the dough into a pie dish. Brush with melted butter and cover evenly with cheese. Pat or roll out the remaining dough into a circle slightly large enough to cover the bottom layer. Place on top of cheese. Place bacon strips on top, radiating out from the center in a star-like pattern. Bake at 450° until bacon is crisp and brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
Makes one pie, about 8 servings.
Post by Erin Sears.
I love stuff. Accessories, accoutrement and adornment are some of my favorite words. More, more, more, pretty, pretty, pretty. No store left unshopped is my motto and you’d think I was part raven with my attraction to shiny things. Lately however, something has shifted for me and I want to feel unburdened by possessions. I think it may be the spring air. With the change in season, it’s time to throw open the windows, clean out the nooks and crannies and make everything new again. Gone are the layers of blankets on the bed. Fresh, crisp, clean and bright are my current adjectives.
There is something so simple, so beautiful about a white room. Bright yet calm, a white bedroom could be just the thing for spring. Here are some white rooms to get you started:
This room embodies the idea of fresh and clean. White walls, white bed, white duvet. Throw open the windows and you’re all set. Dreamy.
Now for something a little more Scandinavian. If you’ve got a modern heart, this is the white room for you. Adding small touches of color in the form of a throw, some decorative pillows or even your favorite outfit will really pop on a canvas of white. Faux fur rugs can be a year round fixture in any room. Your feet will thank you.
I love the textural juxtaposition of the crisp white tufted headboard and this elegant wallpaper. Don’t be afraid to mix and match white and off-white tones until you get a rich and pleasing combination.
Your bedroom should be a haven for rest and relaxation. This season, try toning things down with white and limiting your accessories to the things you love most. May you have sweet dreamy dreams!
Children’s Book of Mythical Beasts and Magical Monsters by DK Publishing.
What better image to carry off with you into your dreams than that of a witch’s house running around on chicken legs? Or the picture of human skin falling to the floor as the werewolf emerges? Maybe not everyone prefers these as their parting shots from consciousness, but I know one kid who is more than happy to.
To be fair, not every story in here is scary or creepy. There are stories about Ananzi the spider, of African lore, or Native American tales of the Thunderbird which was, incidentally, my high school mascot.
There are stories about tricksters from all corners of the globe, tales of the underworld, heaven, and everything in between. If you dig the Greeks, you’ll find them here as well. Aztecs more your thing? Look no further! Full of original illustrations as well as historic art from around the world, this is a great introduction to mythical creatures as well as stories of quests and battles.
Now some of this book is rather creepy, so if you are not into spooky stuff, you may want to put this away until you are a little bit older. But if you like a little shiver, then by all means pick this one up!
Post by Stephanie Noble.
Five weekends in a row have been taken by blizzard winds and piles of snow. I know my state is not alone in this pattern. And I know I am not the only person waiting for the world to defrost so my family and I can get outside. I swear, next year we are taking up a winter sport just to keep cabin fever at bay.
Until it’s safe to head outside for a hike that doesn’t require ice crimps, I’m determined to bring some nature into our bedroom.
Place a few of the rocks my son gathers for me into one of the corners of the tub. That way I can place them under the water and pretend that I am in my kayak.
Instead of a regular houseplant, I think a Tabletop garden could be fun. To learn more about indoor gardening check out Michelle Slatalla’s blog.
I lived in Sweden for a couple of years. Not only did I pick up the habit of turning my face to the sun and basking in its warmth every chance I get, but, I also fell in love with Easter Branches. Not to be confused with Easter Brunches. You gather branches, glue feathers on them and then hang wooden eggs, small birds and anything else that strikes your spring fancy. Having one of these in creations in your bedroom is a good reminder that even if the groundhog was wrong about how long it would take, spring will still arrive soon.
Post by Alison Hein.
Caution! Your secrets are not safe with me. I have been known to sneak into restaurant kitchens and accost people in grocery stores in the quest to uncover their families’ culinary treasures.
I finagled this delightful Easter Bread recipe from a trusting soul encountered while getting a mani / pedi. It was quite impressive how my new friend remembered the ingredients and quantities. I silently recited the instructions over and over until my nails dried, then raced home to jot them down.
This method of bread-baking intrigued me. Normally, one would let the yeast activate, unmolested, while readying the remaining ingredients. I worried that the bread would not rise properly with too much disturbance of the yeast. This recipe also calls for no second rise of the dough, another surprise. Nevertheless, after fiddling with the methods and metrics (my silent recitations may have been flawed), I managed to produce a lovely golden braided ring. Lightly sweet and dense with a hint of vanilla, this stolen Easter Bread is pure pleasure when warm and daubed with butter.
Jazz it up by tucking a few colored eggs into the center of your circle – a lush adornment for your holiday table, or your breakfast tray.
4¼ cups flour
1 packet rapid rise yeast
1 cup milk
1 stick butter
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Add two cups of flour to food processor. Sprinkle yeast on top of flour. Put milk, butter, sugar and salt into heavy saucepan and heat over medium heat until just melted. Pour milk mixture into food processor and pulse a few times. Add two eggs, vanilla and remaining 2¼ cups of flour to food processor. Pulse until dough starts to ball and pulls away from sides.
Turn dough out onto floured board, and separate into three equal pieces. Roll and stretch each piece into a long rope, about 30 inches long. Loosely braid dough ropes into a circle, and place in a circular pan (I use a 10-inch diameter cake pan). Allow to rise in a warm place, covered, for about one hour, until almost doubled in size. Beat remaining egg and lightly brush over top of risen dough. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes until golden on top. Tuck a few colored eggs in the center of the ring, if you like. Let cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.