Author Archives: charlesprogers
by Alison Hein
My husband and I are back from our extended Caribbean stay – back home (good) and back to the cold (not so much). Wintry weather calls for homey comfort food, so when Kevin requested chili for dinner, I was quick to comply. In my world, a bowl of mouth-burning, spicy chili is not complete without a fresh-from-the-oven batch of buttery corn bread. It’s so easy to make your own, with multitudes of personalization options. Sometimes I make it unsweetened, or zest it up and make Lime-Cilantro Corn Bread with Honey Butter. This time, though, I just made straight up old-fashioned corn bread – the perfect foil for our fiery stew.
In the morning, I decided to use some of the corn bread for our morning meal. But what? Then it came to me: a play on Hot Browns, the legendary late-night breakfast dish from The Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. I switched it up a little, omitting the turkey and using Irish bacon. Just wait for that hot, bubbly, bacony dish to come out of the oven. Just wait for a legendary Hot Brown breakfast in bed.
Learn more about the historic Brown Hotel and see the original Hot Brown Recipe here:
2 thick pieces of corn bread
1 Roma tomato
2 – 4 slices Irish (or Canadian) Bacon
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
¼ cup grated cheddar cheese
Paprika, for garnish
1 teaspoon chopped, fresh parsley
Slice corn bread pieces in half, and place two each into two oven-proof dishes. Cut Roma tomato into four thick slices, and place one tomato slice on top of each piece of corn bread. In the meantime, fry bacon over medium low heat to a crispy brown. Drain on paper towels. Set aside and keep warm.
To make cheese sauce, melt butter in small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth, thick paste forms. Whisk in milk and cook until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add grated cheese and stir until just melted. Pour half of the cheese mixture over each dish of corn bread, covering bread and tomatoes completely.
Broil Hot Browns 6 inches from heat, until cheese sauce is bubbly and lightly browned on top, about 1 minute. Top each dish with a slice or two of crispy Irish bacon, sprinkle with paprika, garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
Makes 2 servings.
Post by Stephanie Noble.
Teaching my son a love of books and reading is one of the great joys I have discovered since becoming a parent. He is lucky to have family and friends who gift him with clever books that engage him so completely that many of his first words came from books. Currently, we have a small corner of our living room devoted to our books. They fill vertical shelves that we installed to fit a corner that was dead space -tough to utilize because of a window on one side and a door on the other. While this is a perfectly serviceable solution for our small space, I dream about creating the perfect reading hideaway for my boy. A cozy corner of his bedroom devoted to losing himself in stories.
Pinterest.com is a great place to assemble ideas for this dream. I’ve been pinning ideas for the last year. Pulling bits and pieces out of different designs to implement when the time comes for the reality, I’ve created what I hope will one day become his imagination nook.
Because he loves to climb, I visualize a vertical space with a space for books, found treasures and space for his artwork. I’m just not certain how this little girl accessed her reading shelf. I would add a ladder.
In our current home, this swinging seat might have to replace an entire nook. It would still give him a spot to cozy up with a book that would feel different from the rest of the house.
If possible, I’d like there to be a lot of natural light, so he doesn’t strain his eyes. Also, so that he can pause and look out the window to dream about the world. In this picture, I like the books hanging from the ceiling. Excess books are being turned into great art, I’d like to include some book art in his space.
If the vertical plan doesn’t work out, a window seat is a classic reading space. I like the built in shelves in this space. I know that it has been styled for this photograph, but I laugh thinking what it would look like after a child took control of the space. I think that’s the most important thing to remember when designing a kid’s space. An adult has a perfected magazine perfect concept that may last for one brief moment before the child takes possession. Then a beautiful chaos will ensue. That chaos is the point at which the child makes the space his or her own. It’s important to not become so attached to the design that you’re unable to let go and let the space become the child’s space.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Being a kid is both awesome and awesomely horrific. From an adult perspective, we recognize the wonderful liberation children have from work, bills, stress. But on the flip side, being a kid is rough. For one thing, relatively minor, if not downright harmless things can be terrifying; darkness, spooky stories, chestnuts. So here are two books about confronting childhood fears and overcoming them.
Young Willoughby relies on the moon to illuminate his bedroom at night. Inexplicably, the moon seems to be getting smaller by the day. Suddenly, the moon disappears completely. When Willoughby opens his closet door, he discovers he is on the moon and in the company of a giant silvery snail looking for his ball. Willoughby is scared of the dark, the snail is scared of everything else. Somehow between the two they learn that none of that stuff is really worth getting worked up over.
This little rabbit is scared of everything, from reasonable things like these trolls which, in this book, are totally real, to chestnut pods which are also real but an unreasonable thing to fear. Through a dubious leap of logic, the rabbit realized that he is the scariest thing in the world and all these monsters are afraid of him. I don’t like this book; it’s too cutesy and moronic. My kid makes me read it nearly every day. Maybe you will have the same fortune.
Post by Josh Zinn.
Hello Dear Readers!
Now that I have returned from that grueling conference on pygmy populations (you may recall I handed over review duties a few weeks ago to my delightful niece, Janie), I thought I would share with you all a bit of a meditation/imagination exercise that guest speaker Deepak Chopra imparted, along with his new book and fragrance, to all the attendees. Mind you, this can be a bit intense and scary, but what it is meant to do is invoke the deepest passions in the subject’s loins, thus allowing them to focus on what truly matters to their heart.
Imagine, if you will, a desert island. No one is there but you and, perhaps, a ferret named Simone. All around this island is a family of man-eating sharks with a hunger for blood, an insatiable appetite, and a love of Anne Murray to boot. There is little food to speak of other than a few coconuts, a banana plant, and a curious lifetime supply of Chef Boy-R-Dee ravioli that come with a note of affection from your Great Aunt. Things are dire.
Now, on top of this tropical maelstrom of misery, imagine that there is also a television playing one movie on a continuous loop from now and into eternity. While you are not required by any sort of island law to watch said movie, there is also no way to turn either the picture off or the volume completely down. This movie is going to be a constant part of you life… for the rest of your life!
Now, close your eyes and breathe… Deep. Breathe…. Take in your life force and the life force of any children near you… Phew… Aahhh. Wait… Wait… You are waiting to exhale… Shoop. Shoop… And… Let go.
Now, the question is: what movie would you choose to be your single and only lifetime companion?
I pondered this question for a whole bunch of seconds, dear readers, and the answer I came to was both curious and comforting, verily whisking me away to the halcyon days of my childhood.
Yes, “Overboard.” That delightful fish-out-of-water folly starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell as mismatched lovers whose differences are no match for the truth that lies within!
Though I hadn’t thought of—much less watched—this movie in quite some time, when I asked the spirits what film would best represent and empower my 89th chakra, the answer was so clear. Of course a film about a rich woman who’s mean and nasty to a backwoods carpenter, falls off a boat, gets amnesia, is eventually adopted by said scorned carpenter and his four out of control boys, actually falls in love with her new family because, hey, it’s better than being married to the vampire dad from “The Lost Boys,” and then subsequently gives the carpenter the extra boost of inspiration he needs to realize his dream of owning a wonders-of-the-world themed mini-golf course would be the film my instincts would draw me towards!!
“Overboard” works as a film for all time because the spiritual lessons of “Overboard” are timeless. You may believe that what matters in this world are fancy yachts and caviar cravings, but let me tell you something, bub: our soul’s true treasures may only be found when—and only when—lies are told to snotty society sirens, filthy children speak like Pee-Wee Herman, and fiberglass sphinxes spit out golf balls; everything else is immaterial.
As you may have gathered by now, dear readers, my heart was awakened—Awakened!—by the time and money I spent listening to Mr. Chopra. No longer do I seek to simply deliver unto you the finest in film reviews. Now, I want to change your life by providing enlightenment alongside entertainment. Fun! I mean, ommmm… Tee hee!
I have given you the gift of “Overboard.” Now, why don’t you make yourself a soothing cup of chamomile tea, slather some pecan butter onto that delicious spelt bread you baked, slip into your favorite pair of organic pajamas, and tell me: what movie speaks to you?
The answer is only your soul’s cry away.
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
Last week we distinguished modern and contemporary design. While the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they convey two distinct meanings: modern design refers to a specific era of design (1920-1970) and many of the more popular pieces from this time are dubbed “20th Century Classics,” while contemporary design refers to a blend of design that embodies a more transient style characterized by what’s popular today. The two can often look similar, but rest assured they are quite different. The devil’s in the details.
Today, I want to discuss my favorite design style: eclectic design. I’ve been told before that you have to be rich to be eclectic; otherwise you’re just weird, though I like to think that’s not the case. Eclectic design is really hard to pin down, but you’ll know it when you see it.
Eclectic design is really a combination of all design styles that just works. Indeed, eclectic is defined as: “deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources. To achieve an eclectic design, people often use traditional furniture pieces and accent them with bold colors and a variety of decorative pieces. I find that a warehouse style loft condo is the best canvas to turn eclectic, since the exposed ceilings and ductwork offers a strong contrast to just about anything you put in the space.
What draws me the most to eclectic design is that it allows you to completely personalize your living space. Rather than being stuck to a particular theme or style, you’re free to do just about whatever makes you happy. That said, you do need to have an overall plan in mind for your space even if it doesn’t come together all at once. Basic design principles like rhythm and balance are very important when designing with an eclectic palette since you won’t be able to rely as much on uniformity in your furnishings like you would if you stuck to a more conventional style of design. For example, the visual weight of traditional furniture may be harder to balance with modern accent pieces; whereas, if you used all traditional or all modern furnishings they would more easily balance right out of the box.
The best way to perfect an eclectic design in your bedroom, or throughout your home, is to experiment with various furnishings, colors, and decorations to find out what works best in your space. As always, a low risk way to get a feel for eclectic design is to comb over photos of how others have done it, successfully, before. Houzz has a great gallery for eclectic bedrooms, which you can view here.
What style of design speaks to you the most? Let us know in the comments below.