Author Archives: charlesprogers
Post by Tracy Kaler.
In my opinion, a bedroom isn’t complete without a pair of nightstands or other furniture on which you can place essentials such as an alarm clock, phone, bottle of water, and pair of eyeglasses. That being said, a nightstand in a traditional sense isn’t the only option for this practical bedside piece. These five choices are viable alternatives depending on your lifestyle, taste, and room layout.
If you don’t need the storage in your bedroom, you can get a custom skirt made for a round, square, or rectangular table. Add a piece of glass for easy maintenance and you’re good to go.
A small desk can double as a place to write a note and work on a laptop, as well as hold necessities. And you don’t have to be symmetrical about it. It’s fine to use a bedside table on the other side of the bed.
This tiny side table does the trick, as it holds a bedside lamp and an alarm clock. It appears as if there’s just enough space for a water bottle.
A short bed wall didn’t leave much room for nightstands, so SGW Architects in Chicago decided on a pair of cleverly designed shelves instead.
This clean, uncluttered built-in offers everything a nightstand does as well as more storage than the usual single-drawer bedside table.
Post by Alison Hein.
Even though we like to stay in our PJs and lounge about in the bedroom all day, we recognize there are times when you need to stretch your legs and visit other parts of the house. That’s why we thought it might be fun to get you up and out once in awhile with a brunch recipe. J
If you are familiar with white asparagus, you will know it is exactly the same as green asparagus with one major exception – it is grown under mounded earth dams which prevents chlorophyll from developing and keeps the stalks white.
White asparagus also has a deep, mellow flavor and can be served in many forms. It’s delightful simply steamed and drizzled with butter or hollandaise. Delicious served cold in a niçoise-style salad, tucked neatly into a cheesy omelet, or puréed into a fragrant cream soup.
There is, however, one cardinal rule about this mysterious vegetable – you absolutely MUST peel the woody skins from the stalks for every preparation. This sounds tedious, I know, but once you get the hang of it the work goes fast. It takes a little patience, and a firm but delicate touch.
This soup is a favorite of ours and a surprise for guests. I always retain a few asparagus tips for garnish, and mix up a tangy Horseradish Cream Sauce for a little added kick.
3 pounds white asparagus
4 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, chopped
⅓ cup flour
1 package (32 oz.) vegetable broth
½ cup white wine
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Dash nutmeg (optional)
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon creamy horseradish
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Cut off bottom inch of asparagus stems and discard. To peel skins, lay each spear on a flat surface. Peel one at a time using vegetable peeler. Gently hold asparagus tip, start about one inch below tip, peel off skin and discard. Coarsely chop asparagus spears and set aside. If desired, retain about 12 to 18 spear tips to be cooked separately and used as garnish.
Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and sauté until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour. Gradually add broth, stirring into flour mixture until smooth. Add wine, asparagus, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes.
In separate small saucepan, simmer reserved asparagus tips in lightly salted water until tender, or about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Stir in heavy cream. Lightly puree in blender or food processor.
To make Horseradish Cream, mix sour cream and creamy horseradish together in a small bowl.
Serve soup warm, garnished with Horseradish Cream, reserved asparagus tips and chopped parsley.
Makes approximately 6 1-cup servings.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
If you don’t live under a rock, chances are you have heard of The Martian. Unlike the other occupied Mars movies of the past (Red Planet, Total Recall, Ghosts of Mars) this one is not some pie in the sky super future movie where all the terraforming and whatnot has already occurred. This story, based on Andy Weir’s novel of the same name, is set in a very plausible near-future and is filled to the brim with science. Much of the buzz around this movie is how scientifically accurate it is and how NASA even helped offer insight to make it as realistic as possible.
Luckily, it has more than scientific accuracy on its side. Though dubiously placed in the “Comedy” category for the Golden Globes, the movie does have some chuckleable moments. But mostly it’s a science drama. When a massive, crazy scary Martian storm blows in unexpectedly, a manned mission is aborted. Astronaut and botanist Mark Watley is struck by flying debris and presumably killed. All the sensors say he is dead. They have no choice but to leave him. But he is alive, if not totally well. Fully aware of his circumstances, he begins working on doing all he can to survive and work out how to get himself rescued.
A surprisingly amusing and interesting movie, The Martian was recently released on video so it’s a great way to wrap up a long week. But schedule your movie in bed early because at a whopping 2 hours and 30 minutes, you’ll be up late!
Post by Tracy Kaler.
We’re in the middle of a winter frenzy, at least in much of the US, so why not bring the theme into our bedrooms?
Decorating with shades of white and cream can give you the opportunity to refresh your space with the seasons. Depending on textures and accents, white can be wintry during December, January, and February, but it can be summery in June, July, and August.
Unless you have a fear of white, consider borrowing some of these design concepts to create your very own winter-white bedroom.
This gorgeous bedroom with shades of cream and beige remains mostly neutral but adds a punch of magenta in the throw pillows, drapery lining, and area rug. Notice the ivory sheers under the drapes, as well as the textured throw tossed haphazardly on the bed. What a stunning space and it boasts a balcony too.
White and taupe balance each other well, and black adds the right amount of accent in this Scandinavian-style bedroom in Denver. A collection of poufs and the suspended chair add an element of whimsy to the otherwise sophisticated design.
Silk wallpaper, velvet wall panels, and sumptuous bedding give this bedroom a luxurious feel. This space is decorated from head to toe in winter white (minus the black legs on furniture), and it’s absolutely fabulous.
A Philadelphia bedroom goes modern using off-white matelassé, shag, and casual cotton. Light-colored wood keeps the room feeling casual yet chic.
Post by Alison Hein.
Just last week, I had a long, fascinating conversation with my friend Tim who works for Charles P. Rogers – all about oatmeal!
“You need to do more with savory oatmeal dishes,” Tim said.
“Hmmm,” I stalled. “But I don’t really care for savory oatmeal.”
“That’s okay, but I want to get my kids to eat more oatmeal. It’s good for your health – you know, blood pressure, cholesterol – all that good stuff.”
“Well,” I said. “You’ve got to use the slow cook oats. Steel cut oats are very good. How about with a little cinnamon and fresh ground nutmeg? And, have you tried cooking your oatmeal overnight in a crock pot?”
“Oh,” Tim replied. “I like the sound of nutmeg. I’ll try it. You can cook oatmeal in a crock pot?”
“Yup. Start the night before, and in the morning, your oatmeal will be thick and creamy, with all the rough edges cooked out. I like to cook oatmeal with apples, maybe a touch of cider. But if you really like savory flavors, how about toss in a little cheese? Or a fried or poached egg on top?”
“This is a lot of oatmeal information,” Tim responded.
Oops. Sorry Tim! You know how excited I get about breakfast foods. How about something we can both enjoy? Savory oatmeal cakes, baked with just enough honey to keep them flaky and moist. You can top yours with a slice of cheese, Canadian bacon, or smoked salmon, and I’ll smear mine, hot from the oven, with fresh creamery butter and sweet raspberry jam.
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup (one half stick) cold butter
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon honey
Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
In large bowl, mix together oats, flour, baking powder and salt. Cut butter into small pieces and cut into dry ingredients until mixed in and crumbly. Add milk and honey to dry ingredients, stirring until just mixed in.
Turn batter out onto lightly floured board. With floured hands, divide into two equal pieces and shape into large balls. Press each ball into a flat round and cut into quarters. Place scones on baking sheet. Place in oven and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until tops begin to lightly brown. Serve warm, with your choice of sweet or savory toppings.
Makes 8 oatmeal cakes.