Yearly Archives: 2014
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Do you decorate your bedroom for Christmas? I tend to add a few small embellishments to my bedroom because I like my whole apartment to feel seasonal and in the spirit.
During this most wonderful time of the year when all things seem merrier and brighter, why not try introducing holiday décor into your bedroom? There are plenty of decorating opportunities even in the tiniest quarters, and a little bit of red and green, silver, or gold will go a long way.
Let these four festive spaces inspire you to decorate your bedroom this holiday season.
A suite with seasonal pillows, evergreen wreaths, and poinsettias in the master bath would put anyone in the mood for Christmas. The year-round sage green wall color and ruby red lampshade only add to the holiday feel.
Touches might be subtle in this all-white bedroom, but by the looks of things, Santa is on his way. A simple strand with red stockings in different shapes and sizes hangs from the footboard, while a small red accent pillow enlivens this otherwise neutral room and readies the space for December 25.
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in your bedroom, the mantle is the ideal place to start your holiday decorating. I like the combination of grapevine garland, red and silver balls, and greenery here. The wreath, white lights, and candles finish off this fireplace nicely.
Oh, how I want this room to be mine. I adore the chartreuse lampshades, the green accents, and the mostly black and white color scheme. The pinecones and evergreens look like they belong all year long. A modest “joy” accent pillow is all this bed needs to welcome Christmas.
Post by Alison Hein.
Before we let go of autumn and plunge into winter’s chilly arms, why don’t we briefly revisit the harvest with some old-fashioned, homey Pumpkin Butter? A jar of this sweet spread is a time capsule that will bring you back to days past as you enjoy its cozy, pumpkin pie flavors. Make your own flavorful purée by roasting or steaming fresh pumpkins, or use a pre-packaged can for a quick, easy delight.
It’s “butter” only in the sense that it is spreadable. Pumpkin purée, brown sugar and pie spices thicken up and colors darken as they cook into a “shmearable” substance, just right for a slice of hearty toasted bread. Or, try a spoonful of Pumpkin Butter stirred into some hot oatmeal for a delicious diversion. You may also like it scooped on top of some freshly baked waffles, or even mixed into a dish of plain yogurt. Packed neatly into a glass mason jar, pumpkin butter makes a lovely gift as well.
Years ago, many families prepared and canned their own pumpkin butter. In recent years, however, the USDA warns against canning pumpkin (and other squash varieties) due to the low acid content of the vegetable. While some people still preserve pumpkin butter, adding lemon juice or vinegar to raise the acidity levels, I think it best we follow the guidance of the USDA and simply eat it immediately – spread, scooped or stirred – for an old-fashioned, homey breakfast in bed.
1 15-ounce can (or 2 cups fresh) pumpkin purée
½ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine pumpkin purée, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and vanilla in small heavy saucepan. Bring to a slow simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, then cook until thickened and flavors are melded, stirring occasionally, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool, and place in jar. Use immediately, freeze, or refrigerate and use within one week.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
In a world where every superhero gets a movie, or a movie franchise, it’s hard not to feel a little bit jaded or at least completely overwhelmed by the flood of choices. It seems like there are new movies every week. So when a movie like “Guardians of the Galaxy” shows up, it’s hard not to be totally skeptical. For one thing: ANOTHER movie from the endless reservoir of Marvel characters. And another: a giant tree man and a talking raccoon make up part of this team. But all that concern falls away when you watch the movie.
Good news: this movie is enjoyable! It’s funny, it’s clever, it’s not a lot of things it could have been. Here’s the premise: Peter Quill is an Earthling who was taken from his home in 1988 and has been raised by a race of blue-skinned thieves. In a tussle to claim a mysterious orb, he and his opponent are arrested and taken to a space prison. Here he meets a giant tree man named Groot, a brilliant but bad-tempered name Rocket, and Drax, a big meaty very literal guy. This motley crew, along with Gamora, the one who fought Quill for the orb, they form an alliance when they discover they have a common enemy in Ronin, who seeks the orb.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” is peppered with funny one-liners, top-shelf cast, and plenty of action and special effects to keep viewers entertained. There is a great deal of fighting and killing but none of it is graphic or bloody. Good exciting movie for grown-ups and older children. And I bet you anything you will have “Hooked on a Feeling” in your head for days afterward.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Bedroom lighting is often an afterthought but should be part of the design plan from the beginning. While ambiance is a key component in a sleep space, task lighting for reading is equally important. That being said, beyond bedside lamps, sconces, and recessed lights, chandeliers portray elegance when chosen for a bedroom, and these are some exquisite examples to inspire.
This serene bedroom contains all of the design elements needed for a tranquil place to rest and relax. The large circular pendant/chandelier draws the eye upward and accentuates the crisp crown moldings.
This room boasts another pendant-type fixture but this one resembles an oversized lampshade. Suspended at just the right height, the style of light is ideal for the room and works well with the sloped ceiling.
Terrific in turquoise, the L-O-V-E-ly bedroom boasts a touch of whimsy, particularly in the accessories. The feminine crystal chandelier is the perfect choice for the theme of this cheery room.
Although I’d like to see a little more color in this super neutral bedroom, I adore the chandelier. I’m sure the designer made a conscious choice to not install shades but rather let the shape of the fixture take center stage. This light is a modern version of a classic.
Far from your ordinary chandelier, this oversized light joins the bed in becoming a focal point in the room. This fixture not only sufficiently lights the space but adds a decorative element that dresses up an otherwise fairly simple mountain house bedroom.
How do you feel about using a chandelier in your bedroom?
Post by Alison Hein.
For several months now, I’ve enjoyed making the crisp, salty Prosciutto Egg Cups my friend Michele told me about. So much so, in fact, that I wanted to experiment with the recipe to change them up a little. What if I whisked eggs with some seasonings instead of cracking them whole into the center of the prosciutto?
I was fumbling with exactly how I should season these imaginary eggs – savory herbs? Spicy pepper? Perhaps some thin-sliced mushrooms? when I had an ‘aha’ moment. A friendly stranger told me about the most divine lemon ricotta pancakes she had enjoyed at the Stoneacre Pantry in Newport, Rhode Island. That was it! I would put an Italian slant on my whisked eggs, adding lemony ricotta cheese, a dash of parmesan, and a sprig of fresh, green basil.
The ricotta-laced eggs emerged from the oven all puffed up and popover like – their warm insides a delightful cheesy fluff; a savory cheesecake. The salty exterior provided a crispy counterpoint to the delicate melt-in-your-mouth middle. If you decide to make your egg cups without their prosciutto wrapper, be sure to add a generous amount of salt to the egg mixture before baking or they may taste a bit bland.
And, if you’re wondering about those divine pancakes, well, frankly, so am I. On to the next experiment, and hopefully, the next divine breakfast in bed.
2 pieces prosciutto
¼ cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly spray a muffin tin with cooking spray (for as many eggs as you plan to make). Arrange a piece of prosciutto in each muffin cup, wrapping around the sides and covering the bottom to form a closed bowl.
Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk until thick and frothy. Stir is ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth and pour egg mixture into prosciutto-lined muffin cups. Grind some fresh black peppercorns onto the top of the egg mixture. Place in oven and bake for around 20 minutes until egg is cooked firm. Carefully scoop out eggs with a large spoon. Garnish with fresh basil and serve hot.
Makes 2 servings.