Monthly Archives: April 2015
Post by Alison Hein.
My sister and I share a favorite childhood memory – we are at quaint Lake Edenwald where our grandparents have a funky but beloved log cabin. All of our cousins are there. We splash in the shallow area of the lake, until one by one, our Grandpa methodically teaches each of us to swim, in order of age. The challenge? To make it to the old splintery raft through the deepest, darkest water to the far side of the lake. Our boy cousins roughhouse, chasing and splashing, until we are spent. We paddle to shore, finally squish our toes down into the spongy lake bottom, then run to our mother. She’s laughing and smiling, waiting for us. She hands us each a tiny, personal-sized and precious box of Nabisco Ginger Snaps. We collapse on our towels and blissfully gorge on the well-earned treats.
I’m not sure if Nabisco still makes those tiny boxes of cookies, but every year when the weather starts to warm, I get a hankering for a handful of chewy coin-sized snaps. These are a little larger and a little spicier than the originals. I like to use fresh-squeezed ginger juice for extra tang. If you don’t have a juicer, simply peel and grate a hunk of fresh ginger. Then squeeze the pieces over a clean bowl until the juice flows. Strain and use to create these lovely little snaps and a personal-sized, precious breakfast in bed.
¼ cup (½ stick) butter, softened, plus more for baking sheets
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsulphured dark molasses
1 tablespoon fresh ginger juice
1½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup granulated sugar, for dusting cookie tops
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add molasses and ginger juice and blend until creamy. In a second bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Add gradually into butter mixture, until thick dough forms. Shape the dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350° and grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Form rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. Arrange the balls on the prepared sheet. Pour some granulated sugar into a small dish. Wrap the bottom of a small glass with plastic wrap. Press the bottom of the glass into the sugar, then press and turn the glass onto each ball of dough, flattening before baking.
Bake the cookies until they have set but still seem soft in the middle, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on sheets for a couple of minutes before transferring to wire racks.
Makes approximately 2½ dozen cookies
Post by Tracy Kaler.
With warmer weather approaching, sun and sand time is right around the corner. When I dream of beach houses and coastal getaways, I can’t help but think of Nantucket, the charming seaport town off the coast of Cape Cod.
Nantucket has its own style and personality: nautical themes, muted blues, crisp whites, and natural materials are a few elements that characterize the island’s shingle-style houses.
In a coastal mood now? Take a peek at these five pretty bedrooms that will leave you fantasizing about a summer in Nantucket.
On the traditional side, this impeccably decorated blue and white bedroom sports a New England feel. No detail has been left out –– from the perfectly fluffed pillows to the throw on the ottoman and touch of greenery on the mantle, the room would be a pleasure to relax in for an afternoon or sleep in during an extended stay.
This spacious bedroom boasts a monochromatic scheme with a view of the sea. The space is relaxing and soothing. Who needs anything more?
I love the elegance in this bedroom. Notice the crisp Roman shade, Fortuny-esque pattern on the headboard, and the simple chandelier. Although the beach doesn’t immediately come to mind when I look at this room, I can easily imagine the space in an 18th century Nantucket cottage.
This modern Nantucket renovation still features classical elements. Notice the extra bed along the side of the room, which is pretty typical in beach houses.
What an adorable attic bedroom with a nautical theme. The ladder goes to a boat hatch and leads to a widow’s walk roof deck. The clever, uncluttered room sleeps multiple people and appears to get plenty of natural light.
Post Alison Hein.
We invited our good friends Michael and Luis for dinner shortly before Easter. When Luis offered to come a little early and help me prepare, I agreed whole-heartedly. Little did he know I intended to trick him into making tie-dyed Easter eggs! (You can now buy these kits in your local grocery store.) Anyway, they turned out beautifully. Luis’ artistry made for an impressive display, and I even let him take a couple home.
After the holiday, a handful of these beautiful eggs still remained, and I longed to use them purposefully. My first inclination was for some type of deviled eggs, but then I remembered an old favorite from Anna Thomas – parsleyed eggs on the half-shell. Eggs, hard-boiled and scooped out, their innards mixed with parsley and butter, then returned to their shells and cooked to a crisp, golden finish. What inspiration! Now I could showcase my lovely tie-dyed eggshells, and pay homage to Anna Thomas, famed for her 1972 book The Vegetarian Epicure, sometimes called “the vegetarian Bible of the 1970s.”
Slicing through the shells and removing the cooked egg is difficult work, so take your time. Don’t worry if the first couple don’t work out so well – you’ll soon get the hang of it. And, even if you don’t feel like tie-dying your parsleyed eggs, I’m sure you will still enjoy the artistry of Anna’s recipe, and a beautiful vegetarian, epicurean breakfast in bed.
2 tablespoons butter, softened, plus additional for cooking
½ cup fresh parsley, washed
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place eggs in a small heavy saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil on high heat and continue to cook eggs for 10 minutes, until hard-boiled. Cool.
Using a sharp, serrated knife, carefully tap and score the eggshell in half lengthwise, then cut entire egg in half. Gently scoop out cooked yolks and white, retaining shell halves. Repeat with remaining eggs. Place cooked egg whites and yolks in blender or food processor. Add softened butter and parsley and blend to a smooth, thick paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Trim off any jagged edges, and fill shells with egg mixture, smoothing to a flat top.
When ready to serve, heat butter in heavy pan over medium low heat. Place egg halves in pan, stuffing side down, and cook over low heat until light brown and crisp on top and heated through, about ten minutes. Serve warm.
Makes 2 to 4 servings.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Invader Zim has been around for a long time. Zim-related products have overwhelmed the Hot Topic employees for years. Everyone who has watched the show knows it’s because GIR is amazing. Zim is pretty great, but GIR is where it’s at.
This Nickelodeon cartoon was created by Jhonen Vasquez, which seemed highly unlikely seeing as he was previously known for his very good, but very disturbing comic Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. Zim is a horse of a different feather. He is a very egotistical but highly inept alien from the planet Irk. Their purpose is to dominate other planets. Eager to get rid of Zim for good, this leaders, the Tallest, send him on a wild goose chase to the far end of the universe. Each invader is armed with a robot warrior servant but in Zim’s case they filled its head with garbage. And so is born GIR, the dopiest, funniest, cupcake-loving robot companion you ever will see.
When they arrive on Earth, Zim disguises himself as a human child “I am normal! Nothing to see here! I am a normal human doing human things!” and GIR as a dog, zipper visible in the front plain as day. The only thing stopping him from taking over is Dib, the one person who sees through Zim’s disguise.
This is a super fun cartoon for grown-ups and adults alike. Word of warning though: if you are squeamish, there are a few episodes with a very high “ick” factor, so beware. My son loves this show but to be honest, I was watching it years before he was born. Available streaming on Amazon and surely for sale as well. Enjoy!
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Mission might not be the most popular design style, but Arts and Crafts aficionados adore the vertical and horizontal straight lines, simple aesthetic, rich wood tones, and Frank Lloyd Wright influence.Furnishings are most often seen in quartersawn oak, and said to be derived from the Spanish missions in California, but there’s no formal proof of this. Stickley was an original pioneer in the movement and was highly influenced by William Morris and John Ruskin. Mission style became increasingly popular during the turn of the 20th century, and was a welcome change from its ornate Victorian predecessor.
With little to no decoration on Mission pieces, many are characterized by exposed joinery, which could be stained a different color from the rest of the piece, simple yet sturdy fabrics and leathers on upholstered items, and a heavier feel than other transitional styles. Stained glass was a popular detail both in architecture and home furnishings.
Take a look at these five lovely Mission-inspired bedrooms, which might encourage you to consider using Mission elements in your room.
This Mission headboard is almost hidden with the chartreuse shams. This bedroom has taken on more of a feminine feel, unlike most Mission-style rooms.The patterned pillows and various textures add interest and flair to what would otherwise be a dull space.
This bedroom is straightforward and the stained glass adds a touch of elegance. I’d love to see some pattern on the floor. The lamps are perfectly proportioned.
The architecture of this space is undoubtedly Mission. The pair of lounge chairs is ideal for reading or sipping coffee. The fireplace warms the space, as does the large area rug.
This Ontario bedroom boasts Mission-themed woodwork and a classic Arts and Crafts light fixture. The fireplace and view can’t be beat. What a comfy space!
The exposed brick completes this Mission-styled room with a chunky wooden bed and crisp white linens. Keep in mind that a large bedroom is needed to accommodate this oversized bed.