Monthly Archives: February 2016

Bedroom Design: 5 Ideas for Nightstand Alternatives

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.

Skirted table
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.

Writing desk
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.

Side table
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.

Shelf
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.

Built-in unit
This clean, uncluttered built-in offers everything a nightstand does as well as more storage than the usual single-drawer bedside table.

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Breakfast in Bed Does Brunch – White Asparagus Cream Soup

White Asparagus Cream Soup 10

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.

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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.

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Ingredients

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

Preparation

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.

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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.

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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.

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Movies in Bed: The Martian

the-martian-main

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!

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