Yearly Archives: 2016

Movies in Bed: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Post by Mark T. Locker.

Guess what’s out on video?!? Or, I guess in this decade I should say: guess what’s now available from iTunes?!? That’s right! The newest Star Wars movie, the one intended to get the bad taste of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones out of our collective mouths. Seeing as the big-screen release grossed over 2 billion dollars (!) I’d say that it was successful.

I’m inclined to agree. If there is a chance you actually haven’t seen The Force Awakens and you enjoyed the original trilogy, there is no good reason not to watch the movie. It honors the spirit of the original without relying too heavily on them to carry it forward. One of the biggest complaints against George Lucas is that in his later work he let CGIs do all the heavy lifting, even egregiously adding computer-generated parts into the original movies, something nobody was asking for and few likely approved of. J.J. Abrams went back to the series’ roots, insisting on building sets for everything, including the massive Millennium Falcon. Despite the improvements in CGI technology, nothing can beat the real thing.

The story is set some years after Return of the Jedi, and focuses on a disenchanted Stormtrooper named Finn, a junk scavenger named Rey and an adorable but not annoying droid named BB-8 which they turned into the greatest toy ever. The new baddie, Kylo Ren and his pals have a giant laser they want to use to destroy everything. The story is a little too much like the plot of A New Hope but if that’s the worst thing about this movie, then that’s saying a lot. Now that it’s on DVD you will have the luxury of watching it from the comfort of your own bed, and if you fall asleep in your popcorn no one will know but you.

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Bedroom Design: Going Bold on Your Bedroom’s Ceiling

Post by Tracy Kaler.

Since most ceilings get painted white, choosing a bold color probably doesn’t come to mind when it’s time to redecorate. But selecting a red, orange, or blue for your bedroom ceiling can set the mood, add interest, and even pull a mismatched design scheme together. So when the time comes to spec colors, be open-minded and know that white isn’t your only option. Let’s take a look at some beautiful, bright bedrooms with bold colored ceilings.

From the drapes to the bedding, this San Francisco bedroom is beautifully colored, but the hot pink ceiling takes center stage. Storage drawers and shelving keep clutter at bay.

Turquoise blue paint on both the walls and ceiling provides a boost of color in an almost white bedroom. The eclectic furnishings and lighting give the space a boudoir feel.

Green isn’t for everyone, but this bedroom feels happy and summery all year long. This room puts us in touch with nature yet doesn’t have any plants or fresh flowers. The patterned headboard works well with the otherwise neutral bedding and coordinates with the chartreuse ceiling.

A remodeled gender-neutral nursery goes bold on the ceiling with orange, and pulls the color into the furnishings. The designer of this room was a real risk taker, but the outcome is successful.

Coral in the tray ceiling complements the blue walls in this coastal home in Naples, Florida. The colorful print on the bedding and draperies lends itself to the tropical feel of the space.

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Breakfast in Bed – Carrot Soufflé

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Post by Alison Hein.

I was in the mood for something different on a recent morning, when I remembered a bunch of lovely organic, spring carrots I had picked up at the market. But carrots for breakfast? How does that work? Eureka! A carrot soufflé!

I decided on the sweet, rather than savory, route for these little treats. A touch of sugar and a sprinkling of aromatic spices creates a pie-like mood, and the lighter than air consistency melts on your tongue. So lovely to look at as well – fresh from the oven, puffed up and golden.

Carrot Soufflé 1

Make no mistake – your soufflés will fall. The trick (and hope) is to get them to the table (or the breakfast tray) before they do so. Carrot purée makes these a little denser than other types of soufflés, so you’ll have to be extra quick.

If you like, remove the sugar and spices and add some fresh thyme instead for a delightful dinner side. Or, do what we did and enjoy a breakfast in bed that’s just the right amount of different.

Ingredients

3 medium carrots
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
4 eggs, separated

Carrot Soufflé 3

Equipment

6 4-inch ramekins

Preparation

Peel and chop carrots. Place in small, heavy pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until carrots are completely soft and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Use a food processor hand masher to purée carrots. Set aside and allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly spray each ramekin with cooking spray.

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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. Remove from heat. Beat in egg yolks one at a time. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add carrot purée and stir to mix thoroughly.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into egg batter. Fill each of the ramekins with batter – they should be about ¾ full. Tap the bottoms of the ramekins lightly on the work surface so batter fills the bottom, then smooth the top with a butter knife or offset spatula.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until soufflés are puffed up and lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

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Bedroom Design: How to Use Stripes in a Bedroom

Post by Tracy Kaler.

Wide. Skinny. Horizontal. Vertical. Awning. Pinstripe. Stripes play a role in our everyday lives through the clothing we wear and the rooms we live in. When it comes to interior décor, there’s a host of ways to get creative with stripes. From walls to ceilings to upholstery and accent pillows, let’s take a look at six bedrooms using stripes in different applications.

Bold horizontal stripes make a statement on the walls of this kids’ room. It’s no surprise that this townhouse is located in Miami, as this colorful space boasts a real Florida feel.

A striped bench in a London loft introduces pattern and color in a predominantly white space. Coordinating pillows are just matchy enough. Also a stripe, the wood ceiling creates interest on a large surface.

Classic black and white striped wall covering sets the backdrop for this ornate headboard. Black and white can appear dated sometimes, but in this room, the color combo looks timeless.

Stripes take center stage in this Charleston bedroom through an area rug. Built-in beds and a window seat complete the efficient design.

Designer Liz Carroll worked her magic by using stripes on the ceiling of this sweet, mostly pink bedroom. A ceiling isn’t the most obvious location for stripes, but in this room, it works well.

A striped headboard and floral accent pillows make for a lovely combination in this Vancouver home. Simple and straightforward, this room is all about texture.

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Breakfast in Bed: Almond Milk Pancakes

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Post by Alison Hein.

I’ve recently begun experimenting with almond milk in my cooking and baking. Almond milk has a creamy texture and mildly sweet, nutty taste. It is dairy-free, contains no cholesterol, and is low in calories. Besides that, it is delicious! I completely understand why it is now so popular and available.

I’m entranced by the simplicity of this pancake recipe. The almond milk is sweet and rich enough that there is no need for sweetener or shortening. The texture, somewhat thicker than usual pancake batter, takes a little getting used to. But the end result is well worth the learning curve. Not as many bubbles appear (you’ll need to peek at the bottom of the pancakes while cooking), and the almond cakes will not brown as much when cooked.

Almond Milk Pancakes 1

I’ve been using my old cast iron pan for frying, which is so well-seasoned that I don’t need to use any shortening at all. Amazingly, I don’t feel the need for butter – a splash of maple syrup or chopped, fresh fruit seems just right.

Use almond, buckwheat or rice flour if you are looking for a gluten-free pancake option. Or, toast some almond slivers in advance for a nice, crunchy topping.

You’ll soon come to see why almond milk was a staple in medieval kitchens, and why it is a wonderful choice for breakfast in bed!

Almond Milk Pancakes 2

Ingredients 

1 cup flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup almond milk
Cooking spray, butter, or vegetable oil, for frying

Almond Milk Pancakes 4

Preparation

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Whisk in the egg, then the almond milk, until batter is thick and smooth.

Heat a pan or griddle on the stove over medium to medium low heat. Splash a few drops of water on the pan to test the heat. The pan is ready when the water drops sizzle immediately. Add cooking spray or a small amount of butter or oil. (If you have a well-seasoned cast iron pan, you may be able to completely dispense with any type of shortening.)

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Ladle about 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan for each pancake, and spread out a little in the pan. Cook until small bubbles appear throughout the pancake, about 1 minute. Flip once with spatula and continue cooking until lightly golden, another minute or so. Serve hot with real maple syrup or chopped, fresh fruit.

Makes about 8 3-inch pancakes.

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