Tag Archives: bedroom
Breakfast in Bed: Blueberry Breakfast Cake
Post by Alison Hein.
If you’ve been reading my posts for awhile, you know that I am a blueberry fanatic. But did you know that July is National Blueberry Month? According to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, the North American blueberry harvest runs from April in Florida to late September in British Columbia. The peak of the season is around July 4th. What better way to celebrate Independence Day?
Start your day off with this easy, fruit-filled blueberry cake. Light enough for breakfast, it’s the perfect companion for that first cup of steamy morning coffee. Warm brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla flavors beguile with each blueberry bite. Assemble all your ingredients first, and mixing becomes a cinch. This cake is best served warm, and sour cream added to the batter keeps the texture moist, even after reheating.
Serve your cake with some fresh strawberries, if you like, for an Independence Day red, white and blueberry breakfast in bed.
By the way, July 10th is National Pick Blueberries Day, so you’ve got one week to plan. Check out the North American Blueberry Council’s website for nationwide u-pick information, as well as blueberry festival dates: http://www.nabcblues.org/upick.htm
¼ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sour cream
2 cups (1 dry pint) blueberries
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside. Mix white sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the brown sugar and butter. Beat in eggs one at a time. In a separate small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
Mix the milk, cider vinegar, and vanilla together in another small bowl. Add alternately with flour mixture to the egg batter, until well mixed. Fold in sour cream and blueberries.
Spread batter evenly in baking dish, and sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly across top. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool 20 to 30 minutes before slicing. Serve warm. Add a dollop of whipped cream, if you like.
Movies in Bed: Pretty in Pink
Post by Josh Zinn.
I used to think Molly Ringwald could do no wrong. A ginger-haired vixen whose teenage life John Hughes made privy for the world to see, she seemed to possess an essence of purity and strength amidst a silver screen sea of split-ended, gawkified Ally Sheedy’s and Martha Plimpton’s. The bulk of my youthful devotion to Ms. Ringwald stemmed from the fact that she was the star of Pretty in Pink, a film that explores with delicate nuance the all-important and timeless dilemma of how poor people are able to go to their senior prom. A veritable rose-colored expose on the back-stabbing world of secondary education, Pretty in Pink filled my impressionable and destitute self with fantasies of a life that paid no heed to ritzy clothing labels like Gotcha, Generra, or Esprit, but rather found solace and redemption in the thrift store aisles of the Salvation Army. Like a teenage Norma Rae, Ringwald’s character Andie stands up to her school and the expressionless, there’s-no-way-he’s-a-teenager rival James Spader by saying, “No more!” to the khaki and boat shoe Gestapo. She’s her own woman and she’ll wear a used Mennonite floral print dress to Biology if she wants, thank you very much!
Unfortunately, amidst all this couture rebellion the film also contains a romance with the stunningly washed-out Andrew McCarthy, whose character Blaine may be the most mystifyingly dull seventeen-year-old boy ever to be intended as swoon-worthy. Pay no attention to his vapid stares, trembling voice, and muted color palette and, instead, feast upon the rich social messages Ms. Ringwald is daring the world to acknowledge. True, perhaps Andie has an attraction to pasty, indecisive men who consider being cultured to mean a bottle of Pinot Grigio and a platter full of quiche bites, but when it’s time for THE BIGGEST NIGHT OF HER HIGH SCHOOL LIFE, the antique, coffee-stained lace gloves are off and she’s ready to fight.
Although Pretty in Pink may lack the depth of other films dealing with the conflicts of class and pastel prom wear, it nonetheless validates itself thanks to an amazingly terrific soundtrack (seriously) and Ringwald’s frumpy-forward performance. Prom nights may come and go, but discount fashion is forever.
Breakfast in Bed: Mulberry Mini-Scones
by Alison Hein.
My sister, Janet, has a red mulberry tree in her garden. Mulberries are prolific in the Northeast, where they are better known for their messy habit of dropping sticky, ripe berries wantonly to the ground than for their inherently sweet and tangy, somewhat wild, juicy berry flavor.
Mulberries are not commercially cultivated in this country (you will soon learn why), and make a rare early-summer treat. Peak growing season is fleeting, and harvesting is messy. Berries fall to the ground the moment they ripen, becoming instant prey for birds, deer, and other creatures. Picking ripe berries from the tree results in a slow, frustrating harvest, and stubborn, crimson-stained hands. Tenacious little stems cling stalwartly to the tree, making you fight for every berry. Instead, try laying down a tarp or drop cloth, give the tree a good shake, then scoop up the ripe berries.
Now, what to do with them? Pies, tarts, pancakes and muffins are all good options. Mulberries look and taste somewhat like blackberries, but with a sultry, wild edge. Jellies and jams, or mulberry-infused vodka, will taste like a fleeting, exotic indulgence. Whatever you decide, make sure you harvest enough mulberries to create a wild, early-summer breakfast in bed.
2¼ cups flour
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ cup (one half stick) cold butter
¾ cup milk
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
½ cup toasted walnuts*
1 ½ cups mulberries (or blackberries), carefully rinsed and placed on paper towel to dry
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Extra flour for shaping scones
Preheat oven to 425°. In large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and ginger. Cut butter into small pieces and cut into dry ingredients.
In a small bowl, combine milk, vinegar and one egg. Mix well, then add all at once to dry ingredients, stirring until just mixed in. Add toasted walnuts and mulberries. Mix in gently.
Turn batter out onto floured board. Divide into 16 equal pieces and shape into balls. Press each ball gently into a flat round. Cut a cross in the top of each scone, but do not cut all the way through.
Place scones on lightly greased cookie sheet. Lightly beat remaining egg, and brush on top of scones. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Place in oven and bake for about 14 to 16 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm with butter.
∗ To toast walnuts, preheat oven to 350º. Arrange walnuts on baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool, then chop.
Makes 16 mini-scones.
Bedroom Design: Say Cheese
Post by Laura Cheng.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a collage of pictures should be an indication of speechlessness. My most recent inspiration for bedroom décor is a panel of organized photos. This easy to do idea allows me to personalize my bedroom with meaningful prints. It can be accomplished by keeping three basic design principles in mind – repetition, balance, and spacing.
To get an idea of repetition, I spend a few minutes studying Andy Wahol’s 1962 Campbell’s Soup Can exhibit. Repetition means using the same size and colored frame and repeating it across an entire wall. Frames will need to be more uniform especially when various types of items are being showcased (i.e. photos AND mixed art). Even if the photos are not of the same subject or color, the mass production of the same frame will create an artistically clean and synthesized look.
Balance is another key to creating a successfully designed photo wall display. Hanging pictures in a uniform straight row or grid is the easiest way to create balance. Fold your wall in half and the frames would overlap and line up. However, frames can also be interspersed in different patterns and still have balance. It’s hard to describe balance, because part of its innate definition is subjective to what looks pleasing to the eye. Sometimes the best way to envision balance is to just grab the frames and play with the pieces. Move frames around, try different arrangements, and even go as far as taking a picture of each design. The camera does add 10 pounds, and in the end, will help determine which background is the most photogenic winner.
The last element to keep in mind is spacing. Spacing is a step sister to balance – the amount of space between each frame must be the same. Leaving approximately 1 -3 inches between each picture will give the photo collage the optimum balance.
My biggest dilemma in setting up a collage is determining what pictures to use. I’ve always believed in hanging pictures with meaning and pictures that strike a happy emotion when I look at it. It takes me time to put together such a collection. In those situations, empty picture frames with interesting woodwork can act as an appropriate substitute. T o ensure a well-collected look, I shop garage sales and thrift stores to gather an assortment of picture frames varying in sizes, shapes and textures. After removing all the gizzards, I set up the collage using the same three design principals.
Bedtime Stories: Duckies at Sea!
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Perhaps you heard about this: in 1992, over 28,000 rubber ducks, beavers, and other bath toys were washed off a freighter at sea. For years to follow, these toys were washing up on beaches around the world. I am a huge fan of flotsam and jetsam; whenever I take a beach trip I spend half the time (at the very least!) with my head down hunting for treasures. These two books discuss, in very different ways, the lives of these little rubber toys which washed to sea.
Ten Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle
You know Eric Carle. Even if you think you don’t, you do. His distinctive style has brought such classics at the Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Very Grumpy Ladybug. Ten Little Rubber Ducks is, according to the book jacket, inspired by the news of the wayward duckies, lost at sea. Eric Carle’s assessment of their fate is that they wandered far, and at least one is adopted by a family of real flesh-and-feather ducks. I find this highly implausible. Hands down, all kids’ favorite feature is the squeaky button on the back which sounds like—you guessed it—a rubber ducky.
Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them by Donovan Hohn
Well, the title pretty much tells it all, doesn’t it? I first read this as an article in Harper’s magazine a number of years ago. Now journalist Donovan Hohn has fleshed out his fascinating story into a full-length book. If you have never thought about the secret lives of beachcombers, or the role of the ocean’s currents, or little rubber toys, it’s time you did. Donovan will tell you why.