Tag Archives: bedroom
by: Alison Hein
It’s so easy to make prepared hot cocoa – just stir a packet of mix into a mug of hot water and pop it into the microwave – you may wonder why I suggest you make your own.
Well, truth be told, it’s not too much harder than the method just described. Yes, you have to dirty a pot and make a few measurements, maybe wait 5 minutes longer for the final product. But trust me, the end result is more than worth this tiny bit of extra fuss.
This recipe mirrors the classic Hershey’s instructions printed on the side of the little brown box of hot cocoa mix. I’ve just added a little oomph by topping with whipped cream and cinnamon. Don’t stop here though. This recipe is merely the basic pattern for finding your very own hot cocoa mix, tailored just for you. Try using different types of chocolate – there is now a wide variety of cocoa offerings in every store. White cocoa is lovely, and you dark chocolate addicts can even shave a bit of your chocolate bar right into the milk before warming.
I like cinnamon, but nutmeg, mace or allspice add a little punch, or you can even try a sprinkling of sea salt or a tiny dash of cayenne pepper for some serious spice! Sweeten the cocoa with brown sugar, honey, or caramel sauce. On special days, pour in a finger of whiskey, brandy or Bailey’s Irish Cream.
Make a big pot of steaming hot cocoa for a large group (simply multiply the recipe times the number of people) or just treat yourself to a little something special. Homemade Hot Cocoa – so right for these fleeting autumn days, so right for breakfast in bed.
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons whipped cream
Dash of cinnamon
Pour milk into small, heavy saucepan. Whisk in cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla and salt. Heat over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until smooth and thoroughly warmed. Pour into mug. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Makes 1 serving.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
I haven’t read books out loud to my son in a while, partly because a) He always has his nose buried in books on his own and b) He’s super into comic books and like I keep telling him, you CAN’T READ COMICS ALOUD.
Well I asked him if he wanted me to read him a book (I am really good at it and have been depriving the world too long of my skills) and he grabbed a COMIC (maybe it was technically a graphic novel) called Dragon Puncher Island. That’s a good start. What a ridiculously silly title! What a ridiculously silly book inside! The most remarkable feature is John Kochalka’s style of illustration. Simple bright characters: monsters, dragons, superheroes, with what appear to be family photos as faces. The monster’s face is the author’s child and the superhero “Mr. Puncher” is a tabby cat’s face. The dragon from the sea appears to be the other cat in the family.
What’s the story? Who cares? The monster/child has a super weapon he calls “Spoony Spoon”. It’s a spoon! The Dragon Puncher has little time for Spoony Spoon and the stinky monster wielding it. Of course while they are busy arguing, Spoony Spoon falls into the sea. And who should emerge just then? The cat-dragon! Whatever will happen?? This ridiculous book is pretty easy to read out loud even though it’s a comic book. Just come prepared with three silly voices to narrate it all.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Let’s talk pillows. We’ve already done an overview of shams, but what about some serious sham inspiration? Whether you realize it or not, shams can quickly transform the look of your bed. No matter if you prefer standard or Euro, knife-edge or trimmed, a pair of custom pillow covers could be all the décor your bedroom is asking for. Peruse the photos below for easy sham ideas to apply to your own sleep space.
Imagine this room without the shams; it would be a tad dull wouldn’t it? It’s amazing how those two lovely boxed pillows enhance a very traditional space. The trims introduce the right amount of detail too.
We’ve discussed how monograms can add personality to a space. A layer of throw pillows acts as a backdrop for the crisp white shams in this girly bedroom.
These shams throw a dash of pattern into this Chicago home. The floral picks up the blue wall color and connects every element in the room.
Elegant and neutral, this calming Denver bedroom successfully boasts toile, seersucker, florals, and stripes. The button and ruffle introduce interesting details to the otherwise plain shams.
This twin bed uses a simple green and white pattern on a single sham with a smaller throw pillow in front. Every item is perfectly proportioned to the rest of the space in this Salt Lake City Bedroom.
This mostly white room is modeled after a luxury hotel. Euro shams with embroidered edges complete the look. Remember, shams like these can be laundered with your sheets and duvet cover – an advantage over others, which usually require dry cleaning.
Post by Alison Hein.
We recently had a major garden renovation, with a tight timeframe for completion. One morning, in an effort to speed the finish, our landscape designers sent a group of six hard workers. It turned out to be an unseasonably cold morning, and as I looked out from inside my warm and cozy house and watched these guys toiling, my feelings of guilt turned to recipe inspiration.
I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to offer them a little bite of hot food for energy and warmth? Something savory, perhaps, with a little cheese, a little bread, a little spice. Something breakfasty, fast, and easy to eat. Something to accompany a good hot cup of strong coffee.
Why not a take on bread pudding, with a savory Italian twist enhanced by salty pancetta and a touch of parmesan? A little sautéing, a little chopping, and a little baking later, my Pancetta Breakfast Bake was done. I sliced it into little squares, and brought it out to my valiant landscapers.
A warming little break from hard work for them, a warming little breakfast in bed for you.
5 ounces fresh leaf spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, diced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
½ loaf stale French or Italian bread4 eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried basil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Grease a 9×9-inch baking dish and set aside. Wash, trim and dry spinach. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy sauté pan over medium heat. Add spinach and cook until lightly wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Spread spinach evenly in the prepared dish. Add remaining olive oil to same pan, and sauté pancetta, shallot and minced garlic over medium heat until softened and fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
Cut or tear bread into bite-sized cubes (should be around 3 cups). Spread bread cubes out evenly on top of the spinach. Arrange the sautéed pancetta, shallot and garlic on top of the bread cubes.
Add eggs and milk to large bowl and whisk until slightly thickened. Whisk in Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, basil, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over bread cubes and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes to allow bread to absorb liquid. Preheat oven to 350°.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until lightly puffed up and the top is golden brown.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
To Hold the Bridge: Tales from the Old Kingdom and Beyond by Garth Nix.
If anyone has been reading these book reviews for any amount of time, you will know that Garth Nix is one of my go-to young adult fantasy novelists. His Old Kingdom books (Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen and now Clariel) are my personal favorites. Well, Garth Nix has just released a new collection of short stories, and I couldn’t be happier. What’s more intriguing is that a few of these stories are set in worlds that fans of his novels will recognize and be excited to revisit. Others are surprisingly real-Earth based, but no less fun to read.
The first story, To Hold the Bridge is a great little story from the Old Kingdom, a place I’m always happy to revisit. A harrowing tale of a poor, physically imperfect but clever and well-trained joins a troupe that guards an important bridge. When a necromancer launches an attack, the young man finds himself the only thing standing between the undead and the village beyond.
Another story was first featured in Holly Black’s compilation, Zombies vs. Unicorns. Garth Nix’s story has both zombies AND unicorns, so we all win! My favorite story is a short, sweet story about a young man whose voice was damaged in a childhood accident so he doesn’t speak much. Where he really thrives is as the Quiet Knight, his live-action role playing (LARPing) character, in which he dresses as a knight and battles the forces of evil. It’s sweet.
Finally, fans of Shade’s Children and A Confusion of Princes will rejoice to see their beloved characters brought back for an encore after, in the case of Shade’s Children, nearly 20 years. Although a couple of these stories are not what I’ve come to expect from Garth Nix, they’re all fairly enjoyable. And that short stories can be read in their entirety before falling asleep makes these perfect bedtime reading.