Tag Archives: bedroom
Post by Alison Hein.
Sometimes I write articles for the Skylands Visitor Magazine, an online and print publication with wonderful stories about the history, geography, and cultural activities in the five most Northwest counties of New Jersey – Morris, Somerset, Hunterdon, Warren, and Sussex. If you feel like taking a scenic drive, want to pick strawberries, are looking for a great new hike, or are interested in learning about new recipes, Skylands Visitor Magazine is a great resource.
I’ve been interviewing farmers, growers, and restaurateurs in the Skylands region, then begging for, preparing, and photographing their original recipes. Most recently, we decided to do a story on edible flowers. I quickly learned that I don’t know much about blooming edibles.
You may often cook with fresh herbs, but did you ever eat a thyme flower? Or sage, oregano, or chive flower? Herbal blooms have the taste of their parents, but with a concentrated, piquant flair. These tiny delicacies are available only when plants are in bloom, so use them. They are fragile and fleeting, uncommon and unique, luscious and lovely.
In this easy recipe, I chose to incorporate a touch of fresh thyme and chives into a fluff of creamy scrambled eggs, then seasoned the eggs simply with only salt, ground pepper, and tiny pink thyme flowers – an uncommon, flowery breakfast in bed.
2 teaspoons butter
1 teaspoon cream or milk
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon fresh thyme flowers, for garnish
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat butter in small, heavy pan over medium low heat. Break eggs into small bowl and whisk well with cream or milk. Stir in chopped thyme and chives. Add egg mixture to heated pan and allow to cook slowly and gently. Stir and lift frequently with wooden spoon to avoid sticking.
Spoon eggs out onto plate. Garnish with thyme flowers and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with thick, buttered toast.
Makes 1 serving.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
You’re not alone if you have trouble relaxing before bedtime. Many people struggle with turning life off to catch a good night’s sleep. With all of the stressors in today’s world, clearing your head so you can snooze for 7-8 hours each night is easier said than done. You can, however, give these relaxation techniques a try the next time you find yourself wide awake late at night while your body and mind are yearning for sleep.
Give meditation a try.
Become hyper-aware of your body and feelings. Tune into those feelings, paying special attention to where you feel relaxed and comfortable, and where you feel uptight and not at ease. Think back on your day from beginning to end as if your thoughts were a movie or television program. Try and recall as may details as you can while you play back the last 12-18 hours.
Try switching off your toes one by one, and then eventually your limbs, as you move up the body and relax from head to toe. Let your mind wander until you fall asleep.
Try deep breathing exercises.
Breathe in and breathe out at least five times. Imagine all of the day’s thoughts exiting while you exhale, and any tension from the day melting away.
Write down what’s on your mind.
If you have unfinished business from the workday, jot a few notes down on a pad, keeping it beside you on your bedside table. If you wake in the middle of the night or too early in the morning, write down any thoughts, so you can fall back asleep.
Try practicing some basic yoga poses and stretches before retiring. Any exercise should be gentle and relaxing, so you remain calm and ready for sleep.
Read a great book.
There’s nothing like an amazing read at any time, but books in bed tend to direct any anxious thoughts toward the story so you can put your worries to bed for the night. Aim to read a chapter if you’re super tired, and two chapters if you get into bed a little earlier than usual. Set a higher goal than what you think you can finish, and you’ll probably drift off to sleep in no time.
Post by Alison Hein.
From the depths of my ancient recipe box, buried beneath layers of tattered newspaper clippings and scribbled notes, I found the remnants of an old family favorite – cheesecake! Trouble was, this recipe was jotted down in an abbreviated fashion – omitting minor details such as oven temperature settings, baking time, and order of mixing ingredients.
Trial, tribulation, and a faint stirring of memories finally resulted in a successful product. I altered it a bit, increasing the amount of fresh lemon juice, and topping with fresh cherries instead of additional graham cracker crumbs.
It takes time to bake this cake, and some babysitting during the process. The top may crack a little, and a natural depression will form after cooling. Never fear – this is the perfect spot for piling on a bunch of ruby ripe fruit. Add a spot of whipped cream, if you like, and cherish the details of this family favorite breakfast in bed.
1 tablespoon butter
2 to 4 ounces graham crackers
2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 dry pint fresh fruit, such as cherries or strawberries, for topping
Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 325°. Place graham crackers in a sealable plastic bag. Break into crumbs using a tool (rolling pin, pan, etc.) to crush crackers. Generously grease a large spring-form pan with the tablespoon of butter. Cover butter with graham cracker crumbs and set aside.
To make cake, add cream cheese, sugar, eggs, sour cream, lemon juice and salt to a food processor. Cream together until smooth and light. Slowly pour cake batter into prepared pan. Use a spatula to smooth top. Place in the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until cake is still slightly wobbly, but set.
To make topping, mix together remaining sour cream, sugar, egg and lemon juice until smooth. Remove cake from oven and pour topping over cake. Bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes until cake and topping are set. Remove from oven, let cool, then refrigerate at least 12 hours before serving. Top with fresh fruit, and garnish with whipped cream, if you like.
Makes 1 large cake, about 10 to 12 slices
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Gemma Doyle is a typical teenage girl in some respects. Frustrated at the lack of personal control over her life, irritated with her mother over minor things, annoyed she has to remain in Bombay while her brother and father are in exciting Victorian London. But while out on her sixteenth birthday, her mother is relayed a mysterious message about someone named Circe and sends Gemma home. Next thing she knows, Gemma is having a vision of her mother committing suicide, which, though unlikely, turns out to be true. Gemma is flung into a strange new world of visions, magic, and grief. When she returns to London, she learns she is to attend Spence Academy for Young Ladies, a finishing school near London. In grief, Gemma’s father has turned to laudanum and cannot care for Gemma.
At the Academy, which her mother had also attended, Gemma begins to learn more about her mother and about herself. Her mother was apparently a priestess in The Order, an ancient group dedicated to preserving the order of magic in the world. Along with her new friends Felicity Worthington, Pippa Cross and Ann Bradshaw, Gemma learns that she has her own unique powers, such as the ability to travel into The Realms, a magical land between life and death. It is a beautiful and dangerous place where your dreams may be realized but your nightmares can too.
Not an easy book to summarize! This is just the tip of the iceberg. Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray has done a fantastic job writing in a proper Victorian young lady’s voice, with all the snarky little asides one might expect from a teenager trying, not always successfully, to be a proper young lady. There are three books in the series so if you like magic, intrigue, and historical fiction, this will keep you entertained for a while.
Post by Mark T. Locker
Ever since my son saw the trailer for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day he has been obsessed with the idea of watching it. He has been alone in that camp, I’m afraid. But when I saw it on the reshelving cart at the library, I couldn’t leave it there. So the weekend was mostly spent with him asking if we could watch it yet.
In my mind, what better way to get some extra sleep than to let him watch it when he got up at the crack of dawn on a holiday? Only, he gets so excited that he has to share every little thing that cracks him up. So, when the baby did some funny thing or another, he comes bursting into the room to tell me all about it. So I figured, okay. I’ll sort of watch with him and spare Mom from being constantly disrupted. And so we watched this together, about 7 a.m. on a day off.
Despite my condition, I didn’t hate it as much as I could have. It was totally harmless, family-friendly and silly as can be. I guess the premise is that Alexander has a terrible day (the one discussed in the picture book by Judith Vorst) and his birthday wish is that his family have a terrible day so they can understand that it sucks. Well he gets his wish and the the movie is full of bad things happening to everyone. In the end, I suppose they learn about the value of family and of not giving up.
There are a few well-known actors in this, namely: Steve Carell; Jennifer Garner; and Dick Van Dyke. If you are keen on slapstick and the kind of movie where everything goes wrong and you can handle lots of cringe-worthy moments, it’s a good cuddle-up-and-watch kind of movie.