Breakfast in Bed: Coconut Oatmeal

Post by Alison Hein.

Thick, steaming grains are an elemental part of my childhood memories – my mother would place a piping hot bowl of maple oatmeal on the table before me. Then, with precision, I would add a thick pat of butter to the center, allowing it to melt slightly before carefully strewing clumps of brown sugar on top. I would watch the sugar melt and spread to form a thin, sweet crust. Not quite done, I would carefully push the cereal gently toward the center of the bowl, and pour a scant ring of milk around the edges. Only then was it time to dig in, making sure never to stir, but to aim for that one perfect, prized bite of oatmeal, butter, sugar and milk.

I still enjoy hot cereal on a crisp fall or winter day, especially if I’m planning a brisk walk, mountain hike, or other outdoor adventure. Wanting to limit my butter / sugar intake, I experiment with varying flavors. Sometimes I’ll cook my oatmeal with diced apples, raisins and a touch of cinnamon. Other times, I’ll add unexpected twists, as in this recipe for Coconut Oatmeal.

Old-fashioned oats have a creamier texture than the quick-cooking variety, and only take a few extra minutes to cook. Cover the oatmeal and let it sit for a few minutes before serving, if you like, to allow the oaty flavor to percolate and the texture to soften. I keep it light with coconut water (now available at almost any grocery store) rather than coconut milk – significantly fewer calories, but still a light, infused tropical feeling. You can pour a touch of coconut milk on top, as I once did, for a breakfast in bed that will make memories.

Ingredients
¼ cup coconut flakes
1 cup coconut water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt
½ cup rolled oats

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°. Spread coconut flakes out onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 1 to 3 minutes, until they turn a light golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

Pour coconut water, vanilla and salt into a small heavy saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil. Stir in oats, and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until oats are soft and mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes. Spoon oatmeal into a bowl and top with toasted coconut. Serve hot.

Makes 1 serving.

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Bedtime Stories: Lirael

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Lirael, Daughter of the Clayr by Garth Nix.

It’s audiobook season up here in the Bed Blog! When slogging through a long, soggy commute, or plodding through a massive mindless task, audiobooks are a great way to get some reading done and take the pain out of an otherwise burdensome or stressful task. Also, to be quite honest, I read at a ninth-grade speed so I don’t get a lot of novels finished in my down time. All this, I suppose, is to justify listening to audiobooks. So there. I listen to audiobooks, but only if the narrator is fantastic.

Lirael is the follow-up novel in the Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix. I reviewed Sabriel some time ago and recently re-read it. When I picked up a copy of the audiobook for Lirael, I was delighted to see that it is read by Tim Curry! And although I can’t help but hear his character from Clue sometimes while I listen, he does a great job. I love the character of Lirael because she is a misfit in the Clayr, who are the seers that live on a glacier. Lirael doesn’t have the Sight, but she has a far better grasp of magic than anyone else on the glacier. She even managed to create a companion for herself, a magical (but very real) dog who declared herself to be The Disreputable Dog. Garth Nix creates wonderful, snarky, talking magical animals. Lirael is my favorite second assistant librarian with a sword and the book is great fun. If you haven’t picked up this trilogy, you are missing out.

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Movies in Bed: Sleepy Hollow

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Hehehe. That’s me tittering at a new, “spooky” show on Fox, just in time for Halloween. It’s called Sleepy Hollow, so that gives you a pretty good idea what it’s about. It has nothing to do with the movie, so no Johnny Depp, no Christina Ricci. It also has precious little to do with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. In this rather inventive spin on the story, Ichabod Crane beheaded a Hessian warrior in the Revolutionary war. But he was no normal human; he was Death, as in the Grim Reaper, one of the Four Riders of the Apocalypse. For some reason, their bloodlines become mixed and both are resurrected in 21st-century Sleepy Hollow, New York. Ichabod is surprisingly cool about the whole thing, though there are the usual required laughable moment as he discovers light bulbs, automatic windows…you get the gist. This show, after two episodes is overwhelmingly “meh”. That being said, it’s not unenjoyable for lovers of witches, magic, supernatural stuff. I’ll give it a couple more episodes and see if I start getting annoyed! Happy watching!

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Things We Like: How To Make A Luxury Hotel Bed At Home

Post by Kyle St. Romain.

Beds are big business at hotels, so much so that many hotel chains have branded their own line of mattresses and bedding. Starwood’s Westin Hotels started the trend back in 1999, and a half a dozen other have followed suit, including: The Four Seasons, The W, Hyatt, Sheraton, Marriot, Ritz-Carlton, and Hilton. After all, the goal of any luxury hotel should be to sell you the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had — even if it’s back at your home.

If you’re looking to recreate a hotel sleeping experience at home, I’ve put together some of the essential components to help you create your own five-star bed at home.

  • First, you need a Firm Mattress. The mattress is your first big decision that will affect your quality of sleep. I generally err on the side of more firm than soft when choosing a mattress, since you can always add additional elements to soften it up. You can’t, on the other hand, make a soft mattress feel firmer.

  • Next, you’ll want to protect your mattress with a Felt Mattress Protector. This will protect the mattress from stains and spills, and add an additional layer of support.

  • The biggest secret to making a five-star bed at home is the Featherbed. Think of this as a sort of a half-mattress that goes over the mattress protector but under the sheets. There are all sorts of options to choose from when selecting a featherbed, but you should generally go with something that is baffled and has a relatively high feather count.

  • The Fitted Sheet is the first layer that your body will actually come into contact with, and it goes over the mattress, protector, and featherbed. You can usually buy the fitted sheets in a set with the flat sheet and pillowcases. When choosing sheets, go for something with a relatively high threat count made out of natural materials.

  • The Flat Sheet is what you will sleep directly under, and will usually match the fitted sheet underneath.

  • The final element of a luxury bed is the comforter. The type of comforter you choose depends mostly on your climate and personal preferences. Some people like to have both a lighter summer comforter and a heavier winter comforter to accommodate the change in temperature. You may also want to put another flat sheet or throw over the top of your comforter to complete the look — maybe even with a chocolate on top. Turn down service anyone? 

So, next time you wake up at a hotel feeling like you just had the best night’s sleep of your life, take a minute to see exactly what elements went into making the bed. And with so many hotels selling their own brands of bedding collections, you can even recreate every detail in your own home down to the mattress itself.

Before we go, here’s an interesting fact of the day: Did you know that Charles P Rogers sold more beds to luxury hotels in its first 100 years of business than any other company? Pretty impressive if you ask me.

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Bedtime Stories: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Post by Mark T. Locker.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

It’s time for a new chapter book around the Locker house. Now my kid is five, and I couldn’t have been much older when The Chronicles of Narnia were read aloud to me, I figured it was time to carry on the tradition. So far, he seems to be really enjoying it. As a child with a (sometimes overwhelmingly) powerful imagination, the idea of magical worlds through a normal-seeming door is very appealing to him. We just got through the chapter which I remember best from reading this as a kid: Turkish Delight. I have has this treat once, years after reading the story and I must say that my imaginary Turkish Delight was much better than the real stuff. Naturally, I thought there would be some kind of turkey involved. But there is not. It’s like nougat.

So, we are only just beginning to unfold the mysteries of Narnia. We have yet to discover talking beavers, creatures turned to stone. We’ve seen a witch and a wardrobe but the lion has yet to be seen! I’m excited to share this with another generation. I’m delighted that he is old enough to watch a whole marvelous fantasy world unfurl before his wondering eyes. For me, fall is all about wonder and magic and fantasy. What a wonderful introduction.

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