Breakfast in Bed: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Post by Alison Hein.

Next up in the Food Song category – Simon and Garfunkel’s ubiquitous “Scarborough Fair/Canticle,”  title song of the1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.

I’ve listened to this song countless times – once softly, straining to hear through bedroom walls to my sister’s room as she listened over and over and over again. Later, more audibly, out on my own but lonely for home. And more recently, quieter again, as I remember and reflect on times past. It always fills me with love and melancholy, and pulls at my heart strings. But, I never once questioned the song’s history or meaning – until now.

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme;
Remember me to one who lives there,
She once was a true love of mine.

“Scarborough Fair” is an old English ballad, possibly with older Scottish roots tracing back to the late 1600s. Sometimes the place name changed, and often the refrain changed, with “parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme” not appearing until the 1800s.

And the meaning of the herbal refrain? Theories abound. Here’s mine: every herb has its own meaning, translating “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme” to “festivity, wisdom, remembrance, and courage.” A perfect love potion to overcome the impossible tasks set forth in the lyric, and return two hearts to one. Sigh.

Love is inspiration for great food, and a savory bread pudding is a thing of wonder and delight. Lovely as a dinner side, pleasant with a luncheon salad, and surprisingly just right for breakfast. The fresh, fragrant herbs add richness, depth and color to a simple poor man’s dish. Maybe Savory Scarborough Bread Pudding will pull at your heart strings a little too, and become your one true beloved breakfast in bed. 😉

Savory Scarborough Bread Pudding

Ingredients

1 loaf stale French or Italian bread
8 eggs
4 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheese, such as Swiss or Gruyere
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation

Cut or tear bread into bite-sized cubes (should be around 6 to 8 cups) and set aside. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish, or if you prefer, 8 ovenproof serving-sized dishes, and set aside.

In large bowl, add eggs and whisk until slightly thickened. Whisk in milk. Add shredded cheese, chopped herbs, butter, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add bread cubes to egg mixture and stir well to make sure the herbs are evenly distributed. Pour egg-bread mixture into serving dish (or dishes) let sit for 20 to 30 minutes to allow bread to absorb liquid. Preheat oven to 350°.

Bake bread pudding for 40 to 45 minutes, until it is puffed up and the top is golden brown. If you are using  individual serving dishes, check for doneness after 30 to 35 minutes. When done, the bread pudding will be puffed up and browned, and egg will be fully cooked and not jiggly. Serve hot with fried ham or bacon, if you like.

Makes  8 servings.

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Boho Chic: Stevie Nicks Slept Here

Post by Erin Sears.

Okay, so I don’t really know what Stevie’s bedroom looks like, but I can imagine it, can’t you? I see it as a luxurious version of bohemian chic- a trend that’s been the rage for some time now. Boho chic is all about layered, vintage textiles. Rustic, embroidered and ethereal should be your buzz words.

You too can channel the fairy godmother of rock by bringing a little touch of the bohemian to your sleeping space. Read on, rock on.

Source: Google images via pinterest




Source: http://expimage.com/index.php/2013/03/26/9645/

Let’s call this one Rhiannon’s room. Boho Chic is all about romantic eclecticism. Think colorful rugs, mounds of pillows, and a string of lights over the bed in the attic. This is what would have happened if you’d run away from home with THAT guy. Here’s the path not chosen, my friends. And, it is gorgeous!




Source: http://www.porterhousedesigns.com/colorsizzle/bohemian-inspiration

Welcome to your first real bedroom! You know the one- it’s in a house that actually has central heating. You’ve come a long way, baby. Think distressed walls with an iron bed. Add a bright canopy to mimic the scarves you rock regularly. Put a dangling chandelier overhead and you’ve got it!



Source: http://www.mimiandmegblog.com/2011/06/eye-candy-highgloss.html

This very adult version of boho chic is a shout out to who you used to be while acknowledging how you’ve grown over the years. This version entails a more sophisticated neutral canopy, an elegant (and probably very expensive) fabric headboard, and a pillow that alludes to your travels afar. Pair it with a chevron curtain and fluffy duvet and you’re there. I feel confident that Stevie would approve.

Xoxo, me (and Stevie)


Source: Google images via pinterest

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Bedtime Stories: Space Operas!


Post by Mark T. Locker.

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix.

As long as there are no dragons, I tend to enjoy young adult/teen fantasy. Science fiction is, generally speaking, a different story. I discovered Douglas Adams in my middle school years and he has always been the exception to my disinterest in sci-fi. But you know how there are some authors who could write a phone book and it would be amazing? That’s kind of how I feel about Garth Nix. Although mostly a YA/teen fantasy novelist, he has breached the sci-fi genre with his most recent novel, A Confusion of Princes. I figured, what the heck, I’d give it a try despite the obvious science fiction overtones. Note: I just learned that technically, it’s a “space opera”, whatever that is.

Here’s my takeaway: it was good enough to read all the way through. Nix has a way of creating imaginative worlds that don’t come across as silly and contrived. Sometimes I open a book and see all the names are Llethywynn and Glêmrax and I just close it straight away, because it’s silly! This one isn’t overly serious or overly silly. It’s intriguing, exciting, fun. My only criticism would be that 75% of the way through the book, I was sure it would lead to a sequel, but instead he just wraps it up very, very rapidly and I was left thinking: huh. I guess it’s over, then. Other than that, totally fun and will give you some interesting dreams.

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Movies in Bed: Les Misérables

Post by Mark T. Locker.

This is the first movie I have seen all the way through since hobbling my way through The Hobbit back in December. My wife is a huge fan of the music and was needless to say eager to watch this together. The only musical I really enjoy is Singin’ in the Rain, which has amazing tap dancing and Gene Kelly is so handsome and Debby Reynolds is just cute as a button!

Neither Hugh Jackman nor Russell Crowe could be described as cute as a button. Some may describe Anne Hathaway as such, but not me. What Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway are, however, are outstandingly talented singers and actors. It’s hard not to choke up seeing Anne’s rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream”. It’s also even more difficult to watch Russell Crowe bleat out his lines. I don’t know who cast him in this movie, but it was an unwise decision. He very nearly manages to ruin the movie.

But he doesn’t, thank goodness!

It is a very sad, dark, intense movie, so it may give you sad, dark, intense dreams. It certainly did me. But more than that, it gave me lots of dreams about “I Dreamed a Dream.” If I had one criticism of the movie (besides Russell Crowe) it’s that that song gets stuck in my head, and I don’t know the lyrics so I end up making up my own lyrics. Happily, mine are less heartbreaking and tend to be about monkeys and sausages.

So, go rent this if you haven’t seen it.

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Things We Like: Warm Feet For Better Sleep

Post by Kyle St. Romain.

Do you ever get cold feet when falling asleep? Apparently, cold feet may actually inhibit your ability to fall asleep quickly. A group of Swiss researches conducted a study a while back that found a correlation between the distal-proximal temperature gradient — a fancy term used to measure the blood flow in your hands and feed — and your body’s ability to fall asleep quickly. In other words, the warmer your hands and feet are in the late evening, the faster you’re able to fall asleep.

The researchers learned some other interesting connections between body temperature and sleep: your body temperature predictably increases on its own as it readies for sleep. This change in temperature can be triggered by a number of factors such as whether you’re lying down (which pushes blood and heat out to your fingers and toes), where your body is along its circadian clock (your natural clock starts warming you up for bedtime on its own), and whether it’s dark outside (darkness is a long-time trigger for sleep). And for those of you who like to sleep with the air conditioning on cold, it may actually be due to the fact that a cooler ambient temperature increases the transfer of heat at your extremities.

Some people have suggested that wearing socks can help you fall asleep faster, but many have expressed a general discomfort for wearing extra clothing to bed. Fortunately, if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like wearing socks to bed, you can stimulate a similar effect by placing a warm bottle of water at the foot of the bed. In earlier times, many households used metal pans filled with hot coals to warm the bed. Today, plastic has made it much easier (and safer) to achieve the same effect.

If you’d like to read more about the study’s findings, you can find a nice summary of the research here (and it’s free). The text begins at the top right column, and continues down to the second page.

Do you find that you sleep better with warm feet (or socks on)? Do you have any other tips and tricks that help you doze off quicker? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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