Breakfast in Bed: Dinner Roll French Toast

Post by Alison Hein.

You gotta love food history – it’s just plain confusing. Take French Toast, for example. Invented in France, right? Non! The very first reference to a dish of bread soaked in milk appeared in the Apicus, a historical collection of Latin recipes dating back to the 4th or 5th century. The Latins called it Aliter Dulcia, or “another sweet dish.” A German version that appeared several hundred years later was called Arme Ritter, “poor knights,” and it’s not until the 14th century that a French recipe for Pain Perdu, or “lost bread,” shows up.

The bottom line is that cooks from all generations and geographies shared a common understanding: stale bread can not only be revived when dipped in milky eggs and grilled to a crisp, but can even be made delicious.

Dinner Roll French Toast is a fun variation – a mini-breakfast sandwich, stuffed with plump, juicy berries, dusted with powdered sugar, and drizzled with thick maple syrup. Have your young chefs help you cook, and magically turn stale rolls, or hotdog or hamburger buns, into something spectacular. Like our ancestors, they can turn “lost bread” into an amazing find – a delicious, grilled-to-a-crisp breakfast in bed.

Ingredients
1 cup milk
2 eggs
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
4 small dinner rolls, sliced in half (Challah or brioche are good choices)
2 to 4 tablespoons butter
1 cup mixed berries, or other fruit
Confectioner’s sugar, for garnish

Preparation
In large, shallow bowl, whisk together milk, eggs and cinnamon. Dip dinner roll halves into the egg mixture, turning once to completely saturate. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in heavy skillet. Add rolls and cook over medium to medium-low heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes, adding more butter as needed. Place one dinner roll on each of 4 plates, and top with mixed berries. If you like, place some fruit on the bottom of the roll, cover with fruit, and cover with the roll top. Sprinkle lightly with confectioner’s sugar. Serve warm with maple syrup.

Makes 4 servings.

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Bedroom Design: There Will be (Ox)Blood

Post by Laura Cheng.

Oxblood red is making its debut in bedroom decor, just in time for Halloween.  Not just a color for blood cells, red is taking a very dark turn for fall. A few shades deeper than burgundy, oxblood red is one of the richest, most luxurious shades for everything from pillows to walls.

On a recent flight, I was bored and antsy. I started to browse the SkyMall magazine strategically placed in the seat pocket in front of me. I generally find more humor than considerable content in this tabloid of a shopping catalog. However, this time, I stumbled upon a red Fontella felt rose pillow that did capture my attention and serves to be very strong contender for oxblood red bedroom decor. When incorporating oxblood into a room, starting with a small, but powerful statement piece such as this pillow is a good way to ease into the trend. Red is definitely not an easy color to experiment with. But pillows such as these can help with the transition.

Source: http://www.skymall.com/shopping/detail.htm?pid=204518814&c=

Other accessories such as a porcelain lamp can also used to make a bedroom bold and bright a little step (for both your pocketbook and your hesitant sanity) at a time. Whether matte or shiny, oxblood red adds the right amount of color and drama to the bedroom.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/b629kvu

Trying to find the perfect shade of red is like trying to find the perfect pair of jeans. Although finding the perfect pair of jeans may be slightly easier. It took me 8 years and after 42 pairs, I am not letting go of my vintage Levi’s. By the looks of this bedroom, you could never tell that red is one of the hardest paint colors to get right. This highly stylish bedroom makes it look so easy. It works well because the bed and curtain linens are kept crisp and neutral. Oxblood works well with white, black and beiges. Variations of the red, as seen in the floral arrangements, add depth and interest to further enhance the colors.

Source: http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2012/oct/21/red-hot/

Not quite ready for fully painted walls? Curtains require less of a commitment. When it comes to curtains, color and fabric must be considered. This bedroom accomplishes both. Floor to ceiling oxblood red taffeta curtains transform this bedroom into a ballroom. The fabric is almost life like, grazing softly across the floor.  Again, simple, muted furnishings allow the deep red hues of the curtain to grace the bedroom without overpowering it.

Source: http://www.thedecorista.com/2012/08/what-windows-want.html

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Bedtime Stories: The Last Dragonslayer

Post by Mark T. Locker.

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde.

If you are a fan of cheeky British mysteries and/or metaliterature, you may be familiar with Jasper Fforde, whose Thursday Next novels and Nursery Crime series are quite well-known. His deft handling of the role of corporate culture, media, and government in a dryly ironic manner that only an Englishman could do keeps him always funny and always interesting.

This theme carries over into his first foray into his first series aimed at young adults and he pulls off the transition seamlessly.

Jennifer Strange is a foundling, brought up by the Sisterhood of the Lobster and given to the Great Zambini (can you guess his profession?) to be trained as an apprentice manager of magicians. But when Zambini disappears and she is left, at age fifteen, to manage a building full of magicians (who are notoriously scatterbrained and disorganized) she thinks her new fate has been drawn.

Little does she know that real fate is still awaiting: Jennifer Strange is the last in a long line of Dragonslayers, sworn to protect humans from dragons and dragons from humans. When it is foreseen that she will kill the last dragon, she embarks in her spike studded Rolls Royce Slayermobile to figure out what is fate, what is choice, and what is the matter with people.

I usually avoid books involving dragons, but here I have made an exception and I’m glad I have. Although the whole series is out in the UK, we stateside folks have to wait for the next two books sometime next year.

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Movies in Bed: Blue Velvet

Post by Josh Zinn.

A code of conduct listed in the Disneyland new employee manual states, “All cast members must appear calm, content, and capable while working. At Disneyland a pleasant smile is a personality trademark that we use all the time in greeting, directing, and making our guests feel comfortable. You don’t have to laugh, just smile. Don’t be a Gloomy Gus or a Grouchy Gertrude.”

During the opening minutes of David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet,” the town of Lumberton appears to be an idyllic place, the kind of community where even Grouchy Gertrude’s cannot resist a grin or two. As hyper-saturated flowers sprout through the ground, children excitedly scurry to school, and fire trucks cut through the dewy morning haze, all seems right with the world. Like a neighborhood that has emerged from some promise of sanctity made by “Ozzie and Harriet” and “The Donna Reed Show,” the artifice of its mise-en-scene is intoxicating and familiar not because it resembles the world we live in—or even necessarily desire to—but because it is a portrait of what we’ve been told our lives should aspire to be.

Underneath its façade, however, not everything is so squeaky-clean. As the opening sequence continues, Lynch introduces elements of the grotesque amidst this artificial environment. A gun appears briefly on a television; a man collapses while watering his lawn; and, as the camera moves past his still body, cutting through the grass, an underworld of insects is discovered writhing beneath the blades. Presumably they have always been there, but like so many things eventually uncovered in this town, their existence has been buried under the layers of innocence, tranquility, and self-imposed naiveté Lumberton’s reputation is built upon.

This duality in reality, of experiencing and acknowledging the darkness that thrives beneath the manufactured gloss of our clichéd suburban ideals, is the heart of “Blue Velvet’s” story. Because Lynch’s introduction of Lumberton in this sequence is so steeped in the kind of Americana nostalgia where every shot is bathed in filtered light and moves in slow motion, the impression given is that it exists outside of reality, in a realm where Dalmatians really do ride in fire trucks. Neither dream nor truth, the perfection Lumberton appears to exhibit may be seen, then, as the culmination of good intentions and sheer will triumphing over desire and emotion. Like a rehabilitated drug addict, the town is “good” so long as it is able to maintain its behavior. Beneath its fragile exterior, however, its demons continue to look for ways to claw themselves free.

Because “Blue Velvet’s” story descends into what may be construed as the underbelly of Lumberton, it becomes apparent that Lynch is both examining and satirizing peoples’ need to keep up appearances. Quickly exposing both the audience and his characters to the cracks that have begun to riddle the artificial, too-good-to-be-true foundations of the town, Lynch injects the film with a freedom to be unreliable in its depiction of truth. Here, regardless of what may appear to be a meticulously created reality, other forces are always at work shaping the landscape. One simply needs to keep their ear (sliced off or not) to the ground to listen for them.

Like Disneyland, a smile may go a long way in Lumberton, but that doesn’t necessarily mean everything is okay.

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Things We Like: Smart Lighting

Post by Kyle St. Romain.

If you recall, a while back I wrote about the basics of bedroom lighting. In that article, I went over some of the ways you can use lighting to change the look and feel of your bedroom. Basically, changes in the brightness, color, and height of your lighting all influence the way we experience a room.

In my quest to help you make the most out of your bedroom lighting (and lighting in other rooms) I’m going to share a new type of light bulb that recently came across. Meet the Philips Hue, which is more of a light system than it is a light bulb. Let me explain.

The Philips Hue is an LED light bulb and lighting control system that gives you the ability to adjust almost every aspect of your lighting (save physically moving the fixture). The bulbs screw into your existing light fixtures and connect to your home’s Wi-Fi through a bridge. The system allows you to control your lights remotely from your iPhone; and I’m not just talking simple on/off control. These bulbs also allow you to change the color of your light.

In addition to controlling the on/off function and color of your lights, Philips Hue also lets you adjust the brightness of your lighting, so you’ll no longer need to install a hard-wired dimmer switch. The system also has a number of pre-set selections (called light recipes) that adjust the color and brightness of your lighting for task specific purposes, such as: reading, relaxing, or working (concentrating). Philips even claims these light recipes are scientifically proven to improve your ability to focus and relax.

In the bedroom, the Philips Hue really shines. The bulbs can set on a timer that gradually brightens and adjusts the color of the light to simulate the sun coming up to help you wake up more peacefully. No more squinting (and dreading) when the lights suddenly come on!

Since the bulbs LED they consume about 80 percent less energy than traditional bulbs and last about 15 years. While they are a bit more expensive than regular bulbs (even energy efficient bulbs), it’s hard to put a price on the cool factor. The starter kit includes a wireless bridge that handles up to 50 bulbs and three bulbs. It sells for $199. Additional bulbs can be purchased for $59 each. A bit pricey, but much cheaper than other color changing LED systems I’ve shopped for before.

For more information, check out the official Philips Hue Website. The only question left is: How will you incorporate these new lighting possibilities into your bedroom? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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