Breakfast in Bed – Mango Mint Julep

Mango Mint Julep 10

Post by Alison Hein.

The origin of Mint Juleps is clouded with the mist of the past. We know that the drink emanated from the southern United States most likely sometime in the 18th century. The word “julep” itself is quite unusual, and is thought to have been derived from the Persian word “golâb”, meaning rose water. Made by diffusing rose petals in water, rose water has historically been used for flavoring food, scenting perfumes, supporting religious rites, and enhancing medicinal concoctions.

Mango Mint Julep 3

A traditional Mint Julep is made with just four ingredients: fresh mint, sugar, bourbon and water.  What began as a medical tonic to aid with “sickness at the stomach” has since morphed into a southern tradition and the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby. Approximately 120,000 Mint Juleps are sold during the race each year. The frosty thirst-quenching drinks are a surefire winner.

There are as many recipes for Mint Juleps as there are drinks sold at the Derby. Some make a mint-infused simple syrup while others prefer to muddle the fresh sprigs; some use blender-crushed ice and others like large, crystal cubes; and some add the traditional bourbon, though others favor whiskey, gin, or rum. Mine is a virgin version (unless we’re having a weekend champagne brunch) which calls for fresh mango purée to be added to the mix. A very refreshing option for a sticky summer morning.

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Island mango and aromatic mint go together in every way – sweet counters spunky, herbal offsets fruity. Even the colors work! Rosy golden mango blush blurs and swirls with deep forest green for a winner of a breakfast in bed and a cure for what ails ya.

Ingredients

3 sprigs fresh mint, plus additional for garnish
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup mango purée
½ cup crushed ice
½ cup sparkling water, ginger ale, or champagne

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Preparation

Clean mint and trim leaves from stem. Add to a tall glass. Add sugar, and muddle together until the sugar and mint take on a pasty texture. Add mango puree and stir. Fill the glass with crushed ice, then finish with sparkling water, ginger ale, or champagne, Add a tall spoon and straw to the glass. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve icy chilled.

Makes 1 drink

Note: You can purchase mango purée, or make your own by peeling, chopping, and puréeing a fresh mango in a blender until thick and smooth. To make a traditional Mint Julep, replace the mango purée with bourbon, then add the crushed ice and fill the glass with water.

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Bedtime Stories: Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm

pullmangrimm_UKPost by Mark T. Locker.

Philip Pullman is a renowned children’s and young adult author. He is known most notably for the His Dark Materials trilogy: The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass. These books have become lore in their own right. Now he brings us a fresh telling of his favorite fifty classic fairy tales of the brothers Grimm. We all know these fairy tales, painstakingly collected from numerous oral sources by the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. They appear in a number of variations, from the grisly to the shiny Disney versions. Philip Pullman follows the traditional path without whitewashing the stories. But his deft knack with the pen makes these stories a little easier to read. If you’ve read fifty of the Grimm’s tales, you will know that they get pretty weird and the style of writing generally is pretty arcane. Where else will a modern translation still read: “verily, that is the way of the world”? Who says “verily” anymore? I mean, besides me. These new takes are true to the originals but with an easy to follow narrative style.

This summer will be the summer of fairy tales. We have a new bean-covered tepee and a fire pit in the back yard. Every night we will sit in the firelight and read a couple stories. My son is getting the real Cinderella, which is startling in comparison to the cartoon version, as well as off-beat personal favorites such as The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage.

Fairy tales are the perfect length for bedtime reading. The long ones clock in at three to four pages so you can seem super generous by saying, “okay, just one more” two or three times. Happy fireside reading!

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Movies in Bed: Wet Hot American Summer

american summerPost by Mark T. Locker.

Summer’s here, folks! My kid’s last day of school was yesterday. Let the era of summer camps and family vacations commence! Summer always puts me in the mood to watch this classic summer camp comedy with an all-star cast. Even better, Netflix is reviving the movie with a series of episodes based on the movie, coming July 31. What better way to prepare than by watching the movie?

Janeane Garofalo plays Beth, director of Camp Firewood. It’s the last week of camp and she is trying to get everything off to a smooth finish. With a staff made up of Michael Ian Black, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper, you can only imagine how it is going to work out.

This hilarious pokes fun at all the summer camp movies out there while still being a great movie in it own right, not relying on a running gag to make it awesome. Some of the humor is edgy and may not be appropriate for younger audiences. But if you are looking for something that will keep you laughing from beginning to end, this is a great choice.

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Bedroom Design: Making Space for a Home Office in a Bedroom

Post by Tracy Kaler.

Some experts believe that the bedroom should only be reserved for sleeping, but it’s not uncommon to make a home office in the same space. A multi-purpose room is often created because the home is short on square footage, and it’s easy enough to place a desk in a corner.

Regardless of the reason, the quiet, tranquil atmosphere of a bedroom can make it an appropriate choice for a home office. Have a look at these five for some at-home workplace ideas.

You have to love the openness of this bedroom, and who wouldn’t want to work and fall asleep with this view? A built-in tabletop provides an ideal surface to work for at least two people. The room gets plenty of natural light, which is always high on my list of essential workspace ingredients.


Modern Home Office
by Asheville Design-Build Firms Carlton Architecture

I have a similar setup in my bedroom –– my desk doubles as a bedside table. Placing a writing desk at a window is a good idea, and, in this case, the height is perfect. A more ergonomic chair might be needed here if someone plans to work at the desk on a regular basis.


Tropical Bedroom
by Jupiter Interior Designers & Decorators JMA INTERIOR DESIGN

This Melbourne bedroom is large enough to introduce a separate space for a home office. Built-in storage and well-organized shelving complete the uncluttered design.


Contemporary Home Office
by Melbourne Building Designers and Drafters Vibe Design Group

This simple modern bedroom provides a work nook in the corner that’s separate from the sleeping space. The owner found the vintage desk on the street in Toronto.


Midcentury Home Office
by Toronto Photographers Andrew Snow Photography

Another contemporary bedroom design, this long, narrow room in a San Francisco home lends itself to a desk that spans the length of the space. I can’t take my eyes off the chandelier, which makes the room feel a little less serious.


Contemporary Bedroom
by San Francisco Kitchen & Bath Designers

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Breakfast in Bed – Scrambled Eggs with Thyme Two Ways

Scrambled Eggs with Thyme 8

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.

Scrambled Eggs with Thyme 3

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.

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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.

Ingredients

2 teaspoons butter
2 eggs
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

Scrambled Eggs with Thyme 1

Preparation

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.

Scrambled Eggs with Thyme 10

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