Breakfast in Bed – The Drinking of the Green

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Post by Alison Hein.

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up next week – a day when everyone is Irish. A day to eat, drink, dance and be merry. A day to honor Irish heritage.

In Ireland, folk have been wearing green shamrocks and ribbons on St. Patty’s Day since the late 1600s. “The wearing of the green” refers to an old ballad, its lyrics lamenting the repression of supporters of the Irish rebellion of 1798 (listen to a moving recording of the famous Irish tenor John McCormack singing The Wearing of the Green on YouTube).

To add to the festivities this year, let’s don green clothing, and also drink green drinks. I’m not a big fan of green beer, so I’ve come up with two different options for you – one steaming hot, one icy cold; either with or without a nip of spirits – but both vibrant, emerald green.

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How to achieve this lovely shade? With Japanese sweet green tea powder (this is America, after all). Matcha, the fine-ground and sweetened powdered tea, brings a smooth density to the creamy Matcha Milkshake, and a cocoa-like, satisfying richness to the Irish Green Tea Latte. Still questioning my choice of ingredients to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? I must admit, I did a little back and forth myself until I received a sign from the matcha package itself – brand name Rishi. If you move the final letter “I” to the front of “Rishi”, what do you get? You guessed it! An Irish breakfast in bed!

Éirinn go Brách!

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Matcha Milkshake

2 scoops vanilla ice cream (about ¾ cup)
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon (green tea) sweet matcha powder
Splash of Bailey’s Irish Cream (optional)
Dollop of whipped cream
Spring of fresh mint, for garnish

Preparation

Add ice cream, milk, matcha powder and Bailey’s to a blender. Purée until thick and smooth. Pour into a festive glass, and top with whipped cream and mint. Enjoy immediately.

Makes 1 milkshake.

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Irish Green Tea Latte

1 cup milk
1 tablespoon (green tea) sweet matcha powder
Splash of Irish whiskey (optional)
Dollop of whipped cream
Spring of fresh mint, for garnish

Preparation

Add milk and matcha powder to small, heavy saucepan. Heat until warmed to desired temperature. Alternatively, stir matcha powder into milk and steam with a cappuccino machine or handheld steam wand. Stir in whisky. Pour into a tall mug. Top with whipped cream and mint and serve immediately.

Makes 1 latte.

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Bedtime Stories: Celebrating Seuss!

Did_I_Ever_Tell_You_How_Lucky_You_Are_coverPost by Mark T. Locker.

Last week was the 111th birthday of Dr. Seuss, probably the most beloved and easily identified of all American picture book creators. Educators and librarians everywhere go crazy for Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Out come those gigantic Cat in the Hat red and white hats. Off the shelves come all the Seuss books; I believe there are at least 60. I’ll bet a few Dr. Seuss look-alikes get pulled as well. There are a bunch of those. At my son’s school, he got to dress in pajamas and a robe, and carry around a stuffed animal. Or in his case, a stuffed robot. Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas are all top contenders for top Seuss books. Though in our family, we have our own favorites. The kids in class had the option to bring their favorite Dr. Seuss book, which in our case was a toss-up between The Sneetches and Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? The latter won in the end, even though the other stories in The Sneetches are amazing. Included are “Too Many Daves” in which the woman with a ton of sons regrets naming them all Dave. Seuss offers some names she could have chosen instead. My favorite is Marvin O’Gravel Balloon Face. My son’s favorite is Oliver Tolliver Butt. No mystery why.

what was i scared of

Also included is “What Was I Scared Of?” I’ll tell you what he was scared of: a pair of pale green pants with nobody inside them! I would be too. Even if it turns out that they are as scared of you as you are of them. Dr. Seuss’s birthday may have already passed, but there’s no reason you can’t go check out all 60+ of his books and bring them all into bed with you tonight to cover you in a big, heavy blanket of Seuss-y goodness.

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Bedroom Design: Using Dark Brown in a Bedroom

Post by Tracy Kaler.

We often associate dark browns with masculine rooms, and most people wouldn’t deem chocolate a feminine color. I’d have to agree, but I’ll also tell you that rich, chocolate browns can often be successfully combined with girly colors such as pink, tangerine, and yellow.

That being said, take a moment to swoon over these five pretty rooms in which chocolate brown plays a starring role.

Speaking of pink –– this room is a prime example how lovely chocolate and pink can look together. The deep color of the headboard and bedcovering adds a lavishness to the otherwise pastel and white space. The designer used a banding on the draperies for another touch of cocoa.


Traditional Kids by Fairfield Interior Designers & Decorators Tiffany Eastman Interiors, LLC

This room oozes fun and was obviously designed for a young man. Chartreuse green touches break up the deep brown accent wall and duvet. Chocolate brown shelving appears as if it’s growing from the wall.


Contemporary Kids by Las Vegas Interior Designers & Decorators DIVA INTERIOR CONCEPTS

This room is proof that brown can work well on a ceiling. Not only does the color add warmth, but this shade turns an otherwise neutral room into a dramatic space.


Contemporary Bedroom

I love the simplicity of this room! A chocolate brown headboard looks rather stately, yet the bold geometric pattern on the pillows lightens the mood. The lime green nightstands are the ideal accent color for this happy bedroom.


Contemporary Bedroom by Chico Kitchen & Bath Fixtures Build.com

I am wild about this paisley duvet, which breaks up the other chocolate bedcovering. Pale silver walls, crisp white, and the starfish prints make for a stunning bedroom. The space has the right amount of brown and the perfect touch of pattern.


Beach Style Bedroom by Little Rock Interior Designers & Decorators Tobi Fairley Interior Design

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Breakfast in Bed – Lemon Cherry Scones with Lemon Honey Butter

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Post by Alison Hein.

I’ve been baking a lot this winter. There are a few reasons for this. One is simply, well, because I like to bake. Next, I have been trapped in my home on numerous occasions due to ridiculous and nearly constant cold, ice and snow. Finally, a nice hot oven helps to keep the heat up in the house on these low temperature days. My husband has been enjoying homemade bread hot from the oven, sweet pastries and pies dusted with sugar, and hardy scones laden with pure Irish butter.

The trouble is, with no way to safely get to the grocery store, my pantry has been running low. Inspiration for these scones struck when I glanced at my lemon-filled fruit bowl, and remembered a pack of dried tart cherries tucked in the back of the cabinet.

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Mrs. O’Callaghan’s Irish Scones are so light and delicate that I used her method here. Adding lemon rind to the batter and swapping cherries for raisins did the trick. One lemon is enough to make both the scones and the butter. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, just add about a tablespoon of cider vinegar to a cup of milk for a great faux substitute.

Warm yourself by the stove, brew a strong cup of black tea, and take your lemony scones off to a cozy spot by the window. Take a good long look at all that ice and snow. Then gratefully feast on a warm and cozy breakfast in bed.

Lemon Cherry Scones

3 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1½ cups buttermilk, plus additional for brushing scone after baking
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon lemon oil, or lemon flavoring
½ cup dried tart cherries

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Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°. In large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and grated lemon rind. Stir baking soda into buttermilk. Pour buttermilk mixture, lightly beaten egg and lemon oil into dry ingredients and mix just to combine. Batter should be thick but spreadable. Stir in dried tart cherries.

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Grease and flour a 10-inch cast iron frying pan. Spread batter evenly in pan. Place in oven and bake until scone is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in top comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Alternatively, grease and flour two round 8-inch cake pans. Divide batter evenly between the two pans and reduce baking time to about 45 minutes.

Remove scone from pan and brush top with a little buttermilk, if you like. Wrap immediately in a tea towel so scones remain warm and soft. When ready to serve, cut scone in wedges. Serve warm with lemon honey butter.

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Makes 12 to 14 scones.

Lemon Honey Butter

6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

Preparation

Add softened butter to small bowl. Stir in honey and lemon juice and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Bedtime Stories: My Hippo Has the Hiccups and other poems

hippoPost by Mark T. Locker.

The iPads for kids at the library are stationed right next to the juvenile non-fiction. Which is to say, I find myself browsing the juvenile non-fiction quite a bit while waiting for my boy to finish up giving a werewolf a haircut, or cutting candy down for a monster, or helping birds with anger issues. I have a particular fondness for children’s poetry. Shel Silverstein is of course the most widely-known children’s poet, quite possibly in the entire universe. But there are a lot of people writing quite entertaining poems for kids. I grabbed a book off the shelf, thumbed quickly through it, and added it to the pile.

I didn’t think much about it since then but noticed that every time there was an eerie silence from my son’s room, I’d find him quietly reading the book of poems. The book is called My Hippo Has the Hiccups by Kenn Nesbitt. The poems are reminiscent of Shel Silverstein, silly poems with catchy rhyming cadences accompanied by little line drawings. They are funny, and often about animals. Apparently he was also named children’s Poet Laureate in 2013. So clearly I’m not the only one who has discovered him.

My teacher ate my homework,
which I thought was rather odd.
He sniffed at it and smiled
with an approving sort of

He took a little nibble
it’s unusual, but true-
then had a somewhat larger bite
and gave a thoughtful chew.

I think he must have liked it,
for he really went to town.
He gobbled it with gusto
and he wolfed the whole thing down.

He licked off all his fingers,
gave a burp and said, “You pass.”
I guess that’s how they grade you
when you’re in a cooking class.

We just returned My Hippo and picked up another volume, called Tighty Whitey Spider. When I explained what tighty whiteys are, naturally my son was intrigued. These are fun poems with a very low ick factor. Recommended for kids of any age.

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