Breakfast in Bed – Baked Eggs au Gratin

Baked Eggs au Gratin 6

Post by Alison Hein

The term “au gratin” translates literally from the French as “with the gratings” or “with the scrapings,” and refers to a cooking technique that requires covering a dish with breadcrumbs or cheese and baking or broiling until a golden crust is formed.

Something wonderful happens during that time in the oven – flavors are converged and merged, blended and deepened, harmonized and crisped. This habit-forming recipe results in a mélange of rich cream sauce, tangy cheddar, and softly baked eggs. The conclusion? A decadent morning mac & cheese, where the eggs play the role of pasta.

Baked Eggs au Gratin 1

Once you’re hooked, try some of these (or your own) modifications:

  • Place a layer of meat or fish (ham, cooked bacon, or smoked salmon) at the bottom of the dish before baking.

  • Try some vegetables as a base – caramelized onions, wilted spinach, or roasted red peppers.

  • Experiment with different cheeses (a parmesan / mozzarella combo, or a spicy jalapeño jack)

  • Use a bigger baking dish, double or triple the recipe amounts, and serve this up for company  (you may need to lengthen the cooking time for more eggs)

  • Or, best of all, skinny it down by cutting the recipe in half. Make it just for yourself in a personal-sized ramekin for a decadent, mac & cheesy breakfast in bed.

Baked Eggs au Gratin 2

Ingredients

Cooking spray
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
4 eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste
Italian parsley, for garnish

Baked Eggs au Gratin 4

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a small oven-proof dish (just large enough to comfortably hold 4 cracked eggs in an even layer) with cooking spray.

To make white sauce, melt butter in small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth, thick paste forms. Whisk in milk and cook until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Set aside and keep warm.

Pour half of the white sauce into the baking dish, then top with half the cheddar cheese. Carefully crack each egg into the dish. Cover the eggs completely with the remaining white sauce, then top with the remaining cheese. Dust the top with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until cheese is melted, egg whites are fully cooked, and yolks are still soft. Cook eggs a little longer if you’d like the yolks to be cooked through, or cook under the broiler for the last minute or so for a browned crust. Garnish eggs with parsley and serve hot with buttered toast, if you like.

Makes 2 servings.

Baked Eggs au Gratin 9

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Bedtime Stories: Nighttime Shivers for the Brave

 

whispering skullThe Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud.

Post by Mark T. Locker.

In case you didn’t know, it’s October, the scariest month of the year. It’s actually MID-October now, which is pretty scary in its own way. Well, there’s nothing I like more as the days grow shorter, the leaves turn to flame and the mists descend upon us, than to curl up with a nice creepy story. A while back I wrote a review of Lockwood & Co. Part I by Jonathan Stroud. With a subtitle like The Screaming Staircase, there was really no way it could be bad, and it didn’t disappoint. With much anticipation on my part, the sequel was finally (and in a timely fashion, just in time for fall!) released. The Whispering Skull picks up where the last installment leaves off, with our protagonist ghost hunter Lucy Carlyle discovering that she can hear the voice of a haunted skull her colleague has in a jar. How’s that for a spooky intro?

In this story, Lockwood, George, and Lucy, a team of freelance ghost hunters, are hired to look into a mysterious grave found in a nearby cemetery. What they discover in the tomb is a relic so deadly and powerful it threatens to destroy anyone who comes near. And with the discovery of this relic, the haunted skull suddenly becomes very talkative. Is it connected to the tomb somehow? And how much of what it says is truth, how much is lies to manipulate and divide the team?

Spooky fun reading for a brave kid or young adult or, in this case, regular adult.

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Movies in Bed: Getting ready for the Apocolypse

doomsday preppers-charles p rogers

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Doomsday Preppers National Geographic Channel

I’m not a fan of most reality television shows; usually there is too much petty interpersonal drama, too much focus on people who seem to be terrible human beings. There are a couple exceptions to this rule, however. One of which has been survival shows like Dual Survival which offers a look at survival skills put to the test in a variety of environments. This is sort of the flip side of that coin.

Doomsday Preppers looks into the lives of people who are very serious in their attempts to prepare for the end of days. It’s a fascinating show. There seem to be two kinds of preppers: those who want to have the skills and resources to survive off the grid for extended periods of times and those who are mostly arming themselves for the inevitable marauders coming for their supplies (or, as I see it, people in need of help). I think some of these people have been watching too much Walking Dead. On the other hand, it’s pretty reasonable to want to be prepared for a major natural disaster. I’m going to stop short of creating homemade explosives to keep out unwanted people.

Each featured individual or family has a different predicted end of times, from massive climate change to global pandemics, to governmental collapse, which inspires them to prepare. Each also has a unique focus to their skill set, from raising massive amounts of rabbits to sophisticated communication systems. Very interesting watching.

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Sweet Dreams with a Charles P. Rogers Mattress

Post by Tracy Kaler.



Looking to purchase a bed online? You’re in luck. You’ll have an array of choices for shopping from the comfort of home, so you won’t have to sit in traffic or fight crowds when browsing for your next mattress. Here are four top-rated options from Charles P. Rogers that you can purchase online.

St. Regis
Be prepared for a deep, relaxing night of sleep when you select the St. Regis. You’ll find this mattress similar to those in luxury brand hotels, but with an affordable price. Hypo-allergenic covers enclose layers of high-quality comfort padding around custom innerspring units. Available with standard and low profile foundations, price including a box spring is $1,299.

1407_ST_Regis_1-504x418

St. Charles
Pillow-top lovers will find immediate comfort in the St. Charles. Firm yet flexible, this bed is sleeping proof that Charles P. Rogers has kept customers snoozing soundly since 1855. This mattress retails for $699, and you can add a box spring for $200.

Chelsea
Here’s a high-quality, comfy mattress for a daybed. Stable and durable with heavy-duty steel perimeter coils and a full foam border, you’ll get that sumptuous feel without a hefty price tag. The 33-inch daybed mattress sells for $529, and the Chelsea is also available in a twin for the same price.

Powercore Estate
Choose from Estate 5000 firm, 7000 Extra Comfort, or 9000 Luxury Plush, depending on your preference. Layers of Talalay Latex pair with a Powercore Mattress Unit to give you one of the best latex mattresses on the market. Retail is $1,899 including a box spring. Try it risk-free for 90 days, and if this isn’t the best bed you’ve ever owned, Charles P. Rogers will buy it back. How’s that for a guarantee?

CPR Mattress

Sweet dreams!

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Breakfast in Bed – Butternut Hash

Butternut Hash

Post by Alison Hein.

The bad news is that summer is completely and entirely over. The good news is that autumn harvest vegetables are completely and entirely at their peak. Butternut squash, with its rich, buttery sweetness, is one of my all-time favorites.

You can dish a little bit of October flavor onto your breakfast plate with this Butternut Hash recipe. Best results come from fresh, not frozen, squash. Either steal a few pieces of a whole butternut when making soup (try my recipe for Butternut Squash Soup!), or use a handful of pre-cut pieces you can find in most groceries these days.

Butternut Hash

Broiling the butternut squash first makes finishing this hash a snap – do it the day before if you like to speed things even more. I like to roast the squash with a generous sprinkling of hot cayenne, infusing some heat as a counterpoint to its naturally sweet flavor. Stop here, if you like, and serve up the roasted butternut as a side dish for any meal of the day.

If you keep going, you will love the colorful array of vegetables tossed in the pan – deep orangey-gold squash, sprightly green celery, burnt auburn bacon, and rich red onion make this hash as pretty and autumnal as a mountainside of Eastern trees decked out in peak foliage.

Cook up some eggs as a go-with, if you like. Fried or scrambled are good alongside; perching some poached atop the hash is also lovely. A bite of tender yolk completely and entirely enhances the rich, crispy, flavorful bed of vegetables beneath, for a delectable harvest breakfast in bed.

Butternut Hash

Ingredients

1 cup butternut squash, chopped finely into 1/8-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Dash of cayenne pepper
2 slices bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh thyme, for garnish

Butternut Hash

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°. Toss butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and cayenne and spread out onto baking sheet. Bake until cooked through and lightly browned, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon, celery, red onion and butternut squash to pan. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisped and vegetables are cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add garlic and sauté. for 1 to 2 minutes longer, or until garlic is golden but not yet browned. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with fresh thyme.

Serve hot, with a side of eggs of your choice.

Makes 2 servings.

Butternut Hash

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