Breakfast in Bed – Scottish Shortbread Cookies

Scottish Shortbread 10

Post by Alison Hein.

Scotland’s recent historic vote for independence has got me thinking a lot about this lovely place, its people and its traditions.

The Scots are an ingenious people. Did you know that marmalade, raincoats, tarmac, pneumatic tires, adhesive stamps, penicillin, the bicycle, and the telephone were all invented by Scottish people? I learned this from one of my well-worn and well-loved linen dishcloths gifted to me by my dear friend Anne after a visit to her native homeland many years ago. Anne brought me a second linen at that time, too – this one emblazoned with traditional Scottish recipes: haggis and clootie; cock-a-leekie soup, scones and bridies; and of course, shortbread.

Also ingenious in their simplicity, Scottish recipes require little in the way of provisions, and offer much in the way of flavor. My dishcloth shortbread recipe calls for only three ingredients – flour, sugar, and butter. I’ve modified this approach over the years, using a light brown sugar for depth and a smooth, subtle splash of vanilla for mellowing. Remember, shortbread is all about the butter, so be sure to use a high quality variety when you try this recipe. You must cut the cookies immediately after removing them from the oven, while the dough is still soft. Then, allow them to cool in the pan for a bit so they won’t crumble.

Scottish Shortbread 1

Scotland’s history is also rich with music and verse, like this lovely little snippet from the song Bonnie Scotland, I Adore Thee:

Bonnie Scotland, land of grandeur,

Where the sparkling streams meander,

Here will I delight to wander,

Bonnie, Bonnie Scotland.

So, make a quick batch of shortbread, brew some thick, dark tea the way the Scots do, hum along, and surrender – to a bonnie, Scottish breakfast in bed.

Scottish Shortbread 3

Ingredients

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour

Scottish Shortbread 5

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325°. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla and mix well. Add flour gradually until a thick, crumbly dough has formed. Knead lightly until dough sticks together in a ball, then press evenly into a 9×9-inch pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned, but not crisp. Immediately cut dough into 3×1-inch strips and prick tops with a fork or toothpick. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool on a rack until firm. Store in waxed paper-lined tin.

Makes 27 cookies.

Scottish Shortbread 7

Posted in Breakfast in Bed | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Breakfast in Bed – Scottish Shortbread Cookies

Bedtime Stories: Bunnicula

Post by Mark T. Locker.

BunniculaBunnicula by James Howe.

Well, school is in session, and since we seem incapable of experiencing any down time between holidays, all the mini fridges and Trapper Keepers are being pulled and replaced with shrieking skeleton heads and bags and bags of candy. Friends, it is officially the start of Halloween season! Personally, I couldn’t be more pleased. I love all the masks, monsters, and makeup. Pumpkins, papiermâché skeletons, and party favors. It’s also time to bring in a new collection of spooky stories to share!

My son is now old enough to move past the cutesy Halloween picture books and tackle some heavier material. A couple of those old picture books will forever have a place in my heart, but I’m super excited to share with him the classic vampire story, Bunnicula. Narrated by the family dog, Harold, this story introduces us to the most unusual family of pets I know of. While Harold is very much a family dog, interested in snacks and naps, his companion, a cat named Chester, is a little different. He’s well-read and a little paranoid. When the family comes home one rainy night with a bunny they discovered in the movie theater, Chester is immediately wary. And as he begins to put the pieces together, wariness turns to suspicion, to fear. For it becomes clear that this is no ordinary rabbit. For one thing, he only wakes up at night. For another, he can slip in and out of his locked cage in  mysterious way. And when Chester discovers that vegetables are suddenly turning bone-white, his fears are confirmed. This bunny is a VAMPIRE!

A little bit spooky, and a whole lot of fun, this book is a great family read to offer goose bumps and laughs in equal measure. Ages 6+

Posted in Bedtime Stories | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Bedtime Stories: Bunnicula

Movies in Bed: Grand Budapest Hotel

banner-the-grand-budapest-hotel-film_1

Post by Mark T. Locker.

People fall into two camps: those who love Wes Anderson and those who do not. And those who do not tend to voraciously not like him.

Okay, maybe I’m oversimplifying it a bit. I don’t love Wes Anderson. But I like some of his movies. Well, I had been told that this movie would be the great crossover hit that would win Wes naysayers over to team Wes. I guess the argument was that this was the least Wes Anderson film that Wes Anderson has made.

I don’t know about that. The Fantastic Mr. Fox was pretty unhip. Actually, I thought this had a lot of the same quirkiness that rubs people the wrong way (or what I assume does) what with the particular way everything is arranged and shot and the characters who seem weird for no particular reason. But on the other hand, the plot seemed like a normal plot! And for me, that was a very good thing.

In Grand Budapest Hotel, Ray Fiennes plays M. Gustave, the concierge of the hotel, a perfect gentleman and incredibly suave. He plays the role wonderfully as does Tony Revolori, who plays the young lobby boy Zero who is taken under Gustave’s wing. As with all Wes Anderson movies, the cast is peppered with many beloved actors, some appearing only for a moment. But I always grin when Bill Murray appears, even if briefly. I’d say this movie is worth watching if you aren’t a staunch anti-Anderson fanatic. It’s got a great story, likable characters, and everything is okay in the end.

Posted in Movies in Bed | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Movies in Bed: Grand Budapest Hotel

Bedroom Design: Four Stunning Bedrooms That Scream Hollywood Glamour

Post by Tracy Kaler.

The Glamour of Hollywood has influenced interiors for decades, and continues to do so today with bold colors, plush textiles, and dramatic black and white photography. Alluring and seductive, these four bedrooms will make you feel Academy Award worthy, and ready to settle in with a dry martini and one of your favorite films in bed.

The teal, cream, and gold color scheme is not only appealing, but soothing and comfortable. The high tufted headboard with the furry throw pillows bring luxury, the mirrored nightstands add a touch of vintage, while the geometric wall covering sets the room’s mood. The decorative throw is magnificent and feminine, and the fuzzy rug softens.

White probably doesn’t seem an obvious color choice for a Hollywood-style bedroom, but here we see that’s not the case! A shag rug, faux fur bed covering, and pendant lamps exude decadence. The classic Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chair defines the corner, and a simple black and white picture hangs almost too high, yet balances the lowness of the rest of the space.

div>

The silver and red color scheme is all it takes to feel rich and glamorous in this Four Seasons residence. Components like the tufted platform king bed, the over-sized crimson sofa, the silver wall-to-wall carpeting, and the simple, modern lighting create a feeling of grandeur. In my opinion, the abstract art is the focal point in the room.

This bedroom is an example of true glam, Hollywood style. Silk upholstery, lucite and glass are simply bewitching in this space by Barclay Butera. The room boasts just the right amount of pattern, while the ivory color scheme contrasts, and the lighting creates ambiance. This five-star room looks like a celebrity’s sanctuary.

Posted in Bedroom Design | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Bedroom Design: Four Stunning Bedrooms That Scream Hollywood Glamour