Breakfast in Bed – Valentine’s Eggs, Sunny Side Up

Post by Alison Hein.

If there’s one perfect day for serving breakfast in bed, it is, of course, Valentine’s Day. Well, it’s right around the corner, so now’s the time to start thinking about making a festive morning meal for your special someone.

For starters, pull out a tray. Then dress it up. Try linen napkins, a red rose, a tiny goblet of fresh berries, a love note, or even your dear one’s favorite newspaper tied up with golden ribbon. If you have a shocking red plate, by all means, place that front and center. Now, what to put on the plate? For just a couple of dollars, you can purchase a heart-shaped egg ring – a thin metal band in the shape of a heart, reminiscent of a large cookie cutter. Simply set the ring directly in a heated frying pan, drop a cracked egg into it, then let it cook a couple of minutes until the white is set and the yolk is glossy and golden.

You can use the ring to make accompanying heart-shaped toast, if you like. Or cook up some bacon first, then fry your heart-shaped eggs in the rich, salty drippings. Or, use your rings to make a few heart-shaped pancakes. Use your best judgment to tailor the quintessential breakfast in bed for your loved one. Then, don’t be upset when your heart gets broken. 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Equipment
Heart-shaped egg rings

Ingredients
2 slices bread
1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 eggs
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation
Use the heart-shaped egg ring to cut out two hearts from the bread slices. Set aside while cooking eggs.

Heat a heavy frying pan over medium-low heat. Add olive oil and butter, continuing to heat until butter is melted. Crack one egg into a small bowl, making sure the yolk is intact. Place a heart-shaped ring in the frying pan, then carefully pour the egg into the ring. Repeat for the second egg. Season liberally with salt and pepper. If you like, baste frequently with the oil / butter mixture to accelerate cooking time. Cook until whites are cooked through and yellow centers are still soft, about 2 to 3 minutes.

While eggs are cooking, toast bread. Place toasted hearts on a warmed plate, then top with the sunny side up eggs. Serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving.

You can find heart-shaped egg rings in local kitchen specialty stores, or on many popular websites, such as Amazon.com

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Bedtime Stories: Boy + Bot

Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman. Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino.

Looking for something simple and adorable to read? I’ve just stumbled across this cute little story by Ame Dyckman and Dan Yaccarino. I recently refurbished my e-reader to make it more functional than it was (which was not very) and have been borrowing digital picture books from the library. The selection is somewhat limited (though I expect it will grow) so I’m likely to read every picture book available. This is one that I would go borrow a paper copy of, it’s so durn adorable.

A boy meets a robot and they become instant friends. Unfortunately, while rolling down a hill the bot’s off switch is pressed. The boy carries him home and tries to make him better the only ways he knows how: applesauce, stories, and so on but nothing works. While the boy sleeps the parents accidentally hit the on switch. Robot sees the boy is off so he does the same for the boy: takes him home, reads him instruction manuals, gives him oil. Luckily the inventor intervenes and explains that they have a BOY not a bot. Don’t worry: everything turns out okay in the end. The last several pages are cute-as-can-be pictures of the boy and the bot playing together. It’s a great picture book for kids of all ages. Seriously. Go get it. Or download it from your local library’s e-book collection!

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Breakfast in Bed: Benne Wafers

Post by Alison Hein.

Now that we’ve gotten all the Super Bowl hoopla out of our systems, it’s time to focus on more important things – like African American History Month. Historian Carter G. Woodson initiated focus on African American history back in 1926 when he decreed that the second week in February become “Negro History Week.” Woodson chose the month of February, when both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass celebrated their birthdays.

It wasn’t until 1976 that the US government officially expanded Woodson’s initiative to become “Black History Month.” President Gerald Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Our country’s food history, too, owes a lot to our African American forbears. Popular soul food, like collard greens, johnnycakes and chitlins, stems from African roots. Benne (the Bantu word for sesame) was brought from Africa to this country during the slave trade era. Benne Wafers are still very popular in the south, and are considered a specialty of Charleston, South Carolina.

Sometime this month, I urge you to make these nutty little wafers. Pack some up and head out to a local park or museum for an event honoring African Americans. Here are some links to get you started:

http://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/

http://www.nea.org/tools/lessons/black-history-month.htm

http://www.nycgovparks.org/events/black_history_month

http://americanfood.about.com/od/resourcesadditionalinfo/a/Soul-Food-History-And-Definition.htm

Ingredients
½ cup benne (sesame) seeds
¾ cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350°. To toast seeds, place them on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, stirring once or twice, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Mix in egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in flour and baking powder to form stiff batter. Drop batter by rounded ½ teaspoons onto prepared sheet, leaving about 1½ inches between wafers. Bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes.

Makes 5½ to 6 dozen wafers.

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Bedtime Stories: Dad, are you the tooth fairy?

Post by Mark T. Locker.

Dad, are You the Tooth Fairy? By Jason Alexander.

My son lost his first tooth the other day. They grow up so quickly! The next day, he brought home this book from the school library. It’s all about a kid losing teeth and the tooth fairy. How appropriate! Right? Wrong! If you want to instill a sense of skepticism early in your child’s life, this is the book for you. It basically spells out for the children that perhaps all of those childhood beliefs are bogus. Hence the child asking the dad if he is the Tooth Fairy. It’s a terrible book. It’s basically one man’s attempt to cover up, in a really lame way, that his son discovered the truth. His answer? Well, yes, technically, I put the note and the coin under your pillow. But it’s the fairy speaking through me! But it will only work if you believe in the face of all the proof to the contrary. It never crossed my little boy’s mind that I had cleverly folded that dollar bill into a butterfly. Until Jason Alexander (yes, that’s “George” from Seinfeld) decided to write this book. Don’t read it to your children unless they are already fully skeptical of the presence of magic and wonder in the world.

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Movies in Bed: Frozen


Post by Mark T. Locker.

It’s not often that I get to take my kid to the movies. His great-aunts are gracious enough to usually suffer through those base, slapstick-laden cringefests, providing Mom and my with a couple hours of quiet time. But when Mom is nowhere to be found and kid is LITERALLY bouncing off the walls, heigh-ho! Heigh-ho! It’s off to the local cinema we go! Today we are “enjoying” the Disney movie “Frozen”. It’s about a girl, a princess (naturally) named Elsa. She has a magical ability to create snow and ice. But when a playtime escapade with her little sister Anna ends in near-disaster, Elsa is forced to keep it all in. And she can’t. So she is forced into isolation. ANYWAYS fast forward, she loses it and plunges the whole place into eternal winter. Whoopsy! Interestingly, the marketing for this movie carefully avoids letting on that this is a movie about sisters and their relationship and lots of singing. My boy is not bothered by that and I don’t think the term “girl movie” crossed his mind. It’s got a silly magical snowman and the music is actually kind of catchy. (I’m going to look up this one song as soon as I finish this.) It’s based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale “The Snow Queen” so you can’t go wrong!

You can’t actually watch it in bed YET. It comes out on DVD in March. But if you have a kid, boy or girl, then you will probably end up watching this with them sooner or later.

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