Tag Archives: family

Movies in Bed: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

night-at-the-museum-3Post by Mark T. Locker.

I know we have all been waiting for so long, and the third installment in the Night at the Museum series has FINALLY been released for home viewing! One of those special evenings after too much activity in the day and everyone is worn out, what better way to wind the evening down than with a movie, all cuddled together on the couch? Or on the bed, which is even better because you can just drift right off.

Which you might do when you watch this movie unless you’re a kid. It’s a perfectly fine movie but has become something of a tired instrument by this point. I like the first one; I thought it was genuinely unique and funny and interesting. The premise, if you’ve missed the series, is Larry Daley is the new night watchman at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. What he doesn’t know is that everything in the museum comes to life at night. His posse includes Theodore Roosevelt, played by Robin Williams (rest in peace) along with Sacagawea, a tiny Wild West cowboy and his buddy a tiny Roman centurion. Plus a cheeky monkey and Genghis Khan. In this movie, the magic tablet that brings them to life is failing and they must bring it to the British Museum to speak with the Egyptian Pharaoh who made it to discover the secret of the tablet.

My son thought it was a great bit of fun. It wasn’t awful but as is the case with so many movies like this, the original remains the best. But if you’re looking for something harmless and funny, full of pratfalls and silly characters, you could do worse. Word of warning: there is a little bit of sad stuff that happens and there was a moment that my boy was in tears. But it all ends up okay in the end. Spoiler alert.

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Breakfast in Bed – Asparagus, Sun-Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Egg Cups

Asparagus Goat Cheese Egg Cups 7

Post by Alison Hein.

Our niece came to visit recently, and I wanted to be sure I had something perfect ready for breakfast. KellyAnne is a healthy eater, so I knew it had to be lean, light and luscious. It also had to be easy, as Kevin and I wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to take KellyAnne and Rich out to see the sights during their stay.

My mind drifted immediately back to Baked Egg Cups – portion-sized eggy cupcakes nested in lean Canadian bacon, and filled with colorful vegetables. Also low in fat, high in nutrients, and highly freezable so I could make them in advance. I did, however, want to dress them up a little. So out went the onions, peppers and mushrooms, and in came fresh, green asparagus and tangy sun-dried tomatoes. Mozzarella became crumbly goat cheese, and a few sprigs of fresh thyme added a bit of savory elegance.

Asparagus Goat Cheese Egg Cups 1

Served with a fresh fruit salad and home-baked bread, these little egg cups were a big hit. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, then headed out for an ambling day of wandering and photo snapping.

So next time you’re expecting company, pull out this recipe and give it a try. Or, freeze some just for yourself, then heat them up when you’re in the mood for a lean, light and luscious breakfast in bed.

Ingredients

Cooking spray
12 pieces Canadian bacon (or substitute turkey or veggie bacon)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces asparagus
7 large eggs
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Asparagus Goat Cheese Egg Cups 4

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.  Lightly spray 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Place one piece of bacon in each muffin cup, arranging to fit against sides as much as possible.

Heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Clean and trim asparagus, then slice into ½-inch long pieces. Add asparagus to pan and sauté until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Alternatively, steam or oven roast asparagus. Set aside to cool.

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Crack eggs into a large bowl and beat lightly. Add sautéed asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, fresh thyme, salt and pepper to beaten eggs and mix thoroughly. Pour mixture evenly into muffin tins. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until cooked through (test with toothpick). Cool slightly before removing from tin.

Makes 12 egg cups.

Asparagus Goat Cheese Egg Cups 8

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Bedtime Stories: Just Joking

just jokingPost by Mark T. Locker.

Just joking : 300 hilarious jokes, tricky tongue twisters, and ridiculous riddles

The National Geographic Society is not just about publishing the once-monthly gold-bordered glossy magazines full of beautiful photography and intriguing articles. Now it is the purveyor of knock-knock jokes and other groan-inducing riddles. I bought this one for my son with a pretty good sense that I would quickly regret this particular gift choice.

Turns out, I don’t really regret it at all. I have long been a fan of cheesy riddles, annoying knock-knock jokes and anything even remotely resembling a pun. The hardest part for me is deciding whether to pretend that I don’t know the answers to these jokes after being asked them 50 times or always give him the joy of the delivery. Right now, I’m at about 50/50. Here are a couple examples of what you will be in for:

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Who.
Who who?
Is there an owl in there?

Q:Who robs you when you are in a bathtub?
A: A robber ducky!

You get the idea. There will be no learning useful facts. There is no thought-provoking journalism. Just three hundred achingly terrible jokes. I highly recommend it. Any kid with a sense of humor will be well served by having this collection in their arsenal.

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Breakfast in Bed: Pistachio-Crusted French Toast

Pistachio-Crusted French Toast 8

Post by Alison Hein.

I got carried away as I was grinding pistachios yesterday. The rich, salty crunch of these exotic little nuts is so divine, I can easily gobble up a whole package of them in one sitting. Instead, I try to pace myself, by distributing them more rationally, and combining them with complementary flavors.

Step one – grind. Step two – coat the delectable morsel of your choice with a delectable pistachio covering. In this case, I was using the ground nuts to dress up some goat cheese medallions, which I then placed on top of a salad of baby lettuces bathed in a tangy lemon citrus vinaigrette.

Pistachio-Crusted French Toast 2

Pistachios are an ancient food. Originating in the eastern Mediterranean and central Asia, they are one of the three seeds (along with walnuts and almonds) mentioned in the Bible. Pliny the elder wrote that pistachios were a common food as early as 6750 BC. These days, the US is one of the top global producers of pistachio nuts.

Search the internet and you’ll find a cornucopia of “pistachio-crusted” recipes. From lamb to salmon, asparagus to tofu, cheesecake to, you guessed it…French toast! So, I drowned some soft brioche in a vanilla egg bath, then used my excess ground nuts to create a divine Pistachio-Crusted French Toast, and a salty, crunchy, exotic breakfast in bed.

Pistachio-Crusted French Toast 3

Ingredients

1 cup pistachio nuts
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 slices rich, soft bread, such as brioche or challah
2 to 4 tablespoons butter

Preparation

Grind pistachio nuts in a nut grinder, coffee mill, or blender until chopped finely, but not powdery. Retain some larger nut pieces for extra crunch, if you like. Place ground pistachios in a small shallow dish.

Pistachio-Crusted French Toast 5

In large, shallow bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Stir in vanilla. Dip bread slices into the milk mixture, turning once to completely saturate. Don’t over soak or the soft bread will fall apart. Dip bread slices in chopped pistachio pieces, using a spoon to help cover.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in heavy skillet. Add nut-covered bread slices and cook over medium to medium-low heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add more butter as needed. Remove from pan and serve warm with real maple syrup.

Makes 4 servings.

Pistachio-Crusted French Toast 9

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Breakfast in Bed – The Drinking of the Green

Drinking of the Green 11

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.

Drinking of the Green 1

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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