Friday, August 14, 2009

Shark and Beach Cupcakes

Summer is coming to an end and school days are quickly approaching. To mark the end of a few great summer months, yesterday we hosted a pool party. While looking for fun pool/water food ideas, I came across Martha's Shark and Beach Cupcakes.

I cheated and used a cake mix and store-bought icing rather than following Martha's suggested recipes. I'm using my large pregnant belly as an excuse to take shortcuts.

These cupcakes could not have been easier. Graham cracker crumb sand, paper umbrellas, blue icing, and shark tales cut from blue cardstock. The prep time was so minimal and the cute factor is huge. They would have been better with Martha Stewart cupcake liners but I was out and didn't feel like making a trip to the store.

Have you made any cute Martha cupcakes lately?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Good Thing :: The Button-Up Window Shade

Since I moved into my current house two years ago, I've had plans to change the window treatment in the master bathroom. I was inspired months ago by a Pottery Barn bathroom layout using orange, navy and light blue together, and an idea was born. The fabric was purchased but I couldn't come to a decision on the type of treatment I was looking for ... until I saw the Button-Up Window Shade on a Martha Stewart craft email one day. The simplistic style appealed to me and I thought it would work well with my chosen Amy Butler print.
Here's where my confession comes in: I looked at the picture of the shade but didn't actually read the instructions so my shade differs slightly from Martha's. (For instructions, click here.) Knowing that I wanted to leave my shade at one height (rather than opening it further to allow more sunlight in), I didn't use two rows of buttons, and I sewed buttonholes into my fabric rather than using twill tape loops to hook around the buttons.
This is a great project even for a beginner seamstress and I love the simple, tailored look. Definitely an improvement over the old curtains!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Details

I've always appreciated Martha's eye for details. I love the fine touches that take something from normal to special. The Martha Stewart line at Michael's and ideas from Martha's website make it easy to add sweet touches to the ordinary.

Yesterday I hosted a garden tea for my daughter. A simple event and easy to throw together but filled with small details that made the girls feel special. No tea is complete without some Martha touches.

Places were marked with place cards from Martha's craft line at Michael's ...

... and cupcakes were baked in some of Martha's beautiful wrappers (the cupcake wrappers might be my very favorite item that Martha sells ... I use them all the time to brighten up a simple cupcake or muffin or tie colors into a theme.) This cupcake idea is very similar to one seen on Martha's site as well.

Iced tea was sipped through straws adorned with paper butterflies (cut from a variety of scrapbook paper). The template is found on the Martha Stewart website.

What are some of your favorite Martha ideas for adding special touches to the ordinary?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Easy Outdoor Entertaining

Lucinda Scala Quinn, the Executive Editorial Director of Food and Entertaining at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, has some quick and easy tips to make summer outdoor entertaining a snap (see below).  Be sure to check out the July/August issue of Everyday Food (on newsstands June 22) for menu and recipe ideas.  Party on!

1. Create a summer home for dishes. Station an armoire on a covered patio or clear a few shelves in the garage to hold items devoted to alfresco dining.

2. Accommodating a large group for a sit-down meal outside can be accomplished easily and elegantly by topping a few folding tables with a rustic flat-panel door or a single piece of plywood covered with cloth.

3. Tackle grill-related tasks more than just a few minutes ahead of time. Stock up on charcoal or refill the propane tank a week before. Clean and season the grill rack the morning of your party, and place a table nearby, complete with the various grilling tools and serving platters you’ll need. For specific grilling ideas check-out

4. Running a fan near your dining area will help keep mosquitoes at bay — and keep your guests cool, too.

5. Multiple beverage stations help ensure that guests can get a refill without waiting. Galvanized tubs, colorful enamel buckets, and planters work perfectly. Place an assortment of drinks in each bin destined for different locations throughout the yard.

6. Take advantage of seasonal produce when creating a summer menu for delicious and budget-friendly meals. Sweet corn is at its best, so try it grilled or steamed as a side dish, or turn it into a salad by tossing fresh kernels with extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, chopped fresh herbs, and a little sweet onion or scallion; season with salt and pepper. For more ideas see the July/August issue of Everyday Food or

7. When getting ready for barbecues, clambakes, and other hands-on occasions, set out damp paper towels or cloths, sprinkled with lemon juice and rolled, to remedy sticky fingers. For easy cleanup, cover the table with split garbage bags topped with kraft or butcher paper. Keep crayons nearby for creative guests, young and old.

8. Informal gatherings, planned weeks ahead or convened at a moments notice, don’t require traditional invitations. Spread the word via e-mail using an online invitation site like

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Everyday Food :: Honey-Teriyaki Chicken

The words "family friendly" often make me more likely to try a new recipe since nothing is worse than making something that the kids complain about. My kids aren't very picky eaters but it isn't always easy to please all four of them with one meal. In the May 2009 issue of Everyday Food, the Family Friendly recipe for Honey-Teriyaki Chicken met two of my top criteria: simple enough for a quick weeknight dinner, and yummy sounding.

I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts rather than the recommended bone-in, skin-on thighs which left my finished chicken looking a bit less crispy and tantalizing than Martha's but the taste was good. I liked the chicken breasts but my kids loved them and they all went back for a second helping: the sign of a true family friendly meal.

Honey-Teriyaki Chicken
serves 4

1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
coarse salt and ground pepper
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds total)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, mix honey, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat. Transfer chicken and sauce to baking sheet.

Bake chicken, skin side up, basting occasionally with pan juices, until well browned and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve chicken drizzled with pan juices.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Blogging Martha: Linkapalooza

iGoogle Showcase lets visitors see Martha’s iGoogle homepage.

CakeJournal makes Martha’s adorable petit fours.

bloom.acious suggests trying Martha’s make-ahead pancakes this weekend.

The Lylah Blog also recommends a pancake recipe of Martha’s.

Fabric reports on a new accessories line by two of Martha’s craft editors.

Healthy. Happy. Life. writes about the appearance Erin McKenna of Babycakes on Martha’s show.

Stylish Events makes the giant paper flowers seen on Martha’s show recently.

Cooking Books tries Martha’s strawberry shortcake recipe.

PaperFriendly laughs at Martha’s embossing skills.

Covetier enjoys the strawberry shortcake cookies featured in this month’s “Living.”

Have a Martha link to add? Drop it in a comment.

*Image from

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Icing on the Cake

Though I bake frequently, I've never been brave enough to make a cake with more than one layer. I was hosting a little dinner party this weekend, and I decided to give it a try.

I didn't have enough time to whip up a recipe of Martha's, instead I used a box of cake mix and frosting from the grocery store. However, I did use some of Martha's round cake pans from Macy's! I made a yellow cake and filled it with homemade strawberry preserves and fresh strawberries.

I've never frosted a round cake before, so I used some of the tips that Martha frequently dispenses on her show. First, I covered the cake stand with strips of wax paper so that any stray frosting could be easily removed. It worked! The stand was nice and neat and ready for serving! I also did a crumb coating so that the frosting would spread smoothly, which also worked wonderfully. Martha frequently frosts cakes on a lazy susan, which I didn't have, but it was easy enough to just turn the cake stand as I went.

The results were great! Maybe next time I'll be bold enough to try more than two layers!

For more tips from Martha on how to frost a cake, click here and here!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Everyday Food :: Simple Crostini with Artichoke-Dill Topping

I needed a quick appetizer to take to Bunko and found this recipe in an old issue of Everyday Food: Simple Crostini with a Trio of Toppings. I had the ingredients on hand for the Artichoke-Dill topping, but the White-Bean and Caper and Tomato-Basil toppings sound delicious as well. I'll have to stock the pantry. (Check the website for a few more topping choices.)
This recipe can be made ahead (don't top the crostini until you're ready to serve) and is a delightful blend of flavors, including fresh dill from the garden.
(click on the links above for the recipes)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Design for Martha

Have you added this book to your shelf yet? If not, you have an opportunity to win one. The craft blog at Martha Stewart Living, The Crafts Dept., is having a contest. Design a new header for the blog and you could win a copy of the book ... and bragging rights. Follow this link for contest details.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Martha :: The Baby Shower Show

Last Thursday, The Martha Stewart Show was dedicated to expectant moms. Since I'm expecting my fifth child, I tuned in to see what great ideas Martha was featuring. (If you missed the show and want details on any of the segments, click on the links below to take you to the website.)

Thursday's audience was filled with soon-to-be moms in every stage of pregnancy and, as expected, Martha rewarded them with some great giveaways. Made me wish I was sitting in that audience. Why can't Martha tape her show in Texas?

The set was decorated in shades of pink and orange with paper ball lanterns hanging overhead. I may steal that idea for a corner of my girls' room.

Nancy O'Dell joined Martha, plugged her new book, and made an adorable bird mobile. Wouldn't this add sweet whimsy to a nursery?

Liz Lange was on the show, promoting her new spring collection of maternity clothes and sharing some tips for looking great during pregnancy. The key according to Liz? Close-fitting maternity clothes that show off those curves. I love that Martha featured maternity clothes that are affordable for the average person (and found at one of my favorite stores).

A few staffers discussed some of their favorite must-have baby products. Many were practical, such as the My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow and the BornFree Baby Bottles, and some were just fun, like Sophie la Girafe (the chic and sophisticated way to teethe that the French have been using for 40 years).

The cookie tree was my favorite part of the show. An adorable centerpiece for a baby shower that doubles as a take-home favor for guests, this sweet tree is easy to make and would add such a personal touch to any shower. (I was unable to find a photo of the tree on the website but it featured the onesie cookies below as well as some other baby shapes, hung by ribbon and hooked on tree branches.)

The Baby Shower Show was full of lots of fun tips and ideas. What are some of your favorite Martha baby shower ideas?

photo credits:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Blogging Martha: Linkapalooza!

Times Square Gossip reports on a bizarre case involving Martha and a disfigured hand model!

The New York Times interviews Martha.

Bron Marshall makes Martha’s darkest chocolate crepe recipe her own by whipping up some lovely Nutella crepe cakes.

Martha Moments provides 10 tips for using pom-poms when decorating.

Johnstone’s Vin Blanc is inspired to make “ditch dogs” by a recipe on Martha’s site.

Apartment Therapy suggests an idea from Martha as a great way to organize mail.

Buff Chickpea tries out Martha’s recipe for peanut butter and jelly bars.

The Italian Dish adapts a recipe of Martha’s to make cheesecake with roasted rum pineapple and pineapple flowers.

Momtrends gets a photo with Martha at the New York Botanical Garden.

Lovestoeat enjoys the lemony smashed potatoes recipe from the current issue of Everyday Food.

Have a Martha link to add? Drop it in a comment!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pineapple-Mango Upside-Down Cake

For Easter, I tried out the pineapple-mango upside-down cake recipe in Martha’s “Baking Handbook.” It was a hit! I followed the recipe with a few small substitutions:

-- I was out of parchment paper so I skipped that step, but the cake turned out fine.
-- I didn’t have an appropriately sized round cookie cutter, so I used a heart-shaped one instead. I considered using a bunny-shaped one for Easter, but thought that might be a bit much!
-- I had some fat-free sour cream on hand that was close to going bad, so I used that. Since the amount of sour cream called for was so small, I figured that would be fine.

The cake turned out so pretty! I would definitely recommend this recipe for a sweet springtime treat.

1 ¼ sticks unsalted butter (plus more for pan)
1 medium ripe pineapple peeled and cut crosswise into ¼-inch-think slices
1 medium ripe mango peeled
½ cup packed light-brown sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-by-8-by-2-inch cake pan, line it with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out the centers of each of the four rounds, and discard; set rings aside. Finely chop enough of the remaining pineapple to yield 1 cup (reserve remainder for another use). Place chopped fruit in a fine sieve set over a bowl to drain.

Cut the mango lengthwise into ¼-inch-think slices. Using the 1 ½-inch cookie cutter, cut out four rounds from mango slice; set aside. Finely chop enough of the remaining mango to yield ½ cup; add to the pineapple in the sieve.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 2 tablespoons butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a small offset spatula, evenly spread butter mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan; set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside. Place a reserved pineapple ring in each corner of the prepared pan. Place a reserved mango round in the center of each ring.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat remaining 1 stick butter with granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on lowest speed, add flour mixture in two parts, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.

Transfer the chopped pineapple-mango mixture to cake pan; discard juice. Using a small offset spatula, carefully spread fruit in an even layer on top of cut-out fruit, making sure to fill all the empty spaces, including any gaps in the corners. Using the offset spatula, spread batter evenly over fruit.

Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until cake is golden brown and cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 30 minutes. Invert onto a cake plate; peel off the parchment paper. Serve cake slightly warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Visit The UPS Store, Get Free Martha Mags

With Mother's Day nearly here, chances are you might be paying a visit to your local UPS Store to ship off a little something special to your mom or grandmother.  With a new offer, if you spend $25 at The UPS Store, you can receive a free 1-year subscription to your choice of Everyday Food and Body+Soul magazine.

To receive your free subscription, send a copy of your $25+ receipt from The UPS Store, along with a notecard that includes your full name, address, daytime telephone number and appropriate code indicating your magazine choice (EFAEGV2 for Everyday Food or BDAAYA7 for Body+Soul) to PO Box 60015, Tampa, FL 33660-0013.  Offer expires May 30, 2009.

Happy shipping!
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Friday, April 17, 2009

Blogging Martha: Linkapalooza

A Bookworm’s World reviews Martha’s “Encyclopedia of Crafts.”

Hooked on Houses admires Martha’s home office.

We Are That Family uses Martha’s glitter bird stickers to create new artwork for spring.

BloggingStocks says that Martha is giving herself a raise.

No Fear Entertaining appropriates a recipe of Martha’s to make cinnamon chocolate brownies.

Busy Mom shares some of Martha’s spring cleaning tips.

Bag Bunch reports on Isaac Mizrahi’s new show on Martha Stewart Living Radio.

The gossip blog world is buzzing about Rupert Everett’s “fresh faced” new look which he debuted on Martha’s show this week.

BoogieDowner writes that Martha will be redesigning the New York Botanical Garden’s culinary herb garden this summer.

Martha Moments showcases some of Martha’s spring flower arrangements for 1-800-Flowers.

Have a Martha link to add? Drop it in a comment!

*Image from

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Silk Tie Easter Eggs

I've seen tie-dyed Easter eggs (eggs dyed with silk ties) so many places this year. It seems to be the hot idea for this Easter season. Martha featured this idea on a recent show (or so I'm told ... I haven't yet watched that DVR'ed episode) and the instructions are found on the website.

I found some old, cheap silk ties at my local thrift store. Martha also suggests using silk blouses or thrift store boxers but I couldn't quite imagine cooking my eggs in someone's used unders. We stuck with the silk ties.

The process is very simple. Wrap the raw eggs in pieces of the silk ties with the printed side facing the egg, secure with an elastic band, and cover with water and three tablespoons of white vinegar. (Martha recommends wrapping the eggs again with a piece of white fabric. For better or for worse, we skipped this step.) Bring the water to a boil, and then let simmer for twenty minutes.

We were excited to unwrap the eggs and reveal the colors. While I was hoping for brightly colored eggs, we ended up with some neat designs. The eggs seem to take on the tie's design but not much of the tie's background color - something to think about when you're selecting a tie to use.

This is a fun and novel technique and something fun to try if you can't face one more PAAS kit.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Blogging Martha: Linkapalooza

Etsy profiles Marcie McGoldrick, editorial director for holidays and crafts at MSLO.

Design Mom attends a taping of Martha’s show.

Scribbit “tie dies” Easter eggs using a technique showcased on Martha’s show.

Shopping Blog reports that Martha has partnered with Crane’s on a line of wedding invitations.

Zen Cupcake covers cute bluebird cupcakes inspired by some on Martha’s site.

“South Park” spoofed Martha this week. (WARNING: Some might find this a bit offensive!)

Footnoted addresses a letter to the top dogs at MSO.

Ouch! These lounge chairs sold under Martha’s name are hazardous to hands!

Freakgirl whips up a red velvet cupcake recipe from Martha.

Tiny Décor features a nursery decorated with Martha’s pom-pom kit.

Have a Martha link to add? Drop it in a comment!

*Image from

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Hunt for Perfect Baby Announcements

Earlier this month I embarked on a search for the perfect baby announcements. I wanted to create them myself online so I could have some control over the content and layout. I never imagined it would be so hard to find something cute that met those criteria!

Most of the big-name photo-sharing sites’ announcement choices were simply ugly. And the few things I found online that were cute involved mailing in a hard-copy photo and waiting for a designer to send you a proof for approval (a lengthy and expensive undertaking).

That’s when I remembered that KODAK Gallery has a line of Martha-approved card designs. I found exactly what I was looking for and was able to customize the content and layout to my specifications. Best of all, I ordered the announcements on a Sunday afternoon and they were delivered to me on the following Thursday.

The only negative I would mention is that what looked to be a baby blue on my computer screen is actually more aqua than it appeared. But I guess that’s a risk you take when ordering anything online!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Blogging Martha: Linkapalooza

TMZ reports that Martha isn’t coping with her puppy’s recent passing.

Jordan Ferney is impressed by some of Martha’s new stuff at Macy’s.

SippitySup makes a sautéed tilapia recipe featured in “Living.”

Just Baking loves Martha’s apple-cinnamon bundt cake recipe.

Rock ’n Roll Bride showcases a wedding decorated with Martha’s pom-poms.

Lion Brand Yarn writes about its upcoming appearance on Martha’s show.

sweet fine day says that its marshmallow favor creations will be included in an upcoming issue of “Weddings.”

Cheapskate Mom is excited that Martha uses Seventh Generation’s dishwashing soap.

Bliss Tree likes the free apron pattern offered on Martha’s site.

In the Sink News uses some Martha Stewart Crafts supplies to make adorable paper baskets.

Have a Martha link to add? Drop it in a comment.

*Image from

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Everyday Food: The March Issue

When I first started getting Everyday Food, I used to go through each issue and use sticky flags to mark the recipes I wanted to make. After going through more packs than I can count, I decided to switch from stickies to the more economical dog-earing of pages. Not as colorful, but far less expensive. This month I think I folded down more page corners than ever before. I wanted to make just about every recipe I saw.

Last week all of our dinners came from this issue. Monday’s Baked Penne with Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes, Tuesday’s Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops, Thursday’s Breaded Chicken Cutlets, and Friday’s Irish Beef Hand Pies. (Yes, we did skip Wednesday.) Dessert every night was the Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chunk Cookies from the last page, and I’m still going to make the Fudgy Skillet Brownies (pictured) and the Warm Berries ‘n’ Dumplings.

I have a recipe backlog from this month. March is a tough time because it’s not quite warm enough for the Spring vegetables (at least where I live), and the Fall vegetables are getting tired. This issue of Everyday Food uses frozen berries, pears, canned tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots in interesting ways that perk up what can be a rather dull time of year, foodwise. I also like the focus on a single ingredient (in this issue balsamic vinegar) with a new twist (Balsamic-Rosemary Vinaigrette that can be used as a salad dressing, and is also used as the marinade in the Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops).

The April Everyday Food is coming soon, but all of the recipes from the March issue are availble online at

Picture from

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Everyday Food: Southern Mac & Cheese

In these last few weeks of winter, I've been combing through my favorite cookbooks and magazines for recipes to work my oven as much as possible before the weather warms and cravings for thick, rich macaroni and cheese are replaced by crisp, fresh salads and juicy chunks of watermelon.

In the March 2009 Everyday Food, I came across a feature titled "10 Ways to Love Pasta." I thought this to be a genius story - not only is pasta a quick weeknight meal, but it's budget-friendly, perfect for a time when many of us are tightening our belts. The one that stared right at me as the perfect meal for a chilly Sunday evening was Martha's Southern Mac & Cheese.

First, set aside two cups of elbow macaroni. While boiling the water for the macaroni, prepare the macaroni and cheese sauce. You can use pre-shredded cheddar cheese if you're pressed for time, but not to be out-Martha'ed by Martha, I grated 2 cups of cheddar cheese by hand.

Combine a cup of half-and-half, two eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and 1 clove of garlic, minced, in a large bowl. Whisk to combine; add cheddar cheese.

Just before pasta is al dente, drain and combine with cheese mixture. Divide into ramekins or spread into a shallow 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish.

The next step Martha suggests is to combine two torn slices of white bread in a food processor with two tablespoons of butter. I had some homemade rosemary-garlic ciabatta breadcrumbs on hand so I used those to top off the casserole.

Dividing evenly, top pasta mixture with 1/2 cup cheddar, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until mac and cheese is golden and bubbling, about 20 minutes in ramekins, 25 minutes in a baking dish. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Iced Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies

I’m always on the lookout for a good new cookie recipe to add to our regular rotation. Luckily between various neighbors, family and friends, the office, Madeline’s daycare, Nick’s carpool and more, I have plenty of taste-testers ready to give me their opinion. The quicker I get the desserts out of the house, the safer it is!
When I first made these cookies and had one, I’ve got to say, they did nothing for me. But with each bite, they definitely grew on me, and days later, I had elevated their status to “make again.” I think it was the glaze that did it for me. The cookies by itself are less-than-stellar plain oatmeal cookies. But add the glaze and they get interesting. Easy to make, and more than likely, you already have the ingredients on hand. They’re the perfect cookie for an after-school snack or to fill up that cookie jar.

Iced Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies
Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart’s Holiday Cookies 2005

Makes about 2-1/2 dozen

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup chunky-style applesauce
1-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup golden raisins
1-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Make cookies: Preheat oven to 350. Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until combined. Add egg and applesauce, mix until well blended, 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix in raisins.

Using a 1-1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies until golden and just set, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack set over parchment paper; let cool completely.

Make icing: Whisk confectioners’ sugar, syrup, and 3 tablespoons water until smooth. Drizzle over cookies, let set.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Martha's Calendar is Back!

One of the features that I loved about Martha's magazine is the monthly calendar she published in every issue of Martha Stewart Living.  Although I didn't exactly mourn its loss, I was sad when they stopped publishing it.  I liked seeing what she was up to.  But never fear - it's coming back! 

In the April issue (on newsstands March 16th), you'll be able to see all the fun activities that Martha has on her calendar.  It will include her some of her day-to-day activities, upcoming events and her speaking engagements, as well as some timely homekeeping tips and reminders.

I can't wait to find out if she's going to go to the Brimfield Antique Show in May.  I'll be there, along with 5,000 vendors and countless deal-seekers and antique lovers.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Blogging Martha: Linkapalooza

Word Wise reports on some changes coming in the April issue of “Living.”

Manolo for the Brides posts customized cake stands made using Martha’s cupcake stand kit.

The Good Things blog highlights the new Easter things coming to Martha’s craft line.

The Culinary Chase makes Martha’s sesame wonton crackers.

Gawker features a little blunder Martha made on her show Wednesday.

So Many Cookbooks … tries Martha’s cinnamon swirl cookies.

tiny*prints shares some of the cute cupcake ideas featured on Martha’s site.

Design Mom likes the new Pingg invites designed my Martha.

Comments is not happy about one of Martha’s Tweets.

My Big Fat Cuban Family has a real-life Martha encounter!

Have a Martha link to add? Drop it in a comment.
*Image from

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Everyday Food :: Rustic Marinara Sauce

I love a pasta dinner with delicious noodles and a simple marinara sauce. I have a recipe that I've been using for years but decided to give the Rustic Marinara Sauce (Everyday Food, March 2009) a try. With only six ingredients, it couldn't be more simple - the perfect recipe for a speedy weeknight dinner or to deliver to a friend in need of a meal.

Rustic Marinara Sauce

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, and a pinch of red-pepper flakes over medium until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add two 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes with juice, crushed; season with salt and pepper. Cook at a rapid simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Makes 4 cups.

The sauce wasn't as good as my regular recipe although I think a little oregano and basil would make it delicious. I'll definitely try it again with a few changes of my own. Any other ideas for spicing up this basic sauce?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Breakfast for Dinner

I'm usually fairly knowledgeable about news and current events. I read a lot of blogs and newspaper headlines - though I admit that I rarely make it through a full article. My media diet is plentiful but not excessive. I listen to the Today Show while I'm getting dressed in the morning and my commute back and forth from work is rarely completed without some form of reading material in hand.

Being that I work in consumer public relations for a living, I know a lot more about pop culture than I ever did before I started working. I read gossip blogs and I know enough about celebrities to brainstorm brand spokespeople during occasional staff meetings.

I know that Reese Witherspoon likes to scrapbook. I know that January 9 is National Clean Up Your Desk Day. I know that coffee September is Better Breakfast Month.

But somehow, I missed the fact that February 24 was National Pancake Day. At first, I assumed this was a fake holiday created by a mother who didn't feel like cooking dinner and said, "Fine, we'll just have pancakes."

In fact, National Pancake Day is actually derived from Shrove Day, the Tuesday before Lent, when Christian groups would give up fat and eggs. In preparation, they used the forbidden ingredients the day before as not to waste them.

Here are a few of Martha's favorite pancake recipes:

Tips for Perfect Pancakes

What are your favorite pancake recipes?

New Cookbook from Martha Stewart

If you know me, you know I am a little obsessed with cupcakes.  Couple that with my love for most things Martha Stewart, and it can be a dangerous combination indeed.  She is finally set to release her newest cookbook, dedicated to all things cupcake.  Martha Stewart's Cupcake: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat won't be available until June, but you can pre-order it now on Amazon (done!).  Can't wait to receive this one...

There’s no better authority on delectable desserts than Martha Stewart. She and her ingenious team of editors have consistently created the most delicious recipes, and their dedication to simple instructions, how-to photographs, and beautiful styling is unparalleled. And there’s no more in-demand dessert right now than cupcakes.
Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes features 175 ideas and includes recipes for the cakes, frostings, and fillings, along with a trove of suggestions for tastefully decorating and embellishing them. From classics such as devil’s food cupcakes to sweet surprises like peanut butter and jelly cupcakes, and from elegant delicacies like tiny cherry-almond tea cakes to festive showstoppers topped with piped buttercream blossoms or candy clowns, each cupcake is accompanied by a gorgeous color photograph. They will inspire home bakers of all skill levels, who will find a cupcake for every occasion—birthdays, holidays, and special days such as weddings and showers—as well as for everyday fun.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Everyday Food :: Cocoa Popcorn

With four kids, I'm always looking for easy, novel snack ideas. My kids love popcorn so the recipe for Cocoa Popcorn in the March 2009 issue of Everyday Food sounded appealing. And who doesn't love recipes that require no extra trips to the grocery store?

The recipe claims it's ready in five minutes and it was. Not overly sweet with just a hint of sugary cocoa flavor, this was a nice mid-morning snack and added some variety to the usual snack choices. It's also simple enough for older kids to make on their own, which always adds bonus points for me.

Cocoa Popcorn
Place 10 cups plain unsalted popped popcorn in a large bowl. Combine 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Drizzle 2 tablespoons melted butter over popcorn, tossing to combine. Sprinkle with cocoa mixture, and toss. Serves 6.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

It's Never Too Late for Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Hearts

Even though Martha's been baking Valentine's Day cookies for the better part of February, some of us are first turning on our ovens to surprise that special someone with something sweet.
When I need a quick, go-to cookie I usually turn to shortbread. With few ingredients and a quick baking time, they're easy to please even the pickiest eater.

For Valentine's Day, you can try a little something different and dip them in velvety chocolate for a smooth and elegant finish, either making your own or using a store bought chocolate sauce (I like Chalmer's Ganache).

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Hearts


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon canola oil or pure vegetable shortening


1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until combined. On slow speed, beat in flour and salt until combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; chill until firm, at least 2 hours, or overnight.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until 1/16-to-1/8 inch thick. Cut out hearts with a 2-inch heart cookie cutter. Transfer cookies to an ungreased baking sheet; chill for 30 minutes.

3. Heat oven to 300 degrees with a rack in the center. Press the tines of a fork into each cookie to make designs. Bake until just beginning to brown around the edges, about 18 minutes. (Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days.)

4. In the top of a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl set over simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Stir in the oil. Dip half or one third of each cookie into the chocolate mixture. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to dry, or place them on a piece of parchment paper in the freezer for 10 minutes. Serve.
Yields approximately 4 dozen 2 1/2 inch cookies.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Blogging Martha: Linkapalooza

marta writes links to her favorite Valentine’s ideas from Martha.

Retrospection posts some photos from the Martha Stewart Crafts booth at CHA.

Apartment Therapy is inspired to find backless stools similar to the ones Martha has in her kitchen.

The Portland Sentinel reports that next weekend’s pierogi-cooking competition will feature a category devoted to Martha’s recipes.

Noble Pig makes Martha’s peanut butter and jelly cupcakes.

The Vegetarian Star writes about a vegan dinner event hosted by Alexis Stewart.

Team Sugar rounds up its top 10 favorite of Martha’s no-bake desserts for Valentine’s Day.

Dishing Up Delights makes Martha’s paprika cheddar drop biscuits.

Mark Cutler Design contemplates buying some patio chairs from Martha’s Kmart collection.

Food Loves Writing adapts Martha’s roasted red potatoes recipe.

Have a Martha link to add? Drop it in a comment!

*Image from

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Martha Kids :: Fingerprint Valentines

We love to make handmade Valentines and these fingerprint Valentines from Martha Stewart Living were perfect for little hands. Who doesn't love a holiday greeting that comes with a fingerprint memory?

I made a handful with my toddler in just a few minutes with supplies easily found around the house. Just remember to use washable ink!