Saturday, August 30, 2008

Baking For A Birthday

My friend (and ex-boss) Mary Rita is celebrating her birthday. I was asked to make a small birthday cake for her. I think it turned out pretty well...

Her family is planning a little gathering for her during the late afternoon and they wanted small and tasty cupcakes for the guests.. I showed you the box full freshly baked yesterday.. and today they are all decorated! A simple swirl of frosting with a sugar flower on top. Nothing fancy. Happy Birthday, Mary Rita!

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Look Back: Living in October

With September just around the corner, the October issue of Martha Stewart Living will be delivered in our mailboxes or available at the newsstands in the next couple weeks. I thought it would be fun to take a look back at all the October (or in the early years, the 'Autumn' ) issues through the years.

Martha Stewart Living magazine covers are works of art.

What Did You Do With Your Friday?

I had the day off from work to extend my Labor Day Weekend, so I thought I would catch up on a couple things around the house and get some baking done.

This easy to do project involved cutting and installing a peg board organizer at the end of one of our cabinets in the kitchen. I wanted a place to display some of the blue kitchen tools from the Martha Stewart Collection. I still have to do a bit of finishing trim and paint it along with painting the display cabinet. Both will be Bedford Grey, which will match the cupboards below. I couldn't wait to see what the blue tools would look like all organized and on display. I love it! Yes.. I like the blue spatulas!

Next up was a bit of baking.. 40 cupcakes baked and cooling, ready for decorating tomorrow. My ex-boss (and now good friend) Mary Rita is celebrating her birthday and she loves my cupcakes. These are coconut and chocolate. Each will be piped with frosting and topped with a small daisy flower.
Lastly, meet Maxwell. Now, Maxwell isn't a 'project' really.. but in some ways he is. Maxwell is the newest addition (sort of) to our family. Maxwell is a stray that has lingered in and around the neighborhood for months. Since I first saw Maxwell I was concerned. He was very skinny, runny eyes, and seemingly very weak. Two weeks ago, I found Maxwell laying on the side of the road. He was so weak and basically was starving to death. I scooped him up and brought him to my potting area just off the main patio. Using a syringe, I gave him some nutritional supplement for cats and fed him moist cat food from my fingers. I did this for several days until he started to feel a little better and could stand on his own. I would go outside early in the morning, come home at noon time, and rush home after work to feed him, sometimes by hand until he gained strength. Slowly but surely Maxwell has put on weight, is actually playing, and is eating like a horse! I don't advocate dry food for cats but for now, he's getting a mix of wet and dry food until he's back to a healthy state. He's very loving and very appreciative of someone saving his life. For now, Maxwell is an outdoor cat. He's going to his very first vet appointment next week to get his shots, get tested for FIV, and get his boy parts removed so he's not creating baby Maxwells in a world far too full of cats already. His eyes are clearing up slowly (I have to apply an ointment to them daily) and his true beauty is showing through. He's a gorgeous hunk of man cat!
While I have been forbidden to bring Maxwell in the house, post surgery, he will have to remain indoors for a while. He'll be tucked away in the project room away from the others. Who knows.. he may just stay inside.. we'll have to wait and see.
Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Martha Season Opener at Bedford!

Martha will take over 100 guests through a tour of her 153 acre Bedford farm as part of the fourth season opener of the Martha Stewart Show. The season begins on Monday September 15.

Martha will take viewers from one part of her property to the other while interacting with guests during the show. From cutting gardens to greenhouses, stables to shelters viewers will see many features of Bedford for the very first time.

In other Martha TV news, Emeril Lagasse will become a regular contributor to the show this season. MSLO execs informed participants in a recent media presentation that the show is returning to it's 'roots' of providing the best in 'how-to' information on television.

Sarah Carey, co-host of the PBS series "Everyday Food" will also be joining Martha as a regular contributor for a new weekly segment called "Martha's Cooking School" which is slated to begin October 21, which coincides with the release of the new book "Martha Stewart's Cooking School."

Martha Has You Covered For Back to School!

School is back in session! For helpful, after-school projects and recipes, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia offers a wide range of creative crafts products, as well as quick and healthy snacks and dinner ideas that kids, and the whole family, will enjoy this fall.
After a long homework session, let your kids enjoy some craft time with extra special crafts from the Martha Stewart Create line of crafts at Wal-Mart. Great hand puppet crafts, scrap booking kits and jewlery kits will nurture the 'creative side' in your kids! Scrap booking is an excellent way for your child to save and document special memories such as family vacations, special school events or fun happenings with their friends. Visit your local Wal-Mart store or visit the Wal-Mart website to see the line of cleverly designed items that are part of Martha Stewart Create!
Looking for kid friendly and family friendly menu items for dinner? Turn to the September issue of Everyday Food! There you will find stuffed celery (page 58) that doubles as 'ants on a log' your kids are sure to enjoy. Apricot glazed chicken (page 56) is sweet, moist and delicious, sure to have everyone in the family coming back for seconds.
Let Martha and her team of experts help you get back to school! For hundreds of ideas, inspiration and 'good things' visit

Monday, August 25, 2008

Whatever, Martha! Sneak Preview

I've been curious about the new show "Whatever, Martha!" that is premiering this fall on the Fine Living Network. A preview is available on the whatever radio website.

It was actually kind of funny! I also loved seeing the classic Martha segment... my how things have changed!

Check out the preview here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Looking to Autumn

You can’t help but get sentimental this time of year.

I remember as a young lad, dreading this particular week; the last week of August. It always meant the end of summer vacation and the return to the regular routine of school. I didn’t dislike school; but I completely enjoyed the freedom summer brought.

Summer meant visits to my Gran who lived in Tennessee. Those visits were always something I looked forward to. Gran had a wonderful sense of humor, was always smiling, always cooking (clogging our arteries at an early age!), and always telling a story. She was the most engaging story teller. I remember sitting with her, listening to her stories of growing up in the backwoods of Georgia or sharing a secret laugh about something my Grandpa did just that week. She loved a good practical joke. Fact is, Gran loved life each and every day. I treasured those times as a child, sitting on her lap, listening to her stories and feeling so much love that only a Gran can give.

Summer meant long days playing in the woods, or in the fields across from our house. Our neighbors, the Byrd family, owned a big dairy farm and they had enormous fields of corn. We would play for hours on end in the corn fields, creating our own version of a corn maze without damaging the well tended crop. It was a massive playground for endless hours of entertainment.

We would have to go through one of the corn fields to get to the woods. Once we cleared the corn field, it was like being transported to another place. Lush green spans of grass and meadow flowers beckoned us to the small creek that acted as a moat before reaching the wooded area. An old wooden bridge was the gateway to the woods since the creek was too wide to jump across (though we tried many times!). The bridge was scary in its own way. The boards had loosened over the years and would rattle as we walked across. We knew that if the bridge collapsed it would mean sudden death (when in fact we would probably just get a little wet from landing in the creek!). The adventures you create in your mind as a child.

The upwardly sloped woods brought endless hours of entertainment and looking back, education. The wildflowers that grew under the trees, the moss that covered some of the large rocks and ground, the birds, the squirrels, the foxes, and so many other things sparked my curiosity. I was always filled with “why?” questions. As other neighborhood kids would venture off and play, I would stop and be totally taken in by a strange insect, or watching a squirrel frolic in the trees. At a young age, I was trying to figure out how everything in nature worked. A curiosity I hold on to today.

As you crossed through the thick of trees you came to an amazing place – the top of a hill that was a picture perfect green meadow dotted with so many different yellow flowers. It was a magical place. It was always windy on this hill… always. It could be the hottest of days and it always seemed to be cooler on the hill. We would lay there in the tall grass chewing on a blade or two, and stare up into the blue sky. I miss that special place.

As an adult, I have an entirely different perspective on this last week of August.

My frustration as a gardener reaches its peak at this point. The dog days of summer and the lack of rain (August is typically our driest month) have stressed out the beautiful gardens I’ve worked so hard on. What was lush, green, and photo shoot perfect just a month or two ago is now yellowing, browning, and struggling to survive. The lack of rain means countless hours of watering each week and despite the best effort, just doesn’t seem to be enough. The pots of annuals that dot the patio and the porch are now producing smaller blooms and browning stems. No photo shoot perfection this time of year!

All of the tomatoes seem to ripen at once so quick decisions need to be made! Can or freeze them? Make my own Salsa and jar it up or make can my own pasta sauce base? Prepare a tomato tart (or ten)? The quick answer is ‘all of the above.’ It will be the only way to use up these luscious red bobbles.

This week I’m also filled with gratitude. It has been a wonderful summer. I shared so much of it with good friends, made new friends, and reconnected with others.

I’ve learned to appreciate all the seasons. So now, I’m ready for the season to change.
I’m ready for the scents and sights of autumn. It will soon be time for another round of hard work in the gardens (cleaning up is never fun!); but the hard work comes with a great sense of accomplishment for another stellar year of beauty.

I’m ready to pick apples and make pies. I’m ready to shift my decorating color scheme from light and bright to deep, colorful and warming. I’m ready to wear jeans, a sweatshirt and a baseball cap once again. I’m ready for college football (Go Blue!).

So, here’s to the summer that’s ending and the autumn that is just around the corner. I wish I could take one more summertime moment to walk across that rickety bridge and visit that beautiful meadow. Unfortunately, it’s gone now… instead, I’ll have to close my eyes and visit it in my memories.
The photo of the meadow is a representation of the special place, not the actual meadow. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the memorable meadow.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Rainbow Connection

I love photography... especially awe inspiring photography.

The most recent entry into the blog of Dr. Brent Ridge has incredible photographs of a wonderful rainbow (or two) at his farm in upstate New York. I was completely taken in by these photographs. Please take a moment to experience the amazing beauty of the rainbow.

We all need a rainbow from time to time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Self Portrait for Halloween

I'm one of those people that enjoys advertising. I look at it with a rather critical eye as I page through a magazine.
The most recent ad campaign from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is a campaign I have truly enjoyed. Entitled "Self Portrait..." the campaign has focused on putting the elements of the brand all together in settings that reflect a personal style, a hobby, a life event, and now holidays.
The most recent in this series, "the good witch" is a beautiful ad that features some of the items from the Martha Stewart Crafts Halloween collection. Actually, this ad inspired me as I begin planning my Halloween decorating for this year... the green glitter pumpkin is spectacular! I definitely have to add that glitter color to my ever growing collection of craft supplies!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

September Everyday Food

The September issue of Everyday Food is beginning to arrive in mailboxes! The first thing readers might notice is the change in the masthead, with a Martha head shot overlayed onto the standard EDF logo.

Inside, you'll find just what the cover promises with updated classics you can prepare at home. Also inside:

Happy Hour: Spicy Sweet Pretzel Mix
Wine Basics: Shopping the Wine Store
Sweet Favorites: Pecan Fudge Brownies
Kick it Up/Everyday with Emeril: The Ultimate Meatloaf

As with every issue of Everyday Food, you'll find many helpful hints, tips, cooking basics, as well as money and time saving recipes from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living.

With the September issues hitting the newsstands in a matter of days, we're into my favorite magazine season!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Martha Stewart visits with Jim Cramer on CNBC

Check out this great visit from Martha Stewart on Jim Cramer's mid day show today. He's been full force supportive of MSLO in recent weeks. I'm glad to see Cramer came to his senses!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Whatever, Martha!

Okay friends.. hang on to your hats for this news...

A new series will premiere on Fine Living Network (Mike, you might want to upgrade now..) on September 16th: "Whatever, Martha!" This new half hour comedy show, loosely based on the cult hit "Mystery Science Theater, 3000" will make mockery of Martha.

Alexis Stewart (Martha's daughter of course..) and Jennifer Koppelman-Hutt will host the half hour show. The two hosts will critique with what the network is calling "candid and often acerbic" language segments from the early 1990's version of the Martha Stewart Living television show.

Where did the idea come from? Martha herself. According to an article in the New York Times today, Martha came up with the idea for the show after watching "Mystery Science Theater, 3000" during a sleepless night. That series, which ran from the late 80's until 1999 delivered sarcastic commentary to old horror movies and quickly became a cult classic.

Read the entire New York Times article here.

Alexis and Jennifer are hosts of the very popular Sirius radio show, "Whatever," on Martha Stewart Living Radio, channel 112.

This new venture could be very good thing... or it could be very, very bad thing. None the less, it's a 'whatever thing.'

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Alright Martha friends, you'll have to listen to Martha Stewart Living Radio (Sirius channel 112) because from time to time they are giving away these great Martha eco-totes! They look to hold a lot of groceries or other shopping items (supplies from Michaels, Wal-Mart, or Macy's?) and they are a great alternative to "paper or plastic" at the checkout! Listen, and you just might be able to get one! I know I'll be listening!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Got Corn?

Nothing says 'Summer' like corn. The sweet, tender goodness of corn can be enjoyed right off the cob, as a side dish or as a main course.

If you're looking for great recipes for the bountiful crop of corn in your garden (or at your local farm stand) log into and get inspired! There, you'll find 35 incredible recipes to add to your recipe collection.

Here is a small sampling of the delicious corn recipes you'll find:

Tomatoes stuffed with corn salad

White-Cheddar corn chowder

Grilled chicken and corn lettuce wraps

Chilled corn and crab salad

As a member of you can collect your favorite recipes, craft projects, gardening inspiration and many other informative 'how to' readings on your community page. By doing so, you'll never have to search again for a Martha Stewart favorite.

Not a member of Join now! Want to visit my community page? Check it out here.
photo courtesy of

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Recipe Resources

While I have every magazine and every book ever published by Martha Stewart Living, I'm always looking for recipe resources. My recipe resources are probably not unlike your own: food websites and blogs, hand-me-down recipes from family members, television cooking shows, and word of mouth. If I find a good recipe resource, I add that resource to a series of binders I keep filled with recipes, hints, tips and the like. They may be hand written, photo copied, or downloads from a website. Each recipe is an inspiration to try something new, or try a new twist on an old classic. I love recipes.

I've touted the joys of the Beekman 1802 website from time to time here on this blog. One section of the blog that I've grown to really enjoy is the 'Learn' section. Most recently, there have been several great recipes with wonderful photos that take you on an inspiring food preparation journey. For instance, this weeks entry in the learn section, is crispy string beans with a lemon basil aioli. Delicious. Previously, there was an excellent recipe for Risi e Bisi which is a wonderful dish made with fresh peas (and was one of the best summertime dinners I've made this year!). From sour cherry pie to cooking with nettles - the Beekman learn website has become an excellent resource for great food inspiration. So much so, it now has it's own 'binder' in my recipe collection. (no pressure Josh and Brent.. but keep those recipes coming!)

Please take a few moments to visit Beekman Farm website and enjoy all it has to offer. Take your time when you visit... you're going to learn so many things.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Halloween Holiday Workshop 2008

Martha Stewart Living is ready for another holiday season with a series of on line workshops. The 2008 Halloween workshop kicks off on September 8 with great ideas for pumpkin carving, scaring up great snacks, and creating the spookiest decorations for the season.

To participate in the Halloween workshop, you need to be a member of and sign up to receive the weekly emails. You can also sign up to receive the Halloween tip of the day. While signing up for the Halloween workshop, you can also sign up for the Thanksgiving and Christmas workshops as well.

The Halloween/Holiday season has started at Martha Stewart Living!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Maybe you think August is just a bit too early to begin thinking about Halloween; but Martha Stewart Crafts is ready with a brand new line of Halloween craft items!

Readers and viewers have always relied on Martha Stewart for inspiration when it comes to her favorite fun holiday, Halloween. This season, look no further than the wonderfully imaginative Martha Stewart Crafts Halloween product line. This year, the line includes decorations, food packaging, vintage inspired invitations and decor, and easy to use cupcake and cake stencils!

You can purchase your Halloween needs by visiting Martha Stewart Crafts or at your local Michaels craft store. Halloween items will begin shipping on August 8th!

Here are a couple of my favorites:

Glitter your own spooky Halloween chandelier kit

Paper pumpkin lanterns look festive hanging in any window

A vintage inspired paper and sticker assortment to make your own invitations or other Halloween crafts