Browsing Tag

martha stewart

CAKES + desserts FOOD + DRINK

Cream Cheese Frosting: Not Too Sweet

cream cheese frosting

Earlier this week, I was looking for a cream cheese frosting recipe that was not too sweet. Thanks to Martha, I found the perfect balance. I cut her recipe since I needed only one cup. The ratio of 4 onces of cream cheese, 4 ounces of unsalted butter and half a cup of sifted confectioners’ sugar works for me. Then, add half of teaspoon of the best vanilla extract for the ultimate taste.

For the right texture, don’t use bar cream cheese at room temperature. Continue Reading


Three Packaging Ideas for Your Valentine’s Treats

valentine treats packaging ideas :: as seen on Martha Stewart

valentine treats packaging ideas :: as seen on Martha Stewart

If you are baking your own goods for Valentine’s Day to distribute to your loved ones, here are three ways to spruce up the packaging. They all come from the team of Martha Stewart.

First, I selected to showcase the glassine treat envelops sealed with a heart sticker. The  cookies on that picture looks amazing. Her modern twist on the heart-shaped box of chocolates involves candies that you store inside heart-shaped cookie cutters. GlerupRevere Packaging sells round clear candy boxes in pack of 10 or more . Simply remember to order a model without a divider or to make sure the divider is removable. Otherwise, you could use a tin box that you have at home.

cherry-heart printable gift tags

Finally, you can go wrong with the cherry-heart printable gift tags featured on the February 2011 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. If you are looking for recipe, have a look at her Chewy Chocolate Chunk-Cherry Cookies Recipe.


Grilled Cheese Sandwich Party Idea

Gruyere grilled cheese with Prosciutto, Arugula and Tomato

Gruyere grilled cheese with Prosciutto, Arugula and Tomato

If you are looking for alternatives to the Make Your Own Pizza party, Martha Stewart suggested on Oprah that you throw a Grilled Cheese party for grown ups. I think it is a great idea! Everybody loves grilled cheese sandwiches.

Like most comfort food, the grilled cheese sandwiches has raised to new heights lately. The key is to upgrade the basic ingredients. I prepare my upscale grilled cheese with a port wine infused aged cheddar and a French baguette. It’s divine! I adapted the recipe from Pullman, an excellent wine and tapas restaurant in Montreal. Other recipes that are worth a try are:

How to Throw a Grilled Cheese Party

idea for a grilled cheese station for a casual party

The preparation is easy. Make sure to get a nice cheese selection, bake or buy at your local bakery several bread types, and serve many condiments from charcuterie to cut vegetables, cut fruits, fresh herbs and green leaves. Beside aged cheddar, look for delicious Gruyère, Emmental, Fontina and Jarlsberg cheeses. If you host a party for a large group, set up two stations. This way, everyone has easy access to the food.

Grilled cheese sandwiches are best cooked at low heat since it gives time for the cheese to melt. Therefore, you can use table burners to provide a cooking surface to more people. The idea is to allow your guests to eat together.

One last thing, prepare in advance a soup and a couple of salads to be your side dishes. Tell me, what is your favorite grilled cheese sandwich recipe?

+ How to Make Your Own Grilled Cheese Bar by Martha Stewart on Oprah


Halloween Decorations by Martha Stewart

halloween red blood vampire wine labels with creepy candles

halloween red blood vampire wine labels with creepy candles

Now that kids are back to school, we can start to plan for the most amusing celebration of the year, Halloween. It is the celebration where people explore the most their creativity. Halloween is equally fun for kids and adults.

I like the Red Blood Wine Labels ($5.99). You could mix them with the Creepy candles. I would make one change. Purple is still hot this fall. Plus, the dark colors feel more gothic. Take that into account before making your own creepy candles.

halloween decorations for a buffet table and your windows

I always browse the site of Martha Stewart for my Halloween inspirations. Her team produces wonderfully styled pictures. Good examples are:

+ The Hanging Snake and Frog Vellum Lanterns
+ The Silhouette Curtains


3 Must-Have Details for your Next Milestone Party

wonderful props at a eunice and daniel's wedding

wonderful props at a eunice and daniel\'s wedding

Weddings become more and more amazing every year. That formal event seems more fun than in the past. Couples these days want a memorable wedding that fits within their personality. For these reasons, they are always an incredible source of inspirations for any big party.

You probably have seen the wedding of the creative director of Hello!Lucky, Eunice with Daniel. It is featured on The Spring 2010 edition of Martha Stewart weddings and many on the blogosphere have praised it this month. This remarkable wedding illustrates so well key components that can make any party one that your guests will remember for many years.

1. Set the Tone with Stages, Props and Custom Signage

custom signage contributes to a party decor

If you wish to make a statement, you need to invest in out of the ordinary party decor elements. They use the service of Because We Can to build a portable flat-pack grand stage, various signs, and fun props. Look for local people with a background in theater set, or even an excellent store window designer. They know how to create make believe props and stages.

And do not underestimate the power of custom signage. It does not give directions to your guests. It look should reinforce your party theme.

2. Parades and Costumes

party activity: get props for a festive parade

The idea of a parade to bring the guests from point A to point B is a great and fun idea. It sends the message that it is time to celebrate. People of all ages love parades. Anyone with an artistic flair coupled with some building experience can made their own version of hand-painted silhouettes, if you have time on your hand. At a kid party, the kid can decorate their own silhouettes. When selecting the materials, make sure the silhouettes once attached to the stick will still be lightweight.

3. Attention to the Comfort of Your Guests

details to assure the comfort of your guests

Assuring the well-being of your guests is the number #1 rule of entertaining. Every party has their high and low moments. Make sure that your guests always find something to do. It is not just about paying attention to food and drinks. It is also making sure that nobody is too hot, or too cold. It is about self-servicing snacks all day long, just in case someone is really hungry. All these little details translate into fun and happiness for your guests.

The last point applies to everyday entertaining. If those are planned ahead, the host and hostess will be free to enjoy the company of their guests. It does not always work that way in real life. But as long as you aim for more work before and less work during the party, you should be OK.

+ Eunice and Daniel feature on Martha Stewart Weddings
+ Portable stands, props and signage by Because We Can
+ Behind the scenes coverage on the blog of Hello!Lucky
+ Get the vendor list on Hello!Lucky
+ via 100 Layer Cake


My Take on 4 Cooking Tips from Martha Stewart

simple cooking tips from martha stewart

simple cooking tips from martha stewart

Amongst the Top 40 Good Things on Martha Stewart, I feel that 4 truly makes a difference when you cook.

1. Mise en place

The “mise en place” is the first cooking lesson that my mother taught me. I still do it today. If you prepare all the ingredients – meaning cutting, slicing, measuring – before starting to cook your meal, you simplify the tasks ahead. You will be able to adjust to unforeseen events and be free to experiment with the recipe as you cook it.

2. No-Waste Dressing

I still make my vinaigrette with a whisk and a bowl. Hard habits do not go easily. But each time, I watched Michael Smith on Chef at Home, he reminds me how simple shaking your vinaigrette in a closed jar can be.

This tip takes it further. My French background means that I am partial to the classic Dijon mustard, red vinegar with olive oil dressing. It is responsible to find a good use of your almost empty Dijon mustard jar. Adjust the proportions to the amount of mustard left in the jar. Read more…

3. The Garlic Trick

olive oil to the rescue for mincing garlic and preserving pesto

I always use a garlic crusher at home because of the smell on my hands. But to get rid of the garlic smell, simply rub your hand on the interior of your stainless steel sink. It sounds crazy but it works.

On Martha, they suggest we sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt and a drop of olive oil over the cloves before chopping. The salt acts as an abrasive which helps to pulverize the garlic, and the oil lets it slide off the blade. This trick arrives just in time since my garlic press broke last week. Read more…

4.  Olive Oil to the rescue of Pesto

I learned this trick from Ina Garten many years ago. Pour a thin layer of olive oil on top before putting the airtight lid on the container. This will preserve the beautiful green color of your pesto. Read more…

+ photos: Top 40 Good Things on Martha Stewart


Happy Valentine’s Day!

dessert recipes for a happy valentine day

dessert recipes for a happy valentine day

I wish everyone a day filled with love. If you are looking for something to bake for your loved ones, you could get inspired by desserts from Martha Stewart.

+ Making your own heart ice cream sandwich is not complicated. Simply bake chocolate cookies in the heart shape. And spread a thick layer of your favorite ice cream. Find here her Chocolate-Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwich recipe.

+ If you have more time, nobody will be able to resist your chocolate eclair hearts.


Simpler Croquembouche by Martha Stewart

Martha\'s famous Croquembouche

The croquembouche is a classic French dessert that kept all its appeal. This year, Martha Stewart thought of a way to simplify it for us. Part of difficulties of making your own croquembouche is definitely the assembly of the pyramid of cream puffs. She cut it in half.

A Twist on the Classic Recipe

I would even suggest that you split it further and made four smaller ones instead of two croquembouches. You can use them as you centerpieces on your Christmas table. But it may seem like you are torturing for your guests if they need to wait until dessert. For that reason, you could use transform the recipe into a savory dish. Use a salmon mousse or paté as your filling. As long as you get a sticky glaze to glue the cream puffs together, you should be fine. Do not tell your guests that it is savory until they sit oat the table.

+ photos: Martha’s Famous Croquembouche recipe


Holiday Greenery 101 by Martha Stewart

19 varieties of traditional holiday greenery :: martha stweart

Leave it to Martha Stewart to explain the dos and don’ts of taking care of 19 varieties of traditional green branches. You will learn that Eastern Juniper won’t survive long indoors. So it is best to use Eastern Juniper for your outdoor garlands. Or greet with guests with a winter arrangement that combines aromatic evergreens.

The general rule is to treat the cuttings with an anti-desiccant spray that is sold at nurseries. The spray seals the pores on the leaves and bark and helps the foliage retain moisture. For indoor arrangements, Martha suggests to display greenery out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources. Plus, a quick mist with water daily will prolong the life of your greenery.

For more, check out the Holiday Greenery guide on Martha Stewart.

+ photos: Martha Stweart


Halloween Pumpkin-Carving Ideas

pumpkin carving ideas on martha stewart

I recalled how many of you looked for pumpkin-carving ideas last year. Do not worry, I will bring you more inspirations until Halloween starting with these wonderful pumpkins that I found on Martha Stewart. The key is to decide on a theme. You get an extra WOW when you create a vignette.

One thing that Martha taught us is to not simply rely on pumpkins. Gourds and squashes fit the occasion as well. One detail is to carve the gourds and pumpkins from the bottom. This way it keeps the stems intact. Mixing sizes and forms is another design lesson when you are planning your vignette.


pumpkin carving ideas and spider squash on martha stewart

The Arise for the Dead pumpkin was carved by a reader of Martha. Jacquie W. used photos of New England headstones as templates. You can shape animals (see top collage) by cleverly assembling several pumpkins together. Or roll lino ink over the silhouette to add a sophisticated touch to your carved pumpkins.

The headless horseman and the skeleton rider pumpkins were created by a master carver named Tomas Gonzales. Tomas is an artist.

+ Pumpkin Alligator and Snail
+ Birdbath Family
+ Pumpkin Raccoon Bandit
+ Spooky Silhouette Designs
+ Spider Squash


Outdoor Entertaining Ideas by Martha Stewart

martha stewart\'s outdoor entertaining ideas

I succumbed to the charms of these photos. It is a fact that the team of stylists at Martha Stewart often make us dream. Here why these photos are my favorite ideas of the moment.

+ Eating s’mores around a campfire is a treat. In case you were not aware of this tradition, the basic campfire s’mores recipe has been popularized by the Girl Scouts. It called for two pieces of chocolate bars sandwiched between two graham crackers. You toast the marshmallows and place it on the chocolate in order for the chocolate to melt. I find that it is simpler to spread Nutella and its adds the hazelnut taste. Martha found a way to make the process more stylish by making Star-topped s’more sticks.

+ I like the simplicity of the wild flower centerpieces. Plus learn how to make these Message-in-a-Bottle Place Cards. Go for flat surface bottles since they safer than using round glass bottles. Square bottles are not too hard to find.

+ How to illuminate your outdoor table can be challenge. The LED lights do not always works and they require batteries. Instead, you can built on the look of a chandelier by hanging a dozen heat resistant glass jars and votive holders from your umbrella. Be careful to position them so that your guests will not hit them with their head. Create a sense of movement by alternating the heights of each do-it-yourself lanterns. You will need chains and S hooks to create this project.

+ The Origami Picnic Basket is a space saver. Through a clever folding technique you will transform a five-foot square of oilcloth into a basket strong enough to carry your food and drinks from the car to the picnic spot. Make sure to use an oilcloth, not a regular fabric.