A Must Make Martha Cake

The original modern lady herself – Martha Stewart – (or more likely one of her many super talented peons) out did herself with this Chocolate Pudding Cake recipe! It is so AMAZING, I can taste the warm, chocolaty goodness just thinking about it.

I found this little gem last night while looking for a quick chocolate dessert. Turns out, Martha has a whole section of tasty treats on her website for people just like me. This particular recipe caught my attention because it only had 6 ingredients, all of which were idling in my kitchen at the time.

There is really nothing you can do to make this recipe any better… except serve it warm… with vanilla  ice cream on top :) I also think it would make for a splendid dinner party dessert if you served them in individual bowls rather than the large 2 qt serving dish Martha Stewart recommends.

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Yet Another A is for Apron Post – Twirl Girl

Friday, Saturday and Sunday came and went as fast as ever this past weekend. My lofty plans to whip out several aprons were quickly shoved aside and replaced with must-do mundane trips to the grocery store and so on. Determined not to let the weekend past without at least one creation to my name, I made the A is for Apron pattern Twirl Girl. I’m calling mine Flower Child – not super original… but you have to admit it goes with the print.

The Twirl Girl pattern – as with Mornu‘s other pieces – wasn’t without its issues but I think it turned out quite well. I LOVE the zig zag effect the two fabrics make on the bottom! I used IKEA fabrics so I had to line it.  It was extra work, but the print was too fun to pass up :) I have a thing with pretty bows so I made the ties extra long as well.

Unlike the other aprons I’ve made recently, this one will not be going up in my Etsy store. Instead, it’s embarking on a journey to Danville, PA for a faux sister of mine. It’s always an adjustment when you move and adding a new job and city on top of it is really overwhelming. Hopefully this little apron will bring a smile to Miss Caryn’s face. Caryn is most definitely a modern lady; I know she will put it to good use. (Kudos to her real sister, Claudia, for always thinking of her siblings first and soliciting presents on their behalf!)

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Oven-Fried Chicken and Greek Potatoes – YUM!

I am always on the lookout for yummy new meals and when I found this Oven-Fried Chicken recipe from the Food Network it sounded like a winner. My hunt to find a side to accompany it that would be equally as delicious led me to this Greek Style Potatoes recipe. I prepared the Greek potatoes just as the recipe suggests and they were the BEST potatoes I’ve had in a long time. I made a few changes to the oven-fried chicken, here is my version of the recipe:

Oven-Fried Chicken Recipe

Cook Time: 30 min  Level: Easy   Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups Rice Krispies cereal (leftover from the treats I made the day before)
  • 2 1/4 cups Bagel Chips (plain)
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon hot paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I picked up Stonyfield Organic, the single serve package was the perfect size)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
  • Finely grind the cereal and bagel chips in a food processor and transfer to a large resealable plastic bag. Add 3 teaspoons olive oil, the paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste and toss.
  • Whisk 1/2 cup yogurt and the mustard in a shallow bowl. Add the chicken and turn to coat, then transfer to the bag; seal and shake to coat.
  • Place the chicken on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is crisp and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 160 degrees F, about 30 minutes.

The Food Network recipe adds scallions and a dipping sauce to this. I don’t like scallions so instead I made steamed asparagus as a side and sautéed it with a little bit of butter, salt and garlic before I served it.  The chicken, potatoes and asparagus made a great combination. I also served a Greek salad; definitely a meal worthy to be served at a dinner party.

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Chocolate Dipped Rice Krispies Treats Recipe

I’ve been writing a lot about sewing lately, so I thought I’d take a break and share a sweet treat instead.

If it’s not chocolate, it’s not a dessert for my husband. So I’m always looking for ways to smother my baked goods in chocolaty goodness. Thus, this chocolate dipped Rice Krispies® treats recipe.

Like any loyal Paula Deen lover, I’ve enhanced the original Rice Krisipies® treat recipe with … more butter :) Other than that small change below, this is the same recipe as Kellogg’s. One other tip that makes this easier to work with is to use a non-stick silicone baking mat to press the mixture into the pan you’re using.

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter
1 package (10 oz, about 40) regular marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies®

1 package (12 oz) Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate chips
Milk (if needed to smooth out chocolate)

Sprinkles or Candy for decoration (optional)

Directions

1.) In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

2.) Add Kellogg’s Rice Krispies® cereal. Stir until well coated.

3.) Use a buttered spatula and non-stick silicone baking mat to evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan coated with butter. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares.

4.) Place the chocolate in a simmering double boiler. Stir the chocolate frequently to keep it from burning or overheating. If needed, add in milk to smooth out chocolate.

5.) Dip half of each square into the chocolate. Set on cookie sheet to cool. Decorate with sprinkles or candy pieces immediately if you’re adding them on.

I generally serve these in a big glass cookie jar with a bow around it and a custom tag. They make a great hostess gift or simple birthday present. Rice Krispies Treats® are such a staple from childhood that you can help but smile when you a take a bite of these chocolate treasures.

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Setting Up The Modern Lady Etsy Store

This weekend was a long one, but short on time. Where did it go so fast?! I didn’t get as much accomplished as I wanted. However, there were some major milestones in my crafting ventures. The biggest of these being the setup of my Etsy Store – The Modern Lady.

Setting up an Etsy store is more work than I anticipated. Quite frankly, the whole Paypal thing threw me off a bit. I HATE reading boring stuff like Terms & Conditions, bla bla bla. I skipped past most of it, signed up for a Premier account and called it a day. Hopefully people can pay for items they purchase … that’s if someone buys something :) (In retrospect, perhaps I should have paid more attention to that part.)

What I did focus on was my Shop Policies. If you’re used to selling your handmade items on eBay this is probably a snap. However, Etsy is my first foray into the land of selling handmade items. So, I had to take some time to think about what my payment options would be, how I would ship items, if I would take returns/exchanges, etc. My tip for others here is to look at other successful Etsy shops to see how those before you have done it. I looked up Etsy‘s featured sellers for this and it was extremely helpful.

Another very important thing to do is check out your competition. There are a lot of different elements that come together for a listing but the items that appear in the search results are key. Make sure you have an awesome first picture that truly represents your product. Also, the price is right is not just a game show. You have to ensure you have priced your items appropriately for your competition. Lastly, make sure your title is representative of your item as well as an attention grabber.

Etsy has a Seller Handbook; I’m looking forward to dissecting it as I have time to see if there are any golden nuggets of information. I have a LOT to learn here… but I’m excited to be trying something new. We’ll see how it goes :) Hope you had a restful Martin Luther King, Jr. day!

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Trippin' on A is for Apron – Psychedelic Squares Pattern

Last night I was able to squeeze in another A is for Apron sewing fiesta before American Idol :) Here are my thoughts on the A is for Apron Psychedelic Squares pattern.

  • It was easy to make – a total of 2 hours for everything and I know I’m not efficient.
  • It looks super cute on. The ties wrap around in the front and the pocket is perfectly positioned – it has a vintage feel to it but it’s still very modern in its shape.
  • If I was Nathalie Mornu, I probably would have placed this one towards the front of the patterns in the book. The A is for Apron book does not seem to organize its patterns by skill level. I think in a How To book, you should really focus on building your skills apron by apron so the hardest ones are last. It’s sort of a crap shoot in this one, you just have to visually gauge which ones are going to be painful and which ones you can finish in no time.
  • This pattern is all about the fabric because the cut is super simple. If you picked solid colors, this would be very boring. I wanted to stay true to the “Psychedelic Squares” theme so I picked these funky little gems to make it a bit bolder without being too loud. In honor of my brother, I’m going to call it “Hippy Lib.” (It’s too bad this wasn’t a bib apron, Hippy Bib would have been better! I may need to rethink this in the future if there’s another that applies lol.)

I won two vintage apron patterns on eBay this week and I can’t wait to get them in the mail. I’d like to vary my designs away from A is for Apron, so I’m looking forward to having some new patterns to play with. I’m also going to start making some pieces of my own – I’ve modified everything in Mornu’s book so far so I might as well do my own thing. Can’t wait to share :)

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Dress for a Dream – Donate Your Formal Dresses Now!

I stumbled upon this event through my Facebook feed and I thought it was definitely worth sharing. Dress for a Dream collects prom dresses, cocktail dresses, mother-of-the-bride dresses, wedding dresses and other formal wear accessories as donations. The dresses are then sold for $10 dollars per dress, $20 per wedding dress, and up to $5 for accessories at the annual Dress for a Dream sale. The goal is to help provide a cost effective manner for girls and women to have access to formal wear and raise money for the Silver Lining cancer fund. ALL (yes 100%) of the proceeds from the event will be given to the Silver Lining, a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to Youngstown/Warren area cancer patients. Last year the Dress for a Dream initiative raised over $1500.

If you’re like me, you probably have at least a few dresses in your closet that you can donate. For more information on how to donate to Dress for a Dream, please visit the 2nd Annual Dress for a Dream Sale event page on Facebook. The organization will be collecting dresses now through March 27, 2010. What a GREAT IDEA! If you are located in Northeast Ohio, please consider making a donation.

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