Category Archives: martha in the making


green

green vogue

Green milkshakes

green flowers

“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.”
– Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Even though Tiffany blue is the prime color of my universe, I can’t help but want to throw together a mint chocolate chip milkshake, paint my nails leprechaun green, and pretend to be Irish for a day.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Love,
Star



sparklers

The 4th of July. What’s your favorite part? I love it all. Barbecue. Baked beans. Corn on the cob. Strawberry country cake. S’mores. Family time. Laughter. Smiles. Country music. Sparklers. Fireworks. I think I could go on forever.

This year, I’m dreaming of…


Anything sparkly. Especially these.


Fireworks on the lake. Most beautiful setting ever!

I hope all of you have an amazing 4th of July! I can’t wait to share with you my plans for the holiday!

Images taken from Pinterest.



bridal shower weekend

Happy Friday!!!

This weekend is a busy weekend for me! All fun stuff, finally. No more of this school on the weekend thing! At least not for a month or so. There’s the county fair with some friends of mine. Boating with my family. Baking pineapple upside down cake – I’ve been craving it for months! Reading another trashy chick flick on the beach. Clearly my weekend is very busy with very important stuff.

I’m also going to a bridal shower for one of my closest friends! I’ve had a hard time deciding what to get her for the shower…a gravy boat from the registry just doesn’t seem very special. Call me crazy.

So I decided on a big stack of Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa cookbooks, a super cute apron, and a homemade card. Her hubby-to-be is going to be very happy with this gift!

On a different note, I finally figured out how to add the Google Friend Connect on the sidebar of my blog! It took me a while…I’m still getting familiar with this HTML stuff. I’d love for you to add me as a friend!

Here’s the card I made. I hope she likes it!



beaded gift tags

Happy Friday! I don’t know about you girls, but I am so looking forward to slightly warmer weather now that it’s (almost) officially summer! I’m so excited to get rid of my sports bra tanline. Don’t worry, it’s not from exercise! I have a much better excuse – it’s from the day I spent painting my hopeless romantic sign!

I saw this idea for beaded Christmas ornaments years ago in Martha Stewart’s magazine and have been making them as gift tags ever since. They’re cute as Christmas ornaments, but so special as gift tags to be tied on top of a brightly wrapped birthday present! I hang all of my extra letters on my bulletin board.

To make them, all you need to do is bead tiny glass beads on some pliable wire, and bend the wire into the letter or word you want! Make sure to seal the ends off well with pliers. I hope you like them!


It’s much harder to make words than you’d expect! This was my third try – the trick is finding words without ‘a’ or ‘i’ – I couldn’t figure out how to bend the wire into those letters!


I just love these colored beads. So much fun!


These are for my Dad for Father’s Day…I know he’ll love such a manly gift 😉



chocolate dipped marshmallows

My cousin, aka the cutest baby in the world, is turning one this week! And she is one lucky girl to have the cutest butterfly birthday bash in the world, organized and planned to perfection by her lovely mom, my amazing aunt!

As a treat for the party, I spent the entire day yesterday – 8 hours straight – standing in the kitchen, dipping dozens of marshmallows in dark chocolate, white chocolate, pink chocolate, butterfly sprinkles, and decorations galore! It definitely trumps the mounds of homework I have to do before my weekend class tonight.

I thought I’d share the pictures from the marshmallow dipping – they make such cute party favors and eye candy on the dessert table!


Aren’t these cute? Be warned though – individually wrapping each marshmallow stick is VERY time-consuming!


Lots of sprinkles and decorations.


More sprinkles.


Here’s my kitchen, pre-dipping.


Lots of marshmallows!


These are three jumbo marshmallows on lollypop sticks, dipped in dark chocolate with rainbow sprinkles!


Here is a close-up. So good!


I also dipped them in pink and white chocolate too! The white with rainbow sprinkles are my favorite.


Lots of pink!


Love these! The all white ones have little frosting flowers on top.


These are five miniature marshmallows on a lollypop stick. I like this marshmallow to chocolate ratio more than the jumbo marshmallows – it’s a little bit less overwhelming to eat in one sitting!


I love these miniature marshmallows!


Miniature marshmallows with chocolate sprinkles – yum!



perfect chocolate cake

Just to ensure that my hourlong spin and pilates class at 6:30 yesterday morning was for nothing, I made a point to spend the day baking the most delicious, irresistible, perfect chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted.

What’s nice about this recipe is that it’s not too heavy – it’s the perfect chocolate cake for summertime. I’m a sucker for the dark chocolate ganache cakes…and while this is definitely a very chocolate-y cake, it’s not going to make you feel bloated like those rich cakes sometimes do! I hope you enjoy it!

Perfect Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa At Home and Hershey’s Frosting Recipe

Ingredients for Cake
Slice of butter to grease pans
1 3/4 cup of flour, plus more to flour pans
2 cups of sugar
3/4 cup of cocoa powder
2 teaspoons of baking soda
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 cup of buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Ingredients for Frosting
2 sticks of butter, melted
1 1/3 cups of cocoa powder
6 cups of powdered sugar
2/3 cup of milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, and butter and flour the pans.

2. Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in an electric mixer. Add buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well.

3. Pour batter into cake pans evenly and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool.

4. While cakes are baking, make the frosting by combining melted butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix well, until smooth.

5. Turn one cake pan onto a cake plate and let cool. Spread the top of the cake with frosting. Place the second layer on top of the frosting, and continue spreading frosting on both the top and the sides of the cake. Decorate with fresh flowers, but be sure to wash the flowers thoroughly before placing them on the cake! Enjoy!



chocolate marshmallow surprise cookies (+ a little country update)

One of my family’s favorite recipes are these chocolate marshmallow surprise cookies – and after dozens of begs and pleas to pleeeaaaasseeee make these cookies, I remembered why they’re my favorite cookie in the world too!

I made about 40 of these cookies on Friday. By Sunday, every last crumb was devoured. And that’s without my help in eating them! I was in class (my 3rd to last MBA class EVER) Friday night, all day Saturday, and Sunday afternoon, hence the lack of blogging these past few days.

Summer school, you are so not conducive to my blogging schedule!

The best part of my weekend, aside from these cookies, was seeing Luke Bryan, The Band Perry, and Tim McGraw in concert! Though I have to say, Luke Bryan definitely stole the show!

Chocolate Marshmallow Surprise Cookies

Adapted from MarthaStewart.com

Ingredients for Cookies
1 stick of butter, at room temperature
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups of flour
3/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
20 large marshmallows (cut in half horizontally)

Ingredients for Frosting
2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/3 cup of milk
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cream butter and granulated sugar in electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk, vanilla extract, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined.

3. Drop small 1-inch drops of dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake until cookies are firm (though not entirely cooked) for about 8 to 10 minutes.

4. Remove baking sheets from oven and quickly press half of a marshmallow (cut-side down) in the center of each cookie.

5. Return cookie sheets to oven and bake for 2 minutes until marshmallows start to melt. Let cool.

6. To make the frosting, whisk together powdered sugar, butter, cocoa powder, milk, and vanilla until well-combined.

7. Once cool, add enough frosting to cover the entire marshmallow. Trust me, this is not something you want to skimp on! Enjoy!



grilled shrimp with mango salsa

After rock climbing yesterday with my two brothers, my arms are incapable of doing anything productive today…they feel like lead. So because I can barely use my arms today, I gave up on doing anything productive, instead looking through Oprah.com recipes outside in the sun.

I’ve been hoarding Oprah recipes for the past 5+ years in a folder on my computer, and when cleaning them out this weekend I came across the most amazing shrimp recipe! I’ve had this recipe saved since 2006 – so worth the extra space on my computer!

Grilled Shrimp with Mango Salsa

Adapted from Oprah.com

Ingredients
For the salsa:
2 large mangoes, peeled and chopped into salsa-size pieces
1/4 cup of red onion, minced
1/4 cup of cilantro leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon of ginger, minced
3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper

For the shrimp:
1 1/2 pounds of large shrimp (I used pre-cooked tiger shrimp)
4 tablespoons of soy sauce
4 tablespoons of orange juice
2 tablespoons of olive oil

1. For the salsa, mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Refrigerate until serving.

2. For the shrimp, place shrimp on a tray and cover with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of orange juice. Let marinate for about 10 minutes.

3. Place marinated shrimp in the saucepan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add 2 more tablespoons of orange juice and soy sauce. Cook for about 8 minutes, flipping when necessary.

4. Serve with mango salsa! Enjoy!



memorial day strawberry cake

Hope you’re having a great Memorial Day weekend so far! I was able to (finally) catch up on my much needed sleep, reorganize the 5,000 files that were cluttering up my computer desktop (also much needed), and spend time with my family. And do a little bit of baking!

This recipe is from Barefoot Contessa Parties! and is my go-to summer staple. It’s not one of those heavy cakes that you feel sick after eating, but is amazing nonetheless! Plus, you feel like it’s healthy because there are strawberries on it…or at least I do! You will not be disappointed.

Memorial Day Strawberry Cake

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Parties!

Ingredients for Cake
3/4 cup of softened butter
2 cups of granulated sugar
4 eggs
3/4 cup of sour cream
1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon of orange zest
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup of cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda

Ingredients for Whipped Cream Frosting and Strawberry Filling
4 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
3 pints of fresh strawberries, sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans.

2. Mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy (I used a KitchenAid electric mixer).

3. Add eggs, sour cream, zests, vanilla, flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda one at a time until very well-mixed and smooth.

4. Pour batter into the pans and bake for 30 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes.

5. To make the whipped cream frosting with strawberry filling, whip the heavy whipping cream with a handheld electric mixer until firm. Add in vanilla extract and sugar, and continue to whip.

6. Remove cake from cake pans. Place one layer on cake plate, then cover with whipped cream frosting. Cover whipped cream with sliced strawberries. Place second layer on top, and cover with whipped cream and strawberries once more. Enjoy!



i love outdoor spaces

Pretty outdoor spaces are my favorite – and these pictures reflect perfectly my daydreaming today in this gray, gloomy weather! As soon as the sun comes out, I am planning a little picnic outside with lots of pillows, Shabby Chic blankets, and flowers galore. So romantic. I might even dress up and pretend I’m Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice.


Gorgeous. So relaxing. I could spend hours on this bench reading the next book on my list: Belle in the Big Apple. Very intellectual.


The perfect picnic and most romantic setting in the world.


I love these pillows and chairs for the beach. So cute! And I want that fabric.


Hammocks: amazing.


I love prairie-style pictures like this. And the lanterns hanging from the tree are beautiful!


Twinkle lights AND a hammock: heaven!


Imagine having a rose-covered tree swing as a little girl – too precious!

All images are courtesy of Pinterest.



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