Posts Tagged ‘Martha Stewart’

So as per usual, my hero, Martha Stewart, thought of another great recipe! Today is the 2nd day of Hanukkah and I am going to celebrate with my boyfriend’s family on Friday…I thought it would be fun to make this dessert dish for his two nieces. Essentially I am going to give them gifts and “hop” the kids up on sugar – ha ha!  Read this adorable recipe below that is fast, fun and well, cute, cute and more cute!

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It’s the holiday season and whether you are working in an office or going over to a friend’s house – this recipe I read about in Martha Stewart is sure to be a hit!  The recipe is for “mini peppermint-meringue cups with ganache”! It makes plenty and looks pretty darn cute.


Total time: 2 hours (until ready to eat)
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 32 pieces

Tip: To give these cups their festive design, paint lines of red gel paste food coloring up the inside of an empty pastry bag before adding the meringue.




o        Vegetable oil cooking spray

o        3 large egg whites, room temperature

o        ¾ cup sugar

o        ¼ teaspoon pure peppermint extract

o        red gel-paste food coloring (sugarcraft.com)




o        6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

o        1 cup heavy cream


Note: add a garnish with 1 large candy cane, finely chopped





1.    Preheat oven to 175°. Trace 16 circles onto each of 2 pieces of parchment using a 1 ¾-inch round cookie cutter, spacing about 2 inches apart. Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray and top each with a sheet of parchment, traced side down.

2.    Make the meringue cups: heat egg whites and sugar in a heat proof bowl of a mixer set over a pan of simmering water, stirring, until sugar dissolves and mixture is warm to the touch, about 3 minutes. Transfer bowl to mixer. Whisk on medium high-speed until stiff peaks form. Beat in peppermint extract.

3.    Using a small food-safe paint brush, paint 3 stripes of red food coloring up the inside of a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch plain round tip. Transfer egg-white mixture to pastry bag (or a large Ziploc baggie with small hole cut at corner); pipe coils to fill each traced circle. Pipe up sides of each to create ¾-inch to 1-inch high cups.

4.    Bake until meringue cups are crisp but not browned and lift off parchment easily, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Transfer meringue cups to a wire rack, and let cool completely.

5.    Meanwhile, make the ganache: Transfer chocolate to a heat-proof bowl. Bring cream to a gentle simmer in a small sauce-pan over medium heat. Pour over chocolate, and let stand for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and cut a small slit in the top. refrigerate until firm, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.

6.    Stir ganache, and transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch open-stir tip. Pipe ganache into the center of each meringue cup. Garnish with candy cane.

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I personally grew up in a meat-eating house, however, my sister had good friends who were vegetarians whom we celebrated Thanksgiving with.  We all know kids can be picky during the holidays, so why not throw in a meatless type option that is sure to make your kids say,“mm, mmm, good!” Here is a delicious take on lasagna, courtesy of my hero Martha Stewart.

Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagna
Serves: 8

Layers of sage-flecked squash and rich, creamy ricotta serve as both filling and sauce.


  • 3 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
  • Store-bought dried noodles, cooked
  • 4 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 1/4 cups)


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss squash, oil, and 1 teaspoon salt on a baking sheet. Season with pepper. Bake until light gold and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Combine ricotta, cream, yolks, mozzarella, and a pinch of nutmeg in a medium bowl. Season with salt.
  • Melt butter in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. As soon as it starts to sizzle, add sage, and cook until light gold and slightly crisp at edges, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Place squash in a medium bowl, and mash 1/2 of it with the back of a wooden spoon, leaving the other 1/2 in whole pieces. Gently stir in sage-butter mixture and stock. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Spread 3/4 cup of ricotta mixture in a 9-cup baking dish. Top with a layer of noodles. Spread 1/2 of the butternut squash mixture over noodles. Top with a layer of noodles. Spread 1 cup of ricotta mixture over noodles. Repeat layering once more (noodles, squash, noodles, ricotta). Sprinkle Parmesan over ricotta mixture.
  • Place baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until cheese is golden and bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

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So, muffin pans – we all have them in our home, but how often do we use them for anything but making delicious ‘out-of-the-box’ cupcakes from Duncan Hines (don’t lie! You love them too!).  I recently read a fantabulous recipe from my hero Martha Stewart on Mini Deep-Dish Pizzas that I tried and know you – and your kids – will say mm, mm, good too! Bon apetito! Oh wait, did I mention they only take 30 minutes to make (including prep time) – oh baby!

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


  • Olive Oil, for muffin pan
  • All-purpose flour, for rolling
  • ½ pound homemade or store-bought pizza dough, in 6 pieces
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella (4 ounces)
  • 1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
  • Desired toppings, such as cooked vegetables, pineapple and ham, or pepperoni


1.      Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly brush 6 standard muffin cups with oil. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each dough piece to a 6-inch round. Fill each cup with 1 round, gently pressing dough into bottom and sides of cup. Season with salt and pepper.

2.      Sprinkle each dough cup with 1 tablespoon each cheese and tomato. Add desired toppings and another tablespoon each cheese and tomato. Bake until dough is golden brown and crisp, 12 minutes.

3.      Let cool 2 minutes before removing from cups.

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Discover Easy as 1-2-3- Steps to Making a Pipe Cleaner Cocktail Ring

This past Sunday I attended a Baby Naming celebration for a very special little girl named Ari.  The grandparents, Bobbie and Papi, decided they needed entertainment for all of the kids attending along with the 60 guests.  As I helped to greet guests upon their arrival, one colorful, cheery guest arrived with her humongous cart of pipe cleaner fun – Wendy the Pipe Cleaner Lady.  What a grand idea!  She was like a balloon artist who twists and ties pipe cleaners to create everything from rings to crowns to footballs to monkeys and more! 

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I keep seeing the previews flash on the television of the upcoming Sex in the City 2.  I know, I know – we all can’t wait to see the movie and Carrie’s gorg outfits, but what particularly caught my eye were the delicious cupcakes in the scene with Charlotte and her little girl.  I am a baker at heart (btw) and it inspired me to pass along these helpful hints for cooking in the kitchen with your kids, along with my favorite “clown” cupcake recipe (recipe from the one-and-only Martha Stewart). 

Having kids in the kitchen is a great way to keep them occupied, but is also fun, educates and incorporates a range of skills such as counting, measuring and reading, touching, listening, planning, smelling, tasting and above all – imagination! 

#1:  Keep It Clean and Safe
Teach your child the basics of hygiene such as sudsing your hands before beginning food preparation, and about cross-contamination (i.e. eggs and washing hands after you touch or crack them). 

#2: Describe Dangers
I think it’s important to explain the potential dangers in the kitchen and safety. Always look out for sharp knives, hot stoves and ovens, boiling liquids and invisible germs. Understand fire safety and explain how the fire extinguisher works, how to put out a grease fire, and when to call 911.  In addition, unrelated to making cupcakes, explain how metal and microwaves DO NOT mix. Any object that contains metal or aluminum should not be placed into a microwave because it could cause a fire. 

#3: Prep is Key
Save time and keep your children attentive during your cooking process by cutting and measuring ingredients before you start your baking adventure!  I have found that small children can have a short attention span and just want to dump all of the ingredients in the bowl and mix it up! Wink! 

#4:  Simplify Instructions
Try to give children quick and easy instructions one at a time.  You might have to repeat them if they forget, but no biggie! 

#5:  Give More Responsibility to Older Kids
Encourage your older children (if there is more than one) to try and read the recipe or help measure out/weigh ingredients.  For example, ask him/her to pour 1 cup of sugar or unpeel the wrapper for 2 sticks of butter. 

#6: Mix it Up for Younger Kids
Mixing in the bowl can be one of the most fun parts of cooking in the kitchen. Have your younger babes be involved in the mixing process by placing ingredients in the mixer and letting them turn on the electric mixer (just not too fast of a speed if it’s flour or you will turn out looking like a ghost covered in white flour!) or stir the ingredient in a bowl with a wooden spoon. This works perfectly for cookie dough!  

#7: Frosting is my favorite!
All ages can help with frosting and decorating cookies or cupcakes. 

#8: Pretend Play
Younger kids who are not yet able to help with the actual food preparation can still participate! Have them watch you and imitate you by playing with plastic bowls, wooden spoons, and rubber spatulas.  

#9: Mr. Clean
I love speedy clean ups! Teach your children to clean while they wait for the next stage in preparing the food (i.e. water boils, soup simmers, etc.).  It is great to encourage children to be involved in the cleaning-up process during and after your kitchen session is complete. 


Clowning Around in the Kitchen (well, not really)

Recipe for Clown Cupcakes  

Makes 4 Serving


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • Vanilla store bought icing
  • Rainbow round sprinkles
  • Rainbow gum drops
  • Chocolate sprinkles (the eyes of the clown)


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with cupcake paper liners; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In another mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated and scraping down sides of bowl, beat in vanilla.
  2. Add flour mixture and milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl to assure the batter is thoroughly mixed. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling papers about 2/3 full.
  3. Bake on the center rack of the oven until tops spring back to touch, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Helpful Tip:
The cupcakes can be baked a week ahead and frozen, but decorate them no more than a day before serving. Set up an assembly line, and put kids in charge of affixing candy eyes, gumdrop cheeks, and other trimmings. Pack the cupcakes in a plastic container, and stuff crumpled waxed paper in between. 

How-To Decorate your Clown Cupcake:
This (see photo) clown is hiding a bellyful of icing. To make this cute clown cupcake, cut a cone-shaped piece from the center; set aside to use as the hat. Pipe vanilla icing (just buy a simple vanilla premade at the grocery store) into the cavity and on top for the head. Use mini uncoated gum-drops for the collar and a cinnamon candy for the nose; insert chocolate sprinkles for eyes. The hat has a vanilla-icing pompom covered in sprinkles. 

Final Cooking Note: For children interested in creativity with decoration provide your kids with paper and crayons to whip up “masterpiece” place mats for each family member for the kitchen table. 


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