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There’s a new tradition brewing in Fifi-land: test kitchen Sundays. Since I have hoarded hundreds of recipes from Bon Appetit, Fine Cooking, Everyday Food, FoodNetwork, etc etc etc…I need a time and a place (and a bunch of hungry mouths) to give me the motivation to whip up a selection of goodies. If they pass inspection – then they go into the recipe file. If not – into the recycling can.

This week was fairly mundane. My contribution consisted of Root Vegetable and Mushroom Pie w/Rosemary Biscuit Topping, Beer Biscuits (trial run for Super Bowl party), and a recipe for Hot Italian Milk Cake.

Results: the hot milk cake is a definite keeper. Very Old World – slightly lemon flavored and low in sugar. My Polish grandmother is even a fan. The other two contestants…not so much.

The beer biscuits were rather dry and unflavorful – maybe I’ll try a mixture with ham and Gruyère cheese instead. And the veggie bake was reminiscent of a dish served by Bill Knapps – no teeth required ya’ll! I mean, really, baking vegetables for over 2 hours with simmering and resting, yada yada yada results in a meal with baby food consistency. The biscuit topping didn’t mesh well with the earthy flavor of the vegetables, either. However, I did get to use a celery root for the first time.

If anyone has suggestions for next weekend, I would greatly appreciate some tried and true’s.

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I am not independently crafty. I don’t sew, I’d rather buy something new than try to fix it myself — the American lifestyle to which the media most appeals. I discovered Martha Stewart by accident. In my bride-that-has-to-know-everything-about-weddings phase I purchased every bridal magazine, perused all the wedding websites: I was prepared to have the ultimate wedding.

My aunt sent me a bridal dress link featured in Martha Stewart Weddings. I wasn’t even contemplating my dress yet…hello…we’re just talking about venues, people! But  I ventured a look. The Romona Keveza number looked sickly on the food-deprived model. Hey Romona, don’t you feed your brides? We ended up going to Macy’s Bridal Salon to look at the dress the next Friday night – and I fell in love with the strapless version of the same dress. We bought it on the spot.

Thus my relationship with Martha started. I became a subscriber to Martha Stewart Living and Everyday Food. I joined her email list. And I became increasingly obsessed. Recipes began hoarding into file folders, I was clicking through holiday craft projects and exploring domestic areas way beyond my comfort level (aka gardening). Martha had spawned me into a better, more capable version of myself. (Self-instructed eye roll).

Below are a few of the example projects that I have attempted (with some help):

Halloween Lanterns: Probably not a good starter craft. I made 5 of these for our huge office Halloween she-bang. They turned out great – but it took forever to complete — and with the help of 3 co-workers.

Last Night’s Endeavor: Salami and broccoli Stromboli. I have been fairly adventuresome in the kitchen the past couple of weeks – and this was last night’s experiment. It was very tasty – except Martha and I got into a little tiff. If you don’t already know this – I will tell you that placing pizza dough directly on aluminum foil while baking is a very bad idea. The dough adheres itself to the foil – making it impossible to remove. Enter tongs, spatula, husband, cussing – result: messy Stromboli.

Newest endeavor: Chic Strands. This necklace project (which normally would retail for $90-140) is just repurposing old vintage earring and brooches into a couture piece. No pictures are available on her site – but I will post when it’s available. Or…post my own edition.

So now you are versed in my addiction to Ms. Stewart. And my increasingly domestic potential. Stay tuned…

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