Monday Magazine Review – 2 for 1

I made it through two magazines this week; Martha Stewart Living, and Better Homes and Garden, both the May 2011 editions.

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First of all, Martha’s magazine cover this month just makes me happy and gives me a glimmer of hope that flowers will soon be blooming.  I picked up some really good planting tips.

  • If you want to have good blooms next year for lilacs, rhododendrons or any other bush that happens to bloom make sure you prune them after the blooms are done.  That said, looks like I will be spending some time on these when the blooms start to fade.

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  • The best time to mow your lawn is in the afternoon or evening.  Our front lawn is finally starting to fill in, our back lawn has a ways to go before it looks good.

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  • Plant your warn season vegetables when the temperature becomes higher that 50 degrees and there is no longer a chance there will be a frost.

Here’s more from Martha.  For you dog lovers out there Martha’s pooches have their own website where they post daily messages.  See Here, it’s really cute.  Well, it makes me smile but then I have the pretty cute pooch myself.  For those of you that may be reading Cup of Chat for the first time, meet Divot…

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Mag Monday-Yard Work 5-23-11 051   Whenever I paint a wall I save the paint card and also put a splash of color on the paint can lid.  Martha has a better idea and it makes so much sense.  Save a paint stick with the color and label it.  So simple, so makes perfect sense and I never thought of it.Paint sticks

On to Better Homes and Garden…..

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Take a look at the picture for these yummy looking Raspberry Bars.

Raspberry bars

I can’t wait to make these.  Go to the link Here online for the recipe.  If you make them first let me know how they are.  You can also use blackberries or blueberries.  I wonder how it would taste with all 3 together?

There was definitely a baking theme going on this month at BHG.  There was a feature on 2 sisters who left the corporate world to open a business making and selling cupcakes.  A simple tip is to make the cupcake simple and the frosting extra extra special.  Sophie and Katherine offer 5 tips for baking cupcakes which you can find Here and I’ve also listed them below.

1. Good ingredients truly equal good taste. When your teeth sink into a cupcake, your taste buds should register nothing but bliss. To send them straight to cupcake heaven, consider splurging on top tier ingredients, say the sisters. Gourmet flavors are highlighted in something as small as a cupcake, so make those 3-4 bites count. “We use Plugra butter, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, and Valrhona cocoa, and they make a huge difference in taste,” says LaMontagne.

2. Never, never over-bake a cupcake. “We always recommend erring on the side of under-baking,” says Kallinis. “If you over-bake a cupcake, there’s no way to save it. And it won’t be moist on the inside.” Georgetown Cupcake’s team of bakers even set two timers to ensure the cakes make it out of the oven on time. For even better results, check your oven’s heat with an oven thermometer, to determine it’s true temperature. You’re doing it right when your cupcakes look slightly sunken, rather than peaked, says LaMontagne. Test them with a toothpick if you’re unsure — if no batter clings to the pick, they’re done.

3. Mix your batter with a light hand. If there’s one thing we’ve learned as bakers, it’s to simply be more gentle, says LaMontagne. “Baking fluffy, moist cupcakes is all about creating air bubbles in your batter that expand in the oven,” she says. “If you over-mix your batter, you collapse those bubbles and end up with a brick-like cake.” To avoid this, always mix on a low speed, stopping just as all ingredients blend.

4. Let all ingredients come to room temperature before baking. Take it from a pro: All ingredients incorporate into batter much more easily if they’re at similar temperatures, says Kallinis. Sure, it requires a bit more planning to set out eggs, butter, and other refrigerated ingredients 15-20 minutes before you set to work, but for a perfect cupcake, it’s worth it. (And as far as baking tips go, this one ranks among the easiest!)

5. Baking in advance? Freeze your creations. “If you’ve baked them to eat right away, we recommend storing cupcakes at room temperature,” says LaMontagne. “But if they’re for tomorrow, freezing them will retain their moisture much better than leaving them on a countertop overnight.”

Hope you found something useful.  Have a good one!




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