Thursday, December 3, 2009

December is all about Sparkle

Each month Martha Stewart comes to our home.

Well, not actually, but technically she is here in spirit in the form of her Living magazine.

My awesome Mother-in-Law gives me her copy of the magazine once she is done reading it.

Each month, I love looking at her different articles about how to spin your own wool and how to crochet a pair of socks or even how to make the most complicated recipe in the world.

So in the spirit of Martha's visit, I am going to try and review her magazine each month. I will pick out the good parts and the ridiculous parts and share them with you in this blog segment called: Living with Martha.

For this month's cover, Martha and her crew went all out. Not only is there one cover, not just two covers but three separate covers on this bad boy.

On the main cover, Martha promises to share with me 138 of the Best Decorations, Recipes and Gifts from A to Z. (She also wishes me a "Sparkling Season" which I thought was very nice of her.)

The second cover features "Martha's Famous Croquembouche" and she assures me that it is easier than it looks. When I can't even pronounce it, I know nothing is going to be easy about this recipe.

The final cover has a photo of "Ombre Glitter and Luxurious Bows" and tells me that I should "Dress up with Bells, Bows and Glittering Decorations". Apparently Martha is all about the sparkle this year.

After the barrage of covers, there is my favorite part of the magazine, Martha's Calendar. (I talked about my love for this in my previous post).

Skip past all of the children clothing and car ads plus the Editor's Letter and finally on page 35 there is something to sink your teeth into: "From My Home to Yours (Faux trees are genuinely beautiful and making a deserved comeback)."

In this article, Martha talks about the shinny aluminum trees that were created in the 1950s to provide people with a reusable and environmentally friendly option for the family's Tannenbaum.

She also talks about feather trees and wood trees and how much she prefers these vintage trees to regular ones.

She goes on to say that even though these trees were originally sold for $25, their new cousins can cost hundreds of dollars in retail stores today.

The recipe for the fancy dessert that I can't pronounce is on the next page. (You know the one that is going to be easy.) It takes up a whole page. She even makes her own caramel to go over the whole thing. Way too much work for me.

For the Jewish readers, Martha has a recipe to make marshmallow dreidels. This is actually a really cute idea!

She dips the bottom of 1 chocolate kiss in 8 ounces of melted semisweet chocolate and presses it on to one marshmallow. Cut a slit in the bottom of the marshmallow and insert one thin pretzel stick. Then dip the whole dreidel into chocolate and refrigerate for about 15 minutes. After set, she says to pipe white chocolate onto the sides of the dreidel by writing Hebrew letters.

In her craft section, Martha shows a new knit solution to weave really cute adornments that can be placed on sweaters and scarves any anywhere else that needs a little extra pop of color.

The only catch is that you have to go out and purchase a kit called the Knitwit for about $20.

In my opinion $20 isn't that much to spend on something that can make all of these cute different baubles like this knitwit purse.

Also in her crafts section, Martha shows how to make different kinds of candles including scented soy votive candles and frosty salted pillars.

When I see her candle recipes, I always say that I am going to give them a try. Unfortunately, because of our two cats, having lit candles in our house is really not an option.

Now for the meat and Potatoes of the magazine: Holiday ideas from A to Z.

This section features several beautiful photographs and different ideas to make your Christmases bright.

There is so much information in this section, that it makes the magazine worth purchasing.

I am not going to get into too much detail on the blog about all of the projects, but I will list what the A to Z items are.

Snow Angels (maybe stretching for the letter A a little bit)
Bells, Bows and Bowwow
Christmas Cookies
Deck the Halls
Elves at Work
A Family Feast (complete with several recipes for your family feast)
Giving Gifts and Handmade Cards
Cool as Ice
Jolly Kris Kringle (I feel like I was cheated out of a letter)
Light up the Night
Making Spirits Bright
Naughty or Nice
Oh, What Fun it is to Make a Peppermint House
Let it Snow
Trim the Tree With Treasures From the Sea
Uncommon Vision
Winter Welcome
Traditional Xmas Breads
Yuletide Treats
Just Add Zest

All of the recipes and instructions for the crafts and decorations are included in the magazine along with some detailed photos of how to do some of the steps.

For those who are trying to watch their waistline so they don't end up with a "bowl full of jelly" will want to check out Fit To Eat: Cocktail-party foods with a healthy streak. Some of the recipes include Shrimp and Avocado Salad on Endive Leaves, Warm Spinach-White Bean Dip with Crudites and Chicken Skewers With Walnuts and Cilantro.

All in all, the December edition of Living is worth the purchase price. It is filled with delicious holiday recipes that will warm your home and your tummy, cute crafts that the whole family can make and some decorating ideas that will add some sparkle to your home.

In my opinion, this issue is "A Good Thing."

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