Wednesday, February 28, 2007

New Toy

My boyfriend's favorite beanie has gotten its mileage piled up and of course, it collected little lint balls along the at our visit to Michael's (a craft store) we saw a lint shaver and decided to give it a try. I wish I could have taken before and after pictures, but you're going to have to trust me on this one, it looks brand new!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

New Book!

Today, I stopped by Borders with my boyfriend and cousin. Mae (my cousin) wanted the book Go Ask Alice, a popular teen read. I think I also read it when I was in eight grade. Not my favorite, I like happy things..and I really hate the whole horny rebelious teenage scene. It's dirty. But, I suppose in middle school, it's a classic.

As for myself, I bought a new cookbook. After the inspiring ensaimadas, I've been wanting to make some bread. I flipped through a few REALLY thick books about bread making, but they were all a little heavy for me at this stage in my expertise. (Plus I love pictures, and they didn't have that many.) For Christmas, I recieved the Williams-Sonoma Cake book and so far, I love it. I kind of feel like I can't go wrong with their books, so I bought their bread book. Only about $16. Not bad for priceless recipes that may be enjoyed over and over again. I'm so excited to try making some of these breads. (Or maybe all!)

Amazon lists them a bit cheaper, but I guess with Shipping and Handling, it's about the same. But at least you'll be guaranteed to get it!

My Apologies

Sorry I haven't written in a few days. I've been busy with school, work, and all the annoying people in between. Not to worry, you are not included in that category. I woke up early (about 7:00) today. I had plans to bake the ensaimadas again but with different fillings and all (I told you about that) but as it turns out I have to work today. Only two hours, but it'll be right smack in the middle of my baking plans. 11:00-1:00, then I have to be at school by 5:15 pm. So as you see, my plans for the day were ruined. Oh well.

The good thing is that instead of baking, I made a new sock monkey. If you want, I'll post instructions, but it'll have to be another day because I'm running low on time. And I have a few new projects that I have planned for all of you. I'm excited and I can't wait to get a free day to work on them.

I hope you're all considering adopting a plant. I hear that some of you are concerned about your plant dying, but I suppose it'll be a learning experience for all of you (and me). Maybe we'll become a little more responsible and maybe less self absorbed.

Again, I apologize for the delay and the slight negative tone. I've been having a bit of an oreo week, I love the cookie, but somtimes, I really hate the fillng. I'm sure in the end, I'll find that I really do love the entire cookie, but until then, I'll just count to 10 (maybe more than once) and pratice deep breathing. =)

Have a happy day!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Hope for Mankind

I don't know what's wrong with me, but lately, I haven't been adding the bills at the restaurant right. I always seem to forget to add another dish to it, even if it's written on there! I'm embarassed to say that I got caught about three times today for that. But you know who told me? The customer! I feel so...refreshed (I suppose might be the right word) to find that there are actually honest people out there! And more than one! I have proof! This has made me EXTREMELY happy. I hope that you also find the hope out there in the world, or better yet, be the honest people! I'm sure it'll make you feel 10x better.

By the way, I'm declaring March "Adopt a Plant" month. All you have to do is go out there and get yourself a plant that catches your eye. I got two the other day and I feel as if I've adopted two lovely pets. And it's only going to cost me a few cents a month! I have two little flower pots and together they cost me about $4.00. All they need are a little attention, some food, and your love. =) So be happy and adopt one yourself! I'd love to see pictures of your "pets" and hopefully we'll be able to exchange tips and tricks to keeping them happy! As always, email me at

Must See Movies

With the Oscars approaching, you owe it to yourself to see the best of the best. Check out some of my favorite movies (In no specific order) of the year. (I own them all so I'm not being a hypocrite saying that they're worth buying.)

Sold Out

Yesterday, I woke up having a little craving for the ensaimadas I baked the night before. When I walked over to the kitchen, I was sad to find that they were all gone. =( But I suppose that's a good thing. Although I still have a craving for the soft, sweet bread. Yum.. I'm definitely making them next week but this time, I'm going to try adding ham to the filling and maybe trying some other kinds of fillngs. I can't wait. I'm also going to make them bigger so that I can bring it as a super portable sandwich to school. (No worries about sandwiches getting soggy or falling apart in your bag!)

I'm finding that bread is more fun and rewarding to make than cake since I don't feel so guilty eating it. But I still love making and decorating cakes! The bread may just be a phase.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Originally uploaded by succeedingmartha.
As I posted earlier, today I made Ensaimadas (a Filipino cheese bread). Growing up, my aunt would buy my sister and me some at the local bakery (I didn't grow up in the Philippines...more like Van Nuys, the Valley equivalent). At first we were a little hesitant to try it, but once we did, we couldn't get enough. Sometimes, when I have such a fond memory from my childhood, I'm a little scared to go back and try to relive it because somethings are tastier as memories...

It just so happens that when I talked to my mom this morning she was talking about how she wanted to try a recipe from a cookbook our friend let us borrow. There it was, the cheese bread! (Sorry for the horrible quality picture...too lazy) I had a little bit of confidence since yesterday at Bakery Class we made baguettes and I had delt with yeast and kneading and all that stuff you need for a great bread.

Don't let the time period it takes scare you. It may take a few hours to make this, but the waiting periods are enough time to get some laundry done, watch some television or even take a short nap! Just don't forget to put the alarm on!

1 cup lukewarm water
2 tsp. dry yeast
2 cups all purpose flour (have some extra handy)
8 egg yollks
1/4 lb. butter (I used unsalted, but you may want to try regular salted, let me know your results!)
1/2 tsp. salt
Canola or Vegetable Oil
SOFT or melted Butter (use regular salted butter or margarine)
1 can of cheese (you can find this at pretty much any ethnic food market, it'll be in a blue can probably in or near the refrigerators and it's manufactured by Kraft. I haven't tried it yet, but you might be able to substitute this for another kind of cheese)
4 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar

Equipment Needed:
Large Bowl
Whisk or some tool to mix with
(Above can be substituted with a Vertical Electric Mixer)
Clean counter top surface or Cutting Board
Large clean plastic bag or some clear saran wrap
Baking Sheet Pans lined with Parchment Paper (No need to grease them!)
Rolling Pin
Cheese Grater or Knife
Pastry brush or something to apply melted butter to the bread

1) Measure and prepare all ingredients (trust me, it's a lot easier this way!)
2) In the large bowl, pour the lukewarm water in and mix the dry yeast into it. Let it set for 15 to 20 minutes.
3) Then add the flour and mix well.
4) After, mix in the eggs, butter, and salt. The dough will resemble some kind of weird hybrid of a dough and a batter. Don't be alarmed!
5) On a very well floured surface (and I mean well floured, it's the only way it'll begin to look like a dough) oil your hands slightly (I tried flour, but now that I look back, oiling your hands would probably be better) and knead the dough. You may add flour to it just until it can be handled well.
6) Pat it with some oil (this will prevent it from forming a crust and drying out) and let it stand on the table for 30 minutes covered with a plastic bag or saran wrap.
7) Then cut the dough into about 24 small rounded pieces and leave them to double their size (it took me about 45 minutes.) I was worried that the house was a little too cold, so I stuck them in the oven while it was off for the time it took them to expand. You might want to again, pat it with a little oil because mine for a bit of a crust..nothing major, but it was still there.
8) When they have expanded, on a buttered surface, roll the balls out until they are thin (aim for about 1/8" or thinner if you can)
9) You can use a pastry brush or your fingers (I used the later) and spread it on the dough, then sprinkle some of the cheese on there.
10) Then roll it up lengthwise so it looks like a snake and coil it (kind of like a cinnamon bun!)
11) Let it rise for another hour
12) During this time, you can preheat your oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit
13) When it is done rising, bake them for about 10-15 minutes or until it is a golden brown.
14) Let the bread cool
15) When it is cool, brush some melted butter and sprinkle the sugar to the tops of the bread. (I was worried the bread was going to be dry, so I poked some holes with a skewer on the top to let the bread soak up the butter.)

The time it takes is a bit intimidating, but once you do it, you'll find that it's a lot easier than it looks. But the people that try it won't have to know! It's easy and delicious. As always, send me your results or some recipes that you want to share with me to

Fan Mail

I feel a little bad because the sweater I talked about in the last blog was a bit of an old project...Some of you may have already seen it, but in my defense, looking at it again inspired me to make a new one. So you can look forward to a new sweater design in the next few...I'm not sure of the time frame, but it will come!

I've been a little busy with some homework from my Baking and Cake Decorating Class so excuse my lack of new and exciting entries. I am however make a Filipino cheese bread today--experimenting so you can look forward to my results later today. For the mean time, thank you for all the comments and YES please send me an email with all the projects you would like to share! Martha's nothing without her crafty fans.

p.s. I'm also working on posting the picture of my old sweater. Maybe it'll inspire you too!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Revamp your Sweater!

With this crazy weather (sunny and HOT one day and raining and cold the next) it's always good to keep a sweater nearby or in your car. Tired of the same boring cotton zip up number? Give it a little face lift with a few simple felt shapes, some yarn and a plain sweater.

Plain Hoodie - $12 (I got mine for $12 but it may cost you up to $20 or $0 if you already have one!)
Felt - $0.20 for about a 8 1/2" x 11" rectangle (I got 4 different colors)
Yarn - $5.00
Embroidery Floss - $1.25
Hand Sewing Needles - about $3.00 (Make sure you get needles that have a big enough eye for the yarn and sharp point so sewing through the sweater is easy)
Total Approximate Cost of Project - $20.25

1) Cut out simple shapes (I chose flowers and leaves) and plan a simple design or pattern to place it on the sweater. I like to place it in a corner of the back and work my way out. I think it looks a little more modern and maybe even store bought!
2) Sew the shapes about 1/4 of an inch inside and along the shape with the embroidery floss. Then sew lines with the yarn to connect all the shapes and enhance the design. (This is when I attached the leaves to the sweater.)

You can also add a design to the front. I put my initials there only for the front, I only used the embroidery floss. and Presto! You have your own personalized sweater and it cost you less than an already made one from the store. (I've seen similar designs for almost $50!) I've gotten lots of compliments on my sweater and lots of people have even asked where I bought it. If you make one of your own, please feel free to send me pictures and a description to

Monday, February 19, 2007

Game Night!

So, today we celebrated my boyfriend's birthday since we had to work yesterday (his actual birthday). The original plan was to head over to Universal Studios since my cousin fresh out of the Philippines hasn't really been anywhere in Los Angeles, but the unpredicatable weather had other plans for us. It was raining in the morning (yesterday and the day before it was almost 90 F) so we decided to have a rainy day just like elementary. Eat lunch and head back to the classroom to play board games. I don't own too many board games (and I forgot to bring my Cranium! I love that game) so we went to Target to buy a few games we had been meaning to buy like Monopoly and Life.

I had never actually played Life (the one time I did play, it was missing so many pieces I couldn't properly play it) and whenever I played Monopoly, we always made up our own rules so again, not properly played. My boyfriend bought one of those vintage looking Monopoly sets and on the inside of the cover it talked about the history of Monopoly. Well, it all started with a man during about the time of the Depression that made a game for his family about sites he remembered from a vacation. The game was such a hit with his family he began to sell it in his neighborhood and well, you know the rest.

It got me thinking, game night should be a regular thing in families--brings them closer together or even with friends (remember Will & Grace were champions among their friends?). But games can get boring with the same store bought board games so why don't you make it more interesting by making or personalizing your games?

Easy Squeezy!:
Instead of having a store bought version of Charades (which often provide words or phrases many of us haven't even heard of) have one team list a several different movies, songs, words, animals, etc. and drawing each from a hat or bowl. Then the opposing team can use those as their topics to be acted out.

More Time, But Fun!:
You've seen those special edition kits for Monopoly (I Love Lucy, Family Guy, Disney, etc.)--instead of spending about $30 or $40 for those, make your own! Choose a theme like "My Family" and for each color set on the board, you can put a set of family members (For ex: Instead of Park Place and Boardwalk, Grandma and Grandpa's Retirement Home) and Personalize the Chance and Community Chest Cards. (Ex: "Mom caught you sneaking out of your room at night, Go Directly to Jail" or "Aunt Edna gives you big hug. Pay hospital bill $50)

For those of you that like the Challenge:
For those of you really looking for a challenge, see what kind of games you all like and make your own! It could be a hybrid of Monopoly, Life, Family Fued or whatever else you like!

If you do decide to do any of these, as with any other projects, please email me at describing your results and pictures if you can!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Quick, Cheap Gift Idea--And they won't know the difference!

Originally uploaded by succeedingmartha.
Tomorrow is my boyfriend's birthday and to be honest, between all the Valentine's stuff, school, and work, I haven't had time to really put some thought into his birthday gift. I already know what to BUY him, but I always try to MAKE him something. I love handmade gifts. They're more personal and they show that you've spent time thinking or making their gift.

But what do you do when you don't have time? (Like me) You'll find that things you're already good at come the easiest and fastest. For me, I love to bake and my boyfriend likes letters (or really anything) I write for him. For someone with more artistic skills, you might be able to draw up a great picture for a quick card. But there are some that haven't yet discovered their hobbies or any useful skill that you can turn into a creative gift. For those of you out there, I suggest the hybrid gift: part handmade (looking), part store bought.

My favorite last minute quick gift is a little kit. Head over to your local dollar store (or all in one convenience store like Target or Wal-Mart) and think of a theme.

When my friends were in the process of getting their drivers license, I bought everything I could possibly think of that they might need when they begin to drive. Some things were actually useful like a notepad, pen, lotion, and gum. And some things were part of inside jokes like cheap soap opera cassette soundtracks (yes I actually found those for sale there) to "set the mood" for any unexpected (or expected ;] guests) or WB trading cards they could use to bribe cops when they would get pulled over. Even though I bought well over ten items for each set, I really only spent about $15.00! On three gifts! (There were a lot of 3 for $1 deals.)

So there you have it, my little "secret" to gift giving that requires a little money as it does time. Remember, when giving a gift like this, it's the attention you put to detail that will blow them away. If they once talked about how they wanted to get into photography or something like that, make them a kit related to that. It makes the world of a difference.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Originally uploaded by succeedingmartha.
Wonder what kind of crafty things they're going to make!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Work, work, work for you

I went to work I will for the next two days. Yea, it's a nice schedule, I only have to work three days a week, but keep in mind that they're 12 hour days. ahh! It was really slow during the day, but then at about six o clock, they all had to get a delivery. Yay. (not really). Although everyone was super nice so I thank all of you that were patient. Well, except for these two middle aged twins. They left me $1.94 (and no that didn't add up to an even number or anything...why not just give $0.06 more? Cheap asses) and wrote next to the tip, "LOUSY SERVICE." Lousy Service? I'm the next Martha f**king Stewart. Don't be telling me what's good or not. I practically invented the good thing! (I'll take credit for her catch phrase just this once.)

So anyway, since it was so slow during the day, it left me a lot of time to think about you. My supporters, followers, groupies, whatever you may consider yourself. How can I help you make life a little easier (not to mention my own)? Well, for one thing, I'm planning on posting lots of fun projects to do and I even plan on putting the approximate cost of the project. Now isn't that thoughtful of me? I know what it's like to want nice things but have a budget for a few cents and some left over lint from your pocket. Most of these projects will be great fool proof recipes I've done countless times. I want you to be able to throw a flawless party leaving your guests scratching their heads wondering how you got it all done and manage to put yourself together. And if you're the guest at a party, I want your host/hostess to think you spend laborious hours (or money!) over their nice gift, when really, it took a fraction of the time and money. I WANT to make your life easier and more enjoyable.

Many of the things I plan on doing, I'm not even sure how to do, but it'll be a learning experience for the both of us. I look forward to seeing more of you here and as usual, please send me an email or leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions. I'm here to help. (Now don't you think I deserved more than $1.94?)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!
I had dinner with my boyfriend and his family to celebrate his upcoming 20th birthday. I decided to bake a cake, so I made my famous (fine, it's only famous among like 5 people) chocolate cake. I had about four hours and for those of you who have experience baking a cake and frosting it all from scratch, well, it's not THAT much time. I was able to pull it off. Sort of. I didn't wait long enough for the sugar, eggs, and milk mixture of the frosting to cool down before I added the butter so it kind of melted it making it hard to pipe it.... Oh well. It kind of came out nice. Especially for only about three hours (one of the hours was spent at the grocery store. I didn't get a chance to take a picture or anything but oh well.

One Step Closer!

First Cake
Originally uploaded by succeedingmartha.
So I'm taking a cake decorating class (as well as a baking class but we'll discuss that another time) because well, what good is putting all this work into a cake (or whatever you're preparing) if it doesn't even look appetizing? Now some people put all of their effort into presentation and none into the actual product and well, there's no point in that either. Nothing more disappointing than a beautiful cake that doesn't have a taste to match! That's also the case for people...
I'm only in the third week of class so we're still learning the basics: pressure, angle, and well I forget the other thing, but it's also important. Today's assignment was to recreate a cake with six different designs on it. I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive about starting the cake, but once the first bit of piped icing adhered to the cake, I just couldn't find myself stopping. I realized that I love decorating cakes. I can't wait to learn more. My teacher graded the cake and well, I didn't do so bad! Probably about ten points shy of a perfect score! Not too shabby for a first timer.
I felt a little embarassed when a classmate keep talking about how great my cake was...I personally feel that I can do a lot better. But I felt so happy when my boyfriend pointed out that her idolizing me (I'm serious, she told me I was going to be her new idol) was just one step closer to being the next Martha. One day at a time..

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Journey Begins

I had forgotten about the goal I strived for not too long ago. I had decided in about Junior year of high school (only about 3 or so years ago..ew I'm getting old) that I was going to become the next Martha Stewart. Of course that was before The Apprentice with Martha or her daytime talk show and oh yeah, the jail time. But with my hobby of baking becoming more than just a hobby in the more recent days of my life, I've decided to pick up on my old goal. Well, more like become the next domestic goddess. Say a cross between the fabulous Brini Maxwell, the smart founder of Leah Kramer, Martha Stewart pre-prison, and MacGyver (he is the original craftster..).
I have decided that it is my personal short term goal is to attempt to learn some type of new craft, cooking and more baking techniques/recipes, etc. every week. No more wondering why I'm sitting in my third agonizing hour of Anthropology or Statistics. We'll call it a practical learning experience.
So here it is, my journey to becoming the best employed and not yet married house wife ever! Ah, the joys of home econ.