I! Want to have! A Marthaaaaa Month!

Earlier today I caught myself quietly singing "Martha, Martha Month" to the tune of the Village People's "Macho Man," so that is definitely a sign of…something. Yes it is.

The following recipes are intended for GUESTS per the magazine, yet I served them to my PLAIN OLD FAMILY: Chicken-Chile Stew with Cheese and Sweet-Pepper Cornbread.

I am not entirely certain they deserved them, but there you have it.

Also, don't know if I mentioned it, but we have a slight surplus of applesauce in these parts. Time to make sundaes!

The thing I appreciated most about the Applesauce Sundaes was the extreme Marthaness of the recipe(s). You could buy some ice cream and applesauce and dried fruit and combine them in a bowl for a nice little treat. Or you could go Full Martha (which I did, self-contractual obligation) and dedicate one entire day of your life to making ice cream, applesauce, and dried fruit and combining them in a bowl. For a nice little treat. There is a common Marthaland refrain of "Instead of doing this very simple thing, why not try this extremely time-consuming method?" See also: How to Light a Jack-o'-Lantern.

I don't think that's how.

October 14th: "Pilates." Sure.

"Sharpen knives; apply mineral oil to wooden cutting boards to keep them from cracking." Hey, 14 days in and I find myself facing a practical reminder that is of legitimate use to me. Slightly disappointing, but I'll take it.

October 15th: "Clean and set up humidifiers." I was unable to perform this task due to headless clown interference.

October 16th: "Cardio and core." I went running in the dark and completely wiped out on the uneven sidewalk like the graceful gazelle that I am, so I imagine I engaged some core muscles whilst hoisting myself back up off the ground.

"Harvest tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers." There were probably some of those things in the soup and stuff?


"Inspect beehives." Looking good.

Martha Project #2: Cover your pumpkin in lacy stockings then spray paint for a beautiful, delicate effect.


As always, Officer Huff will be addressing all comments and concerns regarding these matters.


Of COURSE she only looks happy and natural on horseback

I'm almost halfway through Martha Month, can you believe it? So much applesauce, so little time. You know what that sauce looks awfully nice next to? Orange-and-Rosemary-Brined Porkchops.

I am almost always disappointed in fancy-sounding pork chops, but I wasn't in these, so this brine gets an emphatically approving nod.

Also pretty cozy up in some Applesauce Pancakes.

Just snuggled right in there.

When Martha says to slice broccoli stalks in order to make a salad, I say "How thinly?"

The answer is…"thinly."

She also said to put Chimichurri Sauce on roasted carrots, so I did that too.

She didn't specify what the carrots were intended to accompany, so I just made my best guess.

The Calendar also kept me pretty busy this weekend, let's see how I did.

October 10th: "Pilates." You know…I think I probably did some stretching that day. Like, athletically.

"Bathe dogs and cats." Guess she's talking to you, Cat Team.

October 11th: "Morning walk with the dog through the maple grove." If it makes you feel any better about the following picture, I want you guys to know that I waste a LOT more of my own time than I do of yours.

You have no idea.

October 12th: "Take an afternoon drive to Cross River Reservoir, in Westchester County, New York." We did not do this. We did drive to a pumpkin patch that day.

We are almost tall enough for the pumpkin patch.

"Horseback ride." I'm glad I left this entire line of activity to Anna, because she is really stepping up her game.

October 13th: "Host Martha Stewart Weddings' 20th anniversary party in New York City." I'm going to let this image from my own nuptials tell the story of how much I understand or care about weddings.

Okay, this is actually just my "dancing face."

If my failures this week have left you feeling grumpy, just take a big bite of ice cream, worked for Ivy 100%.


Seasonal apple-smushin'

Martha Month continues in full force here! I think my last post misled some people into thinking I was jokily failing to follow my own aspirational calendar, so I just wanted to reiterate that I do not have enough ambition to even imagine a life with weekend horseback rides. For the record.

I do have exactly enough ambition to put scallops in a pan for a few minutes.

I am a huge fan of "make this thing hot and then eat it"-style recipes.

To Martha's Month!

October 7th: "Pilates." Not only did I do this, I went to a proper class with a teacher so that I could pull terrible faces in front of people instead of just at my computer screen.

October 8th: "Clean and refill bird feeders." We took care of this last weekend, actually.


Martha understands that sometimes you have to rearrange the schedule a little bit for convenience.

Not really, Martha does not understand this, please don't tell Martha.

October 9th: "Cardio and core." Dang girl, we just did Pilates TWO DAYS AGO. Fine, a couple of miles and ten half-hearted crunches, that's all you get. Have to save some energy for "pick apples, press some for cider and make applesauce."

What can I tell you guys, they came off the tree this way.

 When the applesauce recipe says "large pot," it's being serious.

I mean, it also says to cook "partially covered." So do what you have to do.

I don't have a food mill, so I chose the "push it through a sieve" method. Unfortunately, my strainer is more "fine mesh" than "medium mesh" so it took "all freaking day" to get two large jars of applesauce out of it. Worth it though, because my applesauce is kind of watery SILKY SMOOTH.

Tastes like applesauce! Probably not worth the work, I dunno, you'll have to ask Ivy.

Seriously though, she is the slowest.

Here is the face I made upon completing a Pilates session:

And completing an apple-straining session:

Good thing I have access to Martha's Product Recommendation #1:  WRINKLE CREAMS! Turns out, I had just finished a tube of one recommendation and already replaced it with something very similar to another recommendation, so M and I are on the same page here.


Anna is really fascinated/repelled by the encostumed Martha on the back cover of this issue. I keep having to tell her that it's just makeup and a wig. "She's not scary in real-life," I lied reassuringly.

I don't think she's buying it.


I definitely understand how viral infections work

First, some housekeeping/mild threats: it's almost as if I did not do an effective job promoting my finely crafted baubles last week, as there are inexplicably still some earrings available. Unless somebody jumps on those grenades I'm just going to start sending them out randomly, I actually have quite a few of your addresses.

Second, we were out of town all weekend and I have not been to the grocery store, but I did still manage to make Carrot-Ginger Soup. The fact that you can probably throw this together without driving anywhere or putting on pants or whatever is probably the number one thing it has going for it, but it is also a nice tasty soup. It's in the "Use Coconut Oil in Stuff" section!

Good section.

So that's that for recipes. To the calendar!

October 3rd: "Get seasonal flu shot." I WAS GOING TO DO THIS. But there was a 45-minute wait at Walgreens, so I'm just going to buy some extra herbal tea instead. I'm not in a high-risk category anyway. I eat a lot of soup. (See above.)

"Pilates." Sigh.

At one point this woman instructed me to execute a move "as if someone punched you in your lower belly."

October 4th: "Begin fall garden cleanup; cut back perennials." Where to start, where to start. I...took a whole boatload of basil off my parents' hands?

I know basil is an annual.

And we tidied the hedge apples.

Just set everything else on fire, pretty much.

Maybe not the most Martha move, but it's impossible to resist when the children are so delighted by it.

"Horseback ride." Figured Anna could cover this one for me.

October 5th: "Make homemade quince jelly with star anise.


October 6th: "Fly to Arkansas. Attend State of the Art Exhibition at Crystal Bridges Summit." So much fun, such exhibition, wish you were here!


I don't think she's in an absolving mood

I refuse to let the fact that the first official recipe of Martha Month was kind of a flop dampen my spirits any. I BELIEVE IN MARTHA MONTH. I just do not believe in Tuna-Noodle Casserole with Cauliflower. This was the last of the "budget meals" section and I know I already joked about how nice it was that the magazine was deigning to appeal to the plebes, but this dish really does seem like some staff member said "I don't know, what do they eat in the middle of the country? No colors."

I believe the parsley was added in post by a beleaguered photo editor.

You know what though, it doesn't really matter other than the fact that the big bowl of white gave me the energy to tackle Martha Project #1: making my own earrings.

Anna and I were very comfortable and not at all overwhelmed in the bead aisle at Michael's.

Right at home.

Once she zeroed in on her favorite design, though, everything clicked right into place.

Just to clarify, the magazine did not instruct us to make them Halloween-themed.

I'm actually pretty happy with how they turned out, seasonally-restricted or no, and since the package came with so many beads, I just kept making earrings. I really like making earrings, guys. This has caused me to have like seven extra pairs. Do you want some?

Come. Join me in chicness.

I feel like I've Sad Etsy Boyfriended myself here.

If you're interested, let me know and I'll mail a pair to the first seven people who ask. Keep in mind that I may or may not manage to do that before Halloween. Also that they come in various configurations of skulls/black balls/no black balls and degrees of competent fastening. And may arrive in just any state of assembly, really. And probably shouldn't be shaken. Or dropped on the floor. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

You know what, it's fine, I can just leave them out for the trick-or-treaters.

Okay, time to check the calendar! 

October 1st: "Move tropical plants into the greenhouse for the winter."

It's okay that it's 18 degrees cooler in our greenhouse than it is outside, right?

October 2nd: "Cardio and core." I would say the amount of jogging and planking I did was appropriate for a 73-year-old woman.

Anyway, if you have a problem with any of that, you can take it up with the archbishop nurse.


Finally, a topic worthy of poetry

Oh man, I know we're all nursing those day-after-National-Coffee-Day hangovers right now, and really the best advice I can give you is 1) hair of the dog, and 2) remember the good times.

Our good times started around 6:30 with this mocha monstrosity from The Book Lover's Cookbook:

This recipe was associated with the Ogden Nash poem "Coffee With The Meal." Normally I wouldn't bother typing out burden your early-morning intellect with an entire poem in this space, but the protagonist of the piece really spoke to me and the ending is quite heart-wrenching:

A gentlemanly gentleman, as mild as May,
Entered a restaurant famed and gay.
A waiter sat him in a droughty seat
And laughingly inquired what he'd like to eat.
"Oh I don't want venison, I don't want veal,
But I do insist on coffee with the meal.
Bring me clams in a chilly group,
And a large tureen of vegetable soup,
Steak as tender as a maiden's dream,
With lots of potatoes hashed in cream,
And a lettuce and tomato salad, please,
And crackers and a bit of Roquefort cheese,
But waiter, the gist of my appeal,
Is coffee with, coffee with, coffee with the meal."
The waiter groaned and he wrung his hands;
"Perhaps the headwaiter understands."
Said the sleek headwaiter, like a snobbish seal,
"What, monsieur? Coffee with the meal?"
His lip drew up in scornful laughter;
"Monsieur desires a demitasse after!"
The gentleman's eyes grew hard as steel,
He said, "I'm ordering coffee with the meal.
Hot black coffee in a great big cup,
Fuming, steaming, filled right up.
I don't want coffee iced in a glass,
And I don't want a miserable demitasse,
But what I'll have, come woe, come weal,
Is coffee with, coffee with, coffee with the meal."
The headwaiter bowed like a poppy in the breeze;
"Monsieur desires coffee with the salad or the cheese?"
Monsieur said, "Now you're getting warmer;
Coffee with the latter, coffee with the former;
Coffee with the steak, coffee with the soup,
Coffee with the clams in a chilly group;
Yes, and with a cocktail I could do,
So bring me coffee with the cocktail, too.
I'll fight to the death for my bright ideal,
Which is coffee with, coffee with, coffee with the meal."
The headwaiter swiveled on a graceful heel;
"Certainly, certainly, coffee with the meal!"
Oh, what a glow did Monsieur feel
At the warming vision of coffee with the meal,
One hour later Monsieur, alas!
Got his coffee in a demitasse.

It's okay if you need to take a moment.

Next up was a loaf of Espresso Banana Bread, based on the same coffee drink as the Jumpin' Monkey Smoothie that disappointed me by not containing peanut butter around this time last year. Turns out I do not expect to taste peanut butter in my banana bread, so I prefer this version of things.
I mean, wouldn't object to adding peanut butter to a slice of it or anything, and actually, you know what, I'll be right back.

I let the girls have a piece of this in the afternoon, but it did not have any appreciable effect on bedtime.

Last but not least, a little Martha Month warm-up in the form of Oven-Glazed Coffee Brisket.

Too spicy for the kids = more for me, more for me.

I've been saying for a while now that at this age Ivy is basically just a puppy with slightly more verbal acuity, but what do I know.

(P.S. Today is my 8th anniversary and Dan gave me fancy salt and that is why I love him.)