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The Better Panini Cupcakes In a Mason Jar

July 31, 2013

This week my mom took me to the toy store (Bed Bath & Beyond) and allowed me to pick out a few items. It had everything to do with her guilt for still not pick out an oven, but who am I to deny a free gift? I ended up getting a Cuisinart griddler, (product review to come after a few more uses) and have been madly panini-ing everything in sight. Left over take-out in the fridge? Bam! Now it's in a panini. Craving french toast? Hizzah! French toast panini sandwich. You get the idea. 
So when I saw a post on Panini Happy showing how to make cake on a panini grill, my eyes twinkled, and I got to work. 

lemon cake in jar
This is one of those kitchen marvels that you just don't believe until you make it yourself. I modified the  recipe from how sweet eats, to make lemon cakes and I loved it!  At first I tried icing them like normal cakes, but that was a Britney circa 2007 train wreck. Instead I put it in a mason jar and managed to make it look presentable. I am rather partial to this recipe because it is scientific fact that calories don't exist when food is in miniature form. Don't try arguing with me on this one, it's a fight you just won't win. 
egg and sugar and whiskcake batter and remkinsBaking on Panini Grillbaked mini cakes
top of cake in jar

The Better Martha Speaks #1

July 29, 2013

1. Being a One Direction fan when you are over 18: It's wildly embarrassing and I will never admit to it. 
2. Amanda Bynes acting like a pyromaniacal lunatic: I secretly think this whole wild streak she's been going through is really a well played prank. She's actually totally normal and just getting a kick out of all of this
3. Royal Baby: It should have been a girl. But I guess that would be hard to explain if they named her George. 
4. Reinventing myself: I'm transferring to Barnard College in a month, and I only just thought about all the possibilities. Perhaps I'll reinvent myself as a Scottish exchange student with a speech impediment and a love of Furbies? 
5. My biggest life problem right now is that I can't figure out where to wear this shirt or this shirt.


The Better DIY: Crochet Detail Tee

July 26, 2013

Being a college student I have a pretty impressive tee shirt collection. Every fair, club, and event lures students in with the promise of free pizza and a nice cotton shirt, so I have accumulated more of them than I can count. Here is a really cute and easy DIY on how to add a crochet detailing to an old tee you have. This is especially fantastic for shirts that are a little lose because the crochet weave ends up taking the shirt in a bit.
Screen Shot 2013-07-22 at 12.37.19 AM
Step 1: Fold shirt in half lengthwise
2. Measure and mark 1 cm increments along 1 cm away from the folded edge
3. Cut the 1 cm incriments (when unfolded you will have a line of 2cm slits)
4. Lightly pull the tee shirt so the edges of the slits will stretch and roll
5. Crochet the cut slits
6. Sew down the first and last loop so crochet weave will not come undone
Voila! You are left with a simple and easy detail that you can add to any tee shirt. I chose to do mine down the center of the back, but this can be done anywhere on the shirt. Next tim I think I will do along the sides. 
abc guide
For those of you who don't know how to do the crochet part of the DIY, here is a little bit of instruction on how to do it.
1. Slide hook through loop a and loop b
2. Hook loop a and pull it through loop b
3. Keep loop a on hook
4. With loop a on needle slide hook up and grab loop c to pull it down through loop a.
Hopefully this is clear, but if you need a video to help you out, no worries there are plenty of them on youtube that can help you out.


The Better Ballet Flats I Want Now

July 24, 2013

As of today I have one more month to enjoy sleeping in and avoiding text books. Soon I'll be in Manhattan, and I anticipate much more walking since there are so many restaurants and museums to visit. Of course all that city exploration will justify some shoe purchases--more specifically flats. Navigating uneven city pavement and subway stations requires I be a little bit closer to the ground (so platform heels just won't cut it). Here are the shoes I currently craving (and they are all super affordable)!

If you can't tell I'm in love with studs, neon, and plastic footwear.

The Better Perfect Brown Rice

July 22, 2013

Brown rice is an absolute staple of my diet, but cooking it properly has not always been easy for me. Before discovering my new method, there was a 70% chance the rice would turn out burned or mushy. Since I eat this on a regular basis I forced my self to experiment with different methods that would yield perfect results every time. After a couple months of searching I finally found the way to make the perfect brown rice.   
{When it is time to drain rice most of the water should be absorbed}
{After draining,  turn the burner OFF, cover rice with foil and lid which will trap steam and allow rice to finish cooking}
IMG_0934moms lunch
{Today I made my mom lunch: Hake, garlic brussel sprouts, and brown rice}

The Better Martha's Wardrobe Essentials

July 19, 2013

Despite my love for Fashion Police and sifting through InStyle magazine, I don't consider myself to be a fashionista. Shopping is way too arduous and overwhelming for me to find it enjoyable. Honestly if I had it my way, my wardrobe would refresh itself occasionally without me ever having to step into a store. Unfortunately this will never be my reality, and since I do want to look presentable to society I just have to suck it up. However, I have found that keeping my wardrobe down to a few essentials limits the time I spend shopping and saves me time getting ready in the morning. 
1. Tweed jacket/ 2. Jean jacket/ 3. Blazer/ 4. Cardigan/ 5. Coat (I like a classic silhouette in a bold print or color)/ 6. Trouser with a very subtle plaid or stripe/ 7. Dark wash jeans/ 8. LBD/ 9. LWD/ 10. Bright day dress/ 11. Daytime A-Line/ 12. Bright silk scarf/ 13. Nude heels with no platform/ 14. Black flats/ 15. Crisp button down/ 16. Chambray shirt/ 17. Neutral blouse/ 18. Black tee/ 19. White tee/ 20. Black everyday bag

The Better DIY: Smart Phone Projector

July 17, 2013

If you are ever at a party and want to show off the latest viral cat video, here is a super easy DIY for creating a projector. Obviously this isn't going to give you HD quality projections, but its better than having 10 people huddling around you to see the screen. 
supplies steps 1-4
1. Draw a circle on your box that is a tiny bit smaller than your magnifying glass
2. Using an x acto knife (be carful) cut circle into box
3. From the inside of the box glue magnifying glass down so it is right behind the circle opening
4. This step is optional. But since I can never leave well enough alone, I chose to cover my "projector" with some scrapbooking paper. 
If you want you can make yourself a little makeshift kickstand using a paperclip. Place your smartphone in the box. You will have to play around with your phone to see how close you should put it to the magnifying glass to get the picture in focus. Also try moving the box closer and further to the projection wall to help get a sharper image. It is important to turn off the setting that rotates your image with your phone automatically. This is because for the image to be projected right side up, the image on your phone needs to be upside down. It may seem a little confusing now, but once you make your own and mess around with it for a few minutes, you will understand. 
Now it's time to pull up your favorite Youtube video or show off your Instagram feed!


The Better Sunday's Flea Market Find

July 16, 2013

Every girl on the go knows how important it is to be economical with purse size by carring only the necessities. However, I am not one of those girls. I prefer to lug around large tote bags and apologize to every one I ram into as I walk down the sidewalk. Clutches are nice, but they don't really work for me; I always like to carry an extra pair of shoes, a 32 oz water bottle, and a microwave.
While at the Rose Bowl flea market on Sunday, I cam across Akeza Handmade, a vendor that sells these HUGE totes made by Malagasy families. They are super sturdy and the colors are I bought two. 
1 lizard bag  flea market bag 
Aside from being gorgeous, they have a great drawstring top closure which keeps my useless crap necessities from spilling. These bags are going to make hauling laundry, farmers market trips, and long days at the beach oh so stylish. 
pocket for storing keys and your wallet
They seriously are ginormous! If I was any sort of flexible I could probably jump in and my entire lower body would fit. 
When I was at the booth, it took me a solid 20 minutes of debating before I could decide on the colors that I wanted. They are wallet friendly at $40 a piece. I already knew that two was a little excessive so I managed to reign myself in not buy everything that caught my eye. If you are ever in the Pasadena, CA area be sure to check out the famous flea market that takes place the second Sunday of every month. It is the best place for finding unique treasures.

The Better (Semi) Homemade Snickers Bar

July 14, 2013

For a person who takes great pride in baking everything from scratch and ironing her curtains, I am actually very very lazy. Lazy to the point of doing more work than necessary to avoid doing something small. You know what I mean, right? Like when you want to turn off the light. But instead of getting up and walking to the switch, you stay in bed, stretch your leg as far out as you can, point your toes as straight as possible so you can flick the switch off just with the very end of your toe? 
Great! I knew I was not the only one. These semi-homemade Snickers bars were a total toe-to-light-switch experience. I so badly wanted a candy bar, but I so badly did not want to change out of pajamas to go to the store. 
Luckily I had most of the ingredients in my fridge and pantry, then I convinced my mom to purchase everything else while she was out running errands. It is only as I write this post now that I realize I could have just as easily asked her to buy me one candy bar. But there's no fun in that. In the words of Edna Mode, "I never look back, darling. It distracts from the now." 
I consider this recipe to be semi-home made because the caramel was not made from scratch, nor was the nougat (since I used marshmallow creme). I didn't want to deal with scortching hot liquid and candy thermometers. And frankly who has time for that when they are binge watching old episodes of Monk on Netflix? Not I. 
{First chocolate peanut butter layer}

{Layer of caramel being poured over the nougat}

layers IMG_1734
By the copious amounts of gratuitous food pictures showing up on your feed, I'm sure some of you may have realized that I got (and am obsessed with) Instagram. 

This great recipe was taken from How Sweet Eats! It's really simple, though it requires some patience for the cooling in between layers. As each layer cooled in the fridge, I took the time to rinse out my pot and start preparing the next layer. Give it a try! This will impress everyone. How many people do you know that make their own candy bars on the reg? Not many. That's what I thought.

The Better Way to Remove Carpet Stains

July 11, 2013

 My parents are both very intelligent individuals, but I've never been able to understood their reasoning for installing white carpet on the second story of our house. They renovated our home in the 80s with the intention of adding a second story so there would be plenty of room for the CHILDREN. Do you see where I am going with this? In what world does young children = white carpet? We all have our faults, so I'll excuse the lack of foresight with the carpet plans.
I am notorious for spilling makeup, so you can only imagine the messes I've made.  Luckily I have found a method of removing stains so I don't have a constant reminder of the time I dropped my cream blush on the floor. 
clean carpet before after its as easy as
Make sure you put your turn your iron up to the highest cotton/linen setting, then keep repeating steps 2 and 3 until the stain is gone. If your iron makes a sizzling sound, no worries. It's to be expected, and is totally normal.