Tip Of The Week: #74 Comes From Martha & Rachael

Okay, we have all had it happened–suddenly we get an inspiration to bake, rare though it is, and unless you have a professional pantry like Martha Stewart or specifically planned to bake a particular item and you  bought everything ahead of time at the grocery store–like we’re all so-o-o organized, right?  You may be out of a particular item–say powdered sugar or super fine sugar.  But don’t  dismay if you have regular granulated sugar.

Both Martha and about food suggest using granulated sugar and processing it with a metal blade for 5 minutes–use more than recipe calls for because some will turn into powder–and process for 5 minutes.

Without and need powder sugar?  Rachael says do same thing, but longer.  Choosing Voluntary Simplicity suggests using a blender for better results since it breaks down the sugar crystals easier and in less time.

Did you know commercial powdered sugar contained cornstarch???

First Oprah, Now Martha?

After the goodbyes were said to Oprah yesterday, today Martha Stewart Living is looking for a partner or a buyer.

After a 5 year ban by the SEC for insider trading, Ms. Stewart was scheduled to increase her role on the board at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia when this news broke. This testing of the waters by Martha  may be a result of a desire to reduce her workload since she turns 70 years old  this year, or it may reflect the continued downturn in the value of her company’s stock.

Either way big changes are coming to these aging television divas.

Crafty Martha On HSN

The omnipotent Martha Stewart joins HSN today packaging her favorite scrapbooking products.  Martha Stewart is an enterprising wizard and an endless loop for the informercial.  Investigating the lucrid scrapbooking market of nearly $3 billion, Martha launched her Martha Stewart Crafts™ late in 2006 to carve out her share of this pie. 

This fortuitous exposure by HSN will not only boost sales of Martha’s products by devotees of HSN, but her appearance on the home shopping network will provide a teaser for viewers to surf the web for other products by this crafty diva.

Bargain Banter: TV Divas Martha And Oprah's Changing Roles–Is It Marked By The Downturn In The Economy?

Oprah and MarthaThose of us who write on the web check our stats to see how we are doing.  Periodically, we also check on how others are doing.  Markdown Mom has noticed lately that the stats for Martha Stewart.com have been hidden at the” request of the owner”.  With the exception of the huge audience for the interview of Sarah Palin, Oprah.com has shown declines since June of this year.

A lot of us who are simply writers and not television personalities have not gone to the trouble to quantify stats on our sites perhaps because we simply want to put a positive face on and bolster ourselves to continue to slug away at our passion.  But for large companies such as Martha and Oprah’s that, despite the downturn in the economy, still have a decent draw of viewers and are ranked in the upper 1% of web domains, stats have a greater effect.  This is especially true given that besides being on the web, these are television personalities and in the world of TV, perception is everything.

Perhaps the stats serve as a prospectus of how their individual companies are doing, and in a rough economy any losses may be indicative of  a company’s  health.  Both have shown declines, but  have not reacted to declines the same way.  Like a race car driver who speeds up while maneuvering a hairpin curve, Martha is expanding her company’s interests in the midst of a loss of 35 million this year.  Oprah is leaving network TV, for her syndicated cable network.  It’s hard to say in what direction, despite slams,  Rachael Ray will go since she has a foot in both worlds.

This economy has shown that celebrity and wealth does not insulate, it just takes longer for the other shoe to fall when you have financial reserves.  Most of us smaller entities have been hit hard by this economic crisis beginning in 2007, and still are not on firm ground.  Many of us were not too big to fail; however, something is afoot here when even institutions like Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey find it necessary to change, either in pulling back or risk taking.

Markdown Mom's FIND: Just Like Martha

Martha Stewart has become the spokesperson for the best in culinary arts.  But having the best can be very expensive. Markdownmom.com is dedicated to finding the best for less, or Elegant Living On A Budget.

One of the best juicers evaluated by consumers is the Breville Juice Fountain. The first generation was pricey at $199, and the newest models in this line can run from $99-$399.95. Yikes! Although we can agree that this product is probably well worth it, few of us can afford that steep price.

Markdown Mom was shopping at her favorite thriftbreville juicer store and found a first generation Breville Juice Fountain. No, it wasn’t in a box, but scotch taped altogether, and appeared that all the pieces were there and intact. Even if it was missing a piece, you can always email or write the manufacturer and pay for a replacement part providing that the item is not ancient.  Like every used electronic, Markdown Mom tested it instore by plugging in the base; however, it did not turn on. Reasoning that it probably had a safety feature like other processors that require complete assembly to make it operational, and there wasn’t an “as is” disclaimer on the item, a chance was taken because of its’ $19.99 price, yes, under $20, and purchased. After getting it home and assembling it, Markdown Mom tested it and violà! It works perfectly.

Here is where some knowledge of electronics, and the willingness to take a chance on an item that was used, but in good condition, paid off. There was a back-up on this in that the thrift store would honor return of the item in 7 days with the sales slip.

See, You Can Get The Best Like Martha–You Only Have To Be Willing To Take A Chance!

It’s A Better Buy!