Friday, October 30, 2009


I'll probably spend the weekend avoiding all the scary movies on tv, while snacking on miniature Reese's peanut butter cups and watching the "Pumpkin Dance" on repeat. What are your Halloween plans?

[Vampire vs. Mummy Checkers: PsAndQs; Max Hat: Instructables; Pumpkins: Country Living; Candy Corn: Flickr; Beehive: Martha Stewart]

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Well and Good

I came across an article today that featured natural remedies for your body's little aches and annoyances. My favorites: dark chocolate to curb a cough, olive oil for chapped lips, and a teaspoon of sugar for the hiccups. I wonder what chocolate chip cookies cure.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Inevitable Birthday Cupcakes

First of all, thank you for the sweet birthday wishes. You are all lovely, and you make me so very happy! It was a great weekend, full of good eats, which of course, meant cupcakes. These beautiful babies were moist, fudgy, and the sheen on that ganache just begs you to take a bite.

Chocolate Chip and Mascarpone Cupcakes
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis and the Food Network

5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup water
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cupcakes:
Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Combine the unsweetened chocolate and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes. Whisk in the mascarpone cheese until the mixture is smooth. Beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl for 30 seconds. Stir in the mascarpone mixture. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture. Stir until just blended. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with no crumbs attached. Cool the cupcakes completely before dipping, about 1 hour.

For the Ganache:
Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl. Combine the heavy cream and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until small bubbles appear on the outside edge of the cream. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate chips. Using a fork, gently stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Dip the tops of each cupcake in the ganache and transfer to a baking sheet. Place the dipped cupcakes in the refrigerator to set, about 15 to 20 minutes. Allow cupcakes to return to room temperature before serving.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

They Say It's Your Birthday

It's my birthday! So far I've treated myself to a cheery little bouquet of dahlias and this gorgeous plum purse, which is on its way to me. And, I started the day with a yummy bowl of oatmeal and an early morning anthem courtesy of the Beatles -- it's a family tradition. Hope your day is as lovely as mine!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tea and Crumpets

When Seattle's signature gray gloom rolls around, my favorite spot to hide out in is The Crumpet Shop. I'd never had a crumpet before visiting, but they've since become one of my favorite comfort foods -- warm, moist, chewy, and craveable. Located next to Pike Place Market, The Crumpet Shop serves the English treats all day long. You can get a crumpet simply toasted and buttered or topped with preserves, honey, Nutella, basically anything you would want slathered on warm, spongy bread. Pair one with the shop's bottomless cups of tea, and you've got the perfect afternoon snack.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Throw It On

Since fall weather hit, I have been consistently chilly and am in a need of a throw for the couch that I can snuggle up in after a long day. I love the shades and texture of these ribbed throws from West Elm, but Crate and Barrel's bold blankets made from alpaca wool would be so cozy. Of course, either option is better than one of those creepy Snuggies.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

That's Tight

One of my favorite things about fall is getting to incorporate tights into my wardrobe. They just add a little personality and are so much better looking than my pale, Vitamin D-deprived legs. I love the bold colors available this year, like these shades from Hue. I just bought the yellow pair and am pondering which shade to try next.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday Giveaway!

Updated: Becky of Love Everyday Life is the winner!

Just in time for Halloween, I've got a pumpkin-inspired giveaway for you from JoliMarbleSwirls. This Etsy shop features colorful glass marble jewelry, including necklaces, rings and earrings -- perfect statement pieces.

Check out JoliMarbleSwirls, then leave a comment below before midnight on Sunday, October 18th. You could win this fabulous pumpkin glass ring! One lucky recipient will be chosen at random.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Seattle Shots

Sorry for the lack of posts last week. I think the new job, plus the new commute will take a little adjusting time, so please bear with me. I had a lovely fall weekend, which included my first photography class. Our first assignment was a lesson on depth of field at Seattle's Pike Place Market. So much color and atmosphere there. We also captured the simultaneously beautiful and disgusting Gum Wall. Just don't let anyone push you into it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Walking Blues

After one day of scurrying to the bus stop, I've decided I need a pair of practical but cute walking shoes -- as long as I don't look like Melanie Griffith in Working Girl. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Three Things I Learned from Unemployment

My first day of work at my new job is tomorrow, so I thought it was a good time to reflect on the ups and downs of unemployment. Here are my three pieces of advice:

1. Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
If your world revolves around your job, then you will spin out of control when it's taken away. Make sure other things are there to fill your time. Explore other interests, try new things, and take the time to figure out if what you've been doing is what you want to keep doing.

2. Don't turn on the TV, or you may never turn it off.
The Today Show leads to Ellen, then it's time to flip over to the Food Network, and by the time Oprah rolls around, you've spent the whole day distracted. Instead, take 20 or 30 minutes and go for a walk -- exercise and a break in one.

3. You will find a job.
Don't be disheartened. You will go back to work, so enjoy the free time you have doing things you enjoy, not sitting in front of the computer all day hitting refresh on job sites.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Peanut Butter Chocolate Time

I've been on a sweet kick lately that I need to get under control, but first, I have to finish off these peanut butter bars. This recipe from Paula Deen is simple and fast. I added chocolate chips to the mix and melted chocolate over the top because really, what good is peanut butter without chocolate?

Peanut Butter Bars
Recipe adapted from Paula Deen's The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Melt butter and peanut butter in bowl over hot water. Add remaining ingredients. Stir until blended. Allow batter to cool and add chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares. Drizzle melted chocolate over bars.


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