Eli's Cupcakes


We had some friends over for dinner. Here is what's left after Eli, our cat jumped up on the dinning room table and discovered them! I made a vanilla cupcake with manderine juice frosting! For cupcakes, they turned out a bit dry becuase I forgot to take them out of the oven....
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On Friday night we had a holiday get together for our new friends at the dog park. It was so much fun to be able to talk to these people without worrying about being on poop patrol! Here is what's left of this amazing tart. It was so easy to make! Check it out! I found the recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, but mine is a tiny bit different...

1/2 stick unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, plus more for greasing pan
Eight 4 1/2-inch-long plain or almond biscotti cookies, coarsely broken (about 5 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup c jam ( I used Tayberry jam from Swanton Farms)


12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, such as Ghiradelli
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup chopped shelled pistachio nuts
Salt flakes, such as Maldon


For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Combine the biscotti, butter and sugar in a food processor. Blend until the mixture forms moist crumbs that stick together when pressed. Firmly press the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until golden and feels firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Spread the cherry preserves over the cooled crust leaving a 1/2 to 1-inch border.

For the filling: Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the cream over the chocolate chips. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour the chocolate filling over the jam and sprinkle the 1/4 cup pistachios on top. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or preferably overnight.

Loosen the tart from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the edge. Unmold the tart and transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt flakes, if using. Cut into wedges and serve.


A few days before Halloween I came home and there was a cute bag of Halloween stuff in it. It had some yummy candy, coffee and treats for our dog! On the bag had a little poem:
The air is cool, the season fall,
Soon Halloween will come to all.

Ghosts and goblins, spooks galore...
Tricky witches at your door.

The spooks are after things to do,
In fact a spook brought this "Boo" to you!

The excitement comes when friends like you,
Copy this note and make it two.

We'll all have smiles upon our faces,
No one will know who "BOO"ed who's places!

Just two short days to work your spell,
Keep it secret, hide it well.

Please join the fun, the seasons here .
Just spread these "BOO's" and Halloween cheer.

Since I have never been booed I really wanted to participate and boo my neighbors. I went to Target and got some fun things, Halloween themed soap, snack sized crackers and a bowl with skulls all over it, and of course I had to make some sort of treat. I decided to make pumpkin muffins with chocolate. They were really yummy! Can't wait to boo next year!

The dog park

About a month ago we got a black lab. He is just about 4 months and his name is Sparkie. We started going to the dog park about a week ago, so he could socialize and run with other dogs. The thing that makes me laugh about the dog park is you meet the dogs first then after about two days of talking with the same people you finally introduce yourself...I met a women there who invited me to be part of a bunco group. I have never played but have been wanting to try. So, on Wednesday night we met a fellow dog owner's house to play bunco. It was so much fun and great to meet new people and finally know the dog owner's names! I didn't want to come empty handed so I made little nibbles, made with pasty dough, cheese, and pesto! So easy and yummy!


We moved to a very kid populated block. So I knew Halloween was going to be big this year. When I saw our neighbor down the street putting his decorations up at the end of September I knew Halloween was going to be HUGE! For about a month around 5:30 a large inflatable cat was blown up on the lawn of our neighbors and music would come on! I wanted to make some cute decorations for our house. So, I found this really cute banner at the Crafting Chicks blog. http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
I got a lot of compliments on it and thought it was super cute!! Easy and did not cost much, because it was with paper I had already. I can't wait to put it up for next year!

My favorite!

Do you have a item that you eat everyday? I do, peanut butter! Yes, I sound like a 6 year old but it's true! I usually will have a piece of toast with peanut butter for a snack when I get home from work before dinner. I go thru so much of it that I always have to have a second bottle of it in my cabinet. So I thought why am I not making this stuff? So, I went to the store and got about a pound of peanuts from the bulk section and made this treat for myself! First of all, it's so easy and it's basically one ingredient: peanuts!!! What is your favorite that you eat everyday?

Fabric to fix a rental

Our shortsale to of our condo finally was approved and we are renters again. Which is not a bad thing. Since April we have been renting this really cute 2 bedroom house in San Mateo. Funny how we have more room for less rent. The plan is to save our money and hopefully be able to buy a house in a few years. This house is really cute but we did not want to put a ton of money into the place if we are not going to live there for a while, for example buy blinds that cost losts of money and we won't beable to take them to the new place when we decide to move. So I decided to buy $30 worth of fabric to cover up the windows in our bedroom, hopefully I can cover up the windows in the office in a few weeks. I just did a simple curtain that took me about 15 minutes to sew for each window. Really quick and cheap! The way I like it, I think it looks pretty cute and when I want to get more light into the room I can clip the fabric together.

Summer is in the freezer!

Starberries are pretty much my favorite fruit. It makes me happy when its warm outside because that means its berry season! I walked to the Farmer's Market near my house and picked up 6 baskets of these wonderful berries. I placed them on a cookie sheet a put them in the freezer for a few hours until they were hard. Then pried them off and stored them in a freezer bag to make fruit drinks and add them to breakfast for the next few months. What could be better on a November morning with my oatmeal? YUM!
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Labor day weekend was a three day weekend for me so my friend Janine and u decided to do some jam making. For the last few years I have been wanting to jam but never had the time or space. It helped that someone wanted to do the same! So we made a plan Saturday we went to the local Farmers market and found some really good fruit. We found some delicious peaches that needed a few more days to ripe so on Monday we started the process. It turns out that my husband and I went to Sonoma for the night before with a few friends I ended up drinking a little too much wine and was not 100% the next day. Funny Janine was the same! We had 30 brand new mason jars that were ready for their sterilization bath and about 4 pounds if zucchini, 10 pounds of strawberries,blackberries, and raspberries. We made a sweet and sour pickled zucchini, mixed berry jam, and a peach rosemary pepper jam.
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Yummy small cakes!

I'm not sure what my favorite thing to bake is but cupcakes are pretty high on the list! A few months ago. This cupcakes came from Elinor Kilvans book. So simple to make!
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fried chicken!!

A few Sundays mornings ago I was being lazy watching tv and Sandra Lee of the Food Network was on doing her semi homemade thing! To be honest I'm not the biggest fan of hers but she made this delicious fried chicken. That got me thinking of it so that's what we had for dinner that night. I made it a bit different than she did. I let some chicken thighs soak in buttermilk, hot peppers, and garlic. Dredged the chicken pieces in a little flour and fried till golden yummyness!!
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My friend Rosemary had a birthday last week and I asked her what kind of cake she wanted. She responded no cake this year. That was not the answer I was looking for! So a few days later I asked again; she responded coconut cupcakes. So I found a recipe that used coconut milk in the batter. I had never baked with it. It turned out really delish!
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