Friday, December 31, 2010

Brownie Cupcakes

One of the many Christmas presents I received from Sean was "Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone". And since we are on our New Years 96, I decided that I should try out one of the recipes...and why not start with DESSERT!!!!

I decided that I would start simple and the Brownie Cupcakes seemed like they were in my league. Here's the recipe:

6 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate (60% to 70% cacao), chopped (I used Ghiradelli)
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp light corn syrup
Pinch of salt
3/4 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
(I omitted the walnuts, but if you like them, use 2/3 c. coarsely chopped)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Recipe makes 8 cupcakes. Stir the chocolate and butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat until they melt and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the syrup and salt. Remove from the heat and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and eggs in a large bowl for 2 minutes or until the mixture is thick and light. Stir in the chocolate mixture. Add the flour and baking powder, and stir just until blended; then stir in the walnuts. Divide the batter equally among cupcake liners, filling them completely. Bake for about 25 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the tin and let them cool completely on a wire rack.

4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 c. light corn syrup
4 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate (same as above)
8 small fresh strawberries

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until it is light and smooth. Beat in the syrup. Melt the chocolate slowly and then add to the cream cheese mixture and beat until blended and fluffy, stopping the machine and scraping the bottom of the bowl to ensure that the mixture is well blended. Spread the frosting generously over the cooled cupcakes. Garnish each one with a fresh strawberry, and serve.

Granted, my guinea pig for taste testing was Sean (who is a bit biased), but I'd give these 4.5 stars! The brownie stuck to the paper a bit, but I might have undercooked them, because I like them to be a bit more "fudgie" than cake-like.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Another Trip to Dog Beach

The rain finally left San Diego (at least for now) and we had a chance to take Nessie down to Dog Beach, her favorite place in the world! She met her buddy Teton, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, down there with his owner, Leonie. She had a wonderful time despite the somewhat chilly weather!
While at dog beach, Nessie always finds other dogs to play with, but her primary focus is the tennis ball! Here are some of the other dogs that were out there today (including Teton).

Of course, before leaving dog beach, Nessie has to dry herself off with a vigorous shake!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Toes, Toes, Toes

I've been running in my Vibram Five Fingers for a few months now, and I LOVE them! They are super comfortable for just walking around in and once I broke my feet in slowly, running in them is just as great. The only issue I had with them so far was getting "hot spots" on the balls of my feet when running downhills.

Well, yesterday I found some of those Injinji socks at Adventure 16 in Oceanside! I tried them out this afternoon on some hill sprints and they are fabulous!!!

Thank you to my favorite twin sister in the world for getting these shoes for me!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My New Test Subject

With my brand new Canon Rebel that my WONDERFUL husband got me for Christmas, I've been stalking Nessie! Lucky for me, she is a very cooperative subject.

Enjoying her bone!
Sleeping...she's pretty good at that!
The artistic puppy!
Thoughtful Nessie...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Lake Tahoe

This year, for Christmas, Sean and I joined the Jesse/Campbell family for some snowboarding/skiing in Lake Tahoe! Unfortunately we had to leave Nessie behind, but she was cared for a wonderful pet sitter, Samantha Mears. We left around 9pm on Wednesday and Leonie and Knight drove all night long so that we could hit the mountain first thing Thursday morning.
Sean, Knight, and Leonie did awesome on the snowboards...I was pretty much a disaster. Luckily, no one captured any of my face plants on camera! We had a great time. Thank you to Leonie and Knight for welcoming us on your vacation!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Isn't Life Tough

Life is pretty tough when you're a three-year old Golden Retriever. You're constantly having to find places to take naps and ways to pull the blankets up over yourself (which is hard when you don't have thumbs!).

It's also incredibly difficult to find places where you can get adequate shut eye without being disturbed.
Plus, people are always taking pictures of you while you're trying to sleep - don't they understand that the flash wakes me up???
It really is tough being SOOOOO cute!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Going to see my Girls!

This week, happily coinciding with a Marine Corps funded trip out East, I get to go down to North Carolina and see my three best friends!!! I've known Lynsey and Colleen since high school and of course there's that doppleganger of mine...Jen! There are many plusses to being out here on the West coast - great weather, lots of fun stuff to do, new adventures. But the biggest downside is that I'm so far away from my girls! And, not only do I get to see the girls, I also get to meet the newest addition to our group - Baby Mason!