Hey everyone, if you received an email from my old email account (eabartlett), DO NOT open it–my account was hacked this afternoon. I don’t really think you should check out the Latino Cafe website. ;-)



Pardon that atrocious pun…

I love fall.

No really, I love it.

When the calendar flips from August to September, I can’t contain my excitement. I watch the 10-day forecast for the earliest indication that the temperature is starting to drop-off. I prematurely wear a sweater every year, and swelter in wool for at least a couple of days because it’s only September (still pretty warm here in Maryland). I buy my Halloween candy the first week of October, eat it all, then buy it again. I huff Pumpkin Spice candles when Tim’s not looking. I use a spoon and lighter to heat up my apple cider, then I inject it directly into my veins. Wow, that got graphic quickly. Sorry, kids.

Back on topic: Fall. I just love it.

One of the reasons I love fall is because it’s time to snuggle on the couch with a blankie, cup of tea, and ginger bread cookies. Get really comfortable, then get good and creeped out by a favorite movie.

Hm, seems that some of my favorites arent creepy.

I love them anyway.

In no particular order, here are some of my fall favorites:

Interview with a Vampire 1994

Before Bella and Edward and Sookie and Bill screwed up everything we thought we knew about vampires and their feelings, this Anne Rice vampire novel was made into a movie. It starred Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Christian Slater and a very young Kirsten Dunst, and this was about vampires, not vampires in love with humans, or vampires who sparkle in the sunlight. This is about as much gore as I can handle in a movie, and it walks the line somewhere between horror and thriller, but for some reason, I actually like this movie. Also, not that I noticed being a happily married woman and all, but apparently some people find Brad Pitt attractive? Wha-a-a? Go figure.

The Nightmare Before Christmas 1993

Tim Burton’s classic creepy cartoon, loaded with Danny Elfman tunes and fabulous characters. I was Sally last year for Halloween: [insert picture]  and I won honorable mention in the costume competition. Tim loves this one too, and we watch it at least once before Halloween, preferably while carving pumpkins and drinking a Punkin Ale. The great thing about this movie to me is that it brings together two of my favorite things: Halloween and Christmas. Betcha didn’t think those two things could be combined, huh? WRONG. Boys and girls of ev-er-y age, wouldn’t you like to see something strange?

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I don’t know why I have this as a “fall” favorite because I watch Harry Potter movies year ’round, probably a couple of times a month even. But to actually sit down and watch one start to finish, that requires a certain atmosphere and a Sunday afternoon in October fits the bill. Prisoner of Azkaban is arguably my favorite of the Harry Potter movies (with Goblet of Fire as a close second). And no, this isn’t a scary movie but Harry Potter has just enough of that dark, evil element to send a chill down your spine once in a while.

Sleepy Hollow 1999

Now Sleepy Hollow, another Tim Burton production, scares me out of my skin. Christopher Walkin as the Headless Horseman? Yeah, that’s the stuff of nightmares right there. Johnny Depp, as usual, adds his own flair to Ichibod Crane, making him a wuss which I think is hilarious. You can feel the damp chill in the air while watching Sleepy Hollow. Ooooo, deliciously creepy. Also, I think it’s aging pretty well special effects-wise too, which can be rare. I mean, have you seen Ghostbusters recently?

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! 1966

What can I say? I’m a sucker for a Peanuts special, and this is no exception. Poor Linus, waiting for the last 44 years for the Great Pumpkin. Maybe this will be the year?

Note: Once again, these aren’t my pictures. I got them randomly off Google, but consider this a raging endorsement of the above movies. Buy them, watch them, wear them out, then buy them again. Or just throw money at whoever owns the rights to these films.

This is what my cake looked like, minus the strawberry and cream...

I’m not a great baker, but a co-worker brought in a cake recently that was so delicious, I knew I had to make it and proselytize its virtues to everyone I knew and loved. I searched far and wide on the interweb (okay, I just used AllRecipes.com) for the recipe. The journey to make this cake was fraught with peril and it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of some good friends.

This journey started last Friday.

Obstacle 1: Requires a Bundt pan. I do not own a bundt pan. I didn’t care to invest in a Bundt pan ($11? What am I, a millionaire?). I called around and no one owned a Bundt pan. I guess because Bundt pans sort of went the way of pointy bras, sock hops and segregated water fountains? Not sure. Anywho, I bit my nails and worried that I was defeated and that this cake was not meant to be. Then a friend surprised me with a pan she found at an estate sale… for a quarter! This cake was going to taste all better because of that price tag.

Obstacle 2: I started gathering my ingredients to make the cake and realized we were out of baking soda. Also flour. I believe both of those ingredients are probably intrinsic to the recipe. I sent my sweet husband to the local market at 9:30 on a Sunday morning to buy baking soda and flour. He did, so I had my ingredients and got ready to mix up the batter.

Obstacle 3: Oops, also needed buttermilk. Seriously? Google search for “buttermilk substitute”: add 1 teaspoon white vinegar to 1 cup regular milk. Let stand for 5 minutes. Handy trick!

Obstacle 4: “Tim, should these giant, blue, gas-fueled flames be leaping out of the oven when I turn it on?” One hour later, my in-house master gas fitter concluded that the oven was indeed malfunctioning and not safe to use, even for an emergency like butter cake baking. I hung my head. This felt like the end of the road for my cake making fantasy.

I shelved the idea for a few days, then, determined to make this dream a reality, I imposed on a friend’s kitchen, oven and utensils and headed over last night with batter, butter and Bundt in tow. An hour in the oven, and 1/2 an hour on the cooling rack, I was finally eating that damn Kentucky Butter Cake.

It was worth it.


  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or substitute: see obstacle 3)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract1 cup butter (2 sticks, softened at room temperature)
  • 4 eggs


  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons liqueur (I used triple sec, but Amaretto would be delicious, or a spiced rum)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or other)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, 2 cups sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Blend in buttermilk, 1 cup of butter, 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 4 eggs. Beat for 3 minutes at medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Prick holes in the still warm cake. Slowly pour sauce over cake. Let cake cool before removing from pan.
  4. Sauce: In a saucepan, combine the remaining 3/4 cups sugar, 1/3 cup butter, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and the liqueur. Cook over medium heat, until fully melted and combined, but do not boil.

Make this cake, and share it with everyone you know and love. Do it today, or as soon as you can locate a Bundt pan.

This is one handsome president at 6:30 in the morning

Yesterday morning, I got up at 6:20 and let the dog out of his crate. He stretched, yawned and did his morning back-scratch/roll on the living room rug and went to find Tim like he always does. Becks usually trots down the hall, with his butt sort of leaning to one side since he’s still half asleep. Then he goes over to Tim’s side of the bed, sniffs and thumps his wagging tail on the nightstand until he gets some attention. It’s adorable. My puppy is adorable, but especially in the mornings when he’s sleepy. Or at night when he’s sleepy. The in-between times are really more hit-or-miss. I’m so easily sidetracked by a cute puppy story. Sorry!

(Stick with me, this story gets better.)

Anywho, I made coffee, got dressed, and took Becks for his morning walkies. We set off to the left of the driveway which is our route 50% of the time. It was trash day. Our neighbor still had a ton of star glitter sprinkled over their driveway for some reason.

A morning all as per usual.

And then!

And then and then and then, oh AND THEN, I glanced down.

And there it was!

A fifty dollar bill! Crumpled up in the debris on the side of the road, colorful side up, Grant’s romanticized face (not reflective of his life-long struggle with alcoholism) staring right up at me.

“Shut the front door and throw momma from the train! You’ve gotta be kidding me!” I thought to myself (or something to that effect).

Furtively, I bent over and snatched it up, barely looking at in before wadding it up in my hand and crossing the street. I looked around, but none of my neighbors were out. No one loading cars for work or school or what have you. It was just me, no one had “just” misplaced this, and it was my lucky morning!

Immediately, I felt a mix of elation and guilt. Yes, this was found money, but it was really a lot of money to find and someone was going to miss it!

So I did what I always do: I imagined what must have happened.

Worst Case: It was a single mom who dropped her messy purse on the ground while trying to get the screaming baby into the car seat. It was the last bit of money she had to buy formula and pay for the baby’s asthma medication. She’s also possibly a Katrina survivor. And an Iraq war widow. Conclusion: I am the worst person in the world.

Best Case (and the more likely in our neighborhood): A drug deal goes down at the corner where there’s no streetlight. In the exchange of baggies and bills, the dealer stuffs his wad of cash into his back pocket while he accidentally loses the 50. Conclusion: I have no guilt and will use this $50 way better than that crackhead would.

Obviously, I’ve decided to believe the latter. I used the $50 to buy groceries and make a small donation to the foundation that my dad is fundraising for with a 5K race this weekend.

Also, to the unknown person who actually lost the money, I really am very sorry for the crappy start to your day.

Oh, my, hm, how'd this picture get here?

Oops, happened again, wonder how these keep sneaking in... Oh well. Enjoy this obligatory cute puppy picture.


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