cupcakes and friends

tonight is my annual ornament exchange party with 4 of my favorite people. we each make homemade ornaments and then walk away with 4 new ones. it is a great tradition and a lot of fun to see what everyone has made. however, it is best kept small so you don't get overwhelmed with ornaments as the years pass.

i made caramel banana cupcakes for dessert, but they looked so good, i had to try one early. i found the recipe in an old rachel ray magazine. often, i am leery of magazine recipes, at least half of what i try to make turns out awful - still not sure if that is due to my lack of cooking skills, or that no one at the mag actually ever tested the recipe. this one was a pleasant surprise, they are delicious. be warned that they do take a long time too make - more than the allotted 40 minutes and you might not want to eat many when you know how much fatty ingredients are involved!