That's right...we made some scrumptious pie filled pop tarts.  The recipe is a bit long and it is a bit time consuming, but they are worth it!  Here is a link to one of our favorite pie crust recipes from Martha Stewart which you can use to make the outer flaky pop tart crust .  Follow the recipe at the end of the post and you'll be sure to please your holiday guests!
Caitlin's version with apples, pears and walnuts mixed with sugar, cinnamon and cloves.
I don't know about you, but in my house growing up we were denied yummy, sugary treats like poptarts and other high fructose corn syrup laden cereals and treats. Little did my parents know, I pigged out and hoarded them whenever I slept over my friends' houses - hahaha. But now that I'm all grown up with my own family, I see why they didn't buy them - there's enough sugar and preservatives to last a lifetime. I, too, keep them out of our house and I know someday my son will pig out and hoard them at sleepovers, just as I did. Hopefully while he's gorging on sugary treats he'll remember these homemade pop tarts and think that mine were way better...

Here are some prep pictures I took which should help with assembly. Funny story about the pictures: I was getting ready to clean off my kitchen counter before I took these, then I thought 'who am I fooling?' I work full time, I have an 8 year old son playing sports, a French exchange student living with us, and I try to maintain some sort of social life - yes, my kitchen is often a mess! On this particular day there are curtains I was planning to get hemmed, my son's sweatshirt and jacket thrown on the chair, flour strewn about the counter, leftover tortilla chips and Tabasco sauce from nachos the night before and piles of books/papers from work {which I might've strategically left out}. Enjoy.
After making the dough, flatten out two discs about this size
While the dough is refrigerating, make the filling. I cut up small apples and pears then mixed them with crushed walnuts, cinnamon, sugar, flour and cloves
Flatten out the discs into equal sized rectangles, cut into six pieces and put the topping in the center. Make sure the two discs are cut into the same size rectangles (I put them on top of each other and cut them at the same time).
Place other half on top, pinch edges down and voila!
The holidays have arrived and we can indulge a bit, {with moderation of course}...and why not indulge with some homemade pop tarts?!  
Monica's pumpkin pie pop tarts!
Truth be told, I am not a fan of the rectangular frosted concoctions you find in a box {never have been}, but I am a fan of these homemade delights!  If you have time to do some baking over the holiday season but want to skip some of the traditional cookie and pie recipes, I highly recommend these flaky and delicious treats. You can also make them bite-size so that you don't over-indulge, yet satisfy a sweet craving you may have.  

I decided to do a traditional pumpkin pie filling because it is seasonal and I love pumpkin pie! I glazed my pop tarts with a spice glaze and it was the perfect amount of extra sweetness without being too sweet.  

Filling the pop tarts & topping them w/crust
There is time involved in constructing these rectangles of pie, but it is all worth it in the end...trust me!

They are also easy to transport and might be a good option for a cookie exchange party you may be hosting or attending.  

Okay, since Christmas is here and for those of you celebrating, we've come up with a few holiday inspired suggestions you might enjoy listening to while you bake:
1)  Must Be Santa - Bob Dylan
2)  2000 Miles - The Pretenders
3)  Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight) - Ramones
4)  O' Holy Night - Mahlia Jackson
5)  White Christmas - Otis Redding
6)  The Christmas Waltz - She & Him
7)  Christmastime is Here - Vince Guaraldi Trio (aka: A Charlie Brown Christmas)



I am in ♥ with baked beets...seriously. They are easy to make and oh so healthy!  You can top them like a baked potato, and they are way more flavorful {not to mention, more nutritious} than a potato!  
Like I said this is super simple to make. I always recommend buying organic and these beets are no exception. They are reasonably priced and buying organic, whenever possible, is always better. I topped one half of my beet with sour cream, fresh dill, and a sprinkle of sea salt. The other half was plain; and quite honestly, I preferred it plain.  The flavor of the natural beet is absolutely perfect!
I know it looks like loads of salt, but it really isn't, most of it ended up on my baking pan.  All I did was rub the outside of the beets with extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt...that's it! { They take about 45 minutes to bake in the oven.} You can also slice them and make a beet salad, which is an equally flavorful option. 
I made a ginger lemonade to enjoy with my baked beets.  
I baked these beets on a beautiful autumn afternoon, so I was inspired to choose some beautiful music:
1)  Satisfy My Soul - Bob Marley
2)  Eres Para Mi - Julieta Venegas
3)  Home - Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
4)  Only Love Can Break Your Heart - Neil Young
5)  Sol Tapado - Thievery Corporation

Just another perfect day in LA!



Wow!  Monica came across this short article featuring one of our favorite chefs: Rick Bayless.  This hot chocolate recipe {click here} looks and sounds amazing. We were so eager to share it with you, that we had to post this link even without our own pictures/versions of the recipe! Regardless, we're sure you'll salivate just looking at the picture. If you do try this recipe, use Ibarra Mexican hot chocolate (as recommended) because it is the best Mexican chocolate available here in the states.

So, crank up your favorite tunes, make some hot chocolate, and enjoy the cool days and nights. Delicioso!!!

Hot chocolate
 { photo courtesy of: Tribune Co. photo }



It's that time of the year and pumpkins are everywhere {we're not complaining}.  Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be rearing it's head around the corner of your kitchen.  To kick off the festivities, we're sharing two of our favorite pumpkin soup recipes: they're both delicious and nutritious. So curl up with a bowl and enjoy the crisp, cool autumn nights.

Who doesn't love soup in the fall?! This recipe actually came about rather haphazardly. I had just finished the fig spread and was snacking on the results {crusty bread, port salut cheese and the fruits 'figs' of my labor}. For once, I actually had a few hours to myself and was all caught up on my trashy reality TV shows {don't judge} and was at a good stopping point in my book so I didn't really have much to do until my son came home. Monica and I had already discussed making pumpkin soup because we both had small sugar pumpkins from the pumpkin patch. So I thought I'd whip up some pumpkin soup and have dinner ready early. I was debating which route to go with the soup - sweet(ish) or savory. The kitchen wasn't quite clean from the fig spread, so there was cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves on the counter - problem solved. I sauteed the veggies in a little butter, added the stock and adjusted the seasoning perfectly. The result was a sweeter but still hearty and completely satisfying soup that would be a perfect precursor to any Thanksgiving feast. To top it all off, I toasted slivered almonds in a little cinnamon and sprinkled them over top to add just the right amount of crunch.
Viogner was a perfect match!

 I Fall to Pieces - Patsy Cline
The First Cut is the Deepest - Cat Stevens
 Somebody That I Used to Know - Elliot Smith
 La Cienaga Just Smiled - Ryan Adams
 Lingering Still - She & Him

This recipe is rather simple.  You can make your own puree; or if you're running short on time, go ahead and used your favorite canned pumpkin.
Now to go along with my pumpkin soup, I made some scrumptious cheesy crostini.  
Bread and cheese = yum.  
Bread, cheese, and soup = heaven! 

Sparkling Apple Cider!
Autumn is the theme...enjoy these wonderful songs!
1)  Harvest Moon - St. Vincent & Justin Vernon
2)  Autumn Leaves - Nat King Cole
3)  Ramble On - Led Zeppelin
4)  Sittin' On The Dock Of the Bay - Otis Redding 
5)  Autumn Almanac - The Kinks 

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Dia de los Muertos celebrations have grown in popularity year after year.

 There are a ton of Dia de los Muertos festivals in the Los Angeles area; one of the largest is held annually at Olvera Street and it is a wonderful cultural and spiritual experience.

In honor of Dia del los Muertos and all that leftover Halloween candy we're sure many of you have sitting in your candy dish, here are a few versions of chocolate candy bark. If you've eaten one too many pieces of candy corn and are looking for something new to indulge in, then this is definitely a sweet solution for you.
So why chocolate bark and not pan de muerto? In all honesty, I still need to work on my bread making skills, however, I still wanted to mark this holiday since it is a significant celebration in the Mexican culture.  Although this is not a traditional Mexican recipe, there are things you can add to the chocolate in order to spice it up and give it a Mexican vibe, like pinch or two of cayenne pepper and some cinnamon.

Once your chocolate base is melted and flavored if you choose, top it off with some of your favorite leftover candy.
I used Reese's Pieces, Kit Kats and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  I also added in some pretzels { I love the salty/sweet combo } and some dried cranberries for a bit of tangy fruity goodness.
Get creative!  {FYI: For those of you in the LA/OC area...there is fantastic Dia De Los Muertos festival  in Santa Ana this Saturday, November 5th! }
I listened to some of favorite tunes with a Latin vibe in honor of the holiday:
1)  El baile y el salon - Cafe Tacuba
2) No Se Tu - Luis Miguel
3)  Deja - Sidestepper
4)  La Cumbia de Mole - Lila Downs
5)  Mentira Salome - Linda Ronstadt 

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We hope everyone is enjoying their Halloween weekend!  In honor of the festivities we are reposting one of our favorite posts from last year: "Trick or Treat", from the 2 Savory Palates archive.  How about some: 





Just  click on the link: "Trick or Treat" for some ghoulishly delicious ideas! Happy Halloween!!!



I love palmiers, however, I'm more familiar calling them orejas.  Growing up I would go to the panaderia {Mexican bakery} where I would always order orejas; basically a Mexican version of a palmier.

So, when Caitlin and I were discussing what our next recipe would be, we decided on a fig spread. I  love figs {it must be my Greek heritage}, and I thought the spread would be a perfect filling for a palmier.

The most complicated thing about making a palmier is perfecting the puff pastry;  the puff pastry is like pie crust, in other words, it has to be good. I decided to use a good, all-natural frozen puff pastry from Trader Joe's {five ingredients: flour, sugar, salt, butter, water}. I recommend this puff pastry if you can find it; and if you're short on time or a less than confident baker.  It is buttery, but not overly so, and extremely flaky.  
One thing I think you'll be surprised at, is how quick and easy palmiers are to make {especially if you are using frozen pastry}.  You can fill them or not. You can make them savory if you choose and omit the sugar; and instead mix in some feta and crushed walnuts with the fig spread.
Ok, now back to the recipe, first things, first...you have to make the fig spread.  It is super simple: figs, honey, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and vanilla.  
Next, you roll out the puff pastry onto a clean work surface that's been sprinkled with sugar; spread your fig mixture, sprinkle extra sugar and cinnamon, roll up on each side until it meets in the middle.  You have to chill the rolled up dough for about an hour or until firm.  Then, slice it and get ready to bake.
 Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 - 20 minutes.  Remember to rotate the pan halfway through baking in order for them to puff up perfectly golden brown.  
Once they're done, you'll be sure to impress; I was impressed with myself actually.  If you're a baking purist, and want to make the puff pastry, Martha Stewart {of course} has a good recipe you can use.  Just click here for the link.   Somedays, you just have to indulge and have a cookie!

I like tea, and I think the tea of your choice would be great with these light and flaky cookies. I  decided on a vanilla chai latte. Heavenly! 

Here are few of the songs that were shuffling on my iPod as I baked (an eclectic, but  good mix to bake to):
1)  Elbow:  One Day Like This
2)  The Pretenders:  Back On The Chain Gang
3)  Otis Redding: I've Been Loving You Too Long
4)  Black Sabbath:  Changes
5)  Julieta Venegas:  El Presente
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