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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