LA Eats: Best Coffee Bars in Los Angeles

With the days getting colder you’re probably in the mood to curl up with a good book, and a cup of the best coffee in town in hand. Whether you’re located in downtown Los Angeles, out west in Santa Monica, or in the suburbs of Studio City. We’ve got all the right places for you to sit down and enjoy your cup of joe to warm up on these chilly winter days!

The Daily Dose
Location: 1820 Industrial St., Los Angeles, CA 90021

This little coffee shop, hidden down a brick-lined alley of Industrial Street, serves a variety of coffee and tea beverages, as well as a seasonal food menu with whimsically-named dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. Don’t forget to try “The Farmer” one of L.A.’s best sandwiches, described “vegetarian behemoth that weighs a full pound and packs a rainbow’s worth of ingredients between slices of Kalamata olive bread from nearby Bread Lounge”.

Zinc Cafe & Market
Location: 580 Mateo St., Los Angeles, CA 90013

Here you’ll find favorites like avocado breakfast toast (smashed avocado, butter, radish salad, chives, lemon zest, various egg dishes, and omelets.  Locals will stop by throughout the day, whether it’s an alfresco lunch of wood-fired pizza beneath olive trees or an after-work cocktail at Bar Mateo.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Location: 806 South Santa Fe Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90021

Located just steps from Bestia and Bread Lounge, Stumptown features a retail bar, roastery, training lab, and warehouse. Espresso shots are pulled from in the front bar from a custom La Marzocco Strada MP. Stumptown has been ahead of the game with the latest coffee trend, nitro cold-brew coffee, which is served on tap or available in cans. What’s more? The free coffee tastings at noon on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Groundwork Coffee Arts District
Location: 811 Traction Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90013

Groundwork Coffee is the latest outpost of L.A.’s homegrown coffee and tea destination, originally founded at Venice Beach in 1990. In addition to its signature organic coffees, Groundwork offers an expanded food menu featuring house-made baked goods, salads, sandwiches and more.

La Colombe
Location: Multiple

The Silver Lake location has a bold, Instagram-friendly mural on the side of the building and many LA-only offerings. In addition to the regular coffeehouse offerings, mango rooibos chili iced tisane and hemp “mylk” for vegan drinks.

Bluestone Lane
Location: 12186 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604

Bluestone Lane originated in New York City, where it’s been on the scene since 2013, with other locations around Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. The cute little location just started brewing in Studio City with a flagship expected in West Hollywood soon. With their sights set on taking over Los Angeles, the brand hopes to have six locations soon!

Dinosaur Coffee
Location: 4334 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029

Laptop lingerers and chatty post-yoga meetups, if these sound enticing then head over to dinosaur coffee, of the best coffee spots in Silver Lake. The sleek space is heightened by a wood sculpture hanging from the ceiling that resembles a skeleton, and you may or may not see origami dinosaurs around the shop.

Bar Nine
Location: 3515 Helms Ave, Culver City, CA 90232

This space in the Hayden Tract area of Culver City is hidden, minimalist by design with low-slung counters and Modbar espresso systems. The daily coffee (out of three roasted every season) and the latte with house-made hazelnut milk is a must-try! Grab delicious cookies and/or pastries while you’re here!

Civil Coffee
Location: 5629 N. Figueroa St.  Los Angeles, CA 90042

At their stylish Highland Park coffee shop with high ceilings, beautiful Mexican tiled floors, and a walnut-topped bar they feature single-origin beans from Coava, Heart, and others. Try the “The Figueroa” made with espresso, condensed milk and cinnamon the menu also features everything from toasts with myriad toppings, salads, sandwiches, and sweets.

Blue Bottle
Location: Multiple

In 2014, the Oakland-based shop set its sights on Los Angeles and it’s now grown to 12 hyper-chic locations across town, including Venice, Beverly Grove, Culver City, Echo Park, Los Feliz and beyond. All serve blue bottle coffee and espresso drinks made with a rotating selection of blends and single-origin beans. Try the sweet, unique New Orleans-inspired cold brew with chicory, milk, and sugar!

Weekend Events: November 22- November 24

From museums to the grove, to quaint coffee shops and the hustle and bustle of the tourist-packed Hollywood and Vine, the heart of Los Angeles has endless options for you to fill up your weekend.

 

“Julie Mehretu” until May 17, 2020

Los Angeles County Museum of Art – 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles 90036

A co-presentation with New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, LACMA takes a first-ever mid-career look at the Ethiopian-American artist’s striking large-scale abstractions, with 35 paintings and 40 works on paper. Active since the mid-’90s, Mehretu uses ink and paint to create captivating and chaotic scenes that capture the – often unforgiving – march of geopolitics and displacement through abstraction, architecture, landscape, movement, and figuration.

 

 

Second Home Serpentine Pavilion by SelgasCano until November 24, 2019

La Brea Tar Pits Museum – 5801 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles 90036

Each summer, a different world-renowned architect constructs a short-lived immersive pavilion in London’s Kensington Gardens. Now, for the first time, one of those fleeting structures is headed stateside: SelgasCano’s crisscross of airy rainbow tunnels will welcome visitors who are looking for colorful photo ops and free performances, hosted by coworking space Second Home and the Natural History Museum. You can swing by daily from 11 am to 7 pm (and until 9 pm on Fridays), though timed express entry tickets will be released. While you want to visit when there’s ample sunlight to make the iridescent exterior and its colorful shadows more vibrant, do note that it can get pretty toasty inside under the midday sun.

 

 

Los Angeles Auto Show from November 22, 2019 – December 1, 2019

Los Angeles Convention Center – 1201 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles 90015

Drift into the Convention Center for the 10-day LA Auto Show with cars that would even make Bond drool. If you’re a car nerd, get behind the wheel to test drive one of the cherry rides, while celebrities meet and greet at the manufacturer exhibits. With the world and North American debuts from BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and more, rev up for the machines of the future.

 

The Great Los Angeles Walk, November 23, 2019

Various locations in LA

Every year on Saturday before Thanksgiving, the Great Los Angeles Walk debunks all of those clichés about walking in LA. Hundreds of walkers start the free urban hike on one side of the city and nine hours and 18 miles later end up at the other. You can hop on or off the walk whenever you’d like, and though no reservations are required, RSVP’s are appreciated. This year’s route starts in Arcadia and makes its way through Pasadena, down along Arroyo and into Downtown LA.

 

 

Artists & Fleas Venice, November 23 – December 21, 2019

Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles 90291

The newest flea market on the block, the Venice outpost of this artisan/craft-focused flea market mini-empire is bringing records, vintage and vintage-inspired clothing, cosmetics, jewelry and more to the Westminister Avenue Elementary School. A handful of small-batch confectioners provide sweet treats to snack on or take home, while food trucks and nearby restaurants provide heartier bites. Though relatively small in size, owing perhaps to its prime location bookending the neighborhood’s famed Abbot Kinney stretch, vendors hawk a diverse range of hand-made and expertly curated wares that seems to simultaneously fit in and stand out in one of the nation’s most unusual neighborhoods.

 

 

A History of Disneyland & Walt Disney World, November 19 – December 6, 2019

Van Eaton Galleries – 13613 Ventura Blvd, Los Angeles 91423

Somehow each Disneyland-inspired auction at Sherman Oaks’ Van Eaton Galleries is seemingly bigger than the last. While that may not be true in terms of floor space this time around – the massive, museum-like That’s From Disneyland! filled a big box in the store in the Valley last year – it certainly is in terms of inventory.

 

Dogs! A Science Tail until January 5, 2020

Exposition Park – 700 Exposition Park Dr, Los Angeles 90037

Learn about the unique bond between dogs and humans at this exhibition, which explores how pups see, hear and smell the world. “Dogs! A Science Tail” takes a colorful, hands-on approach to its subject and mainly targets kids. Be sure to catch daily live demonstrations of dogs’ rescue, agility, sensory and service skills. The exhibition also includes a selection of dog-featuring works of art, mostly Norman Rockwell paintings and Charles Schulz Peanuts strips, on loan from the upcoming Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

 

 

Neil Simon’s ‘Musical Fools’ until December 1, 2019

Atwater Village Theatre – 3269 Casitas Ave, Los Angeles 90039

In the 1890s, a young tutor arrives in a cursed village where everyone is “as dumb as a bag of rocks.” This world-premiere musical adapts the Neil Simon play Fools, with book and lyrics by Simon, music and lyrics by Phil Swann and Ron West.

 

Weekend Events: November 15 – November 17

From tubing on snow in Elysian Park to Ice Skating in Perishing Square to a Wine Walk in Burbank, we have got you covered as far as cold-weather welcoming events go in the city! Take a peek at these events, grab a friend, get outside, and celebrate the coming holiday season!

Friday November 15th, 2019
Snow Day LA Tubing in Los Angeles

 Snow in L.A.? Yes, thanks to Snow Day L.A., a tubing park located in Elysian Park. The wintry pop-up packs acres of festive features, with synthetic snow and snow tubing, and trees decorated with icicles, snowcaps and lights. Just remember: This is still Los Angeles, so expect something that sort of resembles a snowy winter and not quite a full-blown Alpine experience. (Sourced from Timeout.com, Photograph Courtesy: Snow Day LA)

Time: 6PM – 10PM

Location: Elysian Park, 835 Academy Road, Los Angeles, CA

Tickets: HERE

29 Rooms – Expand Your Reality Tour

The Expand Your Reality Tour is the latest 29Rooms experience from Refinery29 – a space where you’re encouraged to step into the art, wear the art, touch the art, and connect with others (and yourself) in the process. Created in collaboration with innovative talent, visionary artists, and your favorite brands, 29Rooms pairs the joy and play of exploration with the pulse of current events and culture.

Time: 1030AM, 130PM, 530PM, 830PM

Location: 4315 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90004

Tickets: HERE

2019 Bai Holiday Ice Rink in Perishing Square

The Bai Holiday Ice Rink Pershing Square offers the quintessential winter activity in the heart of beautiful downtown Los Angeles. Surrounded by art, lively activity, and the impressive city skyline, our outdoor ice rink lets you enjoy entertainment and ice skating under the sun and stars.

Time: 1130AM to 930PM

Location: Perishing Square – 532 S Olive Street

Tickets: HERE

Saturday November 16th 2019
Burbank Winter Wine Walk

The Social Event Of The Year is coming back to Downtown Burbank. At 4pm The Wine Walk will get started! You MUST be 21+ to join the wine walk. Your ticket will get you samples from Wineries and Breweries in your favorite Downtown businesses. Each guest will receive a tasting cup and a map of the participating tasting sites in Downtown Burbank. Each tasting site will have a designated area set up for Wine Walk guests to sample the amazing wines or beers! Wine tasting will end at 7:00 pm. As you stroll through Downtown, you will be surrounded by a winter holiday ambiance of live entertainment, beautiful holiday lighting and snowfall from 6:45 pm-8 pm at the Main Stage!

Time: 4PM – 7PM

Location: Downtown Burbank (check-in address given when purchasing ticket)

Tickets: HERE

Explore the Culinary Jewels of Downtown Los Angeles on a Walking Tour

Savor the sights, sounds and flavors of Los Angeles on this fun food tour. Your knowledgeable tour guide will lead you on a leisurely three-hour walking adventure through this extraordinary downtown area, sharing stories of the city’s early settlers, Hollywood’s heyday, architectural background and the transformation of L.A.’s culture and food scene. Along the way you’ll get to enjoy tastes from unique eateries, including the best bakeries, authentic ethnic restaurants and renowned establishments currently creating a buzz in the foodie universe — six stops in all. By the end of the tour, you’ll be able to impress your friends with your vast knowledge of the city and its hidden culinary gems.

Time: 11AM

Location: Sidewalk Food Tours of Los Angeles – 5454 South Olive Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Tickets: HERE

Los Angeles Opera – The Magic Flute Opening Night

One of Mozart’s most enchanting operas, this supernatural tale, accompanied by his fine score has enjoyed much success since its premiere in Vienna in 1791. A popular draw since the 2013/14 season, this production, directed by Barrie Kosky in collaboration with British theatre company ‘1927’, is back for 2019 to inspire and delight audiences of all ages with its heady mix of hand-drawn animation and live performance. Get tickets now to immerse yourself in the art that is the opera.

Time: 730PM

Location: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion – 135 N Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012 

Tickets: HERE

Sunday November 17th, 2019
Water Lantern Festival

Los Angeles Water Lantern Festival is coming up on November 17, 2019! Voted #1 Best Cultural Festival by USA TODAY! Water Lantern Festival is a floating lantern event that is all about connections. Magical nights in cities across the U.S. include food, games, activities, vendors, music and the beauty of thousands of lanterns adorned with letters of love, hope and dreams reflected upon the water. As the sun begins to set on the evening sky, Water Lantern Festival begins to shine with the launch of the lanterns onto the water as we Light The Water together. Watch your unique lantern drift out into the water as it joins other lanterns carrying hope, love, happiness, healing, peace, and connection. It’s a night that you’ll never forget. Tickets are selling fast.

Time: 4PM – 9PM

Location: Whittier Narrows – 750 S Santa Anita Ave, South El Monte, CA 91733

Tickets: HERE

Autumn Festival

Delve into the arts, cuisines, cultures, and marine environments of Asia during the Aquarium of the Pacific’s eighteenth annual Autumn Festival. Autumn Festival highlights the traditions and cultures of Japan, China, Korea, and the Philippines through a weekend of learning opportunities and family entertainment celebrating the rich diversity of Asian and Asian-American cultures.

Time: 9AM – 5PM

Location: Aquarium of The Pacific – 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802

Tickets: HERE

“ASSSSCAT” Comedy Improv Performance

Every Saturday and Sunday, the UCB franchise’s longest-running, most beloved showcase “ASSSCAT” starts when a base cast of the theater’s current top-brass—including founding UCB members Matt Walsh, Matt Besser and Ian Roberts—takes the stage. Then they introduce the surprise celebrity alumnae and friends who will be joining them (think Horatio Sanz, Ben Schwartz, Adam Pally). And finally, another special guest takes the stage, a non-improviser (think Flea, Cat Power, Rebel Wilson, Lena Dunham) who opens the show with a personal story, that’s deftly mined for laughs by the players. But you have to go to find out who’s there—that’s part of the fun. Looking for a cheap night out? Sunday shows are free, but seating is first-come, first-served, so be sure to arrive early. (Sourced from Timeout.com, Photograph Courtesy UCB)

Time: 7:00PM

Location: UCB Theater Sunset – 5419 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles 90027

Tickets: FREE! First come first served.

 

LA Eats: Top 10 Coffee Bars in LA

Now that the days are getting colder, a delicious cup of coffee to warm you up sounds really nice. The ambiance of the coffee shop is just as important as your cup of joe. We selected 10 coffee bars in the Los Angeles area that we feel will not only get you the best coffee in town but also that homey autumn vibe that makes us all feel warm and snug this time of year!

1. Coffee Commissary
Location: 3121 W Olive Ave, Burbank, CA 91505 (& six others)

The Burbank location is the only branch that has a full kitchen, meaning you can find fried chicken sandwiches, breakfast burritos and impressive house-baked goods on a daily basis! The growing chain now keeps studio workers well-caffeinated throughout TV, film, and radio production. It roasts mostly West Coast roasters and serves all cups with foamy panache.

 

2. Eightfold Coffee
Location: 1294 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

This coffee bar looks like it is was made to appear on lifestyle blogs. The kind you just want to cozy up in with a book and a cup of joe, especially on these cold autumn days! The airy space, sports white walls (including white brick), a tile-backed marble bar, and wood-bench seating. Baristas brew Heart Coffee in vac spots, with a La Marzocco espresso machine. The cold brews are served in glasses big enough to keep you awake for two days straight!

3. Espresso Cielo
Location: 1431 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Espresso Cielo has two locations, each just a few blocks from the beach. With an antique clock, marble countertops and sky blue styling this will quickly become your new coffee oasis.

4. Intelligentsia
Location: 3922 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029

The coffee is roasted in nearby Glassell Park, the quality remains good given the high volume, and the signature Angeleno beverage is as popular as ever, featuring a quadruple shot of espresso shaken with milk, agave, and ice.

5. Rubies & Diamonds
Location: 6115 Sunset Blvd #150, Los Angeles, CA 90028

LAMILL co-founder Jean Shim went solo in 2015, debuting her fashionable coffee bar in Hollywood’s Columbia Square complex, in a space that features blue-grey and red walls lined with art and two elaborate chandeliers, including one crystal and another that resembles spaghetti. This coffee bar promotes BKON vacuum processed RAIN technology for coffee and tea, and they have nitro drinks!

 

6. Verve Coffee Roasters
Location: 8051 W. 3rd Street Los Angeles, CA 90048 (& two others)

This Santa Cruz import made a great first impression, with its first LA shop brightening an emerging part of downtown, and others popping around the city. The mid-city outpost on Third Street is the most ambitious to date, with a round copper and marble bar, exposed wood rafters and a Farm-level Bar in the back featuring rare coffees that showcase “ethics & excellence”.

7. Woodcat Coffee Bar
Location: 1532 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Reclaimed wood, box seating, and red walls give life to this neighborhood favorite. It also helps that this place brews expertly roasted beans from San Francisco’s Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters on their sleek Faema espresso machine.

8. Bar Nine
Location: 3515 Helms Ave, Culver City, CA 90232

The owners of this coffee joint work with Ninety Plus Coffee Agents to source coffee beans from Panama and Ethiopia, and then roasts them in house. Bar Nine’s baristas use the shop’s high-tech Modbar system with Chemex coffeemakers to get the precise cup of joe. It’s all about the little details, too. You can’t help but “aww” at the adorable to-go glass jars with lids. Try the creamy hazelnut milk latte, and don’t forget about breakfast!

9. Paramount Coffee Project
Location: 456 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

The concrete and wood space features a multi-roaster lineup that rotates beans from American coffee powers like Heart and George Howell, plus coffee from roasters back home. The food program is more ambitious than most coffee bars, featuring plates like a burrata that’s accompanied by pistachio dukkah, kale, and eggs; and a Superfood Bowl that comes with quinoa, candied beets, lebni, blueberry, and cocoa.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset
10. Alfred Coffee & Kitchen
Location: Beverly Grove (& other locations)

Alfred’s iconic sign “but first, coffee” is Instagram post-worthy and reinforces the shop’s core focus: pumping out plenty of espresso drinks and cold-brew coffees, all using Stumptown beans.

Home Tips: 14 Fall Harvest Decorating Ideas for Your Home

When summer fades, many of us are ready to welcome the fall season. Pumpkins, gourds and other decorative squashed are in abundance this time of year! Why not use them as inspiration for your fall harvest decorating project? Browse our best fall harvest decorating ideas over the years – they’re made to last from the first changing of leaves through the Thanksgiving feast.

  1. Wheat Wreath with Wooden Beads

A wreath is a lovely way to welcome guests into your home. This wild wonder owes its elegant good looks to the natural materials that embellish its standard straw base. We added wheat stalks laced with wooden beads and sculptural bleached seedpods.

 

  1. Corn Husk Garlands

At the front door, visitors to your home will marvel at this outdoor display. Decorative Indian corn is a farm-stand staple at this time of year and can be used in all manner of home décor projects: dye them, bath style, in a rainbow of dye colors or braid the husks to create a seasonal garland that drapes around your doorway.

  1. Pear “Welcome” Display

Once inside, guests will be greeted with a friendly, fragrant greeting using the season’s abundant Forelles and Anjous pears. Simply arrange seven pears on a mantel. Then, with a fine-tipped washable marker, write letters on the front of each pear. Press whole cloves into the flesh along the lines and the sweet aroma will be as welcoming as the message itself.

  1. Lamp Chimney and Candle Centerpiece

Many people say grace at dinner, but you’ll feel thankful well before if you prep the table with this easy yet eye-catching centerpiece. Incorporate the lamp chimneys at varying heights for a high-low look and better ease for guests to converse across the table.

 

  1. Wheat Centerpiece

Summer flowers may have wilted with the changing of seasons, but wheat stalks – with their delicate, golden form – are long lasting. Arrange an armful of tall stalks into a vase, cropping the ends and fluffing the tops, and display your glorious autumnal bouquet.

  1. Squash-and-Pumpkin Flower Arrangements

Squashes and pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes, and when paired with seasonal blooms, they add character to your table. Combine a large greenish Hubbard squash paired with bittersweet branches and a white “Baby Boo” pumpkin with bright orange mums for a unique floral display.

  1. Turnip Votives

In a season of abundance, make full use of those richly colored vegetables that flourish in the transition from autumn into winter. Amid a set of gray-washed baskets on the table, turnips – in varying sizes – can be scooped out to hold votive candles that provide a soft glow.

 

  1. Cabbage Bowls and Cups

Bring in new colors and textures to the dinner table with heads of cabbage. Hollow out whole cabbages with a paring knife and spoon and use them to hold appetizer dips. Then, wrap the remaining leaves around glasses to hold crudités, cheeses, and breadsticks.

 

  1. Sprout Napkin Ties

Small Brussels sprouts and sage leave combine to make a charming addition to each guest’s place setting. For each napkin tie, sandwich one end of a ribbon between a sprout and a pair of sage leaves. Use a sequin pin to secure, pinning through the leaves first, then the ribbon, then into the sprout. Repeat on the opposite end of the ribbon, and tie it around a napkin in a loose knot. The sage leaves aren’t just a pretty addition – they’re fragrant, too.

 

 

  1. Hanging Basket of Fall Flowers

Assorted pinecones, pods, acorns and other natural decorations all make for a wilt-proof wall hanging. Treat them with a few coats of golden yellow paint, then hot-glue them to dried twigs gathered from the yard.

 

  1. Glittered Corn Centerpiece

A few organic elements, touched with a bit of gilding, evoke fall’s abundance. For an eye-catching centerpiece, turn a glass compote into a horn of plenty with glittering Indian corn and squash.

 

  1. Tabletop Baskets

Baskets are good for more than bearing fruit! Make use of them on the dinner table as centerpieces, salt and pepper cellars, or and added touch to your guest’s place settings. For each place card, cinch a napkin with a waxed cord and tie the ends around the basket’s handle.

  1. Bar Cart

Pumpkins, gourds and another harvest bounty need not be limited to the front porch or dinner table either – try interspersing them throughout your home, as shown on this rolling bar cart. It doubles as both a way to greet your guests with cocktails and a decorative statement.

 

  1. Cornucopia

For the piece de resistance of your fall harvest décor, why not consider the universal symbol of bounty? The cornucopia, that is. This raffia cornucopia lined with a bed of dried wheat stalks holds an abundance of golden squashes, apples, and pears. This is a natural Thanksgiving decoration that radiates good fortune!

 

 

Top 12 Halloween Desserts

Halloween is the beginning of the sweet holiday season. Whether you’re having a formal dinner party or a casual get together for this spooky October night, our list of top 12 Halloween desserts has something for everyone!

 

  1. Marshmallow Ghost Brownies

Kids will love piping the friendly marshmallow ghosts on top of these brownies! These adorable brownies will make for a delicious addition to the Halloween dessert table! Get the recipe here

 

2. Spooky Forest Pudding Cups

Chocolate trees and candy pumpkins add Halloween vibes to pudding cups. Get the recipe here

3. Cookie Skulls and Pumpkin Sugar Skulls

Don’t be intimidated by the intricate designs on these cookies—the recipe tells you simple ways to channel your inner artist.  Get the recipe here

 

4. Candy-Covered Apples

Create a bewitching version of this beloved candy-coated treat by dipping small Red Delicious apples in a bright red syrup flavored with red cinnamon candies. Get the recipe here

 

5. Boo-scotti

Get some help from your kids when party prep mode is in full swing to make these boo-tifully decorated recipes. Get the recipe here

6. Frankenshake and Bride of Frankenshake

His and hers Halloween shakes (one mint, one vanilla) are made in a single batch, then dressed up for the holiday in this ultimate trick-or-treat. Get the recipe here

 

7. Spooky Peanut Butter Spider Cookies

These spider cookies are entertaining for the little ones and adults to make together! From pushing chocolate candies into warm cookies to drawing spider legs with chocolate and making silly eyes! There is plenty of fun for everyone! Get the recipe here

8. Candy Corn Pops

You either love or hate candy corn. For those of us who love candy corn, try these adorable candy corn pops.  Get the recipe here

9. Spider Bites

Three ingredients are all you need to make Sandra’s easy spider bites. The chocolate-covered pretzels are just creepy enough for young kids to enjoy. Get the recipe here

10. Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin anything is a must during Halloween season. Sometimes it’s the simple desserts that are the most impressive. The flavor of these cupcakes and their minimal pumpkin décor say everything that needs to be said! Get the recipe here

11. Squirm Jello Shots

This adults-only dessert will make everyone feel like a kid again. Vodka-spiked Jell-O is filled with gummy worms, then chilled until set into one squirmy, squiggly treat! Get the recipe here

12. Spiderweb Cake

Who would think that cake and spiders could be this stylish? It’s as tasty as it is pretty with its dark-cocoa batter and orange-flavored buttercream. Get the recipe here

12 Halloween Costume Ideas for the Whole Family

When trying to come up with ideas for a group Halloween costume, it is best to start with a theme! Costumes that have things in common can also work well together. The good thing is that they can be modified to fit your family size. You can easily and quickly put together a family costume with these ideas.

 

Sloth and Tree Costumes

There’s no trick-or-treater too small for Halloween. The trick to this duo? We used a baby wrap carrier to disguise a smiling little one as a sloth slinging from a tree branch. To create this costume, print the template onto 8 ½ by 11 inch paper and cut out. Use the template to cut out felt shapes, then glues the pieces together and pin them to baby’s wrap and hat. Mom can wear brown and tuck leaves in her hair.

Bluebird and Birdwatcher Costumes

As an avid birdwatcher, your little bird is never far from sight with a pair of binoculars. Other than the hat and a canteen (available at camping-suppl stores), this costume can be assembled entirely from clothes from your closet. Choose an outfit that consists of neutral, outdoorsy pieces, such as the safari-style jacket and brown pants shown, and don’t forget a pair of sensible shoes. For the bluebird costume, use our pattern and basic sewing supplies to create a pair of detachable wings.

Under-the-Sea Costumes

For a family of little ones, the ocean still holds a depth of mystery and awe. Designate one of your kids as the Mermaid, encouraging her to make her own whimsical accessories like a seashell crown and a tail of satin, tulle and metallic trim. Meanwhile, the rest of the kids can dress up as their favorite undersea creatures: a goldfish, a snappy Lobster, an eight-legged Octopus or a Jellyfish. You can even join in the fun as a scuba diver or an ever-watchful lifeguard at the shore.

Three Musketeers Costume

All for fun, fun for all! A night of trick-or-treating awaits the dashing Three Musketeers. If you’re a family of three- or have three little ones – then why not embody the legendary literary trio? Give everyone a pullover vest, a collared cape, and a Fleur-de-lis insignia – and the evening will be full of swashbuckling adventure and candy treasures.

Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf Costumes

Embrace the charm of classic storybook characters with these easy-to-make costumes for Mom and Dad or son and daughter. For her, a gown and namesake hood are cut and sewn from a length of crimson jersey and tied with a wide ribbon at the waist. For him, the dapper wolf wears a suit with a red cravat, and his fur is styled from two shaggy wigs. (To make the wolf head, cut 2 large triangular sections – as ears – from one wig and hot-glue them in place to the second wig.) Faux fangs are the only sign of his true nature.

Storm Chaser and Tornado Costumes

As siblings, they can have an admittedly stormy relationship at times, but they complement each other well as a storm chaser and tornado. A younger sister can be a great storm chaser with some hair gel and a flipped umbrella. All you need is a tornado and that’s easy enough to create with a tomato cage and tulle.

Lion and Gladiator Costumes

They tussle in roughhouse play as it is, so why not personify their sibling rivalry? Dress one as the stalwart gladiator and the other as a courageous lion. Construct the gladiator’s costume using hardware store supplies: museum board, a window shade, and prong fasteners. Similarly, the lion’s costume is a clever assembly of fringe garlands and a hoodie. For both, there are no sewing skills required.

 

Napoleon and Josephine Costumes

For a sibling costume that is simple, as the French say, “incroyable”, pair brother and sister together as Napoleon and Josephine. He may not have learned his French history yet, but a boy would love dressing up in Napoleon’s regalia nevertheless. And, similarly, a girl will love dressing up in Josephine’s glamorous Empire-style gown with period jewelry and a fancy updo.

 

Lamb and Chicken Costumes

This funny farm duo – a chicken and a lamb – pair up together in the cutest costume idea for siblings, cousins or even best friends. Both costumes use wearable patterns in simple soft materials to ensure that the kids feel comfortable for a night of trick-or-treating. A parent can keep a close watch over the flock as they make their rounds through the neighborhood as Old MacDonald.

Tulip and Rose Flower Costumes

A blooming crepe-paper tulip cap and rosebud headband – each in pastel hues turn a mother-daughter dup into a sprightly pair.

Superhero Costumes

Every kid is a superhero and parents can join in as well. Start with t-shirts and leggings as the base for the costume. Then add headbands and belts and other accessories to make your own unique superhero.

Weekend Events: October 11-13

The air is getting chilly, well…for Los Angeles, which means it is nearly sweater weather! Grab a hot pumpkin spice latte,  put on your favorite fall sweater and get ready for a fun filled weekend! We have a list of both indoor and outdoor events, festive and non festive. Scroll down and check out our favorite event picks to help you unwind after a long work week. Enjoy!

Friday October 11th, 2019

Pie Night at 189 by Dominique Ansel

Location: 189 by Dominique Ansel, Fairfax District

Time: 5:30pm-7:00pm or 7:30-9:00pm

The world famous all you can eat pie night is back! With the leaves rupturing into ruby reds and bright orange, Halloween decorations going up, and shorter days. What better time of year to ring in pie season than the crisp autumn days of October? Every ticket includes unlimited slices of 10 different pies, including sweet and savory options from Ansel his 189 by Dominique Ansel team and few other lauded chefs (Wolfgang Puck and BBQ champ Aaron Franklin). Did we mention that there will be ice cream?

“The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China”

Location: LACMA, Miracle Mile

 Time: 10am-7pm

Wu Hang, exhibition organizer from the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum has categorized the creators at the center of “The Allure of Matter”. The 21 featured artists all employ unconventional materials to create their works. For example, Zhang Huan used temple incense ash to form a landscape of field workers or Wang Jin’s imperial robes made from PVC. Unwind after a long week at work with some artistic inspiration from the far east!

Cinema Phantasmagoria

Location: Million Dollar Theater

 Time: Depends on show, see website

What screams Halloween more than Hocus Pocus, Halloween, or Beetlejuice? We’ve got just the right place for you to catching screenings of all your favorite Halloween flicks! Head over to Million Dollar Theater to unwind with one of your favorites. Guests are welcome to bring food from the neighboring Grand Central Market into the theater, and can embark on a backstage ghost tour. There is an early and late screening each evening, what’s more? Your single ticket gets you into both of them!

 

Saturday October 12th, 2019

Halloween Horror Nights

Location: Universal Studios

Time: 6:30pm-2:00am

In the mood to get spooked? Enter a world more terrifying than you can imagine at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, now with more mazes than ever. You can run but there’s no hiding from the screams of five new scare zones, each with spine tingling hair raising monsters and unimaginable horrors. Finish off the evening with watching out of this world moves from the Jabbawockeez.

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride

Location: Griffith Park OLD ZOO

Time: 7:00pm

Your pre-Halloween scare awaits! The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride presents: midnight falls, an eerie and mysterious village set in 1985 where time is at a halt and its always Halloween!  Newly reimagined attractions include Trick or Treat haunted maze, Roadkill Ranch open air maze and Midnight Falls town square!

 

All star comedy night @ The laugh factory 

Location: Laugh Factory

Time: 9:30pm-10:45pm

Got a favorite comedian from Hulu, HBO, Netflix or TV shows and films? Well grab a friend and go see all your favorites at Laugh Factory this Saturday night. Be sure to put your name on the guest list as it closes 15 minutes prior to show time! Saturday Nights line up features  Jay Davis, Dom Irrera, Dean Delray, Orny Adams, Gina Yashere.

Sunday October 13th, 2019

Maple BlocktoberFest 

Location: Maple Block Meat Co. Culver City

Time: 12pm-4pm

Enjoy an all you can eat BBQ, Biergarten featuring four craft breweries (Boulevard Brewing, Ommegang, Boomtown Brewery, and Shiner Beer) pumpkin decorating, music, cornhole, games, a raffle a bounce house for the kids; the ticket includes all of the above including unlimited craft beer tastings from all four breweries (selection of 14-16 beers).

Farmers Market Bakery Pop-Up

Location: Beverly Hills Farmers Market

Time: 10am-2pm

Cater to your sweet tooth after that brunch date. Come and taste some of the best French Pastries in LA! Anyone who RSVP gets a dollar off on anything they purchase from the vendors. Macarons, Eclairs, Opera Cakes, Mille-Feuille just to name a few! They’ve got all your favorite mouth watering pastries!

Sisters in Law at The Wallis 

Location: The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Time: 2:30pm & 7:30pm

This new production, based on Linda Hirshman’s New York Times bestseller, celebrates the friendship – and conflict — between two modern-day legends who became the United States Supreme Court’s first female justices. Sisters in law transcends party, religion, and culture with a tale of Democrat Ginsburg and Republican O’Connor, two polar opposites, as they grapple with matters of the law and personal belief.

Perfect Recipes for Fall

Halloween is right around the corner and we’ve got the perfect recipes for your holiday get together! Whether you are having a gathering for the kiddos, friends over for some cocktails, or a more formal three-course meal. With these mouthwatering recipes your guests will leave with a full belly and a smile on their face! We put together a list of appetizers, entrees, drinks, and desserts! Pick and choose or mix and match for a Halloween feast!

Appetizers:

7-Layer Spider Web Dip:

Start your Halloween fiesta with a flavorful chip dip. Perfect for everyone, including the kids! The black olives and sour cream give it that spooky Halloween look.

 Ingredients:
  • 1 can (15 ounces) refried beans
  • A single packet of taco seasoning mix
  • 1 cup mild or medium chunky salsa (make sure it’s not watery)
  • 3-4 green onions, diced
  • 1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar or colby jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup sour cream, separated
  • 1/2 can drained olives, separated
  • 1 cup prepared guacamole
  • Tortilla Chips
  • 1 (10-12 inch) round plate, pie tin, or tart dish 
Instructions:  
  • 1 cup mild or medium chunky salsa (make sure it’s not watery)
  • A single packet of taco seasoning mix
  • 1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar or Colby jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can (15 ounces) refried beans
  • 3-4 green onions, diced
  • 1/2 can drained olives, separated
  • 1 cup prepared guacamole
  • Tortilla Chips
  • 1 cup sour cream, separated
  • A (10-12 inch) round plate, pie tin, or tart dish

 

 

Charcuterie Board:

Give your guests plenty of options to snack on while dinner is finishing up with a charcuterie board. Make it a colorful autumn mix with cheddar cheese, black grapes, red pepperoni slices, green celery, red meat slices, and a little pumpkin to give it that Halloween pop.

 Ingredients 
  • 8 oz Italian dry salami sliced
  • 4 oz uncured Salame di Parma
  • 6 oz smoked prosciutto
  • 4 oz sliced prosciutto
  • 8 oz Apricot Cherry Cranberry Goat’s Milk Cheese
  • 4 oz pepper jack cheese sliced
  • 8 oz traditional French Brie
  • 11 oz fig butter
  • 8 oz 1000 day hard gouda cheese
  • 5 oz sweet and spicy pecans
  • 4 oz pumpkin spice pumpkin seeds
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 Granny Smith apples sliced
  • 2 Honey Crisp apples sliced
  • 1 bunch Concord grapes
  • 1 bunch Champagne grapes
  • 6 fresh figs sliced in half
  • 10 oz Stone Ground Wheat Crackers
  • 2 11 oz French baguettes sliced
  • 11 oz naturally flavored candy corn
  • fresh lemon juice as needed
Instructions:

 Assemble on a 20 inch round platter.

If assembling ahead of time, brush apples lightly with lemon juice to avoid browning.

Pumpkin Soup:

The perfect way to warm up on a chilly autumn night is with of course, soup! Soups are the perfect appetizer, they are light and fill your tummy up just enough to save your big appetite for the main dish.

Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks
  • 3 large Garlic cloves
  • 2 medium bell peppers
  • 2 1/4 lb. pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh majoram
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 c. frozen corn
  • 6 c. vegetable broth 
Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until very soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in green peppers, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until peppers soften, about 8 more minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until pumpkin is tender, about 30 minutes.

Main Course:

Cider Scalloped Potatoes with Smoked Gouda:

Potatoes are the perfect comfort food. Take one scoop and place it on your plate, take a bite and enjoy the crispy outside and moist inside of the potato, the apple cider adds just the right amount of kick!

Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 c. apple cider
  • 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 c. shredded smoked Gouda cheese
  • 1/2 c. shredded Jarlsberg cheese
  • 2 lb. Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes
Instructions:  

Adjust an oven rack to the center position and heat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly butter a 10- by 2-inch round baking dish or a 8- by 12-inch rectangular baking pan; set aside.

Place flour in a medium-heavy saucepan; gradually add milk, whisking until smooth. Whisk in cider, chicken broth, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, whisking constantly. Cook for 1 minute more and remove saucepan from heat; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine Gouda and Jarlsberg cheeses. Arrange half of the sliced potatoes, slightly overlapping, in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the cheese mixture. Arrange remaining potatoes on top. Pour cider mixture over potatoes.

Bake 25 minutes. Remove baking dish from oven. Using a metal spatula, press down on potatoes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese mixture; return to oven. Bake until potatoes are fork-tender and the top is crusted and lightly browned — about 20 minutes more. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

 

 

Pumpkin Baked Ziti With Sausage:

Ziti noodles, and baked? Sounds like a mouth watering combination. What’s more, sautéed in garlic, bay leaf, safe leaves, nutmeg, pumpkin puree, and red pepper flakes. Hungry yet? This rich medley of flavors is pretty amazing! Add sausage or go vegetarian!

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound ziti or rigatoni noodles, cooked to al dente
  • 1 pound sage sausage (can substitute for sweet Italian)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sage leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (like chardonnay)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350

Brown the sausage in a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat until the fat is rendered and the sausage is no longer pink. Transfer to a bowl and reserve.

In the same skillet, add the onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Cook until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the sage leaves, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt / pepper to taste. Cook one more minute.

Add the wine and cook until reduced by half. The heat should remain to medium high. Add the stock and stir in the pumpkin puree. Mix until everything is incorporated. The pumpkin will thicken the sauce.

Stir in the sausage and transfer to a large bowl with the pasta. Mix until combined.

Transfer back to your cast iron skillet (or a baking dish) and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 25-35 minutes until bubbly.

Garnish with sage and parsley. Fried sage is good too! Enjoy this with a nice glass of white wine, preferably the one you used earlier

 

 Tex-Mex Lasagna:

 This tasty entrée is a great follow up meal to the chip dip appetizer; following the same flow of flavors, this lasagna will send your tastebuds on a savory ride!

 Ingredients:
  •  1 pound of lean ground beef/chicken/vegetarian meat
  • A 1 cup of frozen diced onion red and green bell pepper, and celery
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt-free chipotle seasoning blend 1 (24-oz.) jar mild salsa
  • 1 (15-oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained 1 (10-oz.) can enchilada sauce
  • 4 cups (16 oz.) shredded Mexican four-cheese blend Toppings: sour cream, chopped tomatoes
  • 1 (10-oz.) package frozen whole kernel corn, thawed 16 (6-inch) fajita-size corn tortillas
Instructions:

Cook first 5 ingredients in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 10 to 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender and beef crumbles and is no longer pink.

Stir in salsa and next 3 ingredients. Cook 5 to 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Layer 1 cup beef mixture, 2 tortillas (overlapping edges), and 1/2 cup cheese in a lightly greased 7- x 5- x 1 1/2-inch baking dish. Repeat layers once. Repeat procedure with 3 additional 7- x 5- x 1 1/2-inch baking dishes. Cover dishes with nonstick aluminum foil.

Bake, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 5 more minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with desired toppings.

Note: To use a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish, prepare recipe through Step Omit 4 corn tortillas. Layer one-third beef mixture, 6 tortillas (overlapping edges), and 2 cups cheese. Repeat layers with one-third beef mixture, remaining 6 tortillas, remaining beef mixture, and ending with remaining 2 cups cheese. Bake, covered, at 350° for 40 minutes; uncover and bake 10 more minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

 

Drinks:

Blood Orange Blackberry Rum Punch:

This delicious treat can serve as a dessert, with a tangy kick to finish off your meal if you don’t have much of a sweet tooth. The ruby red blood orange juice, and blackberries give it that dark spooky Halloween feel.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup chilled blood orange juice
  • 4 (12 ounce) chilled natural blackberry sodas
  • 1 cup rum
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 blood orange thinly sliced
  • pansies to garnish (optional)
Instructions:

In a large pitcher filled with ice combine all of the ingredients. Stir gently to combine.

Add several blackberries and an orange slice to each glass and pour the punch into the glasses. Garnish with a pans if desired and serve immediately.

 

Spiced Warm Cider

What better way to ring in the holidays than with some warm cider on a cold evening? Garnish your drinks with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick.

 Ingredients:
  • 64 oz. apple cider
  • 6 chai tea bags
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • Apple sticks, for serving
  • Cinnamon sticks for serving
Instructions:

Combine apple cider, chai tea bags, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla bean in slow cooker. Cook on low 3 to 4 hours. Discard tea bags; stir in lemon juice. Serve warm with apple slices and cinnamon stick.

Good and Evil Potion

 If you’re in the mood for something cold, go with the good and evil potion. This cocktail is just as pretty as it is delicious!

Ingredients:
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. ApplePucker
  • 1 oz. Midori
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1 handful ice
  • pineapple juice
  • Sierra Mist
  • lemon slice, for garnish
Instructions:

Combine vodka, ApplePucker, Midori, and Triple Sec in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake.

Pour the mixture into a cocktail glass, then top with pineapple juice and Sierra Mist. Garnish with a slice of lemon (optional).

Dessert:

Strawberry Ghosts:

Our most adorable treat on the list are these strawberry ghosts! This treat is as easy to bake as it is to eat! The kiddos will definitely have fun with these precious little treats!

Ingredients:
  • 2 c. strawberries
  • 1 1/2 c. white chocolate, melted
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. mini chocolate chips
  • 1 c. chocolate chips, melted
Instructions:

Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine melted white chocolate and coconut oil and stir until combined. Dip strawberries into white chocolate and place two mini chocolate chips on the top half of the strawberries for eyes. Place strawberries on prepared baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to harden, about 10 minutes.

Place melted chocolate chips in a ziploc bag and pipe mouths on the strawberries.

Let cool again in the refrigerator, 5 minutes. Serve.

Pumpkin Spice Cake:

 Nothing screams Halloween more than pumpkin spice, and in a cake?  Yes you read that correctly, a pumpkin spice cake! Alas, your wildest dreams have come to life!

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin NOT pumpkin pie filling
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 and 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp real maple syrup

Frosting:

  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp real maple syrup
Instructions:

Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 or 10 x 15 pan with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray.

Make the cake: In a large mixing bowl, mix eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin with electric mixer until just combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add dry mixture to the wet ingredients in 2 additions, mixing well after each. Add the TBSP of maple syrup and mix.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (It may have some moist crumbs on it – but shouldn’t have wet batter). Let the cake cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting: While the cake bakes, make the frosting. Soften cream cheese and butter together in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. (See note if browning the butter). Cream well with mixer. Add vanilla, powdered sugar, and maple syrup and mix until combined.

Serve + Store: Frost the cake when cool. Use the back of a dinner spoon to make swirls in the frosting, if desired. Store leftovers, covered tightly, in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Make ahead tips: The cake can be made a day in advance. Bake as directed, and let it cool completely. Cover well with plastic wrap/foil and leave at room temp. Frosting can be made a day ahead too – cover well and store in the fridge. Let frosting sit out for 10 minutes before frosting so it’s pliable. If the top of the cake tears a little when you try frosting it, cover it and chill in fridge for 15 minutes.

Spider Pumpkin Cake:

This delicious dessert could very well serve as your center piece as it could a delicious finish to your meal.

Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. good-quality cocoa
  • 2 tbsp. good-quality cocoa
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. fresh-grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 c. pumpkin purée
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • stick unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting
Instructions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter three 8-inch cake pans and fit each bottom with an 8-inch circle of parchment paper. Lightly butter the parchment paper. Set aside.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, with an electric mixer set on medium speed, until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is smooth and light. Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, blending well after each addition.

Divide the batter among the pans and bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean — about 35 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan for 20 minutes. Remove cakes and cool. (For cupcakes: Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in standard cupcake tins and fill each with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake for 22 minutes.)

Trim each of the layers. Place one layer on a cake plate and top with one third of the frosting. Repeat with the second and third layers. (To ensure that the cake layers do not shift, cut three skewers to 1/4 inch shorter than the full height of the cake and insert them before icing the top layer.) Refrigerate until ready to serve.

                 

Tips for Creating a Household Budget

  • MAKE GOALS

Goals can be as short-term as buying a new pair of shoes next week, or as long-term as going on vacation next spring. Regardless of what your goals may be, the only way to achieve them is to start planning them out now.

  • INVOLVE YOUR ENTIRE HOUSEHOLD

If it’s just you, great. But if you have a spouse and/or child, create a budget together, and explain to everyone that they may be asked to make sacrifices. When you plan together, you succeed together.

  • BUDGET IN FUN

A budget that leaves no money for an occasional dinner out or for a family outing at an amusement park is designed to fail. Your budget should help you, not put you in a bind. When you decide on a budget that works for you and your family, you’ll be able to enjoy the simple things like a trip to the movies, or more lavish like a trip to Paris.

  • MAKE THE EFFORT TO SAVE

Most people look at saving as putting away money for a rainy day. But a better way to look at it is putting away money for a nice vacation or something on your wish list.  Start with the spare change you have after a cash purchase or connect with a financial advisor that can help you start putting away towards your monetary goals.

  • TAKE INVENTORY

If you don’t know where your money goes, how do you expect to manage it? Keep track of your savings. Make sure you know where your money is being invested whether it’s your savings account, 401k, or IRA.

  • DISTINGUISH BETWEEN WANTS AND NEEDS

Buy what you need first. The wants belong in the “what’s left over” category. If you can’t decide what a Want versus a Need is, the best way to look at it is what would improve your life long term, not temporarily. Consider the differences between needing a new computer or wanting a designer accessory.

  • EXPECT CHANGES

Look down the road and get into the habit of thinking ahead. Life happens, especially as a homeowner. That’s why you should always plan for life changes, big or small.

  • FIND A SYSTEM THAT WORKS FOR YOU

It could be the envelope system, a bank or a credit union. If it works for you, use it. With today’s technology you can save seamlessly from the palm of your hands.

Regardless of how you save or for what reason, it is important to make efforts towards the future now, no matter how close or far down the road. Save towards fixing up your kitchen. Save towards a family vacation. Or save for the simple things like a fun night out. Build the perfect budget for your household today!