Westermonth’s Hallowatch: 31 Spooky Movies to Watch With Us This October

Westermonth Hallowatch 2015: Hocus Pocus, Vamps, and Sleepy Hollow

I have a new favorite pastime: movie marathons.

This new passion of mine was ignited this summer when the original and entertaining voices of Swampflix convinced Brian and me to watch all of the Fast & Furious movies, something neither of us ever thought we’d bring ourselves to do. It was a blast, btw—an epic journey into awesomely bad, big budget entertainment. Next, I turned the setback of a sprained ankle into an opportunity to watch all the Harry Potter movies in a week while RICEing my ankle. Brian joined me of course, in solidarity. Once the final credits rolled, however, the withdrawal began to kick in. We NEEDED more movies.

LOTR to the rescue! And another weekend was well spent.

Westermonth Hallowatch 2015: Housebound, The Addams Family, and Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil

Fast-forward to yesterday, the last day of September and the beginning of a brilliant movie marathon idea. Now, you’ve probably heard of AMC’s Fear Fest. And I’m sure you’ve participated in a little ABC Family’s 13 Nights of Halloween. . .  Kids’ stuff, I scoff! Go big or go home, I always say. That’s why Brian and I are committing to a SERIOUS Halloween (or Hallowe’en, as we like to say) movie marathon. We’re going to watch 31 dark and scary movies this month! Cause we’re SO EXTREEEEEME!

I spent the entire afternoon yesterday researching appropriate movies and curating a list of nearly 60 to choose from. Accepted genres included Horror/Slasher Comedy (e.g. Shaun of the Dead), Dark Fantasy (e.g. Sleepy Hollow), Kids/Family Spookers (Hocus Pocus, obv), Classic & Cult Horror (e.g. The House on Haunted Hill), Modern Horror/Thriller (e.g. It Follows), and Other (which included genre hoppers like Rocky Horror Picture Show and What We Do in the Shadows).

Westermonth Hallowatch 2015: Shaun of the Dead, Underworld, and Crimson Peak

Now, this is a purely subjective list of movies curated specifically to mine and Brian’s tastes. Those tastes, as you may notice, do not include straight slasher films. No sir, we don’t like them and you can’t make us. We also left off MANY an excellent film, either because we’d seen it too recently or too often (Let the Right One In, Suspiria, The Witches, etc.).

There were just way too many to choose from! The resulting list was a mix of nostalgic Halloween fare, dark & beautiful supernatural thrillers, and a few ghosty flicks we could stomach. Preference was given to options that were available to stream on Netflix, Amazon, and HBO, plus a few soon-to-hit-theaters picks.

After compiling the doubly-long list, the fun began. Brian and spent most of last night watching the trailers for every single movie on the list, then giving each one a score (1 to 10) based on how much we each wanted to watch it. The list was then ranked on each movie’s average score. Topping the list are these 13 dark and cheeky movies we can’t wait to see! The next 18 will round out our 31 days of Halloween movie bliss.

Westermonth Hallowatch 2015: It Follows, Cooties, and The Final Girls

Now, don’t worry, we won’t be watching a movie every single day this month. That might be too challenging. I’m thinking we’ll watch one or two during each week, do a couple multi-movie seshes on the weekends, and then hit it hard with a big marathon on Halloween weekend. We’re not crazy. (Winky face.)

Tonight, we kick off the movie madness with our number one pick, The Shining! Check out the full list of 31 movies we’ll be watching here (I created a Pinterest board!), and if you’re really picking up what we’re putting down, you can see our complete scored list of 60 movies here (I made a spreadsheet!). Which movies would have made your list, and which ones did we forget?

Now, excuse me while I got buy ALL THE POPCORN.

Out & About

The Unexpected

 mural by Vhils in Fort Smith, AR

Above: Vhils

When we moved to Fort Smith we loved sitting on our porch, walking around our neighborhood and being in such close proximity to downtown and the riverfront. Unfortunately, much of Fort Smith doesn’t seem to feel the same way about the area. We soon discovered that downtown Fort Smith and it’s surrounding neighborhoods are under-appreciated. It’s easy to focus on vacant lots and dilapidated buildings (commercial and residential), or even imagine the bygone days of the Old West and the Fort Smith of True Grit, but it’s much harder to imagine a modern and vibrant future here


detail of a mural by Vhils in Fort Smith, AR

Above: detail of the Vhils mural

Recently, however, Fort Smith played host to the Unexpected Project: Festival of Murals which seemed to hint at a way forward. Over about a week of festivities, eleven murals were painted on downtown Fort Smith buildings. The Festival was part of 64.6 Downtown which “is committed to bringing vibrancy to downtown Fort Smith and the Riverfront. Downtown is our heart and soul, and quality of place is essential to Fort Smith’s future economic and community growth. We invite you to share our vision with us.”

The whole thing felt pretty refreshing for downtown Fort Smith, and even though a number of the murals featured Western motifs, they had a modern edge.

mural by Askew in Fort Smith, AR

Above: Askew

One of our favorites was by VHILS (above) which was based off the earliest images of Cherokee Indians. For a town that often seems stuck to it’s past as the last outpost before Indian Territory, it’s a pretty powerful image to have looming over downtown. The technique used was also different than the rest of the murals:

“Layers of white and dark plaster were applied over the bricks of the old Malco Theater building to give the artist a canvas for what is now the face of a Native American.” You can read more about it here.

D*Face mural in Fort Smith, AR

Above: “Bad Lands” by D*Face

UAFS mural in Fort Smith, AR

Above: a mural of Gutenberg done by UAFS students

Maser mural in Fort Smith, AR

Above: Maser

mural in Fort Smith, AR by Ana Maria

Above: Ana María

ROA mural in Fort Smith, AR

Above: ROA

Bicicleta Sem Freio mural in Fort Smith, AR

Above: from “Catira” by Bicicleta Sem Freio

Ana María mural in Fort Smith, AR

Above: Ana María

mural by ROA in Fort Smith, AR

Above: “The Otter” by ROA

Westervin Shop

Shop Update: Beaded Necklaces

Palmdale Necklace /// Westervin

Palmdale Necklace 

I like to visit bead shops when we travel. On our latest vacation, we spent a few nights at a great AirBnB in Nashville, and I made Brian go with me to a snazzy little bead shop in town. With his help, I was able to exercise restraint and only brought home a small bag of pretty beads. But even those few additions to be bead collection made me realize I had more than I needed. So on a bit of a whim, I woke up yesterday and, with coffee in hand, set about whipping up some one-of-a-kind necklaces while the morning sun lit my work table. 

Coeur D'Alene Necklace /// Westervin

Coeur D’Alene Necklace

It felt wonderful to finally make something again after a long creative-draught. Before I knew it, the afternoon rolled by and I’d created 8 necklaces, using some copper wire and leather cord I had. Piecing together the beads for each piece — from hand-painted glass beads to glazed ceramic ones to carved pieces of coral and marble — felt like a puzzle. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out; I ended up with 8 pieces, each one a special statement necklace.

Petaluma Necklace /// Westervin

Petaluma Necklace 

But! I couldn’t just add 8 new necklaces to my jewelry box. I just Kondoed it, remember? So, thinking of my poor little Etsy shop, alone and all but ignored these past few months, I spent the rest of the afternoon photographing the necklaces and listing them in the Westervin Shop. I shocked myself at how quickly it all came together. It’s as if each little bead was meant to find its way to me, be paired with other little bead friends and transformed into a special adornment, and eventually wind up in my shop, awaiting a new home. Will yours be the forever home of one of these necklaces? See them all here.

Hindsdale Necklace /// Westervin

Hindsdale Necklace 

Honey Hills Necklace /// Westervin

Honey Hills Necklace 

Mendota Necklace /// Westervin

Mendota Necklace 


Top 5 Pieces of Handmade Jewelry from UncommonGoods

Handmade Jewelry from UncommonGoods (A Westervin Sponsor)


Every year, Brian and I look forward to the UncommonGoods holiday catalogue. Whenever it arrives, we stop what we’re doing to look through it together. No joke. It truly is full of uncommon goods! And, truth be told, we’ve bought many a gift from them. Not only do they have a large and well-curated selection of items, but they’re also a founding member of B Corporation (if you haven’t heard of B Corps, learn more about this awesome not-for-profit organization here), and they’re committed to environmental sustainability and social responsibility. 

So, believe me when I say we are genuinely thrilled to welcome UncommonGoods as our latest sponsor. They’re a perfect fit, no? To thank them for supporting Westervin, I’ve put together a list of my 5 favorite pieces of handmade jewelry currently available from UncommonGoods. 

If you know me, you know I have a thing for handmade jewelry. From ceramic statement necklaces to glass-blown earrings to each set of specially crafted wedding bands we get every year on our anniversary, my jewelry box is bursting. If you really know me, you know that I actually haven’t worn a piece of non-handmade jewelry in years. (Excluding the occasional vintage pieces, of course.) There’s just something so special about a piece of wearable art that’s one-of-a-kind or made in small batches by someone who’s honed their craft and whose work truly fulfills them. I want to support those people! I want unique jewelry that stands out! And there are plenty of other reasons to love handmade jewelry. UncommonGoods put together a beautiful blog post of their own about the value of handmade jewelry. Check it out here

Hopefully you, dear reader, have joined me on the handmade jewelry bandwagon long ago. But if not, there’s still time! All aboard! Check out my top 5 handmade jewelry picks from UncommonGoods, and see the rest of their jewelry offerings here. What are your top 5?

5. Acquamarine Branch Ring made by Nancy Nelson 

4. Gold Dipped Vine Lace Necklace made by Tulianna and Alejandra Garces 

3. Gold Astrology Cuff by Julie Nolan

2. Diamond Cobblestone Wedding Band by Emilie Shapiro

1. Sterling Silver Diamond Studs by Christine Street

This is a sponsored post. Though we have been compensated for sharing this content, all opinions are our own. 

Westervin Wishlist

Sarah’s 29th

My birthday is around the corner (August 9), and I’ve started getting questions about what I want from my sweet friendies and fam. Since I love putting together wishlists, I figured it was time to share my top ten hoped-for items! Use this list as inspiration and feel free to get crafty. Or reach out to me or Brian if you have questions or other ideas you want to run by one of us! Surprises are also appreciated. . . 


1. Since Brian and I Kondo-ed our kitchen, I’ve been one short of my perfect mug collection. This floral option featuring Dolly holding a kitten would perfectly complete my collection, but any unique handmade mug would make me oh-so-happy. 

2. Though this Lady Parts Zipper Pouch isn’t currently available, I’m adding it to the list in case any of my crafty pals wants to whip me up something similar. I’ve especially been wanting a simple hip bag or tiny cross-body pouch for carrying my few everyday essentials. 

3. Who needs a birthday card when you can have a Gilly card?! (Fun Fact: I can do two impressions—Gilly and Morrisey.)

4. I want to step up my brooch game with this Bright Side Magnet Brooch

5. Our table seems so empty without a Ghost Salt Shaker.

6. A large part of why I love these little black earrings is that they’re called Tiny Wiggles, but I think they would also match most of my wardrobe.

7. The Don’t Tell Me What To Do Sloth speaks to me on a spiritual level. 

8. These Voluspa Glass Jar Candles are the best candles that have ever been candled. Brian and I both love them, and we’ve been pretty disappointed with all the different replacement candles we’ve tried since our last one burned down. Nothing compares to you, Voluspa! My favorite scents are Eden & Pear, Santiago Huckleberry, and Goji & Tarocco Orange.

9. I also Kondo-ed my jewelry collection and narrowed my many earrings to a few special pairs that would store beautifully in this classy ceramic egg holder

10. I was kinda over garlands until I saw this People In Outrageous Swimwear garland kit. I just need it. 


Maker's Remarks

Running a Business that Sustains Your Heart, Body, and Community

Q&A with Jessica & Brandon of Carrot Dirt Organics, Inc.

I wish I’d known Jessica Parker, née Robinson, better in high school. We graduated the same year from Southside in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Her husband Brandon graduated one year earlier. Though we sat next to each other in Ms. Rush’s physics class, Jessica and I mostly kept to ourselves. Shy, introverted teenage Sarah didn’t like to invite much conversation, and I suspect Jessica was the quiet type, too. 

When I moved back to Fort Smith last summer with Brian, I was amazed at how much my hometown had changed. One welcome addition to the area was Carrot Dirt Organics, Inc., the city’s first organic juice bar, which opened its doors not long before we got here. While reading a local magazine, I flipped to an article about the exciting new store and its owners. I instantly recognized Jessica and Brandon. Though I hadn’t gotten to know them well when we were younger, I remembered Jessica as sweet and Brandon as friendly (I’d met hime once or twice). I was proud to see two classmates improving my hometown with their healthy business and happy to see these two deserving people succeeding. 

Jessica and Brandon Parker, owners of Carrot Dirt Organics, Inc. in Fort Smith, Arkansas

Image above: Jessica and Brandon Parker, owners of Carrot Dirt Organics, Inc. in Fort Smith, Arkansas

In their interview with Do South, Jessica and Brandon explained how Carrot Dirt began. After they married, Jessica’s mother was diagnosed with a neurological disorder called Huntington’s Chorea and Brandon was diagnosed with Miyoshi Myopathy, a type of muscular dystrophy, both in the same year. Their lifestyles had to change — getting and staying healthy became their focus. They became more active and began eating more organic, whole foods. They discovered juicing. It wasn’t long before they started feeling better, their love for juice became a passion, and Carrot Dirt (which was Brandon’s nickname for carrot juice) opened its doors. 

“Carrot Dirt,” explains the couple on their website, “developed from the idea that people not only desire but also deserve to live an energized and well-balanced lifestyle.” Jessica and Brandon managed to turn lemons into lemonade, transforming their lives and community through their passion for juice and healthy living.  

colorful sandwich board at Carrot Dirt Organics, Inc., Fort Smith, Arkansas' first organic juice bar

Image above: colorful sandwich board at Carrot Dirt Organics, Inc., Fort Smith, Arkansas’ first organic juice bar

Oh, and the juice is downright delicious! I put down that article and made Brian drive straight to Carrot Dirt to sample their “lemonade.” The Autumn Harvest (squash, apple, and cinnamon) and Sweet Roots (carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, and ginger) blends we tried put our own homemade juices to shame. Since then, we’ve tried to up our juice game at home, have sampled a few more of Carrot Dirt’s juice creations, and decided to share their story with you and all our Westervin readers. Jessica and Brandon kindly obliged to answer a few questions about overcoming challenges, sustaining their community, and being creative in running their business. 

First of all, can you tell me how long you’ve been married and a little about how you met?

We just celebrated our 8-year wedding anniversary and have been together for 11 years. We met through friends who are brother and sister — it was a matter of proximity and time. We became best friends, fell in love, and the rest is history.

fresh, rainbow salad from Carrot Dirt Organics, Inc.

Image above: Carrot Dirt also sells fresh salads, as well as smoothies, nut milks, and healthy desserts and snacks

What prompted you to open Carrot Dirt?

Health. Around the time that we were married, my Mother was diagnosed with a neurological disease, Huntington’s Chorea, then Brandon was diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy called Miyoshi Myopathy. From those events it became clear that we all need to do the best for our bodies in order to live well and also for our bodies to be prepared for what may come. We wanted our community to have availability to this as well. After all, our health is the best investment we can make.

What personal skills and/or talents have you and Brandon relied on most heavily (or had to develop) to run your business?

We have a wonderful time together and we feel that reflects in Carrot Dirt. Personally, I love preparing food and decorating, so I’m able to combine the two with the salads, desserts, and snacks we offer. Both of us are very time-oriented and detail-oriented but not in overlapping ways. This allows us keep on schedule with both day-to-day operational stuff and long term planning.

healthy energy bites from Carrot Dirt Organics, Inc.

Image above: Carrot Dirt’s energy bites

What has been the biggest challenge of working for yourself and how have you overcome it?

The lack of a guidebook, it’s freeing and frustrating at the same time. It can be a challenge when trying to get answers for regulations and codes, but the freedom of creating and offering our product to the community makes it all worth it. We absolutely love what we do.

What have you found to be the best tools and/or exercises you’ve relied on in opening and running your business?

Our patrons love social media, Instagram followed by Facebook. It allows us to share, back and forth, the fun things we’re creating in real time. We also really like Square. It’s easy to use and update, allows us to be mobile, and offers tons of great information about sales and item trends.

The atmosphere at Carrot Dirt is very laid back. When we are making juice and nut milks every morning and throughout the day, we listen to some good tunes and just go with the flow. Running your own business can be stressful, but we do our very best to keep stress at bay. After all, stress is very detrimental to health.

Running has been a passion of mine for the past several years. I always make sure I make time for my run. Since we have opened, the time I run daily varies, but I make it a priority. This is my time for me, to reflect on my day, pray, and breathe in some fresh air.

bottles of freshly made, cold-press juice from Carrot Dirt Organics, Inc.

Image above: bottles of freshly made, cold-press juice in the Carrot Dirt fridge

What role does community play for Carrot Dirt?

Carrot Dirt stems from a desire to do better for ourselves and the community. The community has embraced us, and they are our biggest champions. We see new faces every day who heard about us from the regulars. The community is showing us that Carrot Dirt is a great healthy alternative that needs to be here. The desire for healthy organic options is here. We are just so happy to be able to provide them to our wonderful community.

Does running Carrot Dirt require you to be creative? If so, in what ways and how often?

Yes! It’s allowed us to use parts of ourselves that get minimized in the day-to-day school/work routine. It’s freeing to have a juice recipe in your mind and have it taste like you envisioned. From creating and naming the juices to engaging the community to growing the business — it requires creativity to take Carrot Dirt from an idea and actually execute it. Our creativity juices are flowing on a daily basis.

Cordial Carrot and Pink Dragon - organic, cold-press juices from Carrot Dirt Organics, Inc.

Image above: Cordial Carrot and Pink Dragon – organic, cold-press juices made fresh at Carrot Dirt

What does the future hold for Carrot Dirt?

As Carrot Dirt approaches the 1st anniversary, we’ve been listening to our patrons. In the short term we’ll be offering sandwiches and creating new juices. In the longer term? Well, that is just a surprise!

If you’re in the area, get down to Carrot Dirt NOW and grab a bottle of their sweet, energizing juice or other healthy foods. Otherwise, follow Carrot Dirt on Instagram for gorgeous shots of whole foods to inspire your healthy lifestyle. You can also follow along with Brian and I as we share a few of our homemade juice recipes here on the Westervin blog with our series Get Juiced

Who Are You Pairing?

2015 SAG Awards

Boat-billed Flycatcher (Megarynchus pitangua) by Todd R. Forsgren; Uzo Aduba at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

Image above, left to right: Boat-billed Flycatcher (Megarynchus pitangua) by Todd R. Forsgren; Uzo Aduba at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

To be honest, I wasn’t going to create another “Who Are You Pairing?” collection for Sunday night’s Screen Actors Guild Awards. I’ve been feeling a little drained the last couple days and decided to skip the latest pairing opportunity for a little extra couch time. But alas, curiosity got the best of me and I couldn’t stop myself from looking up all the red carpet looks yesterday. I was not disappointed. In fact, I’d say the SAG Awards fashions were the best this season, both in quantity (so many big television and movie casts!) and quality (so many unusual colors and bold patterns!). Before I knew it, I was picking out a few eye-catching looks and searching for their fine art counterparts. Here’s what I came up with! What do you think?

Pillar by Noémie Jennifer; Vicky Jeudy at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

Image above, left to right: Pillar by Noémie Jennifer; Vicky Jeudy at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

St. Sebastian by Juan Chavarria Jr.;  Andrea Riseborough at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

Image above, left to right: St. Sebastian by Juan Chavarria Jr.;  Andrea Riseborough at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

Self Portrait 4 by Mareike Auer; Rashida Jones at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

Image above, left to right: Self Portrait 4 by Mareike Auer; Rashida Jones at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

Figure by Peter Hurley; Kimiko Glenn at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

Image above, left to right: Figure by Peter Hurley; Kimiko Glenn at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

Your Love by Keetra Dean Dixon; Anna Chlumsky at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

Image above, left to right: Your Love by Keetra Dean Dixon; Anna Chlumsky at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

Stairway by Denton Crawford; Lupita Nyong'o at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

Image above, left to right: Stairway by Denton Crawford; Lupita Nyong’o at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards


Blog News

2015 Westervin Consumer Survey

Westervin 2015 Consumer Survey


Dear friends, family, and sweet readers! Please take a moment to complete our 2015 survey.

If you:

  • have read anything on this blog, or
  • bought something from our shop, or
  • call yourself a maker, or
  • own your own business,

We want to hear from you. Nay, we need to hear form you!

With the new year has come a renewed focus at Westervin headquarters (a.k.a. our home), as well as some fresh ideas. We plan to unveil a beautiful new website, improve the shop, and start offering some new services even! But we need to know more about YOU and what you want to see from Westervin before we can implement any changes. We wouldn’t be here without you, obviously. 

Plus, we’re just really curious about our readers and customers. Who are you people?! We bet you’re so interesting. Show us how interesting you are, please and thank you and good night. 

Take the survey here!

Who Are You Pairing?

2015 Critics’ Choice Awards

The Milkmaid's Lot by Lauren Frances Adams; Keira Knightly at the 2015 Critics' Choice Awards

Image above, left to right: The Milkmaid’s Lot by Lauren Frances Adams; Keira Knightley at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards

I’ve heard some of you are curious how I whip up these red carpet fashion & art parings. Well, I’m afraid there’s no trick to it. The main ingredient is patience. I start by selecting the red carpet looks that I find most “artful” (usually a mix of novel colors, patterns, and textures), then I search a few key sites and my saved pins for pair-able works of art. The magic happens when I compare a look and artwork side-by-side and the visual elements of each seem to sing the other’s praises. Like music to my. . . eyes.

With today’s set of awards season pairings culled from the 20th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, I feel like I’m getting into the swing of things. This post came together pretty quickly, for a change, thanks to not only a few of last night’s blue carpet celebrities who chose daring, beautiful, or just plain fun looks last night, but also my favorite websites that offer a steady supply of daring, beautiful, and just plain fun art for sale. In addition to my tried-and-true resources — Etsy, Mammoth & Co., Society6, Flickr, and ArtMgt, to name a few — I’ve added a few others to my arsenal, including 20X200, Tappan Collective, Buy Some Damn Art, Poster Cabaret, Sebastian Foster, Little Paper Planes, and Buy Olympia. So, if you’re in the market for some stellar creations to hang on your walls or gift to loved ones, peruse the variety of these well-curated collections or consider one of the pieces featured in this very Who Are You Pairing? series, which includes original artworks and more affordable prints. Then let me know which piece(s) you bought! I wanna see what you get!

But first, check out these pairs, which I’m kinda proud of. I tried to show a bit of diversity in the pairings (something sorely lacking in the Academy Award nominations announced yesterday), from strange and whimsical to bold and even humorous (I can’t help but laugh at Jared Leto sometimes). What do you think? Let me know which is your favorite in the comments. Better yet, if there was another look from the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards that you liked best, put together your own pairing and show me with a link below! 


Dispenser by Eyal Pinkas; Jared Leto at the 2015 Critics' Choice Awards

Image above, left to right: Dispenser by Eyal Pinkas; Jared Leto at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards

Around the fur by Andreas Niederwieser; Lorraine Toussaint at the 2015 Critics' Choice Awards

Image above, left to right: Around the Fur by Andreas Niederwieser; Lorraine Toussaint at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards

Strange Fish by Emma Kidd; Jamie Chung at the 2015 Critics' Choice Awards

Image above, left to right: Strange Fish by Emma Kidd; Jamie Chung at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards

Ink 'd Pink by Becky Kemp; Mackenzie Foy at the 2015 Critics' Choice Awards

Image above, left to right: Ink ‘d Pink by Becky Kemp; Mackenzie Foy at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards

Snakeskin by Tealia Ellis Ritter; Rosamund Pike at the 2015 Critics' Choice Awards

Image above, left to right: Snakeskin by Tealia Ellis Ritter; Rosamund Pike at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards

Oxio No. 3 by Hamish Robertson; Carmen Ejobo at the 2015 Critics' Choice Awards

Image above, left to right: Oxio No. 3 by Hamish Robertson; Carmen Ejobo at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards

Fine Fixin's

Flourless Chocolate Almond Cakes

Confession: We love dessert. There you go, I said it. Unfortunately, we also know that when dealing with dessert, moderation is imperative, or at least imperative at times — sometimes you just need some decadence. So while Sarah still claims to have a portion of her stomach specifically reserved for sweets, we’re trying, albeit gingerly, to make some of these sweets a bit healthier. A little less decadent, and a little less sweet.

To kick things off, we made flourless almond cakes for the new year. These little chocolate cakes are made with almond meal and honey (hey, it’s not sugar) and guess what, they’re tasty — especially with ice cream (oops, but we had to, I promise. I overcooked them just a tad, making them dry). They also get some bonus points for being simple to prepare, which I always appreciate with a dessert. If you or someone you know is trying to cut down on sugar for a New Year’s resolution, we’d definitely recommend it. . . just skip the ice cream.


Flourless Chocolate Almond Cakes
Serves 2
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
50 min
  1. ½ cup raw almonds (or almond meal)
  2. 3 tablespoons butter
  3. 3 tablespoons honey
  4. ⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  5. 1 egg
  6. ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  7. 1 pinch kosher salt
  8. 1 pinch cayenne
  9. 2 5-ounce ramekins
  10. 2 tablespoons sliced almonds (for garnish)
  11. powdered sugar (for garnish)
  12. additional honey (drizzled lightly on top for garnish)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. If using whole almonds, grind the almonds very finely in a food processor until the texture is light and fluffy.
  3. In a glass measuring cup or bowl, add 3 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons honey, and ⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips. Microwave for 10 seconds intervals, stirring after each, until fully combined. (Alternatively, use the double boiler on the stove to melt the chocolate and stir in the butter and honey until fully combined.)
  4. In a medium large bowl, beat one egg with a whisk. Then add ½ cup of the almond meal, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 pinch of kosher salt, 1 pinch of cayenne pepper, and the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Butter two 5-ounce ramekins. Pour in the batter, and bake for 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out nearly clean.
Adapted from A Couple Cooks
Adapted from A Couple Cooks
Westervin http://www.westervin.com/blog/