Tag Archives: House

2nd Day of Fall: Pumpkin Spice BS

Let’s just gloss right over my nearly months of utter silence and pick right back up where we left off.

Like a great relationship with an old friend or riding a bike or a third thing, let’s just pick right back up like no time has passed.

What have I been doing? I did some advertising for clients with a celebrity (#sponsored). I bought a house. I did not cook much.

What have you been doing?

(Leave space for reply.)

That sounds cool!

Let’s talk about something.

It’s fall again. (UGH.)

Listen, I’ll admit some things that I didn’t want to admit before. I’m enjoying the SLIGHTLY cooler weather. 70 degree days are perfect. 54 degree mornings are not. But I can still wear short sleeves comfortably. And flip flops. #904forlyfe

I’m sad to see summer foods go. Tomato sandwiches and caprese salads and tomato pie. Ok, maybe I’m mostly just sad to see tomatoes go. But, I am excited to see some fall foods ushered in. Roasted veg. Soups. All the squashes. Acorn. Kabocha. Squatternut bosh.

I will there is one fall food that I’m not excited about: pumpkin spice. Yes. I’m calling pumpkin spice its own food. This phenomenon has grown from delightful novelty into a whole lot of bullshit. I blame Starbucks and Obama. Come on, you KNOW he had something to do with it.

That’s probably a pumpkin cookie…

I recently went to my new local grocery store and found a whole display of PSBS: Pumpkin Spice Bullshit. So I decided to buy a LOT of it and try it out. (I bought so much, in fact, that the woman at the check out made a comment about it. BACK OFF, LADY, THIS IS RESEARCH.)

Let’s talk about what’s good, what’s bad, and what I’ve been too scared to try yet. I shall use a stoplight rating system.

  • Red means stop. Because that’s what red means.
  • Yellow means eh. That’s NOT what it means in a traffic context.
  • Green means OH HELL YEAH. Also, not what green means.
PSBS

PSBS

Pumpkin Tortilla Chips

Yellow/Eh

Eh.

Eh.

Listen. This is just a vaguely cinnamon flavored multi-grain chip. Is it bad? No. Is it good? No. It’s fine. It’s inoffensive. I ate it with some salsa that I found in my fridge that I threw away after I checked the expiration date. There have been no salsa-related casualties.

Pumpkin Spice Oreos

Red/Stop

GREAT lighting, she says sarcastically.

GREAT lighting, she says sarcastically.

Oreo is a client of my agency and a damn good one, so all I’ll say is: may I interest you in some Oreo Thins?

Pumpkin Spice Milanos

Red/Stop

Why. Just why.

Why. Just why.

Growing up, Pepperidge Farm was absolutely the tops in grocery store cookies. Milanos and Mint Milanos were the best ones. When I was babysitting (or cat-sitting….that’s right) and found those in someone’s pantry (again, that’s right), I knew I hit the mother load. I was probably most excited for this one. These cookies taste as gross as they look, and that’s saying something because they look pretty gross.

Pepperidge Farm, why did you mess with perfection?

Pumpkin Spice Hand Rejuvenating Ultra Concentrated Dish Washing Liquid

Yellow/Eh

If it looks like hand soap, it has to be ultra concentrated dish liquid.

If it looks like hand soap, it has to be ultra concentrated dish liquid.

Well, this is a bit misleading. This packaging looks like Method hand soap. I almost put it in the bathroom. But upon further inspection, it’s actually dish soap. Why would I ever think that? Since it says HAND REJUVENATING in giant letters and Ultra Concentrated Dish Washing Liquid in tiny letters.

This product is fine. I don’t know why I need my dishes to smell like pumpkin, but whatever. Maybe I’m too old school. I like my dishes to smell like lemon or Dawn.

Jif Whips Pumpkin Pie Spice

Green/OH HELL YEAH

From JunkFoodGuy.com. Apparently.

From JunkFoodGuy.com. Apparently.

I should probably admit something to you guys right now. I’ve got a real peanut butter addiction. I can’t keep it in the house because I’ll eat it all in one sitting. Like a bowl of ice cream. It’s pretty gross. (Yes, I am still single, why did you ask?)

Jif Whips is a whipped peanut butter, so it’s less dense. Easier for spreading, dipping, what have you. The Jif Whips + pumpkin pie spice tastes like a tub of Halloween candy. It evokes memories of trick-or-treating without having to put on a costume. But if you wanted to, I wouldn’t judge you.

Details on the Pumpkin Odor Absorbing Scented Beads later. Plus, I haven’t tried the Pumpkin Flavored Morsels or the Pumpkin Pasta sauce yet. Neither sounds very appetizing. ‘Morsels’ is never a word that conjures up yumminess. And I rarely buy canned pasta sauce, but hey, this is a limited time original! Gotta catch ‘em all! Those will be to follow in another post.

The last thing I did was actually employing the thing that started it all: pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. A few years ago, my grandma gave me a collection of recipe cards. Some of them were my favorite meals that I ate when I went to visit. Others were recipes I never tried, including a brandy and a bourbon slush. Go ahead, Myrtle.

One such recipe was for a pumpkin sheet cake. It ain’t a health cake, but it sure is good.

Thanks, Myrt.

Thanks, Myrt.

So folks, if you see something, say something. This message has been brought to you by the defenders of pumpkin integrity. Fighting PSBS one autumnal day at a time.

Gramma’s Pumpkin Sheet Cake

Cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped nuts | I used pecans
  • 2 cups pumpkin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 sticks butter
  • ½ cup nuts | I did not include the nuts in the frosting, but rather toasted sliced almonds and topped the cake with it. It was a rull nice touch.
  • 1 lb. of powdered sugar

If you have a sheet cake pan, then the baking time below should work for you. If not, you’ll need to watch the oven and adjust your time accordingly. I used a Pyrex 4 quart baking dish and my cake took about 35-40 minutes. 

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Put all cake ingredients into a bowl and whisk until mixed together. Put into greased and floured baking dish.

Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely.

For the frosting, put all ingredients together and mix to combine. Frost and enjoy. 

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And on the 15th day, I moved.

A brief respite from my humble bragging about Barcelona and #ham to tell you that in between my trip to Barcelona and my upcoming production, I moved. (Oh, you didn’t know that I went to Barcelona? WELL, I DID)

I didn’t move because I wanted to. Well, I did want to. But I also had to. My landlady decided to sell the condo I’d been renting. So, I had to find a new place. 

My parents came up last week and frankly, I could not have done it without them. Literally. If I’d done it alone, it would’ve gotten done. Like, all the stuff would be at my house. But I would’ve been living in a fort of boxes because I would’ve gotten overwhelmed and instead of unpacking the boxes, I would’ve come up with something new to do with them. Like make a fort. 

I’m living in a house now, which is exciting. And kind of scary. I think I might set up a tar and feather station, a la Home Alone. Just for some extra security. Bless this highly nutritious, microwavable meal and the people who sold it on sale. (Sorry, Sarah. Home Alone sin, quoting it out of season.)

Here are some pics. 

Naturally, the thing I’m most excited about is my new kitchen. And one thing in particular.  

IT. HAS. AN. ACTUAL. OVEN. For the last 5 years, everything I’ve baked was made in THIS monstrosity. 

Although, to be fair, it didn't usually have other racks in it.

Although, to be fair, it didn’t usually have other racks in it.

I know, it’s worse than Portia di Rossi’s new face. But, seriously folks…

This was really hard for someone who loves to bake. To make a batch of chocolate chip cookies, it would take me over 2 hours. I could fit 4 cookies on a sheet tray. I had to buy special sheet trays to fit the oven. It was just dumb. 

My dad, whose passion is model railroading (I know…we’re a really cool family), compared my love of baking to model railroading. And he said “you’re probably just as excited to bake something as I was to get out there and put cracks on the sidewalks on my model railroad!”

Again, VERY cool family. Welcome to the family, fake future husband!!

So, he asked what the first thing I was going to bake was. And I said: coconut tres leeches cake.

Much like the patatas bravas, I haven’t had a chance to make this yet. But it’s from Food 52, so I feel like it’s gonna be delicious. It’s going to be the first thing I bake. I mean, I may throw a piece of salmon in the oven. But this will be the first cake-ular thing that happens. Because man should not live on bread alone. And let them eat cake. And I’m out of phraseology, but now I’m hungry for cake.

Fuck.

Coconut Tres Leches Cake from Food 52

Serves one 9×13 cake

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for the pan
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • One 13 1/2 ounce can coconut milk
  • One ounces 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Heat the oven to 350. Butter a 9×13 baking dish. Melt the butter and honey together and set aside.
Whisk the flours, salt, and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
Beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a larger bowl until everything lightens in color and is nice and smooth. Now on lower speed or with a gentler arm, beat in the flour in 2 additions until the batter is just smooth. Fold in the butter and mix until it is just fully incorporated. Pour the batter into the pan and bake 25-30 minutes, rotating cake once halfway through, until it is golden and a toothpick comes out clean. This is going to look like a sort of shallow cake. Don’t worry.
While the cake bakes, mix the three milks (tres leches) together and also spread the coconut out on a baking sheet. When the cake comes out, pop the coconut into the oven to toast. Check and stir every 3-4 minutes. It should only take 8-9 minutes to get golden brown.
Use a toothpick to poke little holes all over the warm cake. Now pour the milk over it — slowly. It is going to look like a LOT of milk and you are going to want to panic. Don’t. My cake actually floated up like a raft briefly! But pour it all on and wait — 95% of that milk is going to adsorb into the cake and the rest is that lake you are looking for. Allow the cake to cool completely, and the toasted coconut as well.
Now whip the cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and lime zest together until stiff peaks form. Spread the cream over the cake, then sprinkle the coconut over top. You can dig in right now, our keep it in the fridge for 3-4 days, though I doubt it’ll last that long.
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