Tag Archives: Pumpkin

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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I love smiling. Smiling’s my favorite. An Elf Dinner Party.

The holidays are full of traditions. Some good, some bad. Some so bad they’re good. (Folgers incestuous brother-sister Christmas commercial, anyone? YOU’RE MY PRESENT THIS YEAR, INAPPROPRIATE BROTHER.) And some of them are phenomenal. This one is simply phenomenal. 

For the last 6 years, my friends J & B and I have gathered to watch Elf. We watch, exchange presents, decorate cookies and cry when Buddy saves Christmas*. BACK OFF, IT IS EMOTIONAL.

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*Please note, J and I are the only ones who cry. B, being the man of the group, does what every man does when women are crying at Elf: makes fun of them for crying at Elf. 

This year’s party was in J & B’s awesome new house. New house, new Elf party. Why not incorporate a new twist? Let’s add some Elf themed food.

When I told my dad about this, he assumed that that meant we’d be eating spaghetti with syrup on it. A little on the nose, Dave. But the principle was right. 

J assigned each of us one of the Elf culinary staples. B got coffee (from the scene where Buddy congratulates the shitty diner on the world’s best cup of coffee), J got marshmallows (which Buddy puts on his spaghetti, along with pop tarts and other stuff), and I got maple syrup. Which was both exciting and terrifying.

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I have to make another confession here on the ole blog: I don’t think I’d ever had true maple syrup before. I’m not a huge pancake fan. I’ll do a waffle from time to time, but it sure as shit better have a piece of fried chicken on top. I’ve always been drawn to the savory more than the sweet, so this may have been my first experience with maple syrup. Like, in the world.

Worst. Food. Blog. Evar.

But, I had a mission. To create an appetizer with maple syrup for our Elf party. Buddy didn’t let Santa down. And I was not going to let Santa down either. Or my friends. Since Santa was not attending this party.

I found a recipe on the Epicurious app for Very Simple Pumpkin Soup that featured maple syrup. Sidenote. The Epicurious app is an awesome cooking app, y’all. The functionality is amazing. The way I found this recipe is by searching by ingredient and then by course, weeding out the thousands of French toast recipes and only focusing on the things that were appropriate. Download the Epicurious app.

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And before you ask, yeah right, Epicurious is not paying me. They’ve never even heard of me. I’ve barely even heard of me. Just a rad app for iPhone and iPad. 

Anyways, this soup is good. It’s easy because you’re using canned pumpkin. And it’s a bit sweet, because of the pumpkin and the maple syrup. But the Chinese Five Spice gives it some depth and spice (….5 spices to be precise…) without being spicy. Top with sautéed shitake mushrooms and you’ve got yourself a treat even Buddy might like. 

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B brought the baking with a pumpernickel bread made with coffee. It was terrific. Really rich flavor and paired so well with herbed goat cheese and a creamy swiss.  

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And J made an elegant smores bar, inspired by her some searching on Pinterest. She stepped it up by adding some bacon. Cause bacon makes everything better. We got to toast the marshmallows in their brand new fireplace.

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It was an excellent night. And now, all I want to do is make food inspired by movies. Watch Midnight in Paris and make coq au vin. Watch Ocean’s 11 and make fruits de mer. Hell, I’ll even give Silence of the Lambs a go.

CALM DOWN, JERKS.

I would make LAMB with a chianti sauce and fava bean risotto. And tiramisu. Cause it has lady fingers. PUNTASTIC!

Very Simple Pumpkin Soup, from Epicurious.com

 

  • 2 15-ounce cans pure pumpkin
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed | I do not have a presser of garlic. So, I minced. 
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder | * A blend of ground anise, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and ginger available in the spice section of most supermarkets. I thought I was going to have trouble finding it, but found these at Fresh Market. 
  • 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced | These I found at Whole Foods. 

Bring first 4 ingredients to simmer in large saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking often. Whisk in syrup, 2 tablespoons butter, and five-spice powder. Simmer soup 10 minutes, whisking often. Season with salt and pepper. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Divide soup among 6 bowls. Sprinkle soup with mushrooms, dividing equally; serve.

Soup can be made 1 day ahead. Chill until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Bring to simmer before serving.

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