Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fall in Love with Pumpkins

Fall is definitely my favorite season. There are just so many things to love about it! From the crisp cool weather to the colorful falling leaves, fall is full of fun little surprises. One of the best surprises of all is the variety of pumpkin flavored options that places carry during this very festive season. It started small, I drove by Shady Brook Farm one day to see a sign that said "Pumpkin Ice Cream in 1 day!" Needless to say the idea of Pumpkin Ice cream intrigued me and I decided I must make a trip back a couple days later, pleased to find the sign now read "Pumpkin Ice Cream is Here."

Well apparently Pumpkin Ice Cream is a gateway drug because shortly after that I was buying Pumpkin Spice coffee for my k-cup machine and enjoying Pumpkin pancakes from IHOP. That's not to mention sampling the many pumpkin beers that are out there between beer samplers at the Hulmeville Inn and my beer loving boyfriend Gary buying bottles from his work. So somewhere between stuffing my face with pumpkin pancakes and guzzling down Pumpkin Spice coffee to start my day, I decided it would be a fun goal this fall to try as many pumpkin flavored items as possible. So far here's what I've accomplished:

Item: Uncle Dave's Gourmet Pumpkin Ice Cream
Where to find: Shady Brook Farm, Yardley, PA

I honestly didn't know what to expect when I saw the sign for Pumpkin Ice Cream, I just knew that I wanted to try it! It definitely did not disappoint. It was delicious and creamy and had a perfect pumpkin taste to it! It wasn't trying too hard to be something it's not. I shared a regular with Gary but I probably could have enjoyed a whole one myself! I think I remember seeing some pumpkin ice cream at the grocery store so I'd be interested to compare. If that fails, I may have to get a quart from Shady Brook Farm to take home while it's still available!

Item: Green Mountain Coffee Pumpkin Spice K-Cups
Where to find: I purchased mine at Kohl's but you can probably find it most places K-Cups are sold

I think Pumpkin Spice Coffee is one of the most cliche yet delicious pumpkin flavored items that you can find during this wonderful season. I bet if Family Feud asked you to name something that comes in a pumpkin flavor not including pie, coffee or latte would be the number 1 answer! I think almost everyone who's cared to has tried Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Latte or is at least aware of its' existence. The best part about these k-cups is delicious pumpkin spiced coffee right at home! It's more affordable AND you don't have to get up extra early to stop and get coffee on your way to work.
Item: Pumpkin Pancakes
Where to find: IHOP

What's not to love? Pumpkins? Good! Pancakes? Goood! Pumpkin Pancakes? Fantastic! IHOP is pretty much amazing and I love their seasonal pancake options. I hope to make it back at least one more time for another tasty stack of these pumpkin treats before the season is over. I am also looking forweard to their gingerbread pancakes though!

Item: Pumpkin Spice Cappuccino and Pumpkin Muffin
Where to find: Wawa
As I mentioned above, pumpkin flavored hot beverages are quite cliche when it comes to seasonal specialties in the Fall. Fortunately, cliche doesn't really matter when something tastes amazing and the Pumpkin Spice Cappuccino from Wawa is no exception. I decided to try one of these after reading how good it was on a friend's Facebook status. Since that first taste, I've had quite a few of these suckers thanks to there being a Wawa on every corner around where I live and the fact that they're super affordable! During one of my many recent Wawa trips, I also decided to try a Pumpkin Muffin which I saw in their fresh bakery box. The muffin wasn't anything special, but it was tasty. I hear Dunkin Donuts has an awesome pumpkin muffin but the one time I tried to get one they were out.

Item: Pumpkin Spiced Latte, Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin & Pumpkin Scone
Where to find: Starbucks
Again you really can't mention pumpkin anything without thinking of Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks. Starbucks used to be my go to place for my pumpkin spice fix each fall until I discovered a whole new world of pumpkin possibilites out there. Even though I've had it before, I decided I still needed to notch off this classic from my growing pumpkin belt loop. The "growing" can have multiple meanings for instance, my growing list of pumpkin options or my growing waistline from trying all of these pumpkin treats! While there I saw two delicious pumpkin baked goods so I purchased them both. A pumpkin cream cheese muffin and a pumpkin scone. I chose the scone to have with my latte and decided to save the muffin for breakfast. The latte was good, pretty much what I remembered however having tried it after the Pumpkin Spice Cappicuno from Wawa, I have to say the Wawa one is better, hands down! It's half the price and has double the flavor! As for the scone, it might quite possibly be the best thing I've ever tasted! If not, it definitely wins for best pumpkin flavored anything and it's only $1.99. The pumpkin cream cheese muffin was ok, similar to the Wawa one, it was nothing special. Mine was a day old so it wasn't fresh but I feel like I still got the general idea of it. Based on their website, Starbucks also has pumpkin bread that I need to try as well as their pumpkin spice iced latte and creme frappacino.

Item: Pumpkin Iced Coffee
Where to find: Dunkin Donuts

These days when you're talking about coffee, it'd be hard to imagine Dunkin Donuts not coming up in conversation. I mean it's in their catch phrase "America Runs on Dunkin" and it's the truth! I think about 95% of the time I see someone at work have a coffee cup, it's from DD. And who can blame America for "running on Dunkin?" They have truly branded themselves as an affordable beverage option that has something for everyone. From iced to frozen to hot, they have a plethera of flavors and choices for beverages and their food options go way beyond donuts. I originally stopped by to try that Pumpkin Muffin I'd heard was so tasty only to find an empty bin behind the sign. I glanced around noticing an empty bin behind the pumpkin donut sign as well. I half heartedly asked the worker if they had any pretty much expecting the "we're all out" answer I received. I was about to walk away empty handed when I realized that they most likely had some pumpkin coffee options for me to try. I decided on a Pumpkin Iced Coffee which I proceeded to suck down like it was going out of style! I also ended up trying their pumpkin muffin which was delicious! I liked it better than the Wawa and Starbucks pumpkin muffins that I tried.

Item: Philadelphia Cream Cheese Pumpkin Spice Flavor
Where to find: I found it at Giant but I'm sure other grocery stores have it as well

Ok so I'm sure you'd be shocked to know it after reading this blog, but fall isn't all about pumpkins! I know, I know but it's true. Crispy, tart apples are also a fall favorite. There's fresh apple barrels being sold on the side of the road and hot apple cider and all that jazz. Wondering what this has to do with Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese? While doing some grocery shopping, I came upon a package of Thomas': Season's Best Apple Cinnamon bagels. Thinking they sounded scrumptious, I scooped them up and ran over to check out the cream cheese situation. This was going to be one of those impulse buys as I was on my way to the register so I was in a hurry. First thing I see in the cream cheese isle is the pumpkin flavor so I of course get caught in a major delimma. In my mind the two wouldn't mix very well so I was going to have to choose. With little debate I of course ultimately chose the pumpkin cream cheese, grabbed a bag of (much cheaper) Giant brand bagels and headed to the register. Thinking back on it, trying the two together may have actually tasted good, but you can't live in the past. The Pumpkin cream cheese is delicious and I have no regrets!

Item: Pumpkin Spice Liqueur
Where to find: Total Wine & More in Cherry Hill, NJ - or other liquor stores

Since my boyfriend works at a beer, wine and liquor store, I decided to ask him what kind of pumpkin alcohol they had other than beer. He bought me a bottle of "Pumpkin Liquor." There were two recipes on the back, one for an Autumn Russian and one for a Pumpkin Martini. I decided to try the Autumn Russian, it is basically a White Russian with Pumpkin Liqeur added. We had airplane bottles of vodka and a Kahlua knockoff so it was perfect. We also didn't have any cream so we used milk instead. It was still delicious and was a really cool color with the dark Kahlua and bright orange color combining in the glass. I later tried this drink again using pre-made White Russian drinks so it was much easier and had the exact ingrediants. I haven't tried the Pumpkin Martini but have a little left so I might do that. I think it's pretty much just vodka and the Pumpkin Liquer shaken over ice and strained into a martini glass.

Item: Kelloggs Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts (Limited Edition)
Where to Find: Target, I also see them on Amazon but at $10 for a box of 12, that seems a little pricey!
I didn't personally find these in a store but was told they were sold at Target in Fredericksburg, VA so I had my mom pick me up a couple boxes. These were delicious! They are exactly what you'd expect, poptarts with pumpkin pie flavored filling and they were awesome! I wish I could find more but haven't seen them at any of the stores I shop at around my apt. They are Limited Edition so if you find a box, buy them!

Item: Pumpkin Creme Brulee
Where to find: I tried it at Soup & Taco in Fredericksburg, VA but I'm sure multiple restaurants have it in the fall

If you enjoy creme brulee and you enjoy pumpkin flavored goodness, then you're going to love pumpkin creme brulee! It is absolutely delicious! The best part about creme brulee is tapping it and hearing that crackling sound. It's one of those simple joys in life. Has anyone ever seen the movie Amelie? Enough said. The one I had was a little burnt on top but it was still delicious. I think regular creme brulee can be a little boring aside from the sugary crackling top part so I enjoy trying any new twists and flavors on the classic dessert.

Item: Pumpkin Cupcake with Pumpkin Icing
Where to find: I tried mine at Colonial Cupcakes in Fredericksburg, VA, I also bought a mix at World Market that I haven't made yet

This cupcake was very tasty. At $3 each it better have been! It is similar to pumpkin spiced bread if you've tried that but the fact that the icing was pumpkin flavored as well made it extra delicious! I look forward to making my own pumpkin cupcakes with the mix from World Market. I also bought a Pumpkin Spiced Soup and bar of Pumpkin Spiced soap there.

Item: Pumpkin Pie
Where to find: My mom purchased our Thanksgiving pumpkin pie from Costco this year.

Of course classic pumpkin pie is a must on Thanksgiving! There are tons of different recipes and ways to try it. This year my mom went the Costco route. While it wasn't homemade, it was still delicious and we topped it off with some homemade whipped cream!

If anyone knows of any other pumpkin flavored items I can try and where to find them, please let me know! And also let me know if you tried any of the items mentioned above and how you liked them. I hope you fall in love with pumpkins as much as I did this season :-)

See also: Fall in Love with Pumpkins 2k11