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Pumpkin Obsessed

Pumpkin Spice. Everything Nice.

Pumpkin Spelt Risotto

Available at: Aldi
Cost: I totally forgot to look. It’s from Aldi, though, so I doubt I paid more than $4 for it.

Notes: Risotto is a pretty high-maintenance meal. Alll the stirring! But this is much simpler. You heat up some olive oil, then pour in this bag of risotto, along with a little bit of water, and simmer it until it’s done. You should stir it some, but you don’t have to put your life on hold to tend to it.

The results? Pretty impressive. You can see actual herbs in your finished meal! Great big chunks of roasted pumpkin! The sauce is indeed creamy, just like the package promises. And the spelt provides an interesting toothiness that I quite liked. I ate the entire bag, along with a salad, for dinner. Good stuff, and a very easy make for a weeknight, either as a vegetarian main dish or as a side.

Rating: 🎃🎃🎃🎃

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Spiced Pumpkin Pie Clif Bar

Available at: Hy-Vee
Cost: $1.50

Notes: This was a good little snack. It’s full of oats, dried fruits, cane syrup and lots and lots of nuts. It was hearty and toothy and I quite enjoyed it. The only reason I didn’t rank this higher was because I think it was a bit pricy for a quick snack.

Rating: 🎃🎃🎃

Pumpkin Mule

Available at: Me and Billy, Davenport
Cost: $8

Notes: I got a message from Quad City Times reporter Amanda Hancock, asking if she could do another story about me and pumpkin spice. (The new story is here today, if you ware so inclined). She suggested maybe we could share a pumpkin-related activity together. We decided it would be a “good life decision” to have pumpkin mules at Me and Billy on a Friday afternoon.

And so, Amanda, photographer Andy, and I found ourselves at the bar with three lovely copper mugs in front of us. A pumpkin mule, in case you were wondering, consists of vodka, pumpkin liqueur, house-made lime simple syrup, and ginger beer. All of this is topped with a heroic amount of whipped cream, sprinkled with cinnamon.

Does that sound good? Or does it sound weird? Andy had his doubts and was pleasantly surprised to find he liked it. Amanda and I found that it’s important to use the little stir straw thingy to really blend the flavors. Once you do? Delightful. The pumpkin liqueur on its own is pretty sweet. Like, melted ice cream sweet. It’s best mixed with something else, like coffee, or as it turns out, vodka, ginger beer, and lime simple syrup. The flavors really blend together nicely.

Hanging out drinking pumpkin mule is indeed a good life decision. (I suspected as much.)

Rating: 🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

Califa Farms Pumpkin Spice Latte Cold Brew Coffee with Almond Milk

Available at: Hy-Vee,in the health food section
Cost: $4

Notes: Califa Farms stuff always catches my eye because their packaging is just so cool. Look at that goddess in their logo – don’t you want to hang out with her while you drink almond milk?

I’ve had their cold brew coffee before. Cold brew is great with almond milk, and this kind is not too sweet. Suffice it to say, I was pretty psyched to try a pumpkin spice version.

Sure enough, it was awesome. Fantastic coffee, the barest hint of sweetness, and strong cinnamon and nutmeg flavors. This contains actual pumpkin, if you care. Drink some and embrace the waning days of fall.

Rating: 🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix

Available at: Trader Joe’s
Cost: It was a gift!

Notes: We can all agree that a lazy weekend morning featuring pumpkin waffles is a little slice of heaven. But why not bring a bit of that joy to a normal weekday?

That is why I found myself whipping up a double batch of batter and cranking out a bunch of waffles last night – along with a bunch of sausage. Let me tell you, it made the house smell amazing. Also, full disclosure, I ate two of the waffles for dessert – just straight off the waffle iron.

Those waffles that survived my initial round of Quality Assurance I put in the fridge. Then, this morning, I microwaved a sausage patty and put two waffles in the toaster. Boom, delicious weekend-caliber breakfast in about a minute. WINNING.

The waffles were delicious, by the way. Perfect pumpkin flavor, buttery (probably on account of the butter in them), and crisped up just right.

Rating: 🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

Pilsbury Perfectly Pumpkin Premium Cake Mix

Available at: I believe I got this at Target
Cost: About $2.50

Notes: When I made this cake, I decided to try those “make your boxed cake mix taste like bakery cake” tips that are always floating around Pinterest. I added an extra egg, used milk instead of water, and used butter instead of oil. The butter, in particular, made a huge difference and gave this cake a richer flavor than it would have otherwise had. Even so, this cake was just okay.

Rating: 🎃🎃- 1/2

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Muffin

Available at: This is from Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Break & Muffin Mix
Quick and Easy? Yes

Notes: This mix can be used for either pumpkin bread or muffins. I’ve done pumpkin bread recently, so I decided to mix it up and make muffins this time around.

These are a solid basic pumpkin muffin. They aren’t really unique, but they are good. Sorry if that’s tepid, but there is certainly a place in all of our cupboards for a basic, right?

Rating: 🎃🎃🎃

Pumpkin Latte Lollypop

Available at: Walgreen’s
Cost: 69 cents

Notes: Pumpkin latte is an absolute misnomer in describing this lollypop flavor. It tastes like hot cinnamon. Like if you took a Fire Jolly Rancher (80s candy reference) and crossed it with Hot Tamales. If you like that kind of thing, you will like this lollypop. I was done after about 30 seconds and tossed it in the trash.

Rating: 0 🎃

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Bars

Available at: Aldi
Cost: $2.99

Notes: When I was in college, about once a week, the dining hall offered “ice cream novelties” as dessert. I like ice cream in any form, novel included, so obviously I scooped this into my cart right away.

There isn’t actually much novelty to these. They are pumpkin ice cream, in a popsicle shape, on a stick. No, like, crunch coating or anything. And the ice cream itself is not the greatest pumpkin ice cream ever. These are just okay.

Rating: 🎃🎃🎃

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