Hey you! Don't eat that, eat this!

Every year, around late September or early October, pumpkin season starts. When I was a kid, there wasn't much pumpkin flavored foods... pie and bread were really about it.
Then at some point a few years back, somebody realized that pumpkin is a flavor that can be used for all sorts of wacky treats! This blog is primarily about those pumpkin items.
Typically, if it's pumpkin flavored, I will try it. If it has pumpkin in the name, there is a strong chance I will try it. The weirder, the more fun.
In order for this to not be a September - December only blog, I'll also highlight other weird foods (typically prepackaged, mass produced stuff) as well. There will also be a healthy dose of beer reviews.
Wanna suggest something? EMAIL Fido!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

McCutcheon's Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin Butter. What the heck is pumpkin butter? It's too soupy to be jelly and too fruity to be a cholesterol laden dairy product. I was always curious but was never sure what I'd use this for.
I actually tried it on waffles. It tasted good, but seemed weird. I liked the pumpkin flavor, but it was just wrong for waffles.
Central Market helped me out. They had a display going with samples of the pumpkin butter and they used gingersnap cookies as a way of getting the butter to your mouth. That was awesome. Pumpkin butter as a dip! I bought some gingersnaps and will definitely use this combo at my next party. Kind of like a holiday chips and salsa.

Golden Temple Pumpkin Spice Cereal

Central Market, my primary source for pumpkin related foods, has a wide variety of bulk cereals. These cereals are basically granola with some dried fruits and sweeteners and such. Still, I was excited to see a cereal/granola concoction that had pumpkin in the name without also including "flax" or "seeds."
Golden Temple Pumpkin Spice Cereal is granola, clusters of unknown make-up, and raisins. It actually tastes like pumpkin, which surprised me a bit. The raisins were annoying though, and unnecessary. I don't like raisins much anyway, but in this case, they really felt extraneous and took away from the pumpkin and spice flavor that worked really well in a bowl with milk.
Next time, I'll just pick out the raisins.

Jell-o Pumpkin Spice Pudding

I love pudding. Not as much as I love ice cream, mind you, but pudding still rocks. So, when I saw this little box of yum, I was giddy.
Pudding is easy to make. Pudding is easy to eat. What's not to love about pudding? And when that pudding has an awesome pumpkin spice flavor, it's fanamatastic!
It tastes like pumpkin pie, except in a creamy, gooey form. You can, if you want, make a pudding pie out of it and there are instructions on the box.
But I'm just fine with a bowl of pudding!

Little Debbie Pumpkin Muffins

Little Debbie makes some pretty tasty snacks. I find it slightly odd that a muffin is their second trip into pumpkin flavored treats (the other being the Pumpkin Delights). All the same, it's a pretty good muffin. It's not spectacular... but it is a tasty treat. My favorite part is that when you open the cellophane, it has this great aroma of cream cheese. While it doesn't taste like cream cheese, sadly, the smell alone is enough to make me completely forget the "creme" cake that Walmart claims to sell.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Archer Farms Pumpkin Pie Yogurt

This is the third year I've seen this Pumpkin Pie yogurt from Archer Farms. The last two years, it sucked. It wasn't good pumpkin and it wasn't even good yogurt.

For whatever reason, I decided to try it again this year. Maybe I'm crazy (quite possible) or they've improved this thing this time around. It's still pretty tangy, but the pumpkin flavor shines through. It's thicker than most mass produced yogurts. It's almost a custard. This is pretty much a dessert. I thoroughly enjoyed it this time around. I might even buy another.

I found two other flavors when I got the pumpkin. Caramel apple was okay, but it lacked much apple flavor and the caramel reminded me more of some kind of mocha. The apple cider largely tasted like a light apple flavored yogurt. There is also a sugar cookie flavor that I found recently, but I haven't gotten to that one yet. I'll let ya' know.

Pumpkin Cookie with Cinnamon Chips

Inevitably, my co-workers at whatever company I work for find out about my pumpkin food obsession. Then they start telling me they are going to make me something... usually some bread recipe or maybe a pie. So when one of my co-workers told me she was going to make the pumpkin cookies with cinnamon chips, I was intrigued. Pumpkin cookies are still a bit of a rarity, particularly good ones, and I had never even heard of cinnamon chips before.

It took her awhile to find the chips, but she finally brought some to work. Very tasty! They are soft, almost doughball like, with a tasty pumpkin flavor with little shots of cinnamon. I ate way to many of them.

I'm trying to get the recipe and if so, I'll post it.

Gingerbread Pumpkin Bundt Cake: Corner Bakery

It seems that we've hit a point where we're running out of just plain pumpkin flavored stuff and now we're finding more and more blends. Blending pumpkin with gingerbread is becoming more common and the two fall/holiday flavors work well together.

The Corner Bakery's Gingerbread Pumpkin mini-bundt cake is a good blend of pumpkin and gingerbread. I love gingerbread anyway, so this sounded pretty good. And it was. It was pretty moist and spicy. Really the only problem I had was the excessive use of the glazed icing stuff. A light drizzle is good, but I don't need a pool of icing in the middle.

It's a pretty healthy serving so it's perfect to share... or pig out. That's what I did. It would probably be better to slice it though. Otherwise, you look like some cro-mag going face first into some dead animal. And you'll get icing on your nose.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

See's Pumpkin Pie Truffle

See's Candies makes these seasonal truffles. I bought them, of course, for the Pumpkin Pie Truffle. Unfortunately, it was a bit disappointing. At first bite, my first thought was that it was very similar to the Bissinger's. But then the spice took over and it seemed more like a chocolate and cinnamon truffle. The pumpkin part of the truffle doesn't come through. In fact, this one falls into the trap that many pumpkin treats fall into: lots of spice but little pumpkin. Pumpkin Pie isn't all spice so I fail to see why other pumpkin concoctions should be overwhelmed by the spices.

Oh well. I tried the apple pie truffle. It was pretty good. Really tasted like apple pie. Haven't tried the cranberry orange or pecan pie ones yet.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Creme Cake

Another exciting Walmart find. This one was the opposite of the Pumpkin Pie though. I thought this one would be pretty good, but it was just kinda blah.
While it has "creme" and "cake" in the name, it tastes more like an average, if dry, pumpkin bread. It also doesn't have much staying power as mold began appearing after a few days. No real loss.
This also comes in a bundt cake form with some sort of weird frosting drizzle on it.

Nothing special.

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

While wandering around a Walmart Neighborhood Market looking for a few other items, I ran across this "Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie" in the bakery area. It appears to be a Walmart exclusive. The box is oddly interesting enough to attract my attention, what with its quaint pie maker and his horse & carriage.
It's a palm sized pie in a tinfoil pan inside. I was really wary of this one. One, because it's nutritional value is atrocious (the pie is one serving: 370 calories, 19g of fat, although it did have 5 grams of fiber), two, because it's from Walmart, and three, because it cost like 69 cents. However, I was pleasantly surprised.
The crust, while maybe a tad too thick, is a great pastry crust in the grand tradition of one of those Hostess fruit pies. The filling was good too. According to the box, it's actually made from pumpkin, which is a plus. It did have a bit too much spice and there was a strong hint of citrus in the almost curd-like filling, but overall, this was a pretty decent cheap pumpkin snack. I wouldn't go out of my way for it and I won't eat another one because it's pretty much considered a meal on my diet, but I don't regret eating the one.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nuovo Pumpkin & Sage Ravioli

Pumpkin & pasta... two of my favorites. It's Nuovo's Pumpkin & Sage Ravioli. Nuovo makes high quality specialty pastas and deals with foodservice a lot.

I was a little nervous about this, seeing as how my only other pumpkin & pasta experience was that terrible pumpkin gnocchi.
However, this turned out to be a much better than I thought.

It's a pretty simple meal. Each package has two generous portions and it takes about 10 minutes or so to boil. It works well with a creamy sauce, like Alfredo.

The ravioli itself actually tastes like... well... like a ricotta enhanced pumpkin pie. The pasta is tender with a strong pumpkin flavor. I'm not a big ricotta fan, to be honest, but it's not overpowering and adds a little sandy-like texture that is pleasant enough.

Found this at Central Market. The first time I found it was back in July so I think this may be a non-seasonal item.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Whataburger Fried Pumpkin Pie - 2008 edition

Tried it again. I think it was worse than last year. Still doesn't taste like pumpkin. In fact, this one kinda tasted like a burned snickerdoodle.

Not worth the effort (or the calories)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pumpkin Tart (not mass produced)

The favorite restaurant of Mr. & Mrs. Fido L. Pumpkinboy is a little French Restaurant called Saint Emilion in Fort Worth. We try and visit at least a couple of times a year. The service and atmosphere are wonderful and the food is fantastic.
We went last Saturday to celebrate our anniversary. They make a fabulous pesto gnocchi and were surprised by how good the New England Skate Wing (as in one of those ray-fish things) tasted.
The best part was when they told us the desserts. Normally I get a Brandy Alexander, but tonight, they had a pumpkin tart. And since I was eager to forget the Archer Farms Pumpkin Tart from last year, this was an easy decision.

The tart came out on a plate covered in a light raspberry glaze. At first, I wasn't sure the raspberry glaze was needed or even wanted, but it really added to the dessert. The crust was light, not to thick, and practically melted away in your mouth. The tart was a bit tart, but not very much, and it was a very creamy pumpkin flavor with a strong yet not-overpowering pumpkin spice flavor. The raspberry glaze really did enhance the entire thing as did the rich whipped cream. This cream, I'm sure, was made from scratch in the kitchen and did not come out of a spray bottle or plastic tub. I can honestly say that this tart tasted better and better with each successive bite.

Fabulous! 5 out of 5 pumpkins.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pumpkin Chocolate

Another Central Market find, this is Bissinger's Pumpkin Bark - Milk Chocolate Swirled with Real Pumpkin. All Natural no less.

It's pretty much exactly what you'd expect. It tastes like chocolate, it tastes like pumpkin... all swirled together. Verrry Tasty! It's not perfect though... it has this odd aroma and initial flavor, kinda chalky. But it's not bad and the taste of this confection more than makes up for it. It's smooth and has a creamy pumpkin flavor that isn't forced or fake. Love it!

It's also available for purchase direct from Bissinger's website if you don't have a Central Market. This one really is a can't miss.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Odwalla Pumpkin Protein Soymilk Drink

I'm not big on crazy protein drinks. I like to chew my protein, normally. But, since I am contractually obligated to try ANYTHING and EVERYTHING made with pumpkin or tasting like pumpkin, I had to give this one a shot.

Odwalla makes all sorts of crazy produce and protein liquids. I don't know how any of them taste, and I don't think I'm interested in trying any of the others. The Pumpkin Protein honestly wasn't bad, but I am not a soy person. If you do like soy, rock on.

I gave this a shot before a soccer match. Not having had a soy drink before, I didn't know what to expect. The front end wasn't very good. The weird thing is, the AFTERTASTE had a fairly nice pumpkin flavor. Once you got past the kinda chalky soy taste, there was a surprising pumpkin treat.

I don't know if it helped my soccer game or not (we lost).

Final Analysis: If you just like pumpkin, this probably isn't recommended. If you like soymilk, you'll probably enjoy far more than I did. 2 out of 5 pumpkins.

Pumpkin Gingersnaps Parfait

If you don't have a Central Market near you, then you should move to a place that has one. CM rocks. They have a great selection of organic, natural foods, fresh meats, fish and produce, a massive wine and beer section that outdoes most liquor stores AND they cook delicious foods on site. The bakery is no exception. Forget Wal-mart... those low wage lard frosting cake makers have nothing on CM.

Among the already numerous things I've found already this year at CM is this parfait is fanamatastic. Imagine a pumpkin pie, whipped into light, fluffy goodness and layered with whipped cream. Now imagine that that pie had a gingerbread crust and the crust is mixed in with the pumpkin. Awesome! 5 out of 5 pumpkins!

Now, I will have to experiment with trying to make an actual pumpkin pie with a gingersnap crust.

Homemade Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin bread might be second only to pumpkin pie as the most common pumpkin treat. Typically, I'm not going to review every pie and bread that I find since they are most likely (unless I'm told otherwise) going to be slight variations on the same recipe, if not made from a kit (Hello, Libby's).

However, when I'm at Richardson's Health Foods in Fort Worth buying my latest batch of raw meat for the dogs and I see a small ziploc bag at the counter with a price tag of $1.50 and the bag contains pumpkin bread, I must say I am intrigued. The employee who was ringing me up told me it was all natural and made by some woman who brought it in the day before. Fresh, all natural, homemade pumpkin bread. I don't know what exactly is in this or if it's fresh pumpkin (not from a can), but it was pretty tasty. Very moist with a solid pumpkin spice flavor. I never felt like I needed milk or beer or other liquid to wash it down. It wasn't sticky... it just melted in my mouth. Well worth $1.50.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ring the bell! It's Pumpkin season!

Welcome Fall!

Today being the first day of Autumn, I'm finally getting off my rear end and adding a new entry.

Last week, a friend of mine alerted me to the newest in pumpkin flavored tastiness:

Hershey's Pumpkin Spice Kisses! Yum!

Lately, Hershey's has felt the need to make their signature kisses in a variety of different flavors (the neopolitan ones are better than they sound) and so this time around, they've captured the flavor of pumpkin pie in a tiny confection and wrapped it in foil.

These kisses are soft, as opposed to the solid chocolate original kiss, and Mrs. Pumpkinboy thought they were melty and so we've been storing them in the refridgerator. They have a pretty good color (a orange/tan blend... thankfully not some bright orange color that just screams "PUMPKIN" at you).

They have a lot of flavor for such a small piece of candy. They're fairly rich too, so if you aren't head over heels in love with pumpkin flavor, it might be a tad overpowering. I loved 'em, however; it's like a little pumpkin pie you can eat anywhere.

A few of us at work have decided that these would be fantastic in a shortbread or sugar thumprint cookie. It would really seem like a mini-pumpkin pie or pumpkin tart. Perhaps I will try that.

4 1/2 out of 5 pumpkins

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Doritos Collisions: Pizza Cravers & Ranch

I love Doritos and will try almost any flavor they put out. Lately, they've been throwing out these "Collisions" where they put two flavors in one bag. It's interesting, but also disappointing since if you are only interested in one flavor, you have to go through a bag with a second flavor. Most of the time, the flavors start running together anyway so it's not really 2 flavors in one bag, more like 1 weirdo flavor in 1 bag.
I first tried the collisions because that's the only way I can get my beloved Taco flavored Doritos (collisioned with the uninspiring chipotle ranch).
Now they have Pizza Cravers/Ranch.
The Pizza Cravers are essentially the old Pizza Hut flavored Doritos from around 1996. They're fine, but largely taste like a combination of almost all of the available seasonings in the Dorito arsenal. Then there's Ranch. Not "Cool Ranch" or "Chipotle Ranch"... just "Ranch." Who at Dorito Central said "Ya know, we've done every kind of 'Ranch' we can think of... except 'Ranch', so let's just do that!" Plain ol' Ranch differs from the classic Cool Ranch in that it lacks some punch. It tastes like a mild ranch and just kind of sits there on your tongue waiting for something else to happen. Much like High School, the Cool kids are far more interesting than the plain ol' kids.

Not overly impressive at any rate. I think I'll stick to the Taco chips. Perhaps I'll start eating the Taco only and sending the Chipotle Ranch back to Frito Lay with a note saying "These could have been Taco in my bag instead of this uninspiring blah!"