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~CUCURBITA TECUM~ (c)

Does your heart light up when you see a pumpkin? Does your pulse quicken when you see pumpkin foods? Do you love pumpkins? www.ilovepumpkins.com is for you!

Bi-Rite’s Pumpkin Ice Cream

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on December 6, 2008

At The Source... Bi-Rite's Pumpkin Ice Cream.

At The Source... Bi-Rite's Pumpkin Ice Cream.

You’ll recall that we ran into Bi-Rite’s Pumpkin Ice Cream Cake at a birthday party last month.

Now we’ve got a pure, unadulterated, acapella photo of Bi-Rite’s Pumpkin Ice Cream. Thank you Citizen Blogger + Master Pumpkin Pie Taster Steve W. for sending this in! In his own words, Steve called it ”tasty.”

If you’re looking for more Pumpkin Ice Cream reviews, use the search bar on the top right of this page and enter the words “ice cream.” Enjoy!

Gas Station Coffee

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on December 4, 2008

Thanks for trying.

Thanks for trying, Chevron.

Chevron gas stations are serving machine-made Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I applaud them for the effort; it’s a brilliant idea. However, the execution is terrible.

Smells like… nothing. Tastes like… weak, watered-down coffee with stale cinnamon.

This Chevron was a few blocks away from San Francisco’s Superior Court, where I went to contest a red-light infraction. You’d be happier with their coffee. Their coffee shop carafes may not have been cleaned with soap since 1972! Still, nice suits and cheap suits take breaks there, making their breath smell worse with stale coffee as the day goes on…

Maybe next year Chevron will get it right? Thank you for the effort, but no thanks!

Peet’s Coffee: Spiced Pumpkin Latte

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on December 2, 2008

Smooth, calm, hypnotic.

Smooth, calm, hypnotic.

Now here’s a Pumpkin Latte you can believe in! Amazingly smooth and mellow pumpkin taste.

Even my coffee likes people-watching on Fillmore.

Enjoying the weather.

It’s not too sweet, not too sugary, and… once you’re past the foam, you discover that it’s not artificially colored either. Remember that orangey color you found in Starbucks’ Pumpkin Latte? You won’t find it here and you probably won’t miss it. Peet’s Pumpkin Spice Latte is delicious and more mature than the same drink from Starbucks. The top notes are pumpkinny but it satsifies like coffee.

A look behind the counter at Peet's secret sauce...

A look behind the counter at Peet's secret ingredient...

Does it win over Starbucks? Not sure. Peet’s is more subtle and Starbucks’ is more outgoing. Each has its own strengths. Need help deciding? Check out these links for my reviews of Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte and Pumpkin Scones and Muffins as well as sneak peek at Starbucks’ Secret Spice!

p.s. If you want to try some pumpkin satisfaction at home, you can buy the same Monin Pumpkin Syrup at my store as used at Peet’s.

Even my latte enjoys people-watching on Fillmore.

Even my latte enjoys people-watching on Fillmore. By the way, I used to work in advertising, so I figured I'd get a dog and a kid in this picture to improve recall scores.

 

Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix from Trader Joe’s

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on December 1, 2008

Can you find the muffin in this picture?

Can you find the mini muffin in this picture?

Tonight Trader Joe’s sampled their Pumpkin Bread Mix baked into a Mini Pumpkin Muffin format. Wow! If I weren’t still trying to work off that second helping of stuffing from last week (second? third?) this bread mix would have landed straight into my shopping cart.

Soothing, welcoming and homey, just the smell of this muffin made me do a double-take. And then the taste lived up to the aroma: warm crispy crust and yummy goodness inside.

Comforting and delicious, Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Mix is a good stand-by to have around. Bake some up for weekend brunch while you develop your holiday shopping strategies, or enjoy it as a mulled wine accompaniment on a chilly afternoon.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on November 30, 2008

Waking up just got more delicious.

Waking up just got delicious.

Back on the East Coast last week, I was able to find Coffeemate’s fantastic Pumpkin Spice creamer, which just isn’t available anywhere in the Bay Area this year! Wishes fulfilled.

Remember the article about Pumpkinzing Your Coffee? Coffeemate won hands-down versus International Delight. If you can find Coffeemate’s Pumpkin Pie Spice creamer where you live, you may want to treat yourself. It’s good!

Cute new packaging, too.

Cute new packaging, too.

Slimy - Not Kozy - Pumpkin Pudding

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on November 29, 2008

The proof is in the pudding... and the truth hurts.

The proof is in the pudding... and the truth hurts.

This pudding is getting kozy with my trash can. The texture of Kozy Shack’s Pumpkin Pudding is so soft and full, goopy and disgusting, you really must avoid it! Does anyone eat pudding anymore anyway?

But it gets worse: Kozy Shack encourages us to pour it into a pie shell and call it a pumpkin pie. Can you imagine a wide expanse of pudding just blubbering around in a pie shell? That is NOT pumpkin pie… it’s blasphemous disrespect!

Clif Bar’s Spiced Pumpkin Pie

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on November 28, 2008

Chewy chewy chewy.

Chewy chewy chewy.

Moist and chewy, chewy, chewy. Oats oats oats oast oats. Cinnamon smell. ~One almond and ~one raisin in each bar. Dubious icing is not delicious, but is forgiveable. Excellent ingredients including psyllium and flax for fiber and crunch, and of course, pumpkin flakes. Fun, satisfying pumpkin choice for Clif Bar fans.

Did you know you can buy Clif Spiced Pumpkin Pie and other products at my Amazon store? Check it out!

Q: "What did the Raisin say to the Almond?"                A: "We're surrounded!"

Q: What did the Raisin say to the Almond? A: We're surrounded!

Don’t Talk Table Talk

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on November 27, 2008

I don't want to talk about it.

I don't want to talk about it.

I love the exciting contrast between East Coast and West Coast grocery stores. But even with my major propensity towards forgiveness, I find disappointing pumpkin pies and desserts here in the greater Washington DC metro area, which is where I’m stationed for Thanksgiving.

Table Talk’s Pumpkin Pie was the biggest flop. I should never have even tried it… but frozen pumpkin pies surprised me, so I decided to give this one a chance.

“WHO DID THIS?” asked my Mom, as if she’d just opened her door and found her home burglarized. Table Talk is a traumatizing pumpkin pie. Tastes like hydrogenated fat. Even the filling!! Which is amazing, because Table Top tells us there actually are pumpkins in here.  

Table Talk? A Difficult Conversation.

Table Talk? A Difficult Conversation.

Is It Crazy Out There?

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on November 26, 2008

Collaborative decision-making in the spice aisle.

Collaborative decision-making in the spice aisle.

It’s the eve of Thanksgiving.

Urbanites are out drinking and being rogue.

Family types are home asleep or…  pretending to be asleep.

Family party people are drinking with their families pretending to be wine and whisky connoisseurs.

A few major grocery stores experienced a mad rush tonight - like David’s Whole Foods on California Street in Pacific Heights - but others like Giant in Rockville Maryland were well-managed, with short lines, and only the most benevolent excitability!

Turkey nativity at a butcher shop.

Turkey nativity at Giant's butcher shop.

Giant also made regular informative announcements about fresh and frozen turkeys.

Lingerie for turkeys.

Lingerie for turkeys.

By the way, check out the photo above. On the left hand side is a pop-up timer. But come on, turkeys, does any man REALLY need a pop-up timer? Them check out the photo on the right. Sounds like turkey lingerie to me, and it’s also “easy, quick, neat and sanitary.” Eeeek! Take it slow, dear readers!

Pause on death row.

Pause on death row.

Let’s admit it. If anyone’s thankful this weekend it’s the lobsters, like those I met in the tank shown above. Everyone wants turkey - fresh, frozen, tofurkish - and so lobsters are enjoying an extra week on death row before they feel the existential pleasure of being dropped into boiling water (take me with you). I hope they found a good DJ for their party tonight on Thanksgiving Eve!

Stop! I can't taste any more pies!

Stop! I can't taste any more pies!

Oh and… even though Table Talk is not very palatable, the photos below show that their pumpkin pie seems to have no trouble getting smoochy action.

Even the lowest pumpkin pies can get down.

Even the lowest pumpkin pies can get down.

Frozen Pumpkin Pies: Surprisingly Good!

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on November 25, 2008

Why bake a frozen pie? It sounds like some bizarre form of cheating. You’re not baking your own pie… but you’re not “just buying one” either. So, what the heck are you really doing? What’s the point? Is this some weird limbo, the twilight zone of pumpkin pies?

Well my friends! Despite our initial skepticism, my tasting panelists and I concluded that frozen pumpkin pie can be downright excellent! It fills your home with the welcoming smell of baking and the quality we tasted was impressive and satisfying. It’s easy to make and delivers fresh-baked satisfaction with little effort. Open the box, remove the plastic or paper covering, and put it in the oven for between 50-95 minutes depending on the brand.

Frozen Pumpkin Pie Advice: Don’t let the grocery store cashier throw it around, and be careful bringing it home. Because it’s heavy as a rock when frozen, it gives the impression of being totally indestructible. However, the edges of the crust can get banged up in transit, as you can see in the picture below. Don’t let this happen to you! Look for a box that’s intact and take care getting home.

Avoid this... don't let the cashier throw your food around!

Avoid this... don't let the cashier throw your food around!

Official Guide to Pumpkin Pie is Live!

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on November 24, 2008

Owned by Nestle, Libby's plants ~4,000 acres of pumpkin each year.

These guys plant ~4000 acres of pumpkin every year.

The Official Guide to Pumpkin Pie is now live! Let us help you get ready for Thanksgiving.

Is your Make-vs.-Buy decision leading you to buy? Outsourcing can improve performance, deliver savings, and allow you to focus your time on your core activities. So check out my Official Guide to Pumpkin Pie and spend Thanksgiving morning enjoying a yoga class or running that 10K Turkey Trot instead!

For those of you planning to bake your own, there are lots of resources out there. My simple tips and guidelines for perfect baking are:

  • Avoid disposable aluminum pie plates if you can. Instead, try a handmade ceramic, Pyrex or vintage metal pie plate. Why? 1) Your reputation. Even if you bake your own pie, a cheap aluminum plate will make it look like you bought it at Food4Less. This is the equivalent of self-sabotage! 2) Performance. Disposable pie plates are so flimsy, you might damage your pie crust during handling. 3) Disposable aluminum creates waste. Of course, so does Bed Bath & Beyond, so you could follow the example of Master Tasters Chris G. and Liddy P. and buy some pie plates at Goodwill or your local thrift store. 
  • Put your pie on a cookie sheet when baking to make it easier to handle in and out of the oven.
  • Cover just the crust with aluminum foil. This looks awkward and can be a little tricky to construct but it will help your pie crust from burning or getting too dark.
  • If your recipe for pie crust involves shortening, try substituting 1/4 of the shortening with real butter for extra flavor. Why use shortening at all? We all know hydrogenated fats are VERY bad for you, but their chemical interaction with flour renders major flakiness. Something to think about.

If you’re looking for pie alternatives, how about Bi-Rite’s Pumpkin Ice Cream Cake? I also like the Pumpkin Pecan Semifreddo with Caramel Sauce on Epicurious; it was a huge hit last year at the Thanksgiving dinner party that Brian and I threw at his house.

Enjoy and don’t forget to send me your Thanksgiving pumpkin stories!

Organic IS an option.

Organic IS an option.

Golden Temple Pumpkin Spice Granola

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on November 23, 2008

At least it's got pumpkin flakes.

At least it's got pumpkin flakes.

Tastes like… granola. It’s good, but despite the Pumpkin Spice name, it’s just plain granola. There’s nothing very pumpkin about it. There’s also a few pokey little raisins hanging out in here. Why not cranberries, bro? Well, according to the ingredients list, it does contain pumpkin flakes. You can’t taste them, but at least you’ll get a little extra Vitamin A.

Golden Temple supplies bulk granolas to many health food stores and even a few large grocery chains who carry bulk foods. But take a look at this warning notice. Golden Temple might get booted from the Rainbow Grocery cooperative because they’re using plain old white sugar and not living up to organic standards. SEE YA!

Not living up to standards.

Not living up to standards.

This Is Your Moment!

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on November 22, 2008

Christmas will come.

Christmas will come.

Pumpkins are the hallmark of Thanksgiving cuisine, and with the big day right around the corner, they’re the centerpiece of every grocery store. Instead of being relegated to some mysterious aisle, canned pumpkin gets its own display, and abundant variations on pumpkin desserts are scattered about! What will you eat for dessert on Thanksgiving Day?

It’s a fleeting moment, dear readers. After Thanksgiving, peppermint, chocolate and gingerbread fiercely compete for the limelight in a frantic trajectory towards Christmas. So I encourage you to enjoy this moment.

When you see pumpkins this week, take a mindful breath and get in touch with your inner gratitude. There is beauty is in knowing that this moment is transient. We are not permanent beings experiencing something impermanent. We are impermanent beings experiencing something impermanent. This is our moment!

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese: Impractically Delicious

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on November 21, 2008

Can all of this fit on a single bagel?

Can all of this fit on a single bagel?

Lucerne’s Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese is impractically delicious! It’s rich with pumpkin flavor and gorgeous in color, speckled with spice. It’s sooo good that you’ll want to spread the entire container on your bagel – or whatever vehicle you use for enjoying cream cheese. But spreading the entire container on a bagel, wrap or piece of toast just isn’t practical. Therefore, this cream cheese is impractically delicious!

6 out of 5 pumpkins no doubt, and it totally beats out Noah’s Bagels’ pumpkin cream cheese.

Lucerne is Safeway’s dairy brand and is available at the following grocery chains which are all owned by Safeway: Vons, Pavilions, Dominick’s, Tom Thumb, and the glorious Genuardi’s. Lucerne also makes very tasty Pumpkin eggnog.

By the way, does Safeway’s sponsorship of the Pumpkin Weigh Off at the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival have anything to do with the great pumpkin foods they’re coming out with? I think so!

I Love Pumpkins Author DISAPPEARS

Posted By I Love Pumpkins on November 19, 2008

The author was last seen drinking Smashed Pumpkin Martinis at Lion Pub in San Francisco. Analysis of the photographs shows that these were taken at the Lion Pub using a Blackberry 8330 spy camera.

Spy photo of the menu at Lion Bar.

Spycam photo of the menu at Lion Bar.

A number of intriguing features indicate to forensic experts that the missing author may have consumed up to three Pumpkin Martinis before disappearing.

Dangerous Drinks Now Monitoired By Local Intelligence Agencies.

Local Intelligence Agencies will now start to monitor these Dangerous Drinks.

We operate in an unstable and dangerous world where international terrorism, the rise of new powers, and the accelerating pace of economic and technological change will place enormous strains on the ability of states to govern and will sharply increase the potential for strategic surprises. Therefore, Local Intelligence Agencies will now begin monitoring dangerous drinks such as Smashed Pumpkin Martinis, in order to preserve the benevolent reputation of pumpkins.


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