Posts Tagged ‘ seasonal ’

It’s Been a While…Let’s Hop, Skip, and Go Naked

So, I have been away much too long. Excuses could be thrown, as I have a few legitimate ones. For instance, I am actually changing my career path, and taking on a new job soon. It should be fun, and will take me to some new places to try out food, and review here. For now, we won’t dwell on my absence, and we’ll talk a little about what this is all about: food.

More specifically with New Years Eve coming tomorrow, what is everyone going to eat? Anyone out there throwing some wild and crazy parties? Personally, it’s pretty low key this year, with only a few friends coming over for some shenanigans. Last year was a bit crazier, and I cooked a boat load. This year is a tad easier…

So, for pre-dinner fooodage, I’m just throwing together a simple cheese and veggie platter with crackers. Nice, easy, and everyone usually is happy with it. For dinner, I think we’re doing the cop out this year, and ordering Chinese takeout. I’ve always heard that this is a New Years staple, but have never done it myself until now.

And to the important part: the drinks! This year, I will once again be making Hop, Skip, and Go Naked Punch. The recipe is as follows, so enjoy!

Hop, Skip, and Go Naked Punch

  • 6 oz. Limeade Concentrate
  • 6 oz. Lemonade Concentrate
  • 2 liters of lemon-lime soda
  • 8 oz. Bacardi 151
  • 8 oz. Peach Schnapps

Note: The measurements are pretty flexible, and mine usually gets made with extra booziness 🙂

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Review: Edy’s Limited Edition Pumpkin Pie

Okay folks, this one is winding down the Fall seasonal foods we’ve been seeing. Seriously, I walked into my grocery store the other day, and not only is the section gone, it has been completely replaced by Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, but isn’t there something involving a turkey between now, and when the fat man in a red suit visits? Anyways, to the ice cream…

So, if you haven’t guessed by now, I like ice cream…not to mention seasonal flavors like Pumpkin. What I don’t like is Frozen Dairy Dessert. Now I’m not normally a texture based eater, but for this review, I need to split my thoughts between the two.

We’ll start with flavor. Here is where Edy’s has it pegged. Every bite of this limited edition flavor tastes like cool pumpkin pie with whipped cream. It’s almost freaky how well they captured the flavor here. It’s not some fake substitute; you could put this in a pie crust and I would be happy *Files idea away to try later*. The only problem that keeps this ice cream from perfection is…

The texture. Edy’s, just like I can’t figure out how you so perfectly captured the essence of pumpkin pie, I can’t figure out how you created the weird elastic like consistency of your treat. This isn’t just a problem with this flavor, but Edy’s in general. Their desserts are now more like frozen Cool-Whip than ice cream. I know they no longer advertise as ice cream, but I want Ice Cream!!!

Okay, taking a chill pill. It’s just a bummer how much the weird elastic goo bothers me. Edy’s used to make good ice cream. Now they just make good taste with weird texture. Oh well. Here’s hoping we get some more seasonal Ben and Jerry’s this Christmas season so we can really rock some quality flavors.

Attempted: Two Ingredient Brownies

I know, I say brownies, and then I show a  picture of truffles. I’m a horribly confusing person I know. Still, there is a connection here! This Halloween weekend, like most 20-something adults, I decided to throw a small, spooky shindig. As such, food was in order, so I decided to get creative and adapt this interesting brownie recipe into something to serve to my friends…

So, this is actually a  recipe post for my version of 3G brownies. With my odd fascination with pumpkin, and creative cooking, the idea of simply mixing a chocolate cake mix and a can of pumpkin puree was pretty enticing, especially with everything else I needed to do to get ready for a party. Oh yeah, here is the recipe form if you want to get professional:

Two Ingredient Brownies:

  • 1 box dark chocolate cake mix
  • 1 can pumpkin puree

Directions:

  1. Mix cake mix and puree
  2. Put in pan
  3. Bake according to box directions

Yeah…it really is just that easy… I did try and mix this up a little. In an attempt to be classy, I actually baked these in a muffin tin, and put Lindt White chocolate truffles in the center in my attempt to create “Monster Eyes”. Yeah, it failed. The truffles browned in the heat of the oven, and caved in on themselves creating something that didn’t really…look..like..anything…Still, the flavor combination was spot on.

The pumpkin and dark chocolate really make to form a velvety cake texture. Yes, that means these really weren’t brownies, more like very silky cupcakes. Still, they were enjoyed by all, and the pairing of the white chocolate added the sweetness that was needed to make these truly a dessert item. My goal is to try them again with Ghirardelli white chocolate chips next time to more evenly spread the sweetness, and not waste Lindt truffles.

The best part of these though has nothing to do with their simplicity or their flavor. I got my friend who loathes pumpkin (or at least thinks he does) to eat one, and say that they were awesome before telling him halfway through a mouthful that 50% of what he had just crammed into his mouth was pumpkin. He wasn’t thrilled, but the rest of us sure got a good laugh. Just goes to show you that it’s always good to try new things, and expand your horizons…or ask what something is made of before eating it.

Oh, last note on the nutrition of these things. It’s just a guess, but I think we’re talking somewhere in the vicinity of 200 calories a muffin without the truffles in them. No point value as of now as I wasn’t aiming for health food on Halloween.

Review: Hershey’s Halloween Holiday Kisses

 

Photo courtesy of Baking Bites

 

Continuing with the trend of holiday fair, and the nine million blogs that seem to have already reviewed these products, I’m looking at some of the seasonal Kisses put out By Hershey’s. This year at my local target, I discovered Pumpkin Spice, Caramel Apple, and Candy Corn Kisses, only bringing the first two specimens home with me.

Looking at the photo in the upper left (taken by Nicole

Photo Courtesy of The Chocolate Review

at Baking Bites) you can see my favorite of the two varieties that I tried: the Pumpkin Spice. These were a real unique flavor, truly driving home a sweet and spicy flavor. The pumpkin was actually pretty muted in these, overwhelmed by what felt like a strong white chocolate that when combined with the spice component, almost burned the throat a little. They were pretty decent, but I’m more interested in the possibilities of baking with these. Hopefully for this Halloween weekend I will be able to find another bag to add to this 3G brownie recipe I found.

 

Moving on to the Caramel Apple kisses, all I can say is “whoa”. These things were crazy sweet, almost searing the back of my throat with how potent the filling is inside. To me, these tasted a lot more like a candy apple than caramel. I think that was due in part to the artificial apple flavoring used in these things. It also reminded me that although I love caramel, and eat apples every day, I’m not that huge a fan of the combo. I can’t put my finger on a reason why, but to me some things shouldn’t be tampered with.

Overall, these two flavor of Hershey’s Kisses are neat, and worth trying for the novelty, or if you are a seasonal food nut like I am. Still, I’m more excited about some of the varieties we may see more towards Christmas time. Bring on the mint and chocolate people!

Review: Ben & Jerry’s Limited Edition Pumpkin Cheesecake

So, if you can’t tell by the picture to the left, this limited edition Ben & Jerry’s flavor that I found along with the Exclusive Carrot Cake flavor is a returning contender to the seasonal lineup of ice cream in the freezer.

I don’t remember seeing this flavor before, but seeing it now, I was knocked out by the one two punch of pumpkin and cheesecake in the name. I simply couldn’t leave Walmart without a pint of this ice cream to try.

So, what are we talking here with this ice cream. It’s a pretty directed flavor as people usually either love or hate the pumpkin onslaught this time of year, and the same split exists on cheesecake in general. Both are flavors that simply aren’t for everyone.

Well, digging into this flavor, I was no blown away by pumpkin flavor like I have been with some other seasonal pumpkin items. Still, it’s worth noting that I don’t think this flavor is meant to be overwhelmingly pumpkiny. Instead, Ben & Jerry’s managed to walk a fine line, and truly create  a pumpkin cheesecake combination. You get the spice, and nutmeg that characterize pumpkin flavored treats, but it’s tempered by the mild tang of the cheesecake. It has worked for me in actual pumpkin cheesecake, so I’m not surprised to see it work in an ice cream. I mean, what goes better with pumpkin than a cream cheese based flavor? Nothing in my mind.

The other component that keeps to the Ben & Jerry’s formula is the graham cracker swirl. It mixes the texture up just enough as well as adds some variety to a strong note of flavor like pumpkin cheesecake. Overall, the flavor isn’t my favorite, but still comes together perfectly as a whole. I wouldn’t change a thing, but this is definitely just right as a seasonal treat instead of a staple flavor in the Ben & Jerry’s lineup.

Pumpkin Fest 2010

Fall has to be my favorite seasons, and not simply because of all of the delicious seasonal foods… Okay those may play a slight factor, but really it comes back to the cool autumn days, blustery winds, and colorful foliage that make my New England home so unique, and those seasonal treats that much more special.

With that said, fall brings with it more celebrations than simply Halloween and Thanksgiving. Here in New Hampshire, we also have the Keene, NH Pumpkin Festival, or Pumpkin Fest if you prefer. It has become a happy tradition for my group of friends to gather at one of my friend’s homes in Keene, and celebrate. It is a fun-filled time of carving pumpkins, being merry (you know what I’m talking about), wandering through the packed streets of Keene, and of course, eating delicious food.

This year was a blast with Jello shots at 10 AM, creative pumpkins, homemade lasagna, and my rediscovery of Ye Goodie Shoppe in downtown Keene. I really want to take a moment to had it to this place. They are doing amazing work with all of their homemade chocolates, truffles, and other fine sweets. Needless to say I made a couple of trips, trying some of their chocolate dipped Oreo’s, white almond bark, and some of the best gummy raspberries and blueberries ever. If you’re ever in the Keene, NH area, check them out. It’s definitely worth the trip.

Past the candy store, the festival was a blast with vendor lined streets, and the best kind of company. If you’re ever looking for something a little different then your average state fair, check out Pumpkin Fest. Oh, and don’t forget, bring a carved pumpkin and help Keene be the record holder for most carved pumpkins. Come on folks, who doesn’t like to carve pumpkins?

Tis the Season: Pumpkin Donuts

It’s that time of year again everyone. The summer temperatures start to dip. The leaves start to change color (at least here in NH). People with out of state licenses spontaneously pull over at the peril of other motorists to snap pictures of the foliage. Oh, and oh yeah, restaurants and stores start to roll out the fall themes food and beverages. Specifically, we get some tasty treats over at Dunkin Donuts like their Pumpkin muffins, donuts, and lattes.

Yeah, I’m the kind of guy that looks forward to these things. At the same time, I survive the year on what is, in my humble opinion, one of the better donuts available: the blueberry cake doughnut. Still, even I like to mix it up, and this time of year gives me the spicy and satisfying pumpkin doughnut. It’s your standard cake doughnut with a nice glaze, but Dunks really captured that deep pumpkin-y flavor in the pastry. Give me two of these, and a small Coolatta, and i am in a very happy place on a  blustery autumn day. Here’s to my favorite season folks!