Tag Archives: Food Stuffs

All Hail the Pumking

19 Oct

If it could be fall forever, I would be perfectly happy. It’s not too hot like summer and not bitterly cold. The air is crisp and clear. The weather is perfect for scarves and light coats.  The boyfriend and I celebrated the arrival of fall here by going for a walk around a local reservoir. I took too many pictures and it was generally a great way to enjoy the outdoors, each other, and get in some exercise.

Fall is the time of year with some of my favorite seasonal foods and drinks. Fall beers are spicy and malty–just warm enough to counteract the cool weather but with some bite lurking at the edges. Also, I am an unabashed lover of all things pumpkin flavored. Naturally, this encompasses pumpkin flavored beer.

By far the best pumpkin beer I have found is the Southern Tier Pumking.

It’s not light in the alcohol content, after all it is an imperial ale, coming in at a strong 9%ABV. However, the taste is so light and crisp that the alcohol flavor is completely masked. I’ve tasted beers with less ABV that have more alcohol flavor than this beer. The body is surprisingly light and when poured the beer has an unmistakable orange color (like a pumpkin!).

Where other pumpkin beers are heavy, spicy and dark, this beer is a perfect balance between the pumpkin flavors and the pumpkin pie spices. I prefer my pumpkin beers to be on the spicier side usually since it’s so hard to get the pumpkin flavor right in beers. Pumpkin by itself can often end up with a beer that tastes too weak and too bitter. I want to be reminded of a good pumpkin pie when I drink a pumpkin beer. However, an over reliance on spices can make a pumpkin beer cloying after a few bottles. The Pumking is the one pumpkin beer I have found that I don’t get sick of as I drink more of it. I spent a very happy Saturday afternoon sipping this beer in my backyard.


When I woke up on Sunday, pumpkin beer alone were not doing enough to sate my desire for pumpkin flavored food stuffs: I wanted to bake. So I took to the internet to find the pumpkin baked goods that I could make with the limited provisions I had in my house. As soon as I ran across this recipe for Sugarlaw’s Pumpkin Pie Cookies, I knew I had my baking project.

I did not have the pudding mix the recipe called for, so I substituted 1/4 cup brown sugar. I also didn’t have any cloves and replaced them with 1/4 tsp ground ginger. The cookies were surprisingly good. I think I ate three as soon as they came out of the oven (oops…). If you like cakey cookies, these are perfect. They taste like fluffy pumpkin pies. Delicious!


Adventures in Smoothie Making

15 Oct

A few weeks ago, I was living off of Kashi granola bars for breakfast. These were not exactly nourishing enough for a person who has to go to work and be functioning. When I heard about smoothies for breakfast, I was a little dubious. Would you really not be able to taste spinach if you added it to a smoothie? (Yes.) Can a smoothie really be enough to last to lunch time? (Yes!) Looking at some of the recipes floating around the internet, a green smoothie seemed more nourishing than a granola bar. Also, adding spinach to a smoothie would also bring me closer to fulfilling my goal of having a fruit or veggie at every meal, so I decided to go for it.

My first foray into smoothie making, I wanted to go for a pumpkin smoothie. It is fall after all and my favorite organic grocery store has started prominently featuring canned pumpkin again.

Naturally, as soon as I saw the display, I remembered that I needed to make millions of things with canned pumpkin (curry! soups!) and bought more than is probably advisable for the average person. What can I say, I love me some pumpkin. I’d also been craving a pumpkin smoothie and none of my local grocery stores are carrying the Odwalla pumpkin smoothies that I love.

I also added Chobani Greek yogurt in vanilla the first time around.

Now, this might be okay for some of you all out there who like sweetened yogurts. However, I hate sweetened yogurts with an undying passion and this smoothie just tasted too much like sweetened yogurt for my liking. Generally, I consider the first smoothie a failure since it was too gross to eat much of.

I also tried making a smoothie with avocado, but it ended up tasting a little too much like avocado for my tastes. I think if I had used a fruit juice instead of almond milk, it would have been better. Instead, it just tasted like a weird healthy milkshake. That was gray. Because, apparently, if you add frozen blueberries to a smoothie with avocado and spinach in it, it will turn gray. Ew.

For my third try at smoothie making, I added Fage regular Greek yogurt (aka my new best friend and best thing ever) instead.

My hate for sweetened yogurts is really only matched by my undying love of unsweetened Greek yogurt. And the non-fat version doesn’t taste terrible! Most reduced fat/ non-fat cheese or milk products are pretty horrible and I never eat them. For Greek yogurt, the non-fat version seems even tangier and delicious than the full fat kind. Bring it on. This final try with the pumpkin smoothie went better. I was able to create something that tasted good, so good that as soon as I was done I wanted more. I will be making more of these in the future. The recipe for the successful smoothie is written below.

Eating smoothies in the morning has really been great. I feel more energetic after having one. I find I don’t need as much caffeine to wake up. I feel full, but not overly full. Overall, an awesome new discovery.

Pumpkin Smoothie:

1/2 can of pureed pumpkin

1/2 cup of Greek yogurt (sweetened or unsweetened)

3/4 cup of almond milk

2 TBSP chocolate protein powder

1 TBSP light agave nectar

1 TBSP flaxseeds (optional; ground flax would also work here too)

1 cup frozen raspberries

1/2 TBSP cinnamon

1/4 TSP nutmeg

Enough spinach to fill the blender


1. Blend*

2. Eat!

*If you have a terrible** blender like I do, I would recommend blending all of the wet ingredients first. Then add the frozen fruit, flaxseeds, and spinach. Creating a liquid base for the bulkier items seems to prevent the blender blades from getting clogged up.

**My blender really is terrible. I got it for free from an old landlord who was trying to get rid of stuff. The motor smells faintly of smoke, which gets worse when you turn it on. Also, I don’t have a top for it because I dropped it while moving and it was so old that it shattered when it hit the ground. One day, my blender will die in some other spectacular way, but for now it still makes a decent smoothie.