The Pumpkin Spice Pinterest Roundup

Happy October, ES friends! It’s time to really start focusing on our favorite fall recipes… including, of course, the ubiquitous pumpkin spice. Believe it or not, October 1st is actually National Pumpkin Spice Day. Whether this flavor is a friend or foe to you, you can’t deny that it’s become an integral component to our cultural fall narrative.

And of course, pumpkin spice goes hand-in-hand with another favorite… Pinterest. Yes, these are two P’s in a pod. We trolled Pinterest to find the best, funniest, and weirdest PSL/pumpkin spice recipes trending this year. All of these puppies are certified Pinterest-viral right now, and for good reason. Whip one up if you’re feeling fall-ish and festive!


Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Covered Pretzels 
originally from Crunchy Creamy Sweet

Chocolate covered pretzels? Good. Chocolate covered pretzels with pumpkin pie spice? Great!

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Top 10 Worst Things to Give Trick-or-Treaters

I miss trick-or-treating. Don”t tell me you don”t. If so, then you hate all things good in the world. You hide in your house with the lights off as kids fashion their prized costumes anxiously awaiting a sweet treat. You people suck, and probably have no perspective on the meaning of “It”s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” You”re a Halloween scrooge. Poo poo on you.

For the rest of us, the Holiday is upon is. Get ready to scare the bajesis out of the kiddo”s, hoping to make one of them pee or crap their pants. Then, you win them back with a sweet treat and you”re suddenly known around the block for it. I”m hoping to scare some kids, and I”ll be honest—I”ve eyed up the candies that are anxiously awaiting Halloween in the house, and I”m psyched for left-overs.

Last year we brought you a list of the top 10 trick or treat candy fails, but the truth is, it actually gets a lot worse than Tootsie Rolls and Mounds (shudder!) Here are your top ten tricks that you shouldn”t be handing out this Halloween:

10. Pretzels

Yeah, I like my fair share of salty goodies—but not on Halloween. Just because the pretzels are shaped like bats and pumpkins doesn”t mean they are meant for Halloween. Especially not to give out. At a party? Sure. To give out at your doorstep? Hellz no.


9. Chips

Chips…Cheez-Its…doesn”t matter. Are they sweet? No. Do they leave a residue on your teeth that requires extra-long tooth brushing? No. So what”s the point? If kids want chips then they can go to the closet of their house. I”m willing to bet there isn”t a wide variety of candy to choose from. Only chips and cereal.


8. Peanuts

Yes, this actually happened to me. Need I say more?

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100 Ways to Use Beer in Food and Drinks: #11 – Pretzels

HOT pretzels. Sorry Philadelphia, I know you like SOFT pretzels, cold from the food cart, but no thanks. I like a crispy outside with a warm and soft interior—not soggy all over. In time, I found a way to fulfill my high standards (call me a snob for wanting a hot pretzel) while also making them out of a beer dough. And you should too.

A word of advice: do NOT make these in the midst of a heat wave .  I thought I was doing the right thing, trying to cook seasonal foods, but still—an oven in the high nineties did not please anyone. Luckily the pretzels made up for it.

I was on a strong homebrew streak, with four cases done within the same week, so I finally had a choice of brews to use. I chose my Dark IPA for the beer-dough. The Dark IPA has a malty undertone that added a little sweetness to the dough, while the bitterness of the hops gave it a slight kick. The final product was very tasty and I’d definitely do it again.

BREWvarian Hot Pretzels

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Endless Ice Cream: Peanut Butter Pretzel Ice Cream Truffles

At some point last year I came across a recipe for ice cream truffles. It seemed easy enough. You scoop the ice cream, flash freeze the scoops, coat them in melted chocolate, freeze a little while longer, then indulge. So I grabbed a pint of  Häagen-Dazs vanilla bean ice cream out of the freezer and happily started away.

Good lord, it was a holy disaster. I’m pretty sure it ended with everything thrown unceremoniously in the garbage, quickly followed by the crack of a beer. But since I started making my own ice cream, my mind has often wandered back to that terrible day, and made me wonder exactly what went wrong. I started researching and I determined it was three things:

1) When the ice cream scoops started to melt I kept going instead of popping them back into the freezer.

2) When the temperature of the chocolate dropped and quit adhering easily to the ice cream I did not heat it up again.

3) Dipping the ice cream with my hands was messy and slow, increasing the speed of melted ice cream and cooling chocolate.

So I decided to give it another whirl, and this time the results were pretty fantastic…

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BEER: It’s What’s for Dinner (Numbers 3, 4, & 5)

Things are getting fast and furious in Endless Simmer’s quest to use beer in 100 different dishes. After an off-list detour for Corona cupcakes, we’re back this week and crossing three items off the agenda: beer cornbread, beer-marinated pork, and chocolate beer milkshakes!

Last week, I embarked on a beerfeast of epic proportions. My plans consisted of a four-course meal; each course cooked with beer and paired with a different beer. I got through my week mostly by dreaming up the menu: pork loin marinated in an IPA, mashed potatoes with a brown ale gravy, cornbread with a wheat beer, and milk stout milkshakes.

When the end of the week finally came around (and the drinking began) the menu got downsized a bit, quickly falling from a beerfeast to a dinner with some things made of beer, but not all the beers I wanted to make them with. The pork ended up being marinated in a brown ale, which the friend who brewed it proudly called a “piece of shit.” Mashed potatoes and gravy didn’t even happen, after I asked another drunken pal to peel potatoes and found that ending horribly wrong.

Fortunately, I made the cornbread in advance, and when I reached my peak in drunkenness later on in the night, I was still well able to whip up the milk stout shakes. And of course, while we were beginning our beveraging, we did brew an IPA. So in the end, I still had a fairly epic beer dinner, reaching a new record of three items from my beholden list.

1. The Appetizer: Wheat Berry Cornbread

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Cheesesteaks Gone Wild!

Being a native Philadelphian, I wouldn’t dare say that we got bored with cheesesteaks (not possible), but we’re always looking for ways to make good things better — and easier to eat in a social setting with a fork. These seven insane creations mean you can spend a weekend in Philadelphia and eat a different kind of cheesesteak spinoff at every meal.

1. Cheesesteak Fries

This happens to be my personal favorite of all the non-traditional cheesesteak varieties. The wonderful, wonderful combination was introduced to me by a former roommate when we went out to watch the Phillies at The Fieldhouse. Cheesesteak meat, fried onions and cheez whiz are piled on these long, crinkle cut fries that hold the meat and cheese so perfectly. I mean, doesn’t a fried potato increase the goodness of anything by ten thousand percent?

2. The Philly Taco

Also known as South Street Sushi (which I prefer…I mean, it’s not really a taco, right?) is a legend. So what is it? Head to South Street in Philly a buy a gigantic slice of Lorenzo’s pizza. Then head to neighboring Ishkabibble’s and order cheese fries, cheese on the side. This taco is best pulled-off when with a group. Enter Jim’s cheesesteak: send one person to order a cheesesteak, send the rest of the group upstairs with the remaining ingredients.

To assemble: Cover your cheesesteak with fries, and the accompanying cheese, then wrap the whole thing, taco-style, in the slice of pizza. Consume.

I guess it can be any cheesesteak, pizza and fries combination, but these three places are all a block away from each other, and Lorenzo’s slices are just the right size for the sandwich.

More >> Watch the Philly Taco How-To Video.

3. Cheesesteak Egg Rolls

It might look like vomit, but this is a must-eat. Hell, I live in Philadelphia and I find myself craving these weekly. Imagine all of the goodness of a cheesesteak (meat, cheese, fried onions, maybe peppers and mushrooms)….deep fried in a crispy wrapper. You can find these at many restaurants in the city, but my favorite version is from Old Eagle Tavern — served with sriracha ketchup. More on the version pictured — from Smokin’ Betty’s — at la vie en route.

Photo: (la vie en route)

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The Oktoberfest Survival Guide

Oktoberfest kicked off on September 17th in Munich, Germany. Unlike last year, I won’t be in attendance this time around. But in case you will be (or will be attending one of America’s faux celebrations), I want you all  to be prepared with my professional tips.

1) Be prepared for the ride

If you’re traveling to Munich via train, you might find yourself in a car with 10 men from the same “village” who have multiple kegs, loud music and an underage 15-year-old.  They will all be offended if you don’t drink beer and/or take shots with them, so just do it. Don’t plan on resting up during this voyage.

2) Eat whatever everyone else is eating

Look around. What are the old men and the bavarians in leiderhosen eating? Order that, no matter how good everything else sounds. If you can’t figure out the German menu, ask for an English version. They have them.

3) Order a pretzel the size of your head

You will not find anything like this in America no matter how hard you try. Plus, you’re going to need some carbs to aid with the 10 liters of beer you will inevitably drink.

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