Favorite Fall Spiced Tomato-Pumpkin Soup

Favorite Fall Tomato Soup

I made this last week when I was (a) trying to eat extremely healthy to make up for some weekend indulgences and (b) really craving a big bowl of something hot, cozy, and autumn-y. Soup was the obvious answer. I love tomato soup and wanted to make a homemade version of that, but also noticed I had some pumpkin puree leftover in the fridge and didn’t want it to go to waste. Guess what? Pumpkin and tomato are great together. You don’t really taste the pumpkin-ness with all the other flavors going on, at least not overwhelmingly so, but it adds a nice thickness and fall flavor.

Favorite Fall Spiced Tomato-Pumpkin Soup

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Endless Road Trip: Collingswood Pop Shop

There is more to South Jersey than the Real Housewives: there is food. We were recently visiting  to celebrate my future sister-in-law”s birthday and went to the Pop Shop in Collingswood, NJ. The name “pop shop” insinuates great ice cream floats, milk shakes, and fountain soda. However, I noticed that every waiter was wearing shirts touting their love for cheese. The shop was featured on Food Network”s Throwdown with Bobby Flay for their grilled cheese. The menu features the sandwiches from the show so some of us got that, while future sister-in-law ordered the trophy of dessert breakfasts – s”mores french toast. Then of course, we all gorged ourselves with desserts. Enough chit chat – on to the food.

S”mores French Toast:

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Under the heading of “Fantastic French Toast Dreams,” you will find cinnamon bun french toast, banana”s foster, and even ham and cheese. But then you see the s”mores french toast on the menu and by chance see a waiter flaunting a pile of french toast, graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow on what has to be a silver platter. Clearly someone at the table is ordering the s”mores french toast. Sister-in-law ordered it with a small amount of persuasion from the table and offers to give up half of their sandwich for a bite of the gooey french toast.  Well I got my bite in a trade for some bacon and cheese fries. The bite included savory fresh french toast  soaked with chocolate sauce. Then the marshmallow sauce that glues the stack of french toast together hits you. Your bite must include a piece of the top of the stack, since that is where the crunch of the graham cracker comes from. While I would never be able to finish an entire dish of it, I would suggest someone at my table order it again.

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Cocktail O’Clock: Pumpkin Spice Margarita

Pumpkin Spice Margarita

Behind only brunch, I think pumpkin spice is the second-most surprisingly controversial topic of the fall food season. Fine, the Internet thinks P-Spice is way too basic; but we say October can’t come and go without it…especially if you’re mixing if up with some tequila this year.

Pumpkin “Spice” Margarita

2 ounces Camarena Reposado Tequila
2 can Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Sugar
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
1 pinch Nutmeg
2 cups Water
1/2 ounce Orange Liqueur
Juice of 1/2 a Lime

Make a pumpkin simple syrup by combining pumpkin puree with brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and strain. Combine the juice of half a lime, Camarena Reposado Tequila, and 2 ounces pumpkin simple syrup. Shake well and serve on the rocks.

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Devilishly Good: Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates

Pumpkin Devils on Horseback

One of my all-time, go-to apps is blue cheese stuffed dates wrapped in prosciutto, or as date eaters in the know call them, Devils on Horseback. They’re really simple to prepare and cook in a matter of minutes, plus their sticky-sweet-chewy-saltiness makes them sooo addictive.

I recently attended a fall potluck party and decided to autumn-ize my favorite devils by subbing the normal blue cheese filling with pumpkin goat cheese. They were just as delicious as the original version, with a festive seasonal twist. Your friends will rave about them, and only you will have to know the spooooky secret of these fall treats: they’re stupid easy to make.

Pumpkin Devils on Horseback

20 dates, pitted
1 small (about 4oz) goat cheese log
1/8 cup pumpkin puree
8 (thin!) slices of good prosciutto
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
black pepper & sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Let the goat cheese sit out for awhile so it’s nice and softened, then combine with the pumpkin puree. Add pumpkin pie spice and a couple pinches of S&P.

Stuff the dates with your filling – you want them to be nice and full but not overflowing, because obv the cheese is going to get melty in the oven and you don’t want a huge mess on your hands. I probably used about 1-2 teaspoons in each date?

Wrap each stuffed date in prosciutto. Just tear off a 1″ ribbon from the slice and stick it around the fruit. It doesn’t have to be perfect at all.

Place all your stuffed & wrapped dates on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake in the oven for just about 5-10 minutes. Once the prosciutto has kind of “melted” into the date and you can see the bottom of the dates slightly caramelizing, you’re good to go. Make sure to let these devils cool for about 10 minutes before serving – they get hotter than hell in that oven!

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Cocktail O'Clock: Pumpkin Eater

pumpkin

If you ask me, October 15 means it”s officially time to start thinking about pumpkin, pumpkin everything…especially in our drinks.

Here”s an autumn cocktail for you that takes its pumpkin seriously, mixing a hearty spoonful of P up with some rum, honey, OJ and bitters for online casino a seriously soothing fall drink.

 

Pumpkin Eater

2oz Privateer Silver Rum
1oz Orange Juice
1oz Honey
1 Spoonful Pumpkin Puree
1 Dash Angostura Bitters

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker and give a shake.  Serve on the rocks, garnish with grated cinnamon (optional).

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Endless Beer: Fall Beer Roundup

It’s October. Now there is no excuse to not be indulging in some kind of fall flavored food or drink. Yes, I said fall flavored. Fall has many flavors, you know. If you are not enjoying the fall flavors, well there is some sort of evil hiding in the depths of your soul. For the rest of you, we bring you the 2014 roundup of fall brews. There are so many to choose from that it is hard to narrow it down to a list. But, with the help of several trusty breweries, we were able to provide you this handy list. Note that these aren’t just your typical pumpkin beers or Oktoberfests. These are in your face flavors or different twists on the typical fall beers. In order to categorize this list in the most helpful way, we’re trying something new: word association. After tasting each of these offerings, we thought of the first word or phrase that comes to mind.  Reviews of each brew to come.

 

HeSaidHeSaid

21st Amendment/Elysian Collaboration: He Said He Said

Refreshing and Sweet. The collaboration of 21st Amendment and Elysian is one of the most unique I’ve found for the fall. The trappist version of the He Said He Said is the refreshing part of this four pack. While the pumpkin flavor is at the forefront, the characteristics of a Sour Belgian Trappist come through with a crisp finish. Meanwhile, the pumpkin porter provides a sweet and nearly creamy rendition of a porter with extra pumpkin to boot.

Abita Oktoberfest

Toasty. The Abita Octoberfest is a classic lager with a sweet and toasty taste. The lager is a sweet classic Octoberfest with a pleasant roasted flavor and a hint of hops. The hops tone down the sweetness, making it a nice fall brew.

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Cocktail O’Clock: Spiked Pumpkin Cider

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Mulled wine is cute. Sure, for those cold fall days nearing winter, why not heat up some wine and mulling spices for a warm and alcoholic treat? But what about those nights that you need something more? Try something new for a change – a modified sweet and boozy night cap. Sons of Liberty’s pumpkin spice whiskey is offered with a few cocktail suggestions on their website. I decided to try out the pumpkin cider martini (with no martini glass). The sweetness of the cider is a good pairing with that of the pumpkin spice flavors. Then, you get hit with the booze and spices of the whiskey. For some extra sweetness, rim the glass with some cinnamon sugar…and some maple syrup. I may even try some syrup shaken in with the drink for some extra sweetness.

Sons of Liberty suggests making it pretty damn strong. I tried it strong at first, then tried it in equal parts. It all really depends on whether you want more sweetness or more of a boozy warming feeling. However, with such a sweet whiskey, the strong variation is not exactly overpowering because of the general sweetness of pumpkin spice whiskey to begin with. Try it out  and let us know what you think! I may try a variation of this in the pumpkin tap sometime in the near future…

Spiked Pumpkin Cider

  • 3 oz.  Pumpkin Spice Whiskey (for a strong drink – 2 for sweeter drink)
  • 2 oz Fresh Apple Cider
  • Crushed Ice

Add all ingredients to a shaker and shake vigorously. Rim fancy-shmancy cocktail glass with cinnamon sugar and pour. Garnish with apple wedge and cinnamon stick if you are REALLY fancy.

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