The to-read list is dwindling, but I still have stacks of books from the Really Good, Really Big, Really Cheap book sale, as well as other shelf-sitters that I haven't gotten around to reading. Trust me - you're not getting off that easily. The moment I don't have at least one book in the works is the moment I meet my Maker. So enjoy, and trust me - the reviews will keep coming.
P.S. You'll notice there are significantly fewer books this month than in the past few. It's because I got so hung up on one of the books below that I started re-reading all the other books by the same author to see if they all got stuck in my head or it's just this one (turns out it's just this one, although I did enjoy the re-reading).
You know, for all my basic white-girlness, I don't actually like pumpkin spice lattes all that much. I mean, I'd much rather hold out until November for peppermint mochas. I do, however, really like some other pumpkin-flavored things, much to B's chagrin.
So in honor of the first day of fall (and my momma's birthday!!), today I'm bringing you the best pumpkin-flavored beer, cereal, cookies, coffee, and more. You're welcome.
Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale // Pumpkin beer is a tricky thing. It can either be really delicious, or way too pumpkin spice-y and sweet without any actual pumpkin flavor. But Shipyard gets it right. They do a phenomenal pumpkin wheat beer with the perfect balance of spice and booze. Bonus points: we've been to Shipyard Brewery in Portland, Maine, and it's fantastic. Now drink up.
Ghirardelli Pumpkin Spice Caramel Squares // I love Ghirardelli squares anyway, because they're so perfectly portioned (ummmm, unless you eat like 12 in a sitting). These combine the melty delicious milk chocolate and creamy caramel with a subtle pumpkin kick. They disappear quickly.
Fresh Market pumpkin coffee // This is how you do pumpkin coffee. Subtle, with a nice pumpkin flavor and a tiny amount of spice. Not too sweet, not too syrup-y, not too packed with additives and sugar and crap. And it's about $10 for the bag - a hell of a lot cheaper than $4 a pop.
Fresh Market pumpkin pie almonds // Ever heard of yogurt almonds? These are just like that, only not all because they are so ridiculously delicious and addictive and the perfect pumpkin flavor. You can blame my mother for this one. I am not responsible for what happens when you get addicted.
Trader Joe's Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli // The fact that my husband will eat this tells you what you need to know. It's a delicious ravioli that's easy to make. It's not overly pumpkin-y, and not pumpkin spice-y at all, but just a subtle sweet flavor. We love it lightly drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese - no sauce needed.
Trader Joe's Pumpkin Joe's Os // The best pumpkin cereal - and very possibly the best cereal, period. These aren't like Cheerios; they're more like Os cereal. And they're amazing. I've tried to cut back on sweet cereals, but...c'mon, it's once a year.
Trader Joe's Pumpkin Joe-Joes // Not to be confused with Joe's Os (how many food items can they name "Joe"?), these are basically pumpkin Oreos. I bought them at the urging of my sissy-in-law, Megan. I did not regret it. Light, creamy, and delicious, these make a great break from traditional Joe-Joes...until November/December hits and it's Candy Cane Joe-Joe time. Bring it on.
A StitchFix, that is. In case you don't recall, I tried this service several years ago (read about my first three attempts here, here, and here). Basically, you answer an extensive questionnaire about your size, clothing style, and lifestyle, and they ship you a box of five pieces of clothing, jewelry, accessories, etc. You get to choose which, or all, pieces to keep.
I stopped because they hadn't been nailing my style, and when they finally figured out my style, the clothes they sent were too big. But my referral link was still up on my blog posts, and somebody (Jennifer P.? Anyone know who Jennifer P. is?) found it. And she ordered a StitchFix, so I got $25 credit. I wasn't about to turn that down.
I love my Southern Living magazine, but my favorite part is the food (of course). When I saw these chicken and collard greens enchiladas in my newest issue, I knew they would appear on the Stevenson family table very, very soon.
I know collard greens in enchiladas sounds kind of crazy, but would I lead you astray? I think not.
For five and a half years, work really sucked. But I have nice coworkers now. Like, really nice. My publisher is laid-back and friendly and values my opinions and contributions. My editor is hands-off, allowing me to follow my own stories and work autonomously, without constant micromanaging. And I get to work again with a dear, dear friend, Brooke.
I don't do a ton of baking, mostly because if we have fancy desserts in the house we eat fancy desserts. And that's not good. But I've been really getting into a weekend-domestic-goddess kind of vibe and have been working my way through my Pinterest "Sweet Tooth" board.
Because I adore all things citrus, especially since it reminds me of France, these lemon bar muddy buddies caught my eye.
Sometimes, like when I'm thrown a last-minute article I didn't plan for, or a freelancer dropped the ball, or sources refuse to call me back no matter how many times I try them, work is beyond frustrating. Other times, when I get to interview cool people or attend an unique event, it's pretty awesome. This was one of those times. Plate 108, a cooking class venue in Greer, offered to let a reporter attend a Thai cooking class in July in exchange for press about it.
After telling my editor I wanted all food stories, I got first dibs on this, and oh baby, I took it.
Last month B and I did a lot of farmer's market shopping. One week we got a particularly good pint of blueberries. They were juicy but firm, the perfect balance of sweet and tart (I like tart berries). They lasted maybe a day - we each kept grabbing a few every time we walked past the kitchen counter. The next week we went back to the same vendor to get another pint, but those were...meh.
They were mealy and a little too sweet. Neither of us really wanted to eat them, but we didn't want to waste them, either. So I did what I do best: figure out what to put them in.