I’m not a coffee drinker to begin with but honestly, I’d much rather get my pumpkin spice fix elsewhere. Namely in the desserts section. As I was compiling my traditional “Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Picks,” the truth was staring me right smack in the face: I’m a dessert fiend.
I knew I had a sweet tooth but d*mn.
But everything on this list is seriously on my all-time Trader Joe’s Favorite Items. Especially the Pumpkin Ice Cream. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s autumn’s day?
Nope, because I’m too busy going to town on that ice cream. Straight outta the carton with a spoon.
No shame, no regrets.
Now don’t tell Pumpkin Ice Cream, but can we chat about the new kid on the cookie butter block?!?!
Pumpkin Spice Cookie Butter.
I literally can’t even. (Hey, I figured I’m allowed one basic comment per post).
Long weekend plans: Stock up on Pumpkin Spice Cookie Butter and get workin’ on recipes to share with you!
I’m not a morning person, I’m a faux morning person. When the alarm rings and I absolutely have to roll out of bed, I can get ready and be out the door in roughly 30-35 minutes. Breakfast bars and baggies of cereal, really anything I can toss into my bag is my breakfast du jour.
Lately, I’ve been making an effort to clean out my pantry because it’s Quinoa/Lentils/Condiment City in there. Seriously, I have a problem with condiments. Like, 4 kinds of mustard problem. And right in the middle of the pantry is a big ol’ bag of rolled oats from Trader Joe’s that I bought in the midst of a very real oatmeal cookie craving. Like, if I didn’t have an oatmeal cookie, I was going to explode. And since then, Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Rolled Oats have taken up prime real estate in my pantry. For loving oatmeal cookies as much as I do, I’m not big on oatmeal.
What to do? What to do?
(But first, can I dive in?)
Create a new favorite breakfast smoothie, of course!
I can’t eat a big meal for breakfast during the week. You know those people who eat eggs, toast, bacon and a big ol’ glass of orange juice first thing in the morning? As much as I love breakfast foods (waffles, bacon + hash, be still my heart), I like to keep my breakfasts light. Otherwise I feel sluggish and weighed down. Not the best feeling when you’re running around at work.
So breakfast smoothies have been a game changer for the most important meal of the day. Easily transported to work and chock full of fruits and nutrients, breakfast smoothies have officially replaced my breakfast bars. It’s been real, Luna…
Apples + Rolled Oats + Vanilla Almond Milk + Agave Syrup + Cinnamon = APPLE PIE FOR BREAKFAST!!!
I promise I totally won’t judge you if you top this apple pie smoothie with whipped cream. Because that sounds like an absolutely genius idea. I salute you. If you want to keep with the healthy kick, throw in some kale or spinach. You do you.
This breakfast smoothie makes me want to be a better faux morning person.
Okay, so does anyone else keep picturing Joaquin Phoenix whenever they hear “Hurricane Joaquin” on the news?
A little part of me is pretty excited about the prospect of spending a rainy Saturday burrowed under the blanket in cozy PJs and the thickest socks. And with a big bowl of soup.
See what I mean? Sounds pretty great, right?
Add some documentaries and I’ve got it made in the shade.
Oh god, I might officially be turning into a boring adult.
Good thing I stocked up on wine.
I guess I should probably embrace it because Netflix has some AWESOME documentaries. But if I had to narrow it to my favorites…
Food Inc: Okay, I apologize in advance because you might think twice about what you eat after watching this expose on corporate farming and the agribusiness. I first watched this in a nutrition class in my sophomore year for a gen-ed class and I’ve watched it probably once a year ever since.You might be visiting the local farmer’s market more frequently. I don’t think I ate chicken for 2 months.
Happy: Did you ever read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin? It’s a fascinating read so once you finish the documentaries, check it out at your local library. But I’m getting off track. “Happy” explores human happiness through interviews and discussions about psychology.
Bill Cunningham New York: An inside look into the famous photographer who chronicles haute couture for The New York Times’ Style section, “Bill Cunningham New York” follows Bill as he works (and rides his Schwinn!).
The Endless Summer: Do you remember seeing this poster in almost every dorm in college? Yeah, I know, another college reference. Well, it turns out the poster is actually a poster from a 1966 documentary on surfing and surf culture. Crank up The Beach Boys and escape to sunny Hawaii, Australia and tropical locations from the comfort of your cozy blankets.
Batten down the hatches, there’s a hurricane a-comin’!
You only use the “a-” when things are serious. A-brewin’, a-comin’. It just got real.
I’m praying this hurricane ends before Sunday because no hurricane is going to stand between me and the Taylor Swift corn maze. So Hurricane Joaquin, I’ll make you a little deal. You can rain aallll you want on Saturday just knock it off on Sunday. Deal?
A rainy Saturday calls for curling up on the couch under the fluffiest blanket with a good book + some good ol’ fashioned comfort food.
Hunkering down requires the best of carbs. Pasta, melted cheese and beer.
Side note: I literally did have batten down the hatches this week. Coming home from a loooohhhnnngggg day of work, I discovered a steady stream of rain coming in to my bathroom from the roof of my apartment building. Thank goodness it was fixed quickly, this weekend would’ve been rough!
Okay, back to regularly scheduled carb-lovin’ programming.
DuClaw, a Baltimore-based craft brewery, sent me pumpkin beer to ring in the fall season! While I’m not a beer drinker, I do love to cook + bake with beer. Plus, I’m always game for a kitchen challenge! My sensitive smoke alarm…not so much.
Originally, I wanted to make beer biscuit breakfast sandwiches. Oh man, flaky biscuits piled high with bacon, poached egg + fall veggies. Just picture it! But Joaquin inspired me to pull out the Queen of Comfort Food and give her some fall flair. Beer mac ‘n cheese, meet DuClaw 62 Imperial Pumpkin Ale.
I think you two will really hit it off.
If 62 Imperial Pumpkin Ale was on Tinder and saw Mac ‘n Cheese, he would totally swipe right.
I mean, just look at that melted cheese action!!! Can we talk about this?!
According to DuClaw, the 62 isn’t your grandma’s pumpkin beer. And this mac ‘n cheese isn’t your grandma’s mac ‘n cheese. Well, its base is but I’ve given her a few more accessories.
Like a thyme-panko topping with toasted pumpkin seeds.
The 62 pumpkin beer’s nutmeg, cinnamon + cloves are the perfect complements to the melted cheese-y goodness. It might sound weird to have those spices in your mac ‘n cheese but you’re just going to have to trust me on this one.
And you know you need that crunchy panko crust in your life (and belly).
So I think we all know what we’re doing this weekend.
Seriously. There’s no better night’s sleep than with a W in the books and a belly full of these apple pumpkin spice donuts. True story.
These apple pumpkin spice donuts are like little pillows of autumn flavor explosion!! A fall hug in bite-size form. Cozy as a cable knit sweater and your favorite blanket scarf. Just add a good book (or Friends) and maybe a cup of coffee for pure weekend bliss.
Growing up, I’d go with my family on the drive to Pumpkinville once the leaves started to change for a full day of corn mazes, pumpkin patches and we’d come home loaded with apple cider and the best apple cider donuts you’ve ever tasted. Upstate New York in the fall is the absolute greatest place on Earth.
0% hypberbole in that last sentence there. 100% fact.
I won’t be in New York until Thanksgiving but hey, if I can’t get those apple cider donuts, I’m just going to have to make ’em myself.
And do it in the easiest possible way, thanks to the magic of IZZE’s Sparkling Apple.
Homemade cake mix + a bottle of IZZE Sparkling Apple = Cake-y donuts bursting with flavor! Apple, ginger, pumpkin spice, brown sugar, all of those fall flavors are packed into these little parties for your tastebuds.
And did I mention these apple pumpkin spice donuts are the ideal vehicle for cream cheese frosting? Arguably the best frosting ever!
Cream cheese + confectioner’s sugar + vanilla is the trifecta of frosting ingredients. Cover anything in cream cheese frosting and I most likely will eat it. Mmm pretzels, brownies.
The back of the spoon.
Don’t you just want to swan dive right into that bowl? Just me?
It’s like I’ve died and gone to heaven to live on a fluffy, sweet perfect cream cheese cloud.
BRB Curling up with the fluffiest blanket and these magical apple pumpkin spice donuts.
Ever have a week where you Google “Is Mercury in retrograde?”
Yup, that’s pretty much how this week was for me.
I seriously needed time to regroup and create a to-do list (…and complete it) but I just felt completely out of sorts and just not myself. And my blog took the fall.
But tonight (Thursday), I came home from work and took some quiet time for thoughtful meditation and reflection. And by that, I mean I ate a big bowl of zucchini noodles with pesto and watched The Mindy Project and the season premiere of Modern Family.
And I knocked out a pretty awesome, if I do say so myself, content calendar for the next month. Blog and Instagram. Outfit posts are coming back, you guys. And some fun neighborhood guides! Oh, and if there’s a type of posts or a series of posts you want to see, email/tweet/shout at me.
So this weekend, I’ll be tackling some mouth-watering recipes, strong (let’s be honest) cocktails and outfit posts along with a pile of laundry and some organization containers that really need to be put to work.
Have a lovely weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday! And if you need some fun ideas for the weekend…
This is my 2nd year going to Crafty Bastards and really, I cannot tell you to go enough times!! I mean, the name alone should get you off the couch and over to Union Market. Puns are usually an excellent motivator for me, generally speaking. But be warned: This ain’t your mother’s arts + crafts fair (Hi, mom!). You won’t find quilts but if you need a Grumpy Cat night-light, Crafty Bastards is your kinda place. So go right meow. And tickets are only $5!! Purr-fect.
Okay, I’ll stop.
If arts + crafts isn’t your thing, Barracks Row Fall Festival sounds like a guaranteed fun time. Barracks Row is already a solid start to a beautiful Saturday (Cava Mezze bottomless brunch, anyone? And District Doughnut?! GAH. CANNOT HANDLE!) so why not add some music, artists and trapeze school into the mix?! Pro Tip: Do not try the trapeze school post-brunch.
In case you’re wondering, yup, Mercury was in retrograde. That sneaky b.
I’ve been out-procrastinating myself on swapping out my summer wardrobe for the fall + sorting my closet by color. I told myself I’d do this gradually. But that turns out to be just a white lie I tell myself to keep putting it off, which means I currently have a mountain of space bags in my bedroom.
Once again, I lied to myself and said I’d get it done yesterday but a gray, rainy Monday is really just better suited for curling up on the couch under a fuzzy blanket and watching Big Bang Theory season premiere with some cookie butter.
I regret nothing.
The good news for you is that my procrastinating led to some online window shopping. And instead of sorting my closet by color, I might’ve organized my Wardrobe Wish List by Pantone’s Fall 2015 Color Report…
Oh man, guys. I think I lost my marbles last week. I had this post scheduled to go live and by some crazy blog fluke, it was stuck in drafts limbo. I don’t want to leave you high + dry so let’s just have an Aperol spritz and make up?
/ / /
Longest. Short week. Ever.
Am I right or am I right?
After a gloriously quiet August, it was back to work this week and the blisters on both of my heels sum it up quite nicely. I put on pumps for the first time in over a month and my feet were like “Nope nope nope nope.”
Vacation’s over but this weekend calls for a little staycation in DC. Brunch at Dacha + White Ford Bronco at U St Music Hall are just what the doctor ordered. Oh, and continuing my noble quest to eat as many summer tomatoes as possible.
I’ll probably end up turning into a tomato a la Violet Beauregard.
I’m okay with that, I think I could pull off red.
Well, that got off-topic real quick.
This week I lived vicariously through a very lucky friend who’s traveling through Italy. The gelato snaps killed me…
If I can’t venture to Italy (hurry up, Pay Day!), then Italy’s just going to have to venture to me.
The good news: If you can’t afford a plane ticket to Italy, you can afford market summer tomatoes, fresh basil, crusty bread, mozzarella + a tangy balsamic.
Since we’re going for an Italy-themed staycation here, it really only makes sense that you wash down your bruschetta with Italy’s signature cocktail: the Aperol Spritz!
Aperol kindly sent me the 3 ingredients for this awesome drink and I know you’ll love it!
Bittersweet + bubbly, Aperol Spritz has become my summer’s last hurrah cocktail. You know I can’t resist bubbles + bright colors. My two great weaknesses joined together in cocktail form.
The Aperol Spritz is a great cocktail if you have friends over to grill out…or if you’re alone and you need a pick-me-up due to your blisters getting blisters. I’m not talking about me, I swear!
I’ve mentioned before that while I love to cook, my apartment’s smoke detector isn’t quite a fan of my kitchen adventures. Putting it mildly, that thing has the sensitivity of a teenage girl. Speaking from experience.
Jumping up and down waving a towel to get your smoke detector to stop beeping is a pretty good workout, though. Really gets the heart rate up.
I have a 1.5 quart slow cooker that I rarely use…until now. I have friends who are hooked on their slow cookers but with my dad being a fireman, I just don’t feel comfortable leaving a kitchen appliance on all day while I’m not there. But on a lazy weekend, sure, I can binge-watch Parks + Rec for the millionth time while my slow cooker does its thang.
So I decided to break out the slow cooker for a coffee dry rub brisket. But what should I do with the brisket? Sandwiches? Nah. Don’t get me wrong, I love a hearty brisket sandwich. But it didn’t feel exciting. I wanted to be jazzed-on-java excited about this recipe. Because I really hope that you get just as pumped as I do about recipes!!
And then last week, Apple announced a taco Emoji was happening.
And suddenly, it all clicked. Slow cooker pulled brisket tacos. With some pretty bomb toppings. When it comes to tacos, I take my toppings very seriously. Meaning, I want all of them. But this coffee dry rub was SO incredible, I decided to keep it simple and let the brisket’s flavor be the star.
Such a diva, this brisket.
I whipped up some quick-pickled red onions using this recipe from Bon Appétit. They’re the topping version of the slow cooker brisket. You just whip up the vinegar mixture, slice a red onion and let the flavors hang out at room temperature for about an hour. Ridiculously simple + ridiculously tasty.
Next up for tomatoes: crumbled queso fresco + fresh cilantro.
I snapped these photos + then immediately crushed two of these bad boys. Didn’t even reach for the hot sauce.
I just feel all the feelings for these slow cooker brisket tacos. But really, how can you not?
If you need me next weekend, I’ll be hanging out with my slow cooker + my new crush, brisket tacos.