Love Me Some Pumpkin!

Pumpkin Yummies Found At Target

Archer Farms Pumpkin Harvest Salsa

Archer Farms Pumpkin Harvest Salsa

Quick Review: I was actually excited to find this one because I was in the market for a jar of salsa and never would’ve expected pumpkin salsa! Unfortunately, though, I honestly didn’t really like this very much – I like my salsas with a hint of sweetness … maybe mango or pineapple or something … and this one just didn’t have it. My best description is that it tasted kind of flat to me, to the point where I sampled what you see there in the bowl and then threw the rest of the jar out in favor of the jar of mango salsa that I had also picked up just in case… :(

Archer Farms Pumpkin Cupcakes

Archer Farms Pumpkin Cupcakes

Quick Review: I wasn’t really impressed, purely from a pumpkin perspective … in fact, after my first bite, I wondered if I’d accidentally gotten carrot cake cupcakes instead. They were tasty, and the crumble on top was a nice touch, but alas, the pumpkin was nowhere to be found – at least not by these taste buds…

Chex Pumpkin Spice Party Mix

Chex Pumpkin Spice Party Mix

Shock & Awe: I couldn’t believe when I found these at Target a few weeks ago - on clearance already - when I’ve never even seen them before! You may remember that I made something similar from a recipe a few years ago as part of The All-Pumpkin Meal Plan that admittedly didn’t really represent pumpkin-hood too well…

Well…: …and honestly, unfortunately, it could very well be that these things are on clearance because they don’t really taste much like pumpkin, either. Sweet and sugary, but aside from the mix having a nice pumpkin scent, the flavor just didn’t stand up by the time all was said and done.

The Process: I will say that I still had a good time making this stuff because needless to say, I’m very much a fan! I actually mixed it up a little bit ingredient-wise, as this recipe called for Corn, Rice, and Cinnamon Chex, whereas I ended up going with Honey Nut, Chocolate, and Cinnamon Chex because … why not?! Have you ever stopped and looked at how many different varieties of Chex Cereal there are these days?!?!?! They’re not just limited to Rice/Corn/Wheat anymore (although those still make the best classic Chex Mix!), so I figured it would be fun to experiment a little!

One place where I wish I hadn’t experimented, though, was in the drying phase because after you’re done nuking these things, the instructions say to spread them out on aluminum foil or something so that they can cool. I’ve never really done that with the vast batches of regular Chex Mix that I’ve made in my days … but what I didn’t consider was that unlike regular Chex Mix, this variety was made with a healthy dose of corn syrup, meaning that it basically turns into the consistency of caramel corn … or in my case, one gigantic, bowl-sized piece of caramel corn that I needed to break pieces off of using a spoon like a chisel! 8O

Final Verdict: I ended up buying a handful of these mix packages, shocked that they were on the shelf with all of the summer merch that wouldn’t sell, but now after trying one myself, the rest will probably just find a home in my giant pumpkin pile instead of going to work when snack time circles around again.

Garden Lites Pumpkin Spice Souffle

Garden Lites Pumpkin Spice Souffle

Proposed Tagline: “Pretty much like pumpkin pie, but without all of the yummy sugar!”

Hmmmm…: This was a little strange. Admittedly I kind of expected that when I randomly stumbled upon it in my grocery’s freezer section, but I guess I wasn’t really thinking microwavable food because it was in that vegan/vegetarian section that I normally steer clear of, and besides, you compare that picture to what was actually in the box!

The Truth: So the flavor itself was fine, I guess. I ate the whole thing, but I wasn’t super excited about it. It really did have a pumpkin pie consistency, but it was lacking any sweetness that makes pumpkin pie delicious, and I know that vegetables traditionally aren’t sweet, but if it were a toss-up between this thing and just a baked sweet potato or something, I’d probably take the potato. It just wasn’t flavorful enough for me to eat it more than once.

Coffee House Cafe Decadent Pumpkin Bar

Coffee House Cafe Decadent Pumpkin Bar

Exclamation!: It’s like Paula Deen went into the witness relocation program as a barista, and this is her favorite!

And…: It’s actually pretty good! I said the same about  a similar product last fall – it’s funny how if you dump enough butter into something, just about anything ends up being delicious. Well, delicious might be a strong word – the pumpkin flavor here is very distinct, though make sure you’ve got plenty of napkins on hand because this thing is greasier than … well … it’s just very, very greasy, ok?!

P.S.: When is Target going to start switching over the rest of their bakery items to pumpkin stuff??? Mine is still packed with s’mores products and last I checked, summer ended almost a month ago. This is our time! ;)

Celestial Seasonings Sweet Harvest Pumpkin Black Tea

Celestial Seasonings Sweet Harvest Pumpkin Black Tea

Thoughts: Although I was kind of excited to find this one, being that I just recently became a tea drinker in the last couple of months … I honestly wasn’t really all that impressed with it. Well, let me correct that – I actually like it as a tea because it’s got kind of a nice autumnal, harvest blend flavor to it, but if we’re being honest here on this blog - I don’t think it tastes much of anything like pumpkin.

P.S.: And granted, I’m still getting used to tea and finding the ones that I like. For the first month I drank almost nothing but green tea (with copious amounts of honey), but lately I’ve been exploring some of the various flavors tucked away in our pantry – many of which are Celestial brand, so I was disappointed when this didn’t knock me off my feet … especially considering we also had a sample pack of their peppermint flavor which pretty much made me wish it was four months later and Santa would be coming any day now!

Swing and a Miss: As a last ditch effort, I even tried dumping in one of these Pumpkin Pie Spice creamers that I picked up yesterday, but admittedly that only made it worse. And the search continues!!! ;)

Market Pantry Pumpkin Waffles

Market Pantry Pumpkin Waffles

Short and Sweet: Like many generic products we see, these sadly just didn’t live up to that lone, orange pumpkin on the outside of the box. I even had one breakfast of these not doused in syrup just to make sure I wasn’t drowning out the pumpkin-y goodness, but alas – cinnamon/spice-y … yes, pumpkin-y … no.

Recommendation: Just spend the extra 60 cents and get the Eggo ones instead – you’ll be much happier.

Side Note: Check out this giant breakfast sandwich that I made with them! (now think if they’d actually tasted somewhat like pumpkin…)

Pumpkin Spice M&M’s

Pumpkin Spice M&M's

Fanfare: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76RrdwElnTU

Tagline: What better way to kick off Pumpkin Season 2013 than with a new pumpkin tribute to a classic favorite?! :mrgreen:

Discovery: I’m not gonna lie – I just about jumped for joy and embarrassed my wife in front of the whole store when I found these on the shelf at Target today! From a distance I could see the Candy Corn M&Ms … which are disgusting … alongside the fall packaging for the traditional plain, peanut, and peanut butter flavors, and then I felt a unique glimmer as I slowly approached as I noticed something else that I’ve dreamed of for many, many moons, but never actually seen before…

Could this be the year?

Sure enough, it is, and 2013 is officially the year when the makers of M&M’s finally heeded our call to bring pumpkin-flavored chocolate to the masses in a hard candy shell that melts in your mouth, but not in your hands.

The Review: Right off the bat, they’re not super strong … the pumpkin is almost more of an aftertaste, but to be honest, I think I kind of like ‘em that way … at least as far as M&M’s are concerned. I guess I’ve had so many different flavors of M&M’s that aren’t too great that maybe it makes sense to dial it back a bit in order to avoid being overwhelmingly pumpkin in a bad way.

The flavor is still good, though, and the colors are kind of a fun in browns and greens and oranges – a nice autumnal assortment that also brings a special flavor to match the season that’s very much not Candy Corn! ;)

Mrs. Smith’s Signature Deep Dish Pumpkin Pie

Celebrate!: Wow, so this was literally both my first and last traditional pumpkin pie of 2012! Thanksgiving’s requirement was satisfied with a delectable pumpkin cheesecake, but I just couldn’t ring in the new year without biting into a piece of an old classic at least once this year…

Timing is Everything: Though this year almost didn’t happen because good god, since when do pumpkin pies take so long to bake?! This thing literally sat in my oven for almost two hours, and then required a couple more hours on top of that to cool back down again because, well, 450 degrees is hot!!! Clearly I haven’t baked a true pumpkin pie in a while – maybe this is normal? Or maybe it’s just the deep dish requiring a little extra heat because an hour is what seems familiar in my old noggin.

Deliciously Deep: Nevertheless, four hours later when I was finally done cookin’ and coolin’, Mrs. Smith’s Deep Dish delight was actually a really good pie. Mind you, it didn’t seem ridiculously thick … there’s some extra, though arguably not really enough to warrant 1/6 of my day just for cooking a frozen pie … but it was yummy all the same and I was ready to go to bed and it was good! It didn’t exactly knock HoneyBaked’s award-winning pie off its pedestal or anything, but I wouldn’t exactly kick this pie out of bed on account of crumbs or stray Cool Whip, either…

Scott’s 2012 Target Pumpkin Shopping List

Over 50 different pumpkin products can be found at Target, and although that may still be a bit shy from Walmart’s impressive 60+ productsit’s still most certainly a force to be reckoned with!

Below is a comprehensive list of everything I’ve managed to find at the Target nearest me (in Tampa, FL) this pumpkin season here in 2012. Got something that I might’ve missed? Leave a comment down below so that I can add it to this magnificent list of ours… :)

Bakery

Breads

Snack Foods

Hot Beverages

Baking Needs

Cereal

Refrigerated Stuffs

Scents (Grocery Section)

  • Air Wick Sweet Vanilla & Pumpkins Candle
  • Renuzit Pumpkin Spice Air Fresheners

Freezer Section

Candy

Baby Stuff

  • Ella’s Kitchen Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, Apples & Blueberries Baby Food
  • Up & Up Banana and Pumpkin Baby Food

Scents (Housewares Section)

Now that’s a lotta pumpkin! 8O