Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Joe Joe’s

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This fall, Oreos made their bug announcement that they were releasing a pumpkin spice flavor. Other than Golden Oreos and the white chocolate dipped ones, I do not like the different varieties of Oreos; their cream fillings always taste heavily artificial to me. However, I was ready to shamelessly throw out those convictions in the name of pumpkin. The only thing standing in my way – finding the cookies! I have searched Targets and Wegmans’ galore fruitlessly. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw pumpkin sandwich cookies during a random trip to Trader Joe’s.

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Now, I have no idea if Pumpkin Joe Joe’s happened as a result of Pumpkin Spice Oreos, but I am just happy that they exist. My mother is not a pumpkin enthusiast, but even she could not wait until we got home to try them. So like mature adults, we opened them up and tried them as soon as we got in the car. The cookies could be a festive car freshener. The aroma was delectable, sweet and cinnamony. Nothing could have prepared me for how good the cookies would truly be. The cookie portion is buttery, and the cream holds the glorious pumpkin and its spices. And the cream is soft! When I bit the cookie, the cream spread. That probably is not a big deal, but I have never had a store bought sandwich cookie in which the cream can move. You really know all the ingredients at Trader Joe’s are real.

I really cannot speak highly enough about these. They are literally autumnal joy in a cookie.

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Joe Joe’s: 5/5

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Toaster Pastries

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Now, if you have read my past blog posts, you know how I feel about Pumpkin Pie Poptarts. They were without a doubt my favorite pumpkin find of 2011 and the Poptart of all Poptarts. So I know this may come as a shock, but I like these a lot better!

Calorically, they are no different, but the ingredients are all organic. And you can tell.

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The crust, made from wheat flour, tastes like pie crust, especially toasted. I toasted mine in a toaster oven because I read in another review that the icing may slide off, and I did not want to risk that (my little sister used the toaster, and it was fine). The icing was not overly sweet, and I would actually call it a glaze because it reminded me of the glaze on a Krispy Kreme. And the filling was nothing short of pumpkin-y, nutmeg-y goodness. My sister liked them very much as well, though she did say they tasted more like pumpkin Toast ‘Ems than Pumpkin Poptarts.

I always liked Toast ‘Ems better.

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Toaster Pastries: 5/5

Magnolia Bakery’s Pumpkin Cupcake

The best part about having a specific obsession is no matter how much you’re teased about it, people love to feed it. And the other week, my high school best friend’s mother surprised me with a pumpkin cupcake from Magnolia Bakery (popularized by Sex and the City, my friend’s favorite show).

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What I really love about this cupcake is its size. It’s just refreshing to see a cupcake that isn’t overwhelming. I also was happy to see it is a natural shade of orange, so I know the pumpkin is real. And the pumpkin flavor comes through nicely, as well as the nutmeg and cinnamon. My only problem with this cupcake is that it has both raisin and cream cheese frosting, which made me think of carrot cake, no matter how prominent the pumpkin was. I personally would have omitted the raisins. That being said, I ate it gingerly and definitely recommend it.

Magnolia Bakery Pumpkin Cupcake: 4.5/5

Celestial Seasonings Sweet Harvest Pumpkin Tea

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As you all know, I make some impulsive buys when it comes to pumpkin. I do like tea, but generally the only tea I purchase is Chai because I know I will make it. Otherwise, if I want tea, I will get it from a coffee shop. If you could get teas in smaller amounts, I would probably buy more and be more daring, but when I have to commit to twenty bags of tea or half a pound of loose tea, I play it safe. But then I saw this sweet pumpkin tea and threw caution to the wind and bought it.

The tea was okay. I do not drink my tea unsweetened, but I do take a sip before I sweeten it so that I know how I want to do so. I could faintly taste the pumpkin, but mostly the ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, which was what I was anticipating since it is a tea, but I also tasted something off about it. I looked at the ingredients (which I will do before purchasing from here on out) and saw “natural sweetener,” which was a stevia extract. I know stevia is a natural sweetener and zero calories and all that goodness, but it still tastes like splenda and sweet ‘n’ low and equal and all the other artificial sweeteners to me. And I did not appreciate that the tea forced a sweetener on me; however, it did say it was a “sweet” pumpkin tea, so I should have known some sort of sweetener was in it. I tried to mask it with agave, and that did not work. I also tried to make a tea latte out of it, and I still could not eliminate the stevia flavor. If it was not for that, though, I think I would have liked the tea, so if you like stevia, you can add an extra point to the score.

Celestial Seasonings Sweet Pumpkin Tea: 3/5

Wawa Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate

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My little sister takes a few classes at our local community college, and on those days, my mother or I, depending on who is dropping her off, we treat her to Wawa since it is the cool thing with college kids these days to go to the local gas station and get coffee, breakfast sandwiches, bagels, or mac and cheese. And actually going inside Wawa with my sister this go around, I can see why. The options and customization they have now is ridiculous, and now they have a latte section?! After this discovery, I felt it necessary to treat myself as well. I decided to go with a nonfat pumpkin white hot chocolate since I kept trying to get one from Dunkin Donuts, but they never got my order right (I eventually realized they never “got my order right” because they were selling a pumpkin white chocolate latte, and I misread). This was a little cup of heaven. I already love white hot chocolate, and theirs was sweet and creamy and just a dream. And their pumpkin syrup was delicious, more similar to Dunkin’s than Starbucks’ just to give a comparison. The only downfall to this drink is even a 10 oz nonfat one is 200+ calories, and Wawa currently does not carry soymilk, both of which mean I probably will not be drinking anymore this holiday season. But I look forward to having this lovely beverage annually.

Wawa Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate: 5/5

Little Bites Pumpkin Muffins

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On one of my rare trips to Giant, I found this little tempting morsel. I love the Little Bites blueberry muffins (my unhealthy breakfast of choice sophomore year of college), so I had some high hopes for these. I can’t say they were disappointing as a muffin. Just like their blueberry cousin, they were curiously (and probably should have been concerningly) soft and sweet. However, as a pumpkin muffin, they are disappointing. I mean, they did not even have an artificial pumpkin flavor; they were void of pumpkin flavor entirely. They should have just been called pumpkin spice muffins because they were soft, sweet muffins dusted with pumpkin pie spice. At least they were tasty though. My little sister loved them.

Little Bites Pumpkin Muffins: 2/5

Market Pantry (Target) Lite Eggnog

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Eggnog is by far one of my guiltiest of guilty pleasures. It has nothing nutritionally redeemable about it, which probably attributes to its deliciousness. However, I cannot justify consuming 200+ calories on a half of a cup of a drink, so I spend a lot of time trying lower calorie nogs (sometimes no egg at all). I tried Target’s Market Pantry for the first time last year and fell in love. It is a beautiful consistency, not too creamy and not too runny, and has a good balance of sweetness and spices, moreso cinnamon than nutmeg. My only complaint I could find is its shade of yellow bothers me. It’s a little more artificial looking than I’d like, but it’s not glowing or anything. Otherwise, so far it has been my staple eggnog this entire season.

Market Pantry Lite Eggnog: 4.5/5

Happy Farms Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese, Yogurt, and Creamer

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Target has been slacking for me this year on pumpkin treats. It seemed like they always had at least one new and exciting item and carried more of those hard-to-find big brand items, like pumpkin spice Eggos. However, their slacking has forced me to branch out and scope for pumpkin goodies in other stores, which has proved to be a positive thing. In my recent trip to Aldi, I went on the hunt for pumpkin and did not leave empty handed.

The first thing i tried was the pumpkin pie yogurt. Generally, I try to stay away from milks and yogurts because my stomach likes them better some days than others, but I couldn’t resist. When I first took a bite, it tasted pretty delicious, pumpkin-y and cinnamon-y. Then, the aftertaste was bothersome. I scanned the ingredients and realized it was aspartame. While I could finish it, it became less and less enjoyable with each bite. If the taste of aspartame or artificial sweetener, this yogurt is good for you.

Fit & Active Pumpkin Pie Yogurt: 3/5

The next morning I had a half a bagel with the pumpkin spice cream cheese. The color is an alarming dark and artificial orange coloring with huge flecks of what I assume are nutmeg but can’t be too sure. I slathered it liberally on my bagel half (if I can stick with half a wheat bagel, I’ve earned my extra cream cheese), took a bite, and was not pleased. It was chalky, just like the Great Value version, and tasted as artificial as it looked. I was so upset I refuse to buy pumpkin spice cream cheese unless it’s Philadelphia or Einstein Bros.

We’ll see if I can stick with those convictions.

Happy Farms Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese: 1/5

Accompanying my bagel, which was soon replaced by a bowl of cereal, was my signature cup of Veranda Blend Blonde Roast and the pumpkin spice coffee creamer. Now, I’m an avid International Delight pumpkin pie creamer enthusiast (Coffeemate’s pumpkin spice creamer has so much spice it burns my throat if I accidentally overpour), but it seems like this year they have been focusing so much on their new sugar free version that the original version is nowhere to be found. So I decided to branch out and try this. Fortunately, my entire pumpkin haul from Aldi was not a waste because this was delicious. It is almost exactly like the International Delight creamer. I would have just liked it to have had a tad more spice, but otherwise, I was very happy with this and will probably purchase every time I’m at Aldi until it is off the shelf.

Friendly Farms Pumpkin Spice Creamer: 4/5

 

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Swirl Bread

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When I saw this in the grocery store a few months ago, I literally stopped in my tracks and did a hard reverse with my grocery cart. I had been randomly craving cinnamon raisin swirl bread, a luxury favorite of my mother’s, but I chose to ignore it. Then I saw the glory that is pumpkin spice swirl bread and could not think of a better way to indulge. I tried it the next morning for breakfast, with my coffee sweetened with pumpkin spice creamer, of course, and could not have been more pleased. This bread is everything you would want pumpkin spice swirl bread to be. Sweet and a perfect balance of cinnamon and nutmeg but not overwhelming in any way. I chose to top it with butter until I got to the last four pieces because I decided to make French toast with it for my sister and I. In case you were wondering, it was wonderful.

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Swirl Bread: 5/5