It's that time. Bust out your nutmeg and cloves, because it's PUMPKIN SPICE TIME.
The days of pumpkin spice everything are here, and I'm sure a few of you reading this are cringing, shaking your head and muttering to yourselves something that sounds like "BASIC....". If you are one of those people.... Sorry, this post isn't for you. I am what you may call a "Basic" in that I love everything Pumpkin Spice, and this post is all about some of the best Pumpkin Spice that stores have to offer.
Out of all the places selling Pumpkin Spice This or That, Trader Joe's has it down. I mean, did you expect anything less? It's TRADER JOE'S for heaven's sake. They are contstantly killing it with their year-round staples, so why would this time of year be any different? It's their time to shine.
I've compiled a list of some of their best Pumpkin Spice offerings this year, and thought I'd share a few of my favorites with my fellow lovers of the fall-time-flavor. Ready? Throw away that pumpkin pie (THAT'S so basic) and let's go!
1. PUMPKIN TORTILLA CHIPS
Okay, okay, okay. I'm starting off with a controversial one. BUT HEAR ME OUT. As a lover of chips and dips, this option is the one I'll probably eat the most of this season. The chips are still made with the ingredients you know and love in a tortilla chip, but they've added pumpkin seeds and puree, and a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg (the best of the pumpkin spices). These aren't a hit-you-in-the-face pumpkin flavor, which I appreciate! These give you a gentle, warm kiss of fall, all while enjoying your favorite dip! In my opinion, they go well with your basic tomato salsa, but would also be GREAT with a tomatillo or pineapple based salsa. Lucky for you, I have the perfect Roasted Salsa and Pineapple Salsa recipes!
2. Pumpkin Pancake and Waffle Mix
We all know that a pumpkin dish is really great way to end the day (dessert.... duh.), but why not start your day with it, too? If you're a true pumpkin fan, you'll be right on board with me. Pumpkin for breakfast is an excellent idea, in my humble opinion (see my obsession with my Pumpkin French Toast). This pre-made mix has easy to follow instructions, and is so much less of a mess than if you were to try and make it yourself. I'm all for a homemade pancake/waffle, don't get me wrong. But if someone did it for me and it's actually good? And it's this cheap (JUST $2.99! Gosh, I love Trader Joe's)? Yea... I'mma use that one.
3. Pumpkin Greek Yogurt
This is something I am so grateful for. Pumpkin Waffles, Pancakes and French Toast are breakfasts I can eat on a weekend or on special occasions. I can't do a heavy breakfast on the daily. On a typical day, I eat greek yogurt and a protein shake for breakfast. It's quick, easy, relatively light and portable. I usually go with a cherry or blueberry flavor, but now I can bring my love of pumpkin into my daily routine! I wish they would carry these year-round... You might see me sneaking one of these at night as well, though. Why? Because this bad boy tastes like Pumpkin Cheesecake! No joke. I had one bite and did a happy dance alone in my kitchen like the pumpkin-loving-weirdo that I am.
4. Petite Pumpkin Spice Cookies
If Mother's Animal Cookies grew up to be a holiday cookie, this would be it. I'm not kidding when I say that these are addictive. They speak to your childhood in a way that encourages you to EAT like you're still a child by stuffing another into your mouth as soon as the last crumbles of the previous one dissolves (maybe even before that...). Perfectly crunchy with the perfect amount of pumpkin and a pleasantly perfect creamy yogurt coating, these little cookies are just PERFECT. Period. Not going to lie, I may just hide these from the husband. SHHH. Don't tell.
5. Organic Pumpkin Toaster Pastries
Speaking of breakfast (nice segue, amiright?). Let's talk "toaster pastries"(this is a Pop-Tart, let's be real). As you can see from the image above, I didn't wait to toast these until I tried a bite. I was pretty stoked to see these in the store. I'll be honest, I haven't had a true Pop-Tart in years because I knew the crazy colors and crazy flavors they've been coming out with aren't the best possible things I could be putting in my body in the morning. But when I saw these I had to try them. These guys are exactly what you want them to be. I'll admit they are better toasted than straight from the bag, and I won't be popping these into my body in the morning, but these are definitely a fun and tasty snack.
6. Pumpkin Joe-Joe's
You know I can't do a Trader Joe's Pumpkin post without mentioning these! That would be beyond crazy! If you've never been to a Trader Joe's before, they make their own version of an Oreo type cookie named Joe-Joe's. They are the first products to pick up the holiday flavors (I don't know if we can be friends if you haven't had a Candy Cane Joe-Joe...), and the first product people think of when they think fall at Trader Joe's. These FLY off the shelves, and if you don't get them early, you may not get them at all. I'm serious, sometimes when the store runs out, they are GONE for the full season. Pumpkin spiced cookies are filled with a deliciously creamy pumpkin filling, and these are probably the best thing on this list. If you get one thing, make it this one.
7. Pumpkin Chai Spice Loaf
This one is great if you get it at the right time. This last one I picked up was at the tail end of it's "Best By" date, and it was still delicious, but you want it while it's fresh. If you pick this up, make sure you have at least a two day buffer (Trader Joe's baked goods have a shorter "life" span because they bake things fresh and with no preservatives), and try to eat it that day. Like a banana, these have a window. If you make it in that window, oh MAN is it good. Wonderfully spiced and moist cake is topped with a chai spiced cream cheese frosting, and now I'm ready for another slice just thinking about it...
8. Pumpkin Ginger Mini Ice Cream Cones
I came across these by accident. I was manuevering my way through the frozen aisle looking for the pumpkin flavored mochi ice cream they carried last year (spoiler alert, I COULDN'T FIND IT. But if you find it and they haven't discontinued it, buy it and love it and hide it from everyone because they are amazing), when I stumbled on these little morsels. I'll admit, I wasn't too sure about pumpkin ice cream. But the size of these got me! They're so small and so cute! Once I tried this, I was in heaven. It's like a Drumstick and a pumpkin had a little baby, and that baby was delicious. The ice cream is smooth and has a great balance of the pumpkin spice and the pumpkin. It's not a super "warm" flavor, which is good because it's ice cream and that would be a strange sensation. And the cones are cripsy with a gingerbread flavor. And I love these. And that's all I'll say about that.
9. Pumpkin Ravioli
I saved this one for last on purpose. I would not have sought these out on my own, but I watched a video on YouTube by some of my favorite Internet-tainers and they turned me onto these. The thought of Pumpkin Ravioli was so strange to me, and I wasn't sure how I'd feel about them. I had to try them for myself. And now they are on this list... because YOU should try them.
If I'm being honest, John does not like these. He thinks these may be a bit too pumpkin-y, and doesn't like the idea of associating his favorite dessert (pumpkin pie) with one of his favorite meals (dinner). I reminded him that people eat pumpkin soup for dinner and that it's totally normal, and he even LIKES pumpkin soups and stews. He insisted he wasn't sure about this concept and it wasn't for him. That's fine! I tell you his story as a warning for any of you who aren't true pumpkin spice lovers!
The pasta is filled with a nutty and warm pumpkin spiced puree, combined with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, and I'M ALL FOR THIS. Not sure how to eat this? Well. I have a treat for you. I've created a perfect recipe for this product, and really though, it's so tasty. There are a handful of recipes that I'm genuinely proud of, and this is definitely one of them! Check out my newest recipe, Pumpkin Ravioli with Browned Butter Balsamic Sauce!