As I settle into the fall season, my thoughts always turn to pumpkins. As in previous years, I am sharing my pumpkin favorites from this year.
There are several great choices to start the day. Special K Pumpkin Spice and Cheerios Pumpkin Spice are my favorite pumpkin cereals. I eat both dry accompanied by water, rather than in a bowl with milk. Entemann’s Little Bites pumpkin muffins and BelVita pumpkin spice breakfast biscuits are also excellent choices.
I love cannoli, and rarely stray from the traditional variety. Chicago Pastry’s pumpkin cannoli are the exception. The key to great cannoli is the ricotta cheese filling. Chicago Pastry manages to raise the bar by adding wonderful pumpkin flavor to the top-notch cheese filling. Another great season cannoli is their caramel apple cannoli. Chicago Pastry simply makes the best cannoli.
I have tried several pumpkin shakes already with pretty good results. The best was Grecian Kitchen with a thick and rich — without being overly sweet — shake. For an added bonus at Grecian Kitchen add their delicious turkey burger to your order. Dairy Queen’s Pumpkin Pie Blizzard was very good, but the few I tried needed better blending, as all of the pieces were near the top. The pumpkin shake at Dunkin’ is solid but not special. Dunkin’ also has pumpkin munchkins, but I don’t like donuts, no matter the flavor.
Panera Bread‘s autumn squash soup is a wonderful comfort food. Made with butternut squash, pumpkin, ginger, spices and a little sweet apple, I combine the soup with rice and grilled chicken to make a full meal.
Venturing into adult beverages, the top four I found are Ace Pumpkin Cider, Big Muddy Brewing Pumpkin Smasher, Dogfish Head Punkin Ale and Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Wheat. The beauty of these four is each has a distinct flavor. All are refreshing and work well with a big plate of chicken nachos, covered in pumpkin salsa, of course.
This year I already discovered a few new pumpkin delights, but I am still searching for pumpkin ravioli. I have also heard rumors of pumpkin risotto, but no confirmation so far. At least for now, my pantry is well-stocked with my pumpkin favorites.
— John Wroblewski, online writer
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