Mrs. Sell's Blog of Household Management

Fall roundup 2015: Pumpkin Pie Yogurt


These are great! They really remind me of Pioneer Woman’s Pumpkin Smoothie, which has yogurt in it, so it makes sense… It’s a really light, tart flavor, with just a bit of pumpkin spice. The only detriment is the “pie crust topping,” which is just crumbled graham crackers, which get stale once they’re crushed up and chilled… Might be better off crushing up your own graham crackers and using those, instead.

This would actually be a great thing to try to make at home, with some plain yogurt, sweetener, pumpkin, spice and crushed grahams… I might have to play around with that idea. It would basically be the Pumpkin Smoothie, but thicker.

I recommend trying these!


They changed them for this year!


Instead of being pumpkin-flavored yogurt, now it’s vanilla yogurt with pumpkin “fruit on the bottom.” It comes out tasting pretty much exactly the same as last year’s, though.

I’ve been surprised how much different yogurts vary in flavor; e.g., Chobani is super-tart, YoCrunch has a very distinctive flavor, and Noosa is right in between the tartness of Greek yogurt and the mildness of regular American. Is it caused by the different bacteria they use? I don’t know…

Fall roundup 2015: Pumpkin Sparkling Spiced Cider

pumpkin sparkling spiced cider

This is a house-brand offering from one of my local grocery stores (Stop & Shop, if anyone in the northeast is interested). They have quite the pumpkin spice display at the moment:

stop n shop pumpkin1

stop n shop pumpkins2

stop n shop pumpkins3

stop n shop pumpkin4

stop n shop pumpkins5

I was able to mostly restrain myself, sort of. But the spiced cider is really good!

It’s really heavy on the ginger part of “pumpkin spice,” which works because it comes off like a nice ginger ale with some additional flavors. Plus, it comes in a really awesome bottle with a good stopper that I’m totally going to re-purpose to hold vanilla extract or something else cool like that.

Fall roundup 2015: Pumpkin Cheesecake cookies


I don’t think I’d buy these again. They were pretty dry and hard, and didn’t really taste like pumpkin, or even pumpkin spice. The only distinguishable flavor was the “cheesecake” bits, and those didn’t taste like pumpkin or anything, either. Unless you really love that dry, packaged cookie texture, skip them.

Fall roundup 2015: Chobani pumpkin yogurt

chobani blended2

One word about Chobani: I think it was one of the first Greek yogurts I tried, way back when I was studying Arabic and was first introduced to the wonderment that is Mediterranean food. I had never had yogurt in a savory application; tzatziki was a revelation (also the first time I had ever liked cucumber. And now I’m craving lamb kibbeh with tzatziki…)

chobani yogurt pumpkin spice blended

So I can’t bash Chobani too hard, except that now it’s WAY too tart for me. Maybe I was tougher back then. Plus, they have this nifty little device;


(This is the same yogurt, but in the “Flip” version.)

chobani yogurt pumpkin harvest crisp

The little corner has stuff in it, and you just peel off the lid,

chobani flip2

and dump in the toppings:

chobani flip3

Pretty clever, right? (I think the first one I had had honey in the other side; honey’s SO PERFECT with a super-tart Greek yogurt.)

But overall, this was not my favorite pumpkin yogurt offering. I’ve still got a few to try (there’s SO MUCH pumpkin yogurt), but I will not be getting this one again.

Fall roundup 2015: Spiced Cider Pumpkin instant drink mix


You know how all flavors of Ramen pretty much taste the same? That’s the way these are: there is a nicely-spiced flavor that differs a little bit from the original apple flavor, but it’s pretty much the same. These are great for freezing days when you’re looking for something, anything, to thaw yourself out. Pour in boiling water, and you’re good to go. Yum. Warm.

Fall roundup 2015: Noosa Pumpkin Yogurt

I think I have a new favorite yogurt:

noosa pumpkin yogurt

I found this at Target; it’s “Australian-style” yogurt, made in Colorado. (Don’t ask me; I’m majoring in accounting, not marketing.)

To me, this yogurt is the perfect balance between the tartness of Greek yogurt and the mildness of American. I love tart Greek yogurt in some applications, particularly savory ones like tzatziki: there’s nothing like it. And a nice blended yogurt beverage like lassi is wonderful when the yogurt is really tart.

But when you’re trying to do something sweet, then a strong tartness can kinda be off-putting (I’m talking to you, Chobani.) And that’s where Noosa has it figured out. I don’t know how they do it, but there’s just enough tartness to give it some dimension, without making you want to pucker. And even though people disagree about the awesomeness of pumpkin pie flavor, I think we can all agree that puckering should never occur in that context.

The Noosa is a combination of lightly-sweetened plain yogurt, with a pumpkin stripe swirled through it. It’s really good; I highly recommend it if you can find it.

There’s a pack of four small cups,


and a single large cup:


(Get the small ones; the big one is way to much.)


Here’s the gruesome remains of the big one, after I (mostly) stirred together the swirl and the yogurt. The only thing that would make this better is a little crunch; some crushed graham crackers or ginger snaps would be amazing. I would have tried it, if it had lasted longer than about 40 seconds.


Pumpkin sheet cake fail

I am extremely disappointed. Remember the pumpkin sheet cake I was so excited about? I finally made it today. And it ended up being half a pound of butter, over a pound of homemade pumpkin puree, and a bunch of sugar, flour and eggs, all straight into the trash. It was almost worse, but I was able to salvage most of the cream cheese-butter frosting.

I followed the direction exactly, and it looked the same at every point as PW’s pictures, but when I finally cut into it, this is what I got:

pumpkin sheet cake attempt 1

I don’t know if you can really tell, but the crumb of the cake is basically solid: it looks like a cross-section of a custard pie. The flavor was fine, but the texture was completely gummy and rubbery. Fortunately it was solid enough that I could easily scrape all the frosting off to be saved for something else.

Right now I’m tossing around two theories: 1) my baking soda is completely dead, or 2) my homemade pumpkin puree had a lot more water than the canned in the original recipe, and it increased the water content too much.

What I learned: don’t use precious homemade pumpkin puree on new recipes, and never try a new recipe when you need to send treats somewhere (I almost used this recipe to send cupcakes to my husband’s work).

I really want to try this recipe again; I’ve made other versions of PW’s sheet cakes, and they have always been delicious. Fortunately I have a can of regular pumpkin, so I could potentially try again soon, especially since I have the frosting made. I will let you know how it goes…

In other pumpkin news, I made Kenji’s roasted pumpkin soup (a version of which is in his new book), and we had harvest pasta with pumpkin alfredo sauce for dinner. And I had a Tazo chai pumpkin spice latte to stay awake. So there was a lot of pumpkin today. I have tried several new pumpkin products; hopefully I will have time to review them this year!

Fall roundup 2015: Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts


I do not normally like Pop-Tarts (except maybe the S’mores version), but I make an exception every fall for these. They are mediocre at room-temperature, but if you toast them well enough, you get a crispy, caramelized little processed pumpkin pie in a crust with frosting. Pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tart. If you love pumpkin pie, these work.

Book review: The Food Lab

When I was first learning to cook, fear was a big obstacle: mainly, fear of investing a bunch of money and time into something and 1) having it not work because I couldn’t figure out how to do it right, and 2) doing it right, but the recipe itself just wasn’t very good.

What I found then, as a baby cook, and what I find now, as someone who still can’t afford to waste very much time and money on stuff that doesn’t work, is that a good recipe is worth its weight in gold, and finding good recipe developers/writers is the best way to find good recipes.

For me, those writers have been the great Julia Child, and Kenji Lopez-Alt. They both put mountains of time and effort into recipe development, working out the flaws and debunking the myths so that by the time the recipe gets into my hands, the results are virtually guaranteed. And in the process of learning to do things the right way, I pick up tips, tricks and techniques that I apply to all of my cooking, whether it’s one of their recipes or not.

If you’ve followed this blog for very long, you know that I’m been waiting very impatiently for YEARS for Kenji’s book to come out — and it finally has!


(Kenji, sorry for always nitpicking at you on Serious Eats about the release date! I promise to stop for a while, at least until the next volume is due out!)

I haven’t had time to do more than skim it once or twice, but it is everything that I expected: the writing, the science, and the recipes are all top-notch, and I was thrilled to see that it includes three of my already-beloved Kenji recipes: basic red sauce, grilled naan, and the leg-of-lamb that I make on Easter! (My recipe notebook is full of recipes entitled “[name of food] a la Kenji” for brevity’s sake.)

It is a HUGE book at 6+ pounds, but it was supposed to be two volumes originally, so I guess they compromised. When I get a new book, I usually like to carry it around with me for a few days to read in spare moments, but this one is a tome. That didn’t actually stop me from carrying it around to classes the first day, though… And for the record, this is not the most unwieldy cookbook on my shelf; that honor goes to Julia’s The Way to Cook. So phooey on whoever left that 1-star review because it was “too heavy.”

The only tragedy is that I’m too busy now to just start cooking through it, one recipe at a time. (I guess I still could, but it will take longer.) But I’ve already noted TONS of recipes I want to try, and I know that they will all be amazing.

Bottom line: if you cook, want to cook, are learning to cook, need more practice cooking, or just enjoy reading intelligent, funny prose, buy this book!




Fall roundup 2015: Pumpkin Spice Oreos

This fall, I’m doing reviews of various products with the words “pumpkin spice” on the label. Today’s is:

Pumpkin Spice Oreos!

(This picture is actually from last year; no word yet on whether they’ll be here for 2015.)

(Update: they totally are! I got two packages…)
1010141402Should you get them? Oh, gosh, yes. They are DELICIOUS. The filling is perfectly pumpkin-spice-seasoned, and the cookie has a luscious butter flavor that goes with the pumpkin spice perfectly. I seriously want to make a pumpkin pie now with a butter-shortbread crust, or a butter-cookie-crumb crust, because these are that good.

Pumpkin spice + butter cookie = only buy these if you have more self-control than I do.

Post Navigation


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.