Fall is here, break out the pumpkins

Fall is finally here and to be honest, I have mixed emotions about this. My recent honeymoon in Key West has left me longing for warm days, floating in the ocean and sipping cool cocktails by a pool. I’m not a huge fan of cold weather and I really think I could get along fine living somewhere the temperature never gets below 70 degrees.

But alas, that is not the case, and I do love the Yadkin Valley and I would be sad to leave that behind if I ever decided to pack up and move further south. So, the only thing to do to beat the post-honeymoon/end of summer blues is to find the fun things about fall to celebrate.

Of course, one of the things I do love about fall is the food. Now begins the time for warm comforting soups and fun desserts made with Halloween candy.

While I would prefer to be floating in the beautiful warm Mother ocean, there is still something delightful about that little chill in the air that makes you want to snuggle up in a cozy sweater and watch spooky movies while munching on popcorn balls. And, let’s not forget, fairs and festivals are happening this time of year and there are certainly some yummy treats to be eaten there.

I did a quick survey of friends on Facebook to find out what some of the favorite fall foods are. Here

is the list they came up with: apple pie and pumpkin pie (with homemade crust), sweet tango apples, pumpkin pie dip, cider braised chicken thighs with sweet potatoes and sage, pumpkin spice doughnuts, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin seeds that have been salted to death, apple cider that got a bit fermented, chili and more pumpkin pie, wine. Oh wait, this friend said, that wine is for every season. Everybody’s a comedian.

Also on the list was apple cobbler, fresh banana or zucchini bread, hot apple cider and mulled wine, chili, homemade beef vegetable soup and warm homemade bread and, of course, pumpkin anything. Chai tea, apple crisp served with hot coffee, taco soup and potato soup, shrimp and corn chowder, pear pie and more chili, plus the famous green chili stew made in New Mexico were all also on the list.

As you can see, pumpkin came up quite a few times on the list of favorite fall foods. Gone are the days when pumpkin pie is the only choice for a pumpkin food, now you can have pumpkin flavored pretty much anything. There’s pumpkin cake, pumpkin dip, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin beer and much more.

Of course, pumpkin pie is the classic and always will be, but if you’re looking for a quick pumpkin fix, I highly recommend whipping up some pumpkin fluff dip. The recipe is super simple and you can dip ginger snaps or any favorite cookie into the dip or fresh apples. It’s a great snack to take to friends’ houses for fall parties as well. Variations on the recipe abound on the internet, but I use the recipe from one of my favorite food blogs,The Girl Who Ate Everything.

I will note that when we made this last week we did not use the entire 16 ounce container of Cool Whip. I would suggest putting a little less than half and taste as you go to see how fluffy you want your dip. We ended up using only about half of the container of Cool Whip. Also, if you don’t have any pumpkin pie spice on hand, I’d recommend using the Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Mix rather than just the canned pumpkin.

Pumpkin Fluff Dip (Recipe from
• 1 (16 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
• 1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
• 1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
• 1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (adjust this to how “pumpkiny” you want it.)
In a large bowl, mix together instant vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in the thawed frozen whipped topping. Chill in the refrigerator until serving. Serve with ginger snaps, Nilla wafers, or cinnamon graham crackers.

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