Pumpkin Spice Muffins & Cheerios

It’s no secret that I love pumpkin spice. A lot of people joke that it’s a flavouring made specifically for white women, and there may be some substance to that. After all, it does smell distinctly like the pumpkin pie that was a treat in my family around Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I’m guessing that other people of a similar background have similar nostalgia. They say that smell has a great deal of power when it comes to memory, at any rate.

When I was growing up, though, pumpkin spice wasn’t in everything come fall. Pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread, if you were lucky, and that was about it. The popularity of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte is what really got the ball rolling, at least around here. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I was later than many about hopping on the bandwagon. I really rather liked the Oreos and the Kahlua. That being said, I firmly believe that some things really don’t need to be pumpkin spice flavoured, or have been poorly done, so I like to try out a few new dishes every autumn as a kind of experiment.

The first dish that I tried this week was pumpkin spice muffins baked from Krusteaz Pumpkin Spice Quick Bread Mix, which I bought from Costco on a recent trip. The box says that you can make loaves, pancakes, cookies, and muffins, but I was feeling lazy so I just made the muffins. They rose nicely and looked great in the pan, but they fell and became rather overly moist once they left the oven, despite being cooked through. Even so, they were fairly tasty; the kids especially liked them.

For my part, I think I will stick to the Joy of Cooking‘s Pumpkin Bread recipe for this kind of muffin. I’ve had better luck with this recipe in the past. However, I do wonder, in the case of the mix, if it’s trying to do too many things — or if a different preparation might suit the mix better? At any rate, I have three more packages of mix to cook, so I should be able to try them all out.

I also tried some Pumpkin Spice Cheerios. These are definitely a sweet cereal, which to me isn’t suited to breakfast at all. Actually, I found them quite cloying in (unsweetened almond) milk. However, they’re not half bad dry, and make quite a nice snack. However, if I’m going for a sweet Cheerio, I much prefer Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. They came out in 1988, so they have a place in my heart as being a special treat from my childhood (we weren’t allowed sugary cereal except on special occasions). Also, I just find that they taste less sweet and cloying, which is funny because according to the nutrition info, pumpkin spice has 8g of sugar per serving, and apple cinnamon has 9g. Maybe it’s how it’s cooked, or just the spice mixture? It’s even stranger when you realize that one of the major components in pumpkin spice is actually cinnamon. At any rate, I still like Apple Cinnamon Cheerios better.

National Cereal Day

Yet another day of taking care of sick kiddos… It doesn’t leave much time (or inclination) to cook. Luckily, we had lots of bits and bobs from previous dinners in the fridge that needed to be eaten anyway, so yesterday became Leftover Night. Lunch, however, was a bit of a wash, so I just had a bowl of cereal.

Social media reminded me that today is National Cereal Day in the US, although it doesn’t even make the ,a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_food_days”>list of food days on Wikipedia. According to that list, yesterday was actually National Crown Roast of Pork Day, which was way more complicated than I was up to trying. It occurs to me that if I planned our menu based on the national food days, we’d have quite the variety of diet, and I’d have the inspiration to try a whole bunch of new things.

Anyways, I ate a bowl of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, which have been my favourite cereal since I was a kid. My parents wouldn’t let us get sugary cereals on a regular basis, so when we did get a box it was a real treat. This was pretty much the only sugary breakfast we ever had, except sometimes for those miniature boxes of cereal when we were camping/cottaging. I used to eat healthier cereal almost every day, but I slowly fell out of the habit as I became more sensitive to dairy (I don’t like my cereal dry). Now I eat it with almond milk, but I’ve come to prefer a hot breakfast or at least some toast in the morning. We always have cereal around, though, since the kids eat it all the time. Following my parents’ lead, I also only allow sugary cereal as the occasional treat. Much to my surprise, my kids don’t even like Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, so I don’t even have to share them!