Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Seasonal Flavors Fill the Air

Hi there!

First cocoa of the season--complete with puffy marshmallows

I don't know about you but I still get super excited for the holidays. As in, I listen to Christmas music in October and anxiously await Halloween since the next day holiday gear kicks in full-blast. That being said, be prepared for seasonal overload below!

Seasonal Flavors

Seasonal flavors such as pumpkin, gingerbread, and peppermint sneak their way into my daily eats. Lately, peppermint has come in the form of this new limited-edition flavored bar from Clif! Awhile back I saw on Twitter that Clif was sending out free samples of their new bar if you followed them. Being a loyal Clif fan, I jumped at the chance.

The bar actually came while we were on our honeymoon, but you'd better believe I was pretty excited to see it in my mailbox when we arrived home.

I taste-tested it this past weekend in between designing at Starbucks with Krystine and hitting up the gym for a sweaty elliptical ride while watching Wheel of Fortune (have I mentioned that I'm obsessed with that show? Andy and I may or may not watch it most evenings after work...)

At first I was surprised to see the bright red bits of peppermint flavor woven into the bar. I was not expecting this at all! These are definitely different than the Luna Chocolate Peppermint Stick bars that I love, but it was a good different! These bars seem to be more minty and more spot-on candy cane flavor. I love anything mint, so this was definitely right up my alley.

I was actually really impressed and would definitely purchase these to enjoy throughout the holiday season. Now if only I could find the pumpkin and gingerbread varieties of these bars! I'm itching to try them before they're all snatched up for the holidays.

Holiday Baking
On Sunday afternoon, I headed down to my mom's house for the day since my dad was out of town and we wanted to get some seasonal baking under our belts. On the agenda: our annual granola and pumpkin white chocolate chip muffins!

My mom actually came across the recipe for pumpkin white chocolate chip muffins over on Pinterest! I was so impressed!

We immediately started making them after reading through the recipe--the batter smelled so good! Pumpkin and cinnamon filled the air! I wasn't sure if I would like the addition of the white chocolate chips since I'm not a huge white chocolate fan, but in the end it turned out to be a great flavor complement to the pumpkin.

After mixing all of the ingredients, off to the oven they went! About twenty minutes later, we had a dozen delicious muffins--and you'd better believe we sampled one right away! 

After having another one this morning for breakfast, I've come to the conclusion that I like them better when they aren't warm from the oven, but either way--they're so good! 

Next up on our baking agenda: homemade granola! My mom and I make this granola together every year as a tradition. We also make homemade Chex mix but we didn't get to that this weekend--we decided to save it for a day when Andrea could make it with us, since she enjoys it just as much! 

Each year we switch up the ingredients just a little bit, but overall, we stick to the same tried and true recipe. This year's new addition was a swirl of real maple syrup for some extra sweetness. Also into the mixing bowl went oats, honey, cinnamon, brown sugar, oil, coconut, and sliced almonds. 

We stirred it all up before pouring it onto a cookie sheet to bake in the oven--stirring at regular intervals until it was golden and crunchy! After it cools, we always add mini dark chocolate chips to finish it off! It's great in yogurt or eaten as cereal, but I prefer it plain as a snack--it's got the perfect amount of crunch, texture, and sweetness! 

I was also super excited when I found out that my mom had Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea in her cupboard! You know I stocked up upon leaving her house. For those that were asking about it, I usually get it at my local grocery store, but my mom said she found it at a Wal-Mart Superstore.

I'll have to find a box of my own sometime soon to add to my snack drawer in my desk at work. This drawer of snacks has saved my butt more than a few times when I've forgotten my lunch bag on my kitchen counter in the morning. 

I almost always have the following in my snack drawer:
  • Candy
  • Peanut Butter
  • Granola (to add to my yogurt)
  • Varieties of tea (our office is so cold all year round!)
  • Clif-Z bars
  • Luna bars
  • Dry cereal
  • Drink mixes (Pure by Crystal Light, etc.)
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Snack crackers like Kashi or Goldfish
  • Can of soup
It's great for if I find myself needing something in the afternoon or if I'm in a pinch and don't bring a lunch for the day!

Speaking of work, it's time to head out for the day. I'm excited because I'm meeting up with Kaaren after work! We're headed to one of my favorite places--and no, it's not Starbucks this time! 

I promise honeymoon recaps will be coming soon...I'm still in the process of sorting through hundreds of images from that week.

Have you been able to find the seasonal flavors of Clif bars?
Do you like white chocolate?
What's in your snack drawer?


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