The Great Pumpkin Spice Debate

Love it or hate it, pumpkin spice is here to stay. What started as a seasonal treat from Starbucks has turned into a market-driven phenomenon. From benign products like pumpkin spice candles and pancakes, to the extreme, such as pumpkin-spiced Spam, facials and deodorant, it's everywhere. 

Years ago, an astute food writer mentioned that pumpkin itself isn't a very tasty vegetable. In fact, it isn't used in many recipes as is. The mild flavor is dominated by cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, then baked into pies.

But I'm not sure that even matters to pumpkin spice fanatics. Because for many, it's more than a novelty latte at the coffee shop. It means an end to humidity and the unending bikini selfies on Instagram. It means cool nights by a bonfire, apple picking, cashmere sweaters and changing leaves. What began as a flavor has become an idea.

Besides, what's Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie? It's also a great source of beta-carotene, fiber and vitamins B, C and E. And if a burning pumpkin spice candle doesn't make you feel a little warm and fuzzy, it's an economically-sound way to gage whether or not you're dead inside. 

 

Put Love Back in the Lunch Box

Kids have a thing for Lunchables. Sure, the little wheels of meat are tasteless and there's nary a vegetable in sight. Lunchables are simply proof that kids are suckers for presentation, and parents are strapped for time. Below are some hacks for healthy lunches that won't keep you in the kitchen until midnight.

Nora Ephron once wrote that people love to play with their food. Children are no exception. Lunchables allows kids to stack crackers and pizza rounds how they'd like. Why not make homemade combinations? They pack lot more flavor, as well as nutrients:

  • Go Greek: Pita triangles, feta crumbles, hummus, cucumbers and olives
  • Napa Picnic: Crackers, cubed cheese, grapes, almonds and deli meat
  • The Fiesta: Tortilla chips, grilled chicken, avocado, black olives and sour cream
  • Korean BBQ: Seasoned seaweed, sticky rice, steak strips, marinated bean sprouts (or pickled daikon) and soy sauce

Have fun with themes!

And since kids appreciate presentation as much as adults do (stacked plating invented #foodporn) - why not indulge them? Ladles and Linens sells packed lunch options that are as adorable as they are reusable. Because who wants to keep throwing away money on endless plastic bags? If you like a sleek look (AKA no woodland creatures), these stainless steel food containers won't break like glass, or leach into your food like plastic does. 

Ladles and Linens also recently posted the below hacks to their Recipes page, and it's worth mentioning:

It's a hectic time, yes. But it's time you won't get back. So spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your kids. Or ignoring them from your porch swing with a glass of merlot. Happy fall, y'all.

Eight Steps to a More Sustainable Kitchen

 

Earth Day is just around the corner, and to celebrate, we've listed 8 things you can do to save money and the planet. That's right - a major benefit of "going green" is more green in your pocket. So let's make haste for less waste!

  1. Tired of going through boxes of sandwich bags? Switch to Bee Wraps, which are  reusable, and have fun themes. You can seal containers or wrap up lunch items to go.
  2. Slow your roll - specifically that roll of aluminum foil. These playful silicone lids were designed by Charles Viancin, and take on the shapes of lemon slices, cherry blossoms and more! 
  3. We've heard enough stories about sea life dying from ingesting too much single-use plastic. Do your part by switching to these festive silicone straws. They're dishwasher safe, and food grade BPA-free.
  4. Teach the kiddos while they're young, and stock up on some short straws too.
  5. These stainless steel straws will class up any mojito. They won't rust or break, and come with their own brush cleaners.
  6. The Swedish have always been a few steps ahead of us, and we can't take our eyes off their stylish collection of dish cloths. Paper towels have never looked so drab. 
  7. Zip-closed storage bags don't come cheap, and you usually have to toss them after a single use. Not the case with these storage bags. They've got the Southern charm of an old-fashioned jam jar, but are reusable, leak-proof and dishwasher safe. Also available in medium and large
  8. Research is beginning to emerge about plastic particles found in our atmosphere, and the air we breathe. Why not join the movement to limit plastics by switching to these stainless steel food containers? Non-toxic, non-leaching and BPA-free.

Have a happy Earth Day!