Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Great Pumpkin Beer Tasting

Back in September, when the first day of Fall hit, Mark and I celebrated in the most delicious way we knew how- with a pumpkin beer tasting! I went to town at Total Wine and built my own 6 pack, making sure to pick mostly new to us beers. Two of the beers we had are old favorites, but I couldn't pass them up and had to include them in our first day of Fall tasting. GIVE ME ALL THE PUMPKIN BEERS. It's like a switch turned on September 22 and I was in full on pumpkin. NO turning back now. 

Pumpkin beer is tricky. Too much squashy taste or too much spice can totally ruin the good vibes. I like a little pumpkin, a little spice and hint of sweet and that warm Fall feeling. I guess you could say I'm particular about my pumpkin beer! 

We didn't go in any particular order, other than saving what we predicted would still be our favorite to the very end. 

My rankings are as follows:

#1 Cottonwood Pumpkin (Foothills Brewing
I'm confident this will always be my most favorite of the pumpkin beers. I've loved this one for years and it's the perfect amount of spice and not too much sweet. If you can find this on draft, GET IT! It's so, so good. 

#2 King Don's Pumpkin (Catwaba Brewing)
This was another winner! Mark and I both really liked the flavors in this and it was the first beer of the night. Again, not too sweet and a good amount of fall spices. 

#3 Pumpkin Pie Porter (Deep River Brewing)
Over the past couple of years, I have grown to LOVE dark beers. They are a great way to end a meal or even as a little dessert beverage. This porter is rich and flavorful.

#4 Pumpkin Down (Ballast Point)
This was a little on the strong side but I enjoyed it for the most part! It was a little heavy on the carmel flavor to me and I definitely couldn't drink more than one but it was good.

#5 Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin (New Belgium Brewing
I wish I loved this but I just didn't. It was way too spicy for me and the spice overpowered all of the good things it had going. If you like a little spice to your beer, this is definitely for you! 

#6 Jack-O Traveler Pumpkin Shandy (The Traveler Beer Co.)
This was like a combo of pumpkin juice and an Arnold Palmer. I think I have decided that Shandys definitely aren't for me. 

A few other Pumpkin beers we are loving this season- Gordgeous, from Noda Brewing and Sycamore Brewing's Oh My Gourd. Both are great and local to Charlotte! 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Best Ever Cajun Seasoning (P.S. it's from Emeril)

If you need a go- to cajun seasoning, THIS IS IT! You can buy Emeril's Essence in the store, but you probably already have all of these things in your spice cabinet. It's also nice to make it yourself because you can adjust the spices according to what you like. I recommend going a little lighter on the cayenne and you can always add extra. A little of that stuff goes a long way. And really kicks anything up a notch.

We put this on everything! It's delicious on grilled meats, fish and even on roasted veggies! When i'm not using my beloved Everything But the Bagel seasoning on my morning eggs, this is a good switch up! 

This makes a big batch, so grab an empty spice jar and you will have plenty of this seasoning to keep on hand.

Emeril's Essence

2.5 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper (cut back on this for less spice)
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried thyme

Mix all ingredients together and transfer to a spice jar! 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Antipasto Kabobs

Going into the weekend with all the heart eyes and pumpkin beers right now. I'm also hoping for an October crispness in the air so that we can enjoy our back patio fire pit and make some s'mores! It's almost Happy Hour time and happy hour on Friday, truly is the best hour- especially when you have a good snack to go with it. 

I'm completely obsessed with these Italian bites. I took them to our big neighborhood party this past weekend and they were a huge hit. They are filled with ALL THE GOOD ITALIAN THINGS and the presentation is automatically cute with everything perfectly lined up. They are also easy to grab which is great for a mixing and mingling setting. What more do you need!? I found these perfect sized bamboo skewers at World Market and they were deifnitely worth the extra trip. A drizzle of pesto on top would totally take these over the edge in all of the best ways. 

I'm already looking for an excuse to make these again.  

Antipasto Kabobs
recipe from Designer Bags and Dirty Diapers

1 package cheese tortellini, cooked according to instructions
Sliced salami
Green olives
Fresh basil leaves
Grape tomatoes
Fresh mini mozzarella balls

Cook tortellini according to the instructions on the package. 

To assemble kabobs, I did salami, tortellini, green olive, basil, tomato, mozzarella. I finished with a drizzle of good olive oil and a tiny bit of salt and pepper.