Hold my PSL – A Serious Guide to Fuel your Pumpkin Spice Addiction

Love it or hate it, pumpkin spice is the flavor of the fall. The cozy and warm flavoring rarely involves actual pumpkin but that won’t stop this big lie to be one of America’s obsessions.

According to the chicagoist article, “The Dark And Murky History Of Pumpkin Spice”, the earliest reference of this popular blend can be traced back to 1936. Published by the Washington Post , the “Pumpkin Spice Cakes” recipe was a very “appropriate dessert for a family dinner “ and most likely, had actual pumpkin listed as an ingredient, just like any other pumpkin-ish type desserts from that time. The 1950s marks the end of the Dark Ages – the “Pumpkin Pie Spice” blend is  released nationwide by the big spice companies. Life was good in 1996: puffy vests, baggy corduroys and the very first pumpkin spice flavored coffee were introduced to mankind. 2003 was the turning point of human evolution as the culture-bearing upright-walking, Homo sapiens, evolved to a distinctively and unexpected scientific subspecies; the Homo pumpkinus-sapiens was recognized by a scientific community off Main Street, shortly after Starbucks introduced the PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) to primates.

So far this year, the pumpkin spice empire is worth a whopping $600 million. Are we ok with this? Absolutely. Do we have enough pumpkin spice products in life? No, we need more, but for now, let’s cherish the little we have.

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Not Yo’ Mama’s Banana Pudding

Fried chicken, jambalaya, fried green tomatoes, hushpuppies, shrimp and grits, and po’boys are some of the South’s most iconic dishes, but banana pudding is unequivocally, the ultimate Southern obsession. This cool and creamy sweet treat is cheap, easy to make and will become a family favorite.

Paula Deen’s version of this classic, takes the basic banana pudding recipe up a notch (or two). Prepare your taste buds to something incredible; these essential ingredients will deliver an exciting and delightful taste of the South.

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The Art of Food – Mobile Eateries of Western N.C.

The food truck industry can be traced back to the years after the Civil War. According to the History Channel “Chuck wagons and pushcarts served cowboys and urban workers…” The wagons served breakfast, lunch and dinner on vehicles designed to prepare, cook and store food. Pushcarts served cheap and on-the-go lunches to construction workers, delivery boys, busy newspaper reporters and anyone who would enjoy a cheap but nourishing meal.

The 1920s brought us the first motorized food vehicles – while the Henry Ford-led automobile industry expanded, Harry Burt Jr. invested in 12 refrigerated trucks for distribution of Good Humor ice cream bars in the city of Youngstown, Ohio. By the 1960s, thousands of ice creams trucks became part of communities across the country.

Since the 2008 recession, the food truck industry has grown in popularity, and the most devoted foodies love the convenience, the quality, and overall experience street food has to offer. To enjoy this finger-lickin’ experience, you must step out of your comfort zone – support our local entrepreneurs and try delicious street-side cuisine from these mobile eateries in the Western North Carolina region.

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Creamy Grape Salad

Perfect for summer cookouts and a must during warmer days, this Grape Salad is a quick and versatile side dish that everyone will love. The silky sweet cream cheese dressing will deliver a delicious mix of flavors that will satisfy crowds. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans or eat it as is, this easy and creamy grape salad recipe packs a punch and can be made in 20 minutes or less!

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Table for Two with a View – Where to Wine and Dine in Western N.C.

With Valentine’s Day being one of the most popular dining days of the year, I’ve short-listed a few cozy, most romantic restaurants to celebrate this special date. Indulgent menus, tasteful wines and scrumptious desserts will satisfy your romance criteria and the taste buds of your loved one. Escape the big city and enjoy the drive but end the day with a delightful meal at one of these charming restaurants. You will support local businesses and cherish these memories for years to come. Reservations are highly encouraged, if not required.

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The Ultimate Super Bowl Guide (for the Super Bowl Haters)

You are not into football but you feel somewhat excited about the Super Bowl – you have the commercials, the snacks, and the halftime show. Cooking is an important part of a successful Super Bowl party but also is drinking. The pantry is stocked up with cans of the golden wheat juice and yet, you don’t like beer – you want the real stuff. 30 minutes into the game and you’re already bored to tears. You ask yourself – “How will I survive this torture?” Fear not, football hater, I got your back.

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Portuguese Milk Tarts

‘Tis the season for sweet treats and great cooking. Preferably, great quick cooking. You will only need 10 minutes of your time to prepare delicious Portuguese milk tarts. Perfect for your Christmas or New Year’s party, these tarts are served at room temperature and can be left out all day. Top them off with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar and indulge yourself with these sweet and soft tarts. Happy Holidays!!

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Roaring River Vineyards – French Inspired Wine Making in North Carolina

When Thomas, and his wife, Josephine, first visited Traphill, N.C., a rural community located in northeastern Wilkes County, the landscape reminded Josephine of the French countryside, where she grew up. They decided to relocate from Charlotte to this lush valley, where they purchased 50 acres to pursue the dream of starting a vineyard.

Roaring River Vineyards French Inspired Wine Making in North Carolina

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Pumpkin Crunch

It is only acceptable to eat pumpkin-related foods during the Fall. I’ve been making this dessert for years and it’s always a success. Easy to make and utterly delicious, the Pumpkin Crunch will please your crowds’ taste buds. You can prepare and refrigerate the wet ingredients the day prior but I strongly suggest to bake this dessert in the same day you are serving it. Remember to let it cool down for 3-4 hours before serving it to your guests. The top layer has a delicious crunch and the bottom will have a sweet pie consistency. All together is a party in your mouth. Oh and while you bake it, your whole house will smell amazing!

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