Fast Food

McDonald’s Delays McRib Return Until December

Well, f*ck.

Disclaimers first, I may just be speaking for the western coast of the United States here, but it definitely feels like one of the laggiest fall seasons ever.

Usually by the time the first day of school rolls around, the sky’s consistently overcast and the weather’s a steady 70-80 degrees. But it’s the third week of September now and it’s been so hot lately that 77 degrees at 9 a.m. is actually considered cool.

And now, to round it all out, someone at McDonald’s has just leaked a memo that the seasonal McRib–normally out in October–won’t return to the Mickey D’s menu boards until the second half of December.

(Which, should conspiracy theorists be believed, actually means we’ll only get to savor our favorite wintry fare for about a week before everything goes to hell.)

The reason for the dreadful change in season? The weather, supposedly. According to Ad Age, fourth-quarter 2011 and first quarter 2012 “marked one of the mildest winters in years”–boosting McDonald’s sales to up to 9.8%, and giving them ample reason to attempt to match that number this year by delaying the McRib’s release.

Which, all right, fine, is a completely understandable excuse on Mickey D Corporate’s part, but couldn’t they have found another way? They’re already introducing a Cheddar Bacon Onion Angus Burger and chicken sandwich in place of the McRib in fall, as well as the new Fish McBites due out in February. Why not just roll out Twister Fries or McNoodles or Smore’s Pies to grab new consumers for the holidays, and leave the rest of us to our McRibs in peace?

Come on, McDonald’s. Where’s your holiday spirit?


Yogurtland’s Pumpkin Pie Froyo is Back for Seconds, Just in Time for Thanksgiving

We’re halfway through September, which means for the next few months, we’ll be seeing pumpkin-inspired fall menu items galore. Unfortunately, most of those items also come with pumpkin-sized calories (I’m looking at you, Starbucks), which is why the return of Yogurtland’s popular Pumpkin Pie-flavored frozen yogurt this October is a bigger deal than you may realize.

It’s spicy, it’s creamy, it’s only 25 calories per ounce–what’s not to love?

Like many things Yogurtland though, the Pumpkin Pie flavor is only available for a limited time, so get a hand on your real pumpkin-infused, vitamin C-fortified, non-fat, fall frozen yogurt-y goodness today.

Or you know, in two weeks. Whatever.


Pumpkin Spice Bars

Although this month may be National Peanut Butter month (and, a great month at that!), to me, November also means “Pumpkin”. So, go pumpkin crazy. I am.

With an oat crusted bottom, and a moist pumpkin spice center, it makes for a perfect addition or alternative for Thanksgiving dessert’s. I myself, had one for breakfast with a nice, big mug of Christmas Blend coffee. Oh, how I love the holidays.

Pumpkin Spice Bars
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 cup whole grain flour
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds (you can switch it up!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature (I used Earth Balance)


  • 15oz canned organic pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Pumpkin Spice
Preheat oven to 375F. In a large bowl, mix all of your bar ingredients, adding in the butter last. Kneed the butter into the mix, until it resembles a crumbly texture. Reserve about 1 1/2 cups of this mixture for the topping, and press the rest of it into a pre-greased 13×9 pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, beat all of the filling ingredients until fully combined and smooth. Pour this mixture over the baked crust, then top with the reserved bar mixture, and toss back into the oven for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting.

Pumpkin Bars

Fall is here (most of you “fell back” last night… we don’t have daylight savings in AZ so no extra hour here). As with every fall, pumpkin is everywhere – lattes, scones, muffins… and now – bars! Mmmmm sweet, tasty, delicious pumpkin. BF’s not huge on pumpkin (or so he thinks), even though he loves pumpkin pie, doesn’t mind my pumpkin bread, and devours these pumpkin bars.

Anyone who has been in Williams Sonoma in the fall knows about these pumpkin bars.

Sometimes I drop by WS just to see if they have these samples out. These are one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make. The trick to the bars’ complex flavor is using pumpkin butter instead of pumpkin puree. Some might call that “cheating”, but I call it genius. Besides, it’s not the only “cheating” taking place here, we’re also going to use…..

YELLOW CAKE MIX (gasp!)  Madness, I know.

The recipe at WS uses their very own Muirhead pumpkin butter (of course), but at $10.95 a jar, who wants to buy that? Don’t get me wrong, the stuff is delicious, but $10.95 is a little steep…  and what happens if you don’t have a WS near you (you poor soul, you)? Any pumpkin butter should do, just make sure you get the right amount in there – 13.5 ounces (-ish).

Though the recipe claims these are “dessert bars”, they’ve been enjoyed just as much as a “coffee cake” replacement. Whatever you do this fall, you simply must make these, they’re de-lish. Don’t let the box cake mix scare you away… I promise you won’t regret it…

First, place all but 1 cup of the cake mix into a medium bowl

Stir in 1/2 cup of melted butter and 1 egg until it’s thoroughly mixed, then press into the bottom of a prepared 9 x 13-inch pan.

In a separate bowl (or the same bowl, rinsed, if you’re not into wasting dishes like yours truly) mix the jar of pumpkin butter with two eggs and milk. Pour mixture over the cake mix.

Combine the reserved cup of cake mix with the flour, sugar, softened butter, and cinnamon. Mix together until crumbly. I find the best way to do this is with my (gloved) hands. Get in there real good and just keep smooshing (yes, that’s the technical term) the butter until it’s evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

Sprinkle over the pumpkin butter layer and bake at 350F for 35 – 40 minutes until golden brown. After cooled, cut into squares and enjoy these bite size pumpkin treats. Take them to work to bribe your coworkers, give them to your neighbors as a holiday gift, or feed them to your significant other to make them too fat to run away from you …. Ignore that last part.

Pumpkin Dessert (or Breakfast) Squares

  • 1 package yellow cake mix; set aside one cup
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, large
  • 1 (13.5 oz) jar pumpkin butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350° F.

  1. Divide yellow cake mix, placing all but one cup in a mixing bowl. Stir in the melted butter and one egg until well mixed. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9×13″ pan.
  2. Mix the jar of pumpkin butter with remaining two eggs and milk. Pour pumpkin mixture over the cake mix layer.
  3. Whisk reserved 1 cup of cake mix with the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add softened butter and cut in with fork, pastry cutter, or your hands until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of the pumpkin layer.
  4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Gingerbread Cake-Brownies with Vanilla Glaze and Roasted Pecans

While Halloween, for me, usually calls for treats rich in pumpkin, smothered in candy, and chocolate oozing out from every direction, that wasn’t the case for me this year. This Gingerbread kick I’m on has yet to growold, and to be honest, I don’t mind it one bit. It just fits this season so well, as well as me; especially on a day like today, brisk air, blowing wind, rustling leaves and that Autumn scent in the air. Gingerbread today, couldn’t be more comfortably perfect:

Dark Gingerbread Bars
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 dark molasses
  • 1/2 cup dark baking cocoa
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon all-spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking  soda
  • 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • chopped roasted pecans
  • homemade frosting glaze
Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, melt your butter. After the butter is melted, add the molasses and brown sugar, mixing until combined. Then you will add in the dark cocoa; mix well. Slowly, add in the eggs one at a time, stirring thoroughly after each one. Then, add in the maple syrup. In a side bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt and spices. Once well mixed, slowly add into the wet mixture, mixing until well incorporated. Spread batter into a pre-greased 8x8x2 pan (any cake pan will do!), and bake for 20-23 minutes.
Once your bars have cooled, you can then drizzle them with a glaze and top with chopped pecans!
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
Combine confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon and vanilla together. Gradually add milk to mixture, using little at a time until you reach desired consistency of glaze. You may need more milk than this calls for.

CRAVINGS: Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Autumn is officially here. Do you know what that means? Pumpkin recipes glory, that’s what! Start your day right with this Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal recipe, a welcome change to those post-Thanksgiving breakfast meals consisting of left over pumpkin pie slices (that’s not so bad, is it?!). Our friend Beth has taken all the savoriness and sweetness of pumpkin pie and translated into a more welcome, digestible breakfast form.


Recipe: Pumpkin Cheesecaketini

pumpkin cheesecaketini

Have we told you guys how much we love reader submissions? Especially when they’re this awesome. As we have officially dragged our feet into Autumn, check out the latest recipe from Lisa and the Snappy Gourmet Blog, the Pumpkin Cheesecaketini. American food and drink brands have continually expanded on the October season even in the midst of the The Great Northeast Pumpkin Shortage. Dunkin’ Donuts brought back pumpkin-flavored donuts, coffee and muffins, Einstein Bagels released their pumpkin latte, bagels and ‘schmear,’ and even Food Network is launching Pumpkin Wars next week.

But as we all know, sometimes the most fulfilling meals and beverages come from home. So if you’ve never made a pumpkin beverage, here’s your chance to make a beverage with Pumpkin Spice Liqueur and Cinnamon Schnapps.  And just a reminder if you’re making something as delicious as this, please document it and submit it to us! Recipe Below!

pumpkin cheesecaketini 2

  • 1/3 cup milk or cream
  • 3 tablespoons Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice Liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon Hiram Walker Cinnamon Schnapps
  • 1 teaspoon cheesecake instant pudding mix (regular or sugar free)
  • Caramel
  • Graham cracker crumbs
  • Whipped cream
  • Cinnamon
  1. Mix milk/cream, Pumpkin Spice Liqueur, Cinnamon Schnapps, and pudding mix in shaker with ice. Shake for about 30 seconds.
  2. Dip rim of glass in caramel, then dip into graham cracker crumbs. Strain drink into glass.
  3. Top drink with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon if desired.
News Restaurants

IHOP’s New Items: Caramel Apple Sensations

IHOP is introducing three Caramel Apple Sensations to its fall menu. Caramel Apple Crisp Crepe, a sweet cream cheese filled crepe that is topped with roasted apples, granola, caramel sauce and whipped cream. Apple Fritter, a fritter that is topped with a cinnamon apple compote, caramel sauce and whipped cream. Caramel Apple Pancakes, two buttermilk pancakes topped with apples, caramel sauce and whipped cream. Nothing says fall quite like caramel apples. These three new breakfast items are all under $5. It is served as a combo with eggs and ham, bacon or sausage. Enjoy this these new menu items for a limited time only.