Scarier? A Pumpkin Head or the Marshmallow Man? Plus! Product Review of TJ’s Pumpkin Ice Cream and an Ice Cream Topping Recipe Inside

When I write a blog, I try to start with an anecdote, a statistic, a joke. Something, for crying out loud. Some days my creek water is running rapidly; some days my creek is modeling cracked dirt and dry weeds. Today is the latter. I considered starting this post with a slightly fabricated story–okay, it would be a big fabrication–that includes me carving an upside-down face on a pumpkin and then cutting a hole in the top and sticking it onto my head. Then, in this asinine scenario, I am running around the kitchen after Baby O. We are having fun and games until things get ugly and she freaks out. A two-year-old freak out: shoulder convulsions, a sudden, high-pitched squeal, an instant look of panic. When I freak her out, I feel awful. In this scene, not only am I about four-ish times her size, I also have a ridiculous, round, orange fruit on my head, and it doesn’t have a stem on it, so what kid wouldn’t get scared, I wonder to myself. Nonetheless I only take it off long enough to give her a hug and to take a deep breath. Then on it goes again.

The whole image is analogous to me seeing a smaller version of (but still four times the size of me) the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from GhostBusters, except I do not believe the M.M. talked (which, I, as a pumpkin, would, of course). Plus we all know that marshmallows are sweeter and softer than pumpkins, so my analogy is flawed because anyone’d be crazy not to want a 500 lb M.M. coming his way (adjust for your own weight as necessary, please). The scariest thing about seeing the M.M. is that I couldn’t just eat him. Everyone knows that marshmallows are yummy, and if I couldn’t rip off M.M.’s leg amd roast it immediately over an open fire, I would most certainly be in a horror flick, much like Baby O in the pumpkin scenario.

Here’s the real point: I decided that telling a lie would be wrong, so I decided not to do it.

Let’s get down to what we’re all here for: pumpkin product reviews AND a (delicious) dessert recipe. I’ve decided to “drop” my reviews a couple of days apart to maintain the suspense and the readability of this blog.

UP FIRST? Pilgrim Joe’s Pumpkin Ice Cream (from Trader Joe’s)

My first reponse? Poser. This ain’t no pumpkin pie.

My second response? Maybe I need to put honey on it. After you read this blog for a while, you’ll figure out that that is my response to everything. Yogurt a little plain today? Pour honey on it. Getting a cough? Pour honey into it. Some wily teenager sasses you? Pour. honey. on. that. kid. immediately. My husband, Matt, says that if you add immediately to the end of sentences, things will get done, and since sass is unacceptable . . .

Honey was the wrong answer, incidentally. It made the ice cream sickeningly sweet. Don’t do this.

Then I saw Matt put granola on his. WHY didn’t I think of that? That was my third response. This was the added jolt the ice cream needed. I liked the ice cream itself: it was creamy and had the pumpkin flavor it promised, with small hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. Another fabulous thing is that it is made completely from ingredients that I can understand and that are natural. The whole time, though, I was expecting pumpkin pie and not getting it, so I think I kept looking for something more.

About a week later, I determined that I was looking at this situation incorrectly. I couldn’t try to replace pumpkin pie with other pumpkin products. My epiphany that pumpkin pie is irreplaceable came to fruition for me during this whole pumpkin-product-tasting fest. Thus I welcomed TJ’s Pumpkin Ice Cream as its own entity.

My fourth response? Judging the ice cream with no direct comparison to pie, I felt that it was good but was still not holding up to what I think an irresistable little bowl of dessert should be . . . until I created the following apple and granola topping to pair with it (yes, a little self-promotion–sickening). After adding this topping, my opinion was seriously affected. I haven’t mentioned this important part, but I really think the ice cream tastes like eggnog, too, but the mix of the cream and the apples and the granola . . . is just an awesome fall dessert.

*To my MS readers, you still don’t have a Trader Joe’s (a small specialty store that buys most of its products directly from suppliers and deals with a number of local vendors), but they are spreading. There is one in Nashville the next time you visit. Also, for my North Carolinian readers, there is a TJ’s in Chapel Hill, Cary and Raleigh.

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream with Honey Apple Slices and Granola Clusters


  • Pumpkin pie ice cream (can attest to Trader Joe’s, but other brands may be worth it?)
  • 2 Nittany apples (or another fresh, sweet variety), peeled, cored, cut into roughly 1/4″ strips
  • 1/2 cup Granola Clusters (cereal or a plastic pouch of granola) (more for lovers of crunch)

To make the honey and brown sugar mix that covers the apple slices:

Using 2 apples makes approximately 6 toppings

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1.5 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice


1. Peel and core your apples. Cut whole apple into fourths and then into approx. 1/4″ strips. **Honestly, I have no corer and don’t want to buy one, so I cut around the core and then cut into slices.

2. Once all apples are sliced, place a small pan on medium heat.

3. Add butter until it melts.

4. Reduce the heat to low and then add honey. Stir slowly for a minute or so until honey and butter are well blended.

5. Add brown sugar and repeat slow stir until well blended.

6. Add remaining ingredients and leave on low heat for approx. one minute.

7. Toss in apple slices to coat.

8. Spoon desired amount of pumpkin pie ice cream into bowl.

9. Add desired amount of apple slices and granola. Feel free to add a dash of cinnamon for color.

Happy cooking! Happy eating!

**By the way, a pumpkin is a fruit. A little delectable is on the way to Karla Lockwood for answering correctly 🙂


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