A pumpkin-free, fantastic fall grocery list

I adore fall but I’m completely over the pumpkin spice world domination. I get that pumpkins are a seasonal treasure but fall is so much more than one flavor: it’s crackling bonfires, apples grabbed off the tree and simmering slow cookers. In fact, these months are ideal for gathering with loved ones over sports, barbecues, play dates or good old-fashioned autumnal splendor. So let’s press pause on the pumpkin, focus on the food and check out these tasty items finding their way into my grocery cart:

To pack in your child’s lunch:

Edit Fruit Juice

Edit Fruit Juice’s mission is a simple one: way less sugar. In fact, their juice has only one gram of sugar per serving (no added sugar, artificial sweeteners/colors or preservatives). Made locally in Traverse City, Michigan, this juice tastes like an apple orchard on a sunny day. My son favored Grape and my surprising pick was their Tart Cherry, whose flavor was smooth and refreshing. While Edit is not geared towards kids specifically, it proves to be a great alternative to all those sugar-full juice boxes on the market.

To enjoy at breakfast: Mariano’s Parisian Chocolate Swirl Croissants

There is something wonderful about this season in that it ushers in lazy, leisurely Sunday  mornings. As you relax in pajamas with your kiddos, brew up some coffee and serve these astounding pastries fresh from Mariano’s bakery. Not only are they double glazed with chocolate and vanilla, but the actual dough is also a blend of the two flavors. Once you’ve sampled one, just try to resist seconds.

To indulge your sweet tooth:

Trader Joe’s Assorted Belgian Chocolate Pumpkins

I promise the only thing pumpkin is the shape! These imported Belgian chocolates come in a pack of nine and feature flavors like Dark Chocolate Cream, Salted Caramel and Coffee Ganache. Though miniature in size, they are big on flavor. I recently gifted them to a friend who was blown away by the high-quality and even more so when I shared the very economical price: $2.99.

To add to your dinner menu:

Cotswold Cheese

Sure, the name is rather cheery. But just picture it: creamy texture, mellow notes and oh-so-delicate hints of onion and chive. That is Cotswold Cheese. It’s also great for an appetizer, snacking or whipping up robust grilled cheese sandwiches. In Britain, Cotswold is known as a ‘pub cheese’ so go ahead and pair it with your favorite beer or fall ale (available at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Mariano’s).

To get that fancy restaurant feeling at home:

Milk Bar Pie Mix

Once children enter your life, dinner reservations don’t pepper the calendar as often as they used to. And that’s totally okay because now you can bring the James Beard awards right into your kitchen. The famed NY-based Momofuku Milk Bar has launched a line of desserts at Target and this one ranks closest to Chef Christina Tosi’s wildly popular Crack Pie (think ultra-rich, chewy oatmeal cookie). Yum.

To grab as a snack:

Think Jerky in Honey Sriracha

This savory flavor of free-range Turkey Jerky is the creation of famed Chicago chef Gale Gand (whose credits include Michelin stars, James Beard Awards, author, mother and Food Network host). Available at Starbucks, it’s an easy snack and a mindful one–creators set out to make jerky using minimal sugar and salt, no antibiotics, grass-fed beef or free range turkey. Bonus: they are gluten-free and Paleo-friendly! Time to stock up.

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