Happy Book Birthday to Pumpkin Spice Up Your Life!
I took the summer off from blogging, but what better way to start up again than with a book birthday celebration! Today, my ninth Scholastic foodie book, Pumpkin Spice Up Your Life, is out in the world!
You can order it from your favorite local bookstore or right here, from Indiebound.
I had a great time writing Pumpkin Spice Up Your Life because it’s about my favorite season: Fall.
I love cozy, warm autumn drinks; crisp, crunchy leaves; apple-picking; and pumpkin-carving.
I also love that this book is set in Vermont, which is such a beautiful state, especially during the peak of fall foliage.
Also, eclectic coffee shops are some of my favorite spots on the planet. When I was in college, my fave coffeeshop was Sweet Eugene’s in College Station, Texas. It was where I first truly learned to appreciate coffee (which I’d hated up until that point in my life). It was also where I hung out with good friends, listened to amazing music, studied, and relaxed. So, it was a particular pleasure to introduce the Snug Mug coffeeshop in this book.
Crafting Nadine and Daniel’s friendship was a treat, too. I’m a sucker for storylines involving BFFs turned crushes, and Nadine and Daniel have such a long history and loyalty to one another. They both grew to be near and dear to my heart as I wrote them.
Here’s a sneak peak at chapter one, read aloud by yours truly:
I can’t wait to hear what you think of Pumpkin Spice Up Your Life!
Here is a reader’s discussion guide so that you can talk about the book with friends and family!
While you’re reading, curl up with a delicious drink and waffle from the book. I’ll be posting more fall-themed recipes in coming weeks, but here are the first two to kick-off pumpkin spice season!
How to make Snug Mug Coffee Drinks
Here is a quick and easy-to-follow video for how to make a Pumpkin Spice Supreme:
Easy coffee or espresso:
You can use decaf or regular espresso or coffee for all these drinks. If you don’t have an espresso machine at home, don’t worry! If your parents are coffee drinkers, they may have an AeroPress, moka pot, or French press handy. You can use any of these to make espresso. Just follow the directions for each!
If you don’t have any of those options, you can make yourself a batch of strong coffee instead, using a regular coffee maker or a one-cup coffee maker (like a Keurig). One cup pods are super easy. You can use one shot or two shots of espresso for any of these drinks, or about ⅓–½ cup strong coffee instead.
If you don’t like coffee, that’s okay, too! Any of these drinks can be made as hot cocoa drinks (just substitute a tablespoon or two of chocolate syrup for shots of espresso). Or, as an alternative, you can make these recipes using steamed milk without the coffee shots as well.
Pumpkin Spice Supreme
A 12–16 ounce coffee mug, a measuring cup, a microwave, a spoon, and a handheld milk frother or whisk
Ingredients for cappuccino:
½ cup whole or low-fat milk
⅓ cup Libby’s canned pumpkin pie mix
½ cup espresso or strong brewed coffee or 1–2 shots espresso
tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Reddi-wip or whipped cream
Pour ½ cup milk into a glass measuring cup, along with ⅓ cup of Libby’s canned pumpkin pie mix.
Microwave for approximately 1½ minutes, stirring the mixture every 30 seconds until the milk and pumpkin are hot and well blended. While the milk is warming in the microwave, pour 1–2 shots of espresso or ½ cup strong coffee into your mug. Remove your milk from the microwave, and using a battery-operated frother or a handheld whisk, froth the milk/pumpkin mixture to desired foaminess.
Pour the milk into your coffee mug. Garnish with a heaping mountain of whipped cream (if it’s the right time of year, you may even be able to find pumpkin-flavored whipped cream), and a sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice. Snuggle up with this coffee after a day of hayrides and pumpkin-carving!
Snug Mug Waffle
You’ll need: a waffle iron, cling wrap, measuring spoons and cups, parchment paper, large mixing bowl, a liquid measuring cup, and a baking sheet. NOTE: Anytime you’re using a stove, oven, or griddle, a parent should help you. Griddles and waffle irons get VERY hot, so use extreme caution and never touch a griddle with bare hands.
2 ½ instant dry yeast
1 cup whole milk, lukewarm (slightly warm to touch)
2 ½ sticks butter, softened
4 cups flour
6 tbsp. light brown sugar3 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
In a large mixing bowl, whisk 2 ½ teaspoons of instant dry yeast with 1 cup of lukewarm milk. Let the milk/yeast mixture sit at room temperature for five minutes.
Add in eggs, flour, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and salt.
Knead with your hands or mix with a spoon until a sticky dough forms.
Add in the softened butter and knead until just combined. (Note: This may seem like a lot of butter and it will make the dough very slick. Don’t worry! The butter makes the waffles extra delicious!)
Set the ball of dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and cover securely with plastic wrap.
Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for three hours. Once the dough has risen, knead in the pearl sugar (Note: Pearl sugar is small, pearl-sized balls of sugar.
If you have trouble finding it at your local grocery store, you can order it online from Amazon.com or from specialty baking stores. The more pearl sugar you add to the batter, the sweeter your waffles will be. You can experiment with the amount until you’re happy with the overall taste.). Then divide the dough into 10 balls. Cover the balls with plastic wrap again and allow to rise for an additional fifteen minutes.
Heat your waffle iron (if the waffle iron has a heat setting, you want it on medium to high). When your waffle iron is ready, place a ball of dough at its center and close the lid.
Cook the dough for approximately 2–3 minutes, depending on your waffle iron, until the waffle is golden brown.
Carefully and with the help of a parent, remove the waffle from the iron and set on a plate. Continue the process until you’ve used up all the dough. You’ll have enough dough for eight to ten waffles.
Accessorizing Your Waffles
Once you have your basic Snug Mug waffles made, you can have a lot of fun adding creative toppings to them! Here how to make the waffle shown here, which is called “Nadine’s Song” in the book:
Nadine’s Song Waffle
Top a Snug Mug waffle with Teddy Grahams, three large toasted marshmallows or fun colored mini marshmallows, a drizzle of chocolate syrup, and, if you want, a heaping mound of whipped cream.
Be sure to check out the other Scholastic foodie books as well!