I do my best to avoid processed or boxed foods. Experimenting with how to make sauces and batters and cereals and other things out of all their components has led to some fabulous discoveries. Tailoring recipes to what I like- less garlic, more vanilla, hold the olives, double the rosemary, definitely more red pepper flakes- makes cathartic cooking time in the kitchen deliciously worthwhile.
With one big exception. When the shelves at Trader Joe's are overnight transformed into a pumpkin smorgasbord of delicious sweet and savory options, I buy everything I can get my hands on. Sometimes multiple boxes, in the case of the pumpkin bread mix.
I know, I know. I can make most of these things myself with some canned pumpkin and ingenuity. But the truth is, part of the beauty of these things is the simplicity. Just open a package, stir a bit and toss on the griddle or in the oven (or right into my mouth). And it's perfect every time. Like autumn junk food, anticipated for its lack of year round access and the way it compliments chilly mornings so deliciously. Pumpkin and cinnamon and cloves and apple cider... Happy October, y'all!