New Spice- Hot Mustard Powder, And Italian Egg Roll Geniuses…

What's going back to the store? THIS stuff. Yechhh!
What’s going back to the store? THIS stuff. Yechhh!

Let’s get this review out there, right away: I wanted to scrape my tongue free from the residue of this vile paste. When we tried a small taste, I wanted to spit, but International Guy looked betrayed, “This stuff used to come in packets with your frozen ‘egg rolls’ when you were a kid?” Now I’m sure he is thinking terrible things about what Americans will let their children have access to via their kid’s frozen snacks.

As a matter of fact, there is no more American story than that of the founder of the company that made the favorite frozen egg rolls of my youth: Jeno Paulucci. The Italian frozen food genius.

From his 1993 obituary in the Washington Post:

83d5ae9cbe7f2014798c3210a7fdeb2c“His first great success was a company called Chun King,” Ford said during his dinner address. “What could be more American than a business built on a good Italian recipe for chop suey?”

Luigino Francesco Paulucci was born July 7, 1918, in Aurora, Minn. His father was an iron miner and his mother, Michelina, ran a grocery out of the family home. During Prohibition, his mother sold bootlegged wine and also ran an illegal bar. After selling Jeno’s to Pillsbury, he founded Luigino’s and started the Michelina’s brand of Italian foods, named for his mother.

Pumpkin Season!!!! I’m Way Ahead of You All… and a Pumpkin Bar Dessert Recipe to Share

…this is the time of year that everyone’s love affair with spices catch up with my year-round favorite flavors. I love all the warm spices that make the rounds every Autumn. Pumpkin spices in my coffee? Thanks a latte! Cinnamon spiced cereals? Yes, please. Throw it all into my grocery cart. May I have one of everything?

Ready for the oven...
Ready for the oven…

I bought the Trader Joe’s jar of Pumpkin Butter… always wanted to do something with this stuff. A little web searching came up with a blog that crossed the Williams Sonoma “Ooey Gooey Pumpkin Bars” with the Trader Joe’s ingredient at 1/6th the price.

IMG_8226 (1)And The Husband Sayeth: “It is good.” Good, my foot, these bars are GREAT. Thank you Sheila at for your Pumpkin Butter Dessert Bars– a delicious dessert that is too good to be served only one season of the year. Sheila made a few changes to the original recipe to the ever popular Williams Sonoma dessert so the proportions work with the slightly smaller jar of pumpkin butter from Trader Joe’s. Thanks for doing the work, Sheila, your recipe is dee-lish!

All done!
All done!

I followed her recipe nearly exactly, substituting a spice cake mix for the standard yellow butter cake. I also omitted the cinnamon in the topping… good call. The cake mix could stand on its own spices. The bars took less than 20 minutes to mix, layer up, top off with crumbles, then only 45 minutes to bake.

Served warm topped with ice cream or eaten out of hand, these are going to be in my regular rotation- any season, any occasion, any time.

Pumpkin Butter, $2.29, cake mix $1.25, 3 eggs, a stick and a half of butter and little more... delicious.
Pumpkin Butter, $2.29, cake mix $1.25, 3 eggs, a stick and a half of butter and little more… delicious.