Step aside pumpkin spice, caramel is the best fall flavor
You've seen it everywhere: pancake mixes, cookies, ice creams, air fresheners, lotions, perfumes, even in our beloved M&Ms... it's pumpkin spice and, frankly, I am sick of it.
With nearly 95K Twitter followers, the Starbucks PSL has taken on a character of its own. Wearing orange-rimmed sunglasses, the @RealPSL is confident and wants your relationship to continue. A few tweets say it best: "Someone just ordered me extra hot. #SettleDownNow" and "I saw you with that #SaltedCaramelMocha yesterday. #WeNeedToTalk"
Don't get me wrong, last year when my divorce started, I was at the drive-through daily: "One tall PSL, no whip and two pumps instead of three." I got down to one pump and was seriously bummed out when they discontinued the flavor the day after Christmas.
This year, my divorce is final, and personally, I have decided not to go down the PSL track. Despite this, pumpkin spice is still all the rage. Even Conan O'Brien is getting into it with this tweet:
"I asked nicely, but the DMV won't change the hair color on my driver's license to 'pumpkin spice.'"
Well, it's fall now and the crisp weather and boot wearing days are here. The colder it gets outside, the more comfort we want. Growing up in the '80s before the pumpkin spice frenzy took over store shelves, fall was about caramel apples and brittle. I am here to give us a reminder to embrace caramel and for the love of caramel, here are five fun food finds that will give you a piece of this sweet sensation. To this I say, "caramel is the new pumpkin spice!"
If you are looking for a treat after dinner, check out Ciao Bella's gelato and sorbetto flavors. I don't know which flavor I like more, the Bourbon Caramel Chocolate (dark chocolate pieces included) or the Brown Sugar Caramel (made with French Organic creme caramel).
Nutritionist's tip: When you want to indulge in a sweet treat at night, skip the carbohydrates with your dinner.
I for one love shopping at Trader Joe's, and if you are on the search for a caramel treat, you came to the right place. The Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels have just the right sweet-salty balance for a decadent treat. I think they describe it perfectly right on the front of the package:
"A buttery smooth caramel drenched in luscious dark Belgian chocolate, then sprinkled with crunchy rock salt from the Dead Sea."
Nutritionist's tip: Although three caramels is one serving, stick with the rule of one! What's the fun in indulging if you are going to feel guilty afterwards? Enjoy each bite and know that you can have another caramel tomorrow.
FYI: They make a great gift too.
Skip the caramel latte and opt for a Rich Caramel Protein Shake from Level Life. Not only is this a low-glycemic and gluten-free option, each shake boasts 6 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein in an 11 ounce serving.
Nutritionist's tip: Just add ice and blend to make a really creamy smoothie. You can also use the shake as a creamer in your coffee.
If you are a DIY kind of gal and you prefer to make homemade treats, sauces and pastries, then you will love this recipe for a homemade salted caramel sauce. You can use this recipe to make caramel apples, and any of these fabulous recipe from this collection of delicious salted caramel recipes I found on Pinterest.
Nutritionist's tip: Pair up any sweet treat with 3/4 cup of low-fat or whole milk. The protein and the fat in the milk will help keep your blood sugar stable making you feel more satisfied and less likely to overindulge.
Photo Credit: www.TheMuse.com
If your favorite childhood caramel chocolate isn't doing the trick for you anymore, then it's time for something more grown-up and sophisticated: the KIND Caramel Almond & Sea Salt bar. With only 5 grams of sugar, 7 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein, this bar is perfect to share with your kids after school, a great pre- or post-workout snack or even paired with an afternoon cup of tea or coffee.
Nutritionist's tip: Cut the bar up into small squares. Studies show that the feeling of eating more pieces can lead to a greater sense of satiety. This treat is good for your waistline and your taste buds (bonus!).
Thank you to KIND Snacks for stocking my pantry! I'm loving my ginger tea + KIND Bar combo mid-afternoon. #PerfectMatch
Photo credit: Wikimedia/Evan Amos