Taste of the OBX: Fall Flavors for Your Vacation Rental
Just because you're vacationing on the beach doesn't mean that you can't celebrate the fall season and all it has to offer. You already know how much we love the Outer Banks during the off-season months (if you didn't know that, you should read this). What's optimum about spending autumn on the OBX is that you get to soak up the best of both worlds: that carefree beach ambiance filled with sun, sand and surf combined with the fall flavors reminiscent of the season which include pumpkins, apples, brown sugar, spice and everything nice.
It sounds ideal, right? But how do you go about bringing those fall elements in when you're busy vacationing? Easy. One way is by taking advantage of one of the biggest assets in your OBX beach vacation rental—the kitchen. Not only is it a time and money saver, it can also be your BFF when it comes to bringing all the tastes of fall that you know and love, right into your beach house. It can be done simply and with very little effort.
Vacation rental kitchens come with the basics of what you need to whip up a quick meal. Using what you already have in the kitchen, along with a few choice ingredients, will have you and your fellow vacationers in the autumn spirit in no time.
Want to know how? Here are a few of quick and easy ideas for you. (You can thank us later!)
Put the coffeemaker to good use
It's pretty easy to replicate the fall flavors found in a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte at home or at your vacation-home-away-from-home. If you're a regular coffee drinker, you probably already have run out to your closest OBX grocery store to buy your favorite coffee or you've brought some of your own with you from home (that's what I do!). Logically, you already have or have bought coffee filters, too. From there, all you need are a few spices reflective of the season. Pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg and cinnamon come to mind, but use what you like. Sprinkle a few dashes into the coffee grounds before brewing and voilà! Don't skip the whip.
If you're really into replicating a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte, you could raise the bar and try this DIY copycat recipe, which involves a few more ingredients, steps and work. It's up to you but both are completely doable in a vacation rental kitchen. Try it and see! Enjoy your taste of fall while taking in the ocean views or take it with you as you stroll the beach.
Spice it up
Speaking of fall flavors, certain spice profiles invoke feelings of warm yumminess to your palate. Cinnamon, clove, ginger and allspice are among them. There are easy ways to add these flavors to your favorite dishes both in and out of your vacation rental kitchen.
Spiced Apple Cider: While you're out doing your grocery shopping for the week, grab a huge bottle of apple juice or apple cider. Warm it up on the stove and add in a cinnamon stick or two, a few cloves, or go crazy and add some star anise if you dare. Strain out the spices and enjoy a warm cup of deliciousness. Make it an adults-only beverage by adding a few splashes of spiced dark rum in there too. Since you are in pirate territory here on the Outer Banks, it just makes sense. Am I right?
Autumn Spiced Breakfast: Another great way to infuse fall spices into your beach life is to add them to your morning oatmeal, grits, or cream of wheat. It's a quick and easy way to get your fall fix first thing in the morning before you head out for the day. Top it with brown sugar, cinnamon, fresh apple slices, or whatever your little heart desires. You're only limited by your imagination.
Spiced Pumpkin Dip: An additional way to use spices to amp up your autumn appetite is to make a quick dip that can be paired with graham crackers, ginger snaps, vanilla wafers, apple slices or any method you prefer to get the dip into your mouth (spoons are perfectly acceptable, by the way). For this creamy Pumpkin Dip, you only need a few ingredient, a bowl, and a spoon or other means of mixing the ingredients together. From the store you'll want to pick up a 15 ounces of canned pumpkin, 8 ounces of whipped topping or whipped cream, 8 ounces of cream cheese, 2 cups of powdered sugar and a couple teaspoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice. Cream together the cream cheese and powdered sugar by hand or with a mixer if you have one handy in your vacation rental kitchen. Add in the canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice then mix well. Fold in the whipped topping or whipped cream. Put in a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour. You'll quickly become addicted to this stuff, so consider this fair warning.
Fruit in its season
Apples and pears are signature fall flavors with their crisp texture, sweet and tart notes, and versatility that is unmatched. There are so many ways to use them and all of them are delicious. If you happen to drive by a local farmers market or fruit stand on your way to the Outer Banks, do yourself a favor and take the time to stop and pick some up. You can also find a nice variety of locally grown produce at many of the area grocery stores.
Pair thinly sliced apples or pears with your favorite crackers and cheese. Toss chopped apple or pears into your favorite salad along with some gorgonzola or goat cheese, and sprinkle in some nuts for extra texture and flavor. Elevate your grilled cheese by adding some freshly sliced pear or apple inside for a marriage of cheesy goodness and satisfying crunch. These quick and easy meal ideas can be made and enjoyed with little effort.
Of course, pears and apples are a quick and easy snack on their own. They can be enjoyed in the comfort of your beach vacation rental or as a healthy snack while you're on the go.
Don't forget the wine! It's a nice complement to your favorite apple or pear, and goes particularly well with crackers and cheese. Looking for some pairing ideas? Try these wine and pear suggestions.
Snack time, autumn style
Snacks are great for grazing or packing up and taking with you to the beach. Looking for fall-friendly snacks for at home or on the go? Consider these.
Are you hungry yet? What are you waiting for? Make the most of your OBX vacation rental kitchen by trying some of these ideas and enjoy autumn on the beach. See you on the sand!
What are your favorite fall flavors? Any quick and easy recipe ideas you'd like to share with us?