Pumpkin + Spice = Autumn

The sun is shining, and the thermometer says it’s 85F. I’m currently sitting outside on the back porch, in a t-shirt and shorts, making some Vitamin D. But if I try really hard, I can just discern the slightest hint of autumn in the air. It’s just barely there…and it requires intense concentration to feel the tiny drop in humidity, to catch that minuscule breath of coolness in the air. I have faith that cooler weather is on the way. 

But at least for now it’s still summer as far as my stomach is concerned. I’m one of those people who is tremendously affected by the weather. Long bouts of rainy weather make me sad, shorter days and longer nights are not my thing, and hot weather precludes me from wanting to eat anything heavy. I could easily live on salads and fruit during the hot months. But I often find myself tired of the same flavors after three or four months of the intensely hot summer weather here in NC. I start to crave the flavors of autumn, even if I’m not ready for traditional fall foods. Who wants to cook and eat a stew when it’s still steamy outside?! Not this lady!  

In order to satisfy my mental desires, and respect my seasonal eating predilections, I often try to find ways to incorporate the flavors I’m craving, into a seasonally appropriate preparation. For instance, I’ll work Brussels Sprouts into a cold salad, make a cranberry compote to serve with pork, or serve roasted chicken cold. 

Or in this instance, I’ll use pumpkin to make a smoothie, and satisfy my sweet tooth in a healthy way. I’ve never been big on the whole Pumpkin Spice Latte trend, but I DO love pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie. Since I started following the Primal style of eating, I don’t really eat quick breads or pies anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss those flavors! By making my Spiced Pumpkin Smoothie, I can get the same fall flavors in a cold, healthy, portable way. 

This recipe works great as a quick breakfast, a snack, or a dessert. That’s the beauty of a smoothie, it can fill a lot of different needs! To make this, I generally use organic canned pumpkin— but if you want to, you can certainly steam and puree fresh pumpkin meat for this. Just make sure you’re using pie-pumpkins, also called sugar pumpkins, and not Jack O’Lantern pumpkins. You can even make this with steamed sweet potato or butternut squash if you live somewhere pumpkin is unavailable. I’ve even used a combination of pumpkin, carrots and oranges to make this ‘fancier’ and get more nutrients in! 

Creamy, spicy, pumpkin-y goodness! 

Spiced Pumpkin Smoothie
Ingredients:
1 cup of ice cubes
1 cup of Pumpkin Puree
1 cup Coconut Milk (or milk of choice)
1 frozen banana (or 2 dates) 
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp Pumpkin Pie spice* or to taste

Method:
Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. 
Pour into your glass, top with a sprinkle of nutmeg if desired and enjoy! 

*Pumpkin Pie spice is a blend of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger, and sometimes Allspice. If you don’t have the blend on hand, just mix up your own. Your nose will tell you when you’ve got it right! 

Let me know if you try this! I'm sure I'll be posting more pumpkin recipes as we get deeper into autumn.