After a long, hot summer, the leaves are finally starting to get crunchy less due to dehydration and more because IT’S FALL! Sweaters, boots, umbrellas, more leg hair, less squinting, phantom back to school anxiety, warm breakfasts, soup, and pumpkin spiced everything.
I love the smell of pumpkin pie baking in the oven but have always been disappointed by the pumpkin pie itself. I feel a bit guilty about this because I was born on Halloween and I feel like pumpkins and I should be kindred spirits. Also, pumpkin pie is my husband’s favourite dessert of all time, which means I make it at least once a year. That or rice pudding. I know.
I mustn’t be alone in my luke-warm pumpkin pie feelings because in recent years brilliant people have started taking the best part of pumpkin pie –the spice blend- and putting it into things that actually taste great! This I can get into.
Pumpkin spice is a blend of spices, usually cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and clove. You can buy it pre-blended or make your own out of whole, organic spices. This ensures freshness and it means you can probably make it today out of spices already in your pantry without making a special trip to the store.
Spices are good for you! Some are better studied than others but we do know that:
Cinnamon: is a warming spice that promotes blood circulation, boosts vitality and helps with nausea and diarrhea. It also helps us to absorb other nutrients and control our blood sugar.
Ginger: is warming, boosts circulation, is a well-known anti-nausea, supports the liver and boosts the immune system.
Allspice: aids in digestion (helps to relieve gas) has antibacterial properties and is a powerful antioxidant.
Nutmeg: also warming (this explains why we go from summer to pumpkin pie spice), great for circulation, pain reduction and digestion. Also works as a mild sedative…
Cloves: more than just an integral part of apple Santas, cloves are good for nausea and vomiting, aid in digestion, are a powerful antiseptic and help with toothaches.
And to take this pumpkin spice to soaring new anti-inflammatory hights we are going to add:
Turmeric: also warming! Promotes circulation, mega beta carotene (such an aggressively orange/yellow food), studied at great length for its anti-inflammatory properties, also boasts antioxidant, antibacterial, antibacterial, anti-arthritic powers and is also a good blood sugar regulator. This should be a permanent member of the pumpkin spice family!
Black Pepper: is warming too, promotes blood flow, has its own anti-inflammatory properties but most importantly, potentiates the anti-inflammatory properties of the turmeric powerhouse. Black pepper is the wind beneath turmeric’s wings.
Turmeric and black pepper slide right in alongside the others pretty effortlessly. Turmeric has an active flavour personality but think about those other flavours for a sec, they’re pretty opinionated too. You won’t taste the difference with the added turmeric but your cancer cells sure will.
You can mix this spice blend into your breakfast porridge, sprinkle it on roasted squash, blend it into this coconut yoghurt, or just simmer it in water on your stove top because you have people coming over and your place smells like dehydrating kale chips.
I don’t want to leave you with only a spice blend recipe, so here is my new fave fall recipe: a far cry from pumpkin pie but it will still fill that mealy, wedge-shaped void. It can be for breakfast or a satisfying snack when all of your favourite TV show characters are ordering pumpkin spice lattés (you can even warm it up!) (gently, preferably in a bain marie). It is made up of walnut milk, fresh carrot, ginger and turmeric juice (you can sub pumpkin instead but I like the carrot sweetness), an optional date blended in for a treat and of course, our homemade pumpkin spice blend. You are going to like this a lot.
- 1 c Walnut Milk (any nut/seed milk) (recipe below)
- 1 c Carrot/Ginger/Turmeric Juice (about 6-8 carrots, 1" fresh Ginger & 1 " fresh Turmeric)
- 1 Medjool Date, pitted
- ½ tsp Pumpkin Spice (recipe below)
- 2 Tbsp Cinnamon (or 2 x 4-5" cinnamon sticks)
- 1 Tbsp Dried Ginger
- 1½ tsp Allspice Berries
- 1½ tsp Nutmeg (1/3 of a whole nutmeg)
- ¼ tsp Cloves
- ½ tsp Turmeric, dry
- 4-6 Black Peppercorns
- 1 c Walnuts, soaked for 8-12 hours, drained and rinsed
- 3 c Water
- pinch of Sea(weed) Salt
- Blend together in a blender until the date is well blended.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy!
- In a spice grinder, blend together all of the whole and/or ground spices together until fine.
- Store in a jar for up to 3 months (for best potency/freshest flavour)
- Put the soaked and rinsed walnuts in your blender with the salt and water.
- Blend for 30 second or a minute on high (you may need a bit longer if you don't have a high power blender)
- Strain through cheese cloth/ a nut milk bag or a fine mesh sieve (save the stuff you strain out in your freezer -add to smoothies or use in baking)
- Lasts for 3 days in your fridge.