Brrrr, it sure is cold outside here in Minnesota or should I say Minnesnowta! We have had unseasonably chilling temperatures and early snowfall this November for the last two weeks. The normal daytime high this time of year is 35-40 degrees and it hasn’t got above 10 degrees on some days. The picture below shows that my pumpkin lawn ornament sure looks lonely and out of place in our snow bank in the back yard!
To warm up on these cold days, plan to prepare a Pumpkin ‘N spice Latte. You can enjoy a mug of this delightful latte at home in your kitchen as you read the morning paper. It is also the perfect afternoon beverage at your desk at work or home. If you work, bring the combined ingredients in a covered container and refrigerate until serving time and then microwave. This is also the perfect drink to sip on in your three season porch as you look out the window on our wonderful fall or winter like scenery.
One serving of my recipe for Pumpkin ‘N Spice Latte contains only 115 calories, 3 grams of fat, 79 mg sodium and 13 grams of carbohydrate if you use the Stevia sweetener. If you use sugar or the Organic Blue Agave sweetener, the recipe would contain 175 calories and 28 grams of carbohydrate and all other values are the same.The cost per serving for this recipe is 48 cents per serving using sugar, 58 cents per serving using the Stevia and 68 cents per serving using the Organic Blue agave sweetener. I purchased my groceries for the recipe at Walmart so I am using their prices when calculating the cost per serving. I purchased the Organic Blue Agave sweetener at Trader Joes since it was not available at my local Walmart grocery store. If you prefer to use organic products you can substitute the organic coffee, milk, vanilla, pumpkin and spices from your local food coop, health section of Hy Vee grocery stores, Whole foods or Trader Joe’s grocery stores.
You can save quite a bit of money and ensure that more wholesome ingredients are in your Pumpkin Spice Latte by preparing this at home. This recipe has no additives or preservatives added. Pumpkin Spice Lattes purchased at fast food restaurants such as Duncan Donuts, Mc Donalds and Starbucks may have additional additives and preservatives added, so if you are concerned about this you can contact the company for a list of ingredients or google this information on your smart phone or computer. There are also some allegations that some of the commercial Pumpkin Spice Lattes sold at fast food restaurants do not actually contain any pumpkin! A nutritional comparison reveals that a Starbucks 12 oz tall Pumpkin Spice Latte using non-fat milk and two tablespoons of added whip cream contains 200 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fats, 30 mg of cholesterol, 170 mg of sodium. 40 grams of carbohydrate and 11 grams of protein. If you decide to splurge and order the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks with whole milk and 2 TB of whipped cream, this creamier version contains 330 calories, 14 grams fat, 9 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 50 mg of cholesterol, 40 grams of carbohydrates and 11 grams of protein. You can decide if it is really worth it! One hour of walking burns approximately 300-400 calories. The cost per 12 oz serving of the Starbucks version is $4.00. I know that they have a great atmosphere and free wifi at Starbucks but you are going to pay a quite a bit extra for these amenities than if you stayed at home and prepared it. A similar sized Pumpkin Spice Latte at Mc Donalds and Duncan Donuts will cost you approximately $3.00 per serving.
Pumpkin has a very healthy profile as well. One half cup of pumpkin contains only 50 calories, 5 mg of sodium and 10 grams of carbohydrate. One half cup also provides you with 3 grams of fiber which has a very filling effect, since the fiber content slows digestion time. Pumpkin is also a rich source of nutrients. One half of a cup provides 200% of the Percent Daily Value for Vitamin A, 70% of which is beta-carotene and 4% of the DV for Vitamin C. Beta-carotene is great for our eyes and skin and may also fight against some forms of cancer such as prostate and lung cancer according to some research studies. Vitamin A and C act as a cell defense squad since they are both antioxidants and act as shields for your cells against cancer-causing free radicals.
The milk in the latte recipe provides us with bone building and protecting calcium and Vitamin D, as well as vitamin A, Vitamin B12 and is a good source of protein. If you choose to substitute soy or almond milk in place of cow’s milk in the recipe, be sure to check your food label to be sure that they are fortified with calcium and Vitamin D.
My recipe also includes the spice cinnamon. Cinnamon has been consumed since 2000 BC in ancient Egypt where it was considered to be very precious and they used it among other things to treat sore throats, coughs and arthritis. Modern research also indicates that this spice may have some very beneficial properties. There are two main types of cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon which is most commonly used in the western world and Cassia or Chinese cinnamon which originates from southern China and is less expensive than the Ceylon cinnamon. Cinnamon may also help control blood sugar and lipid (cholesterol) levels according to a study published in Diabetes Care magazine. Cinnamon may also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease according to research done at Tel Aviv University in Israel. An extract found in cinnamon bark called CEppt contains important properties that may actually inhibit the development of the disease. Cinnamon may also help stop the destructive neurological process in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) according to studies done at Rush University Medical Center. The National Institutes of Health research studies have also found that a compound found in Cassia cinnamon may help fight fungal and bacterial infections.Cinnamon can be added to latte and cappuccino coffee drinks, hot cereals such as oatmeal, muffins, cakes, scones. apple pie, sweet potatoes, squash, cakes and fruit crisps.
- 6 oz 1% milk or almond or soy milk
- 2 TB fresh pureed or canned pumpkin
- 2 tsp real vanilla extract (not imitation)
- 1 TB sugar ( or 2 if you want a sweeter drink) or Organic Blue Agave sweetener or 2 packets Stevia sweetener
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
- 4 oz of brewed coffee, regular or decaffinated, or ¼ cup expresso
- 2 TB Reddi Whip topping or non-dairy whipped topping or real whip cream
- Place milk, pumpkin, vanilla extract, sugar or Agave sweetener or Stevia, cinnamon and nutmeg in a 11-12 oz coffee mug. Whisk together until well combined with a small whisk or similar utensil. Microwave for 50 seconds. Add coffee and microwave again for approximately one minute or until well heated. Stir. Spray Reddi Whip topping on the beverage and sprinkle with nutmeg. Serve immediately.
- If you would like to double or triple the recipe or make an even larger quantity for a crowd, combine all of the ingredients except for the whipped topping in a crockpot, Whisk together ingredients and heat on the high setting for 1-2 hours or until hot. Pour into coffee mugs and spray on the Reddi Whip or add whip cream or non-dairy whipped topping, sprinkle with nutmeg and serve immediately.