Good For You: Spiced Pumpkin Nog

By+Grace+Vance

By Grace Vance

Grace Vance

Now that we are in the midst of fall, it seems as if all of nature is in celebration. Bright oranges and striking reds decorate every street I see and warming scents of pumpkin waft through the house. For me, even though I knew it was coming, fall seemed to arrive without warning. One day when I walked out of the house to go for a walk, goose bumps immediately formed on my skin when I felt the cold that crept in with each brisk breeze. Despite enveloping myself in long fluffy scarves, thick hats and coats, it still felt like I was shivering from the inside out.
I ate warm soups and cuddled close to my heater. I covered myself in blankets before I settled down to do homework, but nothing seemed to keep me warm for long. What am I to do to keep warm? Since it was fall and we had leftover pumpkins from Halloween that we had been roasting for pumpkin puree, my mind jumped to all the festive pumpkins surrounding me, baked fresh from the oven, and not from the can. (To make fresh pumpkin puree at home: rinse and cut pumpkin in half, remove seeds and stringy parts, place in pan with a small pool of water and bake at 400 F for an hour or more until very tender. Scrape flesh from pumpkin and blend in a blender.) The smell swirled through the house and filled my nose. I knew I had to use it for something. Soon I had my blender out, pumpkin, spices, and milk at the ready to whip up a warming drink to not only sooth my senses but feed my holiday hunger.
After blending, I sipped from the warm cup, where I tasted something that was very familiar, but not at all what I expected. I was anticipating a drink reminiscent of a pumpkin spiced latte, but without the espresso and artificial pumpkin syrup taste that you can sometimes get from store bought PSL. Instead, what I got was a flavor that brought me back to the holidays from my childhood: Egg Nog, but with a pumpkin spin to it. Soothing, creamy and oh so season appropriate, this hot mug is sure to keep you warm, just as it did to me.
Spiced Pumpkin Nog
serves 1
Adapted from a recipe from Healthy Happy Life.
1 cup (8 oz) unsweetened soy milk
2-4 tbsp fresh or canned pumpkin (depending how strong of a pumpkin flavor you want, also the more you add the creamier and thicker it will get)
1 organic medjool date or ½ tbsp organic grade B maple syrup (or to taste)
a couple dashes of pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg (for a spicy kick I like to add a few dashes of cayenne!)
1 thin slice of ginger root or a few dashes of ginger powder
a pinch of real vanilla bean, seeds scraped or ⅛ tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Directions:

  1. Pour soy milk into mug, then warm in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Watch to make sure it doesn’t overflow.
  2. Pour the hot milk into your blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend until very smooth. You don’t want chunks of date (if used) or ginger! Taste and adjust flavors if needed.
  3. Pour mixture back into serving mug. Tip: put the warm mixture back into the microwave for 30 seconds to get foam to form at the top! This also heats the mixture up a little bit more. (optional)
  4. Serve and enjoy! Add additional spices on top for presentation if desired.

*It is better to have a high speed blender that can efficiently blend all the ingredients smoothly. If you don’t have one, try substituting maple syrup with the date.
GFYpumpkinmug2I have made this recipe multiple times, and I have found that the more pumpkin you add the creamier, thicker, and more frothy it gets. Using the date instead of the maple syrup also adds to this effect. Depending on how thick and fluffy you like your caffeine free pumpkin nog, you can experiment with various ratios of pumpkin and type of sweetener.
This recipe is such an easy, quick, and delicious way to bring warmth, comfort and a healthy spin on the traditional sugar and fat laden beverage that other store bought drinks can have. One of the best parts about eating healthfully is you get to be creative, save money by making things at home and explore flavors that comfort you, especially when its so cold out.
By Grace Vance