The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.
Long before I started going to the Cleveland Clinic, I had a slow and arduous breakup with coffee. It was the classic “it’s not you, it’s me” scenario. You see, I love coffee. But here’s the thing: coffee doesn’t love me. Our romance began when I was in college and it ebbed and flowed for many years. Then about 5 or 6 years ago I realized that I needed it more than it needed me….and it soon became an unhealthy relationship. I was calling it first thing in the morning to jump start my day, then again mid-morning for a little pick-me-up. We would rendezvous after lunch, and if I was feeling really needy, I’d stare into it’s eyes one last time in the afternoon. After all that togetherness, come 3:15 in the morning, I’d find myself cold, alone and wide awake (Even with decaf). I couldn’t go on with this cycle of codependence. It was a long goodbye with more than one reconciliation…but the end result was always the same: I was happier and healthier without it. It took some time, but we’ve come to a place where we’re on good terms again. I can inhale it’s aroma and remember its goodness. Once in a blue moon I can even have a sip or two and we share a smile and a laugh, but I walk away confident that we never could have made it work. It will always hold a special place in my heart…
After some time on my own to reflect and regroup, I met green tea. It’s my daily companion now. It’s such a pure and healthy relationship…I don’t even need milk or sugar to help us get along. It puts me at ease and allows me to be myself. And the beauty is, it is secure enough in our relationship that it doesn’t mind if I enjoy another hot beverage once in awhile.
Earlier in the fall when pumpkin season started, I bought some Pumpkin Pie Spice. I only needed a teaspoon or so for a recipe and it seemed like such a waste for the rest of the jar to just sit there. So I started experimenting. On some of the chillier mornings I had been making a modified version of hot chocolate using unsweetened vanilla hemp milk, raw cacao powder and maple syrup. That got me thinking that maybe I could make a modified pumpkin latte. It took a few tries to get it to my liking..but now I’m hooked. Here are the magic ingredients:
After a lengthy elimination diet, I have slowly started to introduce almond milk, and so far so good. Orgain Almond Milk is a powerhouse of nutrition. My nutritionist calls it “rocket fuel”. One cup serves up 10 grams of plant based protein. Talk about something that will stick to your ribs..
For my “pumpkin latte”, I take my favorite mug and measure out my non-dairy milk. I used half almond milk (it is very thick) and half unsweetened vanilla hemp milk. Put it in a pan to simmer. Add:
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. (If you don’t want a coconut flavor, buy refined coconut oil)
- 1 tablespoon of Grade B pure maple syrup
Gently stir ingredients around while milk is heating. Keep a close eye on it as you don’t want it to boil. Once heated through, transfer mixture to a blender or food processor:
Blend well and serve:
If coffee is your friend you can add a shot of espresso to give it a coffee flavor. I drink mine straight up and it is delicious. Best of all, it packs a nutritional punch. Pumpkin Pie Spice is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties. Pumpkin puree lowers blood pressure and supports the immune system. And the coconut oil supports brain health.
I often pair this drink with this delicious homemade granola bar. “Bars to Go” are another healthy go-to snack and are so simple to make. Leslie makes hers with nuts and peanut butter, but I make mine nut-free with raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds and sunflower butter. (Also be sure to use certified gluten-free oats). After mixing it all together, just press it into a pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes:
It’s a perfect mid-morning snack and loaded with so much goodness:
When you link over to get the Bars to Go recipe, be sure to poke around Leslie’s site A Friend to Knit With. Even if you don’t knit (which I don’t), it is such a sweet space filled with cookie recipes and a whole lot of love.