PUMPKIN ‘N SPICE LATTE

Brr, there is a chill in the air. It is the last week of October and 75% of the colorful fall leaves have fallen from the trees here in Minnesota. We had a high temperature of 52 degrees today but there will be one final heatwave of this Indian summer since temperatures are predicted to be a sunny and warm 70 degrees tomorrow just in time for the weekend! We like to sit out on out front porch and sip on hot Pumpkin N Spice Lattes or hot apple cider this time of year and enjoy every minute outside that we can since we know that winter weather with cold wet snow and ice is just around the corner. On the bright side, that means Christmas is coming! Since Halloween is next week, I enjoy enjoy preparing recipes using pumpkin this time of year. Just love this latte recipe as well as pumpkin muffins and pumpkin bread. I saw a recipe for pumpkin soup on a recipe blog that I would like to try. I also plan on creating a pumpkin smoothie recipe very soon since I love my breakfast smoothies!

Pumpkin ‘N Spice Latte

I tried the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte a couple of years ago and went to work in my kitchen to create a very similar tasting beverage with fewer calories and no artificial flavors or additives. The homemade version is very economical too compared to purchasing this beverage. You can expect to pay $3.00-$5.00 for one serving of this beverage at your local Mc Donalds, Starbucks or Caribou coffee. A nutritional comparison reveals that the Starbucks 12 oz Pumpkin Spice Latte using non-fat milk and 2 tablespoons of whipped cream contains 200 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 mg of cholesterol, 170 mg of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrate and 11 grams of protein. Made with whole milk, the calories increase to 330, as well as 14 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 50 mg of cholesterol. The protein and carbohydrate content remain the same when prepared with whole milk. Plan to walk for 30-60 minutes to burn this off!

Autumn Garden

PUMPKIN 'N SPICE LATTE
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 serving
 
Ingredients
  • 5 oz almond or 1% milk
  • 2 TB fresh pureed or canned pumpkin
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 tsp granulated Stevia or 1 TB sugar or Agave Nectar
  • ⅛ tsp cinnamon
  • a dash of nutmeg
  • 7 of brewed coffee
  • Topping:
  • 2 TB Reddi Whip topping or non-dairy topping such as whipped coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Place milk, coffee, vanilla or almond extract, pumpkin, sweetener and spices in a 12 oz mug. Whisk together until well combined. If desired, you may place these ingredients into your magic bullet or blender and blend until smooth and pour into your tall coffee mug. Microwave for 60-70 seconds until the beverage is hot. Spray the Reddi Whip topping on the beverage and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice if desired. Serve immediately. You may substitute ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice in place of the nutmeg and cinnamon in this recipe if desired.
Notes
The recipe was calculated using the Stevia sweetener and almond milk. Nutrition information was calculated using My Fitness Pal recipe calculator.

If desired, add 1 scoop (approximately 1 TB) of vanilla protein powder to the recipe and blend this with the other ingredients in a blender or nutribullet prior to heating to increase the protein content of the beverage.

Information in this food blog is not intended to be medical advice. Consult your personal health care provider for medical and nutritional advice for yourself.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 12 oz Calories: 111 Fat: 3 grams Saturated fat: 0.5 Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 6 grams Sodium: 79 mg Protein: 1 gram Cholesterol: 0 mg

 

Pumpkin has a very healthy nutritional profile as well. One half cup of pumpkin contains only 50 calories, 5 mg of sodium, 10 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of fiber. Pumpkin is very filling due to the fiber content and the thick creamy consistency. Pumpkin is a rich source of nutrients. One half cup provides 200% of the Daily Value for Vitamin A, 70% of which is beta-carotene and also provides 4% of the Daily Value for Vitamin C. Beta carotene if important for our eye and skin health and also fights some forms of cancer such as prostrate and lung cancer according to some research studies on this nutrient. Vitamin A and Vitamin C act as a cell defense squad since they are both antioxidants and act as shields for your cells against cancer causing free radicals.

We love to take fall leaf watching tours this time of year. Nature certainly shows the awesome handiwork of God in this earth! Enjoy these scenic fall photos that we shot with our camera.

Beautiful waterfalls, Minneopa Park, Mankato
Waterfalls at Minneopa State Park, Mankato, MN
Scenic Overlook of the falls at Minneopa State Park
Autumn Scene, Minneopa State Park, Mankato
Scenic Overlook of the Mississippi River, Alma Wisconsin
Beautiful Seven Mile Creek Park, north of Mankato, MN
Colorful Seven Mile Creek Park
A small creek wanders through Seven Mile Park.

 

Exploring Minneopa Park, Mankato, MN
Fall Splendor at Seven Mile Park, north of Mankato, MN
Overlooking the Mississippi river near Alma, Wisconsin
Hummingbird feeding on the flowers

 

 

BLACK FOREST CHEESECAKE VALENTINE’S PARFAIT

Love is in the air and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. If you searching for the perfect dessert to finish off a romantic home cooked Valentine Day dinner, look no farther!  The parfait also makes the perfect dessert for two to enjoy with a cup of coffee after you have arrived home from your your dinner date at the restaurant. It is so easy to prepare and healthfully lightened up as well. It features all of the great lover’s favorite foods: chocolate, cherries and cream cheese!

I decided to slim down my parfait recipe by using the Fit and Active 1/3 less fat brand of Neufchatel Cream Cheese, non-fat Greek yogurt, the no sugar added version of cherry pie filling as well as Stevia to replace the sugar in the original recipe. Let me tell you this makes a big difference in savings in calorie, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, carbohydrate and total sugar content per serving without sacrificing a rich taste. If you wish to reduce the calorie, fat and cholesterol content further, you could substitute the 50% reduced fat version of cream cheese. I have not used this in my recipe yet however so I can’t guarantee you that it will have the same consistency. I would not recommend using the fat free cream cheese since I don’t think the parfait would have a creamy cheesecake consistency. My husband and I sampled this parfait for our dessert today and loved the different flavor combinations of the chocolate, cherries and the slightly almond taste of the cream cheese. If you really love chocolate, top your parfait with a dark chocolate Hershey’s chocolate kiss.

BLACK FOREST CHEESECAKE VALENTINE'S PARFAIT
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces ⅓ less fat brand of Neufchatel cream cheese
  • 20 oz can of No Sugar Added Great Value (or other brand) Cherry Pie Filling (sweetened with Splenda or Stevia
  • Nabisco Oreo Pie Crust (one half of crust)
  • ½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 12 packets Stevia (sugar substitute)
Instructions
  1. Remove pie crust from the pie tin container and place in a bowl. Crumble up to a fine consistency. Place cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat well with an electric mixer. Add Stevia and mix in well. Add Greek yogurt and almond extract to the cream cheese mixture and beat until well combined. Add approximately 2 TB or the crushed Oreo pie crust mixture to the bottom of your parfait glass. Add the next layer by spooning in 2-3 TB of the cream cheese mixture. Top this with
  2. TB of the cherry pie filling, repeat layers, ending with the Oreo pie crust mixture. Top with a dark chocolate Hershey's chocolate kiss if desired.Refrigerate until serving time.
Notes
Information in this food blog is not intended to provide medical advice of any kind. Please consult your personal physician or other personal health care provider for medical advice.

If you use fresh unsweetened pitted cooked cherries or a can of drained unsweetened cherries, sweeten with 12 packets Stevia or ½ cup sugar. Stir in the Stevia or sugar before adding to the recipe.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: one Parfait Calories: 262 Fat: 13 grams Saturated fat: 8 grams Unsaturated fat: 5.2 grams Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 29 grams Sugar: 19 grams Sodium: 283 mg Fiber: 2 grams Protein: 6 grams Cholesterol: 32 mg

By making these healthier substitutions in my recipe, I realized that I was saving 206 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 17 mg of cholesterol, 34  grams of carbohydrate and 27 grams (7 teaspoons) of sugar per serving! Wow, that is worth it. I would have to walk 35 minutes to burn off those extra 206 calories.

I remember that my mother used these fostoria dessert dishes on special occasions such as Christmas and birthdays when I was growing up. They were displayed in her built in China cabinet in our dining room.

Vintage Fostoria China table setting passed down to me from my mother.

Happy Valentine’s Day!