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Protein Pumpkin Spice Latte

There are many things to love about fall—biting into a fresh, crisp apple fresh off the tree, enjoying the vibrant red and golden foliage, and wrapping up in a warm sweater on a chilly night. But you don’t even have to spot the leaves changing colors to know autumn is here, thanks to everyone’s favorite seasonal herald: pumpkin spice.

Food scientists have injected everything from syrup to cookies with “pumpkin” in an attempt to capitalize on the popular flavored coffee. You probably know that pumpkin spice, or pumpkin pie spice, refers to the blend of seasonings used in the iconic Thanksgiving dessert: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and maybe some ginger and allspice. That means you’re probably not getting much (if any) pumpkin. Commercial ingredient lists can also be pretty vague. How do you know what exactly you’re consuming? And do you really want to take a nice, big gulp or bite of artificial flavors, preservatives, and stabilizers? Not only does artificial spiced pumpkin smell a bit like potpourri, it has none of the real thing’s health benefits.

This fall use pumpkin to scare away inflammation and disease. Rich in minerals such as copper, phosphorus, and potassium, this classic autumn gourd gets its vibrant orange hue from the antioxidant beta-carotene, which gets converted into vitamin A in the body. Beta-carotene has been linked to lowering the risk of coronary artery disease. Pumpkin is also low in saturated fats and cholesterol, and a great source of dietary fiber, so it can help you feel full for longer and aid in weight maintenance. If you’re carving up a whole pumpkin, remember that pumpkin seeds are also loaded with zinc and magnesium, so don’t chuck them in the trash—wash off the pumpkin guts and roast ‘em up with a little coconut oil.

Like other members of the squash family—from butternut to acorn—pumpkin is great roasted and added to soups and chili. It’s delicious in bread, oatmeal, and cookies. But I like to welcome cool, breezy mornings with a spicy-sweet spiced pumpkin latte—this time with actual pumpkin. Making one at home is a great way to save a little money and control exactly what goes into my coffee mug.


Makes One Serving

Ingredients

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

Pinch of ground ginger

1 scoop or 1/2 serving ALOHA Vanilla Protein

1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree, fresh or canned

1 cup milk of your choice

1 to 2 shots espresso, or 1/3 to 1/2 cup strong coffee

Optional Coconut Whipped Cream

1/2 can full-fat coconut milk

1 scoop or 1/2 serving ALOHA Vanilla Protein

1 tablespoons honey

Preparation

In a small pot, warm the spices, vanilla, ALOHA Vanilla Protein, and maple syrup over low heat until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add the pumpkin and mix well. Pour in the milk and heat gradually, being careful not to let the mixture boil or scald. If the mixture looks too thick, pour through a sieve, or use a blender or food processor to blend until smooth. Brew the coffee and pour into a mug. Add the pumpkin mixture.

For the coconut whipped cream, place your can of coconut milk into the refrigerator to chill overnight. Before you start whipping your cream, place a large bowl into the fridge to chill for at least 10 minutes. Carefully take your can of coconut milk out of the fridge and flip over. Open the can and pour out the liquid at the top into a separate bowl. Scoop out half of the cream into the chilled bowl. Beat with a mixer for at least 3-4 minutes. Next add in your protein powder and honey. Continue to mix for another 2 minutes or until it has thickened and creates soft peaks.

Top your PSL with the coconut cream and garnish with a pinch of spices or with a cinnamon stick.

Photo Credit: Mimi McCormick