Spice it Up this Season with a Little Pumpkin Craving (and Carving, too)

Orange is the new black this season. Really. Even with Halloween impending on us, nothing is stopping the full out throttle of pumpkin spice and all things nice craze. I know I’ve jumped on board.

Shopping at my favorite Trader Joe’s in old town Alexandria, my inner ADD unleashed and no dosage of medication could hold me back from stopping dead center in the middle of the dairy aisle to examine the pumpkin soup cartons + pumpkin puree crackers strategically displayed in a nook above the organic yogurt. Cruising down the frozen aisle,  I abruptly halted as my eye caught glance of the pumpkin cannoli and yogurt covered pumpkin tea cookies. Bad girl.

What’s that nearby the 99 cent cards? REAL pumpkins and all varieties of squash to jump start the season of giving and harvesting. I snag the last spaghetti squash because it’s  easy to cook, full of nutrients, and low in calories. I realize I’m missing a marinara sauce to pair with it. Once I’ve reached my destination,  my indecisiveness kicks in. I can’t decide on the type of sauce. Tangy? Salty? Spicy? Mild? Puzzled, a super friendly (all of the time, seriously), Trader Joe’s employee swoops in and saves the day. “The harvest sauce with pumpkin and squash is out of this world,” she exclaims. ” And it’s seasonal, so it’s not in stock all the time.” I’m sold. Sounds unusual but it’s pumpkin-y, so in it goes, crashing in the depths of my cart. Hello dinner.

Even my mother jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon. A few days ago, she texted me a pumpkin chai smoothie recipe. I was a little skeptical about replacing my everyday power smoothie with this for a day or two, but the tower of Trader Joe’s canned organic pumpkin for $1.99 was too irresistible to pass up. Trying new things is good for you anyway.

Pumpkin Chai Smoothie

 

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This smoothie calls for ice cubes, 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, cashew milk, chai tea, and honey. My version is slightly modified. I substitute cashew milk with almond milk and I add coconut water for its amazing nutritional benefits such as antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, Vitamin C and B-complex. I garnish with coconut chips and cinnamon.

Here’s what I’ve consumed on my pumpkin-y pilgrimage so far:

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Soup + Crackers

Delicious. Sweet and creamy with a dash of cinnamon. The crackers are likewise slightly sweet, a combination of pumpkin puree and wheat. Light and crunchy and only 120 calories in 13 crackers (serving size). Here’s what I made last night after a late-night Pilates class.

Pumpkin Soup with Couscous + spinach + raw egg

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For a late dinner, I try to keep it light and healthy, but still substantive. This concoction includes Trader Joe’s Israeli couscous, frozen spinach, fresh garlic, raw egg, pumpkin soup, with a dash of sea salt and cinnamon. The sweet and salty flavor is reminiscent of PB&J. Delish.

Trader Joe’s Autumnal Pasta Sauce + Spaghetti Squash

For a quick and easy dinner. Warm, tasty, and satisfying. Oven baked at 450 with coconut oil. I added a fresh garlic to the autumnal sauce and a raw egg for an extra zing. The flavor is decadent. Warm buttery squash meets creamy tomato soup.

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Seed Brittletrader-joes-pumpkin-seed-brittle

Tastes like brittle with a pumpkin punch. Sugary, salty, sticky, satisfying and, of course,  seasonal.

It’s officially autumn when the aroma of Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte permeates every coffeehouse perimeter…

Last but not least, I haven’t ordered a Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte in many years, but I know people do go ga ga over it and order regularly each fall season. I personally prefer Saxby’s Pumpkin Spice Latte because their special sauce uses REAL pumpkin mixed with sugar and spice and everything nice. Worth every penny. War of the lattes is on this holiday season!

What I am not trying this harvest season…

Pumpkin Spice Hair

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