The leaves are turning, the weather is getting colder, and coffee shops have declared that autumn has arrived by rolling out their Pumpkin Spice everything.
But…who can afford a daily diet of $5 coffees? If you count Sept. 1 through Nov. 30 as “fall” and you consume a pumpkin spice latte every day, that’s 91 days. At $5 a pop, if you only have one per day, that is a whopping $455 in pumpkin spice beverages. OUCH.
And it’s not that great for you, either.
If you read about the ingredients in the be-all, end-all pumpkin spice latte, the one from Starbucks, you’ll find a lot of chemicals. Here is the ingredients list, right from Starbucks.
Milk, Pumpkin Spice Sauce [Sugar, Condensed Skim Milk, Pumpkin Puree, Contains 2% Or Less Of Fruit And Vegetable Juice For Color, Natural Flavors, Annatto, Salt, Potassium Sorbate], Brewed Espresso, Whipped Cream [Cream (Cream, Milk, Mono And Diglycerides, Carrageenan), Vanilla Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid)], Pumpkin Spice Topping [Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Clove, Sulfiting Agents].
For a breakdown of why these ingredients aren’t things you want in your day-to-day diet, check out Food Babe’s breakdown of the PSL here.
But you can do better. Much, much better.
First, make your DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice
You can make or buy pumpkin pie spice. Depending on whether you’ll use the ingredients in other things, it usually cheaper to DIY it. Here’s what you need:
- 3 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons of ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon of ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
Put it all into a jar with a little headspace, shake it up to combine it, and boom – Pumpkin Pie Spice you can use for a whole bunch of different things like:
- Pumpkin pie (duh)
- Sprinkle on cream cheese for a pumpkin pie flavored bagel
- Toss veggies in olive oil and pumpkin pie spice and roast them (omgosh this is so incredibly good)
- Add it to pancake or waffle batter
- Sprinkle it on top of your morning oatmeal
The sky is the limit with this flavorful combo.
Make your own Pumpkin Spice Creamer
With a DIY Pumpkin Spice Creamer, you can have your own fancy coffee beverage at a fraction of the price, any time you want. And it’s WAY better for you, too. Here’s what you need.
- 2 cups of your favorite kind of unsweetened milk (cow’s milk, half-and-half, goat’s milk, almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk…whatever you prefer)
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar (you can also use honey or a new low-carb, organic sweetener we discovered that we really like, Agave 5)
- 3 tbsp of pumpkin puree
- 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t want to DIY it)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: 1 tsp of extra cinnamon
- In a small saucepan, use a low heat to bring your milk and sugar (or other sweetener) to a simmer.
- Stir in all of the other ingredients, whisking constantly.
- Simmer for a couple of minutes until the ingredients are incorporated. Your spices will not dissolve, so unlike the coffee shop variety, your real, delicious, actual spices will speckle your creamer with goodness.
- Allow the mixture to cool, then pour it into a Mason jar.
- Store it in the refrigerator and use liberally in your coffee.
Note: the mixture WILL separate. You’ll have to shake it well before using it.
If you want to be fancy, put some whipped cream on top and sprinkle a teeny bit of pumpkin spice on it.
That’s it. Simple. Frugal. Delicious.
(And way better for you than the stuff those other guys want to charge you $5 for!)