Pumpkin Drinks for Fall and Beyond

Pumpkins are here and we can never get enough! Each year at the outset of the holiday season, pumpkin patches, farm stands, farmers markets and roadside sales offer so many plump pumpkins that promise exciting opportunities for carving, eating and decorating.

Among the great pumpkin of the pumpkins are so  many varieties  like Winter Luxury, Autumn Gold, Harvest Moon, Howden Biggie, Baby Bear, Funny Face, Young’s Beauty, Spooktacular, Ghost Rider, Triple Treat, and Happy Jack. In fact, their colors even run the rainbow gamut from traditional orange to dusty white, pale blue, green, grey, and yellow.

I mean without the pumpkin, the fall holidays would be lost! Can you image fall without pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, or pumpkin spice anything?!?! But did you know that pumpkin is not only delicious, it’s  nutritious ~ it is cholesterol-free, packed with fiber, Vitamins A, B6, potassium, thiamin, niacin, and so much more. Pumpkin is great in soups and smoothies, in flavorful lattes, hot cocoa, eggnog, mixed into juices and ciders, and more.

Try these recipes out and let me know what you think!

Pumpkin Nog
1 can (15 ounces) canned pumpkin
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 pint vanilla ice cream
2 to 3 tablespoons rum (optional)
Ground nutmeg for garnish
Directions:  Place pumpkin, evaporated milk, honey, and cinnamon in blender. Blend until smooth. Add ice cream (and rum, if desired). Blend again until smooth. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
Pumpkin Smoothie
½ cup vanilla yogurt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ cup ground cinnamon graham crackers
1 can pumpkin pie filling (differs from canned pumpkin, as it has spices)
3 cups milk
Spoon pumpkin pie filling into muffin cups, cover with foil and freeze. When ready to prepare, add milk and yogurt to blender. Add four of the frozen pumpkin pie fillings (save rest for another batch). Add cinnamon and blend until smooth. Top with graham cracker crumbs and serve.

Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate

1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
pinch of ground cloves
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch sea salt
2 ounces white chocolate (roughly chopped)
1.5 cups whole milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
Directions: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, pumpkin, and spices. Cook stirring constantly until just simmering. Remove from heat and add chocolate (reserve some for garnish). Just before serving, top each mug with a generous mound of whipped cream, a few shavings of white chocolate, and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.

Warm Pumpkin Apple Soup

2 apples, peeled and diced (such as Honeycrisp)
1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
1 tsp. kosher salt
6 cups low sodium chicken stock
¾ cup apple cider
½ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
½ tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 cans (15 ounces each) pumpkin puree
3 tbsp. light brown sugar
½ cup cream
DirectionsSet a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add olive oil and then add onion, apple, and a pinch of kosher salt. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent. Pour in chicken stock, cider, thyme, and pepper and bring mixture to a boil for one minute. Add pumpkin and stir ingredients together until smooth. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Stir in cream and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer soup for about 10 minutes or until heated through. Serve warm.

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