Little by little, the degrees start to drop; my pine green jacket comes out of the closet, still infused with the sweet smell that reminds me of last fall. Cup after cup of tart-smelling tea get brewed on campus tabletops and I start looking forward to pumpkin- and apple-everything.
With this autumnal sentiment in mind and the urge to escape campus for a few hours, I drove through the streets of Poughkeepsie, already lined with trees that show hints of yellow and orange, towards Barnes & Noble. Upon entrance, the doors were papered with inviting signs advertising Starbucks’s famous pumpkin-spice drinks.
As an international student from Ecuador, I hadn’t tried the pumpkin-spice concoction before, so after taking my seat I ordered Starbucks’s fall specialty in frappuccino form.
After a few minutes and with a pleasant smile, the barista presented me with a coffee drink whose festively strong orange color I wasn’t expecting. With a tingling adventurous feeling, I sat down and admired the popular tradition I was about to experience.
I closed my eyes and took a big sip out of the green straw we all know too well, and with my mouth full of orange concoction, my face wrinkled into an expression of revulsion. Without knowing what to do, I swallowed the liquid sugar as I walked back to the barista to politely ask for a different type of drink.
After discussing this experience with a few friends who claim to be pumpkin spice-enthusiasts, I’ve reached the conclusion that there must have been something wrong with my drink and that I probably ordered the wrong kind of pumpkin-spice drink, therefore I’ve decided to give it another chance (I will let you all know how that goes).
In the meantime, I will keep on filling my autumn days with tea and apple dreams while giving pumpkin an infinite number of chances to surprise my South American palate.
As a means to eradicate my first impression of pumpkin spice, I’ve been experimenting with recipes using the most easily accessible form of pumpkin: puree. Canned pumpkin puree is possibly the most versatile fall ingredient, and it can be added to almost any recipe to give your yearlong favorite dishes some autumn spice!
Here is a breakfast recipe that has already changed my life fall-wise; get your friends together and try these pumpkakes (with a healthy twist) for weekend brunch, or try them on your own before grabbing your jacket and heading out the door for class!
By keeping the sugar content low (or opting to replace the sugar with Stevia, which bakes well) you can avoid other sugary breakfast treats like cereal or granola bars and replace them with this filling alternative.
To make these pancakes, start with the batter. Whisk together pumpkin puree, eggs, egg whites, vanilla extract and Stevia. In another bowl combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and the optional pumpkin pie spice. Mix and whisk together the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients.
Prepare the pan by placing it over medium-heat and spraying cooking oil of choice. Spoon pancake mix in pan; flip pancake over once surface bubbles appear and cook the other side for approximately two minutes. Serve immediately and top with maple syrup, honey or your favorite pancake toppings.
It turns out, first impressions are not always the ones that count! Go ahead and give these a try; you could even accompany them with your favorite pumpkin-spice drink. Hooray for second chances!
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs
- 4 egg-whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 packets Stevia or brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour (to make these pancakes gluten-free, you can use any gluten-free flour substitute!)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon (you can add more or less cinnamon to fit your taste!)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder a pinch of salt
- optional: you can add 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice if you’re a real pumpkin lover!