It’s September, and that means kids are back to school, the leaves are starting to change, and…pumpkin spice season is upon us! Even if you don’t love PSLs, there is still room for pumpkin spice in your life. It is so versatile, but more on that later. What’s better is that you can DIY your pumpkin spice fix.
My mum is a great home cook. Unfortunately, her daughter, as a youth, avoided the kitchen like the plague. I’m pretty sure she thought I would starve, or worse – be living off ramen and Kraft Dinner – once I left the nest. She needn’t have worried as it appears that her amazing skills passed down either genetically or through osmosis.
I’m no professional chef, but I can hold my own in the kitchen and leave my family asking for seconds and thirds most nights. One of my kitchen hobbies is making my own spice mixes. I love getting in touch with my food and everything that goes into it. Whether it’s visiting the pastures where the animals I will one day eat spend most of their lives, walking the rich soil that grows my produce, growing my own patio veggies and herbs, or selecting the freshest and highest quality spices to make my signature blends to add to dishes, I love it all. Food is so much more than just nourishment. Our food is a celebration of life, relationships, culture, and even our very environment. There is an emotional connectedness that comes with preparing and sharing food. For many, it is a language and labour of love.
Spices have a significant impact on how our food smells as well as how it tastes. Our sense of smell is closely linked to parts of our brains that deal with memory and emotion. The smell of our food makes up approximately 80% of the perceived taste of our food! My mum baked pumpkin and sweet potato pies with this spice mix from scratch for us every Thanksgiving. It was the one time a year we indulged in such a treat. While I don’t really care for PSLs myself, the smell of pumpkin pie spice is full of fond memories and huge amounts of gratitude. It’s one mix I always have on hand, and I just knew I had to share this DIY pumpkin spice mix here!
DIY Pumpkin Spice Blend
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1.5 tsp ground ginger
- 1.5 tsp ground mace or nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- pinch salt optional
- Scale up this recipe for as much as you want. Combine spices well in a bowl.
- Once combined, store in an airtight jar, and it will last you through the holiday season
Now, I also promised you 10 fantastic ways to use your new spice mix. You can certainly use it in lattes and pies if you wish, but there are so many other options. These are just 10 of my favourite out-of-the-box ideas.
- Hot Coco – I add a little (or a lot) of this spice mix to my hot coco now and then for an interesting flavour twist.
- Sweet Potato Custard – skipping the hassle (and carbs) of a pie crust has never been more delicious than with my Sweet Potato Custard recipe using this spice mix.
- Pumpkin Spice Salmon – season your next wild-caught salmon fillet with this spice mix with a little maple butter on the side for an upscale dining experience.
- Grain-free, nut-free Spiced Granola – this is the feature spice mix in my homemade paleo granola (recipe coming soon), which is delish, if I do say so myself.
- Pumpkin Spice Muffins – just replace the seasonings at the end with 3 teaspoons of spice mix
- Pumpkin Spice Waffles – you can use the blend in the recipe or use the equivalent amount of my spice mix.
- Paleo Pumpkin Fudge – swap out the straight cinnamon in the recipe for the equivalent amount of this pumpkin spice mix.
- Pumpkin Spice Mini Donuts – swap out the cinnamon, ginger, and mace with the total equivalent amount of pumpkin spice mix.
- Pumpkin Pie Apple Crisps
- Paleo Pumpkin Protein Muffins – you can substitute gelatin eggs for the eggs and carob chips for the chocolate if you are sensitive to or avoiding either of those ingredients.
- Sweet Potato Rice – This is a bonus. Sweet potato rice is extra tasty with some pumpkin spice blend for added flavour!