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Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

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Love it or hate it, pumpkin spice is back…

The most popular fall flavor can be found almost everywhere these days, from yogurt to the infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte. Whether you’re a novice to the craze or a seasoned pro, here is everything you need to know about pumpkin spice.

What is it?

Contrary to the name, pumpkin spice doesn’t actually contain any pumpkin. It’s named rather for the spice blend used in pumpkin pie, a family favorite found on almost every Thanksgiving table. The spice mix, which can be store-bought or homemade, is generally a blend of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice.

Why is it so popular?

Ever since the creation of the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte in 2003, its popularity has skyrocketed. Not only is it Starbucks’ best-selling seasonal drink of all time, but it has also spawned many copycats. Krispy Kreme, Trader Joe’s, Dunkin’ and Dairy Queen all have their own pumpkin spice-flavored products. The craze even extends beyond food items to include air freshener, deodorant and dog treats.

Is it good for you?

Yes! Spices like cinnamon and ginger have been shown to reduce inflammation, help digestion and protect against free radicals. However, you will need to be careful about choosing the right pumpkin spice-flavored foods. Coffee drinks, cakes, donuts, cookies, and pies can contain high amounts of sugar and saturated fat, which defeat the spices’ healthy properties. To help you enjoy your favorite foods without the guilt, here are some healthy and easy recipes you can make to enjoy the delicious flavor of pumpkin spice!

Pumpkin Muffins


  • ⅓ cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup or honey
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • ¼ cup milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin spice blend (or ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon ground allspice or cloves)
  • 1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
  • ⅓ cup old-fashioned oats, plus more for sprinkling on top


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. If necessary, grease all 12 cups of the muffin tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, beat the oil and maple syrup or honey together with a whisk. Add the eggs, and beat well. Mix in the pumpkin purée and milk, followed by the baking soda, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.
  • Add the flour and oats to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined. If you’d like to add any additional mix-ins, like nuts, chocolate or dried fruit, fold them in now.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a small amount of oats, followed by a sprinkle of cinnamon. Bake muffins for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
  • Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to completely cool. These muffins will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. They keep well in the freezer in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months (just defrost individual muffins as needed).

Pumpkin Spice Granola


  • 2 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw pecan halves
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Optional: crystal ginger, dried cranberries, dried cherries


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  • In a bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, maple syrup, coconut oil, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, and kosher salt until smooth.
  • Stir in rolled oats, pecan, and pumpkin seeds. Mix well to coat, spread out onto the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • Remove and let the granola cool until it reaches room temperature. Serve immediately, or store in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.

’Tis the Season for Pumpkin Spice, so enjoy the season while it lasts!

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