It’s that time of year again. People love pumpkin and pumpkin spice everything. I do love the fall especially when the weather FINALLY decides to cool off. Fall spices are a big part of this because the amazing smells take me back to my childhood and remind me of the home I grew up in and my grandmother’s house. Mulling spices, candles, cooking fall treats make my house smell amazing and just makes me happy. Cinnamon, Allspice, Clove, Ginger and Nutmeg make up some of the most popular spices used this time of year.
Fall Spices List
Cinnamon is one we use year-round and has many health benefits including being full of anti-aging antioxidants. It can also reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and can assist in lowering cholesterol. Cinnamon is also a natural bug repellant. You will find cinnamon used in both sweet and savory dishes from all over the world.
Allspice is a potent antioxidant because of the high levels of Vitamin A and C. It also can act as a pain reliever and increase circulation through the body. Allspice has antibacterial properties especially wen it some to stomach bacterias like E.coli and Listeria. It turns boosts your immune system and your natural immune response. It’s smell is similar to cloves but stronger. It usually found in different spice mixes.
Ginger is not only good for nausea (eh-em ginger ale), caused by pregnancy, motion sickness, stomach bugs, but also is a great antioxidant. It is also loaded with potassium! Who knew? Ginger has a kick for sure and is found in sweet and savory dishes but is very popular in many Asian-inspired cuisine.
Cloves can aid with digestion, fight against cancer and protect your liver. They can boost your immune system which is essential in the fall months. Who doesn’t get the occasional fall cold or illness once the kids go back to school? Cloves can also help preserve the quality of your bones and control diabetes. Sounds like we all need to be putting cloves somewhere in our food! Cloves have a sweet and warm smell and is most likely to be found in baking.
Last but certainly not least is nutmeg. It can help stimulate the brain, improve your concentration therefore eliminating stress and fatigue. It can help with virtually all of the digestion-related issues from bloating to constipation or diarrhea. Nutmeg can remove toxins from your diet, stresses and pollution from the body by cleaning your liver and kidneys where build-up develops. Last but not least, it can help you sleep. Just but a sprinkle in some warm milk before bed and drift off into a peaceful slumber. It has a sweet, warm and distinct flavor and is usually found in sweet dishes. Nutmeg can be found in some savory dishes such as Fettuccine Alfredo.
I’m not one of those gals that goes crazy over Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Personally, they are gross and taste like drinking squash to me. But pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies and other things pumpkin I’m all for them. So I have heard this question a lot lately probably because everyone is overdosing on “pumpkin spice” flavored foods. What is pumpkin spice exactly? Pumpkin Spice is combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and sometimes allspice. I sometime substitute pumpkin pie spice if a recipe calls for cinnamon, nutmeg and one of the other spices included. Also, I always have cinnamon on hand but I don’t always have nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice. Pumpkin pie spice is great alternative. Here are a few of the yummiest recipes that use some of my favorite fall spices.
This recipe has been in my family forever. My sister’s preschool teacher (back when homemade was allowed because there just weren’t the allergies like today) made these for her class and sent the recipe home. I changed the recipe a bit to remove some the oil. My kids LOVE these.
Makes approximately 18 muffins
1 box yellow cake mix
1 can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients in mixing bowl. Pour evenly into muffin pans that has been lined with paper muffin cup liners. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes.
All three of my kiddos adore smoothies. So this is a good way to sneak in some healthy things on early school mornings.
Makes 2 smoothies
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup nonfat vanilla greek yogurt
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 1/2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
gingersnap cookies, crushed (optional)
Place all ingredients, except for the crushed cookies, in the blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses or cups and top with the crushed gingersnaps.
If you are looking for a great easy way to celebrate fall these cookies are for you. These little treats are so easy- literally 2 ingredients. It doesn’t get much simpler. You could even let your kids (or husband!) do most do most of the work.
1 box spice cake mix
1 can of pumpkin puree
Preheat oven to 350. Lined a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put pumpkin and spice mix in a bowl and mix well until completely combined. Using a small cookie or ice cream scoop evenly on the lined baking sheet about 2 inched apart. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Remove from oven and try not to eat them all immediately. Or you could frost them with a yummy cream cheese frosting and sprinkle a little pumpkin spice on top.
Pumpkin Açai Bowls
Makes 1 bowl
Frozen Açai Packet (I get mine at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s)
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tbsp honey
Vanilla Greek Yogurt (if you are dairy-free don’t add yogurt)
TJ’s Pecan Praline Granola
1/2- 1 banana, sliced
coconut flakes (optional)
mini chocolate chips, optional
Prepare Açai based on package directions and add a 1/4 cup of pumpkin and a squeeze of honey and blend well. Layer açai in bottom of a bowl. Add vanilla greek yogurt (as much as you like). Top with Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Granola. Add sliced bananas + sliced almonds + coconut flakes + chocolate chips. Top with a sprinkle of hemp seeds and a drizzle of honey.
Labor Day weekend, we headed up to the North Carolina mountains near Asheville to do some apple picking. It was super hot but we had a blast picking apples, eating hot apple cider doughnuts and just spending some good quality fun together. When we got home, we had enough apples to make 20 pies. Sadly, I only made one but it was delicious!
Crust (make 2 of these)
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter, cold and cubed
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp ice water (aprox)
7-8 small Honeycrisp apples (or 3-4 large), peeled, cored and sliced
1 stick butter
3 tbsp flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 425. Prepare apples and place them in a large bowl to the side. in large skillet, melt butter over medium heat sting continuously until a paste forms. Add water, sugars, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and continue to mix well. Turn heat up a bit so that it comes to a boil for 1 minute. Cut heat off and pour all but 1/3 a cup of the sauce over apple. Reserve that 1/3 cup. Mix well so apples are evenly coated. Pour apples over prepared pie shell. top with your crust strips in a lattice design and brush remaining sauce over crust. Cover loosely with foil sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes, then cut the oven down to 350 and cook for additional 50 mins. When there are 10 minutes remaining remove foil so that the crust get a little brown and beautiful!
Let cool and slice it up to serve with vanilla or salted caramel ice cream.
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