It's October! When everywhere you look, someone is putting 'pumpkin spice' into something and selling it at a premium.
I'm as big a sucker for it as anyone. There is something about that smell that instantly transports me to the woods behind the house I grew up in, wearing rubber boots and rustling through the ankle-deep leaf carpet. In buying that over-priced latté, I'm trying to recapture that feeling.
Whenever I see a recipe for something I like with the added deliciousness that is pumpkin pie spice, I get inspired to try it.
First step? Mix up your own pumpkin pie spice. There are about a zillion recipes online but this one is my favourite. Just mix everything up in an airtight jar and pop it in the cupboard.
3 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp nutmeg
1.5 tsp ground allspice
1.5 tsp ground cloves
The nice thing about making your own is that you can adjust the various components to your own personal tastes.
What does all this have to do with lunches? Well, just after Thanksgiving Julie van Rosendaal posted a recipe for "Roasted Sweet Potato Gingerbread" on her "Dinner With Julie" website - and lo, you can use canned pureed pumpkin instead of sweet potatoes.
*cue angels singing*
I whipped up a batch on the weekend, using some leftover canned pumpkin (WHY is there always leftover canned pumpkin?) and WOW. We had some warm right away with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and it felt like a luxurious treat. It has since gone to school in several lunches, and it's perfect - not crumbly, and still moist & delicious several days later. It's a nicely festive little dessert option for the week before Halloween, and pumpkin is packed with potassium, Vitamins A & B, and is rich in anti-oxidants.
Take THAT, Starbucks.