Not Your Basic Pumpkin

A couple facts about me: I LOVE fall and although it’s not a fall enthusiast requirement it is certainly a correlation, I also LOVE pumpkin spice lattes. And you know what, I also sometimes enjoy them on a lazy Saturday morning walking around my Brooklyn neighborhood in my UGG boots. 



This comforting fall weekend ritual of mine probably brings to mind the image of a “basic bitch.” I personally don’t like the term “basic” and the negative feelings surrounding it. I’m a unique and intelligent individual that loves the hell out of life and there is an extremely diverse range of things that make me happy (just like everyone I imagine). However, just because I am of Caucasian decent and thoroughly enjoy the fall season and everything that comes with it, which might also have something to do with the fact that fall is also Virgo season (holla at me fellow Virgos!), does not mean I am a basic bitch. The end goal here is for letting people love what they love without judgement- no matter if it’s the most obscure high culture piece of film or a pair of really comfy boots. 


Now, with that being said I will let you in on some very important advice for your health and well-being: stay far, far way from the oh so famous, deliciously tempting Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. All my fall loversout there I hear you- the PSL is a delicious seasonal treat that has probably become a part of your fall checklist. It was a tradition for me to get one on the first day of fall and many more throughout the season. After learning what was really in the PSL though, I changed my tune and found a better solution. 



Last year food health awareness advocate The Food Babe released her findings on what is really hiding in a PSL and it was shocking! See for yourself in the infographic from her site: 




In a nutshell: no real pumpkin or anything with real nutritional value, loaded with sugar, carcinogens, preservatives… the list goes on. But what about those of us who still have the simple wish of sipping a pumpkin latte while keeping our health in check? Luckily it’s not so hard to make a healthy version at home! I have done this myself and it’s become my new favorite fall ritual: Wake up on Saturday morning, make my own latte in a favorite mug, read a book or browse the internet in my PJs. It’s heaven. And it’s also much easier than you think. For a proper latte you will have to invest in some equipment but you don’t have to spend a lot of money. If you can afford it, by all means get the espresso machine-it will probably save you money on trips to the coffee shop in the long run. There are, however, cheaper espresso makers that are only a little more expensive than your average coffee maker- like this one from Mr. Coffee. My method of choice is a Stovetop Espresso Maker and a handheld little Milk Frother – because they are both simple to use and clean and do not take up counter space in my small kitchen. I’ve also heard that a stovetop espresso maker is the method of choice for Italians and it makes me feel more cultured.  The stovetop espresso maker is super easy, no skill required to put ground espresso and water in it and turn on the stove to low and 5-10 minutes later have espresso in the kettle. To get the milk to that nice fluffy latte foam you will probably have to practice a few times- I learned by youtubing it. There are lots of tutorials out there for making the perfect at home latte.



So you have the equipment to make a latte, but how to transform that latte into a magical fall beverage? All you really need to add is pumpkin, a touch of natural sugar and some spices. The recipe I use is by vegan blogger, Rae of Sunshine. The only thing I do differently is add pumpkin pie spice to the pumpkin and a sprinkling on top. If you’re not vegan you could also use this recipe the same with any milk of your choosing. See the full recipe for a DIY pumpkin spice latte (with coconut whipped cream!) on Rae of Sunshine’s blog here. I know I will be making these all season long and I hope you will too! Show us your latte creations by tagging @neonlifemagazine on twitter, Instagram and facebook! 

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