Maple Pumpkin Harvest Smoothie


We are creeping into the middle of October and I’m craving a change, a break in the (extreme) heat. Life is also getting really busy, the kind of busy where you’re just trying to keep up with yourself. Between the heat and lack of time, roasting seasonal root veggies just doesn’t seem approachable right now. This smoothie is a fun way to get in the season’s best produce (and even sneak in a vegetable) without having to turn on your oven.

I love using maple syrup as a sweetener, especially in smoothies and most especially during the fall months. Combining cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla really helps to tie in the harvest feel that’s going on in this cup. The big star here, obviously, is pumpkin. Honestly, children aren’t the only ones who need to be tricked into sneaking in an extra veggie here and there. We could all use an extra helping of this nutrient packed plant. This member of the squash family (think acorn squash and butternut squash) is more than just a Halloween decoration, it’s delicious (we promise!) and packed with nutrients! 

Although today is a bit grey (and super muggy) I’ve learned not to get my hopes up. The burning sun will be back soon and when it arrives I’ll be keeping cool and enjoying fall in my smoothie cup. 

Good to know // Ingredient Highlights

+ Pumpkin is low in calories and high in dietary fiber which makes it helpful in maintaining (and maybe even losing) weight. It is rich in Vitamin A and beta-carotene which help protect your eyes and help your vision (especially in dim light). Pumpkin is also high in Vitamin C (an immune system booster) and Potassium which makes this a great post-workout refueling smoothie! Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan (yep, the famed amino acid linked to napping after that big Thanksgiving meal). These seeds may not put you to sleep but tryptophan is important in the production of serotonin, which may just help boost your mood!  

+ Cinnamon can help in metabolizing certain foods, particularly sugar (glucose). It may improve the way fat cells respond to sugar, helping to lower blood sugar. Adding cinnamon to your morning smoothie is a great way to make use of this beneficial property. 

Maple Pumpkin Harvest Smoothie

gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan

1 banana
1 cup frozen pumpkin (or any seasonal squash like butternut)*
1 cup pecan milk (or any other non-dairy milk)
1 tbsp. maple syrup
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla


Add banana, pumpkin, milk, vanilla, and spices in a high speed blender. Blend on high until a smooth and creamy consistency is achieved. Garnish with a bit of cinnamon and enjoy the taste of fall in your morning smoothie. If you’re feeling crazy (or lazy), add a shot of espresso and you’ve got yourself a delicious energized start to the day. 

*if you don’t have time to roast, cube, and freeze your pumpkin ahead of time there’s always the option of using canned pumpkin puree. In which case we recommend subbing 1/2 cup of puree and using a frozen banana or even some ice instead of frozen pumpkin. 

This recipe is part of the #virtualpumpkinparty ! Thanks to Sara from Cakes Over Steak (who, by the way, is an amazing illustrator and fellow artist) for organizing this virtual party. We’re always so stoked to be a part of the bigger blogger community! I mean, just look at this amazing list of talented bloggers and drool-worthy pumpkin recipes:

Cake Over Steak • Pumpkin Ginger Cookies with a Vanilla Glaze
B. Britnell • Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Macaroni
A Couple Cooks • Pumpkin Spice Almond Butter
I Am a Food Blog • Roasted Pumpkin and Pork Stuffed Shells
Well and Full • Harissa-Spiced Pumpkin Gnocchi
Loves Food, Loves to Eat • Pumpkin Pork Burrito Bowls
Girl Versus Dough • Pumpkin Challah
Snixy Kitchen • Black Sesame Pumpkin Mochi Cake
Hungry Girl por Vida • Pumpkin Chocolate Crumb Cake
Donuts, Dresses and Dirt • Pumpkin Spice Latte Truffles
Two Red Bowls • Pumpkin & Caramelized Onion Galette
The Frosted Vegan • Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Gingersnaps
Warm Vanilla Sugar • Dulce de Leche Pumpkin Ice Cream + Affogato
An Edible Mosaic • Pumpkin Spice Latte Snack Cake with Brown Butter Buttercream
Kitchen Konfidence • Yeasted Pumpkin Waffles with Candied Ginger
Chocolate + Marrow • Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Butter Swirl
The Pig & Quill • Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes with Pumpkin Spice Caramel + Coconut Cream
Salt & Wind • Apple Cinnamon Pumpkin Muffins with Pepita Streusel
With Food + Love • Creamy Pumpkin Polenta with Balsamic Roasted Beets
A Cookie Named Desire • Pumpkin Crepes with Cinnamon Ginger Cheesecake
Nommable • Pumpkin Moon Pies
Feed Me Phoebe • Thai Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp and Bok Choy
The Yellow Table • Coconut-Curry Pumpkin Soup
Ginger & Toasted Sesame • Pumpkin Ricotta Gnudi
The Crepes of Wrath • Pumpkin Pie Cake
The Swirling Spoon • Pumpkin Hand Pies
Erin Made This • Pumpkin Rye Waffles with Coconut Caramel
Beard and Bonnet • Pumpkin Spice Pizzelle Ice Cream Sandwiches
My Name is Yeh • Pumpkin Slice and Bake Cookies
Earthy Feast • Pumpkin-Stuffed Turnip-Ravioli with Pepita Pesto
Broma Bakery • Pumpkin Pie White Chocolate Brownies
Floating Kitchen • Pumpkin Beertail with Tequila and Spiced Rum
The Sugar Hit • Pumpkin Everything Bagels
The Bojon Gourmet • Pumpkin Flatbread with Gruyére and Crispy Sage (gluten-free)
Sprinkled with Jules • Pumpkin Spice French Macarons
Feast + West • Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Toffee Bark
Jojotastic • Pumpkin Cinnamon Rimming Sugar
Fix Feast Flair • Pumpkin Spice Japanese Cheesecake
Appeasing a Food Geek • Pumpkin Ale Cake
Tending the Table • Roasted Pumpkin with Tamarind and Coriander Chutney
Long Distance Baking • Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream + Pumpkin Pancakes
My Blue & White Kitchen • Roasted Pumpkin Risotto with Crispy Prosciutto
Fork Vs. Spoon • Pumpkin Buttermilk Pudding
Alyssa & Carla • Pumpkin Tea Bread (in a Coffee Can!)
Twin Stripe • Pumpkin Spice Toffee
Le Jus d’Orange • Lentil-Stuffed Acorn Squash, Crispy King Oyster Bacon + Aged Goat Cheese
The Scratch Artist • Japanese Pumpkin Temaki with Ginger Kale Chips
Brewing Happiness • Caramelized Apple Pumpkin Muffins
Blogging Over Thyme • Homemade Candied Pecan Pumpkin Ice Cream Drumsticks
Heartbeet Kitchen • Pumpkin Swirled Mashed Potatoes
The Speckled Palate • Pumpkin Brown Butter Streusel Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese Glaze
Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt • Pumpkin Gingersnap Pie
Style Sweet CA • Chocolate Stout and Pumpkin Checkerboard Cake
Fork to Belly • Pumpkin Orange Brulee Pie
Tasty Yummies • Grain-Free Pumpkin Spice Pancakes
Påte á Chew • Pumpkin Almond Cake with Almond Butter Frosting
Holly & Flora • Pumpkin Pie Martini with Coconut Cream + Homemade Pumpkin Spice Syrup
Southern Soufflé • Sorghum Pumpkin Soufflés
Okie Dokie Artichokie • Creamy Pumpkin and Chorizo Pasta Bake, Cheese Tortellini, Sage-Mascarpone Sauce, Toasted Hazelnuts
Kale & Caramel • Pumpkin Goat Cheese Polenta with Brown Butter Thyme Mushrooms & Kale
The Little Epicurean • Maple Pumpkin Butter Brioche Toast
Vigor and Sage • Maple Pumpkin Harvest Smoothie
Tried and Tasty • Whole Wheat Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
Sprouted Routes • Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Risotto with Sweet & Spicy Roasted Pepitas (gluten free)
The Fauxmartha • Baked Pumpkin Donuts
So… Let’s Hang Out • Grain-Free Apple Crumble Pumpkin Pie
Wit & Vinegar • Pumpkin Flaxseed Dog Treats
Dunk & Crumble • Pumpkin Roundup
Biscuits and Such • Pumpkin Pound Cake
SugarHero! • Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Pound Cake
A Little Saffron • Spiced Pepita Brittle


food+drink, Recipes

Chai Cashew Milk

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This summer seems never ending. Its late September but still hot as a sauna here in Southern California! My New England heart craves a change in season, a break in the heat (not to mention that my AC went out over the weekend, but we will save that for another time when we feel like talking about how technology breaks down on me whenever Mercury goes retrograde). Normally around this time I’m breaking out the warm layers and boots but this year it seems to be all about the swimsuits and sundresses.

Today marks the first day day of Fall here in the Northern Hemisphere but the thermometer is still hanging out near the triple digits. Figuring its best to just go with it, we are celebrating the Autumnal Equinox sipping on a nice, iced cold, creamy glass of chai cashew milk. The cashew milk is loaded with plant based protein and the traditional blend of spices is warming and peppery. This drink brings out the flavors of Fall while helping the body eliminate toxins that have built up over the summer months. Cardamom is often consumed for it diuretic properties and its help in cleaning out the kidneys and urinary tract. Ginger and fennel are beneficial for relieving gas and indigestion (any Mamas out there use gripe water? Yep, ginger + fennel.) Enjoying this milk poured over ice makes this the perfect transitional treat, cooling us down and helping us welcome the new season with a sense of balance and ease. 

Chai Cashew Milk

vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free

(if making your own cashew milk)
2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours (or overnight)
8 cups of filtered water
1 vanilla bean, cut + scraped
dash of sea salt
4 tbsp. maple syrup or honey

4 cups cashew milk
1/4 cup cardamom pods, cracked open
4-5 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly cubed
8 cinnamon sticks
2 tbsp. black peppercorns
1 tbsp. fennel seeds

cashew milk
Drain cashews and add them to a blender along with water, vanilla bean, salt, and sweetener. Blend everything until smooth and then use a nut milk bag to separate the pulp from cashew milk. This is delicious as is, but just wait!

chai infused cashew milk
In a medium saucepan add 4 cups of cashew milk and masala chai spice mix. Bring to a simmer, making sure to whisk as it heats to avoid scalding the milk. Once simmering, bring heat to low and continue stirring for 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow spices to infuse the cashew milk for 3-4 more minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve or strainer and serve warm with a dash of cinnamon on top. If it’s still hitting the triple digits where you’re from like it is for us, allow the cashew milk to cool and then serve over ice!

food+drink, Recipes

Cooling Cucumber Crostini with Herbed Cashew Cheese + Tomato Jam

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We are always on the lookout for simple, classy, healthy foods we can whip up easily and serve to a number of people. 

 This recipe is perfect for a simple weekend brunch, apps with wine for girls’ night, or most recently, a baby shower.  These crostini are loaded with nutrients, flavor and texture (because that counts too) — creamy cashew cheese, spicy heirloom tomato jam and cool cucumber stacked in perfect balance. We try to keep our recipes gluten and dairy free (vegan when we can). We eat this way and find it helps satisfy a majority of others’ food restrictions. Plus, its always fun to bring something different to the table and surprise your friends (and yourself!) with new and exciting flavors.

Heads up! This recipe requires a little prep work — soaking the cashews and letting them drain overnight. Don’t fret, make the “cheese” in advance and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the crostini. (Try not to eat it all before you finish the recipe, its that good!) If you’ve never made your own cashew cheese before you’re in for a real treat and (bonus!) everyone will be super impressed with your new skills!  

Seriously delicious, these crostini pack a healthy punch. Nutritional yeast lends a “cheesy”, savory flavor and is full of nutrients — specifically B Vitamins (super helpful for plant based diets), folic acid, protein and zinc. The spicy heirloom tomato jam will knock your socks off and keep your skin glowing! Tomatoes are high in lycopene which is not only great for your skin but is also helpful in fighting several types of cancer. Tomatoes also contain Vitamins A  + C and are high in antioxidants (hello shiny hair!) Cucumbers are more than a spa accessory (although they are great for reducing puffy eyes).  They contain mostly water which is great for eliminating toxins and keeping the body hydrated, as well as a number of vitamins and minerals that help fight cancer and keep your joints strong. This super cool veg balances out the heat from the tomato jam to perfection. 

So gather up your goods (you can find a majority of these items at your local grocer or health food store) and jam on it. Ha! See what we did there.. 

Cooling Cucumber Crostini with Herbed Cashew Cheese + Heirloom Tomato Jam

GF Rosemary Focaccia Bread – Canyon Bakehouse
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into thin circles and then halved
optional: balsamic vinegar finishing drizzle

Drain cashews, but keep the water they have been soaking in just in case you need extra liquid. Place all ingredients (except for the chopped herbs) into a blender or food processor and blend until thick and creamy. Scoop out and fold in your chopped herbs. Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and pour cashew cheese on top. Gather the cheesecloth and tie with a rubber band or string. Set the cheese/strainer set up on top of a small bowl and place in the refrigerator to drain any excess liquid from the cashew cheese and allow to drain overnight. *this cheese can then be baked and served warm, or served cold like we are in this recipe.

for the cashew cheese
1 cup raw cashews (soaked in water for at least 2 hours)
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced onion
juice from 2 lemons
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
pepper (to your liking)
1/2 teaspoon of each: thyme, oregano, basil, parsley 


Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring every few minutes. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often to prevent tomatoes from sticking to the pan. Cook until the mixture has reduced and thickened to a jam-like consistency, close to an hour. This will keep for at least a week in an air-tight container kept in the refrigerator. Enjoy on anything that calls for a savory-sweet kick!

for the spicy heirloom tomato jam
3-4 ripe heirloom tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes 
1/2 cup maple syrup
juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt

assemble the crostini
Place a slice of herbed cashew cheese on top of toasted bread slices and top with cucumber and a dollop of spicy heirloom tomato jam.