Fall — or Autumn in its more romanticized moments — is one of my favorite seasons. Even though it is technically the beginning of the end, drawing the year to its chilly close and bringing with it all the joys of the holiday season, Fall always feels like a fresh start for me. This probably has more to do with memories of beginning a new school year than anticipation of the actual new year in January, but the feelings of excitement and newness are particularly poignant for me this year as we ready our lives to welcome a new little family member in December. We are getting more and more excited to meet this little guy and, in the meantime, trying to prepare as much as we can for the inevitable changes that await us!
As I’m nearing 7 months and the third trimester (28 weeks next Wednesday), I’m glad to say that the second trimester has treated me particularly well. All queasiness dissipated by 16/17 weeks and I can now eat pretty much anything that appealed to me pre-pregnancy. There was a period of time during which Mexican food (which I love) completely grossed me out, especially cilantro. But I’m (mostly) pleased to announce that I ate an entire plate of nachos (with lots of cilantro) the other day with no problems at all. Another development of the 2nd trimester is that I’ve begun drinking coffee again — decaf, of course. Quitting coffee cold turkey during the first few months was not really a problem. I had been drinking half-caf coffee for about 6 months previous, so I never had any problems with caffeine headaches or withdrawal. Even the smell of coffee became unappealing, so I had no trouble dropping the habit.
But now, I’m back to my favorite ritual: a hot cup of joe in the morning really is how I like to start my day, although I still stick to just a single serving. Even though I know there’s little to no caffeine in the decaf version, I feel like there’s an extra pep in my step after just one mug. Must be the placebo effect…. And entering this new season means the return of all those wonderful Fall flavors, including pumpkin spice! I don’t really need to be buying a latte from Starbucks every morning (even though it’s conveniently located in the lobby of the building where I work), so I’m looking forward to trying this recipe for a homemade version of the same tasty flavor!
Homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer
1 cup milk (I’ve been drinking 2% lately)
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
4 Tbsp pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
4 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, cream, pumpkin, maple syrup, and pumpkin spice. Heat over medium heat until it just begins to bubble around the edges. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and refrigerate before using.