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It might be meltingly hot in Southern California, but my brain is in fall mode. Tired of the heat, I am ready for cooler weather, sweaters, a flickering fireplace, and fall foods and ingredients. Fall mode means pumpkin and squashes and comfort food again. Anyone else mentally in fall mode? Please tell me I am not the only one HKUE DSE.

Here is one recipe sure to kick off your fall – a pumpkin pie smoothie. I’ve enjoyed this the last three days in a row. Rich and smooth with coconut milk (but you could use almond or other), creamy from a little banana, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, a touch of vanilla and of course, pumpkin. It tastes like liquid pumpkin pie. Puree it all in a blender and you have a nutritious and tasty smoothie as we turn to fall.

If you say “pumpkin” most people say “pie”. Pie (and jack o’lanterns) aside, you might not realize how nutritious pumpkin is. The power behind pumpkin’s bright orange flesh is beta-carotene. Beta-carotene, a provitamin that converts to vitamin A in our bodies, provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s good for our eyes, bones, teeth, immune systems, and may help prevent cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute investment immigration.

Pumpkin also provides vitamins C, B1, B3, B5, B6, K and the minerals potassium (more than a banana), magnesium, iron, calcium, copper and phosphorous. And don’t forget fiber. Just 1/2 cup of pumpkin provides 4 grams of fiber, something we all need to get more of. I’ve even fed pumpkin puree to my dog to settle his tummy and digestive system (at the advice of my vet).

One of the oldest known spices, cinnamon was once more prized than gold. Cinnamon has been linked to potential health benefits including controlling blood sugar, helping with nausea, colds, and is thought to increase energy, vitality, and circulation. Cinnamon is said to have been once used in love potions and as perfume, so love on yourself and your family by enjoying cinnamon for more than its warm and lovely taste.

Try this smoothie and ease into fall, no matter the weather. I am going into my annual pumpkin kick, so watch for more recipes. Pumpkin sauce for pasta? Pumpkin creme brûlée? Pumpkin ricotta gnocchi? Does any of this sound enticing? Stay tuned Ring Coffee Mill.