The plan was to make a pumpkin smoothie, something seasonal, wholesome, nourishing, and yes, delicious. I pulled out the ingredients that I figured would, in some combination, result in the smoothie of my imagination: pumpkin puree, plain yogurt, low-fat milk, almond milk, honey, maple syrup, vanilla extract, nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, whole oranges, and frozen bananas. But all didn’t go down as planned. What started as a creative endeavor turned into a wrestling match yielding frothy concoctions that tasted “good for you,” but not especially “good.”
After several attempts, I abandoned my best intentions, grabbed the car keys, and high-tailed it to the supermarket for the one ingredient that I was sure would lead to success: a quart of vanilla frozen yogurt. Once back home with my frozen treat, it was only a matter of minutes before I hit the smoothie jack pot. But it wasn’t really a smoothie anymore, it was a shake. And when topped with crumbled graham cracker, it became a Pumpkin Pie Milkshake.
The whole exercise was a reminder that sometimes there’s no substitute for sugar and cream and egg yolks. Even so, my shake comes in at under 200 calories and just 1 gram of saturated fat. And although it may not be quite as “good for you” as I’d planned, it certainly is very very good.
PUMPKIN PIE SHAKE
The sweetness of vanilla frozen yogurt varies, so adjust the amount of maple syrup according to your personal taste. Feel free to use canned pumpkin for this or check out this “how to” on turning a whole pumpkin into pumpkin puree.
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 generous cup low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1 to 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
6 small (from refrigerator ice machine) or 3 conventional (from an ice cube tray) ice cubes
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 graham cracker, broken into pieces
Put the milk, pumpkin puree, frozen yogurt, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, ice cubes, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a blender. Run the blender until the ingredients are frothy and smooth. Add a second tablespoon of maple syrup if more sweetness is desired. Blend again.
Pour into two glasses. Top each shake with crumbled graham cracker.
Makes 2 shakes