Pumpkin Spice Latte with Maca, Maple & Mushrooms

Ahh, Autumn… by far my favorite season. Cozy sweaters, acoustic guitar, brisk, peaceful afternoons, brightly colored falling leaves….

And, of course, pumpkin spice everything.

Yes, *sigh*, I’m one of “those” people.

The mere second October waves hello, I’m tripping and falling into line at the nearest (organic) coffee shop to frantically order myself a large almond milk PSL.

Now, spending the entire holiday season gorging myself on fragrant pumpkin-y treats would truly be a dream come true.

However….

I’m not quite as in love with the copious amounts of added flavors, stabilizers and/or gums involved in the creation of many a pumpkin spiced product.

And don’t even get me started on the sugar content in a traditional pumpkin spice latte.

I mean, a sixteen-ounce classic PSL from Starbucks has…

wait for it…

fifty grams of sugar.

Now that’s spooky!

(I had to throw in one teensy little halloween reference. Sorrynotsorry.)

In high school, I religiously consumed at least one pumpkin spice latte every single day from it’s blessed release date up until the utterly devastating moment in which I finally realized it was no longer appropriate to continue indulging in my seasonal addiction.

I adored my daily quests Starbucks gallantly armored in American Eagle boots, knit scarves in various shades of burnt orange and messy bun du jour for a grande pumpkin spice latte.

It’s no wonder I crashed at my desk in a sugar & caffeine-fueled coma by 2:00 PM….

Anyway.

My point is… while a piping hot pumpkin latte from your favorite café may be one of your favorite things about fall, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your health in order to partake in the comforting seasonal tradition.

In fact, pumpkin spice lattes can be healthy, nourishing and loaded with adaptogenic herbs… all the while being flavorful and delicious!

And with that, I would like to introduce you to my Maca, Maple & Mushroom Pumpkin Latte!

This recipe is perfectly sweet, indulgently creamy, generously spiced and made with real organic pumpkin.

Starting with a base of rich, homemade cashew mylk (you can find my super quick & easy recipe for cashew mylk here), we add hormone-balancing & energizing maca root, pure grade-A maple syrup, canned organic pumpkin, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and instant organic coffee with two amazing medicinal mushrooms: maitake and chaga.

I used Four Sigmatic’s instant coffee latte mix with these two lovely mushroom friends already included in the packet, but you can substitute this for plain black coffee (just sub 2-3 oz hot coffee for 2-3 oz hot water included in the recipe) or one serving size of your favorite coffee substitute such as Dandy Blend – or you can omit it altogether for a lighter, steamer-style PSL.

(I’m not sponsored by or affiliated with Four Sigmatic in any way – I just love the convenience of their mushroom latte packets, especially for this recipe.)

This recipe takes roughly five minutes to make, and yields one eight-ounce mug of steamy pumpkin deliciousness.

So, let’s get right into it!

Ingredients:

5 oz hot water
3 oz cashew mylk 
1 packet Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee Latte Mix
2 tsp grade-A maple syrup
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice 
1 tbsp canned pumpkin (not to be mistaken for pumpkin pie mix, which contains added sugar!)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp gelatinized maca root powder
1 pinch sea salt

Directions:

  1. You can either throw all the ingredients into a small saucepan and whisk until heated, or blend everything first. Blending will create an especially smooth, frothy latte, but it’s definitely not necessary.
  2. Pour into your favorite cozy fall mug.
  3. Top with cinnamon or more pumpkin pie spice.

Enjoy ❤

Adaptogenic Miso Soup

Miso soup

I’ve always enjoyed a little “funk” in my food. Shout-out to any and all fermented veggies, home-made vegan cheeses, wild mushrooms, brine-y olives and what some would call… excessive… amounts of garlic and onion.

I could probably sit and devour an entire jar of kimchi in one sitting….

Anyway.

This soup is salty, spicy, umami and, most importantly, full of minerals and beneficial properties.

You can play around with it and add pretty much whatever you like: Green onion, steamed veggies, leafy greens like spinach or kale, the possibilities are endless!

I kept it pretty simple with this one, mainly because I’m partial to the purity of plain miso broth, and I wanted this to be more of a sipping broth/in-between meals kind of situation.

You can also experiment with different kinds of miso paste such as brown rice, red or sweet white miso. I use chickpea miso for most of my recipes, because it has a saltier, milder, less sweet flavor than other miso pastes I’ve tried.

For this soup, I use whole dried cordyceps mushroom.

Cordyceps is a wonderful medicinal mushroom, boasting countless benefits including the support of lung health, adrenal balance, stress response, immune system function and energy utilization.

Cordyceps is a Jing-nourishing herb, making it wonderful for those with drained energy reserves. You could eat this soup for breakfast as well, especially with the mild energy you may experience from this mushroom.

One interesting thing to note about cordyceps mushroom is that it typically grows on insects and larvae by taking over the brain and central nervous system, causing the host to act in accordance with the fungi’s biological agenda.

cordyceps mushroom

Luckily, the cordyceps mushrooms I use are not grown on insects but organic brown rice, making them vegan-friendly. Yay!

They have a very mushroom-y flavor, which I personally really enjoy in this soup. The hot broth softens them up as well, which makes eating them much more pleasant.

If you can’t find whole cordyceps mushrooms, you could substitute them with 1/4 tsp cordyceps mushroom extract powder.

One last thing to note about this recipe is that when making miso soup, it’s best not to heat the miso to extreme temperatures due to its high enzyme and probiotic content. I usually use water that’s just the perfect sipping temperature to make this recipe. It very easily remains raw by keeping temperatures under 118° F.

This recipe is super quick, and only takes as long as it takes your water to heat up.

Ingredients:

12 oz hot but not boiling filtered or spring water 
1 tsp (or a hefty pinch) dried cordyceps mushroom strands
1 tbsp chickpea miso paste 
1/4 tsp aged garlic extract
1 tbsp dried wakame seaweed
3/4 tsp tamari
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)
1 tsp fresh lime or lemon juice
1/2 tsp kimchi juice or your favorite fermented hot sauce to taste
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Begin by adding miso paste, along with all ingredients – besides the seaweed, sesame seeds and cordyceps mushrooms – to your favorite mug or bowl.
  2. Add a splash of cold water and mix vigorously until a smooth paste is achieved.
  3. Add the mushrooms and seaweed to the broth base.
  4. Pour the hot water over the rest of the ingredients and stir gently to combine.
  5. Top with extra sesame oil and sesame seeds for garnish.

Enjoy! ❤