pumpkin pie spice latte recipe

I am not a fan of Starbuck’s ‘Pumpkin Spice Latte.’ It tastes fake. That being said, I love pumpkin spice: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. All favorites in my kitchen and, to me, scream of happy fall.

I recently found out the same can be said of pumpkin spice teas — they are not all made the same. I grabbed a box of Twinings tea thinking that would be reliable. Horrible. It has a fake pumpkin taste. Republic of Tea, however, was a light tea, but full of real flavors. Moral of this story: pay for the good stuff, hunt for the good stuff. Don’t bother with the bad stuff, or be willing to throw it out when you find it.

And then, this morning, I had a thought: why not make my own pumpkin spice latte? So, I opened a can of pumpkin puree and commenced. Friends, this is the good stuff. I will perfect it in the coming weeks, but this is the starting point.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or mixture of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 – 1 cup milk (approximately)
  • espresso
  • sugar to taste

Mix pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla in a saucepan and cook until it smells lovely. Whisk in milk and cook until nearly simmering. Add sugar to taste. Add some espresso. (I make espresso on my stove using my moka pot — not exactly espresso, but it is pretty darn great. If you don’t have a moka pot, check out Ross or other discount stores as they often have them on great sales.)

Should you be lazy, you could do this in the microwave with yummy results.

There you go. Don’t settle for the fake flavors when the real ones are so darn good!


ps – If you need something to do with some of that extra pumpkin puree, try out these ‘Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies.’ Add 1 Tbs sugar to the recipe. And know that they are more yummy breakfast bar than cookie. Add a layer of peanut butter or eat with yogurt.

karkade – iced tea or martini


When I visited my parents last month, they reintroduced me to karkade, something I had not had since I was a kid in Egypt almost 20 years ago. In other places, karkade would be called hibiscus tea. The iced version of Egypt and Sudan is incredibly refreshing on a hot summer’s day and I highly recommend making some immediately as these days seem to be aspiring to reach 100. The recipe for the karkade was what my mom told me to do and the martini is my own creation based on my appreciation of gin in the summer. Although the martini looks incredibly girly, the taste is not. I hope you enjoy either or both versions!


  • hibiscus
  • 3/4-1 cup sugar
  • for martini: gin, diet 7-up or club soda, and lime

karkade iced tea instructions:

  • Using a 3 quart saucepan, fill almost full of water. Add in handful (I don’t have large hands) of hibiscus and sugar (more sugar if you like sweet tea). Bring to a full boil. Take off heat and let cool on stove.
  • Use a tea strainer to strain out hibiscus.
  • Cool in fridge.
  • Serve over a lot of ice.

karkade martini instructions:

  • Proportions for 1 serving: 1 oz gin, 1-2 oz karkade iced tea, 1 oz diet 7-up or club soda, 2 wedges of lime
  • Mix all liquid and one lime wedge in shaker or glass.
  • Serve over ice with a lime wedge as garnish.