Hey, all. If there's one thing I like doing, it's helping people save money.
What's one way to achieve this?
Assemble or make things at home, rather than buying them pre-packaged. Especially when it's ridiculously easy and simple.
For example, blending your own pumpkin pie spice.
Please, please, please don't spend $5-6 dollars on a little .5-1 ounce container of pumpkin pie spice. It's such a RIP-OFF!
First of all, if you cook or bake, you probably have half or all of the necessary spices in your pantry right this moment.
Second of all, if you don't already own the spices, you can easily obtain small amounts of each spice from the bulk/dry goods section of your local market for waaaaay less money.
That's the beauty of the bulk section—you can measure out (weigh) exactly what you need for a recipe. No extra food waste or additional cost.
But, don't limit yourself to small amounts on all the bulk items. Most goods in this section are sold at a much lower cost per pound than their packaged alternatives. Try comparing the price of dry beans, grains, flour, sugar, etc. You'll see what I mean. :)
Now, for the pumpkin pie spice. I searched copiously and found no definitive recipe for this spice blend. Generally, they all have cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice. Many add cloves, but some people aren't fans of this spice, so they leave it out.
The point is that the final mix/result is subjective. It comes down to what spices you like and what ratio yields a pleasing smell and taste for you.
Say, for example, that you find ground clove or nutmeg overpowering. Start small and add a bit at time. Or, leave it out completely.
This recipe is flexible. That's part of the reason why I wanted to post about it in the first place. (Plus, it might save people from spending $6 on a tiny McCormicks Pumpkin Pie Spice container.)
Many pumpkin pie spices call for cinnamon as the main ingredient, followed by ground ginger. I'm not a huge fan of ginger, so I made sure to add equal amounts of ginger, nutmeg and allspice, so the ginger didn't stand out.
Also, I added a few generous pinches of ground cardamom. It has a pleasing, warm, earthy smell. I've never used it before, so I purchased a tiny amount from the bulk section. I'm glad I did. It made the spice blend more complex.
You might be wondering: what am I to do with the extra spice blend? A person can only bake so many pumpkin pies.
Well, if you've somehow missed the pumpkin mania that's been rampant on the internet since early September, here are a few ideas:
Homemade pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin quick bread, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin parfaits, pumpkin yogurt, pumpkin oatmeal and pumpkin pancakes...just to name a few.
Now that I think about it, the twice-baked sweet potatoes I made a few days ago would taste even better with this sprinkled on top. Next time, I suppose!
And the benefits of making these fall-inspired treats at home?
Less sugar and no artificial ingredients. And you can make them vegan, too. :)
So, take a gander at my recipe below, frolic away to dig around your pantry and make mischief with the spices.
Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend
A warming, earthy spice blend popular in fall foods and beverages like homemade pumpkin spice lattes and muffins. My spice blend recipe uses ingredients you likely already have stocked in your pantry. Don't waste money on tiny pre-made pumpkin pie spice containers at the store. Make it at home for cheap!
Yields: approximately 1/4 cup (slightly less than 1/4 cup unless you use heaping spoonfuls)
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 pinches ground cardamom
Mix all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight container with a secure lid. Store in a cool, dry place. If using fresh (new/freshly ground/unopened) spices, the blend is good for up to a year.
Question for Discussion: What's your favorite way to use pumpkin pie spice in the fall? Answer in the comments section below.