Mary Beth Johnson is a wife and mum to four schooners, as she’s dubbed her children. On a normal afternoon, you would find her in moccasins, skinny jeans and a comfortable tee, camera in hand. Recently moving to the suburbs of Atlanta, Mary Beth spends her days homeschooling, sneaking away to the bookstore, trying to act the part of a southerner, and sifting through recipes in The Vegetarian Times. Food is her love language.
We just spent a weekend in the north Georgia mountains with no cell reception, drizzly rain, and lots of togetherness. It was the first time I felt like fall had really arrived here and to get to wear sweaters and boots – and actually need them – did my heart good. We shared a chalet with another family and on the first night made a huge pot of pasta with squash and zucchini and pumpkin pasta sauce. The kids took canoe rides and came back drenched from the rain while the babies napped in the warm and dry “apartment”, as my daughter called it. 😉
I found some time to cozy up under the lamplight and read one afternoon while everyone was off doing their own thing. I got to thinking about the upcoming time change and how I normally dread the dark evenings that seem to shorten the days so significantly. Instead of wasting those precious hours, I want to be intentional this fall about savoring them; using the slower pace to read and play games with the kids, finish organizing the stacks of photos and half-finished albums in my dining room, and sewing those doll dresses I always said I’d get to. I want to create memories around hot chocolate and pumpkin spice lattes in the evenings so that when my children are grown and gone they’ll remember me in the smell of cinnamon and the lick of whipped cream.
//COCONUT PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE
Makes: 2 Lattes
1/2 cup freshly ground coffee grounds.
2 cups water
Pumpkin Spice Latte
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
pinch of black pepper
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
half of a vanilla bean, seeds removed (optional)
1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup coconut coffee base (from above)
whipped cream, for serving
cinnamon, nutmeg and/or ginger for garnish
In a large 4 cup glass measuring cup, combine the coffee grounds and water. Cover and let sit at room temperature overnight or up to 4 days in the fridge. The next morning, strain the coffee through a thin kitchen towel, cheesecloth or coffee filter. Set the filtered coffee aside.
If in a pinch, you can combine the coffee grounds and water in a small sauce pot, cover and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes and then remove from the heat and let sit another 5 minutes. Strain the coffee as directed above, keep warm.
Pumpkin Spice Latte:
In a small sauce pan, combine the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, a tiny pinch of black pepper and the maple syrup. Cook the mixture, stirring often until the pumpkin is hot and fragrant. Slowly stir in the coconut milk, 1/2 cup water and vanilla. Bring the mixture to a low simmer, stirring often to ensure the mixture does not boil over. When then mixture is steaming hot, remove it from the heat. Using a small whisk or a fork, whisk with all your might until frothy (or add to a blender and blend for 1 minute). Now take the warm coffee and if needed reheat on the stove or for one minute in the microwave. Pour in a mug and then add the frothed milk mixture. Top with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon if desired.