pumpkin pie smoothies

October is here.  That means pumpkin pies, spice breads, pumpkin soup, pumpkin cookies, and…the pumpkin smoothie!

This recipe appears in so many places all over the internet I don’t even remember where I found it.  Frankly, there are so many variations on this recipe, it’s hard to say where it was first conceived.  Again, it’s a recipe that takes well to adaptation.  This one is dairy-free and vegan friendly.  You can easily make this gluten-free, as well, by using a gluten-free rolled oat (i.e. Bob’s Red Mill).  I thought it was delicious.

My child, however, did not.  She tried it, rolled it around over her taste buds, and then promptly handed the glass back to me and asked for an alternative snack.  I’ll give her credit for actually trying it, though.  My husband refused it outright.  He never even tasted it.  Something about the color!  Admittedly, he saw it a few hours after I’d made it, and anything with banana in it is susceptible to discoloration.  Bananas turn brown pretty quickly once you peel them, and this smoothie is not exception.  Make it, drink it.  Don’t save some for tomorrow.  Enjoy!




Pumpkin Pie Smoothie (recipe adapted from all over the internet)


  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1 C almond milk
  • 3/4 C pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 C rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp flax seeds, ground (optional)
  • 1 tsp all-natural maple syrup
  • dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice
  • fresh grated cinnamon or nutmeg for topping


Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Add whipped topping (optional) and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice,

Dive in!


orange julius

It’s hot.  While I was frittering away time in the air conditioning going through some of my mom’s old cookbooks, I came across an undated version of God’s Country Cookbook, a compilation of recipes from the women of Central United Methodist Church in Traverse City, Michigan.  My brother-in-law’s dad, Dean Bailey, was formerly the senior minister at Central United Methodist.  I’ve lost track of the years he served, now, but I’m guessing this cookbook to have been put together sometime in the early 1990s.

During that time, I spent a few Sundays at CUMC.  My oldest niece was baptized in the sanctuary there; the younger two each on the shores of East Grand Traverse Bay during CUMC Worship in the Park.  Last summer, only months after my own mom passed away very suddenly, my brother-in-law’s mom, Jan, passed away unexpectedly, as well, and during our annual pilgrimage to the Leelanau Peninsula last July, we celebrated her life with family and friends in the sanctuary at CUMC.

So it was with a bittersweet, tear-stung desire for relief from the heat I came across this recipe in this particular cookbook…memories of my mom scrawled in handwritten notes in the margins, and the realization of the upcoming anniversary of Jan’s death.  And also, by golly, that Methodist women bake a lot of casseroles!

That just needed to be said.  Things were getting a little heavy there.

Now, back to the heat, and ice cubes, and frozen concentrate, and relief from an already oppressive summer when summer hasn’t yet begun.  These were so fun to make and are the liquefied version of a Good Humor™ Creamsicle.  Delicious!!  For the record, this is not a thirst-quenching beverage.  If you want to quench your thirst, drink a glass of ice water or a frosty beer.  An Orange Julius is all about the pretty, and the fun, and beating the heat on a hot day with your kids during summer vacation.  Our forecast is creeping up on 110°.  I think it’s safe to say I’ll be making these again.  Enjoy!


Orange Julius


  • 12 oz can frozen orange juice
  • 1 c. water
  • 2 c. low-fat milk
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 10 or 12 ice cubes


Blend all ingredients in a blender.  Serve immediately.  This can also be frozen and re-blended for serving at a later time.  It doesn’t get any easier than that!



fizzy strawberry lemonade

It’s hot.  So. Very.  Hot.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I live in a desert.  I know.  Quit my complaining.  But I am better suited for something a little more temperate.  Oh, who am I kidding.  I’m better suited to someplace cold.  But, to be honest, we’re headed off to spend a good bit of the summer in Michigan, so I really should just count my blessings.  Except right now there are about 108 reasons to hate life and I’m singularly focused on all of them.  All 108 really hot, miserable reasons!  Unless, of course, I make lemonade.  In that case, I can and will sit happily under the AC vents sipping this most delicious beverage….counting the days until we’re outta here.  I know it’s been hot pretty much everywhere, so make this.  It’s cool.  Enjoy!

Fizzy Strawberry Lemonade


  • 1  12-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 2  25-ounce bottles sparkling water
  • 8 to 10 fresh strawberries, hulled
  • lemon slices, optional


  1. Place the frozen concentrate in a pitcher and mix according to the label directions, replacing water with the sparkling water.
  2. Put the strawberries in a blender and puree until very smooth. Mix the strawberry puree into the lemonade.
  3. Garnish with lemon slices (if desired) and serve.