A glass of pumpkin juice

Magical Pumpkin Juice

“Veritaserum. Three drops of this and You-Know-Who himself would spill his darkest secrets. The use of it on a student is, regrettably, forbidden. However, should you ever steal from my personal stores again, my hand might just slip over your morning pumpkin juice.”   –– Professor Snape, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Pumpkin juice – it is a common beverage in the magical world of the Harry Potter book and movie series. Characters drink it with seemingly all meals, and its pervasiveness is such that it is used on more than one occasion to mask the flavor of some potion or another that is unwittingly imbibed by an unfortunate victim.

If you have ever been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando, you might have tasted pumpkin juice there. A friend and I visited a couple years ago, and at that time I bought a cute bottle of their pumpkin juice. However, it was much too expensive and was gone way too soon, so I determined to make my own homemade pumpkin juice to enjoy whenever I wanted! I experimented a bit and finally came up with this pumpkin juice formula that tastes virtually the same as the kind found at the park, and includes my four essential factors for a recipe – simplicity, nutrition, frugality, and deliciousness!

Regardless of whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not, you’re bound to love this decadent juice.  It tastes like a cross between liquid pumpkin pie and apple cider, and is the perfect autumn treat!  I look forward to making it around this time every year, when the grocery stores start stocking canned pumpkin again.  It’s perfect to have for dessert, or simply as a treat whenever you want!

Magical Pumpkin Juice

You will need:

  • 5 cups apple juice
  • 1 can (15 oz.) plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • Pitcher

(Click here for the printable PDF version of this recipe!)

Gather your ingredients together.

Ingredients of Pumpkin Juice

Place the apple juice in the pitcher, then dump in the can of pumpkin.  Mix the pumpkin in well to get rid of any lumps.

uPumpkin Juice without spices

Add the spices to the pitcher…

Spices in Pumpkin Juice

…then mix them in very well.  The spices will want to float on the top, but with some vigorous stirring all but a little of the spice should mix throughout the juice.

Spices mixed into pumpkin juice

Refrigerate at least an hour or two (the juice tastes much better cold!) before serving.  Make sure to stir the juice up before it is poured each time, as the pumpkin tends to sink to the bottom.  The longer the juice stays in the fridge, the better it tastes – the spices have time to really blend with the juice, and after a day or two it will taste even better!  If you’re making this for a party, make it the day before in order to get the best taste from your pumpkin juice.

A glass of pumpkin juice

As you down this pumpkin juice, imagine that you are a witch or wizard drinking it in the Great Hall of Hogwarts! Enjoy this magical beverage, and if you try it be sure to let me know how you liked it in the comments section!  Finite Incantatem!

Key lime pie slice

Healthy Florida Key Lime Pie

Key limes are a small species of citrus fruit, grown (among other places) in the Florida Keys, from where they get their name.  Key limes are generally used to make key lime pie; this simultaneously tart and sweet dessert is a typically Floridian treat, and if you’ve never had it you’re definitely missing out!

I know, we’re in the middle of the autumn season, and key lime pie is usually considered a summer treat. However, when someone with a key lime tree and too many key limes for their own personal use recently gave me a bunch of key limes for free, I had to make a pie out of them!  Of course, I wanted to put a healthy spin on this treat that is typically made with fat-filled ingredients such as egg yolks and whipped cream.  This simple key lime pie recipe differs from many others out there in that both the crust and filling are healthy, making this dessert a guilt-free indulgence!

I realize that outside of Florida, both key limes and key lime juice may be hard to come by.  Thus, you can always use regular limes or regular lime juice in this recipe instead – the taste will be a bit different, as key limes have a distinctive tang, but it will be approximately the same and still delicious!  Savor this flavorful, frugal, easy, and definitely healthy dessert!

Healthy Florida Key Lime Pie

You will need:

  • 11 graham cracker sheets, or about 1¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. light olive oil or canola oil
  • 2 tbsp. fat free milk
  • About 16 small to medium key limes, or 2/3 cup key lime juice
  • 1 can (14 ounces) fat free sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 oz. fat free cream cheese
  • 8 oz. container Lite Cool Whip, or other brand lite whipped topping (you can use fat free if you want, but I’ve found that fat free whipped topping usually has an odd flavor…using the lite still gives you a good flavor, but with less fat)
  • 9.5 or 10 inch deep dish pie pan (a regular pie pan will be too small!)
  • Gallon sized baggie
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Electric mixer

(Click here for the printable PDF version of this recipe!)

Gather together your ingredients.

Ingredients for pie crust Ingredients for filling

If using whole graham cracker sheets, place them in the gallon sized baggie and get out all the air before sealing.  Pound  the crackers on a hard surface with a mallet or other heavy object until the crackers are reduced to fine crumbs.

Crackers in baggie

Place the graham cracker crumbs in a mixing bowl, and add the oil and milk.  Mix well so that all the crumbs get moist.

Graham cracker crumbs

Dump the crumbs into the pie pan, and press very firmly against the bottom and sides, making sure the crumbs are evenly distributed.

Graham cracker crust

Now, on to the filling!  If you’re using whole key limes, you will need to juice them.  I used a small hand juicer that you place over a bowl to catch the juice; however, after later doing some research, I found this video which shows you how to extremely easily juice key limes using a garlic press!  If you have one of those, I highly recommend using that method, as it is a bit time consuming to juice the small key limes with a hand juicer!

Key lime juicer

After you have juiced your key limes, place the cream cheese in a large microwavable bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds to soften.

Cream cheese

Add the key lime juice and sweetened condensed milk to the cream cheese, and stir to mix.  Then beat the mixture with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes on high, or until there are no small lumps of cream cheese left and the mixture is smooth.

After electric mixing

Fold in the container of whipped topping to the key lime mixture.  You will want to make sure the whipped topping is combined well, but don’t stir vigorously – you don’t want to lose all the fluffiness!

Mixing together

Pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust you prepared earlier, smoothing it out on the top.

Key lime pie

Cover with foil and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight, before serving (else the filling will be runny). Alternatively, you can freeze the pie – it tastes delicious that way as well!  If making a frozen pie, let sit in the freezer for at least 4 hours before serving to make sure that it is frozen through.

Key lime pie with foil

Once the pie has chilled adequately, slice into it and eat up!

Key lime pie slice

Enjoy the delicate balance of sweet and tart as you savor this dessert, knowing that you aren’t ruining your healthy eating habits or hurting your wallet!