Pumpkin Pie Shake

Ok, I know it is just barely September, but I love fall squash, especially pumpkins since they are so reminiscent of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Fall in general. Not only that, but they are loaded with vitamin A and fiber. Plus there are endless things you can eat, do and make with pumpkins: like pies, lattes, ice creams, oatmeal, jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin soup and well, why not a healthy pumpkin shake to make it feel like fall while it is still hot and the pools are still open down south ;).
pumpkin pie shake
I used soaked dates in this recipe for the sweetener, so make sure you have soaked dates for at least 8 hours or replace them with 1/4-1/3 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you like your shakes. When I first started using dates a a sweetener, I used to get so annoyed I would see soaked dates half way down a recipe that I had already mixed up until that point. I know I should read the whole thing through, but sometimes pictures (especially in blogs) just inspire me to start cooking that thing. Maybe I'm the only one that does this?...
Ingredients and directions if using a high powered blender (I used a Vitamix):

(this makes a very large shake)

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (you can use canned or bake your own, I've done both and can't really tell a big difference)
*5 soaked dates, plus soaking water
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or coconut milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
dash pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1/3 tsp guar gum
**16-20 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients, except ice, in a high powered blender (I used a Vitamix). Once all ingredients are incorporated, add ice and tamp until a shake like consistency is reached.
*Tip: I use soaked dates so often, that I just take a bag of dates and fill it with water and take the dates + soaking water and use them as necessary.

Directions for an Ice Cream Maker:
If you are not using ice cubes and "the gums," or want ice cream, add 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice or coconut sugar and 2 cups of whichever milk you prefer. Blend all ingredients (or you could whisk), pour in a small pot and heat over medium heat and take it off the heat right before it boils. Cool for 2 hours or overnight and process in your ice cream maker

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