Pumpkin Pancakes (paleo, gf, df)

Inevitably, when the weather starts to get chilly, a few things happen in my life: I am inexplicably drawn to Staples (particularly the school supplies section), I lose my husband on Sundays (ah, football, you saucy minx) and I begin to stockpile cans of pumpkin puree.

It’s true. I am on the pumpkin bandwagon so hard it’s embarrassing. I don’t WANT to be this way. I don’t want to go weak in the knees for baked treats that, while tempting on their own, become a test of my resistance skills at every turn just because of an added gourd. I can barely go into a Starbucks without spotting a bread, muffin or scone that forces me to avoid making eye contact just because the word “pumpkin” was thrown in there. Yes, I avoid eye contact with pumpkin pastries. Go ahead. Judge me.

I breathe a sigh of relief when Pumpkin Pancakes are absent from a brunch menu. Because who can say no to that? And then, who can avoid finishing a plate of delicious, warm pumpkin pancakes doused in maple syrup and butter? And then, who can feel good after a meal like that? No one. That’s the answer to all of these questions.

So I decided to make my own healthified pumpkin pancakes. These cakes are COMPLETELY guilt free, contain just a few ingredients you probably already have, and will quiet the pumpkin monster that lives inside of you… for a few minutes.

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Pumpkin Pancakes (serves 1)

2 eggs

1/4 pumpkin puree

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon and nutmeg)

Syrup or honey for topping (optional)


Whisk eggs, pumpkin & spices together. Pour onto small, nonstick pan. Flip after about a minute or until pancakes set. Cook for another 30 seconds. Drizzle with syrup and enjoy!

I made 2 large pancakes.


Sakara Cleanse Bonus Day!

Well, half a bonus day. Since I had two lunches out this week, I had two Sakara lunches left. I decided to make these breakfast and lunch for Saturday.

I started the day with a run and came home ravenous. I’m not someone who needs to have breakfast food for breakfast necessarily, however, I’d be lying if I said I craved salad for breakfast.

But I opened up my box o’ greens ready to dive in. The meal was a Sunchoke Griddlecake w/ Garden Herb Salad. This was delicious and filling and after my first two bites, I got over the whole yuck-I-have-to-eat-salad-for-breakfast-thing.

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Lunch was a Youth + Beauty Salad. This looked pretty boring to me and I was sad to end on a weak salad, since everything else was exciting and amazing. When I opened the box, however, I noticed there was a small cup filled with seeds of the sunflower and pumpkin persuasion. I sprinkled these over the salad along with the dressing and my salad was transformed from boring to delicious. So easy and something I will continue to do post cleanse.

I had a birthday bbq to attend but I stuck to one beer and a bunless quinoa veggie patty with some veggies with hummus. And now my cleanse is officially OVER.

Thoughts: The food from Sakara is out of this world. I see why these celebs are regulars. Not having to think twice about grocery shopping, cooking and portions gave my brain a much needed break. I didn’t have to deliberate with my coworker for 20 minutes trying to decide where we could get a healthy, satisfying meal in midtown that we weren’t completely sick of. I didn’t have to brave Whole Foods during the after work rush (which leaves me pale, shaking, and unsure about whether or not I’m actually a good person).

My skin looks great, I have no bloat, and I did lose a few pounds (a couple of which I’m sure were water weight from weekend overeating).

The downside is the price tag. It is hefty. I will probably do this cleanse a few times a year when I feel like treating myself. I will also continue to try to limit my gluten, dairy & meat intake as I am feeling so good.


Sakara Cleanse Day 5

Today I got my final delivery from Sakara Life and I’m feelin real sad about it. Like unreasonably sad. Remember last week when you found out that Eva Mendes had Ryan Gosling’s baby and you officially lost your shot with him? Yeah, that kind of sad.

This cleanse has left me feeling amazing. My boozy brunch mistakes from last weekend have completely been erased and I’m a new woman. I always say I want to try to give up gluten to see if it would alleviate the constant sluggishness I feel but it’s always harder than I think it will  be. Well, not so when you have your delicious, local, organic meals hand made and delivered to your door step (for just under the low price of all your vital organs and first born son).

There are definitely groups of health extremists enthusiasts (cough raw vegans cough cough) that claim eating this way gives you endless energy, glowing skin, stronger hair/nails, increased libido, clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose! (I also just started watching Friday Night Lights Season 1- and I’m getting carried away). While I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give up cheese, wheat products and meat FOR GOOD, I do think I need to limit these items much more strictly in my diet so that I can completely eliminate them from time to time without feeling like a completely useless human being (please see Day 1 and Day 2). I do have that really natural energy that hits in the morning right when it’s supposed to and lasts until I go to sleep (still a bit earlier than usual….which is early anyway).

Breakfast today is a Brazil Nut, Lime & Hemp Power Bar. This is so rich and tasty from the brazil nuts and coconut. I absolutely love the vibrant lime flavor and it keeps me full forever. In fact, when I am asked to go to yet another corporate lunch, I don’t even freak out because I’m still not hungry and I know it won’t be difficult to resist temptations.

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I ended up ordering an heirloom tomato and corn salad with torn basil. I don’t know if corn is actually allowed on the Sakara cleanse but I figured I could do way worse and I wanted to take advantage of the very last dregs of summer produce. The salad was delicious and I feel like I’ve conquered yet another obstacle.

Dinner tonight was Quinoa Pasta Salad w/ Arugula & Hemp Seed Pesto and it was HUGE. Like bigger than my husband’s Chipotle burrito bowl. It was also delicious (which was nice for the hubs since I was planning on glaring at him for ordering a delicious burrito bowl while I was eating mountains of greens). I think the Sakara gals gave me a Friday treat for being so good all week 🙂 In related news, Quinoa pasta is divine and something I could definitely get behind.


get in my belly.

get in my belly.



Sakara Cleanse Day 4

When my alarm went off this morning, I barely considered sleeping in. I had a pretty good amount of energy but still didn’t push past 3 miles on my morning run.

Breakfast this morning was a Chamomile & Vanilla Fig Bar and it was even better than yesterday’s breakfast. There were some delicious blueberries and 2 plump lil raspberries on top. What a delightful way to start the day.

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Lunch was the Local Summer Greens & Goji Hummus Wrap that I didn’t get to eat yesterday. I always shy away from collard wraps- I’m not quite sure why. This was delicious and I have to say, I thought I’d be sick of salads with the amount of crunchy green stuff I’ve been eating, but each salad is new and exciting and all of the dressings are mouth watering.

Dinner is a Forbidden Rice & Tatsoi Noodle Bowl. This is really good, also. Reminiscent of the flavors of the noodle bowl. I love that I still get to eat starches. I’m not a big rice person but I think having even just  a little bit of starch keeps my cravings at bay. All in all, another highly enjoyable Sakara day.

Sakara Cleanse Day 3

Oh, hello Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes, welcome to my stomach.

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Breakfast today was so. freaking. good.

The pancakes were soft and chewy (not exactly like normal fluffy pancakes, but more dense and cake-like). There was a fresh strawberry, peach and mint salsa to throw on that short stack. This breakfast was very filling- which my co-workers will appreciate since I’m pretty sure they are completely sick of the word “hangry”.

My boss asked me to go to lunch, which sent me into a panic. Honestly, you would have thought he asked me to sign over my first born with no visitation rights. I freaked. I couldn’t say no to lunch so instead I said no to everything but vegetables and about 5 chickpeas that were in my chopped salad. No wine, no salmon, no delicious warm baked bread, no dessert, no fun.

I feel good, though, and not just body good. I normally struggle at these corporate lunches because I’ll make a good choice and then reward myself with a piece of bread or something sweet. “Good job, Nicole. You ordered a salad proving to the weight loss gods that you mean business! Feel free to soak up some dressing with the special focaccia that’s lurking in the bottom of that basket. A dessert called the Chocolate Cube? Oh yeah, get that one fo sho”. Cut to me falling asleep at my desk by 3pm.

Today, I refused to eat anything with gluten or sugar, since I am detoxing them from my body, and that hard line helped me make the right decisions all day. This is the kind of structure I might need to implement in my life post-cleanse….but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, OK?

Dinner was Tantric Tandoori Cauliflower. This was decent, basically roasted veggies on salad with some Indian spices. When ordering the cleanse, I included “Cilantro” in my allergies. Unfortunately, I opened tonight’s dinner to a big pile of cilantro…but since I’m not really allergic and just really don’t like the stuff, I let it slide. Sakara saw right through me. You sly devils.

Waking up today was still hard but not as bad as Monday and Tuesday. Overall, I feel like I have more energy and I’m starting to adjust to eating smaller (healthier) meals.

Sakara Cleanse Day 2

My alarm goes off at 6:25 and it’s SUPER hard for me to get up. I feel like I could sleep forever.

But I vowed I would go hard this week, and go hard I shall.

I run 3 miles at the gym and head to the office where my Sakara breakfast awaits. And oh, it is so good. I have only recently started liking mushrooms and they still scare me a little, but this Mushroom Morning Wrap is making me remember why I shelled out all those bones for this meal delivery program. I fill up my water bottle with sliced lemons and start the day feeling much better than the end of yesterday (read: like a functioning human).

I’m finding that I am coping with my hunger a bit better than yesterday- I think when you go from stuffing your face to eating like an insect, your body deserves a WTF moment. I had an apple today before lunch and after my detox tea. Lunch consisted of roasted veggie skewers on wild rice with a basil dressing. The dressing was AMAZING and I could have probably taken a basil dressing shot with my leftovers, but I opted to skip that maneuver- mostly for the benefit of my colleagues. Always in my way.

The onions in the salad gave me some killer breath, though. I had to ride in a teeny tiny elevator with a co-worker and refused to breathe the entire time. Luckily, it was one of those times when I really could have (should have) taken the stairs, so it was a relatively quick ride.

Dinner tonight was Spring Pea Gnocchi w/ Rustic Basil Pesto. The “gnocchi” were dense little dumplings on top of salad with a delish dressing. This meal felt really hearty and filled me right up. All in all, I still feel pretty tired and in a daze for most of the day so I’m happy to feel satisfied with my meal. Hoping tomorrow brings some energy so I can be a functioning human in the world.


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Sakara Cleanse Day 1

Prior to cleansing, it is recommended to start eliminating certain foods from your diet in order to prepare your body. These foods include dairy, alcohol, caffeine, meat and anything processed. I had every intention of doing all of this.

Instead, I had an unplanned glutinous weekend (sometimes you have to brunch for your mom’s birthday…and sometimes that brunch includes many champagne cocktails…and strawberry trifle…and pumpkin bread…and dairy filled cappuccinos. And sometimes your mom’s Sunday Birthday Brunch is your second brunch of the weekend…).

I woke up on Monday still bloated and puffy from my gross weekend and more ready than ever to cleanse. I started the day with a 3 mile run and then waited anxiously for my cleanse to arrive. I was pretty hungry by the time my delivery came so I had some blueberry herbal tea to ward off cravings. My first meal was a Cinnamon Pecan Breakfast Bar- it was full of berries and nuts. The bar looked more like a muffin and it was very dense and absolutely delicious. Not too sweet and very filling. I usually can’t eat muffins or bars for breakfast and be satisfied until lunch so I wasn’t terribly surprised when I was pretty hungry around 12pm. I had my detox tea (I tend to like naturally sweet and less earthy teas, so this is not what I was craving but still warming and satisfying). Lunch was a Cooling Cucumber Salad with Creamy Mint Dressing. It was tasty but I’m not going to pretend that resisting the cookies in the communal office kitchen downstairs wasn’t causing me physical pain.

Without my late morning coffee, I also started to lag a bit. I took a quick walk around the block and the cool air has revitalized me…for about 2 minutes. I had a green apple (Granny Smith apples have less sugar than other varieties) and felt MUCH better.

Dinner is a Kimchi and Rice Noodle Vitality Bowl. This was my favorite meal of the day- not a coincidence, it was also the largest. The noodles were a bit spicy  and the salad dressing was amazing. I have noticed that Sakara gives A LOT of dressing. I don’t think I could use all of it, my salads would be swimming! I’m also confused about whether or not I’m SUPPOSED to use all of it. Or would that be frowned upon?

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I had a couple of walnuts after dinner as I am planning on going for a run in the morning and just want to make sure I have enough fuel. Clearly, I did not fuel up enough today as I fell asleep on the couch at 8:30. But alas, that is the name of the cleanse game (when you overindulge to the nth degree for days on end beforehand, at least).