Energy Bites for Energy

Saturday morning, the BOY and I started our day with a workout.  I was feeling back in my groove, but he faded a bit.  The most likely cause…nutrition!

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Although the BOY has made a lot of changes to his diet, he still isn’t a good breakfast eater and needs some more protein.  After our workout, my trainer gave us some dinner and snack ideas, including these awesome Energy Balls from Wildtree.  I happened to have all the ingredients in our house except walnuts, which we picked up at Target.  Also at Target…

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Tell me…have you tried them yet?  I resisted the urge to buy them and came home to make a green protein shake and begin mixing up our snack balls.

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I was a little nervous that the ‘dough’ was dry (most likely because I used natural almond butter), so I added a bit more honey.  I also added in chia seeds because I had about 2 tbsp in a bag that I needed to kill.

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Saturday was a sunny and gorgeous day!  Perfect to crack open the windows and enjoy some energy balls and a latte : )

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And then stash the rest in the fridge where the BOY and I have been snacking on them all week.

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I spent the afternoon teaching the most wonderful group of swimmers at a yoga workshop!  It was so nice to open the door and spend 90 minutes doing yoga in the fresh air again!

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What is your favorite snack or energy food?

Energy Bites

Adapted form Wildtree

Ingredients

3/4 cup walnuts

1/2 cup flaxseed, ground

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons shredded coconut

1/2 cup almond butter

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1 tablespoon Coconut Oil

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup mini dark chocolate morsels

1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

In a food processor, grind walnuts to medium/fine grind. Add flaxseed (and chia if you want) and process for 30 seconds. Add cinnamon, coconut, almond butter, oats, coconut oil, honey, and vanilla extract. Process for 20 seconds. Place mixture into a covered storage container and refrigerate for 30 minutes. When ready to roll, remove refrigerated mix and add mini dark chocolate morsels and salt; mix gently to incorporate all ingredients. Hand roll into 1-inch balls and store in air tight container.

Not a Moment to Spare

I jammed so much into this past weekend that there wasn’t a moment to spare…like I haven’t even been to the grocery store and we have no food.  Now, to be fair, the weekend was really short!  I worked Saturday morning, which as always, was SUPER fun!

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We did a superhero theme for the littlest ones, which they loved. We were the Super Yogi’s spreading peace to everyone (plus fighting off some bad guys with punches…their idea and peace signs…my idea).  Then it was on to the seesaw hamstring stretch for my older group followed by some amazing acro yoga with the last crew.  After yoga, I raced home to eat a quick lunch and await the arrival of my family for our fun, family tennis date.

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It all started because my dad has been interested in getting back into tennis.  The BOY and I haven’t played since last summer and although we are rusty, we were exited to get back on the court this spring.  Since my brother was out visiting my parents, he tagged along too allowing us to play doubles.  We are all equally bad at tennis, but good enough to keep a game going.  We played for 2 hours, knowing we’d probably all be sore the next day, while my mom went for a walk and took pictures.

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From the tennis courts, we went to the last of the three stores where we are registering for pots, pans, and fingers crossed some gorgeous Le Creuset pieces.  On the way home, we swung by the Jewel to pick up dinner.  Saturday night, we BBQed and my brother came to hang out with us.

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I was up early Sunday morning because my mom came to get me for another trip to the salt spa.  We started with a stretch and meditation class.  Recently, I have been reading and listening to podcasts about meditation and was excited to give it a go.

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We followed that with 45 minutes in the salt cave…see our attempt at a salt cave selfie!  And then lunch and a little bit of shopping, where we of course picked up some Himalayan salt.

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I got back home just in time to have a quick snack and get myself organized for trip number 2 to Bed Bath and Beyond for more gun shooting fun.  I should admit that the BOY and I are NOT gun shy.  We register for a whole lot of everything, and then I have to come home and organize things online.

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Last night, we closed down the bed bath and beyond and were way too tired to do the planned upon grocery store shopping.  Instead, we swung by Chipotle and arrived back home around 8pm with enough time for me to fold a little laundry, tame our online registries, and cuddle with Cooper.  Prior to realizing how nuts the weekend was going to be, I had plans to bring ya’ll some recipes this weekend.  Instead, I prepared some Overnight Quinoa in a Jar (basically overnight oats with quinoa instead of oats) and crashed into bed.

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This morning, I started my week off early with a 6am hot yoga class. 

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#postyogaglow

When I got home, Cooper dove right into the fridge in search of my oats (he LOVES almond butter).

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And then tried to eat my breakfast before I could scarf it down.  Ugh!  Then I left the BOY and Cooper back home and headed off to work.  I am working Monday this week instead of Friday (hence the super short weekend and lack of food in our fridge).  The BOY ordered Thai for dinner tonight…which was his idea of cooking dinner : )  Luckily, there will be enough leftover for me to take for lunch tomorrow since I’m exhausted and heading to bed.

Looking forward to next weekend with (hopefully) a few extra moments to spare!

 

What did you pack into your weekend?

What do you do when you don’t go to the grocery store?

Indoor BRICK

With the launch of running season behind me and a Shamrock Shuffle 8k PR in my pocket, it is time to dive into some more serious training.  Ok, so probably not super serious, but definitely more time consuming!  I took the time to schedule out my workouts leading up to the half marathon on May 5th and sprint triathlon on June 16.  I am behind a bit in long runs, but have a weather dependent 10 miler scheduled for tomorrow with a friend.  On the calendar for today, my first BRICK of the year!

 

Unfortunately, I had a conference call this AM and missed my new spin class and the weather was not conducive to busting out my bike.  Total bummer because it’s almost May and my bike is still hanging up in the garage.  Since I am new to joining the park district, I sometimes forget about the resources I have access to for training.  When I arrived this morning, I asked if I could use the spin room for my workout.  They said that’d be fine but since the room was locked, it didn’t work out.  They mentioned that there are spin bikes, with clips in the gym that were currently empty.

 

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I walked over to the bikes and discovered this high-tech spin bike.

 

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Have you seen anything like this?

Since It’s been over a year since I had a gym membership, I have not.  I flipped through some of the programs and got started with an endurance ride.  However, the ride was pretty boring and so 10 minutes in, I switched to intervals.  It was much more engaging to have the instructor in the video pushing me along, but the music was pretty lame.  He claimed it was to help me ‘relax my upper body’.  Personally, I prefer something a little more upbeat, so I plugged into my ipod while following the directions written on the screen.  After 45 minute, I was sweating and pleased with my ride.  Not as exiting as a spin class but definitely better than pedaling away alone on a stationary bike!

 

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I changed my shoes, wiped down the bike, and found my way to the track for a 15 minute run.  Ahh…now I remember why this workout is called a BRICK.  It took me about 8 minutes to get into my groove, but the last half of the run left me feeling strong!  It was definitely a solid workout considering I had to stay indoors.  Here’s to hoping the rest of this year’s BRICKS can take place outside!  We had late lunch plans, so I came home to shower and have a quick snack.  I was craving a banana and almond butter, but my banana was super mushy…yuck!  So I mashed it up, stirred in the almond butter and a dash of cinnamon.

 

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I know it probably doesn’t look appetizing, but I dug in with a spoon and it tasted awesome!  The perfect carb/protein combo to tide me over until lunch.

 

 

What was your workout today?

Any random post workout snacks that you like?

Crazy for Quinoa

Warning: This post is meant to show you how you can enjoy one batch of quinoa throughout the week…not encouraging you to eat quinoa for EVERY meal!  It is possible to get too much of a good thing : )

 

I’m back on a quinoa kick!  I blame the HUGE Costco sized bag about to expire in my pantry and the quinoa filled recipes spreading across the blog world!  This morning, I whipped up a pan of cooked quinoa.  If you are new to quinoa, you can find cooking instructions here.  Once you have a large pot of cooked quinoa, the possibilities are endless!

 

Starting with breakfast…

 

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I’ve had this recipe for pancakes from Everyday Food tucked away from a few years ago, yet I’ve never made them.  I rediscovered it flipping through my recipe binder this morning searching for a Sunday Pancake Day worthy recipe!

 

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Sadly, my pancakes never quite stack up quite as nicely as the Door County rock piles.

 

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Despite their odd shape, the pancakes, served drizzled with agave and sprinkled with diced strawberries, were awesome!

 

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I’m a huge fan of a breakfast that will fuel you through your morning (in today’s case…that was Hot Yoga).  Since quinoa is packed with protein, these pancakes are satisfying and filling!

 

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When I walked out of yoga, the rain was coming at me horizontally.  It’s amazing how (almost) overnight, the neighborhood started to look like fall!

 

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On a day like today, there’s only one thing will do…

 

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Make chili!  Have you ever tried quinoa chili???

 

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I have seen a few different quinoa chili recipes on the web, and this one from Manifest Vegan definitely caught my eye.

 

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I followed the recipe as written, but ended up with a much soupier version than I expected. I added in some extra white beans and quinoa (since I had it), and then skimmed off about 2 cups of liquid.  The result was a thick and flavorful bowl of heart warming chili.

 

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I diced up some avocado and crumbled some crackers to make a hearty and fulfilling lunch.

 

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The chili was delicious!  The perfect combination of fall flavors with some pumpkin spiciness!

 

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Does anyone else’s kitchen look like this on Sunday afternoon?

 

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Slightly embarrassing…I know!  I must say that by the time my chili cooled off, it had thickened up quite a bit, but I would still decrease your liquid (as seen in the NOTE below) for a thicker chili.

 

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As I am housesitting and heading back into class for the week (this is the last week and then I will have my certification), I am thrilled to have lunch for the week.  This is a new household favorite!  A must try!!!

 

Which leads me on to the last, but not certainly not the least exciting quinoa recipe, Quinoa Cocoa-Nut Cookies.

 

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I have had this recipe for about a year, but I’ve never actually made it as written.  Instead, I modified it to make these Afternoon Energy Bars.  With a tornado warning raging at our back door, I had the full hour to let the cookies sit in the oven.

 

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And it was well worth it!

 

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These healthy cookies are fabulous!  They will store in your fridge or freezer for up to a week!

 

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And even though they are considered ‘cookies’, these make a super healthy snack.  Or, my plan is to freeze them to bring to my classmates for breakfast on Friday (along with this tasty bread).

 

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One food really goes a long way!  Everything, the pancakes, chili, and cookies can all be frozen for a later date, so cook and bake away while planning to share with friends or freeze for later.

 

CLICK HERE for more Quinoa Love!

 

What is your favorite quinoa recipe?  Links Welcome!

 

 

Quinoa Cakes (For One)

Recipe inspired from Everyday Food, November 2010

 

Ingredients

 

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 large egg

1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce

2 tablespoons almond milk

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Agave and fruit for topping

 

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa, flour, and baking powder. In another medium bowl, whisk together egg, milk, and cinnamon until smooth. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and whisk to combine.

Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with butter and heat over medium-high. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on top, 2 minutes. Flip cakes and cook until golden brown on underside, 2 minutes. Wipe skillet clean and repeat with more melted butter and remaining batter (reduce heat to medium if overbrowning). Serve with maple syrup and fresh fruit or preserves if desired.

 

 

Pumpkin Quinoa White Bean Chili

From Manifest Vegan

Makes 8 servings

 

Ingredients

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3 to 4 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon allspice

Dash nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup shredded carrot

2 cans (15 ounces each) pumpkin puree (solid packed works great)

4 cups salted vegetable broth

3 cups cooked cannellini beans

1/2 cup canned coconut milk

1 1/2 cups cooked red quinoa

1/2 cup scallions, chopped

1/2 to 1 teaspoon additional salt to taste

1 avocado, diced

1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro

 

Directions

Place the onion, garlic, and red pepper along with the olive oil and sea salt into a large stock pot and sauté over medium-high heat until the peppers are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning.

Add in the spices, carrot, pumpkin puree and vegetable broth and simmer over medium heat for 11 minutes. Stir in the cannellini beans, coconut milk and quinoa and simmer an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until heated through and thickened slightly. Fold in the scallions and then top each individual serving with ample avocado and cilantro. Let cool about 15 minutes before serving; the chili will thicken about standing.

 

Important Note: I followed the recipe as written and ended up with way too much liquid. I was able to add some quinoa and beans, but still needed to skim off some of the liquid.  I would recommend using 3 cans of beans and only 2 cups of vegetable broth.

 

 

Quinoa Cocoa-Nut Cookies

From CHEW

Ingredients

1/2 Cup natural Almond Butter

1/3 Cup Raw Agave Nectar

2 Tbsp Milled Flax Seed

2 Cups cooked Quinoa, completely cooled

1 Cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

1/2 cup Dried, shredded, unsweetened coconut

1/4 Cup Cocoa Nibs (I used chocolate chips)

1 Tsp Sea Salt

 

Method

Preheat the oven on its lowest setting.  For me, this was 170 degrees.

In a bowl, mix together the peanut butter, agave, seal salt and ground flax seeds. Mix in the quinoa, oats, and coconut. Fold in the cacao nibs. This mixture should be pretty clumpy

Mold into mini patties, place on non-stick cookie sheet and throw into oven for 1 hour-ish.

Store in fridge (or freezer) and consume within a week.

Almond Butter + Zucchini = Bread

A few friends and I have been talking about a camping trip all summer.  A few weeks ago, we determined that Labor Day Weekend was the only weekend we were all free to get away.  My brother lent me his hiking pack, a sleeping bag, a head lamp, and some other outdoorsy type stuff.  My most experienced camping friend suggested that we do a backpacking trip in Michigan and we were all for it! 

 

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We decided to split up the food responsibilities.  The goal was to pack non-perishable, light weight foods since we had to carry everything with us on our backs.  Along with some granola and trail mix, I am in charge of breakfast.  That’s perfect because it is my favorite meal, and I had some blog inspired ideas already brewing.

 

The first was Tina’s Zucchini Almond Butter Muffins.  I’ve had my eye on these for awhile and was just waiting for a few minutes to shred up some zucchini.  The time came on last Monday and I decided that I would make the muffins into loaves for my Labor Day camping trip.  My only hang up…I didn’t want to use one of my farm fresh eggs which I absolutely LOVE for baking.  I know…sounds crazy, but I only have a few Wisconsin eggs left.  So…I did a little online research and decided to substitute in a flax egg for binding and applesauce for flavor.

 

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It created a thick dough that fit perfectly into 2 small bread pans.

 

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The bread baked up nicely, which I was excited to see after my egg experimentation.

 

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I was eager to try this bread, after drooling over Tina’s muffins for weeks, so I sliced off a warm slice.

 

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Believe it or not, almond butter and zucchini taste GREAT together!

 

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I ate one mini loaf of bread during the week and froze one for our camping trip.  It froze, thawed, and traveled really well.  We ate it morning one of our trip smothered with almond butter and fig spread and still had a few slices left for the trail.

 

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I have many more backpacking photos of the stunning Manistee River and a few more camping recipes to come.

 

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Paleo Zucchini Almond Butter Muffins (or Bread)

Recipe from Carrots N Cake

 

Ingredients

1 cup almond flour/meal

3/4 cup almond butter

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup grated zucchini, pressed and drained

3 eggs (or 3 Tbsp flax with 6 Tbsp warm water and 1/4 cup applesauce)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp honey

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350*F.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and blend well.

Coat muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray (or use paper liners) and divide batter among nine cups.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until muffins are cooked all the way through.

Allow to cool before serving.

 

Makes 9 muffins

Note: To make into bread, follow instructions as written.  Pour into 2 mini loaf pans and bake for ~30 minutes.

Like Riding a Bike

It has been a LONG while since I’ve been out for a bike ride.  The weather has been gorgeous and I have been wanting to get out on my bike so badly!  Wednesday morning, I put air in my mom’s tire and was so sad not be heading out for a bike ride with her.  However, my road bike has a flat, and I have not had time to take it into the shop.  SO SAD!!!

 

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Yesterday, I was exhausted and when I finally made it home from work, I crashed.  But I decided that I would get up this morning and take my Hybrid for a ride.  Although the idea of getting my bike all set up in the morning sounded daunting, I REALLY wanted to get out and ride!  My alarm went off this morning, and I went to wake up my bike.

 

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Since it’s been a while since my last ride, I had to dust off a few cobwebs, and my tires definitely needed some air.

 

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I collected my gear and headed to the path on this crisp and sunny morning.  Perfect biking weather!!!

 

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I biked around the loop, 9.5 miles.  I felt a little shaky at first, but by the time I made it to the path, I felt comfortable and began to enjoy the steam coming off of the lake and the birds dancing in the trees.  Since I hadn’t been out on my bike in awhile (and didn’t spin this winter), I was nervous about my first ride.  But like the old saying goes, it was easy to get back  ‘it’s just like riding a bike’.  By the time I got home, I was in a great mood and excited for spring/summer biking season.  Bike the Drive…here I come!

Before work, I fueled up with Overnight Oats in a Jar.

 

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I have never made OIAJ with Almond Butter before, and I must say it was pretty amazing!

 

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It was a filling breakfast, and I almost licked the jar clean!

 

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I just have one more day until the weekend, when I can hopefully take my road bike in for a check up and take my Hybrid out for another beautiful ride!  I love spring!!!

 

 

Have you been out for your first bike ride of the season yet?

Paleo Pancakes

Although at this time, I am not interested in following the Paleo Diet, I was intrigued when I came across this recipe for Paleo Pancakes on Jenna’s Blog.  I was also a little skeptical…How could these 3 ingredients create a fluffy, wholesome looking pancake?

 

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I woke up this morning determined to find out!  For a few reasons, the main one being that I am down to my last two eggs, I decided to make 2/3 of the recipe.  Unfortunately, I got a little mixed up with my almond butter calculations and my ‘batter’ was thin, so here is the full recipe and you can decide how much to make.  One suggestion is to follow the entire recipe and save half the pancakes for another morning if it makes too many.

 

Paleo Pancakes

From The Paleo Project

3 bananas

1/4 cup almond butter

3 eggs

Coconut spray

 

Additions: add fresh fruit into the batter or top with honey, agave, fruit, nuts, etc.

***I ate my pancakes so quickly, there was no time for toppings, but these allow for some creativity

 

Directions

-Mash the banana and mix it with the egg

-Stir in almond butter (add more for a pancake-like consistency)

-Or…you can place banana, egg, almond butter in food processor for a quick mix

 

(I used my immersion blender…surprise, surprise)

 

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-Grease pan with coconut oil

-Pour batter into skillet and brown on each side

-Serve with fresh fruit and other additions

 

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As always in my pancake world, I had a little trouble flipping my first big pancake (mostly because he was too runny and too big).  I think some additional almond butter will help with that next time!

 

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He wasn’t the most symmetrical pancake in the group, he still tasted amazingly great…seriously, just as fluffy as Auntie J!  I couldn’t believe it!

 

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The next pancakes were smaller and prettier, but just as tasty as the first.

 

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I didn’t have any fresh fruit to top this protein-packed breakfast, and I’m telling you these sweet cakes don’t need any syrup or honey.  Besides, they disappeared from my plate way too quickly to add anything else.

 

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As I was finishing the last tasty bite, the BOY came down stairs and started asking me why the house smelled like sweet roles.  I told him that I made pancakes, which got him excited until he realized that 1) they were all gone and 2) they were made out of bananas.  He went in search of the Pillsbury rolls that he was convinced were baking in the kitchen.

 

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Paleo or Not Paleo…I recommend giving these pancakes a try.  They come together quickly and make the perfect Sunday morning breakfast with coffee or tea.  Plus, they were a satisfying way to start the day before heading off to Hot Yoga!

 

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