Tag Archives: #healthyeating

Hello, Hello Fresh!

If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve seen that for the past few weeks I have been taking advantage of a weekly food delivery service called Hello Fresh. Chances are you have heard of this company….they market like crazy on pretty much every social media avenue known to man.

I was skeptical to try this food delivery service because I had previously tried Blue Apron, one of Hello Fresh’s competitors, and I was extremely disappointed. I felt the quality and selection of food items was poor, and for the cost involved it was not worth it (at least to me). But….I had a lot of things coming up and really wanted to try the Hello Fresh for the sake of convenience. I had a lot of people I know tell me it was fabulous, so I gave it a shot and used a $40 off coupon on my first box (Click HERE to get your own $40 coupon).

Since you may be a little skeptical, I’m going to cover the things everyone has been asking me about: the process, the quality, the cost, the portion size, and my overall opinion.

THE PROCESS

Hello Fresh’s ordering process is very simple, especially from their app. Once you create an account (you’ll have to do this), you select what plan you want. There is a vegetarian plan, classic plan, and family plan, and you have the option to easily modify if you want to down the road. I signed up for the classic plan because I knew I would be the only person eating the food and was curious how portions would break down for me since I follow a pretty regimented meal plan when it comes to portion size.

Once your account is set up and you have determined your plan, you get to pick your meals and the day of the week you want them delivered! On the classic plan, there are 8 dinner selections, and you pick 3. If you would select the veggie plan, you unfortunately don’t get to choose; there are 3 selections, and those are the 3 you get. I have had mine set up to arrive on Tuesday, but I have decided I am going to change the date so I have them delivered on Friday, giving me the weekend to prep.

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A look at my choices in the app

 

On delivery day, everything arrives in once giant box. When I say EVERYTHING, I mean EVERYTHING. The only thing I have had to contribute to the meals is olive oil for when I need to cook meat or sauté veggies. You get recipe cards, nutritional information, and each meal in its own bag with the ingredients for that recipe. In the bottom of the box, packed under the largest ice packs I’ve ever seen, you will find the meat you need for your recipe.

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THE QUALITY

I have been incredibly impressed with the quality of the food I’ve had thus far. Every week I choose at least one steak option, and the steak I have gotten has been thick cut with very little fat. This week I had a salmon that was as good as the salmon dishes on the coast. Most of the ingredients that accompany the meat selections are organic. There has not been any item I have received that wasn’t excellent quality.

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Everything I need to make Cherry Drizzled Pork Chops!

THE PORTION SIZE

My biggest complaint about Blue Apron was that I felt like their meal sizes were more like snack sizes, and I was worried it would be mine with Hello Fresh, too. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Most of the meals I have gotten have easily served as three portions for me instead of the two they claimed to be. I liked that….I liked that a lot!

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Chicken Parm Salad…this is ONE of the three servings I had!

THE COST

I started this experience with a $40 coupon which made my first box $19. Was it worth it? Absolutely! The quality of meals was well worth that and much more, so I didn’t have a problem with it. Full price for 6 meals is $59, so it equates to a little over $9 a meal (shipping is free), and that is before any additional coupon codes. Initially I thought this was a little high, but when I sat down to think about it I spent more when I ran to Panera to grab dinner and spent about the same when I meal prepped at home. Since getting Hello Fresh, my grocery list is minimal, as I don’t need to get much other than breakfast and some items for lunch, so really I am at about the same for my grocery tab for the month.

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One of my fave recipes thus far!

MY OVERALL OPINION

Super worth it! The recipes have all been delicious and most are all things I will make again. Did I mention you get the recipe to recreate them whenever you want? That makes it really easy to expand your recipe collection with healthy options down the road. Only one recipe I didn’t care for much, but that was only because I burnt the fish a bit….oops!

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This was the only recipe I didn’t love. 

I love the convenience of getting everything sent to my house, and I love getting to try some foods I don’t normally try. That’s the other nice thing about this program….you can pick those normal “safe” meals (like salmon and jasmine rice) or try something a little outside of your food comfort zone (like bibimbap). Sometimes we need a little push like this to try new things!


Guys, I 100% recommend you give Hello Fresh a try. Even if you just try one box, I guarantee you will be happy you gave it a shot! You may love it and stick with it…..you may learn more about eating healthy and portion sizes….you may just fall in love with cooking. Regardless, your taste buds will be happy!

 

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Rock the Reset: Day 6 and 7

 

Today is the final day of Week 1 on my Ultimate Reset journey. This means I am 1/3 of the way done!

But I have to be honest….yesterday….yesterday I shit the bed hard with this journey.

About three months ago I decided I wanted to throw a surprise baby shower for one of my besties, Krista, who is due to give birth to a baby girl in April. We had it planned for March 18th, and since it was so long ago that I started the planning process, I hadn’t take the Reset into consideration. Once I committed to doing the Reset, I knew this day would be the day that I would screw up royally on this journey.

And I kind of did. We did have healthy options at the party…fruits, veggies, chicken salad….but we also had cupcakes and quiches, plus I brought a variety of donuts from Peace, Love, and Little Donuts. A brunch isn’t complete with them!

I started the day off as planned….a big ol’ fruit plate. I love this as a breakfast option…thank heavens because it will be on the plan for the next two weeks!

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Well, let me tell you friends….I did eat a donut…a Fruity Pebbles one, one of my favorites. It was delicious during the two seconds of consumption.

But…..

I cannot even begin to tell you how sick it made me.

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The most amazing donuts!

As I left to drive the hour+ back to my house from my mom’s, I could barely make the drive. The sugar from the donut had made me so sluggish and sleepy and my whole body felt weird. It was such a change from how great I had been feeling throughout the week.

When I got home I immediately put on comfy pajamas and decided to be a lazy bum since I felt so uncomfortable. I snapped this picture as I was brushing my teeth because I literally looked pregnant because of how bloated that sugar made me (spoiler alert: I’m not). It’s crazy how bad that little bit of sugar made me feel and how it impacted my body after being without it for only 5 days.

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Sugar baby. 

Workout Wise, I’ve been on track. I liked today’s 10 Minute series a lot…..still struggling with balance and some of the moves, but I am getting better. Don’t get it twisted though; I still am looking forward to my intense routines!

Week 2 starts tomorrow which means a change in some of the dietary restrictions. No more eggs or toast, so Im pretty much all fruits and veggies from here on out. I made the decision to do the same meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner this whole week. Last week I tried to change it up to try these different recipes, but I do best when I repeat. That’s my plan! This week I’m throwing in some jackfruit….I’ll be sharing a video and more info on it soon because I’ve been getting a lot of questions on what it is. Be on the lookout!

Even with a few little slips this week, I am still excited to see how my measurements are tomorrow and how I did on Week 1!

Let’s make this week great, ok?

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Lots of fruit prep!

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Rock the Reset: Day 2

Day 2 is coming to a close….that means 19 days left of The Ultimate Reset!!!

Should I be counting down? I don’t know….I’m not hating this so far….I’m just missing my close friends Coffee and Donuts!

Yesterday was a little rough….I went to bed feeling weak and exhausted and didn’t know if it was because I was super busy this weekend…Daylight Savings…no coffee…a new workout that challenged me….who knows. I wasn’t sure what today would bring.

Surprisingly, it was good.

My yoga workout from 3 Week Yoga Retreat today was Stretch, and I really liked it. These are definitely moves that I can apply to running or after a difficult workout. Murphy was very involved in the workout, but Bubba wasn’t having it today. Yoga is much easier when there is one dog in your workout space. I definitely felt a little sore from the workout…it’s not a bad soreness, just one that is a tad noticeable.

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Murphy and his tiger are everywhere I go. 

I’m doing much better without coffee than I thought. No headaches today, and I had energy when I woke up.

Here’s a look at my meal plan for Day 2:

-Optimize and Mineralized Water
-Oatmeal with Berries/ Greek Yogurt with Maple Syrup
-Optimize and Mineralized Water
-MicroGreen Salad and Zucchini Cashew Soup

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So good!

-Power Greens and Mineralized Water
-Shakeology
-Optimize, Soothe, and Mineralized Water
-Southwestern Veggie Taco

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I love a good Taco Tuesday!

I am hardcore in love with the zucchini cashew soup…and it was so easy to make!

-1 oz raw cashews (about 17 nuts)
-1 1/2 water, divided
-1 1/2 medium zucchini, cut into chunks
-Herb seasoning to taste (I used Italian Seasoning)

Soak the cashews in 1/2 cup water for about an hour. While cashews are soaking, being the rest of the water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add zucchini, cooking for about 5 minutes. Place cashews (and the water they were soaked in), zucchini, seasoning in blender or food processor, blending until smooth. You can serve hot or cold!

Now let’s talk about my big fail of the day…the Power Greens. I did a little research and tried to suck on a lemon before and after…no bueno. I can’t stomach this part of it….it tastes like seaweed and I want to puke immediately. Gladly taking suggestions for how to make this part work.

As far as wins go, tonight was our monthly SARC meeting, which means pizza. Lots and lots of pizza. I was able to stay strong and not eat ANY of it, even when I was sent home with a full pie. Sweet Jesus, I’m quite proud of myself.

Overall, I feel good. No stomach issues, no bloating…I’m ok with that.

Hope you all had a great day!

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Rock the Reset Day 1!

If you follow me over on The Sparkle Fitness Babe, you know today was a big day for me! It was Day 1 of The Ultimate Reset and 3 Week Yoga Retreat! I’m going to be sharing my journey on the blog so those of you who are thinking about it have lots of information and know how the experience went for me.

Day 1 Recap:

Where to begin…..

I will say this….when my Reset kit arrived I was very pleased with how organized it was…the book itself was over a hundred pages long! For a planner like me, that is something that is important. All too often people say they can’t make healthier choices because they don’t know what to eat, recipes, yadda yadda…..this program has EVERYTHING laid out for you, including grocery lists.

Making my meal plan for the week was a little longer than usual….and it ended up being over two pages for the week….there’s a lot that goes on here!

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Here’s a look at my meal plan for Day 1:

-Optimize and Mineralized Water
-Breakfast: 2 Eggs, Steamed Spinach, 1 piece whole wheat toast

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Breakfast! My favorite meal of the day!

-Optimize and Mineralized Water
-Lunch: Zucchini Cashew Soup and MicroGreen Salad
-Power Greens and Water
-Snack: Shakeology
-Optimize, Soothe, and Mineralized Water
-Dinner: Salmon, Asparagus, Boiled Potatoes

Looking at that seems like I’m eating a lot, right? One trick that I learned that helped me a lot was setting an alarm on my phone to help me stay on track.

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I can say this….I wasn’t hungry today…that was a big worry of mine.

I’ll also say this….I was a major raging BITCH.

The one thing I was really worried about was the fact that I had to kick my bff coffee to the curb for 3 weeks. Hello…I’m a coffee addict and proud! Today I kept saying that I felt like a drug addict going through withdrawal…that’s how crazy I felt. Somehow though I still avoided coffee all day long.

I was also worried about the daily supplements (optimize and soothe) because I really struggle with pills. In fact, I typically hide pills in pudding or applesauce to get them down…unfortunately for me, The Ultimate Reset doesn’t allow for that option. I managed to get them down….not sure how, but I did.

As far as the meals go, I didn’t feel like today’s were too far off from my normal eating. I usually eat eggs, I love salads, and I eat a lot of salmon. We will see as the days go on though….I’ve never gone this long without red meat!  I will be having eggs one more day this week, then they are hitting the road to join coffee. Some may ask why I am eating eggs in the first place….this plan is designed to wean you off of animal fats.

The worst part of today: THE POWER GREENS!!!! I was warned about this drink tasting awful, yet somehow I told myself I would be fine with it. WRONG! I almost puked it up. It tasted like straight up seaweed puke….let’s hope I can make it the rest of the week with it. Not sure how I can change up its taste tomorrow, but I’m going to try.

Today also started the 3 Week Yoga Retreat….I didn’t hate the workout, but I definitely missed my high intensity workouts….moving at such a slow pace was definitely a challenge. I’m hoping this programs helps my muscles and strengthens them. I’m also hoping that my little dogs allow me to complete my yoga workout each day because today they were very hands on….and in my face.

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Do yoga with dogs, they said. It will be fun, they said. YEAH RIGHT!

Overall, it was an interesting day. I felt weak, but strong at the same time. I was able to stick to my meal plan…..however, toward the evening I had a huge headache (I’m guessing more coffee withdrawal…evenings is when I drink the most coffee) so I went to some message boards and consulted some of my Reset alum and ended up having a small banana. I encountered that with the Refresh when I did that before…it all comes back to sugar intake. I’m ok with that….I felt better shortly after.

Excited to see if tomorrow is easier…or more difficult. Regardless, I’ll share with you all 🙂

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Just call me President Squash

More like President of the Squash fan club!

Over the last year I have become particularly found of the squash family….why I avoided it for so long beats me. I am consistently integrating spaghetti squash and acorn squash into my meal plan, but it was only recently that I gave their sister, butternut squash, a chance.

Best. Decision. Ever.

I’ve been making this recipe for awhile and wanted to share with you all! It is great for Fall, for those of you doing the 21 Day Fix and needing to get your green containers in, or anyone looking for a great addition to your table at Thanksgiving in a few weeks. You know why I love it? I kind of feel like I’m eating a carb (sweet potato), but I’m not! Trickery at its finest!

Here’s what you need:

-1 large butternut squash
-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 1/2 tablespoons EVOO
-1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

To prepare, you first want to skin the squash. I cut the top and bottom off with a sharp knife, then I use a vegetable peeler to remove the rest of the skin. Rumor has it that Costco has butternut squash already peeled and cut up if you want to skip this step.

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Such a beautiful color!

After you have skinned the squash, preheat your oven. You can do this before if you want; honestly it does not matter. I also prepare my baking sheet at this time. I’ve found that I prefer lining the sheet with a piece of parchment paper as opposed to spraying it with a cooking spray.

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Make sure you scoop out the seeds….no one likes seeds with their squash…at least not in this case. Cut into chunks.

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After cutting up your squash, drizzle with the EVOO, Maple Syrup, and Cinnamon. Bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. I rotated my baking sheet halfway through just to make sure everything was cooking evenly. Serve with whatever you want, and ENJOY!

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So tasty….and good for you!

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More coconut, please!

This weekend I wrapped up my meal planning and prep early so I could watch the World Series game and get caught up on my emails. Usually I love to prep while watching a show or two (it’s a great way to motivate yourself if you know you are doing something you need to do with your health while indulging in a little tv), but tonight I didn’t want to miss a pitch!

Last week I stuck to my meal plan for the most part….which honestly was very surprising. Since yesterday would’ve been my dad’s birthday, I was fearful that I would spend the day eating my feelings because sometimes that happens with grief. Other than a piece of the little birthday cake my mom made to accompany the dinner she made (one of my dad’s favorites…..salmon burgers, green beans, and mashed sweet potatoes), I stayed on track. I’m proud of myself for that!

Here’s a look at what’s on my plate for the first week of November!

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Breakfasts: My usual Southwest Cups because I just love them and an omelette tomorrow to use up the spinach I have left over. I’m trying out a new recipe this week…healthy chicken and waffles! Don’t worry, I will share if it turns out ok!

Lunches: I’m president of the Ahi Tuna fan club right now, so that’s one of my lunch options, as well as Beast Egg Salad. I think I am just in Beast mode since we announced on Saturday that THE BEAST himself, Sagi Kalev, is coming to Cleveland in January! Beast Egg Salad was one of my favorites during Body Beast. I’m also making Chicken Parm (from the Fixate cookbook) and pairing it with spaghetti squash! If you want to come to our Sagi event, you can purchase tickets HERE!

Dinners: Last week I mentioned I was making a new recipe, coconut crusted chicken. I can’t lie…it was delicious! If you love coconut, you need to try this recipe….I’m sharing it below! I’m bringing it back this week! You probably will notice the healthy chipotle bowl….yes, you can make chipotle healthy! It’s all about portions and healthier choices (Just say No to Sour Cream)!

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The only thing you aren’t seeing broken down is Sunday; since I will be at my friend Jodi’s for a party I’m not sure what my options will be. However, I can tell you that I will be making wise choices and making sure I’m not abusing any containers!

This is a big week…..Core de Force launches tomorrow!!! EEK! I am so excited! Nothing helps me zero in on my nutrition like a brand new program to dedicate myself to! I cannot wait to get it and begin!

Remember….tomorrow may be Halloween, but that doesn’t mean that you should overindulge in mini candy bars. Make smart choices…those little things are the devil! And those calories add up fast!

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Pretty little fridge.

(I envision the scene from Dumb and Dumber with the bird when I say that).

Sundays are one of my favorite days for so many reasons, especially this time of year with football (Go Steelers) and lots of fun Fall events. I love the chill vibe of the day and knowing that my actions are setting me up for a week of success.

I know a lot of people find it strange, but I feel so much better when I am taking steps to make sure I am having a successful week. What does this involve? It involves things like grocery shopping, meal prepping for the week, establishing when I am going to do my workouts each day, and what goals I have for the week.

Goal setting is something I have always done, even as a young girl. I love making lists and crossing things off as I complete the tasks. As I have gotten older I have realized more and more how important it is to be organized, not just because I like crossing off completed tasks each day, but because having a sense of organization keeps me sane!

Sunday mornings involve a lot of reflection for me. I think about how the previous week went, I think about how I want the upcoming week to go, and I think about what I want to accomplish. I listen to personal development in my office while sipping coffee and listening to my dogs (and husband) snore. It’s my favorite “Me” time.

I think it is easy to say that meal prepping is one of my favorite parts about Sunday. Yes, i actually ENJOY it! Food is the one area that if I don’t plan it out I end up making lotsssss of bad decisions. LOTS. I’ve talked about my process before….I’ve run free informational groups on how I prep and prepare….but it is always worth a little revisiting in my book!

My usual routine goes like this:

FRIDAY: Plan out what meals I want for the upcoming week/check out grocery store sales/draft meal plan. This involves checking my social calendar so I know if I will be at meetings, out to eat, etc.

SATURDAY: Grocery Shop or hit farmer’s markets.

SUNDAY: Prepare everything for the week.

This week I was a little bit ahead of schedule and got everything prepped and ready last night so I could focus completely on my team and some upcoming trainings/groups today. We have a lot going on over here at Sparkle HQ, and it is exciting!

Here is a look at my meal plan for the week:

Since I started my No Crumb Left Behind 21 Day Fix informational group today I have the meal plan color coded to show them how to look at their meals and meal plans. Look confusing to you? Hopefully not! The colors each represent a different food group. (Let me know if you need help with your own meal plan…I can help you make sense of it)! It doesn’t matter what workout program I am doing….I utilize the Fix meal plan for everything!

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from readers about how it helps to see my meal plan each week, so my goal is to post it for you every Sunday to help give you some ideas for your own meal plan. Eating healthy does not have to be boring or bland….I always love the meals I make and never feel like I am depriving myself. That’s important when you love food!

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Here is a look at how my fridge looks after prep. Lots of containers in there…the only thing NOT mine is the takeout container on the top shelf…that’s Kyle’s leftover sandwich from Melt Bar and Grill. Having things portioned and ready to grab saves me so much time, energy, and money, plus it keeps me on track.

Have a plan, work a plan, my peeps.

Now go get working on your plan so you can have a successful week, too!
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I do it all for the cookie.

Hi, I’m Katie….and I am a cookie monster!

Recently I had a hankering for some chocolate chip cookies, but since I knew my usual recipe is anything but healthy, I decided to give the healthy 21 Day Fix approved chocolate chip recipe a try. This recipe is from the Fixate cookbook that shares 101 recipes that are compliant with the 21 Day Fix eating plan. Need the cookbook? You can buy it here!

I always have two goals when making a new cookie recipe: Don’t eat them all, and make them good enough that Kyle won’t mind that they are healthy.

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FIXATE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients:

3 cups almond flour (I use Bob’s RedMill)
1 teaspoon gluten free baking soda
1/4 cup organic coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup raw maple syrup
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 large egg whites (1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (you can use semi sweet if you prefer)

What to do:

1. Preheat oven to 375 and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Combine almond flour, baking soda and salt in bowl, mixing well.
4. Combine oil and maple syrup in bowl, beating until creamy.
5. Add egg, egg whites and extract to oil mixture and beat for additional two minutes.
6. Add almond flour mixture to egg mixture, mixing well.
7. Fold in chocolate chips.
8. Drop teaspoons of dough onto parchment paper.
9. Bake 14-16 minutes and store once cooled in an airtight container. Enjoy!

 

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Hotcakes for a Hot Waist!

Many, many things contributed to me gaining that extra 60 pounds I decided to hang out with a few years ago.

Fast food and booze were up there on the list, but there was one little food friend that helped escalate the weight gain process.

Pancakes. Mother F#%&@ing Pancakes.

I am very honest with my love for breakfast food. IT IS THE BEST! I swear I could eat it every meal of the day and be happy, especially my beloved pancakes. Who doesn’t love a pancake (if you don’t, I may need to put you on friendship probation….Im serious). I love them so much that the very first profile picture I had on Facebook was a rabbit with a pancake on its head.

Don't believe me? Go look at my Facebook.

Don’t believe me? Go look at my Facebook.

When I started my weight loss journey, I knew I would have to seriously re-evaluate my eating habits. I was fine with cutting out the nasty processed food, but my heavenly little buttermilk breakfast buddy…..not so much. With time I learned there were ways I could still make pancakes in a healthy way and enjoy in moderation.

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite recipes: the Cashew Pancake!

I'm nuts about these.

This recipe is from the 21 Day Fix Extreme Meal Plan, and to be honest, I’m a little mad at Autumn for not sharing it with us sooner. Things I like about it: 1) It’s healthy. 2) It has minimal ingredients. 3) I can make a bunch of them, store them in the fridge, and reheat when needed. 4) Taste great topped with fruit instead of syrup. 5) I can make lots of nutty pun jokes when making them (see what I did there???)

Here’s what you need to make them and the easy instructions, too!

Cashew Pancakes

Ingredients:

-1/2 cup raw cashews

-2 cups oats (old fashioned)

-1 large egg

-Dash Pink Himalayan salt

-1 teaspoon cinnamon

-1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

-1 1/3 Cups water

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

All you need!

Here’s how to whip them up!

Step 1: Pulse oats, cashews, cinnamon, and salt in food processor until fine.

Step 2: Add egg, water, oil, and vanilla. Pulse again until batter becomes thicker. If you need to thin it a bit, add a tad bit more water.

Step 3: Heat up your griddle/ pan/ water you are cooking these on (SIDENOTE: the cavemen used to cook their pancakes on rocks) and spray with Coconut Oil. I use this instead of Pam…so much healthier.

My favorite spray!

Step 4: Cook like any other pancake, flipping when one side has browned and the edges bubble.

Step 5: Top with favorite berries or syrup.

Something to mention…..these are more solid than your fluffy buttermilk pancakes. Don’t think you did anything wrong when you flip them and realize they are a little sturdier. They still taste amazing. This recipe makes 10 pancakes, and a serving is 2.

If you want to watch my girl Autumn make them, you can watch here. She uses the same coconut spray as me, so we are basically best friends. Plus the last time I saw her I got to clear a bathroom for her to use, which was pretty neat and made me feel like a jacked sequined security guard. That’s best friend status.

Oh yeah, and get quality kitchen help, like I always seem to have……

On duty 24/7

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