Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes

Just in time for the weekend. Recipe Numero Dos of my series involving all things pumpkin. Give your loved ones – or yourself for that matter – something to delight over this Saturday.

Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes | Nourish with Niki

Perhaps you’re usually a chocolate chip or blueberry pancake kind of person. Or maybe you’re into Jack Johnson and you pretend like it’s the weekend as you whip up banana pancakes whenever that bunch on your kitchen counter starts getting those perfect little brown spots and are begging you to make something glorious out of them and you don’t have the patience for banana bread *deep breath* (no, of course I’m not talking about myself). So while I imagine most of you usually go for plain, chocolate chip, blueberry, or banana, my hope is that you’ll fall equally in love with the pumpkin variety of pancakes.

Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes | Nourish with Niki

And let me just add that they taste way better with maple syrup than any other cake.

Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes | Nourish with Niki

Admittedly, over the last couple years I’ve made an embarrassing amount of gluten free pancakes, which 95% of the time involve either pumpkin or banana. I shall call this my quest for The Triple P – The Perfect Pumpkin Pancake. And in all honesty, I don’t know if I’ll ever say I’ve arrived. Maybe it’s because I have too much fun experimenting, and if I achieve perfection I have less of an excuse to keep flipping the same embarrassing amount of pancakes. Maybe I’m reading into it too much.

Either way, we’ll call this particular recipe The Quadruple P: The Perfect Pumpkin Pancake in Progress. After all, if I were a pancake that looked that good, I’d need something to keep me humble.

Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes | Nourish with Niki


PUMPKIN Pancakes (GF, VEGAN)

Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time:  30 minutes 
Yield:
 8-10 medium (4-inch) pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups Pamela’s Baking Mix
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar (or other sweetener of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water (mix together and refrigerate 15 minutes before adding to batter)

Directions:

  • Make flax egg and put in fridge.
  • Whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and baking powder in a medium-large bowl.
  • Add remaining ingredients on top and stir until just mixed together.
  • Heat a griddle or large pan to medium heat. Coat with cooking spray or coconut oil.
  • Cook pancakes until just firm enough to flip or until golden brown.
  • Enjoy with maple syrup and butter/non-dairy spread of choice.

The ultimate question: pancakes or waffles!?

Pumpkin Banana Muffins (gf, vegan)

Today, friends, is day one of a three-part series featuring an ingredient that is highly overlooked during all times of the year, except fall. It is one of my all-time favorite ingredients to work with. It can be sweet or savory. It adds moisture and texture. It is particularly wonderful in breakfasts and desserts. And it’s packed with nutrients.

Behold, pumpkin.

So I am here to interrupt the notion that consuming pumpkin is only acceptable during the months of October, November, and December. Once you try these fluffy pillows of pumpkin banana goodness you will understand why pumpkin should no longer be avoided 75% of the year. In fact, I believe just one bite will have you embracing this star ingredient right now, in the middle of June.

Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Banana Muffins |Nourish with Niki

See, isn’t it cute and summery looking? It’s all about mindset people.

Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Banana Muffins |Nourish with Niki

And the great thing about this particular recipe is that it’s extremely versatile and can withstand many substitutions. If you would like to use eggs instead of flax, go ahead. If you want to swap out flours, using all brown rice flour works well too. However, the addition of starch adds fluffiness, which I’m a fan of. You could also substitute more pumpkin in and omit the banana, so you have an even deeper pumpkin flavor.

You could have them for breakfast, as a midmorning snack, with an afternoon cup of tea, or for dessert. Just throwin’ out some ideas…

Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Banana Muffins |Nourish with Niki

And adding a smidge of non-dairy butter isn’t a bad idea either. Although they’re also delish without.

Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Banana Muffins | Nourish with Niki

Perhaps muffins aren’t your thing though, I don’t know. If that’s the case, (which is actually really super weird and you should never admit that) keep your eyes peeled for the next pumpkin recipe of this series. I’m determined to get you on the I-love-pumpkin-all-times-of-the-year train.


Pumpkin Banana Muffins (GF, VEGAN)

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time:  55 minutes 
Yield:
 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch (or tapioca starch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup honey (If you are a vegan who does not eat honey, you can sub other sweetener of choice, such as maple syrup, sucanat, coconut sugar, etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons hot water (mix together and refrigerate 15 minutes before adding to batter)
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup (1 large) very ripe banana, mashed

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl.
  • Add wet ingredients on top and stir until completely mixed together.
  • Line muffin tin and pour batter in until about 3/4 full into 12 muffin cups.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes.
  • There may be a bit excess batter leftover, so you could make some mini muffins, pour into a mini loaf pan or eat it out of the bowl with a spoon.

Who else uses pumpkin in their cooking and baking year-round? What kinds of treats and dishes do you like to make with pumpkin?

Raw Fudge Brownie Bites (gf, paleo, vegan*)

Raw Fudge Brownie Bites | Nourish with Niki

Here is a guilt-free dessert that is sure to nix your chocolate cravings. It’s paleo-approved, requires no baking, and can be made with 5 ingredients.

Raw Fudge Brownie Bites | Nourish with Niki

Not only is that little guy perfect for snacking, but he also packs in a substantial amount of protein and fiber.

So get out your food processor and throw some pecans in…

Nourish with Niki

and some dates in…

Nourish with Niki

and make sure your pup doesn’t get to the chocolatey goodness before you do.

Nourish with Niki

No, this was not staged. Yes, she really did prance on over, pop her little head into the frame of my shot, and gaze deep into my camera’s eyes daring me to turn down her sneaky, adorable schemes to get a nibble of that fudge.

However, I resisted all urges and let Dad be my guinea pig. He’s pretty picky (judgey) when it comes to healthful alternatives to classic favorites, so I was afraid he wouldn’t be my brownie bites’ biggest fan. But I wanted his opinion. So he sunk his teeth into one of them, didn’t say a word for a good five seconds, and I blurted, “It’s okay if you don’t like them!

He then slowly responded with, “I’m saaavvooringg it.” Hallelujah, praise the Lord, Daddy likes my weird food that really isn’t all that weird after all, yay (!!!!!). So for all you skeptics, they’re good.

Raw Fudge Brownie Bites | Nourish with Niki


raw fudge brownie bites (GF, PALEO, vegan*)

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time:  20 minutes 
Yield:
 15-20 tablespoon-sized bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted (easier to blend if soaked)
  • 5 tablespoons cacao (or cocoa)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon honey (omit if vegan)
  • Himalayan or sea salt, to taste

Directions:

  • Using a food processor, blend pecans until they become crumbly.
  • Add dates and blend until the mixture forms a more consistent “dough,” scraping bottom and sides of food processor as necessary.
  • Add cacao, vanilla, and honey. Blend until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  • Roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls.
  • Sprinkle with a small amount of salt if desired (3-4 granules per ball is plenty according to my taste buds).
  • Refrigerate – they are delicious chilled!

What are some of your favorite healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth?

One Pan Sweet Potato Sausage Hash

What to make for dinner…isn’t that the question of the evening every evening?

Not anymore.

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With just a handful of ingredients, you’ve got yourself a healthy, satiating, simple meal in under 30 minutes. Oh, and it’s delicious.

Make a little extra and you’ve got lunch for tomorrow covered.

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This is definitely my go-to weeknight meal because I always have sweet potato, onion, garlic, and spinach on hand. I also always keep chicken or turkey sausage in the freezer.

Packed into this simple dish is complex carbs for sustained energy, protein to keep you full, and veggies for lots of vitamins and antioxidants. How’s that for a one-pan meal?

sweet potato sausage%0Ahash-2


one pan sweet potato sausage hash (GF, PALEO)

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time:  20-25 minutes 
Yield:
 1-2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 chicken sausage link (or other meat of choice)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt/pepper (optional, to taste)

Directions:

  • Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat.
  • Chop the sweet potato into about 1/2 inch cubes. The smaller they are, the faster they cook.
  • Add sweet potato to pan. Coat in olive oil, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, making sure there is enough moisture in the pan so that they do not burn.
  • Chop onion. Add to pan.
  • Mince garlic and slice chicken sausage.
  • Add garlic, sausage, and spinach to pan. Cook until sausage is heated through and sweet potatoes are soft enough to pierce with a fork. If you don’t like your spinach wilted, wait to add until the very end of cooking.

What ingredients do you always like to keep on hand in your pantry, fridge, and freezer?

Friday Favorites: Little Black Booties + Darn Good Coffee

Today I want to share with you five things I’m loving lately.

Favorite Beauty Product: Hempz Creamy Papaya & Shea Body Moisturizer. My skin is missing the Florida warmth and humidity that I was spoiled with over spring break, so this moisturizer is a must.

hempz

Favorite Sweet Treat: Arctic Zero Fit Frozen Dessert. Not quiteee the same as creamy, indulgent ice cream. But it’s lactose, gluten, and gmo free! Not to mention a fraction of the calories.

cookie-shake

Favorite Uplifting Song: More Than You Think I Am by Danny Gokey. American Idol Season 8, anyone?

Favorite Fashion Find: These little black Toms booties. I got them last fall, but they are super fun to pair with shorts this spring!

toms booties

Favorite Madison Spot: Colectivo Coffee. They just opened up a location on Monroe Street that is kind of to die for. As are their hazelnut soy lattes.

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Happy Friday! Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

What are some of your favorite finds this week?

Fitness Friday: Killer Leg Workout

For a lot of people, Friday is kinda the day of the week to slack off. But I don’t particularly like that approach to any day. Every day yields opportunity and possibility. I don’t always feel quiteee as gung ho as I might be sounding right now, but it’s a mindset type of thing. You have the choice every morning to wake up and seize the day OR to wake up and slack. Mindset. Anyway, I wanted to share with you two tidbits of inspiration that I came across today in addition to my killllaaaa leg workout.

First, this quote. Three key words here: vision, faith, confidence. Life is full of distractions. Distractions that cause me to confuse my vision for someone else’s, lose faith in a God I know is so faithful, become anxious about trivial things, doubt what I once was so sure of, and lack confidence in who I am. Mr. Schwarzenegger redirects all of that into something solid to hold onto each day.

Everything you have ever wanted, is-2

Second thing: a salesman/city council rep talked in one of my classes today. To be honest, I was completely turned off by his initial introduction because I generally associate sales and politics with greed, money, and power. However, to my surprise he left me with four crucial concepts to carry with me in my work and day-to-day interactions with people.

1. Listen – essentially, we are all in sales and we need to know our audience or the people we are selling to.
2. Hustle – actions speak louder than words. Work hard.
3. Be authentic – Stay true to who you are and be enthusiastic about what you do.
4. Prepare – You don’t always know when you have to give an elevator pitch. Be as ready as possible for any opportunity that might come along.

Listen, hustle, be authentic, prepare. Simple concepts, yes. But often overlooked. And just to be clear, hustling in this case does not mean making money by doing something slightly shady (as Urban Dictionary might suggest).

Anyway, Fitness Friday. I love Fridays, I love fitness, and I also have been absolutely loving my lower body workouts lately. Probably to the point that I’m giving quite a bit more attention to my legs and booty than my upper body…oopsie, sorry bis and tris!

On my walk home from the gym, I could already tell there was going to be a price to pay for today’s leg demolition. Bring on the soreness, baby.

I like to do my workouts with very little rest in between sets. That way I’m getting my cardio in too. But to give muscle groups a little bit of a breather, I’ll do a circuit or rotation of 2-4 exercises at a time. Here is today’s workout. Go show those legs who’s boss.

ROTATION 1:

Bulgarian Split Squat
4 sets of 8 reps on each leg

Step ups
4 sets of 8 reps on each leg

Alternate exercise after each set. Ex: Do 8 bulgarian split squats on left leg, 8 bulgarian split squats on right leg, 8 step ups on left leg, then 8 step ups on right leg. Follow this same format for each rotation.

ROTATION 2:

Stiff Legged Barbell Dead Lift
4 sets of 10 reps

Calf Raises
4 sets of 30 reps (10 toes out, 10 toes in, 10 regular)

Squats
4 sets of 12 reps

ROTATION 3:

Stability Ball Hamstring Curl
4 sets of 15 reps

Wall Sits
4 sets; 60 sec, 55 sec, 50 sec, 45 sec

Squat jumps
4 sets of 10 reps

What are some of your favorite lower body exercises? What motivates you on days you feel like slacking off?

Fitness Friday: The Ultimate Stairmaster Workout

Want to spice up your cardio? Behold, THE STAIRMASTER. My favorite machine in the whole wide world of staying fit! Some love it. Some hate it. Here’s why I’m on the love side of the spectrum:

1. It absolutely torches calories…aka gets the job done fast.
2. It makes me sweat like crazy. For me, this lets me know I am working.
3. It’s always challenging. Personally, it’s easier for me to plateau in other forms of cardio, like running.
4. It requires concentration. You know, so you don’t fall off. Which for me is more fun, than mindlessly ellipticalling.
5. You can change it up. Skip a step, leg kickbacks, side steps, stair sprints, etc.

So here is a workout I designed to beat the monotony and keep your cardio interesting! Don’t spend another day hating your 30-minute treadmill session. Instead, take on a new challenge and embrace the sweat you’re about to endure. If you complete all 3 cycles, this is an 18-minute workout. If you are just beginning, feel free to start out with just one cycle or step at lower intensities.


StairmasterWorkout

Tips and Side Notes:

  • When side stepping, I step my bottom foot in front of the other.
  • Hold lightly onto rails throughout.
  • Stand up tall. Posture is key. You wouldn’t hunch over and lean on handle bars as you go up normal stairs.
  • This isn’t supposed to be easy. If it is, up the steps per minute.
  • If this workout is already too difficult (which is absolutely fine…let’s be honest, I still get winded), there is no shame in starting out slow! Eliminate the kickbacks and side steps if need be. Challenge yourself, but be safe while doing so.

Get ready to get your sweat on! And get excited!! I don’t know about all of you, but I love feeeeeling my blood getting pumped throughout my body. When I can feel my heartbeat in my fingertips…love that. And when my quads are burning, burning, burning…ON FIRE. It’s awesome. I’m weird, it’s fine, no shame.

I’m always looking for more ways to tweak my workouts and continue pushing myself. What other stairmaster variations have you tried?