My (Un) Plan and Pumpkin Coconut Butter Pancakes

by Sara on August 29, 2012

I’m a rebel.

Yesterday morning I added peppermint extract to my pumpkin pancakes.

Who does that?

Oh, just rebels looking to have some fun in the kitchen.

And girls who haven’t yet had their coffee.

I probably fall into both categories, but in this case, I think the latter was at play. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Never ever try making pumpkin pancakes before drinking coffee.ย Ever.ย  Mistakes are bound to happen.

Sometimes these mistakes result in wonderful new flavor discoveries. But let me assure you, pumpkin + peppermint do not a happy pancake make. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thank goodness I had 10 cans of pumpkin on my hands, (yes 10–I decided to stock up before the fall rush hits. Last year there was a major shortage, which did not make this pumpkin muffin-loving girl happy), so I was able to griddle up a second batch.

Vanilla extract + pumpkin do a happy couple make.

But the real secret to perfect pumpkin pancakes is coconut butter.

And that’s where the real rebel action came into play yesterday morning.

You see, I’m not supposed to have fat for breakfast. It’s not part of my strength-training eating plan. Fat slows digestion, and if you’ve ever worked out after a meal, you know that undigested food can negatively impact workouts.

But yesterday morning I said to hell with it. I wanted coconut butter on top of my pumpkin pancakes, gosh darnit!

This week, this consistency-loving girl is taking a break from consistency. This week, I’m eating what I want, when I want. And this week, I’m working out the way I want when I want andย ifย I want.

I’m hitting the reset button, and gosh it feels good!

Here’s the thing, I am not training for a fitness competition. Nor am I planning to wear a bikini on stage during the next year.

So who am I doing all of this work for?

I’m doing it for me. I’m doing it for my health. Sweating in the gym every day has no impact on any other person’s health but my own.ย  (Other than the meatheads, who may experience an increased heart rate being in the presence female in the weight room ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  Kidddiiinng)

The thing is, right now—particularly this week—taking care of my health means taking a mental and physical break.

It means enjoying an extra tablespoon of fat on my pancakes.

It means deviating from the plan.

It means throwing in my gym towel early.

It means saying no to”I have to.”

Am I tossing my goals out the window? Heck no. I plan on packing on 10 more pounds of muscle to my frame and know that doing so will require a plan. However before I kick things into high gear, I want to take some time to rejuvenate. I’ve absolutely loved the structure of my strength-training program over the past five months. Loved it. It’s so nice to go to the gym each day with a plan, and leaving with results. But just like most things in life, in order to appreciate the process, I need to take a break from the process once in a while.

So what’s the plan this week before the new plan kicks into gear?

The plan this week is to not have a plan. I’m still lifting, but only when I feel like lifting. I’m eating what I feel like eating.

It’s lots of fun. :) I’ll be back soon with updates!


Today is What I Ate Wednesday, so let’s talk FOOD! Thanks for hosting, Jenn!


You already know what I ate for breakfast. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here’s the recipe.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Coconut Butter Drizzle

Serves 1. Inspired by a recipe from Everyday Paleo.

1/2 cup pumpkin

1 whole egg + 3 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (you could also use cinnamon and add a dash of ginger and nutmeg)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1-2 packets stevia

coconut butter

1. Mix the first three ingredients until well incorporated; sift in the remaining ingredients.

2. Cook on a skillet as you do regular pancakes. Stack, and drizzle with coconut butter.


Post-workout Snack

1 scoop MRM Vanilla Whey Protein (my favorite!), prepared “frosting-style,” + one banana.

See those initials on my banana? I have to lay claim on my stash each week, otherwise the hungry-man roommates will eat them. Thank goodness for Sharpies. ๐Ÿ˜‰


Grilled chicken and arugula salad with tomatoes, onions and goat cheese + a side of Food Should Taste Good sweet potato chips.

Afternoon Snack

Kit’s Organic Chocolate Almond Coconut Bar. I can’t get enough of these!


This one was a treat. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Amy’s Cheese Enchilada Meal.

And I actually mean it. A treat.

Aย frozen meal? I canโ€™t remember the last time I havenโ€™t eaten fresh lean protein + veggies for dinner. Last night I was craving a meatless, somewhat cheesy meal, so in the spirit of truly enjoying a week off from a bodybuilding-type meal plan, I went for it. I’ve been cutting back on my cheese consumption because I don’t tolerate it well, but this was a case of to hell with it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sure, cheese enchiladas from a legit Mexican restaurant may have been prettier or tasted better, but I doubt the ingredients would have been organic, and I also doubt that they would have cost less than $5.

Oh beans, you’re so ugly. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Could this meal be any more un-photogenic? ๐Ÿ˜‰

I enjoyed my enchiladas at Whole Foods, while working on homework (yep, Iโ€™m back in the grind, classes began this week!), alongside a tupperware-packed kale salad with avocado, garlic, tomatoes and onions.

One more look at that CHEESE!

My tummy doesnโ€™t love it, but my taste buds sure do. Such a treat. :)

Bedtime Snack

Nothing new here!

Vanilla casein โ€œfudgeโ€ topped with peanut butter + two pieces of Dove dark chocolate.

Eaten with one of three pink gelato spoons I snagged from Dolcezza last Friday. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Small, colorful spoons make eating more fun. Am I right?

ย HUGS!!

Questions for you:

If you follow a weight-lifting program and/or meal plan (strict or loose), what does it look like? Do you ever take breaks?

Do you make it a point to eat lean protein at every meal? Whatโ€™s one meal you love, but rarely eat?

Tell me about your ultimate dream stack of pancakes!

I think mine would be banana nut pancakes topped with peanut butter, coconut butter and macadamia nuts!

  • Jessiejoshua21

    Girlll those pancakes look delicious!! Like so delicious, I’m about to hop on the next flight outta here & be waiting on your doorstop for you to make me some :).

  • Jemma Andrew

    Those pancakes look insane, so yum!

  • Tara @ Sweat like a Pig

    I love this <3 I'm so glad you're taking a break – sometimes you just need to take some time off from eating perfectly and training hard. I was going to tell you to take a break anyway, because it's been a while since your last. You would actually benefit from a full week away from the gym, I think. And the occasional fat for breakfast will not kill you ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Kat

    I’m so proud of you for thinking rationally and making such a reasonable decision! I know it’s hard to do what’s best for you sometimes,but trust me,you deserve it. :)
    As always,I love your eats – and yes,small,colorful spoons make everything better. Especially when they’re pink. <3

  • Khushboo

    Hahah those are some gorgeous pancakes but that combo doesnโ€™t sound good at allโ€ฆsorry for the brutal honesty:)! Peppermint should only be paired with chocolate!

    More seriously though, I absolutely love this post, Sara! So glad you are listening to your body and doing what seems right NOW! And I have no doubt that this mental/physical break will reap insane amounts of benefits once you revert back to your plan. For the past 3 months, I was following a set routine with my personal trainer and as much as I loved it, I could feel myself getting burned out. Luckily my London trip came along at the perfect timing- although I was working out there, it was SO nice to wake up and do whatever I felt likeโ€ฆeven if it just meant going for a walk in the park! I got back to the gym on Friday and I am back in my workout part is that I remember why I loved working out with my trainer and fortunately I didn’t lose much strength at all!

  • Bec – Half Baked

    Ahhhh your fudge looks fantastic. And those pancakes!! Wow – coconut butter drizzle? YUM. Also, congrats on listening to your body! That’s fantastic news – I’ve been trying to do that lately too, though not as successfully as you! haha. Ultimate pancakes?? Banana, with chocolate chip pancakes, topped with strawberries, melted chocolate and greek yoghurt. Yeah, not healthy.

  • Alexandra

    It’s great you’re listening to YOUR body and doing what’s right for YOU!! That’s a huge step in the right direction my friend, I admire you so much! And I also admire you for makin those legit pancakes– MUST HAVE NOW haha Anything with pumpkin and coconut butta make my heart pitter patter :)
    My dream pancake stack hmmmm….probably pumpkin coconut flour pancakes topped with sunflowerseed butter and strawberries!

  • Danielle

    enjoy your week off! Sometimes I find they’re just necessary! I aim to eat for fat loss/muslce gain the majority of the time but sometimes you just have to go for it! I love the pumpkin pancake recipe! Can’t wait to try that! I bet they’re amazing with coconut butter on top! I just discovered how amazing coconut butter is and now I want it on everything!

  • Amanda @ .running with spoons.

    Great job for listening to what your body wants, Sara. I think the biggest problem with following any sort of plan is that it makes us ignore the signals that our own body is giving us… and our body knows what it needs better than any plan does. I used to be really, really strict about following specific meal/exercise plans, but I got so fed up with them after a while because I felt like I was constantly trying to CONVINCE myself that what I was doing was good for me, when in reality it didn’t really feel that way. Like you said, we’re not in any fitness competitions or doing this for any specific reason, other than to satisfy… what exactly? For me it was definitely an unhealthy obsession, and I eventually got frustrated enough with it to scrap the plan and throw in the towel. And the result? Feel better than ever :) Plans may provide security, structure, and comfort, but I’d have to say that nothing feels better than the freedom that comes with listening to your own body.

    Happy Wednesday, love!

  • Gothextramileblog

    I have to start off by saying that coconut butter is always the answer. And it is always a great decision ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I’m so glad you are doing what you want! I think you can absolutely still pack on 10 lbs of muscle while enjoying yourself and listening to your body. You are awesome, girl! Love ya!

  • Caroline

    I love that we’re about to have excuses to make everything with pumpkin! I love cooking with pumpkin, and baking of course! I love your “to hell with it” sort of break this week – do what you want and do it for you! I haven’t had my chile con queso since I got back to Texas and I’m craving it like crazy – I’ll have to go out to dinner and get it this weekend for sure :)

  • julie!

    oh my god! i LOVE your new layout?? did i miss the big announcement? hahaha it’s super cute & so you mama

    i’ve always wanted to try coconut butter but it’s just so damn expensive! i can’t spend $11 on it fully knowing i probably won’t use it as much as i think i would haha. and look at you combining xmas & thanksgiving in one pancake! love it.

    yesterday deej put a squirt of sf cinnamon dolce in her passion iced tea at starbucks and it tasted like a tropical coconut dream! who would have thought!?


  • Rach

    Oh girl, those pancakes look delicious!

  • Caitlin Croswell

    Go you for being OK with deviating from your plan! I mean, those pancakes are just too amazing to pass up, right? I am intrigued by the peppermint/pumpkin combo. Christmas in October, anyone?
    I have always wanted to try the IHOP Cheesecake pancakes but I feel like I’d feel like DEATH after eating them. Definitely something I should have sometime as a dinner AND dessert combo haha because there’d be no chance of me functioning the rest of the day after eating them. Even IHOP’s “healthier” options have been known to put me into a carb coma in the past!
    I always try to keep in mind that I am going to the gym for ME, I am rarely seen in a bathing suit or anything like that, so I shouldn’t feel so darn guilty if I want to indulge in a dessert or leave the gym after a 30 minute workout as opposed to 60 minutes. After all, it’s about mental health too!

  • Sarah

    I just did exactly the same thing last week – I only worked out three times instead of my usual 5 or 6, and I ate peanut butter straight from the jar on multiple occasions. I felt guilty at times, but my body and my brain were telling me they needed a break from my strict training schedule. I’m happy to say it really worked; I’m back in the gym this week, and I’ve hit PRs on both the bench press and squats. I think you’ll really benefit from giving yourself a break!

  • Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola

    I can’t tell you how quickly my fingers hit the “Pin it” button- my goodness those pancakes look delicious! I’ve never had paleo pancakes without any grains in them, do they taste like regular pancakes? Or are they more eggy? Good for you for taking the week off- it sounds like you are still eating some great, healthy things but it’s important to give yourself a break in all areas too- that’s truly living! And I’ve never had that Amys meal, but I’ve had some of her other enchiladas and they are so good! And I need to pick up some casein so I can make your fudge- yum! My dream pancakes would be filled and topped with coconut and chocolate chips… kind of like an almond joy bar.. yum! (In college my roommate and I were known to throw some m&ms into our pancakes when we were hungover haha) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Min

    You ARE a rebel! And I love it! What I also love is your new plan for the week! We all deserve to be kinder to our souls. No plan and going with what your heart desires sound like a brilliant idea to me! I always eat a handful of almonds before working out…oops.. no wonder I don’t feel too good haha. I try to eat as much lean protein as I possibly can, but with school and everything else that I’m dealing with, I’m taking in a lot of protein powder. Sigh…I LOVE steak! I don’t eat it nearly enough. Hope you have a great day! 2nd day of school right?

  • Sloane

    Love, love, love this post!! I’m so glad you’re taking a little mental and physical break–we all need that every once in a while! Those pancakes do sound delicious (the ones with vanilla extract, obviously!) I still have yet to try coconut butter–maybe soon though! Keep up the amazing attitude, love!

  • Brooke @ Pretty In Protein

    Those pancakes look so good, just got added to my post whole30 list <3

  • Carrie @ Lift Eat Repeat

    Call me crazy, but I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin. I actually really like the taste of Oatmeal Protein Pancakes make with oats, egg whites, vanilla or chocolate protein, cinnamon and powder. I will either top them with cinnamon of all natty peanut butter.

    Yes- I do follow a weight lifting plan- but you prob already knew that! haha I try to lift 5-6 days a week. In the summer is has been more like 5 with traveling and such. The hubs and I just threw in a sprint day each week as well so it’s like 2 legs days each week- killer! I’m also planning on doing shoulders 2-3 times per week – I call it “Operation Shoulders” My shoulders are my weakest feature and hopefully they will finally grow this fall!!

    One meal I love it Chicken Fett Alfredo- love the stuff! I also adore lasagna, but omg those 2 meals are not the best nutrition wise. I’m kinda like you- I don’t eat cheese, like ever.

    Since it was my birthday this week the hubby and I and another couple are going to Tucanos tomorrow- it’s a Brazillian style restaurant. They serve meat off big skewers and they have this pineapple that is amazing! Anyways, you get a free meal on your birthday, and since my friend’s is 2 days before mine we always go together every year.

  • Lisa

    I can’t imagine pumpkin and peppermint together ha ha. You are quite the rebel.
    Um we are twins right now, except I have eleven. Yep 11 cans of pumpkin right now. Yikes?
    And obviously coconut butter makes everything delicious. I’ve been eating my beloved coconut butter with kabocha squash. SO good!! I love that stuff, it tastes like icing.
    Yay for being a rebel!! If you want fats on your breakfast, do that up! Screw what a “plan” tells you.
    We are totally on the same page. I am increasing my calories a ton! Doing what is right for me, not what a “calorie calculator” says is right for me (because let’s face it, that is a sad amount), and taking it easier on the workouts. I’m not competing either and while I love getting my sweat on I don’t need to kill myself over it and risk my health for a workout.
    I’m proud of you for working out for you and your health!
    Everyone needs a break and I am seriously SO glad you are doing this. I have to tell you when we met in Boston I was SO excited, but also was a little taken a back because you are still quite thin, I really hope you don’t take this in a bad way at all, because I care about you so much, and I know you have improved a great deal!! And you clearly know what you want with putting on more muscles, but to also needing to take a break to relax.
    I needed to see this post as well, because sometimes I rely on a plan too much when life shouldn’t be a schedule or a plan. Yay for you! I am really, really happy to hear all of this lady!
    Okay, that pumpkin pancake recipe sounds divine!! Holy deliciousness. Well, all your foods look really good actually ha ha. Can I just come and eat with you?;) That would be fun times.
    I swear my comments are always way too long when I leave them on your posts. Oopsy! Love you!!!xox

  • Lindsay

    Oh man those pumpkin pancakes seriously look amazing. As soon as I saw the first picture I was pretty hooked. I’m addicted to pumpkin. It is quite scary actually. I probably should go get some therapy for it, but oh well.

    I love those amy meals, especially when they have the good gluten free kind. I don’t know what I would do without my quick frozen meals occasionally.

  • Meg

    SIS! It is like I was the one who wrote this post!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT THE HECK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stealing my words ๐Ÿ˜‰ Or are we juuuuust that twinish? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think we are that twinish ๐Ÿ˜€ You wouldn’t steal my words ๐Ÿ˜‰ HAHAHA!

    Goodness me I love my rebel of a sister! This post made me laugh so hard!!!!!!!!! You are an amazing writer :) Your blog is so much fun to read and it is definitely a favourite of mine, but it has so much more meaning now that I ACTUALLY know you :) Love you sis!

    – You know how I currently feel about the meal plan/training program… ๐Ÿ˜‰ So I don’t need to answer that I don’t think??

    – I definitely eat meat/protein at every meal, but a NON protein containing meal that I love and rarely eat is….. ice cream? HA ok, totally not a meal, but hey!

    – my ultimate dream stack of pancakes would have lots of blueberries or raspberries. LOTS OF THEM. I always enjoy my chocolate pancakes, so that is what flavour they would probably be however, I did always want to try making ricotta pancakes :) Maybe I should be a rebe and do that soon!

    Love you

  • Chelsea A

    You have such an awesome attitude Sara! It’s so good that you know that it’s okay to take breaks and do what’s right for YOU instead of following a training plan exactly as written just because it’s what you’re “supposed” to do. Besides, what is life without coconut butter on pancakes, right? Those look seriously amazing. I’ve pinned that recipe to try! ๐Ÿ˜€

    I know it’s a good idea to eat lean protein at every meal, but I don’t. I like meatless pastas and veggie sandwiches and meatless pizzas too much to not eat them! But I always try to balance out a low protein meal with a higher protein meal at another point during the day!

    My ideal pancake stack would be banana pancakes topped with soy nut butter, maple syrup, more banana, blueberries and dried coconut.

    Enjoy your week off from your plan girl! xoxoxo

  • Heather Waxman

    Ahhh Sarah, I LOVE THIS POST. You’re amazing! Listening to that beautiful bod pod and that stunning mind is NUMERO UNO. If this is what you want, DO IT UP, girl! :-)

    I’m loosely following a strength training plan at home. I created the workouts myself and I’m loving seeing positive changes but I don’t take it too seriously. I’d love to put on some muscle because I love that toned, strong look (so healthy!) but my body has a REALLY hard time putting on muscle. Whatevs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    THOSE PANCAKES! Ahh. They look divine, girl. My ideal pancakes would be pumpkin pancakes topped with peanut butter frosting. Whoops I just drooled in my lap. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily

    I want every single thing you ate! It all looks SO amazing and as soon as I get my hands on some pumpkin, I’m making those pancakes!

  • Sally

    So glad you’re enjoying your break from routine! I can’t believe I didn’t get to try those pumpkin pancakes when you were home. Next time! I’m glad you stocked up! As you already know, I just ate the same Amy’s enchilada meal…so yummy! My favorite stack of pancakes will always be Gramma’s Swedish pancakes with real maple syrup of course. But the banana ones you made me were pretty darn good. I need to try them with coconut butter and my favorite macadamia nuts!

  • Taylor

    Yum! Definitely trying those pumpkin pancakes in the very near future! Looks like the perfect fall breakfast :)

  • Taylor

    Yum! Definitely trying those pumpkin pancakes in the very near future! Looks like the perfect fall breakfast :)

  • Tinaturner

    What is this Fitfluential badge I see on so many eating disorder sufferer’s pages? What a crock. You girls need different hobbies or something!

  • Milkandspoon

    Just found your blog! Love it! I try to eat lean protein at least at every meal, and yes I also follow a weight lifting programme..apart from at my gym it seems im the only girl thats ever in the weights section!

  • karinacocina17

    yay! congrats to your un-plan! enjoy the freedom!….as soon as I crack open my first can of pumpkin I will be making these pancakes (prob topped with regular butter though since I don’t have coconut butter :( )

  • Trixie

    That “fudge” looks awesome! Do you have the recipe posted here?

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