Paleo Pumpkin Spice Muffins

This Paleo Pumpkin Spice Muffin recipe was sponsored by Puritan's Pride.

It’s that time of year again. All things pumpkin spice season! 

Cooler weather, kids are back in school, and the leaves are changing to beautiful shades of yellow, red, and orange. There is just something about fall that makes me want to bake up a storm. Lately I find myself wanting to bake all the pumpkin. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin… It’s not only delicious, but it’s also a great source of Vitamin A!

This Paleo Pumpkin Spice Muffin recipe is grain-free and makes a great grab-and-go breakfast option or anytime snack.

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Muffins


2 Eggs
1 Cup canned Organic Pumpkin
¼ Cup Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon gently melted Organic ExtraVirgin Coconut Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Almond Flour (you’ll want a more powdery almond flour, not a grainy almond meal for these)
¼ Cup Arrowroot Flour
½ teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
¼ teaspoon Ground Cloves
½ teaspoon Baking Soda
½ teaspoon Aluminum-Free Baking Powder
Pinch Sea Salt


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Beat the eggs with a hand mixer. Add in the pumpkin, maple syrup, gently melted coconut oil, and vanilla. Mix on low until combined. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low until smooth, about a minute.

Line your muffin pan with paper liners and fill each muffin cup about ¾ full with batter. Bake them for 22 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Makes 10 to 12 muffins.

Happy pumpkin spice season, I hope you enjoy them!

Full Review: Jillian Michaels Hot Body, Healthy Mommy

*This post contains affiliate links. I make a small commission if you purchase items by clicking these links. It costs you no more.

It's no secret that I love Jillian Michaels' workouts. I love the toughness, I love the way her workouts are structured, and I love the results I get from them. When I heard that Jillian has finally come out with a postpartum fitness DVD I could not get my hands on it fast enough!

I was a bit apprehensive at the same time though. How in the world would Jillian's badass style gel with a body after baby type DVD? I'm so used to tough Jillian stuff that I really had no idea what to expect with this. How could this work? Let's just say I was pleasantly surprised.

I was sent a copy of Jillian Michaels Hot Body, Healthy Mommy for review purposes.
As always opinions are 100% honest and my own.

OK, first what exactly is it...

Jillian Michaels Hot Body Healthy Mommyis a postpartum workout DVD that was developed alongside pregnancy and post-pregnancy workout expert Andrea Orbeck. The DVD is divided into 3 separate workouts:
  1. Upper Body- Arms, Chest, and Back.
  2. Lower Body- Bund and Thighs.
  3. Core.

Each workout is approximately 20 minutes long with a warm-up and cool-down section. They are set up in circuits in typical Jillian style. Each workout contains 3 circuits that are repeated twice each. In the upper and lower body portions you will do 2 body-weight or dumbbell moves, a no-impact cardio move, and then 2 more strength moves. Repeat. For example, with workout 1 you will warm up, then do walkout push-ups on your knees, tri-cep dips, modified burpees "baby burpees", moving bridge with lat pull to chest press, static bridge with chest fly to head-banger and then repeat for circuit 1 and move on to circuit 2, etc.

For these workouts you will need: 

  • A set of dumbbells to suit your ability level (they demonstrate with 3, 5, and 8 pound weights), 
  • Possibly a mat if you're working out on a hard surface.

Jillian recommends following the modifier and working up to the regular moves as needed. She also recommends doing these workouts once a week each and working up to twice a week each. Then, transitioning back to your pre-pregnancy favorite workouts as you are able to master these workouts.

My thoughts

This workout is not like any other Jillian workoutJillian Michaels Hot Body Healthy Mommyis appropriately a much softer, gentler Jillian than we've seen in the past. Not just the moves, but the presentation and attitude as well. At the same time it still manages to stick to the format and general feel that we know and love from previous Jillian's workouts.

I won't beat around the bush, I kind of love it. Honestly, I wish I'd had this at my 6-week mark post baby number 4! 

I love that Hot Body, Healthy Mommy is structured like the Jillian workouts I love, but tailored for me and my post-baby body.

The highlights for me:
  1. The kinder, softer approach Jillian takes. 
  2. It's the same style Jillian workout I'm used to, but built specifically for a postpartum body.
  3. Great modifiers/modifications shown for all levels of postpartum fitness.
  4. Throughout the DVD Jillian discusses special considerations for c-sections and diastasis recti, and she gives great from instruction specifically targeted for postpartum bodies.
My favorite part is when Jillian says:

"I want you to carve out this's important that right now, not only do you learn how to incorporate balance with regards to your fitness, but you learn to incorporate a little bit of balance in your life. You matter. Your health matters. When you're strong you'll be the strongest, best mom possible."

Yes! That.

I highly recommend this workout. Whether your baby is 6 weeks old or 16 years old, if you are struggling to get your fitness (and your body) back post-baby, Hot Body Healthy Mommyis a great place to start!

Other Jillian Reviews you may enjoy:

Body Revolution

Killer Buns and Thighs


Pumpkin Pie Cream Cheese Pancakes

I go back and forth with low carb. It does seem like I feel better when I eat lower carb and I definitely have good progress with weight loss when I eat that way, but it can be a challenge to stick with. Well, I'm back to low carb this fall and finding new ways to stick with it!

Ways such as low carb pancakes. Say what what? Yes. Low carb pumpkin pancakes no less. And? They're pretty darned yummy...

Whether you're seriously bored on your egg fast or just a low carb or keto style eater these Pumpkin Pie Cream Cheese Pancakes are for you! With only 5 grams of carbs for the ENTIRE RECIPE they'll fit nicely in your plan. They're a quick and super easy breakfast option. Plus, yes, they're delicious! And oh so appropriate for pumpkin spice season. Oh, who am I kidding, I eat them year-round.

This recipe makes 3 or 4 decent sized pancakes and comes in at 345 calories according to my tracking in My Fitness Pal. I generally eat the whole thing and double the batch if hubby wants some too (or if I'm just really freaking hungry, sorry not sorry). It easily doubles or triples or feed however many you'd like.

For this recipe you'll need:

A mixing bowl (I like to use a large glass measuring cupto easily pour the batter in the skillet), a hand mixer, measuring spoons, and a small non-stick skillet (I love my Non-Stick Ceramic Skillet).

2 eggs
2 oz cream cheese
2 tsp Farmer's Market Foods Organic Canned Pumpkin
1 Packet stevia or other low carb sweetener (I used Truvia)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of cloves
pinch of nutmeg
ghee for the skillet

Add all of the ingredients to your mixing bowl and blend well with your hand mixer on medium. The batter should be smooth with no bits of cream cheese visible (though I've been impatient and made them this way and it was fine, just with bits of cream cheese in the finished pancakes obviously). Preheat your non-stick skillet to medium-low (3 on my stove top) and add a little ghee. Pour just enough batter into your skillet to cover the bottom. Wait until bubbles appear and pancake appears set. Flip. Cook until done, about 30-60 seconds.

And, yum!

The cream cheese will blend better if it is softened. You can either just let it sit on the counter for a bit or soften it in the microwave for 30ish seconds. Also, the batter will be very runny. 

These low carb pancakes are delicious. In describing them I'd say maybe a tad bit crepe-like in consistency. Definitely not the consistency of a traditional wheat flour pancake, but an amazing treat when you're egg-fasting, low carb, or keto!

Let me know if you try them!

#WIDN Weight-Loss Edition

Hey guys! Long time no check-in. Quite honestly, I wasn't having much progress with my weight loss efforts and didn't have anything to say.

However, 5 weeks back I took a hard look at what I was doing (not just what I thought I was doing; it's not always the same). What was working. What wasn't. What had worked in the past. And, formulated a new plan.

Happily, I can say I've lost 7 pounds in that 5 weeks!

In the past I would have been pissed at that number for not being 'enough', but I'm pretty happy with ANY progress right now (did I mention Baby O will be 3 next month?!). Crazy enough, it was 4 pounds the first week and then 3 pounds another week. With nothing in the other weeks. Strange, but hey, I'll take it.

So, what have I found that is working for me right now?

Well, first I am back to food prepping pretty much everything I eat. Instead of just prepping ingredients and things for the family as a whole like I discuss in this post, I am prepping my entire meals. On the weekend I prepare 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 7 dinners. I also prep boiled eggs for a snack and make a smoothie fresh each day. I weigh and measure the whole deal and track it all in My Fitness Pal. I'm working on a post with that exact meal plan, so stay tuned. 

In that meal plan I am shooting for about 1500 calories, around 50 grams of carbs, and a 120ish grams of protein. Now, that is just what works for me. Everyone is different, but I've had a lot of people ask for the specific numbers lately, so there ya go.

Generally, I don't prep every single thing I eat, but I'm super busy right now and food prep keeps me on track. Otherwise I wind up staring at the fridge and grabbing whatever is quick. No bueno.

The second thing I'm doing is, as I've mentioned before, trying to up my overall daily movement. Thankfully with all the garden work to do right now that's not very hard. One day I had 18000+ steps! That's quite an increase for me. I'm still struggling on rainy, bad weather days, but overall doing much better.

And that's actually it for the last 5 weeks...

Honestly, my workouts have been practically non-existent with all the other (physical) work going on in the garden. I've been hauling wheelbarrows of dirt, digging holes in super rocky soil, and basically working my tail off!

However, now that I feel I have a handle on my eating and overall activity I want to add back in structured workouts. I'm working on a new (Jillian-filled, you knew that was coming right?) workout calendar and I'll share that soon.

Oh yes, and supplements. People always ask and I forget to mention. Really, I'm not doing a lot of supplements right now. In my daily smoothie I add SFH Pure Whey Protein Powder (mad-love the vanilla). I added back in this cold pressed fish oil and this collagen. That's pretty much it for supps right now.

So, that's what is working for me. I'll keep you posted on how adding consistent workouts back goes!

What's working (or not working) for you right now?!

Dear Readers, 
I have decided to close comments on this post and future posts here on FitViews. I find that people prefer to connect/chat with me on Instagram, Twitter, etc (all my social links are in the sidebar!) and that works best for me too. See you there!

Succeeding With Paleo: Weekly Food Prep

This post is sponsored by Puritan's Pride.

Eating paleo can definitely present some challenges. The main one being time. As a whole food, real food, non-processed way of eating it can require more cooking and food preparation. It’s not as easy to run through a drive-thru, throw a frozen dinner in the microwave, or grab a pastry on the way to work. We’re all busy, but whether it’s one person or the entire family this can all be solved with just a bit of extra prep and planning.

An hour or two on Sunday afternoon devoted to food prep can be priceless in succeeding with paleo. Taking time for weekly food prep will set you up for success and help you avoid reaching for junk food just because it’s quick and easy. Instead, you’ll have a variety of paleo options at the ready!

Some people prep entire meals for the week and place them in containers ready to grab and go. If you’re on the go a lot, or the only member in your family that is paleo, this is a great idea. Others may prep ingredients to have ready for use throughout the week. For example: chopping veggies, baking chicken breasts, and boiling eggs. I do a combination of the two. I prep ingredients and also make some complete dishes, especially breakfasts. There are many ways to handle your weekly food prep, try them out and see what works best for you!

If you have kids I highly recommend getting them involved on your food prep days. Food prep days can be fun! There are lots of ways they can help out. Have them measure out ingredients, stir or mix, and even place things in containers or baggies for storage. My kids love to the crack eggs for me (and I only occasionally have to fish out a little shell). I have found that kids are more likely to eat healthy foods if they help prepare them.

Foods to prepare on your weekly food prep day:

Snacks. Paleo snacking is a breeze when you prep in advance! Boil eggs, make trail mix, pre-portion nuts, chop fresh veggies and fruits, or make Paleo energy balls. Also, be sure to check out Puritan Pride’s Paleo section. They have a ton of great Paleo-friendly snack options.

Smoothie Ingredients. Wash and chop (and freeze as I do or refrigerate) fruit and wash fresh greens for quick and easy smoothies throughout the week. 

Breakfast. Breakfast can be the toughest meal of the day as we’re rushing around in the mornings. Try making a breakfast quiche, Paleo bread, or paleo muffins to make your mornings less stressful. If I know it's going to be a really busy week I sometimes make a double or triple batch of my paleo waffles to reheat. The kids love them.

Chicken Breast. Bake, broil, or grill chicken breasts for a quick and easy protein source throughout the week. Use them in chicken salad, with a side of steamed vegetables, or to top a green salad. They can even make a great breakfast in a pinch!

 Paleo Mayo. The majority of mayo you buy at the market is not Paleo-friendly. Try whipping up a batch of your own. Don’t be intimidated, it really is quick and easy.

Focus on things you use most during the week and that will save you time. The possibilities are endless! My best advice for succeeding with paleo is meal plan and food prep. Always. You'll be amazed how just a little planning and prep can make living paleo a breeze.

Easy Turkey Taco Salad

This recipe post is sponsored by Puritan's Pride.

My family has always loved taco salad. Personally, I'm a big fan because it’s super easy to throw together. It's a go-to weeknight meal for me. My kids love it because it’s just plain good! Win-win.

Traditional taco salad recipes however include a lot of ingredients that aren’t exactly on my nice list. Gone are the days of busting out a bag of chips and cheesy salsa dip to go with a taco salad! Let's be honest, it was barely salad. 

This lightened-up, paleo-friendly version has become a weekly staple on my menu plan. 

Easy Paleo Turkey Taco Salad

2 lbs ground turkey
2 teaspoons Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Ground Turmeric
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
½ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 bunch green butter lettuce, chopped
1 small bunch red leaf lettuce, chopped
2 handfuls baby spinach
1 10 oz container of grape tomatoes, sliced
2 avocados, diced
Chunky salsa to serve

Preheat your skillet to just above medium heat. Add the ground turkey and brown until cooked through. Add in the seasonings and stir well.

In a large salad bowl layer the butter lettuce, red leaf lettuce, baby spinach, ground turkey, and grape tomatoes.

Serve with salsa and diced avocado.

Try serving this topped with sliced black olives (my kids love it that way) or, if you do dairy, try a sprinkle of your favorite shredded cheese.

Try it! It’s so good; I promise you won’t miss the chips.

A Journey Back to Running

The only part I loved about living in a city.
So many great places to run in Idaho Falls!
Oh, where to start... at the beginning I suppose.

I remember loving to run when I was a child. Running for the sheer joy of it. Running fast, running hard. Giggling, lungs burning, legs and arms flying. Just running to run.

Along came high school. I was on the track team, but I did shot and disc. I didn't think I was the "runner type". Oh high school, the nonsense you teach us.

Fast forward many years of not running to 30. 30 scared the crap out of me. I wasn't where I wanted to be in life. At. All. I started running because I wanted to lose weight. Running burned calories, period.

But then, a funny thing happened: running taught me things about myself. Slowly, steadily, running became more to me than calories burned. Running was my me time, my therapy, my time to burn off all the nonsense. 

I signed up and ran my first 5k. My only goal was to run the entire thing. I did it! As I crossed that finish line I learned something about myself that I'd never known before. I vividly remember having this epiphany: I CAN! 

Running taught me that I could do things, I was capable, I was well able. Who knew? Sadly, not me my whole life.

From that point I was unstoppable in testing out this new found I CAN.

In my running I went straight from a couple of 5k's to signing up for a marathon. Seriously, don't try this at home. It was kind of a fiasco. I had no clue what I was doing, overtrained, ran on an injury, and had a terrible time. BUT I did it. I finished. It did a world of good for me. It changed me. In all areas of my life.

I was hooked. I loved running. I loved who I'd become in no small part due to running.

From there I nursed my hurt hip, got back to running 5ks, and was aiming at a sub-30 minute 5k, but...then I got pregnant with baby #4.

No worries, I kept running through the pregnancy. My last pregnant run was 36 weeks. I was showing signs of pre-term labor and didn't run after that point. Then, the 6 week postpartum rest period...

I haven't gotten my groove back since. Lots of starts and stops. Started training for a 9k, but life got in the way of running it. Started training for a turkey trot, and again I let life get in the way of training. Lots of excuses. Not much progress.

Gorgeous path along the river where I was turkey trot training.
The end of 2015 I drew a line in the sand and decided enough was enough. I was not only missing running, but who I am when I'm running consistently. I miss that I CAN spirit. Somehow since Baby O I've wandered off and lost myself a bit. I think many moms can understand this. It's easy to get lost in taking care of everyone else. In life's busyness. It shows up most glaringly in my weight struggles, but it's deeper than that. Weight is just the outward evidence.

But, like I said, enough is enough.

2016 is my year to not only find my way back to running, but my way back to me. 

I need this. More than I could ever put words to.

My husband is on board to support me however I need and with little kids and our crazy busy life that's a necessity (especially here in Idaho where I have no other family support). And most importantly I'm on board to make my running a priority again.

I'll be sharing my journey back to running here on FitViews (and of course my IG and Twitter). 

Wish me luck! Wait, no, wish me consistent running. ;) ...and possibly for me to find my Garmin charger. Running sans Garmin is totally driving me crazy! Moving problems.

Banana Cinnamon Paleo Waffles

This paleo recipe post is sponsored by Puritan's Pride.
Banana Cinnamon Paleo Waffle Recipe

Breakfast boredom can set in pretty quickly when you’re paleo. It did for me at least. I made scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, and fruit. I made veggie omelets. I made veggie scrambles. I made crust-less quiches. I made mini crust-less quiches. And then? I pretty much didn’t want to see another egg for a while.

I wanted breakfast breads. I wanted pancakes. I wanted waffles! It was definitely time to get creative. So, I got my waffle maker out and began playing with paleo-friendly ingredients. It took quite a few trials (and quite a few non-waffley messes), but I can now make about 10 different versions of a paleo waffle. Well worth the time spent!

My kids love these paleo Banana Cinnamon Waffles. They are delicious and super simple to make.

4 eggs
¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup Organic Raw Cashew Butter
1 medium banana sliced (I find it will blend better if you slice it)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon GroundCinnamon
1 Teaspoon VanillaExtract

Beat the eggs with a hand mixer. Add in remaining ingredients and mix until the entire batter is smooth and there are no big chunks of banana remaining.
Pour the batter into your preheated waffle iron.
Cook according to recommended time for your waffle maker. Waffles should be golden brown and come out of waffle maker easily.
Makes about 6 waffles (depending on the size of your waffle iron).

You can of course top these with the traditional butter and maple syrup, but we love them without it. Try them topped with some sliced bananas and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Add some chopped nuts for some crunch if you’d like. 

YUM! You’ll never be breakfast-bored again.

A New #FitViews21 - 21 Days to Fit Challenge Starts Monday!

A friend on Facebook asked me if I was going to do another #FitViews21. I had intended to do another challenge in January, but time slipped by. NOW seems like a great time!

I don't know about you, but I could use the support and accountability in my workouts.

If you're not familiar with #FitViews21:

They say it takes 21 days to build a habit. Let's build that workout HABIT!!

  • Choose a time of day that works best for you (first thing in the morning is my choice) and workout every day at that same time for 21 daysOf course rest days are important, but in the spirit of building the workout habit still do something at your appointed workout time. Maybe just a walk, a mile with a Leslie Sansone DVD, some gentle yoga, easy stretching... just something. This isn't about perfect workouts; this is about building a habit.
  • Then, share a pic post-workout every day on Instagram! Mention me @KerriOlkjer in the description so I can be sure to see it and use the hashtag #FitViews21. (Pics can be anything workout related. You, your gym, your workout DVD, your running shoes, your HR monitor...)
  • Be sure to comment, support, and encourage others using the hashtag!
There's also a private Facebook group for added support, encouragement, and accountability (or if you just prefer posting your workouts in the group instead of on IG). Friend me and ask to be added to the group (I'm horrible about checking private messages. I don't have the app. Please just post on my wall to be added.) The group is there for whatever you need. Share your workout plan for the day (or the week) and check back in with the group on how well you met your plan. Ask questions. Reach out for support or encouragement. Truly, it's a great group.

This time around I'm going to add something extra: a daily steps goal. If you have a step tracker (or can get one) I encourage you to set a new daily steps goal each week. Share your goal and your actual daily steps on IG or in the FB group. I've come to know that overall activity is SUPER important!

Also, just a note, no selling allowed in the group. I'm not selling anything here (I don't do MLM's) and I want people to feel comfortable in the group. So, please, no selling to group members. At. All.

I know first-hand (and have seen in others) how a little support, encouragement, and accountability can work wonders. Wherever you are in your fitness journey, this challenge is for you. We start Monday, January 25th. Will you join us??

21 Days. 21 Workouts. Let's do this!