This past weekend was the first weekend that it actually felt like Fall here in St. Louis.  Temps dropped from close to 100 degrees during the week to mid-70s.  The mornings were cool enough to enjoy a cup of coffee on the back porch in a sweatshirt and the days allowed for the windows to be open to let in the fresh air.  And for me, Fall means the return of THE PUMPKIN.  There is just something about the warmth and comfort of that naturally rich and sweet earthy taste. Coupled with the cooling temperatures, pumpkin feels like a right of passage before our winter hibernation.

And hey, from an ancestral health standpoint, this is natural and A-OK. Back before we all had deep freezers and stocked pantries, our ancestors would naturally gravitate to these squashes and autumn fruits. The glucose from these fruits would signal the body to store fat in preparation for a harsh winter.  But unfortunately, most of us do not need to worry about enduring these harsh winters yet we still indulge in fall carb loading of Pumpkin Spiced “insert food here.”

From Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, M-n-Ms, Coffee, and just about every pastry in the world, one could say Pumpkin Spice is the official flavor of autumn.  But when one goes down the path of real foods, the lure of pumpkin spice comes with visions of artificial flavoring, dyes, scary GMO grains, and a plethora of sugar.  So what’s a grain free, (almost) dairy free, recovering sugar addict, pumpkin loving girl to do?
Enter Diane Sanfilipo and her Pumpkin Pancakes.  Diane is the author of Practical Paleo, my very favorite Paleo book.  Her recipes are a collection of whole food masterpieces and I’ve yet to find something I didn’t enjoy.  If you are looking for something new and different, this book is a great investment!

So anyway, this weekend I crafted her Pumpkin Pancakes (really- a very easy recipe).  Every time I make these, I can’t help but marvel at how simple the ingredients are.  The taste of pumpkin truly does not need a whole lot of added flavors to satisfy your cravings.  It’s just simply beautiful. 

Here is my favorite thing about this recipe…  it calls for a half a can of pumpkin.  Since I’m always looking for a way to work ahead and set my week up for success, I use the whole can, double the batch, and use these babies for breakfast or post workout carb source.  
In case you missed it, the recipe is linked above, and I’ll link it again here.  Try it out and I promise you that you won’t be sorry!
In honor of the unofficial flavor of Autumn, what are your favorite Pumpkin recipes?  Have you found any that eliminate grains, sugars, or dairy and maintain that wonderful pumpkin flavor?

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