Whole Wheat Cinnamon Banana Nut Muffins

My go-to breakfast options are whole wheat toast topped with some nut butter (peanut, pecan, almond or cashew) and sliced bananas, oatmeal, Greek yogurt with fruit, and smoothies.  However, some times it is nice to have a baked good.   So, I’ve tried out quite a few muffin recipes and have been combining what I (and my family) liked about each to come up with my own perfect little muffin.  As you will see, it is all real food.  The only sweetener is the banana and the maple syrup, the flour is whole wheat, and there are no yucky oils.

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Still Rising and Shining

You may have seen my real food breakfast post.  If you didn’t, you can check it out here.  I’ve been so impressed by the pumpkin spelt muffins from that post.  Not only are they are easy to make, delicious, and nutritious (use spelt flour and are sweetened only with honey), they taste just as good thawed from the freezer weeks later.  I can’t tell you how nice it is to have homemade baked goods only a quick defrost away.  It totally removes any need for the processed junk – even on your busiest day.  So long Starbucks drive-thru pumpkin bread and lemon loaf.  

I recently set out to find some other muffin recipes using spelt flour.  Read on for the delicious recipe I found (and modified) for Spelt and Oat Banana Muffins.  Seriously y’all, I had to close my eyes when I bit in to this muffin for the first time it was that good. 

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Rising and Shining

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.  But, at least in our home, it was often the most hurried and overlooked.  Lately, however, I’ve been pretty proud of the choices we’ve been making for breakfast.

Read on for three real food* weekday breakfasts that have been in heavy rotation here at the Wolf Den over the past two months.  And if you are feeling a little more ambitious, check out the real food weekend breakfast ideas at the end of the post.

*Real food is food that is in its natural state or is minimally processed, has no added sugar, and has a very small list of ingredients.

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Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker

I’ve always thought of slow cooker meals as being unhealthy.  It didn’t help that the only slow cooker cookbook I had seemed to think that nothing can come out of the contraption without first being slathered in cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup.  You’d seriously think Campbell’s was a secret sponsor of all slow cookers.  Moreover, the first recipes that come up on Pinterest when you type in slow cooker or crock pot are of the cream-of-whatever-variety.   So you can imagine my surprise when my 100 Days of Real Food: Fast and Fabulous cookbook had quite a few slow cooker recipes.

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A Week of Menu Planning from 100 Days of Real Food

We’ve been loving our 100 Days of Real Food cookbooks here at the Wolf Den.  I’ve made countless recipes from them, but the week of 1/30 is the first week I am setting out to cook almost every single meal from them.

The plan below contemplates two grocery trips — one on Saturday morning and one on Wednesday morning.

When I am able to make it to the grocery store definitely dictates the order of my dishes.  For example, I am doing fish tacos on Wednesday night because I know my fish will be fresh (or as fresh as it can be when I am getting it from the grocery store) from that day’s trip to Whole Foods after B’s ballet class.  I wouldn’t try fish tacos on Tuesday, because my fish would be four days old at that point.  Yuck.  As I get further away from my most recent shopping trip, my dishes become more and more vegetarian.

Other things that influence what I’ve picked for a given day is what day it is.  I always like to limit what I have to cook on Fridays, and I try to make a bigger more exciting breakfast on either Saturday or Sunday.  We also do freshly squeezed OJ or grapefruit juice on whatever day we have our bigger breakfast.

Also, when I can, I try to budget in some meal prep on the weekends when T is around to help with the girls.  Anything that needs to be done during the week I either try to do it when B is at school and C is napping or when both girls are taking their afternoon naps.  If all else fails, I just cook when its time and don’t do anything ahead of time since none of these recipes require too much prep anyway.

Read on for a more detailed look at one week of menu planning.

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Riced Cauliflower Recipes

So we are a few weeks in to 2017, and we’ve been making a serious effort to cut out processed foods.  If I am being honest, it really hasn’t been that hard.  Good cheese just tastes better than the processed stuff, I actually prefer brown rice to white rice, fruit tastes even sweeter when you haven’t had refined sugar all day long, and I am dropping weight despite having a crazy few weeks which left me with a glass or two of wine in my hand (even on weeknights) and with zero time to exercise.

One of my recent discoveries since we’ve been trying to cut out a lot of the junk is riced cauliflower.  Y’all, I am officially in love.  The secret is that you have to accept it for what it is (a veggie) and can’t look at it as imitation rice (although the best recipes often treat it as rice).  Call me crazy, but I don’t like to think of anything I am eating as a deprived substitute for something else.  Instead, I like to think of it as a delicious alternative.

I promise, riced cauliflower is surprisingly versatile and delicious.  Even my very skeptical husband loves it.  I made it once from scratch, but ever since I found the pre-done riced cauliflower bags in the freezer section of my Whole Foods, I’ve never returned because it can be a bit messy and a little time consuming to make yourself.  I’ve heard you can also find it at Trader Joe’s.

Read on for my simple recipe and for five other recipes I am going to try.

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Cocktail Shaker Iced Coffee

Cocktails for breakfast!  Just kidding.  As I write this and after I’ve made one of these yummy iced coffees, there are two men installing a TV in my bedroom who probably heard my cocktail shaker going at 9:00 am, so I am pretty sure they think I am a little intense . . .

But seriously y’all, this recipe I dreamed up after being inspired by the iced latte at Kale Me Krazy elevates your hum drum iced coffee without any added refined sugars and with a boost of good-for-you ceylon cinnamon.

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The Last Breakfast of 2016: Whole Wheat Waffles

Happy almost 2017 everyone!  Thank you to all of my readers who’ve supported me since I started this blog back in April.  It truly makes me giddy to hear that y’all tried some of my recipes or ordered something off of my gift guide.  It has been so much fun working on this blog during nap time, and I am so excited for where I am going to take this blog in the new year.  Stay tuned for updates.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, my goal for 2017 is to eliminate (as much as possible) processed foods from my family’s diet.  It didn’t occur to me that this meant saying good bye to my husband’s delicious waffles that he grew up eating until he offered to make them this morning to bid a proper goodbye to 2016 breakfasts.

Bless his heart, he set out to make them with whole wheat flour, and it worked!  Y’all – they might even be better than they were with the enriched flour.   I’m not kidding.   Oh, and I almost forgot to mention good bacon and maple syrup and butter are not processed (wink wink).  Throw in some mixed berries and freshly squeezed OJ and coffee, and you have a winner of a breakfast for the whole family.

Credit for the original recipe goes to my father-in-law.  I should also mention this needs to stand at least three hours (but we always mix up a batch before we go to bed).

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Hello 2017, Bye Bye Processed Foods

I hope that everyone is enjoying the Holidays!  In sharp contrast to my prior post (which included Velveeta laden macaroni and cheese), this post is all about saying Hello to 2017 and Bye Bye to processed foods (and hopefully my remaining baby weight).

This year I asked Santa for the cookbook 100 Days of Real Food: Fast & Fabulous by Lisa Leake.  I had seen a few people buzzing about it on Instagram and thought it might be a nice addition to my ever-expanding cookbook shelf.  Lucky me, I got the book on Christmas (thanks Mom), and within 36 hours of unwrapping it, I had already made four recipes (and am planning on making four more this week).

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The Best Baked Macaroni & Cheese (and a look at what else will be on our Christmas Eve table this year)

I have always been a huge macaroni and cheese fan, so of course it makes its way to our Christmas table (especially now that I have a toddler who shares my adoration of all things cheesy and carby).  We usually make a ham at Christmas, and is there a more perfect match for ham?

Read on for my recipe for our holiday macaroni and cheese.  I have been perfecting it over the years, and I promise it will not let you down.  The secret is in the blend of the five cheeses — and Velveeta (yes, liquid gold) is one of them.  No matter how hard some may try, you simply cannot have a deliciously creamy mac and cheese without at least some Velveeta.  You just can’t.

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