Quick & Easy Christmas Cobbler

Christmas Cobbler- CatrinaAtHome.comI’ll be honest.. this recipe is really called DumpCake. I’ve used it for nearly 25 years and it’s a family favorite. But there’s just something about that name that turns folks off.. so I exercised some creative license.. and changed the name. Lol

This dessert is so easy to make, you may feel a little guilty for all the compliments you’re going to get from your people, just for making it. It’s that good. And it’s dang easy.

Ingredients List

1 box of yellow cake mix

1 can of cherry pie filling (20oz)

1 can of crushed pineapple (20oz)

2 sticks of butter (1/2 pound)

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°

Dump the cans of cherry pie filling and crushed pineapple into an ungreased 9×13 pan, mix together well and spread fruit over entire bottom of pan.

Dump entire bag/box of yellow cake mix unto the cherry/pineapple mixture, spread it out evenly.

Cut the two sticks of butter into slices and place on top of cake mix.

(Optional) Chop 1 cup of nuts and spread evenly over the butter slices.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until top is golden brown. (The ideal time for me and my oven seems to be 55 minutes.)

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream (Or just by itself!)

-Store leftovers in fridge (You MAY need an accountability group if you have leftovers, because it will take the strength of Sampson to resist EATING IT ALL. Lol No lie. So… fair warning.)

Enjoy!

Catrina

 

 

 

 

Three Gorgeous Folded Dinner Napkins

The cloth dinner napkin has become not only a necessity on a finely dressed table but a serious contender for top billing as the most eye catching feature. And with its rise in popularity comes the quest for the hostess to find an interesting folding technique.

Only problem is, most folds are overly complicated and more importantly, take up a ton of your precious time. Here are three quick and easy folds for your Christmas/holiday dinner taught in simple, easy-to-follow steps.

 

If you’re looking to add in a little more creativity to your place setting, here’s some inspiration for the “pocket square” fold.

CatrinaAtHome Pocket square fold picks

Create your own picks for the pocket square fold.

Pocket fold napkin by CatrinaAtHome

Ruscus branches for the pocket square fold.

CatrinaAtHome Pocket square fold

Ribbon background for the pocket square fold.

CatrinaAtHome Pocket square fold

Velvet and frosted berries for the pocket square fold.

CatrinaAtHome Pocket square fold

Simple eucalyptus leaves for the pocket square fold.

CatrinaAtHome Pocket square fold

Red velvet leaf and greenery for the pocket square fold.

CatrinaAtHome Pocket square fold

Gingham check and frosted berry pick for the pocket square fold.

Of course, these folded napkins can be made with any napkin you choose! Just coordinate your napkins with your dinner ware and have fun!

If you use one of these folded napkin designs, I would love it if you sent me a photo of your place setting.

Merry Christmas!

Catrina

 

Three Quick and Easy Napkin Folds. CatrinaAtHome.com

 

Easy Peasy Healthy Side Dish.. whoa.

When people start out on a new path to be healthy and fit, one of the first questions I get from them is this, “what can I eat?”
The second question is, “can I still eat this?” But that’s a whole ‘nother post all together. :-)
So, I tell them- eat whole foods. Single ingredient foods (mostly). Foods from an animal, from the ground or from a tree. Then they’re silent for a few seconds, look at me again and ask, “So what exactly can I eat?”
Sigh…
So, below is a video on one option for you, the delicious and uber healthy- baked sweet potato. It’s lower in carbs than the regular potato, and heck, it’s just prettier. Right?

Now, I understand there are many great cooks who read this blog and may be saying, “really? do we really need a video on how to bake a sweet potato? How hard can it be?”
And if that’s you… well, what can I say, this video may not be for you? LOL
It IS for those who are new to cooking for themselves,  but need easy instructions on how to make simple, yummy foods. That’s it. :-)
CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO and share it with those you know who are trying to eat healthy, too. Hey there aren’t very many of us, we gotta look out for each other, right? :-)
Happy Cooking!
~Catrina

Healthy Dairy-Free Whipped Cream

Can we just have a moment of silence for how my life has forever been changed?
I’m serious. Can you just read that title again?
A healthy, non-dairy alternative to whipped cream? Really?

I had completely given up all hope of ever having another parfait with fruit and whipped cream and so many other amazing concoctions since going grain and dairy-free in February of 2011. Not that I am complaining or anything, I happen to love being healthy (no tummy pains and 10 lbs. lighter) since giving up dairy, but still! You know I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it from time to time.

Enter the amazing awesomeness of Coconut Milk.

Ah, this deserves another moment of silence.
Shhhh, I’m silencing! :-)

Found in the Asian foods section of your grocery story, us Paleo/Primal/Lactose intolerant folks who have no desire to eat highly processed, sugary cool whip have found our pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Isn’t it a pretty rainbow? (Yup, I’m in that kind of mood.)
So, I made a quick video to show you just how easy this is.
And it really is easy..
You know I don’t do hard.. because life is hard enough, it shouldn’t be hard to get awesome food, right?
CLICK HERE TO WATCH- HOW TO MAKE WHIPPED CREAM WITH COCONUT MILK

I have just begun to dig in and play around with all the different possibilities this ingredient, in it’s many forms can offer, and I’m looking forward to coming up with some awesome foodstuffs! In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying it with a bowl of berries, or cherries.. yum! Or fresh pineapple, double yum! Or.. or.. yumness awaits at every turn, I can feel it. :-)

If you have Paleo/Primal/Lactose intolerant friends and family in your life, share this video with them, they will love you for it. (I know I would!!)

Happy cooking!
~Cat

Surviving Super Bowl

Do you ever wonder how things get started.. like the origin of certain things?
Or… am I the only weird one… (don’t answer that.)
Like, what did the first Super Bowl party look like? Was it accidental?
OK that was random!
Well, anyways.. as we all know, it’s the first ‘big test’ of the year for many who are trying to hold on to their New Year resolutions/goals for weight loss.
So here are my top 6 strategies for surviving thriving during a Super Bowl party.

1. Bring along healthy foods.
The biggest trap of the party can be that you’re actually hungry (because these parties can last foreveeeeeeer), but there is nothing there that you can eat. So… bring your own! Plan ahead to bring a savory dish and a sweet treat, both that are within your guidelines for healthy eating. Don’t be offended if no one else wants any, it’s not your job to convince them that it’s healthy (or tasty), what isn’t eaten you get to take home.. more for you, yay!

2. Don’t park sit near the junk.
We’re more tempted to munch and keep munching when we are sitting/standing right next to the food. If it’s in your eye-line and keeps calling your name, move or move the food so it’s not beckoning you. I do this all the time, without apology, so much so that my husband doesn’t even ask what I’m doing anymore. He just knows —it’s tempting me and I want it to stop. Boom. it’s out of sight. Party on.

3. Get an accountability partner.
(Only do this if you’re serious, because it will absolutely help you to succeed.)

It can be your spouse, one of your kids, or that anal (uh, can I say that?) ehem, that person that is 100% ‘by the book’ at all times, who would LOVE to watch you like a hawk to make sure you’re not slipping on your healthy eating. Doesn’t everyone have ‘one of those’ in their circle of friends? Or two? (hey, don’t knock ‘us’, we make great accountability partners.) lol Tell them you’re serious and you give them permission to call you out in front of everyone.
Sound a tad intimidating? Uh.. do you want to be held accountable or not? Don’t pick someone who will say- it’s ok, it’s just a half gallon of ice cream, you deserve it.
You’re trying to thrive here, remember?

4. Don’t drink your calories.
I thought everyone knew this. But… I am a bit sheltered in some areas. Calories that you drink are more concentrated. Fill up on good foods and wash it all down with some refreshing water (and lemon/lime).
Water?!?!

She did not just say- “water.”
Oh yes she did.
It’s the absolute best thing you can drink. You have weight loss goals, right? Stand out from the crowd, set an example, stick to water.

5. Don’t graze.
If you don’t eat beforehand (which I would recommend) and by some chance there are healthy foods at the party, get ONE plate and take your time eating it. Don’t scarf it down and don’t make a return trip to the buffet. Give that food time to digest, for pete’s sake. If all you do is pick from this platter and that platter and nibble on a little of this and a little of that, you will quickly lose track of how much you’ve eaten, which will doom your goal of surviving thriving at a Super Bowl party. And by the way, stick to your normal eating schedule and portions for best results. :-)

6. Make the day about the people and/or the game.
If you’re not really into the game (it’s ok, you can say it here, I won’t tell) then enjoy your company, engage them, help clean up (your hostess will love you for life), or play with the kiddos. So many of our big traditions revolve around food. If we’re going to start getting back on track with our health, we’ve got to start reversing that and making our gatherings about relationships and interacting with one another, that we also, by chance serve food at.

Bonus: Check out these AWESOME sites for tasty treats that won’t kill your goals.
Fastpaleo.com
Yourlighterside.com
Civilizedcavemancooking.com

What are your plans for staying on track? Do you allow yourself a little treat or stay as far away as possible? Do you have support from your friends and family?
Drop me a comment here or on the facebook Hungry! page.

Happy game day!! :-)

Meal Plan Rules July 4th-10th

Here’s my eating plan for the week of July 4th-10th, basically Monday through Sunday. I’ve created this for two reasons, one is, I have excess belly fat that I have regained that I want to lose and two is, I’ve allowed some foods back into my diet that are causing cravings, that I need to get rid of. I know I have some hormonal issues, I eat very strict and work out pretty heavily and yet I cannot seem to shed these last 4-5 pounds. The crazy thing is I had lost the 5 pounds and was eating pretty freely (for me anyways) eating honey and nuts and fruit, and still able to keep the weight off and then something happened, I gained two pounds one day, but thought it was just that time of the month and then gained a few more and they never went away. I’m actually eating stricter now than I was when I weighed 5 pounds less. I know I am gaining muscle, I have been adding more weight to my workouts nearly every week, but this isn’t muscle, it’s excess fat around the middle that didn’t used to be there. It’s a bit tough to hear and see people that weigh much less than me being able to eat nuts and fruit freely, and a whole host of other foods that I would blow up with, if I even thought about them.
So! I have been off and on with the nuts and honey and fruit and I want to go at least a week with it very structured to see if these things are the issues and I can go from there. It may be that I can have these things, just not in the quantities that I’ve been eating them. :-)
This isn’t new for me by the way, I’ve been putting myself on these little tests for years now, fine tuning, fine tuning, fine tuning. :-) I think it’s important that we do it, it’s how we find out exactly what is making us gain or keeping us sick etc.. So here’s my rules for the week.
1. I will not be hungry. If I’m hungry, I’ll eat and I’ll stop when I’m full. (I’m not limiting protein portions)
2. I will drink 120oz. of water per day.
3. I will take my vitamins , 2 times daily.
4. No honey.
5. No dates.
6. No nuts.
7. I will eat plenty of protein (Mostly beef, chicken, shrimp) and plenty of vegetables (mostly Romain, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli) and I will get my fat from olive oil, omega fish oil tabs and from the proteins.
8. I will eat ONLY 2 level cups of fruit or less, primarily melons and berries.
9. No dairy, no grain.
10. I am allowed 2 tiny squares of 70% chocolate per day (1 inch x 1/2 inch ‘squares’).


Staying on track at a party

Even if you didn’t know what the date was, you would know the year-end holidays were right around the corner by all the articles that pop up about surviving holiday parties when you’re dieting. They’re everywhere. But as I’m writing this, we’re heading into Summer, which for my family means lots of back yard birthday bar-b-ques, etc.
So what do you do when you’re heading to an event where you know there’s going to be lots of forbidden foods? Do you just say, “oh, well.” and plan on getting back on track the next day? Do you try and tough it out? How much is too much?
So here are some standard tips:
1. Don’t go hungry.
2. Don’t drink your calories.
3. Don’t hang out by the food/snack table.
4. Allow yourself one small treat so you don’t feel deprived.
5. Offer to bring food to the event so you’ll at least know you have something to eat.
These are all good tips, but lets break these down a little bit..

1. Don’t go hungry.
I happen to think this is a really great tip (this also could be applied when going to the grocery store, by the way), because when we’re hungry, our defenses our down, we pretty much want to eat everything in site because, dang-it we’re hungry! Something happens when we get to that level of hunger, we don’t think as clearly, we stop thinking about our goals and all our hard work because all that’s on our mind is eating. This seems like such a simple tip, one that would be so easy to do, just grab 2-3 ounces of protein or a handful of nuts before you walk out the door so you’re not starving when you get there. But I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people (who are trying to lose fat) say, “oh well, I can start over on Monday.” Or a hundred other ways to say- “I have no self control.”
You already know this but do you mind if I say it again?

Your success will be equal to your work

Little work will always equal little success and lots of hard work will always equal great success. This doesn’t just apply in the gym where we tend to think of the ‘work’ it also pertains to what we don’t do and what we don’t eat.  For me, that’s just as tough. But I approach an event or party the same way I approach a workout, with determination and grit. It’s no different to me. I want to succeed in my workout just as bad as I want to succeed in not getting off track at a party.

I’m sure you’ve probably heard that once you’ve tried something that’s forbidden (and this can apply to anything) it gets easier and easier to give in to it, till your defense is completely gone. Well, the opposite is also true, when you resist something that’s forbidden you get stronger and every time you resist it,
it gets easier and easier to do so, till it’s no longer a temptation.

Off the top of my head I have successfully stayed on track through 7 events in the last 2 months. What, am I counting? Uh… yeah! I love being able to say that. While so many around me are making excuses and already regretting, I’m holding the line. I’m just as proud of that number as I am for new personal records I set in my workouts.
So, that got a little long winded, bottom line: eat something healthy before you go (no really.. do it!) and approach your eating with the same determination that you do your workouts.

2. Don’t drink the kool-aid, i.e. stick to drinking water.
You’ve heard it a thousand times- don’t drink your calories, don’t drink your calories, don’t drink your calories. Right? You know that, right? :-) They’re more concentrated and you can easily go overboard with one sugary beverage (and who drinks just one soda?). So… what are you doing… drinking your calories? Try sticking to ice cold water (Yum!) or unsweetened ice tea with lemon to get you through, you’ll be glad you did.

3. Don’t hang out by the food/snack table.
This  is pretty obvious, but in case it’s not, let me explain. You’ve heard the expression- out of site out of mind, right? Well, that makes the opposite, also true. If its right there within eyesight and you can see the food and smell the food, etc. it’s almost impossible to resist getting seconds or thirds, or grazing when it’s so close by. It’s also, nearly impossible to stop thinking about the food and focusing on it and telling yourself- one more wont hurt. Just try getting your food, walking away from the table, sitting down with some friends and making the event about relationships and good times without the food being the focus. After all, it’s usually the conversations that make a get-together memorable, not the food.

4. Allow yourself one small treat so you don’t feel deprived.. well, maybe.
If you’re someone who can eat just one cookie or one small handful of chips, this tip is for you. If you’re not, it’s not. Some people can eat a very good meal even in the face of great temptation if they know they will get to have a small treat afterwords. Small being the key word. While others, cannot have that treat without it sending them into a downward spiral. So basically you need to be honest with yourself. You know you best. For me, it just depends on the day and I have to be honest on that day about which category I fall into. Typically though, I steer clear of all goodies and bad foods and go with an extra portion of fruit salad. While fruit is allowed on a Paleo/Primal diet, I don’t eat very much, so this would be a treat for me. This decision can really make or break your success, so decide before the event what you’re going to do and ask someone to hold you accountable for it.

5. Offer to bring food to the event so you’ll at least know you have something to eat.
This is a fantastic way to prepare a delicious dish that everyone will love AND make sure you have a side to enjoy with the meat that’s served. When you tell everyone it’s healthy and that YOU made it, they just might stop looking at you funny for eating your hamburger without the bun. Well, maybe.
Here are some great sites  that I use for delicious, healthy recipes:
http://www.yourlighterside.com/

http://fastpaleo.com/
http://www.civilizedcavemancooking.com/
Don’t be put off by the fact that these are low-carb or Paleo/Primal recipes, that just means that they use real, whole ingredients instead of processed ones, i.e. they’re healthy for you. :-)
So there you go, have a great time at your next event and approach it with confidence that you can not only survive but thrive with these tried and true tips. I would love to hear your strategies, and don’t forget to tell me in the comments below or on facebook how it went!