Dang good healthy treats

Just recently, my husband and I got away and escaped life for a few days in the mountains. It doesn’t happen very often (time off) so we were stoked. :-)
Getting ready for our three nights away I started to gather a few healthy recipes that I wanted to try, this would be my first ‘vacation’ since going strict with- no grain or dairy in February of 2011. Even though I have been low-carb for 5 years, I always ate whatever I wanted ‘in the mountains.’ Not so anymore. Bye-bye splitting pizzas for dinner, eating waffles for breakfast, grilled cheese sandwiches and chips for lunch and ice cream for late night snack. I knew it was going to be tough because I had come to identify ‘time-off’ with these foods. So I made sure I had plenty of nuts & dates (my favs), some coconut milk ice cream and a couple of healthy treat recipes. (Along with proteins, veggies and fruit, of course.)
So what recipes did I try? Two.. Sweet potato brownies and Caramel pecan bars.
Both from a new (to me) website called Paleomg.com that you MUST check out. There are a ton of awesome recipe sites for healthy eaters that I’m discovering and some oldies but goodies that I go to regularly as well. (I’ll post the links in a bit)
So back to my baking. Oh wow. I LOVED these recipes!

First up- Sweet potato brownies
If you’re wondering if you can taste the sweet potato, the answer is no. And baking the sweetpo vs. boiling or microwaving worked best for me with just the right moisture level. I used a medium sized potato but I wouldn’t stress about the size too much. :-)
I also added half a cup of pecans to mine, because, well, I love nuts.. in everything.

These were also great heated up with some coconut milk ice cream on top and of course some more nuts. lol

Next up: Caramel Pecan Bars
Ok, these were sinful. straight up. I ate a lot of them and didn’t apologize for it. It’s probably because I love dates and nuts so much.. nah, forget that, my husband even loved these beauties! Juli recommends cooking them in a loaf pan, the only thing I would change would be to cook them in a 8×8 glass cooking dish, it will make them a little thinner but they will go a little farther, lol.

I didn’t have a food processor for the ‘caramel’ topping, just an Ultimate Chopper, remember those? Yeah, I’m old school. Well, that’s why you see chunks of dates in my caramel vs. Juli’s. And for some reason my bars came out darker, but I wasn’t complaining, they were dang delicious.
So, give these two recipes a go if you’re in the mood for a healthy treat! The Sweet potato brownies freeze very well, for you know, portion control, lol and the Caramel pecan bars, I have no idea, there were non left over to freeze. gulp. :-)

Here’s a few of my favorite recipe sites, check them out!
Paleomg.com
The Urban Poser
Your Lighter Side
Civilized Caveman Cooking
Fast Paleo
I’m sure I forgot someone.. grr.
What are your favorite healthy cooking websites or recipes?

Here’s me.. in the mountains. Catrina+mountains= Happy. :-)

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!! :-)

You are what you…

You are what you… listen to.

You thought this was going to be about food, didn’t you. :-)

You probably thought I was going to say:
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.
Well, we all know that, don’t we.. (please say- yes..) it makes little difference on how most people feed themselves, but yeah, we all know that, right?
Next.

You are what you watch on tv and in the theater and online.

You are what you read.

If you want to know what/who you are going to be in a few years, look no further than your friends and/or your media choices.

We’ve heard it a thousand times- You become who you hang around (the younger crowd still doesn’t buy it, us older folks- we know it’s true), but what happens when you ‘hang around’ just as many television shows, movies, music, games, books as you do actual people?
Well, hmmm.. it’s no different. You become.. what you hang around.

What you feed your mind is just as much a contributor to who you are as your eating choices.
Wait, you don’t think what you watch, read, or listen to has any impact on you?  Really?

The average cost for a 30 second commercial in the Superbowl is 3.5 MILLION dollars. Folks, EVERYONE  in marketing and advertising knows that everything you see, hear and read has an impact on you. And that impact will shape who you become. It will shape how you feel about yourself, your income, your car, your clothes, your values, your family, your career, your looks, your future, your spouse… And 30 seconds? WOW, they can just about own you with that much time in your head. That’s the ONLY reason anyone would be willing to pay that much for just 30 seconds. And HOURS?!?

Look back at how your views and values (good and bad) have changed over the years, they can all be traced back to what you read, saw, listened to or were modeled.

I challenge you to guard what goes into your mind as closely as you guard what goes into your mouth. Take a closer look at what you’re taking in. The mind, body and soul are all connected, to be health conscience is not merely about watching what you eat, it’s time to start taking care of our whole body health.

Since I’m going to become what I read, watch and listen to, I want my choices to reflect my values and my goals.
I want to be fed with possibility and potential.. I want something to aspire to.
I want my choices to point to the person I want to be in a few years from now.

My name is Catrina and I like brisket.. uh, a lot.

Those that know me well, know well.. what my favorite food is.
Or at least my favorite healthy food. My favorite things to eat in the whole wide world are all bad for me and make me sick. But we’re not going there.. of the healthy things that I now eat, Brisket is definitely my preferred protein (notice how I capitalized it? I’m showing my respect. word.)

Now if visions of dried up ol’ brisket are dancing through your head right now, let’s just nip that one in the bud, a-to the-sap, there is nothing dried up and boring about MY brisket. It is crazy awesome and even better, if perfection can be better-ized (yeah, I know that’s not a word, but I kinda like it), when it has some cabbage and carrots thrown in for good measure. I call it stew. It’s ok if you think ‘that’s not stew’.. I think it’s stew, therefore it IS to me, and I’m the one eating it. :-)
Actually, as my husband lovingly points out (ok, so maybe he enjoys correcting me once in awhile).. it’s Chuck Roast.
Same thing.
Noooo, it’s not.
Well, it looks the same.
sigh…
So, yeah, anyways.. I finally shot a video for all those who want to spice up their lives with one of the simplest protein dishes ever.
I literally eat this every day.
Yup, I lurve it. (Haha, Madea shout out!) :-)
Don’t judge. Most of the fitness world eats chicken breast every. single. day. TOO!!
But my ‘everyday protein’ actually tastes good! BOOM! (Just kidding, no hate mail)
So yes, I’m finally sharing with the world so you too, can leave boring, bland protein dishes in the past and embrace the awesomeness.
Ok, enough of that, lol
So, give it a shot! I promise it’s just as easy as it is in the video. Experiment with it by adding in green chilies or other spices (the hotter, the healthier!) or different veggies and by all means share how you tweaked it and made it even MORE scrumptious.
Dang, I’m making myself hungry…
Enjoy! Not mine, haha.. I’m not sharing, I meant the video, silly. :-)

It’s only week #2 and I’m ready to quit.. help?

What is it about the two-week point in your quest to eat clean and lose weight that is so tough to get past? I’ve heard from many of you that you do GREAT for two weeks and then ‘something’ happens, and before you know it- you’re off track (again?).
We could talk forever about the reasons why… but can I just encourage you for a bit? Thanks, thanks (this is my favorite part). :-)

So…
Look how far you’ve come.
No really, do it. When you started two weeks ago, did you think you could make it this far? It’s TOUGH to let go of junk food and sodas and sugary coffee drinks… etc..
VERY tough.
But you did it. YOU did it.
YOU started (which is the toughest part of all) when everyone else was still making excuses. (Do you need to reread that last sentence? It’s HUGE.)
YOU stepped up and took control of your life and your eating habits in spite of a very busy life.

Remember this.
Remember how hard it was and how much you worked to overcome the obstacles.
Remember every time you chose something healthy over something unhealthy. Remember how hard you worked to plan your meals so you would have good food to eat.
Remember.. and be proud of yourself.

Now let’s look forward.
You have a goal, whether its a number on the scale, a certain size pair of jeans, running a marathon, you name it.. but YOU have it. It’s all yours.
See that goal, take a few minutes to see yourself THERE. Finished.
No matter how you’re feeling right now, let me just tell you..
That goal.. YOUR goal is TOTALLY and COMPLETELY possible. Did you hear me?
It’s possible.
You just need to do one thing.

Keep going.

Don’t quit. Don’t try to figure out how you’re going to ‘do this’ for months or years.
Think about your next meal and making it healthy.
Think about kicking some serious butt in your next workout.
Take it one choice, one action, one decision at a time.

Don’t quit.

Take a deep breath (or six) and focus on your goal and do what it takes to stay in the game.
This is your life, and your goal and they are worth fighting for.
You can do this.
Yes, YOU can.
Now, go be the awesome, motivated, hard working, WINNER that you are.
Yeah, you can do that, too.