10 WAYS TO MAKE GOURMET AVOCADO TOAST

Getting tired of the same old avocado on toast recipe?

This week we have guest blogger, Kirsten Nunez, from eReplacementparts.com, sharing 10 new and innovative ways to mix up your avocado toast recipes! She also has some great tips on picking the perfect avocado.

Who knew that you can stop the ripening process by putting it in the fridge?

For more detailed instructions on how to make these awesome avocado toast variations please visit: How to Make Avocado Toast.

Hope you can try out one of these new recipes and share what you thought of it!

Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie.. and shaker bottle

Have you seen this amazing video yet? 

A mouthwatering smoothie poured into the most beautiful shaker you have ever laid your eyes on. 

Well it would be rude to not share the recipe with you also. 

Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder (or Shakeology)
  • 1 cup ice
  • Blend and pour in Fringe & Fitness shaker bottle

Would you like the printable pdf version of this recipe? Just click below and I will email it directly to you. 

A Word From the Other Side

My Experience with a BeachBody Challenge

Today I want to share with you my experience of going through a BeachBody Challenge with Brittia cheering me on. This girl is a rock star and she can help you be one too! The encouragement and support she offers is incredible, and the example she sets is motivating to say the least.

Going into the challenge, Brittia sought me out and asked what she could provide to help me out the most. I told her two things: accountability, and personal check ins. I couldn’t imagine that this busy women (working a full time job, mom to an energetic toddler, and business owner) could possibly have time to care about my fitness goals and accountability. But she proved me wrong!

I met Brittia through social media at the close of 2016, as I was searching for an online fitness coach that would keep me accountable for my workouts in the new year. I could see right away that I’d found exactly what I was looking for in Fringe & Fitness. I was 100% on board with what she was offering.

Before long, I was all signed up for my first BeachBody Challenge, with an accountability group of women all reaching for their health goals. By the time I learned all the features of the program, I had definitely received more than I originally thought I was getting. To name a few...

  • A personal coach that was setting an incredible example every day
  • Full access to every single one of BeachBody’s fitness programs for an entire year
  • Meal planning/tracking tools
  • Goal setting/tracking tools
  • An accountability group to check in with daily
  • One meal a day filled with dense nutrition

I’ve always had a hard time sticking to my workouts and diet. I’d finally reached a point where I was ready to put some of my hard earned money towards my fitness goals. Honestly, I thought paying money for it was going to be the only motivation that would make me stick it out. I quickly learned the great value in my accountability group of other women. These women were headed in the same direction as me! They actually cared if I showed up and worked out. They were there to encourage me and understood the challenges I face because they were facing them too!

Before long I got my first personal “check-in” from Brittia. Knowing that she could check in at any time, helped me always try to stay on top of my workouts and eating plan so that I could respond positively when she checked in again! There were times when I was so discouraged and Brittia would help me change my focus from the results to how I was doing something good for myself.

When I have done workout programs alone in the past, I have always run into a wall at some point. Life would get hard. Stress would take over. Frustration with my progress would take me down. Feeling alone, like I was the only one struggling to keep the weight off! But being a part of a group totally changed this whole picture. Other women would post about their struggles - depression, medical issues, long work hours, house full of sick kiddos...you fill in the blank. There was a women from every stage of life, dealing with everyday struggles of life that we all face! Life is hard, and life can get you down, but these women weren’t letting life beat them! And this gave me courage to keep trying my best too.


We all want to see results when we work hard at something. Especially in fitness, we want to see visual results!! Well, my results didn’t show up on the scale or in my measurements after just one month of working out. I had to learn that there are several factors of “results” when it comes to faithful exercise. Each day I checked off my workout calendar, I felt stronger, both mentally and physically. Every time I drank my Shakeology, I felt relieved to know that I was eating at least one really balanced and nutritious meal in the middle of my busy day! By sticking to something I had started, I felt I could take on some of my other goals that I had always procrastinated. I learned how far just a little bit of effort each day can take a person! After a workout, I always felt good, happy, and responsible. I wasn’t neglecting myself anymore and it made me stronger to give of myself to those around me.

As I went along, I realized that this is a life change. You can’t just do one exercise program and expect to “be” fit. Being fit is a way of life, it’s something you do every day, it is a lifestyle. And this meal planning stuff...you know, no sugar, less carbs, more veggies? That has to be a lifestyle change too! This was kind of hard for me to swallow. I mean, who doesn’t love a fresh baked pie, the aroma of homemade bread sifting through the house, a soft baked chocolate chip cookie with a glass of milk!? I thought I had to give it all up. And then Brittia stepped in again and introduced me to a Paleo meal plan. This meal plan had dessert, homemade muffins, and mouth watering dinner dishes! Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean gross food!! But you do have to change the way you cook, the ingredients you use, and watch the balance.

My favorite discovery, as I was posting pictures of my meals, including recipes occasionally, in our accountability group, was a substitute for my constant desire to have a bunch of brownies! The first time I made this mug cake, I actually asked Brittia if it was truly “okay” to eat!! It tasted so good, so light and fluffy, so chocolaty that I just couldn’t imagine it was legal! And that is what I mean when I say you have to change the way you cook, the ingredients you use. I’d like to share my Chocolate Chip Mug Cake Recipe with you today. It’s the perfect dessert fix for those nights when you just want to ditch the diet and grab a cookie! Get the recipe here and stay in touch with me too!

Now I am headed into my 4th month of fitness lifestyle with Brittia as my cheer leader. It’s been amazing and she has helped me transform my perspective on fitness, healthy eating, and self- care. I always knew self care was important, but I never thought of it as exercising, eating right, and putting yourself first. Taking care of you enables you with the energy and well being you need to be able to care for others.


Learn more about Suzanne

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Suzanne Cox enjoys a country lifestyle in the heart of the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

You can read more from her at www.wifeinthecountry.com, Suzanne's online home where she blogs about gardening, making home, simply LIFE.

And do NOT forget to grab your Chocolate Chip Mug Cake here  http://eepurl.com/cEom4j

3 WAYS TO SNEAK HEALTHY FATS INTO YOUR DIET

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Can we just take a minute to appreciate the fact that eating fat is something we actually want to do??? After the ridiculous fat-free craze of the 90s that left me with dull hair and skin, an extra 10 pounds of weight, and deprivation from yummy food, it’s such a breath of fresh air that most people now understand fat is not the enemy.  Eating fat does not make you fat.

In case you’re still on the fence, OUR BODIES NEED FAT to do many things in the body:

  • Fats help us feel full and satiated after meals, not reaching for a snack or dessert a few minutes later.
  • Fats help keep our blood sugar levels balanced, thus preventing carb and sugar cravings.
  • Fats are a key component of our cell membranes, and we are basically just a big mass of cells! Healthy cells are crucial and integral to having a healthy body.
  • Fats play a huge role in hormone regulation and are also one of the materials needed to make many hormones.
  • Fats are needed for the body’s healing processes to work properly.
  • Fats help keep our skin moisturized, soft, and supple.
  • Fats are necessary for healthy liver and gallbladder function.
  • Fat stores are needed for long burning energy.
  • Fats are required for the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins to include A, D, E, and K.
  • Fats make our food taste really good!

Now, just a brief overview of which fats are considered good or healthy. When you are looking for healthy fats, think natural, unprocessed, and unaltered sources to include butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, ghee, and the animal fat from grass fed/pastured/free range animals. Bacon grease? Yes. Butter? Yes. Crisco vegetable oil? No. Canola oil? No. Always say no to anything with the word hydrogenated on the label or the dreaded trans fats which have been altered beyond recognition.  For a more in-depth view of healthy fats and the desired ratios of essential fatty acids, visit this link.

So now we know fats are good, necessary, and crucial for many functions of healthy bodies, but many of us still do not eat enough quality fats every day. Although it can be a challenge at first to look for ways to add healthy fats to our meals after years of avoiding it like the plague, it becomes a regular thing once you’ve started making the effort.  Not to mention, you will notice positive differences in your health and well being when you are consuming adequate amounts of healthy fats each day.

Here are three easy ways to incorporate more fats into our daily diets:

1) Switch out those oil sprays for the actual thing.  

Instead of spraying pans or dishes with non-stick spray, add larger amounts of the actual fat.  Since I use stainless steel pans, I do use a quick spray of real olive or avocado oil in my pans for easier clean up.  But then I add a hunk of butter, ghee. bacon grease, or coconut oil to my pans.  Whether it’s eggs or a stir fry, extra fat goes into the pan.  The same goes for my baking dishes.  When I roast veggies or meats, I add extra fat to the pan first. The only time I skip this step is when I’m making baked goods since extra fat can change the consistency of the item.  So in those cases, I just add butter to my muffins or breads right out of the oven.  Yum!  And just a little note, try to mix up your fats so you’re not always using the same ones.  Variety allows you to get a healthy mix of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats into your diet.  And yes, you benefit from all of them!

2) Add a small amount of nuts to your meals.

Whether its pecans, pistachios, cashews, almonds, walnuts, or peanuts (which are technically a legume), these high-fat munchies provide wholesome plant-based monounsaturated fats in addition to omega-three fatty acids, healthy-skin-promoting-vitamin E, and fiber. This one was actually weird for me to grasp at first, but I’ve come to realize how easy it is to add nuts or nut butters to meals and snacks.  Add cashews to a stir fry, sprinkle walnuts on a salad, or eat your apple slices with a smear of almond butter.  Once you start looking for ways to incorporate nuts into your daily meals, you quickly realize how versatile they can be.  Just keep in mind that nuts are very dense and high in calories — just a tiny handful is more than enough.

3) Avocado up your plate.

Avocados really are little powerhouses of nutrients and good quality fat. They are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, fiber, and 20 different vitamins and minerals.  Put them on your eggs, your salads, or just add a few slices to your plate of whatever.  You can blend them into everything from salad dressings to chocolate pudding. Make a batch of guacamole and then try not to eat the entire bowl. In my opinion, avocados make the food world a much better place!

4) BONUS – Put a fried egg on top.

This is for those of you who don’t like avocados or nuts…I don’t understand you guys, but I know you exist.  First of all, I’m super sad for you because avocados and nuts are amazing.  But to each his own, and you all deserve to get your healthy fats in ways that you consider delicious in your own right.  So here’s an extra way to sneak fat into your diets … just put a fried egg on top.  Whole eggs are actually loaded with vitamins and minerals. They contain a little bit of almost every single nutrient we need. In one large egg, you will find 1.6g of saturated fat, 0.7g of polyunsaturated fat, and 2g of monounsaturated fat.  In addition to healthy fats, you will also consume vitamins and minerals to help build lean muscle and speed up your metabolism. Eating a salad? Put a fried egg on top.  Enjoying a burger? Put a fried egg on top.  Did you make a quick stir fry?  Yep, throw a fried egg on top.  It may seem strange at first, but when you are preparing a meal just ask yourself, “Would a fried egg be good with this?” And most of the time the answer is YES. Add in a bit of coconut oil or ghee when you fry that egg and you’re just killing it with this healthy fat thing 

 

I never ever thought I would look for ways to add more fat to practically every meal I eat! But once I realized fat is my friend (and sugar is the real enemy), my health improved greatly.  I lost weight, my skin improved, my energy increased, my appetite was no longer erratic, my hormones became more balanced, and my body had less inflammation.  And the food I eat is DELICIOUS.  I challenge each of you to eat more healthy fat in 2017. Your bodies will thank you for it. More butter, please!

 

Amanda Koch is a Nutritional Therapy Consultant, Pilates Master Trainer, and Safe Skincare Educator.  After dealing with personal health challenges to include infertility, multiple miscarriages, chronic pain, depression and anxiety, she made healing changes in her life with real food, healthy movement, and clean products.  She strives to provide resources for women to live well balanced lives which are realistic and effective.  She currently lives in Alaska with her Air Force husband and two boys, happy and well.

 

Website: www.mywellbalancedlife.com

Email: mywellbalancedlife@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mywellbalancedlife

Instagram: www.instagram.com/mywellbalancedlife

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/mywblife

Twitter: www.twitter.com/mywblife

Chocolate Icebox Cake With Raspberry Sauce

You are going to want this on on that Christmas dessert table for sure!  It's festive, it's chocolate, and it's pretty much amazing.  

Ingredients

  • 1 pint reduced-fat sour cream 
  • 1 pint fat-free sour cream
  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 42 chocolate wafers (from 2 packages)
  • 3 (6-ounce) packages fresh raspberries, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Preparation

1. Line a 9- x 5-inch loaf pan with 2 sheets of plastic wrap (one horizontal, and the other vertical). Let the edges overhang on each side by about 4 inches.

2. With a whisk, combine sour cream, 1 cup sugar, vanilla, and a dash of salt in a large bowl until blended.

3. Arrange a layer of about 14 overlapping chocolate wafers in 2 lines on the bottom of the loaf pan, keeping the layer as level as possible. Spread with 1 cup of the sour cream mixture; repeat in the same way with 2 more layers of wafers and cream, ending with cream layer. (You may have wafers left over.) Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until wafers are very soft (at least 12 hours).

4. Meanwhile, pulse 2 packages of berries in a food processor just until broken up. Add remaining 1/3 cup sugar, water, lime juice, and remaining dash of salt; pulse once or twice. Pour mixture through a coarse strainer; set over a bowl, pressing hard on solids to extract as much liquid as possible (you should have 1 cup). Refrigerate, tightly covered, until thoroughly chilled (about 1 hour); stir before using.

5. Lift icebox cake out of pan using over-hanging plastic wrap; transfer to a large plate. (Be careful, cake will be very soft.)

6. Carefully flip cake onto a cutting board, so that the chocolate wafer layer faces up. Peel back plastic wrap. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut cake crosswise into 10 slices, wiping knife clean after each cut. Arrange each slice on a plate, and pour a small pool of raspberry sauce on each plate; garnish evenly with remaining package of raspberries. Serve immediately with remaining sauce.

Recipe from: Health.com

Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies

Help keep Santa's heart healthy with these festive little boogers. Because Santa needs to watch what he eats too! These are the perfect cookies to make with the kiddos on Christmas Eve.  

Ingredients

  • Cookies
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • Icing
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preparation

1. For cookies, whisk together first 4 ingredients (through baking soda) in a medium bowl.

2. Beat butter and sugars together in a separate medium bowl until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, and add the egg white and vanilla and almond extracts; beat until just combined.

3. Add flour mixture, and stir until incorporated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 4 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 325°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Dust a work surface with flour. Turn out chilled dough directly onto work surface. Roll dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes in dough, and gently transfer them to baking sheets. (You can reroll the scraps, just be sure to chill in between.)

6. Bake cookies for 12 minutes or until set but not browned. Remove cookies from oven, and cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

7. For the icing, whisk together all the icing ingredients in a large bowl until completely smooth. Mixture should have consistency of a glaze. (If it's too thin, add a bit more sugar. If it's too thick, add a few more drops of lemon juice.)

8. Transfer icing to a pastry bag (or a zip-top plastic bag with a small hole in one of the bottom corners). First, outline the cookie or desired design, then fill it in. Let icing harden before serving. Cookies can be kept in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Recipe from: Health.com

Elf Treats... A.K.A Linzer Thumbprints

Aren't these the cutest little things, if treats were cute! I think they are perfect little elf snacks you could whip up with the kids for Christmas Eve.  Elfs have to eat too, they have been working so hard all year, they deserve it. OOO, and if you have an elf on the shelf deal he could totally pitch in on this one! You're welcome! 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

Preparation

Toast the hazelnuts in a 350º oven for 6–7 minutes, until fragrant.

Prepare Basic Cookie Dough, combining 1/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts in food processor at step 2; pulse 20 times or until the nuts are finely chopped. Transfer mixture to a bowl; add remaining flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and salt. Stir to combine. At step 3 of basic-cookie recipe (with egg white and vanilla), add fresh lemon juice. Scrape dough into a medium bowl. Place 1/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts in a small bowl. Roll 1 tablespoon of the dough into a ball. Gently roll the dough in chopped nuts. Place 2 inches apart on 2 baking sheets lightly coated with cooking spray. Make an indentation in center of each cookie, going almost to the bottom. Using raspberry jam, fill each indentation with about 1/4 teaspoon.

Follow baking instructions for basic cookie. Store for 2 weeks at room temperature, or several months in the freezer.

Recipe from: Health.com

Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding

This recipe had my heart at Hawaiian sweet bread and Kahlua. I could literally eat a whole bag of Hawaiian sweet bread... it runs in the family I think (thanks mom!). Lol, but seriously this is simply amazing.  And you can totally make little turkey or ham sandwiches with the rest and leftovers (or just eat them!). 

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups (1/2-inch) cubed Hawaiian sweet bread
  • 2/3 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon Kahlúa (coffee-flavored liqueur)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten 
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 5 minutes or until toasted. Remove bread from oven; decrease oven temperature to 325°.

Combine milk and next 5 ingredients (milk through egg) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add bread, tossing gently to coat. Cover and chill 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

Divide half of bread mixture evenly between 2 (6-ounce) ramekins or custard cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with half of chocolate. Divide remaining bread mixture between ramekins; top with remaining chocolate.

Place ramekins in an 8-inch square baking pan; add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 325° for 35 minutes or until set. Serve each pudding warm with 1 tablespoon whipped topping.

  • ***Try not to chop the chocolate too finely for this bread pudding recipe so you'll have good-sized chunks to bite into. Hawaiian sweet bread is a soft, sweet bread found in the bakery section of most grocery stores

Recipe from: Health.com