Healthy Hashbrowns

If you happen to follow the iEncourage Fitness page over on Facebook then you probably know how obsessed I am with healthy hashbrowns lately. Why am I obsessed? Well, not only are they healthy, but they are so super easy to make and I’m all about an easy go-to recipe! The one I use is adapted from Maria Emmerich’s Quick & Easy Ketogenic Cooking. If you haven’t checked this cookbook out, you should! I’ve posted my version below (and really I just made one minor change to the original by leaving out a seasoning that is just too much in any measurement for my taste).

Healthy Hashbrowns:

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups of shredded cabbage
2 eggs
1/4 cup of chopped green onions
Shredded cheese
Grass-fed butter

*Makes 2 servings

Mix cabbage, eggs and onions together in a bowl; heat butter in a skillet over medium heat; measure out 1 cup of mixture and place in skillet, pat down so that it’s somewhat flat; measure out remaining mixture and repeat placing in skillet; cook for 3-4 minutes and then flip and cook for another 3 minutes; sprinkle with shredded cheese and enjoy while they’re warm!

Healthy Hashbrowns

Healthy Hashbrowns

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Blueberry Energy Muffins

Over the weekend I decided that I wanted to make something healthy that my husband and I could snack on over the next few days so I decided to make my blueberry energy muffins. They’re super easy to make and they’re sooooo filling! I’ve had several people ask me for the recipe since I posted a photo over on the iEncourage Fitness facebook page and to keep it simple I’m posting it here for everyone! =D

Shari's blueberry energy muffins

Shari’s blueberry energy muffins

***Makes 12 muffins***

Ingredients:

2 cups of whole wheat or almond flour (I used 1 cup of each)
1 cup of quick oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup plus 1 TB of local honey (or more if you want your muffins to be sweet)
1 1/2 cups of non-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 TB unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of fresh blueberries

Directions:

*Heat over to 350 degrees
*Coat a muffin tin with cooking spray or liners
*Combine flour, honey, oats, baking powder, baking soda and Himalayan salt in a bowl
*Combine yogurt, lightly beaten eggs, melted & cooled butter and vanilla in a second bowl
*Fold the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture; stir to combine completely. The mixture WILL BE thick!
*Gently fold in blueberries
*Spoon mixture into muffin tin and don’t be afraid to fill them full
*Bake until the tops are golden and spring back when you gently touch them, approximately 20-22 minutes.

Blueberry Energy Muffin 1

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Adopt healthy habits you can stick with. Don’t starve yourself and if you’re beginning a new workout, start slowly and work up from there. =)

Want more yummy, super easy recipes from me? Get your very own downloadable copy of my ecookbook here: 25 Quick & Easy, Healthy Recipes by iEncourage Fitness

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It’s Mardi Gras King Cake season

If you’re from Louisiana or live here then you KNOW what time of year it is….. it’s Mardi Gras season which means King Cakes! They’re sooooo yummy, but so sugary sweet. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ll indulge while they’re here, but I’m gonna get my workouts in, too.

Reduced fat King Cake

Reduced fat King Cake

I don’t remember exactly where I found this, but here’s a little recipe for a reduced fat version of King Cake for those of you who want to try making one:

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20-25 minutes
Yield: 12 servings
Serving size: 1/12 of cake

Ingredients

Cake:
2 — 8 oz cans reduced-fat crescent rolls
4 oz 1/3 less-fat cream cheese
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp chilled butter
¼ cup pecans, chopped
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
Icing:
½ cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp skim milk or almond milk
green, purple, and yellow sprinkles

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-inch round pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Separate crescent rolls at perforations into 11 slices (you might need 12).
Place slices around the pizza pan with points in center. About halfway down the points, press seams together.
In a medium size mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Spread cream cheese mixture on dough around center where seams of dough have been pressed together.
In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar, chopped pecans, and cinnamon. Slice butter into 1/4 inch pieces. Using a fork or hands, work in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over cream cheese.
Fold dough points over cream cheese area and then fold bottom of triangle over points forming a circular roll like a king cake.
Bake cake for 20-25 minutes or until just golden brown. Cool slightly before drizzling icing.
To make icing, mix powdered sugar and milk. Drizzle onto cake and top immediately with sprinkles.
Enjoy!

Nutrition Information Per Serving (1/12 of cake):
Calories: 242
Fat: 9g
Carbohydrates: 33g
Fiber: 0g
Protein: 1g
Sugars: 21g
Sodium: 370mg
Vitamin A: 4%
Vitamin C: 0%
Calcium: 1%
Iron: 5%
WWP+: 6 points

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Pecan Pie bread pudding that will knock your socks off

I’ve never tried my hand at making bread pudding until yesterday. I found a recipe for pecan pie bread pudding that will knock your socks off! It’s Christmas week so I thought “what the heck!”. It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had imagined that making bread pudding would be. Trust me…. if I can make this so can you! =D

Here’s the recipe that I followed (courtesy of http://www.callmepmc.com):

Ingredients:

* 1 (16 oz) loaf of day old French bread
* 2 1/2 cups milk
* 1 cup of Half & Half
* 4 eggs, lightly beaten
* 1 cup granulated (white) sugar
* 1 TB vanilla
* 1/8 tsp salt (I used pink Himalayan)
* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 1 1/2 cups of packed brown sugar (I used dark)
* 1 cup pecans, chopped

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2) Cube the loaf of bread and then place in a large bowl
3) In another bowl, whisk together the beaten eggs, milk, Half & Half, white sugar, salt and vanilla. Pour over the bread cubes. Allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes
4) In another small bowl, combine with a fork the softened butter, brown sugar and chopped pecans. This mixture should have the consistency of wet sand
5) Pour half o the bread mixture into an ungreased 8×8 inch pan or dish
6) Top bread layer with half of the pecan mixture
7) Spoon in the remaining bread mixture and press down into pan slightly. The pan will be pretty full.
8) Top with the remaining pecan mixture
9) Place pan on a cookie sheet with edges in case the mixture boils over. Place in oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. After removing, the center will be slightly jiggly, but will set once it cools.

It was so unbelievably yummmmmmmmm! And yes, I did eat it on a styrofoam plate because…. well…. why dirty up more dishes if you don’t have to? =D

Pecan Pie bread pudding

Pecan Pie bread pudding

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Delicious homemade hot cocoa recipes

Each year in December, at the studio, I’ve made some type of goodie to give all my class participants during the month. Last year it was handmade ornaments (with the help of my awesome sister and wonderful husband). This year I decided to give each class member their very own serving of delicious homemade hot cocoa to take home in one of two flavors. I made chocolate hot cocoa mix using Stevia and peanut butter hot cocoa mix (my new fav!). The most difficult part of making these for everyone was tying the darned ribbon and twine on the jars. LOL

iEncourage Fitness Christmas Cocoa

iEncourage Fitness Christmas Cocoa

I’ve had several of my ladies ask me to share the recipes so they could have them both. I happily will! =)

Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix (Serves 2)
* 2-3 TB Stevia in the Raw
* 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1/4 cup non-fat powdered milk
* 1 TB mini chocolate chips
* pinch of Himalayan pink salt
* Mini marshmallows to top off jar

Directions:

1. Whisk together dry milk powder, Stevia, cocoa powder and salt in a medium bowl.
2. To make a single serving gift, pour 1/2 into a 4 oz jar & top with mini chocolate chips and mini marshmallows. Add a recipe card and ribbon
and you’re all set! If you’re making this for your own use, it can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
3. To make hot cocoa, remove the marshmallows from the top and put 1/2 of the cocoa mix and mini chocolate chips in a mug. Stir in 6 to 8
oz of hot almond milk or water and top with the mini marshmallows.

Homemade peanut butter hot cocoa

Homemade peanut butter hot cocoa

Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa Mix (Serves 10)
*1 1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
*1 cup powdered sugar
*3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
*1/2 cup peanut butter chips
*1/4 cup white chocolate chips
*1/8 tsp Himalayan pink salt

Directions:

1. Whisk together dry milk powder, powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a medium bowl.
2. In a separate bowl or in a food processor, grate or grind the peanut butter chips. (I used my grandmother’s old Moulie grater for this.
It has a grater with a handle that you turn.)
3. In another bowl or in a food processor, grate or grind the white chocolate chips.
4. To make a single serving gift, pour 1/4 cup of chocolate powder into a 4 oz jar & top with 1 TB of grated white chocolate chips and 1 1/2
TB of grated peanut butter chips. Add a recipe card and ribbon and you’re all set! If you’re making this for your own use, it can
be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
4. To make hot cocoa, put 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the cocoa mix, white chocolate and peanut butter chips in a mug and stir in 6 to 8 oz of
hot almond milk or water.

Enjoy!

If you’d like to make recipe cards for your gift jars, I used the holiday recipe cards at TheCelebrationShoppe.com for mine. It was SUPER EASY! Just type in your recipe info and print. The text fields will fill in on each card after the first one as you tab through each one. How cool is that?!

I would LOVE to know if you try these out and how you like them so be sure to leave me a comment. =D

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Goal Setting

Goal setting

Let’s talk about goal setting! Do you REALLY know what it means…. what it entails?

I’ll be honest – up until 2, may 2 1/2 years ago, I thought I knew what “goal setting” meant and it was kinda like my idea of “budgeting”. What I mean by that is this: to me it just meant making a list of things I wanted to get done, but it was more like daily, weekly and monthly tasks. You know….. a “to-do” list of sorts. In the time since then, I’ve read some pretty awesome personal development books (I used to be a fiction only reader. What the heck is personal development about anyway, right?!), taken some online courses (AH-MAZING courses, btw) and attended some live events that will knock your socks off. Ooooooh the things I’ve learned! Goal setting is DEFINITELY way more than a “to-do” list, however, a daily “to-do” list plays a big part in goal setting. Your daily “to-do” list should include small, baby steps – actionable items that you can do that don’t take much time, but can make all the difference in the world to what you’re trying to achieve. I’ve found that setting goals broken down in the following form work best for me to make sure that I’m taking the needed steps to get to my big goals and that I don’t get overwhelmed trying to make it all happen at once.

    Shari’s Goal Setting Steps:

1) I start with setting quarterly goals (90 days). What do I want to make sure that I accomplish in 90 days?
2) I then break that down into monthly items that need to get done (you should have 3 – 1 for each month) that will help me reach my 90 day goal
3) I then take each of those 3 months and break them down into weekly items. For example, the month of October has 5 Saturdays in it so I’ll break down my October goal into 5 weekly goals.

So let’s say my 90 day goal is to get more followers over on the iEncourage Fitness Facebook page. My 3 monthly goals to help me get there might be something like this: 1) set up new blog page on website 2) Write weekly blog entry 3) Offer free opt-ins.

Then I would break each of those 3 months down into weekly goals. Those might look something like this when I break down my month 2 goal of writing weekly blog entries: week 1) find my most popular post on FB on make a blog post regarding that same subject week 2) find new content on Google and/or Youtube that I can put my “spin” on and make a blog post about that subject week 3) find pins on Pinterest that can give me new blog post ideas week 4) find images to use on all my new posts!

So see…. it’s really not as overwhelming or as hard as we think it is. Goal setting is about DREAMING BIG and taking small steps to move you forward toward that big dream. It’s a lot easier to do than I thought it was and I’ll bet you’ll feel the same way once you try it yourself.

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Kettlebells

Kettlebells are an extremely versatile and effective fitness tool, and incorporating kettlebell training into your workout will help you build power, strength, balance, flexibility and endurance. And I can’t forget to tell you that using one can also be a GREAT cardio workout with no impact.

Not sure what a kettlebell is? It looks a lot like a cast iron cannonball with a handle. Like the one in the photo below:

Kettlebell

Kettlebell

A 30 minute kettlebell workout can deliver the cardio, weighted resistance training and core strengthening (you know that’s more than just your abs, right? (; ) that everyone needs and in a lot less time than what you would typically spend on weight machines or the treadmill. Since most people aren’t sure what to do with or how to use these weights, they generally go unused in gyms.

First-time kettlebell users should consult with a kettlebell-certified trainer or instructor before beginning to workout with these so that they will avoid injury from using dangerous form. If your core is too weak to complete the exercises properly, there’s no benefit gained and your risk of injury is greater.

If you want a GREAT all-over workout with no impact, you should come try out Kettlebell FIT with me at iEncourage Fitness. I’m a kettlebell certified instructor! =)

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BCAAs

I began taking a BCAA supplement just under 6 months ago and I did it at the time to help with muscle recovery and endurance since I teach so many classes each week. Recently though, I decided to give intermittent fasting a try and BCAAs are suggested for fasted cardio workouts. Enter a lot of reading to find out just what some of the MOST IMPORTANT BENEFITS are and I thought I would share my findings with you.

You’re probably thinking, “Just what the heck are BCAAs?”, right? Well, BCAA is short for branched-chain amino acids. The three amino acids in this category are leucine, isoleucine and valine. BCAAs are unique partially because of their composition, but also because these amino acids are highly prominent in muscle tissue and are the building blocks of proteins. BCAAs are metabolized differently than other amino acids and can be oxidized in the muscles during exercise for energy. They’re important to muscle function in more ways than one though. Most people ingest BCAAs as a recovery aid and to reduce muscle soreness, like I started out doing. However, taking them before you exercise can slow down the rate at which your muscles fatigue and provide workout intensity.

BCAAs in supplement form (you know, the powder in a container) are free-form, require no digestion and are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Additionally, since BCAAs bypass the liver and gut and go directly into your blood stream, they can be used as an immediate energy source during your workouts.

I found multiple articles from various sources and they all agree on at least the following 3 benefits, in addition to those I talk about above:

1) BCAAs lower cortisol (stress hormone)
2) BCAAs balance brain chemistry
3) BCAAs help control hunger & cravings

Cortisol is a stress hormone and can increase when you get into an argument, go on a diet, don’t get enough sleep and even when you workout for long periods of time. The main functions of cortisol are to increase blood sugar, suppress the immune system and aid in protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism. When cortisol is released with low levels of HGH and/or high levels of insulin, it causes muscle burning and fat storing and no one wants that! BCAAs have been shown to lower cortisol, balance blood sugar and have the ability to suppress stress induced cravings and blunt hunger.

Taking a BCAA supplement post-workout or between meals can help control your appetite so you experience less cravings so that you don’t binge between meals and will help keep your blood sugar steady. Eating foods that cause rapid increases and then drops in your blood sugar levels can trigger cravings (hello! Let’s stay away from these foods!). Your blood sugar levels can also swing up and down dramatically when you are adjusting to a low carb or Paleo diet and cutting out sugar. These swings can often lead to cravings for sugary foods like cookies and sweets. Taking a BCAA supplement on an empty stomach between meals when you are adapting to these types of diets can keep your blood sugar steady and cravings under control.

So, I believe I’ll stick with taking BCAAs for a while! =)

Check out the photo to see which is my favorite. It tastes like a green apple jolly rancher! =D

BSN Amino X Green Apple

BSN Amino X Green Apple

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Quick and Easy Recipes

iEncourage Fitness ebook

Guess what?! I’ve decided to do a flash sale on my ecookbook, 25 Quick and Easy Recipes for Singles and Small Families. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, now’s the perfect time! You get 5 super easy breakfast recipes, 5 snack recipes and 15 lunch/dinner recipes.

CLICK HERE to get your eCookbook download now!

Here’s the crazy thing… anybody who’s known me for years will tell you that they NEVER imagined me spending time in the kitchen much less creating an ecookbook. Here’s the thing though – I DON’T like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen so when I find things I can make really quick AND that are on the healthier side, I’m all over it. I tweak them to my taste and voila! I created this ecookbook to share with others how easy it can be to eat better than you may currently be and you’ll find that it won’t break the bank either.

If you already have a copy of my ecookbook, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and what your favorite recipes are. Be sure to leave me a comment below.

Cheers to healthier eating!!!

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Periscope

Periscope

Hey! Have you heard about the new app called Periscope? You should check it out! It’s live streaming video where you get to interact with the person that you’re watching. They can answer your questions or chat with you while they’re talking. It’s really cool!

If you’d like to check out what I chit-chat about, you can follow me at @encouragefitnss. I cook, whip up quick recipes, talk about challenges and plenty of random things and answer questions at the same time. =D

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