Celebrate Mom with Parmesan-Herb Zucchini Brunch Bites (Gluten-Free)

Disclosure: I was compensated by The General Mills Bell Institute of Health & Nutrition for my time to write this post. Recommendations and opinion are my own.

This May, celebrate Mom and all she does with a home cooked meal she’ll remember. This recipe was designed with my two little girls and their tiny hands and I hope you’ll try this recipe, one the whole family can help cook.

As both a daughter and a mom, Mother’s Day gives me the opportunity to tell my mom how much I appreciate her. It also reminds me to aspire to do my best for my own kids, and as a mom, my best almost always begins with a hug and a nutritious meal.

The Goodness of The Grain

Ready to eat cereal was one of the first foods I introduced to my girls. It’s a great way to start the day. In fact, people who eat cereal tend to take in more key nutrients that are essential to good health like calcium, vitamin D and fiber1.

Whole grain cereals also combine well with other healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, eggs and dairy products.

Think Outside The Bowl

These savory muffins will hit the spot at your special Mother’s Day brunch or even breakfast in bed. The blend of zucchini, eggs and cheese make a flavorful way to incorporate more veggies into the day. These muffins take less than an hour to make, start to finish. It’s the perfect recipe suited for all moms alike. 

May is also Celiac Awareness Month, a disease we continue to recognize more in the culinary world. This recipe uses whole grain Rice Chexcereal, which are gluten-free. Chex is also free of artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources, and high fructose corn syrup so you can feel good about serving it to your family.

Make Ahead

These muffins can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or individually wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat at 350ºF for about 8-10 minutes, until heated through.

Share Your Mom Memory

Happy Mother’s Day, to our mothers everywhere! Please share your family baking memories in the comments section below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Parmesan-Herb Zucchini Bites (Gluten-Free)
 
Prep time
Cook time
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Author:
Serves: 8 muffins
Ingredients
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 medium)
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese (or your favorite), shredded
  • 1 cup crushed gluten free Rice Chex Cereal
  • 1 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • Cheese cloth
Instructions
  1. Lightly grease a muffin tin, and preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Shred zucchini into a colander or large bowl. Once shredded, place zucchini onto square of cheesecloth and sprinkle with a pinch of salt to help release excess water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before squeezing out excess liquid. After wringing out, zucchini in large bowl.
  3. Add the eggs, onion, garlic, cheese, Rice Chex Cereal, herbs, salt, and pepper to the shredded zucchini. Stir until evenly combined.
  4. Scoop the mixture into the greased muffin tin, filling each well to the top. Bake at 375ºF for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool slightly before removing to a wire rack to cool.

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Disclosure: I was compensated by The General Mills Bell Institute of Health & Nutrition for my time to write this post. Recommendations and opinion are my own.

Reference: 1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Data. Hyattsville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, [2011-12] [http://cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes].

The #UnofficialMeal Makes Me Happy

Disclosure: I was compensated by Sabra for my time to write this post and I was quoted in Sabra’s press release launching #UnofficialMeal. Recommendations and opinion are my own.

I wear many hats when it comes to food: I’m a dietitian (a.k.a. food therapist), author, podcast host, wife, mom, and home cook. If I tallied up the total hours in my week that involved food in some way, I could only get more hours by dreaming about food (which happens from time to time!)

The Ideal Weeknight Meal

Often our family meals are planned out with thought and care to stick to our family budget and minimize food waste at home. My 3-year-old helps me decide what goes on the menu. She even helps me write shopping lists and updates the kitchen chalk board where we post the weeknight meal plan along with various cooking project “inspirations.”

But what about the Unofficial Meal? You know, the one you eat while you’re making the official meal because everyone is hangry, or the one you do instead of dinner because you don’t want to heat up the house or spend an extra 30 minutes on clean up. That’s my reality these days. If Norman Rockwell painted our family, people would be standing up, socializing, cleaning up a spill, and someone would be crying.

It’s Kinda Like This…

unofficial_meal

 

Unofficial Meals are Memorable Meals

When I think of the all the ‘Unofficial Meals’ had in my kitchen, they’re some of the most memorable and happiest moments in life. I think of my girls’ tiny hands learning how to scoop up dip or standing across from my husband in our kitchen, sharing honest conversations or chatting about the news of the day. These meals don’t come with recipes to follow and if I had to recreate them, they’d be different every time. These unofficial meals are created in the moment from love and connection.

Catch Up Time

Hummus is an ideal anytime snack. It’s the go-to staple in my fridge I reach for almost every 7 layer dip #unofficialmealtime my kids bring home an unexpected friend after school, and they’re looking for something to munch on. Many people don’t like veggies plain, but they will eat them when they have great flavor. What an effortless way to get people to eat more vegetables – and actually enjoy them! I have loads of ideas to share in this post. 

With a little creativity you can easily be the host with the most. Serve up a creative spin on a 7-layer dip using hummus (I love the Chipotle Hummus), combined with chopped peppers, tomatoes, avocado, and shredded cheese. Grab inspiration from the ingredients you have on hand, working in different colors and textures to each layer. Serve with veggie sticks, pita chips, or your favorite snack crackers.

And if your hostess platter does not need to look pretty, just keep a weekly stash of chopped and ready to go veggies in a sealable container next to a fresh pack of hummus and guacamole in the refrigerator. This way, when you pull out the tortilla chips, you can reach for the veggies and nutritious dips too.

Reconnect Time

My husband spends a decent amount of time on the road, so when he comes home there’s nothing more I want to do than disconnect from whatever I’m doing and reconnect with him. It’s a time when I can let my hair down and laugh together about the horror stories from a week of solo-parenting.hummus platter #unofficialmeal

I spend the spare few minutes each day cleaning up messes around the house, or paying a quick bill. When it comes to my cooking style I love embracing the “you can’t mess it up” mentality. Just start with something fresh and tasty. Then keep adding more good-for-you ingredients.

Sabra has wonderful flavors to choose from or you can buy the Classic Hummus and use it in creative ways to add your own twist. When I’m prepping for dinner I often put out a bowl of hummus with various family favorite “stir ins” for customized dips.

  • Try adding caramelized onions, chopped olives, or marinated mushrooms for additional savoriness.
  • Combining hummus with chopped figs, dates or other dried fruit makes for a sweet and savory dip.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different oils, seeds and nuts like walnut oil, chili oil and pumpkin seeds for a kick of flavor.
  • Mash it up by combining hummus with mashed avocado for an easy twist on traditional guacamole.

Unwind Time

When the work week is done and you just finished that big project, it’s time to unwind. hummus pizza #unofficialmealYou deserve to take a night off of laborious cooking and dishes. In hardly no time at all you can transform your leftover roasted veggies into a robust and herbalicious flatbread pizza! This Roasted Vegetable Flatbread with Hummus is an effortless way to reduce food waste and ramp up your veggie intake, plus no one has to do dishes!

Heat oven to 350F. Using whatever veggies you have on hand (leftovers, raw, or freshly roasted – anything goes), dice into 1/4 inch pieces. Next, spread a generous amount of Basil Pesto Hummus (Rosemary and Sea Salt Hummus or Roasted Red Pepper Hummus are delicious too!) on the flatbread and top with diced veggies(~1/2 cup veggies per flat bread). Bake your flatbread in the oven for 10 minutes. Finish it off with a pinch of fresh or dried herbs. Pair with a glass of wine, time to unwind. 

What’s Your #UnofficialMeal Story?

I don’t mind #unofficialmeal times. In fact, I quite enjoy the respite from my “ideal world” of family meals that more casual meals provide.

Reflect on those times of getting the most out of the moment and each other.What are some of your most treasured “unofficial meals”? Share your story by leaving a comment below or on social media, using the hashtag #unofficialmeal

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Disclosure: I was compensated by Sabra for my time to write this post. Recommendations and opinion are my own.

Body Kindness Podcast Episode 7 “The Loser Letter”

Body Kindness with Rebecca Scritchfield, RDNIn today’s episode of Body Kindness In today’s episode we’re talking about The Loser Letter. As Bernie watched the confetti drop on the recent Biggest Loser finale, he was filled with a complex mix of emotions. This inspired him to write a powerful open letter about all he’s learned in the eight years since his time on the Ranch. His thoughtful advice is not only for his Biggest Loser Alumni – but for all us striving to live a healthier life and practice Body Kindness.

For those who don’t know, Bernie was the At-Home Winner of NBC’s The Biggest Loser, Season 5. His goal was to transform his life and get healthy, but if you know the show at all, you know the focus is on who can lose the most weight through extreme exercise and dieting. Bernie lost a lot of weight on the show, but also lost who he was in the process. He didn’t really become the healthy person he hoped, especially when he obsessed over excessive exercise and rigid food rules in the name of “health.” If you’ve ever been through significant changes in your habits, weight loss or not, you may be able to relate to what Bernie went through in his personal life.

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Listen to Episode 7 below…

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Here’s what we talked about…

  • Bernie shared his Letter To My Fellow Losers. You can read the full transcript at the end of the show notes, and here’s a summary:
    • Take time to unpack. After the whirlwind of information and emotions on the show, Bernie strongly recommends finding a therapist or other professional to help you understand the full impact of your transformation and ensure your long-term success.
    • Out with the old, in with the new (sort of) – Bernie suggests examining your environment and relationships to identify any changes needed in order to support your new lifestyle. Communicate openly and honestly with your loved ones about how they can support you, or consider if some relationships may need to be redefined.
    • Redefine your definition of health. You’ve gone through an extreme experience – from your pre-weight loss life to an intense TV competition with strict diet and exercise regime. It’s time to decide what sustainable good health will look like for you now.
  • I shared my thoughts about Bernie’s letter. I emphasised that The Biggest Loser is above all an entertainment show, and that the competition and gameplay can overshadow doing what it takes to truly get healthy from the inside out.
  • We talked about inspiration. It is up to you to choose who and what inspires you, but the best inspiration comes from a place of love – you can’t hate yourself healthy. Comparing your efforts to a contestant’s rapid results or weight loss methods can be a harmful brand of inspiration. Make sure you focus on what health means to you, in your life, for the long term.
  • I mentioned that the show often reflects our culture’s problem of stigmatising people based on their size. Studies have shown that we’re less likely to practice self care if we’re bullied or stigmatised.
  • I loved Bernie’s message about taking the time to unpack the Biggest Loser experience. Healing the mind is an important and integral part of taking care of your body.
  • I asked Bernie if he missed anything about his pre-Bigger Loser self. He said Bigger Bernie had a lot of fun and he misses not thinking about everything he eats. He’d love to be in a place where he’s nourishing his body without having to think about every single step. I assured him this will come as he builds more trust in himself – finding balance, practicing body kindness without judgement. Being healthy is fun if you’re doing it right!
  • I challenged Bernie on his point about avoiding difficult “food occasions”. It’s natural to want to run from that discomfort, but avoiding the party doesn’t solve the issue. The way to become the kind of person who says no cake when they don’t want to cake, is to practice being the person who says no to cake when they don’t want cake!
  • This led us beautifully to our current book club selection, The Upside of Stress (you can read more about it here.). As Dr. McGonigal writes, stress is energy. Dealing with food pushers at a party will create stress. If you choose to avoid the party, you’re saying you can’t handle it and you’re not using the energy the stress gives you. If you go to the party and practice tolerating that discomfort, the energy of stress can help you grow stronger.
  • We wrapped up by talking about one of my favourite words… fear. You can choose what this word means to you: Face Everything And Recover, or F*** Everything And Run! Which one will you choose?

What did you think of Bernie’s letter?

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Read Bernie’s Letter To My Fellow Losers in full…

Another season of The Biggest Loser has just wrapped up, and we saw two brothers from the great city of Chicago crowned as both the at-home winner and The Biggest Loser.

Seeing them win reminded me of my experience on the show. The sense of pride and accomplishment that I felt for having dedicated myself to getting healthy and the recognition that came along with it.

In just a few days I‘ll be celebrating my 8-year anniversary of having been crowned the at-home winner on Season 5. I can’t help but look back and think of all the things I wished I knew then that I am just beginning to fully understand about my experience now.

So it’s in that vein that I write this letter of encouragement and advice to the new alumni of the show, in hopes that they will find a sense of peace, balance, and a greater sense of self -understanding. Below are three pointers, that I wish someone would have shared with me as I boarded the plane for home.

1. Take Time to Unpack

The last several months have been a whirlwind and you have been inundated with not only the BL’s version of the “Do’s and Don’ts” of healthy living, but more significantly a wide range of emotions that you haven’t really had time to fully unpack.

I know what you’re probably thinking, “I already talked it over with my trainer or other various staff from the show and I’m good”. Believe me when I say you’re not. I’m sorry to have to tell you but the experiences and emotions that contributed to your past state aren’t going to magically be resolved because of an on-air breakthrough. Although significant, your ability to identify some of those unhealthy contributing factors was just that, a breakthrough, needing further exploration, awareness, and will take time for resolve to be found.

My suggestion is to identify a professional psychologist, psychiatrist, or certified life coach that you can work with to better understand the full impact of the transformation you have just undergone. I’d like to leave you little room for misinterpretation here, this is a professional much like an RD or certified personal trainer that you will need to have continual interaction with if you are going to see results. Please don’t overlook this tip if you are truly wanting long-term success this is just as critical as working out or eating healthy.

2. Out with the Old, In with the New… well, sort of

Upon arriving home you’re going to be subject to all those familiar places and faces that played a part in your past life. Do not put off identifying, which things will serve to enrich your life and which things are better left in the past. I know…this is easier said than done, but take it one small step at a time. For example start with the easy stuff… that buffet style restaurant that you love to go to because it’s such a great deal. Let’s face it – you’ve already tried everything it has to serve up, it’s time to discover a better choice. How about getting rid of old clothes that no longer fit, in exchange for new better fitting ones…not only can that be fun, but it also allows you the chance to personally celebrate how far you’ve come.

Now for some of those not so easy decisions, those personal relationships; you know the ones I’m talking about, that friend or family member who has been waiting to see you, so that they can celebrate your transformation by taking you to an old stomping ground or treating you to your favorite hometown treat. Redefining your relationships with loved ones can be tricky; it all comes down to communication. How would you like to incorporate that person into your new life? What role do you see them playing, that will contribute to the new you? How can you go about communicating that to them in a way that won’t harm the relationship?

If it’s a casual relationship perhaps it won’t be that difficult but if it’s a loved one this can prove more difficult. My advice is to be open and honest with them about what you would like their new role in your life to be. Ask them if they are willing to work on your relationship so that it reflects the new you. If they are up to working with you in achieving your new goals then great, if not don’t be afraid to lessen your interaction with them, or if you have to, let it go altogether.

How about those relationships you can’t simply let go of, a life partner, your kids, parents, a brother, or sister…this can prove extremely difficult. I’ve found some success in being unwavering in your dedication to living healthier. Plan your interactions with them to ensure they involve activities you are comfortable with and sit out those family get-togethers that you know are going to put you in a place that your not ok with. You owe it to yourself to communicate to those around you that this change wasn’t merely for the sake of the show.

3. Redefine Your Definition of Health

Lastly, it is critical that you take the time to redefine what health means to you. Prior to your experience on the show maybe you thought that being healthy meant seeing a certain number on the scale, or seeing a slimmer you in the mirror. On the show, it was all about grueling workouts and a strict diet. You literally went from not completely knowing what it was to be healthy to the total opposite extreme of counting every calorie you consumed and worked off.

I hope by now you have begun to realize that health is more than a number. For me being healthy is a feeling; a state of being (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically), the ability to be an active participant in my own life.

If you would have asked me to define what it meant to be healthy after my time on the show, I might have given you a similar answer as the one above, but the difference now is that through hard work and careful self-reflection, I have moved past the rhetoric and actually understand and value what I was just sort of spouting off back then. Knowing that working out 3 to 6 hours a day isn’t realistic or that counting every single calorie you consume will eventually get old, how will you choose to define “Health”, so that the definition contributes to your wellbeing rather than stands for something you are in constant fear of not living up to.

Redefining the term “Health” in your life will serve to help you identify and overcome the inevitable barriers you will encounter along your journey. Most importantly knowing what role health plays in your life, should you allow it, will provide you room for true self-reflection, complete self-care, true body kindness and lasting happiness.

So there you are a few pointers from a fellow “Loser”, I hope this brief letter and the contents shared within help to shed light on some of the many things you might encounter along your journey in the years to come. I wish each and every one of you the very best and most of all continued Health.

Sincerely,

Bernie Salazar
At-Home Winner Season 5

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Nothing in this podcast is meant to provide medical diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Individuals should consult a qualified healthcare provider for medical advice and answers to personal health questions.

Recipe: Oven Baked Crab Cakes Anyone Can Make

crab horizontak

Have you ever been out to eat and ordered a costly crab cake, only to end up with too much filler?  There’s no need to be crabby with these cakes.  This recipe strikes the perfect balance of the crabmeat’s sweet and mild flavor that is sparked by the blend of tang and heat from Dijon, Old Bay and a kick of jalapeño

You Can Crabcake, It’s Not Too Bad

While I’m a fan of 5 ingredient and 5 minute meals, sometimes you just can’t leave something out. Don’t let the ingredients list get you down. These items are probably in your pantry or at your local store. Wether you’re hosting a cocktail party or looking to jazz up a week night dinner, this no-fuss spin on classic crab cakes will bring a taste of gourmet to your table at a fraction of the cost. They’re great to make ahead and freeze for later and will stay good frozen for up to 4-6 months.

Oven Baked Crab Cakes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6 cakes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided
  • 1 pound of crab claw meat
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
  • ½ to 1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced and seeded
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ⅓ cup nonfat, plain Greek-style thickened yogurt
  • 1 lemon, quartered, reserve for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients, reserving ½ cup Panko. Mix gently just until combined, avoid over shredding the crab. Place remaining ½ cup panko in a shallow dish. Using wet hands, shape crab mixture into 6 equal balls. Coat balls in panko. Spray the tops of the crab cakes with canola oil cooking spray to coat lightly.
  3. Bake the crab cakes until they are golden brown on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Gently turn them over and cook for 10 minutes on the other side. Serve with lemon wedges and cilantro leaves to garnish.

Hear it From You

Let us know! What are some of your favorite ways to cook with crab?   Please share below or tweet to @ScritchfieldRD! I’d love to hear them!

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Easter Fun with Food and Friends

Easter is just around the corner, so let’s hop to it! I have cute, tasty and creative ideas for your celebration to help serve up your best Easter yet. Check out my spread during my appearance on Let’s Talk Live DC.

Serving Up the Incredible Egg

Whether you’re decorating them, eating them, or both, there is no denying it: eggs are a huge part of the Easter season! You might be surprised to hear that American Egg Board, image1has been donating hard-boiled eggs to the White House for the annual Easter Egg Roll since 1977! This year, they’ll be donating more than 30,000 eggs for South Lawn attendees. Not only are eggs fun to hunt for (especially with cool decorating techniques using glitter or craft tape), but they are a nutritional powerhouse. One large egg has 6 grams of high-quality protein and nine essential amino acids, all for 70 calories.

Eggs are also one of the few foods that are a naturally good source of Vitamin D, with nothing artificial. Try these Bacon and Cheddar Deviled eggs for your Easter brunch. Just 83 calories per serving and 5 grams of protein. And the good news is that hard boiling eggs just got easier! The American Egg Board is introducing a new method to help make eggs easier to peel AND shave 30% of your time hard-boiling them. Check it out here.

image2

Easter Brunch Crowd Pleasers

We all know hummus makes a great dip, but it’s also a versatile ingredient in your Easter brunch dishes. Two heaping spoons of hummus a day will help you meet the Dietary Guidelines for beans – hummus is made with chickpeas and 2 spoons is about ¼ cup. For Easter Brunch you can go the extra mile – try serving these vegetarian Curry Roasted Eggplant Hummus burgers. Full of flavor, with garlic, curry, parsley and even oats. After roasting they come together in the food processor quickly. You can make them ahead and save some time. Get this recipe and more at Sabra.com.

Healthy Treats for Your Easter Huntimage3

The hunt for healthy Easter treats is over. Wonderful pistachios are a heart smart with nearly 90% of the fats the unsaturated type. There’s 49 nuts in a serving, compared to about 15 chips making them a great option to include as a snack for your guests. Try filling plastic eggs with pistachios for a healthy hunt. You can also serve Wonderful pistachios as a snack before the meal instead of chips.

Get Crafty with Wonderful Halos

For a family friendly craft, Easter basket fun, or even as a image1place setting, these are cute bunnies you can make with Wonderful halos. Wonderful halos are California grown mandarin oranges that’s an excellent source of vitamin C, naturally fat and cholesterol free. Halos are seedless and easy to peel and eat for the entire family. Visit Halosfun.com to learn how to make these adorable Halos bunny pouches.

Better for You Easter Basket Treats

For the Easter Baskets, youimage2 definitely want to toss some KIND in there. With 30 core flavor options KIND has something for everyone, and of course KIND is made with real, wholesome ingredients like premium nuts. KIND “Nuts and Spices” has 50% less sugar compared to the average snack bar, only 5-6g per bar, mostly from honey or dried fruits. And check out their 5 new flavors like BLACK TRUFFLE
ALMOND SEA SALT, DARK CHOCOLATE ALMOND MINT, and my fave DARK CHOCOLATE ALMOND COCONUT You can purchase this 30-bar pack, featuring the new flavors at Kind Snacks. Adults and kids would love a gift of KIND this Easter or thinking ahead to Mother’s Day in May.

Hear it From You

Let us know! What are some of your favorite ways to celebrate Easter?   Please share below or tweet to @ScritchfieldRD! I’d love to hear them!

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Disclosure: I was compensated by Wonderful Brands, Kind Snacks, Sabra, and American Egg Board for my work on the TV segment, but was not compensated to write this blog. Recommendations and opinion are my own.