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.

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.

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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.

3 Festive Thanksgiving Feast Ideas to Boost Flavor and Nutrition

happy tday

Watch here! My mindful eating tips to enjoy your Thanksgiving Feast, plus festive holiday food ideas.

Thanksgiving is almost here! I love this time of year because it’s all about gratitude – celebrating with good friends, family – and of course, FOOD, which is a meaningful part of our traditions.

Don’t waste time on thinking about “food rules” and what you can or can’t eat. It’s not fun, AND most people don’t realize, you usually end up overeating because your brain gets too tired out from resisting tempting foods! Instead, focus on savoring your food and slowing down – or Mindful eating helps you enjoy what you really want, and get satisfied without putting you into a food coma.

I’ve got some food ideas and recipes to help boost the nutrition value for your festive food choices to make your celebration healthy, happy, and memorable.

What to Serve While Everyone is Waiting on Dinner

When you’re entertaining, it’s nice to take some shortcuts. But instead of putting out potato chips, offer up satisfying snacks that won’t spoil your guests’ appetites before the big feast.pistacio

Wonderful Pistachios are just as easy to serve to your guests, plus they have three times the protein, fiber, and portion size per serving! Just put them out for crackin’ and snackin’ on and around Thanksgiving.

If you’re on the road, Wonderful Pistachios come in convenient 100 calorie packaging or you can make your own–you get 49 nuts in a serving of pistachios – more than any other nut. Try tasty varieties including the classic roasted & salted, lightly salted for just a touch of salt, and great flavors such as sweet chili and salt & pepper.

pumpkin-hummus-ck-xMany people love hummus and there are so many ways to serve it. Try an easy variation – warmed pumpkin hummus – just stir in ½ cup pumpkin puree into your hummus and warm it up for a few minutes and top with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Two heaping spoons of Sabra hummus a day will have you eating 1 ½ cups of beans in a week, increasing your fiber intake, plus boosting the veggies you eat – not to mention when you serve Sabra hummus as part of your veggie platter it can serve as your “scoop vehicle” for the hummus. It’s a win-win.

What to Serve to Drinkpom spritzer

Serve up a festive cocktails and mocktails using pomegranate juice. POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice contains the juice from two whole pomegranates, and nothing more. I love using this for holiday beverages – like Spiced POM Cider, or try mixing with sparkling wine or sparkling water at your holiday table.

 Everything but Turkey – Colorful and Creative Sides

For the holiday table – we all know we’ll be enjoying some mashed potatoes – one of my family’s favorites. Add a “secret ingredient” to your spuds by using hummus instead of butter and cream, which cuts about 15 mash spudsgrams of fat per serving and adds a zesty flavor and creamy texture that your guests will find delightful.pom brussle

As you plan your holiday menu, think color! Pomegranate arils offer a delicious flavor and a perfect festive color for your side dishes like these Roasted Pomegranate Brussels Sprouts. You can buy Wonderful Pomegranates whole, or try POM POMs, a convenient package of ready to eat arils.

What to Eat for Energy

Be the host with the most, but don’t get stuck ravenous. Stay on top of hunger and keep up your energy up between meals with nutritious snacks.Kind bar

KIND bars are smart snacks, made with real, wholesome ingredients and use 50% less sugar compared to the average snack bar, only 5-6g per bar. Pair them with yogurt or cheese for added protein to keep you powering through your to-do lists, or enjoy them with a piece of fresh fruit for some quick energy while on the go.

If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth while still snacking healthy try KIND Nuts & Spices. Nuts and Spices come in a variety of delicious flavors, including Maple Caramel Sea Salt, Madagascar Vanilla Almond, Dark Chocolate Mocha.

Hear it From You

Let us know! What festive Thanksgiving dishes will you be serving up? Please share below or tweet to @ScritchfieldRD! We’d love to hear them!

Find out more about these products and topics through Twitter at @POMWonderful, @getcrackin, @Sabra and @KINDSnacks!

Tasty and nutritious, add some of these festive ideas to your Thanksgiving menu and you’ll be sure to add some health as well!

Disclosures: I was compensated by Sabra, KIND snacks, and Wonderful (pomegranate and pistachio) for my work on the TV segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.

Try This: “I had a long day” Recipe Stuffed Sweet Potato

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This sweet potato recipe is easy to make after a long day where all you want to do is sit down and relax. This spin on a favorite comfort food could be the main course of your dinner or split between the family for a tasty side dish.

When I eat this as a meal, I add chopped chicken or beef for a boost of protein and satisfaction. Anything goes – Use what works for you.

Stuffed Sweet Potato
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves 1
Author:
Serves: 25 min
Ingredients
  • 1 Sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • ¼ cup of dark greens (spinach, kale, chard etc. )
  • ⅛ cup finely chopped carrots
  • ½ chicken breast, cooked and chopped (optional)
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese (I love cheddar!)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Scrub sweet potato and cut a ½ inch deep line around the middle.
  3. Microwave for 7-10 minutes, or until cooked all the way through.
  4. Scoop out flesh, and leave the skins to the side (don’t throw them away!).
  5. Mash the sweet potato in a bowl with milk and butter.
  6. Stir in greens, carrots, chicken, and half of the shredded cheese.
  7. Put the filling back into the sweet potato skins, and put on a tray or in tinfoil (I find it is more stable if I make a boat out of tinfoil for the sweet potato!).
  8. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top, and bake until the cheese on top is golden, which takes about 8-12 minutes!
  9. Enjoy!

 

What are your favorite foods to make after a long day? Share below in the comments.

Join the #Spring2Wellness Challenge Today (3 more weeks left)

Spring (1)Since the start of spring, over 1,000 people have been enjoying their time learning new tips for motivation, recipes and workouts absolutely FREE with my latest challenge, “Spring 2 Wellness.”

It’s not to late to join in. We have three more weeks left of weekly challenge emails. Sign up here.

After you complete it, I’ll be sharing my 7-day “feel good guide” (also free). Then you’ll get messages from me ongoing 1-2 times a month, with some of my favorite tools, tips and resources right to your inbox.

Read on if you would like to catch up and get some wellness in your life instantly! Next challenge goes out Friday April 25th,

Spring 2 Wellness Week 1

Week 1 was all about goal setting.

Your intention is your commitment to take action. Start by (1) get a clear on what you want and why you want it and (2) WRITE IT DOWN or it isn’t happening.

I will ______ on (or by) ________.

Check out this link for more goal setting tips 9 Habits For a Happier Healthier Life

Sign up for the challenge

Spring2Wellness Week 2

Week 2: plan, plan, plan.

You know the saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Even if you can eek by without planning, imagine how much more could you get done with healthy living if you plan. You save time, you’re more clear on your goals, and you’re more likely to stick to them when you feel like bailing.

Learn how to meal plan like a boss.  Meal planning makes grocery shopping much more efficient (saving you time and money), and keeps your mind set on eating healthy.

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Spring2Wellness Week 3

Week 3: Move to the rhythm of the work out

Turn something dreadful into something less dreadful.  Let’s face it, you may not feel like working out at all.  It’s tiring, takes up time or uncomfortable.  It’s OK.  Do it anyway.

Use music as a distraction and it can make your workouts more fun.  Think of some of your favorite songs, create a play list, and I dare you not to move to them!

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Spring2Wellness Week 4

Week 4’s challenge was all about meditation.

While I love yoga, I could never seem to get into meditation. My brain is constantly thinking, moving from one idea to the next. Trying to control or stop my thoughts seems like the opposite of what I am supposed to do.

However, after trying to give my self 1 to 5 minutes every morning to just do nothing, I could see how it helped me feel more positive and energized for a great day. I got a real boost to my health and happiness.

I wrote an article published on US News: Health, check it out, it talks more about Mediation and how and why you should try it.

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Spring2Wellness Week 5

Are you dying to know? Sign up for the challenge and you’ll see what’s up my sleeve next.