Southwestern Zucchini “Crab” Cakes

I can’t wait for summer.

I’m tired of all this rainy, cold weather. I just can’t wait to be wearing flip flops everyday; I love being barefoot and I’m so over this whole shoes and sock thing. It seriously only makes for more laundry.

My skin is so dry and pale. In a few months, I’ll be so excited to soak up all the warm sun on a beach or by a pool. The only thing I’ll have to worry about is getting a serious sun burn or sand in my bathing suit. I’m definitely a warm weather person and with March just a day away…it just means that spring is that much closer. Well, hopefully.

Nothing feels more like summer than enjoying some fresh seafood while sitting outside at a picnic table. These “crab” cakes gave me a feeling of summer this weekend when I was locked up in my apartment avoiding the wind and cold. These are very refreshing and would taste great on a nice, hot summer day; or you know, a cold day that you’re trying to make warmer.

Please make these. Maybe spring will come here faster and I can break out my hundred pairs of flip-flops from the closet. Although, hopefully not too fast, my toes haven’t seen the light of day in a long time. I’ll have to treat myself to a pedicure, then break out the flippy-floppys or buy some new ones.

Southwestern Zucchini “Crab” Cakes
(Makes about 16 small cakes or 8 big ones)

1 1/2 c. shredded zucchini, squeezed dry (as best you can)
1 c. panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 tbsp. onion, grated
1 tsp. old bay seasoning
2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. plain greek yogurt
6 tbsp. Southwestern flavored Egg Beaters (or 2 eggs)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine the zucchini, bread crumbs, onion, old bay, flour and yogurt. Mix in the egg substitute or real eggs. Mix well. Using your hands, shape the mixture into small cakes (or large if desired), place on lightly greased baking pan. Bake for about 15-18 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown on both sides. Serve with cocktail sauce, ketchup, etc.

The best part? These are also incredibly healthy and I can eat them because they do not have crab in them. If you make the small cakes, they’re just about 25 calories each. A great little appetizer idea :)


Peach & Blueberry Parfait with Greek Yogurt

Let’s talk about greek yogurt and how I’m not a fan.

Or at least I wasn’t a fan for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, there are several things I do like about greek yogurt. For one, it’s extremely healthy. It’s full of protein and keeps me full for hours. The thickness and texture is something I also really like compared to regular yogurt. However, the bitterness of the yogurt just doesn’t sit right with me.

I’ll never forget the first time I tried greek yogurt; I spat it out and was very convinced that I had just ate a spoonful of sour cream. After that experience, I gave it another shot by trying the kind with the fruit flavors by Chobani. These were really good because the fruit was able to balance out the bitterness of the yogurt itself without being too overly sweet. However, some of the flavors had over twenty grams of sugar and the fruit was more a syrupy layer at the bottom.

So, I decided to make my own and I was surprised by how much more I enjoyed greek yogurt this way. It was creamy, filling and the fresh fruit was just so much more delicious and added a nice little crunch to yogurt. If you have a wishy-washy relationship with greek yogurt like me, then I would definitely suggest trying it this way. This is a great, healthy breakfast, snack, lunch or even dessert.

Peach & Blueberry Parfait with Greek Yogurt
Makes 1 serving

1 6oz. container greek yogurt, plain non-fat
1 small peach, sliced
1/4 c. blueberries
1/2 tbsp. maple syrup or honey
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

In a small bowl or glass, scoop about a third of yogurt into it. Place some peach slices and blueberries on top and then scoop another third of the yogurt on top. Repeat with fruit and yogurt again. Garnish the top with a peach slice and some blueberries. Drizzle maple syrup or honey on top and sprinkle with cinnamon.

If you’re not feeling the healthy aspect of this, you can always have this for breakfast instead…or you know, for second breakfast.

Apple Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

I dislike Mondays for several reasons.

Not only do Mondays mean it’s the end of the weekend, they just arrive way too fast for my liking. I shouldn’t really complain as someone who has a four day weekend every week, but I find that by the time I start to enjoy my weekend, it’s already Sunday night and I’m dreading the next day.

Why must you do this to me, Monday? I’m not ready to make myself presentable for the rest of the world; I’d rather bum around in pajamas and eat cereal out of the box all day without having to comb out my hair. I would like to have this kind of relationship, Monday, if not today, then maybe sometime in the near future.

Monday is the day that you chastise yourself for letting your diet slip over the weekend or not getting a head start on your work or organizing your apartment. For me, today is definitely that Monday that encompasses all three. I mean, I can’t be the only one that wishes she didn’t eat that last slice of pizza, right?

I sit here at my computer, procrastinating, while I have a pile of dishes up to my chin in the kitchen and a broken glass that I have yet to sweep up after knocking it over in my haste to get to work this morning. However, a few extra slices of pizza and a broken glass aside, I’m going to make this Monday better. It’s going to be a good Monday for both of us because this baked oatmeal is heavenly and healthy. It’s the perfect breakfast and at around 150 calories and full of fiber, it could be the perfect dessert as well (with a little bit of whipped cream on top, of course).

Apple Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
(click here for a printable version)
Makes 4 servings

1 c. oats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. light (or sugar-free) maple syrup
1 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk (regular milk works too)
1 egg or 1/4 c. egg substitute
1 med. apple, chopped
1/2 c. blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the chopped apples and blueberries in a greased medium baking dish; spread them evenly on the bottom. In a bowl, mix together the oats, baking powder and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and syrup. Pour the oat mixture evenly on top of the fruit and then pour the milk mixture over the oats and fruits; try to pour it evenly throughout the oatmeal. Do not mix. Bake the oatmeal about 30-40 minutes until golden brown on top.

Eating healthier today totally negates yesterday’s pizza, I promise.

Spicy Garlic Hummus

I really hate chickpeas. No, really, I hate them.
But I’ll make an exception for hummus; especially when it’s of a garlic or supremely spicy flavor. And if you hate chickpeas, you should make an exception too.

Because you’ll be extremely pleasantly surprised. I’m almost one hundred percent sure that when I first started liking and eating hummus, that I had no clue what it was actually made of.

Hummus has quickly become one of my favorite things to eat ever. It’s healthy, filling and tastes good with just about anything. My mom and I could easily devour an entire container together with carrots, pita chips, and pretzels. I’m serious. You’re welcome to join us because even if we may not want to share, it’d probably be better for everyone.

Spicy Garlic Hummus
Serves 1 (ha, kidding!)

1 can chickpeas
1/4 c. olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. plain greek yogurt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tbsp. hot sauce
1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 jar hot red peppers (optional)

In food processor, add chickpeas (you can rinse and drain them from the can or not, it’s your preference) and blend until chunky. Add olive oil, garlic and greek yogurt; blend until mixed well.Add crushed red pepper, hot sauce, lemon juice and garlic powder. Mix until you’ve reached a smooth consistency* then scoop hummus into serving bowl. Top with a few hot red peppers if desired for serving purposes and extra spice. Serve with chips and veggies.

*You may need to add more olive oil or greek yogurt to achieve a smoother, creamier consistency. Also, I would think that you could totally omit the olive oil and replace it with more greek yogurt; it gives it a very creamy texture that I liked.

You should bring this to your Superbowl party. I won’t tell anyone what hummus is made of if you don’t, deal?

Warm Cinnamon Apple & Grilled Chicken Salad

I love this salad.

I came up with the idea about a year ago. The heat in my apartment was broken and being a college student, I pretty much had no food…except, you guessed it, apples, a head of lettuce, and a frozen bag of chicken strips from Trader Joe’s.

Obviously a salad was going to be on the menu that night. But, the problem was, it was so freaking cold. The thought of eating cold lettuce, covered in cold dressing made me almost forgo dinner that night. (Almost, Mom, I said almost…no need to worry, I’m eating plenty).

That was how I somehow came up with this idea of grilling the chicken and apples together to create a warmer salad. I know I’ve said this a lot, but it really is so easy. It became my go-to meal for the rest of the week. Until, of course, I ran out of ingredients and was back to contemplating between ramen noodles or eating a jar of peanut butter.

Warm Cinnamon Apple Grilled Chicken Salad
Serves 2 as main dish (up to 4 as side dish)

1 tart apple, chopped (I used granny smith)
1 small/med. chicken breast
1 tsp. cinnamon
6 c. mixed greens
(spinach, romaine, etc)
1/4 c. walnuts, chopped (optional)

In a pan over medium heat, cook the chicken until lightly browned on both sides (you could probably also cook the chicken in a george foreman grill or a grill pan). Remove the chicken about 2 minutes before it has finished cooking and slice into strips or pieces; return to pan. Then add the chopped apples and cinnamon to the pan.

Stir the chicken and apples while cooking for about 2-3 minutes, until the chicken browned and the apples have warmed and appear grilled. Remove from heat. You can either place chicken/apple mixture directly on top of the salad or leave it in a separate bowl for serving purposes. If desired, top salad with chopped walnuts for an extra crunch. Serve with warm honey mustard vinaigrette.

Warm Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
1 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp. honey
2 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. white vinegar

Whisk all ingredients together. Heat in microwave.

It’s a bit classier now without those frozen chicken strips.