Summer Eats. Poor Man’s Crab Cake {Tuna Cakes}

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My Husband and I absolutely love a good crab cake. You know, the kind that has huge chunks of meat and is not overloaded with breading or overpowering flavors. It is simple, fresh and full of natural flavors. Ah, so good. Well, unfortunately we cannot afford to eat them all that often because a good crab meat is so expensive. I was craving crab cakes on our tuna budget the other day so I had to come up with something to satisfy that craving. This is how my “Poor Man’s Crab Cake” came to be…I hope you try it and are just as pleasantly surprised by it’s flavor. My husband even made the comment that these could fool you to thinking you are really biting into a crab cake!

 

The most important ingredient in this is getting the right tuna. The tuna I used is from Costco, if you have a Costco near you please go by yourself this little treasure. The brand is Wild Planet. It is 100% pole and troll caught wild albacore tuna. It is NOT in water or oil, just the natural tuna juices, which is one reason this tuna is so good. The label reads perfectly so I will just quote it for you:

You’ve never tasted tuna like this before! We hand-cut and pack delicious, premium tuna steaks in a micro-cannery process. All the Omega 3 oils are retained and no liquid is added; please don’t drain. We selected smaller albacore which accumulate less mercury than the larger albacore typically used by conventional tuna companies. Wild Plant packs 100% pure tuna! No water, oil or fillers added. No BPA used in can lining.”

The label is not misleading by any means, what they say is what you get with this little can. It truly is a tuna “steak” and comes in one nice big piece, this makes it perfect for cutting bigger chunks for the tuna cake recipe. It is around $10.00-$11.00 for 6/5oz cans. Although when I bought it Costco had a coupon making them only $9.00! Gotta love Costco.

Here is what the packaging looks like:

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Poor Man’s Crab Cake {Tuna Cakes}

Makes 6-8 cakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans 10oz Wild Planet tuna (not drained)
  • 1/2 c. plain bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T. mayonaise (*see note at bottom on organic mayo tips)
  • 2 T. parsley, chopped
  • 1 sprig green onion, chopped
  • 1 t. old bay
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • organic olive or grape seed oil, for frying
  • 1 lemon, for squeezing on cakes after they are finished
  • Tomato, lettuce and raw cheddar cheese for the toppings

Preparation:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Form the cakes to your desired size
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium/high heat
  4. Add your cakes to the pan, I fit 8 in a pan
  5. Sprinkle more old bay on them before flipping
  6. Fry until brown on both sides, about 4 minutes each side
  7. Serve warm on a toasted bun, I found some really yummy cheddar buns at the store

**Tips for buying mayo:

Your typical store bought, white and creamy mayo is full of GMO’s. I have to admit, it is really yummy and finding a good alternative won’t happen. Although there are some options out there. You can find this brand:

mayo

Spectrum Organic Olive Oil Mayonnaise at most health food stores and it is a decent alternative.

 

 

Or I have found some recipes for making your own. Here is one that I have not tried, but it looks pretty good! Here is a video tutorial on the recipe via Girl Meets Nourishmenthttp://girlmeetsnourishment.com/gmnwordpress1/how-to-make-lacto-fermented-mayo/

 

 

 

The “Art” Of Health {updated budget & a new business}

Summer. Relaxing days spent outdoors blowing bubbles and lounging by the pool while the children swim happily. No fighting, everyone can swim without some sort of floatation device needing to be blown up. They can go potty alone, feed themselves and always keep a tidy room oh and no schedules, homework or field trips. What a dream. I don’t know why I wake up most days and think this is reality? We lead a very busy life, probably more busy than most and the last two years has been insane.

 

My Husband and his Brother have been tirelessly working hours on end, after their normal day job, creating an iPhone app. The last two years I have given up my Husband to pursue his dream, creating something with his brother for the iPhone. The day has finally arrived, the app is FINISHED and releasing in the iTunes store TODAY. I could not be more proud of them and I must say the app is really awesome. Here is a little bit about the company:

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 8.50.37 PM is an iPhone app that enables artists to share original art with their community and locals to find and buy art. A wall often exists between regular people and the art world. Artists, whether hobbyist or professional, have no simple way to make their art accessible, and everyone else has no simple way to connect with local artists and purchase their work. Finestra changes all that by giving people a chance to preview art on their own wall while hearing the artists themselves tell the story behind the art. Potential buyers can email an artist to set up an appointment or get directions to see the art in person right away. Artists use the app to easily capture, manage, and promote their work professionally, or on a casual basis. Art surrounds us, and Finestra connects us through art to restore the role of artists in our communities and re-imagine our living spaces.

You can watch a 1 min promo video: 

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/61433410″>Finestra Art App</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user16940238″>Finestra Art App</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

It would be really awesome if you could go like them on FB: Finestra! Also, if you have an iPhone go download the app and check it out and request your city! You won’t be disappointed 🙂

Thank you for letting me go outside my normal posting to brag on my Hubby. Now back to foodie talk 🙂 The last 4 months has been a time of learning and figuring out “what works” for our family. Thankfully we have finally gotten into a pretty nice groove and I have tailored down our budget A LOT!

After the great purge of GMO’s from our house we were left pretty bare. I had to do a lot of stocking up on normal everyday items that I threw away. It was an expensive first few weeks! Thankfully I have figured things out and I have barely stepped foot into Whole Foods in 3 months! Crazy. I hear from several people that “it was just too expensive”. I get that. It IS expensive. But, you have to weigh the pro’s and con’s of cheap food now… potential health problems in the future or a little more expensive food now and great health later.

 

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Here is the break down of a general week in food for us. First, I get this really amazing farmer’s market basket every week that consists of local produce. I get a large basket and I typically add on 18 organic farm fresh eggs. It generally costs me around $30 dollars a week for everything you see pictured above. I also get my local raw honey from here for a great price! Do you have a local farmers market or farm share near you that you love? I would highly suggest looking into it if you do not know.

I do the rest of my shopping at Publix and Costco. Publix is generally just for spices, organic chicken, milk and gluten free items. Costco is awesome for frozen organic veggies, snacks and organic beef! We spend around $90.00-$100.00 a week in these places, sometimes it is less depending on what toiletries we need. So, in a month we generally spend $490.00 on groceries and toiletries.

I will do a much more detailed post in the future, but for now I need to help my Husband finish the last touches for our app release party here tomorrow night.

 

Day forty five. Keeping Up With The GMO’s. {health update}

We are chugging along on our little challenge of keeping our home GMO free. While we have noticed significant changes in our health, we still struggle. I would love to say if you stop eating GMO’s all together it will be a magic “cure all” for everything. It isn’t. But it has caused improvements and I would hope to think in the long run, several years down the road, we will reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Our son, who is the whole reason this “non-GMO for 60-days” started has been cleared for not having Celiacs Disease. I am so relieved to know that we do not have that hard, life-long battle ahead of us. My heart goes out to those Mom’s who do have children who suffer with this disease. His biopsy also came back negative for a lactose allergy and negative for any enzyme deficiencies. AND he gained 1 pound, he was most excited about this! Praise God!

His GI Specialist was very intrigued by our new diet changes and asked several questions. It was nice to connect with a Doctor who did not just throw medicines and a “diagnosis” at us. He agreed that staying away from processed foods and gluten could only benefit his little body. He also was pretty sure that he has a high gluten intolerance, while not full blown Celiacs, he just cannot process gluten the way he should and reacts. Over time, if he continued to eat gluten without changing his diet, he could develop Celiacs later in life.

We have done a “test” and gave him a small bit of gluten at dinner one night- not telling him – just to see how his body would respond. I was pretty surprised (and sad that I caused this) but he wet his bed, started biting his nails, was super irritable and complained of a tummy ache over the next couple of days. Poor kid! Thankfully, we know what causes his problems and I am learning how to cook gluten-free. If you have a favorite gluten-free recipe please share!

I have a follow up with my GI Specialist on Wednesday this week. They have been pretty vague and really will not give me much information as to the results of my colonoscopy over the phone. Talk about frustrating! They just tell me to “keep taking your medicine and we will talk at the appointment”. I will have a whole post on that medicine and it’s nasty side-effects and why I stopped taking it. It should be fun talking with the Doctor about it on Wednesday 🙂

Did you get a chance to guess the secret ingredient yesterday? If not, take a look at these ingredients and see if you can guess this product from the ingredient list before reading the answer.

Know Your Product Icon

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CORN SYRUP, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, WATER, CELLULOSE GUM, CARAMEL COLOR, SALT, SODIUM BENZOATE AND SORBIC ACID (PRESERVATIVES), ARTIFICIAL AND NATURAL FLAVORS, SODIUM HEXAMETAPHOSPHATE.

The Answer:

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 9.47.39 PMAunt Jemima Original Syrup. Full of sugars, artificial and GMO ingredients. Yum. Why not try a pure maple syrup instead or maybe some local honey? We love the 365 brand from Whole Foods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day Forty Two. Missing Out On Life.

Day Forty Two.

 

So you are not going to give your kids goldfish ever again? What about birthday cake and ice cream when invited to a friends birthday party? How can you survive without “I don’t want to cook – let’s grab a pizza night”? Or an afternoon pick-me-up drive through Starbucks, or popcorn at the movies…? These are all questions I am frequently asked when people read my blog or hear about our journey.

 

I would like to take the time answer these questions for you. Maybe you have already heard my answer, but maybe you are new and have had the same questions. It is very tough to gage these questions when asked. I do not want to come across as a snob, or “my kids are healthier than your kids” in any way. This is purely a choice our family has made for US and I believe each family should choose what they feel will best serve their individual family/family members. If you want to know more about our choice I encourage you to look back at the beginning of our journey and learn more about our decision. For now, let me get to answering the questions for you.

 

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Question #1: So you are not going to give your kids goldfish ever again?

Answer: Honestly, they will probably have goldfish at some point again during their life. For example, my kids go to a class at our church on Sunday mornings and they frequently serve goldfish. I do try and pack a separate gluten-free, healthy snack. However, there are those mornings when I am very rushed for time, you know those mornings, so sometimes I might not get to packing a separate snack. My son will have to wait (bless his heart) because of his gluten allergy, but my daughter will most likely eat goldfish that day. Will I buy them for a snack in our home? No. When we are at home I will keep the snacking to non-gmo popcorn, fruit and veggies and the like.

 

cake and ice creamQuestion #2: What about birthday cake and ice cream when invited to a friends birthday party?

Answer: Having two children with several friends it seems there is always a party to attend. I am not going to pack them a separate snack and tell them they cannot eat cake and ice cream. However, my son will have to avoid cake. I do encourage them to make healthier choices and eat more fruit first and maybe a very small piece of cake or ice cream for the “taste”. Teaching them restraint and portion control, I think, is a good lesson they can learn at this young age. I am not telling them “you will be fat if you eat this” I simply tell them that a bunch of sugar is not good for us. Fruit will make us healthy and strong and it still tastes very yummy. We will see what I make when the party is in OUR home this summer 🙂

 

pizzaQuestion #3: How can you survive without “I don’t want to cook – let’s grab a pizza night”?

Answer: This has happened already on more than one occasion. Unfortunately, with my son having a gluten allergy it really helps that decision. Whole Foods does make a good pizza (gluten) and then Amy’s organics has a decent frozen gluten-free pizza. Thankfully, to a three year old he could care less – pizza is pizza!

 

Starbucks_1Question #4: What about an afternoon pick-me-up drive through Starbucks?

Answer: Starbucks offers an organic soy milk latte for an extra charge. So, if you have to indulge and yes, there are times where caffeine is a “have to” in my books…then I do grab a organic soy latte with no added sugar. I try to avoid drinking a lot of soy because it bothers me, but on occasion it works!

 

800px-PopcornQuestion #5: What about popcorn at the movies?

Answer: This is one where I will say, “nope, never, not going to happen”. Not only because popcorn is genetically modified but it is also crazy overloaded on sodium and calories. I remember one time I took my daughter to a movie when she was two. We got a popcorn to split and when the movie was over we walked out into the light I was shocked, her lips were huge! They were completely white and swollen. I got scared, but some other mom told me, ‘oh yea, she just had too much sodium and not enough water and she is dehydrated.’ Seriously, over popcorn!? So yes, my answer is now B.Y.O.P, bring your own popcorn! Costco sells a big bag of non-gmo popcorn (Boom Chicka Pop) it is awesome and cheap!

 

Bottom line is this. When we are at home I will purchase non-gmo and as organic as possible. We will not have processed snacks and our foods will be (for the most part) made from scratch. When we go out I want to be free enough to let my kids have a “normal” life. I do not want to tell them “you cannot have that because it is so bad for you” (unless it is gluten for my son)…I hope that with all our healthy eating at home and the education they are learning from cooking whole foods it will enable them to make better food choices when out. I already can see their taste buds changing for certain foods, choosing cucumbers and grape tomatoes over chips. But I have to be honest, kids are kids. They still want candy and goldfish and I can’t blame them, that stuff is pretty tasty. I am training and teaching them about food and what is “good” and “bad” for you and leading them to make good choices in their life. Are my kids missing out on life because of our food choices? I do not think so, I’d like to think I am giving them life by teaching them these lessons.

 

I hope that helps you. We tend to stay home more often just because it helps us avoid being in situations like this, but they do happen and life goes on. Do not fret over it. 🙂

 

Do not forget to enter our Conscious Box 3-month subscription giveaway! Contest ends on FRIDAY! Go here for rules and to enter!! Good luck! 🙂

 

*Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

 

Do You Eat This Little Product With 88 Ingredients?

Know Your Ingredients. Name This Product, #5.

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Did you guess it right? If you missed yesterday’s post here are the ingredients again, 88 to be exact!

WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, FERROUS SULFATE, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID, WATER, TOMATO PASTE, PORK, MECHANICALLY SEPARATED CHICKEN, SALT, SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, SPICE, MALTODEXTRIN, CORN, TAPIOCA, NATURAL FLAVOR, WATER, TEXTURED VEGETABLE PROTEIN, SOY FLOUR, CARAMEL COLOR, SUGAR, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, HYDROLYZED CORN AND SOY PROTEIN, SOY FLOUR, HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL, YEAST EXTRACT, WATER, PALM OIL, RENNET CASEIN, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, SOYBEAN OIL, POTATO STARCH, SODIUM ALUMINUM PHOSPHATE, VITAL WHEAT GLUTEN, SALT, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, CITRIC ACID, POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVATIVE), SODIUM CITRATE, TITANIUM DIOXIDE (ARTIFICIAL COLOR), MALTODEXTRIN, MAGNESIUM OXIDE, ZINC OXIDE, RIBOFLAVIN, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, VITAMIN B12, CANOLA, SOYBEAN AND/OR PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL, PORK MECHANICALLY SEPARATED CHICKEN, WATER, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, BEEF, SALT, SPICE, DEXTROSE, OLEORESIN OF PAPRIKA, SODIUM ASORBATE, GARLIC POWDER, SODIUM NITRATE, LACTIC ACID STARTER CULTURE, BHA AND BHT AND CITRIC ACID (ADDED TO PROTECT FLAVOR), SALT, SUGAR, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, DRIED WHEY, DEFATTED SOY FLOUR, DRIED ONION, SPICE, METHYLCELLULOSE, REHYDRATED PASTEURIZED PROCESS MOZZARELLA CHEESE, WATER, NONFAT MILK, CHEESE CULTURES, SALT ENZYMES, CITRIC ACID, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, VITAMIN B6, SODIUM ALUMINUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM CITRATE, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, DEXTROSE, MALTODEXTRIN, REHYDRATED ENZYME MODIFIED CHEESE, WATER, MILK, CHEESE CULTURES, SALT ENZYMES, NATURAL FLAVOR.

The Answer Is:

pizza rolls

Can I just say there is NO need to have 88 ingredients in a product, ever. One thing that stuck out to me was this is a pepperoni and cheese ‘pizza’. However, no where in the ingredients do you see pepperoni, just mechanically separated chicken and pork. Yum!

The other ingredient that stuck out to me was BHT and BHA a preservative, Butylated Hydroxytoluene,. I did a little research and my first stop took me to the FDA to read from them what their definition. I was first a little taken aback by the title a “GRAS Substances” – GRAS = Generally Recognized As Safe. I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sit well with me. I do not want to be ingesting something that the FDA cannot say it is 100% safe. I do not want any “generally safe” near my food!

One other quote from the FDA regarding the BHT preservative:

“Therefore, there is the need to determine the effects of BHT at levels now present in foods under conditions where steroid hormones or oral contraceptives are being ingested. Other tissues such as lung and the gastrointestinal mucosa, in addition to liver, can respond to enzyme inducing agents. More information is required on the inducing properties of BHT on extra hepatic organs. If induction should be found to occur, it would be necessary to determine the effect of such enzymes on the conversion of other ingeted materials into toxic substances or carcinogens. The Select Committee has weighed the foregoring and concludes that: While no evidence in the available information on BHT demonstrates a hazard to the public when it is used at levels that are now current and in the manner now practiced, uncertainties exist requiring that additional studies should be conducted.

“Uncertainties exist”, “more information is required”, “there is the need to determine the effects”, etc…you get the point. This product is still under the research and test phase and WE are the research and their test animals. WE are the ones being the guinea pigs for them.

The preservative BHT is found in all sorts of packaged products from cereals to cosmetic and even in jet fuel! BHT is an antioxidant that primarily protects the fats in our food so it does not turn rancid as it sits on the shelf. Yum, sounds appetizing, right?

Instead of buying this product why don’t you try making your own pizza rolls? Here is my favorite pizza dough recipe. Sorry I do not have any pictures of a finished product, just this one of my husband using his awesome Italian roots to toss dough!  But I can tell you it is REALLY good. It is making me want to go make a pizza for dinner…hmm… 🙂

 

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Homemade Pizza Crust 

Taken from the Breadman Pro cookbook.

Ingredients:

3/4 c. water, 80 degrees

1 T. olive oil

1 T. raw sugar

1 1/2 t. salt

2 1/4 c. bread flour

1 t. active dry yeast

Preparation:

  • Bread Machine: Place ingredients in order listed in your bread machine and select the dough course. 
  • Electric Mixer: Place ingredients in order listed in your mixing bowl.
  • Attach the paddle and mix until all incorporated.
  • Switch the paddle to the dough hook and knead for 8 minutes on 5-6 speed.
  • When the dough is coming together and pulling from the sides it is done.
  • Cover it and let it rise in a warm spot for 20-30 minutes.

After it is risen you can get 1 thick crust or 2 thin crusts from this recipe.

Homemade Pizza Rolls:

Ingredients:

Crust recipe above.

Homemade tomato sauce

Mozzarella cheese

Pepperoni, cut into small bits

Preparation: 

  • Preheat over to 425 degrees
  • Roll out dough super thin. Cut into squares, 3×3.  Layer ingredients, sauce, cheese and pepperoni. Roll from one corner to the next, pinch closed. Fold over the other to edges and pinch closed.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is browned.