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August 2015

Sardines For Everyone!

I love sardines because eating them is environmentally friendly and healthy for you. I read on David Suzuki Foundation‘s website that they are “rich in calcium, protein, iron, omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy minerals”. Pretty cool! I also love them because sardine cans are very affordable. I usually wait for sales and buy them when they are $0.77 per unit. You can never have too many sardine cans, right? Well, my pantry seems to disagree with that last statement. I love sardines.. but I don’t really love eating them… I usually feed them to my dog Shiloh because she deserves a healthy shiny coat.

As I mentioned last week, though, I’m planning to start eating from my pantry in order to save some money and reduce the stockpiles (of sardine cans, among other items) I have accumulated over the last years.

If you don’t have a dog (of if she’s currently on an hydrolized protein diet because you suspect she might have a food allergy), here are a few recipes to use them up. Warning: You might end up liking them for real.

Sardine Fish Cakes (recipe from Chef Michael Smith‘s Fast Flavours: 110 Simple Speedy Recipes cookbook)

For 6 large (8 small) cakes, you’ll need:

  • 2 baking potatoes, cooked until tender
  • 4 cans of sardines, drained and mashed
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 C wheat germ or any flour (I personally grind my own flour made of ancient grains like Farro and/or Kamut)
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter

In my own words, combine cooked potatoes, mashed sardines, sliced green onions, egg, mustard and pepper. You’re looking for a texture that will hold together when you shape the cakes. You can add flour to the mix to reach the desired consistancy, a small amount at a time. Shape the cakes and evenly coat in wheat germ/flour mixture. Add oil and butter to medium-high hot skillet. Brown cakes for 4-5 min on one side, flip them and cook for an additional 3-4 min. Ready to be eaten with your favorite tartar sauce and a garden salad!

Beer-Batter-Fried Sardines and Limes (Gourmet recipe found here)

For 1-2 servings, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 C light coloured beer
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C flour
  • 3 cans sardines
  • 1 lime
  • enough vegetable oil to deep fry

In my words, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high until thermometer indicates 375 F. Meanwhile, whisk beer, salt, and flour together. Carefully dredge and fully cover drained and dried sardines in the batter. Delicately drop small batches of sardines in the hot oil  and fry while stirring for 2-3 min or until golden brown. Transfer fried sardines onto paper towel. Fry lime wedges for 30 sec and transfer onto paper towel as well. Serve hot with your choice of sides. My husband loves fish and chips and didn’t notice he was eating sardines hehe.

*Frying oil can be reused for more frying and then upcycled into a homemade candle. I haven’t tried the candle thing yet but am planning to.

I think mashed sardines could also be great in paninis! Will have to try 🙂

Any other canned sardine recipes you like, Society?

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Eating Chez Eve’s Pantry – Step 1

Hi Society,

Earlier this week I went through and wrote down all the food I have in my freezer, fridge, and pantry. I found quite a few gems! In order to save some money on our future grocery bills and reduce the strange stockpile I have accumulated, I’m going to plan meals to mainly eat from my pantry. Some of you may know this as a pantry challenge. My attempt is and isn’t a challenge. I do have a goal (save money at the grocery store, eat what I currently have) but I don’t (yet) have parameters like a deadline, a number of meals in mind, a specific allowed grocery budget or even a specific number of pantry items needed per recipe (think the TV show Chopped)… although all of those sound fun! The first step is to find recipes to use the ingredients I have.

Some ingredients are easily associated with recipes. For example, I can use part of the 2 lb+ pearl barley I have to make vegetable barley soup. The French lentils I have? I will probably make (frozen) salmon over a bed of lentil (I have a great recipe which I might even share with you soon – you’re welcome, society!). The gazillion walnuts, you ask? I’m planning to use part of them in this Fondue Parmesan recipe I found last night. And in banana bread, of course. Tuna cans? What can’t you make with tuna cans? The 1/4 C pine nuts I’ve been holding hostage? A mini pesto recipe! I’m a fairly creative person but the following ingredients might require a tad more head scratching:

  • sardine cans
  • pinto beans
  • cashews
  • navy beans
  • almonds
  • sunflower seeds
  • red lentils
  • dried mushrooms
  • red chili beans (other than chili?)
  • black bean noodles
  • wheat bran
  • oat bran
  • buckwheat (kasha)
  • farro
  • kamut
  • 1 C steal cut oats
  • 2 C gluten free flour
  • psyllium husks
  • 1/2 C bulgur
  • 1/2 C pecans
  • 1/4 C millet
  • seaweeds (dulse, wakame, and a strange unknown one)
  • potato starch
  • pearl couscous
  • coconut milk

The next steps will be to share the recipes I found and report on how they turned out as my project progresses. Feel free to help out if you think of a way to use one or more ingredients I just listed.

The Thing About Showers

I confess: I don’t like showering. I’m not really sure why. It’s true that I do have long hair but I don’t even wash it everyday. In case some of you know me: I feel the need to say I shower enough that you won’t smell me…. just kidding! I mostly only avoid showers when I don’t have to go anywhere that day and/or if I haven’t broke a sweat, rubbed myself in dirt, etc. I hope this makes you feel better! I don’t really care either way 😛 A little less than a year ago, I noticed how much I disliked initiating my shower routine so I decided to google the issue. Just for fun.

I was expecting to find out I was depressed. Google diagnosis, right? However, I discovered something completely different. Turns out I wasn’t the only healthy person in the world not liking to shower. It shouldn’t have come as a big surprise since there are more than 7 billion humans but it kinda was, still. Most reasons revolved around common topics: water conservation (I since discovered a shower system that reuses water), toxic chemicals in commercial body wash, showering often strips skin from healthy oils, etc. Some people even explained their decision of not showering everyday with simple facts: before showers and baths were installed in homes, people would simply ”wash out the essentials” and they were fine. It made me laugh a little.

I decided my excuse reason would be to save the natural oils on my skin. I don’t feel the need to be ”squiky clean”. I decided then to change from commercial soaps to a homemade soap. I found a great recipe for a natural Moisturizing Honey Body Wash. The only problem is that my husband and I don’t seem to agree on essential oils. I love eucalyptus and rosemary essences, he likes…. chemical fragrances. It’s a little sad. I already feed him tofu and lentils without him knowing it, I don’t want to force him to change; I want him to see the benefits for himself. That might take a while. In the meantime, anyone with similar situations, success stories or words of encouragement? Looking forward to hearing from you 🙂

Is BPA-Free the new Fat-Free?

I spent last night with Sean Penn.

Wouldn’t that be cool? Okay… I spent last night watching The Human Experiment, narrated and produced by Sean Penn. Have you seen this very interesting documentary? Check it out. It’s currently on Netflix.

I was already aware that we were surrounded by toxic chemicals. However, it hadn’t occured to me until last night that some chemicals banned in certain products, due to toxicity findings, had been replaced by other toxic chemicals. I’m talking about the BPA-Free case right now.

At the grocery store, I usually steer clear of Fat-Free products simply because a quick read through the ingredients list tells me the fat content has been replaced by… sugar. Being from Québec, I guess I prefer real fat (read cheese). My mom always told me that everything is good in moderation, including moderation 😉

Anyways, my point is that consumers can read content labels of products claiming to be Fat-Free, for instance, and decide for themselves if they are okay with the modified formula of the product. Unfortunately, we don’t have access to this information when it comes to packaging. The good we think we’re doing by buying a BPA-Free product turns out to be a big fat lie.

We can cry about it but it won’t really change anything. We can, however, aim at making more conscious purchases or even better, change the way we do things. I started canning this summer. I feel really good about avoiding the BPA that can be found in some industrial can linings. I also know exactly what is in my can (pure heaven), I save money, and I feel a little more self-sufficient!

My Canning Début

I’m really excited to share this new life skill I just added to my résumé this summer: canning! So far (this month), I’ve canned blackberry jam, blueberry jam, saskatoon berry jam, strawberry rhubarb compote, applesauce, pickled sugar snap peas, peach butter, peach pie filling, peach slices and I’m looking forward to canning pickled beets, pickled cucumbers, and salsa in the near future – aka, when I’m ready to harvest my garden 🙂

I can’t believe how easy hot water bath canning is! Moreover, I love that I no longer have to try to squeeze food in my freezer. This food preserving method doesn’t require electricity! And you know exactly what’s in your food. No preservatives. Well, sugar and lemon juice are preservatives but you know what I mean.

I’m a little bit of a rebel when it comes to following recipes. However, canning is not the time to joke around because there’s a chance you could get sick if you mess with the chemical magic of the process. I had to test if it was necessary to wipe the rim of the jar before adding the lid. Turns out it’s a necessary step! The only consequence my experiment had was that I ended up having to put a blackberry jam jar in my fridge and eat it. So sad 😉 Talking about blackberry jam, I’ve learn that you might find little white worms in freshly picked blackberries. All you need to do is soaking them in salted water, like for broccoli, and the worms come right out! I also learned that blanching peaches for 1 min makes peeling efficient according to many. I prefer to call it fun.

I bought my canning kit online (using ebates.ca to get cashback) and realized afterwards that there could be an issue since I own a glass/ceramic stove top. The stove used to belong to my mom so I called her to get her two cents and she said to try it out. I did and I have had no issues so far. Next step (probably next year): I want to invest in a pressure canner to safely can low acid fruits and vegetables like carrots, beans, potatoes, and meat products like broth and stews.

I’m Digging These Potatoes!

potatoes from a bag

Earlier in Spring my friend gave me extra potato seedlings. Having never planted potatoes before (this is only my second year growing a garden), I researched what to do on Pinterest. Apparently there are quite a few possibilities when it comes to planting potatoes! I chose to grow them in bags, using a bit of the soil that was originally in the said bag and the rest from the pile of dirt I’m growing beside my shed. I planted 4 seedlings per bag as an experiment. At first, I did as suggested: keep adding soil to cover everything but a few inches of the plant to maximize your yield. I ended up stopping this for one simple reason: my bags weren’t as tall as they should have been. So I let the plants grow!

potatoes in bags

At one point, my plants wanted to start flowering but I kept nipping that idea in the bud as I was told the potatoes would no longer be edible if the plant flowered. My Alberta Vegetable Gardening Guide didn’t seem to think the same so I let that go too (no flowers ended up growing afterwords though). I read that the potatoes can be harvested as soon as the flowers come out or when the plant start to yellow and die. I was too curious to wait so I dug up one of the bags today! Some potatoes are of a nice size but some are minuscule; I expected that hehe! Those little ones are soooo cute.



I understand the concept of growing potatoes – place seedling in soil, water, harvest potatoes at the end of summer – but it still felt like a magical surprise! I’m fascinated by root vegetables for this reason 🙂

What fascinates you?

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