Friday, January 30, 2015

Crispy Cajun Salmon Cakes

-with homemade tartar sauce and arugula

Happy Friday!

I'm ready to talk about an option for seafood lovers who don't quite have the access to fresh seafood they wish they did.

i.e. Landlocked Jessica

One of the hardest things about moving to Kentucky from Portland was getting used to the lack of amenities I'd previously been spoiled by. I used to be able to hit up the Costco 15 minutes from my house in Beaverton. I always stocked up on fresh salmon, shrimp, and usually cod or tilapia. Now, I'm 2.5 hours from the nearest Costco. I used to find tons of appropriately priced mahi mahi, tuna steaks, snapper, and swordfish at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Now, it's the same. A 2.5 hour drive to either store. I used to be 1 hour from the Pacific Ocean and its bounty of freshly caught crab. Now? You get the picture. When we figured out we were moving, I didn't take any of these things into consideration. The hubby and I simply told each other, it's ok, we don't shop a lot, and we don't eat out a lot. What are we going to be missing?

Ah, the naivety of youth.

I may not have access to fresh salmon most of the year, but canned salmon is something I can get rather readily. Anyone can. I've probably ate my body weight in canned tuna over the course of my lifetime, so wouldn't canned salmon be similar?

Not so much, I discovered.

Last time the hubby and I were at Whole Foods, I picked up 7 or 8 cans of wild-caught salmon. It was time to try it. And this was the first dish I tried. From what I'd read on canned salmon, one of the top ways to prepare it is in a burger, or patty, form. So I wrestled out my can opener, and got to work. I was expecting the fish inside to look like tuna. First off, canned salmon does not look like tuna. It looked like cat food. I almost thought the can had gone bad. LOL. Luckily, I foraged ahead.

No, canned salmon does not taste like cat food. Once I put the salmon in a large mixing bowl with everything and got to work breaking it down, it began to look and smell like salmon. I was relieved, to say the least. So I formed the mixture into patties, pan-seared them, and served them on a light salad with a side of tarter sauce.

I wa super-nervous for what the hubby was going to say. This felt like either a total win, or a big-time loss. The hubby gave his two-thumbs up to this economical dish, thank goodness.

My next experiment with canned salmon will be salmon burgers :)

Don't be scared to try these! They kind of reminded me of the falafel's I make, only with an obvious salmon taste. This is a great way to get Omega-3's into your diet for all those that are landlocked, like me. If you aren't lucky enough to live on a coast, don't think you can't add the nutrition of seafood to your diet. You can, you just have to get creative!

I can't believe it's Friday already. I have no idea what the hubby and I will be up to, we are currently in the middle of a winter weather pattern. The dogs woke me up about 6:15 to go outside, and I couldn't believe the weather. I knew it was going to be cold, so I'd already put on my ski mask, a hoodie, my ski gloves, and my ski jacket. But when I opened the door, I was smacked in the face by furiously blowing snow. 'What the heck is this, a blizzard?' I thought in my sleepy condition. Indeed, the dogs thought it was a blizzard too as they barely lifted their legs outside before making a beeline for the front door. The blowing snow has calmed down by now, but it still doesn't seem like driving weather to me. Definitely seems like a stay-inside-and-devour-movies-and-hot-chocolate kind of weekend.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

Salmon Cakes-
1 (14.75) oz can of salmon, drained (wild-caught is the healthiest)
1/2 small onion, minced
1/2 red pepper, minced
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups panko, divided
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil

Tartar Sauce-
1/2 cup mayo
2 tbsp dill pickle relish
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
pinch of kosher salt
pinch of black pepper

Arugula Salad-
4 cups arugula
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste


1. In a large mixing bowl, combine salmon, onion, red pepper, parsley, cajun, salt, and pepper. Add 1/2 cup panko. Add 2 eggs. Using clean hands, mash mixture together. Place remaining 1 cup of panko in a small bowl. Heat oil in a large skillet. Form salmon mixture into patties, making about 6 (if mixture is too dry to form cakes, add 1 more egg). When oil is hot, dip salmon patties into panko to coat the outside. Place in skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon, place on paper towel to drain.
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine mayo through black pepper. Stir to combine. Set aside.
3. In a salad bowl, place arugula. In a small bowl, vigorously whisk olive oil and lemon juice. Drizzle over arugula. Toss to coat arugula. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
4. To serve, divide arugula among plates. Top with 2 salmon cakes and serve with a side of tarter sauce. 

Salmon recipe adapted from Feed Me Seymour. Tarter Sauce recipe adapted from Food Network
If you liked this recipe, you may enjoy these:

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Swirled Strawberry Lemon Smoothies

Oh friends.

Remember the hubby and I's snowy adventure up to Chillicothe on Monday? Well, we finally heard back from the dealership at 4 pm yesterday. And it was not good news. Apparently, there is something wonky with the transmission, sooooooooo....

I'm getting a new transmission. 

Annnnnnd they say it's going to be 2 weeks. Say WHAT???

Ok, so I'm admittedly annoyed that I'm car-less for the foreseeable future. Annoyed that a 2013 model needs a new transmission at 22,000 miles. Is anything built the way it used to be? Or are foreign cars going the way of American cars? You know cheap, or the kind that you have to "fix or repair daily" ------> subtle swipe there :) But seriously, I personally believe a 2013 should never need a new transmission when there hasn't been a catastrophic event or totaling of the car. I guess that's just me though. I don't have any mechanic or auto body training, so that's just my lone, solitary opinion. 

I'm trying to look at the bright side. I'll get lots of yoga done, trying to keep in mind the hubby and I shared a car for 3 years. I'll finally bake those cookies that have been on my to-do list for 2 weeks or prepare my Valentines post. Make up lost time on my reading. Do a deep clean of the house. 

I think I'm most annoyed because life hasn't really gone back to normal after the holidays. I'm one of those people that benefits from routine. I know, routine is like death to some people. Not me. And my normal routine is to hit the gym or run 4-5 times a week, and I just haven't had time. Exercise is like therapy to me, I need it to maintain mental calmness. I've been squeezing in yoga wherever I can, but it's just not the same as heart-pounding cardio or as sweaty as lifting weights. 

It's times like these I have to take a deep breath. And just let it go. 

My car will get fixed.

Sharing a car for 2 weeks will not kill me. 

Everything will work out.

Enough whininess! After all, there are smoothies in the world. I loved these smoothies. Loved, loved, loved them. They took a little more effort, since I made a strawberry smoothie and a lemon smoothie, and then swirled them together. I think that little bit of extra effort paid off though. The sweet strawberry impeccably tones down the slightly tart lemon, resulting in a perfectly sweet-and-sour taste. Plus, they just look so pretty! They'd be great for breakfast, but for some reason, I like smoothies at night. They usually make up my after-dinner snack. And guess what? They taste great at night, too :)

Happy Wednesday friends!

Ingredients (makes 2 smoothies):

Lemon Smoothie-
1 lemon
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup almond milk
2 tsp Stevia
3/4 cup ice, crushed

Strawberry Smoothie-
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup orange juice
5 strawberries, sliced
3/4 cup ice, crushed

garnish- lemon wedges, whole strawberries (optional)


1. Cut rind off lemon. Cut lemon in half, and squeeze juice from lemon halves into blender. Throw lemon in blender.
2. To finish the lemon smoothie, add Greek yogurt, almond milk, Stevia, and ice to the blender. Pulse until well combined. Distribute lemon smoothie between two glasses.
3. Prepare strawberry smoothie- combine Greek yogurt, orange juice, strawberries, and ice in the blender. Pulse until well combined. Distribute strawberry smoothie between the two glasses, pouring directly on top of the lemon smoothie. Take a straw, and gently swirl the two smoothie flavors together. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a strawberry, if using. Serve immediately.

Looking for other smoothie recipes? Try these!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

25 Super Bowl Snacks, Treats, and Meal Ideas

Good morning, and happy Tuesday!

I meant to publish a post yesterday, but the morning ended up being way too hectic. The hubby and I had to leave the house at 7 am yesterday to drive my car about an hour away to the Nissan dealership. It was not the best day for travel (thank you, East Coast Blizzard!), not to mention the problems I was already having with the drivability of the car. When I looked at the weather forecast for Chillicothe, OH (where we took the car) yesterday morning, I was surprised to see it was snowing just north of where we are. So the hubby and I would be driving in the snow. Greaaaaaat. 

We decided to leave 15 minutes early to allow for slow travel, and I'm glad we did. The roads were slick, it was dark, and snow was blowing in hard. Visibility was little, and we weren't able to go more than 40 mph the whole way there. It ended up taking us an hour and a half to make a drive that normally takes us 50 minutes. It was not fun.

The Nissan dealership decided to keep the car overnight, due to the fact they had to order a part. So the hubby and I headed home a couple of hours later. Thank goodness the roads were vastly improved. The stressful morning kind of took the air out of our tires, and we were pretty lazy the rest of the day. 

So, that was my Monday. How was yours? Are you looking forward to the Superbowl this weekend? I know me and the hubby are! We are making buffalo wings, which is totally tradition. Maybe I'll be able to take some photographs so I can finally add that recipe to my collection. We'll see how many margaritas I have before it's wing time. The probability of me taking photos decreases with the volume of tequila ingested :) 

In the meantime, here's 25 great ideas for Superbowl food. I can tell you that along with the wings, I'll have blue cheese dressing, chips and salsa, quite possibly some hummus and definitely, definitely plenty of Mangling Margaritas! 

Have a great week everyone!

Things to dunk your finger food in:

Creamy Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

Perhaps an appetizer to go with your dipping sauce?

Don't want Buffalo wings? Try the Asian variety!

Maybe you want pizza with your Superbowl?

Having a party? Make it easy with a slower cooker recipe!

I've also found a large batch of chili goes over really well at Superbowl parties-

Buffalo-flavored ideas-

Don't forget the booze!!

Raspberry-Peach-Lime Lemonade  -----> Just add vodka!

Most importantly? The sweets!

~ Enjoy the Superbowl friends! Go Seahawks! ~


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