Since I landed back on american soil two weekends ago, it has been a work in progress trying to recover from jet lag while simultaneously catching up on a towering pile of work emails and issues. In the hours after work for the first few days I was struggling with staying awake for just the drive home, and just overall energy was lacking from my usual routine. Not helping things was my overwhelming desire to eat the most unhealthy american foods within my vicinity. Two weeks of nothing but Asian food and airplane “food” meant I only craved the opposite when I returned.
Taco’s and burger’s it is! (Let the record show that I loved every sinful bite!)
While my taste buds and soul were quite satisfied with these eating adventures, I noticed my energy levels were still staggeringly low. I was grumpy and sleepy and had no motivation to work out.
As with any healthy realignment, it’s helpful to take steps back to a proper diet and exercise regiment in stages. Rush back and it wont last; you will get burnt out and rush back even harder to those old habits that were once so hard to kick. After re-introducing healthy food into my diet again, normalcy in the rest of my life started to return. It’s been easier to keep that momentum going and as we near summer and longer days, fitting in time to prep healthy evening meals becomes easier.
In that vein I was searching for something new to add to my power meal recipe list. After scouring the internet I came across a recipe from Alton Brown of “Good Eats!” Food Network fame. Being that he is one of my food nerd idols, I had always been curious as to what his secret to losing weight was. After reading quotes from him about his philosophy on healthy eating, it occurred to me that we shared many of the same tenants to clean living.
Whole grains. Healthy Fats. Fish. Nuts. Greens. Lean Protein. Fiber. All things that most nutritionists would consider to be well balanced and healthy.
While that was well and good, what really caught my eye was something that he deemed his little secret. He’s a certified sardine fanatic. In fact, when he travels, he takes a can of it with him on the road.
The meal that started it all was the sardine and avocado sandwich. (Sardicado?)
Unlike detox teas and grapefruit diets, this sandwich actually doesn’t sound like skinny-person food nor does it look the part. In fact, it sounded pretty damn filling and delicious. I have had sardines in the past and while I enjoyed them, I don’t think I would ever say that I craved them often. To me, they were really just a more potent tuna.
That all changed after I tried this sandwich for the first time. It was salty and briny and fatty and creamy and totally delicious. How have I never had avocado and fish together outside of a taco before??
The key to all of this of course, is that little green dreamboat!
Oh yes. The avocado. The one item that keeps fighting the good fight to give fat its good name back. Avocados are excellent sources of monounsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, potassium, B vitamins and vitamin E. But more importantly…they are DELICIOUS!! Its rich fatty flavor and texture helps cut down on the fishy notes of the sardine turning this simple 4 ingredient meal into something that feels very composed and so much more than the sum of its parts. All thanks, to that ever steady chameleon of the food world. What can’t it be used in/with?
During the summer I pretty much drink guacamole, I am a full blown avocado addict and I don’t care who knows it. But for some reason, I always put avocados in the same dishes every year. I treat every other ingredient as if there is never enough options, but avocados never got that sort of play with me.
That all changed with this dish.
I don’t think that this recipe will be life changing for anyone else, and if you don’t like sardines, this probably wont sway you. They still taste like sardines. The beauty of sardines, for those of us who enjoy their packed-with-ocean-flavor bite, is that they are also one of the most nutritious critters in the sea. They are one of the most concentrated sources of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have been found to lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels. In addition to that, sardines are a great source of vitamin D, and vitamin B12 as well. The more you know…or something :)
The point being, in addition to being a super filling (this was maybe the best surprise of all) this little sandwich is power packed with health benefits and some serious flavor. These are good things folks.
But as I return from my vacation and try to get back in the swing of things with the blog and my home life, it was a much needed reminder that there is much to learn, to explore and taste in this world. Healthy eating can still be an adventure, and packed with flavor.
An ingredient that I adored and always seem to have on hand, has inspired me to keep testing new ways to use it, and other flexible ingredients like it. Sometimes you just need little sparks in life to keep you going, keep you motivated. You never know where that ” Ah ha!” moment will come from. But when it does, embrace it, I plan to. I just never thought it would be from the odd couple/buddy cop pairing of the food world.
Sardine and Avocado Toast (Sardicado!):
- 1 slice of whole grain bread ( I used Dave’s Famous!)
- 1/2 of an avocado
- 1/2 can of brisling sardines(packed in water preferably)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp hot sauce (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Toast your slice of whole grain bread un-buttered. The sardines and avocado are somewhat hefty and a stiffer (read:toasted) base helps hold the weight of the toppings better.
- Remove sardines from the can and prep them by removing any bones (spine mostly), unwanted skin, tail and other unsavory bits. Lay the remaining pieces on the toast in an even layer.
- Cut the avocado in one line all the way around from the stem to the thicker base and back up the other side. Twist to pry it into two halves and remove the seed with a knife or spoon. Slice the avocado down into thin strips then remove and layer on the sardine covered toast. With a fork, gently mash the sliced pieces so that they form a uniform connected layer (This will help when eating so big pieces are pulling off with each bite).
- Squeeze a little lemon juice over the top of the mashed avocado and season with salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste.