TUNA FISH – A 70s KITCHEN STAPLE & BEYOND

“I think we should become sandwich people!” I loudly proclaimed one evening.

My proclamation came with strange looks from the men in our house. Both my husband John and my 11-year-old step-son gave me the side-eye that is usually reserved for our backyard chickens. You know the look. When someone is measuring you up, not sure what is coming next.

Our pretty hens know that I love and adore them, but they are always cautious. That is probably sound advice for any farm animal (or husband).

“Sometimes I am just tired of cooking!” I continued.

I knew what they were thinking. I could see it in their eyes. It is not a bad thing either. After all, that is what Vango’s and The Vierling is for. We enjoy dining out (and I enjoy not having to do the dishes).

However, I am the resident cook. It is what I do. My husband John builds and creates endless projects for our homestead and I keep his energy up with delicious meals. We raise most of the food ourselves and this is our point of pride.

Yet, sandwiches are not typically on our meal rotation plan. Lukas is known to love a PB&J (especially when his step mom creates it with Nutella and raspberry jam) and I do not believe that grilled cheese technically counts (because there is cooking involved).

Though, tuna sandwiches sometimes make it into our meal plan. Yes, tuna is a pantry staple in our house. It is simple and has a lot of potential.

Growing up in the 70s I think cans of tuna fish were on my mom’s weekly shopping list. I bet if you are a child of the 70s your mom ate copious amounts of tuna, cottage cheese, and grapefruit. (Though, that’s also probably why my mom had such a beautiful figure). We ate lots of fruit, vegetables, and wholesome home-cooked meals. 

While our family consumed plenty of casseroles (in perfect 70s fashion) we did not eat tuna casserole (with potato chips – was that really a thing) like I have heard other people discuss?

The beach cooler that we hauled to Fortune Lake held many tuna fish sandwiches – on homemade bread with Miracle Whip and my mom’s dill pickles (Grandma Hilda’s recipe that you can find on my blog). Honestly, every time I bite into a tuna sandwich I can feel the sun on my face and smell pina colada suntan oil.

My mom also taught me to love a tuna fish salad. Not on bread, but on a bed of lettuce. She would add chopped bell pepper, onion, celery, a side of tomatoes, cucumbers, and a drizzle of Italian dressing. It was the perfect low-carb meal before we were even taught to fear carbs.

Just like my mom, I add tuna to my regular shopping list. However, the tuna I buy is a little different than the tinned tuna that my mom purchased. I buy the flavored packets of tuna (we are especially fond of the lemon – with or without dill – or the ranch). While John will eat a tuna sandwich (with dill or sweet pickles), Lukas prefers to eat it straight out of the packet. It makes a handy and protein rich addition to his cold lunch (some of the packets even come with a convenient little spoon) and we never go camping without several packs and a box of crackers. This was our go-to lunch this July when we adventured in the wilds of Alaska.

However, I do like to recreate my mom’s tuna salad. I have been thinking that this will be a go-to lunch as we begin the new school year. It will be a low-carb and high protein offering to help push me through the “new normal” of being a high school teacher. Plus, it will help me take advantage of the fresh produce that we still have growing in our summer garden.

TUNA SALAD 

-Two cans of tuna or two packets

-1/4 cup of chopped celery

-1/4 cup of chopped onion

-1/4 cup of chopped bell pepper

-1/4 cup of chopped dill pickles

-4 Tablespoon of mayonnaise

-1 mashed avocado

-¼ cup of fresh chopped dill (a couple teaspoons of dried). You can also use fresh dill or basil

-Juice and zest of one lemon (a couple Tablespoons of concentrated lemon juice if you do not have fresh)

-Salt and pepper to taste

-Drizzle of Italian dressing (or a simple vinegar and oil)

While this tuna salad makes a phenomenal sandwich filler (if you are a sandwich person). I especially enjoy it in a pita pocket, on a bed of greens or stuffed into a tomato or hollowed out cucumber rounds. I also like to use it as a “dip” for cucumber slices. I have even been known to mix in some wafer thin slices of zucchini.

Since I still have beans in my garden, I blanched up some beans for the bed and added baby spinach and kale, tomatoes, and cucumber slices.

I hope you add this salad to your meal rotation. September can be known to be warm and humid. This recipe will help fill you up without having to turn on the stove or oven.

I hope your September is happy, healthy, and productive. The approaching cold and flu season will definitely have us all on our toes, so make sure you are one step ahead of the curve and eat your vegetables!

It wouldn’t be a blog post without a furbaby photo bomb. This is our King Louie streaking past.

BEYOND THE WINDOW by Abigail McCabe (A Student’s Pandemic Journal) — Glitter and Dog Hair

The 2019-2020 school year marks my 19th year in the classroom as a secondary English teacher. I suppose this year due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus, like teachers across the country, I can now add Distance Learning Teacher to my resume. Though, I would prefer the title Distance Learning Encourager. I have always felt that the word […]

BEYOND THE WINDOW by Abigail McCabe (A Student’s Pandemic Journal) — Glitter and Dog Hair

Home Is a Verb — Glitter and Dog Hair

BRANCHES LIKE NERVE ENDINGS How do I quiet my breath to match the stars – and make my papery eye-lids feel like rain? The birches are dressed in starch and my neighbor’s awkward garden raises weeds and a tangle of berries. The sky whispered lies yesterday screamed a false blue aqua like a Scandinavian […]

Home Is a Verb — Glitter and Dog Hair

Lessons Learned Outside The Classroom — Glitter and Dog Hair

Quote

“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.” ~ Stacia Tauscher I need to write about this moment. Writing helps us savor and even stop time. How fortunate we are to have language at our fingertips and tongues to help us remember. Friends, you know what […]

via Lessons Learned Outside The Classroom — Glitter and Dog Hair

Writing Prompt: The Kitchen Table

From my Sister Blog: Here is a universal themed writing prompt I use with my students that uses a powerful poem by Joy Harjo as a companion piece.

Glitter and Dog Hair

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.
–Joy Harjo

As a writing teacher, I often use food as a prompt to help my students capture their stories. Food is universal and we have an intimate connection to the food that surrounds us.

Not only am I a food blogger, but I think that food helps a writer tap into their senses. Food is smell, taste, sounds, and texture. Food is comfort, culture, community, family, and a way…

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A Writer’s Sensibility: Bearing Witness to Your Creativity

“As a writer I have what I call my, “Monet Moments”. When I want to experience the world with a new lens. Mid-February I was watching the blues set in at night (on many levels). I wanted to snowshoe at dusk to experience the optical effects of light up close and personal and not just from the mudroom window. I have a trail carved around our pasture and approximately three and a half times around is a mile.

Glitter and Dog Hair

“Don’t scorn your life just because it’s not dramatic, or it’s impoverished, or it looks dull, or it’s workaday. Don’t scorn it. It is where poetry is taking place if you’ve got the sensitivity to see it, if your eyes are open.”
–Philip Levine, describing what he learned from William Carlos Williams

A shelf in my classroom with Monet reproductions.

Mrs. Sherby was my art teacher in both elementary and secondary school and I will never forget the lessons she taught at the Forest Park Schools. I still dream about her classroom – the way the clay smelled, the wide-narrow drawers where we stored our work-in-progress, and the baby food jars where we mixed custom colors of acrylic paint and dipped our paintbrushes.

Mrs. Sherby taught us about the Impressionism Movement and I was moved by Monet. I vividly remember learning about his haystack series and the way he patiently…

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Virtual Scavenger Hunt Poem: Word Bank Poetry Prompt

Make sure you check out my posts on my sister blog .

Glitter and Dog Hair

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”
-Steve Jobs

As a high school writing teacher, I am constantly looking for new ways to help my students find inspiration. While my creative writing students come to class prepared to create, sometimes encouraging my 9th grade English students to tap into their creativity is a challenge. This is especially true when I ask them to write poetry.

To help free up writer’s block and self-doubt, I tell my students that for their first draft I will not assign a letter grade for a poem but will give credit or no credit. If they turn it in, they get…

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Spring Fever is an Understatement

“Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.”
― Mary Oliver

April 16, 2017 on the left.
April 16, 2018 on the right. Last year we were planting blueberry bushes and this year the bushes are buried under several feet of snow. There are 10+ foot snowdrifts in our pasture.

Meesha is a bundle of energy!

Snow days in April are not unusual in the UP of Michigan. However, that does not soften the blow. As John and I discussed yesterday, April snow storms usually torment us AFTER the majority of our snow has already melted and it is gone within a couple of days. However, over the past couple of days we received over THIRTY inches of snow ON TOP of the snow lingering from the winter.

While it is depressing and feels like a setback to our growing season, the kids were thrilled to have two snow days off of school (this teacher did not complain 😉 ) and the weather outlook for the next couple of weeks looks hopeful. We should be seeing temperatures close to the 50s by the weekend and into next week. That means that it should be close to 100 in the hoop house.

Speaking of the hoop house: check out these photos of John, Avalon, and Lukas digging it out yesterday after the storm.
The dogs were in their glory and were exhausted last night after a spirited frolic in the snow!

Gentle Ollie taking a break. He LOVES the snow.

Remi our faithful protector is not sure what to think.

Giant April snow banks!

Avalon and I took advantage of our snow days to create a new video for our YouTube channel. As you can tell from the video, this new medium is a little awkward for me, but Avalon is a natural! In this video we share a few of the things that we “cannot live without”. It was a blast to film it together and we hope to be able to create more content about our farm, recipes, and DIY projects.

Please make sure to subscribe to our Channel: Superior Maple Grove Farm and leave us a comment to let us know you were there and what kind of videos you would like us post!

I hope that your spring is going well and that you are excited about gardening. I will post updates as we get our seedlings planted in the hoop house. I also promise to post more healthy recipes to help you put your homegrown, or farmer’s market produce, to great use. Thank you for following our adventures. If you are in the snow belt like we are – stay warm, stay safe, and hold on tight — spring is near! ❤