Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tuna Cakes with Kale Pesto "Pasta"

Weird people are all around us. If you take public transit, you know what I mean. It's not uncommon for homeless people to ask you for money or creepy guys to ask you out on dates, but has anyone ever chosen to give you a misinformed nutrition lesson?

After a long day of running around the city to test older adults for my dissertation, I was holding a takeout bag from Epic Burger (an organic, supposedly higher quality ingredient burger joint). I sat down on the bus minding my own business when this lady next to me pointed to my takeout bag and asked if I had chicken. I told her no, that it was a burger. She says "ok" and then says she hasn't eaten chicken in years. Um, ok. Then she tells me that meat isn't good for you, that I should cook, and not eat takeout. I told her that I do enjoy cooking my own food, but on days like today when I'm up at 6:30am and not home until after 8pm, I don't feel like cooking. She told me to use tupperware. I said that I have a cabinet full of tupperware but this particular week has been exceptionally stressful (significantly above average) and with these 6am-8pm days, I'm just so exhausted so takeout it is.

She said that I was limiting my options and then proceeded to lecture me on why I should make grilled cheese or peanut butter & jelly sandwiches - a whole vat of them - keep them in the fridge all week and then freeze extras. I wanted to lecture her on why meat isn't all that bad and why a diet of grilled cheese or pb&j is actually rather awful for the human body. But I bit my tongue and ran off the bus as soon as my stop came... unfortunately it was her stop too. I said good night and then walked home and enjoyed my burger in peace (minus the bread). As a side note, Epic Burger makes pretty good burgers. Not restaurant-quality of course, but much better than McDonalds, Burger King, or any other fast food joint.

Today's WOD was a team workout where you & a partner did 200m sprints, double-unders, & rowing, with medicine ball sit-ups intermixed throughout. My partner Natalie & I totally rocked the workout and we beat most of the boys! Muahahahaha

When I got home tonight, I was tired but wanted to cook something easy so I made a new version of old favorites: tuna cakes with kale pesto zucchini "pasta" (or zucchini "noodles" as others call them). My paleo salmon cakes are a classic, and these tuna cakes are a nice twist with a different flavor. My basil pesto zucchini "pasta" is also classic fare (paleo-ified of course), so using nutrient-rich kale was equally delicious.

Tuna Cakes

5oz can of tuna, drained
1 egg white
1/2 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried paprika
Pinch of ground ginger
Pinch of cayenne
Salt & pepper to taste
1 green onion, chopped; optional
2 tbsp coconut oil

1. Heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat.
2. Combine all ingredients (except coconut oil) in a medium bowl. 
3. Melt coconut oil in frying pan. When pan and oil are hot, drop tuna mixture into pan, about 1/4 c each.  Use spatula to flatten and shape into cakes.
4. After one side is cooked (edges will turn white, about 3 min; DO NOT touch beforehand or they will fall apart), flip each cake over. Cook for another 3 minutes, adding extra coconut oil if needed.
5. Dig in!!

Kale Pesto Zucchini "Pasta"

2 medium zucchini
2 c fresh kale leaves (remove the "rib")
3 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 c olive oil
1/4 c pine nuts (I use macadamias for the omega-3s)
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Bring a pot of water to boil. While water is boiling, use a mandoline to slice the zucchini into thin strips. Then, use a knife to slice the zucchini strips into noodles. Add zucchini to boiling water and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.
2. In a blender or food processor, pulverize the remaining ingredients. Sample the pesto and adjust ingredients to your preference as needed.
3. Transfer zucchini into a large bowl and toss with pesto until thoroughly combined. 
4. You CAN have your pasta and eat it too!


  1. Haha oh boy. Very similar thing happened to me. A friend of mine was saying on facebook about how she's recently lost quite a bit of weight. I congratulated her and said that I was still struggling with my last 5lbs.

    Her response was "Start eating clean and the weight will drop right off." Yes...thank you. I actually do eat clean.

    So she says, "well start lifiting weights." that too.

    This went on for a bit and I felt myself getting more and more offended. But then I realized, she has no idea how I eat or how I exercise. Her advice is coming from just assuming that I eat the typical SAD like most people. I really can't be made at all.

    The woman who tried to lecture you doesn't realize that, in fact, you ARE doing things correctly. But that you're human. And she just happened to catch you on the day you were being human. Maybe next time someone bothers you about how you eat, just hand them a business card for your blog. "Yes, actually I'm a professional. Read my blog. Good day" :)

    1. HAHAHA I was bursting out laughing about the business card!!! Such a good idea, love it! :D

      Those last 5 lbs are always the hardest. Good luck girl! Just eat clean and exercise... :P

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