It can save lives.
Of course I mean literally. Food is what keeps you alive! You've gotta eat it! If you care about it or not, if you're 'too busy' or too overwhelmed to give a damn about the quality of your food -- if you don't eat, you will die.
When the bickering, authoritative dietitians-who-reside-in-your-head start guilting you about how-you-really-need-to-eat-more-of-that-and-stop-eating-so-much-of-that-other-food -- or when you've been stretching your energy too thin and have almost no food in the fridge and no ideas of what to cook for dinner:
It's sardine time.
I suppose you could also say it's PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME, but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the opposite sort of power food -- great when you need fast energy, not so great for long-term nourishing that makes up for that 4th cup of coffee you drank, or the pastry you mainlined earlier instead of eating an actual meal.
Remember last post, when I told you how I make a big batch of different sautéed vegetables every week depending on what phase in my menstrual cycle I'm in? [ewww, she said 'menstrual'!*] This meal is the kind of literal lifesaver that makes you appreciate that habit.
If you're new to Lip Smackin' Crusade and don't know how to keep cooked veggies in your fridge at all time -- first: Willkommen! And bienvenue! Welcome! -- You can learn how to always eat vegetables in this post, or make up your own system.
Back to the kitchen. Open the fridge and take out your mixed veggies that are now in your fridge at all times, heat up a bowl of them and top with the contents of a can of sardines (excess oil excluded).
Just vegetables and sardines.
I eat this a few times a week, often multiple nights in a row.
It's so easy, so good for you, and -- if you add enough quality salt -- actually delicious!**
If you don't have cooked vegetables in your fridge *shudder* here's a giant list of other ways to eat sardines. Good luck.
Even if you don't like sardines, try to choke them down anyway. The tins of sardines in olive oil I buy from Bela-Olhao (via Amazon by the case) contain 26g of protein, 14g of healthy fats. Sardines are one of the healthiest fish you can buy for cheap. They have more and better flavor (and texture) than tuna. Really, any small, oily fish that's minimally processed is going to be a good choice for you and the environment. Sorry, salmon-lovers -- I'd rather see them in the river than on my plate, and I'd definitely rather eat sardines myself than feed pounds of sardine meat to a salmon for a pound of salmon meat. Here are other people talking about why to eat sardines and here's a great overview of "the fundamental issue of whether or not farming carnivorous species such as salmon is actually sustainable. Unlike herbivorous species (like tilapia and carp) – which require minimal inputs of fishmeal – harvesting of wild fish (for example, sardines, whiting and anchovies) and krill for fishmeal in unsustainable amounts is required to produce the feed in order to farm salmon." JUST SAY NO to farmed salmon, and get your Omega-3s from sardines instead!
Quick Question: Do y'all know that underlined words contain a link? Just checking.
Now, this is not a pretty dish. This dish is about function, not form. I almost didn't include a picture in this post, I was so self-conscious.
Don't be put off by the picture -- This meal will keep you alive, and healthy.
That said, I wouldn't serve it to anyone who hasn't already sworn to love me forever. In fact, I wouldn't even serve it to them (my husband laughs when I even mention me eating seafood, let alone him eating it). This is the kinda meal you eat alone. Well. This is the kinda meal I eat alone. You can do whatever you want!
I don't always eat a side of pasta, but if I've exercised, I make sure to eat carbs. And, seriously, Don't underestimate plain pasta with butter and black pepper (and salt). I don't know how to make a cream sauce. I hardly know how to make a red sauce. But I can boil pasta a few nights ago, then throw cold pasta in the microwave with a big pat of butter for 30 seconds, sprinkle salt on it, and grind hella black pepper. That, I can do even if my every muscle wants to collapse and not move for days (shout out to www.fitnessblender.com and their Workout Program for People Who Get Bored Easily).
Okay, lovelies, that's all!
Here's a video by The Hot Sardines featuring Alan Cumming, covering Ella Fitzgerald's "When I Get Low I Get High" that will melt your socks off. This is the second Alan Cumming reference in this post. Quick, find the first!
Keep yourself fed!
Good luck with your life!
Lower your expectations!
*I went down a rabbit hole trying to find you an alternative to the clinical, tasteless 'menstrual' and ended up at this detailed paper The Vernacular of Menstruation. Maybe next month I'll make like the French and 'have the painters in.'
**I have been known to eat a few dozen raw oysters in a sitting, so I suppose my tastes skew toward fishy... But just try sardines three times, and see if your preferences change.
NEXT UP: What Does Emily Eat For Breakfast?! Lip Smackin' Crusade has the scoop.