Ultimate Tuna Melt Sandwiches

These are some super sandwiches! I usually serve up open faced tuna melts, but we wanted something a little different so I made these little beauties. Everyone loved them, they were simple, and most importantly- they were delicious. Melty cheese, creamy avocado, crisp onion, and salty tuna combine for one powerful punch of lunchtime perfection.

Ultimate Tuna Melt Sandwich | www.cookesfrontier.com

If you’ve been reading here for very long, you know we love our homemade bread. If this is your first time here, let me fill you in- I bake bread at least twice a week for our family of 6. This always becomes a challenge when summer hits because it just gets so hot in the house. It’s also not great when I get sick because I am the keeper of the bread…..and that usually means a trip to the store for a loaf of store bought bread. Not my first choice, but it is what it is.

I had the chance recently to change out our bread for one week and Oroweat Healthful Bread instead. I was curious to say the least! I generally find store bought bread to be full of ingredients that we’d rather not eat, tastes like cardboard, and is full of air. Oroweat Healthful Bread was going to have to be pretty darn good for me to say I liked it.

I liked it.

Ultimate Tuna Melt Sandwich | www.cookesfrontier.com

 

It comes in three varieties, is made with 100 percent whole grain flour, is a good source of fiber, and contains no high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, or preservatives. I liked this a lot. As soon as my product coupons and gift card got here, I headed off to the big city to bring home the bread.

Over the course of the next week we toasted, grilled, smeared, french toasted and snacked on our bread. We made a lot of toast….we eat a lot of toast. We also made some really fabulous breakfast sandwiches by scrambling up some eggs with mushrooms and bacon. We put the scrambled eggs onto the toast with some slices of swiss cheese for the most amazing start to our day. I loved have a slice, lightly toasted, with homemade butter and homemade strawberry jam to go along with my yogurt.

Ultimate Tuna Melt Sandwich | www.cookesfrontier.com

Probably the best recipe we cooked up with our bread was this Ultimate Tuna Melt Sandwich. It’s gooey and delicious, and by using 100% sustainable, pole caught Atlantic tuna I felt great about serving it up to my family.

To make these sandwiches you will need:

  1. 2 (6 oz) cans tuna
  2. 1/4 cup mayo
  3. 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  4. 1/2 avocado, diced up
  5. 2 Tablespoons finely diced onion
  6. Softened Butter
  7. Bread!

Mix tuna, mayo, cheese, avocado, and onion together. Spread onto one piece of bread, cover with another slice. Butter both sides and grill on a cast iron griddle (or electric griddle, or in a pan, etc) until golden brown. Cut in half and enjoy! Serve with fresh fruit and veggies for a delicious and super filling meal.

My final thoughts: If I’m not going to be baking our bread, this is the type of bread I’d rather my family eat. It was filling, hearty and pretty darn good for you. I liked that is was a denser, more grain heavy bread. It was just good. I give it two thumbs up. As much as I’d love to always be able to bake our bread, sometimes it just isn’t going to happen and when that happens it’s nice to know that you have options that work for you an your family. I was prepared to dislike this bread….I was pretty skeptical. But, it passed the family test and it is something I’d feel comfortable purchasing in the future!

The coupons for product redemption, information, and gift card have been provided by Oroweat® Bread so that I could try the product and share my thoughts and information about Oroweat® Healthfull® Bread. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Oroweat® Bread.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cobbler

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cobbler is probably my most favorite recipe from my family cookbook. It can be called Mississippi Mud Cake, Hot Fudge Pudding Cake, Hot Cocoa Cake, and about a million other things. Choose whatever name you want to call it, I’ll describe it as rich and decadent.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cobbler is an amazing recipe. A layer of fudgy cake bakes while underneath a pool of delicious chocolate pudding forms. Serve it with ice cream and be very, very happy.

 

 Books and Chocolate make life bearable.

 

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K-10 Survival Dog Collar Review

Survival gear isn’t just for you anymore, it’s branched out to include our pets as well! Take some time to read through and see how I thought that the K-10 Survival Dog Collar held up to our everyday hustle around here. This was such a fun item to try out, and so unique, that I just had to share it with you all.

A photo posted by Charley Cooke (@cookesfrontier) on

“Survival Instincts Are One Of Those Things That Never Die- Kiersten White

When you think of survival products, everyone generally tends to think about what we can pack into a bug out bag, or in our car kits for emergencies or store in our homes. Paracord has become a popular medium for prepper/survivalist crafting lately and it seems like everyone and their dog (see what I did there?) has something made from paracord.

K-10 Survival Dog Collar Review. Your pet should be prepared, too! | www.cookesfrontier.com

I’m now one of those people. Prior to this, my experience with paracord was limited to making a couple of bracelets with my oldest daughter, helping my husband create a couple of rifle slings for Christmas one year and wrapping the steering wheel in our work truck in paracord after our Border Collie chewed off the padded cover as a pup. I wasn’t sure what to think of a survivalist paracord dog collar, but I was intrigued and more than willing to give it a shot. It sounded like a great idea to me, and smart, too.

The guys at Wazoo Survival Gear are pretty passionate about their work and it shows! If you’re interested in reading a little about their story, you can check it out here. Basically, they started crafting survival bracelets in 2010 and the business has been building ever since. Their current offerings include Dog Collars , bracelts, keychains , belts, and more. I encourage you to go take a look around, you’ll be impressed by the quality and variety.

I was given the chance to review a K-10 Survival Dog Collar. This collar is the most amazing thing to look at, it’s simply gorgeous AND it’s functional, too. The K-10 collar includes:
*Paracord
*Ranger Band
*Fishing Line (50 ft, 50lb test)
*Eagle Claw Hooks (4 size 8)
*Split shot weights
*Snare Wire (30″, 7 strand, stainless)
*Safety Pins (2)
*Retro Reflector
*Glow Light
*Straw
*Magnetized needle

The K10 Collar is your companion’s add-on to your own wearable survival gear. Water isn’t an issue for them in the wild, but this kit is intended to provide extra means to secure food so you can support both you and your dog.

I recieved this collar late in April and I’ve been putting it to the test. Thankfully, I haven’t been in any sort of situation where I have had to actually pull it apart and use it, I wanted to see how well it stood up to everyday wear and tear on my dog (pictured at the top) who is very active. We went on hikes, walks, to the Oregon coast, worked some sheep, and he wore it as his everyday collar all this time.

K-10 Survival Dog Collar Review. Your pet should be prepared, too! | www.cookesfrontier.com

“What Will You Have On Hand?” – Wazoo

My first impression was a good one. The packaging for the collar was minimal and what was there was useful as well as dual purpose. The tag that describes the collar and lists all of the goodies woven into it doubles as a drink coaster. That scored points with my husband who thought it an ingenious idea. The collar was heavy, but not too heavy, flexible, sturdy, and the colors were perfect.

K-10 Survival Dog Collar Review. Your pet should be prepared, too! | www.cookesfrontier.com

Inside the paracord, the collar has a reflective piece and a glow in the dark piece. For everyday, it’s so nice to have those extra safety features built right in to keep your pooch safe. In an emergency/survival situation I’m sure someone could think up a million ways to use both of those. In fact, this article has great ideas on how you can utilize glow in the dark items for survival and this one has more useful information on how reflective materials can be used in emergency/survival situations.

After several weeks of wear and use, I find that the survival collar is looking just as good as new. It’s hard to get a good picture of the collar on my dog because he has so much hair, but I did want to point out that the metal ring in the collar for clipping a leash to is very nice. It’s actually something that I look for on a collar because we have had our dogs break cheap, flimsy rings while on the leash before and it’s not something that I want to happen. While my Ghillie is friendly, he tends to bark at people excitedly when he sees them and the last thing I would want was him breaking off the leash and running towards someone. I would feel terrible to scare people like that. However, that’s not something I have to even think about with this collar. The ring is very sturdy and there is no reason to worry about it snapping.

K-10 Survival Dog Collar Review. Your pet should be prepared, too! | www.cookesfrontier.com

I really, really like this concept for pets. It’s just smart to have them carrying around a basic, emergency survival kit because you just never know. If something happens (heaven forbid) while you are out and about with your pet, the contents of this collar coupled with what you have on you in your every day carry (which you are carrying, right?), might just make all the difference.

A few final thoughts before you go. This is a sturdy, well built collar that fits my dog great. It’s easy to put on and take off, has just enough weight to it to feel comfortable on him but not so light that it’s ineffective as a collar. It’s got basic emergency/survival gear tucked inside the paracord, which is useful on its own. It doesn’t look like a survival tool, it’s hidden and discrete in case you’re worried about people finding out about your prepper/survivalist lifestyle. It’s made by people here in the USA that you can actually call and talk to, who are passionate and excited about their products, and who are pretty brilliant at what they do. It would make a great gift because it is so unique and different, perfect for the outdoors people in your life.

I’m impressed and pretty blown away by this collar. It’s something we’re sure to never leave home without!

**Full Disclosure: I was given a K-10 Survival Collar for review purposes by Wazoo Survival Gear. This is not a paid advertisement and all opinions expressed are completely my own and 100% honest. If I didn’t like it, I’d tell ya so.**

The Incredible Egg: The Runny Yolk Saga

I’ve recently been accused of trying to poison my kids be feeding them ice cream I made that had a couple of raw eggs in it. If we’re being honest, I feel like you should know they also swipe cookie dough from the bowl before it’s been baked, lick the beaters after I make brownies, and love to scrape the bowl clean with their fingers after I’ve made a cake.

We're Not Cracked: The Runny Yolk Saga | www.cookesfrontier.com

Oh, and their breakfast eggs? Yeah, those have some runny yolks. We probably shouldn’t talk about how much they love a soft boiled egg with toast soldiers, either.

You see, if my girls were eating eggs from the grocery this wouldn’t happen. They’d have rock hard yolks and smacked fingers. But I don’t buy my eggs from the store. I walk out my door, through a gate and to the chicken house. There, wonder of all wonders, 8 eggs await  me each day. Sometimes my hens get a wild hair and I have to search their enclosure to find some hidden eggs, but I don’t mind. It’s like an impromptu Easter Egg Hunt.

The Incredible Egg: The Runny Yolk Saga | www.cookesfrontier.com

Are we still being honest? Here’s another shocker: I rarely wash my eggs. Oh, and I don’t refrigerate them, either. I know, I know. It doesn’t sound like I’m making much of an effort to stand up for myself against the raw-egg naysayer, does it? Stick with me here, I’m taking you places!

I feel completely comfortable with our raw- and under cooked egg practices around here and I’m going to tell you why. Maybe by the time I’m done, you’ll be comfortable with it, too.

The Incredible Egg: The Runny Yolk Saga | www.cookesfrontier.com

1) Flock Health– While it isn’t going to be something that I can tell 100% just by looking at my hens, knowing the symptoms that hens infected with  Salmonella tend to exhibit it is completely within my abilities as a backyard poultry producer. Sick hens are lethargic, look weak, their wattles and combs will turn a purplish color and they’ll have some seriously evident green or yellow diarrhea. These symptoms don’t always immediately mean “SALMONELLA!!!” but they are good indicators that you have a problem. A vet can give you a firm diagnosis.

Because I interact with my hens multiple times daily, I’m intimately aware of how they look and act. I can tell you immediately if something is wrong. My hens are happy, active, vigorous, and show no symptoms AT ALL of carrying Salmonella. Salmonella runs rampant through factory farms because of the cramped and foul conditions the hens are kept in. Let’s be honest- if a hen is in a cage all day how can you tell if she’s not looking right? If she’s pooping where hundreds of other birds poop, how can you tell if it looks normal? That’s right, you can’t. Disease is passed from one bird to another, right down the line until they are all infected or running a risk of becoming infected. These eggs obviously shouldn’t be consumed raw, just like milk from huge dairies shouldn’t be, either. Reaching a temperature that kills the bacteria is a must in both of these instances, through thorough cooking or pasteurization.

The Incredible Egg: The Runny Yolk Saga | www.cookesfrontier.com

2) My eggs are collected and used quickly– usually within just a couple of days. Our hens have sparkly clean laying boxes and loads of room with grasses and other nesting materials available should they decide not to lay in a nesting box. Why is that important? Well, for a couple of reasons. First, because our eggs are pretty clean, we don’t have to wash them (no poop)! Second, by skipping the washing, we leave the natural “bloom” on the egg. This prevents bacteria from making it’s way into the egg and causing a problem. Because I don’t have to wash the bloom off of my egg, I don’t have to refrigerate them.

Factory eggs are washed because I can only imagine how filthy they are and what they encounter before they are plopped down on the conveyor belt to be cleaned and packaged. The natural bloom is washed off, therefore making it easy for little wee beasties to make their way into the egg. And trust me, there are some nasty little beasties present in a commercial laying facility. Ick!

3) Our eggs are handled in a safe way. They are collected, placed in a basket on the counter and then USED in a timely manner. I never have a bunch of 3-4 week old eggs laying around because I use them! They don’t have a chance to get old and aren’t given the opportunity to become a biological hazard. They’re enjoyed!

4) We keep our coop and hen house vermin free. Since Salmonella is spread by the little four legged critters I’d rather not have around, we keep our feed in a tightly closed metal garbage can, keep the laying boxed squeaky clean and make sure we don’t have any other vermin-friendly places or food sources hanging around.

5) We practice bio security so we aren’t tracking through someone else’s coop and back to ours. We don’t wear the same shoes or clothing in other coops and then into our own. We have a pair of shoes specifically for our own coop that are worn nowhere else. We take the safety and health of our chickens very seriously!

 

The Incredible Egg: The Runny Yolk Saga | www.cookesfrontier.com

So, to sum it up for you: I know my chickens. I know their habits, I know what they are fed, I know how they are raised, housed, and treated. I know when that egg was laid-no joke, my daughter writes on them with a grease pencil, marking the date so the oldest get used first. I know everything about my chickens, right down to how normal their poop looks. We’re tight, my hens and I.

Do I feel comfortable feeding my kids a raw egg now and then? Absolutely. Would I feed them ice cream made with a raw egg from the store? Not a chance. We all have to make choices for our families. My choices won’t always be the choices that you would make, but they aren’t just choices that I randomly pick out of thin air. My kids like to have a runny yolked egg for breakfast to dip their toast in- should I deny them that pleasure because we’re told that eggs aren’t safe to consume under cooked? Or should I take a look at what makes those factory eggs unsafe and choose to raise my hens in the completely opposite manner? I make my choice by looking at all of the information, weighing it my head, weeding out the stuff that just doesn’t apply, and choosing the best option for my family. I choose to eat fresh, healthy, delicious foods and sometimes that means a raw or under cooked egg or two.

I’m OK with it.

How do you feel about the raw egg issue? Are you a toast dipper, too? 

For more reading, check out these articles:

S is For Salmonella

Salmonella Info

Healthy Birds

Protect Your Birds /

Biosecurity Practices for Animals

Getting Rid Of Rats In the Coop

Homemade Ice Cream Using Raw Eggs

Top Chicken Diseases and Natural Treatments

Bourbon Soaked Strawberry Shortcake

I love strawberry shortcake, but I’m not a huge fan of the little sponge cakes that you buy from the store, so I have always made my shortcakes with a sweet scone instead of those cakes. We make scones on a pretty regular basis for tea time and lunch snacks, but they double really well as the base of a shortcake as well.

Bourbon Strawberry Shortcake | www.cookesfrontier.com

 

We were having friends over for dinner one night and I thought that soaking the strawberries in bourbon might make a nice change to the classic dessert and give it a sort of “grown up” feel, so we tried it. It was a unanimous hit! Everyone raved about the subtle hint of bourbon and noted how it complemented the sweetened whipped cream, too. It was a winner from day one and I’ve enjoyed making this recipe again and again.

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