Would you take a Celiac Pill?

If only we could cure our pains with medicine like this
If only we could cure our pains with medicine like this!

In yet another insomnia filled evening on the coach, I found a very interesting article on CNN regarding the health system in our country. Dr. Andrew Weil wrote an article called “U.S. Managing Disease, Not Health” about the problems with our medical treatment and how our country does nothing to prevent disease.

As a matter of fact, he even goes on to say,

I have argued for years that we do not have a health care system in America. We have a disease-management system — one that depends on ruinously expensive drugs and surgeries that treat health conditions after they manifest rather than giving our citizens simple diet, lifestyle and therapeutic tools to keep them healthy. – Dr. Weil

For those of us with auto immune diseases looking for alternative medicine options, we know this all too well. We go to the doctor over and over again hoping that we can cure or take pills to help our ailments instead of learning simple natural techniques to ease our discomfort.

I’ve probably been to over 100 different doctors appointments over my lifetime for a wide variety of things that ultimately were mostly all caused by undiagnosed celiac disease, which is treated primarily with food. The medical world got its fair share of money out of me over those 20 years when I was seeking answers but had they figured it out when I was young, the money never would have filtered to them!

But now that I’m not taking medications or seeing doctors for answers like I used to be, I still can’t get my insurance to cover things that help me tremendously like acupuncture, my vitamins for nutrient deficiencies or acupressure massages. Things that are inherently cheaper than medications and doctors appointments. Our system is set up to treat disease, not prevent it – which I think is pretty sad. I’ve met people taking over 8 different drugs a day to the cost of over $300/month out-of-pocket, plus the copay that their insurance is covering as well (and the doctor office visits too).

A great example of this is Prilosec. They have commercials now for you to take their pill before eating crap, so you can keep eating crap without getting sick. UM HELLO?? Doesn’t anyone see a problem with this?? If the food makes you feel like crap, why do you continue to eat it?

While I completely understand there are limitations to natural remedies and sometimes medical intervention is needed but why is it that we’ve become such a pill popping country? We want to take a pill for everything instead of just doing what we need to do for our body.

I’ve seen many articles lately about companies testing celiac pills so we can consume gluten when taking the pill. It just doesn’t make sense except on an emergency basis that you would need this. I completely understand traveling outside the U.S. where you might struggle with finding gluten-free but a pill you intentionally take to eat gluten? That’s just as bad as the Prilosec.

I don’t know…. Maybe I’m too big of a cynic after my own personal experiences. Maybe I’m sick of going to doctors offices and being put on pills. Maybe I just want to have my insurance cover the things that make me feel better and well instead of letting the problems manifest into something greater.

Please post your thoughts on this!

I would love to hear your opinion on both the celiac pills and natural medicine! 

What other natural remedies have you found work for helping with your auto immune diseases?

 

Why is Clean Eating so Dirty?

Clean Eating Shouldn’t feel so Dirty.
Clean Eating Shouldn’t feel so Dirty.

Why has clean eating become such a dirty topic of conversation?

I started this blog to take other people on the journey with me and not only share my experiences with you but to learn from others as time goes by. I make an effort to not push my beliefs or eating habits on anyone else. You will never find me telling someone to go gluten free or skip wheat but I have made suggestions and of course I’m always here to help those that are interested in learning more. It does however frustrate me when I’m bombarded with questions about how I live only to have people question what I’m doing or give me negative feedback.

It seems to me that the media has glorified fad diets and decided to lump gluten-free into the mix. It doesn’t help that celebrities say they are eating gluten-free and then are seen at a burger joint eating a giant glutenous sandwich. Doesn’t that just drive you crazy?

I just saw an article (I can’t remember so I apologize) that said 29% of people are trying to eliminate gluten from their diets. But why are these people try to eliminate it? It was interesting to have people comment on that when I tweeted it with responses of people that “try” but get to cheat with gluten. For those of us with gluten related health problems, that’s a dream for us. (or is it?) When I see articles like this, I can’t help but think the same few things.

1. It is a constant reminder of the lack of education regarding gluten related health problems in this country.
2. I remember how hard it was for me to get started on that journey.
3. I realize that the term “gluten-free” has developed into a negative lifestyle choice despite the health benefits for so many of us that eat gluten free.

Clean eating, paleo, whole foods, gluten-free, organic, grain free, grass fed and wild seafood are all completely normal terms for our household. But for millions of us they are sources of discontent, frustration and confusion. We feel we can’t go out to eat and be “normal” because we eat this way. We feel pushed out of our social groups because our friends decide its too difficult to go out anymore with us because of our new “diet.” What is preventing us from being comfortable with our new lifestyle to educate others and be proud and strong when in public?

How is it possible our society turned something so wholesome into a negative choice?

How is it possible that everyone is comfortable talking about cigarettes, sugar, soda, medications and other harmful things yet when you start talking about healthy things others get uncomfortable?

I hate that people feel uncomfortable discussing health living with others because it always ends up in an argument. We shouldn’t be led to believe that fast food and junk processed foods are “healthy” for us because these companies have a lot of money for marketing. It’s become a culture that if it’s in the grocery store, it’s ok to eat. Which, many of us have come to realize it is most certainly not. Last time I checked, red coloring number 5 wasn’t a food group or natural anything and some of the ingredients should be in household products, not in our belly.

Please don’t be afraid to speak the truth about food. I’m not saying to go around and knock on your neighbors doors to tell them to put down the Fritos, but I am saying educating others is the only way we are going to get our food costs down and awareness for healthy eating!

Clean eating shouldn’t be a dirty concept or a filthy term yet so  many of us are afraid to educated others because we don’t want to be seen as the crazy healthy person!

Gluten Free Foods I’m Loving This Week

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A typical Earth Fare Score

Each week, I go to different stores and look for new and exciting gluten free foods to try. I post many of them as a picture on my Pretty Little Celiac Facebook page and write “awesome” or “gross” and then call it a day. But, there isn’t a way to search for those so I decided to start a Sunday night ritual of picking a few favorite gluten free things from the week and posting them here so that way you can see all the wonderful thing I am digging each week.

We recently had a Cabela’s store open right next to my precious Earth Fare so we decided to skip our favorite store for something new this weekend. A new Whole Foods opened in a neighboring suburb of Columbus, so we decided to go and check it out. While it was busy, it certainly wasn’t as insane as trying to get to Earth Fare with the grand opening traffic of Cabela’s. I’m glad we mixed it up because I found some cool things there this week!

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1. Lesser Evil Chia Chips
There is nothing I love more than a great crunchy chip and it seems to be one of my favorite things to try lately. I’ve had my fair share of lentil chips these last few months so I was excited to see something completely different.

Lesser Evil Chia Chips come in 4 different flavors – Crunchy Dill Pickle, Jalapeno White Cheddar, Feta and Black Olive and Southern Barbeque. We opted for the Jalapeno chips.

I really liked the consistency and the texture of the chips, they remind me a little of my favorite PopChips but a harder crunch factor. They were a little spicy for me and the powdered flavoring would sometimes breathe into your lungs causing me to cough while eating. Although the punch of the spice did prevent me from eating the whole bag in one sitting, so that’s a plus right?

They also donate 10% of their sales to Autism Speaks. That’s great! I love to see companies that give back to causes they believe in.

Lesser Evil also offers Kettlecorn that is gluten free and then their Krinkle Sticks, which are not gluten free.

Overall, I’m really looking forward to trying all these different flavors. I found these at Whole Foods. *Not an affiliate link or paid promotional product. I bought these with my own cold hard cash.

For several months now I’ve been trying to find something to help me add protein into my diet without having to cook meat and eggs all the time. If I’m in a jam, I will run in the grocery and get some preboiled eggs but they are expensive and I hate running into the store all the time.

Since I’ve been in the fitness industry for over 5 years now, I’ve tried and seen a million different products, but there is one I’ve always wanted to try. The Egg Whites International 100% pure liquid egg whites is that product.

Egg White International 100% pure liquid egg whites
Egg White International 100% pure liquid egg whites

2. Egg Whites International – 100% Pure Liquid Egg Whites
Every year the Arnold Classic Sports Festival is held in Columbus, Ohio the first weekend in March. Typically it is insanely busy but if you go right when the expo opens Friday at 10am, you are escaping the major crowds.

This year I finally decided to buy some egg whites because they had a great deal. 2 half gallon egg containers, 1 pump and free shipping for $42. I know you think that sounds expensive but if you’ve ever bought egg whites in the carton for $5 or more, you know that it quickly adds up.

They are shipped frozen and kept in the refrigerator after opening. You can find all the faq’s on their website here.

I’ve actually tasted them just plain and they don’t really taste like anything. You can cook with them, add them to your morning coffee or breakfast, put them in your shake or make protein snacks with them.

Today I mixed them with lactose free milk, berries, ice, water for a lactose free protein shake. You don’t even have to worry about all the chemicals in protein powders. But obviously if you can’t handle eggs, this  isn’t the protein for you! They have plenty of Recipes on their website.

If you choose to buy them, please use my affiliate link below. This helps me continue to try new products and then share all my gluten free goodies with you each week. As you all know, gluten free is expensive and using the affiliate link is not any more expensive for you!

Speaking of dairy, I’ve noticed that my belly will handle small amounts of lactose as long as they contain a large amount of probiotics. Milk is still out of the question but I was using the Kefir brand to help me get my vitamin’s down in the mornings. Well, we came upon another product at Whole Foods this weekend that I was excited to try. It didn’t hurt that the packaging was just so darn cute I couldn’t contain myself. (I tend to get excited over little things)

3. Siggi’s
These adorable little probiotic shots come in 3.7 oz drinkable yogurt containers. It truly is the perfect amount for me to take my 10 vitamins each morning. I purchased the blueberry flavor but it looks like from their website they have other flavors as well.

They also have non-fat yogurt, which I will be trying on our next trip to the store!

Have I mentioned I love Lactobacillus Acidophilus lately? Sounds like a dinosaur.

The parent company is called skyr – (which I love!) It is the traditional yogurt of Iceland and it has 2-3 times the protein count of standard yogurt (which I also love).

It not only tasted delicious, but was the perfect consistency for pill popping. Just enough to coat my belly and not let the cinnamon and fish oil create a steamy stomach bath of discomfort.

Basically, I haven’t found anything not to love about the Siggi’s pro-biotic drinks and I’m looking forward to trying their other products. *again not an affiliate – all on my own pretty little dime and opinion*

Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve been searching for a great gluten free tortilla since I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I think I finally found the answer.

Rudi’s Tortilla
Rudi’s Tortilla

4. Rudi’s Tortialla‘s
Pretty excited about these! They have a much better texture than other gluten free tortilla’s we’ve tried in the past. The biggest complaint I always have with the gluten free ones is that they always seem to crack at the seems and then your ingredients fall out.

I made a tuna salad melt with tuna, mayo, shredded cabbage & carrots and black olives with just a touch of cheese as a topping. Stuffed it in the tortilla and then threw it in the George Foreman grill to make it into a delicious melt. Argh until it started cracking again!

I’d definitely recommend these though over the other brands!

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Gluten Free Recipe: Lasagna Stuffed Flank Steak

Lasagna Stuffed Flank Steak – Gluten Free
Lasagna Stuffed Flank Steak – Gluten Free

Now this is a delightful gluten free recipe I can stand behind. The title is a little misleading because there are no noodles in this version of lasagna, just meat and the fillings!

I’m getting pretty good at stuffing meat with things and the flank steak is really easy to roll and stuff. Now that I have the hang of cutting the meat and getting it to open like a book, I can pretty much stuff it with anything! For the next few weeks, I will be focused on eating clean and getting lean so I want some items that are low or no carbs to help me hit my goal. For dinners, I rotate a small amount of carbs one night like sweet potatoes with another night of no carbs like this recipe here. The carb dinners are saved for the days I work really hard at the gym.

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds of grass fed flank steak

3/4-1 cup of ricotta cheese – we used organic (shown below)

2 cups of spinach

1/2 cup of thinly sliced peppers (shown below)

3/4 cup of frozen, shelled edamame

1/4 cup of artichokes from a jar marinated (we used Trader Joe’s)

1 tablespoon of chopped garlic

1 tablespoon of onion powder

2 cups of gluten free marinara sauce (shown below)

Olive Oil and Parmasean Cheese

1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic, onion powder, spinach, peppers and edamame in a skillet to sautee

3. While this is cooking, get the flank steak out and cut open. You want to be sure not to cut it all the way through, you want it to open up like a book, as you can see in the top and bottom pictures. Cut the twine into pieces so you can get it tied all the way around and you will need 3 or 4 pieces.

4. Brush the meat with olive oil and add any other seasonings you might want to add. Italian seasonings would be a nice addition to this recipe. Put the ricotta cheese down leaving a nice edge around the meat. You don’t want it to spill out all over when you try to roll it.

5. Mix the spinach mixture with 1 cup of marinara sauce and then lay that on top of the ricotta cheese.

6.. Have the twine ready to slide under the meat when you roll it. It’s a good idea if you pick it up a bit and try to almost fold it over instead of rolling because it will smush the ingredients and push them forward instead of rolling. Tie it all up and cut off the extra twine at the top.

7.  I brushed a little more of the olive oil on the meat to prevent it from drying out.

8.  Bake for 25-30 minutes depending on how you like your meat.

9. We heated the extra sauce and put it on top of the meat when cut along with a little parmesan cheese.

I never finish my meal like this! It was that good. I would make this every week (actually I might;)

 

Celiac Disease and the Phoenix: Have you Reinvented Yourself Yet?

Celiac Disease
Celiac Disease

It’s funny how symbols we find important show up in every part of our life. For me, the Phoenix is a very important and symbolic thing because it is all about being reborn and reinventing yourself. It is a reminder that most things aren’t finite and we can at any time change our lives to something completely different. Accepting the consequences of those changes are often what people find discouraging about major decisions and avoid the opportunity to explore life to its fullest.

These changes can be something as simple as quitting your job, moving to somewhere different or as challenging as leaving an unhappy marriage or divorcing negative friends in your life. But regardless, these options are choices we make because they might better our lives.

It’s funny because when I opened Bexa Body Fitness, I wanted our logo to represent being reborn. I wanted it to be about finding that inner fire inside of you to drive you to where you want to go without looking back. Now I need to figure out how to incorporate that same theme into my Pretty Little Celiac world.

There are changes in our life that we don’t have the option of choosing like celiac disease, cancer, other physical ailments or death. It’s how people handle these horrific life events that make us all very different. For me, celiac disease was a heart breaking and devastating life event but not as terrible as watching my uncle suffer from pancreatic cancer  or sitting at the Cleveland Clinic on Christmas waiting for my grandfather to come out of surgery. There are people that fight this diagnosis and continue to eat gluten knowing it could cause them the more serious ailments like cancer but that’s their choice. They are choosing to ignore the easiest disease to take care of because you only need food.

Celiac disease is something we should be grateful for when caught early enough. All we have to do to cure celiac disease is eat gluten free. This gives us the ultimate opportunity to become a phoenix and reinvent our lives. Since I was diagnosed, I’ve been telling people I can’t cook and don’t like cooking. Primarily it was because in the past I never really had to and if I were hungry, I went out to eat.

I don’t have that luxury anymore. As much as I’ve been fighting it, I’m learning to cook. Turns out, I’m not too shabby.

I thought I would live my life in Columbus, become an awesome fitness personality and help people lose weight, get fit and love themselves. After my diagnosis with celiac and then endometriosis, I realized I have a higher calling than just fitness. I love coaching, training, teaching, consulting and all those things so I am thrilled I can incorporate my passion in so many different areas. I am reinventing myself. I am in every aspect of the word a Phoenix.

How have you reinvented yourself or become a Phoenix in your own world?

 

Gluten-Free Desserts – Chocolate Fruit Kebob!

Gluten-Free Desserts:  Fruit Kebobs!
Gluten-Free Desserts: Fruit Kebobs!

This might be the shortest post I’ll ever write. These gluten-free desserts were fabulous and the easiest thing to make! Kids will love them and you will love their low calorie, gluten-free goodness!

Gluten-Free Desserts: Fruit Kebobs

What you need:

Raspberries

Gluten-Free Marshmallows – We used Elyon brand

Gluten-Free Cookies – we used Earth Fare Ginger Snaps

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chips – we used Enjoy Life Mini’s

Skewers

How do you make them?

1. Cut the marshmallows into bite size pieces and alternate a raspberry with a piece of marshmallow.

2. Melt the chocolate in a pan or in the microwave – empty into a small ziplock bag – cut a tiny hole in the corner of the bag and pipe out the chocolate over the kebobs.

3. Crush and sprinkle the cookies on top of the kebobs.

4. Devour!

Gluten Free Open Face Burger Recipe with Chebe Breadstick Mix

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Gluten Free Open Face Burger

I love Chebe. I mean it, I really love Chebe products. It has become a staple in our house when we are craving pizza, bread sticks, cheese balls or whatever other doughy need we might have one night. Imagine my delight when I came home from a long day at the gym to find Aaron made these little treats for dinner!

I know its a lot of carbs but sometimes you just need a little carby indulgence after a long day of work.

So, you want to try to make these for dinner?

Here’s what you are going to need for my Gluten Free Open Face Burger

Ingredients:

1lb of Grass Fed Beef

1 Egg

3/4 Cup of gluten free bread crumbs (we use Tall Papa’s)

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

2 tablespoons of olive oil

3 minced garlic cloves

1 Box of Chebe Breadstick Mix

1-2 cups of marinara sauce

4 slices of cheese (we used mozzarella)

How to assemble!

1. Follow Chebe directions on box to get the dough ready and then flatten into round pods. Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 10 minutes. You want them to be about the same size as the burger patties. So however large your burgers are, that’s the size of the bread bottom. Brush the dough with some coconut oil before baking and putting on a nonstick pan in the oven.

2. Mix the ground grassfed beef, egg, breadcrumbs into a bowl. Shape into 4 patties and cook on low heat with coconut oil in a skillet or other frying pan on the stove. Cook to your desired temperature.

3. You want the burgers and the bread to be done at the same time!

4. Take the roll out of the oven – top with the burger patty, slice of cheese to your liking  (we used mozzarella) and some red sauce on top. Cook for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese and heat up the marinara sauce.

5. Take out and enjoy!

Gluten Free Open Face Burger
Gluten Free Open Face Burger

**I am not sponsored, paid or given product by Chebe. I genuinely love their products. They are the greatest thing we’ve found since going gluten free.**

 

Gluten-Free Diet Making you Fat? 5 Tips to Shed the Pounds

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We’ve all seen the articles recently talking about “gluten-free diets” and how the media has hyped up the gluten-free industry making others believe it is a fad diet like the Atkins or South Beach. I hear people tell me they went gluten-free and lost 20 pounds or some other amount but when they actually start explaining what they were eating, it was essentially just cutting the processed foods out of their diet. They were adding in more fruits and vegetables. Taking out the breads, pastas and other gluten filled things that are poison to those of us with celiac.

This post is not meant to be a debate with people over gluten and if it is healthy or not. It’s simply one girls opinion on the foods we consume and why a gluten-free diet won’t make you lose weight. I don’t believe you need to go on a gluten-free diet. I do believe you need to go on a “remove processed foods diet.”

My personal opinion is that gluten isn’t going to kill you if your body can tolerate it. I believe there are lots of people out there that can eat a pizza and have no problems other than weight gain and excess caloric consumption. I also believe there are many people out there that struggle with gluten but brush it off by taking medications like Prilosec or Tums to avoid the real issue. I mean these drug companies are even advocating for people to take their pills before consuming junk food and proud of it! Consuming the healthier options needs to be the right choice if you are going to eat gluten. A piece of whole grain bread is certainly better than a pop tart when it comes to gluten filled foods but an apple is even better.

I am however in the group of people who believes processed foods, chemicals and other disgusting additives are giving our kids behavioral problems, starting girls on their periods at an extremely young age and adding to the horrific number of health problems in the United States. It never ceases to amaze me that we constantly have to have discussions about why this is happening to us, why we are so obese, why we suffer from so many health conditions and yet everyone is willing to sweep the real food issue under the rug.

Eating gluten-free is not a choice for me anymore. I went through the phase in the first 5 months or so when I ate the same boxed, processed gluten-free foods every day. I pretty much sustained life off of Pop Chips and Annie’s gluten-free mac and cheese. I also started to gain weight. Gluten free foods made me gain weight. No, wait – processed gluten-free foods made me gain weight.

I started eating much more whole foods towards the end of last summer. Real, whole, non processed, from the earth foods.

But I still kept gaining weight. Turns out the estrogen from the endometriosis was causing me to gain weight but in theory I should have lost weight based on what I was eating. The frustration led me to consume more packaged gluten-free snack foods. Major fail.

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So, are you eating gluten-free and gaining weight or not able to lose weight? Let me give you my top 5 tips on how you can change the pattern.

1. Limit processed & packaged gluten-free foods. This is probably the biggest one of all time. Stop eating the gluntino oreos!! Just because these foods are gluten-free, doesn’t mean we can go gung ho and eat whatever gluten-free foods we want. Processed foods are just that… made from things that are made – not grown! Gluten free processed foods just come with different ingredients that aren’t great for us either, our bodies can actually digest them. Stick with meats, fruits and vegetables that are naturally gluten-free!

2. Moderation is always the key. Regardless of if you are eating gluten-free or not, moderation is the key. If you want to have a gluten-free cookie or brownie. Have 1 and move on with your day. But again, just because it’s gluten-free doesn’t mean that’s the green light to consume massive quantities. I’ve found myself saying “well, it’s ok because it’s gluten-free so I can have as many as I want.” This couldn’t be further from the truth.

3. Watch salt intake and hidden calories from sauces and marinades. Salt makes us bloat. Salt makes us retain water. Salt affects our blood pressure. Aaron and I went on the DASH diet a while back and now we can barely handle a meal at Chipotle without looking pregnant afterwards.

4. Be cautious of empty calories. The gluten-free foods often contain a higher calorie and fat count than regular foods so when you add into that empty calories from sodas, desserts and alcohol, it can add up much faster than you would imagine.

5. Stop cheating on the gluten-free lifestyle. That seesaw effect of gluten – no gluten can really take a toll on your body and not just with your stomach. It affects your brain chemistry, hormones along with organs and digestive system.

BONUS TIP: Exercise – start moving 30 minutes a day for 4-5 days per week.

If you try all these things and the weight still isn’t coming off, I would encourage you to go and get checked by your doctor. Have a full blood count and panel done, check your thyroid, check your hormone levels (guys testosterone too!) and talk to your doctor about any other symptoms you continue to have despite eating gluten-free.

A strict gluten-free diet should take care of celiac disease. If you are still having problems, it is likely there are other things going on that need medical attention, like me with the endometriosis.

 

 

 

 

Gluten-Free Quinoa Recipe – Cheesy Crab Patties

gluten-free cheesy quinoa crab patties
gluten-free cheesy quinoa crab patties
I used to eat quinoa a lot before I even had celiac disease because it had more protein than other carbs, which I need more when I’m strength training. Now I get to experiment with this nutty flavored ingredient to find new and fun gluten-free foods to eat since I’m getting bored with the usual. Most of my recipes will be 10 ingredients or less because that’s just how I work. Simple. Easy. So check out my new  gluten-free quinoa recipe!
Gluten-Free Quinoa Recipe – Cheesy Crab Patties:
Cook plain quinoa in water for 15 minutes (2 cups cooked) –
You can also cook it in broth but be careful it is gluten-free broth!
mixed in:
3/4 shredded cheddar cheese – (we use non hormone, organic cheese)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 carrot grated (regular size carrot)
3 organic eggs
1/4 cup of gluten-free flour (we used Trader Joe’s)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Aaron and I decided to try it both with salmon and crab. We divided up the batter into 2 bowls.
In one bowl we added 1 can of lump crab, drained – approximately 1 cup
In another bowl we added 1 can of salmon, drained – approximately 1 cup
Both were cooked the exact same way….
Cooked in grass-fed butter on low heat, one heaping spoon molded in egg-shaped and flatten out like pancake, both sides until crisp. Once they were done, we took them out and put them on paper towels to absorb the extra butter from the pan.
Topped with sour cream or ketchup
I topped mine with lactose free sour cream and preferred the crab cakes.
Aaron topped his with ketchup (gross) and enjoyed the salmon ones better.