butternut & sage crackers

I’ve been looking forward to experimenting with this one for a while now, waiting until an appropriately autumnal time. My husband and I have always grown butternut in our gardens (as I noted in last week’s primal pumpkin spice muffin post, they are as vigorous as they are delicious). In the good ol’ days (when buying bananas at a grocery store seemed a little colonial and gluttonous) we were more loyal locavores, and relied on the sweet hearty squashes to help feed us through the winter. I would slice the neck across into a series of 1/2 thick circles, line them in a glass baking dish, and chop a couple fistfuls of fresh sage. I would spread the sage on the top along with sea salt, black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil, baking until the edges of the circles (the skin) was crunchy and the interior soft and creamy.  That warmth, aroma, and flavor was what I wanted to replicate in cracker form. These come close, and the curry I added (just because) really comes through. A slight creaminess is courtesy of that mysterious property of a good butternut to resemble, well, butter.

#vegan #gluten-free #vitaminA

Ingredients:  locally grown butternut squash, organic millet, organic flax seeds, organic raw sunflower seeds, organic apple cider vinegar, filtered water, organic dates, locally grown apples, himalayan pink salt,  fresh sage, organic curry

zukerdoodles

Sometimes, you just really want a cookie. Something warming and chewy and crunchy and flavorful all at the same time. And sometimes, if you are me, you cannot resist trying to screw up a perfectly good thing by making it with vegetables and without grain.  This one took a bit of experimenting, but, as luck would have it, these ended up being delicious: a nutritious snickerdoodle packed with zucchini, sunflower, and hemp seeds. The seeds add a creamy “nuttiness” that pairs well with zucchini, which also has a way of tasting nutty. Instead of rolling them in sugar (one of my favorite holiday kitchen tasks as a little girl), I created a blend of dried date powder and cinnamon.

Ingredients: organic zucchini, organic raw sunflower seeds, organic dates, organic coconut flour, raw hemp seeds, organic coconut oil, lemon juice, vanilla extract, sea salt, organic cinnamon  

el cuatro (four seed roasted red pepper cracker)

I have been looking forward to the full swing of red pepper season, and here we are in mid-late August with the staff at Whisper Hill Farm‘s market stand nearly begging people to buy whole flats of the things.  I took them up on the offer last Saturday, bartering a four-pack of superstar omega bars to keep those hard-working ladies fueled as they packed up after market.

On Monday, a visit from the woman who must be the most self-sacrificing friend in the universe found us, with our collective clan of three boys, in our garden. You know that point in late afternoon, about an hour after waking naptime, when toys start to be used a little too aggressively, evidenced by balls hurling through the air, yelps that “so and so hit me with the book,” etc.? At that point, you know you missed some magic window in which smarter moms would have proactively transitioned everyone to an outside activity. Oops. I had been waiting for my first delivery from bulk distributor Dutch Valley Foods, headed my way on a tractor trailer with a vague ETA. Awaiting a call from the driver when he got close, we headed out to the garden. Fionn was eager to show his friends Carter (5yo) and Alan (3yo) how to pick tomatoes, which he is quick to remind you that he doesn’t like (“they are too squirby for me”), but respects simply because red, he now repeatedly declares, is his favorite color.

Carter had the idea to make a salad, so I offered the challenge to see how many colors we could find for it. The eager team waded from tomatoes to peppers to beets to carrots, through knee-high weeds in what other people might refer to as a “lawn.” We got a meager but respectable haul, and I used some of their very carefully-harvested cherry tomatoes (and basil) in the dough mixture.

These crunchy crackers are packed with Vitamin A and C from ripe red peppers and cherry tomatoes, but also chock full of nutritious seeds, including flax and chia.

Ingredients: roasted red peppers (Whisper Hill Farm), organic millet, organic flax seeds, organic raw sunflower seeds, cherry tomato, organic chia seeds, filtered water, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic dates, organic apple cider vinegar, sea salt, roasted garlic, fresh basil, smoked paprika, cayenne

 

superstar & mighty mint bars

This is the perfect portable “treat” for the kiddos (you don’t have to tell them that there’s little bits of kale inside), or a great chewy re-fuel after a workout. In slightly more than 200 calories, each bar is a good source of protein (10 grams!), iron, Vitamin E, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, & manganese, a very good source of Vitamin K, and contains about 1,900 mcg of omega-3 fatty acids from four kinds of seeds. Since just enough certified organic raisins and dates are used to hold the bars together, it wouldn’t technically be lying to call this a “chewy raisin bar” for the little ones particularly wary of new foods.  This is nutrient density at it’s best! 

mighty_mint_omega_bar
mighty mint omega bar

Flavors include superstar (vanilla rosemary) and mighty mint (cacao nibs with peppermint)

Ingredients (superstar bar): organic raw sunflower seeds, organic raw pumpkin seeds, organic seedless raisins, organic medjool dates, organic flax seeds, organic chia seeds, raw hemp seeds, local organic kale, sea salt, vanilla extract, lemon extract, fresh rosemary

 

Order here.

Savory Spinach & Seed Crackers

For the second day of this week’s snack duty, I was infected with both a premature preoccupation with St. Patrick’s Day and a craving for greenness. I can only chalk these urges up to cumulative Vitamin D deficiency. Thus, spinach and shamrocks were nonnegotiable. In researching other spinach crackers, I was disappointed with the dull spectrum of greens characterizing the final products, so I tried a couple tricks- blanching the spinach (which sort of “locks in” nutrients and mitigates color fade by stopping enzymatic action) and combining sunflower seeds with a tiny bit of baking soda, which leverages the same reaction as the Oscar the Grouch Cookies.

"Raw" shamrocks, before baking
“Raw” shamrocks, before baking

Since the Butterfly Beet Crackers made previously this week were a little sweet (but not sweet enough, actually, since I think kids expecting a butterfly shaped cookie felt duped), I risked full-on savory with these shamrocks, playing with cumin and paprika. Olive oil is the only thing making these nonpaleo, technically, so the purists out there can sub lard or coconut oil. Of course, they are much easier to make into squares or triangles (which makes them look like chips), so I would only go the shamrock route if you have plenty of time and an acute need to woo an Irishman. Feel free to adjust the spices and use some different herbs to suit your (or your favorite Irishperson’s) fancy.

Savory Spinach & Seed Crackers
Serves 20
A deep green, grain-free cracker that pairs well with fresh salsa or a creamy cheese dip. Packed with spinach and essential fatty acids.
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108 calories
5 g
0 g
9 g
3 g
1 g
33 g
220 g
1 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
33g
Servings
20
Amount Per Serving
Calories 108
Calories from Fat 78
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
14%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 220mg
9%
Total Carbohydrates 5g
2%
Dietary Fiber 3g
14%
Sugars 1g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
22%
Vitamin C
8%
Calcium
4%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup ground golden flax seed
  2. 1 cup sunflower seeds
  3. 1/4 cup chia seeds
  4. 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
  6. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 4 tablespoons olive oil
  10. 8 ounces fresh spinach leaves (about 8 cups coarsely chopped). You can also use 1+ cup frozen spinach, as it is already blanched. You want to end up with 1 cup pureed spinach.
  11. 1/2 peeled orange
Instructions
  1. Combine sunflower seeds, flax seeds in a food processor (I used a Nutribullet) until crumbly but not super fine. Put the contents into a medium bowl, and set aside the food processor as you will use it again and don't need to clean it out.
  2. Add garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and baking soda to the ground seeds, and whisk thoroughly to combine.
  3. Add an inch of water to a steaming pot and put the fresh spinach in a steaming basket. It will look like a lot, but cook down. Turn the stove eye on to medium heat, add the lid, and let the spinach steam until just wilted and bright green, about 5 minutes. Do not let it turn to mush. As soon as it's hot, green, and wilted, remove the basket and plunge it into a bowl of ice water for 1 minute.
  4. Retrieve the cooked leaves from the water and put them in the food processor with the half of an orange and olive oil. Purée until very smooth.
  5. Add the green purée to the seed/spice mixture, using a little spatula to get it all out of the processor and off the blades.
  6. Combine thoroughly, kneading any remaining bits into the dough by hand, making sure to work in any clumps of seeds. You want a thick ball of dough, so only add 1 teaspoon or so of water (preferably the water remaining from the steaming) if necessary.
  7. Divide dough in half and shape each into a ball. Place both balls on a large sheet of parchment paper (big enough to cover a cookie sheet) and flatten each into 1 inch-thick square. You may find it helpful to refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow dough to firm up before rolling. Once dough has chilled, heat oven to 350°F.
  8. Working with one ball at a time, roll out one ball of dough on the parchment paper to 1/8-inch thickness (but no thinner!) and, using a knife or pizza wheel, cut into whatever shape you like, as long as it's consistent. Squares or triangles would work fine, but I used a shamrock cookie cutter for the sake of St. Patrick's Day, which required using a spatula to transfer to another lined sheet. Uniformity is important to assure even baking, so just make sure each baking sheet contains only squares, or only shamrocks, etc.
  9. Once cut, separate the pieces on the parchment-lined baking sheet so that they are at least 1/2 inch apart.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes and turn the oven off. Flip the pieces upside down on the sheet so that the bottoms don't brown too much, and return to the warm oven for another 8-10 minutes until they are crisp but not browning. Remove from oven and cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. Makes about 75-80 1.5 by 1.5 inch crackers, approximately 4-5 cups.
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calories
108
fat
9g
protein
3g
carbs
5g
more
http://goodphytefoods.com/

Oscar the Grouch Cookies

He loves cold weather, stinky things, and loud noises. Who better to celebrate the transition from February to March than Oscar the Grouch? Fur matted with please-I don’t even-want-to-know, is he really not such a bad guy? If you don’t fully appreciate the contrarian that is Oscar, then you can call these Crocodile Nuggets.

If you are familiar with baking using sunflower butter or meal (I wasn’t), then you are probably well aware of the emerald result when chlorogenic acid reacts with baking soda. Chlorogenic acid is present in the stems and leaves of most plants, but peculiarly also in the seeds of sunflowers. This cookie takes advantage of it!

I am going to continuing playing around with this recipe to enhance it. I learned a valuable lesson in the course of modifying the original recipe, which is that sometimes, I need to leave well enough alone. I tried my hand at Against All Alligator Surprise Cookies_InsideGrain’s N’Oatmeal Raisin St. Patrick’s Day Cookies, and ended up with something soft, creamy, sweet and delicious, in addition to being bright green on the inside (see photo to the right). Then I decided that if it was going to be green anyway, wasn’t it disingenuous to NOT contain some kind of leafy vegetable?  I tried a version with spinach, then with chard. They were equally delicious, but a less vibrant green throughout. The recipe below includes that veggie infusion, but as you can see, the cookies are a dimmer, “Oscar” shade of green throughout, even textured a bit like his fur. Still surprisingly creamy and moist. If you want a version that is deceivingly brown and cookie-like on the outside and bright green on the inside, though, go with the Against All Grain recipe.  I will update this if I can manage to retain the emerald illusion WITH the greens.

 

Oscar the Grouch Cookies
Yields 12
These nuggets are better than they look. Due to the reaction between baking soda and the chlorogenic acid in sunflower seeds, the interior of these cookies will turn green after cooling, which makes for a nice surprise for kids. The sunbutter makes them creamy and just sweet enough.
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Cook Time
16 min
Cook Time
16 min
170 calories
23 g
16 g
8 g
3 g
2 g
67 g
124 g
17 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
67g
Yields
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 170
Calories from Fat 71
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
13%
Saturated Fat 2g
9%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 16mg
5%
Sodium 124mg
5%
Total Carbohydrates 23g
8%
Dietary Fiber 3g
12%
Sugars 17g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
5%
Vitamin C
3%
Calcium
3%
Iron
6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 large egg
  2. 3 tablespoons hot water
  3. ½ cup unsweetened sunbutter
  4. 6 medium pitted dates
  5. ½ apple, with skin
  6. 3/4 cup chopped spinach (about 1/3 cup purée)
  7. 1 tablespoon honey
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. ½ cup finely shredded coconut
  10. ¼ cup coconut flour
  11. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  12. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  13. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  14. 1/3 cup dried currants
  15. 1/4 cup pepitas
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the halved, pitted dates into a glass or metal measuring cup and pack down. Add the hot water and let sit 5 minutes.
  3. Combine the egg, sunbutter, greens, applesauce, vanilla extract, and dates (with their liquid) in a food processor. Process for about a minute until smooth.
  4. In medium bowl, measure out and combine the coconut, coconut flour, ground flax, arrowroot flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Stir until fully incorporated.
  5. Add the purée mixture to the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine.
  6. Add the currants and stir to incorporate. Let the mixture sit just a couple minutes so the coconut flour can absorb a little of the moisture.
  7. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Each cookie should be about 2-3 bites in size. Gently flatten tops of cookies with a spatula. Add a few sunflower seeds to the top of each cookie for decoration.
  8. Bake for 16 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Cookies will turn green once cooled and will continue to get a deeper green after 2 hours.
Notes
  1. This makes between 24-26 "three bite" cookies. The nutritional information assumes a toddler serving of 2 cookies.
Adapted from Against All Grain
beta
calories
170
fat
8g
protein
3g
carbs
23g
more
Adapted from Against All Grain
http://goodphytefoods.com/

‘Love Train’ Beet & Rosemary Crackers

Remember those flimsy baseball card-sized paper valentines kids used to bring to everyone in your elementary school class out of obligatory, parent-enforced egalitarianism? In fact, do you remember Lisa Simpson’s regrettable decision to give Ralph Wiggum an “I Choo-Choo Choose You” card? If not, here is a 5 second clip on YouTube that was obviously recorded by someone standing in front of their television screen. Ah, the 90s!

In keeping with the Valentine’s Day theme this week, I wanted to use beets in a more savory finger-friendly context than the might-as-well-be-cupcakes ‘Love Bites’ Beet Muffins I posted a few days ago. Inspired by Daily Bites’ Beet & Rosemary crackers, I gladly nabbed some sprigs from our monster rosemary bush and played around with a nut-free version that also beefed up the beet content. Consequently, the result is darker in color and rich in sunflower and flax seed goodness. It’s grain and sweetener free, and would pair well with hummus or any dip that your little one fancies. You could use coconut oil instead of olive oil if you want a purely paleo version.

I had recently acquired a few new cookie cutters from a thrift store, so made both regaular rectangular crackers with this recipe as well as some choo-choos, just to see if it made a difference in toddler-receptivity. The recipe below is the simpler, standard rectangle version. You’re welcome!

Of course, without the train, you’ll need to make a new name for them, like “Flamingo Biscuits,” or “Vampire Blood Crackers,” or “Purple Princess Crackers,” depending on the interests of your little one at the moment.

 

'Love Train' Beet and Rosemary Crackers
Yields 20
This recipe yields about 80 1 inch by 1.5 inch crackers.
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
15 min
110 calories
6 g
0 g
9 g
4 g
1 g
29 g
185 g
1 g
0 g
8 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
29g
Yields
20
Amount Per Serving
Calories 110
Calories from Fat 76
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
14%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 185mg
8%
Total Carbohydrates 6g
2%
Dietary Fiber 4g
14%
Sugars 1g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
1%
Calcium
3%
Iron
5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup steamed chopped beets
  2. 4 tablespoons water remaining from steaming beets
  3. 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  4. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. 1 cup golden flax seed
  6. 1 1/2 cups sunflower seeds
  7. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  8. 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder (optional)
  9. 1 teaspoon sea salt (fine)
  10. 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  11. 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (for decorating)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the sunflower seeds and flax seeds. Pulse until a coarse meal forms.
  3. Add the rosemary, garlic powder, pepper, and salt. Pulse until everything is a fine meal. Remove mixture and place into a medium sized bowl. Do not wash the processor bowl.
  4. Drain the beets, reserving any liquid, which should be a deep magenta. Add the drained beets
  5. the to the food processor, along with the 4 tablespoons of the reserved beet cooking liquid, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil to the food processor. Process until the beets are pretty thoroughly pureed.
  6. Use a spatula to scoop out the beet mixture, adding it to the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until everything is combined, and a ball of dough begins to form.
  7. Pat the dough into a rectangular shape on a large piece of parchment paper, using generously oiled hands. Top with another sheet of parchment paper and roll out to about 1/8-inch thick rectangular shape. Transfer the dough, parchment paper and all, to a baking sheet. Remove the top piece of parchment and sprinkle a tiny bit of coarse sea salt on top (if salt's your fancy). Trim any jagged edges off with a knife or pizza cutter and save it for another round of rolling. Using the knife or pizza cutter, score the dough into cracker shapes, depending on whether you prefer a square or rectangle.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until firm to the touch and light brown around the edges. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven off. Separate the crackers along the pre-cut lines and space them out a little bit on the baking sheet so the air can circulate around them. Place the pan back in the hot oven for 5 minutes (longer if, like me, you only managed to roll them to somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 inch). This step helps to crisp up the crackers a little more.
  9. After 5 minutes, remove the crackers from the oven and cool completely. I wait at least a couple hours and preferably overnight just to be safe.Crackers will continue to crisp up as they cool.
  10. Store in an airtight container after they are completely cooled.
Notes
  1. Nutritional information assumes a toddler serving of about 4 crackers.
Adapted from Daily Bites Blog
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calories
110
fat
9g
protein
4g
carbs
6g
more
Adapted from Daily Bites Blog
http://goodphytefoods.com/

Sunny Kale & Golden Flax Crackers

These store fairly well, so the recipe below is for a jumbo batch. Share!

Sunny Kale & Flax Crackers
Yields 35
A crunchy, nutritionally dense vegan and grain-free cracker for which you can play around with your favorite spices. Makes 210 1.5 by 1.5 inch crackers. 6 crackers per serving.
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200 calories
14 g
0 g
14 g
8 g
1 g
54 g
109 g
1 g
0 g
12 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
54g
Yields
35
Amount Per Serving
Calories 200
Calories from Fat 118
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g
22%
Saturated Fat 1g
7%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 8g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 109mg
5%
Total Carbohydrates 14g
5%
Dietary Fiber 7g
26%
Sugars 1g
Protein 8g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
1%
Calcium
4%
Iron
8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups ground golden flax
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 4 cups sunflower seeds
  4. 2 bunches kale
  5. 2 cups Raw Coconut Flour
  6. 1 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  7. 2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  8. 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  10. 1 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix together ground flax and water. Set aside.
  2. Place sunflower seeds in food processor and process until finely chopped. Remove to large bowl.
  3. Finely chop kale, which you can also do in the food processor.
  4. Add nutritional yeast, coconut flour, smoked paprika, and chipotle to the chopped sunflower seeds. Mix well.
  5. Stir in chopped kale.
  6. Add flax/water mixture. Blend well. Don't be afraid to use your hands!
  7. Spread on a Silpat baking sheet or parchment paper, using a sheet of parchment paper on top and rolling them 1/4-inch thick. Peel off the top layer of paper and score into "cracker-sized" pieces (I used 1.5 x 1.5 inch squares) and dehydrate at 145 for 30 minutes. Decrease heat to 118 and continue to dehydrate until done (approximately 8 hours*) turning once or moving to screens halfway through dehydration. You want these very dry.
Notes
  1. A good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin K and Thiamin. Estimated glycemic load: 0. Click here for more nutritional information.
beta
calories
200
fat
14g
protein
8g
carbs
14g
more
http://goodphytefoods.com/