Rosemary Seed Crackers

After a fun and relaxing holiday I am buckling down to finish the last semester of my Master’s degree in psychotherapy. Just like last semester I am trying to ensure that I am eating well during these busy weeks. It is so tempting to buy food at the cafeteria, but it is important to me to make my own healthy snacks at home and bring them to school. My favourite snacks include trail mixes with nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, figs, dates, popcorn, and occasionally chocolate chips are my go-tos), fruit, home-made granola bars, home-made cookies (such as blackbean or hemp-seed based cookies), home-made muffins, feaux peanut butter with banana or apple (I love adding cinnamon), hummus with veggies or crackers, and avocado and nutritional yeast on crackers. My ultimate favourite add-ons to any savoury snack or salad is veggie pâté and home-grown sprouts.

A lot of these snacks are pretty simple, and I’m sure a lot of them are not new to any of you, but my goal in listing my favourite snacks is to inspire some new creativity among anyone who reads this. If you have any other vegan go-tos, let me know!! I’m always looking to be inspired with food.

Moving along to the recipe at hand.

Crackers are a tricky food because many of the store-bought ones contain many unpronounceable ingredients. Not only that, but a lot of crackers have a great deal of sodium in them. I’m not saying I never eat things with excess salt or that have been processed, but I try to keep these foods to a minimum. And, that is why one of my new years resolutions is to make my own crackers. Here is a recipe I tried last weekend. It is good with hummus, veggie pâté, or just on its own. It has protein and veggies in it, which is what I look for in snacks. This recipe was inspired by “The Complete Book of Raw Food 2nd edition” edited by Julie Rodwell.

Ingredients
1 cup flaxmeal (the recipe calls for flaxseed, but I did no have it)
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1/4 cup leek, finely chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/8 cup fresh rosemary
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
pinch cayenne
1/4 tsp salt
Pepper to taste

I soaked the flaxmeal and sunflower seeds in three cups of water for 6 hours. I then blended everything in a food processor until smooth. The batter was spread about 1/4 inch thick onto three dehydrator trays that I lined with parchment paper. The crackers were dehydrated for 16 hours at 110*F. About six hours in I scored the trays to define how big the crackers were going to be.

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The crackers turned out really well, and I am looking forward to experimenting with different kinds of raw crackers. I made some a couple years ago, so go here to check out the beginning of my dehydrating adventure

Mango Muffins

With a busy semester ahead, I have decided that it would be helpful to make meals in advance and freeze them. At least one day a week I will have to eat lunch and supper at school, and it is way cheaper to bring my own food than buy it from the expensive cafeteria. If I can just grab something from the freezer the night before to thaw in the fridge, it will save me time and energy during the busy weeks.

Yesterday I made Kris Carr’s split pea soup recipe ,this time adding the kale and dulse seaweed. I also made a spicy chickpea recipe that I plan on posting later. The soup was split (haha) into small tupperware containers, and I sliced pieces of bread and froze them in individual ziplock bags to have with the soup. To make room in the freezer I had to finish off a bag of frozen mangos. So, I decided to make muffins with it. Here is the recipe that I discovered from holycowvegan.net. I used a different oil, halved the sugar, and doubled it because that’s how much mango I had. I’m thinking that you could replace the mango with any frozen fruit. Here’s the recipe for 12 muffins.

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used regular whole wheat and white flour because that is what I had on hand. It works, but I am sure that using the pastry flour would make the muffin softer and spongier)
2 cups mango purée (I’ll explain how I made that)
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp nutmeg
6 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tbsp (or if you want more sweetness, put 3/4 cup… But I really don’t think it needs it)
2 tbsp flax meal, soaked in 6 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract

To make the mango purée, I took all the mangos I had (probably about 5 cups. I doubled the recipe) and simmered them in a pot until it resembled a chunky sauce. I had to add a bit of water at first to avoid burning. I did not add any sugar, as I figured the mango had enough sugar in it already. I then pureed the mangos with a hand blender until it was smooth, but with a few chunks.

Next I mixed all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and nutmeg), and all the wet ingredients in another bowl sugar, coconut oil, flax meal mixture, and vanilla). The puree was added to the wet ingredients. Next, I incorporated the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients by folding them together with a spatula. It’s important not to over-mix.

I greased some muffin tins and used an ice cream scoop to divide the batter equally. I baked the muffins at 375*F for about 20 minutes. What I did is set the timer for 17 minutes and then checked the muffins with a toothpick until it came out clean. I judged by the look of the muffins that they were still too wet. So, they probably baked for about 22 minutes. This may be due to the fact that I doubled the recipe and had 24 muffins in there at once.

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The nutmeg in the muffin is a delicious addition, and the mango makes the muffin very moist. The blog where I got the recipe indicated that the recipe was developed from a banana muffin recipe. So, one could easily replace the mango puree with mashed banana. I kept some out for eating right now, and froze the rest to be eaten as needed. I guess I didn’t really free room in the freezer, but I think the muffins will be eaten quickly.