I’ve been grain- (and mostly dairy-) free for about a month now, and have not yet died of starvation. I consider this a win.
I know, I know. First-world problems, right? Because I’m not really starving. It just feels like it some days — and it’s not like I’m that limited in what I can eat. It’s more the fact that I can’t rely on so many things that I’ve historically used as quick hunger-quenchers — those things that you just grab and snack on to quiet your belly until you can eat a proper meal. As a mother of small children, this list of things historically included:
- crust cut off lunch sandwiches
- crumbs from bowls of snack crackers
- an extra piece of cheese that won’t fit onto the bread for kids’ grilled sandwich
- the occasional chocolate sandwich cookie, eaten while kids aren’t looking
Looking at that list, I see that I’ve been functioning as nothing more than a glorified human dust-buster for my kids’ meal time messes (I’ll call it multi-tasking). You’ll notice that none of these things are inherently unhealthy (a question mark looming over the cookie) — they are just off-limits for me right now, with all of their grain-y-ness. Which often leaves me in that dreaded position of standing in front of an open refrigerator, wishing something edible and GAPS-friendly would materialize before my eyes. Something other than butternut squash.
If I had to make a list of things I missed, things that caused me to physically ache in my abstinence — perched high upon a glowing pinnacle would be homemade pizza. I’m still making it every Saturday night for my family, and darnit if it doesn’t kill me just about every week, not to be able to eat it.
But second on that list might be crackers. It’s not that I’ve historically eaten vast quantities of them, it’s just a thing that, when you want one, there’s little that can replace it. I can’t satisfy my need for salty crunch with yet another hard-boiled egg. When you want a cracker, only a cracker will do. And while fake pizza crust is something that will never satisfy my need — a grain-free cracker is something I can make with believability.
I went through a few recipes for nut/seed varieties before finding one I liked. Many recipes call for mostly seeds — but I only like seeds in very small amounts. So I went heavy on nuts instead, and added a little extra salt, and lo and behold, we had a winner. I’ve enjoyed them so much, topped with everything from cheese (cheating! and I regretted it!) to peanut butter to our beloved Almond-Tomato Spread. They are so good, and so much better than my previous grain-based attempts at homemade crackers, I’ll likely keep them around, even after these long, dark days of avoidance are past.
Recipe: Grain-free Nut & Seed Crackers
- 2 1/2 cups nuts and seeds (I used about a 2-cup combo of walnuts & almonds, plus 1/2 cup combo of sunflower & sesame seeds — all should be either raw or pre-soaked & dehydrated)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1-2 Tbps water, as needed
- Preheat oven to 350º, and have two baking sheets ready. Cut two sheets parchment to fit the sheets (you will roll the dough directly onto the parchment).
- In a food processor, process the nuts and seeds until very fine and oils begin to release, about a minute.
- Add the egg, sea salt, and 1 Tbsp of water. Process until a ball forms. If dough is too dry, add another Tbsp water (dough should stick together when pressed).
- Divide dough into two pieces. One at a time, roll dough between two sheets of parchment (or onto one sheet, with a well-greased rolling pin) until about 1/8″ thick (or even thinner if possible).
- Carefully transfer dough (parchment-side down) onto baking sheets. Using a knife or bench scraper, score the dough into the shape/size you desire (it’s ok if some edges are left rough).
- Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate sheets front to back and top to bottom — and if possible, flip the crackers using a spatula. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes, until very lightly golden (watch them carefully, the color will barely change — if they get too brown they will taste burned).
- Remove from oven, and slide parchment onto counter or cooling rack to cool completely (crackers will become crisper as they cool). Store in an airtight container.
Copyright © Katy Carter, 2011.
This post was linked up to Simple Lives Thursday, via GNOWFGLINS.