This month I've been working on my snack game. Buying packaged snacks has two big bummers for me; they generally always have vegetable oils in them and the wasteful packaging.
For those of you who don't know, vegetable oils are not good for you. I am especially talking about poly unsaturated and trans fats (think, soy oil, canola oil, safflower, crisco). These fats have risen in popularity as we have demanded shelf stable foods (packaged goods) and they are cheap and backed by big corporate and government lobbies. But there are boat loads or research showing how bad they are for you, here's a quick snipet talking about vegetable oils:
"All promote inflammation starting in the gut and extending into the arteries, nervous system, and everywhere else in your body. They also block enzymes involved in breaking down fat for energy, and thus can contribute to weight gain—especially the most inflammatory type of weight gain—around the waist, called omental fat."
(continue reading this article here: drcate.com/vegetable-oil-is-everywhere/ )
that article as a great chart at the top to review for when you're checking labels. I have also seen studies about how these oils create free radicles and can lead to the kind of brain inflammation that exacerbates behavioral issues in kids (think ADD, autism, asthma). Generally bad dudes. I really read a lot of labels and have had to move some of my favorite snacks to once and a while treats (like chips and junk goodies) and some of them the ingredients are so bad, it doesn't even sound good anymore. Which is a sad day BUT it leaves a lot of room for new stuff.
Packaging is also a bummer. If every time you are holding something in your hand to put in the garbage you stop and think, this is going to exist in a huge garbage pile FOREVER, you start to not want to put things in that garbage bag. I have no bulk grocery stores near me right now which means everything comes sealed and packaged. It is what it is, but if I can put my homemade snack into a container to bring, it does something.
About a year ago my sister gave me a cookbook/zine/magazine that had lots of snacks in it. I hadn't really gotten to it until this month and YUM!!!! For those of you who might be new to cooking and baking at home, I'll try to break the shopping lists into "staple pantry" which will mean: this is a pantry good you will use in lots of stuff, you should be a reasonable amount and always replace it when you run out. And, "extra pantry" which means: this is probably recipe specific. Usually these items you can buy the exact amount if you're near a bulk grocery store OR you might already have something else you could substitute in ( like, pecans for walnuts, or dates for raisins). These two snacks did make for an expensive grocery run, I will be honest. But I ended up with some great high nutrition goods in my pantry that inspired me to make other things throughout the week. These recipes come from: Donna Hay: Fresh and Light. Issue 9, www.donnahay.com.
Rosemary, Caraway, and Pistachio Crackers
1.5 cups wholemeal plain flou
1 tbspn rosemary (i subbed thyme)
1 tbspn caraway seeds
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt flakes (i subbed kosher salt)
1 tbspn milk
3/4 cup pistachios (these were super tastey in the cracker and I think worth the cost)
1/2 cup raisins
1.5 cups almond meal (or you can grind almonds)
you will also need: parchment paper and a 20 cm square tin (I used a lasagna pan and my crackers were too thin)
Preheat to 325 degrees F
combine: almond meal, flour, pistachios, raisins, raosemary, caraway seeds, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine.
Add the eggs and milk and stir well to form a dough (tip: lightly beat the eggs and milk until they're combined then add to the dough)
Press dough into a lightly greased pan lined with the parchment paper and cook for 30 min or until golden. Let cool completely.
Remove and slice into 3mm thick pieces, place on oven trays again with parchment paper if you want (mine came off fine without it) and bake for 15-20 min until golden and firm. (don't rush this part, I was in a hurry and they could have been drier and crunchier)
Enjoy!! They are a savory cracker, I ate mine with hummus and feta cheese and it was SO YUMMY.
Stories, projects, and ideas from office to farm. Be well! Dr. J