Super Seed Crackers

#homemade crackers

After meeting Mimi Kirk last summer, I was inspired to try making flaxseed crackers. I don’t have a dehydrator though, so after hours and hours of trying to jerry-rig an alternative, I gave up and turned on the oven. What turned out was a surprise.

great

#flaxseed crackers

When I’ve shared these, friends have raved. Family asks for more. My husband, who has more self-restraint than anyone I know, gobbles them up. The recipe is now part of our Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse, but so many others have asked for it, I felt I needed to share it here. Something about the roasting of the seeds makes these oily, crispy, salty in the most magical way. They are great with everything ~ dipshummus, soups, salads, and can be scored into large pieces for a flatbread, or a crunchy pizza with your favorite toppings. But they are so good on their own that, in our house at least, they’re usually gone before anything can be added.

#crackers

#seed crackers with dill

Ayurvedic doctor, chef, educator and molecular biologist Dr. Jay Apte once told us, “For good skin, eat the edible skin of your fruits and vegetables. For energy, eat seeds.” Seeds pack the energy, and the intelligence, of the plant to come.

“It always amazes me to look at the little, wrinkled brown seeds and think of the rainbows in ’em,” said Captain Jim. “When I ponder on them seeds I don’t find it nowise hard to believe that we’ve got souls that’ll live in other worlds. You couldn’t hardly believe there was life in them tiny things, some no bigger than grains of dust, let alone colour and scent, if you hadn’t seen the miracle, could you?”
~
 L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

#fenugreek

I love seeds. I love that you can soak and snack, or soak and sprout, or soak and grow. In fact, we almost always have something soaking, especially in Spring time. Last week I forgot about the fenugreek seeds I was soaking to eat as sprouts, so I tossed them, waterlogged and mushy, in the garden where their green shoots have already pushed up through the earth.

I love seeds so much I want to share them with you, so please let us know how you like these crackers, and be sure to comment if you want me to send you some seeds. I’ll pick three winners and mail you a packet of the seeds you need to make this recipe.

Super Seed Crackers

Makes
about 40 crackers

Ingredients

1/4 c sunflower seeds
1/4 c sesame seeds
1/4 c pumpkin seeds
1/4 c flax seeds
1/2 c chia seeds
1 1/2 c water
1/4 c dulse
2-3 T sun-dried tomatoes, pureed or very finely chopped, optional
1 T tamari
1 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
olive oil
himalayan pink salt
handful of fresh dill, roughly chopped
optional: red pepper flakes

Instructions
Begin by soaking: Let the sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds soak together in a bowl with 1 cup of water for 6-8 hours. The flax and chia can soak together in 1/2 cup of water and only need 20 minutes.

Once soaked, set your oven to 275F. Rinse your seeds and pat dry. Add them to a medium size mixing bowl together with the dulse, sun-dried tomatoes, tamari, lemon juice, garlic, onion powder, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt.

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit a standard baking tray. Pour the seed mixture onto the tray. Take off your rings, oil your hands with olive oil and, using your hands, spread the mixture out to the edges of the baking tray. It should be uniformly thin, about an 1/8 of an inch, without any tears or holes. Lightly sprinkle with olive oil. Score the crackers, tracing squares or rectangles with a sharp knife.

Place the tray in the middle of the oven and bake one hour, or until it is golden around the edges. Pull it out of the oven, carefully turn it over, peeling off the parchment paper (which you can re-place on the baking sheet or discard at this point) and place it back on the baking tray bottom side up. Drizzle this side very lightly with olive oil and dust with salt. Put it back in the oven for another hour. Once this side is golden, turn the oven off. Leave it in the oven until the oven cools, an hour or two, or even overnight. Be sure it is dappled with a golden hue or it will need to cook a bit longer. Sometimes, after the hour of baking each side, I’ll turn the oven up to 350 F, turning the oven off as soon as it reaches that temperature. It gives it that final bit of roasting that really brings the flavors out.

Once it is done and you pull it out of the oven, let it rest and cool before breaking into crackers. Optionally, chop a handful of fresh dill and toss over the crackers while still warm.

#superseed #crackers

I wish you delight in all things this Spring – especially in the love of Mother Nature who gives so much: beauty, bounty, delicious nourishing food. Namaste! 

 ~

Post Script: Congratulations to Kathleen, Stephanie and Linda who will be receiving packs of super seeds! Thank you all for your comments and your commitment to life!

4 Ways to Manage Peri-Menopause with Food

Flaxseeds

Heard of perimenopausal rage? So many women have been asking me lately for help with this issue that when I saw this article from Kate Geagan, author of Go Green: Get Lean, I had to repost it. Her suggestions are not only helpful for Hot Mamas, they are important health habits for all.

4 Ways to Manage Perimenopause through Diet

Kate Geagan, MS RD
Kate Geagan

by Kate Geagan, MS, RD

I remember when my mother hit menopause, she started sporting a button that said, “I’m out of estrogen and I have a gun.” She was, needless to say, joking, but our entire family tiptoed on eggshells until the button came off. While women across the globe know that “The Change” lies somewhere in their future, replete with varying degrees of physical and emotional shifts, most women are shocked to learn that there’s actually another stage many of us hit before then: perimenopause.

If menopause is defined by a single event (a woman’s last period), perimenopause is a bit less “pinpoint -able” as it refers instead to the time before menopause (anywhere from 2 to 10 years) during which the ovaries begin reducing hormone production. The result is fluctuating levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which can set off emotional changes ranging from mild to mentally unhinged. This latter symptom in particular, which Dr. Oz recently talked about as “perimenopausal rage,” is described by many women as a propensity toward unexpected, heightened anger or a vulnerability to more volatile emotional outbursts, even when the moment before you were cool as a cucumber.

While your health-care provider is your best ally to help you manage your hormones, here are a few dietary strategies that may help keep you from feeling the need to reach for a button of your own.

Eliminate Key “Hot Spot” Triggers

Think of Hippocrate’s advice: “First, do no harm.” Sugar, caffeine and alcohol are three compounds in the diet that can exaggerate any hormonal symptoms, igniting a cocktail of emotions when stress is added.  If your blood sugar is sky high after a donut, or your body’s “fight or flight” stress response is over-activated from a mega-jolt of caffeine, you may be creating a perfect storm for that emotional rollercoaster. And while alcohol may seem to settle your nerves in the moment, overdoing it can have lingering effects on your edginess the next day. Eliminate these three things in your diet and you can often see a difference almost immediately.

Omega-3-rich Foods

Happy brain chemistry is dependent on getting adequate amounts of omega-3s in the diet, as research has linked adequate omega-3s in the diet with better moods and lower rates of depression. The brain particularly loves DHA, a key omega-3 fat in the brain which comprises 50% by weight of some brain cells. Enjoy at least two servings of fatty fish each week like salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, barramundi or bluefish weekly to naturally include some of nature’s richest sources of omega-3s. Snack on one ounce of walnuts, which packs a day’s worth of omega-3s in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. Or drizzle two tablespoons of ground flaxseed or one tablespoon cold pressed flax oil on your morning bowl of oatmeal for an added boost. If you absolutely don’t like fish, consider taking a USP certified fish oil supplement (the USP certification will ensure good manufacturing practices). Of course, be sure to check with your health-care provider before adding any new supplements to your regimen.

Load Up on Legumes

Beans and lentils are superfoods which offer several benefits to women going through either perimenopause or menopause. Why? The combo of high fiber and protein help to keep blood sugar stable longer after meals and snacks, providing a nice buffer against those “mood swings within minutes” that many perimenopausal women describe. They also score high points for being low in calories, which helps women in their 40s and 50s maintain a healthy body weight during what is typically a time of creeping weight gain (metabolism can slow as women lose lean muscle mass if they are not involved in strength training). Legumes are also rich in B-complex vitamins, including folate and B6, which serve as cofactors for enzymes involved with estrogen metabolism. Aim to include at least one cup per day (a half-cup provides about 7 grams of protein): Enjoy a cup of pasta fagioli or lentil soup with a green salad for lunch, simmer a pot of three-bean chili this weekend, or savor French, green or red lentils (they’re tinier and more delicate) as your next side dish along grilled fish or chicken.

Think About Adding Some Soy

Should you start stocking up on soy products to help you stay cool as things heat up? Possibly, depending on your personal family history. Some evidence suggests that soy might help thanks to the phytoestrogens that soybeans contain. Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring plant compounds that can mimic the body’s own estrogen by binding to certain estrogen receptors, potentially helping your body ease through the loss of your own source of estrogen. Though they are about 1000 times weaker than regular estrogen, there is some evidence to suggests that including 2-3 servings of soy food daily may help reduce the severity of hot flashes, protect against bone loss and heart disease, and reduce your risk of breast cancer (a half-cup of roasted soy nuts or edamame as a snack, or a half-cup of tofu in your stir fry all count as one serving). For that, it may be worth a try to see if you start feeling better after a month or two of adding soy to your diet. However, there have also been some studies which have found no added benefit, and adding soy may be contraindicated if you have a personal or family history of estrogen-sensitive cancers like breast cancer, so be sure to talk with your doctor first.

~~~

If you are going through “The Change,” I hope this helps you. If this would help someone you know, please forward it. Women are the preservers of life. Anything we do to support any woman anywhere, creates a better world for all.

Namaste!