Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Carrot Pulp Flax Cracker Bread and Walnut Spread
Today is another hot one in the Mid-Atlantic. The weather forecasters are predicted a hot and humid 104 degree day. The only thing I have been outside to do today is water my garden and that happened early before the heat got too bad. I am not a fan of heat so on hot humid days like this I find things to do inside in the air conditioning. I expect to spend a little extra time in the kitchen today given the weather. ;-)
Yesterday I made another batch of flax cracker bread. We like ours drier than bread, but still a little soft. I never quite know what to call them but have decided that cracker bread is the most descriptive. Here is what I made:
Carrot Pulp Flax Cracker Bread
Makes 20 crackers approximately 2 by 3 inches
pulp from juicing 8 carrots
1 1/3 cups ground flaxseeds
¼ cup yellow onion (raw)
1 cup water (added slowly until the “dough” forms)
1 ½ teaspoons cumin seed
¾ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place everything in your food processor (except the water) and process until the onion is ground. Slowly add water until the mixture comes together. It will begin to form dough that is similar to pasta but won’t form a ball.
Spread the mixture on a teflex lined dehydrator tray. You want the mixture approximately 1/8 inch thick. I find it easiest to use my hands that I wet with water. The thickness of the mixture and the length of time you dehydrate it will change the final texture. We like ours to a little soft (not quite either bread or cracker). When I think the flax crackers/bread are ready I break off a piece to try to make certain they have dried throughout. If you stop them too soon the interior can have a rare texture. This can be avoided by drying them to the cracker stage.
Nutritional Information (for 1/20th of the recipe):
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 64.77
Calories From Fat (59%) - 38.54
Total Fat - 4.42g
Saturated Fat - 0.43g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 5.02mg
Potassium - 8.6mg
Total Carbohydrates - 4.61g
Fiber - 4.19g
Sugar - 0.09g
Protein - 2.2g
This flax cracker bread has a mild taste that will work with many different toppings. I like to keep the individual base recipes as light as possible to increase the way I can use them. I like to keep things like this one hand for Dan to have with a nut spread or to eat with a salad.
To go with the flax cracker bread I made a walnut spread with sun-dried tomatoes. I selected walnuts due to their omega 3 to omega 6 ratio that is better than other nuts. Since our goal is to maximize our omega 3 and reduce our omega 6 fatty acid consumption walnuts are the obvious nut choice for us.
This is the spread I made this morning to be served on the carrot pulp flax cracker bread. Here is what I did:
Walnut and Sun Dried Tomato Spread
Makes 16 servings approximately 1 tablespoon each
1 cup walnuts, soaked for at least two hours and drained
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed, or to taste
6 sun-dried tomatoes
water (sufficient to achieve a spreadable consistency approximately 2 tablespoons)
salt and pepper, to taste
Place the walnuts, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes in your food processor and process until the tomatoes and nuts are finely ground. Add water slowly, while processing, until you get a spreadable consistency. You will need to stop the machine and scrape the side at least once. Store in an air container in the refrigerator until you need it. In my experience it will keep for at least a week but we tend it eat it faster than that most of the time. ;-)
Nutritional Information (for 1/16th of the recipe):
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 50.04
Calories From Fat (80%) - 40.08
Total Fat - 4.79g
Saturated Fat - 0.45g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 16mg
Potassium - 58.74mg
Total Carbohydrates - 1.48g
Fiber - 0.59g
Sugar - 0.47g
Protein - 1.23g
This spread is almost sweet from the sun dried tomato. The garlic flavor is very mild, definitely a slight background note. This would also be good with a little Italian seasoning added in if you like. It makes s a nice spread for on the flax cracker bread. I served it with a few cucumber slices for crunchy texture.
How do we eat this way every day? Warning soapbox moment coming:
I get many emails from people telling me that they applaud our efforts to eat a healthy diet but that they could never eat this way. Normally this is followed by the question, “How do you eat this way day after day?” Since I get this same question so often I thought I should write a little bit about this to give you our thoughts on a healthy vegan diet.
Some of you know that Dan and I were omni the vast majority of our lives. We weren’t just omni we were devout foodies. We both loved really good (translation unhealthy) gourmet food. Going out to eat was something we did 3 or 4 times a week and we loved going to DC to have dinner at Café Atlantico and/or the MiniBar. From a food perspective nothing was off limits for either of us. I will spare you the gory details.
However when cancer enters your life you can do one of two things, bury your head in the sand and ignore it, or try to change the situation that contributed to it. After reading everything (and I really do mean everything) I could get my hands on regarding nutrition and health we settled on a healthy vegan diet. Initially the transition was difficult. But the more I read the more convinced I was that we had made the right decision. Now when I look at meat, dairy, flour, sugar and processed food I only see toxins. Neither Dan nor I have any desire to eat anything that isn’t good for us.
To answer the question how do we eat this way, it is very simple we just do it. Food has become something we use to fuel ourselves with. We don’t look at food as an indulgence, or a treat, it is just fuel. When I make a meal I am thinking of what I can incorporate to increase the nutrition first with taste and texture being secondary issues. While I want it to taste good our food has to be nutritous first. Our meals have changed dramatically over the last year as I read more about nutrition I can’t help but incorporate those ideas into our diet.
After a while your taste buds will change and adapt, We find that natural food has a different taste now compared to the past. Raw vegetables which I used to find bland and unappealing have much more flavor now. What I didn’t realize previously is that I had covered up the taste of the vegetables with salt and olive oil. Now when we have vegetables they tend to be plain and we prefer it that way. In fact when Dan was on his last business trip he ended up at a steak house for dinner. Thankfully they had a huge salad bar so he found plenty of things to eat. However one of the first things he noticed was that the vegetables were roasted with a light film of oil and he didn’t enjoy it. What makes this odd is that I used to come home from the farmers’ market and roast trays of veggies with a spray of olive oil. I did this every week for years. We ate our veggies that way for more years than I can count and now when they are prepared that way they just aren’t the same as they used to be. The ability of your taste buds to change and adapt is remarkable.
I hope this gives some of you hope that you can change your diet and your taste buds will adapt. Also you will enjoy your food again. It just takes a while for the taste buds to adjust to the changes. The improvement in your nutrition will repay you with better health and that will happen quickly. I have not had a cold in well over a year. In fact I can’t remember the last cold I had. I believe this is due to my improved nutrition. In the end I feel very fortunate to have had the time to do the research to figure out what we should be eating for maximum nutrition. I wouldn’t have things any other way now.
Lunch today was another salad. You are shocked right? LOL. This one had romaine, wheat berries, salsa, broccoli sprouts, red bell pepper, tomatoes, cucumber topped with cashew crème fraiche and paprika. Nothing special just a nutrition and fiber packed salad.
I have a few things I need to do today before Dan gets home. I hope to be back later today with another recipe but that may have to wait until tomorrow. Having a holiday on Monday means I need to clear both my Monday and Tuesday to-do list today. I hope everyone is having a great Tuesday.