Monday, July 12, 2010

Dehydrator Flax Seed Crackers

We genuinely try, in our home, to avoid sugar. Now I know this looks hypocrital considering the post of just a few days ago showing all the sugar for the bake sales. And truthfully, we are hypocrits. We do *try* to avoid sugar. But the irony of this is that I love to bake sweets. And people seem to really like my baking. Cake and cookies and various candies seem to bless people in ways differently than flax crackers do.

Don't ask me why.

I'm not saying that we don't eat the sweets that I make on occasion. Because that would be beyond hypocritical. And a lie. a general rule, I'm really blessed by a family that likes more nourishing foods as a general rule.

So even though I can dip Nutter Butters in white chocolate bark with the best of them, the flax crackers are something I make much more often. I just don't photo them as much because they're not half as cute.

**Recipe written below pictures.

This is the flax seed before it's ground. I grind it in a coffee grinder designated for stuff like this.
And this is what it looks like after about 20 seconds. I use 2 cups of whole flax seed for this recipe. My grinder is small so I have to do it 1/2 cup at a time.
I use my Blendtec blender for this recipe, but you could maybe use any quality blender if you chopped the foods a little smaller. Here I have one can of diced tomatoes and half of a medium/large onion. I then add about 1/2 cup Braggs. You could certainly substitute soy sauce I'm sure.
Here I've added about half a cup of extra virgin olive oil and a LOT of garlic. I buy it prechopped in those huge containers at Sams and I probably used 5 or so Tablespoons. I also added about a cup of water. And a whole jalapeno from the garden.
Here is 2 big handfulls of raw, organic spinach and a handful of shredded cheddar cheese. I also added about a heaping tablespoon of coarse ground pepper.
Here it is blended.
Now most of the flax cracker recipes that I've seen say to add the water to the ground flax first. I have issues with this. It "gels" and then I have a really tough time incorporating the blended vegetables. YMMV.
When you first add it to this smallish amount of ground flax, it seems awfully thin. You're gonna want to add less of the liquid vegetables. Don't. Because as you can see in the photo below... thickens up. Here I'm spreading it on my Excalibur Dehydrator paraflexx sheet. One batch of flax paste makes 4 full sheets of crackers. Approximately 200 crackers.
I spread it as thin as I can get it to go which varies depending on how thick the concoction has become. The thinner pieces have a texture more like chips. The thicker pieces, more like crackers. It's a win/win. And then I score the paste to make it easier to break into bite sized pieces when it's dry.
I then barely salt and heavily pepper the paste and pop it in the dehydrator for a couple of days at 115 degrees. After several hours, asap, I remove the crackers from the paraflexx sheets to dry them evenly on both sides.

And this is what they look like when they're done. I literally cannot keep enough of these made to satisfy everyone here. I usually make a batch ever single day. They are really very, very good. And spicy.

Dehydrator Olive Oil and Black Pepper Flax Crackers

2 Cups whole flax seed, ground
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 large onion
1 whole jalapeno pepper with seeds (optional)
1/2 cup Braggs liquid aminos (could probably substitute soy sauce)
Lots of garlic, I use appr. 5 tablespoons diced (to taste)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1-2 tablespoons of coarse black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2 handfulls raw spinach

Grind flax seed and put in a large bowl. Set aside. Add other ingredients to a good blender (or possibly a food processor but realize that the mixture will be moderately thin and may leak) and process until it's all liquid. Pour over flax meal and mix well. Spread thinly on dehydrator sheets (I set my dehydrator at 115 degrees)and very lightly salt and pepper (to taste) and dehydrate for several hours. As soon as possible, peel the sheets off the crackers and continue to dry for 48 or so hours total.

This is a tease of my homemade protein bars. When I make them again I'll try to get some pictures and post a recipe.


Friday, July 09, 2010

147 Million Orphans

Did you know that there are 147 million orphans in the world?

That number seems astronomical.

Until you realize that there are 2.1 BILLION (with a B) self-proclaimed Christ followers in the world.

Which means if only 8% of those claiming to be a Christian would sponsor a child, it would end orphan hunger IN THE WORLD.

In the whole world.

Pro 31:8-9 "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."


Thursday, July 08, 2010

Mission Fields

I've tried to post something on this topic time and again. For whatever reason, I've never been able to do so. I've typed and erased a crazy amount of text. Everytime I go back to read it, it doesn't seem quite right. And I think I'm coming to understand why.

I'm 44 years old. I have 3 daughters. The oldest daughter is 23, middle is 15, and youngest is 12. For a long, long time, my mission has been these girls. Even before I fully understood what that meant, it was still true. It's still true today. But as my girls get older, the scope of my responsibilities has changed. For over 23 years I've had someone younger than a teenager in my home that I (along with my husband of course) cared for, loved and guided. In less than a month, that will no longer be the case. This has been the essence of "me" pretty much my whole adult life. And it's all starting to slowly shift.

Of course I realize that my daughters still need and rely on me for many things, but the things ARE changing. And while I realize it's an early worry, I don't want to be one of those moms whose last child leaves and they are lost. I'm praying God's wisdom in this area. I've had a deep desire to know what's next.

There are so many needs in our world. I'm overwhelmed. And truly excited about what the future holds as I ever so slowly make the transition from one huge mission field to another.

More as it unfolds.


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Picture Catch Up Post

One of many, many bake sales.

Close up of the eye-baw-baw's. (Eyeballs)

Great church wide camping trip.

With really good food. Can't you almost smell this?

And this super dining hall. If you look through the back screen you can see the little cabins. There were plenty for each family to have their own. We're so lucky to live in a place like this.

We got quite a bit of snow this year. And it was really cold as well.

My daughters and my new(ish)son in law.

My redheads prom hair.

Our blackberry vines have been really generous. And delicious.


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Must. Read.

If you never click another link on this blog, you must click this one.

Read her site.

And then, if you can, come back and tell me that your life isn't changed.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Thanksgiving of Changes

I got the phone call a few weeks ago. My great uncle was to have heart surgery again. But this time it was more serious. The tests had shown up a tumor as well as a blockage. He would also need something implanted to regulate his heartbeat.

Earl and Barbara are like grandparents to me. And they're old. Both in their 80's. So that's not the news you want to hear.

We've always had Thanksgiving with them. Ever since I can remember. But this year, with Earl's health, they're just not up for it. The surgery isn't until December, but he is short of breath and has to take things really easy until then. And they have family closer than we are to them that wanted them to come to their home.

So Thanksgiving would be here this year. For my family and a family friend.

Lots to do, lots to prep, lots to decide. I'd never cooked a full Thanksgiving meal before all on my own. And even though I was a little sad about the change, I wanted it to be something special for my girls. Plus we have the new addition this year of my oldest daughters husband.

So we dive in, my oldest daughter and I, head first and plan and shop and plan some more. We search recipes and test foods and have our schedule all worked out for Thanksgiving week.

And then on Sunday before Thanksgiving our dog got sick. Really sick. He's old, almost 15, and been going downhill for quite some time. He's a big lab/retriever mix and has arthritis and hip issues. He's fallen a lot lately and not been able to get up for a while so we've been hesitant to leave him alone for any length of time.

But this is a different sick.

By Tuesday there was nothing we could do for him. The vet told us that we really had no choice but to put him to sleep. We asked if there was anything at all that would buy him some quality of life for even a little while. And he said no. The only humane thing to do was to let him go.

We'd always promised ourselves, and him in a way, that we'd not keep him around past when he should be here for our benefit only.

With many tears and much heartbreak, Tuesday we kept that promise.

Life is not the same around here without him. Lucy, our other dog, is weird. She's looking for him all over the place. Constantly.

So Thanksgiving here was a big change. It was surprisingly lovely, and only tinged with sadness from time to time.

I know to those of you that are not dog people how odd all of this may sound. Ridiculous even. But to those of you that ARE dog people, you get it.

He was a good boy.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Busy, Busy Week

We've had 2 bake sales this week (one at church and one at co-op) that I've had to both bake for and participate in. Early. Too early.

We had a "blessing of the animals" at our church on Sunday that Mike MC'd and the girls and I volunteered.

Both of my younger daughters were in a play last night. And it was smashing.

Tonight is Trunk-or-treat at our church. Youth dresses up. And my husband and I are in charge of the youth (last minute). And the car had to be cleaned, vacuumed and decorated.

Friday morning is clean up day at our co-op. For three hours. Friday afternoon is a small group overnight camping trip for which I have to both bake (all the sweets for over 30 people) and shop for disposables and various food. And breakfast stuff.

Of course, Saturday is Halloween.

I'm glad there is an extra hour thrown in this week. I think I'll spend it sleeping.

Now I'm off and running again.