Heart Healthy Flax Crackers

Valentine’s Day came and went, where did the time go? I really wanted to post this before the holiday, but life handed me a bunch of lemons and I had to go make preserved lemons instead (which, by the way, are doing pretty well, fermenting as we speak).

Honey for your Honey

So, here’s a belated Valentine for you. Heart healthy flax crackers sweetened with honey. I keep a big ol’ bag of flax meal in the freezer (the stuff goes rancid almost instantly when left at room temp). Usually, I’ll sprinkled a tablespoon over my oatmeal in the morning, to boost my Omega-3s. But I wanted to do something more interesting and I found what looked like the world’s easiest recipe for crackers: flax meal, water, salt.

The recipe called for two cups flax meal, one cup water and a pinch of salt. I thought I’d get a little crazy and add honey and sesame seeds.

This picture makes it look like I had the easiest time rolling out the dough, but unfortunately, the crackers really gave me a hard time. I wasn’t able to scrape the sticky dough from my work surface. Flax seeds get incredibly gooey, almost slimy, when mixed with water. My hands were caked in cement-like flax dough that would not rinse off and it could have quickly turned into a nightmare had I not added about a cup and a half of whole wheat flour. The flour helped keep the dough firm and in place while rolling.

Once I figured out that the flax meal alone wasn’t going to cut it, everything worked out nicely. Here’s the recipe I used with my alterations:

Honey Sesame Flax Crackers
2 cups flax meal
1- 1 1/2 whole wheat flour
3 Tblsp sesame seeds
1 Tblsp honey
1 tsp salt + salt for sprinkling on top of the crackers
1 cup water
1 tblsp olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 400.
In a bowl, mix the flax meal, sesame seeds, and honey. Slowly add the water until you have a firm dough.
Add flour until the dough is firm enough to roll on a board or table surface. I found that I needed to dust my board several times to keep the dough from sticking. Roll out your dough think (1/2 to 1/4 inch). Score with the back of a knife. Using a pastry brush, brush with olive oil and sprinkle salt and sesame seeds.
Bake for 15-20mins.


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These didn’t turn out quite as crisp as I would’ve liked. I think adding a tablespoon or two of oil to the dough would remedy that. Flavor-wise these crackers are quite tasty and nutty. Flax seeds are high in dietary fiber, micronutrients, and help keep cholesterol levels down. They’re a delicious way to protect your heart year-round.

Just don’t make the same mistake I did and pop your crackers in the oven without scoring them or else this will happen:

Oh well, they still taste great.


Zen and the Art of Seaweed Salad

Chris has been in Germany for four weeks, and I really thought I was going to get more work done. Alas, with a full time work schedule and a giant chunk of my day devoured by my commute, I get home with two hours to myself before bedtime. My weekends are booked with laundry, grocery shopping and housekeeping duties. I miss having a partner to help out around the house.

I’ve begun to realize that I spend most of my time running around, worrying about what needs to get done. I think that can be said for most Americans. The very American concept of “efficiency” demands more of people for less in return. I don’t consider myself a “spiritual” person, but throughout my life I have found comfort in Buddhist philosophy and thought. I find particularly poignant the Buddhist emphasis on “mindfulness,” or the importance of awareness in the present moment. How often do we stop and really think about our existence, or our place in the world?

My most meditative moments tend to happen when I’m cooking. There’s something to be said for that. Food is more than nourishment, it is an intrinsic part of being. Which is why I prefer foods that are close to their origins, prepared simply and true to their being. Obviously that doesn’t mean that I limit myself to raw vegetables, or eliminate all flavor enhancing seasonings, but I aim for simplicity. And I’m finding that when I pay attention to the nature of the food I’m preparing, my meals are healthier. When I eat vegetables with the intention of tasting the vegetables and not dousing them in butter or cheese or salt, the outcome is a healthful, meaningful meal.

I personally think it would serve our best interest to meditate over our meals and really think about what we put in our bodies. We live in a culture where everything needs to be done faster, where a meal comes from a box or a microwave, where cheaper is considered better. What would happen if we all took five or ten minutes to sit in front of our dinner and ask, “How will this meal nurture me?” People work to own a bigger home, a bigger car, a lifestyle of more. What would happen if we said, “I want less?”

Mindful Seaweed Salad
1-2 cups dried Arame seaweed
1 small carrot, peeled and grated
2 scallions, sliced
1 tsp ginger (powdered or fresh)
1/2 tsp ume plume vinegar
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
Sesame seeds to taste

Arame has a wonderfully mild flavor, it tastes of the sea without being strongly flavored like nori. It also has a firm texture, almost
like al dente pasta. Like all sea vegetables, arame is naturally high in iodine, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamin A. It is a truly nurturing food.
To make this salad, boil the arame for 10mins. Drain and set aside to cool, or plunge into an ice bath.
Toss the arame with the remaining ingredients. Ume plum vinegar is not a true vinegar, its the brine from umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum). Umeboshi are a common
Japanese snack food, they are extremely high in sodium but are a good source of probiotics.

I recommend eating this with a hot cup of green tea while reading the Lotus Sutra.