Last week was crazy busy and I didn’t have time to compose anything fantastic for the blog, hence no posting. Busyness is still going strong, mainly at work (not that I would ever blog during work hours!) so let me just share a quick post of my very favorite recipe for vegan, gluten-free, crunchy, fantastic crispbread – which I keep making over and over again.
First, what is crispbread? It’s what you get when you translate “Knäckebröd” say the Swedes. Actually, it is a sort of large cracker which is served as a bread; it can take any toppings you like and is packed with fiber. This crispbread is made up of mostly seeds, instead of wheat flour, which makes it super nutrient packed! Let’s just mention pumpkin seeds with their 32% protein (by weight) and flax seeds which has vital Omega 3 fatty acids for veganistas.
This recipe is low waste as well; I can get all the seeds and the almond meal in bulk. I do get the arrowroot in plastic and the oil in a glass bottle which I can recycle.
What you need:
4 parts pumpkin seeds (I use a mix of raw and roasted-salted)
2 parts sunflower seeds (raw)
1 part flax seeds (raw)
2 parts flour (I use 50/50 arrowroot flour and almond meal)
1 part canola oil*
4 parts boiling water
A sprinkle of sea salt as you see fit (needed if you’re using only raw seeds)
1 part is defined as 1 deciliter (dl), 1/3 cup or 1/2 cup. It’s not so much the amount, but the ratio. I use a total of 7 dl of seeds and it makes two 14.5″ x 11″ (37 x 27 cm) pan’s worth. This batch size (in dl) lasts me about a week; I love snacking on this bread and hubby always offers to help finish it.
If you happen to have other seeds at home (sesame, poppy, chia etc.) feel free to substitute as you like!
What you do:
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl
Pour in the oil and boiling water
Set the oven to 305F (150C)
Stir, and let batter sit for 15 minutes (it will go from watery to sticky!)
Spread out on parchment paper** on the pan as thin as you like (the thinner the better and crunchier!)
Bake for around 1 hour and 15 minutes
Let cool on a rack (it cools super fast)
Break apart and enjoy!
If anyone tries to make this seedy crispbread please let me know how it turned out! And since this is my first recipe ever I’d love to hear if my instructions and information is sufficient. Stepping into unknown territory here.
Now, go make yourself some crispbread :)
* You can play around with the ratio of water to oil to reduce oil consumption. I’ve made it before using about half of what is in the recipe. Try it and see how you like it.
** A waste reduction tip is to save the paper for next time. I use mine over and over. No problems what so ever. I have also used the same sheets for other oven-baked breads.
I was brought up eating meat like most children are.
The first time I went fishing with my dad, a friend of his and my sister, I started crying when we caught the first fish. I couldn’t believe we were going to kill it and that I had contributed to its death. It broke my heart. The little mermaid was my favorite movie after all. I was told I was a party-pooper.
The first time I fried bacon at my mom’s house I almost fainted. The memory is so vivid. What was puttering in the pan looked incredibly gross to me. I kept telling myself that it wasn’t and that no one else faints when frying bacon! I did eat bacon when someone else cooked it. I got through it, resting on a chair during the frying and of course was later told I was being ridiculous. “It’s bacon.”
So I toughened up.
10 years later I had learned to distance myself from what I was cooking and dealing with enough to even roll meatballs. I became a pretty good cook.
Most people eat meat because most people eat meat. I don’t judge my parents (or any other parents) for raising omnivore kids; society shapes us and our actions. Nevertheless, now a mom myself I’ve given this a lot of thought and come to the conclusion that I’m not really okey with us serving flesh to children.
A child’s natural instinct is to love animals. To play with them and cuddle them. Young children, who hasn’t been taught differently yet, don’t differentiate between a dog and a pig – who’s the friend and who’s dinner – they’re both worthy of the same love. Who wants Babe to be eaten anyway? Raise you hand!
I never thought I’d “go vegan”. I quit (most) meat due to environmental reasons but had never before “Cowspiracy”, seen any reason to do that or to be vegetarian either; the vegetarians I knew did not appear healthy with diets based on sugar, carbs, dairy and popcorn. I finally went 100% plant based due to health reasons and now as an adult knowing it was the right thing to do with the information I had at hand. Honestly though, I still struggle with truly finding empathy for the billions of animals that are being killed every year and understanding the actual horror of slaughter. Society has shaped me to be a hypocrite, no doubt. Maybe you feel the same way.
However, when I ask myself the hard questions and really take the time to consider them, the only answer I can come up with is the ethical one. Would I be okey with killing a pig myself to eat it? No. Is it fair to take baby cows away from their mothers at birth so I can consume dairy? No. Should beings of earth be tortured for profit? No. Do I support an ocean depleted of sea creatures? No. Yet, there is a brain-heart-disconnect. I wish to not give my child the same.
When he is old enough to understand that chicken nuggets are fluffy 7 week old chicks with breading, he can make the decision if he want to eat them. Babies don’t understand what meat is and if they did they’d say “What the fuck mom!? Are we eating Nemo/Babe/Sebastian/Donald!? Why??” Parents don’t have an answer. Anyone looking forward to explaining where sausage comes from?
Because most people eat meat and society has taught us that protein, calcium and iron must come from animals, some publications and folks believe that a plant based kid is malnourished. I don’t believe that at all; in fact it I know it is not true.
I am not an expert or a nutritionist (though in this day and age that doesn’t guarantee anything either!) but I’ve read a good book on optimizing baby’s nutrition and I follow several blogs on plant based family living. Common sense tells me that the “regular” American kid who is brought up on Mac and cheese, nuggets, pb&j, hot dogs and the occasional fruit and carrot is not a well-nourished kid. Yet, society appears to be fine with that diet!?! Ever read the kids menu at a restaurant? Nothing but fat, animal protein and white bread.
B12 is the only vitamin a vegan truly must add to their diet. Animals get it added to their food or they absorb it while consuming bacteria (dirt) if they roam free. So we basically need to do the same: supplement in food or eat dirt! (That’s a joke, we supplement.) Baby will take vitamin D and B12 (after he quits formula all together, which has it) and he just started loving our unsweetened, organic, fortified soy milk with calcium and B12.
As with all Utopian scenarios or ideals, our kid’s diet won’t be perfect. I won’t be that parent who denies my child birthday cake or pizza at a party because it has milk in/on it. He will eat the occasional pancake made with eggs and ice cream I’m sure. (Meat might happen on some occasion as well. I don’t know.) I do think that animal products like dairy and eggs are easier to explain to a child. I know there is A LOT of killing and suffering in these industries as well (maybe more) and it’s not healthy foods, but if people ate cheese only a few times a year we wouldn’t have the money to fund an industry of abuse and exploitation. We’d get the cheese from a local farmer who had a few grazing cows to maintain open landscape. (That’s land meant to be open not former rain forest mind you.) Idealistic and Utopian – I know – but explainable to my kid and makes life SO MUCH EASIER.
Daycare has worked with us and knows “August doesn’t get the meat”. In fact it was recently reveled that some of the teachers had had a taste of baby’s lunch box because it looks so delicious every day! They told my husband “he eats such good food!”
I don’t judge anyone’s eating habits (except the constant use of straws in people’s drinks, but that’s another subject) and I don’t blame myself or my parents for eating the way I did for 34 years.
Read this post with an open mind and remember:
Most people eat meat because most people eat meat.
Aside from culture and society’s dietary norms: Did Anna just drink the vegan kool-aid or what do you really think about it?
A final note. I am aware of rural communities and tribes who raise and consume animals for survival, who teach children respect and the circle of life. I love the Alaska homestead shows and “Naked and Afraid” where hunting equals survival; an only source for protein and fat. Just like I know there are Americans living in “food deserts” with only McDonald’s and gas station food available; they can’t go get the lentils and the multivitamins. I’m writing about me and the BILLIONS of other people who shop at the grocery store every week. What do we really think?
[Picture from Veganstreet.com – go support them in their efforts to educate!]
Switching to a plant based, whole foods (PBWF) diet from a “regular” one is super easy!
Said no one.
I am a pretty determined lady, yet I will be the first to admit that changing your own and your family’s diet over night is a bit of a struggle. Not so much when it comes to the tasks at hand (find a recipe – make it – taste it) but in the acceptance and adjustment of appetite, taste and lifestyle.
I started my PBWF transformation about three months ago. At the time I was eating a 95% vegetarian diet; I had switched most dairy for plant based alternatives a long time ago and quit beef in 2015. However, I was eating chicken occasionally (when we got Chinese take out), cheese on pizza and eggs. It was a gluten heavy diet with a fair amount of processed foods. I wasn’t by any means a stranger to great vegan food and for a long time I’ve enjoyed cooking and shopping for healthy meals. To me, it was a planet-friendly diet, that didn’t compromise the comfort of my life.
I’ve had ups and downs. Lost weight and cleared my skin. Cheated with cheese.
Either way; I have learned a lot and I want to share with you!! Here are SIX THINGS I’ve learned since going Plant Based, which I hope can help someone else in their transition to the MOST planet-, and health-friendly diet there is :)
1. Go easy on other eco/health/life goals
This is number one because it’s important.
No matter what anyone tells you, cooking from scratch with whole ingredients while reading new recipes takes time. If you are a master chef already, you’ll be good, but if you think making grilled-cheese is cooking, you’re in trouble. (Also, consider how much time you’ll spend figuring out what toppings to put on sandwiches!) Now that I have committed to guiding my wonderful family through a transition to a PBWF lifestyle, you might be wondering how I make time. Well, I go easy on other things. Hell no there’ll be no cleaning. Do I ever work out? NO. I am not zero-wasting this thing either. This mama can’t be making her own waste-free hummus and bake crackers in order to have an after work snack. I am also not exactly the social butterfly, I like being home. (My situation is I work full time as a project manager, I have a 10 month old, a husband, a house and a blog.) No matter your lifestyle, with a new diet, there is no time for shitty commitments. Or Facebook. Let them slide.
2. Soups are your new (best) friends
I am the kind of cook who freaks out if there are too many steps to a recipe, that’s why I love making soup. Measure, wash, chop and in the pot it goes. Try this awesome Moroccan Lentil Soup, this Minestrone, this Peanut Soup or search for a simple vegan curry. (I know many of my friends love their croc-pot which, I am sure, also makes great PBWF soups.) On a side note, why do carrots taste out-of-this-world amazing when they’ve simmered in a soup for an hour?
3. Broth, broth, broth
This tip is somewhat related to above soup tip, since vegetable broth is included in pretty much every soup. However, you can also use it to add flavor to stews, mashed potatoes, rice, lentils, cooked veggies – anything! You can make your own broth from scratch or like me (in accordance with tip number one) buy meal saving, ready-made, packaged bullion tablets from Knorr.
4. Exploring recipes is your new hobby
Forget Instyle, your new leisure reading materials are vegan cookbooks and PlantBased magazine. The Forks over Knives’ recipe app will become a dear friend as well. Downtime at work should be spent reading amazing health stories on how people survived [insert illness here] by going plant based. Anything to keep you motivated and inspired on this journey. Please note you may develop “militant vegan” type traits. (“My foot hurts” says random person, so you say “maybe you should go vegan!”)
5. Junk food is the hardest thing to quit
I had no problems quitting junk shopping a few years ago (Yay, go not made in China challenge!) but quitting junk food is not as easy. I have no magic trick that makes cheese all of a sudden taste gross. (Sorry animal activists, vegan cheese is not cheese.) I eat too many chips probably. The only tip I have when it comes to this part of it, is to create a directory of local, plant-based friendly take-out restaurants (like Chipotle, salad bars, Indian places) for when you need something quick. Then just do your best and pick something vegan. It may not be all “whole foods” but at least it’s plant based.
6. Find your signature meal
Last but not least, find your signature meal! Our go to is wholegrain spaghetti with vegan Bolognese: marinara sauce, onions, tomato, pea-protein and whatever veggies I feel like throwing in. We love it and baby eats it too. Dinner shouldn’t be difficult or fancy all the time, just nutrient packed.
That’s my whole list of wisdom! (So far.)
As for the future, I think Carrie Underwood put it best; “I am vegan but I don’t freak out if there is some cheese on my pasta.” (Cheating with cheese, also referred to as “cheesing”. LOL.)
Even PETA agrees; don’t be the vegan who makes a plant based diet look difficult by asking the waiter to check if there’s dairy in the burger bun. Instead be the person who makes a vegan, or vegetarian, diet seem tasty, easy and inclusive. That’s how you encourage others to cut their meat, become healthier and more planet minded.
Let me know if anyone is or have been going through the same transformation!