Real Fish Crackers (Gluten-free, Dairy-free)

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These aptly-named crackers are the real deal. Not only are they tasty and highly nutritious, they are packed to the gills with a secret–or not so secret– ingredient: real fish! But not any old fish–this is the good stuff. These are the little fish that fish oil supplements are made from for all of those heart-healthy and inflammation-reducing essential fatty acids and much-touted omega-3. Namely sardines, but also anchovies and mackerel. These are like the golden geese of fish–golden fish, I suppose.

Which brings us to another wonderful benefit and addition to these already-good-for-you crackers (and where they get their color from): they really are both figuratively AND literally golden, just like those store-bought, little fish-shaped, bright orange “goldfish crackers” that kids love. Or they’re similar. (Unfortunately, they don’t stay bright gold once they have been cooked–but the dough is golden, and that’s fun!).

And the brilliantly-hued, magical ingredient that not only turns the cracker dough bright yellow but is an absolute power-house of a nutrient/herb/spice (whatever you’d like to call it): Turmeric. I found the color effect of this by accident. And when I realized that the dough reminded me of those “goldfish crackers” you see kids eating everywhere, well, you might see how it highly amused me. And delighted me! I love when things happen that way, the synchronicity of situations and events. (I could actually find deep meaning in almost anything, so beware if you meet me!) I added in the turmeric for the nutrition boost along with a bunch of other spices, just shaking in this and that. What turned out was a true alchemical creation: a conglomeration of beneficial ingredients that, on their own, may not be readily ingested by the kiddos (or the grown-ups for that matter), but that somehow mixed up all together made a new, tasty, golden creation.

Turmeric root is known for its liver and blood cleansing properties, and is powerful medicine for everything from inflammation, skin disorders, the common cold to Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. It is one of the most healing and potent natural substances that we know of–and it is easy to find! (I buy all of my herbs here.)

For more on the benefits of sardines, see this article.

Real Fish Crackers

2 cans wild sardines with olive oil
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 cup ground sprouted buckwheat flour*
1 1/4 cup quinoa flour*
Coriander
Turmeric
Garlic powder or granules, 1/2 tsp
Onion powder, 1 tsp
Dash tamari
Parsley, fresh chopped or dried (optional)

*Can use 2 1/4 cups of any flour or flour combination. For a grain-free version, use ground sunflower or pumpkin seeds, or any nut or seed flour.

Put sardines into a food processor and process until smooth. Or use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix until sardines are well blended and smooth (this is what I used). Then add the rest of the ingredients and process until a thick dough is formed that comes into a ball and does not stick to the sides of the bowl. You may keep adding turmeric until desired color is created. I’m sorry but I did not measure my spices! If you need an exact measurement, I would say 3 tablespoons of turmeric, and 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed.

Divide into smaller balls and roll out on a large piece of parchment paper or silicone mat to a cracker thickness, about 1/8 inch. (Put another piece of parchment paper or a sheet of wax paper over the dough and roll out over this.) Use a pizza cutter to make square crackers by creating a grid pattern in the dough, or a biscuit cutter for circles. I have a ceramic fish stamp that I use to make a fish design on the crackers. Wish I knew how to make these truly fish-shaped!

Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until desired crispness is reached, then allow to cool on a bakers rack. These may also be dehydrated in a dehydrator or in an over set on the lowest temperature.

P.S. If you can get a helper, all the better!

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Pancakes for Alyx

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I just made the yummiest pancakes and want to share them! The only problem is that I didn’t exactly measure everything–just sort of threw it all together into my blender while I was talking to a good friend on the phone.

Which is another important discovery: things taste better when you make them in a good mood! My good friend just told me that she is pregnant with her second child after trying for only a short time, so it is very happy news. I want to name these pancakes after her, so they are hereby deemed “Alyx’s Pancakes.” I hope I can put together a recipe that replicates the yumminess that was spontaneously created in a moment of joy!

Alyx’s Pancakes

• About 3 heaping tablespoons of cultured coconut cream and about 1/4 cup of water

• 2 fresh eggs

• About 1 cup quinoa flour, preferably sprouted if you can find it or make it (to make these grain-free or “paleo,” use ground pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or simply double almond or other nut flour below)

• About 1 cup almond or other nut flour

• 1 banana or 1/3 cup applesauce (or cooked pumpkin or squash if omitting sugars)

• About 4 tablespoons ground flax seeds

• Melted coconut oil (or butter), about 1/3 cup

• a splash of vanilla extract

• Several drops of liquid stevia

• Shake in a teaspoon to a tablespoon of cinnamon

• Ground ginger, maybe 1 teaspoon

• Ground cardamom, maybe 1/2 teaspoon

• Allspice and ground cloves, shake some in

• About 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Obviously, you could add any spices to these that you want to. I always add a lot of cinnamon, some ginger, and cardamom, allspice, cloves and ground anise or fennel if I have them on hand. I love spices! And they not only increase the flavor profile (as in taste better), but they also increase the health benefits of any food. It’s a win/win.

So I just dumped everything into my blender and whizzed it up. If it’s too thick, add a little water, maybe a tablespoon at a time. If you like a sweeter taste, add some more stevia or honey, etc. If you are trying to avoid sugars, omit the banana and use squash or pumpkin instead if you have it, maybe 1/4 cup. Or use one more egg. As you can see, cooking is not a science for me, but a work in progress full of infinite variations and possibilities…

If it isn’t delicious every time, there’s always the next time. Not the most efficient way to live, but it keeps life interesting.

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