Raw Cheddar Crackers

ChedderCrackers

When Berlin first started eating solids, I swore I was not going to feed her the typical toddler snacks; Cheerios, Goldfish crackers, Juice boxes…I stuck with most of my promises, but I eventually caved on the cheddar cracker snacks, opting for Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies rather than the typical Goldfish. I foolishly tricked myself into thinking Annie’s was the healthier option for Berlin, but it turns out they aren’t much better than the alternative (consisting of saturated oils and hidden MSG). But since it only took one taste for Berlin to be hooked, I was forced to come up with a healthier option-one that didn’t leave me feeling guilt ridden after the bag was polished off.

So I did a little research and came across this recipe for Homemade Cheddar Cheese Crackers. I then did some tweaking of the ingredients, making it a protein packed, gluten free option. Then voila! With very little effort, I had a tasty, healthy replacement for a favorite toddler snack!

Raw Cheddar Crackers
1 cup Quinoa Flour
1 tablespoon ground flax
Dash of Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon sodium free Herbamare
2 1/2 cups Organic {Grass Fed} Raw Cheddar Cheese (I use Organic Valley)
5 tablespoons Organic {Grass Fed} Raw Butter
Approx 1 tablespoon Olive Oil for dough

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine all ingredients (minus the butter and oil) in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Then add the butter and blend until a dough forms. Add a little olive oil, until a firm pastry dough is formed.

Next rollout out dough on parchment paper and use a cookie cutter of choice to form crackers. Place parchment paper on cookie sheet and bake for approx 10-13 minutes. Watch closely, as they burn quickly.

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You may be wondering why I substituted raw cheddar cheese and butter for your standard organic options. As you already know, I myself, don’t eat any dairy, and haven’t for years. I originally planned on doing the same with Berlin, but quickly realized it was going to be a challenging promise to keep (while possible, I wasn’t up for the challenge with a toddler). I eventually gave into serving her dairy, but since then have done extensive research, and found that raw, grass-fed sources are absolutely the best option when it comes to eating dairy (or meats, or eggs for that matter). In general, most dairy (even the organic options) are from grain-fed cows, mostly consisting of the grain corn. If you know anything about cows, you will know that cows aren’t grain-eating animals, they are naturally grass-feeding animals. As with other animals, when given an abnormal diet, their system is disrupted, and their natural pH levels are changed. Leaving you, the consumer, with severely, unhealthy milk and other cow provided food options. Cows that are only served a natural, grass-fed diet, on the other hand, are happy, healthy cows (ha! that is a commercial isn’t it!?) and produce cheese that is naturally higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins A, D, and E. Plus they are free from all antibiotics and growth hormones that are causing mass destruction in our bodies these days.

I will get off my nutrition soapbox and just go ahead and say that you should give these a try for your sweet, little ones. But I will warn you in advance, due to using quinoa flour, they are quite crumbly. I had quite a mess of crumbs that followed Berlin everywhere she went (kid can’t sit still while she eats!). If you want to enjoy them for yourself, I would suggest adding some more spices, perhaps some onion or garlic powder to give it some kick. Enjoy!




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Cheesy Polenta Fries

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I’ve been on a polenta kick lately. I’m a little late to the party, but I recently discovered all the many fun and delicious things you can do with polenta, and better yet, its so simple to make (especially when you buy pre-cooked polenta tubes!).

This recipe is incredibly easy to throw together, in fact the prep should only take a few minutes. The longest part of the recipe is the time spent baking in the oven (but you can have your feet up enjoying a cup of tea while that is happening!).

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Cheesy Polenta Fries
1 tube of pre-cooked polenta
Olive oil
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Cheesy Marina Sauce
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cup of organic canned tomatoes
Dash of red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon oregano
2 bay leaves finely chopped

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut polenta tube in half, then cut in half again and slice into one inch fry pieces.

Coat each piece with olive oil and toss into a bowl of nutritional yeast, then lay flat on an oiled baking sheet. Throw in the oven for approx 20-25 minutes (making sure to watch closely around the 20 minute mark to ensure they don’t burn).

While the fries are cooking, put olive oil in a medium skillet and saute garlic for a few minutes, add tomatoes and seasoning and simmer on low for approx 15 minutes. Place cooked sauce in a blender, add bay leaves and blend until smooth.

Enjoy sauce as a dip for the fries (or as a sauce for pizza or pasta). Or you can simply pop open a jar of store bought marina and kick this step entirely.

PolentaFries

I made these fries as a side dish (originally as experiment) while I was baking my Polenta Mexican Pizza for a guest vegan post on my, oh so adorable friend’s blog, Oh Dear Drea. Please hop over to her blog (and first spend hours reading her honest, heartwarming posts while admiring her outrageously adorable daughter) then give my Mexican concoction a try! I swear its amazingly delicious (and toddler approved!)

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Have a fantastic three day weekend full of lots of family, fun and food!




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