Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Seeded Crispbread

organic food for children

I just got back from San Francisco yesterday, so my brain isn't quite with my body. I spent a good part of the afternoon trying to write a post - and feeling delinquent because I haven't written a post - and eventually I did not write a post. I did, however, roast some veggies for dinner and do 4 loads of laundry, which is something. I fell asleep last night at 7:30 and had a dream about dinosaurs and 10K runs (don't ask), and woke up at 4am convinced it was only 11pm - because I hadn't changed the time on my phone yet. Welcome to jet lag.

And today? I'm pleased to find that these crispbreads, which I made before leaving for San Francisco more than a week ago, are still crisp.

This makes me incredibly, disproportionately happy, as I munch on them in those long-seeming hours between coffee and lunch.

I made a huge batch of crispbreads before I left last week, and took a tin of them with me. These thick, nutty crackers sustained me on my 20 long travel-hours all the way to San Fran's Japantown, where I was staying my first night. Between my crispbreads and the yoga I managed to do before, during and after my trans-Pacific flight, I was feeling pretty good on arrival. Even better, I had great Japanese food for lunch, and an old friend to walk around the Presidio and wine and dine with, before I collapsed into bed.

San Francisco
San Francisco

I was in San Francisco for a multi-disciplinary conference - my first in my new area of research, on evolution and cancer (and aging). The conference itself was all about applying evolutionary principles to the study of cancer - how it develops, how it metastasizes, and how it might be controlled. Intellectually, the talks were fascinating. Viscerally, they were terrifying. Because every time someone talked about how cancer cells spread through the human body, I felt a sinister clenching in my gut. Do I still have cancer cells in my body? Are they just dormant?

I learned that the future of cancer medicine seems to be in treating it as a long-term, chronic disease - something you just live with, instead of 'cure'. Because cancer, I'm afraid to say, is one of those things that just happens when you get a bunch of cells living and working together. Now and then, some of those cells lose their ability to work together, and revert to wanting only to promote/grow/copy themselves. That's cancer, and in all honesty, it's inevitable. One of the things they teach us in cell biology class is that we all get cancer everyday - it's just that our bodies naturally fight off these kinds of cells. This is why maintaining good health can help us reduce our risk of cancer.

Maybe I'll never know why my body let cancer grow in it, but this conference gave me both hope for a future without cancer, and hope for a future with it (should it ever come back). 

San Francisco
San Francisco

In the meantime, I'm going to keep myself healthy and live this life like it's the only one I've got. As I've written before, there's no such thing as 'cancer-proofing' ourselves ... yet, there's so much we can do to empower our bodies' natural defenses - give ourselves the tools to fight diseases of all sorts, including cancer. Varied and nutritious food, plenty of exercise, mindful living, a sense of adventure ... as far as I'm concerned, these are the keys to Life with a Capital L.

It's funny, I just spent a week learning about cancer - feeling disgusted and intrigued and astounded, but never demoralised. I never felt like there was no hope, because there is hope. There's always hope.

Amanda xx

Seeded Crispbread
makes 3 tins' worth
adapted from this recipe, though you can also find a similar recipe here

I got this recipe from a friend of mine who's been trying to cut back on his gluten, so you could substitute almond meal for the wheat flour if you prefer. These crackers are my new favourite - and I can't wait to try out variations on this basic, seeded theme. Now that I know how easy they are to make, I won't be spending a gazillion dollars at the natural foods store on crispbreads, no way! I'll go on a leopard safari, instead. (And no, not kidding - we're off to Sri Lanka! More on that soon ...)

The time
15 min prep + 15 min baking + 10 min cooling

The ingredients
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup wholemeal flour (or almond meal, to make it GF)
~1 cup water
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
cracked pepper, to taste (optional)

+baking paper

NOTES: Feel free to substitute your favourite seeds or chopped nuts in for any of the ones above. Personally, I'm keen to try it with almonds, hazelnuts and/or flaxseeds next time. Just use fresh, organic ingredients wherever you can.

The process
1. Preheat the oven to 200C (100F) and pop a few baking trays into it to warm up. 

2. Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl - the dough will be sticky, like cookie dough. Add a little extra water if you need to, to get it to that consistency.

3. Roll out handfuls of dough between 2 sheets of baking paper until they're as thin as you'd like. Take off the top sheet of baking paper and use a knife to cut the flattened dough into shapes - I did mine as uneven rectangles, but you could make them more precise and pretty if you prefer. Leave the pieces as they are on the bottom sheet of baking paper, and slide it all across onto a preheated tray.

4. Bake for ~15-20 minutes, until the crispbreads are golden and hardened to the touch. Remove the baking paper from underneath as soon as you can after they come out of the oven, snap the crackers apart (if you want) and cool completely on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

5. Consider what adventure you might take yourself on.

The cost
Much, much cheaper than the $7 packets of organic crispbreads at the natural foods store!


Jossie loves said... [Reply to comment]

So beautifully written - and so true - living mindfully and empowering your body's natural defenses - love both those ideas - you've got it in one!

Onto the recipe - love it - will whip some up but wondering if rice flakes instead of oats would work - or perhaps they're not coarse enough? I need a substitute to make them gf. What would you use Amanda? The fact they are still crisp a week on is a huge win - yum! J xx

Cheryl said... [Reply to comment]

Oh I love this recipe, cannot wait to try. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are wonderful ingredients. A great healthy snack that can help defend against those nasty diseases like cancer.

Accidental Lentil... said... [Reply to comment]

i love how you just broke all the scientific info down into digestible everyday language that non-scientists like me can understand. truly very interesting, thankyou.

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Thanks for commenting! Amandaxx

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