Monday, January 26, 2015

Well, after the holidays ended, I switched back to a mainly gluten-free diet.

I have to tell you, it’s not that fun. I miss drinking good beer and being able to eat whatever I want. Now, I drink more herbal teas than coffee and eat more fruit for a snack instead of sweets. I’m sure it all be good in the long run for my health.

But sometimes, you have to wonder: what the heck should I eat? Especially when it comes to snacking.

Well, one mainstay for me has been to make my own gluten-free crackers. They taste like My Everything Bagels minus the gluten. I eat these crackers with cheese, hummus or any other dips I may make at home. They’re delicious and nutritious!

To provide structure for these crackers, I use flax seeds and yes, ch-ch-ch-chia seeds, a cousin to the ones you once used to grow in your clay chia “pet.” Chia seeds seem to be the new health hotness and are used to jazz up salads, cereals and energy bars. Chia seeds contain more alpha-linoleic acid, an omega-3 fat, than flax seeds, and also provide calcium, fiber and iron. 

Just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds contain about 139 calories, 11 grams of fiber, 9 grams of fat and 4 grams of protein, in addition to the above nutrients mentioned.

Chia seeds are kinda strange to work with at first, but now I’ve grown to like them. When you add liquid, the chia seeds swell and look like a squishy blob. For breakfast, sometimes, I make a “chia pudding,” by adding 2 tablespoons of seeds to about ½ cup of almond or coconut milk. Shake the seeds in the milk and let rest at least 20 minutes or as much as over night. Then, top the chia seed pudding with fresh fruit, dried coconut and some almonds. Yum!

If you’re looking for a healthy, gluten-free snack, these crackers are the way to go!

A batch of my Gluten-Free Everything Seed Crackers served with hummus topped with nar.
Gluten-Free Everything Seed Crackers
Adapted from this recipe by Gluten-Free-Vegan-Girl

¼         cup      (25 g.)             flax seed flakes (I can buy them here already "cracked" so I don’t have to grind them.)
¼         cup      (40 g.)              chia seeds (Or substitute all flax seeds for the chia.)
1          cup      (240 ml)           water, room temp.
¼         cup      (40 g.)              My Everything Bagel mix (A homemade blend of white and black sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic and onion powder and salt.)
½         cup      (75 g.)              sunflower seeds
¼         cup      (40 g.)              pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped
1          teaspoon                      za’atar spice sprinkled on top
¼         teaspoon                      salt or less to taste.

Mix flax and chia seeds together with the water. Whisk together and let rest for 20 minutes. The seeds will absorb the water and become kind of like egg-whites or glue-y.
Then, stir in the remaining ingredients, minus the za’atar or whatever spices you like.

Using an offset spatula, carefully spread out the cracker mixture thinly on parchment paper or a flexi silpat baking mat. (This stuff sticks everywhere. I've tried rolling the mixture between two sheets of paper, but it sticks and you lose a lot of the seeds. The baking mat is the best way to go.)
Sprinkle the spices on top.

Bake the crackers for 30 minutes at 375F/175 C, with a convection fan. Remove the tray from the oven, and then flip over so you can crisp up the other side. (If you leave two pieces of parchment, you can't peel off the second piece very easily. The silicone mat is the easiest way.)

Also, at this time, try to use a pizza wheel to slice the crackers into small squares. Then continue baking for about 20 more minutes. The crackers are done when they start to slightly brown on the edges and feel crispy.

Total baking time is about 50 minutes in my oven. If your oven doesn’t have a convection fan, the crackers may take a bit longer to bake.

Store the crackers in an airtight container about 1 week, if they last that long. But don't eat too many in one sitting as I did...too much fiber! ;-) I also use the leftover cracker crumbs on top of salads.

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BacktoBodrum said...

We can't get Chia seeds here but I'll try it with all flax and see how it goes.

Joy said...

@Annie, flax seeds have very similar properties as chia so I'm sure it will work! :-)

Lindsey said...

Thanks for the great recipe! I made these this week and they surpassed expectations - better than store-bought crackers and for a fraction of the price. I used some coconut oil on the parchment paper and I didn't have any issues with sticking. It's time to make another batch! Love the gluten-free recipes - keep them coming!

Joy said...

Hi Lindsey! Glad you enjoyed! I'm just making a new batch right now. :)