Healthy Whole Wheat Trail Mix Crackers

Better than store-bought: Packed with nutritious ingredients these Healthy Whole Wheat Trail Mix Crackers are a simple to prepare yet elegant-looking snack to impress. Vegan, with no added oil or refined sugar these can be made gluten-free, too,

Should I ever have enough recipes* I’d add a category called parent-approved. What’s other bloggers’ kid-approved seal would be dishes that pass my parents’ picky palates. Honestly, while my parents enjoy good quality food I wouldn’t have considered them gourmets [which I’d associated with truffle anything, five-star restaurants and the likes until now]. Given their at times  [overly] harsh criticism of my recipes? I might just have changed my opinion. Luckily, these crackers passed the test – despite being neither sweet nor involving any fudgy chocolate action.

*and a self-hosted site allowing for a nicer plug-in and at that presentation of them

Trail Mix crackers

Why Trail Mix Crackers? Because, well, trail mix. Lots of delicious and nutritious nuts paired with naturally sweet raisins for quick and healthy energy – what’s not to like? In 10th grade I went through a huge trail mix phase, always carrying a bag with me and already letting doubtful friends know about the fact that no, fat doesn’t make you fat [from that moment  on they demanded I share my trail mix, of course ;)]. I used a standard trail [think: almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts and way too many raisins] for easy availability but go with what you have on hand or fancy. Yet I’d recommend not using one of those containing any chocolate or other ingredients that might burn easily as you’ll bake these crackers for a longish time. Then again you could obviously sacrifice yourself and pick the ‘undesired’ chocolate out of any trail mix. The selfless things we do for others, no?!

Trail Mix Crackers

While I didn’t test this option myself I can’t see why using an all purpose gluten-free flour wouldn’t work here. Being baked twice these Trail Mix Crackers area forgiving recipe ending in a nice crispy result every time. Some of the loaves I baked didn’t come out quite as intended but crisped up just fine on the second round in the oven.

And the taste? They’re neither verging decidedly on the sweet nor savoury side but a pleasant in-between with the nuts adding an amazing texture and the plump raisins being dots of sweetness.Making them the perfect vehicle for both sweet spreads – think jam + cream cheese, various nut butters or even Nutella if that’s how you roll – or savoury options like as part of a cheese platter.

Trail Mix Crackers_box

One more thing: I know twice-baked anything sounds way too involved. Trust me, though: these are anything but. And the fact you can freeze some of the baked loaves and crisp them up whenever you feel like makes these crackers a great snack for spontaneous visitors, too. Containing trail mix might give it away but I’ll state the obvious: they also make a good on-the-go snack. Hitting the trail with some Trail Mix Crackers? Sounds really good to me.

Healthy Whole Wheat Trail Mix Crackers

2 cups of whole-wheat flour* [240g]
1/2 tsp of salt
2 scant tsp of baking soda
1/4 cup flax seeds [~28g]
2 tbsps maple syrup
2 cups of unsweetened soy or almond milk [480 ml]
2 tsps apple cider OR white vinegar OR lemon juice
1 cup trail mix* [~110-120g]

  1. Preheat oven to 325 *F/165 *C.
  2. Grease four mini loaf pans (5 3/4 inches x 3 1/4 inches) very well OR line with parchment paper. I recommend the latter for easy removal of loaves after baking.
  3. In a large mug, stir vinegar into the soy milk and set aside to curdle. This won’t take longer than 5-10 minutes depending on the kind of ‘milk’ used. After is has curdled, stir in the maple syrup.
  4. Prepare your trail mix by chopping any nuts or breaking them into smaller pieces.
  5. In a large bowl mix flour, baking soda, salt and flax seeds plus cinnamon if using.
    Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Don’t over mix.
  6. Fold in the trail mix.
  7. Pour the batter into your prepared pans and bake for 35-45 minutes. Loaves should be golden brown and springy to touch.  Test with a toothpick to check if they’re done after minimum baking time. They toothpick should come out clean. If it doesn’t, bake for an additional five minutes and test again.
  8. Let the loaves cool down on a wire rack very well before slicing. If you do have the time I recommend freezing them for easier slicing.
  9. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160 °C.
  10. Slice the loaves as thin as possible, letting thaw a little before if you froze them. The thinner they are the better they will crisp up.
  11. Bake crackers for a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for about 25 minutes or until crisp [time will depend on how thin or thick the crackers are cut]. Flipping them about halfway through the baking time is optional but recommend.
  12. Let cool completely before serving.

Notes

  1. *a gluten-free AP mix should work just fine
  2. A serrated knife is your best friend for slicing the loaves thin enough for crispy Crackers.

Adapted from Babble.

Trail Mix Crackers_3.JPG

I’m linking up with Meatless MondaysAllergy Free Wednesdays#RecipeOfTheWeek,Gluten-Free Fridays,Tasty Tuesdays,Healthy Vegan Fridays.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Taking time to read a book before and after work.

 

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What’s in your go-to trail mix?

Are your family members the harshest judges of your cooking, too?

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Food Talk Wednesday #1

For the fraction of a second I pondered if I should try to play an April Fools’ joke on you but really? I’ll reserve those for my family. More time to talk about any healthy living blogger’s favourite Wednesday issue: food.

Given my habit of eating 3648594 snacks per day and forgetting to take pictures of all of them I sadly don’t qualify for Jenn’s WIAWs anymore. A full day of food – it might happen at some point in the future. However, I still ilke to  get a glimpse into others’ meals for inspiration and I like to talk about food [duh!]. So why not start sharing some recent happenings on my plate in my own way? Say hello to Food Talk Wednesday [or: FTW!]. Today’s edition features no dairy whatsoever so I’ll also join Vegan Wednesday. Moving onto the food already now …

Food Talk Wednesay_logo

Gnocchi were on the menu once more and not just because buying a one pound-package at the store means you have to eat them days in a row to prevent spoilage. No, they’re simply delicious and super fast to prepare – win-win! The only ‘work’ that went into the making of this dish was preparing a vegetable-filled Italian-inspired sauce from scratch. You can hardly beat the simplicity of that and a pile – no measly sprinkling here – of nutritional yeast post-picture made this perfect for a quick no-fuss meal.

Gnocchi_italian tomato sauce

When meals don’t go as planned … you improvise and let the outcome surprise you. This is what happens when you intend to revisit your own recipe after a long time and discover your chickpea flour has turned … funky. I’m hoping it wasn’t due to flour bugs [why do they keep invading my pantry???] but it looked odd so I turned to whole grain spelt flour instead. Turns out the crespelle still work a charme though I prefer the nutty taste of chickpea flour in this dish.

Spelt flour crespelle_pancake

One of those dishes I’d almost forgotten about but was reminded of when a friend asked for a lunch recommendation. And when I’d already told her I thought why not have it again myself? So after a nice long walk I bust out my huge fancy skillet [that I hardly ever use because I’m too lazy to clean it …] and channeled my inner pancake queen failed at producing proper crêpes. Taste over appearance, though. Taking these pictures was a challenge as it had gotten rather late by the time I sat down to eat so the already not too stellar lighting in my appartment got worse.

crespelle_inside

A favourite recent but sadly not current anymore snack was edamame. And yes, I eat it frozen when I’m too impatient to wait for it to thaw. I’ve been buying those huge 500 g/1 lb packages at the Asian store for months and they never last long around my place. Like I said, though, it’s not a current happening anymore because I moved once more and there’s no place to find these wonderful green legumes.

edamame

… and that would close the first edition of my new little series. Partly also because I need to get back into the habit of taking pictures of my food. Yes, believe it or not but that has hardly been happening these past weeks anymore. But what once was a habit can become one again and maybe starting out here will bring it back.

 

Happiness-inducing today: My first ‘workout’ in four days. Is it just me or does getting sweaty again feel even better after a [somewhat] long period of [not entirely chosen] rest?

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Your turn: What has been a meal on repeat for you lately? Just one word for me: gnocchi.

Do you buy pasta sauce or prepare it from scratch? If homemade: what’s your go-to recipe?

 

Meet me in pumpkin-ville!

 Autumn is a good time for change. Or at least that’s what Jenn makes us believe with her motto of falling into good habits. And why not? Even if fall is no better for breaking old habits or developping new ones: it’s as good as any other.  And while I’m sharing [part of] Sunday’s meals for today’s What I ate Wednesday it was a day that gave me the opportunity to try some new foods or test out assumptions. So let’s not ramble on any longer but talk about actual food.

wiaw fall_Kabocha

Breakfast included finally cutting into the monster squash. What can I say? It’s as sweet and crumbly as you could hope for. But I didn’t take a picture so decided you wouldn’t mind a recycled one.  There might really be sonething about frugal bloggingafter all. New additions to my squash were a stab of coconut oil and some coconut flour crumbles. Inspired by Robyn I’m trying to see if the oil will make a difference in terms of staying power and satisfaction for me.

kabocha_pot

Whether it’s contradictive saying this after showing the above picture or not: I’m not ready for fall – or autumn as I prefer – yet. The chance to eat all the pumpkin again is a slight consolation. And lunch was a case of dealing with my produce overbuying tendency once more. Honestly,  though, I just couldn’t not buy the best,  freshest-looking bag of spinach I’ve ever seen. Especially since fresh spinach is a rarity over here in general. Oh and did I mention pumpkin? Actually, I’d had my mind set on a potato spinach casserole but then I just couldn’t ignore the cut-up half of a butternut squash sitting in my fridge. While potatoes are an obvious match in this combination and preparationLuck of ingredients the butternut worked really well here, too.

Butternut Squash Spinach Casserole 2

Apparently,  I also wanted cheese.  If I’m being completely honest,  I’d been craving cheese badly for weeks until I finally picked up a bag. This is actually a point I want to work on: figuring out my cravings and listening to them better. There has been an annoying lot of days where I ended up being unsatisfied and snacking non-stop even when I just finished a meal. I’m happy to report this was not the case on this day. How could it have been with a cheese-laden casserole that aided in building up the highly aquired pumpkin glow. Come Halloween I’ll shine brighter than any squashes …

Butternut Squash_Spinach Casserole

Snack time rolled around and I felt another burst of cooking inspiration – and use-up-spiration. And here I’m wondering again: when in the world did I purchase all of the food sitting in my cupboards [and in fact taking up space I could use for actual cups and plates]. Rather than grab a bar of chocolate right away* – there would be plenty in above-mentioned food stash – I decided to venture out a little further. Making good use of the fact it was the weekend and I had a choice to go for something different than my usual packed snacks. Homemade protein bars it was. Lately, I’ve noticed I wasn’t satisfied with my usual snacks [fruit, dried fruit + nut bars, chocolate] at work and am looking to improve the situation. Doing the math in my head I know the one nutrient my meals and snacks are probably lacking in is protein.

tea

*okay, there was some chocolate happening in between. I can’t [and don’t want to] help it.

These don’t look pretty but again: taste beats appearance. With vanilla protein powder, cinnamon, coconut flour and some other bits and bobs these hit the spot. If you’re anything like me texture matters and to ensure that and my intention for a slightly sweet-and-salty bar I added chopped up dry-roasted chickpeas. Clearly strange but good to some but again: Don’t knock it till you try it. Just like with chocolate I paired this with a cup of my favourite tea.

Protein bar

 

Happiness-inducing today: Finding the perfect parking spot in my street. Did I mention that can be a pain in the butt here??

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Have you made protein bars before? Let me know of any recipes worth trying.

 Are you on a mission to eat ALL the pumpkin, too? In that case: share your favourite recipes here as well. There are never enough for pumpkin, squash or whatever you like to all it. (:

Do you say

a) pumpkin or squash?

b) autumn or fall?

 

 

No crumbles invited [Pistachio Vanilla Granola Clusters]

Crunchy, not overly sweet, with the buttery taste of coconut oil and studded with pistachios these granola clusters make a delicious healthy snack any time of the day. 

Pistachio Granola

If you ever find yourself stuck when trying to : ask a blend! Sometimes I’m really eager to share a recipe but can’t think of a more inventive way to describe it than ‘incredibly delicious’ or ‘downright addictive’. You as readers want details though, right? Well, lucky for you said genius blend said she found writing about a dish easiest while actually eating it. No brainer when you think of it – only I hadn’t yet [and I feel it’d be a little messier with my usual casseroles, stews and the likes]. Another reasoning to grab a handful of granola obviously just for the sake of describing it, though? I’m in.

Granola clusters 3

Onto the granola! Maybe you’d guess there wouldn’t be much more to say after already letting you in on its benefits of doubling as a perfume. Then again: can we ever talk about granola too much? The buttery taste of the unrefined coconut oil is what made these clusters for me. In the depths of my ED I once tried another blogger’s granola recipe made without any oil but applesauce and banana in its place. Whether you’re trying my recipe or venture into granola-making yourself: Get however wild you want but don’t skip the oil! Just don’t. Unless you’re a fan of burnt flavourless oats that no amount of cinnamon can save. Talking about cinnamon: it’s another great flavour in this granola. I wanted to let the vanilla and coconut flavours shine so I went light on the cinnamon.

Granola clusters 2

A little story about the nuts of choice in this recipe. Did you ever notice how ridiculously expensive pistachios are?? Probably only topped by macadamias which would otherwise find their way into more of my dishes. But I digress. Pistachios aren’t exactly budget-friendly. If you purchase the shelled ones, that is. Which – needless to say – I did not  do. Yes, I’d rather shell pistachios myself and save the money. To shell it out on almond butter. Priorities.

Granola Clusters

Speaking of priorities: I’ve told you before that I’m picky when it comes to granola so with this recipe I set out for big clusters only. No crumbs [or at least minimal amounts but who’d be counting]. The chia seeds were a last minute add-in that gives the clusters a delightful chewy bite and keeps them from getting too crunchy for my taste [did I mention I’m a granola snob yet?]. Which is also great if you’d rather turn this recipe into bars because they hold up well. No crumbling issues yet – they’re not invited.

Pistachio Vanilla Granola Clusters

  • 1 cup quick [whole grain] oatmeal*
  • 70 g/ 3.5 tbsps honey or brown rice syrup [for a vegan version]
  • 2 heaped tbsps coconut oil, melted [34 g]
  • 1/3 cup crispy cereal [like crispy brown rice cereal]
  • 1/4 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, chopped [or more]
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • a pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 300 °F/ 150°C.
    Line a small baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl stir together the honey and coconut oil. Mix in the cinnamon, vanilla and salt.
    In another bowl combine dry ingredients.
    Add dry into wet ingredients and stir to combine. Make sure everything is well coated in honey.
    Transfer into the prepared pan, spread and press the mixture down.
  3. Bake on the middle rack for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and lift the granola on the parchment paper onto a plate. This prevents it from browning further in the hot pan.

*this was all I had but I’m sure it’ll work with old-fashioned rolled oats, too.

Notes:

This recipe can be easily made gluten-free by using certified gluten-free oats.

If you’re looking for more sweet or savoury recipe inspiration pay a visit to Kierston‘s Recipe Friday, Allergy-free Wednesdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays and some Strange but good action initiated by Laura.

Happy Friday! If you don’t have any plans for the weekend yet: How about some granola-baking?! (:

 

Happiness inducing today: Some more creative tasks at work making for a welcome break from my usual routine.

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What is your favourite granola [flavour, add-ins, …]?

Have you ever made your own?

Changing [the overall attitude and food]

Three reasons to  be happy today: it’s sunny outside, tomorrow is a holiday [at least over here – sorry for everybody else] and … it’s What I ate Wednesday! Jenn picked a good day to give us a mid-week break from any annoyances with food. Because yes, my mind’s been engaged in not so joyful happenings but now isn’t the time and place for that.

Several weeks after announcing the changes to my diet I felt it was time for a little update. I will admit that I had no certain expectations when reintroducing cheese. However, this seemingly small change somehow had larger impact of how I saw food in general. And it surprisingly didn’t have that much too do with cheese after all, either.

WIAWbutton_1

While at my parents’ for Easter I ate more sugar and found myself more relaxed with it than before. I had more of foods I usually don’t buy for myself and despite all-around snackiness didn’t skip meals or avoided carbs like I had before. Because even though I didn’t mention it I still tried to avoid too many carbs [namely grains and potatoes] at lunch because they make in appearance in both breakfast and dinner for me every day. But who ever said that just because my snacks erred on the carbier [is that even a word?] side I had to skip them at meal times? Or that I shouldn’t eat x or y before a certain time of the day? Ridiculous workings of a frazzled brain.

Granola

Yet like I mentioned before carbs are my preferred source of energy. Without enough and the right of them I feel tired, become snappy and just not the person you want to be around. Until now I’d often excused my deterring from grains at lunch with their lengthy cooking time and my lack of planning ahead. However, my recent fondness of polenta and it’s conveniently short cooking time helped in that aspect. Seriously, somebody tell me to opt for something else when it comes to lunch. Because if not I’ll continue with variations on polenta [casseroles] until I get fed up with it again. Something I don’t see happen too soon looking at my recent lunches. At least I still switch up the vegetable part?! Maybe I need to rename my blog because I have yet another polenta bake recipe to share.

Cheesy Enchilada Polenta Bake

Cottage cheese, however, has become a current favourite. To my surprise my diet experimentation proved that a high-protein snack is best for me to avoid the after-work hangriness. More specifically PB & J Frozen Yogurt. Previously I’d grabbed chocolate or attacked my roommate’s granola box right after work. Which left me satisfied for approximately… Two minutes. Not that this kept me from stealing the big clusters from the box either way. I wonder if my roomie notices?? Maybe I should offer frozen yogurt in exchange…

frozen yogurt_homemade

It’s still a trial and error in finding what works best for me on any given day. Some days I’m hangry not matter what or the carb fears turn up again. But these recent steps and findings make me hope I’m back on track working my way forward again. Food should be a reason for happiness not fear. And with that I hope all of you are having a happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: A small success for our whole office at work.

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What are your favourite higher-protein homemade snacks?  While PB & J is a pretty amazing combo in my froyo as of now still I want to get experimenting with different flavours.

Do you have a favourite grain? Favourite way to use it?

Non-food wise: Tell me one reason why you are happy today!

 

Frozen! [Healthy PB & J Frozen Yogurt]

Peanut butter & jelly time! A creamy and refreshing healthy frozen treat with an added protein boost.

Whoever first had the idea to combine peanut butter and jelly is a genius. And should better have claimed copyright on this perfect duo because you can hardly go wrong whenever pairing them. PB & J cookies? Crumble? Cake? Blondies? Dip? I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. So it was a no-brainer which flavours to go for when faced by a recent cottage cheese shortage. Let me explain…

faux_froyo

This recipe resulted from an actually rather unfortunate circumstance. Do you have those foods you eat regularly but never more than just a spoonful or two at a time? Meaning you assume they’re always around – and then suddenly find yourself running low on them all of a sudden. Case in point for me: above-mentioned cottage cheese. Despite eating just a spoonful or two a day I still found myself with one last small container sitting in my fridge the other day. A Saturday no less meaning I wouldn’t be able to stock up until Monday. And it was obviously just then I found myself craving cottage cheese big time. Insert pulling my hair to think of a way to make use of it the -best- way possible. Ice cream! Or better yet: frozen yogurt. Okay, technically frozen blended cottage cheese but who’d be that nit-picky when it comes to sweet treats?

PB & J_protein_ice cream_pudding

A surprisingly warm day called for a refreshing treat and banana softserve didn’t sound quite as alluring as usual. For once I felt a little extra protein might be what had been missing from meals earlier that day leaving me unsatisfied and snacky. With just six ingredients this refined sugar-free snack is a quick to prepare and perfect treat to cool you down on a hot day. If you don’t feel like waiting it is delicious eaten right after blending as a pudding but even better after a few hours in the freezer. Why not prepare a double batch to try both ways?!

faux_froyo_2

Coincidentially running low on peanut butter, too [who ever runs low on peanut butter?!] peanut flour came to the rescue adding even more protein. Now that’s my kind of protein shake treat.

Healthy [Faux] PB & J Frozen Yogurt

1/2 cup cottage cheese [don’t use fatfree]
2-3 tbsps of [non-dairy] milk
1 – 1 1/2 tbsps peanut flour
6 drops liquid stevia [or sweetener of choice to taste]
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp [or more] of strawberry jam [for German readers: I used this brand]

  1. Combine all ingredients except for the jam in a blender. Pulse until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency.
  2. Pour into a freezer-safe dish.
  3. Swirl in strawberry jam using a spoon or fork.
  4. Either eat as is or place in the freezer for at least three hours. Stirring the mix to break up any big ice crystals after 1.5 hours is optional.

 

Is it ice cream? Is it frozen yogurt? Whatever you might call this frozen concoction one thing it is for a fact: marvelous. Like the fact that it’s Monday and I’m getting a chance to stock up on cottage cheese and make more frozen deliciousness. I’m sure Katie would agree of frozen yogurt priorities

Stop by Laura’s and Kierston’s for more – frozen and not – recipe inspiration!

Happy Monday!

Happiness inducing today: Spotting a random blossom on the floor on my way to the washing room. Spring has really arrived.

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What is your favourite recipe featuring the classic PB & J combination? Sandwiches, wraps or any other kind of bread don’t count!

Are you trying to make the most of last remainders of certain fabourite or hard-to-get items, too?