Thursday, February 21, 2008

This Weather is Driving us Crackers!

In a desperate survey (conducted pre-“thump”), 7 out of 8 of my friends and family suggested that television may be my last frontier of defense against the cabin fever that has engulfed us.

It’s cold. Soooo cold. Common sense and a long family tradition of hibernation have kept us inside most of this week, or more accurately, most of this winter! Even Maya is starting to fantasize about spring, saying “when the snow melts, we can….” She seems focused on the prospect of wearing her little yellow shorts outside and rediscovering the culinary joys of her sandbox (“sand is yum-MY” she chants when we talk about playing outside!).

And yet, I have resolved to slash Maya’s TV time in half to a meager 1 hour (excluding a weekly family movie night that has featured 101 Dalmatians about 2 months in a row). I am inspired partly by the Center for Screentime Awareness and in part by my own parenting instinct that watching the same Little Bear show three thousand times just can’t be good for her sanity… or mine!

So what do we do now? Several friends have suggested baking, but who needs that many cookies when Dance Party is the only action we get all day? So instead, we found a great recipe for homemade crackers.

They taste just like the little sesame sticks (we buy the Good Sense brand) that you find in organic snack mixes. They aren’t as good as tomato-basil wheat thins, but they’re all natural, tasty, chemical free, and cost about fifty cents per batch depending on what type of sesame seeds you buy.

I got the recipe from Feeding Your Child For Lifelong Health, a book we depend on:

Whole-wheat Sesame Crackers

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup white flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup buttermilk powder
¾ cup sesame seeds (not dehulled)
¾ cup water

Divide the dough in thirds and put it into little ziplock bags for no-mess rolling. Roll each third into a thin sheet. Cut the sheets into 1 ½ inch squares. Put the squares on parchment lined cookie sheets and bake for 20 minutes or so in a 325 degree oven. I’m planning to try them with cheese or toasted nuts instead of sesame seeds, just to see how the recipe can be changed.

Maya had a blast making them during Elliot's morning nap. She dumped, stirred, helped roll out, and used the pizza cutter to cut the crackers. She even put them on the parchment paper. So, they aren’t exactly beautiful, but they’re good. While she put the, um, creatively shaped crackers into wavy rows on the cookie sheets, she actually said "Mama, isn't this so fun?"

While we baked them, Maya did repeatedly ask me when we would add the sugar. She still says, “these cookies are yucky” after the first bite, but when I remind her that they’re crackers, she snarfs them down as if they were cheddar bunnies.

So for at least one day, we found a fun activity and a fun snack to help chase away our cabin fever. Without too much tv!


Andrea said...

I've made friends with two really awesome vegans, and they are inspiring me to find healthier ways to bake! This recipe is really awesome:

Vegan Banana Bread
3 over-ripe bananas
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups flour
1 tbsp margarine (or butter)
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup soymilk (or regular milk)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup toasted walnut/pecan pieces or chocolate chips (optional)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease loaf pan.
2. Mix flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
3. Cream margarine, applesauce and sugar (you can do this by
hand with a fork if you don't have an electric mixer). Add
bananas, soymilk and vanilla, mash with a fork until well mixed.
4. Add dry ingredients to wet, add optional walnuts or
chocolate chips, pour into loaf pan and bake about 1 hour,
until knife comes out clean.

One thing to keep in mind is that the riper a banana is, the
sweeter it gets. This recipe is already on the sweet side, so
you might want to play around with amounts of sugar.

Sarah Aadland said...

I'll definitely have to try that!

Anonymous said...

Hey Sarah! It's your cousin (once removed) Stephanie in Charlotte, NC. This is my first time to your blog and I love it! Great humor and parenting insights. I'll have to review some of your previous posts to catch up with everything. I can't imagine your weather challenges.... Good luck making it sanely to spring!

Sarah Aadland said...

I'm so glad everyone is enjoying my little stories. I am just happy to have a little writing project again, and an excuse to get some of these moments recorded.

Excuse the spelling and grammar errors if spell check can't fix it, I don't have time to edit!


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