simplelittlespaces

Keeping things simple in a not so simple world


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crackers

So you know those Trader Joe’s crackers – the raisin and rosemary ones – that cost a fortune for a teeny tiny box…well, I’ve found a homemade version.  It is based on a recipe from the Kitchn and is quite amazing. I’ve adapted the recipe to our gluten-free eating and reduced the sugar from the recipe, as well as a cup of other tweaks.

The recipe is easy and it is very simple to always have some on hand. I usually double or triple the recipe. The mini-loafs are frozen before slicing into crackers and baked again – so you can have the loafs ready in a pinch.

1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup pecans
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary (or 1 tablespoon dry rosemary)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup pepitas or pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place cranberries in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover the bowl with a towel. Let sit until ready to add to the recipe.

Mix together the rest of the ingredients and then add cranberries, mixing thoroughly.

Scoop the dough into greased mini-loaf pans and bake until just lightly golden. Watch them carefully. The original recipe says to bake until golden brown, but I find that when I go to make the crackers they get too dark.
Let the mini-loafs cool and then place in a freezer proof container or baggies and freeze until ready to make the crackers.

When ready to make crackers:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Remove the mini-loafs from freezer but do not thaw.
Slice the loafs while still frozen. It makes is simpler to slice even, thin slices that don’t mush into nothing.
Place the crackers on an non-greased cookie sheet and bake until golden brown and crispy, flipping at least once to make sure the crackers are browned on each side.

Let the crackers cool before eating.

Crackers can be kept in an air-tight container for at least a week – if you don’t eat them all.

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our new favorite soup

There a number of things I look for in a meal – the right veggie to meat ratio (more veggies), the time it takes to cook, how it TASTES, and now that I have a child with a food texture issue who is also a bit picky (trust me, he really is not that picky compared to most children, but it seems that way because the rest of us eat pretty much everything) I look for a recipe to not include the elements he doesn’t like, unless they can be hidden.

Well, I found stumbled upon a version of the recipe below and it dawned on me that it meets all of the criteria. It was so EASY! It had BACON! I could hide the SQUASH! And it had a LOT OF VEGGIES!

I do hope you try this, it was so fantastic. We ate it for dinner, snack time, breakfast, lunch and still had a little leftover for lunch a second day later. It was filling but didn’t leave us uncomfortable (all those veggies!) It was a party in my mouth. I really loved the way the textures and tastes worked so well together.

Of course, you could easily make it vegan or at least vegetarian, but we really do love bacon around here.

autumn harvest soup

1 butternut or other squash, peeled and cubed
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme (or equivalent dried)
4-4.5 cups chicken or veggie broth
1 package bacon
3 cans pinto beans
1 cup kale, shredded
1 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 red peppers, finely chopped
1 cup corn kernels
1.5 cup kale or collard greens, sliced

Note: The bacon needs to get nice and crispy, then chopped finely. I did this in the oven and used some other bacon drippings reserved previously to saute my onion and garlic in. You could also fry up your bacon first and then use the left over drippings.

If you chopped everything ahead of time, the whole process goes real quick!

Heat 1 tablespoon oil (or drippings) in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion. When onion is just starting to brown, add the garlic and stir for about 1 minute. Add the squash, celery, and carrots, stirring to coat with the oil and then add 4 cups broth and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a high simmer until the squash is soft.
Remove the thyme sprigs.
Using a hand blender (food processor or regular blender work too!) puree the veggies.
Add in the beans, corn, peppers, and kale, mixing thoroughly and bring to a low boil. If the soup is too thick for your taste, add a bit more broth.
Mix in the bacon and serve.