Friday, June 14, 2013

Snack Attack: Chickpea Dip with Flax Seed Crackers!

When I walked into Freshmade NYC on Wednesday night to teach my workshop, I was greeted by about 20 preschoolers. No, they weren't there to learn about eating for energy (they had plenty of that, I can assure you); instead, they were there to P-A-R-T-Y! They were lucky enough to be invited to a cowgirl-themed birthday party, and they were jumping, climbing, giggling and racing around the room like a bunch of monkeys!

Oh to have that kind of energy! What I would give!

Making some chia seed pudding at the workshop.
Let's face it. As you get older, energy can seem very elusive, a bit like Carmen Sandiego (hello, flashback!). You have responsibilities - a grown-up job, people who need your love and attention, a house that needs cleaning, groceries that don't buy themselves, a cat-dog that just wants to play when you get home from work (oh wait... is that just me?)! It's enough to leave anyone feeling energy-depleted by the end of the day.

So what can you do about it? 

It's simple... eat up! Concentrate on foods that stabilize your blood sugar and pump you full of nutrients! That, my friends, is the best way to feel like a preschooler in a room full of cake, presents and all your best buds!

So in honor of the weekend, I'm bringing back a Snack Attack post! This Chickpea Dip with Flax Crackers is just the snack to fulfill all your salty, crunchy, savory snack fantasies while also keeping your munchies nutritious!

Let's start with the Chickpea Dip, a recipe borrowed from 'ole Susie Homemaker herself, Martha Stewart, and her friends over at Whole Living. It's basically a simplified hummus recipe that won't keep you in the kitchen all day...

All you need is 1/2 cup organic chickpeas (garbanzo beans),  2-3 Tbs. of olive oil, salt, pepper and a handful of cilantro.
Wash the chickpeas in a strainer to get any 'gunk' off.
In a blender, combine chickpeas with 2-3 Tbs. olive oil and salt and pepper to taste (more salt than pepper) until you reach the consistency you want!
Add a handful of cilantro to the blender mixture and pulse OR stir in the cilantro by hand.
And there you have it! Chickpea dip with a few sprigs of cilantro to garnish.
And now for the Flax Crackers (a snack even preschoolers could make... seriously, your kids will have a blast!). I found it on the blog {Never} Homemaker and it was so much fun to make that I just have to share it with you...

Measure out 1 cup of flax seeds and combine them in a bowl with 1 cup of water. Allow to sit out on the countertop for 1.5 hours (just set an alarm and forget about them!). You can buy flax seeds in the bulk section at Whole Foods or any health food store.
When your alarm goes off, the flax seeds will have morphed into a slimy thick substance (this is the part kids will love!). Preheat the oven to 300 degrees, then add 1/8 cup low-sodium soy sauce and mix well.
Now add 1/4 teaspoon of curry powder or curry seasoning...
... and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder. Then salt and pepper to taste.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Even if you're lucky enough to have non-stick parchment paper on hand, you should lightly spray the paper with a cooking spray like Pam. Now pour the mixture onto the pan...
...and spread it out into a large rectangle, making it about 1/8 inch thick. The thinner you can get it without making any gaping holes, the more crunchy and delicious they will be! Pop in the oven for 45 minutes.
When your alarm goes off, flip the cracker and put it back in the oven for another 40 minutes, until crispy but not burnt. Crispy is much better than chewy on these babies.
Allow to cool, then cut into squares (or 'try' to cut into squares...haha).
Look at those delicious crackers! I prefer them slightly warm, but they will keep for a few days in a Ziploc bag!
So now that you're all hopped up on snacks, let's talk nutrition!

CHICKPEAS - One cup of chickpeas meets almost 1/3 of your daily protein requirement AND studies have suggested that the fiber in chickpeas is more effective in lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides than other types of fiber. Hooray!

CILANTRO - This leafy green is packed with phytochemicals, plant-based nutrients that help the body fight disease and slow the process of aging.

FLAX SEEDS - These little nuggets provide you with omega-3 fatty acids, which your body can't make on its own. You need omega-3's for normal body functions like blood clotting, building and repairing your cell membraines and protecting you from heart disease (and possibly cancer!). Whole flax seeds are ineffective in supplying you with nutrients because they pass straight through your digestive track and come out in tact on the other end (gross!), but because you bake these and then grind them up as you chew, you'll be just fine! Remember to chew them well for maximum benefits!

I don't know what you're doing this weekend, but I'll be sitting under the sunny summer sky munching down on some flax crackers! TGIF!

Oh...and P.S... my workshop was a huge success! Thanks to all the ladies who came out to support me and learn how to 'up' their energy game! I've included some pics to show off my lovely new apron, compliments of my friend Sarah Kagan over at Beyond the Batter! And big thanks to Arionna Shannon-DiPietro from Harlem Food Local for simultaneously taking photos while tweeting live! Ladies and gentlemen, how does she do it?

Working hard on some flax crackers.
A light summertime lunch - vegetable lettuce wraps with avocado dressing!
Working on our chopping skills!
Have a great weekend, and I'll see you next week as be dive into a series on GMO's with my friend Shanna Wahlquist!

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