A week ago, I accompanied Juan to the doctor’s where he took a test to determine if he had any allergies.
He’d been battling with a terrible sinus infection which started last year and never really went away. Along with that, occasional rashes and skin outbreaks had led his immunologist to the conclusion that he was dealing with several allergies, and it was time to find out which.
Neither of us had ever done an allergy test before, so it was a totally new experience for both of us. If you’ve done a test like this before, you’ll know that what the doctor does is place a tiny drop of protein from a particular food or element on the underside of your lower arms and wait for a few minutes to see if your skin develops any reaction to the protein.
In the fifteen minutes while we waited in the hall, we watched with slight alarm as different parts of Juan’s skin started turning red and developing rashes.
The doctor later confirmed that Juan was positive for allergies to at least ten different proteins from elements including cow’s milk, chicken eggs, and soy. Uh-oh.
As we took the bus home later that evening, contemplating this new piece of information, it dawned on us that our food choices had just dramatically shrunk once more. Either that, or we’d have to be incredibly creative.
The first time that happened, it was in early last year, when Juan was first diagnosed with Celiac disease, which meant that we would have to cook without gluten at home. Thankfully, we’d managed to get used to eating gluten-free over the past one year plus.
Now, we’ll have to get used to cooking without milk or eggs or soy. It may be a little bit more complicated, since I use eggs and milk in so many recipes. But I’m not one to focus on the problem; I prefer to concentrate on finding solutions and implementing them. It’s time to be creative and move out of our comfort zone.
So in the past one week, we started reading vegan and dairy-free blogs; we joined Facebook groups for people with lactose and egg allergies; and we started making our own plant-based milks (all you need is a good blender and a cheesecloth).
It turns out that replacing cow’s milk with plant-based milks is relatively simple and easy to do. While some plant-based milks like sesame seed milk can be slightly stronger in taste than we are used to, other milks such as almond milk or sunflower seed taste delicious, especially if you add in honey and some vanilla.
We’re still researching on how to work with egg substitutes, but I figured getting our hands dirty and making recipes without eggs is the best way to figure our way around this eggless issue. Since so many store-bought foods have some version of eggs and milk, we’re just going to have to cook a lot more at home, which isn’t something that I mind, thankfully.
Yesterday, I made my first foray into egg-free baking – thanks to a recipe I’d seen from Bob’s Red Mill. It seemed easy enough to handle, and with barely any adjustments, I managed to make a batch of these beautiful paleo sunflower seed crackers!
These crackers are so simple to make and take only 30 minutes from start to finish, as long as you have a high-power blender like mine to help with processing the sunflower seeds.
I don’t know if I’ve said it before, but my blender is definitely my most utilised kitchen tool; one that I certainly recommend for any kitchen. It just makes cooking so much simpler. If you don’t own a blender yet, it’s time to start thinking about it! There are just so many things you can do with it (think nut milks, nut butter, homemade flours and these sunflower seed crackers for example)!
Let’s go back to making these crackers, that are paleo, vegan, egg-free and dairy-free (how’s that for starters?)
You begin by pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat (I highly recommend getting one if you don’t have one!). Once that’s done, place sunflower seeds in the bowl of your blender and process the seeds until you get a fine sunflower seed meal.
In a large mixing bowl, place the sunflower seed meal, tapioca starch, salt and baking powder and mix to combine. Slowly add in the water bit by bit and mix until a dough is formed. If the dough is too sticky, simple add a teaspoon of tapioca starch at a time until it is easier to handle.
Let the dough rest for five minutes before placing it between two large sheets of parchment paper and rolling it out to 3/4-inch thickness, then cutting the dough into small rectangles or any shape of your choice.
Place the dough rectangles on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer, leaving at least 1/2 inch between each cracker.
Now brush the top of the crackers with olive oil and sprinkle chia seeds over each cracker. All that’s left to do is to bake the crackers for 13 to 15 minutes, or until crackers are a beautiful golden brown, then let the crackers cool down before digging in!
I’m going to be experimenting with more egg-free and dairy-free recipes in the coming weeks, and to be honest, I’m quite psyched about the challenge. I know this is another opportunity to grow and be stretched in the kitchen. As I encounter more recipes that I love, I’m definitely going to be sharing them here on the blog, so make sure you’re following close!
In the meantime, enjoy these tasty crackers! Sending you all my love.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 deg. Fahrenheit (180 deg. Celsius) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat
- Place sunflower seeds in the bowl of your blender (I use this blender) and process until you get a fine meal
- In a large mixing bowl, combine sunflower seed meal, tapioca starch, salt and baking powder and mix well
- Slowly add in water and mix until a dough forms (note that the dough may be sticky but should still be able to come together easily). Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
- Place dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll the dough out to ¾-inch thickness. Cut dough into small rectangles or shape of choice.
- Place dough rectangles on the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least ½ inch of space between each cracker.
- Brush top of dough with olive oil and sprinkle chia seeds on top of each cracker.
- Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until crackers are golden brown.
- Allow crackers to fully cool before serving.