Thursday, August 16, 2007

Graham Crackers and Flatbreads

Homemade graham crackers - that was my task for the day. Well, besides the usual. Why, you ask? Well, where to begin? A while back, Mark and I decided that we really needed to start eating a little better. We aren't in our 20's anymore, and one of us (ahem...) isn't even in HIS 30's anymore. I read somewhere awhile back that the three most important things you can do for your health are:
1. exercise
2. eliminate high-fructose corn syrup from your diet
3. eliminate hydrogenated oils from your diet
Okay, well, number 2 is hopeless. That's in almost everything we eat! But number 1 is easy, and number 3? Well? Okay, so we decided to try it. And I'm happy to say, that first of all, our kitchen had very little of it to begin with. The worst offenders? Crackers and cookies. And lo and behold, there it was, in graham crackers. The yummy graham crackers that I love and give to my babies on a daily basis. So a few months ago, when I stumbled upon graham flour at the local Amish market (gotta LOVE those Amish folks!), I bought my 2lb bag (for 40 cents) and then went on an on-again, off-again internet search for the perfect recipe. Today, I found it. Well, almost. Yes, it had vegetable shortening in it, but if you just substitute butter, there go the hydrogenated oils. I made them today, and let me tell you, they ROCK! If anyone wants to try, here's the recipe.
Also, today, I made herb flatbread to go with the chef salads we had for dinner - I got the idea from Quizno's - their flatbread salads look SO good, but they've got like 1000 calories and 56 grams of fat in each one....ummmm, is that a SALAD? So I did it myself, and I think we have a new addition to the "favorite recipe" box. Oh, and MUCH healthier, I might add.
So before this blog turns into a total foodie blog, which it very well could do, let me just tell you that after those two ventures, plus the chef's salads, PLUS the lima beans Mark brought from the farmer's market that I had to shell and cook, PLUS the watermelon that I cut up for snacks, not only did I spend about 3 hours in a hot kitchen, but had a royal mess to clean up after dinner. It was worth it though. We're trying to eat "closer to earth" these days, and it's working out great. So much farmer's market, so little refrigerator space! I'll be sorry to see summer end. Except for maybe the zucchini. And we, fools, grew those ourselves!

Onto the kids - it's no secret that Jonathan has a major obsession with all things train. Thomas ranks high up there, but nothing beats train tracks. We live in a town that makes half it's living by the rails, and trains rumble through here dozens of times a day. Every time, and I mean EVERY time we're out driving anywhere, we've got to alter our route so we run over at least 2 or 3 railroad crossings....the springs in my van are groaning from abuse! So the other night after dinner, we hit the Allegany Highlands trail - a cool new rail trail that has recently been added onto so that except for a few little spots, runs from DC all the way to Pittsburgh. We're out there with dog and double-stroller, enjoying the evening, when Jonathan decides he needs to get out and stand on the tracks for a bit. We let him out, he goes up to the tracks, thoughtfully looks both directions and says "Train tracks, Mommy...they're so beautiful!" How can you not crack up at the things these kids say?

And Matthew? Well, today he learned a new trick - how to climb up onto the couch. He hasn't yet figured out how to get down. Well, actually, I take that back. He CAN get down, but he usually winds up with a bruise somewhere and he has a screaming fit. Not that I can blame him. Just one more thing to add to my list: go yank Matthew off that couch before he cracks his skull....

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