the start of a good day

 I ran my heart out this morning.

 

I ran in the dark.  I ran in the cold.  I ran with nothing but a flashlight.

I watched the sun rise from over the trees.  Gentle light.  Nature’s promise of warmth.

I watched the neighborhood wake up.  Lights flicking on.  The smell of sweet pancakes and warm maple syrup floating through the air. 

I was chased by a spunky black pug with an attitude.

I watched my breath float up and into the sky.  A wisp of smoke.

I ran my heart out this morning and then I realized that today was going to be a very good day.

 

I came home, showered, went to work, came home, went for a walk.

And then—at the end of the day—I baked sixty-five crackers. 

Yes.  Crackers.

Honestly, if you would have told me five years ago that I’d be baking my own crackers, I would have quite literally rolled on the floor laughing.  Even today, as I was poking little breathing holes into a bite sized cracker, I felt just a little silly.

Family members wanted to know “What’s cookin’?”  “Oh…well, crackers.”  With the lift of an eyebrow and the sweep of a grin, they reminded me that the store down the street is still selling crackers, as far as they knew.

But I was as determined as ever.  Determined to find a cracker that—much like yesterday’s plate of fettucine—wouldn’t need a plethora of toppings, just to make its point.  I wanted a cracker to be crunchy, flaky and just a little bit salty.  I wanted a cracker that could hold its own. 

I think I may have found that cracker.  Well, not exactly.  Not quite.  But almost.

This recipe still needs a little tweaking and some TLC.  So maybe I should have waited before running out and sharing it with all of you.  But I can’t, really.  Patience has never been one of my strong suits.

Besides, it’s pretty close to perfect.  And if I know you readers like I think I do, most of you like to play around with a basic recipe, transforming it into something new and exciting.  You like to take a recipe and go wild with it.  And these crackers are practically begging you to do just that.  Get creative.  Branch out.  Throw in your favorite flavors and make it your own.  Be daring with cinnamon.  Go bold with cayenne.  Simplify with specks of sea salt. 

And, as Julia Childs would say, “most of all, have fun!”

Whole Wheat Crackers—a basil and garlic variation

Be sure to roll the dough out very thin.  Otherwise you’ll end up with a thick, chewy cracker.  CRUNCH is what you’re after.  That being said, however, my dad actually preferred it a little on the soft side with crispy edges.  So—as always—go with what you like! 😀

I made this batch with garlic and basil, but you could nix that and go for a sweet flavor (chocolate? cinnamon?) or spice things up with cayenne.  The possibilities are endless. 😀

  • 3-1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 T. basil

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Stir together flour, seasonings of choice and salt.  Pour in vegetable oil and water.  Mix until blended.

3. Roll dough as thin as possible (no more than 1/8 inch) on a lightly floured surface.  Place dough on ungreased baking sheet (may need to use two separate cooking sheets) and mark squares with a knife, but don’t cut through.  Prick each cracker with a fork a few times.

4. Bake for 15-20 minutes in oven or until crisp and light brown (avoid undercooking).  Baking time varies depending on thickness of cracker.  When cool, remove from baking sheet and separate into individual crackers.

Question: What is your favorite kind of cracker?  I’ve always been a Kashi fan, but I also *love* Dr. Kracker’s Seeded Spelt.