I’ve been looking forward to celebrating today for a really long time. Sonja and Alex, from A Couple Cooks, have a full crib! And food bloggers are doing what food bloggers do best—we’re hosting an online baby shower for Larson. We’re celebrating with healthy snacks and hashtagging this party #acoupleadopts. Thanks Ashley of Edible Perspective and Sarah of Snixy Kitchen for helping host.
Sometimes I wonder if you can really know the taste of sweet if you aren’t familiar with the taste of bitter? I think the answer is yes, but there’s a depth of knowledge that comes with knowing the taste of both intimately. Alex and Sonja met loss a couple times before they met Larson—with a miscarriage and multiple adoptions falling through. They’ve become good friends over the years. I’m drawn to them for the same reasons I’m drawn to Kev, they’re so steady. (I’m not.) They just kept living well in the years of limbo.
Parenthood has taught me about a lapse of time I never knew before. The hard days are long, and sometimes so many are strung together, you wonder if the easy days will show up again. I was talking with Sonja the other day, and she mentioned that Larson is such a good baby. She wonders when the hard days will hit (probably because I’ve told her too many stories about my early days of motherhood). I’m not sure if the world works this way, but it feels like they’ve done plenty of hard days.
I’m celebrating this party with an adaptation of Laura’s Sunshine Crackers from her new book, The First Mess Cookbook. Laura has been another long time blog friend. In fact, the first meal I cooked post-Hallie was from her blog. Laura was also the person that helped me figure out how to talk about the recipes I make. I’d been thinking about it for months with no luck, asking anyone that would give me an answer. She rattled off this as if it she’d been thinking about it for months too—quick, modern weeknight meals; slow, classic weekend baking.
Laura’s vibe and way of cooking has a contagion to it. Her recipes are plant forward and naturally vegan. If you’re not vegan, you’ll still find 95% of the ingredients familiar. The recipe for these Sunshine Crackers calls for nutritional yeast, something you can typically buy from the bulk bins. It has a slightly cheesy flavor. I use it when making Bitchin Sauce, a recipe you must try at some point in your life.
To Sonja and Alex—you guys have taught me so much about weathering a long string of hard days with your steadiness. I love seeing the fullness of your smile these days. And to Laura—your book is beautiful. I’m reconsidering so many of my book recipes after reading through yours. I think I’m going to go back and add a little Laura to a couple of them.
In her book, Laura says to cut fun shapes out of the cracker dough. So I did. But overcooked them slightly while handling a time out. Whoops. I’d still like you to take notice of that hand carved pound symbol that wasn’t in our cookie cutter set. Maybe Hal wouldn’t have gotten herself into trouble if I hadn’t been so immersed in carving out crackers. Maybe.
In her book, The First Mess Cookbook, Laura said these crackers were a nod to a childhood favorite, Goldfish, from her pre-vegan days. Her original recipe is gluten free, uses garlic powder, and is made without maple syrup. I used what I had on hand, which meant gluten flours and fresh garlic. I added a bit of maple syrup so I could disguise the cayenne pepper from the mild palates over here. Don’t skip the cayenne if you can help it! See Laura’s unadulterated recipe here.
1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour (or oat flour)
1 large clove of garlic, minced
2 tsp. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground turmeric
a couple dashes of cayenne pepper
6 tbsp. neutral oil
6 tbsp. water
2 tsp. maple syrup (optional)
1/4 c. mixed raw seeds (like hemp, chia, and sesame)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add dry ingredients and mix to combine.
Add in wet ingredients and mix on medium low speed until evenly combined. Dough will be on the dry side but is ready once the dough holds together. Add water a teaspoon at a time until it comes together. Mix in seeds to combine.
Place a large sheet of parchment paper on the counter. Add dough to parchment paper and form until it comes together. Roll out to 1/8″ thickness. Using a pastry wheel, pizza wheel, or a knife, cut dough into 1-inch squares. Optional: poke the center of each cracker with a small round object, like a lollipop stick (or something similar).
Bake for 20 minutes or until just starting to golden at the edges. Remove from oven. Once cooled, serve as is or with hummus. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
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