Are you depressed today? Scared? Confused?
With all the terrible negativity out there, and people beating each other up on social media (or in person), I want to say one thing.
I try to keep this blog positive and inspiring, and I don't discuss political or religious values, because they are so personal to everyone and pointless to discuss, so I'll keep it short.
When I heard the election results, I, like many of my friends, got angry. Deep fear got triggered, because with the election results, one of my biggest loves, namely my children and planet Earth, are threatened.
Climate change and environmental destruction are real. Period. I want the planet to be here for my children and grandchildren.
The old mindset of exploiting the earth for profit will ensure that there is no future for my offspring or Mother Earth.
So here's the thing:
After my initial anger and fear, I recommit myself to serving the one force in the world that I believe in. Love. Love can create miracles, and I choose to believe in it, even if things seem lost or depressing.
There is so much goodness in the world.
I refuse to participate in the divisive name-calling energy out there. I will focus on love and gratitude and see what emerges from there.
One of the things that struck me this morning was how grateful I am for my children's love for me. I hurt my back very badly and have been flat on my back on the sofa for three days.
This morning, Kai (13 years old) and Eva (7 years old) together made me homemade waffles with maple syrup and whipping cream. (My husband Steve and son Lukas are gone right now, so they missed out).
Kids like these give me so much hope. They are good people, they care about the Earth, and they care about values like helping others and working hard.
I am a lucky woman.
Talking of gratitude: food.
Here are some of our favorite fall foods to eat. They are comfort food, warming the belly and heart.
I make some of them at our homesteading and wilderness retreat, and the participants have begged me for recipes. One lady said the lasagne was the best she ever had.
Grain Free Sweet Potato Ginger Cake
1 cup coconut oil
3 cups baked sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds)
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups almond flour (or finely ground almonds - I do that in my food processor)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Cut sweet potatoes into 1-inch slices and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until they're tender, about 30 minutes. It's fine if they get a little caramelized – in fact, that adds a nice touch!
Mix almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl.
Whisk eggs and coconut oil in a separate bowl.
Puree the baked sweet potatoes in a blender or cuisinart til smooth, then add dates and puree some more.
Add this mixture to the egg and oil bowl and mix well.
Then mix dry and wet ingredients and put in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Smooth the top with a spoon.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 to 50 minutes.
Optional: Serve with whipping cream sweetened with a little maple syrup.
Note: If you don't have almond flour, grind the same amount of almonds in a cuisinart til they are finely chopped. The cake's texture won't be as cake-like as it would be with almond flour, but it's more crunchy, which is lovely as well. I made this cake with pecans instead of almonds the other day, and it tastes great.
Butternut Squash and Feta Galette
Now for a main dish. I make this when I want to impress people, which is kind of cheating because this galette is not hard to make at all, but looks like it is.
It's a perfect fall course, because it features squash and leeks. And since I'm a cheese maker, I always am looking for ways to use up Feta.
1 1/4 cups flour
1 stick cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 Tablespoon sage leaves (Frankly? I often don't have them around, so I leave them out, but they do add a nice warm spiciness if you have them)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 Tablespoons cold water
1 beaten egg
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds taken out, cut into 2- by 1/4-inch slices (about 4 cups worth)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, thinly sliced (or use onions if you don't have leeks)
6 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled
Make the dough:
I love the cuisinart (food processor) for that.
Pulse flour, butter, sage and salt until the mixture looks like coarse meal.
Drizzle ice water in and pulse until it forms a ball, but don't overprocess it, otherwise the dough becomes tough.
Press the dough into a disk, wrap it into plastic wrap, and put in the fridge for an hour.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit with rack in the middle.
Bake squash after drizzling olive oil and salt over it, until it's golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Take squash out of oven and let cool slightly.
Turn oven temperature down to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cook leeks in some olive oil with a pinch of salt until tender, about 10 minutes.
Put this into a bowl to let it cool a little.
Add baked squash, crumbled goat cheese and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and toss gently.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a 13-inch disk.
Arrange filling in an even layer in the center of the dough disk, leaving a 2-inch border.
Fold dough in on itself to cover outer rim of filling, pleating dough as necessary.
Brush pastry with beaten egg and bake until crust is golden on the edges, around 35 to 45 minutes.
Cool it for 10 minutes before serving.
(an adaption from the Moosewood Cookbook)
For the sauce:
3 Tbs. olive oil or lard
2 cups chopped onion
1 medium diced bell pepper
2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. thyme
1 1/2 salt
13 oz canned tomatoes (whole or crushed)
6 oz tomato paste
1 jar tomato sauce (like you would use for spaghetti)
1 Tbs. honey
6 cloves minced garlic
For the Lasagne:
12 lasagne noodles (uncooked works just fine!)
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese or fresh chevre
1 lb grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup (or more) grated parmesan
a 9X13-inch baking dish
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2) Spread a little sauce over the bottom of the pan.
3) Cover with a single layer of noodles (4 sheets of lasagne noodles).
4) Place half of the ricotta or chevre cheese in small dots over the noodles.
5) Add 1/3 of the sauce.
6) Add 1/2 the mozzarella, evenly spread out.
7) Add 4 more noddles.
8) Add the remaining ricotta or chevre cheese in small dots over the noodles.
9) Add another 1/3 of the sauce.
10) Add the remaining mozzarella.
11) Add the last 4 noodles.
12) Add the last 1/3 of the sauce.
13) Sprinkle the parmesan over the top.
Bake for 45 minutes. I usually bake it for 35 minutes and then put foil for the last 10 minutes, so it won't get too brown and burn.
Sorry I don't have photos for this. I wanted to make lasagne and take photographs of it, but my back won't allow me to cook it at the moment. Just believe me: It's awesome.