Thursday, November 10, 2016

Some of my favorite recipes to cheer you up - Butternut Squash Galette, Grain-free-refined-sugar free Sweet Potato Cake, and Vegetarian Lasagne

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)
8 dates
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.

Make filling: 

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.

Make galette:

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
black pepper
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.

PS: You noticed that some of these recipes have cheese in them.  I teach an online, self paced cheese making course you should take or give for presents this Christmas.  Check it out!


  1. Wow, thanks for the recipes they look wonderful. And once again, your photos, I seriously get a wonderful feeling when I look at them.

  2. The sweet potato ginger cake looks wonderful! I can't wait to try this. I actually grew sweet potatoes(140 lbs) in my small garden this year.They are all kinds of strange shapes and sizes because we have lots of clay in our soil even though I add lots of amendments.When they can't grow down they curve and turn into strange shapes. Some are quite funny looking.

    This recipes is a perfect way for me to use some of these wonderful potatoes.I get kinda stumped on different ways to use them. Thanks so much for this recipe, its perfect timing for fall and the holidays.I am going to make this today. I can't wait to taste it!!!

    p.s. My kraut turned out super nice! Its crunchy,good and taste the way good kraut should taste no chemicals. Yay!


    1. That's so awesome that you grew so many sweet potatoes! I'm jealous! I wonder if instead of growing them down, you could grow them in mulch or straw, like you can do with potatoes?

      Glad your sauerkraut tastes great!

  3. Corina I made the cake yesterday!

    I loved the flavor and the fact I could use some of my sweet potatoes!! I followed the directions exactly. I have a question about the cake.I have not made a cake with almond flour before only wheat flour that I grind myself.
    Is the cake suppose to be...not sure how to describe it....kinda wet,dense,oily? I loved the taste and the texture but was not sure if the texture was right or not.I didn't know if this was normal or maybe my sweet potatoes were to moist. Anyway will be making it again. I didn't have any whipped cream but made a light vanilla/nutmeg icing drizzle. I ate to much last night. I could not quit cutting little bits off and eating

    I also wondered if I could use sorgum or millet flour. I bought some of these when I purchased the almond flour. I was getting ready to experiment with all the flours. Your recipe is the first cake recipe. I have not baked with gluten free flours much. Just starting to experiment.

    Thanks for the recipe will be trying some more.


    1. Yes, the texture is exactly as you described. You could use less coconut oil to make it less oily, but I like the fatty component!
      You can totally try to substitute the almond flour. I never have, so please let me know how it goes, okay?

  4. Oh Mama! I sure do need a lift so I'm making these this weekend! In art classes this week I dumped the sculpture project I had in mind and had the kids draw their favorite heroes. I needed to focus on people who have fought the good fight in the face of resistance. Malama Yousefzai, Dr King, Gandhi and others.

    1. What a great idea, and what good therapy to have the kids draw their favorite heroes.
      They are great examples to aspire to. We are all just reading Malala's book.
      I also think all the kids need to know that THEY can be heroes as well, just by standing for love in the face of hate. Know what I mean?

  5. A very yummy cake. I used raw virgin coconut oil and the flavor came through too much so I will either use less next time or try a different fat. I would also add more dates for texture. I added stem ginger to whipped cream to make a ginger flavored cream to go with it YUM!! You cant get stem ginger in the states but you could use crystallized ginger instead.

    Thank you for the recipe Corinna and here is one in return. Its an orange version of yours:

    1. Glad you liked it. I never heard of stem ginger... but it sounds fancy! Yes, use less coconut oil if you want to - the cake is so moist as is, the oil can be adjusted!

  6. 3 Researches SHOW Why Coconut Oil Kills Fat.

    The meaning of this is that you actually burn fat by eating coconut fats (also coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 studies from big medicinal journals are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world around!


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