Tag Archives: carrots

Wedding of the Week-circa 1995 and my Vegan Gluten Free Carrot Cake Recipe

Nineteen years ago today, we stood under a blooming willow branch, with a friend reading us the wedding ceremony we wrote, joyful in our love, happy that our worlds were joining, hoping for the future.


Wedding Vows- Jean McFadden Layton and Edward Layton
Wedding Vows-
Jean McFadden Layton and Edward Layton

We made the decision to marry quickly.
No, not for necessity, although I do seem to be posing with a baby bump.

Cutting the Cake
Cutting the Cake

Our romance moved quickly to this ultimate conclusion for two reasons.

Ed knew he loved me.

I knew I loved Ed.

We had both been married before.

Knew what love could do to both make and break your heart. We were willing to do it all again.
So we brought together our loved ones, friends and family, on the one day we thought no one would have to be working.

A Saturday in Spring that fell on the same weekend as Passover, Easter and Tax Day.

Many of our friends worked with us, catering to high end clients. Any other weekend, most would be working, passing drinks or cooking for them. We truly wanted to get them together to celebrate.

Alas, it was not to be. Some debutante wanted to have a tea party too. So we were missing one of our best buddies.

At least my mother could be there, sick as she was.

Ed feeding me cake
Ed feeding me cake

Wedding of the Week 4/15/1995
Wedding of the Week 4/15/1995

We had a glorious day, full of joy, dancing, friends and great food.

We cooked all of our meal ourselves that morning downstairs where I worked.

In the kitchens of God’s Love We Deliver, roasting turkeys and hams, toasting rolls and hors d’oeuvres.

Everything but the cake.That was a gift to us from Chuck the baker at GLWD. A beautiful Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese icing.

I know the print is hard to read on this Wedding of the Week.  Sometimes working for a not for profit can bring you special joys.  When I announced my engagement in the kitchen, one of the volunteers asked if I would mind if  the New York Times could cover my wedding as a way to get God’s Love We Deliver some press. Ed and I happily agreed.

I’ve taken inspiration from that cake and created my Vegan Gluten Free Carrot Cake recipe. We’ll be eating it for dessert tonight.

Vegan Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Recipe
Vegan Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Wedding Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Gluten-Free
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This cake has become one of my family's favorites. Without frosting, it is truly a healthy breakfast, full of fiber rich carrots, applesauce and raisins with a healthy dose of protein from the toasted walnuts. With the frosting, it becomes a treat dessert. I've included both ways to make the frosting, dairy full and dairy free. Even my vegan friends prefer the dairy version.
Recipe type: Vegan Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
Serves: 12
  • 3 large carrots- grated
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger- grated
  • 113 grams (1/4 cup) light olive oil
  • 20 grams (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract
  • 400 grams (1½ cups) organic applesauce
  • 85 grams (3/4 cup) coconut shreds
  • 70 grams (1/2 cup) raisins or currants
  • 200 grams (1¼ cup) Whole Grain Flour Mix
  • 100 grams (3/4 cup) White Flour Mix
  • 69 grams (1/3 cup) organic cane sugar
  • 53 grams (1/3 cup) brown sugar
  • 15 grams (1 tablespoon) baking powder
  • 5 grams (1 teaspoon) baking soda
  • 20 grams (2 teaspoons packed) Pixie Dust
  • 12 grams (1 tablespoon)cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon each nutmeg and cloves
  • 5 grams (1/2 teaspoon) salt
  • 120 grams (1 cup) walnuts-toasted Chop ¾ cup and reserve remaining for topping.
  • 8 ounces cream cheese or vegan cream cheese
  • 4 ounces butter or vegan butter
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. To toast walnuts: place on cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for 6-8 minutes till lightly browned. Stir after 5 minutes. Allow to cool before chopping
  2. Leave oven on for baking the cake.
  3. Grease two 9 inch cake pans.
  4. Combine in a large bowl: carrots, ginger, oil, vanilla, applesauce, coconut and raisins.
  5. Stir together the flours, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, pixie dust, spices and salt.
  6. Blend the two mixtures together.
  7. Pour into the prepared pans equally.
  8. Bake for 40-45 minutes or till center springs back when tapped and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center.
  9. Remove from oven, let cool 5 minutes then turn out onto cooling rack to complete cooling.
  1. Beat together the cream cheese and butter.
  2. Add sugar and vanilla, beat till smooth.
  3. If you are making the vegan version: combine all ingredients and beat till just combined. If you attempt to beat well, the vegan cream cheese will break and become a gluey mass with oil pouring out.
  4. Once the cake cools completely, smooth ½ cup or so of the frosting on top of one layer.
  5. Add second layer and frost top of that.
  6. Sprinkle with reserved walnuts and serve

Keeping this cake Vegan Gluten Free Carrot Cake Recipe simple means that anyone can make a great cake for their wedding or celebration. But even better, it stirs together so quickly that it is one of our favorite breakfasts.

So many changes have happened in the intervening time. By the time we got to our first anniversary, I was an orphan and Ed had lost his father.

We moved to New Jersey and then to Portland Oregon to go to Naturopathic college for me and Acupuncture school for Ed

We  had our beautiful twins (in the middle of medical school), moved to our small town and raise lots of our own food.
But our love hasn’t changed, just deepened and grown.

Gluten-Free Tri Color Vegetarian Lasagna- To make those weeknight dinners a whole lot easier

If you are like me, this is the crunch week of holiday time planning and fun.

We have 3 December birthdays in our nuclear family  of 4, and 3 others in the extended one. Lots of shopping, wrapping and mailing have happened this week

Gluten Free Vegetable Lasagna
Gluten-free Vegetable Lasagna

Oh, and for two of them, it’s the Golden Birthday, which means the girls birthdate and their age match this year.  The party decorations will be quite lovely.

Thanks goodness for once I didn’t have to mail presents to Iraq.  Uncle Joe is home. Yipee!

It’s the time for Orchestra Concerts at the middle school, The Monologue Project, Regional Climbing competitions for all those powerful children in the YMCA team, and all those wonderful once a year Holiday events like the horse drawn carriage rides, Port Festival and craft fairs.  It is also one of my busiest times at the office as people use their benefits before the year expires.

What I don’t have a lot of time for is cooking.

This time of year, I tend to be a bit gleeful that my freezer is full of incredible soups made during the peak of vegetable harvest, some great grass-fed meat to turn into quick stir fries and curries and a lot of berries and fruits to use in cobblers and muffins.

But after a week of those quick to put on the table meals, I want a dish that satisfies my desire to cook along with my family’s desire to eat well.

This is the dish,

Tri-color Vegetarian Lasagna.

Rich in ricotta and a bit of mozzarella but filled with pureed carrots, mushrooms and spinach too.

One layered dish that provides enough for two meals.  Best of all, it freezes perfectly and reheats well.  So if I’m going to the trouble of making one, I just make two and freeze the second before baking it off.

Cook once, eat twice is my favorite strategy to make it through times like this week when I’m out of the door by 7:30am and not home till 10:30pm or later. This travels to the office and heats up just fine in our toaster oven for lunch too.

Organic Vegetable Gluten-free Lasagna

The hardest thing to find to make this fabulous dish is the pasta.

For some unknown reason, flat gluten-free noodles are really hard to find here in Bellingham.

I’ve looked.

I even went up to the Bellingham Pasta Company table at the Farmer’s Market last week to ask if they can make flat gluten-free noodles.  And they can, but only on special order on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

Rarely do I remember to call ahead and order.

Gluten-Free Corn Pasta Miller’s Finest Lasagne Corte

So when I found these lovely little noodles at Grocery Outlet, I bought 8 bags.  They are wonderful and since they are made in Romania, no GMOS.

Although it means that the pretty layers I love in this dish are a bit more …dynamic, the flavors are all there.

But my locavore heart just hurts to imagine the carbon footprint to get these to me. I really attempt to make good choices, local ones.

I gathered together the carrots from Hopewell Farms, Mushrooms from Cascadia Mushrooms, Spinach from Rabbit Field Farms.

I used Organic Valley Ricotta and Mozzarella, just love the quality of these products and the fact that I can meet and talk with one of their farmers annually.  He lives up in Lynden.

So although I have to gather my corn pasta from Romania to avoid the GMO’s of our corn in the USA, the rest of this meal is all from Whatcom County. And that makes me really happy.

Organic Vegetarian Lasagna-
Prep time
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To make those weeknight dinners a whole lot easier
Serves: 9
  • One bag of Lasagna noodles- cooked
  • 15 oz Organic Valley ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 oz Organic Valley mozzarella- shredded Separate into thirds and reserve one-third for the topping.
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 oz of mushrooms-
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 bunches of spinach-washed
  • 1 batch of homemade tomato sauce or substitute a jar of organic tomato sauce
  • 1 9x9 pan for thick lasagna or a 9x12 pan for thinner portions.
  1. Combine the ricotta, eggs,⅔ of mozzarella and pepper in a bowl.
  2. Beat till the mixture is an even color.
  3. Preheat skillet on stove
  4. Add mushrooms and cook till they release their juices.
  5. Puree in food processor.
  6. Combine in a bowl with ⅓ of the cheese mixture.
  7. Reserve.
  8. Cut the carrots into small pieces,
  9. Steam in a pan till soft.
  10. Puree in a food processor.
  11. Combine in a bowl with ⅓ of the cheese mixture
  12. Reserve.
  13. Preheat skillet on stove.
  14. Add washed spinach and cook till bright green and softened and fairly dry. If the spinach is too wet, it makes the lasagna unstable.
  15. Puree in food processor.
  16. Combine in a bowl with ⅓ of the cheese mixture
  17. Reserve.
  18. Place a cup or so of tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan. You want to completely cover it, so if you need a bit more, use it.
  19. Place noodles in a flat layer.
  20. Top the noodles with the carrot mixture.
  21. Top the spinach mixture with another third of the noodles in a flat layer
  22. Top the noodles with the mushroom mixture
  23. Place the next third of the noodles in a flat layer atop the mushroom layer
  24. Top the noodles with the spinach.
  25. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  26. Bake in 350 degree oven for 1 hour.
  27. Serve with remaining sauce, heated till it is warm

Want to see the lasagna creation in photos?  click here to jump to my Flickr account slideshow. 

If you would like to follow a bunch of my favorite local purveyors on Google, this is my interest list on Facebook.  These make life just a bit simpler for everyone.

The nice folks at Organic Valley were generous to send me the cheeses I needed for this lasagna. I’m grateful for the support but it doesn’t change how I would write about them at all. I love Organic Valley and seek out their products for all my meals.

Have you checked out all of their holiday recipes yet?  Please do, there are some terrific meal ideas and tempting sweets as well.


Chutney Glazed Stuffed Acorn Squash

This month, we’re reaching into the past for Vintage Side Dishes.

You know, the ones that are truly missed when they aren’t on the table, glances from your brother to the aunt who always spends the morning creating the vegetable. The traditional ones of your youth, like these stuffed acorn squash.

Cooking a welcoming Thanksgiving for a mixed crowd of food loving folks seems like a huge task.
Multiple foods to juggle, the cooking times balance, the space shuffle for stovetop or oven.
Care taked to prevent the vegans from getting buttered vegetables, or the gluten-free person from facing wheaty stuffing.

But it also means lots of wonderful new flavors and textures to explore.

When your cousin announces that he is now vegan, challenging the traditions, some cooks take the challenge and wrestle it into submission.
This recipe is one of those.

My mother loved acorn squash in all ways. The orange fleshed vegetables would appear in our kitchen as soon as October in good years, savored till Christmas.
Mom loved sweet simple foods. When you have six kids, anything with a long prep time is unlikely to be served.
I remember watching Mom hatchet the squash neatly in two, and my less stellar attempts.
Baking them in a cookie sheet with a cup of boiling water to get them soft.

Cutting a sliver off of the rounded outside so they wouldn’t roll. Dousing them in butter and brown sugar before a quick trip under the broiler.
Crunchy sugar glaze resisting the spoon diving for the orange flesh. This is the way I remember acorn squash at our dinner table.
But that cousin, the new vegan, he really needed a dinner option. The turkey wouldn’t do as a main course.

Chutney Glazed Stuffed Acorn Squash from @GFDoctor
Chutney Glazed Stuffed Acorn Squash

Chutney-Glazed Stuffed Acorn Squash
Prep time
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Enjoy these meals in a boat about ½ hour after you begin to make them, perfect for a fall evening.
Serves: 4
  • 2 small acorn squash- split and all seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots- diced
  • 2 stalks of celery- diced
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 quarter sized piece of ginger- minced
  • 1 red pepper- diced
  • 1 15oz can organic garbanzo beans- drained and rinsed
  • 1 jar Major Grey's Chutney- or chutney of your choice- use a food processor and blend till smooth or hand cut the larger pieces finely
  1. Make sure all your vegetables are diced into similar small sizes. I match the size of the vegetables to the size of the beans
  2. Preheat oven to 350
  3. place acorn squash on cookie sheet cut side down
  4. add 1 cup boiling water to the pan
  5. place on bottom rack of the oven
  6. Bake ½ hour or till tender when poked with a knife.
  7. While the squash are baking, heat the oil in a frying pan
  8. add the vegetables when the oil is hot, carrots first for a minute
  9. then celery cook for a minute
  10. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and finally peppers
  11. Cook these till the carrots are tender
  12. remove from heat and add the beans
  13. Remove the squash from the oven,
  14. cut off the bottom if the squash are tilty or just smoosh the bottom flat a bit to make a stable bowl of vegetable.
  15. Stuff each cavity to overflowing.
  16. Drizzle with the major grey's chutney puree.
  17. Return to the oven for a minute or so to allow the glaze to set a bit.
  18. Serve with rice or millet

This became my vegan guest’s perfect dinner. Self contained in the split half of squash, a savory mix of vegetables combined with soft beans, all topped with a lovely spicy fruit glaze that was sweet but so much more too.

We make these whenever we have a party now, simply because they’re perfect for vegans, corn-free, soy-free, gluten-free and very flavorful. Feel free to mix up the vegetables and bean you use inside.
Each one can be the start of something special.

Orange Wasabi Cabbage Salad- Book Giveaway- Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger

It’s been a really long time since I participated in an Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger. This month Kate from Eat Recycle Repeat is the host while SeaMaiden is in Japan.

Sea at the Book of Yum has been hosting these gatherings from February of 2008! That is a lot of time and devotion.

I was fortunate to meet Sea at the first BlogHer Food Convention in 2009 held in San Francisco, where I first met face to face many of my long time social media friends like Diane from The Whole Gang, SeaMaiden from Book of Yum, Elana from Elana’s Pantry and Alison St. Sure from Sure Foods Living.

Diane, SeaMaiden, me, Elena and Allison at BlogHer Food 2009

I’ve loved to check out my colleague’s work, happy to see what they have been creating.

Just getting around to actually participating?  Well, I tend to get deep into food chemistry like my gluten-free sourdough and get lost in the process instead.

This month, I made it a priority. A dear friend of mine, a fellow mom of twins, Ali Segersten and her husband have written a second book.

 Nourishing Meals: Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes for the Whole Family

I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time. We’ve talked about her amazing recipes for years. I’ve enjoyed her cookies at the annual Bellingham Gluten Information Group holiday cookie exchange, enjoyed her treats at the annual WinterFair at the Waldorf school and talked about substitutes for xanthan and guar gums.

Red, Green and Savoy Cabbage

Her life has been busier than mine for the past few years. Her boys are such fun, such beautiful spirits and now another  lovely baby girl has joined their family. I miss having time to hang out with Ali, but occasionally we get an afternoon together, like we did recently.

Working and talking in her kitchen, while my girls played with her children, we enjoyed a cup of tea and a bit of cooking.

When I chose a blogger for this month, Ali was an easy choice.

Making a choice of recipe from this incredible  book was difficult, the diversity of recipes so broad.

My desire to use local, seasonal vegetables made it a bit simpler. I had a half of a red. half a savoy cabbage and a green cabbage in the fridge to use.

Ali’s Orange Wasabi Cabbage Salad was the perfect way to use these vegetables.

I made the salad with 1 1/2 teaspoons of wasabi. It made for just the right bite.

My family loved it as well, taking it for lunch the next day as well.

What a wonderful way to enjoy fall vegetables.

Orange Wasabi Cabbage Salad- From Nourishing Meals

Wouldn’t you like to make this too? Enter the drawing below to win a copy of Nourishing Meals.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’ll strongly encourage you to like my page on Facebook for another opportunity to win a copy of Nourishing Meals.

Orange Wasabi Cabbage Salad-
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This is my variation on Ali's recipe. I found that using a bit of lime as well as the orange was more to my families taste.
Serves: 10
  • ½ red cabbage- around 2 cups sliced into thin strips
  • ½ savoy cabbage- around 3 cups- sliced into thin strips
  • ½ green cabbage around 3 cups- sliced into thin strips.
  • 2 carrots- shredded
  • 1 bunch of scallions- sliced into thin rounds including the greens
  • 1½ teaspoons of prepared wasabi or ½ teaspoon of dry wasabi and 1 tablespoon water.
  • ½ cup orange juice concentrate
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons wheat free tamari sauce
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Each of the vegetables will begin to wilt once the citrus juices touch
  3. If you want a crisp salad, only dress it 15-30 minutes before serving.

Snow Day! Slow cooker Gluten-free Beef Stew Recipe

So much snow for a small community, so much to be overwhelmed with by Mother Nature, inches gracefully drifting from the sky, adding up to feet of fluffy coldness.

Shutting down traffic, closing schools, and giving us all a chance to stay home and cook instead of being overwhelmed, but with grass-fed Beef Stew in the crockpot all feels right.

Grass Fed Gluten-Free Beef Stew

Almost like the feeling I got when I realized my family needed to be gluten free. All four of us had had symptoms for so long, but it was so easy to explain them away.

We can’t now. We’ve been gluten-free for a month and we all are feeling so much better.

No farting in the mornings, no foggy heads, unable to put together comprehensive thoughts beyond 8pm.
No dark under eye circles on any of us. Terrific.
So the girls (fraternal twin almost 7 year olds) got the week off from school and were horribly disappointed!
They had to spend their time with games, sledding, reading and baking Gluten-Free snacks with Mom and Dad.

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