A few years ago I was out for a walk when a car pulled up beside me. I was certain the driver's next words would be: where is the gas station? funeral home? arena? Living in a small town right off a highway means people end up here looking for staples. Even if they've come to town intentinally, some landmarks are not easily found. A river runs through the town and so the streets are not a grid and some streets start on one side of the river and continue on the other. It's not uncommon to give directions to any of these places and I was ready and willing to happily direct them. However, on this day, the driver instead said to me: are you Josilin's mom? Panic sank in. What emergency was going on at my home that this random stranger had been sent out to find me?
As I caught my breath and tried to remain calm (was my house on fire??) the driver smiled wide. She said to me: I was a supply teacher at school the other day and had a chance to meet your daughter. I just want you to know she is a-m-a-z-i-n-g! That's a special girl you got there and I know she's going to do great things in this lifetime. Please give her a big hug from me. I was speechless. A stranger wanted to tell me how great my daughter was? at school?
Can you imagine? I knew this was one special lady when it came to teaching and her influence on many children is remarkable. When I learned she was committed to healthy eating too it was icing on the cake. We crossed paths many times over the years. We talked a lot about nourishing our children and the building blocks their minds and bodies needed to meet their potential. We made changes to the hot lunch program at our school and added vegetarian chili to the menu (she brought avocados to put on top!) She was (and is) inspirational. And now she wrote a cookbook. I adapted her lasagne recipe below. Jos will tell you I put hemp seeds in everything, but I've never thought of putting it in my lasagne. The inspiration continues.
Roasted Vegetable Hemp Seed Lasagneadapted from Optimal You
2 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup cottage cheese
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
2 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp sea salt
fresh ground pepper
1 large can diced tomatoes (28oz)
5 Tbsp tomato paste
12 whole wheat lasagne noodles
1 cup shredded mozzarella (add more if you want it really cheesy)
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
Preheat oven to 375degrees.
Make the sauce/fillings:
In a roasting pan, combine vegetables with oil and roast in oven until tender; about 40min. Cool slightly before pureeing. Reduce oven to 350degrees when veggies done.
While vegetables are roasting prepare the cheese and tomato sauce layers.
In a medium bowl, combine spinach, cottage and ricotta cheeses and egg. Reserve.
In a blender, combine tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, cayenne, salt and pepper. Reserve in a separate bowl until ready to build lasagne.
In a blender combine vegetables, hemp and flax seeds and blend until a smooth puree.
To build lasagne:
In a 9x13" pan cover bottom with tomato sauce. Top with noodles, ricotta cheese layer, noodles, tomato sauce, noodles, roasted veggie layer, noodles and tomato sauce. Finish with cheese.
Cover with foil and bake 45min at 350degrees.
Remove foil and bake 5 min more. Broil top if cheese not cooked through.
Let sit 5-10min before cutting and serving. Enjoy!