My life - from the impact of great loss, to a refreshing new take on life and a place where I now share ............... my favorite Plant Strong recipes....

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lasagna Revolutionized!

Hearty and satisfying - it's hard to believe that it's plant based! So delicious and easy to prepare in the crock pot, it might just become a main staple in your home as it has ours.  Enjoy!


1 large white onion (I prefer sweet)
2 cups sliced mushrooms

2  28 oz cans Chopped or Crushed Tomatoes
4 tbsp minced garlic (or 4 cloves, chopped)
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium zucchini
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Italian Seasonings (Basil, Oregano, etc...)
1 pkg firm tofu, drained
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
 (or 2 handfuls fresh spinach if using high speed blender)
1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles (uncooked)
1 1/2 cups nutritional yeast, divided
1 cup water (1/2 cup if not using blender)

In a large frying pan, heat the onions and mushrooms and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the celery, carrots,zucchini and garlic and saute until all the vegetables have softened, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and season with italian seasonings and pepper to taste. Simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens some.

Season the sauce with more seasonings if needed. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate.

Crumble the tofu into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the spinach, 1/2 cup nutritional yeast and mix together.  Season with italian seasonings.

*If using high speed blender, combine fresh spinach, tofu,  yeast and seasonings and "gently" blend.  You want the tofu to take on the appearance of Ricotta cheese, so be careful not to 'over blend'. You may need to add up to a 1/2 cup of water for desired consistency.

Spread a thin layer of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the crock and stir in 1/2 cup water.  Next add a single layer of uncooked noodles to the bottom of the crock pot.

Drop a couple of large spoonfuls of the spinach mix over the noodles - enough to generously cover the noodles. Add another layer of noodles on top of the spinach mix.

(At this point, add some of the marinara sauce to the remaining spinach mixture and stir together).

On top of the noodles, add the marinara sauce and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the nutritional yeast.

Add another layer of noodles, and then cover them with the spinach/sauce mixture.  Again, add another layer of noodles, and cover it with the last of the marinara sauce.  Sprinkle with the remaining nutritional yeast.

Cover and cook on high for 4 hours
(times may vary depending upon crock)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


So Jeff and I are coming to the end of our 6th month of Eating to Live.  We both feel better than we have in years.  Jeff has lost over 40lbs and his pant sizes continue to drop.  I'm at a 30lb loss... but more importantly, I am feeling healthy with minimal migraines. 

I'm not going to tell you that it's always easy.  It's not.  Learning to eat plant based can be challenging.  It goes against everything I've learned about preparing meals.  Do we always follow the plan 100%?  Not hardly, but boy can we tell the difference in how we feel when eating things like breads, oils, meat and sugar.

Our goal isn't weight loss, though that is definitely a benefit to this plan.  We simply want to learn how to eat food that is going to nourish, strengthen and heal our bodies rather than tear them down.  It's a process that we are learning as we go.  For the most part, we eat 80-90% plant based - avoiding caffeine, sugar, meat, dairy, breads.

What does that leave us to eat?   A lot of fruits, veggies, soups, salads, nuts and bean dishes.  We eat some whole grains in moderation, like brown rice and oatmeal (flavored with fruit, cinnamon and almond or hemp milk).  Do we still eat other food?  Yes.  Moderation is the key. 

Yes, we are getting plenty of calcium and protein from the plants.

I am personally encouraged that people are seeing the difference in our lives and wanting to learn more.  I am excited to share recipes and success stories - to cheer each other on! 

The advice that I want to stress most to them is to not expect perfection.  Don't be consumed by this, just simply find ways to add nutritious plant based foods to your day.  Recognize food addictions, and chose to end them.  Find things that inspire you.  Don't beat yourself up if you have pizza with friends.  It's going to happen.  It doesn't mean that you've failed.  The better you do, the easier it becomes.  Food cravings do change.  There are many many success stories out there... Remember why you are doing this.  Take the time to read "Eat to Live" by Dr. Fuhrman.  Start a blog and share your favorite recipes, or post them on our reboot pages on FB.  You've got this!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Simplicity + Chaos = JOY

My how things can change in such a short amount of time...

At the end of last year, I was tired of being sick and tired all of the time.  In many ways, it felt like life was just passing me by as I struggled each day with the continuous head pain and fatigue.  My focus was on simply trying to be the best mom and wife that I could be - and not letting the physical struggles rob my family from the love I so wanted to pour out on them.  It was discouraging to say the least, yet at the same time I think that the Lord had some important lessons to teach me that I never would have grasped had I been feeling good and keeping busy.

Lessons about being still, and resting in Him.... trusting that He uses all things....

Lessons that I don't ever want to forget, especially now as my life is once again taking another turn.  I am delighted to be feeling so much better thanks to the changes we have made in the foods we eat.  I haven't felt this good in years, and though I still often have headaches, they aren't anything compared to the debilitating migraines.

Feeling better and not wanting to waste my days away, we have opened up our home for daycare again.  Not like I did before with many families, but simply one family with 3 very special kiddos that I adore.  My days are full with giggles - and messes, and bickering, and chaos, and ... and.... and.....

.... and I am so thankful!

I have learned that every moment is precious, and that time really does pass by so quickly.

I desire my life to be one of purpose and fruit bearing... not selfishness and trying to find happiness with 'stuff' as our culture so often encourages, the trap that we so easily get ensnared in.

The more simple my life becomes, the more rich I feel, and the more at peace I am.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tortilla Soup at a Glance

Back in February, I posted a recipe for tortilla soup, very similar to this one.  Today while making it, I decided to snap a few pictures since it was so easy.  I really should call it my "UN-Tortilla Soup" since the only tortillas used were simply for the photos....
Have you had your fruits and veggies today?
I add the ingredients that I want totally blended first with 2 cups of hot water. After blending on high for 3 minutes, the soup was hot without over cooking the veggies.  That's right!  I want those macro nutrients!
Once it's hot, I slow down the speed and add the beans, olives and some of the avocado. 
Not only does it taste great, but I FEEL great after eating it. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Another Turn....

So my daydream of having more time for Pinterest didn't quite work out as planned, and now having read of copyright issues that people are finding, I don't really have as much of a desire for it.  I still will probably check back for fun craft ideas now and then, but am not in a big hurry to be pinning anything.  But that's okay, since I really have so much that I'd like to do away from the computer anyway.

"This Little Piggy" photo by me

I thought I would check in on here though to let you know that we are all doing well and are very much anticipating the arrival of spring.  It looks like we may have a  few more kiddo's running around here soon.  Now that I'm feeling so much better, I have decided to open up our home to do daycare again.  It's been a while (since Chelsea was little) since I have done it, but have been so blessed over the years to learn what an impact it has had on those families.  I wish I would have known then what I know now.  Now that I know, and have grown a little wiser in my years, I feel that I can contribute even more.  I have a lot of love to give!

I am still amazed at how much more I appreciate the little things.  I know that comes from loss - not only of loved ones, but of my health as well.  I hated the feeling of not being able to function as I once had.  My friends seemed to be continually running circles around me.  They may still be lapping me, but I have  picked up the pace a little bit.  I want what I do with my days to count for something - so once again, I look forward to this "turn" in my journey...

"You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
      My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
      at best, each of us is but a breath.” 
Psalm 39:5 NLT

Friday, March 2, 2012

Staying on Task - kids

I have a new love.... a place where I can go and browse, feel creative, be inspired and can get great ideas for pretty much anything.... such as ways to bring order to our home.  I have come to the realization lately that I really do not enjoy repeating myself over and over and over and over and over again - day after day after day after day.  Thanks to my new love (aka Pinterest) we now have a way for our goofy, easily distracted girl to stay on task.  She was excited to pick out the colors, I was excited to think about not repeating myself.

So doesn't that mean more time for Pinterest if I really am implementing some of the ideas?  I think so!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Simple Rice & Beans with a Kick

It has been cold here, and now that I'm eating better, I don't have the hot flashes like I used to.  On days like this, a hot flash just might be nice as I've been shivering in my socks all morning!

A hot cup of coffee is out - which really I don't mind since I have been sleeping so much better since kicking the habit.  I feel rested and have more energy....

But enough about that.  Let's get to the rice and beans.  Today I wanted something warm and filling - yet easy and fast to throw together.  This dish hit the mark.

Don't let the fact that it's so simple fool you.  It's good, and nutritious... and perfect for those chilly days!


  • 2 cans of black or pinto beans (or both!)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (not Italian seasoned)
  • Jalapeno - fresh or canned - to taste
  • Brown rice

That's it!  Simply put the tomatoes and jalapeno in any blender and blend.  Start of with a small amount of jalapeno and adjust to the heat that you like.  It does seem to lose some heat when cooked and mixed with the beans and rice, so you might make it a little hotter than what you would normally like.

Strain and rinse the beans, add them to a pot along with tomato sauce.  Bring to boil and then simmer.  The longer you can let it simmer to let the flavors meld, the better it will be.

Serve over brown rice.
(I like to keep cooked brown rice on hand, so I cook extra when I make it.  I keep individual portions in the freezer for days like this).