Penne In Pear Cream Sauce


Penne In Cream Sauce


  • 1 pound Penne Pasta, dry
  • 2 tablespoons earth balance organic spread
  • 2 firm pears (d’anjou or Bartlett), peeled and cut into a ½” dice
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1 ½  teaspoon Coarse Salt
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 ½ cups soy milk
  • 4-6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 4 handfuls of spinach or kale
  • Ground Black Pepper


  1. Cook penne pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking…
  3. Heat the earth balance spread on medium/high in a large frying pan. Add the diced pears, rosemary, and salt, and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until pear is soft. Pour in the white wine and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated. Pour in the soy milk and bring to a simmer. Add the nutritional yeast, cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes on med, or until sauce has thickened and reduced by half.  Add 4 handfuls of spinach or kale and cook until wilted.
  4. When the pasta is done, drain the water and place back in the pot. Pour the cream sauce over the pasta and toss to coat.
  5. Serve immediately with fresh ground pepper over the top.



Creamy Potato Soup



  • 1 Medium White Onion
  • 2 Medium Carrots
  • 3 Medium Stalks of Celery
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic
  • 3 Medium Russet Potatoes
  • 1/3 Cup Of Vegetable Broth
  • 4 Cups or 1 Qt of Vegetable Broth
  • 3 Handfuls of Kale
  • 1 Cup Soy Milk (or other Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk)
  • 1 to 2.5 teaspoons salt

Optional Toppings:

  • Coconut Bacon (or any other vegan bacon)
  • Green Onions
  • Vegan Cheddar Cheese
  • Chives
  • Or anything else you like


  1. Roughly chop up the onion, carrots, celery, kale and potatoes and garlic.
  2. Heat a large pot over medium high heat, and add the 1/3 cup vegetable broth. When it is hot, toss in the celery, carrots, and onions. Sauté the veggies, until they start to look a bit caramelized and delicious. Add the garlic and sautee for one minute more.
  3. Add the potatoes, kale, salt and veggie broth. Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. The soup is cooked when the fork easily pierces all the way through the veggies.
  4. Blend up that soup! Use an immersion blender straight in the pot. Blend until it is perfectly smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can carefully scoop some soup into a standing blender, and blend in very small batches. Remember to not fill your blender up too high or you will have a hot soup explosion!
  5. Stir in the soy milk or non-dairy milk of choice. 
  6. Sprinkle on some delicious toppings.



Way Better Gnocchi

My husband is a miracle worker.  He can walk into a kitchen with almost no food, and ten minutes later, plop a gourmet meal on the table.  Today, that meal was a new take on Potato Gnocchi and it was AMAZING!  Not only that, it doesn’t have any packaged meatless items (saving money, and unnecessary processed food).

So, I share with you, Cameron’s Better Gnocchi:

1/4 of an onion – diced
2 Tbsp minced garlic
6 oz. Edamame (ours was frozen)
5 “grabs” of spinach (you know, where you reach in the container and grab a handful)
2 tsp salt
12.5 oz. sugar-free marinara sauce
1 bag gnocchi cooked according to instructions
Fresh basil

Saute the first five ingredients until soft, add in the marinara, strain the gnocchi and mix it with the sauce.  Stir in fresh basil leaves and serve!

And we know it’s a success when the five year old who hates food says, “Mom, you see these bumps on my tongue? Those mean that I like this food! Um…is that what it means?”


Vegetable Lo Mein

Kids new fave!! And super easy!  I forgot the spinach – oops! This will be one I put the ingredients in broth in bags in the freezer and pull out for a quick easy dinner.

Thanks to this recipe from Raising Generation Nourished.

This feeds the 2 little kids and me just fine with no leftovers, but when everyone is home, we have two adults, one adult child, and two littles, so of course, I doubled the recipe.  Doesn’t work so well – way too much liquid, plus it spews like crazy when you release the steam.  Darn!  To double, we need:

  • 3 cups veggie broth (You can make veggie broth in the IP too!)
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground ginger (I use less for a less ginger-spice flavor)
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (this leaves a kid friendly, mild heat – if you like more kick add more!  If you’re like me, you can’t handle any spice, so you can leave it out completely)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cup frozen peas
  • 16 oz. (1 lb) pasta of choice (I used udon noodles from Winco)
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced on a bias
  1. Put everything *except the spinach and green onion* into the Instant Pot, stir to combine, and seal the lid. Be sure the valve is closed.
  2. Turn your IP on, press manual, and then use the (+/-) button to press the time down to 2 minutes. The Instant Pot will turn “ON” and come to pressure before it counts down the 2 minutes.
  3. When the 2 minutes is done, turn the Instant Pot “OFF”, and set a timer for 4 minutes to let the pot naturally release some of the pressure and finish cooking the noodles through.
  4. After the 4 minutes, release the rest of the pressure, take the lid off, and stir in the fresh spinach and green onion to combine. There will be a little bit of liquid in the bottom that will continue to soak up into the noodles and the starch from the noodles will make it “saucy”. Serve topped with sliced green onion or chopped nuts.

Curried Lentils in the Instant Pot

We love our curried lentil recipe.  I wanted a way to make it in the instant pot, because who doesn’t love ONE pot that doesn’t heat up the kitchen (especially in CA)?  The first attempt following our original recipe.  It was a little bit too runny, so here are the tweaks if you’re making it in the instant pot.

Curried Lentil Soup in the Instant Pot

yield: Serves 6-8


• 2 cups brown jasmine rice
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
• 3 ribs celery, sliced
• 2 potatoes, cubed
• 2 cloves garlic (I use minced from the fridge)
• Salt – at least 4 tsp
• 5 teaspoons WF curry powder blend
[• 2 teaspoons curry powder
• 1.5 teaspoon turmeric
• ½ teaspoon ground cumin
• ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper]
• 2 cups red lentils
• 6 cups vegetable stock

• ½ (14 ounce) can coconut milk
• Naan bread, for dipping


– Put all ingredients into iPot.

-Stir and set pot to manual for 18 minutes.

-Quick-release the steam and add in the can of coconut milk

-Serve with warm naan bread, if desired.

Meatless Potato Gnocchi


Serves 4 Adults

Ingredients for the sauce

  • 4 Tbsp. Garlic
  • 4 Tomatoes Chopped In Quarters
  • ½ Sweet Onion Finely Chopped
  • 4 Large Handfuls Of Spinach
  • 2 Tbsp. Sriracha Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. Thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. Basil
  • 1 Tsp. Salt
  • 2 Tsp. Pepper
  • 3/4 cup of Water

The Rest Of The Goods

  • 12oz Lightlife Smart Ground Meatless Original Crumbles
  • 12oz Package Of Diced Mushrooms Mushrooms
  • ½ Sweet Onion Finely Chopped
  • 6 Large Handfuls Of Spinach
  • 1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp. Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. Thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. Basil
  • 1 Package of Potato Gnocchi


  1. Dump all of the ingredients in a medium pot on high heat. When mixture comes to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes.  After simmering blend the mixture in the pot for a liquid sauce or stir it well and use it as a thicker sauce.
  2. Combine the rest of the goods in a pan and cook on medium heat until ingredients are soft and cooked down. Add the meatless crumbles towards the end and cook until everything is warmed. Add sauce from pot to the pan and mix together.
  3. In a separate pot bring water to boil to cook gnocchi. Follow the package directions.
  4. Plate gnocchi, and pour sauce mixture and enjoy.


I Ate Meat


Adopting a plant-based lifestyle can be extremely rewarding, but there are times where it can also be challenging.  I took the little kids to Washington and Oregon for two weeks this summer.  Although we have traveled north before and brought all our own food and did lots of grocery shopping when we got to our destination(s), that was an added component I didn’t really want to take on this trip.  Everyone in my family has eaten meat several times over the past (almost) two years, except me.  I just haven’t been able to bring myself to do it.  But the average American has every meal based around their meat dish.  My family is no exception – and I say that without judgement.  This plant-based journey is our journey.  It’s what we want for our little family.

All that to say…I told myself I would eat everything offered to me on this trip.  My darling grandfather had already gone shopping and put together a plant-based meal for our one dinner there, and I adore him for it!  He grumbled while talking about it, grumbled while preparing it, grumbled while dishing it up (he’s in his 80’s – he has earned the right to grumble!), but when he sat down to eat it…guess what?  Oh yes…he said, “Wow!  This is really good!  I would totally eat this again!”.  Surprise!

We moved on to my parents and here is what I’ve eaten (today is day three…I’ll add to this post as I go):

Day 1:
Chicken hot dogs, grilled over an open fire on the end of a stick.  And baked pork and beans from a can.  (Yeah, I know.  What a meal to start with! But, it was fun and easy and very much “home”, and I told myself I would go with the flow – not my M.O.)
How did I feel?  Not too shabby.  I didn’t really enjoy it.  There wasn’t any “mmmmmm” sounds coming from me, but it wasn’t all that bad either. About an hour after I ate, I felt like I couldn’t really get up out of my chair.  Like the fatty meat-ness had glued me down and turned me into a slug.

Day 2:
Terriyaki chicken (thighs), white/brown rice mixture, home-made garlic bread, green beans.  FYI this was my FAVE meal before we started eating plant-based.
How did I feel?  I’m not gonna lie…those green beans tasted sooooooooo good!  Even the boys gobbled them up!  The bread was good, but the flavor of the butter was kind of wacky in my mouth.  The chicken was a bit much for my mouth too…very greasy and slimy*.  The rice made my whole self very happy.

Day 3a:
Breakfast included bacon that my darling boys saved for me.
How did I feel? TERRIBLE!  I only ate half a slice and I felt like I was going to die.  If I could have moved, I would have run five miles just to purge it from my system.  Not doing that again!

Day 3b:
Chicken Taco Soup.  My mom makes the BEST!!!
How did I feel?
I was feeling so awful by then that the thought of eating meat again made me want to cry.  She cooks the chicken breasts in the crockpot on top of all the yummy beans and veggies, so before she  shredded it and mixed it in, I scooped a bowl of non-meat soup.  The boys chowed down, but I was still feeling so awful from all the other animal products, I actually couldn’t even eat it.  Later that night, I pulled it back out when I was hungry and it was delicious.  That was the end of my meat eating.

What I appreciated about this little experiment was that it gave me an understanding that I don’t need meat in my life.  There is nothing appealing about it, and that makes me thankful.

Peyton told me on day four, “My favorite meals so far were the hot dogs, the teriyaki chicken….oh yeah, and the soup.”  So basically, he felt great!  🙂

*This honest review of how I felt eating animal products in no way changes the fact that my mom and dad are amazing cooks!  If you aren’t plant-strong and have an opportunity to eat animal-based at their house, you will be instantly in love!