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.

Bio Kids and Foster Care

The scariest part of entering the realm of foster care as a parent is what the effect will be on your bio kids.  People often ask me how mine are doing.  They probably don’t believe me when I assure them the kids are thriving.  Let me share a story with you…

Tonight, as I was tucking my five year old into bed, he asked me to tell him a story.  I glanced around the room for inspiration, and quickly spotted two ducks and a goat. “Once upon a time…”, I began…”there was a duck.  He wanted to have more kids in his family, so he set out on an adventure.  As he walked along, he came across a strange-looking animal.  He said to the animal, ‘Hello!  Would you like to join my family?’ and the strange-looking animal replied, ‘How did you know I have been wanting a family of my very own?’  The duck responded, ‘I don’t know…I think God told me!’  So they walked home together and the duck asked, ‘What kind of animal are you, anyway?’ ‘I am a white goat!’, responded the goat.  And they lived happily ever after as a family.”e2f6b601cb191782200d2663eb13b59c

The very first thing out of my son’s mouth was, “He should find a foster family!” and my heart swelled!  When I say my kids are thriving, I honestly mean it.  They love their sister.  I check in regularly with them, and the conversation always is the same.  They wouldn’t have it any other way.  She is in and out of our home each week and they do great with that.  Our family is not the typical, conventional family, but it is our family!  We love it!

We talked some more.  I assured my buddy that the duck family was the goat’s foster family.   He asked questions like, “Why didn’t he get a goat foster family?” and “Did he stay there forever, since he didn’t have anyone else to be his family?” and “How many ducks were in the family before the goat came?” As he lined them all up on the pillow, he realized there was no room for him to lay.  He said, “Where do I sleep?” and I said, “Sometimes you just give up your bed so others can sleep there” and he said, “I have a better idea!”  As he scooped the two ducks, the white goat, and their puppy into his arms, flopped onto his pillow, and snuggled under the covers, he said, “I will snuggle them and we will all sleep together!”, my heart swelled again and I thanked God for all he has blessed us with.

Being a foster family is good.  When God says go, and we go, there is much to learn and blessings to experience, and always enough love to go around.

Christians Are The Answer

I adore Focus On The Family.  Today, I was listening to the most recent broadcast, and they are talking with Robert Glover, a man from England who was called to start a Foster Care system in China! How cool is that?  The thing that struck me most was a story he told about 20 Chinese families.  They were the first group to step forward and open their homes to kids without a family.  At that time, it was very dangerous to be a Christian in China.  As Robert went with a Chinese driver to meet with these 20 families, he warned Robert that the families would be mostly buddhist or some other religion.  Of course, Robert just wanted these kids to have a family, so he assured the driver that it was okay with him.  When they got there, this man told a joke.  Something to the effect that Robert was very large and also a Christian.  When no one laughed, he told the joke again, and one lady spoke up saying, “I don’t understand.  I’m a Christian too.”  Come to find out, ALL 20 families were people who had come forward out of the great love they knew from Jesus.

As they drove home, this man asked Robert how it was possible, and Robert told him, “This is the very foundation of the Gospel message!”

I am often overwhelmed by how huge the need is in our world – millions of orphans!  How can one family made a dent in that?

last piece of a Puzzle

But Robert said something else.  Sometimes we want to be the whole jigsaw puzzle, but we must understand that we really are only one piece.  But each piece is vital to solving the entire puzzle.

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.


Why I Love K.A.T.

The other day, a friend mentioned that she hadn’t heard much about our foster journey lately, and asked how things were going.  I haven’t written much about it for two reasons:

  1. There’s not much to tell.  This is a good thing because it means things are going really well.
  2. Most everything is either confidential, or not my story to tell.

There have been several times I wanted to add to this previous post, Teenagers Are Better Than Babies, but then I realize that it’s actually our teenager who is better than a baby.  All of the things I love about her are very specific to her.  She is kind and helpful.  She is strong and independent.  She is generous and caring.  She knows what she wants.  She is able to express her emotions.  She rarely complains and when she does, it’s not malicious or bratty, it’s just things like, “Can I please have a different daily chore?  I hate the way soggy dinner dishes feel on my hands.”  And when I say “no”, she shrugs and says, “ok”.  I mean, guys…there’s really nothing to tell.  No issues, no problems, no question on whether we should have brought her into our family.  She’s great with the boys, they love her.  I even like her Mom!

So, I guess what I have to say is this:  Teenagers are still my calling!  I’m thankful I got a great one!  God is so good!  I love following his plan.  And thanks for caring enough to wonder how things are.


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!