French fry A la Mode

french fries, veggie burgers, barbecue sauce, spinach, super green, vegan, vegetarian, routine, establishing routines, wellness, concoctions, healthy eating, healthy recipes

Background on French Fry A la Mode

If you know me by now, you know that I love coming up with all kinds of fun food concoctions. And the other day was no exception to the rule.

Before I give you the recipe, I want to talk about some of the benefits of creating a weeknight routine.

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Food Photo by Katina Horton

Routines help to center, direct, and structure/stabilize/ground us. They also give us predictability for our minds and our bodies. Weeknight routines give us grounding and investment for a good night’s sleep. When we make time and space for the things that we are gifted/good at, and love to do, we are caring for our souls.

french fries, veggie burgers, barbecue sauce, spinach, super green, vegan, vegetarian, routine, establishing routines, wellness, concoctions, healthy eating, healthy recipes

This past week, I decided to be even more intentional in adding some things back to my weeknight routine. One of these things is walking. The benefits of walking are endless. The fresh air, automatic feel good hormones that run through your body, the blood flow, lowering of blood pressure, etc. Walking makes me feel good and keeps my mind creative and flowing with ideas. It also helps me with my writing and allows me to really appreciate nature and how great God is.

Other things that I do for my weeknight routine are listening to podcasts/preaching, dancing, reading books, showering, and drinking tea.

As an exercise tonight, think of all the things that you love to do and are gifted at. Circle all the important things that you wouldn’t want to do without. Make these things a part of your weeknight routine and see how much of a difference that they make in your overall well-being.

Here is the French Fry A La Mode for the Family Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of french fries
  • 4 Dr. Praeger’s super green veggie burgers
  • 1 container of Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce
  • 1 bag of cheese

Directions

  • Bake a bag of french fries.
  • While the fries are baking, fry 4 Dr. Praeger’s super green veggie burgers.
  • Grab bowls and add a couple of servings of fries into each bowl.
  • Cut up the veggie burgers and evenly spread them on top of the fries in each bowl.
  • Add shredded cheese and barbecue sauce on top.

Enjoy!

God bless you!

Katina

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Pasta with Spinach & Quinoa

pasta with spinach and quinoa, healthy living, healthy recipes, diced tomatoes, food, eating, simple functional grace-filled living, valley of grace, blogging, lifestyle, choices, lunch, dinner, vegan, vegetarian, friends, fun, outside, adventure, katina horton

Background Story for Pasta with Spinach & Quinoa

It is amazing how we are all are wired up differently, and with this wiring, we all have different things that take us back to childhood. For the last few nights, I have been taking a quick five minute walk in the neighborhood in order to get a whisp of the slightly cool, fresh air and to hear the sound of the crickets. These two things have been my favorite since I was a kid. They remind me of visiting my relatives in Memphis and hearing the calming effect of the crickets at night.

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Photo by Katina Horton

About a week ago, I was trying to decide what to make for dinner. My mind landed on the box of pasta that was still in the cabinet. I decided to jazz it up with my two favorite ingredients for most meals: spinach and diced tomatoes.

Here is the recipe:

Total Prepping and Cooking Time:

45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of penne pasta
  • 2 jars of tomato and basil pasta sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of thyme
  • 3 tablespoons of parsley
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of cut-leaf spinach
  • 1/3 cup of quinoa
  • 1/4 cup of oil

Directions:

  • Boil a pot of water, adding the oil to the water to prevent the pasta from sticking.
  • Add the pasta and the quinoa once the water has started boiling.
  • While the pasta and quinoa are cooking, saute the spinach and diced tomatoes.
  • Drain the pasta and quinoa in a colander and dump them back into the pot.
  • Dump all the rest of the ingredients into the pot and stir.
  • Eat and enjoy!

Food for thought:

What foods do you eat, or activities do you participate in that take you back to your childhood? Would love to hear your comments!

Black Bean Mishmash

black beans, healthy living, simple meals, mixed vegetables, rice, vegan, vegetarian, eating, food, food photography

Background on Black Bean Fun

With the way that the weather has been within the last few days, it makes one want to snuggle up with a throw and a book, or perhaps a movie, and just relax. Before we get into the black bean recipe, I would like to share a little bit of my reading adventure from the last few months.

I have been reading so many different books within the last few weeks that it’s a wonder that I can keep up with what’s going on in each book.

One book that I am currently reading is entitled, “The Sharper the Knife, The Less You Cry”. Because of taking four years of french in high school, and enjoying every minute of it, I decided to purchase this book at a rummage sale a few months ago. The main character, Kathleen, decides to leave the corporate world, move to Paris, and attend Le Cordon Bleu to pursue her dreams.

There are several different adventures that she has along the way. Some of which involve the relationships between her and her colleagues, her and her boyfriend, and her and her instructors whom she grows to love. This book is filled with French recipes and tons of laughter. Kathleen quickly finds out that life and recipes have a lot in common. As Christians, we are all too familiar with that as well.

Life Analysis

When it comes to recipes, we can have all the ingredients, make the dish exactly as described, and then everything comes out perfect. And such is the Christian life. But then, there are other times that we follow the recipe to a tee, and it turns out a disaster. Perhaps the oil got too brown, we overcooked the rice, or we ended up with meat that was too dry.


God is driving the bus. And we often forget that. Life isn’t a recipe or a secret formula. And although we think we have it all under control, things may fall apart just like the recipe that we knew we followed the directions to a tee. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us: 
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)

black beans, healthy living, simple meals, mixed vegetables, rice, vegan, vegetarian, eating, food, food photography

Here is the the recipe:

Activity: Making Black Bean Mishmash

Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 35 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 onion

1/4 cup of nutritional yeast

1 can of mixed vegetables

2 cans of organic black beans

1 box of Quinoa w/brown rice & Rosemary

1/4 cup of oil

onion powder -2 tablespoons

garlic powder -2 tablespoons

cumin -2 tablespoons

Directions:

Boil the box of quinoa w/brown rice mixture.

While the quinoa mix is boiling, do the following:

  • Cut up and saute the onion in a skillet.
  • Boil the mixed vegetables.
  • Heat up the organic black beans.
  • Dump all the cooked ingredients into the skillet with the onion, adding the seasonings and nutritional yeast as well.
  • Enjoy!

Here are other bean recipes in case you’re interested:

Simple Beans and Zucchini Soup

Everything Chili

God bless!

Katina


God is driving the bus. And we often forget that. Life isn’t a recipe or a secret formula. And although we think we have it all under control, things may fall apart just like the recipe that we knew we followed the directions to a tee. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)


Simple Spaghetti Casserole

simple, spaghetti, casserole, vegan, vegetarian, pasta, healthy eating, food, food photography, blog, blogger, recipes, healthy, brunch, Christmas, party

Background on Simple Spaghetti Casserole

simple, spaghetti, casserole, vegan, vegetarian, pasta, healthy eating, food, food photography, blog, blogger, recipes, healthy, brunch, Christmas, party

This morning was the Christmas party celebration for my Moms’ Ministry small group.  We had a ton of food and a ton of fun.  This year has definitely been an eye opener from God to me, in realizing that yes, gifts are nice.  They are wonderful.  However, the best gifts in life do not come wrapped with a pretty bow.  Because of God’s love toward us, we are indeed able to share this gift of love. 

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There is something about friendship, fellowship, food, and laughs that makes you appreciate all the wonderful blessings that life has to offer.  I think the craziest part of the morning was when we played charades, which featured words that centered around winter and Christmas time.  The highlights of this game was when I tried acting out Christmas stockings, and did a goofy swirl with my body.  Then, we had the other team recreating the nativity scene.  What fun!

simple, spaghetti, casserole, vegan, vegetarian, pasta, healthy eating, food, food photography, blog, blogger, recipes, healthy, brunch, Christmas, party

Last night, it dawned on me that I had signed up to bring cookies and a cold pasta dish to this celebration.  What I decided to do was to make spaghetti to eat, and then this morning, my wheels started turning, and that spaghetti transformed into my “Simple Spaghetti Casserole”.  You can find the last simple recipe that I made here.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

God bless!

simple, spaghetti, casserole, vegan, vegetarian, pasta, healthy eating, food, food photography, blog, blogger, recipes, healthy, brunch, Christmas, party

Activity:  Making Simple Spaghetti Casserole

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Total Prepping and Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hours

 Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of French cut green beans
  • 2 tablespoons of vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 box of spaghetti
  • 1 can of pasta sauce
  • 5 tablespoons of parsley
  • 1/2 cup of vegan or non-vegan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder

Directions:

  • Boil one box of spaghetti in five cups of water.
  • Pour the olive oil into the water so that the spaghetti won’t stick.
  • Saute the corn and french green beans with butter and chili powder.
  • Rinse the spaghetti when done, then add the pasta sauce, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add all of the rest of the seasonings except for the cheese and parsley.
  • Cook for 10 ten minutes, and then dump into a large casserole pan, at 425 degrees for 25 minutes, completely covering with the shredded cheese and the parsley on top.
  • Enjoy!

 

Everything Chili

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Background Story for Simple Everything Chili

Simple Everything Chili: 

Since Christmas time is approaching, churches, organizations, and families everywhere are squeezing in the last of the shopping, get-togethers, and worship preparations.  On Friday night, I had the pleasure of attending the “Women’s Christmas Gathering” at another church.  One of my favorite things to do during this season is to sing Christian Christmas carols to help me in reigning in my heart, mind, and soul into the reason for this season:  reflecting on that precious baby who was brought into the world to bring hope in a weary land.

My second favorite thing to do is to watch Christmas movies on Lifetime, Hallmark, and Netflix.  Because of the fact that my free time is mainly in the evenings, and it is usually when I am tired that I’m trying to watch these movies, I end up falling asleep about a third of the way.  And of course, on the following day, I am trying to figure out where I left off.  Even so, for some odd reason, just having these movies playing, as I am sitting on the couch with a throw in my comfy corner of the couch is enough for me.

The last recipe that I featured was “Simple Beans and Zucchini Soup.  You can find that recipe here.  Today, I have included a recipe for chili that I made a few days ago.  It’s called “Simple Everything Chili”.  Why the name?  I literally dumped everything in it to make it work.  Send me a line letting me know if you decide to make it.

Activity:  Making “Simple Everything Chili”

Total Prepping and Cooking Time:  2 1/2 hours

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons of cumin
  • 4 tablespoons of turmeric
  • 4 tablespoons of onion powder
  • 5 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 5 tablespoons of parsley
  • 2 cans of vegetable soup
  • 2 cups of pinto beans
  • 1 cup of lentils
  • 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth

 Directions:  

  • Dump the pinto beans into a pot of water, boiling them for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Add the lentils to the pot, boiling it for an additional 40 minutes.
  • Add all the rest of the ingredients plus 2 cans of water, boiling for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Throw sour cream and cheese on top for fun!

Enjoy!

God bless, 

Katina

Simple Spaghetti

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Background Story on Simple Spaghetti

I have been reading Brene Brown’s new book, Dare to Lead for a couple of weeks now.  If I was just reading that one book, I would be done by now.  However, I am reading about six books at the same time.  What I love is that the Holy Spirit has intertwined several themes across the board with all of these books:  vulnerability, shame, joy, gratitude, dealing with the unexpected, hustling for self-worth, and filling our thirst.

There are several things that stuck out with me so far in this book.  I would like to quote three of them:

Quote #1

“Embodying and practicing gratitude changes everything.  It is not a personal construct, it’s a human construct-a unifying part of our existence-and it’s the antidote to foreboding joy, plain and simple.  It’s allowing yourself the pleasure of accomplishment, or love, or joy-of really feeling it, of basking in it-by conjuring up gratitude for the moment and for the opportunity”. (Dare to Lead, Brene Brown, pg. 83)

This reminds of last night.  I got together with a group of friends.  I allowed myself to not dismiss the reality that my life has been filled with lots of drama and trauma within the last six months.  However, my heart was full.  It was so, so full.  I thanked God for my friends, the food, the fellowship, time to decompress, and the laughs from the movie.  I thanked him for all his goodness in spite of what my real life problems were.

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Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

Quote #2

“Something as simple as starting or ending meetings with a gratitude check, when everyone shares one thing they’re grateful for, can build trust and connection, serve as container-building, and give your group permission to lean into joy.” (Dare to Lead, Brene Brown, pg. 83)

The second quote was a Holy Spirit moment because just a week ago, I had an accident.  I allowed myself to sink in anger about all the inconveniences, but then quickly gave myself a gratitude check.  That post can be found here.  The funny thing about it is that I titled the post “Gratitude Check” prior to reading page 83 of Dare to Lead.  God knows how to bring all things together.

Quote #3

The last quote is from page 97, which was another Holy Spirit moment.  It reminded me of my IT job from years ago, where I sought to prove that I could sit at the table with others who made a certain salary, instead of being discriminated against.  I didn’t realize that the only table that I needed to have recognition at is the table of Christ.  The “Heavenly Places” blog post can be found here.

“When people don’t understand where they’re strong and where they deliver value for the organization or even for a single effort, they hustle.  The kind that’s hard to be around because we are jumping in everywhere, including where we’re not strong or not needed, to prove that we deserve a seat at the table.” (Dare to Lead, by Brene Brown, page 97)

A few days ago, I decided to try my hands at a simple spaghetti recipe.  There were very few ingredients.  It turned out pretty good.  The only problem was that I put too many red pepper flakes.  I would take a bite to eat, then feel flames at the back of my throat.  This cycle repeated itself until the bowl was empty.  Enjoy!

Here is the recipe:

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Activity:  Making Simple Spaghetti

Total cooking and Prepping Time: 40 minutes

Servings: about 12

Ingredients:  

  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons of onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons of basil
  • 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 box of spaghetti
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce
  • 1 small can of tomato soup (low-sodium)
  • basil or spinach leaves (for garnish and eating)

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Valley of Grace Cutting Board-Shopify Store

Directions: 

  • Boil six cups of water with olive oil or butter so that the spaghetti won’t stick.
  • Add the spaghetti to the boiling water.
  • Drain the spaghetti.
  • Dump the pasta sauce and tomato soup into the pot.
  • Add one can of water to the pot.
  • Dump all the seasonings into the pot.
  • Serve in bowls or on plates.
  • Garnish with basil or spinach leaves.
  • Enjoy!

 

God bless,

Katina

Black Lentil Soup with Rice

Venture:  Making Black Lentil Soup with Rice

This is a super quick and easy recipe to make for lunch or dinner.  Depending on how many pounds of black lentils that you buy, you can have this to last for 5 to 7 days, even with a large family.  As I mentioned in one of my more recent posts, you are going to see a lot of recipes where I use cut-leaf spinach and fire-roasted salsa style diced tomatoes.  This is also one of them.  They are inexpensive, and I love the combination.  The tomatoes give just the right kick without being overwhelming.

It would be too much like right if I could just give the recipe without a background story or some drama behind an ingredient.  My friend and I went into Whole Foods about a month ago.  When we got in the store, we both went our separate ways.  I was happily pouring items into bags and weighing them over in the bulk session.  My friend and her daughter were in bliss over in the bakery section. I was just finishing up on grabbing the black lentils, when I decided that I would purchase some split green peas.  I pulled the lever down, and the lever got stuck.  Literally six to seven pounds of split green peas went all over the floor, and inside the squares into between the bulk items.  A worker came over to sweep up the mess.  I tried to explain what happened, but I don’t think it was any comfort.  She gave me grace by not saying anything and grabbing the broom and dustpan to take care of the clean-up job.  At this point, I was thinking, maybe I should grab the almond flour and head to the front.

black lentils, rice, soup. spinach, fire-roasted tomatoes
Black Lentil Soup with Rice

By the time that I got to the register, my friend and her daughter were there.  I tell her about what happened, and how I had an embarrassing moment in the bulk section.  She proceeded to tell me about her embarrassing moment in the bakery section.  What’s an adventure to the grocery store without a little bit of drama?  Here’s the recipe:

Activity:

Making Black Lentil Soup with Rice

Total Prepping and Cooking Time:

70 minutes

Ingredients:

  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • paprika
  • cumin
  • curry
  • turmeric
  • italian seasoning
  • Imagine low sodium vegan broth
  • 2 pds. of black lentils
  • 1 can of cut leaf spinach
  • 2 cans of fire-roasted salsa style diced tomatoes

Directions:

  • Boil two cups of white rice.
  • While the white rice is bowling, boil 8 cups of water, and add two pounds of black lentils after the  water starts boiling.
  • The lentils need to cook for about 35 minutes.
  • Saute the spinach and tomatoes with oil or vegan butter.
  • After the lentils are ready, add the broth and all the rest of the ingredients, except the rice.
  • Cook for another 15 minutes.
  • I kept the rice on the side and poured the black lentil soup on top.

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19

Vegan Spinach, Spaghetti, & Quinoa Twist

I guess if you haven’t realized it by now, I love pasta.  The second two things that have really been my go to is cut leaf spinach and fire-roasted diced tomatoes(salsa style).  You can’t beat buying four cans of this duo for only $3.20.  The quinoa helps to fulfill the protein requirement, which is a bonus.  

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I am not able to tolerate really spicy foods.  However, these tomatoes give just the right kick to chili, burgers, avocado, homemade salsa, and several other things, without being too overwhelming.  This meal was ready in no time.  Since I decided to use two pounds of spaghetti, I had to use a large stock pot.  Please feel free to email me your favorite recipe for spaghetti and I will feature it as a blog post.  Have a blessed weekend!

spaghetti, quinoa, spinach, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, vegan, healthy recipes

Activity:  Making Spinach, Spaghetti, & Quinoa Twist

Total Prepping and Cooking Time:  40 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 2 pounds of whole grain spaghetti
  • 2 cans of cut leaf spinach
  • 2 cans of fire roasted with garlic salsa style diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of marjoram, italian seasoning, or basil
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 1/2 jars of pasta sauce (tomato & basil, garden vegetable, garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley
  • 1 cup of red quinoa

Directions: 

  1. Bring four cups of water to a boil, then adding spaghetti with one tablespoon of oil added to prevent sticking.
  2. While this is going, bring one cup of red quinoa to a boil.
  3. Boil the quinoa for twenty minutes.
  4. Saute the spinach and diced tomatoes with olive oil, grapeseed oil, or whatever oil you have.
  5. Drain the pasta with a colander or top of the pot.
  6. Add the pasta sauce, vegetables, quinoa, and seasonings.
  7. Makes 15 servings.
  8. Enjoy!

 

I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

Psalms 23: 4, NIV