Black Bean Penne Pasta with Tomatoes

Last week, I made some black bean penne pasta. It was quick to make. But even better, it was good. When I cook, I often share find myself sharing the pictures with mother and son. And in turn, they share their meals with me. The message behind it all is that we share a common bond in doing what is both fun and nourishing to our souls.

This is just one way that we keep ourselves resilient and flourishing: eating healthy meals and discussing what is meaningful in our lives. Maybe your thing isn’t cooking. Maybe it’s knitting, playing chess, boardgames, or cards. Whatever it is that lights you up as a person is what can be shared with others. Sometimes we allow distance to get in the way both inside and outside of having a pandemic. We can get creative in keeping our relationships open. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of stretching outside of our comfort zones in order to make that happen. Stretching isn’t fun, but worth every minute.

Link to Last Post: The Danger of Burnout

Before I give you the recipe for black bean penne pasta, I have to tell you a funny story. I made this pasta before. However, I was doing three other things at the time. Instead of setting a timer on the stove, I figured I would remember. By the time I looked in the pot, the pasta was mush. I didn’t want to waste it, so I doctored it up with ingredients, and put it on top of tortilla chips with cheese, diced tomatoes, and avocado, and I promise you, I was on cloud nine. So, fair warning, unless you want a refried beans effect, watch the time!

Here’s the recipe:

Black Bean Penne Recipe with Tomatoes


  • 2 boxes of black bean penne pasta
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of avocado oil
  • Garden vegetable pasta sauce-2 jars
  • 3 teaspoons of each:

curry powder, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, turmeric, basil


  • Boil four cups of water with a 1/3 cup of avocado oil.
  • Add pasta.
  • Rinse pasta and place back in wok with pasta sauce, seasonings, and tomatoes.
  • Add the rest of the avocado oil.
  • Heat up for 15 more minutes and enjoy!

Bless ya!


P.S. Would love to hear how you are keeping your relationships flourishing during times of distance!

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Simple Vegan Chili

Have you ever made simple vegan chili? I know. Simple sounds very attractive. The two words simple and chili together sounds even better. That’s why I decided to make it.

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Photo by Katina Horton


  • 1 small bag of corn
  • 3 cans of low-sodium black beans
  • 3 cans of low-sodium Dark Red Kidney Beans
  • 1 1/2 cans of Diced tomatoes with onions, celery, and green peppers
  • 3/4 cup of quinoa
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, turmeric, ginger powder, curry, and cumin
  • 5 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1/2 cup of avocado oil


  • Dump all of the above ingredients into your slow cooker and let it cook for 4 hours on high.  If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can put it into a big pot, and it should all be ready within 1 hour.  
  • Enjoy!!

****** I don’t use salt, so if you taste it, and it seems like something is missing, more onion powder always does the trick.

Other Healthy Recipes

Blueberry Whole Wheat Pancakes

Simple Stuffing

Simple Chicken Burgers

Mediterranean Dish

About a year ago, I decided to come up with a quick meal based upon the few ingredients that I had at home.  And guess what?  It turned out pretty good.  My son stated that it tasted Mediterranean, so I decided to go with that.    I hope that you enjoy the rest of your Saturday.  

Here is the recipe:

  • Mediterranean Dish
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cups of rice
  • 1 1/2 cans of cut-leaf spinach
  • 3 tablespoons of onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, and curry
  • 1/3 cup of oil
  1. Cut the chicken into chunks.
  2. Place the oil and breasts in a skillet, frying them for about 20 minutes.
  3. While the breasts are frying, boil the rice.
  4. Saute the cut-leaf spinach in oil.
  5. Place all of the above ingredients into a crock pot for an hour, along with a half cup of water to give a mashed effect and enjoy!

A Little Bit of Normal During the Abnormal

Right now, in our world, we are faced with a situation that we have never had to deal with before. We have a virus that is worldwide, and there are lockdowns with specific instructions that are given, and each set of instructions are different for each region.  No matter what these instructions are, we have been asked to stay home.  Unless we have essential jobs or errands to run, we are told to stay put for the safety of ourselves, our loved ones, and the extremely vulnerable.

During this season, we have all felt a little bit of some form of anxiety or fear.  Change brings anxiety.  Sicknesses/Diseases bring on fear and anxiety.  And lastly, but definitely not least, the unknown brings on anxiety.  One unknown is that we don’t know how long the worldwide lock downs will last.  We don’t know how long the shortages in the grocery stores or hoarding/panic buying will last.  We don’t know how long it will be till we feel a sense of normal again.  To be honest, when we think about it, will things ever really be “normal”?  Those of us who haven’t had to deal with trauma are now having to ride these waves.  Those of us who already have PTSD are dealing with compounded trauma.


There is one thing that we can focus on in all this madness.  And it is found in Hebrews 13:8:Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. All hope is not lost. We can have what I call a little bit of normal during the abnormal.

One of the best things that we can do for ourselves during this time is to come up with a schedule that we can stick to in order to keep our bodies/minds/souls rested, renewed, and refreshed.

This is a good time for creativity.  There will be times that we’ll get stuck.  The important thing is us coming up with a schedule and sticking to it for the sake of our own, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health, as well as that of the other members of our household.  There will be times that we’ll have to just stop and have that cry or meltdown.  It releases the trauma hormones, stress, and anxiety from our bodies and will definitely help us to feel better.  This is an area that I have to remind myself of over and over again.  “Get the cry out.  Have self-compassion and empathy for all you have gone through.  Then move forward.”  Sometimes we might have to rinse and repeat several times a day. 


So, what are some of the things that I have been enjoying during this time?  1) Getting to spend some time with my almost 22-year-old son.  2)  Listening to the birds in the morning and then again at 8 at night when they are rounding up for the day.  3) Baking banana bread, zucchini bread, and cookies.  4)  The creativity juices to write poetry as I sit on my bed among my pillows in the morning.  5)  Extra time to read.  6) Time to work on writing two books.

Here are snapshots of today’s baking process:

Photos by Katina Horton

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I pray blessings upon each and every one of you!

Until next time,


Egg White with Asparagus Breakfast Sandwich

During the week, when I am working full-time, as part of my morning routine, I start off by drinking a cup of orange juice and eating two Brazil nuts.  Then, I usually eat a Cliff Bar within an hour of that.  Within an hour and a half after that, I refuel with a breakfast sandwich.

The weekends are different.  I still start off with the orange juice and two Brazil nuts.  My need for orange juice in the morning as a wake-me-up is equivalent to other people’s necessity for coffee. My meals vary on the weekends.  Why?  Weekends are my times to loosen up from a super structure when it comes to eating.  I believe in eating healthy.  I just try to have a little bit more fun during this time.

One Saturday morning I made an Egg White with Asparagus Breakfast Sandwich.  Here’s the recipe:

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  • Egg White
  • Asparagus
  • Ground Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Bagel
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  • Cut the bagel in half and place in the oven to toast.
  • Place five to eight asparagus stalks on a cookie sheet with olive oil and black pepper on a cookie sheet to roast in the oven.
  • Put oil in a skillet and add the egg whites.  
  • Once everything is ready, place ingredients on the bagel, sprinkle the egg whites with parsley, and enjoy!
  • Optional:  Add cheese, mushrooms, or diced tomatoes to the egg whites.

How to Get Back in Shape After the COVID-19 Lockdown

Happy Sunday all! Today, I am featuring a guest blog post from a fellow blogger. His name is Gabriel Patel. He enjoys writing about health and wellness, and co-founded Health Well Wise with a group of friends who share the desire to help people live happy, healthy lives. Have a blessed rest of your Sunday.

If you gained weight during the coronavirus quarantine, you’re not alone. It’s normal — and completely okay — to put on a few pounds when you’re experiencing periods of stress and a serious change to your regular routine. However, self-isolation may have left you feeling less than your best. Whether you’re looking to lose weight or simply regain the energy you had pre-lockdown, check out the following tips to reclaim your wellness and get back on track!

Clean Up Your Diet

For many of us, the lockdown meant living off of freezer meals, instant noodles, and other forms of quick, easy, and accessible processed foods. But it’s time to get some nutrients back in our diets! Fortunately, there are all kinds of healthy meals you can make with basic ingredients you already have in your pantry, such as spinach tortellini soup, legume quesadillas, skillet rice, and stew. The beauty of these recipes is that you can mix in whatever vegetables or proteins you have in your kitchen. Casseroles are also great for this! Get creative and have fun coming up with nutritious meals based on the ingredients you have on hand.

If you could use some help creating a clean diet plan, consider working with a professional dietician. You can use job boards to find qualified pros, such as freelance dieticians, who can answer all of your nutrition-related questions, help you build a healthy meal plan, and coach you through any barriers you may be facing. Some other freelancers who can support you on your wellness journey include online personal trainers, yoga instructors, and therapists.

Take Steps to Avoid Injury

When you get back into exercise, do it slowly; pushing yourself too hard after an extended period of inactivity could lead to injuries. This is especially true if you’re going back to the gym. Remember, you may not be able to work out at your previous level, so go easy on yourself by reducing your reps and weight. The most important thing to remember is to listen to your body.

If you’re hesitant about returning to the gym, try at-home workouts, running, or hiking — or just go for a walk! If you were unfortunate enough to contract the coronavirus, CNET recommends talking to your healthcare provider about when it would be safe to start exercising again. Try to stick to short bursts of gentle exercise in the days and weeks following your recovery.

Get More Sleep

When it comes to fitness and overall well being, sleep is underrated. Getting enough sleep plays an important role in muscle recovery, stress reduction, and weight management — all of which will help you meet your post-lockdown fitness goals. If you’re not getting at least seven hours of good-quality sleep every night, take some steps to improve your bedroom environment and help your body wind down in the evening. Make your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet; develop a relaxing bedtime routine; avoid caffeine in the afternoon; and limit alcohol late in the evening.

Conquer Stress

Stress is one of the largest barriers to a healthy lifestyle. Stress can disrupt your sleep patterns, affect your eating habits, and reduce your motivation to exercise. Of course, we’re all experiencing heightened stress with everything that’s going on in the world right now. Even if you can’t control what’s happening all around you, you can bring a greater sense of control to your own life by taking active steps to reduce stress. Make time for your hobbies, socialize with friends and family members who make you happy, get in the habit of positive self-talk, and try to exercise daily — even if you’d rather do anything else.

While it was easy to let healthy habits fall by the wayside during the corona virus lock-down, now is the time to regain control over your fitness. Exercising, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and combating stress will do a lot to improve how you feel — and you may even lose a few pounds! Start working towards your goals today!

Eggplant, Lentil, & Rice Casserole

With everything going on, it becomes very important to keep a routine, practice wellness/self-care, and continue to let our creativity juices flow. I have been continuing to make my weekly concoctions. For the last month now, Culver’s has been a Friday treat for me. It eliminates me having to cook, and I can immediately begin to enjoy my weekend.

On yesterday, I was talking to my mom, and I decided to look out the window. There were chipmunks chirping, and a bluejay flying mid-air. Before I got a chance to tell my mother about the blue-jay, I noticed a nice-sized animal in the yard. It appeared to get along with the squirrel that was standing there. I couldn’t figure it out for the life of me. I ended up sending my mother and son a picture. Then, I sent one to my neighbor next. After tossing ideas back and forth, and googling their responses, I was able to come to the conclusion that what was in my front yard was a ground hog. Of all things! I told my neighbor, “There’s never a dull moment as far as what we will see on this property”. She agreed.

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Photo by Katina Horton

Well, here’s the recipe. I hope that you will enjoy it. Have a blessed rest of your Father’s Day!

Eggplant, Lentil, & Rice Casserole


  • 2 eggplants cut into small chunks
  • 1 cup of black lentils
  • 2 cans of Hunts’s garlic and herb pasta sauce
  • 5 tablespoons of cumin, onion powder, curry, turmeric, garlic powder, parsley, chili powder
  • 2 cups of Mexican cheese
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup of quinoa
  • 1/2 cup of avocado oil


  • Boil your lentils in about 5 to 6 cups of water for about 50 minutes.
  • While the lentils are boiling, boil your rice and quinoa for about 20 minutes.
  • Stir-fry the diced tomatoes and eggplant.
  • Dump all of the above into a wok and stir-fry for about twenty minutes, making sure to add the oil and seasonings.
  • Grab a casserole pan and dump all of the above ingredients into the pan along with the cheese.
  • Stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Pour the cans of pasta sauce on top, garnishing with parsley.
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Spaghetti Casserole

Last week I decided that I wanted to have a big breakfast at some point during the Memorial Day weekend since I had a three-day holiday from work. I made Belgian waffles, grits with cheese, eggs with cheese, oatmeal, and breakfast sausage. I was grateful to God that everything turned out good. I had been wanting to use the Belgian waffle snap-in plates for two months. Unfortunately, I allowed fear to get in the way of me jumping in and giving it a try. I used Amber Honey for the waffle topping, and it was soooo good.

Normally, when there’s a holiday involved, I usually start cooking early. However, this past Monday, Memorial Day, I didn’t start cooking my dish until around 4:15 p.m. or so. I wanted to have an easy Monday and not have to rush to do anything. My son and I were eating by 5:30 p.m., which was nice. The spaghetti casserole that I decided to make was a literal concoction that I came up with on the Friday before the holiday. I hope you are enjoying some beautiful weather this weekend. Bless you all!

Here’s the recipe:


  • 2 bunches of swiss chard
  • 1 (8 oz.) pack of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (no salt)
  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 green peppers
  • 1 box of whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 pack of Mexican shredded cheese
  • 2 cans of Hunt’s pasta sauce (1 four cheese can & 1 garlic and herb can)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups of avocado oil
  • 5 tablespoons of each: garlic powder, curry, onion powder, chili powder, turmeric, cumin, parsley, ginger.


  • Boil about four cups of water in avocado oil, then add the spaghetti.
  • While the pasta is preparing, Saute the mushrooms, diced tomatoes, and peppers in the avocado oil. Add all the seasonings to the mixture.
  • Once the above is ready, drain the spaghetti and dump it into a big bowl.
  • Dump the vegetables on top and mix it as best you can. You don’t have to worry about it being perfect. It’s kind of like a “messy casserole mix”.
  • Grab a 9 x 13 Casserole dish and cover the bottom with cheese.
  • Dump the contents of the bowl into the casserole pan.
  • Pour the two cans of pasta sauce on top.
  • Place in the oven on 425 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top before eating. Man, that was so good mixed with the Mexican cheese.
  • Enjoy!

Simple Vegan Tacos

Simple Vegan Tacos Introduction

One of my favorite things to do as of lately is to whip up something quick and tasty. This past weekend, I ended up making some super, simple vegan tacos for Mother’s Day. I also made two different cakes, oatmeal raisin pecan cookies, two loaves of carrot bread, and two loaves of banana chocolate chip bread. Thankfully, it wasn’t all on the same day.


I baked the cookies on Friday night. The bread was baked on Saturday night. Lastly, I made the two cakes on Sunday morning. I didn’t anticipate spending four hours in the kitchen on a Sunday morning. However, with baking two cakes, I’m not quite sure how much time I thought they would take either. Trust me, I am laughing with you. The first cake was one where I got the recipe from Delicious Miss Brown’s Show. This cake was a Caramel Apple Cake. On her show, she used a bundt cake pan. However, when I went to Walmart to buy the pan, they were all out. I ended up purchasing two 9″ round cake pans and making a two-layer caramel apple cake.

The second cake is one that I literally adlibbed on, and used a recipe off of Pinterest to make the cream cheese, substituting the powdered or confectioner’s sugar for organic cane sugar and a little bit of brown sugar. I also used vegan butter instead of regular butter. I ended up filling this one with fresh strawberries. This one was for my son. He said that the taste reminded him of cheesecake. I have included pictures of both cakes below.

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Photo by Katina Horton

My mother was very excited for her Mother’s Day gifts. It made my heart happy to see her after two months, as well as to treat her with the sweets and food that I knew were right up her alley.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Cake, pecans, hazelnuts, strawberries, simple functional grace-filled living, katina horton, food photography, cakes, baking, Mother's Day
Photo by Katina Horton

After finishing both cakes on Sunday morning, I made the Simple Vegan Tacos and then made a breakfast wrap for myself and my son. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it. Now, on to the Simple Vegan Taco Recipe. Maybe it’s something that you might even think about trying to make for yourself tonight. Enjoy! Blessings to you all!

Simple Vegan Tacos

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Photo by Katina Horton

Total Prepping and Cooking Time

25 minutes


  • 2 packs of Lightlife Smart Ground Mexican Vegan Crumble
  • Unsalted Diced Tomatoes – 2 cans
  • 1 pack of La Preferida taco seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons of the following: onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, turmeric, curry
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1 bag of Pepperjack Daiya cheese
  • 1 18-pack of taco shells
  • Optional: add salad mixture into the tacos


  • Place the oil in a skillet or pan.
  • Add the vegan crumble and diced tomatoes to the skillet.
  • When the mixture is almost done, dump in the seasonings and cheese.
  • Heat up the tacos on a cookie sheet in the oven.
  • Add the mixture to inside of the hard-shelled tacos.
  • Optional: add a salad mixture to shells as well.
  • Treat yourself to a cold glass of lemonade. (That’s what my mom and I did! 🙂 )

Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

This past Friday was Valentine’s Day, and so I decided to treat myself with an aloe vera plant, and a meal. Then, on Saturday morning, I made some oatmeal chocolate chip raisin w/pecan cookies. One thing that I hadn’t done in a while, was to dunk my cookies in milk. Let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed.

A few days ago, I decided that I had better quick make something from the ground turkey that I had let thaw out. The end result: spaghetti with turkey meatballs. The meal came out pretty good, and I realized later that the spices that I used made all the difference. I made the turkey meatballs the first night, and then the spaghetti the second night.

Here is the recipe:


  • 1 16 oz. pound of ground turkey meat
  • 3 tablespoons of parsley, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, curry, cumin, turmeric
  • 1/3 cup of Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup of oatmeal
  • 3 tablespoons of flaxseed meal
  • (1) 1 lb. box of spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • (2) 16 oz. cans of garlic and herb pasta sauce


  • Dump the panko, oatmeal, flaxseed meal, and all the seasonings into a mixing bowl.
  • Mix and stir this concoction.
  • Use a cookie scoop to make the balls, and then your hands if necessary.
  • Place the balls in a wok or skillet with olive oil.
  • Cook for about 20 minutes.
  • While the turkey meatballs are cooking, bowl 5 cups of water with olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking.
  • Add the pasta and then drain when done cooking.
  • Dump the pasta back into the pot and add all of the above seasonings into the pot.
  • Add the pasta sauce on top and enjoy!!

Have a blessed week!