Home is where the healing is.

I tried a fancy vegan recipe yesterday. Pumpkin ricotta stuffed shells with bechamel sauce (all plant based and all made from scratch). The woman on the cooking video said it was an easy recipe but at the end of a very long day of studying the video, going to several stores for ingredients, working fervently to make everything and put it all together in a timely manner and without over cooking things, then washing piles of kitchen tools that were required to make the one pan dish…I don’t really agree that there was anything easy about it.

And in the end, I didn’t care for the dish at all. The family liked it plenty and for that I’m glad or it would have been a loss of a day. I didn’t even take a photo of the end result I was so disappointed. But the boys and man devoured a big pan and a half.

I’ve been relearning to cook with plants and, as some of you know, when you get into cooking this way you learn so much about seasoning and how to manipulate vegetables and fruits. I love this new way of cooking. However, it is taking some extra studying, shopping, and hours in the kitchen right now as I teach myself to cook foods that are clean, healthy and delicious. After all, if the food is blah and tasteless or boring, no one will continue on this journey, not even myself.

So, I live in my kitchen right now. I watch the day go from a crisp but dark light in the morning to a golden light that fills the kitchen with warmth in the afternoon. I watch a cooking video or two, I thumb through cookbooks, make list in my notebook, and pull out spices and herbs from my cupboards to marinate and mix.

The old radio on the cabinet plays 80’s and 90’s. Sometimes Delilah comes on in the evening to select those sentimental songs her callers request to win back an old love or to celebrate a devout partner. Sometimes I listen to a lecture by Dr. Joe or Bruce Lipton. I listened to an old interview with Thich Nhat Hanh and Oprah last night.

It’s the coziest and happiest place to be, actually. I work and cook, wash loads of dishes and tools, I listen to all this wonderful stuff, children wander in and out of the room, sometimes they stay and draw pictures, tell me a story, or just sit and read a book. The husband wanders in to see what is easily accessible to devour and is asked to leave when he breaks a kitchen rule by touching things and trying to eat parts of my recipe.

I have been enjoying anything and everything I find on Zen Buddhist monks: Walk With Me, How To Cook Your Life, now this Jeong Kwan on The Chefs Table…

Why? Not that I want to run off to the hills and become a monk or become Buddhist or join a group. No, I most certainly don’t want to join any groups. But I love this feeling of peace, a slow and simple life, a focus on one thing. Not the usual life with a few projects and focus spread out on so many topics and so many “priorities”. What would life be like if we just focused on one thing?

Home. Home is where the healing is.

The gardening and scratch cooking in itself is an act of spiritual practice and connecting to life, the earth, Spirit. There is nothing more healing than spending a day in a clean, cozy kitchen rolling out a pizza crust, making a sauce from fresh vegetables you picked from the garden an hour ago, having your child sit at the table and read a book to you.

Home is where you will find your soul and worth.

I love all that Taoism and Zen monk living because I watch it and then I go about my housework differently. I practice moments of silence all through out the day. I quiet the mind when I’m in the garden picking the last of the tomatoes and basil, when I sweep the kitchen floor instead of vacuum, when I wash another tub full of dishes, when I put together a meal that I know is full of nourishment for my family.

I’m also loving this book Essentialism by Greg McKeown. It all ties in together. Learning to simplify and purge until you are down to what really matters and then putting all the focus and love into that.

Family and home. It is where I’m the most creative and content.

Homemaking in itself is an act of play. Think of all the times you rearrange the house, move a painting, try a new bedspread, arrange flowers for the table.

Cooking is an act of creativity. Learning new recipes, studying piles of cookbooks, measuring, testing, simmering, shopping for new spices.

Being with your children and watching them grow and learn about life. Being able to build a nest for everyone to feel safe and thrive.

Being a homemaker is a lovely job.


  1. I have tried the same recipe, I tweaked the seasoning as I was preparing it. Our family loves it. The pumpkin alfredo was even better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I started out with the McDougall program and the plant/starch based lifestyle two months ago, I purchased a lot of spices, flours, and ingredients to try out different recipes, but it became too time consuming and expensive. Like you I was spending all day in the kitchen mixing, cooking, baking and trying out different recipes. Now I keep it real simple and make a lot of the recipes from High Carb Hannah and Plantiful Kiki.

    Check out Plantiful Kiki, I just popped her “JALAPENO MAC ‘N CHEESE” recipe in the oven. The Jalapeno does not make the dish spicy, it provides flavor. Plus try out her planted basis grill cheese sandwich — super yummy, your boys will love it.


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  3. Although I am now a well paid professional “workIng outside the home” woman/ mother of a teen and young adult, by far my favorite and most rewarding job was homemaking. Homemaking is indeed a lovely job!

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  4. What a perfect blog for a perfect Autumn Sunday afternoon. I hope you will not give up on trying out new recipes. My tip, I try not to try out those that need ingredients that I do not have handy and that has worked out well especially when I have like 2 bananas or 2 apples that no one wants to eat. Lol! Enjoy time with your family. Take care.

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  5. Oh I forgot to say this. I don’t know why the Godzillas are adorned with upside down flowers, but I love it. it made me laugh. What wild imaginations Arjan and Sam have. Lol!!!

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  6. I want to thank you Kate for mentioning your enjoyment in watching videos and documentaries about monks. Because of you, I checked them out and found myself very inspired by their devotion and simple lifestyle. Several days ago, I was watching a Buddhist monk talk about how to handle bad feelings that seep into your thoughts while trying to meditate. He said rather than trying to push stressful, sad or fearful thoughts away, (which never works) allow them to come through and gently hold them close in your arms as a mother holds and sooths a crying child until the child becomes calm, then continue with the meditation. Due to some traumatic events, I believe I suffer from PTSD and find it hard to “shake off” depressing thoughts. What this man suggested to do with these thoughts has changed my life. If it weren’t for you, I would have never heard these healing words. Bless you. Oh, by the way, the dinosaurs are looking quite stylish in their squash blossom hats!…LOVE IT!

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  7. It sounds as if you’ve found your happy place. You’ve worked on it and listened to Arthur and have achieved the flow you wanted. I love that your kitchen is not in the center of traffic, but is situated perfectly that it can be the hub of all activity. You can hear all through the house and both doors and bathrooms have a straight shot through it without anyone having to walk in your work space. I can see why you like to be in there so much. You have made it a cozy space for your needs. Just wondering, have you tried using a hair dryer to see if that last bit of paint on the cupboards will peel off easily? Sometimes I have had luck with removing paint from wood like that. Sorry you didn’t like the stuffed shells. I don’t think I would’ve like pumpkin in them…I’d just prefer the stuffed shells without it. But to find something all three men in your life love is a great accomplishment.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I saw that recipe too. Yes, seemed a little advanced to me. I try to eat simple daily meals. Fancy ones for holidays. You have to try Plantiful Kiki’s vegan cheez sauce! I made a batch and had it in a mason jar. Immediately had to make another! We gobbled it up. Potato, carrot, notch…not much else. Few key ingredients. I have tried so many vegan cheez sauces and hers us hands down our favorite over baked potatoes, fries, nachos, mac & cheese, over steamed broccoli…..😍

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  9. Anne, the complex recipes I love to make. The pumpkin Alfredo was better and such a good use of all the pumpkin we grew. I agree Plantiful Kiki recipe for cheese sauce is awesome. My thing is I like things to be the right texture. I made plant based cottage cheese, yogurt, ricotta, and cream cheese too.

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  10. The stuffed shells sound delicious. Though I am not vegetarian or vegan I do enjoy “vegetarian” foods. There are a series of cookbooks by an older monk, Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette. I found them at my library and tried a few recipes and liked them. His monastery is about a half hour from where I live. Since you are interested in both monks and vegetarian foods I thought you might like to check him out.

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  11. For my kid who hates any type of nuts and get can tell even if there is smidge of nuts, she prefers the nut free. I like it both ways as long as the texture is smooth and silky.

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  12. Your new recipe sounds so good. I am glad that your family loved it after all your work. I adore being a homemaker. I also adore the squash blossom hats. That made me laugh.


  13. High Carb Hannah’s cheese sauce doesn’t have cashews. Raw cashews are expensive, the best price I’ve found is at Trader Joe’s — it’s a small bag, but a lot goes along way Bulk bins at the grocery store are still not open in my state, so I have to buy nuts and grains prepackaged, which is very expensive and wasteful if you only need a small amount.

    For Plantiful Kiki’s cheese sauce, I only use 1/4 cup of raw cashews not the 1/2 cup called for in the recipe — the recipe is still very good, thick and creamy with only 1/4 cup of raw cashews.

    I have made both High Carb Hannah’s and Plantiful Kiki’s cheese sauce and both are good. The cheese sauce with cashews is thicker, so you can make really good grilled cheese sandwiches with it. Carb Hannah’s is good for nachos, cheese and broccoli, burritos, and dipping sauce for french fries.



    Also try this recipe from High Carb Hannah — this recipe is super yummy, reminds me of Thanksgiving dinner.


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  14. I love being a homemaker! I wish more women did, It seems like they just don’t get it. I am so glad you blog and do you tube. I missed you so much!

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  15. I agree that being a homemaker is so rewarding, and a blessing to the rest of the family as well. Really enjoy reading about what you are learning!


  16. This blog left me with such a warm and cozy feeling; I think it’s one of your very best! You know I absolutely love watching you embrace plant based cooking. It’s wonderful to read the comments and see how many others are trying this way of eating too. After being mostly vegetarian for a few years, I finally gave up dairy 18 months ago and am just so excited now about cooking and eating this way.
    Kate, continue to “brighten the corner you’re in”, (as my mother always said) or in your case, “brighten the kitchen you’re in.” 💝🥕🥔


  17. I think that sounds delicous! I love to try new recipes but try to restrict it to one new recipe every ten days [we shop every ten days, so it works well] One of my favorite foods is a pumpkin soup I always order when I go on a cruise. I have been trying to replicate the dish for years with no success. It is a savory taste, absolutely no cinnamon or any of the ussual pumpkin spices. I’m wondering if the spices in the stuffed shells might be similar.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I hope you find your dream recipe. I’ve been searching for a long time for a recipe a restaurant near me had as their specialty for years until it went out of business. It was called Beer Cheese Soup and was a very smooth, creamy, mild cheddar cheese soup. The cheese was strong, but not bitey and the beer gave it an edge, sort of like a fermented taste. (I don’t even like beer.) I’ve come to the conclusion I liked theirs more because I didn’t make it. lol I agree with you that when it comes to the stuffed shells I wouldn’t like the pumpkin pie type of spices in it either, But otherwise they sound delicious even though the thought of pumpkin in them sounds strange to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. That’s a good idea to try a new recipe every 10 days. I have been trying so many recipes because the garden has been so plentiful. I have been canning and canning tomatoes and . every other veg. I made a gallon of v8 today. I was so excited that the hardware store called me with canning jars. I did the pumpkin shells with sage, and pepper and they were excellent. I have a pumpkin soup I do with toasted pumpkin seeds, sage, and cracked pepper butter.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Good morning Kate,
    I wanted to share a youtube page I love watching, I am not vegan, but trying to be more whole foods and less processed foods. I have loved watching Ellen Fisher, her family lives in Hawaii and they are vegan family, here recipes are really good I have tried a lot of her salads and the dressings are amazing, she is very similar to high carb Hannah only Ellen Fisher has like 4 or 5 kids, I am sure you will love her recipes, she sells her ebooks with all her recipes online but some are in her videos that she puts in detail in her description box.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Hello! I have been reading your blog (and watching your videos) for some time, but I am not much of a commenter (mainly because of all the logins and I am lazy in this area, LOL!) Anyway, I relate to a lot of what you talk about, the things you plan and perspective. I am a polymath like you and find myself jumping in with both feet and hands on new interests. I am plant-based as well and I wanted to try this recipe, so I am glad for your comments on it. I love pumpkin, but I do know what you mean about the getting used to the differences when switching from SAD to WFPB. I absolutely despised nutritional yeast when I first stopped dairy and thought vegans were crazy when they said it tastes like cheese. Now…I love it!
    Anyway, I also want to thank you for inspiring me to look for some Buddhist videos-it had been a minute and I found a lovely one on self-forgiveness that I desperately needed.

    I used to be a pretty regular blogger back in the day (early 2000s) and started one again a few years ago, but I am not great at keeping it up on it. You inspire me to blog again as well. Back then, we had a really sweet community of bloggers and I miss it. I am still very good friends with many of the women I met in the blogging days. If you ever wonder if you are encouraging others to be curious, write, try new things or just be happy with what they have in the moment, you do in big ways. 🙂 Gina


  22. Homemade Lara Bars

    | | | | | |


    | | | | Homemade Lara Bars

    I love Lara Bars. They’re not completely raw – but for a prepackaged food, they’re as raw as you get. They’re … |




  23. Oh Gina, I really appreciate that!! I feel loved and supported by the community, but now and then I DO need to hear that the work I do inspires! I love being inspired, I love that feeling and I want to do that for others above all else.


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