Creamy Alfredo Sauce with Linguine & Roasted Tomatoes

Another great recipe from Chef Linda of Esther’s Kitchen!!


We made this Creamy Alfredo Sauce with Linguine and Roasted Tomatoes that serves 6 hearty portions. This meal comes together in about 30 minutes which is perfect for weeknight meals. The sauce is extra creamy with lots of garlic flavor. In addition to the roasted tomatoes, you can add spinach, broccoli and faux meat substitutes. We love to hear and see what our friend’s are making here. Please let us know how you prepared your creamy pasta dish. Enjoy!

~Chef Linda 

Creamy Alfredo Sauce with Linguine and Roasted Tomatoes
Cuisine: Esther Approved, GF option with GF pasta

Serves: 6

Prep including Cook Time: 30 Minutes, plus 2 hour cashew soak time

2 pounds of dried egg-free linguine or other pasta

1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half

2 Tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Spread

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours, drained

2 shallots, finely diced

10 garlic cloves, minced

3-1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

Salt and Pepper to taste, 2 teaspoons salt was used in this sauce

1. Cook your pasta per the package directions. 
2. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper. Spread out the tomato halves on the parchment paper. Spray the tomatoes with cooking spray. Evenly grind fresh black pepper and salt over the tomatoes. Roast the tomatoes for 18 minutes. 

3. In a large saute pan, heat the Earth Balance and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic. Saute for approximately 4 minutes. 

4. Place the cashews in a food processor and process on high until smooth. Add 1 cup almond milk and process until combined and smooth, scraping the bottom and sides of the food processor. 

Add this mixture in the saute pan with the shallots and garlic. Add the remaining almond milk and additional salt and pepper to taste. Stir until smooth. Cook for 10-12 minutes over medium-low heat, scraping the sides of the pan. Once the sauce begins to bubble, stir in the nutritional yeast and roasted tomatoes. Stir until combined. 

5. Combine the cooked pasta and sauce in a large serving bowl. Serve with a side salad, bread, Esther Approved parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.


National Banana Bread Day

Chef Linda has a theme going! I’m not positive if this is a national day for Canada, or the U.S., but, either way, I like her calendar!! Here’s her post:

It’s National Banana Bread Day! We are featuring Esther the Wonder Pig’s Blueberry Banana Bread made with organic blueberries, spelt flour and Tofutti Sour Supreme sour cream. You do not have to make separate chia eggs. Once your bananas are mashed, you add everything into the mixing bowl and stir until combined. Enjoy! 
~Chef Linda 

Esther the Wonder Pig’s Blueberry Banana Bread 

Recipe Type: Sweet Bread

Cuisine: Esther Approved 

Serves: 9×5 loaf 

Prep including Bake Time: 1 hour 

1/2 cup vanilla non-dairy yogurt or Tofutti Sour Supreme 

2 Tablespoons chia seeds

3 medium sized ripe bananas, mashed

3 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1-1/3 cup spelt or all-purpose flour 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt 

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 

1 teaspoon baking soda 

1 cup frozen or fresh organic blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9×5 bread loaf pan with cooking spray. 
2. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a masher. 

3. Combine the remaining ingredients with the bananas. Stir until the batter is combined and moist. If you over stir the bread, it will become dense. 

4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. 

5. Bake for 50 minutes. 

6. Allow to cool and then slice.

Plant Manager

The humans in our household (both of us) have been following strictly plant-based nutrition for going on two months now. We are really loving the way we are feeling and even more so, the fact that no animals are harmed in the making of our food. In making the decision to do this, because of limited options where we live, we have essentially eliminated the opportunity to eat out (with very few exceptions). Therefore, I have been cooking and preparing all of our meals at home (making me the “Plant Manager”). This has led to a lot of exploration of new dishes and new ways to prepare old favorites. This past weekend, through Pinterest, I found a recipe from Sonia at The Healthy Foodie, Apple and Almond Salad. As with most recipes I attempt,  I tweaked, bringing this particular one in line with the plant-based guidelines we follow: No animal products and no added oils. (I also omitted the olives as a personal preference).

So, I present to you, my take on Sonia’s original recipe:


Vegan, Zero Cholesterol, Broccoli, Apple and Almond Salad


    • 2 heads broccoli, florets only, chopped
    • 1 large red apple, diced
    • 1 cup raw sliced almonds
    • ½ cup raisins
    • ¼ cup dates, chopped (about 10)
For the vinaigrette
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • the juice of 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
  • ¼ unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  1. Steam the broccoli until tender. Rinse in icy water to stop cooking and allow to drain in colander while cooling.
  2. When the broccoli is completely cooled and dry, toast the almonds in a dry skillet set over medium heat, until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a small food processor, add all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and process until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients plus the vinaigrette and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Serve immediately or leave in the fridge for a few hours to allow flavors to develop. This salad will keep in the fridge for 5 to 6 days in an airtight container.

It was a big hit in our home, served alongside Lentil Burgers on homemade whole wheat buns and oven baked French fries.

Please let me know if you try my version and how you liked it!

You can find the original (non-vegan) version at: Broccoli, Apple & Almond Salad

Thanks for reading!!

A Tooth in The Hand…

…ees worthz a lot of zee money to zee deentest! Eef you follow zeeze blog, you vill know She has been hafing some deental eessues. Last veek, She had zee vroot canal, and everyzing weent vell, exzept zee tempovrary crown vas not aligned correctly vhen zee eendodonteest put eet back on, so She spent zee week in some deescomfort. Yesterday, She vent back to zee regular deentist to have zee permaneent crowns put een. Howevair, zee tooth weech had zee vroot canal vould not take zee new crown, so zhey had to do a new eempression for anozer crown and zee temporary crown had to be put back eento place. Zee regular deentist vas able to align eet correctly and She felt great. She vas so eexzited to not have zee pre-vroot-canal-pain, or zee post-vroot-canal-meesalignment-deescomfort, zhat She kind of forgot zhat She should not be chewing gum.

Oops! Out came zee crown. She vas able to get right back eento zee deentist office and zhey cemented zee crown back een. Again, She was feeling better zhan She had felt een several veeks. Eet was unforshunately short-leeved, howevair, vhen She vas eating a soft peice of bread and zee crown came out yet again. Zee deentist offeece ees closed today, but zee sweet deental aseestant ees going to meet her to put eet een once again. As a result of zee vroot canal, zee shape of zee tooth has changed, the original teemporary crown ees not feeting as eet should. Zhey hope zeeze time, zee crown vill stay een place until zee next appointment on Apreel 1st. She vreally hopes zhere vill be no Apreel Fool’s joke on her zhat day! Ve hope not as vell.



Mister Fussy in the Leaves
So, I’ve settled in real well here at The House of 9 Lives. I’m in a great little routine of exploring outside all day, and when they are home, being inside stretched out on their bed with my brothers and sisters, or cuddled in one of their laps, preferably his! I think it was him that said they didn’t need any more cats. Well, in all fairness, that was before he met me!

She has been a little under the weather lately. She had to have some dental work done which consisted of getting two new crowns. Unfortunately one of the teeth that was fitted with a temporary crown is cracked and the only fix for it is a root canal. Now, it’s not her first trip to this rodeo, but it has been years since She has had one. She is scheduled for that very pleasant experience this Thursday and has opted to take the day off work for the occassion. It will be a morning appointment, so we hope She will come home and lay in bed with us the rest of the day.

She has been in a good bit of pain for the last few weeks – She put off calling the Dentist for a little while, then when She did, his office was closed for the week (and, She chose to wait it out because She didn’t want to see anyone else). Then, when She was able to get in, poor Dr. B. was very sick with a virus, so the excellent staff there took good care of her and referred her to an Endodontist who was able to see her the same day and recommended the root canal. At that point, She would have been happy to have it done that day, but unfortunately, they didn’t have an appointment available for several days. So, that brings us to now, and the appointment is just a few days away.

She has managed the pain well with over-the-counter extra strength pain releivers and every now and then, one of the PM variety for a good night’s sleep. Actually, in the last few days, the pain has really tapered off and She hasn’t had to take anything. Of course, She knows better than to put off the procedure, or things will surely get worse.

The thing that has bothered her the most is the addition of another “ist” to her contact list. Does it say something about her age that She has to see so many health professionals? If you add them up, it’s quite a list – She regularly sees the Dentist, the Periodontist, the Dermatologist, the Radiologist and the Gynecologist. She’s also had occasion to see an Orthopedist and a Physical Therapist. That’s not to mention her general physician, and a surgeon She is still following up with. All this for a person who is generally deemed healthy!

Well, speaking of health, they probably wouldn’t like that I’m sharing this, but you know, I’m still learning the rules of the house. He and She started early last summer to really be aware of their health. They began keeping track of what they were eating and how much they were moving and made adjustments where necessary, and as of now, they have lost a combined total of almost 100 pounds! They are both so pleased with their progress and now they are at their goals, they are feeling so much better, not to mention, looking really great!! Surely, there is some speical”ist” She has avoided seeing by making this healthy change!!


Mister Fussy

Lasting Impressions

Well, it has been quite a long while since we have posted anything on the blog! We are sorry to those of you who have missed us! There’s no particular reason we haven’t written, really – there has been a lot going on that could have been written about. She just had the laptop put away, and if She doesn’t leave it out for us to get to, we can’t get on-line! Thankfully, today, She forgot to put it away. Some things that have been going on around here are:

  1. They addressed the issue of not being able to get a good cup of coffee at work by buying two Keurig Mini coffee makers, one for each of their offices. They liked them so much, they bought a system for the house as well. More on this later.
  2. She started back knitting. Then stopped again. She’s a great self-starter. Finisher? Not so much. She got real passionate about hand-knit socks and really wanted to give a toe-up, two socks at one time, pattern a go. So, she got started on two socks on two sets of DPNs and went to town. Only she didn’t get all the way into town, seems she ran out of gas somewhere around the turning of the heel. More on this later (if there is more).
  3. They have each lost right around thirty pounds since sometime in May or June. They have been moving more and eating less and keeping up with how much of both they are doing. They are becoming more fit and healthy and really loving their new silhouettes and stamina! More on that, if you want to know.
  4. They finished a little project at the house. That used to happen a lot more often than it does now days! They finished replacing some fencing. It looks so nice! More on this when we get some decent pictures to show. The before and after pics are pretty dramatic!
  5. They managed to cut and stack enough firewood for themselves and their close friends. Enough on that!
  6. They started another project at the house. They demolished and enlarged the master bedroom closet and started taking up the laminate flooring and existing tile in the bathroom. They are getting the bedroom ready for their new Select Comfort Sleep Number bed!

Which brings us to the reason for this post. Their current mattress is only approximately 6 years old. At the time it was bought, it was very comfortable to them. However, it has developed some very serious “body impressions”. They have been careful to keep the mattress turned regularly, but over this short amount of time, it has really taken on some deep gulleys. Prior to this Simmons Beauty Rest mattress, they had a Serta Perfect Sleeper. They slept on that one for close to fifteen years and it wore evenly and remained comfortable. A relative has it now and it is still comfortable. But the Beauty Rest really hasn’t been much of a “beauty”, and He was experiencing some back pain from sleeping on it.

The Select Comfort arrived via UPS last week. So, now there are six boxes stacked hither and yon throughout the living room and kitchen. Thankfully, they are very light, so He can move them around as necessary. We really love the boxes as they have made the most wonderful tiered napping surfaces! They should have known we would be the first ones to sleep on their new bed. They have the closet put back to a functional state, He still has to build the built-in organizers, and they need to paint and add trim. This weekend, they tiled the bathroom and the bedroom with the same tile that runs throughout the rest of the house. Only grouting is left to make the floor complete.

They are currently sleeping on the existing mattress and box springs on the floor in the living room. It’s like camping out. Of course, we love the idea of having a king-size ottoman in the living room, and there isn’t a moment in the day or night that at least one of us isn’t lying on that bed. I wonder if we could persuade them to leave it here? Of course, we, nor they, are really crazy about the current state of other parts of the house. For instance, the toilet is currently sitting in the shower in the master bathroom and the sink and vanity are in the hall. It’s pretty much mass chaos around here, right now.

I’ve been thinking though, and I think I know who is really at the bottom of all this. Boomer is a really big boy. He’s built like an English Bulldog with broad shoulders, and is quite a sturdy cat. Every day, he takes up residence on the bed and stays there until he is coerced out of the bedroom at bedtime. I’d say if there are any impressions on the bed, they are from Boomer. He certainly can leave a lasting impression!




Smooth(ie) Talker

He ees a smooz talker. She tells heem zat all zee time! He ees also zee exzeleent Smoozie maker! Zey recently purchazed a Food Saver, and zey have been stock-piling zee berries, pineapple, bananas and peaches for zee smoozies zat He loves to make and drink. Here are some peectures of hees latest concoctshun. Eet ees Coconut Extract and Strawberries. Zey call eet zee Coco-berry.

First, zee berries:

Fresh Berries

Food Saver

Ready for zee freezer:

Ready for the Freezer

From zee Freezer:

Frozen Strawberries

Blending the Berries

All Churned Up

Smooth & Frothy

She has a favorite Smoozie – eet ees zee Chuck Berry. Eet ees Strawberries, Blackberries and Blueberries. Zey call eet zee Chuck Berry, because he chucks all zee berries een and zat makes zee smoozie!

Zey are loving zese tasty and healzy dreenks, eef only I could mas-tair seeping zru a straw, I would eenjoy zem, too!