My Recipes: Spinach Tortellini With Lemon Cream Sauce

Spinach Tortellini with Lemon Cream Sauce

Almost two months ago, I instagrammed a pick of one of my favorite dinners to make, and had a few people respond wanting the recipe. So I decided to finally get it up on the blog!

As I said on my instagram, it’s one of my faves because it takes less than 20 minutes to make, it tastes fresh and it’s so delicious. I’m all about a easy/tasty meal, especially lately as standing up with what feels like a watermelon hanging off the front of my body is becoming more difficult.

The lemon cream sauce was first introduced to me by Daniel’s father, Roger. When I lived with his parents while we were engaged, Roger would make this fantastic sauce and pour it over a pasta of some kind and usually cook salmon or shrimp to go with it. I’ve made this with both as well as with chicken, but that takes extra time of course.


Here’s what you’ll need to whip up this dish. Can you tell I like Trader Joes? Hehe. So I know recipes are supposed to come with measurements and such, but I cook a lot of my meals by eyesight and taste. If you’re a by-the-book kinda person, I do apologize, but I don’t measure any of this stuff out.

Our garlic mincer broke and we haven’t been able to find one we like (and are willing to pay for) yet, so I’ve been lazy and just used crushed garlic. But fresh minced garlic is strongly encouraged! Use however much you like. I use a little less than a tablespoon of the crushed garlic, and that seems to be just enough. For the parmesan cheese, use at least a half a cup. Or use however much you want, it’s your sauce. If you’re using a small lemon, you’re gonna want to microplane the entire lemon for all the zest, and then the lemon juice from half the lemon. Since we usually use small onions, I just cut up the entire thing and throw it in there. Make sure you’ve got some EVOO to sauté your onions and garlic before you add the rest of the ingredients. I don’t usually add salt, because the parmesan cheese can be pretty salty, but you can taste your sauce and go from there, adding whatever you want.

How to cut an onion

Onion tip: I learned this from Daniel, who learned it from his best friend Chris. Cut into the onion as shown above, making squares as big or small as you’d like them. Then when you go to slice the onion, it’s already diced. Time saver!

Spinach Tortellini

Tort Tip: This is the best tortellini I’ve had yet. You can get any brand tortellini you prefer, but try to stick to the kind that’s in the refrigerated section of the store instead of the frozen. It takes less time to boil.

Ok, so here we go!

Spinach Tortellini With Lemon Cream Sauce

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: A meal for 2 adults and 1 child

Spinach Tortellini With Lemon Cream Sauce


  • 1 Package of Spinach Tortellini
  • Some EVOO
  • 1 small onion
  • Crushed or minced garlic
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • Zest from 1 small lemon
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Shredded or grated parmesan cheese
  • Black Pepper to taste


  1. Pour some EVOO in a medium sized pan over medium heat.
  2. While the oil is heating, slice and dice your onion, mince your garlic and microplane that lemon.
  3. Sauté your onion for a minute or two to open up the fragrance and flavor.
  4. Add your garlic and continue to sauté for about a minute.
  5. Get your pot of water on high for the tort.
  6. Pour your heavy whipping cream in the pan, and lower the heat a little bit.
  7. Allow the cream to cook down for a few minutes, and then add your lemon zest and juice.
  8. As it cooks down a bit more and thickens, add your parmesan cheese and turn it down to low heat.
  9. Add black pepper to taste.
  10. By this time, your tort water should be boiling, so pour your pasta in.
  11. Let your tort boil for about 3 minutes, and then pour it into a strainer.
  12. Serve hot, and drown that tort in sauce!


If you've got some handy, add a splash or two of white wine. It opens up the flavors and gives it a little kick!



The popular belief these days is to simply embrace your true self. To stop denying who you really are, whatever that looks like- and in the process, only surround yourself with people who affirm it.

Well, I don’t think anyone would want to be around me if I did that.

In sifting through my Evernote folders, I came across a poem I wrote sometime earlier this year. From the looks of it, I was having a really rough day. It must have been the day I saw Sia’s music video for her song Elastic Heart, which would explain the reference in the first part of the poem. I feel somewhat embarrassed for saying this, especially in light of Shia Labeouf’s latest viral explosion (you know, the one where he yells “JUST DO IT” a bunch of times?)… but that music video ripped me open. I remember feeling overwhelmed when it was done, as it left me with tears spilled down my face and bewildered by my reaction. Abram wasn’t home for whatever reason, which thankfully allowed me to deal slowly with whatever was trying to come out over the course of the afternoon. Not that I can’t deal with stuff in front of my son- I often do, for both of our sakes. But sometimes, children don’t afford you the courtesy for long, afternoon bouts of self analyzation.

It all came out in this poem called Bloodline. I’m a little scared to let you see this, as I usually am when I share this side of my writing. But as I came across it, I felt compelled to share, perhaps in thinking on the world and culture we live in. I know I’ve kept it pretty light over the last several weeks, so I’m sorry for jumping from silly pictures of college cafeteria life to this. I only wrote half of it that day, and the other half a few days ago when I decided that it wasn’t finished. The second half is in bold.



I know I’ve come out a bit different

But I’ve still got the same blood running through my veins
Which is why I know most of my bad thoughts aren’t whispers from the devil
But darkness inside of my own DNA
Maybe the reason that caged dance
Bothered me
Is because I’ve been at war with myself since
The day I was made
And try as I might to allow the clean blood to take over
Some days I can’t help but be stuck in the reign.
The reign of family history. 
History flowing deep inside of me.
I can feel it trying to slowly blot me out
Like the moon eclipses the sun.
Curses aren’t just incantations in fables
But as real as unmarked tombstones
They are forever like the lines on the palms of my hand
Sins that are buried with bones.
I feel the serpent creep slowly, subtly inching towards my brain
Wanting to sink into the right lobe and then the left
Start wars that are only fought in vain…
Not. Me.
My answer is no, even though parts of me want to give in.
It fights to take over, it wants every inch of my inside
But curses can end, for so long they can only try
To consume a child, and sometimes they win
But if I fight back…
If I fight back against what was started within…
Then maybe. Maybe the Reign of Family History will finally, and with great anticipation and with triumphant celebration and with blood-marked justification…
Come. To an end.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Sweetest name I know…
I do know You
But You’ve known me far before the star stuff exploded
You’ve known about my bloodline
You were inside of my history
You wept when our children wept
Because of the things that were stolen
Your righteousness burned with white flames
As you watched father’s sins birth more sin
There are things you’ve allowed to happen
And my heart still asks the why questions
But You…
You knew me. 
You knew I was coming.
And you decided to put a fight in me.
I’m not special.
The divide created from the moment Eve decided to try and take your place
was in my heart when it started beating.
So this fight, this freedom uprising
I cannot take credit.
I know in my blood the foul potential
And all I’ve got as weapons are truth and grace.
Grace… greater than ALL of my sin
You knew me, You know me, You know where I’m headed…
You win. 

Flash Back Friday: The Caf

The Caf

You guys… it’s almost been 10 YEARS since I made my way up through Florida, Georgia and most of South Carolina in minivan with all my stuff to go to North Greenville University. That was one of the scariest, most exciting times of my life; going away to college. I knew I needed out of Miami for a time to get a grip on life and learn new things, but leaving everything I knew was so terrifying.

Thankfully, it ended up being one of the best and funniest years of my life. I couldn’t tell you a thing I learned that year in class, and yes I ABSOLUTELY failed chapel for second semester (because I thought it was dumb), but the experience of getting out of what I knew and meeting new people was really good, and it was a year that opened up my eyes to a lot of my issues. Gah- so many issues.

If there was one thing that I loved most about going to school at NGU, it was the cafeteria, or as we called it, The Caf. At first, it was crazy intimidating because I knew no one and had no idea where to sit or who to hang out with. But as I made friends of different kinds and from different circles, it became a place that represented unity, fellowship and play time. And I mean play time in the literal sense- we played around all of the time.

The Orange Battle

The orange battle

Documented above was your classic orange eating contest. Ben, Randall and Sam are three of the funniest guys I’ve ever met (along with Max, everyone from DTS, Andrew, Adam, etc), and watching their shenanigans was good for the soul. I think this was also the day someone did Peter Answers on me and I screamed bloody murder IN THE CAF.

The Caf

The Caf

Look at these little kids.

Josiah in the Caf

Neal in the Caf

These two- I can’t even know. They were the best (and weirdest) of brothers and friends. They used to yell each others names really loud in the caf, and it always made me laugh.

The Caf

The Caf


The Caf

Someone was ALWAYS on the floor.

The Caf

The Caf

The Caf

The food in the Caf really wasn’t that bad. I didn’t mind it, and even on a night where I was not about to eat whatever was being served, there was always Lucky Charms and a pudding of some kind. And endless soda- it was a 19 year old’s dream.

One of my favorite things about The Caf was that I always started sitting with one person or a group of people, and ended up sitting with another group of people. It’s the place where I came to know and love all of the friends I still have now, even though we are states away. I wish I had my old motorola phone, because the pictures on that thing are HILARIOUS. I’ll just describe some of the events that were captured on film:

1) One day, everyone at our double table was wearing a solid color from the rainbow, and when I realized it I made everyone get up and stand in the order of ROYGBIV so that I could document the rare occurrence.

2) The one of two times I ever made it to breakfast, Ben Patat sat with me and that was the day I realized he wasn’t scary and one of the nicest guys I know to this day. I don’t remember why or how we had a pop up book of Cinderella at the table, but it was a fun morning.

3) I met Randall in The Caf on my first day at NGU. The rest is history…

4) Towards the end of the school year, the homeless impact team tried to raise funds so that we could have a pizza party with our homeless friends. No one wanted to chip in, so Josiah started stealing people’s phones and sunglasses from the tables and offering to sell it back to them for a fair price. It actually worked with one person.

5) I met Bethany in The Caf on my first Sunday there, after realizing I had to dress up like I went to church just to eat lunch in the cafeteria. She saved my life, and became one of my best buds.


As a Christian who’s trying to follow Jesus in every area of my life, there’s a lot of sanctification days and seasons; my heart has so much garbage in it. Really hard times that you know are good for you and changing you for the better, but they are hard nonetheless. Years like my year at NGU, times like I had in The Caf… those were times of abundant silliness, laughter and wholeness- nothing more and nothing less. The season before I went there was a time of great suffering for my family and I, and I just really appreciate the relief that place brought me. It didn’t negate or erase what was going on in my family or what was about to be revealed to me of my own sin over the next several years, but it simply reminded me that life can be so sweet.