Simple Creamy Vegetable Soup + My Alaska Earthquake Story

This is a wonderfully simple and delectable soup. Chunks of hearty sweet potato, zucchini, and broccoli swim in a flavorful, creamy broth for a quick and healthy meal that’s great for a weeknight. This really is a new favorite meal that’s a great way to use up any leftover canned coconut milk in your fridge.

Produce On Parade - Simple Creamy Vegetable Soup - This is a wonderfully simple and delectable soup. Chunks of hearty sweet potato, zucchini, and broccoli swim in a flavorful, creamy broth for a quick and healthy meal that’s great for a weeknight. This really is a new favorite meal that’s a great way to use up any leftover canned coconut milk in your fridge.

I’m not sure if you may heard the front page news, but on Friday Alaska had one of it’s biggest and most destructive Earthquakes to date. I posted some photos of our house and a couple of the collapsed overpasses and roads on my social media sites, which you can see here.

I’ll try to keep my story short.

I was at work when it hit. It was 8:30 in the morning and I had just settling in, drinking my coffee and looking over our patients and schedule for the day. When our building began to shake I sat for a second or two assessing how severe this was going to be. We get a lot of earthquakes in Alaska and most of them are minor. However, when the earth continued to shake I fell under my desk. The shaking became so violent, more than I’d ever felt, and all I could think about was Oliver and Todd at home. “Are they safe, are they safe, are they safe,” was all that rushed through my mind.

Finally, the shaking stopped after what felt like forever but turned out to only be a couple minutes (which is actually an etinerity when you’re in a massive earthquake). We ended up evacuating our clinic and I raced home. There were ambulances everywhere and the roads were packed. None of the roads I had to travel on were damaged but the photo below is ten minutes from my work.

Photo by Marc Lester

Photo by Marc Lester

Todd and Oliver made it through unscathed (well, except for Todd’s left foot). Oliver was standing on his stool pictured below when it started. Todd grabbed him and they huddled under our dining room table until the shaking stopped. When I got home we proceeded to clean up A TON of broken glass and dishes over the weekend. Lots of large, custom framed art pieces I did broke. Several potted plants took a hit. Items flew off of shelves and Oliver’s room looked like a herd of dinosaurs stomped through, with lamps and monitors swinging off the desk. Everything on any table or desk fell to the floor. Several pieces of our siding cracked and there are a couple cracks in our interior walls but no serious damage. There’s a huge gouge in the earth in our front lawn that I literally stuck my ENTIRE hand in! It was crazy that the shaking actually opened up our childproof cabinets!

Oliver walked around most of the day pointing sadly at everything and telling us, “Broke, broke, broke..”. The aftershocks have been keeping everyone on pins and needles as we continue to experience very large quakes. Everytime one comes rumbling to life Oliver shakes his head pleading, “No, no, no…” It’s heartbreaking seeing him in so much fright.

Produce On Parade - Simple Creamy Vegetable Soup - This is a wonderfully simple and delectable soup. Chunks of hearty sweet potato, zucchini, and broccoli swim in a flavorful, creamy broth for a quick and healthy meal that’s great for a weeknight. This really is a new favorite meal that’s a great way to use up any leftover canned coconut milk in your fridge.

We are so thankful no friends or family were hurt and nothing of super valuable or sentimental broke. Our family is definitely shaken though and I’m compelled to hold my babies a little tighter. There are many families who lost their homes and important objects. Several roads literally just fell into the earth. The highway to Anchorage and our international airport have both opened back up and we are all on our way to getting back to our lives.

In the aftermath, I’ve learned to slow down and truly cherish the little moments. Also, to keep a few gallons of water handy in the pantry. In addition, command strips are not earthquake proof. Our art will now be re-installed with nails… #liveandlearn

Produce On Parade - Simple Creamy Vegetable Soup - This is a wonderfully simple and delectable soup. Chunks of hearty sweet potato, zucchini, and broccoli swim in a flavorful, creamy broth for a quick and healthy meal that’s great for a weeknight. This really is a new favorite meal that’s a great way to use up any leftover canned coconut milk in your fridge.

Simple Creamy Vegetable Soup


Simple Creamy Vegetable Soup
By
This is a wonderfully simple and delectable soup. Chunks of hearty sweet potato, zucchini, and broccoli swim in a flavorful, creamy broth for a quick and healthy meal that’s great for a weeknight. This really is a new favorite meal that’s a great way to use up any leftover canned coconut milk in your fridge.
Ingredients
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 small/medium zucchinis, diced
  • 1 medium bunch of broccoli; florets only, chopped
  • 16 oz vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt or table salt
  • ¾ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • dash of white pepper (black pepper will work)
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
Instructions
  1. In a medium soup pot over medium heat, dry-saute the onions and garlic until they become fragrant and soften. Add the sweet potato and saute an additional 5 minutes while preparing the rest of the soup.
  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients except for the coconut milk. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce to a simmer and cook for about 8-10 minutes until the sweet potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in coconut milk. Serve hot.

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Yield: 4
Produce On Parade - Simple Creamy Vegetable Soup - This is a wonderfully simple and delectable soup. Chunks of hearty sweet potato, zucchini, and broccoli swim in a flavorful, creamy broth for a quick and healthy meal that’s great for a weeknight. This really is a new favorite meal that’s a great way to use up any leftover canned coconut milk in your fridge.

Easy Grilled Teriyaki Tofu w/ Quinoa & Broccoli

This is an incredibly easy and quick meal that is simple enough for a busy weeknight after a long day at work. Super healthy, this dish emphasizes plant-based protein, whole grains, and getting some greens in! Teriyaki sauce adapted from food.com.

Produce On Parade - Easy Grilled Teriyaki Tofu w/ Quinoa & Broccoli - This is an incredibly easy and quick meal that is simple enough for a busy weeknight after a long day at work. Super healthy, this dish emphasizes plant-based protein, whole grains, and getting some greens in! Teriyaki sauce adapted from food.com.

***PROMO CODE for Zyliss Non-Stick Cookware below!***

Hey everyone! I hope that the seep of fall is blossoming beautifully for you. The air here in Alaska is crisp and pungent with the perfume of wild, highbush cranberries.

We've been having a bit of storm this week, complete with powerful winds and angry rain; many of our leaves have already dropped from the trees. Fall in Alaska is about four days long and this intense wind has just given it a big shove, hurrying it along. It goes something like this:

  • Day 1 of Fall - It starts to get real cold at night.

  • Day 2 - The leaves turn banal yellow.

  • Day 3 - The leaves turn pale brown.

  • Day 4 - The (normal) wind and rain arrives; the leaves vacate the trees.

Yes, this is a 100% accurate representation of an Alaskan fall. We don't even count it as a season, it's so short and decidedly unremarkable. We only have three seasons up here. Breakup (spring), construction (summer), and winter. Now you know! I still love our fall though...

Produce On Parade - Easy Grilled Teriyaki Tofu w/ Quinoa & Broccoli - This is an incredibly easy and quick meal that is simple enough for a busy weeknight after a long day at work. Super healthy, this dish emphasizes plant-based protein, whole grains, and getting some greens in! Teriyaki sauce adapted from food.com.

The end of construction season has the CSA we subscribe to in full swing with lots of fresh and yummy veggies like this broccoli. As our no-oil, whole foods diet trial continues, this made an excellent and quick weeknight dinner last week. I confess that I've had some slip ups here and there. Mainly a sneaky sneak of some vegan ice cream and bagged popcorn, etc. Todd for the most part has been doing pretty good on it. He made the vegan America's Test Kitchen pancakes (a former staple of his), which use coconut oil, for my non-hermit book club last week and had a few. He told me he did seem to feel worse after eating them, so maybe there is something to this whole oil thing with regards to it's inflammatory influence on rheumatoid arthritis.

The Other Side of Impossible

I'm currently reading, The Other Side of Impossible: Ordinary People Who Faced Daunting Medical Challenges and Refused to Give Up by Susannah Meadows. It's collection of stories about families that have struggled with a chronic illness and sought out 'alternative' treatments when standard western medicine wasn't helping. It's pretty incredible how resilient these people are and I found Todd and myself relating to them in different ways. He's so incredibly enthusiastic and flexible, always willing to continue try this thing or that thing I read about in new study. And myself, unrelenting with research and constantly pouring through both anecdotal and scientific evidence regarding upcoming treatments for autoimmune diseases. #cantstopwontstop

A couple of the folks in the book have RA and I found it especially inspiring to read how they didn't stop trying to find a cure or at least something that helped them managed their pain and symptoms. No matter how bad it got, they were always hopeful that something had to give. It took me a long time to realize that we were the same. That's why we won't stop at just being vegan. If we need to cut out oil and adopt a low-fat, whole foods diet then we'll be there. It might seem extreme to some, but like the book states, until you're faced with the struggle of a chronic autoimmune disease and finding that nothing is working, not even harsh chemotherapy drugs and injectable biologics, you don't know what you wouldn't try if you even had the remote possibility at making a difference in your quality of life. 

The book actually centers on the caregivers of those suffering just as much as the victims, and how far they'll go to help their loved ones. It's really incredible at the hope and tenacity of these people. If you can relate in any way, I encourage you to pick up this book. 

Produce On Parade - Easy Grilled Teriyaki Tofu w/ Quinoa & Broccoli - This is an incredibly easy and quick meal that is simple enough for a busy weeknight after a long day at work. Super healthy, this dish emphasizes plant-based protein, whole grains, and getting some greens in! Teriyaki sauce adapted from food.com.

Easy Grilled Teriyaki Tofu w/ Quinoa & Broccoli

Recipe by Kathleen @ Produce On Parade

This is an incredibly easy and quick meal that is simple enough for a busy weeknight after a long day at work. Super healthy, this dish emphasizes plant-based protein, whole grains, and getting some greens in! Teriyaki sauce adapted from food.com.

Ingredients

  • 14 oz firm or extra firm tofu, pressed for 15 minutes then sliced into 4 rectangles
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 1 large broccoli head, chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chiffonade fresh basil
  • dash of sesame seeds, for garnish

Cooking Directions

  1. Press the tofu to remove water, then slice. Grill each slice in a nonstick grill pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes on each side, until they have nice marks. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, toast the dry quinoa over medium heat for about 1 minute then slowly add the water (carefully as it will spit in the hot pan). Bring to a boil over high heat with a dash of salt then reduce to a simmer and cover; cook for 15 minutes until all the water has evaporated. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork; cover and set aside.
  3. While the quinoa cooks, chop the broccoli and steam for about 5 minutes until bright green and still retains some crunch. Remove from steam basket and set aside.
  4. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the soy sauce through the agave. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat in a small saucepan. Whisk together the cornstarch and cold water then slowly whisk into the soy sauce mixture; simmer for a few minutes until thickened slightly. Remove from heat.
  5. To plate, place ¼ of quinoa and broccoli in a shallow bowl, top with one rectangle of tofu, drizzle with the sauce then top with green onions, basil, and sesame seeds. Repeat with 3 more bowls. Serve hot.
Produce On Parade - Easy Grilled Teriyaki Tofu w/ Quinoa & Broccoli - This is an incredibly easy and quick meal that is simple enough for a busy weeknight after a long day at work. Super healthy, this dish emphasizes plant-based protein, whole grains, and getting some greens in! Teriyaki sauce adapted from food.com.

To get 10% off of Zyliss Non-Stick Cookware, use the promo code cook2017

Broccoli & Squash Quiche + We Had a Baby!

Flaky puff pastry envelops a fluffy, cheesy, vegan quiche that’s loaded with nutritious broccoli, squash, and spinach. Kala namak salt gives this savory dish that eggy quality and tofu provides healthy protein. It’s a super easy meal that’s perfect for breakfast or dinner.

Produce On Parade - Broccoli & Squash Quiche - Flaky puff pastry envelops a fluffy, cheesy, vegan quiche that’s loaded with nutritious broccoli, squash, and spinach. Kala namak salt gives this savory dish that eggy quality and tofu provides healthy protein. It’s a super easy meal that’s perfect for breakfast or dinner.

Hi everyone! Wow, what a whirlwind it's been lately. I feel like I'm living a different life! Five days after the last post, I was surprise induced due to gestational hypertension following an OB appointment. After exactly 36 hours of labor, Oliver was born!

If you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram you've been bumping along with us on our exciting journey. Todd, Oliver, and I want thank you all for such a tremendous outpouring of love and kindness, especially during those really rough days when we were repeatedly readmitted to the hospital after we got back home. Reading your comments, especially regarding the light therapy, was really special and honestly made me feel so much better. 

Tiny Oliver is the beat in my heart and the sweetest darn thing I've ever laid eyes upon; he's quite the character too. Here he is taking his first a bath, eyes a fury. 

Now that he's a month old, I've been able to get around to cooking on occasion. I thought I'd share with you this spring-approriate broccoli, spinach, and summer squash quiche I made. It's super easy and pretty hands off, which is essential when you have a cluster-feeder! If a new mom with a newborn can make this, then anyone can! 

Produce On Parade - Broccoli & Squash Quiche - Flaky puff pastry envelops a fluffy, cheesy, vegan quiche that’s loaded with nutritious broccoli, squash, and spinach. Kala namak salt gives this savory dish that eggy quality and tofu provides healthy protein. It’s a super easy meal that’s perfect for breakfast or dinner.

Broccoli & Squash Quiche

Kathleen Henry

Published 03/04/2017

Flaky puff pastry envelops a fluffy, cheesy, vegan quiche that’s loaded with nutritious broccoli, squash, and spinach. Kala namak salt gives this savory dish that eggy quality and tofu provides healthy protein. It’s a super easy meal that’s perfect for breakfast or dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 small heads of broccoli, chopped small
  • 2 medium summer squash, diced small
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach, torn
  • ½ cup shredded vegan cheddar cheese
  • 2 12 oz packages of firm, silken tofu
  • ½ cup chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
  • ¼ cup large nutritional yeast flakes (plus extra for garnish)
  • ¼ cup plain, unsweetened soymilk
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp stone-ground mustard (or regular - optional)
  • 1 tsp kala namak salt
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • Dash of freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Thaw the puff pastry according to the package, if frozen. Place the broccoli in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes; set aside.
  2. Grease a 9 inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. When the pastry is thawed, roll it out just thin enough to cover the top edges of the pan; arrange in the pan and prick all over with a fork. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  3. In a blender, combine the tofu through the pepper; using a tamper blend on high until smooth. Pour just enough of the egg mixture into the pan to cover the bottom of the pastry. Top with half the cheese, half the broccoli, half the squash, and all of the spinach followed by half the egg mixture. Repeat with remainder of cheese, broccoli, and squash. Press down to compact the quiche, then top with the remaining egg mixture; garnish the top with a dusting of nutritional yeast.
  4. Bake on the middle rack in the oven for about 50 minutes, until the pastry and top of the quiche are golden brown. Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before serving; serve warm or cold.

Yield: 6-8

Produce On Parade - Broccoli & Squash Quiche - Flaky puff pastry envelops a fluffy, cheesy, vegan quiche that’s loaded with nutritious broccoli, squash, and spinach. Kala namak salt gives this savory dish that eggy quality and tofu provides healthy protein. It’s a super easy meal that’s perfect for breakfast or dinner.

Enjoy! Wishing you all a fabulous week, from our entire family... Bob and Anouk included :)