Saturday, January 09, 2016

A Rainy Story, Lots of Soup, and Christmas Treats

Singin' In the Rain!

Well, it's actually been raining here!! After 4 years of intense drought, we are finally getting some rain. Our community is still technically very much in a drought, but it feels really good to see some actual rain again after such a long time. It makes me feel playful when I'm out in the rain, and cozy when I'm inside away from the rain. I love it!

I wish I could say that the pets love the rain as much as I do. But they do not!
It's not really like we're all dancing to Singin' in the Rain!

The other night we had thunder and lightning, which is very uncommon here.  It was in the middle of the night, and our poor little dogs got so upset, especially sweet Stevie Wonder. At the very first boom, Stevie started to tremble and tremble. 

By the second boom, she jumped off the bed and scooted right on under it for maximum safety. 

Then, she climbed right underneath where my head goes and proceed to pant and tremble inconsolably for at least two hours. My poor sweet buddy. No amount of telling her nice things or reaching down and scratching her ears, which I could barely reach, seemed to help. She barely fits under the bed, so she's really squeezed in there, and then my whole entire bed vibrates from her shaking. It's a little funny after the fact, but pretty distressing in the moment. Plus, all this commotion also got little Snoopy totally worked up and he kept pacing all over the bed, whining and whimpering and completely agitated.
Dottie was also quite scared, but she did the cutest thing: she ran right over to Mr. VE&T's side of the bed and jumped right up against him. This sounds normal, but Dottie is NOT into snuggling EVER. Apparently this is what it takes! It was so tender and endearing.

Unfortunately for Dottie, Mr. VE&T can sleep through anything (I kinda felt like giving him the finger, ha ha!) and he was just snoring away. What a jerk! ha ha. So, there I was trying to comfort three scared dogs all at once. Mr. VE&T had a great night's sleep, but I sure didn't! And neither did our sweet doggies. Happily, the cats also seemed relatively unaffected... thank goodness!!

The next morning, complete with bedhead

Finally, sometime around 7, the storm calmed down at last, and we did get another hour's sleep. And when I woke up, everyone's spirits were restored, and they were just a little extra cuddly. Such sweeties.

All this rainy weather (and sleepless nights) definitely puts me in the mood for soup, soup, and more soup. So, I've been making all sorts of delicious and wonderful soups - old favorites and new-to-me recipes. I love soup, and I love leftover soup. After making so many soup recipes, I actually managed to have leftover soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner the other day. YES. 

Lightened-Up Laksa, from The Abundance Diet

First up, I made the Lightened-Up Laksa from The Abundance Diet. I've already made this recipe several times and I love it. It's light, but satisfying, and the flavors in the broth are amazing: peanuts, lime, coconut, ginger, garlic -- all so bright and tangy and harmonious together. The tofu cubes are baked in the oven while the soup cooks, so they retain a great chewy and substantial texture. I used some black bean noodles, which were a good match with these flavors and have a LOT of protein. All that goodness with a giant dollop of Sambal Olek chili paste makes for a totally satisfying soup experience!!

Creamy White Bean, Potato, and Kale Soup with Mushroom "Sausage"

Bing! Bing! Bing! We have a winner!! I also made this delicious soup from The Abundance Diet. I had made it once before and we both absolutely loved it!! I think it might be one of my top favorite recipes from this book, which is saying a lot. Packed full with veggies and perfectly cooked potatoes and excellent seasonings... and then made creamy with some cashew cream, this soup is a 100% wintertime hit.

Tortilla Soup

This Tortilla Soup with Crispy Tortilla Strips from The Real Food Daily Cookbook is an old favorite, especially for Mr VE&T who love love loves tomato soups. I feel like the RFD cookbook doesn't get enough love. What a great book it is, with so many exceptional recipes. This soup comes together in 30 minutes flat, and makes enough for 5-6 generous servings. We had it for dinner two nights in a row. I love coming home from a fun and challenging two-hour yoga class knowing that there is left over soup just sitting there waiting for me and my tummy!

Creamy Parsnip Soup with Smoked Cherry Tomatoes 

I also made this AMAZING soup from 30-Minute Vegan: Soup's On!  I hadn't made this one before, but I fell absolutely in love with it. The soup is creamy and complex, made with lots of parsnips, but also has a spicy heat from horseradish and cayenne. The flavors were just lovely. Plus, as you can see, the soup is beautifully garnished with charred cherry tomatoes, black sesame seeds, a little dollop of horseradish, and Crispy Sunchokes. So fantastic! 

Since I don't have a smoker, I used the book's suggested alternate to charbroil my cherry tomatoes in the broiler, which was quick, easy, and deliciously effective. The Crispy Sunchokes are also from the book -- they're baked, and I cut way back on the oil and still got excellent results. I have a crush on this soup and wish that I were eating it again right now.

I know it's a bit ex post facto, but I didn't want these special treats to go unacknowledged. Each year around Christmastime, I like to make treats for my yoga classes. I usually pick one week and bring a treat to every class all week. I know that part of why people come to yoga is to feel healthy and good about their choices... so I try to make treats that aren't too over-the-top sweet or indulgent. Plus, you gotta keep the gluten-freebies happy and included... so my criteria are fairly specific.

This totally easy and tasty recipe completely fit the bill! These are sweet, chocolatey nuggets that come together in a flash and are mostly just melted chocolate and dates. So quick and simple and so good! I wasn't sure if everyone would be okay with Bourbon, so my friend suggested using fresh Orange Juice for a non-alcoholic substitution. What a great idea ~ the flavors were great together! 

Peanut Better Balls from Oh She Glows website

Oh MAN. Talk about happy Christmas memories. These little Peanut Butter Balls were super easy to make (even with the requisite dipping in melted chocolate) and SO GOOD IT WAS WILD. The filling is just so simple: coconut flour, peanut butter, maple syrup, and salt... plus, surprise fun ingredient: rice krispies! It's all mixed together, rolled into tidy little balls and covered in melted chocolate. I cannot recommend this recipe highly enough. Make them for the next party you attend. Or have a party with yourself to celebrate the making of Peanut Butter Balls and then eat the Peanut Butter Balls. You won't regret it!!


Last but not least, a huge congratulations to Josiane for winning her very own copy of The Taco Cleanse! I used the random number generator, which selected her comment (#9) I'll confirm your mailing address and get a copy headed your way, pronto! Now you can join Jennifer Aniston in eating as many vegan tacos as possible. Ha ha!!


  1. Awww, your poor pups (and you!) during the storm! One of my cats if also completely terrified of thunderstorms and it is heartbreaking. I have an old-fashioned clawfoot bathtub that he wedges himself under like Stevie Wonder under your bed. He is inconsolable and I feel so helpless. It's awful! I hope the rain continues, but without the thunder, for your pups and you!

    Also, I'm going to have to check out The Abundance Diet. Every recipe you mention from that book sounds so good to me! And I love your doodles, as aways!

  2. I'm glad you have some much needed rain :-) And your salted caramel bonbons and chocolate peanut butter balls look delicious!

  3. Woah! It looks like I'm on a lucky streak! Thank you for hosting the giveaway. It'll be fun to try the recipes that sounded so good from your review, and see what else catches my eye in the book...

    Speaking of catching my eye, the red blob in the middle of your bowl of Lightened-Up Laksa sure did! At first glance, it totally looked like raspberry jam to me! Maybe seeing the picture just under the sentence in which you mentioned you had soup for breakfast is what took my mind there... but I was kind of relieved that it was actually sambal oelek, because although I love raspberry jam, I really couldn't see how it'd have done the soup any favor!

    Also: yay for rain! It must be a real relief to finally get some. Wishing you more rain, and not too many thunderstorms!

  4. The snuggles and indoor comfort-enjoyment is a decent compensation for the preceding scary, thundery moments. And what a selection of soups - the crispy sunchokes look particularly delicious. And thank you for the idea of what to do with the bag of coconut flour I have lingering in my cupboard!

  5. Aww thats so cute but sad that the doggies were all scared of the thunder. When we visit my father in law in Florida, there are thunderstorms nearly every night and his doggy Brodie gets so scared and hides under the bed too. Even Florida doggies don't like the thunder. I can't wait to make the soups from the abundance diet! Bianca from Vegan Crunk is making me want to do the whole 28-day plan!

  6. Mmmmm.... soup. Except no soup, because it is summer here. But as soon as it cools down again I am making that mushroom sausage soup from TAD that I didn't get around to making last year!
    Your poor puppies! When I lived in Sydney my three girls used to come and snuggle up whenever there were storms, but these days in Brisbane (which gets some pretty impressive summer storms), Dim Sim and Sahara are mostly unconcerned. Occasionally a loud crash will send Dim Sim scurrying under a bed.

  7. When we lived in Wisconsin, where we had lots of thunder storms, our dog Buffy was terrified of thunder. I tried all sorts of recommended methods to calm her but it was useless. I felt so sorry for her — and me.

    The soups look great. Although we've had several days of sun, I filled the crock pot with soup. I love soup in the winter. :)

  8. Poor pups! :( My pooch was similar on NYE when all the fireworks went off. I swaddled her in a blanket and hugged her close, but weirdly the only thing that stops her from shaking and panting is if I breathe in deep then press my mouth against her chest or her side and breathe out warm air right into her fur. I do it a few times and she starts to calm down! Very odd but it seems to work :)

    The food all looks delicious too :)

  9. Yay! Love both of those Abundance Diet soups! I think the creamy white bean is my fave too. That smoked cherry tomato soup looks fantabulous. Can you believe I've never had a sunchoke?

  10. I've been so happy to see the rain too!
    "I wish I could say that the pets love the rain as much as I do. But they do not!"
    My pup agrees with your pets, she really does not like the rain. Your poor pup :(
    I've also been making more soups - yours look so gorgeous. I love the tomato soup! Real Food Daily is probably one of my favourite restaurants - I should check out their cookbook. I wish they would open up shop somewhere in the Bay Area.
    I'm going to have to make the pb balls - they sound so good!!
    And how sweet are you making treats for your yoga class?

  11. Poor Stevie Wonder, I hope my future dogs aren't too scared of the rain if we end up settling down in the UK. It rains all the time! I've bookmarked the PB ball recipe, if I can find coconut flour I might even be able to make these in a tiny Air B&B kitchen!


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