5th Annual Soup Swap

Fall has arrived (actually winter, as it’s currently snowing in Colorado, even though it’s not even November!) I threw my 5th annual soup swap this Sunday and it was so lovely! I started this tradition 5 years ago and have made so many delicious soups. This year, nine fellow soup swappers gathered this past Sunday, a blustery winter day to swap delicious veggie goodness. Below are the recipes and soups that were made….and pictures of the fabulous festive day.

5th annual soup swap

Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili

  • Stacia, who’s made it to every one of the swaps I’ve thrown, made this pumpkin goodness.

Potato Broccoli Leek

  • Leeks
  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes
  • Veggie Broth
  • Salt & Pepper

Saute leeks and broccoli in salt and pepper and olive oil with garlic towards the end.  Add potatoes then place in a soup pot. Cover with veggie broth and simmer for 10-20 minutes. Let cool then blend.

Squash 7 Spice Soup

  • My mom brought this soup – with spices all the way from Morocco!
Kevin’s Stache is as good as his soup!

Caribbean Sweet Potato & Coconut Nut

  • Kevin made this sweet island delight. Recipe below!
Caribbean Sweet Potato Coconut Soup

Irish Stew with Winter Veggies & Porter

  • I mad this Irish stew and it was unbelievable hearty and delicious! Perfect for a cold winter evening. Here’s the recipe.
Mom, Leah and Harper at the swap

Curried Butternut Squash

  • Leah, my cousin, made this beautiful soup Here is the recipe.

Carrot Lentil

  • Nicole had quite the fiasco making this carrot lentil soup, with her stove breaking the morning of soup swap. And she still made it to the swap!

Coconut Red Lentil

  • Amy brought this delightful soup – recipe below!
Coconut Red Lentil Soup

Soup Season: How to Throw a Plant-Based Soup Swap

Days are getting cooler and nights are falling earlier here in Colorado. It’s officially Soup Season! I love to cook, as anyone who follows me on Instagram or has browsed this blog and fall is a beautiful time to break out the dutch oven. I’ve put my 5th official Plant-Based Soup Swap on the books and I am plotting my recipe as the date gets closer, which has made me reflect on the past few years of plant-based soup swaps.

Plant-Based Soup Swap

The amazing thing about hosting a soup swap is everyone walks away with six delicious, brand new soups that can be frozen and eaten all fall….and even into the winter. Anyone who works a full-time gig knows it can be tough to get a homemade, nutritious dinner on the table – and even harder to pack a lunch! Having multiple soups to choose from during a busy week or perhaps when you just don’t feel like cooking, is clutch!

I threw my first Colorado Soup Swap in November 2015 after having been introduced to the concept by a girlfriend in Philadelphia. I made a Loaded Baked Potato soup with maple seitan bacon. It was scrumptious!

For my second plant-based Soup Swap, there was a smaller crowd, so I ended up making two soups to ensure everyone walked away with a variety of soups. I made Chunky Tomato (with tomatoes from our garden) and a Spicy Thai Noodle soup. Both ended up being delightful.

My third soup swap brought eight women to my backyard, during a beautiful November day. I ended up making an Italian Wedding soup with chick pea meatballs that I left out of the soup, so people could freeze them without them getting soggy.

Last year, I hosted my largest soup swap to date, with ten people coming out with soups galore! I made a veggie dumpling soup. I got word that although I thought the dumplings were super dense, people loved them .

This year, I’m hosting my plant-based soup swap on October 27th and so far, I think it’s shaping up to be an event for the books. Now the only question is….what kind of soup should I make!? The jury’s still out on that, but I’ll be sure to share the recipes after the event.

If you’ve never heard of the concept of a plant-based soup swap, or perhaps would like to start your own tradition, here’s how to spread the word and the directions on how to throw your own plant-based soup swap.

What you need to do to participate:

Pick a plant-based soup to make (you’ll need to double the recipe) and come to the party with 6 containers full of 1 quart of your soup – we swap them, so make sure it’s in a container you can give away (dollar store has cheap containers!) The idea here is that everyone leaves with a variety of soups they can freeze!

What Does Plant-Based Soup mean?

Using veggie broth, tomato/based, or beans, create a soup that is animal & animal product free (no chicken, turkey, pork, cow, dairy, cheese, butter). It’s not hard! Earth balance has a vegan butter that is super cheap, there are nut milks & veggie broth is found everywhere! Be creative – plants are so versatile and delicious!!!

What to do at the swap:

Have everyone clearly label their soup, taping small pieces of paper to the container or writing right on it with a sharpie marker. Once the swap is under way, each soup maker will have a chance to introduce their soup, stating why they choose it, or perhaps anything special about the recipe. All those who have made a soup will get a number and the swap will go in order, number one getting their first pick, and so on. If there are more than six people, it means that not everyone will get every soup, and the really appealing soups will go first.

Thinking about throwing your own swap or perhaps have done so? Let me know how it goes! Happy soup swapping!

 

 

 

East Plants

Eat more Plants: A Beginners Guide

I love when people reach out and let me know that what I’m cooking and posting to instagram has inspired them to want to eat more plants (and in turn, less meat!). This is literally the best, most flattering compliment I can hear! So keep it coming.

Mushroom Stirfry

I thought I would put together a beginners guide that will help you eat more meals that are plant-based and incorporate more plants into your diet in a delicious way.  It can be overwhelming when you decide to make a change to your diet, especially when you’re eliminating something that is typically the staple of your meal (meat). When I first went vegetarian, I was honestly worried I’d be left hungry, not satisfied with a bowl full of vegetables, or turn into a carb-loading, pasta eating blob. I am a CARB girl! And don’t get me wrong – there is NOTHING wrong with eating carbs, not at all. But, you have to make sure they’re the ‘right’ Carbs and not loafs of baguettes and bowls of pasta every night….which sounds amazing!

Vegan Pizza

The purpose of this blog is to put, in one place, recipes, resources, tips and blogs to follow to get you pumped about eating more plants, trying new recipes, and getting some science behind the benefits of eating less meat. In no way do I want to judge, shame or preach – that’s not my style. I feel this lifestyle (and I truly believe it is a lifestyle) works really well for me and if you can come away with some tips that will help you feel better, than I’m all for it. Here we go!

East Plants

Easy Recipes

I’ve written countless blogs about recipes I’ve created, altered or tried. I like to cook things that use whole, plant-based ingredients, that can be found in a regular grocery store (where the hell do you get halloumi!?) and don’t take hours to make (I’ll buy my almond milk, thanks!).Here are a list of some of my favorites, plus some Pinterest recipes I’ve tried that have been spot on!

Lentil Loaf

Basil Chickpea Balls 

Ski Envy Bowl 

Soups

Buffalo Cauliflower Wings 

Buffalo Chickpea Dip

Lentil, Mushroom & Spinach Wontons  

Mushroom & Broccoli Stirfry over rice noodles 

Sauces

Soups 

Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

Vegan Crack Broccoli Tacos 

Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein

*To note, I often alter recipes a bit based on what I have on hand….I know a lot of people like to follow a recipe to a T, but the more you cook, the braver you’ll get about knowing the tastes that go well together. Feel free to follow me on Pinterest where my Work Hard Cook Hard board has all kinds of plant goodness.

Wontons

Tips & Pantry Essentials 

Eating this way is definitely an adjustment at first. It can seem that things take a bit longer to prep – with all the chopping, dicing, roasting. But once you get the hang of it, set some time aside for meal prep, it becomes easier and more fun! Here are a few tips I’d suggest as well as some pantry essentials that make cooking easier.

  • Homemade sauces are the way to go – less salt, sugar, weird stuff! Use fresh, simple ingredients to spice up your dishes.
  • Drain your tofu! Use a plate with a heavy book on it, a cast iron skillet, anything to get the water out.
  • On nights you have time, meal prep. I’ve written a number of blogs about meal prep and it truly makes a difference. Batch cook, cut veggies, roast a few things you can throw in the fridge for a meal later that week.
  • Best ‘faux meat’ I’ve found: Mornignstar black bean crumble, Tofurkey Sausages (great for BBQs), Field Roast Sausages, Sweet Earth Protein Breakfast Burritos,

A few pantry essentials (some affiliate links below on products I’ve bought):

  • Spices: cumin, red pepper flakes, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder
  • Bragg Natural Liquid Aminos 16oz
  • Bragg Organic Premium Nutritional Yeast Seasoning, 4.5 Ounce
  • Sriracha & Chili Garlic Paste
  • Full fat coconut milk (in a can)
  • Coconut Oil – high heat index!
  • Flax seed – you can make flax eggs!
  • Raw pumpkin & sesame seeds – spices up salads and are so good for you
  • Almonds, Cashews and walnuts – these are expensive, but I try to have at least one on hand
  • Vegan mayo – not the most healthy thing for you, but makes a great aioli for chickpea tacos!
  • Rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar

Grilled Tofurkey

Resources & Blogs I follow 

There are so many resources out there, it’s truly awesome the amount of information and people on board the veggie train. Below are some I follow and find inspiration from!

  • Rich Roll – great podcast!
  • Dr. Michael Gregor – an amazing resource for a scientific look at how plants and nutrition affect us in a positive way. He runs Nutritionfacts.org
  • Dr.Mark Hyman – another Dr. who’s spreading the veggie love & truly believes in the power of transforming you health with nutrition
  • The First Mess – a beautiful blog full of gorgeous pictures & recipes
  • Forks over knives – a great website with recipes, positive success stories and resources to inform ya on the plants – there’s also a great documentary you should check out
  • What the Health – a documentary that looks at our food and how it’s making us sick
  • Cowspiracy – dives into the sustainability of eating plants

 

These are just a few tidbits of how you can ease into (or jump straight in) to the plant-based lifestyle. I would love to hear your story, if you’ve tried any recipes, or where you are in your nutritional journey. Hope you find this guide helpful – happy cooking!