My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Tale of Two Seasons: smoothies to soup

We experienced two seasons this weekend. With sunshine and temps around 40ºF, it was spring on Saturday; with freezing fog, snow and a high of 5º, it was winter on Sunday. Such extreme and sudden changes in weather and temps aren't that unusual here, so one must always be prepared with changes of clothing and changes of menus!

Saturday's temps called for Green Smoothies, the first recipe we've tried out of our newest cookbook, Color Me Vegan by Colleen Patrick-Goodreau of Compassionate Cooks...

Green Smoothies from Color Me Vegan

Made with frozen bananas and pineapple, fresh spinach, ginger, apples and apple juice, dates and ground flaxseeds, they were thick, creamy and refreshing with just the right amount of sweetness.

You can also use kale or chard in this recipe, but since we only had one bunch of some truly perfect organic kale left we saved it for our wintery Sunday meal and ate it steamed with walnut dressing - our favorite way to enjoy our favorite veggie. You can also use pineapple or orange juice in this, but delicious organic unfiltered apple juice is what we had on hand so that's what went into these. :-)

Saturday night this cold front/winter storm system that seems to be sweeping across most of the nation blew into our neighborhood. We didn't get nearly the predicted amount of snow, but we sure got the brutal temps (which as you can see were even more wicked this morning)...

Weather like this clearly calls for homemade soup. Especially homemade soup from the winter chapter of Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons by Nava Atlas, a Christmas gift from AdventureJo (who used my "Happy List" on this post to inspire all her gifts to me! Isn't she clever?) We chose Nava's Tomato, Lentil and Barley Soup for Sunday's main meal, served with some of BW's whole wheat rosemary boule.

This soup was delicious, thick, fragrant, hearty and healthy! Wonderful with just a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper and some nutritional yeast flakes, and perfect for a wintery day. It's chock-full of good stuff: tomatoes, onion, garlic, green cabbage, carrots, barley, lentils, celery and fresh parsley, along with apple cider vinegar and some seasonings. The recipe also calls for a small amount of dry red wine as an optional addition. Optional, schmoptional - in it went! :-)

I couldn't resist posting both of these photos ~
look at all the different goodies you get in each spoonful!

This soup requires some planning ahead as there's a fair bit of prep involved (I only used my food processor to shred the cabbage; I usually prefer to slice and dice my veggies by hand), it cooked for about an hour, and it's best if you can let it sit another hour after that to let it thicken while the flavors marry. (We got hungry before the soup was ready so we ate our steamed kale while we waited, which is why it's not pictured with the soup!) :-)

This recipe made a huge batch, so even after we both had seconds, we still have a lot of leftovers (which we love!), so guess what I'm having for lunch today? :-)

I can't share the recipe for this soup since it's not published online, (it is now!) Nava does share her recipe for Four-Grain Tomato Soup, which is the one from her Soups & Stews cookbook we plan to try next!

Of course, one does often want a bit of sugah after a hearty meal of soup and bread, so continuing with my unintended theme of foods that start with the letter S, we enjoyed some orange oatmeal cranberry scones with some very special Seattle tea. But I must save that for my next post, later this week. In the meantime, stay safe and snuggly! (My but I'm in a sibilant mood today!) :-)


  1. Those smoothies are such a beautiful shade of green and they sound delicious! And you are a temptress with that soup; I want to reach in, grab the spoon and take a bite! Looks super savory.

    Ka the snake has the same voice as Winnie the Pooh fro m the animated specials.

  2. I've been going to give green smoothies a try - but I worry a bit about the calories thanks to the juice.

  3. Smoothies are definitely something I want to try, but I'm allergic to bananas which seem to feature in lots of them. Anyway, your weather shifts seem like ours although thankfully we don't get as cold! But we say that if you don't like the weather just wait 5 minutes!

  4. Your progression of the soup photos were indeed a small cruelty to this very sick vegan in need of a loving hand. Slurp!! xo Can I FedEx myself to you yet??

  5. who is adventure jo? your green smothie sounds pretty good, thats the first time a green smoohie recipe has sounded good to me! not on board that train yet..but i can see it coming:)!
    i cant believe those extreme weather changes! loved your happy list.

  6. Rose ~ They are a pretty shade of green, aren't they? Be a nice treat for St. Patrick's Day.

    Ah while I may be a vixen of vittles in this post, I'm no match for you and your enticing edibles and come-hither comestibles! ;-) I wish we had interactive blogs that would let us reach in and nab any particularly tempting goodies from each others' posts! If they can come up with Skype, why not that? :-)

    The soup was even better today (as leftovers so often are!) Really thick, more like a stew than a soup.

    Great catch about the Kaa/Pooh voice! ("Kaa Pooh" sounds like a comic book sound effect or a toddler's word for dookie. LOL) I'd forgotten that. It was Sterling Holloway who did their voices. Funny his would be such a great voice for two such different characters as Pooh and Kaa!

    And also funny how Winnie the Pooh keeps coming up!

    Jamie ~ According to the nutritional info for this recipe in Color Me Vegan, these smoothies contain 206 calories and 2 grams of fat per serving, and the recipe yields 2 servings. We got 3 out of it, and I only used 1 apple (it calls for 1 or 2) because my blender was full! The recipe only uses 1/4 cup of fruit juice - most of the liquid (6 cups) is water.

    Those parfait glasses I served them in hold about 9 1/2 ounces when filled to the bottom of the stripes, and we each got more than a glass and a half out of the batch. And don't forget that those aren't empty calories - these smoothies are good sources of soluble and insoluble fiber and a lot of antioxidants. They contain several vitamins (C, A, E, K, B1, B6) and minerals (like calcium, manganese, potassium, iron), and Omega-3 (from the flaxseeds).

    For green juice and smoothie ideas with a lot more greens and less fruit, you might want to give this Kris Carr video a look and listen! (She's a little spazzy in the beginning, probably because her hunky husband is standing beside her, but she calms down quickly!) :-)

  7. Daphne ~ Allergic to bananas? What kind of self-respecting primate are you?! ;-) The frozen bananas make for a nice creamy smoothie (and creamy vegan ice cream), but they're not necessary. You might want to check out that same video I shared with Jamie. I don't believe bananas even got a mention! (The frozen pineapple in this Green Smoothie recipe also helps make them creamy).

    Izzy ~ I'm sorry you're a sick puppy! I didn't mean to tease you so, and now I wish more than ever we had those interactive blogs, 'cause this soup would fix you right up! I'm afraid FedEx'ing you here is out of the question. We're a UPS family. ;-)~ Besides, we have this monster winter storm taking up all the space between thee and me - I fear you'd end up stuck somewhere in Michigan in a cardboard box! So you stay home and snug and warm, and feel better soon!!

    DD ~ Hey, I thought you'd be in California by now! AdventureJo is Joanne, an "old" (ahem) friend from my misspent youth. :-) We've known each other since we were juniors in college. She comments on the blog a lot, but has a very busy life and usually is the last one to arrive at the comment parties! She doesn't have a blog (which is too bad because she's always doing cool stuff like winning awards in quilt shows, traveling to exotic locales, working as a civil engineer...), but if she did I'd share it with you. She did, however, co-star in my two-part Boulder trip posts if you want to get acquainted, see some gorgeous scenery, and drool over some great vegan food and beer! :-)

    I don't make smoothies very often, and when I do it's usually in the summer. But when I was flipping through my new Color Me Vegan cookbook to figure out which recipe I wanted to make first, this one really caught my eye. And we really enjoyed them.

    I know, our weather is psycho with its wild mood swings, but it hasn't been as certifiably crazy here as it has in the northeast this winter!

    Thanks, I'm glad you liked my Happy List! :-)

  8. We often get such swings in weather around here, too. Those barometer changes just kill me!

    The smoothies look really good as does the soup. Yum!

    The nasty weather is just starting here. I'm dreading what's to come!

  9. You mean it really is the same voice?? I guess that's not such a surprising to know though.

  10. That soup looks so delicious and filling! I can't imagine anything more perfect considering the temperature on that thermometer. Like you, I prefer a really dense, thick soup, especially on cold days. I'm glad you were able to enjoy some warmer temperatures and green smoothies before the cold hit again.

  11. Molly ~ I know, those barometric mood swings often cause my headaches. Yuk!

    I'm thinking of you today and wondering if you're getting clobbered. As soon as I'm done here, I'm off to check the national weather map!

    Rose ~ You mean you didn't know it was the same man doing both voices? I thought you did! Wow, you really are observant! I don't think I'd have noticed it if I didn't already know about it, unless I watched Winnie the Pooh and The Jungle Book back to back! So is that what you've been doing in your free time? ;-)

    Cadry ~ The soup was all of those things (there's only one serving left now, boo-hoo!) ~ delicious, filling and perfect for the weather. I agree about thick, hearty soup, especially when it's cold out. No lightweight, weenie broth will do in temps like that! ;-)

    We're below zero again today despite bright sunshine, but are supposed to be in the low 40's Thursday and Friday, then snow again. From soup back to smoothies and back to soup, I guess!

  12. Laloofah -- Delicious I bet! You certainly know how to cook the appropriate dishes for the seasons. But being that your temps sway low and high so swiftly you need to be a juggler in prep. Love the ingredients of both. -- barbara

  13. Barbara ~ I thought of you while I was making the soup especially - it sounded like your cup of tea, so to speak! :-)

    I do have to juggle a lot to try to make our meals fit our ever-changing weather, and the fact I only go to town once a week makes it even more of a challenge. As does the fact the weather forecasts change constantly and drastically too, and usually end up being wrong anyway! So though I try to be flexible with my menus, sometimes I make the meal that was perfect for the cold snowy day they'd predicted on a day that ended up being warm and sunny, and vice versa. Oh, well!

    Haven & Home ~ Thanks, they both were great! :-)

  14. Lovely looking soups and smoothies. They all look as though they would go down quite smoothly...and I'm sure they did.
    However, please do be more careful about not locking yourself out in those nasty temps. Lucky for you you could cram your svelt body through the doggy door ;-). But, if I can lock myself out of my truck....I guess I can't say much, huh?
    Hope your weather's improved some. Ours is the pits! We got mostly ice and more ice and a little snow. Take care, Twaddles ;-)

  15. Spudly ~ Believe me, they not only all went down smoothly, they also went down tastily and hastily! :-)

    Yes, I'll be more careful about not locking myself out of the house! But a lack of care was not to blame. It was the gremlins who dwell here and love to torment me!

    Now what's this about locking yourself out of your truck?

    Be careful on all that ice! Today is our one nice day between the crud that moved out and more that's moving in, and I have a lot to cram into it - starting with taking my poor cabin-fevered dogs for a nice hike! :-)

  16. Many thankssss for the mention in this blog - both in the original post and the commentsssssss. Funny you said I'm often the last one to comment on this post ssssincccce I'm way last on it!!

    (I enjoyed your sibilant mood and thought I'd give it a try.)

    I'm glad this recipe was a real winner! With all those goodies in it, it was bound to be. I love barley soups anyway.

    The smoothy also sounded good but I'm not ready to declare 40 degrees smoothie weather. At least 50 would be required for me!

  17. Jo ~ Ssssssoooo, you made it at lassssst! :-) I was hoping you'd read the comments on this one when you got here, as I thought it was cute that Dirty Duck asked who you are! :-)

    This soup is absolutely a winner, and we made the other one that I linked to and it's a winner as well (I preferred this one, BW the other one, but we both loved them both!) I think barley may just be my favorite grain. It is awesome in soup, anyway! :-)

    I normally wouldn't be all that keen for a smoothie at 40º either, but I was really wanting to try these, had all the ingredients, and knew that particular Saturday was as close to smoothie weather as we were likely to get for a while. We actually could have made them again most days this week and you would have even joined us - a couple of days it got near 60º in town, and pretty close to that up here, too!


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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