Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Bowl topped with a Caramelized Onion Cream Sauce

 Sunchoke

Sunchoke

Recently I decided that I needed a change of scenery, so I took a quick weekend trip up to Seattle with my little family.  It was perfect timing because we were able to check out Veg Fest Seattle while we were there and the weather was beautiful!  We purposefully planned to spend less time in downtown Seattle and more time exploring the quaint neighborhoods and parks, and squeezed in as many vegan restaurants as we could!  Our favorites were Thrive, Wayward Vegan Café, Chaco Canyon, and Mighty-O Donuts.  I can confirm that I put on about 2 pounds in just two days of stuffing my face with so much delicious vegan food.  And those donuts...its a good thing I don't live nearby! 

One of our last stops before heading home was the Ballard Farmer's Market in North Seattle.  There was one stand in particular that was filled with beautiful fresh veggies, many of which I had never heard of!  I picked up some purple broccoli rabe (raab), brussel sprout rabe and sunchokes and then created this delicious roasted veggie bowl.  But I also learned so much during this little stop.  For example, did you know that rabe comes in many different forms?  Besides the purple broccoli rabe and brussel sprout rabe that I bought, there is also regular broccoli rabe, bok coy rabe, kale rabe, and brussel sprout rabe.  I learned that it is basically just the first growth/buds of the plant that grow shortly after the seeds have been planted. Broccoli rabe in particular is considered a super food because it is loaded with potassium, iron, calcium, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and K.

I also mentioned that I picked up a few sunchokes from this stand, another vegetable that I hadn't heard of before!  Sunchokes are a root vegetable also called Jerusalem Artichokes.  They sort of resemble a potato and taste similar to a potato and they can be cooked in a similar way.  

So check out your local farmer's market this spring and summer and see what new veggies you can try!  I'm sure this bowl would work great with many different types of vegetables.  

Creamy Mushroom Bacon Soup

Vegan and Gluten Free Possible
Cost: $11.25

Yesterday was officially the first day of Spring, which was kind of perfect because it was also the day my tulips decided to bloom! I couldn't wait to see what colors they would be since I had no idea what I planted.  Last fall I let my then 10 month old pick out different bulbs at our local garden nursery so I literally had no idea what I was getting!  So far we have one light pink, one white, and one bright red tulip, each a different variety or species.  I can't wait to see the rest!

But typical to Spring, especially in the Pacific Northwest, each day can vary drastically as we make our way towards summer.  So I decided to make a warm comforting soup to help cope with the week of cold rainy weather we have ahead of us!  

There are a couple things I love about this soup.  1.) It is so flavorful and rich that you would think you were eating one of those thick chowder type soups that is so delicious and comforting but you know in the back of your mind is so unhealthy. 2.) This soup IS so healthy!  I did a quick calorie count, and there are approximately 200 calories per serving!  

To those of you who live in the NorthEast who are getting hit with another winter storm right now, this one is for you!  Give this recipe a try and stay warm!