Half-Healthy Dinner: Broccoli Potato Cheese Soup, paired with a raw collard greens salad.

The recipes I've been posting lately haven't been vegan - and I really do try to cook vegan most of the time. Normally, I avoid the cheese at home (and vegan cheese substitutes really are no match.) Last night's dinner didn't avoid cheese, but I caved to wanting something quick and simple. We ate lunch at a new place called Which Wich, which (oh boy) was pretty tasty. We were still full after seeing Jurassic Park at the theatre, so I wanted something simple that would use my aging (local) broccoli. I also had some local red potatoes, care of a friend who uses a different co-op than I (she uses The Veggie Bin). I decided on Broccoli Potato Cheese soup (I have quite a weakness for potato-cheese soup, so this decision was part of that.)

I sent the boy out for some onion, almond milk, and cheese. He also picked up 3 cases of La Croix, which I got him hooked on. Our drink fridge is now ridiculous. There is barely any room for my alcohol...

On a tangent - their website has peach-pear! Come on, Publix, get with it.

While the boy was out, I washed the collards. I really wish veggies would wash themselves. It is so time-consuming. And I don't wash them as well as I should.

I dried them with paper towels, and de-stemmed them. The recipe had a good tip on slicing leaves quickly - rolling them up like a cigar and then slicing.

On a side note, I really want a green solution for my paper towel usage - I go through paper towels like crazy.

After slicing, I drizzled the leaves with 1/8 cup of olive oil - which I thought wouldn't be enough. To my surprise, it was plenty! I rubbed the oil and a sprinkling of salt into the leaves (not as thoroughly as I should, but I wanted it done quickly.) I whisked together some apple cider vinegar, garlic, red and black pepper, and, when the boy returned, some onion. I poured the mixture over the leaves and stirred to combine. Then, it's supposed to chill for a couple hours - we ate after about one and a half. (skipped the sun-dried tomato, as I didn't have any and didn't care to buy any either.)

Then, I started on the soup. I cooked the onion and celery in a bit of Earth Balance soy-free spread until tender.

Added whole wheat flour, pepper, and a dash of paprika -

And then the almond milk, no-chicken broth, and potatoes (skins on, as opposed to the recipe). With the almond milk and Earth Balance, I make that vegan attempt - which is outweighed by the cheese. But honestly, I've always hated cow's milk, and almond milk is more beneficial and tasty. Earth Balance has, to me, an indiscernible difference from traditional, dairy spreads.

This simmered for about 15 minutes, to cook the potatoes. Then I added in the cheese and steamed broccoli - complete when the cheese melted.

Paired with the raw salad. We're going to make an attempt to incorporate more raw foods into our diet.

After dinner, we had some local oranges and strawberries - overall, not too bad for us!

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