School Lunch #5 + Summer Crock Pot Soup

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Today’s lunch contains brown-rice-cucumber-and-avocado sushi, plus “ranch” kale chips, fresh strawberries, and a leftover vegan pig-in-a-blanket (apparently, this item was extremely popular with Zander yesterday). I also tucked a raw organic granola bar into his outer lunchbox pocket for dessert.

Below is a photo of our crock pot soup from last night’s dinner. Not the nicest photo, but it was a truly delicious soup! I don’t have the cookbook with me, so I can’t post the precise recipe, but here are the ingredients (including my personal modifications to the recipe) that I recall putting into the crock pot yesterday morning:

1 large bunch of chard, de-stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 zucchini, cut into half and quarter moons (I added this to the recipe because I was given some fresh zucchini from a friend’s garden)
1 yellow squash, cut into half and quarter moons
2 vegan Italian sausages, cut into half moons
1 large carrot, diced (I used two large handfuls of baby carrots, because that’s what I had on hand)
a 1-inch piece of lemon peel
1 large can (28 oz?) fire-roasted diced tomatoes (the recipe called for a small can, but we love tomatoes in soup, so I used a big one)
1 regular-sized can (14 oz?) cannellini beans (I will probably use a large can next time)
5 cups water
2 Tbsp vegan chicken boullion
1/2 onion, diced
approx. 12 cloves garlic, minced
(NOTE: I sauteed the garlic and onion in olive oil the night before, then put them into an airtight container with a lid along with all of the other ingredients–the only things I added in the morning were the water and vegan chicken boullion. The recipe also called for a rosemary sprig, to be removed after cooking, but I excluded this for two reasons: Alex hates rosemary, and I didn’t have any on hand).

I cooked all of the above on low for 8 hours, and then my crock pot automatically switched to “warm” for another hour or two before we actually ate dinner. It was perfectly cooked by that time and at just the right temperature to eat. But it was the toppings that made this soup feel extra special (we don’t usually add toppings to our soup). These included vegan croutons, plus a coarse pesto which Zander and I made the day before by combining the following ingredients in a food processor until crumbly, but not smooth:

approx. 30 fresh basil leaves (from our balcony garden) (I used twice as much basil as the recipe called for)
2 springs oregano (from our balcony garden)
about 1/3 cup raw almonds (the recipe called for 1/4 cup, but I used a bit more due to the extra basil)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
sea salt (to taste)

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RECIPE CREDIT (please note that the above is written from memory and includes my personal modifications): The Vegan Slow Cooker, by Kathy Hester

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About Kim McCoy

Kim McCoy is a passionate animal and environmental advocate with a B.S. in Business Administration from UT Knoxville and a J.D. specializing in Animal and Environmental Law. She graduated with honors from Lewis & Clark Law School, where she served as Editor in Chief of the internationally acclaimed Animal Law Review and interned with the National Center for Animal Law and the International Environmental Law Project. Kim is a member of MENSA (the “high IQ society”) and previously worked for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in a variety of roles, including Executive Director, Director of Campaigns, and Director of Legal Affairs. Kim is also the former Executive Director of the One World One Ocean Foundation and the proud mother of a healthy, thriving son who has been vegan since conception. Currently serving as Executive Director of Big Life Foundation, which protects wildlife and wild lands in Eastern Africa, Kim remains deeply committed to the defense of animals worldwide.
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