Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year! Meet Oliver & Have Some Coconut Soup.

Happy 2014! The end of the year really flew by. I'm going to share a little recap of the past month, and then share a coconut soup recipe that I made for dinner on this first evening of the new year.

First of all, the most exciting part of December was meeting Oliver.

Oliver picked us to be his forever family when we visited the Oregon Humane Society last month, and we couldn't argue with his sweet demands for cuddles. He traveled all the way from California, where he was rescued from a kill shelter.

He's the perfect friend for me because he loves going for really long walks, especially in parks where he can say hi (and give kisses to) as many humans and dogs as possible.  He also likes to cuddle, which has been nice, because none of our cats like to spend time on our laps.

This picture is from Christmas, when we went for a walk with my sister and brother-in-law and their pup companions Niko and Leroy. This is also before Oliver got all of his dreadlocks cut off.

We started the new year off right today with a long walk along the beach at a nice park in North Portland. I'm not sure that Oliver had ever been by the water before, and it was great watching him explore the new territory.

It's been a while since either Tim or I have had a dog. We've both considered ourselves cat people, and weren't sure how we would do with a dog. But, we both love animals, and I started feeling like there were so many dogs without families, and we had the room and the means to give at least one dog a loving forever home, so here we are and it's been awesome. Oliver adds so much love to our family. And the cats are adjusting fairly well, actually much better than we predicted. So, look forward to Oliver updates!

Other December activities included finishing my 5th term of grad school, traveling to see family, having several holiday celebrations, restarting my Bikram yoga practice after a three year hiatus, and making a lot of soup. Seriously, we have soup about five nights a week, mostly because it's fast, healthy, and we both enjoy it. So, why not?

The latest creation was tonight's mushroom coconut soup. This is a brothy, sweet, and slightly tangy concoction that reminds me of a soup I've had at our favorite vegan Thai restaurant.

Mushroom Coconut Soup

4 cups sliced mushrooms
2 medium onions, cut into thin slices
5 cloves garlic, chopped small
2 inches ginger root, chopped small
2 medium carrots, chopped
8 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water
1 can coconut milk
4x 2 inch pieces of lemongrass
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 green onions, sliced thin
juice of 1 medium lime
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt to taste

In a soup pot over medium heat, saute the onion, garlic, and ginger in some of the vegetable broth or olive oil until the onion is soft. Add the carrots, broth, water, and lemongrass. Simmer until the carrots are tender. Add coconut milk, cilantro, green onion, lime juice, pepper and pepper flakes, and salt.

This makes a huge batch and will provide some nice lunches for us this week.  I'll probably serve it over spinach, baby kale, or quinoa. And some sriracha will probably make an appearance at some point, too. 

I hope your new year is off to a great start, and that you've enjoyed a great meal to kick off 2014. Cheers!


  1. Love seeing your posts! And congratulations on your new pup (he's absolutely adorable) and finishing another term of school. How many more do you have? Happy New Year!

    P.S. The soup looks divine.

    1. Hi Rachel! And, thank you. I have 7 more terms. Almost half way done :)

  2. I can't get enough of Oliver, so please do keep the updates coming (complete with photos of his cuteness)! Also, that soup looks totally amazing. You once mentioned another Thai coconut soup you made. . . was this it, or do you even remember!? :)

    1. If I mentioned making a coconut soup, then it was some version of this. I sometimes add sweet potatoes or greens.

    2. I've gotta try this sometime. Have you ever experiemented with making Thai Green Curry? I recently bought some green curry paste (Maesri brand, based upon Google recommendations) but haven't ventured past that yet!

    3. Thai green curry sounds delicious! Please do play with it and report back :)

  3. Happy New Year Nikki! So nice to see you in my Blog Roll and even more nice to be spoiled by adorable pictures of sweet Oliver!! How adorable!! I've been loving all the pics you post on Instagram. Such a cutie, how lucky you are to have found each other :) Can't wait to see more updates and pics!

    Congrats on finishing your 5th term! What a huge accomplishment! And the soup looks incredible! Beautiful recipe :)

    1. Hi Sarah! So good to see your smiling face in my comments! Hope you're having a great new year :)

  4. Hello Oliver! You both are cuties. Glad the cats and you and Tim both are adapting well to him!
    I eat miso soup almost every night, for the same reasons you mention. It's fast, delicious, healthy and warming but it'd be nice to switch it up! This coconut soup sounds delicious.
    Happy New Year!

  5. Congrats again on the new fur-child, Nikki! Oliver is adorable and I'd love to read more about how you introduced him to your cats. Sending you the very best for a happy, healthy 2014!!!

    1. Thank you, Carrie! Happy New Year to you! I'd love to write about how we're managing the furry introductions. I'll let you know when I post about it :)

  6. He's adorable!
    The soup sounds great

    1. Thanks, bitt! He is so adorable it's ridiculous. We're enjoying his company so much!

  7. Congratulations on the new addition to your family! What a sweetheart! And that soup looks delicious. Also, that first picture is the first time I noticed your beautiful (half?) sleeve....Lovely work. If you're ever itching for more ink, my tattoo artist/dear friend is working there now at Freaks and Geeks. Her name is Alana....let her know I sent you and she might give you a discount. : )

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