With the leaves changing, it’s time to pull out the puffy. You can think warm thoughts in the kitchen, too, with two recipes to warm your body and fill your kitchen with delicious scents. We commissioned our ad rep Nina to share the recipe for a soup she loves to make for her son Levi, who finds it picky-eater approved. Nina noted, “This is a great opportunity to use up all those nearly empty packages of pasta in the pantry. The recipe can be expanded or reduced by using roughly equal amounts of all the ingredients.”

Then, we caught up with Tahoe Donner’s Alder Creek Café Chef David Smith to share the recipe for one of his fall soups served at Tahoe Food Hub’s Community Soup Night Oct. 11.

Nina’s Colorful Comfort Soup



1 big bunch carrots

2 bell peppers

8 oz mushrooms

2 zucchinis

8 oz noodles of choice (any shape, regular, gluten-free)

1 lb skinless chicken thighs

dried oregano

dried basil



1-2 Tbsp olive oil

1-2 Tbsp avocado oil


All ingredients will need to be sliced, diced, or cubed into bite-sized pieces. You can cut as you go. Start with the chicken. Lightly brown the pieces in your largest pot with some olive oil. Transfer the chicken to another dish. Keep warm, leaving the juice in the pot. Fill about halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add spices, herbs, and oils. Cut up carrots, bell peppers, and mushrooms, adding one at a time. Then add zucchini and noodles together. With the pasta still al dente, return chicken to the pot. Keep at a boil throughout and continue to add hot water until the pot is very full — there seems to never be enough broth.

When the noodles are fully cooked, it’s time to enjoy.

Thai Butternut Squash Bisque


2 whole butternut squash

2 yellow onions

5 carrots

1 celery

½ cup olive oil

1 Tbsp ground cumin

32 oz vegetable stock

3 14-oz cans of coconut milk

salt and pepper

Sriracha for garnish

toasted sesame oil for garnish

1 bunch cilantro


Peel butternut squash and remove seeds, dice into half-inch cubes. Toss with ¼ cup olive oil, salt, pepper, and cumin. Place on baking sheet and bake at 375 for approximately 45 minutes until golden, stirring halfway through. Dice onion, carrots, and celery. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a medium pot. Add onion, carrots, and celery to the pot and sauté for five minutes. Next add the cooked squash, vegetable stock, and coconut milk. Bring to a light boil and then reduce heat and simmer for one hour. In small batches add soup into a blender and puree until smooth, pouring pureed soup into a new pot. Once all the soup is pureed bring the soup back to a simmer and season to taste. To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, Sriracha (to taste), and cilantro leaves. Serve with a loaf of warm crusty bread. Enjoy.


  • Le'a Gleason

    LE‘A GLEASON, a recent transplant from the Big Island of Hawai‘i, has happily transitioned from teaching yoga in the rainforest to driving powerboats, biking with bears, and learning how to fall gracefully on skis. She is passionate about writing and editing, as a means to share and connect with people, and thankful to be on the Moonshine team.

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