tomato bisque with grilled cheese sliders #WeCare

by Kristina Sloggett

in Dinner, Giving Back, recipes, Vegan

I feel extremely grateful to have a home, power, running water, food. I also feel helpless as people I know on the East Coast have lost everything in Hurricane Sandy.

The perspective leaves me incredibly humbled. I want to help.

Each day I hear new stories from friends who literally have lost everything – either themselves or those close to them. Homes, businesses, livelihoods, lives. I know the stories I am hearing are very few – the real impact of this storm is staggering and reaches far and wide.

So many people urgently need help.

Being on the other side of the country, it is impractical to offer a place to stay or even a warm meal, shower and a place to recharge. So I support the efforts with donations to The Red Cross, and encourage others to do so as well. Anything and everything helps.

Today I am joining some fellow food blogger friends coming together to support and give to those in desperate need. We are sending this plea over our great reach of social media, in hopes of raising funds and supporting those impacted.

The American Red Cross is accepting donations (financial donations have immediate impact).

All month long, Macy’s is accepting donations at all store registers, and matching them in an effort to exceed one million dollars.

People are setting up individual Amazon wishlists and Target registries for those who lost everything – a great idea and another way to help. Smaller support organizations are setting up registries with cleaning supplies and other essentials, for the people out there helping the efforts directly.

I encourage everyone to donate to The Red Cross – any amount helps – and to encourage others to do so as well.

My continued prayers for everyone affected by this disaster, and great appreciation to those helping with the rescue and relief efforts.

…and if I could, I would make enough of this comforting soup and sliders to share with everyone.

Italian tomato bisque

dairy, soy, and gluten free, vegan

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter (Earth Balance soy free)
2 tablespoons dried oregano
7-10 leaves fresh basil, chiffonaded
10 roma tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
sea salt, to taste

Sauté onion and garlic in butter. Add oregano, basil, tomatoes, bell pepper, vegetable broth and salt, simmer until softened. Transfer mixture to blender (in batches if necessary), add (drained) cashews and puree on high until smooth. Return to pot to keep warm. Season with salt and pepper. 

Serve with grilled cheese sliders, a perfect vehicle for soup transport.

You could also spread the word by sharing this post or placing the #WeCare badge on your website. This code gives you this badge which links directly to The American Red Cross:

American Red Cross

<div align="center"><a href="" title="American Red Cross"><img src="" alt="American Red Cross" style="border:none;" /></a></div>


{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 lindsay November 8, 2012 at 4:11 am

i agree, it’s the least we can do not being there physically. Although, i know you would fly out there in a heart beat with a pot of food and blankets if you could.


2 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 6:08 pm

I really would, you know? I have actually thought about it.


3 Heather (Where's the Beach) November 8, 2012 at 5:25 am

I have a feeling that soup would be more than welcomed. There’s something really special about a comforting meal like that soup that makes you feel like things are going to be ok. You know? Sometimes it’s just those little things.


4 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 6:07 pm

I know – I really wish I could make this for every single person needing some comfort.


5 Jess November 8, 2012 at 6:18 am

I absolutely agree — its hard to hear how many are struggling right now, post-storm. I am absolutely donating to the cause and love this post all the more because it totally shows your heart, which I happen to love very much. I also love this combo – soup and grilled cheese, what could be more comforting than that.


6 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 6:07 pm

thank you Jess! I am just so lost here, wanting to go help my friends, help ANYBODY affected by all of this. So very sad.


7 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) November 8, 2012 at 7:17 am

I completely agree! I’ve been so saddened by the loss these individuals have had. So incredibly sad.


8 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 6:05 pm

it is so devastating, I cannot even imagine (and hope to never have to). I wish I could do more, I feel so helpless here.


9 jobo November 8, 2012 at 7:23 am

What a perfectly comforting combo to post today in tribute. And to send this message and urging donations. I too plan to donate.


10 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 6:04 pm

thank you for that, my friend. hugs!


11 Liz November 8, 2012 at 7:26 am

What a warm and comforting dish, Kristina…I always feel the urge to cook something when disaster strikes, but it’s touch when it’s many states away. I’m delighted to join you in spreading the word.


12 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 6:03 pm

thank you, Liz! and yes, it has been nice joining together this week – I hope our efforts help many.


13 Lora @cakeduchess November 8, 2012 at 7:31 am

Beautiful post, my friend. Your bisque looks so good and I wish I had a bowl now for breakfast. Lovely to get together with all of you to spread this important message. xo


14 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 6:02 pm

I agree, I hate that it is for such a devastating thing, but it has been nice emailing and working with everyone this week :)


15 Jeanette November 8, 2012 at 7:54 am

What a wonderful thing you all are doing – it is incredible how devastating the losses have been. This is certainly a comforting meal that I know so many would appreciate.


16 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 6:01 pm

I wish I could make this comfort for anyone who needed it!


17 Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets November 8, 2012 at 8:08 am

This is a great idea. I actually gave my blood to the Red Cross earlier this week, but I will be donating too. Thanks for putting this out there.


18 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 6:00 pm

that was an aspect I didn’t even consider, giving blood – thank YOU for doing that!


19 Adventures in Dressmaking November 8, 2012 at 8:36 am

Good for you–it is so hard hearing about the terrible effects of Sandy but being so disconnected from it, so far away, it’s hard to imagine! So great to spread the word and make it easier to donate. =)


20 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I just feel so very bad for those I know who lost everything – and others that I do not know – I really wish I could get there and help people. That is the message that I wanted to convey – that with just a few clicks it is VERY easy to donate!


21 Macey November 8, 2012 at 8:50 am

It kills me how much media attention our country gives to other natural disasters that happen around the world, but our own citizens get overshadowed by political jargon and Presidential rhetoric. Thank you for this post, it’s helpful to remember that there are still people without and that we all still need to help!

ps- I’m freezing this morning and that soup looks amazing!


22 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm

It is easy for people to move on when they aren’t in the area or do not know anyone affected (therefore do not hear the stories of loss), and I simply want to share that SO MANY are still in dire need. It is the very least I can do.

I know, it suddenly got COLD here, what is UP with that?? brrr…


23 Jenni November 8, 2012 at 8:52 am

I love that you did this and how you incorporated it into a food post. The food looks delicious.

The red cross is a great way to support those who have lost so much!


24 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Even though I cannot make food for them, I wanted to share something comforting – if I could make food for people needing it… I have already donated twice to the red cross, and tomorrow I’ll be downtown – I am going to stop by Macy’s and give them money to match as well!


25 Leah November 8, 2012 at 9:26 am

Great post on getting the word out for donating, so much devastation, they can use all the help we can give them.
I am a little worried that we will soon get hit on the west coast with some type of natural disaster.

On another note…Did you make your own bread for the grilled cheese? :)


26 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Leah, I worry about that too – the big earthquake is what they always talk about here… I’m really hoping that doesn’t happen.

no, this was not my own bread (although I have been trying to make my own lately). I’m sharing the sliders later next week…


27 Cara November 8, 2012 at 9:33 am

LOVE the use of cashews to make a creamy tomato soup – it’s something I’ve wanted to try for a while!


28 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm

I love my cashews, I remember the first time I put them in soup – I was hooked!


29 Carrian@ohsweetbasil November 8, 2012 at 10:43 am

So warm and comforting, love this meal!


30 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm

this is always a classic and comforting combination, yes? I love it too.


31 janetha November 8, 2012 at 10:48 am

I love it when you make mini things, like those sliders. And you do this often, so I am a happy camper. Or blog reader…


32 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm

I like mini too 😀


33 Jenn November 8, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Thanks so much for sharing such a heartfelt post and compassion. I love how several food blogging events are going on today to garner donations to organizations that provide relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy. The soup sounds great.


34 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm

thank YOU, Jenn! I too love seeing the community come together to do something good – something that will hopefully reach far and wide and help many!


35 Faith November 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I don’t think there is anything quite as comforting as a steaming bowl of a wonderful creamy soup like this. Such a lovely post, Kristina…I’m hoping we help make a big difference for those in need.


36 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I am hoping we do too, Faith! It has been nice working with this group this week :)


37 Purely Twins November 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm

love seeing so many people helping everyone out!

this is the perfect combo!


38 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 5:39 pm

I love seeing it too – I hope to have done some good today and in the coming days.


39 Susannah November 8, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Wow, those look really good. I also really appreciate your heart towards those who lost homes, possessions, etc to Hurricane Sandy. I didn’t know about the Target and Amazon lists. I’ll have to check those out!


40 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 6:21 pm

the registry lists are such a great idea – especially if you know someone specific you want to help. I really wish I could do more, I would love to go there and help, all I can do right now is give to the Red Cross and try to get the word out to as many as possible.


41 Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning November 8, 2012 at 5:57 pm

You’re so wonderful and thoughtful :)
And the soup literally made me drool. What kind of “cheese” do you use? I made the mistake if buying veggie slices today for my husband and failed to notice that they contain casein until I got home :(


42 spabettie November 8, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Lauren this soup is SO GOOD – I wish I could send y’all some! (so easy to make…) this was a rice cheese, pretty sure it’s vegan? it’s not as flavorful as my favorite daiya havarti… but I really wanted slices for some reason. 😉


43 anna November 8, 2012 at 8:24 pm

mmm nothing like tomato soup and cheese sandwiches. ultimate comfort food. good for you helping out with the hurricane relief!


44 spabettie November 9, 2012 at 6:05 am

I agree – it is the ultimate comfort food, one I think of first almost every time. I hope I have done some good with this post…


45 Kelly November 9, 2012 at 9:41 am

bless you regarding this post, so much needs to be done I appreciate you.


46 spabettie November 9, 2012 at 11:13 am

thank you, Kelly, for reading and for this nice comment – I really hope this is making a difference for those in need.


47 Jenn @therebelchick November 11, 2012 at 7:45 am

This such a lovely sentiment and your soup looks fantastic. Thank you so much for posting about this, I had NO IDEA that Macy’s was matching donations!!!


48 spabettie November 11, 2012 at 10:51 am

thanks, Jenn – and YES! I am going to stop by Macy’s again today! :)


49 Pam December 4, 2012 at 5:52 am

Do you think I can make this w/o cashews? I keep forgetting to add them to my pantry, I have raw walnuts and almonds however….


50 Kristina Sloggett December 4, 2012 at 11:32 am

you absolutely can, Pam! leaving them out will make a lovely tomato soup instead of a creamy bisque – you could use almonds instead but I have not tried that – the consistency and flavor will be different.


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