Friday, July 30, 2010

TGIF and a Mushroom Goulash

We have not had mushrooms in at least two days, can you imagine. What am I thinking? Clearly this mushroom deficiency needed to be corrected. I came across a recipe in my new book German Culinaria for beef and mushrooms. The recipe sounded very simple but also tasty. I knew I could make it with either tempeh or seitan. I opted to go with seitan sausage because I just happen to have two seitan bratwurst in the freezer. Here is what I did:

Mushroom and Seitan Goulash (Gulasch mit Pilzen)
Serves 4


2 large onions, finely minced (allow to stand 10 minutes before heating)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
12 ounce bottle of beer, preferably lager
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon thyme, dried
2 cups water
2 tablespoons mustard (I used Dijon)
½ pound mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 seitan sausages cut into bite-sized pieces (bratwurst or kielbasa would be best here)
black pepper, to taste
¼ cup cashew crème fraiche, for garnish
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced. for garnish
1 pound potatoes, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces (Spätzle or another grain would also work)


Combine the onion, tomato paste, beer, paprika, and thyme and simmer until the onions are soft and the beer has mostly evaporated. Add the water, mustard, mushrooms, and seitan and simmer until the mushrooms are cooked. You may need to add water so that you have enough “sauce” to serve. Stir occasionally to make certain it doesn’t stick.

To plate, top the potatoes with the mushroom and seitan sauce, parsley and a dollop of cashew crème fraiche.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 335.59
Calories From Fat (23%) - 75.72

Total Fat - 8.37g
Saturated Fat - 0.93g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 458.85mg
Potassium - 1009.04mg
Total Carbohydrates - 40.14g
Fiber - 8.45g
Sugar - 3.3g
Protein - 20.96g

The calories are overstated by the alcohol that burned off when I evaporated 90% of the liquid during cooking. But since I can’t measure the amount that is missing I thought it was better to overstate the calories by keeping 100% of the beer in the calculations.


Dan was shocked to see potatoes with dinner since I very rarely make them. His first words were, “what did I want”. Nice, right? Well once he tasted it he changed his tune. He gave this recipe a very enthusiastic two thumbs up and Dan is my biggest critic. We both think this would be a great meal to serve to omnis. Yes it turned out that well. I will say it is definitely better on a cooler day like today. We would not have enjoyed this as much in the heat yesterday.

Unrelated note:

I have had the most glorious day today. The weather was in the upper 70’s this morning until almost lunch time. I was able to turn off the AC and open the windows for the first time in weeks. It is so nice to have fresh air in the house. I had forgotten how lovely it is to have the windows open. Funny how a little thing like that can make such a big difference. A few different types of birds are in one of the big oak trees near my house and are very busy chirping to each other. I love the breeze that is blowing in the window on the back of my neck. It is just a perfect day.

I managed to get another picture of Masi with his eyes open. It looks like I was not the only one enjoying the fresh air. ;-)

After checking on my parents and going to the store I had the afternoon to myself. I made a quick collard wrap for lunch with red cabbage, lentil walnut pate, Dijon and tomatoes. It was quite tasty, but a little messy. Next time I will slice the red cabbage into threads to make it a little easier to eat. But overall I was happy with the nutrition and flavor of this wrap. I followed the collard with a fresh mango. This exactly how I like to eat in the summer. Nothing heavy just fresh food.

A few hours later I hungry. Undoubtedly because I had eaten a small lunch. To keep my tummy full until dinner I made myself a quick dish. I grated a medium zucchini on a box grater added salsa, ground flaxseed and nutritional yeast. The flax was for omega 3 and the nutritional yeast provided a cheesy flavor. It was a filling dish just to keep my satisfied until we have dinner.

Then I decided a tomato with a drizzle of good balsamico would be nice. I know Dr. Fuhrman discourages snacking but I don’t like to eat a large volume of food at one time and without snacking I don’t get enough calories. Funny, that was never a problem in my life before adopting this very healthy eating style. ;-) I am always fascinated by just how much food I need to eat to get adequate calories since I don’t rely on grains, oil and sugar. The other thing that strikes me about eating this way is that I never feel bloated or that uncomfortable fullness in your stomach that you get from eating heavy food. I always feel “light” even after eating a huge salad or bowl of soup.

The health benefits from eating this way have been nothing short of amazing. My unmedicated blood pressure was 94/56 this afternoon. I find that remarkable for a woman of 48. It feels so good to know that I everything that I put into my body is adding to my health and not detracting from it.

Nutrition conversation from last night I wanted to share:

Last night at dinner we got into a discussion about cooking and nutrition, and I didn’t start the conversation. Shocked right? I know, so was I. ;-) The conversation centered around two ideas. How long it takes to prepare healthy food and how to know what to cook since there is so much nutrition information that seems to be contradictory.

I will admit I spend a good bit of time making healthy food but that I because I make 99% of what we eat from scratch to avoid chemicals and preservatives. Any food that seems to be resistant to rot worries me. I don’t feel comfortable putting “frankenfood” into our bodies. However, even using only fresh food I can make a healthy meal in less than 15 minutes. It may get boring after a while, but healthy cooking doesn’t have to take a long time. Much of the time I spend cooking is coming up with new recipe ideas.

As far as what to believe regarding nutrition I try to make that easy on myself as well. If it is a whole natural plant based food we eat it. If it has been processed in some way I start to think twice about consuming it. I have no problem with frozen fruit and veggies provided there is no added “mystery chemical”. After that I become a little more wary. If the product has an ingredient list that is more than three lines long I am probably not going to buy it. Also if the ingredient list reads more like a science experiment it is also not going into my cart. I firmly believe that food that contains chemicals (which is most processed food) is not healthy.

So now you are probably wondering what I buy. Typically it is whole natural produce, seeds, nuts, beans, quinoa, brown rice, bulgur, and millet. I also have a lot of spices, vinegars, and sea vegetables. These are the things that I use to make our meals and I can make hundreds of interesting healthy vegan meals with those ingredients. I will occasionally throw in a little seitan sausage here and there because my hubby really enjoys them. But seitan is not required and could be easily omitted. Of course I do make my own sausage and store them in the freezer to use later.

Time for me to clean up the kitchen and make dinner a little after dinner soft serve. I think I may try to convince him to try a different flavor tonight. If I am successful and he liked it I will share the recipe tomorrow. I hope you are having a good evening.


  1. Masi is beautiful!

    That goulash looks real tasty! Everything else looks just as good too!

  2. Dreaminit,

    Thanks for the feline love. I adore my little boy Masi and he so rarely cooperates for photos I like to share when he does.

    The goulash turned out really well. Definitely man friendly food. Everything else is just stuff I grabbed today. ;-) I tend not to plan my food.


  3. :) I couldn't agree more!
    My diet isn't as clean as yours, due to the fact I use a small amount of olive oil, and some salt.
    I also tend to eat more grains. I have to eat more grains, as my IBS demands more soluble fiber.
    I have a bad time with insoluble fiber, and trying to strike a balance is difficult.

  4. Naina,

    Giving up the oil and salt were really tough for me. Those were harder than meat and cheese. We also found it very difficult to cut back on the baked goods. Both Dan and I love muffins, cakes, and pizza. It is funny when we have pizza now it doesn't seem to agree with us any longer. I paid the price yesterday for going out. ;-)

    Sorry to hear it is so difficult for you to find things to eat that your body tolerates. How does your system handle beans? Also does it seem to make a difference if you blend the veggies to break down the fiber?

    talk to you later,

  5. Beans are tough too. :( I assume it is due to the lectins. Nuts are too. :(
    I wish blending did make a difference. I bought a vitamix over a year ago; just for the purpose of being able to consume more berries/salads.
    I thought if I stuck it out, perhaps my tummy would figure it all out. I was 100% faithful on E2L for 4 months. I was miserable the whole time. :( I finally started reading the book "Eating for IBS" and found relief. Unfortunately, I didn't like what that diet was about. I firmly believe E2L offers the healthiest diet available today.
    I can't tolerate soy, gluten, beans, and insoluble fiber. The problem with that is, I also need insoluble fiber.
    When I started E2L we were still eating meat. My husband was a hard sell on the E2L diet. Now, he eats healthier than I do. He blends mixed greens with other veggies twice a day. He now enjoys beans, salads, nuts, seeds and fruits. He said, he feels like a teenager again! :) I am happy for him but, a little envious too. I was the one searching for relief. While many things are better, I feel like eating is scary problem. :(

  6. Naina,

    The only thing I can think of is juicing since that is devoid of fiber. At least that would give you nutrition. If I think of anything else I will let you know.


  7. Hi, Ali. I am totally going to copy your collard wrap and the shredded zuchini dish..I need to mix things up and that looks delish!!

    The nutritional aspects of E2L are FANTASTIC!! I have lost a lot of weight (with lots more to go!) and I had a major non-scale victory last week. I had been feeling dizzy and nauseous for a few weeks (that's not the good news!)and went to my doctor. I had been on the highest dose of an expensive blood pressure med that also had the highest dose of diuretic. Well the doc believes that was causing my symptoms (basically getting dehydrated) and while I am still on bp meds, I am on a new med on HALF the dose and NO diuretic! Yay. And while my bp is not as low as yours, it was 120/70 which is the lowest it has been in more than 10 years! WOOHOO!!

    Anyway, I am rambling! I need to do a blog post on how good I feel lately. I also saw a number on the scale recently (and have since gone down even further) that I haven't seen in more than 15 years!

    Talk to you soon and thanks for the great posts that are so inspirational!!

  8. Thanks Ali, I need to incorporate more juices.
    I don't own a juicer. :( I for now use my vitamix, and then run it through a strainer.
    I heard a tip once to just use the foot end of a pair of panty hose. It works! However, I worry about toxins from the nylon? What do you think?

  9. Lolly,

    Woo Hoo! That is SO great! I am thrilled for you. Way to go girl, keep up the great work. :-) Please stop by with news like that anytime. I am SO happy for you.

    I can't wait to read your update post.

    big hugs to you,

  10. Naina,

    I think the nylon is probably okay. But you could always buy a chinois, nut milk bag or jelly strainer if that would make you feel more comfortable. If you use it all the time I would probably buy a chinois. I saw them on Amazon for just under $30 and that was the best price I have seen.


  11. Thanks Ali, I am off to look up this chinois? :)

  12. Great post! I always like the way you write, but today your vitality and "freshness" really shine through. It's good to hear that you have snacks when you feel the need. I heard Dr. Furhman say that he's surprised how little food it takes to maintain his weight, but I find the opposite when eating what he/you recommend.

    The goulash looks delicious -- what kind of mushrooms did you use? I might try to make that tonight. Oh and you recently posted a recipe with morels, were they dried? Where did you get them?

  13. That collard wrap is making me hungry. Do you cook the collards a little first or no? I bet it would be good with hummus inside too huh? I can't wait to have a house and be able to start cooking again.

  14. You are right, Alicia, that goulash *does* look good! I am glad you and Dan enjoyed it so much :-)

    "Funny how a little thing like that can make such a big difference."

    I feel the same way when I go places that have AC :-)

    I hope you are enjoying your Saturday!


  15. Courtney,

    We really did enjoy the goulash. There are two servings left and I am trying to save them for Dan for lunch Monday and Tuesday, but they may not make it.

    Did you read Lolly's comments on her E2L success above? I am SO thrilled for her. I knew you would be too so I wanted to make certain you saw them. She is doing great!

    I feel you on the AC. I have no idea how you live without it. You are definitely much tougher than I am. ;-)

    talk to you later,

  16. Carissa,

    Sorry it took me so long to post this. Blogger didn't send me an email and I don't check the dashboard often.

    I do not cook the collards first. I shave the thick stem down with a sharp knife but that is it. Collards have become my new "bread of choice". I love that they are part of the cruciferous family. ;-)

    I do sometimes stuff them with hummus, nut cheese, shredded lettucer or cabbage, marinated mushrooms. Any veggie I have tried has worked.

    I hope things are going well with your move.


  17. Laura,

    I am so glad you liked this post.

    Something tells me Dr. F would frown on my snacks, but without them I don't get enough calories. I believe that we all need to listen to our bodies (within reason, I don't listen to the cake voice). As I have said before if your weight is doing what you want they are eating the right amount for you.

    I think (but this is a guess) that Dr. F frowns on snacks because most people snack on unhealthy food. I do try to wait until know I am hungry and not just bored.

    Last night I used a mixture of fresh shitakes and creminis. But I think any mushrooms would work.

    The dried morels were the Melissa's brand. I buy them at Wegman's but Whole Foods should also have them. I think I have seen them on Amazon as well.

    I hope you are having a great Saturday,

  18. I am starting to think that Masi likes the camera! ;)

  19. Sarah,

    LOL, no chance. You only think that because you didn't see the other 100 pictures I took with his eyes closed or the side of his head as he turned away. But maybe one day he will be used to the camera. He is only 9 years old after all, still a baby, LOL.

    talk to you later,


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