Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Creamy Mushroom Soup with Peas and a Hint of Dijon and an Update

Sunday started out slowly after staying up too late again on Saturday. Both Dan and I seem to be genetically programmed to stay up until at least midnight each night. It is amazing that we ever make it to the gym at 6:00am, LOL, Our day was very laid back, exactly the way I like my weekends.

Since we had picked up grapefruit on Saturday I decided that was what I wanted for breakfast with a small handful of walnuts. Dan had his favorite kale and banana smoothie with the end of the organic kale.

After breakfast we both had a few mugs of green tea that I stirred a little powdered ascorbate C into after it steeped for 10 minutes. I haven’t said this recently but I buy Japanese green tea because it is higher in EGCG. When I am making hot green tea I steep it for 10 minutes to get the maximum amount of EGCG from the tea. Finally I add a little bit (maybe 1/8 teaspoon) of powdered ascorbate C to the tea to increase the bioavailability of the EGCG. Be sure to add the powdered C at the end since C is degraded by heat.

As always Dan and I discussed what I was going to make for the mid-day meal with my folks. While we were talking I realized that we had not had many mushrooms this week so we went with mushroom soup. I wanted something creamy but not thick like cream soup if that makes any sense. If you want something more like cream soup add more raw cashews and oats to yours. Here is what I did:

Creamy Mushroom Soup with Peas and a Hint of Dijon
Serves 6


4 cups mixed dried mushrooms (I used the brand they sell at Costco)
4 cups water, to soak mushrooms
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced (about 3 cups)
8 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and minced
1 cup water
4 cups water
6 cups fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped (I used crimini)
¾ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ cup raw cashews
¼ cup oats (dry)
1 - 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, to taste
cayenne pepper, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups frozen peas
½ cup fresh parsley, finely minced

optional: truffle oil or truffle salt to finish the soup – not necessary but will take the soup over the top though I used neither and it was still good.


Combine the water and mushrooms and bring to a simmer then turn off the heat and let them sit until the mushrooms have softened. This should take about 30 minutes.

Slice the onions and garlic and allow to stand 10 minutes while the mushrooms are soaking. Then add the one cup of water and water sauté the aromatics until just tender, about 5 minutes.

Strain the water from the mushrooms to remove any sediment. Chop the mushrooms and place them and the strained soaking liquid in the soup pot with the aromatics. Add the remaining water, fresh mushrooms, thyme and cumin and simmer until the fresh mushrooms are cooked and the flavor of the seasonings have blended.

Place the cashews and oats in your blender along with a couple of cups of the soup broth. Process until smooth and add the liquid to the soup and cook until it thickens and the raw oat taste has cooked off, about 5 minutes.

Now add mustard and black pepper to taste. Just before you are ready to serve add the peas and cook them for just until hot, about 3-4 minutes. Stir the parsley in at the very end so that it retains it bright green color and fresh taste. Serve steaming hot.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 200.95
Calories From Fat (19%) - 38.03

Total Fat - 4.56g
Saturated Fat - 0.79g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 139.47mg
Potassium - 823.37mg
Total Carbohydrates - 36.33g
Fiber - 7.05g
Sugar - 5.91g
Protein - 9.74g


If you are a fan of mushrooms give this a try. It is simple, no fuss and yummy. It feels much more decadent than it actually is. I love recipes like that. ;-) With the plethora of mushrooms it is also healthy providing a nice boost to the immune system. Who wouldn’t like that, other than those that don’t like mushrooms that is?

This dish was omnivore approved for those that are wondering. I could eat this for days, too bad we didn’t have any leftovers. We made this 4 rather than 6 servings but 6 would be a far more civilized amount. LOL

To accompany the soup I made an extremely quick salad. I tossed together some cold cooked quinoa and the leftover marinated vegetable salad. Believe it or not even my parents cleaned their bowls of the salad. Don’t you love things that take under a minute to make? You have to love intentional leftovers, at least I do.

Our afternoon snack was an orange, a few prunes and a two Brazil nuts. Nothing terribly exciting just healthy food.

Dinner was a very simple veggie stir fry. I use a frozen Asian veg mix and added red onion, garlic and fresh ginger and a little soy sauce (liquid aminos). I served this over a little brown basmati rice and topped it with cashews. I made extra so that I had some to pack in Dan’s lunch on Monday. Whenever I cook I am always thinking of intentional leftovers. Once you start doing that you will be hooked too. Intentional leftovers make my life SO much easier. ;-)


This was one of those days that started out well and ended in a flurry of activity. I had expected to have a nice relaxing day and things started out that way but didn’t stay that way. The morning weather forecast called for a light little snow fall or 1-3 inches overnight on Monday. I should have known that was going to change. How often are the weather people actually right?

For some reason I wasn’t particularly hungry at breakfast time. I decided to have a breakfast snack instead of breakfast. This consisted of celery stuffed with homemade reduced fat peanut butter, a few prunes and two Brazil nuts.

By mid-morning the weather people had changed the snow forecast to 2-4 inches of snow. Still not much so I went back to reading and doing things around the house. Since we were out of beans I made a pound of cannellini beans in the pressure cooker. I had no idea what I was going to do with them but beans are so versatile I can always think of something.

Lunch was more of afternoon snack and consisted of an orange with a few walnuts. Is there anything better than fresh oranges in the winter?

When I checked the weather after lunch the forecast had changed to 5-8 inches. Great! Why do I ever check the weather? By the time I checked to see if my parents needed anything the snow forecast was up to 6-9 inches of snow. How did we go from 75 on Thursday and Friday to this much snow on Monday? *rolls eyes*

Dinner this evening was a simple soup. I used half of the cannellini beans and added canned tomatoes, onions, garlic, golden raisins, fennel, oregano, artichokes, hot crushed peppers (wet hots), orange bell peppers and fresh parsley. I used the flavors of Sicily in this soup and added what sounded good to me. it was definitely not traditional but I liked the overall flavor.


We woke up to about 6 inches of snow. It was just enough to make a mess of things but not enough to cause much in the way of problems. However being true to form Maryland had to practically close down on Tuesday. When we turned on the news many places were opening late or not opening all. Things are so different here from how they were where I grew up in Northern Indiana. I only remember school closing once when I was a child and that was when the heating system wasn’t working.

Once I had finished exercising it was time for breakfast but I wasn’t terribly hungry. I decided to have an apple with homemade reduced fat peanut butter instead of a full meal. This was more than enough to hold me over until lunch.

Here is a picture of my most camera shy feline. This is our only girl cat, we fondly refer to her as “her highness the princess Luca Belle”. That name describes her very well, she has a very aristocratic don’t bother me attitude. This was her reclining on our bed, and yes the electric blanket was on. No spoiled cats at our house. LOL

Lunch was leftover soup from Monday. I always find it interesting how much soup and stew changes when it is reheated. This one was much more mellow the when it was reheated.

Dan and I had an appointment in the afternoon and then ran a few errands. We stopped at Costco and stocked up on fresh produce and nuts, in other words an entire cart full.

Next we stopped at the library since I had reserved a book and somehow came out with 5 books, 4 DVDs and 1 book on tape. Is there any wonder why I am always reading something? LOL

Our final stop was Target to pick up notebook paper, highlighters, and hair things. A strange combination I know. No one ever said I always make sense. ;-)

Dinner was a giant salad (in a serving bowl) that contained: mesclun, cucumbers, salsa, white beans, grape tomatoes, bell pepper, marinated mushrooms and roasted peppers.

Happy Thoughts:

Sometimes there are so many things to be happy for I am not sure where to start, but here goes:

• I was thankful that our snow as much more manageable than what fell in Minneapolis. I hope things are melting a little for you Courtney. Stay warm!

• It was good to have the time and close proximity to take care of things for my parents when there is inclement weather in the area.

• Everyone loved the mushroom soup on Sunday and that makes me very happy. I get such pleasure from developing new healthy recipes. Can you say nutrition geek? LOL

• As always I am very fortunate to be married to my best friend. How many women have a husband that adores them and thinks they are interesting even when they are babbling about something he isn’t passionate about? I am very lucky to have the world’s best husband for me. I love you baby and appreciate that you take such good care of me. I love you more than anything in the world. *smooch*

• We made it to the gym Wednesday morning. Woo hoo! With a little luck we are back on our morning schedule. As much as I hate getting up early I like having my working out of the way by 7am. It seems to open up my morning so that I can be more productive. *fingers crossed* I hope we can make it to bed early again tonight.

• I had a wonderful lunch with Dan downtown on Wednesday. The night guard had come in from the lab so I needed to stop at the dentist Wednesday morning. Since I was downtown we had lunch together which is a rare treat. I also took time to stop at the Barnes and Noble downtown and picked up another 8 books. Are you starting to see why I am always reading something?

• A stranger told me how much she loved my hair. I had to respond “with all this grey” and she said that was the part she liked the most. She went on to say that my hair looked so good that she may grow out her gray. *sits tall* Wow, I was actually blown away by this. It was very difficult for me to stop dying my hair. I haven’t dyed it now for over 2 years so it was great to hear it looked good. In case you are wondering I did give up the dye for health reasons. It seemed a little ridiculous to avoid chemicals in my food and put them on my scalp every 6 weeks. Plus I had a friend who dyed her hair dark as often as I did and she died of brain cancer in her late 30’s. That was enough to make he think twice about dying my hair. I don’t know that there is a connection but why risk it was my thought.

• The remainder of my week should be laid back and I am looking forward to that. I have had a good week so far but I need time to recharge now. Thursday will be a nice lazy day for me and I am looking forward to that.

Signing out:

It is time for me to log out. I have to come up with something for dinner and turn it early. Both Dan and I are planning to hit the gym tomorrow morning at 6am. Wish us luck, we are going to need it.


  1. I always have odds and ends types of shopping errands like that too. And you know I love mushrooms - that soup looks sinful!

  2. Great post, Ali. Everything looks delish, and I love your happy thoughts...especially the one about the gray hair, that's awesome. :)


  3. Hi Ali,
    gorgeous food pics as usual...the mushroom soup sounds perfect, especially as winter seems to be heating up again :-( and :-)

  4. Your mushroom soup sounds great and that quick salad that you tossed together looks awesome!

  5. The mushroom soup looks great - I used to love creamy mushroom soup. I have had mixed success with cashews, though - I guess that means I need to invest in a better blender! The addition of peas is perfect, too, for flavor and to brighten up the grey soup.

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