Monday, April 11, 2011

German Inspired Soup and Eating Out


There is no doubt about it, spring has definitely arrived. Winter didn't seem to want to let go but I think it is now gone. *woo hoo*

Breakfast was a green smoothie for both of us this morning. There is something about eating dinner out that makes me crave an uber healthy breakfast the next morning.  This morning we both had green smoothies for breakfast. They contained the usual ingredients: frozen bananas, raw kale, wheat germ, freshly ground flaxseeds, cinnamon, powdered ginger, water, and stevia and walnuts for Dan.

Lunch with my parents was a tough call again since I now need to avoid not only hot but also beans. Something tells me I will be making a lot of mushroom dishes on coming weekends.

This time I decided to make a soup with mushrooms that was my version of goulash turned into soup. I used the flavors traditional to German food to make it as reminiscent of the original as possible.

Flavors of Germany:

caraway seeds
juniper berries
poppy seeds

Utilizing some of the flavors above I created the following soup:

Mushroom “Goulash” Soup
Serves 6


4 cups dried mushrooms (I used the mixed mushrooms from Costco that are mostly crimini since they changed brands)
10 cups water
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped (about 3 cups)
8 carrots, cut into bite-sized chunks
¼ cup hulled barley (if you add much more it will take over the soup)
3 tablespoons tomato paste (for depth of flavor)
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 ½ tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
2 tablespoons vinegar (I used apple cider)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup raw cashews
¼ cup oatmeal (dry)


Rehydrate the mushrooms and roughly chop them. Strain the soaking liquid to remove any grit.

Combine all the ingredients (except the oatmeal and cashews) and simmer for 45 minutes. If you are using a high speed blender combine the raw cashews and oats with about 2 cups of the soup liquid in your blender and process until smooth. If not using a high speed blender process the oatmeal in the blender by itself until it becomes oat flour then remove it to a bowl. Soak the cashews for a few hours to soften them then process them until smooth. Add the oat flour to the blender and some of the soup liquid and process until smooth; it may take a few minutes for this to happen. Add this mixture to the soup to make it thick and rich. Simmer to blend the flavors and adjust the seasonings as you feel necessary.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 227.87
Calories From Fat (18%) - 40.79

Total Fat - 4.9g
Saturated Fat - 0.82g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 251.26mg
Potassium - 958.23mg
Total Carbohydrates - 45.21g
Fiber - 9.65g
Sugar - 7.38g
Protein - 7.29g


This soup worked out well and isn’t like my usual dishes. I should probably make more German and Austrian food given that my husband is of German ancestry. ;-) I liked the way the cashews and oat flour make this soup thick and rich without a lot of fat.

To accompany the soup I made a simple salad of mesclun greens, strawberries, apple, blueberries and black berries. I dressed the salad with a little lemon juice, lemon zest, and white miso. I finished the salad with a few sliced almonds

For a snack later that day we had a few prunes, Turkish apricots, Brazil nuts and walnuts.

We were up so late the prior evening that we ended up going to bed early and skipping dinner. This is what happens when people “our age” stay out until after 2:30 in the morning.


This time we remembered the farmers market and were early enough to help Rudy (one of the organic farmers) unload his truck.  Only week two and we are already but to our old routine.  LOL, it is nice to know there is some consistency in the universe.

Today we came home with: 6 basil plants, 2 lemon balm plants, 2 quarts beets, 1 bunch leeks, baby collards and 2 quarts of hot house grown organic tomatoes.

Since we had fresh beets today breakfast was a fresh juice of: beet, apple, collards, cucumber, ginger and lemon. I loved the way this tasted as did Dan. It was nice to have a little fresh local produce to serve as the base for our juice.

Dan needed more calories so he also had a bowl of oatmeal with wild blueberries and walnuts

We skipped lunch and ran errands. I had library books to take back and books on hold to pick up. I picked up a copy of “Veganist”, another belly dancing DVD and a few other books since you know I never get tired of reading. We did have some trail mix of nuts and dried fruit to snack on while we were out.

On a related note we decided to switch cars today since I rarely drive to make sure neither vehicle sits for too long. When we moved the cars around to keep one in front of the house we noticed that some little “darling” had stolen the tags off the back of the car we had taken to market this morning. I am mentioning this to tell the process since I had no idea what it was. You need to call the police and file a report then pick up replacement tags at Motor Vehicles. Before you ask, yes they charge you for new tags but in Maryland it isn’t the full amount. While this was mildly annoying at least we have two vehicles and one of them could sit today. It does make me angry to realize that someone is probably driving around without insurance with the tag stole off the back of our car. The tags are now on our cars with locking bolts that you can buy at the auto parts store. Isn’t it a shame that is necessary? *shakes head*

Dinner tonight was on the patio at our usual place. Ian was off but the kitchen made us what we refer to as “the vegan prix fixe”.

Stephanie (aka Steph) made us a tea blend with hibiscus which was very nice.

Our appetizer was salad of beets, oranges, red onions, avocado and pistaschios.

The soup course was gazpacho which has just enough heat to make it interesting but not too much to scare away the other customers.

Our entrée was Szechuan tofu which is always a favorite.

Dan was still hungry so we pizza topped with snow peas, shitakes, potatoes and lemon. The veggies were being served under a whole Branzino this evening but they sounded delicious so we had to put on a whole wheat pizza crust. That trick just never gets old, and besides Dan loves whole wheat pizza so he orders it whenever he goes out.

Stephanie and I were discussing drink possibilities for the new liquor Hum. That is the one I told you about on Thursday with hibiscus, cardamom, ginger and kaffir lime. I told her I would bring her a book to help with flavor combinations. We talked for a while and thought it would be good with Tuaca (Tuscan yumminess), tequila, coffee vodka, and various citrus. I suggested a particular book to Steph for more ideas. Now I just need to remember to take it to her. I swear sometimes I would forget my head if it weren’t attached. That is what happens when I try to do too much.

Jonathan and I were discussing his anniversary so I am going to help him out a little with that. I can’t say anything else since it is a surprise. I will fill you in once the event has passed.

Happy thoughts:

• I am thankful that we had such a good weekend. It was great to spend time with Jackie and Walid and to hang out at the restaurant on Sunday. Now if only we could learn to get to bed sooner …. but that isn’t likely to happen. In the end dragging around all day on Saturday was worth it since we had such a good time on Friday.

• I picked up some really good books at the library. I am always amazed when I can get the latest vegan books so quickly from the library. I joke that it is because there are no other vegans in Maryland which I know is untrue but it feels like it sometimes. However it works our really well for us. ;-)

• Chatting to the guys at the restaurant it seems as though the vegan items are selling really well lately which I was thrilled to hear. While I would love everyone to be vegan I also recognize that it isn’t likely to happen. However every dish someone orders that doesn’t contain unhealthy meat and dairy items is a step in the right direction I think. I believe that most people aren’t going to go vegan in one big leap like we did. By making small dietary changes they may come to realize that food without animal products can be delicious.

• As always I had a great time with sweetie this weekend. We can have fun doing yard work or running errands so it isn’t too surprising that we had a good weekend.

• I am also thankful that we have two cars and could let the one sit on Monday that had its tag stolen. I am also happy to now have our tags secured with locking bolts. Good thing my husband knows about such things I had never heard of them.

• Monday night Ian was back in town and the weather was glorious. We took the opportunity to hang out on the patio and have dinner. It was delicious and very creative. I will tell you all about that tomorrow. Here are two hints; the corn fungus and tempeh were both used for dinner though not in the same dish. Since we both love trying new things we enjoyed dinner immensely. Neither Dan nor I are timid eaters. The things we ate as omnivores would make most people cringe. ;-)

Signing out:

Tomorrow is another long day for me, and Wednesday will be hectic until lunch time and then life returns to normal around here. I am looking forward to a relaxing end to the week. I hope your Monday was great and that you have fun things planned for this week. Talk to again tomorrow when I give you the update on what Ian came up with for dinner on Monday. Enjoy what is left of your evening.


  1. So glad you're having some nice patio weather. Loving those veggies on the pizza too. Hope you have a great Tuesday!

  2. Good Morning Heather,

    Yesterday was great patio weather but today is all rain all the time. *ugh* Oh well, we enjoyed the nice weather while it was here.

    Dan really enjoyed that pizza, since his mean wife doesn't give him pizza at home. ;-)

    I hope you have a great Tuesday also. Mine is going to be busy but things will get back to normal here by Wednesday afternoon. *Woo hoo*


  3. Your soup looks great, but I'm wondering if the barley was pre-cooked?

    I finally tried making soup in my Vitamix without cooking it first and OMG it was bad, although I forced down a bowl and my dear husband ate the rest. I'll go back to simmering my veggies, especially onion and garlic, before blending!

  4. Your food always makes me so hungry. I am about to go eat now :)

    PS: Can you please come to my page and vote for me on PETA??? THANK YOU!!!!

  5. Laura,

    No I cooked the barley in the soup. You simmer it until the barley is tender. I don't usually time my soup but instead let it simmer on low for an hour or so depending on how much time I have.

    When you are adding raw onion and garlic to soup in the Vitamix it is really important to "cook" them by running the machine long enough to make that happen. How long will depend on how "pungent" your aromatics are. The other alternative is to add much less raw onions and garlic even though they are extremely healthy. Does that make sense?

    I hope all is going well,

  6. Carissa,

    Thank you ... you are too sweet.

    Oh Carissa I am so sorry Paige emailed me earlier today and asked me to vote for her and mention her on my blog and I said yes and already voted. I am sorry that I can't vote for you both. :-(


  7. Hi Ali, I made your goulash soup tonight and we loved it. Used sun-dried tomatoes instead of tomato paste (they were packed in oil and I should have rinsed them first, but got lazy) and included some veggie broth with the water. I couldn't find hulled barley the other day so I bought pearled and it worked fine. The oat/cashew "cream" was brilliant. Topped the soup with asparagus, yum. Thanks for the great recipe!

    I know what you mean about blending raw soups longer in the Vitamix, as I tasted it every few minutes and it did improve over time. I think the garlic I used was especially harsh and in the future I'll probably pre-cook the garlic/onions a little (roasting would be good).


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