Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dinner Tonight: Soup and Salad

Today has not gone at all as I had planned. Don’t you just hate those days? First, technology was problematic. My friend emailed that her little one was sick but I didn’t get the email. So late this afternoon when I sent her an email saying I guess life got hectic I found out that I had not gotten her earlier email. We are going to try to get together next week for healthy cooking instead.

Next I decided that I wanted to make raw falafel with zucchini instead of beans for dinner tonight. They look great, they smell great and ... they were still raw inside one hour before dinner. Well normally this wouldn’t be a big deal but the cupboards are bare, relatively speaking. Thankfully Dan Jr. called his father and wanted to stop at Costco this evening so Dan Sr. is picking provisions on his way home. He is such a good hubby.

What do I do in times like this? Easy, I make a quick soup and salad dinner. Thankfully those cannellini beans are waiting in the refrigerator to top a quick taco salad (no chips, unless Dan whines for some that is). To go with the salad I decided to make a mushroom and rice soup. Dried mushrooms to the rescue again. Here is what I did:

Cream of Mushroom and Rice Soup
Makes 4 servings


1 cup dried mushrooms
6 cups water
½ cup oatmeal, turned into flour
½ cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic
Dry mustard, to taste (I probably added ¼ teaspoon)
Paprika, to taste (I probably added ¼ teaspoon)
Thyme, to taste (I probably added 1 teaspoon)
No salt seasoning (I used about 1 teaspoon)
Salt or liquid aminos, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
½ pound fresh maitake mushrooms, torn into bite size pieces (any fresh mushroom would work)
1 cup of cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced


Combine the dried mushrooms and water and microwave until hot (about 3 minutes). Allow the mushrooms to steep for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile puree the oats into flour and add the walnuts and process quickly.

Strain the mushroom broth through a cheesecloth into the blender. Process the mixture until it is smooth. Pour the soup base into a pot and simmer until it is thick. Add the seasonings to your taste. The maitake mushrooms get added for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

To serve place a little brown rice in the bottom of the bowl, top with soup then finish with fresh minced parsley (if desired).

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 234.89
Calories From Fat (37%) - 87.59

Total Fat - 10.46g
Saturated Fat - 1.07g
Cholesterol-  0mg
Sodium - 14.85mg
Potassium - 421.89mg
Total Carbohydrates - 32.16g
Fiber  5.77g
Sugar - 1.86g
Protein - 6.65g


As my husband said, this is a “very mushroomy soup”. If you are a fan of shrooms you will like this. With the cold rain we started getting this evening this was nice to have. This soup would also be good with a few diced or sun-dried tomatoes. It would also be good with caramelized garlic or a little Worcestershire sauce.

To go with this soup we had very simple salad made with baby spinach, cannellini beans, cucumber, grape tomatoes and salsa. Just a simple salad to provide raw veggies and a little protein from the beans. This is another one of my easy meals that I rely on often during the week for lunch. Heather I were chatting today and she told that she would like to know what my simple meals (the ones I don’t post) because they may give her ideas to bounce off of. I will be posting those easy meals for a while to share what I do when I need something fast and I haven’t planned. I think you will be surprised how often that actually happens at our house. ;-)

Unrelated note:

This has been one of those days where nothing actually went as planned. Many years ago that would have thrown off my entire day. But now I just go with the flow and regroup. It is amazing how much more mellow I have become in my “old age”. I have been thinking a lot about age lately. Not a pleasant subject for me. I am not handling aging all that well. Hopefully I can make peace with 50 before it actually arrives. I still have a little over 2 years so if I start now I may be ready. Sigh ……

On that dark note I am going to sign off. I hope you all had a more scheduled and peaceful day than I did. Talk to you tomorrow.


  1. Alicia, I think you entire diner is superb!! I adore soup and salad for dinner but Chris says he cannot get full on somthing so light, thank goodness he works nights!! I am sorry your day was problematic..My last two weeks feels like that!! lol
    I am going to make this soup, I have some dried mushrooms in the cabinet right now although I think they are shitake.....still it will be good!!! Great post! How is everything going?? Haven't heard from you in a while...(like three

  2. Brandi,

    Glad you like the soup. We tend to eat a bigger lunch and lighter dinner. I find I sleep better when we have a lighter dinner.

    talk to you soon,

  3. your day sounds like the majority of mine...i dont get a lot done.:) thank you for writing about something as touchy as age can be. i get in little moods about it, you know it will go away. and our husbands are always going to be older than us:) them both being semi cradle robbers:)

  4. Michelle,

    Getting older is no fun for any of us. However knowing 50 is coming (not that far away) seems to be the hardest so far. In my 40's I can still "pretend" I am not "that old". However 50 ends that illusion. Bummer.....

    Days like yesterday remind me that I need to go with the flow and not get stressed out. My type A tendencies like things to all go perfectly. Life rarely works that way. But wouldn't it be nice if it did? ;-)


  5. That soup looks superb, I really love a good mushroom soup. I love how you used the oats and walnuts in the broth. I can't wait to try this!
    Sorry your day didn't go as planned, I can relate. Too many people in my house, so things rarely go as planned ;)
    I had almost that exact salad (except I had black beans in the fridge) for lunch this week. So yummy and fast!
    Hope today runs better for you.

  6. Oh wow Alicia. That soup looks soooo good. I adore mushrooms. This may be something I make for my mom and sister too. YUM. And that salad couldn't be any fresher.

    I look forward to seeing your "boring" dishes too. I seriously doubt (and I'm sure everyone will agree) that they'll be dull in any way at all!!!

  7. Janet,

    Thanks! I use oat flour and nuts often in soup. If you want something more neutral use raw cashews in place of the walnuts. I love the flavor combination of walnut and mushroom which is why I made that change here.

    Like you I make salads like this all the time. It is one of the reasons I keep cooked beans in the refrigerator all the time.

    Things do tend to go awry often, but not like yesterday where it was almost everything. I am one of those people that prefers order, not that I always get it. ;-)


    Glad to hear you like mushroom soup too. I really love anything with mushrooms in it. Do you have a favorite mushroom?

    The salad is a variation of one I make very often. It is my go to salad.

    talk to you later,

  8. I love -love mushrooms, too. They are so satisfying. this soup sounds wonderful and I can't wait to make it!
    Yes, getting older. It is the way of things. What can we do? I just don't want to be fat AND old :)

  9. I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to mushrooms. I love portobellos for grilling. I love shiitakes as well b/c you can use them in several different types of cuisines easily. I picked up oyster mushrooms the other day and tossed those into my stir fry. I enjoy the various textures that mushrooms have.

  10. Megan,

    LOL, thanks I needed that! As my friend likes to say, "old is better than the alternative" (which would be dead). I suppose getting old happens, it is how we deal with it that matters. ;-)

    There seem to be a lot of mushroom lovers. I had no idea they were so popular. I suppose Heather was right about posting things I don't typically share.

    Have a great day, and thanks again for making me smile!


  11. Heather,

    I agree with everything you said. But I also love the more exotic mushrooms (big surprise right?). Lobster mushrooms are great, so are fresh porcinis and morels. I think fresh porcinis are my absolute favorite probably because they are so darn hard to come by. That and they are Italian so you know I love that part. ;-)


  12. Mmmmm.... mushrooms! That soup looks more like a stew! Hearty, thick, and best of all... mushroomy! :-) I wish I had access to more varieties of mushrooms. I can only get button, crimini, portabello and dried shiitakes. Once in a great while I find fresh shiitakes. There are a lot of mushroom varieties I've never even tried, but I'm confident I'd love them! :-)

    Those gremlins have definitely been afoot lately! That sort of thing can easily throw us off our game, so good for you for keeping your equanimity!

    I guess you haven't heard - 50 is the new 30! :-) Those milestone birthdays can sure have the potential to freak us out, and 50 approaching fast seems so strange, because I feel like I'm still about 28 on the inside. I think that phenomenon is pretty universal, and probably inspired this quote...

    Inside every older person is a younger person
    wondering what the hell happened."
    ~Cora Harvey Armstrong


    Here's a nice one about aging my grandmother gave me when I was a teen. She had a lot of physical problems, but she sure knew how to keep a curious mind and a young and cheerful heart. And despite having had cancer in her 40s and scleroderma for decades, she lived to be 95!

    Age is a quality of mind.
    If you have left your dreams behind,
    If hope is cold;
    If you no longer look ahead
    If your ambitions' fires are dead -
    Then you are old.

    But if from life you take the best,
    And if in life you keep the jest,
    If love you hold;
    No matter how the years go by,
    No matter how the birthdays fly --
    You are not old!
    ~author unknown

    So no worries... you won't be old at 50! :-)
    Wishing you a happy day today! xo

  13. Lalo,

    You sure know how to cheer up a girl! I love the first quote, I couldn't stop laughing. And I still feel young on the inside too! ;-)

    I thought of you when I made this because I know how much you love mushrooms. This one was very thick with shrooms, just the way I like it. :-p

    If you need me to send you any exotic dried mushrooms let me know. I can get most varieties at Wegmans or Whole Foods. You should check Amazon, I bet they have a good selection too.

    talk to you later,

  14. Dan, Jr???!!!! Where did he come from????

  15. SV,

    LOL, I wanted to say something funny about the birds and bees but decided to behave myself. ;-) But you did make me giggle.

    Dan Jr. is my step-son. Dan has adult children from his first marriage. We only have feline babies from our marriage.


  16. I have the same situation 'cept with cats, pups and chicks. Seeing my hubbie's grand-daughter tomorrow. Yes, I'm a grandma!

  17. SV,

    A grand-ma, I am not ready for that one! Although given that the oldest is 29 in could happen. We would prefer him to be married first. ;-)


  18. This looks wonderful. I will definitely try it!

  19. Aimee,

    I adore mushrooms and could eat them everyday. This is a hearty soup for those cool evenings, assuming you get any of those in Hawaii. ;-)



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