About travelnole

When I let my mind wander, it may settle on many different things, but the subjects of travel, gardening, creativity, parenting, and health are often visited. These are also the topics I love to share and to write about. I've lived all over the country, but my most recent home is in the suburbs of Detroit with my amazing husband, my adorable new son, and our fluffy cat. While I'm not dreaming of traveling to distant lands or finding the next great vegan dish, I am adjusting to life as a stay-at-home-mom.

RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #8- The “Aristotle Was Wrong” Smoothie

Sadly, the whole is not more than the sum of it’s parts…

Aristotle said that “The whole is more than the sum of it’s parts”.  If that were true in this case, our smoothie should have rated a ten.  With ingredients like grapefruit, lime, cucumber, cilantro, and pineapple, we expected it to excel but….  it didn’t.  Both my husband and I rated the Aristotle Was Wrong Smoothie an 8.  Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 pink grapefruit
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lime
  • 1 slice pinapple
  • 1 tsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • pinch of cinnamon

Directions: Put all ingredients in the blender and turn it on.  Please please please just juice the lime and don’t chuck the whole thing into the blender!  🙂

Don’t let the name of this delicious drink throw you off too much- it’s quite delicious!  Not a ten in our opinion, but something we’d love to have again.

RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #7- “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Kiwi” Smoothie

Tastes Like Kiwi, but isn't!

Wednesday before last, I made Smoothie #10 from the RAVE book.  We really liked it and renamed it “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Kiwi” because it really did taste like it.

My husband rated this smoothie an 8 and I rated it a 7.  Thanks to his rating, I’m going to include the recipe:

  • 5 kale leaves
  • 3 apples (I used Granny Smiths because we like it tart!)
  • 1 tsp ground flaxseed
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cups water

The directions are simple here: just stuff it all into the blender and turn it on! As you can see in the picture, the kale in this smoothie gives it an astonishing green color.  Those are vitamins, baby!

Vegan Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Roasted Garlic

There’s a potluck at church tomorrow, so I made a soup to bring.  I got the recipe off of ChooseVeg.com.  I’ve gotten a couple of recipes from them lately and they’ve both been good, so I think I’ll be trying some more!  This recipe is vegan, though not necessarily whole foods.  My whole foods cookbook does use vegetable stock, though, so maybe that isn’t processed enough to count as a processed ingredient??  Vegetable don’t come out of the ground that way, though…  Anyway, it’s a very healthy recipe, and you could even eliminate the oil if you sauteed the garlic in a little vegetable stock instead.

Vegan Butternut Squash Soup

makes 4 servings

prep time: 20 minutes

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and slightly pressed
  • 2 green apples, peeled and chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • olive oil (or a couple Tablespoons vegetable stock)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • lemon (optional)

In a large pan, heat olive oil and saute the garlic cloves until golden.  Add apple and squash.  Add salt and pepper and stir.  Let cook for 3 minutes.

Add vegetable stock and simmer until squash is tender.

Blend in a blender in batches.

Serve with lemon if desired.

It’s that easy!  A super simple recipe (once you get done with all the chopping).  I did a little taste test and it’s quite delicious!

Vegan Strawberry Milkshake

Best vegan milkshake ever!

I made the BEST strawberry milkshake tonight!!!  My friend on Facebook was talking about dipping fries in her milkshake and I got the biggest craving :-/

Anyway, I didn’t measure very well, but here’s my recipe:

  • one cup of vanilla almond milk
  • a handful of frozen strawberries
  • a generous amount of agave syrup (maybe 2 or 3 Tablespoons?)

I put it all in the blender and blended until smooth.  This makes enough for one serving in a tall glass.  Double it if you want to share with someone 🙂

It was de-licious!  Very sweet, which made it taste very milkshake-like and totally satisfy my craving.  You could use less agave if you like.

Anyway, I don’t suppose this actually counts as a “whole food” recipe because the almond milk and agave syrup are processed, but it is vegan.

RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #6- Cornbread

On Monday evening I made Cornbread from The RAVE Diet and Lifestyle.  It was a pretty simple recipe.  I guess there were a few differences, though, from the cornbread I’ve made in the past.  It called for half cornmeal, half whole wheat pastry flour, for example.  It also used a few tablespoons of vegetable broth and a teaspoon and a half of vinegar.  I’m really not sure what the vinegar was for.  Anyway, it looked beautiful in the oven…

Cornbread- RAVE Diet & Lifestyle

It looked even better when it began to get that crispy cracked looked and it smelled heavenly!  I could barely wait to try it.  …When I took it out of the oven, however, I realized that the recipe hadn’t mentioned greasing the pan in any way (and I hadn’t) and the whole thing was hopelessly stuck to the bottom.  My husband and I tried some and it was pretty much not done yet in the middle.  The recipe said to bake it for 25 to 30 minutes and I had done 25.  The thing is, it was so dry and cracked on the outside that I could see the bottom on the pan from the top and thought leaving it in longer wouldn’t make it much better.  It tasted pretty good, but the structure was crap.

Cornbread- RAVE Diet

Ok, so truthfully the outcome might have been my fault because I made a couple of mistakes with this recipe.  First of all, I put it in before the oven was quite at the correct temperature.  This may be why it turned out so dry but still not done.  I know better than to do this, but I was in a hurry.  Also, I probably should have oiled the pan in some way.  Not sure how you do that with an oil-less recipe, but I’m sure there is a way (applesauce??).

Anyway, my husband really liked the way this Cornbread tasted and has been scraping it out to eat for breakfast (with milk over it, ugh!).  He gave it a score of 6 and I gave it a 5.  Perhaps I should try it again with the above changes and see how it goes.  I have so many other recipes to try, though!  I will have to be more careful in the future to give each recipe a fair chance and not submit it to my own errors, yikes!

RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #5- Polenta-Stuffed Peppers, Plus: How to Make Your Own Polenta

On Sunday I made Polenta-Stuffed Peppers.  This was a pretty tasty recipe.  I opted to make polenta instead of buying it.  In hindsight, I should have made the polenta ahead of time since it was to be measured in weight.  To do that, I would have needed to cook it, let it cool, and then weight it out, I guess.  Instead, I attempted to hastily make it and use it.  I hadn’t made polenta in awhile, and I did a sloppy job, so it ended up a lot thinner than it should have been, and lumpy.  This wasn’t all bad, but it probably contributed to the kind of yucky look my finished product took on….

Polenta-Stuffed Pepper

I really should focus on taking more appealing pictures of my recipes in the future.  I actually took this exact pepper to work, where I cut it open and let all the lumpy polenta spill out and ate it!  I got a few “What is that??” questions.  Anyway, my husband gave this recipe a 7 and I gave it a 6.  I might have rated it higher if I’d done a better job with the polenta.  I might actually attempt this one again because I looooove roasted peppers!

For those of you who would like to make your own polenta, here’s a good basic recipe to start from:

Basic Polenta

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water

Boil the 3 cups of water in a saucepan.  Whisk together the cornmeal, 1 cup water, and salt in a bowl and pour into the boiling water.  If you don’t mix the cornmeal with the water first, it will end up lumpy.  Lower the temperature to a simmer and cover, stirring every few minutes.  Cook for 15 minutes.

You can use the cornmeal as a breakfast cereal or side dish, or you can pour it into a cake or loaf pan and refrigerate it overnight.  The resulting thickened cornmeal (called polenta) can be sliced and fried, cut into shapes, or chopped up and used in recipes (like the pepper recipe I made).  Polenta is good as a savory dish or a sweet one.  I like to cut it into large slices, fry it, and eat it for breakfast with maple syrup on top.  🙂 You can add just about anything  to the polenta while cooking it (sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, herbs and spices, etc.) to give it different flavors.

Going Organic- The cost hits and benefits of buying vegan produce

As part of my lifestyle and diet change, I’m going to start buying organic produce whenever it is available.  I have bought it (very) sporadically in the past, and I’m not sure why I haven’t completely made the switch before now.  I really don’t have a good excuse except that the organic option always costs more.  But just how expensive is it to buy organic produce versus non?

I recently did a little comparative study.  I went to Kroger, thinking it might be a more widespread chain compared to others.  Indeed, looking at a map of the states with Kroger, it looks I was mostly right.  Anyway, I wrote down the organic and regular prices for five common vegetables.  Here’s the breakdown:

Organic Non-Organic
Green onion $.85 $.64
Radish $1.72 $1.29
Zucchini $2.17/lb (assume 1 pound) $1.99/lb (assume 1 pound)
Broccoli $2.00/4 small stems $2.28/3 medium stems
Red Leaf Lettuce $2.05 $1.99/lb (buying 1 pound)
Totals $8.79 $8.19

When all is said and done, you are saving only 7.3% by buying non-organic produce!

Granted, it is a little difficult to compare some of these foods.  For example, I am equating 4 small stems of broccoli with 3 medium stems.  However you look at it, though, the benefit outweighs the cost.  Organically grown foods must be free of most common pesticides and fertilizers, as well as antibiotics and growth hormones.  Fruits and vegetables can contain high levels of pesticides which we know are especially dangerous for young children and pregnant women and fetuses.  The deleterious effects of low levels of pesticides in the diets of the general public have not been conclusively proven or disproven.  I guess my official position is that if there is a question regarding the long-term health risks of something in my food, I’d rather ere on the safe side.  As my mom likes to say, you either spend it now on food or later on doctor’s bills.  I know where I’d rather put my money.

Besides the health concerns surrounding organic foods versus conventional ones, there are other issues to take into consideration.  Organic farming is better for the environment, safer for farmers and their families, and supports smaller farms.

There is some debate as to the benefits of buying organic with regards to foods with peels (such as bananas) that will be discarded before eating.  Here is a list of foods that typically contain the most pesticides and therefore should definitely be purchased organic whenever possible:

  1. nectarines
  2. celery
  3. pears
  4. peaches
  5. apples
  6. cherries
  7. strawberries
  8. grapes
  9. spinach
  10. potatoes
  11. bell peppers
  12. red raspberries

This next list of foods typically have the lowest levels of pesticides and may be more protected by their thicker skins:

  1. Asparagus
  2. Avocados
  3. Bananas
  4. Broccoli
  5. Cauliflower
  6. Corn
  7. Kiwi
  8. Mangoes
  9. Onions
  10. Papaya
  11. Pineapples
  12. Sweet Peas