RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #4- Curried Sweet Potato Soup

Curried Sweet Potato Soup- RAVE Diet book

Friday I made “Curried Sweet Potato Soup”.  This recipe was simple to make, but very   delicious and got the highest ratings so far: a 7 from my husband and an 8 from me! My husband said it was  his favorite of the recipes I’ve made from the RAVE book.  It was also the first recipe in which I really didn’t miss the salt at all.  It tasted sweet but savory at  the same time- totally delicious!  We had some of the leftovers last night and it was good the  second   time around as well. Here’s the recipe:

Curried Sweet Potato Soup

serves 6

  • 5 cups cubed, peeled sweet potato
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • minced cilantro (optional)

Heat broth in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and curry powder and saute for 2 minutes.  Add water, broth, and sweet potatoes.  Cook for 30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender.  Place one-third of the sweet potato mixture in a blender and process until smooth.  Repeat the procedure with the remaining sweet potato mixture in batches.  Return the pureed mixture to the saucepan.  Bring the soup to a boil and remove from heat.  Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Note: I did not blend the soup, but merely mashed it with a potato masher.  I suppose I did this because I was lazy.  Also, my blender was being washed.  Also, I don’t mind having my soup a little texturized and it did still taste delicious!

How To Turn Down Foods You’d Rather Not Eat

Yesterday my coworker brought some dessert thing made out of cereal covered in peanut butter, chocolate, and powdered sugar.  It looked yummy and the coworker raved about how delicious it tasted (and how I should really try some), but I knew it in no way fit with my current eating choices.  Today a plate of beautiful brownies appeared in the kitchen, born on the triumphant hands of another co-worker, who encouraged us to dig in.  What do you do when in this kind of dilemma?  I vacillate between explaining the whole “I’m not eating processed foods right now” story and just eating a bit of what’s offered.  You don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, but you also don’t want  to compromise your standards unnecessarily.  Is there some of kind of rule you can use to decide what to do?  And if you do decide to turn down goodies, what’s the best way to do so?

If you decide to turn down proffered foods, make sure the person knows you are turning down their food, not them.  Maybe a few compliments would help (“Not right now…. That looks delicious, though!  You are such a great cook!”).  You could just explain that you’re trying a new way of eating (and feel great, by the way, thanks), or you could choose less sharing and say that you’re really full from lunch, that it looks delicious and you’ll maybe have some later….  The great news is that once people start to know you as someone who cares about healthy eating, you might not have so many awkward turn-down moments.

Alternatively, sometimes you may feel that your diet principles aren’t worth hurting someone’s feelings.  This doesn’t mean you’re a health failure.  Just make sure the following isn’t true of you: you are using this as an excuse to compromise your standards, you care about saving face or avoiding awkward situations more than you care about your health, or you are being too hard on yourself in the first place (some lifestyle changes can benefit from transition phases).

RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #3- Spinach Barley Cakes

Today I made Barley Cakes- Spinach.  They were pretty tasty, though I’m still struggling to get used to the salt-less cooking.  I added some salt after the fact, but it’s really not the same.  I tried cooking these in a skillet like the recipe says, but they stuck and fell apart.  I then tried baking them.  It took a long time, but they did seem to stick together better.  Anyway, my husband gave Spinach Barley Cakes a 6 and I gave it a 7.  After eating the leftovers today, I almost feel as if I’d like to lower my score, but I’ll stick to my original impression.

Spinach Barley Cakes

What Exactly is a Vegetarian? Vegan? Omnivore?

There are many different ways a person can be classified based on the types of foods they choose to eat.  It can get a little confusing, especially if you’re new on the scene.  The great thing is that there is a name for just about every type of diet choice, as new words are being coined with relative freedom.  While researching this topic, I found some that were even new to me.

I have a degree in biology.  I mention this because I’m thinking of one of my favorite parts of science classes where identifying the scientific name of a plant or animal is required-  using a dichotomous key.  It’s so much fun.  I made you a key for deciding which category you belong in so you can share in the fun. 🙂  Just answer the questions and follow the directions.  If you already know where you fit in, click here for eating style definitions.

  1. Do you choose to eat animal products?
    • If yes, go to #2
    • If no, go to #5
  2. Do you choose to eat red meat?
  3. Do you choose to eat either fish or chicken?
    • If yes, go to #4
    • If no, go to #5
  4. Do you choose to eat just fish, just chicken, or both?
  5. Do you choose to eat either milk or eggs?
    • If yes, go to #6
    • If no, go to #7
  6. Do you choose to eat just milk, just eggs, or both?
  7. Do you choose to eat cooked food?
  8. Do you choose to eat processed foods?
  9. Do you choose to eat either milk or eggs?
  10. Do you choose to eat processed foods?
    • If yes, you are Your Own Kind  🙂
    • If no, you are a Macrobiotic

I’ve probably forgotten some.  If you belong to a group of eaters that isn’t recognized here, feel free to let me know and I’ll correct my key!

RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #2- Baby Poop Smoothie

I went shopping today for all the recipes I plan to make this week.  It definitely takes a little longer when you have to get certain stuff, especially when some of that certain stuff you’ve never actually bought before- like arugula.   Along the way I found some rhambutan, a cool spiky fruit I ate a lot the summer I went to the Philippines.  I bought a couple for my husband to try.

Rhambutan, inside and out

Tonight I made Smoothie #1.  Basically it has spinach, banana, carob powder, ground flaxseed, and mint leaves in it.  I had to substitute a baby salad mix for the baby spinach, simply because all the spinach in the store looked really really bad, like on the verge of being rotten.  I suppose we might not have noticed since we were just going to blend it, but I still didn’t get it.

My husband rated Smoothie #1 a 4 and I rated it a 6. I suppose that it might taste just a tad different if there had been more spinach and less of the other greens (you know how sometimes those salad mixes have some bitterish greens), but I thought it was pretty good.  We renamed it Baby Poop Smoothie because with the carob and greens mix it ends up being a nice greenish brown color 😛

Baby Poop Smoothie

Whenever we come across a recipe that gets a 8 rating or higher, I’ll post the whole recipe on here.  If anyone wants another recipe, I’ll be happy to e-mail it to you!

This next paragraph is sorta embarrassing, but I’ve decided to be as honest as possible here about my whole foods journey.  Hopefully seeing me fail and keep trying will serve as encouragement to at least someone.

Tonight I began cooking up some sauerkraut mushroom pierogies from the European foods store that we’ve had in the freezer for awhile.  There isn’t anything really objectionable in them, except that they’re made with white flour of course, but as I was cooking them I began to realize more and more that this definitely isn’t a whole food (duh, right?) and I probably shouldn’t eat them.  Also, they fell apart in the pan.  I thought they weren’t done yet because they weren’t floating, but they were actually stuck to the bottom and then they just fell apart….  Anyway, I ate a few but was disappointed in both the taste and my own failure to stick to whole foods today (My husband, meanwhile, is eating them with A1 sauce and loving them).

I think I’ve realized that I’m going to have to crank out more than one recipe in a day since some of them are just, well, smoothies like today.  Either that or I’ll have to plan to supplement this menu with other dishes.

RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #1- Lentil Bulgur Pilaf

Lentil Bulgur Pilaf

So, today is day 1, but I’m not sure if I’m going to try any recipes today.  Mostly because I need to go shopping for ingredients first.   For breakfast I ate the granola I made last night…. I did use some almond milk, which is technically processed.  I haven’t decided yet if that’s going to be ok.  I could make my own, I suppose.  I think the RAVE book suggests using fruit juice or applesauce or something….

Lunchtime was at someone’s house and all I’m going to say is that I can’t be held responsible for what I ate there. 😛  No, really it was all allowed, I believe, except for the oil.  The RAVE book doesn’t use oils of any kind, either, and I haven’t yet decided how closely I’m going to adhere to that.  My husband is head over heels in love with olive oil.  I swear he’d do anything for that stuff, but I think we could both benefit from cutting most of that out of our diet as well.  I really just feel like I want to be as strict as possible so I’ll really know for sure how my diet is affecting me.  Going halfway isn’t my goal here.

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So I looked through the recipes and found one that I did have ingredients for: Lentil-Bulgur Pilaf.  It’s a simple recipe and, like all the recipes in the book, doesn’t call for any salt.  The rule is that I’m not going to make the recipes with salt, but if we need to add some after it’s on our plates, that’s fine.  Hopefully that will help us cut down and eventually even cut out?  I want to see if the flavors really do come out when salt is eliminated.

How was the dish?  It was good.  Not earth-shattering, but good.  If I made it again, I might add more cumin.  We love cumin.  🙂  I’m going to post a picture of each recipe I make.  We’re also going to rate each dish according to taste.

Here’s the rating scale:

1-awful (blech, don’t ever want to eat it again)

3-acceptable (filled my tummy, but probably won’t ask for it again)

5-good (yes, I want it again)

7-very good (definitely want it again!)

10-excellent! (want to eat it all the time!)

My husband and I both rated Lentil-Bulgur Pilaf a 5