RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #13- Mangorugula Smoothie

We renamed RAVE Smoothie #5 “Mangorugula” Smoothie in honor of it’s two main ingredients: mango and arugula.  This smoothie, unfortunately, was very bitter and earned only a 4 from me and a 3 from my husband.  I made this one late at night and forgot to snap a picture, but it was very very bright green, much like  the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Kiwi” Smoothie.  I would drink this smoothie again if I had to, but some of the other ones I’ve made were much tastier, even Baby Poop Smoothie 🙂

RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #12- Sweet Potato Fries

I couldn’t stop eating these deliciously sweet fries!  My husband and I both rated Sweet Potato Fries an 8.  This was actually the first sweet potato fry recipe I have tried in which the fries have actually turned out a little bit crispy, so that was exciting.  Here’s the recipe:

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, cut like fries (this is time intensive, but worth it)
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Toss cut vegetables, broth, & cinnamon in a bowl.  Transfer to baking sheet.  Bake in a 450 degree oven for about 50 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.  During the last 30 minutes of baking, toss occasionally.  At the end of baking, toss with maple syrup.

This recipe is GUARANTEED to smell delicious while cooking and taste the same!  It’s sweet enough to almost be a dessert without being overpoweringly so.  I can’t wait to have this again (not looking forward  to chopping the potatoes, though, haha!)

RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #11- Braised Collards or Kale

This recipe works for both kale and collard greens.  I chose to make kale this time.  Kale is supposed to be extremely good for a person- packed with vitamins and nutrients that can protect you against oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, and cancer.

My husband rated Braised Kale an 8 and I rated it a 7.  Here’s how to make it for yourself:

  • 1 bunch collard greens or kale (6-8 cups chopped)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp low-sodium Tamari (soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Wash greens, remove stems, then chop leaves into 1/2-inch wide strips (this helps ensure even cooking).  Combine broth, Tamari, vinegar, garlic, and water in a large pot or skillet.  Cook over high heat about 30 sec.  Reduce heat to medium-high, add chopped greens, and toss to mix.  Cover and cook, stirring often, until greens are tender, about 5 minutes (steaming kale actually increases its ability to perform functions such as lowering cholesterol).

This recipe was tasty and very easy!  We combined it with Sweet Potato Fries and the Aristotle Was Wrong Smoothie for a tasty and nutritious dinner.  🙂

Braised Kale, Sweet Potatoe Fries, and Aristotle Was Wrong Smoothie made a tasty meal!

RAVE Diet Whole Foods Recipe #10- Black Bean & Corn Salad

Black Bean & Corn Salad

Let me introduce you to what is probably my favorite RAVE dish yet!  This tasty salad was not only wonderful on it’s own, but when my husband mixed the leftovers with baby spinach and his own special dressing  the next day, it had a second life!  I rated Black Bean & Corn Salad a whopping 9 and my husband rated it an 8!

Here’s the recipe:

  • 3 cups dry black beans (you have to cook them first, of course)
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 T juice from 1 lime
  • 1 T vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp minced garlic

Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl.  Make dressing with lime juice, cilantro, garlic, pepper, and vegetable broth.  Combine well (I put all the ingredients in a small Tupperware container with a very tight seal and then shake the heck out of it!).  Pour over salad ingredients and toss lightly to combine.  Chill several hours before serving (I served it pretty much right away because I’m an impatient sort of eater, but it was really good the next day as well!)

RAVE Diet Recipe #9- Buckwheat Pasta

I made this very tasty dish for dinner.  Called “Pasta- Buckwheat Pasta” in the RAVE book, it was very simple and quick to make.  I rated Buckwheat Pasta a 7 and my husband gave it an 8, so here’s the recipe!

  • 12 oz whole wheat soba noodles (I found these in the Japanese section of my grocery store)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1-1/2 cups cold water
  • 4 T vegetable broth (I used Pacific Foods brand)
  • 2 T whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp low-sodium Tamari (soy sauce) (I used Bragg’s Liquid Aminos because I was out of soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Saute the onion and broth in a large skillet until onion is transparent, then add mushrooms.  Cover and continue cooking until mushrooms are brown.  Whisk flour and water together until smooth, then add to skillet along with the Tamari, garlic powder, and pepper.  Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat until thickened.  Bring water to boil in a large kettle.  Add the noodles and boil until al dente, about 8 minutes.

I used my ceramic frying pan with great success with this recipe.  The dish has enough moisture throughout the cooking process to keep anything from sticking as long as you stir it every once in awhile.  This was a great way to eat soba and was delicious even without any added oil or salt!  I’m not sure why I only gave it a 7.  Maybe because it’s not very colorful?  Presentation is so important, in my opinion.


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!

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