Category Archives: Different & Unique Recipes

Unusual recipes or just some interesting ideas

Thanksgiving Left-Overs the Veggie Part

Cross section of celery stalk, showing vascula...

Cross section of celery stalk, showing vascular bundles, which include both phloem and xylem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Don’t forget to juice or blend yourself a healthy drink with any left-over veggies, fruits or herbs. Fresh produce is not a favorite for turkey day but they are the most important choice during every meal. Vegetables and fruit lose their flavor and important, unique anti-oxidants in 2-5 days if left to wither in the bottom bins (with the exception of apples which can do well for months in the fridge).

We are starting black Friday with a beet-blueberry-celery-spinach-dandelion green-apple smoothie…..maybe a banana or two as well. Your curiously cute  children will not turn down these delicious cool drinks especially if you add a little juice and/or a fancy curly straw served in a bright colored cup! Start your holidays off right with a nutritious adventure with your blender or juicer and those left-over goodies.  You will be ripe and ready to tackle all the seasons chaos ahead!

If your blender can crush ice it can also crush nuts so experiment if you want a creamier, heartier version. Cashews, pine nuts, and walnuts are excellent additions to a healthy breakfast or lunch smoothie in addition to strawberries, cranberries  and ripe bananas. Absolutely delicious and super filling!




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Refreshing Basil and Lime Health Shots

I made this unique drink last year as warm tea, and was an innovative way to keep  health top notch. Limes are readily available in Florida all year and they are really inexpensive usually 3 for 1.59 at Publix, or if you are at a farmer’s market shopping you can find 5 for $1.50. Awesome deal! Stock up!

This Lime booster really gave me a refreshing energy and was easy to make. Limes are a great source of Vitamin C amongst other wonderful properties. Good for digestion, respiratory problems and many more I haven’t the time to touch on. See link for more facts and info.

 Vanessa’s Basil Good Lime Shots 

1.Use a generous TBSP of dried Basil from your spice cabinet or fresh if you have on hand and pinch between your fingers to realize the flavor and scent vigorously.

2. Add to small glass or jar and pour boiling water or microwave for 1 minute in 1/2 cup of water. Let steep. This will give you a pale green basil tea. Healthy enough to drink on it’s own. For more palatability grab a citrus slice like, lemon or my favorite with basil, lime.

3. Cut open and squeeze 3 fresh limes into the small glass, jar or cup, use less if you’re not going to drink it all right away.

4. Add just a tsp of sugar or honey pinch of stevia or skip this step altogether for a real zesty zing.

5. Mix lightly. Strain the mixture into glass and drink like a shot, if you’d like don’t strain it and enjoy the full potency of the herbs effects. This is a great drink to enjoy the  lasting health benefits of this wonderful green plant with it’s citrus punch.

Basil has so many unknown health benefits that aren’t widely appreciated in my opinion. If you are on a tight budget, don’t skimp on the typical kitchen herbs. They are such good relievers of so many ailments. Basil like oregano, marjoram are reportedly anti-fungal, anti-biotic and terrific for  skin conditions, fatigue, and general malaise. Experimenting with kitchen herbs is fun, healthy, and gives all your foods and beverages a different flavor appeal. Enjoy!

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Mamey Banana Shakes

Mamey Sapote 'Pantin' 011

Mamey Sapote ‘Pantin’ 011 (Photo credit: I likE plants!)

Okay, So most people in the country won’t be able to make this but, my Florida neighbors can grasp this new recipe if they go to the frozen section of Winn Dixie and look for Goya’s frozen fruit section. I finally found Mamey, heard about it, but never saw it until a week ago. It cost $1.99 and was next to the Passion Fruit and Mango packages. It looks like a giant tan colored peach, and had the consistency of bread fruit, heavy, and deep orange flesh.

A lot of recipes seemed to imply that it wasn’t sweet, but this batch was delightful.

Shake Recipe

Milk Whole, or 2% or Soy Milk: 1 cup

Water: 1/2 cup plus few ice cubes

Banana: 1 frozen or 1 fresh sliced in large rounds

Peaches: 1/2 cup frozen or fresh or canned if other’s aren’t available

Mamey: I used 1/2 the package which was about 1 cup of fruit

Put all together in blender, this served 3 adults and 1 child sized cup

The result was a creamy, frothy, sweet but more refreshing and definitely filling.

Anyone else that’s been lucky enough to play around with this fruit please comment below and share your ideas!

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My sister’s risotto

My little sister Nicky decided to make me a dinner when I was largely pregnant and eating everything….it was Lemon Risotto. Hints of lemon peel, tartness and the chewy and soft texture made this a unique and strangely attractive dish. Until she emails the final recipe conversions here is a lovely picture of mon favorite’ soeur. 

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The Soup Savior

Five years ago, I would’ve never “allowed” myself to eat or buy anything processed. That included any canned, or packaged food from Macaroni and “cheese” to canned fruit. I know if I have to purchase something in those aisles times are tough. My spouse re-introduced me to Ramen a distant food I rarely consumed in college but saw plenty of in each resident hall. He didn’t have quite the luxurious life I had growing up so as we headed down the economic decline in went the packages of Ramen into our cart as well as an open mind.

What surprised me most about his recipe was not just how easy it was, but how healthy he made this seemingly horrible food item. While on $200.00 a month for food for two grown adults we had to become very, very creative and very, very cheap. Things we bought in bulk that really lasted were good looking yellow onions, 5-10 lbs bag of potatoes and finding a great deal on fresh herbs helped dramatically.

Here’s one idea that literally saved us from starvation:

2 pkgs of Ramen noodle (we liked the chicken flavor)

1-2 small potatoes chopped

1 Rutabaga (if large only use 2-3 thick slices and chop or cut triangularly) if less than 1/2 lb use the whole thing

1 carrot sliced/diced or grated

2-4 mushrooms diced

Cilantro Handful added right before serving

Spinach also works nicely when added towards the end of cooking. Makes the soup look healthy, and fresh with it’s bright greenery and adds all those B vitamins as does Cilantro.

2 chive stalks diced and added right before serving

Most people would look at this as a cheap soup idea. With my nutrition background I just love how healthy this soup really is. Google all the health benefits of Cilantro, add some chopped Garlic and you’ll have the common cold at bay for most of the year. I never thought of adding Cilantro to Ramen so please try, what a great flavor (I am not big on cilantro at all). Chopped Parsley just doesn’t do the trick, and too much basil or oregano seems to negate whatever the Ramen’s trying to create so just a little with other spices.

This brings me to my infamous “Sick Soup.”

Similar but not as gross as my childhood friends mother who would make “Cream of Everything Soup.” I made my “Sick Soup” before economic decline with all organic roots and vegetables like Burdock, Miso, Tofu, Seaweed, and Daikon Radish, now my Sick Soup is anything left in my produce drawer, freezer, or lower pantry shelves where we may luck out and find one or two onions, and a few potatoes left in the bulk bag. Luckily, for those that are adventurous this soup ALWAYS varies. That’s the whole idea, if there’s a respiratory bug going around be more generous with the herbs such as Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, and Marjoram.

Here’s what you will need as a base at all times….


1 package of Ramen (if you screw it up, they only cost 22 cents)

1/2 pack of Ramen seasoning (use more if your family has salt addicts)

1 medium or large onion

3 cloves of garlic

Start large pot filled with water, heat to a boil add seasoning and Ramen Noodle. Reduce heat to medium or medium low to  maintain low boil . Chop or dice all onion and garlic and sautee in a bit of veg oil for about 7 minutes under medium heat. II usually start the chopping while the water’s heating and add everything at about the same time. Add to a large pot where you have left plenty of room for whatever else is in your freezer, or fridge.

Van’s March SICK SOUP 

1 small turnip (hey root vegetables are healthy and cheap)

2 long carrots julienned

1 small purple potato

3 thick tomato slices cut in half

6-8 generous sprigs of parsley diced and added towards end of cook time

Marjoram generous pinch

Oregano generous dash

Cayenne pepper powder, the more the house has the sniffles or “coming down” with something the more I add

1-2 extra cloves of garlic added during cooking (this will add nice punch and great additional health benefits)

Boil all ingredients for about 8 minutes with the lid on at low to medium heat. Keep in mind that if you are cooking for health don’t over cook all the vegetables just until tender or preferred texture.

I always fill the largest pot I can find and if needed add some extra salt and be generous with the black pepper. The idea is to use the least amount of Ramen flavor and the most of your own ingredients be it fresh or frozen.


Keep in mind that any root vegetable has a much more bland taste after cooking so experiment with small slices of rutabagas, turnips, daikon radish, black radish, sweet potatoes. They add a great punch of nutrients with little alteration to the soup base. What I like about rutabagas is that they keep very well in the fridge crisper drawers and if you only use a few thick slices it will keep nicely for 2-3 more weeks in the fridge even after cutting as long as it’s dry.

With sick soup it’s easy for the whole dish to taste like a garlicky salt sea with hints of the powerful herbs you’ve chosen to add. I have literally been able to fight off numerous colds with this recipe.

If you can’t seem to balance the flavors add the remaining Ramen flavoring. I find it helps set a direction to the soup’s flavor but shouldn’t be the only thing you taste.

If you don’t have some of those items on hand, a small onion, carrot, and garlic clove (or powder) will do just fine.

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