Cream of Potato & Fennel Soup w/Mushrooms

IMG_3374I wasn’t sure what to do with the giant fennel bulb that came in my CSA box yesterday, so I started with the soup recipe that came in the newsletter and modified it a bit. Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 onion
  • 2 medium thin-skinned potatoes
  • 2 ½ cups water or stock
  • ½ cup mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • ground black pepper

Chop-up the fennel bulb and onion and cook in a little water, until soft. Add cubed potatoes and rest of water. Simmer until potato is soft. Use a hand-blender (or other method) to cream the soup. In a separate skillet, sauté the mushrooms in oil or use the mushrooms raw if you prefer. Pour soup into bowls, add mushrooms and a feathery fennel garnish to each. Serves 4.

The soup tastes similar to potato/leak but with a hint of anise from the fennel.


IMG_3344 (3)Washing the vegetables I received in my CSA today: baby carrots w/tops, Asian salad turnips, collard greens, fennel w/tops, lettuce, eggplant, cucumber, bell pepper, cubanelle pepper (sweet), cayenne pepper (hot) and dandelion greens. If you’re not familiar with CSA, it means Community Supported Agriculture. You subscribe to receive a share of the harvest of a local farm or various local farms during the growing season, which in South Florida is approximately 5 months. The food is delivered fresh, in season. Thanks to Bee Heaven Farm for a great box today that contained produce from Paradise Farms, Worden Farm and C&B Farms.

Artichoke & Avocado Salad

IMG_2803 (2)The Day 2 Dinner recipe I made from The22DayRevolution is Artichoke, Tomato and Avocado Salad. The ingredients listed in the book are:

  • 1 box grape tomatoes
  • Haas avocado
  • 1 BPA-free can artichoke hearts
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp Kalamata olives
  • Dash paprika

I used chopped-up plum tomatoes because that is what I had at the time I made the salad. Instead of the olives I used olive oil and mixed it with lemon from my tree. If you have fresh artichokes, use them rather than the canned ones. Lastly, I garnished the dish with fresh basil from my herb garden. This was an easy, basic recipe that makes 2-3 servings. Thumb up on this one!

Beans over Sweet Potato

IMG_2811 (2)The Day 2 Lunch recipe I made from The 22-Day Revolution is called Spanish Beans over Sweet Potato. The ingredients are:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 cup black beans
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • dash salt & ground black pepper

I used oregano from my herb garden and garnished with tomato and avocado. There are no fancy foods here, just basic stuff. I loved this meal; it was easy to make and very satisfying. The recipe makes 2-3 servings.

Lean Green Juice

IMG_2733 (2)The Day 2 Breakfast recipe I made from The 22-Day Revolution is Lean Green Juice. The ingredients listed in the book are:

  • 4 stalks of kale
  • 1 handful of spinach
  • 2 Granny Smith apples (cored)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1 frozen banana

I used fresh lemon from the little Meyer Lemon Tree my aunt gave me. It’s a “miniature” plant that I have growing in a container on my patio, but the fruit is regular size. The first time I made this juice I prepared it exactly as described. It was very tasty. The second time I whipped it up, I substituted Star Fruit for the apple just because I have a ton of Carambola in my yard. Also very tasty. Thumb up on this recipe, which can be a healthy meal-replacer if you’re trying to lose weight.

Miami Art Week

IMG_3253 (3)
“Camellia Flower 1”

I love the first week of December in Miami. The weather is cool and a multitude of artists, art dealers, collectors and art enthusiasts from all over the world converge here for modern and contemporary art. The most well-known art show is Art Basel/Miami Beach. This show alone features 267 galleries exhibiting the work of approximately 4000 artists. There are numerous other art fairs scattered throughout the city—more than 20– in addition to Art Basel. Tonight I attended the opening of Scope, which is housed in a temporary pavilion, on the sands of Miami Beach, off historic Ocean Drive. Scope has 120 international exhibitors from 22 countries. A couple of my favorite pieces were the bright Camellia Flower 1 & 2, by Joung Joa Kim. When I got up close I could see that the yellow pollen of the flowers contained tiny mother-of-pearl birds, stars and flowers. Below are a few other favorites.

Big Magic

IMG_3162 (2)“Curiosity is the truth and the way of creative living.” – E. Gilbert

I saw Elizabeth Gilbert when she came to Miami, a few weeks ago, to promote her new book, Big Magic. I had read a couple of her other books: Eat, Pray, Love and Committed both of which I enjoyed.  I just finished Big Magic and loved it! This book is about the creative process, how you get ideas, living a creative life and inspiration. In a nutshell, Gilbert’s point of view is that EVERYONE is creative. What we humans do is create. We make things. Some of us nurture this aspect of ourselves, while others don’t. I also appreciate Gilbert’s thoughts on IDEAS. If you have an idea you’re exploring—whether for a story, song, painting or other invention—and you don’t work on it, it will go to someone else who will. The IDEA is a life-force itself.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is creative, wants to be creative, seeks inspiration, struggles with their craft, or is just plain curious.

Since I’ve been blogging primarily about plants and people– especially in relation to edible plants and tropical fruits, I thought I’d pay homage to Gilbert’s book by dressing “her” up as The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat. (Bonus points for anyone who knows who I’m talking about)!


IMG_2753 (2)I love Mexican food. I have eaten countless tacos, burritos, enchiladas, pinto beans, salsas, etc.  Wherever I have lived, I’ve always managed to find at least one good place that serves yummy Mexican food. I’ve made it myself. And, of course, I have eaten delicious Mexican food… in Mexico.  So when I saw that the Day 1 Dinner recipe in The 22-Day Revolution was a recipe for tacos, I got excited. And then I read through the ingredients and discovered that the “shells” are lettuce leaves. What?! I figured the tacos wouldn’t have any meat and I didn’t have a problem with that… but lettuce shells?! The thing is that when I hear the word “taco”, my mouth begins to salivate for something warm, wrapped in a corn shell. Lettuce is a let-down for something called a taco. Something wrapped in lettuce is a “lettuce wrap.” I like “lettuce wraps”—just don’t call them tacos, please.

Here are the ingredients for the Raw Walnut Tacos in the book, which I prefer to call Raw Walnut LETTUCE WRAPS:

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • Dash paprika, garlic powder, ground black pepper

Garnish Ingredients

  • 2 Haas avocados
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes
  • ½ tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 lime
  • Pinch salt & ground black pepper

I used fresh garlic and fresh parsley from my garden. I didn’t use the “coconut aminos” because I didn’t know what that was and didn’t have any. The recipe was enough for 6 lettuce wraps. They were flavor-full and refreshing. I did like them. But I won’t call them T_ _ _ _!


© 2015 Beatriz Portela and Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

What is Quinoa?

IMG_2744 (2)The Day 1 Lunch recipe I made from The 22-Day Revolution is Quinoa Salad with Lentils. The ingredients are:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 large carrot
  • spinach
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Dash ground pepper

I didn’t actually know what Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) was before reading the book and doing a little research, though I had eaten it previously. Quinoa is the edible seeds of an ancient grain that originated in the Andean region of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Columbia. It is high in protein—containing more protein per calorie than brown rice, potatoes, barley and millet. It has a low gluten content and is said to be well tolerated by people with celiac disease. The seeds are generally cooked like rice, and used in a wide variety of dishes.

I purchased both White Quinoa, grown in Bolivia, and a Tri-Color Blend, grown in the U.S. and containing white, brown, red and black seeds. I used the Tri-Color Blend in this salad. The recipe is enough for four and was very tasty.


© 2015 Beatriz Portela and Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

Porridge and Paris

IMG_2768 (2)The first recipe I made from The 22-Day Revolution was the Day 1 breakfast: Oatmeal with Banana and Blueberries. Porridge — as I fondly call it — is one of my “go to” breakfasts, which gives me energy until lunchtime. I always blend in some chopped-up fruit to sweeten it a bit. The easy recipe in the book contains:

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ½ cup quick oats
  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup blueberries.

I made it with quick rolled oats (1-minute) and used only half a banana, which was plenty. A thumb-up on this recipe. Porridge power! And power to Paris…

My friends and all people in Paris, you have been on my mind constantly. You are in my heart. I dedicate my food preparation to you, my morning yoga, my picking up the leaves in the backyard, the sound of the wind chimes, all my happy thoughts and strength, my love. Enjoying life is a triumph over terrorism.