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.

Basil for Pasta Pomodoro

basil (2)I picked some basil leaves today to use in a Pasta Pomodoro. This is a staple food for me because I always have the ingredients on hand: spaghetti or angel-hair pasta, basil, tomatoes, garlic and extra-virgin olive oil. I sauté the garlic in oil, then I stir in chopped-up fresh tomatoes & basil just to warm them up. Once the pasta is cooked I toss it with the fresh sauce or I pour the sauce on top. Optional: add salt & pepper, to taste; and parmesan cheese.

Basil is easy to grow, though it is a little finicky. It grows well either in the ground or in a planter. It likes a good amount of sun and does not like to be over-watered. It is best to let it dry out before watering the soil completely. But don’t wet the leaves if you can help it! If the leaves are wet too much or it sits in water, it can get a fungus (spots on the leaves), especially if you live in a humid place like I do. You can pick the leaves as you need them. Ideally you should use the leaves fresh. You can also dry the leaves, or freeze for later use.

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com 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.

We have a Contest Winner!

01edFirst of all, here are the herb names:

  1. Parsley (Curly Leaf)
  2. Sage
  3. Chives
  4. Mint
  5. Rosemary
  6. Basil
  7. Oregano
  8. Parsley (Flat Leaf)
  9. Dill

I must say I had great fun with the WHAT ARE THE 9 HERBS? contest. I’ve posted all the comments/entries on the original webpage post, so you can go back there to see what everyone said. I did receive additional entries via email…from the folks who covertly peruse social media sites but don’t dare make a comment online. You know who you are, you people that are in hiding out there! No one guessed all nine herbs correctly but a couple of people came very close so I am calling it a tie and am giving them both plant presents.

And the two winners are…. Ryan (@ryanelberson) and Julia (travellingbanana.com)! Ryan got the most right: 7 out of 9. Yay Ryan! He didn’t exactly follow directions; he posted the answers on Instagram rather than on the website, as requested, but that’s okay. Instagramers aren’t known for their propensity to follow directions, so he’s forgiven. Julia guessed 6 correctly. There were a number of other people who guessed 6 properly but she was the first. Julia’s originally from the UK and is currently residing in the same area code as me, so she gets her present hand-delivered if she wishes! Ryan, I’ll track down in Instagramland.

Thanks to everyone who entered and those of you who cheered the rest of us on.

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com 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.

Thanks Jorge

Parsley
Parsley

Potted plants require more attention than those that are planted in the ground. The soil dries out faster and needs more fertilizer. When I’m in town it’s not a problem to frequently water the containers, but when I’m travelling it is. My friend Jorge came to the rescue this weekend and kindly helped me set-up a drip irrigation system for the potted plants. From a main line, we put ¼” lines into each of eight planters, and connected the main line to a timer. It is summer now, our rainy season, so we set the timer to water twice a week. In the winter, I’ll change it to three times per week. Now that I’ve got the hang of this, I think I’ll set up a system for the planters on my front porch too…

 

 

 
© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com 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 ARE THE 9 HERBS?

IMG_0268 (4)This is my friend Jayne Robinson’s Herb Garden. Isn’t it fab that she can grow so much in the corner of her balcony! I’ve numbered each herb. How many can you guess?! Send me a comment with the numbers and names and I’ll let you know who the first is to guess them all… or at least to guess the most right!

PRIZE FOR THE WINNER: if you live close to me, I’ll hand deliver a live herb plant; if you live far but in the U.S. you get a gift certificated from Home Depot  to buy an herb; if you don’t live in the US, you get amazing praise & adulation from all the gardening enthusiasts in cyberspace! Just LIKE this post and/or FOLLOW me and send me your best guess. I’ll keep the comments private until August 12, then I’ll post them all so you can see what everyone said. Don’t be shy, give it a go

 
 
CLICK HERE FOR ANSWERS & CONTEST WINNER

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com 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.

Sis’s Herb Garden

Sis's Herb Garden now
Sis’s Herb Garden now

I helped my sister plant her first little herb garden on a ledge in her back yard (in Maryland), two months ago. We stuck the little plastic tags that came with the tiny plants into the ground, along with the herbs, so she would remember which herb was which. She also put a wire barrier around the plants to protect them from foraging rabbits. Today the basil, parsley, oregano and rosemary are all thriving and are being used in recipes…including a mysterious biscuit recipe her husband used the parsley in, this morning.


© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com 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.

Rosemary & Begonia

IMG_0755 (3)On my front patio I have the remnants of what used to be a large Rosemary herb sharing a planter with a Begonia. The aromatic Rosemary originally was a little plant, shaped like a Christmas tree, which my mom’s husband gave me for the holidays, about 8 years ago. I transplanted it a couple of months later into a large planter and it grew quite big. People would regularly admire it, when they walked by my front patio and saw it. Several neighbors would cut pieces from it, to use its needle-like leaves for cooking. Then I went away for a long trip. When I returned I found that the once splendid Rosemary had dried out and just about died. So I cut all the dead branches off, leaving only a couple of twigs that were still green. I planted a little Begonia in the same planter to accompany the Rosemary. The Begonia had belonged to my next door neighbor Stephanie, who gave it to me when she moved away. Now the Begonia has gotten huge and has practically taken over the container. Aside from being beautiful, this planter holds special memories for me, as both people who gave me the plants have passed away.

I’ve taken cuttings from both the Rosemary and the Begonia and started new plants with them. The new Rosemary plants I’ve given away to two friends; and the new Begonia, I’ve established elsewhere in my yard. Every plant has a story…

 
 
© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com 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.

 

Easy Herbs

IMG_0868a herbs“I want to grow something edible; will you help me?” my sister asked. “Sure, let’s plant some herbs. That is the easiest thing to start with. Which do you like to eat?” I said.  After discussing the different herbs, we settled on Sweet Basil, Parsley and Oregano; and off we went to buy some little plants at the local garden supply. We got back to her house with her new herbs and found the ideal spot to plant them: the corner ledge of her terraced yard. Here they will be out of the way of the lawn mower and next to some begonias she waters regularly. And in the raised bed, the herbs will be easy to harvest when they are ready. Since the herbs were grown in peat planters, all we had to do was dig holes in the ground sufficiently deep to accommodate the little planters, cut off the wrapping on the top of the containers, plop the planters in the holes, then pat the soil around them and cover with mulch. It rained that night, so the plants where thoroughly drenched. The next morning the herbs looked like they had already grown a little bit!

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com 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.