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.

My Guilty Pleasure

25 (2)Mutsumi, one of my sister bloggers, nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award. My first thought was that I wasn’t interested in participating. I write stories about plants and people. I write about food. I don’t write about myself unless it’s related to these things. I had ignored a couple of these invitations/nominations before. Then I read one of the question she posed “What is your guilty pleasure?” and had an “aha” moment. One of my guilty pleasures is a food item, of course! So thank you for the nomination Mutsumi; and here are the answers to your questions:

  1. What is your guilty pleasure?

Popcorn & a glass of wine. . . .  OK, 2 glasses of wine. Since I try to eat healthy, I buy plain popcorn, without any additives, and pop it in a big pot with good oil. Sometimes I add chopped-up garlic to the pot and/or I sprinkle a natural salt-free herb blend to it (like Mrs. Dash) after it is popped. I’ve also poured home-made pesto on the popped corn. I don’t buy the microwave popcorn that has hydrogenated oil & other additives. I had an air-popper for a short time, but it had a melt-down. If anyone can recommend a good air-popper that is sturdy, let me know.

  1. What do you do to keep fit?

I either walk a couple of miles though my neighborhood to a park that has exercise machines, or I cycle a 25-mile loop to Key Biscayne (an island connected to the mainland by a causeway) and back. On the weekends I have a cycling group I ride longer distances with. I also do about 20-30 minutes of yoga and/or stretching most mornings. It’s an Iyengar-style yoga…nothing fancy or gravity-defying… just basic yoga/meditation to lubricate the muscles & joints and clear the mind. Sometimes I swim laps in the pool. I do other activities like kayaking & snow-skiing but I don’t do them to “keep fit”, rather I need to keep fit to do them.

  1. Which do you prefer living by the sea or in a mountain?

I have lived by the sea most of my life and love walking on the beach and seeing the shorebirds that inhabit the area, in addition to boating, snorkeling, diving… I’ve lived by the Pacific Ocean, and now live by the Atlantic. I also love the mountains and hiking and skiing (alpine & Nordic). There’s nothing like a walk in the woods or skiing along a trail or down a mountain face. So I could be happy living in a mountainous area. For now, I am happy where I am. Paradise is where you are in your head, not where you are physically.

  1. If you can be a character in a film which character/film you want to be?

I would want to be someone who lives forever…like that character played by Sally Kellerman in Lost Horizon. She ends up in Shangri La and when she learns that you can live forever there, and she can read all the books she wants in the peaceful library, she decides to stay.

  1. What is the craziest thing you have ever done in your life?

I’ll definitely plead the 5th on this one. The craziest things I’ve done I’m either too embarrassed to talk about or I shouldn’t talk about! Enough said.

Again, I thank Mutsumi for nominating me. Mutsumi is Japanese and she currently lives in London. Her blog sakurajunction.com is a treasure trove of delectable and easy-to-follow recipes (primarily Japanese food or Japanese-inspired) and beautiful pictures of the food, Japanese sites and places in England.

As I understand the rules of this Award, I am to thank the person who nominated me, publish the picture of the Award, nominate a few people and give them questions written by me. Here are the questions for the new nominees:

  1. What is the most gratifying thing you have done?
  2. What’s your favorite food?
  3. What would you like to do before you die?

And my nominees are:

sheepcarrot.wordpress.com
extrakitchn.wordpress.com
beyondthewindowbox.wordpress.com
emergingadulteats.com
sonyaliraphotography.com
arpitaapramanick.wordpress.com

Ladies, please feel free to participate if it is fun for you. If you choose not to, that is okay too!

blogger award

© 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.

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.

 

Give-Up

IMG_0871 (2)There’s something to be said for giving up on a sick or sad plant after you’ve tried everything and it is still giving you grief. I had purchased a small Basil herb and transplanted it in a self-watering container. I made the mistake of giving it too much water, causing it to get a fungus, turn yellow and drop most of its leaves. I then tried to remedy the situation by placing it in the bright sun to dry out and watering it only sparingly.

I waited patiently for the basil plant to recover to be able to cut off leaves for use in salads and on pasta. A week went by, then another, then another. After three weeks, it still looked yellow and very sad and had only grown back a few tiny leaves. I’m a big basil user and am used to having a robust plant I can harvest leaves from continuously, so this was rather distressing.

When I was at the grocery store this morning I saw this beautiful Basil plant for sale, with large unblemished leaves, calling my name. SOLD!  I’m happy to have healthy basil in my garden again. My old basil plant is still in a coma, in intensive care. Perhaps it will recuperate. If it doesn’t, I give-up.

 
 
© 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.