Search This Blog

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Fire in our valley

Hi Everyone, I don't have internet at home anymore as we had a big fire in our valley. So I won't be posting anything for a while.  Please check back again in a month or two as I should be up and running again by then!  Hope you are all OK and no one has been touched by fire or floods!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Vegetarian Lasagna

Hi Everyone,  Here is my recipe for veggie lasagna.  If in the US I would use Tinkyada brown rice lasagne, but here in Portugal I cannot buy that so I use any whole wheat lasagne I can find.  You can also use your favourite cheese on the topping, I use a Portuguese cheese called Ilha Acoreano made from raw milk, but you can use whatever melting cheese you want.  If you are vegan you can use vegan cheese and for the bechamel sauce you can use a fake butter and nut milk instead of cow milk and butter.


8 slices of lasagna pasta (either cook it ahead if its the type of lasagna you need to cook, or leave as they are if its the one you don't need to cook first)

1 large onion chopped

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon oregano

1 large clove garlic crushed and chopped

 6 medium to large tomatoes chopped

15 crimini (brown)  mushrooms sliced

1 large red pepper chopped into 2 inch pieces

1 medium courgette/zuchinni quartered and chopped

For the bechamel

1/4 cup or 4oz butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups milk

4oz - 6oz cheese grated

salt and pepper to taste

Put the oven on 350 degrees or 175 C.

Saute the onion and garlic for 2 or 3 minutes and add paprika and then the tomatoes.

Cook until the onion is soft and well combined with the tomatoes.

You might want to add a little water to make the sauce more liquid, cook for another 5 minutes.

Then add the mushrooms and the red peppers, cook for another 5 minutes.

 Add the courgette/zuchinni and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the oregano (crush it in your fingers and sprinkle in) and salt and pepper to taste.

Then lay 4 slices of  lasagne pasta in a large glass dish.

Place the cooked veggies on top of pasta.

Make the bechamel by melting the butter, then remove from heat and add the flour, mix well put back on a low heat. Immediately begin to add the milk slowly, stirring continuously and making sure there are no lumps until all the milk is added, let this cook and thicken while stirring until it boils. If it is too liquid take a little out in a small bowl and add more flour to it, stir it well,then add back into the sauce, if it's too thick add more milk.

Once it starts to boil turn off the heat and set aside.

Place another 4 slices of pasta on top of the veggies.

Pour the bechamel over the pasta and make sure it covers the whole of the top.

Add the grated cheese and place in the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes.

The cheese should be lightly browned on the top.

Serve on its own with some grated parmesan cheese or serve with a green salad on the side.Either
way you will be getting a lovely serving of vegetables.

Crimini mushrooms contain large amounts of copper, selenium and B2.  Copper is used for wound healing and is good for osteoarthritis.  Selenium is an antioxidant and also B2, they contain large amounts of potassium too.  These delicious mushrooms also contain many other nutrients you can read about here

Monday, July 31, 2017

Spiced Chickpeas in Ghee

I made this one yesterday.  It is the best chickpeas I've ever made!  They are butter soft and the flavour of the ghee really makes it so so delicious.  I used a sambar masala for spicing which you can get at your local Indian store or online. It works very well for this recipe.

1 cup chickpeas soaked overnight and rinsed really well
1 small onion chopped
1 clove garlic crushed and chopped
1 pinch asafoetida
6 - 10 curry leaves(fresh if possible or dried will do)
1/2 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Ghee for sauteeing
5 medium tomatoes chopped
1 teaspoon sambar masala

Cook the chickpeas until tender either in a pressure cooker or on stovetop.  Strain and set aside with a about 1/4 cup water left in the pot.  Take out 1/4 cup of the chickpeas and blend in the blender with the water until they are smooth and liquid you will need about 1/4 cup water, add more if they are too thick.  Set aside.
Melt as much as 1 tablespoon (or as little as 1 teaspoon) of ghee in a large pan on medium heat.  Add the asafoetida and the mustard, cumin seeds and curry leaves, cook for 2 or 3 mins till mustard seeds turn grey.  Add the onion and garlic and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes until the onion softens.  The add the ground cumin, turmeric and sambar masala.  Cook for 1 minute more and then add the tomatoes. Cook for another 7 to 10 minutes till the tomatoes break down.  Now you can add the chickpeas and the blended chickpeas.  Cook for another 10 minutes to allow the flavours to fully come out.  Serve with high quality white basmati or a brown basmati.  If using white, soak for an hour before rinsing and cooking and if using brown soak overnight and rinse before cooking.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Yet Again, I failed!

Well I know I said I was going vegan.  Well I did, for 10 days.  I realize that I am not supposed to be vegan.  Even though I agree with it in theory, in practice its just leaves me feeling hungry most of the time and not really nourished when I've eaten a meal.  I'm sure long time vegans may have many things to say about my miserable failure at being vegan, but it was not working for me.  The main thing that doesn't work for me being vegan is not being able to cook with butter.  There is only coconut oil to cook with if you are vegan, and that is just much too expensive here in Portugal.  A small jar is 10 euros.  Also, I don't want everything to taste of coconut.  So, I am back to my old ways of eating.  Maybe sugar and wheat need to go?  Not really sure, but I didn't notice any difference in how I felt, other than being hungry most of the time.  I just made a post to see where I can find (if I can find) raw dairy here in Central Portugal.

If you eat fake butter (margarine) then you are harming the orangutans and if you eat butter you are hurting cows.  Which is worse?  I don't know, but I know for my health butter is much better than fake butter which is full of sunflower seed and palm oils.  Sunflower seed oil is full of omega 6 oil which promotes inflammation. Oh and I forgot to mention the evil rapeseed or canola oil which is equally bad for health, you can read more about it in this link:

Palm oil on the other hand can be healthy if using the red palm oil that is organically grown.  But finding that can be challenging.  I think it best to not use any palm oil at this time.

I have however, decided that I can be vegetarian.  So, I am now vegetarian.  I was just reading all about Nikola Tesla's diet. He was vegetarian as was Albert Einstein and several other famous poets and philosophers.  You can read about them here

There are so many things that one can eat when vegetarian that are incredibly delicious.  Last night I made vegetarian lasagna with a sheep cheese that was very similar to parmesan.  My friend who is not vegetarian and didn't know that it would be a vegetarian lasagna was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it too.  I will be posting some lovely recipes very soon.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Not Quite What I Expected

Well, I failed miserably.  I am quite embarrassed that I made such a production about this watermelon cleanse.  I just got so so hungry and I decided to make a mung dal with white basmati rice.  My husband was also super hungry too and neither of us were at all hungry last time.  I do not like the discomfort of not eating. I do not need to lose any weight.  I was expecting it to be as easy as last time and it just wasn't.  So its 9 pm and we are going to eat some mung dal and basmati rice.  And it will taste like the most divine food in the world.

Thank you all for your comments and encouragement on facebook.  I love all the dialog that happened around this.  For my friends who do fast, all I can say is wow!  You've got some will power. Last time this didn't take will power really because neither of us felt hungry.  But I am super hungry now and will go and eat my divine food.

I will post the recipe for my mung dal with a photo soon.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Day One of Watermelon Cleanse

I am currently drinking my first watermelon drink of the day.  It tastes divine and is very refreshing.   Now I say this is the first day,  it may be the only day.  It just depends on how I feel.  The nice thing about it is that I can just do one day if I want!  Here are some photos of making the juice.  Make sure you use some of the white part of the melon too as it contains citrulline, a phytonutrient, which the kidneys change into L-argnine and a chemical called nitric oxide, these are beneficial for the heart and blood vessels. They also may boost the immune system.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Watermelon Cleanse

Hello Everyone,  I am starting a watermelon cleanse on Monday, that's in four days.  I intend to do 3 days of watermelon juice, possibly more, if it feels right.  Then I will start back eating a vegan diet after the cleanse.  The reason I am doing this is because I am having pain in the joints of my hands, my knees and in my lower back.  I have decided that I must change the way I've been eating.

To be honest, my diet hasn't been that great since I made the move to Portugal.  I feel a need to really cleanse and detox.  I have been vegan before, in fact it is documented here on this blog.  I am hoping it will alleviate some of the symptoms I have been having.  I wanted to write about my experiment here to share the details with you of what I notice, or don't notice during this cleanse.

Here is the recipe for making watermelon juice easily.


1/4 of a watermelon cut into pieces, leaving some of the white part on the fruit you are juicing. This white part contains Citruline which is good for the heart and blood vessels.  It also contains high levels of vitamin C and lycopene.

Place the pieces into a blender.  If you have a vitamix you can use the plunger they have  to make the watermelon start blending.  If you have a regular blender you may need a little pure water in the bottom of the blender to be able to start the juice.  Blend it for about 30 seconds, longer if you don't have a vitamix.  Once it is all well blended that is your juice.  Drink it whenever you feel like during the day and if you start to really get hungry you can eat some watermelon.  Do this for as little as 24 hours and as long as 5 days.  When we did this cleanse before, we had decided to do a 24 hour cleanse, but, funnily enough, we weren't hungry and we were enjoying it so much that we decided to do 72 hours and it was easy and delicious.

Follow this link to find out more about the health benefits of watermelon

Image result for watermelon