A whisper from the woods

Food for Thought, October 2022

Oct 3, 2022

Wrapping up


Almost one year has passed since this blog was launched.

October is Vegetarian Awareness Month, an excellent opportunity to look back and wrap up the last 12 months.

The reason behind this blog column is simple! Research shows that meat and dairy products are fuelling the climate crisis, while plant-based diets — focused on fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans – can help protect and restore the planet [1].

Our vision at the Global Tree Initiative is that “Together we can create a conscious, wise, warm-hearted world of peace, where people respect and live in harmony with animals and the environment.”

As we have had the opportunity to learn from past articles, current food production systems are failing to meet the nutritional needs of the human population. At the same time, this has a  negative impact on our planet.

It is not all bad news. Food is power! Quite literally.

This means we – all of us – have the perfect tool to help our environment, well within reach. But we must work together!

In this last year, we have touched upon the link between food systems and climate change; we have discussed food waste and why it should be avoided; we have opened the door to discussing growing one’s own food, and we have also talked about our diet’s role in our health.

Besides, I have shared various recipes from a very easy hummus to a home-grown fava bean stew; from a pulse curry to a banana ice cream (and so much more…).

It might seem like we have said it all, but there still is so much to explore. There is so much to explore and learn. In the first year of the Food for Thought blog, we have set the ground for what comes next.

Thank you for coming on this tasty and informative journey with me, as we learn and explore, together.

Please remember to share any topics that you would like to explore within the Food for Thought blog, or any questions you may have.

Creamy vegetable rice

Now, as usual, we like to savor some delicious food at the end of each article.

It is early Fall, in Portugal, where I am. Temperatures are dropping which means I’ll start enjoying warm, filling, and comforting foods more often.

The recipe I am sharing today is one of my favorites on cold days. It is simple to prepare and versatile. You can easily adapt it to use vegetables you have locally available.


  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup (60g) carrots
  • ½ cup (60g) bell pepper
  • ¾ cup (60g) broccoli
  • 3 cups (130g) mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup (200g) short grain rice
  • ½ cup (120g) tomato sauce
  • 3.5 cups (830g) water/vegetable stock
  • ½ cup (80g) black beans
  • ½ cup (80g) peas


  • Roasted sesame seeds
  • Spring onions/cilantro


  • Roughly chop or cube all the vegetables. Strain and rinse the pulses.
  • To a non-stick pan add the garlic. Allow it to gain some color.
  • Add the carrots and cook for a few minutes (4-5).
  • Add the broccoli and mushrooms. Once the mushrooms have reduced in size, add the soy sauce, followed by the rice and the tomato sauce. Let this mix cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the water or vegetable broth (if you are using water or unsalted vegetable broth, don’t forget to add a pinch of salt).
  • Let the broth simmer away for 10 minutes. Then, add the pulses and cook until the rice is soft to your liking.
  • Remove from the stove and let it rest for 3.4 minutes before serving. At this point, you can add spring onions or cilantro.

This dish is best when eaten right away. As it cools down, the rice soaks up the extra moisture becoming significantly mushier.

You should not discard any leftovers, though. With a bit of creativity, you can prepare an amazing stir fry of some burritos.

If you are looking for a fresher dish, I recommend boiling some long-grain rice on the side. Then, you can add it to the vegetable mix and enjoy it with some salad or inside a burrito.

Either way, I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Remember to use the comment section below to share any comments or questions you might have.

If you wish to learn more:

[1] Loken, B (2020). Bending the curve: the restorative power of planet-based diets.

Download your printable recipe card here:
Creamy vegetable rice

Please share this. Thank you!


  1. Jill Lancashire

    Looks great. I’m going to try it. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kika Gusmao

      Thank you for your comment, dear Jill. I hope you get to try it and enjoy it.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Other blog posts

Ask me almost anything, May 2024

As tree planters, we take for granted the collection of rainwater to irrigate our plants.  Whether we live in an urban or rural setting, rainwater harvesting is a relatively cheap and effective way to sustain the water needs of ourselves, our plants and our animals.

Traveling with Trees, May 2024

Today I am sharing about a special tree, the Weeping Bottlebrush. This particular tree lives in Sebastian, Florida in the United States. It is a haven for all kinds of creatures such as birds, squirrels, lizards, lichen, and bugs too!

Food for Thought, May 2024

Food defines us – what we eat, how we eat it, how many times a day we do so! Our diets and the way they evolved have deep historical, cultural, and even religious roots, making this a sensitive topic for many and a complicated target for change.

As within so without

We are well aware of the massive positive impact that planting trees has both on our environment and our physical well-being. So, I’d like to talk about less commonly explored side effects – the impact of planting trees on our mind, our mental health, and even on our perception of reality. 

Food For Thought, April 2024

According to a WWF report, Bending the Curve, our diets are the leading cause of death all over the world. Unbalanced diets and lifestyles are responsible for the rising numbers of obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases.

Community Blog, March 2024

For this year’s theme, International Day of Zero Waste highlights the importance of supporting waste management worldwide and promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Ask me almost anything, March 2024

Wetlands are saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally. This saturation creates an environment with unique soil conditions and functions, which shape the adaptations of the plants that call wetlands “home”.

Traveling with Trees, March 2024

Jennifer is now back on a bi-monthly basis to tell us about her experience in Nature and with trees. Join us in welcoming and thanking Jennifer and her new column Traveling with Trees.

Food for Thought, March 2024

Paired with last month’s recipe, this one is inspired by the Tree Sisters which make a great combo both on the fileds and on our plates.

Taking Your Business Paperless for the Good of the Planet

These days, more and more businesses are going paperless to save money, and space, and improve their operations in today’s digital age

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our newsletter. Stay tuned to all our news. There is more to come.

You have Successfully Subscribed!