Winter Soup / Sopa de Invierno

I’m making a quick stop to write a recipe for a soup that some friends asked me for.
After the Halloween celebrations we usually end up with leftover pumpkin and winter squash and so, I like to make this soup which is great for these winter days. It warms the body and the spirit, and is delicious!

Winter Squash Soup
2 small winter squash, peeled and diced (I used a combination of butternut and white pumpkin)
½ white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 sprigs of thyme (or your favorite herb)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup chicken broth (to keep this vegetarian, I used vegetable broth)
2 Tablespoons cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a large baking sheet, toss first 7 ingredients together. Spread on a single layer and bake for 30-40 minutes or until vegetables have softened and are brown in places. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
Add vegetables to a food processor or a blender. Add the cinnamon and blend to a smooth puree, adding the broth as needed to help the blender and to obtain the desired consistency (thicker soup would need less broth).
Pour the soup into a pot and simmer over medium heat. Add more salt and pepper to taste. At this point, if using, add the cream and cook until soup is heated through. Serve hot and garnish with a sprinkle of smoke paprika.


Green Drinks / Bebidas Verdes

Green drinks are very popular nowadays and in addition to being very good for our health, they taste great!

I'm not very good at describing the health benefits of these drinks but I can tell you that since I started preparing and consuming a green smoothie every day, I feel less tired and less hungry during the day. I usually prepare mine in the morning to take to work. I drink a small glass for breakfast and a bigger glass for lunch. This fills me up and I'm not hungry until is time for dinner. But I snack on a piece of fruit  and drink water in between meals. One can't forget to drink lots of water during the day.

I get very excited about my smoothies. When I open my jar of green smoothie, and after I take the first drink, you could hear me said "yum, this is so good!". Some of my coworkers cannot understand how I can get so excited with an ugly looking drink and when I tell them what's in it, well... this is just mind-boggling to them.  So, let me tell you how I made today's green drinks.

Green Smoothie

2 large kale leaves, washed and stems removed
2 large Swiss chard leaves, washed and stems removed
1 small unpeeled cucumber, washed 
1/2 unpeeled apple, core and seeds removed (make sure to remove all the seeds, they are toxic!)
1/2 riped persimmon
1/4 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled
1 heaping tablespoon wheat germ
3/4 cup water

Tear the leaves in small pieces and add them to the blender jar. Cut the fruit in small pieces and add it to the blender together with the ginger and wheat germ. Add the water and process in the liquefying setting to obtain a smooth drink. Done!

I don't use sweeteners because I don't like mine very sweet, the fruit is enough sweet for me. But if you prefer yours sweet, add more fruit or some honey (do not add sugar). Also, add or delete water to get the consistency you like. I place mine in jars and take them to work in a cooler. But if you are going to drink it right away, you can add ice to the blender, it taste great when very cold!

These drinks are very versatile. You can prepare them with many different vegetables or fruits according to your taste. I usually use what I have in my fridge. Here are some options:

1. Romaine lettuce, spinach, parsley, celery, apple, carrots and flax seed.

2. Swiss chard, nopalitos (cactus), spinach, celery papaya, cucumber and wheat germs.

3. Spinach, beets, celery, blueberries, apple and raw almonds (5-6 seeds).

The possibilities are endless, you just have to use your imagination. Just remember to use at least  1/2 of raw vegetables with your fruit.


"When in Rome, do as the Romans do."... / "A donde fueres, haz lo que vieres."...

… Or bring your own traditions. Halloween is widely celebrated in the United States but its origins are from Ireland. I won’t go into the details or history of this holiday but, if you want to know more about it, follow this link

The modern Halloween has influences from many sources - religious, political, horror literature and films, death, and ghosts. Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children. They walk around the neighborhood wearing costumes and go from door to door asking for candy. The Irish carvings were made of turnips but in North America, the native pumpkin is used, which is softer and larger and much easier to carve than a turnip.

Halloween is not a common celebration in Mexico - we celebrate the Day of the Dead but Halloween is sometimes celebrated in the border towns. Since I live in the USA, I like to follow the customs and traditions of this country but I also like to share my Mexican traditions. We celebrate Halloween every year in my office with costumes and pumpkin carving contests, candy and, of course, food. Since Halloween and Día de Muertos are so closed to each other, in the last few years I’ve tried to combine both celebrations. I build my Altar de Muertos in the office to share with my coworkers.

Here are some pictures of our Halloween/Día de Muertos celebration in my office: