Pumpkin Soup

I love pumpkins and now that they are in season, I get them as often as I can. I saw this recipe and had to try it out. Turned out really good.

Slightly adjusted version of the original recipe from Caveman and A Modern Woman blog

Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:
1 large onion

6 cloves of garlic

6 medium-sized carrots

1 pumpkin. Any pumpkin or squash will be fine

1 tsp Chili flakes

1 L chicken or veg stock

dried coriander

cumin

paprika

black pepper

Cooking Method:

Chop the onion and garlic and lightly sauté in olive oil. Cut the lid of the pumpkin off and ‘Dig’ the flesh out with a spoon/knife combo.
Discard the seeds and stringy part and reserve the ‘bowl’ for serving if desired.

Add the pumpkin flesh and chopped carrots to the onion and garlic and spices.

Allow to brown for a few mins before adding the stock. Simmer for 20 – 30 mins stirring occasionally then blend the soup in a processor until its smooth.

Serve in the reserved pumpkin bowl with a splash full fat milk or cream in the middle to add that velvety texture.

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Charred Pepper Salad

Charring peppers over an open flame or in the oven was something I had never thought of until I saw my mother in law do it.  Such an easy and healthy way to cook.  Many dinners I have had in Morocco have included this typical charred green pepper salad.

Filfa Mataysha– (Pepper and tomato in Moroccan Arabic)

2 green peppers (long thin works best) or 1 green bell pepper

1 tomato

parsley

olive oil, salt, vinegar

Char peppers and tomato over open flame, burner, or in the oven. When the skin is all black place in a plastic bag for a few minutes to steam and making it easier to remove the skin. Clean the tomato and pepper chop small. Chop parsley very fine. Combine with olive oil, salt, and a little bit of vinegar.

Variations:

I always add olive oil, vinegar and salt. Parsley is what they normally use in Morocco but cilantro is really good too.

Red bell pepper, tomato,

Red bell pepper, green pepper

Red bell pepper, green pepper, tomato

I like adding charred peppers to regular green salads as well.

Here is the red pepper and tomato version.

 

Moroccan Chicken with Prunes

One thing that surprised me about Moroccan cooking was the combination of sweet and savory. This concept was so new to me. I very much appreciate this now and it makes for delicious food. Here´s a recipe we enjoy.

Moroccan Chicken and Prunes

In large pot:

Chicken (Whole or thighs)

Onions diced

Garlic diced

Chicken bouillon

Turmeric

Black Pepper

Dash of ginger

Add 2 cups or so of water- Adding more if needed.

In a smaller pot:

Dried prunes

Raisins- optional

Honey

Cinnamon

Water

Cook chicken till done and boil liquid till reduced to a thick sauce.

Cook prunes till plump and reduce liquid to a thick syrupy sauce.

Serve on a large platter with prune mixture on top.

Eat with crusty french bread and enjoy!

Focus

I saw this the other day and it made me stop and really think. This hit really close to home for me. I am always doing and I realized that I am not always completely present. What a good reminder to enjoy what you’re doing and really give it your full attention. I have tried to not try to multi-task when I am with my kids. Those few hours in the afternoon before bedtime is for us to be together with no distractions.

Essential Oils- Tea Tree Oil and Lavender

I really love Essential Oils and often use them in my home for sickness to cleaning and even for cooking. These are two of my favorites and most used.

Tea Tree Oil or Melaleuca– I grew up with this oil. We used it all the time. I remember how awful it smelled and tasted but now I love it.  Whenever someone is sick I rub it on the bottoms of their feet. I also use it for acne and cold sores. I add it to my son´s shampoo to prevent head lice. Even when there was an outbreak in his class he was lice free!

This list is from this article 

20 Great Ways to Use Tea Tree Oil

For Health

1. Use a dab to treat acne.
2. An anti-fungal for treating Athlete’s Foot, eczema, various yeast infections, etc.
3. An antiseptic to be used on cuts and burns.
4. An anti-viral: it may lessen the symptoms of colds and flu. Try using a few drops in the bath.
5. Add to a vaporizer to loosen chest congestion.
6. Add a small amount to shampoo to destroy head lice.
7. A small amount added to your bath can help with persistent body odor.
8. Treating sinus infection.
9. For dandruff and dry scalp.
10. In the form of aromatherapy, tea tree oil is used to treat colds, persistent coughs, acne, toothaches, and sunburn.

For Cleaning

11. To create an all-purpose cleaner, combine 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil in 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.
12. Another version would be 14 ounces of water with 1 ounce of Murphy’s oil soap and 10 drops of tea tree oil.
13. Mix the above solution with kosher salt to scrub bathtub and bathroom tiles.
14. Add a few drops to dishwasher dispenser, then fill with a green dishwashing soap.
15. A few drops added to each load of laundry leave your clothes smelling cleaner.
16. Control mold with a tea tree oil/water spray.
17. Remove mustiness with that same tea tree oil/water spray.
18. To keep germs at bay, spray it on high chairs, car seats, and other high traffic spots.
19. 15 drops in a quart of water can be an effective insect repellent.
20. Be sure to take some with you when hiking and camping to put directly on insect bites or blisters.

 

Lavender– I use this oil every night on the kids. As part of our night-time routine I rub lavender oil and any other oil they might need on their feet and give them a massage while we talk about the day. My 7-year-old son really enjoys it and often reminds me if we are getting into bed without using the oils. I also use this on my husband when he is stressed or anxious.

Take a look at this article for more information

Soothing music

Sometimes I like nothing better than soft soothing music. When it feels like the t.v. has been on way too much, I put on some soft music and send the kids to play. Funny… they never complain. We put on this music when we do homework as well. The last dinner party we had I played this in the background for our guests and everyone really liked it.

David Maldonado- I bought this c.d. from the artist himself in Las Vegas so long ago. He was playing in one of the casino lounges and I had gone with some friends to listen to live music. It was in a small lounge… it was dark and smoky. The music took my breath away.

El misterio del Nilo/ Mystery of the Nile – This is the sound track to a 3d Imax movie we went in the city of arts and science in Valencia, Spain in 2005. My son A was just a few months old and we went to get his passport at the consulate.  My mom was with us and we had such a good time. The movie was captivating and the sound track is really beautiful. Here is a link to the Imax website and there is a small clip about the film.

Mexico Lifescapes- I bought this during or right after high school while I was living in Las Vegas. I had gone to Mexico a lot during high school and I was so drawn to that culture. I saw it in Target at one of those kiosk´s.  Do you remember those?

Spanish lentil

I got this recipe from a Spanish cooking show a long time ago. Especially perfect for fall and winter.

Spanish Lentil

 

1 Onion

1 Red pepper

Dice small and cook on medium to low heat in frying pan with oil until soft. Add salt to help avoid burning.

In a separate pot add:

2 carrots

2 potatoes

bay leaf

1 cup chorizo 

1/2 cup jamon serrano

1/4 cup parsley

pepper

salt

saffron

optional: dash of red wine and/or pinch of ground cloves

Chop potatoes medium and carrots small so they will cook evenly. Substitute any kind of sausage for the chorizo and cured ham lunch meat or proscuitto for the jamon serrano .

When potatoes and carrots are almost cooked add a can/bottle of cooked lentils to the pot. I always rinse mine. Add the onion and red pepper mixture to pot. Cook down till everything is done. Serve with crusty french bread.

*If using dried lentils- rinse and pick over the lentils, add them to a pot with the chorizo, jamon serrano, bay leaf and spices. When nearly ready add potatoes and carrots. When vegetables are ready add onion and red pepper mixture to the pot.