Archive for November, 2011

Roasted Squash And Apple Soup In Time For Thanksgiving

Happy day before Thanksgiving. This will be a bit of a hodge podge of a post, perhaps much like your Thanksgiving table tomorrow, many items that are all appreciated and enjoyed but not necessarily always going together.

To start I have wanted to share this soup recipe from Dr. Weil that I have loved for years. It seems every year about this time there is nothing I want to enjoy more than this warm, sweet, and comforting soup. It is super healthy, and vegan if you have to come up with any vegan food options. But beyond all of that it is like a warm and familiar blanket on a fall and winter day, you want to snuggle down and just slip into this brilliant orange bowl of yumminess. I had hoped to make 2 soups in 2 days and blog about them both, but work and my other commitments got in the way. So for now here is this soup, and to look forward to another soup next week.

Dr. Weil’s Roasted Winter Squash and Apple Soup

1 large winter squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), such as butternut,
buttercup or kabocha; peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tart, firm apples, peeled, cored and quartered
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and red chile powder to taste
4 to 5 cups vegetable broth

I add some cayenne pepper for heat and a little cinnamon to play up the sweet notes, before I roast the vegetables.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large roasting pan, toss the squash, onions, garlic and apples with the oil to coat. Season well with the salt and chile. Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until the vegetables are fork tender and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.

2. Put half of the vegetables and 2 cups of the broth in a food processor and purée until smooth. Repeat with the remaining vegetables and broth. Return puréed mixture to the pot. If the soup is too thick, add more broth. Correct the seasoning and heat to a simmer.


Beyond work and a little soup making on a rainy day, I have made it to some fantastic movies in the past week. There is nothing like catching a movie after the turkey comma and I don’t think you can miss with any of these.

Like Crazy

The Descendants

The Way

And because it is playing on my iTunes and in my head these days here are three songs for the Thanksgiving Day.

04 Christians and Pagans by Dar Williams

03 Thank U by Alanis Morissette

06 Lovely Day by Elizabeth Mitchell.

Happy Thanksgiving and may there be much food on your table, appreciation in your heart, and plenty to look forward to in your days.





11 2011

Moments At Midnight in Minneapolis

“Our lives are not only defined by what happens, but by how we act in the face of it, not only by what life brings us, but what we bring to life…”

I know you were wondering if I had slipped into the mid west never to be heard of again. I have thought of stopping by here for so long; I have missed my fingers at the keypad and a blank page.

But there has been just so much happening. I know there is always so much happening in all of our lives. But the past month has been a bit of whirlwind for me. There was a road show – anyone been to Cleveland, OH, Dearborn, MI, Schaumburg, IL, Minneapolis, MN, Kansas City, Scottsdale, AZ, San Jose, CA, or Santa Clara, CA lately? I have and I am exhausted!

My time on the road was fun; I worked with great people. I laughed a lot. I ate local, or as local as I could get. And I saw how much bigger my own back yard is. I wasn’t expecting to like the mid west as much as I did. I knew the people would be unbelievably friendly, but I found so much more than the cliché.

I absolutely LOVED Minneapolis; I know I never thought I would say that. My father’s family is from Saint Cloud, MN and I have always loved everything about that part of my family history; from the very name SAINT CLOUD, to the farm, to the sepia images of my roots I only know through stories. I was excited to spend a few days close if not in this part of the world. And then I found how hip, cool, cultured, open minded, and did I mention friendly Minneapolis was.

To be honest I was working, and when I say I was working it means I only had one night to experience this fabulous city, but I am certain to go back again. From my first steps in a Caribou Coffee I was sure this city was one I could get into. There on the board they had the daily question “What is the only Middle East country in the world that doesn’t have a desert?” I know I was stumped too, and completely impressed with the question. If you really have to know, I did, the answer is here.

I had a great dinner in the warehouse neighborhood. I was disappointed I couldn’t see the exhibit at the Walker Art Center that is being curated by John Waters through July 29, 2012. After dinner my group went to a much tooted gay bar where there happened to be a drag show. If you haven’t seen a drag show in the mid west you totally have to! It was a riot. I think my favorite part was the introduction of each contestant, “This is Persephone, she likes jewel tones, puppies, and nachos”, no joke that was an introduction. But the character and the courage of all of these contestants made a huge impact on me.

I can’t say we stayed long. But then on the walk back one of my friends said he was going to stop by one of these uber cool bike rental stops and take a spin around the city. All around Minneapolis they have these bikes for rent by the hour, like zip car, just slide a credit card, punch in a code, hop on and ride off. You can even return it to a different place than you picked it up. Take note cool cities—this is something that has to spread! Despite the fact that it was 11PM and probably 40 degrees we hopped on and biked off for an hour tour of this irresistible city. We biked across the Mississippi River and along the park with views of the skyline. We biked back across another bridge at the base of the Mill City Museum, which is an architectural wonder housed in the ruins of what once was the largest flour mill in the world, the structure with its history and modern touch is nothing short of stunning.

We biked past the Guthrie Theater, and pedaled beneath pictures of authors – Lorraine Hansberry, Tennessee Williams, Chekhov with quotes from each of them. If I said here there was a shooting star you wouldn’t believe me, but there was right over the Mississippi River and past the city. I have always been curious about Minneapolis and now I can say I am less curious and more sure than ever that it is a place I both want to go back to, and a place I will always be happy to visit. As for Saint Cloud, there is still time to make it there.

As we biked home we passed a memorial for the bridge that collapsed here in 2007. It has a fountain and pillars with memorials to all who perished in the accident. And it had the quote that started this post that resonated deeply with me. It has almost been one year since I announced the RAvolution. I have accomplished so much in a year with the marvelous help of so many loved ones. I have realized dreams I have had for so long and found in that realization that they could be better in reality. I have learned about myself. I have grown and I like the person I am growing into. I have more growing to do. I have more to get to. But I have sets of wheels and the ability to use them now. I can bike or drive to my dreams, and at midnight in Minneapolis I did just that.

~ Ramona


11 2011