Pumpkin Soup Recipe (100% dairy/meat free)

Pumpkins are very good for your health –  they are a extremely nutrient dense food, full of vitamins, minerals, really low on calories and delicious. Pumpkin soups are usually in my regular diet and I even created a recipe on my own, it’s completely dairy/meat free. Here it goes:

You’ll need:

  • 800 g Pumpkin (any type, I use a regional one)
  • 500 ml Water
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 3-5 Garlic cloves
  • 100 g Kale
  • Shiitake mushrooms (as many as you like)
  • 75-100 ml coconut milk concentrate
  • 1 tbsp Canola oil or Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Shoyu
  • 1-3 Bay leaves
  • 1 Vegetable broth cube
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • Salt and black pepper powder (as much as you like)

How to cook:

Cook the pumpkins, bay leaves, broth and the cinnamon together in the water until the pumpkin gets soft, wait for it to cool down and book.

Saute the onion, garlic cloves and the seasoning together and book. Then, saute the kale, shoyu and mushrooms together and book.

Mix everything (except for the kale and mushrooms) in a blender then pour the mixture in a deep pot.

Add the coconut milk, kale and the mushrooms to the mixture and boil on low heat for 10 minutes. Add more salt or other seasonings if you wish. And it’s ready!

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My Pumpkin Soup

 Good for 5 portions, each portion has around 150 kcal only
Have you tried this recipe? Do you have any other meat free recipes to share? Tell us all about it!

9 Christmas/New Year unusual traditions you find in Brazil

There are many Christmas/New Year traditions around the world. Some are quite conventional and some are completely different.

Despite being officially a secular state, the most prevalent religion in Brazil is Catholicism – because of this you can see many references to Catholic saints and other holy characters in Christmas decorations around here. On the other hand, during the New Year celebrations there are more references to African rooted religions such as the Yoruba, where many Brazilians perform good luck rituals to have a more prosperous year. And there are even some traditions that aren’t attached to any sort of spiritual meaning, but have been going on for so long that now it’s impossible to dissociate them. And because Brazil is a very interbred country, many of those traditions are inherited from somewhere else but Brazilian people have certainly added their own personal touch to them.

Take a peek at some of the most curious Christmas/New year traditions you’d commonly witness in Brazil during the festivities:

1 – Panettone

You know Christmas is coming in Brazil when you start seeing Panettones for sale just about everywhere – From the convenience stores to the more exquisite shops.

Originally from Italy, traditional Panettone is a type of sweet bread loaf with mixed comfits fruits. Yet there are many other variations like chocolate chips and chocolate mousse stuffed. No Christmas party is complete without at least 1 type of Panettone!

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Comfit fruits Panettone: The more traditional one and my favourite (my sister bought this one for me) ;P

2 – Raisins, raisins everywhere… And comfit fruits:

During the end of the year celebrations in Brazil you can find Raisins and Comfit Fruits not only in the Panettones but almost everywhere, as many other traditional dishes use them in their recipes.

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The christmas promotional stickers from the gift brand “Imaginarium” being for and against raisins. It says “Don’t put raisins anywhere” and “Yes, there shall be raisins”.

Some people are so tired of finding raisins in everything (specially in rice) that went as far as creating Internet Memes begging for it to stop.

I personally like them. 😀

3 – Chester:

As in several other places in the world, Roasted Turkey is usually the main course on Christmas feasts in Brazil. However, there’s a specific kind of Chicken that has gained a lot of popularity over the years because of the more affordable price: The Chester.

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Perdigão’s Chester (Image Source: Revista BRF)

Presented (and trademarked) in 1982 by a large meat company called “Perdigão“,  Chesters are artificially selected chickens with larger breasts and thighs and a more tender meat.

(Since I’m vegetarian, I’m totally out of this one though)

4 – Lentils, Nuts, Hazelnuts, Walnuts and Dates:

There’s a (originally Italian) superstition that says if you eat a tablespoon of lentils during the turn of the year you are going to have an abundant table for the rest of the new year to come.

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Lucky Lentils (Image Source: Nestlé.com.br)

Many sorts of nuts are an Arabian tradition that brings wealth to those who eat them.

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Nut to bring you wealth (Image Source: Internet Archives)

5 – Grapes:

Eating 3 or 7 (or whatever your lucky number is) grapes at the New Year’s Midnight will bring you prosperity, lucky and plenty of food. It was an inherited tradition from Portugal.

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Grapes (Image Source: Greenmarketglobal.com)

6 – Specific colored (or new) underwear:

Yes, you read it right. It’s said that if you wear new underwear in the New Year’s eve it’ll bring you lucky in your love life. And another belief probably derived from African religions, says if you wear white underwear on the same occasion it’ll bring you peace, purity and harmony.

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Pick your fortune! (Image Source: lighthouse8.com)

There are some variations of this superstition, extending the new clothes to your whole outfit during both Christmas and New Year. Also, if you wear outfits in specific colors during the turn of the new year you’ll achieve different goals. The more commons (besides the white for peace and harmony) are yellow for money, red for passion, pink for love, green for hope and health, and blue for serenity.

7 – Coarse Salt, Champagne and jumping:

During the New Year celebrations, washing your belonging with coarse salt or sea water will keep all negative energies away. 

Jumping three times while holding a champagne glass without spitting a single drop will also achieve the same goal. But if you get soaked in champagne by others it is considered good fortune for you. Jumping over 7 waves on the beach is also said to bring you good fortune.

8 – Leave offerings for the goddess “Iemanjá” at the sea/river:

It’s a ritual that also comes from the African religions. Leaving an offering for the goddess on New Year’s eve is supposed to help you to meet the most diversified goals in the year to come. The offerings may vary according to your specific goals but they are usually roses and flowers.

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Brazilian TV presenter Luciano Huck delivering his offering (Image Source: ofuxico.com.br)

9 – Popular TV Shows:

On Brazilian open Television Channels (like Globo) some Christmas/New Year special shows have been happening for so many decades that they also became sort of a tradition. Like Roberto Carlos’ end of the year specials.

Roberto Carlos is a very famous pop-singer that has been presenting an end of the year special show for more than twenty years by now. He’s the favorite of most grandmas in Brazil. Many other Brazilian artists also host their special shows during holidays, like Xuxa (famous as TV for children presenter) and Luciano Huck (another TV presenter).

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Famous Brazilian Pop-Singer “Roberto Carlos” at his end of the year special (Image Source: Internet Archives)

And what about the place you live? Are there any uncommon end of the year traditions? Tell me all about it!

What if you could change the past? Orange – Manga series

[Warning: this post is gonna be gloomier than usual]
If time traveling was possible, where would you like to go? Straight to the past so you could erase all of your regrets? Or maybe to the future, so you could learn the consequences of all your actions beforehand?

These fundamental issues are the main scenario where Orange, a Shoujo/slice of life/drama manga by Takano Ichigo, takes place.

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“Orange” by Takano Ichigo

Plot: Naho, a sixteen year old girl receives a mysterious letter from her own future self containing many advises in how to prevent one of her friend’s death in a short time from there – by suicide. It’s a very touching story, with wonderful art style that makes you reconsider your life and ponder about that most fatal question “What if…?” What if a single thing you’ve done differently could have a huge impact such as saving a life?

One leaf clover: I think I’ve lost already too many people in my life. Surely there are ones out there whose lost much more than I did but, among my family and friends, I’m probably the one who has experienced death and all its devastating consequences more often. When I was 10 I lost my maternal grandfather and he was a very important person to me. Since my parents got divorced when I was a baby, my grandfather was the only father figure I ever had. Moreover, he was also my best friend –  We used to spend a lot of time together; telling stories, reading, singing and talking about ordinary things of life. When he passed (he had a stroke) I felt way too lonely. Even though I had a very supportive family, nothing and none could fill that gap. But I guess it is like that with mostly everyone, right? People cannot be replaced. But the ten-year-old-me just couldn’t bear with it in a proper way. And I shut myself in.

Time passed, I was able to make a few new friends but I also lost many of them… To life, in this case. Then when I was 13, I met someone at school whom I though could finally fill that gap in me. He also had a gap to be filled and we became instant friends. I like to compare our relationship to Peter Pan and Wendy’s – we certainly really liked each other but we were too young (and maybe too damaged) to understand its meaning and, after 4 years of a close (and a little twisted I must add) friendship, we decided to split. Adolescence sure is complicated.

I needed to make this whole introduction because, even though I was no longer his friend, I would think of him from time to time and wonder if he was doing well and one day a mutual friend of ours came to speak to me. She said that friend asked her if I was still mad at him and in case I wasn’t that he would like to speak to me again. I told her it was ok and short after that he called me.

We talked for many hours just like we would back then when we were children. We saw each other a couple of times in person later but I don’t think I wanted to be too close anymore, maybe I was still mad at him after all. And then a few months after messaging me for the last time, saying how great he was feeling, that he quitted smoking, joined some kind of troupe and how wonderful life was, he committed suicide.

Almost ten years have passed since that but I don’t think I was ever able to completely recover from it, and it gets even worse in December (he was born in December).

And last year my paternal grandmother also died of cancer. We were not very close but the fact that people would always say how similar we were to each other, how my father’s relationship with her (and with me) wasn’t so great at that time and how I was the last person to talk to her before she died shook me up a bit. And I gotta mention her birthday was also in December. Yes, I do have a few issues with December (January as well).

Those three were probably the more impactful losses I had. But besides them, I still have been to more funerals than I wished or I’d like to recall.

Now I get to those “What if’s”:

What if I knew my grandpa suffered from hypertension and was really worried about my mother being under a complicated surgery back then? Could I have done anything to prevent his death? Could I? If only I knew he would never wake up again? I deeply regret I haven’t shared that milk chocolate with him the night before.

What if I have putted aside any grudge against my friend and had been more interested in what was really going on in his life, would I have seen earlier the many signs that something wasn’t right I only realized after his death? I was a psychology student back then, I should have recognized that euphoric state he was in the last message.

What if I knew all those things beforehand? What if? Would I be able to save them? Would I be able to fix anything I ever did wrong and/or I regret in my life?

It’s difficult to answer and it’s impossible nevertheless. Albert Einstein said “time is an illusion” therefore we can’t turn it back. And even if we could, wouldn’t we be destroying things we have in the present? So many things happened to me after all that, so many people I met and so many goals I achieved. Would I risk it all? I cannot really tell.

Maybe everything happens for a reason, maybe everything that happens in our lives have a greater meaning, for the better and worse. I guess all we can do is to move forward and try to cherish everyday we have, with the things and the people we have right now.

Maybe because I had so many losses in my life – some to death, some to life, some to people themselves – That I used to think “failure is death“. I used to be absolutely terrified of failing to the point I wouldn’t even try. But lately I realized it’s not like that. Failure is something that gives us the opportunity to make things again and try to make them not only right this time but also better. If we never fail nor ever get to know how devastating is to lose what we love, how would we be able to learn value the moments we spare with them and value life itself?

All those things were pounding in my head while I was reading Orange. Sometimes I really wish I could turn back time and turn all the wrongs right, but maybe I don’t really have to.

Today I have many great friends, the greatest I could ever ask for. I value the family members I still have as the most precious thing in the world and I have Felipe, who’s filled any gaps my soul could possibly still have. And I’m very thankful and feel blessed for having every single one of them in my life. And well, who knows what else future can also bring?

Now back to Orange, a live action movie is coming to Japan Theaters on December 12 and a long trailer was recently released by Warner Music, featuring the song “Mirai” by Kubokuro:

As far as I could see on this video, I’d say the movie is gonna be very faithful to the manga series. Let’s hope it’ll get to the Western countries as soon as possible.

And anyway, I truly recommend Orange, but have some tissues nearby. Best wishes to you all!


And to all the beloved ones I’ve lost: I’m sure you are doing great, thanks for had been a memorable part of my life! We’ll surely meet someday again and have a wonderful time together. ❤

 

Halloween in Brazil

(Yeah, I know this post is about a month late but better late than never, right?)

Halloween is definitely my favorite holiday of the year. I’m not sure why, though – Maybe it’s due the many symbolism it represents, maybe because I really like morbid/dismal themed stuff, maybe because purple is my favorite color and it’s awesome so see so many purple/orange decorations everywhere (also, purple+orange=best match ever).

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Evil Surgeon me and “Sr. Abóbora” (please don’t mind that humble pumpkin, it’s really hard to find nice shaped and sized ones here)

Or maybe (and most likely) because I value life so much that I just can’t overlook death.

About this special holiday:


“Halloween is the one of the oldest holidays still celebrated today. It’s one of the most popular holidays, second only to Christmas. […]

Halloween is on October 31st, the last day of the Celtic calendar. It was originally a pagan holiday, honoring the dead. Halloween was referred to as All Hallows Eve and dates back to over 2000 years ago.

While there are many versions of the origins and old customs of Halloween, some remain consistent by all accounts. Different cultures view Halloween somewhat differently but traditional Halloween practices remain the same. Halloween culture can be traced back to the Druids, a Celtic culture in Ireland, Britain and Northern Europe. Roots lay in the feast of Samhain, which was annually on October 31st to honor the dead.Samhain signifies “summers end” or November. Samhain was a harvest festival with huge sacred bonfires, marking the end of the Celtic year and beginning of a new one. Many of the practices involved in this celebration were fed on superstition.The Celts believed the souls of the dead roamed the streets and villages at night. Since not all spirits were thought to be friendly, gifts and treats were left out to pacify the evil and ensure next years crops would be plentiful. This custom evolved into trick-or-treating.” – Halloween History & Origin


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The whole crew of weirdos :~

However It’s a very recent tradition in Brazil and still not that celebrated yet but year by year it’s been growing in popularity. My friends and I usually throw a bang-up party for the occasion and this year (despite a few setbacks) wasn’t different.

Since I’m a veterinary medicine student I though an evil surgeon would fit just perfectly for my costume this time (last year I was an Oompa Loompa). Felipe dressed as an undead pirate, my sister Jéssica as the suicide squad Harley Quinn and my sister Lorena as a female version of Hanibbal Lecter from the Silent of the Lambs.

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My sister Lorena as Hannibal Lecter (without the mask because it was as hot as hell that night of reasons), my sister Jessica as Suicide Squad Harley Quinn, Felipe as an undead pirate and I (that’s a foot in my hand by the way)

This year our costumes were all custom-made, but in Manaus you can find some cool outfits and accessories for your Halloween party (and other holidays) at the Bandeirão store and at the Armarinho Manoela haberdashery (info at the end of this post).

Note: I indeed thought about using my real stethoscope for this costume, but in the end I decided a fake one would be “safer”. 😂


What about you? What’s your favorite holiday?


  •  Bandeirão store: Rua Pará (Pará st.), n76, Vieiralves, Nossa Senhora das graças district. Manaus, AM – Brasil. Opens from 8AM to 6PM. Phone: 55+(92) 3633-4145
  • Armarinho Manoela: Rua (st) Henrique Martins, 404, Centro (downtown). Manaus, AM – Brasil. Phone: 55+ (92) 3234-2864

About the current political situation in Brazil

This week the Chamber of Deputies president Eduardo Cunha and other opposition representatives began a process to impeach Brazil’s president, Dilma Rouseff. And although it was already rejected by the Supreme Court, the overall mood in the country isn’t cheerful.

Brazil is currently facing a crisis so bad that more than 59% of the people thinks our president should be impeached. I’m not really a political person but there are some matters that cannot be ignored and I must say, despite I’m not in favor of our current president, I don’t see how an impeachment could improve the situation either. Kenneth Rapoza from Forbes synthetized my opinion about this whole situation on his article: Why Impeaching Brazil’s President Dilma Is A Bad Idea that I strongly recommend you to spare a few minutes to read.

It’s a real shame that some parties seem to be taking advantage of people’s discontent (and a bit of political ignorance) to stir things up even more. We all have the right to be completely “fed up” with this whole chaotic situation, but as magnificently stated by Forbes, impeaching our president won’t solve anything and will probably just make it all worse.