Hi guys. When I started planning this post, it was a simple recipe share. Yesterday, however, we lost our beloved Sarabi kitty. It was a very hard day. She was 18, so she certainly had a long, happy life with us. In the spring we learned that she was having troubles. The vet informed us at the time that we might only have another few weeks with her. But, beautiful Sarabi gave us her love a little longer.
Paul and I adopted Sarabi when we were living in Newfoundland. We were married a couple of years, and heard about a litter of kittens through a colleague. We took a drive out and found little Sarabi. While I was holding another kitten, Sarabi climbed up Paul’s leg. We said “well, she’s the one“! She was a frisky kitten, and a bit of a furry menace in her early years! She regularly chewed through electrical wires. Yes, wires – to lamps, keyboards and mouses (they had wires then), and more. She kept us on our toes for sure! When we moved to BC, she came with us. And, when I was pregnant with our first daughter, Charlotte, she was right there with me. Sleeping by my belly. The days leading up to Charlotte’s birth were very stressful for us, we had many tests and medical professionals interpreting my pregnancy and ultimately I was induced early. I remember Sarabi snoozing snuggled by my belly, offering her comfort. Once Charlotte was born, she was so good to her. She didn’t become jealous or react oddly, just continued to sleep where we were with our new baby. When Charlotte spoke, her first word wasn’t ‘mama’ or ‘dada’… it was “ah-boo“, as she pointed to Sarabi. And, Sarabi was with us as our family grew with both Bridget and Hope. She even helped us welcome our puppy, Ollie, this year. However, she was still top dog in this house! We would escort Sarabi through Ollie’s playroom ensuring he didn’t excitedly lunge at her. She quickly caught on to that special treatment, too. In her old age, she kept frequenting the area just to get a rise out of the pup!
Yet, she was becoming frail and slow, we knew her days with us were limited. It’s no surprise that she spent her last hours yesterday under Charlotte’s bed. Those two had a special connection. We all took turns going in and talking to Sarabi and stroking her. Later in the day, Charlotte was bringing her upstairs to me as she passed away. Charlotte said she heard one last purr. The girls are doing okay. It is hardest for Charlotte because Sarabi really was her love. Her nickname in school last year was “cat lady” as she is always sketching cats. Our younger girls are processing it differently, I don’t think they quite understand the finality. It’s been hard for Paul and I, as Sarabi was with us almost as long as we’ve been married, through so many of our milestones together.
This picture is from the photo shoot for my upcoming book. I took some special photos with miss Sarabi, sitting on our “nest” chair – another one of her favorite spots. I’m so grateful to have these photos, they really capture her sweet, peaceful, elderly spirit. Goodbye for now, miss Sarabi. Thank you for your love, we will miss you.
With Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, we will honor Sarabi. We’ll look at photos, share our memories, and give thanks for the many years she was with our entire family.
For your Thanksgiving dinner, I have this Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Maple-Spiced Pepitas recipe to share. It’s festive yet easy to make, lightly spiced, and very comforting. You could serve it as a starter, or as part of the main course with other dishes. This post has other Thanksgiving menu ideas.
Blessings to you all this Thanksgiving.
Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Maple-Spiced Pepitas
This is feel-good soup. In the autumn when the chill sets in, it is just the most comforting soup that helps you ease into the fall season. It’s perfect for a Thanksgiving starter, or served on Halloween to warm the kiddos before they head out in the cold. The pumpkin seeds are optional, but add a deliciously spicy crunch!
2 tbsp water
1 1/2 cups onion
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 – 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 – 1 tsp teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 tsp allspice
1 – 14 oz can (398 ml) pure pumpkin puree
4 cups water
1 dried bay leaf
3/4 – 1 cup soaked cashews or soaked almonds (skins removed, see note)
1 – 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
Heat the water in a large pot over medium or medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, salt (starting with 1 tsp) and spices. Stir, cover, and cook for 8 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pumpkin, about 3 1/2 cups of water, and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove soup from heat and let cool slightly. While waiting, you can prepare the pepitas (see below). Then, remove bay leaf from soup and discard. Transfer soup to a high-speed blender, along with the cashews and 1 tbsp of lemon juice. (If using a standard blender, you will need to puree in a couple of batches). Puree the soup until completely smooth. Transfer mixture back to the pot, using remaining 1/2 cup of water to loosen any soup from blender, scraping down sides and transferring back to the pot. Taste, add extra salt or lemon juice to taste, and serve, sprinkled with the seasoned pepitas (see below). Serves 4-5.
Soaked Nuts Note: You can use anywhere from 3/4 – 1 cup of soaked cashews or almonds (or a combination of both). If using soaked almonds, you can easily slip off the skins with your fingers after they have soaked. It’s not critical to remove them, but a nice touch.
Maple Roasted Pepitas
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp cinnamon
few pinches sea salt
Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet (or toaster oven tray) with parchment paper. Add the pumpkin seeds to the sheet/tray, and add the maple syrup, ginger, and cinnamon. Toss through to combine. Sprinkle with a few pinches of sea salt. Bake for 5-8 minutes, tossing once through, and watching so they don’t burn. As soon as the start to become aromatic and toasted, remove from the oven/toaster oven. Let cool on the tray. As they cool they will become crisp.