This time of year, the barriers separating Heaven, Earth and Hell become permeable. The gates open up and Spirits are abroad.

Halloween

 

Halloween has its roots in the ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of Samhain, which was celebrated on the nights of October 31 and November 1st, marking the end of harvest and beginning of winter. The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, believed that the dead returned to earth on Samhain. The word “Halloween” comes from “All Hallows’ Eve” and means “hallowed evening.” Hundreds of years ago, people dressed up as saints or other costumes, wore masks and went door to door asking for treats, which is the origin of Halloween costumes and trick-or-treating.

Día de los Muertos

 

Today we Zoom parties, share feasts at a distance and honor those living and dead who we love. In Latin America and Mexico we celebrate Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, which is both a remembrance and celebration for our dearly departed. Families create ofrendas (altars) to remember those who’ve passed. Often decorated with bright yellow marigolds, photos of the departed and their favorite items (including food and drinks), the offerings are said to encourage visits from beyond. They’re also a way families can celebrate together. Because of COVID-19, many traditional, in-person Día de los Muertos gatherings have moved online. But we can still celebrate the holiday.

 

Healthy Sweets

Here are tasty ways to add cheer to the season’s typically dreary weather, and long dark nights. https://winghopfung.com/search?q=candy

Pumpkin Surprise

Here is a new way to fix the season’s favorite fruit. A pumpkin, from a botanist’s perspective, is a fruit because it’s a product of the seed-bearing structure of flowering plants. Vegetables, on the other hand, are the edible portion of plants such as leaves, stems, roots, bulbs, flowers, and tubers. Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, pumpkin is incredibly healthy. What’s more, its low calorie content makes it a weight-loss-friendly food. Its nutrients and antioxidants may boost your immune system, protect your eyesight, lower your risk of certain cancers and promote heart and skin health.

Creamy Pumpkin Lasagna

6 servings, bake time 55 minutes and standing to cool

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves or oregano leaves
  • Dash pepper
  • 9 no-cook lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds

 

  • In a small skillet, sauté the mushrooms, onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt in oil until tender; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, cream, sage, pepper and remaining salt.
  • Spread 1/2 cup pumpkin sauce in an 11×7-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with 3 noodles (noodles will overlap slightly). Spread 1/2 cup pumpkin sauce to edges of noodles. Top with half of mushroom mixture, 1/2 cup ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles and sauce.
  • Cover and bake at 375° for 45 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and almonds. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let it stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Have fun, stay safe. Best wishes from Academy of Healing Nutrition (New York, London)