Resetting for Colder Weather

One of the things we've loved most about living in Joshua Tree is a reconnection to the sun, the stars, the moon, and the seasons. We're infinitely more aware of these cycles, and now as the seasons transition it's the perfect time to reset. 

As soon as the first cool night hits, we have a few favorite traditions to have our home and wardrobe reflect the change.

First things first, we like to get a fresh bundle of sage to cleanse any negative energy from our home. Allow the sage to burn for a few moments before blowing out the flame. Slowly breathe in and out and move through your home letting the smoke billow into every corner. As you do this, imagine the smoke engulfing any negativity your home has experienced this season. 

Resetting and packing for our trip to NYC with @aleksandrazee & @antromalexander ✨

A post shared by Sara & Rich Combs (@thejoshuatreehouse) on

Now that you and your home have a fresh start cleared of any negativity, it's time to make some soup. In our opinion soup is one of the happiest foods, and after a hot Summer we get extra excited to reintroduce it into our lives. ;)

Start with a clean kitchen, and bring the slow and mindful movements of burning sage into your cooking process: slow breaths, and mindful preparation of your ingredients. Maybe throw on a record while you cook as well! (Harvest Moon by Neil Young is a great one.) The recipe below is by Sunday Suppers, and is our all time favorite soup recipe.

Crockpot at the Joshua Tree Hacienda

1 cup vegetable oil
4 small corn tortillas, cut into strips
1/4 avocado, diced
1/4 onion, diced
1/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese
Lime wedges
Chopped fresh cilantro
Sliced radishes

We love this one (pictured above)

Tortilla Soup
Serves 6 to 8

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 poblano chile
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
One 32-ounce can crushed tomatoes
Two 32-ounce boxes chicken stock (we use vegetable stock)

Make the Soup

"In a large dutch oven or heavy saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Add the onion, garlic, poblano chile, salt, and black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté for about two minutes. Then add the lime juice, cumin, paprika, coriander, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and cilantro. Continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the seasonings release their aromas and the onion and chile have softened

Add the tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the heat to medium, partially cover, and cook, stirring intermittently, for about 1 1/2 hours.

While the soup is cooking, heat the remaining 1 cup oil in a small saucepan over high heat. Fry the tortilla strips in batches the hot oil for about 3 minutes, until crisp. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Once the liquid has thickened somewhat, remove the bay leaves and purée the soup with an immersion blender. (If you do not have an immersion blender, you may carefully purée the soup in batches in a blender, but let the soup cool for at least 10 minutes first.) The consistency may be somewhat thinner than you expect, but the taste should be perfect. (If you desire a thicker consistency, gently simmer the soup over medium-high heat for a few minutes until it thickens slightly.)

Serve the tortilla soup in bowls and pass the tortilla strips, avocado, onion, cheese, lime wedges, cilantro, and radishes on the side as toppings." -- Sunday Suppers


This transition of seasons also encourages us to spend more time outdoors. This is our favorite time of year to freshen up our garden, and spend some time planting new cacti. (wearing these overalls)

Joshua Tree cactus garden
Joshua Tree Cactus Garden
Removing cochineal in Joshua Tree, CA

Above, I'm removing cochineal bugs from our prickly pear to keep it healthy.

Joshua Tree Campfire

To end the evening, a glass of wine in a cozy sweater around the campfire is in order. Here's another favorite sweater I've been wearing lately. Now that November is almost here, we're rotating sweaters into our wardrobe as some lightweight linen pieces transition out.

InteriorsSara CombsComment