Celebrating Autumn on the Equator

Ok – so it probably sounds like an oxymoron. There’s really only two seasons in Oriental Province, D.R. Congo: Rainy and HOT. Most of the time these two seasons are indistinguishable and can change within one day, rather than months. However, there are several parallels between fruits and vegetables available here and with those common for autumn in the USA.

Fall is my favorite season – the leaves, the pumpkin spiced lattes, the football, the pumpkin pie, the beginning of the school year, the pumpkin bread, the cute sweaters, the pumpkin beer, the shorter days, and did I mention the pumpkin?.

This week I devised several ways to help celebrate autumn on the equator.

Carving Pumpkins for Halloween

So, I haven’t done this is ages. The pumpkins available here are rather small and green. But I was able to find one that worked well for a small jack o’lantern. Since I was trying to replicate American tradition, I went for the classic design.

Making Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

I’d never roasted pumpkin seeds before, but have recently acquired a taste for them. After carving my pumpkin, I thought I would give seed roasting a shot. These turned out pretty well, although I think I used a bit too much oil. Afterward, I dabbed the seeds with a napkin to remove some of the excess. For seasoning, I just used Tony Chachere’s Original.

Ingredients

  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Seasoning

Clean seeds of any pumpkin pulp. Mix seeds, oil, and seasoning until seeds are thoroughly coated. Bake at a high temp for 30 min – 1 hour depending on your desired level of “roastedness”.

Making Cider Spiked Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes (white center, not to be confused with yams) are a popular food dish here. Typically they are either prepared boiled or as fries. Instead of boiling the sweet potatoes in water, this week I used (non-alcoholic) apple cider. It’s easy and delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 packet instant apple cider mix
  • 1.5 cups hot water
  • 3-4 large sweet potatoes
  • Salt to taste

Mix instant apple cider mix with hot water. Peel and cut sweet potatoes into cubes. Place sweet potatoes in a pot on the stove. Add apple cider and salt to pot. Heat on high until boiling, then reduce heat and let simmer into potatoes are tender. Makes approximately 3 servings, 180 calories each.

Changing My Desktop Background

So it might not seem like much, but this was probably the best part about celebrating fall this week. I changed my desktop background to a photo of my nephew at the pumpkin patch.

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