As the lone Canadian at work, I feel like an Ambassador.
I am constantly learning about Texas, and likewise I try to explain where I am coming from as well.
Yes, Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving two months before Americans. Toronto is colder than Houston, but not nearly as cold as Ottawa, let alone Edmonton. My friend who recently joined us in Houston came from Edmonton, where she explained she could take a cup of boiling water out in the water, and splash it out of her cup. By the time it would hit the ground, it would have frozen solid. Toronto is not that cold, although Hannah told me Toronto has already received its first snowfall of the year (which subsequently melted away).
Then there’s the upcoming Hallowe’en celebrations. Yes, Canadians celebrate Hallowe’en much the same as Americans: youngsters (young and old) get dressed up in costumes and in the evening, go door-to-door asking for candies. We just have to wear more clothes in Canada to keep warm.
Truth be told, I was a bit more curious whether trick-or-treating still took place in Houston. Houston seems quite unique to me, because at least in my neighbourhood, everyone has gates and fences around the front of their houses. It seems a tad intimidating and uninviting. Never mind the “Trespassers will be shot; Survivors will be shot again” sign our neighbours sport. Right next to a “Peace” sign, to boot.
In anticipation of Hallowe’en, this past weekend, Rob and I with a new friend cycled around our neighbourhood which is nicely decked out with Hallowe’en decorations. It really was a great bike ride, with good company. It was nice to have Rob back home!
And while this is no Hallowe’en treat I am sharing, it is a Hallowe’en coloured treat courtesy of the fall’s fine produce: the pumpkin. A spin on refried beans, in this dip, pumpkin is mashed with pinto beans and tomatoes and spiced with marjoram, smoked paprika, chili powder and lime juice. The pumpkin lent a nice sweetness to the dip which was countered by the lime. Not at all spicy so increase to your heat level. I ate this dip with crackers, corn chips and vegetables. Kathy also suggests using this as a nice burrito filling, too, but it didn’t last long enough for me to test it out. ;)
So, for those outside North America, how do you celebrate Hallowe’en?
3 cups cooked pinto beans or 29-oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup pumpkin purée
1 tsp coconut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (I used smoked sweet paprika)
1/2 tsp chili powder
Juice of 1-2 lime, around 3-4 tbsp
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a medium bowl, combine the beans and pumpkin puree. Mash with a potato masher or fork until somewhat blended but still chunky.
2. In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Stir in the water, undrained tomatoes, marjoram, smoked paprika, chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the mashed beans and pumpkin.
3. Keep mashing the beans as you cook the mixture down, approximately 15 minutes, or until you reach your desired consistency. Stir in the lime juice and season to taste.