Thanksgiving is almost here . . . just over a week away! It can be a challenge to figure out how to celebrate holidays when you live overseas. Is turkey available? Cranberry sauce? Do you know how to make your own stuffing from fresh bread instead of from a Stovetop Stuffing box? And how in the world are you going to make pumpkin pie?

Where we lived in West Africa, we couldn't get pumpkin. Once in a while, we stumbled on some butternut squash which made an okay substitute. But that couldn't be depended on. So I was very thankful for this secret substitute shared by one of my co-workers . . .

Papaya.

That's right, if you have papayas, you can use them in recipes as a substitute for pumpkin. Open the papaya, scoop out the seeds, and cut it into chunks like you would cut a cantalope melon. Boil in a small amount of water until soft, drain well, and mash. This pulp can be used just like pumpkin puree! I have to admit I was pretty skeptical at first, but I tried it and it really does work!

So here's my favorite pumpkin recipe (except for traditional pumpkin pie!). I made this cake using paypaya pretty regularly when we lived overseas!

 

Pumpkin Chocoate Chip Cake

2c. flour

1 tsp salt

2 tsp soda

1 tsp cinnamon

2c mashed pumpkin (or papaya, or winter squash)

3/4 c. oil

2 c. sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 c. nuts (optional)

1 c. chocolate chips

 

Sift together dry ingredients. Mix liquid ingredients and blend well. Add to dry ingredients. Mix well, using a mixer if you have one. Then gently stir in nuts & chocolate chips. Pour into a greased and floured 13x9 baking pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until done. This is a very moist cake that tastes delicious without frosting! It is also good with cream cheese or chocolate frosting. Or what I often did, when we couldn't get powdered sugar for frosting, is make a chocolate syrup to drizzle over the top when serving. Delicious! This cake also freezes well.

 

What is the most challenging food for you to make this Thanksgiving? What will you be missing because there is no way to get it or make it in your host country?

 

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