As crispy coolness fills the air with the return of the sweet tang of apples and fresh pumpkins, there is no doubt fall is here. This is a welcome change at our home. Shorter days are resulting in earlier bedtimes, steaming cozy lattes, and snuggling in fleece blankets. For the children, it’s always a highlight to wear jackets, stocking caps, and scarves for the first time. We still enjoy our frequent pony cart rides in the evening after the dishes are done, only now we have to bundle everyone up before leaving.

We have one last camping trip planned for next week. Hopefully, it won’t be too cold, but then we’ll be able to enjoy the campfire to an extra degree. I don’t know what food I’ll make, probably something with pumpkin.

Pumpkins or their alternative, butternut squash, are used in many ways in our home, especially this time of year. Pumpkin latte ranks at the top of the list, but there’s also pumpkin crunch, pumpkin pie or pumpkin squares. Of course, there’s simple dishes like butternut squash soup, too.

We fell in love with latte from our first mug. No, sorry we’re not coffee drinkers, though I do enjoy smelling it, it takes me right back to Mom’s kitchen. Last week one chilly morning, Daniel suggested we sit on the porch over a mug before the kids woke. It was such a rare treat that it made me wonder what it’ll be like to have all the children married or living on their own years down the road. A couple of days later, Julia and I enjoyed a few mugs together as we helped each other check the school work she had done earlier.

Here you go, be sure to give it a try and don’t overheat it in the process, or the creamy texture will lose its quality. Also, check out the other two recipes, both pumpkin favorites around here.

Pumpkin Latte

1 cup milk

½ cup brewed coffee

1 tablespoon pumpkins

2 tablespoons sugar (I use a bit stevia instead)

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon vanilla

Dump everything into a small saucepan, stir, and heat. Pour into a pretty mug, and if you like, serve with a dab of whipped topping and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon.

Pumpkin Pie Squares

Crust:

1 cup flour

½ cup oatmeal

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup butter softened

Mix and pat into a 9 by 13 inch cake or bar pan, bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Filling:

2 cups pumpkin

1 ½ cup milk

2 eggs

¾ cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Crumbs:

½ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter, softened

Mix all filling ingredients and pour over baked crust then mix and sprinkle crumbs on top. Return to oven and bake an additional 20 minutes. Cool and cut into bars. Place a dab of whipped topping on each piece.

When the Weaver family first introduced these bars to our community, we were all impressed. It is not like any a regular cookie bar, and it tastes much like a pie with the simplicity of being baked in a bar pan.

Pumpkin Crunch

2 cups pumpkin

1 ½ milk

3 eggs

1 ½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1 yellow cake mix (I just mix up dry ingredients of a cake recipe instead)

½ cup chopped pecans, opt

¾ cup butter, melted

Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Pour into a greased 9 by 13 inch cake pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix on pumpkin mixture. Top with pecans then drizzle butter over all. Bake at 350 until golden brown. Eat warm with ice cream or cool and serve chilled with whipped topping, milk.

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