As crispy coolness fills the air with the return of the sweet tang of apples and fresh pumpkins, there is no doubt that summer is fading into fall. At the Yoder home, this season is a welcome change. 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. I have a couple of totes full of coats and jackets to sort through before this cold snap coming up this weekend, no doubt I’ll have helpers on all sides who will be convinced they’ll be able to fit into every other garb.

We still enjoy our frequent pony cart rides in the evening after the supper 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 be furnishing, perhaps a dish of some sort with pumpkin.

Pumpkins or their alternative, butternut squash which we raise, are used in many ways in our home and especially so this time of the year. Pumpkin latte ranks at the top of the list, but then there is also the pumpkin crunch that is always a hit, or if you have a few extra moments, take the time to bake a pumpkin pie or even pumpkin pie squares.

Another super simple dish that I often made at lunch time for the children, while Daddy was at work, is butternut squash soup. I opened a jar of our canned squash, added some milk, a dash of salt, heated it and served it with saltine crackers. Sometimes I would also add some cinnamon and sweetener. The children like it, and I was glad for a simple dish, especially just after we got the foster children. (Hang on till next week for an update on the adoption.)

Ever since our first mug of latte, we were in love with it. (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 that the two of us sit on the deck and enjoy some pumpkin latte together while the children are still all asleep. Why, 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 schoolwork she had done that forenoon.

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.

Pumpkin Latte:

1 cup milk

1/2 cup brewed coffee

1 tablespoon pumpkin

2 tablespoons sugar (I use a bit stevia instead)

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 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

1/2 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

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

Filling:

2 cups pumpkin

1 1/2 cups milk

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon

Crumbs:

1/2 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.

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