Wow! Another week just flew by. Of course a holiday starting the week does shorten it. Husband Norm seems to get needed projects done on those "free" days, but I never seem to be able to do so. Of course, one reason just might be because of the frequent call of, "Can you come help me just a minute"? It isn't safe to leave him alone though. The other day he stayed home to work on projects while to town and he fell off the ladder. Never leave kids or husbands home alone. Thank goodness he didn't break anything, and he was too embarrassed to admit he hurt. "Oh, I'm OK." Anyway, the shutters are all almost finished being taken down, repainted and put back up.
There was a winter "wake-up" call last Sunday when one got ready for church. Quick, where are some warm clothes. The second problem is some of them don't fit and others don't look quite as good as one remembers them. There was a plan not to buy any new clothes until some existing ones were discarded, which wasn't planned for this year. Plans change.
The change in weather surely made the soup recipes appear in a hurry. The crockpot has a permanent place on the counter, and a check of supplies is going on to make certain nothing will be needed that isn't in the pantry, cellar or freezer. OK, snow, just come on I am nearly ready for you and your ice storm cousin. When we were on vacation this summer, I treated myself to a Lenox teapot and even that is already in daily use. There are many (I hope) fall sunshine days left to get my wardrobe under control and then I am ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at us.
Next Saturday, Oct. 20, is the Halloween Fun Show for all you horsey people at the Barlow Fairgrounds on Ohio 339. Bring a covered-dish and enjoy a meal with other horse people. Wear a costume and entered the costume-judging class. There are classes for all ages, with or without a horse. From the plans I have heard, it will really be an enjoyable day for everyone and the horses, too. Sign up from 10:30 a.m. and show starts at noon. Rain or shine.
This seems to be a bountiful season for winter squash. This is such a versatile vegetable. All the squash family can be used about the same was. I like butternut squash baked with a filling in the cavity of seasoned sausage and equally well liked is the brown sugar butter and cinnamon filling. Squash and pumpkin can be made into cookies, cakes, pies, soup, casseroles just any way one could think of doing. Fall and winter squash just seem to be tightly tied together, like corn stalks and pumpkins are for fall's holiday Halloween. (Do you have your costume yet?)
If Halloween is almost here, can Thanksgiving be far behind? Christmas just two months away. How quickly the year ends and how busy we all get from this point on to New Year's. Take time out for yourself and don't get caught up in the stressful rush. Plan ahead and do only what is meaningful for you and your family. Don't let the TV commercials talk you into spending more than you can comfortably afford. Hard to do with all the ads aimed at children, but you are the parent and it is more important to be able to afford food, clothes and shelter than to provide expensive toys that will be forgotten soon. If you want to do something special for the little ones, plan to take them to a Christmas setting and make memories. Those they will always remember long after the memories of the toys are forgotten. Make cookies with them, let them help plan meals for the holidays, make crafts with them to give as presents to grandparents and other family members. The holidays can be peaceful, happy and memorable without emptying the bank account or running up bills one can't pay for months. They are meant to be special and happy for us, not to be something we dread for one reason or another.
The recipes today are ones that I have pulled out to use here on the hilltop. I hope you enjoy them. Remember, a recipe is only a guideline. Change it as you like to suit your family's tastes. Enjoy this season as it soon will be getting colder and we all will be complaining about it.
Three-and-one-half cups all-purpose flour
Two teaspoons baking soda
One-and-one-half teaspoons salt
Three teaspoons cinnamon
Three teaspoons nutmeg
Three cups granulated sugar
Two-thirds cup water
One cup vegetable oil
Two-thirds cup canned pumpkin
One cup nuts, chopped
One cup raisins
Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add water, oil, pumpkin and eggs. Beat until smooth. Add nuts and raisins. Pour into well-greased and floured loaf pans. Bake in preheated 325-degree oven for 45-60 minutes, depending on loaf pan size. Test for doneness as for cake. Cool 10 minutes in pans, then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Bake in one large pan or two or three smaller ones.
Three cups sugar
One cup shortening
Three eggs, slightly beaten
Two cups canned pumpkin
One teaspoon vanilla
Three cups all-purpose flour
One-half teaspoon baking powder
One-fourth teaspoon salt
One teaspoon soda
One teaspoon ground cloves
One teaspoon ground cinnamon
One teaspoon ground nutmeg
One teaspoon ground allspice
Cream shortening and sugar. Add beaten eggs, pumpkin and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together and add to creamed mixture. Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch tube or Bundt pan. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 75 minutes or until one-fourth teaspoon confectioners' sugar glaze or left plain. The plain cake can be served with whipped cream or served plain.
One cup sugar
One-fourth cup vegetable oil
Three-fourths cup canned pumpkin
One-and- one-half cups all-purpose flour
One teaspoon baking powder
One-half teaspoon baking soda
One-fourth teaspoon ground cloves
One-fourth teaspoon ground cinnamon
One-fourth teaspoon ground nutmeg
One-half teaspoon salt
Three-fourths cup raisins
One-half cup chopped walnuts
Mix together the sugar, oil, eggs and pumpkin. Sift together dry ingredients. Stir dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture, mixing only enough to combine. Fold in the raisins and nuts. Over mixing causes tunnels in muffins. Fill greased muffin tins two-thirds full of the batter and bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Test for doneness same as for cake. Cool in pan a few minutes before removing. Serve warm with honey-butter.
SWEET POTATO PIE
Two cups mashed sweet potatoes
One stick butter or margarine
One cup sugar
One-half cup orange juice
One-half teaspoon grated orange rind
One unbaked pie shell
Peel, boil and mash sweet potatoes. Cream butter, eggs and sugar. Mix the potatoes with the creamed ingredients. Add the orange juice and rind. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 350-degrees for 25-30 minutes. Test as for pumpkin pie.
SWEET POTATO BISCUITS
Three medium sweet potatoes or canned equivalent
One-third cup butter
One-third cup sugar
Four cups self-rising flour
One cup shortening
One or two tablespoons water, if needed
Boil peeled and cut sweet potatoes about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes, mash and add butter and sugar while still hot. Let cool. Sift flour into mixture. Cut in shortening. Add water if needed for right consistency. Roll out on lightly floured surface and cut with biscuit cutter. Bake in preheated 450-degree oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Patty Christopher is a longtime food columnist for the Parkersburg News & Sentinel. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.