Yule Spirit

There is a decided lack of Yule spirit in this house.

We have the wall this year – a blanket of fairy lights with one of my little shelves holding our Jack Skellington tree on it. The presents that are already put together are on the bookshelf by the door. Everything is going sort of well, pretty much along what we usually have, only because of our financial issues this year, it’s a bit tense.

Pumpkins – Not Just for Scaring Anymore!

My youngest, Draco, received two medium sized pumpkins today. She only wants them for the seeds, which is fine… I want them for the fleshy bits.

I love pumpkin. Pumpkin pudding or pie is my favorite, followed closely by Grandma’s Pumpkin Loaf, and of course Pumpkin cookies. Thanks to a friend online, I was pointed to a site that had the following recipe (originally credited to Libby & All Recipes) for Pumpkin Whoopies.



2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin (or prepared fresh pumpkin)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


For cookies:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease or line four baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in large mixer bowl on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin and vanilla extract; beat until smooth. Stir in flour mixture until combined. Drop by heaping measuring teaspoons onto prepared baking sheets. (A total of 72 cookies are needed for the recipe.)

Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until springy to the touch. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

For cream cheese filling:

Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until light and fluffy.

Spread a heaping teaspoon of filling onto flat side of one cookie; top with flat side of second cookie to make a sandwich. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Store in covered container in refrigerator.



For bars:
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

For topping:
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined.

Spread the batter evenly into an ungreased 10×15 inch jellyroll pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in preheated oven. Cool before frosting.

To make the frosting, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add confectioners’ sugar a little at a time, beating until mixture is smooth. Spread evenly on top of the cooled bars. Cut into squares.



3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup applesauce
4 eggs
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two loaf pans, or three small size.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, soda, salt, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir well. Add applesauce, eggs, pumpkin, and water. Mix batter with mixer. Stir in nuts. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until tester inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm.



Cleaned, dry pumpkin seeds
1/4 c olive oil
seasoning salt (or other seasoning mixture)


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Toss cleaned, dry seeds in olive oil, spread evenly on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with seasoning salt and bake for 20 minutes or until golden-brown.

What a Child Learns

I found this today in my gran’s little black ‘cookbook,’ a small binder filled to bursting with old wives tales, recipes, kitchen tips, rhymes, alternative healing methods passed down from her mother and aunts, and notes about life in general. I have several of these little binders of hers, and each one is a treasure in and of itself.

This particular piece is uncredited, a snippet of age-yellowed newsprint cut from the weekend edition, or perhaps the old farmer’s magazine they used to get once in a while.

What a Child Learns

If a child lives with criticism,
    He learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hositility,
    He learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule,
    He learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame,
    He learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance,
    He learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement,
    He learns to have confidence.

If a child lives with praise,
    He learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness,
    He learns justice.

If a child lives with approval,
    He learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
    He learns to find love in the world.

Author unknown.