Baking pumpkin whoopie pies as the temps continue to drop

The mercury dropped down to 30 degrees this morning! I’m sure that it frosted in most places. It makes it feel good to have heat in the house. It was good timing for us.

On Tuesday, we traded in our old hopper-fed coal stove for a new one. Last night, my husband, Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph, and nephew Henry set up the new stove and started it.

We always use charcoal to get the coal started. It makes less smoke than wood. I can smell the new paint from the new stove, so I like to open a few windows slightly to get that smell out. It’s not too bad, though, because the stove is in the basement.

We have an enclosed jacket around the stove so that we can control whether we want all the heat to come upstairs or heat the basement, too. The heat travels upstairs to the bedrooms through our open staircase, which is close to the big vent in the floor over the stove in the basement.

The boys like to keep their bedrooms cool, so they shut their doors during the day. Once it’s really cold outside they let the heat go into their bedrooms.

We still have a little coal left from last year, but Joe called and ordered our supply for the winter. It’s always a big relief to have our fuel for the winter. It gets expensive to buy coal, but I still think it’s nice that we can heat all three stories of our house with one stove.

When I was growing up, the only heat we had upstairs in our bedrooms was what came up through the door. It was always chilly when we got out of bed in the morning, and we always hurried downstairs to stand by the coal or woodstove to warm up.

This week has been rainy and cold, so we will hang laundry in the basement to dry. I have lines down there and with the coal stove going, it should dry. Daughter Susan wants to wash the hunting clothes first. They wash those clothes in a special soap so that deer can’t smell their scent. Those clothes we will hang outside.

Son-in-law Timothy shot an eight-point buck last night with his bow. Daughter Loretta is still hunting, and son Benjamin has also gone hunting this fall. Loretta has a crossbow so it’s easier for her, with her disability, to shoot the arrow.

I have never hunted in my life. I just could not see myself sitting quietly for that long! I would probably be making a mental list in my head of all the other things I could be doing.

Daughter Susan and son-in-law Mose are excited to be homeowners now. We will miss having them beside us but I know they want a place to call their own. The place they bought is 5 1/2 miles from here. Timothy and Elizabeth live 6 1/2 miles from here and will be only two miles from Mose and Susan.

Mose and Susan plan to move as soon as we get the house cleaned and ready for them. They will pull out the carpet and put in new floors, and some painting will be done. It’s an old farmhouse, but the place has been kept up very nice. The garage is only six years old.

Tomorrow, our plans are to attend a wedding in Rochester, Ind., for Melvin and Lisa. Lisa is a daughter to Joe’s cousin Leander and wife Rosina.

More exciting news: Jeremiah James was born to niece Rosa and Menno Oct. 23. This would make the third grandchild for sister Liz and Levi.

Try these pumpkin whoopie pies for Thanksgiving Day. These are very yummy when partially frozen. The family of Loretta’s special friend Dustin had a very good crop of pumpkins this year, with most of their pumpkins weighing more than 100 pounds each.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Cookies:

2 cups mashed pumpkin

1 1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 to 4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cloves

Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups powdered sugar

Cookies: Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until just barely done, approximately 10-12 minutes. Cool.

Filling: Mix first three ingredients well and then add sugar. Spread filling between two cookies. Yields 16 whoopie pies.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She, her husband, Joe, and their family live in southeastern Michigan. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her latest is “The Essential Amish Kitchen.” Contact Eicher at P.O. Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

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