It’s a chilly damp day here in my slow land of country living.

It’s fall and orange abounds!  Out in the gardens, Pumpkins, sweet potatoes, winter squash.

In the woods, bright-colored leaves on sassafras, maple and many berries ripen for birds and wildlife. Lots of little orange rose hips this year. They make good jelly, but it has been a rough year, I will leave them for God and the animals to take care of.

In my kitchen a box of sweet potatoes, gift from Hubby, some squash from a friend, some nice tart cooking apples and a pumpkin have raised a  clamor for attention. They await inspiration and energy to become lasting products in the pantry and freezer. Some, like caterpillars into a cocoon are already on the way to becoming ‘something else’.

Last night a friend asked about ways to use yams. Did you know that a yam is NOT a sweet potato? But here we consider them such and use them in the same ways.

I suggested fried,  mashed, and the way Hubby likes them, cut in small pieces, baked with butter and maple syrup.

I have to be honest, if a recipe calls for pumpkin and I don’t have any, I substitute winter squash, or sweet potatoes. Sometimes I have to adjust the spices or liquid, but it seems to work.

THis is a handy recipe for Pumpkin bread: This recipe makes 2 9X5 loaves. 3 cups sugar, 1 cup oil, 4 eggs, 2 cups pumpkin (or your choice of substitute) 2/3 cups water, 3 1/2 cups flour, pinch salt, 1/2 rsp each baking powder, cloves, nutmeg, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 2 tsp baking soda. Mix all together until smooth and pour int greased and floured pans. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour, test as for cake.

Of course, you can use cooked squash or sweet potato instead of pumpkin and add in nuts or raisins if you want, In fact, another friend mentioned adding bananas.  I can see that I have some experimenting to do here in the Sunrise Ridge kitchen this winter.

I wonder if you could substitute sweet potatoes for carrots in a carrot cake? I may have to try that too.

If you don’t hear from me, I’ll be in the kitchen. Cooking, tasting and testing ideas.