The first tastes of spring

We are having cooler weather again this week. On Monday it was rainy, and yesterday was cloudy. At least today the sun is shining at times.

Son Joseph, 18, is home today. He has been busy outside cleaning the yard and filling in dirt on the low spots before we roll the yard.

We had success with our garage sale last week, but we still have some things left. I want to take it to a thrift store, or the free store, or give it to someone who can use it. It was time consuming to have the sale but makes more space now in my storage areas.

Our rhubarb is plentiful, so I have made quite a few rhubarb custard pies. We are also enjoying asparagus from the garden.

My husband Joe planted some more vegetables in the garden on Saturday: lettuce, radishes, peas, and corn.

Sunday is Mother’s Day, so I wish all mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day. I am blessed to have 8 wonderful children who call me Mother: Elizabeth, 26, Susan, 25, Verena, 23, Benjamin, 21, Loretta, 20, Joseph, 18, Lovina, 16, and Kevin, 15. I thank God for their love, and I hope I will always be a good example to them. It takes daily prayers to raise a family. I also have 5 precious grandchildren who call me Grandma: Abigail, 4, Jennifer, 3, Timothy (T.J.), 2, Ryan, 21 months, and Allison, 16 months.

Father’s Day will be hard on daughter Susan, to have 2 little children who won’t have a father to give their love to. Mose would buy a flower for the children to give to Susan on Mother’s Day. May God continue to guide her and comfort her. Let us remind ourselves that God makes no mistakes.

On Sunday we had communion services at our neighbors’ home. Daughter Susan and children and sister Verena were here for the night on Saturday and went to church with us.

Ryan was so excited to have a little black hat to wear to church. When we came to church, he thought he could wear it during the service, so it took a little persuading to get him to hang it up until afterward.

Sister Verena and daughter Susan and children stayed overnight again Sunday night. When Ryan woke up Monday morning Joe had left for work already. Ryan went to our bedroom, to Joe’s side of the bed, asking where Grandpa was. I told him he was working. He then pointed to the cabinet on the wall where Joe keeps his hat and asked for Joe’s hat. He thought he should have both his and Grandpa’s hat, but I told Ryan we need to leave it there for when we go to church again. Such sweet little angels. What do they have to see in the future?

I answered all the reader mail now. I want to again thank everyone for their support and encouragement. It is all greatly appreciated. May God bless all of you!

I will share the recipe for asparagus shepherd’s pie this week for those of you who love asparagus. We had asparagus last night just fried in butter.

Take care! Until next week…God bless!

Asparagus Shepherd’s Pie
6 medium potatoes, diced
1-2 pounds hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10.5 ounce) can cream of chicken or asparagus soup
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut in pieces
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese

Boil potatoes in water until tender. Brown hamburger with onion and garlic; drain grease. Stir in soup and pour into a greased 2-quart baking dish. Cook asparagus in small amount of water until crisp and tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain and layer over beef mixture. Drain the potatoes and mash, adding milk, butter, and salt. Spread mashed potatoes over asparagus and sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Warm days for tilling and planting

Today was our first day of 80-degree weather this year and we enjoyed the great outdoors. Daughters Susan and Verena and grandchildren Jennifer and Ryan came last night and are staying again tonight. Susan and I worked on getting everything organized for the garage sale we are having here Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Susan has a lot of baby stuff she’s getting rid of. She has so many nice items that have only been used a little. She is also selling the RV Mose bought for them to live in while they remodeled the house. When we were cleaning it, Jennifer came in there and said, “This is my bed.” Then she pointed to the bed and said, “This is where my daddy slept and Mommy on that side.” Life brings so many changes.

I bought little Ryan a small black hat and what fun he has walking around outside with it. He takes really big steps to make it look like he’s older or something. When Joe comes home from work he puts his hat beside Grandpa Joe’s. Joe was tilling the garden and Ryan was right behind him.

Last night Joe and son Joseph planted 10 pounds of red potatoes and 400 Candy sweet onions. I have more seeds to put out yet but it’s calling for rain so we will see.

We also want to plant the tree my good friend Ruth gave in memory of our dear son-in-law Mose. It’s a Cleveland Pear and we will plant it beside the other Cleveland Pear that we call our “Marilyn” tree. Ruth also gave us that one 11 years ago in memory of sister Emma and Jacob’s 8 1/2-month-old, Marilyn, who passed away. Ruth also gave daughter Susan a tree, so we want to help her get her tree planted. This is so thoughtful of Ruth and is very much appreciated.

Cousin Amos had the viewing and funeral in Bryant, Indiana, for his wife Rose Marie. Amos lives 8 hours from us in Wisconsin, so with the viewing located in Indian instead, only a little over 2 hours from us, we were able to attend. Our sympathy goes to the family.

Sister Verena, sister Emma and Jacob, and Joe and I left Sunday afternoon and attended the viewing of a good friend Alvin and then went on to Rose Marie’s viewing. Alvin will be greatly missed in their community. Our sympathy goes to his family as well.

We saw a lot of family while at the viewings. On our way home we stopped at sister Liz and Levi’s for a short visit.

We saw sister-in-law Nancy and some of her children at the viewing. Also Brother Albert, Sarah Irene and some of their children and quite a few cousins. We didn’t get to see sister Leah and Paul, but it was getting late and we had to start for home. We were thankful we had safe traveling and made it back okay.

Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) took his mower down to sister Verena’s house to mow her grass. Daughters Verena, Loretta, and Lovina went there too so they can visit with Verena. Lovina will stay the night with Verena and go to work from there. Verena was so glad her yard was getting mowed. Joe wants to till her garden so we can plant a few things for her to use. Sister Susan took care of their yard and garden. She is still so greatly missed. God has been a great help and comfort through our recent trials. God bless!

Lovina doubled the recipe for the oven baked omelet featured in this week’s column. Photo provided.

Oven Baked Omelet

8 eggs
1/2 cup milk or half and half cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped ham
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green peppers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk eggs and cream together. Add cheese, ham, onion, and green pepper. Pour into a greased 9×9 inch pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 4-6. Substitutions or additional meat and vegetables such as sausage, tomatoes, or mushrooms may be used if desired.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Appreciating God’s creation in a cold spell

It was snowing most of the day yesterday, although there was not much accumulation. It really does feel good to have heat in the house again. We had let the stove go out over the warm-up.

I have been busy sewing this week, and that is my plan for today. The wedding where daughter Loretta and her special friend Dustin are table waiters is Friday already. Daughter Lovina and her special friend Daniel will also go for the evening meal, as will son Joseph and his special friend Grace. Grace is a sister to Dustin and Daniel.

Last night, daughter Verena came here with grandchildren Jennifer, T.J., and Allison. Daughters Susan, Elizabeth, and son-in-law Tim went to get some more stuff for Susan’s house. They are finishing the second bathroom. Susan took Ryan along. Abigail cried because she didn’t want her parents to leave, so they took her along, too. Ever since son-in-law Mose’s accident, she gets scared when both her parents leave. She used to never mind staying here while they shop. Poor little children can’t understand everything, but then even we adults don’t understand it all.

As I write this, my husband Joe is still waiting on his ride to work. He’s later than usual. Sons Benjamin and Joseph left already. Daughter Lovina is at sister Verena’s house, so she should be on her way to work.

Joe has the gardens tilled up and wants to get some garden planted once we are through this cold spell.

Rhubarb and asparagus are coming up nicely. My spring flowers are also out. Hopefully the cold doesn’t bother any of it.

Lovina appreciated the opportunity to do a book signing and share some baked goods at the Plain and Simple Craft Fair in Shipshewana, Indiana. Photo provided.

On Saturday, daughters Verena and Lovina went with me to the book signing in Shipshewana, Indiana, at the Plain and Simple Craft Fair. My good friend Ruth took us, which was very much appreciated. We met a lot of readers there. Thanks to all who came, and we received so much encouragement. May God bless you for your kindness. Plain and Simple is an Amish craft and décor magazine, and they hosted the craft fair. There were over 80 vendors there, so it was quite interesting.

As I pull the curtains back this morning, a beautiful scene greets me. Although it might not be perfect timing for us—it’s God’s creation. Every tree is white, and the grass is covered with snow. The sun is out, and the snow is already dripping from the house roof. I don’t think it will stay long, but we won’t care, as we were loving the spring weather and warm days. Another time we let God be in control.

This is now a little later and I just talked on the phone with sister Verena. She called to let me know the sad news. Cousin Amos’s wife Rosemarie from Wisconsin had a heart attack and died this morning. Rosemarie is a sister to my sister-in-law Sarah Irene (brother Albert’s wife). Rosemarie is 63 and also a mother-in-law to nephew Ben and niece Elizabeth (sister Leah’s children). A lot of grieving hearts within their family. Our heartfelt sympathy to all! May God be their guide as they face life without wife, mother, grandmother in the future. How much we know of the heartache that lies ahead for them. God makes no mistakes!

This week I will share the rhubarb juice recipe, since quite a few readers requested it again. It is also in my cookbook The Essential Amish Cookbook. Thank you to all the readers who have bought that book and the newest book, Amish Family Recipes. It has helped us so much.

God bless!

 

Jars of rhubarb juice canned and ready to enjoy. Photo provided.

Rhubarb Juice

8 pounds rhubarb, washed and diced
8 quarts water
2 (12-ounce) cans frozen orange juice
2 (46-ounce) cans pineapple juice
4 cups sugar
2 (3-ounce) packages strawberry gelatin

Combine rhubarb and water and cook 25-30 minutes or until rhubarb is soft. Strain liquid into a bowl, discarding rhubarb. Add the orange and pineapple juices, sugar, and gelatin. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Serve the juice as is, add club soda or ginger ale, or mix with additional pineapple juice.

The juice may be frozen or canned. To can the juice, heat to 190 degrees. Ladle into hot quart jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims with a dampened paper towel and adjust lids. Process in a boiling-water canner for 20 minutes. Makes 8–10 quarts.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her cookbooks, The Essential Amish Cookbook and Amish Family Recipes, are available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Fun with Eicher grandchildren

It’s time to pen this column again and words seem hard to come to my mind. Today four months ago is when our dear son-in-law Mose lost his battle to the injuries from the accident. It has been harder for daughter Susan as time goes on. I am sure anyone that has been through this can agree with her. She said, “Sometimes the hurt is so bad that I don’t know if I can keep going. I know God wants me to, and my children need me, and that’s what keeps me going.” Oh, the pain in a mother’s heart when her child is hurting. I’m so thankful for the comfort of prayer and a God who sees and hears our cry.

Little Ryan, 20 months, likes to follow Grandpa around outside. Sunday night we had to laugh watching him. When Joe put his hands in his pockets, he would, too. When Joe put just one hand in his pocket, Ryan took one out. He watched Joe and walked with big steps. When Joe puts on his hat, then Ryan wants a hat, too. We need to find a little hat his size, because he wears an old one that is too big for him and he won’t give it up. When we leave for church, he cries that he can’t take that big old black hat with him. One of the first things he does when he comes is go for the hat (it was Dustin’s old church hat). At home, Susan lets him wear Mose’s hat.

Ryan always loved Grandpa as his favorite, and one time Mose told Joe, “Ryan looks up to you a lot.” How little did we think that Mose might not be here to raise his son. God makes no mistakes. He has a plan, and we can’t question his ways.

We decided to let daughter Elizabeth and Tim buy our eight-year-old miniature pony, Prancer, as well as the little pony wagon and his harness. Oh, how thrilled Abigail, 4, and T.J., 2, were to be able to have a pony. Prancer is a very calm pony. Daughter Susan trained him six years ago. She didn’t want a pony until Jennifer and Ryan are older, so we let Tim and Elizabeth take him. He will get so much more attention from the little children. Daughter Lovina, 16, had fun riding him when she was little. She and Kevin drove him around here a lot, but now they are much too big for Prancer. How time flies, and so many changes.

Elizabeth said when Tim pulls their buggy in their garage, T.J. pulls the pony wagon in beside the buggy. He says he wants “his” buggy beside daddy’s buggy.

I hope I don’t overdo talking about my grandchildren. They are just so precious to me.

Joe and I were home alone on Friday night, as all the children were leaving to one place or another. It makes us feel older when everyone is out of the house. Tim and Elizabeth and Susan brought their children here while they went to get more supplies for Susan’s house. With five little ones to care for, we didn’t get bored: two one-year-olds, a two-year-old, a three-year-old, and a four-year-old. They kept us on our toes, but it made me see how much our children entertain the grandchildren when they are home.

Joe loves to look for the needle in the Country magazine, and the little ones loved the pictures. They enjoy looking at books, or if we read to them.

With the rhubarb growing very fast this spring, try these rhubarb dumplings.

God bless!

Rhubarb Dumplings

Dough:
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons cold butter
3/4 cup milk

Filling:
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 cups finely chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Sauce:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients (except the vanilla) and bring to a boil; cook and stir continuously for 1 minute. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and set aside. For the dough, in a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk and mix together, being careful not to over-mix. Gather dough into a ball and on a floured surface roll out into a 12×9 inch rectangle. Spread with softened butter; arrange rhubarb on top. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over rhubarb. Roll up from the long side and place on a cutting board, seam side down. Cut roll into 12 slices. Arrange slices, cut side up, in a greased 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Pour sauce over slices. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 12.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

A beautiful Easter Sunday

It is just after 5 a.m. and my husband Joe and sons Benjamin, 21, and Joseph, 18, have all left for another day’s work. Daughter Lovina, 16, will be leaving in a half hour for her job. That leaves just me and Loretta. Daughter Verena is still staying with daughter Susan and children. Son Kevin, 15, and nephew Steven, 13, went to sister Verena’s for the night. Steven is on spring break from school this week. Those two cousins always seem to be the best of friends.

Yesterday I cut out a dress, cape, and apron for Loretta and a same color shirt for Dustin (her special friend). They will be table waiters at a friend’s wedding in a couple weeks, which is over an hour from here. Today I want to sew it, but I’m not sure how far I’ll get. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan will be going to town. Daughter Verena will come here with T.J., 2, Ryan, 20 months, and Allison, 13 months. Abigail, 4, and Jennifer, 3, will go with their mothers. I want to get a sand box and some sand for the little ones to play with. Sunday evening the younger grandchildren thought my flower beds looked fun to dig in. They thought they could use the soil to play with the sand toys. When my children were younger, we didn’t have cement by the walkout basement. That was nice, sandy soil that my children had lots of fun playing in for hours. I used to babysit for twin boys Joshua and Jacob who were close in age to Lovina and Kevin. Those four were often entertained playing in the sand down there. It was under the porch, so they were in the shade on hot summer days.

Daughter Elizabeth said Abigail was playing outside with her dolls one day, then the next morning Elizabeth saw the dolls were still outside and brought them in. She told Abigail that she forgot to bring her dolls in the night before. Abigail asked her if she brought in the one that died. She had buried one of her dolls in the sand pretending it had died. Seeing two people that were very close to her be buried six weeks apart is probably what brought that to her imagination. Dear sweet innocent children—what lies ahead for their future? Only God knows.

Easter Sunday was such a beautiful day, with a nice warm temperature all day. Our family all came here after church and stayed for supper. We hid eggs for the grandchildren. For the adults I had small gifts on a table, and they played bingo until all the gifts were taken. Our menu was barbecue chicken, deep fried shrimp (that Tim and Elizabeth brought), macaroni and cheese, colored eggs, sliced cheese, homemade bread and butter, robin egg nests, and ice cream. It was an easy supper, with the men taking care of the meat outside. Sister Verena came here Saturday evening and was here until after supper Sunday. Son-in-law Mose and sister Susan were greatly missed like always. Life goes on, and God’s ways are not our ways. All we have is memories.

Daughter Susan and children went home for the night with sister Verena. Two very lonely ladies that need our prayers. I hope everyone had a blessed Easter—a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life! Until next week … God bless!

On April 17th, I will be signing my cookbooks from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Shipshewana Flea Market Grounds in the Antique and Miscellaneous building for the Plain and Simple Craft Fair. I hope to see some of you readers there. Hopefully a few of my daughters can come with me.

These cute robin egg nests were part of Easter Sunday supper for the Eicher family. Photo provided.

Robin Egg Nests

1 12-ounce bag white chocolate chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 6-ounce can potato sticks
robin eggs candy

Melt chocolate chips, then add peanut butter and powdered sugar and mix well. Stir in potato sticks. Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin pan, making little nests. Place candy eggs in the nests. Refrigerate or freeze until set and remove from pan.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Easter egg fun with grandchildren

It’s the last day of March. The rain during the night brought colder temperatures this morning. Friday will be Good Friday so everyone will be off work. Sunday is Easter—we give thanks to our dear Savior Jesus Christ who died on the cross so we can be saved from our sins. We have so many blessings. Do we appreciate them enough? It takes daily prayers to be parents to our dear children and grandparents to our dear grandchildren. Do we set enough of a good example for them? It is good we don’t know what the future holds, but we do know in whose hands it is…God. May he keep being our guide into the future.

Yesterday daughter Susan and children, daughter Verena, sister Emma and son Steven, niece Emma and children, sister Verena, son Kevin, and I spent the day at daughter Elizabeth’s house. Steven came after school (which they have until noon right now).

Elizabeth cooked 10 dozen eggs for the children to color. Did they ever have a ball with it! A big mess but lots of fun. Abigail, 4, Jennifer, 3, T.J., 2, Jessica, 2, Ryan, 20 months, and Allison, 1, did the egg coloring. Baby Menno (niece Emma’s baby) is eight months, so he didn’t help. T.J. and Jessica liked to smash their egg at first. Allison had her first egg peeled and was coloring the egg without the shell. It was so cute to watch all of them.

Elizabeth made a low-carb bacon cheeseburger casserole for lunch and also had deviled eggs and sliced cheese. Lettuce salad, pretzels and dip, pickles, blueberry pie, cookies, and chocolate pudding were brought in by all of us ladies. Elizabeth is pre-diabetic, so she tries to eat low-carb and no sugar meals. The casserole is low-carb and I asked her for the recipe, so I can share it.

The past few months I have been cooking a lot of low-carb, no sugar meals for Joe and I and the family. I had one slice of bread in two months so that is a change for me. If any readers have good low-carb recipes I would appreciate them. Joe and I both feel better eating like this and it has helped us shed a few pounds which is always good. Most of all though is that it makes us feel better.

I haven’t done too much baking lately, but daughters Susan and Verena brought monster cookies that Verena and Jennifer baked. Sister Verena sent over chocolate chip cookies she made. So, for the ones in the family that still like some sweets, it was nice to have those on hand.

Family members enjoyed getting together and had a ball coloring hard boiled eggs for Easter. Photo provided.

Elizabeth sent colored eggs home with all of us yesterday, so I have some for Easter. I want to go look for dandelion greens to make dandelion salad and dice some of the colored eggs in it (after they are peeled, of course). I love dandelion green salad with bacon or some fresh ham from the freezer.

Joe wants to see if he can dig up a little horseradish root to make fresh horseradish to have with colored eggs on Easter. That’s a tradition we always have, horseradish and colored eggs on Easter.

Tim and Elizabeth have 10 baby chicks and 2 baby ducks in a tote in their house that they bought this week. It was a full-time job for Elizabeth to keep the children away from the chicks. T.J. was riding a sit and scoot toy which has room under the seat. Someone discovered he had the 2 ducks and a few chicks under the seat. They were rescued and put back with the rest. He wanted to give them a ride. Abigail and Jennifer were playing with their dolls when Elizabeth discovered they had snuck 4 baby chicks to play with. Needless to say, Elizabeth will be glad when the chicks are big enough to put in the chicken coop. God’s blessings and a blessed Easter to all.

Low Carb Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

1/2 pound bacon
1 pound ground beef
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons reduced sugar ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
4 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
8 ounces grated cheese
1 teaspoon fresh dill (optional)

Dice the bacon in small pieces and fry until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Drain grease from pan and add the ground beef to skillet and cook until browned, crumbling as it cooks. Drain fat, add onion and garlic, and cook a little. Add the cream cheese, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and seasoned salt to the skillet and cook over low heat stirring constantly. Spread the beef mixture into an 8×8 inch baking dish. Top with cooked bacon. Crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk together with the heavy cream until combined. Stir in the pepper and hot sauce. Pour egg mixture over the beef and bacon. Top with grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until set and golden on top. Sprinkle with dill before serving.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Eicher family enjoys signs of Spring

Spring has officially begun! Signs of spring are everywhere and an almost 70 degree warm, sunny day shows us most of winter is behind us.

Today (March 23) I spent most of my day at daughter Susan’s house. A group of church ladies gathered at her house for coffee break. Now to me this “coffee break” is like brunch. A breakfast casserole, ham/cheese sandwiches, carrots/dip, and so many different desserts, coffee and tea made a full menu of a meal. The little children played with toys and the little girls played with dolls and played house while the ladies visited.

I took our horse Midnight and our buggy. It was a beautiful morning for a ride. It’s been a while since I drove alone in the buggy. Time alone can be peaceful and time to think. Life surely has changed for us. So often we think, why God? Why us? Then we correct ourselves because God doesn’t make mistakes. Trust in God with all thine heart…again and again and again. Time will lessen the heartaches.

Daughter Loretta, 20, is washing our supper dishes as I write this. Daughter Lovina, 16, left before supper to go spend the night with sister Verena. I fried chicken for supper so Lovina took some along for their supper. Along with chicken we had potato casserole left over from last night’s supper. Fried chicken tasted good again for a change.

Daughter Verena, 23, is still staying with daughter Susan most of the time.

I was cleaning my desk and came across a packet of reader mail that was sent to me in December. I am so sorry to those of you that asked questions about recipes or other questions. I will try to answer those soon. With having two funerals here six weeks apart my “clutter” was pushed aside and now we are trying to get back to normal as much as possible.

Sunday evening Joe and I were home alone so we decided to walk down to sister Verena for a while. She had been home alone since after church. Those hours can be long if you are alone. We visited with her and talked of memories. Sister Susan is still so missed and so many things remind you of her when you go there. She has many lonely days and wishes more of the family could come visit her. She spent Friday evening with daughters Susan and Verena. Joe and I also went there for supper. Tim and Elizabeth and children joined us there, too.

Son Kevin and nephew Steven spent the night at sister Verena’s house on Saturday night. Jacob and Emma picked them up to go to church Sunday morning. Sister Emma also picked sister Verena up to bring her to coffee break at daughter Susan’s this morning.

This week I’ll share a recipe for coffee cake. Hope you will enjoy it.

Time for me to join the rest—getting ready for bed.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Coffee Cake
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 cups flour
2 cups sour milk

Crumb topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter

Filling:
3 teaspoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (more if preferred)

Sift or whisk dry ingredients together and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Then alternate adding dry ingredients and sour milk, ending with dry ingredients. Divide batter into four pie pans. For the crumb topping, pinch together brown sugar, flour, and butter until it forms crumbs, and sprinkle over the batter in each pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cake springs back in the middle to your touch. Let cakes cool and remove from pans.

For the filling, cook flour in milk until thick. Set aside until cool. Cream shortening and sugar. Then add in the cooled flour mixture and powdered sugar, beating until fluffy. Cut each cake in half horizontally to form two layers and spread filling between the two layers.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Gratitude for precious family time

It’s Tuesday evening. Supper is over and the dishes have been washed. Daughter Susan and children Jennifer, 3, and Ryan, 1, are staying here for three days. They are staining/finishing some trim and doors/door frames at her house, so the smell is a little strong and there are no doors on any room right now while they are being stained.

Tonight daughter Verena is spending the evening and overnight with Sister Verena. She is so good at putting others’ needs before her own. God will surely bless her someday.

Daughter Susan and Jennifer and daughter Loretta are sitting at the kitchen table. Loretta and Jennifer are coloring while Susan is writing. Susan keeps journals—one to Mose and one to God. Putting her thoughts on paper seems to be a healing process for her. She said even if Mose can’t read her journal it’s a way to feel connected to him.

Yesterday we did our laundry and hung it in the basement. We brought it up today to fold and put away. Susan brought her laundry and washed it today. It is hanging on the lines in the basement, now. Last week spoiled us with all the warm sunny weather. Hopefully this cold spell won’t last long.

Sunday night our family gathered at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house for supper. The menu was chicken and potatoes on the grill, with steamed cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots, cheese, and cupcakes. It was all delicious! It was a lovely evening for a buggy ride. Spending time with our family seems more precious since losing loved ones so dear to us. It makes us appreciate each other much more.

The weekend also moved our clocks an hour forward. Nights seem longer with more daylight. We see early signs of spring—robins, flowers peeping through—so we hope cold weather will soon be past for the season. This weekend the calendar says it’s officially spring.

Another blessing we have had is my husband Joe has a job at a metal shop now. This is his third week, and it seems to be going great. We are so thankful for all our blessings in the midst of our heartaches.

This is now 4:45 a.m. I didn’t get this column finished last night. Jennifer decided she wanted cream to give us all foot massages. She didn’t spare the cream which I think is what she likes about it. She tries to act like she’s a doctor and we are her patients. Earlier today she helped with dishes and folded laundry. When she heard us comment about it, she put her hands on her hips and tried to act like an adult. She was talking and would roll her eyes and make her voice sound different. Ryan walks behind her trying to mimic everything his big sister does. When they do cute things like that it makes Susan want to share it with Mose. There are so many milestones he is going to miss. God has a plan and a reason why he took Mose from his earthly home so soon. May he help guide the broken-hearted left behind to understand. God makes no mistakes!

God’s blessings to all!

Zucchini Crumble
6 cups zucchini, peeled and diced small
1/4 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Crumble topping
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick cook oatmeal
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

In a large bowl, combine the diced zucchini with lemon juice, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish. In another bowl combine all the crumble top ingredients. Using your hands combine butter with dry ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of zucchini mixture and press firmly. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. It is good served warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Updates from Lovina’s daughter, Susan

Hi Everyone,

I’m Lovina’s daughter, Susan. I decided to write and let you all know how thankful I am for all the cards, money, and encouraging words people have sent. Also, for all the prayers that helped me through the toughest time.

It is Monday night and I’m sitting here writing. Sister Verena is reading, and Jennifer and Ryan are playing doll. Jennifer is the mom and Ryan is the daddy, though I don’t think Ryan has any clue what he is supposed to do. He just follows his big sister around. They are so sweet.

Joe and Susie, Mom and Dad’s neighbors, sent supper over earlier. They sent pizza and flowers. Mose’s brother Alvin and his wife Susanna and their two children, Kaleb and Isaiah, showed up with supper also. So, they just stayed, and we all had subs and pizza for supper. Alvin and Susanna try to come every Monday night, Lord willing.

My sister Verena stays with the children and me now. The children love that she’s here. They like when she gives them rides on her scooter and she makes them go to sleep like that when it’s their nap time. I’m so thankful to have Verena, it helps to have her here, so the nights don’t seem as long and lonely. I keep her awake to just share memories about Mose. She’s a good listener. May God bless her generous heart.

My family and Mose’s family have been very supportive. They all helped me in many different ways.

Aunt Verena came here Friday (March 5) for the night. I feel bad for her. She also has some long, lonely nights. I have my children to keep me occupied, but Verena is all by herself now, even though we are with her. Her routine changed also. She misses her sister Susan dearly, as do the rest of us, but Verena lived with her. When you live with someone it seems a lot harder. Please keep her in your prayers.

It’s Tuesday afternoon and I just got done getting the laundry in. It was a beautiful day for laundry. Jennifer and Ryan love to play outside in this weather.

Jennifer still comes up to me and asks me if I think daddy is coming back. Ryan can’t talk except for some baby talk, so he tries to repeat after Jennifer. It breaks my heart that their daddy isn’t here to hug them or be with them any longer. Mose was a great father.

Today is the third month since the accident and it seems like Mose still should be coming home. It’s hard to grasp yet. When Mose and I first met, I never once thought that our love story would get cut short. It tore me to pieces when they called and said he passed away. It breaks my heart in two every time Jennifer and Ryan say Daddy. I fight myself when the bitter thoughts take place, and the days seem to be long and the future so dark. I learned to just take one day at a time.

I thank God for every moment I had with my dear husband. God blessed us with these years together, even though I catch myself wishing that I could have had one more year with Mose. Mose left the house that morning with both of us not knowing those were our last moments together. Our last I love you’s, our last hugs, our last everything. If only I would have known I would never have let him go.

Mose never gained consciousness after the accident. I feel like I lost him the 9th of December already. Losing Mose has made me look at life differently. Life is too short, so don’t take it for granted. Make the best of it while you can. In a blink of an eye life can change and it’s devastating. God has carried me a long way and still does. Keep Dan’s wife Jodi in your prayers also. Her life changed too. She has a lot of lonely nights. May God be with her.

Thursday my mom and sisters Lovina and Loretta, brother Kevin, sister Elizabeth and her children, Aunt Verena, Aunt Emma, and her daughter Emma and children, and cousin Susan and her children are all coming for the day. All the food is being brought in.

May everyone have a great rest of the week and God bless.

I will share this sugar cookie recipe. They were a favorite to Mose. He liked them frosted.

Soft Sugar Cookies
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup lard or shortening
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or sour milk
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, add the sugar, baking powder, lard, lemon juice, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, baking soda, and salt. Mix until smooth and light in color. Stir in enough of the flour to make a stiff dough. Use your hands to work flour in completely. Chill the dough for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets and drop dough by teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are golden brown, but center is still soft to the touch. Remove from oven and cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

One day at a time for Eicher family

Another morning of sitting here watching the sun rise with tears rolling down my face. I’m wishing that I could turn the clock back to December 8th, the day before our life so drastically changed. Back before that awful tragedy, back before our dear son-in-law Mose was in that terrible accident that completely shattered daughter Susan’s life. Back before dear sister Susan fell ill and was also taken from us so suddenly.

That’s when I need to let go and let God. I know he makes no mistakes, and he chose us to go through this and make us stronger in our faith. Our human nature tries to tell us otherwise, to make us question God’s ways. We need to remind ourselves over and over that God’s ways are not our ways. So we appreciate all your prayers and support. One day at a time is all we can do.

Sunday afternoon daughter Susan and children came driving with her horse Mighty and buggy to come for supper and stay the night. Oh how that tears at a mother’s heart strings to see her lonely daughter drive in alone. I feel like I need to brace up and be strong for her, but I too miss her dear husband and grieve right along with her. I know how much more it is hurting her. She tries to stay so positive and I give her a lot of credit for that, but I know she’s not that strong when she’s alone. God takes care of his own and we need to fully trust in him to lead the way. Without God this would be almost unbearable.

It is now almost bedtime, but I want to finish writing. I took the laundry off the lines in the basement and put it in laundry baskets. Since son Joseph is home, I had him carry all the baskets up for me. Daughter Loretta and I folded all of it and Joseph took everyone’s stack of clothes to their bedrooms. We had a lot of extra laundry with bedding so that usually makes a few more loads.

Joseph then headed over to help son-in-law Tim cut a load of wood for us. Daughter Elizabeth, Abigail, T.J., and Allison came with Tim to deliver the wood and they stayed for supper.

Daughters Verena and Susan, and children Jennifer and Ryan also came for supper and to stay for the night. Daughter Verena went to go get sister Verena to come join us for supper and also stay the night. The girls will all be here tomorrow (except Lovina) so we told sister Verena she can be here too.

Supper for the Eicher family included rare beef. Photo provided.

I had a simple easy supper for everyone—macaroni and cheese, rare beef, and sliced cheese. We slice the steak so thin that it isn’t actually rare but nice and tender. I use olive oil to deep fry the meat.

I also did the mending this afternoon, so I feel like I accomplished something to get that off my “to-do” list. I would like to get some sewing done but we are also gathering all the things we don’t need anymore so we can have a garage sale this spring. That takes a lot of time.

Good night and may God’s protecting hand watch over all of you.

Oven Fried Potatoes

6 large potatoes
1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thoroughly scrub potatoes and cut into strips. In a large plastic bag, combine the oil, cheese, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper. Add potatoes, seal bag tightly, and shake to coat. Spread in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown, stirring once about midway. Serve with sour cream if desired.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.