All posts by Lovinas Amish Kitchen

Finding a new normal

It’s the last week of February…time does not stand still.

It is much warmer than it was a week ago. It’s 40 degrees and the eastern sky is full of pink, so hopefully it will be another sunny day like we had yesterday.

Son Joseph, 18, is still off work from his construction job since his boss is in Florida for several weeks. He’s been kept busy doing things around home. Yesterday my husband Joe and Joseph went to daughter Susan’s house to work on the second bedroom downstairs. Daughter Verena is staying there with Susan.

Daughter Lovina comes home from work around 2:30 p.m., then leaves at night to go stay with sister Verena. She leaves for work at 5:30 a.m. from there. The house seems empty, and I’m trying to teach myself how to cook smaller portions.

We have been getting things together so we can file our 2020 taxes. It seems harder to think with all that has been going on. We are also going through closets and storage, and we hope to have a garage sale this spring. It’s getting closer to spring cleaning time. May God put some sunshine back in our life so we can go on, not to normal but a new normal.

I do want to take time again to thank all of you for the cards, gifts, and for being such a tremendous support during the last few months. It was greatly appreciated, and may God bless you for your kindness.

I sat down after supper last night to try to pen this column, but no words seemed to form in my mind. After a night’s sleep and seeing the start of another day, I feel more like writing.

On both Friday and Saturday evening, sister Verena and daughter Susan and children were here for the night. On Saturday night, daughter Elizabeth and Tim and children also decided to come for the night. It felt good to have everyone home again.

Steaks cut and ready to package from beef freshly butchered by the Eicher family. Photo provided.

On Sunday we were invited to sister Emma and Jacob’s house for lunch. Menno furnished most of the food in honor of his wife, niece Emma’s, 23rd birthday, which was February 15. We were served a delicious meal consisting of barbecue chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, green beans, coleslaw, cheese, cake, ice cream, cupcakes, etc.

Our church services were held on Saturday this time due to a bigger than normal service, and three young souls were baptized, accepting Jesus as their Savior. It is such a blessing to partake in the joy of baptismal services.

Daughter Elizabeth had quite an ordeal with her children. She said they were playing really nicely, so she slipped downstairs to sort the laundry. She came back up and Abigail, 4, had a small children’s scissors and was giving T.J. quite a haircut. When she saw it upset her mother, Abigail said, “Mom, hair will grow back.” Elizabeth was thankful that no one was hurt, but T.J. might have lopsided hair for a while.

With three children ages 1, 2, and 4, it keeps Elizabeth on the go.

I better get busy—we have laundry to fold and put away before I leave for town. Daughter Lovina has an appointment after work, so I will pick her up.

God’s blessings to all!

Beef Pot Roast

1 (7 – 8 pound) beef roast, chuck, round, or rump
12 medium carrots, peeled and left whole
salt
pepper
8 – 10 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
6 onions, halved
garlic cloves, optional

Brown roast thoroughly on all sides over medium heat in roaster. If using garlic, cut narrow slits in meat and insert cloves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover roaster and reduce heat to low, cooking meat about 3 hours or until nearly done. Arrange potatoes, carrots, and onion around roast, adding salt as desired. Baste with meat juices. Cover again and cook over medium heat about 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Remove meat and vegetables. Strain juices and thicken if you wish to serve with gravy.

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.

Mourning another loss in the community

The mercury dipped down below zero degrees this morning. Brrr! It is cold outside and even colder with the wind chill. Yesterday we woke up to over ten inches of snow, which cancelled work for everyone.

Daughter Susan and her children Jennifer and Ryan were here since Sunday. She brought her laundry, and we both helped each other wash clothes on Monday and hung it all in the basement. Daughter Verena went over to sister Verena’s on Sunday night and stayed there until last night. She then went home with Susan and her children. Sons Joseph, 18, and Kevin, 15, went over to stay the night with sister Verena last night. Joseph isn’t working this week, so it’s easier for him and Kevin to go than daughter Lovina, 16, right now.

Daughter Lovina is waiting for our neighbor lady to pick her up to go to work. They both work at McDonald’s. It is almost 5:30 a.m. She starts at 6 a.m. and works until 2 p.m.

Today I’ll go to town with sister Verena. After we come back, Joe and I, sister Verena, and daughter Susan will go to the visitation of Ida, 72, a lady who lived a couple miles from here who battled with Alzheimer’s for years. She and her husband Joni have thirteen children, and two of them are our neighbors. She will be laid to rest in the cemetery down the road from us, where son-in-law Mose and sister Susan are buried. In two months’ time, three people will be laid to rest in that new cemetery. Mose was the first to be buried in there. It’s a short walk from our house, so daughter Susan often walks to Mose’s grave when she’s here.

On Sunday, daughter Elizabeth and Tim dropped off Abigail, 4, and T.J., 2, on their way to church in another church district, where their nephew was being baptized. Both children love books and were soon cuddled on the recliner with Grandpa Joe, reading books while I made breakfast. Tim and Elizabeth came for supper then and Susan and children were here, too, as well as Loretta and Lovina’s special friends Dustin and Daniel. It’s a comfort to all be together, but Mose is missed so much when we are all together. Tim and Elizabeth and Mose and Susan would often leave at the same time and drive behind each other until Mose and Susan would turn off on their road. Tim and Mose did so much together, helping each other out as they lived a few miles from each other. God makes no mistakes, we know, so we need to trust that He has a plan.

On Sunday, Abigail was playing with two dolls and had another doll laying on a small table. She kept walking past it, and I asked what she was doing. She said, “I am acting like my husband died and these are my two children.” Such innocence from sweet little children who can’t quite grasp what happened.

Over ten inches of snow fell this week at the Eicher homestead. Photo provided.

Dustin cleaned our drive out yesterday with his skid loader and also went over to clean out the drive at sister Verena’s house. He pushed a lot of snow. After he was done, he and Joe went to daughter Susan’s house and shoveled her drive out, too, before she left for home.

I made a casserole to take to the visitation tonight. I need to have it heated, ready to eat, and there by 4 p.m. today. I am glad to help out. We had so much help over both funerals. It is a blessing to have all the support of a church, friends, and family at times like those. Our sympathy goes to the family of Ida. Stay healthy and safe. God bless you!

Hamburger Noodle Casserole

3 pounds hamburger
1 cup onion, diced
1 16-ounce package of noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
breadcrumbs

Fry hamburger with onion until meat is browned. Prepare noodles as directed on package and mix with hamburger. Add both soups and sour cream. Top with buttered breadcrumbs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Variation: Add frozen or canned peas and top with shredded cheese before adding breadcrumbs.

 

 

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.

Sister Susan laid to rest

Yes, the good Lord has knocked on our door again … Those words are from a song cousin Ernest wrote after losing his mother and brother in accidents years ago. Those words came to my mind tonight.

Our hearts ache again as we laid dear sister Susan to rest beside Mose. A spot in between was reserved for daughter Susan, hopefully many, many years from now. After four weeks, sister Susan lost out to the battle. How it hurt to see her in those last hours of her life. Just two of the family were allowed to go in at a time to be with her in her final hours, but at 7 p.m. we were told we needed to leave until 7 a.m. We begged that they would consider at least one person staying with her during the night hours so she wouldn’t be alone. After no consent, we went to the motel to sleep until we were allowed back in at 7 a.m. Shortly before 6:30 a.m., the doctor called to tell us she passed away. Oh, to be able to be with loved ones when they need you would be such a blessing. At a time like that, your loved ones by your side would be a great comfort. Although Susan couldn’t talk much, she mouthed the words “I love you” to sister Verena before we left. Tears were rolling from her eyes, making it harder for us to leave her.

She died on January 31, and brother Amos died on the same date three years ago. She leaves to mourn five sisters, one brother, and many nieces and nephews.

The visitation and funeral were all held here again. Once again our church community stepped in to help, in every way they could.

Sister Verena is devastated and feels so alone with Susan not around. One of our daughters stay with her during the night.

Daughter Lovina is staying with her tonight and goes to work from there in the morning. Lovina, 16, started working at McDonald’s with some of her friends. She seems to enjoy it so far. I miss her help here at home. I think she likes the idea of getting out of the house and doing something different.

Friday, February 5, was a hard day for daughter Susan, as it was Mose’s birthday. Susan and her children spent a week here over the funeral of sister Susan. One morning, daughter Susan was lying on the couch beside Jennifer, 3. Jennifer asked her, “What’s wrong, Mom?” Susan told her, “I’m sad because I miss Daddy.” So Jennifer hugged Susan and said, “I’ll take care of you, Mom.” It was so cute and precious to see her wanting to comfort her mother.

One night Jennifer was singing the song “How Far Is Heaven” and asking for Mose. Jennifer and Ryan have been a great comfort to have around for Susan.

On Sunday evening, we had sister Verena join our family for supper. Daughter Verena went home with her for the night. Oh, how we miss our loved ones.

Today, February 9, is my good friend Ruth’s birthday. She has been such a help to me and my family. Happy birthday, Ruth! God’s blessings.

Uncle Emanuel will be 91 on February 17. He and my Dad shared the same birthday, with my dad being a year younger. Uncle Emanuel and Aunt Leah (Mom’s sister) came to the visitation of sister Susan, traveling the two-hour drive with their children and spouses. Sister Emma asked Uncle Emanuel what the secret is to his long life and he said, “Eat coffee soup every morning.” We had a laugh about that. Grandma Graber was in her 90s when she died, and she, too, ate coffee soup every morning.

My children also like coffee soup, but I don’t fix it as often as my mother did. I will share the recipe this week.

Coffee Soup

1 cup water
2 heaping teaspoons instant coffee
4 teaspoons sugar
3 cups milk
Toasted bread or crackers, optional

Heat water on the stovetop. Remove from heat and add coffee and sugar, then mix. Add milk and return to heat again until mixture is hot. Crumble bread or crackers into it, 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.

In loving memory of Sister Susan

Our hearts are once again mourning the loss of a dear loved one. Sister Susan, age 44, lost her battle and passed away on January 31. Three years ago on the same day, brother Amos died unexpectedly at age 56. Please keep praying for God to give us the strength we need to go on.

Sisters Susan and Verena made a cookbook with recipes from the family members of Ben and Elizabeth Coblentz, my parents. The memories and recipes this week are from their book.

Susan’s Memories

There are a lot of memories we could talk about. When I was a sixth grader at school, our class was supposed to bring in some kind of food. Then we had to prepare it in front of the class so we could all see how different foods were made. We just had to make enough so the class could all have a taste of what everyone prepared. So I made a potato salad. I had the potato mixture in one container and then the salad dressing mixture in another. Everything was already cut up and diced; I just had to mix it together then tell the class what and how much was in it. Mom helped me with the potato salad recipe and also got everything prepared. She was an excellent cook, baker, and mother. My sixth-grade teacher said she wanted to taste my potato salad, as she said she knows what a good cook Mom is! My teacher liked the potato salad! I still get hungry for Mom’s food. I put the potato salad recipe in the cookbook that Mom had gotten ready for me to take to school that day.

Dad was a great carpenter and father! He loved watching his birds and had his Martin houses, and he’d watch to see how many sets of Martins he would have.

I always like playing games with Dad and Mom. With Dad I liked to play the game Connect 4 and with Mom, Aggravation! Good old memories—they are gone, but not forgotten.

Potato Salad

2 1/2 pounds potatoes, cooked (whole) until tender
6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups salad dressing
2 teaspoons yellow prepared mustard
1/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons salt

Dice potatoes or put through a slicer. Combine potatoes, eggs, celery, and onion together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together salad dressing, mustard, vinegar, sugar, milk, and salt. Pour over potato mixture and stir together.

Susan’s Meatloaf

1 1/2 pounds hamburger
3/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup tomato juice or V8 juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, beaten

Sauce:

1/2 cup ketchup
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard

Combine hamburger, oats, onion, eggs, tomato juice, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly. Shape into 2 logs in a 9×13-inch pan or 2 loaf pans; pack firmly into pan. Whisk sauce ingredients together and spread on top of meatloaf. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for one hour. Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.

Beef and Gravy

This is a recipe sister Susan wrote in her own words from watching Mother make the gravy.

4 heaping tablespoons flour
1 pint canned beef chunks
1 medium onion
Potato water (from mashed potatoes)

Put 4 heaping tablespoons flour in a pan and brown flour until it’s dark. Let flour cool. In a 3 1/2-quart kettle, add 1 pint of beef and 2 pints of water. Put 1 whole onion in it. When it starts to boil, take out beef and put potato water in it. If you don’t have potato water, then use water. If extra water is needed, just put more water in kettle. Then mix the cooled flour and water to make a thickening until it is a little watery. Then mix the beef and thickening in the kettle until it boils.

 

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 continues to pray for healing

It is now 25 days since sister Susan has been in the hospital. She seems to be losing out fast. She is back on the ventilator and had another surgery due to more bleeding. This time it was what the doctors thought could be an aneurysm in her lungs. All the bleeding has taken a toll on her body. Her organs are slowly losing out. There is so little doctors can do when she is even too weak for any transplants. Like one of the doctors said, “Pray for us so we know what to do next.”

Tomorrow her doctors want to have a family meeting with Susan’s six siblings. We already know it won’t be good news, so we turn to God. He is our greatest power and comfort right now.

Sister Verena and daughter Verena came home for a few days from staying with my Aunt Caroline, Cousin David, and his wife Karen. They appreciated the hospitality and help they received. Monday both Verenas headed back to Indianapolis and are staying in a motel not too far from the hospital. They get a taxi to and from the hospital—this gets expensive but trips to and from Michigan add up faster. Aunt Caroline, 88, needs David there to help her, so this will work better, and it will mean David doesn’t have an hour to drive every day. Daughter Verena enjoyed helping care for Aunt Caroline and putting puzzles together on days when Cousin David took sister Verena to be with Susan.

I want to make a correction. Uncle Jr. turned 91 this month (not 90). My dad would have turned 90 next month if he were still here. Our prayers are with Uncle Jr. and family as they grieve the loss of Aunt Shirley. A private family service was held for Shirley last week.

Sunday, January 24, was daughter Susan’s 25th birthday and also sister Liz’s 52nd birthday. Our family gathered here for a birthday supper in honor of daughter Susan. It wasn’t a happy birthday, but Susan puts up a brave front when she’s around others. It’s not so good when nighttime comes and her dear husband Mose is not there. May God continue to be her comfort as we take one day at a time.

We started a 1,000-piece puzzle recently. On Sunday night, daughter Susan and sister Verena worked on it after supper. Both are hurting in different ways. Sister Susan’s dog Daisy died since Susan has been in the hospital. Then yesterday morning Mose and Susan’s only horse died. This was the horse daughter Susan drove all the time. We will give her our horse, Mighty. Mighty was trained by my brother Amos, and we bought him from Amos. Susan needs a safe horse to drive with her two little ones. January 31 will be three years since brother Amos died. We miss him!

Another community in Michigan suffered a recent tragedy, as a family’s horse spooked that never spooked before as they passed their neighbor, who was going very slowly in his truck, pulling a trailer with a skid loader on it. The lady, Barbara, 39, who was killed was a cousin to daughter Elizabeth’s pen pal. Barbara leaves behind to mourn her husband and 6 children ages 3 months to 7 years old. The family had just left home and weren’t very far, and having a safe horse they never thought of it spooking and flipping the buggy, somehow throwing the family in all directions. They think the mother hit her head on the skid loader bucket, causing a head injury. She died not too long after arriving at the hospital. Other than minor bumps and bruises, the rest of the family is okay. Another hurting family with nothing left to do but turn to God in their sorrow. The tragedy wasn’t anyone’s fault, and I’m sure they passed this neighbor often and all went well. God is in control and makes no mistakes, but it leaves us with many questions.

Our family again wants to thank all the readers for your support. We feel so grateful that we have so much love shown to us. Right now we try to take one day at a time and let God in control. Pray for us! God’s blessings!

Crustless Spinach Quiche

3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup milk
1 cup eggs (3-6)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups cheddar cheese
3 cups spinach, chopped
1 cup broccoli, chopped and blanched
1 small onion, diced
5 fresh mushrooms, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 10-inch quiche pan with cooking spray. Beat cream cheese. Add milk, eggs, and pepper, beating until smooth. Stir in cheddar cheese, spinach, broccoli, onion, and mushrooms and pour into the quiche pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

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 celebrates Jennifer’s third birthday

Supper is being made on the grill, which gives me time to write this column. It’s just daughter Loretta and the boys home again, so our table seems empty. Daughter Lovina is at daughter Susan’s house this week.

Daughter Verena and sister Verena headed out for Indianapolis, IN, this morning. Yesterday the doctors said only one visitor a day is allowed now for sister Susan at the hospital.

Cousin David and his wife Karen and Aunt Caroline graciously offered their home for Verena and Verena to stay in. During the day cousin David will drive sister Verena to the hospital to visit sister Susan. Daughter Verena will stay with Aunt Caroline, who needs someone to help her out. They live in Lafayette, IN, an hour away from the hospital.

This morning we received the sad news that Aunt Shirley from Lafeyette, IN, passed away. Our sympathy goes to Uncle (Albert) Jr. and his family. Uncle Jr. is 90 or almost 90 and is the oldest of my dad’s 12 siblings. My dad was the second oldest of the 13 children. Uncle Andy was the third child in the family (Aunt Caroline’s husband), and he passed away a few years ago.

Our beef is cut up, bagged, and either in the freezer or canned and in the basement. We made and bagged over 300 hamburger patties. We sliced and froze steaks. And, of course, we are enjoying making what we call Rare Beef. We slice the tenderest part of the steak really thin, put salt and pepper on it, and deep fat fry it very quickly on each side. If your oil (we use olive oil) is hot enough it should be done all the way through and be very tender to eat.

Friday, January 15th, our family took supper in for granddaughter Jennifer’s third birthday. A good friend of theirs brought an ice cream cake for her, and daughter Elizabeth brought cupcakes. I made a pasta casserole and took a salad and ice cream. With everything that was brought in we had more than plenty. We all tried to brace up and be happy for Jennifer, in spite of the fact that Mose wasn’t there to help her blow out her candles. Jennifer told Susan that morning that she knows Daddy will come home on her birthday and bring her a present. She said if he doesn’t, she is getting a driver (an Amish driver) to go get him. She seems to still think her Daddy is coming home someday.

Saturday sister Liz and Levi and their daughter Suzanne, brother Albert and Sarah and daughter Sylvia came to Michigan for the weekend. They stayed with sister Verena so daughter Verena could come home for the night. It felt good to have Verena home and to just spend the night together catching up.

Sunday morning Joe and I, daughter Verena, sons Benjamin, Joseph, and Kevin and a few friends of theirs went to sister Verena’s house and had brunch with all of them. I made two breakfast omelets to add to the menu of biscuits and gravy, potatoes, etc.

Daughters Loretta and Lovina went to church with their special friends Dustin and Daniel. Dustin and Daniel’s brother Clint and his wife Hannah were hosting services at a neighbor’s place.

Sister Susan was off the ventilator earlier this week but still on oxygen. We could talk to her over the phone on Sunday. Her voice is very weak, and she has a long road ahead.

Tuesday night (January 19) at 10:00 p.m., the doctor called sister Verena to let her know that they are putting sister Susan on the ventilator again. Susan’s lungs are not too well, and she has a lot of mucus in her airways. They will be sedating her again since they are putting her on the ventilator again. Please pray for her and for all of us. God’s blessings to all!

Breakfast Omelet Roll

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 eggs
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar or your choice), divided
1 pound bacon, fried and chopped
1 cup chopped ham
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

Additional fillings as desired, such as mushrooms, olives, smoked sausage

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut parchment paper to line a 10 x 15-inch jelly-roll pan.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and milk. Whisk until smooth. Add flour and salt. In another bowl, whisk eggs, then add to cream cheese mixture. Pour mixture into parchment-lined pan and bake 30-35 minutes, or until puffy and golden.

Remove pan from oven and spread mustard and half the shredded cheese onto the omelet. Add the bacon, ham, onion, bell pepper, any additional fillings as desired, and most of the remaining cheese. Roll up in jelly-roll fashion, removing paper as you roll. Garnish with remaining cheese. Cut into slices to serve.

 

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 support as medical concerns continue

Another week has gone by. We have a big beef carcass hanging in our pole barn needing to be cut up and packaged for our freezer. We raised it, so it was a project we knew we would need to get done during these cold months.

Our minds are far from our work, but life goes on. Daughter Susan and children are coping the best they can and miss their husband and daddy so much. Little Jennifer will be three on January 15th. She is very aware that her daddy still hasn’t come home and wants to be held and cuddled a lot. There is a void in their lives. Little Ryan gave Susan a scare when he had a seizure Sunday morning from a high fever. The doctor came, and Ryan has the start of bronchitis but is being treated with a nebulizer and is getting better every day.

Sister Emma and Jacob hosted church services at their house. I was unable to go as I felt daughter Susan needed my help with 1-year-old Ryan. She gets even more scared now when her little ones get sick.

Also, early Sunday morning I got a call from sister Susan’s doctor telling us she has been transferred to the Indianapolis University Hospital in Indianapolis, IN, as they weren’t equipped to care for her anymore. Now sister Verena isn’t allowed to visit her at all. It is so hard to have her 3 1/2 hours away and no one allowed to see her. She’s still not breathing on her own. Doctors did get the bleeding to stop again several times after she started bleeding again. All this has taken its toll on her body. She has been given many units of blood. She is still sedated at the time of this writing. Doctors tell us she is very ill but tell us no tumor or aneurysm was found and they are puzzled at where the bleeding is coming from. This is Day 11 and she’s been in three different hospitals. Please pray for her and also for my other sister, Verena. Sisters Verena and Susan were never married and live 1/2 a mile from us. They have lived together all their lives. Verena is really lost without Susan around. Also pray for the rest of us so God can give us the strength we need to help everyone. This week daughter Verena, 23, is staying with her aunt, my sister Verena. Daughter Lovina, 16, is staying with daughter Susan. My work isn’t getting done as fast but daughter Lorreta, 20, is doing the best she can to help. So is Kevin, 15, but he said his hands are getting too soft from washing dishes and helping with the laundry. His teasing and jokes keep our thoughts away from the grief at times. He misses Mose a lot as Mose always helped him to do things he can’t with his handicap. Kevin is good at hiding his pain.

As my boys (Benjamin, 21, and Joseph,18) walk out that door each morning around 4:30 a.m. I think more of the goodbyes we say on rushed mornings. We never know when it will be the last time we see a loved one. With sister Susan in the hospital so ill all we can do is turn to our Heavenly Father for help. Without comfort from Him where would we be.

I want to again thank readers for their outpouring of support. Daughter Susan and our family really appreciate all of you. Our church members have been such a support as well.

Monday daughter Susan and children were still here. She came here Sunday morning after Ryan had that seizure. Dan’s widow Jodi came over and we had coffee break together once again, talking about their husbands who were killed in the accident. Sharing memories helps them keep them alive in their hearts.

This morning I went through another stack of cards from readers. So many nice letters and cards supporting us!

Daughter Susan will have her 25th birthday on January 24th. Mose’s birthday would have been February 5th. They always shared their birthdays 11 days apart. Then when Jennifer was born January 15th they had another birthday close to theirs to celebrate. This year will be different. Let go—let God! I wish all of you good health and happiness and most of all God’s blessings.

 

Coffee and Cream Brownies

1/2 cup butter, cubed
3 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Filling:

1 tablespoon cream
1 level teaspoon instant coffee
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

Glaze:

1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup cream

Melt butter and chocolate in saucepan over low heat. Cool slightly. In a small mixing bowl beat sugar, eggs, and vanilla, and stir in chocolate mixture. Add flour and baking soda. Spread in greased 8-inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool.

For filling, stir coffee granules into cream until dissolved. Add butter and powdered sugar, stirring until mixture is smooth. Spread over brownies.

In saucepan over low heat, combine chocolate chips and cream and stir until chocolate is melted. After cooling slightly, carefully spread over filling. Let stand 30 minutes or until glaze is set.

 

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.

Medical concerns mount for Eicher family

A brand new year is before us. What does it hold for us? It is so good we don’t know our future.

Saturday we decided to wash our laundry and also daughter Susan’s. We have a heated basement with lines in it so it’s nice to dry clothes in these cold winter months. We weren’t started too long when my husband Joe came to tell me we had a call from sister Verena to ask if I could come right away to help with sister Susan. Sons Benjamin and Joseph went with me. Sisters Verena and Susan live just down the road from us. When we got there, Verena said Susan was having bad stomach pains. This had been bothering her quite some time already, but it was very bad to the point she could hardly walk. I asked her if it was okay if I called the ambulance to take her in to get help. She said it would cost too much but I told her that her life was worth far more than any amount of money. Susan was rushed to the hospital. Sister Verena and I went up with an Amish driver, following the ambulance. The doctors soon decided that she needed to be transferred to a bigger hospital over an hour away. Verena was able to sit with her until the ambulance came to transfer her. I was so glad one of the nurses let me go in to say a few words to her. A COVID test was performed, which was negative. They told Verena if the test is negative she can sit with Susan. Sister Verena was told only she can visit Susan each day from noon to 8 p.m. Since it was after 8 by the time she was transferred, Verena and I came back home. Daughter Lovina, 16, went home with Verena for the night. Our daughter Verena was still staying with daughter Susan and children. Makes our house seem empty.

On Sunday sister Emma and Jacob went to the hospital with sister Verena so she could visit with Susan. Jacob and Emma couldn’t go in the hospital, so they had a long wait until Verena came out again.

They performed a CT scan and MRI, among other tests. Doctors said she was bleeding in her abdomen and suspected a tumor or a possible small aneurysm, but they said she was losing a lot of blood and had to give her blood.

Around 10:30 p.m. Sunday night, daughters Lovina and Verena were staying with sister Verena (daughter Susan and children stayed with us) when the doctor called to tell Verena to bring the family up as Susan is on life support and losing out fast. All my siblings and sister-in-law Nancy were contacted and rushed to the hospital. The six siblings were all allowed to go in to Susan. We talked and prayed with her, but she was sedated. It was still comforting to hold her hand and tell her we love her. The doctors told us to stay in the waiting room during the surgery (to try to stop the bleeding). They didn’t think she might survive the surgery. It was comforting for all of the siblings to be together. Daughter Verena and a few of the nephews were also along. We prayed, visited, and cried together, not knowing what we would find out. The doctor came out to let us know the surgery was over and she would have one again in a few days to take out the packs they put in her to stop the bleeding. The siblings all got to go see her for a few minutes and then we were told to go back home. The visiting went back to only sister Verena from noon to 8 p.m. each day. It was 7 a.m. when we arrived back home.

Today (Tuesday) they had surgery again and were able to stop the bleeding. The life support is still on her. Sister Verena goes to sit by her bed each day as is allowed. Then daughters Lovina and Verena take turns staying with sister Verena for the night. The other one stays with daughter Susan and children.

Daughters Elizabeth and Lovina and I assisted sister Emma in cleaning today as church services are set to be there Sunday, Lord willing! Thank you for all the prayers during this past month. God bless!

Shoestring Potato Pie

2 unbaked pie shells
potatoes, peeled and shredded
cubed ham or meat of your choice
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup water (or more)

Fill pie shell heaping full with potatoes, ham, and seasonings. Add water and place second crust on top. Cut slits in top crust to let steam escape. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until potatoes are done. Pie can be served with your choice of gravy.

 

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.

Eichers celebrate Christmas quietly this year

This column will wrap up my columns for 2020. We wish all of you God’s richest blessings in the new year 2021.

I hope you all had a blessed Christmas and were all safe and healthy. Our Christmas was extra quiet and we really just appreciated the gift of having each other. Mose is missed so much that life right now doesn’t seem the same. Will we ever get over the grief? For Susan and her children, our hearts still ache even more. Reality is setting in and has taken its toll on her. She’s not ready to leave other than to come here once in a while. I have never gone through losing a life’s partner so I can’t imagine how much she aches if even I miss Mose so much as a son-in-law.

Two-year-old Jennifer asks every night when Daddy will come home. She wants him to rock her to sleep. How do you explain to her that he’s never coming back? I pray that God can give me the wisdom that I need to help my daughter and grandbabies. We keep reminding ourselves that God makes no mistakes.

Susan and our family are so very thankful for all the cards, gifts, and the prayers that are being said on our behalf. It does not bring Mose back, but it helps ease the burden. Please know it is all greatly appreciated. We can feel the support!

Sunday, December 27, was our youngest grandchild Allison’s first birthday. How can it be possible that sweet little Allison is already a year old? She is so petite but mighty. She’s walking everywhere and has the biggest smile. Her bight blue eyes twinkle with happiness, so sweet and innocent, and she doesn’t know the pain the rest of us are feeling.

 

Daughter Elizabeth made her a cake and also one for T.J., who turned 2 on December 17. That day was a visitation day for Mose, so T.J. didn’t really have much of a special birthday. Having cakes for both him and Allison made him smile. Although Allison has her daddy’s blue eyes, T.J. on the other hand looks so much like his daddy Tim but has brown eyes like his mother.

Daughter Verena is still staying with daughter Susan and her sweet little ones. We really miss having her here at home but are so glad she’s there to help Susan. Verena is a great listener and has been a comfort to Susan when she needs someone to vent to. May the good Lord bless her for putting others’ needs before her own. Of course, Jennifer and Ryan are glad to have her to cuddle with. It doesn’t replace their daddy but it gives them comfort.

Tomorrow the men and boys from our church district will cut wood for Susan’s stove. Hopefully it will be enough for the winter. A neighbor offered his woods to cut wood out of. So many kind deeds have been done for her. It does help to know others care and are praying for all of us. Let go and let God—that can be a challenge for us as humans sometimes so we continue to trust in God. God bless you!

Peanut Butter Eggs
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Melting chocolate

Mix together everything except the melting chocolate until thoroughly blended. Shape into eggs or balls. Dip into melted chocolate. Place the eggs or balls on wax paper to harden.

 

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.

The Eicher family mourns a great loss

 This is one of the hardest columns I have ever had to write, so please bear with me.

Our hearts are still heavy with pain as we mourn for our dear son-in-law Mose. Mose was a kind, respectful man and a loving husband of 4 1/2 years to our daughter Susan. He was a great father to our two little grandchildren Jennifer, 2, and Ryan, almost 18 months.

We ask God so many questions. So many whys, but we already know God makes no mistakes. It doesn’t make it any easier though, so we want to fully put our trust in Him and let Him lead the way.

Mose and Dan, his driver, were on their way to work on December 9. Mose was only minutes away from home when they were struck head-on by an oncoming car that was on the wrong side of the road. This happened on the highway around a curve. We do not know why this young 19-year-old girl was on the wrong side of the road. Once again, we ask why. We leave it in God’s hands and try to brace ourselves for the heartaches the future holds. Two young children will grow up without their father. A young widow of 24 will do her best to raise these little ones on her own. Jennifer was a daddy’s girl, and most days would stand by the window waiting for him to come home from work. Now she keeps wondering if Daddy went deer hunting and when he’ll be back.

Susan does so well in front of others to hide the pain she is going through. Bedtime is really hard. Mose always helped her get the children to sleep at night. He was a great father!

Mose lost the battle from all his injuries in the accident on December 14. He was never conscious, so Susan’s last memory was the hug and kiss she had from him before he walked out the door that morning. She said he always told her to be careful and safe and that he loved her and the children.

The funeral was held here in our pole barn and Mose was buried in the new graveyard just down the road from us. We always wondered who would be the first to be buried there. Little did we know how close to us it would be.

Dan’s widow Jodi and his sister Lisa were here yesterday visiting. Before we knew it, hours went by. It helps to talk of memories, which is all they have left now too.

Daughter Verena went home with Susan and the children. She helps Susan with the children and is a great support as well. We miss having Verena at home, but they come here often. If they stay here for the night Susan and the children sleep with Verena in her bedroom.

Daughter Elizabeth and Tim live only two miles from Susan so they go often as well. Our family goes to help and also Mose’s family. It’s good to have all this support. We appreciate all the prayers and help in any way that makes the burden easier to bear.

Since the accident our family had three birthdays which weren’t very happy. Daughter Verena turned 23 on December 10. Grandson Timothy (T.J.) turned 2 on December 17, and today is my husband Joe’s 52nd birthday. Happy birthday to all of them.

We do not know what the future holds but we know who holds it—God! His blessings be with all of you. We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and treasure your family extra in this holiday.

Daughter Verena will make these cookies today with our grandchildren. They are our favorite cut-out cookie.

Sour Cream Cut-Out Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Frosting:
1/3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Stir in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until a soft dough is formed. On a floured surface, roll dough out to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out with cookie cutters and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

Frosting: Cream shortening, vanilla, and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Gradually add milk and the remaining powdered sugar, beating constantly. Add more powdered sugar for desired consistency. Add food coloring if you like. Spread frosting on cookies and decorate with sprinkles and chocolate chips if desired. Let frosting set before storing.

Substitute for sour cream: 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3/4 cup milk, 4 tablespoons butter. Melt the butter; add lemon juice and milk and let set for 5 or more 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 online. 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.