Category Archives: Cakes

When daughters do something their mother never even wanted to do

We have entered the eleventh month of the year already. 2017 is going fast but then every year does. It really seems like the older you get the faster it goes.

We will be having a change around here with daughter Susan and Mose being homeowners and moving in the near future. Saturday we will go help them with whatever needs to be done.

Yesterday daughter Elizabeth and Abigail came here for the day. We canned chicken broth for Susan and me. I will give some to Elizabeth since she doesn’t have any right now. It takes time to debone the meat and pressure cook the broth.

Son-in-law Timothy came here from work to drive the buggy home with Elizabeth and Abigail. He started a new job at an RV factory so his hours have changed. It always takes some getting used to a different job but it sounds like he likes it.

Abigail was her usual cute self just winning all the hearts around here. When Grandpa (my husband Joe) comes home from work she will go run so he comes after her. She takes him to the jar where he keeps suckers and reaches for one. How quickly they catch on to where candy is. She will lick the sucker for a while and then when she’s distracted we can sneak it away from her.

When we go out to the buggy to get her when they come she always has such a sweet smile for us. She was showing me her new pink mittens. I am surprised she leaves them on her little hands. Now this Grandma has to quit talking about her grandchild. I imagine all you grandparents know how precious it is to have grandchildren.

We were all excited for daughter Loretta, 17, last night. She shot her first deer with her compound bow. Son-in-law Mose and Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) helped track it down. Dustin dressed it and has it hanging ready to be cut up. Loretta never thought she would get the chance to go hunting or even be able to shoot the bow let alone hit the deer. We are happy for her. I told her she has done something I never could do.

We laughed when Mose told us about the time our daughter Susan almost shot a deer. When he asked her why she didn’t she said, “Well he was looking at me and I couldn’t pull the trigger.” When Loretta was a little girl she would go hunting with my husband Joe sometimes. She couldn’t hunt but the children liked to go sit with him in the woods. One time Joe saw a doe and it would have been a good shot but Loretta yelled to the deer so it could get away. She had been reading about Bambi and couldn’t bear to see a deer get shot. So now we are surprised she could shoot one of her own.

Last Friday was a cold and rainy day for the wedding of Melvin and Lisa in Rochester, Indiana. They had plenty of room for everyone to be inside which helped. Sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma, Jacob, and sons Benjamin and Steven, Joe and I, and sons Joseph and Kevin traveled the two hour drive to Rochester to the wedding. We were served a delicious meal consisting of barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, noodles, corn, broccoli, and cauliflower salad, sliced cheese, bread buns, butter, jelly, pumpkin, apple and peanut butter pies, fresh fruit mixture, tapioca pudding, cake, etc. We had a nice time visiting with friends and family. Sister Liz and Levi were also there so five of us sisters were there.

Lovina and family get ready for fall with some great pumpkin recipes. Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis.

The girls are washing laundry and it’s another rainy day so it looks like it will be hung on the lines in the basement. God bless!

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Avoid using paper liners as they make it difficult to remove cupcakes. You can use foil liners, just spray the insides first.

Mix the pumpkin, sugars, eggs, vanilla and milk. Add the flour, spice, salt, baking powder and soda to the mixture. Fill each muffin with 1/3 cup of the mixture. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.  Serves 12.

 

The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Daughter Verena updates all the Eicher family doings: from cleaning to pontooning

Hello! I hope you are all doing well. This is Lovina’s nineteen-year-old daughter, Verena, writing. Mom was so tired so I told her I’ll take her place for this week.

Loretta received this lovely birthday gift for her 17th birthday July 1 from her mother and father.

Loretta, 17, Joseph, 14, Kevin, 11, and Mom cleaned Joseph and Kevin’s bedroom—washed the walls and ceiling, cleaned their windows and closet. I don’t think I’m wrong when I say that their bedroom is probably the worst room in the house to clean. It’s always surprising what all we find in there. All the clothes they are missing show up in the room somewhere. You could say we were all relieved to check that room off our “to do” list. Now it’s just trying to keep it that way. Kevin collects everything. With Loretta cleaning in there I’m sure a lot of his collection ended up in the trash.

My bedroom is done except for a little dusting and my windows need to be cleaned. We are having church services here once in August and twice in September. One turn will be for Mose and Susan. We skipped our turn last year so that’s why we will have it twice this year.

On July 4 our family went on a hay ride. It’s always fun to have the whole family on the wagon. Especially ten-month-old Abigail. She chatted and said “hi” to everyone we passed. She is really getting into everything. She stands up along furniture and loves to take our hands and walk. She discovered our stairs and we see how far she goes up. We stay behind her to make sure she doesn’t fall back. She also discovered the kitchen cabinets.

Brother Benjamin will be eighteen years old on Friday, July 14. Hard to believe how fast time flies. I remember how slow time seemed to be while I was in school. Now time seems to not be slow enough.

Dad and brothers Benjamin and Joseph are in the process of training two-year-old Beauty and two-year-old Midnight. The horses look very much alike. Beauty is a gift to Benjamin from Mom and Dad for his eighteenth birthday. Benjamin is driving her in the buggy and she’s doing very well. Midnight is a different story. She is being difficult to train. She does well hitched double with another trained horse but after they put her alone in the buggy she doesn’t want to go.

My four-month-old Yorkshire Terrier puppy, Ricky, is doing very good. I taught him to sit, shake his paw and lay down. Now I’m teaching him to roll. He’s so playful and so much fun. Abigail gets very excited when Ricky runs to greet her when she comes.

Wednesday, July 5, our whole family rented two pontoons at a campground and spent all day on the lake. We did a lot of fishing. I discovered that I would rather fish for blue gill instead of bass. We also did a lot of swimming. It was so much fun to have Abigail in the water with us. So much laughter and fun makes great memories.

At lunch time we docked our pontoons and sat beside the lake. Dad grilled on a little grill we took along. He could only grill three big pieces of pork steak and a few hot dogs at a time. It sure was tasty as we ate it right after it was off the grill. Dad had a hard time staying ahead but he grilled meat until we all had enough. We also had chips, pickles, watermelon, macaroni salad and cookies. We didn’t have a table so we spread a blanket on the ground to put all the food on.

Sister Susan and I made supper tonight. We made cooked potatoes, BLT and sloppy joe sandwiches; fresh garden goodies always make it easier to get a meal together.

I like quotes so I’m going to share this one: “The difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude.” And a verse from the Bible: “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Cream Cheese Chocolate Cupcakes

1 8-ounce cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips

Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, egg, and salt; mix well. Fold in the chocolate and peanut butter chips, set aside.

For cupcakes, in a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla; mix well.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full with batter. Top each with about 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25–30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 18 cupcakes Note: The filling will partially cover the top of the cupcakes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

With husband and children on vacation, Lovina serves up extra recipes

We recently butchered our old laying hens and canned around fifty quarts of chicken broth. My husband, Joe, and our children are home on vacation the week of July 4. So this week I’m sharing some extra recipes.

The Eicher family canned chicken broth this week—a staple for use at Amish weddings.

God’s blessings to all!

A reader recently requested a recipe for red velvet cake made with beets. Here is the recipe.

 

Red Velvet Cake with Beets

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup pureed, cooked beets
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Sift flour and baking powder together. In another large bowl, whisk together sugar, buttermilk, beets, oil, eggs, cocoa powder, food coloring, vanilla, vinegar, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture gradually to the bowl, stirring after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake about 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

A reader also requested the recipe for Cherry Delight.

Cherry Delight

1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups whipped topping
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 28-ounce can cherry pie filling (or 1 quart canned cherry pie filling)

In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and 1 tablespoon sugar. Spread on bottom of a 9 x 9-inch baking pan to form a crust. Beat together whipped topping and cream cheese, adding remaining sugar and vanilla until well blended. Smooth on top of crust. Top with cherry pie filling. Chill at least 3 hours.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon to coat the berries
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup rhubarb, chopped
1 cup strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and oil until smooth. Add the egg, yogurt and almond extract to the sugar mixture and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the first four dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Add the chopped rhubarb and strawberries and lightly mix in. Place paper liners in muffin tins. Use a 1/4 cup scoop to fill the liners. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on the top of each muffin. Bake for 12–14 minutes or until golden on top. Makes 18 muffins.

 

Sunday Brunch Casserole

1/2 pound bacon, sliced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
12 eggs
1 cup milk
1 16-ounce package frozen hash browns, thawed
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dill weed

In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon; crumble and set aside. In the drippings, sauté onion and green pepper until tender; remove with a slotted spoon. Beat eggs and milk in a large bowl. Stir in hash browns, cheese, salt, pepper, dill weed, onion, green pepper and bacon. Transfer to a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35–45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Yields 6–8 servings.

 

Also, I need to make several corrections to the Blueberry Cobbler recipe that appeared in my column in newspapers and online the week of June 19-23. Several readers alerted me to some problems, and I have made some revisions. Thanks for your feedback!

Blueberry Cobbler

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup milk

Topping:
2 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar

Combine ingredients in a bowl, mix together and spread batter in a 7 x 11-inch pan or 2-quart baking dish. Mix together blueberries and sugar; pour over batter and bake at 350 degrees for 45–60 minutes or until done. Try with different types of fruit.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

What happens when Lovina accidentally sleeps in—until 6:30 a.m.

It is already Thursday forenoon, and I still don’t have this column on its way! I made an attempt to write it last night after everyone went to bed, but I kept dozing off. I finally gave up and decided I would write it this morning.

Well, my day didn’t start out as intended. I woke up at 3:00 a.m., packed my husband Joe’s lunch, and went back to bed after he left at 3:40 a.m. I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. Sons Benjamin and Joseph are helping nephew Noah and his construction crew at my sisters’ house today. They will be repairing everything that was burned and damaged when lightning struck their house on April 29 and caused a house fire. Noah told the boys to meet him there at 6:30 a.m.

At 6:30 a.m., son Benjamin woke up, and I was still sound asleep. He woke me up and said he thought we overslept. He jumped on his bike and left while Joseph quickly milked our cow, Bessie, before he left. Bessie had to be in the farthest corner of the pasture field, and she seemed to walk slower to come up to the barn. It probably just seemed that way, since Joseph was in a hurry.

But if there is actually such a thing as picking a good day to oversleep, today was such a day. On other days, a driver for the crew would have had to wait for them.

Joseph was on his way thirty minutes after Benjamin left. I sent their water jugs with Joseph and told the boys we would send them something for lunch since I didn’t get their lunch packed. On warm days like this, they like meat and cheese roll-ups. I use soft tortilla shells, add some ranch dressing and meat and cheese and roll them up. Other than maybe a few protein bars, the boys don’t want much else in their lunch. It gets too warm to eat, and they would rather wait until we have supper.

I decided that since I made the boys late, I would send a morning break to all the workers there. We made breakfast burritos, iced tea and coffee, and the girls took it over to my sisters’ house.

Daughter Verena has been going with sister Susan on house-cleaning jobs the last few days. Sister Verena is laid up and under doctor’s care. Some tests were taken. Hopefully she will soon be on the mend, but for now she has to keep her legs elevated. Sisters Verena and Susan are still staying here with us since their house fire. They will be glad when they are able to get back to their own house after it is finished.

Son-in-law Mose is keeping the garden watered on dry days. Our soil is sandy, so it dries up the moisture really fast. We replanted cucumbers as some plants died off. It seems everything is a little late this year. We are having a nice, steady, drizzling rain right now.

I am writing this column in my bedroom at my desk. If too many people are around, I need to get away from all the noise so I can think better. Then again, I can’t get too relaxed or I’ll start falling asleep again!

I’m glad we did laundry yesterday when it was nice outside. We are starting to do laundry three times a week. The boys need more work pants, so until I get more pants made, I need to do laundry more often.

Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail came for the day yesterday. It looks like Abigail’s first two teeth are finally ready to pop through. My children always had teeth before they were her age. She keeps rolling her tongue where the teeth are coming through. She probably feels the tiny bumps. Her sounds are really coming out, and she just gets sweeter all the time!

The bishop for Lovina’s Amish community made this beautiful little bench for baby Abigail Elizabeth. The bishop’s wife’s name is also Elizabeth.

Try this recipe with your zucchini this year. God’s blessings to all!

Butterscotch Zucchini Bars
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups finely shredded zucchini, packed

Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butterscotch chips

Beat together eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla. Beat in soda, salt and baking powder. Mix in flour until well mixed. Stir in zucchini. Pour into greased 15x10x1-inch pan. Mix together brown sugar and butterscotch chips and sprinkle over batter in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until it tests done with a toothpick.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Hot, humid days mean it’s time for haying—and a water fight

June 14, 2017: Twenty-three years ago today my husband, Joe, and I became parents for the first time. We were blessed with a little girl. We named her after my mother, Elizabeth. Since her marriage on August 14, 2015, she goes by the name Mrs. Timothy (Elizabeth) Bontrager. A little girl, Abigail, was born to Elizabeth and Timothy on September 10, 2016. Time goes on—one generation after another.

We are having a heat wave with temperatures in the nineties, and it’s very humid! The girls and I drove the seven miles to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house this morning by buggy. We spent the day with her and Abigail. We didn’t do much besides relax, which was so nice! My sister Verena gave Abigail a little kiddie pool for a baby gift. Daughter Lovina and son Kevin filled the pool, and Abigail had so much fun under the shade tree, splashing the water. The rest of us sat around the pool. All it took was one person throwing a little water at another and, well, it turned into a big water battle! At least it cooled us off on this hot, muggy day.

Tomorrow we will attend the wedding of our neighbor boy, Melvin, to Rebecca. It is hot weather to prepare for a wedding. Now tonight we are having thunderstorms and rain. It was so dry, and we needed the rain. Son-in-law Mose tilled the garden tonight before the rain. I made quite a few gallons of iced spearmint tea, which is a good thirst quencher on these hot days.

Lovina made lots of fresh thirst-quenching mint tea this week. Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis, from The Essential Amish Cookbook.

We have our haymow almost filled with hay for next winter. We appreciated all the help we had from family and neighbors to put in over thirteen hundred bales of hay in our barn last Thursday. Lots of hot, hard work! Having hay stored for future use is a good feeling. But it’s hard on the pocketbook, with hay still a little pricey.

Construction is finally underway at my sisters Verena and Susan’s house, who had a house fire last month. The new roof was put on today. They are still living in our basement.

I want to wish Uncle Jake and Aunt Mary Coblentz a happy 60th anniversary! Wow! That is a long time to be together. I wish them more healthy and happy years together. Jake was my dad’s brother. Jake and Mary have three children: Christina, Tabitha and Cornelius. I hardly ever see them anymore. It would be nice to attend the Coblentz reunion again in July.

Tonight daughter Susan and Mose had us over for supper. They also told my sisters to come eat there too. On the menu were sausage patties, French toast and scrambled eggs. How nice to have a break from cooking. Everything was delicious! The French toast tastes real good with fresh maple syrup poured over it. It was the syrup Mose cooked off from our maple trees this spring.

The girls are cleaning out their closets in their spare time. We are getting a head start on cleaning.

Timothy and Elizabeth visited one evening with their new Amish neighbors, John and Norma. They moved nearby from a community in Indiana. They will attend our church district. They have two daughters ages three and thirteen months. I am looking forward to meeting them on Sunday.

It is 11:00 p.m. now and past my bedtime. The rest have all gone to bed. I knew I might not have time to write tomorrow morning so decided to get this written tonight yet.

I wish everyone God’s greatest blessings! Good night to all!

Try this recipe while blueberries are in season.

Blueberry Cobbler

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup milk

Combine ingredients in a bowl, mix together and spread batter in pan.

Topping:
2 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup boiling water

Pour over batter and bake at 325 degrees for 45–60 minutes or until done. Try with different types of fruit.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Helping family prepare to host church services brightens dreary winter days

We had a few days of sunshine, which we very much appreciated. A person is so much more energetic and life looks better when the day is sunny! We had a lot of gloomy January days when we didn’t see the sun too often. With all the solar panels we have, that can be a bad thing. We managed, although we had to use the generator to charge up the big battery packs when the sun didn’t shine.

Monday’s temperatures jumped up in the fifties with lots of sunshine. It was enough to give us all spring fever. We know winter isn’t over, though. And with butchering pork and beef yet ahead of us, that’s a good thing. We plan to do that as soon as we are done helping Jacob and Emma prepare for church services. We always help each other butcher pork, so we wanted to wait. January had a lot of warm days that would not have been so good for chilling the meat.

Last Saturday we assisted Jacob and Emma with cleaning for church services they will host this coming Sunday. My husband, Joe, and our sons helped hang drywall. Jacob and Emma are in the process of remodeling their house, so it’s hard to keep the dust under control. They have all the drywall hung now and will wait to finish the remodeling until after they have church services.

Church bench wagon, pulled by horses. It goes from one home hosing church services to another, bringing the necessary seating. Photo by Grant Beachy

Church services will be held in the attached garage they built onto their house last year. They will put in new floors after the painting is done. Emma is getting new kitchen cabinets sometime. I am sure she will like that because she didn’t have many before. She will be glad for more storage space.

Yesterday my sisters Verena and Susan, daughter Elizabeth and baby Abigail, daughters Susan and Verena and son Benjamin and I went to help Emma with her work. Benjamin helped clean out the tools and do the heavy lifting for us. He also started tearing out a bathroom they needed to have torn out.

Benjamin took our horse and a horse-manure spreader over to Jacob and Emma’s on Monday to help haul manure from their barn out to the field. It was such a beautiful day for the job to be done.

Tomorrow we will help Emma again. She will get more help on Friday, so things should start falling into place for Sunday.

Abigail is feeling a lot better and is sweeter than ever. She is starting to hug me when she sees me. On Friday she will be five months old.

Son-in-law Mose had a birthday Sunday, February 5. We had chicken, hot wings, and banana poppers on the grill in honor of his birthday on Sunday evening. We had chocolate and white cupcakes instead of cake. Lately there has been a lot of cake around, so it was a little different to have cupcakes. People loved the whipped-topping frosting on them. I will share the recipe at the end of this column. Cakes or cupcakes with this frosting have to be refrigerated.

I forgot to mention that sister Susan is also gaining strength and getting her health back since her recent hospital stay. My wish is for good health to all of you, and may God bless each of you!

Does anyone have a recipe for a banana roll (similar to a pumpkin roll)? A reader requested this recipe, and I don’t have one.

Whipped-Topping Frosting (for cake or cupcakes)

1 (4-oz.) box instant pudding mix, any flavor
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup milk
1 (8-oz.) container whipped topping

Add pudding mix, powdered sugar and milk in a mixing bowl. Mix until blended. Let mixture stand three minutes and then fold in whipped topping (defrost it first if it was in freezer). Spread on cake or cupcakes. Keep refrigerated.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Getting to work in snow and ice when you’re Amish—and more

We are having a thunderstorm this morning: not at all normal weather for January. The temperature is hanging around 34 degrees so some places could be icy.

Daughter Susan has to be at work by 9:00 a.m. She was going to drive the buggy but called a driver instead (“drivers” are non-Amish people that we hire to take us to and from work or town if we can’t go with a buggy and horse) to take her this morning. Son Benjamin isn’t working today so he’ll go pick her up with the horse and buggy this afternoon when she is finished with her work.

Benjamin plans to haul manure out to the fields today since the temperature has warmed up this week. He also worked at that yesterday. Our horse, Mighty, pulls the one-horse manure spreader. Our old horse, Diamond, was always the one we used to haul manure. We miss having him around after having him over twenty years.

Our new chickens have been laying an abundance of eggs. We still haven’t butchered the old hens, so they are also providing eggs.

The table is ready for a big gathering for “Old Christmas.”

Friday “Old Christmas” (January 6) that I wrote about last week ended up being a very enjoyable day. My sister Emma, Jacob and family, my sister Verena and Susan, and our family were all here. Nephew Benjamin had my name in the gift exchange. I received some dish towels and a mop bucket on wheels with a spin mop. This makes mopping so much easier for the girls. No bending over to squeeze out the mop and the bucket has a dolly with wheels to push the bucket around.

Lots of nice gifts were exchanged. Son Kevin received a game called Quick Cups which some of us played. I never heard of this game but it was fun. Each person had five different color cups and everyone took turns flipping a card. Whoever stacked the cups in order of the colors on the cards first, rang the bell and could keep that card. The person with the most cards at the end of the game won. We also enjoyed playing Mad Gab. That is always a loud, exciting game and lots of fun to try and figure out what the card says. After a haystack breakfast for brunch we enjoyed snacks in the afternoon. Veggies and dip, fruits, and venison summer sausage and venison snack sticks were among the snacks. We like to add some healthy snacks instead of so many sweets.

Saturday Joe and I and some of our children spent the day helping daughter Elizabeth and Timothy. Joe and Joseph helped Timothy lay a new hardwood floor in their living room while Verena, Lovina and I washed off the walls and ceiling and cleaned furniture from the living room. Church services will be there in two and one-half weeks so lots of cleaning is being done.

Lovina, Joe and family enjoyed putting together the biggest puzzle they’ve ever attempted.

We finished the 2000 piece puzzle we got for Christmas on Sunday afternoon. It took us two weeks to complete it. This is the biggest puzzle we have ever done. We want to glue it and get a frame made for it. Challenging but fun!

Yesterday friends and family gathered for a late Tupperware wedding shower for daughter Susan at daughter Elizabeth’s house. Lunch was served afterwards. Susan received lots of nice storage containers to add to her kitchen. She appreciated everyone that contributed and also for Elizabeth opening up her home to everyone. The recipe this week comes from the woman who demonstrated the Tupperware products at the shower, which we enjoyed sampling at the end.

God’s blessings to all!

Easy Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

1/2 cup nuts, chopped
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 (20-oz.) can pineapple slices, undrained
5 maraschino cherries, drained and halved
1 (18.25-oz.) package yellow cake mix
water
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter and brown sugar. Mix well, then spread evenly over bottom of a 9×13-inch pan. Drain pineapple, reserving the juice; set aside. Arrange pineapple slices over sugar mixture, then put a cherry half in center of each pineapple slice; sprinkle with nuts. Add enough water to pineapple juice to make 1 1/3 cups liquid. In a bowl, combine cake mix, liquid, eggs and oil; whisk until blended and smooth. Pour over fruit mixture. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes. Carefully loosen edges of cake and invert onto 18×12-inch grooved cutting board or other large flat plate and cool slightly. Decorate with whipped topping using a frosting bag and tip, or just spoon dollops of whipped topping around the cake. Slice and serve.

 

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Parasailing, fireworks, waterfalls, and reunion highlight Eicher vacation

Wednesday evening—everyone is taking it easy tonight. Mose, daughters Susan and Verena, and son Benjamin went fishing . We put in a long day so it was relaxing to them to go take the boat on the lake. The rest of us are outside around a campfire. It is so peaceful out here. We had a nice day to do laundry. It was extra big since we just arrived home from our trip last night around 7:30 p.m.

We left at 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning with our whole family. We headed north to Hersey, Michigan, to Joe’s sister Christine and husband Jake for a family gathering. Seven out of twelve siblings were there. People came from Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. We were served a delicious dinner. On the menu were mashed potatoes and gravy, buttered peas, green beans, barbequed chicken, several different varieties of cheese, pie (cherry, pecan, and apple), and ice cream. Everyone brought snacks for the afternoon. A lot of the families went Friday already. Before we prayed to eat, we sang four songs together. Tables were set up in the basement so there was enough room to sit. I don’t have an accurate count but I think there were around 70 people that could attend.

Some played volleyball and other games, while others just visited. TahquamenonFallsMichWe left around 3:15 p.m. to drive another three plus hours. We stayed at a motel across the Mackinac Bridge. We drove on up to see the Soo Locks and then the Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls. What a sight to see! All such wonders of God’s artistic touch. How relaxing it was to hear the water running. We rented row boats so we could get closer to the falls and also walked around some in the water.

We also stopped at Deer Ranch, Mystery Spot, and Garlyn Zoo. We watched the fireworks from the front lawn of the motel on the fourth of July. And before we started for home we went parasailing. But I just stayed on the boat and watched the others. The rope for the parachute goes out 300 feet. It was an exciting adventure for the ones that went up. My husband Joe and son Kevin went up together. Kevin looked a little scared at first, but still enjoyed the ride.

It is always nice to take a break from work and get away for a while. I was ready to get back home. There’s no place like home even though coming home meant resuming work. Joe, Susan, and Benjamin are all off work this week for the July 4 vacation week. Susan’s wedding is just four weeks away so we need to get everything done that we can.

Daughter Elizabeth has been a great help to me with getting the sewing done for the wedding. We have to cut out and sew pants for Kevin yet, and I need to sew my own dress. It’s cut out and my goal is to get that sewn next week, but I’m behind on my goals a lot lately.

Daughter Loretta is sixteen now and can join the youth group. It Loretta16thBirthdayseems empty when they leave for the community building to gather with the youth on Saturday evenings. The three youngest children are the only ones home with Joe and I.

Mose, Susan, Verena, and Benjamin are back from fishing now. They didn’t catch any but had a relaxing time on the lake.

Corn detasseling has started in this area. Son Joseph isn’t old enough to sign up for it yet. They have to be fourteen years old to go now. It used to be thirteen when Elizabeth, Susan, and Verena went. The humidity is really high so I can imagine the hot days they will have walking those corn fields.

Jacob (sister Emma’s husband) and sons did our chores for us while we were gone. We really appreciated that. I know it had to take extra time to come over twice a day to milk our cow Bessie and do the other chores. A big thank-you to them! Hopefully we can return the favor sometime.

God’s blessings to all!

Thunder Cake

1 cup shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup tomato purée
3 eggs, separated
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons soda
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon salt

Cream together (adding one at a time) shortening, sugar, vanilla, water, and tomato purée. Blend in egg yolks. Beat egg whites until stiff then fold into shortening mixture. Into a medium bowl sift flour, soda, cocoa, and salt then mix into creamy mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes in 2 greased and floured 8 1/2-inch round pans.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org. 

 

 

Hop in the pony buggy for the last day of school

It’s a nice sunny day for the clothes to dry, and we have the lines filled with laundry. We have been blessed with several rains over the weekend and this past week.

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Here’s the pony and buggy, giving a ride to Lovina’s cookbook photographer and family last fall. Photo by Melodie Davis.

Yesterday was the last day of school for the term. Daughters Verena and Loretta and I picked up my married daughter Elizabeth and attended the school picnic. It was a little chilly until the sun came out. All the pupils were released at 11:30 a.m. Joseph, Lovina and Kevin took our pony Stormy and the pony buggy to school in the morning.

We all headed to Elizabeth’s house after leaving the school. We spent the afternoon relaxing on their back patio. They have a woods behind their house, and the river runs close by on their property. They have a new puppy that is a coonhound and Australian Shepherd mix. Hopefully, when it gets bigger, it will help keep the raccoons away from their house. They are having problems with raccoons getting in their flower pots and bird feeders at night, and I am afraid that the racoons will bother their garden.

The new puppy is named Shelia, and Kevin had so much fun with her. He walked her through the woods. He told us he was trying to teach her where to look for raccoons. Kevin has never been coon hunting, but he probably thinks the puppy doesn’t know that.

Joseph mowed the yard in an hour and 35 minutes. We bought a big walk-behind mower at the local consignment auction this spring. Joseph loves to mow with it, and he handles it very well. Joseph is tall for his age so he can handle the big mower.

Lovina's family was excited to receive 42 baby chicks this week.
Lovina’s family was excited to receive 42 baby chicks this week.

Our 42 baby chicks came this week. We will butcher our hens after these new chicks get bigger and start laying eggs.

On June 14, Elizabeth will be 22. Our family is planning to spend Saturday evening and Sunday at Timothy and Elizabeth’s house. Plans are to put tents up in their back yard and cook outside. I am looking forward to all of us being together. It seems the older the children get, the harder it is, because everyone goes different directions on weekends.

Elizabeth is helping to get ready for Susan’s wedding by sewing for me at her house. She likes to use her sewing machine to sew. I cut out my dress, cape and apron for the wedding. I hope to get it sewed soon. Mose’s mother and I have to wear sage-colored dresses.

Next week I will take Loretta, Joseph, Lovina and Kevin for eye exams. Loretta and Joseph only need glasses for reading. It’s been awhile since they had their eyes tested. Last time the eye doctor thought Lovina might need glasses. She has been having headaches when she reads. She’s a bookworm. I always loved to read and still do, but time is limited a lot more now. When the children were younger, our six oldest children all had to wear glasses. Elizabeth is the only one who needs to wear them all the time now. Susan, Loretta and Joseph do for reading. Verena and Benjamin are okay to go without now.

I had my eyes tested last week. The eye doctor thinks I will do better with bifocals now, which I’m dreading. Hopefully I’ll get used to them quickly.

God bless!

Rhubarb Coffeecake

1/2 cup shortening
1 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups fresh rhubarb, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the shortening, 1 1/4 cup brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and lemon juice or vinegar. Add this to the sugar mixture and stir well. Add the flour, baking soda and salt, and stir until the flour is moistened. Mix in the rhubarb. Pour the batter into a greased 9-inch square pan.

In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and butter and sprinkle over the top of the batter. Bake for 35–40 minutes until golden brown in color. Serve warm or cold.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Guess who’d rather plant garden barefooted?

As I write this, we are almost through March. April 1 is already Friday. Next week our three children will be home from school for spring break. Parent/teacher conferences will be held on Thursday. After spring break there are only nine more weeks of school left. It is hard to believe how fast this term is going.

My husband Joe planted quite a few Red Pontiac seed potatoes on Saturday. We have been wanting to also get some peas and radishes planted. We are hearing that we will have another cold week coming with temperatures below freezing. I hope it will miss us but we can’t control the weather and need to accept what God sends.

Joe is always eager to start planting garden. It’s a good thing that he is because I like to put it off as long as possible. I like planting garden when it’s warm and I can go out barefooted to plant.

Daughter Susan has started training her pony, “Tough Boy,” now. He is already two years old. She is line driving him and teaching him the commands. He is almost ready to hitch to the pony cart. Susan works at the RV factory then spends her evenings working with Tough Boy.

NewGrill2015

On Good Friday we had a nice relaxing family day. We set the table for all the family. The men and boys grilled the chicken while the girls and I prepared the rest of the menu.

Our meal consisted of mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, barbequed chicken, corn, taco salad, Easter eggs, dill pickles, hot peppers, celery and carrot sticks, sliced Colby and Swiss cheese, homemade bread, butter and strawberry jam. Also Swiss roll bars (that daughter Elizabeth brought), cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies, and ice cream.

It is always such a good feeling to sit down at the table when the whole family is present. Not everyone can do this and my heart goes out to broken families and also to families that have had loved ones that passed on before. God has given us so many blessings and so much to be thankful for. Do we thank God enough for all he provides for us?

Our five daughters fixed a tray of food to take over to our 88-year-old neighbor Irene. They walked it over to her house before we started eating. We also made mashed potatoes for our neighbor Joe’s little daughter Jaylyn. She had her tonsils removed and is only allowed soft foods. She loves mashed potatoes and we had more than enough for us. It is nice to have good neighbors.

Our afternoon was spent playing games. Joe has a croquet set that eight people can play but outside the wind was chilly so it was decided to play games indoors.

Daughter Susan is still only working four days at the factory so she will be home on Friday. Daughter Elizabeth has plans to come home on Friday. It’s always enjoyable to work with the girls.

Son-in-law Timothy is allowed to start putting weight on his foot. He is slowly getting around but still relies on his crutches at times.

This week I’ll share the recipe for Ho Ho Cake, which is kind of like a giant Hostess Ho Ho if you’re familiar with those. Several readers have requested it.

God’s blessings to all!

Ho Ho Cake

Bake one chocolate cake in a 9×13 inch pan. Let cool.

Topping 1:
5 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oleo
1 cup shortening

Mix flour and milk in saucepan and cook until thick, stirring constantly. Cream together sugar, oleo, and shortening. Add flour mixture, beat well and put on cake.

Topping 2:

1/2 cup oleo
1 egg
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 1/2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Melt oleo and cocoa together. Cool. Beat egg, vanilla, and water; add powdered sugar, blending well. Stir with oleo/cocoa mixture. Pour this topping over first topping on cake and refrigerate.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.