Category Archives: Cakes

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.

P1080497
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.

 

Children learning to read German; grape juice boiling and family reunion

Saturday we attended my family gathering at my sister Liz and brother-in-law Levi’s place in Berne, Indiana. All eight of us siblings were in attendance. Some of the married nieces and nephews didn’t attend but we still made a nice-sized group to enjoy the day.

Like every year, our parents are greatly missed at these family gatherings. Everyone took some food, but Levi and Liz furnished the hot food. The menu included barbequed chicken and pork steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, dressing, corn, peas, homemade bread, plus all the dishes that were brought in.

Nephew Ben (age 32 and the oldest of my parents’ grandchildren) and his family recently moved back to Berne, Ind. after living in Wisconsin since they were married in 2007. My parents’ youngest living grandchild is Steven, eight, in second grade (Jacob and Emma’s son). The youngest baby present was Lyle, born August 13 to niece Susan and Joe. He was born the day before Timothy and Elizabeth’s wedding.

The afternoon was spent playing outdoor games, visiting, and singing. Snacks were served before everyone left for home. We arrived home around 7:00 p.m.

GermanFlashCards
German alphabet and sounds the children are practicing.

This week and next week the evenings will be short. The children are leaving every night to take German classes. Our church has these classes for the children that attend public school and don’t have the option of learning to read German in school. It seems empty when they are all gone in the evenings until 8:30 p.m. Lovina and Kevin seem to be enjoying learning the new sounds of the German alphabet. Every evening they come home excited about new words they learned. A special thanks goes to the ones that donate their time to teach these classes.

Yesterday our school had to cancel school due to water issues they were having. I don’t think the children were too excited that this also happened to be the day we had to go pick grapes. It sure did help, thought, to have them along to help pick them. There is an Amish family in our community that has a “U pick” for grapes. It was a very nice day to travel the eight miles.

Today we are canning grape juice. I have two steamers which speedsGrapeJuiceMaking the process. I don’t add sugar until I open the jars. I can the concentrate and add sugar and water when we open the jars.

Daughter Elizabeth and Timothy went to pick their grapes last night. I want to let her use my steamers to can her juice. It’s hard for her to get things done with her working every day at the RV factory yet.

I want to get apples soon to can applesauce. I must get back to my work.

Until next week—God bless!

Carrot Cake

2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups finely grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Beating well, combine sugar and oil. Add eggs; beat until well mixed. Mix in flour which has been sifted with cinnamon, salt, and soda. Slowly mix in carrots and nuts. Pour into greased and floured 9 x 12 inch pan. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until done.

Frosting:

4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup coconut
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Soften cream cheese. Blend in butter, then add all other ingredients.


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.

Eichers celebrate wedding anniversary; countdown begins for daughter’s wedding

BensBirthdayCake2015WhippedToppingEditedToday, July 14, is son Benjamin’s 16th birthday. We want to bake him a cake, but I forgot to ask him what kind he wants before he left for work at 5:30 a.m. With eight children it’s hard to remember which is everyone’s favorite.

Tomorrow, July 15, my husband Joe and I will have our twenty-second wedding anniversary. Where have all the years gone? It hardly seems possible that it’s been that many years. We have so many blessings to thank our Heavenly Father for. I remember on the morning of our wedding when my mother, some of my sisters and I got all the chicken in skillets on the kerosene stoves to fry. Mom, sister Liz, and her husband Levi took care of the chicken until the cooks came to take over. Eighteen skillets of chicken were used to fry 300 pounds of chicken. We started frying chicken at 4:15 a.m. I helped until it was time to get ready before the guests started arriving between 6:30 to 7:00 a.m.

Daughter Elizabeth is back to work at the RV factory after two weeks of vacation. I think she is probably having more of a vacation back at work! She put in some long days helping clean and sew here at home. It’s hard to get her to take it easy, but I told her she has to be careful with having had double pneumonia. She still feels weak from it.

Timothy and Elizabeth’s wedding is now a month away. Elizabeth sewed everyone clothes for the wedding except she still needs to sew her and Susan a white cape and apron that they will wear at the wedding. Mose and Susan will be their witnesses. The bride and groom both choose witnesses so Timothy will choose someone from his family. I still need to cut out and sew my dress for the wedding.

We have three bedrooms cleaned upstairs and still need to clean the boy’s bedroom. We are also cleaning the canning room. So, lots of jars to clean and put back on the shelf. Joe has been working evenings on making a bigger closet in our bedroom. That will need to be painted when he is finished with mudding the drywall. He installed a new shower in the bathroom, so the bathroom needs to be repainted too yet before the wedding.

Daughter Susan had a nice vacation. We are glad to have her home again. They could feed the deer from their hand in the cabin where they stayed and also saw black bears. They had a nice fishing trip.

We were surprised on Thursday with a visit from Uncle Joe and Betty from Geneva, Indiana and Uncle Menno and Martha from Phoenix, Arizona. Menno and Martha were out in the Berne, Ind. area to attend the annual Coblentz reunion. We were unable to attend but sounds like the Coblentzs had a lot of fun—like usual. Menno and Joe are my Dad’s brothers.

Sunday evening Timothy’s family surprised Elizabeth with a birthday cake for her June 14th birthday. Timothy’s sister-in-law Rachel made and decorated the cake.

This is now Wednesday morning and I need to finish this. We ended up making a chocolate cake for Benjamin’s birthday last night. He didn’t want us to put candles on it. I’ll share the chocolate sheet cake recipe I use. A reader requested a homemade cake recipe. God bless you all!

Chocolate Sheet Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter
1 cup water
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10 x15-inch baking pan.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk to blend. Combine the margarine, water, and cocoa in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the hot mixture to the dry ingredients and stir well. Add the eggs and beat well, then add the sour cream, milk, and vanilla.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Whipped Topping Frosting

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

Add pudding mix, powdered sugar, and milk to a mixing bowl. Mix until blended. Let mixture stand three minutes then fold in defrosted whipped topping. Frost and keep refrigerated.

 

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.

All hands on deck for busy June days with the Eichers

Last week was a busy one, with attending two weddings. Daughter Elizabeth and Timothy are table waiters in a wedding again on Friday. Elizabeth has her dress done but needs to finish her cape and apron.

The dress that Elizabeth will wear to a wedding.
The dress that Elizabeth will wear to a wedding.

This week we are trying to get caught up with the work around here. On Saturday we filled the rest of the garden. We didn’t have enough space for some of the vegetables I usually plant. I have a small garden beside the house, but I can’t plant anything in it for now. We need to level some ground around the new building before we can plant. Hopefully there will be time for some late vegetables.

Joseph, 12, Lovina, 11, and Kevin, 9, are cleaning strawberries that Jacob and Emma’s boys brought over. The strawberries come from their plants. Verena is baking and Loretta is washing dishes. I am sewing again!

We canned 21 quarts of rhubarb juice this week too. We are enjoying iced tea from the spearmint tea plants out of the garden. We have been having nice rains this last while, which makes everything in the garden grow faster.

Timothy (Elizabeth’s friend) has been slowly moving his belongings to his new home. We went to see his new home, which is very nice. He has more acreage, a bigger, newer house and outbuildings. He does have to build horse stalls for the horses and put up fence around the pasture. On Saturday my husband, Joe, will probably have to work at the factory, but the rest of us will go help move the rest of Timothy’s things. Some of his family will help as well. Elizabeth and some of the girls were cleaning the house last Saturday.

We attended church services at Mose’s (Susan’s friend) parents’ on Sunday. Mose’s sister Hannah and Leroy furnished the lunch, as it was their turn. They are doing some remodeling, so they couldn’t host church services at their house. Wednesday evening the girls had so much fun babysitting for little six-week-old Caleb Lee. Caleb is Mose’s brother Alvin and Suzy’s little baby. It was Alvin’s birthday, so Suzy went fishing with him. Needless to say, that sweet little Caleb didn’t lack attention. It was so enjoyable to have a baby in the house to care for once again. I am sure that Suzy, being a new mother, was glad for a break for a while.

On Sunday, June 14, twenty-one years ago, our first child was born to Joe and me. Where have the years gone? We feel blessed to call Elizabeth our daughter. She has been such a loving daughter and always willing to help with the work. Being the oldest in the family made her mature at a younger age. I could always depend on leaving the little ones in her care when she was old enough to watch over them. May God be her guide through all her years and bless her richly.

At a wedding, my cousin Esther shared a recipe that a friend gave her to give to me. Her friend is a reader of my column. With all the rush, rush of the two weddings, I completely forget her friend’s name. So if she reads this, I want to say thank you! Daughter Verena made it today, and it is delicious!

A reader of the column shared this recipe for rhubarb cheese cake with Lovina's cousin, who shared it with her.
A reader of the column shared this recipe for rhubarb cheese cake with Lovina’s cousin, who shared it with her.

Rhubarb Cheese Cake

Crust:

1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter

Rhubarb layer:

3 cups fresh rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour

Cream layer:

12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs

Topping:

1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

For crust, mix flour, sugar and butter. Pat into a 10-inch pie plate. Set aside. For rhubarb layer, combine rhubarb, sugar and flour. Toss lightly and pour into crust. Bake at 375° for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare cream layer by beating together cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Pour over hot rhubarb layer. Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes or until almost set. For topping, combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Spread over hot layers.

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.

Welcoming a late spring with baby ducks and rhubarb coffee cake

If we thought spring weather was here to stay, we were wrong. Today the temperature is in the mid-30s, and we are having snow flurries all morning. The wind is so cold.

All is quiet here at the Eichers. Everyone is gone for the day. I did the morning work, mopped the floors and am folding laundry. I’m hoping to make butter yet before the girls get home from work. Susan wants to bake sugar cookies when she comes home. These cookies have buttermilk as one of the ingredients, so I thought I’d make butter so we have some.

Susan’s last day at the RV factory is Friday. She wants to take cookies to work to treat her co-workers. On Monday she will start working for nephew Emanul. He has a woodworking shop and has quite a few employees.

Lovina and Kevin were really excited on Saturday. Daughter Susan’s friend Mose bought them each a little baby duck. They named them Donald and Daisy and have had so much fun taking care of them. They keep them in a box in front of the coal stove in the basement. I hardly ever hear them. They aren’t as noisy as the little chicks that we have had in the house already. This is the first time we have had ducks, so the children are eager to see how they will be for pets when they get older. Once the weather warms up they can move them out to the barn.

The Eicher children are enjoying their new baby ducks, Donald and Daisy.
The Eicher children are enjoying their new baby ducks, Donald and Daisy.

Congratulations to nephew Levi and Barbara! We received an invitation to their May 14 wedding. Levi is sister Leah and Paul’s son. I will be a cook at their wedding. They would like the cooks to wear royal blue dresses. It looks like I will get another new dress.

I really need to get to my sewing. Son Benjamin could use more work pants. I have several cut out for him but need to sew them. Once I get started it won’t take long. Pants are easy to put together and sew.

Everything has been so busy this spring that my husband Joe hasn’t had much time for fishing. Son Benjamin went fishing Friday evening with Mose and two of his brothers. Saturday evening Benjamin and Joseph went fishing for a few hours after the work was done for the day.

Timothy (daughter Elizabeth’s friend) bought a bigger place and is in the process of selling his. He has a bigger and newer house and more acreage on the new place. He has some woods on the property, and a river runs behind it. We want to help him move once he’s ready.

My rhubarbs are really growing. I am hoping I’ll have some to use in a week or so. Try this rhubarb coffee cake when your rhubarbs are ready.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, diced

Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream sugar and shortening. Add egg. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream. Fold in rhubarb. Spread in greased 9×13-inch pan.

Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350° for 45–50 minutes.

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.

Happy preparations for Thursday wedding include homemade angel food cake

We had a lot of fog this morning. The schools had a two-hour delay because of the fog. This made for some happy children!

It has been a lot warmer this week with the temperature almost reaching 50 degrees on Monday. Sure gives a person spring fever. I am hoping it will be nice and warm for Alvin and Susanna’s wedding tomorrow.

I went to help prepare for the wedding on Monday at the bride’s home. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan didn’t have to work so they helped Verena with the laundry. They hung some of it outside and it dried really well. I was glad the laundry was done when I came home.

Other women were at the bride’s home too, helping prepare for the wedding. Women made pie crusts and crushed corn flakes to mix with ranch seasoning to coat the chicken for the wedding meals. We smashed and prepared two five-gallon-sized buckets of crushed corn flakes. Then I helped make angel food cakes. All the ladies brought in something for lunch which makes it so much easier on the bride’s mother. I took macaroni salad. There was so much left over I sent it with one of the ladies to the visitation for a man from our community. He passed away on Saturday evening and has lots of relatives in this community.

Lovina and daughters have been busy sewing new outfits for the wedding where they helped as cooks or servers.
Lovina and daughters have been busy sewing new outfits for the wedding where they helped as cooks or servers.

Yesterday I spent part of the day sewing on my dress for the wedding. The cooks have to wear a plum-colored dress. Mose and Susan are witnesses and Susan has to wear a purple dress with a white cape and apron. Timothy and Elizabeth are table waiters and Elizabeth will wear a different shade of purple for her dress, cape, and apron. The boys have to wear black pants and vests with white shirts. My job at the wedding will be to help prepare the chicken. It will all be baked for both meals.

The sun is shining brightly now and the fog has faded. I still need to finish sewing my cape for tomorrow, so that’s next on my list. Our snow is disappearing fast and the ground is getting really soft. We need some sidewalks from the ramp to the driveway. Hopefully the sun will help dry out the ground. The melting snow needs somewhere to go.

The Eicher family’s new cow, Bessie, eagerly provided the cream for the butter.
The Eicher family’s new cow, Bessie, eagerly provided the cream for the butter.

The children have been helping make butter from our cow Bessie’s cream that we get from her milk. I am hoping to get a butter churn or an easier way to make butter than shaking it in a jar. It is nice to not have to buy butter and milk now. Our children like the taste of homemade butter so we will be making lots more. Everyone takes turns shaking the jars and we soon have a lump of butter formed.

Butter
Lovina and her family make butter from the milk they get from their cow, Bessie.

 

We also have our own chickens so we have eggs and can make noodles from those.

This week I will share the recipe of the angel food cakes we made for the wedding tomorrow. After helping to make so many, I memorized the recipe.

Angel Food Cake (White)

Beat until foamy:
2 cups egg whites

Add:
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond flavoring

Beat in until stiff peaks form:
1 cup of white sugar, sifted

Sift together and fold in gradually:
1 cup pastry or cake flour
1 cup powdered sugar

Pour into angel food cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until cake feels springy.

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.