Category Archives: Candy

A beautiful Easter Sunday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robin Egg Nests

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

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

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

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.

Christmas time treat recipes

Lovina Eicher’s son-in-law Mose was injured in a car accident on Wednesday, December 9. His injuries were severe, and he passed away the morning of December 14. Lovina asks readers to hold Susan and children Jennifer, age 2, and Ryan, age 1, in prayer. She writes, “Susan is a widow at age 24 but she says her years of marriage to Mose were the most wonderful years of her life. They were married four years in August.”

On the evening of the accident Lovina wrote: “… Susan and the children are staying with us… Our sympathy goes out to the family of Mose’s driver, Dan, who was killed instantly in the accident. Dan’s son drives my son Benjamin to work every day; daughter Loretta’s boyfriend Dustin was Dan’s group leader at work. Dan was a great man to all who knew him. Let’s keep his family in our prayers as well. I haven’t heard how the girl is from the other car in this accident, but we want to lift her and her family up in our prayers too.”

Because of these events, this week’s column contains favorite recipes culled from two of Lovina’s cookbooks, Lovina’s Amish Kitchen and Amish Family Recipes. Please remember Mose, Susan, their two young children, and the larger family in prayer at this time.

PEANUT BRITTLE

My dad loved peanut brittle. My mom would always make it around the Christmas holiday.

2 cups sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup light corn syrup
½ cup cold water
2 cups raw peanuts
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking soda

Grease a large baking sheet; set aside.

In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil sugar, salt, corn syrup, and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanuts. Set candy thermometer in place and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300°F, or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads.

Remove from heat; immediately stir in butter and baking soda; pour at once onto baking sheet. With two forks, lift and pull peanut mixture into rectangle about 12 x 14 inches in size. Allow to cool, then break candy into pieces.

From The Essential Amish Cookbook, © 2017 Herald Press

 

POPCORN BALLS

My mother would always make Popcorn Balls around Christmastime. I like to add the red and green food color when I make them during the holiday season to give them that Christmas look.

¼ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
16 cups popped popcorn, salted

Combine butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 2 minutes. Add the baking soda and stir well.

Place popcorn in a large bowl and pour cooked mixture over popcorn, mixing well. Form into 3-inch balls and set on waxed paper to cool.

For color, a few drops of food color can be added to cooked mixture before pouring over popcorn.

From The Essential Amish Cookbook, © 2017 Herald Press

 

SNOWBALL COOKIES

I like to make these cookies around Christmastime, but they are good anytime of year. The nuts give them a nice crunchy texture.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1¾ cups all-purpose flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for rolling cookies

Cream together butter, granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add nuts. Slowly add flour until combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Drop small scoops of dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool, then roll in confectioners’ sugar.

From Amish Family Recipes, © 2020 Herald Press

 

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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Lovina’s daughter Verena shares her story

Over the years I have written about my daughter Verena’s brain concussion and the almost seven years that she had post-concussion syndrome. I also wrote about our children who have limb girdle type 2 muscular dystrophy. Readers have asked why my daughters use mobility scooters. Here is Verena’s story in her own words:

I have dealt with a brain concussion and post-concussion syndrome. I am now able to say I am completely healed. I pray for healing for anyone else that is dealing with it. God be with them and their families. I would fall easier than many children my age, which was later explained after my brain injury. I was diagnosed with limb girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A. I had small head injuries before my big head injury. One was by falling and hitting my head and another by being hit in the head with an ice snowball. Both times I was unconscious for a few seconds. I was confused after one fall and had to be taken to the hospital. I was sent home with a mild head injury and told to rest a lot.

When I was 12 years old, on June 2, 2010, I was hit on my temple with a football. I lost consciousness and then a whole year of my memory before I was able to remember anything. Family and friends tell me I was like a younger child again. I wasn’t able to walk at first. I had a huge personality change. I kept having memory loss, even after a whole year. I would lose my memory for days or weeks at a time then I would snap back and be amazed to hear what all happened that I didn’t remember. Sometimes I missed my birthdays, sometimes holidays. I was told I was nothing like me during these memory loss episodes. I was rude, would scream and cry, totally opposite my usual self. I felt like my life was a mess. I lost friends because they didn’t understand my change of attitude. I found myself always crying and depressed. I was an honor roll student in school, and that changed as well. I wasn’t on honor roll and lost a lot of schooling. On the good days I had to work extra hard to catch up on schoolwork.

My last memory loss episode was in March 2017. In those six years and nine months I lost a total of three years of my memory. My mom kept a calendar of all the days I had memory loss. I know this is probably mild compared to many others, but I always wish I could talk to someone who had similar episodes. For those of you still dealing with this there is hope for you. I have been in and out of many hospitals, had many x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, but the brain is something only God can heal. He works miracles every day! Stay strong, keep the faith, and never give up!

Now my story about muscular dystrophy. I am not sharing this for pity or attention. I dislike pity. I only want to share my story so others can understand my disability. Yes, it limits a lot of what I can do. It doesn’t define me as a person, and it doesn’t make me less of a human. It doesn’t affect me mentally—only physically, especially my thighs, calves, and arms.

Yes, I might be in a wheelchair someday, but just like everyone else, I do not know the future. With time I might get weaker. It is hard for me to climb stairs, but I can still do it. It is hard for me to climb in a buggy, but I can still do it.

There are many kinds of muscular dystrophy and it works differently on everyone. My younger sister Loretta has the same kind, but hers has progressed a little faster. We try not to look at what we once were able to do. We try to focus more on what we can do now and move on.

Take one day at a time and let our Heavenly Father lead the way. Yes, we have to learn to accept over and over what we have been given. We have to remind ourselves this is God’s choice for us.

I do not want anyone around me to quit playing sports because I can’t. They are not at fault and not to blame but I do want them to try to understand that it’s also not fun to sit and watch. Loretta and I use mobility scooters for unlevel ground, holding our nieces and nephews, and for long distances to enable us to take “walks.”

My family has been great to have around and helped in so many ways. The church is also always willing to make our life easier. God bless you all and take care! –Verena, age 22

Six Minute Caramels

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Combine all ingredients. Cook 6 minutes on a medium high heat, stirring every minute. Stir and pour into lightly greased dish. Let cool. Cut, wrap in wax paper, and store in an air-tight container.

 

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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

A fun day out for Amish garage sales

 Son Joseph’s ride is late, so I decided to write this column while we wait. Some of the neighbors are without electricity from some storms that blew down trees. We didn’t get much of anything here. We had a little rain which we needed badly.

Yesterday was a long, tiring, but fun day! My sister Emma and her daughters, my five daughters and I, and also grandson Ryan and granddaughter Allison went to the Amish garage sales in a nearby community. Our driver had a big van and pulled a trailer to put all our “goodies” in. My granddaughters Abigail, 3, and Jennifer, 2, and grandson T.J., 17 months, stayed at my sisters Verena and Susan’s house while we went to the garage sales. Niece Emma’s little 16-month-old Jessica also stayed at my sisters’, so they had four children, age 3 and under, to keep them more than busy. Son Kevin and nephew Steven stayed there too, so they could help with the little ones.

We found lots of nice bargains and came home with many weeks’ worth of sewing done. I have a hard time not buying some clothes for my little grandchildren. We probably went to 25 garage sales or more (we kind of lost count). The trailer was filled with furniture, clothes, groceries, etc. when we came home. Then came the fun of unloading everything at the right house. I was tired and so was everyone else. My husband Joe made supper on the grill, so I was glad to not have to do that after the long day. It was a fun day spent together and worth our time!

After a fun day out, Lovina enjoys her husband Joe cooking supper on the grill.
Photo: Grant Beachy/©MennoMedia

We want to go over to Mose and daughter Susan’s house today and help her start packing up her dishes, etc. Mose wants to remodel the whole house, put new siding and windows on the outside and fully remodel the inside. They have an old farm house, and it seems one repair after another comes up. They decided to just empty most of the house and dig in and see what needs repairing. There will be a lot of dust, so they will make their living quarters in our pole barn part where we host church services as their house gets a makeover. It will be so much nicer once it’s all done. They have a hard-to-heat house in the winter months, so this should help tremendously. We sure aren’t going to complain to have Jennifer and Ryan living next door to us for several weeks. I can already see Jennifer coming walking over here. She likes to act bigger than her age and can really roll her eyes when you tell her something she doesn’t like to hear. So precious!

On Sunday, June 14, our firstborn Elizabeth will have her 26th birthday. Time does have a way of slipping by. We wish her a Happy Birthday and many more happy healthy years. She is a busy mother of three children with the oldest being 3.

Thursday is the first wedding of the year in our community. I am so glad we are finally out of the lockdown here in Michigan. Our five oldest here at home are with the youth group and plan to attend the 7:00 p.m. supper at the wedding. It is being held in our local community building. A lot of the youth have not been together since March due to the singings, weddings, and Saturday evenings at the community building being cancelled.

Daughter Lovina’s special friend Matthew is spending several weeks with his parents in Montana. After not having seen most of his family for six months, this will be a happy reunion! Matthew’s brother and two sisters were in Michigan for a wedding, so they traveled back with Matthew by train. That was several days of riding the train. Glad they made it home safely!

This week I’ll share a recipe for Caramel Pecans. A reader had requested it, and I didn’t have one. Another reader kindly sent one to me. Thank you! Stay safe, stay healthy and God bless!

 

Caramel Pecans

1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 cups halved pecans

In a nonstick skillet over medium high heat, stir and melt brown sugar and water until rapidly bubbling. Add pecans, stirring thoroughly to coat. Stir and cook 3-4 minutes until fragrant and most of the liquid has evaporated. (But not so long that the sugars burn.)

Spread pecans in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet using a fork to separate them. Let stand at room temperature about an hour until fully cooled, set, and dry. (Pecans will be slightly tacky to the touch.)

Break apart any pecan clusters and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, in the refrigerator for several weeks, or up to two months in the freezer.

 

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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

Winter Weather and Chocolate Pecan Caramels

The leaves are not all off our trees yet. We didn’t get around to raking up the ones on the ground, either. “Old Man Winter” arrived before we were prepared. In the last few days it snowed and snowed. I would guess that we received about eight more inches of snow. This morning the temperature was five degrees. Burr! Our coal is burning away faster than we want it to. It’s always a hard time of year, it seems, but God will provide!

We feel blessed that my husband Joe has found a steady job now. It’s been a hard seven months to not have steady work. I really hope and pray that this will work for him. I didn’t even complain about having to set an alarm for 3 a.m. once again. Son-in-law Mose and son Benjamin have also started at the same factory. They build horse trailers, so it’s a different line of work than RVs. Joe and Benjamin leave at 3:30 a.m., and Joseph has been leaving at 5 a.m. Joseph does the morning chores in the barn and Joe and Benjamin refuel the coal stoves before leaving.

My surgery was four weeks ago, so I am looking forward to getting the okay from the doctor to be allowed to do my normal work.

Joseph has to make sure he dresses warmly enough to work outside in this weather. Yesterday the lady they were working for brought them warm gloves and some treats. She told them that she will serve them pizza today. It is a treat to have something warm served when they are working in the cold.

Two vehicles slid into the ditch close by our house in the last few days. Both times the wrecker was needed to pull them out. The newspaper stated that there were 32 slide offs in our county in one day. The roads are slippery, so I hope everyone drives safe!

The world looks beautiful outside, though, with the tree branches covered with snow. Our solar panels are also covered with snow, which is a bad thing for us. The battery can’t charge as well until the sun melts the snow off the panels. The metal roof would be too dangerous to go up on to wipe off the snow. Joe started our generator last night to charge the battery. Maybe we will get some warmer temperatures in the next few days.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan plan to come home tomorrow. They usually come home on Wednesdays, but it was too cold this morning. I look forward to seeing all my grandchildren again.

Happy 60th anniversary to Joe’s aunt MaryAnn and uncle Joe. We were invited recently to their open house. I didn’t feel up to traveling that far, and it was the same day as church services at sister Emma and Jacob’s. We were sorry we couldn’t attend. MaryAnn is a sister to Joe’s mother Salome (she passed away at age 54). I want to write a letter and send a card to Joe and MaryAnn. They always remember to send cards to us when we have misfortunes. Joe’s family lived beside Joe and MaryAnn until Joe was 16 years old, so he has many fond memories of them.

Our sympathy goes to my good friend Ruth and her husband Jim and family. Jim’s father passed away this week at age 90. Although it’s hard to see a parent suffer, it hurts to let go. May God help Jim’s 89-year-old mother through this trial in life. Our sympathy also to the extended family.

God’s blessings to all! Try these chocolate pecan caramels for your Christmas gatherings with friends and family this holiday season.

Chocolate Pecan Caramels

1 tbsp plus 1 cup softened butter (no substitutes), divided
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
½ cup water
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Line a 13×9 inch baking pan with foil; butter the foil with 1 tbsp butter. Sprinkle with pecans and chocolate chips; set aside. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt remaining 1 cup butter. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and water. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer reads 248 degrees (firm-ball stage). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared pan (do not scrape saucepan). Cool completely before cutting. Yield: about 2 ½ lbs. or 6 ¾ dozen.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

Family reunion fun with water balloons and abundant summer produce

Happy Birthday number 53 to sister Verena on August 22nd!

On Saturday, sisters Verena and Susan hosted the annual family reunion on my side of the family. It was greatly attended, with only seven of my parents’ grandchildren not attending. All of us siblings were present. Brother Amos was greatly missed. Nancy came with some of her children, who we were happy to see. It makes the circle seem a little more complete.

We were served a good meal of chicken, barbecued ribs, hot dogs, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, corn, and all the side dishes that were brought in. There were salads, desserts, and fruits too numerous to mention. Snacks were brought for the afternoon before parting ways to go home.

Of course, with my family the water hose was discovered, and the water balloons were soon put to use. Sister Liz and I tried to keep up with the younger ones. Some managed to stay dry. On that hot and humid day, it helped us stay cool.

Grandson Ryan was the youngest there being three weeks old that day. He seems to be gaining weight really well.

The new deck and ramp at my sisters Verena and Susan’s house came in handy. Recently, son-in-law Mose, husband Joe, and sons Benjamin and Joseph built the 12 x 24-foot deck for them. Son-in-law Tim also helped. On Saturday, they had tables set on it for some to eat while others sat by tables set in their pole barn with a canopy attached.

Sunday, we had brunch at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. Tim made sausage gravy and fried potatoes over the open fire while Elizabeth baked biscuits and fried eggs in the house. Abigail and T.J. were so excited to see us. T.J. is now eight months old and all over the house, so he needs to be watched closely. He sure is active.

Yesterday daughter Susan and Jennifer and baby Ryan, daughters Verena, Loretta, Lovina, and I helped Elizabeth can salsa. When we left T.J. was waving at us.

I have corn and tomatoes that need to be canned or frozen. I will make vegetable juice with the tomatoes and the corn will probably be bagged for the freezer. That is the last of the sweet corn for us this season.

Son Kevin is getting adjusted to the new schedule of going to school each day. He gets on the bus so much easier since his surgeries earlier this year. He is still not released from therapy but is slowly learning how to continue it here at home. It’s hard for him to find energy after a day at school.

One evening, James, a friend of ours, brought us some chicken of the woods mushrooms he found. This was the first time we had that kind of mushroom. The name comes from it resembling the taste of chicken. Everyone seemed to like it. It’s always nice to try something different. I seasoned it and fried it in olive oil. James had 25–30 pounds of mushrooms.

Monday, daughter Susan and her children came here for the day. She brought her dirty laundry and we washed it here after we did ours. We were glad to have a nice day for the clothes to dry quickly on the lines so we could take them off and put more on to dry.

Susan and Mose had company again the day before so she was tired. I told her to rest while we washed the clothes. She still needs to gain back her strength. Jennifer was contented watching me hang out laundry and playing with a doll. She tries to act like she’s taking care of her doll when Susan takes care of Ryan.

Tim brought in a 25 1/2-pound watermelon out of their garden when we were there yesterday. He sent half of it home with us. God bless!

This week I will share a recipe I received from a reader. Thank you, Barb!

Snickers Pie

Crust:
1 1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons milk

Filling:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 8-ounce cream cheese
1 Snickers bar, chopped
1 24-ounce Cool Whip (or a little less)
1 3-ounce box instant chocolate pudding

Crust: Mix dry and wet ingredients, press into a 9-inch pie plate, and mold to fit. Bake at 400 degrees for 21 minutes. Cool.

Filling: Thoroughly mix powdered sugar and cream cheese and scoop into cooled crust. Sprinkle 1/2 of chopped Snickers bar on top. Scoop Cool Whip into a large bowl and stir in chocolate pudding until smooth and not gritty. Spread on top of other layers in pie crust. Sprinkle remaining chopped Snickers bar on top. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight before serving.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Wedding anniversaries, funeral gatherings, and a birthday surprise

We are having rain this evening. I hear thunder in the distance. Daughter Loretta, 19, has two whole chickens on the gas grill on the porch. Red potatoes fresh from the garden are being steamed as well.

Daughters Verena, 21, and Lovina, 15, should be coming home soon. They left this morning to go wash laundry for Mose and daughter Susan. It was a nice sunshiny day, so I hope the clothes were dry before the rain.

I canned 14 quarts of vegetable juice today while Loretta did the daily cleaning and dishes. I like to cut up all the vegetables on the porch and put them through the Victoria food strainer. Filling the jars on the porch keeps all the mess out of the house. I have a garden hose on the porch to wash off all the mess after I’m done.

Four years ago, on August 14, daughter Elizabeth and Tim were married here. What a big undertaking to prepare for the wedding, and to have the first of our children move out of the house. August 5 was daughter Susan and Mose’s third anniversary. Happy anniversary to both couples. May they have many more happy, healthy years to go.

On Saturday we received the sad and shocking news of Joe’s Uncle Elmer’s death. He would have been 75 next month. He went out to do the morning chores in the barn and his son-in-law found him lying there, where they think he had a massive heart attack.

Elmer’s wife Sylvia delivered my first six children and was a great midwife. She delivered many babies in her lifetime and has been a great friend as well. Our deepest sympathy to Sylvia and her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Joe’s family were neighbors with Elmer and Sylvia, which made for a lot of memories between the two families.

August 15 was my oldest sister Leah’s 60th birthday. Her husband Paul invited all of Leah’s siblings to surprise Leah on Sunday for her birthday. Sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma, Jacob and their son Steven, my husband Joe and I and son Kevin had a driver pick us up after church on Sunday. We headed south to pick up brother Albert, Sarah Irene, and their daughters Susan and Sylvia. We joined the rest of the family at Paul and Leah’s house. Paul’s married children, sister Liz and Levi and their daughter Elizabeth, Samuel and family, sister-in-law Nancy and her children, Sam and Laura and Laura’s special friend Enos were also there.

We all stayed in the living room when Leah came home and entered the house. As she walked in we started singing Happy Birthday to her. She was surprised and happy to see all of us there. We were served a good supper and enjoyed visiting before we all parted ways to go home. Brother Amos was missed not being with us. We stopped at the viewing of Uncle Elmer before heading back on the two-hour drive to Michigan. On Tuesday Joe and I attended the funeral of Uncle Elmer.

Before heading home we gathered with some of Joe’s family at a pizza place in honor of Joe’s sister Carol’s birthday. She turned 53 on August 12. They live in Tennessee and had an eight-hour drive home from there. We saw a lot of family on both sides this weekend.

School doors open for son Kevin, 13, on August 20. This is his final year of school—eighth grade. Kevin will be 14 on Labor Day, September 2.

On Saturday my sisters Verena and Susan have invited all the family for the day. More on that next week since space is limited. I’ll share the recipe for chocolate marshmallow bars that I made to take along to Leah’s birthday supper. Until next week, God bless!

Chocolate Marshmallow Bars

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
4 cups miniature marshmallows

Topping:
1 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups Rice Krispies

In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl; gradually combine dry ingredients with the creamed mixture. Stir in nuts if desired. Spread in a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until set. Sprinkle with marshmallows; bake 2-3 minutes longer or until melted. Place pan on a wire rack. Using a knife dipped in water, spread marshmallows evenly over the top. Cool completely.

Topping: Combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring continuously, until blended. Remove from heat; stir in Rice Krispies. Immediately spread over bars. Chill until set.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Favorite Christmas goodies from the Eicher home to yours!

A simple way to turn standard chocolate chip cookies into festive goodies is to add colored M&M’s, or just use red and green M&M’s available at Christmas. Photo by Lucas Landis-Swartzentruber

Favorite Christmas goodies from the Eicher home to yours!

We are still busy getting prepared for niece Emma’s wedding next week. So this week I will share some recipes that we use over the holidays. Sour cream cut-out cookies are still our favorite Christmas cookie to decorate.

Enjoy! God bless you all!

Sour Cream Cut-Out Cookies

This is an easy Christmas cookie that the kids like to cut out and decorate. It takes a lot longer when they help, but they enjoy it. Some of the shapes we cut them into include a Christmas tree and a bell. Sometimes I have to watch the younger children as they like to eat the dough. But with the raw eggs in there I don’t like them to. (And if you don’t have sour cream, here’s a substitute: Mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice with 3/4 cup milk. Let set 5 or more minutes. Add 4 tablespoons melted butter. Mix well.)

1 cup (2 sticks) 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

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Stir in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl and stir with a whisk to blend. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until a soft, firm dough is formed. Roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thickness on a floured surface. Use your favorite shaped cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place them on prepared baking sheet. Gather leftover dough, re-roll, and cut some more until all the dough is used up.

Bake until just turning golden brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 18 – 24 cookies, depending on shapes.

Frosting:
1/3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
Food coloring (optional)
Colored sprinkles, for decorating (optional)
Chocolate chips, for decorating (optional)

To make frosting: Cream shortening with vanilla and 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Gradually add the milk and the rest of the powdered sugar, beating constantly. More powdered sugar can be added to give you your desired thickness. Food coloring can also be added if you like. Spread the frosting on the cookies and decorate with colored sprinkles or chocolate chips. Let the frosting set before storing.

Gingerbread Cookies

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup molasses
3 tablespoons hot water

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Blend well. Chill dough at least one hour before handling. Roll out dough on floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Use gingerbread-man cookie cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool and decorate.

Chocolate Covered Cherries

20 ounces canned sweet or maraschino cherries, drained; reserve juice to add to batter
1/4 pound soft butter
1/2 cup cherry juice
2 pounds powdered sugar
Melted semi-sweet chocolate

Mix powdered sugar, juice, and butter thoroughly (handles better if you chill for awhile). Make small balls, press flat and cover cherries. Dip in chocolate within 2 two hours or it will be hard to dip. (Maraschino cherries make these easier to dip as they usually have stems on them.)

Peanut Butter Cups

1 pound of margarine
2 pounds of peanut butter
3 pounds of powdered sugar
Melted semi-sweet chocolate

Mix peanut butter and margarine, then work in powdered sugar. Shape into balls the size of big marbles. Dip in melted chocolate.

Mint Patties

1 box powdered sugar
2 teaspoons cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg (unbeaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 drops peppermint oil
Semi-sweet chocolate

Mix together real good and shape into patties. Dip in hot melted semi-sweet chocolate. Cool.

Note: this recipe contains one egg which is not cooked. Perhaps look for other alternatives, such as found here. Or simply leave the egg out. Thank you to RN Marjorie for alerting us to the potential risk for salmonella here.

Peanut Butter Fingers
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup chocolate chips

Frosting:
1/2 to 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 to 4 tablespoons milk

Cream well the butter and sugars. Blend in peanut butter, egg, salt, and vanilla. Stir in flour and  oatmeal. Spread in greased 9×13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 19-20 minutes Sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes. Spread chocolate, then spread peanut butter frosting on top; swirl.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, 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.

 

February Brings Snow Drifts, Baptism Services, and Butchering

A snow fort made by the Eicher children a few years ago.

February Brings Snow Drifts, Baptism Services, and Butchering

Editor’s note: Due to the death of Lovina’s brother Amos Coblentz on Jan. 31, 2018, this week’s column is a repeat from Lovina from February 2015.

[February 2015] Greetings from snowy Michigan! We received more than a foot of snow over the weekend. Some had reports of 16-18 inches. It’s a pretty sight to look at. The evergreen trees have enough snow on their branches to make such nice scenery. What a wonderful creator our God is! The temperature also dipped down to almost zero degrees. The wind chill was even colder.

With all the snow and wind, the roads weren’t opened until Monday. Everyone was home—factories closed and schools all closed in the county. We did the laundry and Joe mixed the summer sausage so we could get it in bags. We hung it in the pole building to cure for a week or two. Then Joe will smoke it in the smoker. The recipe calls for 100 pounds of hamburger and sausage, so we ended up with almost 40 bags of summer sausage. We added cheddar cheese to some of it and also hot pepper cheese to some of it.

Saturday we helped Jacob and Emma with pork butchering. We made Pon Haus (similar to scrapple) out of 21 gallons of pork juice and rendered the lard.

Sunday we visited a neighboring church district to attend baptism services for four young souls. One of the boys is a brother to Mose (Susan’s friend). The building was filled to capacity with people. When we left in the morning only a few inches of snow were on the ground. By the time we started home in the afternoon, the roads had nice-sized drifts on them. Our ramp and steps to the house had quite a bit of snow on them. By the time we walked through the drifts of snow to the house, our shoes were all wet.

Our neighbor boy shoveled out our drive on Monday with their skid loader. In the yard we have huge piles of snow, which the younger children enjoy playing on.

Daughter Verena went to the community building on Saturday evening. The youth all gather there on Saturday evenings. A few sets of parents go as chaperones. Verena went home with niece Salome and some friends and spent the night at Salome’s house (Joe’s sister Loretta and her husband, Henry).

They all came to the baptism church on Sunday that we attended. Verena got to hold little Damaris, Loretta and Henry’s new baby. Sounds like she’s a real cutie! Salome will be baptized to the confession of faith in a few weeks, so we hope to attend the services in Nappanee, Ind. When children take this serious step, what a blessing it is to parents.

Tomorrow evening daughter Susan will go to her special friend Mose’s house in honor of his birthday. Happy birthday, Mose! Mose and Elizabeth’s friend, Timothy, have both been such wonderful friends to our daughters. They are always willing to pitch in and help when work needs to be done around here.

My very special friend, Ruth, will also have a birthday on Feb. 9. Happy birthday, Ruth! She has been a great help and encouragement to me to continue with this column. God bless her!

A reader requested a recipe for cashew crunch, which I didn’t have. But another reader was kind enough to send one to me. God bless!

Cashew Crunch

1 pound cashews, coarsely ground
1 5-ounce can chow mein noodles, coarsely ground
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 16-ounce package chocolate candy coating

Place cashews, noodles, and marshmallows in a large bowl. Melt coating and pour over mixture. Mix well. Pour onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet and spread out. Let cool and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, 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.