Category Archives: Cookies

Lovina’s daughter shares the news and a recipe for whoopie pies

Hi! This is Verena, 19, filling in for Mom this week. I had the urge to do some writing, and I thought Mom would be happy to have a break.

This last week has been absolutely beautiful spring weather. It’s hard to believe it’s only February. I will be happy to see summer come.

I started working at a daycare several days a week. I love the job—probably because I have always loved being around children. Right now we only have children from age one to five at the daycare. We might have a few babies to take care of later this year. Sometimes I also babysit for a family with three little boys, ages one, three, and five. They keep me busy but are fun to take care of. I enjoy being around children and watching over the dear little ones. The innocent mind of a young child makes me want to be a child again, with no worries in life.

Tomorrow my sister Elizabeth and my little niece Abigail will come here. I will go with Elizabeth to a Tupperware party. I’m so excited to get to see Abigail again. She is my whole world! I really enjoy being an aunt. Abigail is like therapy to me, on days when life doesn’t look too bright. She sure knows how to brighten up my days. I dream about the days when she will be old enough for me to take her on walks, pony rides, etc.

The exciting news of this week: the Teacup Yorkie puppy I have been waiting for was born yesterday. I had wanted a female but the mother only had two males. I decided I will take a male, which I’m sure will be just as cute and fun. I will name him Ricky. Thank you to the readers who have contributed money to help make it possible for me to get this puppy. I love dogs so much, and having my own little puppy in the house to take care of will be awesome! Now I have to wait for six to eight weeks until I can have the puppy. The lady who has the puppies said I can come visit whenever I want to.

The Eichers are happy to have the use of a cooker to help in the boiling-off process for the maple syrup.

Brother-in-law Mose has been keeping very busy with cooking maple syrup. The sap has really been running from our maple trees. The sugar content is low this year, and it’s averaging about 60 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. There is a lot of work involved in cooking maple syrup. We really love the maple syrup on our pancakes, scrambled eggs and French toast. While it is still warm, it is also really good on a dip of vanilla ice cream.

On Saturday we butchered the three hogs we raised. We had an early start, so most of the butchering was done by 2:00 p.m. We still had to clean up everything and Dad sliced all the pork chops, ham and bacon yet in the afternoon. One of the hogs was for Mose and Susan. My parents gave it to them to help with starting out on their own.

Those here to help with the butchering were Aunts Verena and Susan, Uncle Jacob and Aunt Emma and sons Jacob, Benjamin, and Steven, their daughter Emma and her friend Menno, my sister Elizabeth, Timothy, and Abigail, sister Loretta’s friend Dustin, and then Mose and Susan and our family.

We made the pon hoss out in the big black kettle and rendered the lard as well. Everyone was here for breakfast and lunch. Our lunch meal was mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, fried tenderloin, corn, lettuce salad, sliced cheese, dirt pudding, finger jello, oatmeal whoopie pies, brownie delight, and chocolate brownies.

I want to thank everyone for their prayers, cards, etc., after my hospital stay. It was all greatly appreciated. I am doing better than expected. God is great!

I saw the rough copy of Mom’s new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, which comes out in April. I love it! I enjoyed helping to test the recipes and learning a thing or two from it.

It turned out really well, which makes all the hard work worth it!

Oatmeal Whoopie Pies

Cookies

4 cups brown sugar
1 cup lard or shortening
4 eggs
4 teaspoons baking soda
6 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups flour
4 cups oatmeal (quick oats)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder

Cream the sugar and lard or shortening. Add eggs. In a separate bowl, dissolve baking soda in boiling water; stir into sugar mixture. Add the buttermilk and salt. Mix flour, oatmeal, cinnamon and baking powder. Add to batter. Bake at 400 degrees until done, about 10–13 minutes. Cool completely. These cookies should turn out soft and chewy.

Filling

2 egg whites
4 cups powdered sugar, divided
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup shortening, softened
4 tablespoons milk

Beat egg whites until stiff. Add 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla. In another bowl, cream the shortening, adding a little of egg white mixture at a time. Add milk and remaining powdered sugar alternately. Beat well. Spread filling between two cookies.

Note: This a fairly large recipe and the amount it makes varies depending on how large you make each cookie; you use two cookies to make one whoopie pie, so that’s why the quantities are big. You can easily halve this recipe if you want to try it.

 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.

Eicher family’s Christmas plans; plus cookie decorating for children

Today is my husband Joe’s 48th birthday. I wish him a very happy birthday and many more healthy years ahead. I couldn’t ask for a better man to spend my life with. We were married on July 15, 1993. God blessed us with eight loving children. We have had trials and sunshine throughout the 23 years. I don’t know what we would have done without God’s guiding hand over us. I can’t thank God enough for all the blessings we have received.

Christmas is on Sunday! Our family will gather here on Saturday evening and spend the night. We are excited to have sweet little Abigail spending her first night at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. Daughter Elizabeth is going to bring a big breakfast casserole so we will have an easy breakfast. After dishes are done we will give each other gifts. Let us not forget that Christmas is not about gifts but about Jesus Christ’s birth in that manger so long ago. Life is so much easier for us than the hardships they experienced back then. Let us give thanks daily for this!

Our church district had the annual Christmas potluck after services on Sunday. The tables were filled with casseroles, salads, pies, desserts, bars, etc. More than enough food for everyone. I took pasta salad.

We stopped in at Jacob and Emma’s house on our way home from church. Timothy and Elizabeth also dropped in. We enjoyed oranges, peanuts and party mix as a snack. Sister Emma gave Elizabeth some of Marilyn’s clothes. This was a sad feeling but Emma felt like she wanted Abigail to have Marilyn’s clothes. For those of you new to this column, Marilyn was born to Jacob and Emma in 2009. At the tender age of eight-and-a-half months, she died suddenly. This left all of us in shock, and especially sister Emma, Jacob and family. She was such a sweet little angel loved by all. She was the only baby in our families at the time making her even more precious. We don’t understand God’s plans all the time but we know God doesn’t make mistakes. We need to trust God to help us someday understand.

On Monday we had very cold weather causing all the schools in the county to close. Our mercury dropped all the way down to minus 11 degrees, and never warmed up to more than six degrees all day. With the children being home, we cleaned the basement and did laundry. It seems the basement doesn’t take long to get disorganized in this house. With the coal stove going down there, it also gets really dusty fast.

Today is Joe’s last day to go to work until January 3. Also, the children will be dismissed at noon today and then are also off until the third.

I will share a new recipe for Christmas cookies daughter Susan is trying out in her kitchen. Our three youngest children will decorate them with Susan and big sister Verena supervising. Meanwhile, I’m happy to do mending in a quiet house.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Uncle Menno Coblenz as he recovers from heart bypass surgery. We wish him a complete and speedy recovery.

I wish all of you readers a Merry Christmas and God’s richest blessings in the New Year 2017.

White Christmas Cookies

1 cup Crisco
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
5 cups flour, approximately
1 teaspoon soda
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup cream or milk
1 tablespoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon vanilla flavoring

Cream Crisco and sugar. Add eggs and beat well.
Add flour, soda, salt and flavorings. Mix well.
Add milk or cream. Mix well.

Roll out very thin and cut with cookie cutters. Decorate with colored sugar sprinkles or whatever you like. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-8 minutes. Store in tightly covered container.

 

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.

 

Amish noodle making, morel mushrooms, and fresh fish!

We are having a lot of rainy days this past week. The garden hasn’t dried up enough for us to get in it, so we still haven’t been able to plant more vegetables. I am really eager to get more garden planted and by next week it will be time to put out tomato and green pepper plants, etc. I like to wait until the middle of May to put these plants in the garden in case it gets too cold—frost can hurt the tender leaves and plants.

Joe and the children are all hoping for the rain to quit for tonight. They have plans to go fishing with the boat on a nearby lake. Son-in-law Timothy is planning to bring his boat so some can ride with him. I will stay home and enjoy the peace and quiet. Daughter Elizabeth might stay here with me and we’ll enjoy visiting. I want to make supper early before they go. Fish and French fries will be on the menu. Friday evening my husband Joe, son Joseph, and Timothy took the boat out on the lake. They came back with over fifty fish; mostly bluegills. When I prepare the fish I dip them in a batter and deep fry them. Some like to eat them as a sandwich with bread and mayonnaise.MorelMushrooms

This week we also had fresh mushrooms and I also dip and fry those. At the local consignment auction on Saturday they sold some mushrooms that a local Amish lady found. It was to help benefit nephew Emanul and Mary Kay with their hospital bills. Joe bid for the mushrooms as he loves fresh morel mushrooms (that grow in wooded areas but are hard to find) and he also was able to do a good deed this way. Needless to say, the mushrooms did not last long.

At the auction we bought a three-year-old horse. So far we are really happy with him. He has one thing he doesn’t like and that is water puddles along the road. He doesn’t do more than shy away from the water, but for three years old, I think he is doing really well. We had the whole family choosing names and settled on Rex. Rex is very well behaved and friendly with the other horses out in the pasture.

NoodlesBeforeCuttingDrying2016 NoodlesDrying2_2016Yesterday, sisters Verena and Susan, daughters Elizabeth, Verena and Loretta, and I assisted sister Emma with her work preparing for church at her house. We washed laundry and made six batches of noodles with around twelve and one-half dozen eggs (that’s 150 eggs!). Emma needs the noodles for Sunday lunch. We will have Rule Church and it usually lasts until 2:00 p.m. A lunch will be served and a few dozen people will go to eat at one time so the services continue on. On the menu will be chicken noodle soup. I took my noodle maker (to cut the noodles) along and we also used Emma’s. It made the project go faster. Emma now has five six- and eight-foot tables of noodles drying. After they are dried for a week, they can be stored in air tight containers. I am sure it will take quite a few pounds on Sunday.

Noodles1_2016

Tomorrow is Ascension Day [May 5] and the Amish in our community honor this day with fasting and praying until lunch time. Jacob and Emma and family, sisters Verena and Susan, Timothy and Elizabeth, and the girl’s friends will all come for lunch. Joe plans to grill venison steaks on the charcoal grill. He likes to use the charcoal grill and leaves the gas grill for me. He says the flavor of the meat is better and I think so too, but I go for what is easier. I will prepare the rest of the meal in the house. Everyone is bringing a dish so it will be simple.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you readers who are mothers! A mother thinks about her children day and night. Even when they are not with her. We love them in a way they will never understand until they become a mother.

I will share the recipe for M&M chocolate chip bars daughter Verena made. If you need a lot of bars these will be good to make and very easy.

God bless!

MandMandChipBars

M&M Chocolate Chip Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon water
5 eggs
2 teaspoons soda
2 teaspoons salt
5 cups flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup M&M’s

Cream together butter and sugars. Add vanilla, water, and eggs. Beat well. Stir together flour, soda, and salt. Add to batter and mix well. Stir in chips and M&M’s. (Variation: just use all chocolate chips.) Put on 1 or 2 large cookie sheets (with edges) and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 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.

 

When husband Joe surprised two little boys Easter morning

DaffodilsFriday is Good Friday and we look forward to Easter on Sunday. Good Friday we traditionally keep as a holiday, so no one in our family will go to work or school. The Amish churches in this community have “Fast” (no eating) and prayer until noon. Our family will all be here and have family time. Then we’ll gather here for the noon meal.

On Easter Sunday we will go to church. Easter is the time to rejoice and be thankful for the gift of life Jesus gave for someone like you and me.

Photo040418491The younger children still enjoy coloring eggs for Easter. As I was growing up we always colored eggs. The bright colored eggs always remind me of the colors of the rainbow. Our parents taught us the true meaning of Easter. May we all remember the true meaning of Easter.

Son Benjamin always gathered the eggs when he was a little boy around four and five. One Easter morning Jacob and Emma and family were here. My husband Joe knew Benjamin and Jacob would go gather the eggs from the hen house as soon as they were awake. Joe took all the eggs out and replaced them with colored eggs. I still remember the excitement those two little boys had when they discovered the colored eggs.

Dandelion greens are getting bigger every day. We had our first meal of dandelion salad this week, and I shared that recipe last week. This is a good way to use up the extra colored eggs since it takes hard-cooked eggs. I keep watching for the asparagus to pop through. The rhubarbs are looking good.

I love spring and all the signs of it. I know it brings more work but it is so nice to go out on a nice warm and sunny day and feel the gentle breeze blowing. I enjoy hanging the clothes outside again. What a wonderful creator God is!

Last Friday (the week before Good Friday), sister Verena had a Tupperware party in the forenoon. She and sister Susan made lunch for all who attended. They served hash brown casserole, potato salad, jello cake, golden M&M bars, apple and strawberry slices with fruit dip, punch, and coffee. After everyone else left, sister Emma and my daughters Elizabeth, Susan, Verena, and Loretta stayed and spent the afternoon with sisters Verena and Susan. Daughter Elizabeth came here in the morning and went with us to the party. Susan biked and Elizabeth, Verena, Loretta and I took Stormy our pony and the pony buggy. The ride was a little chilly but we didn’t have far to go. Stormy was eager to run and was a little rowdy. He doesn’t get out too much in the winter months.

Saturday evening Timothy and Elizabeth came for the evening and stayed here all night. Daughter Verena left them sleep in her bedroom, which was Elizabeth’s room before she was married. It seemed really good to have them here for the night. Mose (Susan’s friend) went home with Timothy to do their chores Sunday morning while the girls and I made breakfast.

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Tim and Elizabeth have a new colt, born to their horse, Shi Ann.

On our menu were eggs, potatoes, bacon, cheese, toast, strawberry jam, butter, and hot peppers, with chocolate milk, orange juice and coffee for drinks.

Timothy and Elizabeth stayed all day. We played games in the afternoon and enjoyed each other’s company.

I’ll share the recipe for golden M&M bars. We like them!

God bless and I hope you all have a blessed Good Friday and Easter.

Golden M&M Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vanilla chips
1 3/4 cups M&M’s, divided

Cream together sugars and butter. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir into butter mixture. Fold in chips and M&M’s, reserving 3/4 cup M&M’s. Spread in 9 x 12 greased pan. Sprinkle reserved M&Ms on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 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.

 

Cookies, memories, and a long-lost rolling pin that wended its way back home

P1080484This will be my final column for 2015. After that, we enter into a brand new year. What does it have in store for us? The future is unknown, but if we trust in God to lead our way, it seems so much more encouraging.

Our life brought changes in 2015, with the first of our children, Elizabeth, getting married and leaving home. It was hard to see our firstborn move out and start a life of her own. What made it easier was that we know she is happily married.

Yesterday Elizabeth came home for the day to help since she and Susan are off from the factory for two weeks. The girls made Christmas cut-out cookies. I know Christmas is now past, but we will have our annual gathering with my sisters who live in the area on New Year’s Day. The cookies were made for that day, and there is enough to snack on before.

While the girls were making the cookies, I had to think of all the years that we made these cookies when they were young. I remember how they would pull up chairs to help cut out all the cookies with my Christmas cookie cutters. They liked to squeeze the dough, and it took forever to get the cookies done!

This week get Lovina's recipe for sour cream cut-out cookies.
This week get Lovina’s recipe for sour cream cut-out cookies.

Lovina, 11, used my recipe for frosting and made it for the first time. To write one of my cookbooks, I had to measure out my ingredients for my frosting recipe. Mom had just taught us to use “a little of this” and “a little of that” and to keep adding until we had what amount we needed. But it now comes in handy to have a recipe. Loretta divided the frosting into three bowls and added green food coloring to one and red food coloring to another to make different colors. They made snowmen, Christmas trees, bells and stars.

As they used the rolling pin to roll out the dough, it brought back lots of memories of my mother. This rolling pin was hers. A friend had made it for my mother; it was all one piece of wood, with the handles carved out, and it was bigger than most rolling pins. When my parents’ belongings were sold through a public auction, I tried hard to get that rolling pin. It went for too high a price, however, and I thought I would never see it again.

This week Lovina tells the story of her mother's rolling pin, pictured here.
This week Lovina tells the story of her mother’s rolling pin, pictured here.

A few years went by. Then one day I received a call from my editor saying that a reader had bought Mom’s rolling pin at the auction that day and no longer needed it. The reader wondered if I would want it. Oh, I was so excited to have it back in my hands! I can’t recall the name of the reader, but if by chance you read this column, I want to thank you again!

Not one time do I not think of my mother when I use this rolling pin. I still thank her for all she taught me. Most of all, I thank her for teaching me about God and to always turn to him when we need help. Rest in peace, Mother—you lived your life to the fullest and have left a legacy to us. No one else could have done any better.

I will share the recipe we use for Christmas cut-out cookies. We love this recipe!

God bless all you readers in 2016 and always!

Sour Cream Cut-Out Cookies

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

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

Food coloring (optional)
Colored sprinkles, for decorating (optional)
Chocolate chips, for decorating (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. 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. Sometimes more flour needs to be added so the dough rolls out better. Roll the dough out to a 1/2-inch thickness on a floured surface. Use your favorite shaped cookie cutters to cut out the dough. Place the shapes on the prepared pan.

Bake until 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 cookies, depending on shapes.

To make the frosting: Cream the shortening with the 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 for desired thickness. Food coloring can also be added. Spread the frosting on the cookies and decorate with colored sprinkles or chocolate chips. Let the frosting set before storing.

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.

Year winds down with farewell to a favorite cousin

One day after another goes by, bringing 2015 closer to history. We do not have snow. We had seven inches of snow several weeks ago, and last week a few flurries that stuck to the ground for a few hours. Our children are hoping it snows for Christmas. Snow does bring in the holiday spirit more, but we cannot forget the real reason for the season—Jesus our Savior was born!

Our church will have our annual potluck Christmas dinner on December 20—our next church service. I will take a casserole, although I’m not sure what kind yet.

Tomorrow is daughter Verena’s 18th birthday! I just try to grasp the fact that 18 years have passed since she was born to us. What a precious young lady she has become. I still remember well the day she was born. She was a petite, dark-haired baby. Always little but mighty! At six months old, she was crawling all over the house. She is still petite. With Kevin, 10, growing taller and taller, it won’t be long before he will pass Verena in height. My wish for Verena is to have a very happy birthday and God’s guidance through her teenage years and always. Verena will never leave or go to bed without giving me a hug and a kiss. What a joy to be her mother!

Along with joy, life also brings us sorrow. Our hearts are still in shock from hearing the news of cousin Larry Coblentz’s death. It is with regret that we were unable to attend the visitation or funeral. The funeral was yesterday with visitation only an hour before the funeral. Several of our children had appointments that were unable to be changed. Our hearts and prayers were with the family as they laid to rest a kind-hearted son, father, brother, uncle and grandpa. Larry was one of my favorite cousins. He always had time to visit even though we didn’t get to see each other as often in the recent years. Larry was a big supporter of my column and a great encouragement to me to keep writing when it would have been easier to just quit. There was more than once at a book signing that I would spot Larry’s face in the crowd. How comforting to know he drove several hours to be there.

Larry was the oldest of my cousins on the Coblentz side. His dad, Albert Jr., was my dad’s oldest sibling and will be 86 in January. Our sympathy goes to Uncle Albert Jr. and Aunt Shirley and also to Larry’s son, David, and children and his extended family. Rest in peace, Larry! Your life touched many!

Son Joseph, 13, was very excited to shoot his first deer last Saturday. He went hunting with Mose (daughter Susan’s special friend). But after he had shot the doe and they had tracked it, Joseph was disappointed to find that someone else was taking it! It was not worth an argument, and I told Joseph maybe the other hunter needed the meat more than we did. It is hard for a 13-year-old to understand that God wants us to forgive someone before the person even asks to be forgiven.

Daughter Verena made pecan-white chocolate chip cookies for the Eicher family this week.
Daughter Verena made pecan-white chocolate chip cookies for the Eicher family this week.

This week I will share the recipe for pecan–white chocolate chip cookies. Daughter Verena baked these last week.

God bless all of you!

Pecan–White Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a bowl, mix together butter and brown and white sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in oatmeal. Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda and add to rest of ingredients. Stir until combined. Add pecans and chocolate chips. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Note: for a soft, chewy cookie, bake only 9-10 minutes. A longer bake time will make a crisper cookie.

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.

 

Meat grinder and fruit press produces yummy cider for the Eicher family

We are almost halfway through November. So far we are having beautiful weather for November.

My husband Joe started our coal stove on Saturday for the first time this season. It seemed later than usual to start it. The house is nice and cozy now.

Saturday we were at Jacob and Emma’s. Joe and our sons Benjamin and Joseph helped put siding on the new addition they are adding to the house. Things are falling into place. They will be so glad for more space. The windows and doors are in and some of the drywall is hung in the upstairs bedrooms.

Saturday evening Mose (Susan’s special friend) grilled chicken and banana poppers while we prepared more food in the house. Daughter Elizabeth and Timothy joined us for supper. It was so enjoyable to have the whole family together. After we ate we sat in the living room and visited and sang some songs. Of course Izzy and Crystal (the Yorkies) were the center of attention. They love the attention they get here.

Son Benjamin, 16, and daughter Verena, 17, left to go to the community building where the youth gather on Saturday evenings to play basketball, volleyball, etc., and enjoy snacks. Two or more sets of parents usually go to chaperone and take the snacks. The building is usually closed at midnight. Verena and Benjamin didn’t take the heater in the buggy so they had a cold ride home. It is still warmer with a covered buggy than the open buggy that I was raised with. We had some awful cold rides and the umbrella was a big help to block the wind. I feel spoiled now when we drive in the covered buggies. Some have heaters in them which makes for a warm ride to town and back.

Friday evening Mose helped us make our first cider with a fruitPressingCider press. He brought us apples from his parents’ apple trees. We don’t have anything to chop up that many apples so we used our meat grinder and it worked real well. The cider tastes really good. We are enjoying popcorn and cider on some evenings. We want to make more and think we have a better idea of what we are doing now. It is surprising how many apples it takes to press one gallon of cider. But we enjoy working together as a family on projects like that.

We are excited to hear the news of the birth of a baby girl, LaRose. LaRose was born to niece Elizabeth and Samuel on November 10. This makes my sister Liz and Levi grandparents for the first time. We wish them all well. I’m sure they are all excited for the new arrival.
GingersNewFilly+IttyBitAndBlackBeautySome readers have MidnightAndBlackBeautyYoungHorsesbeen asking what we named our fillies that were born this past spring (photo on right). Itty Bit’s filly we named Black Beauty and for Ginger’s filly, we finally decided on Midnight. They are both black and are hard to tell apart. The children are teaching them how to lead. They are calming down a lot. (Recent photo of Black Beauty and Midnight to left.)

I had several requests for the buttermilk brownies recipe so I’ll share it this week.

 

 

Buttermilk Brownies

2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift the sugar, flour, salt, and cocoa together in a bowl. In a saucepan, bring the water, butter, and oil to a boil. Pour over the sugar mixture and beat until creamy. Add the buttermilk, baking soda, eggs, and vanilla. Stir thoroughly. The batter will be thin and soupy. Pour into a greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes until sides begin to pull away from the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes about 15 (3-inch) brownies.

 

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.

Christmas countdown energizes Eicher children

Christmas Day is only days away. Daughter Lovina, 10, and son, Kevin, 9, are keeping track of exactly how many days. Every morning they mark off another day on the calendar. Oh, to be so young and carefree, with only worries such as how many days there are until Christmas!

Lovina and Kevin will both be in the elementary school Christmas program on Thursday evening. Next year Lovina will be a fifth grader and in middle school. This is her last Christmas program and Kevin has only next year—unbelievable! My husband Joe and I used to sit in the audience with the little ones while our older children were in the program. Now the six oldest children are back in the audience sitting with us, and our two youngest children are in the program.

On Friday the school will only have a half day of school. Lovina and Kevin’s classes are having a gift exchange. Kevin is so worried that he doesn’t have his gift wrapped yet. I want to make snacks for their party, and he reminds me every evening not to forget.

We were disappointed to hear that our children’s bus driver, Rich, has quit driving the bus route. He was a great bus driver to our children for almost eleven years. Daughter Loretta, 14, with her handicap needs more time to walk out to the bus and to get up the steps. Rich was always very patient and caring. So far they have had only a substitute driver, but the children are hoping the next bus driver will be like Rich was. We wish Rich well at his new job.

Joe will have his forty-sixth birthday on Monday, Dec. 22. I want to have a birthday supper in his honor but am undecided yet which night to have it.

On Sunday the women in our church all decided what each one of us would bring to the annual Christmas potluck. I plan to take a large roaster with a pasta casserole. The potluck will be after our next church services, which will be on Dec. 28.

Joe and I will have our family Christmas on Christmas Day. The children usually want to open their presents before they eat, so we usually end up having a brunch. May we always remember the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season!

I wish all of you readers a joyous Christmas that brings blessings of peace and hope now and through the coming year 2015. May each of you stay healthy and enjoy being with family and friends through the holiday season. And most importantly, let us thank our Heavenly Father for bringing Jesus our Savior into the world so that our sins can be forgiven. Blessed wishes to all!

This week I will share with you the recipe for sour cream cut-out cookies. We like this recipe to make Christmas cookies.

Making sour cream cut-out cookies takes time—to mix up the dough, roll them out, cut out and bake—but the Eicher family comes back to this recipe year after year.
Making sour cream cut-out cookies takes time—to mix up the dough, roll them out, cut out and bake—but the Eicher family comes back to this recipe year after year.

Sour Cream Cut-Out Cookies

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

Frosting:
1/3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar, divided
1/2 cup milk
food coloring (optional)
colored sprinkles (optional)
chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. 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 it forms soft but firm dough. Roll the dough out to a 1/2-inch thickness on a floured surface. Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out the dough. Place the shapes on the prepared pan.

Bake until 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.

To make the frosting: Cream the shortening, vanilla and 1 cup powdered sugar. Gradually add the milk and the rest of the powdered sugar, beating constantly. More powdered sugar can be added to make a thicker icing. Food coloring can also be added. Spread the frosting on the cooled cookies. Decorate with colored sprinkles or chocolate chips if desired.

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.

Molasses cookies will brighten a rainy fall day

We had a good turnout at the book signing in Warsaw, Ind., on Saturday. Thanks to all of you readers who came and for all your encouraging words!

I’m wishing a happy birthday to Timothy (my daughter Elizabeth’s friend). His birthday was on Saturday.

Today is another gloomy autumn day where we live. We had quite a few days like this lately. Verena and I washed laundry yesterday but ended up hanging it on the lines in the basement to dry. The sun was out and just before we were ready to hang the clothes up it started raining lightly. The clothes dry very quickly in the basement with the coal stove going down there. I really would miss not having my spinner, which spins a lot more water out of the clothes even after they are put through the wringer on our Maytag washing machine.

The squirrels outside the window are busy gathering the acorns from our trees. Another sign that winter weather isn’t too far off. The corn all around us is also being harvested.

My husband Joe and son Benjamin, 15, are glad to see the corn being harvested so it will give the deer fewer places to hide. They are still trying their luck at getting a deer with bow and arrow.

Daughter Lovina, 10, went home from school with her friend Marianna yesterday. She spent the night there in honor of Marianna’s 10th birthday, and went to school with her today. We missed not having her home but I’m sure she had a great time with Marianna.

Elizabeth, 20, and Susan, 18, didn’t have to work at the RV factory on Friday and Monday. They were glad for the break. Elizabeth sewed a shirt for Timothy, and Susan sewed a dress for herself. I still need to show Susan some of the steps on how to put a dress together. She is getting better at it every time. She cut out a shirt for Mose and wants to learn how to sew it together. Daughter Verena, 16, is also getting pretty good at sewing. She is sewing pillows every chance she gets.

Pillows1pillows2

I have a reader that would love a recipe for chocolate covered cashews crunch. I am sorry I do not have a recipe for this. Would any of you readers be so kind to share if you have one? Instead, these are good cookies we always enjoy.

Molasses cookies

Molasses Crinkles

3/4 cup shortening

1 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1/4 cup sorghum molasses

2 1/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 cup sugar, to roll dough balls in

Cream shortening and brown sugar. Add egg and molasses, mixing well. Combine flour and next five ingredients; add to shortening mixture, mixing well. Cover. Chill two hours. Shape dough into one-inch balls, and roll in sugar. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350° for 12-15 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.

Diary of a Day in an Amish Household

Sugar Cookies
Lovina’s daughter Susan baked these sugar cookies for a friend.

My name is Lovina Eicher. I have been married for 21 years to my loving husband, Joe. We feel blessed to be parents to eight sweet, wonderful children: Elizabeth, 20; Susan, 18; Verena, 16; Benjamin, 15; Loretta, 14; Joseph, 12; Lovina, 10; and Kevin, 8. We are members of the Old Order Amish church in Michigan. I hope you will continue to enjoy my writings under my new column name: Lovina’s Amish Kitchen. I thank each of you for your continued support, and may God bless each of you!

For this week’s column, I will do a diary of a day in our life.

3:20 a.m. Our alarm rings, letting us know it is time to start another day here at the Eichers. I pack lunch for my husband, Joe, and fill his water jug with ice and water.

3:55 a.m. Joe leaves for work. One of our neighbors has been picking Joe up to take him to work for over nine years. It is a 40-minute drive to work. I go back to bed after Joe leaves.

5:00 a.m. I get up again before daughters Elizabeth and Susan leave for work.

5:20 a.m. The girls leave for their jobs. I decide to catch up on some writing and reading until I wake the rest of the children. Since school is out, I let them sleep later.

6:30 a.m. Everyone is up now. Benjamin, Joseph and Kevin are doing the morning chores. We have four big calves and five small calves, three horses, six ponies and about 40 chickens that need to be fed. Lovina is taking care of daughter Elizabeth’s puppy, a Yorkshire Terrier. Verena and Loretta are making scrambled eggs and toast for our breakfast.

7:30 a.m. Breakfast is ready to eat. We have a full day planned ahead.

8:15 a.m. Loretta and Lovina are washing breakfast dishes and cleaning the floors. Verena and I are washing laundry. It looks like a very nice drying day.

12:00 p.m. Laundry is on the lines. The house is looking better: floors are mopped, dishes are washed. The boys are cleaning out the horse stalls. They come in for lunch, which is vegetable soup and bologna sandwiches. It is a hot day, so after lunch we all take a break.

2:00 p.m. Verena and Loretta are getting the laundry off the lines. Lovina is cleaning out Elizabeth’s puppy’s playpen area.

Elizabeth's new puppy, the first indoor dog for the Eicher household.
Elizabeth’s new puppy, the first indoor dog for the Eicher household.

Her puppy, Izzy, is usually loose in the house when the floors are clean. She isn’t allowed to have table food, so we always make sure no crumbs are around the table after we eat. She will always be a small dog and weighs less than two pounds. We never had a house dog before. So far it hasn’t been too much of a problem. She is litterbox-trained, so she doesn’t have to be taken outside. The boys go back out to the barn and I finish up some sewing. With two nieces getting married in July, it makes for a lot of new outfits to be sewn.

4:00 p.m. The girls come home from work and Joe soon after them. Susan wants to bake sugar cookies for one of the girls who brought her home from work. She mixes up a big batch and puts it in the freezer while she showers. The recipe says to chill dough for a few hours or overnight, but when we are in a hurry, we put it in the freezer to chill.

5:00 p.m. Joe and the boys leave to go fishing by a nearby lake. Susan is baking cookies. Elizabeth is sewing a dress for an upcoming wedding. The other girls are folding laundry or helping with supper.

7:30 p.m. Supper is late tonight. Joe and the boys came back with almost 40 fish, so they cleaned those first. Susan is almost done frosting the cookies, and we will finish the rest tomorrow. On the supper menu are mashed potatoes, beef and noodles, lettuce salad, cheese, fresh strawberries and sugar cookies.

On the supper menu are mashed potatoes, beef and noodles, lettuce salad, cheese, fresh strawberries and sugar cookies.

8:30 p.m. Most of the children are biking. Loretta is swinging on the porch swing and I’m on the porch, writing. Joe is resting on his recliner. It’s been a long, warm day, so it feels good to relax.

9:30 p.m. Everyone is in bed, so I think I’ll head there too. I’ll share the sugar cookie recipe Susan made. My oldest sister, Leah, always made these. I just love them but never had any luck making them. Susan makes them just like Leah does.

Sugar Cookies

  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups lard (or use 1 cup margarine, softened, and 1 cup lard)
  • 3 cups buttermilk or sour milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 9–10 cups flour (just enough that you can handle dough)

Mix all ingredients except flour. Gradually add flour, mixing well. Chill dough for a few hours or overnight. Drop by teaspoon on a greased cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes or until bottom is golden. When cool, frost if desired.

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 Editor@LovinasAmishKitchen.com.