Category Archives: Cookies

December events penned by Daughter Verena

This column was written the week before Christmas.

Hello Readers,

I am Lovina’s daughter Verena. Mom has been telling us girls we should take a turn writing.

It has been over ten months now that I have moved in with sister Susan. When I first moved in, my niece Jennifer (almost 4) had a hard time understanding why I’m staying with them and her daddy wasn’t coming back. She didn’t like the idea at first but has grown to love having me here.

Jennifer and Ryan (age 2) are playing “doll” right now. Jennifer is the mom, and Ryan is the dad. Ryan left the “baby” sit on the couch alone, and Jennifer is lecturing him because no baby should be left alone on the couch. Ha! It is just so fun to see them play.

Friday, December 10th I turned 24. Susan, Jennifer, Ryan, and I went to Dad and Mom’s for supper. Some of the youth from our community came Christmas caroling for us. It was a very nice thought, and we enjoyed it.

I heard the horrible news about the tornados that went through Kentucky and the other states killing so many people. My heart broke for all the families who lost a loved one. So many families grieving. So many lives changed in an instant. So many homes demolished. God is above all, and He makes no mistakes. I’ll continue to pray for the families who are struggling.

Yesterday morning, church services were held not too far from Susan’s house. We were going to take her horse and buggy but Jodi (widow friend whose husband was killed in the same accident Mose was involved in) was able to take us. It made it easier to not have to worry about the horse when we got to church, especially since there is no man with us.

After church Susan, Jennifer, Ryan, and I took a nap. In the evening we made supper for Dad, Mom, Tim, Elizabeth, and their three children, sister Lovina, and her boyfriend Daniel. It was very enjoyable! Dad, Tim, and Daniel grilled chicken. I always love when Dad grills chicken. He makes it very tasty and juicy.

December 14th was a year that Mose has passed on. It is scary how quickly someone can become just a memory. Please remember to tell your friends and family that you love them because today could be your last day on this earth or it could be their last day. Life is too short to take it for granted.

A special memory of Mose I have is from when before Susan and Mose were married. He took Susan and me blue gill fishing a lot. We didn’t want to touch the worms so Mose came to our rescue and hooked our worms. Pretty soon I had a fish, and Mose took care of it. Then Susan had a fish, and Mose took care of it. Susan and I were reeling the fish in one after another, and Mose was taking our fish and rebaiting our hooks. Mose seemed to enjoy it more watching us get excited then if he was fishing himself.

Festively set, the table is ready for the Eicher family’s Christmas gathering. Photo provided.

December 18th plans are to go to Dad and Mom’s for our family Christmas. I love when the family gets together. More memories are made and there is never a dull moment.

Jennifer’s puppy Rose is four months now. She is a Blue Merle Pomeranian and very beautiful. Rose loves to pull at Ryan’s pant legs. She must think it’s a toy. My pomsky dogs, Lincoln and Kimmy, are very kind to Rose. I love dogs!

Susan and I washed laundry earlier today. It was too cold outside so Susan hung it on clothes racks inside the house. We don’t have enough room to hang it all at once so when some gets dry, we hang up more.

Ryan came up to me and gave me a hug and said, “I love you.” That warms my heart. Children are so precious. Ryan has a hat on and is stomping around. He doesn’t look tired at all, to think it’s his bedtime!

May God be with you all!

 

Yoder’s Restaurant Cookies

3 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups butter
2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons baking powder
8 cups flour

Frosting:

2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
a little water

Beat eggs, then add sugar. Melt butter, then add to sugar mixture. Add sour cream, mayonnaise, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and baking powder; mix well. Add flour, one or two cups at a time. Form the dough into balls and flatten slightly. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. For frosting, mix powdered sugar and butter with enough water to reach desired consistency.

 

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.

 

Try a new recipe for your holiday baking

Since the holiday season is here, I decided to share some recipes. These were shared with me and my daughters by readers over the 19 years of my writing. So, as you do your holiday baking you might enjoy incorporating a new recipe!

Christmas Cookies

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1/4 cup milk

Cream butter, add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Combine dry ingredients. To the creamed mixture, add the dry ingredients alternating with the milk. Chill the dough. On a floured board, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes and place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Cool and frost with your favorite icing.

 

Chocolate Delight Dip

12 ounces evaporated milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 small box instant chocolate pudding

In a bowl, combine all ingredients until creamy. This is good served with apples or vanilla wafers.

 

No-Bake Orange Balls

7 ounces vanilla wafers, crushed
3/4 cup coconut, grated
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup nuts, optional
1/2 teaspoon rum flavoring, optional

Mix wafer crumbs, coconut, and powdered sugar. Add orange juice concentrate as it comes from the can and mix well. Form into balls (makes about 25) and roll in powdered sugar. No refrigeration needed.

 

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 unwrapped milk chocolate kisses

In mixing bowl, cream peanut butter and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla; beat until blended. If dough is too sticky to shape, chill for several hours. Roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until tops are slightly cracked. Immediately after removing baking sheets from oven, press one kiss into the center of each cookie. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 dozen

 

Chocolate Drops

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter or shortening
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

Frosting:

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

Sift together flour, salt, soda, and cocoa. Cream butter, adding sugar gradually, until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, beating well. Blend in dry ingredients and milk alternately. Stir in nuts (if desired). Drop by teaspoons on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Allow cookies to cool before icing. Makes 4 dozen.

For frosting, cream the shortening with the vanilla and 1 cup powdered sugar. Gradually add milk and the rest of the powdered sugar, beating constantly. More powdered sugar can be added to your desired thickness.

 

Haystacks

2/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 12-ounce container creamy peanut butter
5 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Boil sugar and syrup in 2-quart pan until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter, mixing until smooth. Add Rice Krispies cereal and mix well. Drop by tablespoons onto wax paper.

 

I want to thank all of you readers for being patient with me as we experienced a year of grief. God is above all, and without His help it would be hard to go on. The support from all of you has meant more than you know. God be with each of you as this year is coming to an end.

 

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.

Trying a new recipe to celebrate Thanksgiving

It’s probably our coldest morning so far this fall. The mercury on the thermometer dipped down to almost 20 degrees. How thankful we are for a cozy house to live in. Some are not so fortunate. We should thank God every day for our many blessings, but as I write this, with Thanksgiving Day in a few days, it reminds us to be thankful.

Joe and I, with sons Benjamin and Kevin, will go to sister Emma’s on Thanksgiving Day. Daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and children, daughters Verena and Susan and her children, sister Verena, and Emma’s family will also be there. Dustin and daughter Loretta, son Joseph, and daughter Lovina will attend Thanksgiving dinner at Dustin’s brother Clint and Hannah’s house.

I am glad to spend the day with sister Emma, daughter Susan, and sister Verena. They all lost a very dear beloved one since last Thanksgiving. They need our prayers!

Yesterday my husband Joe and I, along with sisters Emma and Verena, attended the funeral of Uncle Emanuel, age 91. Uncle Emanuel and Aunt Leah were married 67 years. Aunt Leah is my mother’s sister. She is 86 and a year older than my mother would have been. Uncle Emanuel shared the same birthday as my dad but was a year older than him. For many years Mom and Aunt Leah took turns hosting each other’s family on February 17. It was always enjoyable to get together. It has been many years since I was at Emanuel and Leah’s place. Their son Simon and Judy and family now live in the house. Emanuel and Leah lived in a “Doddy Haus” beside them.

I felt so sorry for Aunt Leah. She had a stroke and broke her ankle recently, and Emanuel had been helping her. If I heard correctly, Emanuel also had a stroke and fell and broke his hip not too many days before his death.

When my sister Susan died in January, Emanuel and Leah both came. They were doing pretty good for their age.

Emanuel and Leah had 15 children with three being stillborn. The living 12 are all married with families of their own. They have more than 100 grandchildren and many, many great grandchildren. I didn’t get the exact count.

Yes, it brought back memories being at their place. Sisters Leah, Liz, Verena, Emma, and I all got to sit together at the funeral. We talked about how we would go with Mom to spend the day at Aunt Leah’s. We would dress up their kittens and have them for our babies. I also remember we would chip off a chunk of salt from their big salt block they had for their animals to lick on. We would take it to the water pump and wash it off really well then lick it. Now I can’t believe we did that. It sounds so gross now. It’s surprising what all little children come up with.

My sympathy goes to all the family as they mourn Uncle Emanuel’s death and especially Aunt Leah. She will have many lonely days ahead. Rest in peace Uncle Emanuel—you were much loved!

It was nice to get to visit with many of my cousins, some friends we don’t see too often, and with Uncle Elmer and Aunt Salome and Aunt Emma (Mom’s sisters).

I plan to make pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll, bread, and hopefully cinnamon rolls to take to Emma’s for Thanksgiving dinner. I am thinking of trying this recipe for cinnamon roll cookies instead of cinnamon rolls. It sounds interesting! I wish everyone a safe and healthy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your loved ones! God’s blessings to all!

Cinnamon Roll Cookies
1 tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup butter or shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup warm water or scalded milk
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

 

Sugar mixture:
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Glaze:
1/3 cup butter, slightly browned
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla or maple flavoring
2 cups powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons hot water

 

Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. Cream butter or shortening and 3/4 cup sugar. Add vanilla, eggs, and 1 cup warm water or scalded milk. Mix in yeast, flour, and salt. Refrigerate overnight. You may need a little more flour before making rolls. Divide dough in half and roll each in a 12×18 inch rectangle. Sprinkle with sugar mixture. Roll up tightly. Cut into 1/2 inch wide slices; put on cookie sheet; press flat with hand. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Cool and glaze.

 

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

Mourning the Loss of a Mother in the Community

Son Kevin is spending the night at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. He will go deer hunting with Tim in the morning.

Tonight we attended the visitation for a 41-year-old woman in our community. We were shocked and saddened when son-in-law Mose’s cousin, Ruth Ann, passed away after giving birth ten days earlier. Ruth Ann leaves to mourn her a husband and eight children. The oldest child is 16 and the youngest ten days old. Our hearts ache for them. We know they will have many hard lonely days ahead. Ruth Ann was an only daughter and had two brothers. She also leaves to mourn her parents, mother-in-law, and her husband’s family.

Tomorrow we plan to attend the funeral. We will take daughter Susan and children Jennifer and Ryan along. It is hard for Susan when she sits with Mose’s relatives and he’s not beside her anymore. She understands the feelings Ruth Ann’s husband will go through in the days, weeks, and months ahead. A baby that will never get to know his mother. Teenagers that could use their mother’s advice, and school age children that will never come home to their mother to tell her how school went. This family needs our prayers. May God guide them through this sorrowful time in their life. We do not always understand why, but we do know God makes no mistakes.

Sunday we awoke to our first snowfall which accumulated around an inch. With the ground still not frozen it didn’t stay long. It was a pretty scene with snow clinging to the tree branches. We have had some nice sunsets lately, too. Only our Master Artist can paint a picture like that. How beautiful heaven must be!

Next week is Thanksgiving. A year ago, our life was complete yet. Our three loved ones were still with us. We all ate together for Thanksgiving dinner. Sister Liz, Levi, and some of their family were able to join us. Little did we realize that within a few weeks, our lives would be forever changed. Time goes on and we must go on, but not without a lot of tears shed and pain in our hearts. Without comfort from God and the support from others we could not go on. We try to be cheerful around others, and daughter Susan says she has learned to smile when inside she doesn’t feel like smiling. She is good at hiding her feelings. She says she has to for her children’s sake.

Yesterday sister Emma and I went to town with sister Verena. She needed help looking for a new stove. Hers gave up, and her house was 45 degrees when we stopped there. She has been staying with us or with Emma. She stayed with daughters Susan and Verena last night.

I think she plans to come here tonight and will go to the funeral with us. Hopefully her house will be heated by tomorrow and her new stove will work okay.

God’s blessings to all!

Cowboy Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 cups oatmeal
2 cups coconut
2 cups chopped pecans
3 cups chocolate chips

Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available 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.

Making friends with Hatchi, a new dog

4 a.m. Our alarm rings, and it’s time to get up. I was so used to getting up an hour earlier with daylight savings time that I always wake up at 3 a.m. now. Sometimes it’s hard to fall back to sleep for an hour until the alarm rings.

I make son Joseph and my husband Joe sausage, egg, and cheese sandwiches for breakfast. Son Benjamin doesn’t want any and takes a protein shake instead.

4:30 a.m. Benjamin leaves for work. Joseph is feeding the horses. I pack Joseph and Joe’s lunches and fill their water jugs.

4:45 a.m. Joe leaves for work.

5:00 a.m. Joseph leaves for work. Daughter Lovina is getting ready for work.

5:30 a.m. Lovina leaves for work. I wash the breakfast dishes and a few from last night’s supper.

6:30 a.m. Dishes are washed and put away. I take a break and sit in my recliner and read. Everything is quiet and it’s good to have “me” time. Son Kevin is still in bed. He sleeps later since he doesn’t leave. Usually around daylight he lets our new dog out to run around. We have an eight-month-old Blue Heeler/Australian Shepherd named Hatchi that a co-worker gave to Joe. He’s a good dog. It helps fill the spot of our dog Buddy who disappeared one night. We had Buddy (a Border Collie/English Shepherd) for 12 years if I’m thinking correctly. Kevin misses Buddy but is gradually making friends with Hatchi. Hatchi is a lot more energetic than Buddy was.

8:30 a.m. I make scrambled eggs and sausage patties for Kevin, daughter Loretta, and my breakfast. Loretta came over this morning in her mobility scooter. It is nice for her to be this close to home if she needs help.

I am doing mending and other odd jobs today. It seems like some jobs were pushed aside over preparing for the wedding of Loretta and Dustin. It feels nice to heave time to catch up now.

1:00 p.m. Son Benjamin is home from work to shower and get ready for an appointment. Our friend Jodi is taking us to town, so she comes in to visit while Benjamin showers. It’s a hard day for Jodi and Susan as the accident was 11 months ago.

2:00 p.m. We leave for town, run some errands, and go to Benjamin’s appointment. He hurt his leg a while ago and the orthopedic doctor wanted to see how it is doing. He thinks Benjamin should have surgery or try a brace, so Benjamin chose the knee brace.

5:30 p.m. We are back home. Benjamin didn’t want me to have to make supper when we got home, so he bought something for everyone at Dairy Queen. That was a nice treat for me, and I appreciated the kind gesture.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll leave with daughter Lovina and son Kevin to go to their dentist appointments. In the afternoon I’ll go with daughter Verena to her appointment an hour away at an eye specialist. I really hope they can help her. She’s had a lot of eye appointments recently.

Then on Friday are the annual appointments for the ones with muscular dystrophy in Ann Arbor. Another long tiring day.

9:00 p.m. Everyone is getting ready for bed so I think I will join them soon.

Good night and God bless! I’ll share the recipe for monster cookies. Daughter Lovina made over 100 one afternoon last week. They were gone way too fast; needless to say, they were way too good.

Monster Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon corn syrup
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups chocolate chips
2 cups plain M&M’s

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition, the vanilla, corn syrup, baking soda, and peanut butter. Mix until smooth. Add the oats and mix well, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add the chocolate chips and mix until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter. Then add the M&M’s and mix well.

On ungreased baking sheets, drop the batter by the tablespoon spacing two inches apart. Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling racks. Cool the cookies on a wire rack or a plate and then put into sealed containers. Makes six dozen cookies.

 

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

The Eicher Family Mourns Another Loss

It is with a heavy heart that I write this column. Brother-in-law Jacob (sister Emma’s husband) was admitted to the hospital while we were at the Outer Banks. We were able to talk to him and Emma on Thursday night, but Jacob was very weak and losing out fast. He was airlifted to a bigger hospital. We arrived home from our vacation around 9:45 p.m. and Jacob lost his battle to his illness a little before 1 a.m. Sunday morning. It still does not seem real that he has also been taken from us. Jacob is 48 and so is sister Emma. They had 26 years of marriage together. Emma was a great nurse to Jacob since his illness, and Jacob wanted her beside him in the hospital. Emma and her children and Jacob’s mother were all by his bedside when he passed away.

In eight months’ time we have lost three very dear people and our grief is so strong. We question why but we know God is in control and makes no mistakes. It doesn’t make it any easier.

Long time readers of this column know how close Jacob’s family and ours were. Not a weekend went by it seemed that we weren’t doing something together, until we both had married children and grandchildren and we were sometimes busy with our own families. We would always get together for Thanksgiving and Christmas, taking turns to host it. Sisters Verena and Susan would also be there. It doesn’t seem possible that last Thanksgiving we were all together here along with son-in-law Mose, sister Susan, and brother-in-law Jacob. No one was sick, life was good. Now in less than eight months, three out of our families have gone on before us. Sister Emma will have many lonely days. Jacob and Emma have two married daughters. Three sons are still at home—Jacob, 21, Benjamin, 19, and Steven, 14. Jacob and Steven both have muscular dystrophy. Our sympathy goes out to them, but we grieve right along with them. Jacob and my husband Joe are first cousins, so they have always been close and always leaned on each other when they needed help.

The viewing/visitation starts today (August 9) at 2 p.m. and tomorrow at 10 a.m. Funeral services will be on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at Jacob and Emma’s house. We want to do laundry this morning before we go, but it’s supposed to rain. Hopefully it will hold off until it’s dry.

Our trip to the Outer Banks was very nice, but when we heard about Jacob our minds were always on him. I’m so glad we got to talk to him, even if it wasn’t much since he was so weak.

On Wednesday, August 4th, Joe, son Kevin, and I left home at 2:45 a.m. to meet the two charter buses at the home of Joe’s employer. All the employees and families (wives and children under 16) were there with their luggage.

After loading up, we headed out around 4 a.m. We arrived at the motel in Nags Head, North Carolina around 8:30 or 8:45 p.m. if I remember right. Everyone went to go take their luggage to their rooms. Joe’s employer Daniel ordered pizza for everyone, so we all gathered in the dining area to eat a late supper. The motel had a pool and was right along the Atlantic Ocean, with a nice beach. A lot of the people went swimming or walked out along the beach.

 

On the Eicher family’s trip to North Carolina, they had the opportunity to see the wild horses on the beach. Photo Provided.

 

On Thursday we went to Corolla to see the wild horses on the beach. On Friday morning Joe and son Kevin left at 4:45 a.m. to go fishing with a guide. They caught some fish on the ocean. They came back around noon. Around 5 p.m. we left again to go on the two-hour dolphin cruise. We saw a lot of dolphins. We drove through the Allegheny Mountains both times and through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. It was a nice trip, but with Jacob being ill and then passing away it made us glad to be back home with our loved ones. Son Joseph and daughter Lovina had left Friday for Iowa to attend a reunion with their special friends and family. They arrived back on Sunday and it was good to all be together again. Please pray for us and also for sister Emma and family as they mourn for her dear husband/father/grandfather. God’s blessings to all!

Oatmeal Crunch Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon soda
1 cup quick oats

Mix all ingredients. Spread mixture into ungreased 9×13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 22 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available 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.

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.

Updates from Lovina’s daughter, Susan

Hi Everyone,

I’m Lovina’s daughter, Susan. I decided to write and let you all know how thankful I am for all the cards, money, and encouraging words people have sent. Also, for all the prayers that helped me through the toughest time.

It is Monday night and I’m sitting here writing. Sister Verena is reading, and Jennifer and Ryan are playing doll. Jennifer is the mom and Ryan is the daddy, though I don’t think Ryan has any clue what he is supposed to do. He just follows his big sister around. They are so sweet.

Joe and Susie, Mom and Dad’s neighbors, sent supper over earlier. They sent pizza and flowers. Mose’s brother Alvin and his wife Susanna and their two children, Kaleb and Isaiah, showed up with supper also. So, they just stayed, and we all had subs and pizza for supper. Alvin and Susanna try to come every Monday night, Lord willing.

My sister Verena stays with the children and me now. The children love that she’s here. They like when she gives them rides on her scooter and she makes them go to sleep like that when it’s their nap time. I’m so thankful to have Verena, it helps to have her here, so the nights don’t seem as long and lonely. I keep her awake to just share memories about Mose. She’s a good listener. May God bless her generous heart.

My family and Mose’s family have been very supportive. They all helped me in many different ways.

Aunt Verena came here Friday (March 5) for the night. I feel bad for her. She also has some long, lonely nights. I have my children to keep me occupied, but Verena is all by herself now, even though we are with her. Her routine changed also. She misses her sister Susan dearly, as do the rest of us, but Verena lived with her. When you live with someone it seems a lot harder. Please keep her in your prayers.

It’s Tuesday afternoon and I just got done getting the laundry in. It was a beautiful day for laundry. Jennifer and Ryan love to play outside in this weather.

Jennifer still comes up to me and asks me if I think daddy is coming back. Ryan can’t talk except for some baby talk, so he tries to repeat after Jennifer. It breaks my heart that their daddy isn’t here to hug them or be with them any longer. Mose was a great father.

Today is the third month since the accident and it seems like Mose still should be coming home. It’s hard to grasp yet. When Mose and I first met, I never once thought that our love story would get cut short. It tore me to pieces when they called and said he passed away. It breaks my heart in two every time Jennifer and Ryan say Daddy. I fight myself when the bitter thoughts take place, and the days seem to be long and the future so dark. I learned to just take one day at a time.

I thank God for every moment I had with my dear husband. God blessed us with these years together, even though I catch myself wishing that I could have had one more year with Mose. Mose left the house that morning with both of us not knowing those were our last moments together. Our last I love you’s, our last hugs, our last everything. If only I would have known I would never have let him go.

Mose never gained consciousness after the accident. I feel like I lost him the 9th of December already. Losing Mose has made me look at life differently. Life is too short, so don’t take it for granted. Make the best of it while you can. In a blink of an eye life can change and it’s devastating. God has carried me a long way and still does. Keep Dan’s wife Jodi in your prayers also. Her life changed too. She has a lot of lonely nights. May God be with her.

Thursday my mom and sisters Lovina and Loretta, brother Kevin, sister Elizabeth and her children, Aunt Verena, Aunt Emma, and her daughter Emma and children, and cousin Susan and her children are all coming for the day. All the food is being brought in.

May everyone have a great rest of the week and God bless.

I will share this sugar cookie recipe. They were a favorite to Mose. He liked them frosted.

Soft Sugar Cookies
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup lard or shortening
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or sour milk
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, add the sugar, baking powder, lard, lemon juice, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, baking soda, and salt. Mix until smooth and light in color. Stir in enough of the flour to make a stiff dough. Use your hands to work flour in completely. Chill the dough for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets and drop dough by teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are golden brown, but center is still soft to the touch. Remove from oven and cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

 

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

The Eicher family mourns a great loss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sour Cream Cut-Out Cookies

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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.