Category Archives: Cookies

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.

Remembering a baby’s arrival

A happy fifteenth birthday to the last of our eight children! Son Kevin’s birthday is today. It’s amazing how the years fly by. I thought it would be interesting to share the column daughter Elizabeth wrote to help me out after Kevin was born. She was eleven years old and in fifth grade.

Written by Elizabeth in September 2005—

“I told Mom I would write for her this week as she’s very busy taking care of my new baby brother.

Baby Kevin was born September 2 at 7:27 a.m. He weighed 8 pounds 4 ounces and was 21 inches long. We are excited to have a new baby again but we try to give little sister Lovina extra attention so she doesn’t get jealous.

Aunts Verena and Susan took care of us seven children while Mom and Dad were in the hospital. They were there two days and two nights. We were glad when they came back home. Baby Kevin has yellow jaundice and was supposed to stay in the hospital, but they let Dad and Mom bring him home for treatment. We have to keep a light called a biliblanket on him. Mom has to switch the baby from its back to front every two hours. We try to help Mom at nights when we’re home from school.

Aunts Verena and Susan came last night to help, and Aunt Emma and Cousin Benjamin stayed with Mom, Joseph, Lovina, and Baby Kevin while we were in school. Emma will come again today. Our neighbors brought supper in one night which we really enjoyed.

Mom has to take Kevin to the hospital every day to get a bilirubin test on his yellow jaundice. When it gets under 10, Kevin can have the light taken off.

I have to go to bed now so I can get up earlier to help Mom pack Dad’s lunch and get his breakfast. It is hard to believe Kevin is already six days old. We really enjoy him. I hope I wrote enough.”

Elizabeth was always a letter writer and did a good job for her age. At the end of the column I will share the recipe she shared for after-school no-bake cookies.

Life back then was busy, and I always thought once the children are older it would slow down. It seems we are busy in different ways now.

Saturday, we were all helping at daughter Susan and Mose’s. While the men and boys worked on their remodeling in the house, the women and girls helped weed the garden and clean up corners outside.

Mose tied their pony outside to enjoy some grass out by an older building. All at once, we noticed the pony was going crazy and saw lots of bees swarming around him. Son-in-law Tim and son Benjamin ran to rescue the pony and were covered with bees coming at them. They both had a lot of bee stings. Benjamin’s stings started to swell, and we were worried he could be having an allergic reaction. I went to call our doctor and followed his instructions. About forty-five minutes to an hour later, Benjamin finally felt relief.

Mose is still off work from his accident. The doctor thinks it may possibly be two weeks before he returns. Life brings us disappointments, but we know God has a plan and He makes no mistakes.

Yesterday I cut out and sewed Loretta’s baptismal suit, finally fitting it into my schedule.

Daughter Verena had to go to the eye doctor as her eyes were giving her problems again. She has a scratch on her pupil from years ago when she was detasseling corn. It fires up once in awhile and swells up. The eye doctor thinks she should go to a specialist to see why it is always giving her problems.

God’s blessings to all!

 

After-School No-Bake Cookies

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup peanut butter
5 cups corn flakes

Heat sugar, corn syrup, and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan just to boiling. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter. Measure the corn flakes into a large mixing bowl. Pour on the hot cocoa mixture and stir. Turn the coated cereal into an oblong pan. Press into an even layer. Let stand until cool before cutting into bars.

 

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 winter afternoon baking and decorating Christmas cookies with grandchildren

Everything is quiet right now at the Eicher house. Everyone has gone to bed except a few of the girls and me. There was too much action earlier today to think of writing.

Daughters Elizabeth, Susan, and their four little ones came this morning to spend the day. Our breakfast meal consisted of eggs, potatoes, bacon, toast, and cheese. After breakfast Elizabeth and daughter Verena washed dishes, and daughter Lovina mixed up a batch of sour cream cut out cookies. I helped give Susan some pointers on sewing. She doesn’t quite know all the steps of sewing a shirt for her husband Mose. She did well and it was finished to take home. She wrote down step by step notes and will try to sew one at home.

Daughter Loretta’s special friend Dustin came to pick her up to attend a visitation of his foreman who found out he had cancer sixteen days before he died. So sad for the loved ones left behind. Dustin is a group leader at work and his foreman was who he went to for advice. I’m sure he will be greatly missed.

Our lunch was a kettle of soup and ham and cheese sandwiches. Dustin and Loretta came back home and Dustin ate lunch here before heading home. The little children are always glad to see Dustin and tease him. Abigail, 3, and Jennifer, 23 months, love to get him to chase them.

Lovina enjoyed decorating Christmas cut out cookies with her grandchildren. Find the recipe in this week’s column. Photo provided.

After lunch we rolled out and baked the cookies. Abigail loves the rolling pin and making cut outs of bells, trees, stars, snowmen, gingerbread men, and candy canes. After the cookies are cooled the decorating is done. Abigail and Jennifer love the sprinkles and sample cookies more than decorating. So much cuteness! Little T.J. crawls on the step stool and wants to help too but is done helping after getting a cookie.

T.J. is a little busybody. He loves to check out every cabinet door. He gets a lot of help from Jennifer. When Elizabeth says “Timothy Josiah” to get his attention he still looks like he isn’t sure she means him because everyone calls him T.J. He will be one-year old next week. Ryan is sitting in the highchair looking at everyone and always smiling.

December 10 was daughter Verena’s 22nd birthday. On Sunday we had company in honor of her birthday. The menu was pizza, banana poppers, hot wings, veggies and dip, fruit and dip, chips, salsa, brownies, cake and ice cream. Some of the food was brought in so we had an easy meal. I have a hard time grasping that Verena is 22 already. She is a great daughter and always so caring. So many evenings before I go to bed, she massages my feet. How relaxing! My mother did foot reflexology and I miss that. Verena must take after her grandma.

Lovina’s family and friends gathered for a meal and cake to celebrate daughter Verena’s 22nd birthday. Photo provided.

Our supper tonight was omelets. Some of the girls and I weren’t hungry, so it was easy to make an omelet for those that wanted one. Ham, bacon, black olives, mushrooms, and cheese were the toppings.

Tomorrow, nephew Jacob (son of sister Emma and Jacob), 20, will have surgery for his muscular dystrophy. He decided to try the surgery after seeing the results his younger brother Steven received from the surgery. Our prayers are with him that he will have success.

Steven, 12, spent Sunday evening here and went on the bus with son Kevin, 14, on Monday morning. Steven is back on his feet and uses a walker for some support but can walk without it. He is still in therapy but the surgery was a success for him.

Until having children of my own with disabilities I never fully understood the battle they face at times. But they are always cheerful and there is never a dull moment. It has made them so much more thoughtful of others which is a blessing.

God bless!

 

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, blend 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 set before storing.

 

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.

 

Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies on a winter day

Diary of November 20, 2019

Lovina’s family enjoys the heat from their coal stove on these fall days with cooler temperatures. Photo: provided

3:00 a.m. Alarm rings! I pack my husband Joe and son Benjamin’s lunches for work. Joe goes to the basement to add coal to the stove. Benjamin takes care of adding coal to the stove in the pole barn (we heat one side somewhat because of the battery packs for the solar panels). It’s not as warm out there as in the house, but it keeps the pipes from freezing.

3:30 a.m. Joe and Benjamin leave for work. I take a little nap in my recliner.

4:15 a.m. Son Joseph gets up and goes to the barn to feed the animals. I pack his lunch and make him a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast. He works outside most days, so something warm to eat is good, I think.

4:45 a.m. Joseph leaves for work. They have an hour or more to get to their job site, so they go earlier. I decide to work on a puzzle I received from daughter Elizabeth and Tim. It’s a 1000 piece puzzle and has a red barn, silo, and a pasture with horses in it. I started this puzzle Sunday afternoon.

6:00 a.m. I wake up son Kevin to get ready for the school bus. The school serves breakfast, so he eats at school.

6:45 a.m. Kevin leaves for school. I get some bills ready for the mail, then take a shower and relax in my recliner for a while. Of course, I doze off. It’s been five weeks since my surgery and I get tired easily, it seems.

8:30 a.m. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their children arrive. Susan picked up Elizabeth and children with their horse and buggy. They bring in the little ones, and the girls and I take their coats, scarves, etc. off and, of course, hug the little sweeties. Elizabeth and Susan unhitch the horse and put him in the horse stall in the barn with hay for the day. Everyone gets warmed up from the drive over. The covered buggy makes the drive a lot warmer than when I used to go to my mother for the day with an open buggy.

9:15 a.m. The girls have breakfast ready for everyone. On the menu are scrambled eggs, ham, and toast. Also, rhubarb juice and hot chocolate.

10:00 a.m. Daughter Susan and I need to go to the bank today, so everyone else washes the dishes and keeps watch on the little ones until we’re back.

11:45 a.m. Susan and I are back. The girls are baking chocolate chip cookies and Elizabeth is sewing a dress for Abigail. Abigail needs more dresses, so Elizabeth decided to sew one while she’s here.

1:00 p.m. Lunch is potato soup, fried chicken, ice cream, and cookies fresh from the oven. After lunch I simply enjoy time with all my sweet grandchildren. Abigail is amazed at the puzzle and says it looks pretty.

It is so cute to see Abigail, 3, Jennifer, 22 months, and T.J., 11 months, playing church. They all have books and dolls in their hands and are sitting on the bottom step of the stairs, singing at the top of their voices. So precious!

3:30 p.m. Kevin is home from school. Abigail follows him around asking questions. She likes her Uncle Kevin and enjoys it when he entertains her.

4:00 p.m. Joseph is home from work and gets the horse hitched to the buggy for the girls to leave for home. It takes a while to get all the children bundled up and out to the buggy. Baby Ryan is cooing and smiling even though he’s bundled up. A reader sent Susan a bunting and it helps to keep his feet warm. Susan appreciated all the gifts sent to them for Baby Ryan.

4:30 p.m. Joe and Benjamin are home. Joe and the boys do the chores, which ends up taking a while. It’s cloudy, so our generator needs to charge our solar battery. The generator doesn’t want to stay running, so they work on it but can’t figure out the problem. We borrow my sisters Verena and Susan’s generator for the night. We usually don’t need to run a generator unless we have quite a few cloudy days—then the battery pack needs to be charged up again. Verena and Susan send leftovers from their supper with the boys. Our supper is mashed potato casserole, mac and cheese, and baked and fried chicken. With our leftovers and theirs, it was an easy supper.

9:30 p.m. Bedtime, finally!

This week I’ll share the outrageous chocolate chip cookie recipe for those of you that don’t have it. It’s a favorite of ours! God’s blessings to all!

 

Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups (4 sticks) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, beaten
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups quick cooking rolled oats
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) package chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter and mix with the sugars, peanut butter, vanilla, and eggs. Stir until creamy and smooth. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Mix the dough until thoroughly blended. Stir in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed throughout the dough. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on greased baking sheets. Bake for 10–15 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 4 to 5 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.

 

Lovina’s daughter, Elizabeth, shares pumpkin treats as temperatures drop

Hello to all my Mother’s readers! This is Elizabeth, Lovina’s firstborn. Once again, I’m taking the pen in my own hand and writing this for Mom. She is having surgery on Wednesday—again. This is her second surgery this year. The first one was in February. Both surgeries have been to fix hernias. Another larger hernia popped up next to the one that was fixed in February. Hopefully this will be the last surgery. Prayers and best wishes are being sent your way, Mom!

Dad, sisters Verena, 21, Loretta, 19, Lovina, 15, Susan (along with her children, Jennifer, 1, and Ryan, 2-1/2 months), brother Kevin, 14, and me and my little bunch (Abigail, 3, and TJ, 9 months) will all go to the hospital with Mom. Both Benjamin, 20, and Joseph, 17, have jobs and will be working during that time.

It is a very chilly October morning, the coldest yet this season at 34 degrees. Our propane heater is getting its first workout for the season. It feels good to have a little heat in the house. Husband Tim is out back in his tree stand hunting. Deer season opened the first of October. He thought this would be a great morning to be out there since the temperature dropped overnight.

Abigail is still asleep. She’s not an early riser. Quite opposite of her brother. TJ is always awake before or right at the first signs of daybreak. Perhaps that will change as he gets older. While I write this he has been here and there and everywhere. TJ is at that stage where cupboards have become his play place. Then we’ve got Abigail, Mom’s little helper who knows cupboards are not to play in. So, she takes matters in her own hands, which does not always end in the best results. Ha! Her brother is a bit too strong for her to pick him up and move him.

On October 8, my sister Loretta’s boyfriend Dustin had his 25th birthday. The date is also a little more special to me as that is the day TJ, our 9-month-old baby, took off walking on his own for the first time. He is still wobbly and has his tumbles, but he is definitely walking. He still crawls some though. Abigail was excited because, in her words, “Now TJ can run with me outside.” It’s probably a good thing he’s not at the running stage just yet. This Mama would never keep up. Ha! Motherhood is very rewarding, though. I’m dreading the days when they spread their wings and fly from the nest.

Today, I baked pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. They turned out great. Sweets don’t go fast around here, so I’ll probably share most of the cookies. I also made pumpkin bars, but they are more like a cake. It’s pumpkin season and pumpkin goodies sounded good.

Tim’s brother Willie and Mary, along with their children Michael, 20, Jasmine, 16, and Mary’s nephew Jason were here for a meal recently. Tim and I made sweet banana pepper poppers, red potatoes (cooked over the campfire), and Oreo pudding. Also on the menu was a salad and chocolate peanut butter pie brought by Mary. We enjoyed having them over. Willie is Tim’s third brother out of nine siblings—five brothers and four sisters.

We have tomato plants and some pepper plants still producing in the garden. I think it’s time to pull them and say good-bye to the garden of 2019. We have not had a frost yet. Although I don’t think its far into the future. I’m looking forward to colder weather as it will give me more time indoors. I have a lot of sewing I’d like to work on. I enjoy sewing, so it’s not a chore for me if I find the time.

Tim will be having his 31st birthday on October 18. Abigail and I want to surprise him with a birthday gift, a Happy Birthday balloon and maybe a store-bought cake. We hardly every buy baked goods from a store. It is for something special if we do. I will be going to town the day before, so I can do our “secret” shopping then, if Abby doesn’t spill the beans beforehand.

Here’s the recipe for the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I made today. Enjoy! God bless!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup shortening (or lard)
2 cups white sugar
2 cups pumpkin  (I use a 15-oz can)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the shortening, sugar, and pumpkin. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Drop dough by tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-15 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 now available for preorder 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.

The garden’s bounty begins

We are having great weather this week. It cools down at night for making sleeping comfortable. Very pleasant days so far. Mornings are actually chilly, with temperatures in the upper 50s. It sure beats the heat from last week.

Yesterday we canned pickles. Cucumbers and dill from the garden make such good pickles. Today we plan to can hot peppers. We are also enjoying zucchini, green peppers, and tomatoes from the garden. Also a few meals of potatoes. Sweet corn is almost ready. I love this time of year. It makes meal planning so much easier.

Yesterday was son Joseph’s 17th birthday. Joseph was eight weeks old when my dear mother passed away. I started penning this column then, taking over for my mother. She had written the column for 11 years before she passed away. With my 17 years of writing it makes 28 years of columns altogether. I like reading back through the columns, as it’s like a diary for me. I was 19 years old when Mother started penning the column. She wrote about our wedding and the births of her first six children. We will always have fond memories of her. She is still greatly missed! She did a wonderful job along with my father of raising a family of eight children. Now Joe and I have eight children also. I hope we can raise our children also teaching them the true values in life and always having God as our guide.

Our family was all here last night for supper. We had a big cake in honor of our three children who have July birthdays. Serving cake for each one separate makes too much cake in a few weeks’ time, so we often have the cake on one of their birthdays. Also on the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, cucumber salad, grilled steak, banana peppers, cheese, and ice cream. Daughter Elizabeth also brought zucchini bars.

Elizabeth and children Abigail and baby T.J. and Susan and her daughter Jennifer came for a brunch in the forenoon. Our brunch was pancakes, sausage, and eggs. The girls and Abigail went for a walk to our neighbors while Jennifer and T.J. took naps. They delivered a casserole I made for our neighbors Melvin and Rebecca who have a new little one, and they got to see the new addition. Little Zachary is two and a half weeks old now.

T.J. is seven months old and gets around fast in the walker. He also likes to sit on the floor with toys. He sure is active and always smiling.

Son Benjamin’s place of work (the RV factory) has next week off due to work being slow again. This is also where daughter Loretta’s special friend Dustin works. (A reader asked if I mean boyfriend when I say special friend, and yes, that is what I mean. Just thought I would clarify that.)

Son Kevin is keeping my hanging flowers watered on the front porch. I just reminded him that they are looking a little dry. Most times he remembers to water them when he fills the stock tanks up for the animals with the hose. My flowers do much better when someone else waters them. Although I am wondering if anyone would know if softener salt in the water could affect plants. When I watered the plants I always used water from the kitchen sink. Kevin and my husband Joe always use water from the water hydrant that doesn’t have a softener hooked up to it. I keep telling myself it was the water that never let my flowers do well for me, but maybe they just died of thirst. Smile!

I want to bring this to a close wishing you all God’s blessings! I will share a recipe for zucchini nut chip cookies for those of you who have plenty of zucchini to use up.

 

Zucchini Nut Chip Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup walnuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Mix butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla till creamy. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and zucchini. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 375°F for 8–10 minutes.

Notes: May use carrots or sweet potatoes instead of zucchini. A good way to get some veggies into little ones.

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.

Busy hours fill the day: Diary for April 17, 2019

4:00 a.m. I get up to pack lunch for son Joseph, 16, and make him breakfast before he leaves for work. They are working an hour away so they will start out earlier than usual.

4:30 a.m. Joseph leaves for work. I go back to bed until I need to get up to wake the children for school.

6:00 a.m. Alarm rings again. Daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, start getting ready. They eat breakfast at school, as the school serves free breakfasts to all the students each morning.

6:45 a.m. Lovina leaves for school.

7:15 a.m. Kevin’s bus is here to pick him up. Kevin can now wheel his wheelchair down our ramp to the bus, so no one needs to help him. Coming home it’s harder for him to wheel his wheelchair up the ramp, so someone usually pushes him in.

8:00 a.m. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and children arrive with horse and buggy. Elizabeth is driving this week. They take turns each week. Son Benjamin, 19, goes out to take care of the horse for them. I help carry in the little ones. Abigail is awake but just too tired to walk in so she still wants Grandma to carry her in the house. Jennifer is smiling and in a good mood. Baby Timothy is four months old today and is as lively as ever. He is so active and rolls over and over.  He’s not safe on a bed and moves all over already. He looks like his daddy and is always smiling. So precious when he reaches his little hands out to come to Grandma.

My husband Joe is home, so he gets to enjoy the grandchildren too. Benjamin is off work this week as the RV factory he works for is shut down this week. He has been hauling manure out to the fields every day.

8:45 a.m. We are ready to eat breakfast, which consists of fried eggs and potatoes, ham, cheese, toast, butter and jelly, and coffee and grape juice. Daughters Verena and Loretta help get the little girls fed. Abigail and Jennifer love their aunts.

9:30 a.m. Verena and Loretta wash dishes and watch the little ones while Elizabeth, Susan, and I go down to the basement to start cleaning. On Monday, Susan was here and we cleaned the can room where we have shelves of all our canned food. That is a big job done. Susan cleans the windows and Elizabeth helps me organize and mop the floors, dust, etc. With our coal stove in the basement it causes a lot of dust down there.

Joe and Benjamin are cleaning out our pole barn where we will have church services in. It seems somehow things accumulate over winter. On Monday son-in-law Mose and Loretta’s boyfriend Dustin helped Joe run new water lines in the pole barn where we have cabinets and a kitchen sink, and also to the bathroom. This winter a pipe froze, breaking the hot water line, so we didn’t have any water out there. They ran a new kind of pipe and did better insulating. I’m glad that is done. It will be nice to do my canning out there this summer.

1:00 p.m. Verena and Loretta have lunch ready so we all gather in the kitchen to eat. We have chicken noodle soup and leftover pizza from supper last night.

2:00 p.m. We all go back to our work. Verena and Loretta rock the little girls for their naps. Elizabeth fed baby Timothy and he is sleeping.

3:15 p.m. Kevin is home from school.

3:30 p.m. Lovina is home from school and gives Abigail a swing ride. Jennifer is taking a walk with Verena. She’s still learning how to walk good over bumpy surfaces.

4:30 p.m. The girls leave for home.

5:30 p.m. Joseph is home from work. Benjamin has evening chores done.

6:30 p.m. Supper is ready. Campfire stew, cheese, and crackers are on the menu.

7:30 p.m. Dishes are washed and everyone is getting cleaned up for the day.

9:30 p.m. Everyone has gone to bed. Good night to all! God bless!

Note: I would also like to mention that a reader wrote explaining that the math in the column for the week of 3/18/19 isn’t correct. So I thought I needed to give credit to daughter Lovina, who wrote the column, and mention that it wasn’t her mistake but a publishing typo.

Daughter Lovina thanks all of you for the very nice letters written to her. I also want to thank everyone for the letters and cards of encouragement to our family

 

Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars

Crumbs:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups quick oats
3/4 cup sugar
2 sticks margarine

Filling:
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 oz) cream cheese
1 (16 oz) rhubarb filling (any kind of fruit filling is good; see recipe below)

Crumbs: Mix ingredients together, reserving 1 1/2 cups; put the rest into a 13 x 9-inch pan, pressing flat. Bake 15 minutes in a 350 degree F oven.

Filling: Mix cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk and pour over baked crust. Top with rhubarb filling (see below) and add the reserved crumbs on top. Bake 20–40 minutes.

Rhubarb filling:

3 cups rhubarb
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cook together on medium heat.

 

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.