Category Archives: Desserts

Family Cheese Favorites and Apple Cinnamon Bread

On January 31, it was two years since brother Amos passed away in his sleep and shocked all of us. He was only 56 years old and left his wife Nancy, children, grandchildren, one brother, and six sisters to mourn. He is so greatly missed by many. We know God makes no mistakes, so we do not question why.

Friday evening, we traveled the five and one-half miles to daughter Mose and Susan’s house for the birthday supper honoring Mose, Susan, and Jennifer. On the menu were tater tot casserole, barbequed chicken, coleslaw, sliced cheese, and cake.

A reader recently asked why cheese is included with most of our meals. I think our love of cheese is a family thing. I remember my parents ordering their cheese by the horn from our milkman, and the money to pay for it would just be taken out of their milk check.

After Joe and I were married we also sent milk in with a milk truck that picked up our two stainless steel cans of milk every day. We ordered our cheese from him the same way my parents did. We eat mostly colby cheese, but like Velveeta in grilled cheese sandwiches as well. We also buy Swiss cheese for a change, but our children love colby with their meals. We go through a lot of cheese; with packing lunches every day and putting some in their sandwiches, it doesn’t take long to use up a horn of cheese. My neighbor Susan has a bakery and also sells some bulk foods, so I usually order my cheese from her. It is much cheaper to buy it by the horn than by the pound.

It’s nice to have a big griddle to fry eggs when Lovina’s daughters and grandchildren come home for breakfast. Photo provided.

Friday afternoon I sent sons Benjamin, 20, and Joseph, 17, to get a few groceries for me in town. I ordered two heads of lettuce so I could make a salad to take along to Mose and Susan’s. They usually do pretty well with getting my groceries, but saw the heads of cabbage, and thinking they were lettuce, bought two heads. That is how we ended up having coleslaw for supper. We did give them a hard time about it, but I am glad they went shopping for me. Joseph always likes lettuce with his sandwich for lunch. I asked him if I should put cabbage in there instead. I told them next time to feel how much heavier cabbage is than lettuce. I can’t complain though, because they do a good job of running after my errands, and coleslaw tasted good for a change. I usually only make coleslaw when I have cabbage from my garden.

Monday, Baby Allison was a month old and Ryan was six months old. Time does not stand still! Daughter Elizabeth took Allison to the pediatrician in town for her one-month checkup. T.J., age 1, also went with her, so daughters Verena and Lovina went along to help her. Abigail, 3, stayed here with Loretta and me.

We washed our laundry in the basement and Abigail was so entertained by playing. I opened a tote of toys our children used to play with including all their tea sets and little dishes. She was so fascinated that grandma finally has more toys. I don’t usually like to set them out as there are small items that T.J. would put in his mouth.

Allison now weighs 7 pounds 4 ounces and is 20 1/2-inches long. She was 6 pounds 1 ounce and 18 1/2-inches long at birth. She’s so petite but strong. So sweet!

Daughter Lovina helped Elizabeth and Tim on Tuesday, stayed overnight, and then came home with Elizabeth and children on Wednesday. Daughter Susan and children also came for the day. Mose came after work and they stayed for supper. Elizabeth and her three children left for home around five. She sure has her hands full; T.J. does not realize that climbing chairs and running on the table is dangerous. He is quite a handful to watch but is such a sweet and lovable little boy.

When Mose and Susan left for home, they told Jennifer to say thank you to grandma. She said, “thank you and welcome.” Such precious moments the grandchildren bring to us.

 

God’s blessings to all!

 

Apple Cinnamon Bread

1/3 cup brown sugar, unpacked
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 apple, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan. In a small bowl mix together brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Peel and chop the apple and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the white sugar and butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time then add vanilla.

In a larger bowl, combine flour and baking powder then stir in the sugar/butter/egg mixture. Add the milk and stir until smooth.

Pour half the batter into prepared loaf pan. Layer half the apples and half the brown sugar mixture on top. Lightly pat apple layer into batter. Pour remaining batter over the apple layer, then top with remaining apples and brown sugar mixture, and pat into batter. Swirl through all layers with a knife. Bake 30–40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

 

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.

Eicher family celebrates a winter birthday with chocolate fudge cake

Diary of January 15, 2020

3:00 a.m. Alarm rings—time to start a new day. My husband Joe and son Benjamin, 20, get ready for work. They refuel both coal stoves for the day while I pack their lunches and make  grilled cheese sandwiches for their breakfast.

3:35 a.m. Joe and Benjamin leave for work. I go back to bed to catch a few more winks.

4:30 a.m. Son Joseph, 17, goes out to feed the animals while I pack his lunch and make him a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast.

5:00 a.m. Joseph leaves for work. They have an hour drive to where they are putting up a pole barn, so he’s leaving earlier than usual. I set my alarm for 6:00 a.m. and take a nap on my recliner. I feel extra tired this morning and an extra hour of napping makes a lot of difference.

6:00 a.m. Son Kevin, 14, gets ready for another school day. We have had a mild winter, so he hasn’t had any days home from school.

6:45 a.m. Kevin leaves for school. Daughter Lovina, 15, is helping at my daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house and will come home with Elizabeth and children for the day. Daughter Susan and children will come with them.

I get some mail ready, and then, with the help of daughters Verena and Loretta, fold laundry that was washed on Monday. Son Benjamin carried the baskets of laundry up from the basement for us last night but we didn’t get it folded and put away. We also make sausage gravy and biscuits so that breakfast is ready when my daughters and grandchildren arrive.

9:15 a.m. Our friend Beth has a 14-passenger van, so she picks up all of them. Of course, it takes time to fasten all five car seats in the van. They are glad to have Lovina to help.

9:45 a.m. They arrive here and all the little ones are brought into the house. Beth won’t be able to take them home, so all the car seats are taken out of the van. Sons-in-law Tim and Mose will bring the buggies tonight to take them home. It is Jennifer’s second birthday today, so we sing “Happy Birthday” to her. She just smiles and tries to put two of her fingers up when we ask how old she is.

10:30 a.m. We are finally eating breakfast. I fried eggs, and we have cheese along with the biscuits and gravy. One-year-old T.J. doesn’t want his mom to feed him and comes to grandma to be fed. So sweet and precious! Baby Ryan is almost six months and enjoys being in the walker and playing with toys. He’s such a calm little guy and so patient. Susan breastfeeds him, so he doesn’t eat food yet. Abigail, 3, prefers her aunts over her grandma. They are more interesting to her, which I understand. She does like me but prefers to hang out with them. She loves books, as do all the children. Jennifer and T.J. will sit on the bottom step of the stairs and sing really loudly. They hold their books, pretending they are in church.

1:45 p.m. The day is going fast. Susan brought sewing along, so she is making a new shirt for Ryan and finishing one the same color for Mose. The girls made a light lunch of sandwiches and tater tots.

3:00 p.m. Joe and Benjamin are back home. They have fun with the little ones.

3:30 p.m. Kevin comes home from school. We get Abigail, Jennifer, and T.J. dressed for going outside. Lovina and Kevin give them rides in the little wagon. I tell Elizabeth to go take a nap, and we enjoy little 19-day-old Allison. She is so petite and has a great smile already. She lets everyone know when she is hungry.

4:00 p.m. Joseph is home too now, so the guys do evening chores. After they are done, they grill chicken and steak for our supper. It’s so handy to go to the freezer for meat when you need to make a meal. The girls make a cake for Jennifer. Mose and Susan will have a birthday party for her, but we thought we’d make a cake for her tonight.

6:30 p.m. Supper is ready. On the menu are vegetable soup, cheese, chicken, and steak, plus ice cream and cake. We lit two candles for Jennifer to blow out, but she wasn’t too enthused about doing that. She loved the cake, though.

7:30 p.m. Verena, Loretta, Lovina, and I wash dishes while they get all the tired little ones dressed to go home. It was a long but enjoyable day!

I’ll share the recipe for the chocolate fudge cake we made for Jennifer’s birthday. God’s blessings to all!

Chocolate Fudge Cake

2 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sour milk
2 cups flour
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup boiling water

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, salt, oil, sour milk, and flour. In a small bowl combine and stir well the cocoa, baking soda, vanilla, and boiling water. Add to the cake mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased 9×13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 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, 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.

Beginning a new year and a new decade

A new year, a new decade lies before us. What does it hold for us? Only God knows. A new year always seems like a fresh start or new beginning to break some old habits or make new resolutions. It doesn’t take a new year to start fresh, though. Our God is such a great help and we have much to thank him for during this past year.

Baby Allison is 12 days old today. She is back to her birth weight now, 6 pounds and 1 ounce. She went down to 5 pounds and 10 ounces. She is doing good but daughter Elizabeth is still a little anemic and feeling as well as can be expected.

Daughter Lovina is helping daughter Elizabeth and Tim with household duties this week. Little T.J. is a busy body and keeps them on their feet.

Daughters Verena and Lovina were staying with them last week, assisting them with their work and children. Last Thursday I also spent the day there, helping out with the work and spoiling the grandbabies.

Last week we washed their bedding and, since it was a nice sunshiny day in the upper 40’s, I hung the quilts and sheets out on the line to dry and then put them back on their beds. Daughter Susan and children also came in the afternoon. With five children age three and under, it takes a lot of care with the little ones but is so much fun.

Sunday, our family and Mose, Susan, and children went to Tim and Elizabeth’s house and took in dinner. We had barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, lettuce salad, blueberry pie, and jello cake. Sisters Verena and Susan also came and stayed to eat dinner with us.

Monday, January 6 was Old Christmas (Epiphany), a holiday that the Amish in this community honor. Those that gathered at my sisters Verena and Susan’s house for the noon meal were brother Albert, Sarah Irene, and their children Leanna, Andrew, Susan, and Sylvia; sister Emma, Jacob, and their sons Jacob Jr., Benjamin, and Steven; niece Elizabeth and Manuel; niece Emma, Menno, and Jessica; Mose, Susan, Jennifer, and Ryan; my husband Joe and I and children Verena, Benjamin, Loretta, Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin, and Loretta’s special friend Dustin.

With everyone bringing food, we had a good dinner. On the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, meatballs, corn, potato salad, cheese, hot peppers, bread, butter, jelly, a variety of pies, peach dessert, brownies, cookies, etc. A variety of snacks were also set out, such as party mix, deer jerky, Christmas candy, etc.

The afternoon was spent playing games. Brother Albert, brother-in-law Jacob, and my husband Joe teamed up against their wives in Aggravation. The game’s name proved true for the women’s team. We lost almost every game, but it still was fun! Other Aggravation games were also being played, as well as Ten Thousand with dice. The house was a bit noisy from all the games being played in the same room. The Aggravation boards were made by nephew Jacob. He makes them to earn money, as he is limited in what he can do by his muscular dystrophy. He still has both legs/feet in casts up to his knees. He seems to be doing okay with the surgery so far. He will need lots of therapy after he’s out of the casts.

Daughter Verena has been going to the eye doctor about a scratch on her cornea that flared up. She has already made two trips to the eye doctor and needs to go back again tomorrow to have the contact lens that the doctor put in removed. They want to check if it’s doing better. Our eye doctor in town has several locations and wasn’t in the office nearby so Verena needs to go to the other office, 25 miles away. It sure isn’t cheap with all the trips, but it’s worth taking care of it. She was so miserable and had lots of pain since Monday morning.

Until next week—God bless!

 

Brownies

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick margarine
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Frosting:

1 stick margarine, melted
4 teaspoons cocoa
1 box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons milk

Mix sugar, flour, and salt; set aside. Bring to a boil the margarine, cocoa, water, and shortening and pour it over the sugar, flour and salt mixture. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, soda, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour into a greased cookie sheet pan with edges. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Frosting: Mix the frosting ingredients well and pour over brownies while hot.

 

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.

Gift exchange, games, and food highlight the Eicher family’s Christmas gathering

 Christmas Day is tomorrow. Son Joseph just left for work and the rest of the family is still sleeping. Our family Christmas is over for this year. We will still get together with my sisters for a Christmas gift exchange and meal. This year it will be at sister Emma and Jacob’s house.

Saturday my husband Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph, and Loretta’s special friend Dustin butchered a beef we raised for meat. We raise a few calves so that we have our own beef to butcher. A correction to one of my recent columns: we raise steers to butcher, not cows. (Every writer needs to grin-and-bear-it at times when words get changed in their writing making a different meaning.) A cow is a heifer that has had a calf and we think the meat from a steer is better for steaks. We never butcher a cow.

The big beef is hanging in our pole barn reminding us how much work lies ahead this week yet. Our plans are to start working on that Thursday and Friday. It will be nice to fill the freezer and canning jars with meat.

The dining table is set and ready for the Eicher family’s breakfast the morning of their Christmas gathering. Everyone spent the night at Joe and Lovina’s and began their day of celebration eating breakfast together around the family table. Photo provided.

Our family had a nice Christmas gathering on Sunday. We set the table for all of us. We are 17 now but one-year-old T.J. sits in the highchair and Ryan doesn’t eat table food yet. We had a breakfast casserole that we made the night before and put it in the oven so it was ready to eat when everyone woke up. Also on the menu were homemade bread, butter and jelly, cheese, hot peppers, donuts and cookies, chocolate milk, orange juice, and coffee. It is nice to have something easy so we don’t spend our time together making food. Joe put a turkey on the grill so it would be ready to eat later on. After dishes were washed, we passed out gifts. The children exchanged names so it was interesting to see who had each other’s names. It was also Joe’s birthday so he received nice birthday/Christmas gifts. It is always fun to see the excitement of the little children when they open their gifts.

A variety of snacks along with grilled turkey were enjoyed throughout the day at the Eicher family’s Christmas gathering. Photo provided.

We played games and had snacks and turkey later on. A variety of snacks included veggies and dip, fruit and dip, meat and cheese roll-ups, party mix, Rice Krispy treats, venison jerky, cheeseball and crackers, Christmas goodies, etc. There was much more than we needed but when everyone brings a few things, it adds up. The turkey and snacks were our food for the rest of the day. We have so much to be thankful for, so let’s remember to thank God for everything.

One of the new games we played was a game given to daughter Loretta from Dustin called Marble Chase. It is exciting and keeps your interest.

Son Benjamin left around 4:00 p.m. to join the youth for a Christmas supper and singing. They opened a plastic wrap ball of gifts which I imagine was exciting. Benjamin also joined the youth  one evening last week to go Christmas caroling at the homes of older people in our community. They gathered at the community center afterwards for a pizza supper.

Also one evening last week my sisters Verena and Susan made supper for us and sent it over. They always wanted to make a meal for me since my surgery. It was a treat to get out of cooking one evening. They made mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, and meatloaf. Also cookies and Christmas candy.

We are getting Christmas plates of goodies from our neighbors and we still haven’t made much more than party mix and cookies. I really don’t think we will as there are so many goodies around already. Maybe next week we can get around to making something for the neighbors.

I am hoping a few of the girls can go help daughter Elizabeth today. Doctors orders are that she doesn’t do any work, but with one- and three-year-old children that is hard for a mother to do without extra help. She said Tim will be off work today to do her laundry, but I still feel like someone should go help out. Entertaining the children is a help already.

Wishing you readers a blessed Christmas and God’s many blessings to all!

 

Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls

5 cups popped popcorn
1 cup roasted peanuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Place popcorn and peanuts in a large bowl; set aside.

Sauce: In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat bring brown sugar and corn syrup to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in peanut butter, and vanilla. Quickly pour over popcorn mixture and mix well. When cool enough to handle, quickly shape into 10 2-1/2-inch balls. Let stand at room temperature until firm, then wrap in plastic wrap.

 

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.

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.

 

Gratitude for Thanksgiving Gatherings and Christmas Preparations

We are already in the last month of 2019! December came upon us so fast. Christmas is three weeks from today. The year is almost over. As we prepare for the holidays let us remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.

A homemade trash can turkey roaster, which you can read about in today’s column. Photo provided.

Our family will come home for Christmas on December 22, which is also my husband Joe’s 51st birthday. We will have a birthday supper for him the night before we celebrate Christmas. Usually, everyone comes the night before and they stay overnight. It’s always enjoyable to have everyone here.

Thanksgiving Day was enjoyable at sister Emma and Jacob’s house. She made way too much food and sent leftovers home with everyone. Emma stuffed two turkeys with dressing and her son-in-law, Menno, cooked a trash can turkey outside. This was the first time I had turkey fixed like that. He bought a big metal trash can to put over the turkey, which was put on a rod over a foil pan. Charcoal was put around and on top of the trash can to cook the turkey.

Lovina and family enjoyed an abundance of food on Thanksgiving day as they gathered at sister Emma and Jacob’s house. Photo provided.

Also on the menu, besides turkey and dressing, were mashed potatoes, gravy, mixed vegetables, corn, hot peppers, deviled eggs, several salads, veggies and dip, cheese, homemade bread, butter, grape jelly, cherry and pecan pie, pumpkin roll, and cheesecake. I’m sure I might have missed something, but there was more than enough food. Are we thankful enough that we have plenty to eat? So many are less fortunate or not able to be with family on days like that. Our God has given us so many blessings which we often take for granted.

Saturday we were surprised to see brother Albert and his wife Sarah Irene, and their daughter Irene and her husband, Levi Jr., who came for a short visit. They had recently butchered hogs, so they brought us some fresh sausage and pon hoss. Pon hoss is always a favorite food around here. We plan to butcher hogs too and are also raising a cow to butcher. Hopefully, maybe over their two-week holiday break, we can work that in. It is a lot of work but will be worth it to have the freezers and jars filled with meat again. Daughter Loretta and son Kevin each shot a deer this season, so that helps with the meat. We want to make jerky yet, too.

On Sunday I went to church for the first time since my surgery. It was nice to see everyone again. Church services were held at son-in-law Tim’s brother’s house in the basement. There were many visitors, so the basement was filled to capacity. Daughter Elizabeth and her children were unable to attend as Elizabeth wasn’t feeling well. I told Tim to bring her over to our house for supper and that was like medicine to her. She was feeling much better. Mose and Susan and Loretta’s special friend were also here for supper. The men grilled 20 pounds of chicken on the grill while we made creamed potatoes to go with it. Also on the menu were colby cheese, veggies and dip, oatmeal pie, and ice cream. An easy supper for me. After supper we played 10,000 with dice, which is always a fun and challenging game.

Our church will have Christmas services next time we meet, so all the women wrote on a list what they will bring to our annual Christmas potluck. I will take a casserole.

Today, daughters Elizabeth and Susan plan to come for the day with their children. I have the gifts wrapped for the grandchildren and have them on top of my cupboard. Abigail, 3, keeps asking me if she can open her gift. She asked if she has to wait until Jesus’s birthday. It will be three days earlier when she gets to open it, since we will have our family Christmas sooner.

Until next week, God bless!

 

Honey Pumpkin Pie
2 cups pumpkin (canned)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup honey
1 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell

Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth; pour into pastry shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted near the center of the pie.

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.

A foggy morning and Thanksgiving pumpkin roll

The sun is trying to peep through the fog. It is very foggy this morning and visibility isn’t very good. The fog light on top of the bus was bright, though, when Kevin left for school. I always pray that everyone will be safe as they leave for work and school on foggy mornings like today.

I am writing this column earlier this week because of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. Everyone has a three-day week for work and school. We will have Thanksgiving dinner at sister Emma and Jacob’s house this year. With Jacob and Emma’s family, sisters Verena and Susan, and all of our family, we now total 29. Mose and daughter Susan and children won’t be able to go to Jacob and Emma’s because they are getting together with Mose’s family this year. Spending time with loved ones is always a good way to spend Thanksgiving Day.

Lovina’s husband, Joe, gives grilling a turkey on his new Weber grill a try. The turkey turned out juicy and everyone liked it fixed like that. Photo provided.

My husband Joe and son Benjamin each received a turkey from their employer. Joe put one on the grill last Saturday and it tasted very good.

The new Weber grill that the children gave Joe last year for his 50th birthday has a lower rack for roasting a turkey. We were surprised that it only took a little over two hours for the turkey to be cooked. It was juicy and everyone liked it fixed like that.

Every year for Thanksgiving dinner, sister Emma and I take turns hosting the meal. We usually set the table, and it seems that we need to keep adding tables in order to set a place for all of us, but it’s always enjoyable. With both of us having married children, we don’t get together as often as we would like. We now have to fix two turkeys instead of one. Our Thanksgiving dinner menus usually include turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, vegetables, cheese, salad, etc. I always like having a pumpkin roll and pumpkin pies on the menu. Daughter Elizabeth is making the pumpkin roll this year. I will take a salad, veggies and dip, and homemade bread.

I’m writing this part of the column later. Daughters Loretta and Lovina are washing laundry. Daughter Verena is mopping the floors. The girls want to clean a few windows this afternoon. It doesn’t take long to get fingerprints on the windows with the little grandchildren looking out of them when they come.

Yesterday, daughters Elizabeth and Susan and children came for the day. They usually come on Wednesdays, but with Thanksgiving this week, they decided to come earlier in the week. Elizabeth couldn’t do laundry yesterday because they are installing a new water heater. The girls decided to enjoy the little sweeties and wait to wash our laundry until today.

On Sunday our family had brunch at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. After dishes were washed, some of us played Ten Thousand with dice. It was fun. As we played, we snacked on deer jerky that Tim made. It was very good and I loved it. I really don’t care for venison so Tim was surprised that I liked it. He asked Elizabeth if her mother knew that it was deer jerky and not beef jerky. I guess he was surprised that I liked it so much. I can’t even explain it myself. I don’t eat much venison, but I love the summer sausage and jerky.

On Sunday for brunch, Elizabeth fixed a good meal of pancakes, scrambled eggs, baked French toast, and smoked sausage. She also had dirt pudding and ice cream, and we took cherry and oatmeal pies. Susan brought chocolate milk, and Elizabeth served grape juice and orange juice.

This was the first time that I rode in the buggy since my surgery. It seemed like the road was bumpier than usual, and I felt worn out that night. I felt refreshed, though, to not have to cook all day and to get out of the house.

My wish is for all of you readers to have a happy Thanksgiving! Let us remember to thank God for our blessings, not only on Thanksgiving Day but every day of the year.

Try this pumpkin roll recipe that we make every year. God bless!

 

Pumpkin Roll

confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2/3 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 11 x 15-inch jelly roll pan with parchment paper and set aside. On a clean surface, lay out a clean lint-free dish towel that is slightly larger than the jelly roll pan. Sift confectioners’ sugar over the surface of the towel.

In a large bowl, beat eggs well. Add sugar, lemon juice, and pumpkin, and beat well. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg, and beat until smooth. Pour pumpkin mixture into the parchment paper-lined jelly roll pan and bake for 15 minutes or until set. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately flip over onto the prepared dish towel. Gently and quickly peel off the parchment paper. Roll up the cake and towel together. Place in refrigerator for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until completely cool.

Filling: Beat together cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Unroll cake, removing the towel; spread filling over cake and reroll.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before slicing and serving.

 

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.

 

Winter Weather and Chocolate Pecan Caramels

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chocolate Pecan Caramels

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

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

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, will be available in April 2020 from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

Family members of all ages gather for fall cleanup and share a good meal

The leaves have changed color at Lovina’s home as October ends. Read more about the family’s fall cleanup in today’s column. Photo Credit: D. Lucas Landis / ©MennoMedia

 The last day of October has arrived already. To some today is Halloween, but we don’t celebrate it so for us it’s just another day.

Son Joseph, 17, just left for work a few minutes ago. It will soon be time to wake son Kevin, 14, to get ready for school. Since my surgery Joseph has been packing his lunch and making his own breakfast. So far, his alarm clock always wakes him up. Son Benjamin, 20, always gets up and packs his own lunch, but he’s not working this week. It’s another week of no work at the RV factory. I think its good for the boys to get used to waking up with their own alarm clocks and being responsible to get up on their own.

Benjamin has been cleaning up outside this week and cleaning out the pole barn on both sides. It’s looking pretty good. It’s nice to have all that done before the snow flies. We have lots of leaves that need to be raked, but it has been rainy the last few days, so they are really wet now.

Yesterday the girls and I went to sister Emma and her husband Jacob’s house to assist them in preparing for church services they host on Sunday. Of course I just went along to “sit and do nothing” but I could help keep the children entertained. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their little ones were also there helping. Emma’s two married daughters, Elizabeth and Emma, and her nine-month-old daughter Jessica were also there. I told sister Emma that three-and-a-half years ago there weren’t any little children when we got together, and now there’s five between the ages of three months and three years.

Our friend Beth took us to and from Jacob’s with her minivan since I didn’t want to ride in the buggy yet. My surgery was only two weeks ago, so I want to be careful.

Daughter Verena, 21, made a casserole the night before to take along so Emma wouldn’t have to make lunch. Daughter Elizabeth made a chocolate cake and daughter Susan made apple goodie (which is similar to apple crisp). Lunch was easy and didn’t take up anyone’s time to prepare, so they could all keep cleaning. They cleaned windows, cabinets, and furniture, etc.

Jacob and Emma’s son Steven, 12, still has both of his legs and feet in a cast. He had the same surgery son Kevin had earlier this year. It’s heel lengthening surgery due to their muscular dystrophy. The county bus takes Steven to and from school. They have a van lift so he can stay in the wheelchair.

On Tuesday we had a visit from Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty. It’s hard to believe Uncle Joe is 77 already. He gets around good for his age. Betty said he raked all their leaves. It’s a blessing to have good health at that age. Joe is one of my dad’s brothers. Dad’s oldest brother, Albert Jr, is 90, then William (Bill), 81 and Menno, 80. His brother Robert (Bob) will be 79 soon. Dad’s two youngest brothers are Melvin, 74, and Amos, 72. They are always so active that I really didn’t realize that they are that old already. There is never a dull moment when the brothers get together. It always makes memories of dad surface when I see my uncles. Dad came from a family of 13 children. Three boys and three girls have passed away and are greatly missed when the others all get together.

I will share a recipe for sour cream apple squares since it’s apple season.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Sour Cream Apple Squares

2 cups flour
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups peeled and diced apples
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 teaspoon soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In a bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and butter. Mix until crumbly. Stir in nuts. Press 2 3/4 cups crumbs into ungreased 9×13-inch pan. To remaining mixture add cinnamon, soda, salt, sour cream, vanilla, and egg. Blend well. Stir in apples. Spoon evenly over base. Bake 25-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cut into 12-15 squares. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

 

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.