Category Archives: Desserts

Family visits and Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

Sons Benjamin, 21, and Joseph, 18, both have left for work. It is 5 a.m. and I decided I’ll write this column while all is still quiet. The weather has taken a big change overnight. Yesterday, and for over a week, we have had nice, sunny, warm weather. Now this morning the temperature is in the lower 40’s and seems to gradually be dropping.

We took advantage of the nice weather by raking leaves, the men hauling manure, etc. I also planted 42 tulip bulbs of various colors in my flower bed in front of the house. Hopefully they will come up next year. I love flowers that come up every year.

Daughter Elizabeth and her three children are planning to come here for the day. Little ten-month-old Allison is taking her first steps and walking short distances. This is always exciting to see. She is still so petite, so its even cuter to see her walking already.

Daughter Susan won’t come today because she, Mose, and the children are spending a week at Mose’s brother’s place in a community one hour and fifteen minutes from here. Mose has several brothers in that community. He isn’t allowed to go back to work yet due to doctor’s orders since his accident at work. They decided to go do some visiting now that they are moved back in the house. His brothers each have two little boys around Jennifer and Ryan’s ages, so I’m sure the little cousins will have lots of fun.

Last Friday the girls and I went to Mose and Susan’s house and stained all the trim for their house. It was a nice day to stain it outside.

Sunday morning, I made pancakes, eggs, and fresh sausage (given to us by neighbors Joas and Susan) along with fresh maple syrup made by our sons-in-law. We had a lazy day of just resting. With life so busy, at times its nice to have a day to relax.

In the afternoon Tim and Elizabeth and family and Mose and Susan and family came over. Also here were Dustin and Daniel (Loretta and Lovina’s boyfriends). I wanted to make homemade pizza for supper, but my oven isn’t working right. I have a stove in the pole barn, but Dustin offered that we could make the pizza across the road at his house and eat there instead. So that is what we did.

Dustin and my husband Joe changed the thermocouple on my gas stove on Friday, but it still doesn’t want to heat up. Our neighbor has an appliance store but hasn’t had time to come see what else is wrong. I miss not having an oven in the house. If we want to bake something, we always have to take it outside to the pole barn.

It was nice to make supper at Dustin’s. We ate out on his new patio, which is now completed.

We made chicken alfredo pizzas and several sausage pepperoni pizzas with lots of other toppings. Macaroni and cheese and chips were also on the menu. For dessert Dustin had ice cream cones from his freezer. I appreciated Dustin’s offer to let us make supper at his house. It was nice for me to get out of my own house too.

After dishes were washed, we played games. Dustin and Daniel’s sister Grace came after supper and played games with us.

Last week daughter Verena helped granddaughters Abigail, 4, and Jennifer, 2, make pumpkin oatmeal muffins. I will share the recipe with you readers. It would be a nice dish to take to a Thanksgiving dinner. Verena has lots of patience with children and already lets the little girls enjoy helping “make food.”

God’s blessings to all!

Lovina’s Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins cool before a family gathering. Photo provided.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup quick oatmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

Streusel

1/4 cup quick oatmeal
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 medium muffin cups with paper baking cups or spray bottoms only with cooking spray. Mix together streusel ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Combine oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, pecans, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Mix well. In medium bowl combine pumpkin, milk, oil, and egg; blend well. Add to dry ingredients all at once. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix. Fill muffin cups until almost full. Sprinkle with the streusel. Bake 22–25 minutes or until golden brown.

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.

Autumn leaves, deer hunting, and apple pie

We are having nice, sunny autumn weather with temperature in the 60’s by the end of the day. It’s a good time to get the leaves raked and the yard cleaned up before the snow flies. We did have a coating of snow on Sunday, but it didn’t accumulate much.

I also have some tulip bulbs I want to plant this week.

The leaves are absolutely amazing in their fall colors—scenery that only our Master Artist can create. Daughter Lovina, 16, and I drove to town with the horse and buggy. We saw a lot of nice scenery on the back roads.

Last week we helped Mose and Susan finish painting their house, although the pantry needs to be painted yet. My husband Joe helped Mose install their kitchen cabinets. On Saturday Joe, our sons, son-in-law Tim, his nephew, and Dustin (daughter Loretta’s boyfriend) helped Mose move in enough of their furniture so they can live in the house while they finish remodeling. Dustin and son Joseph also put up some trim. The back porch still needs to be turned into another bedroom and the laundry room remodeled, but the doors can be shut while finishing those rooms.

Mose and Susan heat with an outside wood boiler, so their house is nice and cozy now. What a relief for Susan to have an indoor bathroom and running water again. The fruits of their labor are worth all the time invested. I know they appreciated everyone’s help during this busy time.

On Friday afternoon Joe, son Kevin, and I went to daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. I helped Elizabeth in the house while Joe helped Tim grill forty pounds of chicken. Kevin helped keep the children entertained. Daughters Verena and Lovina also came to help with supper. They invited Elizabeth’s pen pal and extended family from a nearby community for supper. They had almost forty guests that night. On the menu were tater tot casserole, barbequed chicken, lettuce salad, cheese slices, pumpkin and apple pies, Swiss roll bars, ice cream, lemonade, punch, and coffee.

After supper dishes, we spent time visiting and singing. Elizabeth’s pen pal, also named Elizabeth, has two children.

The girls and I washed our clothes and Mose and Susan’s clothes on Monday. It was such a beautiful week to hang clothes outside to dry.

Dustin went hunting with a bow and arrow and landed a seven-point buck. Loretta is also hunting with a bow and arrow again this year. She hasn’t been able to get any deer yet. I like venison meat for sloppy joes, as it’s drier to fry. I always mix some sausage with it.

Sons Benjamin and Joseph have also gone deer hunting a few times. And sons-in-law Tim and Mose have put one or two deer in the freezer already.

I received my reader mail again and was very humbled to receive the gifts from readers. May God bless you for thinking of us. I try not to worry and let God be in control. Something will come along, I’m sure, and Mose has been very glad for Joe’s help.

Today Joe is at home and not feeling well, so I hope it’s nothing serious. God’s blessings to all and lots of prayer for our government. May God guide them in the right way to guide our country.

Plain Apple Pie

6 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (6 cups)
1 (9-inch) pie shell, unbaked
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup water

Place apples in pie shell. In a small bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and water. Sprinkle flour mixture evenly over apples. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until apples are soft. Makes 1 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, 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.

Fun and games with grandchildren as family gathers

Supper is over, evening devotions have been said, and everyone has either gone to bed or is showering, reading, or just relaxing as I write this column.

Our supper had ham and beans on the menu. I took a few ham bones out of the freezer and decided to make a big kettle of ham and beans.

Lovina cooked a large pot of ham and beans this week, pictured, for a nourishing family supper. Photo provided.

Daughter Verena finished up on answering my reader mail today. I read all the letters and her answers. She wants me to see if she answered all the cooking questions okay. I am grateful that she helps me out with it. I want to thank all of you for the encouraging words.

Loretta, 20, and Lovina, 16, helped me make a casserole to take along to daughter Susan and Mose’s house tomorrow. Mose’s parents, Joe and I, and a few of our daughters, daughter Elizabeth and children are all planning to help paint, and the men will hang more pine boards on the ceiling. Cabinets will be installed hopefully yet this week. The bathroom is useable now. Hopefully we will be able to finish up on the painting. Nephew Benjamin and my husband Joe have been there the last few days hanging ceiling boards. Nephew Benjamin is off from work this week, so he was able to help out.

On Sunday we had a large group for the noon meal: sister Emma and Jacob, their sons Jacob, Steven, and Benjamin, and Benjamin’s girlfriend Crystal and her son Isaiah; niece Elizabeth and Manuel; niece Emma and Menno, and children Jessica and baby Menno Ray; sisters Verena and Susan; daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and children Abigail, T.J., and Allison; daughter Susan and Mose, and children Jennifer and Ryan; Dustin (daughter Loretta’s boyfriend), and Daniel (daughter Lovina’s boyfriend). We are a total of 34 now when we get together.

The men deep fried fish outside in the deep fryer. Along with that we had mashed potatoes, gravy, pork and beans, macaroni salad, lettuce salad, cheese, hot peppers, salsa and chips, peach braid, pumpkin cake, mocha dessert, Jello cookies, and ice cream. The fish were perch and blue gill caught by Joe and our family this summer. With everyone bringing a dish or two the meal was lots bigger than what I prepared.

With Jacob and Emma’s grandchildren and ours, along with Crystal’s son Isaiah, 3, there were eight children here age four and under. Daughter Verena kept them entertained outside making piles of leaves to hide under for a while.

Then they came inside and all sat on the steps of our stairway, singing and pretending to be in church. Little Allison even sat there, and everyone wanted her to be their “child.” So cute and precious! Nevertheless, you could say our house was filled with activity.

Games were played and then some food set out for whomever wanted to snack before they headed home. It was an enjoyable day! Jacob and Emma’s family and ours used to be together every weekend but with both of us having our own families growing bigger it doesn’t happen quite as often.

We just received word that sister-in-law Sarah Irene’s mother passed away. Our sympathy goes to brother Albert, Sarah Irene, and the extended family. May God guide them through this time and always. God’s blessings to all!

Frozen Mocha Dessert

2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 tablespoon hot water
1/4 cup melted butter
3 cups crumbled Oreo cookies
16 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
16 ounce container whipped topping
Small amount caramel syrup

Dissolve coffee in hot water. Mix butter with cookies crumbs. Put 2 1/2 cups of crumbs on bottom of pan. Reserve 1/2 cup for top. Combine cream cheese, coffee mixture, sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate syrup. Beat well and add whipped topping. Cover and freeze a few days before serving. Drizzle with caramel syrup before 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, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Lovina’s daughter Verena shares her story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Six Minute Caramels

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

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

 

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

Welcoming autumn with pecan pies

It is the first day of autumn! Our gardens are cleared out, being tilled, and are history for 2020! We had a frost Saturday morning that put an end to them. We have lots of tomatoes and peppers that I want to use to make spicy vegetable juice. A lot of people covered their plants to avoid the frost, but we didn’t take the time to do that. We are thankful for the harvest we did get, though. Next week we will be going to the u-pick orchard to pick grapes for grape juice. We ran out of grape juice this year, so I want to can more this year than I did last year.

Saturday morning was chilly for the local consignment auction but ended up being pretty warm by the end of the day. I made pecan pies for the auction’s bake sale to help with hospital bills for a local family. Of course, I made a few extra to take to daughter Susan and Mose on Friday when we went to help them with last minute work. They hosted church services again on Sunday under a tent. Mose ran a propane heater in the tent to heat it up somewhat. It was a cold morning, with the temperature in the low 40’s, but it warmed up as the sun came out, and the heater soon had to be turned off. Susan and Mose were relieved to be done with their two turns to host church services and now be able to concentrate on remodeling their house. This week, Mose is trying to install the bathtub, toilet, and vanity, so at least the bathroom will be available. The living room and bedroom are ready to be painted.

My husband Joe doesn’t have any work, so he and Mose’s dad helped on the house for the last few weeks.

Tomorrow the girls and I plan to go help daughter Elizabeth clean her house. Church services will be at their house next time. It will be a longer service because we will have a council meeting in preparation for Communion two weeks later. (Editor’s note: Some Amish refer to this service as “rule church,” when, as the name implies, rules of the church are discussed. It is usually held the service before Communion.)

Saturday, our plans are for the whole family to help Tim and Elizabeth with preparing to host church services. They did a lot of remodeling and painting in their home and added a few closets. It is all looking nice. The renovations make so much more room for them.

The week after Tim and Elizabeth host church services, they will travel to Kentucky to attend the wedding of their niece. I will sew granddaughter Abigail’s dress, and Tim’s sister Martha sewed T.J.’s shirt. Such little deeds help a busy young mother.

I am starting to wonder why I thought we were busy before our daughters were married, when we had no grandchildren. I am so glad we can help and the joy the grandchildren bring is wonderful.

I made a breakfast casserole to take to Elizabeth’s tomorrow morning. Sister Emma, niece Elizabeth, and niece Emma and her two little ones also plan to help clean at Elizabeth’s.

Elizabeth told us all to come for breakfast, so I told her that I would bring breakfast. Daughter Susan made a casserole for lunch to take along. It helps so much when we don’t have to stop to prepare the meals and can keep on cleaning.

It is always enjoyable to get together with my daughters and with Emma and her daughters. There are seven little children between my five grandchildren and her two children, with the oldest being Abigail at four years old.

I am now writing the morning after I began this column. Son Benjamin, twenty-one, left for work at 4:30 a.m. and it’s time to get lunch packed and breakfast made for son Joseph, eighteen. He leaves a little before 6 a.m. today.

Daughter Verena is answering my reader mail since my time is so limited lately. I really appreciate it. She loves to write to readers. I’m sure that they get longer letters back than the ones they wrote (smile!).

I will share the recipe for pecan pie this week.

Wishing you all a safe and happy week and may God bless you!

Pecan Pie

6 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup water
2 (9-inch) pie shells, unbaked
2 cups pecans (halves or pieces), divided

Mix together beaten eggs, sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and water. Divide mixture evenly between the two pie shells. Sprinkle 1 cup pecans on top of each pie.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce oven to 300 degrees and bake for an additional 40–50 minutes, or until middle of pie is set. Cool completely before serving. Makes two (9-inch) pies.

 

 

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.

 

Autumn weather and pumpkin torte

We are having very cool mornings with temperatures around the upper 40’s to lower 50’s, and then warming up gradually. Next week autumn begins, so we can expect cooler weather.

Our hay has been cut for the last time this season. Hopefully, we will get it in the barn before there’s any rain.

Yesterday, daughter Lovina, sixteen, and I went to town with the buggy and son Benjamin’s horse, Beauty. The trip there and back was enjoyable. I enjoy spending time with all my children but it’s nice to have time to focus on one and have heart-to-heart talks. Lovina has a big sense of humor and there is never a dull moment with her. She worked on her plastic canvas letters on the way.

Daughters Verena, twenty-two, and Loretta, twenty, stayed home. They kept grandchildren Jennifer, two, and Ryan, one, while Mose and Susan went to a doctor appointment and to get their church groceries. They will host church services again because they skipped their turn last year. Ryan decided he can start walking now. He is thirteen and a half months, and we have been waiting for this. He used to take a step or two, then freeze up and flop to his knees and crawl. He also likes to crawl on anything he can get on. The girls kept busy keeping an eye on two active little ones.

Son Kevin, fifteen, went fishing with three of his friends. They always enjoy getting together since they don’t see each other in school anymore.

Son Benjamin went salmon fishing over the weekend and was happy to catch his first salmon.

On Saturday, some of Loretta’s special friend Dustin’s family and some of our family assisted him at his house. The men and boys worked on building a patio and ramp onto the house. The women and girls cleaned the walls, ceilings, closets, floors, and windows in the three upstairs bedrooms. Neighbor Irene, who owned the house before Dustin, always kept it tidy, so it didn’t take too much effort to clean.

Birthday cupcakes made by Lovina Eicher’s daughter and granddaughter. Photo provided.

Friday night, our family gathered at daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house for supper in honor of granddaughter Abigail’s fourth birthday, which was September 10. Abigail helped Elizabeth make the cupcakes. She was a very excited little girl to have all the attention.

On Sunday, Abigail and T.J. stayed here at our house while Tim and Elizabeth attended church in a neighboring church district, where baptismal services were held for five young souls. Two of these were Tim’s nieces, so they went in their honor. They took baby Allison along since she still breastfeeds. Allison is eight and half months old and very petite, but she gets everywhere. She walks by holding on to furniture and crawls everywhere. Abigail thinks she should start walking soon because T.J. walked by nine months old.

Today, my plans are to go assist daughter Susan with her work. Church will be held under the big tent at their house again. This time the church should be regular sized, so there won’t be nearly as many people as there were last time.

After Mose and Susan’s turn, it will be Tim and Elizabeth’s turn to host church services. We need to get over there to help them too. Tim’s niece has helped Elizabeth on quite a few days already. Help like that is appreciated for a busy young mother of three.

I need to get started. I told Susan I would bring ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches for our breakfast. It will be easy to put then in the oven to heat. I wrap them individually with aluminum foil and bake them until hot. God bless!

Pumpkin Torte

24 graham crackers, crushed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup sugar
8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups pumpkin
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
3 eggs whites

Combine the crushed graham crackers, 1/2 cup sugar, and margarine, and press in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Mix the 2 eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, and cream cheese until smooth and pour over graham cracker crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Cook the pumpkin, cornstarch, egg yolks, sugar, milk, salt, and cinnamon until thickened. Remove from heat. Dissolve the unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water according to the envelope directions. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the gelatin and allow to cool. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into cooled mixture. Pour pumpkin mixture over the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set.

 

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.

An Amish baptismal service and wedding Nothings

Another week has gone by, and it’s already time to write this column and get it on its way to my editors. Once again, I’m pushing the deadline . . . it must be that I work better under pressure because it seems I so often push it off until the last minute. Or maybe that is what a lot of mothers do. Is it because we decide our family is more important than anything else?

We had a few cloudy, rainy days and now our solar battery alarm is beeping out in the pole barn. That means the generator has to be started in order to recharge the battery pack. Our water pump is run by our solar battery. So far, we have water, but as soon as it gets to be daylight, someone needs to go get gas at the gas station. Yes—at 11 p.m. last night, after everyone was already in bed, daughter Loretta could hear the battery beeping. It was too late for anyone to go get gas, the gas stations near us were closed, and we didn’t have any gas left in the jugs. Of course, during the night hours no one was using water, so it was okay until this morning when activity began again. I am waiting to take a shower until the gas is here. I do not want to risk running out of water in the middle of a shower. Hopefully once it’s daylight, the sun will come out, but the generator still needs to be started to help get the charge back in the battery pack.

Daughter Susan and children were here yesterday. Son-in-law Mose had a doctor appointment about his finger. The doctor took the stitches out but wasn’t too happy with how it’s healing. So still no “okay” to go back to work. Susan brought her laundry and washed it here. We will wash ours today if it’s a nice day.

Daughter Elizabeth and children have plans to come today. Our oldest granddaughter Abigail (Tim and Elizabeth’s daughter) will be four years old tomorrow, September 10. Abigail is a sweet little girl who is at the stage where she asks one question after another—and then asks, “but why?” We love her so much, as we do the four other grandchildren. We will go to Tim and Elizabeth’s on Friday evening in honor of sweet Abigail’s birthday. She gets so excited to have a birthday!

Yesterday we canned fifty-five quarts of vegetable juice. We didn’t make it hot, so that I can use it in place of tomato juice in soups, etc. We picked six five-gallon sized buckets of tomatoes from the garden. Potatoes need to be dug up, hot peppers picked and canned, etc. Harvesting is in full swing with the gardens. Grapes will be next on the list.

On Sunday, Mose and Susan hosted baptismal services in a big tent at their place for daughter Loretta, nephew Jacob, and another young boy in our church district, Jeremiah. They prepared for extra people and had borrowed another bench wagon from a neighboring church district. I’m doing a rough estimate, but according to how many times we had to reset the tables, I would think almost three hundred people were there in honor of the three young souls being baptized. Mose and Susan were well prepared with extra food, and we had enough for everyone. I made around two and a half big pots of coffee and we still almost ran out. This would probably total two hundred cups. We also had twelve gallons of iced tea, but it was a cool day, so people wanted more coffee instead.

Also on the menu were ham, cheese, homemade wheat and white bread (sixty loaves but we had some left), pickles, hot peppers, red beets, peanut butter spread, butter, rhubarb jam, and cookies (four different kinds). Popcorn was served while dishes were being washed.

Mose and Susan are living in their garage, but work on the house is slowly getting done. The bedroom, living room, and bathroom are drywalled, and my husband Joe started mudding the bathroom, so hopefully soon we can paint that part of the house.

Until next time—God bless! I will share the recipe for “Nothings” since I have had a lot of mail asking what they are. They are a thin pasty with sugar sprinkled on top. They are almost always served at weddings in Berne, Indiana, where we moved from over sixteen years ago. They are sometimes also called knee patches or elephant ears.

Amish Wedding Nothings for an Eicher family wedding. Photo credit: Ruth Boss.

Amish Wedding Nothings, or Knee Patches

3/4 cup cream (3 large “cookspoons” heavy cream)
1 egg, well beaten
pinch salt
2 cups flour
shortening, for frying
powdered sugar, for topping

Stir together cream, egg, salt, and enough flour to make an elastic dough. Make 7–9 balls out of the dough. Roll out each ball of dough very flat and thin, about 1/16 inch. Cut six three-inch slits, one above the other, in the middle of each round of dough.

Heat shortening in a large pot over high heat (or use an electric skillet with a temperature control). When the shortening is 365 degrees, test a small piece of dough to see if it sizzles. When oil is hot enough, put the rolled-out dough into the pot or skillet. (Fry one at a time, unless you have a huge kettle.) When the dough turns golden on the bottom, turn once with two forks or large spatula. Remove from pot and drain on plate covered with paper towels.

Sprinkle powdered sugar over top while warm. To serve, stack the Nothings on top of one another on a plate.

One batch makes 7–9 Nothings. For a wedding, we would make 12-15 batches, or more as needed.

 

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.

July birthdays and zucchini bars

It’s Wednesday morning and the humidity has gone, leaving us with a much cooler morning. We had a light shower this morning, which we needed. Our hay was out last night, and hopefully the rain didn’t affect it too much.

It seems quiet around here this morning, with Mose, Susan, Jennifer, and Ryan not staying here anymore. They are living in a travel trailer (RV) at their place so that Mose can work evenings on their house. They have a gas stove and refrigerator and running water in there so they can shower, etc. They also have part of their garage set up that they can stay in during the day. Susan is still washing her laundry here because she doesn’t have water hooked up in their garage. Yesterday we washed our clothes and filled the lines and then we washed her clothes. By that time a lot of our clothes were dry so we could make space for hers.

Grandson Ryan’s first birthday cake. Photo provided.

On Monday, July 27th grandson Ryan turned a year old. They had his birthday party here at our house because there is more room. They gave Ryan a small cake to eat and did he have fun! He smashed the frosting up in his mouth. It was so cute. We sang Happy Birthday and he smiled and knew he was getting all the attention. Ryan isn’t walking yet, although he stands by himself for a little while and tried to take a few steps. He walks by furniture, and it doesn’t take him long to climb steps although we don’t let him do it without us watching him. Ryan now shares his birthdate with niece Emma and Menno’s newborn son. Menno Ray was born at 12:05 p.m. on July 27th. He joins a sister Jessica Rose, 18 months. Menno Ray also has a cousin, Austin, who turned two on July 27th. Austin’s parents, Benji and Margaret, live at the next place over from Menno and Emma and are in our church district. So three little boys all share the same day, all a year apart.

Ryan loves his Grandpa Joe. He will crawl for him, laughing when he sees him. If I want to take him away from Joe, he turns toward Joe.

Last week my daughter Elizabeth and baby Allison, daughter Susan and Ryan, and son Kevin and I went to niece Elizabeth’s to assist her in cleaning. Manuel and Elizabeth will host church services for the first time on Sunday. They live in a neighboring church district and are still renting the house they live in. Grandchildren Abigail, Jennifer, and T.J. stayed here with my other daughters so that we were able to get more done at Elizabeth’s house. Sister Emma and Steven, and niece Emma and Jessica were also there for the day. Walls, ceilings, furniture, and windows were cleaned. Many hands make lighter work!

I have cucumbers from the garden and want to can pickles this week if time allows.

I also have dark green material to sew a dress for myself for niece Laura’s wedding next week, again, only if time allows. Son Kevin and I pulled the sweet onions from our garden. Now we need to tie them up to dry under the porch by the walk-out basement.

The girls and I made supper for four families in our church who have had new babies or surgeries. Now the girls are ready to go deliver them. We made meat loaf, potato casserole, and zucchini bars, which are easy to make and use up zucchini. Our daughter Elizabeth and Tim are keeping us well supplied.

Take care, stay healthy, and God bless!

Zucchini bars for church families. Photo provided.

Zucchini Bars
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
2 teaspoons soda

Combine all ingredients and bake in a cookie sheet pan at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting or sprinkle with chocolate chips when almost done baking.

Cream Cheese Frosting
6 ounces cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
Beat well until mixture is smooth.

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.

Annual family gathering and easy peach cream pie

On Saturday, July 11th, we all were awake and ready by 5:30 a.m., waiting for our ride on the bus to Monroe, IN to sister Leah and Paul’s house for the annual Coblentz gathering. Lo and behold, 6 a.m. rolled around and still no bus. Finally, we saw a bus pass by and soon after it headed back. Somehow a few wrong numbers in an address made quite the difference. The driver must have been frustrated to have to stop at three or four of our Amish neighbors’ houses. We could see the bus pull in and out of their driveways, so finally son Benjamin jumped on his bike and waved the driver down. Everyone was waiting to load up when he pulled in, so we still made good time. We stopped at a nearby McDonalds for breakfast. Daughter Elizabeth took everyone’s order and called them in the night before, so the waiting time wasn’t as long. With only the drive-thru open, it isn’t easy for a big bus load of people. Every order was marked for each family. It all worked out well. Then we headed for the interstate while everyone enjoyed their breakfast while visiting. It was very enjoyable to all be together. With almost thirty people on the bus, it wasn’t quiet, but it was an enjoyable, fun ride. The last time Jacob and Emma, sisters Verena and Susan, and our family all fit in the same vehicle was sixteen-and-a-half years ago when we started land shopping in Michigan. Daughter Elizabeth was nine at that time and is twenty-six now.

Our family totals around 110 now and if I’m counting right, everyone was there except six nieces and nephews and their families.

The noon meal was more than enough food with all the side dishes and desserts added to the hot meal Paul and Leah provided.

I forgot to mention that the bus had a lift so nephew Jacob and daughter Loretta could take their mobility scooters along.

Of course, my parents and brother Amos were greatly missed. Invitations to the wedding of brother Amos and Nancy’s youngest daughter, Laura, were passed out. She and Enos have set August 6 for their wedding day. Amos and Nancy had ten children—eight daughters and two sons. This is their eighth wedding to prepare for. Nancy has her youngest son Sam still at home with her. The newlyweds, Enos and Laura, will make their home with Nancy and son Sam for now.

Singing took place in the afternoon and everyone brought snacks to enjoy before we headed home at 4 p.m.

We arrived home in Michigan around 6:30 p.m.

It was time to prepare for church services at a young married couple’s house a few miles from here the next day. Daughter Loretta had her fifth service of following instructions for the eighteen articles of faith that the Amish youth take before getting baptized. All the church ministry and members have been so helpful to make sure everything is easy for Loretta and nephew Jacob with their handicaps. It is greatly appreciated and makes us appreciate the love. So often, we take our health for granted and do not think of the effort it takes others to do the same things we do. It causes a lot of discouragement for them, and even for me as a parent, when they have a bad day of accepting that they cannot do what others their age can. I know they have greater compassion for others through their handicaps. May God bless the youth that take time to stop and reach out to them. You have no idea what it means when their challenge is so much greater than ours. The kingdom of heaven will have no handicaps. God bless.

Easy Peach Cream Pie

3 cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
1 (9-inch) pie crust (unbaked)
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
dash of salt
1 cup heavy cream.
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place peaches in the pie crust. Beat eggs slightly in bowl; blend in sugar, flour, and salt. Stir in cream and vanilla; blend well. Pour over peaches. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes, or until center shakes slightly when moved.

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.