Category Archives: Desserts

Nothing better in late winter than visits from Grandma’s little sweeties

We have entered the month of March, and it is definitely coming in like a lion! It is rainy, cold and windy here in our part of Michigan. We had several nice sunny days with temperatures hitting the upper 50s and lower 60s. It spoiled us and we really wanted it to stay. It sounds like we might get more snow though, so we better just be patient.

Our week has been spent cutting up beef, pressure canning, grinding hamburger and slicing steaks, and of course, bagging the meat for the freezer. Last Saturday we decided to butcher both beefs instead of waiting for another time. So we have double the work. My husband, Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph, son-in-law Timothy, son-in-law Mose and Loretta’s special friend Dustin helped dress the beef on Saturday. Timothy, Elizabeth, Mose and Susan have also been helping to cut it up. Work goes much faster with so many helping.

Lovina and Joe’s granddaughter Abigail gets excited when her parents’ buggy pulls in to Grandma’s house.

Elizabeth said when they came driving with their buggy, little Abigail spotted our house and said, “Grandma!” She was a little busybody last night. She loves to color and write. I’m amazed at how well she holds her pencil. Jennifer is such a sweetie too. She smiles often, and Susan said she reaches for the toys she hangs in her swing. I was so busy that I didn’t get to spend enough time with the sweeties last night.

I made rare beef for supper for everyone. The girls had made a casserole as well. I have mentioned before how we make rare beef. We slice the most tender steak into really thin pieces. I deep-fried it in olive oil last night. Some use oil and some use lard. You make sure your oil is really hot and then take a piece and stir around, flip over, stir once and it’s done. We put salt and black pepper on both sides of every slice before we start. We put on a lot of black pepper. It’s spicy, but it just doesn’t taste right without that much.

We didn’t put much pepper on Abigail’s pieces, but she still didn’t care for it! I remember when our children were younger they would have a glass of water to dip the meat in so some of the pepper would come off. I wouldn’t put on as much pepper when they were younger.

My grandpa Graber was an expert at deep-frying rare beef. Then my mother took after him and always made it for our family. Now I can see how she was probably glad once everyone had their share! I make the rare beef while everyone else eats so that it’s fresh. It doesn’t taste as good when it has cooled off.

Sunday we went to church and then stopped in to visit Jacob and Emma. Jacob wasn’t feeling well enough to come to church.

We ended up at Mose and Susan’s house for supper. Timothy and Elizabeth and Abigail, Dustin and nephew Henry were all there, plus all of our family. Mose grilled brats and Susan made pizza casserole. It was nice to get out of cooking. I spoiled Jennifer and Abigail while the girls made supper. Daughter Verena was glad to get out of the house for a while. She elevated her leg all day, as she lost her balance and fell on her cast. She had quite a bit of pain so I called the doctor. It helps to elevate it more often, and now Verena says it is feeling better. In three weeks we will go back to the doctor and see how it’s doing. I hope it is healing well!

I want to thank everyone for the sympathy cards you sent. May God bless you for your kindness!

A reader shared her recipe for butterscotch pie with me. She says it’s much easier to make than mine. I’ll share it with all of you as well. Thanks, Patricia!

Butterscotch Pie

1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold water
1 1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 pie crust, baked

Mix brown sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan; stir in water, milk and butter. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Boil one minute. Stir 1/2 of mixture into egg yolks, then blend into remaining mixture with vanilla. Pour into baked pie crust. Chill. When cold, top with whipped cream topping.

Lovina’s brother “didn’t know a stranger”

Lovina’s brother “didn’t know a stranger”

So much sadness has been brought to our family since I last penned this column. God has once again reminded us that one does not have to be old to die.

A week ago, January 31, my sister-in-law, Nancy tried to wake up my oldest brother Amos. Life had fled—Amos was only 56 years old.

He left behind 10 children and 15 grandchildren and his wife of 34 years. Here are the details: Susan is married to Joe and they have seven children: Nancy, Susan, Joe, Steven, Amos, Lyle and Barbara Ann. Elizabeth and Paul have three children: Lisa, Amanda and Amos. Mary Jane and Amos have three children: Amos, Marvin and Mary Jane. Ben and Lovina have a daughter Leanna. Arlene is married to Robert. Marlene is married to Chris (Arlene and Marlene are twins). Lovina and Benjamin have a daughter Kristine. Lisa is married to Matthew. Laura, age 16, has a special friend, Enos. Samuel is 14 and in eighth grade.

Amos was a great brother to me. He had many friends. Amos never met a stranger. Five years ago in January, Amos was in an accident on his way to work not very far from our house. Two of my cousins were killed in this accident and Amos’s life was spared. The driver taking them to work hit a patch of black ice and rolled the van numerous times. Amos was treated and released at our local hospital.

My sisters Verena, Susan, Emma, and brother Albert and wife Sarah Irene, all gathered at the hospital to be with Amos since his family was so far away yet. We brought Amos to my house and visited together until Amos’s wife Nancy and their children came to pick him up. We felt so fortunate to still have our brother. Every January since, I think back to the widows my two cousins left behind and their families. Last Wednesday morning right after my husband Joe left for work, we received the shocking news that brother Amos wouldn’t wake up.

A special gift from Lovina’s brother, Amos, to daughter Verena.

Amos had let our daughter Verena pick out a Yorkie puppy and he wanted to just give it to her since she has no income. Verena talked with Amos a few weeks before his death and he wanted her to wait until January 31 to pick up the puppy. Little did we realize that he would be gone that day. That day Verena came in and told me that Amos is on the phone (our phone is in an out building) and had asked if he could talk to me. Amos would use the driver’s phone to call while he was on their way home from work. Amos and I talked for a long time. (He had a few hours drive to and from work.) That time I didn’t think I had to talk with him, is so precious to me now. Those were the last words I talked with Amos. I will forever treasure that phone call.

Viewing visitation was Thursday, February 1 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Friday 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. We traveled the two hours back and forth every day. On Saturday the funeral services were at 9:00 a.m. It was a cold day for a funeral. The first evening more than one thousand friends and family walked through. Such support is a blessing to the family. The community outdid themselves with bringing food for the meals. So many lent a hand to help.

This past Tuesday, Joe and I and daughter Verena, Mose, Susan and Baby Jennifer traveled to Berne (Ind.) and visited with Nancy and the children. Her son Ben, daughter Mary Jane and three children, daughter Lisa and Laura and Sam were also there. Sam made sure Verena could take her puppy (who she named Ruby) home after the funeral. Verena will have a very nice memory of her Uncle Amos and always remember his kindness in giving her the puppy.

Brother Amos also trained our horse, Mighty, and he is a good safe horse. I am glad we have a horse Amos trained to remember him by also. Mighty is our “Old Faithful.” I like taking him to town as I trust him around the traffic.

Quite a few from our community traveled the over 100 miles to the visitation of Amos. We appreciate all the family and friends that took time to come and show their support. May God reward them for their kindness. Rest in peace, brother Amos. You will forever be missed.

Now tomorrow, on a happier note, I look forward to meet and have a visit to our house from one of my editors from MennoMedia. Safe travels, Amy Gingerich!

Butterscotch Pie

1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon soda

Combine brown sugar, boiling water, butter, salt and vanilla. When mixture begins to boil, add soda. Boil until syrup forms a hard ball in cold water.

1 egg yolk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup boiling water
1 baked pie shell
Whipped cream

Combine egg yolk, flour and sugar; slowly add boiling water. Add to syrup mixture and bring to a boil. When filling is cooled, beat with spoon until fluffy. Pour into baked pie shell. Top with whipped cream.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 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 at




February Brings Snow Drifts, Baptism Services, and Butchering

A snow fort made by the Eicher children a few years ago.

February Brings Snow Drifts, Baptism Services, and Butchering

Editor’s note: Due to the death of Lovina’s brother Amos Coblentz on Jan. 31, 2018, this week’s column is a repeat from Lovina from February 2015.

[February 2015] Greetings from snowy Michigan! We received more than a foot of snow over the weekend. Some had reports of 16-18 inches. It’s a pretty sight to look at. The evergreen trees have enough snow on their branches to make such nice scenery. What a wonderful creator our God is! The temperature also dipped down to almost zero degrees. The wind chill was even colder.

With all the snow and wind, the roads weren’t opened until Monday. Everyone was home—factories closed and schools all closed in the county. We did the laundry and Joe mixed the summer sausage so we could get it in bags. We hung it in the pole building to cure for a week or two. Then Joe will smoke it in the smoker. The recipe calls for 100 pounds of hamburger and sausage, so we ended up with almost 40 bags of summer sausage. We added cheddar cheese to some of it and also hot pepper cheese to some of it.

Saturday we helped Jacob and Emma with pork butchering. We made Pon Haus (similar to scrapple) out of 21 gallons of pork juice and rendered the lard.

Sunday we visited a neighboring church district to attend baptism services for four young souls. One of the boys is a brother to Mose (Susan’s friend). The building was filled to capacity with people. When we left in the morning only a few inches of snow were on the ground. By the time we started home in the afternoon, the roads had nice-sized drifts on them. Our ramp and steps to the house had quite a bit of snow on them. By the time we walked through the drifts of snow to the house, our shoes were all wet.

Our neighbor boy shoveled out our drive on Monday with their skid loader. In the yard we have huge piles of snow, which the younger children enjoy playing on.

Daughter Verena went to the community building on Saturday evening. The youth all gather there on Saturday evenings. A few sets of parents go as chaperones. Verena went home with niece Salome and some friends and spent the night at Salome’s house (Joe’s sister Loretta and her husband, Henry).

They all came to the baptism church on Sunday that we attended. Verena got to hold little Damaris, Loretta and Henry’s new baby. Sounds like she’s a real cutie! Salome will be baptized to the confession of faith in a few weeks, so we hope to attend the services in Nappanee, Ind. When children take this serious step, what a blessing it is to parents.

Tomorrow evening daughter Susan will go to her special friend Mose’s house in honor of his birthday. Happy birthday, Mose! Mose and Elizabeth’s friend, Timothy, have both been such wonderful friends to our daughters. They are always willing to pitch in and help when work needs to be done around here.

My very special friend, Ruth, will also have a birthday on Feb. 9. Happy birthday, Ruth! She has been a great help and encouragement to me to continue with this column. God bless her!

A reader requested a recipe for cashew crunch, which I didn’t have. But another reader was kind enough to send one to me. God bless!

Cashew Crunch

1 pound cashews, coarsely ground
1 5-ounce can chow mein noodles, coarsely ground
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 16-ounce package chocolate candy coating

Place cashews, noodles, and marshmallows in a large bowl. Melt coating and pour over mixture. Mix well. Pour onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet and spread out. Let cool and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 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 at


Runaway horse and buggy yank the Eicher family into a rousing new year

We spent New Year’s Day at sister Emma and husband Jacob’s house. We are four sisters in this area, and every year we all get together for a gift exchange.

Emma had a haystack brunch. A haystack brunch includes biscuits, bacon, ham, sausage, smokies, potatoes, scrambled eggs, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, hot peppers, salsa, cheese sauce and sausage gravy. The biscuits, meat and vegetables are diced. You pile whatever you want on your plate, so it’s just a little bit of everything. It always tastes good—but your “haystack” can get too big before you know it! The table was set for 26.

After breakfast dishes were washed, the girls and I had prepared a big plastic ball with gifts inserted in it, like we had for our Christmas. It was exciting to open the plastic wrap when our turn came. With 25 people around three eight-foot folding tables, it was fun and loud and lively as the ball was unwrapped. There were a few trick gifts in there that were just for laughs.

Then we exchanged our gifts. Daughter Loretta had my name. It was interesting to see who had who. I had my husband Joe’s name, but I think he suspected that I did. It’s hard to hide something from him! I gave him a zero-gravity chair, which I had had wrapped for awhile. He kept asking whose gift that was, and he wondered why I never told him whose name I had! Everyone had nice gifts to take home, and little Abigail was spoiled with extra gifts from everyone. She enjoyed tearing the wrapping paper off her gifts even though she doesn’t understand what a gift exchange is. Son Kevin had her name.

Lots of snacks were set out in the afternoon. With everyone bringing something, it added up. There were venison snack sticks, shrimp and sauce, bean dip, meat roll-ups, veggies and dip, oranges, grapefruits, clementines, cheeseball and crackers and much more. Needless to say, this was everyone’s supper as well.

Son-in-law Timothy and Mose decided to go hunting together in the evening, taking Timothy’s buggy and horse. Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail went home with daughter Susan and their horse and buggy. The girls decided to stop at a little store, and they tied up the horse, Rex, extra well because he was a little rowdy. Well, the horse somehow got himself loose. The rope was torn or bitten through. He must have backed the buggy up with no problem, and would you believe that horse actually came the three miles to our place!

One of the Eicher buggies, which is their main transportation unless going a longer distance.

A lady in a truck stopped to let the boys know that no one was in the buggy. Rex turned into our driveway, and son Benjamin ran out in front of him, waving his arms to get the horse to stop. We were all shaken up, not knowing where the girls and Abigail were. Henry and the boys and Verena decided to go to the store my daughters said they were going to stop at. When they got there, Susan had just walked out of the store and discovered the horse and buggy were gone. The rest of us were all shaken up until we knew all was well. God was watching over all of us!

On January 5 Jacob’s dad (Joe’s uncle) passed away. He was 65 years old. Our sympathy goes to the family. It’s hard parting with a loved one, but God makes no mistakes. We left home Saturday morning with Jacob and Emma and stayed in Berne, Indiana, until Monday afternoon after the funeral was over. I am sure Jacob’s mother will have many lonely days. May God be her guide in this trial in life and always!

At the viewing of Jacob’s father, we met Mr. and Mrs. Roger Muselman, who are the owners of The Berne Witness where my column is printed every week. They also are the owners of Clock Tower Inn in Berne. It was a pleasure to have a short visit with them.

I have had some requests from readers for recipes that I have not been able to find at the moment. The recipes requested are Tomato Jelly and Butter and Hot Lettuce. Would any readers have these recipes? Thanks in advance and your help is greatly appreciated!

I also want to thank readers for the cards and gifts sent to us over the holidays. May God bless you for your kindness.

Daughter Verena, 20, will have surgery on her foot on February 14 in Ann Arbor. She will have a cast on for six weeks and won’t be allowed to put any weight on her foot. This will be a hard time for her, so please keep her in your prayers. She was going to be in the spring youth program, but she won’t be able to now.

God bless you all!

Banana Cheesecake

1 1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/3 cup butter, melted

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup banana, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 eggs

1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla

For the crust, mix crust ingredients and press into a 9-inch springform pan and two inches up the sides. Bake at 350 degrees for 18–20 minutes until golden brown. Cool.

To make filling, beat cream cheese, banana, sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and continue beating. Pour into baked crust. Bake until center is almost set, about 35–45 minutes.

 Stir topping ingredients together. Spread over baked cheesecake and continue baking 10 minutes more. Cool well for several hours.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 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 at

When mothers can’t sleep until all the children are home

When mothers can’t sleep until all the children are home

It is Thursday morning and time to get this column written. Time goes so fast from week to week. How can it be Thanksgiving Day next week already? We will be hosting the Thanksgiving meal here for sisters Verena, Susan, Emma and Jacob and families, and our family. We four sisters get together every year on Thanksgiving Day unless there are other plans. We all exchange names for Christmas. We are a total of 25 now. We usually set the table for all of us which makes a pretty long table already.

We will have turkey and all the trimmings. Daughter Elizabeth wants to make all the pies for Thanksgiving this year. She is getting to be a good pie baker. My sisters usually all bring food as well so we end up with lots more food then we need.

My husband Joe and the boys are off to work this morning. It’s a little rushed on the mornings they all leave around the same time. Getting all those lunches packed and water jugs filled with water and ice takes time. I also make coffee for Joe and nephew Henry to take along in a coffee mug. Our sons don’t drink coffee. Joe and I are the only ones that do. Mose and Susan like tea instead. I remember my mother would have a cup of warm tea by all our plates for breakfast sometimes. Our children drink iced tea better than warm tea. They would also choose hot chocolate over tea in the cold winter mornings.

I put a salad in Joe’s lunch today. It’s hard to keep up with who likes what in their lunch. Son Benjamin always wanted ham sandwiches. One day he was so tired of ham and didn’t want any more. I started making burrito wraps and then that didn’t sound good any more. If they don’t have a way to heat up food it’s hard to think of what to put in their lunch. I heat up soup once in a while and put it in a thermos to keep it warm. It’s easiest packing your own lunch because you know what you are hungry for more than anyone else. Son Kevin, 12, packs his own school lunch every morning.

Yesterday my daughters and I spent the day at daughter Elizabeth’s house. They will be hosting church services in January or February so she is getting her closets cleaned and organized already. She has two spare bedrooms on the main level that they mostly use when they have overnight company. The one bedroom she does use for her sewing room as well. She has those two rooms cleaned. We helped her clean out the closet in the hallway area. Son-in-law Timothy put up three shelves in it so she can put all her cleaning supplies, rags, brooms, stock pots, etc. in there. We turned the laundry room she had into a baby room for Abigail. We moved the changing table, dresser and all of Abigail’s clothes in there. Timothy had moved the washing machine down to the basement earlier this fall so Elizabeth washes clothes down there now.

Abigail’s crib is in Timothy and Elizabeth’s bedroom. I know the feeling that it is nice to have your little one close by during the night hours. I well remember the sleepless nights caring for the children. There are nights when I can’t sleep now waiting until the last one is home. I don’t think a mother every stops looking after her children. The children say, “Mom go to bed, don’t wait up on us.” But until you are a parent yourself you don’t quite understand. I tell them I used to tell my mother the same thing and wonder why she couldn’t sleep until we were all home at night. God watches over us. His blessings to all!

Try this banana chocolate chip sheet cake. It is a new cake we enjoyed this week. I had ripe bananas to use up some way.

A great way to use up bananas that are getting older.

Banana Chocolate Chip Sheet Cake

1 2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup ripe bananas (3-4 bananas)
2/3 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips


8 ounces cream cheese, softened
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened to room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/8 cup mini chocolate chips for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 1/2 x 15 inch sheet pan. Beat together butter and sugar until mixture resembles crumbs. Add eggs, vanilla and mix again. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, soda and salt than gradually add to butter mixture. Add mashed bananas and buttermilk and mix together well. Fold in 2/3 cup of chocolate chips. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Note: Cake is done when corners start to pull back from sides of pan and top of cake springs back when pressed gently in the center.

Frosting: Combine cream cheese, butter and vanilla; gradually add confectioner’s sugar and mix until smooth. Spread evenly on cooled cake and garnish with chocolate chips.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 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 at


Dropping temps mean heating the house and baking pumpkin whoopie pies

Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis

The mercury dropped down to 30 degrees this morning! I’m sure that it frosted in most places. It makes it feel good to have heat in the house. It was good timing for us.

On Tuesday we traded in our old hopper-fed coal stove for a new one. Last night my husband Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph, and nephew Henry set up the new stove and started it. We always use charcoal to get the coal started. It makes less smoke than wood. I can smell the new paint from the new stove, so I like to open a few windows slightly to get that smell out. It’s not too bad, though, because the stove is in the basement. We have an enclosed jacket around the stove so that we can control whether we want all the heat to come upstairs or heat the basement too. The heat travels upstairs to the bedrooms through our open staircase, which is close to the big vent in the floor over the stove in the basement. The boys like to keep their bedrooms cool, so they shut their doors during the day. Once it’s really cold outside they let the heat go into their bedrooms.

We still have a little coal left from last year, but Joe called and ordered our supply for the winter. I’s always a big relief to have our fuel for the winter! It gets expensive to buy coal, but I still think it’s nice that we can heat all three stories of our house with one stove. When I was growing up, the only heat we had upstairs in our bedrooms was what came up through the door. It was always chilly when we got out of bed in the morning, and we always hurried downstairs to stand by the coal or woodstove to warm up.

This week has been rainy and cold, so we will hang laundry in the basement to dry. I have lines down there and with the coal stove going, it should dry. Daughter Susan wants to wash the hunting clothes first. They wash those clothes in a special soap so that deer can’t smell their scent. Those clothes we will hang outside.

Son-in-law Timothy shot an eight-point buck last night with his bow. Daughter Loretta is still hunting, and son Benjamin has also gone hunting this fall. Loretta has a crossbow so it’s easier for her, with her disability, to shoot the arrow. I have never hunted in my life. I just could not see myself sitting quietly for that long! I would probably be making a mental list in my head of all the other things I could be doing.

Daughter Susan and Mose are excited to be homeowners now. We will miss having them beside us, but I know they want a place to call their own. The place they bought is five-and-one-half miles from here. Timothy and Elizabeth live six-and-one-half miles from here and will be only two miles from Mose and Susan. Mose and Susan plan to move as soon as we get the house cleaned and ready for them. They will pull out the carpet and put in new floors, and some painting will be done. It’s an old farmhouse, but the place has been kept up very nice. The garage is only six years old.

Tomorrow our plans are to attend a wedding in Rochester, Ind., for Melvin and Lisa. Lisa is a daughter to Joe’s cousin Leander and wife Rosina.

More exciting news: Jeremiah James was born to niece Rosa and Menno on October 23. This would make the third grandchild for sister Liz and Levi.

Try these pumpkin whoopie pies for Thanksgiving Day! These are very yummy when partially frozen. The family of Loretta’s special friend Dustin had a very good crop of pumpkins this year, with most of their pumpkins weighing over 100 pounds each.

Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies


2 cups mashed pumpkin
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves


8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Cookies: Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until just barely done, approximately 10–12 minutes. Cool.

Filling: Mix first three ingredients well and then add sugar. Spread filling between two cookies. Yields 16 whoopie pies.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 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 at

Mighty the horse that rides to town on a lovely autumn day

Today is our son-in-law Timothy’s birthday. He is married to our oldest daughter, Elizabeth. We wish him a happy birthday and many more happy, healthy years!

Foremost on our minds is the family of one of daughter Susan’s former classmates, Tyler. Tyler was a seaman in the navy. While on his way home from the navy he was in a car and semi-truck accident in Utah. Tyler was 20 years old; such a young age to leave this world. I cannot imagine the heartache of the grieving family. Tyler had two more sisters who went to our school. One of them was a classmate to daughter Loretta. One thing that I remember well about Tyler is his friendly personality. He would always say hi when we visited school. Everyone we talk to about Tyler says what a good attitude he had. What a nice memory for the family. I am sure they are still so shocked from the terrible news. Tyler was coming home to visit family and meet his new nephew. May God be their guide through this time of trial. Our sympathy goes out to the family.

One of the Eicher horses.

Today daughter Susan and I went to town with the buggy and our horse, Mighty. It was a lovely October day, and the ride to town was so nice and relaxing. I’m sure days like this are few before winter sets in.

Yesterday was also a nice sunny day. Daughters Susan, Verena, Loretta, and Lovina and son Joseph and I, with two buggies, drove to daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house and spent the day with her. Lovina did her schoolwork over there. Joseph did some odds and ends jobs for Elizabeth outside while we cleaned her house. When we arrived, Elizabeth had breakfast made for all of us. On the menu were biscuits and sausage gravy and scrambled eggs. She had also made chocolate and peanut butter pies the day before, so we sampled them. Elizabeth is trying her hand at making different pies. She has made quite a few different kinds already. We took our time cleaning and just enjoyed spending the day together. Of course, spoiling little Abigail was our favorite part of the day! She had fun showing us her toys, and she clearly enjoyed the extra attention. For lunch Elizabeth fried hamburgers and opened a jar of canned vegetable soup.

Friday turned out very nice as well, for the wedding of Esther and Wayne. Susan and I were cooks, and Mose and his brothers and brothers-in-law grilled the chicken for both meals. If I understand right, they grilled 450 pounds for the day.

On Saturday we butchered our chickens. Must be we had a few more than 100 from the beginning, because we ended up with 97 chickens. That was a big job! Those helping us were Mose, Susan, Dustin (Loretta’s special friend), nephew Henry, Joe and I, and our six children here at home. We had an assembly line going with some plucking feathers, some gutting the chickens, some cleaning, etc. Whew! What a big job—now done!

We had “breakfast for supper” tonight: fried eggs, potatoes, bacon, cheese, and toast.

Son Benjamin and nephew Henry just came from playing basketball with some of their friends at the community youth center. They were hungry, so we had plenty of leftovers for them to eat. They didn’t want to eat before they played.

It is time to call it a day and get ready for bed. Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail are coming tomorrow to spend the day. We will wash laundry if it’s another nice day, and of course we will enjoy little Abigail as we try to keep her from getting into everything. She can really carry on a conversation with us even though we only understand some of the words.

Good night and God’s blessings to all! I will share the recipe for fruit slush with you this week.

Fruit Slush

2 cups sugar
3 cups hot water
6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate
20 ounces crushed pineapple
1 quart canned peaches, chopped and undrained
1–2 (15-ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
4 bananas, sliced (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Stir in orange juice concentrate. Add fruit. Freeze in single-serving containers or in a large pan or bowl. Thaw slightly before serving. Note: fresh peaches can be used instead of canned.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 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 at

Daughter Verena updates all the Eicher family doings: from cleaning to pontooning

Hello! I hope you are all doing well. This is Lovina’s nineteen-year-old daughter, Verena, writing. Mom was so tired so I told her I’ll take her place for this week.

Loretta received this lovely birthday gift for her 17th birthday July 1 from her mother and father.

Loretta, 17, Joseph, 14, Kevin, 11, and Mom cleaned Joseph and Kevin’s bedroom—washed the walls and ceiling, cleaned their windows and closet. I don’t think I’m wrong when I say that their bedroom is probably the worst room in the house to clean. It’s always surprising what all we find in there. All the clothes they are missing show up in the room somewhere. You could say we were all relieved to check that room off our “to do” list. Now it’s just trying to keep it that way. Kevin collects everything. With Loretta cleaning in there I’m sure a lot of his collection ended up in the trash.

My bedroom is done except for a little dusting and my windows need to be cleaned. We are having church services here once in August and twice in September. One turn will be for Mose and Susan. We skipped our turn last year so that’s why we will have it twice this year.

On July 4 our family went on a hay ride. It’s always fun to have the whole family on the wagon. Especially ten-month-old Abigail. She chatted and said “hi” to everyone we passed. She is really getting into everything. She stands up along furniture and loves to take our hands and walk. She discovered our stairs and we see how far she goes up. We stay behind her to make sure she doesn’t fall back. She also discovered the kitchen cabinets.

Brother Benjamin will be eighteen years old on Friday, July 14. Hard to believe how fast time flies. I remember how slow time seemed to be while I was in school. Now time seems to not be slow enough.

Dad and brothers Benjamin and Joseph are in the process of training two-year-old Beauty and two-year-old Midnight. The horses look very much alike. Beauty is a gift to Benjamin from Mom and Dad for his eighteenth birthday. Benjamin is driving her in the buggy and she’s doing very well. Midnight is a different story. She is being difficult to train. She does well hitched double with another trained horse but after they put her alone in the buggy she doesn’t want to go.

My four-month-old Yorkshire Terrier puppy, Ricky, is doing very good. I taught him to sit, shake his paw and lay down. Now I’m teaching him to roll. He’s so playful and so much fun. Abigail gets very excited when Ricky runs to greet her when she comes.

Wednesday, July 5, our whole family rented two pontoons at a campground and spent all day on the lake. We did a lot of fishing. I discovered that I would rather fish for blue gill instead of bass. We also did a lot of swimming. It was so much fun to have Abigail in the water with us. So much laughter and fun makes great memories.

At lunch time we docked our pontoons and sat beside the lake. Dad grilled on a little grill we took along. He could only grill three big pieces of pork steak and a few hot dogs at a time. It sure was tasty as we ate it right after it was off the grill. Dad had a hard time staying ahead but he grilled meat until we all had enough. We also had chips, pickles, watermelon, macaroni salad and cookies. We didn’t have a table so we spread a blanket on the ground to put all the food on.

Sister Susan and I made supper tonight. We made cooked potatoes, BLT and sloppy joe sandwiches; fresh garden goodies always make it easier to get a meal together.

I like quotes so I’m going to share this one: “The difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude.” And a verse from the Bible: “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Cream Cheese Chocolate Cupcakes

1 8-ounce cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips


1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, egg, and salt; mix well. Fold in the chocolate and peanut butter chips, set aside.

For cupcakes, in a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla; mix well.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full with batter. Top each with about 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25–30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 18 cupcakes Note: The filling will partially cover the top of the cupcakes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 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 at

With husband and children on vacation, Lovina serves up extra recipes

We recently butchered our old laying hens and canned around fifty quarts of chicken broth. My husband, Joe, and our children are home on vacation the week of July 4. So this week I’m sharing some extra recipes.

The Eicher family canned chicken broth this week—a staple for use at Amish weddings.

God’s blessings to all!

A reader recently requested a recipe for red velvet cake made with beets. Here is the recipe.


Red Velvet Cake with Beets

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup pureed, cooked beets
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Sift flour and baking powder together. In another large bowl, whisk together sugar, buttermilk, beets, oil, eggs, cocoa powder, food coloring, vanilla, vinegar, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture gradually to the bowl, stirring after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake about 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

A reader also requested the recipe for Cherry Delight.

Cherry Delight

1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups whipped topping
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 28-ounce can cherry pie filling (or 1 quart canned cherry pie filling)

In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and 1 tablespoon sugar. Spread on bottom of a 9 x 9-inch baking pan to form a crust. Beat together whipped topping and cream cheese, adding remaining sugar and vanilla until well blended. Smooth on top of crust. Top with cherry pie filling. Chill at least 3 hours.


Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon to coat the berries
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup rhubarb, chopped
1 cup strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and oil until smooth. Add the egg, yogurt and almond extract to the sugar mixture and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the first four dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Add the chopped rhubarb and strawberries and lightly mix in. Place paper liners in muffin tins. Use a 1/4 cup scoop to fill the liners. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on the top of each muffin. Bake for 12–14 minutes or until golden on top. Makes 18 muffins.


Sunday Brunch Casserole

1/2 pound bacon, sliced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
12 eggs
1 cup milk
1 16-ounce package frozen hash browns, thawed
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dill weed

In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon; crumble and set aside. In the drippings, sauté onion and green pepper until tender; remove with a slotted spoon. Beat eggs and milk in a large bowl. Stir in hash browns, cheese, salt, pepper, dill weed, onion, green pepper and bacon. Transfer to a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35–45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Yields 6–8 servings.


Also, I need to make several corrections to the Blueberry Cobbler recipe that appeared in my column in newspapers and online the week of June 19-23. Several readers alerted me to some problems, and I have made some revisions. Thanks for your feedback!

Blueberry Cobbler

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup milk

2 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar

Combine ingredients in a bowl, mix together and spread batter in a 7 x 11-inch pan or 2-quart baking dish. Mix together blueberries and sugar; pour over batter and bake at 350 degrees for 45–60 minutes or until done. Try with different types of fruit.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 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 at

What happens when Lovina accidentally sleeps in—until 6:30 a.m.

It is already Thursday forenoon, and I still don’t have this column on its way! I made an attempt to write it last night after everyone went to bed, but I kept dozing off. I finally gave up and decided I would write it this morning.

Well, my day didn’t start out as intended. I woke up at 3:00 a.m., packed my husband Joe’s lunch, and went back to bed after he left at 3:40 a.m. I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. Sons Benjamin and Joseph are helping nephew Noah and his construction crew at my sisters’ house today. They will be repairing everything that was burned and damaged when lightning struck their house on April 29 and caused a house fire. Noah told the boys to meet him there at 6:30 a.m.

At 6:30 a.m., son Benjamin woke up, and I was still sound asleep. He woke me up and said he thought we overslept. He jumped on his bike and left while Joseph quickly milked our cow, Bessie, before he left. Bessie had to be in the farthest corner of the pasture field, and she seemed to walk slower to come up to the barn. It probably just seemed that way, since Joseph was in a hurry.

But if there is actually such a thing as picking a good day to oversleep, today was such a day. On other days, a driver for the crew would have had to wait for them.

Joseph was on his way thirty minutes after Benjamin left. I sent their water jugs with Joseph and told the boys we would send them something for lunch since I didn’t get their lunch packed. On warm days like this, they like meat and cheese roll-ups. I use soft tortilla shells, add some ranch dressing and meat and cheese and roll them up. Other than maybe a few protein bars, the boys don’t want much else in their lunch. It gets too warm to eat, and they would rather wait until we have supper.

I decided that since I made the boys late, I would send a morning break to all the workers there. We made breakfast burritos, iced tea and coffee, and the girls took it over to my sisters’ house.

Daughter Verena has been going with sister Susan on house-cleaning jobs the last few days. Sister Verena is laid up and under doctor’s care. Some tests were taken. Hopefully she will soon be on the mend, but for now she has to keep her legs elevated. Sisters Verena and Susan are still staying here with us since their house fire. They will be glad when they are able to get back to their own house after it is finished.

Son-in-law Mose is keeping the garden watered on dry days. Our soil is sandy, so it dries up the moisture really fast. We replanted cucumbers as some plants died off. It seems everything is a little late this year. We are having a nice, steady, drizzling rain right now.

I am writing this column in my bedroom at my desk. If too many people are around, I need to get away from all the noise so I can think better. Then again, I can’t get too relaxed or I’ll start falling asleep again!

I’m glad we did laundry yesterday when it was nice outside. We are starting to do laundry three times a week. The boys need more work pants, so until I get more pants made, I need to do laundry more often.

Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail came for the day yesterday. It looks like Abigail’s first two teeth are finally ready to pop through. My children always had teeth before they were her age. She keeps rolling her tongue where the teeth are coming through. She probably feels the tiny bumps. Her sounds are really coming out, and she just gets sweeter all the time!

The bishop for Lovina’s Amish community made this beautiful little bench for baby Abigail Elizabeth. The bishop’s wife’s name is also Elizabeth.

Try this recipe with your zucchini this year. God’s blessings to all!

Butterscotch Zucchini Bars
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups finely shredded zucchini, packed

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butterscotch chips

Beat together eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla. Beat in soda, salt and baking powder. Mix in flour until well mixed. Stir in zucchini. Pour into greased 15x10x1-inch pan. Mix together brown sugar and butterscotch chips and sprinkle over batter in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until it tests done with a toothpick.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 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 at