Category Archives: Desserts

Lovina’s daughter shares the news and a recipe for whoopie pies

Hi! This is Verena, 19, filling in for Mom this week. I had the urge to do some writing, and I thought Mom would be happy to have a break.

This last week has been absolutely beautiful spring weather. It’s hard to believe it’s only February. I will be happy to see summer come.

I started working at a daycare several days a week. I love the job—probably because I have always loved being around children. Right now we only have children from age one to five at the daycare. We might have a few babies to take care of later this year. Sometimes I also babysit for a family with three little boys, ages one, three, and five. They keep me busy but are fun to take care of. I enjoy being around children and watching over the dear little ones. The innocent mind of a young child makes me want to be a child again, with no worries in life.

Tomorrow my sister Elizabeth and my little niece Abigail will come here. I will go with Elizabeth to a Tupperware party. I’m so excited to get to see Abigail again. She is my whole world! I really enjoy being an aunt. Abigail is like therapy to me, on days when life doesn’t look too bright. She sure knows how to brighten up my days. I dream about the days when she will be old enough for me to take her on walks, pony rides, etc.

The exciting news of this week: the Teacup Yorkie puppy I have been waiting for was born yesterday. I had wanted a female but the mother only had two males. I decided I will take a male, which I’m sure will be just as cute and fun. I will name him Ricky. Thank you to the readers who have contributed money to help make it possible for me to get this puppy. I love dogs so much, and having my own little puppy in the house to take care of will be awesome! Now I have to wait for six to eight weeks until I can have the puppy. The lady who has the puppies said I can come visit whenever I want to.

The Eichers are happy to have the use of a cooker to help in the boiling-off process for the maple syrup.

Brother-in-law Mose has been keeping very busy with cooking maple syrup. The sap has really been running from our maple trees. The sugar content is low this year, and it’s averaging about 60 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. There is a lot of work involved in cooking maple syrup. We really love the maple syrup on our pancakes, scrambled eggs and French toast. While it is still warm, it is also really good on a dip of vanilla ice cream.

On Saturday we butchered the three hogs we raised. We had an early start, so most of the butchering was done by 2:00 p.m. We still had to clean up everything and Dad sliced all the pork chops, ham and bacon yet in the afternoon. One of the hogs was for Mose and Susan. My parents gave it to them to help with starting out on their own.

Those here to help with the butchering were Aunts Verena and Susan, Uncle Jacob and Aunt Emma and sons Jacob, Benjamin, and Steven, their daughter Emma and her friend Menno, my sister Elizabeth, Timothy, and Abigail, sister Loretta’s friend Dustin, and then Mose and Susan and our family.

We made the pon hoss out in the big black kettle and rendered the lard as well. Everyone was here for breakfast and lunch. Our lunch meal was mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, fried tenderloin, corn, lettuce salad, sliced cheese, dirt pudding, finger jello, oatmeal whoopie pies, brownie delight, and chocolate brownies.

I want to thank everyone for their prayers, cards, etc., after my hospital stay. It was all greatly appreciated. I am doing better than expected. God is great!

I saw the rough copy of Mom’s new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, which comes out in April. I love it! I enjoyed helping to test the recipes and learning a thing or two from it.

It turned out really well, which makes all the hard work worth it!

Oatmeal Whoopie Pies

Cookies

4 cups brown sugar
1 cup lard or shortening
4 eggs
4 teaspoons baking soda
6 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups flour
4 cups oatmeal (quick oats)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder

Cream the sugar and lard or shortening. Add eggs. In a separate bowl, dissolve baking soda in boiling water; stir into sugar mixture. Add the buttermilk and salt. Mix flour, oatmeal, cinnamon and baking powder. Add to batter. Bake at 400 degrees until done, about 10–13 minutes. Cool completely. These cookies should turn out soft and chewy.

Filling

2 egg whites
4 cups powdered sugar, divided
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup shortening, softened
4 tablespoons milk

Beat egg whites until stiff. Add 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla. In another bowl, cream the shortening, adding a little of egg white mixture at a time. Add milk and remaining powdered sugar alternately. Beat well. Spread filling between two cookies.

Note: This a fairly large recipe and the amount it makes varies depending on how large you make each cookie; you use two cookies to make one whoopie pie, so that’s why the quantities are big. You can easily halve this recipe if you want to try it.

 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, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Getting to work in snow and ice when you’re Amish—and more

We are having a thunderstorm this morning: not at all normal weather for January. The temperature is hanging around 34 degrees so some places could be icy.

Daughter Susan has to be at work by 9:00 a.m. She was going to drive the buggy but called a driver instead (“drivers” are non-Amish people that we hire to take us to and from work or town if we can’t go with a buggy and horse) to take her this morning. Son Benjamin isn’t working today so he’ll go pick her up with the horse and buggy this afternoon when she is finished with her work.

Benjamin plans to haul manure out to the fields today since the temperature has warmed up this week. He also worked at that yesterday. Our horse, Mighty, pulls the one-horse manure spreader. Our old horse, Diamond, was always the one we used to haul manure. We miss having him around after having him over twenty years.

Our new chickens have been laying an abundance of eggs. We still haven’t butchered the old hens, so they are also providing eggs.

The table is ready for a big gathering for “Old Christmas.”

Friday “Old Christmas” (January 6) that I wrote about last week ended up being a very enjoyable day. My sister Emma, Jacob and family, my sister Verena and Susan, and our family were all here. Nephew Benjamin had my name in the gift exchange. I received some dish towels and a mop bucket on wheels with a spin mop. This makes mopping so much easier for the girls. No bending over to squeeze out the mop and the bucket has a dolly with wheels to push the bucket around.

Lots of nice gifts were exchanged. Son Kevin received a game called Quick Cups which some of us played. I never heard of this game but it was fun. Each person had five different color cups and everyone took turns flipping a card. Whoever stacked the cups in order of the colors on the cards first, rang the bell and could keep that card. The person with the most cards at the end of the game won. We also enjoyed playing Mad Gab. That is always a loud, exciting game and lots of fun to try and figure out what the card says. After a haystack breakfast for brunch we enjoyed snacks in the afternoon. Veggies and dip, fruits, and venison summer sausage and venison snack sticks were among the snacks. We like to add some healthy snacks instead of so many sweets.

Saturday Joe and I and some of our children spent the day helping daughter Elizabeth and Timothy. Joe and Joseph helped Timothy lay a new hardwood floor in their living room while Verena, Lovina and I washed off the walls and ceiling and cleaned furniture from the living room. Church services will be there in two and one-half weeks so lots of cleaning is being done.

Lovina, Joe and family enjoyed putting together the biggest puzzle they’ve ever attempted.

We finished the 2000 piece puzzle we got for Christmas on Sunday afternoon. It took us two weeks to complete it. This is the biggest puzzle we have ever done. We want to glue it and get a frame made for it. Challenging but fun!

Yesterday friends and family gathered for a late Tupperware wedding shower for daughter Susan at daughter Elizabeth’s house. Lunch was served afterwards. Susan received lots of nice storage containers to add to her kitchen. She appreciated everyone that contributed and also for Elizabeth opening up her home to everyone. The recipe this week comes from the woman who demonstrated the Tupperware products at the shower, which we enjoyed sampling at the end.

God’s blessings to all!

Easy Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

1/2 cup nuts, chopped
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 (20-oz.) can pineapple slices, undrained
5 maraschino cherries, drained and halved
1 (18.25-oz.) package yellow cake mix
water
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter and brown sugar. Mix well, then spread evenly over bottom of a 9×13-inch pan. Drain pineapple, reserving the juice; set aside. Arrange pineapple slices over sugar mixture, then put a cherry half in center of each pineapple slice; sprinkle with nuts. Add enough water to pineapple juice to make 1 1/3 cups liquid. In a bowl, combine cake mix, liquid, eggs and oil; whisk until blended and smooth. Pour over fruit mixture. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes. Carefully loosen edges of cake and invert onto 18×12-inch grooved cutting board or other large flat plate and cool slightly. Decorate with whipped topping using a frosting bag and tip, or just spoon dollops of whipped topping around the cake. Slice and serve.

 

 

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, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Eichers usher in new year by doing puzzles, coloring, and celebrating Old Christmas

A brand new year—2017—awaits us. What will it hold for everyone? Although it doesn’t have to be a new year to make resolutions, it’s a good time to start. It amazes me how fast one year after another goes!

When the children were younger, winters seemed to last forever. Now it seems like I don’t have enough cold months to stay sewing at the sewing machine. It’s so hard to keep up with sewing pants for the three boys. Kevin, 11, seems to grow taller every month. Joseph, 14, is taller than Benjamin, 17, so there are no more “hand-me-downs.” Benjamin works in construction, so his pants get lots of wear and tear.

We had a very nice Christmas together with our children. Everyone gathered here on Christmas Eve and stayed for the night. It was baby Abigail’s first time sleeping at our house. So sweet to see her wake up in the morning and then give such a bright smile!

We all enjoyed breakfast together and then washed the dishes. Then we gave gifts to each other and enjoyed watching each other open them. How precious these family times are. They mean even more to me now, with two of our children no longer living in our house.

We played games, and some enjoyed coloring. A person can never get too old to color! We also started a 2,000-piece puzzle that daughter Susan and Mose gave for a gift to my husband Joe and I. We always put together 1,000-piece puzzles, so Susan wanted to challenge us even more. We now have the puzzle more than halfway done. It is a picture of a lighted cabin and two deer standing by the woods. We would like to glue this one and frame it.

I think it’s so relaxing to sit and work on the puzzle after supper on these cold winter nights. It gives a person a chance to unwind. I remember well how often, years ago, our puzzles would get pushed off the table or messed up by our little children. I imagine it won’t be long until we will have grandchildren who are old enough to enjoy trying to mess them up. Life goes on!

One day while Joe and the children were on Christmas break, we had company stop by. It was Ruth Coblentz and Rose Chapman. They are both cousins to Joe’s dad. Ruth’s husband, Dave, is deceased but was a cousin to my father. Brother Albert had sent us some pon hoss, a fried dish from leftover hog meat, from when they butchered hogs. We were having that for a late breakfast, so Ruth and Rose got to taste it too. The children love coffee soup and eggs with pon hoss. We had a nice visit with the cousins.

The Eicher family enjoyed opening gifts together on Christmas Day and then again on “Old Christmas,“ celebrated on January 6.

Friday, January 6, is what we call “Old Christmas,” and the Amish in this area honor that day. We will have my sisters here in Michigan for a gift exchange and to spend the day together. We are a total of 25 now. We already have the tables set up to seat 24 people. Abigail doesn’t need a place setting yet. Our children are always excited to set the table for all of us.

These pecan pie bars are a great snack and a family favorite. Happy 2017 and God bless!

Pecan Pie Bars

1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 cup flour
3 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup corn syrup
dash salt
3/4 cup pecans, chopped

In a small bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar. Gradually add flour, mixing until blended. Pat into ungreased 9-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20–22 minutes or until golden.

In another small bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt until smooth. Pour over crust; sprinkle with pecans. Bake 40–45 minutes longer or until set. Cool. Cut into bars.

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, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Eichers exchange names for Christmas

Today wraps up the month of November! While the children were waiting for the bus this morning, they said that Christmas is only 25 days away. I am having a harder time getting into the season this year. Even though we enjoy getting together with family and sharing gifts, let us always remember the true meaning of Christmas: the day Jesus our Savior was born.

Tonight a nativity scene is being played out at our local youth center. Tickets were sold out before I had the chance to get any. My sisters Verena and Susan are helping out, so I have some details from them. Everyone in the cast will dress as they did in those days, and live animals will be used to play out the scenes of how Jesus was born. A meal will be served afterward. The money raised will be used to help with the costs of running the youth center.

We spent Thanksgiving Day with Jacob, Emma and family at their house. With both our families and sisters Verena and Susan, we make a total of 25. Mose and Susan had Thanksgiving this year with his parents. We exchanged names after lunch for a Christmas gift exchange, which will be held here at our house. We haven’t decided when to have it yet.

A total of 25 enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner together at this long table.
A total of 25 enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner together at this long table.

Emma prepared two turkeys and all the trimmings. With all the food everyone had brought, the table was more than filled. Everyone took leftovers home for the next day. Granddaughter Abigail had the most attention all day. She is so precious to all of us! Her black hair and blue eyes and the dimples in her cheeks are adorable. Of course, all grandmothers love their grandchildren. For me it’s still a new feeling. God has been more than good to us, and we need to thank him all the time for our blessings, not just on holidays such as Thanksgiving.

Son Benjamin went hunting with son-in-law Timothy and was happy to shoot a deer. He ground the meat on Monday when he didn’t have work. It’s nice to have more meat in the freezer.

Recently Joe’s sister Esther and David and baby David Tyrell (age 3 1/2 months) had supper here. It was our first time to meet baby David. Our marrieds were here for supper as well. Needless to say Abigail and David were the center of attention. Our evening was spent singing together, which is always enjoyable.

Sunday was our week off of church, and we spent it at Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. We had a brunch, with this delicious menu: gold rush breakfast casserole (I need to ask her for the recipe), pancakes, baked French toast, milk, grape juice, orange juice, coffee and V-8 juice. We also had cherry pie and Swiss roll bars. After the dishes were washed, we played games and visited. The men and boys went for a walk through the woods while we stayed with Abigail, spoiling her.

Daughters Elizabeth (and Abigail) and Susan and I went grocery shopping after Abigail’s doctor appointment on Tuesday. We met up with Ruth Coblentz. It sounds like she has many lonely days since her husband Dave passed away in August. Dave was a cousin to my father. To all the Coblentz relatives who read this column: after talking with Ruth, I found out I made a mistake in my August column. Dad’s cousins Dave and Leroy were not brothers but cousins to each other. With my parents no longer around to answer my questions, I misunderstood how the relationship was. It was nice being able to talk with Ruth again even though the visit was short.

My thoughts and prayers go to the families affected by the Tennessee fires. I can’t imagine what they are going through. Prayers also for the families of the young people who died in the recent car-buggy accidents. God be with everyone and help ease their pain!

For this week’s recipe, I am sharing one of the recipes from my upcoming cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, which will be out next spring. This fudge is different because of the soda crackers added to it. My mother always made fudge around Christmastime, and then we wouldn’t have it again for a year. Give this one a try over the holidays. God bless!

Peanut Butter Cracker Fudge
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 box soda crackers, crushed

In a saucepan, bring sugar, butter, and milk to a boil and boil for one minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add peanut butter, vanilla and crushed crackers. Spread into greased 8×8-inch baking pan and allow to cool. Cut into one-inch squares.

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, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Lovina appreciates family and community help after surgery

We have entered the month of November this week. Son-in-law Mose and sons Benjamin and Joseph have been working nights to get all the leaves raked and burnt. We have lots of trees so this can seem like a never-ending job.

It seems like a while since I penned this column although it’s only been two weeks. Last week daughter Elizabeth offered to write as I was unable to.

I spent several days in the hospital having major surgery. I lost several units of blood so I still feel weak from that. The next six weeks of healing time will probably go slowly for me. I went to the doctor this week to have half of the staples removed. I was having pain in my leg and the doctor said it’s a blood clot. Now I need to take care of that so I have been keeping my recliner occupied a lot.

I cannot express enough thanks to all who have helped out. The day of the surgery I had my husband Joe, daughters Elizabeth (and baby Abigail), Susan, Verena, and Loretta, son Benjamin, sisters Verena, Emma, and Susan, and my good friend Ruth all at the hospital. What a support I felt. I went into surgery at 11:00 a.m. It was after 6:00 p.m. when I finally woke up after surgery. This was a long day of waiting for all of them. I know they were all concerned about me when it took longer than expected. May God bless them all for caring! This is called love! I am thankful that all is going as good as can be expected.

I am also so blessed to have such a caring church family and neighbors. So many meals have been brought in for us. This makes it so much easier on the girls. I feel so blessed and hope to return the kindness someday.

Yesterday Elizabeth and Abigail spent the day here. Oh what a fun pastime Abigail was to me! She looks at me and coos and smiles. It’s so precious to just “talk” to her and watch her angelic face light up.

birthdaypartyeditedverenabirthdaypartyeditedSister Susan accomplished her goal to surprise sister Verena on October 22 at the Community Youth Center for a fiftieth birthday surprise. birthdaypartyeditedroomVerena’s birthday was on August 22. Friends and relatives gathered there and Susan had lots of food for everyone to enjoy while they visited. All eight of us siblings were there. It was nice to see everyone again.

The blocks and mortar are here for the chimney that will be put up in our pole barn. Hopefully it will get done this week yet. We have had really nice warm weather lately which is a good thing with Mose and Susan only having a heater to heat their living quarters. After the chimney is up they will put in a coal stove and burn hard coal.

We have our coal stove going in the basement but some days we just have to open windows when it’s warm outside and bring some of that warm air in upstairs. It gets too chilly when we don’t have any heat in the house. It’s unusually warm for November it seems. Tuesday was such a nice and sunny day. The girls washed loads of laundry and it all dried and was folded and put away by evening. Days like that will be few with cold weather just around the corner. Try this recipe during apple harvest.

God bless you all!

Danish Apple Cheesecake

Crust:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Topping:
4 cups sliced apples
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon flour

Combine crust ingredients and press into bottom and sides of spring form pan. Mix softened cream cheese, egg, sugar, cream of tartar and spread over crust. Mix topping ingredients and pour over all. Bake at 350 degrees 40 to 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

birthdaypartyedited birthdaypartyeditedroom birthdaypartyeditedverena

An Eicher family friend lifts the veil on Susan’s wedding preparations

Editor’s Note: Lovina Eicher is busy with preparations for her daughter Susan’s wedding. Guest columnist Ruth Boss, an “English” friend of Lovina’s, provides a ringside seat for the big August 5 wedding.

Wedding preparations have been in full swing all week for Susan and Mose’s wedding this Friday. Last Saturday the wedding wagons were delivered: a cook wagon, a refrigerated wagon, and a supply wagon holding all the serving dishes, plates and silverware.

Family members and friends pitched in to get the tables set up in the shed, or pole barn. Susan has chosen green for her wedding color, so cooks, table waiters, attendants, coffee servers, family members and anyone else helping will be wearing hunter green, sage, mint, or grass green shades.

Friends, neighbors and family came by buggy to help during the days before Susan and Mose's wedding
Friends, neighbors and family came by buggy to help during the days before Susan and Mose’s wedding.

The cooks began arriving very early Wednesday morning. By 7 a.m. the cook wagon was filled with women making cinnamon pudding. It is baked and will be cut into small pieces and layered with whipped topping and topped with nuts. It can be served right out of the pan as a cake. Other cooks started making the angel food cakes, all made from scratch. Some of the egg whites that Lovina had frozen ahead of time for the wedding weren’t stiffening up, so someone was sent to Susan’s (who is a baker) house down the street to get the jar she had in her refrigerator.

Next came baking pecan pies. By now the wedding wagon was very warm, with seven ovens and cooktops going! Other pie shells were baked to be used to make fresh strawberry pie, which is Susan’s favorite. Other cooks cleaned, chopped and bagged celery, carrots and onions to be used in the dressing. Some cooked, deboned and shredded chicken to be used in the stuffing and noodles.

Women helping Lovina prepare for the wedding made many classic, lattice-topped cherry pies.
Women helping Lovina prepare for the wedding made many classic, lattice-topped cherry pies.

At mid-morning, all the women stopped for a coffee break with cookies and bars that the women had brought to share. Family members and friends who don’t live close by used this opportunity to catch up on news from back home. Neighbors chatted about their families, new recipes and local news. Some of the cooks are young mothers and brought their young children with them. The older children seem to enjoy watching over the babies as their moms work.

Next, Lovina’s sisters began the time-consuming job of making “Nothings,” which are a traditional wedding treat from their home town of Berne, Indiana. Nothings are made from special dough that is rolled thin and then deep-fat fried. This is very hard work, and it took the sisters a few hours to get all the dough rolled. Once the Nothings are puffy, they are taken out of the oil, drained and topped with sugar. The stacks of Nothings were covered and will be passed at the meal as a special treat.

BrocAndCalifSaladAt noon, the helpers enjoyed a delicious meal of casseroles, salads and desserts, all provided by the cooks. All together there are 52 cooks helping with the wedding. They will make homemade bread, chop broccoli and cauliflower for salad, clean strawberries and finish up whatever else needs to be done. All the cooks will assemble the morning of the wedding to peel and cook potatoes, assemble hot foods to cook, and prepare salads. They will ready dishes to begin the first serving at about noon, after the marriage ceremony, which will start about 9 a.m.

This is a big undertaking! What strikes me as I observe the work being done is that there is no arguing or complaining from anyone. Everyone is excited and willing to work. There is laughter and horseplay. The Amish focus a lot on family togetherness and don’t have many of the distractions that we English people have. Lovina’s family is close-knit and loving. They have hard times and disappointments like everyone else, but their faith in God and close family sustains them through those times.

The table, or "eck corner," for the wedding party is set days in advance, as the family finishes final details.
The table, or “eck corner,” for the wedding party is set days in advance, as the family finishes final details.

This week, as the Eicher family gets ready for Mose and Susan’s big day, will be filled with hard work, amazing food, good conversation and lots of laughter.

Here is a recipe for a small quantity of Amish Wedding Nothings.

NothingsOnTables2Amish Wedding Nothings

1 egg, well beaten
3/4 cup cream (3 large “cook spoons” of heavy cream)
salt
2 cups flour
½ cup powdered sugar (for topping only)
2-3 cups shortening (for frying, may need to adjust for size of pan or kettle)

Beat egg and stir in cream, salt, and enough flour to make elastic dough. Make 6 or 7 balls out of the dough. Roll out each ball of dough very flat and thin, about 1/16-inch think. Cut about six 3-inch slits in the middle of the circles.

Heat shortening in a large kettle over high heat (or use an electric frying pan with a temperature control). When the shortening is 365 degrees, test a piece of dough to see if it sizzles; put a rolled-out Nothing into the kettle or fry pan. Fry one at a time, unless you have a huge kettle. Turn each piece over with forks or large spatula once it turns golden on the bottom. Remove from oil and place on plate covered with paper towels to drain. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top while warm. Stack the Nothings on top of each other to serve. Makes 6-7.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Parasailing, fireworks, waterfalls, and reunion highlight Eicher vacation

Wednesday evening—everyone is taking it easy tonight. Mose, daughters Susan and Verena, and son Benjamin went fishing . We put in a long day so it was relaxing to them to go take the boat on the lake. The rest of us are outside around a campfire. It is so peaceful out here. We had a nice day to do laundry. It was extra big since we just arrived home from our trip last night around 7:30 p.m.

We left at 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning with our whole family. We headed north to Hersey, Michigan, to Joe’s sister Christine and husband Jake for a family gathering. Seven out of twelve siblings were there. People came from Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. We were served a delicious dinner. On the menu were mashed potatoes and gravy, buttered peas, green beans, barbequed chicken, several different varieties of cheese, pie (cherry, pecan, and apple), and ice cream. Everyone brought snacks for the afternoon. A lot of the families went Friday already. Before we prayed to eat, we sang four songs together. Tables were set up in the basement so there was enough room to sit. I don’t have an accurate count but I think there were around 70 people that could attend.

Some played volleyball and other games, while others just visited. TahquamenonFallsMichWe left around 3:15 p.m. to drive another three plus hours. We stayed at a motel across the Mackinac Bridge. We drove on up to see the Soo Locks and then the Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls. What a sight to see! All such wonders of God’s artistic touch. How relaxing it was to hear the water running. We rented row boats so we could get closer to the falls and also walked around some in the water.

We also stopped at Deer Ranch, Mystery Spot, and Garlyn Zoo. We watched the fireworks from the front lawn of the motel on the fourth of July. And before we started for home we went parasailing. But I just stayed on the boat and watched the others. The rope for the parachute goes out 300 feet. It was an exciting adventure for the ones that went up. My husband Joe and son Kevin went up together. Kevin looked a little scared at first, but still enjoyed the ride.

It is always nice to take a break from work and get away for a while. I was ready to get back home. There’s no place like home even though coming home meant resuming work. Joe, Susan, and Benjamin are all off work this week for the July 4 vacation week. Susan’s wedding is just four weeks away so we need to get everything done that we can.

Daughter Elizabeth has been a great help to me with getting the sewing done for the wedding. We have to cut out and sew pants for Kevin yet, and I need to sew my own dress. It’s cut out and my goal is to get that sewn next week, but I’m behind on my goals a lot lately.

Daughter Loretta is sixteen now and can join the youth group. It Loretta16thBirthdayseems empty when they leave for the community building to gather with the youth on Saturday evenings. The three youngest children are the only ones home with Joe and I.

Mose, Susan, Verena, and Benjamin are back from fishing now. They didn’t catch any but had a relaxing time on the lake.

Corn detasseling has started in this area. Son Joseph isn’t old enough to sign up for it yet. They have to be fourteen years old to go now. It used to be thirteen when Elizabeth, Susan, and Verena went. The humidity is really high so I can imagine the hot days they will have walking those corn fields.

Jacob (sister Emma’s husband) and sons did our chores for us while we were gone. We really appreciated that. I know it had to take extra time to come over twice a day to milk our cow Bessie and do the other chores. A big thank-you to them! Hopefully we can return the favor sometime.

God’s blessings to all!

Thunder Cake

1 cup shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup tomato purée
3 eggs, separated
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons soda
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon salt

Cream together (adding one at a time) shortening, sugar, vanilla, water, and tomato purée. Blend in egg yolks. Beat egg whites until stiff then fold into shortening mixture. Into a medium bowl sift flour, soda, cocoa, and salt then mix into creamy mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes in 2 greased and floured 8 1/2-inch round pans.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org. 

 

 

Summer menus major in strawberries and family memories

We are halfway through June! It is a lovely but warm evening. Everyone has retired for the night except daughter Verena, who is reading on the porch swing, and me. I am also on the porch, writing at the patio table. I’m enjoying the peacefulness. God has created such a wonderful world, and people do not appreciate it enough. How often we get so caught up in the busyness of life that we don’t even notice the beauty of it all. I’m watching two hummingbirds that are buzzing by the feeder. They are such tiny birds but can make quite a lot of racket!

Today was a warm day to travel to town with the buggy and our horse, Mighty. Daughter Lovina, 12, and son Kevin, 10, had appointments at the eye doctor. Lovina needs glasses now, but Kevin’s eyes test very well yet. I was able to pick up my new glasses as well.

My husband, Joe, made supper on the charcoal grill tonight to keep the heat out of the house. I appreciate that, especially after coming home from town late in the day. Verena and Loretta had cleaned out some more cabinets while I was gone.

Yesterday, June 14, was daughter Elizabeth’s twenty-second birthday. How can it be that our firstborn is already that old? Lovina has been spending Monday night and Tuesday with Elizabeth. Timothy and Elizabeth brought her home last night, and I made one of Elizabeth’s favorite meals, since it was her birthday. On the menu: mashed potatoes, beef gravy, macaroni and cheese, corn, lettuce salad, sliced cheese and strawberries and ice cream.

Elizabeth22birthdaycakeEdited

Our whole family went to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house on Saturday in honor of Elizabeth’s birthday. We all spent the night there and stayed until Sunday evening. It was an in-between Sunday, and so we didn’t have a church service that morning. We had such a good time as a family—making memories.

PepperPoppers Grilling Timothy had the grill going to make supper outside. We all gathered around the fire after supper and made s’mores. We took a cake for Elizabeth, but I forgot the candles at home. I think Elizabeth was glad I did! She thinks she’s too old for that.

On Sunday morning, Elizabeth put in the oven a big breakfast casserole, which she had prepared the day before. She also had biscuits to go with it. Also on the menu were sliced cheese, tomatoes, hot peppers, watermelon, cake, strawberries, rolls, brownies, grape and orange and rhubarb juices, coffee and chocolate milk.

After dishes were washed, we all went for a wagon ride in Timothy and Elizabeth’s big two-seated wagon. We put some chairs on to make room for all of us. We went to the lake and enjoyed snacks under the shelter there. Some went swimming in the lake. They have a nice beach area. Then we headed back to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house. The sun was out, but there was a good breeze blowing so the ride was pleasant.

We all enjoyed pizza before we headed home. The day went so fast, and I enjoyed it so much. How different to have someone else doing most of the cooking! Elizabeth does a good job. She has been blessed with a good husband. Seeing that our daughter is happily married means so much to us as parents.

Twenty-one years ago today, sister Emma and Jacob were united in marriage. Happy anniversary to them!

StrawberriesForJam

We cleaned 32 quarts of strawberries that we will make into jam tomorrow. Some of it will be for Mose and Susan’s wedding in August, and the rest will be for the freezer so we have some for another year. Strawberry jam is our favorite jam.

God’s blessing to all!

 

 

Frozen Strawberry Dessert

1 cup flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup cold butter
½ cup pecans, chopped
2 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

Combine flour and brown sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Press into an ungreased 9 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 14–16 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool. Crumble the baked pecan mixture. Set aside ½ cup for topping. Sprinkle remaining mixture back into the baking pan. In large bowl, beat strawberries, sugar and lemon juice until blended. Fold in whipped cream. Spread evenly onto dish. Sprinkle with reserved pecan mixture. Cover. Freeze for eight hours or overnight.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

On Lovina’s birthday, another summer wedding gets “published”!

It is 6:42 a.m. and our three youngest just left with the bus for another day at school. They are counting the days left of this term. Eight and one-half days left! I still have a hard time getting used to the bus coming this early. All the years our children went to school the bus was never here until 7:00 a.m. or a little after. Changes are hard to get used to in our lives!

Talking about changes in life. Our family will have another change and I’ll probably have the hardest time with it. On the other hand, I’m excited and happy for daughter Susan, 20, and her special friend, Mose. They were published in church this past Sunday to announce their wedding date. They picked Friday, August 5, for their special day. Mose and Susan have been dating for four years and we have no doubt in our minds that he will be a good husband to our daughter. He seems like my own son and I hope that never changes. It is so much easier on a couple if both families accept the life partner of their family member. May God bless their marriage and grant them many happy, healthy years together!

With the wedding coming up I see busy months ahead! We will be more organized than with Elizabeth and Timothy’s wedding. We were in the process of putting up a pole barn last year which delayed all the other work.

Susan’s dress for the wedding is mostly finished. The rest of ours are cut out but still waiting to be sewn. That is what I plan to do the next few days.

I feel better to sew now since our whole garden was planted Saturday. We are enjoying radishes and green onions from the early things we planted. Mose and his brother Freeman assisted us with our work on Saturday. The pole barn was organized and cleaned up. When it gets closer to the wedding we want to wash down the walls and ceilings on both sides of the pole barn. We will set tables in both sides and open the garage door that’s in the middle. Mose and daughters Susan and Verena planted flowers in my flower beds. We put out 68 tomato plants. With everyone’s help the garden was quickly filled. Now it’s up to our good Lord to provide sunshine and rain to make things grow. Some years we have a bountiful crop and others not much but we want to take what “He” sends.

Lovina45BirthdayEdited

On Sunday, May 22, I also turned another year older. We had communion services at sister Emma and Jacob’s house. After the services were over everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to me and sister Emma brought out a cake with candles. Luckily she only had a four and five for candles. I don’t know if I could have handled blowing out 45 candles. Emma sent the cake home with me. We had it for supper with our children. The children went after pizza in town and they grilled hot wings so I wouldn’t have to cook on my birthday. We had a nice evening together!

On Thursday we traveled to Berne, Ind., to brother Amos and Nancy’s house for the wedding of their daughter Lovina and Benjamin. They had a very nice day! On the menu were fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, lettuce salad, sliced cheese, homemade bread, butter and rhubarb jam. Also pies (rhubarb, blueberry, cherry, and pecan), tapioca pudding, angel food cake, fruit cocktail dessert, and of course “nothings” were on all the tables. Sausage was added in the evening. It was nice to see a lot of family again.

On a sadder note; Friday, May 20, brought memories of the passing of my dear father, Ben Coblentz, 16 years ago. How nice it would be to have my parents at all their grandchildren’s weddings. God’s ways are not our ways so we need to accept what He sends to us.

I must get busy. I love sewing but it’s different if you have a deadline to get things done. It kind of takes away the enjoyment, but we will take one day at a time. God’s blessings!

Fruit Cocktail Dessert

1 15-ounce can fruit cocktail
1 3-ounce package apricot Jell-O
1 3-ounce package vanilla pudding (not instant)

Drain juice from fruit cocktail; add water to the juice to make 3 cups of liquid. Put in a saucepan. Add pudding and bring to a boil. Add Jell-O and cool; add fruit cocktail.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Amish noodle making, morel mushrooms, and fresh fish!

We are having a lot of rainy days this past week. The garden hasn’t dried up enough for us to get in it, so we still haven’t been able to plant more vegetables. I am really eager to get more garden planted and by next week it will be time to put out tomato and green pepper plants, etc. I like to wait until the middle of May to put these plants in the garden in case it gets too cold—frost can hurt the tender leaves and plants.

Joe and the children are all hoping for the rain to quit for tonight. They have plans to go fishing with the boat on a nearby lake. Son-in-law Timothy is planning to bring his boat so some can ride with him. I will stay home and enjoy the peace and quiet. Daughter Elizabeth might stay here with me and we’ll enjoy visiting. I want to make supper early before they go. Fish and French fries will be on the menu. Friday evening my husband Joe, son Joseph, and Timothy took the boat out on the lake. They came back with over fifty fish; mostly bluegills. When I prepare the fish I dip them in a batter and deep fry them. Some like to eat them as a sandwich with bread and mayonnaise.MorelMushrooms

This week we also had fresh mushrooms and I also dip and fry those. At the local consignment auction on Saturday they sold some mushrooms that a local Amish lady found. It was to help benefit nephew Emanul and Mary Kay with their hospital bills. Joe bid for the mushrooms as he loves fresh morel mushrooms (that grow in wooded areas but are hard to find) and he also was able to do a good deed this way. Needless to say, the mushrooms did not last long.

At the auction we bought a three-year-old horse. So far we are really happy with him. He has one thing he doesn’t like and that is water puddles along the road. He doesn’t do more than shy away from the water, but for three years old, I think he is doing really well. We had the whole family choosing names and settled on Rex. Rex is very well behaved and friendly with the other horses out in the pasture.

NoodlesBeforeCuttingDrying2016 NoodlesDrying2_2016Yesterday, sisters Verena and Susan, daughters Elizabeth, Verena and Loretta, and I assisted sister Emma with her work preparing for church at her house. We washed laundry and made six batches of noodles with around twelve and one-half dozen eggs (that’s 150 eggs!). Emma needs the noodles for Sunday lunch. We will have Rule Church and it usually lasts until 2:00 p.m. A lunch will be served and a few dozen people will go to eat at one time so the services continue on. On the menu will be chicken noodle soup. I took my noodle maker (to cut the noodles) along and we also used Emma’s. It made the project go faster. Emma now has five six- and eight-foot tables of noodles drying. After they are dried for a week, they can be stored in air tight containers. I am sure it will take quite a few pounds on Sunday.

Noodles1_2016

Tomorrow is Ascension Day [May 5] and the Amish in our community honor this day with fasting and praying until lunch time. Jacob and Emma and family, sisters Verena and Susan, Timothy and Elizabeth, and the girl’s friends will all come for lunch. Joe plans to grill venison steaks on the charcoal grill. He likes to use the charcoal grill and leaves the gas grill for me. He says the flavor of the meat is better and I think so too, but I go for what is easier. I will prepare the rest of the meal in the house. Everyone is bringing a dish so it will be simple.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you readers who are mothers! A mother thinks about her children day and night. Even when they are not with her. We love them in a way they will never understand until they become a mother.

I will share the recipe for M&M chocolate chip bars daughter Verena made. If you need a lot of bars these will be good to make and very easy.

God bless!

MandMandChipBars

M&M Chocolate Chip Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon water
5 eggs
2 teaspoons soda
2 teaspoons salt
5 cups flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup M&M’s

Cream together butter and sugars. Add vanilla, water, and eggs. Beat well. Stir together flour, soda, and salt. Add to batter and mix well. Stir in chips and M&M’s. (Variation: just use all chocolate chips.) Put on 1 or 2 large cookie sheets (with edges) and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.