Category Archives: Desserts

Lovina and Family Celebrate a Late Christmas

On January 14 we had our family home for a late Christmas. With the preparations of daughter Susan and Ervin’s wedding, we decided to wait until later. We told everyone to be here around 9:30 a.m. for a brunch.

Our brunch was simple but still good. We had a breakfast casserole made from eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, smoked sausage, sour cream, Velveeta, and onions—all mixed together and baked. Then we also had sausage gravy and biscuits, cinnamon rolls, cookies, milk, chocolate milk, orange juice, apple juice, coffee, and V-8 juice.

Our family total is 25, so the table was set for all of us. We added two six-foot tables to our 10-foot dining room table. Andrea, 11 months, was in a booster seat, and Denzel, six months, was in the highchair.

As the children arrived, they were attracted to the table with their gifts. They would look for the one with their name on it, then hold it and turn it over and try to guess what it was. Seeing their faces light up was so precious. They were almost too excited to eat breakfast.

After dishes were washed, which was very few since we had paper plates and cups, etc., we passed out their gifts. We then played some games where they could win extra small gifts.

Around 1 p.m. we set out the snacks, which was a good variety including fruit and dip, veggies and dip, cheese ball and crackers, popcorn, chips, cheese dip, peanuts, candy, etc. We played games such as Marble Chase and Yahtzee as we snacked. The day went much too fast.

Thanks to some of you readers who sent money so I could do something for our family. I ordered pizza from town to be delivered so everyone was able to eat before heading home. It was one way to treat everyone.

It was another Christmas down in history for the Eicher family. We truly have so much to be thankful for with all the blessings God sends. We have a few sons-in-law who are off from the RV factories for over six weeks. With groceries being so much higher, it doesn’t make it easy to support a family. This is affecting a lot of people. We put our full trust in God and know he will provide a way.

The evening before the family Christmas, Joe and I attended the Christmas dinner at the metal shop owner’s house for a delicious meal. The employees had a cornhole tournament. All employees were given a cornhole game to take home, among other gifts. Joe didn’t have one yet, so that will be nice for him to have his own.

On January 6 (Epiphany or Old Christmas), the neighbors were all invited for a 5 p.m. supper at our neighbors Richard and Erma’s house. They served us a delicious meal of mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, green beans, and poor man’s steak.

After supper we played games in their attached garage—cornhole, Rook, Uno, and canasta. Then snacks were set out for everyone to eat, including homemade ice cream. It was a fun night of fellowship.

On Sunday, January 15, our family gathered at daughter Susan and Ervin’s house in honor of granddaughter Jennifer’s fifth birthday. She was so proud that everyone came and that she could blow out the candle as we sang Happy Birthday to her. She helped daughter Verena decorate her cake.

Granddaughter Allison’s birthday was December 27th while we were at the community building preparing for the wedding. We all sang “Happy Birthday” to her. She later told daughter Elizabeth (her mother) that “they sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me and blessed me too.” Such sweet innocence.

Recently, daughter Elizabeth had to take four-year-old Timothy (T.J.) to the doctor for his asthma, and he has an inhaler now. One morning he was breathing heavy and said, “Mom I need my haler cause my breath is heavy.” Ha ha! God bless!

Mocha Pudding
2 cups crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (24 cookies)
3 tablespoons butter (melted)
8 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
2 tablespoons coffee concentrate
16 ounces whipped topping
1 cup instant pudding (vanilla)
2 cups milk
Chocolate syrup for decorating top

Mix the crushed cookies with the butter and press the mixture into the bottom of a 9×13-inch Tupperware pan. In a separate bowl, whip the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the vanilla and stir it in. Add the condensed milk a little at a time, mixing each time. Add the chocolate syrup and coffee concentrate and mix again. Add the whipped topping. In another bowl, mix the instant pudding with the milk. Then add the pudding mixture to the cream cheese mixture. Pour the mixture into the pan, on top of the cookies. Pour chocolate syrup over the top length of pan. Swirl with a knife the other direction.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Daughter Lovina Shares Humor and Fond Memories

Dear Readers,

I hope everyone is doing great! This is daughter Lovina, and I decided to write for Mom again.

It’s a cold Tuesday night here. My brother Ben is grilling ribs for supper. Dad, Mom, and my brother Joseph are in the shed making deer jerky, and my brother Kevin is sitting across the table telling me jokes. (Most of them aren’t funny, but at least he tries.)

Yesterday, Dad talked me into helping him in the shed with meat processing. He said he only needed help with “one thing.” Then as I was doing that “one thing,” he’d say, “oh, and while you’re at it . . .” And that’s how it continued.

Luckily, I had a game plan. I told Dad that I needed to go inside to grab rags, and when I got inside, I told Joseph that Dad needed his help. As long as Dad got the help he needed, he wouldn’t bother me. I just had to pretend like I was busy helping Mom every time he came inside.

Today after doing the housework, I considered cleaning the bathrooms too. Then I came back to my senses. I’m proud of myself for even considering it, but I’ll leave that for another day.

I went outside to help Dad again instead and then came inside and mixed up a batch of monster cookies to bake in the morning. We like to have homemade cookies on hand to go with our coffee in the early mornings.

Tomorrow, I’m going to sister Verena’s place for the night. She and I always have a lot of fun when we’re together. We used to stay up late and make brownies at midnight when we couldn’t sleep.

Kevin’s still telling me jokes as I’m writing the column. He said, “why are they called apartments if they’re built together,” and he’s now been laughing about it for a couple of minutes.

Years ago, when Kevin and I were just small kids, we walked to our aunts Verena and Susan’s place with some of our older siblings. Verena and Susan live just down the road, and all of us siblings loved to walk down there. (They always gave us a bunch of candy.)

One time, Kevin and I brought back one of their puppies, and when Mom told us to take it back, we put it in doll clothes to make her think it was a toy. We couldn’t understand how she still knew it was a puppy. Good thing my IQ is a lot higher than it used to be. I can’t speak for Kevin (just joking!).

Anyways, I better wrap this up. Thank you all for the nice comments on my other column. I read them all and had to laugh at the one that said, “Haflingers are workhorse wannabees; they just forget to keep growing.”

Have a great week! God bless!

Monster Cookies
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 pound peanut butter
2 1/2 teaspoons soda
4 1/2 cups oatmeal
12-ounce package chocolate chips
1 cup M&M’s

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in baking soda, then add oatmeal, chocolate chips, and M&M’s. Add more oatmeal, if needed, to make a stiff dough. Form into tablespoon-size balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Do not overbake.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Daughter Verena Reflects on Life’s Transitions

Hello! I am Lovina’s daughter Verena. Today (December 10), I turn 25 years old. I used to think a birthday was just another day and another year older. Which is true! But after losing three loved ones within a year, I look at birthdays a little differently. Now I believe that every birthday should be celebrated. It is another year that you had down here on this earth with your loved ones and friends. To me, that is a blessing!

Starting in January, I will be living on my own, God willing! I never fully moved all my stuff out of my bedroom at my parent’s place. It is sad to move my stuff out, but I need to know that I can be independent and actually live on my own. I also want to know the feeling of having the responsibility of taking care of myself without anyone helping. I’m sure I will still need a lot of help from my family and friends. Hopefully, I can always return the favor in some way or another. It is hard to move away from my parents. I think I see more now what they have done for me than I ever have. I cannot thank them enough.

Two years ago, sister Susan and I were sitting out on the porch swing at Dad and Mom’s place. Susan said she had this feeling that husband Mose would not pull through. She said she didn’t like having that feeling but needed to know if I would be willing to move in with her. I told her I couldn’t even think about that and that Mose would get better. We were both crying and trying to believe he would get better.

That night, I went to bed, and I prayed and prayed. The next morning when I woke up, I knew I could move in with Susan if the worst happened. Susan and I drove the horse and buggy over to their place. Not long after we got there, we got the call. The doctor wanted Susan to come up to the hospital. They had some bad news to say about Mose’s condition and didn’t want to say it over the phone. When Susan went, she found out that Mose was brain-dead, and the doctors had no hope of his recovery. Mose died on December 14.

I would have never thought I would live with my sister and her two children. I grew so attached to Jennifer and Ryan. I do not know the feeling of having my own children, but they are the closest it gets.

Now Susan will be getting remarried on December 30. She will live only a little less than a half mile from me, but it’s hard for me to think I will not be in the same house as Susan, Jennifer, and Ryan, but I know everything will be okay. I am very happy for Susan and am thankful that her children love Ervin, just as Ervin’s children love Susan. It helps to accept the change.

Tonight, some of my friends are coming over for my birthday. I plan to make a hamburger potato casserole and french fries, pickles, chips, etc. We had thought about going out to eat at a restaurant, but I do not like to go out in this cold, snowy weather.

I will share the cookie recipe that Ervin and Susan made for church services on Sunday. It’s his mom’s recipe that she uses. They mixed gelatin and sugar, then dipped a glass into that mixture and pressed it on each cookie before they baked it.

Merry Christmas to all and God bless!

Ervin and Susan shared these sugar cookies at church.

Sugar Cookies
3 cups sugar
2 cups shortening
5 eggs
1 1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 heaping teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt

Mix ingredients in the order given. Cream sugar, shortening, and eggs until light and fluffy for a softer cookie. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are browned.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

A Full House for a Happy Thanksgiving

We had a very nice Thanksgiving holiday. We hosted a dinner here for our family, sister Emma’s family, and sister Verena. We are a total of 39 now. The table was set for 36 people. Andrea, 9 months, was in the highchair. Denzel, 4 months, was in a seat, and baby Jazlyn, 3 1/2 weeks, of course, was laying down or getting passed around. We opened our kitchen table to the extended 12 feet, and we added four tables (each 6 feet long) to that to make room to seat everyone. This extends from the dining room into our living room.

Emma has four grandchildren and we have ten, and all are 6 and under. It makes for some interesting moments.

We furnished the hot food for the dinner and everything else was brought in. Three turkeys were prepared. Son-in-law Dustin deep fried one and my husband Joe and sons grilled the other two. That helped to not have to bake them in the oven.

Also on the menu was mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, a vegetable blend of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots (steamed), cheese, hot peppers, and pickles. Then coming in from the others was overnight salad, dinner rolls, pumpkin roll, pumpkin pies, blueberry and blackberry cheesecakes, donut bars, cherry delight, vegetable tray and dip, fruit tray with dip, and sugar cookies. There was way too much food. Chips and dip was also brought in, and we had that along with all the leftovers before everyone left for home.

The afternoon was spent playing games such as Phase 10, Marble Chase, 10,000 in dice, and the younger ones played Chutes and Ladders. It was an enjoyable day, and it went much too fast.

Son Benjamin recently spent a night and morning at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house hunting. He shot a doe, and Tim told Elizabeth that Benjamin shot a nice doe. Well, little T.J., age 3, was told that you only can shoot the bad does. It bothered him, and knowing they were bad made him feel better. So when he saw me he told me, “Grandma, did you know Benjamin shot a nice doe?” He was really concerned. It was so sweet. He told Elizabeth, “I like when Uncle Ben comes…he makes me laugh.”

Recently we had a nice visit from Aunt Emma (my mother’s sister). She is 81. Coming with her were her daughter Sovilla and husband Leroy, her daughter Martha and husband Merlin, and her son Amos and wife Marilyn (Marilyn is Joe’s cousin). We had a good visit with them. They had picked up sister Verena and went to visit sister Emma. Our family was home for supper that evening, so they all got in on the visit. I have many fond memories of times spent at Uncle Elmer and Emma’s house. They had a pond, and we had many picnics back there. I have one bad memory, and that was almost drowning in that pond as a little girl. Cousin Milo (Elmer and Emma’s son) came to my rescue, and all was fine. I always did have a fear of water since but wanted my children to learn to swim. When a friend was giving them swimming lessons, she said she will need to leave me home. She said I was scaring my children of the water. So after that I stayed home, as I knew they were in good hands.

Uncle Elmer died over three years ago, so Aunt Emma has many lonely days. Her family is a good support to her. Seeing her brought back memories of my dear mother.

We are busy getting ready for daughter Susan and Ervin’s December 30th wedding. Since it will be held at the community building it makes less work for that. Tomorrow, sister Emma and her daughters and my daughters and I will get together at Ervin’s house to plan for the wedding meal and make a shopping list for food.

God’s blessings to all!

Pumpkin Roll
3 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine the eggs, pumpkin, and sugar in a bowl, then add the rest of ingredients and blend together well. Pour into a 15 x 10 x 1-inch greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle clean towel with powdered sugar. Flop out the pumpkin cake onto towel when it comes out of oven. Roll up like a jellyroll; let cool.

Filling:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix filling ingredients together until smooth. Unroll cooled cake, then spread with filling and roll up again without towel and refrigerate.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Happy Thanksgiving from Lovina

I need to get an extra column written so I won’t need to send one the week of Thanksgiving Day, which is next week already. I will do a one-day diary.

3:50 a.m.: I get up with daughter Lovina, 18. She will go help daughter Loretta this morning. She always goes before or right after Dustin leaves for work. I always step out on the porch until I see she’s almost to their house. It is a cold morning, and the ground has a layer of snow on it.

I then start packing my husband Joe’s lunch and make him breakfast. Breakfast is a tortilla shell with a sausage patty, egg, and cheese in it. Lunch for Joe is a leftover egg omelet topped with sausage gravy, jerky, a piece of cake, an apple, and a protein shake for break. I also fill his water jug with ice and water. Usually instead of cake I put in cookies for him to have with his coffee, but we are out. I need to see if Lovina would bake some more. Joe always refuels the basement stove with coal for the day before he leaves.

4:45 a.m.: Joe leaves for work.

5 a.m.: Sons Benjamin, 23, and Joseph, 20, get up to do the morning chores. One of them feeds the horses while the other refuels the coal stove in the pole barn. We heat the one side to keep the solar batteries and inverter from getting too cold. We keep it cooler out there than the house. It also makes it nicer to use the phone when it’s warm in there. (That is where we have our phone.)

I make Joseph breakfast, but Benjamin doesn’t want anything. Joseph’s breakfast is a grilled cheese sandwich with a sausage patty and egg in it. His lunch is a turkey sandwich, an apple, cake, and chips. I also get his water jug filled. He works outside most days. Right now they are tearing down an old barn.

5:30 a.m.: Both boys leave for work. I take a break in my recliner with intentions to read but fall asleep. An hour and a half later, I wake up feeling more rested.

7:45 a.m.: I make a pot of coffee. Then I get some mail ready for the mailbox—mostly bills needing to be paid. We had the rest of our coal delivered, so that needs to be paid, which isn’t cheap. We had to have a new battery pack put in for our solar system, and another pricey bill. I’m sure you can all relate, that there is always something needing repaired, etc. That’s life! We have so much to be thankful for and shouldn’t complain. We have a warm house to live in and plenty to eat and a loving family. We too often take everything for granted. God has been good to us! Let us not only thank him on Thanksgiving Day, but every day, for all his blessings.

10:30 a.m.: Lovina comes back from Loretta’s and washes the dishes, since I have been doing other odds and ends around the house and didn’t do those. Kevin is also home, and I don’t even remember what time he came down. Lovina makes an early lunch for us since we didn’t eat breakfast. Kevin usually takes the mail out and gets it in for me with his mobility scooter, but it’s not working right so I get to do that. The fresh air and exercise don’t hurt me. Kevin doesn’t like to walk out in the snow, either, or on unlevel ground too much.

I spend the afternoon getting recipes around for Susan and Ervin’s wedding. I’m making a grocery list for all the things we will need to get. That takes a lot of concentration. I also write my family circle letter so I can send it along to work with Joe. Joe works with brother Albert at the metal shop. A circle letter is a packet of letters that you read, then take your old letter out and put in a new one. I have a few with friends and then one with my siblings. This is common amongst the Amish, where a lot of them don’t have phones. I have been in a circle letter with some friends for over 36 years. We were all born in 1971, and most of our parents are cousins. We were in our early teens and now we are all grandmothers. It is quite interesting!

3:20–4:30 p.m.: The menfolk are all home from work. I am going to run out of room to write everything, but I will just finish with the room I have left.

Dustin shot a 9-point buck last night and will give us the meat. He shot an 8-point buck last week. We will be glad for it! My favorite is the jerky Joe makes.

We are praying for our friend Jodi. She is in the hospital and not too good. Her husband Dan was in the same accident took the life of Susan’s husband Mose. We wish her a complete recovery! We miss not having her here in Michigan. She moved to Alabama to live with her daughter Krista. She has had many lonely days without her husband Dan.

Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving! Be thankful for God’s many blessings.

 

Pumpkin Pie
For one nine-inch pie
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 unbaked pie shell

Beat egg, then add all remaining ingredients. Stir until mixed well. Pour into shell. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until set.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Lovina Visits Family as Nights Turn Cold

It’s 5 a.m. and the thermometer shows that the mercury dipped down to 46 degrees. Brrr! The gas lights feel good this morning since we don’t have any heat yet. I only light the gas lights when extra heat is needed—otherwise we use the cordless battery lights. It’s surprising how much heat the propane lights throw.

We have ordered our winter’s supply of hard coal. I don’t know why we were so surprised at how much the price of coal has gone up, with everything else going up in price. Seems groceries cost so much more too, and then a lot of work is low so that doesn’t help. God is above all and we need to trust Him.

My husband Joe left for work 15 minutes ago. Son Joseph will leave around 5:30, so I need to go make him breakfast and pack his lunch before I finish this.

Joseph just left for his construction job. Son Benjamin is off work this week from the RV factory. He is planning to go work a few days on construction with a friend of his.

Tomorrow morning I hope we can finally do our laundry. It has been rainy all week, then today I’m leaving. My plans are to go with Dustin and daughter Loretta to town. Dustin is also off work this week from the RV factory.

Friday night most of our family gathered here for a taco supper in honor of daughter Lovina’s special friend Daniel’s 21st birthday, which was September 26.

Saturday our family went to help sister Emma and family. Her son Benjamin and Crystal are making living quarters in her pole barn. It is coming along nicely and will make a nice place for the young couple to start out. It seems so different to not see brother-in-law Jacob around there. I’m sure it gets very overwhelming for Emma at times to have to look after everything. She made a good breakfast and lunch for all of us. Her married daughters and family were there helping as well.

Sunday around 12:30 p.m. Joe and I, with our horse Midnight and buggy, and Dustin, Loretta, and baby Denzel and daughter Verena with Dustin’s horse Spirit and their buggy following us, headed south. First we traveled the twelve miles to visit Joe’s sister MaryAnn and Jake. Jake is still in quite a bit of pain from a fall he had in July. He fell when trimming trees and broke his back. Jake is 58 and was always active, so this is very hard on him to not be able to get around much. MaryAnn is Joe’s oldest sister. She is 60 and is a great nurse to Jake.

After a couple hours of visiting, we headed back north and stopped to visit Joe’s second oldest sister Ruth and Chris. Chris has also had a lot of doctoring with his health and been laid up a lot. He is also used to be active, so the slowing down has not been easy. Chris and Ruth are in the process of building a new house since they moved from Oklahoma. They are now living in their son Chris Jr’s house. Joe’s sisters MaryAnn and Ruth married brothers (Jake and Chris).

Ruth made supper for us, which was very good. It was nice to get to visit with all of them, as we don’t often see each other. We used to all be in the same church district years ago. Ruth helped me out a lot when my children were younger. MaryAnn did a lot of sewing for me also, years ago. So it was really nice to catch up. We arrived home around 7 p.m. It was an enjoyable drive!

Sister Verena is spending a week with my sister Liz and family. She probably gets to help spoil sister Liz and Levi’s tenth grandchild, Lamar Michael. Niece Rosa and Menno were blessed with their third son last week.

Tomorrow our plans are to go to the U-Pick and pick grapes to put into juice. Hopefully that will bring an end to this year’s canning.

God’s blessings to all!

Pecan Pie Brownies

Brownies
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cocoa
1 cup butter
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon flour (for tossing with chocolate chips)

Topping
1/3 cup corn syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 1/2 cups pecans

Sift flour, salt, and cocoa and set aside. Add butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs to a large bowl and mix together. Add flour mixture and mix well. In a small bowl, sprinkle the teaspoon of flour over the chocolate chips and toss. Add the chocolate chips to the mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch dish and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Set aside.

For topping, mix together the corn syrup, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, and melted butter in a bowl. Add the pecans and stir until all are covered. Pour over the brownies and spread out gently. Bake again for 25–30 minutes until done.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Lovina Marks 20 Years of Column Writing

This week brings us into autumn already. This week always takes me back to twenty years ago when my dear mother so suddenly passed away. She died September 17 but was in Blue Springs, Missouri, at the time of her death. The funeral wasn’t until September 23. My mother penned this column for eleven years, and after her death I started writing. Joe and I had six children at the time, and Joseph was eight weeks old. Where have all the years gone to? Time does not stand still. I have many precious memories of my sweet mother. She far outdid me in cooking/baking.

Yesterday we did laundry and I had everything hung outside, then I heard thunder in the distance. I gradually took off the clothes as they dried, but the storm kept getting closer. I hung what fit on the lines on the porch, then brought the rest in baskets inside. We didn’t get too much thunder and lightning, but some rain. After it was over, I hung what was wet outside again. I could’ve left it out in the rain, but the towels were halfway dry, and although it took more physical labor, I decided to take them off until after the rain. All the laundry was dry and could be folded and put away by nighttime. I really hope I can someday get those wash lines that you can put on your porch ceilings and fold back up after you’re done using them. On rainy days when you don’t have heat in the house, that would be so nice to hang laundry out there. We have a big wrap-around porch that would be great for that.

Daughter Loretta and baby Denzel came here for the day. She brought their tomatoes, and I had several five-gallon buckets out of my garden that son Joseph had picked the evening before. We canned thirty quarts of tomato juice for Dustin and Loretta from all the tomatoes. Loretta started washing and cutting up the tomatoes while we did laundry. She was glad when Dustin came home from work and helped her. This will be a nice supply for them this winter.

My hot pepper plants are loaded again, so I will have son Kevin pick the peppers this week and get those in jars. The raised garden beds make it easier for Kevin to help pick the vegetables.

Church services were held at niece Emma and Menno’s on Sunday, which was also council meeting. Everyone comes in for lunch two tables at a time, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or until everyone is fed. Church services were held under a tent. The lunch was served in their pole barn. They had a good lunch consisting of chicken noodle soup, homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese, peanut butter spread, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, butter, strawberry jam, a variety of cookies, coffee, and iced tea.

Services were over around 2:30 p.m. and everyone left for home. Our family stayed, and Emma made supper for us. Corn hole was being played while supper was being prepared. Nephew Jacob, 22, has muscular dystrophy also, and corn hole games are one thing he makes for income.

We are working on having a benefit supper at our Community Youth Center on October 7. We will be serving a barbecue chicken and pulled pork meal from 4–8 p.m. I wrote out slips of paper with pies, potato salad, etc. to pass out to the ladies that want to help bring the food. The benefit is to help Dustin and Loretta with hospital and ongoing medical bills. Dustin is raising pigs for this winter to butcher, so they will roast one of those for the benefit. There is a lot of work involved, but there are a lot of willing people wanting to help. Many hands make lighter work!

Loretta will have an ultrasound done in mid-October on both legs to see what is causing the clots. We pray it will be something simple that can be fixed.

Denzel is 10 1/2 weeks old and drew a lot of attention in church when he decided to giggle out loud. Loretta was making faces at him and he just giggled and giggled. He is such a cutie!

I will share the cookie recipe that daughter Lovina tried and everyone loved. Hope you will enjoy them, too. God’s blessings to all!

This week Lovina shares the recipe for Chewy Chocolate Cookies that daughter Lovina tried and everyone loved. Photo provided.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies
1 1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (1 12-ounce package) peanut butter chips or chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt and then blend into creamed mixture. Stir in chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 9 minutes (do not overbake). Cookies will be soft. They will puff while baking and flatten when they are cooling.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Birthdays, a Baptism, and Farewell to a Friend

Canning season is in full swing around here. We are a week into September already. September 10 is granddaughter Abigail’s 6th birthday. Her birth brought us much excitement, as she put Joe and me on the grandparent list. Every grandchild brings excitement, but that first grandchild makes a change in your life.

Last night all the family were here for supper. We had mashed potatoes, beef and noodles, cucumber salad, cheese, cookies, and canned peaches.

Son Kevin turned 17 on September 2. Daughter Lovina and I made him a horseshoe-shaped cake. We celebrated his birthday a day earlier, as our family gathered here for a farewell supper for our dear friend Jodi.

Lovina and Daughter Lovina made Kevin this horseshoe-shaped cake for his 17th birthday. Photo provided.

Jodi, whose husband Dan was killed in same accident that took the life of daughter Susan’s husband Mose, has moved to Alabama to live with her daughter Krista and family. We have come to be good friends with Jodi and will really miss her being close by. I understand that she wants to be closer to her daughter, though.

We made a haystack dinner for Jodi and her son James and family. It was nice to spend a night together before she headed south.

Daughter Elizabeth and Tim are glad that church services at their house are now over. It’s always a good feeling to have everything cleaned again. A baptismal service for son Benjamin was held there on Saturday. After most of the people left, sister Emma’s family and our family helped pack up the dishes in the bench wagon, and the men put all the benches back in. The tent was taken down and packed up in the tent trailer to be pulled to the next ones that need it.

Tims served a good church lunch of homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese, peanut butter mixture, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, butter, grape jelly, coffee, iced tea, and a variety of cookies.

It was a nice, sunny day to have services under a tent. The sun warmed up later in the day, making the iced tea sister Emma made taste extra good.

It always seems to make a parent’s heart so thankful when another child takes that precious step in life and accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior. May God continue to be Benjamin’s guide as we travel into the unknown future.

Today my husband Joe stayed home from work, as he has several appointments. First we will go to the doctor’s office to find out the results on some blood tests he took. Then we will head over to the hospital, where he has to take a stress test. Joe has been having some health complications, so we hope to get good results. I can’t believe the cost of doctor and hospital visits, but like everything else, the prices go up. We will take one day at a time and trust in our Heavenly Father above.

I want to apologize to readers who have written letters to me that didn’t receive an answer yet. I managed to get a few more answered this week. If you have a stamped envelope with your letter, you will get a reply, but I can’t promise when. Also, if you are requesting recipes that I haven’t had in the columns, then I will try to print those in a future column to save time. I appreciate all the kind, encouraging letters I receive. Daughter Loretta appreciates all the get well and baby cards and gifts she has received. May God bless you for your kind deeds. Until next week… God bless!

This recipe was requested by a reader.

Whoopie Pies
4 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch of salt
2 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup shortening
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sour milk (2 tablespoons vinegar added to sweet milk to make a cup)
1 cup hot water

Cream filling:
1 3/4 cups butter at room temperature
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
10–14 ounces marshmallow crème

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; in a separate bowl, cream eggs, sugar, shortening and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients alternately with sour milk to creamed mixture, then add hot water last. Buttermilk can be substituted for the sour milk. Drop on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 375 degrees about 8 minutes or until done.

For cream filling, cream butter and powdered sugar; whip until fluffy, then blend in vanilla. Fold in marshmallow crème until combined. Chill for 20 minutes. Put two cookies together with cream filling in between.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Celebrating Easter with Family

April has brought us a week of cooler temperatures, with the ground covered with snow one morning. It didn’t last long, and the green grass is again showing. The rhubarb and tea plants are growing as well as all the early spring flowers. We look forward to warmer weather coming to stay for the summer months ahead.

Today daughter Susan had a dentist appointment, so she left Jennifer, 4, and Ryan, 2, here while she went. They are both growing up so fast! And such precious sweeties!

Last week we attended a Norwex party and stayed for lunch at nephew John and Arlene’s house. Daughter Elizabeth and children T.J., Allison, and Andrea, daughter Susan, Jennifer, Ryan, daughter Verena, sister Verena, and I went with our friend Jodi.

After the party, we were served a delicious lunch. My husband Joe’s sisters MaryAnn and Ruth and nephew Noah’s wife Ruth were there, so we had an enjoyable time visiting as well. It is so nice to have Joe’s sister Ruth this close again. They moved from Oklahoma to a place 11 miles from our house. It is close enough to reach with a horse and buggy. Ruth’s husband Chris hasn’t been doing so great health-wise. They are in the process of building a house which can take a lot of time.

Daughter Elizabeth and the Norwex Consultant Corinna were surprised to see that they knew each other. Both have married and changed their last names since they last saw each other years ago while in their teenage years.

Nephew John was working, so we didn’t get to see him, unfortunately. John entertained our older children a lot when they were growing up by giving swing rides or pulling the little wagon, giving them ride after ride.

On Good Friday, our family came home for an Easter dinner. It is a time of renewal and rebirth of the spirit when hope is brought to life through the resurrection of the Lord.

It was a chilly day, but the children bundled up in their coats to go collect the hidden eggs. They were excited to find the eggs. This year I put little toys in the eggs instead of candy, and they enjoyed that even more. And it’s a healthier option. We played some games, and it was just a nice day being with family. Our community has “Fast and Prayer Day” on Good Friday until lunchtime. How thankful we can be that our Savior Jesus Christ died on the cross so our sins can be forgiven. I hope every one of you had a blessed Easter holiday. May the blessings of the Lord guide you, protect you, and be with you always!

I need to bake raspberry pies to take to our Amish community’s fundraiser for a few of the local fire departments. Smoked pork chops and grilled chicken will also be on the menu for the meal served Friday at our local community building.

Last night daughter Verena and her friend Laura and son Kevin and his friend Daniel traveled with horses and buggies to the community youth center for an appreciation supper for the youth and to listen to the guidelines of the youth gatherings on Saturday evenings. Verena and Laura used our horse Midnight as Susan’s horse Lightning is older and couldn’t go that far.

After they came back, we played games and visited before they headed back home.

I was glad to meet all the readers that attended the Nappanee library book signing. Thank you for all the encouragement. And thanks to daughters Verena and Lovina and son Kevin for going with me and helping out. God’s blessings!

 

Raspberry Pie
1 9-inch double pie crust
4 cups raspberries
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons tapioca
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon whole milk or cream

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix raspberries, sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt until raspberries are well covered. Pour into a 9-inch pie shell, dot with butter, add top crust, and crimp edge. If not using a slotted crust, make slits in the crust and brush with cream. Bake for 15 minutes to set the crust, then reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbly, about 25 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Daughter Lovina Shares Her Experiences

Dear Readers,

Today I (Daughter Lovina) will be writing the column for Mom. I enjoy writing, and she likes a break from writing every once in a while. How have you all been doing?

We will have church services at our place in a little over a month, so it’s time to start doing some spring cleaning before then. It’s a Tuesday night, and I’m thinking about cleaning my bedroom from top to bottom. I’m only thinking about it, of course. I probably won’t actually get the motivation to do it for another week. Or maybe not at all, which would be a more realistic thought.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to open the curtain in my bedroom when I saw a spider sitting just behind the curtain. I jumped back and decided to leave the curtain closed because I wasn’t brave enough to get that close to a spider. The curtain is still closed to this day, and it’ll probably stay like that for all eternity.

Not too many days after that, I saw a similar one sitting in front of my dresser near the same window and almost stepped on it. I’m not sure if it’s the same spider or maybe a sister to the other one. Maybe I should have asked.

I ended up yelling for my brother Joseph to come to the rescue and kill it while I stood on the opposite side of the room. He was too slow; the spider crawled under the dresser, so I made Joseph move the dresser back and forth to find it, but it was nowhere to be found.

So now I’m avoiding that corner of my room, and it’s very frustrating and inconvenient. It seems almost as if I’m not the biggest fan of spiders. I know some people have spiders for pets, but that could never be me. Imagine how tragic that would be if I’d accidentally smash my pet (or maybe not so accidentally).

The other day, I stayed the night at my sister Loretta’s place, and through the night, I had to use the bathroom. Long story short, a mouse came out of underneath a heap of clothes, and it ran around the bathroom in circles, trying to find a way out. I also ran around the bathroom in circles trying to stay away from the mouse.

I ended up climbing onto the edge of the bathtub while the mouse sat in front of the door, and finally, when the mouse moved to the other end of the bathroom, I opened the door and ran out.

I realized afterward that Ralph was just as scared of me as I was of Ralph, but that didn’t make me feel any better. (Yes, I gave the mouse a nickname.) My life would be so much easier if I weren’t scared of things 100 times smaller than me.

I’m patiently waiting for the warm weather to come back, and I especially can’t wait for wedding season. (Wedding season is usually April through November in our area.) Weddings are fun, but I mostly go for the food and the free candy bars they pass out. (Don’t tell anyone I said that, though.) Mom sewed me dress a bit ago, and it’s very pretty. I loved the pattern of the dress and can’t wait to sew more dresses like it. (Or should I say, “I can’t wait till Mom sews more dresses like it.)

You know what they say, “It’s better your mom does it because if you do it, you’ll do it wrong, and she’ll have to do it for you anyway.” In case you are wondering, nobody actually says that. I just made it up because it sounds reasonable.

I’ve been wasting quite a bit of my time trying to put a fitted sheet on my bed. It’s really irritating how one of the corners pops off every time I think I almost got it.

It’s a repeat of pulling the sheet over the corner and running to the other side of the bed, hurrying before the other corner pops off. Sometimes I think these things are designed just to make us exercise.

Well, I think I’ve written enough now. I better help Mom make supper or perhaps at least think about helping Mom make supper because, as they say, “It’s the thought that counts.” And yes, people actually do say that. I didn’t make it up this time.

Have a great day! (Or Night) God bless!

P.S. I did end up making supper, and all by myself, too, so I got to give myself some credit there. Also, I went to a few book signings with my mom recently, and I really loved being able to meet a lot of you readers!

I will share the recipe for one of my favorite bars, Chocolate Marshmallow Bars.

Chocolate Marshmallow Bars
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
4 cups miniature marshmallows

Topping:
1 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups Rice Krispies

In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl; gradually combine dry ingredients with the creamed mixture. Stir in nuts if desired. Spread in a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15–18 minutes or until set. Sprinkle with marshmallows; bake 2–3 minutes longer or until melted—place pan on a wire rack. Using a knife dipped in water, spread marshmallows evenly over the top. Cool completely.

Topping: Combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring continuously until blended. Remove from heat; stir in Rice Krispies. Immediately spread over bars. Chill until set.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.