Category Archives: Desserts

Lovina’s friend Ruth offers sneak peek into Amish wedding preparations

In this week’s column Lovina’s English (non-Amish) friend Ruth Boss gives us a glimpse into Lovina’s busy week as head cook for her niece’s wedding.

This week I helped with preparations for the wedding for Lovina’s niece Emma. As an outsider, I am impressed by how beautifully orchestrated these events are. Family, neighbors and the church community all pitch in to help with the work of hosting weddings.

When I arrived on Tuesday noon at Jacob and Emma’s, preparations were already in full swing. The wedding wagons (mobile kitchen trailers that the Amish rent for hosting weddings), were already in place, and the house was busy with activities. Lovina and the other head cook, Laura, were making a final shopping list. Outside a team was setting up a large tent where friends and family can gather while they wait for the wedding meal to be served. In the shed, the tables are set up and the dishes are already in place for the first meal seating.

Jacob and Emma had already picked up the 400 pounds of potatoes and a few other items from the local bulk food store. So with list in hand, several of us set out to finish the shopping. Some of the things on the list were 20 gallons of milk, 30 dozen eggs, 25 packets of cream cheese, and 20 heads of lettuce.

Early Wednesday morning I picked up Lovina, Laura, and Laura’s daughter Rhonda to head to Jacob’s house. It was still dark as the cooks and helpers began to arrive by horse and buggy. Lovina’s sisters quickly started on their list of cleaning chores. Other women went out to the wedding wagon to make cakes and pies. On their list was cherry pie, pecan pie, angel food cakes and crumbs for the peanut butter pie.

The women put together the many pies assembly-line style; here the crimpers go to work.

Everyone seemed to know their job and quickly went to work. Lovina’s neighbor Susan was in charge of making pie crusts. When the dough was ready, it went to women who rolled it out, and then to a crust-filler, and finally a woman making lattice tops and crimped edges.

On the other end of the wagon a helper whipped egg whites and added ingredients to make angel food cakes. There was lively conversation as neighbors, family and friends caught up on news and activities. In the main house, small children were cared for by some of the older girls.

Several decorated angel food cakes are ready for the Friday wedding and feasting.

At noon all the helpers shared a lunch of casseroles, salads, and desserts, all brought by the women who came to help. After lunch the 500 pounds of chicken leg quarters had to be cleaned and cut into pieces to be ready for grilling on Friday.

Thursday morning also started early, with more than 25 women showing up to help with the food prep, cleaning and sewing that remained. In the wedding wagon, the cooks were busy again. In Jacob and Emma’s house, Lovina’s daughters Elizabeth and Susan were mixing up dough to make rolls for the wedding. The dough has to be refrigerated overnight and then needs to rise, so they were doing a test recipe to make sure the rolls turned out. Emma was doing the last of her sewing for the wedding, and another friend was finishing up a quilt that will hang in the special corner where the bride and groom will sit during the wedding meal. Friends and family were washing windows, polishing furniture, and sweeping and mopping floors. At noon those present gathered to share a meal of dishes they had brought.

The women making rolls made a test recipe to make sure they turned out right.

Amish weddings in this area have a noon meal, a five o’clock meal, and then a late evening meal for the youth. So it is normal to be feeding more than 1,000 people in one day. This community of people, who don’t rely on text messages or social media to keep in touch, look forward to these events. They have good old-fashioned conversation and enjoy the time they spend together.

I enjoyed the time I spent helping this week, and I was grateful for new friendships. It became clear to me that despite the obvious differences in our lifestyles, we have much in common. We share the same core values rooted in our faith, and enjoy similar interests like cooking, gardening and sharing stories about children and grandchildren.

In next week’s column Lovina will write more about the wedding day. For now, I’ll share a recipe for delicious and easy bars that Lovina’s neighbor Susie brought along on Thursday for coffee time.

Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Bars

1 box yellow cake mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

In a bowl, combine cake mix, oil and 1 egg until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup of these crumbs and place the remainder in a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Pat the crumbs down in the baking dish. With a mixer, beat the remaining egg, sugar and cream cheese until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Carefully place this mixture on top of crumbs in pan and spread over all. Top with remaining crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. When cooled, cut into squares.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Favorite Christmas goodies from the Eicher home to yours!

A simple way to turn standard chocolate chip cookies into festive goodies is to add colored M&M’s, or just use red and green M&M’s available at Christmas. Photo by Lucas Landis-Swartzentruber

Favorite Christmas goodies from the Eicher home to yours!

We are still busy getting prepared for niece Emma’s wedding next week. So this week I will share some recipes that we use over the holidays. Sour cream cut-out cookies are still our favorite Christmas cookie to decorate.

Enjoy! God bless you all!

Sour Cream Cut-Out Cookies

This is an easy Christmas cookie that the kids like to cut out and decorate. It takes a lot longer when they help, but they enjoy it. Some of the shapes we cut them into include a Christmas tree and a bell. Sometimes I have to watch the younger children as they like to eat the dough. But with the raw eggs in there I don’t like them to. (And if you don’t have sour cream, here’s a substitute: Mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice with 3/4 cup milk. Let set 5 or more minutes. Add 4 tablespoons melted butter. Mix well.)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Stir in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl and stir with a whisk to blend. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until a soft, firm dough is formed. Roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thickness on a floured surface. Use your favorite shaped cookie cutters to cut out shapes and place them on prepared baking sheet. Gather leftover dough, re-roll, and cut some more until all the dough is used up.

Bake until just turning golden brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 18 – 24 cookies, depending on shapes.

Frosting:
1/3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
Food coloring (optional)
Colored sprinkles, for decorating (optional)
Chocolate chips, for decorating (optional)

To make frosting: Cream shortening with vanilla and 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Gradually add the milk and the rest of the powdered sugar, beating constantly. More powdered sugar can be added to give you your desired thickness. Food coloring can also be added if you like. Spread the frosting on the cookies and decorate with colored sprinkles or chocolate chips. Let the frosting set before storing.

Gingerbread Cookies

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup molasses
3 tablespoons hot water

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Blend well. Chill dough at least one hour before handling. Roll out dough on floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Use gingerbread-man cookie cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool and decorate.

Chocolate Covered Cherries

20 ounces canned sweet or maraschino cherries, drained; reserve juice to add to batter
1/4 pound soft butter
1/2 cup cherry juice
2 pounds powdered sugar
Melted semi-sweet chocolate

Mix powdered sugar, juice, and butter thoroughly (handles better if you chill for awhile). Make small balls, press flat and cover cherries. Dip in chocolate within 2 two hours or it will be hard to dip. (Maraschino cherries make these easier to dip as they usually have stems on them.)

Peanut Butter Cups

1 pound of margarine
2 pounds of peanut butter
3 pounds of powdered sugar
Melted semi-sweet chocolate

Mix peanut butter and margarine, then work in powdered sugar. Shape into balls the size of big marbles. Dip in melted chocolate.

Mint Patties

1 box powdered sugar
2 teaspoons cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg (unbeaten)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 drops peppermint oil
Semi-sweet chocolate

Mix together real good and shape into patties. Dip in hot melted semi-sweet chocolate. Cool.

Note: this recipe contains one egg which is not cooked. Perhaps look for other alternatives, such as found here. Or simply leave the egg out. Thank you to RN Marjorie for alerting us to the potential risk for salmonella here.

Peanut Butter Fingers
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup chocolate chips

Frosting:
1/2 to 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 to 4 tablespoons milk

Cream well the butter and sugars. Blend in peanut butter, egg, salt, and vanilla. Stir in flour and  oatmeal. Spread in greased 9×13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 19-20 minutes Sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes. Spread chocolate, then spread peanut butter frosting on top; swirl.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Tim’s sister-in-law lands 17 point buck with a bow

Tim’s sister-in-law lands 17 point buck with a bow

We awoke this morning to more snow, adding to our already snow-covered white world. It has been snowing all morning. We had our first snow earlier than usual and it is staying with all the cold temperatures.

Last Friday, November 9, we had a snow-covered ground. Traveling the two hours plus to Ann Arbor and back seemed to go well even with the snow still coming down. Saturday morning we awoke to around five more inches of snow. The snow is very pretty this morning and sticking to everything. Thanksgiving Day is next week but our children say the snow makes it seem like we are closer to the Christmas season.

Today is also a very important day for deer hunters. It’s opening day for shotgun season to hunt deer. Daughter Susan and Mose and baby Jennifer are spending a few days at Mose’s brother’s house an hour-and-a-half north of here. Mose will go hunting with his brothers.

Son-in-law Timothy was excited last week when he was deer hunting with bow and arrow. He shot a 12-point buck. Although I do not understand all the deer-talk they were saying this buck had a 21 1/2-inch spread. I think if you are a deer hunter you will know what that means. So after Timothy let us know about the buck our three boys thought they had to go see this buck. He will make some nice meat for their freezer.

Timothy’s sister-in-law has also been hunting which I’m sure is nice for her after having 12 children. I can imagine the excitement when she shot a 17-point buck with her bow. That is a nice rack to have for helping put meat up for the winter.

Last Saturday our family helped Jacob and Emma with cleaning and preparing for the December 7 wedding of their daughter Emma and Menno. Some of Menno’s family plus Timothy’s and Moses’s were also there helping.

Saturday evening after we were done at Jacob’s house, Joe and I stopped by Mose and Susan’s house. They decided to pack their clothes and come to our house for the night and be there on Sunday. Of course Grandpa and Grandma offered to bring 10-month old Jennifer back with us. How sweet to have her cuddle in my arms on the way home. She fell asleep as we traveled the snow-covered roads with our covered buggy and our horse Midnight.

Midnight was a hard horse for my husband Joe to train. Now she has proven to be a safe and sound horse for us except she still needs to get used to water puddles in the road. She doesn’t mind the smaller puddles but if there is a bigger puddle she gets scared of going through it.

Before Jennifer fell asleep she was saying in Dutch (high German), “Horsey, horsey.” She already loves horses and when she sees one she gets excited and will make a clip-clop noise with her tongue. How precious! As she slept in my arms I thought of how it was when I held our first six children when they were that age. In weather like that with open buggies we wanted their face protected from the wind so they didn’t get to watch the horse running through the snow at a young age in the winter months. On Saturday evening we didn’t have our heater going but it was still fairly warm in our buggy.

My editors sent me a copy of emails and comments from readers. I do not get to see those so they are kind enough to copy and send them to me. The day I received this pack in the mail had not been a good day for me. After sitting down and reading all these encouraging words from you readers, I felt so much better and refreshed. If the column encourages you in any way, please give God the honor and glory as without his help I couldn’t do it. It seems at times that I do not have time to write but it makes it well worth it, too, when I read your kind words.

God bless you all and stay safe in this weather if you are having snow and ice.

Mystery Bars

1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup sifted flour

Mix together for two minutes. Pat into bottom of 9 x 12 inch pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Meanwhile, mix the following together:

2 eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup nuts (optional)

Beat for two minutes. Add nuts. Beat enough to blend. Spread over partly baked dough. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Cut while warm. Makes 2 dozen.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

When you wake up with someone knocking at your door

Photo by Grant Beachy

When you wake up with someone knocking at your door

I am waiting for everyone to be ready for supper. On the menu are cheeseburgers and macaroni and cheese. Sweet onions from the garden will be good on the hamburgers although my husband Joe and I are probably the only ones that add onions to our sandwich.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their sweet little girls spent the day here. We didn’t accomplish much besides enjoying each other’s company. Daughter Verena is still helping out with the family from our church. She was home early afternoon so still had time to enjoy her nieces.

Daughter Elizabeth copied a dress pattern for a friend. A good idea for duplicating patterns is using wrapping paper. It works great for tracing patterns.

It turned out to be a nice day with the sun shining after quite a rainy morning. Daughter Loretta took Abigail outside for awhile. Abigail likes to write on the sidewalks with chalk. I bought her some chalk as she loves it and it entertains her for quite a while.

Photo by Grant Beachy

On Saturday, sisters Verena and Susan had an auction for family members. They needed to downsize in a lot of things so they decided to have a family auction instead of a garage sale. Not everyone was able to make it but all the siblings did. Brother Amos’s wife Nancy was there as well, and we were happy she could come. Brother Amos was greatly missed. His 57th birthday was yesterday. Rest in peace, Amos—you will always be remembered at our family gatherings.

Nephew Marvin (son of brother Albert and Sarah Irene) did a lot of the auctioneering and does a very good job at it. Everyone liked the bargains and all had a great time. Lunch was mostly brought in with Verena and Susan furnishing ham and hot dog sandwiches and pop. The auction ended around 5:00 p.m. It wasn’t a great day for an auction weather wise, but they were glad for the extra space in their pole barn.

Jacob and Emma and family plus our family helped get everything ready for the auction. It took a lot of time to get the items organized but we were all glad to help out.

Last night sons Benjamin and Joseph plus Joe and I went over to help clean up their yard and move everything back in place. We burned a lot of trash for them. Earlier in the day Loretta and I did laundry which was extra big. Hanging up the laundry and carrying most of it in, already seemed like a day’s work. After coming home from my sisters and getting supper it made for a late night.

So it was a bad start this morning when we woke up to the sound of someone knocking on our door. Yes—we slept right through our alarm that was set for 2:50 a.m. and it was Joe’s driver waiting.

What a bad way to start the day. After getting Joe on his way, son Joseph’s ride came early so it was rush, rush for awhile. I was so much awake that I couldn’t fall back to sleep before I had to get the children up for school. Son Benjamin is off this week as the RV factory he works for has a week off due to not enough orders. So he’s cleaning out the barn and hauling manure this week. He’s also doing a lot of odds and ends for me. Abigail and Jennifer like their Uncle Benjamin. He pays a lot of attention to them.

I talked with neighbor Irene this afternoon. Our prayers are with her as she is recovering from a hospital stay. She is 90 years old and was always active so this is hard for her. She is on oxygen and will be laid up for a while. I hope we can help cheer up her days. She helped us out a lot in the years since we moved across the road from her. May God help her be patient as she heals.

God bless all of you as well!

Blueberry Buckle

2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
2 cups blueberries, well drained

Topping:

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 8x8x2-inch pan. Blend all batter ingredients except blueberries. Beat vigorously for 30 seconds, then stir in blueberries. Spread in pan.

Topping: Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter. Sprinkle over batter in pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Grandma Lovina’s dilemma: Which granddaughter to pick up when the buggy arrives?

It’s 6:45 a.m. and daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, just left for school. It’s still quite dark outside. Daylight Savings Time lasts until November, so it seems most of the school year it’s dark when they leave with the bus.

I think this is my favorite time of the day. After the morning rush of getting everyone off to work and school, I get a little time to read, write or just relax for a bit before starting my day. Right now I’m debating if we should wash laundry today. I’m waiting to see if it will be a nice day for it to dry.

Yesterday daughter Elizabeth, with little Abigail, and daughter Susan, with her Jennifer, came here with Susan’s and Mose’s horse and buggy. The horse, Rex, is a little hyper when he starts out. So very early in the morning, Mose helped Susan get on her way to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house, which is two miles away, before he left for work. When Susan and Jennifer arrived, Timothy was still home to take care of the horse before he left for work. Susan and Jennifer napped there at Timothy and Elizabeth’s house until it was daylight, and then they all traveled the six-and-a-half miles to our place.

Grandma was excited, as always, to go out to the buggy and carry both little girls inside! I’m not sure how long it will be until they get too big for me to carry at the same time. But it’s so hard to choose which little girl to carry inside, so I always just carry both! Jennifer was sleeping, and when she awoke in my arms she smiled and smiled at me. She is starting to say “Amen” when we get done saying our prayer before we eat. So precious!

I made Egg Dutch for our breakfast, along with toast and cheese. While we were eating, Elizabeth said she hadn’t gotten her laundry done yet. I told her we would all go over to her house after breakfast and help her wash her laundry. She was very glad for our help. While we were hanging up the rest of the laundry, Susan and Loretta went over to Susan and Mose’s house and took her clothes off the lines. She had it still hanging from the day before, because it rained before it was dry. Elizabeth made soup and sandwiches for our lunch. After lunch Elizabeth, Susan and I brought all the laundry in while Verena and Loretta washed dishes and cleaned up the house. We folded most of the laundry and then we all headed back to our house.

Timothy and Mose had plans to go hunting together, so the girls stayed here for awhile before heading back home. It was a nice day to help each other. And what a sunshiny, warm autumn day, with temperature reaching the upper 80s! I’m sure days like that are numbered this year.

Sons Benjamin, 19, and Joseph, 16, went to help a family from our church district one evening this week. The husband is laid up from a farm accident and can’t work for several weeks. His wife is also not allowed to do much, as she is also under a doctor’s care. The boys carried a large pile of wood inside for them. We wish both of them health and a complete recovery. They have three small children.

Saturday was also a nice day, so the boys went fishing on the lake with Dustin, Loretta’s special friend. They were fishing for pike but didn’t have much success. They said it was relaxing, though, so no time was wasted.

Also on Saturday daughter Verena left with Emma and her special friend Menno to visit friends in a community about one-and-a-half hours away. They had supper with one of their friends.

Rainbow hues strike the eye as two-year-old granddaughter Abigail’s homemade dresses dry after washing.

As I was hanging out clothes on the lines at Timothy and Elizabeth’s house, it was so peaceful. They have 31 acres and the woods and river are right behind their house. A very lovely and scenic setting. Leaves have a tinge of color so it won’t be long before we will see our Master Artist’s magnificent scenery.

God’s blessings to all!

Pumpkin Pie Bread

3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2–3 cups sugar (use more or less sugar as desired)
1 cup oil (or applesauce)
4 eggs
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
1/2 cup water

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. In a separate bowl beat together sugar, oil (or applesauce), eggs and pumpkin. To this, add flour mixture alternately with the water. Pour into two large greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

Note: For best flavor, store wrapped in plastic wrap for one day at room temperature before serving.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Missing loved ones at a family reunion  

Photo by Grant Beachy

Missing loved ones at a family reunion

It was another hot and humid day with temperatures in the 90’s. Now we are having a thunderstorm. It might cool off after this. We are also getting a good soaking rain which we needed.

On Saturday we all attended the family gathering for my family at sister Emma and  Jacob’s. They had roasted a hog for the meat. I will try to remember some of the other foods brought in. Emma made several casseroles and then there was overnight salad, taco salad, cucumber salad, sliced tomatoes, hot peppers, cheese (several varieties), salsa, chips, venison, summer sausage, apple, cherry and bread pies, doughnuts, a variety of cookies, puddings, cakes, watermelon, cinnamon bread and so much!

I probably forgot to mention Sister Leah made the bread pie. I remember Mother making this pie a lot when she had an extra pie crust that needed to be filled when she was making pies. I will share her recipe of bread pie at the end of the column. It isn’t very hard to make at all and tastes better than you would think. It was always named Poor Man’s Bread Pie, probably because of the simple ingredients it takes.

If I counted right, the total of all our family members would be 133 without counting the ones that have passed away such as my dear parents, brother Amos, nieces Mary Shetler and Marilyn Schwartz. I counted around 75 (more or less) of our family who made it to the gathering. It was a low attendance this year. It is so hard to pick a day that suits everyone to come.

Also, it was my brother Amos and Nancy’s 35th wedding anniversary on Saturday. Although he has passed away our minds still were with him and Nancy. Nancy and family didn’t come for the gathering except their oldest daughter Susan, husband Joe, and family. They live in a community nearby, around 18-20 miles from here. We were glad to see them come but I know the day was hard on Susan. We all felt the emptiness and missed the presence of Amos and family.

Jacob and Emma had three big balls of gifts wrapped by plastic wrap to open; one was for the siblings, one for the nieces and nephews, and one for the great nieces and nephews. This is where one person is given the ball to unwrap and keep whatever little gifts fall out until the next person throws a certain number on a dice and then the ball gets passed on and on and at the end is the grand prize. It was exciting once the ball came close to being totally unwrapped.

Sister Liz won the grand prize for the siblings’ game which was $50.00 in a Tupperware container. Brother Albert’s daughter Sylvia won the same prize for the nieces and nephews’ game and LaRose (granddaughter of sister Liz and Levi) won the grand prize of the great nieces and nephews’ game which was a Tupperware tea set and $20. This was generous of Jacob and Emma to do this for everyone. Emma said she thought we might not feel like singing with brother Amos’s recent passing so she thought this would be better.

Before the six of us sisters parted, our daughters talked us into at least yodeling together for them so we sang a few yodeling numbers. What just made it worthwhile was little Abigail standing there trying to help us. When we would finish a song she would tell us to sing more.

Snacks were set out that everyone brought to enjoy before we all left for home. Next year, sisters Verena and Susan will take their turn hosting. Will we still all be together? Only God knows the future. Live every day as though it is your last.

On Sunday, September 2, son Kevin had his 13th birthday. We now have five teenagers in this house. Kevin had several friends come home from school with him Tuesday night and spend the night and go back on the bus with him the next day in honor of his birthday. The boys had a lot of fun!

On Sunday those here for an outdoor brunch were Jacob and Emma and family, Menno and Manuel, Timothy, Elizabeth and Abigail, Mose, Susan and Jennifer, Dustin, and sisters Verena and Susan. We made sausage gravy in a kettle over an open fire and cooked bacon on the grill. We also made biscuits plus ham and cheese omelet roll in the oven here in the house.

No more space to write so I’ll sign off wishing you all God’s blessings.

Poor Man’s Bread Pie

Bread crumbs
1 tablespoon flour
6 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
Milk

In an unbaked 9-inch pie shell, fill with crumbs of bread (can use up older pieces of bread) until full. Mix together flour, sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over bread crumbs. Fill crust with milk. Bake in a 375-degree oven until well set.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Family spreads out, barn needs fixing

Family spreads out, barn needs fixing

The last few days have been warmer and we sure enjoyed the sunshine! Now this morning it rained, but the sun is out again.

Son Joseph is harnessing our horse Mighty, so I can take the buggy to a garage sale. The sale is being held by a neighboring Amish family. They’re selling clothes, so I thought I might be fortunate and find some, to save time in sewing. Fabric seems to go up in price so it pays to buy garage-sale-priced clothes.

Last Thursday we attended the wedding reception of niece Lisa and Matthew in Berne, Indiana. It was cold and rainy. We arrived there about 2 p.m. I helped fill the peanut butter pies so my job was pretty easy.

On the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken, noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, grilled sausage links homemade bread, butter, and strawberry jam. Desserts were tapioca pudding and angel food cake topped with a mixture of whipped topping, cream cheese, and strawberry glaze, as well as pecan, cherry and peanut butter pies. “Nothings” [pastries] lined the tables on plates, a tradition in that area.

My brother Amos was raising hogs to make fresh sausage for this wedding meal; after he died, his sons Ben and Sam took over butchering the hogs to make the sausage. We enjoyed seeing the family but there was an empty spot without brother Amos there. It just doesn’t seem possible that Amos isn’t here anymore. We must accept God’s plan, but I can understand why it’s hard for Nancy (Amos’s wife) to go on. The wedding reception especially made us miss Amos even more.

We arrived back home that night around 11:30 p.m. It was a short night as we had to be up by 3 a.m. for Joe to leave for work at 3:45.

On Friday evening, Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan, Jennifer, and Loretta’ special friend Dustin joined us for supper. We played games afterwards.

Saturday morning early, my husband Joe and I went to Menards to get lumber to rebuild part of our haymow. It was getting weak from all the hay and needed more support. Joe also is making more space for hay. Our barn is old so it always needs some fixing up somewhere, but I guess it still works. Joe and the boys would like to build a few more horse stalls in there and move the chickens to a coop outside the barn. Dustin, nephew Henry, sons Benjamin and Joseph, and husband Joe worked on the haymow the rest of the day. They accomplished quite a bit.

Later, Dustin and Loretta, and daughter Verena left for a friend’s house for supper. Henry and Benjamin went to a birthday supper as well. Daughter Lovina was helping at Mose and Susan’s house and stayed the night. Lovina then came to church with them on Sunday. So that left just four of us home for supper: Joe, Joseph, Kevin and me. We had grilled cheese sandwiches and fried eggs, an easy meal.

A few families from church took supper in to Mose and Susan’s on Sunday evening. They wanted to visit after Jennifer was born but didn’t get around to it sooner. I left Lovina go home from church with Susan and Mose to help her with Jennifer. Susan was glad for Lovina’s help. Saturday afternoon and evening, Jennifer was being fussy, which makes it hard for Susan to get much done. The baby loves having her gums rubbed. At three months old, I really hope she isn’t pushing through teeth already.

Yesterday Elizabeth and Susan and their little girls came for the day. Our breakfast was biscuits and gravy. For lunch we had leftover Tater Tot casserole from the night before. The girls took Abigail outside in the afternoon. It was so nice and she enjoyed being outdoors again.

I’m eager to get outside myself and look for dandelion greens. These warm days should be bringing them up. Rhubarb is peeping through and so are spring flowers. I think I’m having a bout of spring fever.

Take care and God’s blessings to all!

Pecan Pie Muffins

Ingredients:
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped pecans
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini or regular muffin pan with liners. Mix brown sugar, flour, and chopped pecans. Stir. Add eggs and butter until combined. Spoon batter in muffin cups about ½ full. Bake for 12 minutes for mini, or 16 minutes for regular size muffins.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Butterscotch Pie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Butterscotch Pie

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

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

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

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

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

 

February Brings Snow Drifts, Baptism Services, and Butchering

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

February Brings Snow Drifts, Baptism Services, and Butchering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cashew Crunch

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

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

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.