Category Archives: Desserts

How Lovina and family will manage helping with two Amish weddings in one day!

June is here already! As I write this, tonight will be daughter Loretta’s eighth grade graduation at the school. This will be the fifth of our eight children completing their school years. Time slips by so fast. Life brings so many changes through the years.

Today, June 2, also marks five years now that daughter Verena, 17, had that bad brain concussion. At the time doctors told us that she will heal one hundred percent, but it will take time. We can now see what they meant, but there were some hard years for Verena and our family. How thankful we are. God is good and has given us many blessings.

This week is a very busy week with neighbor Joe and Susie’s wedding and nephew Ben and Lovina’s wedding, both on Thursday. We will work in both! We decided to go to Berne, Ind. and attend Ben and Lovina’s wedding, and after lunch, we’ll come back home and go to Joe and Susie’s wedding for the evening meal.

TableWaiterGift4
Table waiter gift for Verena at Ben and Lovina’s wedding, June 4, 2015.

I was asked to be cook at both weddings. Timothy and daughter Elizabeth were asked to be table waiters at both weddings. They were asked several weeks earlier to be table waiters at Joe and Susie’s wedding and had already said they would before Ben and Lovina’s plans were published. Joe and Susie bought the house just down the road from us and will be our new neighbors. Daughter Verena will be a table waiter at Ben and Lovina’s wedding. She will find a way home (back from Berne) with someone from my family. I need to do the finishing touches on her peacock colored dress suit yet. Elizabeth has to wear a tan colored suit to be table waiter.

Tomorrow morning I will go help bake pies for Joe and Susie’s wedding. I was also asked to help for Ben and Lovina’s wedding but since this is closer I’ll just walk over to help. I really wish both weddings wouldn’t have been on the same day but sometimes that happens.

The school will also have the school picnic on Thursday. Doors will close after the picnic until next term. They always do lots of fun things on the last day so Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin want to go to school. They will go with us to Joe and Susie’s wedding in the evening. Loretta can’t participate in a lot of the activities on fun day so she will go with us to Berne, Ind. My sisters Verena and Susan will travel with us to Berne and also come back for Joe and Susie’s wedding as they were asked to be dish washers. Usually the dish washers make sure all the dishes get packed back up in boxes and put in the wedding wagon. This takes a lot of the work load off the cooks and helps out cleaning up the next day.

GingerAndFilly1
Ginger and her newborn filly. Help the Eichers name her!

Our highlight of the week is our horse Ginger giving birth to a little filly. She is pure black like Itty Bit’s filly, Black Beauty. They could pass for twins but Black Beauty is a month older and has grown a lot.

GingersNewFilly+IttyBitAndBlackBeauty
Pastoral scene at the Eichers: newborn filly with her mother, Ginger, and Itty Bit with her growing filly Black Beauty, now a month old. Both colts are pure black!

We are still trying to figure out a name. Everyone has a different suggestion. Feel free to send your ideas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberries are in season. Try this cheesecake. God bless!

Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle

16 ounces cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
3/4 teaspoon almond extract, divided
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 angel food cake torn into bite-size pieces
2 quarts fresh strawberries thinly sliced
3 tablespoons sugar

In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add sour cream, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. Set aside.

In a small deep bowl, whip the cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and sugar. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Add cake pieces; set aside. Combine strawberries, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Layer together in a large clear glass dish starting with strawberries and then adding cake mixture. Continue layering, finishing with strawberries. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Serves 24.

 

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

 

 

Birthday celebration for Lovina includes eating out, new gas grill

I am already a day late in getting this column to my editors. I appreciate their patience.

Tomorrow morning we leave at 5:30 a.m. for nephew John and Arlene’s wedding day. Everything is sewn as needed for this wedding. I am making Verena’s dress, cape, and apron for nephew Ben’s wedding next week. It is the color peacock. I need to cut out and sew mine yet. I am supposed to wear periwinkle.

I want to thank all the readers for their happy birthday wishes. My 44th birthday was on Friday May 22. My husband Joe took the family and I out to eat at Ponderosa. What a treat! The children asked the waitresses and waiters to sing “Happy Birthday” to me. Joe also gave me a gas grill for my birthday. I have always wanted NewGrill2015one but Joe prefers to grill on a charcoal grill. I have it on my front porch and have used it to grill hamburgers and pork steak. It has a burner on the side which I’m sure I’ll use a lot this summer to cook on to keep the house cooler and cleaner.

Daughter Elizabeth is enjoying her week off from the RV factory. She is getting a lot of sewing done. She has two more weddings to sew dresses for, where Timothy and she will be table waiters.

Saturday the younger children helped me get most of the garden planted. I wasn’t going to put out as many plants since I’m short in space with the pole barn going up where my other garden was. I went to get my plants at the green house and should have been counting how many tomato and pepper plants I was getting. I like to try different varieties and before I knew it I had 80 tomato plants and 40 green pepper plants to squeeze in one garden. It looks like I’ll be canning lots of salsa, pizza, and spaghetti sauce, V-8, tomato juice, etc. That is if they all produce well.

The men are here today finishing the pole barn. It is looking really nice! Neighbors Joas and Susan walked over here last night to look at it. Their son is getting married next week and they will be our new neighbors. The wedding is at Joas and Susan’s house so they are really busy right now.

HorseBuggyMighty2015The horse “Mighty” that we bought from brother Amos is still doing great for us. Daughter Susan drove him to work one day. She picked up my sister Susan and another girl on her way to work. Susan is still training Prancer every chance she gets. They are putting in longer hours at nephew Emanul’s woodworking shop so her time is limited in the evenings.

Our thoughts and prayers are with a family in our community. The 49-year-old mother died of that dreadful disease, cancer. She was laid to rest last week. Her daughter is getting married in a few weeks. Our sympathy goes out to the lonely husband and children. May God help them through this difficult trial in life.

Readers of my mother’s former column requested that I share her CutOutColumnRhubarbCrunchrecipe with my new readers. They sent me a copy marked with several changes. They say it’s a winner!

Blessings to all you readers!

Rhubarb Crunch

3 cups rhubarb (cut into small pieces)
1 box strawberry or cherry Jell-O
1 box cake mix (yellow or white)
3/4 cup melted margarine or butter
1 10.5-ounce package marshmallows

Put rhubarb cuts in buttered 9×13 baking dish. Pour dry Jell-O and marshmallows over this. Pour dry cake mix over all of this and drizzle margarine on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.

 

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

 

Smells like spring: boiling fresh maple syrup and laundry drying outside

Spring will officially be here this week as I write this! Monday was a very beautiful day with the temperature going up in the 60s. We hung all the laundry outside to dry. It was so nice to be able to fold all the clothes and put them away the same day.

Susan’s friend Mose tapped all our maple trees for sap and also some of the trees at my sisters Verena and Susan’s place. He also tapped a few of neighbor Irene’s trees.

The sap is running but not as much as some years. Mose cooked the sap on Saturday and we now have fresh maple syrup. It is surprising how many gallons of sap it takes to get one gallon of maple syrup. A lot of work goes into it all.

BoilingMapleSyrup
Family friend Mose boils off some authentic maple syrup from the Eicher farm.

 

We all love the maple syrup. It tastes so much better on pancakes than pancake syrup. The children like to warm it and put it on vanilla ice cream.

CannedMapleSyrup
Five quarts of home canned real maple syrup taste way better than the store kind.

We had a nice day for Alvin and Susanna’s wedding last week. The wind was a little chilly but the sun was shining so that helped.

On the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, baked chicken, dressing, mixed vegetables, lettuce salad, sliced cheese, homemade bread, butter and strawberry jam, angel food cake with a strawberry topping, mixed fruit, and pecan, blueberry and cherry pies. Ice cream was also added for the evening meal. We wish Alvin and Susanna a long, happy married life together with all of God’s richest blessings!

We have several more wedding invitations for this spring. Joe’s cousin Ben and Elizabeth will exchange vows on April 3 in Rochester, Ind. They both lost their first partners. We wish them a happy, blessed life together!

Also, congratulations to Orlie Wayne and LaVera Ann! They will exchange vows on April 23. Joe and Orlie work at the same RV factory. We appreciate the invitations and hope to be able to attend.

We also received a “Save the Date” and an “invitation-to-follow” card from cousin Jane’s daughter Tiffany and her fiancé Samual. They plan to exchange vows on Sept. 5. Congratulations to the couple!

Our thoughts are with niece Suzanne, age 14 (sister Liz and Levi’s daughter). She has been in the hospital since Monday. She has asthmatic bronchitis pneumonia and a virus. We hope she will be well enough to go home soon and have a speedy recovery. It’s always a worry for the parents when our children are sick. Sounds like she was dehydrated with a high fever and was a very sick girl.

Sunday we had dinner with sisters Verena and Susan. Another beautiful day! The children enjoyed playing outside, biking, and riding the pony. Timothy and Mose also were there and sister Emma, Jacob, and family. Also their daughters’ friends, Menno and Manuel. Daughters Verena and Loretta spent the weekend in Indiana with friends so they weren’t there.

Joe and the boys took advantage of the nice weather on Saturday and hauled some manure out of the barn. I love spring! It’s always nice to see everything start blooming. I am keeping my eye open for those dandelion greens. Rhubarb stems should be peeping through too. This morning we had 23 degrees so we might have a few cold days yet.

A lady from our church shared this recipe with me. I bought the raised doughnut mix and cinnamon doughnut sugar at a bulk food store. I’m not sure if other stores would have it as well. Our children love these and it’s easier to make than doughnuts. Enjoy! God Bless!

RiseNRollBars1
Lovina’s recipe of the week is for an easy raised-type donut pastry, Rise and Roll Bars.

Rise and Roll Bars

2 packages yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 3/4 cups warm water
5 1/2 cups raised doughnut mix
1 1/2–2 cups cinnamon doughnut sugar (for topping)

Mix together yeast, sugar and warm water. Then add raised doughnut mix. Let rise 30–45 minutes. Knead and spread in a buttered 10 x 15 cookie sheet and let rise again for 30–45 minutes. Bake at 350° for 15–20 minutes.

Brown Sugar Frosting

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
3 cups powdered sugar

Cook together brown sugar and butter for 2–3 minutes. Add milk and bring to a boil. Take off heat and cool to lukewarm. Add powdered sugar. Spread bars with frosting then sprinkle with cinnamon doughnut sugar before the frosting dries.

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

Happy preparations for Thursday wedding include homemade angel food cake

We had a lot of fog this morning. The schools had a two-hour delay because of the fog. This made for some happy children!

It has been a lot warmer this week with the temperature almost reaching 50 degrees on Monday. Sure gives a person spring fever. I am hoping it will be nice and warm for Alvin and Susanna’s wedding tomorrow.

I went to help prepare for the wedding on Monday at the bride’s home. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan didn’t have to work so they helped Verena with the laundry. They hung some of it outside and it dried really well. I was glad the laundry was done when I came home.

Other women were at the bride’s home too, helping prepare for the wedding. Women made pie crusts and crushed corn flakes to mix with ranch seasoning to coat the chicken for the wedding meals. We smashed and prepared two five-gallon-sized buckets of crushed corn flakes. Then I helped make angel food cakes. All the ladies brought in something for lunch which makes it so much easier on the bride’s mother. I took macaroni salad. There was so much left over I sent it with one of the ladies to the visitation for a man from our community. He passed away on Saturday evening and has lots of relatives in this community.

Lovina and daughters have been busy sewing new outfits for the wedding where they helped as cooks or servers.
Lovina and daughters have been busy sewing new outfits for the wedding where they helped as cooks or servers.

Yesterday I spent part of the day sewing on my dress for the wedding. The cooks have to wear a plum-colored dress. Mose and Susan are witnesses and Susan has to wear a purple dress with a white cape and apron. Timothy and Elizabeth are table waiters and Elizabeth will wear a different shade of purple for her dress, cape, and apron. The boys have to wear black pants and vests with white shirts. My job at the wedding will be to help prepare the chicken. It will all be baked for both meals.

The sun is shining brightly now and the fog has faded. I still need to finish sewing my cape for tomorrow, so that’s next on my list. Our snow is disappearing fast and the ground is getting really soft. We need some sidewalks from the ramp to the driveway. Hopefully the sun will help dry out the ground. The melting snow needs somewhere to go.

The Eicher family’s new cow, Bessie, eagerly provided the cream for the butter.
The Eicher family’s new cow, Bessie, eagerly provided the cream for the butter.

The children have been helping make butter from our cow Bessie’s cream that we get from her milk. I am hoping to get a butter churn or an easier way to make butter than shaking it in a jar. It is nice to not have to buy butter and milk now. Our children like the taste of homemade butter so we will be making lots more. Everyone takes turns shaking the jars and we soon have a lump of butter formed.

Butter
Lovina and her family make butter from the milk they get from their cow, Bessie.

 

We also have our own chickens so we have eggs and can make noodles from those.

This week I will share the recipe of the angel food cakes we made for the wedding tomorrow. After helping to make so many, I memorized the recipe.

Angel Food Cake (White)

Beat until foamy:
2 cups egg whites

Add:
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond flavoring

Beat in until stiff peaks form:
1 cup of white sugar, sifted

Sift together and fold in gradually:
1 cup pastry or cake flour
1 cup powdered sugar

Pour into angel food cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until cake feels springy.

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

New cow provides cream for homemade treat


March! This year is going way too fast for me!

Daughter Verena and I just came in from milking our new cow, Bessie, and doing the outside chores. Son Joseph usually takes care of feeding the horses. I left the school children sleep later this morning so there wasn’t enough time. We are getting plenty of milk from Bessie.

BessieCow

I haven’t milked a cow since I was married almost 22 years ago. It was fun to milk a cow again but not something I want to do daily. The boys have been milking Bessie at night. Until Joseph gets faster at it, Verena and I usually milk her in the mornings. I can feel my arms aren’t used to it anymore.

When I was seven years old I started helping to milk our cows at home. Every morning and evening we had 12 to 14 cows we milked by hand. When Joe and I were married my parents gave us a milk cow, but Joe always milked her as I was always busy with the little children. Now our children aren’t so little anymore; this makes a person sometimes wish time would slow down.

Friday evening quite a few people attended the birthday party for niece Salome at the community building. Our family attended and so did Timothy and Mose. Guests played basketball and volleyball and also other games. Some of us sat and visited after supper. The community building is a nice, big place to have such an event in the cold winter months.

Joe’s sister Christine, Jake, and nine children came here for the night after the birthday supper. They were here until Saturday afternoon.

Saturday morning for breakfast we had biscuits, sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, cheese, hot peppers, coffee, milk, grape juice, and rhubarb juice.

For the noon meal Joe and Mose grilled ham and hot wings. Jake and his sons froze ice cream. Christine mixed the ingredients for the ice cream. We used the cream off of our cow’s milk. It sure makes so much better tasting ice cream. I also made a pasta casserole to have with the grilled meat and ice cream.

IceCream

The forenoon was spent playing games. Verena also had some friends over so there were plenty of people to play games.

Matthew (Jake and Christine’s son) and son Kevin had a hard time going to sleep Friday evening. They were so excited about being able to spend the night together.

Daughter Susan took Edwin and Rosetta (Jake and Christine’s two youngest children) for a pony ride with Tiger, our pony. Matthew and Kevin also went along. It was a cold ride but they dressed warm and enjoyed it! Daughter Lovina and Jake’s daughter Miriam also went along for the pony ride.

Kevin went to bed before dark Saturday evening and slept until the next morning. He was very tired from a long day and not sleeping much Friday evening.

Sunday we spent the day at home. Our afternoon visitors were nephews Jacob Jr. and Benjamin, and niece Emma, and her special friend Menno. Timothy and Mose were here for the day as well. The boys froze another batch of ice cream. Our children like my new ice cream recipe a lot better. I’ll share it with you this week. God’s blessings to all!

Homemade Ice Cream

6 cups cream
6 eggs
3 1/2 cups sugar
6 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 or 2 small boxes of instant vanilla pudding

Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Freeze in your ice cream freezer according to directions.

 

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

Ringing in the new year with a party for 24

This is the final day of 2014 as I write. A brand new year awaits us. May God be our guide as we travel into the unknown future.

Sister Emma, Jacob and family, and sisters Verena and Susan and all the girls’ special friends plan to be here for supper tonight. We will then play games such as Aggravation, Mancala, Connect Four, checkers, and various other games to keep 24 people entertained until midnight. The children enjoy staying awake to see the new year arrive. Joe and I would much rather get some extra sleep, but it’s fun to see the excitement. Everyone will sleep here and we will have brunch together tomorrow. We will set up beds and air mattresses in the basement for the boys and the rest will sleep upstairs or on the couches. The number of people has grown from last year. We add tables to our big dining room table, making enough room to set it up for 24. We will have a gift exchange too.

Saturday evening the youth in our church district went Christmas caroling to the older people in the church and neighborhood. Instead of having to deal with snow, it was rain. It wasn’t too bad until they were all back at our neighbor’s. The 30 youth all gathered here earlier in the month to exchange names and play games. How blessed we can be to have such a well-behaved group. Everyone brought snacks and we had hot dog sandwiches. Saturday evening they all took snacks to enjoy after caroling. The girls were happy with the gifts they received.

SnacksNewYearsEve

Timothy brought us a deer one evening. It was a big doe and had a lot of meat. Joe wants to make summer sausage and jerky with it. Yesterday Mose sent a 5-gallon bucket full of deer meat from a doe he shot yesterday morning. We are so thankful for the meat. We all love jerky so the children are hoping Joe gets some made before going back to work.

On Sunday our church had its annual Christmas potluck. There was so much food. Pasta casseroles, potato casseroles, ham and cheese sandwiches, a variety of salads, pies, cakes, bars, cookies, puddings, etc. There was more than enough food.

We still don’t have snow. We have a few flurries now and then. It’s so different than last year.

Yesterday morning the mercury on the thermometer dipped down to a cold 12 degrees for a while. Son Benjamin, 15, left for work around 5:30 a.m. Then around 6 a.m., Joe, son Joseph, 12, and I traveled the eight miles to town to get some groceries. The ride was nice and cozy with the heater going in the buggy. How spoiled we feel since we used to travel in an open buggy when we lived in Indiana. When we made the move to Michigan almost 11 years ago I needed time to adjust to driving in a covered buggy. Now I would have a hard time getting used to driving in an open buggy—especially in the rain and cold winter months.

I made cinnamon rolls and Long John rolls over the Christmas holiday. I’ll share the recipe for Long John rolls.

LongJohnsFried

Long John Rolls

1 cup lukewarm water
2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
6 to 7 cups bread flour
Vegetable oil for frying

Frosting, optional

Pour the water into a small bowl, and then add the yeast and stir until completely dissolved. Set aside. Scald the milk and let cool to lukewarm. Add the milk to the dissolved yeast.

Blend together eggs, butter or margarine, sugar, salt, and nutmeg until well blended, and then add to the milk and yeast mixture. Gradually add flour until the dough is elastic and easy to handle. Knead until you form a round ball. Put in a bowl and cover with wax paper. Put it in a warm place and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Punch down and divide the dough into 2 large pieces. Roll out each piece to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut into 7-inch oblong pieces. Let rise again.

FryingLongJohns

Heat vegetable shortening in a deep pan to a depth of 2 to 3 inches until very hot. Fry the rolls in batches until golden, 2 minutes on each side. Frosting may be added if desired, once the rolls have cooled.

Long John rolls cannot be frozen or stored; they should be eaten the day they are made.

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

Fond memories—and peanut butter cups—grace year’s end

We are almost to the end of 2014. A brand new year lies ahead. What will it have in store for us? If we would know, would we be able to go on? Anything is possible if we let God lead the way and keep our full trust in him.

As I sit here thinking of how my family always spent New Year’s Day, a lot of memories come to my mind. When my maternal grandparents were still living they would have their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren home for the Christmas gathering. The day would start out early. We would get up early to get the cows milked and have breakfast. We lived very close to my grandparents, so some of the uncles, aunts and cousins would start gathering at our house as soon as breakfast was done.

It would still be very dark outside, and all of us children would be so excited. We would all walk over to my grandparents’ house in the dark, and sometimes we had a lot of snow to trudge through. We lived on a road that wasn’t traveled much back then, so it was an enjoyable walk. My grandparents had eight children and more than 80 grandchildren. Uncle Henry and Aunt Barbara lived in the big house attached to Grandpa and Grandma’s little house. They would set up tables in their dining room and living room to seat all the adults and the older children. The younger ones were fed before everyone else ate.

When we arrived at Grandpa and Grandma’s, all of us would stand outside their door singing the traditional New Year’s Song in German. The New Year’s Song is a song wishing everyone a good year. The English translation is as follows:

’Tis time now to welcome the happy new year,
God grant you to live and enjoy the new year.
Good fortune and blessings to dwell in your home,
God grant you such blessings in this year in your home.
In heaven before the great heavenly throne,
God grant thee reward in that heavenly home.
In closing this year we repeat this one wish,
God grant you on high once that heavenly bliss.

While it was being sung, everyone would go into the house. All of us grandchildren would line up to take our turn to wish Grandpa and Grandma a happy new year and give them a kiss. They would sit in their hickory rocking chairs.

After the noon meal was over and the dishes were all washed, Grandpa and Grandma would pass out gifts to all of us. For the grandchildren it was usually a dish of some kind, or a mug. And we would all get a lunch-sized bag with candy and an orange in it. I remember how my cousins and I would dump all our candy out of our bags and look at it before putting it back in our bags to take home. My mother would mark all the dishes they gave us and what year we got them. When I got married, I had a different dish or mug for every year.

After Grandpa and Grandma died, my parents always had our family Christmas gathering on New Year’s Day. We would all gather there for breakfast and set the tables again for the noon meal.

I will share with you my mother’s recipe for peanut butter cups. She would make these every Christmas season. She would have to hide them from us children as we loved them so much!

I wish all of you God’s richest blessings in the New Year 2015 and always!

Peanut Butter Cups

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

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

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

Christmas countdown energizes Eicher children

Christmas Day is only days away. Daughter Lovina, 10, and son, Kevin, 9, are keeping track of exactly how many days. Every morning they mark off another day on the calendar. Oh, to be so young and carefree, with only worries such as how many days there are until Christmas!

Lovina and Kevin will both be in the elementary school Christmas program on Thursday evening. Next year Lovina will be a fifth grader and in middle school. This is her last Christmas program and Kevin has only next year—unbelievable! My husband Joe and I used to sit in the audience with the little ones while our older children were in the program. Now the six oldest children are back in the audience sitting with us, and our two youngest children are in the program.

On Friday the school will only have a half day of school. Lovina and Kevin’s classes are having a gift exchange. Kevin is so worried that he doesn’t have his gift wrapped yet. I want to make snacks for their party, and he reminds me every evening not to forget.

We were disappointed to hear that our children’s bus driver, Rich, has quit driving the bus route. He was a great bus driver to our children for almost eleven years. Daughter Loretta, 14, with her handicap needs more time to walk out to the bus and to get up the steps. Rich was always very patient and caring. So far they have had only a substitute driver, but the children are hoping the next bus driver will be like Rich was. We wish Rich well at his new job.

Joe will have his forty-sixth birthday on Monday, Dec. 22. I want to have a birthday supper in his honor but am undecided yet which night to have it.

On Sunday the women in our church all decided what each one of us would bring to the annual Christmas potluck. I plan to take a large roaster with a pasta casserole. The potluck will be after our next church services, which will be on Dec. 28.

Joe and I will have our family Christmas on Christmas Day. The children usually want to open their presents before they eat, so we usually end up having a brunch. May we always remember the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the season!

I wish all of you readers a joyous Christmas that brings blessings of peace and hope now and through the coming year 2015. May each of you stay healthy and enjoy being with family and friends through the holiday season. And most importantly, let us thank our Heavenly Father for bringing Jesus our Savior into the world so that our sins can be forgiven. Blessed wishes to all!

This week I will share with you the recipe for sour cream cut-out cookies. We like this recipe to make Christmas cookies.

Making sour cream cut-out cookies takes time—to mix up the dough, roll them out, cut out and bake—but the Eicher family comes back to this recipe year after year.
Making sour cream cut-out cookies takes time—to mix up the dough, roll them out, cut out and bake—but the Eicher family comes back to this recipe year after year.

Sour Cream Cut-Out Cookies

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

Frosting:
1/3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar, divided
1/2 cup milk
food coloring (optional)
colored sprinkles (optional)
chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. 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 it forms soft but firm dough. Roll the dough out to a 1/2-inch thickness on a floured surface. Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut out the dough. Place the shapes on the prepared pan.

Bake until 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.

To make the frosting: Cream the shortening, vanilla and 1 cup powdered sugar. Gradually add the milk and the rest of the powdered sugar, beating constantly. More powdered sugar can be added to make a thicker icing. Food coloring can also be added. Spread the frosting on the cooled cookies. Decorate with colored sprinkles or chocolate chips if desired.

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

Mother-daughter bonding and festive treats for the season

First of all, a happy 17th birthday to daughter Verena today, December 10. How could those 17 years have gone by so fast? I am glad to have Verena here at home during the day. It’s good to have someone to help me with cooking, cleaning, laundry, sewing, and all that goes with keeping a house going with a family of ten. Every one of the girls has helped me before getting a full-time job. This is a precious time to me: spending time with my daughters and making a lot of memories together that we will always treasure.

It is also a great learning experience for them to learn how to do sewing, canning, baking and cooking. I helped my mother after I was out of school, and I remember how precious it was to work and talk together. Not only was she my mother but also my best friend. I want the same friendship with my children. My daily prayer is to be a good example to my children and to always guide them to live the life God wants.

Since Verena’s special friend, Marvin, lives a couple hours away, we decided to surprise Verena on Sunday while he was here visiting in Michigan. Others who came in honor of Verena’s birthday were Timothy and Mose; Jacob, Emma and family; their daughters’ friends, Menno and Manuel; and also my sisters Verena and Susan.

On the menu was barbequed chicken, hot wings and T-bone steaks, mashed potatoes, chicken gravy, dressing, corn, potato salad, lettuce salad, sliced cheese, homemade bread, butter, strawberry jam, peanut butter pies and a variety of Christmas candy. Verena had another surprise when Marvin presented a Dairy Queen ice cream cake to her with candles for her to blow out.

Lovina's family celebrated daughter Verena's 17th birthday with a surprise party.
Lovina’s family celebrated daughter Verena’s 17th birthday with a surprise party.

I forgot to mention that Barbara, a friend of our daughters, was also here for Verena’s birthday. She and Verena were born not too far apart, and Barbara’s mother and I both had the same midwife. Right after Verena was born at 6:32 a.m., someone came to our house to get the midwife, because Barbara was being born. Happy birthday wishes to Barbara!

Christmas is only a couple weeks away. Joe and I did some shopping on Saturday. Verena is wrapping some of the gifts this afternoon. I don’t mind that job, but it seems I always have something else that needs to be done. I have a meeting at the school this afternoon.

I would like to thank Carol from Washington for the four 1,000-piece puzzles she sent. We will have lots of fun putting them together this winter. And also a thank you to all the rest of you readers for your encouraging letters!

This week I’m going to share my recipe for popcorn balls. Mother made these every Christmas. She would put red food coloring in the syrup to give them a reddish color. I usually do half of them with red food coloring and half with green. It gives them a Christmas look during the holidays.

Lovina's family celebrated Verena's 17th birthday with a surprise party.
Lovina shares her recipe for popcorn balls this week.

God’s blessings to all!

Popcorn Balls

2 1/2 quarts of popcorn (popped)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
food coloring (optional)

Cook sugar, water, salt, and syrup to a very hard-ball stage (256 degrees). Add vinegar and vanilla (and food coloring if desired) to light crack stage (270 degrees). Pour slowly over popcorn. Mix well to coat every kernel. Press into balls and cool.

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

Remembering holidays with parents, plus pumpkin roll recipe

Monday morning and another rainy day here. Such a change from the snow and cold weather we had a week ago. The house is almost too warm now with the coal stove going. We have some windows open and the stove turned down so it’s not too bad.

I’m writing this column earlier in the week because of the upcoming holiday. This week will go fast with Thanksgiving Day on Thursday.

Brother Albert and Sarah Irene have the family gathering on that day. With all the weddings in the family this year they had a hard time finding a date. This is actually a late 2013 Christmas gathering. Sister Liz and Levi will host the 2014 Christmas gathering but they will probably have it next year sometime. Every year the family gets bigger, so some want the gathering during the warmer months. I miss the years when my parents were still here and would have all of us children and grandchildren home on New Year’s Day. Some of us would go the night before and spend the night there. Mom would always have a big breakfast for all of us. We would set the tables so everyone could sit down at once.

After breakfast dishes were washed, we would open the gifts. Then we would prepare the food for dinner and the tables were set again. We all enjoyed snacks before everyone left for home in the evening, although I don’t think many were hungry. Yes, we have many fond memories of those years we could spend with our parents. Parents seem to hold the family ties closer together.

Last Thursday was a cold, windy day for the wedding in Rochester, Ind., of Edwin and Rosa Mae. The sun was shining though. My husband Joe, daughter Loretta, and I traveled the two hours to attend the wedding.

We were served a delicious meal of barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, mixed vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower salad, several kinds of cheese, homemade bread, butter, jam, tapioca pudding, mixed fruit, cake, and three kinds of pies—apple, cherry, and pumpkin. Candy bars were passed around at the end of the meal.

Since the rest of the family wasn’t with us we decided not to stay for the evening meal. Joe was glad to see where his cousin Leander lives. Edwin is Leander’s son and the reception was held at Leander and Rosina’s (his parents).

We were glad to see cousins, uncles, and aunts at the wedding. We arrived home around 5:30 p.m. We were thankful that although the weather was bad the day before, the roads were clear on Thursday and traveling was good. We wish God’s blessings to the couple and may they have a long, happy married life together.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

This week I’ll share with you my pumpkin roll recipe. I like to make one or two every Thanksgiving Day.

PumpkinRoll-1

Lovina’s pumpkin roll

Homemade Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup fresh pumpkin
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup chopped nuts

Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces whipped topping

Beat eggs for five minutes with a wooden spoon. Or, for those with electricity, a mixer can be used. Add sugar and pumpkin. Beat well and add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Grease cookie sheet (with edges) and pour ingredients onto pan. Cover with nuts. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and, while hot, transfer onto a towel that has been sprinkled generously with powdered sugar. Roll up. When cool, unroll and spread with filling.

To make the filling, stir cream cheese, sugar, margarine, vanilla, and whipped topping until smooth. Spread on baked pumpkin base. Reroll and refrigerate for at least one hour. Slice and serve.

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