Tag Archives: Amish Baking

Camping and Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Another week has gone by and it’s time to pen this column again. It is 4:30 a.m. and both boys are off to work. The rest are still asleep. I could use a few more winks myself, but first I need to make sure this column is done.

We had a few warm days with the temperature almost hitting 90 degrees. We had thunder in the distance last night, but the storm missed us.

This is son Kevin’s last week of “school” before they come around to pick up his completed work. I wish he would have been able to have his 8th grade graduation, but such is life. It will really be different to not have any of our children in school anymore. It’s another reminder that we aren’t getting any younger.

Our whole family went camping over Memorial Day weekend. It was enjoyable to spend a few days and nights together. It was so enjoyable to wake up and see the grandchildren still sound asleep from a hard day.

A pontoon boat is just one of several boats the Eichers enjoyed riding and fishing from while camping. Photo provided.

We enjoyed pontoon rides, fishing, swimming, campfires, and, of course, making s’mores—those sticky, messy s’mores. Grandson T.J. was bound and determined to roast his own marshmallows for his s’more. Of course, we didn’t let him eat that marshmallow. It was dragged around in the sand before it ever hit the fire. He had so much fun doing that, and he doesn’t know we switched the marshmallow with a clean one. That little boy puts in many miles in a day’s time. When granddaughter Jennifer, age two, and T.J. get together, you better be on the lookout. Those two can find something to get into pretty fast. Such sweet and precious blessings. Abigail had lots of fun in the water, but she decided one time down the water slide was enough. She didn’t like the big splash-landing in the lake.

The Eichers enjoyed camping at a private spot on a nearby lake over the Memorial Day weekend. Photo provided.

The men did a lot of fishing, so we will have a fish fry one night with all the fish they caught. We also depended on them to do the grilling. Camping is fun, but it always seems like we snack too much.

Ryan is 10 months old today. He enjoyed the pontoon rides and swinging in the swing by the lake. Baby Allison is 5 months old today. She is such a bright-eyed, active little girl. She has bright blue eyes and not much hair. Abigail loves holding her little sister.

It is funny to see Ryan and Jennifer get into a little squabble about wanting the same thing. Ryan’s scream can get loud when he’s annoyed. Jennifer has an ornery look on her face and you can almost see when she’s ready to start some mischief. I could go on and on about my sweet little grandchildren, to which I’m sure all you grandmothers can relate. Our family, when together, is a total of 19 already, so we are quite a group.

Loretta’s special friend Dustin went with us. Also, daughter Lovina has a special friend too now. His name is Matthew, and he also went camping with us. There was not one dull moment all weekend and by the time Tuesday morning came around, I was still tired. Tired, but happy I could spend celebrating my birthday weekend with my loving family making memories, precious memories! Do I thank God often enough for all the blessings in life? With my husband Joe still laid off from work, the load seems a little heavier, but we are so blessed and need to be thankful for all we have.

Daughter Lovina, son Kevin, and I helped Joe finish planting the rest of the gardens. I really hope to get some more sweet corn in there somewhere.

Thank you to the readers, friends, and family for your birthday cards and gifts. May God bless you for your kindness! It was greatly appreciated. Take care. Stay healthy and safe!

 

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
8 ounces Greek yogurt, plain or vanilla
12 ounces fresh strawberries, diced

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 10-inch Bundt pan. Sift together 2 1/4 cups flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix in lemon zest and set aside. With a hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time then stir in lemon juice. Alternate beating in the flour mixture and yogurt, mixing just until incorporated. Toss the strawberries with the remaining 1/4 cup flour and gently stir them into the batter. Pour batter into Bundt pan and bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool at least 20 minutes in pan, then turn onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Glaze: Whisk together and drizzle over top of cake when completely cooled.

 

 

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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Birthdays and Rhubarb Custard Pie

We are having a cool May, making it a challenge to put any plants out in the garden yet. Yesterday the temperature hit the mid-60 mark, but the air had a chill in it.

Son Joseph doesn’t have to work today, so I will probably go to town with him this morning to get him new shoes and a few other things he needs for work. It is a little after 4:00 a.m. and son Benjamin left for his job. Everyone else is still in bed, so I am going to take advantage to write this column while all is quiet. Tomorrow Benjamin will be home, as they are on four-day work weeks, and Joseph will go to work. Hopefully it will be a nice day to do laundry again.

I received new cable-coated wash lines and new laundry baskets for my birthday, which is next week (May 22). I was very happy for the new lines, as I had a few lines break on me recently. It isn’t fun when your clean clothes need to be rewashed. I didn’t have cable-coated lines before, so the lines would break, and I would patch them up with wire. I think these lines should hold out for many years. It’s nice to hang up blankets and not have to watch so that they don’t touch the ground. My husband Joe and son Benjamin put the new lines up and put a fence stretcher on the end of each one so the lines stay in place.

I was also spoiled with flowers and meals brought in from my children on Mother’s Day. I felt honored and so unworthy of it all. It makes me so glad to be a mother to eight wonderful children. Each one holds a part of my heart and I can’t complain about any of them. They treat me like a queen and I thank God each day that he made me their mother. So often I fail as a mother, but I keep on doing my best, which is all we can do.

My sister Susan had her 44th birthday on Sunday, May 10 (Mother’s Day). The girls and I spent yesterday at her and sister Verena’s house. Sister Emma and her two daughters were also there. My sister Susan loves making cards and so do a few of the girls, so there was a table set up for that. Emma and I helped set up a flower bed for Susan outside, and just sitting around spoiling our grandchildren was enjoyable! I do not have enough patience to sit and make cards, but it’s nice to see the ideas they come up with. Abigail really took an interest in it.

Daughter Lovina’s 16th birthday will be in a few days, on May 18. Is it possible that 16 years went by so fast? She will be with the youth group now and son Kevin will be the only one of our children still not with the youth. That makes us feel older. Next year Kevin will also be in the youth group. Time goes much too fast.

We are enjoying many meals of asparagus and also rhubarb fixed in different ways. I still haven’t canned my rhubarb juice.

A reader has asked how we run electricity to use our vacuum sealer. We use a generator to run the meat grinder, slicer, and the sealer on the days that we butcher meat. Our solar power would not power all this, so we rely on the generator to do jobs like that.

I will share my mother’s recipe for rhubarb custard pie. This is for a 9-inch pan. When making and testing recipes for my cookbook, we discovered what a big difference it is to say “9-inch pie plate” rather than “9-inch deep pie plate.” Thus, the rhubarb custard recipe in my cookbook is a little different than my usual recipe, as I normally use the flat 9-inch pie plates. The rhubarb custard pies I made did not last long.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Rhubarb Custard Pie

1 1/2 cup rhubarb
2 tablespoons flour
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cream or whole milk

 

 

Mix all ingredients and pour in unbaked 9-inch pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

Fishing outings and home projects

We are all still home from the “stay home, stay safe” order due to the coronavirus.

We were to host church services this past Sunday but church services in our community were postponed until further notice. Maybe too often we take going to church for granted. It didn’t seem right to not meet with our fellow church members to worship God. We were home reading from the scriptures in the Bible, still honoring our Heavenly Father. I know that we have so much more family time while all this is going on.

My husband Joe and the boys head for the lake with our boat when they get too bored and need a way to relax. They came home tonight with their limit of bluegill which helps a lot on the grocery bill when they aren’t bringing in money at their jobs while things are closed.

With church being delayed we have time to get some more jobs done around here. We are painting our basement walls with Drylok paint that helps keep moisture out. It seems since we had a fire a few years ago, with all the water ending up in our basement, it has been more damp down there. Hopefully sealing off the walls with white paint will also brighten it up. It’s really looking good so far.

Joe has also set up a mini greenhouse and is growing some vegetable plants from seed. It is very small but it’s a start. He enjoys doing that. I told him when he started planting seeds in trays that I am not interested in that, so he said I don’t have to help. It’s kind of like a hobby to him but it will save us money to grow our own tomato, pepper, etc. plants. If he’s willing to do it, I won’t complain.

The girls made pizza tonight using the pizza dough recipe in my new cookbook, Amish Family Recipes. I will share the recipe at the end of this column.

This is now over a day later and I neglected to finish this column. Yesterday was spent painting in the basement again. I am sore from using muscles I don’t use every day. Our basement walls have a brick like finish, so it is taking much longer than I had anticipated. I love how it looks though, so it is worthwhile.

Joe and the boys took the boat out on a nearby lake again and came home with their limit of bluegill. The fish were filleted and bagged for the freezer. We will have quite a few meals of fish now. It warmed up to 75 degrees yesterday so they were a little sunburned. Joe put some chicken on the grill and that was our supper. We sat outside and ate it from the grill. It was nice but then started cooling off fast.

This morning it’s windy and 45 degrees and the temperature keeps dropping. Joe is going to put a little heat out in the greenhouse. We had let our coal stove go out since it has been so warm. We might have to start it up again, but Joe wants to clean it up first. It shouldn’t be too long before we can let it go out for the summer.

Easter will be on Sunday, reminding us of Jesus’ resurrection. Easter brings hope! Let us keep our faith! Until next week, stay healthy, be safe, and may God bless each of you!

 

My Favorite Pizza Dough

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour

In a medium bowl, mix water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add oil, salt, and flour and mix well. Press dough into a greased 10×15-inch jellyroll pan. Layer on sauce and toppings of choice and bake at 350 degrees until crust is golden brown, about 30 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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Morning Maple Muffins from the new Lovina Eicher cookbook

 It’s a rainy Wednesday evening here in Michigan. Supper is over and the girls are washing dishes. I decided to sit here at the kitchen table and get started on this column. The girls are talking to each other, so my mind wanders over to them, making the task of writing a little difficult. The boys are taking their showers and things are slowing down for the day here at the Eicher farm.

The girls made hamburger potato skillet casserole for our supper. It is made with hamburger, onions, potatoes, cream of mushroom soup, and Colby cheese, layered in a skillet.

Son Kevin, 14, has been having school here at home this week due to school doors closing because of the coronavirus. Kevin’s teacher brings him his work whenever he needs some more. Kevin goes to a small public school of around 300 students in K-12 that is located about three miles from here. The Amish schools have all closed their doors as well here in Michigan.

It is hard to get groceries that are needed when the shelves are emptying fast. We have plenty of meat in the freezer and canned goods, but items such as toilet and Kleenex tissues were off the shelves. I am not one to stock up on such items, as they are usually available in the stores. Once in a while when they go on sale, I buy a few more packs than needed. Of course, with eight people in the house, it takes quite a bit already.

The first store I went to was out of toilet tissue and Kleenex. The second store had a few six-roll packs of toilet tissue left, which of course I took, but they were out of Kleenex and all the other brands except the very small purse size packs. I took some, as not everyone’s nose is okay with paper towels. Yes, fortunately, I was able to get paper towels. I know a lot of people use hankies, but I never did just because I really think it’s carrying germs to use it over and over.

I also remember well when I used cloth diapers. I was one of the mothers that, if our paycheck allowed it, added disposable diapers to our grocery list. Of course, with my children being closer in age and having more than one child in diapers, that wasn’t always possible.

I was telling our children how well I remember going to church as a little girl and, at some places, there wasn’t any toilet tissue in their outhouses—only newspaper and magazines. They were amazed that one would even consider using that. Yes, times have changed and life goes on but one thing will never change and that is our almighty God! Let us not fear but keep our trust in Him. He will take care of us in times of need. We do want to use common sense though with this virus. I pray all of you will stay healthy and safe. God will provide if we put our full trust in Him.

Lovina’s sons-in-law Tim and Mose have been busy tapping Maple trees for syrup. They use bags now to collect the sap instead of buckets.
Cooking maple syrup.
Photo provided.

Meanwhile, our sons-in-law Tim and Mose have cooked a lot of sap into maple syrup from the trees in the woods beside Tim and Elizabeth’s house. A reader asked if the bags they use are reusable; they are not. They gather the sap with the horse and wagon, and the bags are emptied into the buckets on the wagon, then taken to the cooker to cook down, which takes hours and hours.

I was very excited to receive my brand new cookbook. The pages are so crisp and new. I’m looking back at all the hard work we put into it, and now the finished product. I will share a recipe from the book that uses maple syrup.

God bless!

 

Morning Maple Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped nuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold butter

In a large bowl combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl combine milk, melted butter, maple syrup, sour cream, beaten egg, and vanilla. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.

Topping: Combine flour, sugar, chopped nuts, and cinnamon; cut in cold butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 400 degrees for 16-20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before placing muffins on wire rack.

 

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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Spring cleaning and a horse chase

March! Spring is just around the corner! Our snow from last week has all melted. We took advantage of it and made ice cream in the hand cranked ice cream freezer. I always love the taste of homemade ice cream.

My husband Joe and son Benjamin left for work this morning at 3:40 a.m. Son Joseph’s ride will be here at 5:00 a.m. but he won’t be able to go. He got up during the night feeling really dizzy. I made him take his temperature and he has a fever. He started with a bad head cold which doesn’t help.

Our days are filled mostly with cleaning the house. It feels good to see the rooms clean and refreshed. Yesterday daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their children spent the day here. Some of my kitchen cabinets were cleaned and organized.

Today my sisters Verena and Susan plan to come help. Sounds like the temperature will hit the 50-degree mark, so plans are to clean all the windows in the upstairs bedrooms. There are ten windows up there. We wash our windows with white vinegar and water and wipe them off with flour sack towels that have not been washed in fabric softener. It sure makes sparkling windows. It really bothers me to see the windows in the main living area dirty. When the sun shines on them you can see they need a good cleaning. It will feel good to be able to open windows when warmer weather arrives. It freshens up the house after a winter of dust from the coal stove. I always enjoy hearing the birds chirping in the morning when the windows are open.

Yesterday when the girls were here, two of our horses found a post that was loose and managed to squeeze through the fence. Fortunately, someone saw it before more horses got through. We dropped what we were doing and ran to get them before they headed down the road. Susan ran in the barn and grabbed a scoop of grain and lured them to her. Our border collie dog Buddy thinks he knows how to round them up but he makes it worse. He goes in front of them instead of behind them. He has probably had too many bad results from their flying hooves.

After the horses were back in the barnyard, those horses knew where the bad post was and headed back there. The girls and I did our best to tie ropes around it to make it more secure until my husband Joe and sons could come home to repair it. Just for safety we pushed the buggy in front of the fence. It looked funny but it worked. Last night the men put in a new post so today will hopefully not include a horse chase.

We had pancakes, fresh sausage, and scrambled eggs for breakfast. The little ones ate by the little picnic table that we moved into the house from the front porch. They wanted their food on the little toy plates so we washed the little plates and small pots and pans and set their table. I really do think they ate better because they could use the tea set and small dishes.

For lunch we made One Kettle Soup to eat with cheese and crackers. Daughter Lovina made fruit dip and brownies to have with apple slices and ice cream.

Several of the girls took all the little ones outside except baby Allison. It was nice and sunny and the temperature was 45 degrees. They enjoyed watching their uncle Kevin come off the bus. It refreshed them to go outside awhile.

Baby Allison’s new cap and coat, handmade by Lovina’s daughter Elizabeth.

Baby Allison looked so cute in the new cap and coat daughter Elizabeth made for her and wrapped in the baby bunting a kind reader made. It sure keeps her nice and warm on the buggy rides to grandpa and grandma’s house.

Until next week—God bless!

 

Berry Cream Cheese Muffins

1 cup butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, blueberries, or raspberries dusted with 2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt, and gradually add to the butter mixture. Fold in berries and nuts. Spoon batter into muffin cups.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for three minutes before removing from pans. Makes 18 muffins.

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, will be available in April 2020 from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Winter chores and celebrations

Son Kevin just left for school. Our driveway is really icy and slippery. I’m always afraid he will fall going out to the bus when its icy like this. One morning I saw him fall and was glad he didn’t hurt himself. Hopefully, it will warm up above freezing today so it will melt off the pavement. Yes, we were blasted with a winter storm on Friday and Saturday.

Saturday morning our family, sisters Verena and Susan, and sister Emma, Jacob and family had a late Christmas gathering at Jacob and Emma’s house. We enjoyed a haystack breakfast which is crumbled biscuits, scrambled eggs, hash brown potatoes, bacon, ham, smokies, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, cheese sauce, sausage gravy, and salsa piled up on your plate like a haystack. If you want to sample a little of all the toppings, you better not take too much of each or you’ll end up with a big plate of food. Orange juice, apple juice, chocolate milk, coffee, and donuts were also on the menu.

When we four sisters and families get together, we now total 30. The table was set in their attached garage. Dishes were washed and then we played swap bingo. Everyone brought a gift to swap. Our five grandchildren and Jacob and Emma’s granddaughter had exchanged names with each other so they also each had a gift.

After that we played games and had snacks such as veggies and dip, cheese ball and crackers, fruit and dip, pretzels and dip, venison summer sausage and jerky, chips and salsa, meat and cheese roll-ups, candy popcorn, etc. There was plenty there and we didn’t need another meal that day.

Yesterday daughters Elizabeth and Susan came here for the day with their little ones. Daughter Lovina went to Tim and Elizabeth’s house on Tuesday to help with household chores. Tim helped her do laundry after he was home from work. Lovina stayed there for the night and came home with Elizabeth and her children yesterday morning with the horse and buggy. Daughter Susan brought her horse and buggy too. It was a cold morning so the children were bundled up nice and warm. They have it so much nicer traveling in covered buggies than I did when I was their age with children riding in open buggies during the cold winter months.

Baby Allison will be a month old on Monday already. She is so precious! Such a tiny little girl but she has the most wonderful smile.

Tomorrow, January 24, is daughter Susan’s 24th birthday and also my sister Liz’s 51st birthday. Our plans are to go to Mose and Susan’s house for supper in honor of Mose, Susan, and Jennifer’s birthdays. Jennifer’s was last week (January 15) and Mose’s will be February 5.

Today we will wash laundry again. We usually wash clothes on Mondays and Thursdays. We fold clothes on Tuesdays and Fridays, so there aren’t many days out of the week that laundry isn’t a job to do. We hang the laundry on lines in our heated basement to dry. It will be nice once we can hang it outside and have it dried, folded, and put away all in one day.

This winter is going too fast for me. With the addition to the family and the holidays it seemed time just flew by. We still need to butcher pork and then get serious about cleaning. Church services will be here the first part of April if all goes as expected.

Loretta’s special friend Dustin bought our neighbor Irene’s house. It seems so different to go over there and not see Irene around. Irene died last year and we sure miss her. She was a good neighbor to us. Dustin will take good care of the place, so I’m sure she would be happy that he bought it.

Lovina enjoys baking for her family and this week she made several batches of Mother’s Sweet Rolls. She shares the recipe in her column. Photo provided.

I made several batches of mother’s sweet rolls this week. They are always a favorite around here. This is one of the recipes that will be in my new cookbook, Amish Family Recipes: A Cookbook Across the Generations, coming out in April.

God’s blessings to all!

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Sweet Rolls
1 1/2 cups milk, scalded
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 packages dry active yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 eggs, beaten
6 cups bread flour
butter, softened
brown sugar
cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine scalded milk, butter, sugar, and salt.

Add yeast to the warm water and let stand 5 minutes, then add it to milk mixture. Making sure the milk isn’t too hot, add eggs, then stir in 3 cups flour. Add remaining 3 cups flour and mix well.

Let dough rise until doubled in size. Punch down and divide in two. Roll each part out and spread with softened butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon as desired. Roll up lengthwise and cut into 3/4-inch slices. Place into baking pan and let rise until doubled in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Beginning a new year and a new decade

A new year, a new decade lies before us. What does it hold for us? Only God knows. A new year always seems like a fresh start or new beginning to break some old habits or make new resolutions. It doesn’t take a new year to start fresh, though. Our God is such a great help and we have much to thank him for during this past year.

Baby Allison is 12 days old today. She is back to her birth weight now, 6 pounds and 1 ounce. She went down to 5 pounds and 10 ounces. She is doing good but daughter Elizabeth is still a little anemic and feeling as well as can be expected.

Daughter Lovina is helping daughter Elizabeth and Tim with household duties this week. Little T.J. is a busy body and keeps them on their feet.

Daughters Verena and Lovina were staying with them last week, assisting them with their work and children. Last Thursday I also spent the day there, helping out with the work and spoiling the grandbabies.

Last week we washed their bedding and, since it was a nice sunshiny day in the upper 40’s, I hung the quilts and sheets out on the line to dry and then put them back on their beds. Daughter Susan and children also came in the afternoon. With five children age three and under, it takes a lot of care with the little ones but is so much fun.

Sunday, our family and Mose, Susan, and children went to Tim and Elizabeth’s house and took in dinner. We had barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, lettuce salad, blueberry pie, and jello cake. Sisters Verena and Susan also came and stayed to eat dinner with us.

Monday, January 6 was Old Christmas (Epiphany), a holiday that the Amish in this community honor. Those that gathered at my sisters Verena and Susan’s house for the noon meal were brother Albert, Sarah Irene, and their children Leanna, Andrew, Susan, and Sylvia; sister Emma, Jacob, and their sons Jacob Jr., Benjamin, and Steven; niece Elizabeth and Manuel; niece Emma, Menno, and Jessica; Mose, Susan, Jennifer, and Ryan; my husband Joe and I and children Verena, Benjamin, Loretta, Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin, and Loretta’s special friend Dustin.

With everyone bringing food, we had a good dinner. On the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, meatballs, corn, potato salad, cheese, hot peppers, bread, butter, jelly, a variety of pies, peach dessert, brownies, cookies, etc. A variety of snacks were also set out, such as party mix, deer jerky, Christmas candy, etc.

The afternoon was spent playing games. Brother Albert, brother-in-law Jacob, and my husband Joe teamed up against their wives in Aggravation. The game’s name proved true for the women’s team. We lost almost every game, but it still was fun! Other Aggravation games were also being played, as well as Ten Thousand with dice. The house was a bit noisy from all the games being played in the same room. The Aggravation boards were made by nephew Jacob. He makes them to earn money, as he is limited in what he can do by his muscular dystrophy. He still has both legs/feet in casts up to his knees. He seems to be doing okay with the surgery so far. He will need lots of therapy after he’s out of the casts.

Daughter Verena has been going to the eye doctor about a scratch on her cornea that flared up. She has already made two trips to the eye doctor and needs to go back again tomorrow to have the contact lens that the doctor put in removed. They want to check if it’s doing better. Our eye doctor in town has several locations and wasn’t in the office nearby so Verena needs to go to the other office, 25 miles away. It sure isn’t cheap with all the trips, but it’s worth taking care of it. She was so miserable and had lots of pain since Monday morning.

Until next week—God bless!

 

Brownies

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick margarine
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Frosting:

1 stick margarine, melted
4 teaspoons cocoa
1 box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons milk

Mix sugar, flour, and salt; set aside. Bring to a boil the margarine, cocoa, water, and shortening and pour it over the sugar, flour and salt mixture. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, soda, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour into a greased cookie sheet pan with edges. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Frosting: Mix the frosting ingredients well and pour over brownies while hot.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies on a winter day

Diary of November 20, 2019

Lovina’s family enjoys the heat from their coal stove on these fall days with cooler temperatures. Photo: provided

3:00 a.m. Alarm rings! I pack my husband Joe and son Benjamin’s lunches for work. Joe goes to the basement to add coal to the stove. Benjamin takes care of adding coal to the stove in the pole barn (we heat one side somewhat because of the battery packs for the solar panels). It’s not as warm out there as in the house, but it keeps the pipes from freezing.

3:30 a.m. Joe and Benjamin leave for work. I take a little nap in my recliner.

4:15 a.m. Son Joseph gets up and goes to the barn to feed the animals. I pack his lunch and make him a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast. He works outside most days, so something warm to eat is good, I think.

4:45 a.m. Joseph leaves for work. They have an hour or more to get to their job site, so they go earlier. I decide to work on a puzzle I received from daughter Elizabeth and Tim. It’s a 1000 piece puzzle and has a red barn, silo, and a pasture with horses in it. I started this puzzle Sunday afternoon.

6:00 a.m. I wake up son Kevin to get ready for the school bus. The school serves breakfast, so he eats at school.

6:45 a.m. Kevin leaves for school. I get some bills ready for the mail, then take a shower and relax in my recliner for a while. Of course, I doze off. It’s been five weeks since my surgery and I get tired easily, it seems.

8:30 a.m. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their children arrive. Susan picked up Elizabeth and children with their horse and buggy. They bring in the little ones, and the girls and I take their coats, scarves, etc. off and, of course, hug the little sweeties. Elizabeth and Susan unhitch the horse and put him in the horse stall in the barn with hay for the day. Everyone gets warmed up from the drive over. The covered buggy makes the drive a lot warmer than when I used to go to my mother for the day with an open buggy.

9:15 a.m. The girls have breakfast ready for everyone. On the menu are scrambled eggs, ham, and toast. Also, rhubarb juice and hot chocolate.

10:00 a.m. Daughter Susan and I need to go to the bank today, so everyone else washes the dishes and keeps watch on the little ones until we’re back.

11:45 a.m. Susan and I are back. The girls are baking chocolate chip cookies and Elizabeth is sewing a dress for Abigail. Abigail needs more dresses, so Elizabeth decided to sew one while she’s here.

1:00 p.m. Lunch is potato soup, fried chicken, ice cream, and cookies fresh from the oven. After lunch I simply enjoy time with all my sweet grandchildren. Abigail is amazed at the puzzle and says it looks pretty.

It is so cute to see Abigail, 3, Jennifer, 22 months, and T.J., 11 months, playing church. They all have books and dolls in their hands and are sitting on the bottom step of the stairs, singing at the top of their voices. So precious!

3:30 p.m. Kevin is home from school. Abigail follows him around asking questions. She likes her Uncle Kevin and enjoys it when he entertains her.

4:00 p.m. Joseph is home from work and gets the horse hitched to the buggy for the girls to leave for home. It takes a while to get all the children bundled up and out to the buggy. Baby Ryan is cooing and smiling even though he’s bundled up. A reader sent Susan a bunting and it helps to keep his feet warm. Susan appreciated all the gifts sent to them for Baby Ryan.

4:30 p.m. Joe and Benjamin are home. Joe and the boys do the chores, which ends up taking a while. It’s cloudy, so our generator needs to charge our solar battery. The generator doesn’t want to stay running, so they work on it but can’t figure out the problem. We borrow my sisters Verena and Susan’s generator for the night. We usually don’t need to run a generator unless we have quite a few cloudy days—then the battery pack needs to be charged up again. Verena and Susan send leftovers from their supper with the boys. Our supper is mashed potato casserole, mac and cheese, and baked and fried chicken. With our leftovers and theirs, it was an easy supper.

9:30 p.m. Bedtime, finally!

This week I’ll share the outrageous chocolate chip cookie recipe for those of you that don’t have it. It’s a favorite of ours! God’s blessings to all!

 

Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups (4 sticks) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 cups peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs, beaten
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups quick cooking rolled oats
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) package chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter and mix with the sugars, peanut butter, vanilla, and eggs. Stir until creamy and smooth. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Mix the dough until thoroughly blended. Stir in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed throughout the dough. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on greased baking sheets. Bake for 10–15 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 4 to 5 dozen.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

Family members of all ages gather for fall cleanup and share a good meal

The leaves have changed color at Lovina’s home as October ends. Read more about the family’s fall cleanup in today’s column. Photo Credit: D. Lucas Landis / ©MennoMedia

 The last day of October has arrived already. To some today is Halloween, but we don’t celebrate it so for us it’s just another day.

Son Joseph, 17, just left for work a few minutes ago. It will soon be time to wake son Kevin, 14, to get ready for school. Since my surgery Joseph has been packing his lunch and making his own breakfast. So far, his alarm clock always wakes him up. Son Benjamin, 20, always gets up and packs his own lunch, but he’s not working this week. It’s another week of no work at the RV factory. I think its good for the boys to get used to waking up with their own alarm clocks and being responsible to get up on their own.

Benjamin has been cleaning up outside this week and cleaning out the pole barn on both sides. It’s looking pretty good. It’s nice to have all that done before the snow flies. We have lots of leaves that need to be raked, but it has been rainy the last few days, so they are really wet now.

Yesterday the girls and I went to sister Emma and her husband Jacob’s house to assist them in preparing for church services they host on Sunday. Of course I just went along to “sit and do nothing” but I could help keep the children entertained. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their little ones were also there helping. Emma’s two married daughters, Elizabeth and Emma, and her nine-month-old daughter Jessica were also there. I told sister Emma that three-and-a-half years ago there weren’t any little children when we got together, and now there’s five between the ages of three months and three years.

Our friend Beth took us to and from Jacob’s with her minivan since I didn’t want to ride in the buggy yet. My surgery was only two weeks ago, so I want to be careful.

Daughter Verena, 21, made a casserole the night before to take along so Emma wouldn’t have to make lunch. Daughter Elizabeth made a chocolate cake and daughter Susan made apple goodie (which is similar to apple crisp). Lunch was easy and didn’t take up anyone’s time to prepare, so they could all keep cleaning. They cleaned windows, cabinets, and furniture, etc.

Jacob and Emma’s son Steven, 12, still has both of his legs and feet in a cast. He had the same surgery son Kevin had earlier this year. It’s heel lengthening surgery due to their muscular dystrophy. The county bus takes Steven to and from school. They have a van lift so he can stay in the wheelchair.

On Tuesday we had a visit from Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty. It’s hard to believe Uncle Joe is 77 already. He gets around good for his age. Betty said he raked all their leaves. It’s a blessing to have good health at that age. Joe is one of my dad’s brothers. Dad’s oldest brother, Albert Jr, is 90, then William (Bill), 81 and Menno, 80. His brother Robert (Bob) will be 79 soon. Dad’s two youngest brothers are Melvin, 74, and Amos, 72. They are always so active that I really didn’t realize that they are that old already. There is never a dull moment when the brothers get together. It always makes memories of dad surface when I see my uncles. Dad came from a family of 13 children. Three boys and three girls have passed away and are greatly missed when the others all get together.

I will share a recipe for sour cream apple squares since it’s apple season.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Sour Cream Apple Squares

2 cups flour
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups peeled and diced apples
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 teaspoon soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In a bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and butter. Mix until crumbly. Stir in nuts. Press 2 3/4 cups crumbs into ungreased 9×13-inch pan. To remaining mixture add cinnamon, soda, salt, sour cream, vanilla, and egg. Blend well. Stir in apples. Spoon evenly over base. Bake 25-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cut into 12-15 squares. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Lovina heals from surgery and enjoys time with grandchildren

I am still taking life at a much slower pace this week. Last week daughter Elizabeth took my place writing this column, which I appreciated.

I had hernia surgery, and the doctor added mesh, so I hope for good results. Earlier this year, in February, I had a hernia that was also repaired with mesh. The doctor says that one is doing well, so hopefully I will be done with surgeries for a while. My regret is that my doctor will be retiring from being a surgeon. In the last fifteen and a half years he has done all eight surgeries I’ve had and always did a great job. When we moved to Michigan, I didn’t have a doctor yet when I had daughter Lovina by emergency c-section and had complications which made me have a hospital stay of a week. This was when I met my current doctor and he did a wonderful job. Seven weeks after Lovina was born I had my gall bladder removed, also. I will miss not having him for my surgeon, but he will still be my doctor for a few more years.

We have had supper brought in three times this week and that has really been a great help to the girls. It is greatly appreciated, and may God bless those who brought food for their kindness!

We were finally able to get some coal, so the house is more comfortable with the coal stove going. We had some pretty chilly days, and when you aren’t active with work it’s more noticeable. Cold weather approached us pretty fast. It was as if we skipped autumn.

Monday and Tuesday were both rainy and with no heat in the house it was a challenge to get the laundry dried. I wish we had more clotheslines on the porch. We filled up what we do have and hung clothes out on the lines between showers. When you have nasty weather and laundry that needs to be dried, the rain makes a lot more work. At least next time the clothes can be dried in the basement if the weather isn’t good.

Yesterday daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their children came home for the day. The children can’t understand why grandmother doesn’t come out and carry them in like usual. My doctor’s orders are to not lift over 15 pounds and all the children are over that. I can hold them on my lap though, if they hold still.

I sat by the table with Abigail, 3, and Jennifer, 21 months, and colored in coloring books. Abigail didn’t like how Jennifer wanted to scribble up the whole picture. Jennifer didn’t like that Abigail had the newest colors, so it was interesting to sit between them and keep peace. It always amazes me how young children can be so forgiving and, in a few minutes, forget what their quarrel was about. Let us take an example from these little angels to forgive and forget.

This evening daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law Tim will leave their children here while they attend the viewing/visitation of Tim’s 50-year-old cousin Richard. Richard was biking when he was struck by a driver in a hit and run. Another truck came along and didn’t see him lying on the road. Richard died later at the hospital due to injuries from the accident. Richard’s wife died last year from cancer, also at the age of 50. Our sympathy goes to the children and loved ones losing both parents so young and close together. Such a tragedy! May God help them through this trial.

I have an appointment this afternoon at the doctor’s office to have some of my staples removed. I will be so glad once this is all over. Patience is not my strong point. It is hard for me to not be able to work like I usually do, but I think its good for me to see how others have it who cannot do everything they want. I need to be thankful for my blessings.

Space is up so until next time—God bless!

This week I will share the recipe for pumpkin bars which daughter Elizabeth made and brought here for us to eat. Delicious!

 

Pumpkin Bars

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Icing:

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin until light and fluffy. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix until thoroughly combined and batter is smooth. Spread batter into a greased 9×13-inch pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before icing. Cut into bars. Makes 48 small or 24 large bars.

Icing: Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar until combined. Stir in the vanilla. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.