Tag Archives: dessert

Hot, humid days mean it’s time for haying—and a water fight

June 14, 2017: Twenty-three years ago today my husband, Joe, and I became parents for the first time. We were blessed with a little girl. We named her after my mother, Elizabeth. Since her marriage on August 14, 2015, she goes by the name Mrs. Timothy (Elizabeth) Bontrager. A little girl, Abigail, was born to Elizabeth and Timothy on September 10, 2016. Time goes on—one generation after another.

We are having a heat wave with temperatures in the nineties, and it’s very humid! The girls and I drove the seven miles to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house this morning by buggy. We spent the day with her and Abigail. We didn’t do much besides relax, which was so nice! My sister Verena gave Abigail a little kiddie pool for a baby gift. Daughter Lovina and son Kevin filled the pool, and Abigail had so much fun under the shade tree, splashing the water. The rest of us sat around the pool. All it took was one person throwing a little water at another and, well, it turned into a big water battle! At least it cooled us off on this hot, muggy day.

Tomorrow we will attend the wedding of our neighbor boy, Melvin, to Rebecca. It is hot weather to prepare for a wedding. Now tonight we are having thunderstorms and rain. It was so dry, and we needed the rain. Son-in-law Mose tilled the garden tonight before the rain. I made quite a few gallons of iced spearmint tea, which is a good thirst quencher on these hot days.

Lovina made lots of fresh thirst-quenching mint tea this week. Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis, from The Essential Amish Cookbook.

We have our haymow almost filled with hay for next winter. We appreciated all the help we had from family and neighbors to put in over thirteen hundred bales of hay in our barn last Thursday. Lots of hot, hard work! Having hay stored for future use is a good feeling. But it’s hard on the pocketbook, with hay still a little pricey.

Construction is finally underway at my sisters Verena and Susan’s house, who had a house fire last month. The new roof was put on today. They are still living in our basement.

I want to wish Uncle Jake and Aunt Mary Coblentz a happy 60th anniversary! Wow! That is a long time to be together. I wish them more healthy and happy years together. Jake was my dad’s brother. Jake and Mary have three children: Christina, Tabitha and Cornelius. I hardly ever see them anymore. It would be nice to attend the Coblentz reunion again in July.

Tonight daughter Susan and Mose had us over for supper. They also told my sisters to come eat there too. On the menu were sausage patties, French toast and scrambled eggs. How nice to have a break from cooking. Everything was delicious! The French toast tastes real good with fresh maple syrup poured over it. It was the syrup Mose cooked off from our maple trees this spring.

The girls are cleaning out their closets in their spare time. We are getting a head start on cleaning.

Timothy and Elizabeth visited one evening with their new Amish neighbors, John and Norma. They moved nearby from a community in Indiana. They will attend our church district. They have two daughters ages three and thirteen months. I am looking forward to meeting them on Sunday.

It is 11:00 p.m. now and past my bedtime. The rest have all gone to bed. I knew I might not have time to write tomorrow morning so decided to get this written tonight yet.

I wish everyone God’s greatest blessings! Good night to all!

Try this recipe while blueberries are in season.

Blueberry Cobbler

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup milk

Combine ingredients in a bowl, mix together and spread batter in pan.

Topping:
2 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup boiling water

Pour over batter and bake at 325 degrees for 45–60 minutes or until done. Try with different types of fruit.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, 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.

Spring break brings emptier nest for Eichers; plus exciting birth to announce!

It has been rainy and cool all week—not the best weather for the children while they are on spring break from school! I was hoping we could get the yard raked up this week, but I’m sure we will have nicer days to work outside. There is plenty to do otherwise. The boys have been getting the barn cleaned out.

Our cow Bessie decided to have her calf on the last day of March. We had the veterinarian come out and check on her the night before, as she was ten days past her due date. He thought it might be a few days yet. But the next day while Loretta was finishing up with washing the breakfast dishes, she saw that Bessie was trying to deliver out in the field. Son Benjamin was home, so he tried to get her to come up from the field to get her in the barn.

Bessie gave birth to a healthy calf this week, right out in the field.

She wouldn’t move, so I called the veterinarian and he said to let her where she was and told me we should help her. Benjamin, Verena, and I tried to help her, but we needed another guy to help, so we asked our neighbor. With all three of us, we were able to help Bessie deliver a big bull calf. We were glad all was well with Bessie and the calf. Bessie is a good mother, and the calf is lively out in the field during the days when it’s not raining.

The house seems empty this week without daughter Verena home. She is in Rhode Island right now, but they stopped at places of interest on the way to Rhode Island. She traveled through nine states on the way there. They slept in Pittsburgh one night and in New York City the next night. She was able to tour the Crayola Factory in Easton, Pa. I am sure she will have many stories to tell us once she’s home. We really miss her!

The house seems even emptier the last few days. Daughter Lovina is at daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. I am sure she’s having fun entertaining Abigail. They will come here today. I am hoping we can get some wedding clothes sewn. Verena is tablewaiter next week in niece Emma and Johnny’s wedding and needs to wear a dress of green apple color. I am a cook and will wear a dark tan dress. It will be nice to see the family again.

I don’t have too many details yet, but my oldest nephew Ben (son of sister Leah and Paul) had a scare recently with his wife Rosemarie. Rosemarie had a baby girl (by C-section) named Elizabeth. A few days after she was home, Rosemarie was rushed to the hospital because a blood clot traveled to her lungs. My sister Leah took care of the newborn while Ben stayed with Rosemarie in the hospital. Rosemarie is back home and I haven’t heard how she is doing recently. We wish her a speedy and complete recovery. Our prayers are with them.

On Sunday we enjoyed a haystack dinner at my sisters Verena and Susan’s. Jacob, Emma and sons Benjamin and Steven, Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail and Loretta’s special friend Dustin were also there.

God’s blessings to all!

Overnight Cookies
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup shortening
3 eggs
4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

Cream sugars and shortening. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in dry ingredients and blend. Divide into three parts and form into rolls. Chill in refrigerator overnight. Slice off cookie-sized pieces and bake at 400 degrees for eight minutes or until done. Pecans or walnuts can be pressed into center of dough before baking.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017, 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oatmeal Whoopie Pies

Cookies

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

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

Filling

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

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

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

 Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Eichers exchange names for Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NothingsOnTables2Amish Wedding Nothings

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

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

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

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

Summer menus major in strawberries and family memories

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth22birthdaycakeEdited

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

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

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

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

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

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

StrawberriesForJam

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

God’s blessing to all!

 

 

Frozen Strawberry Dessert

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

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

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

 

Plant garden, clean and work on cookbook: all in a spring day’s work for Lovina

We are having really nice weather this week. The garden dried up and we were able to plant some onions, lettuce and radishes. I need to go get some sweet onions and peas to plant this week. Spring is such a lovely time of the year! Dandelion blossoms are popping up, making the greens too bitter to eat anymore.

My husband, Joe, got the mowers oiled and ready to use. Verena, 18, and Joseph, 13, were mowing the grass for the first time this spring. Hopefully they will get the rest done today.

Joe opened the gates to the pasture field for the horses, ponies and the cow, Bessie. They are enjoying the lush green grass after a winter of eating hay. Our hay field is looking promising for a nice crop of hay.

Yesterday daughters Verena and Loretta and I went to help sister Emma prepare for church services. They will host church services on May 8 and May 22. Emma and her family added three bedrooms upstairs, so there is more to clean. They aren’t done remodeling yet, but we cleaned where we could. They want to hang drywall yet and put in new cabinets. Jacob plans to build their own cabinets. So it all takes time. Since they were behind in hosting church services, they will take it twice this time. Daughter Elizabeth and sisters Verena and Susan were also there for the day. We got a lot accomplished and even got a lot of visiting done.

We all left for home around 4:00 p.m. Our children attended a meeting and pizza supper with the youth at the community building. It is under new ownership, and the new owners wanted the youths’ opinions on what they could do for improvements. I am so thankful that the owners are being so thoughtful. Hopefully, the youth group will all respect the new rules and have a nice place to gather on Saturday evenings. It can’t be an easy job to be responsible for the upkeep of a big building like this.

The youth play volleyball, basketball and other games there. It will be so much nicer if some things would be added for the youth who are handicapped. I’m sure they would love to be able to play ball with the rest, but they can’t. Having games there that they can play will be so much more enjoyable for them than sitting and watching. As parents of handicapped children, we are more aware of this. My heart goes out to all children and adults with disabilities. May God bless people who care for and are thoughtful to others with disabilities. You will be greatly rewarded someday for it!

We received a wedding invitation this week for niece Lovina Coblentz and Benjamin Schwartz. They will join hands in holy matrimony on May 19, 2016. Lovina is brother Amos and Nancy’s daughter, and the sixth of their children to be married. Lovina was named after me. I still remember how special I felt when I heard the news almost twenty years ago. Amos and Nancy’s son Ben married a girl named Lovina last spring, and so she changed her name to Lovina Coblentz. So they will still have a Lovina Coblentz in the family. They will now also have two “Ben and Lovinas” in their family. What a coincidence! I was asked to be cook at the wedding and wear a smoke blue dress. It looks like I better get started sewing.
AppleCrispEicherEdited3

I am excited about the announcement of my new cookbook coming out next year. It has taken hours of time and effort to get this done. What a pleasure working for the editors at Herald Press. They have been understanding through all our busy times. I’ll share this recipe, which will be in the cookbook. It was my mom’s recipe, and it is a family favorite. God bless everyone!

Apple Crisp

9 cups apples, peeled and sliced
1 cup sugar (more or less, depending on variety of apples)
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Crumb Topping
3/4 cup butter (12 tablespoons)
1 1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups flour
pinch of cinnamon

In a large bowl, toss apples with sugar and cinnamon. Pour into 9×13-inch baking dish. Combine crumb topping ingredients in a bowl with a pastry cutter or two forks. Mix until coarse and spread over apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until apples are tender.

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.

When husband Joe surprised two little boys Easter morning

DaffodilsFriday is Good Friday and we look forward to Easter on Sunday. Good Friday we traditionally keep as a holiday, so no one in our family will go to work or school. The Amish churches in this community have “Fast” (no eating) and prayer until noon. Our family will all be here and have family time. Then we’ll gather here for the noon meal.

On Easter Sunday we will go to church. Easter is the time to rejoice and be thankful for the gift of life Jesus gave for someone like you and me.

Photo040418491The younger children still enjoy coloring eggs for Easter. As I was growing up we always colored eggs. The bright colored eggs always remind me of the colors of the rainbow. Our parents taught us the true meaning of Easter. May we all remember the true meaning of Easter.

Son Benjamin always gathered the eggs when he was a little boy around four and five. One Easter morning Jacob and Emma and family were here. My husband Joe knew Benjamin and Jacob would go gather the eggs from the hen house as soon as they were awake. Joe took all the eggs out and replaced them with colored eggs. I still remember the excitement those two little boys had when they discovered the colored eggs.

Dandelion greens are getting bigger every day. We had our first meal of dandelion salad this week, and I shared that recipe last week. This is a good way to use up the extra colored eggs since it takes hard-cooked eggs. I keep watching for the asparagus to pop through. The rhubarbs are looking good.

I love spring and all the signs of it. I know it brings more work but it is so nice to go out on a nice warm and sunny day and feel the gentle breeze blowing. I enjoy hanging the clothes outside again. What a wonderful creator God is!

Last Friday (the week before Good Friday), sister Verena had a Tupperware party in the forenoon. She and sister Susan made lunch for all who attended. They served hash brown casserole, potato salad, jello cake, golden M&M bars, apple and strawberry slices with fruit dip, punch, and coffee. After everyone else left, sister Emma and my daughters Elizabeth, Susan, Verena, and Loretta stayed and spent the afternoon with sisters Verena and Susan. Daughter Elizabeth came here in the morning and went with us to the party. Susan biked and Elizabeth, Verena, Loretta and I took Stormy our pony and the pony buggy. The ride was a little chilly but we didn’t have far to go. Stormy was eager to run and was a little rowdy. He doesn’t get out too much in the winter months.

Saturday evening Timothy and Elizabeth came for the evening and stayed here all night. Daughter Verena left them sleep in her bedroom, which was Elizabeth’s room before she was married. It seemed really good to have them here for the night. Mose (Susan’s friend) went home with Timothy to do their chores Sunday morning while the girls and I made breakfast.

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Tim and Elizabeth have a new colt, born to their horse, Shi Ann.

On our menu were eggs, potatoes, bacon, cheese, toast, strawberry jam, butter, and hot peppers, with chocolate milk, orange juice and coffee for drinks.

Timothy and Elizabeth stayed all day. We played games in the afternoon and enjoyed each other’s company.

I’ll share the recipe for golden M&M bars. We like them!

God bless and I hope you all have a blessed Good Friday and Easter.

Golden M&M Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vanilla chips
1 3/4 cups M&M’s, divided

Cream together sugars and butter. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir into butter mixture. Fold in chips and M&M’s, reserving 3/4 cup M&M’s. Spread in 9 x 12 greased pan. Sprinkle reserved M&Ms on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

 

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

 

Aggravation–the game, earache, sinus infection, and friends in a tragic accident

It is 7 a.m. Joseph, 13, Lovina, 11, and Kevin, 10, just left for school. It sounds very windy outside, but the temperature isn’t that cold, 58 degrees.

Son Benjamin, 16, is outside doing the morning chores. He doesn’t have work today. Mose is putting a new motor in his saw if I understood right. The motor came from Wisconsin so it’s all taking time to get repaired. Benjamin has been enjoying hunting on some days.

Opening day for shotgun season was on Sunday. Mose bought daughter Susan, 19, a gun and they went hunting on Monday. Susan didn’t get anything.

This week I have been sewing work pants for son Benjamin. I want to cut out some dress pants for him yet.

On Sunday my sisters Verena and Susan, our daughter Elizabeth and her husband Timothy, and Jacob and Emma’s three sons Jacob Jr., Benjamin, and Steven were here for dinner. Jacob and Emma went to church in a neighboring district and came over in the afternoon. The family enjoyed the game Aggravation which can get pretty loud when the game is almost over. Jacob Jr. makes the Aggravation boards. On one side four people can play and on the other side six people can play. The board is big and fits a card table.

Jacob Jr. had his sixteenth birthday on November 17. He has muscular dystrophy. He enjoys making things from wood. It helps give him an income since he doesn’t always have work.

Sunday evening Verena and Benjamin took Jacob Jr. along to the youth singing and supper. Daughters Verena and Loretta have been cleaning windows here the last few days. It’s nice to have them all cleaned before the snow starts flying. We have a lot of windows in our house.

Our church Sunday has changed now as our church divided into two districts. We had around forty families and now only have about twenty families in our district. All together we have around sixty adults and over fifty children in our district. It looks like church services will be held here at our place in January. After the holidays we will need to get busy cleaning. We also need to butcher beef and pork sometime. I would be glad if we could get that done before we do the cleaning, but we will see.

Last week my husband Joe was home every day except Monday. He was on an antibiotic for ear infection from the doctor at work. His ear kept getting worse so he went to the local walk-in clinic when our family doctor couldn’t see him. The clinic doctor gave him another antibiotic and medicated ear drops. His temperature was around 102 to 103 degrees most of the week. He felt a little better by this past Monday and went back to work again. But then he came home that evening with his ear throbbing again. Finally our family doctor was able to work him in that evening. He gave Joe a five-day antibiotic and said he has fluid behind the ears from a sinus infection. We are hoping the five-day antibiotic will cure it as he’s been pretty miserable with this pain. It makes his whole head hurt. It he doesn’t get relief from this, the doctor wants him to come back. This has interrupted Joe’s deer hunting too. I will be glad once he’s free from all the pain that ear has given him.

We are praying for a complete recovery of Suzanne (a friend of Verena and Loretta). She was in a bad accident in South Africa while on a mission trip from her church. She is in critical condition and two of her friends died from the accident. May God guide the families through this tragic time! Our sympathy to the families of the deceased. Suzanne is in a hospital in South Africa.

God’s blessings to all. Here is a different kind of dessert using pumpkin.

OreoPumpkinCheesecakeOreo Pumpkin Cheesecake

24–30 crushed Oreo cookies
1 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 8-ounce cream cheese, softened
2 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 cups milk
3 small packages instant vanilla pudding
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 8-ounce whipped topping

Mix Oreo crumbs and melted butter. Press into a 9×13 inch baking pan. Beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add in heavy cream and beat until stiff peaks form. In another bowl beat milk, pudding mix, pumpkin, and spice until well mixed and thick. Layer cream cheese mixture and then pumpkin mixture on Oreo crust. Top with whipped topping. Serve cold.

 

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.

 

 

Contact: DorothyH@MennoMedia.org; 540-980-2438

 

Meat grinder and fruit press produces yummy cider for the Eicher family

We are almost halfway through November. So far we are having beautiful weather for November.

My husband Joe started our coal stove on Saturday for the first time this season. It seemed later than usual to start it. The house is nice and cozy now.

Saturday we were at Jacob and Emma’s. Joe and our sons Benjamin and Joseph helped put siding on the new addition they are adding to the house. Things are falling into place. They will be so glad for more space. The windows and doors are in and some of the drywall is hung in the upstairs bedrooms.

Saturday evening Mose (Susan’s special friend) grilled chicken and banana poppers while we prepared more food in the house. Daughter Elizabeth and Timothy joined us for supper. It was so enjoyable to have the whole family together. After we ate we sat in the living room and visited and sang some songs. Of course Izzy and Crystal (the Yorkies) were the center of attention. They love the attention they get here.

Son Benjamin, 16, and daughter Verena, 17, left to go to the community building where the youth gather on Saturday evenings to play basketball, volleyball, etc., and enjoy snacks. Two or more sets of parents usually go to chaperone and take the snacks. The building is usually closed at midnight. Verena and Benjamin didn’t take the heater in the buggy so they had a cold ride home. It is still warmer with a covered buggy than the open buggy that I was raised with. We had some awful cold rides and the umbrella was a big help to block the wind. I feel spoiled now when we drive in the covered buggies. Some have heaters in them which makes for a warm ride to town and back.

Friday evening Mose helped us make our first cider with a fruitPressingCider press. He brought us apples from his parents’ apple trees. We don’t have anything to chop up that many apples so we used our meat grinder and it worked real well. The cider tastes really good. We are enjoying popcorn and cider on some evenings. We want to make more and think we have a better idea of what we are doing now. It is surprising how many apples it takes to press one gallon of cider. But we enjoy working together as a family on projects like that.

We are excited to hear the news of the birth of a baby girl, LaRose. LaRose was born to niece Elizabeth and Samuel on November 10. This makes my sister Liz and Levi grandparents for the first time. We wish them all well. I’m sure they are all excited for the new arrival.
GingersNewFilly+IttyBitAndBlackBeautySome readers have MidnightAndBlackBeautyYoungHorsesbeen asking what we named our fillies that were born this past spring (photo on right). Itty Bit’s filly we named Black Beauty and for Ginger’s filly, we finally decided on Midnight. They are both black and are hard to tell apart. The children are teaching them how to lead. They are calming down a lot. (Recent photo of Black Beauty and Midnight to left.)

I had several requests for the buttermilk brownies recipe so I’ll share it this week.

 

 

Buttermilk Brownies

2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift the sugar, flour, salt, and cocoa together in a bowl. In a saucepan, bring the water, butter, and oil to a boil. Pour over the sugar mixture and beat until creamy. Add the buttermilk, baking soda, eggs, and vanilla. Stir thoroughly. The batter will be thin and soupy. Pour into a greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes until sides begin to pull away from the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Makes about 15 (3-inch) brownies.

 

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.