Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Dropping temps mean heating the house and baking pumpkin whoopie pies

Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis

The mercury dropped down to 30 degrees this morning! I’m sure that it frosted in most places. It makes it feel good to have heat in the house. It was good timing for us.

On Tuesday we traded in our old hopper-fed coal stove for a new one. Last night my husband Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph, and nephew Henry set up the new stove and started it. We always use charcoal to get the coal started. It makes less smoke than wood. I can smell the new paint from the new stove, so I like to open a few windows slightly to get that smell out. It’s not too bad, though, because the stove is in the basement. We have an enclosed jacket around the stove so that we can control whether we want all the heat to come upstairs or heat the basement too. The heat travels upstairs to the bedrooms through our open staircase, which is close to the big vent in the floor over the stove in the basement. The boys like to keep their bedrooms cool, so they shut their doors during the day. Once it’s really cold outside they let the heat go into their bedrooms.

We still have a little coal left from last year, but Joe called and ordered our supply for the winter. I’s always a big relief to have our fuel for the winter! It gets expensive to buy coal, but I still think it’s nice that we can heat all three stories of our house with one stove. When I was growing up, the only heat we had upstairs in our bedrooms was what came up through the door. It was always chilly when we got out of bed in the morning, and we always hurried downstairs to stand by the coal or woodstove to warm up.

This week has been rainy and cold, so we will hang laundry in the basement to dry. I have lines down there and with the coal stove going, it should dry. Daughter Susan wants to wash the hunting clothes first. They wash those clothes in a special soap so that deer can’t smell their scent. Those clothes we will hang outside.

Son-in-law Timothy shot an eight-point buck last night with his bow. Daughter Loretta is still hunting, and son Benjamin has also gone hunting this fall. Loretta has a crossbow so it’s easier for her, with her disability, to shoot the arrow. I have never hunted in my life. I just could not see myself sitting quietly for that long! I would probably be making a mental list in my head of all the other things I could be doing.

Daughter Susan and Mose are excited to be homeowners now. We will miss having them beside us, but I know they want a place to call their own. The place they bought is five-and-one-half miles from here. Timothy and Elizabeth live six-and-one-half miles from here and will be only two miles from Mose and Susan. Mose and Susan plan to move as soon as we get the house cleaned and ready for them. They will pull out the carpet and put in new floors, and some painting will be done. It’s an old farmhouse, but the place has been kept up very nice. The garage is only six years old.

Tomorrow our plans are to attend a wedding in Rochester, Ind., for Melvin and Lisa. Lisa is a daughter to Joe’s cousin Leander and wife Rosina.

More exciting news: Jeremiah James was born to niece Rosa and Menno on October 23. This would make the third grandchild for sister Liz and Levi.

Try these pumpkin whoopie pies for Thanksgiving Day! These are very yummy when partially frozen. The family of Loretta’s special friend Dustin had a very good crop of pumpkins this year, with most of their pumpkins weighing over 100 pounds each.

Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Cookies:

2 cups mashed pumpkin
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Cookies: Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until just barely done, approximately 10–12 minutes. Cool.

Filling: Mix first three ingredients well and then add sugar. Spread filling between two cookies. Yields 16 whoopie pies.

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 Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

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.

Bacon on the turkey, games and errands compose Thanksgiving weekend

Lovina's Thanksgiving Day table awaits her guests.
Lovina’s Thanksgiving Day table awaits her guests.

We had a nice, enjoyable Thanksgiving Day. We have so many blessings and so much to be thankful for!

My sister Emma, Jacob and family, sisters Verena and Susan, and daughter Elizabeth and Timothy spent the day with us. We set the table for all of us. I stuffed two turkeys with dressing. I like to lay strips of bacon on top. Joe’s dad always did this. It keeps the turkey moist while baking it, and the flavor of bacon adds an extra taste to the turkey.

Bacon-draped turkey was the signature dish for the Eicher family Thanksgiving.
Bacon-draped turkey was the signature dish for the Eicher family Thanksgiving.

Also on the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, macaroni salad, corn chip salad, a variety of sliced cheeses (such as pepper jack, Colby, and Swiss), veggies and dip, homemade bread, butter and strawberry jam, dill pickles, hot peppers, fruit dip (with orange, apple and pineapple slices), pumpkin roll, pumpkin pies, a variety of cookies, and ice cream. We had way too much food, but when everyone brings something, it all adds up! I don’t think many were hungry for dessert. We snacked later in the day.

Scrumptious side dishes rounded out the Thanksgiving menu.
Scrumptious side dishes rounded out the Thanksgiving menu.

Games were played, with Connect Four and Aggravation being the main ones. We have a game board that nephew Jacob made, and we like playing with six people in three teams. It can get really exciting—and aggravating as well! Joe and I, Mose and Susan, and Timothy and Elizabeth played this in the evening too. Daughters Verena and Loretta left with friends in the afternoon and had supper with them.

Sons Joseph, 13, and Kevin, 10, went home with Timothy and Elizabeth. Joseph wants to go deer hunting with Timothy. Kevin enjoys going to spend time with their dogs, Crystal and Izzy.

On Friday Joe and I went to Jacob and Emma’s house. Joe helped with mudding drywall in the new upstairs bedrooms. I took our leftover food from Thanksgiving dinner and helped Emma prepare the meal for the men working there. Timothy and Elizabeth dropped the boys off there on their way to town to go shopping. The girls stayed home and washed clothes and mopped the floors and cleaned up from Thanksgiving Day. Son Benjamin went to work helping Mose at his sawmill. I want to help Emma with painting the walls when she is ready to start on that.

Kevin was fitted for new leg braces to help him with his muscular dystrophy. We have seen a lot of improvement with the braces, although Kevin does not look forward to wearing them again. The doctors suggest he keep wearing them, so we will try them again.

Yesterday daughters Verena and Loretta and I went to a Tupperware shower for our neighbor girl Ruth, who was married in October. Lunch was served to all of us. From there we traveled a few miles farther to go see what bargains we could find on material at the local Amish store that was having a sale. We found enough material to keep us busy sewing for Christmas gifts. Time is limited between now and Christmas!

I’ll share the corn chip salad recipe that daughter Elizabeth brought on Thanksgiving Day.

Corn Chip Salad

Salad

1 head iceberg or romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
1 pound bacon, fried and crumbled
6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 1/2 cups corn chips, crushed

Dressing

1 cup Miracle Whip
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar

Toss together all salad ingredients except corn chips. In a separate bowl, mix dressing ingredients and then stir into salad. Add corn chips just before serving.

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.

 

Autumn days bring fond memories of Lovina’s mother and her column

October—such a beautiful autumn month! Our leaves on the trees are very pretty and colorful! We had a frost this weekend, which put an end to our garden for 2015. I really was ready for the garden to be done this year. It was such a busy summer, and it’s nice to have that extra job over. (Although it still has to be finished with cleaning it out, fertilizing and tilling.)

October also marks another year of penning this column. It is 13 years since I took this over after my mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, so suddenly passed away. She will always be remembered dearly! I enjoy hearing from readers who read her column from the beginning. I was only 19 years old and living at home when she began writing the column.

I remember her sitting at the table sometimes to write, after some of us girls were married and had come home to spend the day. Now I can imagine how hard it probably was for her to concentrate, with all of us girls and our young children there talking. She was always so glad to see us come home, and she was always so willing to cook a meal for everyone.

I now know the feeling of joy when a married child comes home to visit or to spend the day. Daughter Elizabeth works at the RV factory, so she doesn’t come home as often as I would like her to. She and Susan will have this coming Friday and next week off. I am excited, as it will mean getting more time to spend with Elizabeth. She plans to come home for the day Friday. Our other children are always glad to see Elizabeth and also to see the dogs, Izzy and Crystal, again. I hope that a day next week we can go help her at her house with catching up on whatever she needs to get done. It will be so nice to spend time together.

We had communion services in our church district on Sunday. It makes for a long day but always such a refreshing feeling to serve our great Heavenly Father.

After the services we stopped in at sister Emma and Jacob’s house to see the progress of the new addition they are building onto their house. It is looking very nice already! Jacob and Emma have lived in a three-bedroom ranch house since they moved to Michigan 11 1/2 years ago. So you can imagine they are excited to be expanding to more space. They are adding a second story with three bedrooms, so that will make room for a bigger kitchen and living room area. They will have five bedrooms after everything is done.

My husband, Joe, wanted to start the coal stove on Saturday when the temperature dropped to 30 degrees. Brrr! When he went to check out the stove pipes, he saw that a piece of it had rusted. He went after a piece at a store nearby, but they were out of stock on that size. It was ordered and should be in this week. Now the weather has turned warmer, with the temperature reaching over 70 degrees yesterday.

This week's recipe for dressing, which Lovina prepares for Thanksgiving, is frequently requested by readers.
This week’s recipe for dressing, which Lovina prepares for Thanksgiving, is frequently requested by readers.

I have had several requests to reprint my dressing recipe. I always use it to stuff my turkey on Thanksgiving.

Until next week—God bless!

Homemade Dressing

2 tablespoons chicken soup base
2 cups hot water
4 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup carrot, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 cups hot water (use potato water for better flavor), or enough water to make the dressing moist but not soggy*
10 slices bread, crumbled
1 teaspoon seasoned salt

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease an 8-cup casserole dish or cake pan. In a large bowl, dissolve the soup base in 2 cups hot water. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 40–45 minutes, or stuff inside a turkey before roasting.

Special recipe footnote from Lovina–appearing on website only: 

*A newspaper editor asked, “Does this really call for 4 cups of water?”

Lovina: “It depends a lot on the bread. If it’s homemade or the slices are big, it takes more water. I think last time we had this recipe I tried it with 4 cups and it worked ok. Yesterday I used it to stuff a chicken and I wanted it drier so I used only 2 cups but my bread was smaller slices. I think I would leave the 4 cups total because it could get too dry when baking; my eggs are farm eggs and bigger so that makes more liquid as well. If I remember right this question came up before and I tried it with 4 that time and it worked well.”

 

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.

Did your Thanksgiving turkey have a fever?

Oh my! We are already into the last month of 2014. Where did this year go?

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone. Although it’s not the only day that we need to thank God for our blessings, on that day we are especially reminded of all that we are thankful for. My list seems endless—family, friends, church, and so many more. I feel one blessing I should mention is the editors at MennoMedia. They deserve a lot of credit for the fact that this column is still going, as does my good friend Ruth, who has been by my side through good and bad. Trusted friends are rare, and they have been so good to me. Writing the columns isn’t always easy, but knowing you have a firm foundation makes it so much easier.

I also want to thank all of you readers for your words of encouragement. To those of you who send a stamped self-addressed envelope: bear with me, please. A reply will come, but forgive me for not always getting back to you sooner. Last but not least, I want to thank our Heavenly Father for his guidance through our most difficult trials.

We spent our Thanksgiving Day at brother Albert and Sarah Irene’s house. All my siblings were present, as were all the nieces, nephews, families and special friends (except for two nieces and one nephew). The family grows more every year, and although I don’t have a total, I know it’s more than 100 now.

Albert’s family grilled 140 pounds of chicken, plus they fixed two 22-pound turkeys. Needless to say, there were so many leftovers! I won’t begin to mention all the food, but a 14-foot dining table was filled to capacity. When everyone brings food, it adds up. Snacks were served before everyone left.

We four sisters here in Michigan always have a Thanksgiving meal together. This year we all gathered over at Jacob and Emma’s on Sunday. Emma fixed two turkeys stuffed with dressing. Also on the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, lettuce salad, sliced cheese, homemade bread, butter, jam, summer sausage, veggies and dip, hot peppers, pumpkin roll, pumpkin and peanut butter pies, a variety of Christmas candy and probably more that I can’t remember now. The table was set for 24 people, which is what we total now. After dishes were washed, we played games.

I got a laugh out of daughter Lovina. Sister Emma gave her the meat thermometer to hold in the turkey, to see if it was fully cooked. When someone asked her what she was doing, Lovina replied, “Aunt Emma wants to know if the turkey is running a fever.” We all thought it was funny!

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan are off work this week from the factory due to a cancelled order. We (Elizabeth, Susan, Verena and I) are enjoying our week. We started it out with going Christmas shopping on Monday. We had a nice time and made more memories together. It is hard to believe my three oldest daughters have grown this much.

The Christmas season is upon us. Let us remember: Jesus is the reason for the season!

For this week’s dish, I will share a few short recipes that were served as snacks at Albert’s on Thanksgiving Day.

Fruit Dip

8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup brown sugar
8 ounces whipped cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix together well. Serve with apples or any fruit.

Cheese Ball

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 package dried beef, chopped fine
1 small onion, chopped fine
seasoning of your choice

Mix all ingredients together. Serve with your choice of crackers.

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.