Tag Archives: The Essential Amish Cookbook: Everyday Recipes from Farm and Pantry.

Successful surgery for Verena; toddler Abigail helps “write” column

Successful surgery for Verena; toddler Abigail helps “write’ column

Daughter Verena’s surgery on her foot was a success! She has been having more pain since the numbness wore off but that can be expected from a surgery like this. Verena will probably have her cast on for six to eight weeks according to the doctor that did the surgery.

Dr. Caird does a wonderful job! She did the heel lengthening surgery on Verena’s other foot and also did it on both of daughter Loretta’s feet. The surgeries were all done at C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We arrived home a little before 6:00 p.m. So after several hours on the road Verena was ready to elevate her foot again. The cast comes all the way up to her knee. Elizabeth and Abigail are here today and Abigail is tickling Verena’s toes that peek out of her cast. Verena put a compression wrap on Abigail’s leg and foot and she held her leg beside Verena’s saying she has an “ouchie” too. It didn’t last more than a few minutes though until she was done with her bandage.

Abigail’s aunt Verena brought her her first crayon from a tour to the Crayola plant in Pennsylvania.

With the surgery yesterday and being gone all day I didn’t remember that I needed to write a column. After having breakfast with Elizabeth and Susan and children here I didn’t once think of it until all at once it dawned on me that I never wrote a column. So now this is where writing a column gets to be a challenge. Who can resist little Abigail. She was pretending to write too after I gave her a pencil and a little tablet. That didn’t last long before she was bored so Grandma here tries to teach her how to color in a coloring book and she’s more enthused with the crayons. I am again reminded how short attention spans 17-month-olds have. Daughter Loretta rocked her now and she’s sleeping. Baby Jennifer is also taking a nap so Grandma has no excuses to not get on with this column (except joining the girl’s conversations).

It is a foggy day here in Michigan. Visibility is not very good. Our school cancelled because of the fog. Kevin will also be home Friday and Monday for their mid-winter break. So I guess they get an extra day. Kevin isn’t complaining for the extra day. He wasn’t too overjoyed when I told him it would be a good day to clean up his bedroom.

I graded a lot of Lovina’s school work and she is ready for a unit test. I made up her schedule for the next few weeks. Home-schooling can get very time consuming and it also renews my brain again.

We had a nice enjoyable lunch with Amy from MennoMedia. It was great putting a face to her name and I’m sure she was glad to do the same. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan were also here so she was able to see my granddaughters.

A Happy Birthday to niece Emma Schwartz (Jacob and Emma’s daughter). She turns 20 today (February 15). Another niece, Emma (Coblentz) Wengerd, daughter of brother Albert and Sarah Irene, also celebrated her 21st birthday on February 9.

We had a laugh about Emma and her husband Johnny’s birthday surprise parties. Johnny’s birthday was February 6 so Emma invited both sides of their families for lunch on Saturday. Johnny wanted to surprise Emma for her birthday and invited both sides of their families for supper on Saturday. So everyone went for lunch, left again and went back for supper. I am sure there were a lot of laughs about this. Happy Birthday to Johnny and Emma!

Jacob (sis Emma) was off work due to having pneumonia. We wish him better health in the future.

Sunday church services were held at daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. It was a cold day! Lunch was served consisting of homemade wheat and white bread, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, bologna, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, butter, jam, coffee, tea, chocolate crinkle, sugar and chocolate chip cookies. Popcorn was served while dishes were being washed.

Our thoughts and prayers are often with sister-in-law Nancy and family. It’s still so hard to believe my brother Amos has passed on. God has a reason for this but we still question why. That is why we need to put our full trust in Him. Let go and let God!

Pineapple Burgers

2 pounds ground beef
3 tablespoons Italian dressing
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
15-ounce can pineapple slices, drained
8 slices bacon
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix ground beef and Italian dressing salt and pepper. Shape into 8 patties. Press pineapple slice into each patty. Wrap with a slice of bacon and secure with wooden toothpick. Mix remaining ingredients. Place patties in glass 13×9-inch dish. Pour barbecue sauce mix on patties. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Grill patties, pineapple side down, about 10 minutes. Turn and brush with sauce. Grill another 10 minutes. Heat remaining sauce to serve with burgers.



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


NOTES TO EDITORS: text=840 words; end material=61 words

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


February Brings Snow Drifts, Baptism Services, and Butchering

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

February Brings Snow Drifts, Baptism Services, and Butchering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cashew Crunch

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

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

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


Verena writes about her recent birthday “mystery supper”

A birthday “mystery supper”

Hi! This is Verena filling in for my mother. With the upcoming holidays Mom needed a few extra columns written so I offered to write one. In this column I will write about my recent birthday party.

My birthday was December 10 and I turned 20 years old. These years sure don’t slow down! I’m officially no longer a teenager.

I can’t believe it’s this time of year again. Snow flying and icy roads. Safe travels for those of you that need to drive in bad weather.

My favorite thing I like about winter is when Mom and my sisters and I all relax around the table with hot chocolate on those cold winter mornings. Oh, and of course we love to chatter and tell stories of days when we were children.

I remember the many fun times of winter sledding. I still enjoy it very much. Of course, I’m now the one driving our pony Stormy with a metal sled tied to the back of the pony cart. I drive fast trying to throw someone off into the snow—especially my ornery brothers. We have a nice open hayfield where we go sledding.

On Sunday, December 10, I had my friends and family over for a birthday supper. I wanted to do a little something different, so we had a mystery supper. It was quite interesting such as “Idaho’s pride and joy” was mashed potatoes, “gold digger” was a fork, “silvery moon” was a spoon and “happy harvest” was corn. I had no idea what anything was but knowing my mom very well (she made the menu) I figured out a lot. I ended up with a salad but no ranch dressing and no fork. I ate my salad with a spoon which was a little complicated. Also a few people ended up with no fork or spoon. I ended up with mashed potatoes and no gravy. Some got ranch dressing but no salad. One of them had to eat corn without any silverware. We had a good laugh at some of them trying to eat. I appreciated all the gifts I received.

The menu was hot wings, mashed potatoes, gravy, pork chops, corn, salad, veggies and cheese. For dessert we had dirt pudding and birthday bars. Later ice cream and cake was served. After everyone had their plate and we tried to eat what we had with what we ordered, we could go get whatever food (and silverware) we wanted. I had 20 friends here and then Dad and Mom, Timothy and Elizabeth, and Mose and Susan served our food to us. We had to mark six items from the menu. While the servers filled our orders we sang Christmas carols.

Mose and Susan are now happily enjoying their new home. They are loving every bit of it. We really miss not seeing them every day. They still have a lot to unpack so we assisted Susan one day. Sister Elizabeth, Nikiah (who Elizabeth babysits) and my sweet little niece Abigail were also there.

We sure enjoy little Abby. She loves taking my covering off my head and taking out my hair clips. She will then put them all back in my hair. Shoes are another thing she’s discovered. She’ll take my shoes off and try putting them on her little feet. She likes to walk around with “big girl” shoes. She’s been getting all her teeth so that makes her unhappy once in a while.

I have a few favorite quotes and I’d love to share one with you all (author unknown): “If you want to read a powerful love story don’t look in romance novels; look in the Bible. Jesus gave his life on a cross. It was the most perfect and painful act of love in history and he did it for you and me.”

Merry Christmas and may God be with each and every one of you as you travel into the New Year of 2018. God bless you!

I will share a recipe for white Christmas cookies but they are good any time of the year.

White Christmas Cookies

1 cup Crisco
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
5 cups flour (approximate)
1 teaspoon soda
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup cream or milk
1 tablespoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon vanilla

Cream Crisco and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Add flour, soda, salt and extracts. Add cream; mix well. Roll out very thin and cut into various shapes. Decorate with colored sugar sprinkles or whatever you like. Bake at 350 degrees for 5–8 minutes. Store in tightly-covered container.

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.


Painting, packing, plus home-demonstration parties

A cold morning of 11 degrees. It’s freezing and as Abigail would say, “Brrrr – cold!”

Eleven days until Christmas day. I just can’t believe how much faster every year goes by. Life goes on. Changes are made, some good, some bad. The most important part in life is to always let God guide us into the unknown future. He already knows what lies before us. He knows all the changes 2018 will bring. And he alone can help us accept whatever those changes will be.

Our big change here at the Eicher homestead right now is packing Mose and Susan’s belongings and moving them five-and-one-half miles away to their new home.

Mose and Susan’s house is almost done. The flooring is being laid. It takes a little more time to remodel an old farm house but it’s looking better. Last Friday the girls and I helped paint the walls and ceilings. Mose helped us after he came home from work. My muscles were sore the next day. We gave both bedrooms, living room, and dining room two coats of paint. Mose had to go get more paint. New drywall always seems to absorb more paint. We used a “paint plus primer” so that was easier to have it all in one. We were almost done and saw we needed still more paint so nephew Henry went to town and bought more paint. That was a long day to get the painting all done.

Mose and I finished up around 7:30 p.m. I was tired but it felt good to have accomplished our goal. And what a surprise to come home with supper all made. Loretta’s special friend Dustin came to help us after he was off work. He also did some more jobs for Mose while he was there that needed to be done before they move in. Dustin and Loretta came home earlier and prepared supper on the grill which he brought in. They had steak, red potatoes and mushrooms on the grill along with cheese for our supper. It was all very delicious and very much appreciated after a hard day’s work! Lord willing, we plan to move Mose and Susan’s belongings on Saturday.

A beautiful finished omelet.

Tuesday evening we went to a presentation about stainless steel cookware. The man showed us how to cook without water or oil in pans. He prepared supper for the six couples that were there. We were served chicken, potatoes, green beans and carrots all cooked in his cookware. Also an apple cake was prepared on top of the stove in a covered skillet. He showed us ways to use the cookware to eat healthier. I saw a few of the men (including my husband Joe) sneak some salt on their food. I never add much salt to my food because Joe always adds salt without tasting it first. My children grew up not tasting much salt on their food and don’t mind potatoes without salt. We use mostly sea salt for our table salt. It was an interesting evening and I learned a few things. He also prepared an omelet for us without having to flip the omelet, but still fully cooking it.

Last night the girls and I made omelets for everyone for supper. We made a total of 14 omelets using my stainless steel frying pan I’ve had for years, but cooking them a little differently.

Prepped up to make omelets for the whole family.

Friday evening daughter Loretta is hosting a Tupperware wedding shower for Dustin’s brother’s wife, Lisa. We will serve supper to the guests after the party. Hopefully Lisa will have a successful party and pick out some free Tupperware for her new home. Jake and Lisa were married in May so a homemaker can always use some more containers, choppers, etc.

It helps to have everything organized and ready to go before you start.

Now I must get busy. We will wash laundry today. It is nice to see the sun come out because our battery packs were getting low storing solar. With our water running off solar we need a charged battery. We do have a back-up generator but if we don’t need to waste gas its better.

I wish all of you a blessed Christmas and God’s blessings in 2018 and always! Safe travels and good health to all!

Thank you for all your support and encouragement through 2017!

Pancake Pizza

3 cups cake batter
1 dozen eggs, scrambled
1 cup cheese
6 cups sausage gravy (a recipe for sausage gravy is in my new cookbook)
1 pound bacon

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Pour batter into 9×13 greased and floured cake pan. Bake 15 minutes or until done. Remove from oven.

While pancake is baking, scramble eggs in a large skillet. Layer eggs and cheese on top of baked pancake. Make a sausage gravy and put on top of eggs and cheese. Fry and crumble the bacon. Sprinkle on top of the gravy. Serve with or without maple syrup.


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 attend early “Bethlehem” play by the Amish community

Eichers attend early “Bethlehem” play by the Amish community

Supper was later than usual tonight. The men were working on Mose and Susan’s house, sanding drywall. Mose and Susan bought the paint for the house today. Hopefully by Friday we can start painting.

Daughter Elizabeth, Abigail and Nikiah (the little girl Elizabeth babysits for) came here for the day. We all went to a local Amish store that is having a sale this week. They have daily drawings. Son Benjamin was a lucky winner. He won a big musical clock today. The grand prize drawing is two bus tickets for a round trip to Florida. The store had a discount storewide so we purchased some shoes, boots, coats, and the like.

My husband Joe grilled two whole chickens on the grill to go along with the rest of our supper. Timothy, Elizabeth and Abigail ate supper with us before leaving for home. Abigail makes all the animal sounds when we ask her how the puppy, kitty, and more, go. It is so cute listening to her chatter. We see her grow and learn from week to week.

Our whole family enjoyed Friday evening at the Community Youth Center where daughter Verena was a servant in the “Bethlehem Inn” play acted out by some of the Amish in this community. A vegetable stew was made in a black kettle outside. When the guests arrived we walked through the little town of Bethlehem where people were all dressed as they did in those days. People were selling eggs, fruits, nuts; there was a blacksmith shop, and even a jail. When my husband Joe couldn’t find his ticket for the play right away he was taken to jail for a few minutes. (This was all in fun but gave everyone a glimpse of what it might have been like back then.) There were beggars coming around to people as they walked through town. It was all a person’s imagination of what it might have been like on the night Jesus our Savior was born.

We were then ushered into the inn (the community center) where tables were set up. The whole building was lit by candle and lantern light. We were served the vegetable stew and dinner rolls. There were bowls of grapes and cheese on the tables. While we were eating, one of the scenes was Joseph and Mary coming to ask if they could have a room in the inn for the night. They were turned away and later when the inn staff heard of the bright star on top of the manger where baby Jesus was born, we were all lined up to walk outside past the scene of Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus. There would be so much more to share but space in this column will not allow it. My friends Ruth and Karen went with us and they were amazed at what the community did to put on this play. It was all on a donation basis and the money will be put into making improvements in the building. This play was given three nights and a few hundred people could attend each evening.

While the guests filed back inside after seeing baby Jesus, we were handed a plate of warm brownies with a scoop of ice cream on top. The guests all sang two songs together before parting for home. It was a spiritually fun evening, to enjoy with family and friends.

It was also so nice to meet all of the readers that attended the book signings in Highland and Crown Point, Ind., this past Saturday, Dec. 2. We had a very good turnout and unfortunately ran out of books. We ordered more and they will be signed and delivered to the Crown Point store before Christmas. Our regrets to anyone for whom this was an inconvenience.

The readers were very encouraging to me and I want to thank everyone that attended. I was very excited when Aunt Caroline Coblentz, plus my cousin David and his wife Karen came to our Crown Point signing. What a good surprise. I miss seeing another cousin, Larry Coblentz in the crowd. He would come to a lot of my signings. He passed away from cancer a few years ago. A big thanks to my friend Ruth and also to Karen for driving us there and back. Also to my husband Joe and daughters Verena and Lovina for going along for support. Verena did a great job running the cash register for me.

God’s blessings! Here’s some hot soup for a cold night.

Hamburger Vegetable Soup

1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced or shredded cabbage
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup rice or barley
1 cup tomato or V8 juice
4 cups water
4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon rosemary

Fry hamburger with onions and garlic until no longer pink; drain fat. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for one hour. Serves 6.

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.

When mothers can’t sleep until all the children are home

When mothers can’t sleep until all the children are home

It is Thursday morning and time to get this column written. Time goes so fast from week to week. How can it be Thanksgiving Day next week already? We will be hosting the Thanksgiving meal here for sisters Verena, Susan, Emma and Jacob and families, and our family. We four sisters get together every year on Thanksgiving Day unless there are other plans. We all exchange names for Christmas. We are a total of 25 now. We usually set the table for all of us which makes a pretty long table already.

We will have turkey and all the trimmings. Daughter Elizabeth wants to make all the pies for Thanksgiving this year. She is getting to be a good pie baker. My sisters usually all bring food as well so we end up with lots more food then we need.

My husband Joe and the boys are off to work this morning. It’s a little rushed on the mornings they all leave around the same time. Getting all those lunches packed and water jugs filled with water and ice takes time. I also make coffee for Joe and nephew Henry to take along in a coffee mug. Our sons don’t drink coffee. Joe and I are the only ones that do. Mose and Susan like tea instead. I remember my mother would have a cup of warm tea by all our plates for breakfast sometimes. Our children drink iced tea better than warm tea. They would also choose hot chocolate over tea in the cold winter mornings.

I put a salad in Joe’s lunch today. It’s hard to keep up with who likes what in their lunch. Son Benjamin always wanted ham sandwiches. One day he was so tired of ham and didn’t want any more. I started making burrito wraps and then that didn’t sound good any more. If they don’t have a way to heat up food it’s hard to think of what to put in their lunch. I heat up soup once in a while and put it in a thermos to keep it warm. It’s easiest packing your own lunch because you know what you are hungry for more than anyone else. Son Kevin, 12, packs his own school lunch every morning.

Yesterday my daughters and I spent the day at daughter Elizabeth’s house. They will be hosting church services in January or February so she is getting her closets cleaned and organized already. She has two spare bedrooms on the main level that they mostly use when they have overnight company. The one bedroom she does use for her sewing room as well. She has those two rooms cleaned. We helped her clean out the closet in the hallway area. Son-in-law Timothy put up three shelves in it so she can put all her cleaning supplies, rags, brooms, stock pots, etc. in there. We turned the laundry room she had into a baby room for Abigail. We moved the changing table, dresser and all of Abigail’s clothes in there. Timothy had moved the washing machine down to the basement earlier this fall so Elizabeth washes clothes down there now.

Abigail’s crib is in Timothy and Elizabeth’s bedroom. I know the feeling that it is nice to have your little one close by during the night hours. I well remember the sleepless nights caring for the children. There are nights when I can’t sleep now waiting until the last one is home. I don’t think a mother every stops looking after her children. The children say, “Mom go to bed, don’t wait up on us.” But until you are a parent yourself you don’t quite understand. I tell them I used to tell my mother the same thing and wonder why she couldn’t sleep until we were all home at night. God watches over us. His blessings to all!

Try this banana chocolate chip sheet cake. It is a new cake we enjoyed this week. I had ripe bananas to use up some way.

A great way to use up bananas that are getting older.

Banana Chocolate Chip Sheet Cake

1 2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup ripe bananas (3-4 bananas)
2/3 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips


8 ounces cream cheese, softened
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened to room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/8 cup mini chocolate chips for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 1/2 x 15 inch sheet pan. Beat together butter and sugar until mixture resembles crumbs. Add eggs, vanilla and mix again. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, soda and salt than gradually add to butter mixture. Add mashed bananas and buttermilk and mix together well. Fold in 2/3 cup of chocolate chips. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Note: Cake is done when corners start to pull back from sides of pan and top of cake springs back when pressed gently in the center.

Frosting: Combine cream cheese, butter and vanilla; gradually add confectioner’s sugar and mix until smooth. Spread evenly on cooled cake and garnish with chocolate chips.

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.


When daughters do something their mother never even wanted to do

We have entered the eleventh month of the year already. 2017 is going fast but then every year does. It really seems like the older you get the faster it goes.

We will be having a change around here with daughter Susan and Mose being homeowners and moving in the near future. Saturday we will go help them with whatever needs to be done.

Yesterday daughter Elizabeth and Abigail came here for the day. We canned chicken broth for Susan and me. I will give some to Elizabeth since she doesn’t have any right now. It takes time to debone the meat and pressure cook the broth.

Son-in-law Timothy came here from work to drive the buggy home with Elizabeth and Abigail. He started a new job at an RV factory so his hours have changed. It always takes some getting used to a different job but it sounds like he likes it.

Abigail was her usual cute self just winning all the hearts around here. When Grandpa (my husband Joe) comes home from work she will go run so he comes after her. She takes him to the jar where he keeps suckers and reaches for one. How quickly they catch on to where candy is. She will lick the sucker for a while and then when she’s distracted we can sneak it away from her.

When we go out to the buggy to get her when they come she always has such a sweet smile for us. She was showing me her new pink mittens. I am surprised she leaves them on her little hands. Now this Grandma has to quit talking about her grandchild. I imagine all you grandparents know how precious it is to have grandchildren.

We were all excited for daughter Loretta, 17, last night. She shot her first deer with her compound bow. Son-in-law Mose and Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) helped track it down. Dustin dressed it and has it hanging ready to be cut up. Loretta never thought she would get the chance to go hunting or even be able to shoot the bow let alone hit the deer. We are happy for her. I told her she has done something I never could do.

We laughed when Mose told us about the time our daughter Susan almost shot a deer. When he asked her why she didn’t she said, “Well he was looking at me and I couldn’t pull the trigger.” When Loretta was a little girl she would go hunting with my husband Joe sometimes. She couldn’t hunt but the children liked to go sit with him in the woods. One time Joe saw a doe and it would have been a good shot but Loretta yelled to the deer so it could get away. She had been reading about Bambi and couldn’t bear to see a deer get shot. So now we are surprised she could shoot one of her own.

Last Friday was a cold and rainy day for the wedding of Melvin and Lisa in Rochester, Indiana. They had plenty of room for everyone to be inside which helped. Sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma, Jacob, and sons Benjamin and Steven, Joe and I, and sons Joseph and Kevin traveled the two hour drive to Rochester to the wedding. We were served a delicious meal consisting of barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, noodles, corn, broccoli, and cauliflower salad, sliced cheese, bread buns, butter, jelly, pumpkin, apple and peanut butter pies, fresh fruit mixture, tapioca pudding, cake, etc. We had a nice time visiting with friends and family. Sister Liz and Levi were also there so five of us sisters were there.

Lovina and family get ready for fall with some great pumpkin recipes. Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis.

The girls are washing laundry and it’s another rainy day so it looks like it will be hung on the lines in the basement. God bless!

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Avoid using paper liners as they make it difficult to remove cupcakes. You can use foil liners, just spray the insides first.

Mix the pumpkin, sugars, eggs, vanilla and milk. Add the flour, spice, salt, baking powder and soda to the mixture. Fill each muffin with 1/3 cup of the mixture. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.  Serves 12.


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.

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


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


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.

Distractions from toddler are hard to resist

A cool Wednesday evening—we finally have a break from the heat. Tonight was a nice evening to go to the local u-pick for grapes. Tomorrow we will steam the grapes into juice. We make grape juice concentrate. Sugar and water can be added to suit your own taste when you open the jars. A good healthy drink on those cold winter mornings. The steamers have saved so much work. I have two of them so it keeps me busy to keep both filled and filling the jars. We also purchased apples and cider. Yum! Fresh apples and cider with popcorn makes a good snack! I will finish this tomorrow. Good night.

Church services were held here with Mose and Susan hosting the services. That was round number three for church services being held here this summer. Along with hosting those and the family gathering, our house stayed extra clean and tidy. Now with that being over we can get out the sewing machines and start cutting out material for more wedding clothes. Yesterday, daughter Susan cut out her dress, cape, and apron for Mose’s sister Esther’s wedding. I’m to wear a dark blue dress and I have one already. But I need to cut out a dress for Loretta for next week. Her special friend Dustin’s brother Clint is getting married. Dustin and Loretta will be witnesses in the wedding. I was asked to cook so I will also go help with preparations for the wedding on Monday.

Last week we had a nice but very hot day for the wedding of our neighbor girl Mary and LaVern. My job was to wash dishes, and wash dishes I did—all day! Needless to say my hands were very clean by night time. Mary wanted my sisters Verena, Susan, Emma and our daughters to yodel for the guests after everything was over (except for washing and packing up dishes for the wedding wagon). Yodeling is a Swiss tradition I was brought up with. In this community it isn’t so common. As children we would help along as my mother and her sisters yodeled and this began a new generation of yodelers.

I was happy to meet some of my readers (relatives of LaVern) at the wedding. I am always glad when they come up and say hi. It gives me encouragement to go on even on busy days like today. I am quickly writing this before tackling the grapes that are waiting to be made into juice.

Daughter Elizabeth and her little Abigail came to help today. Laundry is being gathered to wash. I needed to go to the desk in my bedroom to finish this. Too many distractions; who could concentrate writing with sweet Abigail walking around? Chattering Abigail decided it’s faster to start walking instead of crawling. She is everywhere and Grandma’s house is again getting childproofed. She loves my cabinet with all my little Tupperware containers. Such a past-time she is and can very easily get this Grandma to neglect her work!

Mose and Susan served chicken and noodle soup for their church lunch along with bologna, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, freezer and dill pickles, pickled red beets, homemade wheat and white bread, butter, strawberry jam, hot peppers, ice tea, coffee and a variety of cookies.

We prepared four twelve-quart kettles of chicken and noodles. We added diced carrots and potatoes into the soup. That gives it a better flavor. There was a whole kettle left over so Susan passed it out to family. It made an easy lunch for the ones packing their lunch and also an easy supper Monday evening along with sandwiches.

I will share the recipe for the chicken noodle soup that we used. It is probably way too big for most people to use but if you ever need a big amount to feed a crowd it might come in handy.

God’s blessings to all!

Amish Chicken Noodle Soup

1 quart chicken broth
3–3 1/2 cups small cut up chicken pieces, cooked
4 pounds noodles
7 quarts potato water, if available; or plain water
1 cup chicken soup base
1 tablespoon salt
Add chopped carrots and chopped potatoes, as desired

Bring broth and chicken pieces to a boil in 12-quart kettle; stir in noodles. Add potato water, chicken soup base, other veggies, and salt. Return to a full boil and cook for several minutes, then turn off heat. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.

Note: Depending on the noodles you use, you may need to adjust the amount to only 3 pounds for a 12-quart kettle.

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.

A day in Lovina’s Life: Diary of September 20, 2017

A day in Lovina’s Life: Diary of September 20, 2017

3:00 a.m. Alarm rings telling us it’s time to start another day. Mornings come around too quick. I pack Joe’s lunch and put on a pot of coffee so he can take some to drink on his way to work.

3:45 a.m. Joe and son-in-law Mose leave for the RV factory. I go back to bed and set the alarm for 4:45 a.m. I hear nephew Henry, 20, leaving every morning around 4:15 a.m. to go to work. He does really well to always hear his alarm and get ready for work.

4:45 a.m. I pack lunches for sons Benjamin, 18, and Joseph, 15. They will go help nephew Noah today on his construction job. The boys go do the morning chores while I make them a breakfast sandwich consisting of egg, ham, cheese, and toast. I wrap it in aluminum foil to keep it warm. Sometimes they eat their breakfast here and sometimes on their way to work.

Favorite breakfast fixings.

5:15 a.m. The boys leave for work. I get a cup of coffee and relax in my recliner until it’s time to get Kevin, 12, up for the bus. How different it seems from when I had five or six children to send on the bus by 7:00 a.m. Kevin makes his own breakfast and when he packs his lunch I help with that. I usually wake Kevin up around 6:15 a.m.

7:00 a.m. The bus is here and Kevin leaves for school. Lovina, 13, gets up to get ready to start her school work here at home. Daughter Susan and I are getting ready to leave today. Susan harnesses our pony Stormy up and hitches him to the pony buggy. Susan and I are going to help bake pies, etc., at our neighbors for their daughter’s wedding which is Friday. Susan and I are both cooks at the wedding.

Daughters Verena, 19, and Loretta, 17, will be here today with Lovina while we leave. Verena helps tutor Lovina on days I can’t. She grades her work for me and gives her the spelling tests. So far it’s really going well and Lovina understands the work well.

8:15 a.m.  Susan and I are ready to leave. We go pick up my sisters Verena and Susan as they were asked to help also and to be cooks at the wedding Friday.

12:30 p.m. Susan and I are back home from helping the neighbors. I helped with the pecan pies and making crusts for the peanut butter pies. Tomorrow they will make the cherry pies. We were done early with all the jobs that were assigned to us.

1:00 p.m. Susan and I are ready to leave to go get groceries for Sunday. Mose and Susan will host church services here on Sunday. It will be Rule Church (preparation for communion services) so services will go until mid-afternoon. We serve lunch during the services to two tables at a time while the services keep on going. Usually chicken noodle soup is on the menu with the regular church lunch.

4:30 p.m. Susan and I are back home. Benjamin and Joseph are back home. With everyone’s help the groceries are carried inside and put away.

Joe, Henry and Kevin are all home as well. Mose went to his parent’s house to help his dad set up their tree stands. Everyone is getting prepared for the upcoming deer season.

6:30 p.m. Dustin comes for supper or rather ends up making supper for all of us! We have supper outside on the porch. Dustin has the deep fryer going (propane). He makes French fries, jalapeño poppers (jalapeños with cream cheese inside and breaded), breaded mushroom,s and breaded mozzarella sticks. It’s a different kind of supper for us but easy to do and out of the house on this hot day. Temperatures are hitting the 80’s and it takes some getting used to after all the cool days we had.

7:00 p.m. Mose is back home and joins us for supper.

10:30 p.m. Finally everyone is settled for the night. Dustin left and it’s past our bedtime. It was a nice evening sitting on the porch.

One additional note: We had around 80 people here for the family gathering last Saturday. Quite a few of the nieces and nephews couldn’t attend. Joe and Mose grilled 100 pounds of chicken starting at 3:30 a.m. We had lots of food with everyone bringing a dish or two.

God’s blessings!

Pizza Casserole

1 pound sausage
1/3 cup onions, chopped
½ cup green bell peppers, diced
1 (4-ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
½ teaspoon salt
8 ounces rotini pasta, cooked
2 (10-ounce) cans pizza sauce, or equivalent amount homemade sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
15–18 slices pepperoni (optional)

Brown the sausage, onion, and bell peppers in a skillet. Drain grease. Add the mushrooms and salt, then spoon into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Cover with cooked rotini. Pour sauce over top and sprinkle with cheese. If desired, arrange pepperoni on top of the cheese.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until cheese has melted and casserole is bubbling.

Note: This recipe can be made a day ahead; add 15 minutes to baking time if casserole has been refrigerated.

This recipe is from Lovina’s newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook. (Herald Press, 2017) If you love her cookbook, consider writing a review on Amazon. There are over 25 reviews and almost all rank them 4 or higher (on a scale of 1-5 stars)!


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.