Category Archives: Desserts

Gratitude for support as medical concerns continue

Another week has gone by. We have a big beef carcass hanging in our pole barn needing to be cut up and packaged for our freezer. We raised it, so it was a project we knew we would need to get done during these cold months.

Our minds are far from our work, but life goes on. Daughter Susan and children are coping the best they can and miss their husband and daddy so much. Little Jennifer will be three on January 15th. She is very aware that her daddy still hasn’t come home and wants to be held and cuddled a lot. There is a void in their lives. Little Ryan gave Susan a scare when he had a seizure Sunday morning from a high fever. The doctor came, and Ryan has the start of bronchitis but is being treated with a nebulizer and is getting better every day.

Sister Emma and Jacob hosted church services at their house. I was unable to go as I felt daughter Susan needed my help with 1-year-old Ryan. She gets even more scared now when her little ones get sick.

Also, early Sunday morning I got a call from sister Susan’s doctor telling us she has been transferred to the Indianapolis University Hospital in Indianapolis, IN, as they weren’t equipped to care for her anymore. Now sister Verena isn’t allowed to visit her at all. It is so hard to have her 3 1/2 hours away and no one allowed to see her. She’s still not breathing on her own. Doctors did get the bleeding to stop again several times after she started bleeding again. All this has taken its toll on her body. She has been given many units of blood. She is still sedated at the time of this writing. Doctors tell us she is very ill but tell us no tumor or aneurysm was found and they are puzzled at where the bleeding is coming from. This is Day 11 and she’s been in three different hospitals. Please pray for her and also for my other sister, Verena. Sisters Verena and Susan were never married and live 1/2 a mile from us. They have lived together all their lives. Verena is really lost without Susan around. Also pray for the rest of us so God can give us the strength we need to help everyone. This week daughter Verena, 23, is staying with her aunt, my sister Verena. Daughter Lovina, 16, is staying with daughter Susan. My work isn’t getting done as fast but daughter Lorreta, 20, is doing the best she can to help. So is Kevin, 15, but he said his hands are getting too soft from washing dishes and helping with the laundry. His teasing and jokes keep our thoughts away from the grief at times. He misses Mose a lot as Mose always helped him to do things he can’t with his handicap. Kevin is good at hiding his pain.

As my boys (Benjamin, 21, and Joseph,18) walk out that door each morning around 4:30 a.m. I think more of the goodbyes we say on rushed mornings. We never know when it will be the last time we see a loved one. With sister Susan in the hospital so ill all we can do is turn to our Heavenly Father for help. Without comfort from Him where would we be.

I want to again thank readers for their outpouring of support. Daughter Susan and our family really appreciate all of you. Our church members have been such a support as well.

Monday daughter Susan and children were still here. She came here Sunday morning after Ryan had that seizure. Dan’s widow Jodi came over and we had coffee break together once again, talking about their husbands who were killed in the accident. Sharing memories helps them keep them alive in their hearts.

This morning I went through another stack of cards from readers. So many nice letters and cards supporting us!

Daughter Susan will have her 25th birthday on January 24th. Mose’s birthday would have been February 5th. They always shared their birthdays 11 days apart. Then when Jennifer was born January 15th they had another birthday close to theirs to celebrate. This year will be different. Let go—let God! I wish all of you good health and happiness and most of all God’s blessings.

 

Coffee and Cream Brownies

1/2 cup butter, cubed
3 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Filling:

1 tablespoon cream
1 level teaspoon instant coffee
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar

Glaze:

1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup cream

Melt butter and chocolate in saucepan over low heat. Cool slightly. In a small mixing bowl beat sugar, eggs, and vanilla, and stir in chocolate mixture. Add flour and baking soda. Spread in greased 8-inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool.

For filling, stir coffee granules into cream until dissolved. Add butter and powdered sugar, stirring until mixture is smooth. Spread over brownies.

In saucepan over low heat, combine chocolate chips and cream and stir until chocolate is melted. After cooling slightly, carefully spread over filling. Let stand 30 minutes or until glaze is set.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Medical concerns mount for Eicher family

A brand new year is before us. What does it hold for us? It is so good we don’t know our future.

Saturday we decided to wash our laundry and also daughter Susan’s. We have a heated basement with lines in it so it’s nice to dry clothes in these cold winter months. We weren’t started too long when my husband Joe came to tell me we had a call from sister Verena to ask if I could come right away to help with sister Susan. Sons Benjamin and Joseph went with me. Sisters Verena and Susan live just down the road from us. When we got there, Verena said Susan was having bad stomach pains. This had been bothering her quite some time already, but it was very bad to the point she could hardly walk. I asked her if it was okay if I called the ambulance to take her in to get help. She said it would cost too much but I told her that her life was worth far more than any amount of money. Susan was rushed to the hospital. Sister Verena and I went up with an Amish driver, following the ambulance. The doctors soon decided that she needed to be transferred to a bigger hospital over an hour away. Verena was able to sit with her until the ambulance came to transfer her. I was so glad one of the nurses let me go in to say a few words to her. A COVID test was performed, which was negative. They told Verena if the test is negative she can sit with Susan. Sister Verena was told only she can visit Susan each day from noon to 8 p.m. Since it was after 8 by the time she was transferred, Verena and I came back home. Daughter Lovina, 16, went home with Verena for the night. Our daughter Verena was still staying with daughter Susan and children. Makes our house seem empty.

On Sunday sister Emma and Jacob went to the hospital with sister Verena so she could visit with Susan. Jacob and Emma couldn’t go in the hospital, so they had a long wait until Verena came out again.

They performed a CT scan and MRI, among other tests. Doctors said she was bleeding in her abdomen and suspected a tumor or a possible small aneurysm, but they said she was losing a lot of blood and had to give her blood.

Around 10:30 p.m. Sunday night, daughters Lovina and Verena were staying with sister Verena (daughter Susan and children stayed with us) when the doctor called to tell Verena to bring the family up as Susan is on life support and losing out fast. All my siblings and sister-in-law Nancy were contacted and rushed to the hospital. The six siblings were all allowed to go in to Susan. We talked and prayed with her, but she was sedated. It was still comforting to hold her hand and tell her we love her. The doctors told us to stay in the waiting room during the surgery (to try to stop the bleeding). They didn’t think she might survive the surgery. It was comforting for all of the siblings to be together. Daughter Verena and a few of the nephews were also along. We prayed, visited, and cried together, not knowing what we would find out. The doctor came out to let us know the surgery was over and she would have one again in a few days to take out the packs they put in her to stop the bleeding. The siblings all got to go see her for a few minutes and then we were told to go back home. The visiting went back to only sister Verena from noon to 8 p.m. each day. It was 7 a.m. when we arrived back home.

Today (Tuesday) they had surgery again and were able to stop the bleeding. The life support is still on her. Sister Verena goes to sit by her bed each day as is allowed. Then daughters Lovina and Verena take turns staying with sister Verena for the night. The other one stays with daughter Susan and children.

Daughters Elizabeth and Lovina and I assisted sister Emma in cleaning today as church services are set to be there Sunday, Lord willing! Thank you for all the prayers during this past month. God bless!

Shoestring Potato Pie

2 unbaked pie shells
potatoes, peeled and shredded
cubed ham or meat of your choice
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup water (or more)

Fill pie shell heaping full with potatoes, ham, and seasonings. Add water and place second crust on top. Cut slits in top crust to let steam escape. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until potatoes are done. Pie can be served with your choice of gravy.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Eichers celebrate Christmas quietly this year

This column will wrap up my columns for 2020. We wish all of you God’s richest blessings in the new year 2021.

I hope you all had a blessed Christmas and were all safe and healthy. Our Christmas was extra quiet and we really just appreciated the gift of having each other. Mose is missed so much that life right now doesn’t seem the same. Will we ever get over the grief? For Susan and her children, our hearts still ache even more. Reality is setting in and has taken its toll on her. She’s not ready to leave other than to come here once in a while. I have never gone through losing a life’s partner so I can’t imagine how much she aches if even I miss Mose so much as a son-in-law.

Two-year-old Jennifer asks every night when Daddy will come home. She wants him to rock her to sleep. How do you explain to her that he’s never coming back? I pray that God can give me the wisdom that I need to help my daughter and grandbabies. We keep reminding ourselves that God makes no mistakes.

Susan and our family are so very thankful for all the cards, gifts, and the prayers that are being said on our behalf. It does not bring Mose back, but it helps ease the burden. Please know it is all greatly appreciated. We can feel the support!

Sunday, December 27, was our youngest grandchild Allison’s first birthday. How can it be possible that sweet little Allison is already a year old? She is so petite but mighty. She’s walking everywhere and has the biggest smile. Her bight blue eyes twinkle with happiness, so sweet and innocent, and she doesn’t know the pain the rest of us are feeling.

 

Daughter Elizabeth made her a cake and also one for T.J., who turned 2 on December 17. That day was a visitation day for Mose, so T.J. didn’t really have much of a special birthday. Having cakes for both him and Allison made him smile. Although Allison has her daddy’s blue eyes, T.J. on the other hand looks so much like his daddy Tim but has brown eyes like his mother.

Daughter Verena is still staying with daughter Susan and her sweet little ones. We really miss having her here at home but are so glad she’s there to help Susan. Verena is a great listener and has been a comfort to Susan when she needs someone to vent to. May the good Lord bless her for putting others’ needs before her own. Of course, Jennifer and Ryan are glad to have her to cuddle with. It doesn’t replace their daddy but it gives them comfort.

Tomorrow the men and boys from our church district will cut wood for Susan’s stove. Hopefully it will be enough for the winter. A neighbor offered his woods to cut wood out of. So many kind deeds have been done for her. It does help to know others care and are praying for all of us. Let go and let God—that can be a challenge for us as humans sometimes so we continue to trust in God. God bless you!

Peanut Butter Eggs
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Melting chocolate

Mix together everything except the melting chocolate until thoroughly blended. Shape into eggs or balls. Dip into melted chocolate. Place the eggs or balls on wax paper to harden.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Christmas time treat recipes

Lovina Eicher’s son-in-law Mose was injured in a car accident on Wednesday, December 9. His injuries were severe, and he passed away the morning of December 14. Lovina asks readers to hold Susan and children Jennifer, age 2, and Ryan, age 1, in prayer. She writes, “Susan is a widow at age 24 but she says her years of marriage to Mose were the most wonderful years of her life. They were married four years in August.”

On the evening of the accident Lovina wrote: “… Susan and the children are staying with us… Our sympathy goes out to the family of Mose’s driver, Dan, who was killed instantly in the accident. Dan’s son drives my son Benjamin to work every day; daughter Loretta’s boyfriend Dustin was Dan’s group leader at work. Dan was a great man to all who knew him. Let’s keep his family in our prayers as well. I haven’t heard how the girl is from the other car in this accident, but we want to lift her and her family up in our prayers too.”

Because of these events, this week’s column contains favorite recipes culled from two of Lovina’s cookbooks, Lovina’s Amish Kitchen and Amish Family Recipes. Please remember Mose, Susan, their two young children, and the larger family in prayer at this time.

PEANUT BRITTLE

My dad loved peanut brittle. My mom would always make it around the Christmas holiday.

2 cups sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup light corn syrup
½ cup cold water
2 cups raw peanuts
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking soda

Grease a large baking sheet; set aside.

In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil sugar, salt, corn syrup, and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanuts. Set candy thermometer in place and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300°F, or until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard and brittle threads.

Remove from heat; immediately stir in butter and baking soda; pour at once onto baking sheet. With two forks, lift and pull peanut mixture into rectangle about 12 x 14 inches in size. Allow to cool, then break candy into pieces.

From The Essential Amish Cookbook, © 2017 Herald Press

 

POPCORN BALLS

My mother would always make Popcorn Balls around Christmastime. I like to add the red and green food color when I make them during the holiday season to give them that Christmas look.

¼ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
16 cups popped popcorn, salted

Combine butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 2 minutes. Add the baking soda and stir well.

Place popcorn in a large bowl and pour cooked mixture over popcorn, mixing well. Form into 3-inch balls and set on waxed paper to cool.

For color, a few drops of food color can be added to cooked mixture before pouring over popcorn.

From The Essential Amish Cookbook, © 2017 Herald Press

 

SNOWBALL COOKIES

I like to make these cookies around Christmastime, but they are good anytime of year. The nuts give them a nice crunchy texture.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1¾ cups all-purpose flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for rolling cookies

Cream together butter, granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add nuts. Slowly add flour until combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Drop small scoops of dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool, then roll in confectioners’ sugar.

From Amish Family Recipes, © 2020 Herald Press

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Family visits and Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

Sons Benjamin, 21, and Joseph, 18, both have left for work. It is 5 a.m. and I decided I’ll write this column while all is still quiet. The weather has taken a big change overnight. Yesterday, and for over a week, we have had nice, sunny, warm weather. Now this morning the temperature is in the lower 40’s and seems to gradually be dropping.

We took advantage of the nice weather by raking leaves, the men hauling manure, etc. I also planted 42 tulip bulbs of various colors in my flower bed in front of the house. Hopefully they will come up next year. I love flowers that come up every year.

Daughter Elizabeth and her three children are planning to come here for the day. Little ten-month-old Allison is taking her first steps and walking short distances. This is always exciting to see. She is still so petite, so its even cuter to see her walking already.

Daughter Susan won’t come today because she, Mose, and the children are spending a week at Mose’s brother’s place in a community one hour and fifteen minutes from here. Mose has several brothers in that community. He isn’t allowed to go back to work yet due to doctor’s orders since his accident at work. They decided to go do some visiting now that they are moved back in the house. His brothers each have two little boys around Jennifer and Ryan’s ages, so I’m sure the little cousins will have lots of fun.

Last Friday the girls and I went to Mose and Susan’s house and stained all the trim for their house. It was a nice day to stain it outside.

Sunday morning, I made pancakes, eggs, and fresh sausage (given to us by neighbors Joas and Susan) along with fresh maple syrup made by our sons-in-law. We had a lazy day of just resting. With life so busy, at times its nice to have a day to relax.

In the afternoon Tim and Elizabeth and family and Mose and Susan and family came over. Also here were Dustin and Daniel (Loretta and Lovina’s boyfriends). I wanted to make homemade pizza for supper, but my oven isn’t working right. I have a stove in the pole barn, but Dustin offered that we could make the pizza across the road at his house and eat there instead. So that is what we did.

Dustin and my husband Joe changed the thermocouple on my gas stove on Friday, but it still doesn’t want to heat up. Our neighbor has an appliance store but hasn’t had time to come see what else is wrong. I miss not having an oven in the house. If we want to bake something, we always have to take it outside to the pole barn.

It was nice to make supper at Dustin’s. We ate out on his new patio, which is now completed.

We made chicken alfredo pizzas and several sausage pepperoni pizzas with lots of other toppings. Macaroni and cheese and chips were also on the menu. For dessert Dustin had ice cream cones from his freezer. I appreciated Dustin’s offer to let us make supper at his house. It was nice for me to get out of my own house too.

After dishes were washed, we played games. Dustin and Daniel’s sister Grace came after supper and played games with us.

Last week daughter Verena helped granddaughters Abigail, 4, and Jennifer, 2, make pumpkin oatmeal muffins. I will share the recipe with you readers. It would be a nice dish to take to a Thanksgiving dinner. Verena has lots of patience with children and already lets the little girls enjoy helping “make food.”

God’s blessings to all!

Lovina’s Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins cool before a family gathering. Photo provided.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup quick oatmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

Streusel

1/4 cup quick oatmeal
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 medium muffin cups with paper baking cups or spray bottoms only with cooking spray. Mix together streusel ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Combine oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, pecans, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Mix well. In medium bowl combine pumpkin, milk, oil, and egg; blend well. Add to dry ingredients all at once. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix. Fill muffin cups until almost full. Sprinkle with the streusel. Bake 22–25 minutes or until golden brown.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Autumn leaves, deer hunting, and apple pie

We are having nice, sunny autumn weather with temperature in the 60’s by the end of the day. It’s a good time to get the leaves raked and the yard cleaned up before the snow flies. We did have a coating of snow on Sunday, but it didn’t accumulate much.

I also have some tulip bulbs I want to plant this week.

The leaves are absolutely amazing in their fall colors—scenery that only our Master Artist can create. Daughter Lovina, 16, and I drove to town with the horse and buggy. We saw a lot of nice scenery on the back roads.

Last week we helped Mose and Susan finish painting their house, although the pantry needs to be painted yet. My husband Joe helped Mose install their kitchen cabinets. On Saturday Joe, our sons, son-in-law Tim, his nephew, and Dustin (daughter Loretta’s boyfriend) helped Mose move in enough of their furniture so they can live in the house while they finish remodeling. Dustin and son Joseph also put up some trim. The back porch still needs to be turned into another bedroom and the laundry room remodeled, but the doors can be shut while finishing those rooms.

Mose and Susan heat with an outside wood boiler, so their house is nice and cozy now. What a relief for Susan to have an indoor bathroom and running water again. The fruits of their labor are worth all the time invested. I know they appreciated everyone’s help during this busy time.

On Friday afternoon Joe, son Kevin, and I went to daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. I helped Elizabeth in the house while Joe helped Tim grill forty pounds of chicken. Kevin helped keep the children entertained. Daughters Verena and Lovina also came to help with supper. They invited Elizabeth’s pen pal and extended family from a nearby community for supper. They had almost forty guests that night. On the menu were tater tot casserole, barbequed chicken, lettuce salad, cheese slices, pumpkin and apple pies, Swiss roll bars, ice cream, lemonade, punch, and coffee.

After supper dishes, we spent time visiting and singing. Elizabeth’s pen pal, also named Elizabeth, has two children.

The girls and I washed our clothes and Mose and Susan’s clothes on Monday. It was such a beautiful week to hang clothes outside to dry.

Dustin went hunting with a bow and arrow and landed a seven-point buck. Loretta is also hunting with a bow and arrow again this year. She hasn’t been able to get any deer yet. I like venison meat for sloppy joes, as it’s drier to fry. I always mix some sausage with it.

Sons Benjamin and Joseph have also gone deer hunting a few times. And sons-in-law Tim and Mose have put one or two deer in the freezer already.

I received my reader mail again and was very humbled to receive the gifts from readers. May God bless you for thinking of us. I try not to worry and let God be in control. Something will come along, I’m sure, and Mose has been very glad for Joe’s help.

Today Joe is at home and not feeling well, so I hope it’s nothing serious. God’s blessings to all and lots of prayer for our government. May God guide them in the right way to guide our country.

Plain Apple Pie

6 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (6 cups)
1 (9-inch) pie shell, unbaked
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup water

Place apples in pie shell. In a small bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and water. Sprinkle flour mixture evenly over apples. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until apples are soft. Makes 1 pie.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Fun and games with grandchildren as family gathers

Supper is over, evening devotions have been said, and everyone has either gone to bed or is showering, reading, or just relaxing as I write this column.

Our supper had ham and beans on the menu. I took a few ham bones out of the freezer and decided to make a big kettle of ham and beans.

Lovina cooked a large pot of ham and beans this week, pictured, for a nourishing family supper. Photo provided.

Daughter Verena finished up on answering my reader mail today. I read all the letters and her answers. She wants me to see if she answered all the cooking questions okay. I am grateful that she helps me out with it. I want to thank all of you for the encouraging words.

Loretta, 20, and Lovina, 16, helped me make a casserole to take along to daughter Susan and Mose’s house tomorrow. Mose’s parents, Joe and I, and a few of our daughters, daughter Elizabeth and children are all planning to help paint, and the men will hang more pine boards on the ceiling. Cabinets will be installed hopefully yet this week. The bathroom is useable now. Hopefully we will be able to finish up on the painting. Nephew Benjamin and my husband Joe have been there the last few days hanging ceiling boards. Nephew Benjamin is off from work this week, so he was able to help out.

On Sunday we had a large group for the noon meal: sister Emma and Jacob, their sons Jacob, Steven, and Benjamin, and Benjamin’s girlfriend Crystal and her son Isaiah; niece Elizabeth and Manuel; niece Emma and Menno, and children Jessica and baby Menno Ray; sisters Verena and Susan; daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and children Abigail, T.J., and Allison; daughter Susan and Mose, and children Jennifer and Ryan; Dustin (daughter Loretta’s boyfriend), and Daniel (daughter Lovina’s boyfriend). We are a total of 34 now when we get together.

The men deep fried fish outside in the deep fryer. Along with that we had mashed potatoes, gravy, pork and beans, macaroni salad, lettuce salad, cheese, hot peppers, salsa and chips, peach braid, pumpkin cake, mocha dessert, Jello cookies, and ice cream. The fish were perch and blue gill caught by Joe and our family this summer. With everyone bringing a dish or two the meal was lots bigger than what I prepared.

With Jacob and Emma’s grandchildren and ours, along with Crystal’s son Isaiah, 3, there were eight children here age four and under. Daughter Verena kept them entertained outside making piles of leaves to hide under for a while.

Then they came inside and all sat on the steps of our stairway, singing and pretending to be in church. Little Allison even sat there, and everyone wanted her to be their “child.” So cute and precious! Nevertheless, you could say our house was filled with activity.

Games were played and then some food set out for whomever wanted to snack before they headed home. It was an enjoyable day! Jacob and Emma’s family and ours used to be together every weekend but with both of us having our own families growing bigger it doesn’t happen quite as often.

We just received word that sister-in-law Sarah Irene’s mother passed away. Our sympathy goes to brother Albert, Sarah Irene, and the extended family. May God guide them through this time and always. God’s blessings to all!

Frozen Mocha Dessert

2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 tablespoon hot water
1/4 cup melted butter
3 cups crumbled Oreo cookies
16 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
16 ounce container whipped topping
Small amount caramel syrup

Dissolve coffee in hot water. Mix butter with cookies crumbs. Put 2 1/2 cups of crumbs on bottom of pan. Reserve 1/2 cup for top. Combine cream cheese, coffee mixture, sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate syrup. Beat well and add whipped topping. Cover and freeze a few days before serving. Drizzle with caramel syrup before serving.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Lovina’s daughter Verena shares her story

Over the years I have written about my daughter Verena’s brain concussion and the almost seven years that she had post-concussion syndrome. I also wrote about our children who have limb girdle type 2 muscular dystrophy. Readers have asked why my daughters use mobility scooters. Here is Verena’s story in her own words:

I have dealt with a brain concussion and post-concussion syndrome. I am now able to say I am completely healed. I pray for healing for anyone else that is dealing with it. God be with them and their families. I would fall easier than many children my age, which was later explained after my brain injury. I was diagnosed with limb girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A. I had small head injuries before my big head injury. One was by falling and hitting my head and another by being hit in the head with an ice snowball. Both times I was unconscious for a few seconds. I was confused after one fall and had to be taken to the hospital. I was sent home with a mild head injury and told to rest a lot.

When I was 12 years old, on June 2, 2010, I was hit on my temple with a football. I lost consciousness and then a whole year of my memory before I was able to remember anything. Family and friends tell me I was like a younger child again. I wasn’t able to walk at first. I had a huge personality change. I kept having memory loss, even after a whole year. I would lose my memory for days or weeks at a time then I would snap back and be amazed to hear what all happened that I didn’t remember. Sometimes I missed my birthdays, sometimes holidays. I was told I was nothing like me during these memory loss episodes. I was rude, would scream and cry, totally opposite my usual self. I felt like my life was a mess. I lost friends because they didn’t understand my change of attitude. I found myself always crying and depressed. I was an honor roll student in school, and that changed as well. I wasn’t on honor roll and lost a lot of schooling. On the good days I had to work extra hard to catch up on schoolwork.

My last memory loss episode was in March 2017. In those six years and nine months I lost a total of three years of my memory. My mom kept a calendar of all the days I had memory loss. I know this is probably mild compared to many others, but I always wish I could talk to someone who had similar episodes. For those of you still dealing with this there is hope for you. I have been in and out of many hospitals, had many x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, but the brain is something only God can heal. He works miracles every day! Stay strong, keep the faith, and never give up!

Now my story about muscular dystrophy. I am not sharing this for pity or attention. I dislike pity. I only want to share my story so others can understand my disability. Yes, it limits a lot of what I can do. It doesn’t define me as a person, and it doesn’t make me less of a human. It doesn’t affect me mentally—only physically, especially my thighs, calves, and arms.

Yes, I might be in a wheelchair someday, but just like everyone else, I do not know the future. With time I might get weaker. It is hard for me to climb stairs, but I can still do it. It is hard for me to climb in a buggy, but I can still do it.

There are many kinds of muscular dystrophy and it works differently on everyone. My younger sister Loretta has the same kind, but hers has progressed a little faster. We try not to look at what we once were able to do. We try to focus more on what we can do now and move on.

Take one day at a time and let our Heavenly Father lead the way. Yes, we have to learn to accept over and over what we have been given. We have to remind ourselves this is God’s choice for us.

I do not want anyone around me to quit playing sports because I can’t. They are not at fault and not to blame but I do want them to try to understand that it’s also not fun to sit and watch. Loretta and I use mobility scooters for unlevel ground, holding our nieces and nephews, and for long distances to enable us to take “walks.”

My family has been great to have around and helped in so many ways. The church is also always willing to make our life easier. God bless you all and take care! –Verena, age 22

Six Minute Caramels

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Combine all ingredients. Cook 6 minutes on a medium high heat, stirring every minute. Stir and pour into lightly greased dish. Let cool. Cut, wrap in wax paper, and store in an air-tight container.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Welcoming autumn with pecan pies

It is the first day of autumn! Our gardens are cleared out, being tilled, and are history for 2020! We had a frost Saturday morning that put an end to them. We have lots of tomatoes and peppers that I want to use to make spicy vegetable juice. A lot of people covered their plants to avoid the frost, but we didn’t take the time to do that. We are thankful for the harvest we did get, though. Next week we will be going to the u-pick orchard to pick grapes for grape juice. We ran out of grape juice this year, so I want to can more this year than I did last year.

Saturday morning was chilly for the local consignment auction but ended up being pretty warm by the end of the day. I made pecan pies for the auction’s bake sale to help with hospital bills for a local family. Of course, I made a few extra to take to daughter Susan and Mose on Friday when we went to help them with last minute work. They hosted church services again on Sunday under a tent. Mose ran a propane heater in the tent to heat it up somewhat. It was a cold morning, with the temperature in the low 40’s, but it warmed up as the sun came out, and the heater soon had to be turned off. Susan and Mose were relieved to be done with their two turns to host church services and now be able to concentrate on remodeling their house. This week, Mose is trying to install the bathtub, toilet, and vanity, so at least the bathroom will be available. The living room and bedroom are ready to be painted.

My husband Joe doesn’t have any work, so he and Mose’s dad helped on the house for the last few weeks.

Tomorrow the girls and I plan to go help daughter Elizabeth clean her house. Church services will be at their house next time. It will be a longer service because we will have a council meeting in preparation for Communion two weeks later. (Editor’s note: Some Amish refer to this service as “rule church,” when, as the name implies, rules of the church are discussed. It is usually held the service before Communion.)

Saturday, our plans are for the whole family to help Tim and Elizabeth with preparing to host church services. They did a lot of remodeling and painting in their home and added a few closets. It is all looking nice. The renovations make so much more room for them.

The week after Tim and Elizabeth host church services, they will travel to Kentucky to attend the wedding of their niece. I will sew granddaughter Abigail’s dress, and Tim’s sister Martha sewed T.J.’s shirt. Such little deeds help a busy young mother.

I am starting to wonder why I thought we were busy before our daughters were married, when we had no grandchildren. I am so glad we can help and the joy the grandchildren bring is wonderful.

I made a breakfast casserole to take to Elizabeth’s tomorrow morning. Sister Emma, niece Elizabeth, and niece Emma and her two little ones also plan to help clean at Elizabeth’s.

Elizabeth told us all to come for breakfast, so I told her that I would bring breakfast. Daughter Susan made a casserole for lunch to take along. It helps so much when we don’t have to stop to prepare the meals and can keep on cleaning.

It is always enjoyable to get together with my daughters and with Emma and her daughters. There are seven little children between my five grandchildren and her two children, with the oldest being Abigail at four years old.

I am now writing the morning after I began this column. Son Benjamin, twenty-one, left for work at 4:30 a.m. and it’s time to get lunch packed and breakfast made for son Joseph, eighteen. He leaves a little before 6 a.m. today.

Daughter Verena is answering my reader mail since my time is so limited lately. I really appreciate it. She loves to write to readers. I’m sure that they get longer letters back than the ones they wrote (smile!).

I will share the recipe for pecan pie this week.

Wishing you all a safe and happy week and may God bless you!

Pecan Pie

6 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup water
2 (9-inch) pie shells, unbaked
2 cups pecans (halves or pieces), divided

Mix together beaten eggs, sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and water. Divide mixture evenly between the two pie shells. Sprinkle 1 cup pecans on top of each pie.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce oven to 300 degrees and bake for an additional 40–50 minutes, or until middle of pie is set. Cool completely before serving. Makes two (9-inch) pies.

 

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

Autumn weather and pumpkin torte

We are having very cool mornings with temperatures around the upper 40’s to lower 50’s, and then warming up gradually. Next week autumn begins, so we can expect cooler weather.

Our hay has been cut for the last time this season. Hopefully, we will get it in the barn before there’s any rain.

Yesterday, daughter Lovina, sixteen, and I went to town with the buggy and son Benjamin’s horse, Beauty. The trip there and back was enjoyable. I enjoy spending time with all my children but it’s nice to have time to focus on one and have heart-to-heart talks. Lovina has a big sense of humor and there is never a dull moment with her. She worked on her plastic canvas letters on the way.

Daughters Verena, twenty-two, and Loretta, twenty, stayed home. They kept grandchildren Jennifer, two, and Ryan, one, while Mose and Susan went to a doctor appointment and to get their church groceries. They will host church services again because they skipped their turn last year. Ryan decided he can start walking now. He is thirteen and a half months, and we have been waiting for this. He used to take a step or two, then freeze up and flop to his knees and crawl. He also likes to crawl on anything he can get on. The girls kept busy keeping an eye on two active little ones.

Son Kevin, fifteen, went fishing with three of his friends. They always enjoy getting together since they don’t see each other in school anymore.

Son Benjamin went salmon fishing over the weekend and was happy to catch his first salmon.

On Saturday, some of Loretta’s special friend Dustin’s family and some of our family assisted him at his house. The men and boys worked on building a patio and ramp onto the house. The women and girls cleaned the walls, ceilings, closets, floors, and windows in the three upstairs bedrooms. Neighbor Irene, who owned the house before Dustin, always kept it tidy, so it didn’t take too much effort to clean.

Birthday cupcakes made by Lovina Eicher’s daughter and granddaughter. Photo provided.

Friday night, our family gathered at daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house for supper in honor of granddaughter Abigail’s fourth birthday, which was September 10. Abigail helped Elizabeth make the cupcakes. She was a very excited little girl to have all the attention.

On Sunday, Abigail and T.J. stayed here at our house while Tim and Elizabeth attended church in a neighboring church district, where baptismal services were held for five young souls. Two of these were Tim’s nieces, so they went in their honor. They took baby Allison along since she still breastfeeds. Allison is eight and half months old and very petite, but she gets everywhere. She walks by holding on to furniture and crawls everywhere. Abigail thinks she should start walking soon because T.J. walked by nine months old.

Today, my plans are to go assist daughter Susan with her work. Church will be held under the big tent at their house again. This time the church should be regular sized, so there won’t be nearly as many people as there were last time.

After Mose and Susan’s turn, it will be Tim and Elizabeth’s turn to host church services. We need to get over there to help them too. Tim’s niece has helped Elizabeth on quite a few days already. Help like that is appreciated for a busy young mother of three.

I need to get started. I told Susan I would bring ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches for our breakfast. It will be easy to put then in the oven to heat. I wrap them individually with aluminum foil and bake them until hot. God bless!

Pumpkin Torte

24 graham crackers, crushed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup sugar
8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups pumpkin
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
3 eggs whites

Combine the crushed graham crackers, 1/2 cup sugar, and margarine, and press in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Mix the 2 eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, and cream cheese until smooth and pour over graham cracker crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Cook the pumpkin, cornstarch, egg yolks, sugar, milk, salt, and cinnamon until thickened. Remove from heat. Dissolve the unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water according to the envelope directions. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the gelatin and allow to cool. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into cooled mixture. Pour pumpkin mixture over the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.