Category Archives: Desserts

Happy Thanksgiving from Lovina

I need to get an extra column written so I won’t need to send one the week of Thanksgiving Day, which is next week already. I will do a one-day diary.

3:50 a.m.: I get up with daughter Lovina, 18. She will go help daughter Loretta this morning. She always goes before or right after Dustin leaves for work. I always step out on the porch until I see she’s almost to their house. It is a cold morning, and the ground has a layer of snow on it.

I then start packing my husband Joe’s lunch and make him breakfast. Breakfast is a tortilla shell with a sausage patty, egg, and cheese in it. Lunch for Joe is a leftover egg omelet topped with sausage gravy, jerky, a piece of cake, an apple, and a protein shake for break. I also fill his water jug with ice and water. Usually instead of cake I put in cookies for him to have with his coffee, but we are out. I need to see if Lovina would bake some more. Joe always refuels the basement stove with coal for the day before he leaves.

4:45 a.m.: Joe leaves for work.

5 a.m.: Sons Benjamin, 23, and Joseph, 20, get up to do the morning chores. One of them feeds the horses while the other refuels the coal stove in the pole barn. We heat the one side to keep the solar batteries and inverter from getting too cold. We keep it cooler out there than the house. It also makes it nicer to use the phone when it’s warm in there. (That is where we have our phone.)

I make Joseph breakfast, but Benjamin doesn’t want anything. Joseph’s breakfast is a grilled cheese sandwich with a sausage patty and egg in it. His lunch is a turkey sandwich, an apple, cake, and chips. I also get his water jug filled. He works outside most days. Right now they are tearing down an old barn.

5:30 a.m.: Both boys leave for work. I take a break in my recliner with intentions to read but fall asleep. An hour and a half later, I wake up feeling more rested.

7:45 a.m.: I make a pot of coffee. Then I get some mail ready for the mailbox—mostly bills needing to be paid. We had the rest of our coal delivered, so that needs to be paid, which isn’t cheap. We had to have a new battery pack put in for our solar system, and another pricey bill. I’m sure you can all relate, that there is always something needing repaired, etc. That’s life! We have so much to be thankful for and shouldn’t complain. We have a warm house to live in and plenty to eat and a loving family. We too often take everything for granted. God has been good to us! Let us not only thank him on Thanksgiving Day, but every day, for all his blessings.

10:30 a.m.: Lovina comes back from Loretta’s and washes the dishes, since I have been doing other odds and ends around the house and didn’t do those. Kevin is also home, and I don’t even remember what time he came down. Lovina makes an early lunch for us since we didn’t eat breakfast. Kevin usually takes the mail out and gets it in for me with his mobility scooter, but it’s not working right so I get to do that. The fresh air and exercise don’t hurt me. Kevin doesn’t like to walk out in the snow, either, or on unlevel ground too much.

I spend the afternoon getting recipes around for Susan and Ervin’s wedding. I’m making a grocery list for all the things we will need to get. That takes a lot of concentration. I also write my family circle letter so I can send it along to work with Joe. Joe works with brother Albert at the metal shop. A circle letter is a packet of letters that you read, then take your old letter out and put in a new one. I have a few with friends and then one with my siblings. This is common amongst the Amish, where a lot of them don’t have phones. I have been in a circle letter with some friends for over 36 years. We were all born in 1971, and most of our parents are cousins. We were in our early teens and now we are all grandmothers. It is quite interesting!

3:20–4:30 p.m.: The menfolk are all home from work. I am going to run out of room to write everything, but I will just finish with the room I have left.

Dustin shot a 9-point buck last night and will give us the meat. He shot an 8-point buck last week. We will be glad for it! My favorite is the jerky Joe makes.

We are praying for our friend Jodi. She is in the hospital and not too good. Her husband Dan was in the same accident took the life of Susan’s husband Mose. We wish her a complete recovery! We miss not having her here in Michigan. She moved to Alabama to live with her daughter Krista. She has had many lonely days without her husband Dan.

Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving! Be thankful for God’s many blessings.

 

Pumpkin Pie
For one nine-inch pie
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 unbaked pie shell

Beat egg, then add all remaining ingredients. Stir until mixed well. Pour into shell. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or 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 wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Lovina Visits Family as Nights Turn Cold

It’s 5 a.m. and the thermometer shows that the mercury dipped down to 46 degrees. Brrr! The gas lights feel good this morning since we don’t have any heat yet. I only light the gas lights when extra heat is needed—otherwise we use the cordless battery lights. It’s surprising how much heat the propane lights throw.

We have ordered our winter’s supply of hard coal. I don’t know why we were so surprised at how much the price of coal has gone up, with everything else going up in price. Seems groceries cost so much more too, and then a lot of work is low so that doesn’t help. God is above all and we need to trust Him.

My husband Joe left for work 15 minutes ago. Son Joseph will leave around 5:30, so I need to go make him breakfast and pack his lunch before I finish this.

Joseph just left for his construction job. Son Benjamin is off work this week from the RV factory. He is planning to go work a few days on construction with a friend of his.

Tomorrow morning I hope we can finally do our laundry. It has been rainy all week, then today I’m leaving. My plans are to go with Dustin and daughter Loretta to town. Dustin is also off work this week from the RV factory.

Friday night most of our family gathered here for a taco supper in honor of daughter Lovina’s special friend Daniel’s 21st birthday, which was September 26.

Saturday our family went to help sister Emma and family. Her son Benjamin and Crystal are making living quarters in her pole barn. It is coming along nicely and will make a nice place for the young couple to start out. It seems so different to not see brother-in-law Jacob around there. I’m sure it gets very overwhelming for Emma at times to have to look after everything. She made a good breakfast and lunch for all of us. Her married daughters and family were there helping as well.

Sunday around 12:30 p.m. Joe and I, with our horse Midnight and buggy, and Dustin, Loretta, and baby Denzel and daughter Verena with Dustin’s horse Spirit and their buggy following us, headed south. First we traveled the twelve miles to visit Joe’s sister MaryAnn and Jake. Jake is still in quite a bit of pain from a fall he had in July. He fell when trimming trees and broke his back. Jake is 58 and was always active, so this is very hard on him to not be able to get around much. MaryAnn is Joe’s oldest sister. She is 60 and is a great nurse to Jake.

After a couple hours of visiting, we headed back north and stopped to visit Joe’s second oldest sister Ruth and Chris. Chris has also had a lot of doctoring with his health and been laid up a lot. He is also used to be active, so the slowing down has not been easy. Chris and Ruth are in the process of building a new house since they moved from Oklahoma. They are now living in their son Chris Jr’s house. Joe’s sisters MaryAnn and Ruth married brothers (Jake and Chris).

Ruth made supper for us, which was very good. It was nice to get to visit with all of them, as we don’t often see each other. We used to all be in the same church district years ago. Ruth helped me out a lot when my children were younger. MaryAnn did a lot of sewing for me also, years ago. So it was really nice to catch up. We arrived home around 7 p.m. It was an enjoyable drive!

Sister Verena is spending a week with my sister Liz and family. She probably gets to help spoil sister Liz and Levi’s tenth grandchild, Lamar Michael. Niece Rosa and Menno were blessed with their third son last week.

Tomorrow our plans are to go to the U-Pick and pick grapes to put into juice. Hopefully that will bring an end to this year’s canning.

God’s blessings to all!

Pecan Pie Brownies

Brownies
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cocoa
1 cup butter
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon flour (for tossing with chocolate chips)

Topping
1/3 cup corn syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 1/2 cups pecans

Sift flour, salt, and cocoa and set aside. Add butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs to a large bowl and mix together. Add flour mixture and mix well. In a small bowl, sprinkle the teaspoon of flour over the chocolate chips and toss. Add the chocolate chips to the mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch dish and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Set aside.

For topping, mix together the corn syrup, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt, and melted butter in a bowl. Add the pecans and stir until all are covered. Pour over the brownies and spread out gently. Bake again for 25–30 minutes until done.

 

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.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Lovina Marks 20 Years of Column Writing

This week brings us into autumn already. This week always takes me back to twenty years ago when my dear mother so suddenly passed away. She died September 17 but was in Blue Springs, Missouri, at the time of her death. The funeral wasn’t until September 23. My mother penned this column for eleven years, and after her death I started writing. Joe and I had six children at the time, and Joseph was eight weeks old. Where have all the years gone to? Time does not stand still. I have many precious memories of my sweet mother. She far outdid me in cooking/baking.

Yesterday we did laundry and I had everything hung outside, then I heard thunder in the distance. I gradually took off the clothes as they dried, but the storm kept getting closer. I hung what fit on the lines on the porch, then brought the rest in baskets inside. We didn’t get too much thunder and lightning, but some rain. After it was over, I hung what was wet outside again. I could’ve left it out in the rain, but the towels were halfway dry, and although it took more physical labor, I decided to take them off until after the rain. All the laundry was dry and could be folded and put away by nighttime. I really hope I can someday get those wash lines that you can put on your porch ceilings and fold back up after you’re done using them. On rainy days when you don’t have heat in the house, that would be so nice to hang laundry out there. We have a big wrap-around porch that would be great for that.

Daughter Loretta and baby Denzel came here for the day. She brought their tomatoes, and I had several five-gallon buckets out of my garden that son Joseph had picked the evening before. We canned thirty quarts of tomato juice for Dustin and Loretta from all the tomatoes. Loretta started washing and cutting up the tomatoes while we did laundry. She was glad when Dustin came home from work and helped her. This will be a nice supply for them this winter.

My hot pepper plants are loaded again, so I will have son Kevin pick the peppers this week and get those in jars. The raised garden beds make it easier for Kevin to help pick the vegetables.

Church services were held at niece Emma and Menno’s on Sunday, which was also council meeting. Everyone comes in for lunch two tables at a time, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or until everyone is fed. Church services were held under a tent. The lunch was served in their pole barn. They had a good lunch consisting of chicken noodle soup, homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese, peanut butter spread, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, butter, strawberry jam, a variety of cookies, coffee, and iced tea.

Services were over around 2:30 p.m. and everyone left for home. Our family stayed, and Emma made supper for us. Corn hole was being played while supper was being prepared. Nephew Jacob, 22, has muscular dystrophy also, and corn hole games are one thing he makes for income.

We are working on having a benefit supper at our Community Youth Center on October 7. We will be serving a barbecue chicken and pulled pork meal from 4–8 p.m. I wrote out slips of paper with pies, potato salad, etc. to pass out to the ladies that want to help bring the food. The benefit is to help Dustin and Loretta with hospital and ongoing medical bills. Dustin is raising pigs for this winter to butcher, so they will roast one of those for the benefit. There is a lot of work involved, but there are a lot of willing people wanting to help. Many hands make lighter work!

Loretta will have an ultrasound done in mid-October on both legs to see what is causing the clots. We pray it will be something simple that can be fixed.

Denzel is 10 1/2 weeks old and drew a lot of attention in church when he decided to giggle out loud. Loretta was making faces at him and he just giggled and giggled. He is such a cutie!

I will share the cookie recipe that daughter Lovina tried and everyone loved. Hope you will enjoy them, too. God’s blessings to all!

This week Lovina shares the recipe for Chewy Chocolate Cookies that daughter Lovina tried and everyone loved. Photo provided.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies
1 1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (1 12-ounce package) peanut butter chips or chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt and then blend into creamed mixture. Stir in chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 9 minutes (do not overbake). Cookies will be soft. They will puff while baking and flatten when they are cooling.

 

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.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Birthdays, a Baptism, and Farewell to a Friend

Canning season is in full swing around here. We are a week into September already. September 10 is granddaughter Abigail’s 6th birthday. Her birth brought us much excitement, as she put Joe and me on the grandparent list. Every grandchild brings excitement, but that first grandchild makes a change in your life.

Last night all the family were here for supper. We had mashed potatoes, beef and noodles, cucumber salad, cheese, cookies, and canned peaches.

Son Kevin turned 17 on September 2. Daughter Lovina and I made him a horseshoe-shaped cake. We celebrated his birthday a day earlier, as our family gathered here for a farewell supper for our dear friend Jodi.

Lovina and Daughter Lovina made Kevin this horseshoe-shaped cake for his 17th birthday. Photo provided.

Jodi, whose husband Dan was killed in same accident that took the life of daughter Susan’s husband Mose, has moved to Alabama to live with her daughter Krista and family. We have come to be good friends with Jodi and will really miss her being close by. I understand that she wants to be closer to her daughter, though.

We made a haystack dinner for Jodi and her son James and family. It was nice to spend a night together before she headed south.

Daughter Elizabeth and Tim are glad that church services at their house are now over. It’s always a good feeling to have everything cleaned again. A baptismal service for son Benjamin was held there on Saturday. After most of the people left, sister Emma’s family and our family helped pack up the dishes in the bench wagon, and the men put all the benches back in. The tent was taken down and packed up in the tent trailer to be pulled to the next ones that need it.

Tims served a good church lunch of homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese, peanut butter mixture, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, butter, grape jelly, coffee, iced tea, and a variety of cookies.

It was a nice, sunny day to have services under a tent. The sun warmed up later in the day, making the iced tea sister Emma made taste extra good.

It always seems to make a parent’s heart so thankful when another child takes that precious step in life and accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior. May God continue to be Benjamin’s guide as we travel into the unknown future.

Today my husband Joe stayed home from work, as he has several appointments. First we will go to the doctor’s office to find out the results on some blood tests he took. Then we will head over to the hospital, where he has to take a stress test. Joe has been having some health complications, so we hope to get good results. I can’t believe the cost of doctor and hospital visits, but like everything else, the prices go up. We will take one day at a time and trust in our Heavenly Father above.

I want to apologize to readers who have written letters to me that didn’t receive an answer yet. I managed to get a few more answered this week. If you have a stamped envelope with your letter, you will get a reply, but I can’t promise when. Also, if you are requesting recipes that I haven’t had in the columns, then I will try to print those in a future column to save time. I appreciate all the kind, encouraging letters I receive. Daughter Loretta appreciates all the get well and baby cards and gifts she has received. May God bless you for your kind deeds. Until next week… God bless!

This recipe was requested by a reader.

Whoopie Pies
4 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch of salt
2 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup shortening
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sour milk (2 tablespoons vinegar added to sweet milk to make a cup)
1 cup hot water

Cream filling:
1 3/4 cups butter at room temperature
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
10–14 ounces marshmallow crème

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; in a separate bowl, cream eggs, sugar, shortening and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients alternately with sour milk to creamed mixture, then add hot water last. Buttermilk can be substituted for the sour milk. Drop on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 375 degrees about 8 minutes or until done.

For cream filling, cream butter and powdered sugar; whip until fluffy, then blend in vanilla. Fold in marshmallow crème until combined. Chill for 20 minutes. Put two cookies together with cream filling in between.

 

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.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Celebrating Easter with Family

April has brought us a week of cooler temperatures, with the ground covered with snow one morning. It didn’t last long, and the green grass is again showing. The rhubarb and tea plants are growing as well as all the early spring flowers. We look forward to warmer weather coming to stay for the summer months ahead.

Today daughter Susan had a dentist appointment, so she left Jennifer, 4, and Ryan, 2, here while she went. They are both growing up so fast! And such precious sweeties!

Last week we attended a Norwex party and stayed for lunch at nephew John and Arlene’s house. Daughter Elizabeth and children T.J., Allison, and Andrea, daughter Susan, Jennifer, Ryan, daughter Verena, sister Verena, and I went with our friend Jodi.

After the party, we were served a delicious lunch. My husband Joe’s sisters MaryAnn and Ruth and nephew Noah’s wife Ruth were there, so we had an enjoyable time visiting as well. It is so nice to have Joe’s sister Ruth this close again. They moved from Oklahoma to a place 11 miles from our house. It is close enough to reach with a horse and buggy. Ruth’s husband Chris hasn’t been doing so great health-wise. They are in the process of building a house which can take a lot of time.

Daughter Elizabeth and the Norwex Consultant Corinna were surprised to see that they knew each other. Both have married and changed their last names since they last saw each other years ago while in their teenage years.

Nephew John was working, so we didn’t get to see him, unfortunately. John entertained our older children a lot when they were growing up by giving swing rides or pulling the little wagon, giving them ride after ride.

On Good Friday, our family came home for an Easter dinner. It is a time of renewal and rebirth of the spirit when hope is brought to life through the resurrection of the Lord.

It was a chilly day, but the children bundled up in their coats to go collect the hidden eggs. They were excited to find the eggs. This year I put little toys in the eggs instead of candy, and they enjoyed that even more. And it’s a healthier option. We played some games, and it was just a nice day being with family. Our community has “Fast and Prayer Day” on Good Friday until lunchtime. How thankful we can be that our Savior Jesus Christ died on the cross so our sins can be forgiven. I hope every one of you had a blessed Easter holiday. May the blessings of the Lord guide you, protect you, and be with you always!

I need to bake raspberry pies to take to our Amish community’s fundraiser for a few of the local fire departments. Smoked pork chops and grilled chicken will also be on the menu for the meal served Friday at our local community building.

Last night daughter Verena and her friend Laura and son Kevin and his friend Daniel traveled with horses and buggies to the community youth center for an appreciation supper for the youth and to listen to the guidelines of the youth gatherings on Saturday evenings. Verena and Laura used our horse Midnight as Susan’s horse Lightning is older and couldn’t go that far.

After they came back, we played games and visited before they headed back home.

I was glad to meet all the readers that attended the Nappanee library book signing. Thank you for all the encouragement. And thanks to daughters Verena and Lovina and son Kevin for going with me and helping out. God’s blessings!

 

Raspberry Pie
1 9-inch double pie crust
4 cups raspberries
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons tapioca
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon whole milk or cream

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix raspberries, sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt until raspberries are well covered. Pour into a 9-inch pie shell, dot with butter, add top crust, and crimp edge. If not using a slotted crust, make slits in the crust and brush with cream. Bake for 15 minutes to set the crust, then reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbly, about 25 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Daughter Lovina Shares Her Experiences

Dear Readers,

Today I (Daughter Lovina) will be writing the column for Mom. I enjoy writing, and she likes a break from writing every once in a while. How have you all been doing?

We will have church services at our place in a little over a month, so it’s time to start doing some spring cleaning before then. It’s a Tuesday night, and I’m thinking about cleaning my bedroom from top to bottom. I’m only thinking about it, of course. I probably won’t actually get the motivation to do it for another week. Or maybe not at all, which would be a more realistic thought.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to open the curtain in my bedroom when I saw a spider sitting just behind the curtain. I jumped back and decided to leave the curtain closed because I wasn’t brave enough to get that close to a spider. The curtain is still closed to this day, and it’ll probably stay like that for all eternity.

Not too many days after that, I saw a similar one sitting in front of my dresser near the same window and almost stepped on it. I’m not sure if it’s the same spider or maybe a sister to the other one. Maybe I should have asked.

I ended up yelling for my brother Joseph to come to the rescue and kill it while I stood on the opposite side of the room. He was too slow; the spider crawled under the dresser, so I made Joseph move the dresser back and forth to find it, but it was nowhere to be found.

So now I’m avoiding that corner of my room, and it’s very frustrating and inconvenient. It seems almost as if I’m not the biggest fan of spiders. I know some people have spiders for pets, but that could never be me. Imagine how tragic that would be if I’d accidentally smash my pet (or maybe not so accidentally).

The other day, I stayed the night at my sister Loretta’s place, and through the night, I had to use the bathroom. Long story short, a mouse came out of underneath a heap of clothes, and it ran around the bathroom in circles, trying to find a way out. I also ran around the bathroom in circles trying to stay away from the mouse.

I ended up climbing onto the edge of the bathtub while the mouse sat in front of the door, and finally, when the mouse moved to the other end of the bathroom, I opened the door and ran out.

I realized afterward that Ralph was just as scared of me as I was of Ralph, but that didn’t make me feel any better. (Yes, I gave the mouse a nickname.) My life would be so much easier if I weren’t scared of things 100 times smaller than me.

I’m patiently waiting for the warm weather to come back, and I especially can’t wait for wedding season. (Wedding season is usually April through November in our area.) Weddings are fun, but I mostly go for the food and the free candy bars they pass out. (Don’t tell anyone I said that, though.) Mom sewed me dress a bit ago, and it’s very pretty. I loved the pattern of the dress and can’t wait to sew more dresses like it. (Or should I say, “I can’t wait till Mom sews more dresses like it.)

You know what they say, “It’s better your mom does it because if you do it, you’ll do it wrong, and she’ll have to do it for you anyway.” In case you are wondering, nobody actually says that. I just made it up because it sounds reasonable.

I’ve been wasting quite a bit of my time trying to put a fitted sheet on my bed. It’s really irritating how one of the corners pops off every time I think I almost got it.

It’s a repeat of pulling the sheet over the corner and running to the other side of the bed, hurrying before the other corner pops off. Sometimes I think these things are designed just to make us exercise.

Well, I think I’ve written enough now. I better help Mom make supper or perhaps at least think about helping Mom make supper because, as they say, “It’s the thought that counts.” And yes, people actually do say that. I didn’t make it up this time.

Have a great day! (Or Night) God bless!

P.S. I did end up making supper, and all by myself, too, so I got to give myself some credit there. Also, I went to a few book signings with my mom recently, and I really loved being able to meet a lot of you readers!

I will share the recipe for one of my favorite bars, Chocolate Marshmallow Bars.

Chocolate Marshmallow Bars
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
4 cups miniature marshmallows

Topping:
1 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups Rice Krispies

In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl; gradually combine dry ingredients with the creamed mixture. Stir in nuts if desired. Spread in a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15–18 minutes or until set. Sprinkle with marshmallows; bake 2–3 minutes longer or until melted—place pan on a wire rack. Using a knife dipped in water, spread marshmallows evenly over the top. Cool completely.

Topping: Combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring continuously until blended. Remove from heat; stir in Rice Krispies. Immediately spread over bars. Chill 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 wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Sewing Projects and Minister’s Delight

It’s Tuesday evening and I’m sitting here writing by the table. I can hear the wind blowing outside. The temperature is 40 degrees, but the wind chill makes it feel colder than that. We are so ready for warmer temperatures, and April being here in a few days makes us yearn for warmer days. The forecast sounds like snow will be coming yet this week. It is good that God controls the weather, and we must accept what we are given. I enjoy the four seasons of the year here in Southern Michigan.

My husband Joe and sons have been building raised garden beds for our one garden. They are also taking orders to sell any size, so that keeps them busy on some nights.

Today I was gone most of the day at appointments, so I didn’t get anything done here at home.

Last week I sewed several dresses and shirts. Some were for a friend, so I am glad I filled that order. I have several more shirts cut out to sew, hopefully this week yet. Daughter Susan had a shirt cut out for Mose before he died. She gave it to me to sew, and it fits son Benjamin so she gave it to him. As I sewed Mose’s shirt it made me think of how much we still miss him. Gone but never forgotten. Life goes on, and although we miss him dearly, we know he isn’t coming back. God makes no mistakes, so we trust He has a plan. Susan does so well raising her children and keeping everything going at her house.

On Sunday we were just going to be home for the day, except Joseph and Lovina had plans to go with their special friends to church. I invited our family, sister Emma and her family, and sister Verena to come for the noon meal (dinner, as we call it). Daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and family couldn’t come, as his parents and sister and family were going there for the day. Emma’s daughters and families couldn’t make it either, as they were attending church at a co-worker’s place.

Those coming were sister Verena, sister Emma and sons Jacob, Benjamin, and Steven, Benjamin’s special friend Crystal and her son Isaiah, daughter Loretta and Dustin, daughter Susan and children Jennifer and Ryan, and daughter Verena.

Our menu was mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, buttered beets, meatloaf, cheese, hot peppers, chocolate, vanilla, and pecan pies, Minister’s Delight (see below), cookies, and ice cream.

The afternoon was spent visiting and playing games. The game Cover Your Assets was the main game being played.

Before everyone left for home, I heated up some of the leftovers and set out snacks to eat.

Sister Verena went home with daughters Susan and Verena and spent a couple days there.

Joe misses Jacob not being here to visit with. It’s not easy for sister Emma to go home without her beloved husband. Remember to visit and stay in contact with these lonely widows if you are family. So often they are forgotten after time goes on. They didn’t choose to be alone and would be so happy if their life was back to normal. Again we must put it in God’s hands, because He maketh no mistakes!

I’ll share the recipe for Minister’s Delight, which sister Verena made for Sunday’s dinner. God bless!

Minister’s Delight

1 pint homemade or 21-ounce can cherry or apple pie filling
1 package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Place pie filling in a 9 x 13-inch cake pan. Combine cake mix and butter (mixture will be crumbly) and sprinkle over filling. Top with walnuts if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 20–30 minutes.

 

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Taking Time for Coffee Breaks with Family

We ended up with 10–12 inches of snow in this area last week. Now the temperature is above freezing this morning.

This forenoon, my plans are to go with daughters Verena and Susan and grandchildren Jennifer and Ryan to have a coffee break with Martha. Martha is a widow with five children in this community. Her oldest child was nine yesterday. Susan and Martha have become friends since both losing their husbands. Martha and her children are moving back to her home community closer to her parents. Susan wanted to go visit her before she moves. Daughter Lovina might also go along.

Tomorrow morning, some of our church ladies are going to go for a coffee break at neighbor Susie’s in honor of her fortieth birthday. Her birthday was last week, but due to the weather, it was postponed. That might be the reason I’m not getting much accomplished this week with two coffee breaks. Sometimes you have to just let the work go and take one day at a time. This week, I am glad to rest my right shoulder and arm. Somehow when I turned around, something started hurting my shoulder, and the pain ran down my right arm. I have numbness in my arm and fingers, so I am thinking it’s a pinched nerve. I am rotating cold packs and heat to loosen it up. I sure am looking forward to the pain leaving.

Sunday was baptismal services in our church with four young souls accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. Among the four were nephew Benjamin and his special friend Crystal. Jacob (sister Emma’s husband) would have been so happy to see everyone that came to support the baptism. It is now five months since he passed away. Emma has many lonely days without her dear husband. Brother Albert and Sarah Irene and some of their family and sister Liz and Levi and some of their family attended the baptismal services. It was so good to visit with them. Sister Verena went home with sister Liz and Levi and returned to Michigan last night. After being here a week, she went to stay with sister Emma again. Our family and some of Crystal’s family and Emma’s married children had a delicious supper at sister Emma’s house Sunday night. Crystal’s mother brought supper in for us all. There was tater tot casserole, meatballs, lettuce salad, and desserts.

Saturday, February 5th, daughter Susan and granddaughter Jennifer attended baptismal services for Mose’s two youngest siblings. Little grandson Ryan stayed here with us. He looked so cute following Grandpa Joe around outside. He told me he is helping Grandpa do the chores. Daughter Verena also spent some time here Saturday. It’s always so good to have her home again. Mose’s birthday would have been Saturday, and Ryan heard Susan and Verena talking about Mose’s birthday, so he started singing Happy Birthday to Mose Daddy in the bathtub. Precious!

Sunday, February 6th, was son Joseph’s special friend Grace’s birthday. Joseph bought a cake and made supper on the grill Saturday night in her honor.

It is already 6 a.m., and I want to prepare something to take along to the coffee break. I will probably slice summer sausage and cheese and take crackers to eat with that. Susan and Verena are taking some goodies too.

I’ll sign off wishing you all God’s blessings as we travel into the unknown future.

A reader shared this recipe for honey-peanut butter cookies with me.

Honey-Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup honey
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine shortening, peanut butter, honey, eggs, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Roll into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with fork dipped in flour. Bake for 8–10 minutes.

 

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available 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 or comments left on this site.

Celebrating Birthdays and Putting Puzzles Together with Family

The mercury on our thermometer has dipped down to the single digits this morning with a reading of 5 degrees. The wind chill is below 0, so son Joseph wasn’t looking too forward to working outside today. They are building a pole barn close to Lake Michigan. He said they have even more snow there than what we have.

Son-in-law Dustin cleaned our drive out with his skid-loader then also went over to clean out daughter Susan’s driveway.

Our plans are to butcher four hogs this weekend. The men will dress and hang them Friday night, and then we will cut up the meat on Saturday, grind the sausage, and make pon hoss. (For new readers to the column: pon hoss is made by cooking the pork off the bones, grinding it, and putting it back into the pork broth along with flour, salt, and pepper. It is then cooked in the big black kettle outdoors until it’s thickened then poured into pans. Once the pon hoss is cooled, it can be sliced and fried to eat. We eat ours with eggs and potatoes or with coffee soup.) One hog is for us, one for Dustin and Loretta, one for Tim and Elizabeth and family, and one for Susan and the children. It is good to just do it all here and have one mess to clean up after. We still want to butcher a beef yet.

We need to go out to the pole barn and clean up a lot of things. Joe bought out a meat processing outfit along with the big walk-in cooler, but it’s not set up yet. It came with lots of containers, saws, grinders, and slicers that are used in a meat processing place. All this has to be cleaned, organized, etc. Joe always wanted to have something like this, but it all takes time and money to get set up. Hopefully, in the future we can accomplish it, so son Kevin has something to work with at home and also daughter Lovina. Joe enjoys butchering meat, cutting, slicing, and grinding it. As for me, I’m usually tired of it by the time we get our year’s supply in the freezer.

Sunday night, Joe and I, sons Benjamin (and special friend Amanda), Joseph (and special friend Grace), Kevin, daughter Lovina (and special friend Daniel), Dustin and Loretta, and Tim and Elizabeth and children all gathered at daughter Susan’s house in honor of Susan’s 26th birthday and granddaughter Jennifer’s 4th birthday. Daughters Susan and Verena had filled a pinata with candy for the children to enjoy. On the menu for supper was tater tot casserole, barbequed chicken, chicken lettuce salad, sliced cheese, cupcakes, dirt pudding, and tapioca pudding. It was a delicious meal. Afterward, games were played, and we just enjoyed family time together. As always, son-in-law Mose was greatly missed.

Lovina and her family enjoy putting together jigsaw puzzles in their spare time. Photo provided.

We have a 1,000-piece Amish Country puzzle called “Early Snow” that we are putting together whenever we have spare time. I enjoy working on the puzzle after everything is done at night. It’s a great way to rewind and a good time to think. I sometimes work on it mornings after everyone leaves for work. When the children come home, they like to work on it. Saturday night, Joe and I were working on it, although I found pieces pushed in the wrong places. It gave me a good laugh! It can be confusing when all of the pieces look similar.

God’s blessings to all!

Tapioca Pudding
5 cups boiling water
1 cup tapioca
dash salt
1 (3-ounce) package Jell-O (any flavor)
1 scant cup sugar
fruit, if desired

Soak tapioca in enough cold water to cover for an hour or more. Drain water and add to 5 cups boiling water and salt. Boil for 1/2 hour or until tapioca is clear. Stir often. Remove from heat. Keep covered at least 10 minutes. Add the rest of ingredients. When cold, mix in whipped topping (to your own taste).

 

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.

Responding to Readers’ Questions and Date-Nut Pudding

The laundry from yesterday is now up from the basement, folded and awaiting each owner to carry their stack upstairs to be put away. Next is getting supper ready. The menu tonight will be pon hoss (given to us by Dustin, Daniel, and Grace’s family), scrambled eggs, coffee soup, and cheese. That’s a simple meal, so I have a little time before I start that.

I had a short visit today from my friend Barb. She picked up son-in-law Dustin to fix something at her house, so she stopped in for a while. My thoughts go to her often as I know she has many lonely days without her dear husband John.

Everyone seems to be recuperated from being sick. It is always a good feeling when everyone feels good!

Hopefully one of these weeks we can start butchering meat for the freezers. It has been staying cold but we haven’t had much snow this winter yet. We recently traveled to Ann Arbor for appointments, and we were glad for roads that were clear to travel on.

Tomorrow the girls and I plan to go to the bulk food store. It’s time to go stock up on some groceries again. Daughter Verena offered to stay home and keep the grandchildren with her so the mothers can shop easier.

My kind editors printed out the emails that you readers sent. Such encouragement! Thank you! You never know how much those kind words give a writer encouragement to keep writing. May God bless you for that!

A reader asked why candy bars are served at Amish weddings. I can’t say that I myself could answer this question. Any Amish readers out there know? I just know that as a young child we never had candy bars, so when we went to a wedding my little friends and I would look forward to that candy bar we received. Although now the price of candy bars isn’t cheap and son-in-law Dustin and daughter Loretta quickly found that out when they purchased more than 1200 for their wedding last fall.

A reader also asked what clear jel is. Clear jel is a thickener which I use in pie fillings or to make gravy, etc. I usually buy mine at a bulk food store. I also use clear jel to thicken my salsa.

Supper is now over and I still have a habit of cooking too much for our family since we are less to cook for. It seems like I go less and less and it’s still too much. With half of our children not home anymore it takes adjustments.

Daughter Susan will be 26 on Monday, January 24th. This will be her second birthday without her dear husband Mose. Life goes on—memories are all that remain. Our family plans to gather at Susan’s Sunday night in honor of her and granddaughter Jennifer’s birthdays.

Abigail (our 5-year-old granddaughter) recently was upset with her mother (daughter Elizabeth) and she told her that she will get her coal for Mother’s Day. Sweet little girl has no idea of the laugh we got out of that. Needless to say, Abigail was just having a bad day and is usually a sweet, loving girl. A reader requested a recipe for date pudding so I’ll share that this week. God’s blessings to all. Stay safe and healthy!

Lovina’s recipe for date-nut pudding can be made into a trifle for an elegant presentation. Photo ©Herald Press

Date-Nut Pudding (Trifle)

1 (8-ounce) package dates
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup nuts
1/2 cup raisins
whipped cream, for layering

Pit and quarter dates, and place in a bowl. Add baking soda and pour boiling water over dates. Let stand until completely cooled.

In a separate bowl, cream together shortening, sugar, and egg until well blended. Add cooled date mixture, vanilla, flour, salt, nuts, and raisins. Stir until well blended.

Spread batter into greased and floured 9 x 13-inch pan and bake for 30–35 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove from oven and cool completely. Cut into 1-inch squares. Put a layer of squares into a glass dessert bowl. Add a layer of whipped cream, then another layer of squares. Continue layers until all the squares are used up, ending with a layer of whipped cream. A few additional nuts can be sprinkled on top.

Can also just be cut into serving-sized pieces and topped with whipped cream.

 

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, 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.