Category Archives: Desserts

The Eicher Family Mourns Another Loss

It is with a heavy heart that I write this column. Brother-in-law Jacob (sister Emma’s husband) was admitted to the hospital while we were at the Outer Banks. We were able to talk to him and Emma on Thursday night, but Jacob was very weak and losing out fast. He was airlifted to a bigger hospital. We arrived home from our vacation around 9:45 p.m. and Jacob lost his battle to his illness a little before 1 a.m. Sunday morning. It still does not seem real that he has also been taken from us. Jacob is 48 and so is sister Emma. They had 26 years of marriage together. Emma was a great nurse to Jacob since his illness, and Jacob wanted her beside him in the hospital. Emma and her children and Jacob’s mother were all by his bedside when he passed away.

In eight months’ time we have lost three very dear people and our grief is so strong. We question why but we know God is in control and makes no mistakes. It doesn’t make it any easier.

Long time readers of this column know how close Jacob’s family and ours were. Not a weekend went by it seemed that we weren’t doing something together, until we both had married children and grandchildren and we were sometimes busy with our own families. We would always get together for Thanksgiving and Christmas, taking turns to host it. Sisters Verena and Susan would also be there. It doesn’t seem possible that last Thanksgiving we were all together here along with son-in-law Mose, sister Susan, and brother-in-law Jacob. No one was sick, life was good. Now in less than eight months, three out of our families have gone on before us. Sister Emma will have many lonely days. Jacob and Emma have two married daughters. Three sons are still at home—Jacob, 21, Benjamin, 19, and Steven, 14. Jacob and Steven both have muscular dystrophy. Our sympathy goes out to them, but we grieve right along with them. Jacob and my husband Joe are first cousins, so they have always been close and always leaned on each other when they needed help.

The viewing/visitation starts today (August 9) at 2 p.m. and tomorrow at 10 a.m. Funeral services will be on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at Jacob and Emma’s house. We want to do laundry this morning before we go, but it’s supposed to rain. Hopefully it will hold off until it’s dry.

Our trip to the Outer Banks was very nice, but when we heard about Jacob our minds were always on him. I’m so glad we got to talk to him, even if it wasn’t much since he was so weak.

On Wednesday, August 4th, Joe, son Kevin, and I left home at 2:45 a.m. to meet the two charter buses at the home of Joe’s employer. All the employees and families (wives and children under 16) were there with their luggage.

After loading up, we headed out around 4 a.m. We arrived at the motel in Nags Head, North Carolina around 8:30 or 8:45 p.m. if I remember right. Everyone went to go take their luggage to their rooms. Joe’s employer Daniel ordered pizza for everyone, so we all gathered in the dining area to eat a late supper. The motel had a pool and was right along the Atlantic Ocean, with a nice beach. A lot of the people went swimming or walked out along the beach.

 

On the Eicher family’s trip to North Carolina, they had the opportunity to see the wild horses on the beach. Photo Provided.

 

On Thursday we went to Corolla to see the wild horses on the beach. On Friday morning Joe and son Kevin left at 4:45 a.m. to go fishing with a guide. They caught some fish on the ocean. They came back around noon. Around 5 p.m. we left again to go on the two-hour dolphin cruise. We saw a lot of dolphins. We drove through the Allegheny Mountains both times and through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. It was a nice trip, but with Jacob being ill and then passing away it made us glad to be back home with our loved ones. Son Joseph and daughter Lovina had left Friday for Iowa to attend a reunion with their special friends and family. They arrived back on Sunday and it was good to all be together again. Please pray for us and also for sister Emma and family as they mourn for her dear husband/father/grandfather. God’s blessings to all!

Oatmeal Crunch Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon soda
1 cup quick oats

Mix all ingredients. Spread mixture into ungreased 9×13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 22 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.

Freshening Up the House & Upcoming Vacation

We enter August with some much cooler than normal temperatures. We painted sons Joseph’s and Kevin’s bedrooms last week. Our next project is to paint the bedroom daughters Loretta and Lovina share. Loretta has moved a lot of her things over to Dustin’s house, so now with the room emptier, we decided to paint it. It is time-consuming, but the room looks so freshened up after a few coats of paint. As we move everything back in, we give it all a thorough cleaning.

Those here on Sunday for the noon meal were Sister Verena, Sister Liz and Levi and their daughter Suzanne, Sister Emma and Jacob and their sons Jacob, Benjamin, and Steven, Crystal (nephew Benjamin’s special friend) and her son Isaiah, niece Elizabeth and Samuel and their three children, niece Emma and Menno and their two children, niece Susan and Joe and their nine children, Daughter Elizabeth and Jim and their three children, daughter Susan and her two children, daughter Verena, Dustin, Daniel and Grace (special friends to Lovina and Joseph) and also Rosina (a friend of our children).

Sister Liz and Levi and family came out on Saturday to help Sister Verena with mowing, etc. They stayed the night, so I told them all to come here on Sunday.

Saturday visitors here were Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty and brother Albert and Sarah Irene.

We have three wedding invitations on our fridge right now. Nephew Micheal and Laura picked September 2nd for their wedding date. Micheal is a son of Joe’s sister Salome and Morris in Kentucky. September 2nd is also son Kevin’s 16th birthday. Niece Saloma and Jamin picked September 3rd for their wedding. Saloma is a daughter of Joe’s sister Carol and Pete from Tennessee. It will be a challenge for us to be in Kentucky one day for a wedding then the next day in Tennessee for another wedding. It is doable, so we will try our best. I am the cook at Micheal and Laura’s wedding, and son Joseph and Grace were asked to be table waiters (servers). Grace and I both have to wear royal blue, so I need to squeeze in sewing another dress before then. The third invitation is for Mary and Danny. Mary lives in our church district. Dustin and Loretta were asked to be evening servers and dish washers at their wedding. Congratulations to all the young couples. May God bless each of their marriages.

Now to tell you about our upcoming vacation. My husband, Joe, works at a metal shop, and the owner Daniel is taking all the employees, their wives, and children under 16 for a vacation to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. We will travel on two big charter buses. If I understood correctly, there will be 106 people going. This includes Joe and me and son Kevin. Brother Albert, Sarah Irene, and their daughter Sylvia are also going, and we get to travel on the same bus. It is a 14-hour trip to North Carolina. We leave Wednesday morning at 2:45 p.m. to meet up with the bus at the metal shop. Joe signed us up to take a two-hour tour on the Dolphin Cruise. He signed up him and Kevin up a half-day of fishing. There will be lots to do from the way it sounds. We have never been to North Carolina, so it will be exciting to see everything. It is kind of Daniel to take us all on this trip. We will return home late Saturday evening, Lord willing. The part I don’t like is leaving the rest of the family at home, but God is in control.

 

I am sure I will have plenty to write about next week. Until then, God’s blessings to you all!

 

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

2 large eggs
1/3 cup honey
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup cocoa
1 2/3 cup flour
2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1 ¼ cup chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 mins or until done. You can substitute ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce in place of oil.

 

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.

Birthday brings happy memories

July 14th—today our oldest son and fourth child turned 22 years old. How the years fly by. Happy birthday Benjamin! I had Benjamin at home with Joe’s aunt as my midwife. Benjamin weighed only 4 pounds, 13 ounces and was doing pretty good until he was two weeks old. He caught the flu and started dehydrating so we ended up taking him to the hospital for a few days. After that he seemed to gain and never had many health problems. By the time he was a year old he had easily passed the weight of the girls at age 1.

While I was having Benjamin, our three oldest girls, Elizabeth, Susan, and Verena, stayed with my dad and sisters. Mom would always come to be there for me. After Dad found out that we had a little boy he told the girls that they have a little brother and he’s going to be able to handle all three of them. I remember that at first they weren’t too thrilled about having a brother that might be able to outdo them. My dad loved to tease the girls. After bringing them home they soon fell in love with their tiny brother. After seeing how small he was they said, “Grandpa told us he could handle all of us but he’s way too small.” My dad laughed when he heard that they had taken him seriously. Eleven and a half months later daughter Loretta joined our family. I think between Benjamin and Loretta those two got into more things than any of the rest. They were two lively little ones and they kept me busy. For two weeks every year Loretta would tell Benjamin that she caught up to his age.

Benjamin always looked out for Loretta. One day I put her in the playpen so I could go outside to do something real quick. When I came back in Benjamin had crawled on the countertop and found my scissors in the cabinet and cut a hole in the playpen netting so Loretta could get out. I was scared to think what could’ve happened with him having the scissors. He would use the drawer handles to climb up on the cabinets. Needless to say, Loretta was happy to be turned loose again. After that I knew they weren’t safe alone for even a few minutes. I also had to get another playpen because the netting was ruined.

Today we will again go help daughter Elizabeth with her cleaning. Sister Verena came last night for supper to help us enjoy all the fresh goodies from the garden. She stayed the night, and we will take her home before heading over to Elizabeth’s house.

Our menu last night was fried chicken, steamed red potatoes, buttered red beets, cucumber salad, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, cheese, and homemade sour cream. Daughter Lovina made some chocolate crunch brownies to take to Elizabeth’s today, so everyone sampled them. They are delicious. The potatoes, red beets, cucumbers, lettuce, and tomatoes are all from our garden. We are enjoying the fruits of our labor. Zucchini is also ready and sweet corn should be soon. Hot peppers are ready as well.

The rain has done wonders to our gardens, but it also makes the weeds grow. We try to keep up with everything else going on.

Tomorrow July 15th my husband Joe and I will be married 28 years. Do we appreciate enough to have that many years together? My thoughts go to daughter Susan and others that only get a small number of years together. It is all God’s plan, and we must not question His ways. Let us trust and keep the faith! God’s blessings to all!

This week Lovina shares the recipe for these chocolate crunch brownies made by her daughter Lovina. Photo provided.

Chocolate Crunch Brownies

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
6 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
3 cups crisp rice cereal

Cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and cocoa. Add flour, vanilla, and salt. Pour into a greased 15×10 inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes or until cake is set. When cool, spread marshmallow creme on top. In a saucepan, mix peanut butter and chocolate chips until melted. Remove from heat and add cereal. Spread on top of marshmallow creme.

Note: Lovina doubles the marshmallow creme and uses 4 cups of rice cereal. Marshmallows can be used instead of the marshmallow creme, but if using them return the pan to the oven for a few minutes to melt.

 

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.

Remembering Mose on Father’s Day

Summer has officially begun. We are having cooler than normal mornings after 2 inches of rain over the weekend. We had a few thunderstorms go through with some trees down in the area. Nothing major compared to other areas nearby.

We feel bad for Joe’s cousin Margaret and her husband Walter from Milroy, Indiana, whose house was struck by lightning while they were in Montana. They lost everything. What a feeling to come home to and not have your house or anything in it. The best thing about this is that they still have each other, and no one was hurt in the fire. Sounds like they have a lot of support from their neighbors and community, which helps a lot, I’m sure.

Last night we went to visit Jacob (sister Emma’s husband). He has been discharged from the hospital. He is still very weak, and it will be a while before he gains back his strength. His visitors are limited at the time due to the doctors saying his immune system needs to be built up. Joe and I went for a little while after supper. Hopefully Jacob will continue to gain strength and can stay out of the hospital. Sister Emma is worn out too from traveling the hour back and forth every day to and from the hospital for almost two weeks. She could be with Jacob during the day. Expenses are high with a hospital stay like that.

Emma and Jacob’s daughter Elizabeth and Manuel are preparing for church services that they will host on July 4th. I want to go help her clean a day this week yet. They bought a house in our church district and have plans to move sometime this summer.

Father’s Day was on Sunday, so I hope all the fathers out there had a nice day. In honor of son-in-law Mose, our family, some of Mose’s family, and sister Verena went with daughter Susan and children Jennifer, 3, and Ryan, 23 months, to Mose’s grave. Susan gave Jennifer and Ryan each a balloon that said Happy Father’s Day to let fly from the graveyard. She had a little note on each one to Daddy from the children. We watched the balloons until they were out of sight. Susan put her address on the note in case someone finds it that might let her know how far the balloons traveled. The next morning Jennifer told me, “Grandma, Daddy got my balloon way up in heaven now.” Sweet little children who can’t fully understand why they don’t have their daddy anymore.

Sister Susan’s grave is close to Mose’s, so we visited her grave too. Sister Verena is so lost without her. God is in control and His ways are not our ways. He knows best what our future holds and we need to let it all in His hands.

I finally caught up on my reader mail. I’m sorry for taking that long in answering some of your questions. I appreciated all the encouragement.

I hope to meet some more readers Saturday, June 26th at Light of Grace Bookstore in Nappanee, Indiana. We will be there from 1-3 p.m. signing books.

Daughters Elizabeth, Susan, and Verena have plans to come to my house for the day. We will probably cut out clothes and maybe get some sewing done. And of course I get to spend time with my 5 precious grandchildren. God’s blessings to all!

A reader shared this recipe with me. So, I’ll share it with all of you.

 

Lemon-Blueberry Pound Cake

1/3 cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 egg white
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened blueberries
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) lemon yogurt

 

Glaze

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch fluted or plain tube pan. In a large bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until blended. Add eggs and egg white, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon peel and vanilla. Toss blueberries with 2 tablespoons of the flour. In another bowl, mix remaining flour with baking powder, baking soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with yogurt, beating after each addition just until combined. Fold in blueberry mixture. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes before removing to wire rack; cool for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Gradually brush onto warm cake, about 1/3 at a time, allowing glaze to soak into cake before adding more. Cool completely.

 

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.

 

Lovina celebrates milestone birthday with family

Last night I finished planting the big garden. It has been really dry, but we had rain during the night. It was a much-needed rain. In the smaller garden we still need to plant potatoes. We have red potatoes out already but need to put some out for winter use. I always like to put out Serrano hot peppers but haven’t been able to get them around here this year. I checked at four greenhouses yesterday. Daughter Susan and I went with our friend Jodi (Dan’s wife) to get the rest of our garden plants. To think we didn’t know Jodi until her husband Dan was killed while driving son-in-law Mose to work. It seems like we have known each other for a long time, now. It is good for these two widows to be together as they can feel for each other in the pain of losing their husbands and never getting to say goodbye.

Monday night Loretta’s special friend Dustin took his mower over and mowed sister Verena’s yard. I took our weed eater down there and trimmed the edges. My husband Joe bought me this rechargeable battery weed eater for my birthday. He knew I wanted a lighter one since ours is a gas one and heavier to carry around. I have sure used it a lot in this past week.

Now tonight we will go help at daughter Susan’s. The boys will help son-in-law Tim do some work there. I want to take her some rhubarb so she can make juice. I’m not sure if it will be too wet to work in her garden.

Next week is already neighbor Carol’s wedding day. I was asked to be a cook and wear the color gray. I actually don’t have a dress in the color gray, so I bought material and guess what? Yes, it’s still not cut out and sewed so I need to work that in my schedule this week yet.

Time does not stand still, and I was reminded of that on Saturday, May 22nd, when I had my 50th birthday. When I was younger, I used to think 50 sounded really old and now here I am that age.

Birthday decorations for the celebration Lovina’s children planned. Photo provided.

My dear children made my birthday special. They rented cottages at a nearby lake and our whole family and my sister Verena spent several nights by the lake. It was very nice and the weather was perfect for swimming, fishing, or just sitting by the water. There was a lodge area with a kitchen and dining area where the family could all gather to eat together. Saturday afternoon some of the children went in the lodge and decorated it with black, gold, and white balloons that said Happy 50th. The tablecloths, plates, cups, napkins, etc. all said Happy 50th Birthday. It was very nice. They had grilled brats and hot dogs along with lots of other food. They had a nice ice cream cake for me. I felt honored to be the mother of these precious children. Dustin took his pontoon, and it was nice to go for a ride on the lake. Some went fishing but I just like sitting there enjoying the scenery. Joe bought me a new fishing rod, but I need to get a license first.

Dear son-in-law Mose was so greatly missed. Joe misses the times they went fishing together. When we would go camping, Mose was always on the lake fishing with Joe and son-in-law Tim. They made a lot of memories fishing. It was sad for daughter Susan as she missed Mose on this family vacation. She said she does it for the children now so they can enjoy the water. Sister Verena missed sister Susan too as that’s who she would usually go with on vacation. Life goes on and we take one day at a time and trust in the good Lord for support. Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes and cards. God bless you!

Rhubarb Dream Bars

Crust:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened

Filling:
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups chopped rhubarb

Mix crust ingredients and press into a 9×13 inch pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

For filling, mix eggs, sugar, flour, and salt. Fold in rhubarb. Pour on top of baked crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-55 minutes until set and edges start to 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 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.

Fun with Eicher grandchildren

It’s time to pen this column again and words seem hard to come to my mind. Today four months ago is when our dear son-in-law Mose lost his battle to the injuries from the accident. It has been harder for daughter Susan as time goes on. I am sure anyone that has been through this can agree with her. She said, “Sometimes the hurt is so bad that I don’t know if I can keep going. I know God wants me to, and my children need me, and that’s what keeps me going.” Oh, the pain in a mother’s heart when her child is hurting. I’m so thankful for the comfort of prayer and a God who sees and hears our cry.

Little Ryan, 20 months, likes to follow Grandpa around outside. Sunday night we had to laugh watching him. When Joe put his hands in his pockets, he would, too. When Joe put just one hand in his pocket, Ryan took one out. He watched Joe and walked with big steps. When Joe puts on his hat, then Ryan wants a hat, too. We need to find a little hat his size, because he wears an old one that is too big for him and he won’t give it up. When we leave for church, he cries that he can’t take that big old black hat with him. One of the first things he does when he comes is go for the hat (it was Dustin’s old church hat). At home, Susan lets him wear Mose’s hat.

Ryan always loved Grandpa as his favorite, and one time Mose told Joe, “Ryan looks up to you a lot.” How little did we think that Mose might not be here to raise his son. God makes no mistakes. He has a plan, and we can’t question his ways.

We decided to let daughter Elizabeth and Tim buy our eight-year-old miniature pony, Prancer, as well as the little pony wagon and his harness. Oh, how thrilled Abigail, 4, and T.J., 2, were to be able to have a pony. Prancer is a very calm pony. Daughter Susan trained him six years ago. She didn’t want a pony until Jennifer and Ryan are older, so we let Tim and Elizabeth take him. He will get so much more attention from the little children. Daughter Lovina, 16, had fun riding him when she was little. She and Kevin drove him around here a lot, but now they are much too big for Prancer. How time flies, and so many changes.

Elizabeth said when Tim pulls their buggy in their garage, T.J. pulls the pony wagon in beside the buggy. He says he wants “his” buggy beside daddy’s buggy.

I hope I don’t overdo talking about my grandchildren. They are just so precious to me.

Joe and I were home alone on Friday night, as all the children were leaving to one place or another. It makes us feel older when everyone is out of the house. Tim and Elizabeth and Susan brought their children here while they went to get more supplies for Susan’s house. With five little ones to care for, we didn’t get bored: two one-year-olds, a two-year-old, a three-year-old, and a four-year-old. They kept us on our toes, but it made me see how much our children entertain the grandchildren when they are home.

Joe loves to look for the needle in the Country magazine, and the little ones loved the pictures. They enjoy looking at books, or if we read to them.

With the rhubarb growing very fast this spring, try these rhubarb dumplings.

God bless!

Rhubarb Dumplings

Dough:
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons cold butter
3/4 cup milk

Filling:
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 cups finely chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Sauce:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan, combine the sauce ingredients (except the vanilla) and bring to a boil; cook and stir continuously for 1 minute. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and set aside. For the dough, in a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk and mix together, being careful not to over-mix. Gather dough into a ball and on a floured surface roll out into a 12×9 inch rectangle. Spread with softened butter; arrange rhubarb on top. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over rhubarb. Roll up from the long side and place on a cutting board, seam side down. Cut roll into 12 slices. Arrange slices, cut side up, in a greased 13x9x2 inch baking dish. Pour sauce over slices. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 12.

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.

A beautiful Easter Sunday

It is just after 5 a.m. and my husband Joe and sons Benjamin, 21, and Joseph, 18, have all left for another day’s work. Daughter Lovina, 16, will be leaving in a half hour for her job. That leaves just me and Loretta. Daughter Verena is still staying with daughter Susan and children. Son Kevin, 15, and nephew Steven, 13, went to sister Verena’s for the night. Steven is on spring break from school this week. Those two cousins always seem to be the best of friends.

Yesterday I cut out a dress, cape, and apron for Loretta and a same color shirt for Dustin (her special friend). They will be table waiters at a friend’s wedding in a couple weeks, which is over an hour from here. Today I want to sew it, but I’m not sure how far I’ll get. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan will be going to town. Daughter Verena will come here with T.J., 2, Ryan, 20 months, and Allison, 13 months. Abigail, 4, and Jennifer, 3, will go with their mothers. I want to get a sand box and some sand for the little ones to play with. Sunday evening the younger grandchildren thought my flower beds looked fun to dig in. They thought they could use the soil to play with the sand toys. When my children were younger, we didn’t have cement by the walkout basement. That was nice, sandy soil that my children had lots of fun playing in for hours. I used to babysit for twin boys Joshua and Jacob who were close in age to Lovina and Kevin. Those four were often entertained playing in the sand down there. It was under the porch, so they were in the shade on hot summer days.

Daughter Elizabeth said Abigail was playing outside with her dolls one day, then the next morning Elizabeth saw the dolls were still outside and brought them in. She told Abigail that she forgot to bring her dolls in the night before. Abigail asked her if she brought in the one that died. She had buried one of her dolls in the sand pretending it had died. Seeing two people that were very close to her be buried six weeks apart is probably what brought that to her imagination. Dear sweet innocent children—what lies ahead for their future? Only God knows.

Easter Sunday was such a beautiful day, with a nice warm temperature all day. Our family all came here after church and stayed for supper. We hid eggs for the grandchildren. For the adults I had small gifts on a table, and they played bingo until all the gifts were taken. Our menu was barbecue chicken, deep fried shrimp (that Tim and Elizabeth brought), macaroni and cheese, colored eggs, sliced cheese, homemade bread and butter, robin egg nests, and ice cream. It was an easy supper, with the men taking care of the meat outside. Sister Verena came here Saturday evening and was here until after supper Sunday. Son-in-law Mose and sister Susan were greatly missed like always. Life goes on, and God’s ways are not our ways. All we have is memories.

Daughter Susan and children went home for the night with sister Verena. Two very lonely ladies that need our prayers. I hope everyone had a blessed Easter—a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life! Until next week … God bless!

On April 17th, I will be signing my cookbooks from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Shipshewana Flea Market Grounds in the Antique and Miscellaneous building for the Plain and Simple Craft Fair. I hope to see some of you readers there. Hopefully a few of my daughters can come with me.

These cute robin egg nests were part of Easter Sunday supper for the Eicher family. Photo provided.

Robin Egg Nests

1 12-ounce bag white chocolate chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 6-ounce can potato sticks
robin eggs candy

Melt chocolate chips, then add peanut butter and powdered sugar and mix well. Stir in potato sticks. Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin pan, making little nests. Place candy eggs in the nests. Refrigerate or freeze until set and remove from pan.

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.

Eicher family enjoys signs of Spring

Spring has officially begun! Signs of spring are everywhere and an almost 70 degree warm, sunny day shows us most of winter is behind us.

Today (March 23) I spent most of my day at daughter Susan’s house. A group of church ladies gathered at her house for coffee break. Now to me this “coffee break” is like brunch. A breakfast casserole, ham/cheese sandwiches, carrots/dip, and so many different desserts, coffee and tea made a full menu of a meal. The little children played with toys and the little girls played with dolls and played house while the ladies visited.

I took our horse Midnight and our buggy. It was a beautiful morning for a ride. It’s been a while since I drove alone in the buggy. Time alone can be peaceful and time to think. Life surely has changed for us. So often we think, why God? Why us? Then we correct ourselves because God doesn’t make mistakes. Trust in God with all thine heart…again and again and again. Time will lessen the heartaches.

Daughter Loretta, 20, is washing our supper dishes as I write this. Daughter Lovina, 16, left before supper to go spend the night with sister Verena. I fried chicken for supper so Lovina took some along for their supper. Along with chicken we had potato casserole left over from last night’s supper. Fried chicken tasted good again for a change.

Daughter Verena, 23, is still staying with daughter Susan most of the time.

I was cleaning my desk and came across a packet of reader mail that was sent to me in December. I am so sorry to those of you that asked questions about recipes or other questions. I will try to answer those soon. With having two funerals here six weeks apart my “clutter” was pushed aside and now we are trying to get back to normal as much as possible.

Sunday evening Joe and I were home alone so we decided to walk down to sister Verena for a while. She had been home alone since after church. Those hours can be long if you are alone. We visited with her and talked of memories. Sister Susan is still so missed and so many things remind you of her when you go there. She has many lonely days and wishes more of the family could come visit her. She spent Friday evening with daughters Susan and Verena. Joe and I also went there for supper. Tim and Elizabeth and children joined us there, too.

Son Kevin and nephew Steven spent the night at sister Verena’s house on Saturday night. Jacob and Emma picked them up to go to church Sunday morning. Sister Emma also picked sister Verena up to bring her to coffee break at daughter Susan’s this morning.

This week I’ll share a recipe for coffee cake. Hope you will enjoy it.

Time for me to join the rest—getting ready for bed.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Coffee Cake
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 cups flour
2 cups sour milk

Crumb topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter

Filling:
3 teaspoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (more if preferred)

Sift or whisk dry ingredients together and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Then alternate adding dry ingredients and sour milk, ending with dry ingredients. Divide batter into four pie pans. For the crumb topping, pinch together brown sugar, flour, and butter until it forms crumbs, and sprinkle over the batter in each pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cake springs back in the middle to your touch. Let cakes cool and remove from pans.

For the filling, cook flour in milk until thick. Set aside until cool. Cream shortening and sugar. Then add in the cooled flour mixture and powdered sugar, beating until fluffy. Cut each cake in half horizontally to form two layers and spread filling between the two layers.

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.

Updates from Lovina’s daughter, Susan

Hi Everyone,

I’m Lovina’s daughter, Susan. I decided to write and let you all know how thankful I am for all the cards, money, and encouraging words people have sent. Also, for all the prayers that helped me through the toughest time.

It is Monday night and I’m sitting here writing. Sister Verena is reading, and Jennifer and Ryan are playing doll. Jennifer is the mom and Ryan is the daddy, though I don’t think Ryan has any clue what he is supposed to do. He just follows his big sister around. They are so sweet.

Joe and Susie, Mom and Dad’s neighbors, sent supper over earlier. They sent pizza and flowers. Mose’s brother Alvin and his wife Susanna and their two children, Kaleb and Isaiah, showed up with supper also. So, they just stayed, and we all had subs and pizza for supper. Alvin and Susanna try to come every Monday night, Lord willing.

My sister Verena stays with the children and me now. The children love that she’s here. They like when she gives them rides on her scooter and she makes them go to sleep like that when it’s their nap time. I’m so thankful to have Verena, it helps to have her here, so the nights don’t seem as long and lonely. I keep her awake to just share memories about Mose. She’s a good listener. May God bless her generous heart.

My family and Mose’s family have been very supportive. They all helped me in many different ways.

Aunt Verena came here Friday (March 5) for the night. I feel bad for her. She also has some long, lonely nights. I have my children to keep me occupied, but Verena is all by herself now, even though we are with her. Her routine changed also. She misses her sister Susan dearly, as do the rest of us, but Verena lived with her. When you live with someone it seems a lot harder. Please keep her in your prayers.

It’s Tuesday afternoon and I just got done getting the laundry in. It was a beautiful day for laundry. Jennifer and Ryan love to play outside in this weather.

Jennifer still comes up to me and asks me if I think daddy is coming back. Ryan can’t talk except for some baby talk, so he tries to repeat after Jennifer. It breaks my heart that their daddy isn’t here to hug them or be with them any longer. Mose was a great father.

Today is the third month since the accident and it seems like Mose still should be coming home. It’s hard to grasp yet. When Mose and I first met, I never once thought that our love story would get cut short. It tore me to pieces when they called and said he passed away. It breaks my heart in two every time Jennifer and Ryan say Daddy. I fight myself when the bitter thoughts take place, and the days seem to be long and the future so dark. I learned to just take one day at a time.

I thank God for every moment I had with my dear husband. God blessed us with these years together, even though I catch myself wishing that I could have had one more year with Mose. Mose left the house that morning with both of us not knowing those were our last moments together. Our last I love you’s, our last hugs, our last everything. If only I would have known I would never have let him go.

Mose never gained consciousness after the accident. I feel like I lost him the 9th of December already. Losing Mose has made me look at life differently. Life is too short, so don’t take it for granted. Make the best of it while you can. In a blink of an eye life can change and it’s devastating. God has carried me a long way and still does. Keep Dan’s wife Jodi in your prayers also. Her life changed too. She has a lot of lonely nights. May God be with her.

Thursday my mom and sisters Lovina and Loretta, brother Kevin, sister Elizabeth and her children, Aunt Verena, Aunt Emma, and her daughter Emma and children, and cousin Susan and her children are all coming for the day. All the food is being brought in.

May everyone have a great rest of the week and God bless.

I will share this sugar cookie recipe. They were a favorite to Mose. He liked them frosted.

Soft Sugar Cookies
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup lard or shortening
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or sour milk
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, add the sugar, baking powder, lard, lemon juice, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, baking soda, and salt. Mix until smooth and light in color. Stir in enough of the flour to make a stiff dough. Use your hands to work flour in completely. Chill the dough for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets and drop dough by teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are golden brown, but center is still soft to the touch. Remove from oven and cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

 

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.

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.