Category Archives: Snacks

Daughter Loretta Shares About Her Family

Dear readers,

This is Loretta. Mom asked if I would like to write her column. I would say I’m a little overdue writing the column, but I know it helps Mom since she is busy getting ready for church services. On December 24, Mom is planning on having us children stay the night and having Christmas the next day. I look forward to all of us being together.

I want to write about our little family; I know it is quite different having two children under the age of two. I’d say they keep you on your toes. Running after Denzel (16 months) wouldn’t be so bad if I was able to lose weight while running, but I don’t see much of that happening if I’m in a mobility scooter haha. Byron turned four months on November 7. He is a smiling baby, and it feels like raising Denzel all over again. Everyone says he looks like a Denzel Jr.

On weekdays before Dustin goes to work (his driver picks him up at 5:30 a.m.), Dustin goes out to do the morning chores and feeds our two horses Spirit and Skeeter. Skeeter will be coming with a foal next June. Dustin also feeds both dogs; Bailey is a female golden retriever, and Rascal is a male Pomsky. We gave Rascal his name because that’s what he acts like haha. Dustin then feeds our chickens.

Then, Dustin likes to come in and take his morning shower to get his day started out fresh. While Dustin does that, I change both boys’ diapers and get them dressed. It takes longer in the winter when I have to get them all dressed warm just to go across the road to Mom and Dad’s. Dustin walks over with me and both boys and helps us settle in before he leaves for work. Yes, it makes for some busy mornings. I stay at Mom’s with both boys; it helps when Mom and Lovina are there to help me. Of course, Denzel likes to play in Mom’s cabinets instead of playing with all the toys. He discovered that when he goes up the stairs at Mom’s that I can’t get him or reach him, so he gets fun out of that. I laugh about it, but I won’t let him see that.

Dustin normally comes home around 4:30 p.m. Construction is more hours than what the factory was. Dustin quit the factory last year around the time before I had Byron and had appointments every week because I had a high-risk pregnancy. Life is busy and expensive, but I will not complain—we are very blessed we have the children, and we both love them very much. Dustin and his brother Daniel are starting an excavating business as a side job right now until they can start full time, but that won’t be until spring.

Tomorrow, all of us girls will be going over to Mom’s to help clean for church, and my aunt Emma and her two daughters Elizabeth and Emma (and her children) and her daughter-in-law Crystal will be there to help as well. My aunt Verena has been staying there since Sunday, so she will be there too. Dustin helped me make breakfast burritos to take to Mom’s tomorrow morning for everyone. I also enjoy going there to spend a day with everyone.

We will be going to Dustin’s parents on December 16 for Christmas and will spend the day there. Dustin’s parents live about six to seven miles from us. It seems longer with all the big hills we have to go up. It’s rolling country, which makes it feel longer when the horse needs more time for the hills. Most of the time, we take our handicapped buggy that has a lift in the back to lift me up in the buggy with my scooter. It makes it much nicer now that Dustin doesn’t have to lift me into the buggy anymore. We used to have a trailer behind our buggy to pull my scooter around and a cover on the scooter. The trailer was bouncier and made my scooter quit a lot from the bumps, and I had to buy a new scooter more often. They’re not supposed to get rained on or snowed on either. Now we have the handicapped buggy, and I’m so glad we don’t have to do that anymore.

We have a night routine whenever Dustin gets home. He gets me and the children and helps us home. We decide on what to have for supper, and he has to help with most of making supper while I wash the dishes, sitting on my scooter and folding laundry. Dustin washes the laundry and hangs it up. Dustin will sweep the floor while I mop from my scooter, so I would say we make a pretty good team. There’s running after Denzel too hahaha.

Then Dustin will do the chores again at night. We sometimes get behind on the housework with us being gone most days. Mom will always offer to have us stay over for supper, so we do that too; plus, it’s hard to refuse a good meal.

In the summer, I’d say it’s busier when we have the garden and mowing grass and all that to do yet, and with me needing help making supper. I’d say Dustin is a busy guy. There is stuff I could do, but we aren’t set up for my handicap all the way yet. In spite of it all, I still like summer better than winter. Dustin made us raised garden beds, so I go out there and help weed and pick stuff off the plants. This year, we canned hot peppers, red beets, hot pepper butter, tomato chunks, pickles, and more. I’m thankful for Mom’s help too. I like to be as independent as I can with a positive attitude.

I’m running out of news, and it’s bedtime for me and the boys. We will be thinking warmly of each of you and wishing your family an extra measure of comfort, joy, and hope this Christmas. Have a Merry Christmas, and the best to you all in the New Year of 2024. God be with you from Loretta, Dustin, Denzel Michael, and Byron Liam.

Chicken Roll-Ups
Boneless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
Sour cream
Lemon pepper
Garlic powder
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Medium tomato, sliced

Topping Sauce
Ranch dressing

Cut each chicken breast into three pieces. With a sharp knife, cut each piece in half lengthwise but not all the way through. Lay open the piece and season with salt and pepper; then spread with a thin layer of sour cream. Season with lemon pepper and garlic powder; then cover with shredded cheese and a half slice of tomato. Roll up and place in glass pan. Combine mayonnaise, mustard, and ranch dressing to taste to make a sauce to pour over the roll-ups. Bake at 400 degrees for 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.

Lovina and Family Celebrate Many July Anniversaries and Birthdays

Today is July 18—a day that is always remembered. My mother would be 87 if she were still with us. Rest in peace dear, sweet Mother! Tomorrow, July 19, is sister Emma’s 50th birthday. On July 15 my husband Joe and I celebrated 30 years of marriage together. July 15 was also brother Albert’s 59th birthday. Happy birthday to all July birthdays.

Son Benjamin’s 24th birthday was July 14 and son Joseph’s 21st birthday will be July 24. Yes, our family has many birthdays in July. Benjamin treated us with Pizza Hut pizza and wings on his birthday. That was a treat for all of us. The years fly by so fast.

Our horse Midnight’s little colt is really growing. He is 4 1/2 weeks old and is changing color. So far, he is still nameless. Joe hasn’t decided on a name for him. It is fun to watch him run and play in the field.

Today my plans are to cut out daughter Lovina’s dress, cape, and apron for nephew Menno and Diane’s wedding. They will exchange vows on July 22 in Clare, Michigan. Lovina and her special friend Daniel were asked to be servers at their wedding. Joe and I will be unable to attend but daughters Verena and Lovina (and Daniel), sons Benjamin, Joseph (and special friend Grace) and Kevin have plans to drive the three hours to attend the wedding. We wish them a long, happy married life with God’s richest blessings.

Lovina’s color dress will be pink and Daniel will wear black pants and vest with a white shirt. The color is very pretty, but it will look much better to me once my job of cutting it out and sewing it is done. I tend to put jobs like this off until the last minute.

Daughter Loretta has another appointment today an hour away. Dustin stayed home so he can help her to her appointment. He has missed many days of work to go with her but never grumbles and is always glad to help. They will bring Denzel, age 1, here this afternoon while they leave. He is always fun to have around.

Yesterday we had granddaughters Allison, 3, and Andrea, 17 months, here for a few hours. They are also so precious. Both took a nap while they were here.

Last week daughter Susan and children, daughter Verena, daughter Loretta and Denzel, daughter Lovina, son Kevin and I spent a day helping daughter Elizabeth with her work. They will host church services soon. We cleaned their basement and the can room (where all her canned food is stored), as well as the windows in the basement, plus some other odd and end jobs she needed to have done.

Loretta and Denzel, Lovina, and I all went out with Loretta and Dustin’s handicap buggy with son Benjamin’s horse Beauty. I tied Beauty outside in the shade and gave her some hay to eat. She somehow got the rope around her foot and that made her fall. When daughter Verena came back from taking the children on a walk, she heard Beauty gasping and saw her laying there. Needless to say, when Verena yelled to us in the basement to come, we all ran to see what was wrong. We couldn’t get Beauty untangled, so we cut the rope and she could get up. She was fine, but how thankful we were that someone saw it in time. Beauty is a good, safe horse and that is worth so much. We were all shook up for a while. Of course, that morning I used a brand-new tie rope, but that’s replaceable.

God’s blessings to all!

Pepper Poppers
Jalapeño peppers (small), approximately 10
cream cheese

2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Take the jalapeño peppers, cut off the tops, and remove the seeds. Fill with cream cheese and set aside. Mix batter ingredients together in small bowl. Roll peppers in batter and deep fry at 350–375 degrees. Eat with dip. Lovina’s family prefers ranch dip or cheese sauce. The batter can also be used with fish or chicken.


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 Explains an Amish Communion Service

We are already into the fifth month of the year—May! Hopefully May will bring warmer temperatures again. The gardens are really wet yet from all the rain we had this past week.

It was a cold, rainy day on Sunday when communion services were held at Dustin and Loretta’s. It was a challenge to keep the pole barn heated. It isn’t insulated, so quite a few tanks of propane were burned to heat the big building. The barn was divided in half with canvas hung from the rafters. On one side, the benches were set for the church services. On the other side, tables were set up as well as a small area for a nursery for the mothers with small children and babies.

For those of you new to this column or the Amish lifestyle, I’ll try to explain how we do communion.

Everyone gathers by 9 a.m., and church services start at 9 or before. Around 11 a.m., we (the family that hosts church and their help) have lunch ready. Tables are set, one for the men and one for the women. With our church being so big, we set a third table for the young boys and girls to eat at. At each place setting is a glass for water, a cup for coffee or hot water, a bowl, spoon, fork, and knife.

On Sunday, we could serve 50 people at once. On the menu was chicken noodle soup (I made four 12-quart kettles), homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, pickles, pickled red beets, hot peppers, strawberry jam, butter, coffee and spearmint tea, and a variety of four different cookies (chocolate chip, oatmeal, sugar, and lemon). When someone was finished eating, their spot at the table would be cleaned and reset. By 12:30, everyone was fed and back in the services.

Around 3 p.m. communion is held, with the bread and wine being passed out, then the feet washing, etc. By 4 p.m. everything is done, and everyone leaves for home. Grandson Isaiah (Ervin and daughter Susan’s son), 4, was sitting beside me when the members were washing each other’s feet. He was trying to figure all this out. I asked him if he wants his feet washed and he said, “No, I do not want to.” He was quite entertained watching one after another come to wash their feet. It made me smile to see him so deep in thought.

It was a long day for Loretta, but she is glad everything is now cleaned and back to normal. Grandson Denzel popped through his first two teeth! He holds his mouth different trying to feel the teeth. He can feel something is there now and found out pretty fast to not chew on his fingers. His two top ones are almost through, too.

On Monday, Ervin and Susan’s four children, Jennifer, 5, Isaiah, 4, Ryan, 3, and Curtis, 3, were here while Susan went to help in preparation for a wedding that she will be cook at on Friday. Kaitlyn, 6, was in school.

Today our plans are to all go help niece Elizabeth (Manuel) clean. Elizabeth and Manuel will host next church services at their house.

Daughters Loretta and Lovina and I will go together with our horse Midnight and Dustin and Loretta’s buggy. Their buggy is a handicap buggy and has a lift in the back so Loretta can get in with her mobility scooter. Also going today to help are sisters Verena and Emma, nieces Emma and Crystal, and daughters Elizabeth, Susan, and Verena. I made a casserole, and Loretta made a salad to take along. It’s nice to have lunch made so we can keep cleaning. God’s blessings to all!

I will share the cheese spread recipe. It is also in my cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook.

Homemade Church Cheese Spread
6 pounds processed cheese spread (Velveeta)
1 1/2 cups butter
8 cups cream

Put all three ingredients in a big roasting pan and bake at 150-200 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring every 15 minutes, until all is melted.

Cover with plastic wrap to prevent it from getting a crusty top while cooling. The spread is served on a sandwich with or without meat. It is good just spread on bread with some pickles.


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 Verena Shares Stories from Living on Her Own

Hello readers! This is Lovina’s daughter Verena writing. It is currently 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1.

I am two months in on living by myself. So far, everything is going pretty good for me, and I do not mind being on my own. I go home a lot, and I also visit my sisters a lot. I always have something to do because I do a lot of babysitting. I sure enjoy doing that!

One day last month, my sister Elizabeth and my mom came to help me get my house set up. It is a lot emptier than how Susan had it when she lived here. I like it a little roomier so I have more space for my mobility scooter. I did not realize how much stuff I had until I started going through everything. I still have a few totes full of stuff that I have to go through.

Last Wednesday, my brother Kevin cane to stay overnight. I sure enjoyed his company! We are both a little scared of stink bugs, so we sure had an adventure trying to kill one. I have two little balls in my house that the children always play with when they come over—Kevin had one and I had the other, and we were throwing them at the stink bug until I finally hit it. Our second mission was to find them, because they had a way of disappearing after they dropped. Kevin ended up staying overnight again on Thursday night.

On Friday morning, sister Susan dropped off Jennifer and Isaiah with me. She and Ervin, along with their two boys Ryan and Curtis, went to Ervin’s dad and mom overnight, and they only had room for two children to go with them. Kaitlyn came to may place after school.

Kevin left on Friday night, so it was just me and the three kids. I made a little tea party for them—I had done this one night for Abigail and Jennifer when they had been overnight. It seems like they always have a lot of fun with it. They seem to eat a lot more that way, as well.

I always find their conversation so funny! One night when I had a few of the children, they were all sitting on top of the vent with water. I told them not to dump any of their water down there because it could start a fire. It couldn’t have, but I just wanted to prevent them from dumping water down there. T.J. accidentally dumped a little bit of his down there and it made a sizzling noise because it hit the stove. Jennifer jumped up so fast and ran away from it as fast as she could and was saying, “I can hear the smoke!” Then Abigail told her, “Jenny, you can’t actually hear the smoke but you can smell it.” Ha, it was cute!

Kaitlyn and Jennifer were telling Abigail that tea is the same thing as coffee, and Abigail said no, tea and coffee are different. So Abigail wanted to find out who was right, so she came to ask me, and I told her that they are two different things. Abigail was very glad to let them know that she was right. Haha!

Last night, Tim and Elizabeth brought supper into my place. Ervin and Susan ended up coming, as well. Elizabeth made chili soup and garlic cheese bread. Susan made a dessert. I had not made anything other than set out a few chips. Then I had ice cream afterwards. It was enjoyable!

The children all picked up my toys before they left last night. As soon as Allison saw they were picking up the toys, she told me that she didn’t feel good. I kind of knew that trick, because I remember playing that a few times when I was younger. Haha!

You all take care, and God bless!

Old-Time Popcorn Balls
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 quarts popped corn

Butter sides of saucepan. In it, combine sugar, water, salt, syrup, and vinegar. Cook to hard ball stage (250 degrees). Stir in vanilla. Slowly pour over popped corn in a large bowl, stirring just to mix well. Butter hands lightly; shape balls. Lay on a flat surface to cool. Makes 15 to 20 balls.


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 Shares Four Snack Recipes

This week I will share some recipes. Everything is extra busy with preparations for the wedding of daughter Susan and Ervin. Plus, it’s right around the holidays. Our church district will have services on Christmas Day and a potluck afterward. It is always a nice time to have fellowship with the church family.

Lovina is cutting out and sewing new clothing for the wedding of Ervin and Susan.

As we draw close to the holidays, let us remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. Rejoice in the miracle of Christmas and take comfort in his peace and grace.

Wishing you a blessed Christmas and a new year full of promise!

Sweet Crunch Mix
8 cups Chex cereal
3 cups popped popcorn
2 cups broken pretzels
1 cup peanuts
½ cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup Karo syrup
1 teaspoon maple flavoring

Mix the cereal, popcorn, pretzels, and peanuts in a large bowl. Combine the butter, brown sugar, syrup, and maple flavoring in a pan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Pour over the cereal mixture, stirring until all pieces are evenly coated. Bake for 45 minutes at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes.


Mustard Pretzels
2 pounds pretzels (tiny twist)
½ cup butter
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon mustard
10 teaspoons (heaping) powdered sugar
10 teaspoons dry mustard
1 ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon turmeric

Melt the butter, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard together on the stovetop or in the microwave. Place the pretzels in a large bowl and pour the butter mixture over the pretzels, stirring until pretzels are well coated. Spread the pretzels out on large cookie sheets. Sift the powdered sugar, dry mustard, garlic powder, and turmeric together several times; then sift some over pretzels. Stir and sift more over pretzels. Stir well. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Stir often while baking.


Cinnamon Popcorn
3 quarts popped corn
1/3 cup butter
¼ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt

Place popped corn in a large baking pan and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients and cook over low heat until butter is melted and sugar dissolved. Remove from heat. Add to popped corn and toss lightly to mix well. Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes or until hot and crisp.


Taco Bean Dip
8 ounces salsa
8 ounces sour cream
16 ounces refried beans
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup lettuce, finely shredded
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons black olives, sliced

Mix together or layer and serve with tortilla chips.


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 Susan shares her experiences

This column was written the week before Christmas.

Dear Readers,

I’m Lovina’s daughter Susan. It’s sunny and very windy today. I just finished with the laundry. I hung it all inside because it is too cold and windy outside.

Daughter Loretta made this beautiful fruit tree for the Eicher family Christmas gathering.

Today my sister Verena and I had sister Elizabeth’s children, T.J. and Allison, here while she attended her oldest daughter Abigail’s class Christmas party at school. My Jennifer and Ryan love when their cousins come over to play with them.

Last night was Abigail’s Christmas program at the school. Jennifer was really excited to see Abigail’s school. She wants to go to school now too.

It is now over a year since my dear husband Mose passed away. It seemed like a long and overwhelming year. And then other times it feels short, when I look back. I feel like the children and I came a long way. When times got hard, I would tell myself, “If life on earth has to be tough to make it to our Heavenly home, then I’ll fight the battle until the end.”

Mom took us out for the day on the anniversary of Mose’s death. She wanted to keep me busy so I didn’t sit and think about it. She took us out to eat, and we had a nice day together.

Sunday night, Martha (a widow in our community) and her five children are coming to visit. Her husband passed away from cancer. It is three years that he passed away, also in December. She has been an inspiration to me. She’s a very brave woman. We want to go to her children’s Christmas program to help support her and to just be there for them.

Recently, some of Mose’s family came to stay with me and others from his family came to also help for a weekend. They put new siding on my house. It isn’t finished yet but it is looking so much better.

My family and Mose’s family have helped me a lot through this past year. They were all a great support.

Please pray for all the families that lost loved ones and belongings in the recent tornadoes. Life is too short. It’s hard to lose one family member; I can’t imagine how the family feels that lost four. After Mose passed, the pain was so great. It felt like with every breath pain slashed through my heart.

I best be going now. I need to feed the horses, chickens, and dogs. Jennifer and Ryan like to go with me to pick up the eggs. Sometimes Ryan will let the eggs drop too hard in the bucket and break the egg.

I will share the recipe of fruit dip. I’m taking fruit and the fruit dip to Dad and Mom’s for the Christmas gathering. I think the hardest part of the day is when we all sit down at the set table and my beloved Mose isn’t there beside me. Mose enjoyed Christmas time and getting together with family. Around strangers he would be very quiet but when he knew someone he was talkative and would always have fun playing games or talk about hunting or fishing.

Someday I hope to be reunited again in Heaven.

Take care and God bless!


Fruit Dip

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup whipped topping
Whip all together. Serve with different kinds of fruit.


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 and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.


Winter weather returns amid butchering and painting projects

Winter weather is back! We’ve received around three inches of snow and it’s still snowing. The roads must not be the best as school is cancelled for today! I let son Kevin sleep in, so he doesn’t yet know school is cancelled. He will be happy when he wakes up.

Lovina and family received over three inches of snow after a brief thaw. Photo provided.

Son-in-law Mose had a birthday yesterday, February 5. Mose, Susan, and Jennifer all had the flu so he didn’t have the nicest birthday. We will wash their laundry here for them today, since Susan didn’t feel up to washing clothes this week. In the winter months I like to add a laundry disinfectant to the water to help with germs during the flu season. I really think it helps.

Tuesday the girls and I spent the day at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. We washed a lot of laundry for them and cleaned her house. She was glad to have everything clean again. Daughter Lovina stayed there for the night and came home with Elizabeth and all three children the next morning. Daughter Susan and children couldn’t come as they still had the flu.

Monday the temperature went over 50 degrees so we hung some of our laundry out on the lines to dry. The bedding smelled so fresh when put back on the beds. We also cleaned our windows while the temperature was warmer.

Daughter Verena bought aqua colored paint to have her bedroom painted. So far, this week has been too busy to start with it. The boys did move Verena’s bed into Loretta and Lovina’s bedroom. The dressers will be moved to the middle of her room and covered up. Her bedroom walls are still the same color daughter Elizabeth had when she had that bedroom. It’s a burgundy color and Verena prefers aqua. Elizabeth has been married four and a half years and we still haven’t changed the color. It will brighten up the bedroom.

Saturday, we helped sister Emma and Jacob butcher two hogs. Sister Emma served us all breakfast when we arrived which was a breakfast casserole.

Read in this week’s column about how pon hoss is made (pictured here, sliced and ready to fry). Photo provided.

After the meat was cut up, we rendered the lard and cooked the pork off the bones. The meat from the bones was put through the grinder and then added back to the cooking water. Flour, salt, and black pepper were added to the cooking water making 17 gallons of pon hoss! We added four cups of flour, two tablespoons of salt, and one tablespoon of black pepper to each gallon of juice. The flour is sifted so it doesn’t get chunky, and someone stirs constantly to keep it from sticking to the big kettle while it cooks over an open fire. After the pon hoss is thickened, it is taken off the fire and poured into pans to cool. After it is cooled it can be sliced and fried in a pan until golden on each side. It can be fried longer for a crispier taste if preferred.

The sausage was all ground, seasoned, and packaged for the freezer. Some was processed in quart- and pint-sized jars. We usually season our sausage with brat and ranch seasoning we get at the meat market. It makes a good flavor for sausage patties or sausage gravy. The pork chops, ham, and bacon were also all sliced and packaged for the freezer.

Everything was mostly done by 1:30 or 2:00 p.m. then we had a delicious lunch of mashed potatoes, gravy, pork tenderloin, coleslaw, lettuce salad, cheese, Jello cake, cowboy bars, donuts, cake, and ice cream.

Baby Allison will be six weeks old tomorrow. She has the brightest blue eyes and smiles when you talk to her. So adorable and precious!

Stay healthy during this flu season! God bless!


Sausage Delights

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1/3 cup shortening
1-pound bulk sausage, fried
1-1 1/2 cup shredded Colby or cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients and cut in shortening. Add the fried sausage and shredded cheese. Stir in milk and egg and mix well. Drop onto greased pans and bake at 375 degrees until done. Serve plain or with butter or sausage gravy.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, will be available in April 2020 from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Gift exchange, games, and food highlight the Eicher family’s Christmas gathering

 Christmas Day is tomorrow. Son Joseph just left for work and the rest of the family is still sleeping. Our family Christmas is over for this year. We will still get together with my sisters for a Christmas gift exchange and meal. This year it will be at sister Emma and Jacob’s house.

Saturday my husband Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph, and Loretta’s special friend Dustin butchered a beef we raised for meat. We raise a few calves so that we have our own beef to butcher. A correction to one of my recent columns: we raise steers to butcher, not cows. (Every writer needs to grin-and-bear-it at times when words get changed in their writing making a different meaning.) A cow is a heifer that has had a calf and we think the meat from a steer is better for steaks. We never butcher a cow.

The big beef is hanging in our pole barn reminding us how much work lies ahead this week yet. Our plans are to start working on that Thursday and Friday. It will be nice to fill the freezer and canning jars with meat.

The dining table is set and ready for the Eicher family’s breakfast the morning of their Christmas gathering. Everyone spent the night at Joe and Lovina’s and began their day of celebration eating breakfast together around the family table. Photo provided.

Our family had a nice Christmas gathering on Sunday. We set the table for all of us. We are 17 now but one-year-old T.J. sits in the highchair and Ryan doesn’t eat table food yet. We had a breakfast casserole that we made the night before and put it in the oven so it was ready to eat when everyone woke up. Also on the menu were homemade bread, butter and jelly, cheese, hot peppers, donuts and cookies, chocolate milk, orange juice, and coffee. It is nice to have something easy so we don’t spend our time together making food. Joe put a turkey on the grill so it would be ready to eat later on. After dishes were washed, we passed out gifts. The children exchanged names so it was interesting to see who had each other’s names. It was also Joe’s birthday so he received nice birthday/Christmas gifts. It is always fun to see the excitement of the little children when they open their gifts.

A variety of snacks along with grilled turkey were enjoyed throughout the day at the Eicher family’s Christmas gathering. Photo provided.

We played games and had snacks and turkey later on. A variety of snacks included veggies and dip, fruit and dip, meat and cheese roll-ups, party mix, Rice Krispy treats, venison jerky, cheeseball and crackers, Christmas goodies, etc. There was much more than we needed but when everyone brings a few things, it adds up. The turkey and snacks were our food for the rest of the day. We have so much to be thankful for, so let’s remember to thank God for everything.

One of the new games we played was a game given to daughter Loretta from Dustin called Marble Chase. It is exciting and keeps your interest.

Son Benjamin left around 4:00 p.m. to join the youth for a Christmas supper and singing. They opened a plastic wrap ball of gifts which I imagine was exciting. Benjamin also joined the youth  one evening last week to go Christmas caroling at the homes of older people in our community. They gathered at the community center afterwards for a pizza supper.

Also one evening last week my sisters Verena and Susan made supper for us and sent it over. They always wanted to make a meal for me since my surgery. It was a treat to get out of cooking one evening. They made mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, and meatloaf. Also cookies and Christmas candy.

We are getting Christmas plates of goodies from our neighbors and we still haven’t made much more than party mix and cookies. I really don’t think we will as there are so many goodies around already. Maybe next week we can get around to making something for the neighbors.

I am hoping a few of the girls can go help daughter Elizabeth today. Doctors orders are that she doesn’t do any work, but with one- and three-year-old children that is hard for a mother to do without extra help. She said Tim will be off work today to do her laundry, but I still feel like someone should go help out. Entertaining the children is a help already.

Wishing you readers a blessed Christmas and God’s many blessings to all!


Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls

5 cups popped popcorn
1 cup roasted peanuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Place popcorn and peanuts in a large bowl; set aside.

Sauce: In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat bring brown sugar and corn syrup to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in peanut butter, and vanilla. Quickly pour over popcorn mixture and mix well. When cool enough to handle, quickly shape into 10 2-1/2-inch balls. Let stand at room temperature until firm, then wrap in plastic wrap.


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, will be available in April 2020 from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Delicious food and family time mark birthday and Christmas celebrations

After today my husband Joe and son Benjamin will be off from the factory for a two-week holiday break. Son Kevin has a half day of school tomorrow and then he will also be home for two weeks. Son Joseph works construction, so they take advantage of working every day the weather permits. I don’t expect much quietness in the next two weeks, but we are hoping to butcher beef and pork if time allows before they go back.

December 17 was grandson Timothy’s (T.J’s.) first birthday. Our whole family went to daughter Elizabeth’s for supper in honor of his birthday. She made homemade pizza and had cake and ice cream. I took macaroni salad and chips. Daughter Susan brought a pudding. Elizabeth’s pizza was very good as usual. She had a little cake for T.J. to have fun with and then a bigger cake for the rest of us.

Elizabeth said T.J. recently pushed the step stool up to the kitchen sink and was crawling in the sink. A good thing she got him before he turned on the faucets. He had fun tearing the wrapping off his presents on his birthday. He didn’t get the idea to blow out his single candle, though. After we ate, we played games and visited. Of course, the grandchildren enjoyed playing with T.J.’s new toys.

On our way home we came upon an accident and help was just arriving. A 56-year-old man from a town close to us was killed in the accident. I feel sorry for the family with the upcoming holidays.

On Sunday, our church had our Christmas potluck. I made a breakfast casserole to take. I don’t have a recipe, but I put in eggs, potatoes, onions, bacon, ham, mushrooms, green peppers, cheese, then topped it with sausage gravy. It must have been good because it was gone before I went through the line. There were six casseroles, a variety of salads, pies, cakes, puddings, bars, cookies, and so much more. By the time everyone brings something it adds up to a lot of food.

On our way home we stopped in at sister Emma and Jacob’s to visit with Jacob, Jr. He is doing well since his surgery on both his feet. Wish him a great recovery.

Yesterday some of the children and I were gone all day for appointments. The drive was two hours and we were halfway home when our driver Beth got a call from her sister who had taken daughter Elizabeth to the doctor. Her blood pressure was dangerously high, so the doctor admitted her to the hospital. Son-in-law Tim wanted to bring the children over to our house, then go back to the hospital with Elizabeth. We went past Tim and Elizabeth’s house and brought Abigail and T.J. home with us.

We made a supper of spaghetti and ham and cheese sandwiches, since Joe and son Benjamin each got a 14-pound ham from their employer for Christmas. The children were hungry as it was getting late when we had everything ready. T.J. still eats better when someone feeds him, but he can feed himself also.

Elizabeth was released from the hospital last night but needs to go back for more tests today or tomorrow. T.J. was so happy to see his dad and mom come back to get him. Both children were easy to have here as they are used to being here.

Sunday my husband, Joe, will be 51. The family is coming home for Christmas that day. Joe will get birthday and Christmas gifts the same day. Everyone plans to come Saturday night for supper and stay for the night. Always so good to have the whole family under the same roof.

As we celebrate the holiday with family and friends let us remember that baby born in a stable and grew up to die and become salvation for all who accept it.

We want to make party mix for the holidays. I’ll share the recipe I use. I add more of the ingredients I like best.

A blessed holiday season to all!


Party Mix

3 cups Corn Chex
2 cups Rice Chex
3 cups Wheat Chex
1 cup Cheerios
1 cup Cheez-Its
1 cup garlic bagel chips
1 cup butter twist pretzels

6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Melt butter in pan and add seasonings. Mix with the rest of the ingredients and bake for 1 hour at 250 degrees stirring every 15 minutes. Optional: Sprinkle on more Worcestershire sauce during baking if you like a stronger flavor.


Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. 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 and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Wedding and birthday celebrations, and a visit to the Ark Encounter

We are having nice weather, but temperatures are in the 40s and 50s in the morning, which makes the house feel chilly. We haven’t bought any coal yet, so hopefully we can soon to get some heat in the house if this chilly weather continues.

Last night we were at Mose and daughter Susan’s house. My husband Joe and sons Benjamin, 20, and Joseph, 17, were helping Mose get their outdoor wood burner hooked up to their house. Mose and Susan still had thinly sliced steak in their freezer, so we had rare beef and creamed potatoes for supper. Everyone was glad for rare beef since we usually have this more often after we butcher cattle in the winter months.

We had a nice trip to Kentucky last week to attend the wedding of Joe’s nephew, Morris, and Annie. Cousin Dave has built a nice place in the hills of Kentucky with a pond behind the house and a walkout basement. It is very nice, and the men and boys admired all the deer mounts hanging in his house.

Daughter Susan and I were cooks at the wedding and our job was to help make gravy. Daughter Verena was a table waiter. The menu included mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, dressing, fried chicken, mixed vegetables, salad, cheese, bread, butter, and jam. For dessert, we had pecan, pumpkin, and cherry pies, cinnamon pudding, angel food cake with strawberry topping, and cookies. For the evening meal, we had grilled chicken and brats, and ice cream was also added to the menu. Candy bars were passed around after lunch.

We arrived in Kentucky on Wednesday evening around 9 p.m. Thursday afternoon we went to see where Joe’s sister Salome and her husband Morris and their family live. After the wedding was over, we went back to the motel. The next morning, we all headed to Williamstown, Kentucky, to the Ark Encounter. We really enjoyed our day there. Noah’s ark is sure a good look at what they endured, and it brought a better understanding to the children to see the ark in the dimensions the Bible tells that Noah and his sons built it. The place was packed with people from all over the United States. It makes one feel hopeful to see Christianity is not lost yet.

Lovina and family visited the Ark Encounter, a full-scale representation of Noah’s Ark in Williamstown, KY, while traveling for a family wedding. Photo provided.

We headed back to Michigan and stopped along the way to eat. We arrived back home safe and sound a little after midnight. Everyone was ready for a good night’s sleep.

At 8:30 a.m. the next morning (Saturday), Joe and I, daughters Verena and Lovina, and son Kevin, along with my sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma, Jacob and son Steven, headed for Berne, Indiana to attend the surprise birthday party for sister Liz and Levi. Liz turned 50 in January and Levi turns 50 in December. They also had their 27th wedding anniversary on October 4. This surprise was planned by their children. Chicken, pork and beans, macaroni and cheese, salads, desserts, and snacks were served. Some of the food was brought by guests.

We arrived back home after dark. Daughter Loretta, with the help of her special friend Dustin, did our laundry, so it was nice to see our clothes all clean again from the trip. Dustin’s birthday was October 8, so a Happy Birthday to him!

On Sunday we had communion at church, so it was a long day. We also ordained another minister and had a potluck dinner with the church afterward. It was good to see Monday come and things slowing down.

Lovina, husband Joe, and son-in-law Mose made their annual trek to the u-pick grape orchard to pick grapes. The grapes will be cooked and strained to make grape juice and then canned to enjoy throughout the year. Photo provided.

Son-in-law Mose, Joe, and I went to the u-pick grape orchard to pick grapes. Another job done for the year.


Daughter Susan is feeling better and stayed well on our trip.

Our highlight this week was seeing Tim and daughter Elizabeth’s nine-and-one-half-month-old son, T.J., walking short distances. He’s so active and almost runs instead of walks. He is so precious, as are all our grandchildren.

God’s blessings!

Apple Dumplings
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lard, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
5/8 cup milk
1 quart chopped apples, raw
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a bowl, mix well the flour, baking powder, salt, lard, butter, and milk. Press into the bottom of a greased 8×10-inch cake pan. Mix the apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and put on top of the dough.

1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup hot water (add more if too thick)

Mix the sauce ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil and boil a few minutes. Pour on top of the apple mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and the apples are soft.

Delicious for supper with cold milk.

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 now available for preorder from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.