This article is a part of "The Amish Cook Column", a weekly series of featuring a story & recipe from Gloria Yoder, Amish widow & mother of six from Flat Rock, Illinois
📜 Amish Cook Column
A gravestone isn’t something I ever gave much thought to, it’s something I thought was distant and in the future, but events last year changed that.
That first year after Daniel passed it just didn’t fall into place for me to order a headstone. I knew most people have it ready to set at the one year mark, but for me it just didn’t seem to click.
This summer I dug out the tombstone advertisement paper my dad had picked up for me in Robinson. Moments later I was studying the paper in my hand. I knew the time was getting closer and it would be good for me to face it. With a prayer in my heart I contemplated on the wording, design, and all.
Part of my being wanted to say, “Isn’t a stone so earthly?” It is where we laid his body, yet surely he is much more alive in heaven than he was on earth, as we are reminded in 2 Corinthians 5:8 where it says, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
Even for the sake of the children I knew in my heart we need to keep moving forward in this stage of life.
“I’ll have all your names printed on the back of the stone,” I explained to the children, “That is what daddy would want. You were all very important to him.” The idea was pleasing to them.
Then of course a tree would have to be incorporated somewhere. Not only was Daniel preparing to plant new trees when he got hurt; only 13 hours earlier, he shared a devotional at a hymn singing about those trusting in the Lord will be as a tree planted by waters and won't wilt in year of drought. The next part is especially close to my heart. The individual who trusts God and asks for the Holy Spirit will watered by the Spirit himself and will never stop yielding fruit. Those verses in Jeremiah 17:7 and 8 which he expounded still echo through my mind and spur me on to keep trusting and asking for His Spirit.
Now I look at the gravestone pictures before me once more, perhaps I should place those verses under the children’s names, signifying this promise for their hearts day by day, year in and year out?
Preparing and setting the tombstone is not what I ever dreamed of doing for my husband. Still I am most thankful for that opportunity to show love to our dear daddy and husband, and especially to be reminded that God remains God and His ways always work, no matter how hard we cry. Like a dear widow friend shared with me recently, “If we do not thank God for taking our husband we are saying we know better than he does.” I had never thought about it that way, yet in my heart when she said that, I knew the absolute joy and freedom of not only giving a burden to God, but also thanking him for it even when it feels unreasonable to do so. It opens the wellspring of blessings to be spilled right upon you.
Gateways of connection with God are opened at that simple act of trust by thanking God.
I admit, I get super tested with thanking God for all His ways. Little Joshua is processing deeper levels of missing his daddy. It’s heart renting to hear his sobs, knowing that I can never be both mom and dad for him.
Snuggling with Daniel’s night shirts have a way of soothing and calming him. I use it to wipe his tears- we know Daddy would care so much! Knowing he needs extra love I told him he could sleep with me for a few weeks. Last night he snuggled up close to me and said, “Here mom, you may take this side of Daddy's shirt!”
📷 Editor's Notes & Photos on Pumpkin Cheesecake Dessert
Okay, first of all, this is the first time I have ever made a cheesecake (I think). In other words, even if I have made one before, it is not something I do a lot by any means so I'm not sure how valuable my feedback will be.
This recipe calls for boxed cake mix and butter as the base. So I did that. Should the butter be melted? I think it would have been easier to pat the crust in. I used a cheese grated and just grated the butter, mixed it in with the cake mix and patted it into the pan. It was rather powdery in the pan but the end result baked just fine, so maybe it doesn't matter melted butter vs. not.
This recipe has a ton of cream cheese, 24 ounces total. I thought maybe that was an error, but I checked with Gloria and it is correct. I think a stand mixer or a beater would serve you well here. I just used a whisk and ask you can see there were still a lot of small lumps of cream cheese.
The recipe says 60 to 75 minutes. I checked at 60 minutes and it was not done. But 15 minutes later it was almost too done, I was starting to see some blackish overcooking splotches on it. So probably 70 minutes would have been perfect, but 75 wasn't bad.
You get something that, in my opinion, really resembles a pumpkin pie more than a cheesecake. It was good. If I made it again I'd probably add pumpkin pie spice. I think the biggest difference between this dessert and a traditional pumpkin pie is the cake crumble type "crust" instead of a traditional pie crust.
VERDICT: So I mean, if you like pumpkin and want something perhaps a bit more substantive than pumpkin pie (this dessert is a bit more dense) then you couldn't go wrong with this Pumpkin Cheesecake Dessert.
I did not, by the way, use almonds, which this recipe calls for. I think that's a personal preference issue. If you want almonds, go ahead and add.
🖨️ Full Recipe
Pumpkin Cheesecake Dessert
- 1 package cake mix
- ½ cup butter
- 3 packages (8 ounces) cream cheese
- 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups pumpkin puree
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 8 ounces whipped topping
- Press cake mix and butter mixture into the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan.
- Combine next 5 ingredients:mix well.
- Pour over crust.
- Bake at 375 for 65-70 minutes or until set.
- Cool. Remove from pan. Spread whipped topping on top.
- Garnish with sliced almonds.