My heart was warmed. How special, a gift from my boyfriend. It was 14 years ago and I was spending time with Daniel and his family. The stone he had bought for me was a treasure; it bore the words, “After the storm comes the rainbow.” At that point in my life there were not many storms. Life was good, I was in love and waiting for the day I would be Mrs. Daniel Yoder.
I took the stone home and set it on my desk.
Years later, that stone could always be seen somewhere in our house as we cared for the family God had given us.
Twelve years down the road of time I was sitting in the kitchen recliner minus the one who had given that stone. Instead we were making funeral arrangements. It was true. There was no reversing it.
“Gloria, would you like a table with special items linked to Daniel and gifts that you or the children gave to him and he gave to you?” someone suggested.
It sounded painfully precious. “Yes, and get that stone.”
More items were added to the growing stash. I leafed through random notes we as a family had given to one another and came across one note that especially caught my attention. This is what it said: I can’t wait to see you all again. I love you all! W/ love, Daniel
The following morning was intense. We were getting six children dressed to Daddy’s visitation in the afternoon and evening.
It seemed that every way I turned, a pair of pants were missing or suspenders were misplaced. I was in the entrance grabbing another sweater when I glanced out the window. “Look! It’s a rainbow- a rainbow in the West!”
Only moments later, everyone was on the porch absorbing the reality of the wonder before us. A perfect rainbow was arched right over the track hoe where Daniel had been pinched between the tracks on the hoe and a tree. Both sides of the rainbow came down in front of the treeline. The scene was richer than I could absorb. And to think that it was in the West! Never before did we have a rainbow in the West. I pondered over it all as I helped the children finish getting ready for the day ahead.
Then my mind briefly flashed back to a paper my little sister Keturah had colored for me right over the time Daniel had given me that stone. She had the words, “Make it a rainbow day,” printed in large letters.
Today as I think back over the whole scene, it is so real- I feel as if it is happening today, my stomach even feels much like it did on that unforgettable day. You know, I’ll never forget… I will never forget the anguish in seeing my children minus the Daddy they adored, I will never forget the depth of the realization that I’m a widow at the age of 32, and never will I forget the presence of my Lord, even closer than the worst of the situation.
Now, dear friends, I must be moving on with getting breakfast for the children, but as you go about your day, make it a rainbow day. Yes, you won’t be able to do it on your own, but as you give those fragments of pieces that cut the depth of your being to our Great God, He will heal and mend in ways never thought possible.
📋 Editor's Notes On Apple Cider Bars
Wow, this is such a simple and delicious recipe. I had an evening with my 7-year-old where we didn't have anything to do while her sister was at a friend's house. So I asked Beatrice if she'd like to make apple bars and she gave an enthusiastic "yes." So we got to work.
It's so much fun baking with her now because at age 7 she can do so much more in the kitchen than those frazzling days of trying to bake with her five years ago. She can crack the eggs just fine, although I still have her do it into a separate bowl and then add (a good tip for people of any age) to the batter. I can read through the ingredient list and she'll fetch each one from the pantry.
📷 Editor's Apple Cider Bar Photos
Nothing fancy in the ingredient assembly. Just use a large bowl and stir. Simple enough for a seven-year-old to do!
We had bought some fresh apple cider at an orchard earlier in the day so it occurred to me that maybe this bar would taste even better if we added a splash of it to the batter mixture and the topping. Beatrice was excited by the thought when I suggested it, so we added it to the batter. We generally followed the recipe as given, but, as always, you can adjust to your taste. You could throw a little nutmeg in or add additional cinnamon to enhance flavor.
My seven-year-old did almost all of the recipe, the mixing, etc. As you can see I kind of lost patience with the chopping of apples after awhile so some of the chunks were kind of large, but that was fine. I think the bar tasted good with some apple chunks in it. But you can chop them down to whatever size suits.
We realized deep into the recipe that we didn't have brown sugar for the crumb topping part. But we did have molasses, so we just added molasses into white granulated sugar in a bowl and mixed. That is a perfectly legit substitute for brown sugar since that is really brown sugar is anyway. We may have overdone it on the molasses just a bit, but we were fine with that, the taste was very good. The recipe didn't specific light brown sugar or dark, with our excess molasses I think we did a dark. But oh well. Still turned out.
Beatrice dumping the apple filling batter into the prepared pan. I used oil to grease the pan, but if I had had parchment paper I would have just lined the baking pan with that. The great thing about having your kid make the recipe is you have someone else to blame if it doesn't turn out. (I'm just joking, it was a true team effort and I always tell my kids you learn just as much from your mistakes, if not more, than your successes).
This is what the bar batter looked like after it was in the pan and we sprinkled the crumble topping all over. So you pretty much have two layers, the filling and the toppjng. The topping sort of spreads out during baking. We didn't have butter also, so I used vegetable oil in its place and it seemed to turn out fine. But I'd use unsalted butter or lightly salted butter if I had it.
These golden brown apple cider bars were just amazing. So amazing that we started devouring them before I could get a photo of the full pan. I would recommend letting the bars cool, though, before cutting because they were really crumbly when we were eating them warm but they firmed up nicely after cooling.
These bars turned out amazing. The total time in the oven was about 45 min. Only about 20 minutes of prep time to get them into the oven. Check with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. You'll have a Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram-worthy dessert!
Use fresh apples. We used Honeycrisp and they worked very well in the bar. But gala, Jonathan, or even Granny Smith apples would perform well in this depending on what kind of apples you like. I think these bars would have been great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (don't worry about calorie count, just indulge!)
🍎 More Amish Apple Recipes
Gloria's Apple Goodie - So amazing!
Baked Apple Pudding - Delicious!
Apple Dumplings - A classic
Paperbag Apple Pie - Wow!
🖨️ Full Recipe
Apple Cider Crumble Bars
- 2 cups sugar
- ¾ cups oil
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup fresh, cold apple cider
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 cups apples, chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 /2 cup apple cider
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 cup chopped nuts optional
- Beat together first 5 ingredients.
- Add flour, salt, cinnamon. Fold in apples.
- Spread in a 11 by 15 inch greased pan.
- Mix together 2 T butter, ½ c brown sugar, 1 /2 cup apple cider,1 T cinnamon, ¼ c flour, and 1 c chopped nuts (I prefer pecans).
- Sprinkle on top of dough. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.