Family visits and Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

Sons Benjamin, 21, and Joseph, 18, both have left for work. It is 5 a.m. and I decided I’ll write this column while all is still quiet. The weather has taken a big change overnight. Yesterday, and for over a week, we have had nice, sunny, warm weather. Now this morning the temperature is in the lower 40’s and seems to gradually be dropping.

We took advantage of the nice weather by raking leaves, the men hauling manure, etc. I also planted 42 tulip bulbs of various colors in my flower bed in front of the house. Hopefully they will come up next year. I love flowers that come up every year.

Daughter Elizabeth and her three children are planning to come here for the day. Little ten-month-old Allison is taking her first steps and walking short distances. This is always exciting to see. She is still so petite, so its even cuter to see her walking already.

Daughter Susan won’t come today because she, Mose, and the children are spending a week at Mose’s brother’s place in a community one hour and fifteen minutes from here. Mose has several brothers in that community. He isn’t allowed to go back to work yet due to doctor’s orders since his accident at work. They decided to go do some visiting now that they are moved back in the house. His brothers each have two little boys around Jennifer and Ryan’s ages, so I’m sure the little cousins will have lots of fun.

Last Friday the girls and I went to Mose and Susan’s house and stained all the trim for their house. It was a nice day to stain it outside.

Sunday morning, I made pancakes, eggs, and fresh sausage (given to us by neighbors Joas and Susan) along with fresh maple syrup made by our sons-in-law. We had a lazy day of just resting. With life so busy, at times its nice to have a day to relax.

In the afternoon Tim and Elizabeth and family and Mose and Susan and family came over. Also here were Dustin and Daniel (Loretta and Lovina’s boyfriends). I wanted to make homemade pizza for supper, but my oven isn’t working right. I have a stove in the pole barn, but Dustin offered that we could make the pizza across the road at his house and eat there instead. So that is what we did.

Dustin and my husband Joe changed the thermocouple on my gas stove on Friday, but it still doesn’t want to heat up. Our neighbor has an appliance store but hasn’t had time to come see what else is wrong. I miss not having an oven in the house. If we want to bake something, we always have to take it outside to the pole barn.

It was nice to make supper at Dustin’s. We ate out on his new patio, which is now completed.

We made chicken alfredo pizzas and several sausage pepperoni pizzas with lots of other toppings. Macaroni and cheese and chips were also on the menu. For dessert Dustin had ice cream cones from his freezer. I appreciated Dustin’s offer to let us make supper at his house. It was nice for me to get out of my own house too.

After dishes were washed, we played games. Dustin and Daniel’s sister Grace came after supper and played games with us.

Last week daughter Verena helped granddaughters Abigail, 4, and Jennifer, 2, make pumpkin oatmeal muffins. I will share the recipe with you readers. It would be a nice dish to take to a Thanksgiving dinner. Verena has lots of patience with children and already lets the little girls enjoy helping “make food.”

God’s blessings to all!

Lovina’s Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins cool before a family gathering. Photo provided.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup quick oatmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

Streusel

1/4 cup quick oatmeal
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 medium muffin cups with paper baking cups or spray bottoms only with cooking spray. Mix together streusel ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Combine oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, pecans, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Mix well. In medium bowl combine pumpkin, milk, oil, and egg; blend well. Add to dry ingredients all at once. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix. Fill muffin cups until almost full. Sprinkle with the streusel. Bake 22–25 minutes or until golden 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 now 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  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Autumn leaves, deer hunting, and apple pie

We are having nice, sunny autumn weather with temperature in the 60’s by the end of the day. It’s a good time to get the leaves raked and the yard cleaned up before the snow flies. We did have a coating of snow on Sunday, but it didn’t accumulate much.

I also have some tulip bulbs I want to plant this week.

The leaves are absolutely amazing in their fall colors—scenery that only our Master Artist can create. Daughter Lovina, 16, and I drove to town with the horse and buggy. We saw a lot of nice scenery on the back roads.

Last week we helped Mose and Susan finish painting their house, although the pantry needs to be painted yet. My husband Joe helped Mose install their kitchen cabinets. On Saturday Joe, our sons, son-in-law Tim, his nephew, and Dustin (daughter Loretta’s boyfriend) helped Mose move in enough of their furniture so they can live in the house while they finish remodeling. Dustin and son Joseph also put up some trim. The back porch still needs to be turned into another bedroom and the laundry room remodeled, but the doors can be shut while finishing those rooms.

Mose and Susan heat with an outside wood boiler, so their house is nice and cozy now. What a relief for Susan to have an indoor bathroom and running water again. The fruits of their labor are worth all the time invested. I know they appreciated everyone’s help during this busy time.

On Friday afternoon Joe, son Kevin, and I went to daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. I helped Elizabeth in the house while Joe helped Tim grill forty pounds of chicken. Kevin helped keep the children entertained. Daughters Verena and Lovina also came to help with supper. They invited Elizabeth’s pen pal and extended family from a nearby community for supper. They had almost forty guests that night. On the menu were tater tot casserole, barbequed chicken, lettuce salad, cheese slices, pumpkin and apple pies, Swiss roll bars, ice cream, lemonade, punch, and coffee.

After supper dishes, we spent time visiting and singing. Elizabeth’s pen pal, also named Elizabeth, has two children.

The girls and I washed our clothes and Mose and Susan’s clothes on Monday. It was such a beautiful week to hang clothes outside to dry.

Dustin went hunting with a bow and arrow and landed a seven-point buck. Loretta is also hunting with a bow and arrow again this year. She hasn’t been able to get any deer yet. I like venison meat for sloppy joes, as it’s drier to fry. I always mix some sausage with it.

Sons Benjamin and Joseph have also gone deer hunting a few times. And sons-in-law Tim and Mose have put one or two deer in the freezer already.

I received my reader mail again and was very humbled to receive the gifts from readers. May God bless you for thinking of us. I try not to worry and let God be in control. Something will come along, I’m sure, and Mose has been very glad for Joe’s help.

Today Joe is at home and not feeling well, so I hope it’s nothing serious. God’s blessings to all and lots of prayer for our government. May God guide them in the right way to guide our country.

Plain Apple Pie

6 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (6 cups)
1 (9-inch) pie shell, unbaked
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup water

Place apples in pie shell. In a small bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and water. Sprinkle flour mixture evenly over apples. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until apples are soft. Makes 1 pie.

 

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 now 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  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Fun and games with grandchildren as family gathers

Supper is over, evening devotions have been said, and everyone has either gone to bed or is showering, reading, or just relaxing as I write this column.

Our supper had ham and beans on the menu. I took a few ham bones out of the freezer and decided to make a big kettle of ham and beans.

Lovina cooked a large pot of ham and beans this week, pictured, for a nourishing family supper. Photo provided.

Daughter Verena finished up on answering my reader mail today. I read all the letters and her answers. She wants me to see if she answered all the cooking questions okay. I am grateful that she helps me out with it. I want to thank all of you for the encouraging words.

Loretta, 20, and Lovina, 16, helped me make a casserole to take along to daughter Susan and Mose’s house tomorrow. Mose’s parents, Joe and I, and a few of our daughters, daughter Elizabeth and children are all planning to help paint, and the men will hang more pine boards on the ceiling. Cabinets will be installed hopefully yet this week. The bathroom is useable now. Hopefully we will be able to finish up on the painting. Nephew Benjamin and my husband Joe have been there the last few days hanging ceiling boards. Nephew Benjamin is off from work this week, so he was able to help out.

On Sunday we had a large group for the noon meal: sister Emma and Jacob, their sons Jacob, Steven, and Benjamin, and Benjamin’s girlfriend Crystal and her son Isaiah; niece Elizabeth and Manuel; niece Emma and Menno, and children Jessica and baby Menno Ray; sisters Verena and Susan; daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and children Abigail, T.J., and Allison; daughter Susan and Mose, and children Jennifer and Ryan; Dustin (daughter Loretta’s boyfriend), and Daniel (daughter Lovina’s boyfriend). We are a total of 34 now when we get together.

The men deep fried fish outside in the deep fryer. Along with that we had mashed potatoes, gravy, pork and beans, macaroni salad, lettuce salad, cheese, hot peppers, salsa and chips, peach braid, pumpkin cake, mocha dessert, Jello cookies, and ice cream. The fish were perch and blue gill caught by Joe and our family this summer. With everyone bringing a dish or two the meal was lots bigger than what I prepared.

With Jacob and Emma’s grandchildren and ours, along with Crystal’s son Isaiah, 3, there were eight children here age four and under. Daughter Verena kept them entertained outside making piles of leaves to hide under for a while.

Then they came inside and all sat on the steps of our stairway, singing and pretending to be in church. Little Allison even sat there, and everyone wanted her to be their “child.” So cute and precious! Nevertheless, you could say our house was filled with activity.

Games were played and then some food set out for whomever wanted to snack before they headed home. It was an enjoyable day! Jacob and Emma’s family and ours used to be together every weekend but with both of us having our own families growing bigger it doesn’t happen quite as often.

We just received word that sister-in-law Sarah Irene’s mother passed away. Our sympathy goes to brother Albert, Sarah Irene, and the extended family. May God guide them through this time and always. God’s blessings to all!

Frozen Mocha Dessert

2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 tablespoon hot water
1/4 cup melted butter
3 cups crumbled Oreo cookies
16 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
16 ounce container whipped topping
Small amount caramel syrup

Dissolve coffee in hot water. Mix butter with cookies crumbs. Put 2 1/2 cups of crumbs on bottom of pan. Reserve 1/2 cup for top. Combine cream cheese, coffee mixture, sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate syrup. Beat well and add whipped topping. Cover and freeze a few days before serving. Drizzle with caramel syrup before serving.

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 now 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  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Lovina’s daughter Verena shares her story

Over the years I have written about my daughter Verena’s brain concussion and the almost seven years that she had post-concussion syndrome. I also wrote about our children who have limb girdle type 2 muscular dystrophy. Readers have asked why my daughters use mobility scooters. Here is Verena’s story in her own words:

I have dealt with a brain concussion and post-concussion syndrome. I am now able to say I am completely healed. I pray for healing for anyone else that is dealing with it. God be with them and their families. I would fall easier than many children my age, which was later explained after my brain injury. I was diagnosed with limb girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A. I had small head injuries before my big head injury. One was by falling and hitting my head and another by being hit in the head with an ice snowball. Both times I was unconscious for a few seconds. I was confused after one fall and had to be taken to the hospital. I was sent home with a mild head injury and told to rest a lot.

When I was 12 years old, on June 2, 2010, I was hit on my temple with a football. I lost consciousness and then a whole year of my memory before I was able to remember anything. Family and friends tell me I was like a younger child again. I wasn’t able to walk at first. I had a huge personality change. I kept having memory loss, even after a whole year. I would lose my memory for days or weeks at a time then I would snap back and be amazed to hear what all happened that I didn’t remember. Sometimes I missed my birthdays, sometimes holidays. I was told I was nothing like me during these memory loss episodes. I was rude, would scream and cry, totally opposite my usual self. I felt like my life was a mess. I lost friends because they didn’t understand my change of attitude. I found myself always crying and depressed. I was an honor roll student in school, and that changed as well. I wasn’t on honor roll and lost a lot of schooling. On the good days I had to work extra hard to catch up on schoolwork.

My last memory loss episode was in March 2017. In those six years and nine months I lost a total of three years of my memory. My mom kept a calendar of all the days I had memory loss. I know this is probably mild compared to many others, but I always wish I could talk to someone who had similar episodes. For those of you still dealing with this there is hope for you. I have been in and out of many hospitals, had many x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, but the brain is something only God can heal. He works miracles every day! Stay strong, keep the faith, and never give up!

Now my story about muscular dystrophy. I am not sharing this for pity or attention. I dislike pity. I only want to share my story so others can understand my disability. Yes, it limits a lot of what I can do. It doesn’t define me as a person, and it doesn’t make me less of a human. It doesn’t affect me mentally—only physically, especially my thighs, calves, and arms.

Yes, I might be in a wheelchair someday, but just like everyone else, I do not know the future. With time I might get weaker. It is hard for me to climb stairs, but I can still do it. It is hard for me to climb in a buggy, but I can still do it.

There are many kinds of muscular dystrophy and it works differently on everyone. My younger sister Loretta has the same kind, but hers has progressed a little faster. We try not to look at what we once were able to do. We try to focus more on what we can do now and move on.

Take one day at a time and let our Heavenly Father lead the way. Yes, we have to learn to accept over and over what we have been given. We have to remind ourselves this is God’s choice for us.

I do not want anyone around me to quit playing sports because I can’t. They are not at fault and not to blame but I do want them to try to understand that it’s also not fun to sit and watch. Loretta and I use mobility scooters for unlevel ground, holding our nieces and nephews, and for long distances to enable us to take “walks.”

My family has been great to have around and helped in so many ways. The church is also always willing to make our life easier. God bless you all and take care! –Verena, age 22

Six Minute Caramels

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Combine all ingredients. Cook 6 minutes on a medium high heat, stirring every minute. Stir and pour into lightly greased dish. Let cool. Cut, wrap in wax paper, and store in an air-tight container.

 

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 now 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  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Painting project combines work with family visits

Supper is over with, and I need to start writing this column. We had potato soup, side pork (from our pork we butchered last winter), cheese, and crackers. Daughters Loretta, 20, and Lovina, 16, aren’t home tonight. Loretta’s friend Dustin’s family is having a belated birthday supper for him, so that is where they are. Lovina is dating Dustin’s brother Daniel, so she’s included too.

The three boys were hungry so at least it makes it worth while to make supper. Daughter Verena helped me make it. I was glad for her help.

I helped paint at Mose and Susan’s house last week Friday and Saturday. The girls brought Jennifer and Ryan (Mose and Susan’s children) here both days so Mose, Susan, and I could keep painting uninterrupted. We painted three coats on the bathroom and bedroom and two coats on the living room. Friday was a drying day and the paint dried fast but Saturday it took longer.

The cabinets are ready to be installed in the kitchen now. It all takes time and money. We are hoping they can be moved in by the end of the month. It really looks nice how they remodeled. They are adding a second bathroom which is good to have.

Saturday while we were painting at Mose and Susan’s house, daughter Elizabeth and Tim and their three children stopped in to look at the progress. They were all still tired from getting home from the wedding in Kentucky at 2 a.m. on Friday. Elizabeth helped us paint while we visited. Not only was the seven hour trip each way exhausting to the parents but the children do not like being in their seats that long. T.J., 22 months, is so energetic that it’s hard for him to be strapped in a seat that long. Abigail, 4, can entertain herself so it’s not so bad for her.

I am going to finish this in the morning so good night to all!

Good morning! It is already 10:30 a.m. and I need to get this column finished.

Daughters Verena and Lovina left to go stay with Elizabeth and Tim’s three little ones while Elizabeth runs some errands. Kevin, 15, is sorting tomatoes and throwing the bad ones away. We picked all our tomatoes (green ones too) and had them on two tables. Some went bad on us. I had always wanted to make juice with them but too much else was going on. Loretta is washing dishes. I want to sew niece Emma’s little girl Jessica a dress to take along tonight. I had it cut out a long time ago and never got it sewed.

Niece Emma is hosting a Pampered Chef party tonight which is actually a belated wedding shower for her sister Elizabeth. The girls and I plan to attend. Emma said the men folks can come after the party to eat supper, so I don’t have to cook for them. I want to have the girls make a dessert to take along.

Monday evening our family helped Dustin with his patio again. It’s close to being done. It started raining so they worked between the rain. Loretta and I made spaghetti and meatballs and garlic toast for everyone that came. Daughter Susan made a cake to bring along and Elizabeth sent apple pie. She stayed home with their girls and T.J. came with Tim.

Lovina hosted her family for the Sunday noon meal, setting the table for a crowd. Photo provided.

Sunday we had fast and prayer day in preparation for communion services. Our family came for the noon meal. We had mashed potatoes, gravy, meatloaf, corn, cheese, dinner rolls, butter, jam, hot peppers, apple slices, fruit dip, brownies, and ice cream. We set the table for all of us. After lunch we played games.

I’ll share my recipe for meatloaf. Enjoy!

God’s blessings to all!

 

Meatloaf

1 1/2 pounds hamburger
3/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1 cup tomato juice or V8 juice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, beaten

Sauce:
1/2 cup ketchup
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Then shape it into two logs in a 9×13-inch pan or two loaf pans. Pack firmly into pan. Mix the sauce together and put on top of meat loaf. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for one hour. Let sit five minutes before slicing. Optional: add a little barbecue sauce with the ketchup and mustard mixture.

 

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 now 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  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Autumn orchard visit for apples and grapes

In this week’s column Lovina shares about the process of juicing grapes with two large steamers, pictured. Photo provided.

We have entered October, which brings us closer to the end of 2020. Leaves are falling, farmers are harvesting corn, gardens are being cleared out and tilled. All of these events are a sure sign that autumn is here. We went to the local u-pick orchard and picked grapes and our supply of apples. I have lots of jars of grape juice concentrate again now. We put the grapes in two big steamers/juicers and the juice comes out through a hose that we use to fill the jars. Daughter Verena went over to help daughter Elizabeth with her two bushels of grapes. Daughter Susan brought her three bushels of grapes here to can since she doesn’t have a steamer. I have two and it helps so much to be able to do two batches at a time. Susan wants to can applesauce yet. I still have enough so I didn’t get apples to can—only for fresh eating. We did also get cider. Nothing is better than a cold glass of cider and a bowl of popcorn and apples for a snack on these cold evenings.

My husband Joe started our coal stove in the basement. It was getting quite chilly in the house with rainy weather and temperatures going down in the 30s. This week is milder, and the sun is shining every day. Some windows are open, so we are debating whether to keep the stove going or letting it burn out. Our coal stove is a hopper fed coal stove, so it doesn’t let us burn wood in it. It feels much more comfortable to work when it’s not cold in here, though.

Yesterday daughters Verena and Lovina went over to help daughter Elizabeth. Church service hosting is now over for them. Tim, Elizabeth, and their three children will travel to Kentucky today to attend the wedding of Tim’s sister Miriam’s daughter, which is tomorrow.

I sewed Abigail’s dress and apron a few weeks ago and yesterday I sewed Allison’s dress and apron for the wedding. Elizabeth sewed her dress, cape, and apron. Lots of packing even for just a few days for three little children.

On Sunday Tim and Elizabeth hosted council (rule church) meeting services. Communion will be in two weeks with intentions to ordain a deacon, Lord willing.

Tim was planning to have services in the tent but when it decided to be so cold and rainy, they cleared more things out of their basement and set the benches down there. There was enough room since usually there are not visitors at rule church. Around 11:15 a.m. a few benches of people at a time will come up to eat. There is a men’s table and a women’s table. When someone is done eating a new setting is put there for the next person. Elizabeth’s dining room table was opened all the way (10 feet) and set for the men and boys. Then two six-foot tables were set for the women and girls. Sixteen settings to each table.

Four big 12-quart kettles of chicken and noodles were made to serve along with homemade wheat and white bread, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, ham, pickles, pickled red beets, hot peppers, butter, jam, cookies, coffee, and tea.

Today looks like a nice, warm day to wash windows. They always seem to get dirty and of course with five little grandchildren coming often the little handprints are there. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I enjoy having them come.

It looks like I will be helping paint at Mose and Susan’s house later this week. Their kitchen cabinets are coming next week. It is coming along pretty good!

October 8th is Loretta’s friend Dustin’s birthday! Happy birthday Dustin! We appreciate all he does for Loretta and for our family. May God bless him for all his kind deeds!

I will share the chicken noodle soup recipe for those of you that need a kettle in that amount. God’s blessings to all!

Church Noodles

3 quarts chicken broth with meat
6 quarts water
3/4 cup chicken soup base
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 of a 10.5 ounce can of cream of chicken soup
3 pounds homemade noodles

Drain broth off meat into a 12-quart kettle. Set meat aside. Add water, chicken base, and salt to broth. Heat to boiling. Add meat, noodles, and cream of chicken soup and bring to a boil again. Put lid on, turn off heat, and let sit for one hour. If you can’t let it sit for an hour, simmer for 10-15 minutes and it should be ready in 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 now 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  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

A day in the life of Lovina Eicher’s family

 4 a.m. My alarm rings… I get up to make breakfast for son Joseph, eighteen. He helps me fill his water cooler and pack his lunch. His work crew is leaving early because they are building a pole barn close to Lake Erie, which is a two-hour drive away. For breakfast I make scrambled eggs with bacon, green pepper, and onions.

4:30 a.m. Joseph leaves for work. I take a short rest in my recliner until son Benjamin, twenty-one, gets up to leave. He doesn’t want breakfast. The RV factory where he works is off this week because they were not able to order enough parts. It seems that building material is scarce everywhere. Benjamin is going to help Loretta’s special friend, Dustin, with some construction work that they are doing for our friends John and Barb. (Our sympathy goes to Barb and John as they mourn the passing of her father. May God be with them through this trial in life.)

5:30 a.m. Benjamin leaves and my husband Joe gets up to feed the horses and do the chores, which aren’t too many right now. I make him the same breakfast I did for Joseph, along with a pot of coffee.

6:45 a.m. Joe leaves with our horse Midnight and buggy to help at Mose and Susan’s. Mose’s dad will also be there. So far Joe hasn’t been able to find work again. That makes it hard to make ends meet, but the good Lord watches over us, and it means that Joe can help out at Mose and Susan’s house. Mose is still off work due to an accident with a saw at work. The doctor wants to make sure his cut heals well. The saw hit his bone, which makes it harder to heal.

8 a.m. Daughter Susan and children Jennifer and Ryan arrive. She brought her laundry since she doesn’t have her wash lines back up and has no hot water.

9 a.m. I make Egg Dutch—a simple easy breakfast—for the rest of us. I slice some tomatoes to go with it. Jennifer loves tomatoes.

10 a.m. Daughter Lovina, sixteen, leaves to help daughter Elizabeth for the day. Elizabeth also has plans to wash her laundry.

Noon. My clothes lines are all filled. We washed yesterday but I also washed the laundry we had this morning, and a day’s worth of clothes for eight people adds up. The sun is out but it’s chilly. The temperature is in the 50’s and was 41 degrees this morning.

1 p.m. We make an easy lunch of meat and cheese roll ups, using tortilla shells with ranch dressing, deli meat, cheese, and lettuce. Some of us like diced hot peppers with them.

4 p.m. Susan leaves for home. Her laundry is all dry and folded. Ours is folded as well. The temperature never got higher than 60 degrees all day, but the sun stayed out. Leaves are falling—autumn is here! I finish sewing a new white apron for Jennifer and sew Susan a new white cape.

4:30 p.m. Lovina comes home. Benjamin came home earlier, but is across the road helping Dustin with building his patio, which he is trying to get finished.

6:30 p.m. Joseph is finally home—his crew put in extra hours to finish the job.

7 p.m. Benjamin and Kevin finish evening chores. Joe still isn’t home. Susan left a voicemail on our phone to say that he went to pick potatoes in a field near their house. After the farmers pick potatoes from the field, many are left behind, and people ask permission from the farmers to pick them up. Otherwise, they just get tilled under.

Supper is ready, so we don’t wait on Joe. Dustin comes over for supper. We have cooked potatoes, beef chunks, cheese, leftover casserole from last night, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, and sour cream.

8 p.m. Joe is home and eats his supper. It’s been a long day.

Last Saturday we helped Tim and Elizabeth with their work. Granddaughter Abigail, four, came home with us for the night. On Sunday we made sweet banana poppers—sweet banana peppers stuffed with cream cheese and shredded cheese, wrapped with bacon, and then grilled. Abigail wanted to help stuff the peppers. Her little fingers looked so cute stuffing them!

 

Egg Dutch

5 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
ground pepper, as desired
1 heaping tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cheese, shredded (any kind)
bacon bits, cooked (optional)

In a bowl, beat together eggs, salt, pepper, flour, and milk. Pour into a heated, greased skillet and cover with a tight lid. Place over medium-low heat.

When mixture begins to set and bubble, cut into four pie-shaped pieces and turn each piece over to finish cooking. Top with shredded cheese when almost cooked through. Add bacon bits, if desired.

 

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 now 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  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Welcoming autumn with pecan pies

It is the first day of autumn! Our gardens are cleared out, being tilled, and are history for 2020! We had a frost Saturday morning that put an end to them. We have lots of tomatoes and peppers that I want to use to make spicy vegetable juice. A lot of people covered their plants to avoid the frost, but we didn’t take the time to do that. We are thankful for the harvest we did get, though. Next week we will be going to the u-pick orchard to pick grapes for grape juice. We ran out of grape juice this year, so I want to can more this year than I did last year.

Saturday morning was chilly for the local consignment auction but ended up being pretty warm by the end of the day. I made pecan pies for the auction’s bake sale to help with hospital bills for a local family. Of course, I made a few extra to take to daughter Susan and Mose on Friday when we went to help them with last minute work. They hosted church services again on Sunday under a tent. Mose ran a propane heater in the tent to heat it up somewhat. It was a cold morning, with the temperature in the low 40’s, but it warmed up as the sun came out, and the heater soon had to be turned off. Susan and Mose were relieved to be done with their two turns to host church services and now be able to concentrate on remodeling their house. This week, Mose is trying to install the bathtub, toilet, and vanity, so at least the bathroom will be available. The living room and bedroom are ready to be painted.

My husband Joe doesn’t have any work, so he and Mose’s dad helped on the house for the last few weeks.

Tomorrow the girls and I plan to go help daughter Elizabeth clean her house. Church services will be at their house next time. It will be a longer service because we will have a council meeting in preparation for Communion two weeks later. (Editor’s note: Some Amish refer to this service as “rule church,” when, as the name implies, rules of the church are discussed. It is usually held the service before Communion.)

Saturday, our plans are for the whole family to help Tim and Elizabeth with preparing to host church services. They did a lot of remodeling and painting in their home and added a few closets. It is all looking nice. The renovations make so much more room for them.

The week after Tim and Elizabeth host church services, they will travel to Kentucky to attend the wedding of their niece. I will sew granddaughter Abigail’s dress, and Tim’s sister Martha sewed T.J.’s shirt. Such little deeds help a busy young mother.

I am starting to wonder why I thought we were busy before our daughters were married, when we had no grandchildren. I am so glad we can help and the joy the grandchildren bring is wonderful.

I made a breakfast casserole to take to Elizabeth’s tomorrow morning. Sister Emma, niece Elizabeth, and niece Emma and her two little ones also plan to help clean at Elizabeth’s.

Elizabeth told us all to come for breakfast, so I told her that I would bring breakfast. Daughter Susan made a casserole for lunch to take along. It helps so much when we don’t have to stop to prepare the meals and can keep on cleaning.

It is always enjoyable to get together with my daughters and with Emma and her daughters. There are seven little children between my five grandchildren and her two children, with the oldest being Abigail at four years old.

I am now writing the morning after I began this column. Son Benjamin, twenty-one, left for work at 4:30 a.m. and it’s time to get lunch packed and breakfast made for son Joseph, eighteen. He leaves a little before 6 a.m. today.

Daughter Verena is answering my reader mail since my time is so limited lately. I really appreciate it. She loves to write to readers. I’m sure that they get longer letters back than the ones they wrote (smile!).

I will share the recipe for pecan pie this week.

Wishing you all a safe and happy week and may God bless you!

Pecan Pie

6 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup water
2 (9-inch) pie shells, unbaked
2 cups pecans (halves or pieces), divided

Mix together beaten eggs, sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and water. Divide mixture evenly between the two pie shells. Sprinkle 1 cup pecans on top of each pie.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce oven to 300 degrees and bake for an additional 40–50 minutes, or until middle of pie is set. Cool completely before serving. Makes two (9-inch) pies.

 

 

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 now 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  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

Autumn weather and pumpkin torte

We are having very cool mornings with temperatures around the upper 40’s to lower 50’s, and then warming up gradually. Next week autumn begins, so we can expect cooler weather.

Our hay has been cut for the last time this season. Hopefully, we will get it in the barn before there’s any rain.

Yesterday, daughter Lovina, sixteen, and I went to town with the buggy and son Benjamin’s horse, Beauty. The trip there and back was enjoyable. I enjoy spending time with all my children but it’s nice to have time to focus on one and have heart-to-heart talks. Lovina has a big sense of humor and there is never a dull moment with her. She worked on her plastic canvas letters on the way.

Daughters Verena, twenty-two, and Loretta, twenty, stayed home. They kept grandchildren Jennifer, two, and Ryan, one, while Mose and Susan went to a doctor appointment and to get their church groceries. They will host church services again because they skipped their turn last year. Ryan decided he can start walking now. He is thirteen and a half months, and we have been waiting for this. He used to take a step or two, then freeze up and flop to his knees and crawl. He also likes to crawl on anything he can get on. The girls kept busy keeping an eye on two active little ones.

Son Kevin, fifteen, went fishing with three of his friends. They always enjoy getting together since they don’t see each other in school anymore.

Son Benjamin went salmon fishing over the weekend and was happy to catch his first salmon.

On Saturday, some of Loretta’s special friend Dustin’s family and some of our family assisted him at his house. The men and boys worked on building a patio and ramp onto the house. The women and girls cleaned the walls, ceilings, closets, floors, and windows in the three upstairs bedrooms. Neighbor Irene, who owned the house before Dustin, always kept it tidy, so it didn’t take too much effort to clean.

Birthday cupcakes made by Lovina Eicher’s daughter and granddaughter. Photo provided.

Friday night, our family gathered at daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house for supper in honor of granddaughter Abigail’s fourth birthday, which was September 10. Abigail helped Elizabeth make the cupcakes. She was a very excited little girl to have all the attention.

On Sunday, Abigail and T.J. stayed here at our house while Tim and Elizabeth attended church in a neighboring church district, where baptismal services were held for five young souls. Two of these were Tim’s nieces, so they went in their honor. They took baby Allison along since she still breastfeeds. Allison is eight and half months old and very petite, but she gets everywhere. She walks by holding on to furniture and crawls everywhere. Abigail thinks she should start walking soon because T.J. walked by nine months old.

Today, my plans are to go assist daughter Susan with her work. Church will be held under the big tent at their house again. This time the church should be regular sized, so there won’t be nearly as many people as there were last time.

After Mose and Susan’s turn, it will be Tim and Elizabeth’s turn to host church services. We need to get over there to help them too. Tim’s niece has helped Elizabeth on quite a few days already. Help like that is appreciated for a busy young mother of three.

I need to get started. I told Susan I would bring ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches for our breakfast. It will be easy to put then in the oven to heat. I wrap them individually with aluminum foil and bake them until hot. God bless!

Pumpkin Torte

24 graham crackers, crushed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup sugar
8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups pumpkin
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
3 eggs whites

Combine the crushed graham crackers, 1/2 cup sugar, and margarine, and press in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Mix the 2 eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, and cream cheese until smooth and pour over graham cracker crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Cook the pumpkin, cornstarch, egg yolks, sugar, milk, salt, and cinnamon until thickened. Remove from heat. Dissolve the unflavored gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water according to the envelope directions. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the gelatin and allow to cool. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into cooled mixture. Pour pumpkin mixture over the cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now 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  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

An Amish baptismal service and wedding Nothings

Another week has gone by, and it’s already time to write this column and get it on its way to my editors. Once again, I’m pushing the deadline . . . it must be that I work better under pressure because it seems I so often push it off until the last minute. Or maybe that is what a lot of mothers do. Is it because we decide our family is more important than anything else?

We had a few cloudy, rainy days and now our solar battery alarm is beeping out in the pole barn. That means the generator has to be started in order to recharge the battery pack. Our water pump is run by our solar battery. So far, we have water, but as soon as it gets to be daylight, someone needs to go get gas at the gas station. Yes—at 11 p.m. last night, after everyone was already in bed, daughter Loretta could hear the battery beeping. It was too late for anyone to go get gas, the gas stations near us were closed, and we didn’t have any gas left in the jugs. Of course, during the night hours no one was using water, so it was okay until this morning when activity began again. I am waiting to take a shower until the gas is here. I do not want to risk running out of water in the middle of a shower. Hopefully once it’s daylight, the sun will come out, but the generator still needs to be started to help get the charge back in the battery pack.

Daughter Susan and children were here yesterday. Son-in-law Mose had a doctor appointment about his finger. The doctor took the stitches out but wasn’t too happy with how it’s healing. So still no “okay” to go back to work. Susan brought her laundry and washed it here. We will wash ours today if it’s a nice day.

Daughter Elizabeth and children have plans to come today. Our oldest granddaughter Abigail (Tim and Elizabeth’s daughter) will be four years old tomorrow, September 10. Abigail is a sweet little girl who is at the stage where she asks one question after another—and then asks, “but why?” We love her so much, as we do the four other grandchildren. We will go to Tim and Elizabeth’s on Friday evening in honor of sweet Abigail’s birthday. She gets so excited to have a birthday!

Yesterday we canned fifty-five quarts of vegetable juice. We didn’t make it hot, so that I can use it in place of tomato juice in soups, etc. We picked six five-gallon sized buckets of tomatoes from the garden. Potatoes need to be dug up, hot peppers picked and canned, etc. Harvesting is in full swing with the gardens. Grapes will be next on the list.

On Sunday, Mose and Susan hosted baptismal services in a big tent at their place for daughter Loretta, nephew Jacob, and another young boy in our church district, Jeremiah. They prepared for extra people and had borrowed another bench wagon from a neighboring church district. I’m doing a rough estimate, but according to how many times we had to reset the tables, I would think almost three hundred people were there in honor of the three young souls being baptized. Mose and Susan were well prepared with extra food, and we had enough for everyone. I made around two and a half big pots of coffee and we still almost ran out. This would probably total two hundred cups. We also had twelve gallons of iced tea, but it was a cool day, so people wanted more coffee instead.

Also on the menu were ham, cheese, homemade wheat and white bread (sixty loaves but we had some left), pickles, hot peppers, red beets, peanut butter spread, butter, rhubarb jam, and cookies (four different kinds). Popcorn was served while dishes were being washed.

Mose and Susan are living in their garage, but work on the house is slowly getting done. The bedroom, living room, and bathroom are drywalled, and my husband Joe started mudding the bathroom, so hopefully soon we can paint that part of the house.

Until next time—God bless! I will share the recipe for “Nothings” since I have had a lot of mail asking what they are. They are a thin pasty with sugar sprinkled on top. They are almost always served at weddings in Berne, Indiana, where we moved from over sixteen years ago. They are sometimes also called knee patches or elephant ears.

Amish Wedding Nothings for an Eicher family wedding. Photo credit: Ruth Boss.

Amish Wedding Nothings, or Knee Patches

3/4 cup cream (3 large “cookspoons” heavy cream)
1 egg, well beaten
pinch salt
2 cups flour
shortening, for frying
powdered sugar, for topping

Stir together cream, egg, salt, and enough flour to make an elastic dough. Make 7–9 balls out of the dough. Roll out each ball of dough very flat and thin, about 1/16 inch. Cut six three-inch slits, one above the other, in the middle of each round of dough.

Heat shortening in a large pot over high heat (or use an electric skillet with a temperature control). When the shortening is 365 degrees, test a small piece of dough to see if it sizzles. When oil is hot enough, put the rolled-out dough into the pot or skillet. (Fry one at a time, unless you have a huge kettle.) When the dough turns golden on the bottom, turn once with two forks or large spatula. Remove from pot and drain on plate covered with paper towels.

Sprinkle powdered sugar over top while warm. To serve, stack the Nothings on top of one another on a plate.

One batch makes 7–9 Nothings. For a wedding, we would make 12-15 batches, or more as needed.

 

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 now 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  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.