June Gatherings and First Garden Fruits

We have entered the month of June. Is it possible that 2021 is almost halfway through?

I managed to get my gray dress suit sewed last week, and I still have a shirt I want to sew for my husband Joe. The wedding is Friday at the home of neighbors Joas and Susan, for their daughter Carol and Aden. Tomorrow (Thursday) I’ll go help with food preparation for the wedding. Friday I’ll be cook, but I can only help for the noon meal. At 2:30 p.m., our whole family and sister Verena have a bus taking us all to Kentucky for the weekend. Joe’s sister Salome and Morris are hosting a family reunion for Joe’s brothers and sisters and their families. The drive is over five hours. I want to get that shirt sewed for Joe for the reunion. He needs more shirts, and it seems the only way I get it done is to set a goal to have it finished.

I want to let readers know that I will be signing my cookbooks on June 8th at 7 p.m. in Middlebury at the library, 101 East Winslow Street, Middlebury, Indiana. I’m hoping some of my family can attend with me. It would be great to see and meet some of you there. Later this month I will be at Light of Grace Books & Gifts in Nappanee. We haven’t confirmed the day and time yet.

Last night we finished planting the rest of our second garden. Joe brought in our first meal of radishes on Monday, and lettuce is also ready to use. The green onions should be good to pull by next week. Our asparagus is slowing down but there is lots of rhubarb yet.

Lovina sometimes lights these candles, given to her as memorial gifts from her children, to remember her dear sister Susan and dear son-in-law Mose. Photo provided.

Yesterday was sentimental for us. All five of us sisters were together for the day at sister Verena’s house. The absence of dear sister Susan was very real. It still doesn’t seem right to not see her there. Coming out from Indiana with sister Leah and Liz were Liz’s daughters Suzanne, Elizabeth and her children LaRose, Samuel, and Elizabeth Ann, Rosa and her children Jeremiah and Kayden, and Liz’s daughter-in-law Arlene and children Ella and Gloria. Coming from this community were sister Emma and son Steven, Emma’s daughter Emma and her children Jessica and Menno Ray, my daughters Elizabeth and children Abigail, T.J. and Allison, Susan and children Jennifer and Ryan, Verena, Loretta, son Kevin, and me.

LaRose, 5, is the oldest of the children there, so there were 14 children age 5 and under. There wasn’t a dull moment with all the children.

On the menu for lunch were cheesy ranch potatoes, meatballs, Spanish rice, pasta salad, lettuce salad, deviled eggs, tomatoes, pickles, hot peppers, various desserts, bars, and cookies. By the time everyone brought a dish or two, it added up to more food than was needed.

The day was spent visiting and sharing memories. Life brings so many changes, and letting God be in control is a great help. We are so glad we don’t know what the future holds. Let’s take one day at a time.

Hopefully when we get back from Kentucky, we can get our hay mowed.

Our church is also planning a work night at daughter Susan’s next week. It is so good to have the support of the church, friends, and family. Daughter Susan would be so glad if she could still have her dear husband Mose to help her with the outside work that can get overwhelming. Again, we want to take life one day at a time and trust in a higher hand. God’s blessings to all!

Ranch Potatoes

6-8 potatoes, peeled and chunked
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
2 tablespoons diced parsley
1 cup shredded cheese (plus extra for top)

Cook potatoes in salted water, just until tender. Drain and set aside. Combine other ingredients; toss gently with potatoes. Place in greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Lovina celebrates milestone birthday with family

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rhubarb Dream Bars

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

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

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

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

 

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

A newborn foal and a birthday celebration

It is such a pleasant morning outside. The temperature is just right.

Foremost on my mind today is my husband Joe’s cousin Carolyn and Jonas Jr. and family. Their 4-year-old daughter Barbara was laid to rest yesterday. Such a tragedy—a life so young was taken, but God makes no mistakes. That is the only comfort sometimes, knowing he needed another angel. Little Barbara and several other little girls crossed the highway going from the wedding reception to the wedding church across the road. These little girls were safely across walking behind their big sisters. They decided they wanted to go back to the reception instead and turned to go back across the highway before the older sisters saw them. The last one across was Barbara and she was hit by a passing vehicle. Oh, the pain of seeing your child lifeless. Our hearts go out to Barbara’s family and to the 82-year-old man who was driving the vehicle. As with son-in-law Mose’s accident there are so many “what ifs.” Only God knows why, and it was his timing for their death. Our sympathy to the family.

Sister Verena, sister Emma and Jacob, daughter Susan and children, and Joe and I traveled the two hours to attend the visitation and viewing for Barbara. It is a comfort to have family and friends show their support at a time of loss of a dear loved one.

Sunday morning son Benjamin’s horse Beauty had a foal. It is always exciting to see the little foals running along side of their mother in the pasture field. Benjamin was so hapy that the mare and filly were all okay after the birth. The filly is all black just like her mother. Beauty was a gift from us to Benjamin for his 18th birthday and we also raised her, and Joe trained her at 2 years old.

Lovina’s son Benjamin’s horse Beauty gave birth to a healthy foal last week.

May 18th (yesterday) was daughter Lovina’s 17th birthday. It’s hard to believe my youngest daughter is that old.

Coming last night for supper in honor of her birthday were daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and children Abigail, T.J., and Allison, daughters Verena and Susan and her children Jennifer and Ryan, sister Verena, and Dustin, Daniel, and Grace (special friends to Loretta, Lovina, and Joseph).

We had walleyes that Joseph and Kevin caught on their fishing trip for supper. Along with macaroni and cheese, cheese, hot peppers, veggies and dip, chips, and ice cream cake. The walleyes were big fillets and very good. I only fixed half of what the boys brought home.

Sister Verena and daughters Verena and Susan and children all stayed here for the night. They all went home this forenoon except daughter Verena. She isn’t feeling well and has an upset stomach. She is resting and I hope it’s just something that will be gone by tonight.

My plans are to go to the greenhouse this afternoon to get my vegetable plants and finish planting our gardens. We were going to make raised beds for one of our gardens but with the price of wood so high we will manage another year of ground planting.

My 50th birthday coming up next Saturday, May 22nd, reminds me that I’m getting older. God’s blessings to all of you!

 

Radish and Cream Cheese Spread

8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup butter, softened
dash paprika
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 cup finely chopped radishes

Mix all ingredients except radishes and onions until smooth. Then stir in radishes and onions and chill several hours to blend flavors. Spread on snack crackers. Experiment with different seasonings, such as ranch dressing mix (1 package or less), 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, or 2 cups shredded cheese.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Secret Pal Revealing and Remembering Sister Susan

My husband Joe and I and son Kevin spent last weekend at daughter Susan’s house.

Our community sets up “secret pals” for widows, widowers, people with disabilities, etc. This means Susan has had a secret pal since December. Secret pals send gifts to their receiver for a year. Usually they go from May to May, and then they reveal themself. Last weekend, they had a secret pal revealing for this past year’s 30-plus secret pals. They said Susan could bring someone along to be with her, so she asked me if I would. Around 8:30 a.m., Susan and her children, Jennifer and Ryan, and I were picked up by an Amish driver, along with others, and taken to a family’s home. We were served a delicious meal that was prepared by all the secret pals. The menu consisted of barbeque chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, various salads, cheese, various pies, ice cream, coffee, and punch.

Before we ate, there was singing, guessing games, and door prizes. After we ate, we played bingo until the gifts were all gone. There were games for the children to win gifts, as well. Then the secret pals all revealed to their receiver who they were and gave them a final gift. It was very interesting. Bless the heart of the givers to send secret gifts to a person for a year. It can be hard for it to stay a secret at times. At 2:30 p.m., the drivers all came back to take us all home. Susan was the only widow in her 20s, reminding us of how early in life she lost her dear husband. God’s ways are not our ways, and someday we will understand why.

Joe and son Kevin did outside work for Susan while we were gone. Her garden was tilled, grass mowed, etc. We all stayed the night again on Saturday night. Then on Sunday we were all invited to daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house for a brunch in honor of Mother’s Day. On the menu was scrambled eggs, sausage patties, sausage gravy, biscuits, cheese, hot peppers, and grape juice.

The rest of the day we played games and visited. Then Tim grilled brats and hot dogs before we headed home. Our house felt cold, so sons Benjamin and Kevin came home to do the chores and start the coal stove. By the time we got home, it was much warmer in the house.

On Friday, sons Joseph and Kevin and nephew Steven were asked to go along on a fishing trip on Lake Erie to catch walleye fish. The group included Joseph’s boss, his son, and another boy, and all expenses were paid. They left here at 2 a.m. and came back by early evening. With Kevin and Steven having a handicap, this meant a lot to them to be able to go out on that big boat and catch their limit of walleyes. Joseph and Kevin came home with their walleyes filleted and bagged.

The family lit solar flowers “planted” in cowboy boots in memory of Sister Susan.

On Monday was dear sister Susan’s 45th birthday, so in memory of her we went to sister Verena’s house for the evening. Also there were daughters Verena, Susan and children, daughter Elizabeth, Tim and children, Dustin (Loretta’s special friend), sister Emma, Jacob and sons, Crystal (nephew Benjamin’s special friend), niece Elizabeth and Manuel, and niece Emma, Menno, and children. We all pitched in mowing Verena’s yard, weeding her flower beds, etc. My sister Susan had a collection of cowboy boots that she would plant flowers in every year. Since sister Verena isn’t able to keep the flowers watered, we put solar flowers in each boot in Susan’s memory. After dark it looked very nice with the flowers lit up and changing colors. We all took supper in.

Verena was so thankful for everyone’s help. Before we left for home, paper lanterns were flown in the air in memory of a dear sister/aunt. Rest in peace, dear sister. You are missed so much. Another person was deeply missed that night—dear son-in-law Mose. Daughter Susan misses him so much. May God help us through the heartaches. God bless!

Deep-Fried Morels

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
Olive oil for pan-frying
12 to 15 large morel mushrooms

Stir the flour, salt, milk, and egg together in a large bowl. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet until sizzling. Dip the mushrooms in the batter and place in the skillet. Fry each side until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Serves 6 to 8.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

The first tastes of spring

We are having cooler weather again this week. On Monday it was rainy, and yesterday was cloudy. At least today the sun is shining at times.

Son Joseph, 18, is home today. He has been busy outside cleaning the yard and filling in dirt on the low spots before we roll the yard.

We had success with our garage sale last week, but we still have some things left. I want to take it to a thrift store, or the free store, or give it to someone who can use it. It was time consuming to have the sale but makes more space now in my storage areas.

Our rhubarb is plentiful, so I have made quite a few rhubarb custard pies. We are also enjoying asparagus from the garden.

My husband Joe planted some more vegetables in the garden on Saturday: lettuce, radishes, peas, and corn.

Sunday is Mother’s Day, so I wish all mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day. I am blessed to have 8 wonderful children who call me Mother: Elizabeth, 26, Susan, 25, Verena, 23, Benjamin, 21, Loretta, 20, Joseph, 18, Lovina, 16, and Kevin, 15. I thank God for their love, and I hope I will always be a good example to them. It takes daily prayers to raise a family. I also have 5 precious grandchildren who call me Grandma: Abigail, 4, Jennifer, 3, Timothy (T.J.), 2, Ryan, 21 months, and Allison, 16 months.

Father’s Day will be hard on daughter Susan, to have 2 little children who won’t have a father to give their love to. Mose would buy a flower for the children to give to Susan on Mother’s Day. May God continue to guide her and comfort her. Let us remind ourselves that God makes no mistakes.

On Sunday we had communion services at our neighbors’ home. Daughter Susan and children and sister Verena were here for the night on Saturday and went to church with us.

Ryan was so excited to have a little black hat to wear to church. When we came to church, he thought he could wear it during the service, so it took a little persuading to get him to hang it up until afterward.

Sister Verena and daughter Susan and children stayed overnight again Sunday night. When Ryan woke up Monday morning Joe had left for work already. Ryan went to our bedroom, to Joe’s side of the bed, asking where Grandpa was. I told him he was working. He then pointed to the cabinet on the wall where Joe keeps his hat and asked for Joe’s hat. He thought he should have both his and Grandpa’s hat, but I told Ryan we need to leave it there for when we go to church again. Such sweet little angels. What do they have to see in the future?

I answered all the reader mail now. I want to again thank everyone for their support and encouragement. It is all greatly appreciated. May God bless all of you!

I will share the recipe for asparagus shepherd’s pie this week for those of you who love asparagus. We had asparagus last night just fried in butter.

Take care! Until next week…God bless!

Asparagus Shepherd’s Pie
6 medium potatoes, diced
1-2 pounds hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10.5 ounce) can cream of chicken or asparagus soup
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut in pieces
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese

Boil potatoes in water until tender. Brown hamburger with onion and garlic; drain grease. Stir in soup and pour into a greased 2-quart baking dish. Cook asparagus in small amount of water until crisp and tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain and layer over beef mixture. Drain the potatoes and mash, adding milk, butter, and salt. Spread mashed potatoes over asparagus and sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Warm days for tilling and planting

Today was our first day of 80-degree weather this year and we enjoyed the great outdoors. Daughters Susan and Verena and grandchildren Jennifer and Ryan came last night and are staying again tonight. Susan and I worked on getting everything organized for the garage sale we are having here Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Susan has a lot of baby stuff she’s getting rid of. She has so many nice items that have only been used a little. She is also selling the RV Mose bought for them to live in while they remodeled the house. When we were cleaning it, Jennifer came in there and said, “This is my bed.” Then she pointed to the bed and said, “This is where my daddy slept and Mommy on that side.” Life brings so many changes.

I bought little Ryan a small black hat and what fun he has walking around outside with it. He takes really big steps to make it look like he’s older or something. When Joe comes home from work he puts his hat beside Grandpa Joe’s. Joe was tilling the garden and Ryan was right behind him.

Last night Joe and son Joseph planted 10 pounds of red potatoes and 400 Candy sweet onions. I have more seeds to put out yet but it’s calling for rain so we will see.

We also want to plant the tree my good friend Ruth gave in memory of our dear son-in-law Mose. It’s a Cleveland Pear and we will plant it beside the other Cleveland Pear that we call our “Marilyn” tree. Ruth also gave us that one 11 years ago in memory of sister Emma and Jacob’s 8 1/2-month-old, Marilyn, who passed away. Ruth also gave daughter Susan a tree, so we want to help her get her tree planted. This is so thoughtful of Ruth and is very much appreciated.

Cousin Amos had the viewing and funeral in Bryant, Indiana, for his wife Rose Marie. Amos lives 8 hours from us in Wisconsin, so with the viewing located in Indian instead, only a little over 2 hours from us, we were able to attend. Our sympathy goes to the family.

Sister Verena, sister Emma and Jacob, and Joe and I left Sunday afternoon and attended the viewing of a good friend Alvin and then went on to Rose Marie’s viewing. Alvin will be greatly missed in their community. Our sympathy goes to his family as well.

We saw a lot of family while at the viewings. On our way home we stopped at sister Liz and Levi’s for a short visit.

We saw sister-in-law Nancy and some of her children at the viewing. Also Brother Albert, Sarah Irene and some of their children and quite a few cousins. We didn’t get to see sister Leah and Paul, but it was getting late and we had to start for home. We were thankful we had safe traveling and made it back okay.

Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) took his mower down to sister Verena’s house to mow her grass. Daughters Verena, Loretta, and Lovina went there too so they can visit with Verena. Lovina will stay the night with Verena and go to work from there. Verena was so glad her yard was getting mowed. Joe wants to till her garden so we can plant a few things for her to use. Sister Susan took care of their yard and garden. She is still so greatly missed. God has been a great help and comfort through our recent trials. God bless!

Lovina doubled the recipe for the oven baked omelet featured in this week’s column. Photo provided.

Oven Baked Omelet

8 eggs
1/2 cup milk or half and half cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped ham
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green peppers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk eggs and cream together. Add cheese, ham, onion, and green pepper. Pour into a greased 9×9 inch pan. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serves 4-6. Substitutions or additional meat and vegetables such as sausage, tomatoes, or mushrooms may be used 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 wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Appreciating God’s creation in a cold spell

It was snowing most of the day yesterday, although there was not much accumulation. It really does feel good to have heat in the house again. We had let the stove go out over the warm-up.

I have been busy sewing this week, and that is my plan for today. The wedding where daughter Loretta and her special friend Dustin are table waiters is Friday already. Daughter Lovina and her special friend Daniel will also go for the evening meal, as will son Joseph and his special friend Grace. Grace is a sister to Dustin and Daniel.

Last night, daughter Verena came here with grandchildren Jennifer, T.J., and Allison. Daughters Susan, Elizabeth, and son-in-law Tim went to get some more stuff for Susan’s house. They are finishing the second bathroom. Susan took Ryan along. Abigail cried because she didn’t want her parents to leave, so they took her along, too. Ever since son-in-law Mose’s accident, she gets scared when both her parents leave. She used to never mind staying here while they shop. Poor little children can’t understand everything, but then even we adults don’t understand it all.

As I write this, my husband Joe is still waiting on his ride to work. He’s later than usual. Sons Benjamin and Joseph left already. Daughter Lovina is at sister Verena’s house, so she should be on her way to work.

Joe has the gardens tilled up and wants to get some garden planted once we are through this cold spell.

Rhubarb and asparagus are coming up nicely. My spring flowers are also out. Hopefully the cold doesn’t bother any of it.

Lovina appreciated the opportunity to do a book signing and share some baked goods at the Plain and Simple Craft Fair in Shipshewana, Indiana. Photo provided.

On Saturday, daughters Verena and Lovina went with me to the book signing in Shipshewana, Indiana, at the Plain and Simple Craft Fair. My good friend Ruth took us, which was very much appreciated. We met a lot of readers there. Thanks to all who came, and we received so much encouragement. May God bless you for your kindness. Plain and Simple is an Amish craft and décor magazine, and they hosted the craft fair. There were over 80 vendors there, so it was quite interesting.

As I pull the curtains back this morning, a beautiful scene greets me. Although it might not be perfect timing for us—it’s God’s creation. Every tree is white, and the grass is covered with snow. The sun is out, and the snow is already dripping from the house roof. I don’t think it will stay long, but we won’t care, as we were loving the spring weather and warm days. Another time we let God be in control.

This is now a little later and I just talked on the phone with sister Verena. She called to let me know the sad news. Cousin Amos’s wife Rosemarie from Wisconsin had a heart attack and died this morning. Rosemarie is a sister to my sister-in-law Sarah Irene (brother Albert’s wife). Rosemarie is 63 and also a mother-in-law to nephew Ben and niece Elizabeth (sister Leah’s children). A lot of grieving hearts within their family. Our heartfelt sympathy to all! May God be their guide as they face life without wife, mother, grandmother in the future. How much we know of the heartache that lies ahead for them. God makes no mistakes!

This week I will share the rhubarb juice recipe, since quite a few readers requested it again. It is also in my cookbook The Essential Amish Cookbook. Thank you to all the readers who have bought that book and the newest book, Amish Family Recipes. It has helped us so much.

God bless!

 

Jars of rhubarb juice canned and ready to enjoy. Photo provided.

Rhubarb Juice

8 pounds rhubarb, washed and diced
8 quarts water
2 (12-ounce) cans frozen orange juice
2 (46-ounce) cans pineapple juice
4 cups sugar
2 (3-ounce) packages strawberry gelatin

Combine rhubarb and water and cook 25-30 minutes or until rhubarb is soft. Strain liquid into a bowl, discarding rhubarb. Add the orange and pineapple juices, sugar, and gelatin. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Serve the juice as is, add club soda or ginger ale, or mix with additional pineapple juice.

The juice may be frozen or canned. To can the juice, heat to 190 degrees. Ladle into hot quart jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims with a dampened paper towel and adjust lids. Process in a boiling-water canner for 20 minutes. Makes 8–10 quarts.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her cookbooks, The Essential Amish Cookbook and Amish Family Recipes, are available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Fun with Eicher grandchildren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless!

Rhubarb Dumplings

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

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

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

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

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

A beautiful Easter Sunday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robin Egg Nests

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

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

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Easter egg fun with grandchildren

It’s the last day of March. The rain during the night brought colder temperatures this morning. Friday will be Good Friday so everyone will be off work. Sunday is Easter—we give thanks to our dear Savior Jesus Christ who died on the cross so we can be saved from our sins. We have so many blessings. Do we appreciate them enough? It takes daily prayers to be parents to our dear children and grandparents to our dear grandchildren. Do we set enough of a good example for them? It is good we don’t know what the future holds, but we do know in whose hands it is…God. May he keep being our guide into the future.

Yesterday daughter Susan and children, daughter Verena, sister Emma and son Steven, niece Emma and children, sister Verena, son Kevin, and I spent the day at daughter Elizabeth’s house. Steven came after school (which they have until noon right now).

Elizabeth cooked 10 dozen eggs for the children to color. Did they ever have a ball with it! A big mess but lots of fun. Abigail, 4, Jennifer, 3, T.J., 2, Jessica, 2, Ryan, 20 months, and Allison, 1, did the egg coloring. Baby Menno (niece Emma’s baby) is eight months, so he didn’t help. T.J. and Jessica liked to smash their egg at first. Allison had her first egg peeled and was coloring the egg without the shell. It was so cute to watch all of them.

Elizabeth made a low-carb bacon cheeseburger casserole for lunch and also had deviled eggs and sliced cheese. Lettuce salad, pretzels and dip, pickles, blueberry pie, cookies, and chocolate pudding were brought in by all of us ladies. Elizabeth is pre-diabetic, so she tries to eat low-carb and no sugar meals. The casserole is low-carb and I asked her for the recipe, so I can share it.

The past few months I have been cooking a lot of low-carb, no sugar meals for Joe and I and the family. I had one slice of bread in two months so that is a change for me. If any readers have good low-carb recipes I would appreciate them. Joe and I both feel better eating like this and it has helped us shed a few pounds which is always good. Most of all though is that it makes us feel better.

I haven’t done too much baking lately, but daughters Susan and Verena brought monster cookies that Verena and Jennifer baked. Sister Verena sent over chocolate chip cookies she made. So, for the ones in the family that still like some sweets, it was nice to have those on hand.

Family members enjoyed getting together and had a ball coloring hard boiled eggs for Easter. Photo provided.

Elizabeth sent colored eggs home with all of us yesterday, so I have some for Easter. I want to go look for dandelion greens to make dandelion salad and dice some of the colored eggs in it (after they are peeled, of course). I love dandelion green salad with bacon or some fresh ham from the freezer.

Joe wants to see if he can dig up a little horseradish root to make fresh horseradish to have with colored eggs on Easter. That’s a tradition we always have, horseradish and colored eggs on Easter.

Tim and Elizabeth have 10 baby chicks and 2 baby ducks in a tote in their house that they bought this week. It was a full-time job for Elizabeth to keep the children away from the chicks. T.J. was riding a sit and scoot toy which has room under the seat. Someone discovered he had the 2 ducks and a few chicks under the seat. They were rescued and put back with the rest. He wanted to give them a ride. Abigail and Jennifer were playing with their dolls when Elizabeth discovered they had snuck 4 baby chicks to play with. Needless to say, Elizabeth will be glad when the chicks are big enough to put in the chicken coop. God’s blessings and a blessed Easter to all.

Low Carb Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

1/2 pound bacon
1 pound ground beef
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons reduced sugar ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
4 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
8 ounces grated cheese
1 teaspoon fresh dill (optional)

Dice the bacon in small pieces and fry until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Drain grease from pan and add the ground beef to skillet and cook until browned, crumbling as it cooks. Drain fat, add onion and garlic, and cook a little. Add the cream cheese, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and seasoned salt to the skillet and cook over low heat stirring constantly. Spread the beef mixture into an 8×8 inch baking dish. Top with cooked bacon. Crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk together with the heavy cream until combined. Stir in the pepper and hot sauce. Pour egg mixture over the beef and bacon. Top with grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until set and golden on top. Sprinkle with dill 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 wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.