Wedding Celebration and Gratitude for Help

Dustin and Loretta had perfect weather for their wedding day. All week was nice and sunny, which we were so grateful for.

We ended up with around 450 here for the noon meal and 550 for the evening meal. We could seat 350 people in one setting. Around 100 or more people eat before, such as the cooks, table waiters, special helpers, babysitters, some of the cooks’ children, and drivers that bring family and friends from farther away.

At 4:30 p.m. the tables were set for the cooks to eat supper then at 5:30 p.m. for the guests. At 7 p.m. the youth and Dustin and Loretta’s family ate.

We ended up having 600 pounds of chicken grilled. Although we had quite a bit left, I think we would’ve run out if we didn’t get another 100 pounds. A family in our church has a huge grill and grills for others, so we had them grill the chicken. We bought 400 pounds of potatoes but had 150 pounds left that didn’t get cooked for mashed potatoes. Our goal was to have 75 pies, but we ended up with around 80. Sometimes there is extra pie filling that they just use up in a few extra pies. The pecan pies were eaten except a few pieces. We had a few pumpkin pies, and a dozen or more cherry pies left.

Our menu consisted of barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, buttered noodles, dressing (40 loaves of bread were toasted for this and took 18 dozen eggs), green beans with cheese sauce, overnight salad, and homemade bread with grape jelly and butter.

Dessert was pecan, pumpkin, and cherry pies, caramel pudding, fresh fruit (watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, and grapes), chocolate and white cupcakes, candy bars, and coffee.

The bridal party table referred to as the “Eck” was beautifully decorated in a fall theme. Photo provided.

It is tradition that the bride and groom furnish candy bars to serve after each meal. Dustin and Loretta bought 1200 for the whole day. They had quite a few left. The parents buy all the other food for the day.

Dustin’s parents have their own chickens, so they brought over 40 dozen eggs for the wedding foods. That really helped out. We don’t have chickens right now.

Loretta did a fall theme for decorating the “Eck,” the corner reserved for the bride and groom and bridal party. Her colors for the cooks and table waiters were all fall colors. Loretta chose a dark rose-colored dress for her wedding day. Dustin’s mother and I wore olive-colored dresses. The cooks wore rust. The table waiter girls wore orange dresses, and the boys wore black pants and vests with white shirts. Daughter Verena and Dustin’s brother Willie were witnesses. Daughter Lovina and her special friend Daniel (also Dustin’s brother) were the other witnesses.

Without the help of friends and family it wouldn’t be possible for us to prepare for such a big event. Many hands make lighter work.

We were so thankful for the ones that helped clean up and pack all the dishes and tables in the wedding wagon. The neighbor ladies cleaned the cook wagon, and we’re also thankful for my three head cooks that kept everything so organized.

A special thank you to my great friend Ruth for taking me shopping and not even charging me for gas. Ruth did a lot of the shopping on the final days, as I didn’t have time to go after everything.

Ruth and I went after the wedding cake the night before, and we were relieved once we had it home safely.

Our dear family members were missed very much over the wedding prep and that day. Sisters Verena, Emma, and our daughter Susan all did well to put their grief aside and be happy for the newlyweds. Daughter Loretta now lives across the road with Dustin. Today we will go help her put away the many nice gifts they received.

Dustin and Loretta want to thank those of you that sent gifts, well wishes, etc. May God bless you!

 

Green Beans with Cheese Sauce (served for lunch and supper)

8 quarts green beans, cooked or canned

Cheese Sauce
1 cup butter
1 cup milk
2 pounds Velveeta cheese
3 teaspoons Greek seasoning
3 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon seasoning salt

Heat sauce ingredients on low until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Place the beans in a roaster and pour over the cheese sauce. Heat at 300 degrees until hot.

Cracker Crumb Topping
15 sleeves Ritz crackers
1 3/4 cup melted butter

Crush crackers in sleeves and mix with melted butter. Spread on cookie sheets and toast in oven until browned. Use 1/2 cup crumb topping per 2-quart bowl of beans.

 

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.

Updates from a family friend

My name is Ruth and I am a long time “English” friend of Lovina.  She asked me to write the column this week because she is busy preparing for the wedding of her daughter Loretta and Dustin this Friday. The wedding will start about 9:00 a.m. and they will be married about 11:30 a.m. After the wedding a noon meal will be served. They are expecting 450-500 people for the noon meal.  Some guests will stay for the afternoon to visit and catch up, and more guests will arrive for the 5:30 pm meal. They will be ready to serve about 600 again for this meal. In the early evening the youth will gather, and they will be served a hot meal also.

The cook wagon and refrigerated wagon were delivered on Saturday, and all the tables were set up in the pole barn and set with dishes and silverware. Long plastic tablecloths were placed over the set tables to keep them clean.

Early in the week Lovina went to get groceries for the wedding. She had already been stocking up on the staples like flour, sugar, butter, etc. but most groceries need be bought fresh the week of the wedding. Just a few of the items shopped for were 400 pounds of potatoes, 20 gallons of milk, 40 heads of lettuce, 48 loaves of bread, 50 containers of whipped topping, 8 watermelons, 10 cantaloupe, and 10 bunches of celery. On Tuesday a couple of women came and cut up and toasted all the bread for the dressing. Loretta and Dustin requested that cupcakes be served as one of the desserts, so the women baked some of the cupcakes also. In total they plan on baking, frosting, and decorating over 600 cupcakes. Other desserts on the menu will be cherry pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and caramel pudding.

On Wednesday more women came and baked the cherry pies. The onions, carrots, and celery for the dressing were chopped, bagged, and labeled. They baked the rest of the cupcakes, and some were frosted and decorated. The frosting is a delicious light chocolate, and the decorations are little multicolored sprinkles in the shape of leaves.

The three head cooks for the wedding are sister Emma, niece Elizabeth, and Barbara, who is a neighbor and friend who goes to the same church. As the women arrive the head cooks give them their job for the morning, and they all quickly go about their tasks. As the women work together there is conversation and laughter as they catch up on news of family, church, and community.  Baked goodies have been brought in for morning coffee time, and casseroles and salads brought in by the women helping are shared at lunch time.

Loretta chose a fall theme for her wedding which is appropriate as the leaves are beginning to turn and pumpkins and mums can be seen on front porches. Loretta’s tables have tablecloths of yellow and red and orange, fall leaf garland is strung around the windows in the shed, and colored leaves are sprinkled down the middle of the tables. There is a chill in the early morning air but the weather this week promises to be warm and sunny during the day, which is a welcome change from the rainy days and cooler temperatures we had last week.

Dustin is putting the finishing touches on his pole barn across the street from Lovina’s. The siding is on, the concrete floor is poured, and the windows and doors are installed. Dustin is hoping to complete some work on the eaves before Friday. His pole barn is where the wedding will be held, and after the wedding the family and friends will walk across the street to Joe and Lovina’s for the noon meal.

Festive fall table decorations prepared for Loretta and Dustin’s wedding. Photo provided.

There are special touches in the decorations that honor and remember the loved ones who have passed. There are three wooden candle holders that each have an engraving with the names of Mose, sister Susan, and brother-in-law Jacob on them.  A deer that Mose shot is mounted on a special board that Emma’s son Jacob cut, finished, and engraved in his honor.  They will be missed terribly at this special celebration. As an outsider I can see that the hurt is still present but alongside the pain there is acceptance and peace. There are smiles and laughter as they share precious memories and there is special focus on making the day special for Loretta and Dustin.  May God bless this special couple as they begin their journey as husband and wife.

 

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.

 

Joyful wedding preparations

The first day of autumn is bringing cool, rainy weather with the temperature at 51 degrees this morning.

Church services were held here on Sunday. It was council meeting, so we served everyone lunch throughout the service. Around 11:30 a.m. a few at a time come in to eat. We had one table set for men, one for women, and a smaller table for the younger children. On our menu was chicken noodle soup, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, bologna, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, grape jelly, butter, homemade wheat and white bread, several kinds of cookies, tea, and coffee. Sister Emma made the soup for me. She made four twelve-quart kettles of soup.

We appreciate all the help we have had with Dustin’s pole barn and getting ready here for the wedding. So many have sent over meals or a casserole to make my workload easier. May God bless their kind hearts. It is greatly appreciated.

Last night nephew Benjamin and niece Emma’s husband Menno helped on the pole barn. The east side of the pole barn is now closed up. It looks like Dustin’s cousin is over there today. I think they are installing the two overhead doors. The rest of the doors and windows are installed already. It looks like we will actually get done on time.

I have my dress, cape, and apron to sew yet for the wedding. I plan to do that today.

Saturday we will set up all the tables. The plates, silverware, and glasses will be set and then we cover all of it, so it stays okay until next Friday for the wedding.

Yesterday my three head cooks came, and we went through the recipes to see what all we need. It takes a lot of head work to come up with a grocery list for over 1000 people. Now it’s time to go shopping. Do I ever have a list to get! I should’ve started sooner, but I’ll wait until after Saturday when the cooler will be here to get the groceries that have to stay cold.

The wedding cook wagon, cooler, and dishes all come Friday afternoon. The tent will be set up next week. This is where the cooks can work to peel potatoes, mix dressing, etc. We have around 50 cooks but I’m sure a few of them might not be able to come. There will be a lot of activity going on next week around here. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the cooks will each come for a day to help prepare whatever needs to be done such as bake bread, pies, etc.

During this busy time my oldest grandchild Abigail started school. She goes four days a week and she loves it! She tells all kinds of stories about school and her new friends. Life has changed for daughter Elizabeth. Abigail kept an eye on the two little ones. Now it sounds like T.J., 2, and Allison, 1, are into everything. T.J. cried when Abigail left the first day and said he wants to go to school too. Nephew Steven is in the eighth grade so when sister Emma and daughter Elizabeth were here helping one day Steven and Abigail came off the bus here. She had made beads for all the other children here. Such a sweetie!

Memorial flowers planted for Dan and Mose by their families. Photo provided.

Our three loved ones are so missed over this time. They were always here to help out with the other weddings. We try not to dampen Loretta and Dustin’s excitement, but our hearts still ache so much. Rest in peace Mose, Susan, and Jacob!

God’s blessings to all!

 

 

 

 

No-Cook Fruit Pie Filling

2 cups fruit, such as blueberry, cherry, apple, blackberry, etc.
1/4 cup clear jel
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water

Put fruit in 8-inch pie shell, piling in a peak in center. Mix sugar and clear jel and pour over fruit. Pour water over everything and mix gently. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

For apple pie, add brown sugar and cinnamon.

For cherry pie, use more sugar and add almond flavoring.

For blackberry pie, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

 

 

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.

 

Updates from Susan

Dear Readers,

I’m Lovina’s daughter Susan. I wanted to write for Mom this week since she is very busy preparing for church services that will be held at her home on Sunday. Then less than two weeks later will be my sister Loretta’s wedding.

Today I sewed my dress for Loretta and Dustin’s wedding. Now I need to do my cape and apron. Jennifer’s dress and apron are all finished. Ryan’s shirt and pants are finished, also, so I am almost done with my sewing for the wedding. It’s heartbreaking to not have my dear husband Mose here. He would have loved to help Dustin build his pole barn. God’s plans are different than ours sometimes.

Mose’s sister Esther and her son Darrin were here for the day. Esther’s husband, Wayne, dropped her off and went to do some horseshoeing in the area. He came to shoe my horse Mighty last. Meanwhile, Esther cleaned my pantry out and helped me do some sewing. It really gave me a boost.

Sunday Mose’s dad and mom, his sister Hannah and Leroy and their children, his sister Esther and Wayne and their son brought lunch in. They brought potato casserole and baked chicken. It was enjoyable to have them all here. Jennifer loves to try to get her grandpa to play dolls with her.

Colorful cupcakes to celebrate Abigail’s fifth birthday.

Tomorrow sister Verena, Jennifer, Ryan, and I all go to Mom and Dad’s. We are going to help Mom clean for church services that will be held there Sunday, September 19th, Lord willing. Sister Elizabeth and children, Aunt Emma, cousin Emma and her children, cousin Elizabeth and Aunt Verena all will be coming too. We should get a lot done.

Today marks nine months since Mose passed away. It’s hard to grasp that the person you were closest to becomes just a memory. Without God and the support of our community, we would be lost.

Monday was Jodi’s husband Dan’s birthday. He would’ve turned 55. Jodi, her mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece all brought flowers in memory of Dan. Jodi picked sister Verena, Jennifer, Ryan, and me up to go along with them to plant the flowers around the two crosses that stand where the accident was. They did some landscaping and mulch and planted the flowers around the crosses. Keep Jodi in your prayers. She has some hard days also without her dear husband.

I canned quite a lot of tomatoes this year. Pizza sauce goes fast around here. I canned 46 pints. I wanted to do more but ran out of some of the ingredients. I also canned salsa and tomato juice. Gardening season is almost done this year. I have to dig up my potatoes yet since they are ready. I’m actually ready for canning season to be over with this year.

Tim and Elizabeth had to go to town tonight so Verena and I watched their three children. Jennifer and Ryan love to have their cousins over. Seems they always get into more trouble when they are together.

Abigail started school on Monday. She got dropped off here and she really loves to tell us about her friend. We asked her who her friend is, and she always says I don’t know, I never asked her.

We had a thunderstorm go through tonight and Jennifer came to me and said, “Mom don’t be scared, Jesus will take care of us.” Children have a way to make the day look brighter.

Jennifer and Ryan are both sleeping so I think I’m going to wrap this up. God’s blessing to you all.

 

Peach Cobbler

1 stick butter
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups flour
2 pounds ripe peaches, peeled and sliced

 

Melt butter in a 9×13 inch pan. Combine sugar, baking powder, milk, and flour; pour mixture over butter. Spoon peaches on top and bake at 325 degrees until golden brown. Serve with ice cream or milk.

Travels and wedding celebrations

Another week has passed by since my last column. We made it to Kentucky and Tennessee for both weddings and are now back in Michigan. We were thankful for safe travels to and from the weddings. Dan’s (who died in the accident with son-in-law Mose) wife Jodi was our driver and she did a wonderful job. It couldn’t have been easy driving for all of us. She is a nice person to have around. I know she is still hurting just like daughter Susan, both missing their loved ones. It always makes me sad when I see Susan and her children drive in without her beloved Mose beside her. Seeing sister Emma without Jacob and sister Verena without sister Susan seems so unreal. It can get overwhelming and that is why we need to let go and let God. We need to trust his plans are different than what we want sometimes.

At Michael and Laura’s wedding I was a cook and my job was to prepare the fresh fruit for the fruit bowls. It was a good combination of strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and kiwi. The menu consisted of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, buttered noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, broccoli/cauliflower salad, bread, butter and jam, several kinds of pies, angel food cake, mixed fruit, and pudding.

In the afternoon we started out on the 4 1/2 hour drive to Tennessee. We stayed at a motel and attended the wedding at the church for Jamin and Saloma. Their weddings are different than ours as the father walks the bride down the aisle. The couple left after the wedding for their several week honeymoon. We wish both couples God’s blessings as they start their lives together as one.

The menu for this wedding was boneless chicken breasts and barbequed chicken, diced red potatoes, coleslaw, dinner rolls, ice cream, donuts, lemonade, and coffee.

We had supper with Saloma’s parents Pete and Carol (Joe’s sister) along with some of Joe’s family and others who had attended the wedding. We then headed back to the motel. The children enjoyed swimming at the pool. The next day we drove towards home about 5 1/2 hours then slept in a motel outside of Indianapolis, IN. The next day we spent the day at the Indianapolis zoo. We had a little over three hours to drive home.

We had a nice time but everyone was glad to be home again.

The Eicher family celebrated Kevin’s 16th birthday with cake and ice cream, after a supper of sausage and potatoes (recipe in this week’s column). Photo provided.

Son Kevin turned 16 on September 2nd while we were gone. Monday night we had cake and ice cream in honor of his birthday. Also on the menu were banana poppers and Italian potatoes and sausage.

We had some storms go through our area again but we didn’t get anything much. Hopefully no one else did either. Daughter Susan and children and daughter Verena came for the night.

Today Joe’s sisters and nieces will come help us clean. Plans are to clean the basement and can room, and if we get that far, our breezeway.

Saturday we have more help coming. Church services were set to be here September 19th. That isn’t far off and then the wedding of daughter Loretta and Dustin is coming up right after that.

God bless all of you as we travel into the unknown future.

Italian Sausage and Potatoes
6 potatoes, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
2 large green peppers, sliced
2 pounds Italian sausage (sweet, mild or hot)
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt, pepper, oregano to taste

Mix sliced potatoes, onion, green pepper, salt, pepper, and oregano with olive oil. Bake in a 9×13 inch pan covered for 1/2 hour at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and drain. Cut sausage in pieces and add to potato mixture. Continue cooking for 1 hour or until sausage is done. Some prefer to broil uncovered, cooking until sausage is browned.

 

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.

Wedding preparations continue as September begins

We have entered September. Today is the 1st, so we are only a month away from daughter Loretta and Dustin’s wedding day. Time does not stand still. We had a break in the humidity and heat. Nights are cool which makes for nice sleeping weather. My gardens are emptying out with only tomatoes and peppers left. A sure sign autumn will be here soon.

We will host church services here September 19th Lord willing. That gives us even less time to clean. I have help coming next week from both Joe and my family, so I’m sure lots will get accomplished. I still need to sew two dresses before the wedding.

Saturday around 14 men and boys helped Dustin work on the pole barn. It was a very hot day! I helped Loretta make two roasters of tater tot casserole the night before, so she has an easy lunch for the guys. I made coleslaw from the cabbage I have from the garden. Others brought in the desserts.

I didn’t go over to help with lunch as there was enough there to help Loretta. I took advantage of the time and sewed daughter Verena’s dress, cape, and apron for Loretta’s wedding and my dress, cape, and apron for nephew Michael’s wedding.

The pole barn is ready for concrete. The roof is on, and the windows and doors are framed in.

Tomorrow is son Kevin’s 16th birthday. How can it be possible that it has been 16 years since my last born?

Granddaughter Abigail keeps reminding us that she has the next birthday. She says, “I will be 5 on September 10th, Grandma.” Such a sweet little girl and so full of questions. She has curly blond hair. She is growing up so fast.

Last week daughter Susan was here and then in the afternoon daughter Elizabeth dropped her three children off here while she went to town. It was a hot day, so we let the children play with water outside. Abigail, Jennifer, and T.J. wanted to make lunch in their little dishes. They went out to the garden and pulled what they thought were green bell peppers and broke them in little pieces. Son Joseph told them they can’t go in the garden but said they can keep what they picked, also thinking it was green bell peppers. Well, all at once T.J. started crying and we saw his mouth was red, so we discovered they had picked hot peppers and their skin was burning too from playing in the water with them. Needless to say, we had three little children who were burning from the peppers. We tried everything we could think of to relieve the burning. Finally, we tried baking soda and water paste and that seemed to help a little more. The heat just had to wear off, but the little ones didn’t understand. I don’t think they will ever go get something from my garden without someone telling them what is hot and what isn’t. I felt so bad for them.

Today around 4 p.m. we plan to head out for Kentucky. Daughter Verena called to book motels for us. Loretta isn’t going along because Dustin couldn’t have two days off with the wedding coming up and taking days off for the funerals. Daughter Susan and children will come stay with Loretta.

Tomorrow after the wedding we will head out to Pulaski, Tennessee, to attend niece Saloma’s wedding on Friday. There is lots to do before we leave so I’ll sign off wishing you all God’s richest blessings!

 

Farm Style Omelet

12 eggs
1 pint milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Pinch of pepper

Put all ingredients into a bowl and beat well. Pour into hot, greased skillet. As it fries, lift the bottom with a spatula to let the raw part run underneath. When it’s almost done, cut in wedges and turn over. Fry one minute longer.

Topping:

1 cup bacon, fried and crumbled (or other meat)
1 cup salsa

Mix bacon and salsa. Spread on omelet and serve. Serves 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.

Eichers prepare for upcoming weddings

We had a good soaking rain during the night but also some lightning and wind. I am so thankful when all is okay after a storm. After our last storm we think of it more. The sun is shining this morning, but it feels like it’ll be another hot, humid day.

Daughters Susan and Verena and grandchildren Jennifer and Ryan have plans to come here today. Verena wants to clean her bedroom and Susan will help me paint the master bedroom. We moved our bedroom suite into the living room so it’s a little bit crowded in here right now. Hopefully it will all be back in place by tonight.

Last week daughter Susan helped me paint Lovina’s bedroom upstairs. Little by little we are getting some cleaning done. Daughter Loretta finished her wedding dress. I had to help her here and there but she’s catching on fast. She needs to sew herself a dress for the wedding of Mary and Danny that they have a part in. Mary is the girl in our church getting married a week before Loretta.

I now have my material for the wedding next week of nephew Michael & Laura in Kentucky. I was asked to be cook and to wear royal blue. Son Joseph and Grace (his special friend) were asked to be tablewaiters (servers) at their wedding. Grace is supposed to wear royal blue as well.

Daughter Lovina and Daniel (her special friend) were asked to be servers in niece Saloma and Jamin’s wedding next week in Tennessee. Lovina needs to wear black at their wedding.

The material for Dustin’s pole barn should arrive this week. Plans are to try to frame the 40-ft. x 80-ft. pole barn and put the roof on Saturday if enough help shows up. Then it should take another day to pour cement, put the sides on, and install windows and doors if there is enough help there. We will take one day at a time.

Sunday was the first time we attended church since brother-in-law Jacob passed away. Sister Emma had a hard time being there without him. We all felt the emptiness. Nephew Steven, 14, has started his last year (8th) of school, and I’m sure it isn’t easy not being able to have his dad around. They all need our prayers as they travel into the unknown future.

Sunday was also sister Verena’s 55th birthday. Emma and all of her family and all of our family took supper to Verena’s house. All of sister Susan’s belongings are still there, and we miss her dearly. Daughter Susan brought her horse and her borrowed buggy. It was dark before she left, so son Benjamin packed his clothes and went home with her. He carried the sleeping children in the house for her and took the harness off the horse and turned it out in the field. Susan said this helped her out so much, as she always has to do that. Benjamin had his driver pick him up at Susan’s on Monday morning to go to work. Since Benjamin went home with Susan, daughter Verena decided to come home for the night.

Sister Verena is starting to stay some nights by herself. Life goes on and the road ahead still looks long but with God’s help we will make it through our many trials. God’s blessings to all!

Pizza Stuffed Peppers

6 bell peppers (any color)
1/2 pound ground beef or sausage, browned
2 ounces pepperoni slices, diced
1 pint pizza sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 4-ounce can mushrooms, drained
3 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
Shredded mozzarella cheese, approximately 1/2 cup

Remove tops of peppers and inside seeds and blanch 3-5 minutes in boiling water. Drain and set aside. Combine all remaining ingredients except mozzarella. Set peppers in baking dish and fill each pepper half-full of mixture. Add a layer of mozzarella, then fill top of pepper. Cover and bake about 1 hour at 350 degrees. Uncover and arrange additional mozzarella on top, then return to oven briefly to melt 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.

Canning Vegetables and Cleaning Up After a Storm

Today daughters Lovina, 17, and Loretta, 21, and I canned 42 quarts of red beets from our garden. Yesterday we froze sweet corn and now tomorrow plans are to freeze green beans.

Loretta also started sewing on her wedding dress and I sewed on a dress for Lovina. It is almost 10 p.m. and I took the last of the red beets off the stove. I am so glad the beets are canned. Our garden seems to be emptying out gradually. My husband Joe and son Joseph picked around four bushels of tomatoes this week. I sent most of them to daughter Susan, as her tomatoes died. Susan and daughter Verena are busy canning pizza sauce and tomato juice. I didn’t have time to can tomatoes yet so am glad that Susan could use them.

We had a very bad storm go through our area last week. We had quite a bit of damage but probably the worst was losing our buggy, Susan’s buggy, and Dustin’s buggy. It was the morning after brother-in-law Jacob’s funeral, and we had parked our buggies out in the yard. Susan and children and daughter Verena spent the night here. The wind blew our buggy under the big oak trees and a few big branches came down on top of Susan’s, Dustin’s, and our buggies, totaling them beyond repair. We are so thankful that no one was hurt. Roads all around us were closed due to trees across roads, power lines downed, etc. Quite a few of our neighbors finally have their electric back on today. A lot are still without power. There is so much damage in the surrounding area. Our porch ceiling and a section of our railing was also ruined, but Joe and Joseph fixed that already.

The boys are still cleaning up our yard from all the branches and leaves scattered throughout. It also flattened my sweet corn, but we could save about half of it that was ready to freeze. The only thing that matters is we were all safe and no one was hurt. God was watching over us!

We are so fortunate this storm didn’t hit a day sooner for the funeral of brother-in-law Jacob.

On Sunday daughters Verena and Susan hosted us for Sunday lunch with a haystack meal. Our family except Joseph and Lovina were there. Joseph and Lovina went to church with Grace and Daniel, their special friends. Others at Susan’s house were sister Emma and all of her family, sister Verena, and daughter Elizabeth and Tim and children. It was a sad day for all of us. In less than eight months, three of our family are missing. Their presence is greatly missed and our hearts feel so much pain. It seems as if it’s only us that have so many taken from us. We need to trust and remind ourselves that God makes no mistakes and He is in control. Sister Emma looked so lonely when she left.

Jacob’s viewing/visitation and funeral were largely attended. We appreciated all the friends and family that came to pay their respect. Death is so final! Jacob was a kind-hearted man and will be greatly missed by many. Our church once again helped out so much!

While we were on our trip to the Outer Banks, daughter Susan and Mose would have had their fifth anniversary. It was a sad day for her. I am glad Mose’s family and some of ours spent time with her that day, since we were so far away.

I want to wish daughter Elizabeth and Tim a happy sixth anniversary, which was August 14st.

Our goal is to paint a bedroom upstairs yet this week. Friday in six weeks is daughter Loretta’s wedding, and there is so much to get done. Dustin’s pole barn frame that was ready for new metal blew down in the storm. This is where we had planned to have the wedding service. Dustin hopes to be able to rebuild before the wedding. We will take one day at a time! God’s blessings to all!

Apple Zucchini Bread

2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
4 cups zucchini
2 apples, cored, peeled, and chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Cream sugar and eggs; add applesauce and mix. Add zucchini, apples, and vanilla and mix. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and soda. Add to creamed mixture and stir. Fold in nuts, if desired, and mix. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

 

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 Eicher Family Mourns Another Loss

It is with a heavy heart that I write this column. Brother-in-law Jacob (sister Emma’s husband) was admitted to the hospital while we were at the Outer Banks. We were able to talk to him and Emma on Thursday night, but Jacob was very weak and losing out fast. He was airlifted to a bigger hospital. We arrived home from our vacation around 9:45 p.m. and Jacob lost his battle to his illness a little before 1 a.m. Sunday morning. It still does not seem real that he has also been taken from us. Jacob is 48 and so is sister Emma. They had 26 years of marriage together. Emma was a great nurse to Jacob since his illness, and Jacob wanted her beside him in the hospital. Emma and her children and Jacob’s mother were all by his bedside when he passed away.

In eight months’ time we have lost three very dear people and our grief is so strong. We question why but we know God is in control and makes no mistakes. It doesn’t make it any easier.

Long time readers of this column know how close Jacob’s family and ours were. Not a weekend went by it seemed that we weren’t doing something together, until we both had married children and grandchildren and we were sometimes busy with our own families. We would always get together for Thanksgiving and Christmas, taking turns to host it. Sisters Verena and Susan would also be there. It doesn’t seem possible that last Thanksgiving we were all together here along with son-in-law Mose, sister Susan, and brother-in-law Jacob. No one was sick, life was good. Now in less than eight months, three out of our families have gone on before us. Sister Emma will have many lonely days. Jacob and Emma have two married daughters. Three sons are still at home—Jacob, 21, Benjamin, 19, and Steven, 14. Jacob and Steven both have muscular dystrophy. Our sympathy goes out to them, but we grieve right along with them. Jacob and my husband Joe are first cousins, so they have always been close and always leaned on each other when they needed help.

The viewing/visitation starts today (August 9) at 2 p.m. and tomorrow at 10 a.m. Funeral services will be on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. at Jacob and Emma’s house. We want to do laundry this morning before we go, but it’s supposed to rain. Hopefully it will hold off until it’s dry.

Our trip to the Outer Banks was very nice, but when we heard about Jacob our minds were always on him. I’m so glad we got to talk to him, even if it wasn’t much since he was so weak.

On Wednesday, August 4th, Joe, son Kevin, and I left home at 2:45 a.m. to meet the two charter buses at the home of Joe’s employer. All the employees and families (wives and children under 16) were there with their luggage.

After loading up, we headed out around 4 a.m. We arrived at the motel in Nags Head, North Carolina around 8:30 or 8:45 p.m. if I remember right. Everyone went to go take their luggage to their rooms. Joe’s employer Daniel ordered pizza for everyone, so we all gathered in the dining area to eat a late supper. The motel had a pool and was right along the Atlantic Ocean, with a nice beach. A lot of the people went swimming or walked out along the beach.

 

On the Eicher family’s trip to North Carolina, they had the opportunity to see the wild horses on the beach. Photo Provided.

 

On Thursday we went to Corolla to see the wild horses on the beach. On Friday morning Joe and son Kevin left at 4:45 a.m. to go fishing with a guide. They caught some fish on the ocean. They came back around noon. Around 5 p.m. we left again to go on the two-hour dolphin cruise. We saw a lot of dolphins. We drove through the Allegheny Mountains both times and through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. It was a nice trip, but with Jacob being ill and then passing away it made us glad to be back home with our loved ones. Son Joseph and daughter Lovina had left Friday for Iowa to attend a reunion with their special friends and family. They arrived back on Sunday and it was good to all be together again. Please pray for us and also for sister Emma and family as they mourn for her dear husband/father/grandfather. God’s blessings to all!

Oatmeal Crunch Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon soda
1 cup quick oats

Mix all ingredients. Spread mixture into ungreased 9×13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 22 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.

Freshening Up the House & Upcoming Vacation

We enter August with some much cooler than normal temperatures. We painted sons Joseph’s and Kevin’s bedrooms last week. Our next project is to paint the bedroom daughters Loretta and Lovina share. Loretta has moved a lot of her things over to Dustin’s house, so now with the room emptier, we decided to paint it. It is time-consuming, but the room looks so freshened up after a few coats of paint. As we move everything back in, we give it all a thorough cleaning.

Those here on Sunday for the noon meal were Sister Verena, Sister Liz and Levi and their daughter Suzanne, Sister Emma and Jacob and their sons Jacob, Benjamin, and Steven, Crystal (nephew Benjamin’s special friend) and her son Isaiah, niece Elizabeth and Samuel and their three children, niece Emma and Menno and their two children, niece Susan and Joe and their nine children, Daughter Elizabeth and Jim and their three children, daughter Susan and her two children, daughter Verena, Dustin, Daniel and Grace (special friends to Lovina and Joseph) and also Rosina (a friend of our children).

Sister Liz and Levi and family came out on Saturday to help Sister Verena with mowing, etc. They stayed the night, so I told them all to come here on Sunday.

Saturday visitors here were Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty and brother Albert and Sarah Irene.

We have three wedding invitations on our fridge right now. Nephew Micheal and Laura picked September 2nd for their wedding date. Micheal is a son of Joe’s sister Salome and Morris in Kentucky. September 2nd is also son Kevin’s 16th birthday. Niece Saloma and Jamin picked September 3rd for their wedding. Saloma is a daughter of Joe’s sister Carol and Pete from Tennessee. It will be a challenge for us to be in Kentucky one day for a wedding then the next day in Tennessee for another wedding. It is doable, so we will try our best. I am the cook at Micheal and Laura’s wedding, and son Joseph and Grace were asked to be table waiters (servers). Grace and I both have to wear royal blue, so I need to squeeze in sewing another dress before then. The third invitation is for Mary and Danny. Mary lives in our church district. Dustin and Loretta were asked to be evening servers and dish washers at their wedding. Congratulations to all the young couples. May God bless each of their marriages.

Now to tell you about our upcoming vacation. My husband, Joe, works at a metal shop, and the owner Daniel is taking all the employees, their wives, and children under 16 for a vacation to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. We will travel on two big charter buses. If I understood correctly, there will be 106 people going. This includes Joe and me and son Kevin. Brother Albert, Sarah Irene, and their daughter Sylvia are also going, and we get to travel on the same bus. It is a 14-hour trip to North Carolina. We leave Wednesday morning at 2:45 p.m. to meet up with the bus at the metal shop. Joe signed us up to take a two-hour tour on the Dolphin Cruise. He signed up him and Kevin up a half-day of fishing. There will be lots to do from the way it sounds. We have never been to North Carolina, so it will be exciting to see everything. It is kind of Daniel to take us all on this trip. We will return home late Saturday evening, Lord willing. The part I don’t like is leaving the rest of the family at home, but God is in control.

 

I am sure I will have plenty to write about next week. Until then, God’s blessings to you all!

 

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

2 large eggs
1/3 cup honey
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup cocoa
1 2/3 cup flour
2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1 ¼ cup chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 mins or until done. You can substitute ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce in place of oil.

 

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.