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.

Remembering a baby’s arrival

A happy fifteenth birthday to the last of our eight children! Son Kevin’s birthday is today. It’s amazing how the years fly by. I thought it would be interesting to share the column daughter Elizabeth wrote to help me out after Kevin was born. She was eleven years old and in fifth grade.

Written by Elizabeth in September 2005—

“I told Mom I would write for her this week as she’s very busy taking care of my new baby brother.

Baby Kevin was born September 2 at 7:27 a.m. He weighed 8 pounds 4 ounces and was 21 inches long. We are excited to have a new baby again but we try to give little sister Lovina extra attention so she doesn’t get jealous.

Aunts Verena and Susan took care of us seven children while Mom and Dad were in the hospital. They were there two days and two nights. We were glad when they came back home. Baby Kevin has yellow jaundice and was supposed to stay in the hospital, but they let Dad and Mom bring him home for treatment. We have to keep a light called a biliblanket on him. Mom has to switch the baby from its back to front every two hours. We try to help Mom at nights when we’re home from school.

Aunts Verena and Susan came last night to help, and Aunt Emma and Cousin Benjamin stayed with Mom, Joseph, Lovina, and Baby Kevin while we were in school. Emma will come again today. Our neighbors brought supper in one night which we really enjoyed.

Mom has to take Kevin to the hospital every day to get a bilirubin test on his yellow jaundice. When it gets under 10, Kevin can have the light taken off.

I have to go to bed now so I can get up earlier to help Mom pack Dad’s lunch and get his breakfast. It is hard to believe Kevin is already six days old. We really enjoy him. I hope I wrote enough.”

Elizabeth was always a letter writer and did a good job for her age. At the end of the column I will share the recipe she shared for after-school no-bake cookies.

Life back then was busy, and I always thought once the children are older it would slow down. It seems we are busy in different ways now.

Saturday, we were all helping at daughter Susan and Mose’s. While the men and boys worked on their remodeling in the house, the women and girls helped weed the garden and clean up corners outside.

Mose tied their pony outside to enjoy some grass out by an older building. All at once, we noticed the pony was going crazy and saw lots of bees swarming around him. Son-in-law Tim and son Benjamin ran to rescue the pony and were covered with bees coming at them. They both had a lot of bee stings. Benjamin’s stings started to swell, and we were worried he could be having an allergic reaction. I went to call our doctor and followed his instructions. About forty-five minutes to an hour later, Benjamin finally felt relief.

Mose is still off work from his accident. The doctor thinks it may possibly be two weeks before he returns. Life brings us disappointments, but we know God has a plan and He makes no mistakes.

Yesterday I cut out and sewed Loretta’s baptismal suit, finally fitting it into my schedule.

Daughter Verena had to go to the eye doctor as her eyes were giving her problems again. She has a scratch on her pupil from years ago when she was detasseling corn. It fires up once in awhile and swells up. The eye doctor thinks she should go to a specialist to see why it is always giving her problems.

God’s blessings to all!

 

After-School No-Bake Cookies

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup peanut butter
5 cups corn flakes

Heat sugar, corn syrup, and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan just to boiling. Remove from heat and stir in the peanut butter. Measure the corn flakes into a large mixing bowl. Pour on the hot cocoa mixture and stir. Turn the coated cereal into an oblong pan. Press into an even layer. Let stand until cool before cutting into bars.

 

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.

Home renovations and harvest season continue

A busy time of the year—we are in the midst of canning season. We are filling lots of jars and freezers with a bountiful harvest. Many meals will be made from the harvest, the fruits of our labor. Do we appreciate enough what the Good Lord provides to us? We have so much to be thankful for yet so often take it for granted.

As harvest season continues, Lovina cooks tomatoes into juice, sauce, and more, to can and freeze for the cooler months. Photo provied.

Today daughters Verena, 22, and Lovina, 16, have appointments at the eye doctor. We decided to do some grocery shopping after the appointments. I also want to stop at the fabric store to buy material for Loretta’s baptismal suit. I have less than two weeks to get it cut out and sewn.

We are helping Mose and Susan work on their house every chance we get. They are ready for drywall in the bedroom and living room areas. The sub floor is down, and new windows and doors are in. They will go as far as they can until September 6th when they host baptismal services for three young souls who will accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. Nephew Jacob, daughter Loretta, 20, and another boy from our church district, Jeremiah, will all be baptized, Lord willing. How rewarding for parents to see their children take this step. Jacob and Loretta are both disabled, and Jeremiah has been so helpful during their instruction classes. The ministry and church members have been helpful and so full of encouragement as well. The support of a church makes our troubles and trials so much easier. Most of all, having faith in God helps us through the “bumps” on the road ahead.

Baptism services will be held under a big tent at Mose and Susan’s. Their goal is to at least have the living room/bedroom and bathroom livable before then so they can stay in one half of the house while finishing the other half. RV living is getting very old fast with a 1 and 2-year-old. Ryan seems like he’s turned loose when he comes to our house. He stands up, takes a few steps, and freezes up. He’s just not brave enough yet to keep walking. He will be 13 months tomorrow so there’s still time. He loves to crawl onto furniture and give us scares when he stands up smiling.

A reader read in a column I wrote that Jennifer, 2, loves putting stuff in little purses. How excited Jennifer was when she received a package of six little purses. Thank you, Carol from Wichita, KS, for making this little girl’s day and playing time for months. The blue one was her favorite. I am sure you will get a personal thank you from daughter Susan and little Jennifer, but I want to thank you for your kindness.

Son-in-law Mose was hurt at work yesterday cutting his finger and arm at the RV factory. He has 10 stitches in his finger and isn’t allowed to do too much for a few days.

This is so hard for him with all the work needing to be done on his house. Somehow it all works out and I told him he needs to slow down. They came here for the night last night and he had some pretty hard throbbing going on in his finger. I wish him a speedy recovery. Quite a few people are going to go help on the house Saturday and some help evenings. It is all appreciated by Mose and Susan. This project developed into more than they thought. Remodeling an old farmhouse can have lots of surprises and unplanned for work.

We helped daughter Elizabeth paint her kitchen which I think concludes her painting for now.

Yesterday we had four 5-gallon sized buckets of tomatoes to put into juice. A big job off the list, but we still have a table full of tomatoes that need to be canned into something. Undecided if I want to make more salsa, V-8, or pizza sauce.

God’s blessings to you all.

Garden Vegetable Medley

1/2 cup sliced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup butter
2 pounds zucchini, julienned
3 medium tomatoes, cut in thin wedges
1 cup whole kernel corn

In a large skillet, sauté the onion, salt, pepper, and oregano in butter until onion is crisp-tender. Add the zucchini, tomatoes, and corn. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Yield: 6 servings.

 

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 bountiful harvest to preserve and enjoy

The mercury on the thermometer dipped down to a chilly 55 degrees this morning. Son Joseph, 18, just came in from doing the morning chores. He said it’s pretty chilly out there this morning with the wind. His driver should be here any minute. I made him an egg and cheese sandwich for his breakfast. His lunch is packed and water jug is filled. Son Benjamin, 21, left at 4:30 a.m. (half an hour ago). I made him an egg and cheese sandwich too, but he packs his own lunch or sometimes doesn’t take one. He likes leftovers from the night before, but Joseph would rather have a sandwich. My husband Joe left at 3:45 a.m. He likes sliced tomatoes, Miracle Whip salad dressing, and bread, packed individually in his lunch bucket. He then makes his own sandwiches. This morning I also put salted sliced cucumbers in his lunch.

Joseph just left and I made my coffee and want to write this column so it’s off my mind. We have lots of corn that needs to be taken care of today, since our last patch of sweet corn is ready. I picked all the ears from the stalks with the help of son Kevin, 14. I also pulled the stalks from the garden right away, and Kevin threw them over the fence. We have one steer we are raising for our beef this winter. He looks like he enjoys the corn stalks. Now we have cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and potatoes left in the gardens. Benjamin and Joseph dug up another bucket of red potatoes last night, so I have some to use.

Our supper was fresh steamed red potatoes, fresh corn and cucumber salad, beef chunks, cheese, lettuce, and sour cream. We also had hot peppers and tomatoes. It made a quick, easy meal with most of it coming fresh from the garden. I make goulash a lot with fresh tomatoes as well. I brown the hamburger, then add tomato chunks (first taking the skin off the tomatoes), then when the tomatoes cook down enough I add macaroni and season to taste. A quick simple meal.

Altogether we have canned 50 pints of salsa, around 25 quarts of pickles—some spicy dill and some garlic dill. We froze our green beans and have another bucket ready to be cleaned for the freezer. I am so thankful for everything that goes into cans or the freezer. Do we thank God enough for the bountiful harvest?

Last Friday Joe and I, daughters Verena, 22, and Lovina, 16, and Kevin, along with my sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma and Jacob and their son, Steven, traveled to Baltic, Ohio. We stayed in a motel and attended the funeral of Uncle Abe Raber. Abe and Aunt Lovina were married 17 years. Aunt Lovina was a close aunt to me growing up. I was named after her and lived in the same church district, only 3 1/2 miles from them. Lovina is my mother’s sister.

Lovina was first married to Uncle Toby and they had 9 children. Abe was married to his first wife and had 10 children. Together the two families from Abe and Aunt Lovina total 19 children.

It was so good to see Lovina again but not in this situation. She will have many lonely days now. She is 81 and Abe was 83. We grew up always being with Toby and Lovina’s family, so it was so nice to get to visit with her children and reminisce about all the times we had growing up. Our sympathy goes to all the families involved in losing their father, stepfather, grandfather, and step grandfather, and of course to dear Aunt Lovina. Some of Lovina’s children said that Abe was the only grandfather their younger children knew.

We appreciated the hospitality of Lovina’s Ohio church and friends. I met quite a few readers. We arrived back home Saturday evening safe and sound.

I’ll end this wishing you all God’s richest blessings.

Peach Bread
3 cups crushed fresh peaches
6 tablespoons sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the peaches and 6 tablespoons sugar and set aside. In another small bowl, combine the dry ingredients, mix well, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well blended. Alternately, add the peach and flour mixtures to the egg mixture and beat until smooth. Fold in the nuts and pour the batter into a greased and floured loaf pan.

Bake until golden brown, about 55 minutes. Turn out on a rack to cool. Makes 1 medium loaf.

 

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.

August brings cooler mornings and wedding feasts

Friday, August 14th is daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s 5th anniversary. Happy anniversary to them and wishing them many more happy healthy years together. May God continue to be their guide! They have three children: Abigail, who will turn 4 on September 10, Timothy (T.J.), 1 1/2 years, and baby Allison, 7 months. So very precious to us! Allison is so petite but so full of energy! T.J. can climb over their barn gates already so it’s a constant job watching that little guy. He gives the biggest smiles though and looks so sweet and innocent.

Yesterday daughter Susan and her children, daughters Verena, Loretta, Lovina, son Kevin, and I spent the day at Elizabeth and Tim’s house painting their walls and ceiling. Tim is remodeling their house, so it is time to paint and get the trim back on. He is also making a few closets for more storage space. It really looks good and has more space. They had three bedrooms on the main level, but they tore the walls out on one bedroom, adding more room to the dining room and living room. They left it open concept with a beam going through the center for support. It really does look so much nicer. Tim’s nephew has been staying at their house the last few weeks helping Tim with staining and laying new flooring. He is also helping Tim build a wall in their garage so they can heat that side in the winter where they have their solar batteries and their phone. It will also be nice space to cut up pork and beef when they do their meat butchering in the cold months.

Speaking of cold – we are having some pretty cool mornings for August. Some mornings it went down to almost 50 degrees. That seems warm in the winter but at this time of the year it makes you close a few of the windows. My husband Joe loves it when it cools off at night. I think it’s a challenge with the little children not knowing how to dress them, especially when it reaches over 80 by nighttime. We need to accept the weather however God sends it.

August yields plenty of vegetables, including zucchini for making the fritter recipe Lovina shares in this week’s column. Photo provided.

The wedding day of niece Laura and Enos was a pleasant day with not too much of a warm day. I would say it was just perfect weather

August yields plenty of vegetables, including zucchini for making the fritter recipe Lovina shares in this week’s column. Photo provided.

for a wedding.

I of course finished my dress the afternoon before the wedding (late as usual). I was a cook and we were asked to wear a dark green color. Daughter Verena wore aqua blue and was a table waiter.

The menu was broasted chicken (made in the kettle outside), mashed potatoes (which in this area are still all mashed by hand, and then with our wedding cook wagons, powered by a generator, there are usually electric mixers to whip the potatoes for our weddings), gravy, chicken and noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, broccoli/cauliflower salad, homemade bread, and apple cinnamon butter. Dessert was tapioca pudding, angel food cake, fresh mixed fruit, and rhubarb, cherry, pecan, and peanut butter pies. For the evening meal it was the same menu except there were sausage links instead of chicken, although the leftover chicken was used until it was gone. My job was to help make the broccoli salad.

I am sure it was a lonely day for my sister-in-law Nancy to not have brother Amos there to go ahead with the hosting of the wedding. He was greatly missed by many and I still feel like I should see him when I go to his place.

We arrived back home from the wedding around 10 p.m. It’s always good to be back home again after a long day!

God’s blessings to all!

Zucchini Fritters
1 pound zucchini, unpeeled and grated
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon minced fresh chives
1 cup buttermilk pancake mix
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Combine first seven ingredients, stirring well. Drop mixture by tablespoons into oil which has been preheated to 375 degrees. Cook until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Yields about 1 dozen fritters.

 

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.

Late summer harvest and wedding celebrations 

 Four years ago, on August 5, we were busy hosting daughter Susan and Mose’s wedding. Happy Anniversary Mose and Susan. We wish them many more happy and healthy years together with God as their guide. They have been blessed with two wonderful sweet children, Jennifer, 2 1/2, and Ryan, 12 months. Those two little ones keep Susan busy. She had some anxious moments yesterday when she went out to get the mail and came back and Jennifer had locked her out. Susan said she tried to explain to her how to unlock the door, but Jennifer couldn’t figure it out. Finally, Susan managed to get in through a window. I’m sure she was relieved once she was inside with those two little ones on the loose. Susan said she has learned to never leave for just a minute without a key.

A wagon full of sweet onions from Lovina’s garden.
Photo provided.

Tomorrow is the wedding for niece Laura and Enos in Berne, Indiana. Our driver will be here at 5:30 a.m. then we will pick up sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma and Jacob, their son Benjamin, and his special friend Crystal. I’m not sure if anyone else from their family is going along. Daughter Verena is the only one from our children going as she is a table waiter at the wedding. I was asked to help cook.

Tonight, our church is invited to neighbors Joas and Susan for their annual fish supper. Joas loves to fish and every year they have the church over for a fish supper. I will take a dessert. I’m not sure yet what kind of dessert but the girls will make it. I am still sewing on my dress for the wedding tomorrow. I want to finish it this morning. It has just been so busy lately that it was hard to find time to sew.

Homegrown onions hung up to dry for the months to come.
Photo provided.

Yesterday I told daughter Elizabeth to come over and bring her laundry so we can help her wash it. Her son T.J., 1 1/2, and baby Allison, 7 months, have had ear infections, so they were fussy lately. It can be frustrating for a mother to care for her children and see there is work waiting to be done. How well I remember those times and how much it meant for my mother and sisters to help me out with the work.

Elizabeth’s laundry was folded and ready to put away when she arrived back home. She acted so relaxed to have that job off her list for now, which of course will be back on her list later this week. We know how much laundry three young children can make. Oh, but they are worth every minute of our time. Allison is standing by furniture and crawling all over. She is so petite and it is hard to believe how little but mighty she is. She has bright blue eyes (same as her father) and always such a big smile. Abigail, 3, and T.J. love to play hide and seek with son Kevin. They enjoy when he takes time to entertain them. Kevin spends a lot of time with our border collie dog Buddy, so when Kevin hides from the children Buddy always gives it away because he’ll go to wherever Kevin is.

Kevin, 15, and daughter Lovina, 16, picked the green beans this week. We are also still enjoying sweet corn. Kevin helped me pull the sweet onions and tie them up to dry by the walk out of our basement. We had a very nice crop of sweet onions. They taste so good with no hot flavor at all. I think these are almost the biggest onions we have grown. My husband Joe put plastic down around them this year.

I have new glasses and Joe has glasses for the first time now, too. It is taking him some getting used to bifocals. I don’t like mine, but you need them to read.

God’s blessings to all.

Zucchini Casserole

1 pound ground beef
4 cups sliced zucchini
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper

Cook zucchini in 2 cups boiling water until tender. Brown beef and onion. Mix all ingredients. Pour into casserole. Dot with butter and cover with breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

 

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.

July birthdays and zucchini bars

It’s Wednesday morning and the humidity has gone, leaving us with a much cooler morning. We had a light shower this morning, which we needed. Our hay was out last night, and hopefully the rain didn’t affect it too much.

It seems quiet around here this morning, with Mose, Susan, Jennifer, and Ryan not staying here anymore. They are living in a travel trailer (RV) at their place so that Mose can work evenings on their house. They have a gas stove and refrigerator and running water in there so they can shower, etc. They also have part of their garage set up that they can stay in during the day. Susan is still washing her laundry here because she doesn’t have water hooked up in their garage. Yesterday we washed our clothes and filled the lines and then we washed her clothes. By that time a lot of our clothes were dry so we could make space for hers.

Grandson Ryan’s first birthday cake. Photo provided.

On Monday, July 27th grandson Ryan turned a year old. They had his birthday party here at our house because there is more room. They gave Ryan a small cake to eat and did he have fun! He smashed the frosting up in his mouth. It was so cute. We sang Happy Birthday and he smiled and knew he was getting all the attention. Ryan isn’t walking yet, although he stands by himself for a little while and tried to take a few steps. He walks by furniture, and it doesn’t take him long to climb steps although we don’t let him do it without us watching him. Ryan now shares his birthdate with niece Emma and Menno’s newborn son. Menno Ray was born at 12:05 p.m. on July 27th. He joins a sister Jessica Rose, 18 months. Menno Ray also has a cousin, Austin, who turned two on July 27th. Austin’s parents, Benji and Margaret, live at the next place over from Menno and Emma and are in our church district. So three little boys all share the same day, all a year apart.

Ryan loves his Grandpa Joe. He will crawl for him, laughing when he sees him. If I want to take him away from Joe, he turns toward Joe.

Last week my daughter Elizabeth and baby Allison, daughter Susan and Ryan, and son Kevin and I went to niece Elizabeth’s to assist her in cleaning. Manuel and Elizabeth will host church services for the first time on Sunday. They live in a neighboring church district and are still renting the house they live in. Grandchildren Abigail, Jennifer, and T.J. stayed here with my other daughters so that we were able to get more done at Elizabeth’s house. Sister Emma and Steven, and niece Emma and Jessica were also there for the day. Walls, ceilings, furniture, and windows were cleaned. Many hands make lighter work!

I have cucumbers from the garden and want to can pickles this week if time allows.

I also have dark green material to sew a dress for myself for niece Laura’s wedding next week, again, only if time allows. Son Kevin and I pulled the sweet onions from our garden. Now we need to tie them up to dry under the porch by the walk-out basement.

The girls and I made supper for four families in our church who have had new babies or surgeries. Now the girls are ready to go deliver them. We made meat loaf, potato casserole, and zucchini bars, which are easy to make and use up zucchini. Our daughter Elizabeth and Tim are keeping us well supplied.

Take care, stay healthy, and God bless!

Zucchini bars for church families. Photo provided.

Zucchini Bars
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
2 teaspoons soda

Combine all ingredients and bake in a cookie sheet pan at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting or sprinkle with chocolate chips when almost done baking.

Cream Cheese Frosting
6 ounces cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
Beat well until mixture is smooth.

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.

Annual family gathering and easy peach cream pie

On Saturday, July 11th, we all were awake and ready by 5:30 a.m., waiting for our ride on the bus to Monroe, IN to sister Leah and Paul’s house for the annual Coblentz gathering. Lo and behold, 6 a.m. rolled around and still no bus. Finally, we saw a bus pass by and soon after it headed back. Somehow a few wrong numbers in an address made quite the difference. The driver must have been frustrated to have to stop at three or four of our Amish neighbors’ houses. We could see the bus pull in and out of their driveways, so finally son Benjamin jumped on his bike and waved the driver down. Everyone was waiting to load up when he pulled in, so we still made good time. We stopped at a nearby McDonalds for breakfast. Daughter Elizabeth took everyone’s order and called them in the night before, so the waiting time wasn’t as long. With only the drive-thru open, it isn’t easy for a big bus load of people. Every order was marked for each family. It all worked out well. Then we headed for the interstate while everyone enjoyed their breakfast while visiting. It was very enjoyable to all be together. With almost thirty people on the bus, it wasn’t quiet, but it was an enjoyable, fun ride. The last time Jacob and Emma, sisters Verena and Susan, and our family all fit in the same vehicle was sixteen-and-a-half years ago when we started land shopping in Michigan. Daughter Elizabeth was nine at that time and is twenty-six now.

Our family totals around 110 now and if I’m counting right, everyone was there except six nieces and nephews and their families.

The noon meal was more than enough food with all the side dishes and desserts added to the hot meal Paul and Leah provided.

I forgot to mention that the bus had a lift so nephew Jacob and daughter Loretta could take their mobility scooters along.

Of course, my parents and brother Amos were greatly missed. Invitations to the wedding of brother Amos and Nancy’s youngest daughter, Laura, were passed out. She and Enos have set August 6 for their wedding day. Amos and Nancy had ten children—eight daughters and two sons. This is their eighth wedding to prepare for. Nancy has her youngest son Sam still at home with her. The newlyweds, Enos and Laura, will make their home with Nancy and son Sam for now.

Singing took place in the afternoon and everyone brought snacks to enjoy before we headed home at 4 p.m.

We arrived home in Michigan around 6:30 p.m.

It was time to prepare for church services at a young married couple’s house a few miles from here the next day. Daughter Loretta had her fifth service of following instructions for the eighteen articles of faith that the Amish youth take before getting baptized. All the church ministry and members have been so helpful to make sure everything is easy for Loretta and nephew Jacob with their handicaps. It is greatly appreciated and makes us appreciate the love. So often, we take our health for granted and do not think of the effort it takes others to do the same things we do. It causes a lot of discouragement for them, and even for me as a parent, when they have a bad day of accepting that they cannot do what others their age can. I know they have greater compassion for others through their handicaps. May God bless the youth that take time to stop and reach out to them. You have no idea what it means when their challenge is so much greater than ours. The kingdom of heaven will have no handicaps. God bless.

Easy Peach Cream Pie

3 cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
1 (9-inch) pie crust (unbaked)
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
dash of salt
1 cup heavy cream.
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place peaches in the pie crust. Beat eggs slightly in bowl; blend in sugar, flour, and salt. Stir in cream and vanilla; blend well. Pour over peaches. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes, or until center shakes slightly when moved.

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.

 

Wedding memories and Mother’s raisin pie

July 15 was our twenty-seventh anniversary. Lots of memories throughout the years since Joe and I were married.

Tables decorated for Lovina and Joe Eicher’s wedding in 1993. Photo provided.

 

This is what my mother wrote in her column in July 1993 about our wedding. Mother wrote,

The weather was ideal for the wedding of daughter Lovina to Joe Eicher. Lots of work at such a time.

The Tuesday before the wedding, which was Thursday, July 15, about two dozen women came to help. They baked 90 pies (oatmeal, cherry, raisin, and rhubarb) and made 14 batches of nothings. Didn’t really want that many pies, but that number came upon us before we knew or thought of it. Well anyways no worry to run out of pies.

Wednesday about a dozen girls came to peel potatoes, cut up vegetables for the dressing and make potato salad for which I had cooked a twenty-quart cooker full of potatoes. Also, the tables were set and the last minute cleaning done. Our wash house or shed saw lots of life out there, as all the work was done in there to prepare for the wedding ceremony. Wednesday evening quite a few of our friends came to see the wedding tables, and refreshments were served to the ones that came. It was an enjoyable evening.

Then came the wedding day. We started to fry chicken (300 pounds) at 4:15 a.m. which was served for dinner. Had enough for supper too and also served boneless ham. Our meals consisted of chicken and noodles, gravy, mashed potatoes, dressing, chicken, buttered corn, green beans (which came out of our garden), pork and beans, potato salad, carrot salad, lettuce salad (plenty from the garden), hot peppers, Swiss cheese, fruit salad, tapioca pudding, pies, cakes, nothings, celery sticks, coffee, bread, rhubarb jam, and butter. There were around 18 skillets used to fry the chicken. We cooked 3 twenty-quart cookers of potatoes for dinner for mashed potatoes and 2 twenty-quart cookers for chicken and noodles. In the afternoon we again cooked over 3 twenty-quart cookers of potatoes to be mashed and more chicken and noodles for supper. Also 16 quarts of gravy. There were 28 women to prepare the meals. We could seat 98 people in the house and 70 in the wash house. The tool shed was cleaned out where the wedding services were held and later used to set up a table for the children for the noon and evening meals. We had quite a crowd here for both meals. Well enough of this for now. What a relief to have it over with.

I have so many precious memories of mother and how much she did for her family.

Joe was called back in to work this week after being laid off since March 23. It sure is a relief to us to have his income coming in again.

Yesterday, son Benjamin turned twenty-one, so he wanted the family to come home for supper. He ordered out pizza and wings for all of us. What a treat is was! Chips, cheeseball and crackers, and ice cream were also added to the menu. I didn’t get time to make a cake and didn’t for daughter Loretta’s birthday either. With son Joseph’s birthday coming up next week, it looks like we will have one cake for all the July birthdays. It’s almost too much cake for one month if we have three. Benjamin said he wouldn’t eat cake anyway, so he didn’t care that there wasn’t a cake.

Since I am running out of space, I will write about our family gathering at sister Leah and Paul’s house next week.

I will share the recipe for Mother’s raisin pie. God bless!

 

Raisin Pie

 2 (8-inch) unbaked pie crusts
1 cup raisins
2 tablespoons clear gelatin
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use one crust to line an 8-inch pie pan. Cook the raisins with water to cover in a kettle over medium heat until plump and juicy, about 15 to 30 minutes. In a bowl, make a thickening with the gelatin, salt, sugar, vinegar, and water. Pour into the raisin mixture. Cook until the mixture is thick enough to stick to a spoon. Add more sugar if it is not sweet enough for you. Pour into the pie shell. Cover the top with the remaining pie crust and seal and flute the edges. Cut slits in the center for steam to escape. Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Makes 1 (8-inch) 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.