Eichers exchange names for Christmas

Today wraps up the month of November! While the children were waiting for the bus this morning, they said that Christmas is only 25 days away. I am having a harder time getting into the season this year. Even though we enjoy getting together with family and sharing gifts, let us always remember the true meaning of Christmas: the day Jesus our Savior was born.

Tonight a nativity scene is being played out at our local youth center. Tickets were sold out before I had the chance to get any. My sisters Verena and Susan are helping out, so I have some details from them. Everyone in the cast will dress as they did in those days, and live animals will be used to play out the scenes of how Jesus was born. A meal will be served afterward. The money raised will be used to help with the costs of running the youth center.

We spent Thanksgiving Day with Jacob, Emma and family at their house. With both our families and sisters Verena and Susan, we make a total of 25. Mose and Susan had Thanksgiving this year with his parents. We exchanged names after lunch for a Christmas gift exchange, which will be held here at our house. We haven’t decided when to have it yet.

A total of 25 enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner together at this long table.
A total of 25 enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner together at this long table.

Emma prepared two turkeys and all the trimmings. With all the food everyone had brought, the table was more than filled. Everyone took leftovers home for the next day. Granddaughter Abigail had the most attention all day. She is so precious to all of us! Her black hair and blue eyes and the dimples in her cheeks are adorable. Of course, all grandmothers love their grandchildren. For me it’s still a new feeling. God has been more than good to us, and we need to thank him all the time for our blessings, not just on holidays such as Thanksgiving.

Son Benjamin went hunting with son-in-law Timothy and was happy to shoot a deer. He ground the meat on Monday when he didn’t have work. It’s nice to have more meat in the freezer.

Recently Joe’s sister Esther and David and baby David Tyrell (age 3 1/2 months) had supper here. It was our first time to meet baby David. Our marrieds were here for supper as well. Needless to say Abigail and David were the center of attention. Our evening was spent singing together, which is always enjoyable.

Sunday was our week off of church, and we spent it at Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. We had a brunch, with this delicious menu: gold rush breakfast casserole (I need to ask her for the recipe), pancakes, baked French toast, milk, grape juice, orange juice, coffee and V-8 juice. We also had cherry pie and Swiss roll bars. After the dishes were washed, we played games and visited. The men and boys went for a walk through the woods while we stayed with Abigail, spoiling her.

Daughters Elizabeth (and Abigail) and Susan and I went grocery shopping after Abigail’s doctor appointment on Tuesday. We met up with Ruth Coblentz. It sounds like she has many lonely days since her husband Dave passed away in August. Dave was a cousin to my father. To all the Coblentz relatives who read this column: after talking with Ruth, I found out I made a mistake in my August column. Dad’s cousins Dave and Leroy were not brothers but cousins to each other. With my parents no longer around to answer my questions, I misunderstood how the relationship was. It was nice being able to talk with Ruth again even though the visit was short.

My thoughts and prayers go to the families affected by the Tennessee fires. I can’t imagine what they are going through. Prayers also for the families of the young people who died in the recent car-buggy accidents. God be with everyone and help ease their pain!

For this week’s recipe, I am sharing one of the recipes from my upcoming cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, which will be out next spring. This fudge is different because of the soda crackers added to it. My mother always made fudge around Christmastime, and then we wouldn’t have it again for a year. Give this one a try over the holidays. God bless!

Peanut Butter Cracker Fudge
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 box soda crackers, crushed

In a saucepan, bring sugar, butter, and milk to a boil and boil for one minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add peanut butter, vanilla and crushed crackers. Spread into greased 8×8-inch baking pan and allow to cool. Cut into one-inch squares.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Tragic buggy accidents: Grief for others weighs on Eicher hearts

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. The children have their Thanksgiving feast at school today. Their cooking class teacher has to have a lot of patience to show all the students how to prepare this meal. Daughters Verena, Loretta, son Benjamin, and I plan to attend the feast. It is rainy here so Benjamin doesn’t have construction work today. Daughters Susan and Elizabeth and baby Abigail plan to go too.

Then on Thursday, our family is invited to have Thanksgiving dinner at sister Emma and Jacob’s house. A few of the children have other plans, but the rest of the family will go.

We have so many blessings to be thankful for, and not just on Thanksgiving but all year long. Do we thank God enough for all our blessings? How thankful we should be to have a warm house to live in and a bountiful harvest stored for the coming year. And also to be able to spend the day with family.

Unfortunately not everyone will be spending their day this way. Our thoughts and prayers go to the families of the two young girls that were instantly killed in a buggy wreck this past Sunday evening. The girls, and two boys who were giving the girls a ride home, were hit from behind by a truck traveling at a high rate of speed. The girls, Michelle, age 16, and Rebecca, age 17, were cousins. (Cousins of each other, not cousins of my family.) They leave to mourn their parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents and a lot of extended family. One of the boys is in the hospital in critical condition and the last we heard has not responded. I just can’t imagine how the families must feel. Let us keep them in our prayers so that God can help them through this difficult trial in life. We do not understand why things like this happen but we do know God makes no mistakes when bad things happen. The funeral for the girls will be on Thanksgiving Day.

Also in our prayers is cousin Leah as she is in the hospital in critical condition. She and her husband Joe and their two sons were in a buggy when they were also hit from behind. Leah landed in front of the car, which stopped on top of her. She has extensive head injuries. We talked to her sister Martha’s husband, David, yesterday. We haven’t heard many details so we were glad to talk with him and find out what really happened. Leah lives in the Berne, Indiana, area and is Uncle Emanuel and Aunt Leah’s oldest daughter. Her sister Martha was my age and we had so many good times growing up. Now we hardly see or hear from each other. Life gets busy with our own families.

I had another doctor appointment this week. The blood clot is still improving and I’m doing as well as can be expected since the surgery four weeks ago. I can tell my energy level isn’t normal yet but it all takes time to heal. The girls do a wonderful job helping me. I have to keep reminding myself to be careful and remember that the work won’t run away (although it would be nice if it would sometimes. Ha!).

Son-in-law Timothy brought us a deer that he shot. He had it all venison2016ground up and ready for the freezer. The family was all here Sunday evening for supper, so husband Joe grilled deer steaks on the charcoal grill, which we all enjoyed.

God bless all of you this holiday and keep you safe.

Jerky

 12 pounds lean meat (optional: beef, venison, pork)
1 cup Tender Quick
8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt petre
1 tablespoon Accent or meat tenderizer
1 cup brown sugar

Slice meat 3/16 inches thick. Mix remaining ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Use entire seasoning for 12 pounds of meat.

Layer your meat in a tub or on trays. Using a shaker with large holes, sprinkle seasoning between each layer. Let set 24 hours. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Flip over, bake another 15 minutes.

Hint: We use parchment paper on bottom of trays. When finished baking, meat still looks wet. Take your meat out of tray and discard remaining juice. Meat will dry up and still be moist. Good luck!

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook,
will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at
LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Lovina shares turkey casserole recipe from her forthcoming cookbook

plasticcanvashobbydaughterlovina
Daughter Lovina is enjoying making projects out of plastic mesh and yarn.

Week after week goes by so fast! Christmas is only five weeks away from Sunday.

Yesterday our children didn’t have school due to fog. At first they had a two-hour delay, but cancelled after the fog didn’t lift. We have phones in an out building in this community. The school always leaves us a voice mail if school is delayed or cancelled. This makes it so much easier than it was years ago if there was a delay. When we lived in Indiana we didn’t have a phone on the property. If there was a delay the girls would still get ready and just wait to see if the bus would come. It was always easy for them to entertain themselves but it would have been nice if they could have slept later on those mornings. We could use our neighbor’s phone if they were home but I didn’t want to leave the children alone to go call the school. Days like that always seemed short for me.

Now it is 8:00 a.m. and daughter Elizabeth and granddaughter Abigail just arrived by buggy. Izzy also came along so she stays out of Crystal’s way. Crystal doesn’t let Izzy near her new puppies (see last week’s column). Izzy is nosy and tries to go as close as possible until Crystal chases her to the other end of the house.

Daughter Susan is leaving soon to go to work until 2:00 p.m. She was glad she could hold Abigail a little before she leaves. She will take the buggy and our horse Mighty today. The campgrounds are around five miles from here. She does hire a driver to take her some days but then it gives her less income if she has to pay a driver. This job doesn’t pay nearly as well as the factory did, but then she isn’t as rushed at work either.

Son Joseph, 14, went with son-in-law Mose deer hunting yesterday. His day off of school was enjoyable. They saw an eight-point buck come their way. Then something scared the buck off. Joseph was really hoping to get a shot at it. Maybe next time!

Abigail’s smile just gets sweeter! She is full of smiles today. Elizabeth had her to the doctor last week for her two-month checkup. She weighed 12 pounds 3 ounces and is 23 3/4 inches long.

essentialamishcookbookI am excited about my new cookbook coming out next April. It is called The Essential Amish Cookbook: Everyday Recipes from Farm and Pantry. The publisher, Herald Press, comes up with the title. But my family spent a lot of time helping with this cookbook. This is the first cookbook I published without working with a co-author. I have had lots of great help from family and friends. The recipes were all tested since I often cook without measuring ingredients. This will make it easier for those of you that don’t cook often and need exact measurements.

I’ll share one of the recipes that will be in the book. This recipe will come in handy with leftover turkey after Thanksgiving dinner. It is supposed to be made the day before but if you make it in the morning it will work well also.

We have a nice fall day with the temperature at fifty degrees and sunshine. Looks like the girls will wash laundry today. God bless!

Turkey Casserole (Overnight)

 2 cups cooked turkey, chopped
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 slices of bread
1 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a bowl, combine turkey, celery, green pepper, onion, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Cube the bread and place half in a large greased casserole dish or 9×13 inch baking pan. Pour turkey mixture over the top and add remaining bread cubes.

In a bowl, mix milk, eggs, and cream of mushroom soup and pour over top of casserole.

Let stand in refrigerator overnight. Top with cheese and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for one hour.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

Surprise puppies pop up for Elizabeth’s family

Thanksgiving Day is only two weeks away*. Unbelievable! Time goes so fast. And today baby Abigail is two months old.

I went to the doctor to have the rest of my staples removed. I still have the blood clot in my leg so I need to be careful with that. I’m trying to take one day at a time and be patieapplesforapplesaucent as I heal.

applesaucemaking2016The girls and I canned applesauce this week. We did one bushel for Susan and Mose and two bushels for us. I need to be careful when work like that has to be done. The girls don’t let me do too much and are all very good at keeping an eye on me so that I don’t do too much.

Susan didn’t like the long hours she was working at the RV factory so she quit her job there. She now works in the kitchen of a campground facility. They serve meals to groups of people. So far she enjoys it and works three to four days a week. I am so glad for her help here at home as well.

The chimney is up in the pole building and Mose and Susan are enjoying the nice even heat from their coal stove there. We were glad for the warmer days until they had heat in there. This morning’s temperature was in the thirty’s so heat in the house felt good.

Daughter Verena sprained her arm and the doctor wants her to keep it in a sling part time so she doesn’t overuse it. She reached into the Maytag washing machine to see if more clothes were in there. The agitator of the washing machine somehow pushed her elbow against the machine. It was very painful at first but an x-ray at the hospital showed no fractures—only badly sprained. We were so thankful to hear that nothing was broken.

Different families from our church district are still bringing in our supper three times a week. I just can’t be thankful enough for their kindness. This has been so much help to the girls as well.

Also, thanks to all that have sent cards, etc. I feel more than blessed!

Timothy and Elizabeth’s Yorkie dog Crystal gave birth this week to five little puppies. We are glad that all is okay with Crystal and the puppies. The puppies were unplanned. Our rat terrier dog Rover is the father to the puppies. We now know to be more careful when someone lets Crystal outside to go to the bathroom. The puppies are very cute and Crystal is being a good mother but it wasn’t on Timothy and Elizabeth’s agenda to take care of puppies yet. Such is life—always full of surprises!

It looks like a nice, sunny day to wash laundry. Days like this will be few before the snow starts flying.

Our new chickens are finally starting to lay eggs. We were getting short in eggs so I’m glad the hens started. After they are laying good enough we will butcher the old hens. I am low in chicken broth since Susan’s wedding. It takes quite a bit of broth to make chicken, noodles and dressing for a wedding crowd!

Try this easy dish. Although it takes more baking time, it is nice to just put it all in the oven to bake. God’s blessings!

Seven-Layer Supper

1/2 pound uncooked bacon, chopped into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
4 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 onion, sliced
4 carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon pepper, to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic salt, to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon seasoning salt, to taste
1 to 1 1/2 cups water

Place ingredients in order listed in greased 9×13-inch pan, pouring water over all until nearly covered. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

 

*A reminder that Lovina writes her columns for newspapers about a week before you see them here. Newspapers run them first. 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Lovina appreciates family and community help after surgery

We have entered the month of November this week. Son-in-law Mose and sons Benjamin and Joseph have been working nights to get all the leaves raked and burnt. We have lots of trees so this can seem like a never-ending job.

It seems like a while since I penned this column although it’s only been two weeks. Last week daughter Elizabeth offered to write as I was unable to.

I spent several days in the hospital having major surgery. I lost several units of blood so I still feel weak from that. The next six weeks of healing time will probably go slowly for me. I went to the doctor this week to have half of the staples removed. I was having pain in my leg and the doctor said it’s a blood clot. Now I need to take care of that so I have been keeping my recliner occupied a lot.

I cannot express enough thanks to all who have helped out. The day of the surgery I had my husband Joe, daughters Elizabeth (and baby Abigail), Susan, Verena, and Loretta, son Benjamin, sisters Verena, Emma, and Susan, and my good friend Ruth all at the hospital. What a support I felt. I went into surgery at 11:00 a.m. It was after 6:00 p.m. when I finally woke up after surgery. This was a long day of waiting for all of them. I know they were all concerned about me when it took longer than expected. May God bless them all for caring! This is called love! I am thankful that all is going as good as can be expected.

I am also so blessed to have such a caring church family and neighbors. So many meals have been brought in for us. This makes it so much easier on the girls. I feel so blessed and hope to return the kindness someday.

Yesterday Elizabeth and Abigail spent the day here. Oh what a fun pastime Abigail was to me! She looks at me and coos and smiles. It’s so precious to just “talk” to her and watch her angelic face light up.

birthdaypartyeditedverenabirthdaypartyeditedSister Susan accomplished her goal to surprise sister Verena on October 22 at the Community Youth Center for a fiftieth birthday surprise. birthdaypartyeditedroomVerena’s birthday was on August 22. Friends and relatives gathered there and Susan had lots of food for everyone to enjoy while they visited. All eight of us siblings were there. It was nice to see everyone again.

The blocks and mortar are here for the chimney that will be put up in our pole barn. Hopefully it will get done this week yet. We have had really nice warm weather lately which is a good thing with Mose and Susan only having a heater to heat their living quarters. After the chimney is up they will put in a coal stove and burn hard coal.

We have our coal stove going in the basement but some days we just have to open windows when it’s warm outside and bring some of that warm air in upstairs. It gets too chilly when we don’t have any heat in the house. It’s unusually warm for November it seems. Tuesday was such a nice and sunny day. The girls washed loads of laundry and it all dried and was folded and put away by evening. Days like that will be few with cold weather just around the corner. Try this recipe during apple harvest.

God bless you all!

Danish Apple Cheesecake

Crust:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Topping:
4 cups sliced apples
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon flour

Combine crust ingredients and press into bottom and sides of spring form pan. Mix softened cream cheese, egg, sugar, cream of tartar and spread over crust. Mix topping ingredients and pour over all. Bake at 350 degrees 40 to 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

birthdaypartyedited birthdaypartyeditedroom birthdaypartyeditedverena

Lovina’s oldest daughter takes up the pen this week

Greetings from the Bontragers! I’m Lovina’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth, and I’m taking over for Mom this week. I’m not an excellent writer like Mom is, but I’ll give it a try anyway.

Mom underwent some surgery this week. Depending on how the surgery turns out, she may need to stay a night or two. We hope and pray everything goes well. Times like this make a person stop and think. Perhaps I take my mom for granted sometimes. She’s always there for us: for me and for her family. God has blessed us with an amazing mother. Mom—thank you for just being you!

Today baby Abigail and I spent the day at my parents’ with Mom, my sisters Susan, Verena and Loretta, and my brother Benjamin. Abigail gets lots of attention from them—lots of hugs and kisses. She’s starting to notice everything around her and also starting to coo. She smiles when we talk to her.

Our world changed tremendously when Abigail arrived. She wrapped her daddy around her little finger instantly! It was love at first sight for us. We feel blessed!

While I was laid up after her birth, my family came to help whenever they could. Sister Verena spent the first two weeks here. Husband Timothy has also helped out a lot. He canned the applesauce and grape juice for me. I suppose my canning is finished for this year. Mom always says it’s nice to see the empty jars fill up for winter, and now I know what she means.

It was a beautiful fall day yesterday, so in the early afternoon I decided to quickly do laundry. I wasn’t done hanging it out on the lines when Timothy came home, and so he finished it for me. I left some bath towels and Tim’s work pants hang out overnight. They were too wet to bring in.

It’s a bit more challenging keeping up with the household chores now with Abigail, but I love every minute of it! I must say, though, time has a way of slipping by so quickly now. Sunday was Abigail’s second time going to church services. It’s different having to dress a little one before we go away!

Abigail had her first bath in a baby bathtub last week. She really enjoyed it—kicking, splashing, and all smiles. Tonight she’ll receive her second bath—this time her daddy will be giving it. She’s been wearing several of my cousin Marilyn’s dresses that Aunt Emma gave to her.

Crystal and Izzy (our house dogs) are starting to warm up to Abigail more and more. Izzy acted okay with her when we brought her home, but Crystal went through a jealous spell. Crystal has been my shadow from day one, and I suppose it was just hard for her to accept Abigail at first.

Elizabeth says her dear Yorkies seem to be getting used to new baby Abigail.
Elizabeth says her dear Yorkies seem to be getting used to new baby Abigail.

On October 1 hunting season opened. We enjoy our venison steaks. Timothy makes the best on the grill! We don’t need too much venison meat this year, as we still have meat left over from the one-half beef my parents gave us last winter.

Timothy had his twenty-eighth birthday on October 18. He wasn’t too thrilled about being another year closer to thirty! On October 20 it was nine years ago that he fell twenty-one feet, leaving him with a badly broken back. He has come a long way since then.

Our garden is almost ready to be left alone for the winter. We just need to pull the carrots yet. Temperatures have been dropping during the nights. This morning we had a low of 30 degrees. Brr! Winter weather will be here before we know it.

Before I bring this to a close, I’d like to thank all the readers and friends who took the time to send a card or baby gift! We really appreciate it! May God bless you for your kindness.

Timothy and I plan to make homemade pizza for Mom and Dad’s and my family’s supper Friday night. We’ll surprise them! Try this pizza crust.

Best wishes to all!

Pizza Crust

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour

Mix together water, yeast and sugar, and let mixture stand for 10 minutes. Add oil, salt and flour and mix well. Let dough rise in bowl in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size.

Press into greased 16 1/2- x 12 1/2-inch baking sheet. Add toppings of your choice. Let rise a bit more while oven preheats. Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

 Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Cozy days and a hog roast top a week with autumn colors peeking out  

 

Signs of autumn are everywhere! The trees here in southern
Michigan are absolutely beautiful as the leaves start changing color.

Its 5:45 a.m. and son Benjamin is leaving for work. My husband Joe left around 3:40 a.m. for his job at the RV factory. Son Joseph is fallcolorsohiogetting Bessie the cow in for her morning milking. Benjamin feeds the horses and Joseph takes care of the cow and calves.

It is raining this morning after some gorgeous autumn days. The temperature is staying in the mid-fifty’s. It looks like laundry will be put off until tomorrow. Daughter Verena plans to bake monster cookies today. We will take some to church on Sunday at our neighbor’s house. The rest will be for lunches and snacks around here.

buggies2
The Eichers could have used one of these double buggies (seen parked at Susan and Mose’s wedding this summer) for the trip to Dustin’s home.

Saturday we took four horse and buggies from here the six and one-half miles to Loretta’s friend Dustin’s place. They live to the west and the roads get more rolling, making it a little harder for the horses to pull the buggies up and down the hills. The brakes on the buggies help a lot. Joe and I took Ginger our twelve-year-old horse. Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin took our pony Stormy. Benjamin and Verena took our four-year-old horse Mighty and Mose and Susan took our three-year-old horse Rex. All the horses did a good job with the rolling country roads. Dustin came to get Loretta. Timothy, Elizabeth, and Abigail had the farthest with thirteen and one-half miles from their house to Dustin’s.

The hog roast was in honor of Dustin and his dad’s October birthdays. The hog began roasting in the early morning hours. The meat was very delicious and seasoned just right. Lots of other food was served along with the pork. It was a nice, sunny, and warm day to sit outside and watch the food being prepared. We headed for home towards evening and spent the evening over at Mose and Susan’s (in the pole building). Nobody was hungry for supper so we enjoyed popcorn and apples. We played the game Aggravation which is always exciting. Lovina and Kevin wanted to spend the night at Mose and Susan’s even though it’s just fifty feet from our house. They have a spare bed and a fold out couch so the children found a place to sleep. Lovina and Kevin say Susan makes the best hot chocolate in the mornings. Lovina said it’s so cozy over at Mose and Susan’s.

Yesterday daughter Elizabeth and baby Abigail came here for the day. And of course the dogs Crystal and Izzy had to come along. Abigail is used to the dogs when they bark.

We all had fun holding Abigail. She is five and one-half weeks old and starting to coo and make such cute facial expressions. After a day at Grandma’s house she is probably glad to rest and get away from all the attention.

Sister Susan is planning a big surprise happy 50th birthday party for sister Verena this Saturday at the community building. Her birthday was August 22. More on that next week.

A happy birthday goes out to son-in-law Timothy. His birthday was October 18.

Try this recipe that a reader shared with me from Peru, Indiana. God’s blessings!

German Sausage Chowder

1/2 pound smoked sausage, chopped
2 cups chopped potatoes
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 cups water
4 cups shredded cabbage
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups milk (divided)
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
parsley (optional)

Combine first five ingredients with water and cook until nearly tender. Add cabbage and cook until tender. Stir in 2 1/2 cups milk. Blend 1/2 cup milk with flour. Stir into soup. Cook and stir until thickened. Stir in cheese. Enjoy!

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Lovina’s family enjoys fall’s bounty with fresh venison, grape juice, hot pepper butter  

Another chilly morning! The temperature is 48 degrees at 7 a.m. The propane lights throw off heat which makes the house feel cozy and warm.

We are in the process of getting things around to put up a chimney for where Mose and Susan have made their living quarters in our pole barn. We will burn hard coal in there. Right now it is chilly out there but usually warms up during the day. Hopefully the stove will be hooked up for them before it gets too cold.

Deer hunting season for bow is open now. Mose was a lucky hunter on Saturday, and so had fresh venison steak to grill one evening. Joe and all the children loved it! I grew up with beef and have a hard time getting used to the venison taste. I think sometimes if I wouldn’t know it was venison, I might like it better. I am glad the children like the meat because it is plentiful in this area.

Cooking the grapes to make grape juice.
Cooking the grapes to make grape juice.

Leaves are beginning to fall from the trees. Gardens are looking empty. We canned six bushels of grapes as grape juice. Two of the bushels were for Mose and Susan. We used the steamers to steam the grapes. The concentrated juice is put in jars to seal.

We also have apples waiting here to be made into applesauce. Those will have to wait awhile. Too many things on our list for this week.

Monday we washed our laundry. Tuesday we went to daughter Elizabeth’s and washed their laundry. Both were nice sunny days so that makes it so much easier to dry laundry.

Baby Abigail is doing well. I went with Elizabeth to Abigail’s one-month doctor appointment. She weighed eleven and one-half pounds at four weeks. She was eleven pounds at birth but lost some weight at the hospital. She still has lots of black hair and her eyes are blue. When I give her a bath and her hair is wet, it curls up. Needless to say she does not lack attention. She loves the baby swing that daughter Verna gave to them. Elizabeth is doing well and getting used to doing her work between Abigail’s naps. They will come to spend today with us. We are looking forward to having her and Abigail here.

Saturday we attended the hog roast held at our local feed mill for their customer appreciation day. We were canning grape juice that day so I appreciated not having to make lunch.

Loretta’s special friend Dustin’s birthday was Saturday, October 8. He invited our family to his parents’ house this Saturday for a hog roast in honor of his birthday.

Dustin has been a great help to Loretta. He sees past her handicap and has really brightened up her life. He has a good personality and is always cheerful when he’s around.

Yesterday I made hot pepper butter with the abundance of jalapeño and serrano peppers we have from the garden. We like this spread on a sandwich or even with breakfast, on toast. It’s a little spicy for those of you who don’t care for spicy foods. I will share the recipe for those who do enjoy “hotter” foods.

God bless each one of you!hotpepperbutter

Hot Pepper Butter

40 hot peppers (fewer can be used; some only use 14 hot peppers)
6 cups white sugar
1 quart vinegar
1 quart yellow mustard
1 tablespoon salt
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups water

Grind peppers and mix with sugar, vinegar, mustard, and salt. Boil 10 to 15 minutes. Mix the flour and water, and then slowly add to above mixture. Boil another 5 minutes. Stir often to keep from sticking to pan. Can be processed in jars and sealed according to instructions on your canner.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Definition of a ‘handful’? Loading baby and two dogs into a buggy

It is Thursday already, and this column should have been written yesterday! The sun is shining brightly, with the thermometer showing 62 degrees this morning.

Son Benjamin is home, as he doesn’t have work today. I hope he can clean up the remainder of the garden. We still have hot peppers, green peppers and cabbage in there.

Hot peppers from the Eicher garden, canned and ready to spice up winter meals.
Hot peppers from the Eicher garden, canned and ready to spice up winter meals.

Tonight we will go pick Concord grapes at the local U-Pick. We will also get our apples for applesauce. We are out of grape juice and applesauce, so it will be good to fill some jars with both. Timothy and Elizabeth and Mose and Susan will also go along to get grapes and apples.

Baby Abigail will be four weeks old on Saturday. She is sweeter than ever!

Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail came here for the day yesterday, and of course Crystal and Izzy (the Yorkies) came along. So Elizabeth has a handful as she gets Abigail and the dogs into the buggy! Abigail loves buggy rides, so at least she isn’t crying while they travel the almost seven miles. Their horse, ShiAnn, is a safe and sound horse for Elizabeth to drive. I keep reminding Elizabeth to take it easy, but she has a hard time not working too long. Since she became a mother, she has found out how your all nights of sleep are gone.

Monday was a cold, rainy day, so we put off laundry until Tuesday. Since we skipped washing clothes I cut out daughter Loretta’s dress, cape and apron for an upcoming wedding. I sewed most of it yesterday.

Tuesday we did our laundry, and after it was all washed and hung on the lines, we went over to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house to wash their laundry. It was a nice sunny, breezy day, so the clothes dried really well. It was almost dark by the time we made it home.

Mose had grilled hamburgers and Susan had heated up leftover pizza casserole for supper. Susan had made pizza casserole and baked five loaves of bread on Monday after she came home from work. She made a small casserole for us to take to Elizabeth’s. We took it along to her on Tuesday so she had an easy supper for her and Timothy.

Last Thursday Joe and I, along with daughter Verena and my sisters Susan and Verena, traveled to a wedding in Berne, Indiana. It turned out to be a beautiful day for the wedding of niece Arlene and Robert. Daughter Verena was a tablewaiter at the wedding. I was a cook and had to help make the lettuce salad. My five sisters—Leah, Verena, Liz, Emma and Susan—and I, and also sister-in-law Sarah Irene, were all on the job of making salad. It is always enjoyable to work with family.

On the menu were barbecued chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken and noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, lettuce salad, cheese, homemade bread and cinnabutter (peanut butter with cinnamon flavor). Niece Susan made it but I didn’t get the recipe. Desserts were tapioca pudding, mixed fruit salad, pecan, cherry, blueberry and pumpkin pie and angel food cake with strawberry topping. Wedding Nothings were on the menu as well.

Crispy Chicken

1 1/2 cup crispy rice cereal, crushed
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 cup melted butter
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Combine the first five ingredients. Dip chicken in butter and then into cereal mixture. Put in an 11 x 7-inch pan. Drizzle with remaining butter. Bake at 400 degrees for 20–25 minutes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

How Lovina’s new mattress made the children late to school

Mornings are very cool lately here in southern Michigan. Another sure sign that autumn is here.

Our house seems extra empty this week. Daughter Verena, 18, is helping daughter Elizabeth with house work and the baby this week. Son Benjamin, 17, left Sunday afternoon with some friends for Pennsylvania. We miss them and look forward to having everyone home again for the weekend.

Baptismal services were held at our neighbors for a young girl in our church. This was held on Saturday instead of Sunday in order to make it possible for some friends to attend the service.

Monday we did laundry here and then went over to Elizabeth and Timothy’s house to do their laundry. It was a sunny, breezy day after the early morning rain was over. And of course, we had to take time to hold sweet little Abigail! She is such a precious baby to all of us! She smiles a lot! Her eyes seem to be turning blue.

Verena stayed there and daughter Loretta and I came back home which was already after suppertime. Son-in-law Mose had made supper for everyone on the grill. Brats and hot dog sandwiches were on the menu. I was so glad I didn’t have to get supper after doing all that laundry. I told my husband Joe that after that long day I actually felt like a Grandma! Ha, ha!

Friday evening Joe bought a new Serta mattress for our bed. We were certainly needing a new one. Well, between the mattress and a long day Monday, I was extra tired Tuesday morning. I woke up at 3:00 a.m., prepared Joe’s lunch, and when he left at 3:40, I went back to bed and set my alarm for 5:40 a.m. When I woke up the sun was shining and I looked at my alarm and it was 7:45 a.m. already. The school children were still in bed and the bus had stopped by around 7:00 a.m.

Joseph, 14, quickly milked our cow Bessie and did the other chores while daughter Lovina, 12, and son Kevin, 11, helped pack lunches and made each of them a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast. I called our friend Beth and asked if she would give the children a ride to school which she did. They arrived at school a half hour late. What a way to start the day! Joseph and Kevin were awake lying in bed but said they thought there might have been a fog delay and I left them sleep in. They had fun teasing me that they were tardy because I slept in.

Tomorrow at 5:30 a.m. we head for Berne, Indiana, to attend the wedding at brother Amos and Nancy’s for their daughter Arlene, marrying Robert.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Timothy’s cousin Paul’s wife, Mary. She was a passenger in a minivan which was rear-ended while they were waiting for a semi-truck in front of them to turn. She has multiple injuries and a long recovery ahead. Life has changed for their family. May God be with them as they go through this difficult trial in life. We wish her a complete and speedy recovery. The driver of the minivan Mary was riding in was killed instantly and our sympathy goes to his family. The funeral will be held at the local funeral home tomorrow. He was well known in the community and worked as a driver for Paul and Mary’s sawmill for years. We never know what our future holds.

I will share this recipe. It is a well-liked meal around here. God bless!

Italian Sausage and Potatoesitaliansausagepeppersbread

6 potatoes, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
2 large green peppers, sliced
2 pounds Italian sausage (sweet, mild, or hot; prefer Johnsonville        Brand, 5 links in each package cut in thirds)
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 9×13 pan covered (I use size larger) for 1/2 hour at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and drain. Cut sausage in pieces and add to potato mixture. Continue cooking for one hour or until sausage is done. Some broil this to finish cooking, uncovered, until sausage is browned.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.