Painting project combines work with family visits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll share my recipe for meatloaf. Enjoy!

God’s blessings to all!

 

Meatloaf

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

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

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

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Autumn orchard visit for apples and grapes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Church Noodles

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

Drain broth off meat into a 12-quart kettle. Set meat aside. Add water, chicken base, and salt to broth. Heat to boiling. Add meat, noodles, and cream of chicken soup and bring to a boil again. Put lid on, turn off heat, and let sit for one hour. If you can’t let it sit for an hour, simmer for 10-15 minutes and it should be ready in 30 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

A day in the life of Lovina Eicher’s family

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Egg Dutch

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

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

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

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Welcoming autumn with pecan pies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will share the recipe for pecan pie this week.

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

Pecan Pie

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

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

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

 

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

Autumn weather and pumpkin torte

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pumpkin Torte

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

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

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

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

An Amish baptismal service and wedding Nothings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amish Wedding Nothings, or Knee Patches

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

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

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

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

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

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

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.