Susan’s wedding is past, but the leftovers remain

It’s Thursday again, and my plan to have this column on its way yesterday failed. The weeks still fly by since the wedding is past!

Three little pigs are great ways to get rid of excess garden produce.
Three little pigs? What great ways to get rid of excess garden produce!

Our refrigerators are finally getting emptier. With all the wedding leftovers, they were packed. The garden is also getting emptied quickly. The boys pulled the rest of the corn, green beans, zucchini and cucumbers. They brought in red beets and hot peppers that are waiting to be canned, as well as tomatoes that need to be made into juice or something. After a busy summer, I really don’t mind if the garden is done early. Our tomatoes had blight but are doing better. We made the old-fashioned remedy—a mixture of raw milk and water—and sprayed the plants several times. It seemed to help. Our cow Bessie provides us with more than enough milk to use. We now have three little piggies that help drink the milk and eat all the excess garden vegetables.

Our new chickens still aren’t laying, but the old chickens provide enough for us yet. I was glad to have sister Emma and Jacob share their eggs for the wedding. Last year for Timothy and Elizabeth’s wedding I didn’t have to buy any eggs, as we had plenty of our own. It takes a lot of eggs to make the noodles, pies, dressing and other food at a wedding.

Sunday, August 14, was Timothy and Elizabeth’s first anniversary. We took barbecued chicken in and stayed to eat with them. Mose and Susan were also there. Most couples around this community save the top tier of their wedding cake and put it in the freezer until their first anniversary. But Timothy and Elizabeth didn’t get theirs out yet, as they still had cake from Mose and Susan’s wedding.

Lovina and her daughters canned two bushels of peaches last week.
Lovina and her daughters canned two bushels of peaches last week.

We canned and froze two bushels of peaches for Mose and Susan and us. I have another bushel on order. Last week we went to help daughter Elizabeth on Tuesday and Friday. We cleaned her basement and canned tomato juice and salsa for her on Tuesday. Then on Friday we washed off some walls and ceilings and cleaned her whole house. We also washed windows, curtains and bedding. I think she felt refreshed to have everything cleaned. She had been sewing for the wedding and helping here so much that her cleaning was neglected. Today she comes here to spend the day with us. We will probably do some canning.

We had a lot of rain on Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning. We had a total of 4.25 inches. The ground was so dry and needed it badly. Half of our huge load of laundry on Monday wasn’t quite dry when the rain started. Hanging outside in all that rain, it was wetter when we brought it in than when we put it out! Yesterday we had a nice day, so we just rewashed it all. So we ended up having an extra big laundry yesterday. We had a very nice day to dry everything.

My dad’s cousin Dave from this area passed away, and his funeral was on the same day as Mose and Susan’s wedding. Joe and I took some time the evening before the wedding to go to the viewing and visitation. Our sympathy goes out to his wife, Ruth, and family. Their daughter Sherri was a teacher to several of our children in the recent years. Ruth is a cousin to Joe’s dad, so we saw relatives there from both of our families. Dad’s cousin Leroy from Ohio stopped in at Mose and Susan’s wedding after the funeral to say “Hi” to all my family that was here.

I still remember that when I was a little girl, our family would go to visit dad’s uncle Mose and Amanda Coblentz in Hartville, Ohio. Mose and Amanda were Dave and LeRoy’s parents. The part I remember the most was the hills in their yard and the fun of running down them.

I will share the green bean recipe we used at the wedding. God bless you all!

Green Beans

2 pounds green beans
1/4 cup onions
salt to taste
3 tablespoons butter, browned
1/4 cup bacon bits
salt and pepper
seasoning salt

Cook green beans and onions until tender. Add salt as desired. Drain. Add browned butter to green beans and stir to coat. Continue to heat until the green beans are steaming hot. Add the bacon bits along with salt, pepper and seasoning salt.

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 details the joy and work of her daughter’s wedding

WeddingDawn

We had a nice but warm day for the wedding of Mose and Susan, our second oldest daughter. There was a light rain in the forenoon, but it didn’t last long. We are very much in need of rain. The grass is turning brown everywhere.

On the Monday before the wedding, we washed laundry and my friend Ruth took us shopping for the many, many groceries that we needed for the wedding. We bought 400 pounds of potatoes and have only 75 pounds left after the wedding. We bought 600 pounds of freshly butchered chicken but only grilled 500 pounds the day of the wedding.

Food2

Our menu for the wedding meals consisted of mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, dressing, barbecued chicken, green beans, corn, broccoli and cauliflower salad, cheese, bread, butter and strawberry jam.TurningBBQchicken2 Desserts were: strawberry, pecan and cherry pies (we had over 75 pies altogether); angel food cake; a fruit mixture of watermelon, musk melon, pineapple and green and purple grapes; and cinnamon pudding. Ice cream was added to the evening meal.

BridalParty2Wedding services were held at neighbors Joas and Susan’s. The couple chose to be married at 11:30 a.m. A meal followed soon after here at our place. All the guests came over to our house after the services were over. Supper was also served at 5:30 and 7:00 p.m. At 7:00 p.m. the table waiters, family and the youth ate and then stayed seated to sing the songs picked by the bride and groom. Sundaes and punch were served to the table waiters and family.

More than fifty cooks helped prepare the food. Some came Wednesday to bake pies and cakes and Nothings (see last week’s column for a description and recipe for Amish Wedding Nothings). The rest came Thursday to chop vegetables for dressing, salad, etc. They finished whatever else had to be done.

Mose and Susan gave these plaques to the table waiters at their wedding as thank-you gifts.
Mose and Susan gave these plaques to the table waiters at their wedding as thank-you gifts.

Sixteen couples were table waiters. Usually, those picked for table waiter are brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends. Six coffee servers served the coffee. The extra helpers passed out the guest book, and pens with Mose and Susan’s names and wedding date on it. Susan and Mose also appointed some girls as babysitters to help the cooks with their children.

Witnesses were Mose’s brother Alvin and his wife Suzy, and Mose’s brother Freeman and daughter Verena. As mothers of the couple, we wore sage color dresses. Table waiter girls wore mint green dresses, and the boys wore white shirts, black pants and vests. The bride wore a green dress with a white cape and apron. Suzy and Verena wore another shade of green. The family wore grass green–colored dresses. The cooks were asked to wear hunter green. By now you can tell that Susan’s favorite color is green! The groom and witnesses also wore black pants and vests with white shirts.

Susan had a local Amish lady make her three-tiered wedding cake. It was all white with white decorations. Fresh flowers were put on top for a cake topper. The tables were lined with mint green tablecloths. Grass green napkins with Mose and Susan’s names and wedding date were used. Mose and Susan made the centerpieces with wood and horseshoes and a vase of flowers in the middle.

This wall hanging hung near the table where the bridal party ate at Mose and Susan's reception.
This wall hanging hung near the table where the bridal party ate at Mose and Susan’s reception.

We could seat 360 people at one sitting for the meal. I still haven’t gone through the guestbook to count the total number of guests that day. I can write more in a future column.

Mose and Susan are both back to work. We made living quarters in part of our pole barn until they find a property suitable for them. It’s nice to have them close by. They hooked up their gas stove and refrigerator this week. A few more adjustments have to be made, and I think it will be a very nice place for them to live.

Other news: Joe’s sister Esther and David from Ohio were blessed with their first child, David Tyrel. He was born August 9. Esther is 42 years old, and we are glad she could finally carry a baby full term. God is good! We wish them God’s blessings and also all of you wonderful readers. More on the wedding in future columns!

Strawberry Pie

Serves 6 to 8

Crust
1 1/2 cup all-purpose four
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons sugar

Filling

1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup water
3 tablespoons strawberry-flavored gelatin
a few drops red food coloring (optional)
6 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

To make crust: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together flour, salt, oil, milk and sugar in a medium bowl. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake until golden, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

To make filling: Combine sugar, cornstarch, corn syrup and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil about 5 minutes until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in gelatin and food coloring. Let cool until lukewarm. Add the strawberries and pour into cooled crust. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

 

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.

 

 

An Eicher family friend lifts the veil on Susan’s wedding preparations

Editor’s Note: Lovina Eicher is busy with preparations for her daughter Susan’s wedding. Guest columnist Ruth Boss, an “English” friend of Lovina’s, provides a ringside seat for the big August 5 wedding.

Wedding preparations have been in full swing all week for Susan and Mose’s wedding this Friday. Last Saturday the wedding wagons were delivered: a cook wagon, a refrigerated wagon, and a supply wagon holding all the serving dishes, plates and silverware.

Family members and friends pitched in to get the tables set up in the shed, or pole barn. Susan has chosen green for her wedding color, so cooks, table waiters, attendants, coffee servers, family members and anyone else helping will be wearing hunter green, sage, mint, or grass green shades.

Friends, neighbors and family came by buggy to help during the days before Susan and Mose's wedding
Friends, neighbors and family came by buggy to help during the days before Susan and Mose’s wedding.

The cooks began arriving very early Wednesday morning. By 7 a.m. the cook wagon was filled with women making cinnamon pudding. It is baked and will be cut into small pieces and layered with whipped topping and topped with nuts. It can be served right out of the pan as a cake. Other cooks started making the angel food cakes, all made from scratch. Some of the egg whites that Lovina had frozen ahead of time for the wedding weren’t stiffening up, so someone was sent to Susan’s (who is a baker) house down the street to get the jar she had in her refrigerator.

Next came baking pecan pies. By now the wedding wagon was very warm, with seven ovens and cooktops going! Other pie shells were baked to be used to make fresh strawberry pie, which is Susan’s favorite. Other cooks cleaned, chopped and bagged celery, carrots and onions to be used in the dressing. Some cooked, deboned and shredded chicken to be used in the stuffing and noodles.

Women helping Lovina prepare for the wedding made many classic, lattice-topped cherry pies.
Women helping Lovina prepare for the wedding made many classic, lattice-topped cherry pies.

At mid-morning, all the women stopped for a coffee break with cookies and bars that the women had brought to share. Family members and friends who don’t live close by used this opportunity to catch up on news from back home. Neighbors chatted about their families, new recipes and local news. Some of the cooks are young mothers and brought their young children with them. The older children seem to enjoy watching over the babies as their moms work.

Next, Lovina’s sisters began the time-consuming job of making “Nothings,” which are a traditional wedding treat from their home town of Berne, Indiana. Nothings are made from special dough that is rolled thin and then deep-fat fried. This is very hard work, and it took the sisters a few hours to get all the dough rolled. Once the Nothings are puffy, they are taken out of the oil, drained and topped with sugar. The stacks of Nothings were covered and will be passed at the meal as a special treat.

BrocAndCalifSaladAt noon, the helpers enjoyed a delicious meal of casseroles, salads and desserts, all provided by the cooks. All together there are 52 cooks helping with the wedding. They will make homemade bread, chop broccoli and cauliflower for salad, clean strawberries and finish up whatever else needs to be done. All the cooks will assemble the morning of the wedding to peel and cook potatoes, assemble hot foods to cook, and prepare salads. They will ready dishes to begin the first serving at about noon, after the marriage ceremony, which will start about 9 a.m.

This is a big undertaking! What strikes me as I observe the work being done is that there is no arguing or complaining from anyone. Everyone is excited and willing to work. There is laughter and horseplay. The Amish focus a lot on family togetherness and don’t have many of the distractions that we English people have. Lovina’s family is close-knit and loving. They have hard times and disappointments like everyone else, but their faith in God and close family sustains them through those times.

The table, or "eck corner," for the wedding party is set days in advance, as the family finishes final details.
The table, or “eck corner,” for the wedding party is set days in advance, as the family finishes final details.

This week, as the Eicher family gets ready for Mose and Susan’s big day, will be filled with hard work, amazing food, good conversation and lots of laughter.

Here is a recipe for a small quantity of Amish Wedding Nothings.

NothingsOnTables2Amish Wedding Nothings

1 egg, well beaten
3/4 cup cream (3 large “cook spoons” of heavy cream)
salt
2 cups flour
½ cup powdered sugar (for topping only)
2-3 cups shortening (for frying, may need to adjust for size of pan or kettle)

Beat egg and stir in cream, salt, and enough flour to make elastic dough. Make 6 or 7 balls out of the dough. Roll out each ball of dough very flat and thin, about 1/16-inch think. Cut about six 3-inch slits in the middle of the circles.

Heat shortening in a large kettle over high heat (or use an electric frying pan with a temperature control). When the shortening is 365 degrees, test a piece of dough to see if it sizzles; put a rolled-out Nothing into the kettle or fry pan. Fry one at a time, unless you have a huge kettle. Turn each piece over with forks or large spatula once it turns golden on the bottom. Remove from oil and place on plate covered with paper towels to drain. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top while warm. Stack the Nothings on top of each other to serve. Makes 6-7.

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.

Eicher family makes final preparations for Amish wedding

WeddingNoodlesIt is Thursday morning  as I write this, [July 28], and time keeps moving on faster and faster it seems. The wedding is tomorrow in a week! It’s getting too close for comfort! Tomorrow evening the wedding cook wagon, the cooler, and the trailer with the tables, dishes, etc. will arrive.

Saturday Mose’s family, Jacob, Emma and family, Verena and Susan (my sisters), Timothy and Elizabeth, and a few friends will come help set the tables for the wedding in the pole barn. The wedding wagon comes with a 350-place setting. We finished and insulated the other part of the pole barn so we can spread out the tables a little more. It seems you can never have too much space.

I still need to go shop for a lot of groceries. My list keeps getting longer and longer! It will be a relief once we have all the groceries. It’s easier to wait to get the groceries until the walk-in cooler and cook wagon are here so that we can put everything in there.

Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin are washing down the walls in the pole barn. Verena and Loretta will clean the windows once they finish their list of things to do in the house. My list of cleaning keeps getting smaller and smaller.WeddingNoodles

On Friday, sisters Verena, Susan, and Emma, and daughter Elizabeth came to help put 228 eggs into noodles. We have over 30 pounds of noodles made for the wedding now.

On Saturday, Timothy, Elizabeth, and sisters Verena and Susan came again to help. Verena and Susan had the pleasure of cleaning the boys’ bedroom. Daughters Verena and Susan and I were organizing drawers, the closet, etc., and trying to stay ahead of my sisters. The room looks so much better but I wonder for how long. It should stay cleaner after the wedding since Benjamin will move all his things into Susan’s bedroom. With just Joseph and Kevin’s things maybe it will stay more organized. Kevin has a bad habit of collecting everything, which doesn’t help.

Joseph still didn’t get a birthday cake but we have been so busy. Joseph said he can wait until after the wedding if we don’t find time before, but hopefully Sunday we will be able to. I don’t know what we would have done without Joseph’s help. He has done so many jobs for us that the girls and I couldn’t do.

Yesterday Mose’s mother Rosanna, his sisters Hannah and Linda, his sister-in-law Suzanne, my sister Emma, and daughter Elizabeth assisted us in our work. Hannah has four little children and Suzanne has a little boy. She also brought along Mose’s sister LeAnna’s little girl. Kevin and Steven helped keep the little ones entertained. Mose was here helping all day, too. He started a new job at an RV factory today. I hope he will like it. It will take a lot off him not to be running after saw mill parts all the time.

My neighbor Susan came over to help me get my grocery list ready and help see how much of everything I need. She took the pants I had cut out for Kevin and said she will get her daughter Barbara to sew them. I really appreciated that! I have my dress sewn and this afternoon I want to sew my cape and apron.

Daughter Susan was off work yesterday. She somehow hurt her shoulder and was having a lot of pain. She was still sore this morning but said she can’t miss another day. I really hope she doesn’t make it worse. She has an appointment after work today to get it checked out. Hopefully it will heal quickly.

I must get back to my work. Take care everyone and God’s blessings to all of you! Try this cabbage sausage soup with cabbage out of your garden.

Cabbage Sausage Soup

4 cups water
1 tablespoon chicken soup base
1 small cabbage, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 pound smoked sausage, fully cooked
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Velveeta cheese to taste

Bring water, soup base, cabbage, and onion to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until cabbage is tender. Halve sausage lengthwise and slice. Add sausage and heat through. Combine flour, salt, pepper, and milk in a gravy shaker. Shake until smooth; gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened. Add cheese to taste.

 

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.

 

Dilemma: calculating how many noodles to make for hundreds of wedding guests

 

It is Thursday morning and it looks like we will have another hot day. Yesterday’s temperature reached the nineties and the humidity was high. The humidity is high again this morning so we want to get everything done we can outside before it gets too hot.

I have a breakfast casserole in the oven for our breakfast. Joseph is out milking Bessie our cow. I decided to write this column first thing this morning since I’m already a day later than usual. Daughters Elizabeth and Lovina will soon be here. Lovina went to Elizabeth’s house yesterday morning and now Elizabeth is coming over here to help clean and cook for Susan’s upcoming wedding. Lovina is always so excited when she gets to go to Elizabeth’s house.

Tomorrow my three sisters who live in this area will come help make noodles for the wedding. I want to make more than last time, as they used all we had made for Elizabeth’s wedding. I would rather have more than enough of everything than to run out of something. It takes a lot of brain work to make sure you have plenty of food on hand for over 1,000 guests in a day.

Lovina and Kevin picked over five gallons of green beans this week. GreenBeansThey cleaned them and I put them in the freezer. If the green beans keep doing well, that might be the vegetable we have at one of the wedding meals. I fixed some green beans one night this week. I diced onions, potatoes, and carrots in with them. Then I added crumbled bacon. Everyone liked the green beans a lot better fixed that way.

Joseph will be fourteen on Sunday, July 24. That will conclude the BensBirthdayCakeJuly birthdays in this family. Sister Emma turned forty-three on July 19 so I want to wish her a happy birthday. Her husband Jacob is planning a surprise birthday party tomorrow night for her. She will be here helping during the day so they should be able to sneak around her. We hope she will be surprised!

I should also mention that no matter if Mother isn’t here anymore, she is always remembered on her birthday. On July 18 she would have been 80 years old. She was a great mother to all of us children. We have so many good memories of her.

The porch deck is all stained now. That was a big job! Joe took all the vinyl railings off so we had it easier to stain. Now he’s put the railings back on. Sons Benjamin and Joseph are staining the ramp today. Hopefully they will beat the heat. It has rows and rows of railings (wooden) that need to be stained. It’s all time consuming but it will help preserve the wood better. I was helping the other evening with it and I had my share of it. I’m glad they will do the rest. I like painting walls a lot more than staining and I don’t even like to paint.

This is now after breakfast. Elizabeth and Lovina are here. Elizabeth is cutting out Kevin’s pants for the wedding. We want to wash laundry. There are so many unfinished jobs for the wedding that I have a hard time deciding where to start. I am starting to get a little nervous as time gets closer and closer. I want to try and stay calm and think everything will fall into place at the end.

Elizabeth always brings her dogs Crystal and Izzy along. This morning we heard meowing in the buggy. She is giving milk to two kittens which were orphaned when the mother cat was killed on the road. They look like they are doing well. The boys were teasing her about bringing two dogs, then two kittens, and wondered what she will bring two of next time. Kevin suggested that it will probably be ducks.

I must get back to work. Take care everyone! God’s blessings to all!

Zucchini Fritters

2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup flour
1 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 or 2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Mix together. Drop like patties in skillet and fry. You can omit the onion and pepper and make them just plain if you like.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of GreenBeanseight. 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding work frolic planned; sister promises eggs to help make wedding noodles

FrontPorch
Not much time to relax on the porch these days …

Today, 17 years ago, our oldest son was born to us after having three daughters. I remember seeing the look on my husband Joe’s face when he told me “It’s a boy!” He loved his daughters too but was excited to have a son. Benjamin was only four pounds and thirteen ounces at birth and caught the flu at a few weeks old. He ended up in the hospital and went down to four pounds. He was just a tiny baby but now he is far from that. We will give him a tool chest on wheels with various tools tonight. He enjoys working with tools and doing construction work.

Tonight in honor of Benjamin’s birthday, 20 to 25 youth will gather at our local Pizza Hut. Benjamin loves pizza so he will enjoy that and also being with his friends. Daughter Verena called Pizza Hut to reserve seats for all of them. I will need to make a cake for Ben but might wait until Saturday to have cake and ice cream since he won’t be home tonight.

Benjamin didn’t have to go to work yesterday so he and our son Joseph were mowing our pasture field with our big walk behind mower. It helps keep the weeds out to mow it down every once in a while.

Saturday we are having a “work frolic” for anyone who wants to come help us prepare for the wedding. Joe ordered material to insulate and finish the other end of the pole barn. We will use both parts of the building for the wedding and be able to spread out. Mose will be here to help but none of his family will be able to make it. Mose’s older brother Joe is getting married September 2 and that wedding will be at Mose’s parents’ house. They put up a new pole barn and are working on finishing that too. Hopefully we will get plenty of help to get a lot done.

We also want to have someone put a roof coating on our barn roof. We are springing a few leaks, so that should help. Joe also ordered stain for our ramp and deck. We wanted to let the wood season awhile before we apply the stain. The wedding is three weeks away so we need to keep busy. Joe has to work Saturday in a week so that’s one Saturday less for him to get ready.

I still haven’t made noodles for the wedding. Our chickens have not been laying so well. We have new ones started but they won’t lay eggs for a few months. We will butcher the older chickens and can the broth once the new hens are laying eggs. We like to get new hens every two years. I will use all my chicken broth I have left at the wedding so I will need more. The broth is used in the noodles and dressing.

Sister Emma and sons were here assisting us with our work yesterday. She said I can have some of their eggs to make noodles for the wedding.

I have had enough pickles to make three batches of freezer pickles. I am clear out of any canned or freezer pickles. Hopefully my plants keep doing well so I can restock with those. Plans are that church will be here in October so I want to have plenty of pickles.

Today I want to try and get started sewing my dress for the wedding. I once again have put it off too long.

Friday sisters Verena and Susan will come help me with some more cleaning. Daughter Elizabeth plans to come as well.

On Friday, July 15, Joe and I will have our twenty-third wedding anniversary. Twenty-three years! How can that be possible? I am blessed to be married to a kind, loving husband. Every marriage has ups and downs but with God’s help it all ends up making our love stronger for each other. Without God in a marriage, I can’t imagine it working well. God’s love for us is unconditional. May He bless each of you!

Cucumbers are the crop of choice in Lovina’s garden right now, and this week she shares a favorite recipe for cucumber salad.
Cucumbers to make a few batches of Freezer Pickles.

Freezer Pickles

Makes about 4 pints

I store these in large containers in the freezer so when I have church I can serve them for the meal afterward. But I can also freeze them in smaller containers so we can eat them at home on sandwiches. It is really surprising how crisp they are. These pickles will stay good in the freezer for up to a year. They taste so fresh and crunchy. The making of these pickles does stretch out over three days, so plan accordingly!

4 to 5 cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons salt
1 large onion, sliced
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

Day 1: Put the cucumbers, salt, and onion in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Day 2: Drain the juice from the cucumbers. Combine the sugar and vinegar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over the cucumbers. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Day 3: Take the pickles out of the refrigerator and pack into a freezer-safe container(s). Pour the syrup over the pickles and freeze until ready to use.

 

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.

 

Parasailing, fireworks, waterfalls, and reunion highlight Eicher vacation

Wednesday evening—everyone is taking it easy tonight. Mose, daughters Susan and Verena, and son Benjamin went fishing . We put in a long day so it was relaxing to them to go take the boat on the lake. The rest of us are outside around a campfire. It is so peaceful out here. We had a nice day to do laundry. It was extra big since we just arrived home from our trip last night around 7:30 p.m.

We left at 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning with our whole family. We headed north to Hersey, Michigan, to Joe’s sister Christine and husband Jake for a family gathering. Seven out of twelve siblings were there. People came from Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. We were served a delicious dinner. On the menu were mashed potatoes and gravy, buttered peas, green beans, barbequed chicken, several different varieties of cheese, pie (cherry, pecan, and apple), and ice cream. Everyone brought snacks for the afternoon. A lot of the families went Friday already. Before we prayed to eat, we sang four songs together. Tables were set up in the basement so there was enough room to sit. I don’t have an accurate count but I think there were around 70 people that could attend.

Some played volleyball and other games, while others just visited. TahquamenonFallsMichWe left around 3:15 p.m. to drive another three plus hours. We stayed at a motel across the Mackinac Bridge. We drove on up to see the Soo Locks and then the Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls. What a sight to see! All such wonders of God’s artistic touch. How relaxing it was to hear the water running. We rented row boats so we could get closer to the falls and also walked around some in the water.

We also stopped at Deer Ranch, Mystery Spot, and Garlyn Zoo. We watched the fireworks from the front lawn of the motel on the fourth of July. And before we started for home we went parasailing. But I just stayed on the boat and watched the others. The rope for the parachute goes out 300 feet. It was an exciting adventure for the ones that went up. My husband Joe and son Kevin went up together. Kevin looked a little scared at first, but still enjoyed the ride.

It is always nice to take a break from work and get away for a while. I was ready to get back home. There’s no place like home even though coming home meant resuming work. Joe, Susan, and Benjamin are all off work this week for the July 4 vacation week. Susan’s wedding is just four weeks away so we need to get everything done that we can.

Daughter Elizabeth has been a great help to me with getting the sewing done for the wedding. We have to cut out and sew pants for Kevin yet, and I need to sew my own dress. It’s cut out and my goal is to get that sewn next week, but I’m behind on my goals a lot lately.

Daughter Loretta is sixteen now and can join the youth group. It Loretta16thBirthdayseems empty when they leave for the community building to gather with the youth on Saturday evenings. The three youngest children are the only ones home with Joe and I.

Mose, Susan, Verena, and Benjamin are back from fishing now. They didn’t catch any but had a relaxing time on the lake.

Corn detasseling has started in this area. Son Joseph isn’t old enough to sign up for it yet. They have to be fourteen years old to go now. It used to be thirteen when Elizabeth, Susan, and Verena went. The humidity is really high so I can imagine the hot days they will have walking those corn fields.

Jacob (sister Emma’s husband) and sons did our chores for us while we were gone. We really appreciated that. I know it had to take extra time to come over twice a day to milk our cow Bessie and do the other chores. A big thank-you to them! Hopefully we can return the favor sometime.

God’s blessings to all!

Thunder Cake

1 cup shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup tomato purée
3 eggs, separated
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons soda
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon salt

Cream together (adding one at a time) shortening, sugar, vanilla, water, and tomato purée. Blend in egg yolks. Beat egg whites until stiff then fold into shortening mixture. Into a medium bowl sift flour, soda, cocoa, and salt then mix into creamy mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes in 2 greased and floured 8 1/2-inch round pans.

 

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. 

 

 

Cleaning house for Susan’s wedding, Eichers save worst bedroom for last . . .

We are wrapping up the month of June. The year 2016 is now already halfway done. Amazing how time seems to go faster and faster. The wedding for Mose and Susan is only five weeks away. It’s getting too close way too fast for me!

We still want to make noodles for the wedding, and there is still a lot of cleaning that needs to be done. Sisters Verena and Susan were helping us Saturday. The girls’ bedrooms upstairs are all cleaned. We saved the worst for last: the boys’ bedroom. I have been organizing in there. After the wedding, Benjamin will move into Susan’s bedroom. Joseph and Benjamin share a lot of the same clothes. We are separating the clothes so half of them can get moved into Benjamin’s bedroom. Susan has quite a bit of her own furniture in her bedroom, so the room will look empty.

As of now, Mose and Susan plan to make living quarters in a small part of our pole building until they find a place suitable for them to live. I am happy Susan won’t be moving off the property yet. She and Mose both will be working, and this way she won’t have to keep a house going.

After Joe and I were married, we lived with my dad and mom until Elizabeth was born. We then moved into a trailer house across the driveway until after Susan was born. We then moved to a place about two and a half miles from there. That is where we lived until our move to Michigan in 2004.

Now it is 2016, and daughter Loretta will be sixteen on July 1. We will have pizza and ice cream cake tomorrow evening in honor of her birthday. Loretta and Lovina share a bedroom. Loretta doesn’t like anything out of place, and her bed is made every day. Lovina gets annoyed at the neatness and is learning fast that her end of the room has to stay “cleaned up” as well. If I let things clutter up too much, Loretta takes over cleaning up my things. It’s good to have someone stay organized after working in the boys’ bedroom. I teased them and said we are going to put Loretta in charge of cleaning their bedroom. They said she would probably call their treasures “junk.”

Tomorrow we are invited to the wedding of one of Joe’s coworkers, Joseph and Edna. We won’t be able to attend but appreciate the invitation. Another of Joe’s coworkers, Jerry, was married to Diane on June 16. We were all invited but unable to attend. We wish God’s blessings to both young couples. May they have a long and happy married life together, letting God lead their way.

Lovina’s husband, Joe, loves salad for lunch, and right now all the vegetables for his salad come from their garden.
Lovina’s husband, Joe, loves salad for lunch, and right now all the vegetables for his salad come from their garden.

Today is Joe’s last day in the factory until July 11. His vacation won’t be much of a vacation, though, with the upcoming wedding to prepare for. We will take a few days off and take the whole family up north for a few days. I’ll write more about that next week.

Saturday, July 2, Joe’s sister Christine and Jake have Joe’s family gathering at their house. They live around three hours from here in Hersey, Michigan.

Last Sunday, Jacob and sister Emma and family, my sisters Verena and Susan, and Timothy and Elizabeth were all here for a fish fry, with Joe cooking. He also made French fries. Verena and Susan each brought a salad, and Emma and Elizabeth brought desserts, so it was an easy lunch for me. We set up tables on the porch to eat. The men and boys enjoyed playing croquet in the afternoon while the rest of us just visited and relaxed.

Cucumbers are the crop of choice in Lovina’s garden right now, and this week she shares a favorite recipe for cucumber salad.
Cucumbers are the crop of choice in Lovina’s garden right now, and this week she shares a favorite recipe for cucumber salad.

Our cucumbers are really getting ready fast. We are enjoying cucumber salad a lot. I’ll share this recipe with you. May God bless each of you always!

Cucumber and Onion Salad

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1–2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
1/2 cup onions, sliced

Mix first four ingredients well to make the dressing. Add cucumbers and onion. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Serve cold.

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.

What do you do when the puppy thinks your flower bed is a playground?

It is a cool June morning with temperatures only in the low 60s. I had to close a few windows as it was chilly with them all open. Summer is officially here now.

It seems empty around here. My husband Joe, daughter Susan, and son Benjamin are working. Daughter Lovina is staying at Elizabeth and Timothy’s house for a few days.

On Sunday we attended church at Mose’s parent’s house. They just recently put up a new building, so the services were held in there. We were served a good lunch, plus—in honor of Father’s Day—ice cream, strawberries, and brownies were served.

Mose’s mother has so many beautiful flowers. She has a flower garden and grows all kinds of flowers, herbs, spices, and teas. They have some of their garden planted in raised beds, and are able to cover that up as a greenhouse in the colder spring months. They have big tomatoes hanging from their plants already. Also their sweet onions are big. They are harvesting red potatoes too. With the raised beds, weeding is so much easier.

Jacob and Emma and family and my sisters Verena and Susan also went to church there. We ended up all going to Jacob and Emma’s house for supper. Timothy and Elizabeth came over for awhile after supper.

Our children gave my husband Joe a propane fish deep fryer for Father’s Day, as well as a grill light and grill utensils. He was really happy! Monday evening he deep-fried fish and French fries here on the front porch. It worked very well, and we all could eat outside. Joe loves cooking outside, and I’m not going to complain. It’s so nice to get a break from it.

Yesterday sister Verena hosted a Pampered Chef party. Niece Rosa was the consultant. Her mom (my sister Liz) also came to Michigan with Rosa for the party. Daughter Elizabeth came through here and picked us up to go to the party. Five out of us six sisters were there, as sister Emma came as well. So sister Leah was the only one not there. The party was a big success, and Verena earned lots of free items.

All the ladies and girls helped prepare lunch using the Pampered Chef pans and utensils. It was fun, and there was lots of laughter while everyone did their job. While the food was in the oven we played a game and were introduced to the various products. I already have quite a few Pampered Chef items in my kitchen and love them.

After everyone enjoyed the lunch, they all left for home. My sisters and I, as well as our daughters who were able to attend, visited for awhile. When my daughters watch us sisters visit, they always say that everyone is talking and no one is listening. (I don’t think it’s quite that bad!) Daughter Lovina went home with Elizabeth after the party.

Keeping Benjamin’s new puppy out of the flower beds has been a challenge for the Eichers, but these petunias and salvia look healthy.
Keeping Benjamin’s new puppy out of the flower beds has been a challenge for the Eichers, but these petunias and salvia look healthy.

Son Benjamin bought a part coon, part Australian Shepherd puppy from our neighbors. It is a brother to the puppy Timothy and Elizabeth have. The boys want to train it to hunt raccoons. I have not been too enthused about little “Buster.” He seems to think my flower beds are his playground. Mose bought flowers and replanted some of the flowers in my flower beds because they were made for full sun and were getting too much shade. Mose takes after his mother and is a pro with flowers. I, on the other hand, do better with vegetables in the garden. Needless to say, Mose has my flower beds looking very nice!

Lovina enjoys growing a variety of vegetables in her large garden.
Lovina enjoys growing a variety of vegetables in her large garden.

I will share with you one of the recipes that I helped to make at the party: Taco Ring. It was delicious! God’s blessings to all!

Taco Ring

4 cups ground beef, browned and drained
1 (1.25-ounce) package taco seasoning
1 cup (4 ounces) cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons water
2 (8-ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
1 medium green bell pepper
1 cup salsa
3 cups lettuce, shredded
1 medium tomato
1/4 cup onion
1/2 cup pitted olives
sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine browned and drained ground beef, taco seasoning, cheese, and water. Unroll crescent rolls and separate into triangles in a circle on large round pan, with wide ends overlapping in center and points toward the outside. There should be a 5-inch diameter opening. With a medium scoop, scoop meat mixture onto widest end of each triangle. Bring points of triangles up and tuck under wide ends of dough at center of ring. Bake 20–25 minutes or until golden brown. Cut off top of bell pepper, discard top membranes and seeds and fill pepper with salsa. Garnish dough with sour cream and then decorate with lettuce, tomato, onions and olives. Place pepper in the middle of the ring. Slice and serve.

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.

Summer menus major in strawberries and family memories

We are halfway through June! It is a lovely but warm evening. Everyone has retired for the night except daughter Verena, who is reading on the porch swing, and me. I am also on the porch, writing at the patio table. I’m enjoying the peacefulness. God has created such a wonderful world, and people do not appreciate it enough. How often we get so caught up in the busyness of life that we don’t even notice the beauty of it all. I’m watching two hummingbirds that are buzzing by the feeder. They are such tiny birds but can make quite a lot of racket!

Today was a warm day to travel to town with the buggy and our horse, Mighty. Daughter Lovina, 12, and son Kevin, 10, had appointments at the eye doctor. Lovina needs glasses now, but Kevin’s eyes test very well yet. I was able to pick up my new glasses as well.

My husband, Joe, made supper on the charcoal grill tonight to keep the heat out of the house. I appreciate that, especially after coming home from town late in the day. Verena and Loretta had cleaned out some more cabinets while I was gone.

Yesterday, June 14, was daughter Elizabeth’s twenty-second birthday. How can it be that our firstborn is already that old? Lovina has been spending Monday night and Tuesday with Elizabeth. Timothy and Elizabeth brought her home last night, and I made one of Elizabeth’s favorite meals, since it was her birthday. On the menu: mashed potatoes, beef gravy, macaroni and cheese, corn, lettuce salad, sliced cheese and strawberries and ice cream.

Elizabeth22birthdaycakeEdited

Our whole family went to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house on Saturday in honor of Elizabeth’s birthday. We all spent the night there and stayed until Sunday evening. It was an in-between Sunday, and so we didn’t have a church service that morning. We had such a good time as a family—making memories.

PepperPoppers Grilling Timothy had the grill going to make supper outside. We all gathered around the fire after supper and made s’mores. We took a cake for Elizabeth, but I forgot the candles at home. I think Elizabeth was glad I did! She thinks she’s too old for that.

On Sunday morning, Elizabeth put in the oven a big breakfast casserole, which she had prepared the day before. She also had biscuits to go with it. Also on the menu were sliced cheese, tomatoes, hot peppers, watermelon, cake, strawberries, rolls, brownies, grape and orange and rhubarb juices, coffee and chocolate milk.

After dishes were washed, we all went for a wagon ride in Timothy and Elizabeth’s big two-seated wagon. We put some chairs on to make room for all of us. We went to the lake and enjoyed snacks under the shelter there. Some went swimming in the lake. They have a nice beach area. Then we headed back to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house. The sun was out, but there was a good breeze blowing so the ride was pleasant.

We all enjoyed pizza before we headed home. The day went so fast, and I enjoyed it so much. How different to have someone else doing most of the cooking! Elizabeth does a good job. She has been blessed with a good husband. Seeing that our daughter is happily married means so much to us as parents.

Twenty-one years ago today, sister Emma and Jacob were united in marriage. Happy anniversary to them!

StrawberriesForJam

We cleaned 32 quarts of strawberries that we will make into jam tomorrow. Some of it will be for Mose and Susan’s wedding in August, and the rest will be for the freezer so we have some for another year. Strawberry jam is our favorite jam.

God’s blessing to all!

 

 

Frozen Strawberry Dessert

1 cup flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup cold butter
½ cup pecans, chopped
2 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

Combine flour and brown sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Press into an ungreased 9 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 14–16 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool. Crumble the baked pecan mixture. Set aside ½ cup for topping. Sprinkle remaining mixture back into the baking pan. In large bowl, beat strawberries, sugar and lemon juice until blended. Fold in whipped cream. Spread evenly onto dish. Sprinkle with reserved pecan mixture. Cover. Freeze for eight hours or overnight.

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.