Spring Cleaning and Tending to the Garden

We are into the first week of May. The grass is growing fast with all the rain April brought us. We need to buy a new mower. Ours last year was getting repaired constantly. I couldn’t believe what new ones are selling for now. It seems like one thing or another is giving up or needing to be repaired. It’s a part of life!

Asparagus is popping through the ground. The rhubarb plants look really nice, and spearmint and peppermint tea plants are coming up along with the weeds (already). Those who have winter onions are enjoying those. I would like to get some started again. I haven’t planted any garden yet, but we have our soil to put in the raised garden beds that Joe and the boys already built. Joe did plant some potatoes last night. He’s trying a different way of planting, so time will tell if it works.

We are mostly busy preparing for hosting church services here next time.

Yesterday I had a lot of help, and a lot was accomplished. Those assisting us with work were sisters Verena and Emma; nieces Elizabeth, Emma, and her children Jessica and Menno; daughter Elizabeth and children T.J., Allison, and Andrea; daughter Susan and Jennifer and Ryan; daughters Verena and Loretta; then after work, sons-in-law Tim and Dustin. Son Joseph came back home from his construction job as it was raining all day, so they couldn’t work.

Son Benjamin is in Traverse City, Michigan, working on a house all week. He will be back Friday evening. Traverse City is around four hours from here. I always wanted to go there for a book signing and meet the many readers from that area.

Granddaughter Abigail came off the bus here from school. She is excited that they will be going on a field trip to the zoo. Her daddy (Tim) will go with her class to help and be with her. Elizabeth couldn’t go as she breastfeeds Andrea and couldn’t take her along. It was so cute how excited Abigail was when Tim told her that he got to take off from work to go with her but that she needed to be a big helper and pick up toys. She was picking up the toys here too.

We had communion services Sunday at our neighbor’s house. Abigail was sitting between me and sister Emma while we were having communion. All the members stay standing while the children that aren’t members sit back down. When Abigail watched Emma and I get some bread and wine but not her, she told us, “That’s okay if the children don’t get any. We aren’t hungry or thirsty anyways.” She didn’t understand why only the adults got some. Then when we were washing feet, she commented to me that she washed her feet before she came so hers aren’t dirty, and she doesn’t need them washed. Such innocent little angels! I can see her growing up, even more so since she goes to school.

I made a breakfast casserole for yesterday morning, and everyone came for breakfast. Niece Emma brought a tater tot casserole for lunch. Desserts and snacks were brought in, so meals were easy. There were enough leftovers for supper as well.

The basement was thoroughly cleaned. The can room, the bathroom down there as well as the windows.

Sister Verena has been staying here a few days. She made a potato casserole to bring along when she came Monday night. It helps when we don’t have to take time to prepare meals.

Dustin and Tim were helping with jobs that needed to be done around here. They were here Saturday helping too. Joseph was cleaning out the barn. Appreciated everyone’s help. Today, daughters Verena and Susan and children and Verena’s friend Laura are coming to help.

Until next week … God bless!

 

Spaghetti Pie
6 ounces spaghetti (3 cups cooked)
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs (beaten well)
1 cup cottage cheese
1 pound of ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 pint spaghetti sauce or more as desired
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain, stir the butter in hot spaghetti, and stir in parmesan cheese and eggs. Form mixture into crust in a buttered 10-inch pie plate. Spread cottage cheese over the bottom of the spaghetti crust. Cook ground beef, onion, and green pepper until meat is brown and vegetables are soft. Drain off fat. Stir in spaghetti sauce. Heat through. Turn meat mixture into crust. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until bubbly.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Daughter Verena Shares Her Experiences

This is Lovina’s daughter Verena writing. I was in the middle of washing dishes when I got in a writing mood. I decided to write a column to help my mom, who is busy preparing for church services.

Sister Susan is cleaning up the house and sweeping the floors. Jennifer has her doll singing “Jesus Loves Me.” Ryan is down for a nap. We didn’t come home until 11 a.m. from my parents.

Yesterday we went to Dad and Mom’s place for lunch and ended up staying overnight. Sister Elizabeth, Tim, and the family came over as well. They had to hurry home as they had company coming to meet two-month-old Andrea.

Three weeks ago, I got a job offer from my neighbor Laura. She lives with her brother and family. Her dad brings down boards for me and Laura to finish. The sanding is too hard for me, so Laura does that. We really enjoy working together. I can work as many days as I want or quit working when I want. I can take breaks as needed. Laura’s dad gave me that option since he knows I have a handicap. I cannot be thankful enough for the kindness he has offered.

Susan has 12 chickens, so we get 12 eggs a day. We are loaded with eggs right now. I bought a rubber egg, and I’ve enjoyed tricking people with it. The rubber egg really does look real. I like to let everyone know that I can drop an egg without breaking it. Ha! Ha! They always think I’m talking about a hard-boiled egg. Maybe I shouldn’t write about this . . .  now my secret is out!

I’m planning on frying hamburgers tonight for supper. I like to start on supper while Susan goes out to do chores. Over winter, Susan took care of my two dogs since I couldn’t take my scooter out in the snow. I’m so happy that I can take care of them again. Hopefully, we are done with the snow.

I keep thinking about how it was a year ago. Susan and her two children were used to having Mose here. I was used to living with my parents, and I only had myself to look after. We all had to learn to live with each other. I’d say we did pretty good, although we had our trials. Susan was a housewife and always prepared the meals. The house was all she needed to take care of. The outside work was something I was not very capable of, so we knew that it was off-limits for me. I can do a lot of work inside, such as preparing meals, washing dishes, sweeping floors, mopping floors, helping with washing laundry, and folding it. But there is also much more in the house to do than just that. I am limited on many things to do in the house as well.

The change affected our whole family, especially Susan. It also affected Jennifer. She was unhappy to have me move in and also because her daddy was not here. It was something we couldn’t really explain to her. She was too young to understand. Now Jennifer wouldn’t want to leave me. When I leave the house with my scooter, she worries that I will tip over and hurt myself. I had my share of tipping over in my scooter.

One evening, I fell climbing into the bathtub because my knees gave out, and Jennifer was worried. She told Susan, “Verena will be okay; Jesus will take care of her.” That was so precious to me. Ryan is such a little flirt. He likes to give me a smile and then flutter his eyes. His giggles are contagious!

Dad made me a 3×8 foot raised garden bed. I’m going to plant my own little garden this year. Last year, Susan planted a garden, but it was too overwhelming. I want to help her this year. I was thrilled that Dad made the garden bed for me. Gardening from my scooter sounds like fun!

Sister Elizabeth and Tim are dropping off their four children: Abigail, five; T.J., three; Allison, two; and Andrea (two months). They are running some errands for them and us.

Saturday night, Elizabeth and Tim came here. Tim burned a big trash pile that had been there a while. It looks much better. They ended up staying overnight. Susan had bought a few bags of play sand to put in the sandbox. That kept the children entertained for a long time. God be with you!

Rhubarb Cake

For the cake:
4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups rhubarb, diced
2 cups milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted

For the butter sauce:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Then add 2 cups milk, melted butter, and rhubarb. Pour into a 9×13 inch cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Do not overbake, or it will be dry.

In a small saucepan, melt butter, and stir in heavy cream and sugar. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. When the cake is cooled, spread the sauce over it.

*Note—this is an eggless cake.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Celebrating Easter with Family

April has brought us a week of cooler temperatures, with the ground covered with snow one morning. It didn’t last long, and the green grass is again showing. The rhubarb and tea plants are growing as well as all the early spring flowers. We look forward to warmer weather coming to stay for the summer months ahead.

Today daughter Susan had a dentist appointment, so she left Jennifer, 4, and Ryan, 2, here while she went. They are both growing up so fast! And such precious sweeties!

Last week we attended a Norwex party and stayed for lunch at nephew John and Arlene’s house. Daughter Elizabeth and children T.J., Allison, and Andrea, daughter Susan, Jennifer, Ryan, daughter Verena, sister Verena, and I went with our friend Jodi.

After the party, we were served a delicious lunch. My husband Joe’s sisters MaryAnn and Ruth and nephew Noah’s wife Ruth were there, so we had an enjoyable time visiting as well. It is so nice to have Joe’s sister Ruth this close again. They moved from Oklahoma to a place 11 miles from our house. It is close enough to reach with a horse and buggy. Ruth’s husband Chris hasn’t been doing so great health-wise. They are in the process of building a house which can take a lot of time.

Daughter Elizabeth and the Norwex Consultant Corinna were surprised to see that they knew each other. Both have married and changed their last names since they last saw each other years ago while in their teenage years.

Nephew John was working, so we didn’t get to see him, unfortunately. John entertained our older children a lot when they were growing up by giving swing rides or pulling the little wagon, giving them ride after ride.

On Good Friday, our family came home for an Easter dinner. It is a time of renewal and rebirth of the spirit when hope is brought to life through the resurrection of the Lord.

It was a chilly day, but the children bundled up in their coats to go collect the hidden eggs. They were excited to find the eggs. This year I put little toys in the eggs instead of candy, and they enjoyed that even more. And it’s a healthier option. We played some games, and it was just a nice day being with family. Our community has “Fast and Prayer Day” on Good Friday until lunchtime. How thankful we can be that our Savior Jesus Christ died on the cross so our sins can be forgiven. I hope every one of you had a blessed Easter holiday. May the blessings of the Lord guide you, protect you, and be with you always!

I need to bake raspberry pies to take to our Amish community’s fundraiser for a few of the local fire departments. Smoked pork chops and grilled chicken will also be on the menu for the meal served Friday at our local community building.

Last night daughter Verena and her friend Laura and son Kevin and his friend Daniel traveled with horses and buggies to the community youth center for an appreciation supper for the youth and to listen to the guidelines of the youth gatherings on Saturday evenings. Verena and Laura used our horse Midnight as Susan’s horse Lightning is older and couldn’t go that far.

After they came back, we played games and visited before they headed back home.

I was glad to meet all the readers that attended the Nappanee library book signing. Thank you for all the encouragement. And thanks to daughters Verena and Lovina and son Kevin for going with me and helping out. God’s blessings!

 

Raspberry Pie
1 9-inch double pie crust
4 cups raspberries
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons tapioca
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon whole milk or cream

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mix raspberries, sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt until raspberries are well covered. Pour into a 9-inch pie shell, dot with butter, add top crust, and crimp edge. If not using a slotted crust, make slits in the crust and brush with cream. Bake for 15 minutes to set the crust, then reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbly, about 25 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Daughter Lovina Shares Her Experiences

Dear Readers,

Today I (Daughter Lovina) will be writing the column for Mom. I enjoy writing, and she likes a break from writing every once in a while. How have you all been doing?

We will have church services at our place in a little over a month, so it’s time to start doing some spring cleaning before then. It’s a Tuesday night, and I’m thinking about cleaning my bedroom from top to bottom. I’m only thinking about it, of course. I probably won’t actually get the motivation to do it for another week. Or maybe not at all, which would be a more realistic thought.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to open the curtain in my bedroom when I saw a spider sitting just behind the curtain. I jumped back and decided to leave the curtain closed because I wasn’t brave enough to get that close to a spider. The curtain is still closed to this day, and it’ll probably stay like that for all eternity.

Not too many days after that, I saw a similar one sitting in front of my dresser near the same window and almost stepped on it. I’m not sure if it’s the same spider or maybe a sister to the other one. Maybe I should have asked.

I ended up yelling for my brother Joseph to come to the rescue and kill it while I stood on the opposite side of the room. He was too slow; the spider crawled under the dresser, so I made Joseph move the dresser back and forth to find it, but it was nowhere to be found.

So now I’m avoiding that corner of my room, and it’s very frustrating and inconvenient. It seems almost as if I’m not the biggest fan of spiders. I know some people have spiders for pets, but that could never be me. Imagine how tragic that would be if I’d accidentally smash my pet (or maybe not so accidentally).

The other day, I stayed the night at my sister Loretta’s place, and through the night, I had to use the bathroom. Long story short, a mouse came out of underneath a heap of clothes, and it ran around the bathroom in circles, trying to find a way out. I also ran around the bathroom in circles trying to stay away from the mouse.

I ended up climbing onto the edge of the bathtub while the mouse sat in front of the door, and finally, when the mouse moved to the other end of the bathroom, I opened the door and ran out.

I realized afterward that Ralph was just as scared of me as I was of Ralph, but that didn’t make me feel any better. (Yes, I gave the mouse a nickname.) My life would be so much easier if I weren’t scared of things 100 times smaller than me.

I’m patiently waiting for the warm weather to come back, and I especially can’t wait for wedding season. (Wedding season is usually April through November in our area.) Weddings are fun, but I mostly go for the food and the free candy bars they pass out. (Don’t tell anyone I said that, though.) Mom sewed me dress a bit ago, and it’s very pretty. I loved the pattern of the dress and can’t wait to sew more dresses like it. (Or should I say, “I can’t wait till Mom sews more dresses like it.)

You know what they say, “It’s better your mom does it because if you do it, you’ll do it wrong, and she’ll have to do it for you anyway.” In case you are wondering, nobody actually says that. I just made it up because it sounds reasonable.

I’ve been wasting quite a bit of my time trying to put a fitted sheet on my bed. It’s really irritating how one of the corners pops off every time I think I almost got it.

It’s a repeat of pulling the sheet over the corner and running to the other side of the bed, hurrying before the other corner pops off. Sometimes I think these things are designed just to make us exercise.

Well, I think I’ve written enough now. I better help Mom make supper or perhaps at least think about helping Mom make supper because, as they say, “It’s the thought that counts.” And yes, people actually do say that. I didn’t make it up this time.

Have a great day! (Or Night) God bless!

P.S. I did end up making supper, and all by myself, too, so I got to give myself some credit there. Also, I went to a few book signings with my mom recently, and I really loved being able to meet a lot of you readers!

I will share the recipe for one of my favorite bars, Chocolate Marshmallow Bars.

Chocolate Marshmallow Bars
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
4 cups miniature marshmallows

Topping:
1 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups Rice Krispies

In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl; gradually combine dry ingredients with the creamed mixture. Stir in nuts if desired. Spread in a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15–18 minutes or until set. Sprinkle with marshmallows; bake 2–3 minutes longer or until melted—place pan on a wire rack. Using a knife dipped in water, spread marshmallows evenly over the top. Cool completely.

Topping: Combine chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring continuously until blended. Remove from heat; stir in Rice Krispies. Immediately spread over bars. Chill 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 wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Spring Cleaning and Connecting with Readers

We are into month number four of 2022 already. Unbelievable!

With church services set here to host in less than six weeks, we are starting to clean some corners out.

Yesterday I cleaned out the master bedroom closet. It felt good to get that dreaded job done. How things manage to accumulate so fast is beyond me. Am I the only one that tends to overstuff a closet? Out of sight, out of mind, they say! I was actually proud of myself for parting with the things I didn’t really need but still hang on to. I never wanted to be a pack rat, but as the years go by, you accumulate things that you never use, so I have a pile of things to give away.

Saturday, daughter Elizabeth, seven-week-old baby Andrea, daughter Susan, and children Jennifer, 4, and Ryan, 2, daughter Lovina, and I, with our friend Jodi as our driver, attended the Plain & Simple Craft Show. It was a pleasure to meet author Wanda Brunstetter. Our tables were beside each other as we signed and sold books to our great readers. It was fun to have my daughters and some of my grandchildren along. We had a great outcome in sales. Daughter Verena couldn’t attend as she was at a lake house with her friends. She had an enjoyable time! Looking forward to meeting the Nappanee and surrounding area readers April 9 at Nappanee Public Library!

Sunday church services were at our neighbors, so Joe and I walked to church with daughter Susan and the children. Susan came Saturday night, so she’s closer to church services. Joe pushed the stroller with Jennifer and Ryan in it as it was too far for them to walk. Or we were afraid they would get tired of walking, so we decided to take the stroller.

During church service, daughter Elizabeth had to go feed baby Andrea, so I took two-year-old Allison to sit with me. She was not too happy that her mother was taking care of Andrea. I told her that Andreas was a baby, and her mom needed to feed her. Allison said, “Well, Mom has two babies, me and Andrea both.” It was so cute to hear her little voice complain. Sister Verena was sitting beside me and gave her a candy. I told her to say “thank you” to Verena. She said, “But I don’t want to thank Verena.” Finally, she pouted herself to sleep and woke up refreshed after a good nap. Grandchildren are sunshine for your soul and medicine for your mind!

We are enjoying dandelion greens now. We eat them in a dandelion sour cream salad on top of steamed potatoes. Son Joseph grilled fresh ham and ribs to go along with that. It’s been a while since I shared my dandelion sour cream salad, so I will this week. We like lots of hard-boiled eggs diced in ours. Bacon also goes well with it.

Our sympathy goes to Gloria Yoder, who pens the Amish Cook column, and her family. Her husband Daniel died from injuries in a logging accident. I never met Gloria but talked with her over the phone years ago when I quit writing the Amish Cook column and joined the great team at MennoMedia.

Daughter Susan knows the pain Gloria is experiencing at this time. I never lost a husband, but I have felt the pain of losing very close loved ones. It changes so much in your life, but we must go on. God has a reason for everything, and the comfort of knowing He makes no mistakes helps us go on. Let us pray for each other. Everyone has trials in different ways. God’s blessings to all.

Lovina recommends adding lots of hard-boiled eggs to this dandelion salad recipe. Photo provided.

Dandelion Sour Cream Salad
4 packed cups of young dandelion greens
4 hard-boiled eggs, diced

Sour Cream Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups whole milk
salt

Put the eggs and dandelion greens in a large bowl and pour the dressing over them.

Dressing: Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, milk, and salt to taste in a quart jar. Shake until smooth. Any unused dressing can be refrigerated for up to two days.

Variation: Substitute in season fresh-from-the-garden lettuce and endive for the dandelion greens.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Sewing Projects and Minister’s Delight

It’s Tuesday evening and I’m sitting here writing by the table. I can hear the wind blowing outside. The temperature is 40 degrees, but the wind chill makes it feel colder than that. We are so ready for warmer temperatures, and April being here in a few days makes us yearn for warmer days. The forecast sounds like snow will be coming yet this week. It is good that God controls the weather, and we must accept what we are given. I enjoy the four seasons of the year here in Southern Michigan.

My husband Joe and sons have been building raised garden beds for our one garden. They are also taking orders to sell any size, so that keeps them busy on some nights.

Today I was gone most of the day at appointments, so I didn’t get anything done here at home.

Last week I sewed several dresses and shirts. Some were for a friend, so I am glad I filled that order. I have several more shirts cut out to sew, hopefully this week yet. Daughter Susan had a shirt cut out for Mose before he died. She gave it to me to sew, and it fits son Benjamin so she gave it to him. As I sewed Mose’s shirt it made me think of how much we still miss him. Gone but never forgotten. Life goes on, and although we miss him dearly, we know he isn’t coming back. God makes no mistakes, so we trust He has a plan. Susan does so well raising her children and keeping everything going at her house.

On Sunday we were just going to be home for the day, except Joseph and Lovina had plans to go with their special friends to church. I invited our family, sister Emma and her family, and sister Verena to come for the noon meal (dinner, as we call it). Daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and family couldn’t come, as his parents and sister and family were going there for the day. Emma’s daughters and families couldn’t make it either, as they were attending church at a co-worker’s place.

Those coming were sister Verena, sister Emma and sons Jacob, Benjamin, and Steven, Benjamin’s special friend Crystal and her son Isaiah, daughter Loretta and Dustin, daughter Susan and children Jennifer and Ryan, and daughter Verena.

Our menu was mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, buttered beets, meatloaf, cheese, hot peppers, chocolate, vanilla, and pecan pies, Minister’s Delight (see below), cookies, and ice cream.

The afternoon was spent visiting and playing games. The game Cover Your Assets was the main game being played.

Before everyone left for home, I heated up some of the leftovers and set out snacks to eat.

Sister Verena went home with daughters Susan and Verena and spent a couple days there.

Joe misses Jacob not being here to visit with. It’s not easy for sister Emma to go home without her beloved husband. Remember to visit and stay in contact with these lonely widows if you are family. So often they are forgotten after time goes on. They didn’t choose to be alone and would be so happy if their life was back to normal. Again we must put it in God’s hands, because He maketh no mistakes!

I’ll share the recipe for Minister’s Delight, which sister Verena made for Sunday’s dinner. God bless!

Minister’s Delight

1 pint homemade or 21-ounce can cherry or apple pie filling
1 package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Place pie filling in a 9 x 13-inch cake pan. Combine cake mix and butter (mixture will be crumbly) and sprinkle over filling. Top with walnuts if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 20–30 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 wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Adventures with baby chicks and a visit from Aunt Lovina

It’s a windy, rainy morning, and the temperature is around 44 degrees. Son Joseph got a call saying he won’t have to work today because of the rain. They have no inside work as of now.

Daughters Verena, Susan and children Jennifer and Ryan came here after supper last night and spent the night here. I sat on my recliner, and Jennifer, age 4, told me she wanted to massage my feet and asked for foot lotion. It wasn’t long before I was asleep and that little girl was having the time of her life with that lotion. I woke up and had probably half the jar on my feet. She was just enjoying herself so much. So sweet and innocent!

This morning, before Dustin left for work, he walked over with daughter Loretta, and she is sleeping on the recliner. Joe left for work and the rest are all sleeping yet. Joseph went back to bed after finding out he doesn’t have to work.

I decided to write this while all is quiet. Daughter Elizabeth and children will also come around 8:30 a.m. Our friend Jodi will bring Elizabeth and the three youngest, then Abigail will come here off the bus.

We are so happy to have Jodi back in Michigan! She runs so many errands for us, which we appreciate very much. Jodi had been in Alabama the last few months spending time with her daughter Krista and family. I’m glad she could do that and enjoy the warmer Alabama weather.

Granddaughter Allison, 2, was attacked this week by their mean rooster. She has a scratched-up face. We are so fortunate he didn’t get her eyes. Son-in-law Tim got rid of that mean rooster and came home with some little baby chicks for the children. Abigail, T.J., and Allison each picked one out as their own. They had the little chicks in the house in a box. Daughter Elizabeth said they couldn’t find one of the chicks and finally found it. T.J. had put it in his Noah’s Ark toy. He must have wanted to fill the ark with animals. Abigail’s chick died while she was at school. She had seen it was not too good before leaving for school and told Elizabeth to tell T.J. to take care of it until she got home. The chick didn’t fare so well, and Abigail was so heartbroken. She cried so hard and told Elizabeth she couldn’t catch her breath because she was crying so hard. She put the chick in a box and asked her daddy if he would help her bury it. Again, so sweet and innocent!

Allison is not too fond of the potty training. Elizabeth will tell her to go potty. She sits on there for a long time, and she told Elizabeth, “Mom, it don’t work.” She’s such a petite little girl but ever so mighty. Baby Andrea is 5 1/2 weeks old now and made her first appearance in church on Sunday. She did very well!

Last Friday we were so happy to have Aunt Lovina from Baltic, Ohio come spend some time here and have brunch with us. Thanks to her granddaughter Leah and sons for bringing her here. Others here for brunch and visiting were sisters Verena and Emma, niece Elizabeth, niece Emma and daughter, and all my daughters and grandchildren.

I made a breakfast casserole, homemade bread, and cinnamon rolls. Everyone brought a dish and we ended up having quite a big brunch.

It was so nice to get to visit with Aunt Lovina. She is my mom’s sister and is three years younger. She will be 83 on July 20th. I was named after her. We were together so much when I was growing up, and now I hardly ever see her. We talked of the memories we had of years ago. And perhaps we said some stories of things that her children and my siblings and I did that she was unaware of. Needless to say she laughed, and we enjoyed her visit.

God’s blessings to all!

The family enjoyed freshly baked cinnamon rolls at brunch during a visit from Aunt Lovina. Photo provided.

Cinnamon Rolls

1 cup milk, scalded
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
4 large eggs, beaten
6 cups bread flour
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Grease a jelly-roll pan or a large cookie sheet with a 1-inch rim.

In a large bowl, mix the milk, butter, salt, and sugar. Set the bowl aside until the mixture cools to lukewarm. While the mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast in the warm water for about 10 minutes or until bubbles form. Then add the yeast mixture, eggs, and flour gradually to the lukewarm milk mixture. Knead with your hands until an elastic dough forms. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 5 or 6 strokes, and then roll into a 12 by 20-inch rectangle.

In a small bowl, mix the butter, sugar, and cinnamon until well blended. Spread the mixture over the dough. Roll the dough up from the 20-inch side. Cut the 20-inch-long roll into 3/4-inch pieces and place on the prepared pan. Let the dough rise uncovered for about 30 minutes.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the rolls until golden brown, 20 minutes. Frost with Basic Frosting.

 

Basic Frosting
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk

In a medium bowl, cream the butter with the vanilla and 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Gradually add the milk and the remaining powdered sugar and stir until smooth. Use shortening instead of butter if a whiter frosting is desired. Makes 2 cups.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Early springtime fun with the grandchildren—and more beef

Another week has already passed us by, and it is time to pen this column again.

My plans for today are to wash daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s laundry. Daughter Lovina assisted her with her work for several hours yesterday. I went to pick Lovina up and brought the laundry home. Today sounds like it will be a warm day to hang it outside. The sun is trying to peep out from behind the clouds.

Baby Andrea is now four weeks old. Her cute little expressions are so fun to watch. I was only able to stay a few minutes yesterday. She would change her smile to a frown then back to a smile, as if she wasn’t sure if she should be happy or sad. Such sweet, innocent little angels. What does this world hold in store for them? Only God knows! Allison, 2, still wants to be held by Grandma, too. She is gradually adjusting to the fact that her mother’s attention isn’t all on her. She has had her share of falls from climbing. She is a little tomboy and tries to keep up with active little T.J., 3.

We stopped through daughter Susan’s and got to see Jennifer, 4, and Ryan, 2, for a few minutes. The weather was so nice, and they both came running out of the door barefooted, circling around the yard—but not for long, as Susan took them inside to get shoes on. I remember on those nice, warm March days as a child we would want to go outside barefooted, too. Mom would always tell us to wait until after March is over. I can still hear her say, “NO—don’t go out barefooted, it’s still March.” Oh, thinking of those sweet memories of her still makes me miss her so much.

We ended up helping daughters Susan and Verena cut up two quarters of beef on Friday. Son-in-law Dustin and son Benjamin didn’t have to work that day. Those helping were Dustin, Loretta, sons Benjamin and Kevin, daughter Lovina, sister Verena, and me. The steaks were cut out, hamburger ground and packaged.

Vacuum sealing the ground beef was part of this weekend’s work. Photo provided.

Susan canned some of the meat. We brought the steaks and T-bones home to put in our freezer overnight. My husband Joe then cut up all the steaks on Saturday. Loretta and I vacuum sealed the meat for Susan. Now it’s all in her freezer, and I’m so glad she has beef and pork to use in the coming year.

Then on Saturday, son Benjamin and I, daughters Susan and Verena assisted Tim and Elizabeth in cutting up their two quarters of beef. The hamburger was ground and packaged, steaks and T-bones sliced and packaged, some meat canned, etc. Daughters Susan and Verena did Elizabeth’s cleaning yet before heading for home. Needless to say, this Grandma was a wee bit tired Saturday night after two days of helping cut up beef. I am so glad to help the children whenever I can.

Sunday, Joe and I, son Joseph and his special friend Grace, my sister Emma, her son Benjamin and his special friend Crystal, and my sister Verena attended church in northern Indiana to partake in the blessing of nephew Andrew’s baptism. Andrew is brother Albert and Sarah Irene’s youngest son. In the afternoon, we made a short stop at brother Albert’s house. We hadn’t seen the new house he built. It is very nice. Alberts have three daughters and one son still at home. They have eleven children and all but four married, so their house seems emptier.

A notice to readers—I will be signing books on April 2nd at the Plain and Simple Craft Show in Shipshewana, Indiana. They will have over 130 vendors there. Then on April 9th, I will be at the Nappanee, Indiana, library from 2–4 p.m. I’m looking forward to meeting old and new readers there. In Shipshewana, daughters Elizabeth and baby Andrea, daughter Susan and children, Jennifer and Ryan, and daughter Lovina will be with me. Some family members are also planning to attend the meet and greet in Nappanee with me. God bless!

This week I will share the recipes for coffee soup and pon hoss due to many requests from readers.

Pon Hoss
Pork bones
Flour
Salt
Black pepper

Place pork bones in large kettle and add enough water to cover. Cook bones until the meat comes off bones. Remove bones and skim fat from broth. Measure the quantity of broth remaining. Return meat to broth. (We grind the meat before returning it to the broth.) Then add 4 cups of flour to every gallon of juice, sifting in the flour, as well as 2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon black pepper per gallon of juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, then pour in pans. Let cool, then slice and fry on each side until golden brown.

Coffee Soup
2 cups coffee
2 or more cups milk
1/2 cup sugar (or more, to taste)

Combine all ingredients and heat until hot, but do not boil. Pour over toasted bread or saltine crackers.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Preparing and enjoying a bounty of beef

It is a very beautiful day outside with the sun shining so brightly. The sun is welcome anytime and is much appreciated for our solar system. With gas prices so high, we don’t like to use the generator more than necessary. We run a generator to charge up our battery packs when the sun doesn’t shine for too many days in a row. Our solar power runs two freezers, and water and some lights in our pole barn. On days we wash laundry it takes more power. Also, with everyone showering and pumping water to the horses each day, it takes quite a bit.

We are all finished with our beef now. What a relief! On Friday evening we cut up all four quarters of beef. The steaks were cut out, beef chunks cut up, etc., then the rest was ready to grind for hamburger. On Saturday the hamburger was ground and the steaks, T-bones, etc., sliced. Most of the meat was vacuum sealed on Saturday. Some of the hamburger we waited to package until Monday. The meat filled our freezers, and Dustin and Loretta took their half home to put in their freezer.

These jars of canned beef were recently prepared by Lovina and family. Photo provided.

On Monday, daughter Loretta and I canned some hamburger and beef chunks. Son Joseph didn’t have to work because of the weather, so we were glad for his help to vacuum seal the hamburger and pack it in the freezers.

On Monday while we were packaging, Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty stopped in to say hi. They had brought sister Verena home. She had spent a week out in Berne, Indiana, with sister Liz and Levi. Most of the winter Verena had been staying with us or sister Emma.

Saturday, we plan to go help daughters Susan and Verena cut up two quarters of beef to put in their freezer.

Next on the agenda is to start doing some spring cleaning. Lord willing, we will host church services in May.

We have been enjoying rare beef, as we call it, since we butchered our beef. We slice the tenderest steaks very thin and put salt and pepper on both sides then swirl it in hot oil once and flip it over and swirl one again and it’s done. It is very good and our family loves it.

Saturday morning, I made fried eggs and potatoes with some fresh bacon (from our recent pork butchering). Then I also had to fry up the cow brains for Joe and some of our children that like them.

Sunday evening, our whole family was here for supper. Baby Andrea gets plenty of attention. She is such a sweetie, just like all my grandchildren are. All you Grandmas out there know the precious feeling of grandchildren, I’m sure.

For those readers that always say they like to hear our menus, I’ll share what I made Sunday night with the help of my daughters. We had mashed potatoes, beef gravy, macaroni and cheese, green beans, grilled T-bones and steak, sliced Colby cheese, cookies, and ice cream. The menfolk grilled the meat.

I still have paper plates left over from my trip to Sam’s Club before Dustin and Loretta’s wedding. On nights when the whole family is here, it makes it easier to use those and do less dish washing. It gives us more time to just visit. It is such a blessing to be able to work together as a family and get food stored for another year. God is good, and may His many blessings reach across the miles to all of you!

I am going to share my sister Susan’s recipe she wrote of beef and gravy when I told her how to make it. She wanted to write it down years ago so she would remember it. RIP Susan.

Beef and Gravy
4 heaping tablespoons flour
1 pint canned beef chunks
1 medium onion
Potato water (saved from cooking potatoes)

Put 4 heaping tablespoons flour in a pan and brown flour until it’s dark. Let flour cool. In a 3 1/2-quart kettle, empty 1 pint of beef and put in 2 pints of water and 1 whole onion. When it starts to boil, take out beef and put in potato water. If you don’t have potato water, then use water. Add extra water as needed. Mix the cooled flour and water to make a thickening until it is just a little watery. Then mix the beef and thickening in the kettle until it boils again. Remove the onion before serving.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Celebrating a Baptism

Everyone is winding down and getting ready for bed. Another day is over and history.

Today daughter Lovina, 17, spent the day at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. She stayed with the children while Elizbeth took baby Andrea for a check-up at the doctor. She now weighs 8 pounds, 6 ounces. She was 8 pounds, 3 ounces at birth but lost almost a pound. It’s always good to see the weight start going back up. My babies always lost a little weight that first week or two before they gained again.

Friday night, daughter Susan and children, daughter Verena, daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and children, and sister Verena were our supper guests. It was good for Elizabeth to get out of the house and eat supper somewhere else.

Our menu was mashed potatoes, beef and noodles, corn, sliced cheese, chocolate pie, and homemade ice cream.

My grandchildren are really enjoying the new tea sets and fake food, etc., that a kind reader sent to me. I don’t have many toys for them to play with when they come, so they tend to get a little bored. With the new toys they have had so much fun pretending to be cooking, too!

Saturday, the menfolk dressed an 1100-pound beef that is still hanging in our cold part of the pole barn waiting to be cut up. Plans are to start Friday afternoon and finish Saturday. That will be a big job done!

Saturday night, daughter Susan and children, daughter Verena, sons Kevin and Benjamin, Benjamin’s special friend Amanda, Joe, and I had a delicious supper at daughter Loretta and Dustin’s house. Susan and her children spent the night at Dustin’s so she would be closer to travel to another church district the next morning.

Sunday morning, we all traveled the six miles to attend church for Daniel’s (daughter Lovina’s special friend) baptismal services. It is always so special to be there when a young soul accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Sunday evening, we had a delicious supper at Daniel’s parent’s house. Others there besides Joe and I were sons Benjamin (and special friend Amanda), Joseph and Kevin, daughter Lovina, daughter Susan and children, Daniel’s married brothers and families, Jake and Lisa and family, Clint and Hannah and son, Dustin and daughter Loretta, and my sister Emma and all of her family. It was an enjoyable evening.

Tomorrow all the girls and grandchildren plan to come for the day. It’s been awhile since they did that, so my mind is wandering and trying to think what I should prepare for breakfast and lunch. I know with Baby Andrea and all the other grandchildren coming that this grandma doesn’t want to plan too much else besides meals and spending time with them. It’s been quite awhile since we all got together for a day.

Of course, Abigail will go to school, but the bus will drop her off here. She gets lots of attention when she exits that bus!

It’s time for me to call it a day. Good night and God’s blessings to all!

Sunday Brunch
12 eggs
1 cup milk
2 pounds tater tots
1 pound bacon or sausage, fried
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Beat together eggs and milk. Stir in rest of ingredients. Pour into greased 13×9-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

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.