Wedding and birthday celebrations, and a visit to the Ark Encounter

We are having nice weather, but temperatures are in the 40s and 50s in the morning, which makes the house feel chilly. We haven’t bought any coal yet, so hopefully we can soon to get some heat in the house if this chilly weather continues.

Last night we were at Mose and daughter Susan’s house. My husband Joe and sons Benjamin, 20, and Joseph, 17, were helping Mose get their outdoor wood burner hooked up to their house. Mose and Susan still had thinly sliced steak in their freezer, so we had rare beef and creamed potatoes for supper. Everyone was glad for rare beef since we usually have this more often after we butcher cattle in the winter months.

We had a nice trip to Kentucky last week to attend the wedding of Joe’s nephew, Morris, and Annie. Cousin Dave has built a nice place in the hills of Kentucky with a pond behind the house and a walkout basement. It is very nice, and the men and boys admired all the deer mounts hanging in his house.

Daughter Susan and I were cooks at the wedding and our job was to help make gravy. Daughter Verena was a table waiter. The menu included mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, dressing, fried chicken, mixed vegetables, salad, cheese, bread, butter, and jam. For dessert, we had pecan, pumpkin, and cherry pies, cinnamon pudding, angel food cake with strawberry topping, and cookies. For the evening meal, we had grilled chicken and brats, and ice cream was also added to the menu. Candy bars were passed around after lunch.

We arrived in Kentucky on Wednesday evening around 9 p.m. Thursday afternoon we went to see where Joe’s sister Salome and her husband Morris and their family live. After the wedding was over, we went back to the motel. The next morning, we all headed to Williamstown, Kentucky, to the Ark Encounter. We really enjoyed our day there. Noah’s ark is sure a good look at what they endured, and it brought a better understanding to the children to see the ark in the dimensions the Bible tells that Noah and his sons built it. The place was packed with people from all over the United States. It makes one feel hopeful to see Christianity is not lost yet.

Lovina and family visited the Ark Encounter, a full-scale representation of Noah’s Ark in Williamstown, KY, while traveling for a family wedding. Photo provided.

We headed back to Michigan and stopped along the way to eat. We arrived back home safe and sound a little after midnight. Everyone was ready for a good night’s sleep.

At 8:30 a.m. the next morning (Saturday), Joe and I, daughters Verena and Lovina, and son Kevin, along with my sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma, Jacob and son Steven, headed for Berne, Indiana to attend the surprise birthday party for sister Liz and Levi. Liz turned 50 in January and Levi turns 50 in December. They also had their 27th wedding anniversary on October 4. This surprise was planned by their children. Chicken, pork and beans, macaroni and cheese, salads, desserts, and snacks were served. Some of the food was brought by guests.

We arrived back home after dark. Daughter Loretta, with the help of her special friend Dustin, did our laundry, so it was nice to see our clothes all clean again from the trip. Dustin’s birthday was October 8, so a Happy Birthday to him!

On Sunday we had communion at church, so it was a long day. We also ordained another minister and had a potluck dinner with the church afterward. It was good to see Monday come and things slowing down.

Lovina, husband Joe, and son-in-law Mose made their annual trek to the u-pick grape orchard to pick grapes. The grapes will be cooked and strained to make grape juice and then canned to enjoy throughout the year. Photo provided.

Son-in-law Mose, Joe, and I went to the u-pick grape orchard to pick grapes. Another job done for the year.

 

Daughter Susan is feeling better and stayed well on our trip.

Our highlight this week was seeing Tim and daughter Elizabeth’s nine-and-one-half-month-old son, T.J., walking short distances. He’s so active and almost runs instead of walks. He is so precious, as are all our grandchildren.

God’s blessings!

Apple Dumplings
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lard, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
5/8 cup milk
1 quart chopped apples, raw
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a bowl, mix well the flour, baking powder, salt, lard, butter, and milk. Press into the bottom of a greased 8×10-inch cake pan. Mix the apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and put on top of the dough.

Sauce:
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup hot water (add more if too thick)

Mix the sauce ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil and boil a few minutes. Pour on top of the apple mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and the apples are soft.

Delicious for supper with cold milk.

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 now available for preorder from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Wedding travel preparations both planned and unexpected

It’s 4:45 a.m. as I sit by the kitchen table writing. The boys already left for work. Their bags are packed and ready for our departure to Kentucky at 1:30 p.m. They will work a half day, come home, shower, and be ready to go.

Our plans had to be adjusted somewhat because we were at the emergency room last night with daughter Susan. Her husband Mose and two-month old baby Ryan and I went along. I went along to help take care of Ryan while Susan was in so much pain. She didn’t feel like breastfeeding, but we had no other way to feed him as he refuses the bottle.

Susan had a sharp pain on her lower right side which we expected was her appendix. After a CT scan and other tests, the doctor discovered she has a lodged kidney stone, as well as kidney and urinary tract infections. She was given pain medicine and several antibiotics which helped relieve some of the pain, but now it’s just trying to get the stone to pass. I have never had this happen to me, but it sounds like a painful ordeal.

We arrived back here at our house close to midnight and Mose and Susan, Jennifer, 20 months, and baby Ryan stayed here for the night. Mose needs to go into town this morning after the pharmacy opens to get more antibiotics for Susan. She said the pain has moved down some so maybe she will pass the stone before we leave. She is still planning to go along to the wedding in Kentucky if the pain doesn’t get worse. The doctor thought that with the antibiotic she will be fine to go, and then have a follow-up with her doctor after we are back home. I really do hope it doesn’t get worse. We will help her finish her packing.

We are leaving in two vans with our friends Beth and Julie as our drivers. They are sisters so it will be enjoyable for them to spend the time together. We have six motel rooms booked and hope and pray we have safe travels and arrive at the motel before too late. I left my cousin Dave a voicemail and asked where the best motels are or closest ones to his house. He called back and left a voicemail for us with the information.

I managed to get seven new shirts sewn for Joe and the boys to wear on our trip. My sewing machine sews on the buttonholes and buttons, but making the buttonhole is still my least favorite part of sewing. In Indiana we had snaps on the shirts, which I didn’t care to sew on by hand either, so it’s always something in life that we dislike doing. Take the good with the bad and it usually makes a happy medium.

I held baby Ryan for a little bit this morning and he was just smiling and cooing. Now he’s happily eating. He must be getting plenty to eat as Susan said he weighs 15 pounds already. He’s over 25 inches long already as well, so he’s probably going to be tall.

I awoke to Joseph’s driver sitting in our driveway, so it was a little rush until he was leaving. It seems like we only just went to bed, and my alarm just wasn’t loud enough to wake tired me. I thought I better write this column before the rest wake up or I won’t be able to concentrate. Son Kevin, 14, leaves at 6:45 a.m. for school, so I need to wake him up at 6:00 a.m. so he can shower and finish packing his clothes. We will pick him up at school after lunch.

Our plans are to stay in Kentucky Thursday evening as well, and if all goes well go see the Noah’s Ark they built in Kentucky on Friday before heading home. It is around 300 miles to the wedding place from our house. Hopefully the little ones will be contented in their car seats for the trip.

Space is up and I will write more next week about our trip.

This is an easy Sunday dinner recipe. I put this dish, chicken, and baked beans in the oven on Sunday morning and they make a quick, easy noon meal. God bless!

Scalloped Potatoes
8 cups thinly sliced potatoes, cooked*
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter

Mix all ingredients together or layer them in a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

*Note: I don’t fully cook the potatoes and just let it bake longer. Add more milk if it’s too dry.

 

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

Sewing, doctor’s appointments, and sweet and sour cabbage

Greetings from Michigan! Son Kevin just left for school. The sky is starting to lighten up. Thermometer is at the 59-degree mark.

Son Joseph left for work at 4:30 a.m. My husband Joe is fishing with a few other men from our church. I think fishing is one of his biggest stress relievers. It will be good to have fish in the freezer again.

Tuesday was a nice day for the wedding of nephew Marvin and Lori. Next week is Joe’s nephew Morris and Annie’s wedding in Kentucky. Annie is a daughter of my cousin Dave. Dave’s father Chris was my mother’s only brother, and our families were always together growing up. My sisters Verena and Susan are also invited, so plans are that they also go with our family.

Tuesday was also the funeral of son-in-law Mose’s 89-year-old grandmother Marie. Our sympathy to the family.

Our thoughts and prayers also go to the family in Vermontville, Michigan that lost their three children in an accident on the way home from school. I cannot imagine the sorrow this family is experiencing in losing a 13-year-old son and 10- and 8-year-old daughters. Their 6-year-old son was hurt and taken to the hospital. May God provide strength for this family to cope with the terrible loss. God makes no mistakes but it is our human nature to question why. God be with them!

Nephew Steven (son of sister Emma and Jacob), age 12, is having surgery today at C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. It’s the same surgery son Kevin had, but Steven is getting both feet done at the same time. Daughter Loretta was 12 when she had the same surgery on both feet. Steven has limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A also. We wish him a complete and speedy recovery! We have had three children have this kind of surgery done and it did help. Dr. Caird is also Steven’s surgeon, so he will have the best of care. When Steven was a baby, he had heart surgery at the same hospital, but Mott has a new hospital since then.

Son Benjamin, 20, is off work this week from the RV factory. They aren’t having production this week. Sure hope work picks up in the future.

Benjamin is doing a lot of jobs around home. He is getting our buggies repaired and has some of the wheels off and has taken them over to the buggy shop.

Son Kevin has an appointment at the doctor today and I’m not sure if a buggy will be ready to take us. Looks like our pony Stormy and the pony cruiser will have to do the job for Kevin and me. Our doctor’s office is on the outskirts of town so we won’t have more than five miles to travel.

I sewed a few shirts and a dress yesterday. Today I want to cut out and sew more shirts. The boys are low in good shirts and they never get new shirts for weddings so I thought I’ll sew for them this time.

Grapes are also ready at the U-pick but will be better picking next week, so I hope we can go pick some before we leave for Kentucky.

Benjamin picked our tomatoes and I sent them home with sister Emma and Jacob. Their tomatoes didn’t do so well. I am done with tomatoes this year except for fresh eating. I will be glad once the grape juice is done.

Last week I answered a question from a reader but the question was left out so it might have been confusing to you. The question was: what kind of gifts are given at weddings (to the bride and groom)? The answer was tools, Tupperware, towels, dishes, kitchen items, bedding or anything useful. I have also seen folding tables, chairs, grills, etc., given. There is much more, but most gifts are to help the couple start their own home and yes, sometimes they get multiples of something, but those can be given to someone else as a gift if not needed.

Space is running out so until next week—God bless!

 

Sweet and Sour Cabbage

 1 medium head cabbage

Syrup:
3 cups water
2–3 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
2 tablespoons bacon grease

 

Coarsely shred or chop cabbage.

Mix syrup ingredients in a cook pot and bring to a boil. Add chopped cabbage, turn heat down to simmer and cook 20–30 minutes or until tender. Variation: Try purple cabbage.

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

Lemon pie recipe from Lovina’s next cookbook, Amish Family Recipes: A Cookbook across the Generations

A big thank-you to all you readers who came to my book signing at the Nappanee Public Library last Saturday. Thanks for all the kind words and encouragement.

Thank you to my great friend Ruth for furnishing the transportation and always being so helpful in any way she can. Thanks also to my daughters Verena, 21, and Lovina, 15, for attending with me. Their support and help always mean so much.

I want to thank Brittney from the library for hosting the event. Before leaving for home we had a nice fun time with a reader named Jessica, her mother, and her three children. Jessica’s grandmother is battling that dreadful disease dementia, but always finds comfort holding my columns in her hand. May God be with her and her loving family as they go through a heart-breaking trial in life.

Son Kevin, 14, went hunting Saturday with son-in-law Mose as his guide. It was youth season and Kevin shot a doe which provided us with quite a big amount of meat. My husband Joe cut it up and got it ready for the freezer. Last year Kevin also shot a deer during youth season. Mose also was his guide last year. With his disability Kevin appreciates the help from Mose in making it possible for him to hunt. It gives him a happy feeling to be helping with providing food for the table as well.

I want to share the great news of my next cookbook, coming in April 2020. My family and I have worked hard on these recipes and had photographers here for four days taking photos of food. I appreciate their respect in keeping us out of the pictures except for our hands. My friend Ruth also worked hard in getting the cookbook typed for the publisher and helping test recipes or having others help test them. My daughters spent many hours preparing food for this cookbook. The cookbook will be called Amish Family Recipes: A Cookbook across the Generations and  published by Herald Press. I am excited to see the finished result and hope you readers will enjoy the many recipes included in this book. I will share a recipe this week from the new cookbook.

Daughter Elizabeth and children Abigail, 3, and T.J., 9 months, and daughter Susan and children Jennifer, 20 months, and baby Ryan, 7-1/2 weeks, came for the day. Fun, fun, fun for this Grandma but I admit I feel tired tonight. It is always so sweet to see the little rays of sunshine. They grow so fast and I want to treasure every moment I can spend with them. As I was hanging out laundry, Abigail trailed behind me asking one question after another. Such sweet innocent children. She loves to say her prayer out loud when we eat. Jennifer also likes to bow her head and pray, peeking up to see if we are seeing what she is doing.

Tuesday is already the wedding day of nephew Marvin and Lori. We have plans to attend. It will be different not to help cook at a family wedding, but they do things differently there than we do in Michigan.

A reader asked several questions about our weddings. They wondered if the cost of our weddings is high. I would think the highest cost is the food and the rented wedding cook wagons and cooler. Our clothes are all sewn at home so the cost of that isn’t as much, and we have weddings at our homes so there’s no cost for that. All our help is free too, although we do buy small gifts of appreciation for the cooks, table waiters, etc. These gifts are tools, Tupperware, towels, dishes, kitchen items, bedding or just anything useful. More questions will be answered in future columns, but space is limited for now.

God bless all of you!

 

Lemon Pie

 3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
3 eggs (separated)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
6 tablespoons sugar
1 regular 9-inch pie shell, baked

In a medium saucepan, combine cornstarch, 1-1/4 cups sugar, lemon juice, and lemon rind. Separate eggs from yolks, then beat yolks and add to cornstarch mixture. Slowly stir in boiling water. Over medium heat, bring mixture to boiling and cook on slow boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into pie shell.

Separately beat eggs whites until stiff but not dry. Beat in 6 tablespoons sugar, one tablespoon at a time. Spread the meringue over top of pie, spreading to the edge to seal in the filling.

Bake in 425-degree oven for 4 to 5 minutes or until meringue is browned. Cool on rack away from draft. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

 

Recipe is from Lovina Eicher’s forthcoming cookbook, Amish Family Recipes: A Cookbook across the Generations, and can be preordered from Amazon or wherever books are sold.

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

Late summer garden harvest and tomato bread recipe

Last week I wrote about how chilly it was, and now this week we are wishing we had some of that cool air. It has been a warm muggy week. We had a thunderstorm and quite a bit of rain during the night. Maybe this rain will cool it down. It seems it’s human nature to never be quite satisfied. We will accept the weather however God sends it.

Son Kevin, 14, just left for school. It’s quite dark outside when he leaves at 6:50 a.m. I love sitting by the east windows and writing or reading at this time of the morning. The sunrise is awesome to watch. Last night daughter Verena told me to come see the sunset. Only our amazing creator could paint the sky like that.

Today son Joseph, 17, has the day off from work. He was glad for a break. He needs new shoes for construction work so he will go to town with Kevin and me. Kevin has a doctor appointment. He is having trouble with ingrown toenails which make him not like doing some of his therapy due to pain from the nails. He’s been soaking them in Epsom salts every night and putting an ointment on them as prescribed by the doctor. He also took an antibiotic for infection. Now, two weeks later, we will see what the doctor thinks. They look and feel much better but are not healed yet.

September 10 (Tuesday) was granddaughter Abigail’s third birthday. We all went for her birthday celebration. She was so excited to blow out her three candles and for all the attention and gifts she received.

Daughter Elizabeth is enjoying the extra space since son-in-law Tim has been working on remodeling their house, taking out some walls and closets to make more space in the living room and dining room. It looks so good with much more space. Baby T.J. loves it when he’s in his walker. He can get around better with the open space.

My husband Joe, son Joseph, son-in-law Mose, and daughter Loretta’s special friend Dustin assisted Tim with the remodeling one Saturday. They had to put in a support beam to replace some of the walls that came out.

While we were there for Abigail’s birthday, Tim came in from the garden with a 36-pound watermelon. It is huge! He sent it home with us. He also picked their serrano, Hungarian and sweet banana peppers to send home with us. I want to can the serranos, but we will stuff and wrap the others with bacon before cooking them on the grill.

Lovina and Joe have a bountiful supply of tomatoes from their garden. Many quarts of vegetable juice and pizza sauce are canned and shared with family for the winter months ahead. Photo provided.

My husband Joe has cleared out a lot of the garden. We are still getting lots of tomatoes. We have canned a total of 115 quarts of vegetable juice and 32 pints of pizza sauce. I’ll use the rest of the tomatoes when I help daughter Susan can tomato and vegetable juice.

Yesterday I finally made it back to my sewing machine. The mending piles up, but I did sew Verena a new dress that had been cut out for awhile already. I don’t mind sewing when time allows.

Now to answer a few questions from readers. A reader wanted to know where the Amish communities are in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They are in Sault Ste. Marie and Engadine.

Another reader asked if the name Dustin is common where we live. There are a few in this community but it is not as common as some other names. A lot of names seem to be changing amongst the Amish. When I was growing up babies were named after someone, but it can get confusing after many generations of the same names to remember which person someone is talking about.

A reader also commented that she has read the column since my mother Elizabeth Coblentz began writing it. Mother wrote for 11 years and I have been writing for 17 years, for a total of 28 years. Next week it will be 17 years since dear Mother passed away so suddenly. She left a legacy of love and great memories.

For those of you with lots of tomatoes, try this tomato bread recipe.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Tomato Bread

2 cups tomato juice
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup catsup
1 tablespoon pizza seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
7 cups bread flour (separated)

Heat tomato juice and butter until butter is melted. Add sugar, catsup, pizza seasoning, salt, and warm water. Cook until lukewarm. Add yeast and 3 cups flour. Beat well, then add remaining 4 cups flour. Knead. Let rise for 1/2 to 1 hour, then place in two 9×5-inch loaf pans and let rise again. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

 

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

Cool mornings, wedding invitations, and seasoned red potatoes

It’s a cool morning with the mercury on the thermometer almost down to the 50-degree mark. The redness from the sunrise is so bright, promising a beautiful day with the sun warming up the outside world. I have a few gas lights on to warm up the house for baby Ryan.

Son-in-law Mose dropped daughter Susan and children off here on his way to work earlier this morning. Susan has both children cuddled with her on the recliner. Baby Ryan is almost six weeks old and already 12 pounds. He is doing well and growing. He is also cooing and discovering everyone and smiling a lot. So precious!

Daughter Elizabeth and children plan to come today as well. It is always fun to have the little grandchildren here for a day. Abigail will have her third birthday next week on September 10. She is looking forward to her birthday.

Last week we received two more wedding invitations, making a total of four on our refrigerator now. Nephew Morris and Annie are published and have set their wedding date for October 3. Morris Jr. is a son to Joe’s sister Salome and Morris from Campbellsburg, Kentucky, so we would have a five-and-one-half hour trip to attend. Daughter Susan and I were asked to help cook and daughter Verena is to be a table waiter. Our whole family is invited and we hope most of us can attend. It will be nice to see where they live now that they make their home in Kentucky.

Another invitation is from niece Salome and Caleb. They set their date in November. Salome is the daughter of Joe’s sister Loretta and her husband Henry, and this wedding is local.

Nephew Marvin and Lori’s wedding will be first in a nearby community. Marvin is brother Albert and Sarah Irene’s son. Daughter Verena was asked to be a table waiter at their wedding.

The other invitation is for a wedding in October of a good friend of ours. Brittney and Kevin will exchange vows on October 12. Congratulations to all the couples. May God bless all their marriages and be their guide as they join hands together.

Last week was the estate sale for neighbor Irene’s belongings. So sad to see her house emptied. We bought her bed and a dresser. Irene’s presence was greatly missed. It just seemed that we should see her around. Irene passed away this spring at age 91. Rest in peace Irene. You were a good neighbor to us!

In my last column I shared a pizza sauce recipe. I have a few more specifics for those of you that want to try it. The amount of Clear Jel needed is 1-1/2 to 2 cups, which was more than I thought it would take. The amount also depends on how thick you want the sauce. The recipe makes around 30 pints of sauce.

Also, I have a correction to the recipe for zucchini cookies that I shared in my column the week of July 29. The amount of flour needs to be doubled. A big thank you to the reader who pointed this out to me. My daughters made a batch of these cookies this week and everyone loved them. They are already eaten up. Even for those of you who don’t like the taste of zucchini, I really think you will like these. I apologize for any inconvenience, although most cookie bakers know to add more flour if a cookie is too flat.

This week I will share the recipe for seasoned red potatoes. We put ours in a foil pan on the grill instead of in the oven.

I am looking forward to meeting some of you readers in Nappanee, Indiana on September 14 beginning at 10 a.m. during my book signing at the library.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Seasoned Red Potatoes
12 to 14 small red potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Place potatoes in an ungreased 3-quart baking dish. In a bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients; drizzle over the potatoes. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until tender. Stir every 15 minutes while baking. Serves 6.

 

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

Lovina shares gratitude for words of encouragement from readers

A good morning to all you wonderful readers across the miles. I am still tired at 4:45 a.m. but I need to have this column done before I leave today.

I don’t often enough thank all you readers for your kind words of encouragement. It makes writing this column so much easier. I also appreciate the patience you have when I am late in answering your letters. There are so many nice letters, but of course once in a great while an unsigned letter will be amongst my mail with criticism directed toward my writing. I remind myself that all writers get these, and of course we aren’t perfect. So I want you to know the encouragement is what makes me take this pen in hand each week even though time is limited with raising a family and being Grandma to four. In the back of my mind, I always thought that as the children grew older life would slow down or get easier, but I was wrong. With grandchildren, you reach out to help, and there are more homes that need to be cleaned, canning to be done, etc.

Today the girls and I will go help daughter Susan with laundry and canning. Daughter Elizabeth and children will also be there. We plan to can pizza sauce and pickled red beets today. Susan has tomatoes, but not quite enough, so I will take some of ours. We have already canned 85 quarts of vegetable juice this summer from our garden. I usually put tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, green peppers, hot peppers, celery, carrots, and garlic in my vegetable juice. It has a good flavor and a small glass of it with breakfast is a great drink in the mornings. My husband Joe likes his spicy so we make some with more hot peppers and then some without, or just a few, for the flavor.

Sons Benjamin, 20, and Joseph, 17, left for their jobs at 4:30 a.m. so I got up before they left. It was so tempting to crawl back in bed until son Kevin gets up for school at 6:00 a.m., especially on a chilly morning with the temperature in the mid-50s.

After school Kevin will bring home some of his friends to spend the night here. His 14th birthday is on Labor Day (September 2) this year, but they don’t have school tomorrow and he wanted to have them over when they could sleep in the next morning. It’s usually hard to get them to settle down on a school day, so it’s nicer this way.

Is it actually possible that our youngest is 14 already? Life moves right along and we can’t stop it. What counts is what we make with the life we have. Let us always make time for God each day!

On a recent Saturday we were invited, along with all the rest of the neighbors, to our neighbors Richard and Erma’s house for supper. They have a pond and said if anyone wanted to swim in the afternoon they could come earlier. Erma had told me about the invitation at our last church services. Not once did I think of it that day until I saw Erma at church services the next day. I can’t believe I forgot all about which day it was planned for. That is why I should have marked the calendar.

We are enjoying lots of garden goodies, which makes meal planning so much easier. In a few days we are already into September. I will share the recipe we will use to make the pizza sauce today.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Pizza Sauce

3 gallons tomatoes, chopped
Fresh parsley
3 to 4 onions
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons oregano

 

Cook tomatoes, parsley, and onions; put through Victoria strainer to produce about 3 gallons of juice. Add the remaining ingredients to the juice and bring to a boil. Thicken with Clear Jel or Perma Flo; start with 6 to 8 tablespoons, then add more as needed to thicken to your preference. To keep Clear Jel from getting chunky, cool 1 quart of the juice and stir in Clear Jel, then combine with the rest of juice and boil well. Process according to your cooker instructions.

 

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

Family reunion fun with water balloons and abundant summer produce

Happy Birthday number 53 to sister Verena on August 22nd!

On Saturday, sisters Verena and Susan hosted the annual family reunion on my side of the family. It was greatly attended, with only seven of my parents’ grandchildren not attending. All of us siblings were present. Brother Amos was greatly missed. Nancy came with some of her children, who we were happy to see. It makes the circle seem a little more complete.

We were served a good meal of chicken, barbecued ribs, hot dogs, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, corn, and all the side dishes that were brought in. There were salads, desserts, and fruits too numerous to mention. Snacks were brought for the afternoon before parting ways to go home.

Of course, with my family the water hose was discovered, and the water balloons were soon put to use. Sister Liz and I tried to keep up with the younger ones. Some managed to stay dry. On that hot and humid day, it helped us stay cool.

Grandson Ryan was the youngest there being three weeks old that day. He seems to be gaining weight really well.

The new deck and ramp at my sisters Verena and Susan’s house came in handy. Recently, son-in-law Mose, husband Joe, and sons Benjamin and Joseph built the 12 x 24-foot deck for them. Son-in-law Tim also helped. On Saturday, they had tables set on it for some to eat while others sat by tables set in their pole barn with a canopy attached.

Sunday, we had brunch at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. Tim made sausage gravy and fried potatoes over the open fire while Elizabeth baked biscuits and fried eggs in the house. Abigail and T.J. were so excited to see us. T.J. is now eight months old and all over the house, so he needs to be watched closely. He sure is active.

Yesterday daughter Susan and Jennifer and baby Ryan, daughters Verena, Loretta, Lovina, and I helped Elizabeth can salsa. When we left T.J. was waving at us.

I have corn and tomatoes that need to be canned or frozen. I will make vegetable juice with the tomatoes and the corn will probably be bagged for the freezer. That is the last of the sweet corn for us this season.

Son Kevin is getting adjusted to the new schedule of going to school each day. He gets on the bus so much easier since his surgeries earlier this year. He is still not released from therapy but is slowly learning how to continue it here at home. It’s hard for him to find energy after a day at school.

One evening, James, a friend of ours, brought us some chicken of the woods mushrooms he found. This was the first time we had that kind of mushroom. The name comes from it resembling the taste of chicken. Everyone seemed to like it. It’s always nice to try something different. I seasoned it and fried it in olive oil. James had 25–30 pounds of mushrooms.

Monday, daughter Susan and her children came here for the day. She brought her dirty laundry and we washed it here after we did ours. We were glad to have a nice day for the clothes to dry quickly on the lines so we could take them off and put more on to dry.

Susan and Mose had company again the day before so she was tired. I told her to rest while we washed the clothes. She still needs to gain back her strength. Jennifer was contented watching me hang out laundry and playing with a doll. She tries to act like she’s taking care of her doll when Susan takes care of Ryan.

Tim brought in a 25 1/2-pound watermelon out of their garden when we were there yesterday. He sent half of it home with us. God bless!

This week I will share a recipe I received from a reader. Thank you, Barb!

Snickers Pie

Crust:
1 1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons milk

Filling:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 8-ounce cream cheese
1 Snickers bar, chopped
1 24-ounce Cool Whip (or a little less)
1 3-ounce box instant chocolate pudding

Crust: Mix dry and wet ingredients, press into a 9-inch pie plate, and mold to fit. Bake at 400 degrees for 21 minutes. Cool.

Filling: Thoroughly mix powdered sugar and cream cheese and scoop into cooled crust. Sprinkle 1/2 of chopped Snickers bar on top. Scoop Cool Whip into a large bowl and stir in chocolate pudding until smooth and not gritty. Spread on top of other layers in pie crust. Sprinkle remaining chopped Snickers bar on top. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight before serving.

 

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

Wedding anniversaries, funeral gatherings, and a birthday surprise

We are having rain this evening. I hear thunder in the distance. Daughter Loretta, 19, has two whole chickens on the gas grill on the porch. Red potatoes fresh from the garden are being steamed as well.

Daughters Verena, 21, and Lovina, 15, should be coming home soon. They left this morning to go wash laundry for Mose and daughter Susan. It was a nice sunshiny day, so I hope the clothes were dry before the rain.

I canned 14 quarts of vegetable juice today while Loretta did the daily cleaning and dishes. I like to cut up all the vegetables on the porch and put them through the Victoria food strainer. Filling the jars on the porch keeps all the mess out of the house. I have a garden hose on the porch to wash off all the mess after I’m done.

Four years ago, on August 14, daughter Elizabeth and Tim were married here. What a big undertaking to prepare for the wedding, and to have the first of our children move out of the house. August 5 was daughter Susan and Mose’s third anniversary. Happy anniversary to both couples. May they have many more happy, healthy years to go.

On Saturday we received the sad and shocking news of Joe’s Uncle Elmer’s death. He would have been 75 next month. He went out to do the morning chores in the barn and his son-in-law found him lying there, where they think he had a massive heart attack.

Elmer’s wife Sylvia delivered my first six children and was a great midwife. She delivered many babies in her lifetime and has been a great friend as well. Our deepest sympathy to Sylvia and her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Joe’s family were neighbors with Elmer and Sylvia, which made for a lot of memories between the two families.

August 15 was my oldest sister Leah’s 60th birthday. Her husband Paul invited all of Leah’s siblings to surprise Leah on Sunday for her birthday. Sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma, Jacob and their son Steven, my husband Joe and I and son Kevin had a driver pick us up after church on Sunday. We headed south to pick up brother Albert, Sarah Irene, and their daughters Susan and Sylvia. We joined the rest of the family at Paul and Leah’s house. Paul’s married children, sister Liz and Levi and their daughter Elizabeth, Samuel and family, sister-in-law Nancy and her children, Sam and Laura and Laura’s special friend Enos were also there.

We all stayed in the living room when Leah came home and entered the house. As she walked in we started singing Happy Birthday to her. She was surprised and happy to see all of us there. We were served a good supper and enjoyed visiting before we all parted ways to go home. Brother Amos was missed not being with us. We stopped at the viewing of Uncle Elmer before heading back on the two-hour drive to Michigan. On Tuesday Joe and I attended the funeral of Uncle Elmer.

Before heading home we gathered with some of Joe’s family at a pizza place in honor of Joe’s sister Carol’s birthday. She turned 53 on August 12. They live in Tennessee and had an eight-hour drive home from there. We saw a lot of family on both sides this weekend.

School doors open for son Kevin, 13, on August 20. This is his final year of school—eighth grade. Kevin will be 14 on Labor Day, September 2.

On Saturday my sisters Verena and Susan have invited all the family for the day. More on that next week since space is limited. I’ll share the recipe for chocolate marshmallow bars that I made to take along to Leah’s birthday supper. Until next week, God bless!

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, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

News from Susan – new baby, family visits, and freezer corn

I’m Susan, Lovina’s second oldest daughter. I decided to write the column for Mom since I haven’t been doing too much since baby Ryan joined our family. He’s doing a good job with breast feeding which I’m thankful for. Today I’m spending the day at my parents’ house.

Jennifer, 18 months, is still trying to get used to being a big sister to Ryan. She’s a daddy’s baby so she doesn’t like it when Mose holds baby Ryan. It’ll take a while for Jennifer to adjust to having a little brother.

Mose’s brother Alvin and his wife Suzanna, also their two little boys Caleb and Isaiah, brought supper in Saturday night. She made homemade pizza and salad to bring along.

Sunday Mose’s two sisters and their families brought lunch in. They brought chicken to grill and also a burrito casserole. Mose’s sister Hannah and Leroy have five children: Loren, Jayden, Alissa, Lillian, and Jared. Mose’s sister Esther and Wayne have one child, Darren. Mose is from a family of 12 and a lot of them still haven’t seen Ryan, so we are expecting more company yet.

Mose’s single brother Roman came to see baby Ryan before he headed out to Montana. He’s moving out there, so it’ll be so different to not see him when we go see the rest of the family. He used to live an hour and a half further north, where two of Mose’s other brothers and families live.

Sisters Verena and Lovina helped me out a lot with my laundry and other house work. They also help me with keeping Jennifer out of trouble. They are really good with children. I’m going to miss them when they go back home. Seems the day goes a lot faster when you have somebody older to talk to and not just the babies.

Mose and I had our third anniversary on August 5. Sister Loretta had to remind us because we both forgot. It doesn’t seem like we’ve been married for three years already. Life flies by way too fast. Seems it gets busier the older I get.

Mom and my sisters are canning sweet dill pickles for me so I have enough for next year. Mose and I didn’t get any planted in our garden this year so Mom had plenty for us.

Sister Elizabeth and children are also here at my parents’ today, so she is helping too. They also are helping me with my freezer corn. I’m out of freezer corn so it will be nice to have more. Corn is always good with mashed potatoes and gravy. Our sweet corn we got free from a local farmer that farms the fields beside our place. They furnish it for us so we don’t plant any. Since they plant seed corn beside us they don’t want the corn cross-pollinating with sweet corn. I remember as a teenager detasseling seed corn. We would walk the long rows in the big field and by the end of the day we were tuckered. We only were allowed to detassel the female rows. There were four rows of female and one or two male rows all through the field.

I want to can some pizza sauce and tomato juice this year yet. I’m hoping our tomatoes do really good. I’m out of pizza sauce since I use it a lot. I love to make my pizza casserole. I think Mose gets tired of it, but I haven’t made it in a while now.

Mose does a lot of my gardening so I have been spoiled. He does a pretty good job. He’ll bring the stuff in when it’s ready. I’ll probably be canning red beets since they are ready. I haven’t canned red beets yet since I have been using Mom’s.

Mose’s Mom and Dad have church Sunday. Lord willing we are hoping to attend. Sister Verena said she’ll go with us to help out which will be really helpful. It’ll be fun to take little Ryan to church for the first time. Mom gave me a lot of little boy outfits for Ryan. I was glad she did because I didn’t have many boy outfits.

We used cousin Joseph’s wife Amanda’s recipe she had in the family cookbook for freezer corn. I will share it with you this week. This is now later, and supper is ready here at my parents’ house. Sister Elizabeth and Tim and children, and Mose and I and children will have supper here. We are having goulash and cucumber salad, cheese, and tomatoes for supper.

After supper sisters Verena and Lovina will go home with us and wash laundry for me tomorrow.

It’s been a long but enjoyable day. I will share the freezer corn recipe with you readers. God bless you!

 

Freezer Corn
4 quarts fresh-cut corn, uncooked
1 quart water
4 heaping teaspoons salt
3/4 cup sugar

Simmer corn, salt, and sugar in 1 quart of water for 10 minutes. Then immerse pot in cold water right away. Put corn and water mixture in containers and freeze.

 

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