Never a dull moment: remembering when baby Lovina was born

Today, May 18, is daughter Lovina’s thirteenth birthday. She is now a teenager. We now have five teenagers in the house so you can imagine there isn’t one dull moment.

I will never forget the day Lovina was born. I had gall bladder attacks before I had her which turned into pancreatitis. Lovina came three weeks early. She was born by emergency C-section and we were both in the hospital for a week as I had severe complications. I was so sick and was battling fever and my one lung almost collapsed. Due to being so sick, I wasn’t allowed to see the baby for two days. My husband Joe wanted to name the baby after me since she was born four days before my birthday. I spent my thirty-third birthday in the hospital and my gift was getting moved to a regular room from ICU. While I was in ICU Joe would go down a lot to the nursery and give Lovina her bottle. This was so different from my first six children that I had in my own bedroom. Joe’s aunt Sylvia was my midwife and she was always good at what she did.

Bessie and seven-week-old calf enjoy quiet moments in the pasture.

While I was in the hospital my sisters Verena and Susan stayed with our six children. Elizabeth was almost ten at the time and Joseph was twenty-two months. They had their hands full. Sister Emma and Jacob’s property was sold by public auction during this time so my sisters took all six children along to Indiana for the sale. Jacob and Emma helped out a lot too. And also our church families and neighbors. All this is just a memory to us now, but certain memories stand out more than others.

Lovina is now a sweet young girl and almost done with sixth grade. Lovina wants cupcakes for her birthday instead of a cake. She likes a whipped topping frosting. We are giving her a ripstick for her birthday. Joseph has a ripstick he got as a gift for Christmas. Lovina loves riding it. For those of you who don’t know what a ripstick is, it’s a caster board with two narrow platforms known as decks that are joined by a bar that has a strong spring. It’s on two wheels. I could never keep my balance to even try riding it.

Last Thursday my sisters Verena and Susan and I went to help at our neighbors to prepare for their daughter’s wedding. Vegetables were chopped, pies and bread baked, etc. All the women bring a dish so it makes having lunch easier.

Verena and Susan had a house to clean in the afternoon. I came home and we washed our clothes. Daughter Susan came home from work and helped get the clothes hung outside. They all dried really fast.

The wedding was on Friday for Regina and Wayne. Sisters Verena and Susan, daughter Susan, and I were all cooks at the wedding. Daughter Susan’s and my assignment was to make coffee all day for everyone. We used two big one-hundred cup drip-o-later coffee makers. We made a total of 500 cups of coffee for the whole day.

The menu consisted of barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, dressing, broccoli and cauliflower salad, homemade bread, rhubarb jam, butter, mocha dessert, fresh fruit mixture, pecan, peanut butter, and lemon pies, and candy bars. Ice cream was added to the menu in the evening. After a cold rainy week, Friday turned out to be perfect for a wedding day.

I sewed daughter Verena a black dress yesterday. She will wear a black dress with white cape and apron to church services while she follows instructions for baptism. What a joyful feeling to parents when your child wants to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. God is so good to us. Do we thank Him enough for His many blessings?

I need to get back to my work. I want to thank the readers that came to the book signing in Fort Wayne, Ind., this past Saturday. Also the ladies from the quilting group at the Amigo Centre. I appreciated all the encouragement! God be with all of you!

I had a request recently from a reader for peanut butter brownies. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Brownies

2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs

In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, mix butter, peanut butter, sugars and vanilla. Beat until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Spread evenly into a well-greased 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

 

 

Corralling nine horses: all in a day’s work for Lovina

Diary of May 10, 2017

7:00 a.m. Lovina and Kevin leave for school with the bus. Joseph bikes to school because he can be home 45 minutes longer. With the chores he does, biking doesn’t make him so rushed. School is only three miles from here so it doesn’t take him long.

7:30 a.m. I made grilled cheese sandwiches for my sisters Verena, Susan (staying with us after their house fire), and son Joseph, for their breakfast. Verena and Susan leave for work.

7:45 a.m. Joseph bikes to school. Daughter Verena doesn’t have to work today so I let her and Loretta sleep in until everyone else is gone for the day. They get the job of washing the dishes and cleaning up the house. Verena cleans some windows. She makes scrambled eggs and toast for herself, Loretta, and me. I can relax better by sitting down and eating breakfast after everyone else has left.

9:00 a.m. I start sewing on Susan’s dress, cape, and apron. I had a late start. Had to do some book work first, answer some mail, pay some bills, and now I can feel relaxed to sew.

1:30 p.m. So much for being relaxed. Verena looked out and saw our horses all out in the yard, happily eating grass. We have quite a few horses so they need to be caught and put back inside the fence. Usually one of them is a troublemaker and takes off running away. I caught our pony Stormy, and two-year-old Beauty that the boys are training to drive. The rest took off. Verena almost caught Tough Boy (Mose and Susan’s pony) but he decided to pull away and join the rest! I knew Verena, Loretta, and I wouldn’t be able to get them all in when they took off down the road and back behind our neighbor’s field. I called the school and asked them to send Joseph home to help. Our neighbor Joe drove his four-wheeler to go herd them back up while Joseph, the girls, and I tried to help chase them in through the gate. What a relief when the last one was inside. We have five horses and two ponies, and Mose and Susan have one horse and one pony. So all together there were nine head of horses. We chained the gate and were trying to figure out how they opened it. Then we saw our miniature pony Prancer go up and take the chain in his mouth and wiggle it back and forth. Joseph tied a rope to secure it better.

2:45 p.m. It was too late for Joseph to go back to school so he took our mower over to my sisters’ place and mowed their grass for them.

3:00 p.m. Lovina and Kevin came home from school on the bus. I am finally finished with daughter Susan’s dress, cape, and apron. She was happy to see it done when she came home from work.

4:00 p.m. Verena and I leave for town as I need some groceries.

6:00 p.m. We are back. Chores are done and the boys are out in the field line-driving Beauty. Beauty will be Benjamin’s horse once she’s trained. She will be his eighteenth birthday gift from us.

7:00 p.m. My sisters Verena and Susan are home from their jobs. They had extra cleaning to do so they worked later than normal.

A surprise for Susan’s (Lovina’s sister) birthday.

7:30 p.m. We are having pizza, ice cream, and a cake for my sister Susan’s birthday. She was surprised when she came home to see the cake, flower, and balloons we had for her. Loretta’s friend Dustin, Mose, and daughter Susan joined us for supper.

9:30 p.m. Everyone is ready for bed. Dustin, Mose, and Susan left. Now I sit here trying to stay awake and write this column. I feel sorry for the editor that gets to edit the column this week. My writing is showing exactly how tired I am.

We were glad to meet with column readers at Dorothy’s Hallmark Bookstore in Warsaw, Ind., last Saturday. I heard so much encouragement. May God bless you all! And thanks to Dorothy and staff for once again treating us so well. And also to Ruth Boss furnishing transportation and support!

Asparagus Hot Dish

1/2 cup butter
1 cup colby cheese, cubed
4 cups soft bread, cubed
1 cup asparagus, cooked
2 cups chicken meat, diced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk

Melt butter. Pour over cubed cheese and bread cubes. Put half of mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish. Put drained asparagus on top of bread mixture and chicken on top of asparagus. Mix can of soup with milk and pour over chicken. Add remaining bread mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Do not cover.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

 

Everyone pitches in after lightning strikes sisters’ home

Oh how good to see the sun shining this morning! We had rainy, dreary weather all weekend and until this morning (Wednesday). Is it possible that we have already entered the month of May?

Bread dough rising for 20 loaves of bread to sell at the Illinois book launch.

We had a nice time in South Holland, Illinois, over the weekend. The book signing at Peace Church was a success due to the many helping hands of the recipe testers for the new cookbook, and of course my good friend Ruth. She did more than her share to organize all this. I want to thank all the readers who came. It was so encouraging to hear your kind words. May God bless you each and every one!

The lightning struck and fire started very close to a propane tank.

We had decided to stay Saturday night in Illinois and come home Sunday. Around midnight we received a call letting us know that my sisters Verena and Susan’s house was struck by lightning and was on fire. It was windy and for a while it looked hopeless for the firefighters to save it. But the firefighters did some quick work and the structure was saved, although there was a lot of water damage.

Plans are to rebuild half of the house and try to repair the other half.

After the firefighters left they wanted someone to keep watch on the house to make sure fire didn’t start up again. Mose (son-in-law), Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) and Menno (niece Emma’s special friend) worked hard all night to move furniture out before the ceiling came down. Son-in-law Timothy also came to help once he found out what was going on. Daughter Elizabeth and little Abigail stayed at our house since it was so cold and rainy. During this time we were a few hours away. I wish I could have been there to help but a person never knows. I am just so thankful that no lives were lost. That is what matters most. Material things can be replaced but lives can’t.

This is now Thursday and I still need to finish this column. Sisters Verena and Susan are staying with us ever since the fire. Daughter Verena moved into our daughters’ Loretta and Lovina’s bedroom so my sisters can use Verena’s bedroom.

Meanwhile, amidst everything going on, I am managing to get the clothes sewn for Jake and Lisa’s wedding. Verena and Loretta’s suits are done. I have to finish my dress and then sew my cape and apron.
Next week is our neighbor girl Regina and Wayne’s wedding. I was asked to help bake pies on Thursday and cook at the wedding on Friday. It’s a busy time of the year and lots of weddings in this community. My dress for that wedding is cut out and waiting to be sewn. Daughter Susan is a cook at the wedding also. Daughter Elizabeth took Susan’s dress home to sew it for her. With Susan working full time again, it’s hard for her to find time to sew. Elizabeth was here for the day yesterday. She cut out dress pants for our son Benjamin. Loretta and I were glad for her help with the laundry. It ended up being a nice drying day for laundry.

Since I was busy sewing my husband Joe made supper on the grill. Those joining us for supper besides sisters Verena and Susan, were daughter Susan and her husband Mose, plus Moses’s brother Freeman and Loretta’s friend Dustin.

This morning sisters Verena and Susan did my weekly cleaning before they headed back to their house for the day. They are sorting through the mess and saving what is still okay. Thanks for all your prayers on their behalf. It is greatly appreciated.

I will share the recipe for frozen mocha dessert that I helped make for niece Emma’s wedding a few weeks ago. This is an easy dessert to make ahead of time if you are taking a dessert somewhere, or having company. Very tasty!

God bless you. Until next week, take care!

Frozen Mocha Dessert

2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 tablespoon hot water
¼ cup melted butter
3 cups crumbled Oreo cookies
16 ounces cream cheese
½ cup chocolate syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
16 ounce container whipped topping
small amount caramel syrup

Dissolve coffee in hot water. Mix butter with cookie crumbs. Put 2 ½ cups of crumbs on bottom of pan. Reserve ½ cup for top. Combine cream cheese, coffee mixture, sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate syrup. Beat well and add whipped topping. Cover and freeze a few days before serving. Drizzle with caramel syrup before serving.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Busy spring days mean accepting that one person can’t do everything

It is past time for me to get this column on its way. There’s so much that should be done, but a person can only do so much. One day at a time!

We did manage to get our windows cleaned on Saturday. It doesn’t take long for them to get dirty, especially because of the rainy weather and running the coal stove. We haven’t had any heat in the house for several weeks now. On a few of the colder mornings, it would have felt good to have some! The propane lights heat up the house. We use a lot more battery lights on days that we don’t need heat.

My husband Joe, our sons and son-in-law Mose have planted some garden. This is the first year I haven’t helped plant. I’m not complaining if I don’t need to help! But we will still have the big garden to plant, so I’ll get my chance. They planted red potatoes, onions, radishes, lettuce and cucumbers. I’m not sure if they have any corn planted yet. I need to go get more seeds so we can finish the planting.

This week I have been busy sewing for the wedding next week. I have Loretta’s dress, cape and apron done. I hope to sew Verena’s today and hopefully I’ll get started on mine. I sewed Benjamin, 17, a pair of dress pants. He also needs work pants.

Laundry needs to be done today, but I am waiting to see what the weather is going to be. It is very windy and the sun comes out a little bit and then it rains a little.

We are enjoying asparagus from our garden. I like to fix it several different ways. Joe reminded me last night that we have rhubarb ready to use. I did get the hint that he’s hungry for rhubarb custard pie!

Loretta, 16, and I are alone today. The rest of the family are either at work or at school. Joseph, 14, reminded me this morning that he only has thirty more days of school left. He is in eighth grade, so this will complete his school years. He signed up to help detassel corn this summer. Joseph is tall for his age, so he will find that helpful when he works in the corn fields.

Posing in the mailboxes: Izzy has been Elizabeth’s Yorkie for many years, and puppy Ricky (also a Yorkie) has just joined the Eicher family as Verena’s special pet.

Yesterday daughter Elizabeth and Abigail came for the day. Abigail is getting everywhere on her tummy. She scoots herself around, and so I need to keep my floors clean! Abigail is growing up with Yorkie dogs, so she wasn’t scared of Verena’s new little Yorkie, Ricky. Ricky is doing great and is doing well with the potty training. He likes to hide from us. His favorite place to hide is under Joe’s recliner, where he peeks out at us. Yesterday everyone was looking for him. A few decided to look outside, because he loves to slip out when someone goes through the door. I looked around the living room and bedroom. I happened to look back and he was following me.

We are looking forward to meeting the readers in South Holland, Ill., this Saturday. Our good friend Ruth is once again doing so much for us. Since we live several hours from South Holland, she will come get us Friday evening and then we will stay at her house for the night and go to the book signing on Saturday. Joe, daughters Verena and Lovina and sons Joseph and Kevin are planning to go with me. Loretta and Dustin will go help up set wedding tables on Saturday for his brother Jake’s wedding. This will be at Jake’s girlfriend’s parent’s house, which is about one and one-half hours from here. Jake is the first of Dustin’s siblings to get married, so this will make a big change for their family.

With all of us leaving, that will put son Benjamin in charge of doing the chores here at home. Mose and Susan will be here to help him.

I’ll share Uncle Solomon’s horseradish recipe. Joe and I made some to serve with the colored eggs at Easter. Our horseradish plant is really big already.

God bless you all!

Uncle Solomon’s Homemade Horseradish

horseradish root
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt

Clean and chop horseradish root very fine. Combine vinegar, water, sugar and pinch of salt, adding only enough horseradish to make it the thickness you like. Add more sugar or salt to taste. Store in sealed container and refrigerate or use immediately.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Easter, a wedding and the first book signing headline Lovina’s week

Everyone has gone to bed and I am still here at the kitchen table, writing. I think I am almost caught up in answering all my reader mail. The ones I have left need a recipe they lost. The recipes take time to write out, so please have patience with me. Sometimes my friend, Ruth, prints them out for me, which makes it so much easier.

Last Friday was the wedding day for niece Emma and Johnny, at my brother Albert’s. My job was to help with the mashed potatoes. On the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, dressing, barbecued chicken, corn, lettuce salad, cheese, frozen mocha dessert, fruit salad and angel food cake, as well as pecan, peanut butter, raspberry and ground cherry pies.

My husband, Joe, helped grill more chicken in the afternoon. Joe and I also served punch to the family, cooks and youth in the evening. It was an enjoyable but long day. Daughter Verena was a tablewaiter. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan were also cooks. In the evening Timothy, Elizabeth, Mose and Susan were evening servers.

Sunday was Easter day. I hope everyone had a blessed Easter. Our family was here for the day.

Friday in two weeks is the wedding of Jake and Lisa (Dustin’s brother). I have three suits to sew before then.

Yesterday I signed copies of my new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, in Shipshewana, Ind. at J. Farvers bookstore. Mark was a great host and so were his employees. They made a lot of the recipes from my new cookbook, and everyone was able to taste them.

A list of the upcoming book signings will be listed is at the end of this column. I look forward to meeting with many readers at the book signings. Thanks to all the readers who are buying the new cookbook. I saw it for the first time in print yesterday. It turned out really nice! Lots of hard work went into this book but seeing the finished product makes it worth all the time invested.

A list of upcoming book signings  is below

Sat. April 29:  9 a.m. – noon – South Holland, Ill.
Peace Church (Where Ruth goes to church and many women helped test recipes from there)
833 East 168th Street
South Holland, IL 60473

Sat. May 6: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Warsaw, Ind.
Dorothy’s Hallmark/The Party Shop
3418 Lake City Hwy
Warsaw, IN 46580

Sat. May 13: 10 a.m. – noon – Fort Wayne, Ind.
Barnes & Noble –Glenbrook Square
4201 Coldwater Rd B-01
Fort Wayne, IN 46805

Fri. May 19: 6 – 8 p.m. Goshen, Ind.
Better World Books
215 S Main St
Goshen, IN 46526

Sat. May 20: 12 noon to 3 p.m.  Mishawaka, Ind.
University Park Mall
Barnes & Noble 2358
6501 North Grape Road
Mishawaka, IN 46545

Sat. May 27: 10:00 a.m. to noon. Battle Creek, Mich.
Barnes & Noble
Lakeview Square Mall
5701 Beckley Rd., Lakeview Square
Battle Creek, MI 49015

Sat. June 3: 1-4 p.m.
The Blue Gate Restaurant
105 E Middlebury St
Shipshewana, 46565

Berne, Ind. Swiss Days:
Faith & Life Books –
July 28 5-7 pm
Jilaine Graber
159 W. Main St
Berne, IN  46711

 

I will share a recipe from the cookbook for Hobo Suppers. We make these a lot during the hot summer evenings so we don’t have to have any heat in the house to cook.

Vegetables and meats are chopped and put into foil wrapper for cooking in gas grill, oven, or campfire, (depending on fire regulations and conditions in your area). Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis.

Until next week . . . God bless!

Hobo Suppers

10 red potatoes, unpeeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup green peppers, diced
2 cups carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, chopped
1 (16-ounce) package smoky links or 1 pound smoked sausage, cut into pieces
salt and pepper, as desired
cheese, sliced

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together except the cheese. Divide the mixture into the amount you want for each serving, placing individual servings on sheets of aluminum foil. Fold foil over, wrapping tight, and set on grill for 10 minutes on each side.

Open up foil; if potatoes are soft, add a slice of cheese. (If potatoes need more time to cook, close pouches and return to grill before adding cheese.) Rewrap and grill a few more minutes until cheese is melted.

Alternatively, can be cooked in oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then turned over and cooked for 10 additional minutes. Check doneness of potatoes before adding cheese.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Verena’s vacation memorable, but she’s happy to be home with family

Dear Readers,

This is Verena, age 19. My mother asked me to write the column this week. Recently my life has been so busy with working Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the daycare. I also babysit for my friend’s three little boys whenever they need a sitter. I love children, so it makes me happy that my job includes taking care of many sweet little angels! With most of the children at the daycare being age five and under, it takes lots and lots of patience. The children are at such a tender, young, innocent age. I feel blessed to be able to care for them.

I recently took a trip to Rhode Island with a lady I work for at the daycare center. We traveled with a group. Our trip started on April 2. We left Michigan before daylight, traveling through Indiana, Ohio, and on into Pennsylvania. We stayed the first night in Pittsburgh. We had such beautiful scenery from our eleventh-floor hotel room. The hotel was twenty stories high.

Verena loved creating a special crayon wrapper for baby Abigail at the Crayola factory in Easton, Pa.

On Monday, we traveled to Easton, Pa., and toured the Crayola factory. We were able to play a few games and work with art. I was able to make two crayons of my own and could name the color on the crayon. I chose the names Abigail Elizabeth and Verena for my colors.

That evening we slept in New York City. The lights after dark are absolutely amazing. There is such a big difference between the lifestyles in a big city and the lifestyle I know as an Amish country girl!

On Tuesday, we left New York City around 6:00 a.m. and drove to Newport, R.I. By the time we reached Rhode Island we had traveled through nine states. We drove along the Atlantic Ocean and then crossed the bridge to Rhode Island. The scenery was such perfect artwork created by our wonderful God. The ocean is always amazing to see and makes us feel so small.

We stayed in Rhode Island two nights (Tuesday and Wednesday) in a nice hotel. We enjoyed swimming and relaxing in the hot tub. A few from our group took a three-mile walk along the ocean. I walked along the beach and saw seashells scattered about.

While in Rhode Island we went to the Audrain Auto Museum. It was quite something to see. We then drove to Shawnee on Delaware, in Pennsylvania. Shawnee on Delaware is an unincorporated community on the Delaware River, a part of Smithfield Township in Monroe County. We stayed in a cabin in the woods at the Shawnee Village Resort. It was a very nice place to stay.

Saturday, April 9, we started out and were going to stay the night in Ashland, Ohio, but decided to drive all the way home instead. I was so glad to reach home that night yet. I missed my family so much. It is nice to go on a vacation, but there is nothing like home and family. I was thankful that we had safe travels and a safe driver. I will forever remember this trip.

On Sunday I stayed home and rested all day while the rest of the family went to church. Later in the day our family—sister Elizabeth, Timothy and Abigail, Mose and Susan, Dustin, and aunts Verena and Susan—all went to Uncle Jacob and Aunt Emma’s for supper and an egg hunt. I was happy to see my little niece Abigail again. It was a great night with family. Like usual, we all enjoyed looking for the eggs. Supper was campfire stew, fresh grilled ham, cheese, crackers, cherry delight, Swiss roll bars, fruit dip, apples and grapes.

I’m getting excited for Saturday. I will be getting my Teacup Yorkshire Terrier puppy, Ricky. I have his bed and everything set up for him.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure. God bless!

I will share the recipe for skillet casserole. I made if for our supper tonight. I don’t add the carrots and I wait to add the cheese until the potatoes are soft. It’s a very good casserole!

Skillet Casserole

1 pound raw ground beef
5 medium potatoes, grated
1 onion, diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
6 or more cheese slices

Spread the ground beef on the bottom of a large skillet. Place potatoes on top of meat and then add a layer of onions. Pour the soup over top, and add slices of cheese over the whole casserole. Cover skillet and simmer for 40 minutes. Optional: diced carrots can also be added as a layer on top of the potatoes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017, available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Spring break brings emptier nest for Eichers; plus exciting birth to announce!

It has been rainy and cool all week—not the best weather for the children while they are on spring break from school! I was hoping we could get the yard raked up this week, but I’m sure we will have nicer days to work outside. There is plenty to do otherwise. The boys have been getting the barn cleaned out.

Our cow Bessie decided to have her calf on the last day of March. We had the veterinarian come out and check on her the night before, as she was ten days past her due date. He thought it might be a few days yet. But the next day while Loretta was finishing up with washing the breakfast dishes, she saw that Bessie was trying to deliver out in the field. Son Benjamin was home, so he tried to get her to come up from the field to get her in the barn.

Bessie gave birth to a healthy calf this week, right out in the field.

She wouldn’t move, so I called the veterinarian and he said to let her where she was and told me we should help her. Benjamin, Verena, and I tried to help her, but we needed another guy to help, so we asked our neighbor. With all three of us, we were able to help Bessie deliver a big bull calf. We were glad all was well with Bessie and the calf. Bessie is a good mother, and the calf is lively out in the field during the days when it’s not raining.

The house seems empty this week without daughter Verena home. She is in Rhode Island right now, but they stopped at places of interest on the way to Rhode Island. She traveled through nine states on the way there. They slept in Pittsburgh one night and in New York City the next night. She was able to tour the Crayola Factory in Easton, Pa. I am sure she will have many stories to tell us once she’s home. We really miss her!

The house seems even emptier the last few days. Daughter Lovina is at daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. I am sure she’s having fun entertaining Abigail. They will come here today. I am hoping we can get some wedding clothes sewn. Verena is tablewaiter next week in niece Emma and Johnny’s wedding and needs to wear a dress of green apple color. I am a cook and will wear a dark tan dress. It will be nice to see the family again.

I don’t have too many details yet, but my oldest nephew Ben (son of sister Leah and Paul) had a scare recently with his wife Rosemarie. Rosemarie had a baby girl (by C-section) named Elizabeth. A few days after she was home, Rosemarie was rushed to the hospital because a blood clot traveled to her lungs. My sister Leah took care of the newborn while Ben stayed with Rosemarie in the hospital. Rosemarie is back home and I haven’t heard how she is doing recently. We wish her a speedy and complete recovery. Our prayers are with them.

On Sunday we enjoyed a haystack dinner at my sisters Verena and Susan’s. Jacob, Emma and sons Benjamin and Steven, Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail and Loretta’s special friend Dustin were also there.

God’s blessings to all!

Overnight Cookies
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup shortening
3 eggs
4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

Cream sugars and shortening. Add eggs and mix well. Stir in dry ingredients and blend. Divide into three parts and form into rolls. Chill in refrigerator overnight. Slice off cookie-sized pieces and bake at 400 degrees for eight minutes or until done. Pecans or walnuts can be pressed into center of dough before baking.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017, available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Lovina’s daughter heads east; children learning to like dandelion greens

It is good to see the sun shining today after some dreary weather.

Next week Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin will be home for spring break from school. Saturday is already the first day of April. I am hoping for a warmer week while the children are home. We want to get the yard cleaned up and ready for mowing when the grass starts growing.

Daughters Verena, 19, and Lovina, 12, will stay at a friend’s house from Friday night until late Saturday night with the friend’s one-year-old son. They babysit for him a lot so he is used to having them around. His parents are leaving town and asked the girls if they would stay with him.

Then Sunday morning early, Verena will leave for eight days with the lady she works with at a local daycare center. There will be others going with them as well and they will be travel to various states as far as Rhode Island. I will have more details when she is back. I hope they have safe travels. We will miss Verena while she is gone, but I am glad she gets to go. Most of her expenses will be paid. It will be a nice break for her to get away from everything. I was teasing her that she’s going farther east than I’ve ever gone. Ohio is the farthest east I have been.

She works three days a week at the daycare and helps with the little children age five and younger. She loves being around them and is already very attached. Her love for children makes her job fun but demanding. Needless to say, she changes a lot of diapers in a day’s time. Also with quite a few needing to be potty-trained, there isn’t much free time for her.

We are having dandelion greens salad a lot this week. We like this with cooked or steamed potatoes. This year three more of our children started eating the dandelion salad.

I want to correct something that somehow was incorrect in a recent column. Pon hoss is sliced and fried, but flour is not added to fry it. This must have been a misprint somewhere. That is one of the things a writer must endure. We write it one way and just a few words added or reworded can make a big difference and another meaning.

We have three wedding invitations on our refrigerator at this time. Niece Emma and Johnny chose April 14 for their wedding day. Our neighbor girl Regina and Wayne have set May 12 for their special day. And on May 5, Dustin’s brother Jake and Lisa will exchange vows. I was asked to be a cook at all three of these weddings. The girls also have part in two of the weddings, so much sewing needs to be done. We went after the material and now it’s waiting to be cut out and sewn.

Due to still getting lots of letters from readers asking about details about the cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook: Everyday Recipes from Farm and Pantry, I’ll put in that information again. You can call 800-245-7894 to preorder from the publisher or go online and order from Amazon or other stores online. It will be released April 17. It’s exciting for all of us.

God’s blessings to all!

Garden Vegetable Spread

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup cucumber, diced
1 carrot, shredded
1 green onion, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
dash of salt
dash of pepper

Combine all the ingredients. Chill. Serve with crackers or cut-up vegetables. This is also very good on a bagel or a tortilla with a little meat, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017, available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Lovina’s Book Signings

Lovina’s Book Signings

If you’ve been wanting to meet Lovina and you live in the northern Indiana/southern Michigan area, you are in luck! Lovina has agreed to do a number of book signings in this area this spring/summer 2017. Put one or more of these on your calendar and you will love meeting this cook you’ve been reading for so long. Check back here for updates or changes to her schedule. Use the green highlighted links below to find locations of stores if you are not familiar. Thanks!

CONFIRMED BOOK SIGNINGS FOR LOVINA (subject to change)

Tues. April 18:  2-4 p.m. PLUS 5:30 – 7 p.m. after hours launch party – Shipshewana, Ind.

J Farver’s Books
451 S. VanBuren
Shipshewana, IN 46565

(located in Yoder’s Red Barn Shoppes next to Yoder’s Meat and Cheese Shoppe on SR5 in Shipshewana.)

Email contact: jfarvers@juno.com

Sat. April 29:  9 a.m. – noon – South Holland, Ill.

Peace Church

833 East 168th Street
South Holland, IL 60473

(Ruth Boss’s church where friends were involved with recipe testing)

Sat. May 6: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Warsaw, Ind.

Dorothy’s Hallmark

The Party Shop
3418 Lake City Hwy
Warsaw, IN 46580

Email contact: dana@thepartyshop.com

Sat. May 13: – 10 a.m. – noon – Fort Wayne, Ind.

Barnes & Noble –Glenbrook Square

4201 Coldwater Rd B-01,
Fort Wayne, IN 46805

Email contact crm2313@bn.com

Tues. May 16:  Amigo Centre –  Carol Honderich’s quilting class

2 p.m. Private event

 

Fri. May 19: 6 – 8 p.m. Goshen, IN

Better World Books

215 S Main St
Goshen, IN 46526
Phone: (574) 534-1984

Sat. May 20: 12 noon to 3 p.m.  Mishawaka, Ind

University Park Mall

Barnes & Noble 2358
6501 North Grape Road
Mishawaka, IN 46545
574-247-0864

 

Sat. May 27 – Battle Creek, MI 10:00 am – noon
Barnes & Noble

Lakeview Square Mall
5701 Beckley Rd., Lakeview Sq,
Battle Creek, MI 49015

 

Remember, if you can’t make it to any of these locations, you can purchase directly from the publisher here or Amazon or anywhere else you find the book online!

Heartfelt sympathy for family of 13-year-old relative after tragic death

The calendar tells us spring is here but the weather thinks differently. It has been cold so far this week. Son-in-law Mose is boiling maple syrup as fast as he can keep up in the evenings. Son Benjamin keeps the fire under the cooker going all day and adds more sap as it cooks down. The weather is perfect right now to get the sap running from the trees.

As soon as it warms up I have lots of windows that need to be cleaned. I really look forward to the warmer days ahead.

Our hearts are saddened since we received the shocking news yesterday of our cousins Samuel and Lydia’s granddaughter’s death. Samuel is Joe’s cousin and Lydia is my cousin. Their thirteen-year-old granddaughter, Lovina, was biking to school yesterday morning (March 22). She was hit by a passing truck that did not see her because of the blinding sunlight. Oh, I cannot grasp the feeling this family had when they heard the news. We also have a daughter Lovina just a few months younger than her and also in the sixth grade. I keep asking myself how I would have felt had it been my daughter. God doesn’t make mistakes and we pray that this family will find comfort in that; let God be their guide as they will have many lonely days of grief ahead.

Left to mourn her are father and mother Daniel and Lydia, three sisters, three brothers, grandparents and many more. She was the second child, oldest daughter out of the seven siblings. Visitation will take place tonight (Thursday) and Friday all day at the family residence. The funeral is Saturday at 9:30 a.m. They live in a community around thirty minutes from here by car. We have a hired driver to take us there. Our most heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family.

Yesterday daughter Elizabeth and baby Abigail came to spend the day here. It was a cold morning with the temperature around nineteen degrees. Abigail kept warm on the ride over and had a big smile when she woke up in Grandma’s house. Elizabeth helped me make sugar cookies and cinnamon rolls. It was a good day to bake with the cold temperature. I need to get some baby things around such as a high chair, walker, etc., that would be nice to have whenever Abigail comes.

After eleven years of small children, I didn’t need much of anything around so I gave my stuff away or sold it at a garage sale. Being grandparents is another change in life and so much fun. Abigail is always a day brightener when she comes.

I had a visit Monday morning from Ruth Coblentz (a relative). She has many lonely days since her husband Dave passed away last August. She brought me several cookbooks compiled by the Schwartz families. I am always glad for new recipes but this is special coming from family—Joe’s late grandmother Mae, on his dad’s side.

Daughter Susan tried a different casserole for supper one evening. It can be made for breakfast or any meal. I will share it with you readers this week. God bless you all!

Sausage Casserole

1 pound loose sausage
1 pound Tater Tots
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon mustard
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown sausage until no longer pink; drain. Layer Tater Tots in a greased 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with onion powder. Top with cheddar cheese. Top with browned sausage mixed with mustard. Mix together eggs and milk; pour over all. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Top with the mozzarella cheese and heat until cheese is melted.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017, available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.