Summer commences with sewing and cleaning projects

June is here, and we are almost halfway through 2018 already! It’s unbelievable how time just seems to go faster each year.

Speaking of time: we have more sewing that needs to be done. Congratulations are in order for nephew Levi Jr. and Arlene. They chose July 4 to unite in holy matrimony. Levi will be 24 years old on June 30. He was born two weeks after we had our firstborn Elizabeth. Elizabeth will be 24 on June 14. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and I are all asked to be cooks at Levi’s wedding. We need to wear the color “iris”—and none of us have a dress in that color. Daughter Verena needs to wear a light gray dress and son Benjamin a light gray shirt. They were both asked to be table waiters at the wedding.

So yesterday, while Elizabeth and Susan were here, we drove over to our local community store and bought our material for the dresses for the wedding in four weeks. Now we need to get them cut out and sewn. The week of July 4 is shut-down week for most factories in our area, so everyone in our family will be off work for the wedding.

My husband, Joe, and son-in-law Mose are off work from the factory right now for around a week. Makes it a little rough when bills need to be paid. But God is above, and we have much to be thankful for. It was just a little unexpected.

Some of Lovina’s family had extra time to fish this week—here’s a 21½ inch whopper husband Joe landed. They froze some of the fish.

Joe and Mose have spent a lot of time fishing, so it is good to see the freezer filling up with fish. The boys also go fishing every chance they get.

Congratulations also go to niece Lisa and Marcus from Tennessee! They chose June 15 for their wedding date. It doesn’t look like we will be able to attend. It’s about a nine-hour drive from here, if I’m not mistaken. With gas prices going up, traveling that far becomes more difficult.

Yesterday Elizabeth and her daughter Abigail, plus Susan and her daughter Jennifer spent the day here. Susan brought them in her horse and buggy. It’s always such a day brightener when I walk out to their buggy to help bring in the little girls and they both smile for me! Abigail now calls out “Grandma!” when she sees me coming.

Daughter Lovina went to her friend Mary’s house on Monday evening for Mary’s birthday supper. Mary is a girl from our church. Several other girls were also there in honor of her birthday.

I have been trying to get some cleaning done, as we will host church services in August, Lord willing. Joseph and Kevin’s bedroom should be painted, but we will see how far we get. It seems like the boys’ bedroom has more nicks and dents in the walls than anywhere in the house! I wasn’t too happy when I found a dartboard hanging on their wall a few years ago. Of course their darts missed the board sometimes and made holes in the wall. I am hoping the boys have grown up enough now that we would be safe to patch up the holes and repaint. They could help now, so that would be a great help to me.

I was hoping we could get our basement and the upstairs bedrooms all cleaned before the July 4 week. Time will go fast after that. Cleaning now would give us less to do on those hot summer days when canning will be in full swing.

We are still enjoying the early garden goodies. Several recent rains have given the gardens a boost. Plants are looking nice. Weeds are also taking over, so we need to get those out of there.

Here is a zucchini cupcake recipe to save to use when your zucchini are ready.

God’s blessings to all!

Zucchini Cupcakes

3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
1 can crushed pineapple, 15 oz.,  drained
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut

Beat eggs and add oil, sugar, zucchini and pineapple and set aside.

Stir together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Blend dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Add vanilla, coconut and nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes large batch of 30 or so cupcakes.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, 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.

Little Abigail gets introduced to the Coblentz family water battles

Little Abigail gets introduced to the Coblentz family water battles 

It looks dark towards the southeast like a storm could be forming. We sure could use the rain. It’s been dry this week. We watered the gardens a few times this week but hoped it would rain tonight. Our soil is sandy so all the rain we had several weeks ago is all dried up. Rivers and lakes are still filled to the banks. Our weather has been in the 90’s with high humidity. Michigan has finally decided winter is over.

Tomorrow is 12-year-old son Kevin’s last day of school for this term. He will be a seventh grader next year. The school picnic is tomorrow. We plan to attend. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan along with my sweet granddaughters plan to go with us. I’m sure little 20-month-old Abigail will have fun at the playground.

Daughter Lovina, 14, is winding down with her school work. I need to do some more grading and get her report card filled out. She does a wonderful job with her school assignments and books.

Our family did a lot of fishing over the holiday weekend and caught plenty of fish. We had a fish fry over at daughter Susan and Mose’s house on Monday evening. Sons-in-law Mose and Timothy and Loretta’s special friend Dustin deep fried the fish and made French fries outside in our deep fryer, run by propane. It was a nice but hot evening to sit outside and eat.

Sunday night our family gathered here and stayed all night. The men made campfire stew in the kettle over the open fire and grilled hamburgers. We ate outside under a screened-in canopy. It helped the mosquitoes and bugs stay off the little ones and was nicer even for the adults.

Since the grass was the floor our daughters decided to play a game where we had to take a swallow of water and hold it in our mouth. One person would say a joke or something funny. The first person to spit out their water had to take the place of the person saying the jokes. I tried it but thought it was much more fun to sit back and watch.

The children also had a water battle and even little Abigail was throwing water. After it was over Abigail didn’t realize it’s time to quit and caught a few of us by surprise when she dumped a cup of water on us. It was cute to hear her giggle when we jumped. I told daughter Elizabeth she must be a typical Coblentz. Our Coblentz reunions always end up with a water battle. I remember Uncle Menno as one of the first to throw water. We had many fun times on hot days at the reunion throwing water until everyone was cooled off from all the heat.

It is pretty quiet around here right now. Daughters Verena and Lovina are at Susan and Mose’s house for supper. Nephew Henry and Mose went fishing with the boat to the lake nearby. Son Benjamin, 18, had a dentist appointment tonight. Joseph had a dentist appointment today and is outside doing evening chores. Kevin is also helping him.

My husband Joe is showering and I’m writing by the kitchen table taking advantage of the peace and quiet. Daughter Loretta went to town with Benjamin. I haven’t decided what we will make for supper. It seems no one is hungry until after it cools off outside.

I will share a new asparagus recipe with everyone. Our asparagus is coming to an end for the season. We are enjoying lettuce, radishes, and onions from our garden. Both our gardens are now all planted. I still have a few things I need to plant. I’ll find room to squeeze them in somewhere.

I finally got to answering some reader mail this afternoon. Thanks for your patience. I always appreciate the kind words of encouragement. God bless!

Hot Asparagus Bits

20 slices white bread
3 ounces blue cheese
8 ounces cream cheese
1 egg
1/2 pound butter, melted
20 spears fresh or frozen asparagus, cooked and drained

Trim crusts from bread and flatten slices slightly with rolling pin. Thoroughly blend cheeses and egg. Spread cheese mixture over each bread slice. Roll an asparagus spear inside each slice and fasten with a toothpick. Dip each roll in melted butter. Place on a baking sheet and freeze. When firm slice each roll into three pieces. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Editor’s Note: If you are in the southern Michigan/northern Indiana area, head to a booksigning with Lovina and several family members, at Colon Township Library, Colon, Mich. on June 12 from 6 – 7 p.m. Address for the library: 128 S Blackstone Ave, Colon, MI

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, 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.

 

 

Lovina’s daughters and all five sisters surprise Lovina on her birthday

Lovina’s daughters and all five sisters surprise Lovina on her birthday

My 47th birthday was May 22. My daughters wanted me to spend the day with all of them at daughter Elizabeth’s house. When I walked in the house it was decorated with balloons and Happy Birthday banners.

Soon after I was there all five of my sisters and some of my nieces drove in to spend the day with me. What a wonderful surprise! It is not often that all of us six sisters get to spend a day together. My daughters had invited them, and everyone brought food.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan made the casseroles. Daughter Verena had taken the cake, ice cream, etc. to Elizabeth’s house the day before. I’m not sure if I can remember all the food that was brought in but I’ll try. There was salad, deviled eggs, cheese, veggies and dip, chips, cookies, cinn-a-pan rolls, rhubarb cake dessert, jello with fruit, chocolate cake, brownies, Rice Krispy treats, rhubarb juice and Pepsi. Then we also had a white birthday cake and ice cream. The cake had candles on it that spelled out “older” and “wiser.” Not too sure if the wiser proves true but definitely the older does. It is probably the first birthday I had that even the plates and napkins said “Happy Birthday!” They all helped make a great memorable 47th birthday.

We visited and visited. Not so sure if anyone was listening but I do know more than one was talking at the same time. It was fun and we sang a few songs after lunch. Of course we yodeled. My daughters always like when my sisters and I are together and yodel. Was sorry that our two sisters-in-law couldn’t make it for the day.

Sister Liz’s granddaughter La Rose and Abigail played together for the first time. It was so cute to watch them play. Sister Liz’s two grandsons were also there and daughter Susan’s baby, Jennifer.

The babies had more than enough attention. I appreciate that they all helped make my day special—some traveling two hours to spend the day. I also appreciated all the flowers, cards, and gifts very much.

We were shocked to receive the sad news of the death of my husband Joe’s brother Clarence Jr. He was 47 at the time of his death but would be 48 now. We don’t know the cause of death yet but are waiting on the autopsy results. Clarence was never married. He leaves to mourn three brothers, eight sisters, and many nieces and nephews. Once again we are reminded that we do not need to be old to die. In less than four months Joe and I both lost a brother. We question why but take comfort in knowing that God makes no mistakes.

Clarence Jr. will be buried in our local Amish community cemetery. Funeral services will be Friday. Son Benjamin will be one of the pallbearers along with eight other nephews. Nephew Henry will also be one of them. It’s a new experience for both of them.

In the Amish community the pallbearers help dig the grave. Tomorrow night they will gather at the cemetery to dig the grave for their uncle. Life brings many changes. May we trust in our Heavenly Father for his guiding hand to watch over us as we travel into the unknown future.

I wish all of God’s blessings to each and every one of you! I appreciate all the birthday wishes and words of comfort. Take care!

Asparagus Soup

1 pound fresh asparagus
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons sour cream

Cut asparagus into 2-inch pieces and cook in 1/2 cup boiling water 3–5 minutes until tender. Drain and reserve liquid; set aside. Melt butter in a Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté 4 minutes until tender. Add flour; cook and stir in reserved liquid until smooth. Add asparagus, milk, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Slowly add sour cream. Allow to cool slightly. Process asparagus mixture in batches in a blender until smooth. Return to Dutch oven to re-warm. Yield: 5 cups.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, 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.

 

 

Birthdays, Mother’s Day, and Wednesday with daughters: all good

First of all, daughter Lovina will be 14 tomorrow, May 18. A happy birthday to her!

Also, happy 25th birthday today, May 17, to my niece Elizabeth. We are invited to her parents (sister Liz and husband Levi) on Saturday for a surprise birthday party for Elizabeth. With so much gardening and spring work it doesn’t look like we will make it. Elizabeth is married to Samuel and has two little children LaRose and Samuel Lee.

I want to add a paragraph that was omitted from my last column. While visiting family we also stopped in to visit with sister Liz and Levi. Their daughter Rosa and her husband Menno have living quarters in the new building beside the house. They have a little boy named Jeremiah. Daughter Susan and baby Jennifer were with us. Susan and Rosa hadn’t seen each other’s babies yet. Always nice to catch up on the little ones. They grow so fast and are so precious!

Daughter Loretta and special friend Dustin enjoyed the wedding in Andover, Ohio, last week. They (Dustin’s family and Loretta) traveled up to Niagara Falls and enjoyed seeing the beautiful sights. It was Loretta’s first time to see New York (even before I did—smile). They had a nice time and arrived safely back in Michigan on Friday evening.

Verena gave this beautiful candle/plaque to Lovina for Mother’s Day, in memory of Lovina’s brother, Amos Coblentz.

Sunday was Mother’s Day. So I hope all mothers had a nice day, spending it with family! My mother passed away in 2002 unexpectedly. I still miss her so much. I have many precious memories of her. I started penning this column in 2002 after her sudden passing. She wrote it for eleven years. Rest in peace dear mother—you will always stay close in our hearts. The good example she left makes me want to always try and do my best!

My children all came home for a brunch on Mother’s Day. We had bacon, ham (fresh ham on the grill), eggs, potatoes, sausage gravy, toast, jelly, butter, coffee, milk, and juice. Also rhubarb custard pie and peanut butter swirl bars. Spending time with family is always precious to me. Timothy and Elizabeth left early afternoon as his brother’s family was coming to their house for supper. Mose and Susan were here for an early supper of fried chicken.

Yesterday, daughters Elizabeth and Susan came here for the day. Usually every Wednesday they come home for the day. Daughter Verena, 20, started working for nephew Emanul several weeks ago. She works in the office doing a lot of secretarial work for his woodworking business. She works four days a week and has Wednesdays off. She is glad to be home on the day her little nieces are here to entertain.

Yesterday was such a nice day we decided to head to town. We took three buggies and horses. Elizabeth, Susan, and baby Jennifer went with Elizabeth’s buggy and horse. Verena, Abigail, and I went with our buggy and our horse, Mighty. Loretta, Joseph, and Lovina followed with our other buggy and our horse Midnight. We did some shopping and decided to eat at a family restaurant. Little Abigail had so much fun. Daughter Lovina was glad for a break from her school work. After we were back home Joseph, 15, mowed our yard. The girls took Abigail down to the nearby lake and let her walk in the water. She didn’t want to leave. Around 5:00 p.m. Elizabeth and Susan headed for home. The girls made an easy supper of BLT sandwiches and we also had leftover tater tot casserole from the evening before. It was an enjoyable day!

Nephew Henry is home today and also was yesterday. He hurt his foot at work and it is really swollen and painful. He went to the doctor yesterday and they took an x-ray at the hospital. He should find out the results today. I hope it is not broken. He is using a pair of crutches we had and is keeping ice packs on it.

It looks like we are going to have another beautiful day! Laundry and planting more garden is on the list for today. God bless all of you!

I will share this recipe for baked French toast. We make this a lot. Its easy and you can put it in the oven. We love maple syrup on ours.

Baked French Toast

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup
10–12 slices bread
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bring brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup just to a boil and then pour into the bottom of a 9×13-inch glass pan. Top with two layers of bread. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top of the bread. Then beat together eggs, milk, and vanilla and pour over the bread. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Do not overbake or syrup on the bottom will get hard.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, 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.

 

 

 

Children spreading wings as Lovina plans for Ascension Day gatherings

Children spreading wings as Lovina plans for Ascension Day gatherings

It’s Wednesday evening and the house is really quiet tonight. My husband Joe, daughter Verena, and I are the only ones here.

Daughter Loretta left this afternoon with Dustin and his family to travel to Ohio. Dustin’s cousin is getting married tomorrow. Dustin and Loretta will be servers at the wedding. I actually just finished sewing Dustin’s shirt for the wedding this afternoon and finished it a little before they left. That was cutting it a little too close. Dustin’s shirt is cream-colored, worn with a vest. Loretta’s dress is a periwinkle blue. I had Loretta’s dress, cape, and apron sewn already last week.

Nephew Henry also went to this wedding. They should all be back home by Friday evening. Henry and Dustin are cousins as their dads are brothers, so the groom is a cousin to both of them.

Our children Benjamin, Joseph, Kevin, and Lovina went to sister Emma and Jacob’s house this evening and I think they were going to go over to Mose and Susan’s house too.

Chopping fresh asparagus from the garden for some creamed asparagus.
Creamed asparagus, made with a thick white sauce.

We are having a thunder storm. Joe brought in asparagus so I’m going to make creamed asparagus for supper.

 

I made four rhubarb custard pies tonight. Tomorrow is Ascension Day and also sister Susan’s birthday (May 10). This community has Fast and Prayer Day until lunch on Ascension Day in honor of Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven.

One example of a “haystack” made of layers of veggies, meats and topped with cheese.
Can she bake a rhubarb custard pie? You betcha!

Sister Susan invited us to their house for lunch tomorrow. She will have a “haystack” meal for us. I made the rhubarb custard pie to take there. Jacob and Emma and family, Timothy and Elizabeth, and Mose and Susan will all go too.

Sunday evening we went to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house for a hot dog roast, and then we made smores. It was a nice relaxing evening to sit out by the fire. We also played Dutch Blitz. I haven’t played that card game too often so I was kind of slow at the fast moving game. We played in teams then and Joe was my partner so we started winning the game.

We recently visited sister-in-law Nancy and family. Brother Amos has been gone three-and-one-half months now and is still so greatly missed. Her daughters Marlene and Lovina were home for the day. And Lisa and Laura still live there so we could visit with all of them. Sam is now done with his school years. He does a good job of keeping up with the chores around there. It just doesn’t seem right to go there and not see Amos around. God makes no mistakes!

We also stopped to visit with sister Leah and Paul before heading back to Michigan. They are adding on to their house. It will be very nice once it’s done, with some more room when they host church services.

Saturday, May 12, is nephew Benjamin’s (son of Jacob and sister Emma) 16th birthday, as well as being Mother’s Day!

A great thank you to the readers that came to see us at the book signing in Warsaw, Indiana, last Saturday. Little Abigail enjoyed chattering with everyone even though people weren’t always sure what she was saying. We appreciated the hospitality from Dorothy and staff. Like always, we were treated really well.

I will share an asparagus recipe this week since it’s in season. I like trying new ways to use it.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Asparagus Shepherd’s Pie

6 medium potatoes, diced
1–2 pounds hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10.5 ounce) can cream soup
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut in pieces
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2–1 cup mozzarella or cheddar cheese, shredded

Cook potatoes until tender. Brown hamburger with onion and garlic; drain off grease. Add soup and pour into a greased 2-quart baking dish. Cook asparagus in small amount of water 3–4 minutes until crisp and tender. Drain and place over beef mixture. Mash the potatoes adding milk, butter, and salt; spread over asparagus. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, 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.

 

 

Overnight, a new foal born without help

Ginger and her new foal.

Overnight, a new foal born without help; name ideas?

It’s Thursday morning around 6:30 a.m. Son Kevin, 12, is waiting on the bus to pick him up for school.

We had a few thunderstorms during the night. Loud enough to keep us awake a lot so I feel tired yet. I’m letting the ones that don’t have to go to work sleep in a little longer.

Last night Mose and daughter Susan and baby Jennifer were here for supper. We had a severe thunderstorm right before they wanted to leave for home. I am wondering if there could have been a tornado with it but maybe it was just the strong winds that did so much damage in this area. It flattened our neighbor’s barn and tore some of their house roof off. It downed trees and power lines. It tore the soffit from our porch ceiling off, took big branches off our trees, threw around a lot of things outside. We felt fortunate to not have anything major happen here. The hail that was hitting our windows sounded pretty big. It was one thunderstorm after another going through so Mose and Susan decided not to try taking the buggy home. Lots of roads were blocked off from fallen trees.

It was cute to see little Jennifer sleeping so soundly this morning when my husband Joe, and Mose were leaving for work. She had her hands stretched over her head. Jennifer has to wear mittens on her hands as she scratches her face with her fingernails. We have tried to clip her nails down but she still ends up with a scratch on her face. She doesn’t seem to mind the mittens.

Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail are coming today. She has a friend bringing them. I am glad she isn’t bringing the horse and buggy. We are having another thunderstorm right now. Kevin is on the bus and on his way to school. I decided to get this written before I wake up the rest. It seems to go faster that way—less noise around.

I went to the doctor on Monday after feeling sick all weekend. He said I have bronchitis and gave me several antibiotics to take. I feel so much better! I now wish I would have went in sooner. I didn’t cook any meals on Sunday. My husband Joe made dinner on the grill for everyone. He grilled chicken and potatoes. I sat on my recliner most of the day wrapped in blankets.

Following Mom.

Monday morning our horse Ginger had a little foal. When I looked out in the pasture field after daylight, I saw the little foal running beside its mother. The little ones always look so cute how they run and hop around the field. We haven’t decided on what to name this filly yet but she is a lot lighter in color than her sister Midnight is.

Horses always take good photos, don’t they?

Ginger gave birth to our horse Midnight three years ago on June 1. Midnight is what Joe and I drive leading our buggy. The other foal that year was Beauty and she was three years old on May 1. We gave Beauty to son Benjamin for his birthday. Ginger’s filly she had now will probably end up Joseph’s birthday gift in a few years when she is ready to drive.

Daughter Loretta was also excited when her special friend Dustin gave her a Tennessee Walker horse that is trained for riding. The horse’s name is Diamond. One horse we had for many years was named Diamond. We miss not having Diamond anymore. Loretta’s Diamond is a mare though. The horse is a smooth-gaited horse. Loretta has never ridden a horse before but is looking forward to learning. Dustin is a great friend to her and has done so much for her.

I hope to see some of you readers at my book signing in Warsaw, Indiana, on Saturday. Plans are to bring all my daughters and granddaughters with me.

This is the way we like to fix morel mushrooms that can be found in the wild around here.

God’s blessing to all!

Morel Mushrooms

1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
butter

Cut mushrooms in half lengthwise. Soak morel mushrooms in salt water for an hour or more to kill insects. Use 3 tablespoons of salt per gallon of water.

In a small bowl, beat egg; add milk. In a separate small bowl place flour for breading. Start with 1/2 cup and add as needed. Melt butter in frying skillet. Start with 1 tablespoon and add as needed. Put mushrooms into egg and milk mixture, then dip into flour. Shake off excess flour and fry in butter. Sprinkle each side with salt when frying. Fry until golden brown.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, 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.

 

 

Warming up: Dandelion greens, rhubarb, and dirt under bare toes

Warming up: Dandelion greens, rhubarb, and dirt under bare toes

We finally managed to get some garden planted. The ground still felt a little cold under my bare feet. It just doesn’t seem right to walk in that soil with shoes on. I like wearing my crocs but with all the holes they soon filled with too much dirt.

We planted sweet onions, early frosty peas, radishes, and some lettuce. Makes my mouth water to think of some fresh garden goodies.

Temperatures have been in the 50’s and lower 60’s so we still haven’t had the warmest weather but I’m sure it will be here soon. Nephew Henry didn’t have work yesterday so he enjoyed the day on the lake fishing with a friend/co-worker.

On Saturday the boys and my husband Joe tilled up the gardens. They hauled manure into the one garden and tilled it in. Now every night the boys have been raking our yard and getting it ready to mow. We have a lot of trees, so lots of sticks and leaves accumulate over the winter months.

Last night Joe had an appointment, so we stopped for some groceries too. The girls had supper ready when we came home. They made hamburger with taco seasoning, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and green peppers, and shredded cheese. Some made tacos with soft tortilla shells and others made haystacks using these ingredients, putting crushed Doritos on top. We top it with salsa and ranch dressing. Sometimes we add chopped onions.

On some evenings we have been enjoying dandelion greens salad on top of steamed potatoes. Usually we like fresh ham or bacon with that either fried or grilled. I find the dandelion greens out in the yard and edges of the garden, etc. After they are washed very well I add them to a homemade sour cream dressing made with Miracle Whip salad dressing, apple cider vinegar, salt, and milk. I put in diced hardboiled eggs. Gathering and washing the dandelion greens is not my favorite thing to do but its worth it to be able to have dandelion salad. Although some of our children turn their noses up even thinking of eating something that grows in our grass.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their little sweeties have plans to come today. Looks like it will be another laundry day if weather permits.

Sunday evening Joe and I along with Verena, Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin went to Mose and Susan’s for supper. Timothy, Elizabeth, and Abigail went there as well. Mose grilled steak and I helped Susan make a pot of chili for an enjoyable evening. Mose and Susan live on a quiet road which is always so peaceful, with the only traffic being their neighbors.

Monday evening Susan and Baby Jennifer came here while Mose and Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) went turkey hunting. I had Jennifer laughing and chattering her baby talk. So precious!

Now I will share the sad news: Uncle Jake passed away on Tuesday. He was 81 years old. Uncle Jake and Aunt Mary live in Phoenix, Arizona, so we really regret that we won’t be able to travel the many, many miles between us. Jake will be missed at the reunions. He always had a great sense of humor like my dad and all his siblings did.

Out of the 13 siblings there are seven of dad’s brothers left. It’s a sad lonely feeling when another one passes away. Our greatest sympathy to Aunt Mary, cousins Christina, Cornelius, and Tabitha and their families as they mourn the passing of their husband, father, and grandfather. Daughter Verena had just received a card and long letter from Uncle Jake and Aunt Mary a few weeks ago. It was so thoughtful of them to think of her when dealing with their own health issues.

God bless you all!

Rhubarb Bread

1 cup cut up, cooked rhubarb
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon hot water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 5×9-inch loaf pan and set aside.

In a small pan, place cut up rhubarb and enough water to cover the rhubarb. Heat rhubarb to boiling and then lower to simmer and cook until rhubarb is soft, maybe 10-15 minutes.

In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it becomes light and creamy. Add the eggs and milk and mix well.

In a small mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to the butter mixture and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Stir in the vanilla; drain water from hot rhubarb and add to the batter, mixing until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Topping: Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Use a pastry blender to mix thoroughly. Pour mixture over the bread batter. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the loaf pan then turn out onto a wire rack. Slice and eat either warm or cold.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, 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.

 

Why the Eichers bought a downsized buggy

Why the Eichers bought a downsized buggy

(Plus don’t miss end note here about a book signing planned for May 5.)

So much for thinking spring! Yesterday we woke up to a snow-covered ground! And the temperature was in the twenties. Just when we were ready to let the fire go out in the coal stove, it turned cold again. Now tonight its cold and rainy.

I have potato seeds and sweet onions ready to plant as soon as we can get in the garden. Also, some more early seeds such as peas, lettuce, radishes. Maybe by the weekend it will be nice again. The farmers are having a hard time getting their crops out.

Son-in-law Timothy gave us some maple syrup he cooked this spring. He always cooks enough for themselves and a little extra. We didn’t have our trees tapped this year since Mose and Susan moved to their own place.

Saturday Joe and I attended the huge consignment auction in northern Indiana. We are in need of another buggy so we decided to try the auction. We ended up finding one to buy. We will now sell our double seated buggy at the next consignment auction. It seems Joe and I are always driving alone and the children are in other buggies so no need to have a double seated buggy. Its also easier for the horses to pull a single seated buggy.

After we were home from the auction Joe wanted to try out the buggy and go for a ride. We stopped in at Jacob and sister Emma’s house and then on to daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. We knew Mose and daughter Susan weren’t home so we didn’t go by there. Abigail was so excited to see Grandpa and Grandma. She came running to hug us. She thought she should feed Grandpa some chicken they had left over from supper. We stayed there until almost dark, then headed home.

It was so cold and rainy at the auction that I had a hard time warming up after we were home. Not a nice day at all to have that much stuff to be sold. We can’t control the weather and we need to accept what God sends to us.

Sunday we had Jacob, Emma and family, sisters Verena and Susan, and Timothy, Elizabeth and Abigail here for brunch. Mose, Susan and Jennifer were at his brother’s house, since Saturday, in a community an hour-and-a-half away. He has three brothers in that community so they went to visit all of them.

For our meal Joe grilled side pork/bacon from our hogs we butchered. I made a breakfast casserole with scrambled eggs, potatoes, onions, bacon, cheese, and mushrooms mixed together. I topped it with sausage gravy. When I make casserole like that, I just put in whatever I want, and any amount I think will fill the big roaster I have. After it was in the oven I was done so that makes it nice on a Sunday. We also had sliced cheese, tomatoes, hot peppers, butterscotch pies, cookies, coffee, milk, grape juice. With everyone bringing something, that all helped out.

Last night I was frying hamburgers to have for supper along with steamed potatoes. Three of son Benjamin and nephew Henry’s friends came to see them. We were ready to eat supper so I asked if they want to join us and they did. I have a problem of always cooking more than we need so there was more than plenty for boys joining us.

Daughter Elizabeth and Susan were here for the day. We had fun spoiling granddaughters Jennifer (3 months) and Abigail (19 months).

We were cutting out fabric to make clothes and sewing. I sewed Susan a dress as she’s in need of new ones. We use a pattern that is made for mothers that breastfeed their babies. It was a new pattern for me to figure out but Elizabeth showed me some steps on how its put together. I like a challenge like that once in a while. Sure got my “thinker” going. Susan was so glad to leave with a new dress to add to other ones she has. Jennifer is doing really well and weighs over 14 pounds.

God bless you!

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup shortening
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup mashed bananas
1 3/4 cup rolled oats

Sift dry ingredients; cut in shortening. Add eggs, bananas, and oats. Beat thoroughly until blended. Drop by teaspoon on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Should make around 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

***

Lovina Eicher is returning to The Party Shop in Warsaw, Ind. to do a book signing for THE ESSENTIAL AMISH COOKBOOK on May 5 from 11-2 pm. She will bring several of her children to the event! Fans are encouraged to call ahead to the bookstore at 574-267-8787 and reserve a book.

SATURDAY MAY 5, 2018
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
The Party Shop
3418 Lake City Highway
Warsaw, IN
Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, 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.

 

 

Family spreads out, barn needs fixing

Family spreads out, barn needs fixing

The last few days have been warmer and we sure enjoyed the sunshine! Now this morning it rained, but the sun is out again.

Son Joseph is harnessing our horse Mighty, so I can take the buggy to a garage sale. The sale is being held by a neighboring Amish family. They’re selling clothes, so I thought I might be fortunate and find some, to save time in sewing. Fabric seems to go up in price so it pays to buy garage-sale-priced clothes.

Last Thursday we attended the wedding reception of niece Lisa and Matthew in Berne, Indiana. It was cold and rainy. We arrived there about 2 p.m. I helped fill the peanut butter pies so my job was pretty easy.

On the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken, noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, grilled sausage links homemade bread, butter, and strawberry jam. Desserts were tapioca pudding and angel food cake topped with a mixture of whipped topping, cream cheese, and strawberry glaze, as well as pecan, cherry and peanut butter pies. “Nothings” [pastries] lined the tables on plates, a tradition in that area.

My brother Amos was raising hogs to make fresh sausage for this wedding meal; after he died, his sons Ben and Sam took over butchering the hogs to make the sausage. We enjoyed seeing the family but there was an empty spot without brother Amos there. It just doesn’t seem possible that Amos isn’t here anymore. We must accept God’s plan, but I can understand why it’s hard for Nancy (Amos’s wife) to go on. The wedding reception especially made us miss Amos even more.

We arrived back home that night around 11:30 p.m. It was a short night as we had to be up by 3 a.m. for Joe to leave for work at 3:45.

On Friday evening, Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan, Jennifer, and Loretta’ special friend Dustin joined us for supper. We played games afterwards.

Saturday morning early, my husband Joe and I went to Menards to get lumber to rebuild part of our haymow. It was getting weak from all the hay and needed more support. Joe also is making more space for hay. Our barn is old so it always needs some fixing up somewhere, but I guess it still works. Joe and the boys would like to build a few more horse stalls in there and move the chickens to a coop outside the barn. Dustin, nephew Henry, sons Benjamin and Joseph, and husband Joe worked on the haymow the rest of the day. They accomplished quite a bit.

Later, Dustin and Loretta, and daughter Verena left for a friend’s house for supper. Henry and Benjamin went to a birthday supper as well. Daughter Lovina was helping at Mose and Susan’s house and stayed the night. Lovina then came to church with them on Sunday. So that left just four of us home for supper: Joe, Joseph, Kevin and me. We had grilled cheese sandwiches and fried eggs, an easy meal.

A few families from church took supper in to Mose and Susan’s on Sunday evening. They wanted to visit after Jennifer was born but didn’t get around to it sooner. I left Lovina go home from church with Susan and Mose to help her with Jennifer. Susan was glad for Lovina’s help. Saturday afternoon and evening, Jennifer was being fussy, which makes it hard for Susan to get much done. The baby loves having her gums rubbed. At three months old, I really hope she isn’t pushing through teeth already.

Yesterday Elizabeth and Susan and their little girls came for the day. Our breakfast was biscuits and gravy. For lunch we had leftover Tater Tot casserole from the night before. The girls took Abigail outside in the afternoon. It was so nice and she enjoyed being outdoors again.

I’m eager to get outside myself and look for dandelion greens. These warm days should be bringing them up. Rhubarb is peeping through and so are spring flowers. I think I’m having a bout of spring fever.

Take care and God’s blessings to all!

Pecan Pie Muffins

Ingredients:
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped pecans
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini or regular muffin pan with liners. Mix brown sugar, flour, and chopped pecans. Stir. Add eggs and butter until combined. Spoon batter in muffin cups about ½ full. Bake for 12 minutes for mini, or 16 minutes for regular size muffins.

Life goes on: preparing for a wedding reception without Amos

Life goes on: preparing for a wedding reception without Amos

It’s Thursday, April 5. Today is niece Lisa and Matthew’s wedding reception in Berne, Indiana. Lisa is brother Amos and Nancy’s daughter—the third from youngest out of ten siblings.

Matthew and Lisa joined hands together as one on January 20. They were going to wait to have their reception until it warmed up. Little did they realize Amos would be gone eleven short days later. It must be so hard for Nancy and her children to prepare for this meal without her husband there—my dear brother Amos—to help.

Amos was a hard worker and was always busy with something. At all his other daughter’s weddings, Amos would always greet us when we came. This is Amos and Nancy’s seventh daughter getting married. He always made us feel like we brightened his day. We question why but we do know God makes no mistakes. Trust in Him. His ways are not our ways!

I had a dream this week and in the dream I was having a good talk once again with Amos. He was so happy in the dream, almost as if telling me, miss me but let me go!

My wish for Matthew and Lisa is to have a happy and long married life together with God as their guide. Matthew and Lisa have been living with Nancy since their marriage which I’m sure has been a comfort to Nancy since the sudden loss of her husband.

Daughter Verena is table waiter at the reception today and I will be cook. Verena will do the best she can with still wearing the Aircast boot on her foot.

Tuesday morning I cut out Verena and my dresses, capes, and aprons for the reception today, Friday. Verena has to wear dark blue and white. I will wear black and white. The girls made the meals so I could keep sewing. I managed to get both suits sewed. I actually surprised myself that I finished.

As I sewed, my mind often went to the dream I had of Amos the night before. Life goes on and we never know who is next to leave us. What’s important is to be ready when our time comes. With Easter Sunday just this past week, we were again reminded how Jesus Christ sacrificed for us.

On Good Friday we had a nice time with family at daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. The afternoon was spent visiting and a few of us played Phase 10. The men and boys all went for a walk in the woods and back by the river that runs behind their property. It was a nice day. We went outside with granddaughter Abigail for awhile. We also enjoyed baby Jennifer until Mose and Susan left to go to his parents’ place for supper.

On Sunday evening we made supper here for all of our family, sister Emma and Jacob and family, and my sisters Verena and Susan.

On the menu were grilled pork steaks, potatoes and mushrooms (also on the grill), deviled eggs, homemade horseradish cheese, cheeseball and crackers, and desserts. The desserts were all brought in by everyone which ended-up all being puddings—cinnamon pudding, dirt pudding, and peanut butter pudding.

Abigail got to help color these Easter eggs last weekend for the first time! The beautiful colors are enjoyed by all.

Yesterday, daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their little girls came home for the day. It was blowing snow, and quite cold once again. Spring does not want to be here. Joe said our rhubarb is peeping through. Also some flowers so we hope warm weather will soon be here to stay.

We leave at 11:30 a.m. today for Berne. Cooks and table waiters have to be at Amos and Nancy’s house by 2:00 p.m. to prepare supper for 5:30 p.m.

Son Kevin, 12, is enjoying this week at home on spring break from school. The Yorkies are happy to have him here all day!

God bless you all!

Deviled Eggs

1 dozen eggs, hard boiled
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons Miracle Whip
3/4 teaspoon vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
pepper
2 teaspoons mustard
paprika

Boil eggs and cool.

Deviled eggs. (Photo by Melodie Davis)

Peel eggs and and slice them in half lengthwise. Remove yolks; in separate bowl, mash yolks with fork. Add Miracle Whip, sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir until smooth. Fill egg halves. Sprinkle with paprika as desired.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, 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.