All posts by Lovinas Amish Kitchen

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.

 

 

Real winter returns—a bonus when preserving meat for next year

The Eichers freeze the hamburgers individually on cookie sheets before packaging, to make it easier to use just several at a time.

We are having real winter weather again here in southern Michigan. The temperature has been staying cold. It sure was nice to have cold weather to get our beef all cut up. As much as I would have liked spring-like weather, I was glad for some cold weather because of the beef. Our steaks are all sliced, beef chunks canned, and I also canned some hamburger. The canned meats make it easy to make some casseroles, soups, and more. Plus we made several hundred hamburger patties. We froze them on cookie sheets individually so that when we package them, they don’t stick together. If we only want one or two, then we can just take those out without thawing the whole bag.

We are trying to adjust to daylight savings time again. I really wish it would just stay one way or the other. Like many people, I do not like the changing of clocks.

I attended a quilting today. The quilts are being made for a benefit auction for our local Community Health Center. The quilting days are divided up among our local Amish church districts into different days to go quilt. The women all pack a lunch so no one has to stop to make food for everyone.

Last week I went to a quilting at neighbor Susan’s house. This quilt was also being made for a benefit auction for an Amish man who has spent months in the hospital from being burnt almost all over his body. It is a miracle that he lived. Our neighbor served all of us ladies a good lunch.

Sunday we attended church in a nearby community. Niece Susan (brother Amos and Nancy’s oldest daughter) and her husband Joe hosted church in their district. They moved to that area from Berne, Indiana. Brother Amos, Nancy, and their children Lisa (and her special friend, Matthew), Laura, and Sam were also there. Also Jacob, Emma and some of their family and sisters Verena and Susan went. So five out of us eight siblings were there at the same service which doesn’t happen too often. I also had the chance to visit with several cousins that were there who I hardly ever see.

We received invitations to niece Emma Coblentz (brother Albert and Sarah’s daughter) and Johnny’s wedding. They chose April 14 (Good Friday) to exchange their vows. Sewing time! Daughter Verena is a table waiter and needs a green apple-colored dress. Cooks need to wear a dark tan color dress. Daughters Elizabeth, Susan, and I are all cooks at the wedding. Timothy, Elizabeth, Mose, and Susan are evening servers as well. Joe was asked to help grill chicken and to also help wash dishes in the evening and get the dishes packed back in the wedding wagon.

Thursday evening our whole family attended son Joseph’s freshman orientation and exit interviews about their portfolios. Joseph and his eighth grade class made supper for their families and served them. Their teacher, Mr. Ultz, did a great job in directing these eighth graders in the cooking class. Joseph will be the sixth of our eight children to be finished with his school years. Where does time go? Thirteen years ago we made the move to Michigan. We enjoy our home here and cannot thank God enough for all the blessings we have received. God bless you all!

Coconut Pie

4 rounded tablespoons flour
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 1/2 cups cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups coconut
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 eggs whites, separated
3 unbaked pie crusts

Mix in the order given. Beat egg whites last until stiff peaks form, and add  to filling. Pour into unbaked pie crust and bake at 350 degrees until firm, usually about 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven. Makes 3 delicious pies.

 

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.

 

Meat aplenty: Making pon hoss and cutting up beef

Saturday we left at 6:00 a.m. to go help sister Emma and Jacob butcher three hogs. One of the hogs was for Menno (Menno is a special friend of niece Emma, 19—Emma and Jacob’s daughter). Menno lives alone in the house Timothy (married to our Elizabeth) used to live in before he moved to the bigger place they have now.

My sisters Verena and Susan, Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan, and Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) were all there to help too. Many hands make lighter work and we were mostly done by early afternoon. We made pon hoss from the broth and meat cooked from the pork bones. Flour, salt, and pepper is added to thicken it to make what we call pon hoss. After the pon hoss has firmed up in pans, you can cut it in slices and cover with flour and fry it. Our children love pon hoss fried for breakfast. I must say I do like pon hoss, but I’m always glad when the last of it is fried up. This year we did put a few pans in the freezer. We will see how it tastes after it’s been frozen awhile.

I think people in some areas call pon hoss “scrapple.” But we do not put any pork liver in our pon hoss—only the meat cooked from the bones. My parents would always make liver pudding and use some of the meat from the bones. We don’t make liver pudding because it seems Joe is the only one that cares for it around here.

My husband Joe took our meat slicer along and sliced all the ham, bacon, and pork chops for Jacob’s and Menno. Everything was bagged and put in the freezer. Some of the sausage was canned.

Beef will supply food for the family for many months.

Our big project for this week is to cut up our big beef that’s butchered and hanging out in the pole barn. We are glad the temperature has dropped. The thermometer is at the 30 degree mark and it should chill the beef well. We will start cutting it up tomorrow afternoon and finish Saturday if we don’t get it finished. The pole barn isn’t heated so it makes a nice big cooler for the meat.

Sunday evening Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan, and Dustin were our supper guests. The men and boys played horseshoes outside. They were a gift Tim received at Christmas so he brought the game along. It was a very pleasant, warmer day so they were glad to be outdoors. The girls and I made supper, visited, and took turns spoiling little Abigail. She is growing so fast! She hugs us and holds her lips to our cheek like she’s kissing us. She will be six months old tomorrow already! She weighs fifteen pounds now and is twenty-six inches long. One day when we prayed before we ate, she put her hands together and acted like she was praying too. I will quit for now with stories about Abigail. Every grandma knows these feelings and knows how precious grandchildren are.

I am getting so many letters from readers asking where my new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook: Everyday Recipes from Farm and Pantry can be purchased. I thought I would share in the column where it can be preordered. You can call 800-245-7894 to preorder from the publisher, or if you go online, you can order from Amazon and other stores online. It comes out April 17. I appreciate all the interest in the new cookbook. It was quite an adventure to make my first cookbook without a co-author. I have so many people to acknowledge in the book. Without them I could not have done it! God bless!

Sour Cream Apple Pie

1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups tart apples, peeled and sliced or diced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

Beat first 7 ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Stir in apples and pour into pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients, mixing to make crumbs. Remove pie from oven and cover with crumb mixture. Return to oven for 20 minutes, or until crumbs are nicely browned. If necessary, cover crimped edge of crust with foil to prevent over browning.

 

 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. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Just an ordinary day? The comings and goings of the Eicher family

Diary of March 1, 2017

3:10 a.m.   The alarm rings—time to get up and prepare Joe’s lunch. I make a pot of coffee. Joe always likes a mug of coffee to drink on his way to work.

3:55 a.m.   Joe leaves for work. He is leaving later since one of our neighbor boys started working at the same RV factory he does. He picks Joe up on his way. After Joe leaves, I usually go back to bed until 6:00 a.m.

6:00 a.m.   I wake the children up to get ready for school. Mose and Susan came over last night to sleep. We had a lot of bad storms during the night so we told Mose and Susan they could come sleep in the house. With the metal roof on their living quarters it makes some pretty loud noise when it is windy and rainy. Everyone was extra tired this morning. Around 2:00 a.m. we had been awakened by a bad thunderstorm which produced some hail.

6:30 a.m.   Mose leaves for work.

7:00 a.m.   Joseph, 14, Lovina, 12, and Kevin, 11, leave for school on the bus.

Nephew Jacob works with wood and made this wooden name sculpture for Lovina and Joe’s granddaughter Abigail Elizabeth. We’re sure Lovina’s daily routine here would have been even more enjoyable with Abigail’s smiles!

7:15 a.m.   Verena leaves to go help out at the daycare. Benjamin is doing morning chores.

8:30 a.m.   Benjamin drives Susan to work with the buggy and our horse Rex. Loretta is washing dishes and I am doing some book work. Income tax time is here so I need to get that ready to take to our tax preparer in town. It is always time consuming, but has to be done.

9:25 a.m.   Benjamin is back and is hauling manure out of the barn. With all the rain the ground is too soft to drive through the barnyard to spread the manure in the fields.

1:30 p.m.   Benjamin leaves to go pick up Susan. She works until 2:00 p.m. today.

2:30 p.m.   Joe comes home from the factory. We are having snow flurries and the temperature is getting colder again. Benjamin and Susan are back. Benjamin went to town to get me some groceries that I needed.

3:30 p.m.   The children are home from school. Brother-in-law Jacob, son Benjamin, and Menno (his daughter Emma’s friend) come to get our two big butchering kettles. They will butcher hogs on Saturday so they need the kettles.

6:30 p.m.   Chores are done and supper is ready. Our menu consists of spaghetti and meatballs, cooked potatoes, lettuce salad, cheese, canned peaches, and white cake. Loretta’s friend Dustin joined us for supper.

7:30 p.m.   Mose and Susan came over for awhile. Susan and some of the children always like to read the Bible together every day. They did this before Susan was married and she tries to keep it up since she still lives on the home place.

9:00 p.m.   Mose and Susan leave the house to call it a day.

9:30 p.m.   Dustin leaves for home.

10:00 p.m.  Everyone is settled down for the night so I will get some rest too.

Our sympathy and prayers go out to our friend Kristine. Her husband John lost his battle with cancer. May God guide her through this difficult trial in life.

I’ll share a recipe for sunrise burritos that daughter Susan tried last night for their supper. We plan to try it tonight for our supper. She didn’t have green chilies so she substituted green peppers (diced) and it worked fine like that.

God bless!

Sunrise Burritos

1 pound bulk sausage
1 small onion, chopped
16 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 cup canned green chilies, chopped
8 flour tortillas
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup sour cream

Brown sausage with chopped onion. Drain grease from meat. Beat eggs and water. Stir in chilies. Combine egg mixture with sausage and onion. Cook until set (eggs should be soft with no liquid remaining.) Microwave or bake tortilla for about 30 seconds. Fill with scrambled egg mixture. Top with cheese, sour cream and salsa. Makes 8 burritos.

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. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Lovina’s daughter shares the news and a recipe for whoopie pies

Hi! This is Verena, 19, filling in for Mom this week. I had the urge to do some writing, and I thought Mom would be happy to have a break.

This last week has been absolutely beautiful spring weather. It’s hard to believe it’s only February. I will be happy to see summer come.

I started working at a daycare several days a week. I love the job—probably because I have always loved being around children. Right now we only have children from age one to five at the daycare. We might have a few babies to take care of later this year. Sometimes I also babysit for a family with three little boys, ages one, three, and five. They keep me busy but are fun to take care of. I enjoy being around children and watching over the dear little ones. The innocent mind of a young child makes me want to be a child again, with no worries in life.

Tomorrow my sister Elizabeth and my little niece Abigail will come here. I will go with Elizabeth to a Tupperware party. I’m so excited to get to see Abigail again. She is my whole world! I really enjoy being an aunt. Abigail is like therapy to me, on days when life doesn’t look too bright. She sure knows how to brighten up my days. I dream about the days when she will be old enough for me to take her on walks, pony rides, etc.

The exciting news of this week: the Teacup Yorkie puppy I have been waiting for was born yesterday. I had wanted a female but the mother only had two males. I decided I will take a male, which I’m sure will be just as cute and fun. I will name him Ricky. Thank you to the readers who have contributed money to help make it possible for me to get this puppy. I love dogs so much, and having my own little puppy in the house to take care of will be awesome! Now I have to wait for six to eight weeks until I can have the puppy. The lady who has the puppies said I can come visit whenever I want to.

The Eichers are happy to have the use of a cooker to help in the boiling-off process for the maple syrup.

Brother-in-law Mose has been keeping very busy with cooking maple syrup. The sap has really been running from our maple trees. The sugar content is low this year, and it’s averaging about 60 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. There is a lot of work involved in cooking maple syrup. We really love the maple syrup on our pancakes, scrambled eggs and French toast. While it is still warm, it is also really good on a dip of vanilla ice cream.

On Saturday we butchered the three hogs we raised. We had an early start, so most of the butchering was done by 2:00 p.m. We still had to clean up everything and Dad sliced all the pork chops, ham and bacon yet in the afternoon. One of the hogs was for Mose and Susan. My parents gave it to them to help with starting out on their own.

Those here to help with the butchering were Aunts Verena and Susan, Uncle Jacob and Aunt Emma and sons Jacob, Benjamin, and Steven, their daughter Emma and her friend Menno, my sister Elizabeth, Timothy, and Abigail, sister Loretta’s friend Dustin, and then Mose and Susan and our family.

We made the pon hoss out in the big black kettle and rendered the lard as well. Everyone was here for breakfast and lunch. Our lunch meal was mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, fried tenderloin, corn, lettuce salad, sliced cheese, dirt pudding, finger jello, oatmeal whoopie pies, brownie delight, and chocolate brownies.

I want to thank everyone for their prayers, cards, etc., after my hospital stay. It was all greatly appreciated. I am doing better than expected. God is great!

I saw the rough copy of Mom’s new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, which comes out in April. I love it! I enjoyed helping to test the recipes and learning a thing or two from it.

It turned out really well, which makes all the hard work worth it!

Oatmeal Whoopie Pies

Cookies

4 cups brown sugar
1 cup lard or shortening
4 eggs
4 teaspoons baking soda
6 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups flour
4 cups oatmeal (quick oats)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder

Cream the sugar and lard or shortening. Add eggs. In a separate bowl, dissolve baking soda in boiling water; stir into sugar mixture. Add the buttermilk and salt. Mix flour, oatmeal, cinnamon and baking powder. Add to batter. Bake at 400 degrees until done, about 10–13 minutes. Cool completely. These cookies should turn out soft and chewy.

Filling

2 egg whites
4 cups powdered sugar, divided
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup shortening, softened
4 tablespoons milk

Beat egg whites until stiff. Add 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla. In another bowl, cream the shortening, adding a little of egg white mixture at a time. Add milk and remaining powdered sugar alternately. Beat well. Spread filling between two cookies.

Note: This a fairly large recipe and the amount it makes varies depending on how large you make each cookie; you use two cookies to make one whoopie pie, so that’s why the quantities are big. You can easily halve this recipe if you want to try it.

 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. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Tapping trees, baking bread and going to baptism fill February days

We have had a few very warm spring-like days. Son-in-law Mose took advantage of the weather and tapped our maple trees. He also tapped sister Emma and Jacob’s trees. They asked him to cook their maple syrup for them. Son-in-law Timothy is tapping their trees to make their own maple syrup.

Son-in-law Mose uses bags instead of buckets to collect sap from the trees.

The weather has been colder the last few days, which slowed down the flow of the sap. On those warmer days Mose collected quite a few gallons of sap. He’s not looking for a good year for maple syrup though.

My daughters and I assisted sister Emma with her cleaning a few days last week as she prepared to host church services on Sunday. On Saturday, Joe and I plus our sons Benjamin, Joseph and Kevin went to help with the final preparations.

Daughter Susan and I baked ten loaves of bread on Friday to help out for Sunday. I think Emma also had around forty-five loaves of wheat and white bread coming in from some of the ladies in the church. That way we don’t have to bake bread for our own church when we host the services. Jacob and Emma hold church services in their heated attached garage that was added to their house a few years ago.

Now that Emma and Jacob’s turn to host church is over, we will concentrate on butchering. The temperature shows 19 degrees now, so it is perfect weather for us to butcher. We will butcher three hogs here at our place on Saturday. We will give one to Mose and Susan to help fill their freezer and canning jars since they are newlyweds.

We raised the hogs and they grew fast. They are very big and should make a lot of ham, bacon and sausage for us. And of course the family is looking forward to some pon hoss being added to our menus in the next weeks. We like to make plenty of pon hoss to share with others. For those of you who aren’t familiar with pon hoss, it is made with the meat and juice cooked from the bones. We add flour, pepper and salt and it thickens as it cooks. We do this outside in our big black kettle over an open fire. After it has been poured in pans and cooled off and set, it is ready to slice and fry.

Daughters Verena and Loretta attended church in Dustin’s church district on Sunday. They were disappointed that they couldn’t attend the services at Emma and Jacob’s, but they went to Dustin’s sister Grace’s baptismal services that were held the same day. Four other young souls and Grace were baptized into the Amish faith and are now members of the church. This is a big step for the Amish youth to take, and we wish them God’s blessings in life. How pleasing to God when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior! Life doesn’t get easier with time, so it helps to have God lead the way for us.

God’s blessings to all of you as well. Take care and stay healthy!

Sister Emma made fajitas similar to this recipe when we were there to assist them with cleaning to host church services.

FAJITAS

Marinade
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Meat
1 pound sirloin steak or boned, skinless chicken breasts

Sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
dash each salt and black pepper

 Vegetables
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
1/2 each green, red, and yellow bell peppers, seeded, thinly sliced

Tortillas and toppings
4 flour tortillas
shredded cheese
sour cream
guacamole
tomatoes

Combine the marinade ingredients, and place with meat in a plastic container with cover or a zip-top plastic bag and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Discard leftover marinade. Grill meat over medium flame, 4-5 minutes on each side. Cut meat into thin strips. Set aside and keep warm.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

Cook onion and peppers in oil until brown. Remove from heat. Pour sauce over onions and peppers. Combine meat with onions and peppers. Serve on flour tortillas with desired toppings. Yields 4 servings.

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. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.