All posts by Lovinas Amish Kitchen

Trying a new recipe to celebrate Thanksgiving

It’s probably our coldest morning so far this fall. The mercury on the thermometer dipped down to almost 20 degrees. How thankful we are for a cozy house to live in. Some are not so fortunate. We should thank God every day for our many blessings, but as I write this, with Thanksgiving Day in a few days, it reminds us to be thankful.

Joe and I, with sons Benjamin and Kevin, will go to sister Emma’s on Thanksgiving Day. Daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and children, daughters Verena and Susan and her children, sister Verena, and Emma’s family will also be there. Dustin and daughter Loretta, son Joseph, and daughter Lovina will attend Thanksgiving dinner at Dustin’s brother Clint and Hannah’s house.

I am glad to spend the day with sister Emma, daughter Susan, and sister Verena. They all lost a very dear beloved one since last Thanksgiving. They need our prayers!

Yesterday my husband Joe and I, along with sisters Emma and Verena, attended the funeral of Uncle Emanuel, age 91. Uncle Emanuel and Aunt Leah were married 67 years. Aunt Leah is my mother’s sister. She is 86 and a year older than my mother would have been. Uncle Emanuel shared the same birthday as my dad but was a year older than him. For many years Mom and Aunt Leah took turns hosting each other’s family on February 17. It was always enjoyable to get together. It has been many years since I was at Emanuel and Leah’s place. Their son Simon and Judy and family now live in the house. Emanuel and Leah lived in a “Doddy Haus” beside them.

I felt so sorry for Aunt Leah. She had a stroke and broke her ankle recently, and Emanuel had been helping her. If I heard correctly, Emanuel also had a stroke and fell and broke his hip not too many days before his death.

When my sister Susan died in January, Emanuel and Leah both came. They were doing pretty good for their age.

Emanuel and Leah had 15 children with three being stillborn. The living 12 are all married with families of their own. They have more than 100 grandchildren and many, many great grandchildren. I didn’t get the exact count.

Yes, it brought back memories being at their place. Sisters Leah, Liz, Verena, Emma, and I all got to sit together at the funeral. We talked about how we would go with Mom to spend the day at Aunt Leah’s. We would dress up their kittens and have them for our babies. I also remember we would chip off a chunk of salt from their big salt block they had for their animals to lick on. We would take it to the water pump and wash it off really well then lick it. Now I can’t believe we did that. It sounds so gross now. It’s surprising what all little children come up with.

My sympathy goes to all the family as they mourn Uncle Emanuel’s death and especially Aunt Leah. She will have many lonely days ahead. Rest in peace Uncle Emanuel—you were much loved!

It was nice to get to visit with many of my cousins, some friends we don’t see too often, and with Uncle Elmer and Aunt Salome and Aunt Emma (Mom’s sisters).

I plan to make pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll, bread, and hopefully cinnamon rolls to take to Emma’s for Thanksgiving dinner. I am thinking of trying this recipe for cinnamon roll cookies instead of cinnamon rolls. It sounds interesting! I wish everyone a safe and healthy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your loved ones! God’s blessings to all!

Cinnamon Roll Cookies
1 tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup butter or shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup warm water or scalded milk
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

 

Sugar mixture:
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Glaze:
1/3 cup butter, slightly browned
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla or maple flavoring
2 cups powdered sugar
2-4 tablespoons hot water

 

Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. Cream butter or shortening and 3/4 cup sugar. Add vanilla, eggs, and 1 cup warm water or scalded milk. Mix in yeast, flour, and salt. Refrigerate overnight. You may need a little more flour before making rolls. Divide dough in half and roll each in a 12×18 inch rectangle. Sprinkle with sugar mixture. Roll up tightly. Cut into 1/2 inch wide slices; put on cookie sheet; press flat with hand. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Cool and glaze.

 

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

Mourning the Loss of a Mother in the Community

Son Kevin is spending the night at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. He will go deer hunting with Tim in the morning.

Tonight we attended the visitation for a 41-year-old woman in our community. We were shocked and saddened when son-in-law Mose’s cousin, Ruth Ann, passed away after giving birth ten days earlier. Ruth Ann leaves to mourn her a husband and eight children. The oldest child is 16 and the youngest ten days old. Our hearts ache for them. We know they will have many hard lonely days ahead. Ruth Ann was an only daughter and had two brothers. She also leaves to mourn her parents, mother-in-law, and her husband’s family.

Tomorrow we plan to attend the funeral. We will take daughter Susan and children Jennifer and Ryan along. It is hard for Susan when she sits with Mose’s relatives and he’s not beside her anymore. She understands the feelings Ruth Ann’s husband will go through in the days, weeks, and months ahead. A baby that will never get to know his mother. Teenagers that could use their mother’s advice, and school age children that will never come home to their mother to tell her how school went. This family needs our prayers. May God guide them through this sorrowful time in their life. We do not always understand why, but we do know God makes no mistakes.

Sunday we awoke to our first snowfall which accumulated around an inch. With the ground still not frozen it didn’t stay long. It was a pretty scene with snow clinging to the tree branches. We have had some nice sunsets lately, too. Only our Master Artist can paint a picture like that. How beautiful heaven must be!

Next week is Thanksgiving. A year ago, our life was complete yet. Our three loved ones were still with us. We all ate together for Thanksgiving dinner. Sister Liz, Levi, and some of their family were able to join us. Little did we realize that within a few weeks, our lives would be forever changed. Time goes on and we must go on, but not without a lot of tears shed and pain in our hearts. Without comfort from God and the support from others we could not go on. We try to be cheerful around others, and daughter Susan says she has learned to smile when inside she doesn’t feel like smiling. She is good at hiding her feelings. She says she has to for her children’s sake.

Yesterday sister Emma and I went to town with sister Verena. She needed help looking for a new stove. Hers gave up, and her house was 45 degrees when we stopped there. She has been staying with us or with Emma. She stayed with daughters Susan and Verena last night.

I think she plans to come here tonight and will go to the funeral with us. Hopefully her house will be heated by tomorrow and her new stove will work okay.

God’s blessings to all!

Cowboy Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 cups oatmeal
2 cups coconut
2 cups chopped pecans
3 cups chocolate chips

Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

 

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

Making friends with Hatchi, a new dog

4 a.m. Our alarm rings, and it’s time to get up. I was so used to getting up an hour earlier with daylight savings time that I always wake up at 3 a.m. now. Sometimes it’s hard to fall back to sleep for an hour until the alarm rings.

I make son Joseph and my husband Joe sausage, egg, and cheese sandwiches for breakfast. Son Benjamin doesn’t want any and takes a protein shake instead.

4:30 a.m. Benjamin leaves for work. Joseph is feeding the horses. I pack Joseph and Joe’s lunches and fill their water jugs.

4:45 a.m. Joe leaves for work.

5:00 a.m. Joseph leaves for work. Daughter Lovina is getting ready for work.

5:30 a.m. Lovina leaves for work. I wash the breakfast dishes and a few from last night’s supper.

6:30 a.m. Dishes are washed and put away. I take a break and sit in my recliner and read. Everything is quiet and it’s good to have “me” time. Son Kevin is still in bed. He sleeps later since he doesn’t leave. Usually around daylight he lets our new dog out to run around. We have an eight-month-old Blue Heeler/Australian Shepherd named Hatchi that a co-worker gave to Joe. He’s a good dog. It helps fill the spot of our dog Buddy who disappeared one night. We had Buddy (a Border Collie/English Shepherd) for 12 years if I’m thinking correctly. Kevin misses Buddy but is gradually making friends with Hatchi. Hatchi is a lot more energetic than Buddy was.

8:30 a.m. I make scrambled eggs and sausage patties for Kevin, daughter Loretta, and my breakfast. Loretta came over this morning in her mobility scooter. It is nice for her to be this close to home if she needs help.

I am doing mending and other odd jobs today. It seems like some jobs were pushed aside over preparing for the wedding of Loretta and Dustin. It feels nice to heave time to catch up now.

1:00 p.m. Son Benjamin is home from work to shower and get ready for an appointment. Our friend Jodi is taking us to town, so she comes in to visit while Benjamin showers. It’s a hard day for Jodi and Susan as the accident was 11 months ago.

2:00 p.m. We leave for town, run some errands, and go to Benjamin’s appointment. He hurt his leg a while ago and the orthopedic doctor wanted to see how it is doing. He thinks Benjamin should have surgery or try a brace, so Benjamin chose the knee brace.

5:30 p.m. We are back home. Benjamin didn’t want me to have to make supper when we got home, so he bought something for everyone at Dairy Queen. That was a nice treat for me, and I appreciated the kind gesture.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll leave with daughter Lovina and son Kevin to go to their dentist appointments. In the afternoon I’ll go with daughter Verena to her appointment an hour away at an eye specialist. I really hope they can help her. She’s had a lot of eye appointments recently.

Then on Friday are the annual appointments for the ones with muscular dystrophy in Ann Arbor. Another long tiring day.

9:00 p.m. Everyone is getting ready for bed so I think I will join them soon.

Good night and God bless! I’ll share the recipe for monster cookies. Daughter Lovina made over 100 one afternoon last week. They were gone way too fast; needless to say, they were way too good.

Monster Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon corn syrup
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
2 cups chocolate chips
2 cups plain M&M’s

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition, the vanilla, corn syrup, baking soda, and peanut butter. Mix until smooth. Add the oats and mix well, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add the chocolate chips and mix until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter. Then add the M&M’s and mix well.

On ungreased baking sheets, drop the batter by the tablespoon spacing two inches apart. Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling racks. Cool the cookies on a wire rack or a plate and then put into sealed containers. Makes six dozen cookies.

 

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

Flying Paper Lanterns and Remembering Loved Ones

It’s just past 5:30 a.m. and a cold 29 degrees outside. We still haven’t had any snow except a few flurries yesterday. I won’t complain about that. This weekend daylight savings time ends so we fall back an hour. I really wish it would just stay one way or the other. I don’t like changing the time on all our clocks.

Daughter Lovina, 17, just left for work. She took some time off from working at McDonalds over the wedding of Dustin and Loretta so she could help me. Now this week she went back but only works three days a week for now.

Monday, November 1st was brother-in-law Jacob’s 49th birthday. We had sister Emma and sons Jacob, Benjamin, and Steven, Crystal and Isaiah (Benjamin’s special friend and son), Emma’s daughters Elizabeth and Manuel, Emma, Menno, and children Jessica and Menno Ray, sister Verena, daughter Elizabeth, Tim and children Abigail, T.J., and Allison, daughters Verena and Susan and children Jennifer and Ryan, daughter Loretta and Dustin, Grace and Daniel (Joseph and Lovina’s special friends) here for supper in memory of Jacob.

We all went over to the graves of our three loved ones that were taken from us in eight months’ time.

We then came back here for supper. Our menu was cheesy potatoes, meatloaf, barbequed chicken, lettuce salad, cheese, pecan pie, brownies, bar cookies, and ice cream.

Flying paper lanterns with messages to missing loved ones brought comfort to Lovina’s family. Photo provided.

After we ate it was dark, so we went outside, and each one lit a paper lantern to let fly that said “Miss you forever, love you always. We will remember you every single day.” Everyone wrote a little something on the lanterns, and the children traced their handprints on them. It was very emotional, but it felt comforting watching the lanterns lift and fly up toward heaven.

On Saturday we attended my family gathering at sister-in-law Nancy’s house. It was brother Amos’s 60th birthday. He has been gone three and half years now. He would’ve been so happy to have us all there. Nancy served a good meal of barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, buttered noodles, and corn. All the salads, desserts, and snacks were brought in by everyone else. Our loved ones were greatly missed.

Sunday we went with daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and children, and daughter Susan and children to church services at Mose’s parents’ house. It brought a lot of memories back for Susan. It just seemed like Mose should be there with us. Mose has a nephew that reminds me of him and a brother that sounds like him. When I heard him laugh, I would think it was Mose. Rest in peace Mose! You will always be remembered.

Sunday we will also attend church services in another district. Daughter Lovina’s special friend Daniel will start following instructions for baptism. We will all go in his honor. It is a step in life that always make parents thankful, when their children accept Jesus Christ as their savior.

I made pecan pie to take to the gathering Saturday since I had quite a bit of pecans and corn syrup left from Loretta and Dustin’s wedding. I made ten pies, and I put the last piece in my husband Joe’s lunch today. I gave a few to friends and family. I’ll share the recipe this week. God’s blessings to all!

Pecan Pie

6 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 teaspoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup water
2 (9-inch) pie shells, unbaked
2 cups pecans (halves or pieces), divided

Mix together beaten eggs, sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and water. Divide mixture evenly between the two pie shells. Sprinkle 1 cup pecans on top of each pie. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce oven to 300 degrees for an additional 40-50 minutes, or until middle of pie is set. Cool completely before serving. Makes 2 pies.

 

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

A Bridal Shower and Chicken Club Brunch Ring

This column will wrap up my writing for October already. Daughter Loretta and Dustin have been married a month on Monday. Where does the time go? Do we take enough time out of our busy lives to thank God for all the blessings we have? When our lives don’t go as we expect, it is so easy to give up. We need to take one day at a time and remember that God will help us through the hard trials.

Last week sister Emma and I spent a day with sister Verena. We washed off her bedroom walls, ceiling, window, and furniture. We emptied sister Susan’s desk and dresser and packed some of her clothes in totes for now. This was a hard job to do. It makes it so final. Susan collected a lot of things through the years, so we have lots more to sort through. But we made a start at least. The physical work wasn’t what was hard. It was the going through a loved one’s belongings and knowing they won’t need them anymore. It made me think that the only thing I can take with me one day are my children. Let us spend time with our family while we still have each other.

Sunday evening we had supper at niece Emma and Menno’s house. They served a good supper of mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken, deep fried mushrooms, potato salad, desserts and more I am probably forgetting. Those enjoying the supper were Joe and me, and sons Benjamin, Joseph (and special friend Grace), and Kevin, daughter Lovina (and special friend Daniel), daughter Loretta and Dustin, daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and children, daughter Susan and children, daughter Verena, sister Verena, sister Emma and sons Jacob, Benjamin (and special friend Crystal), and Steven, and niece Elizabeth and Manuel. The three special loved ones that were usually with all of us were dearly missed. We played board games after supper. It was a rainy evening and cold outside so it was nice to be indoors.

Yesterday daughter Verena hosted a Pampered Chef bridal shower for daughter Loretta which was held here. It was a very good turnout, and Loretta was able to choose lots of free items for her kitchen. The consultant made a chicken club ring and chicken salad. I made a tater tot casserole and potato salad. My daughters and sister and her daughters all brought desserts and snacks, so we had a nice meal to enjoy after the party.

Sister Verena had been staying with us since Sunday. She went home with sister Emma. Emma had supper brought in last night from our bishop, ministers, and deacon and their families. She wanted us to come, but it is not so easy to leave since we don’t have our buggy. The boys use our other buggy, and Benjamin has one he bought. We need to go look for another one since ours was demolished in the storm in August. We do have an old buggy here that they use to train horses, but the door doesn’t shut on one side and with the cold weather it’s not fun to ride in. To think Joe and I both grew up with open buggies. I think we are spoiled now.

Today daughter Elizabeth goes on a field trip with granddaughter Abigail’s class to a pumpkin patch, corn maze, and pet farm. Daughters Susan and Verena will have her other two children T.J. and Allison at their house for the day. Abigail is so excited to have her mother come to school with her.

Saturday we travel to Berne, Indiana, to attend my family gathering at sister-in-law Nancy’s house. It is right on brother Amos’s 60th birthday. He will be greatly missed as will all the other loved ones that have gone on before us. God’s blessings to all!

Chicken Club Brunch Ring

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, snipped
1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
1 (10-ounce) can chunk white chicken, drained and flaked
1 pound bacon slices, crisply cooked and chopped
2 (8-ounce packages) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 cup (4 ounces) finely shredded Swiss cheese, divided
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 medium red bell pepper
2 cups lettuce, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, parsley, and onion; mix well. In another bowl, put in flaked chicken, bacon, 3/4 cup cheese and 1/3 cup of mayonnaise mixture; mix well. Unroll crescent dough and separate into 16 triangles. Arrange triangles in a circle on a 13-inch round baking stone (or other round pan) with wide ends of triangles overlapping in the center and points toward the outside. There should be a 5-inch diameter opening in center of stone. Using a medium scoop, divide the chicken mixture evenly onto the widest end of each triangle. Bring the outside points of the triangles up over filling and tuck under the wide ends of dough at center of ring. The filling will not be completely covered. Cut tomato slices in half and place a tomato half over the filling in between the openings of the ring. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven immediately and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Cut top of bell pepper off. Remove membranes and seeds. Fill bottom part of pepper with the remaining mayonnaise mixture and place in center of ring. Arrange lettuce around pepper. Slice and serve.

 

 

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

Getting Ready for Cooler Weather

Son-in-law Tim had a birthday on Monday, October 18. We wish him many more happy, healthy years as we travel into the unknown future.

Tonight, daughter Verena and Susan and children brought supper in and are staying the night. Dustin and Loretta also came for supper. Three-year-old Jennifer wanted to go home with Loretta and Dustin for the night. It’s hard on Susan to not have her here with her but at least she is just across the road. Jennifer loves going to their house.

Susan and Verena’s supper consisted of cheesy potatoes, chili soup, and peanut butter pie. I sliced cheese and put out crackers to eat with that. It was so nice to not have to make supper. It was very delicious.

We are having nice, sunny weather the last few days. We took advantage of the weather and washed all the windows. Laundry dried so nice as well. I know these days are limited this year, so we enjoy them all we can.

We had to get a new hopper-fed coal stove for our house, but after hearing how much a new one was, we decided to buy a used one. It is one-and-a-half years old, so hopefully it will last us awhile yet. We had no idea the price went up that much since we bought our last one.

We have the stove in the basement under a big vent in our living room. The heat comes up through the vent. There is a jacket around the stove that we can open the door of if it gets too warm up here. We heat three floors with that stove. We pour coal into the hopper and as the coal burns more coal feeds down.

Our coal didn’t come yet. But we have some left from last year, so my husband Joe started the stove tonight for the first time this fall. It feels cozier now. It probably won’t be long until the snow starts. Our leaves are falling from the trees, but they really thinned out from the storm damage this summer.

Tomorrow daughter Susan and children will go with our neighbor lady to serve lunch to the Amish school that is close by. Daughter Verena will stay here for the day. It is always so good to have Verena back home for a night.

Sister Verena spent a few days with sister Emma and sons. Emma washed all Verena’s laundry. She hadn’t been feeling well and had quite a bit of laundry that needed to be washed. She came here for several nights then went back home. Sister Emma and I want to go help Verena with her cleaning one day this week yet.

Emma also has many lonely days without her dear beloved husband Jacob. She hides so much of her sorrow and braces up for the family. It is so easy to go on with our lives and not know the pain of what these grieving widows feel, especially at night. God doesn’t give us more than we can bear. Let us pray for each other. Jacob’s 49th birthday would be the first of November. That will be a hard day for the family, I’m sure. Rest in peace, Jacob—you are still so greatly missed!

Everyone has gone to bed, so I think I’ll wrap this up and call it a day as well. Daughter Susan brought me a book she wants me to read called Into the Deep. It is about a man losing his wife and four children when caught in a flash flood. Such a tragedy, but God makes no mistakes. So, we trust He knows best. Stay healthy and God bless all of you richly!

Peanut Butter Pie

8 cups milk
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, beaten
4 (9-inch) pie shells, baked
Whipped topping

Crumbs

9 cups powdered sugar
3 cups peanut butter

Heat milk to scalding. In a separate bowl, mix granulated sugar, flour, salt, and eggs. Add mixture to hot milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until think. Remove from heat.

Make crumbs: Stir together the powdered sugar and peanut butter until it has a crumbly texture. Place 3/4 cup of this crumb mixture into bottom of each baked pie shell. Reserve the remaining crumbs for topping.

Divide cooked mixture among pie shells. Let pies cool, then refrigerate.

When ready to serve, top with whipped topping and sprinkle the remaining crumbs evenly over the four pies.

 

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

Helping the Newlyweds and Enjoying Family Time

The temperature is staying in the low 60’s today. Leaves are falling and it’s a typical fall day. Yesterday the mercury almost reached 80 degrees, and it was a lovely day with the laundry drying very well.

I’m frying chicken for our supper tonight. Daughter Lovina is washing potatoes for steamed potatoes as well. Dustin and Loretta will join us for supper. Our house is empty without Loretta here anymore. I am glad she’s close by so we can help her. It’s hard to believe half of our eight children aren’t at home anymore.

Friday night, sons Benjamin and Kevin went to a wedding. Son Joseph and daughter Lovina went to their special friends’ house leaving just Joe and me at home. We decided to go to daughter Susan’s house for supper. We picked up sister Verena, and then daughter Elizabeth, Tim and the children also came.

Daughter Verena made supper for all of us. She made chicken casserole and apple cobbler which was delicious. It was enjoyable spending time with the grandchildren. It seemed like over the wedding we didn’t get much time to spend with them. Abigail is really enjoying school. She stayed the night with Jennifer so they were excited for their sleepover. There is still such an empty spot when we go there. It seems like Mose should be coming back from hunting and telling us about the big buck he saw.

Tim and Elizabeth bought a surrey (a two seated buggy) for their family. There will also be more room for them if they want to pick up daughters Verena and Susan to go somewhere. It seems like short years ago when we drove a surrey and had eight children with us. Life goes on and time brings so many changes…some happy, some sad.

Dustin’s birthday was October 8th so his mom and dad made supper at their house in honor of his birthday. Saturday night our family gathered at Dustin and Loretta’s house in honor of his birthday. Daughter Susan and I helped Loretta during the day with her cleaning and washing and putting away wedding gifts/dishes. One other day my sister Verena and I also helped Loretta with getting her house organized with all the new gifts they received.

It will be easier for Loretta once their house is more handicap accessible, but it all takes time and money. Nothing is cheap anymore. Starting out as a young couple takes a lot. I remember when we were first married, how one thing after another came up. And when you buy an older farmhouse you always have repairs.

What matters most is making a house a home and enjoying each other’s company. Dustin is a good son-in-law and seems like a son to me. He is a great husband to Loretta, and he says she is a great wife to him. May God always be the center of their marriage. What a blessing when you gain a son instead of lose a daughter. Dustin and Loretta appreciate all the good wishes from you readers. I am trying to talk them into writing the column next week.

A special reminder of the day, this matrimony piece made for Dustin and Loretta was part of their wedding decorations.

Loretta is having fun cooking for her and Dustin but tells me my recipes are much too big. I am having trouble downsizing with my meals so I need to learn to adjust as well.

God bless all of you and keep us in your prayers as we travel into the unknown future.

Chicken Casserole

3 cups chicken, cooked and diced
1 (7 ounce) package macaroni, cooked
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
2 cans mushroom soup
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
2 green peppers, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and cover with buttered bread or cracker crumbs or croutons. Bake in a 9×13 inch pan for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

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

 

Wedding Celebration and Gratitude for Help

Dustin and Loretta had perfect weather for their wedding day. All week was nice and sunny, which we were so grateful for.

We ended up with around 450 here for the noon meal and 550 for the evening meal. We could seat 350 people in one setting. Around 100 or more people eat before, such as the cooks, table waiters, special helpers, babysitters, some of the cooks’ children, and drivers that bring family and friends from farther away.

At 4:30 p.m. the tables were set for the cooks to eat supper then at 5:30 p.m. for the guests. At 7 p.m. the youth and Dustin and Loretta’s family ate.

We ended up having 600 pounds of chicken grilled. Although we had quite a bit left, I think we would’ve run out if we didn’t get another 100 pounds. A family in our church has a huge grill and grills for others, so we had them grill the chicken. We bought 400 pounds of potatoes but had 150 pounds left that didn’t get cooked for mashed potatoes. Our goal was to have 75 pies, but we ended up with around 80. Sometimes there is extra pie filling that they just use up in a few extra pies. The pecan pies were eaten except a few pieces. We had a few pumpkin pies, and a dozen or more cherry pies left.

Our menu consisted of barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, buttered noodles, dressing (40 loaves of bread were toasted for this and took 18 dozen eggs), green beans with cheese sauce, overnight salad, and homemade bread with grape jelly and butter.

Dessert was pecan, pumpkin, and cherry pies, caramel pudding, fresh fruit (watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, and grapes), chocolate and white cupcakes, candy bars, and coffee.

The bridal party table referred to as the “Eck” was beautifully decorated in a fall theme. Photo provided.

It is tradition that the bride and groom furnish candy bars to serve after each meal. Dustin and Loretta bought 1200 for the whole day. They had quite a few left. The parents buy all the other food for the day.

Dustin’s parents have their own chickens, so they brought over 40 dozen eggs for the wedding foods. That really helped out. We don’t have chickens right now.

Loretta did a fall theme for decorating the “Eck,” the corner reserved for the bride and groom and bridal party. Her colors for the cooks and table waiters were all fall colors. Loretta chose a dark rose-colored dress for her wedding day. Dustin’s mother and I wore olive-colored dresses. The cooks wore rust. The table waiter girls wore orange dresses, and the boys wore black pants and vests with white shirts. Daughter Verena and Dustin’s brother Willie were witnesses. Daughter Lovina and her special friend Daniel (also Dustin’s brother) were the other witnesses.

Without the help of friends and family it wouldn’t be possible for us to prepare for such a big event. Many hands make lighter work.

We were so thankful for the ones that helped clean up and pack all the dishes and tables in the wedding wagon. The neighbor ladies cleaned the cook wagon, and we’re also thankful for my three head cooks that kept everything so organized.

A special thank you to my great friend Ruth for taking me shopping and not even charging me for gas. Ruth did a lot of the shopping on the final days, as I didn’t have time to go after everything.

Ruth and I went after the wedding cake the night before, and we were relieved once we had it home safely.

Our dear family members were missed very much over the wedding prep and that day. Sisters Verena, Emma, and our daughter Susan all did well to put their grief aside and be happy for the newlyweds. Daughter Loretta now lives across the road with Dustin. Today we will go help her put away the many nice gifts they received.

Dustin and Loretta want to thank those of you that sent gifts, well wishes, etc. May God bless you!

 

Green Beans with Cheese Sauce (served for lunch and supper)

8 quarts green beans, cooked or canned

Cheese Sauce
1 cup butter
1 cup milk
2 pounds Velveeta cheese
3 teaspoons Greek seasoning
3 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon seasoning salt

Heat sauce ingredients on low until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Place the beans in a roaster and pour over the cheese sauce. Heat at 300 degrees until hot.

Cracker Crumb Topping
15 sleeves Ritz crackers
1 3/4 cup melted butter

Crush crackers in sleeves and mix with melted butter. Spread on cookie sheets and toast in oven until browned. Use 1/2 cup crumb topping per 2-quart bowl of beans.

 

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

Updates from a family friend

My name is Ruth and I am a long time “English” friend of Lovina.  She asked me to write the column this week because she is busy preparing for the wedding of her daughter Loretta and Dustin this Friday. The wedding will start about 9:00 a.m. and they will be married about 11:30 a.m. After the wedding a noon meal will be served. They are expecting 450-500 people for the noon meal.  Some guests will stay for the afternoon to visit and catch up, and more guests will arrive for the 5:30 pm meal. They will be ready to serve about 600 again for this meal. In the early evening the youth will gather, and they will be served a hot meal also.

The cook wagon and refrigerated wagon were delivered on Saturday, and all the tables were set up in the pole barn and set with dishes and silverware. Long plastic tablecloths were placed over the set tables to keep them clean.

Early in the week Lovina went to get groceries for the wedding. She had already been stocking up on the staples like flour, sugar, butter, etc. but most groceries need be bought fresh the week of the wedding. Just a few of the items shopped for were 400 pounds of potatoes, 20 gallons of milk, 40 heads of lettuce, 48 loaves of bread, 50 containers of whipped topping, 8 watermelons, 10 cantaloupe, and 10 bunches of celery. On Tuesday a couple of women came and cut up and toasted all the bread for the dressing. Loretta and Dustin requested that cupcakes be served as one of the desserts, so the women baked some of the cupcakes also. In total they plan on baking, frosting, and decorating over 600 cupcakes. Other desserts on the menu will be cherry pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and caramel pudding.

On Wednesday more women came and baked the cherry pies. The onions, carrots, and celery for the dressing were chopped, bagged, and labeled. They baked the rest of the cupcakes, and some were frosted and decorated. The frosting is a delicious light chocolate, and the decorations are little multicolored sprinkles in the shape of leaves.

The three head cooks for the wedding are sister Emma, niece Elizabeth, and Barbara, who is a neighbor and friend who goes to the same church. As the women arrive the head cooks give them their job for the morning, and they all quickly go about their tasks. As the women work together there is conversation and laughter as they catch up on news of family, church, and community.  Baked goodies have been brought in for morning coffee time, and casseroles and salads brought in by the women helping are shared at lunch time.

Loretta chose a fall theme for her wedding which is appropriate as the leaves are beginning to turn and pumpkins and mums can be seen on front porches. Loretta’s tables have tablecloths of yellow and red and orange, fall leaf garland is strung around the windows in the shed, and colored leaves are sprinkled down the middle of the tables. There is a chill in the early morning air but the weather this week promises to be warm and sunny during the day, which is a welcome change from the rainy days and cooler temperatures we had last week.

Dustin is putting the finishing touches on his pole barn across the street from Lovina’s. The siding is on, the concrete floor is poured, and the windows and doors are installed. Dustin is hoping to complete some work on the eaves before Friday. His pole barn is where the wedding will be held, and after the wedding the family and friends will walk across the street to Joe and Lovina’s for the noon meal.

Festive fall table decorations prepared for Loretta and Dustin’s wedding. Photo provided.

There are special touches in the decorations that honor and remember the loved ones who have passed. There are three wooden candle holders that each have an engraving with the names of Mose, sister Susan, and brother-in-law Jacob on them.  A deer that Mose shot is mounted on a special board that Emma’s son Jacob cut, finished, and engraved in his honor.  They will be missed terribly at this special celebration. As an outsider I can see that the hurt is still present but alongside the pain there is acceptance and peace. There are smiles and laughter as they share precious memories and there is special focus on making the day special for Loretta and Dustin.  May God bless this special couple as they begin their journey as husband and wife.

 

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

 

Joyful wedding preparations

The first day of autumn is bringing cool, rainy weather with the temperature at 51 degrees this morning.

Church services were held here on Sunday. It was council meeting, so we served everyone lunch throughout the service. Around 11:30 a.m. a few at a time come in to eat. We had one table set for men, one for women, and a smaller table for the younger children. On our menu was chicken noodle soup, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, bologna, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, grape jelly, butter, homemade wheat and white bread, several kinds of cookies, tea, and coffee. Sister Emma made the soup for me. She made four twelve-quart kettles of soup.

We appreciate all the help we have had with Dustin’s pole barn and getting ready here for the wedding. So many have sent over meals or a casserole to make my workload easier. May God bless their kind hearts. It is greatly appreciated.

Last night nephew Benjamin and niece Emma’s husband Menno helped on the pole barn. The east side of the pole barn is now closed up. It looks like Dustin’s cousin is over there today. I think they are installing the two overhead doors. The rest of the doors and windows are installed already. It looks like we will actually get done on time.

I have my dress, cape, and apron to sew yet for the wedding. I plan to do that today.

Saturday we will set up all the tables. The plates, silverware, and glasses will be set and then we cover all of it, so it stays okay until next Friday for the wedding.

Yesterday my three head cooks came, and we went through the recipes to see what all we need. It takes a lot of head work to come up with a grocery list for over 1000 people. Now it’s time to go shopping. Do I ever have a list to get! I should’ve started sooner, but I’ll wait until after Saturday when the cooler will be here to get the groceries that have to stay cold.

The wedding cook wagon, cooler, and dishes all come Friday afternoon. The tent will be set up next week. This is where the cooks can work to peel potatoes, mix dressing, etc. We have around 50 cooks but I’m sure a few of them might not be able to come. There will be a lot of activity going on next week around here. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the cooks will each come for a day to help prepare whatever needs to be done such as bake bread, pies, etc.

During this busy time my oldest grandchild Abigail started school. She goes four days a week and she loves it! She tells all kinds of stories about school and her new friends. Life has changed for daughter Elizabeth. Abigail kept an eye on the two little ones. Now it sounds like T.J., 2, and Allison, 1, are into everything. T.J. cried when Abigail left the first day and said he wants to go to school too. Nephew Steven is in the eighth grade so when sister Emma and daughter Elizabeth were here helping one day Steven and Abigail came off the bus here. She had made beads for all the other children here. Such a sweetie!

Memorial flowers planted for Dan and Mose by their families. Photo provided.

Our three loved ones are so missed over this time. They were always here to help out with the other weddings. We try not to dampen Loretta and Dustin’s excitement, but our hearts still ache so much. Rest in peace Mose, Susan, and Jacob!

God’s blessings to all!

 

 

 

 

No-Cook Fruit Pie Filling

2 cups fruit, such as blueberry, cherry, apple, blackberry, etc.
1/4 cup clear jel
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water

Put fruit in 8-inch pie shell, piling in a peak in center. Mix sugar and clear jel and pour over fruit. Pour water over everything and mix gently. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

For apple pie, add brown sugar and cinnamon.

For cherry pie, use more sugar and add almond flavoring.

For blackberry pie, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

 

 

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