All posts by Lovinas Amish Kitchen

Getting things done: dresses, garden cleaned off, salsa made, church prep

It is bedtime already but my agenda looks way too loaded for tomorrow. Today was long enough already but this column needs to be written and on its way.

I started the day with sewing on daughter Verena’s dress that she needs for her baptism on Sunday. I have the dress almost done.

While I was sewing the girls started peeling and chopping tomatoes for salsa. We ended up with 58 pints of salsa. We also canned 20 quarts of tomato juice to use up the rest of the tomatoes from our garden.

On Saturday Joe and the boys cleaned up most of the garden and tilled it. We still have peppers and tomatoes out there. We had our last meals of sweet corn for this season. We have cabbage and red beets to use from our harvest. Although it is nice to have garden goodies, it is also nice to have everything coming to a close for the year. It makes it harder to be preparing for church services while canning season is in full swing.

Our second time of hosting church services will be Sunday, September 10. Daughter Verena and another girl in our church district, Anita, will be baptized, Lord willing! September 10 is also granddaughter Abigail’s first birthday. Daughter Elizabeth will bring a cake for her so we can celebrate her birthday. She will have a small one for Abigail to dig in and then a bigger one for the rest. It will be fun to watch Abigail tear into a cake.

On Labor Day we were all home except son Benjamin who spent the day with our nephew Henry. I sewed Verena’s dress, cape and apron that she needs for Saturday. It’s for her friend Rosanna’s wedding. Verena is a tablewaiter and will serve the bridal party. It will be a full weekend for her.

Sunday evening we attended a birthday surprise supper in honor of niece Elizabeth (daughter of sister Emma and Jacob). We all gathered there before she and her special friend Manuel arrived home. Friends and family gathered in their pole barn. When they came home and pulled up to the pole barn the overhead door was opened and we all yelled, “Happy Birthday”! She was surprised and a little speechless for a while. We were served a delicious supper of breaded mushrooms, jalapeño poppers, French fries, and haystacks. A variety of desserts were also there with everyone bringing a dish; fresh fruit, pies, puddings, and cake. People played a variety of games and enjoyed singing. Elizabeth is 21 now. Time does not stand still.

And now I have sad news. A friend from Hicksville, Ohio, that grew up in the same area Joe and I did, passed away. Mary, age 51, lost a two-and-a-half year battle to cancer. She left to mourn her husband, Marvin of 30 years, six daughters, four sons and eight grandchildren. What an empty space there will be. We have plans to go to the visitation tomorrow evening. Our sympathy goes to her family. They need our prayers as they live life without a wife and mother there. God makes no mistakes. May God be with them through this heartbreaking trial in life.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the people affected by the floods from hurricanes and also the fires that are raging throughout the west. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to pack up and leave your home not knowing if it will be there when you return. Everything happens for a reason. We don’t always understand why but we know God is in control. Let us keep everyone in our prayers. God’s blessings to all!

This week I will share the recipe for ham and cheese omelet roll. I shared this recipe around nine years ago but I want to share it with my new readers and for anyone that might have missed it. It is a favorite of ours. We like it with breakfast sausage gravy on top. Enjoy!

Ham and Cheese Omelet Roll

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 eggs
1 1/2 cup chopped ham
1 1/2 cup shredded Swiss or cheddar cheese
1/4 cup onion
2 tablespoons mustard

Additional fillings as desired: mushrooms, peppers, bacon.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl combine cream cheese and milk; whisk until smooth. Add flour and salt. In another bowl, beat eggs and then add cream cheese mixture. Cut wax paper to fit jelly roll pan. Pour mixture into jelly roll pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until puffy and golden. Meanwhile, chop ham, onions and anything else you want to add (mushrooms, peppers, bacon, etc.). Remove omelet from oven and spread with mustard and half the shredded cheese. Add ham, onion, and any additional fillings then sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Roll up in jelly roll fashion removing paper as you roll. If desired, garnish with additional cheese and let stand 5 minutes until cheese melts. Serve with salsa or cheese sauce.

 

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 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 work so hard cleaning for church services?

Today, as I write this, we will wrap up the month of August!

I am having a Tupperware party here today at 10:00 a.m., serving lunch to all who attend. I booked a party last year at daughter Susan’s Tupperware shower to help her get more points. The girls and I made two big pizza casseroles last night for lunch today. My sisters and daughter Elizabeth will bring in the desserts. I plan to make coleslaw yet to go with lunch.

Son Joseph is clearing out some of the garden and the cabbage heads are ready to be harvested. Last night we had sweet corn again. Our second patch is ready to use now.

Daughters Verena, Loretta and I attended the bridal Pampered Chef shower of our newly wed neighbor Rebecca. Supper was made for us by the Pampered Chef consultant.

A huge batch of Eicher thick and chunky salsa.

The girls and I made 52 pints of salsa yesterday so daughter Susan and Lovina finished cleaning up while some of us left for the shower. They also served supper to the men and boys here at home. Spaghetti and meatballs plus sweet corn were on the menu for them.

Saturday, September 2, is our youngest son Kevin’s twelfth birthday. Has it actually been that long since our youngest child was born? Time has a way of slipping by us.

Round one for hosting church services is done for us. We had a few families absent but company from other districts helped fill all the benches. We served eight tables of people for lunch. Each table seats 16-18 people. Toddlers and babies are fed ahead of time. Some women and girls that help serve also eat before so that makes less to serve at the table. We probably had around 150 people here for church services.

September 10 will be a baptismal church service here for daughter Verena and another girl, Anita, who is also following instruction for baptism. I’m not sure how many to expect. There is another church district in the community that is also having baptismal services for five girls on the same day. We couldn’t change it to Saturday as Verena is tablewaiter at her friend Rosanna’s wedding. The wedding is over an hour away from here. I still need to sew Verena’s dress for the wedding and also her baptismal suit.

Our church lunch this last time consisted of homemade wheat and white bread (forty loaves were brought in by the church ladies), ham, cheese, peanut butter spread, dill, and bread and butter pickles. Also had some freezer pickles; pickled red beets; hot peppers; tomatoes (from our garden); rhubarb, coconut, chocolate chip and sugar cookies; plus coffee and mint iced tea (sister Emma made tea concentrate so that made it easy for me). While dishes were being washed baggies filled with popcorn were passed out. I decided to not have anyone back for supper. It was nice to relax after a hard week.

A reader recently asked why we do all the cleaning before church services. I know that church services could still be held if we didn’t clean, but since we like to give the house a thorough cleaning what better time to clean than when you have a deadline. My mother taught us to keep our house clean and it’s just something that stays with me. It was harder to keep order in the house when the children were younger. I hope this explains to any other readers that were wondering about the cleaning. We can serve God from any house no matter how clean. What matters most is that we have a “clean” soul. May God grant blessings to every one of you readers!

And now I must not forget to mention that some of our children and I had the pleasure and joy of meeting sweet little Samuel Lee when he was five days old. He was born to niece Elizabeth and Samuel on August 24 weighing six pounds and some ounces. We enjoyed passing him back and forth. Such a sweet little angel. His bigger sister LaRose wasn’t too sure about us. She is 21 1/2 months old and loves her Grandma (my sister Liz).

I must get busy now. Kevin is waiting on the bus to come. Here is a recipe to maybe save to use up leftover turkey after Thanksgiving Day!

Cheesy Turkey Chowder

4 tablespoons margarine
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped potatoes
2 cups chopped carrots
4 cups milk
1 quart chicken or turkey broth
1 tablespoon chicken base
3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
pepper, if desired
2 cups Velveeta cheese
3 1/2 to 4 cups cooked turkey breast, chopped

Cook vegetables separately in margarine. Heat milk and broth; add chicken base. Make a paste of the flour and a little milk, add to heated milk and broth. Cook one minute, or until slightly thickened. Add salt, pepper, cheese, cooked vegetables and cooked turkey to cheese sauce. Heat, but do not boil. Serves 12–16.

 

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 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.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS: text = 827 words; end material = 57 words
Contact: DorothyH@MennoMedia.org; 540-980-2434

 

After buying wedding groceries, groceries for church services are “nothing”

Monday after we were done hanging out the laundry we took time out of our busy schedule to watch the solar eclipse. We didn’t have any special glasses but held three pair of dark sunglasses together to see the moon pass in front of the sun. It was amazing to see! Only God can arrange how such a wonderful universe works.

It didn’t get too dark in our area but it almost looked like it was evening after the sun starts going down. It was worth it to let our work set for awhile as we watched. It seemed like the day was extra hot and humid. Then the rain we had during the night cooled everything off. Now we are having chilly mornings. The temperature showed forty-seven degrees this morning.

Yesterday our order for one-hundred broiler chicks came. These are butchering chickens for meat. Fifty are for us and fifty for Mose and Susan. It will be good to have chicken in the freezer to use. With our chilly mornings the chicks need a heat lamp yet to keep them warm. They are very active and can make quite a bit of noise.

Tuesday daughter Elizabeth and Abigail came to help us. Also sister Emma and son Jacob. Jacob is almost eighteen and has muscular dystrophy like some of our children do. He keeps busy making a lot of different things from wood. He carves out names or makes Aggravation board games, shelves, picture frames, and a variety of things.

A lot was accomplished Tuesday. The back entrance to our home was cleaned from top to bottom—windows, doors, etc. Also forty-eight quarts of tomato juice were canned. The next tomatoes we get will probably be put into salsa for daughter Susan.

We have more sweet corn that is almost ready. We planted three different times so it’s not all ready at once.

On Tuesday Kevin had his first day of school. It sure was different to see him be the only one getting on the bus. Today we will get the rest of Lovina’s seventh grade books for homeschooling.

Last Saturday, daughter Elizabeth and Timothy and little Abigail helped here all day, getting ready for the church services. Also sisters Verena and Susan. As if we didn’t have enough to do, our two bushels of peaches were ready to be canned and frozen. I always freeze a lot in small containers to put in lunches. It’s like a small ice pack for the other food in the lunch bag and will be thawed and ready to eat by lunch time.

Today, Thursday, a few of the girls and I will go get groceries for our church lunch on Sunday. I used to think it was a big task to go shopping for church groceries. After two weddings in our family the last two years, this seems like nothing.

Tomorrow we will do laundry, mop the basement floor and clean a few more windows down there. That should wrap up the cleaning for church.

Our gas stove and propane-run refrigerator need a good cleaning. I am hoping to do that after I get home from getting groceries. Son-in-law Mose has been getting the garden weeds under control and tilling up the ground that is done for the season.

Mose’s sister Esther will be baptized on Saturday. (Sometimes a baptismal service is held on a Saturday if too many other church districts also have someone following instructions for baptism.) So Mose and Susan will go to his parents’ house where the baptismal church services will be held. This will make two days of going to church for them.

I will share my recipe for frozen peaches. God bless you!

Frozen Peaches

20 pounds sliced peaches (or crushed)
7 cups sugar
3 12-ounce cans frozen orange juice concentrate

Mix peaches, sugar and orange juice concentrate together well. Put in containers and freeze.

 

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 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abigail acting her age, plus other tales from the Eicher family

Church services are set to be here August 27. We are still busy with all the preparation it takes to host the services. I know that we could still have the services without cleaning, but this is one way to have a deadline every year to give your house a thorough cleaning.

My sisters Verena, Susan, and Emma and sons Jacob and Steven assisted us with our work one day this week. A lot was accomplished! Tomato juice and pickles were canned. The kitchen walls and ceiling were washed off. Some more windows were cleaned and more cabinets washed out. It’s nice to have a big house but it takes a lot to clean it too.

Since daughter Susan and Mose have their living quarters on one side of the “new” pole barn, we will use the other part where Joe keeps all his tools, etc. for the church services. That part has all been cleaned and washed out. The garden and flower beds need some weeding done.

The hibiscus that Verena gave to Lovina several years ago is in lovely full bloom–just in time for church!

Sister Emma is making plenty of tea concentrate so we can have iced tea with the church meal. I have twenty loaves of wheat and 20 loaves of white bread coming in for the after-church meal. The bread and cookies are made and brought by women from our church.

I have two bushels of peaches that we have to go pick up today. Those will need to be canned and frozen. Daughter Elizabeth and her little Abigail have plans to come today. Abigail will push a toy on wheels and walk but still not walk alone. She also stands alone when she’s not thinking that she’s doing it!

I was holding Abigail in church Sunday, held under a tent. Abigail is at the age where she doesn’t want to be held or stay quiet for that long. She wanted to get down and play on the grass. She would throw a toy on the floor so she could get down to pick it up. After several times I figured out that she was tricking me into letting her loose to crawl around. But I cherish these moments I spend with her. She took a turn sitting with Grandpa (husband Joe). Needless to say, she keeps us going.

Congratulations go to our neighbor girl, Mary and her husband-to-be, LaVern. They were published to be married on September 22. I have been asked to help cook at the wedding and so is daughter Susan. We are both to wear the color sage. We are glad we both have this color so no sewing needed for this wedding.

Also published on Sunday were Clint and Hannah so congratulations go out to them as well. Clint and Hannah chose October 5 for their wedding date. Clint is a brother to Dustin (daughter Loretta’s special friend). Loretta needs a new dress for this wedding. I was asked to help cook at this wedding also and need to wear the color Marine Blue. I think I have a dress very close to this color to wear.

Daughter Verena also has part in a wedding on September 9 and needs a new dress sewn before then. I also want to sew a new dress, cape and apron for Verena’s baptism service which will be held here at the second church service we host on September 10, Lord willing. September 10 is also Abigail’s first birthday.

School doors open next week already. This is the first year since we live here in Michigan that school starts before Labor Day. Son Kevin (almost 12) will be in sixth grade and the only one going to school. Daughter Lovina wants to be homeschooled for her seventh and eighth grade years. We plan to go pick up her school books tomorrow. I have to get my “thinker” going again to teach her. I homeschooled daughter Elizabeth for her last two years and daughter Susan on her eighth grade year.

God bless you!

Vegetable Bars

Crust:
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk

Topping:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup salad dressing

Vegetable and other toppers:
Summer vegetables such as diced or chopped peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes
1 large package shredded cheese
6 slices fried bacon, drained and crumbled

  1. Mix the crust ingredients and spread on cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Mix the topping ingredients and spread over the crust.
  3. Top with diced peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, and tomatoes; 1 large package shredded cheese; and bacon. Press down into cream cheese mixture. Yields: 1 cookie sheet. Cut in bars to serve.

 

 

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 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canning, cleaning, and “flying” horses fill Lovina’s week

It is 10:00 p.m. Wednesday evening. Everyone has headed to bed except the girls and me.

I forgot all about writing this column until after daughter Elizabeth, Timothy and Abigail left for home. They came over for a while after supper. We had so much fun with Abigail. I was helping her walk and let go of her hands and she stood by herself for quite a while until she noticed I had let go of her hands. She will be eleven months old tomorrow. Time sure goes way too fast.

We are still busy cleaning for the church services we will host in two weeks from Sunday. The girls have been cleaning out drawers and kitchen cabinets. I am sorting through dishes that I hardly use. I am giving them to my daughters and what they don’t need I will put in a garage sale. What doesn’t sell I will put in our local free store. It’s like they say—one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Over the years things accumulate and I like to get rid of things that just sit around.

Yesterday we washed off walls, ceiling and windows in Joe’s and my bedroom. We also have a bathroom beside our bedroom so that was cleaned from top to bottom. We cleaned furniture, curtains and the bedding was washed and put back on. Today I cleaned our closet. My mending is piling up though and I keep hoping to get it caught up before church.

On Friday evening, neighbors, friends, and family will gather to help my sisters Verena and Susan move their furniture back to their house. It has been stored in our basement for over three months since their fire. The construction on their house is now done. It is a good thing that we can now clean our basement next week.

My tomatoes are ready to start canning. I will start with tomato juice since I ran out. I have plenty of V-8 canned yet, but it is too spicy to put in soup alone. I sometimes mix it with tomato juice.

I canned dill pickles for daughter Susan last Saturday. Mose’s mother sent dill and other pickles home with Mose and Susan Friday evening. Mose and Susan went to his grandma’s sale of her personal belongings so I thought I would can the pickles for her.

Son Kevin, 11, has been doing odds-and-ends jobs for us. He always has the dogs trailing after him. They just adore him. Daughter Verena’s Yorkie puppy Ricky is almost six months old and is looking like a little fur ball. She took him to the vet for another round of shots.

Kevin was burning trash out in the barnyard while we were washing clothes in the basement one day this week. Daughter Susan looked up and saw our whole herd of horses and ponies go flying past the window. They headed straight for neighbor Joe’s yard and galloped north. Our pony Stormy was in the lead like usual.

Susan ran to get a scoop of grain so she could bribe the horses into coming back. Fortunately, my husband Joe and son-in-law Mose had an early day and had just come home from work. I’m not sure if Stormy saw Susan shaking the scoop of grain but he decided to circle around the fence around our field and head back home. Once they were in our yard we corralled them back through the gate. I think Kevin won’t forget to chain the gate next time he burns trash. The gate was shut but not chained and it seems those ponies know exactly when it’s open.

Try this lettuce salad if you want to make a salad the day before serving it.

God’s blessings to all!

Layered Lettuce Salad

1 head lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup celery, diced
4 eggs, hard cooked and diced
1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas, uncooked
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
8 slices bacon, fried and diced
2 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

Layer the first seven ingredients in a 9×13-inch dish. Mix mayonnaise with sugar. Spread on top as if frosting. Top with cheese. Cover and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours. At serving time, garnish with additional bacon and parsley if desired.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eichers sell their cow, get ready to host church services

It’s around 5:30 a.m. on a Thursday morning. My husband Joe left at 3:50 a.m. for the RV factory. About a month ago, son-in-law Mose started working at the same RV factory. They leave and come home at the same time.

Sons Benjamin, 18, and Joseph, 15, left at 5:15 a.m. to go help nephew Noah.

Daughter Susan quit working quite some time ago so she is a big help to me. Susan and Mose have been shopping for a place but it seems like nothing has come up that suits them. They need some acreage for their horses and it seems the places for sale have either too many or not enough acres. We don’t mind having them here beside us. I know the feeling that you want something to call your own. When Joe and I were first married we lived with my parents for a while before we moved into a mobile home on the other side of the drive from my parents and lived in that. We lived there until after we had Elizabeth and Susan. We bought a house several miles from my parents and lived there until we moved here in Michigan in 2004.

After much thought we decided to sell our cow Bessie to a close-by dairy farm. She gave way more milk than we could use and with the boys leaving so early it made an extra chore before they left. I’m sure Bessie will be much happier with other milk cows. Joseph was usually the one who milked Bessie mornings and evenings. He said it helped build up his arm muscles. Bessie was a good cow and I hope she does well for her new owners.

On Saturday, Aug. 5, Mose and Susan will have their first anniversary. How can it be a year already? And Aug. 14 is Timothy and Elizabeth’s second anniversary.

Yesterday daughters Elizabeth (and Abigail), Susan, and Lovina, 13, went garage saling with Elizabeth’s horse and buggy pulling our buggy trailer. There were around ten garage sales at Amish places so they were able to buy some clothes as well. Abigail thinks she has to hold the driving lines and tell the horse giddy up. Elizabeth said when they pass another buggy Abigail waves and says, “Hi!” Then she goes back to telling the horse to go.

Steven, son of sister Emma and Jacob, had his tenth birthday on Sunday, July 30. He was very excited to get to sit with the boys in church now. After the boys and girls turn ten they don’t have to sit with their parents. Son Kevin, 11, was so glad Steven could come in with him.

Today daughter Elizabeth and Abigail and sister Emma and Steven will come to help us prepare for the upcoming church services we will host in three weeks. It looks like we will be canning hot peppers and pickles. We are planning to wash out cabinets also and wash laundry if weather permits. Daughter Susan will also come over to help so we should get something accomplished today with all the help.

Friday Joe and I, along with daughter Verena, 19, and son Kevin, 11, traveled to Berne, Ind., with my good friend Ruth. We met readers and signed books at the Faith and Life Books and Gifts store in Berne. This was during the busiest time of the year for Berne—the Swiss Days Festival. After not being there for 14 or 15 years it has really expanded throughout the streets. I think the reader there for the signing who was from farthest away was Sharon from California. Then I found out she is a cousin to Aunt Gyneth Coblentz—a small world!

We stopped in to say hi to sister Leah and Paul. Then we stopped by my home place, where I was born and raised and lived until I was married with two children—bittersweet memories! We also went by the house Joe and I lived in for eight years. We stopped in and said hi to our old neighbor Emma, then we went to visit sister Liz, Levi, and daughters. Liz had surgery and was still recovering from that. She wasn’t feeling too good while we were there. Before heading for home we stopped at brother Amos and Nancy’s but no one was home so we headed back to Michigan. A big thanks to Ruth for once again taking time out of her life and away from her family to drive us!

God’s blessings!

Fried Corn

4 ears fresh sweet corn
2 strips crisp bacon and drippings
1 small onion, minced
Salt and pepper

Cut uncooked corn from cob and add to bacon drippings. Add onion, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat in a frying pan, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender, about 15 minutes. Crumble bacon over top.

 

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 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.

Elizabeth hosts the family for brunch, family games, and birthdays

This column will bring us more than halfway through 2017 already!

My arms are sore this morning from all the painting we did yesterday. Sister Emma and I helped paint three rooms at our sisters Verena and Susan’s house yesterday. The new floor will be put down next week so we wanted the painting done before that.

Tuesday evening Verena and Susan moved back to their house. Most of their furniture is still here in our basement. They do not have hot water yet and no refrigerator but they are using a cooler with ice for now. It doesn’t take much food for the two of them. I told them they can come over to use our shower since they don’t have the water heater hooked up yet. Also their laundry can be washed here for now, but they are just glad to at least be back in their home after three months. They appreciated all the gifts of money from readers. With sister Verena’s health not being the best lately and unable to work a lot, it helped out more than you know. Verena couldn’t help paint yesterday as her feet hurt to walk on them. The swelling has gone down some.

While we were painting, daughter Verena, 19, took our pony Stormy and the pony cruiser, to drive Loretta, 17, Lovina, 13, and Kevin, 11, to the dentist to have their teeth cleaned. Good ole Stormy—what would we do without him? He has taken us many miles over the years we have had him.

For Sunday, daughter Elizabeth and husband Timothy served a brunch for our family, sister Emma, Jacob and family, and sisters Verena and Susan. It was delicious. She made a big roaster full of Breakfast Casserole and French Toast (Overnight) Casserole (page 53 of my new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook) and she also made pancakes, served with their own maple syrup. We all took in a dish or two of dessert so we ended up having way more food than we needed.

Also on the menu were peanut butter pudding, Rice Krispie treats, Jello cake, watermelon, peaches, chocolate crinkle cookies, coffee, juice (rhubarb, grape, and orange), chocolate milk, and homemade bread, butter and jam.

After the dishes were washed we played games outside. We played croquet as well as “Aggravation” under the shade tree. As usual there was a lot of excitement in the Aggravation game.

Elizabeth made root beer floats for everyone later in the day. And of course little Abigail received the most attention. Every time I see that little girl she has learned to do more new things. When we have a silent prayer before we eat she will fold her hands together to pray. But this only lasts for a few seconds, just long enough for all of us to see it; then she wants the “Amen” part to come already.

We then had birthday cake before we left for home. The cake was in honor of sons Benjamin, 18, and Joseph’s, 15, birthdays. I asked the boys if it’s okay to just have one cake for both their birthdays and they were okay with that. With so much cake around lately I thought it was wise to just have one. Joseph turned 15 on July 24 and now we won’t have a birthday in our family until September when Kevin and Abigail will have birthdays.

I was helping daughter Susan this week with canning pickles. We also made four batches freezer pickles for her. Now she should have some when they host church services in September. Mose’s parents sent her a few buckets of cucumbers so she was glad to have enough to make pickles.

I want to can and freeze some pickles too. Daughter Elizabeth is coming today and will bring cucumbers. Zucchini is in full swing and we are enjoying making different casseroles. Daughter Susan is trying to make a recipe to share with you readers—our newest invention of using our many zucchinis. God bless all of you! Meanwhile enjoy this Breakfast Casserole recipe.

Breakfast Casserole

1 pint sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
6 flour tortillas
1 dozen eggs, scrambled
1 layer fried potatoes
1 pound sausage, fried
3/4 pound cheese, shredded

Mix sour cream and soups. Put half of mixture in the bottom of a roaster (needs to be bigger than 9×13). Cut tortillas into squares and put on top of that. Layer the remaining ingredients in order. Add the rest of the sauce. Top with more cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 60 minutes.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoying summer vegetables makes meal planning easier

Our weather has been hot and humid this week. This morning it is looking like it could rain. We need rain and it would also cool everything off.

Daughter Elizabeth and sweet little Abigail came yesterday to spend the day. We did laundry, which seemed extra huge with bedding and curtains in the wash. We washed walls and ceiling in son Benjamin’s bedroom upstairs. I still need to clean out his closet.

I have been working on my mending, which has accumulated in the past few months. It seems there is always something needing a button or has a tear here or there.

Our garden is doing well. Those weeds are trying to take over. We picked the first tomatoes from our plants. We are enjoying buttered beets from the red beets also. Zucchini and cucumbers are also ready. My cucumber plants all died but two, so I am hoping someone close by will have extra. Radishes are over but we still have lettuce, green onions, and peppers. Peas are done for the season. We had a few meals of red potatoes, too. Corn, broccoli and cabbage are coming along. I always like this time of the year when we can enjoy all the vegetables from the garden, as there is such variety to choose from. It makes meal planning so much easier.

I ordered peaches so that will be another thing off my “canning list.” I am afraid my canning will be in full swing around the time church services will be held here. We will host church one time in August and once in September. Then daughter Susan and husband Mose will also host it here once in September.

In between our church services we will have a hog roast for my family. I don’t have an exact count but think we are a total of 125 or more. It sure increased in size since the last time we took our turn to host my family. It was our turn last year but due to Susan’s wedding, my health, and then the surgery, I was unable to have it. We also canceled hosting church services here last year so that is why we have it twice this year.

I planned the hog roast for May but then sister Liz and Levi were preparing for niece Rosa’s wedding. So far it looks like it will suit all my siblings for September 16.

Sisters Verena and Susan are still living in our basement. The work at their house is progressing, with the dry wall mudding being done. The floor is on order. As soon as the drywall is done, we want to go help paint it. Two bedrooms upstairs and the bedroom and living room downstairs needed to be redone from the fire. The exterior is done now. It has been almost three months since the fire. Finally things are beginning to take shape for their house.

Son Joseph’s fifteenth birthday will be Monday, July 24. This is the third birthday in July for our family. Joe and I had our 24th anniversary on July 15 and brother Albert’s 53rd birthday was also on July 15. His sons, Albert Jr. and Andrew, were both born on Albert’s birthday in different years.

Sister Emma turned 44 on July 19, and her son Steven will be ten years old on July 30. My mother would have turned 81 on July 18 if she was still living. We get lots of cake in July.

Abigail is 10½ months old now. She is discovering everything. She stands by furniture and she discovered our open stairway steps. It looks like I’ll be getting my gate out again to block off the steps. We stayed behind Abigail to see how far up the steps she would go, and she just keeps going up one step after the other. She doesn’t realize that if she stands up she will fall back. How did the months slip by so far, that she is already this old? We sure have a lot of fun entertaining her. She loves playing in the kiddie pool and splashing water everywhere.

Broccoli from Lovina’s garden will soon be ready for a yummy and nutritious veggie casserole like this.

God bless you! Enjoy this recipe especially for fresh broccoli casserole!

Broccoli Casserole

3 cups Rice Krispies, browned in 1 stick margarine or butter
1½ cup fresh lima beans
2 cups fresh broccoli
1 cup water chestnuts
1 cup sour cream
1 package dry onion soup
1 10.5 ounce can cream of mushroom soup

Brown Rice Krispies over low heat in butter. Set aside. Place lima beans, broccoli, and water chestnuts in 2 quart baking dish. Pour sour cream and mushroom soup over ingredients. Cover with dry onion soup mix and Rice Krispies. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daughter Verena updates all the Eicher family doings: from cleaning to pontooning

Hello! I hope you are all doing well. This is Lovina’s nineteen-year-old daughter, Verena, writing. Mom was so tired so I told her I’ll take her place for this week.

Loretta received this lovely birthday gift for her 17th birthday July 1 from her mother and father.

Loretta, 17, Joseph, 14, Kevin, 11, and Mom cleaned Joseph and Kevin’s bedroom—washed the walls and ceiling, cleaned their windows and closet. I don’t think I’m wrong when I say that their bedroom is probably the worst room in the house to clean. It’s always surprising what all we find in there. All the clothes they are missing show up in the room somewhere. You could say we were all relieved to check that room off our “to do” list. Now it’s just trying to keep it that way. Kevin collects everything. With Loretta cleaning in there I’m sure a lot of his collection ended up in the trash.

My bedroom is done except for a little dusting and my windows need to be cleaned. We are having church services here once in August and twice in September. One turn will be for Mose and Susan. We skipped our turn last year so that’s why we will have it twice this year.

On July 4 our family went on a hay ride. It’s always fun to have the whole family on the wagon. Especially ten-month-old Abigail. She chatted and said “hi” to everyone we passed. She is really getting into everything. She stands up along furniture and loves to take our hands and walk. She discovered our stairs and we see how far she goes up. We stay behind her to make sure she doesn’t fall back. She also discovered the kitchen cabinets.

Brother Benjamin will be eighteen years old on Friday, July 14. Hard to believe how fast time flies. I remember how slow time seemed to be while I was in school. Now time seems to not be slow enough.

Dad and brothers Benjamin and Joseph are in the process of training two-year-old Beauty and two-year-old Midnight. The horses look very much alike. Beauty is a gift to Benjamin from Mom and Dad for his eighteenth birthday. Benjamin is driving her in the buggy and she’s doing very well. Midnight is a different story. She is being difficult to train. She does well hitched double with another trained horse but after they put her alone in the buggy she doesn’t want to go.

My four-month-old Yorkshire Terrier puppy, Ricky, is doing very good. I taught him to sit, shake his paw and lay down. Now I’m teaching him to roll. He’s so playful and so much fun. Abigail gets very excited when Ricky runs to greet her when she comes.

Wednesday, July 5, our whole family rented two pontoons at a campground and spent all day on the lake. We did a lot of fishing. I discovered that I would rather fish for blue gill instead of bass. We also did a lot of swimming. It was so much fun to have Abigail in the water with us. So much laughter and fun makes great memories.

At lunch time we docked our pontoons and sat beside the lake. Dad grilled on a little grill we took along. He could only grill three big pieces of pork steak and a few hot dogs at a time. It sure was tasty as we ate it right after it was off the grill. Dad had a hard time staying ahead but he grilled meat until we all had enough. We also had chips, pickles, watermelon, macaroni salad and cookies. We didn’t have a table so we spread a blanket on the ground to put all the food on.

Sister Susan and I made supper tonight. We made cooked potatoes, BLT and sloppy joe sandwiches; fresh garden goodies always make it easier to get a meal together.

I like quotes so I’m going to share this one: “The difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude.” And a verse from the Bible: “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Cream Cheese Chocolate Cupcakes

1 8-ounce cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips

Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, egg, and salt; mix well. Fold in the chocolate and peanut butter chips, set aside.

For cupcakes, in a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla; mix well.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full with batter. Top each with about 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25–30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 18 cupcakes Note: The filling will partially cover the top of the cupcakes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

With husband and children on vacation, Lovina serves up extra recipes

We recently butchered our old laying hens and canned around fifty quarts of chicken broth. My husband, Joe, and our children are home on vacation the week of July 4. So this week I’m sharing some extra recipes.

The Eicher family canned chicken broth this week—a staple for use at Amish weddings.

God’s blessings to all!

A reader recently requested a recipe for red velvet cake made with beets. Here is the recipe.

 

Red Velvet Cake with Beets

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup pureed, cooked beets
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Sift flour and baking powder together. In another large bowl, whisk together sugar, buttermilk, beets, oil, eggs, cocoa powder, food coloring, vanilla, vinegar, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture gradually to the bowl, stirring after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake about 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

A reader also requested the recipe for Cherry Delight.

Cherry Delight

1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups whipped topping
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 28-ounce can cherry pie filling (or 1 quart canned cherry pie filling)

In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and 1 tablespoon sugar. Spread on bottom of a 9 x 9-inch baking pan to form a crust. Beat together whipped topping and cream cheese, adding remaining sugar and vanilla until well blended. Smooth on top of crust. Top with cherry pie filling. Chill at least 3 hours.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon to coat the berries
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup rhubarb, chopped
1 cup strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and oil until smooth. Add the egg, yogurt and almond extract to the sugar mixture and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the first four dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Add the chopped rhubarb and strawberries and lightly mix in. Place paper liners in muffin tins. Use a 1/4 cup scoop to fill the liners. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on the top of each muffin. Bake for 12–14 minutes or until golden on top. Makes 18 muffins.

 

Sunday Brunch Casserole

1/2 pound bacon, sliced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
12 eggs
1 cup milk
1 16-ounce package frozen hash browns, thawed
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dill weed

In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon; crumble and set aside. In the drippings, sauté onion and green pepper until tender; remove with a slotted spoon. Beat eggs and milk in a large bowl. Stir in hash browns, cheese, salt, pepper, dill weed, onion, green pepper and bacon. Transfer to a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35–45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Yields 6–8 servings.

 

Also, I need to make several corrections to the Blueberry Cobbler recipe that appeared in my column in newspapers and online the week of June 19-23. Several readers alerted me to some problems, and I have made some revisions. Thanks for your feedback!

Blueberry Cobbler

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup milk

Topping:
2 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar

Combine ingredients in a bowl, mix together and spread batter in a 7 x 11-inch pan or 2-quart baking dish. Mix together blueberries and sugar; pour over batter and bake at 350 degrees for 45–60 minutes or until done. Try with different types of fruit.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.