All posts by Lovinas Amish Kitchen

Meat aplenty: Making pon hoss and cutting up beef

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

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

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

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

Beef will supply food for the family for many months.

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

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

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

Sour Cream Apple Pie

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

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

 

 Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

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

Diary of March 1, 2017

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

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

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

6:30 a.m.   Mose leaves for work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9:30 p.m.   Dustin leaves for home.

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

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

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

God bless!

Sunrise Burritos

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

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

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oatmeal Whoopie Pies

Cookies

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

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

Filling

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

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

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

 Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FAJITAS

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

Meat
1 pound sirloin steak or boned, skinless chicken breasts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Helping family prepare to host church services brightens dreary winter days

We had a few days of sunshine, which we very much appreciated. A person is so much more energetic and life looks better when the day is sunny! We had a lot of gloomy January days when we didn’t see the sun too often. With all the solar panels we have, that can be a bad thing. We managed, although we had to use the generator to charge up the big battery packs when the sun didn’t shine.

Monday’s temperatures jumped up in the fifties with lots of sunshine. It was enough to give us all spring fever. We know winter isn’t over, though. And with butchering pork and beef yet ahead of us, that’s a good thing. We plan to do that as soon as we are done helping Jacob and Emma prepare for church services. We always help each other butcher pork, so we wanted to wait. January had a lot of warm days that would not have been so good for chilling the meat.

Last Saturday we assisted Jacob and Emma with cleaning for church services they will host this coming Sunday. My husband, Joe, and our sons helped hang drywall. Jacob and Emma are in the process of remodeling their house, so it’s hard to keep the dust under control. They have all the drywall hung now and will wait to finish the remodeling until after they have church services.

Church bench wagon, pulled by horses. It goes from one home hosing church services to another, bringing the necessary seating. Photo by Grant Beachy

Church services will be held in the attached garage they built onto their house last year. They will put in new floors after the painting is done. Emma is getting new kitchen cabinets sometime. I am sure she will like that because she didn’t have many before. She will be glad for more storage space.

Yesterday my sisters Verena and Susan, daughter Elizabeth and baby Abigail, daughters Susan and Verena and son Benjamin and I went to help Emma with her work. Benjamin helped clean out the tools and do the heavy lifting for us. He also started tearing out a bathroom they needed to have torn out.

Benjamin took our horse and a horse-manure spreader over to Jacob and Emma’s on Monday to help haul manure from their barn out to the field. It was such a beautiful day for the job to be done.

Tomorrow we will help Emma again. She will get more help on Friday, so things should start falling into place for Sunday.

Abigail is feeling a lot better and is sweeter than ever. She is starting to hug me when she sees me. On Friday she will be five months old.

Son-in-law Mose had a birthday Sunday, February 5. We had chicken, hot wings, and banana poppers on the grill in honor of his birthday on Sunday evening. We had chocolate and white cupcakes instead of cake. Lately there has been a lot of cake around, so it was a little different to have cupcakes. People loved the whipped-topping frosting on them. I will share the recipe at the end of this column. Cakes or cupcakes with this frosting have to be refrigerated.

I forgot to mention that sister Susan is also gaining strength and getting her health back since her recent hospital stay. My wish is for good health to all of you, and may God bless each of you!

Does anyone have a recipe for a banana roll (similar to a pumpkin roll)? A reader requested this recipe, and I don’t have one.

Whipped-Topping Frosting (for cake or cupcakes)

1 (4-oz.) box instant pudding mix, any flavor
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup milk
1 (8-oz.) container whipped topping

Add pudding mix, powdered sugar and milk in a mixing bowl. Mix until blended. Let mixture stand three minutes and then fold in whipped topping (defrost it first if it was in freezer). Spread on cake or cupcakes. Keep refrigerated.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Week marred by illness brightened by kind gesture

We have entered the month of February. The temperature has dropped to the teens again, and we have had several more inches of snow.

Last Friday the girls and I helped daughter Elizabeth with the final preparations for hosting church services on Sunday, January 29. Joe and I and the children went again Saturday so Joe and the boys could help Timothy set up the church benches in their basement. The girls and I helped Elizabeth peel the eggs she had cooked for egg salad. We also mixed the peanut butter spread. I made cheese spread here at home on Friday night. Elizabeth prepared two big roasters with casserole for Sunday evening. It makes it easier to have these prepared so they can simply be put in the oven Sunday afternoon for supper.

Timothy and Elizabeth were both really organized and finished everything that needed to be done by late Friday afternoon. They do not have the biggest basement to host church services in, but there was plenty of room to seat everyone. A lot of Timothy’s family from other church districts attended, but we had a few families missing from our church district. Those families were attending baptismal services in another church district. So it all worked out well.

The menu for lunch consisted of homemade wheat and white bread, egg salad, peanut butter spread, cheese spread, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, raspberry jam, butter, coffee and spearmint tea. For dessert there were chocolate chip, peanut butter, sugar, and oatmeal cookies.

Loretta’s friend Dustin surprised Lovina by volunteering to make his special skillet meal. The recipe appears in this week’s column.

On Friday night after coming home from helping Elizabeth, I had a nice surprise. Loretta’s special friend Dustin came with groceries and prepared supper for us. This was such a treat to me, as I had been thinking that I would have to come home and prepare supper yet. For the recipe this week, I will share one of the dishes he made for us. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did. Since Dustin doesn’t have a recipe for this dish, he helped me write one down the best we could. I told him I would name it Dustin’s Skillet, and he laughed.

I have left the not-so-good news for last. Sister Susan had been sick for a while and couldn’t attend church services at Timothy and Elizabeth’s house. Monday morning she ended up in the emergency room and was admitted to the hospital. She was there three days and then released to come home.

Little Abigail had a cough and it worsened over the weekend. Elizabeth took her to the doctor on Monday morning. The doctor said she has bronchitis and croup. Since they don’t have insurance, the doctor said they could try treating her at home for one night, giving her breathing treatments with a nebulizer. We still have the nebulizer that we had to use a lot on son Kevin, so they borrowed that. Elizabeth took Abigail back to the doctor the next day, and she was better than before. They are still giving her the treatments, and she seems to be getting better. Sweet little baby: she could still smile at us even though she had a fever. I’m thankful sister Susan and Abigail are both on the mend. Good health means so much!

May God bless you, and may you stay healthy. Thanks to all you readers for keeping Verena and our family in your prayers.

Dustin’s Skillet

1 pound breakfast sausage
1 pound bacon, cut into small pieces
12 ounces shrimp, cooked, with tails cut off
2 green peppers, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

In a skillet, fry together sausage, bacon and shrimp until sausage and bacon are cooked. Drain grease and put skillet back on burner. Add chopped green pepper and onions. Cook briefly. Then add sliced mushrooms and stir while heating until vegetables are hot.

 Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Can you ever have too much birthday cake?

Yesterday, January 24, was daughter Susan’s twenty-first birthday! My sister Liz also has a birthday on the same day. She turned forty eight. A happy birthday to both!

Friday evening, Mose’s family brought in supper here at Mose and Susan’s. It was a surprise for Susan. They wanted us to join them for supper. On the menu were a variety of homemade pizzas, lettuce, salad, and ice cream cake. Mose will have a birthday on February 5 so this was in honor of both of their birthdays. Mose’s brother Joe and wife Mary came for the event and spent the weekend with Mose and Susan. They live around an hour and fifteen minutes north of here.

Last night Timothy, Elizabeth and baby Abigail, Loretta’s special friend Dustin, and our family had supper over at Mose and Susan’s also in honor of her birthday. That night we had chili soup, banana pepper poppers, hot wings, macaroni salad, sliced cheese, cake, and applesauce. Mose and Susan have had their share of birthday cake.

Saturday Timothy and Elizabeth attended a late Christmas gathering for his family at his sister’s house. They are busy preparing to host church services on Sunday. Joe and I and some of the children assisted them with their work late afternoon and evening. We finished cleaning the basement where church services will be held. After we were done Timothy grilled venison burgers on the grill while we helped Elizabeth with the rest of the meal. We also enjoyed watching daughter Verena give Abigail a bath. Oh what fun to watch her kick in the water! She loves to play with the little rubber ducks in the water. She is growing so fast. She just jabbers away trying to “talk” to us. She has naturally curly hair and after it’s wet her curls are so cute.

Last week Loretta and I helped Susan with some organizing in their quarters in the pole barn. Loretta sewed curtains for some windows. Son Benjamin hung the curtain rods for us. Mose built a shelf for them to store some of their excess belongings. It makes it look a lot more organized and easier to find what they are looking for.

Tonight we made bacon, ham, and cheese omelets for everyone for supper. We told Mose and Susan to come eat with us. We added onions for those who wanted onions in theirs. We have lots of eggs so that makes an easy supper. Timothy and Elizabeth have a few chickens so their eggs are accumulating too. Elizabeth wants to make egg salad for the church lunch. I will make cheese spread for her. We have “dried up” our cow Bessie because she will be calving in March. If you wonder how that’s done, you basically just stop milking her. We first slowed down by skipping a milking every few days and then stopping. It’s different to have to buy milk again.

I will share the cheese spread recipe with you. This recipe will be in my cookbook this spring. I don’t always use the brand name Velveeta cheese. You can buy cheaper brands and it still works.

God bless you!

Homemade Church Cheese Spread
6 pounds Velveeta cheese
1 1/2 cups butter
8 cups cream

Put everything in a big roaster and bake at 150 to 200 degrees stirring every 15 minutes until all is melted. Remove from oven. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent it from getting a crusty top while cooling. The spread is served on a sandwich with or without meat. It is good just spread on bread with some pickles.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Scary moments for Eicher family

Scary moments for Eicher family

It is Thursday morning and past time for this column to be on its way.

Joseph, 14, Lovina, 12, and Kevin, 11, are almost ready for the school bus. Son Benjamin, 17, is hitching up a horse to take our daughter Susan to work. The temperature is staying right around the freezing mark this morning. All our snow has disappeared. The weather lately seems too warm for this time of the year. We are hoping for more cold weather next month which makes it easier to butcher beef and pork. When the temperature is cold, you can keep the meat cold while you work with it.

Our week started out differently from usual. Susan and I were washing laundry in the basement when daughter Loretta, 16, heard something fall upstairs in the hallway. She called up to daughter Verena, 19, and didn’t get an answer. Since it takes Loretta longer to climb the stairs, she yelled down to the basement for us to come help.

Verena was breathing but could not open her eyes or talk to us. I called her doctor and they said to take her to the ER. Lots of tests were done, but she would not respond. The doctors decided to transfer her to a bigger hospital an hour away. She was admitted there and a CT scan, MRI, and lots more testing was done. She started opening her eyes and finally said a few words to me. Tuesday evening she was released and we brought her home. The doctors think it was due to some recent head trauma that caused her to black out like that. She has a history of lots of small concussions since a bad one in 2009 in which she lost over a year of her memory. She has been through a lot. She seems weaker than usual since she’s home and has headaches. She would be interested to hear from others that have dealt with post-concussive syndrome after a brain concussion. She has had her share of hospital visits due to past concussions. The brain is hard to figure out and doctors still have lots to study about how differently one brain heals from another.

It’s a scary moment for the family when you can’t get someone to respond and not sure what will happen. That is when we especially depend on God! He is in control. Let us trust him for he makes no mistakes.

Today we will go help daughter Elizabeth with her cleaning preparing for church services at their house. Her husband Timothy’s family went to help them on Tuesday. Church services will be there a week from Sunday. This is a new experience for them to host church services. Jacob and Emma will host services two weeks after Timothy’s so we also want to help Emma with her cleaning. It doesn’t look like there will be much time to rest this winter. Our friend Beth is going to take us to Elizabeth’s with her van. I didn’t want Verena to ride in the buggy yet. Verena will go along but can rest over there. She can help keep Baby Abigail entertained while we clean.

Time this morning is going fast and I need to be ready to go by 8:30 a.m. God’s blessings to all. Prayers would be greatly appreciated and we will do likewise in great weakness. Stay healthy!

Try this breakfast casserole. We like something like this even for supper.

Cheesy Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

8 frozen hash brown patties
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Place hash brown patties in a single layer in a 9×13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake in 450 degree oven for 20 minutes or until browned, turning patties after 10 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs in a large bowl with a wire whisk. Add milk, sour cream, garlic powder, mustard and pepper; mix well. Stir in bacon, 6 ounces of the cheese and onions. Pour over hash brown patties. Sprinkle with remaining cheese (add more cheese if desired).

Bake 40-50 minutes or until center is set and edges are golden brown.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

Getting to work in snow and ice when you’re Amish—and more

We are having a thunderstorm this morning: not at all normal weather for January. The temperature is hanging around 34 degrees so some places could be icy.

Daughter Susan has to be at work by 9:00 a.m. She was going to drive the buggy but called a driver instead (“drivers” are non-Amish people that we hire to take us to and from work or town if we can’t go with a buggy and horse) to take her this morning. Son Benjamin isn’t working today so he’ll go pick her up with the horse and buggy this afternoon when she is finished with her work.

Benjamin plans to haul manure out to the fields today since the temperature has warmed up this week. He also worked at that yesterday. Our horse, Mighty, pulls the one-horse manure spreader. Our old horse, Diamond, was always the one we used to haul manure. We miss having him around after having him over twenty years.

Our new chickens have been laying an abundance of eggs. We still haven’t butchered the old hens, so they are also providing eggs.

The table is ready for a big gathering for “Old Christmas.”

Friday “Old Christmas” (January 6) that I wrote about last week ended up being a very enjoyable day. My sister Emma, Jacob and family, my sister Verena and Susan, and our family were all here. Nephew Benjamin had my name in the gift exchange. I received some dish towels and a mop bucket on wheels with a spin mop. This makes mopping so much easier for the girls. No bending over to squeeze out the mop and the bucket has a dolly with wheels to push the bucket around.

Lots of nice gifts were exchanged. Son Kevin received a game called Quick Cups which some of us played. I never heard of this game but it was fun. Each person had five different color cups and everyone took turns flipping a card. Whoever stacked the cups in order of the colors on the cards first, rang the bell and could keep that card. The person with the most cards at the end of the game won. We also enjoyed playing Mad Gab. That is always a loud, exciting game and lots of fun to try and figure out what the card says. After a haystack breakfast for brunch we enjoyed snacks in the afternoon. Veggies and dip, fruits, and venison summer sausage and venison snack sticks were among the snacks. We like to add some healthy snacks instead of so many sweets.

Saturday Joe and I and some of our children spent the day helping daughter Elizabeth and Timothy. Joe and Joseph helped Timothy lay a new hardwood floor in their living room while Verena, Lovina and I washed off the walls and ceiling and cleaned furniture from the living room. Church services will be there in two and one-half weeks so lots of cleaning is being done.

Lovina, Joe and family enjoyed putting together the biggest puzzle they’ve ever attempted.

We finished the 2000 piece puzzle we got for Christmas on Sunday afternoon. It took us two weeks to complete it. This is the biggest puzzle we have ever done. We want to glue it and get a frame made for it. Challenging but fun!

Yesterday friends and family gathered for a late Tupperware wedding shower for daughter Susan at daughter Elizabeth’s house. Lunch was served afterwards. Susan received lots of nice storage containers to add to her kitchen. She appreciated everyone that contributed and also for Elizabeth opening up her home to everyone. The recipe this week comes from the woman who demonstrated the Tupperware products at the shower, which we enjoyed sampling at the end.

God’s blessings to all!

Easy Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

1/2 cup nuts, chopped
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 (20-oz.) can pineapple slices, undrained
5 maraschino cherries, drained and halved
1 (18.25-oz.) package yellow cake mix
water
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine butter and brown sugar. Mix well, then spread evenly over bottom of a 9×13-inch pan. Drain pineapple, reserving the juice; set aside. Arrange pineapple slices over sugar mixture, then put a cherry half in center of each pineapple slice; sprinkle with nuts. Add enough water to pineapple juice to make 1 1/3 cups liquid. In a bowl, combine cake mix, liquid, eggs and oil; whisk until blended and smooth. Pour over fruit mixture. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes. Carefully loosen edges of cake and invert onto 18×12-inch grooved cutting board or other large flat plate and cool slightly. Decorate with whipped topping using a frosting bag and tip, or just spoon dollops of whipped topping around the cake. Slice and 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 Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Eichers usher in new year by doing puzzles, coloring, and celebrating Old Christmas

A brand new year—2017—awaits us. What will it hold for everyone? Although it doesn’t have to be a new year to make resolutions, it’s a good time to start. It amazes me how fast one year after another goes!

When the children were younger, winters seemed to last forever. Now it seems like I don’t have enough cold months to stay sewing at the sewing machine. It’s so hard to keep up with sewing pants for the three boys. Kevin, 11, seems to grow taller every month. Joseph, 14, is taller than Benjamin, 17, so there are no more “hand-me-downs.” Benjamin works in construction, so his pants get lots of wear and tear.

We had a very nice Christmas together with our children. Everyone gathered here on Christmas Eve and stayed for the night. It was baby Abigail’s first time sleeping at our house. So sweet to see her wake up in the morning and then give such a bright smile!

We all enjoyed breakfast together and then washed the dishes. Then we gave gifts to each other and enjoyed watching each other open them. How precious these family times are. They mean even more to me now, with two of our children no longer living in our house.

We played games, and some enjoyed coloring. A person can never get too old to color! We also started a 2,000-piece puzzle that daughter Susan and Mose gave for a gift to my husband Joe and I. We always put together 1,000-piece puzzles, so Susan wanted to challenge us even more. We now have the puzzle more than halfway done. It is a picture of a lighted cabin and two deer standing by the woods. We would like to glue this one and frame it.

I think it’s so relaxing to sit and work on the puzzle after supper on these cold winter nights. It gives a person a chance to unwind. I remember well how often, years ago, our puzzles would get pushed off the table or messed up by our little children. I imagine it won’t be long until we will have grandchildren who are old enough to enjoy trying to mess them up. Life goes on!

One day while Joe and the children were on Christmas break, we had company stop by. It was Ruth Coblentz and Rose Chapman. They are both cousins to Joe’s dad. Ruth’s husband, Dave, is deceased but was a cousin to my father. Brother Albert had sent us some pon hoss, a fried dish from leftover hog meat, from when they butchered hogs. We were having that for a late breakfast, so Ruth and Rose got to taste it too. The children love coffee soup and eggs with pon hoss. We had a nice visit with the cousins.

The Eicher family enjoyed opening gifts together on Christmas Day and then again on “Old Christmas,“ celebrated on January 6.

Friday, January 6, is what we call “Old Christmas,” and the Amish in this area honor that day. We will have my sisters here in Michigan for a gift exchange and to spend the day together. We are a total of 25 now. We already have the tables set up to seat 24 people. Abigail doesn’t need a place setting yet. Our children are always excited to set the table for all of us.

These pecan pie bars are a great snack and a family favorite. Happy 2017 and God bless!

Pecan Pie Bars

1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 cup flour
3 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup corn syrup
dash salt
3/4 cup pecans, chopped

In a small bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar. Gradually add flour, mixing until blended. Pat into ungreased 9-inch square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20–22 minutes or until golden.

In another small bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt until smooth. Pour over crust; sprinkle with pecans. Bake 40–45 minutes longer or until set. Cool. Cut into bars.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.