All posts by Lovinas Amish Kitchen

A beautiful Easter Sunday

It is just after 5 a.m. and my husband Joe and sons Benjamin, 21, and Joseph, 18, have all left for another day’s work. Daughter Lovina, 16, will be leaving in a half hour for her job. That leaves just me and Loretta. Daughter Verena is still staying with daughter Susan and children. Son Kevin, 15, and nephew Steven, 13, went to sister Verena’s for the night. Steven is on spring break from school this week. Those two cousins always seem to be the best of friends.

Yesterday I cut out a dress, cape, and apron for Loretta and a same color shirt for Dustin (her special friend). They will be table waiters at a friend’s wedding in a couple weeks, which is over an hour from here. Today I want to sew it, but I’m not sure how far I’ll get. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan will be going to town. Daughter Verena will come here with T.J., 2, Ryan, 20 months, and Allison, 13 months. Abigail, 4, and Jennifer, 3, will go with their mothers. I want to get a sand box and some sand for the little ones to play with. Sunday evening the younger grandchildren thought my flower beds looked fun to dig in. They thought they could use the soil to play with the sand toys. When my children were younger, we didn’t have cement by the walkout basement. That was nice, sandy soil that my children had lots of fun playing in for hours. I used to babysit for twin boys Joshua and Jacob who were close in age to Lovina and Kevin. Those four were often entertained playing in the sand down there. It was under the porch, so they were in the shade on hot summer days.

Daughter Elizabeth said Abigail was playing outside with her dolls one day, then the next morning Elizabeth saw the dolls were still outside and brought them in. She told Abigail that she forgot to bring her dolls in the night before. Abigail asked her if she brought in the one that died. She had buried one of her dolls in the sand pretending it had died. Seeing two people that were very close to her be buried six weeks apart is probably what brought that to her imagination. Dear sweet innocent children—what lies ahead for their future? Only God knows.

Easter Sunday was such a beautiful day, with a nice warm temperature all day. Our family all came here after church and stayed for supper. We hid eggs for the grandchildren. For the adults I had small gifts on a table, and they played bingo until all the gifts were taken. Our menu was barbecue chicken, deep fried shrimp (that Tim and Elizabeth brought), macaroni and cheese, colored eggs, sliced cheese, homemade bread and butter, robin egg nests, and ice cream. It was an easy supper, with the men taking care of the meat outside. Sister Verena came here Saturday evening and was here until after supper Sunday. Son-in-law Mose and sister Susan were greatly missed like always. Life goes on, and God’s ways are not our ways. All we have is memories.

Daughter Susan and children went home for the night with sister Verena. Two very lonely ladies that need our prayers. I hope everyone had a blessed Easter—a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life! Until next week … God bless!

On April 17th, I will be signing my cookbooks from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Shipshewana Flea Market Grounds in the Antique and Miscellaneous building for the Plain and Simple Craft Fair. I hope to see some of you readers there. Hopefully a few of my daughters can come with me.

These cute robin egg nests were part of Easter Sunday supper for the Eicher family. Photo provided.

Robin Egg Nests

1 12-ounce bag white chocolate chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 6-ounce can potato sticks
robin eggs candy

Melt chocolate chips, then add peanut butter and powdered sugar and mix well. Stir in potato sticks. Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin pan, making little nests. Place candy eggs in the nests. Refrigerate or freeze until set and remove from pan.

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.

Easter egg fun with grandchildren

It’s the last day of March. The rain during the night brought colder temperatures this morning. Friday will be Good Friday so everyone will be off work. Sunday is Easter—we give thanks to our dear Savior Jesus Christ who died on the cross so we can be saved from our sins. We have so many blessings. Do we appreciate them enough? It takes daily prayers to be parents to our dear children and grandparents to our dear grandchildren. Do we set enough of a good example for them? It is good we don’t know what the future holds, but we do know in whose hands it is…God. May he keep being our guide into the future.

Yesterday daughter Susan and children, daughter Verena, sister Emma and son Steven, niece Emma and children, sister Verena, son Kevin, and I spent the day at daughter Elizabeth’s house. Steven came after school (which they have until noon right now).

Elizabeth cooked 10 dozen eggs for the children to color. Did they ever have a ball with it! A big mess but lots of fun. Abigail, 4, Jennifer, 3, T.J., 2, Jessica, 2, Ryan, 20 months, and Allison, 1, did the egg coloring. Baby Menno (niece Emma’s baby) is eight months, so he didn’t help. T.J. and Jessica liked to smash their egg at first. Allison had her first egg peeled and was coloring the egg without the shell. It was so cute to watch all of them.

Elizabeth made a low-carb bacon cheeseburger casserole for lunch and also had deviled eggs and sliced cheese. Lettuce salad, pretzels and dip, pickles, blueberry pie, cookies, and chocolate pudding were brought in by all of us ladies. Elizabeth is pre-diabetic, so she tries to eat low-carb and no sugar meals. The casserole is low-carb and I asked her for the recipe, so I can share it.

The past few months I have been cooking a lot of low-carb, no sugar meals for Joe and I and the family. I had one slice of bread in two months so that is a change for me. If any readers have good low-carb recipes I would appreciate them. Joe and I both feel better eating like this and it has helped us shed a few pounds which is always good. Most of all though is that it makes us feel better.

I haven’t done too much baking lately, but daughters Susan and Verena brought monster cookies that Verena and Jennifer baked. Sister Verena sent over chocolate chip cookies she made. So, for the ones in the family that still like some sweets, it was nice to have those on hand.

Family members enjoyed getting together and had a ball coloring hard boiled eggs for Easter. Photo provided.

Elizabeth sent colored eggs home with all of us yesterday, so I have some for Easter. I want to go look for dandelion greens to make dandelion salad and dice some of the colored eggs in it (after they are peeled, of course). I love dandelion green salad with bacon or some fresh ham from the freezer.

Joe wants to see if he can dig up a little horseradish root to make fresh horseradish to have with colored eggs on Easter. That’s a tradition we always have, horseradish and colored eggs on Easter.

Tim and Elizabeth have 10 baby chicks and 2 baby ducks in a tote in their house that they bought this week. It was a full-time job for Elizabeth to keep the children away from the chicks. T.J. was riding a sit and scoot toy which has room under the seat. Someone discovered he had the 2 ducks and a few chicks under the seat. They were rescued and put back with the rest. He wanted to give them a ride. Abigail and Jennifer were playing with their dolls when Elizabeth discovered they had snuck 4 baby chicks to play with. Needless to say, Elizabeth will be glad when the chicks are big enough to put in the chicken coop. God’s blessings and a blessed Easter to all.

Low Carb Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole

1/2 pound bacon
1 pound ground beef
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons reduced sugar ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
4 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
8 ounces grated cheese
1 teaspoon fresh dill (optional)

Dice the bacon in small pieces and fry until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Drain grease from pan and add the ground beef to skillet and cook until browned, crumbling as it cooks. Drain fat, add onion and garlic, and cook a little. Add the cream cheese, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and seasoned salt to the skillet and cook over low heat stirring constantly. Spread the beef mixture into an 8×8 inch baking dish. Top with cooked bacon. Crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk together with the heavy cream until combined. Stir in the pepper and hot sauce. Pour egg mixture over the beef and bacon. Top with grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until set and golden on top. Sprinkle with dill before serving.

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.

Eicher family enjoys signs of Spring

Spring has officially begun! Signs of spring are everywhere and an almost 70 degree warm, sunny day shows us most of winter is behind us.

Today (March 23) I spent most of my day at daughter Susan’s house. A group of church ladies gathered at her house for coffee break. Now to me this “coffee break” is like brunch. A breakfast casserole, ham/cheese sandwiches, carrots/dip, and so many different desserts, coffee and tea made a full menu of a meal. The little children played with toys and the little girls played with dolls and played house while the ladies visited.

I took our horse Midnight and our buggy. It was a beautiful morning for a ride. It’s been a while since I drove alone in the buggy. Time alone can be peaceful and time to think. Life surely has changed for us. So often we think, why God? Why us? Then we correct ourselves because God doesn’t make mistakes. Trust in God with all thine heart…again and again and again. Time will lessen the heartaches.

Daughter Loretta, 20, is washing our supper dishes as I write this. Daughter Lovina, 16, left before supper to go spend the night with sister Verena. I fried chicken for supper so Lovina took some along for their supper. Along with chicken we had potato casserole left over from last night’s supper. Fried chicken tasted good again for a change.

Daughter Verena, 23, is still staying with daughter Susan most of the time.

I was cleaning my desk and came across a packet of reader mail that was sent to me in December. I am so sorry to those of you that asked questions about recipes or other questions. I will try to answer those soon. With having two funerals here six weeks apart my “clutter” was pushed aside and now we are trying to get back to normal as much as possible.

Sunday evening Joe and I were home alone so we decided to walk down to sister Verena for a while. She had been home alone since after church. Those hours can be long if you are alone. We visited with her and talked of memories. Sister Susan is still so missed and so many things remind you of her when you go there. She has many lonely days and wishes more of the family could come visit her. She spent Friday evening with daughters Susan and Verena. Joe and I also went there for supper. Tim and Elizabeth and children joined us there, too.

Son Kevin and nephew Steven spent the night at sister Verena’s house on Saturday night. Jacob and Emma picked them up to go to church Sunday morning. Sister Emma also picked sister Verena up to bring her to coffee break at daughter Susan’s this morning.

This week I’ll share a recipe for coffee cake. Hope you will enjoy it.

Time for me to join the rest—getting ready for bed.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Coffee Cake
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 cups flour
2 cups sour milk

Crumb topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter

Filling:
3 teaspoons flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (more if preferred)

Sift or whisk dry ingredients together and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Then alternate adding dry ingredients and sour milk, ending with dry ingredients. Divide batter into four pie pans. For the crumb topping, pinch together brown sugar, flour, and butter until it forms crumbs, and sprinkle over the batter in each pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cake springs back in the middle to your touch. Let cakes cool and remove from pans.

For the filling, cook flour in milk until thick. Set aside until cool. Cream shortening and sugar. Then add in the cooled flour mixture and powdered sugar, beating until fluffy. Cut each cake in half horizontally to form two layers and spread filling between the two layers.

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.

Gratitude for precious family time

It’s Tuesday evening. Supper is over and the dishes have been washed. Daughter Susan and children Jennifer, 3, and Ryan, 1, are staying here for three days. They are staining/finishing some trim and doors/door frames at her house, so the smell is a little strong and there are no doors on any room right now while they are being stained.

Tonight daughter Verena is spending the evening and overnight with Sister Verena. She is so good at putting others’ needs before her own. God will surely bless her someday.

Daughter Susan and Jennifer and daughter Loretta are sitting at the kitchen table. Loretta and Jennifer are coloring while Susan is writing. Susan keeps journals—one to Mose and one to God. Putting her thoughts on paper seems to be a healing process for her. She said even if Mose can’t read her journal it’s a way to feel connected to him.

Yesterday we did our laundry and hung it in the basement. We brought it up today to fold and put away. Susan brought her laundry and washed it today. It is hanging on the lines in the basement, now. Last week spoiled us with all the warm sunny weather. Hopefully this cold spell won’t last long.

Sunday night our family gathered at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house for supper. The menu was chicken and potatoes on the grill, with steamed cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots, cheese, and cupcakes. It was all delicious! It was a lovely evening for a buggy ride. Spending time with our family seems more precious since losing loved ones so dear to us. It makes us appreciate each other much more.

The weekend also moved our clocks an hour forward. Nights seem longer with more daylight. We see early signs of spring—robins, flowers peeping through—so we hope cold weather will soon be past for the season. This weekend the calendar says it’s officially spring.

Another blessing we have had is my husband Joe has a job at a metal shop now. This is his third week, and it seems to be going great. We are so thankful for all our blessings in the midst of our heartaches.

This is now 4:45 a.m. I didn’t get this column finished last night. Jennifer decided she wanted cream to give us all foot massages. She didn’t spare the cream which I think is what she likes about it. She tries to act like she’s a doctor and we are her patients. Earlier today she helped with dishes and folded laundry. When she heard us comment about it, she put her hands on her hips and tried to act like an adult. She was talking and would roll her eyes and make her voice sound different. Ryan walks behind her trying to mimic everything his big sister does. When they do cute things like that it makes Susan want to share it with Mose. There are so many milestones he is going to miss. God has a plan and a reason why he took Mose from his earthly home so soon. May he help guide the broken-hearted left behind to understand. God makes no mistakes!

God’s blessings to all!

Zucchini Crumble
6 cups zucchini, peeled and diced small
1/4 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Crumble topping
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick cook oatmeal
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

In a large bowl, combine the diced zucchini with lemon juice, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish. In another bowl combine all the crumble top ingredients. Using your hands combine butter with dry ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of zucchini mixture and press firmly. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. It is good served warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

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 Lovina’s daughter, Susan

Hi Everyone,

I’m Lovina’s daughter, Susan. I decided to write and let you all know how thankful I am for all the cards, money, and encouraging words people have sent. Also, for all the prayers that helped me through the toughest time.

It is Monday night and I’m sitting here writing. Sister Verena is reading, and Jennifer and Ryan are playing doll. Jennifer is the mom and Ryan is the daddy, though I don’t think Ryan has any clue what he is supposed to do. He just follows his big sister around. They are so sweet.

Joe and Susie, Mom and Dad’s neighbors, sent supper over earlier. They sent pizza and flowers. Mose’s brother Alvin and his wife Susanna and their two children, Kaleb and Isaiah, showed up with supper also. So, they just stayed, and we all had subs and pizza for supper. Alvin and Susanna try to come every Monday night, Lord willing.

My sister Verena stays with the children and me now. The children love that she’s here. They like when she gives them rides on her scooter and she makes them go to sleep like that when it’s their nap time. I’m so thankful to have Verena, it helps to have her here, so the nights don’t seem as long and lonely. I keep her awake to just share memories about Mose. She’s a good listener. May God bless her generous heart.

My family and Mose’s family have been very supportive. They all helped me in many different ways.

Aunt Verena came here Friday (March 5) for the night. I feel bad for her. She also has some long, lonely nights. I have my children to keep me occupied, but Verena is all by herself now, even though we are with her. Her routine changed also. She misses her sister Susan dearly, as do the rest of us, but Verena lived with her. When you live with someone it seems a lot harder. Please keep her in your prayers.

It’s Tuesday afternoon and I just got done getting the laundry in. It was a beautiful day for laundry. Jennifer and Ryan love to play outside in this weather.

Jennifer still comes up to me and asks me if I think daddy is coming back. Ryan can’t talk except for some baby talk, so he tries to repeat after Jennifer. It breaks my heart that their daddy isn’t here to hug them or be with them any longer. Mose was a great father.

Today is the third month since the accident and it seems like Mose still should be coming home. It’s hard to grasp yet. When Mose and I first met, I never once thought that our love story would get cut short. It tore me to pieces when they called and said he passed away. It breaks my heart in two every time Jennifer and Ryan say Daddy. I fight myself when the bitter thoughts take place, and the days seem to be long and the future so dark. I learned to just take one day at a time.

I thank God for every moment I had with my dear husband. God blessed us with these years together, even though I catch myself wishing that I could have had one more year with Mose. Mose left the house that morning with both of us not knowing those were our last moments together. Our last I love you’s, our last hugs, our last everything. If only I would have known I would never have let him go.

Mose never gained consciousness after the accident. I feel like I lost him the 9th of December already. Losing Mose has made me look at life differently. Life is too short, so don’t take it for granted. Make the best of it while you can. In a blink of an eye life can change and it’s devastating. God has carried me a long way and still does. Keep Dan’s wife Jodi in your prayers also. Her life changed too. She has a lot of lonely nights. May God be with her.

Thursday my mom and sisters Lovina and Loretta, brother Kevin, sister Elizabeth and her children, Aunt Verena, Aunt Emma, and her daughter Emma and children, and cousin Susan and her children are all coming for the day. All the food is being brought in.

May everyone have a great rest of the week and God bless.

I will share this sugar cookie recipe. They were a favorite to Mose. He liked them frosted.

Soft Sugar Cookies
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup lard or shortening
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or sour milk
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, add the sugar, baking powder, lard, lemon juice, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, baking soda, and salt. Mix until smooth and light in color. Stir in enough of the flour to make a stiff dough. Use your hands to work flour in completely. Chill the dough for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets and drop dough by teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are golden brown, but center is still soft to the touch. Remove from oven and cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

 

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.

One day at a time for Eicher family

Another morning of sitting here watching the sun rise with tears rolling down my face. I’m wishing that I could turn the clock back to December 8th, the day before our life so drastically changed. Back before that awful tragedy, back before our dear son-in-law Mose was in that terrible accident that completely shattered daughter Susan’s life. Back before dear sister Susan fell ill and was also taken from us so suddenly.

That’s when I need to let go and let God. I know he makes no mistakes, and he chose us to go through this and make us stronger in our faith. Our human nature tries to tell us otherwise, to make us question God’s ways. We need to remind ourselves over and over that God’s ways are not our ways. So we appreciate all your prayers and support. One day at a time is all we can do.

Sunday afternoon daughter Susan and children came driving with her horse Mighty and buggy to come for supper and stay the night. Oh how that tears at a mother’s heart strings to see her lonely daughter drive in alone. I feel like I need to brace up and be strong for her, but I too miss her dear husband and grieve right along with her. I know how much more it is hurting her. She tries to stay so positive and I give her a lot of credit for that, but I know she’s not that strong when she’s alone. God takes care of his own and we need to fully trust in him to lead the way. Without God this would be almost unbearable.

It is now almost bedtime, but I want to finish writing. I took the laundry off the lines in the basement and put it in laundry baskets. Since son Joseph is home, I had him carry all the baskets up for me. Daughter Loretta and I folded all of it and Joseph took everyone’s stack of clothes to their bedrooms. We had a lot of extra laundry with bedding so that usually makes a few more loads.

Joseph then headed over to help son-in-law Tim cut a load of wood for us. Daughter Elizabeth, Abigail, T.J., and Allison came with Tim to deliver the wood and they stayed for supper.

Daughters Verena and Susan, and children Jennifer and Ryan also came for supper and to stay for the night. Daughter Verena went to go get sister Verena to come join us for supper and also stay the night. The girls will all be here tomorrow (except Lovina) so we told sister Verena she can be here too.

Supper for the Eicher family included rare beef. Photo provided.

I had a simple easy supper for everyone—macaroni and cheese, rare beef, and sliced cheese. We slice the steak so thin that it isn’t actually rare but nice and tender. I use olive oil to deep fry the meat.

I also did the mending this afternoon, so I feel like I accomplished something to get that off my “to-do” list. I would like to get some sewing done but we are also gathering all the things we don’t need anymore so we can have a garage sale this spring. That takes a lot of time.

Good night and may God’s protecting hand watch over all of you.

Oven Fried Potatoes

6 large potatoes
1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thoroughly scrub potatoes and cut into strips. In a large plastic bag, combine the oil, cheese, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper. Add potatoes, seal bag tightly, and shake to coat. Spread in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown, stirring once about midway. Serve with sour cream if desired.

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.

Finding a new normal

It’s the last week of February…time does not stand still.

It is much warmer than it was a week ago. It’s 40 degrees and the eastern sky is full of pink, so hopefully it will be another sunny day like we had yesterday.

Son Joseph, 18, is still off work from his construction job since his boss is in Florida for several weeks. He’s been kept busy doing things around home. Yesterday my husband Joe and Joseph went to daughter Susan’s house to work on the second bedroom downstairs. Daughter Verena is staying there with Susan.

Daughter Lovina comes home from work around 2:30 p.m., then leaves at night to go stay with sister Verena. She leaves for work at 5:30 a.m. from there. The house seems empty, and I’m trying to teach myself how to cook smaller portions.

We have been getting things together so we can file our 2020 taxes. It seems harder to think with all that has been going on. We are also going through closets and storage, and we hope to have a garage sale this spring. It’s getting closer to spring cleaning time. May God put some sunshine back in our life so we can go on, not to normal but a new normal.

I do want to take time again to thank all of you for the cards, gifts, and for being such a tremendous support during the last few months. It was greatly appreciated, and may God bless you for your kindness.

I sat down after supper last night to try to pen this column, but no words seemed to form in my mind. After a night’s sleep and seeing the start of another day, I feel more like writing.

On both Friday and Saturday evening, sister Verena and daughter Susan and children were here for the night. On Saturday night, daughter Elizabeth and Tim and children also decided to come for the night. It felt good to have everyone home again.

Steaks cut and ready to package from beef freshly butchered by the Eicher family. Photo provided.

On Sunday we were invited to sister Emma and Jacob’s house for lunch. Menno furnished most of the food in honor of his wife, niece Emma’s, 23rd birthday, which was February 15. We were served a delicious meal consisting of barbecue chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, green beans, coleslaw, cheese, cake, ice cream, cupcakes, etc.

Our church services were held on Saturday this time due to a bigger than normal service, and three young souls were baptized, accepting Jesus as their Savior. It is such a blessing to partake in the joy of baptismal services.

Daughter Elizabeth had quite an ordeal with her children. She said they were playing really nicely, so she slipped downstairs to sort the laundry. She came back up and Abigail, 4, had a small children’s scissors and was giving T.J. quite a haircut. When she saw it upset her mother, Abigail said, “Mom, hair will grow back.” Elizabeth was thankful that no one was hurt, but T.J. might have lopsided hair for a while.

With three children ages 1, 2, and 4, it keeps Elizabeth on the go.

I better get busy—we have laundry to fold and put away before I leave for town. Daughter Lovina has an appointment after work, so I will pick her up.

God’s blessings to all!

Beef Pot Roast

1 (7 – 8 pound) beef roast, chuck, round, or rump
12 medium carrots, peeled and left whole
salt
pepper
8 – 10 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
6 onions, halved
garlic cloves, optional

Brown roast thoroughly on all sides over medium heat in roaster. If using garlic, cut narrow slits in meat and insert cloves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover roaster and reduce heat to low, cooking meat about 3 hours or until nearly done. Arrange potatoes, carrots, and onion around roast, adding salt as desired. Baste with meat juices. Cover again and cook over medium heat about 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Remove meat and vegetables. Strain juices and thicken if you wish to serve with gravy.

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 another loss in the community

The mercury dipped down below zero degrees this morning. Brrr! It is cold outside and even colder with the wind chill. Yesterday we woke up to over ten inches of snow, which cancelled work for everyone.

Daughter Susan and her children Jennifer and Ryan were here since Sunday. She brought her laundry, and we both helped each other wash clothes on Monday and hung it all in the basement. Daughter Verena went over to sister Verena’s on Sunday night and stayed there until last night. She then went home with Susan and her children. Sons Joseph, 18, and Kevin, 15, went over to stay the night with sister Verena last night. Joseph isn’t working this week, so it’s easier for him and Kevin to go than daughter Lovina, 16, right now.

Daughter Lovina is waiting for our neighbor lady to pick her up to go to work. They both work at McDonald’s. It is almost 5:30 a.m. She starts at 6 a.m. and works until 2 p.m.

Today I’ll go to town with sister Verena. After we come back, Joe and I, sister Verena, and daughter Susan will go to the visitation of Ida, 72, a lady who lived a couple miles from here who battled with Alzheimer’s for years. She and her husband Joni have thirteen children, and two of them are our neighbors. She will be laid to rest in the cemetery down the road from us, where son-in-law Mose and sister Susan are buried. In two months’ time, three people will be laid to rest in that new cemetery. Mose was the first to be buried in there. It’s a short walk from our house, so daughter Susan often walks to Mose’s grave when she’s here.

On Sunday, daughter Elizabeth and Tim dropped off Abigail, 4, and T.J., 2, on their way to church in another church district, where their nephew was being baptized. Both children love books and were soon cuddled on the recliner with Grandpa Joe, reading books while I made breakfast. Tim and Elizabeth came for supper then and Susan and children were here, too, as well as Loretta and Lovina’s special friends Dustin and Daniel. It’s a comfort to all be together, but Mose is missed so much when we are all together. Tim and Elizabeth and Mose and Susan would often leave at the same time and drive behind each other until Mose and Susan would turn off on their road. Tim and Mose did so much together, helping each other out as they lived a few miles from each other. God makes no mistakes, we know, so we need to trust that He has a plan.

On Sunday, Abigail was playing with two dolls and had another doll laying on a small table. She kept walking past it, and I asked what she was doing. She said, “I am acting like my husband died and these are my two children.” Such innocence from sweet little children who can’t quite grasp what happened.

Over ten inches of snow fell this week at the Eicher homestead. Photo provided.

Dustin cleaned our drive out yesterday with his skid loader and also went over to clean out the drive at sister Verena’s house. He pushed a lot of snow. After he was done, he and Joe went to daughter Susan’s house and shoveled her drive out, too, before she left for home.

I made a casserole to take to the visitation tonight. I need to have it heated, ready to eat, and there by 4 p.m. today. I am glad to help out. We had so much help over both funerals. It is a blessing to have all the support of a church, friends, and family at times like those. Our sympathy goes to the family of Ida. Stay healthy and safe. God bless you!

Hamburger Noodle Casserole

3 pounds hamburger
1 cup onion, diced
1 16-ounce package of noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
breadcrumbs

Fry hamburger with onion until meat is browned. Prepare noodles as directed on package and mix with hamburger. Add both soups and sour cream. Top with buttered breadcrumbs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Variation: Add frozen or canned peas and top with shredded cheese before adding breadcrumbs.

 

 

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.

Sister Susan laid to rest

Yes, the good Lord has knocked on our door again … Those words are from a song cousin Ernest wrote after losing his mother and brother in accidents years ago. Those words came to my mind tonight.

Our hearts ache again as we laid dear sister Susan to rest beside Mose. A spot in between was reserved for daughter Susan, hopefully many, many years from now. After four weeks, sister Susan lost out to the battle. How it hurt to see her in those last hours of her life. Just two of the family were allowed to go in at a time to be with her in her final hours, but at 7 p.m. we were told we needed to leave until 7 a.m. We begged that they would consider at least one person staying with her during the night hours so she wouldn’t be alone. After no consent, we went to the motel to sleep until we were allowed back in at 7 a.m. Shortly before 6:30 a.m., the doctor called to tell us she passed away. Oh, to be able to be with loved ones when they need you would be such a blessing. At a time like that, your loved ones by your side would be a great comfort. Although Susan couldn’t talk much, she mouthed the words “I love you” to sister Verena before we left. Tears were rolling from her eyes, making it harder for us to leave her.

She died on January 31, and brother Amos died on the same date three years ago. She leaves to mourn five sisters, one brother, and many nieces and nephews.

The visitation and funeral were all held here again. Once again our church community stepped in to help, in every way they could.

Sister Verena is devastated and feels so alone with Susan not around. One of our daughters stay with her during the night.

Daughter Lovina is staying with her tonight and goes to work from there in the morning. Lovina, 16, started working at McDonald’s with some of her friends. She seems to enjoy it so far. I miss her help here at home. I think she likes the idea of getting out of the house and doing something different.

Friday, February 5, was a hard day for daughter Susan, as it was Mose’s birthday. Susan and her children spent a week here over the funeral of sister Susan. One morning, daughter Susan was lying on the couch beside Jennifer, 3. Jennifer asked her, “What’s wrong, Mom?” Susan told her, “I’m sad because I miss Daddy.” So Jennifer hugged Susan and said, “I’ll take care of you, Mom.” It was so cute and precious to see her wanting to comfort her mother.

One night Jennifer was singing the song “How Far Is Heaven” and asking for Mose. Jennifer and Ryan have been a great comfort to have around for Susan.

On Sunday evening, we had sister Verena join our family for supper. Daughter Verena went home with her for the night. Oh, how we miss our loved ones.

Today, February 9, is my good friend Ruth’s birthday. She has been such a help to me and my family. Happy birthday, Ruth! God’s blessings.

Uncle Emanuel will be 91 on February 17. He and my Dad shared the same birthday, with my dad being a year younger. Uncle Emanuel and Aunt Leah (Mom’s sister) came to the visitation of sister Susan, traveling the two-hour drive with their children and spouses. Sister Emma asked Uncle Emanuel what the secret is to his long life and he said, “Eat coffee soup every morning.” We had a laugh about that. Grandma Graber was in her 90s when she died, and she, too, ate coffee soup every morning.

My children also like coffee soup, but I don’t fix it as often as my mother did. I will share the recipe this week.

Coffee Soup

1 cup water
2 heaping teaspoons instant coffee
4 teaspoons sugar
3 cups milk
Toasted bread or crackers, optional

Heat water on the stovetop. Remove from heat and add coffee and sugar, then mix. Add milk and return to heat again until mixture is hot. Crumble bread or crackers into it, if desired.

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.

In loving memory of Sister Susan

Our hearts are once again mourning the loss of a dear loved one. Sister Susan, age 44, lost her battle and passed away on January 31. Three years ago on the same day, brother Amos died unexpectedly at age 56. Please keep praying for God to give us the strength we need to go on.

Sisters Susan and Verena made a cookbook with recipes from the family members of Ben and Elizabeth Coblentz, my parents. The memories and recipes this week are from their book.

Susan’s Memories

There are a lot of memories we could talk about. When I was a sixth grader at school, our class was supposed to bring in some kind of food. Then we had to prepare it in front of the class so we could all see how different foods were made. We just had to make enough so the class could all have a taste of what everyone prepared. So I made a potato salad. I had the potato mixture in one container and then the salad dressing mixture in another. Everything was already cut up and diced; I just had to mix it together then tell the class what and how much was in it. Mom helped me with the potato salad recipe and also got everything prepared. She was an excellent cook, baker, and mother. My sixth-grade teacher said she wanted to taste my potato salad, as she said she knows what a good cook Mom is! My teacher liked the potato salad! I still get hungry for Mom’s food. I put the potato salad recipe in the cookbook that Mom had gotten ready for me to take to school that day.

Dad was a great carpenter and father! He loved watching his birds and had his Martin houses, and he’d watch to see how many sets of Martins he would have.

I always like playing games with Dad and Mom. With Dad I liked to play the game Connect 4 and with Mom, Aggravation! Good old memories—they are gone, but not forgotten.

Potato Salad

2 1/2 pounds potatoes, cooked (whole) until tender
6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups salad dressing
2 teaspoons yellow prepared mustard
1/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons salt

Dice potatoes or put through a slicer. Combine potatoes, eggs, celery, and onion together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together salad dressing, mustard, vinegar, sugar, milk, and salt. Pour over potato mixture and stir together.

Susan’s Meatloaf

1 1/2 pounds hamburger
3/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup tomato juice or V8 juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, beaten

Sauce:

1/2 cup ketchup
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard

Combine hamburger, oats, onion, eggs, tomato juice, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly. Shape into 2 logs in a 9×13-inch pan or 2 loaf pans; pack firmly into pan. Whisk sauce ingredients together and spread on top of meatloaf. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for one hour. Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.

Beef and Gravy

This is a recipe sister Susan wrote in her own words from watching Mother make the gravy.

4 heaping tablespoons flour
1 pint canned beef chunks
1 medium onion
Potato water (from mashed potatoes)

Put 4 heaping tablespoons flour in a pan and brown flour until it’s dark. Let flour cool. In a 3 1/2-quart kettle, add 1 pint of beef and 2 pints of water. Put 1 whole onion in it. When it starts to boil, take out beef and put potato water in it. If you don’t have potato water, then use water. If extra water is needed, just put more water in kettle. Then mix the cooled flour and water to make a thickening until it is a little watery. Then mix the beef and thickening in the kettle until it boils.

 

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.