All posts by Lovinas Amish Kitchen

July birthdays and zucchini bars

It’s Wednesday morning and the humidity has gone, leaving us with a much cooler morning. We had a light shower this morning, which we needed. Our hay was out last night, and hopefully the rain didn’t affect it too much.

It seems quiet around here this morning, with Mose, Susan, Jennifer, and Ryan not staying here anymore. They are living in a travel trailer (RV) at their place so that Mose can work evenings on their house. They have a gas stove and refrigerator and running water in there so they can shower, etc. They also have part of their garage set up that they can stay in during the day. Susan is still washing her laundry here because she doesn’t have water hooked up in their garage. Yesterday we washed our clothes and filled the lines and then we washed her clothes. By that time a lot of our clothes were dry so we could make space for hers.

Grandson Ryan’s first birthday cake. Photo provided.

On Monday, July 27th grandson Ryan turned a year old. They had his birthday party here at our house because there is more room. They gave Ryan a small cake to eat and did he have fun! He smashed the frosting up in his mouth. It was so cute. We sang Happy Birthday and he smiled and knew he was getting all the attention. Ryan isn’t walking yet, although he stands by himself for a little while and tried to take a few steps. He walks by furniture, and it doesn’t take him long to climb steps although we don’t let him do it without us watching him. Ryan now shares his birthdate with niece Emma and Menno’s newborn son. Menno Ray was born at 12:05 p.m. on July 27th. He joins a sister Jessica Rose, 18 months. Menno Ray also has a cousin, Austin, who turned two on July 27th. Austin’s parents, Benji and Margaret, live at the next place over from Menno and Emma and are in our church district. So three little boys all share the same day, all a year apart.

Ryan loves his Grandpa Joe. He will crawl for him, laughing when he sees him. If I want to take him away from Joe, he turns toward Joe.

Last week my daughter Elizabeth and baby Allison, daughter Susan and Ryan, and son Kevin and I went to niece Elizabeth’s to assist her in cleaning. Manuel and Elizabeth will host church services for the first time on Sunday. They live in a neighboring church district and are still renting the house they live in. Grandchildren Abigail, Jennifer, and T.J. stayed here with my other daughters so that we were able to get more done at Elizabeth’s house. Sister Emma and Steven, and niece Emma and Jessica were also there for the day. Walls, ceilings, furniture, and windows were cleaned. Many hands make lighter work!

I have cucumbers from the garden and want to can pickles this week if time allows.

I also have dark green material to sew a dress for myself for niece Laura’s wedding next week, again, only if time allows. Son Kevin and I pulled the sweet onions from our garden. Now we need to tie them up to dry under the porch by the walk-out basement.

The girls and I made supper for four families in our church who have had new babies or surgeries. Now the girls are ready to go deliver them. We made meat loaf, potato casserole, and zucchini bars, which are easy to make and use up zucchini. Our daughter Elizabeth and Tim are keeping us well supplied.

Take care, stay healthy, and God bless!

Zucchini bars for church families. Photo provided.

Zucchini Bars
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
2 teaspoons soda

Combine all ingredients and bake in a cookie sheet pan at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting or sprinkle with chocolate chips when almost done baking.

Cream Cheese Frosting
6 ounces cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
Beat well until mixture is smooth.

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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Annual family gathering and easy peach cream pie

On Saturday, July 11th, we all were awake and ready by 5:30 a.m., waiting for our ride on the bus to Monroe, IN to sister Leah and Paul’s house for the annual Coblentz gathering. Lo and behold, 6 a.m. rolled around and still no bus. Finally, we saw a bus pass by and soon after it headed back. Somehow a few wrong numbers in an address made quite the difference. The driver must have been frustrated to have to stop at three or four of our Amish neighbors’ houses. We could see the bus pull in and out of their driveways, so finally son Benjamin jumped on his bike and waved the driver down. Everyone was waiting to load up when he pulled in, so we still made good time. We stopped at a nearby McDonalds for breakfast. Daughter Elizabeth took everyone’s order and called them in the night before, so the waiting time wasn’t as long. With only the drive-thru open, it isn’t easy for a big bus load of people. Every order was marked for each family. It all worked out well. Then we headed for the interstate while everyone enjoyed their breakfast while visiting. It was very enjoyable to all be together. With almost thirty people on the bus, it wasn’t quiet, but it was an enjoyable, fun ride. The last time Jacob and Emma, sisters Verena and Susan, and our family all fit in the same vehicle was sixteen-and-a-half years ago when we started land shopping in Michigan. Daughter Elizabeth was nine at that time and is twenty-six now.

Our family totals around 110 now and if I’m counting right, everyone was there except six nieces and nephews and their families.

The noon meal was more than enough food with all the side dishes and desserts added to the hot meal Paul and Leah provided.

I forgot to mention that the bus had a lift so nephew Jacob and daughter Loretta could take their mobility scooters along.

Of course, my parents and brother Amos were greatly missed. Invitations to the wedding of brother Amos and Nancy’s youngest daughter, Laura, were passed out. She and Enos have set August 6 for their wedding day. Amos and Nancy had ten children—eight daughters and two sons. This is their eighth wedding to prepare for. Nancy has her youngest son Sam still at home with her. The newlyweds, Enos and Laura, will make their home with Nancy and son Sam for now.

Singing took place in the afternoon and everyone brought snacks to enjoy before we headed home at 4 p.m.

We arrived home in Michigan around 6:30 p.m.

It was time to prepare for church services at a young married couple’s house a few miles from here the next day. Daughter Loretta had her fifth service of following instructions for the eighteen articles of faith that the Amish youth take before getting baptized. All the church ministry and members have been so helpful to make sure everything is easy for Loretta and nephew Jacob with their handicaps. It is greatly appreciated and makes us appreciate the love. So often, we take our health for granted and do not think of the effort it takes others to do the same things we do. It causes a lot of discouragement for them, and even for me as a parent, when they have a bad day of accepting that they cannot do what others their age can. I know they have greater compassion for others through their handicaps. May God bless the youth that take time to stop and reach out to them. You have no idea what it means when their challenge is so much greater than ours. The kingdom of heaven will have no handicaps. God bless.

Easy Peach Cream Pie

3 cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
1 (9-inch) pie crust (unbaked)
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
dash of salt
1 cup heavy cream.
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place peaches in the pie crust. Beat eggs slightly in bowl; blend in sugar, flour, and salt. Stir in cream and vanilla; blend well. Pour over peaches. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes, or until center shakes slightly when moved.

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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

Wedding memories and Mother’s raisin pie

July 15 was our twenty-seventh anniversary. Lots of memories throughout the years since Joe and I were married.

Tables decorated for Lovina and Joe Eicher’s wedding in 1993. Photo provided.

 

This is what my mother wrote in her column in July 1993 about our wedding. Mother wrote,

The weather was ideal for the wedding of daughter Lovina to Joe Eicher. Lots of work at such a time.

The Tuesday before the wedding, which was Thursday, July 15, about two dozen women came to help. They baked 90 pies (oatmeal, cherry, raisin, and rhubarb) and made 14 batches of nothings. Didn’t really want that many pies, but that number came upon us before we knew or thought of it. Well anyways no worry to run out of pies.

Wednesday about a dozen girls came to peel potatoes, cut up vegetables for the dressing and make potato salad for which I had cooked a twenty-quart cooker full of potatoes. Also, the tables were set and the last minute cleaning done. Our wash house or shed saw lots of life out there, as all the work was done in there to prepare for the wedding ceremony. Wednesday evening quite a few of our friends came to see the wedding tables, and refreshments were served to the ones that came. It was an enjoyable evening.

Then came the wedding day. We started to fry chicken (300 pounds) at 4:15 a.m. which was served for dinner. Had enough for supper too and also served boneless ham. Our meals consisted of chicken and noodles, gravy, mashed potatoes, dressing, chicken, buttered corn, green beans (which came out of our garden), pork and beans, potato salad, carrot salad, lettuce salad (plenty from the garden), hot peppers, Swiss cheese, fruit salad, tapioca pudding, pies, cakes, nothings, celery sticks, coffee, bread, rhubarb jam, and butter. There were around 18 skillets used to fry the chicken. We cooked 3 twenty-quart cookers of potatoes for dinner for mashed potatoes and 2 twenty-quart cookers for chicken and noodles. In the afternoon we again cooked over 3 twenty-quart cookers of potatoes to be mashed and more chicken and noodles for supper. Also 16 quarts of gravy. There were 28 women to prepare the meals. We could seat 98 people in the house and 70 in the wash house. The tool shed was cleaned out where the wedding services were held and later used to set up a table for the children for the noon and evening meals. We had quite a crowd here for both meals. Well enough of this for now. What a relief to have it over with.

I have so many precious memories of mother and how much she did for her family.

Joe was called back in to work this week after being laid off since March 23. It sure is a relief to us to have his income coming in again.

Yesterday, son Benjamin turned twenty-one, so he wanted the family to come home for supper. He ordered out pizza and wings for all of us. What a treat is was! Chips, cheeseball and crackers, and ice cream were also added to the menu. I didn’t get time to make a cake and didn’t for daughter Loretta’s birthday either. With son Joseph’s birthday coming up next week, it looks like we will have one cake for all the July birthdays. It’s almost too much cake for one month if we have three. Benjamin said he wouldn’t eat cake anyway, so he didn’t care that there wasn’t a cake.

Since I am running out of space, I will write about our family gathering at sister Leah and Paul’s house next week.

I will share the recipe for Mother’s raisin pie. God bless!

 

Raisin Pie

 2 (8-inch) unbaked pie crusts
1 cup raisins
2 tablespoons clear gelatin
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use one crust to line an 8-inch pie pan. Cook the raisins with water to cover in a kettle over medium heat until plump and juicy, about 15 to 30 minutes. In a bowl, make a thickening with the gelatin, salt, sugar, vinegar, and water. Pour into the raisin mixture. Cook until the mixture is thick enough to stick to a spoon. Add more sugar if it is not sweet enough for you. Pour into the pie shell. Cover the top with the remaining pie crust and seal and flute the edges. Cut slits in the center for steam to escape. Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Makes 1 (8-inch) pie.

 

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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Hot summer days and extended family gatherings

 It’s another hot day with high humidity here in Michigan. Every day the temperature has been in the 90’s. Yesterday afternoon we did get a much-needed rain shower. We would have needed to start watering the garden, so the rain was much appreciated. Because our house is surrounded by shade trees and a wraparound porch, we don’t get too much sun shining in our windows. Our living room, dining room, and kitchen are all open concept, so the breeze flows through really nicely.

Tomorrow, niece Elizabeth is surprising her mom (my sister Emma) for her forty-seventh birthday, which will be on July 19. She has invited Emma’s sisters, sister-in-laws, and some nieces for the birthday surprise. Elizabeth will serve lunch to all of us, and we are each taking a dish. I do hope we will surprise Emma. It is always fun to get together with siblings and family.

On Saturday, July 11, our whole family has plans to travel to Monroe, IN, to attend the annual Ben and Elizabeth Coblentz family gathering at my oldest sister Leah and Paul’s house. I have lost count of how many members are in the family. Nephew Paul Jr. is making a family record book with the birth and marriage dates for all my siblings and their children and grandchildren. It will be interesting and make it easy to look up everyone.

Our whole family, Jacob and sister Emma’s family, and my sisters Verena and Susan are renting a bus to take us to the gathering. It will be fun to all travel together and I can only imagine it will be pretty loud on the bus.

Son Benjamin and son-in-law Mose are back to work now after having a week off from the factory. Production is still picking up so hopefully my husband Joe will get called back soon. While they were off, they were working on Mose and Susan’s house quite often.

Joe and I didn’t do anything special over the fourth of July weekend, but most of our children went camping with friends. It was a quiet weekend but that didn’t bother me. I hope everyone had a safe holiday. It is only through Jesus Christ that we have true freedom from the bondage of sin, through His sacrifice on the cross! God bless America! Let us be thankful for the freedom we still have. Prayers are needed so much in our world that is so full of sin and hatred. In God we trust!

Son Joseph didn’t have to work today, so my husband Joe and he are getting a lot accomplished outside. Daughter Lovina made lemonade and I made iced tea to drink on these hot days. Rhubarb juice is another thirst quencher on these hot days.

I am receiving quite a few letters from readers requesting the recipe for rhubarb juice. I shared it in my column on May 11, and it is also included in my cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook. My friend Ruth brought my reader mail from Illinois, and I want to try and answer those letters. I appreciate all the kind words of encouragement.

Granddaughter Jennifer, 2 1/2, and grandson Ryan, 11 months, are sitting on the steps of the stairway singing. Jennifer has her doll in her hand and her little diaper bag beside her. She loves purses or any small bags. She fills them with toys or whatever she finds. When we are missing something, we look in Jennifer’s purse. Smile! Such precious angels! God bless!

 

Yellow Squash Dish
4 cups yellow squash, cut up
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 tomatoes, cut up
4-5 slices American or Velveeta cheese
1-2 Tbsp. bacon grease
Salt and pepper

Cook squash, onion, and tomatoes in bacon grease. Cook until most of liquid is cooked out. Pour into a serving bowl. Lay cheese slices on top and cover. Let sit until cheese melts and serve.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

July birthdays, family reunions, and tomato gravy

It’s July 1—today we enter the month of July, and 2020 is already halfway over. It has been quite a year to remember. I do not think many of us want to repeat such a year. When I see people in town shopping with masks on, what I miss the most is not being able to see a smile on a stranger’s face as I pass by, say “hi,” and smile. It’s hard to tell if other people are smiling or frowning under a mask. I will be so glad when life is all back to normal. It has been such a tiring year. My husband Joe is still laid off from the factory but stays busy helping son-in-law Mose with remodeling. Mose and son Benjamin are on vacation this week, so they are working over at the house every day this week so far. The dusty work is done now, and they should be ready to start framing the new walls soon. A lot of the family have plans over the July 4 holiday, so not much will get done there this weekend.

Today is our fifth child Loretta’s twentieth birthday. It is 5:30 a.m. as I write this, so she is still in bed and I haven’t told her happy birthday yet. Can it be possible that twenty years have passed since her birth? In two weeks, on July 14, son Benjamin will turn twenty-one. On July 24 son Joseph will be eighteen, and on July 27 grandson Ryan will be a year old. Joe and I will have been married for twenty-seven years on July 15. Brother Albert, who shares his birthday with two sons and a daughter-in-law, will be fifty-six on July 15. Sister Emma will be forty-seven on July 19. Emma’s youngest son Steven’s birthday is on July 30, and brother-in-law Paul’s is on July 31. July 18 was my dear mother’s birthday. In July we have lots of cake for everyone, but I sometimes just make one cake for all three of our children because we get tired of cake if we have it too often.

On July 11, my oldest sister Leah and Paul are hosting my family’s annual gathering. The siblings take turns hosting each year. My sisters Verena and Susan take their turn together, so each sibling hosts once every seven years. A lot of changes happen in those seven years, and also quite an increase in family members. After our parents both passed, we decided to start taking turns so that at least once a year we can all get together. The sibling hosting the gathering furnishes the hot food and everyone else brings a dish or two and a snack for the afternoon. We end up with a variety of food and more than enough.

In September, it will be eighteen years since dear Mother’s sudden death, and it was twenty years in May that my dear dad passed. Precious memories how they linger. Brother Amos will be greatly missed too.

My dad’s side of the family, the Coblentz’s, had chosen July 11 for their reunion date this year. Due to the virus and family coming from so many different states, they decided to cancel it. This is probably the first time ever that they have cancelled, but it’s the first time for a lot of cancellations this year, such as church, school, and weddings. It will be a year everyone will always remember.

Daughter Elizabeth is planning to come to our house today. She needs new dresses so I told her to bring her material and we will try to help her get something sewed. With three little ones, she keeps busy. Elizabeth and her husband Tim painted a bedroom and put new flooring down. Three-year-old Abigail helped her Daddy paint. Elizabeth said she did a pretty good job and it kept her entertained. Tim painted over it afterwards, but it is so good to invest time in the sweet, innocent little ones. They will always remember something like that.

Stay healthy, stay safe, trust in God. May He bless each of you!

 

Tomatoes from the Eicher family garden.

A reader requested a tomato gravy recipe. I’ll share my sister Liz’s recipe.

Tomato Gravy
1 quart of tomato juice
salt
pepper
3 cups of milk, divided
brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour

In two-quart pan, bring tomato juice to a boil; add salt, pepper, and brown sugar to taste. Add 2 cups of milk all at once and heat. Do not let the tomato juice and milk mixture boil, as it may curdle. Separately, mix flour with enough of the remaining 1 cup of milk to make gravy. When tomato juice and milk mixture is hot, but not boiling, add gravy mixture and stir constantly 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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Summer rain, Father’s Day, and home renovations

 Recently, we received over an inch of much-needed rain. The grass was turning brown, so the rain will help the grass and the crops in the fields. The irrigation system has been running in the big farmers’ fields. In some places, the water from the irrigation flies over the road. When we use the covered buggy for transportation, we can close the doors and windows to pass through those places, but when we use an open pony buggy and Stormy, our pony, we tend to get wet. The water felt good on those hot days, though. One time I was holding grandson Ryan while he was sleeping, but he opened his eyes when he felt the sprinkles from the irrigation. It is cold water, and I tried to cover him as much as I could.

Along with the rain, we’ve had cooler temperatures and less humidity, which made for a better night’s sleep. I have been having a lot of pain in my shoulder, as am still bothered by a pinched nerve. It is tedious to lay on and makes nighttime a little more restless. I hung out a lot of laundry yesterday, which probably made it worse. I should take more time to ice and heat it to help the healing process, but before I know it, the day goes by and I have put it off. Then it feels worse during the night.

Saturday, my husband Joe and sons assisted son-in-law Mose in gutting out the inside of their house and tearing down some inside walls. Needless to say, there was a lot of dust. A few others were also there helping.

Daughter Susan and I made a casserole and took it over for their lunch. It was a hot day, so the dust mess seemed worse. We set up the food under the shade tree so they could eat away from the dusty house.

Sunday was Father’s Day. Daughter Loretta and her special friend Dustin hosted a supper at Dustin’s house in honor of both their fathers. They invited Dustin’s whole family and Loretta’s family, including both their married siblings and families.

Dustin and Loretta made a campfire stew in the kettle outdoors and grilled chicken. Also on the menu were cottage cheese, dill pickles, Colby and hot pepper cheese, chips, a deer jerky cheeseball and crackers, and chocolate cake. They presented a vanilla ice cream cake with “Happy Father’s Day” on it to their fathers.

They put the food underneath a canopy, and everyone ate outdoors. After supper, outdoor games such as croquet were played.

This was a nice, honorable event for both their fathers, and they did a great job of hosting all of us.

Dustin has been remodeling his house when he gets time. He bought the farm that belonged to our neighbor Irene, across the road from us. I still miss not seeing Irene sitting outside when I’m hanging out laundry or working in the garden. On Sunday evening when I sat under the shade tree where she always sat, memories of her were refreshed. She was a good neighbor to us through all the years we lived across the road. Rest in peace, Irene—you will always be remembered for your kindness!

This week, I will share a recipe for banana bread that a reader from Ohio sent to me. Thank you, Rhoda!

God’s blessings to all!

 

Banana Bread
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons soda
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 ripe bananas
2 cups milk
3 cups all-purpose flour

Mix the first six ingredients together. Mash the bananas and beat into the first mixture. Batter will be thin. Alternately add flour and milk. Pour into 3 greased loaf pans.

 

Topping
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
nuts, optional

Mix together topping ingredients. Sprinkle over loaves. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Yield: 3 loaves.

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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Early summer brings garden growth and baby chicks

It is Tuesday evening here in Michigan at the Eicher homestead. All is quiet with only son Kevin and daughter Loretta home with Joe and me. The rest of our children here at home went to a wedding for supper. Daughter Susan and Mose are making living quarters in the finished side of our pole barn. They are over at their home tonight working on their garden, house, etc. We are enjoying having our grandchildren living next door to us for the time being.

This afternoon I went over with Susan to help her pack up the final boxes in their house. The house is empty, now, ready to be remodeled. This will involve a lot of time and labor but will be worth it once they are done with everything.

Sunday evening our family went to daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house in honor of her 26th birthday. Tim grilled chicken, and Elizabeth had cheesy potatoes to go with it. I took a lettuce salad and dessert was an ice cream cake. Tim surprised Elizabeth with the ice cream cake.

We attended church that morning and then came home for a while. Before heading over to Tim and Elizabeth’s for supper, we stopped in to see how brother-in-law Jacob (sister Emma’s husband) was recovering from his recent hospital stay. He had a mishap falling from a ladder and breaking some ribs, and he had to be sent by ambulance to a bigger hospital due to his lungs filling up with blood. He is home now doing as well as can be expected but is still under doctor’s care. Jacob and Emma had their 25th anniversary on Monday, June 15th. We wish them many more happy, healthy years together!

As I write this column my husband Joe is outside preparing supper for us. On the menu is chicken and fries in the deep fryer. I went outside and tasted the marinated chicken breasts, and they are delicious.

Orderly rows of vegetables are springing up in Lovina’s garden as temperatures warm up.

Our gardens seem to be doing okay. Everything is later than usual, but we are enjoying fresh green onions and lettuce from the garden. We had radishes but those are over, and more are coming along. Joe hoed and tilled both gardens early this morning while it was nice and cool. Ten-month-old Ryan spotted Grandpa out there and took off out of the pole barn in his walker. Granddaughter Abigail said she doesn’t want Jennifer to live close to Grandma and Grandpa. She told Jennifer to not play with our toys all the time. Daughter Elizabeth and her three children are planning to come tomorrow for the day. Daughter Susan said she will make breakfast burritos for our breakfast, so that will be nice.

Mose and Susan have some baby chicks in a box in the pole barn. Jennifer and Ryan like to watch them. I remember when our children were younger, and we once had around 50 baby chicks in the house because it was still too cold to put them outside. Daughter Loretta would always sit and watch the chicks. Soon after that our bathroom toilet in the basement clogged up and Loretta confessed that she was holding a baby chick and thought it was so cute that she squeezed it too tight. It stopped moving, so she took it down to the basement and dipped its head in the toilet to try to revive it. When she discovered it was dead, she was too scared to tell us what she did, so she flushed it down the toilet. We had a laugh about that after we found out what she did. So we teased Loretta and told her not to go close to the new baby chicks in the pole barn this time!

I will share the recipe for breakfast burritos with you this week. God bless!

 

Breakfast Burritos

 2 pounds bacon
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup margarine or butter
15 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
10 slices cheddar cheese
10 (8 1/2-inch) flour tortillas

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fry the bacon until crisp in a large, heavy skillet. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain and cool slightly, then crumble and set aside. Pour all but 2-3 tablespoons of the bacon grease out of the skillet, then add the bell pepper, mushrooms, and onion and fry until tender. Drain, then stir in the crumbled bacon.

In a large skillet over low heat, melt the margarine and scramble the eggs. Lay each tortilla in the center of a square of aluminum foil. Place a slice of cheese in the center of each tortilla, then divide the meat mixture equally among the tortillas, followed by the scrambled eggs. Fold the bottom of each tortilla over the filling, then fold in the sides and finish rolling up the tortilla. Wrap the burritos in the foil, then place them on a baking sheet and bake until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with sour cream and salsa. Serves 10.

 

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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

A fun day out for Amish garage sales

 Son Joseph’s ride is late, so I decided to write this column while we wait. Some of the neighbors are without electricity from some storms that blew down trees. We didn’t get much of anything here. We had a little rain which we needed badly.

Yesterday was a long, tiring, but fun day! My sister Emma and her daughters, my five daughters and I, and also grandson Ryan and granddaughter Allison went to the Amish garage sales in a nearby community. Our driver had a big van and pulled a trailer to put all our “goodies” in. My granddaughters Abigail, 3, and Jennifer, 2, and grandson T.J., 17 months, stayed at my sisters Verena and Susan’s house while we went to the garage sales. Niece Emma’s little 16-month-old Jessica also stayed at my sisters’, so they had four children, age 3 and under, to keep them more than busy. Son Kevin and nephew Steven stayed there too, so they could help with the little ones.

We found lots of nice bargains and came home with many weeks’ worth of sewing done. I have a hard time not buying some clothes for my little grandchildren. We probably went to 25 garage sales or more (we kind of lost count). The trailer was filled with furniture, clothes, groceries, etc. when we came home. Then came the fun of unloading everything at the right house. I was tired and so was everyone else. My husband Joe made supper on the grill, so I was glad to not have to do that after the long day. It was a fun day spent together and worth our time!

After a fun day out, Lovina enjoys her husband Joe cooking supper on the grill.
Photo: Grant Beachy/©MennoMedia

We want to go over to Mose and daughter Susan’s house today and help her start packing up her dishes, etc. Mose wants to remodel the whole house, put new siding and windows on the outside and fully remodel the inside. They have an old farm house, and it seems one repair after another comes up. They decided to just empty most of the house and dig in and see what needs repairing. There will be a lot of dust, so they will make their living quarters in our pole barn part where we host church services as their house gets a makeover. It will be so much nicer once it’s all done. They have a hard-to-heat house in the winter months, so this should help tremendously. We sure aren’t going to complain to have Jennifer and Ryan living next door to us for several weeks. I can already see Jennifer coming walking over here. She likes to act bigger than her age and can really roll her eyes when you tell her something she doesn’t like to hear. So precious!

On Sunday, June 14, our firstborn Elizabeth will have her 26th birthday. Time does have a way of slipping by. We wish her a Happy Birthday and many more happy healthy years. She is a busy mother of three children with the oldest being 3.

Thursday is the first wedding of the year in our community. I am so glad we are finally out of the lockdown here in Michigan. Our five oldest here at home are with the youth group and plan to attend the 7:00 p.m. supper at the wedding. It is being held in our local community building. A lot of the youth have not been together since March due to the singings, weddings, and Saturday evenings at the community building being cancelled.

Daughter Lovina’s special friend Matthew is spending several weeks with his parents in Montana. After not having seen most of his family for six months, this will be a happy reunion! Matthew’s brother and two sisters were in Michigan for a wedding, so they traveled back with Matthew by train. That was several days of riding the train. Glad they made it home safely!

This week I’ll share a recipe for Caramel Pecans. A reader had requested it, and I didn’t have one. Another reader kindly sent one to me. Thank you! Stay safe, stay healthy and God bless!

 

Caramel Pecans

1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 cups halved pecans

In a nonstick skillet over medium high heat, stir and melt brown sugar and water until rapidly bubbling. Add pecans, stirring thoroughly to coat. Stir and cook 3-4 minutes until fragrant and most of the liquid has evaporated. (But not so long that the sugars burn.)

Spread pecans in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet using a fork to separate them. Let stand at room temperature about an hour until fully cooled, set, and dry. (Pecans will be slightly tacky to the touch.)

Break apart any pecan clusters and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, in the refrigerator for several weeks, or up to two months in the freezer.

 

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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

Summer brings outdoor church and rhubarb treats

We have turned another page on our calendar. June is here! Our hay is cut and now we have the challenge of getting it raked and baled before it rains again.

Yesterday was pretty warm with the temperature reaching the 90s. This morning at 4:30 a.m. the thermometer shows 72 degrees. It feels good to have it cool down at night. After having several days of the temperature not going much over 60 degrees and going down to 40 degrees at night, this feels different.

Son Benjamin, 20, left for work at 3:30 a.m., and son Joseph, 17, just left a little before 4:30. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their children have plans to come today, so I thought I better write this while everything is quiet. It is so nice when the weather is good for the little children to play outside.

Lovina has been canning juice from this year’s large rhubarb harvest, pictured. Photo provided.

I am hoping we will be able to can more rhubarb juice today. Last week we made 43 quarts, and I still have so much rhubarb. Daughter Susan will take some rhubarb to make more juice for them.

We have also been enjoying fresh tea from our garden. My patch is a mixture of spearmint and peppermint. A glass of iced tea hits the spot on hot days. I want to make tea concentrate to use later when tea isn’t in season. You can freeze it.

Church services were held at niece Emma and Menno’s house under a tent on Sunday. With the temperature going down to 40 degrees overnight, that morning it was a little chilly at first. Usually this time of the year it’s okay to have church under a tent. It warmed up to almost 70 degrees so all worked out. We went back for supper in the evening. Menno and Emma live on the place son-in-law Tim had before he was married. Brings back memories of the times we spent there.

Daughter Loretta, 19, is following instruction class in preparation for baptism this fall. It always makes us as parents so thankful when another one of our children wants to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. It truly brings joy to our hearts, and we thank God for His many blessings.

The weeds are already popping up in the gardens. I haven’t been out there much since my husband Joe is still laid off from work. He keeps the weeding and tilling under control. This week he is trimming around all our fence rows. It makes it look so much better.

The bus stopped through picking up son Kevin’s schoolwork this week. Is it possible that our eight children have all completed their school years?

Monday we couldn’t wash laundry as we ran out of laundry soap, so we decided to wait to do laundry until Tuesday. Joe and I went to town with the buggy to get a few groceries, and we also had to go to the bank. It will be so nice once you can walk into the banks again after this lockdown is lifted next week.

Life has not been the same since March. Churches cancelled, weddings postponed, schools closed. May we all turn to God and trust that He controls everything. Some day we will understand all this confusion. Have faith!

All of my book signings were also postponed. I look forward to meeting many of you readers. God’s many blessings as we travel into the unknown future! Take care! Stay safe and healthy!

I will share a recipe for rhubarb bars which I made to take to niece Emma and Menno’s for Sunday night supper.

 

Lovina made this double batch of rhubarb bars to take to niece Emma and Menno’s on Sunday evening for supper. See recipe in today’s column. Photo provided.

Go Anywhere Rhubarb Bars

Crust:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter

Filling:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups finely-chopped rhubarb

Crust: Combine flour and powdered sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press into bottom of a greased 7 x 11-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

Filling: Combine the first 4 ingredients, stir in rhubarb, and pour over warm crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until done.

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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Camping and Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Another week has gone by and it’s time to pen this column again. It is 4:30 a.m. and both boys are off to work. The rest are still asleep. I could use a few more winks myself, but first I need to make sure this column is done.

We had a few warm days with the temperature almost hitting 90 degrees. We had thunder in the distance last night, but the storm missed us.

This is son Kevin’s last week of “school” before they come around to pick up his completed work. I wish he would have been able to have his 8th grade graduation, but such is life. It will really be different to not have any of our children in school anymore. It’s another reminder that we aren’t getting any younger.

Our whole family went camping over Memorial Day weekend. It was enjoyable to spend a few days and nights together. It was so enjoyable to wake up and see the grandchildren still sound asleep from a hard day.

A pontoon boat is just one of several boats the Eichers enjoyed riding and fishing from while camping. Photo provided.

We enjoyed pontoon rides, fishing, swimming, campfires, and, of course, making s’mores—those sticky, messy s’mores. Grandson T.J. was bound and determined to roast his own marshmallows for his s’more. Of course, we didn’t let him eat that marshmallow. It was dragged around in the sand before it ever hit the fire. He had so much fun doing that, and he doesn’t know we switched the marshmallow with a clean one. That little boy puts in many miles in a day’s time. When granddaughter Jennifer, age two, and T.J. get together, you better be on the lookout. Those two can find something to get into pretty fast. Such sweet and precious blessings. Abigail had lots of fun in the water, but she decided one time down the water slide was enough. She didn’t like the big splash-landing in the lake.

The Eichers enjoyed camping at a private spot on a nearby lake over the Memorial Day weekend. Photo provided.

The men did a lot of fishing, so we will have a fish fry one night with all the fish they caught. We also depended on them to do the grilling. Camping is fun, but it always seems like we snack too much.

Ryan is 10 months old today. He enjoyed the pontoon rides and swinging in the swing by the lake. Baby Allison is 5 months old today. She is such a bright-eyed, active little girl. She has bright blue eyes and not much hair. Abigail loves holding her little sister.

It is funny to see Ryan and Jennifer get into a little squabble about wanting the same thing. Ryan’s scream can get loud when he’s annoyed. Jennifer has an ornery look on her face and you can almost see when she’s ready to start some mischief. I could go on and on about my sweet little grandchildren, to which I’m sure all you grandmothers can relate. Our family, when together, is a total of 19 already, so we are quite a group.

Loretta’s special friend Dustin went with us. Also, daughter Lovina has a special friend too now. His name is Matthew, and he also went camping with us. There was not one dull moment all weekend and by the time Tuesday morning came around, I was still tired. Tired, but happy I could spend celebrating my birthday weekend with my loving family making memories, precious memories! Do I thank God often enough for all the blessings in life? With my husband Joe still laid off from work, the load seems a little heavier, but we are so blessed and need to be thankful for all we have.

Daughter Lovina, son Kevin, and I helped Joe finish planting the rest of the gardens. I really hope to get some more sweet corn in there somewhere.

Thank you to the readers, friends, and family for your birthday cards and gifts. May God bless you for your kindness! It was greatly appreciated. Take care. Stay healthy and safe!

 

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
8 ounces Greek yogurt, plain or vanilla
12 ounces fresh strawberries, diced

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 10-inch Bundt pan. Sift together 2 1/4 cups flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix in lemon zest and set aside. With a hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time then stir in lemon juice. Alternate beating in the flour mixture and yogurt, mixing just until incorporated. Toss the strawberries with the remaining 1/4 cup flour and gently stir them into the batter. Pour batter into Bundt pan and bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool at least 20 minutes in pan, then turn onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Glaze: Whisk together and drizzle over top of cake when completely cooled.

 

 

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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.