All posts by Lovinas Amish Kitchen

Camping with the Eichers: Horses, wagons, boats and even a pontoon

Camping with the Eichers: Horses, wagons, boats and even a pontoon

Our whole family is spending this week (July 4) at a lake about 11 miles from our house. Timothy and Elizabeth and Mose and Susan’s places are only half that far from here. They came with horses and wagons. Timothy and Mose brought their boats and Loretta’s friend Dustin brought his pontoon.

This is July 5 and I’m sitting inside the canopy writing. The ducks are quacking away and I hear a bull frog croaking. My husband Joe went fishing with Dustin. Timothy and Mose are in their boat out on the lake. The rest are still asleep.

It was a long day yesterday. We traveled one-and-one-half hours with a driver to the community where nephew Levi and Arlene exchanged vows. It was a very hot day, but we can’t pick the weather for wedding days. I think I would rather deal with the heat than have cold rain all day long. When so much of a wedding is held in pole barns and tents it is always nicer for the ones preparing when its not cold or rainy. But we aren’t in control of the weather so we must take what we get and make the best of the situation.

I want to make breakfast after everyone is gathered. For me camping like this is more of a chore, but the memories we are making as a family are precious. Little 22-month-old Abigail is having the time of her life. She is such a busy body. She loves “swimming” in the lake with the rest. Six-month-old Jennifer is enjoying all the attention and they took her in the water too. We were all excited when her mother discovered Jennifer has two teeth popping through. Jennifer kept sticking her tongue out across her gums so we knew she was feeling something different.

This lake doesn’t have a public access so its very quiet and peaceful here. We cook with the grill and open fire a lot. We divided the family into six groups so that every day someone different cooks the main meal which is usually between lunch and supper.

I was just getting started writing this column on a picnic table outside when it started sprinkling so I decided to move under the canopy just in case it decides to rain harder. The sun was peeping through earlier but now it’s cloudy. We are catching a variety of fish such as bass, bluegill, pike, and perch.

Joe and I went home Tuesday after I came home from helping prepare for Levi and Arlene’s wedding. We did the laundry and Joe checked on all the animals. Jacob and Emma’s sons are taking care of Verena’s Yorkie dogs this week (Ricky and Ruby). They are also keeping daughter Elizabeth’s Yorkie dogs there so they have an extra chore. We told Jacob’s family to come for a cookout with us here at the lake one evening.

Sisters Verena, Emma, and I traveled the one-and-one-half hour on Tuesday to help get ready for the wedding. Sister Susan wasn’t feeling well enough to go with us. We think she overheated while mowing their grass Friday evening. There was an excessive heat warning out. After sister Verena and Susan came home from cleaning a lady from our church’s house, Susan went and mowed yet. It was very hot and humidity was high. Susan was able to attend the wedding yesterday but still feels very weak from it. The ride home from the wedding felt very good in our driver’s air-conditioned van. The trip went fast with our family all singing together on the way home.

Do I appreciate the life we have enough? So many broken families—let us pray for peace and contentment in this world. God does help those who trust in him.

It was so nice to see all my siblings at the wedding but someone special was missing. Brother Amos was greatly missed. I felt so sad for sister-in-law Nancy; she must feel so lonely at a place where we all are together. Her 13-month-old granddaughter Christine was admitted to the hospital a few days before the wedding. Nancy and her family left before supper to go visit with her daughter Lovina and Benjamin at the hospital which wasn’t too far from the wedding.

Space is running out here—maybe more about camping and the wedding next week. God be with you all!

Campfire Stew*

2 cups beef stew meat (may substitute a roast, cut into chunks)
4 cups unpeeled red potatoes, cleaned and diced
2 cups green beans, cut into small pieces
1 whole onion (used to flavor the soup; remove before eating)
4–5 beef bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

Put beef chunks in kettle or large pot with enough water to cover; bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Add potatoes, green beans, and onion, adding enough water so that vegetables are well covered. Add bouillon. Boil until vegetables and meat are tender. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Remove onion if you wish.

[*Recipe featured on p. 109 of The Essential Amish Cookbook]

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

 

 

Long but not lazy days of summer

Long but not lazy days of summer

Diary of June 27, 2018

3:00 a.m. Time to get up and get my husband Joe’s lunch packed. A nice breeze is coming through the west windows. I heat chicken-and-noodle soup for his stainless steel thermos. Also put a peach, crackers, and cookies in his lunch and a mug of coffee for him to drink on his 45-minute ride to work. I fill his water jug with ice and water.

3:45 a.m. Son-in-law Mose rides with Joe’s same driver to work. Daughter Susan and baby Jennifer sometimes catch a ride with them to our house. This morning Susan and Jennifer come along to spend the day here. Of course, Joe needs to pay some attention to that sweet baby before they leave. Jennifer has the brightest smile when they bring her inside. Since its early yet, Susan, Jennifer, and I try to get some more sleep until daylight.

8:00 a.m. Breakfast is “breakfast burritos.” Son Benjamin is on his two-week vacation from the RV factory. Joe’s two-week vacation doesn’t start until next week.

9:30 a.m. I help Susan with the sewing she brought along for nephew Levi’s wedding.

11:30 a.m. The boys want me to come help butcher our 28 chickens. The hens are a few years old and aren’t laying as well anymore so we decided to make chicken broth from them. We will plan to raise new chickens next spring. Joe and the boys want to build a new chicken coop for them. For older chickens like this which we only use for canning broth, we skin the chickens instead of plucking the feathers.

Loretta’s special friend Dustin helped us which made it go much faster. Loretta and Lovina cleaned the chickens after I gutted them. Susan kept sewing and daughter Verena was home for the day from work. She cleaned the bathrooms, etc., while we butchered chickens.

2:00 p.m. Joe is home from work. We are just finishing up on the last of the 28 chickens. Son Kevin was really glad to see that mean rooster go. That rooster gave Kevin a surprise more than once when he had his back turned picking up the eggs.

3:00 p.m. We eat a late lunch but we wanted to get done before we pause for lunch. We have hamburger soup and sandwiches.

4:00 p.m. Verena and Lovina mix up some meat loaf and make scalloped potatoes for our supper. They put it in the oven around

5:00 p.m. Susan and I are sewing the projects she brought. Mose comes with their horse and buggy. He brought his welder so he could weld some stuff for Joe.

7:00 p.m. Supper is ready! Son-in-law Timothy, daughter Elizabeth, and sweet little Abigail stop in while out on a buggy ride. We tell them to join us for supper. Abigail fell asleep on their ride so she is very happy to wake up at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. She gives me a quick hug but she wants to go outside with daughter Lovina. She just recently really started choosing Lovina to take her everywhere. Probably because she’s a lot more adventurous.

9:00 p.m. Dishes are washed. Everyone has left for home. Susan’s sewing is done. I still need to put buttons on Jennifer’s dress and apron, but I’ll do that another day. This day has been long enough although I enjoy it when they all come home. Timothy is off work this week so they are enjoying their week without a schedule.

10:00 p.m. Everyone has gone to bed so I will too. Tomorrow daughter Loretta has an appointment in Ann Arbor so I need to get some rest. God’s blessings to all!

I will share the recipe for the hamburger soup we had. We omitted the rice but I added one pint of corn. Enjoy!

Hamburger Soup
1 pound lean ground beef
2 cups canned tomatoes
3 cups carrots, diced
2 cups celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 cups water
3 beef bouillon cubes
1/4 cup dry Minute Brown Rice (or corn)

Brown ground beef in a large stockpot. Remove fat. Add canned tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, salt, pepper, water and beef bouillon cubes and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Add brown rice or optional corn.

 

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

 

Grateful memories of a stranger who helped out in a time of need

I decided to write my column while sitting in the waiting room in the doctor’s office. We are two hours from home. I am always glad when we are on our way home from these visits.

My thoughts go back to one of our recent trips to see the doctor. On the way there, our driver didn’t see a ramp that must have fallen off another vehicle. Earlier we had seen a truck with a skid loader on top of its trailer, so perhaps it was a ramp that fell off that truck. Anyway, a ramp was laying in the center of the lane in which we were traveling. Our driver swerved to miss it, but it slashed open the back tire of the fourteen-passenger van. It threw us around for a while, but how thankful we were that she gained control of the van. I think back at what could have happened and how bad it could have been, with the oncoming traffic. God was watching over us!

The van didn’t have a spare tire, and we were eight miles from the nearest town. A man from the house that we were parked beside came out to see if he could help us. He drove our driver to town to get a new tire and then he helped to put it on the van. Two hours later, we were back on our way. We actually made it in time for the doctor appointments. We make these appointments quite a few months early, and we always give ourselves enough time in case we have trouble on our way.

How nice to know there are still a lot of people in this world who will take time to help someone in need. We really appreciated the time the man took to help get us on our way. He wouldn’t take any money for his help. So if by any chance you read this column—thanks again, Mark from Coldwater, Michigan! May God bless you for your kindness that day.

On Saturday my husband, Joe, sons Benjamin, 18, and Joseph, 15, and I took time to till, weed and hoe both gardens. It really is easier when we all help each other!

Last week Lovina made eight pints of strawberry jam, which is tasty on top of the homemade bread that daughter Lovina, age 14, made this week.

Daughter Lovina, 14, mixed the dough for ten loaves of bread. She still needs to ask a few questions when mixing it. She caught on quickly that you must add more flour if the dough is still sticky. I put the dough in loaf pans and put it in the oven. I am hoping she can do that part soon as well. It would save me time if she could mix and bake bread, and it’s good for her to know how to do it. Five of the loaves were to take to church at our neighbors’ place on Sunday. I sent some home with daughter Susan and Mose, and we enjoyed the fresh bread over the weekend with fresh strawberry jam. The week before I made eight pints of strawberry jam. It is a favorite around here. I still want to make lots more for the freezer.

On Friday we will attend the wedding of Rhonda and Marlin. Rhonda is a girl from our church. It has been a rainy week, so I wish them a nice day on Friday. It’s nicer for the guests as well when the day is nice. I will help Susan by taking care of Jennifer while Susan cooks.

One day last week I was making some phone calls. We have a phone in an outside building. Before I was done, the phone rang, and it was the number brother Albert and his family usually call from. I answered, and it turns out that Albert had accidentally called us instead of the repair shop he wanted. Our number was on the same page, and somehow he dialed our number. He was really surprised and didn’t recognize my voice. I thought he was teasing when he asked if this is the repair shop, so I said yes!

Anyway, it was so good to talk to him again. With brother Amos’s sudden death in January, it’s even more precious to talk to siblings. I imagine sister-in-law Sarah Irene wondered where Albert was that long, but we had a nice talk together. It seems we don’t see much of Albert and his family. We all get busy with our own families, and it’s so easy to put off getting together. Nephew Levi’s wedding is in two weeks, so we hope to see the family there.

God bless you all!

Blueberry Applesauce Bread

 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cup blueberries

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, applesauce and melted butter. Add dry ingredients and stir until well blended. Fold in berries. Pour into one or two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50–60 minutes.

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

Birthday and upcoming anniversary prompt reflections for Lovina

June 14. Twenty-four years ago today I became a mother! Daughter Elizabeth is 24 and a mother herself now. In honor of her birthday, the girls and I will go to her house to spend the day with Elizabeth and her 21-month-old daughter, Abigail. We will go past daughter Susan’s house and take her and baby Jennifer with us. Elizabeth told us she will make breakfast for all of us. We will take lunch in to her. It’s always fun spending time with my children and grandchildren.

Daughter Verena regrets that she has to work and can’t spend the day with us. She just left for work at 5:30 a.m. I decided to write this column while all is quiet yet. My husband, Joe, left for work at 3:45 a.m. and son Benjamin left at 4:30 a.m. for his job.

As I sit here and think back 24 years ago, so many memories come to mind. When Elizabeth was born, Joe and I were still living with my parents. It was nice being close to my mother as I cared for my first baby. Being a mother is special, but it takes many prayers and much patience to raise children. I am far from perfect, but I want to always try my best. I have been truly blessed in so many ways.

Next month Joe and I will have our silver anniversary! Unbelievable! Twenty-five years have gone too fast!

Yesterday son Joseph and I were working in the garden. Its still too wet to till, but we were weeding. Oh my! I could not believe how the weeds grew with all the recent rain we’ve had. The tomatoes, peppers, and corn all look like they are growing well, but are behind when compared to other years. It was a wet spring and hard to get the garden planted. Farmers are having a challenge with getting all their crops out.

Tomorrow night we will put in hay. Always good to see the haymow filled for the winter.

On Sunday evening our family gathered here for supper and ate outside. The men made supper outdoors, with fish on the menu. It was enjoyable to not have to cook. It was a good thing that Elizabeth had a change of clothes along for Abigail, as she discovered all our water puddles. Then, as if running through them wasn’t getting her wet enough, she sat in a puddle! Baby Jennifer is now five months and is such a sweetie. She smiles a lot and has discovered that she can “talk.”

I managed to get the clothes for nephew Levi’s wedding cut out and now I just need to get them sewn. Next Friday daughter Susan is a cook at the wedding of their neighbor girl. She is sewing a gray dress for that wedding. She will bring it along today and we will help her get it done. Life is more demanding after you have a child, so it gets to be harder to get things accomplished. I told Susan I would rather sew than wash dishes today.

Lovina hopes that border collie Buddy stays away from any skunks outside.

There is a strong smell of a skunk coming in the windows all morning. I really hope Mr. Skunk decides to leave soon! And hopefully our border collie dog, Buddy, does not try to fight with him. But the sun is peeping through and it looks promising for a nice day. What a joy after a lot of rainy days lately.

It was a great turnout at the book signing in Colon, Michigan. Thanks to all the readers who came! All my daughters and granddaughters joined me for the evening, which makes it even more enjoyable.

Does anyone have a good recipe for peanut butter pudding? A reader requested that recipe. Meanwhile, this zucchini recipe looks good, once zucchini season starts!

God’s blessings to all!

Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini

4 medium (6- or 7-inch) zucchini
1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Cut each zucchini in half, lengthwise. Place cut side down in large skillet; add 1/2 inch water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until zucchini are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Remove and drain water.

Sauté together sausage, onion and garlic until sausage is browned; drain. Add oregano, corn and tomato. Cook and stir until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in 2/3 cup cheese; set aside.

Scoop out and discard seeds from zucchini. Spoon sausage mixture into zucchini shells. Place in greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 12–15 minutes or until heated through.

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

Summer commences with sewing and cleaning projects

June is here, and we are almost halfway through 2018 already! It’s unbelievable how time just seems to go faster each year.

Speaking of time: we have more sewing that needs to be done. Congratulations are in order for nephew Levi Jr. and Arlene. They chose July 4 to unite in holy matrimony. Levi will be 24 years old on June 30. He was born two weeks after we had our firstborn Elizabeth. Elizabeth will be 24 on June 14. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and I are all asked to be cooks at Levi’s wedding. We need to wear the color “iris”—and none of us have a dress in that color. Daughter Verena needs to wear a light gray dress and son Benjamin a light gray shirt. They were both asked to be table waiters at the wedding.

So yesterday, while Elizabeth and Susan were here, we drove over to our local community store and bought our material for the dresses for the wedding in four weeks. Now we need to get them cut out and sewn. The week of July 4 is shut-down week for most factories in our area, so everyone in our family will be off work for the wedding.

My husband, Joe, and son-in-law Mose are off work from the factory right now for around a week. Makes it a little rough when bills need to be paid. But God is above, and we have much to be thankful for. It was just a little unexpected.

Some of Lovina’s family had extra time to fish this week—here’s a 21½ inch whopper husband Joe landed. They froze some of the fish.

Joe and Mose have spent a lot of time fishing, so it is good to see the freezer filling up with fish. The boys also go fishing every chance they get.

Congratulations also go to niece Lisa and Marcus from Tennessee! They chose June 15 for their wedding date. It doesn’t look like we will be able to attend. It’s about a nine-hour drive from here, if I’m not mistaken. With gas prices going up, traveling that far becomes more difficult.

Yesterday Elizabeth and her daughter Abigail, plus Susan and her daughter Jennifer spent the day here. Susan brought them in her horse and buggy. It’s always such a day brightener when I walk out to their buggy to help bring in the little girls and they both smile for me! Abigail now calls out “Grandma!” when she sees me coming.

Daughter Lovina went to her friend Mary’s house on Monday evening for Mary’s birthday supper. Mary is a girl from our church. Several other girls were also there in honor of her birthday.

I have been trying to get some cleaning done, as we will host church services in August, Lord willing. Joseph and Kevin’s bedroom should be painted, but we will see how far we get. It seems like the boys’ bedroom has more nicks and dents in the walls than anywhere in the house! I wasn’t too happy when I found a dartboard hanging on their wall a few years ago. Of course their darts missed the board sometimes and made holes in the wall. I am hoping the boys have grown up enough now that we would be safe to patch up the holes and repaint. They could help now, so that would be a great help to me.

I was hoping we could get our basement and the upstairs bedrooms all cleaned before the July 4 week. Time will go fast after that. Cleaning now would give us less to do on those hot summer days when canning will be in full swing.

We are still enjoying the early garden goodies. Several recent rains have given the gardens a boost. Plants are looking nice. Weeds are also taking over, so we need to get those out of there.

Here is a zucchini cupcake recipe to save to use when your zucchini are ready.

God’s blessings to all!

Zucchini Cupcakes

3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
1 can crushed pineapple, 15 oz.,  drained
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut

Beat eggs and add oil, sugar, zucchini and pineapple and set aside.

Stir together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Blend dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Add vanilla, coconut and nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes large batch of 30 or so cupcakes.

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

Little Abigail gets introduced to the Coblentz family water battles

Little Abigail gets introduced to the Coblentz family water battles 

It looks dark towards the southeast like a storm could be forming. We sure could use the rain. It’s been dry this week. We watered the gardens a few times this week but hoped it would rain tonight. Our soil is sandy so all the rain we had several weeks ago is all dried up. Rivers and lakes are still filled to the banks. Our weather has been in the 90’s with high humidity. Michigan has finally decided winter is over.

Tomorrow is 12-year-old son Kevin’s last day of school for this term. He will be a seventh grader next year. The school picnic is tomorrow. We plan to attend. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan along with my sweet granddaughters plan to go with us. I’m sure little 20-month-old Abigail will have fun at the playground.

Daughter Lovina, 14, is winding down with her school work. I need to do some more grading and get her report card filled out. She does a wonderful job with her school assignments and books.

Our family did a lot of fishing over the holiday weekend and caught plenty of fish. We had a fish fry over at daughter Susan and Mose’s house on Monday evening. Sons-in-law Mose and Timothy and Loretta’s special friend Dustin deep fried the fish and made French fries outside in our deep fryer, run by propane. It was a nice but hot evening to sit outside and eat.

Sunday night our family gathered here and stayed all night. The men made campfire stew in the kettle over the open fire and grilled hamburgers. We ate outside under a screened-in canopy. It helped the mosquitoes and bugs stay off the little ones and was nicer even for the adults.

Since the grass was the floor our daughters decided to play a game where we had to take a swallow of water and hold it in our mouth. One person would say a joke or something funny. The first person to spit out their water had to take the place of the person saying the jokes. I tried it but thought it was much more fun to sit back and watch.

The children also had a water battle and even little Abigail was throwing water. After it was over Abigail didn’t realize it’s time to quit and caught a few of us by surprise when she dumped a cup of water on us. It was cute to hear her giggle when we jumped. I told daughter Elizabeth she must be a typical Coblentz. Our Coblentz reunions always end up with a water battle. I remember Uncle Menno as one of the first to throw water. We had many fun times on hot days at the reunion throwing water until everyone was cooled off from all the heat.

It is pretty quiet around here right now. Daughters Verena and Lovina are at Susan and Mose’s house for supper. Nephew Henry and Mose went fishing with the boat to the lake nearby. Son Benjamin, 18, had a dentist appointment tonight. Joseph had a dentist appointment today and is outside doing evening chores. Kevin is also helping him.

My husband Joe is showering and I’m writing by the kitchen table taking advantage of the peace and quiet. Daughter Loretta went to town with Benjamin. I haven’t decided what we will make for supper. It seems no one is hungry until after it cools off outside.

I will share a new asparagus recipe with everyone. Our asparagus is coming to an end for the season. We are enjoying lettuce, radishes, and onions from our garden. Both our gardens are now all planted. I still have a few things I need to plant. I’ll find room to squeeze them in somewhere.

I finally got to answering some reader mail this afternoon. Thanks for your patience. I always appreciate the kind words of encouragement. God bless!

Hot Asparagus Bits

20 slices white bread
3 ounces blue cheese
8 ounces cream cheese
1 egg
1/2 pound butter, melted
20 spears fresh or frozen asparagus, cooked and drained

Trim crusts from bread and flatten slices slightly with rolling pin. Thoroughly blend cheeses and egg. Spread cheese mixture over each bread slice. Roll an asparagus spear inside each slice and fasten with a toothpick. Dip each roll in melted butter. Place on a baking sheet and freeze. When firm slice each roll into three pieces. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Editor’s Note: If you are in the southern Michigan/northern Indiana area, head to a booksigning with Lovina and several family members, at Colon Township Library, Colon, Mich. on June 12 from 6 – 7 p.m. Address for the library: 128 S Blackstone Ave, Colon, MI

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

 

 

Lovina’s daughters and all five sisters surprise Lovina on her birthday

Lovina’s daughters and all five sisters surprise Lovina on her birthday

My 47th birthday was May 22. My daughters wanted me to spend the day with all of them at daughter Elizabeth’s house. When I walked in the house it was decorated with balloons and Happy Birthday banners.

Soon after I was there all five of my sisters and some of my nieces drove in to spend the day with me. What a wonderful surprise! It is not often that all of us six sisters get to spend a day together. My daughters had invited them, and everyone brought food.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan made the casseroles. Daughter Verena had taken the cake, ice cream, etc. to Elizabeth’s house the day before. I’m not sure if I can remember all the food that was brought in but I’ll try. There was salad, deviled eggs, cheese, veggies and dip, chips, cookies, cinn-a-pan rolls, rhubarb cake dessert, jello with fruit, chocolate cake, brownies, Rice Krispy treats, rhubarb juice and Pepsi. Then we also had a white birthday cake and ice cream. The cake had candles on it that spelled out “older” and “wiser.” Not too sure if the wiser proves true but definitely the older does. It is probably the first birthday I had that even the plates and napkins said “Happy Birthday!” They all helped make a great memorable 47th birthday.

We visited and visited. Not so sure if anyone was listening but I do know more than one was talking at the same time. It was fun and we sang a few songs after lunch. Of course we yodeled. My daughters always like when my sisters and I are together and yodel. Was sorry that our two sisters-in-law couldn’t make it for the day.

Sister Liz’s granddaughter La Rose and Abigail played together for the first time. It was so cute to watch them play. Sister Liz’s two grandsons were also there and daughter Susan’s baby, Jennifer.

The babies had more than enough attention. I appreciate that they all helped make my day special—some traveling two hours to spend the day. I also appreciated all the flowers, cards, and gifts very much.

We were shocked to receive the sad news of the death of my husband Joe’s brother Clarence Jr. He was 47 at the time of his death but would be 48 now. We don’t know the cause of death yet but are waiting on the autopsy results. Clarence was never married. He leaves to mourn three brothers, eight sisters, and many nieces and nephews. Once again we are reminded that we do not need to be old to die. In less than four months Joe and I both lost a brother. We question why but take comfort in knowing that God makes no mistakes.

Clarence Jr. will be buried in our local Amish community cemetery. Funeral services will be Friday. Son Benjamin will be one of the pallbearers along with eight other nephews. Nephew Henry will also be one of them. It’s a new experience for both of them.

In the Amish community the pallbearers help dig the grave. Tomorrow night they will gather at the cemetery to dig the grave for their uncle. Life brings many changes. May we trust in our Heavenly Father for his guiding hand to watch over us as we travel into the unknown future.

I wish all of God’s blessings to each and every one of you! I appreciate all the birthday wishes and words of comfort. Take care!

Asparagus Soup

1 pound fresh asparagus
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons sour cream

Cut asparagus into 2-inch pieces and cook in 1/2 cup boiling water 3–5 minutes until tender. Drain and reserve liquid; set aside. Melt butter in a Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté 4 minutes until tender. Add flour; cook and stir in reserved liquid until smooth. Add asparagus, milk, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Slowly add sour cream. Allow to cool slightly. Process asparagus mixture in batches in a blender until smooth. Return to Dutch oven to re-warm. Yield: 5 cups.

 

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

 

 

Birthdays, Mother’s Day, and Wednesday with daughters: all good

First of all, daughter Lovina will be 14 tomorrow, May 18. A happy birthday to her!

Also, happy 25th birthday today, May 17, to my niece Elizabeth. We are invited to her parents (sister Liz and husband Levi) on Saturday for a surprise birthday party for Elizabeth. With so much gardening and spring work it doesn’t look like we will make it. Elizabeth is married to Samuel and has two little children LaRose and Samuel Lee.

I want to add a paragraph that was omitted from my last column. While visiting family we also stopped in to visit with sister Liz and Levi. Their daughter Rosa and her husband Menno have living quarters in the new building beside the house. They have a little boy named Jeremiah. Daughter Susan and baby Jennifer were with us. Susan and Rosa hadn’t seen each other’s babies yet. Always nice to catch up on the little ones. They grow so fast and are so precious!

Daughter Loretta and special friend Dustin enjoyed the wedding in Andover, Ohio, last week. They (Dustin’s family and Loretta) traveled up to Niagara Falls and enjoyed seeing the beautiful sights. It was Loretta’s first time to see New York (even before I did—smile). They had a nice time and arrived safely back in Michigan on Friday evening.

Verena gave this beautiful candle/plaque to Lovina for Mother’s Day, in memory of Lovina’s brother, Amos Coblentz.

Sunday was Mother’s Day. So I hope all mothers had a nice day, spending it with family! My mother passed away in 2002 unexpectedly. I still miss her so much. I have many precious memories of her. I started penning this column in 2002 after her sudden passing. She wrote it for eleven years. Rest in peace dear mother—you will always stay close in our hearts. The good example she left makes me want to always try and do my best!

My children all came home for a brunch on Mother’s Day. We had bacon, ham (fresh ham on the grill), eggs, potatoes, sausage gravy, toast, jelly, butter, coffee, milk, and juice. Also rhubarb custard pie and peanut butter swirl bars. Spending time with family is always precious to me. Timothy and Elizabeth left early afternoon as his brother’s family was coming to their house for supper. Mose and Susan were here for an early supper of fried chicken.

Yesterday, daughters Elizabeth and Susan came here for the day. Usually every Wednesday they come home for the day. Daughter Verena, 20, started working for nephew Emanul several weeks ago. She works in the office doing a lot of secretarial work for his woodworking business. She works four days a week and has Wednesdays off. She is glad to be home on the day her little nieces are here to entertain.

Yesterday was such a nice day we decided to head to town. We took three buggies and horses. Elizabeth, Susan, and baby Jennifer went with Elizabeth’s buggy and horse. Verena, Abigail, and I went with our buggy and our horse, Mighty. Loretta, Joseph, and Lovina followed with our other buggy and our horse Midnight. We did some shopping and decided to eat at a family restaurant. Little Abigail had so much fun. Daughter Lovina was glad for a break from her school work. After we were back home Joseph, 15, mowed our yard. The girls took Abigail down to the nearby lake and let her walk in the water. She didn’t want to leave. Around 5:00 p.m. Elizabeth and Susan headed for home. The girls made an easy supper of BLT sandwiches and we also had leftover tater tot casserole from the evening before. It was an enjoyable day!

Nephew Henry is home today and also was yesterday. He hurt his foot at work and it is really swollen and painful. He went to the doctor yesterday and they took an x-ray at the hospital. He should find out the results today. I hope it is not broken. He is using a pair of crutches we had and is keeping ice packs on it.

It looks like we are going to have another beautiful day! Laundry and planting more garden is on the list for today. God bless all of you!

I will share this recipe for baked French toast. We make this a lot. Its easy and you can put it in the oven. We love maple syrup on ours.

Baked French Toast

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup
10–12 slices bread
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bring brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup just to a boil and then pour into the bottom of a 9×13-inch glass pan. Top with two layers of bread. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top of the bread. Then beat together eggs, milk, and vanilla and pour over the bread. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Do not overbake or syrup on the bottom will get hard.

 

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

 

 

 

Children spreading wings as Lovina plans for Ascension Day gatherings

Children spreading wings as Lovina plans for Ascension Day gatherings

It’s Wednesday evening and the house is really quiet tonight. My husband Joe, daughter Verena, and I are the only ones here.

Daughter Loretta left this afternoon with Dustin and his family to travel to Ohio. Dustin’s cousin is getting married tomorrow. Dustin and Loretta will be servers at the wedding. I actually just finished sewing Dustin’s shirt for the wedding this afternoon and finished it a little before they left. That was cutting it a little too close. Dustin’s shirt is cream-colored, worn with a vest. Loretta’s dress is a periwinkle blue. I had Loretta’s dress, cape, and apron sewn already last week.

Nephew Henry also went to this wedding. They should all be back home by Friday evening. Henry and Dustin are cousins as their dads are brothers, so the groom is a cousin to both of them.

Our children Benjamin, Joseph, Kevin, and Lovina went to sister Emma and Jacob’s house this evening and I think they were going to go over to Mose and Susan’s house too.

Chopping fresh asparagus from the garden for some creamed asparagus.
Creamed asparagus, made with a thick white sauce.

We are having a thunder storm. Joe brought in asparagus so I’m going to make creamed asparagus for supper.

 

I made four rhubarb custard pies tonight. Tomorrow is Ascension Day and also sister Susan’s birthday (May 10). This community has Fast and Prayer Day until lunch on Ascension Day in honor of Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven.

One example of a “haystack” made of layers of veggies, meats and topped with cheese.
Can she bake a rhubarb custard pie? You betcha!

Sister Susan invited us to their house for lunch tomorrow. She will have a “haystack” meal for us. I made the rhubarb custard pie to take there. Jacob and Emma and family, Timothy and Elizabeth, and Mose and Susan will all go too.

Sunday evening we went to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house for a hot dog roast, and then we made smores. It was a nice relaxing evening to sit out by the fire. We also played Dutch Blitz. I haven’t played that card game too often so I was kind of slow at the fast moving game. We played in teams then and Joe was my partner so we started winning the game.

We recently visited sister-in-law Nancy and family. Brother Amos has been gone three-and-one-half months now and is still so greatly missed. Her daughters Marlene and Lovina were home for the day. And Lisa and Laura still live there so we could visit with all of them. Sam is now done with his school years. He does a good job of keeping up with the chores around there. It just doesn’t seem right to go there and not see Amos around. God makes no mistakes!

We also stopped to visit with sister Leah and Paul before heading back to Michigan. They are adding on to their house. It will be very nice once it’s done, with some more room when they host church services.

Saturday, May 12, is nephew Benjamin’s (son of Jacob and sister Emma) 16th birthday, as well as being Mother’s Day!

A great thank you to the readers that came to see us at the book signing in Warsaw, Indiana, last Saturday. Little Abigail enjoyed chattering with everyone even though people weren’t always sure what she was saying. We appreciated the hospitality from Dorothy and staff. Like always, we were treated really well.

I will share an asparagus recipe this week since it’s in season. I like trying new ways to use it.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Asparagus Shepherd’s Pie

6 medium potatoes, diced
1–2 pounds hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10.5 ounce) can cream soup
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut in pieces
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2–1 cup mozzarella or cheddar cheese, shredded

Cook potatoes until tender. Brown hamburger with onion and garlic; drain off grease. Add soup and pour into a greased 2-quart baking dish. Cook asparagus in small amount of water 3–4 minutes until crisp and tender. Drain and place over beef mixture. Mash the potatoes adding milk, butter, and salt; spread over asparagus. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

 

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

 

 

Overnight, a new foal born without help

Ginger and her new foal.

Overnight, a new foal born without help; name ideas?

It’s Thursday morning around 6:30 a.m. Son Kevin, 12, is waiting on the bus to pick him up for school.

We had a few thunderstorms during the night. Loud enough to keep us awake a lot so I feel tired yet. I’m letting the ones that don’t have to go to work sleep in a little longer.

Last night Mose and daughter Susan and baby Jennifer were here for supper. We had a severe thunderstorm right before they wanted to leave for home. I am wondering if there could have been a tornado with it but maybe it was just the strong winds that did so much damage in this area. It flattened our neighbor’s barn and tore some of their house roof off. It downed trees and power lines. It tore the soffit from our porch ceiling off, took big branches off our trees, threw around a lot of things outside. We felt fortunate to not have anything major happen here. The hail that was hitting our windows sounded pretty big. It was one thunderstorm after another going through so Mose and Susan decided not to try taking the buggy home. Lots of roads were blocked off from fallen trees.

It was cute to see little Jennifer sleeping so soundly this morning when my husband Joe, and Mose were leaving for work. She had her hands stretched over her head. Jennifer has to wear mittens on her hands as she scratches her face with her fingernails. We have tried to clip her nails down but she still ends up with a scratch on her face. She doesn’t seem to mind the mittens.

Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail are coming today. She has a friend bringing them. I am glad she isn’t bringing the horse and buggy. We are having another thunderstorm right now. Kevin is on the bus and on his way to school. I decided to get this written before I wake up the rest. It seems to go faster that way—less noise around.

I went to the doctor on Monday after feeling sick all weekend. He said I have bronchitis and gave me several antibiotics to take. I feel so much better! I now wish I would have went in sooner. I didn’t cook any meals on Sunday. My husband Joe made dinner on the grill for everyone. He grilled chicken and potatoes. I sat on my recliner most of the day wrapped in blankets.

Following Mom.

Monday morning our horse Ginger had a little foal. When I looked out in the pasture field after daylight, I saw the little foal running beside its mother. The little ones always look so cute how they run and hop around the field. We haven’t decided on what to name this filly yet but she is a lot lighter in color than her sister Midnight is.

Horses always take good photos, don’t they?

Ginger gave birth to our horse Midnight three years ago on June 1. Midnight is what Joe and I drive leading our buggy. The other foal that year was Beauty and she was three years old on May 1. We gave Beauty to son Benjamin for his birthday. Ginger’s filly she had now will probably end up Joseph’s birthday gift in a few years when she is ready to drive.

Daughter Loretta was also excited when her special friend Dustin gave her a Tennessee Walker horse that is trained for riding. The horse’s name is Diamond. One horse we had for many years was named Diamond. We miss not having Diamond anymore. Loretta’s Diamond is a mare though. The horse is a smooth-gaited horse. Loretta has never ridden a horse before but is looking forward to learning. Dustin is a great friend to her and has done so much for her.

I hope to see some of you readers at my book signing in Warsaw, Indiana, on Saturday. Plans are to bring all my daughters and granddaughters with me.

This is the way we like to fix morel mushrooms that can be found in the wild around here.

God’s blessing to all!

Morel Mushrooms

1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
butter

Cut mushrooms in half lengthwise. Soak morel mushrooms in salt water for an hour or more to kill insects. Use 3 tablespoons of salt per gallon of water.

In a small bowl, beat egg; add milk. In a separate small bowl place flour for breading. Start with 1/2 cup and add as needed. Melt butter in frying skillet. Start with 1 tablespoon and add as needed. Put mushrooms into egg and milk mixture, then dip into flour. Shake off excess flour and fry in butter. Sprinkle each side with salt when frying. Fry until golden brown.

 

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