All posts by Lovinas Amish Kitchen

Winter weather returns amid butchering and painting projects

Winter weather is back! We’ve received around three inches of snow and it’s still snowing. The roads must not be the best as school is cancelled for today! I let son Kevin sleep in, so he doesn’t yet know school is cancelled. He will be happy when he wakes up.

Lovina and family received over three inches of snow after a brief thaw. Photo provided.

Son-in-law Mose had a birthday yesterday, February 5. Mose, Susan, and Jennifer all had the flu so he didn’t have the nicest birthday. We will wash their laundry here for them today, since Susan didn’t feel up to washing clothes this week. In the winter months I like to add a laundry disinfectant to the water to help with germs during the flu season. I really think it helps.

Tuesday the girls and I spent the day at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. We washed a lot of laundry for them and cleaned her house. She was glad to have everything clean again. Daughter Lovina stayed there for the night and came home with Elizabeth and all three children the next morning. Daughter Susan and children couldn’t come as they still had the flu.

Monday the temperature went over 50 degrees so we hung some of our laundry out on the lines to dry. The bedding smelled so fresh when put back on the beds. We also cleaned our windows while the temperature was warmer.

Daughter Verena bought aqua colored paint to have her bedroom painted. So far, this week has been too busy to start with it. The boys did move Verena’s bed into Loretta and Lovina’s bedroom. The dressers will be moved to the middle of her room and covered up. Her bedroom walls are still the same color daughter Elizabeth had when she had that bedroom. It’s a burgundy color and Verena prefers aqua. Elizabeth has been married four and a half years and we still haven’t changed the color. It will brighten up the bedroom.

Saturday, we helped sister Emma and Jacob butcher two hogs. Sister Emma served us all breakfast when we arrived which was a breakfast casserole.

Read in this week’s column about how pon hoss is made (pictured here, sliced and ready to fry). Photo provided.

After the meat was cut up, we rendered the lard and cooked the pork off the bones. The meat from the bones was put through the grinder and then added back to the cooking water. Flour, salt, and black pepper were added to the cooking water making 17 gallons of pon hoss! We added four cups of flour, two tablespoons of salt, and one tablespoon of black pepper to each gallon of juice. The flour is sifted so it doesn’t get chunky, and someone stirs constantly to keep it from sticking to the big kettle while it cooks over an open fire. After the pon hoss is thickened, it is taken off the fire and poured into pans to cool. After it is cooled it can be sliced and fried in a pan until golden on each side. It can be fried longer for a crispier taste if preferred.

The sausage was all ground, seasoned, and packaged for the freezer. Some was processed in quart- and pint-sized jars. We usually season our sausage with brat and ranch seasoning we get at the meat market. It makes a good flavor for sausage patties or sausage gravy. The pork chops, ham, and bacon were also all sliced and packaged for the freezer.

Everything was mostly done by 1:30 or 2:00 p.m. then we had a delicious lunch of mashed potatoes, gravy, pork tenderloin, coleslaw, lettuce salad, cheese, Jello cake, cowboy bars, donuts, cake, and ice cream.

Baby Allison will be six weeks old tomorrow. She has the brightest blue eyes and smiles when you talk to her. So adorable and precious!

Stay healthy during this flu season! God bless!

 

Sausage Delights

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1/3 cup shortening
1-pound bulk sausage, fried
1-1 1/2 cup shredded Colby or cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients and cut in shortening. Add the fried sausage and shredded cheese. Stir in milk and egg and mix well. Drop onto greased pans and bake at 375 degrees until done. Serve plain or with butter or sausage gravy.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, will be available in April 2020 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.

Family Cheese Favorites and Apple Cinnamon Bread

On January 31, it was two years since brother Amos passed away in his sleep and shocked all of us. He was only 56 years old and left his wife Nancy, children, grandchildren, one brother, and six sisters to mourn. He is so greatly missed by many. We know God makes no mistakes, so we do not question why.

Friday evening, we traveled the five and one-half miles to daughter Mose and Susan’s house for the birthday supper honoring Mose, Susan, and Jennifer. On the menu were tater tot casserole, barbequed chicken, coleslaw, sliced cheese, and cake.

A reader recently asked why cheese is included with most of our meals. I think our love of cheese is a family thing. I remember my parents ordering their cheese by the horn from our milkman, and the money to pay for it would just be taken out of their milk check.

After Joe and I were married we also sent milk in with a milk truck that picked up our two stainless steel cans of milk every day. We ordered our cheese from him the same way my parents did. We eat mostly colby cheese, but like Velveeta in grilled cheese sandwiches as well. We also buy Swiss cheese for a change, but our children love colby with their meals. We go through a lot of cheese; with packing lunches every day and putting some in their sandwiches, it doesn’t take long to use up a horn of cheese. My neighbor Susan has a bakery and also sells some bulk foods, so I usually order my cheese from her. It is much cheaper to buy it by the horn than by the pound.

It’s nice to have a big griddle to fry eggs when Lovina’s daughters and grandchildren come home for breakfast. Photo provided.

Friday afternoon I sent sons Benjamin, 20, and Joseph, 17, to get a few groceries for me in town. I ordered two heads of lettuce so I could make a salad to take along to Mose and Susan’s. They usually do pretty well with getting my groceries, but saw the heads of cabbage, and thinking they were lettuce, bought two heads. That is how we ended up having coleslaw for supper. We did give them a hard time about it, but I am glad they went shopping for me. Joseph always likes lettuce with his sandwich for lunch. I asked him if I should put cabbage in there instead. I told them next time to feel how much heavier cabbage is than lettuce. I can’t complain though, because they do a good job of running after my errands, and coleslaw tasted good for a change. I usually only make coleslaw when I have cabbage from my garden.

Monday, Baby Allison was a month old and Ryan was six months old. Time does not stand still! Daughter Elizabeth took Allison to the pediatrician in town for her one-month checkup. T.J., age 1, also went with her, so daughters Verena and Lovina went along to help her. Abigail, 3, stayed here with Loretta and me.

We washed our laundry in the basement and Abigail was so entertained by playing. I opened a tote of toys our children used to play with including all their tea sets and little dishes. She was so fascinated that grandma finally has more toys. I don’t usually like to set them out as there are small items that T.J. would put in his mouth.

Allison now weighs 7 pounds 4 ounces and is 20 1/2-inches long. She was 6 pounds 1 ounce and 18 1/2-inches long at birth. She’s so petite but strong. So sweet!

Daughter Lovina helped Elizabeth and Tim on Tuesday, stayed overnight, and then came home with Elizabeth and children on Wednesday. Daughter Susan and children also came for the day. Mose came after work and they stayed for supper. Elizabeth and her three children left for home around five. She sure has her hands full; T.J. does not realize that climbing chairs and running on the table is dangerous. He is quite a handful to watch but is such a sweet and lovable little boy.

When Mose and Susan left for home, they told Jennifer to say thank you to grandma. She said, “thank you and welcome.” Such precious moments the grandchildren bring to us.

 

God’s blessings to all!

 

Apple Cinnamon Bread

1/3 cup brown sugar, unpacked
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 apple, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan. In a small bowl mix together brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Peel and chop the apple and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the white sugar and butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time then add vanilla.

In a larger bowl, combine flour and baking powder then stir in the sugar/butter/egg mixture. Add the milk and stir until smooth.

Pour half the batter into prepared loaf pan. Layer half the apples and half the brown sugar mixture on top. Lightly pat apple layer into batter. Pour remaining batter over the apple layer, then top with remaining apples and brown sugar mixture, and pat into batter. Swirl through all layers with a knife. Bake 30–40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 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.

Winter chores and celebrations

Son Kevin just left for school. Our driveway is really icy and slippery. I’m always afraid he will fall going out to the bus when its icy like this. One morning I saw him fall and was glad he didn’t hurt himself. Hopefully, it will warm up above freezing today so it will melt off the pavement. Yes, we were blasted with a winter storm on Friday and Saturday.

Saturday morning our family, sisters Verena and Susan, and sister Emma, Jacob and family had a late Christmas gathering at Jacob and Emma’s house. We enjoyed a haystack breakfast which is crumbled biscuits, scrambled eggs, hash brown potatoes, bacon, ham, smokies, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, cheese sauce, sausage gravy, and salsa piled up on your plate like a haystack. If you want to sample a little of all the toppings, you better not take too much of each or you’ll end up with a big plate of food. Orange juice, apple juice, chocolate milk, coffee, and donuts were also on the menu.

When we four sisters and families get together, we now total 30. The table was set in their attached garage. Dishes were washed and then we played swap bingo. Everyone brought a gift to swap. Our five grandchildren and Jacob and Emma’s granddaughter had exchanged names with each other so they also each had a gift.

After that we played games and had snacks such as veggies and dip, cheese ball and crackers, fruit and dip, pretzels and dip, venison summer sausage and jerky, chips and salsa, meat and cheese roll-ups, candy popcorn, etc. There was plenty there and we didn’t need another meal that day.

Yesterday daughters Elizabeth and Susan came here for the day with their little ones. Daughter Lovina went to Tim and Elizabeth’s house on Tuesday to help with household chores. Tim helped her do laundry after he was home from work. Lovina stayed there for the night and came home with Elizabeth and her children yesterday morning with the horse and buggy. Daughter Susan brought her horse and buggy too. It was a cold morning so the children were bundled up nice and warm. They have it so much nicer traveling in covered buggies than I did when I was their age with children riding in open buggies during the cold winter months.

Baby Allison will be a month old on Monday already. She is so precious! Such a tiny little girl but she has the most wonderful smile.

Tomorrow, January 24, is daughter Susan’s 24th birthday and also my sister Liz’s 51st birthday. Our plans are to go to Mose and Susan’s house for supper in honor of Mose, Susan, and Jennifer’s birthdays. Jennifer’s was last week (January 15) and Mose’s will be February 5.

Today we will wash laundry again. We usually wash clothes on Mondays and Thursdays. We fold clothes on Tuesdays and Fridays, so there aren’t many days out of the week that laundry isn’t a job to do. We hang the laundry on lines in our heated basement to dry. It will be nice once we can hang it outside and have it dried, folded, and put away all in one day.

This winter is going too fast for me. With the addition to the family and the holidays it seemed time just flew by. We still need to butcher pork and then get serious about cleaning. Church services will be here the first part of April if all goes as expected.

Loretta’s special friend Dustin bought our neighbor Irene’s house. It seems so different to go over there and not see Irene around. Irene died last year and we sure miss her. She was a good neighbor to us. Dustin will take good care of the place, so I’m sure she would be happy that he bought it.

Lovina enjoys baking for her family and this week she made several batches of Mother’s Sweet Rolls. She shares the recipe in her column. Photo provided.

I made several batches of mother’s sweet rolls this week. They are always a favorite around here. This is one of the recipes that will be in my new cookbook, Amish Family Recipes: A Cookbook Across the Generations, coming out in April.

God’s blessings to all!

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Sweet Rolls
1 1/2 cups milk, scalded
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 packages dry active yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 eggs, beaten
6 cups bread flour
butter, softened
brown sugar
cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine scalded milk, butter, sugar, and salt.

Add yeast to the warm water and let stand 5 minutes, then add it to milk mixture. Making sure the milk isn’t too hot, add eggs, then stir in 3 cups flour. Add remaining 3 cups flour and mix well.

Let dough rise until doubled in size. Punch down and divide in two. Roll each part out and spread with softened butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon as desired. Roll up lengthwise and cut into 3/4-inch slices. Place into baking pan and let rise until doubled in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 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.

Eicher family celebrates a winter birthday with chocolate fudge cake

Diary of January 15, 2020

3:00 a.m. Alarm rings—time to start a new day. My husband Joe and son Benjamin, 20, get ready for work. They refuel both coal stoves for the day while I pack their lunches and make  grilled cheese sandwiches for their breakfast.

3:35 a.m. Joe and Benjamin leave for work. I go back to bed to catch a few more winks.

4:30 a.m. Son Joseph, 17, goes out to feed the animals while I pack his lunch and make him a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast.

5:00 a.m. Joseph leaves for work. They have an hour drive to where they are putting up a pole barn, so he’s leaving earlier than usual. I set my alarm for 6:00 a.m. and take a nap on my recliner. I feel extra tired this morning and an extra hour of napping makes a lot of difference.

6:00 a.m. Son Kevin, 14, gets ready for another school day. We have had a mild winter, so he hasn’t had any days home from school.

6:45 a.m. Kevin leaves for school. Daughter Lovina, 15, is helping at my daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house and will come home with Elizabeth and children for the day. Daughter Susan and children will come with them.

I get some mail ready, and then, with the help of daughters Verena and Loretta, fold laundry that was washed on Monday. Son Benjamin carried the baskets of laundry up from the basement for us last night but we didn’t get it folded and put away. We also make sausage gravy and biscuits so that breakfast is ready when my daughters and grandchildren arrive.

9:15 a.m. Our friend Beth has a 14-passenger van, so she picks up all of them. Of course, it takes time to fasten all five car seats in the van. They are glad to have Lovina to help.

9:45 a.m. They arrive here and all the little ones are brought into the house. Beth won’t be able to take them home, so all the car seats are taken out of the van. Sons-in-law Tim and Mose will bring the buggies tonight to take them home. It is Jennifer’s second birthday today, so we sing “Happy Birthday” to her. She just smiles and tries to put two of her fingers up when we ask how old she is.

10:30 a.m. We are finally eating breakfast. I fried eggs, and we have cheese along with the biscuits and gravy. One-year-old T.J. doesn’t want his mom to feed him and comes to grandma to be fed. So sweet and precious! Baby Ryan is almost six months and enjoys being in the walker and playing with toys. He’s such a calm little guy and so patient. Susan breastfeeds him, so he doesn’t eat food yet. Abigail, 3, prefers her aunts over her grandma. They are more interesting to her, which I understand. She does like me but prefers to hang out with them. She loves books, as do all the children. Jennifer and T.J. will sit on the bottom step of the stairs and sing really loudly. They hold their books, pretending they are in church.

1:45 p.m. The day is going fast. Susan brought sewing along, so she is making a new shirt for Ryan and finishing one the same color for Mose. The girls made a light lunch of sandwiches and tater tots.

3:00 p.m. Joe and Benjamin are back home. They have fun with the little ones.

3:30 p.m. Kevin comes home from school. We get Abigail, Jennifer, and T.J. dressed for going outside. Lovina and Kevin give them rides in the little wagon. I tell Elizabeth to go take a nap, and we enjoy little 19-day-old Allison. She is so petite and has a great smile already. She lets everyone know when she is hungry.

4:00 p.m. Joseph is home too now, so the guys do evening chores. After they are done, they grill chicken and steak for our supper. It’s so handy to go to the freezer for meat when you need to make a meal. The girls make a cake for Jennifer. Mose and Susan will have a birthday party for her, but we thought we’d make a cake for her tonight.

6:30 p.m. Supper is ready. On the menu are vegetable soup, cheese, chicken, and steak, plus ice cream and cake. We lit two candles for Jennifer to blow out, but she wasn’t too enthused about doing that. She loved the cake, though.

7:30 p.m. Verena, Loretta, Lovina, and I wash dishes while they get all the tired little ones dressed to go home. It was a long but enjoyable day!

I’ll share the recipe for the chocolate fudge cake we made for Jennifer’s birthday. God’s blessings to all!

Chocolate Fudge Cake

2 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sour milk
2 cups flour
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup boiling water

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, salt, oil, sour milk, and flour. In a small bowl combine and stir well the cocoa, baking soda, vanilla, and boiling water. Add to the cake mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased 9×13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 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.

Beginning a new year and a new decade

A new year, a new decade lies before us. What does it hold for us? Only God knows. A new year always seems like a fresh start or new beginning to break some old habits or make new resolutions. It doesn’t take a new year to start fresh, though. Our God is such a great help and we have much to thank him for during this past year.

Baby Allison is 12 days old today. She is back to her birth weight now, 6 pounds and 1 ounce. She went down to 5 pounds and 10 ounces. She is doing good but daughter Elizabeth is still a little anemic and feeling as well as can be expected.

Daughter Lovina is helping daughter Elizabeth and Tim with household duties this week. Little T.J. is a busy body and keeps them on their feet.

Daughters Verena and Lovina were staying with them last week, assisting them with their work and children. Last Thursday I also spent the day there, helping out with the work and spoiling the grandbabies.

Last week we washed their bedding and, since it was a nice sunshiny day in the upper 40’s, I hung the quilts and sheets out on the line to dry and then put them back on their beds. Daughter Susan and children also came in the afternoon. With five children age three and under, it takes a lot of care with the little ones but is so much fun.

Sunday, our family and Mose, Susan, and children went to Tim and Elizabeth’s house and took in dinner. We had barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, lettuce salad, blueberry pie, and jello cake. Sisters Verena and Susan also came and stayed to eat dinner with us.

Monday, January 6 was Old Christmas (Epiphany), a holiday that the Amish in this community honor. Those that gathered at my sisters Verena and Susan’s house for the noon meal were brother Albert, Sarah Irene, and their children Leanna, Andrew, Susan, and Sylvia; sister Emma, Jacob, and their sons Jacob Jr., Benjamin, and Steven; niece Elizabeth and Manuel; niece Emma, Menno, and Jessica; Mose, Susan, Jennifer, and Ryan; my husband Joe and I and children Verena, Benjamin, Loretta, Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin, and Loretta’s special friend Dustin.

With everyone bringing food, we had a good dinner. On the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, meatballs, corn, potato salad, cheese, hot peppers, bread, butter, jelly, a variety of pies, peach dessert, brownies, cookies, etc. A variety of snacks were also set out, such as party mix, deer jerky, Christmas candy, etc.

The afternoon was spent playing games. Brother Albert, brother-in-law Jacob, and my husband Joe teamed up against their wives in Aggravation. The game’s name proved true for the women’s team. We lost almost every game, but it still was fun! Other Aggravation games were also being played, as well as Ten Thousand with dice. The house was a bit noisy from all the games being played in the same room. The Aggravation boards were made by nephew Jacob. He makes them to earn money, as he is limited in what he can do by his muscular dystrophy. He still has both legs/feet in casts up to his knees. He seems to be doing okay with the surgery so far. He will need lots of therapy after he’s out of the casts.

Daughter Verena has been going to the eye doctor about a scratch on her cornea that flared up. She has already made two trips to the eye doctor and needs to go back again tomorrow to have the contact lens that the doctor put in removed. They want to check if it’s doing better. Our eye doctor in town has several locations and wasn’t in the office nearby so Verena needs to go to the other office, 25 miles away. It sure isn’t cheap with all the trips, but it’s worth taking care of it. She was so miserable and had lots of pain since Monday morning.

Until next week—God bless!

 

Brownies

2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick margarine
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Frosting:

1 stick margarine, melted
4 teaspoons cocoa
1 box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons milk

Mix sugar, flour, and salt; set aside. Bring to a boil the margarine, cocoa, water, and shortening and pour it over the sugar, flour and salt mixture. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, soda, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour into a greased cookie sheet pan with edges. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Frosting: Mix the frosting ingredients well and pour over brownies while hot.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 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.

Welcoming the new year and a new granddaughter

This is the final day of 2019. A new year lies before us. What does it hold in store for you and me? Only God knows the answer. May He be our guide as we enter the new year in 2020. He has bestowed so many blessings upon us. Let us be forever thankful!

We awoke this morning to a world of white. The ground is covered in snow and it is still snowing and blowing outside. After some mild weather during the Christmas holiday, we are now getting some real winter weather. We had days with temperatures in the 60s, but we like winter weather when it’s winter. We cannot control the weather, so we accept what we are given.

Now I must announce the birth of our fifth grandchild. Allison Lovina was welcomed to our world with much love. She was born to daughter Elizabeth and Tim, weighing 6 pounds 1 ounce, 18 1/2 inches long, on December 27, 2019 at 1:16 p.m. Daughter Elizabeth had preeclampsia, so a C-section was scheduled three weeks earlier to prevent complications. We are thankful mother and baby are doing fine. This brought us much more excitement the week of Christmas than we expected. She’s a precious little sweetie and has won our hearts already. She joins Abigail Elizabeth, 3, and Timothy Josiah, 1. Of course Abigail already rocks her and sings to her. T.J. on the other hand isn’t too happy to share Allison with his mommy.

Abigail and T.J. stayed here for a few days while Tim and Elizabeth were at the hospital. I went up with them to be there when the baby was born. Tim and I enjoyed the newborn while Elizabeth recovered from surgery. Later my husband Joe and daughters Verena and Lovina brought the children to the hospital to meet their little sister. I went back home with them afterward. The children did pretty good staying with us, although nighttime was a little hard for T.J. He is a busybody and likes to wake up early. He discovers everything and tries to climb on anything he can. He would tell me he wants to eat and would point at the highchair. So sweet!

Daughters Verena and Lovina are helping out with the children and household duties at Tim and Elizabeth’s house. I am sure the children are getting plenty of care and hugs from their aunts. Tim is off work this week so it’s a nice time to enjoy the new addition to their home.

When baby Allison was discharged, she weighed 5 pounds 11 ounces, but the doctor said it’s normal for babies to lose a little weight after birth. Today Tim and Elizabeth took baby Allison to their pediatrician for a checkup.

The day after Christmas was a full day cutting up our beef. By the end of the day the meat was ground into hamburger and almost 400 hamburger patties were made, bagged, and frozen. Steaks were also sliced, bagged, and frozen. Mose and Susan were given a vacuum sealer for Christmas, so we put that to use. We feel so thankful that we could fill the freezer for the year ahead. My husband Joe used the new dehydrator he got for his birthday and has made lots of deer jerky already.

Our Christmas Day was spent at home. Mose and Susan and children and Loretta’s special friend Dustin were our supper guests. Before supper the girls and I and Jennifer and Ryan walked over to my sisters Verena and Susan’s house for a while to wish them a Merry Christmas. It was a nice spring-like day, so unlike other years at Christmas. The new year looks like it will start cold and snowy.

Happy 2020 to all and God bless!

 

Simple One Dish Meal

2 pounds ground beef
4–6 cups potatoes, diced
1–2 quarts corn
1 tablespoon salt
seasoning to taste

Brown ground beef in a large skillet and remove to a separate bowl. Add potatoes and 1/2 cup water to the skillet and cover. Cook until potatoes are slightly tender. Add browned ground beef, corn, and salt. Season to taste.

Optional: add any variation of garlic, onion, peppers, black beans, sweet potatoes, buttercup or butternut squash, cubed.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 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.

 

Gift exchange, games, and food highlight the Eicher family’s Christmas gathering

 Christmas Day is tomorrow. Son Joseph just left for work and the rest of the family is still sleeping. Our family Christmas is over for this year. We will still get together with my sisters for a Christmas gift exchange and meal. This year it will be at sister Emma and Jacob’s house.

Saturday my husband Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph, and Loretta’s special friend Dustin butchered a beef we raised for meat. We raise a few calves so that we have our own beef to butcher. A correction to one of my recent columns: we raise steers to butcher, not cows. (Every writer needs to grin-and-bear-it at times when words get changed in their writing making a different meaning.) A cow is a heifer that has had a calf and we think the meat from a steer is better for steaks. We never butcher a cow.

The big beef is hanging in our pole barn reminding us how much work lies ahead this week yet. Our plans are to start working on that Thursday and Friday. It will be nice to fill the freezer and canning jars with meat.

The dining table is set and ready for the Eicher family’s breakfast the morning of their Christmas gathering. Everyone spent the night at Joe and Lovina’s and began their day of celebration eating breakfast together around the family table. Photo provided.

Our family had a nice Christmas gathering on Sunday. We set the table for all of us. We are 17 now but one-year-old T.J. sits in the highchair and Ryan doesn’t eat table food yet. We had a breakfast casserole that we made the night before and put it in the oven so it was ready to eat when everyone woke up. Also on the menu were homemade bread, butter and jelly, cheese, hot peppers, donuts and cookies, chocolate milk, orange juice, and coffee. It is nice to have something easy so we don’t spend our time together making food. Joe put a turkey on the grill so it would be ready to eat later on. After dishes were washed, we passed out gifts. The children exchanged names so it was interesting to see who had each other’s names. It was also Joe’s birthday so he received nice birthday/Christmas gifts. It is always fun to see the excitement of the little children when they open their gifts.

A variety of snacks along with grilled turkey were enjoyed throughout the day at the Eicher family’s Christmas gathering. Photo provided.

We played games and had snacks and turkey later on. A variety of snacks included veggies and dip, fruit and dip, meat and cheese roll-ups, party mix, Rice Krispy treats, venison jerky, cheeseball and crackers, Christmas goodies, etc. There was much more than we needed but when everyone brings a few things, it adds up. The turkey and snacks were our food for the rest of the day. We have so much to be thankful for, so let’s remember to thank God for everything.

One of the new games we played was a game given to daughter Loretta from Dustin called Marble Chase. It is exciting and keeps your interest.

Son Benjamin left around 4:00 p.m. to join the youth for a Christmas supper and singing. They opened a plastic wrap ball of gifts which I imagine was exciting. Benjamin also joined the youth  one evening last week to go Christmas caroling at the homes of older people in our community. They gathered at the community center afterwards for a pizza supper.

Also one evening last week my sisters Verena and Susan made supper for us and sent it over. They always wanted to make a meal for me since my surgery. It was a treat to get out of cooking one evening. They made mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, and meatloaf. Also cookies and Christmas candy.

We are getting Christmas plates of goodies from our neighbors and we still haven’t made much more than party mix and cookies. I really don’t think we will as there are so many goodies around already. Maybe next week we can get around to making something for the neighbors.

I am hoping a few of the girls can go help daughter Elizabeth today. Doctors orders are that she doesn’t do any work, but with one- and three-year-old children that is hard for a mother to do without extra help. She said Tim will be off work today to do her laundry, but I still feel like someone should go help out. Entertaining the children is a help already.

Wishing you readers a blessed Christmas and God’s many blessings to all!

 

Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls

5 cups popped popcorn
1 cup roasted peanuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Place popcorn and peanuts in a large bowl; set aside.

Sauce: In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat bring brown sugar and corn syrup to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in peanut butter, and vanilla. Quickly pour over popcorn mixture and mix well. When cool enough to handle, quickly shape into 10 2-1/2-inch balls. Let stand at room temperature until firm, then wrap in plastic wrap.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 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.

Delicious food and family time mark birthday and Christmas celebrations

After today my husband Joe and son Benjamin will be off from the factory for a two-week holiday break. Son Kevin has a half day of school tomorrow and then he will also be home for two weeks. Son Joseph works construction, so they take advantage of working every day the weather permits. I don’t expect much quietness in the next two weeks, but we are hoping to butcher beef and pork if time allows before they go back.

December 17 was grandson Timothy’s (T.J’s.) first birthday. Our whole family went to daughter Elizabeth’s for supper in honor of his birthday. She made homemade pizza and had cake and ice cream. I took macaroni salad and chips. Daughter Susan brought a pudding. Elizabeth’s pizza was very good as usual. She had a little cake for T.J. to have fun with and then a bigger cake for the rest of us.

Elizabeth said T.J. recently pushed the step stool up to the kitchen sink and was crawling in the sink. A good thing she got him before he turned on the faucets. He had fun tearing the wrapping off his presents on his birthday. He didn’t get the idea to blow out his single candle, though. After we ate, we played games and visited. Of course, the grandchildren enjoyed playing with T.J.’s new toys.

On our way home we came upon an accident and help was just arriving. A 56-year-old man from a town close to us was killed in the accident. I feel sorry for the family with the upcoming holidays.

On Sunday, our church had our Christmas potluck. I made a breakfast casserole to take. I don’t have a recipe, but I put in eggs, potatoes, onions, bacon, ham, mushrooms, green peppers, cheese, then topped it with sausage gravy. It must have been good because it was gone before I went through the line. There were six casseroles, a variety of salads, pies, cakes, puddings, bars, cookies, and so much more. By the time everyone brings something it adds up to a lot of food.

On our way home we stopped in at sister Emma and Jacob’s to visit with Jacob, Jr. He is doing well since his surgery on both his feet. Wish him a great recovery.

Yesterday some of the children and I were gone all day for appointments. The drive was two hours and we were halfway home when our driver Beth got a call from her sister who had taken daughter Elizabeth to the doctor. Her blood pressure was dangerously high, so the doctor admitted her to the hospital. Son-in-law Tim wanted to bring the children over to our house, then go back to the hospital with Elizabeth. We went past Tim and Elizabeth’s house and brought Abigail and T.J. home with us.

We made a supper of spaghetti and ham and cheese sandwiches, since Joe and son Benjamin each got a 14-pound ham from their employer for Christmas. The children were hungry as it was getting late when we had everything ready. T.J. still eats better when someone feeds him, but he can feed himself also.

Elizabeth was released from the hospital last night but needs to go back for more tests today or tomorrow. T.J. was so happy to see his dad and mom come back to get him. Both children were easy to have here as they are used to being here.

Sunday my husband, Joe, will be 51. The family is coming home for Christmas that day. Joe will get birthday and Christmas gifts the same day. Everyone plans to come Saturday night for supper and stay for the night. Always so good to have the whole family under the same roof.

As we celebrate the holiday with family and friends let us remember that baby born in a stable and grew up to die and become salvation for all who accept it.

We want to make party mix for the holidays. I’ll share the recipe I use. I add more of the ingredients I like best.

A blessed holiday season to all!

 

Party Mix

3 cups Corn Chex
2 cups Rice Chex
3 cups Wheat Chex
1 cup Cheerios
1 cup Cheez-Its
1 cup garlic bagel chips
1 cup butter twist pretzels

Sauce:
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Melt butter in pan and add seasonings. Mix with the rest of the ingredients and bake for 1 hour at 250 degrees stirring every 15 minutes. Optional: Sprinkle on more Worcestershire sauce during baking if you like a stronger flavor.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. 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 winter afternoon baking and decorating Christmas cookies with grandchildren

Everything is quiet right now at the Eicher house. Everyone has gone to bed except a few of the girls and me. There was too much action earlier today to think of writing.

Daughters Elizabeth, Susan, and their four little ones came this morning to spend the day. Our breakfast meal consisted of eggs, potatoes, bacon, toast, and cheese. After breakfast Elizabeth and daughter Verena washed dishes, and daughter Lovina mixed up a batch of sour cream cut out cookies. I helped give Susan some pointers on sewing. She doesn’t quite know all the steps of sewing a shirt for her husband Mose. She did well and it was finished to take home. She wrote down step by step notes and will try to sew one at home.

Daughter Loretta’s special friend Dustin came to pick her up to attend a visitation of his foreman who found out he had cancer sixteen days before he died. So sad for the loved ones left behind. Dustin is a group leader at work and his foreman was who he went to for advice. I’m sure he will be greatly missed.

Our lunch was a kettle of soup and ham and cheese sandwiches. Dustin and Loretta came back home and Dustin ate lunch here before heading home. The little children are always glad to see Dustin and tease him. Abigail, 3, and Jennifer, 23 months, love to get him to chase them.

Lovina enjoyed decorating Christmas cut out cookies with her grandchildren. Find the recipe in this week’s column. Photo provided.

After lunch we rolled out and baked the cookies. Abigail loves the rolling pin and making cut outs of bells, trees, stars, snowmen, gingerbread men, and candy canes. After the cookies are cooled the decorating is done. Abigail and Jennifer love the sprinkles and sample cookies more than decorating. So much cuteness! Little T.J. crawls on the step stool and wants to help too but is done helping after getting a cookie.

T.J. is a little busybody. He loves to check out every cabinet door. He gets a lot of help from Jennifer. When Elizabeth says “Timothy Josiah” to get his attention he still looks like he isn’t sure she means him because everyone calls him T.J. He will be one-year old next week. Ryan is sitting in the highchair looking at everyone and always smiling.

December 10 was daughter Verena’s 22nd birthday. On Sunday we had company in honor of her birthday. The menu was pizza, banana poppers, hot wings, veggies and dip, fruit and dip, chips, salsa, brownies, cake and ice cream. Some of the food was brought in so we had an easy meal. I have a hard time grasping that Verena is 22 already. She is a great daughter and always so caring. So many evenings before I go to bed, she massages my feet. How relaxing! My mother did foot reflexology and I miss that. Verena must take after her grandma.

Lovina’s family and friends gathered for a meal and cake to celebrate daughter Verena’s 22nd birthday. Photo provided.

Our supper tonight was omelets. Some of the girls and I weren’t hungry, so it was easy to make an omelet for those that wanted one. Ham, bacon, black olives, mushrooms, and cheese were the toppings.

Tomorrow, nephew Jacob (son of sister Emma and Jacob), 20, will have surgery for his muscular dystrophy. He decided to try the surgery after seeing the results his younger brother Steven received from the surgery. Our prayers are with him that he will have success.

Steven, 12, spent Sunday evening here and went on the bus with son Kevin, 14, on Monday morning. Steven is back on his feet and uses a walker for some support but can walk without it. He is still in therapy but the surgery was a success for him.

Until having children of my own with disabilities I never fully understood the battle they face at times. But they are always cheerful and there is never a dull moment. It has made them so much more thoughtful of others which is a blessing.

God bless!

 

Sour Cream Cut-Out Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Frosting:

1/3 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Stir in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. In a medium bowl, blend flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until a soft dough is formed. On a floured surface, roll dough out to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out with cookie cutters and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

Frosting: Cream shortening, vanilla, and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Gradually add milk and the remaining powdered sugar, beating constantly. Add more powdered sugar for desired consistency. Add food coloring if you like. Spread frosting on cookies and decorate with sprinkles and chocolate chips if desired. Let set before storing.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 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.

 

Gratitude for Thanksgiving Gatherings and Christmas Preparations

We are already in the last month of 2019! December came upon us so fast. Christmas is three weeks from today. The year is almost over. As we prepare for the holidays let us remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.

A homemade trash can turkey roaster, which you can read about in today’s column. Photo provided.

Our family will come home for Christmas on December 22, which is also my husband Joe’s 51st birthday. We will have a birthday supper for him the night before we celebrate Christmas. Usually, everyone comes the night before and they stay overnight. It’s always enjoyable to have everyone here.

Thanksgiving Day was enjoyable at sister Emma and Jacob’s house. She made way too much food and sent leftovers home with everyone. Emma stuffed two turkeys with dressing and her son-in-law, Menno, cooked a trash can turkey outside. This was the first time I had turkey fixed like that. He bought a big metal trash can to put over the turkey, which was put on a rod over a foil pan. Charcoal was put around and on top of the trash can to cook the turkey.

Lovina and family enjoyed an abundance of food on Thanksgiving day as they gathered at sister Emma and Jacob’s house. Photo provided.

Also on the menu, besides turkey and dressing, were mashed potatoes, gravy, mixed vegetables, corn, hot peppers, deviled eggs, several salads, veggies and dip, cheese, homemade bread, butter, grape jelly, cherry and pecan pie, pumpkin roll, and cheesecake. I’m sure I might have missed something, but there was more than enough food. Are we thankful enough that we have plenty to eat? So many are less fortunate or not able to be with family on days like that. Our God has given us so many blessings which we often take for granted.

Saturday we were surprised to see brother Albert and his wife Sarah Irene, and their daughter Irene and her husband, Levi Jr., who came for a short visit. They had recently butchered hogs, so they brought us some fresh sausage and pon hoss. Pon hoss is always a favorite food around here. We plan to butcher hogs too and are also raising a cow to butcher. Hopefully, maybe over their two-week holiday break, we can work that in. It is a lot of work but will be worth it to have the freezers and jars filled with meat again. Daughter Loretta and son Kevin each shot a deer this season, so that helps with the meat. We want to make jerky yet, too.

On Sunday I went to church for the first time since my surgery. It was nice to see everyone again. Church services were held at son-in-law Tim’s brother’s house in the basement. There were many visitors, so the basement was filled to capacity. Daughter Elizabeth and her children were unable to attend as Elizabeth wasn’t feeling well. I told Tim to bring her over to our house for supper and that was like medicine to her. She was feeling much better. Mose and Susan and Loretta’s special friend were also here for supper. The men grilled 20 pounds of chicken on the grill while we made creamed potatoes to go with it. Also on the menu were colby cheese, veggies and dip, oatmeal pie, and ice cream. An easy supper for me. After supper we played 10,000 with dice, which is always a fun and challenging game.

Our church will have Christmas services next time we meet, so all the women wrote on a list what they will bring to our annual Christmas potluck. I will take a casserole.

Today, daughters Elizabeth and Susan plan to come for the day with their children. I have the gifts wrapped for the grandchildren and have them on top of my cupboard. Abigail, 3, keeps asking me if she can open her gift. She asked if she has to wait until Jesus’s birthday. It will be three days earlier when she gets to open it, since we will have our family Christmas sooner.

Until next week, God bless!

 

Honey Pumpkin Pie
2 cups pumpkin (canned)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup honey
1 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell

Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth; pour into pastry shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted near the center of the 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, will be available in April 2020 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.