All posts by Lovinas Amish Kitchen

Spring memories while staying home

As I’m writing this on April 16, I remember that thirty-nine years ago today my oldest sibling, sister Leah, and Paul were joined in holy matrimony. I was in third grade at the time and remember seeing my mother cry as the bishop was uniting Paul and Leah in marriage. I could not understand why she was crying, but of course I now know the feeling of your firstborn getting married, moving out, and starting their own life. It’s not that we do not like to see them getting married, but the changes in life we accept and trust that God plays a role in their marriage.

Another memory I have is of the day after Paul and Leah’s Thursday wedding. It was Good Friday and I remember going out to the mailbox to get the mail. For some odd reason that always reminds me that we still get mail on Good Friday. In our community we have “fast and prayer day” on Good Friday, so it always seems like a Sunday. I want to wish Paul and Leah a Happy 39th Anniversary.

Last night after supper I signed a card for them, to put in today’s mail. I wrote a letter and before I knew it I had several pages written. We don’t often see each other with the 100 plus miles between us. Actually, with this pandemic going on I don’t see any of my siblings. It has been a different spring which I’m sure many people will remember in history. We have all been home three and a half weeks, and it looks like we have another three weeks until the “stay home” order is lifted.

Our church services have been canceled again, so Lord willing we will host Rule Church here on May 3 now.

It has been a challenge trying to keep the house clean with everyone home. And keeping son Kevin, 14, busy with his schoolwork is another challenge. With everyone around he doesn’t like to be seated at the table doing schoolwork. I cannot imagine how much of the day it takes out of mothers that have quite a few in school yet. Daughter Lovina helps Kevin with figuring out problems if he needs help.

We are having cold weather again and the ground was covered with snow for a while yesterday. Hopefully it won’t hurt the flowers and plants that are peeping out in the garden already.

Lovina’s husband Joe gets a head start on planting using a greenhouse, pictured, despite a spring cold snap. Photo provided.

My husband Joe has moved his plants in from the greenhouse. He has them on tables by the window in the dining room, instead of keeping heat in the greenhouse at night, until this cold spell is over.

I hung our laundry outside this week. Although everything dried well, my fingers were cold by the time I finished hanging up the clothes. I’m not used to it anymore, with lines in our heated basement.

I have a little more painting to do in the basement, in my can room, where I keep all my canned jars of food. I need more paint rollers and brushes, but that is shut off in stores now. It’s too bad, since now people would have time to do jobs like that. It would help keep them occupied.

I have had letters from readers asking for information on where they can order my newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes. My cookbooks can be ordered online from your favorite bookstore. I am really happy about how the new cookbook turned out. So many of our favorite recipes are in there, such as Breakfast Omelet Roll, which we had Sunday morning for breakfast. We like to top it with sausage gravy.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Breakfast Omelet Roll

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 eggs
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 pound bacon, fried and chopped
1 cup chopped ham
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

 

Additional fillings as desired, such as mushrooms, olives, smoked sausage

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut parchment paper to line a 10 x 15-inch jelly-roll pan.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and milk. Whisk until smooth. Add flour and salt. In another bowl, whisk eggs, then add to cream cheese mixture. Pour mixture into parchment-lined pan and bake 30–35 minutes or until puffy and golden.

Remove pan from oven and spread mustard and half the shredded cheese onto the omelet. Add the bacon, ham, onion, bell paper, any additional fillings as desired, and most of the remaining cheese. Roll up in jelly-roll fashion, removing paper as you roll. Garnish with remaining cheese. Cut into slices to serve.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Fishing outings and home projects

We are all still home from the “stay home, stay safe” order due to the coronavirus.

We were to host church services this past Sunday but church services in our community were postponed until further notice. Maybe too often we take going to church for granted. It didn’t seem right to not meet with our fellow church members to worship God. We were home reading from the scriptures in the Bible, still honoring our Heavenly Father. I know that we have so much more family time while all this is going on.

My husband Joe and the boys head for the lake with our boat when they get too bored and need a way to relax. They came home tonight with their limit of bluegill which helps a lot on the grocery bill when they aren’t bringing in money at their jobs while things are closed.

With church being delayed we have time to get some more jobs done around here. We are painting our basement walls with Drylok paint that helps keep moisture out. It seems since we had a fire a few years ago, with all the water ending up in our basement, it has been more damp down there. Hopefully sealing off the walls with white paint will also brighten it up. It’s really looking good so far.

Joe has also set up a mini greenhouse and is growing some vegetable plants from seed. It is very small but it’s a start. He enjoys doing that. I told him when he started planting seeds in trays that I am not interested in that, so he said I don’t have to help. It’s kind of like a hobby to him but it will save us money to grow our own tomato, pepper, etc. plants. If he’s willing to do it, I won’t complain.

The girls made pizza tonight using the pizza dough recipe in my new cookbook, Amish Family Recipes. I will share the recipe at the end of this column.

This is now over a day later and I neglected to finish this column. Yesterday was spent painting in the basement again. I am sore from using muscles I don’t use every day. Our basement walls have a brick like finish, so it is taking much longer than I had anticipated. I love how it looks though, so it is worthwhile.

Joe and the boys took the boat out on a nearby lake again and came home with their limit of bluegill. The fish were filleted and bagged for the freezer. We will have quite a few meals of fish now. It warmed up to 75 degrees yesterday so they were a little sunburned. Joe put some chicken on the grill and that was our supper. We sat outside and ate it from the grill. It was nice but then started cooling off fast.

This morning it’s windy and 45 degrees and the temperature keeps dropping. Joe is going to put a little heat out in the greenhouse. We had let our coal stove go out since it has been so warm. We might have to start it up again, but Joe wants to clean it up first. It shouldn’t be too long before we can let it go out for the summer.

Easter will be on Sunday, reminding us of Jesus’ resurrection. Easter brings hope! Let us keep our faith! Until next week, stay healthy, be safe, and may God bless each of you!

 

My Favorite Pizza Dough

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour

In a medium bowl, mix water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add oil, salt, and flour and mix well. Press dough into a greased 10×15-inch jellyroll pan. Layer on sauce and toppings of choice and bake at 350 degrees until crust is golden brown, about 30 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, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Spring salads and fun with grandchildren

I am writing this on the last day of March. Will April bring us nice days? We will accept what we get. My husband Joe planted peas and radishes in the garden so we will wait and see if it grows garden goodies. It sounds so good.

We had our first meal of dandelion salad this spring. Yummy! With steamed potatoes and fresh grilled ham it was a good meal. I was surprised at how many dandelion greens I could find already.

Rhubarb is coming up and soon asparagus will be popping through the soil. Joe also started some seeds in trays and hopes they will do well to plant in our garden once it warms up.

Everyone is still at home due to the coronavirus. Son Benjamin, 20, drove our horse and buggy to town to the bank and then also picked up a few groceries. So many items are limited but we have managed so far. With everyone being home a lot of neglected jobs are getting done. It does take a little more meal planning with everyone being home all day long.

The boys raked our yard and power washed our paved driveway. Everything looks so fresh and clean. I love to admire the fresh look of everything at the beginning of spring. The grass is getting greener each day. We also had a thunder storm one evening. Another sure sign that spring is here.

Son Kevin, 14, is still doing his school work here at home. Daughter Lovina has been tutoring him when he needs help. He says he wishes he could be at school. This is his last year of school. I never thought something like this would happen, which I’m sure everyone feels right now.

This month, sixteen years ago, we made the move from Indiana to Michigan. We brought our horses Diamond and Itty Bit along. Six days after we were here Itty Bit had a foal, and we named her Ginger. We don’t have Diamond and Itty Bit anymore but it is hard to believe Ginger is 16.

At the time our oldest daughter, Elizabeth, was only nine. She turned 10 that June. Joseph was the youngest child until Lovina was born in May. Now Elizabeth is a Mother to three sweet little children. Susan was eight years old and now has two sweet little children of her own.

We have so much fun with our grandchildren. Each one is special to us. Abigail, 3, picked some flowers for me one day and I put them in a little cup of water. She looked so proud that I liked my flowers. I am not even sure if they are flowers or some kind of weed, but it’s the thought that counts. My daughters laughed about it, saying they wonder if I actually kept their “flowers” that long. It does almost seem like you take more time for your grandchildren. Maybe it’s because you don’t have to be a parent to them and you still get a good night’s sleep when they go home. Whatever it is, I love my children just as much and pray each day that they will lead a life with God.

May each one of you stay safe and healthy. God will provide if we trust in him. We know God doesn’t make mistakes so there is a reason for this pandemic although we do not understand it at the moment. Trust and believe and have faith. God bless and good night to all!

 

Dandelion Sour Cream Salad
4 packed cups young dandelion greens
4 hard-boiled eggs, diced

Sour cream dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups whole milk
salt

Put the eggs and dandelion greens in a large bowl and pour the dressing over them.

Dressing: Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, milk, and salt to taste in a quart jar. Shake until smooth. Any unused dressing can be refrigerated for up to two days.

Variation: Substitute in season fresh-from-the-garden lettuce and endive for the dandelion greens.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Gardening and games at home

Today was such a beautiful sunny day with the temperature around 60 degrees. Everyone is home due to the coronavirus precautions. It seems so different to not set an alarm. Of course, we sleep later since no one is leaving home.

The boys took advantage of the nice day and hauled a lot of manure out to the fields. My husband Joe tilled up both gardens. The soil looks so nice and black. We also did a lot of raking outside such as flower beds beside the buildings, etc.

We would like to make one of our gardens into raised garden beds to plant vegetables. We thought this would be a way our children with handicaps could help with the gardening. They could sit in the mobility scooter and plant, pick, or weed the vegetables. With Joe and I also getting older it would be nice to not bend down to weed and harvest the vegetables.

We would like to use something affordable, but we are not sure what to use. I know some use wood but are bothered with lots of ants and bugs in the plants. We would like to use vinyl boards, but our budget couldn’t afford to that. It would last a lifetime though. Joe measured that we would need 16-foot rows and would make them 4 feet wide and two and a half feet deep. To fill our one garden we would need eight of these. Maybe we will figure something out before planting season. It would work out so well if we could somehow make it work. I am wondering if any of you readers have suggestions about what to use. Joe says he doesn’t want to have to mow under them and wants something neat in appearance. We will see, but we would appreciate any suggestions from you.

I hope to go searching for dandelion greens tomorrow. My sisters Susan and Verena found enough already to make a meal of them. Yum! Looking forward to that!

One night our family sat around the table after we ate supper looking in Country and Country Extra magazines searching for the needles they hide in there. It was a challenge to see who would find it first. The girls also had tricks for us to do with picking a chair up somehow with our head touching the wall bent halfway down. We seem to find enough to entertain us while everyone is home. Some things seem silly but as a family we need to live, laugh, and love!

Most of all, let us read from our Bibles for encouragement and pray that God will be with us during this time of trial. It’s something most people have never seen. Our hearts and prayers go to those affected by the virus. God is in control even though the road ahead looks overwhelming. I try not to think about our income not coming in like so many others also are experiencing. I am thankful for the meat in our freezers and all the vegetables we canned last year from our garden. The fruits of our labor are worth all the hard work put in the gardens. Not everyone has a garden so it’s not as easy. Our biggest challenge is getting enough supply of toilet tissue to have on hand. Every time we make a trip into town, which is sometimes longer than a week apart, the shelves are empty already.

Let us be considerate of others. Stay healthy and safe everyone. This too shall pass.

Daughter Elizabeth says she is trying out recipes from my new cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, published by Herald Press. She loves making new dishes and trying different recipes. In my cookbook I try to stay with recipes that are simple and made with ingredients you have in your kitchen. You can find the cookbook online from various booksellers.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Potato Chowder

4 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup grated carrot
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon parsley
4 chicken bouillon cubes
6 cups scalded milk
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
Optional: shredded cheese

In a large kettle, combine potatoes, onion, carrots, salt, pepper, parsley, and bouillon. Add enough water to just cover the vegetables and cook until tender. Do not drain. In a separate pan, scald milk until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan. With a wire whisk, mix butter and flour with 1-1/2 cup scalded milk. Add remaining milk to vegetables, then stir in thickened milk mixture until blended. Simmer a few minutes on low heat. Yield: 8-10 servings.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Morning Maple Muffins from the new Lovina Eicher cookbook

 It’s a rainy Wednesday evening here in Michigan. Supper is over and the girls are washing dishes. I decided to sit here at the kitchen table and get started on this column. The girls are talking to each other, so my mind wanders over to them, making the task of writing a little difficult. The boys are taking their showers and things are slowing down for the day here at the Eicher farm.

The girls made hamburger potato skillet casserole for our supper. It is made with hamburger, onions, potatoes, cream of mushroom soup, and Colby cheese, layered in a skillet.

Son Kevin, 14, has been having school here at home this week due to school doors closing because of the coronavirus. Kevin’s teacher brings him his work whenever he needs some more. Kevin goes to a small public school of around 300 students in K-12 that is located about three miles from here. The Amish schools have all closed their doors as well here in Michigan.

It is hard to get groceries that are needed when the shelves are emptying fast. We have plenty of meat in the freezer and canned goods, but items such as toilet and Kleenex tissues were off the shelves. I am not one to stock up on such items, as they are usually available in the stores. Once in a while when they go on sale, I buy a few more packs than needed. Of course, with eight people in the house, it takes quite a bit already.

The first store I went to was out of toilet tissue and Kleenex. The second store had a few six-roll packs of toilet tissue left, which of course I took, but they were out of Kleenex and all the other brands except the very small purse size packs. I took some, as not everyone’s nose is okay with paper towels. Yes, fortunately, I was able to get paper towels. I know a lot of people use hankies, but I never did just because I really think it’s carrying germs to use it over and over.

I also remember well when I used cloth diapers. I was one of the mothers that, if our paycheck allowed it, added disposable diapers to our grocery list. Of course, with my children being closer in age and having more than one child in diapers, that wasn’t always possible.

I was telling our children how well I remember going to church as a little girl and, at some places, there wasn’t any toilet tissue in their outhouses—only newspaper and magazines. They were amazed that one would even consider using that. Yes, times have changed and life goes on but one thing will never change and that is our almighty God! Let us not fear but keep our trust in Him. He will take care of us in times of need. We do want to use common sense though with this virus. I pray all of you will stay healthy and safe. God will provide if we put our full trust in Him.

Lovina’s sons-in-law Tim and Mose have been busy tapping Maple trees for syrup. They use bags now to collect the sap instead of buckets.
Cooking maple syrup.
Photo provided.

Meanwhile, our sons-in-law Tim and Mose have cooked a lot of sap into maple syrup from the trees in the woods beside Tim and Elizabeth’s house. A reader asked if the bags they use are reusable; they are not. They gather the sap with the horse and wagon, and the bags are emptied into the buckets on the wagon, then taken to the cooker to cook down, which takes hours and hours.

I was very excited to receive my brand new cookbook. The pages are so crisp and new. I’m looking back at all the hard work we put into it, and now the finished product. I will share a recipe from the book that uses maple syrup.

God bless!

 

Morning Maple Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped nuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold butter

In a large bowl combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl combine milk, melted butter, maple syrup, sour cream, beaten egg, and vanilla. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.

Topping: Combine flour, sugar, chopped nuts, and cinnamon; cut in cold butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 400 degrees for 16-20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before placing muffins on wire rack.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Spring Cleaning and Fresh Breezes

Last week my sisters Verena and Susan did a good job cleaning the windows in the upstairs bedrooms. We like to take the screens out and bring them to the basement to spray off with soap and hot water. The summer dust accumulates on them.

Just before lunch time Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty from Geneva, Indiana, drove in. They stayed for lunch and visited with all of us. I want to wish them a happy 50th wedding anniversary on March 14. Not everyone gets to see their 50th anniversary anymore, so I think that’s special!

We also washed laundry that day and with the temperature in the 50’s and the sun shining, we hung everything outside. We washed the curtains from the bedrooms upstairs while the windows were getting cleaned. All the laundry was dry, folded, and put away again, which is a sure sign spring is not too far away. The curtains were ironed and hung back on the sparkling windows.

Along with spring cleaning in preparation for hosting church services, Lovina and daughters did many loads of laundry this week and took advantage of the sunshine and warmer temperatures to hang it outside to dry. Photo Credit: D. Lucas Landis

Monday, daughter Susan and children and daughter Verena drove the five miles to the doctor’s office to have 7 1/2-month-old Ryan checked out. He had been running a temperature and was very fussy so Susan stayed home from church with him. The doctor says he had inner ear infection and gave him an antibiotic and ear drops. I had Susan bring her laundry here, and daughter Loretta and I washed it while they were in town. We washed ours too, so we put through quite a few loads of laundry. I hung most of it outside and it dried fast in the wind. It’s always harder to hang clothes on the lines on windy days, but they dry fast.

Wednesdays are usually the day our married daughters Elizabeth and Susan come home for the day along with our five sweet grandchildren. Yesterday Elizabeth and Susan washed off the walls and ceiling in the master bedroom, and also cleaned the windows and furniture. It was relaxing to go to bed last night with our bedroom so refreshed. The master bathroom still needs to be cleaned but that won’t take long for me to do one day.

My other daughters were baking cookies and washing dishes, rocking babies, etc. They made chocolate crinkle cookies. This recipe will be in my new cookbook coming out next month. They also made ranger cookies, which are an oatmeal cookie. They wanted to make outrageous cookies but we were out of chocolate chips. Granddaughters Abigail, 3, and Jennifer, 2, love when their aunts let them help mix and bake the cookies. Some turned out very small because the little girls were helping, but they enjoyed it. Ryan is back to smiling and chattering and is acting so much better than a few days ago.

I made a list of everything we hope to accomplish in cleaning before we host church services in April. It’s not that we can’t host the services if this doesn’t get done, but I like to set a goal and the list helps to get everything done. How refreshing once the house has a thorough cleaning from top to bottom. Plans are for me to do quite a few book signings after my new cookbook is out. I know I will relax much better leaving and knowing my house is cleaned for the summer months ahead. The girls are always happy to mark things off my list. They will also be glad when we are done.

This month 16 years ago my husband Joe and I and our six children made the move here to our home in Michigan from our home in Indiana. Eight weeks later we were blessed with our seventh child, Lovina. She came earlier than expected and I had her by emergency c-section and spent a week in the hospital. Sixteen months later we added another son, Kevin, to our family. Sixteen years went by so fast! Time does not stand still.

I want to get to answering my reader mail today. I am so sorry for the delay in answering but it’s so easy to put off for another day, week, etc. God bless!

 

Chicken ’n Rice Casserole
1 cup cooked chicken
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup cooked rice
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
2 hard-boiled eggs

Mix together all the ingredients and put in a two-quart casserole dish. Top with breadcrumbs, crushed crackers or tortilla chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 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.

Spring cleaning and a horse chase

March! Spring is just around the corner! Our snow from last week has all melted. We took advantage of it and made ice cream in the hand cranked ice cream freezer. I always love the taste of homemade ice cream.

My husband Joe and son Benjamin left for work this morning at 3:40 a.m. Son Joseph’s ride will be here at 5:00 a.m. but he won’t be able to go. He got up during the night feeling really dizzy. I made him take his temperature and he has a fever. He started with a bad head cold which doesn’t help.

Our days are filled mostly with cleaning the house. It feels good to see the rooms clean and refreshed. Yesterday daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their children spent the day here. Some of my kitchen cabinets were cleaned and organized.

Today my sisters Verena and Susan plan to come help. Sounds like the temperature will hit the 50-degree mark, so plans are to clean all the windows in the upstairs bedrooms. There are ten windows up there. We wash our windows with white vinegar and water and wipe them off with flour sack towels that have not been washed in fabric softener. It sure makes sparkling windows. It really bothers me to see the windows in the main living area dirty. When the sun shines on them you can see they need a good cleaning. It will feel good to be able to open windows when warmer weather arrives. It freshens up the house after a winter of dust from the coal stove. I always enjoy hearing the birds chirping in the morning when the windows are open.

Yesterday when the girls were here, two of our horses found a post that was loose and managed to squeeze through the fence. Fortunately, someone saw it before more horses got through. We dropped what we were doing and ran to get them before they headed down the road. Susan ran in the barn and grabbed a scoop of grain and lured them to her. Our border collie dog Buddy thinks he knows how to round them up but he makes it worse. He goes in front of them instead of behind them. He has probably had too many bad results from their flying hooves.

After the horses were back in the barnyard, those horses knew where the bad post was and headed back there. The girls and I did our best to tie ropes around it to make it more secure until my husband Joe and sons could come home to repair it. Just for safety we pushed the buggy in front of the fence. It looked funny but it worked. Last night the men put in a new post so today will hopefully not include a horse chase.

We had pancakes, fresh sausage, and scrambled eggs for breakfast. The little ones ate by the little picnic table that we moved into the house from the front porch. They wanted their food on the little toy plates so we washed the little plates and small pots and pans and set their table. I really do think they ate better because they could use the tea set and small dishes.

For lunch we made One Kettle Soup to eat with cheese and crackers. Daughter Lovina made fruit dip and brownies to have with apple slices and ice cream.

Several of the girls took all the little ones outside except baby Allison. It was nice and sunny and the temperature was 45 degrees. They enjoyed watching their uncle Kevin come off the bus. It refreshed them to go outside awhile.

Baby Allison’s new cap and coat, handmade by Lovina’s daughter Elizabeth.

Baby Allison looked so cute in the new cap and coat daughter Elizabeth made for her and wrapped in the baby bunting a kind reader made. It sure keeps her nice and warm on the buggy rides to grandpa and grandma’s house.

Until next week—God bless!

 

Berry Cream Cheese Muffins

1 cup butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, blueberries, or raspberries dusted with 2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt, and gradually add to the butter mixture. Fold in berries and nuts. Spoon batter into muffin cups.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for three minutes before removing from pans. Makes 18 muffins.

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.

Fun with grandchildren as winter weather continues

Today baby Allison is already two months old. She’s so petite but very active. Last Sunday I was holding her in church, and she made so many facial expressions. When we started singing, she wasn’t sure if she should be sad or smile. It was so cute to see her smile then change to a frown and almost cry then smile again. Such little sweet innocent angels. She has brought much joy to daughter Elizabeth and Tim. Abigail likes being the big sister and T.J. isn’t sure if he wants to hug her or try to slap her. That little guy keeps them on their toes.

Baby Ryan is seven months old today. He weighs 20 pounds and is a tall guy. He gets around everywhere with his walker when he is in it. Ryan did his best to ignore me when he saw me holding baby Allison. Not until I took him would he look at me. Isn’t it amazing how fast they catch on to things? Jennifer makes sure to push Ryan’s walker away from things he shouldn’t have. She will say, “No, Ryan, you can’t have that.” Ryan has such a calm personality and is full of smiles. He tries to talk a lot. Jennifer and Ryan keep Mose and Susan busy, but they enjoy every minute of it.

Abigail, 3, sings a German song that she learned from just hearing her father Tim sing it. She does a good job. It’s amazing what young children pick up so fast.

In today’s column Lovina shares stories about spending time with her growing grandchildren.

Sons-in-laws Tim and Mose have been busy tapping Maple trees for syrup. They use bags now to collect the sap, instead of buckets.

Yesterday we awoke to winter weather again with the world coated in white. I would guess we have six to eight inches of snow. It’s the kind of snow that sticks to everything and, like our children used to say, the kind that makes good snowmen. I remember one year they made a snowman and the weather warmed up overnight. Son Benjamin wasn’t very old and woke up the next morning to see the snowman had disappeared. He looked up at the fluffy white clouds and said, “Mom, our snowman is up there.” He was so sure those fluffy clouds were his snowman.

Schools were closed yesterday due to the road conditions. Last night we had a voice mail from our school saying school has been cancelled for today as well.

Lovina and family experienced more snow this week in the waning weeks of winter.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan had plans to come home yesterday for the day with a driver. The driver cancelled at the last minute, so they had some disappointed little children who were looking forward to spending the day at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. It is understandable when the roads are not good but trying to explain that to little children is hard. Their plans are to come today instead. It has quit snowing so maybe it will work out.

Son Joseph, 17, was home from work Monday and Tuesday. The contractor he works for is son-in-law Tim’s brother-in-law. His father passed away and the funeral was Tuesday, so they didn’t work. Monday evening we went to the viewing, which was a two-hour drive with a hired driver. Those going with us were my sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma and Jacob, daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and baby Allison, my husband Joe and I, and son Joseph and daughter Lovina. We dropped Abigail and T.J. off at daughter Susan and Mose’s house until we came back. It was 4:00 p.m. when we started picking everyone up. It was after 11:00 p.m. when we got home so it was a late night by the time we made it to bed. Our sympathy goes to the family. It is never easy parting with loved ones. After traveling that many miles, we are always thankful to make it back home safely.

Sunday we will already be entering March. Where did the time go? Spring is just around the corner which I am so ready for, but God controls the weather so we will accept whatever he sends.

Take care! God’s blessings to all!

 

Almost Pizza
5 cups cooked and shredded potatoes
2 cups white sauce (see below)
1 cup pizza sauce
1-pound ground beef, browned
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
All your favorite pizza toppings

Layer potatoes in the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan. Pour white sauce over potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and layer on pizza sauce and remaining toppings. Bake 15 minutes longer.

White sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour until smooth and bubbly. Slowly add milk and salt stirring constantly until thickened and smooth.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, 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 butchering means hard work, a full house, and family fun

February is more than halfway over already. We are happy to be done with our pork butchering for this winter. Friday evening my husband Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph, sons-in-laws Tim and Mose, and Loretta’s special friend, Dustin, dressed three big pigs.

On Saturday morning we began working early on cutting up the meat. Mose and Susan’s pig was cut up first. All the bones were cooked in the big kettle outside while the hams, pork chops, and bacon were sliced, the sausage ground, and lard rendered. Last of all, we made pon hoss. We had twelve gallons of juice to make into pon hoss.

Large kettles are used to cook the bones when butchering pigs, as Lovina describes in this week’s column.

Sister Emma and Jacob and sons and sisters Verena and Susan were also here on Saturday to help our family with the butchering. A cousin of Joe’s father stopped in to see how pon hoss is made and stayed most of the day.

Everyone came for breakfast. The girls and I made two big casseroles the night before to have for breakfast. Also on the menu were hot peppers, cheese, donuts, coffee, orange juice, apple juice, and milk.

For lunch, we fried fresh tenderloin, served along with mashed potatoes, gravy, mixed vegetables, corn, lettuce salad, cheese, hot peppers, blueberry delight, cake, brownies, peaches, and ice cream. We also pickled the heart and tongue from the pigs. We cooked them in the pressure cooker then diced them up and put them in vinegar and onions. A lot of people liked it, but I didn’t even try. I am just not into eating different things like that. Maybe if I didn’t know what it was it would be different.

The pigs were very lean, so we didn’t get as much lard, but our bacon was really meaty, which is what we like. We still had more than enough lard, which we poured into jars and sealed with lids. I think it stays fresh longer like that. We seasoned some of the cracklings with different spices and the boys tried making a few potato chips in the kettle.

At the end of the day Jacob and Emma went home, but sisters Verena and Susan, Tim and Elizabeth and family, Mose and Susan and family, and nephew Steven were our overnight guests. We put up air mattresses and found enough room for everyone to sleep. It was enjoyable to have everyone here.

Sunday morning sons Benjamin and Joseph and Dustin went to church at Dustin’s brother’s house. Loretta has a bad cough, so she stayed home. Daughter Susan and I were up already so she made them breakfast before they left. Everyone was tired from the long day, so we made brunch for everyone. On the menu were pon hoss, fresh bacon, eggs, soup, toast, cheese, cookies, cake, juices including homemade V8, coffee and milk.

We had a full house but its always fun to wake up with the grandchildren here. Ryan, almost seven months, Jennifer, 2, and T.J., 1, were awake right away. Baby Allison, 8 weeks, was also awake early and ready to eat. Abigail, 3, slept with the girls and was happy to wake up beside her aunts.

The rest of the day we mostly sat around resting and visiting. Everyone headed for home in the afternoon. Dustin, Benjamin, and Joseph came back from church. Benjamin and Joseph went back to Dustin’s brother’s house for supper after evening chores were done. Loretta was still not up to leaving so Dustin stayed here. I made fresh sausage sandwiches for supper for the ones still here at home. The house seemed quiet after everyone left.

This week I’ll share the recipe for campfire stew from my cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook. I made it earlier this week when my daughters and grandchildren were here and tried adding mixed vegetables instead of green beans. We all liked it that way. I also made it in a large pot on the stove instead of outside since it’s cold.

God bless!

 

Lovina shares her recipe for Campfire Stew this week, equally good prepared indoors on the stove during the cold winter months.

Campfire Stew

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

Put beef chunks in a 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 the vegetables are well covered. Add bouillon. Boil until vegetables and meat are tender. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Remove whole onion if you wish.

 

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.

A freshly painted room and a pot of chili create warmth in cold weather

It’s amazing how another week has already gone by and it’s time for me to pen another column.

Son Kevin, 14, already left for school this morning. He will not have school tomorrow or Monday. It’s their mid-winter break. Son Joseph, 17, will be home today and possibly tomorrow from his construction job. The construction crew leader is spending time with his father out of state. His father is very ill, so I wish him the best.

The ground has about three more inches of snow this morning. Son Benjamin, 20, and a friend of his went ice fishing last night. After they came home, we had just finished eating supper, so I set the food out for them to eat. We had chili soup and hamburgers on the menu.

When I make a big pot of chili soup I always think of my father. He used to tease my mother when she made a big pot of chili, pointing to the kettle saying “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.” He meant that there was enough soup for several days, but it never lasted that long.

I never add chili powder to my chili soup but substitute with the spicy V8 juice we make. The chili powder gives my husband Joe heart burn, so I omit it so he can eat it. I always use sausage for the meat, and everyone loves when I add Rotel tomatoes to it. Benjamin’s friend liked the V8 juice. We think it is a good drink when you have a scratchy throat from allergies during the winter. It seems like more of our family is liking it. It has just enough spice without being too hot. All that labor we put into making it with all the vegetables from our garden in the summer sure does make it worthwhile to have a cold glass during the winter months.

We only have a few packages of sausage left in our freezer. Our plans are to butcher three pigs on Saturday. One will be for Mose and daughter Susan. They will dress the pigs on Friday night and let them chill overnight, then we will cut up the meat on Saturday, render the lard, and make pon hoss. It’s a big job, but it will be nice to have sausage, pork chops, ham, and bacon in the freezer again.

Daughter Verena is moved back into her freshly painted aqua bedroom now. It looks refreshing and blends in with the dolphin items she collects. Daughter Elizabeth had Verena’s name in our family gift exchange this year and gave her some new curtains that match with her new paint. In the swap bingo at sister Emma and Jacob’s house my niece Emma’s gift was an aqua comforter set and Verena ended up with that gift. She was excited to add these new things to her bedroom.

In today’s column Lovina shares about a painting project to freshen up daughter Verena’s bedroom walls, pictured. Photo provided.

Daughter Lovina, 15, and I painted the room giving it two coats of 2-in-1 paint/primer. We did both coats the same day. My muscles were sore for a few days from painting overhead. This was Lovina’s first time using a roller to paint and she did a really good job. She enjoyed painting but wasn’t fond of all the taping we had to do around the trim. I don’t care for that either, but it helps to have everything covered when you start painting.

While Lovina and I were painting, Verena ended up having to go to the dentist. She has a wisdom tooth coming through and one side of her face was swollen from it. The tooth is coming through okay so far and the dentist told her if it keeps coming through okay, she doesn’t need to get it pulled. She kept ice packs on it and used Orajel to numb it. She also gargles with warm saltwater. She is feeling better every day but it still hurts to chew on that side. I never had my wisdom teeth come in but heard it can be painful.

My page is full, and I need to get busy. I hope everyone stays healthy through this flu season. Thank you to all my readers for your encouragement. God’s blessings to all of you!

 

Chili Soup

2 pounds sausage (may substitute ground beef or venison)
1 fresh garlic clove, minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, undrained
3-4 cups tomato juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Brown sausage, garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Drain, then combine in a saucepan along with remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30–60 minutes for best flavor.

 

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.