All posts by Lovinas Amish Kitchen

Many blessings as newlyweds begin life as one

Tonight was daughter Lovina’s eighth-grade graduation. Her class has 23 students. Our school is a small public school and is very close-knit. Friday is the school picnic, then school doors will close for another term.

Lovina’s school days will be over. She said she will miss seeing her friends but is excited to be done. Son Kevin will be the last of our children to graduate eighth grade next year. Time goes much too fast.

I had a nice 48th birthday on May 22 even though it was spent at sister Emma and Jacob’s house preparing for the Friday wedding of niece Elizabeth and Manuel. Thank you so much for all the cards and gifts. They are greatly appreciated.

Saturday before the wedding, the cook wagon with six stoves and two stainless steel sinks and much counter space arrived. Also a portable restroom, which saves the bathroom in the house from getting used so much. A walk-in cooler and freezer were brought in, and also the storage wagon with tables and everything needed for a 360-place setting. Everything you need to cook for over 1,000 guests is included in this wedding wagon package.

Hundreds of people typically attend Amish weddings. The meal after the ceremony is served in multiple sittings. Each couple chooses special colors. Female attendants sew their dresses in these colors, and the tables at the meal are decorated in the same colors. One corner (called an “eck” in Pennsylvania Dutch) is reserved for the bride and groom and their attendants and decorated with special memorabilia. Photo by Ruth Boss

On Saturday, tables were set up and set with all the china. They were then covered to keep them clean for the next week. Also, over 30 loaves of bread were toasted for the dressing and bagged.

 

Sister Liz, Jacob and Emma’s neighbor Laura, and I were asked to be head cooks. On Saturday, Laura and I made up the grocery list with the amounts of everything needed. Emma had a good start on her shopping.

In addition to 75 pies, the cooks prepared 16 s’mores cakes for guests to enjoy at the wedding of Manuel and Elizabeth. Photo by Ruth Boss

Wednesday and Thursday, women arrived to help prepare food. They cut up 600 pounds of chicken, baked 16 cakes and 75 pies, and prepared 16 pans of orange cream cheesecake. Vegetables were shredded and diced for the dressing and salad, and so many more little jobs that needed to be done or to make less work for Friday morning. Also over 30 loaves of bread were baked.

On the wedding day almost 400 pounds of potatoes were peeled and cooked for mashed potatoes. Manuel’s uncle grilled the 600 pounds of chicken. The menu included gravy, chicken noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, lettuce salad, cheese, hot peppers, bread, fresh rhubarb jam and butter, s’mores cake, orange cream cheesecake, rhubarb, pumpkin, and cherry pies, fresh fruit (watermelon, muskmelon, grapes, blueberries, and strawberries), and candy bars.

The cook wagon outfit was being picked up Saturday at 7 a.m., so all was loaded and packed back in by 10 p.m. Friday. Some of the neighbors, Timothy, Elizabeth, Mose, Susan, Joe, and I helped get everything packed. The pole barn and tent looked empty, but it makes for a quick clean up.

I wish Elizabeth and Manuel many blessings as they begin life as one. May God always be their guide. I’m sure Jacob and Emma’s house seems empty this week with Elizabeth moved to her new home and only the three boys left. Life brings changes!

A lovely quilted wall hanging with Manuel and Elizabeth’s names greeted guests at the meal after the wedding ceremony. Photo by Ruth Boss

I want to thank my friend Ruth for once again helping out at a wedding and for writing my column. She does so much for all of us. She picks up my mail and delivers it here. I am sorry for the delayed responses to readers who wrote, but that is next on my list. Thanks to all of you!

Joe’s uncle Solomon from Dundee, Ohio, came here after the wedding to spend the night. Joe and I made breakfast for him before he left Saturday morning.

We recently had a visit from Joe’s youngest sibling—his sister Susan and her sons Freddie and Seth. They stayed for supper, and the cousins didn’t take long to get reunited with each other.

God’s blessings to each and every one!

 

Orange Cream Cheesecake 

Crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted

Filling:
1 (3-ounce) package orange gelatin
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/3 cup orange juice concentrate
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (8-ounce) container Cool Whip

 Topping:
2 cups Cool Whip
1/4 cup sugar

Crust: Combine cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and butter. Press into bottom of 9 x 13-inch pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Filling: Prepare gelatin according to package directions. Set aside 1/2 cup at room temperature. Chill remaining gelatin until slightly thickened, about 80 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat together cream cheese and sugar. Gradually beat in evaporated milk and lemon juice on medium speed for 2 minutes. Gradually beat in orange juice concentrate, vanilla, and room-temperature gelatin. Fold in Cool Whip and pour over prepared crust.

Topping: Beat together Cool Whip and sugar. Beat in refrigerated gelatin. Mixture will be thin. Chill for 30 minutes. Gently spoon over filling. Refrigerate 8 hours before serving.

Note: We place mandarin orange slices on top. Delicious!

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available 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.

How to cook for a wedding crowd

A guest post from Lovina’s English (non-Amish) friend Ruth Boss.

This week Lovina is busy with preparations for niece Elizabeth and Manuel’s Friday wedding, so she has asked me to share about the work being done in the days before the wedding. The wedding wagons arrived last week, so Saturday the tables were all set up in the barn and the china, silverware, and glasses were all set. The wedding wagons include a cook wagon that has two sinks, five stoves, and all the cookware needed to prepare for a large gathering. There is a refrigerated wagon and a wagon that has two self-contained washrooms. The church bench wagon supplied the benches for the dinner tables, and another church’s bench wagon was borrowed to set up benches in the barn of neighbors Andrew and Laura, where the actual ceremony will be held.

Wednesday morning it was raining heavily when the women arrived to start the cooking. On the wall inside of the cook wagon was a list of jobs to be done for that day. Each woman chose a job and quickly went to work. Bread was cubed and baked for dressing, and potatoes, carrots, and onions were chopped for the dressing also. Rhubarb was chopped for pies and jam, pie dough crust was mixed, and chocolate and vanilla cakes were baked in round pans. The women enjoy conversation while they work, catching up on things like family activities, gardening, and church events. They speak in Dutch (high German) but politely switch to English when I am in the conversation. There is a good amount of laughter and teasing, especially with Lovina’s sisters. There was even a little Amish “dancing” when a little mouse decided to make an appearance in the cook wagon in the middle of the food prep.

 

Lovina, sister Liz, and neighbor Laura are the head cooks for the wedding. After the menu is decided the head cooks determine how much food is needed and make a large grocery list. They help schedule the women who come to do the food prep and assign coffee time treats, lunch casseroles, salads, and desserts for the meals they share on workdays. The quantity of food that needs to be prepared to make 1,000 meals seems overwhelming to an outsider, but they make it seem easy and the work goes along quite seamlessly. If one person steps away from washing dishes to get finished pies from the oven, another quickly steps in and takes over the dishes. There is a quiet and simple cadence to their work, which is consistent with their lifestyle.

Thursday morning began with a good storm, but by mid-morning the sun was shining. The pie crusts were made, pie fillings were prepared, and all the pies were baked. The pumpkin pie, rhubarb pie, and cherry pie all baking at once make a delightful medley of aromas. The bread dough was also mixed, and after rising it was made into small loaves and baked. The fresh-bread smell is as mouthwatering as the pies! Outside the cook wagon the strawberries, grapes, and blueberries are being washed for the fruit salad. Yesterday’s cakes are being frosted, and the orange cheesecake dessert is being assembled.

The men set up the tent outside the barn, and tables and benches were set to accommodate all the guests. In the house the young girls are playing with the small children and the house is getting a good once-over. Windows are being shined, floors swept and mopped, and furniture polished. Next week, Lovina will share more about the special wedding day.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available 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.

 

All that goes with preparing for a wedding—and birthdays and Mother’s Day too

We had a nice sunny day in the 70s. That was a welcome change after some cool rainy weather the past week. Yesterday was also nice and sunny, making laundry dry fast. It was rainy on Monday so I spent my day sewing and we postponed washing laundry until Tuesday.

I had a good day with sewing. I sewed daughter Lovina’s dress, cape, and apron for the wedding next week of niece Elizabeth. I also sewed two shirts for son Kevin and gray pants for the wedding. Yesterday I sewed daughter Verena’s dress, cape, and apron for the wedding. Now its daughter Loretta and my suits left to sew. I am hoping to work on that tomorrow.

Today daughter Elizabeth and Susan were home with their sweet little ones. They brought their sewing for the wedding along, so I helped them instead of working on mine. Elizabeth has a two-year-old and five-month-old baby, so I know how many interruptions you can have trying to do extra sewing. Elizabeth and Tim are also hosting church services in June, so she has cleaning that needs done as well. And of course it’s time to plant the gardens.

My husband Joe has been tending to our gardens since he’s not working anywhere yet. He’s planting extra in hopes we can sell some by the road. Radishes, lettuce, and corn are up despite the cooler weather we had. Rhubarb is ready to use, so I need to make rhubarb custard pies sometime. That is one of the pies sister Emma plans to have us make for her daughter’s upcoming May 24th wedding next week. I will take my rhubarb if she needs more.

Saturday, Joe and I will go help at Jacob and Emma’s house to unload the wedding tables and dishes for the wedding. Tables will be set and all that goes with preparing for a wedding.

Last week my daughters and I and sisters Verena and Susan helped sister Emma and her daughters Elizabeth and Emma put 216 eggs into noodles. My husband Joe went along to help brother-in-law Jacob with his work. Working together making noodles is always fun. Of course, many hands make lighter work.

Saturday is also daughter Lovina’s 15th birthday, so a happy birthday goes to her.

Sunday, Jacob and Emma’s family and we and our children all gathered at my sister’s house in honor of sister Susan’s birthday. We enjoyed a haystack brunch and dessert. After dishes were washed, some played croquet outside and the rest of us played Rummikub. This was my first time playing the game. It seems similar to Phase 10 but has tiles instead of cards.

Sunday was also nephew Benjamin’s 17th birthday and Mother’s Day as well. I have some nice hanging flowers on my porch from our children. Daughter Elizabeth and Tim had their flower along in the buggy to give to me Sunday at my sister’s house. When Tim brought it in to give to me, granddaughter Abigail started crying. She said she wanted to keep the flower. She loves flowers, and it was so cute to see her want to keep it. My sister Susan went outside and picked a few flowers for Abigail, which made her happy again.

Before we all left for home, sisters Verena and Susan heated up the leftover haystack, making a casserole of everything that was left over from brunch. Everyone ate before parting ways to go home. It was an enjoyable day together!

God’s blessings to all!

 

Apple Rhubarb Crisp

2 cups apples, cut fine
2 cups rhubarb, cut fine
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Topping:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar

Mix apples, rhubarb, eggs, flour, sugar, and nutmeg together. Place in baking dish.

Topping: Combine butter, flour, and brown sugar to crumbly consistency mixture. Pour over apple-rhubarb mixture. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until done. Serve with milk or ice cream.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available 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.

Hosting the church community, gathering with family for a funeral

Daughters Verena, Loretta, and I have plans to go help sister Emma today. The wedding for her daughter Elizabeth and Manuel is fast approaching—15 days to be exact. Plans are to make noodles for the wedding. Some cleaning will be done as well. Sisters Verena and Susan and my daughters Elizabeth and Susan also plan to go, so we should get quite a bit accomplished.

I have lots of sewing to do next week. I need to sew Verena, Loretta, Lovina, and myself each a new dress, cape, and apron. I also need to sew son Kevin a new shirt and pants, so I better get started. Most of it is cut out, so once I get started, I’ll get a lot done. Why I always put this off until the last minute I don’t know, but we were busy cleaning for hosting church services, etc.

Sunday was a beautiful day in the 70s for hosting communion services in our pole barn. Services started at 9 a.m., and around 11:30 a.m. my sisters, daughters, nieces, and I had lunch ready to serve. We had 36 settings so people could take turns coming in to eat.

I made four 12-quart-size kettles of chicken-and-noodle soup. Also on the menu were homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, rhubarb jam, butter and cookies (monster, sugar, and chocolate chip). Also coffee and spearmint tea.

The bread and cookies were all brought in from the ladies in our church district. The hot peppers were furnished from sister Emma, as my supply was low. The rhubarb jam was made fresh by sisters Verena and Susan.

Communion was around 3 p.m. and services were over by 4 p.m. By 4:30 p.m. everyone had left for home except Jacob, Emma, and family; Manuel, Menno, niece Emma, and baby Jessica; Tim, Elizabeth, Abigail, and baby Timothy; Mose, Susan, and Jennifer; sisters Verena and Susan; and also Loretta’s boyfriend, Dustin. Before they all left, I put out sandwiches and heated up some chicken noodle soup for them to eat before leaving for home. We had plenty of leftovers from lunch.

On Saturday, Joe and I attended the funeral of Uncle Elmer. Traveling with a driver in a 14-passenger van to Berne, Indiana, we went with sister Emma and Jacob and sisters Verena and Susan. We headed south to northern Indiana to pick up brother Albert and Sarah Irene. We started out around 4:30 a.m., as it took extra time to pick everyone up. The funeral was held at cousin Ben and Carolyn’s house. Ben is a son to Uncle Elmer and Emma.

Driving past Uncle Elmer and Emma’s house on the way to the funeral brought back many memories of my childhood years. Our family would often travel with horse and buggy the 12-plus miles to Uncle Elmer’s. They had a pond and a shelter back in their woods where we had many picnics and lots of swimming and fishing done. Many holidays were spent back at this pond.

Cousin Amzie, his wife, and daughter now live on the farm, with a smaller house on it for Uncle Elmer and Aunt Emma. Aunt Emma will have many lonely days ahead, but she has a supportive family to care for her. Left to mourn are six sons, four daughters, 52 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Uncle Elmer was 79 years old. Rest in peace!

Tomorrow, May 10, is sister Susan’s 43rd birthday. She wants us to come in honor of her birthday on Sunday for a brunch. Sunday will also be Mother’s Day, so I wish all mothers out there a blessed day!

It is time for us to get ready to leave soon. It looks like rain, but hopefully it will clear up.

God bless each and every one!

 

Amish Noodles

1 quart chicken broth
3 to 3 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken pieces
4 pounds noodles*
7 quarts potato water or plain water
1 cup chicken soup base
1 tablespoon salt

Bring broth and chicken pieces to a boil in a 12-quart kettle; stir in noodles. Add water, chicken soup base, and salt. Return to a full boil and cook for several minutes, then turn off heat. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.

*Depending on the noodles, only 3 pounds may fit in a 12-quart kettle.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available 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.

Final cleaning tasks—including 42 windows—before holding Sunday services

The first day of May has arrived with it being a rather cloudy day. At 7 a.m. the sun is now out and shining so bright.

Daughter Verena and sons Benjamin and Joseph left tonight to attend a local wedding. They invited (as most couples in this community do) the youth for a 7 p.m. supper. Joseph came home from work around 6 p.m. and showered and left. He is working one-and-a-half hours from home, so it makes a longer day. He seems to enjoy his new job.

My husband Joe is outside doing some power washing. Loretta, Lovina, and Kevin are all reading or resting. I wanted to get this column written before I’m too tired.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and little ones came home for the day. They washed off walls, ceiling, cabinets, shower, etc., in the main bathroom. More windows were cleaned. Our house has 42 windows, so it takes a lot of cleaning. This is on three levels, with 22 of the windows being on the main level.

Communion services will be held here Sunday. On Saturday, Tim, Elizabeth, and children Abigail and Timothy, Mose, Susan and Jennifer, sisters Verena and Susan and daughter Loretta’s boyfriend Dustin were all here helping us clean. The men and boys took care of cleaning the pole barn floor, windows, etc., where church services will be held in. The women helped here in the house. A lot was accomplished, and their help was greatly appreciated.

On Sunday our whole family came home for lunch, which consisted of mashed potatoes, noodles, dressing, meat loaf, creamed asparagus (our first of the season), lettuce salad, cheese, hot peppers, celery, and carrot sticks. For dessert, Elizabeth brought a dirt pudding. We opened the dining room table and set the table for everyone.

I forgot to mention we also had hard-boiled colored Easter eggs and horseradish. Abigail and Jennifer colored eggs at Tim’s house on Friday and brought some here. We didn’t color any this year as we were gone all day on Easter and didn’t have the family home.

It warmed up nice in the afternoon and the men and boys went out to play croquet. The rest of us played Phase 10 here in the house. We decided to have an egg toss just for fun. Everyone had a partner and it was a little messy for a few people, but we had lots of laughs. Tim and Elizabeth were the winners. Our friends John and Carol were driving past and saw us outside and stopped to visit. John is a cousin to Joe’s late father. Before the children left for home, I heated up the leftovers for whoever was hungry. It was a nice enjoyable day making memories.

We received the sad news tonight that Uncle Elmer from Berne, Indiana, passed away. He doesn’t have to suffer any longer but will be greatly missed. Our sympathy goes to Aunt Emma (my mother’s sister) and extended family. He suffered much pain from that dreaded disease—cancer. May he rest in peace now. The funeral is planned for Saturday and our plans are to attend. This will shorten us by a day in preparing for communion on Sunday but somehow, we will manage. Sisters Verena and Susan plan to come help tomorrow so we should get a lot more accomplished.

On Monday my husband Joe, son Kevin, and I traveled to Ann Arbor to the C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital to have Kevin’s cast removed. He now wears an air cast for two weeks. Thanks to all who remembered him.

Once again I want to thank all of you readers for your thoughtfulness and encouragement. It helps to know others care, and may God bless each of you richly as we travel into the unknown future!

Breakfast Zucchini Casserole

1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped bell peppers
2 tablespoons butter
1 dozen eggs
2 cups Bisquick mix*
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups cooked meat of your choice: sausage, diced ham, smokie links, bacon
6 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Sauté onions and peppers in butter. Beat eggs; add the sautéed onions and peppers and all the remaining ingredients to beaten eggs except cheese. Put into a 9 x 13-inch pan, setting it into a larger pan filled partway with water. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, covered with tinfoil. Uncover. Bake another 30 minutes, then top with cheese.

Variations: Use shredded cooked potatoes instead of zucchini. *Instead of Bisquick mix, use 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available 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.

Giving everything a thorough cleaning—but not without enjoying the company

Thursday morning and it’s almost 5 a.m. This column needs to be written, although my eyes still want to close for some more sleep. At least it’s not 3 a.m. That is the one thing I don’t miss from my husband not working at the RV factory. Son Joseph, 16, is waiting on his ride to go to work. Son Benjamin left for work at 4:30 a.m. The rest are still in bed. I feel extra tired this morning, but we did have a long day yesterday.

Yesterday my sister Emma, her daughters Elizabeth and Emma, and baby Jessica, along with my daughters Elizabeth and Susan and grandchildren, Abigail, Jennifer, and baby Timothy, all came here to assist us with cleaning for our upcoming church services. We will host here May 5. It will be communion services, so that usually lasts all day. We serve lunch halfway through the day, to a few tables of people at a time, until everyone is fed. Communion is usually around 3 p.m.

Anyways, back to my much-appreciated help . . . We accomplished so much yesterday but still had a nice day spent together. Walls, ceilings, furniture, etc. were cleaned from top to bottom in the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Curtains were washed and quickly dried with the nice, breezy, sunshiny day. Everything looks so crisp and clean this morning, and the curtains look nice and white hanging on the sparkling windows. I love to admire the clean windows because I know before long they will be speckled by flies resting on them. They used white vinegar and water to clean them, and that works really good.

Last week one day, daughters Verena and Loretta washed out both my cupboards. On Saturday my sisters Verena and Susan came to help, so they helped my daughters clean out cabinets. I really appreciated their help too.

I still need to defrost the freezer on our propane refrigerator and clean out the refrigerator. Also, my gas stove and oven need a thorough cleaning.

Everyone came for breakfast yesterday so I made a casserole with shredded hash browns, scrambled eggs, crumbled bacon, chopped green peppers and onions, shredded cheese, and topped with gravy. My sister Emma brought cherry coffee cake that was still warm, so that went good for dessert.

We enjoyed the four little ones. They are so precious and so much fun. Abigail wanted to help me hang out the laundry, so I told her to hand me the washcloths and a clothespin with each one. That kept her entertained for a while. She wanted to swing on the swing that hangs from our tree branch, so I lowered the seat for her. Jennifer came outside for a while, enjoying the nice day. She kept picking up little twigs and bringing them to me.

The two babies, Jessica (almost 3 months) and Timothy (4 months), took a nap on Kevin’s bed, which is still in our living room since his first surgery. Timothy is quite active and was entertained rolling over and trying to grab Jessica’s face after he awoke. The baby swing bouncer also entertained the babies while their mothers worked.

For lunch, daughter Susan brought spaghetti and meatballs and we also had leftover tacos from last night’s supper. Along with the coffee cake for dessert, it made a quick, easy meal.

While we were cleaning my husband Joe was outside in the garden planting early red potatoes. He also has sweet onions he wants to plant and some more seeds to get out in the garden. Our radishes and lettuce are up from his previous gardening. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and let them survive. It’s all controlled by God, so we trust in Him. He knows best!

I hope everyone had a nice Easter! God’s blessings to all!

Hamburger Potato Casserole

2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoons salt, divided
2 cups macaroni or shells
1 pint pizza sauce
2 quarts cubed potatoes
3 cups milk
2 rounded tablespoons flour
1 pound Velveeta cheese, melted

Place ground beef and onions in a large skillet. Add pepper and 1 teaspoon salt (or as desired) and cook over medium heat until brown. Pour into a big roasting pan or two large baking dishes.

Cook macaroni until soft, drain, then add pizza sauce. Pour on top of meat.

Cook potatoes until soft. Drain, then add milk, 2 teaspoons salt, and flour. Add cheese and pour over macaroni. Bake in a 350 degree F oven until it’s hot. Feeds a family of 12.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available 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.

Busy hours fill the day: Diary for April 17, 2019

4:00 a.m. I get up to pack lunch for son Joseph, 16, and make him breakfast before he leaves for work. They are working an hour away so they will start out earlier than usual.

4:30 a.m. Joseph leaves for work. I go back to bed until I need to get up to wake the children for school.

6:00 a.m. Alarm rings again. Daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, start getting ready. They eat breakfast at school, as the school serves free breakfasts to all the students each morning.

6:45 a.m. Lovina leaves for school.

7:15 a.m. Kevin’s bus is here to pick him up. Kevin can now wheel his wheelchair down our ramp to the bus, so no one needs to help him. Coming home it’s harder for him to wheel his wheelchair up the ramp, so someone usually pushes him in.

8:00 a.m. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and children arrive with horse and buggy. Elizabeth is driving this week. They take turns each week. Son Benjamin, 19, goes out to take care of the horse for them. I help carry in the little ones. Abigail is awake but just too tired to walk in so she still wants Grandma to carry her in the house. Jennifer is smiling and in a good mood. Baby Timothy is four months old today and is as lively as ever. He is so active and rolls over and over.  He’s not safe on a bed and moves all over already. He looks like his daddy and is always smiling. So precious when he reaches his little hands out to come to Grandma.

My husband Joe is home, so he gets to enjoy the grandchildren too. Benjamin is off work this week as the RV factory he works for is shut down this week. He has been hauling manure out to the fields every day.

8:45 a.m. We are ready to eat breakfast, which consists of fried eggs and potatoes, ham, cheese, toast, butter and jelly, and coffee and grape juice. Daughters Verena and Loretta help get the little girls fed. Abigail and Jennifer love their aunts.

9:30 a.m. Verena and Loretta wash dishes and watch the little ones while Elizabeth, Susan, and I go down to the basement to start cleaning. On Monday, Susan was here and we cleaned the can room where we have shelves of all our canned food. That is a big job done. Susan cleans the windows and Elizabeth helps me organize and mop the floors, dust, etc. With our coal stove in the basement it causes a lot of dust down there.

Joe and Benjamin are cleaning out our pole barn where we will have church services in. It seems somehow things accumulate over winter. On Monday son-in-law Mose and Loretta’s boyfriend Dustin helped Joe run new water lines in the pole barn where we have cabinets and a kitchen sink, and also to the bathroom. This winter a pipe froze, breaking the hot water line, so we didn’t have any water out there. They ran a new kind of pipe and did better insulating. I’m glad that is done. It will be nice to do my canning out there this summer.

1:00 p.m. Verena and Loretta have lunch ready so we all gather in the kitchen to eat. We have chicken noodle soup and leftover pizza from supper last night.

2:00 p.m. We all go back to our work. Verena and Loretta rock the little girls for their naps. Elizabeth fed baby Timothy and he is sleeping.

3:15 p.m. Kevin is home from school.

3:30 p.m. Lovina is home from school and gives Abigail a swing ride. Jennifer is taking a walk with Verena. She’s still learning how to walk good over bumpy surfaces.

4:30 p.m. The girls leave for home.

5:30 p.m. Joseph is home from work. Benjamin has evening chores done.

6:30 p.m. Supper is ready. Campfire stew, cheese, and crackers are on the menu.

7:30 p.m. Dishes are washed and everyone is getting cleaned up for the day.

9:30 p.m. Everyone has gone to bed. Good night to all! God bless!

Note: I would also like to mention that a reader wrote explaining that the math in the column for the week of 3/18/19 isn’t correct. So I thought I needed to give credit to daughter Lovina, who wrote the column, and mention that it wasn’t her mistake but a publishing typo.

Daughter Lovina thanks all of you for the very nice letters written to her. I also want to thank everyone for the letters and cards of encouragement to our family

 

Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars

Crumbs:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups quick oats
3/4 cup sugar
2 sticks margarine

Filling:
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 oz) cream cheese
1 (16 oz) rhubarb filling (any kind of fruit filling is good; see recipe below)

Crumbs: Mix ingredients together, reserving 1 1/2 cups; put the rest into a 13 x 9-inch pan, pressing flat. Bake 15 minutes in a 350 degree F oven.

Filling: Mix cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk and pour over baked crust. Top with rhubarb filling (see below) and add the reserved crumbs on top. Bake 20–40 minutes.

Rhubarb filling:

3 cups rhubarb
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cook together on medium heat.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available 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.

Garage sales and that first batch of dandelion greens

It is 5:30 a.m. on a Thursday here in Michigan. It sounds windy outside. Temperature shows 38 degrees. It feels good to have heat coming up through the vent from our coal stove in the basement. After having 70-degree weather the house was too warm, so we let the fire in the stove go out. Yesterday morning my husband Joe started it again. Today daughters Elizabeth and Susan have plans to come, so at least it will be nice and cozy for the little sweeties.

Usually the girls come on a Wednesday, but on Tuesday my sister Emma and her daughters Elizabeth and Emma, my daughters Elizabeth and Susan, and I went to the Amish garage sales. We took Emma’s baby Jessica and grandson baby Timothy along. Granddaughters Abigail and Jennifer stayed here with daughters Verena and Loretta. Of course sister Emma and I had almost more fun helping out with our grandchildren than shopping.

Our daughters were fortunate to get many good bargains in clothes. With material so high it pays to get garage sale priced clothes (and including the time it saves), and it was also fun just spending the day together. I saved myself quite a few days of sewing with the clothes I bought, and the prices were reasonable. It seems the boys are always in need of pants and I was able to get some in their size.

While we were garage saleing my husband Joe was home planting some early garden. Now let’s hope it doesn’t get too cold and we will have the fruits of his labor next month. Joe would like to buy or make a little greenhouse so he could experiment starting a garden a lot earlier. I have no interest in doing that, but if he’s willing to do the work I’m all for it.

We enjoyed our first meal of dandelion greens this week. We eat them in a salad with homemade sour cream and hardboiled eggs diced up in it. Yummy! Some of the children just don’t get the excitement I have when I bring in that first batch of dandelion greens.

Son Benjamin, 19, left for work at 4:30 a.m. and son Joseph, 16, left for work at 5:00 a.m. At 6:00 a.m. daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, get up to get ready for the bus. Lovina leaves at 6:45 a.m. and Kevin’s bus comes at 7:00 a.m. or later. He is still riding to school with the county bus, as he needs the lift for his wheelchair.

When the girls come home today we will probably work at somemore cleaning. I am trying to stay calm and not think about the sewing I need to get done for the upcoming wedding of niece Elizabeth and Manuel, along with all the cleaning. It all usually falls into place, and it’s not that we can’t host church services with some dirty corners. That is not at all the point of cleaning, for it is just a deadline to get it all done so it’s cleaned for a while.

Last Sunday our neighbors hosted church services and had the youth singing in the evening. It was warm enough to take Kevin with the pony cruiser and our pony Stormy. It’s easier for Kevin to get in than the buggy. We all went back for supper and singing in the evening. Tim and Elizabeth and Mose and Susan came here after church and went back for supper and singing too. The afternoon was spent relaxing and resting and the little ones took naps.

Daughter Verena’s friends came through to pick her up to go to the singing. Sons Benjamin and Joseph spent all weekend in Indiana at their friend’s house. They weren’t home in time to go to the singing. By 8:30 p.m. everyone was back home, so it was nice to all get to bed early.

This week I will share a recipe a reader sent to me. God bless you!

 

Zucchini Fritters

1 pound zucchini, unpeeled and grated
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon fresh chives, minced
1 cup buttermilk pancake mix
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients except the oil, stirring well. Heat oil to 375 degrees F. Drop mixture by tablespoons into hot oil. Cook until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

Yields about 1 dozen fritters.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available 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.

Helping hands make light work; words of encouragement lighten spirits

Yesterday daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their children came for the day. We cleaned Loretta and Lovina’s bedroom upstairs. We washed off the walls and ceiling, cleaned the furniture, washed the curtains and bedding, cleaned out the closet, and so on.

On Saturday my sisters Verena and Susan came to help us, so we cleaned Verena’s bedroom thoroughly. Now next on our agenda is tackling the boys’ bedrooms. Although the boys’ bedrooms always collect more dirt, I think cleaning the girls rooms takes more time. They have many more knickknacks sitting around than the boys. I also think the girls have more clothes than the boys. I appreciated all the help from everyone.

Yesterday was a long day it seemed, especially battling this cold. I am losing my voice, so I think everyone should enjoy the peacefulness. A person doesn’t realize how much they need to talk until it’s hard to. Maybe its just us, but around here “Mom” is the person everyone asks where their things are amongst a lot more questions.

My husband Joe was hauling manure out to the fields all day yesterday. Today he is finding inside jobs to do as it is rainy.

Daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, are on spring break this week from school. I think Lovina thinks we waited to start with the cleaning until she’s home from school. She has been a great help this week. Kevin has 25 more days until he gets his cast removed and gets an air cast.

Today daughters Verena, Loretta, and Lovina and son Kevin took a break from the work. They went to daughter Elizabeth’s to spend the day there. The little girl, Nikiah, that Elizabeth used to babysit for is on spring break, so she’s spending the day at Elizabeth’s. I had plans to also go but didn’t feel like leaving this morning after all. I am sure granddaughter Abigail will be excited to see Nikiah again.

The grass is looking greener every day. Hopefully soon I can go outside and collect some dandelion greens for dandelion salad. I always look forward to that each spring. We like to eat the salad over boiled or steamed potatoes with bacon or fresh ham.

Our neighbors had the youth singing on Sunday evening. We were also invited but we didn’t go. It sounded fun, but it was cold and windy and felt good to just stay home and make it an early night. We were also invited to supper at Dustin’s brother’s house, where his parents hosted church services that day. Maybe if it would have been a nice sunny, warm day we would have gone to one place or the other. Its hard to get Kevin in the buggy with his needing a wheelchair yet. Hopefully soon it will be warm enough for him to go with the pony and pony buggy. Daughters Verena and Loretta attended church services hosted by Dustin’s parents on Sunday.

I want to wish Melodie (one of my former editors) a happy retirement! May God bless her for all the great work she has done. I imagine she will enjoy more time with her family.

I also want to thank everyone for the cards, letters, and gifts that were sent to son Kevin and me. It was greatly appreciated. So many words of encouragement! God bless you all for caring!

When life gets busy and I sometimes think I don’t have enough time to write this column, then I think of all you readers who have always encouraged me. Thank you for that, and God’s blessings to all!

 

Barbecue Hamburgers 

1 1/2 pound ground beef
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup tomato juice
A few drops liquid smoke

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Form into patties and grill. Serves 6.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available 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.

 

Supper, brunch, and maple syrup: Spring brings school celebrations and rising sap

We are at the end of March already. Temperatures are staying above the freezing mark on most days.

Tuesday evening our whole family attended the exit interviews for the eighth-grade class. Once again Mr. Ultz did an outstanding job having the 23 eighth graders make supper for all their families. On the menu were potatoes, ham, green beans, dinner rolls, and a salad bar, along with brownies and ice cream for dessert. As we finished up with our meal, comedian speaker Craig Tornquist entertained the group. Mr. Ultz has been teaching at the school for 46 or 47 years and Craig has been entertaining and speaking to the eighth-grade class for 20 years at our school. We were then able to watch daughter Lovina, 14, and the other eighth graders present their portfolios to the teacher.

Even though we have done this with our other children, it is always fun each time. Abigail and Jennifer were amazed at all the bright lights in the gymnasium and at everything in the middle school classroom. Son-in-law Tim took Abigail outside for a while on the playground. She had lots to tell us when she came back inside.

Yesterday my sisters Verena, Emma, and Susan, nieces Elizabeth and Emma and baby Jessica, my daughters Elizabeth and Susan, along with their children, all came here for a brunch and to just spend time together.

My friend Ann from Grand Rapids, Michigan, came to spend the day with us as well. And then we also had a surprise visit from Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty from Geneva, Indiana.

Usually, when we are all together, we are working on cleaning or something, and I thought we all needed this break and time to catch up. It was enjoyable, and now with my three grandchildren and sister Emma’s first grandchild, it is quite entertaining.

On our menu for brunch was a breakfast casserole, cheese, homemade bread, butter and jellies, hot peppers, also lots of desserts, as everyone brought something. Cherry, blackberry, and rhubarb pies, Reese’s peanut butter pudding, cherry-blueberry delight, and cake were the desserts, and of course it was much more than we could eat. Coffee, grape and orange juice, V-8 juice, milk, and lemonade were the drinks.

Joe and I, along with my sisters Verena and Susan, attended the funeral services of Joe’s aunt Mary Jane in Berne, Indiana, on Saturday. This is sister-in-law Nancy’s mother. It was a big funeral and we saw a lot of Joe’s aunts and uncles and cousins we don’t see often.

Before starting home we stopped in to visit with sister Liz and Levi. They were busy processing a beef. Their son Levi Jr. and Arlene and baby Ella Nicole were also there helping. Levi and Liz had four children, and now with three of them married they only have their youngest daughter, Suzanne, 18, at home with them. I can’t imagine our house that empty, and I hope it won’t be for many years.

My husband Joe is still looking around and waiting to hear an answer on another job. Meanwhile he’s getting work done around here that needs to be done.

Lovina’s sons-in-law Tim and Mose have cooked many gallons of sap into maple syrup this spring.

Sons-in-law Tim and Mose have cooked many gallons of sap into maple syrup this spring. It is a good year for maple syrup and they are running around 30 gallons of sap to one gallon of maple syrup.

Son Kevin, 13, is back to school this week after his surgery on his right foot. The county bus picks him up and drops him off every day. They have a lift for his wheelchair. Next week is spring break so he has a break again.

We are starting to clean for our upcoming church services that we will host in early May. Daughter Lovina remarked that she already knows what she will be doing on spring break.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Cappuccino Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

In a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, combine the milk and instant coffee granules; stir until dissolved. Cool the melted butter for a few minutes. Add the egg and vanilla to the butter and mix lightly. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Do not overmix! Fold in mini chocolate chips. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 375 degrees for 17–20 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available 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.