All posts by Lovinas Amish Kitchen

Freshening Up the House & Upcoming Vacation

We enter August with some much cooler than normal temperatures. We painted sons Joseph’s and Kevin’s bedrooms last week. Our next project is to paint the bedroom daughters Loretta and Lovina share. Loretta has moved a lot of her things over to Dustin’s house, so now with the room emptier, we decided to paint it. It is time-consuming, but the room looks so freshened up after a few coats of paint. As we move everything back in, we give it all a thorough cleaning.

Those here on Sunday for the noon meal were Sister Verena, Sister Liz and Levi and their daughter Suzanne, Sister Emma and Jacob and their sons Jacob, Benjamin, and Steven, Crystal (nephew Benjamin’s special friend) and her son Isaiah, niece Elizabeth and Samuel and their three children, niece Emma and Menno and their two children, niece Susan and Joe and their nine children, Daughter Elizabeth and Jim and their three children, daughter Susan and her two children, daughter Verena, Dustin, Daniel and Grace (special friends to Lovina and Joseph) and also Rosina (a friend of our children).

Sister Liz and Levi and family came out on Saturday to help Sister Verena with mowing, etc. They stayed the night, so I told them all to come here on Sunday.

Saturday visitors here were Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty and brother Albert and Sarah Irene.

We have three wedding invitations on our fridge right now. Nephew Micheal and Laura picked September 2nd for their wedding date. Micheal is a son of Joe’s sister Salome and Morris in Kentucky. September 2nd is also son Kevin’s 16th birthday. Niece Saloma and Jamin picked September 3rd for their wedding. Saloma is a daughter of Joe’s sister Carol and Pete from Tennessee. It will be a challenge for us to be in Kentucky one day for a wedding then the next day in Tennessee for another wedding. It is doable, so we will try our best. I am the cook at Micheal and Laura’s wedding, and son Joseph and Grace were asked to be table waiters (servers). Grace and I both have to wear royal blue, so I need to squeeze in sewing another dress before then. The third invitation is for Mary and Danny. Mary lives in our church district. Dustin and Loretta were asked to be evening servers and dish washers at their wedding. Congratulations to all the young couples. May God bless each of their marriages.

Now to tell you about our upcoming vacation. My husband, Joe, works at a metal shop, and the owner Daniel is taking all the employees, their wives, and children under 16 for a vacation to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. We will travel on two big charter buses. If I understood correctly, there will be 106 people going. This includes Joe and me and son Kevin. Brother Albert, Sarah Irene, and their daughter Sylvia are also going, and we get to travel on the same bus. It is a 14-hour trip to North Carolina. We leave Wednesday morning at 2:45 p.m. to meet up with the bus at the metal shop. Joe signed us up to take a two-hour tour on the Dolphin Cruise. He signed up him and Kevin up a half-day of fishing. There will be lots to do from the way it sounds. We have never been to North Carolina, so it will be exciting to see everything. It is kind of Daniel to take us all on this trip. We will return home late Saturday evening, Lord willing. The part I don’t like is leaving the rest of the family at home, but God is in control.

 

I am sure I will have plenty to write about next week. Until then, God’s blessings to you all!

 

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

2 large eggs
1/3 cup honey
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup cocoa
1 2/3 cup flour
2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1 ¼ cup chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 mins or until done. You can substitute ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce in place of oil.

 

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 wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Wedding Announcement & Preparations Begin

Today, July 27th, is grandson Ryan’s second birthday. Three little boys in our church share this date: Austin turns 3, Ryan turns 2, and niece Emma and Menno’s son Menno Ray turns 1. Happy birthday to the three little boys.

On Friday night, daughter Verena had a dozen friends at daughter Susan’s house for a hot dog roast, and they all brought snacks. It was nice for Verena to have a night with her friends. She has dedicated a lot of her time to be there for daughter Susan and children. May God bless her for thoughtfulness. It makes me feel better to know someone is there with Susan and her sweet little ones. Jennifer and Ryan think the world of their Aunt Verena.

On Saturday, son Joseph turned 19, so we decided to have our family come home for supper in honor of his birthday. Those here for a supper of pizza, wings, and ice cream cake were daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and children, daughter Susan and children, daughter Verena, and Dustin, Daniel, and Grace (Loretta, Lovina, and Joseph’s special friends). It was a nice evening to sit out on the porch. Tim and Elizabeth had everything done for church services at their place, so it was nice for them to leave and come for supper. Joe and I helped them with last-minute jobs on Saturday.

They had a tent up to have church services in. Quite a few visitors were there, so the tent was filled quite full. It was a nice day, but warm. I had made 24 gallons of iced tea from the spearmint and peppermint from our garden. Also on the menu for lunch was homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese, peanut butter spread, pickles, red beets, grape jelly, butter, and lettuce (I had enough from my garden to take), as well as cookies, coffee, and iced tea. Noodles were made for the younger children.

After church services the bishop announced the wedding dates of two girls in our church. Mary and Danny chose September 24 for their wedding date, and daughter Loretta and Dustin chose October 1st for their wedding. Congratulations to both couples! It’s always sad to me when another one leaves home, but I am happy for them, and I feel as if I’m gaining a son, not losing a daughter. Dustin is a very nice young man and so helpful with Loretta and her handicap. May God be their guide as they begin their life together.

It has been five years since we prepared for our last wedding (daughter Susan and Mose’s). I am sure it won’t be an easy day for Susan. I do admit that I still get nervous thinking of all that needs to be prepared for the wedding, so I try to just think it will all get done.

Elizabeth and Tim had well over 100 people back for Sunday supper. Joe helped Tim grill 50 pounds of chicken, and Elizabeth had made four roasters of ranch potatoes the day before. Along with that, there were salads and desserts brought in.

Today daughter Lovina, son Kevin, and I picked our green beans. We had three big tubs full, so Loretta and Lovina washed them all and we bagged them for the freezer. We will use them for the wedding. Hopefully I’ll get another good picking to use for the wedding.

I have our clothes all cut out and have started on my sewing for the wedding. My plan was to be done already, but it seems one day after another slips by. Tomorrow my five daughters, son Kevin, my five grandchildren, and I are going to the zoo. Susan wanted to do this for Ryan’s birthday. If I would look on time I wouldn’t go, but we need to sometimes stop and enjoy a day with our loved ones. I am sure the little children will enjoy seeing all the animals.

Take care and God’s blessings to all!

Cheesy Carrots

6 cups carrots, partially cooked
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Layer carrots and cheese in a 2-quart casserole. In medium saucepan, melt butter and add spices. Whisk milk and flour together and add to butter, stirring constantly until thickened. Pour over carrots. Sprinkle with the crumbs and drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Yield: 6 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 wherever books are sold. 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.

Church preparations and July birthdays

Another week has passed already since I wrote my last column. It is a nice cool morning as I sit here writing. I was invited to a coffee break at our neighbor Wilma’s house with the other neighbor ladies this morning. Samuel and Wilma moved into our community recently. I have so much to do today that I didn’t think I had time to go, though.

Yesterday we were helping daughter Elizabeth with the final cleaning for Sunday, when they will host church services. With her three little ones, things don’t stay clean too long. Others there helping besides daughters Verena and Lovina, son Kevin, and I were sister Emma and son Steven, sister Verena, niece Elizabeth, niece Emma and her children Jessica and Menno Ray, daughter Susan and her children Jennifer and Ryan. Abigail, T.J., and Allison were glad for the little playmates. Seven children under age 5 keep it quite interesting. Son Kevin and nephew Steven gave Elizabeth’s house dogs a haircut. They did a good job.

We cleaned a lot of corners for Elizabeth that needed to be cleaned yet. Church services will be held under a tent on Sunday.

I made a casserole to take along for our lunch along with cucumber salad. Dessert was brought in by the others, so lunch was easy.

We attended church Sunday in a different church district at niece Elizabeth and Manual’s house. We stayed all day and had supper before heading home. Sister Emma was surprised with an ice cream cake from her family at supper. Emma turned 48 on July 19th. On Sunday brother-in-law Jacob attended church for the first time since his hospital stay, but it really wore him out. He has an appointment scheduled with a doctor in Ann Arbor next week. We pray this will help him and he’ll get good results.

A festive cake to celebrate Lovina’s son Benjamin turning 22 on July 14. Photo provided.

Son Joseph will have his 19th birthday Saturday so we will have another July birthday. Also grandson Ryan’s birthday is next week and he will be 2. Joseph was only a few months old when I started penning this column. It has been almost 19 years that I have written it and my mother wrote it for 11 years before that. After Mother passed away so suddenly, I took over. Life was different back then with having six children and the oldest only 8 years old. I thought I was busy then, but it seems almost like I’m busier now. The family grows and I like to help my married daughters when I can.

Today I want to make iced tea concentrate for the freezer so I can take it to Tim and Elizabeth’s house for church Sunday. I will make spearmint/peppermint which I have out in my garden.

Saturday I will go help Elizabeth mix her peanut butter spread, make casseroles for Sunday night supper, and help her clean up. Daughters Susan and Verena are going to take Elizabeth’s children for the day so everything will stay clean. They will make supper for Tim’s so they can go home to a clean house and be ready for church services. It’s not that everything has to be cleaned to hold church services, but it’s nice to have a goal to get everything cleaned. I’ll share the tea concentrate recipe. God’s blessings to all!

Tea Concentrate

6 cups water, divided
1 cup tea leaves of your choice, packed
1 1/2 cup sugar

Boil 4 cups water. Add tea leaves. Put the lid on the pot and remove from heat. Let stand 10-15 minutes. Put sugar in a 2-quart bowl. Strain liquid into bowl, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Rinse leaves with 2 cups cold water, then strain and add this liquid to the sugar liquid. Cool, then measure out 1 cup concentrate into individual containers, and freeze. To serve, add 1 cup concentrate to 2 quarts cold water.

 

 

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 wherever books are sold. 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.

Birthday brings happy memories

July 14th—today our oldest son and fourth child turned 22 years old. How the years fly by. Happy birthday Benjamin! I had Benjamin at home with Joe’s aunt as my midwife. Benjamin weighed only 4 pounds, 13 ounces and was doing pretty good until he was two weeks old. He caught the flu and started dehydrating so we ended up taking him to the hospital for a few days. After that he seemed to gain and never had many health problems. By the time he was a year old he had easily passed the weight of the girls at age 1.

While I was having Benjamin, our three oldest girls, Elizabeth, Susan, and Verena, stayed with my dad and sisters. Mom would always come to be there for me. After Dad found out that we had a little boy he told the girls that they have a little brother and he’s going to be able to handle all three of them. I remember that at first they weren’t too thrilled about having a brother that might be able to outdo them. My dad loved to tease the girls. After bringing them home they soon fell in love with their tiny brother. After seeing how small he was they said, “Grandpa told us he could handle all of us but he’s way too small.” My dad laughed when he heard that they had taken him seriously. Eleven and a half months later daughter Loretta joined our family. I think between Benjamin and Loretta those two got into more things than any of the rest. They were two lively little ones and they kept me busy. For two weeks every year Loretta would tell Benjamin that she caught up to his age.

Benjamin always looked out for Loretta. One day I put her in the playpen so I could go outside to do something real quick. When I came back in Benjamin had crawled on the countertop and found my scissors in the cabinet and cut a hole in the playpen netting so Loretta could get out. I was scared to think what could’ve happened with him having the scissors. He would use the drawer handles to climb up on the cabinets. Needless to say, Loretta was happy to be turned loose again. After that I knew they weren’t safe alone for even a few minutes. I also had to get another playpen because the netting was ruined.

Today we will again go help daughter Elizabeth with her cleaning. Sister Verena came last night for supper to help us enjoy all the fresh goodies from the garden. She stayed the night, and we will take her home before heading over to Elizabeth’s house.

Our menu last night was fried chicken, steamed red potatoes, buttered red beets, cucumber salad, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, cheese, and homemade sour cream. Daughter Lovina made some chocolate crunch brownies to take to Elizabeth’s today, so everyone sampled them. They are delicious. The potatoes, red beets, cucumbers, lettuce, and tomatoes are all from our garden. We are enjoying the fruits of our labor. Zucchini is also ready and sweet corn should be soon. Hot peppers are ready as well.

The rain has done wonders to our gardens, but it also makes the weeds grow. We try to keep up with everything else going on.

Tomorrow July 15th my husband Joe and I will be married 28 years. Do we appreciate enough to have that many years together? My thoughts go to daughter Susan and others that only get a small number of years together. It is all God’s plan, and we must not question His ways. Let us trust and keep the faith! God’s blessings to all!

This week Lovina shares the recipe for these chocolate crunch brownies made by her daughter Lovina. Photo provided.

Chocolate Crunch Brownies

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
6 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
3 cups crisp rice cereal

Cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and cocoa. Add flour, vanilla, and salt. Pour into a greased 15×10 inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes or until cake is set. When cool, spread marshmallow creme on top. In a saucepan, mix peanut butter and chocolate chips until melted. Remove from heat and add cereal. Spread on top of marshmallow creme.

Note: Lovina doubles the marshmallow creme and uses 4 cups of rice cereal. Marshmallows can be used instead of the marshmallow creme, but if using them return the pan to the oven for a few minutes to melt.

 

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 wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Summer heat and blueberry season

It has cooled down a little, but the thermometer still shows 78 degrees at 9:45 p.m. It was a warm, humid day. One thing I do appreciate is our battery-operated fans. That was something I grew up without.

Our gardens are doing well but oh my, did the weeds ever take over. We need to get out there but on days like this I don’t care to. The dog days of summer have come in full blast.

Lovina’s daughters Verena and Lovina transformed three cakes into this special design to celebrate Loretta’s 21st birthday.

Saturday, Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) had our family and his family over to help him tear the old metal off his big pole barn. He will put on new metal and a new roof, new doors, and add ten windows. It will be almost like new after it’s done. With both sides of the family there were ten guys to help him. The women made lunch and washed Dustin’s windows in his house.

Sunday evening Joe and I visited with brother-in-law Jacob and sister Emma. Jacob still has a long road to recovery but looked much better than last time we visited. This is a rough time for them to be without his income. They appreciated the gifts of money from readers. God bless you for caring.

Today sister Verena, daughters Susan and Lovina, and I attended the viewing/visitation of Suzann, a 48-year-old single woman from our settlement that was stricken with that dreadful disease cancer only months ago. Suzann taught school and I remember she always had a smile for everyone. It brought back fresh memories for sister Verena as she was reminded of not having sister Susan there to live with her. Both left the world much too soon. God knows best but we don’t always understand why some things happen. Going to a viewing/visitation is always sentimental for daughter Susan as well. Her dear Mose is still so much missed. Susan’s little daughter Jennifer thinks when she sees my sister Verena sad that she is missing her daddy. She told Verena when she gets big she will take care of her and she said don’t cry for my daddy because he’s with Jesus. Oh, such innocence from a sweet little one. Her little mind doesn’t comprehend that Verena is missing sister Susan.

Tonight Jennifer rode with daughter Loretta in the mobility scooter down to sister Verena’s. Dustin was mowing Verena’s lawn. Jennifer loves being with the girls.

Tomorrow our plans are to go help daughter Elizabeth with her cleaning. They will host church services in less than three weeks. Son Benjamin was helping son-in-law Tim put in hay and helped him build a ramp to their patio so Loretta can drive her scooter into their house. This is so much appreciated when family tries to help make it easier for her to get in and out of their house. Making an effort like that shows they care and want to make it easier for her when she comes. Until you have a member of your own family with a disability you don’t realize how difficult it can be for them if there are steps that they can’t drive their wheelchair or scooter on alone. It is so good for them to be as independent as they can possibly be. God’s blessings to all!

U-pick blueberries are ready in our area, so I’ll share this recipe.

Delicious Blueberry Cake

1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk
1 quart blueberries

Topping:

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, beat well. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Mix until smooth. Fold in berries. Pour batter into greased 9×13 inch pan. Sprinkle top with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until done. After removing from oven, brush top with butter.

 

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 wherever books are sold. 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.

Peaceful moments at the end of a summer evening

Tomorrow will be the last day of June. Is it possible that half of 2021 has passed? July 1st brings daughter Loretta another year older, marking it number 21 this time.

Supper is over, dishes washed, as I sit on our wrap-around porch. There is a light, relaxing rain falling tonight. We have had over three inches of rain this past week and so many rainbows—God’s promise to those who believe in him. There is always some excitement to see a rainbow, and only our master artist could create such beauty. Our life has been turned upside down these past seven months, but we do have a great God. Although there are times bitterness wants to take over, we want to trust in God and put our faith in him. After another busy day, it is nice to sit out here alone and have some peaceful moments. God understands all our troubles.

I see a few deer across the road feasting on Dustin’s hayfield. This rain is helping bring in another crop of hay. Our garden is getting weeds in it, but this wet weather has been keeping us out.

Our supper was easy—BLT sandwiches, although we added eggs to the sandwich. Fresh lettuce from the garden takes the place of bread for me. We have a lot, so I shared with Jodi (Dan’s widow), sister Verena, and my daughters.

Tomorrow, daughters Susan and Lovina and I plan to go thoroughly clean Susan’s neighbor’s house. We will clean it from top to bottom on three floors. Not sure if we will get it all done but if not, we will finish on Thursday.

On Saturday night some of Joe’s cousins came for a visit. We don’t often see Daniel and Dena and Phenis and Effie, so we had a lot of catching up to do. Daniel, Dena, and Phenis are all Joe’s cousins, Dena on his dad’s side. We all sang and yodeled together and had a very nice visit. We appreciated their sympathy on the loss of our dear son-in-law and my sister. Sister Verena, daughters Susan and Verena, granddaughter Jennifer, and grandson Ryan were also here for the night.

On Saturday, daughter Verena, granddaughter Jennifer, and I were at my book signing in Nappanee at the Light of Grace Bookstore. We were so glad to see all the readers who attended and hear all the kind words that were said. The bookstore manager, Jolene, showed us some good hospitality. We appreciated all the kindness.

Daughter Elizabeth dropped her three children off here this morning so she would have more time to help prepare for nephew Perry and Frieda’s wedding. Perry is the son of husband Tim’s brother Mervin and Arlene, and the wedding will be at the home of Frieda’s parents. With three little ones, it’s hard to do quite as much. We kept Abigail, 4, T.J., 2, and Allison, 1 1/2, here while Elizabeth helped them.

It is time to call it a day, and darkness has overtaken the daylight. I am surprised the mosquitoes didn’t bother me.

I will share a recipe for goulash. I like using fresh peeled and chunked tomatoes in mine during the summer months when we have some in the garden.

Good night and God bless!

Goulash

4 cups uncooked macaroni
2 pounds hamburger
1/2 cup chopped onions, optional
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
salt and pepper to taste
butter to taste
1 26-ounce jar tomato juice
1 10.5-ounce can tomato soup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 pounds Velveeta cheese, in chunks

Cook macaroni. Meanwhile, brown hamburger with onion. Drain grease and add seasonings. Drain macaroni; add butter to taste. Mix in hamburger, tomato juice, tomato soup, and sugar. Stir in cheese. Heat to boiling; turn off heat. Cover and let set until cheese is melted. 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 wherever books are sold. 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.

Remembering Mose on Father’s Day

Summer has officially begun. We are having cooler than normal mornings after 2 inches of rain over the weekend. We had a few thunderstorms go through with some trees down in the area. Nothing major compared to other areas nearby.

We feel bad for Joe’s cousin Margaret and her husband Walter from Milroy, Indiana, whose house was struck by lightning while they were in Montana. They lost everything. What a feeling to come home to and not have your house or anything in it. The best thing about this is that they still have each other, and no one was hurt in the fire. Sounds like they have a lot of support from their neighbors and community, which helps a lot, I’m sure.

Last night we went to visit Jacob (sister Emma’s husband). He has been discharged from the hospital. He is still very weak, and it will be a while before he gains back his strength. His visitors are limited at the time due to the doctors saying his immune system needs to be built up. Joe and I went for a little while after supper. Hopefully Jacob will continue to gain strength and can stay out of the hospital. Sister Emma is worn out too from traveling the hour back and forth every day to and from the hospital for almost two weeks. She could be with Jacob during the day. Expenses are high with a hospital stay like that.

Emma and Jacob’s daughter Elizabeth and Manuel are preparing for church services that they will host on July 4th. I want to go help her clean a day this week yet. They bought a house in our church district and have plans to move sometime this summer.

Father’s Day was on Sunday, so I hope all the fathers out there had a nice day. In honor of son-in-law Mose, our family, some of Mose’s family, and sister Verena went with daughter Susan and children Jennifer, 3, and Ryan, 23 months, to Mose’s grave. Susan gave Jennifer and Ryan each a balloon that said Happy Father’s Day to let fly from the graveyard. She had a little note on each one to Daddy from the children. We watched the balloons until they were out of sight. Susan put her address on the note in case someone finds it that might let her know how far the balloons traveled. The next morning Jennifer told me, “Grandma, Daddy got my balloon way up in heaven now.” Sweet little children who can’t fully understand why they don’t have their daddy anymore.

Sister Susan’s grave is close to Mose’s, so we visited her grave too. Sister Verena is so lost without her. God is in control and His ways are not our ways. He knows best what our future holds and we need to let it all in His hands.

I finally caught up on my reader mail. I’m sorry for taking that long in answering some of your questions. I appreciated all the encouragement.

I hope to meet some more readers Saturday, June 26th at Light of Grace Bookstore in Nappanee, Indiana. We will be there from 1-3 p.m. signing books.

Daughters Elizabeth, Susan, and Verena have plans to come to my house for the day. We will probably cut out clothes and maybe get some sewing done. And of course I get to spend time with my 5 precious grandchildren. God’s blessings to all!

A reader shared this recipe with me. So, I’ll share it with all of you.

 

Lemon-Blueberry Pound Cake

1/3 cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 egg white
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened blueberries
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) lemon yogurt

 

Glaze

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch fluted or plain tube pan. In a large bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until blended. Add eggs and egg white, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon peel and vanilla. Toss blueberries with 2 tablespoons of the flour. In another bowl, mix remaining flour with baking powder, baking soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with yogurt, beating after each addition just until combined. Fold in blueberry mixture. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes before removing to wire rack; cool for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Gradually brush onto warm cake, about 1/3 at a time, allowing glaze to soak into cake before adding more. Cool completely.

 

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 wherever books are sold. 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 birthday party “surprise”

Our work night at daughter Susan’s house last week proved to be a success. The majority of our church showed up to help with whatever needed to be done. Some fences were put up, flower beds were made, weeding and trimming were done, and the barn was cleaned. Then the ladies washed walls and windows, and all brought in supper. There were casseroles, salads, desserts, iced tea, coffee, and lemonade. It was a very hot night, so the cold iced tea and lemonade went fast. Susan does well to let everyone come and help her where needed. It is hard for her to think Mose isn’t there to do all that for her. That night a heart-shaped flower bed was built, as Susan had suggested, in honor of Mose. It really does look nice and will even more so when the flowers that were planted start blooming. She wants to get some memorial stones, etc., to put in there in memory of her dear husband.

At a work night at daughter Susan’s house, members of the church built this lovely heart-shaped flower bed in honor of Mose. Photo provided.

On Sunday night Joe’s sister Susan and her three teenage boys, Tommy, Freddie, and Seth, came to visit daughter Susan. We took chicken to grill, daughter Elizabeth and Tim brought potatoes to make mashed potatoes, and daughter Susan made beef and noodles to go with that. Also on the menu was sliced cheese, strawberries, ice cream, and chocolate cake. We don’t often see Susan and her sons, so it was good to visit with her again. If I remember right, her boys are 18, 16, and 14 years old. Time goes by so fast.

On Monday, June 14th, our firstborn Elizabeth had her 27th birthday. Again, it doesn’t seem possible that 27 years went by since we started parenting. It takes a lot of help from our heavenly Father to raise a family. He blessed us with eight wonderful children.

Son-in-law Tim wanted to surprise Elizabeth for her birthday, so he told us all to be there by 5:30 p.m. on her birthday. Elizabeth and the children went for a wagon ride with Tim to help take down the church tent. Tim is on the committee to put and take down the tent if someone needs it for church services. The rest of us—Joe and I, Benjamin, Joseph, Lovina, Kevin, my sister Verena, Daniel (Lovina’s special friend), Grace (Joseph’s special friend), and daughters Verena and Susan and her children—all gathered at Tim’s, waiting for them to come home. Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) and Loretta were going to come later, as Dustin was flipping our hay and his with the hay tedder before he came.

Tim had to go past our house, and as he went on by Elizabeth said she would like to stop in and say hi, which was normal. I imagine Tim was like, “Oh no!” So he turned around and Loretta was the only one home. Elizabeth of course wondered where everyone was, and Loretta had to do some fast thinking and make excuses for where we all went. Elizabeth knew we didn’t often leave on a Monday night, so on her way home she started thinking.

We all said “surprise!” when she walked in the door. She said their house dogs always bark when they come home, and we didn’t know that and were trying to keep them from barking. It was fun anyway, and we had a good supper of pizza, hot wings, cherry tomatoes, dill pickles, and ice cream cake. Dustin and Loretta came before we started eating but didn’t make it before the “surprise” that didn’t really work out the best. Elizabeth had a nice birthday anyways.

Sister Emma’s husband Jacob is still in the hospital. He has been moved out of ICU. Yesterday he had exploratory surgery to check for blockages, etc. His sodium level had been dangerously low and is now almost up to normal. Our prayers are that he will have a complete recovery.

Emma gets someone to take her to the hospital every day, and it’s an hour away. Expenses are high with Jacob not working. The three boys are at home alone for supper every night, so I passed out dates of three nights a week to the church ladies to take in supper. Everyone has one night scheduled to drop off supper on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Hopefully that will help out, so they have a decent meal. Please keep Jacob in your prayers. God bless you!

Peach French Toast

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons water
1 29-ounce can peaches, drained
12 slices French bread (3/4 to 1 inch thick)
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
cinnamon

Mix brown sugar, butter, and water together; bring to boil for 10 minutes. Pour into a 9×13 inch pan. Layer peaches over syrup, then layer French bread on top. Mix eggs, milk, and vanilla well; pour over bread. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Refrigerate overnight. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more.

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 wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Wedding Food & Prayer Requests

It is 4:45 a.m. and my husband Joe just left for work. Sons Benjamin and Joseph left before that.

On Thursday I had to help with the wedding food prep at the home of neighbors Joas and Susan, for their daughter Carol. Sisters Verena, Emma, and I went together. My job was to help cut up the broccoli and cauliflower for the salad. We also cup up the potatoes for the dressing. Quite a few other women were there doing various jobs.

We regret that we couldn’t attend the wedding of Jacob and Margaret (cousin Esther’s daughter). We appreciated the invitation, and wish them a long and happy married life.

On Friday we attended Carol and Aden’s wedding. My job as cook was to help peel potatoes for mashed potatoes. The noon meal was very delicious and consisted of mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, grilled chicken, buttered noodles, green beans, broccoli/cauliflower salad, homemade bread, strawberry jam and butter, mixed fresh fruit, peanut butter and strawberry pies, angel food cake topped with strawberry glaze, and candy bars.

After the noon meal, we headed home to prepare for our trip to Kentucky. We started out later than we wanted, with waiting on everyone to get home from work. It was nice for our whole family and sister Verena to travel on a bus.

On Saturday we spent the day at Joe’s sister Salome and Morris’ house. It was a nice day! Not all of Joe’s siblings attended, but we had a good time visiting with those who came. The day went much too fast. The children enjoyed a water balloon fight, which cooled them off on that hot day.

We headed home for Michigan on Sunday around noon. It was good to get home safe and sound. Everyone was ready for bed early. We had a nice trip. Always thankful for God’s protecting hand.

Last night we had good attendance at my book signing at the Middlebury, Indiana library. Thanks so much to all the readers who came, gave encouragement, and bought books. Thanks also to the librarians for their hospitality. My friend Ruth again took time from her family to drive for us. Daughters Verena and Susan and grandchildren Jennifer and Ryan also attended. It was good for Susan to get out of the house and get her mind off everything. The readers there were very caring about her situation.

This afternoon I will go to daughter Susan’s house to help her get ready for all the help that is coming tonight. Our church is making a work night at her house to help her get caught up with whatever needs to be done. Supper is being brought in as well.

Foremost on our minds is brother-in-law Jacob. He was admitted to the hospital yesterday. He hasn’t been feeling well lately, so doctors are running tests to see what is going on. I talked to sister Emma last night after she came home from the hospital. Please keep Jacob in your prayers.

With everything that has happened in our family, it just makes me worry. But why worry if we can pray? That is sometimes easier said than done. God is a great help. Today six months ago was the accident of Dan and Mose. Jodi and Susan (their widows) are on my mind this morning. They need our continued prayers. God bless you all!

Green Beans

2 pounds fresh green beans, cut up
3 tablespoons butter
8 ounces bacon, cooked to the desired crispness and cut into small pieces
salt
black pepper
seasoning salt

Place the green beans in a large pot, cover with water, salt as desired, and cook until the green beans are tender. Drain. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook until browned. Add the green beans and stir to coat. Continue to heat until the green beans are steaming hot. Add the cooked bacon, along with salt, pepper, and seasoning salt, and serve.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. 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.

June Gatherings and First Garden Fruits

We have entered the month of June. Is it possible that 2021 is almost halfway through?

I managed to get my gray dress suit sewed last week, and I still have a shirt I want to sew for my husband Joe. The wedding is Friday at the home of neighbors Joas and Susan, for their daughter Carol and Aden. Tomorrow (Thursday) I’ll go help with food preparation for the wedding. Friday I’ll be cook, but I can only help for the noon meal. At 2:30 p.m., our whole family and sister Verena have a bus taking us all to Kentucky for the weekend. Joe’s sister Salome and Morris are hosting a family reunion for Joe’s brothers and sisters and their families. The drive is over five hours. I want to get that shirt sewed for Joe for the reunion. He needs more shirts, and it seems the only way I get it done is to set a goal to have it finished.

I want to let readers know that I will be signing my cookbooks on June 8th at 7 p.m. in Middlebury at the library, 101 East Winslow Street, Middlebury, Indiana. I’m hoping some of my family can attend with me. It would be great to see and meet some of you there. Later this month I will be at Light of Grace Books & Gifts in Nappanee. We haven’t confirmed the day and time yet.

Last night we finished planting the rest of our second garden. Joe brought in our first meal of radishes on Monday, and lettuce is also ready to use. The green onions should be good to pull by next week. Our asparagus is slowing down but there is lots of rhubarb yet.

Lovina sometimes lights these candles, given to her as memorial gifts from her children, to remember her dear sister Susan and dear son-in-law Mose. Photo provided.

Yesterday was sentimental for us. All five of us sisters were together for the day at sister Verena’s house. The absence of dear sister Susan was very real. It still doesn’t seem right to not see her there. Coming out from Indiana with sister Leah and Liz were Liz’s daughters Suzanne, Elizabeth and her children LaRose, Samuel, and Elizabeth Ann, Rosa and her children Jeremiah and Kayden, and Liz’s daughter-in-law Arlene and children Ella and Gloria. Coming from this community were sister Emma and son Steven, Emma’s daughter Emma and her children Jessica and Menno Ray, my daughters Elizabeth and children Abigail, T.J. and Allison, Susan and children Jennifer and Ryan, Verena, Loretta, son Kevin, and me.

LaRose, 5, is the oldest of the children there, so there were 14 children age 5 and under. There wasn’t a dull moment with all the children.

On the menu for lunch were cheesy ranch potatoes, meatballs, Spanish rice, pasta salad, lettuce salad, deviled eggs, tomatoes, pickles, hot peppers, various desserts, bars, and cookies. By the time everyone brought a dish or two, it added up to more food than was needed.

The day was spent visiting and sharing memories. Life brings so many changes, and letting God be in control is a great help. We are so glad we don’t know what the future holds. Let’s take one day at a time.

Hopefully when we get back from Kentucky, we can get our hay mowed.

Our church is also planning a work night at daughter Susan’s next week. It is so good to have the support of the church, friends, and family. Daughter Susan would be so glad if she could still have her dear husband Mose to help her with the outside work that can get overwhelming. Again, we want to take life one day at a time and trust in a higher hand. God’s blessings to all!

Ranch Potatoes

6-8 potatoes, peeled and chunked
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
2 tablespoons diced parsley
1 cup shredded cheese (plus extra for top)

Cook potatoes in salted water, just until tender. Drain and set aside. Combine other ingredients; toss gently with potatoes. Place in greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 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 wherever books are sold. 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.