All posts by Lovinas Amish Kitchen

Home renovations and harvest season continue

A busy time of the year—we are in the midst of canning season. We are filling lots of jars and freezers with a bountiful harvest. Many meals will be made from the harvest, the fruits of our labor. Do we appreciate enough what the Good Lord provides to us? We have so much to be thankful for yet so often take it for granted.

As harvest season continues, Lovina cooks tomatoes into juice, sauce, and more, to can and freeze for the cooler months. Photo provied.

Today daughters Verena, 22, and Lovina, 16, have appointments at the eye doctor. We decided to do some grocery shopping after the appointments. I also want to stop at the fabric store to buy material for Loretta’s baptismal suit. I have less than two weeks to get it cut out and sewn.

We are helping Mose and Susan work on their house every chance we get. They are ready for drywall in the bedroom and living room areas. The sub floor is down, and new windows and doors are in. They will go as far as they can until September 6th when they host baptismal services for three young souls who will accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. Nephew Jacob, daughter Loretta, 20, and another boy from our church district, Jeremiah, will all be baptized, Lord willing. How rewarding for parents to see their children take this step. Jacob and Loretta are both disabled, and Jeremiah has been so helpful during their instruction classes. The ministry and church members have been helpful and so full of encouragement as well. The support of a church makes our troubles and trials so much easier. Most of all, having faith in God helps us through the “bumps” on the road ahead.

Baptism services will be held under a big tent at Mose and Susan’s. Their goal is to at least have the living room/bedroom and bathroom livable before then so they can stay in one half of the house while finishing the other half. RV living is getting very old fast with a 1 and 2-year-old. Ryan seems like he’s turned loose when he comes to our house. He stands up, takes a few steps, and freezes up. He’s just not brave enough yet to keep walking. He will be 13 months tomorrow so there’s still time. He loves to crawl onto furniture and give us scares when he stands up smiling.

A reader read in a column I wrote that Jennifer, 2, loves putting stuff in little purses. How excited Jennifer was when she received a package of six little purses. Thank you, Carol from Wichita, KS, for making this little girl’s day and playing time for months. The blue one was her favorite. I am sure you will get a personal thank you from daughter Susan and little Jennifer, but I want to thank you for your kindness.

Son-in-law Mose was hurt at work yesterday cutting his finger and arm at the RV factory. He has 10 stitches in his finger and isn’t allowed to do too much for a few days.

This is so hard for him with all the work needing to be done on his house. Somehow it all works out and I told him he needs to slow down. They came here for the night last night and he had some pretty hard throbbing going on in his finger. I wish him a speedy recovery. Quite a few people are going to go help on the house Saturday and some help evenings. It is all appreciated by Mose and Susan. This project developed into more than they thought. Remodeling an old farmhouse can have lots of surprises and unplanned for work.

We helped daughter Elizabeth paint her kitchen which I think concludes her painting for now.

Yesterday we had four 5-gallon sized buckets of tomatoes to put into juice. A big job off the list, but we still have a table full of tomatoes that need to be canned into something. Undecided if I want to make more salsa, V-8, or pizza sauce.

God’s blessings to you all.

Garden Vegetable Medley

1/2 cup sliced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup butter
2 pounds zucchini, julienned
3 medium tomatoes, cut in thin wedges
1 cup whole kernel corn

In a large skillet, sauté the onion, salt, pepper, and oregano in butter until onion is crisp-tender. Add the zucchini, tomatoes, and corn. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 8 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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

A bountiful harvest to preserve and enjoy

The mercury on the thermometer dipped down to a chilly 55 degrees this morning. Son Joseph, 18, just came in from doing the morning chores. He said it’s pretty chilly out there this morning with the wind. His driver should be here any minute. I made him an egg and cheese sandwich for his breakfast. His lunch is packed and water jug is filled. Son Benjamin, 21, left at 4:30 a.m. (half an hour ago). I made him an egg and cheese sandwich too, but he packs his own lunch or sometimes doesn’t take one. He likes leftovers from the night before, but Joseph would rather have a sandwich. My husband Joe left at 3:45 a.m. He likes sliced tomatoes, Miracle Whip salad dressing, and bread, packed individually in his lunch bucket. He then makes his own sandwiches. This morning I also put salted sliced cucumbers in his lunch.

Joseph just left and I made my coffee and want to write this column so it’s off my mind. We have lots of corn that needs to be taken care of today, since our last patch of sweet corn is ready. I picked all the ears from the stalks with the help of son Kevin, 14. I also pulled the stalks from the garden right away, and Kevin threw them over the fence. We have one steer we are raising for our beef this winter. He looks like he enjoys the corn stalks. Now we have cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and potatoes left in the gardens. Benjamin and Joseph dug up another bucket of red potatoes last night, so I have some to use.

Our supper was fresh steamed red potatoes, fresh corn and cucumber salad, beef chunks, cheese, lettuce, and sour cream. We also had hot peppers and tomatoes. It made a quick, easy meal with most of it coming fresh from the garden. I make goulash a lot with fresh tomatoes as well. I brown the hamburger, then add tomato chunks (first taking the skin off the tomatoes), then when the tomatoes cook down enough I add macaroni and season to taste. A quick simple meal.

Altogether we have canned 50 pints of salsa, around 25 quarts of pickles—some spicy dill and some garlic dill. We froze our green beans and have another bucket ready to be cleaned for the freezer. I am so thankful for everything that goes into cans or the freezer. Do we thank God enough for the bountiful harvest?

Last Friday Joe and I, daughters Verena, 22, and Lovina, 16, and Kevin, along with my sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma and Jacob and their son, Steven, traveled to Baltic, Ohio. We stayed in a motel and attended the funeral of Uncle Abe Raber. Abe and Aunt Lovina were married 17 years. Aunt Lovina was a close aunt to me growing up. I was named after her and lived in the same church district, only 3 1/2 miles from them. Lovina is my mother’s sister.

Lovina was first married to Uncle Toby and they had 9 children. Abe was married to his first wife and had 10 children. Together the two families from Abe and Aunt Lovina total 19 children.

It was so good to see Lovina again but not in this situation. She will have many lonely days now. She is 81 and Abe was 83. We grew up always being with Toby and Lovina’s family, so it was so nice to get to visit with her children and reminisce about all the times we had growing up. Our sympathy goes to all the families involved in losing their father, stepfather, grandfather, and step grandfather, and of course to dear Aunt Lovina. Some of Lovina’s children said that Abe was the only grandfather their younger children knew.

We appreciated the hospitality of Lovina’s Ohio church and friends. I met quite a few readers. We arrived back home Saturday evening safe and sound.

I’ll end this wishing you all God’s richest blessings.

Peach Bread
3 cups crushed fresh peaches
6 tablespoons sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the peaches and 6 tablespoons sugar and set aside. In another small bowl, combine the dry ingredients, mix well, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well blended. Alternately, add the peach and flour mixtures to the egg mixture and beat until smooth. Fold in the nuts and pour the batter into a greased and floured loaf pan.

Bake until golden brown, about 55 minutes. Turn out on a rack to cool. Makes 1 medium loaf.

 

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

August brings cooler mornings and wedding feasts

Friday, August 14th is daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s 5th anniversary. Happy anniversary to them and wishing them many more happy healthy years together. May God continue to be their guide! They have three children: Abigail, who will turn 4 on September 10, Timothy (T.J.), 1 1/2 years, and baby Allison, 7 months. So very precious to us! Allison is so petite but so full of energy! T.J. can climb over their barn gates already so it’s a constant job watching that little guy. He gives the biggest smiles though and looks so sweet and innocent.

Yesterday daughter Susan and her children, daughters Verena, Loretta, Lovina, son Kevin, and I spent the day at Elizabeth and Tim’s house painting their walls and ceiling. Tim is remodeling their house, so it is time to paint and get the trim back on. He is also making a few closets for more storage space. It really looks good and has more space. They had three bedrooms on the main level, but they tore the walls out on one bedroom, adding more room to the dining room and living room. They left it open concept with a beam going through the center for support. It really does look so much nicer. Tim’s nephew has been staying at their house the last few weeks helping Tim with staining and laying new flooring. He is also helping Tim build a wall in their garage so they can heat that side in the winter where they have their solar batteries and their phone. It will also be nice space to cut up pork and beef when they do their meat butchering in the cold months.

Speaking of cold – we are having some pretty cool mornings for August. Some mornings it went down to almost 50 degrees. That seems warm in the winter but at this time of the year it makes you close a few of the windows. My husband Joe loves it when it cools off at night. I think it’s a challenge with the little children not knowing how to dress them, especially when it reaches over 80 by nighttime. We need to accept the weather however God sends it.

August yields plenty of vegetables, including zucchini for making the fritter recipe Lovina shares in this week’s column. Photo provided.

The wedding day of niece Laura and Enos was a pleasant day with not too much of a warm day. I would say it was just perfect weather

August yields plenty of vegetables, including zucchini for making the fritter recipe Lovina shares in this week’s column. Photo provided.

for a wedding.

I of course finished my dress the afternoon before the wedding (late as usual). I was a cook and we were asked to wear a dark green color. Daughter Verena wore aqua blue and was a table waiter.

The menu was broasted chicken (made in the kettle outside), mashed potatoes (which in this area are still all mashed by hand, and then with our wedding cook wagons, powered by a generator, there are usually electric mixers to whip the potatoes for our weddings), gravy, chicken and noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, broccoli/cauliflower salad, homemade bread, and apple cinnamon butter. Dessert was tapioca pudding, angel food cake, fresh mixed fruit, and rhubarb, cherry, pecan, and peanut butter pies. For the evening meal it was the same menu except there were sausage links instead of chicken, although the leftover chicken was used until it was gone. My job was to help make the broccoli salad.

I am sure it was a lonely day for my sister-in-law Nancy to not have brother Amos there to go ahead with the hosting of the wedding. He was greatly missed by many and I still feel like I should see him when I go to his place.

We arrived back home from the wedding around 10 p.m. It’s always good to be back home again after a long day!

God’s blessings to all!

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

Combine first seven ingredients, stirring well. Drop mixture by tablespoons into oil which has been preheated to 375 degrees. 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, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Late summer harvest and wedding celebrations 

 Four years ago, on August 5, we were busy hosting daughter Susan and Mose’s wedding. Happy Anniversary Mose and Susan. We wish them many more happy and healthy years together with God as their guide. They have been blessed with two wonderful sweet children, Jennifer, 2 1/2, and Ryan, 12 months. Those two little ones keep Susan busy. She had some anxious moments yesterday when she went out to get the mail and came back and Jennifer had locked her out. Susan said she tried to explain to her how to unlock the door, but Jennifer couldn’t figure it out. Finally, Susan managed to get in through a window. I’m sure she was relieved once she was inside with those two little ones on the loose. Susan said she has learned to never leave for just a minute without a key.

A wagon full of sweet onions from Lovina’s garden.
Photo provided.

Tomorrow is the wedding for niece Laura and Enos in Berne, Indiana. Our driver will be here at 5:30 a.m. then we will pick up sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma and Jacob, their son Benjamin, and his special friend Crystal. I’m not sure if anyone else from their family is going along. Daughter Verena is the only one from our children going as she is a table waiter at the wedding. I was asked to help cook.

Tonight, our church is invited to neighbors Joas and Susan for their annual fish supper. Joas loves to fish and every year they have the church over for a fish supper. I will take a dessert. I’m not sure yet what kind of dessert but the girls will make it. I am still sewing on my dress for the wedding tomorrow. I want to finish it this morning. It has just been so busy lately that it was hard to find time to sew.

Homegrown onions hung up to dry for the months to come.
Photo provided.

Yesterday I told daughter Elizabeth to come over and bring her laundry so we can help her wash it. Her son T.J., 1 1/2, and baby Allison, 7 months, have had ear infections, so they were fussy lately. It can be frustrating for a mother to care for her children and see there is work waiting to be done. How well I remember those times and how much it meant for my mother and sisters to help me out with the work.

Elizabeth’s laundry was folded and ready to put away when she arrived back home. She acted so relaxed to have that job off her list for now, which of course will be back on her list later this week. We know how much laundry three young children can make. Oh, but they are worth every minute of our time. Allison is standing by furniture and crawling all over. She is so petite and it is hard to believe how little but mighty she is. She has bright blue eyes (same as her father) and always such a big smile. Abigail, 3, and T.J. love to play hide and seek with son Kevin. They enjoy when he takes time to entertain them. Kevin spends a lot of time with our border collie dog Buddy, so when Kevin hides from the children Buddy always gives it away because he’ll go to wherever Kevin is.

Kevin, 15, and daughter Lovina, 16, picked the green beans this week. We are also still enjoying sweet corn. Kevin helped me pull the sweet onions and tie them up to dry by the walk out of our basement. We had a very nice crop of sweet onions. They taste so good with no hot flavor at all. I think these are almost the biggest onions we have grown. My husband Joe put plastic down around them this year.

I have new glasses and Joe has glasses for the first time now, too. It is taking him some getting used to bifocals. I don’t like mine, but you need them to read.

God’s blessings to all.

Zucchini Casserole

1 pound ground beef
4 cups sliced zucchini
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper

Cook zucchini in 2 cups boiling water until tender. Brown beef and onion. Mix all ingredients. Pour into casserole. Dot with butter and cover with breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

 

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

July birthdays and zucchini bars

It’s Wednesday morning and the humidity has gone, leaving us with a much cooler morning. We had a light shower this morning, which we needed. Our hay was out last night, and hopefully the rain didn’t affect it too much.

It seems quiet around here this morning, with Mose, Susan, Jennifer, and Ryan not staying here anymore. They are living in a travel trailer (RV) at their place so that Mose can work evenings on their house. They have a gas stove and refrigerator and running water in there so they can shower, etc. They also have part of their garage set up that they can stay in during the day. Susan is still washing her laundry here because she doesn’t have water hooked up in their garage. Yesterday we washed our clothes and filled the lines and then we washed her clothes. By that time a lot of our clothes were dry so we could make space for hers.

Grandson Ryan’s first birthday cake. Photo provided.

On Monday, July 27th grandson Ryan turned a year old. They had his birthday party here at our house because there is more room. They gave Ryan a small cake to eat and did he have fun! He smashed the frosting up in his mouth. It was so cute. We sang Happy Birthday and he smiled and knew he was getting all the attention. Ryan isn’t walking yet, although he stands by himself for a little while and tried to take a few steps. He walks by furniture, and it doesn’t take him long to climb steps although we don’t let him do it without us watching him. Ryan now shares his birthdate with niece Emma and Menno’s newborn son. Menno Ray was born at 12:05 p.m. on July 27th. He joins a sister Jessica Rose, 18 months. Menno Ray also has a cousin, Austin, who turned two on July 27th. Austin’s parents, Benji and Margaret, live at the next place over from Menno and Emma and are in our church district. So three little boys all share the same day, all a year apart.

Ryan loves his Grandpa Joe. He will crawl for him, laughing when he sees him. If I want to take him away from Joe, he turns toward Joe.

Last week my daughter Elizabeth and baby Allison, daughter Susan and Ryan, and son Kevin and I went to niece Elizabeth’s to assist her in cleaning. Manuel and Elizabeth will host church services for the first time on Sunday. They live in a neighboring church district and are still renting the house they live in. Grandchildren Abigail, Jennifer, and T.J. stayed here with my other daughters so that we were able to get more done at Elizabeth’s house. Sister Emma and Steven, and niece Emma and Jessica were also there for the day. Walls, ceilings, furniture, and windows were cleaned. Many hands make lighter work!

I have cucumbers from the garden and want to can pickles this week if time allows.

I also have dark green material to sew a dress for myself for niece Laura’s wedding next week, again, only if time allows. Son Kevin and I pulled the sweet onions from our garden. Now we need to tie them up to dry under the porch by the walk-out basement.

The girls and I made supper for four families in our church who have had new babies or surgeries. Now the girls are ready to go deliver them. We made meat loaf, potato casserole, and zucchini bars, which are easy to make and use up zucchini. Our daughter Elizabeth and Tim are keeping us well supplied.

Take care, stay healthy, and God bless!

Zucchini bars for church families. Photo provided.

Zucchini Bars
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
2 teaspoons soda

Combine all ingredients and bake in a cookie sheet pan at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting or sprinkle with chocolate chips when almost done baking.

Cream Cheese Frosting
6 ounces cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
Beat well until mixture is smooth.

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

Annual family gathering and easy peach cream pie

On Saturday, July 11th, we all were awake and ready by 5:30 a.m., waiting for our ride on the bus to Monroe, IN to sister Leah and Paul’s house for the annual Coblentz gathering. Lo and behold, 6 a.m. rolled around and still no bus. Finally, we saw a bus pass by and soon after it headed back. Somehow a few wrong numbers in an address made quite the difference. The driver must have been frustrated to have to stop at three or four of our Amish neighbors’ houses. We could see the bus pull in and out of their driveways, so finally son Benjamin jumped on his bike and waved the driver down. Everyone was waiting to load up when he pulled in, so we still made good time. We stopped at a nearby McDonalds for breakfast. Daughter Elizabeth took everyone’s order and called them in the night before, so the waiting time wasn’t as long. With only the drive-thru open, it isn’t easy for a big bus load of people. Every order was marked for each family. It all worked out well. Then we headed for the interstate while everyone enjoyed their breakfast while visiting. It was very enjoyable to all be together. With almost thirty people on the bus, it wasn’t quiet, but it was an enjoyable, fun ride. The last time Jacob and Emma, sisters Verena and Susan, and our family all fit in the same vehicle was sixteen-and-a-half years ago when we started land shopping in Michigan. Daughter Elizabeth was nine at that time and is twenty-six now.

Our family totals around 110 now and if I’m counting right, everyone was there except six nieces and nephews and their families.

The noon meal was more than enough food with all the side dishes and desserts added to the hot meal Paul and Leah provided.

I forgot to mention that the bus had a lift so nephew Jacob and daughter Loretta could take their mobility scooters along.

Of course, my parents and brother Amos were greatly missed. Invitations to the wedding of brother Amos and Nancy’s youngest daughter, Laura, were passed out. She and Enos have set August 6 for their wedding day. Amos and Nancy had ten children—eight daughters and two sons. This is their eighth wedding to prepare for. Nancy has her youngest son Sam still at home with her. The newlyweds, Enos and Laura, will make their home with Nancy and son Sam for now.

Singing took place in the afternoon and everyone brought snacks to enjoy before we headed home at 4 p.m.

We arrived home in Michigan around 6:30 p.m.

It was time to prepare for church services at a young married couple’s house a few miles from here the next day. Daughter Loretta had her fifth service of following instructions for the eighteen articles of faith that the Amish youth take before getting baptized. All the church ministry and members have been so helpful to make sure everything is easy for Loretta and nephew Jacob with their handicaps. It is greatly appreciated and makes us appreciate the love. So often, we take our health for granted and do not think of the effort it takes others to do the same things we do. It causes a lot of discouragement for them, and even for me as a parent, when they have a bad day of accepting that they cannot do what others their age can. I know they have greater compassion for others through their handicaps. May God bless the youth that take time to stop and reach out to them. You have no idea what it means when their challenge is so much greater than ours. The kingdom of heaven will have no handicaps. God bless.

Easy Peach Cream Pie

3 cups fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
1 (9-inch) pie crust (unbaked)
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
dash of salt
1 cup heavy cream.
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place peaches in the pie crust. Beat eggs slightly in bowl; blend in sugar, flour, and salt. Stir in cream and vanilla; blend well. Pour over peaches. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes, or until center shakes slightly when moved.

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

 

Wedding memories and Mother’s raisin pie

July 15 was our twenty-seventh anniversary. Lots of memories throughout the years since Joe and I were married.

Tables decorated for Lovina and Joe Eicher’s wedding in 1993. Photo provided.

 

This is what my mother wrote in her column in July 1993 about our wedding. Mother wrote,

The weather was ideal for the wedding of daughter Lovina to Joe Eicher. Lots of work at such a time.

The Tuesday before the wedding, which was Thursday, July 15, about two dozen women came to help. They baked 90 pies (oatmeal, cherry, raisin, and rhubarb) and made 14 batches of nothings. Didn’t really want that many pies, but that number came upon us before we knew or thought of it. Well anyways no worry to run out of pies.

Wednesday about a dozen girls came to peel potatoes, cut up vegetables for the dressing and make potato salad for which I had cooked a twenty-quart cooker full of potatoes. Also, the tables were set and the last minute cleaning done. Our wash house or shed saw lots of life out there, as all the work was done in there to prepare for the wedding ceremony. Wednesday evening quite a few of our friends came to see the wedding tables, and refreshments were served to the ones that came. It was an enjoyable evening.

Then came the wedding day. We started to fry chicken (300 pounds) at 4:15 a.m. which was served for dinner. Had enough for supper too and also served boneless ham. Our meals consisted of chicken and noodles, gravy, mashed potatoes, dressing, chicken, buttered corn, green beans (which came out of our garden), pork and beans, potato salad, carrot salad, lettuce salad (plenty from the garden), hot peppers, Swiss cheese, fruit salad, tapioca pudding, pies, cakes, nothings, celery sticks, coffee, bread, rhubarb jam, and butter. There were around 18 skillets used to fry the chicken. We cooked 3 twenty-quart cookers of potatoes for dinner for mashed potatoes and 2 twenty-quart cookers for chicken and noodles. In the afternoon we again cooked over 3 twenty-quart cookers of potatoes to be mashed and more chicken and noodles for supper. Also 16 quarts of gravy. There were 28 women to prepare the meals. We could seat 98 people in the house and 70 in the wash house. The tool shed was cleaned out where the wedding services were held and later used to set up a table for the children for the noon and evening meals. We had quite a crowd here for both meals. Well enough of this for now. What a relief to have it over with.

I have so many precious memories of mother and how much she did for her family.

Joe was called back in to work this week after being laid off since March 23. It sure is a relief to us to have his income coming in again.

Yesterday, son Benjamin turned twenty-one, so he wanted the family to come home for supper. He ordered out pizza and wings for all of us. What a treat is was! Chips, cheeseball and crackers, and ice cream were also added to the menu. I didn’t get time to make a cake and didn’t for daughter Loretta’s birthday either. With son Joseph’s birthday coming up next week, it looks like we will have one cake for all the July birthdays. It’s almost too much cake for one month if we have three. Benjamin said he wouldn’t eat cake anyway, so he didn’t care that there wasn’t a cake.

Since I am running out of space, I will write about our family gathering at sister Leah and Paul’s house next week.

I will share the recipe for Mother’s raisin pie. God bless!

 

Raisin Pie

 2 (8-inch) unbaked pie crusts
1 cup raisins
2 tablespoons clear gelatin
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use one crust to line an 8-inch pie pan. Cook the raisins with water to cover in a kettle over medium heat until plump and juicy, about 15 to 30 minutes. In a bowl, make a thickening with the gelatin, salt, sugar, vinegar, and water. Pour into the raisin mixture. Cook until the mixture is thick enough to stick to a spoon. Add more sugar if it is not sweet enough for you. Pour into the pie shell. Cover the top with the remaining pie crust and seal and flute the edges. Cut slits in the center for steam to escape. Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Makes 1 (8-inch) pie.

 

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

Hot summer days and extended family gatherings

 It’s another hot day with high humidity here in Michigan. Every day the temperature has been in the 90’s. Yesterday afternoon we did get a much-needed rain shower. We would have needed to start watering the garden, so the rain was much appreciated. Because our house is surrounded by shade trees and a wraparound porch, we don’t get too much sun shining in our windows. Our living room, dining room, and kitchen are all open concept, so the breeze flows through really nicely.

Tomorrow, niece Elizabeth is surprising her mom (my sister Emma) for her forty-seventh birthday, which will be on July 19. She has invited Emma’s sisters, sister-in-laws, and some nieces for the birthday surprise. Elizabeth will serve lunch to all of us, and we are each taking a dish. I do hope we will surprise Emma. It is always fun to get together with siblings and family.

On Saturday, July 11, our whole family has plans to travel to Monroe, IN, to attend the annual Ben and Elizabeth Coblentz family gathering at my oldest sister Leah and Paul’s house. I have lost count of how many members are in the family. Nephew Paul Jr. is making a family record book with the birth and marriage dates for all my siblings and their children and grandchildren. It will be interesting and make it easy to look up everyone.

Our whole family, Jacob and sister Emma’s family, and my sisters Verena and Susan are renting a bus to take us to the gathering. It will be fun to all travel together and I can only imagine it will be pretty loud on the bus.

Son Benjamin and son-in-law Mose are back to work now after having a week off from the factory. Production is still picking up so hopefully my husband Joe will get called back soon. While they were off, they were working on Mose and Susan’s house quite often.

Joe and I didn’t do anything special over the fourth of July weekend, but most of our children went camping with friends. It was a quiet weekend but that didn’t bother me. I hope everyone had a safe holiday. It is only through Jesus Christ that we have true freedom from the bondage of sin, through His sacrifice on the cross! God bless America! Let us be thankful for the freedom we still have. Prayers are needed so much in our world that is so full of sin and hatred. In God we trust!

Son Joseph didn’t have to work today, so my husband Joe and he are getting a lot accomplished outside. Daughter Lovina made lemonade and I made iced tea to drink on these hot days. Rhubarb juice is another thirst quencher on these hot days.

I am receiving quite a few letters from readers requesting the recipe for rhubarb juice. I shared it in my column on May 11, and it is also included in my cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook. My friend Ruth brought my reader mail from Illinois, and I want to try and answer those letters. I appreciate all the kind words of encouragement.

Granddaughter Jennifer, 2 1/2, and grandson Ryan, 11 months, are sitting on the steps of the stairway singing. Jennifer has her doll in her hand and her little diaper bag beside her. She loves purses or any small bags. She fills them with toys or whatever she finds. When we are missing something, we look in Jennifer’s purse. Smile! Such precious angels! God bless!

 

Yellow Squash Dish
4 cups yellow squash, cut up
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 tomatoes, cut up
4-5 slices American or Velveeta cheese
1-2 Tbsp. bacon grease
Salt and pepper

Cook squash, onion, and tomatoes in bacon grease. Cook until most of liquid is cooked out. Pour into a serving bowl. Lay cheese slices on top and cover. Let sit until cheese melts 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 now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

July birthdays, family reunions, and tomato gravy

It’s July 1—today we enter the month of July, and 2020 is already halfway over. It has been quite a year to remember. I do not think many of us want to repeat such a year. When I see people in town shopping with masks on, what I miss the most is not being able to see a smile on a stranger’s face as I pass by, say “hi,” and smile. It’s hard to tell if other people are smiling or frowning under a mask. I will be so glad when life is all back to normal. It has been such a tiring year. My husband Joe is still laid off from the factory but stays busy helping son-in-law Mose with remodeling. Mose and son Benjamin are on vacation this week, so they are working over at the house every day this week so far. The dusty work is done now, and they should be ready to start framing the new walls soon. A lot of the family have plans over the July 4 holiday, so not much will get done there this weekend.

Today is our fifth child Loretta’s twentieth birthday. It is 5:30 a.m. as I write this, so she is still in bed and I haven’t told her happy birthday yet. Can it be possible that twenty years have passed since her birth? In two weeks, on July 14, son Benjamin will turn twenty-one. On July 24 son Joseph will be eighteen, and on July 27 grandson Ryan will be a year old. Joe and I will have been married for twenty-seven years on July 15. Brother Albert, who shares his birthday with two sons and a daughter-in-law, will be fifty-six on July 15. Sister Emma will be forty-seven on July 19. Emma’s youngest son Steven’s birthday is on July 30, and brother-in-law Paul’s is on July 31. July 18 was my dear mother’s birthday. In July we have lots of cake for everyone, but I sometimes just make one cake for all three of our children because we get tired of cake if we have it too often.

On July 11, my oldest sister Leah and Paul are hosting my family’s annual gathering. The siblings take turns hosting each year. My sisters Verena and Susan take their turn together, so each sibling hosts once every seven years. A lot of changes happen in those seven years, and also quite an increase in family members. After our parents both passed, we decided to start taking turns so that at least once a year we can all get together. The sibling hosting the gathering furnishes the hot food and everyone else brings a dish or two and a snack for the afternoon. We end up with a variety of food and more than enough.

In September, it will be eighteen years since dear Mother’s sudden death, and it was twenty years in May that my dear dad passed. Precious memories how they linger. Brother Amos will be greatly missed too.

My dad’s side of the family, the Coblentz’s, had chosen July 11 for their reunion date this year. Due to the virus and family coming from so many different states, they decided to cancel it. This is probably the first time ever that they have cancelled, but it’s the first time for a lot of cancellations this year, such as church, school, and weddings. It will be a year everyone will always remember.

Daughter Elizabeth is planning to come to our house today. She needs new dresses so I told her to bring her material and we will try to help her get something sewed. With three little ones, she keeps busy. Elizabeth and her husband Tim painted a bedroom and put new flooring down. Three-year-old Abigail helped her Daddy paint. Elizabeth said she did a pretty good job and it kept her entertained. Tim painted over it afterwards, but it is so good to invest time in the sweet, innocent little ones. They will always remember something like that.

Stay healthy, stay safe, trust in God. May He bless each of you!

 

Tomatoes from the Eicher family garden.

A reader requested a tomato gravy recipe. I’ll share my sister Liz’s recipe.

Tomato Gravy
1 quart of tomato juice
salt
pepper
3 cups of milk, divided
brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour

In two-quart pan, bring tomato juice to a boil; add salt, pepper, and brown sugar to taste. Add 2 cups of milk all at once and heat. Do not let the tomato juice and milk mixture boil, as it may curdle. Separately, mix flour with enough of the remaining 1 cup of milk to make gravy. When tomato juice and milk mixture is hot, but not boiling, add gravy mixture and stir constantly until it boils.

 

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

Summer rain, Father’s Day, and home renovations

 Recently, we received over an inch of much-needed rain. The grass was turning brown, so the rain will help the grass and the crops in the fields. The irrigation system has been running in the big farmers’ fields. In some places, the water from the irrigation flies over the road. When we use the covered buggy for transportation, we can close the doors and windows to pass through those places, but when we use an open pony buggy and Stormy, our pony, we tend to get wet. The water felt good on those hot days, though. One time I was holding grandson Ryan while he was sleeping, but he opened his eyes when he felt the sprinkles from the irrigation. It is cold water, and I tried to cover him as much as I could.

Along with the rain, we’ve had cooler temperatures and less humidity, which made for a better night’s sleep. I have been having a lot of pain in my shoulder, as am still bothered by a pinched nerve. It is tedious to lay on and makes nighttime a little more restless. I hung out a lot of laundry yesterday, which probably made it worse. I should take more time to ice and heat it to help the healing process, but before I know it, the day goes by and I have put it off. Then it feels worse during the night.

Saturday, my husband Joe and sons assisted son-in-law Mose in gutting out the inside of their house and tearing down some inside walls. Needless to say, there was a lot of dust. A few others were also there helping.

Daughter Susan and I made a casserole and took it over for their lunch. It was a hot day, so the dust mess seemed worse. We set up the food under the shade tree so they could eat away from the dusty house.

Sunday was Father’s Day. Daughter Loretta and her special friend Dustin hosted a supper at Dustin’s house in honor of both their fathers. They invited Dustin’s whole family and Loretta’s family, including both their married siblings and families.

Dustin and Loretta made a campfire stew in the kettle outdoors and grilled chicken. Also on the menu were cottage cheese, dill pickles, Colby and hot pepper cheese, chips, a deer jerky cheeseball and crackers, and chocolate cake. They presented a vanilla ice cream cake with “Happy Father’s Day” on it to their fathers.

They put the food underneath a canopy, and everyone ate outdoors. After supper, outdoor games such as croquet were played.

This was a nice, honorable event for both their fathers, and they did a great job of hosting all of us.

Dustin has been remodeling his house when he gets time. He bought the farm that belonged to our neighbor Irene, across the road from us. I still miss not seeing Irene sitting outside when I’m hanging out laundry or working in the garden. On Sunday evening when I sat under the shade tree where she always sat, memories of her were refreshed. She was a good neighbor to us through all the years we lived across the road. Rest in peace, Irene—you will always be remembered for your kindness!

This week, I will share a recipe for banana bread that a reader from Ohio sent to me. Thank you, Rhoda!

God’s blessings to all!

 

Banana Bread
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons soda
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 ripe bananas
2 cups milk
3 cups all-purpose flour

Mix the first six ingredients together. Mash the bananas and beat into the first mixture. Batter will be thin. Alternately add flour and milk. Pour into 3 greased loaf pans.

 

Topping
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
nuts, optional

Mix together topping ingredients. Sprinkle over loaves. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Yield: 3 loaves.

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