Category Archives: Breads and Muffins

Rereading early columns is an occasion to ponder life’s many changes

Timothy and Elizabeth’s new colt from mother Shiann. As Lovina reminisces and reflects here, life is always moving on.

Rereading early columns is an occasion to ponder life’s many changes

 Supper dishes are washed, and most of the family is relaxing and getting showered before bedtime. Hamburger potato casserole was on the menu for tonight.

As I sit here in my recliner writing, my mind goes back to 16 years ago, when I first started penning my first column. Mother had just died unexpectedly, while attending a few book signings in Missouri. She was 66. Life changed so much for our family on that day.

I was nervous when I wrote that first column. I was 31 years old, and my husband Joe and I had six children. Joseph was our baby, only three months old. Loretta was two, Benjamin three, Verena four. Susan was six and in kindergarten. Elizabeth was eight and in second grade. By now, 16 years later, there have been so many changes!

Rereading my earlier columns brings back memories of those years when our children were so young. In one column I wrote that I had water heating on the stove to wash the laundry. Now I have hot running water, powered by solar, and I can put the hose right into my Maytag washing machine. Now that my washing machine is powered by the solar panels on our pole barn, there is no more carrying water to get that job done.

I also wrote about my sisters coming to help in preparations for upcoming church services. It said sister Emma cleaned all three of my kerosene stoves and we cleaned all the kerosene lights. Now I have a propane gas stove and propane and battery lights.

It was hard to go on, with both my parents gone from us so suddenly. Dad had passed away a little over two years before Mother. At the time, it seemed almost impossible for life to go on without them. Remembering my mother’s words—things she always said—helped me a lot. She always said, “God makes no mistakes.” So why would we want to question His ways?

I also wrote in one of my first columns that I was trying to get the buggy blankets dried, as we had been caught in a rain. Yes, we had open buggies in those days, and those winter rides could get pretty cold! In rainy weather we had umbrellas to keep us dry as much as possible. We now have covered buggies and heaters to install in the cold winter months.

As 2002 ended and we started the new year 2003, we faced another year of changes. Our home place was sold, as were all our parents’ belongings. Life went on, but there was always someone missing from our lives. As we entered the year 2004 we started thinking we need a change. So after much thought and many prayers, we packed our belongings and with our six children made the move to Michigan. It was a big change to move a few hours from our home and with the children still young, and it was a busy time for all of us. It was a big change—but sometimes change is good!

The girls attended a new school and made new friends. In May daughter Lovina was born to us. There were complications, and I spent a week in the hospital after her birth.

Sisters Verena and Susan and sister Emma, Jacob and family also made the move to Michigan. We were glad to have family join us. In 2005 we were blessed with our eighth child, Kevin.

The years have gone by so fast, and of course all the children are older. I used to think that life would eventually slow down, but it seems to only get busier with the years! Then again, it could be that this grandma is just slowing down gradually. We have had so many blessings throughout the years that far outnumber the bad times. May God be with us as we travel into the unknown future. And we wish God’s many blessings to all of you as well!

This week I will share the recipe I received from a reader in Kansas. It’s very easy to make.

Brownie Muffins

1 cup butter
1 cup chocolate chips
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 18 cupcake cups with paper liners. Melt butter and chocolate chips together in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Let cool. Beat eggs and sugar together in a mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. Mix flour and vanilla into egg mixture. Fold in chocolate mixture until batter is smooth. Pour batter into prepared cupcake cups, filling them about 1/2 full.

Bake in preheated oven about 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean or with moist crumbs.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

To follow Lovina around for the day, you’d have to rise at three

Diary of October 16, 2018

3:00 a.m. Alarm rings. It’s time to pack my husband Joe’s lunch, make some coffee for his coffee mug and fill his water jug with ice water. The 45-minute ride to work is enough time for him to enjoy the coffee. Joe is leaving 20 minutes earlier due to having a different ride than usual. Those 20 minutes make quite a bit of a difference this early in the morning! The man who picks him up works in the same place, so their hours are the same. They also pick up son-in-law Mose, as he works with them.

After Joe leaves, I usually take a nap on my recliner. But today I know this column needs to be written. (I’m writing a diary of the day before.)

3:25 a.m. Husband Joe leaves for work.

3:45 a.m. Son Joseph, 16, gets ready for work while I pack his lunch and fill his water jug with ice water.

4:00 a.m. Joseph leaves for work. Son Benjamin, 19, gets up to feed the horses hay before getting ready for his ride. I fill his water jug. Benjamin prefers to wait to eat lunch when he comes home. He takes some snacks but he’s usually home by 1:30 or 2:00 p.m. Joseph has a new ride too, so he leaves 30 minutes earlier than he used to.

4:30 a.m. Benjamin leaves for work and I go back to bed, setting my alarm for 6:00 a.m.

6:00 a.m. I wake up daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13. Lovina showers at night and Kevin showers in the morning. Kevin always needs a little time to get his muscles loosened up to walk, so it takes him awhile to get ready.

6:45 a.m. The bus is here, and Lovina and Kevin leave. I relax in my recliner until it’s daylight outside. I decide to go check up on the horses in the barn, as the dogs keep barking. Usually the horses are outside in the pasture, but they needed to be inside this morning as they are all going to be reshod. The horses get impatient and kick at the box stalls, making the dogs bark, but all looks fine. A man and two young boys from our church will put new shoes on the horses today and then turn them out to pasture.

8:30 a.m. Daughter Verena is leaving to go help a family in our church. Daughter Loretta washes dishes while I gather the dirty clothes. It was rainy yesterday so laundry was put off until today.

10:30 a.m. Loretta and I are finally started washing laundry in the basement. I hang out the clothes on the lines. It sure is cold and windy! The sun is shining, which helps a bit. It’s still only 48 degrees outside. Sure feels cozy in the house. My husband, Joe, started the coal stove on Saturday. The guys are now here in the barn, putting the shoes on our horses. We have four horses and our pony, Stormy, that need to be reshod.

12:30 p.m. Lines are filled with clothes, and they are drying really well. The bed sheets are dry already, so I take them off. It’s so windy that it’s like they want to keep blowing off! Loretta and I take a break and eat lunch. Joe is home from work already.

1:30 p.m. Ben comes home.

2:15 p.m. Verena gets back home. She said several ladies were there helping today, and they canned more than 40 quarts of applesauce.

3:00 p.m. Joseph is home.

3:30 p.m. Lovina and Kevin are now home from school. We are getting the clothes in and folding laundry. Joe and the boys and Lovina are bagging up a load of sawdust that was delivered today. They use sawdust instead of straw for bedding in the barn.

5:30 p.m. Mose, Susan and Jennifer come, but they have had supper already. We are excited to see little Jennifer, since we didn’t see her for almost a week. Joe and Mose are working three-day weeks, so Mose and Susan spent several days at his brother’s house one-and-one-half hours from here. His brother is building a new house so they worked on that, and Mose also did some deer hunting. Jennifer was happy to see us again and just chattered away.

Abigail’s outdoor buddies rest on the patio. Frisky, the Australian Shepherd dog, and Kitty, their cat, get along great.

7:00 p.m. Pizza is on the menu for supper, and it’s about time to call it a day. Mose and Susan leave for home.

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

Crescent Rolls

1/2 cup butter, chilled
1 package instant yeast
1/4 cup water
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup milk, scalded

Melt butter, then chill again until set; this makes your crust flaky. Dissolve yeast in water. Mix flour, salt and sugar together. Mix in butter. Beat egg and milk and yeast mixture. Mix just until it hangs together. Roll out on a 12 x 17-inch cookie sheet if you plan to use it as a crust, or shape into crescent-shaped rolls. Let rise. Bake at 350 degrees until firm. These beat the store-bought crescent rolls in a tube.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Grandma Lovina’s dilemma: Which granddaughter to pick up when the buggy arrives?

It’s 6:45 a.m. and daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, just left for school. It’s still quite dark outside. Daylight Savings Time lasts until November, so it seems most of the school year it’s dark when they leave with the bus.

I think this is my favorite time of the day. After the morning rush of getting everyone off to work and school, I get a little time to read, write or just relax for a bit before starting my day. Right now I’m debating if we should wash laundry today. I’m waiting to see if it will be a nice day for it to dry.

Yesterday daughter Elizabeth, with little Abigail, and daughter Susan, with her Jennifer, came here with Susan’s and Mose’s horse and buggy. The horse, Rex, is a little hyper when he starts out. So very early in the morning, Mose helped Susan get on her way to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house, which is two miles away, before he left for work. When Susan and Jennifer arrived, Timothy was still home to take care of the horse before he left for work. Susan and Jennifer napped there at Timothy and Elizabeth’s house until it was daylight, and then they all traveled the six-and-a-half miles to our place.

Grandma was excited, as always, to go out to the buggy and carry both little girls inside! I’m not sure how long it will be until they get too big for me to carry at the same time. But it’s so hard to choose which little girl to carry inside, so I always just carry both! Jennifer was sleeping, and when she awoke in my arms she smiled and smiled at me. She is starting to say “Amen” when we get done saying our prayer before we eat. So precious!

I made Egg Dutch for our breakfast, along with toast and cheese. While we were eating, Elizabeth said she hadn’t gotten her laundry done yet. I told her we would all go over to her house after breakfast and help her wash her laundry. She was very glad for our help. While we were hanging up the rest of the laundry, Susan and Loretta went over to Susan and Mose’s house and took her clothes off the lines. She had it still hanging from the day before, because it rained before it was dry. Elizabeth made soup and sandwiches for our lunch. After lunch Elizabeth, Susan and I brought all the laundry in while Verena and Loretta washed dishes and cleaned up the house. We folded most of the laundry and then we all headed back to our house.

Timothy and Mose had plans to go hunting together, so the girls stayed here for awhile before heading back home. It was a nice day to help each other. And what a sunshiny, warm autumn day, with temperature reaching the upper 80s! I’m sure days like that are numbered this year.

Sons Benjamin, 19, and Joseph, 16, went to help a family from our church district one evening this week. The husband is laid up from a farm accident and can’t work for several weeks. His wife is also not allowed to do much, as she is also under a doctor’s care. The boys carried a large pile of wood inside for them. We wish both of them health and a complete recovery. They have three small children.

Saturday was also a nice day, so the boys went fishing on the lake with Dustin, Loretta’s special friend. They were fishing for pike but didn’t have much success. They said it was relaxing, though, so no time was wasted.

Also on Saturday daughter Verena left with Emma and her special friend Menno to visit friends in a community about one-and-a-half hours away. They had supper with one of their friends.

Rainbow hues strike the eye as two-year-old granddaughter Abigail’s homemade dresses dry after washing.

As I was hanging out clothes on the lines at Timothy and Elizabeth’s house, it was so peaceful. They have 31 acres and the woods and river are right behind their house. A very lovely and scenic setting. Leaves have a tinge of color so it won’t be long before we will see our Master Artist’s magnificent scenery.

God’s blessings to all!

Pumpkin Pie Bread

3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2–3 cups sugar (use more or less sugar as desired)
1 cup oil (or applesauce)
4 eggs
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
1/2 cup water

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. In a separate bowl beat together sugar, oil (or applesauce), eggs and pumpkin. To this, add flour mixture alternately with the water. Pour into two large greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

Note: For best flavor, store wrapped in plastic wrap for one day at room temperature before serving.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Summer’s waning days bring bucketloads of tomatoes and family hog roast

In addition to lots of tomatoes, the Eichers canned these great looking peaches recently.

Summer’s waning days bring bucketloads of tomatoes and family hog roast

It’s Wednesday evening around 7:00 p.m. Supper dishes are washed and put away. Everyone is cleaned up and relaxing before bedtime. The boys were outside tossing the football to each other while the girls washed the dishes.

Today daughters Elizabeth and Susan along with granddaughters Abigail and Jennifer came to spend the day here. Elizabeth brought along four buckets of tomatoes that Timothy had picked from their garden. They were 5-gallon buckets. They have already canned five batches of salsa from the tomatoes in their garden. I was very glad for the tomatoes. We made 37 quarts of tomato juice with the tomatoes, and I was glad for the help from the girls.

While we were working on the tomatoes, our friends from this community, Sam and Pearl, stopped in with some of their friends from Virginia, who are readers of my column. They stayed for a short visit. I appreciate the encouragement they gave.

While they were here my husband, Joe, came home from his job at the RV factory. While he was visiting with them, little Abigail brought in his new shoes, which had arrived in the mail earlier today. She started untying his shoes and wanted him to put on his new ones. How she understood that the shoes that came in the mail were her grandpa’s new shoes I don’t know. It was just so cute to see her bending down by his feet, untying his shoes!

On Saturday we were happy that Aunt Caroline Coblentz and cousin David and Karen Coblentz from Lafayette, Indiana, came for a visit. Aunt Caroline will celebrate her 86th birthday on September 3. We wish her a happy birthday with God’s blessings always. It was nice visiting with her, even though I was interrupted because I was keeping watch on my pies baking in the oven. The cherry and pecan pies were to take to daughter Susan and Mose’s on Sunday.

Aunt Caroline, David and Karen had lunch with my sisters Verena and Susan, and also visited with my sister Emma and family before heading south again. It has been five years ago since Uncle Andy (my Dad’s brother) passed away. I imagine Aunt Caroline has many lonely days, but David and Karen take real good care of her.

After they left last Saturday, the girls and I went over to Mose and Susan’s to help set up for church. The boys and Joe had left earlier. We helped with all the last-minute preparations, and the benches were set up under the big tent.

Sunday morning the church families gathered at Mose and Susan’s place for the services. They had a good lunch, similar to ours a few weeks ago.

A reader asked me recently about our church lunches. All church lunches are mostly the same, except the lunchmeat may be different or some may have cheese instead of cheese spread. Some might serve egg salad with no meat on the side. Always on the menu are bread, peanut butter spread, pickles, red beets, jelly or jam, butter, cookies, coffee and tea. The host can then add extras.

Mose and Susan are glad to have a lot of their cleaning done now. There is still canning to do, since the gardens in this area are slow this year. This coming Saturday will be my family gathering at sister Emma and Jacob’s. They are planning to have a hog roast with everyone bringing the side dishes, desserts and snacks.

It will be sad this year, with brother Amos not being there with us. I really hope his wife, Nancy, and family will still come; after all, they are still our family. We can also be comforted by spending time with each other, reminiscing about the precious memories we have of Amos. I still have such a hard time believing he is not with us. May he be resting in the arms of Jesus! God makes no mistakes, so we must accept his will.

I will share a recipe requested by a reader. God bless!

Zucchini Squash Bread

3 eggs
1 cup cooking oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups peeled and grated zucchini
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped nuts

In a bowl beat the eggs until foamy; add the oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla. Mix lightly but well. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and baking powder and mix. Stir in the nuts. Divide the batter into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Pace of preparation picks up for Sunday church at the Eichers

Pace of preparation picks up for Sunday church at the Eichers

Benches and Ausbund hymnals are hauled from one home to another to use for church services in homes, pole barns or basements. Photo by Grant Beachy

Church services will be held here on Sunday, Lord willing. The extra project of getting wainscoting and trim on has felt a bit overwhelming.

We are also putting a new ceiling up since the drywall still looks different from being patched in when we had the house fire several years ago. They ran into some problems putting it up so it delayed us from some of the cleaning.

It has just been one late night after another and I will be so glad once we have it completed. We regretted that we even started with a deadline so close but we will be glad its another check off our “to do list” or as my husband Joe would call it, “honey do list.” It does look very nice to see the windows with trim and the doorways. The curtain rods have been hung with the curtains. Every day we get closer to being done and every day brings us closer to Sunday. It is nice to have a big house but it takes a lot longer to clean it as well.

Last night Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan, and Jennifer came to help some more. We  had an easy supper of a lot of garden vegetables. On the menu were potatoes, sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumber salad, breaded zucchini—all vegetables from our garden. We also had some barbecued chicken that was leftover from the day before.

On Sunday August 5 was Mose and Susan’s second anniversary. Next week on August 14 will be Timothy and Elizabeth’s third anniversary. I wish both couples a happy anniversary and God’s richest blessings. May they enjoy many more happy and healthy years together. We have been blessed with two great sons-in-law that are willing to help us when we need help with our work. We like to return the favor. It helps parents to know their daughters are happy in marriage. May God always be their guide as we travel into the unknown future.

The ceiling we are putting up is wood and needs staining. We are staining it a natural oak. All the work of the staining is being done by sons Joseph, 16, Kevin, 12, and daughters Verena, 20, Loretta, 18, and Lovina, 14. They have put in many hours of staining the 4×8 sheets by hand. We wanted it to have two applications but ran out of stain. Tomorrow morning we will get more so it can all be dry by evening.

We have more help coming tomorrow. Sister Emma and sons, daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their little girls will come in the morning. Their husbands will come after work to help finish hanging the ceiling and help with whatever else Joe needs done. Niece Emma’s special friend Menno will also come help. Also daughter Loretta’s special friend Dustin. We are sure appreciative of all their help. It seems with mowing, gardening, etc., its just a busy time of the year.

Last Saturday those assisting us with our work were Jacob, Emma, and sons Jacob Jr, 18, Benjamin, 16, and Steven, 11; Timothy, Elizabeth, and Abigail; Mose, Susan, and Jennifer; sisters Verena and Susan; and Dustin.

Joe has some work that he needs done in the barn. He wants to make room for a few new horse stalls so the chicken coop area is all being torn out. We butchered our old chickens and will wait until spring when we can start new ones in hopefully a new chicken coop separate from the barn. The young boys got the job of cleaning up the barn.

Jacob Jr. and Loretta were in charge of grilling 30 pounds of chicken for our lunch. They also made potatoes on the grill cooked in olive oil. With desserts being brought in and adding cucumber salad and tomatoes to the menu we had a delicious meal for all the hard workers.

Now I need to go to bed. Writing about all this work is even exhausting! Everyone else has gone to bed.

Good night and God bless!

Best-ever Blueberry Muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter or margarine melted
1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Combine eggs, buttermilk, and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in blueberries. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-24 minutes or until muffins test done. Yield: about 1 dozen.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

 

Grateful memories of a stranger who helped out in a time of need

I decided to write my column while sitting in the waiting room in the doctor’s office. We are two hours from home. I am always glad when we are on our way home from these visits.

My thoughts go back to one of our recent trips to see the doctor. On the way there, our driver didn’t see a ramp that must have fallen off another vehicle. Earlier we had seen a truck with a skid loader on top of its trailer, so perhaps it was a ramp that fell off that truck. Anyway, a ramp was laying in the center of the lane in which we were traveling. Our driver swerved to miss it, but it slashed open the back tire of the fourteen-passenger van. It threw us around for a while, but how thankful we were that she gained control of the van. I think back at what could have happened and how bad it could have been, with the oncoming traffic. God was watching over us!

The van didn’t have a spare tire, and we were eight miles from the nearest town. A man from the house that we were parked beside came out to see if he could help us. He drove our driver to town to get a new tire and then he helped to put it on the van. Two hours later, we were back on our way. We actually made it in time for the doctor appointments. We make these appointments quite a few months early, and we always give ourselves enough time in case we have trouble on our way.

How nice to know there are still a lot of people in this world who will take time to help someone in need. We really appreciated the time the man took to help get us on our way. He wouldn’t take any money for his help. So if by any chance you read this column—thanks again, Mark from Coldwater, Michigan! May God bless you for your kindness that day.

On Saturday my husband, Joe, sons Benjamin, 18, and Joseph, 15, and I took time to till, weed and hoe both gardens. It really is easier when we all help each other!

Last week Lovina made eight pints of strawberry jam, which is tasty on top of the homemade bread that daughter Lovina, age 14, made this week.

Daughter Lovina, 14, mixed the dough for ten loaves of bread. She still needs to ask a few questions when mixing it. She caught on quickly that you must add more flour if the dough is still sticky. I put the dough in loaf pans and put it in the oven. I am hoping she can do that part soon as well. It would save me time if she could mix and bake bread, and it’s good for her to know how to do it. Five of the loaves were to take to church at our neighbors’ place on Sunday. I sent some home with daughter Susan and Mose, and we enjoyed the fresh bread over the weekend with fresh strawberry jam. The week before I made eight pints of strawberry jam. It is a favorite around here. I still want to make lots more for the freezer.

On Friday we will attend the wedding of Rhonda and Marlin. Rhonda is a girl from our church. It has been a rainy week, so I wish them a nice day on Friday. It’s nicer for the guests as well when the day is nice. I will help Susan by taking care of Jennifer while Susan cooks.

One day last week I was making some phone calls. We have a phone in an outside building. Before I was done, the phone rang, and it was the number brother Albert and his family usually call from. I answered, and it turns out that Albert had accidentally called us instead of the repair shop he wanted. Our number was on the same page, and somehow he dialed our number. He was really surprised and didn’t recognize my voice. I thought he was teasing when he asked if this is the repair shop, so I said yes!

Anyway, it was so good to talk to him again. With brother Amos’s sudden death in January, it’s even more precious to talk to siblings. I imagine sister-in-law Sarah Irene wondered where Albert was that long, but we had a nice talk together. It seems we don’t see much of Albert and his family. We all get busy with our own families, and it’s so easy to put off getting together. Nephew Levi’s wedding is in two weeks, so we hope to see the family there.

God bless you all!

Blueberry Applesauce Bread

 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cup blueberries

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, applesauce and melted butter. Add dry ingredients and stir until well blended. Fold in berries. Pour into one or two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50–60 minutes.

 Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Summer commences with sewing and cleaning projects

June is here, and we are almost halfway through 2018 already! It’s unbelievable how time just seems to go faster each year.

Speaking of time: we have more sewing that needs to be done. Congratulations are in order for nephew Levi Jr. and Arlene. They chose July 4 to unite in holy matrimony. Levi will be 24 years old on June 30. He was born two weeks after we had our firstborn Elizabeth. Elizabeth will be 24 on June 14. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and I are all asked to be cooks at Levi’s wedding. We need to wear the color “iris”—and none of us have a dress in that color. Daughter Verena needs to wear a light gray dress and son Benjamin a light gray shirt. They were both asked to be table waiters at the wedding.

So yesterday, while Elizabeth and Susan were here, we drove over to our local community store and bought our material for the dresses for the wedding in four weeks. Now we need to get them cut out and sewn. The week of July 4 is shut-down week for most factories in our area, so everyone in our family will be off work for the wedding.

My husband, Joe, and son-in-law Mose are off work from the factory right now for around a week. Makes it a little rough when bills need to be paid. But God is above, and we have much to be thankful for. It was just a little unexpected.

Some of Lovina’s family had extra time to fish this week—here’s a 21½ inch whopper husband Joe landed. They froze some of the fish.

Joe and Mose have spent a lot of time fishing, so it is good to see the freezer filling up with fish. The boys also go fishing every chance they get.

Congratulations also go to niece Lisa and Marcus from Tennessee! They chose June 15 for their wedding date. It doesn’t look like we will be able to attend. It’s about a nine-hour drive from here, if I’m not mistaken. With gas prices going up, traveling that far becomes more difficult.

Yesterday Elizabeth and her daughter Abigail, plus Susan and her daughter Jennifer spent the day here. Susan brought them in her horse and buggy. It’s always such a day brightener when I walk out to their buggy to help bring in the little girls and they both smile for me! Abigail now calls out “Grandma!” when she sees me coming.

Daughter Lovina went to her friend Mary’s house on Monday evening for Mary’s birthday supper. Mary is a girl from our church. Several other girls were also there in honor of her birthday.

I have been trying to get some cleaning done, as we will host church services in August, Lord willing. Joseph and Kevin’s bedroom should be painted, but we will see how far we get. It seems like the boys’ bedroom has more nicks and dents in the walls than anywhere in the house! I wasn’t too happy when I found a dartboard hanging on their wall a few years ago. Of course their darts missed the board sometimes and made holes in the wall. I am hoping the boys have grown up enough now that we would be safe to patch up the holes and repaint. They could help now, so that would be a great help to me.

I was hoping we could get our basement and the upstairs bedrooms all cleaned before the July 4 week. Time will go fast after that. Cleaning now would give us less to do on those hot summer days when canning will be in full swing.

We are still enjoying the early garden goodies. Several recent rains have given the gardens a boost. Plants are looking nice. Weeds are also taking over, so we need to get those out of there.

Here is a zucchini cupcake recipe to save to use when your zucchini are ready.

God’s blessings to all!

Zucchini Cupcakes

3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
1 can crushed pineapple, 15 oz.,  drained
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut

Beat eggs and add oil, sugar, zucchini and pineapple and set aside.

Stir together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Blend dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Add vanilla, coconut and nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes large batch of 30 or so cupcakes.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Warming up: Dandelion greens, rhubarb, and dirt under bare toes

Warming up: Dandelion greens, rhubarb, and dirt under bare toes

We finally managed to get some garden planted. The ground still felt a little cold under my bare feet. It just doesn’t seem right to walk in that soil with shoes on. I like wearing my crocs but with all the holes they soon filled with too much dirt.

We planted sweet onions, early frosty peas, radishes, and some lettuce. Makes my mouth water to think of some fresh garden goodies.

Temperatures have been in the 50’s and lower 60’s so we still haven’t had the warmest weather but I’m sure it will be here soon. Nephew Henry didn’t have work yesterday so he enjoyed the day on the lake fishing with a friend/co-worker.

On Saturday the boys and my husband Joe tilled up the gardens. They hauled manure into the one garden and tilled it in. Now every night the boys have been raking our yard and getting it ready to mow. We have a lot of trees, so lots of sticks and leaves accumulate over the winter months.

Last night Joe had an appointment, so we stopped for some groceries too. The girls had supper ready when we came home. They made hamburger with taco seasoning, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and green peppers, and shredded cheese. Some made tacos with soft tortilla shells and others made haystacks using these ingredients, putting crushed Doritos on top. We top it with salsa and ranch dressing. Sometimes we add chopped onions.

On some evenings we have been enjoying dandelion greens salad on top of steamed potatoes. Usually we like fresh ham or bacon with that either fried or grilled. I find the dandelion greens out in the yard and edges of the garden, etc. After they are washed very well I add them to a homemade sour cream dressing made with Miracle Whip salad dressing, apple cider vinegar, salt, and milk. I put in diced hardboiled eggs. Gathering and washing the dandelion greens is not my favorite thing to do but its worth it to be able to have dandelion salad. Although some of our children turn their noses up even thinking of eating something that grows in our grass.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their little sweeties have plans to come today. Looks like it will be another laundry day if weather permits.

Sunday evening Joe and I along with Verena, Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin went to Mose and Susan’s for supper. Timothy, Elizabeth, and Abigail went there as well. Mose grilled steak and I helped Susan make a pot of chili for an enjoyable evening. Mose and Susan live on a quiet road which is always so peaceful, with the only traffic being their neighbors.

Monday evening Susan and Baby Jennifer came here while Mose and Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) went turkey hunting. I had Jennifer laughing and chattering her baby talk. So precious!

Now I will share the sad news: Uncle Jake passed away on Tuesday. He was 81 years old. Uncle Jake and Aunt Mary live in Phoenix, Arizona, so we really regret that we won’t be able to travel the many, many miles between us. Jake will be missed at the reunions. He always had a great sense of humor like my dad and all his siblings did.

Out of the 13 siblings there are seven of dad’s brothers left. It’s a sad lonely feeling when another one passes away. Our greatest sympathy to Aunt Mary, cousins Christina, Cornelius, and Tabitha and their families as they mourn the passing of their husband, father, and grandfather. Daughter Verena had just received a card and long letter from Uncle Jake and Aunt Mary a few weeks ago. It was so thoughtful of them to think of her when dealing with their own health issues.

God bless you all!

Rhubarb Bread

1 cup cut up, cooked rhubarb
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon hot water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 5×9-inch loaf pan and set aside.

In a small pan, place cut up rhubarb and enough water to cover the rhubarb. Heat rhubarb to boiling and then lower to simmer and cook until rhubarb is soft, maybe 10-15 minutes.

In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it becomes light and creamy. Add the eggs and milk and mix well.

In a small mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to the butter mixture and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Stir in the vanilla; drain water from hot rhubarb and add to the batter, mixing until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Topping: Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Use a pastry blender to mix thoroughly. Pour mixture over the bread batter. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the loaf pan then turn out onto a wire rack. Slice and eat either warm or cold.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Family spreads out, barn needs fixing

Family spreads out, barn needs fixing

The last few days have been warmer and we sure enjoyed the sunshine! Now this morning it rained, but the sun is out again.

Son Joseph is harnessing our horse Mighty, so I can take the buggy to a garage sale. The sale is being held by a neighboring Amish family. They’re selling clothes, so I thought I might be fortunate and find some, to save time in sewing. Fabric seems to go up in price so it pays to buy garage-sale-priced clothes.

Last Thursday we attended the wedding reception of niece Lisa and Matthew in Berne, Indiana. It was cold and rainy. We arrived there about 2 p.m. I helped fill the peanut butter pies so my job was pretty easy.

On the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken, noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, grilled sausage links homemade bread, butter, and strawberry jam. Desserts were tapioca pudding and angel food cake topped with a mixture of whipped topping, cream cheese, and strawberry glaze, as well as pecan, cherry and peanut butter pies. “Nothings” [pastries] lined the tables on plates, a tradition in that area.

My brother Amos was raising hogs to make fresh sausage for this wedding meal; after he died, his sons Ben and Sam took over butchering the hogs to make the sausage. We enjoyed seeing the family but there was an empty spot without brother Amos there. It just doesn’t seem possible that Amos isn’t here anymore. We must accept God’s plan, but I can understand why it’s hard for Nancy (Amos’s wife) to go on. The wedding reception especially made us miss Amos even more.

We arrived back home that night around 11:30 p.m. It was a short night as we had to be up by 3 a.m. for Joe to leave for work at 3:45.

On Friday evening, Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan, Jennifer, and Loretta’ special friend Dustin joined us for supper. We played games afterwards.

Saturday morning early, my husband Joe and I went to Menards to get lumber to rebuild part of our haymow. It was getting weak from all the hay and needed more support. Joe also is making more space for hay. Our barn is old so it always needs some fixing up somewhere, but I guess it still works. Joe and the boys would like to build a few more horse stalls in there and move the chickens to a coop outside the barn. Dustin, nephew Henry, sons Benjamin and Joseph, and husband Joe worked on the haymow the rest of the day. They accomplished quite a bit.

Later, Dustin and Loretta, and daughter Verena left for a friend’s house for supper. Henry and Benjamin went to a birthday supper as well. Daughter Lovina was helping at Mose and Susan’s house and stayed the night. Lovina then came to church with them on Sunday. So that left just four of us home for supper: Joe, Joseph, Kevin and me. We had grilled cheese sandwiches and fried eggs, an easy meal.

A few families from church took supper in to Mose and Susan’s on Sunday evening. They wanted to visit after Jennifer was born but didn’t get around to it sooner. I left Lovina go home from church with Susan and Mose to help her with Jennifer. Susan was glad for Lovina’s help. Saturday afternoon and evening, Jennifer was being fussy, which makes it hard for Susan to get much done. The baby loves having her gums rubbed. At three months old, I really hope she isn’t pushing through teeth already.

Yesterday Elizabeth and Susan and their little girls came for the day. Our breakfast was biscuits and gravy. For lunch we had leftover Tater Tot casserole from the night before. The girls took Abigail outside in the afternoon. It was so nice and she enjoyed being outdoors again.

I’m eager to get outside myself and look for dandelion greens. These warm days should be bringing them up. Rhubarb is peeping through and so are spring flowers. I think I’m having a bout of spring fever.

Take care and God’s blessings to all!

Pecan Pie Muffins

Ingredients:
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped pecans
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini or regular muffin pan with liners. Mix brown sugar, flour, and chopped pecans. Stir. Add eggs and butter until combined. Spoon batter in muffin cups about ½ full. Bake for 12 minutes for mini, or 16 minutes for regular size muffins.

Holidays mean feeding 26 mouths and learning the perils of mail-order shopping

We had a rainy morning, but now the sun is shining brightly. Tomorrow we enter December and still no snow. Hopefully we won’t get it all at once! The temperature is showing 42 degrees.

Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail are here for the day. Elizabeth takes care of a little four-year-old girl named Nikiah every day while her mother works. Her mother is a friend Susan used to work with. With Nikiah and Abigail, she has her hands full. Nikiah likes to dress in Amish clothes when she comes here, and she likes to ride in the buggy with Elizabeth and Abigail. She calls me “Mom” because I’m the “Mom” around here.

Daughter Susan just left for a doctor appointment. Elizabeth brought a French toast casserole for our breakfast. The girls are washing dishes and sweeping floors and, of course, visiting. I am debating if I should move to my desk in our bedroom. If I’m not careful, I’ll start writing what they are saying! Ha, ha!

After I have this column written, we have plans to go to an Amish general store that just opened a few miles from here. They have an open house this week. Daughter Verena volunteered to stay here with Nikiah and Abigail.

Feeding 26 people on Thanksgiving Day requires a long table.

On Thanksgiving Day we had a total of twenty-six here. Jacob, sister Emma, Elizabeth and special friend Manuel; Emma and special friend Menno; Jacob Jr., Benjamin and Steven; sisters Verena and Susan; Timothy, daughter Elizabeth and Abigail; Mose and daughter Susan; Loretta’s special friend Dustin and nephew Henry all joined us for Thanksgiving dinner.

On the menu were two big turkeys (one was a smoked turkey), mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, corn, lettuce salad, veggies and dip, deviled eggs, cheese, homemade bread and dinner rolls, apple, pumpkin, cherry, and peanut butter pies, pumpkin roll, fresh fruit mixture and ice cream. Needless to say, not many were hungry for dessert with dinner! Before everyone left I put out all the food again so they could eat something.

Lovina’s Thanksgiving menu included these mouthwatering dishes.

But we still had more food left over, so I took it along to Mose and Susan’s house the next day. Jacob and sons, Menno, Manuel, Timothy, Dustin and Joe and our sons assisted son-in-law Mose in putting up new drywall in their house they will move to. We women and girls heated up the leftover food from Thanksgiving Day here at our house and took it over there for those hardworking men and boys. We all ate in the garage, since the house was dusty. Mose and Susan really appreciated all the help they had. A lot was accomplished that day. Most of the drywall was hung. Last night my husband Joe went with Mose to get a stove and new flooring for the house. The house is ready for drywall mudding once the heat is going in the house.

I am doing a lot of mail-order Christmas shopping and decided to send off for a meat saw for my husband Joe for his birthday, which is on December 22. He will be 49 this year. The UPS truck drove in, and I didn’t think anything of it when Joe said he would go out to get the package. I just didn’t think his gift would be arriving yet!

So I didn’t know which way to look when Joe walked inside with the box, which clearly showed that it was the meat saw. He had a big smile on his face and asked where I want the box. I knew I couldn’t make him believe that it was for someone else, so I just told him happy birthday. He was very glad for it, as he had been wanting one for a while. His birthday is so close to Christmas, so I guess it’s nice to have his gift early for once.

God’s blessings to all!

60-Minute Dinner Rolls

2 packages dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup warm milk
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted

Add yeast and sugar to warm milk and let stand for 15 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Stir well and let stand in warm place approximately 20 minutes, until double in size. Form into 24 egg-sized rolls. Place on a well-greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

 Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 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 at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.