Category Archives: Breads and Muffins

Autumn’s “slow time” a reminder that Lovina has been writing column for 15 years

Autumn’s “slow time” a reminder that Lovina has been writing column for 15 years

We are finally seeing the sun shine after a dreary, rainy week. Why does life always seem better when the sun is shining? With our water system, freezers and other appliances working off solar power, the battery gets low when there isn’t much sun. When that happens, we have to use a generator to charge the big battery. We are always glad when the sun shines at least for a day to charge up the battery.

The Eicher household has a new hopper-fed coal stove in the basement. This stove heats the whole house. The outside jacket is on so they can route the heat upstairs or can open the door and let some of the heat into the basement when clothes are drying.

Last night daughter Loretta was excited to shoot another deer. This was a buck, and a nice-sized one. I wrote in my last letter that she uses a compound bow, but it’s actually a crossbow, not a compound bow. (I’m pretty sure other writers can relate that sometimes you mean one thing and write another!) And with me not being a hunter, I get the bows mixed up once in a while.

Loretta, Justin and Mose did not have to go far to find this deer, as Loretta had made a pretty accurate shot. Dustin dressed the deer last night for Loretta. The meat from the doe she shot last week is coming in handy. Dustin fixed the steaks on the grill, and the venison burger is getting bagged for the freezer. Son Kevin wants sloppy joe sandwiches made with the venison burger. He thinks venison makes the best sloppy joes.

We were helping over at Mose and Susan’s house on Saturday. There were still a lot of things in there from the former owners. They are going to remodel some of the rooms before they move in. That should make it heat better.

Some readers have asked what kinds of wedding gifts are received at Amish weddings. A variety of gifts are given, such as: household items, kitchen items, tools, towels, blankets, Tupperware bowls, garden tools, utensils, food choppers, clothes racks, pressure cookers and canning jars. A lot of people give money. The amount spent depends on how closely related you are to the couple. Parents and siblings and close friends usually give bigger gifts than the rest. I hope this helps answer questions.

Daughter Verena went to a practice session for the upcoming Bethlehem Inn play that will be held at the community youth center. They will act out the birth of baby Jesus. When Joseph and Mary come to the inn and are refused a place to stay, a meal will be served to the guests. We want to get tickets to go to this event.

I am now finishing this column the following morning. What a pretty sunrise in the east. Looks promising for another nice day. Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail will come to spend the day here. I want to make a breakfast casserole and put it in the oven so it’s ready when they get here. Abigail doesn’t like to be covered up in the buggy and always has cold little cheeks when she comes. She thinks she needs to help Elizabeth drive their horse, ShiAnn. She is always slapping the driving lines and saying, “Giddyap.”

Son Kevin, 12, left on the bus for another school day. With the time change—we call it changing back to “slow time”—there’s more daylight now when he leaves. It seems like we are going to bed earlier with the time change. It gets dark earlier, so I think we eat supper earlier even though it seems later. The deer hunters liked the fast time better, as they had another hour of daylight in the evenings. Joe is a morning person, so he likes the early daylight in the mornings. I really don’t mind either time, but I wish it would just stay to one! I don’t like the changing back and forth. Some of our clocks don’t ever get changed back sometimes.

This October it has been 15 years that I started penning this column. Mother wrote for 11 years before me. On September 17, it was 15 years since she passed away so suddenly. We still miss her so much. But God makes no mistakes.

God’s blessings to you!

Soup, cornbread, fresh veggies and cheese make a nice winter meal for lunch or supper. [Melodie Davis photo]
 Cornbread

1 1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Mix dry ingredients. Add liquids. Stir just until moistened. Do not overmix. Pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

With husband and children on vacation, Lovina serves up extra recipes

We recently butchered our old laying hens and canned around fifty quarts of chicken broth. My husband, Joe, and our children are home on vacation the week of July 4. So this week I’m sharing some extra recipes.

The Eicher family canned chicken broth this week—a staple for use at Amish weddings.

God’s blessings to all!

A reader recently requested a recipe for red velvet cake made with beets. Here is the recipe.

 

Red Velvet Cake with Beets

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup pureed, cooked beets
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Sift flour and baking powder together. In another large bowl, whisk together sugar, buttermilk, beets, oil, eggs, cocoa powder, food coloring, vanilla, vinegar, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture gradually to the bowl, stirring after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake about 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

A reader also requested the recipe for Cherry Delight.

Cherry Delight

1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups whipped topping
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 28-ounce can cherry pie filling (or 1 quart canned cherry pie filling)

In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and 1 tablespoon sugar. Spread on bottom of a 9 x 9-inch baking pan to form a crust. Beat together whipped topping and cream cheese, adding remaining sugar and vanilla until well blended. Smooth on top of crust. Top with cherry pie filling. Chill at least 3 hours.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon to coat the berries
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup rhubarb, chopped
1 cup strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and oil until smooth. Add the egg, yogurt and almond extract to the sugar mixture and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the first four dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Add the chopped rhubarb and strawberries and lightly mix in. Place paper liners in muffin tins. Use a 1/4 cup scoop to fill the liners. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on the top of each muffin. Bake for 12–14 minutes or until golden on top. Makes 18 muffins.

 

Sunday Brunch Casserole

1/2 pound bacon, sliced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
12 eggs
1 cup milk
1 16-ounce package frozen hash browns, thawed
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dill weed

In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon; crumble and set aside. In the drippings, sauté onion and green pepper until tender; remove with a slotted spoon. Beat eggs and milk in a large bowl. Stir in hash browns, cheese, salt, pepper, dill weed, onion, green pepper and bacon. Transfer to a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35–45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Yields 6–8 servings.

 

Also, I need to make several corrections to the Blueberry Cobbler recipe that appeared in my column in newspapers and online the week of June 19-23. Several readers alerted me to some problems, and I have made some revisions. Thanks for your feedback!

Blueberry Cobbler

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup milk

Topping:
2 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar

Combine ingredients in a bowl, mix together and spread batter in a 7 x 11-inch pan or 2-quart baking dish. Mix together blueberries and sugar; pour over batter and bake at 350 degrees for 45–60 minutes or until done. Try with different types of fruit.

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 Kitchen, 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.

“Mystery” biscuits make simple and appealing treat during busy Christmas season

A snowy Tuesday December evening! We received about seven inches of snow over the weekend. It makes for good sledding.

Daughters Susan and Verena mixed up some biscuits and then went out sledding with son Joseph, 14, and daughter Lovina, 12. I’m making sausage gravy and trying to write and watch the gravy at the same time. The biscuits are baking, and son Kevin, 11, is frying the eggs. He learned how to fry eggs in cooking class at school, so he is glad to try his skills at cooking here at home.

Son-in-law Mose is hunting tonight. Son Benjamin just came home from work. Husband Joe is taking a shower.

Daughter Loretta, 16, went with her special friend Dustin’s family to their school Christmas program. Dustin’s youngest sister, Rebecca, is in the program. She is in kindergarten. She was born nine years after the youngest of her six siblings, so is the only one still in school from their family.

It sure is different now that we don’t have any children in elementary school who have a Christmas program. Our youngest child, Kevin, enjoys middle school, where he switches classes every hour. He says the day goes much faster.

This is now after supper. Some of the children are playing Poppa’s Pizza Topple. It’s a game where you have to balance the pizza toppings on the pizza, which the pizza guy is holding.

Susan still comes over to our house to read a chapter from the Bible every day with the rest of her siblings. They each take turns reading a verse. I feel so thankful that they read the Bible every day. Life is so busy, and it is so often pushed aside. How comforting to read the words written by God! As parents, we have a great responsibility, and I realize this more and more as the children get older. We can’t say enough prayers for them as they grow up in a world filled with so much hate and sin. May God give us the strength to stay faithful to his will.

A store-bought birthday cake is a special treat in the Eicher family; this one is for daughter Verena's 19th birthday.
A store-bought birthday cake is a special treat in the Eicher family; this one is for daughter Verena’s 19th birthday.

Daughter Verena turned nineteen on Sunday. Our married daughters and family and Dustin were here Sunday evening in honor of her birthday. On the menu were chili soup, hot wings, jalapeño poppers, macaroni salad, cheese, cake and ice cream. The men fixed the hot food out in the kettle and on the grill. The girls and I enjoyed the break and took turns holding dear little Abigail. She giggled out loud for the first time. All those “firsts” are so precious.

I want to thank all the readers who have sent cards and money since my surgery. It is greatly appreciated. Hospital expenses are high these days, but our health cannot be neglected all the time. I do feel so much better since the surgery. I want to get to my sewing again. The boys need more pants.

I will sign off for this time. May God bless each of you! And may all of you with health problems recuperate to a complete recovery! We often take good health for granted until we don’t have it.

I will share the recipe we use almost all the time for our biscuits. The mayonnaise and milk give these biscuits a very moist texture. I think that is why they are so popular with the children in my house.

Mystery Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking sheet or 12 muffin cups and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Blend in the mayonnaise, milk and sugar until the mixture is creamy. Drop by the tablespoon onto the baking sheet or fill the muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake until golden brown, 18–20 minutes. Makes 12 biscuits.

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 Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Lovina’s oldest daughter takes up the pen this week

Greetings from the Bontragers! I’m Lovina’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth, and I’m taking over for Mom this week. I’m not an excellent writer like Mom is, but I’ll give it a try anyway.

Mom underwent some surgery this week. Depending on how the surgery turns out, she may need to stay a night or two. We hope and pray everything goes well. Times like this make a person stop and think. Perhaps I take my mom for granted sometimes. She’s always there for us: for me and for her family. God has blessed us with an amazing mother. Mom—thank you for just being you!

Today baby Abigail and I spent the day at my parents’ with Mom, my sisters Susan, Verena and Loretta, and my brother Benjamin. Abigail gets lots of attention from them—lots of hugs and kisses. She’s starting to notice everything around her and also starting to coo. She smiles when we talk to her.

Our world changed tremendously when Abigail arrived. She wrapped her daddy around her little finger instantly! It was love at first sight for us. We feel blessed!

While I was laid up after her birth, my family came to help whenever they could. Sister Verena spent the first two weeks here. Husband Timothy has also helped out a lot. He canned the applesauce and grape juice for me. I suppose my canning is finished for this year. Mom always says it’s nice to see the empty jars fill up for winter, and now I know what she means.

It was a beautiful fall day yesterday, so in the early afternoon I decided to quickly do laundry. I wasn’t done hanging it out on the lines when Timothy came home, and so he finished it for me. I left some bath towels and Tim’s work pants hang out overnight. They were too wet to bring in.

It’s a bit more challenging keeping up with the household chores now with Abigail, but I love every minute of it! I must say, though, time has a way of slipping by so quickly now. Sunday was Abigail’s second time going to church services. It’s different having to dress a little one before we go away!

Abigail had her first bath in a baby bathtub last week. She really enjoyed it—kicking, splashing, and all smiles. Tonight she’ll receive her second bath—this time her daddy will be giving it. She’s been wearing several of my cousin Marilyn’s dresses that Aunt Emma gave to her.

Crystal and Izzy (our house dogs) are starting to warm up to Abigail more and more. Izzy acted okay with her when we brought her home, but Crystal went through a jealous spell. Crystal has been my shadow from day one, and I suppose it was just hard for her to accept Abigail at first.

Elizabeth says her dear Yorkies seem to be getting used to new baby Abigail.
Elizabeth says her dear Yorkies seem to be getting used to new baby Abigail.

On October 1 hunting season opened. We enjoy our venison steaks. Timothy makes the best on the grill! We don’t need too much venison meat this year, as we still have meat left over from the one-half beef my parents gave us last winter.

Timothy had his twenty-eighth birthday on October 18. He wasn’t too thrilled about being another year closer to thirty! On October 20 it was nine years ago that he fell twenty-one feet, leaving him with a badly broken back. He has come a long way since then.

Our garden is almost ready to be left alone for the winter. We just need to pull the carrots yet. Temperatures have been dropping during the nights. This morning we had a low of 30 degrees. Brr! Winter weather will be here before we know it.

Before I bring this to a close, I’d like to thank all the readers and friends who took the time to send a card or baby gift! We really appreciate it! May God bless you for your kindness.

Timothy and I plan to make homemade pizza for Mom and Dad’s and my family’s supper Friday night. We’ll surprise them! Try this pizza crust.

Best wishes to all!

Pizza Crust

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

Mix together water, yeast and sugar, and let mixture stand for 10 minutes. Add oil, salt and flour and mix well. Let dough rise in bowl in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size.

Press into greased 16 1/2- x 12 1/2-inch baking sheet. Add toppings of your choice. Let rise a bit more while oven preheats. Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

 Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

September means back to school, grilled stuffed peppers, and another wedding

School doors opened yesterday, September 6, throughout the county. It seems quiet around here with Joseph, 14, Lovina, 12, and Kevin, 11, all back to school. The bus is here around 7:00 a.m. We are so glad the pickup time is later this term. Joseph milks our cow Bessie in the morning, and then showers and gets ready for the bus.

It was a nice day last Friday for Mose’s brother Joe and Mary’s wedding. It was nice and cool in the morning, which made it bettter for the cooks.

My job was to help with mashed potatoes. For the noon meal we made twelve eight-quart kettles of mashed potatoes. For the evening meal we had three twenty-quart kettles of mashed potatoes. They had a larger group of people in the evening. After everyone had eaten we had a ten-quart kettle left over. The potatoes were easy to mash using the Bosch mixers that the wedding cook wagon has.

On the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, barbequed chicken, corn, lettuce salad, butterhorns, butter, and strawberry jam. Dessert was apple crumb, pecan, and peanut butter pies, date pudding, and lime fruit salad. Ice cream was served with the evening meal as well.

Kevin’s eleventh birthday was the day of the wedding (September 2). Since we were there we waited to celebrate his birthday until Labor Day. We had cupcakes instead of a cake. We gave him a youth bowKevinsCompoundBow for his birthday. He is glad to be able to target practice with Mose and his brothers. Daughter Lovina is really interested in their bows. It looks like we will have another hunter in the family. She wants to take the hunter’s safety course sometime. She is an outdoors girl like Susan. If we can’t find her she is usually out in the field petting the horses and ponies.

Joe put in eleven hours at the RV factory yesterday. Since they were off work on Monday for Labor Day they will have to put in longer hours this week. With this hot humid weather Joe is ready to call it a day when he gets home from work.

Joseph and Lovina picked the jalapeño, serrano, Hungarian wax, and sweet banana peppers from the garden. I have to get those canned. We like to stuff and grill the sweet banana and Hungarian wax peppers. We stuff them with cream cheese mixed with shredded Colby cheese, and wrap them with bacon. Our family just loves them.

One night Joe made a chili soup outside in the kettle while Mose grilled chicken. We are glad when we don’t have to get supper in the house on these hot evenings.

Mose and Susan took Joe and me out for supper in town one evening just as an appreciation for us letting them live here. We enjoy having them here and when Tim and Elizabeth come home to join us for a meal, it makes everything seem complete.

Loretta spent Labor Day at her special friend Dustin’s house with his family.

I’ll share the recipe for butterhorns I received from a friend. Enjoy! God bless!

Butterhorns RollsButterhornsSept2016

1 tablespoon yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted
4 1/2 to 5 cups flour

Blend yeast with water and 1 tablespoon sugar. Add eggs, rest of sugar, salt, and margarine. Add flour and mix well. Put in greased bowl and refrigerate overnight. Roll out like pie dough, cut
in pie-shaped pieces and roll up. Dip in melted margarine or brush lightly with margarine. Let rise 3 hours. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. If you leave in refrigerator several days, punch down each day.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Horse-and-buggy trip to Indiana caps the end of summer

We had a nice rain tonight. Our rain gauge shows that we had more than a half inch. Our garden still has tomatoes, cabbage, green peppers and hot peppers left in it. Yesterday we canned almost eighty pints of pizza sauce. We gave twenty pints to Mose and Susan. We also canned hot peppers. Susan wants to make pizza casserole tomorrow night to try out the sauce.

As summer winds down, the Eicher family has been busy picking tomatoes from their family garden.
As summer winds down, the Eicher family has been busy picking tomatoes from their family garden.

Mose and Susan are getting more settled as the weeks pass by. They have been helping Mose’s parents, as they are hosting the wedding for Mose’s brother Joe and his fiancée, Mary, next week.

I was asked to be cook at the wedding and to go help bake pies, etc., the day before. Mose and Susan will be table waiters at the wedding. Susan still needs to cut out and sew her dress for the wedding. With her working every day, I will probably have to help her get it sewn.

Saturday Joe and I and the six children here at home attended the picnic for the RV factory where Joe works. It was interesting to tour all the RVs and motorhomes that they make. We were served a good meal, and lots of door prizes and awards were given to the many, many employees. The grand prize was a Howard Miller grandfather clock. It rained and rained after lunch, but they had plenty of tents set up for everyone to stay dry.

A very happy birthday goes to sister Verena. She turned fifty on August 22. Mose, Susan and most of the children went over to sing “Happy Birthday” to Verena that evening.

Tomorrow morning I leave with daughter Susan for a town around 45 minutes away. Susan needs to get her married name put on her Social Security card, and she wants me to go along.

Tonight Mose grilled banana pepper poppers and I made chicken noodle soup. We still don’t have all the water lines hooked up to Mose and Susan’s living quarters, so it’s easier for her to use my kitchen. Most often they just eat the evening meal with us.

The boys and Mose are often spending their free time having bow practice. Mose has a big target set up, so it’s an easy place to test out their skills. Hunting season will be here before we know it. The boys passed their hunters’ safety class earlier this year.

Saturday evening Timothy and Elizabeth came for supper. After supper Timothy, Mose, Loretta’s special friend, Dustin, and son Joseph practiced shooting their bows. The girls and I just relaxed and visited. Joe has been working longer hours, so he’s always glad to rest and get to bed earlier.

Daughter Verena and son Benjamin, with some other young folks, drove to northern Indiana with horses and buggies. They spent the night at niece Susan and Joe’s house. The next morning they drove to brother Albert’s. Church services were held at Albert’s home. Their daughter Emma was baptized at the service.

Sunday afternoon Verena and Benjamin started the journey home. They had around twenty miles to go to get to niece Susan’s house, and around seventeen miles to get home from Albert’s house. Our horse Mighty handles these long trips really well. They do take their time, and let Mighty walk a lot of the time.

School doors will be opening in less than two weeks. Our school starts September 6. All three children will be in middle school. Joseph will be in eighth grade, with this being his final year of schooling. Where does time go? Lovina will be in sixth grade and Kevin in fifth. Kevin will be eleven next week. It seems like he was just born, and now he’s already turning eleven!

The Eichers canned pizza sauce using tomatoes from their garden.
The Eichers canned pizza sauce using tomatoes from their garden.

This is a recipe for breadsticks niece Elizabeth shared in our family cookbook. Our children like to dip them in pizza sauce.

Until next week, God bless!

Breadsticks

1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, divided
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoon yeast
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 egg, beaten
pizza seasoning

Heat the milk, sugar, salt and 4 tablespoons butter; remove from heat as soon as butter is melted. Add the flour, yeast, garlic powder, oregano and beaten egg. Let rise until double. Roll out and cut the size you want. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a pan, and sprinkle pizza seasoning over it; roll breadsticks in this mixture. Place breadsticks on cookie sheets and let rise again until double. Bake at 350 degrees for 15–20 minutes or until done. Breadsticks can be dipped in pizza sauce or cheese sauce when eating. Yield depends on the size of the breadsticks.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Spring garage sales yield bountiful bargains

Joseph, 13, Lovina, 11, and Kevin, 10, went back to school this week after being off a week for spring break. The weather wasn’t anything spring-like! We had several inches of snow and cold weather most of the week.

Our three sons—Benjamin, Joseph, and Kevin—attended hunter’s safety classes and field day. It was cold and snowing that Saturday. All three boys came home excited that they passed the safety course. That made all the homework they did on hunting worth all the time and effort they put into it. Kevin was excited that he got to shoot off a shotgun. He had never shot more than a BB gun. Kevin came home telling us all about the rules he learned. I was really surprised that they all passed. This will make me feel better when they go hunting with someone, but accidents can still happen. You can’t be careful enough when hunting.

Daughter Verena has been going with my sister Verena on housecleaning jobs the last few weeks. I miss her help here at home. Verena, 18, is glad to earn a little extra cash, as she is saving up to buy a Yorkie puppy. She loves dogs and has always wanted her own puppy. They are expensive, so she is saving every penny.

While the children were on spring break, sisters Verena and Susan brought supper in for us one evening. They brought wings to put on the grill for hot wings and also jalapeño and banana poppers to grill. Along with that we had steamed potatoes, dandelion sour cream salad, and sliced Colby cheese. They brought this as a thank you to the children for doing their chores while they were in Florida earlier this spring.

Daughter Susan, 20, has her evenings busy training her pony, Tough Boy. Son Benjamin is helping her get him started, as he’s a little too much for a girl to handle. Tough Boy is giving her a hard time with the training. They are able to hitch him to the pony cruiser now and drive him on the road. This helps wear him down so he’s not so rowdy. I really do hope he will turn out to be a good pony for Susan. She has run a lot of miles behind that pony already, teaching him the commands for driving.

My sister Emma, daughters Loretta and Elizabeth and I had a fun day “garage saling” at some Amish houses in a community about a half hour from here. There were around 26 garage sales all within a few county road blocks. We had a lot of fun and got a lot of bargains. I feel like I saved myself weeks of sewing. I bought around 20 pants for the three boys. Some are for Ben to work in, some are for the boys to wear to school and quite a few are good dress pants. I could never have made all these for this price. The pants were anywhere from 50 cents to four dollars apiece. I also was able to get quite a few dresses for the girls.

The Eichers grilled thirty pounds of chicken when they had guests on Friday evening.
The Eichers grilled 30 pounds of chicken when they had guests on Friday evening.

Friday evening our supper guests were Joe’s sister Christine, her husband Jake and their nine children from Hersey, Michigan. Our whole family was home as well, so we had a nice time together. Joe grilled 30 pounds of chicken and the girls and I made pizza casserole.

Christine brought the dessert: dirt pudding and chocolate chip cookies. Joe’s sister Loretta and Henry were going to come but ended up at home with sick children.

God’s blessings! This week I’ll share the recipe for maple morning muffins.

Maple Morning Muffins

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup maple syrup

Combine flour, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, sour cream and maple syrup. Spoon batter into greased or paper-lined muffin tins, about 2/3 full.

Streusel topping:

1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter

Mix together and sprinkle on top of muffin batter.

Bake at 400 degrees 20–25 minutes or until done. Serve warm from the oven with butter. Makes 12 muffins.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Guest columnist reveals what Lovina’s been cooking in the kitchen

Editor’s Note: Lovina Eicher took a vacation while her children were on spring break. Guest columnist is Melodie Davis, one of the editors at MennoMedia/Herald Press which syndicates Lovina’s column.

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I walked into Lovina’s kitchen on a beautiful October morning last fall to a hive of women cooking up a storm. A breakfast casserole was in the oven and some cookies were already cooling—and the coffee was on. Two huge bushels of apples sat over at the edge of the kitchen. Lovina, plus her daughters Verena and Loretta, were busy mixing and stirring.

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A man by the name of Lucas Landis was taking pictures as the Eichers worked—all without actually photographing faces or even backs. Most of us understand that Amish generally do not pose for any photographs as part of their faith and custom, aiming for simplicity in life and spirit (avoiding pride and boasting).

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What was the kitchen hum about that morning? If you haven’t guessed it yet, Lovina is producing an Amish-themed cookbook, the first one of her own in about four years. We at Herald Press are thrilled! It will be all her own recipes (aside from some, of course, sent by readers or obtained from friends and relatives—Lovina has more cousins than we can count) but each recipe will be tested and adapted by Lovina and her “English” friend Ruth Boss, plus a clutch of volunteer cooks from Ruth’s church.

I was pleased to also meet Ruth that morning, who arrived a bit later and had stopped at a nearby Amish bakery to buy sweet rolls, long johns and other delicacies for the work day. Ruth quipped, “They’ll have to carry us out of here,” because she knew just how plentiful and delicious the food would be that day. You may recall Ruth writing a guest column for Lovina late last summer on daughter Elizabeth’s wedding so Lovina could catch her breath.

Some of the dishes Lovina and daughters made that day included Shoo Fly Pie, Apple Pie, Apple Danish, Carrot Cake, M & M Cookies, Potato Pancakes, Vegetable Soup and more. She had scheduled three such “cooking days” last fall—in addition to everything else that Lovina does in a normal busy week.

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Lovina’s handwritten cooking list with items completed checked off.

Let me add that I was utterly amazed at how well and how much Lovina’s teenage daughters helped—they were in the kitchen all day cooking various recipes—all under Lovina’s watchful instruction. When they weren’t cooking, they were constantly washing dishes. Which is where Ruth and I jumped in—rinsing and drying the dishes, pans, and utensils! I put my hands in that steamy hot water and it felt like home—the wonderful hot water I love for cleaning dishes.

The name of Lovina’s new cookbook is The Essential Amish Kitchen: Everyday Recipes from Farm and Pantry. A cookbook takes extra-long to “cook up” so it comes out in April 2017. We hope you’ll want one to use whenever you want a taste of good home cooking from farm and pantry! The book will be sold online and at bookstores everywhere. Lovina’s column, along with her blog and Facebook page, will keep you posted on when it’s available for preorder.

Writing her weekly column and producing a cookbook like this is Lovina’s way of earning extra money for her family—which she can do right in her own home like many other Amish women in their cottage industries. And so many men too have businesses on the side or full time, now that it is so difficult to support a family on farm income. Family farms are small these days and land is hard to come by. We appreciate readers—and newspapers—being part of this extended family and community. We know readers enjoy sitting down once a week to enter into a little of Lovina’s family life, and learn from the strong faith she shares with us all. One man, who reads Lovina’s column online, said, “I [find] myself greatly blessed and refreshed.”

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The Eicher children wanted to take the cookbook photographer and his family for a quick wagon ride at day’s end.

I’ll share one of my own favorite recipes, adapted from another classic Mennonite cookbook, More-with-Less Cookbook, for Oatmeal Bread.

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Oatmeal Bread

1 cup quick oats
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Combine above ingredients in a large bowl.

Pour 2 cups boiling water over mixture, stirring to combine.

Separately dissolve:
2 packages dry yeast in
½ cup warm water

When batter is cooled to lukewarm, add the yeast mixture. Stir in 5½ cups white flour (you’ll probably add another ½ cup in kneading). When dough is stiff, turn onto a floured board and knead 5–10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. Punch down and let rise again. Shape into 2 loaves and place in greased 9x5x3-inch pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25–30 minutes. Cool on rack. Brush loaves with butter or margarine for a soft crust.

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Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Melodie Davis is a writer/editor for MennoMedia and Herald Press who also writes her own syndicated newspaper column, Another Way, and keeps a personal blog Finding Harmony Blog.

 

 

Haystack brunch and Old Christmas/Epiphany gatherings mark beginning of 2016

The Christmas holidays and family get-togethers are now over for another year. Yesterday, January 6, was Old Christmas (Epiphany) so everyone was home for the day. It was a day well spent with family. I had a baked meal with the menu consisting of meat loaf, scalloped potatoes, baked beans, lettuce salad, cheese, dill pickles, hot peppers, applesauce, sugar cookies, and zucchini bread. Daughter Elizabeth and Timothy joined us for part of the day. Of course their dogs Crystal and Izzy came along. The dogs are always so excited to come here and the children are equally happy to see them.

In the afternoon we played the game Life on the Farm. It is always a fun game even though it can last for several hours like Monopoly. The players have to buy cows but can lose them again. The first player that owns 60 cows and has $10,000 wins the game. Always an exciting game to play. Kevin, 10, and Lovina, 11, had fun playing also. Other games played were Aggravation, Connect Four, and Checkers.

On New Year’s Day we went to Jacob and Emma’s house for a haystack brunch. They had the tables set for all of us. Sisters Verena and Susan, Elizabeth and Timothy, and all the girls’ special friends were there as well. Besides haystacks there were all kinds of desserts but no one was hungry after the haystack meal. We enjoyed snacks and desserts later in the day.

After dishes were washed we exchanged gifts. Nephew Steven had my name and gave me a 32 x 55 inch cutting mat to cut out clothes. I have a small one but am really going to like this bigger one. Daughter Lovina had my husband Joe’s name and gave him an ice auger to drill holes in the ice when he goes ice fishing. This year so far it looks like he won’t get to use it. I’m sure we will get colder weather yet. Son Joseph was given an ice fishing pole by son-in-law Timothy so he is also hoping for ice fishing weather. After the gifts were all opened we played games. A new game I played was Apples to Apples.

Jacob and Emma had the final inspection of the addition to their house approved. Their children have moved their clothes up to their new bedrooms. They were excited after living in a ranch style one-story house.

We all ate the haystack brunch in the new attached garage. They still have some remodeling to do as they want to tear out the bedroom walls and make a bigger kitchen, dining room, and living room. I am sure they will be glad when it’s all done.

Church services are set here for January 17, so we have been kept busy cleaning. Sister Emma, her son Jacob, and her daughter Emma came on Tuesday to assist us in cleaning. We cleaned most of the basement and washed clothes. Saturday we will have more help so hopefully everything will get cleaned in time. We are heating our new building where we will host church services (where Tim and Elizabeth’s wedding and church were held this summer).

I hope all of you had an enjoyable and safe holiday and may God bless you all in 2016 and always!

I’ll share my sister Susan’s cinnamon bread recipe. She brought this bread to Jacob and Emma’s on New Year’s Day.

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Soft Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

On a lightly floured surface, roll thawed bread dough into a 10×12 inch rectangle. With a pastry brush, paint the dough with the water, and then sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon evenly over dough. Top with raisins if desired. Roll up jellyroll-fashion beginning on the 12-inch side. Seal all seams and ends and place in a greased 8×4 inch loaf pan. Let the dough rise until double in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from pan to cool. When cool, brush with melted butter.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

Who will be the donkey? Fun game for your holiday season plus pumpkin pancakes!

It’s Thanksgiving week already! We will have my sisters Verena and Susan and sister Emma, Jacob, and family here for Thanksgiving dinner and also all of our family. I am planning to prepare two turkeys plus all the trimmings.

Son Benjamin, 16, was excited last week to shoot his first deer. My husband Joe and Benjamin cut and ground all the meat on Saturday. Joe wants to make jerky and summer sausage with it.

Friday evening our family traveled the seven miles to Timothy and daughter Elizabeth’s house with our horses and buggies. Elizabeth had prepared a tater tot casserole and Timothy grilled venison burgers and steak. They wanted us to spend the night there so Joe could go hunting with Timothy early on Saturday morning.

After supper was over we played “Donkey” and enjoyed popcorn. For those of you who don’t know how to play Donkey, I’ll explain the best I can.

We use Rook game cards. Every player is given three cards and spoons are placed in the middle of the table. Put one less spoon out than there are players. One of the players takes the cards that haven’t been passed out and takes one card at a time and passes it to the next player. The object of the game is to see who gets three cards with the same number first. So if you get a number you want, then switch it with one of your three cards and pass it on. The first player that gets three cards the same will grab a spoon. One player will be left without a spoon and will get a letter “D”. The first player that has the whole word “donkey” spelled out loses.

After they have lost, the other players keep playing but aren’t allowed to talk to the “loser”. If you do, then you get another letter. Son Joseph, 13, was the first to be the “donkey” (smile) and he was good at tricking us into talking to him. It is so easy to forget if he asks a question, to answer him. We had a lot of fun but it’s a noisy game. Spoons fly around a lot after the first person grabs one.

We were excited to wake up Saturday morning with a layer of snow on the ground. It snowed most of the day on Saturday and I think we received around seven inches of snow. The hunters were glad for the snow too. The snow clung to the tree branches and made such pretty scenery. Only God can paint the earth with such beautiful scenes. The children enjoyed sled rides on Saturday evening.

Sunday we went to church for the first time since our church divided into two districts. It was smaller but we had a lot of visitors from other districts so there were still a lot of people there.

PumpkinPancakesEditedFor this week’s recipe I’ll share pumpkin pancakes. Daughter Susan didn’t have to work at the factory yesterday and today, so we made these for our breakfast this morning. If you love pumpkin, you’ll like these pancakes. We had maple syrup with them.

I wish everyone a blessed Thanksgiving and safe travels if you are traveling, or anywhere where you are—be safe! God’s love to all!

Pumpkin Pancakes

1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
pinch of nutmeg

Whisk pumpkin and egg together until smooth. Add in remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Fry in skillet like normal pancakes.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.