Category Archives: Breads and Muffins

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.

 

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.