Category Archives: Breads and Muffins

Canning Vegetables and Cleaning Up After a Storm

Today daughters Lovina, 17, and Loretta, 21, and I canned 42 quarts of red beets from our garden. Yesterday we froze sweet corn and now tomorrow plans are to freeze green beans.

Loretta also started sewing on her wedding dress and I sewed on a dress for Lovina. It is almost 10 p.m. and I took the last of the red beets off the stove. I am so glad the beets are canned. Our garden seems to be emptying out gradually. My husband Joe and son Joseph picked around four bushels of tomatoes this week. I sent most of them to daughter Susan, as her tomatoes died. Susan and daughter Verena are busy canning pizza sauce and tomato juice. I didn’t have time to can tomatoes yet so am glad that Susan could use them.

We had a very bad storm go through our area last week. We had quite a bit of damage but probably the worst was losing our buggy, Susan’s buggy, and Dustin’s buggy. It was the morning after brother-in-law Jacob’s funeral, and we had parked our buggies out in the yard. Susan and children and daughter Verena spent the night here. The wind blew our buggy under the big oak trees and a few big branches came down on top of Susan’s, Dustin’s, and our buggies, totaling them beyond repair. We are so thankful that no one was hurt. Roads all around us were closed due to trees across roads, power lines downed, etc. Quite a few of our neighbors finally have their electric back on today. A lot are still without power. There is so much damage in the surrounding area. Our porch ceiling and a section of our railing was also ruined, but Joe and Joseph fixed that already.

The boys are still cleaning up our yard from all the branches and leaves scattered throughout. It also flattened my sweet corn, but we could save about half of it that was ready to freeze. The only thing that matters is we were all safe and no one was hurt. God was watching over us!

We are so fortunate this storm didn’t hit a day sooner for the funeral of brother-in-law Jacob.

On Sunday daughters Verena and Susan hosted us for Sunday lunch with a haystack meal. Our family except Joseph and Lovina were there. Joseph and Lovina went to church with Grace and Daniel, their special friends. Others at Susan’s house were sister Emma and all of her family, sister Verena, and daughter Elizabeth and Tim and children. It was a sad day for all of us. In less than eight months, three of our family are missing. Their presence is greatly missed and our hearts feel so much pain. It seems as if it’s only us that have so many taken from us. We need to trust and remind ourselves that God makes no mistakes and He is in control. Sister Emma looked so lonely when she left.

Jacob’s viewing/visitation and funeral were largely attended. We appreciated all the friends and family that came to pay their respect. Death is so final! Jacob was a kind-hearted man and will be greatly missed by many. Our church once again helped out so much!

While we were on our trip to the Outer Banks, daughter Susan and Mose would have had their fifth anniversary. It was a sad day for her. I am glad Mose’s family and some of ours spent time with her that day, since we were so far away.

I want to wish daughter Elizabeth and Tim a happy sixth anniversary, which was August 14st.

Our goal is to paint a bedroom upstairs yet this week. Friday in six weeks is daughter Loretta’s wedding, and there is so much to get done. Dustin’s pole barn frame that was ready for new metal blew down in the storm. This is where we had planned to have the wedding service. Dustin hopes to be able to rebuild before the wedding. We will take one day at a time! God’s blessings to all!

Apple Zucchini Bread

2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
4 cups zucchini
2 apples, cored, peeled, and chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Cream sugar and eggs; add applesauce and mix. Add zucchini, apples, and vanilla and mix. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and soda. Add to creamed mixture and stir. Fold in nuts, if desired, and mix. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

 

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

Freshening Up the House & Upcoming Vacation

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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

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

 

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

Gratitude for precious family time

It’s Tuesday evening. Supper is over and the dishes have been washed. Daughter Susan and children Jennifer, 3, and Ryan, 1, are staying here for three days. They are staining/finishing some trim and doors/door frames at her house, so the smell is a little strong and there are no doors on any room right now while they are being stained.

Tonight daughter Verena is spending the evening and overnight with Sister Verena. She is so good at putting others’ needs before her own. God will surely bless her someday.

Daughter Susan and Jennifer and daughter Loretta are sitting at the kitchen table. Loretta and Jennifer are coloring while Susan is writing. Susan keeps journals—one to Mose and one to God. Putting her thoughts on paper seems to be a healing process for her. She said even if Mose can’t read her journal it’s a way to feel connected to him.

Yesterday we did our laundry and hung it in the basement. We brought it up today to fold and put away. Susan brought her laundry and washed it today. It is hanging on the lines in the basement, now. Last week spoiled us with all the warm sunny weather. Hopefully this cold spell won’t last long.

Sunday night our family gathered at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house for supper. The menu was chicken and potatoes on the grill, with steamed cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots, cheese, and cupcakes. It was all delicious! It was a lovely evening for a buggy ride. Spending time with our family seems more precious since losing loved ones so dear to us. It makes us appreciate each other much more.

The weekend also moved our clocks an hour forward. Nights seem longer with more daylight. We see early signs of spring—robins, flowers peeping through—so we hope cold weather will soon be past for the season. This weekend the calendar says it’s officially spring.

Another blessing we have had is my husband Joe has a job at a metal shop now. This is his third week, and it seems to be going great. We are so thankful for all our blessings in the midst of our heartaches.

This is now 4:45 a.m. I didn’t get this column finished last night. Jennifer decided she wanted cream to give us all foot massages. She didn’t spare the cream which I think is what she likes about it. She tries to act like she’s a doctor and we are her patients. Earlier today she helped with dishes and folded laundry. When she heard us comment about it, she put her hands on her hips and tried to act like an adult. She was talking and would roll her eyes and make her voice sound different. Ryan walks behind her trying to mimic everything his big sister does. When they do cute things like that it makes Susan want to share it with Mose. There are so many milestones he is going to miss. God has a plan and a reason why he took Mose from his earthly home so soon. May he help guide the broken-hearted left behind to understand. God makes no mistakes!

God’s blessings to all!

Zucchini Crumble
6 cups zucchini, peeled and diced small
1/4 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Crumble topping
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick cook oatmeal
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

In a large bowl, combine the diced zucchini with lemon juice, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish. In another bowl combine all the crumble top ingredients. Using your hands combine butter with dry ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of zucchini mixture and press firmly. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. It is good served warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

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

Thanksgiving preparations at the Eicher homestead

Thanksgiving Day is coming upon us. A great day to spend with family! My sister Emma and I take turns hosting Thanksgiving dinner for our families and sisters Verena and Susan. This year sister Liz and Levi and daughter Suzanne have plans to join us since they will be in the area that day.

We had a surprise visit from Joe’s sister Esther and David and their son David Tyrel, age 4. It was so good to see them again and have a visit with them. David Tyrel is really growing up fast. They live in the Sugarcreek, Ohio, area.

This week I am sharing many recipes for your Thanksgiving celebrations.

This turkey casserole is a great way to use up leftover turkey.

 

Turkey Casserole

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cups turkey, diced (or chicken)
1 cup shell macaroni, cooked
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
1 small onion, diced

Mix mayonnaise and soup together. Add remaining ingredients and place in a buttered casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Another recipe I’ll share is the pumpkin roll we always have for Thanksgiving.

 

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine eggs, pumpkin, and sugar, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend together well. Pour into a 15x10x1-inch cookie sheet that has been greased. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle clean towel with powdered sugar. Flop out the pumpkin cake into the towel when it comes out of oven. Roll up like a jellyroll; let cool completely before filling.

 

Filling:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix filling ingredients together until smooth. Unroll cooled cake, then spread with filling and roll up again without towel and refrigerate.

I use this dressing recipe to have with the turkey. It’s a simple, easy dish to add to your menu.

 

Dressing

4 eggs
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup diced celery or celery leaves
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 cups hot water (use potato water, if you have some)
2 tablespoons chicken-flavored soup base
10 slices bread, crumbled

Dissolve soup base in hot water, then add rest of ingredients and mix well. Pour into a greased casserole dish or cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

I never think we can go without pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day either. Whipped topping or ice cream finishes it off. This recipe is for a 9-inch regular pie plate (not deep dish). If you use a deep-dish plate you will probably need to double the recipe.

 

Pumpkin Pie

1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon flour
Cinnamon

Mix all ingredients except cinnamon. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce to 350 degrees until set. Makes 1 pie.

And to finish off a good meal there is nothing better than some dinner rolls warm from the oven. Mix these up after your turkey and dressing are in the oven and bake them last so they are warm to serve with the Thanksgiving meal.

 

60-Minute Dinner Rolls

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

 

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.

I wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Let us give thanks for all the blessings we receive from our Father in Heaven. May God be with each of you. Let us pray for unity in our nation. Peace to all and God’s blessings!

 

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

Family visits and Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

Sons Benjamin, 21, and Joseph, 18, both have left for work. It is 5 a.m. and I decided I’ll write this column while all is still quiet. The weather has taken a big change overnight. Yesterday, and for over a week, we have had nice, sunny, warm weather. Now this morning the temperature is in the lower 40’s and seems to gradually be dropping.

We took advantage of the nice weather by raking leaves, the men hauling manure, etc. I also planted 42 tulip bulbs of various colors in my flower bed in front of the house. Hopefully they will come up next year. I love flowers that come up every year.

Daughter Elizabeth and her three children are planning to come here for the day. Little ten-month-old Allison is taking her first steps and walking short distances. This is always exciting to see. She is still so petite, so its even cuter to see her walking already.

Daughter Susan won’t come today because she, Mose, and the children are spending a week at Mose’s brother’s place in a community one hour and fifteen minutes from here. Mose has several brothers in that community. He isn’t allowed to go back to work yet due to doctor’s orders since his accident at work. They decided to go do some visiting now that they are moved back in the house. His brothers each have two little boys around Jennifer and Ryan’s ages, so I’m sure the little cousins will have lots of fun.

Last Friday the girls and I went to Mose and Susan’s house and stained all the trim for their house. It was a nice day to stain it outside.

Sunday morning, I made pancakes, eggs, and fresh sausage (given to us by neighbors Joas and Susan) along with fresh maple syrup made by our sons-in-law. We had a lazy day of just resting. With life so busy, at times its nice to have a day to relax.

In the afternoon Tim and Elizabeth and family and Mose and Susan and family came over. Also here were Dustin and Daniel (Loretta and Lovina’s boyfriends). I wanted to make homemade pizza for supper, but my oven isn’t working right. I have a stove in the pole barn, but Dustin offered that we could make the pizza across the road at his house and eat there instead. So that is what we did.

Dustin and my husband Joe changed the thermocouple on my gas stove on Friday, but it still doesn’t want to heat up. Our neighbor has an appliance store but hasn’t had time to come see what else is wrong. I miss not having an oven in the house. If we want to bake something, we always have to take it outside to the pole barn.

It was nice to make supper at Dustin’s. We ate out on his new patio, which is now completed.

We made chicken alfredo pizzas and several sausage pepperoni pizzas with lots of other toppings. Macaroni and cheese and chips were also on the menu. For dessert Dustin had ice cream cones from his freezer. I appreciated Dustin’s offer to let us make supper at his house. It was nice for me to get out of my own house too.

After dishes were washed, we played games. Dustin and Daniel’s sister Grace came after supper and played games with us.

Last week daughter Verena helped granddaughters Abigail, 4, and Jennifer, 2, make pumpkin oatmeal muffins. I will share the recipe with you readers. It would be a nice dish to take to a Thanksgiving dinner. Verena has lots of patience with children and already lets the little girls enjoy helping “make food.”

God’s blessings to all!

Lovina’s Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins cool before a family gathering. Photo provided.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup quick oatmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

Streusel

1/4 cup quick oatmeal
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 medium muffin cups with paper baking cups or spray bottoms only with cooking spray. Mix together streusel ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Combine oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, pecans, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Mix well. In medium bowl combine pumpkin, milk, oil, and egg; blend well. Add to dry ingredients all at once. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix. Fill muffin cups until almost full. Sprinkle with the streusel. Bake 22–25 minutes or until golden brown.

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

A bountiful harvest to preserve and enjoy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Summer rain, Father’s Day, and home renovations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God’s blessings to all!

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

Fishing outings and home projects

We are all still home from the “stay home, stay safe” order due to the coronavirus.

We were to host church services this past Sunday but church services in our community were postponed until further notice. Maybe too often we take going to church for granted. It didn’t seem right to not meet with our fellow church members to worship God. We were home reading from the scriptures in the Bible, still honoring our Heavenly Father. I know that we have so much more family time while all this is going on.

My husband Joe and the boys head for the lake with our boat when they get too bored and need a way to relax. They came home tonight with their limit of bluegill which helps a lot on the grocery bill when they aren’t bringing in money at their jobs while things are closed.

With church being delayed we have time to get some more jobs done around here. We are painting our basement walls with Drylok paint that helps keep moisture out. It seems since we had a fire a few years ago, with all the water ending up in our basement, it has been more damp down there. Hopefully sealing off the walls with white paint will also brighten it up. It’s really looking good so far.

Joe has also set up a mini greenhouse and is growing some vegetable plants from seed. It is very small but it’s a start. He enjoys doing that. I told him when he started planting seeds in trays that I am not interested in that, so he said I don’t have to help. It’s kind of like a hobby to him but it will save us money to grow our own tomato, pepper, etc. plants. If he’s willing to do it, I won’t complain.

The girls made pizza tonight using the pizza dough recipe in my new cookbook, Amish Family Recipes. I will share the recipe at the end of this column.

This is now over a day later and I neglected to finish this column. Yesterday was spent painting in the basement again. I am sore from using muscles I don’t use every day. Our basement walls have a brick like finish, so it is taking much longer than I had anticipated. I love how it looks though, so it is worthwhile.

Joe and the boys took the boat out on a nearby lake again and came home with their limit of bluegill. The fish were filleted and bagged for the freezer. We will have quite a few meals of fish now. It warmed up to 75 degrees yesterday so they were a little sunburned. Joe put some chicken on the grill and that was our supper. We sat outside and ate it from the grill. It was nice but then started cooling off fast.

This morning it’s windy and 45 degrees and the temperature keeps dropping. Joe is going to put a little heat out in the greenhouse. We had let our coal stove go out since it has been so warm. We might have to start it up again, but Joe wants to clean it up first. It shouldn’t be too long before we can let it go out for the summer.

Easter will be on Sunday, reminding us of Jesus’ resurrection. Easter brings hope! Let us keep our faith! Until next week, stay healthy, be safe, and may God bless each of you!

 

My Favorite Pizza Dough

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

In a medium bowl, mix water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add oil, salt, and flour and mix well. Press dough into a greased 10×15-inch jellyroll pan. Layer on sauce and toppings of choice and bake at 350 degrees until crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

 

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

Morning Maple Muffins from the new Lovina Eicher cookbook

 It’s a rainy Wednesday evening here in Michigan. Supper is over and the girls are washing dishes. I decided to sit here at the kitchen table and get started on this column. The girls are talking to each other, so my mind wanders over to them, making the task of writing a little difficult. The boys are taking their showers and things are slowing down for the day here at the Eicher farm.

The girls made hamburger potato skillet casserole for our supper. It is made with hamburger, onions, potatoes, cream of mushroom soup, and Colby cheese, layered in a skillet.

Son Kevin, 14, has been having school here at home this week due to school doors closing because of the coronavirus. Kevin’s teacher brings him his work whenever he needs some more. Kevin goes to a small public school of around 300 students in K-12 that is located about three miles from here. The Amish schools have all closed their doors as well here in Michigan.

It is hard to get groceries that are needed when the shelves are emptying fast. We have plenty of meat in the freezer and canned goods, but items such as toilet and Kleenex tissues were off the shelves. I am not one to stock up on such items, as they are usually available in the stores. Once in a while when they go on sale, I buy a few more packs than needed. Of course, with eight people in the house, it takes quite a bit already.

The first store I went to was out of toilet tissue and Kleenex. The second store had a few six-roll packs of toilet tissue left, which of course I took, but they were out of Kleenex and all the other brands except the very small purse size packs. I took some, as not everyone’s nose is okay with paper towels. Yes, fortunately, I was able to get paper towels. I know a lot of people use hankies, but I never did just because I really think it’s carrying germs to use it over and over.

I also remember well when I used cloth diapers. I was one of the mothers that, if our paycheck allowed it, added disposable diapers to our grocery list. Of course, with my children being closer in age and having more than one child in diapers, that wasn’t always possible.

I was telling our children how well I remember going to church as a little girl and, at some places, there wasn’t any toilet tissue in their outhouses—only newspaper and magazines. They were amazed that one would even consider using that. Yes, times have changed and life goes on but one thing will never change and that is our almighty God! Let us not fear but keep our trust in Him. He will take care of us in times of need. We do want to use common sense though with this virus. I pray all of you will stay healthy and safe. God will provide if we put our full trust in Him.

Lovina’s sons-in-law Tim and Mose have been busy tapping Maple trees for syrup. They use bags now to collect the sap instead of buckets.
Cooking maple syrup.
Photo provided.

Meanwhile, our sons-in-law Tim and Mose have cooked a lot of sap into maple syrup from the trees in the woods beside Tim and Elizabeth’s house. A reader asked if the bags they use are reusable; they are not. They gather the sap with the horse and wagon, and the bags are emptied into the buckets on the wagon, then taken to the cooker to cook down, which takes hours and hours.

I was very excited to receive my brand new cookbook. The pages are so crisp and new. I’m looking back at all the hard work we put into it, and now the finished product. I will share a recipe from the book that uses maple syrup.

God bless!

 

Morning Maple Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped nuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold butter

In a large bowl combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl combine milk, melted butter, maple syrup, sour cream, beaten egg, and vanilla. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.

Topping: Combine flour, sugar, chopped nuts, and cinnamon; cut in cold butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 400 degrees for 16-20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before placing muffins on wire rack.

 

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

Spring cleaning and a horse chase

March! Spring is just around the corner! Our snow from last week has all melted. We took advantage of it and made ice cream in the hand cranked ice cream freezer. I always love the taste of homemade ice cream.

My husband Joe and son Benjamin left for work this morning at 3:40 a.m. Son Joseph’s ride will be here at 5:00 a.m. but he won’t be able to go. He got up during the night feeling really dizzy. I made him take his temperature and he has a fever. He started with a bad head cold which doesn’t help.

Our days are filled mostly with cleaning the house. It feels good to see the rooms clean and refreshed. Yesterday daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their children spent the day here. Some of my kitchen cabinets were cleaned and organized.

Today my sisters Verena and Susan plan to come help. Sounds like the temperature will hit the 50-degree mark, so plans are to clean all the windows in the upstairs bedrooms. There are ten windows up there. We wash our windows with white vinegar and water and wipe them off with flour sack towels that have not been washed in fabric softener. It sure makes sparkling windows. It really bothers me to see the windows in the main living area dirty. When the sun shines on them you can see they need a good cleaning. It will feel good to be able to open windows when warmer weather arrives. It freshens up the house after a winter of dust from the coal stove. I always enjoy hearing the birds chirping in the morning when the windows are open.

Yesterday when the girls were here, two of our horses found a post that was loose and managed to squeeze through the fence. Fortunately, someone saw it before more horses got through. We dropped what we were doing and ran to get them before they headed down the road. Susan ran in the barn and grabbed a scoop of grain and lured them to her. Our border collie dog Buddy thinks he knows how to round them up but he makes it worse. He goes in front of them instead of behind them. He has probably had too many bad results from their flying hooves.

After the horses were back in the barnyard, those horses knew where the bad post was and headed back there. The girls and I did our best to tie ropes around it to make it more secure until my husband Joe and sons could come home to repair it. Just for safety we pushed the buggy in front of the fence. It looked funny but it worked. Last night the men put in a new post so today will hopefully not include a horse chase.

We had pancakes, fresh sausage, and scrambled eggs for breakfast. The little ones ate by the little picnic table that we moved into the house from the front porch. They wanted their food on the little toy plates so we washed the little plates and small pots and pans and set their table. I really do think they ate better because they could use the tea set and small dishes.

For lunch we made One Kettle Soup to eat with cheese and crackers. Daughter Lovina made fruit dip and brownies to have with apple slices and ice cream.

Several of the girls took all the little ones outside except baby Allison. It was nice and sunny and the temperature was 45 degrees. They enjoyed watching their uncle Kevin come off the bus. It refreshed them to go outside awhile.

Baby Allison’s new cap and coat, handmade by Lovina’s daughter Elizabeth.

Baby Allison looked so cute in the new cap and coat daughter Elizabeth made for her and wrapped in the baby bunting a kind reader made. It sure keeps her nice and warm on the buggy rides to grandpa and grandma’s house.

Until next week—God bless!

 

Berry Cream Cheese Muffins

1 cup butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, blueberries, or raspberries dusted with 2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt, and gradually add to the butter mixture. Fold in berries and nuts. Spoon batter into muffin cups.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for three minutes before removing from pans. Makes 18 muffins.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, will be available in April 2020 from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.