Category Archives: Breads and Muffins

Pondering on the porch in the cool of a summer evening

We are officially in the summer months now. We have had a few cool nights, with the temperature in the 50s by morning. Sure makes for good sleeping after some hot evenings with temperature in the 80s. Actually, this morning we had to close most of our windows. The thermometer showed 54 degrees. Not really normal June temperatures.

Yesterday we canned 45 quarts of rhubarb juice from 30 pounds of rhubarb. Our friend Barb and my sisters Verena and Susan gave us the rhubarb. I have rhubarb plants, but never enough to make a year’s supply of rhubarb juice. I think the children have already emptied two gallons of it! Rhubarb juice is a good thirst-quencher on hot days.

The Eicher family canned 45 quarts of rhubarb juice one day last week.
The Eicher family canned 45 quarts of rhubarb juice one day last week.

Joseph, 12, and Kevin, 9, were tilling and weeding the garden, so they wanted rhubarb juice when they took a break. Joseph is a good gardener and seems to take an interest in caring for the garden. Verena, 17, keeps my flowers watered, and they are looking very healthy. If it is left to me to water them, they usually die of thirst. I can make things grow in the garden, but flowers seem to not do well for me. I love flowers, so I am glad someone has taken over the duty to care for them!

My husband, Joe, brought in our first hot peppers from the garden tonight. Our tomato plants are loaded with tomatoes, and everything else looks like it is doing great.

We are all done with work for the evening. I’m sitting out here on the porch writing this. It’s a very cool and peaceful evening. Oh, the many blessings God gives us. We have so much to be thankful for, and so often we take it for granted. Let us remember to thank our wonderful God daily for all our blessings.

This column was pushed off until this evening, but I feel like we accomplished a lot today. The girls are cleaning their closets and getting ready to start some major cleaning in the upstairs bedrooms. Elizabeth is gradually packing the things she won’t need for now. She will move them over to Timothy’s house for after their wedding. It gives me a sad feeling, but I don’t want to take the joy away from her. I remember the exciting time of preparing for my wedding to Joe. With God’s help, I will get used to my firstborn leaving home to start her life with her husband. I’m sure a lot of parents have dealt with this feeling.

I think I will call it a night. I was up until midnight last night, waiting until the last of the rhubarb juice was cold-packed. Our neighbor has hooked our water over to solar power. It had previously run by a propane motor. From now on, the sun will power our water! It seems different to not hear the motor kick in when the water pressure gets low. Since the water was shut off due to the switch, I had a late start canning the juice, so that’s why it was so late until I was done.

A reader shared this recipe for green tomato bread with me. She said her family likes this bread better than zucchini bread. She grates her green tomatoes in the fall and puts them in the freezer to make this in the winter months.

Green Tomato Bread

2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cup nuts, chopped
2 cups grated green tomatoes

Mix sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla together. Add flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Mix well, and then add nuts and tomatoes. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until done.

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.

Wedding preparations for nephew’s wedding keep Lovina up late

It is Wednesday evening and I should be in bed already but this column has to be written.

Today, sisters Emma, Verena, Susan and I traveled the two hours to Berne, Indiana and picked up sister Liz and headed to nephew Levi’s fiancée’s house for final wedding preparations. Levi is the son of my oldest sister Leah and her husband Paul, so Leah was there too. My sister-in-law Nancy was also there so it was so nice to all be together which doesn’t happen very often.

We were also glad to see Paul and Leah’s son Ben, his wife Rosemarie and four children, who all live in Wisconsin. Paul and Leah greeted their newest grandchild for the first time. She is two months old and was named after her grandma Leah. Paul and Leah’s daughter Elizabeth and her two little girls were there helping too. Her little girls had on dresses that Elizabeth and her younger sister Mary used to wear at that age. Leah saved the dresses. Mary died at the sweet, young, innocent age of five. She died suddenly and I still remember the shock we all had when Mary left us. God has plans we don’t always understand, but we know God makes no mistakes, so let us trust God completely.

The ladies baking pies today did a lot of fast work and had all the pies in the ovens baking when we arrived. They were rolling out the dough for the knee patches (some call these “elephant ears”). Women toasted bread for the dressing tomorrow, mixed up fruit, baked bread and more. Many hands make light work.

It brought back lots of memories to be in our old neighborhood. We went past the place we were born and raised. Dad and Mom had a 104 acre farm which is now split into three parcels and three sets of buildings. It doesn’t seem the same. Next week, May 20, it will be 15 years since dear father passed on. How can it be that long? But then again it seems forever since we could talk to him. He was a great father and left us a legacy of faith, love, and many good memories.

Uncle Elmer and Aunt Salome were there today, which helps fill some of the emptiness of our parents not being here anymore. Always appreciate your parents while you still have them to honor, love, and cherish. I can’t count the times I have longed to have one more talk with my parents. They always had such great advice.

I also want to wish sister Susan a happy birthday which was on Sunday. She treated us to a delicious haystack dinner!

I need to bring this to a close. We will start out at 5:30 a.m. for Berne to attend Levi and Barbara’s wedding. I will be a cook and daughter Verena will be a table waiter. We wish them God’s blessings as they join hands together in Holy Matrimony. I’ll write more about the wedding next week. Until next week—God bless!

This week I’ll share my sister Susan’s recipe for rhubarb nut bread.

RhubarbBread

Susan’s Rhubarb Nut Bread

1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup salad oil
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups diced fresh rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Topping:

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat brown sugar and oil together until well blended. Stir in egg and buttermilk. Sift together flour, salt, and soda and combine with first mixture. Stir in vanilla, rhubarb and nuts. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Mix sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon and sprinkle over top of batter. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour.

P.S. This being rhubarb season and having mentioned being anxious to have a chance to make rhubarb custard pie for Joe, here are those pies!

RhubarbCustardPie

P.S. We wish Lovina a wonderful happy birthday today, May 22. Here are two beautiful baskets of flowers her daughter gave her! We may here more about her birthday in a follow-up column, we hope!

FlowersForLovina44thBirthday

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.

 

Smells like spring: boiling fresh maple syrup and laundry drying outside

Spring will officially be here this week as I write this! Monday was a very beautiful day with the temperature going up in the 60s. We hung all the laundry outside to dry. It was so nice to be able to fold all the clothes and put them away the same day.

Susan’s friend Mose tapped all our maple trees for sap and also some of the trees at my sisters Verena and Susan’s place. He also tapped a few of neighbor Irene’s trees.

The sap is running but not as much as some years. Mose cooked the sap on Saturday and we now have fresh maple syrup. It is surprising how many gallons of sap it takes to get one gallon of maple syrup. A lot of work goes into it all.

BoilingMapleSyrup
Family friend Mose boils off some authentic maple syrup from the Eicher farm.

 

We all love the maple syrup. It tastes so much better on pancakes than pancake syrup. The children like to warm it and put it on vanilla ice cream.

CannedMapleSyrup
Five quarts of home canned real maple syrup taste way better than the store kind.

We had a nice day for Alvin and Susanna’s wedding last week. The wind was a little chilly but the sun was shining so that helped.

On the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, baked chicken, dressing, mixed vegetables, lettuce salad, sliced cheese, homemade bread, butter and strawberry jam, angel food cake with a strawberry topping, mixed fruit, and pecan, blueberry and cherry pies. Ice cream was also added for the evening meal. We wish Alvin and Susanna a long, happy married life together with all of God’s richest blessings!

We have several more wedding invitations for this spring. Joe’s cousin Ben and Elizabeth will exchange vows on April 3 in Rochester, Ind. They both lost their first partners. We wish them a happy, blessed life together!

Also, congratulations to Orlie Wayne and LaVera Ann! They will exchange vows on April 23. Joe and Orlie work at the same RV factory. We appreciate the invitations and hope to be able to attend.

We also received a “Save the Date” and an “invitation-to-follow” card from cousin Jane’s daughter Tiffany and her fiancé Samual. They plan to exchange vows on Sept. 5. Congratulations to the couple!

Our thoughts are with niece Suzanne, age 14 (sister Liz and Levi’s daughter). She has been in the hospital since Monday. She has asthmatic bronchitis pneumonia and a virus. We hope she will be well enough to go home soon and have a speedy recovery. It’s always a worry for the parents when our children are sick. Sounds like she was dehydrated with a high fever and was a very sick girl.

Sunday we had dinner with sisters Verena and Susan. Another beautiful day! The children enjoyed playing outside, biking, and riding the pony. Timothy and Mose also were there and sister Emma, Jacob, and family. Also their daughters’ friends, Menno and Manuel. Daughters Verena and Loretta spent the weekend in Indiana with friends so they weren’t there.

Joe and the boys took advantage of the nice weather on Saturday and hauled some manure out of the barn. I love spring! It’s always nice to see everything start blooming. I am keeping my eye open for those dandelion greens. Rhubarb stems should be peeping through too. This morning we had 23 degrees so we might have a few cold days yet.

A lady from our church shared this recipe with me. I bought the raised doughnut mix and cinnamon doughnut sugar at a bulk food store. I’m not sure if other stores would have it as well. Our children love these and it’s easier to make than doughnuts. Enjoy! God Bless!

RiseNRollBars1
Lovina’s recipe of the week is for an easy raised-type donut pastry, Rise and Roll Bars.

Rise and Roll Bars

2 packages yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 3/4 cups warm water
5 1/2 cups raised doughnut mix
1 1/2–2 cups cinnamon doughnut sugar (for topping)

Mix together yeast, sugar and warm water. Then add raised doughnut mix. Let rise 30–45 minutes. Knead and spread in a buttered 10 x 15 cookie sheet and let rise again for 30–45 minutes. Bake at 350° for 15–20 minutes.

Brown Sugar Frosting

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
3 cups powdered sugar

Cook together brown sugar and butter for 2–3 minutes. Add milk and bring to a boil. Take off heat and cool to lukewarm. Add powdered sugar. Spread bars with frosting then sprinkle with cinnamon doughnut sugar before the frosting dries.

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.

Ringing in the new year with a party for 24

This is the final day of 2014 as I write. A brand new year awaits us. May God be our guide as we travel into the unknown future.

Sister Emma, Jacob and family, and sisters Verena and Susan and all the girls’ special friends plan to be here for supper tonight. We will then play games such as Aggravation, Mancala, Connect Four, checkers, and various other games to keep 24 people entertained until midnight. The children enjoy staying awake to see the new year arrive. Joe and I would much rather get some extra sleep, but it’s fun to see the excitement. Everyone will sleep here and we will have brunch together tomorrow. We will set up beds and air mattresses in the basement for the boys and the rest will sleep upstairs or on the couches. The number of people has grown from last year. We add tables to our big dining room table, making enough room to set it up for 24. We will have a gift exchange too.

Saturday evening the youth in our church district went Christmas caroling to the older people in the church and neighborhood. Instead of having to deal with snow, it was rain. It wasn’t too bad until they were all back at our neighbor’s. The 30 youth all gathered here earlier in the month to exchange names and play games. How blessed we can be to have such a well-behaved group. Everyone brought snacks and we had hot dog sandwiches. Saturday evening they all took snacks to enjoy after caroling. The girls were happy with the gifts they received.

SnacksNewYearsEve

Timothy brought us a deer one evening. It was a big doe and had a lot of meat. Joe wants to make summer sausage and jerky with it. Yesterday Mose sent a 5-gallon bucket full of deer meat from a doe he shot yesterday morning. We are so thankful for the meat. We all love jerky so the children are hoping Joe gets some made before going back to work.

On Sunday our church had its annual Christmas potluck. There was so much food. Pasta casseroles, potato casseroles, ham and cheese sandwiches, a variety of salads, pies, cakes, bars, cookies, puddings, etc. There was more than enough food.

We still don’t have snow. We have a few flurries now and then. It’s so different than last year.

Yesterday morning the mercury on the thermometer dipped down to a cold 12 degrees for a while. Son Benjamin, 15, left for work around 5:30 a.m. Then around 6 a.m., Joe, son Joseph, 12, and I traveled the eight miles to town to get some groceries. The ride was nice and cozy with the heater going in the buggy. How spoiled we feel since we used to travel in an open buggy when we lived in Indiana. When we made the move to Michigan almost 11 years ago I needed time to adjust to driving in a covered buggy. Now I would have a hard time getting used to driving in an open buggy—especially in the rain and cold winter months.

I made cinnamon rolls and Long John rolls over the Christmas holiday. I’ll share the recipe for Long John rolls.

LongJohnsFried

Long John Rolls

1 cup lukewarm water
2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
6 to 7 cups bread flour
Vegetable oil for frying

Frosting, optional

Pour the water into a small bowl, and then add the yeast and stir until completely dissolved. Set aside. Scald the milk and let cool to lukewarm. Add the milk to the dissolved yeast.

Blend together eggs, butter or margarine, sugar, salt, and nutmeg until well blended, and then add to the milk and yeast mixture. Gradually add flour until the dough is elastic and easy to handle. Knead until you form a round ball. Put in a bowl and cover with wax paper. Put it in a warm place and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Punch down and divide the dough into 2 large pieces. Roll out each piece to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut into 7-inch oblong pieces. Let rise again.

FryingLongJohns

Heat vegetable shortening in a deep pan to a depth of 2 to 3 inches until very hot. Fry the rolls in batches until golden, 2 minutes on each side. Frosting may be added if desired, once the rolls have cooled.

Long John rolls cannot be frozen or stored; they should be eaten the day they are made.

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.

Amish wedding and Coblentz reunion highlight week

Such a lovely July morning. My wash and wringer machine is working again now, and it would be a great laundry day but we don’t have any hot water. A service man will come out this morning to look at our gas water heater. Hopefully after he gets it going there will still be time to do the laundry. Daughter Lovina, 10, said, “Mom why don’t you heat the water on the stove like Aunt Liz does?” We had just visited Liz in Berne, Ind., and Liz does not have indoor plumbing like we do. Lovina had noticed that when we were there and went to wash her hands at the sink, asking, “What happened to their faucets?” We had to laugh. Lovina was born here in Michigan and never knew how life was when we lived without indoor plumbing in Berne.

Last week was full. On Monday, sister Emma and I went to help bake pies for niece Irene’s wedding. Tuesday the 15th was Joe and my 21st anniversary and also brother Albert’s 50th birthday. Albert has two sons, Albert Jr., 22, and Andrew, 11, that also share his birthday along with a daughter-in-law born that day.

Wednesday was nice and cool for the wedding of Levi Jr.  and Irene. Three hundred pounds of chicken were grilled for the noon meal. Also on the lunch menu: homemade bread, butter, strawberry jam, mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, lettuce salad, cheese, cheesecake, mixed fruit, along with peach, Bob Andy and peanut butter pies. Candy bars were passed around at the end of each meal for a later snack. The supper menu was the same except there was poor man’s steak instead of chicken, and ice cream.

My job was to help make the gravy. For each meal we made five 8-quart kettles of gravy. All the food was prepared in the wedding wagon. The wedding wagon is powered by generators so we have two sinks with hot and cold running water and seven gas stoves. It is so much easier than how we had to get things around for my wedding. The wedding wagon comes with place settings for 350, tables, and a walk-in cooler. Tables were set up in a big building and 350 were seated at one time to eat.

Saturday we traveled to Berne, to attend the Albert and Verena Coblentz (my late grandparents) reunion. Grandpa and Grandma had 13 children. My Dad and his three sisters have passed away and are greatly missed. There are nine brothers living, and we were happy that all nine were able to attend. Relatives gathered from at least six states: Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Arizona.

We had a silent auction at the reunion. It was fun to see who won the bidding at the end of the afternoon. The last time we attended this reunion was 2004 so it was very good to be in attendance again. Sister Emma had her 41st birthday on Saturday so all the Coblentz’s sang “Happy Birthday” to her. One of the cousins had decorated a nice Swiss-roll cake with “Coblentz Reunion 2014” written on it. There was so much food that I won’t even try to list it. Aunt Frances and Uncle Joe’s house and belongings were sold the same day, which I can imagine was sad for their children. I remember the sad feeling when we had to do that. We attended the auction for a while before heading to the reunion. Cousin Jane and Greg bought the house so it’s nice that it will stay in the family.

photo 13

Yesterday we had dinner at sister Emma and Jacob’s house. In honor of Emma’s birthday we ate pizza, salad, veggies, ice cream, chocolate cake, and strawberry pie.

Try this recipe for zucchini nut muffins. Although my zucchinis aren’t quite ready, we are enjoying some from my sisters Verena’s and Susan’s garden.

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Zucchini nut muffins

Zucchini Nut Muffins

  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup unpeeled, shredded zucchini
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup chopped nuts

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Set aside. In another large bowl combine sugar and eggs. Beat for 2 minutes. Gradually add oil and keep beating constantly for 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla, zucchini, and nuts, then fold in dry ingredients just until moistened. Spoon into greased muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until done.

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 or at Editor@LovinasAmishKitchen.com.