Category Archives: Breads and Muffins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next week, God bless!

Breadsticks

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

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

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

 

Spring garage sales yield bountiful bargains

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maple Morning Muffins

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

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

Streusel topping:

1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter

Mix together and sprinkle on top of muffin batter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OatmealBread1

Oatmeal Bread

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

Combine above ingredients in a large bowl.

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

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

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

OatmealBread2Loaves

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CinnamonSwirlEdited

Soft Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pumpkin Pancakes

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

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

 

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

 

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.