Category Archives: Breakfast

Getting things done: dresses, garden cleaned off, salsa made, church prep

It is bedtime already but my agenda looks way too loaded for tomorrow. Today was long enough already but this column needs to be written and on its way.

I started the day with sewing on daughter Verena’s dress that she needs for her baptism on Sunday. I have the dress almost done.

While I was sewing the girls started peeling and chopping tomatoes for salsa. We ended up with 58 pints of salsa. We also canned 20 quarts of tomato juice to use up the rest of the tomatoes from our garden.

On Saturday Joe and the boys cleaned up most of the garden and tilled it. We still have peppers and tomatoes out there. We had our last meals of sweet corn for this season. We have cabbage and red beets to use from our harvest. Although it is nice to have garden goodies, it is also nice to have everything coming to a close for the year. It makes it harder to be preparing for church services while canning season is in full swing.

Our second time of hosting church services will be Sunday, September 10. Daughter Verena and another girl in our church district, Anita, will be baptized, Lord willing! September 10 is also granddaughter Abigail’s first birthday. Daughter Elizabeth will bring a cake for her so we can celebrate her birthday. She will have a small one for Abigail to dig in and then a bigger one for the rest. It will be fun to watch Abigail tear into a cake.

On Labor Day we were all home except son Benjamin who spent the day with our nephew Henry. I sewed Verena’s dress, cape and apron that she needs for Saturday. It’s for her friend Rosanna’s wedding. Verena is a tablewaiter and will serve the bridal party. It will be a full weekend for her.

Sunday evening we attended a birthday surprise supper in honor of niece Elizabeth (daughter of sister Emma and Jacob). We all gathered there before she and her special friend Manuel arrived home. Friends and family gathered in their pole barn. When they came home and pulled up to the pole barn the overhead door was opened and we all yelled, “Happy Birthday”! She was surprised and a little speechless for a while. We were served a delicious supper of breaded mushrooms, jalapeño poppers, French fries, and haystacks. A variety of desserts were also there with everyone bringing a dish; fresh fruit, pies, puddings, and cake. People played a variety of games and enjoyed singing. Elizabeth is 21 now. Time does not stand still.

And now I have sad news. A friend from Hicksville, Ohio, that grew up in the same area Joe and I did, passed away. Mary, age 51, lost a two-and-a-half year battle to cancer. She left to mourn her husband, Marvin of 30 years, six daughters, four sons and eight grandchildren. What an empty space there will be. We have plans to go to the visitation tomorrow evening. Our sympathy goes to her family. They need our prayers as they live life without a wife and mother there. God makes no mistakes. May God be with them through this heartbreaking trial in life.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the people affected by the floods from hurricanes and also the fires that are raging throughout the west. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to pack up and leave your home not knowing if it will be there when you return. Everything happens for a reason. We don’t always understand why but we know God is in control. Let us keep everyone in our prayers. God’s blessings to all!

This week I will share the recipe for ham and cheese omelet roll. I shared this recipe around nine years ago but I want to share it with my new readers and for anyone that might have missed it. It is a favorite of ours. We like it with breakfast sausage gravy on top. Enjoy!

Ham and Cheese Omelet Roll

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 eggs
1 1/2 cup chopped ham
1 1/2 cup shredded Swiss or cheddar cheese
1/4 cup onion
2 tablespoons mustard

Additional fillings as desired: mushrooms, peppers, bacon.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl combine cream cheese and milk; whisk until smooth. Add flour and salt. In another bowl, beat eggs and then add cream cheese mixture. Cut wax paper to fit jelly roll pan. Pour mixture into jelly roll pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until puffy and golden. Meanwhile, chop ham, onions and anything else you want to add (mushrooms, peppers, bacon, etc.). Remove omelet from oven and spread with mustard and half the shredded cheese. Add ham, onion, and any additional fillings then sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Roll up in jelly roll fashion removing paper as you roll. If desired, garnish with additional cheese and let stand 5 minutes until cheese melts. Serve with salsa or cheese sauce.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

Elizabeth hosts the family for brunch, family games, and birthdays

This column will bring us more than halfway through 2017 already!

My arms are sore this morning from all the painting we did yesterday. Sister Emma and I helped paint three rooms at our sisters Verena and Susan’s house yesterday. The new floor will be put down next week so we wanted the painting done before that.

Tuesday evening Verena and Susan moved back to their house. Most of their furniture is still here in our basement. They do not have hot water yet and no refrigerator but they are using a cooler with ice for now. It doesn’t take much food for the two of them. I told them they can come over to use our shower since they don’t have the water heater hooked up yet. Also their laundry can be washed here for now, but they are just glad to at least be back in their home after three months. They appreciated all the gifts of money from readers. With sister Verena’s health not being the best lately and unable to work a lot, it helped out more than you know. Verena couldn’t help paint yesterday as her feet hurt to walk on them. The swelling has gone down some.

While we were painting, daughter Verena, 19, took our pony Stormy and the pony cruiser, to drive Loretta, 17, Lovina, 13, and Kevin, 11, to the dentist to have their teeth cleaned. Good ole Stormy—what would we do without him? He has taken us many miles over the years we have had him.

For Sunday, daughter Elizabeth and husband Timothy served a brunch for our family, sister Emma, Jacob and family, and sisters Verena and Susan. It was delicious. She made a big roaster full of Breakfast Casserole and French Toast (Overnight) Casserole (page 53 of my new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook) and she also made pancakes, served with their own maple syrup. We all took in a dish or two of dessert so we ended up having way more food than we needed.

Also on the menu were peanut butter pudding, Rice Krispie treats, Jello cake, watermelon, peaches, chocolate crinkle cookies, coffee, juice (rhubarb, grape, and orange), chocolate milk, and homemade bread, butter and jam.

After the dishes were washed we played games outside. We played croquet as well as “Aggravation” under the shade tree. As usual there was a lot of excitement in the Aggravation game.

Elizabeth made root beer floats for everyone later in the day. And of course little Abigail received the most attention. Every time I see that little girl she has learned to do more new things. When we have a silent prayer before we eat she will fold her hands together to pray. But this only lasts for a few seconds, just long enough for all of us to see it; then she wants the “Amen” part to come already.

We then had birthday cake before we left for home. The cake was in honor of sons Benjamin, 18, and Joseph’s, 15, birthdays. I asked the boys if it’s okay to just have one cake for both their birthdays and they were okay with that. With so much cake around lately I thought it was wise to just have one. Joseph turned 15 on July 24 and now we won’t have a birthday in our family until September when Kevin and Abigail will have birthdays.

I was helping daughter Susan this week with canning pickles. We also made four batches freezer pickles for her. Now she should have some when they host church services in September. Mose’s parents sent her a few buckets of cucumbers so she was glad to have enough to make pickles.

I want to can and freeze some pickles too. Daughter Elizabeth is coming today and will bring cucumbers. Zucchini is in full swing and we are enjoying making different casseroles. Daughter Susan is trying to make a recipe to share with you readers—our newest invention of using our many zucchinis. God bless all of you! Meanwhile enjoy this Breakfast Casserole recipe.

Breakfast Casserole

1 pint sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
6 flour tortillas
1 dozen eggs, scrambled
1 layer fried potatoes
1 pound sausage, fried
3/4 pound cheese, shredded

Mix sour cream and soups. Put half of mixture in the bottom of a roaster (needs to be bigger than 9×13). Cut tortillas into squares and put on top of that. Layer the remaining ingredients in order. Add the rest of the sauce. Top with more cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 60 minutes.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

God’s blessings to all!

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

 

Red Velvet Cake with Beets

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

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

A reader also requested the recipe for Cherry Delight.

Cherry Delight

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

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

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

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

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

 

Sunday Brunch Casserole

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

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

 

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

Blueberry Cobbler

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

Topping:
2 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar

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

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Heartfelt sympathy for family of 13-year-old relative after tragic death

The calendar tells us spring is here but the weather thinks differently. It has been cold so far this week. Son-in-law Mose is boiling maple syrup as fast as he can keep up in the evenings. Son Benjamin keeps the fire under the cooker going all day and adds more sap as it cooks down. The weather is perfect right now to get the sap running from the trees.

As soon as it warms up I have lots of windows that need to be cleaned. I really look forward to the warmer days ahead.

Our hearts are saddened since we received the shocking news yesterday of our cousins Samuel and Lydia’s granddaughter’s death. Samuel is Joe’s cousin and Lydia is my cousin. Their thirteen-year-old granddaughter, Lovina, was biking to school yesterday morning (March 22). She was hit by a passing truck that did not see her because of the blinding sunlight. Oh, I cannot grasp the feeling this family had when they heard the news. We also have a daughter Lovina just a few months younger than her and also in the sixth grade. I keep asking myself how I would have felt had it been my daughter. God doesn’t make mistakes and we pray that this family will find comfort in that; let God be their guide as they will have many lonely days of grief ahead.

Left to mourn her are father and mother Daniel and Lydia, three sisters, three brothers, grandparents and many more. She was the second child, oldest daughter out of the seven siblings. Visitation will take place tonight (Thursday) and Friday all day at the family residence. The funeral is Saturday at 9:30 a.m. They live in a community around thirty minutes from here by car. We have a hired driver to take us there. Our most heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family.

Yesterday daughter Elizabeth and baby Abigail came to spend the day here. It was a cold morning with the temperature around nineteen degrees. Abigail kept warm on the ride over and had a big smile when she woke up in Grandma’s house. Elizabeth helped me make sugar cookies and cinnamon rolls. It was a good day to bake with the cold temperature. I need to get some baby things around such as a high chair, walker, etc., that would be nice to have whenever Abigail comes.

After eleven years of small children, I didn’t need much of anything around so I gave my stuff away or sold it at a garage sale. Being grandparents is another change in life and so much fun. Abigail is always a day brightener when she comes.

I had a visit Monday morning from Ruth Coblentz (a relative). She has many lonely days since her husband Dave passed away last August. She brought me several cookbooks compiled by the Schwartz families. I am always glad for new recipes but this is special coming from family—Joe’s late grandmother Mae, on his dad’s side.

Daughter Susan tried a different casserole for supper one evening. It can be made for breakfast or any meal. I will share it with you readers this week. God bless you all!

Sausage Casserole

1 pound loose sausage
1 pound Tater Tots
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon mustard
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown sausage until no longer pink; drain. Layer Tater Tots in a greased 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with onion powder. Top with cheddar cheese. Top with browned sausage mixed with mustard. Mix together eggs and milk; pour over all. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Top with the mozzarella cheese and heat until cheese is melted.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017, available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

Just an ordinary day? The comings and goings of the Eicher family

Diary of March 1, 2017

3:10 a.m.   The alarm rings—time to get up and prepare Joe’s lunch. I make a pot of coffee. Joe always likes a mug of coffee to drink on his way to work.

3:55 a.m.   Joe leaves for work. He is leaving later since one of our neighbor boys started working at the same RV factory he does. He picks Joe up on his way. After Joe leaves, I usually go back to bed until 6:00 a.m.

6:00 a.m.   I wake the children up to get ready for school. Mose and Susan came over last night to sleep. We had a lot of bad storms during the night so we told Mose and Susan they could come sleep in the house. With the metal roof on their living quarters it makes some pretty loud noise when it is windy and rainy. Everyone was extra tired this morning. Around 2:00 a.m. we had been awakened by a bad thunderstorm which produced some hail.

6:30 a.m.   Mose leaves for work.

7:00 a.m.   Joseph, 14, Lovina, 12, and Kevin, 11, leave for school on the bus.

Nephew Jacob works with wood and made this wooden name sculpture for Lovina and Joe’s granddaughter Abigail Elizabeth. We’re sure Lovina’s daily routine here would have been even more enjoyable with Abigail’s smiles!

7:15 a.m.   Verena leaves to go help out at the daycare. Benjamin is doing morning chores.

8:30 a.m.   Benjamin drives Susan to work with the buggy and our horse Rex. Loretta is washing dishes and I am doing some book work. Income tax time is here so I need to get that ready to take to our tax preparer in town. It is always time consuming, but has to be done.

9:25 a.m.   Benjamin is back and is hauling manure out of the barn. With all the rain the ground is too soft to drive through the barnyard to spread the manure in the fields.

1:30 p.m.   Benjamin leaves to go pick up Susan. She works until 2:00 p.m. today.

2:30 p.m.   Joe comes home from the factory. We are having snow flurries and the temperature is getting colder again. Benjamin and Susan are back. Benjamin went to town to get me some groceries that I needed.

3:30 p.m.   The children are home from school. Brother-in-law Jacob, son Benjamin, and Menno (his daughter Emma’s friend) come to get our two big butchering kettles. They will butcher hogs on Saturday so they need the kettles.

6:30 p.m.   Chores are done and supper is ready. Our menu consists of spaghetti and meatballs, cooked potatoes, lettuce salad, cheese, canned peaches, and white cake. Loretta’s friend Dustin joined us for supper.

7:30 p.m.   Mose and Susan came over for awhile. Susan and some of the children always like to read the Bible together every day. They did this before Susan was married and she tries to keep it up since she still lives on the home place.

9:00 p.m.   Mose and Susan leave the house to call it a day.

9:30 p.m.   Dustin leaves for home.

10:00 p.m.  Everyone is settled down for the night so I will get some rest too.

Our sympathy and prayers go out to our friend Kristine. Her husband John lost his battle with cancer. May God guide her through this difficult trial in life.

I’ll share a recipe for sunrise burritos that daughter Susan tried last night for their supper. We plan to try it tonight for our supper. She didn’t have green chilies so she substituted green peppers (diced) and it worked fine like that.

God bless!

Sunrise Burritos

1 pound bulk sausage
1 small onion, chopped
16 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 cup canned green chilies, chopped
8 flour tortillas
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup sour cream

Brown sausage with chopped onion. Drain grease from meat. Beat eggs and water. Stir in chilies. Combine egg mixture with sausage and onion. Cook until set (eggs should be soft with no liquid remaining.) Microwave or bake tortilla for about 30 seconds. Fill with scrambled egg mixture. Top with cheese, sour cream and salsa. Makes 8 burritos.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Scary moments for Eicher family

Scary moments for Eicher family

It is Thursday morning and past time for this column to be on its way.

Joseph, 14, Lovina, 12, and Kevin, 11, are almost ready for the school bus. Son Benjamin, 17, is hitching up a horse to take our daughter Susan to work. The temperature is staying right around the freezing mark this morning. All our snow has disappeared. The weather lately seems too warm for this time of the year. We are hoping for more cold weather next month which makes it easier to butcher beef and pork. When the temperature is cold, you can keep the meat cold while you work with it.

Our week started out differently from usual. Susan and I were washing laundry in the basement when daughter Loretta, 16, heard something fall upstairs in the hallway. She called up to daughter Verena, 19, and didn’t get an answer. Since it takes Loretta longer to climb the stairs, she yelled down to the basement for us to come help.

Verena was breathing but could not open her eyes or talk to us. I called her doctor and they said to take her to the ER. Lots of tests were done, but she would not respond. The doctors decided to transfer her to a bigger hospital an hour away. She was admitted there and a CT scan, MRI, and lots more testing was done. She started opening her eyes and finally said a few words to me. Tuesday evening she was released and we brought her home. The doctors think it was due to some recent head trauma that caused her to black out like that. She has a history of lots of small concussions since a bad one in 2009 in which she lost over a year of her memory. She has been through a lot. She seems weaker than usual since she’s home and has headaches. She would be interested to hear from others that have dealt with post-concussive syndrome after a brain concussion. She has had her share of hospital visits due to past concussions. The brain is hard to figure out and doctors still have lots to study about how differently one brain heals from another.

It’s a scary moment for the family when you can’t get someone to respond and not sure what will happen. That is when we especially depend on God! He is in control. Let us trust him for he makes no mistakes.

Today we will go help daughter Elizabeth with her cleaning preparing for church services at their house. Her husband Timothy’s family went to help them on Tuesday. Church services will be there a week from Sunday. This is a new experience for them to host church services. Jacob and Emma will host services two weeks after Timothy’s so we also want to help Emma with her cleaning. It doesn’t look like there will be much time to rest this winter. Our friend Beth is going to take us to Elizabeth’s with her van. I didn’t want Verena to ride in the buggy yet. Verena will go along but can rest over there. She can help keep Baby Abigail entertained while we clean.

Time this morning is going fast and I need to be ready to go by 8:30 a.m. God’s blessings to all. Prayers would be greatly appreciated and we will do likewise in great weakness. Stay healthy!

Try this breakfast casserole. We like something like this even for supper.

Cheesy Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

8 frozen hash brown patties
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Place hash brown patties in a single layer in a 9×13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake in 450 degree oven for 20 minutes or until browned, turning patties after 10 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs in a large bowl with a wire whisk. Add milk, sour cream, garlic powder, mustard and pepper; mix well. Stir in bacon, 6 ounces of the cheese and onions. Pour over hash brown patties. Sprinkle with remaining cheese (add more cheese if desired).

Bake 40-50 minutes or until center is set and edges are golden brown.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

Heaps of dessert but no salad at your last potluck? Take a lesson from Lovina and friends

Six weeks ago today I had my surgery. I am feeling pretty good but am still being careful about my blood clot. It gets better every day.

On Sunday I went to church for the first time since my surgery. I appreciated all the “welcome backs” and concerns for my health. On our way home Joe and I stopped in to visit with brother-in-law Jacob (sister Emma’s husband). He was home from church with a bad backache. They had a vanload of visitors from Berne, Indiana, including Jacob’s brother Martin and wife Edith and family. Also visiting were niece Elizabeth and Samuel and their daughter LaRose.

LaRose is sister Liz and Levi’s first and only grandchild. She was a year old on November 10. She’s running all over already. She’s a little cutie! It looks like she keeps her mother busy. I imagine that sister Liz and Levi have many fun times with little LaRose.

The grandfather, Levi had hip replacement surgery last week, so he will be laid up a long time. We wish him a complete and speedy recovery!

Our annual church Christmas potluck dinner will be in two weeks after church services. On Sunday, all the women wrote down what dishes they will bring. Usually, while we are eating the Sunday meal a few weeks before Christmas, the women pass a tablet around the table. Everyone chooses what they will bring, such as a casserole, salad or dessert. This way we don’t end up with more salads than desserts or the other way around.

Daughter Loretta, 16, traveled to Ohio to a family gathering with her special friend, Dustin, and his family. They had a six-hour drive there, so they left Friday evening and returned Saturday evening.

Sunday evening Timothy, Elizabeth and Abigail, Dustin, and all of us ate supper over at Mose and Susan’s. Joe made chili in the kettle over an open fire, and he also grilled chicken. Mose baked a cake and we also had ice cream. Some of the children played games, and Joe and I had fun enjoying baby Abigail. She is such a sweetie and is growing so fast!

Daughter Verena will turn 19 on Saturday, December 10. It doesn’t seem possible that she is that old.

Yesterday Verena and daughter Susan spent the day helping daughter Elizabeth with her work. Church services will be held at Timothy and Elizabeth’s in January, so Elizabeth is getting a head start with her cleaning. With a baby in the house, time is limited. Life changes, and the baby’s needs always come first.

Crystal’s puppies are four weeks old, and they plan to sell them to good homes when they get old enough. It’s just too much to have five little puppies in the house yet. They are very cute and playful.

So adorable: one of Elizabeth’s puppies born to her Yorkie, Crystal, soon after Elizabeth’s baby girl, Abigail was born.
So adorable: one of Elizabeth’s puppies born to her Yorkie, Crystal, soon after Elizabeth’s baby girl, Abigail was born.

I received a get-well card from Uncle Elmer and Aunt Emma. Aunt Emma had written a letter as well, which I appreciated. It is always nice hearing from my mother’s sisters. She had in her letter that Cousin Leah is home from the hospital after her accident, but has lots of healing to do yet. Our prayers are with her and the family!

Correction: I want to make a correction with an error that occurred in one of my recent letters. The two young girls that were killed in the tragic buggy accident were cousins to each other, not to me. It was a bit of a confusion to people who know me, so I wanted to make sure that is corrected. God bless!

Gold Rush Brunch Casserole

8 eggs, beaten
1 pound frozen Tater Tots or hash brown patties, thawed
1 pound sausage or ham, cubed
2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2–1 pound shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 3/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream

Scramble eggs on stovetop and set aside. Place potatoes in bottom of greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Fry meat lightly and layer on top of potatoes along with onion and parsley. Layer scrambled eggs on top of meat. Layer cheese on top of eggs. Set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan and whisk flour into butter, gradually adding milk. Cook and stir until thickened and boiling. Add pepper, salt and sour cream; mix well. Remove sauce from heat and pour evenly over casserole. Bake at 400 degrees for 30–40 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Yields 6–8 servings.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Hop in the pony buggy for the last day of school

It’s a nice sunny day for the clothes to dry, and we have the lines filled with laundry. We have been blessed with several rains over the weekend and this past week.

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Here’s the pony and buggy, giving a ride to Lovina’s cookbook photographer and family last fall. Photo by Melodie Davis.

Yesterday was the last day of school for the term. Daughters Verena and Loretta and I picked up my married daughter Elizabeth and attended the school picnic. It was a little chilly until the sun came out. All the pupils were released at 11:30 a.m. Joseph, Lovina and Kevin took our pony Stormy and the pony buggy to school in the morning.

We all headed to Elizabeth’s house after leaving the school. We spent the afternoon relaxing on their back patio. They have a woods behind their house, and the river runs close by on their property. They have a new puppy that is a coonhound and Australian Shepherd mix. Hopefully, when it gets bigger, it will help keep the raccoons away from their house. They are having problems with raccoons getting in their flower pots and bird feeders at night, and I am afraid that the racoons will bother their garden.

The new puppy is named Shelia, and Kevin had so much fun with her. He walked her through the woods. He told us he was trying to teach her where to look for raccoons. Kevin has never been coon hunting, but he probably thinks the puppy doesn’t know that.

Joseph mowed the yard in an hour and 35 minutes. We bought a big walk-behind mower at the local consignment auction this spring. Joseph loves to mow with it, and he handles it very well. Joseph is tall for his age so he can handle the big mower.

Lovina's family was excited to receive 42 baby chicks this week.
Lovina’s family was excited to receive 42 baby chicks this week.

Our 42 baby chicks came this week. We will butcher our hens after these new chicks get bigger and start laying eggs.

On June 14, Elizabeth will be 22. Our family is planning to spend Saturday evening and Sunday at Timothy and Elizabeth’s house. Plans are to put tents up in their back yard and cook outside. I am looking forward to all of us being together. It seems the older the children get, the harder it is, because everyone goes different directions on weekends.

Elizabeth is helping to get ready for Susan’s wedding by sewing for me at her house. She likes to use her sewing machine to sew. I cut out my dress, cape and apron for the wedding. I hope to get it sewed soon. Mose’s mother and I have to wear sage-colored dresses.

Next week I will take Loretta, Joseph, Lovina and Kevin for eye exams. Loretta and Joseph only need glasses for reading. It’s been awhile since they had their eyes tested. Last time the eye doctor thought Lovina might need glasses. She has been having headaches when she reads. She’s a bookworm. I always loved to read and still do, but time is limited a lot more now. When the children were younger, our six oldest children all had to wear glasses. Elizabeth is the only one who needs to wear them all the time now. Susan, Loretta and Joseph do for reading. Verena and Benjamin are okay to go without now.

I had my eyes tested last week. The eye doctor thinks I will do better with bifocals now, which I’m dreading. Hopefully I’ll get used to them quickly.

God bless!

Rhubarb Coffeecake

1/2 cup shortening
1 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups fresh rhubarb, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the shortening, 1 1/4 cup brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and lemon juice or vinegar. Add this to the sugar mixture and stir well. Add the flour, baking soda and salt, and stir until the flour is moistened. Mix in the rhubarb. Pour the batter into a greased 9-inch square pan.

In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and butter and sprinkle over the top of the batter. Bake for 35–40 minutes until golden brown in color. Serve warm or cold.

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.

Longer bus ride not so good for Eicher children; plus sad horse news  

Daughter Verena made this for her cousin Rosa and her special friend. She makes it with plastic canvas and yarn.

I am a day late getting this column out. Every week passes by faster than the one before. Time does not stand still—that’s for sure.

Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin left for school a few minutes ago. The bus is coming earlier now because they are short one bus driver and need to put more students on one bus. We do not like this at all! 7:00 a.m. was early enough. We live three miles from the school and the children are on the bus over an hour. It wouldn’t be as bad if they wouldn’t have chores to do before they leave. Joseph always milks our cow Bessie before he showers in the morning. In the afternoon they get home almost a half hour later than they used to. I really hope it won’t be like this next term. It seems 15 to 20 minutes earlier in the morning can make a world of difference.

Yesterday I took our wheels for our pony cruiser to the repair shop which is about a half hour from our house by car. Since we were close to the bulk food store we did some grocery shopping. I like getting groceries in big quantities so they will last for a while. Daughter Elizabeth went along and so did daughter Loretta. Daughter Verena stayed home with Lovina and kept Elizabeth’s Yorkie dogs Crystal and Izzy here as well.

Lovina had a headache. I really do need to make an eye doctor appointment for her. At her last exam the doctor thought she might need glasses soon. She loves to read so her eyes get strained a lot. I had to start wearing glasses in the eighth grade. I still remember what a big difference they made. I always had a hard time seeing the chalkboard. I am near-sighted so without my glasses it’s hard to see things clearly far away.

VerenaCraftWork
Daughter Verena made this for her cousin Rosa and her special friend, “Menno.” She makes it with plastic canvas and yarn.

Last night son Benjamin and daughter Verena attended a work bee for the youth at one of the church families. They accomplished a lot in a short time. It is always a good feeling to help someone out. They were all served supper there.

Today daughters Verena, Loretta, and I will assist sister Emma preparing for church services at her house. Both her daughters work away from home so she is home alone with much to do. The girls are washing dishes while I write this, then we can leave. Son Benjamin put the harness on our horse Mighty to make things easier for us when we leave. We will have to hitch Mighty to the buggy yet.

Ginger and Itty Bit’s foals have grown a lot and are almost a year old. Itty Bit’s foal we named Black Beauty and she will be a year old on May 1. Ginger’s foal is Midnight and she will be one year old June 1.

We don’t have any idea what happened to Itty Bit’s back leg but we noticed she couldn’t walk on it anymore. We had the vet out several times and he thought it was a bad break. With her being 18 years old already, he thought it would be best to have her put down. This was very hard for all of us. She was a good horse in the 14 years we owned her. We brought her with us from Indiana and she delivered Ginger six days after our move. Our 22-year-old horse Diamond gave up on us last year and we miss him too. Diamond and Itty Bit were the two horses we brought from Indiana. They were always side by side in the field and we never thought they would both be gone, so close to each other. Itty Bit’s foal looks like she will turn out to be a good driving horse for us when she’s older.

We are enjoying fresh asparagus from our garden. Try this recipe!

God’s blessings to all!

Creamed Ham and Asparagus

1 pound fresh or frozen asparagus
1 1/2 cups milk, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried or fresh parsley
1 to 1 1/2 pounds fully cooked ham, cubed
3 hardboiled eggs, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
toast or biscuits

Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces. In a saucepan cook asparagus in a small amount of water until tender. Drain and set aside.

In a medium saucepan mix cornstarch and 1 cup milk. Add butter, salt, pepper, and remaining milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Add parsley, ham, eggs, cheese, and asparagus. Cook and stir over low heat until ham is warmed and cheese is melted. Serve over toast or biscuits.

 

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.