Category Archives: Breakfast

Summer rain, Father’s Day, and home renovations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God’s blessings to all!

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

Early summer brings garden growth and baby chicks

It is Tuesday evening here in Michigan at the Eicher homestead. All is quiet with only son Kevin and daughter Loretta home with Joe and me. The rest of our children here at home went to a wedding for supper. Daughter Susan and Mose are making living quarters in the finished side of our pole barn. They are over at their home tonight working on their garden, house, etc. We are enjoying having our grandchildren living next door to us for the time being.

This afternoon I went over with Susan to help her pack up the final boxes in their house. The house is empty, now, ready to be remodeled. This will involve a lot of time and labor but will be worth it once they are done with everything.

Sunday evening our family went to daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house in honor of her 26th birthday. Tim grilled chicken, and Elizabeth had cheesy potatoes to go with it. I took a lettuce salad and dessert was an ice cream cake. Tim surprised Elizabeth with the ice cream cake.

We attended church that morning and then came home for a while. Before heading over to Tim and Elizabeth’s for supper, we stopped in to see how brother-in-law Jacob (sister Emma’s husband) was recovering from his recent hospital stay. He had a mishap falling from a ladder and breaking some ribs, and he had to be sent by ambulance to a bigger hospital due to his lungs filling up with blood. He is home now doing as well as can be expected but is still under doctor’s care. Jacob and Emma had their 25th anniversary on Monday, June 15th. We wish them many more happy, healthy years together!

As I write this column my husband Joe is outside preparing supper for us. On the menu is chicken and fries in the deep fryer. I went outside and tasted the marinated chicken breasts, and they are delicious.

Orderly rows of vegetables are springing up in Lovina’s garden as temperatures warm up.

Our gardens seem to be doing okay. Everything is later than usual, but we are enjoying fresh green onions and lettuce from the garden. We had radishes but those are over, and more are coming along. Joe hoed and tilled both gardens early this morning while it was nice and cool. Ten-month-old Ryan spotted Grandpa out there and took off out of the pole barn in his walker. Granddaughter Abigail said she doesn’t want Jennifer to live close to Grandma and Grandpa. She told Jennifer to not play with our toys all the time. Daughter Elizabeth and her three children are planning to come tomorrow for the day. Daughter Susan said she will make breakfast burritos for our breakfast, so that will be nice.

Mose and Susan have some baby chicks in a box in the pole barn. Jennifer and Ryan like to watch them. I remember when our children were younger, and we once had around 50 baby chicks in the house because it was still too cold to put them outside. Daughter Loretta would always sit and watch the chicks. Soon after that our bathroom toilet in the basement clogged up and Loretta confessed that she was holding a baby chick and thought it was so cute that she squeezed it too tight. It stopped moving, so she took it down to the basement and dipped its head in the toilet to try to revive it. When she discovered it was dead, she was too scared to tell us what she did, so she flushed it down the toilet. We had a laugh about that after we found out what she did. So we teased Loretta and told her not to go close to the new baby chicks in the pole barn this time!

I will share the recipe for breakfast burritos with you this week. God bless!

 

Breakfast Burritos

 2 pounds bacon
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup margarine or butter
15 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
10 slices cheddar cheese
10 (8 1/2-inch) flour tortillas

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fry the bacon until crisp in a large, heavy skillet. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain and cool slightly, then crumble and set aside. Pour all but 2-3 tablespoons of the bacon grease out of the skillet, then add the bell pepper, mushrooms, and onion and fry until tender. Drain, then stir in the crumbled bacon.

In a large skillet over low heat, melt the margarine and scramble the eggs. Lay each tortilla in the center of a square of aluminum foil. Place a slice of cheese in the center of each tortilla, then divide the meat mixture equally among the tortillas, followed by the scrambled eggs. Fold the bottom of each tortilla over the filling, then fold in the sides and finish rolling up the tortilla. Wrap the burritos in the foil, then place them on a baking sheet and bake until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with sour cream and salsa. Serves 10.

 

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

Spring memories while staying home

As I’m writing this on April 16, I remember that thirty-nine years ago today my oldest sibling, sister Leah, and Paul were joined in holy matrimony. I was in third grade at the time and remember seeing my mother cry as the bishop was uniting Paul and Leah in marriage. I could not understand why she was crying, but of course I now know the feeling of your firstborn getting married, moving out, and starting their own life. It’s not that we do not like to see them getting married, but the changes in life we accept and trust that God plays a role in their marriage.

Another memory I have is of the day after Paul and Leah’s Thursday wedding. It was Good Friday and I remember going out to the mailbox to get the mail. For some odd reason that always reminds me that we still get mail on Good Friday. In our community we have “fast and prayer day” on Good Friday, so it always seems like a Sunday. I want to wish Paul and Leah a Happy 39th Anniversary.

Last night after supper I signed a card for them, to put in today’s mail. I wrote a letter and before I knew it I had several pages written. We don’t often see each other with the 100 plus miles between us. Actually, with this pandemic going on I don’t see any of my siblings. It has been a different spring which I’m sure many people will remember in history. We have all been home three and a half weeks, and it looks like we have another three weeks until the “stay home” order is lifted.

Our church services have been canceled again, so Lord willing we will host Rule Church here on May 3 now.

It has been a challenge trying to keep the house clean with everyone home. And keeping son Kevin, 14, busy with his schoolwork is another challenge. With everyone around he doesn’t like to be seated at the table doing schoolwork. I cannot imagine how much of the day it takes out of mothers that have quite a few in school yet. Daughter Lovina helps Kevin with figuring out problems if he needs help.

We are having cold weather again and the ground was covered with snow for a while yesterday. Hopefully it won’t hurt the flowers and plants that are peeping out in the garden already.

Lovina’s husband Joe gets a head start on planting using a greenhouse, pictured, despite a spring cold snap. Photo provided.

My husband Joe has moved his plants in from the greenhouse. He has them on tables by the window in the dining room, instead of keeping heat in the greenhouse at night, until this cold spell is over.

I hung our laundry outside this week. Although everything dried well, my fingers were cold by the time I finished hanging up the clothes. I’m not used to it anymore, with lines in our heated basement.

I have a little more painting to do in the basement, in my can room, where I keep all my canned jars of food. I need more paint rollers and brushes, but that is shut off in stores now. It’s too bad, since now people would have time to do jobs like that. It would help keep them occupied.

I have had letters from readers asking for information on where they can order my newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes. My cookbooks can be ordered online from your favorite bookstore. I am really happy about how the new cookbook turned out. So many of our favorite recipes are in there, such as Breakfast Omelet Roll, which we had Sunday morning for breakfast. We like to top it with sausage gravy.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Breakfast Omelet Roll

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 eggs
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 pound bacon, fried and chopped
1 cup chopped ham
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

 

Additional fillings as desired, such as mushrooms, olives, smoked sausage

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut parchment paper to line a 10 x 15-inch jelly-roll pan.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and milk. Whisk until smooth. Add flour and salt. In another bowl, whisk eggs, then add to cream cheese mixture. Pour mixture into parchment-lined pan and bake 30–35 minutes or until puffy and golden.

Remove pan from oven and spread mustard and half the shredded cheese onto the omelet. Add the bacon, ham, onion, bell paper, any additional fillings as desired, and most of the remaining cheese. Roll up in jelly-roll fashion, removing paper as you roll. Garnish with remaining cheese. Cut into slices to serve.

 

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

Spring cleaning and a horse chase

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next week—God bless!

 

Berry Cream Cheese Muffins

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

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

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

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

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

Who wants to cook when the temperature is nearing 100 degrees?

It is a hot, humid July evening. I am sitting outside on our porch but can hardly feel any breeze. The mercury on the thermometer still shows 95 degrees at 8 p.m. Hopefully it will cool off soon!

My husband Joe is doing much better, and the doctor had good news for him. All the tests came back okay. He needs to stay on the antibiotics for now, but the wound is almost healed. This heat doesn’t help the swelling of his legs, but they look much better. Joel loves salt, and having to do without has been hard for him but he is getting used to it. I’m getting used to cooking without it and letting everyone season their own food.

One morning when it was nice and cool Joe and I went out in the garden and pulled a lot of weeds. Before we knew it, three and a half hours had passed, so we came in for a break. The heat was getting worse by noon, but the garden looks much better. And cucumbers and zucchini are ready to use now. Tomatoes are on the way. Sweet corn really grew with the recent rain we had. We have much to be thankful for.

We received the sad news that Joe’s aunt Josephine, age 81, passed away yesterday. Josephine lost her first husband Leroy when they lived in Milroy, Indiana. She remarried to Jerome from Nappanee, Indiana, where she lived since her marriage to him. Leroy and Josephine had seven children. Our sympathy goes to the family. The funeral is Saturday in Nappanee.

Since March, Joe and I have had two uncles and three aunts pass away. It gives us a sad feeling to lose uncles and aunts with both sets of parents gone too. Josephine was a sister to Joe’s mother. She was two years older than her. Joe’s mother died 24 years ago at the age of 54. Our children never knew their grandmother. Daughter Elizabeth was 10 months old when she died, so she also doesn’t remember her. Joe’s three younger sisters were 15, 16, and 17 when their mother passed away. I often think how I would have felt to lose my mother at that age. You often hear people say you only live once, but actually that isn’t true—it’s more like we only die once. Let us be ready when our time comes, leaving good memories for all our loved ones to remember us by.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan came for the day along with sweet little Abigail, Jennifer, and baby T.J. When I call him Timothy, Abigail reminds me that he’s T.J. and her little brother and she’s the big sister. Abigail and Jennifer are starting to team up, which isn’t always so good. Today their mothers discovered them with my Kleenex box, which was quite full. They had already emptied half the box, pulling the Kleenex and throwing them in the air. It was hard not to laugh when the little sweeties didn’t realize they were doing anything wrong. We had a nice day doing nothing but meals and visiting and trying to stay cool.

I tried a new recipe (a breakfast skillet) for our breakfast and then we had (don’t be surprised) frozen pizzas for our lunch. Yes, that doesn’t sound like Amish cooking, but with the heat it was just perfect for us. Having solar powered freezers, it is easier to have those things on hand, although I don’t do it often. Joe doesn’t care for those. He likes homemade pizza, but who wants to cook when the temperature is close to 100 degrees?

Elizabeth and children went home and Mose came to pick Susan up. He is helping Joe fill in some holes in our paved driveway. The driveway was paved when we bought this place 15 years ago and has had a lot of neglect.

Let’s leave the future in God’s hands. May he bless each of you. Stay cool!

Try this breakfast skillet.

Breakfast Skillet

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound bacon, fried and crumbled
½ cup diced green bell peppers
½ cup diced onions
1 dozen eggs, beaten
2 cups shredded cheese of your choice
1 cup milk
¼ cup flour

Heat oil in a large skillet. Stir all remaining ingredients together, then pour into the hot skillet. Cover. Cook a few minutes, then gently run a spatula along the edges and underneath, letting egg run to the sides. Cover again and continue cooking until eggs are set.

 

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

Final cleaning tasks—including 42 windows—before holding Sunday services

The first day of May has arrived with it being a rather cloudy day. At 7 a.m. the sun is now out and shining so bright.

Daughter Verena and sons Benjamin and Joseph left tonight to attend a local wedding. They invited (as most couples in this community do) the youth for a 7 p.m. supper. Joseph came home from work around 6 p.m. and showered and left. He is working one-and-a-half hours from home, so it makes a longer day. He seems to enjoy his new job.

My husband Joe is outside doing some power washing. Loretta, Lovina, and Kevin are all reading or resting. I wanted to get this column written before I’m too tired.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and little ones came home for the day. They washed off walls, ceiling, cabinets, shower, etc., in the main bathroom. More windows were cleaned. Our house has 42 windows, so it takes a lot of cleaning. This is on three levels, with 22 of the windows being on the main level.

Communion services will be held here Sunday. On Saturday, Tim, Elizabeth, and children Abigail and Timothy, Mose, Susan and Jennifer, sisters Verena and Susan and daughter Loretta’s boyfriend Dustin were all here helping us clean. The men and boys took care of cleaning the pole barn floor, windows, etc., where church services will be held in. The women helped here in the house. A lot was accomplished, and their help was greatly appreciated.

On Sunday our whole family came home for lunch, which consisted of mashed potatoes, noodles, dressing, meat loaf, creamed asparagus (our first of the season), lettuce salad, cheese, hot peppers, celery, and carrot sticks. For dessert, Elizabeth brought a dirt pudding. We opened the dining room table and set the table for everyone.

I forgot to mention we also had hard-boiled colored Easter eggs and horseradish. Abigail and Jennifer colored eggs at Tim’s house on Friday and brought some here. We didn’t color any this year as we were gone all day on Easter and didn’t have the family home.

It warmed up nice in the afternoon and the men and boys went out to play croquet. The rest of us played Phase 10 here in the house. We decided to have an egg toss just for fun. Everyone had a partner and it was a little messy for a few people, but we had lots of laughs. Tim and Elizabeth were the winners. Our friends John and Carol were driving past and saw us outside and stopped to visit. John is a cousin to Joe’s late father. Before the children left for home, I heated up the leftovers for whoever was hungry. It was a nice enjoyable day making memories.

We received the sad news tonight that Uncle Elmer from Berne, Indiana, passed away. He doesn’t have to suffer any longer but will be greatly missed. Our sympathy goes to Aunt Emma (my mother’s sister) and extended family. He suffered much pain from that dreaded disease—cancer. May he rest in peace now. The funeral is planned for Saturday and our plans are to attend. This will shorten us by a day in preparing for communion on Sunday but somehow, we will manage. Sisters Verena and Susan plan to come help tomorrow so we should get a lot more accomplished.

On Monday my husband Joe, son Kevin, and I traveled to Ann Arbor to the C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital to have Kevin’s cast removed. He now wears an air cast for two weeks. Thanks to all who remembered him.

Once again I want to thank all of you readers for your thoughtfulness and encouragement. It helps to know others care, and may God bless each of you richly as we travel into the unknown future!

Breakfast Zucchini Casserole

1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped bell peppers
2 tablespoons butter
1 dozen eggs
2 cups Bisquick mix*
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups cooked meat of your choice: sausage, diced ham, smokie links, bacon
6 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Sauté onions and peppers in butter. Beat eggs; add the sautéed onions and peppers and all the remaining ingredients to beaten eggs except cheese. Put into a 9 x 13-inch pan, setting it into a larger pan filled partway with water. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, covered with tinfoil. Uncover. Bake another 30 minutes, then top with cheese.

Variations: Use shredded cooked potatoes instead of zucchini. *Instead of Bisquick mix, use 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt.

 

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

Giving everything a thorough cleaning—but not without enjoying the company

Thursday morning and it’s almost 5 a.m. This column needs to be written, although my eyes still want to close for some more sleep. At least it’s not 3 a.m. That is the one thing I don’t miss from my husband not working at the RV factory. Son Joseph, 16, is waiting on his ride to go to work. Son Benjamin left for work at 4:30 a.m. The rest are still in bed. I feel extra tired this morning, but we did have a long day yesterday.

Yesterday my sister Emma, her daughters Elizabeth and Emma, and baby Jessica, along with my daughters Elizabeth and Susan and grandchildren, Abigail, Jennifer, and baby Timothy, all came here to assist us with cleaning for our upcoming church services. We will host here May 5. It will be communion services, so that usually lasts all day. We serve lunch halfway through the day, to a few tables of people at a time, until everyone is fed. Communion is usually around 3 p.m.

Anyways, back to my much-appreciated help . . . We accomplished so much yesterday but still had a nice day spent together. Walls, ceilings, furniture, etc. were cleaned from top to bottom in the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Curtains were washed and quickly dried with the nice, breezy, sunshiny day. Everything looks so crisp and clean this morning, and the curtains look nice and white hanging on the sparkling windows. I love to admire the clean windows because I know before long they will be speckled by flies resting on them. They used white vinegar and water to clean them, and that works really good.

Last week one day, daughters Verena and Loretta washed out both my cupboards. On Saturday my sisters Verena and Susan came to help, so they helped my daughters clean out cabinets. I really appreciated their help too.

I still need to defrost the freezer on our propane refrigerator and clean out the refrigerator. Also, my gas stove and oven need a thorough cleaning.

Everyone came for breakfast yesterday so I made a casserole with shredded hash browns, scrambled eggs, crumbled bacon, chopped green peppers and onions, shredded cheese, and topped with gravy. My sister Emma brought cherry coffee cake that was still warm, so that went good for dessert.

We enjoyed the four little ones. They are so precious and so much fun. Abigail wanted to help me hang out the laundry, so I told her to hand me the washcloths and a clothespin with each one. That kept her entertained for a while. She wanted to swing on the swing that hangs from our tree branch, so I lowered the seat for her. Jennifer came outside for a while, enjoying the nice day. She kept picking up little twigs and bringing them to me.

The two babies, Jessica (almost 3 months) and Timothy (4 months), took a nap on Kevin’s bed, which is still in our living room since his first surgery. Timothy is quite active and was entertained rolling over and trying to grab Jessica’s face after he awoke. The baby swing bouncer also entertained the babies while their mothers worked.

For lunch, daughter Susan brought spaghetti and meatballs and we also had leftover tacos from last night’s supper. Along with the coffee cake for dessert, it made a quick, easy meal.

While we were cleaning my husband Joe was outside in the garden planting early red potatoes. He also has sweet onions he wants to plant and some more seeds to get out in the garden. Our radishes and lettuce are up from his previous gardening. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and let them survive. It’s all controlled by God, so we trust in Him. He knows best!

I hope everyone had a nice Easter! God’s blessings to all!

Hamburger Potato Casserole

2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoons salt, divided
2 cups macaroni or shells
1 pint pizza sauce
2 quarts cubed potatoes
3 cups milk
2 rounded tablespoons flour
1 pound Velveeta cheese, melted

Place ground beef and onions in a large skillet. Add pepper and 1 teaspoon salt (or as desired) and cook over medium heat until brown. Pour into a big roasting pan or two large baking dishes.

Cook macaroni until soft, drain, then add pizza sauce. Pour on top of meat.

Cook potatoes until soft. Drain, then add milk, 2 teaspoons salt, and flour. Add cheese and pour over macaroni. Bake in a 350 degree F oven until it’s hot. Feeds a family of 12.

 

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

Supper, brunch, and maple syrup: Spring brings school celebrations and rising sap

We are at the end of March already. Temperatures are staying above the freezing mark on most days.

Tuesday evening our whole family attended the exit interviews for the eighth-grade class. Once again Mr. Ultz did an outstanding job having the 23 eighth graders make supper for all their families. On the menu were potatoes, ham, green beans, dinner rolls, and a salad bar, along with brownies and ice cream for dessert. As we finished up with our meal, comedian speaker Craig Tornquist entertained the group. Mr. Ultz has been teaching at the school for 46 or 47 years and Craig has been entertaining and speaking to the eighth-grade class for 20 years at our school. We were then able to watch daughter Lovina, 14, and the other eighth graders present their portfolios to the teacher.

Even though we have done this with our other children, it is always fun each time. Abigail and Jennifer were amazed at all the bright lights in the gymnasium and at everything in the middle school classroom. Son-in-law Tim took Abigail outside for a while on the playground. She had lots to tell us when she came back inside.

Yesterday my sisters Verena, Emma, and Susan, nieces Elizabeth and Emma and baby Jessica, my daughters Elizabeth and Susan, along with their children, all came here for a brunch and to just spend time together.

My friend Ann from Grand Rapids, Michigan, came to spend the day with us as well. And then we also had a surprise visit from Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty from Geneva, Indiana.

Usually, when we are all together, we are working on cleaning or something, and I thought we all needed this break and time to catch up. It was enjoyable, and now with my three grandchildren and sister Emma’s first grandchild, it is quite entertaining.

On our menu for brunch was a breakfast casserole, cheese, homemade bread, butter and jellies, hot peppers, also lots of desserts, as everyone brought something. Cherry, blackberry, and rhubarb pies, Reese’s peanut butter pudding, cherry-blueberry delight, and cake were the desserts, and of course it was much more than we could eat. Coffee, grape and orange juice, V-8 juice, milk, and lemonade were the drinks.

Joe and I, along with my sisters Verena and Susan, attended the funeral services of Joe’s aunt Mary Jane in Berne, Indiana, on Saturday. This is sister-in-law Nancy’s mother. It was a big funeral and we saw a lot of Joe’s aunts and uncles and cousins we don’t see often.

Before starting home we stopped in to visit with sister Liz and Levi. They were busy processing a beef. Their son Levi Jr. and Arlene and baby Ella Nicole were also there helping. Levi and Liz had four children, and now with three of them married they only have their youngest daughter, Suzanne, 18, at home with them. I can’t imagine our house that empty, and I hope it won’t be for many years.

My husband Joe is still looking around and waiting to hear an answer on another job. Meanwhile he’s getting work done around here that needs to be done.

Lovina’s sons-in-law Tim and Mose have cooked many gallons of sap into maple syrup this spring.

Sons-in-law Tim and Mose have cooked many gallons of sap into maple syrup this spring. It is a good year for maple syrup and they are running around 30 gallons of sap to one gallon of maple syrup.

Son Kevin, 13, is back to school this week after his surgery on his right foot. The county bus picks him up and drops him off every day. They have a lift for his wheelchair. Next week is spring break so he has a break again.

We are starting to clean for our upcoming church services that we will host in early May. Daughter Lovina remarked that she already knows what she will be doing on spring break.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Cappuccino Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

In a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, combine the milk and instant coffee granules; stir until dissolved. Cool the melted butter for a few minutes. Add the egg and vanilla to the butter and mix lightly. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Do not overmix! Fold in mini chocolate chips. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 375 degrees for 17–20 minutes.

 

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

Pace of preparation picks up for Sunday church at the Eichers

Pace of preparation picks up for Sunday church at the Eichers

Benches and Ausbund hymnals are hauled from one home to another to use for church services in homes, pole barns or basements. Photo by Grant Beachy

Church services will be held here on Sunday, Lord willing. The extra project of getting wainscoting and trim on has felt a bit overwhelming.

We are also putting a new ceiling up since the drywall still looks different from being patched in when we had the house fire several years ago. They ran into some problems putting it up so it delayed us from some of the cleaning.

It has just been one late night after another and I will be so glad once we have it completed. We regretted that we even started with a deadline so close but we will be glad its another check off our “to do list” or as my husband Joe would call it, “honey do list.” It does look very nice to see the windows with trim and the doorways. The curtain rods have been hung with the curtains. Every day we get closer to being done and every day brings us closer to Sunday. It is nice to have a big house but it takes a lot longer to clean it as well.

Last night Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan, and Jennifer came to help some more. We  had an easy supper of a lot of garden vegetables. On the menu were potatoes, sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumber salad, breaded zucchini—all vegetables from our garden. We also had some barbecued chicken that was leftover from the day before.

On Sunday August 5 was Mose and Susan’s second anniversary. Next week on August 14 will be Timothy and Elizabeth’s third anniversary. I wish both couples a happy anniversary and God’s richest blessings. May they enjoy many more happy and healthy years together. We have been blessed with two great sons-in-law that are willing to help us when we need help with our work. We like to return the favor. It helps parents to know their daughters are happy in marriage. May God always be their guide as we travel into the unknown future.

The ceiling we are putting up is wood and needs staining. We are staining it a natural oak. All the work of the staining is being done by sons Joseph, 16, Kevin, 12, and daughters Verena, 20, Loretta, 18, and Lovina, 14. They have put in many hours of staining the 4×8 sheets by hand. We wanted it to have two applications but ran out of stain. Tomorrow morning we will get more so it can all be dry by evening.

We have more help coming tomorrow. Sister Emma and sons, daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their little girls will come in the morning. Their husbands will come after work to help finish hanging the ceiling and help with whatever else Joe needs done. Niece Emma’s special friend Menno will also come help. Also daughter Loretta’s special friend Dustin. We are sure appreciative of all their help. It seems with mowing, gardening, etc., its just a busy time of the year.

Last Saturday those assisting us with our work were Jacob, Emma, and sons Jacob Jr, 18, Benjamin, 16, and Steven, 11; Timothy, Elizabeth, and Abigail; Mose, Susan, and Jennifer; sisters Verena and Susan; and Dustin.

Joe has some work that he needs done in the barn. He wants to make room for a few new horse stalls so the chicken coop area is all being torn out. We butchered our old chickens and will wait until spring when we can start new ones in hopefully a new chicken coop separate from the barn. The young boys got the job of cleaning up the barn.

Jacob Jr. and Loretta were in charge of grilling 30 pounds of chicken for our lunch. They also made potatoes on the grill cooked in olive oil. With desserts being brought in and adding cucumber salad and tomatoes to the menu we had a delicious meal for all the hard workers.

Now I need to go to bed. Writing about all this work is even exhausting! Everyone else has gone to bed.

Good night and God bless!

Best-ever Blueberry Muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter or margarine melted
1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Combine eggs, buttermilk, and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in blueberries. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-24 minutes or until muffins test done. Yield: about 1 dozen.

 

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

 

 

 

Birthdays, Mother’s Day, and Wednesday with daughters: all good

First of all, daughter Lovina will be 14 tomorrow, May 18. A happy birthday to her!

Also, happy 25th birthday today, May 17, to my niece Elizabeth. We are invited to her parents (sister Liz and husband Levi) on Saturday for a surprise birthday party for Elizabeth. With so much gardening and spring work it doesn’t look like we will make it. Elizabeth is married to Samuel and has two little children LaRose and Samuel Lee.

I want to add a paragraph that was omitted from my last column. While visiting family we also stopped in to visit with sister Liz and Levi. Their daughter Rosa and her husband Menno have living quarters in the new building beside the house. They have a little boy named Jeremiah. Daughter Susan and baby Jennifer were with us. Susan and Rosa hadn’t seen each other’s babies yet. Always nice to catch up on the little ones. They grow so fast and are so precious!

Daughter Loretta and special friend Dustin enjoyed the wedding in Andover, Ohio, last week. They (Dustin’s family and Loretta) traveled up to Niagara Falls and enjoyed seeing the beautiful sights. It was Loretta’s first time to see New York (even before I did—smile). They had a nice time and arrived safely back in Michigan on Friday evening.

Verena gave this beautiful candle/plaque to Lovina for Mother’s Day, in memory of Lovina’s brother, Amos Coblentz.

Sunday was Mother’s Day. So I hope all mothers had a nice day, spending it with family! My mother passed away in 2002 unexpectedly. I still miss her so much. I have many precious memories of her. I started penning this column in 2002 after her sudden passing. She wrote it for eleven years. Rest in peace dear mother—you will always stay close in our hearts. The good example she left makes me want to always try and do my best!

My children all came home for a brunch on Mother’s Day. We had bacon, ham (fresh ham on the grill), eggs, potatoes, sausage gravy, toast, jelly, butter, coffee, milk, and juice. Also rhubarb custard pie and peanut butter swirl bars. Spending time with family is always precious to me. Timothy and Elizabeth left early afternoon as his brother’s family was coming to their house for supper. Mose and Susan were here for an early supper of fried chicken.

Yesterday, daughters Elizabeth and Susan came here for the day. Usually every Wednesday they come home for the day. Daughter Verena, 20, started working for nephew Emanul several weeks ago. She works in the office doing a lot of secretarial work for his woodworking business. She works four days a week and has Wednesdays off. She is glad to be home on the day her little nieces are here to entertain.

Yesterday was such a nice day we decided to head to town. We took three buggies and horses. Elizabeth, Susan, and baby Jennifer went with Elizabeth’s buggy and horse. Verena, Abigail, and I went with our buggy and our horse, Mighty. Loretta, Joseph, and Lovina followed with our other buggy and our horse Midnight. We did some shopping and decided to eat at a family restaurant. Little Abigail had so much fun. Daughter Lovina was glad for a break from her school work. After we were back home Joseph, 15, mowed our yard. The girls took Abigail down to the nearby lake and let her walk in the water. She didn’t want to leave. Around 5:00 p.m. Elizabeth and Susan headed for home. The girls made an easy supper of BLT sandwiches and we also had leftover tater tot casserole from the evening before. It was an enjoyable day!

Nephew Henry is home today and also was yesterday. He hurt his foot at work and it is really swollen and painful. He went to the doctor yesterday and they took an x-ray at the hospital. He should find out the results today. I hope it is not broken. He is using a pair of crutches we had and is keeping ice packs on it.

It looks like we are going to have another beautiful day! Laundry and planting more garden is on the list for today. God bless all of you!

I will share this recipe for baked French toast. We make this a lot. Its easy and you can put it in the oven. We love maple syrup on ours.

Baked French Toast

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup
10–12 slices bread
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bring brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup just to a boil and then pour into the bottom of a 9×13-inch glass pan. Top with two layers of bread. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top of the bread. Then beat together eggs, milk, and vanilla and pour over the bread. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Do not overbake or syrup on the bottom will get hard.

 

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