Category Archives: Casseroles

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoying summer vegetables makes meal planning easier

Our weather has been hot and humid this week. This morning it is looking like it could rain. We need rain and it would also cool everything off.

Daughter Elizabeth and sweet little Abigail came yesterday to spend the day. We did laundry, which seemed extra huge with bedding and curtains in the wash. We washed walls and ceiling in son Benjamin’s bedroom upstairs. I still need to clean out his closet.

I have been working on my mending, which has accumulated in the past few months. It seems there is always something needing a button or has a tear here or there.

Our garden is doing well. Those weeds are trying to take over. We picked the first tomatoes from our plants. We are enjoying buttered beets from the red beets also. Zucchini and cucumbers are also ready. My cucumber plants all died but two, so I am hoping someone close by will have extra. Radishes are over but we still have lettuce, green onions, and peppers. Peas are done for the season. We had a few meals of red potatoes, too. Corn, broccoli and cabbage are coming along. I always like this time of the year when we can enjoy all the vegetables from the garden, as there is such variety to choose from. It makes meal planning so much easier.

I ordered peaches so that will be another thing off my “canning list.” I am afraid my canning will be in full swing around the time church services will be held here. We will host church one time in August and once in September. Then daughter Susan and husband Mose will also host it here once in September.

In between our church services we will have a hog roast for my family. I don’t have an exact count but think we are a total of 125 or more. It sure increased in size since the last time we took our turn to host my family. It was our turn last year but due to Susan’s wedding, my health, and then the surgery, I was unable to have it. We also canceled hosting church services here last year so that is why we have it twice this year.

I planned the hog roast for May but then sister Liz and Levi were preparing for niece Rosa’s wedding. So far it looks like it will suit all my siblings for September 16.

Sisters Verena and Susan are still living in our basement. The work at their house is progressing, with the dry wall mudding being done. The floor is on order. As soon as the drywall is done, we want to go help paint it. Two bedrooms upstairs and the bedroom and living room downstairs needed to be redone from the fire. The exterior is done now. It has been almost three months since the fire. Finally things are beginning to take shape for their house.

Son Joseph’s fifteenth birthday will be Monday, July 24. This is the third birthday in July for our family. Joe and I had our 24th anniversary on July 15 and brother Albert’s 53rd birthday was also on July 15. His sons, Albert Jr. and Andrew, were both born on Albert’s birthday in different years.

Sister Emma turned 44 on July 19, and her son Steven will be ten years old on July 30. My mother would have turned 81 on July 18 if she was still living. We get lots of cake in July.

Abigail is 10½ months old now. She is discovering everything. She stands by furniture and she discovered our open stairway steps. It looks like I’ll be getting my gate out again to block off the steps. We stayed behind Abigail to see how far up the steps she would go, and she just keeps going up one step after the other. She doesn’t realize that if she stands up she will fall back. How did the months slip by so far, that she is already this old? We sure have a lot of fun entertaining her. She loves playing in the kiddie pool and splashing water everywhere.

Broccoli from Lovina’s garden will soon be ready for a yummy and nutritious veggie casserole like this.

God bless you! Enjoy this recipe especially for fresh broccoli casserole!

Broccoli Casserole

3 cups Rice Krispies, browned in 1 stick margarine or butter
1½ cup fresh lima beans
2 cups fresh broccoli
1 cup water chestnuts
1 cup sour cream
1 package dry onion soup
1 10.5 ounce can cream of mushroom soup

Brown Rice Krispies over low heat in butter. Set aside. Place lima beans, broccoli, and water chestnuts in 2 quart baking dish. Pour sour cream and mushroom soup over ingredients. Cover with dry onion soup mix and Rice Krispies. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

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.

Son’s eighth-grade graduation tugs at Lovina’s heartstrings

It’s a sunny pleasant evening in June. The temperature stayed in the low 70s today. Tomorrow evening we will be putting in hay. It has been a good week for haymaking.

Last night our family attended the eighth-grade graduation for the class of 2017. Son Joseph was among the twenty students who graduated. Sixteen boys and four girls were in the class. Four of the boys and girls were Amish students, so this will be the last of their school education. The rest of the students will go on to high school.

It always tears at my heartstrings when another one of our eight children has their final day of school. Two out of the eight are still in school, with Lovina headed for seventh grade and Kevin for sixth grade. At the graduation, little nine-month-old Abigail enjoyed clapping with the crowd. And of course she liked to chatter while everyone else was quiet!

Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail were here today. Abigail gives kisses now, and we have just so much fun with her.

Last week niece Rosa and Menno had a nice wedding day. On the menu were: mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken and noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, broasted chicken, lettuce salad, carrot salad, sliced American and Colby cheese, homemade bread, butter, strawberry jam, cake, cookies, bars, frozen mocha dessert, mixed fresh fruit, cherry, pecan and chocolate peanut butter pies, and wedding nothings. The broasted chicken was made by brother-in-law Levi’s cousins. We had our driver pick-up time set for 5:00 a.m. and were back home around 1:00 a.m. It was a long day, but we enjoyed it.

Sisters Verena, Emma and I and a local lady from their church were the head cooks, so we had to keep everyone busy with their assigned jobs. It seemed like everything fell into place really well. Many hands make light work.

Sisters Verena and Susan went out there on Thursday morning with sister Emma and I. We helped with all the work that goes with preparing for a wedding crowd of people: “nothings” were made, seventy-five pies were baked, and vegetables were diced for dressing and salad. Sisters Verena and Susan stayed until Sunday evening to help sister Liz clean up from the wedding.

Friday is a half day of school and the last day for this term. We plan to attend the school picnic on Friday. Our youth are invited to the wedding of Richard and Hannah on Thursday evening and to the wedding of Robert and Eva on Friday night. There is also a funeral Friday. It is one of son-in-law Timothy’s aunts. Our sympathy goes to the family. Thirteen years ago, when we moved to this community, I don’t think two weddings and a funeral in two days would have been possible. Our community here has grown so much in the last few years!

This is now the following morning. It’s another beautiful day, and it’s laundry day for Loretta and me. My husband Joe, son Benjamin and daughter Verena are at their jobs. The three youngest have left for the last day of school.

Last night I finally stepped foot in our garden for the first time this year. Son-in-law Mose was tilling the garden while husband Joe and son Joseph helped me lay weed-control landscape fabric where we planted our cucumbers and watermelon. I always like to use that where my viney plants are, because it keeps the weeds down around them. We are enjoying radishes, green onions and garden lettuce.

The girls made macaroni casserole. It’s a new recipe I wanted to try, as I wrote it down for niece Rosa’s recipe shower. It was a hit in this family! It says it serves eight to ten people, but I would say twelve to fourteen. Our casserole mixture filled a 9 x 13-inch pan plus a two-quart baking dish. To those of you with small families, I would suggest cutting the recipe in half.

Lovina’s daughters made a new macaroni casserole that the whole family enjoyed.

We enjoyed meeting readers at the Blue Gate Restaurant and Bakery in Shipshewana, Ind., on Saturday, June 3. We also met some more people who never read the column but were interested to find out where they can read it. After six Saturdays of book signings, I am looking forward to this Saturday at home!

Macaroni Casserole

4 cups uncooked macaroni
3 cups cooked peas
1 pound any kind of cooked meat, cubed
1 pound processed cheese, cubed
2 cups milk
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
2 teaspoons salt

Cook macaroni according to package instructions and drain; add peas and meat. In another pot, simmer cheese, milk, soup and salt until cheese is melted. Add to macaroni mixture and place in greased baking dish. Bake at 300 degrees for one hour. Serves 8–10.

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.

 

Pie-baking, wagon-riding and book-signing usher in the month of June

We turn another page on the calendar today. Month number six already in 2017!

Tomorrow is the big day for niece Rosa and Menno. I wish them many happy, healthy years together. May God be their guide through the good and bad times in their marriage. It takes effort from both sides to make a marriage happy. And most of all, it takes prayers! Life doesn’t get easier as the years speed by. But I do think we get wiser from life’s experiences.

I am writing this column a few minutes after 4:00 a.m. Just a few short hours ago I went to bed—or so it seems. After I was in bed last night, it dawned on me that I hadn’t written the column this week. So I sat back up and reset my alarm clock for 4:00 a.m. this morning instead of 5:00 a.m. I must admit it has been nice setting our alarm at 5:00 a.m. instead of 3:00 a.m. this week. My husband, Joe, has off from work this week, so he’s getting caught up on spring work outside.

This morning at 6:00 a.m. my sisters Verena, Susan, Emma and I will drive the two hours to sister Liz and Levi’s house. Today is pie-baking day for Rosa’s wedding. It’s also the day for finishing everything else that needs to be done before the wedding tomorrow.

Daughter Elizabeth and I are both cooks, but Elizabeth decided not to go today. She thought that, with little Abigail, she might not be so much help anyway. Also it will be a long day for her tomorrow. We are to wear the color beige. Daughter Verena is a tablewaiter and will wear an ocean-blue dress. Son Benjamin is also a tablewaiter and will wear an ocean-blue shirt with black pants and vest. We are hoping for a nice day tomorrow weatherwise.

Our family spent Saturday evening and Sunday at daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s. Sunday we went on a wagon ride. Son Joseph and Lovina would get off the wagon sometimes and ride their RipStiks.

Son-in-law Mose has been taking over duties to get the garden planted this year. We are enjoying radishes and green onions from the garden. Lettuce is almost ready to use. Asparagus and rhubarb are also plentiful. I appreciate Mose’s help. This is the first year I have not helped plant the garden since we were married, which was almost twenty-four years ago. I am enjoying it, I must say.

Yesterday we did laundry. We usually wash Mose and Susan’s laundry right with ours. After we were finished, we washed my sisters Verena and Susan’s clothes for them. They were working, and so was daughter Susan. It was a very nice day to dry clothes.

It was so nice to meet the readers in Battle Creek, Mich., this past Saturday. My husband decided to go fishing, and so did sons-in-law Timothy and Mose. So daughters Elizabeth (and Abigail), Susan and Verena went with me to Battle Creek. And once again my friend Ruth put her duties aside and took the time to take us to the book signing.

Thanks for all the encouragement from readers. I enjoyed meeting all of you. Little Abigail was happy through most of the signing. She is so precious!

This week Lovina offers the recipe for this Make-Ahead Casserole, which she took along to her sister’s house for a day of preparation for her niece’s wedding.

I am making a casserole to take to sister Liz’s today. It’s called Make-Ahead Casserole. I will share the recipe this week. The instructions aren’t detailed; all the ingredients just have to be mixed together well.

God’s blessings to all!

Make-Ahead Casserole
4 cups seashell macaroni, uncooked
4 cups cooked chicken, cubed
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 pound cheese, shredded
2 cups milk
1/2 cup onion, minced
1/4 cup butter

In the morning, mix all ingredients well. Put the mixture in a large baking pan and refrigerate until you are ready to bake. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Serve with a large lettuce and tomato salad.

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.

Verena’s vacation memorable, but she’s happy to be home with family

Dear Readers,

This is Verena, age 19. My mother asked me to write the column this week. Recently my life has been so busy with working Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the daycare. I also babysit for my friend’s three little boys whenever they need a sitter. I love children, so it makes me happy that my job includes taking care of many sweet little angels! With most of the children at the daycare being age five and under, it takes lots and lots of patience. The children are at such a tender, young, innocent age. I feel blessed to be able to care for them.

I recently took a trip to Rhode Island with a lady I work for at the daycare center. We traveled with a group. Our trip started on April 2. We left Michigan before daylight, traveling through Indiana, Ohio, and on into Pennsylvania. We stayed the first night in Pittsburgh. We had such beautiful scenery from our eleventh-floor hotel room. The hotel was twenty stories high.

Verena loved creating a special crayon wrapper for baby Abigail at the Crayola factory in Easton, Pa.

On Monday, we traveled to Easton, Pa., and toured the Crayola factory. We were able to play a few games and work with art. I was able to make two crayons of my own and could name the color on the crayon. I chose the names Abigail Elizabeth and Verena for my colors.

That evening we slept in New York City. The lights after dark are absolutely amazing. There is such a big difference between the lifestyles in a big city and the lifestyle I know as an Amish country girl!

On Tuesday, we left New York City around 6:00 a.m. and drove to Newport, R.I. By the time we reached Rhode Island we had traveled through nine states. We drove along the Atlantic Ocean and then crossed the bridge to Rhode Island. The scenery was such perfect artwork created by our wonderful God. The ocean is always amazing to see and makes us feel so small.

We stayed in Rhode Island two nights (Tuesday and Wednesday) in a nice hotel. We enjoyed swimming and relaxing in the hot tub. A few from our group took a three-mile walk along the ocean. I walked along the beach and saw seashells scattered about.

While in Rhode Island we went to the Audrain Auto Museum. It was quite something to see. We then drove to Shawnee on Delaware, in Pennsylvania. Shawnee on Delaware is an unincorporated community on the Delaware River, a part of Smithfield Township in Monroe County. We stayed in a cabin in the woods at the Shawnee Village Resort. It was a very nice place to stay.

Saturday, April 9, we started out and were going to stay the night in Ashland, Ohio, but decided to drive all the way home instead. I was so glad to reach home that night yet. I missed my family so much. It is nice to go on a vacation, but there is nothing like home and family. I was thankful that we had safe travels and a safe driver. I will forever remember this trip.

On Sunday I stayed home and rested all day while the rest of the family went to church. Later in the day our family—sister Elizabeth, Timothy and Abigail, Mose and Susan, Dustin, and aunts Verena and Susan—all went to Uncle Jacob and Aunt Emma’s for supper and an egg hunt. I was happy to see my little niece Abigail again. It was a great night with family. Like usual, we all enjoyed looking for the eggs. Supper was campfire stew, fresh grilled ham, cheese, crackers, cherry delight, Swiss roll bars, fruit dip, apples and grapes.

I’m getting excited for Saturday. I will be getting my Teacup Yorkshire Terrier puppy, Ricky. I have his bed and everything set up for him.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure. God bless!

I will share the recipe for skillet casserole. I made if for our supper tonight. I don’t add the carrots and I wait to add the cheese until the potatoes are soft. It’s a very good casserole!

Skillet Casserole

1 pound raw ground beef
5 medium potatoes, grated
1 onion, diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
6 or more cheese slices

Spread the ground beef on the bottom of a large skillet. Place potatoes on top of meat and then add a layer of onions. Pour the soup over top, and add slices of cheese over the whole casserole. Cover skillet and simmer for 40 minutes. Optional: diced carrots can also be added as a layer on top of the potatoes.

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.

 

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.

 

 

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.