Category Archives: Casseroles

May showers and tater tot casserole

 Today daughters Verena, 22, Loretta, 19, Lovina, 16, son Kevin, 14, and I went to assist niece Emma in preparing for hosting the next church services. Sister Emma and son Steven, niece Elizabeth, and sisters Verena and Susan were also there helping, along with my daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their children.

Emma told us all to come for breakfast and she had made a breakfast casserole. Everyone took a dish, so there were four different kinds of cookies, rhubarb pie, watermelon, and cupcakes. Daughter Susan took a tater tot casserole for lunch, so that made the day easier. Their laundry was washed and the living room and kitchen walls, ceilings, furniture, and windows were all cleaned.

My grandchildren enjoyed playing with Emma’s 16-month old Jessica’s toys. They all get along, playing together nicely. T.J., 17 months, enjoyed standing outside the chicken fence, watching the chickens.

We finally had a day of sunshine after having rainy weather here in Michigan. I think my husband Joe said we had over six inches of rain this week. The gardens are still too wet to put the plants out. Today it did rain lightly for a little bit, enough to make us run to get Emma’s laundry off the lines. The laundry was mostly dry, so we hung what wasn’t dry yet in the house on clothes racks.

I had the same problem with my laundry on Tuesday when I decided to chance it. It would start raining awhile and then stop, but the wind was strong and dried it fast. My new lines held out really well in the wind. I like laundry days when there isn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun is shining. That is much more relaxing than not knowing when you might need to run to get the clothes in because it has started raining. We cannot control the weather, so I must not complain. Such is life!

One of the first attempts at training son Joseph’s horse, Sugar. Photo provided.

Son Joseph, 17, is out in the field, line-driving his two-year-old horse, Sugar. He is training her, and eventually wants to hitch her to the buggy. It’s always challenging, with a little excitement, when they train a horse. Sugar is doing pretty well. My husband, Joe, has trained most of the horses that we have raised, so he can give Joseph pointers on training. Sugar will be our gift to Joseph in July for his 18th birthday.

Son Benjamin, 20, left tonight to go fishing with friends. Daughter Lovina went to a friend’s house for supper. Verena made potato soup and heated up the grilled meat from last night’s supper for our supper tonight. Of course, we needed cheese and crackers to go with potato soup.

Tomorrow is Ascension Day, so everyone will be home from work. We will fast and have a prayer day in the morning. Our family is all coming for the noon meal.

After lunch, we will have an egg hunt for our grandchildren that we couldn’t have at Easter. As a treat for our children, Joe and I wrapped small gifts in plastic, making a big ball. They will take turns rolling dice until they get a six and can unwrap the ball and keep the gifts that fall out before the next person rolls a six and takes over. This is always exciting to watch, especially when they get closer to the last gift, which is the grand prize.

Friday, May 22, will be birthday number 49 for me! This is my last year in my forties, and then it’s the big 50! I really am getting old! (smile)

I’ll share the recipe for the tater tot casserole that daughter Susan took to niece Emma’s. I wish God’s blessings to each of you! Stay safe and healthy!

 

Tater Tot Casserole

2 pounds hamburger
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 pounds tater tots
1 pint sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 soup cans milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound Velveeta cheese
2 cups crushed corn flakes or Ritz crackers
1/2 cup melted margarine

Fry hamburger with onions and set aside. Put tater tots in bottom of a large casserole dish. Mix together sour cream, soup, milk, salt, and pepper and pour over tater tots. Top with cheese and fried hamburger with onions. Sprinkle with corn flakes or cracker crumbs mixed with melted margarine. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes.

Variation: Lovina’s daughter Susan uses crushed Doritos instead of corn flakes or crackers.

 

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 Fresh Breezes

Last week my sisters Verena and Susan did a good job cleaning the windows in the upstairs bedrooms. We like to take the screens out and bring them to the basement to spray off with soap and hot water. The summer dust accumulates on them.

Just before lunch time Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty from Geneva, Indiana, drove in. They stayed for lunch and visited with all of us. I want to wish them a happy 50th wedding anniversary on March 14. Not everyone gets to see their 50th anniversary anymore, so I think that’s special!

We also washed laundry that day and with the temperature in the 50’s and the sun shining, we hung everything outside. We washed the curtains from the bedrooms upstairs while the windows were getting cleaned. All the laundry was dry, folded, and put away again, which is a sure sign spring is not too far away. The curtains were ironed and hung back on the sparkling windows.

Along with spring cleaning in preparation for hosting church services, Lovina and daughters did many loads of laundry this week and took advantage of the sunshine and warmer temperatures to hang it outside to dry. Photo Credit: D. Lucas Landis

Monday, daughter Susan and children and daughter Verena drove the five miles to the doctor’s office to have 7 1/2-month-old Ryan checked out. He had been running a temperature and was very fussy so Susan stayed home from church with him. The doctor says he had inner ear infection and gave him an antibiotic and ear drops. I had Susan bring her laundry here, and daughter Loretta and I washed it while they were in town. We washed ours too, so we put through quite a few loads of laundry. I hung most of it outside and it dried fast in the wind. It’s always harder to hang clothes on the lines on windy days, but they dry fast.

Wednesdays are usually the day our married daughters Elizabeth and Susan come home for the day along with our five sweet grandchildren. Yesterday Elizabeth and Susan washed off the walls and ceiling in the master bedroom, and also cleaned the windows and furniture. It was relaxing to go to bed last night with our bedroom so refreshed. The master bathroom still needs to be cleaned but that won’t take long for me to do one day.

My other daughters were baking cookies and washing dishes, rocking babies, etc. They made chocolate crinkle cookies. This recipe will be in my new cookbook coming out next month. They also made ranger cookies, which are an oatmeal cookie. They wanted to make outrageous cookies but we were out of chocolate chips. Granddaughters Abigail, 3, and Jennifer, 2, love when their aunts let them help mix and bake the cookies. Some turned out very small because the little girls were helping, but they enjoyed it. Ryan is back to smiling and chattering and is acting so much better than a few days ago.

I made a list of everything we hope to accomplish in cleaning before we host church services in April. It’s not that we can’t host the services if this doesn’t get done, but I like to set a goal and the list helps to get everything done. How refreshing once the house has a thorough cleaning from top to bottom. Plans are for me to do quite a few book signings after my new cookbook is out. I know I will relax much better leaving and knowing my house is cleaned for the summer months ahead. The girls are always happy to mark things off my list. They will also be glad when we are done.

This month 16 years ago my husband Joe and I and our six children made the move here to our home in Michigan from our home in Indiana. Eight weeks later we were blessed with our seventh child, Lovina. She came earlier than expected and I had her by emergency c-section and spent a week in the hospital. Sixteen months later we added another son, Kevin, to our family. Sixteen years went by so fast! Time does not stand still.

I want to get to answering my reader mail today. I am so sorry for the delay in answering but it’s so easy to put off for another day, week, etc. God bless!

 

Chicken ’n Rice Casserole
1 cup cooked chicken
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup cooked rice
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
2 hard-boiled eggs

Mix together all the ingredients and put in a two-quart casserole dish. Top with breadcrumbs, crushed crackers or tortilla chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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.

Fun with grandchildren as winter weather continues

Today baby Allison is already two months old. She’s so petite but very active. Last Sunday I was holding her in church, and she made so many facial expressions. When we started singing, she wasn’t sure if she should be sad or smile. It was so cute to see her smile then change to a frown and almost cry then smile again. Such little sweet innocent angels. She has brought much joy to daughter Elizabeth and Tim. Abigail likes being the big sister and T.J. isn’t sure if he wants to hug her or try to slap her. That little guy keeps them on their toes.

Baby Ryan is seven months old today. He weighs 20 pounds and is a tall guy. He gets around everywhere with his walker when he is in it. Ryan did his best to ignore me when he saw me holding baby Allison. Not until I took him would he look at me. Isn’t it amazing how fast they catch on to things? Jennifer makes sure to push Ryan’s walker away from things he shouldn’t have. She will say, “No, Ryan, you can’t have that.” Ryan has such a calm personality and is full of smiles. He tries to talk a lot. Jennifer and Ryan keep Mose and Susan busy, but they enjoy every minute of it.

Abigail, 3, sings a German song that she learned from just hearing her father Tim sing it. She does a good job. It’s amazing what young children pick up so fast.

In today’s column Lovina shares stories about spending time with her growing grandchildren.

Sons-in-laws Tim and Mose have been busy tapping Maple trees for syrup. They use bags now to collect the sap, instead of buckets.

Yesterday we awoke to winter weather again with the world coated in white. I would guess we have six to eight inches of snow. It’s the kind of snow that sticks to everything and, like our children used to say, the kind that makes good snowmen. I remember one year they made a snowman and the weather warmed up overnight. Son Benjamin wasn’t very old and woke up the next morning to see the snowman had disappeared. He looked up at the fluffy white clouds and said, “Mom, our snowman is up there.” He was so sure those fluffy clouds were his snowman.

Schools were closed yesterday due to the road conditions. Last night we had a voice mail from our school saying school has been cancelled for today as well.

Lovina and family experienced more snow this week in the waning weeks of winter.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan had plans to come home yesterday for the day with a driver. The driver cancelled at the last minute, so they had some disappointed little children who were looking forward to spending the day at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. It is understandable when the roads are not good but trying to explain that to little children is hard. Their plans are to come today instead. It has quit snowing so maybe it will work out.

Son Joseph, 17, was home from work Monday and Tuesday. The contractor he works for is son-in-law Tim’s brother-in-law. His father passed away and the funeral was Tuesday, so they didn’t work. Monday evening we went to the viewing, which was a two-hour drive with a hired driver. Those going with us were my sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma and Jacob, daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and baby Allison, my husband Joe and I, and son Joseph and daughter Lovina. We dropped Abigail and T.J. off at daughter Susan and Mose’s house until we came back. It was 4:00 p.m. when we started picking everyone up. It was after 11:00 p.m. when we got home so it was a late night by the time we made it to bed. Our sympathy goes to the family. It is never easy parting with loved ones. After traveling that many miles, we are always thankful to make it back home safely.

Sunday we will already be entering March. Where did the time go? Spring is just around the corner which I am so ready for, but God controls the weather so we will accept whatever he sends.

Take care! God’s blessings to all!

 

Almost Pizza
5 cups cooked and shredded potatoes
2 cups white sauce (see below)
1 cup pizza sauce
1-pound ground beef, browned
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
All your favorite pizza toppings

Layer potatoes in the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan. Pour white sauce over potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and layer on pizza sauce and remaining toppings. Bake 15 minutes longer.

White sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour until smooth and bubbly. Slowly add milk and salt stirring constantly until thickened and smooth.

 

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.

Winter weather returns amid butchering and painting projects

Winter weather is back! We’ve received around three inches of snow and it’s still snowing. The roads must not be the best as school is cancelled for today! I let son Kevin sleep in, so he doesn’t yet know school is cancelled. He will be happy when he wakes up.

Lovina and family received over three inches of snow after a brief thaw. Photo provided.

Son-in-law Mose had a birthday yesterday, February 5. Mose, Susan, and Jennifer all had the flu so he didn’t have the nicest birthday. We will wash their laundry here for them today, since Susan didn’t feel up to washing clothes this week. In the winter months I like to add a laundry disinfectant to the water to help with germs during the flu season. I really think it helps.

Tuesday the girls and I spent the day at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. We washed a lot of laundry for them and cleaned her house. She was glad to have everything clean again. Daughter Lovina stayed there for the night and came home with Elizabeth and all three children the next morning. Daughter Susan and children couldn’t come as they still had the flu.

Monday the temperature went over 50 degrees so we hung some of our laundry out on the lines to dry. The bedding smelled so fresh when put back on the beds. We also cleaned our windows while the temperature was warmer.

Daughter Verena bought aqua colored paint to have her bedroom painted. So far, this week has been too busy to start with it. The boys did move Verena’s bed into Loretta and Lovina’s bedroom. The dressers will be moved to the middle of her room and covered up. Her bedroom walls are still the same color daughter Elizabeth had when she had that bedroom. It’s a burgundy color and Verena prefers aqua. Elizabeth has been married four and a half years and we still haven’t changed the color. It will brighten up the bedroom.

Saturday, we helped sister Emma and Jacob butcher two hogs. Sister Emma served us all breakfast when we arrived which was a breakfast casserole.

Read in this week’s column about how pon hoss is made (pictured here, sliced and ready to fry). Photo provided.

After the meat was cut up, we rendered the lard and cooked the pork off the bones. The meat from the bones was put through the grinder and then added back to the cooking water. Flour, salt, and black pepper were added to the cooking water making 17 gallons of pon hoss! We added four cups of flour, two tablespoons of salt, and one tablespoon of black pepper to each gallon of juice. The flour is sifted so it doesn’t get chunky, and someone stirs constantly to keep it from sticking to the big kettle while it cooks over an open fire. After the pon hoss is thickened, it is taken off the fire and poured into pans to cool. After it is cooled it can be sliced and fried in a pan until golden on each side. It can be fried longer for a crispier taste if preferred.

The sausage was all ground, seasoned, and packaged for the freezer. Some was processed in quart- and pint-sized jars. We usually season our sausage with brat and ranch seasoning we get at the meat market. It makes a good flavor for sausage patties or sausage gravy. The pork chops, ham, and bacon were also all sliced and packaged for the freezer.

Everything was mostly done by 1:30 or 2:00 p.m. then we had a delicious lunch of mashed potatoes, gravy, pork tenderloin, coleslaw, lettuce salad, cheese, Jello cake, cowboy bars, donuts, cake, and ice cream.

Baby Allison will be six weeks old tomorrow. She has the brightest blue eyes and smiles when you talk to her. So adorable and precious!

Stay healthy during this flu season! God bless!

 

Sausage Delights

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1/3 cup shortening
1-pound bulk sausage, fried
1-1 1/2 cup shredded Colby or cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients and cut in shortening. Add the fried sausage and shredded cheese. Stir in milk and egg and mix well. Drop onto greased pans and bake at 375 degrees until done. Serve plain or with butter or sausage gravy.

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.

Welcoming the new year and a new granddaughter

This is the final day of 2019. A new year lies before us. What does it hold in store for you and me? Only God knows the answer. May He be our guide as we enter the new year in 2020. He has bestowed so many blessings upon us. Let us be forever thankful!

We awoke this morning to a world of white. The ground is covered in snow and it is still snowing and blowing outside. After some mild weather during the Christmas holiday, we are now getting some real winter weather. We had days with temperatures in the 60s, but we like winter weather when it’s winter. We cannot control the weather, so we accept what we are given.

Now I must announce the birth of our fifth grandchild. Allison Lovina was welcomed to our world with much love. She was born to daughter Elizabeth and Tim, weighing 6 pounds 1 ounce, 18 1/2 inches long, on December 27, 2019 at 1:16 p.m. Daughter Elizabeth had preeclampsia, so a C-section was scheduled three weeks earlier to prevent complications. We are thankful mother and baby are doing fine. This brought us much more excitement the week of Christmas than we expected. She’s a precious little sweetie and has won our hearts already. She joins Abigail Elizabeth, 3, and Timothy Josiah, 1. Of course Abigail already rocks her and sings to her. T.J. on the other hand isn’t too happy to share Allison with his mommy.

Abigail and T.J. stayed here for a few days while Tim and Elizabeth were at the hospital. I went up with them to be there when the baby was born. Tim and I enjoyed the newborn while Elizabeth recovered from surgery. Later my husband Joe and daughters Verena and Lovina brought the children to the hospital to meet their little sister. I went back home with them afterward. The children did pretty good staying with us, although nighttime was a little hard for T.J. He is a busybody and likes to wake up early. He discovers everything and tries to climb on anything he can. He would tell me he wants to eat and would point at the highchair. So sweet!

Daughters Verena and Lovina are helping out with the children and household duties at Tim and Elizabeth’s house. I am sure the children are getting plenty of care and hugs from their aunts. Tim is off work this week so it’s a nice time to enjoy the new addition to their home.

When baby Allison was discharged, she weighed 5 pounds 11 ounces, but the doctor said it’s normal for babies to lose a little weight after birth. Today Tim and Elizabeth took baby Allison to their pediatrician for a checkup.

The day after Christmas was a full day cutting up our beef. By the end of the day the meat was ground into hamburger and almost 400 hamburger patties were made, bagged, and frozen. Steaks were also sliced, bagged, and frozen. Mose and Susan were given a vacuum sealer for Christmas, so we put that to use. We feel so thankful that we could fill the freezer for the year ahead. My husband Joe used the new dehydrator he got for his birthday and has made lots of deer jerky already.

Our Christmas Day was spent at home. Mose and Susan and children and Loretta’s special friend Dustin were our supper guests. Before supper the girls and I and Jennifer and Ryan walked over to my sisters Verena and Susan’s house for a while to wish them a Merry Christmas. It was a nice spring-like day, so unlike other years at Christmas. The new year looks like it will start cold and snowy.

Happy 2020 to all and God bless!

 

Simple One Dish Meal

2 pounds ground beef
4–6 cups potatoes, diced
1–2 quarts corn
1 tablespoon salt
seasoning to taste

Brown ground beef in a large skillet and remove to a separate bowl. Add potatoes and 1/2 cup water to the skillet and cover. Cook until potatoes are slightly tender. Add browned ground beef, corn, and salt. Season to taste.

Optional: add any variation of garlic, onion, peppers, black beans, sweet potatoes, buttercup or butternut squash, cubed.

 

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.

 

Wedding travel preparations both planned and unexpected

It’s 4:45 a.m. as I sit by the kitchen table writing. The boys already left for work. Their bags are packed and ready for our departure to Kentucky at 1:30 p.m. They will work a half day, come home, shower, and be ready to go.

Our plans had to be adjusted somewhat because we were at the emergency room last night with daughter Susan. Her husband Mose and two-month old baby Ryan and I went along. I went along to help take care of Ryan while Susan was in so much pain. She didn’t feel like breastfeeding, but we had no other way to feed him as he refuses the bottle.

Susan had a sharp pain on her lower right side which we expected was her appendix. After a CT scan and other tests, the doctor discovered she has a lodged kidney stone, as well as kidney and urinary tract infections. She was given pain medicine and several antibiotics which helped relieve some of the pain, but now it’s just trying to get the stone to pass. I have never had this happen to me, but it sounds like a painful ordeal.

We arrived back here at our house close to midnight and Mose and Susan, Jennifer, 20 months, and baby Ryan stayed here for the night. Mose needs to go into town this morning after the pharmacy opens to get more antibiotics for Susan. She said the pain has moved down some so maybe she will pass the stone before we leave. She is still planning to go along to the wedding in Kentucky if the pain doesn’t get worse. The doctor thought that with the antibiotic she will be fine to go, and then have a follow-up with her doctor after we are back home. I really do hope it doesn’t get worse. We will help her finish her packing.

We are leaving in two vans with our friends Beth and Julie as our drivers. They are sisters so it will be enjoyable for them to spend the time together. We have six motel rooms booked and hope and pray we have safe travels and arrive at the motel before too late. I left my cousin Dave a voicemail and asked where the best motels are or closest ones to his house. He called back and left a voicemail for us with the information.

I managed to get seven new shirts sewn for Joe and the boys to wear on our trip. My sewing machine sews on the buttonholes and buttons, but making the buttonhole is still my least favorite part of sewing. In Indiana we had snaps on the shirts, which I didn’t care to sew on by hand either, so it’s always something in life that we dislike doing. Take the good with the bad and it usually makes a happy medium.

I held baby Ryan for a little bit this morning and he was just smiling and cooing. Now he’s happily eating. He must be getting plenty to eat as Susan said he weighs 15 pounds already. He’s over 25 inches long already as well, so he’s probably going to be tall.

I awoke to Joseph’s driver sitting in our driveway, so it was a little rush until he was leaving. It seems like we only just went to bed, and my alarm just wasn’t loud enough to wake tired me. I thought I better write this column before the rest wake up or I won’t be able to concentrate. Son Kevin, 14, leaves at 6:45 a.m. for school, so I need to wake him up at 6:00 a.m. so he can shower and finish packing his clothes. We will pick him up at school after lunch.

Our plans are to stay in Kentucky Thursday evening as well, and if all goes well go see the Noah’s Ark they built in Kentucky on Friday before heading home. It is around 300 miles to the wedding place from our house. Hopefully the little ones will be contented in their car seats for the trip.

Space is up and I will write more next week about our trip.

This is an easy Sunday dinner recipe. I put this dish, chicken, and baked beans in the oven on Sunday morning and they make a quick, easy noon meal. God bless!

Scalloped Potatoes
8 cups thinly sliced potatoes, cooked*
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter

Mix all ingredients together or layer them in a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

*Note: I don’t fully cook the potatoes and just let it bake longer. Add more milk if it’s too dry.

 

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.

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.

When Mom’s menu ideas run low, the kids can help

It is almost time to start supper. I’m debating what we will make tonight. I’ll ask the children for suggestions. Sometimes that makes it easier!

Last night we came home late after helping at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. Loretta grilled hamburgers and potatoes on the gas grill, so that was an easy supper. It’s nice to have frozen hamburger patties from butchering last winter. When you want to take beef from the freezer to the grill, it’s quick and easy. We had lettuce and green onions from the garden to eat with the hamburgers.

I have lots of leaf lettuce ready in the garden. I would like to cut it and wash it to serve with lunch at Tim and Elizabeth’s house on Sunday. They are hosting church services, which will be held under a tent.

Last Friday sister Emma and her two daughters Elizabeth and Emma and baby Jessica, daughter Susan and Jennifer and my daughters and I assisted daughter Elizabeth with her work. A lot was accomplished. My daughters and I will go help a few more days this week.

Elizabeth will have her 25th birthday on Friday, June 14. It’s hard to believe our firstborn has reached 25! We wish her many more happy, healthy years. Her two little ones keep her busy. Abigail is a little busybody and says she is baby Timothy’s big sister. Jennifer loves to go lie down on Abigail’s bed when we are all there. It is a wooden toddler bed with side rails. One day while we were cleaning, Jennifer laid down on Abigail’s bed and fell asleep. Abigail didn’t care to see Jennifer sleeping in her bed! Mose and Susan hope to get a toddler bed for Jennifer. She likes the idea that she can get out by herself. Her crib is too penned in for her! It seems the grandchildren grow so fast and learn new things as they older.

When I think of the Michigan family that lost their six-year-old daughter and four- and two-year-old sons in the recent buggy accident, my heart aches. Such tender, sweet ages. Our sympathy goes to the parents as they grieve for their three children. May God help them through this tragedy and help them accept the changes in their life. We wish a complete and speedy recovery to the mother and three-year-old. Although I do not personally know them, they are distant relatives of ours. Their names are in our family record book. God makes no mistakes.

I am taking son Kevin to therapy twice a week. This is to help with the surgeries he had. After he learns how to do the exercises here at home, he can quit going to therapy.

Farmers are taking advantage of the weather to get crops out and hay put in. We had a wet and cool spring. My husband Joe and son Joseph finished planting our garden on Saturday. The rains helped what was planted already to grow, but it looks like it will be a later season.

After I began writing this afternoon, Verena started a hamburger-potato skillet cooking on the stove for our supper. She layers hamburger, onions, shredded potatoes and cream of mushroom soup (without milk added). You cover skillet and let cook on low until potatoes are soft, then add cheese of your choice on top and let it melt. Season the potatoes before cooking. It’s a quick, easy meal.

Here is a recipe for potato bars. It’s a good way to use up leftover mashed potatoes.

God bless and stay safe!

Potato Bars

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon mustard
10 medium potatoes
cheese of your choice
2 tablespoons Ranch dressing

Fry and drain ground beef and onions. Add ketchup, water, brown sugar, chili powder and mustard. Simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside and keep hot.

Cook, mash and season potatoes to taste (or use leftover mashed potatoes). Spread in a cake pan and cover with meat mixture. Top with cheese. Drizzle ranch dressing over the top. Bake at 350 degrees until hot.

 

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.

So much sewing keeps Lovina busy

Saturday our family assisted daughter Elizabeth and Tim with their work. Church services will be held at their house next so lots of cleaning is getting done. A big tent will be set up for the services to be held under that day.

My husband Joe has most of the gardens filled now. Everything is getting planted late from all the wet weather we are having. Farmers have a hard time getting their crops planted. Hay is cut but hard to dry and get put in with all the rain. Our soil is sandy so the garden dries off fast.

Friday is the wedding for Dustin’s cousin in this community. Daughter Loretta and Dustin were asked to be table waiters at the wedding. Loretta needs to wear a mint green-colored dress, cape, and apron. It still needs to be cut out and sewed. I have only tomorrow to sew it. I hope to start early in the morning. If I can stay with it, I should get it done in a few hours. It just seemed like I had so much sewing lately that this was pushed to the bottom of the list.

Last week I sewed daughter Lovina’s dress for her graduation. Her Amish friend in eighth grade wanted Lovina and her to have matching color dresses for their graduation.

After this I should be able to do other sewing that was pushed back from the weddings. At niece Elizabeth’s wedding Lovina and Kevin had to wear the color mint green. Kevin had to wear gray sharkskin color pants. Verena and Loretta wore purple dresses and Benjamin and Joseph wore black vests and pants with white shirts. I had to wear a green apple color.

Daughter Lovina was helping at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s several days this week. Baby Timothy wasn’t feeling the best and after a doctor visit it was confirmed he had an ear infection. He is such a sweetie, always so bright-eyed and active.

Foremost on our minds today was receiving the sad news that my cousin Cornelius passed away. He was only 57 but was diagnosed last August with that dreadful disease—cancer! Several months before his diagnosis he lost his dad Jake (my uncle). My sympathy goes out to Cornelius’s wife Andrea and children. Also to Aunt Mary (his mother) and extended family. May God help guide them through this time of sorrow. Rest in peace, Cornelius. You will be missed! Due to the many miles between us, we won’t be able to attend the funeral.

Daughter Elizabeth and children, daughter Susan and Jennifer, daughter Verena, and I attended the school picnic on May 31, the last day of this school term. The little girls enjoyed the playground equipment. They had fun sitting in the grass eating their picnic lunch.

I didn’t feel like I had time to attend the picnic but with only having one more child in school after this year I wanted to take time to enjoy it. So often we let our busy life take away the things that matter the most.

Although I haven’t been out fishing on the lake yet this year the rest of the family is bringing in some nice meals of fresh fish.

Brother-in-law Levi and son Levi Jr. went fishing with my husband Joe and son-in-law Mose the day before niece Elizabeth’s wedding. Joe took our boat and Mose took his boat, and they fished at a nearby lake. They brought home a lot of bluegill. They were only a few from their allowed limit. They had an enjoyable day.

Son Benjamin went fishing with some friends on Lake Erie one day. They all caught their limit of walleyes. He had a fun time on that big lake.

Zucchini season will soon be here. Try this recipe.

Breakfast Zucchini Casserole

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

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

Variation: Use shredded cooked potatoes instead of zucchini.

*Instead of Bisquick mix use 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon 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.