Category Archives: Casseroles

Attentive doctor reminds his patients to trust God

Spring has arrived—or at least that’s what the calendar says! We did have some nice sunny days, with the mercury on the thermometer reaching almost 60 degrees. We have taken advantage of the weather and dried the laundry outside on the clotheslines. It sure makes it so much fresher than when it’s dried in the basement. Monday the air was chilly, and I was cold by the time I had hung everything outside!

It is almost 4:30 a.m. here at the Eicher home. I think we have adjusted to the Daylight Savings Time now. Son Benjamin, 18, is waiting on his ride to go work at the RV factory. My husband, Joe, left 45 minutes ago for work. I almost forgot that this column needs to be written before we leave this morning at 6:30 a.m. for Ann Arbor, Michigan. Daughter Verena and son Kevin have appointments with the doctor who did Verena’s surgery. This doctor’s office is located at C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. We always like to start out early enough. It takes time finding a place to park, etc., once we get there.

Verena’s surgery was five weeks ago. She is getting impatient to have her cast off. She is hoping the doctor will let her take the cast off and give her a walking boot. I’m not so sure that will happen, but we will find out today. It all depends on how well it is healing. Verena sure enjoys all the cards and letters she has received. She looks forward to mail time! On Friday evening some of her friends are bringing snacks after supper and will stay to play games.

On Sunday we attended church in a neighboring church district. Church was held in the basement of Dustin’s brother’s house. (Dustin is Loretta’s special friend.) We took Verena along. Timothy, Elizabeth, little Abigail, Mose, Susan and baby Jennifer also went to church there. They wanted us to all stay for supper, but we decided to come home in the afternoon to do our evening chores. Our children, except for Verena and Kevin, and nephew Henry stayed for supper.

Tippy, Susan and Mose’s dog, gets super excited to visit his “old” friend Kevin, Lovina’s youngest son.

The weather was so nice that Verena and Kevin said they were going for a ride with our pony Stormy and the pony cruiser. Joe and I decided to also go for a ride with our almost three-year-old horse, Midnight, and the buggy. We all went to Mose and Susan’s. Timothys showed up there as well. We loaded Verena’s battery-operated scooter on the pony cruiser, and she and Susan went for a walk with Kevin and Tippy (Mose and Susan’s dog) trailing behind. Because he lived with us for so long, Tippy is always excited to see us come, especially Kevin. When he sees Kevin is along, Tippy jumps into the buggy and goes crazy over seeing Kevin! Kevin spends a lot of time with Verena’s Yorkies also.

I volunteered to watch Jennifer when the girls went on their walk. She is always full of smiles, and it’s just so much fun watching her. I went with Susan to Jennifer’s doctor appointment on Tuesday. She weighs almost 13 pounds and is 23 3/4 inches long. The doctor said she is doing great!

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan take their little girls to the same pediatrician I took my children to after we moved to Michigan. He is a good doctor and has been a great help to us. He was the first one to notice that some of our children have muscular dystrophy. He noticed the signs even before we did. I remember how upset I was, and how he encouraged me to put it all in God’s hands. Life goes on, and we must take one day at a time and put our trust in God. Where would we be without God’s help?

I wish God’s richest blessings to each of you and good health as well!

Easy Mashed Potatoes

3 pounds potatoes
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Cover potatoes with water and boil until soft. Mash and add remaining ingredients. Put in a greased baking dish and refrigerate overnight.

Hamburger topping:
2 pounds hamburger
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Brown hamburger; drain. Add can of soup. Put everything on top of the mashed potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

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

 

Find out what’s new at the Eicher household!

The sun is shining bright but the mercury is only at 16 degrees. We have had our share of cold weather.

I am very excited to share the news that Joe and I are grandparents for the second time! Jennifer Susan was born at 7:46 a.m. on January 15, 2018, to daughter Susan and Mose. She was 8 pounds, 10 ounces and 20 inches long, and she has a head full of black hair.

And if that isn’t enough excitement, I have more! Susan, Mose and baby Jennifer are staying with us since they were released from the hospital. How precious to hear that sweet cry during the night hours. She’s already smiling and has won all our hearts.

Lovina’s second oldest daughter Susan and husband Mose are the happy parents of a new baby girl, who is charming the Eicher household.

Susan was diagnosed with toxemia, but she is recovering as well as can be expected. That’s why they are staying with us for awhile until she feels better. Otherwise, mother and baby are doing just fine. And little Jennifer has more babysitters than she needs. I do not hear anyone complaining—except maybe for the fact that they think they might be getting cheated out of their turn holding the baby! Even Grandpa Joe asks for his turn to hold her.

Aunt Elizabeth quickly sewed this dress for Susan and Mose’s new baby daughter, Jennifer, in a half hour.

Daughter Verena is sitting in front of a tote bag full of baby clothes, deciding what she will put on her next. Daughter Elizabeth, after hearing the news that it’s a girl, went right to work, and a half hour later had a new pink dress sewed for Jennifer.

Last night Timothy, Elizabeth and Abigail came to see little Jennifer again. I told them to stay for supper. I made hamburger potato casserole and husband Joe grilled fresh pork chops from our recent hog butchering.

Sixteen-month Abigail is not so sure she likes her new little cousin, Jennifer. She was confused when she saw Aunt Susan with a baby. I am sure she will soon grow to love her little cousin and they will have lots of fun times ahead.

Mose’s four sisters came to meet their new little niece last night. Mose’s sister Hannah’s little four-year-old daughter, Alissa, is still in the hospital. She was admitted four weeks ago after suffering injuries from a buggy-car accident. Hannah, her husband Leroy and their four children were hit in their buggy by a drunk driver. All six were taken to the hospital. They have all been released now except Alissa. Christmas was a sad holiday for this family, with the day being spent mostly in the hospital. Alissa has to stay in the hospital for three more weeks until she is back at home with her family, and she has lots of therapy ahead. She will be five years old on January 20. Prayers for the family are appreciated! The horse was killed in the accident, and the buggy demolished.

Church services were set Sunday to be at Jacob and Emma’s house on January 28. I want to go help Emma tomorrow with her cleaning. Daughter Elizabeth plans to help too. Timothy and Elizabeth will host church services at their house two weeks after Jacob and Emma host, so we need to help her too.

Life seems to just get busier for this grandma! I am glad to have good health to work. So often we take our good health for granted. Having children with disabilities has taught me much patience and to take one day at a time. And I think I worry more when my daughters have babies than when I was having them myself! Susan wanted me to be there with her and Mose when Jennifer was born. We have an amazing Creator, and we thank God for all his blessings he has given to us. I wish God’s blessings on all of you as well.

I will share the hamburger potato casserole with you. It is a favorite around here and has been a favorite since I was a little girl at home. The potatoes and meat get fixed all at once in a skillet—no oven.

Take care!

Hamburger Potato Casserole
1–2 pounds raw hamburger
8–10 medium potatoes
1 medium onion
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
Seasonings of your choice
Colby cheese slices

Press the hamburger onto the bottom of a skillet with a lid. With a salad-maker, shred potatoes and onion on top of hamburger (you do not need to peel the potatoes). Then top with cream of mushroom soup (do not add milk). Season to taste.

Turn the burner onto a medium heat and cook until potatoes are soft, about 25–30 minutes. Layer cheese on top after the potatoes are soft. Turn off the burner and cover until cheese has melted.

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

 

Where Lovina hopes to be over a bug at Thanksgiving!

Where Lovina hopes to be over a bug at Thanksgiving!

It’s Wednesday morning and we have lots to do today. I think I have some kind of stomach flu. It makes me feel weak so I haven’t moved too far from my recliner yet. Hopefully I will feel better soon. I do not have time to be sick! Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and I need to be well for my guests.

The school is having their annual Thanksgiving feast today. I won’t be able to make it but maybe the girls can go. Son Kevin, 12, wanted me to come, but I can’t when I’m feeling like this.

The Living Skills class always prepares and serves the feast. The menu is turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, corn, squash, applesauce, squash bread, and homemade pies. I don’t think this would be possible without the guiding hands of teacher Mr. Ultz. He has worked many years at the school and taught many students how to cook. The school would be lost without him for this class. It would take lots of patience to teach all the students how to cook. He has taught cooking to all eight of our children.

The girls or I usually fry the eggs for breakfast but one Saturday morning, my youngest son Kevin told me he would fry our eggs. He said Mr. Ultz taught him how to fry them so I showed Kevin how I fry six to eight eggs at one time on my griddle. Kevin fried up all two dozen eggs for breakfast that morning! He did a very good job. When we have fried potatoes we all like eggs fried over-easy. Son-in-law Mose does not like his eggs over-easy so it is always nice to have someone that will eat the eggs that break in the skillet and turn out well-done.

An Ohio buggy on a rainy day. Photo by M. Davis

We have not had more than a few snow flurries this season. Yesterday we had rain. Daughter Susan and I took our buggy and horse Mighty to town to get groceries. It rained on the way home. We have a small trailer that we pull behind the buggy to get groceries. On days when it’s cold and rainy, it makes me glad for our covered buggies. I was raised in a community with open buggies and how well I remember the cold rides. Our buggy has a heater but it’s not hooked up right now. We wait until it gets colder. I wear glasses, so when it rained in the open buggies and if I was driving, my glasses would be hard to see out of. We have hand-operated windshield wipers on our buggy now. Even though the wipers are hand operated (with batteries), it really helps to have them wiping off the outside of the windshield. Plus, I am always glad to have Mighty in town. He’s safe around traffic.

Last Saturday my husband Joe, sons Benjamin, Joseph and Kevin, and nephew Henry all assisted Mose and Susan with blowing in insulation in their house walls and attic. Joe and Mose were over there one afternoon after work this week and also put new drywall up in the bedroom. They want to put new drywall in the dining room and living room. They will also take out a wall and add a hallway going to the bathroom from the living room. The insulation and drywall will make the house so much easier to heat. The carpet was pulled out and new floors will be put in after the painting is done.

I have two turkeys to get ready today to put in the oven early in the morning. I always like to have the dressing mixed together and the potatoes peeled and in chunks. It makes it so much easier if all of this is done before tomorrow morning.

Last night son-in-law Moses shot his first doe this hunting season. That is now the third deer that is getting processed here. Loretta was fortunate enough to get two deer in this first hunting season for her.

I’ll close with a delicious recipe for another day! And I wish each of you a blessed Thanksgiving tomorrow. For those of you that have to travel—safe travels to you. God bless you!

Loaded Chicken and Potatoes

2 boneless chicken breasts, cubed
6-8 medium red potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon pepper
½ tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 cups fiesta blend cheese (or your favorite kinds)
1 cup bacon bits
1 cup diced green onions

Mix oil and seasonings. Add chicken and potatoes. Stir to coat and carefully transfer into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 55-60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes until cooked through, crisp and browned on outside. Top with cheese, bacon and onions. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted. Serve with hot sauce and/or Ranch dressing or sour cream.

 

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.

 

 

A day in Lovina’s Life: Diary of September 20, 2017

A day in Lovina’s Life: Diary of September 20, 2017

3:00 a.m. Alarm rings telling us it’s time to start another day. Mornings come around too quick. I pack Joe’s lunch and put on a pot of coffee so he can take some to drink on his way to work.

3:45 a.m. Joe and son-in-law Mose leave for the RV factory. I go back to bed and set the alarm for 4:45 a.m. I hear nephew Henry, 20, leaving every morning around 4:15 a.m. to go to work. He does really well to always hear his alarm and get ready for work.

4:45 a.m. I pack lunches for sons Benjamin, 18, and Joseph, 15. They will go help nephew Noah today on his construction job. The boys go do the morning chores while I make them a breakfast sandwich consisting of egg, ham, cheese, and toast. I wrap it in aluminum foil to keep it warm. Sometimes they eat their breakfast here and sometimes on their way to work.

Favorite breakfast fixings.

5:15 a.m. The boys leave for work. I get a cup of coffee and relax in my recliner until it’s time to get Kevin, 12, up for the bus. How different it seems from when I had five or six children to send on the bus by 7:00 a.m. Kevin makes his own breakfast and when he packs his lunch I help with that. I usually wake Kevin up around 6:15 a.m.

7:00 a.m. The bus is here and Kevin leaves for school. Lovina, 13, gets up to get ready to start her school work here at home. Daughter Susan and I are getting ready to leave today. Susan harnesses our pony Stormy up and hitches him to the pony buggy. Susan and I are going to help bake pies, etc., at our neighbors for their daughter’s wedding which is Friday. Susan and I are both cooks at the wedding.

Daughters Verena, 19, and Loretta, 17, will be here today with Lovina while we leave. Verena helps tutor Lovina on days I can’t. She grades her work for me and gives her the spelling tests. So far it’s really going well and Lovina understands the work well.

8:15 a.m.  Susan and I are ready to leave. We go pick up my sisters Verena and Susan as they were asked to help also and to be cooks at the wedding Friday.

12:30 p.m. Susan and I are back home from helping the neighbors. I helped with the pecan pies and making crusts for the peanut butter pies. Tomorrow they will make the cherry pies. We were done early with all the jobs that were assigned to us.

1:00 p.m. Susan and I are ready to leave to go get groceries for Sunday. Mose and Susan will host church services here on Sunday. It will be Rule Church (preparation for communion services) so services will go until mid-afternoon. We serve lunch during the services to two tables at a time while the services keep on going. Usually chicken noodle soup is on the menu with the regular church lunch.

4:30 p.m. Susan and I are back home. Benjamin and Joseph are back home. With everyone’s help the groceries are carried inside and put away.

Joe, Henry and Kevin are all home as well. Mose went to his parent’s house to help his dad set up their tree stands. Everyone is getting prepared for the upcoming deer season.

6:30 p.m. Dustin comes for supper or rather ends up making supper for all of us! We have supper outside on the porch. Dustin has the deep fryer going (propane). He makes French fries, jalapeño poppers (jalapeños with cream cheese inside and breaded), breaded mushroom,s and breaded mozzarella sticks. It’s a different kind of supper for us but easy to do and out of the house on this hot day. Temperatures are hitting the 80’s and it takes some getting used to after all the cool days we had.

7:00 p.m. Mose is back home and joins us for supper.

10:30 p.m. Finally everyone is settled for the night. Dustin left and it’s past our bedtime. It was a nice evening sitting on the porch.

One additional note: We had around 80 people here for the family gathering last Saturday. Quite a few of the nieces and nephews couldn’t attend. Joe and Mose grilled 100 pounds of chicken starting at 3:30 a.m. We had lots of food with everyone bringing a dish or two.

God’s blessings!

Pizza Casserole

1 pound sausage
1/3 cup onions, chopped
½ cup green bell peppers, diced
1 (4-ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
½ teaspoon salt
8 ounces rotini pasta, cooked
2 (10-ounce) cans pizza sauce, or equivalent amount homemade sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
15–18 slices pepperoni (optional)

Brown the sausage, onion, and bell peppers in a skillet. Drain grease. Add the mushrooms and salt, then spoon into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Cover with cooked rotini. Pour sauce over top and sprinkle with cheese. If desired, arrange pepperoni on top of the cheese.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until cheese has melted and casserole is bubbling.

Note: This recipe can be made a day ahead; add 15 minutes to baking time if casserole has been refrigerated.

This recipe is from Lovina’s newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook. (Herald Press, 2017) If you love her cookbook, consider writing a review on Amazon. There are over 25 reviews and almost all rank them 4 or higher (on a scale of 1-5 stars)!

 

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.

 

 

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.