Category Archives: Casseroles

Neighborliness and community: paying back past kindnesses

FrontPorch
Lovina enjoys writing from her front porch.

As I write this, we mark the last day of August. I’m just amazed at how time seems to fly by faster each year. Do we take enough time in our busy lives for God? Our children also need us in their lives so much. Let us pray for them daily so that they will let God be their guide. Life doesn’t get easier and his guiding hand helps so much.

Son, Kevin (our youngest) will have his eleventh birthday on Friday, September 2. It is unbelievable but true that he is that old and starting middle school (fifth grade) on Tuesday. Son Joseph will be in eighth grade, the final year of his school years. Daughter Lovina will be in sixth grade.

Friday we are invited to Mose’s brother Joe’s wedding. Joe and Mary will have their wedding at Mose’s parents’ house. Mary’s parents live in Wisconsin and she has made Michigan her home for several years. Joe lives about one-and-a-half hours north of our community. They will live at Joe’s house after their marriage.

I was asked to be cook at their wedding. I have to wear a sage dress, cape, and apron to the wedding. I was in luck as this was the same color the mothers wore at Mose and Susan’s wedding.

Mose and Susan are table waiters. Susan has to wear another shade of green. She finally cut out her dress, cape and apron last night. It looks like I will get the job of sewing it. With her working every day she doesn’t get much extra time. Last Saturday, Susan and Mose went to help set tables for the wedding. Tomorrow (Thursday) I will go help get ready for the wedding. Not sure what jobs they will have for me but most likely bake pies, bread, etc. Lots of vegetables have to also be cut up. I will take a casserole to help out with lunch.

Saturday a new family from Iowa is moving into our church district. They will make their home a few miles from here. Since they don’t have much family in the community, some members from our church will go help them unload and get settled in their new home. From what we heard they have three small children. We wish them God’s blessing on their move.

It brings back memories of twelve-and-a-half years ago when we were making such a move. It’s a big change to move from the community where you were born and raised. We enjoy our new home and community which made it easier to adjust to changes. The good deeds that were done to help make our move easier will always be remembered. Now I hope we can go help lighten the load for someone else.

We canned another bushel of peaches yesterday. Now we should be done canning until applesauce and grapes are ready to be canned.

I came across this recipe for “Turkey Cabbage Bake” and since we have so much cabbage I like to try different recipes with cabbage. Our children don’t eat cabbage so well. I always think that I might find a way that they will like it better. The meat doesn’t have to be turkey. It can be replaced with chicken or hamburger, etc. The crescent rolls could be replaced with regular pie dough.

Turkey Cabbage Bake

2 8-ounce tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
2 cups finely chopped cabbage
1 can (10 3/4 ounce) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Unroll one tube of crescent dough into one long rectangle; seal seams and perforations. Press onto the bottom of a greased 13x9x2 baking dish. Bake at 425 degrees for 6–8 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, cook turkey, onion, carrot and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add cabbage, soup and thyme. Pour over crust; sprinkle with cheese. On a lightly floured surface press second tube of crescent dough into a 13×9 rectangle, sealing seams and perforations. Place over the casserole. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 14–16 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Yield: 6 servings

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Cold day for church services but easier clean up with new “church dishes”

Church services were held here on Sunday. It was a cold day with the temperature staying in the teens. We managed to keep our building warm enough.

After the services we served lunch including homemade wheat and white bread, summer sausage, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, red beets, rhubarb jam, butter, hot peppers, cookies (sugar, chocolate chip, and snicker doodle), spearmint tea, and coffee. Younger children could have noodle soup. And we had popcorn after lunch for everyone.

LovinasNewStove2016
Lovina’s husband, Joe, installed a new gas stove in her kitchen so they could move the older stove to the building where church services are held.

All the women pitched in to help get the dishes washed and back into the totes. Since our church divided we have a new “bench wagon” and all new church dishes. This is so nice to have all the dishes come with the church bench wagon. When we lived in Indiana we didn’t have dishes in the bench wagon. We had to bring out a lot of our own dishes and it was always an extra chore to put them all away again. This makes it a lot easier. Our new bench wagon also has four six-foot tables we set up to wash dishes or prepare food.

Monday morning it was very cold with one degree and a wind chill reading of minus 18. Benjamin didn’t have to work since they couldn’t get the motor on the saw going right away. With it being so cold, Benjamin didn’t mind. I was really glad he was home to help clean up from Sunday.

Last night Benjamin stayed at Moses’s place for the night and went ice fishing with Mose and his brother. They caught 75 blue gill. This was the first time the water was frozen enough all winter to go ice fishing.

The girls and I attended a Tupperware shower at Timothy’s sister-in-law Arlene’s house. It was for Elizabeth. She had a nice turn-out and Elizabeth received a lot of nice Tupperware. This is the third shower held for Elizabeth. Sister Emma had a Pampered Chef shower. Timothy’s sister Dena had a Norwex shower. It all helps out the newlyweds.

Sunday, January 24, will be daughter Susan’s twentieth birthday. She is leaving her teenage years now. The years go by so fast. Sister Liz will be forty seven also on the twenty fourth. Susan was born on Liz’s twenty-seventh birthday. We had a lot of snow in 1996—the year she was born. I was really relieved once the midwife got to our house. We lived in a mobile home at my parents until Susan was four months old. Daughter Elizabeth was twenty-two months old when we moved to our own property. Elizabeth missed my parents and sisters after our move even though we were just a few miles from there.

Saturday we plan to butcher our beef and let it chill until next week. I will be so glad when it’s all cut up and in the freezer and in cans. We plan to butcher our pork in two weeks from Saturday if plans hold out.

Several readers have had questions about the breakfast haystacks we had on New Year’s Day. I’ll try to share it the best I can. The amount of each item depends on how many you will serve.

Breakfast Haystacks

Biscuits, torn into bite size pieces
Fried potatoes
Scrambled eggs
Bacon, fried and crumbled
Ham, diced
Tomatoes, diced
Green peppers, diced
Onions, diced (optional)
Hot peppers (optional)
Mushrooms
Cheese sauce or shredded cheese
Salsa
Sausage gravy

Prepare above items as noted, and serve each item in separate dish or pan. To serve, each person piles items on their plate until they have a “haystack.” Start with biscuits and then add a little of everything you like, ending with sausage gravy. Not all the ingredients have to be added. Other items can be used as well.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Gift exchange, school program, and potluck accent Eicher family Christmas

I am already a day late in writing this column. December is going way too fast for me! Christmas is almost upon us.

Tonight is the elementary Christmas program at our school. It is the last Christmas program with one of our children in it. Kevin will be in middle school next year—a fifth grader already! Kevin’s class is having a gift exchange, so he was excited to take his wrapped gift this morning. They don’t have a particular person’s name. Instead, the boys take a gift for a boy and the girls take a gift for a girl. This seems easier than keeping a secret from their friends about whose name they have.

We will have our Christmas with our family a day early, on December 24. Susan’s friend Mose’s family is getting together on Christmas day, so we decided to have it a day earlier. Our children don’t have any complaints about getting their gifts early!

Everyone will be here for supper on December 23, and then we give the gifts the next morning. I usually make a breakfast casserole the evening before so I can put it in the oven to heat while we open gifts. Such precious memories we make on a day like that. We need to take time to remember and thank God for sending Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Lovina and her daughters have been extra busy sewing clothes for Christmas gifts.
Lovina and her daughters have been extra busy sewing clothes for Christmas gifts.

Our day is usually spent enjoying our new gifts, playing games, and just enjoying being all together as a family. Our loved ones who have passed away always remain in our hearts on days like this.

Our family, sister Emma, Jacob and family, and sisters Verena and Susan always exchange names every year. We will get together on New Year’s Day for a Christmas dinner together. My parents always had our family home on New Year’s Day for breakfast and dinner and snacks before everyone left. Some of us would go the evening before and spend the night there. Since my extended family usually gets together in the summer months, it is nice for us four sisters here in Michigan to get together around the holidays.

Our church on Sunday will be at neighbors David and Barb. We will have our annual potluck dinner after the Christmas services on Sunday. I will take a tater tot casserole. Sister Liz had this recipe in our family cookbook that sisters Verena and Susan put together. I have made it a few times and the children enjoy it.

God bless you all!

Tater Tot Casserole

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
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups cornflakes or crushed Ritz crackers
1/2 cup melted margarine

Put tater tots in bottom of casserole dish. Mix together sour cream, soup, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over tater tots. Fry ground beef and onion together. Top casserole with cheese, ground beef and onions. Sprinkle with cornflakes or cracker crumbs mixed with melted margarine. Bake at 350° for 45–60 minutes.

Variation: Cooked potatoes can be used instead of tater tots. This makes a large casserole. You can’t go wrong with a recipe like this—more or less of anything won’t hurt. Sometimes I put taco seasoning in the ground beef and crush Doritos on top instead of cornflakes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Just like young women everywhere, newly married Elizabeth consults Mom

Applesauce1
Jars of freshly canned applesauce won’t last long in the Eicher pantry!

Dear Readers:

Hi! I’m Lovina’s oldest daughter Elizabeth. I’m not as good as Mom at writing this column but decided to give it a try again. It’s been several years ago that I last wrote it for Mom.

As you all know I am now married to Timothy Bontrager. Home is seven miles from my family. I enjoy my new life as Timothy’s wife. It was a big change and I miss not being with my family every day.

I still work at the RV factory. This week it’s shut down so I’m enjoying my time off. Yesterday, I spent the day with Mom and my sisters Susan, 19, Verena, 17, and Loretta, 15. Tim harnessed up our mare, Shiann, and hitched her to the buggy for me before he left for work. I left soon after he did and arrived at Mom and Dad’s right at daylight. Shiann’s a very safe and gentle horse—my favorite! We had an enjoyable day.

I arrived home just as Tim came up from hunting. He was excited as he had just shot his fourth deer—this time a big seven-point buck. We took our horse Prince out back and had him drag the buck up. Tim shot all four deer with his bow this season, supplying us with plenty of meat.

Monday I canned 34 pints of venison chunks. It was the first time I used the pressure cookers. We received two pressure cookers as wedding gifts from Uncle Jacob and Aunt Emma and Tim’s brother Joseph, Jr. and Rachel. I had to disturb Mom with a couple phone calls and a hand full of questions each time. With Mom’s help I got all the chunks canned.

Today is a rainy, chilly, fall day. The trees in our yard are looking very bare without their leaves. I suppose winter isn’t too far away. I’m planning on mending clothes today. Timothy has quite a few work pants that have holes or missing buttons.

We have 31 acres, some wooded and some tillable. There’s a creek that runs along the north side of our property. At times when everything is quiet, I can hear the water ripple from the house. Tim hasn’t got the entire fence up yet, but has enough up for our four horses. We also have seven ducks but they aren’t as tame as my siblings’ (Lovina, 11, and Kevin, 10), two ducks, Donald and Daisy.

Tomorrow Mom and my sisters are going to spend the day here helping me give my house a thorough cleaning. I never gave the windows, walls, etc. a good scrubbing yet. I’ll be glad for the help. Our two house dogs Izzy and Crystal will be excited for the company. They don’t get the attention that they did when I lived at home.

The other day I got curious as to how much our dogs weigh now so I decided to weigh them on the bathroom scales. Crystal sat on it, weighing 9.8 pounds. Then it was Izzy’s turn so I placed her on the scales and after a couple of seconds the screen flashed “ERROR!” I ended up using the kitchen scales which showed that Izzy weighed 3.8 pounds. She was probably too small for the bathroom scales to read her weight. We got a good chuckle out of the whole episode.

Thanks to all you readers that took the time to send Timothy and me a wedding card, gift, or money. That was very kind and generous of all of you! We appreciated it very much! Thanks again!

Special thanks goes to Ruth, a good friend of my Mom’s for all the things she did for us over the time of our wedding. Also thanks to Rachel for bringing my pen pal Marcella to the wedding from Minnesota so that we could meet! The last, but most important thanks go to my wonderful parents and siblings for going through all they did to make our wedding day possible. Without them I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Tim and I plan to try making summer sausage and jerky with the venison meat from this last deer. Hopefully it will turn out okay.

Best wishes and God’s blessings to all as you travel into the unknown future!

* * *

Note from Lovina: I am thankful to daughter Elizabeth for stepping up to write the column this week. I am sure you will be glad to hear from her again! A reader shared this recipe with me and says it’s a winner everywhere she takes it.

BBQ Kraut

1 pound hamburger browned with onion, salt, and pepper to taste
32 ounces sauerkraut, drained
2 cups tomato juice
1 cup brown sugar

Brown hamburger and seasonings, drain grease. Combine remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes. One cup diced tomatoes can be substituted for one cup of the juice.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Autumn days bring fond memories of Lovina’s mother and her column

October—such a beautiful autumn month! Our leaves on the trees are very pretty and colorful! We had a frost this weekend, which put an end to our garden for 2015. I really was ready for the garden to be done this year. It was such a busy summer, and it’s nice to have that extra job over. (Although it still has to be finished with cleaning it out, fertilizing and tilling.)

October also marks another year of penning this column. It is 13 years since I took this over after my mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, so suddenly passed away. She will always be remembered dearly! I enjoy hearing from readers who read her column from the beginning. I was only 19 years old and living at home when she began writing the column.

I remember her sitting at the table sometimes to write, after some of us girls were married and had come home to spend the day. Now I can imagine how hard it probably was for her to concentrate, with all of us girls and our young children there talking. She was always so glad to see us come home, and she was always so willing to cook a meal for everyone.

I now know the feeling of joy when a married child comes home to visit or to spend the day. Daughter Elizabeth works at the RV factory, so she doesn’t come home as often as I would like her to. She and Susan will have this coming Friday and next week off. I am excited, as it will mean getting more time to spend with Elizabeth. She plans to come home for the day Friday. Our other children are always glad to see Elizabeth and also to see the dogs, Izzy and Crystal, again. I hope that a day next week we can go help her at her house with catching up on whatever she needs to get done. It will be so nice to spend time together.

We had communion services in our church district on Sunday. It makes for a long day but always such a refreshing feeling to serve our great Heavenly Father.

After the services we stopped in at sister Emma and Jacob’s house to see the progress of the new addition they are building onto their house. It is looking very nice already! Jacob and Emma have lived in a three-bedroom ranch house since they moved to Michigan 11 1/2 years ago. So you can imagine they are excited to be expanding to more space. They are adding a second story with three bedrooms, so that will make room for a bigger kitchen and living room area. They will have five bedrooms after everything is done.

My husband, Joe, wanted to start the coal stove on Saturday when the temperature dropped to 30 degrees. Brrr! When he went to check out the stove pipes, he saw that a piece of it had rusted. He went after a piece at a store nearby, but they were out of stock on that size. It was ordered and should be in this week. Now the weather has turned warmer, with the temperature reaching over 70 degrees yesterday.

This week's recipe for dressing, which Lovina prepares for Thanksgiving, is frequently requested by readers.
This week’s recipe for dressing, which Lovina prepares for Thanksgiving, is frequently requested by readers.

I have had several requests to reprint my dressing recipe. I always use it to stuff my turkey on Thanksgiving.

Until next week—God bless!

Homemade Dressing

2 tablespoons chicken soup base
2 cups hot water
4 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup carrot, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 cups hot water (use potato water for better flavor), or enough water to make the dressing moist but not soggy*
10 slices bread, crumbled
1 teaspoon seasoned salt

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease an 8-cup casserole dish or cake pan. In a large bowl, dissolve the soup base in 2 cups hot water. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 40–45 minutes, or stuff inside a turkey before roasting.

Special recipe footnote from Lovina–appearing on website only: 

*A newspaper editor asked, “Does this really call for 4 cups of water?”

Lovina: “It depends a lot on the bread. If it’s homemade or the slices are big, it takes more water. I think last time we had this recipe I tried it with 4 cups and it worked ok. Yesterday I used it to stuff a chicken and I wanted it drier so I used only 2 cups but my bread was smaller slices. I think I would leave the 4 cups total because it could get too dry when baking; my eggs are farm eggs and bigger so that makes more liquid as well. If I remember right this question came up before and I tried it with 4 that time and it worked well.”

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Lovina’s daughter offers glimpse of a week in the life of an Amish teen

Hello! This is Lovina’s 17-year-old daughter, Verena. I decided to help Mom out since she is busy sewing Loretta’s dress for Friday. Mom sewed hers yesterday. She will be a cook and Loretta is a babysitter at Aden and Ruth’s wedding. I gathered the laundry for tomorrow, as I’ll be washing the laundry alone since Mom has to help bake pies for the wedding on Friday.

On Saturday Dad shot a deer with a bow. Mose helped him get the deer up from the woods and butchered. This is the first time Dad went hunting this fall. Ben and Joseph are also bow hunting. Joseph was excited to go hunting again when he heard Dad got a deer. Tim shot two deer this season, and Mose also shot one. My sister Liz was along when her husband Tim got the second one, and she wasn’t too enthused about that.

Mom and us girls went over to Liz’s place after the hog roast. Liz and Tim were canning applesauce. We helped Liz get her dishes washed, and of course we spoiled Liz’s dogs, Izzy and Crystal.

After Liz was married, I moved into her bedroom. I had always shared a bedroom with Susan, so it’s different to have my own bedroom now. I still forget sometimes and put my clothes in Susan’s bedroom! My siblings still call it “Liz’s room.” We miss Liz. We all looked up to her. It’s exciting to be able to go to Tim and Liz’s place and also when they come home with the dogs.

Every guest at the wedding of Verena's friend received a glass, letter opener, and comb with their names and date on them, as well as an apple and candy bar.
Every guest at the wedding of Verena’s friend received a glass, letter opener, and comb with their names and date on them, as well as an apple and candy bar.

I was a table waiter at my friend Loretta (Schwartz) Lenacher’s wedding on October 9. She was married to Lester Lenacher. Every community does weddings differently, so I had to ask a lot of questions on how they do it. It’s pretty interesting to see how differently everyone does it. I have quite a few dear friends from that community, so I really enjoyed it. I also met a lot of new friends.

Tonight I am going to make a casserole for Mom to take tomorrow. She will take it along for lunch. All the women take a dish for lunch. Chicken and potato casserole is what I’ll be making.

The leaves are falling from the trees. I miss the days when all us children were younger. We used to love playing in the leaves. All of us would help each other gather the leaves into a big pile. Then we would hide and roll in them. So many great memories shared. In a house with seven siblings, there was never a dull moment!

Kevin is only 10 years old and already almost as tall as I. Joseph, Loretta and Ben are all taller than I. Lovina and Kevin are catching up pretty fast. They all tease me about being the “shorty” of the family.

This week's recipe for chicken potato casserole comes from Lovina's daughter Verena.
This week’s recipe for chicken potato casserole comes from Lovina’s daughter Verena.

Wishing you all God’s blessings!

Chicken Potato Casserole

 2 cups chicken, cooked and cut up
6 cups potatoes, cooked and diced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, diced or shredded
1/2 cup celery, diced
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
16 ounces sour cream
1 cup cheese, shredded or cubed
Seasoning of your choice
2 cups corn flakes, crushed

In a bowl, mix up chicken, potatoes, onion, carrots and celery. Mix cream of mushroom soup, sour cream and cheese together in a separate bowl, then mix with potato mixture and season to taste. Put in a greased 9 x 13-inch pan and top with corn flakes. Bake at 350 degrees for 45–60 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Noodle making, cleaning and fixing up fill the weeks before the wedding


This is already Thursday and it’s time I get this column written. Today, July 30, is nephew Steven’s eighth birthday so happy birthday wishes go to him!

It seems like the days are flying by. Tomorrow in two weeks is the wedding for Timothy and daughter Elizabeth. I ordered 350 pounds of chicken this morning for that day. Joe’s cousin will grill it for us on the morning of the wedding.

Last week we attended the wedding of niece Katie Edna and Ben. They had a very nice day for their wedding. All of Joe’s siblings were there except for one of his brothers. There are twelve siblings so it was nice that most could be there. Hopefully all of them will be able to make it here for Elizabeth’s wedding.

We arrived back home at midnight from the wedding and we had to get up a little after 3:00 a.m. for Joe to go to work. I could go back to bed but Joe had a rough day and was glad to see Friday evening come.

NoodlesDrying
Oodles of noodles — Amish style. These are made and dried to be cooked and served at the wedding of Elizabeth and Time.

Yesterday Timothy’s parents, sisters, sister-in-law and some of their children, my sisters Verena, Susan, Emma, and Emma’s children Emma and Steven, came to help us. They made noodles using well over 200 eggs. We saved the egg whites and put them in bags in the freezer—which will be used to make angel food cakes for the wedding.

The helpers washed all the dishes in both my cupboards and corner cupboard. Some went out to work in the garden and finished weeding and tilling most of it. The younger girls washed off the outside porch and railings. So much was accomplished! Everyone brought something for lunch so I didn’t have to take time to make lunch.

JosephCupcakes2015
Son Joseph was not forgotten amid the wedding preparations: colorful cupcakes for his birthday!

I painted the new closet that Joe put in for me in our bedroom. Joe put in a new floor and brother-in-law Jacob hung the doors and trim. Now today I’m excited to be able to fill it and I know that won’t take long. I also want to wash off walls and ceilings in our bedroom today. The girls are washing clothes. Joseph, 13, has been going with Benjamin, 16, every day to help Mose at his sawmill. Mose’s brother Freeman injured his leg so he needed help stacking wood.

I still haven’t sewn my dress for the wedding. I have it cut out already. My goal is to work on it tomorrow. It seems I keep pushing it off every week, and I need to sew it before I can’t concentrate on it. Most of the other sewing is done, thanks to Elizabeth.

Church services will be held here a little over a week after the wedding. We will have it in the pole barn where we will have the tables for the wedding. What a relief it will be when all of it is over.

We hope tomorrow will be a nice day for Lyle and Leah. I saw them in town one evening this week. I told them I’m not sure if we will make it to their wedding as Joe is having a hard time taking more days off from the factory. They said if we can’t make it for the wedding, we can come for supper, so we will see if we can make it. Appreciate the invitation!

Try this chicken noodle casserole. God’s blessings to all!

Chicken Noodle Casserole

2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
4 cups cooked noodles (8 oz.)
3 cups cubed, cooked chicken
2 cups cooked peas
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage

In a large saucepan blend soup and sour cream. Cook together for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Heat; stir occasionally. Can serve immediately. Makes 10 cups. If frozen, place in covered casserole in cold oven. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

Empty space when a child leaves home—even just for a vacation!

LovinaAndKevinKittenEdited
Lovina and Kevin are raising this kitten. It’s mother was killed on the road. It’s really doing well !

Oh my! I am running late getting this column out this week. It seems like one week after another goes by bringing us closer to Elizabeth’s wedding date. I am trying to not think of all that needs to be done.

Elizabeth, 21, seems to be slowly gaining her strength back from having double pneumonia. She is still coughing, so I’m hoping she continues to get better and not worse.

Yesterday she cut out Lovina’s dress and Kevin’s pants and shirt for the wedding. She also sewed Lovina’s dress. The day before, she sewed Verena’s dress for the wedding. She had already sewn Susan and Loretta’s dresses. The only dress we need to cut out now is mine.

I keep telling myself every day that I should get it sewn before we get closer to the wedding day. I surely don’t know what I would have done if Elizabeth didn’t help out with all the sewing. She is a fast seamstress.

JosephBlueGill
Lovina’s son, Joseph, caught a local blue gill.

Susan, 19, hasn’t been home since last Friday. She went with Mose’s family on a fishing trip almost 500 miles from here. We all miss her. It seems with only one of the children not home, it makes such an empty space. We talked with her for a few minutes several times when she called home. She said she is having a great time but misses home.

Since Benjamin helps Mose with his sawmill, he doesn’t have to work this week. Benjamin and Joesph, 12, have been getting things done outside that Joe wants done before the wedding.

Benjamin is excited for his upcoming birthday. He will turn 16 on Tuesday, July 14. At age 16 in our community, they join the youth group, so he’s extra excited for this birthday.

Verena, 17, and Lovina, 11, were helping watch a booth for a lady at the flea market yesterday. Loretta, 15, was home, deep cleaning her bedroom. That meant that only two of my five girls were home. As mentioned, Elizabeth was sewing and I did the laundry, and then helped Loretta clean. I washed the ceiling and upper walls with the wall mop. Overhead work like that is hard for her to do. She was really worn out last night. She doesn’t let her handicap keep her down, but she gets frustrated at times when she sees what the other girls can do that she can’t. God makes no mistakes, so we put our trust in Him.

A reader asked what we do with all the dresses we sew for all these weddings. We wear them to church or other weddings where we don’t have a special role to fill. Another wedding invitation is posted on our refrigerator for Lyle and Leah. Congratulations! Lyle’s dad is Joe’s cousin, Willis. He lost his wife to cancer several years ago. Leah’s dad, Ernest, is my cousin.

To all my Coblentz relatives that read my column—I hope you will have a nice day at the reunion on Saturday. We had hoped to come but it doesn’t look like we will have time. Maybe next year!

I’ve had numerous readers ask where they can send wedding cards for Timothy and Elizabeth. You can send them to the same address as my mail, but address it to them. Do not feel like you have to, but I do not want to take the joy away from those readers that want to personally congratulate them. God bless you for your thoughtfulness!

A reader from West Virginia, Mary, shared this recipe with me.

Tuna Casserole

1 small can tuna in water (drained)
2 cups macaroni (cooked)
1 small onion (diced)
2 cans diced tomatoes
½ cup cheddar cheese, cut up in small chunks
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup milk

Stir all together and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Up early with the chickens, Lovina cans broth and shares chicken strata recipe


This week I will write a daily diary.

3:15 a.m. The alarm rings and it’s time to begin another day. I pack my husband Joe’s lunch and fill his water jug with ice and water. I pack extra food so Joe can eat a little something at break time. It’s too early at this time of the morning for him to be hungry. They start work at 5:00 a.m. and their break is at 9:00 a.m.

3:45 a.m. Joe’s ride is here to take him to the RV factory. The driver picks up four other Amish men before Joe is picked up. The ride usually takes 40 to 45 minutes from our house. I go back to bed for an hour after Joe leaves.

4:45 a.m. Daughters Elizabeth, 20, and Susan, 19, pack their lunches. Sons Benjamin, 15, and Joseph, 12, go out to the barn to milk the cow and feed the animals. Joseph usually milks the cow while Benjamin feeds the animals. I make Benjamin two grilled cheese sandwiches and pack his lunch. Benjamin likes ham sandwiches for lunch. He doesn’t want anything else. The girls divide a grilled cheese sandwich.

5:15 a.m. Elizabeth’s ride is here to go to the RV factory. Benjamin comes in to eat his breakfast.

5:30 a.m. Susan and Benjamin’s ride is here. Susan started her new job at nephew Emanul’s on Monday. Benjamin’s driver drops her off at Emanul’s shop when he takes Benjamin to Mose’s place to help with the saw mill.

5:40 a.m. Joseph brings the milk in. I put it through the strainer and put it in the refrigerator to cool. Joseph goes back out to get the gas lantern. Joseph usually lays down for a half hour nap until it’s time to get the others up. Sometimes he stays up and reads.

6:15 a.m. Verena, 17, Loretta, 14, Lovina, 10, and Kevin, 9, get up and get dressed for the day. Some of the children eat cereal but they usually wait until they get to school to eat breakfast. The school serves free breakfast to all students. They are hungrier by the time they get to school.

7:00 a.m. The bus is here. Loretta, Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin leave for school. Verena hardly ever eats much for breakfast. I make an egg and toast for me. Verena packs her lunch. Verena and I wash all the dishes and clean up the house.

8:30 a.m. Verena leaves for work. Our neighbor is here leveling out the ground. We hope to start on our new building next week. We are planning to put up a 50 x 80 foot pole barn.

11:00 a.m. A repair man comes to change the gas pilot assembly on my oven. He came out a week ago to see why it wouldn’t light and had to order a new part. I really missed being without an oven for a week.

1:00 p.m. Susan comes home from work.

CanningChickenBroth
Lovina’s kitchen is full of equipment she uses in canning chicken broth.

 

1:30 p.m. Joe comes home from work. I’m still canning chicken. We butchered our 34 older chickens on Saturday. I cooked the meat off the bones on Monday and Tuesday and am getting it in jars now.

3:00 p.m. Elizabeth is home from work.

3:30 p.m. Benjamin comes home from work and the children come home from school. I put two more pressure cookers of chicken broth on the stove. Since we will be using the stove burners for processing the chicken, the girls are making pizza for our supper. They also want to make a fruit pizza for dessert.

4:45 p.m. Verena comes home from work.

6:00 p.m. Supper is ready.

7:30 p.m. Dishes are all washed and put away. I’m so glad the girls cleaned up as I’m going to be canning more chicken broth tomorrow. Looks like I’ll get around 70 quarts. Joe and the boys are still outside working. They are moving a fence over that needs to be moved for the new building.

PoleBuilding2
Joe and his sons enjoy longer evenings to get some work started on a new pole building for the farm.

 

God bless! I will share a chicken recipe this week.

Chicken Strata

8 slices bread, cubed
2 cups cooked chicken (bite size)
1/2 cup onions
1/2 cup celery
3/4 cup green pepper
1/2 cup salad dressing
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 can mushroom soup
Dash of pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese

Place half of bread crumbs in bottom of baking pan. Combine chicken, vegetables, salad dressing, and seasoning. Spread over bread crumbs, then put rest of crumbs on top. Combine eggs, and milk and pour over the last layer of bread. Chill overnight or at least 1 hour. Add mushroom soup. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Add cheese on top and continue baking until cheese is melted.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Warm, sunny days ease the laundry load

Our four youngest children just left on the bus for another school day. It is a little after 7 a.m. and since the time is turned back an hour, it is now daylight when they get on the bus. It won’t be for long though, with each day getting shorter.

Thursday afternoon and evening will be parent-teacher conferences. On Friday there won’t be school. It is hard to believe the first quarter of this school term is over.

On Friday, we plan to attend the wedding in Berne, Ind., of Solomon and Rosanne. The children are excited that there is no school that day so they can go along to the wedding.

Last Friday we had snow flurries and it was very cold and windy. On Saturday the temperature didn’t go over the mid-40s. Then on Monday we had a nice, sunny day. Daughter Verena hung all the laundry outside. It was all dry by late afternoon. Days like that are going to be few from now on. It was so nice to be able to fold the clothes and put them away all in one day again.

Laundry
Daughter Verena hung all the laundry outside. It was all dry by late afternoon.

Son Benjamin isn’t working this week. Mose shut his sawmill down this week to get some deer hunting done. Mose and Benjamin went Monday but didn’t have any luck. Mose shot a deer last week with his bow and arrow.

Today Verena, Benjamin, and I plan to drive to town with the buggy and our horse Itty Bit. In his free time Benjamin likes to bike and collect aluminum cans. Here in Michigan there is a 10 cent deposit on the cans. He has saved up quite a bit of money doing this and it helps keep the countryside cleaner.

Animals
A view of the Eicher family animals.

Saturday evening those that were at Jacob and Emma’s for supper in honor of Jacob’s 42nd birthday were: my sisters Verena and Susan; our family, along with the girls’ friends Timothy, Mose, and Marvin; and also Menno and Manuel (Jacob and Emma’s daughters’ friends). We had a delicious supper of barbequed pork steak, potluck potato casserole, macaroni salad, pickled green beans, homemade bread, butter and strawberry jam, hot pepper butter, hot peppers, strawberry pie, dirt pudding and ice cream cake.

A reader asked for the recipe for the homemade bug exterminator. Take an empty plastic soda bottle, add 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup vinegar, and a banana peel. Fill the bottle three-fourths full of water and hang uncovered in a tree. It may take a week for the trap to start attracting bugs. It collects all kinds of insects. This was the only thing Dad would do for our apple trees. He didn’t like using chemicals so he did it this natural way.

With Thanksgiving Day only several weeks away, I will share the dressing recipe I use to stuff my turkey. We call it dressing if it’s baked in a baking dish. But we called it stuffing if we use it to stuff a turkey.

God’s blessings to all!

Dressing
Lovina’s homemade dressing.

Homemade Dressing

2 tablespoons chicken soup base

2 cups hot water

4 large eggs, beaten

1/4 cup diced carrot

1/4 cup diced celery

1/4 cup chopped yellow onion

10 slices bread, crumbled

1 teaspoon seasoning salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-cup casserole dish or cake pan. Dissolve the soup base in the water. Alternately, use 2 cups hot water, potato water, or chicken broth. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.