Category Archives: Casseroles

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

Fall family gatherings a time to reconnect

We are in the final week of October. It is a dark, dreary morning. This weekend we need to turn our clocks back an hour. I still have trouble getting used to the changing of time in the spring and fall.

My husband Joe, son Benjamin, and daughters Elizabeth and Susan are all at work. Daughters Loretta and Lovina and sons Joseph and Kevin are in school. The house is pretty quiet with just daughter Verena and me here at home. Verena is finishing up the morning work as I write this column.

Our plans for the day are to cut out quite a few pants for Benjamin. I cut out and sewed one for him yesterday as I needed a new pattern. He has grown so much and is taller than I am. The pants fit well and he wore them to work today. I didn’t want to cut out more until he tried one pair to see how it fit. I have had the material here for quite some time and always pushed the sewing to the back of my list. We also want to sew Kevin more pants. We’ll work on getting them all cut out.

I was really disappointed when sister Emma told me that aunt Lovina and uncle Abe Raber from Baltic, Ohio, and cousin Leah (Lovina’s daughter) and Elmer Schwartz from Campbellville, Ken., stopped for a visit when I wasn’t home one day last week. Lovina is my mom’s sister and we were always together growing up. I was named after her.

On Saturday, Joe’s brother Benjamin, his wife Miriam, and their children Josh, Adrianna, Beth Ann, Travis, Silas, and Victoria, from Sugarcreek, Ohio, came for a visit. Victoria is four months old and this was the first time we got to see her. She is a cutie with lots of black hair. The girls made popcorn and lemonade for everyone. The cousins don’t often see each other but it didn’t take them long to get reacquainted.

Saturday evening was so nice. We enjoyed barbecued chicken and hot wings since the weather was so nice. Also on the menu were lettuce salad, chips and ice cream. Those joining us for supper were Timothy (Elizabeth’s friend), Mose (Susan’s friend), and Marvin (Verena’s friend).

Joining us for brunch on Sunday were sisters Verena and Susan and sister Emma, her husband Jacob, and their family, as well as Timothy and Mose. Niece Elizabeth’s friend, Manuel, niece Emma’s friend, Menno, and Verena’s friend, Marvin, weren’t able to be here on Sunday as they had communion services in their church district.

Our menu for brunch was breakfast casserole, toast, strawberry jam, cheese, hot pepper butter, hot peppers, coffee, orange juice, chocolate milk, cinnamon rolls, delicious cookies, and peaches. Emma brought the cinnamon rolls, hot pepper butter, orange juice and chocolate milk. Verena and Susan brought the peaches and cookies so all I had to make was the casserole. We enjoyed a nice family day together.

Last week one evening, I made pizza using a different dough. We really liked the dough so I will share it with you readers. Enjoy!

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This week Lovina tried out a new recipe for pizza dough that she shares in the column.
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With eight children in the household, it takes more than one pizza to feed to the family of Lovina and Joe Eicher.

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Pizza Dough

2 packages yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

2/3 cup warm water

2 cups cold water

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon oregano

6 1/2 cups flour

Mix warm water, yeast, and 2 teaspoons sugar. Let stand 5 minutes until bubbly. In separate bowl, mix cold water, 2 tablespoons sugar, garlic powder, oil, salt, oregano, and 3 cups flour; beat until smooth. Add yeast mixture, then add rest of flour. Knead until elastic; let rise until double. Press half of dough on a greased pan. Let rise 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat with other half. Add pizza sauce and bake at 400° for 10 to 15 minutes. Add rest of toppings and bake until hot and cheese is bubbly.

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.

October is Lovina’s 12-year column anniversary, with four preschoolers

Another week has already gone by, which makes it time to get this column written. The weeks just fly by. I write my columns in one-subject notebooks which have amounted to quite a few in the years of penning this column. This month 12 years ago is when I wrote my first column. I think that was the hardest column for me to write.

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Lovina keeps all of her handwritten columns in spiral notebooks.

Joseph, 12, was my baby at that time. Elizabeth, 20, was eight and in second grade. Susan, 18, was in kindergarten and six years old. Verena was four, Benjamin three, Loretta, two. I remember how hard it was to write the column and keep an eye on the four preschoolers.

Life still seems busy now but I guess just in different ways. The children get older and each has different plans for the weekend sometimes. Last Saturday, Joseph spent the night at a friend’s house in honor of his birthday.

Susan had Mose’s sister’s two little boys here for part of the day Saturday. Loren is four and Jayden, two. Susan gave them pony rides and kept them entertained. Of course Lovina, 10, and Kevin, 9, were glad to help keep them entertained.

Elizabeth’s puppy Izzy was the only one not happy to have them here. She is not used to little children and the boys played too rough for her, so she stayed close by one of the girls.

My husband Joe started the coal stove Saturday, so the house is cozy again. Our coal was delivered for the winter. Joe hooked a [metal] jacket up around the coal stove in the basement to help get more heat up here if we need it. It has a door on the jacket we can open on days we dry laundry in the basement, to keep more heat down there. Verena and I plan to clean the basement today as dust seems to accumulate and things get misplaced. So it’s high time for another cleaning.

Saturday we had a killing frost in most places so the gardens are history for 2014.

We have two more wedding invitations on our refrigerator. Rosanne and Solomon will exchange vows on Nov. 7 and their wedding will be in Decatur, Ind. Then on Nov. 20, Edwin and Rosa Mae will exchange their vows in Rochester, Ind. We hope to attend both weddings. Both grooms are Joe’s cousin Leander’s sons. Joe and Leander had lots of good times growing up together. We wish both couples God’s blessings on their marriage and many happy, healthy years together.

This week I will share an omelet recipe I made for our breakfast on Saturday. I hope you will all like it as much as we did.

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Two yummy breakfast omelet rolls for the Eicher family.

Meat 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 cups meat (chopped bacon, sausage, ham, smokies, etc.)
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
1/4 cup onions
1/4 cup green peppers, chopped
2 tablespoons mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine cream cheese and milk. Whisk until smooth, then add flour and salt. In another bowl, beat eggs and then add cream cheese mixture. Cut wax or parchment paper to fit jelly roll pan. Pour into jelly roll pan. Bake 30-35 minutes or until puffy and golden. While that is baking, chop meat, vegetables and shred the cheese. When omelet is done, remove from oven and spread with mustard, then layer meat, onions, pepper and cheese. Roll into jelly roll fashion, removing the paper from the omelet as you roll. Serve with salsa or cheese sauce.

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.

A pony, A wedding, and a children’s cornfield hideaway

A lovely Tuesday evening! It was a chilly 41 degrees this morning but warmed up into the 70s.

Right now it is pretty quiet in this house. Six of our children decided to go the four miles to sister Emma and Jacob’s house. Some rode the ponies and some biked. They wanted to go see Jacob’s new pony.

Joseph volunteered to stay home and do the evening chores. Elizabeth stayed to help me with supper. On our menu tonight will be fish, French fries and onion rings. That is always a favorite meal around here.

The wedding for niece Elizabeth and Samuel is now over. We wish them God’s blessings as they join hands for life. They had a beautiful wedding day. On the menu for dinner were barbecued chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken and noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, lettuce salad, carrot salad, homemade bread, butter, strawberry jam, celery sticks and Nothings. Nothings are a sweet, thin pastry that has been deep-fried. Dessert was cake, cinnamon pudding, zucchini bars, a variety of cookies, mixed fruit and pies—cherry, Dutch apple, pecan and vanilla crumb. In the evening smoked sausage was added to the menu. My job was to help with the dressing. One hundred eggs were put into the dressing. I will share the recipe with you readers, but I had to reduce the recipe of 20 eggs down to 5 eggs so it will be easier for smaller batches.

There was plenty of food left over. It’s always easier to have too much than not enough. It is probably a big relief for sister Liz and Levi to have this over with. A lot of work is involved in preparing for a wedding.

The day before the wedding, daughter Verena and I traveled the two hours to Berne, Indiana, to help prepare food for the wedding. The group of us who helped made the Nothings, baked 80 pies, peeled potatoes, and chopped a lot of vegetables such as celery, carrots, onions, cauliflower, broccoli and radishes. This makes it easier to prepare salads, dressing, etc. On the day of the wedding, carrot salad was also prepared in serving bowls.

My husband, Joe, and sons Benjamin, Joseph and Kevin cleared out one of our gardens and hauled manure on it. It is now ready to till, and we will plant a cover crop. In the other garden we still have tomatoes, but otherwise I think everything is done for the season. We had a nice crop of cabbage this year, but our potatoes didn’t do so well.

Lovina’s cabbages did well this year. These heads were recently harvested from her garden.
Lovina’s cabbages did well this year. These heads were recently harvested from her garden.

The boys and daughter Lovina built a campout area by the big tree in the middle of our cornfield earlier this summer when the corn was short. They had a path through the corn to their camp. If I called for them, they could hear me. Sometimes they would go back there to read. Since it won’t be too long before the corn is harvested, they decided to take down their “camp” for the winter.

 

Lovina’s children made this campout area in their cornfield this summer.
Lovina’s children made this campout area in their cornfield this summer.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Wedding Dressing

  •  5 eggs
  • ¾ cup powdered chicken soup base
  • 1½ cups hot water
  • 18 slices bread, cubed
  • 1 cup chicken, cut up
  • 1½ cups onions, chopped
  • 1½ cups celery, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • ½ cup peas
  • 3¾ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup chicken fat or butter

Beat eggs. Dissolve chicken soup base in hot water. (I buy powdered chicken soup base in bulk, but you can substitute 3 or 4 chicken bouillon cubes.) Add this mixture, along with remaining ingredients, to eggs and mix well. Pour into a greased 9×13-inch pan. Bake at 375° for one hour or until well set.

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.

Routine surgery takes scary turn

It is Sunday evening around 9 p.m. All is quieting down here at the Eicher homestead. Tomorrow looks like a busy day and this column needs to be in the mail.

Son Joseph, 12, had surgery on Thursday to have his tonsils and adenoids removed. We arrived home by 4 p.m. and were thankful all went well. That night Joseph seemed very restless and wasn’t able to sleep for very long. Joe and I were up with him a lot trying to make him comfortable. Around 1 a.m. Joseph said that he felt like he had to throw up. Everything he threw up looked like blood, and there was a lot of it. I called the local emergency room and talked to a doctor, wondering what we should do. The doctor said to wait and see if he did it again, and that if he didn’t all should be fine. Around 5 a.m. daughters Elizabeth and Susan were getting ready for work and I was packing son Benjamin’s lunch. Joseph started throwing up blood again, so we called a friend to take us to the hospital. I was so glad Joe didn’t have to work and was home to go with me. While Joe was helping Joseph out to the van, Joseph passed out. That scared us even more.

The doctors checked him out and took some tests. He had a big blood clot on the incision and was badly dehydrated. They decided to transfer him to a bigger hospital an hour away by ambulance. Surgery was scheduled for as soon as we arrived.

How thankful we were, after waiting and not knowing what to expect, when the doctor came to tell us that the surgery went well and they were able to remove the blood clot and repair the incision. He lost quite a bit of blood but they thought he would be fine without giving him some blood. They kept him on an IV to get some fluids in him.

We were so happy that we could bring Joseph home again the same day. He felt a lot better that evening but I had to give him his medication around the clock. He slept lots better that evening but was still very weak.

Saturday morning we had an easy breakfast as my friend Ruth brought a blueberry French toast casserole ready for the oven. What a treat!

Timothy (Elizabeth’s friend) is in the process of having a pole barn put up on his property.

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He is doing all the labor with the help of family and friends. Saturday he had quite a few that came to help.

 

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The rafters and roof, along with the plywood around the outside walls, were all put on. The men and boys accomplished a lot in a short time.

Some of the women came along and some sent food with their men. By the time all the food was on the table, there was more than plenty.

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Joseph was able to come for a while. He isn’t allowed to ride in the buggy yet but Ruth brought him with her car and took him back home later. He was glad to be able to come see what’s going on, and said he wished he could be hammering on nails with all the other boys.

Trials like Joseph’s scare us but there is a God we can turn to for comfort. I often wonder how we would survive without His guiding hand.

May God bless each of you! I will share Ruth’s recipe for blueberry French toast casserole. I am usually not a blueberry fan but I did like this.

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

  • 12 slices day-old bread (cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese
  • 12 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup maple syrup

Sauce:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish. Arrange half the bread cubes in the dish and top with cream cheese cubes. Top with blueberries and remaining bread. In a large bowl, mix egg, milk, vanilla and syrup. Pour over the bread cubes. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Coffee-cake

The next morning, remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking and preheat oven to 350°. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then bake uncovered for another 25-30 minutes or until center is firm and lightly browned.

In a saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Mix in remaining 1 cup blueberries. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes until blueberries burst. Stir in the butter and pour over casserole.

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 Editor@LovinasAmishKitchen.com.

Garden goodies and a midsummer night’s sleepover

We are having all kinds of garden goodies lately. It makes meal planning so much easier. Our first batch of sweet corn is ready. We’ve also been enjoying tomatoes, green beans, buttered red beets, zucchini, cucumbers and hot peppers. The peas are now over for the season.

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Onions hang to dry on the porch.

The boys pulled all the onions from the garden and we tied them in bunches to hang under the porch to dry. Before it gets too cold we will move them to the basement. I hardly ever have to buy onions from year to year if I plant enough to store for the winter. We also like to plant enough potatoes but this year they didn’t do so well. I’m surprised if we will have enough for storage. There is a potato field close by, where we can go pick up potatoes after the picker goes through. They miss a lot and it’s easy to get plenty from the ground.

This Thursday we plan to travel to Berne, Indiana, to attend niece Marlene and Chris Troyer’s wedding. Daughter Elizabeth has almost completed sewing her periwinkle-colored dress for this occasion. Elizabeth and her friend Timothy will be table waiters and I’ll help cook. More on that next week.

Congratulations go to niece Elizabeth and Sam as they announced their wedding plans for September. This would be sister Liz’s oldest daughter and the first wedding to prepare for. Liz has a wedding wagon she rents out to people so she should be well prepared with all the tables, stoves and dishes that she will need for the wedding.

For my own wedding my mother had to borrow stoves, pots and pans, and some dishes—as wedding wagons were unheard of then. It was a lot of work to gather these things and then make sure everything was delivered back to its owner.

We are enjoying making banana poppers on the grill lately since our banana peppers are big enough to stuff with cream cheese and shredded Colby cheese. We then wrap bacon around the peppers and grill them. We make a few with jalapeños for Joe and me but the children prefer the banana peppers as they aren’t quite as hot. It seems like the banana peppers can’t grow fast enough to keep up with making the poppers.

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Banana peppers stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon. This is just before putting them on the grill.
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The finished banana peppers.

Son Kevin, 8, loves to husk the corn for me when we have sweet corn. I thought it was funny when he asked where he should put the wrappers when he takes them off. He was talking about the husk.

Son Joseph, 12, had four of his school buddies here for the night on his birthday, July 24. They slept out in a tent in our backyard. I think they told each other so many scary stories that they were a little scared to go to sleep. They came in and told me they saw eyes in the barn. After investigating, it happened to be our dog Rover. At 5:30 a.m. they all moved up to the boys’ bedroom as they said it was getting really cold sleeping in the tent. We had 54 degrees that morning, unusually cool weather for July.

Joseph wanted cupcakes instead of cake for his birthday. Daughter Verena, 16, baked chocolate and white cupcakes for him. She topped them with vanilla pudding frosting.

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Chocolate and vanilla cupcakes for Joseph’s birthday. To make the frosting, add 1 box instant vanilla pudding to a container of Cool Whip.

I want to thank all of you readers that have taken time to encourage me to keep writing. Life brings us disappointments in various ways. Being honest in all things and letting God be our guide is such great advice.

Until next week, God bless.

Green Bean-Egg Casserole

  • 1 quart green beans
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup cheese, grated

Cook green beans until tender (or use canned beans). Chop onion and sauté in 2 tablespoons butter. Slice or dice eggs and mix with the beans. Pour beans, eggs, and onions in 1½ quart casserole dish. Pour mushroom soup over all. Toast bread crumbs in 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle casserole with cheese and toasted bread crumbs. Bake 40 minutes at 350°.

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 or at Editor@LovinasAmishKitchen.com.

Wedding prep and washer breakdown: all in a week’s work

All is quiet here at the Eicher household. Everyone has retired for the evening. I will be glad to join them, but I can’t neglect the duty of getting this column ready for the mail tomorrow. I will leave early to go help bake pies at brother Albert’s house.

Albert and Sarah Irene’s daughter, Irene, is getting married to Levi Raber on Wednesday. I will be a cook at the wedding, so some of us go to help prepare whatever needs to be done and bake pies. I still need to sew my cape and apron for the wedding. I finished my dress. Daughter Elizabeth and her friend, Timothy, are table waiters and Elizabeth has to wear the color berry. She has her outfit all sewn. It’s such a help to me that she can cut out and sew her own dress, cape, and apron.

On July 31 another of my nieces is getting married. Brother Amos’s daughter Marlene is getting married to Chris Troyer. This wedding will be in Berne, Indiana.

I was asked to be a cook, and Elizabeth and Timothy are table waiters again. Elizabeth will have to wear a periwinkle-colored dress for this wedding. Marlene chose the same dark blue color for the cooks as Irene did. That will make less sewing for me.

We were invited back to the place where church was held at today for supper. We decided to just stay home. It was a relaxing evening with all the family home and Timothy and Mose were here as well. Joe and our three sons, Timothy, and Mose played a few games of croquet. The girls aren’t very fond of playing that game so all five daughters went for a walk.

For supper, I made an Italian sausage and potato casserole, and also a garden salad with fresh lettuce from our garden. I will share the casserole recipe at the end of my column. Sisters Verena and Susan shared this recipe with me that a friend had given to them. I like trying something different, and it was a winner in the family as most of it was eaten up. There was just enough for Joe’s lunch for tomorrow at work.

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Fresh veggies from the Eicher family garden.

The girls did the chores for sisters Verena and Susan from Wednesday to Saturday. They went on a sight-seeing tour to Niagara Falls with a busload of their friends. There were 42 girls in all on the bus. It sounds like they had a nice trip.

On Friday while we were washing the laundry the wringer stopped working. We have a spare wringer when something like this happens, and guess what—the last time my wringer broke we laid it aside, never taking time to take it to be fixed. So there we were without a wringer and halfway through the washing of our clothes. Luckily, I have a spinner to help spin water out of the clothes but it was still a chore to wring all those clothes out by hand.

Sisters Verena and Susan do not have to work tomorrow and said the girls could bring the clothes over to wash at their house. Since I’m leaving they might just do that. I’m not sure how quickly our washing machine will be in working order again. We had to take the washing machine to get it checked out as well, as Joe thinks it could be the gears in there instead of the wringer.

We were excited to hear that we are uncle and aunt again. Joe’s brother, Benjamin, and Miriam from Sugarcreek, Ohio, were blessed with a little girl, Victoria Joy, recently. We look forward to meeting her.

Blessings to all!

Italian Sausage and Potato Casserole

  • 5 sliced potatoes
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 large green pepper (chopped)
  • 2 pounds Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, and oregano to taste

Mix sliced potatoes, onion, green pepper, and seasonings with olive oil. Bake in a 9 x 13 pan, covered, for one half hour at 350°. Remove from oven and drain, if necessary. Cut sausage in pieces and add to potato mixture. Continue cooking for one hour or until sausage is done.