Category Archives: Meats

Early springtime fun with the grandchildren—and more beef

Another week has already passed us by, and it is time to pen this column again.

My plans for today are to wash daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s laundry. Daughter Lovina assisted her with her work for several hours yesterday. I went to pick Lovina up and brought the laundry home. Today sounds like it will be a warm day to hang it outside. The sun is trying to peep out from behind the clouds.

Baby Andrea is now four weeks old. Her cute little expressions are so fun to watch. I was only able to stay a few minutes yesterday. She would change her smile to a frown then back to a smile, as if she wasn’t sure if she should be happy or sad. Such sweet, innocent little angels. What does this world hold in store for them? Only God knows! Allison, 2, still wants to be held by Grandma, too. She is gradually adjusting to the fact that her mother’s attention isn’t all on her. She has had her share of falls from climbing. She is a little tomboy and tries to keep up with active little T.J., 3.

We stopped through daughter Susan’s and got to see Jennifer, 4, and Ryan, 2, for a few minutes. The weather was so nice, and they both came running out of the door barefooted, circling around the yard—but not for long, as Susan took them inside to get shoes on. I remember on those nice, warm March days as a child we would want to go outside barefooted, too. Mom would always tell us to wait until after March is over. I can still hear her say, “NO—don’t go out barefooted, it’s still March.” Oh, thinking of those sweet memories of her still makes me miss her so much.

We ended up helping daughters Susan and Verena cut up two quarters of beef on Friday. Son-in-law Dustin and son Benjamin didn’t have to work that day. Those helping were Dustin, Loretta, sons Benjamin and Kevin, daughter Lovina, sister Verena, and me. The steaks were cut out, hamburger ground and packaged.

Vacuum sealing the ground beef was part of this weekend’s work. Photo provided.

Susan canned some of the meat. We brought the steaks and T-bones home to put in our freezer overnight. My husband Joe then cut up all the steaks on Saturday. Loretta and I vacuum sealed the meat for Susan. Now it’s all in her freezer, and I’m so glad she has beef and pork to use in the coming year.

Then on Saturday, son Benjamin and I, daughters Susan and Verena assisted Tim and Elizabeth in cutting up their two quarters of beef. The hamburger was ground and packaged, steaks and T-bones sliced and packaged, some meat canned, etc. Daughters Susan and Verena did Elizabeth’s cleaning yet before heading for home. Needless to say, this Grandma was a wee bit tired Saturday night after two days of helping cut up beef. I am so glad to help the children whenever I can.

Sunday, Joe and I, son Joseph and his special friend Grace, my sister Emma, her son Benjamin and his special friend Crystal, and my sister Verena attended church in northern Indiana to partake in the blessing of nephew Andrew’s baptism. Andrew is brother Albert and Sarah Irene’s youngest son. In the afternoon, we made a short stop at brother Albert’s house. We hadn’t seen the new house he built. It is very nice. Alberts have three daughters and one son still at home. They have eleven children and all but four married, so their house seems emptier.

A notice to readers—I will be signing books on April 2nd at the Plain and Simple Craft Show in Shipshewana, Indiana. They will have over 130 vendors there. Then on April 9th, I will be at the Nappanee, Indiana, library from 2–4 p.m. I’m looking forward to meeting old and new readers there. In Shipshewana, daughters Elizabeth and baby Andrea, daughter Susan and children, Jennifer and Ryan, and daughter Lovina will be with me. Some family members are also planning to attend the meet and greet in Nappanee with me. God bless!

This week I will share the recipes for coffee soup and pon hoss due to many requests from readers.

Pon Hoss
Pork bones
Flour
Salt
Black pepper

Place pork bones in large kettle and add enough water to cover. Cook bones until the meat comes off bones. Remove bones and skim fat from broth. Measure the quantity of broth remaining. Return meat to broth. (We grind the meat before returning it to the broth.) Then add 4 cups of flour to every gallon of juice, sifting in the flour, as well as 2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon black pepper per gallon of juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, then pour in pans. Let cool, then slice and fry on each side until golden brown.

Coffee Soup
2 cups coffee
2 or more cups milk
1/2 cup sugar (or more, to taste)

Combine all ingredients and heat until hot, but do not boil. Pour over toasted bread or saltine crackers.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Preparing and enjoying a bounty of beef

It is a very beautiful day outside with the sun shining so brightly. The sun is welcome anytime and is much appreciated for our solar system. With gas prices so high, we don’t like to use the generator more than necessary. We run a generator to charge up our battery packs when the sun doesn’t shine for too many days in a row. Our solar power runs two freezers, and water and some lights in our pole barn. On days we wash laundry it takes more power. Also, with everyone showering and pumping water to the horses each day, it takes quite a bit.

We are all finished with our beef now. What a relief! On Friday evening we cut up all four quarters of beef. The steaks were cut out, beef chunks cut up, etc., then the rest was ready to grind for hamburger. On Saturday the hamburger was ground and the steaks, T-bones, etc., sliced. Most of the meat was vacuum sealed on Saturday. Some of the hamburger we waited to package until Monday. The meat filled our freezers, and Dustin and Loretta took their half home to put in their freezer.

These jars of canned beef were recently prepared by Lovina and family. Photo provided.

On Monday, daughter Loretta and I canned some hamburger and beef chunks. Son Joseph didn’t have to work because of the weather, so we were glad for his help to vacuum seal the hamburger and pack it in the freezers.

On Monday while we were packaging, Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty stopped in to say hi. They had brought sister Verena home. She had spent a week out in Berne, Indiana, with sister Liz and Levi. Most of the winter Verena had been staying with us or sister Emma.

Saturday, we plan to go help daughters Susan and Verena cut up two quarters of beef to put in their freezer.

Next on the agenda is to start doing some spring cleaning. Lord willing, we will host church services in May.

We have been enjoying rare beef, as we call it, since we butchered our beef. We slice the tenderest steaks very thin and put salt and pepper on both sides then swirl it in hot oil once and flip it over and swirl one again and it’s done. It is very good and our family loves it.

Saturday morning, I made fried eggs and potatoes with some fresh bacon (from our recent pork butchering). Then I also had to fry up the cow brains for Joe and some of our children that like them.

Sunday evening, our whole family was here for supper. Baby Andrea gets plenty of attention. She is such a sweetie, just like all my grandchildren are. All you Grandmas out there know the precious feeling of grandchildren, I’m sure.

For those readers that always say they like to hear our menus, I’ll share what I made Sunday night with the help of my daughters. We had mashed potatoes, beef gravy, macaroni and cheese, green beans, grilled T-bones and steak, sliced Colby cheese, cookies, and ice cream. The menfolk grilled the meat.

I still have paper plates left over from my trip to Sam’s Club before Dustin and Loretta’s wedding. On nights when the whole family is here, it makes it easier to use those and do less dish washing. It gives us more time to just visit. It is such a blessing to be able to work together as a family and get food stored for another year. God is good, and may His many blessings reach across the miles to all of you!

I am going to share my sister Susan’s recipe she wrote of beef and gravy when I told her how to make it. She wanted to write it down years ago so she would remember it. RIP Susan.

Beef and Gravy
4 heaping tablespoons flour
1 pint canned beef chunks
1 medium onion
Potato water (saved from cooking potatoes)

Put 4 heaping tablespoons flour in a pan and brown flour until it’s dark. Let flour cool. In a 3 1/2-quart kettle, empty 1 pint of beef and put in 2 pints of water and 1 whole onion. When it starts to boil, take out beef and put in potato water. If you don’t have potato water, then use water. Add extra water as needed. Mix the cooled flour and water to make a thickening until it is just a little watery. Then mix the beef and thickening in the kettle until it boils again. Remove the onion before serving.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Welcoming a New Baby into the Family

Lovina bonds with her newest granddaughter. Photo provided.

Last night, my husband Joe and I went to meet our new granddaughter, Andrea Ruby. Such an exciting moment. Andrea Ruby was born February 14th to daughter Elizabeth and Tim, weighing eight pounds, three ounces, and twenty-one inches long. She arrived at 1:30 p.m. with Elizabeth having her c-section at the hospital. She is a little cutie with black hair and dark eyes, and she is very alert for her age. We are already in love with her and enjoyed holding her.

Andrea joins siblings Abigail, five; Timothy (T.J.), three; and Allison, two. Allison kept trying to get our attention away from the baby and on her instead. Of course, we also gave her attention. Allison is blonde-haired and has bright blue eyes like her daddy. Andrea reminds me of Elizabeth. T.J. wasn’t too happy that he didn’t get a brother, but he couldn’t help falling in love with that sweet little sister he has. He was holding her with the help of his mother, and the love shone in his eyes. Abigail adores her little sister and carried Andrea to me from Elizabeth. The proud look on her face to come to show Grandma the baby for the first time was so sweet. I am sure Abigail will help her mother many times with baby Andrea. Allison seems interested in collecting Andrea’s little socks. She showed me her baby doll, and I’m sure if Andrea has clothes missing, they will be on the doll.

Tim, Elizabeth, and baby Andrea arrived home from the hospital last night around 4:30 p.m. Daughters Verena and Susan had Tim and Elizabeth’s three children at their house since Monday morning. Verena is now at Tim’s helping the new mother with their household duties.

I made a kettle of soup to take there for supper last night. Daughter Lovina went to meet her newest niece then went to daughter Susan’s house for the night. She’s back home this morning. We brought Tim and Elizabeth’s laundry home to wash here today.

Andrea makes grandchild number six for Joe and me. It always makes you feel blessed when all goes well with mother and baby. God is above all, but I always seem to worry more when my daughters give birth than when I did. A mother’s nature, I guess.

Elizabeth had to take insulin shots as she has gestational diabetes, but the doctor thinks she will be fine now since the baby has arrived.

Sunday, we had brunch at daughter Susan’s house. The brunch menu was breakfast casserole, pancakes, fried pon hoss, fresh bacon, sliced cheese, hot peppers, cake, and cookies. It was all delicious! Besides Joe and I, there were also son Benjamin and his special friend Amanda; son Kevin; daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and three children; and daughter Loretta and Dustin. Of course, daughter Verena was there as she lives with Susan and the children. Son Joseph and daughter Lovina went to church with their special friends Grace and Daniel. Daniel is following instructions for baptism, and Lord willing, will be baptized a week from Sunday.

We spent our afternoon playing marble chase, which can sometimes get quite some excitement going.

Saturday evening, Joe and I were home alone when all the children were going here and there. Dustin and Loretta told us to come over for supper at their house across the road. It is always enjoyable to visit our children in their own homes. God bless!

Meatballs or Meatloaf
3 pounds hamburger
2 cups quick rolled oats
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 cups catsup
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons liquid smoke or 1 teaspoon hickory smoke seasoning
1/4 cup chopped onion (optional)

Mix the first nine ingredients and form into balls or a loaf in a single layer on a wax-lined cake pan. Bake for one hour at 350 degrees. Combine the last four ingredients to form a sauce and spread on the meat ten minutes before removing from the oven.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Taking time to visit sisters

The world outside looks very scenic with everything coated with snow. It is still snowing, and we have around six inches already. It sounds like we are getting quite a bit more. School is closed for a few days, and some factories are sending their workers home before lunchtime. My husband Joe and sons Benjamin and Joseph left this morning for work and haven’t come back home yet. Hopefully, everyone will stay safe.

This past weekend we did our pork butchering. Friday night our family came home for the night. The men dressed four hogs. Everyone stayed for the night, and then we started cutting up the meat on Saturday morning.

Lovina and her family work together to prepare sausage for future meals. Photo provided.

Pork tenderloin, pork chops, ham, ribs, bacon, etc. were all cut out. Then the meat was cut off the bones and the bones were put in the big black kettle to cook off the meat. Sausage was ground and packaged. Some sausage was canned in jars. (We like to can some for quick and ready meat for casseroles, etc.) We put the ham, pork chops, and bacon in the freezer as Joe likes it partially frozen to run through the slicer. Joe saved the pig brains also, and he and some of the children like those. I say “Yuck,” but I always end up frying them even though I have never tasted it. 21 gallons of pon hoss were made in the big black kettle. The lard was rendered, and we put it in jars to seal so it stays fresher for longer. Dustin is soaking the bacon in a brine to season it. It was more of a challenge to keep the meat sorted in four different places as Elizabeth and Tim, Loretta and Dustin, Susan, and us each got a hog. Needless to say, it was a full day’s work.

Daughters Verena and Lovina made a good lunch for everyone with the menu being fresh pork tenderloin fried, mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, corn, cheese, chocolate chip bars, and ice cream. My friend Ruth stopped in and pitched in to help with the meat. She took some pictures to share to help better explain the process of butchering. Sister Verena came here Friday night and has been staying with us since.

Yesterday we had a nice surprise when my cousins Barbara and Susan showed up at my door. They asked if sister Verena and I wanted to go with them to visit sister Emma. I was getting ready to wash laundry, but I decided the laundry could wait until I got back. It’s not often I get a chance to visit with them. We went with their driver to Emma’s house and soon several hours passed. We had a nice time catching up on each other’s families. We grew up living beside each other. Our mothers were sisters, and both our parents have passed away. Susan has several children with muscular dystrophy also, so we can relate with each other. After they dropped Verena and me off here at home again, son Kevin and I washed the laundry.

This week, I’ll share the recipe for sausage bean burritos.

Stay healthy and God’s blessings to all!

Sausage Bean Burritos
1 pound sausage
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 can black or chili beans, drained
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 1/2 cup salsa, divided
10 flour tortillas (7 inch)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Cook sausage, green pepper, and onion; drain. Stir in beans, rice, and 1 cup salsa; mix well. Spread 1/2 cup sausage mixture down the center of each tortilla. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cheese. Roll up and put in a greased 13×9 inch pan. Top with remaining salsa. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Different Ways to Prepare the Thanksgiving Turkey and Eat the Leftovers

December—the final month of 2021!

The Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone. We are mostly caught up with the leftover food from it. I made a stew with the turkey carcass from the turkey son-in-law Dustin made for us in his deep fryer. Everyone loved the stew, and it really is great way to get the most out of your turkey. I will share my recipe with this column.

Yesterday I spent the day at sister Emma’s house as she hosted a Pampered Chef party so she could earn some free kitchen items. Emma served lunch to all the ladies and children that came.

Daughters Elizabeth, Susan, and Verena and my grandchildren were there too. I got to spend the day with them as well. Granddaughter Abigail came there off the bus after school with Emma’s youngest son Steven. Steven is in eighth grade, so this will be his last year of school.

It is really quiet around here with everyone at work. My husband Joe at the metal shop, son Benjamin, 22, at the RV factory, son Joseph, 19, on his construction job, daughter Lovina, 17, at her job at McDonald’s, and son Kevin, 16, helping out this week at a butchering shop. It’s still hard for me to get used to the emptiness but that is a part of life.

Saturday Joe and I plan to do some Christmas shopping. We will have our family Christmas on December 18th (a year ago, son-in-law Mose’s funeral was on the 18th). We are having it a little earlier than usual as daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and family will travel by charter bus to Florida over Christmas. Tim’s parents and some of his family will be with them, and they well attend Tim’s nephew’s wedding in Florida. They will also travel to Kentucky with some of Tim’s family for a Christmas gathering at his sister’s house on December 11th. Elizabeth has been extra busy preparing for these upcoming trips.

Our family exchanged names for a gift exchange when we get together.

Daughter Verena spent Sunday evening here, while daughter Susan and children went to Mose’s sister’s house to spend the evening with his family.

I attended the Thanksgiving feast at Abigail’s school last week. It’s so different to go for a granddaughter than when I went for my children. It brought back memories of all the years our eight children attended that school. Abigail was excited to have her grandma, mother, siblings, aunts, cousins, and Uncle Kevin come to eat with her. Nephew Steven also ate with us.

We had a nice day together on Thanksgiving Day at sister Emma’s house. They had the table set for all of us. Her sons-in-law prepared a trash can turkey, which is somehow cooked under a trash can with charcoal around it. It was very delicious. Emma also baked a turkey in her oven so we had plenty of turkey. I had made some food to take along, and lo and behold I forgot to take the pumpkin roll. I thought I was forgetting something as I was loading up the food on the buggy but didn’t realize it until the dessert was being passed around. I always think we need a pumpkin roll for Thanksgiving, but we did okay without it. Let us thank God every day. We have so many blessings that we take for granted. God bless and stay safe and healthy!

Turkey Stew

Turkey carcass and mixed bones (your leftover holiday turkey)
1 medium onion, diced
6 stalks celery, diced
6 large carrots, dices
8 medium potatoes, diced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken soup base
seasonings to taste

Place carcass in large kettle and cover with water. Cook until meat removes from bones. Cool off enough so all the bones can be taken out of water. Then add meat, vegetables, and seasonings back in water and cook until potatoes are soft. Optional—cabbage or other vegetables you prefer can be added. We loved it!

 

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

A Bridal Shower and Chicken Club Brunch Ring

This column will wrap up my writing for October already. Daughter Loretta and Dustin have been married a month on Monday. Where does the time go? Do we take enough time out of our busy lives to thank God for all the blessings we have? When our lives don’t go as we expect, it is so easy to give up. We need to take one day at a time and remember that God will help us through the hard trials.

Last week sister Emma and I spent a day with sister Verena. We washed off her bedroom walls, ceiling, window, and furniture. We emptied sister Susan’s desk and dresser and packed some of her clothes in totes for now. This was a hard job to do. It makes it so final. Susan collected a lot of things through the years, so we have lots more to sort through. But we made a start at least. The physical work wasn’t what was hard. It was the going through a loved one’s belongings and knowing they won’t need them anymore. It made me think that the only thing I can take with me one day are my children. Let us spend time with our family while we still have each other.

Sunday evening we had supper at niece Emma and Menno’s house. They served a good supper of mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken, deep fried mushrooms, potato salad, desserts and more I am probably forgetting. Those enjoying the supper were Joe and me, and sons Benjamin, Joseph (and special friend Grace), and Kevin, daughter Lovina (and special friend Daniel), daughter Loretta and Dustin, daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and children, daughter Susan and children, daughter Verena, sister Verena, sister Emma and sons Jacob, Benjamin (and special friend Crystal), and Steven, and niece Elizabeth and Manuel. The three special loved ones that were usually with all of us were dearly missed. We played board games after supper. It was a rainy evening and cold outside so it was nice to be indoors.

Yesterday daughter Verena hosted a Pampered Chef bridal shower for daughter Loretta which was held here. It was a very good turnout, and Loretta was able to choose lots of free items for her kitchen. The consultant made a chicken club ring and chicken salad. I made a tater tot casserole and potato salad. My daughters and sister and her daughters all brought desserts and snacks, so we had a nice meal to enjoy after the party.

Sister Verena had been staying with us since Sunday. She went home with sister Emma. Emma had supper brought in last night from our bishop, ministers, and deacon and their families. She wanted us to come, but it is not so easy to leave since we don’t have our buggy. The boys use our other buggy, and Benjamin has one he bought. We need to go look for another one since ours was demolished in the storm in August. We do have an old buggy here that they use to train horses, but the door doesn’t shut on one side and with the cold weather it’s not fun to ride in. To think Joe and I both grew up with open buggies. I think we are spoiled now.

Today daughter Elizabeth goes on a field trip with granddaughter Abigail’s class to a pumpkin patch, corn maze, and pet farm. Daughters Susan and Verena will have her other two children T.J. and Allison at their house for the day. Abigail is so excited to have her mother come to school with her.

Saturday we travel to Berne, Indiana, to attend my family gathering at sister-in-law Nancy’s house. It is right on brother Amos’s 60th birthday. He will be greatly missed as will all the other loved ones that have gone on before us. God’s blessings to all!

Chicken Club Brunch Ring

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, snipped
1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
1 (10-ounce) can chunk white chicken, drained and flaked
1 pound bacon slices, crisply cooked and chopped
2 (8-ounce packages) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 cup (4 ounces) finely shredded Swiss cheese, divided
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 medium red bell pepper
2 cups lettuce, shredded

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, parsley, and onion; mix well. In another bowl, put in flaked chicken, bacon, 3/4 cup cheese and 1/3 cup of mayonnaise mixture; mix well. Unroll crescent dough and separate into 16 triangles. Arrange triangles in a circle on a 13-inch round baking stone (or other round pan) with wide ends of triangles overlapping in the center and points toward the outside. There should be a 5-inch diameter opening in center of stone. Using a medium scoop, divide the chicken mixture evenly onto the widest end of each triangle. Bring the outside points of the triangles up over filling and tuck under the wide ends of dough at center of ring. The filling will not be completely covered. Cut tomato slices in half and place a tomato half over the filling in between the openings of the ring. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven immediately and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Cut top of bell pepper off. Remove membranes and seeds. Fill bottom part of pepper with the remaining mayonnaise mixture and place in center of ring. Arrange lettuce around pepper. Slice and serve.

 

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Travels and wedding celebrations

Another week has passed by since my last column. We made it to Kentucky and Tennessee for both weddings and are now back in Michigan. We were thankful for safe travels to and from the weddings. Dan’s (who died in the accident with son-in-law Mose) wife Jodi was our driver and she did a wonderful job. It couldn’t have been easy driving for all of us. She is a nice person to have around. I know she is still hurting just like daughter Susan, both missing their loved ones. It always makes me sad when I see Susan and her children drive in without her beloved Mose beside her. Seeing sister Emma without Jacob and sister Verena without sister Susan seems so unreal. It can get overwhelming and that is why we need to let go and let God. We need to trust his plans are different than what we want sometimes.

At Michael and Laura’s wedding I was a cook and my job was to prepare the fresh fruit for the fruit bowls. It was a good combination of strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and kiwi. The menu consisted of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, buttered noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, broccoli/cauliflower salad, bread, butter and jam, several kinds of pies, angel food cake, mixed fruit, and pudding.

In the afternoon we started out on the 4 1/2 hour drive to Tennessee. We stayed at a motel and attended the wedding at the church for Jamin and Saloma. Their weddings are different than ours as the father walks the bride down the aisle. The couple left after the wedding for their several week honeymoon. We wish both couples God’s blessings as they start their lives together as one.

The menu for this wedding was boneless chicken breasts and barbequed chicken, diced red potatoes, coleslaw, dinner rolls, ice cream, donuts, lemonade, and coffee.

We had supper with Saloma’s parents Pete and Carol (Joe’s sister) along with some of Joe’s family and others who had attended the wedding. We then headed back to the motel. The children enjoyed swimming at the pool. The next day we drove towards home about 5 1/2 hours then slept in a motel outside of Indianapolis, IN. The next day we spent the day at the Indianapolis zoo. We had a little over three hours to drive home.

We had a nice time but everyone was glad to be home again.

The Eicher family celebrated Kevin’s 16th birthday with cake and ice cream, after a supper of sausage and potatoes (recipe in this week’s column). Photo provided.

Son Kevin turned 16 on September 2nd while we were gone. Monday night we had cake and ice cream in honor of his birthday. Also on the menu were banana poppers and Italian potatoes and sausage.

We had some storms go through our area again but we didn’t get anything much. Hopefully no one else did either. Daughter Susan and children and daughter Verena came for the night.

Today Joe’s sisters and nieces will come help us clean. Plans are to clean the basement and can room, and if we get that far, our breezeway.

Saturday we have more help coming. Church services were set to be here September 19th. That isn’t far off and then the wedding of daughter Loretta and Dustin is coming up right after that.

God bless all of you as we travel into the unknown future.

Italian Sausage and Potatoes
6 potatoes, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
2 large green peppers, sliced
2 pounds Italian sausage (sweet, mild or hot)
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt, pepper, oregano to taste

Mix sliced potatoes, onion, green pepper, salt, pepper, and oregano with olive oil. Bake in a 9×13 inch pan covered for 1/2 hour at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and drain. Cut sausage in pieces and add to potato mixture. Continue cooking for 1 hour or until sausage is done. Some prefer to broil uncovered, cooking until sausage is browned.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Peaceful moments at the end of a summer evening

Tomorrow will be the last day of June. Is it possible that half of 2021 has passed? July 1st brings daughter Loretta another year older, marking it number 21 this time.

Supper is over, dishes washed, as I sit on our wrap-around porch. There is a light, relaxing rain falling tonight. We have had over three inches of rain this past week and so many rainbows—God’s promise to those who believe in him. There is always some excitement to see a rainbow, and only our master artist could create such beauty. Our life has been turned upside down these past seven months, but we do have a great God. Although there are times bitterness wants to take over, we want to trust in God and put our faith in him. After another busy day, it is nice to sit out here alone and have some peaceful moments. God understands all our troubles.

I see a few deer across the road feasting on Dustin’s hayfield. This rain is helping bring in another crop of hay. Our garden is getting weeds in it, but this wet weather has been keeping us out.

Our supper was easy—BLT sandwiches, although we added eggs to the sandwich. Fresh lettuce from the garden takes the place of bread for me. We have a lot, so I shared with Jodi (Dan’s widow), sister Verena, and my daughters.

Tomorrow, daughters Susan and Lovina and I plan to go thoroughly clean Susan’s neighbor’s house. We will clean it from top to bottom on three floors. Not sure if we will get it all done but if not, we will finish on Thursday.

On Saturday night some of Joe’s cousins came for a visit. We don’t often see Daniel and Dena and Phenis and Effie, so we had a lot of catching up to do. Daniel, Dena, and Phenis are all Joe’s cousins, Dena on his dad’s side. We all sang and yodeled together and had a very nice visit. We appreciated their sympathy on the loss of our dear son-in-law and my sister. Sister Verena, daughters Susan and Verena, granddaughter Jennifer, and grandson Ryan were also here for the night.

On Saturday, daughter Verena, granddaughter Jennifer, and I were at my book signing in Nappanee at the Light of Grace Bookstore. We were so glad to see all the readers who attended and hear all the kind words that were said. The bookstore manager, Jolene, showed us some good hospitality. We appreciated all the kindness.

Daughter Elizabeth dropped her three children off here this morning so she would have more time to help prepare for nephew Perry and Frieda’s wedding. Perry is the son of husband Tim’s brother Mervin and Arlene, and the wedding will be at the home of Frieda’s parents. With three little ones, it’s hard to do quite as much. We kept Abigail, 4, T.J., 2, and Allison, 1 1/2, here while Elizabeth helped them.

It is time to call it a day, and darkness has overtaken the daylight. I am surprised the mosquitoes didn’t bother me.

I will share a recipe for goulash. I like using fresh peeled and chunked tomatoes in mine during the summer months when we have some in the garden.

Good night and God bless!

Goulash

4 cups uncooked macaroni
2 pounds hamburger
1/2 cup chopped onions, optional
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
salt and pepper to taste
butter to taste
1 26-ounce jar tomato juice
1 10.5-ounce can tomato soup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 pounds Velveeta cheese, in chunks

Cook macaroni. Meanwhile, brown hamburger with onion. Drain grease and add seasonings. Drain macaroni; add butter to taste. Mix in hamburger, tomato juice, tomato soup, and sugar. Stir in cheese. Heat to boiling; turn off heat. Cover and let set until cheese is melted. Serve.

 

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

The first tastes of spring

We are having cooler weather again this week. On Monday it was rainy, and yesterday was cloudy. At least today the sun is shining at times.

Son Joseph, 18, is home today. He has been busy outside cleaning the yard and filling in dirt on the low spots before we roll the yard.

We had success with our garage sale last week, but we still have some things left. I want to take it to a thrift store, or the free store, or give it to someone who can use it. It was time consuming to have the sale but makes more space now in my storage areas.

Our rhubarb is plentiful, so I have made quite a few rhubarb custard pies. We are also enjoying asparagus from the garden.

My husband Joe planted some more vegetables in the garden on Saturday: lettuce, radishes, peas, and corn.

Sunday is Mother’s Day, so I wish all mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day. I am blessed to have 8 wonderful children who call me Mother: Elizabeth, 26, Susan, 25, Verena, 23, Benjamin, 21, Loretta, 20, Joseph, 18, Lovina, 16, and Kevin, 15. I thank God for their love, and I hope I will always be a good example to them. It takes daily prayers to raise a family. I also have 5 precious grandchildren who call me Grandma: Abigail, 4, Jennifer, 3, Timothy (T.J.), 2, Ryan, 21 months, and Allison, 16 months.

Father’s Day will be hard on daughter Susan, to have 2 little children who won’t have a father to give their love to. Mose would buy a flower for the children to give to Susan on Mother’s Day. May God continue to guide her and comfort her. Let us remind ourselves that God makes no mistakes.

On Sunday we had communion services at our neighbors’ home. Daughter Susan and children and sister Verena were here for the night on Saturday and went to church with us.

Ryan was so excited to have a little black hat to wear to church. When we came to church, he thought he could wear it during the service, so it took a little persuading to get him to hang it up until afterward.

Sister Verena and daughter Susan and children stayed overnight again Sunday night. When Ryan woke up Monday morning Joe had left for work already. Ryan went to our bedroom, to Joe’s side of the bed, asking where Grandpa was. I told him he was working. He then pointed to the cabinet on the wall where Joe keeps his hat and asked for Joe’s hat. He thought he should have both his and Grandpa’s hat, but I told Ryan we need to leave it there for when we go to church again. Such sweet little angels. What do they have to see in the future?

I answered all the reader mail now. I want to again thank everyone for their support and encouragement. It is all greatly appreciated. May God bless all of you!

I will share the recipe for asparagus shepherd’s pie this week for those of you who love asparagus. We had asparagus last night just fried in butter.

Take care! Until next week…God bless!

Asparagus Shepherd’s Pie
6 medium potatoes, diced
1-2 pounds hamburger
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10.5 ounce) can cream of chicken or asparagus soup
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut in pieces
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 cup shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese

Boil potatoes in water until tender. Brown hamburger with onion and garlic; drain grease. Stir in soup and pour into a greased 2-quart baking dish. Cook asparagus in small amount of water until crisp and tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain and layer over beef mixture. Drain the potatoes and mash, adding milk, butter, and salt. Spread mashed potatoes over asparagus and sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Finding a new normal

It’s the last week of February…time does not stand still.

It is much warmer than it was a week ago. It’s 40 degrees and the eastern sky is full of pink, so hopefully it will be another sunny day like we had yesterday.

Son Joseph, 18, is still off work from his construction job since his boss is in Florida for several weeks. He’s been kept busy doing things around home. Yesterday my husband Joe and Joseph went to daughter Susan’s house to work on the second bedroom downstairs. Daughter Verena is staying there with Susan.

Daughter Lovina comes home from work around 2:30 p.m., then leaves at night to go stay with sister Verena. She leaves for work at 5:30 a.m. from there. The house seems empty, and I’m trying to teach myself how to cook smaller portions.

We have been getting things together so we can file our 2020 taxes. It seems harder to think with all that has been going on. We are also going through closets and storage, and we hope to have a garage sale this spring. It’s getting closer to spring cleaning time. May God put some sunshine back in our life so we can go on, not to normal but a new normal.

I do want to take time again to thank all of you for the cards, gifts, and for being such a tremendous support during the last few months. It was greatly appreciated, and may God bless you for your kindness.

I sat down after supper last night to try to pen this column, but no words seemed to form in my mind. After a night’s sleep and seeing the start of another day, I feel more like writing.

On both Friday and Saturday evening, sister Verena and daughter Susan and children were here for the night. On Saturday night, daughter Elizabeth and Tim and children also decided to come for the night. It felt good to have everyone home again.

Steaks cut and ready to package from beef freshly butchered by the Eicher family. Photo provided.

On Sunday we were invited to sister Emma and Jacob’s house for lunch. Menno furnished most of the food in honor of his wife, niece Emma’s, 23rd birthday, which was February 15. We were served a delicious meal consisting of barbecue chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, green beans, coleslaw, cheese, cake, ice cream, cupcakes, etc.

Our church services were held on Saturday this time due to a bigger than normal service, and three young souls were baptized, accepting Jesus as their Savior. It is such a blessing to partake in the joy of baptismal services.

Daughter Elizabeth had quite an ordeal with her children. She said they were playing really nicely, so she slipped downstairs to sort the laundry. She came back up and Abigail, 4, had a small children’s scissors and was giving T.J. quite a haircut. When she saw it upset her mother, Abigail said, “Mom, hair will grow back.” Elizabeth was thankful that no one was hurt, but T.J. might have lopsided hair for a while.

With three children ages 1, 2, and 4, it keeps Elizabeth on the go.

I better get busy—we have laundry to fold and put away before I leave for town. Daughter Lovina has an appointment after work, so I will pick her up.

God’s blessings to all!

Beef Pot Roast

1 (7 – 8 pound) beef roast, chuck, round, or rump
12 medium carrots, peeled and left whole
salt
pepper
8 – 10 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
6 onions, halved
garlic cloves, optional

Brown roast thoroughly on all sides over medium heat in roaster. If using garlic, cut narrow slits in meat and insert cloves. Season with salt and pepper. Cover roaster and reduce heat to low, cooking meat about 3 hours or until nearly done. Arrange potatoes, carrots, and onion around roast, adding salt as desired. Baste with meat juices. Cover again and cook over medium heat about 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Remove meat and vegetables. Strain juices and thicken if you wish to serve with gravy.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.