Category Archives: Meats

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.

Mourning another loss in the community

The mercury dipped down below zero degrees this morning. Brrr! It is cold outside and even colder with the wind chill. Yesterday we woke up to over ten inches of snow, which cancelled work for everyone.

Daughter Susan and her children Jennifer and Ryan were here since Sunday. She brought her laundry, and we both helped each other wash clothes on Monday and hung it all in the basement. Daughter Verena went over to sister Verena’s on Sunday night and stayed there until last night. She then went home with Susan and her children. Sons Joseph, 18, and Kevin, 15, went over to stay the night with sister Verena last night. Joseph isn’t working this week, so it’s easier for him and Kevin to go than daughter Lovina, 16, right now.

Daughter Lovina is waiting for our neighbor lady to pick her up to go to work. They both work at McDonald’s. It is almost 5:30 a.m. She starts at 6 a.m. and works until 2 p.m.

Today I’ll go to town with sister Verena. After we come back, Joe and I, sister Verena, and daughter Susan will go to the visitation of Ida, 72, a lady who lived a couple miles from here who battled with Alzheimer’s for years. She and her husband Joni have thirteen children, and two of them are our neighbors. She will be laid to rest in the cemetery down the road from us, where son-in-law Mose and sister Susan are buried. In two months’ time, three people will be laid to rest in that new cemetery. Mose was the first to be buried in there. It’s a short walk from our house, so daughter Susan often walks to Mose’s grave when she’s here.

On Sunday, daughter Elizabeth and Tim dropped off Abigail, 4, and T.J., 2, on their way to church in another church district, where their nephew was being baptized. Both children love books and were soon cuddled on the recliner with Grandpa Joe, reading books while I made breakfast. Tim and Elizabeth came for supper then and Susan and children were here, too, as well as Loretta and Lovina’s special friends Dustin and Daniel. It’s a comfort to all be together, but Mose is missed so much when we are all together. Tim and Elizabeth and Mose and Susan would often leave at the same time and drive behind each other until Mose and Susan would turn off on their road. Tim and Mose did so much together, helping each other out as they lived a few miles from each other. God makes no mistakes, we know, so we need to trust that He has a plan.

On Sunday, Abigail was playing with two dolls and had another doll laying on a small table. She kept walking past it, and I asked what she was doing. She said, “I am acting like my husband died and these are my two children.” Such innocence from sweet little children who can’t quite grasp what happened.

Over ten inches of snow fell this week at the Eicher homestead. Photo provided.

Dustin cleaned our drive out yesterday with his skid loader and also went over to clean out the drive at sister Verena’s house. He pushed a lot of snow. After he was done, he and Joe went to daughter Susan’s house and shoveled her drive out, too, before she left for home.

I made a casserole to take to the visitation tonight. I need to have it heated, ready to eat, and there by 4 p.m. today. I am glad to help out. We had so much help over both funerals. It is a blessing to have all the support of a church, friends, and family at times like those. Our sympathy goes to the family of Ida. Stay healthy and safe. God bless you!

Hamburger Noodle Casserole

3 pounds hamburger
1 cup onion, diced
1 16-ounce package of noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
breadcrumbs

Fry hamburger with onion until meat is browned. Prepare noodles as directed on package and mix with hamburger. Add both soups and sour cream. Top with buttered breadcrumbs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Variation: Add frozen or canned peas and top with shredded cheese before adding breadcrumbs.

 

 

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.

In loving memory of Sister Susan

Our hearts are once again mourning the loss of a dear loved one. Sister Susan, age 44, lost her battle and passed away on January 31. Three years ago on the same day, brother Amos died unexpectedly at age 56. Please keep praying for God to give us the strength we need to go on.

Sisters Susan and Verena made a cookbook with recipes from the family members of Ben and Elizabeth Coblentz, my parents. The memories and recipes this week are from their book.

Susan’s Memories

There are a lot of memories we could talk about. When I was a sixth grader at school, our class was supposed to bring in some kind of food. Then we had to prepare it in front of the class so we could all see how different foods were made. We just had to make enough so the class could all have a taste of what everyone prepared. So I made a potato salad. I had the potato mixture in one container and then the salad dressing mixture in another. Everything was already cut up and diced; I just had to mix it together then tell the class what and how much was in it. Mom helped me with the potato salad recipe and also got everything prepared. She was an excellent cook, baker, and mother. My sixth-grade teacher said she wanted to taste my potato salad, as she said she knows what a good cook Mom is! My teacher liked the potato salad! I still get hungry for Mom’s food. I put the potato salad recipe in the cookbook that Mom had gotten ready for me to take to school that day.

Dad was a great carpenter and father! He loved watching his birds and had his Martin houses, and he’d watch to see how many sets of Martins he would have.

I always like playing games with Dad and Mom. With Dad I liked to play the game Connect 4 and with Mom, Aggravation! Good old memories—they are gone, but not forgotten.

Potato Salad

2 1/2 pounds potatoes, cooked (whole) until tender
6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups salad dressing
2 teaspoons yellow prepared mustard
1/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons salt

Dice potatoes or put through a slicer. Combine potatoes, eggs, celery, and onion together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together salad dressing, mustard, vinegar, sugar, milk, and salt. Pour over potato mixture and stir together.

Susan’s Meatloaf

1 1/2 pounds hamburger
3/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup tomato juice or V8 juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, beaten

Sauce:

1/2 cup ketchup
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard

Combine hamburger, oats, onion, eggs, tomato juice, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly. Shape into 2 logs in a 9×13-inch pan or 2 loaf pans; pack firmly into pan. Whisk sauce ingredients together and spread on top of meatloaf. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for one hour. Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.

Beef and Gravy

This is a recipe sister Susan wrote in her own words from watching Mother make the gravy.

4 heaping tablespoons flour
1 pint canned beef chunks
1 medium onion
Potato water (from mashed 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, add 1 pint of beef and 2 pints of water. Put 1 whole onion in it. When it starts to boil, take out beef and put potato water in it. If you don’t have potato water, then use water. If extra water is needed, just put more water in kettle. Then mix the cooled flour and water to make a thickening until it is a little watery. Then mix the beef and thickening in the kettle until it boils.

 

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 week filled with family time and visiting

It is a Friday night and we had a nice, sunny day in the 60s. I spent the day with our children who have muscular dystrophy at their annual appointments in Ann Arbor. It was a long day, leaving home at 5:30 a.m. and returning at 3 p.m. It’s also a stressful, tiresome day for them to do all the testing, etc. It’s a two-hour drive each way so we hired a driver to take us.

My husband Joe mixed up 25 pounds of deer jerky yesterday and was putting it in the dehydrator today. Son-in-law Tim brought us a doe he shot. We were glad for the meat.

Joe is grilling chicken for our supper and I heated up leftover spaghetti and meatballs from last night to go with the chicken.

Sons Benjamin and Joseph will leave after supper. Benjamin will go spend the night at Mose and Susan’s and go deer hunting in the morning. Joseph will go to Tim and Elizabeth’s and go deer hunting with Tim.

Little granddaughter Allison (Tim and Elizabeth) is really walking everywhere now. She likes to sing the song “High Cotton,” and we just think it’s the cutest thing. She acts so much older than her age.

Last week we had pon hoss. Last winter we canned pork broth, so Joe opened up some broth, added flour, salt and pepper, and made pon hoss. Usually we only have that after butchering pork in the winter months. It made two cake pans of pon hoss, which was used up in a few meals. Of course, they wanted coffee soup with the pon hoss.

Joe hauled manure on the garden too. It seems he is getting lots of jobs done around here but there is only one problem—it doesn’t bring in a paycheck. It’s frustrating but we need to trust in God. He will help us through difficult times. We have so much to be thankful for.

Last Sunday we attended church at nephew Benjamin’s girlfriend’s (Crystal) house about 45 minutes from here. We went with sister Emma, Jacob and sons, sisters Verena and Susan, niece Emma, Menno and children, and niece Elizabeth and Manuel. It was an enjoyable day meeting new people. We appreciated all the hospitality and am glad I got to talk with readers of this column! They have no idea how much their encouragement meant to me.

This is now Monday morning at 4:45 a.m. Sons Benjamin and Joseph are off to work.

Yesterday daughters Loretta and Lovina and son Joseph went to church with Dustin and Daniel (Loretta and Lovina’s boyfriends) to their church district. (Our community has 15 church districts with each having an average of 20-plus families. When a district gets too big, they divide and a new set of ministers, a deacon and a bishop are ordained in whichever side needs a replacement. The dividing line is what determines which side you are going to go to.)

Sons Benjamin and Kevin and daughter Verena spent yesterday at sister Emma and Jacob’s house. Joe and I were home alone so we decided after breakfast to go for a ride. We went to Mose and Susan’s house and enjoyed playing with Jennifer, 2, and Ryan, 1. Then we headed to Tim and Elizabeth’s house to enjoy some time with Abigail, 4, T.J., 23 months, and Allison, 10 1/2 months. They put out snacks such as venison jerky, popcorn, chips and salsa for us to enjoy before heading home the 6 1/2 miles. It was snowing but nothing stayed. Stay safe and healthy and God bless!

 

Turkey & Dressing Casserole

2 1/2 cups leftover dressing
1/2 cup canned mushrooms
2 cups cooked turkey, cubed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream

Spread the dressing in the bottom of a two-quart casserole or 9×9 inch baking pan. Add the mushrooms in a layer, then the turkey. Combine the soup and sour cream and spread over the turkey layer. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Additional note: Leftover mashed potatoes can also be added or used to replace the sour cream and chicken soup. I sprinkle mixed vegetables on top and add cheese too.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Painting project combines work with family visits

Supper is over with, and I need to start writing this column. We had potato soup, side pork (from our pork we butchered last winter), cheese, and crackers. Daughters Loretta, 20, and Lovina, 16, aren’t home tonight. Loretta’s friend Dustin’s family is having a belated birthday supper for him, so that is where they are. Lovina is dating Dustin’s brother Daniel, so she’s included too.

The three boys were hungry so at least it makes it worth while to make supper. Daughter Verena helped me make it. I was glad for her help.

I helped paint at Mose and Susan’s house last week Friday and Saturday. The girls brought Jennifer and Ryan (Mose and Susan’s children) here both days so Mose, Susan, and I could keep painting uninterrupted. We painted three coats on the bathroom and bedroom and two coats on the living room. Friday was a drying day and the paint dried fast but Saturday it took longer.

The cabinets are ready to be installed in the kitchen now. It all takes time and money. We are hoping they can be moved in by the end of the month. It really looks nice how they remodeled. They are adding a second bathroom which is good to have.

Saturday while we were painting at Mose and Susan’s house, daughter Elizabeth and Tim and their three children stopped in to look at the progress. They were all still tired from getting home from the wedding in Kentucky at 2 a.m. on Friday. Elizabeth helped us paint while we visited. Not only was the seven hour trip each way exhausting to the parents but the children do not like being in their seats that long. T.J., 22 months, is so energetic that it’s hard for him to be strapped in a seat that long. Abigail, 4, can entertain herself so it’s not so bad for her.

I am going to finish this in the morning so good night to all!

Good morning! It is already 10:30 a.m. and I need to get this column finished.

Daughters Verena and Lovina left to go stay with Elizabeth and Tim’s three little ones while Elizabeth runs some errands. Kevin, 15, is sorting tomatoes and throwing the bad ones away. We picked all our tomatoes (green ones too) and had them on two tables. Some went bad on us. I had always wanted to make juice with them but too much else was going on. Loretta is washing dishes. I want to sew niece Emma’s little girl Jessica a dress to take along tonight. I had it cut out a long time ago and never got it sewed.

Niece Emma is hosting a Pampered Chef party tonight which is actually a belated wedding shower for her sister Elizabeth. The girls and I plan to attend. Emma said the men folks can come after the party to eat supper, so I don’t have to cook for them. I want to have the girls make a dessert to take along.

Monday evening our family helped Dustin with his patio again. It’s close to being done. It started raining so they worked between the rain. Loretta and I made spaghetti and meatballs and garlic toast for everyone that came. Daughter Susan made a cake to bring along and Elizabeth sent apple pie. She stayed home with their girls and T.J. came with Tim.

Lovina hosted her family for the Sunday noon meal, setting the table for a crowd. Photo provided.

Sunday we had fast and prayer day in preparation for communion services. Our family came for the noon meal. We had mashed potatoes, gravy, meatloaf, corn, cheese, dinner rolls, butter, jam, hot peppers, apple slices, fruit dip, brownies, and ice cream. We set the table for all of us. After lunch we played games.

I’ll share my recipe for meatloaf. Enjoy!

God’s blessings to all!

 

Meatloaf

1 1/2 pounds hamburger
3/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1 cup tomato juice or V8 juice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, beaten

Sauce:
1/2 cup ketchup
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Then shape it into two logs in a 9×13-inch pan or two loaf pans. Pack firmly into pan. Mix the sauce together and put on top of meat loaf. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for one hour. Let sit five minutes before slicing. Optional: add a little barbecue sauce with the ketchup and mustard mixture.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Spring Cleaning and Fresh Breezes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, will be available in April 2020 from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Winter weather returns amid butchering and painting projects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay healthy during this flu season! God bless!

 

Sausage Delights

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

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

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, will be available in April 2020 from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email  LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless and stay safe!

Potato Bars

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

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

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

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Giving everything a thorough cleaning—but not without enjoying the company

Thursday morning and it’s almost 5 a.m. This column needs to be written, although my eyes still want to close for some more sleep. At least it’s not 3 a.m. That is the one thing I don’t miss from my husband not working at the RV factory. Son Joseph, 16, is waiting on his ride to go to work. Son Benjamin left for work at 4:30 a.m. The rest are still in bed. I feel extra tired this morning, but we did have a long day yesterday.

Yesterday my sister Emma, her daughters Elizabeth and Emma, and baby Jessica, along with my daughters Elizabeth and Susan and grandchildren, Abigail, Jennifer, and baby Timothy, all came here to assist us with cleaning for our upcoming church services. We will host here May 5. It will be communion services, so that usually lasts all day. We serve lunch halfway through the day, to a few tables of people at a time, until everyone is fed. Communion is usually around 3 p.m.

Anyways, back to my much-appreciated help . . . We accomplished so much yesterday but still had a nice day spent together. Walls, ceilings, furniture, etc. were cleaned from top to bottom in the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Curtains were washed and quickly dried with the nice, breezy, sunshiny day. Everything looks so crisp and clean this morning, and the curtains look nice and white hanging on the sparkling windows. I love to admire the clean windows because I know before long they will be speckled by flies resting on them. They used white vinegar and water to clean them, and that works really good.

Last week one day, daughters Verena and Loretta washed out both my cupboards. On Saturday my sisters Verena and Susan came to help, so they helped my daughters clean out cabinets. I really appreciated their help too.

I still need to defrost the freezer on our propane refrigerator and clean out the refrigerator. Also, my gas stove and oven need a thorough cleaning.

Everyone came for breakfast yesterday so I made a casserole with shredded hash browns, scrambled eggs, crumbled bacon, chopped green peppers and onions, shredded cheese, and topped with gravy. My sister Emma brought cherry coffee cake that was still warm, so that went good for dessert.

We enjoyed the four little ones. They are so precious and so much fun. Abigail wanted to help me hang out the laundry, so I told her to hand me the washcloths and a clothespin with each one. That kept her entertained for a while. She wanted to swing on the swing that hangs from our tree branch, so I lowered the seat for her. Jennifer came outside for a while, enjoying the nice day. She kept picking up little twigs and bringing them to me.

The two babies, Jessica (almost 3 months) and Timothy (4 months), took a nap on Kevin’s bed, which is still in our living room since his first surgery. Timothy is quite active and was entertained rolling over and trying to grab Jessica’s face after he awoke. The baby swing bouncer also entertained the babies while their mothers worked.

For lunch, daughter Susan brought spaghetti and meatballs and we also had leftover tacos from last night’s supper. Along with the coffee cake for dessert, it made a quick, easy meal.

While we were cleaning my husband Joe was outside in the garden planting early red potatoes. He also has sweet onions he wants to plant and some more seeds to get out in the garden. Our radishes and lettuce are up from his previous gardening. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and let them survive. It’s all controlled by God, so we trust in Him. He knows best!

I hope everyone had a nice Easter! God’s blessings to all!

Hamburger Potato Casserole

2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoons salt, divided
2 cups macaroni or shells
1 pint pizza sauce
2 quarts cubed potatoes
3 cups milk
2 rounded tablespoons flour
1 pound Velveeta cheese, melted

Place ground beef and onions in a large skillet. Add pepper and 1 teaspoon salt (or as desired) and cook over medium heat until brown. Pour into a big roasting pan or two large baking dishes.

Cook macaroni until soft, drain, then add pizza sauce. Pour on top of meat.

Cook potatoes until soft. Drain, then add milk, 2 teaspoons salt, and flour. Add cheese and pour over macaroni. Bake in a 350 degree F oven until it’s hot. Feeds a family of 12.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Helping hands make light work; words of encouragement lighten spirits

Yesterday daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their children came for the day. We cleaned Loretta and Lovina’s bedroom upstairs. We washed off the walls and ceiling, cleaned the furniture, washed the curtains and bedding, cleaned out the closet, and so on.

On Saturday my sisters Verena and Susan came to help us, so we cleaned Verena’s bedroom thoroughly. Now next on our agenda is tackling the boys’ bedrooms. Although the boys’ bedrooms always collect more dirt, I think cleaning the girls rooms takes more time. They have many more knickknacks sitting around than the boys. I also think the girls have more clothes than the boys. I appreciated all the help from everyone.

Yesterday was a long day it seemed, especially battling this cold. I am losing my voice, so I think everyone should enjoy the peacefulness. A person doesn’t realize how much they need to talk until it’s hard to. Maybe its just us, but around here “Mom” is the person everyone asks where their things are amongst a lot more questions.

My husband Joe was hauling manure out to the fields all day yesterday. Today he is finding inside jobs to do as it is rainy.

Daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, are on spring break this week from school. I think Lovina thinks we waited to start with the cleaning until she’s home from school. She has been a great help this week. Kevin has 25 more days until he gets his cast removed and gets an air cast.

Today daughters Verena, Loretta, and Lovina and son Kevin took a break from the work. They went to daughter Elizabeth’s to spend the day there. The little girl, Nikiah, that Elizabeth used to babysit for is on spring break, so she’s spending the day at Elizabeth’s. I had plans to also go but didn’t feel like leaving this morning after all. I am sure granddaughter Abigail will be excited to see Nikiah again.

The grass is looking greener every day. Hopefully soon I can go outside and collect some dandelion greens for dandelion salad. I always look forward to that each spring. We like to eat the salad over boiled or steamed potatoes with bacon or fresh ham.

Our neighbors had the youth singing on Sunday evening. We were also invited but we didn’t go. It sounded fun, but it was cold and windy and felt good to just stay home and make it an early night. We were also invited to supper at Dustin’s brother’s house, where his parents hosted church services that day. Maybe if it would have been a nice sunny, warm day we would have gone to one place or the other. Its hard to get Kevin in the buggy with his needing a wheelchair yet. Hopefully soon it will be warm enough for him to go with the pony and pony buggy. Daughters Verena and Loretta attended church services hosted by Dustin’s parents on Sunday.

I want to wish Melodie (one of my former editors) a happy retirement! May God bless her for all the great work she has done. I imagine she will enjoy more time with her family.

I also want to thank everyone for the cards, letters, and gifts that were sent to son Kevin and me. It was greatly appreciated. So many words of encouragement! God bless you all for caring!

When life gets busy and I sometimes think I don’t have enough time to write this column, then I think of all you readers who have always encouraged me. Thank you for that, and God’s blessings to all!

 

Barbecue Hamburgers 

1 1/2 pound ground beef
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup tomato juice
A few drops liquid smoke

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Form into patties and grill. Serves 6.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.