Category Archives: Meats

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.

 

Puzzles, laundry training, ouchies: Lovina, while recuperating, won’t get bored

It is now eight days since my surgery and I seem to be doing better every day. I had a few days after the surgery that I was running a high temperature so that made everything seem worse. Now I have a bad head cold but it is also getting better.

Abigail, 2, and baby Timothy are here this forenoon. Daughter Elizabeth had an eye appointment so she dropped them off on her way to town. We are enjoying having them here. Abigail is sitting beside me at the kitchen table looking at books. She loves books but now she decided she wants to write my column too. I gave her a pencil and paper and as she scribbles I wonder what goes through her mind. How precious!

Since having my surgery I haven’t had a chance to get bored. I get many visits from my children and grandchildren which keeps me entertained. I wasn’t up to visiting much but just having them here was nice.

Yesterday daughters Elizabeth and Susan along with their children came to spend the day. The day went too fast! Abigail asked Elizabeth why grandma has an ouchie but didn’t get a baby like she did when she had an ouchie. Such sweet innocence!

Son Joseph, 16, and daughter Loretta, 18, are downstairs washing laundry. Loretta is training Joseph pretty good in how to hang up laundry. She told me she’s glad I’m not down there to see how he hangs the clothes up because I would probably laugh.

Daughter Verena just changed baby Timothy’s diaper and he decided he wasn’t done. He can really smile at us now and coos. He is really content when he is here without his mother.

Sister Emma and Jacob are grandparents for the first time and are very excited to have Jessica Rose join their family. Jessica was born to Menno and Emma on January 30. Joe and I went over to meet her the Sunday before my surgery. She is a sweetie!

The girls are doing a good job fulfilling my duties in the kitchen. They are more than happy if someone shows up at the door with supper ready for us. It is greatly appreciated.

Daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, had a few days off from school again due to ice and snow. Son Benjamin, 19, also had a few days home from the factory due to bad weather. The factory Joe works in kept working so they just needed to allow extra time to get there. I for myself am ready for spring but we cannot control the weather so we need to be content with what we get.

This afternoon I have an appointment at the doctor to have my staples removed. Next week son Kevin will be able to have his cast removed after six weeks of wearing it. He will have an air cast for two weeks but will at least be allowed to put weight on it. His next surgery is planned for the middle of March and then he will start all over again. I know this has been really hard on his patience but going to school every day helped. Usually after a day at school he is ready for an early night.

The Eicher’s latest puzzle of a typical Amish farm scene is glued and ready to hang, called “Cuttin’ Barley.”

We have completed the 1000-piece puzzle that Kevin received. It is an Amish Country puzzle named “Cuttin’ Barley.” We glued it for Kevin to hang in his bedroom. Now we are working on a 500-piece puzzle called “The Last Day of Summer.” For myself I like the 1000-piece puzzles as they seem more of a challenge.

This week I will share a recipe for hot dog sauce that a reader, Joyce, from Indiana shared with me. Enjoy! God’s blessings to all!

Hot Dog Sauce

1 pound hamburger
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons cumin
3 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 teaspoon oregano
1 can tomato sauce
1 can water
1/2 cup ketchup
salt and pepper to taste

Brown hamburger in enough water to cover the bottom of pan. Break up meat and as it cooks add remaining ingredients. Simmer for one hour. Serve over hot dogs.

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.

Elizabeth writes column as Lovina heals from surgery

Cold winds caused some drifting, but the biggest event was the -13 degrees temperatures.

Elizabeth writes column as Lovina heals from surgery

Hello folks! This is Elizabeth, Lovina’s oldest daughter, taking my Mom’s spot penning her weekly column. Today she underwent surgery (postponed a week because of extreme cold). Hopefully all heals well and she soon feels 100 percent again. My Dad, my brothers Joseph, 16, and Kevin, 13; my sisters Susan (with her daughter Jennifer), Verena, 21, Loretta, 18, and Lovina, 14, plus my children and I all went with her to the hospital.

As most of you probably know Tim and I welcomed an addition to our family last December. Timothy Josiah (also known as T.J.) is a joy! Abigail loves her little brother. Most days she enjoys being the “big sister” but we still have those moments when she also wants to be the “baby!” And that’s okay with me because before long she’ll outgrow this stage. Abigail is an adventurous little girl and we have no dull moments when she’s around.

Since I’ve become Mom for the second time, life has sped up another notch. I do love being a mother! Someday I’ll probably miss the toys scattered on the floor, the ABC magnets on the fridge, the finger smudges on everything, baby bouncer on the kitchen table, baby swing in the living room, pacifiers, diapers, potty training—the list goes on. To me Abigail and Timothy are worth it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My cousin Emma and Menno became first time parents on January 30 welcoming a baby girl; Jessica Rose, weighing 6 pounds 11 ounces and 19 1/2-inches long. This is the first grandbaby for Uncle Jacob and Aunt Emma. Though I have yet to see her, I’m told she’s a cutie. I dug some pink material out of my cedar chest to sew a baby dress for her.

Getting around in buggies on the snow and ice with cold temperatures? Not for the faint of heart.
Most owners put their horses inside, or have the horses wear blankets in extremely cold weather. This was a brief stop/wait for Mr. Horse.

Last week we had a very cold spell for a couple days. A low of -13 degrees, a high of zero degrees with a wind chill of -42 degrees. Due to the cold, schools, factories, and more were closed for a few days. Other than going out to do chores, Tim stayed inside with me and the children. He kept the horses in the barn. It was much too cold for them to stay outdoors.

For supper tonight we had a breakfast meal: potatoes, eggs, bacon and cheese. Abigail is asleep on daddy’s lap. She loves to hear stories so Tim was telling her a few. Now he’s reading a book while she dozes, content in daddy’s arms. Timothy, 7 weeks old, is in his swing watching his toys swing back and forth. He’s smiling and cooing sweetly!

Tim got a few nights of ice-fishing in. He never got a chance to go last winter. Tim’s a fisherman so it’s nevermind the weather—cold or hot, snowy or sunny. I’ve gone ice-fishing one time. I can’t say it wasn’t fun because I enjoyed it, but I prefer to fish from inside a boat or off land. Seems safer to me.

When Abigail heard Tim was going fishing, she got out her life jacket, little pink fishing pole and swim clothes. She wanted to go along but didn’t realize it’s called “ice-fishing” for a reason. She was disappointed when she had to stay home.

During that cold spell Tim started a 1000-piece puzzle titled “Northern Tranquility.” We enjoy doing puzzles of cabin/cottage by any sort of body of water. We’ve completed a total of six puzzles which are glued and hung. Abigail wanted to help with the puzzle. She got quite a few pieces together, though not correctly. In the process, she knocked down some pieces, so I suppose time will tell if we’re missing any pieces.

Tim went back to work this week at the RV factory. He had last week off due to the factory being low in orders. I did enjoy having him home. He helps me out a lot with the children and household chores, and cutting wood. Before long he’ll be collecting maple sap.

While we were at the hospital today Abigail discovered a vending machine in the waiting room. She was very curious wondering what kind of fridge had glass doors. She saw it had a keyhole so she asked me for a key. I told her it used money to get a snack or drink out of it. Then of course she asked for quarters. I suppose those snacks and drinks looked better than the ones I had in the diaper bag. Kevin gave her 75 cents to get juice. Abigail was amazed how the juice came out of an opening near the bottom of the machine but never “moved” from the glass display.

I’ll share a favorite recipe of Tim’s. Even though it’s called spicy steak roast, it’s not that spicy.

Spicy Steak Roast

 Venison or beef steaks, sliced thin
6 medium potatoes, sliced
1/2 pound carrots, sliced
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Arrange steaks in a single layer in a roaster pan. Add sliced potatoes and carrots. Combine the rest of the ingredients and spread over meat, potatoes and carrots. Cover with foil. Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours. Enjoy!

 

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.

 

Lovina asks about oldest reader; plus life heads back to a welcome routine

All is quiet here at the Eichers this morning except the yapping of daughter Verena’s Yorkie puppies. They are really playful but she is eager to sell them as they are now eating well on their own. If anyone knows of someone needing a nice house companion, let me know. These dogs do not shed hair so that is another good thing about them. Son Kevin will not like to see them go but we already have Ricky and Ruby here in the house.

Kevin has returned to school  yesterday for the first day since his surgery. A bus with a lift picks him up every morning at 7:00 a.m. and brings him home after school. This should help make his days go by faster. Daughter Lovina goes on their regular bus and leaves about 15 minutes earlier.

Last night daughter Elizabeth, Tim, Abigail and baby Timothy came for supper. We had mashed potatoes, beef and noodles, cheese, bread, butter, grape jelly, canned peaches and cookies. I hadn’t seen them for nine days so I was excited to spend time with the little ones. Baby Timothy is doing well and is four-and-a-half weeks old now.

Daughter Verena spent a few days over at Tim and Elizabeth’s helping out with household duties. Abigail is a busy body so she keeps Elizabeth on the run. Verena brought their laundry back with her. Tim washed their laundry last week but I told him we can do it this week. He has been battling a cold so I’m sure he was glad to not do it.

Today Verena will go with Elizabeth and her children to the children’s doctor appointments. It will make it easier for Elizabeth to have someone help with Abigail and baby Timothy. Daughter Susan needs to go to town so she will leave Jennifer here with Loretta and I. How fun!

Jennifer had her first birthday on January 15. On Friday evening we’ll all go to Mose and Susan’s house to see Jennifer eat her cake. Jennifer is taking a few steps but is still scared to go too far.

Grandchildren are special! Abigail kept asking Elizabeth when she can go to Grandpa and Grandma’s house again. This was the first time Tims were here since Kevin’s surgery. Abigail was fascinated by Kevin’s “big band aid.” She sat by her uncle Kevin most of the evening and he entertained her.

My husband Joe went back to work on Monday after being off for three weeks. They will only have four-day work weeks as of now. Life now seems a little more back to a routine since the holidays.

Daughter Verena also spent a day this week with my niece Emma (the one that just got married) at her new home. It was different for the two cousins spending the day together again. They did Emma’s laundry as they visited and then had lunch together there.

I’m relieved that our meat butchering, canning and freezing is now done for the year. We will not butcher hogs this year as we still have plenty of sausage in the freezer. We are still able to enjoy fresh pon hoss that Jacob and Emma brought over.

Pon hoss is a winter specialty breakfast (or supper) of sautéed cakes, made from pork broth cooked with cornmeal after butchering. Serve up with apple butter or local favorite condiment!

Joe and the children packaged over 200 hamburger patties for the freezer. He has a hamburger patty maker he attaches to our meat grinder so it went fast. He said it took them only a half hour. They had an assembly line going with someone putting the paper between the patties and some bagging them, etc. Many hands make light work, as most know! Working together as a family strengthens that family bond, I think.

The canned meat jars were cleaned and carried to the basement and put on the shelves in our canning room. So nice to see the freezer and shelves filling up. We need to thank our Heavenly Father for all the bounties he provides. Are we thankful enough?

I just answered a reader’s letter from Minnesota. Martha is 102 and still baking. May God bless her with good health and happiness. Are any of my readers older than Martha?

God bless!

Chuck Wagon Hot Dish

1 pound hamburger, fried and drained
6 medium potatoes, diced
2 cups diced, partially cooked carrots
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 large onion, diced
1 (10.5-ounce) can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
3 cups water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
pepper to taste
shredded cheese

Mix all ingredients together and bake in covered pan at 350 degrees for one hour. Top with a little cheese just before serving.

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.

Abigail sings “We wish you a Merry Christmas” while the dishes get washed

Family Bibles are used in devotions, as Lovina mentions in this column, and at other times. These are in German.

Christmas 2018 is now history. We hope you all had a blessed Christmas with loved ones, and remembering that Jesus is the reason for the season! Our wish is for God’s blessings on each of you in the coming New Year, 2019, and always.

We had a very nice Christmas with our whole family here several nights and on Christmas Day. Everyone came over Christmas Eve. Baby Timothy—Elizabeth and Tim’s newest—is nine days old today but they still came over. We tried to make Elizabeth take it easy but with two little ones to care for, she is kept busy. Of course while Abigail is here with us she is pretty well occupied. We had a light supper for whoever didn’t eat before they came on Christmas Eve. Everyone went to bed early to get rested for Christmas morning. Elizabeth had a doctor appointment earlier on Christmas Eve, so she was more than tired.

Christmas morning it was so good to wake up and know that our whole family of 16 were all here. How sweet to greet the grandchildren in the morning! After devotions with the family, we had a 10 o’clock brunch. On the menu were fried eggs, potatoes, bacon, biscuits and sausage gravy, cheese, hot peppers, clementines, cookies, orange juice, white or chocolate milk, and coffee. We set the table for 14 and Jennifer sat in the high chair. Baby Timothy was passed around and not left too long in the crib. He is a quiet baby other than when he wants to be fed. Abigail was a little more fussy so this makes it nicer for Elizabeth.

The dishes were washed up quickly with everyone’s help. Abigail loves singing and wanted to sing “We wish you a Merry Christmas” while we washed dishes. She really knows the words to the song if we ask her what words come next.

Jennifer is walking behind a push toy and will stand alone if she’s not thinking about it. When she realizes she’s standing all alone, she grabs for support.

After dishes were put away, we all gathered to open gifts. The children and in-laws all exchanged names so it was interesting to see who had whose name and what they had shopped to buy them. After that our children wanted to give their gifts to Joe and me. They gave us some nice, useful gifts. We then passed out our gifts to the children and grandchildren. Everyone was happy for what they received. We need to remember the true meaning of Christmas, but we can also have joy in giving. I really enjoy giving gifts that the children need. For our married daughters and families, we raised a beef, for them to share the meat. It is something they can use.

After gifts were all passed out, we played games together; I had fun entertaining the grandchildren.

Later in the day we got out snacks that everyone brought. I put a turkey in the oven to cook through the day, so we enjoyed that with the meal. Later in the evening we made an easy supper of grilled cheese sandwiches for whoever was still hungry.

Tim, Mose, and Dustin went to deliver presents and do evening chores over at Tim’s and Moses’s places. They all decided to spend the night here again. This morning Dustin and Mose went hunting. Tim and Elizabeth took baby Timothy for a check up at the doctor’s office. Abigail stayed here with us. I made a breakfast casserole for everyone to enjoy around 9:30 a.m.

Mose and Dustin helped Joe and the boys dress our beef and hang it in the pole barn to chill. It is a big beef and looks like work for next week. Tomorrow, plans are to go help Jacob and Emma prepare for church services they will host at their house Sunday.

On Friday, Joe and our sons-in-law have a paid trip to Cadillac, Michigan, to go ice fishing for the day. Elizabeth and Susan and their littles ones will come here to spend the day with us.

Blessings to all! Enjoy this recipe for something different!

Cheddar Chicken Salad Casserole

3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup cooked rice
3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
ground black pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir together the chicken, rice, eggs and onion in a medium bowl. Stir in lemon juice, soup, mayonnaise and cheese. Season with black pepper. Spoon the chicken mixture into a 3-quart shallow baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes or until the mixture is hot and bubbling.

 

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 at 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.

 

Lovina answers reader questions about Amish clothing traditions

This week my husband Joe, and son Benjamin, 19, are off all week for Thanksgiving. Son Joseph, 16, has off Thanksgiving Day and Friday, as well as Lovina, 14, and Kevin, 13 from school. So it seems as if this week will go faster than usual.

Saturday our three sons and Joe went to help at sister Emma and Jacob’s house again, preparing for the upcoming wedding of niece Emma and Menno on December 7. Menno’s family was there also helping. I decided to stay here and keep sewing. I did make a potato casserole to send along with Joe and the boys, to make lunchtime a little easier for Emma and her daughters.

Today Joe and Benjamin are helping son-in-law Mose replace some windows in their house. This should make their house warmer this winter. With the windows out, the house is cold so daughter Susan and baby Jennifer came here for the day. Susan brought her sewing along to work on here. After the girls and I washed our laundry, I also sewed and managed to get my dress and part of my cape sewn too.

Recently a reader asked what a cape is. It is the triangular piece of fabric that goes from the waist and over our shoulders and crosses in front. Then the apron is put over the bottom of the cape and belted around the waist. In our community capes are usually worn to church weddings and special occasions. For church, a white cape and apron is worn, but for a wedding we wear the same color cape and apron as our dress color and material, which we call a “dress suit.” I hope that explains enough on the cape.

I do not get to see your questions on the website, so I appreciate my editors taking time to print them out and mail them to me. I was encouraged by all of your kind words, so I want to say thank you!

Front of typical cape, apron and dress for a wedding in Lovina’s community.
The same dress for a wedding, showing cape and apron from back.

Another question was about what an Amish bride wears. This can vary from one community to the next. In some communities the brides will wear a black dress with white cape and apron. In our community, the bride chooses her color of dress, but wears a white cape and apron. Also in our church community, a bride wears a black covering to the wedding service. After she is married she changes to a white covering and won’t wear a black covering again. The unmarried girls wear black coverings to church services, but wear white coverings at all other times.

Daughter Elizabeth was married in a burgundy color dress and our daughter Susan chose a green dress. I hope this explains it well enough.

Some brides sew their own dresses, while other have their mother or someone else sew it. Daughter Elizabeth sewed her own wedding dress but I sewed Susan’s wedding dress. I made my own wedding dress but I didn’t have a choice in the color because all brides in that community wore black dresses with a white cape and apron to get married.

Another question a reader asked was why we use sawdust in horse stalls instead of straw. I think it is just whatever someone prefers. Joe thinks it’s easier to muck out the sawdust and we can also get it free from local saw mills.

To the reader wondering what we use to wash windows, we use white vinegar and warm water, using cheesecloth towels to wipe dry—and any rag to wash. Do not use any fabric softener to wash the cheesecloth towels.

A reader requested my Sloppy Joe recipe. I try to make it similar to son-in-law Moses’s “recipe” but since he doesn’t have a recipe and just puts in a little of this and that, I tried to write down amounts. Add or take out any of the ingredients if you prefer. Our children love when Moses makes Sloppy Joes. Enjoy!

God’s blessings to all and Happy Thanksgiving!

Sloppy Joe Recipe

1 pound sausage
1 pound venison (ground)
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon garlic salt or powder
1 teaspoon onion salt or powder
½ cup BBQ sauce (any type)
1 tablespoon mustard
½ cup ketchup

Brown sausage and venison together in skillet or large pan. Add rest of ingredients, stir well, and heat through. Serves 12 or so. Other seasonings of your choice can be added.

 

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

Fall dinners mean batter up for fried fish, vegetables and onion rings

This column will wrap up September. October starts on Monday already! It’s a big day for deer hunters with the season opening.

Son-in-law Mose took our son Kevin, 13, out hunting on Saturday, when the youth hunt was held. Kevin shot his first deer, so that was exciting for him. Mose said the first thing Kevin said when he saw the deer lying there was, “Is that even enough meat to feed all eight of us?” Mose helped with the processing. Kevin was really tired from walking through the woods but was glad he finally was able to go hunting. He passed his hunter’s safety course two years ago but had never gone hunting until Saturday.

My husband Joe and I are on our way to see the dentist in a town around 45 minutes away. Our local dentist referred Joe to this dentist, as he wasn’t sure if the tooth could be pulled or would need surgery to have it extracted. Our good friend Beth is taking us. She is always so patient when she takes us to appointments. Joe doesn’t have to work tomorrow, so he hopes to make deer jerky with some of the meat from Kevin’s deer. He has the meat marinating in the refrigerator.

Last weekend son Benjamin and daughter Loretta went salmon fishing with Loretta’s special friend Dustin’s family. They had a nice time even though they didn’t catch any salmon. A few others who were along caught salmon. It’s a big fish to catch!

Then last night Loretta went to Dustin’s parents’ house, where his family enjoyed some of the salmon that Dustin’s brother caught. The meal was also in honor of Dustin’s brother Daniel’s 17th birthday.

Our married daughters and granddaughters came home yesterday

Lovina and Joe’s horse Ginger has a five-month-old filly, Sugar, pictured here beside Buddy the border collie.

for the day. Then our sons-in-law came in the evening, and they were all here for supper before leaving for home. It’s always so fun to spend time with the sweet little granddaughters!

Recently we went to niece Emma’s special friend Menno’s house for a fish fry. We were served a delicious supper. Menno lives on the property son-in-law Timothy lived on before he was married. So it always brings back memories going to his house. It was a nice evening, and we ate outside under canopies. All our family was there along with sister Emma, Jacob and family and sisters Verena and Susan. The fish was deep fried outdoors in a propane deep-fryer. People played outdoor games such as cornhole and horseshoe toss.

I will share the recipe at the end of the column for the breading we use for fish, zucchini, onion rings or whatever you wish to deep fry. A reader requested this recipe. I have shared it already, but I’ll post it again for new readers or those of you who might have missed it.

I am having a hard time concentrating on getting this written while we are driving along such scenic roads! Leaves are starting to turn color.

Grapes are ready at the u-pick place, so the girls and I want to go pick some grapes to put into grape juice. Hopefully we can go tomorrow.

We are now sitting in the waiting room. We’re finished with all the paperwork, and I’m going to bring this column to an end until next week. God bless you all!

Batter for Deep-Fat Frying

1/2 cup milk
1 egg
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (or seasoning of your choice)

Mix together all ingredients and stir until lumps are smooth. Dip fish fillets or sliced vegetables in the batter. Drop in hot oil in a deep frying pan or Dutch oven. Fry until golden brown.

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

Verena’s view from camping week, plus super easy supper on the grill

Verena and sister Loretta made this delicious supper on the grill.

Verena’s view from camping week, plus super easy supper on the grill

This is Verena, 20, writing for Mom this week. Mom isn’t home and I know she needs this written.

I’m off work on Wednesdays every week. I work the other four days for my cousin Emanul. He owns a woodworking shop so I work in the office. I really enjoy it and it seems to be working so far with my handicap. I really enjoy doing office work.

My sister Loretta, 18, Lovina, 14, and Kevin, 12, are also home so Loretta is getting lunch for all of us. Dad and Mom left to go do some shopping so Dad can do some repairs around here. He is off on vacation this week yet.

Loretta is heating up leftovers from last night’s supper for our lunch which is fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

Mose and Susan (sister) and niece Jennifer drove in last night just as we were getting ready to eat so we told them to stay and eat with us. Jennifer is full of smiles every time I see her. I love being Aunt to Jennifer and Abigail! They are my whole world!

We are back home getting settled after spending last week camping at the lake. My siblings and I told Dad and Mom that next time we do a camping trip we want to be far enough away from home so they can’t always be running home to check on things and doing laundry and chores.

We were at the lake from Sunday, July 1 to Saturday, July 7. It was very enjoyable with the entire family together. I will always cherish these memories we made.

We rented three older model RV’s from the campsite owner. They didn’t have electricity in them but the water for the toilet and the lights worked from being hooked up somehow to a 12-volt battery. It beat not having to sleep in tents. We divided up between the three RV’s and had a screened-in canopy for our cooking spot.

We all gathered once a day at least to have a meal together. Otherwise, some were fishing; some were swimming; and others were enjoying the little ones and visiting and relaxing together. The owner treated us very well and always was willing to do whatever he could to make our stay go smoother. We had a few very hot days but found comfort in cooling off swimming. Although we did use sunscreen, a few of us had sunburns which is not fun.

Abigail loved the water but Jennifer preferred only having her feet in the lake water. I loved spending time with Abigail and Jennifer on the swings, slides, etc.

Uncle Jacob and Aunt Emma and family took care of my Yorkie dogs (Ricky and Ruby) while we were gone. They also had sister Elizabeth’s dogs (Izzy and Crystal) so they had a handful of extra chores. We all appreciated it very much.

Thursday evening we invited Jacob and Emma and family, also their daughters Emma and Elizabeth’s boyfriends, Menno and Manuel, to the camp to spend the evening with us. The men went fishing after supper. Aunt Emma brought a wet burrito casserole for all of us. Dad grilled some brats to go along with it.

Sister Loretta turned 18 while we were at the lake (July 1). We had cupcakes in honor of her birthday. Brother Benjamin and Loretta are both the same age now until Saturday, July 14, when Benjamin will have his 19th birthday.

July 4 we attended cousin Levi’s wedding. I was a tablewaiter and had to wear a light gray dress, cape, and apron. It was nice to see family again!

We all packed up to leave the campground on Saturday evening.

Sunday we attended the viewing of our former bishop, John, who passed away. Our church became too large so we divided in two districts and John was bishop for the other district. He was 75 and a cousin of my deceased grandmother Elizabeth Coblentz, the original writer of this column. I stayed home from work on Monday so I could attend the funeral with my family. It was a big funeral!

On Tuesday I went back to work. We were busy catching up from our week’s vacation. It’s always enjoyable to have time off but I love when everything is back to a routine.

Well, you all take care and God bless! I’ll share a recipe with you the best I can of what Loretta and I made for supper Monday evening.

Supper on the Grill

1 pound steak cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound bacon cut into small pieces
1 package shrimp de-tailed (optional)
1 medium onion cut up in chunks
1 green pepper chopped
1 box fresh mushrooms
6 medium potatoes cubed
1 cup olive oil

Mix all together and add seasonings of your choice. Toss until seasoning is well mixed with all ingredients. Grill in tin foil on grill until meat is cooked and potatoes are soft. Serves about 12.

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