Category Archives: Meats

Baby colt delights Eicher children; Lovina offers delicious spring asparagus recipe

BlackBeautyFoal
Black Beauty was born to Itty Bit May 1, 2015!

May is here already. It seems as though 2015 just began and now we are already in the month of May.

The first of May brought some excitement here. Our horse Itty Bit gave birth to a little filly. She is all black, so we named her Black Beauty. Such a lively young foal! Itty Bit is a very protective mother to the foal and it took some time for her to let us get too close to the foal.

PoleBuildingFraming
Framing went up on a new pole building, with the help of a contractor.

The construction crew started building our pole barn this morning. The poles are all set. Daughter Verena didn’t have to work today so she made chocolate chip bars and lemonade to serve to the men for their break.

My rhubarb is ready to use and I need to make rhubarb custard pie. My husband Joe always likes that.

Joe found out yesterday that they will soon be working nine hour days on Saturdays for a while. This makes him glad he hired help to put up the pole barn and didn’t attempt to put it up himself.

Last week I bought the royal blue material that I need to make address for nephew Levi’s wedding next week. I want to cut it out today and start sewing on it. I was so glad Verena could have the day off to help with the other work.

Our sympathy goes to Elizabeth’s special friend Timothy and his extended family. His grandpa died yesterday. The funeral is planned for Friday in northern Indiana.

We have radishes, peas, and corn up in the garden. We also have sweet onions planted. We had a few rainy days so once the garden dries off again we would like to plant some more of the garden. Our horseradish plant is looking nice. We want to make horseradish sauce. We grind up the root real fine and season it.

Son Kevin, 9, and Lovina are enjoying their ducks and amazed at how fast they are growing. I haven’t been out to the barn lately to see how big they are. Kevin is getting annoyed with our new rooster. He said this rooster is starting to get mean like the old one.

Thursday evening we will go to the middle school orientation with daughter Lovina, 10. Lovina and her classmates will present their career prep portfolio exit interviews to the parents. It doesn’t seem possible that number seven of our eight children has reached middle school level.

Saturday we attended the annual consignment auction. We sold our pony Tiger at the auction. Susan really hated to see him be sold but we have too many ponies around. We gave our miniature pony Minnie to Jacob and Emma’s son Steven. Lovina and Kevin are almost too big for her. Susan is training Minnie’s colt Prancer. She says he is easy to train.

It looks like we need to get the yard mowed. With the rain, the grass is growing fast.

We are enjoying asparagus fixed in different ways. Try it in this recipe. God bless!

Bunch of Green Asparagus
Bunch of green asparagus; (ThinkStock Photo)

Asparagus Ham Swirls

16 fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
16 slices fully cooked ham
16 slices processed Swiss cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup dry bread crumbs
cooking oil

In a skillet, cook asparagus in a small amount of water until tender-crisp, about six to eight minutes; drain well. Spread about one teaspoon of mustard on each ham slice. Top with one cheese slice. Place one asparagus spear on each piece of cheese (trim to fit if needed). Roll up each ham slice tightly; secure with three toothpicks. Dip ham rolls in egg, then in bread crumbs.

In skillet, heat one inch of oil to 350°. Fry rolls until golden brown (about three to four minutes). Drain on paper towels; keep warm. Cut each roll between the toothpicks into three pieces.

 

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

 

 

Hog butchering, Amish style, plus recipe for hamburger-veggie soup

Another week has gone by already. These last weeks have been extra busy with working on our beef and pork.

On Saturday we butchered the four pigs we raised. They were pretty big already. After all the hams, pork chops, bacon, and ribs were cut out, the bones were trimmed of the meat and the meat cut into strips for the grinder. The bones were cooked in a big black iron kettle. After the meat was soft enough to come off the bones, it was taken off and put through the grinder.

The juice that is left from cooking the meat off the bones is saved and returned to the kettle after it is measured. We then return the meat and add flour, salt, and pepper to the kettle to make Pon Haus (something similar to Scrapple). After it is cooked to the right thickness it is poured into cake pans, baking ware, or whatever you want to use. After it is cooled you can slice and fry it as a meat.

PonHaus

The lard was rendered in the big black kettle and we now have many gallons of lard again. It turned out really nice and white. I like when it isn’t dark from being cooked too long.

The sausage is ground and seasoned. A lot of work goes into a day of butchering. We still have some sausage to make into breakfast links and brats and more meat that needs to be packaged for the freezer. We are gradually working on that this week.

Sausage

Today we are canning beef vegetable soup. We cooked the beef from the bones to put in the soup. How thankful we are to be able to fill jars and the freezer with meat for another year.

Saturday, January 24, daughter Susan will be 19 years old. It will also be sister Liz’s 46th, so happy birthday wishes to both of them.

The schools closed their doors yesterday due to icy roads. This morning they had a two-hour delay because of the roads. It worked out well yesterday, as I could take Kevin to get his new leg braces repaired. A few screws had fallen out and he was unable to use the braces. They help him a lot so we didn’t want to have him be without them too long.

For the new readers of this column: a few of our children have limb-girdle type 2A muscular dystrophy. Kevin needs the leg braces to help keep his heels on the ground. They help him stay balanced when he runs or bikes. Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement. It is not an easy thing to accept, but we know God makes no mistakes. We need to put our full trust in God.

Congratulations go to Joe’s sister Loretta and Henry! They were blessed with their tenth child. A little girl named Damaris Joy was born to them on December 31, 2014—the final day of 2014.

I will share a recipe for hamburger soup.

Hamburger Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup sliced carrots
2 cups tomato juice
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/3 cup flour
4 cups milk

Melt butter in saucepan and brown meat. Add onions and cook until onions are transparent. Add remaining ingredients except milk and flour. Cover and cook over low heat 20-25 minutes until vegetables are tender. Combine flour and one cup of the milk and stir into soup mixture. Bring to a boil. Add remaining milk and heat, stirring frequently. Do not boil after adding remaining milk.

 

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

Whole family gets in on butchering this week

It’s another cold January day. The temperature is finally one degree above the zero mark. The sun is shining though, which gives everything a brighter look!

We are glad for all the sun we get in the winter months. The solar freezer we have depends on the sun to keep running. We are still glad we invested in it. We have not had to spend a penny on it since we bought it a few years ago.

Beefquarters
Workroom for beef butchering

Our freezers and canning jars are filling up fast with meat. We butchered a beef last week. I gave my husband Joe a meat grinder for his birthday in December. It has sure come in handy. The children gave Joe a hamburger patty and jerky maker for Christmas that attaches to the grinder. Joe made the jerky with it and now has made hundreds of hamburger patties with it. He is very happy for all of it. We put the patties in the freezer with freezer sheets between them. It is so handy to just pull them apart and put them right in the frying pan or on the grill.

We also canned a lot of beef chunks. I cooked the meat off the bones and want to make vegetable soup to can with the meat and broth.

friedbrains
Fried brains, a delicacy for some.

Joe and some of the children like to eat the cow brains. I have never tasted them! I fried the brains for them Sunday morning. Joe likes it with eggs and fried potatoes.

Our highlight of butchering is that we can make “rare beef.” We take very thin sliced pieces of the most tender steaks. Then we put salt and lots of black pepper on both sides of each piece and fry in very hot lard or oil. You only put it in for a few turns, then flip it over for a few more turns and it’s done. This is a favorite meat for us around beef butchering time. Everyone usually starts eating as I fry it, as it is best right out of the pan. I remember my mother standing by the Kerosene stove frying it one piece at a time. Now I know what she must have thought: it is a relief to be done when everyone has had their fill. It’s a greasy job and my propane stove keeps the oil lots hotter than when I had a Kerosene stove to make it on.

rarebeef
Rarebeef, a special treat

How blessed we feel to once again be able to put meat in the freezer and jars. Since we have two freezers, I can a lot less. It is so much easier to package it than to pressure can everything.

Saturday we have plans to butcher the four pigs we raised. They are really big already so they should give us a lot of pork.

Jacob, Emma and family and sisters Verena and Susan and all the special friends plan to come help us. Many hands do make lighter work. We appreciate all the help. I’ll write more about it in next week’s column.

Our school closed its doors two days last week due to extremely cold temperatures. Everyone is back to school and work this week, leaving all the work to daughter Verne and me again.

God’s blessings to all! This week I’ll share with you one of our favorite breakfast casseroles.

Sausage Gravy Breakfast Casserole

8 oz. bacon, fried and crumbled
1/2 package Smoky links, chopped
1/3 cup ham, cubed
2 cups shredded potatoes
6-12 eggs (scrambled), quantity depending on how many you are serving
1/4 cup green peppers, diced
1/4 cup onions, diced
1 cups Colby cheese, shredded
2 quarts sausage gravy

Mix everything together except gravy (see below). Spread in a greased 9 x 11 inch pan or larger. Spread gravy over everything. Bake at 350 degrees for 40- 45 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Sausage Gravy

1 pound bulk sausage
1/4 cup flour
4 cups milk
Salt and black pepper

In a cast-iron skillet, brown sausage over medium heat. Drain off grease. Sprinkle in flour and brown lightly. Gradually add milk and mix until very smooth. Bring gravy to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and cook until the desired thickness is reached. If gravy becomes too thick, additional milk may be added. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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

Frigid cold but warm family fellowship over haystacks, barbecued meatballs

School doors closed for the day. We are having frigid temperatures with a bitter cold wind. The wind chill is minus 30 this morning and the temperature minus 8. Brrrr! But we are enjoying winter scenery. The ground is covered with snow.

My husband Joe and daughters Elizabeth and Susan are back working at the RV factories after a two-week break. Their holiday vacation went way too fast. Joe has been at this factory ten years now.

Jacob, sister Emma and family, sisters Verena and Susan, and the girls’ special friends Timothy, Mose, Marvin, Menno, and Manuel were all here for a breakfast brunch on New Year’s Day. We added an eight-foot table and a card table to our ten-foot dining room table to make room for 24 people to sit down. We had a breakfast haystack.HaystackBreakfastEditedFor a breakfast haystack you put a variety of foods on top of each other such as: scrambled eggs, diced ham, diced Smokies, crumbled bacon, crumbled biscuits, hash brown potatoes, diced tomatoes, diced green peppers, diced onions, hot peppers, salsa, cheese sauce, and sausage gravy.

After the brunch we exchanged gifts. We had traded names earlier. It’s always exciting to see what all everyone gets and who had each other’s name. Jacob and Emma’s son Benjamin had my name. He gave me three Pyrex bowls, two memory foam pillows, and cookie cutters.

In the afternoon Mose’s parents and some of his family came by to pick up Mose and daughter Susan. They headed to Iowa to visit Mose’s sister Marilyn for a few days.

Friday evening daughter Verena left to travel the couple hours to Marvin’s place. They attended a family gathering on Saturday.

Daughter Elizabeth and Timothy left Friday evening to attend a dinner that Timothy’s employer was having for all his employees. The house seemed empty with the three oldest not at home.

Saturday afternoon Timothy came over to help Joe and the boys dress one of the beef cows we raised. They think the beef weighed around 1,400 pounds. How thankful we are that we will have hamburger and beef chunks again.

Joe also smoked some venison trail bologna in the smoker. We made quite a few pounds of venison jerky and some venison breakfast sausage. This was all from the deer that Timothy and Mose gave to us.

VenisonSausage VenisonJerky

On Tuesday, January 6, Joe and all the children were home in honor of Epiphany. Timothy and Mose came for dinner and we had a nice family day together.

This week we are working on cutting up the beef. I will write more about that next week.

God bless you all! Stay warm and healthy during this cold weather. Try this recipe for barbecued meatballs. Enjoy!

Barbecued Meatballs

3 pounds ground beef
1 and 3/4 cups milk
2 cups oatmeal
2 eggs
1 cup chopped onions
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder

Mix and shape into balls. Put in a pan, only one layer per pan. Put the sauce on top. Cover and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Sauce:

2 cups ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

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

Glide into winter with some Eicher vegetable soup

For this week I am going to write a diary of November 18, Tuesday.

3:25 a.m. The alarm rings and it’s time to start another day. I pack my husband Joe’s lunch. He doesn’t eat breakfast until his first break so I pack a ham and cheese sandwich for that. For lunch I put in some pizza casserole, peaches, a clementine, cookies, and crackers. Then I fill his water jug with ice cubes and water.

4:00 a.m. Joe leaves for work. I go back to bed.

5:00 a.m. I get up again as daughters Elizabeth, 20, and Susan, 18, are ready for work. Son Benjamin, 15, usually leaves around the same time as they do. Today he doesn’t have to work, as something at the sawmill is broken down. It is 10 degrees this morning with a wind-chill of minus 10 so I think Benjamin is glad to stay home.

5:15 a.m. The girls leave for work at the RV factory.

6:00 a.m. I check the phone for messages and have a message that says school is cancelled for the day. There is a winter storm warning and because the wind-chill is so cold, it is cancelled. The children weren’t awake yet so I let them sleep in.

8:00 a.m. Everyone is awake and we have grilled cheese sandwiches and cereal for breakfast.

9:30 a.m. Dishes are washed and the morning work is done. The boys carry the baskets of clothes up from the basement. We washed clothes yesterday and hung the laundry on the lines in the basement. They were dry and ready to bring up. The girls fold all the clothes and put them away.

11:30 a.m. The boys and Lovina are out in the field sledding down the big hill. There isn’t that much snow but enough ice to make the sled glide down the hill.

1:30 p.m. The children are back in and warming up. We have ham and cheese sandwiches and vegetable soup for lunch.

3:00 p.m. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan are home from work.

4:00 p.m. Loretta, 14, and Lovina, 10, have cleanings at the dentist so I leave with them. After their cleanings we go to get some groceries.

5:45 p.m. Back home. Joe came home from work soon after we had left. Chores are done.

6:30 p.m. The girls have supper ready, which is fried chicken, vegetable soup, cheese and crackers. We are also enjoying some venison summer sausage and jerky Timothy brought us from the deer he shot.

Venison

7:30 p.m. Dishes are washed and everyone is getting cleaned up for bed. The wind is still very cold with the temperature never going higher than 19 today.

9:00 p.m. Everyone is in bed so I think I’ll do the same. Until next week, God bless!

This week I’ll share my recipe for vegetable soup. We also can some (see below) so we will have it for a quick meal.

Soup

Vegetable Soup

1 pint canned beef chunks
1 medium yellow onion
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced green beans
2 cups corn kernels
2 cups green peas
4 cups tomato juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper

Brown the beef chunks in a large skillet over medium heat. Put the beef chunks and the whole onion in a large pot and add the remaining ingredients. Add enough water to cover all the vegetables. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes.

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

 

 

Fall family gatherings a time to reconnect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pizza
This week Lovina tried out a new recipe for pizza dough that she shares in the column.
Pizza3
With eight children in the household, it takes more than one pizza to feed to the family of Lovina and Joe Eicher.

Pizza2

Pizza Dough

2 packages yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

2/3 cup warm water

2 cups cold water

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon oregano

6 1/2 cups flour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

God’s blessings to all!

 

Wedding Dressing

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

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

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

Busy butchering day proves a blessing

Today is our youngest child Kevin’s ninth birthday. Has it really been that long? It was also the first day of school, so he was a tired little boy tonight. Daughter Verena baked a horseshoe-shaped cake for him today since I wasn’t home all day. He requested a horseshoe cake and wanted chocolate cake.

Lovina's youngest child, Kevin, turned 9 this week, and his older sister made him this horseshoe cake.
Lovina’s youngest child turned nine this week, and his older sister made him this horseshoe cake.

Foremost on our minds is the sad news that Uncle Andy Coblentz, 81, passed away last night. He was the brother right after my dad in age. Dad would be 83 if he were still here. We are glad we were able to see Uncle Andy and Aunt Caroline at the reunion in July. Our sympathy goes to Aunt Caroline and cousins Andrea, Lori, and David, and also to all the grandchildren and great grandchildren. Our plans are to attend the funeral on Friday, which is over three hours from here. I’m sure Andy will be missed by many. May God be with them as they mourn for such a great man. Only God can bring us comfort in times like this.

On Labor Day we had a very busy day. A few of the girls washed the laundry while the rest of us butchered 51 chickens. In four hours we had the chickens all cut up. We soaked the meat in ice water to cool off before bagging it for the freezer. These chickens were broilers, which one can eat fresh or freeze. They were six weeks old and weighed around three and a half to five pounds. We had over 180 pounds of meat total. What a blessing to be able to put it all in the freezer for later use. We appreciated the help of Timothy and Mose, which made everything go faster. We had an assembly line, with one guy chopping off the heads of the chickens and a few people plucking the feathers after they were dipped in scalding water. Then they were gutted, cleaned and cut up into pieces. The gizzards and hearts were also saved to clean. The wings were bagged separately to be grilled for hot wings. After butchering chickens, none of us are ready for a meal of chicken for a while!

Sunday evening we had supper with sisters Verena and Susan, as brother Albert, Sarah Irene, and family were there. Albert’s married sons, Joe and Albert Jr., and their families were also there. Jacob and Emma’s children were also there, but Jacob and Emma couldn’t attend as Jacob wasn’t feeling good. We were served a good supper of barbecued chicken and all the trimmings.

My husband, Joe, doesn’t have work this week. Today Joe and I and sisters Verena and Susan traveled to Berne, Indiana. We spent most of the day at sister Liz’s house, helping her clean for the upcoming wedding of their oldest daughter, Elizabeth. Sister Leah was also there. Sister Emma has church services at her house on Sunday, so she wasn’t able to go. It was enjoyable to work together again, but we missed Emma. Tomorrow I will go help Emma with preparations for church services.

And like I don’t have enough to do, the peaches I ordered came today. Life gets too busy at times! Let us always take time for God. How easy it is to neglect God when we get busy.

Joseph, who had two surgeries recently, seems to keep gaining strength every day. We are so happy for that.

It is already 10:30 p.m. Everyone has gone to bed. I need to join them, but I knew I needed to write this column. Try this chicken biscuit stew sometime.

Wishing you all God’s richest blessings!

Chicken Biscuit Stew

  •  ¼ cup margarine or butter
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 cup potatoes
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1⅓ cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • ⅓ cup onions
  • biscuits

Melt butter and add flour, salt and pepper. Add milk to form a white sauce, stirring until thick. In a separate pan, boil potatoes, carrots and peas; drain. Add to white sauce and then add broth, chicken and onions. Put into 9×13 pan and top with unbaked biscuits. (You can use storebought biscuits in a tube or your own favorite biscuit recipe.) Bake at 375° for 20–25 minutes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fresh veggies from the Eicher family garden.

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

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

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

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

Blessings to all!

Italian Sausage and Potato Casserole

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

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

 

Camping offers delights of food and family

My husband, Joe, returned to his job at the RV factory after being on vacation for a little over a week. Daughters Elizabeth, 20, and Susan, 18, are home a few more days before they will return to their jobs at the RV factory where they work.

Lovina's three youngest children got creative and took a water hose to write these words on the side of their barn.
Lovina’s three youngest children got creative and took a water hose to write this message on the side of their barn.

We had an enjoyable vacation, but it went way too fast. A lot of fishing was done, but we also accomplished a lot of work. Joe and sons Benjamin, 14, and Joseph, 11, put a new metal roof on the back of our barn. The roof had been leaking. It’s where we keep the chickens and calves, so it will sure be a lot better to not have a leak in the roof.

We put up almost 800 bales of hay in our barn over this past week. Hay is still expensive, and farmers are having a hard time getting their hay in between the rains. The rains are helping things grow and gardens are doing well.

During the camping trip, the Eicher family put the tripod and kettle that the children recently gave to their father to good use.
During the camping trip, the Eicher family put the tripod and kettle, which the children recently gave to their father, to good use.

One evening we went camping with my sister Emma and her husband, Jacob, and their family and my sisters Verena and Susan. We cooked supper out on the open fire with Joe’s new tripod and kettle. We deep-fried fish and had lot of food, with everyone bringing something. The children loved sleeping in tents. We cooked breakfast outside on the fire. Our menu was sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, sliced Swiss and Colby cheese, hot peppers, sliced tomatoes, watermelon, muskmelon, caramel cake, pudding, coffee, milk and orange juice.

Today we are washing laundry, and it turned out to be a beautiful day for drying clothes. We had a thunderstorm during the night and some more rain.

Son Benjamin is helping Susan’s friend Mose at his sawmill for a couple days. It seems quiet without Benjamin home. He does so many jobs for me when Joe is working.

Joseph, Lovina and Kevin are cleaning out the chicken coop, which is always a stinky job. But it has to be done. They are also cleaning out another area for our four new pigs, which will come today. We will raise them for meat this winter.

If it’s the Lord’s will we will have beef, pork and chicken to fill our canning jars and freezers for another year once it turns cold again. How thankful we are for having plenty to eat. It isn’t like that everywhere, and we pray that God will provide for the ones less fortunate as well. We need to thank God for our many blessings daily!

How thankful we are for having plenty to eat. We pray that God will provide for the ones less fortunate as well.

The rest of our week will be spent sewing for niece Irene’s wedding next week. I will help prepare for the wedding on Monday and be a cook at the wedding on Wednesday. Daughter Elizabeth and her friend Timothy will be tablewaiters at the wedding. Tablewaiters are friends and cousins who are chosen by the bride and the groom to serve food to wedding guests seated at the tables.

I’ll share the recipe for batter that I use to deep-fry fish. We also use this for onion rings, zucchini, and other vegetables.

Batter for Deep-Fat Frying

½ cup milk
1 egg
¾ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt (or seasoning of your choice)

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