Category Archives: Side Dishes

Home renovations and harvest season continue

A busy time of the year—we are in the midst of canning season. We are filling lots of jars and freezers with a bountiful harvest. Many meals will be made from the harvest, the fruits of our labor. Do we appreciate enough what the Good Lord provides to us? We have so much to be thankful for yet so often take it for granted.

As harvest season continues, Lovina cooks tomatoes into juice, sauce, and more, to can and freeze for the cooler months. Photo provied.

Today daughters Verena, 22, and Lovina, 16, have appointments at the eye doctor. We decided to do some grocery shopping after the appointments. I also want to stop at the fabric store to buy material for Loretta’s baptismal suit. I have less than two weeks to get it cut out and sewn.

We are helping Mose and Susan work on their house every chance we get. They are ready for drywall in the bedroom and living room areas. The sub floor is down, and new windows and doors are in. They will go as far as they can until September 6th when they host baptismal services for three young souls who will accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. Nephew Jacob, daughter Loretta, 20, and another boy from our church district, Jeremiah, will all be baptized, Lord willing. How rewarding for parents to see their children take this step. Jacob and Loretta are both disabled, and Jeremiah has been so helpful during their instruction classes. The ministry and church members have been helpful and so full of encouragement as well. The support of a church makes our troubles and trials so much easier. Most of all, having faith in God helps us through the “bumps” on the road ahead.

Baptism services will be held under a big tent at Mose and Susan’s. Their goal is to at least have the living room/bedroom and bathroom livable before then so they can stay in one half of the house while finishing the other half. RV living is getting very old fast with a 1 and 2-year-old. Ryan seems like he’s turned loose when he comes to our house. He stands up, takes a few steps, and freezes up. He’s just not brave enough yet to keep walking. He will be 13 months tomorrow so there’s still time. He loves to crawl onto furniture and give us scares when he stands up smiling.

A reader read in a column I wrote that Jennifer, 2, loves putting stuff in little purses. How excited Jennifer was when she received a package of six little purses. Thank you, Carol from Wichita, KS, for making this little girl’s day and playing time for months. The blue one was her favorite. I am sure you will get a personal thank you from daughter Susan and little Jennifer, but I want to thank you for your kindness.

Son-in-law Mose was hurt at work yesterday cutting his finger and arm at the RV factory. He has 10 stitches in his finger and isn’t allowed to do too much for a few days.

This is so hard for him with all the work needing to be done on his house. Somehow it all works out and I told him he needs to slow down. They came here for the night last night and he had some pretty hard throbbing going on in his finger. I wish him a speedy recovery. Quite a few people are going to go help on the house Saturday and some help evenings. It is all appreciated by Mose and Susan. This project developed into more than they thought. Remodeling an old farmhouse can have lots of surprises and unplanned for work.

We helped daughter Elizabeth paint her kitchen which I think concludes her painting for now.

Yesterday we had four 5-gallon sized buckets of tomatoes to put into juice. A big job off the list, but we still have a table full of tomatoes that need to be canned into something. Undecided if I want to make more salsa, V-8, or pizza sauce.

God’s blessings to you all.

Garden Vegetable Medley

1/2 cup sliced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup butter
2 pounds zucchini, julienned
3 medium tomatoes, cut in thin wedges
1 cup whole kernel corn

In a large skillet, sauté the onion, salt, pepper, and oregano in butter until onion is crisp-tender. Add the zucchini, tomatoes, and corn. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Yield: 6 servings.

 

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.

 

August brings cooler mornings and wedding feasts

Friday, August 14th is daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s 5th anniversary. Happy anniversary to them and wishing them many more happy healthy years together. May God continue to be their guide! They have three children: Abigail, who will turn 4 on September 10, Timothy (T.J.), 1 1/2 years, and baby Allison, 7 months. So very precious to us! Allison is so petite but so full of energy! T.J. can climb over their barn gates already so it’s a constant job watching that little guy. He gives the biggest smiles though and looks so sweet and innocent.

Yesterday daughter Susan and her children, daughters Verena, Loretta, Lovina, son Kevin, and I spent the day at Elizabeth and Tim’s house painting their walls and ceiling. Tim is remodeling their house, so it is time to paint and get the trim back on. He is also making a few closets for more storage space. It really looks good and has more space. They had three bedrooms on the main level, but they tore the walls out on one bedroom, adding more room to the dining room and living room. They left it open concept with a beam going through the center for support. It really does look so much nicer. Tim’s nephew has been staying at their house the last few weeks helping Tim with staining and laying new flooring. He is also helping Tim build a wall in their garage so they can heat that side in the winter where they have their solar batteries and their phone. It will also be nice space to cut up pork and beef when they do their meat butchering in the cold months.

Speaking of cold – we are having some pretty cool mornings for August. Some mornings it went down to almost 50 degrees. That seems warm in the winter but at this time of the year it makes you close a few of the windows. My husband Joe loves it when it cools off at night. I think it’s a challenge with the little children not knowing how to dress them, especially when it reaches over 80 by nighttime. We need to accept the weather however God sends it.

August yields plenty of vegetables, including zucchini for making the fritter recipe Lovina shares in this week’s column. Photo provided.

The wedding day of niece Laura and Enos was a pleasant day with not too much of a warm day. I would say it was just perfect weather

August yields plenty of vegetables, including zucchini for making the fritter recipe Lovina shares in this week’s column. Photo provided.

for a wedding.

I of course finished my dress the afternoon before the wedding (late as usual). I was a cook and we were asked to wear a dark green color. Daughter Verena wore aqua blue and was a table waiter.

The menu was broasted chicken (made in the kettle outside), mashed potatoes (which in this area are still all mashed by hand, and then with our wedding cook wagons, powered by a generator, there are usually electric mixers to whip the potatoes for our weddings), gravy, chicken and noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, broccoli/cauliflower salad, homemade bread, and apple cinnamon butter. Dessert was tapioca pudding, angel food cake, fresh mixed fruit, and rhubarb, cherry, pecan, and peanut butter pies. For the evening meal it was the same menu except there were sausage links instead of chicken, although the leftover chicken was used until it was gone. My job was to help make the broccoli salad.

I am sure it was a lonely day for my sister-in-law Nancy to not have brother Amos there to go ahead with the hosting of the wedding. He was greatly missed by many and I still feel like I should see him when I go to his place.

We arrived back home from the wedding around 10 p.m. It’s always good to be back home again after a long day!

God’s blessings to all!

Zucchini Fritters
1 pound zucchini, unpeeled and grated
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon minced fresh chives
1 cup buttermilk pancake mix
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Combine first seven ingredients, stirring well. Drop mixture by tablespoons into oil which has been preheated to 375 degrees. Cook until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Yields about 1 dozen fritters.

 

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.

Hot summer days and extended family gatherings

 It’s another hot day with high humidity here in Michigan. Every day the temperature has been in the 90’s. Yesterday afternoon we did get a much-needed rain shower. We would have needed to start watering the garden, so the rain was much appreciated. Because our house is surrounded by shade trees and a wraparound porch, we don’t get too much sun shining in our windows. Our living room, dining room, and kitchen are all open concept, so the breeze flows through really nicely.

Tomorrow, niece Elizabeth is surprising her mom (my sister Emma) for her forty-seventh birthday, which will be on July 19. She has invited Emma’s sisters, sister-in-laws, and some nieces for the birthday surprise. Elizabeth will serve lunch to all of us, and we are each taking a dish. I do hope we will surprise Emma. It is always fun to get together with siblings and family.

On Saturday, July 11, our whole family has plans to travel to Monroe, IN, to attend the annual Ben and Elizabeth Coblentz family gathering at my oldest sister Leah and Paul’s house. I have lost count of how many members are in the family. Nephew Paul Jr. is making a family record book with the birth and marriage dates for all my siblings and their children and grandchildren. It will be interesting and make it easy to look up everyone.

Our whole family, Jacob and sister Emma’s family, and my sisters Verena and Susan are renting a bus to take us to the gathering. It will be fun to all travel together and I can only imagine it will be pretty loud on the bus.

Son Benjamin and son-in-law Mose are back to work now after having a week off from the factory. Production is still picking up so hopefully my husband Joe will get called back soon. While they were off, they were working on Mose and Susan’s house quite often.

Joe and I didn’t do anything special over the fourth of July weekend, but most of our children went camping with friends. It was a quiet weekend but that didn’t bother me. I hope everyone had a safe holiday. It is only through Jesus Christ that we have true freedom from the bondage of sin, through His sacrifice on the cross! God bless America! Let us be thankful for the freedom we still have. Prayers are needed so much in our world that is so full of sin and hatred. In God we trust!

Son Joseph didn’t have to work today, so my husband Joe and he are getting a lot accomplished outside. Daughter Lovina made lemonade and I made iced tea to drink on these hot days. Rhubarb juice is another thirst quencher on these hot days.

I am receiving quite a few letters from readers requesting the recipe for rhubarb juice. I shared it in my column on May 11, and it is also included in my cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook. My friend Ruth brought my reader mail from Illinois, and I want to try and answer those letters. I appreciate all the kind words of encouragement.

Granddaughter Jennifer, 2 1/2, and grandson Ryan, 11 months, are sitting on the steps of the stairway singing. Jennifer has her doll in her hand and her little diaper bag beside her. She loves purses or any small bags. She fills them with toys or whatever she finds. When we are missing something, we look in Jennifer’s purse. Smile! Such precious angels! God bless!

 

Yellow Squash Dish
4 cups yellow squash, cut up
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 tomatoes, cut up
4-5 slices American or Velveeta cheese
1-2 Tbsp. bacon grease
Salt and pepper

Cook squash, onion, and tomatoes in bacon grease. Cook until most of liquid is cooked out. Pour into a serving bowl. Lay cheese slices on top and cover. Let sit until cheese melts and serve.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available 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.

July birthdays, family reunions, and tomato gravy

It’s July 1—today we enter the month of July, and 2020 is already halfway over. It has been quite a year to remember. I do not think many of us want to repeat such a year. When I see people in town shopping with masks on, what I miss the most is not being able to see a smile on a stranger’s face as I pass by, say “hi,” and smile. It’s hard to tell if other people are smiling or frowning under a mask. I will be so glad when life is all back to normal. It has been such a tiring year. My husband Joe is still laid off from the factory but stays busy helping son-in-law Mose with remodeling. Mose and son Benjamin are on vacation this week, so they are working over at the house every day this week so far. The dusty work is done now, and they should be ready to start framing the new walls soon. A lot of the family have plans over the July 4 holiday, so not much will get done there this weekend.

Today is our fifth child Loretta’s twentieth birthday. It is 5:30 a.m. as I write this, so she is still in bed and I haven’t told her happy birthday yet. Can it be possible that twenty years have passed since her birth? In two weeks, on July 14, son Benjamin will turn twenty-one. On July 24 son Joseph will be eighteen, and on July 27 grandson Ryan will be a year old. Joe and I will have been married for twenty-seven years on July 15. Brother Albert, who shares his birthday with two sons and a daughter-in-law, will be fifty-six on July 15. Sister Emma will be forty-seven on July 19. Emma’s youngest son Steven’s birthday is on July 30, and brother-in-law Paul’s is on July 31. July 18 was my dear mother’s birthday. In July we have lots of cake for everyone, but I sometimes just make one cake for all three of our children because we get tired of cake if we have it too often.

On July 11, my oldest sister Leah and Paul are hosting my family’s annual gathering. The siblings take turns hosting each year. My sisters Verena and Susan take their turn together, so each sibling hosts once every seven years. A lot of changes happen in those seven years, and also quite an increase in family members. After our parents both passed, we decided to start taking turns so that at least once a year we can all get together. The sibling hosting the gathering furnishes the hot food and everyone else brings a dish or two and a snack for the afternoon. We end up with a variety of food and more than enough.

In September, it will be eighteen years since dear Mother’s sudden death, and it was twenty years in May that my dear dad passed. Precious memories how they linger. Brother Amos will be greatly missed too.

My dad’s side of the family, the Coblentz’s, had chosen July 11 for their reunion date this year. Due to the virus and family coming from so many different states, they decided to cancel it. This is probably the first time ever that they have cancelled, but it’s the first time for a lot of cancellations this year, such as church, school, and weddings. It will be a year everyone will always remember.

Daughter Elizabeth is planning to come to our house today. She needs new dresses so I told her to bring her material and we will try to help her get something sewed. With three little ones, she keeps busy. Elizabeth and her husband Tim painted a bedroom and put new flooring down. Three-year-old Abigail helped her Daddy paint. Elizabeth said she did a pretty good job and it kept her entertained. Tim painted over it afterwards, but it is so good to invest time in the sweet, innocent little ones. They will always remember something like that.

Stay healthy, stay safe, trust in God. May He bless each of you!

 

Tomatoes from the Eicher family garden.

A reader requested a tomato gravy recipe. I’ll share my sister Liz’s recipe.

Tomato Gravy
1 quart of tomato juice
salt
pepper
3 cups of milk, divided
brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour

In two-quart pan, bring tomato juice to a boil; add salt, pepper, and brown sugar to taste. Add 2 cups of milk all at once and heat. Do not let the tomato juice and milk mixture boil, as it may curdle. Separately, mix flour with enough of the remaining 1 cup of milk to make gravy. When tomato juice and milk mixture is hot, but not boiling, add gravy mixture and stir constantly 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 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 salads and fun with grandchildren

I am writing this on the last day of March. Will April bring us nice days? We will accept what we get. My husband Joe planted peas and radishes in the garden so we will wait and see if it grows garden goodies. It sounds so good.

We had our first meal of dandelion salad this spring. Yummy! With steamed potatoes and fresh grilled ham it was a good meal. I was surprised at how many dandelion greens I could find already.

Rhubarb is coming up and soon asparagus will be popping through the soil. Joe also started some seeds in trays and hopes they will do well to plant in our garden once it warms up.

Everyone is still at home due to the coronavirus. Son Benjamin, 20, drove our horse and buggy to town to the bank and then also picked up a few groceries. So many items are limited but we have managed so far. With everyone being home a lot of neglected jobs are getting done. It does take a little more meal planning with everyone being home all day long.

The boys raked our yard and power washed our paved driveway. Everything looks so fresh and clean. I love to admire the fresh look of everything at the beginning of spring. The grass is getting greener each day. We also had a thunder storm one evening. Another sure sign that spring is here.

Son Kevin, 14, is still doing his school work here at home. Daughter Lovina has been tutoring him when he needs help. He says he wishes he could be at school. This is his last year of school. I never thought something like this would happen, which I’m sure everyone feels right now.

This month, sixteen years ago, we made the move from Indiana to Michigan. We brought our horses Diamond and Itty Bit along. Six days after we were here Itty Bit had a foal, and we named her Ginger. We don’t have Diamond and Itty Bit anymore but it is hard to believe Ginger is 16.

At the time our oldest daughter, Elizabeth, was only nine. She turned 10 that June. Joseph was the youngest child until Lovina was born in May. Now Elizabeth is a Mother to three sweet little children. Susan was eight years old and now has two sweet little children of her own.

We have so much fun with our grandchildren. Each one is special to us. Abigail, 3, picked some flowers for me one day and I put them in a little cup of water. She looked so proud that I liked my flowers. I am not even sure if they are flowers or some kind of weed, but it’s the thought that counts. My daughters laughed about it, saying they wonder if I actually kept their “flowers” that long. It does almost seem like you take more time for your grandchildren. Maybe it’s because you don’t have to be a parent to them and you still get a good night’s sleep when they go home. Whatever it is, I love my children just as much and pray each day that they will lead a life with God.

May each one of you stay safe and healthy. God will provide if we trust in him. We know God doesn’t make mistakes so there is a reason for this pandemic although we do not understand it at the moment. Trust and believe and have faith. God bless and good night to all!

 

Dandelion Sour Cream Salad
4 packed cups young dandelion greens
4 hard-boiled eggs, diced

Sour cream dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups whole milk
salt

Put the eggs and dandelion greens in a large bowl and pour the dressing over them.

Dressing: Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, milk, and salt to taste in a quart jar. Shake until smooth. Any unused dressing can be refrigerated for up to two days.

Variation: Substitute in season fresh-from-the-garden lettuce and endive for the dandelion greens.

 

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.

Wedding and birthday celebrations, and a visit to the Ark Encounter

We are having nice weather, but temperatures are in the 40s and 50s in the morning, which makes the house feel chilly. We haven’t bought any coal yet, so hopefully we can soon to get some heat in the house if this chilly weather continues.

Last night we were at Mose and daughter Susan’s house. My husband Joe and sons Benjamin, 20, and Joseph, 17, were helping Mose get their outdoor wood burner hooked up to their house. Mose and Susan still had thinly sliced steak in their freezer, so we had rare beef and creamed potatoes for supper. Everyone was glad for rare beef since we usually have this more often after we butcher cattle in the winter months.

We had a nice trip to Kentucky last week to attend the wedding of Joe’s nephew, Morris, and Annie. Cousin Dave has built a nice place in the hills of Kentucky with a pond behind the house and a walkout basement. It is very nice, and the men and boys admired all the deer mounts hanging in his house.

Daughter Susan and I were cooks at the wedding and our job was to help make gravy. Daughter Verena was a table waiter. The menu included mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, dressing, fried chicken, mixed vegetables, salad, cheese, bread, butter, and jam. For dessert, we had pecan, pumpkin, and cherry pies, cinnamon pudding, angel food cake with strawberry topping, and cookies. For the evening meal, we had grilled chicken and brats, and ice cream was also added to the menu. Candy bars were passed around after lunch.

We arrived in Kentucky on Wednesday evening around 9 p.m. Thursday afternoon we went to see where Joe’s sister Salome and her husband Morris and their family live. After the wedding was over, we went back to the motel. The next morning, we all headed to Williamstown, Kentucky, to the Ark Encounter. We really enjoyed our day there. Noah’s ark is sure a good look at what they endured, and it brought a better understanding to the children to see the ark in the dimensions the Bible tells that Noah and his sons built it. The place was packed with people from all over the United States. It makes one feel hopeful to see Christianity is not lost yet.

Lovina and family visited the Ark Encounter, a full-scale representation of Noah’s Ark in Williamstown, KY, while traveling for a family wedding. Photo provided.

We headed back to Michigan and stopped along the way to eat. We arrived back home safe and sound a little after midnight. Everyone was ready for a good night’s sleep.

At 8:30 a.m. the next morning (Saturday), Joe and I, daughters Verena and Lovina, and son Kevin, along with my sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma, Jacob and son Steven, headed for Berne, Indiana to attend the surprise birthday party for sister Liz and Levi. Liz turned 50 in January and Levi turns 50 in December. They also had their 27th wedding anniversary on October 4. This surprise was planned by their children. Chicken, pork and beans, macaroni and cheese, salads, desserts, and snacks were served. Some of the food was brought by guests.

We arrived back home after dark. Daughter Loretta, with the help of her special friend Dustin, did our laundry, so it was nice to see our clothes all clean again from the trip. Dustin’s birthday was October 8, so a Happy Birthday to him!

On Sunday we had communion at church, so it was a long day. We also ordained another minister and had a potluck dinner with the church afterward. It was good to see Monday come and things slowing down.

Lovina, husband Joe, and son-in-law Mose made their annual trek to the u-pick grape orchard to pick grapes. The grapes will be cooked and strained to make grape juice and then canned to enjoy throughout the year. Photo provided.

Son-in-law Mose, Joe, and I went to the u-pick grape orchard to pick grapes. Another job done for the year.

 

Daughter Susan is feeling better and stayed well on our trip.

Our highlight this week was seeing Tim and daughter Elizabeth’s nine-and-one-half-month-old son, T.J., walking short distances. He’s so active and almost runs instead of walks. He is so precious, as are all our grandchildren.

God’s blessings!

Apple Dumplings
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lard, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
5/8 cup milk
1 quart chopped apples, raw
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a bowl, mix well the flour, baking powder, salt, lard, butter, and milk. Press into the bottom of a greased 8×10-inch cake pan. Mix the apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and put on top of the dough.

Sauce:
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup hot water (add more if too thick)

Mix the sauce ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil and boil a few minutes. Pour on top of the apple mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and the apples are soft.

Delicious for supper with cold milk.

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 now available for preorder 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.

Cool mornings, wedding invitations, and seasoned red potatoes

It’s a cool morning with the mercury on the thermometer almost down to the 50-degree mark. The redness from the sunrise is so bright, promising a beautiful day with the sun warming up the outside world. I have a few gas lights on to warm up the house for baby Ryan.

Son-in-law Mose dropped daughter Susan and children off here on his way to work earlier this morning. Susan has both children cuddled with her on the recliner. Baby Ryan is almost six weeks old and already 12 pounds. He is doing well and growing. He is also cooing and discovering everyone and smiling a lot. So precious!

Daughter Elizabeth and children plan to come today as well. It is always fun to have the little grandchildren here for a day. Abigail will have her third birthday next week on September 10. She is looking forward to her birthday.

Last week we received two more wedding invitations, making a total of four on our refrigerator now. Nephew Morris and Annie are published and have set their wedding date for October 3. Morris Jr. is a son to Joe’s sister Salome and Morris from Campbellsburg, Kentucky, so we would have a five-and-one-half hour trip to attend. Daughter Susan and I were asked to help cook and daughter Verena is to be a table waiter. Our whole family is invited and we hope most of us can attend. It will be nice to see where they live now that they make their home in Kentucky.

Another invitation is from niece Salome and Caleb. They set their date in November. Salome is the daughter of Joe’s sister Loretta and her husband Henry, and this wedding is local.

Nephew Marvin and Lori’s wedding will be first in a nearby community. Marvin is brother Albert and Sarah Irene’s son. Daughter Verena was asked to be a table waiter at their wedding.

The other invitation is for a wedding in October of a good friend of ours. Brittney and Kevin will exchange vows on October 12. Congratulations to all the couples. May God bless all their marriages and be their guide as they join hands together.

Last week was the estate sale for neighbor Irene’s belongings. So sad to see her house emptied. We bought her bed and a dresser. Irene’s presence was greatly missed. It just seemed that we should see her around. Irene passed away this spring at age 91. Rest in peace Irene. You were a good neighbor to us!

In my last column I shared a pizza sauce recipe. I have a few more specifics for those of you that want to try it. The amount of Clear Jel needed is 1-1/2 to 2 cups, which was more than I thought it would take. The amount also depends on how thick you want the sauce. The recipe makes around 30 pints of sauce.

Also, I have a correction to the recipe for zucchini cookies that I shared in my column the week of July 29. The amount of flour needs to be doubled. A big thank you to the reader who pointed this out to me. My daughters made a batch of these cookies this week and everyone loved them. They are already eaten up. Even for those of you who don’t like the taste of zucchini, I really think you will like these. I apologize for any inconvenience, although most cookie bakers know to add more flour if a cookie is too flat.

This week I will share the recipe for seasoned red potatoes. We put ours in a foil pan on the grill instead of in the oven.

I am looking forward to meeting some of you readers in Nappanee, Indiana on September 14 beginning at 10 a.m. during my book signing at the library.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Seasoned Red Potatoes
12 to 14 small red potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Place potatoes in an ungreased 3-quart baking dish. In a bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients; drizzle over the potatoes. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until tender. Stir every 15 minutes while baking. 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.

Grandchildren add fun and happiness

We have entered the month of July. The year 2019 is halfway in the past. July 1 was daughter Loretta’s birthday. She turned 19 years old. Son Benjamin is also 19, until his birthday on July 14. It always brings back memories from that year they were born. My dad passed away at age 69 six weeks before Loretta was born. Then we had church services at our house when Loretta was five weeks old. With Loretta being our fifth child and my oldest only being six at that time, I do not know how I did it. I do remember that I said never again would I host church services with a five-week-old baby. I depended a lot on my mother and five sisters to help out and get my cleaning done for church services.

Loretta’s boyfriend Dustin, Loretta, daughter Verena, and son Kevin went fishing out on a nearby lake on Dustin’s pontoon. On Loretta’s birthday the girls helped get laundry washed before they left. In the evening, Tim, Elizabeth, Abigail, and baby Timothy, Mose, Susan, and Jennifer also came in honor of Loretta’s birthday. Pizza and chicken wings were on the menu.

Tim, Mose, Dustin, and son Benjamin are all on vacation this week. Son Benjamin is gone for three days fishing on Lake Erie with a few friends. They are camping in tents close by the lake. They planned to go walleye fishing out on the lake. I’m sure he’s having an enjoyable time, but the house seems empty without him around.

Yesterday, Tim and Elizabeth left Abigail, age two, and six-month-old baby Timothy (or T.J., as little Abigail calls him) here, as Tim and Elizabeth were heading to town with horse and buggy. We had fun watching them. Abigail likes to follow Kevin around and ask him one question after another. Kevin does pretty good entertaining her.

When she heard Loretta had a birthday, Abigail said, “My birthday is September 10 and I will be three.” I was surprised that she knew that.

The little grandchildren add so much fun and happiness to our life. My dad would always joke around and say if he had known the grandchildren would be that much fun, he would have had them first.

Tomatoes grow tall in Lovina’s garden.

We are having more goodies from the garden, although it seems later than other years. We had quite a few days of 90-degree weather with the humidity really high. Tonight we had a shower, so the rain makes it more bearable. The garden was in need of rain.

Today I went with my husband Joe to the doctor. They did an EKG and found he has fluid around his heart. He has an open wound on his leg that doesn’t want to heal, and his legs and feet are swollen bad. The doctor gave him a few antibiotics and wants to see him in a few days. They also did some more tests and blood work, which will probably let us know more when we go back. But meanwhile, the doctor ordered him to keep his feet elevated and to stay out of the hot sun. Joe sees the garden get more weeds and thinks he should go work out there. A big garden is nice to have, but it requires a lot of labor.

We traveled to Bryant, Indiana, to Aunt Lizzie’s funeral last week. We saw many uncles, aunts, cousins. It was different to not see Uncle Elmer with Aunt Emma. I’m sure it refreshed everything with losing her husband not too long ago.

Cucumber vines begin to stretch across the garden. 

After the funeral the six of us sisters walked through Aunt Lizzie’s house reminiscing of long ago. How well I remember when Uncle Chris and Aunt Lizzie packed up their belongings and we helped them move to this home. Only a pole barn to move into, but now the property has two houses, a big barn, two chicken barns. Their daughter Lovina and husband Pete and family live in the big house. I’m sure with Aunt Lizzie gone the little house will seem really empty.

Life goes on, changes are made—God helps us accept these changes, but it all takes time to heal.

God’s blessings to all!

Old-Fashioned Cucumber Salad

1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1–2 tablespoons sugar, if desired

Combine cucumber, bell pepper, and onion in a bowl. Combine water, vinegar, salt, and optional sugar, and pour over vegetables. Refrigerate for a brief time before eating, or make ahead for the next meal.

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.

 

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.

Garage sales and that first batch of dandelion greens

It is 5:30 a.m. on a Thursday here in Michigan. It sounds windy outside. Temperature shows 38 degrees. It feels good to have heat coming up through the vent from our coal stove in the basement. After having 70-degree weather the house was too warm, so we let the fire in the stove go out. Yesterday morning my husband Joe started it again. Today daughters Elizabeth and Susan have plans to come, so at least it will be nice and cozy for the little sweeties.

Usually the girls come on a Wednesday, but on Tuesday my sister Emma and her daughters Elizabeth and Emma, my daughters Elizabeth and Susan, and I went to the Amish garage sales. We took Emma’s baby Jessica and grandson baby Timothy along. Granddaughters Abigail and Jennifer stayed here with daughters Verena and Loretta. Of course sister Emma and I had almost more fun helping out with our grandchildren than shopping.

Our daughters were fortunate to get many good bargains in clothes. With material so high it pays to get garage sale priced clothes (and including the time it saves), and it was also fun just spending the day together. I saved myself quite a few days of sewing with the clothes I bought, and the prices were reasonable. It seems the boys are always in need of pants and I was able to get some in their size.

While we were garage saleing my husband Joe was home planting some early garden. Now let’s hope it doesn’t get too cold and we will have the fruits of his labor next month. Joe would like to buy or make a little greenhouse so he could experiment starting a garden a lot earlier. I have no interest in doing that, but if he’s willing to do the work I’m all for it.

We enjoyed our first meal of dandelion greens this week. We eat them in a salad with homemade sour cream and hardboiled eggs diced up in it. Yummy! Some of the children just don’t get the excitement I have when I bring in that first batch of dandelion greens.

Son Benjamin, 19, left for work at 4:30 a.m. and son Joseph, 16, left for work at 5:00 a.m. At 6:00 a.m. daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, get up to get ready for the bus. Lovina leaves at 6:45 a.m. and Kevin’s bus comes at 7:00 a.m. or later. He is still riding to school with the county bus, as he needs the lift for his wheelchair.

When the girls come home today we will probably work at somemore cleaning. I am trying to stay calm and not think about the sewing I need to get done for the upcoming wedding of niece Elizabeth and Manuel, along with all the cleaning. It all usually falls into place, and it’s not that we can’t host church services with some dirty corners. That is not at all the point of cleaning, for it is just a deadline to get it all done so it’s cleaned for a while.

Last Sunday our neighbors hosted church services and had the youth singing in the evening. It was warm enough to take Kevin with the pony cruiser and our pony Stormy. It’s easier for Kevin to get in than the buggy. We all went back for supper and singing in the evening. Tim and Elizabeth and Mose and Susan came here after church and went back for supper and singing too. The afternoon was spent relaxing and resting and the little ones took naps.

Daughter Verena’s friends came through to pick her up to go to the singing. Sons Benjamin and Joseph spent all weekend in Indiana at their friend’s house. They weren’t home in time to go to the singing. By 8:30 p.m. everyone was back home, so it was nice to all get to bed early.

This week I will share a recipe a reader sent to me. God bless you!

 

Zucchini Fritters

1 pound zucchini, unpeeled and grated
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon fresh chives, minced
1 cup buttermilk pancake mix
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients except the oil, stirring well. Heat oil to 375 degrees F. Drop mixture by tablespoons into hot oil. Cook until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

Yields about 1 dozen fritters.

 

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.