Category Archives: Side Dishes

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.

Surgery for Kevin and more ahead as winter finally arrives

 We finally have real winter weather. Snow! Cold! Wind! Needless to say it feels good to be inside a warm cozy house this morning with the outside temperature at 23 degrees.

Daughter Lovina, 14, just left for school. Son Benjamin left for his job at the RV factory around 4:30 a.m. and the rest of the family is at home. My husband Joe will return to work on Monday, January 14, after being off work for three weeks.

Kevin after surgery on his left foot.

Yesterday we spent the day at C.S. Mott’s Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor. Son Kevin, 13, had surgery (heel lengthening due to his muscular dystrophy) on his left foot. His foot and leg are in a cast up to his knee. Once again we are thankful for the great work of Dr. Caird and staff. She is such a great person! We thank God for His protecting hand. Now we hope God grants Kevin the patience to endure the recovery time. He will be in this cast for six to eight weeks and is not allowed to put any weight on it. With his muscular dystrophy he isn’t able to balance crutches, so he will be in a wheel chair. After this left foot is healed, he will have the same surgery done on his right foot. That surgery is scheduled for March.

We do not have any bedrooms on our first floor except the master bedroom so we set up a bed for Kevin in a corner of our living room. He is still asleep this morning so the pain level must not be too bad at this point. I imagine once the numbness wears off he will have more pain. Dr. Caird explained to us that with this kind of surgery the muscles are really stretched tight and most of the pain comes from muscle spasms and not from the incision.

Son Joseph, 16, went along to the hospital for Kevin’s surgery. Joe and I were glad he did as not only did he keep Kevin from getting too depressed, he also helped get Kevin in and out of the van. Our Amish driver friend Beth took us at 4:00 a.m. for the two-and-a-half hour trip to the hospital. Kevin was Dr. Caird’s first surgery patient of the day so we had to be there early. Joseph doesn’t have a job right now but I am so glad for his help with Kevin here at home. I know he is eager to get back to work since helping me doesn’t earn money for him. He has saved me so many steps. With the girls’ handicap in going up and down the stairs, tasks such as bringing up dry laundry from the basement and taking the folded clothes up to the childrens’ bedrooms is hard for them. Joseph can do all the carrying up and down the steps for me and run other errands.

In a few weeks I will have surgery so I will be laid up as well for a while. This will be a trial for me as I have a hard time following doctor’s orders but I need to be patient if I want to heal.

Sunday, January 6, we hosted our Christmas gathering with my sisters Verena and Susan and Emma, Jacob and family. We were a total of 16 when the four of us sisters made the move to Michigan in 2004. We now have a total of 27 when we get together. This year instead of exchanging names we each brought a gift. We played Swap Bingo which went pretty well and everyone seemed happy with the gift they ended up with. After that I had wrapped a gift for everyone to open taking turns with big oven mitts. They had to throw dice until they had a “1” and then put on the oven mitts and try to tear the wrapping off to open the gift! Sometimes a person would not even have the mitts on when the next person grabbed the mitts. To their surprise though when they opened the first box there was another box wrapped and another so they had to unwrap until they saw the gift. Son-in-law Mose was the winner. The last box was especially hard to open since I used some wide clear tape to close the box. We also played Bingo until everyone had a small gift from Joe and me.

Brunch was a haystack breakfast which consisted of biscuits, scrambled eggs, hash browns, meat (bacon, smokies, ham), tomatoes, green peppers, hot peppers, salsa, cheese sauce and all topped off with sausage gravy. Also fruit and dip and apple cinnamon cake, chocolate milk, white milk, orange juice, V-8 juice, and coffee.

I had a turkey roasting in the oven to serve with all the snacks we had, before everyone left for home. We ate out in the heated pole barn as I have a kitchen area out there. This way the house stayed clean for our gathering Sunday morning. As always, we had fun spoiling Abigail, Jennifer, and baby Timothy.

God’s blessings to all!

Cream of Mushroom Soup

2 cups chopped mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups water
1/2 cup flour
2 cups light cream or milk
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté mushrooms and onions together in butter until tender. Combine 2/3 of mixture with water. Simmer 20 minutes. Sauté remaining mushroom and onion mixture with flour for several minutes. Slowly add milk and cook until thickened. Gently add to the simmering water mix and heat through.

 

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 yield great bargains, including gifts for the grandchildren (of course)

Daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, just left for school. It’s cold and windy outside, and the temperature has dropped to 54 degrees. We had just enjoyed a few nice warm and sunny days until yesterday, when it was rainy and cooler.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their little girls came to our house yesterday morning. Daughters Verena and Loretta kept Abigail and Jennifer here while Elizabeth, Susan and I went to the “community building.” There were 24 families from our community having garage sales with booths inside the building.

I always have fun going to garage sales, and I did really well. With the cost of fabric so high, it’s so much cheaper to buy clothes that are sewn up already at garage sale prices. I bought quite a few days’ worth of sewing! I brought home some pants for the boys, dresses and coverings for the girls, and of course some dresses for my little granddaughters.

When we got home, Abigail tried on the new clothes. She does well dressing herself. Jennifer couldn’t care less what dresses she has! I also was able to get a baby swing and stroller that were in good shape for a few dollars each. They will come in handy when my grandchildren come. And yes, I did buy some toys for the granddaughters to play with when at our house. It seems I don’t have many toys to keep them entertained. They both like to look at books, and they also liked the wooden blocks I brought home.

Elizabeth and Susan found good bargains on clothes, so it was worth it for them as well. We stopped at a few more garage sales on our way home. Elizabeth said Abigail hadn’t wanted to go to bed the night before, so Elizabeth told her when she wakes up, she can go to Grandma’s. When Abigail opened her eyes the next morning she smiled and said, “Going to Grandma’s!” and was wide awake. How precious!

Lovina’s daughter Loretta and her friend Dustin prepared grilled whole chickens and salmon (wrapped in foil).

Loretta’s special friend Dustin’s birthday was on Monday, October 8, so Loretta went to their house in honor of his birthday. On Sunday evening Dustin and Loretta prepared supper on the grill for our family, also in honor of his birthday. Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan and Jennifer joined us for supper. On the menu were grilled whole chickens, French fries, cottage cheese, sliced cheese, veggies and dip, cake and ice cream. The chicken was grilled and seasoned just right and was very juicy. It was a treat to me that supper was being prepared and I could just spend time with my granddaughters. Jennifer likes to gnaw at an apple; I think it feels good to her gums, with more teeth pushing through.

Next week’s plans include daughter Verena helping a lady from our church district who is on bedrest. Verena will watch her two little boys and get meals for them. Our church ladies are taking turns taking in supper, so there should be plenty of leftovers. It’s so good to help each other! I remember after my surgery how helpful it was to have people bring supper over to us almost every other night. That meant a lot to me.

We have now scheduled son Kevin’s surgeries for next year. He will have the heel lengthening surgeries done to help him get his balance better. He has what is called “limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A,” and he seems to have a hard time lately. The doctor doing his surgery at the children’s hospital is the same one who did both our daughters’ surgeries, so we know he’s in good hands.

The first foot surgery will be in January, and then the second foot in March. Hopefully it will all be healed for him when the warm days come next spring. Kevin will have many weeks in a wheelchair while recuperating. He won’t be allowed to put any weight on the foot for six weeks or more. I’m sure that going to school will help him pass the time.

God’s blessings!

Carrot Casserole

1 (2-pound) package carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 stick butter
1 sleeve (about 35) Ritz crackers, crushed

Boil carrots for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and slice into smaller pieces if desired. Add onion, sugar, cheese and mayonnaise. Stir and place in casserole dish. Melt butter and stir in crushed crackers. Spread on top of carrots. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. 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.

Sticky lessons with Gorilla glue, and happy for supper on daughter’s patio

Head: Sticky lessons with Gorilla glue, and happy for supper on daughter’s patio

It’s 8:30 p.m. and we just came home from daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. Elizabeth made supper for us. She made cooked potatoes, cooked carrots, corn, Sloppy Joe sandwiches with ice cream for dessert. It was nice to not have to cook supper tonight. And it was a wonderful evening to eat out on their patio. Mose and daughter Susan and Jennifer also came over to eat there. Elizabeth and Susan were here today with their little sweeties Abigail and Jennifer. Elizabeth asked if we want to come over for supper so we took up the offer.

Tomorrow son Kevin and I will travel to the children’s hospital in Ann Arbor. He has an appointment with the surgeon that did our daughter’s surgeries. It’s such a big hospital and I still get turned around so I am always glad when my husband Joe can go along. This time he won’t go along as they were off so many days and with the four-day work weeks they are having he’s glad for every day he can work. Next week he will have to take a day off for a dentist appointment with a specialist and possibly have surgery to remove a tooth.

The glue that my husband Joe used to fix my washing machine hose last week gave up. Daughter Loretta and I wanted to do laundry on Monday so I used Gorilla glue to glue the end back on the hose. I didn’t know that glue swells up so when I wanted to drain the water from the wash machine it wouldn’t come out. The glue had swelled up enough to plug the whole inside of the hose. I had to break the glue back out so now before we wash clothes again the hose needs to be repaired. I did figure out that you need to use Gorilla glue sparsely.

Mornings have been foggy lately. I’m hoping it won’t be tomorrow morning when we travel the two hours to the appointment.

Our one garden is all cleared out and tilled now. Not much left in the garden anymore. Autumn begins this week already. Its always nice to finish up the canning season from the gardens. I am so thankful though for every jar that was filled and all that could be frozen.

Friday night we made a kettle of campfire stew outside in the kettle over the open fire. It was a nice evening to sit around the fire. We used fresh potatoes, green beans, and onions for the stew along with chunked steak from our freezer. It was delicious.

Our thoughts went back sixteen years ago on Monday, September 17, when dear Mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, passed away. She was in Blue Springs, Missouri, when she so suddenly passed. So far from home and we felt so helpless when we heard the news. I started penning the column after her. Joseph, 16, was just a couple months old. Mother will always be remembered. Life goes on but we still have our loved ones close in our hearts!

On our way home tonight from Timothy’s house we saw so many deer. One ran in front of our horse Midnight and startled her. But it was a very peaceful evening for a buggy ride. Signs of autumn are beginning to show on the trees. Folks are digging potatoes from the fields. Gardens are looking empty.

I will share a recipe for stuffed cabbage with you. A good way to help use up your cabbage from the garden. I always plant the late cabbage.

Until next week, God’s blessings to all!

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

1 head cabbage
1 onion finely chopped
2 tablespoons margarine
1-pound ground beef
1/2-pound ground pork (or veal)
2 cups cooked rice
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2-pound lean bacon
16-ounce can tomato sauce
8-ounce can tomatoes
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Remove core from cabbage. Scald cabbage in boiling water and remove leaves as they soften. Sauté onions in margarine very lightly; do not brown. Also sauté beef and pork. Combine meat with rice, eggs, sautéed onions, and seasoning. Mix well. Place 2 tablespoons of mixture in center of cabbage and roll. Wrap in bacon strips and insert wooden picks to hold together. Pour tomato sauce on rolls, then squeeze tomatoes from can and arrange on top of rolls. Sprinkle brown sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done.

 

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.

Stuck buttons, Abigail helps Grandma, and tight hugs

I’m sitting outside here by the grill as daughter Loretta grills hamburgers for our supper. We will also have vegetable soup with the hamburgers. The hamburgers are from our freezer which we packed individually last winter after butchering beef. This pack of hamburgers had cheese added.

Today daughter Elizabeth and Abigail plus daughter Susan and Jennifer spent the day here. We canned almost 40 quarts of vegetable soup and seven quarts of tomato juice. The last round of pressure cookers processing the jars are on the stove.

It’s a pleasant evening here in southern Michigan. After a few chilly and rainy days we are back to sunshine and warmer temperatures. After a hard day’s work it is really relaxing and peaceful to watch the sun sinking lower in the west. What a wonderful world we have by our great creator God! His work is amazing and it seems I feel less tired at night when I know He is there to help us through life’s many trials.

Little Abigail never ceases to amaze me with her “grown up” talk. How special it was for me—Grandma—to have Abigail help me pick the tomatoes from the garden this forenoon. She knew when she found a bad one and told me in her sweet little voice that it was bad and to throw it away. When we had picked four buckets of tomatoes she walked to the house to tell the girls Grandma needs help bringing the tomatoes in the house.

Abigail had her second birthday on September 10 so we went to her house Sunday evening to celebrate. Several other families were there and she enjoyed the attention and all the gifts she received. Elizabeth made her a cake and she blew out the two candles with the help of her daddy Timothy. She blew and blew but couldn’t get enough wind to come from her mouth. I think she was just too excited.

While we were in the garden today Abigail said, “Grandma, we need to sing.” She started to sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” Just so precious! Jennifer is eight months old now and reaches for me, then hugs me really tight. Such blessings for this Grandma!

My husband Joe is back to work this week at the RV factory. They didn’t have work last week. After this week they will again reduce to four-day work weeks. It makes it harder at this time of year when we need to buy hay for the winter and coal for heat. We will trust God that he will provide as he thinks best.

While Joe was home he caught up with work that needs to be done around here. The potatoes were dug up. The gardens were cleared all except tomatoes, watermelon, green and hot peppers and cabbage. Joe also helped me with laundry a few times while he was home. He got the button out that was stuck in my Maytag washing machine hose. He had to take off the end of the hose to get it out. (Water still came out of the hose but very slowly. It was a button off of one of the boy’s pants and it was stuck in there so the water had to run through the button holes.)

One day last week Joe and I also took the buggy eight miles to town with our horse Midnight. We started out after Lovina and Kevin got on the bus. Joe took me to a restaurant for breakfast before we started shopping. I always enjoy getting out of cooking for once.

Midnight does very well in town with all the traffic. She is so much calmer then her mother Ginger. Ginger is always impatient at stoplights but Midnight stands still well. That means a lot if a horse is traffic-safe in town.

The hamburgers are ready and the bottom of my page is coming up. I sampled the hamburgers and Loretta seasoned them just right. Time to set the table.

God be with you all and bestow His many blessings to you!

Three Bean Salad

1 16-ounce can yellow beans, drained
1 16-ounce can green beans, drained
1 16-ounce can red kidney beans, drained
1/2 jar chopped olives
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 onion, diced

Dressing:

1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 or 3 dashes paprika

Mix all the vegetables in a large bowl. Mix dressing ingredients together and pour over vegetables. Marinate for at least 12 hours in refrigerator. The taste is even better the second or third day.

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, , 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.

 

Little Abigail gets introduced to the Coblentz family water battles

Little Abigail gets introduced to the Coblentz family water battles 

It looks dark towards the southeast like a storm could be forming. We sure could use the rain. It’s been dry this week. We watered the gardens a few times this week but hoped it would rain tonight. Our soil is sandy so all the rain we had several weeks ago is all dried up. Rivers and lakes are still filled to the banks. Our weather has been in the 90’s with high humidity. Michigan has finally decided winter is over.

Tomorrow is 12-year-old son Kevin’s last day of school for this term. He will be a seventh grader next year. The school picnic is tomorrow. We plan to attend. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan along with my sweet granddaughters plan to go with us. I’m sure little 20-month-old Abigail will have fun at the playground.

Daughter Lovina, 14, is winding down with her school work. I need to do some more grading and get her report card filled out. She does a wonderful job with her school assignments and books.

Our family did a lot of fishing over the holiday weekend and caught plenty of fish. We had a fish fry over at daughter Susan and Mose’s house on Monday evening. Sons-in-law Mose and Timothy and Loretta’s special friend Dustin deep fried the fish and made French fries outside in our deep fryer, run by propane. It was a nice but hot evening to sit outside and eat.

Sunday night our family gathered here and stayed all night. The men made campfire stew in the kettle over the open fire and grilled hamburgers. We ate outside under a screened-in canopy. It helped the mosquitoes and bugs stay off the little ones and was nicer even for the adults.

Since the grass was the floor our daughters decided to play a game where we had to take a swallow of water and hold it in our mouth. One person would say a joke or something funny. The first person to spit out their water had to take the place of the person saying the jokes. I tried it but thought it was much more fun to sit back and watch.

The children also had a water battle and even little Abigail was throwing water. After it was over Abigail didn’t realize it’s time to quit and caught a few of us by surprise when she dumped a cup of water on us. It was cute to hear her giggle when we jumped. I told daughter Elizabeth she must be a typical Coblentz. Our Coblentz reunions always end up with a water battle. I remember Uncle Menno as one of the first to throw water. We had many fun times on hot days at the reunion throwing water until everyone was cooled off from all the heat.

It is pretty quiet around here right now. Daughters Verena and Lovina are at Susan and Mose’s house for supper. Nephew Henry and Mose went fishing with the boat to the lake nearby. Son Benjamin, 18, had a dentist appointment tonight. Joseph had a dentist appointment today and is outside doing evening chores. Kevin is also helping him.

My husband Joe is showering and I’m writing by the kitchen table taking advantage of the peace and quiet. Daughter Loretta went to town with Benjamin. I haven’t decided what we will make for supper. It seems no one is hungry until after it cools off outside.

I will share a new asparagus recipe with everyone. Our asparagus is coming to an end for the season. We are enjoying lettuce, radishes, and onions from our garden. Both our gardens are now all planted. I still have a few things I need to plant. I’ll find room to squeeze them in somewhere.

I finally got to answering some reader mail this afternoon. Thanks for your patience. I always appreciate the kind words of encouragement. God bless!

Hot Asparagus Bits

20 slices white bread
3 ounces blue cheese
8 ounces cream cheese
1 egg
1/2 pound butter, melted
20 spears fresh or frozen asparagus, cooked and drained

Trim crusts from bread and flatten slices slightly with rolling pin. Thoroughly blend cheeses and egg. Spread cheese mixture over each bread slice. Roll an asparagus spear inside each slice and fasten with a toothpick. Dip each roll in melted butter. Place on a baking sheet and freeze. When firm slice each roll into three pieces. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Editor’s Note: If you are in the southern Michigan/northern Indiana area, head to a booksigning with Lovina and several family members, at Colon Township Library, Colon, Mich. on June 12 from 6 – 7 p.m. Address for the library: 128 S Blackstone Ave, Colon, MI

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.

 

 

Lovina’s daughters and all five sisters surprise Lovina on her birthday

Lovina’s daughters and all five sisters surprise Lovina on her birthday

My 47th birthday was May 22. My daughters wanted me to spend the day with all of them at daughter Elizabeth’s house. When I walked in the house it was decorated with balloons and Happy Birthday banners.

Soon after I was there all five of my sisters and some of my nieces drove in to spend the day with me. What a wonderful surprise! It is not often that all of us six sisters get to spend a day together. My daughters had invited them, and everyone brought food.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan made the casseroles. Daughter Verena had taken the cake, ice cream, etc. to Elizabeth’s house the day before. I’m not sure if I can remember all the food that was brought in but I’ll try. There was salad, deviled eggs, cheese, veggies and dip, chips, cookies, cinn-a-pan rolls, rhubarb cake dessert, jello with fruit, chocolate cake, brownies, Rice Krispy treats, rhubarb juice and Pepsi. Then we also had a white birthday cake and ice cream. The cake had candles on it that spelled out “older” and “wiser.” Not too sure if the wiser proves true but definitely the older does. It is probably the first birthday I had that even the plates and napkins said “Happy Birthday!” They all helped make a great memorable 47th birthday.

We visited and visited. Not so sure if anyone was listening but I do know more than one was talking at the same time. It was fun and we sang a few songs after lunch. Of course we yodeled. My daughters always like when my sisters and I are together and yodel. Was sorry that our two sisters-in-law couldn’t make it for the day.

Sister Liz’s granddaughter La Rose and Abigail played together for the first time. It was so cute to watch them play. Sister Liz’s two grandsons were also there and daughter Susan’s baby, Jennifer.

The babies had more than enough attention. I appreciate that they all helped make my day special—some traveling two hours to spend the day. I also appreciated all the flowers, cards, and gifts very much.

We were shocked to receive the sad news of the death of my husband Joe’s brother Clarence Jr. He was 47 at the time of his death but would be 48 now. We don’t know the cause of death yet but are waiting on the autopsy results. Clarence was never married. He leaves to mourn three brothers, eight sisters, and many nieces and nephews. Once again we are reminded that we do not need to be old to die. In less than four months Joe and I both lost a brother. We question why but take comfort in knowing that God makes no mistakes.

Clarence Jr. will be buried in our local Amish community cemetery. Funeral services will be Friday. Son Benjamin will be one of the pallbearers along with eight other nephews. Nephew Henry will also be one of them. It’s a new experience for both of them.

In the Amish community the pallbearers help dig the grave. Tomorrow night they will gather at the cemetery to dig the grave for their uncle. Life brings many changes. May we trust in our Heavenly Father for his guiding hand to watch over us as we travel into the unknown future.

I wish all of God’s blessings to each and every one of you! I appreciate all the birthday wishes and words of comfort. Take care!

Asparagus Soup

1 pound fresh asparagus
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons sour cream

Cut asparagus into 2-inch pieces and cook in 1/2 cup boiling water 3–5 minutes until tender. Drain and reserve liquid; set aside. Melt butter in a Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté 4 minutes until tender. Add flour; cook and stir in reserved liquid until smooth. Add asparagus, milk, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Slowly add sour cream. Allow to cool slightly. Process asparagus mixture in batches in a blender until smooth. Return to Dutch oven to re-warm. Yield: 5 cups.

 

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.