Category Archives: Side Dishes

Recycling lumber, worries over illness, and more weddings in the works

There is a lot of activity going on around here this week. Our neighbors Abe and Fredia are taking our old pole barn down to save the lumber that is still good enough to reuse. Abe, his sons, my husband Joe, and our boys have been busy taking it all apart. Last night they finished saving the rafters. Today the walls were taken down and all the wood that’s not reusable is being burned as I write this.

Our neighbor Marlin cut our oats and he will bale that crop for us. Neighbor Harlan is here digging the water line and hooking up more solar power. All three men and Joe work in RV factories and are on vacation this week. It isn’t proving to be much of a vacation for them. Joe and the boys are building a work bench in the new pole building when time allows. They want to organize all the tools.

Daughter Elizabeth is also on vacation for two weeks. The bad news is she is laid up with double pneumonia. She sure has had a hard time to recover. The doctor put her on some pretty strong antibiotics and she had to go back in for another shot. The doctor said if she didn’t improve with everything she is taking, then she would have to be admitted to the hospital. She showed improvement the next day so hopefully she can keep recovering at home. She has a hard time accepting the fact that she needs rest in order to get better. I think she worries too much that we won’t get things done before her wedding. I’m sure everything will fall into place. With all the extra projects going on, it did look hopeless for a while.

Tomorrow, July 1, is daughter Loretta’s 15th birthday. Her age is always easy to remember as she was born in the year 2000.

We have two more wedding invitations on our refrigerator. Niece Katie Edna and Ben are getting married on July 23. I was asked to be a cook. Mose and Susan and Verena will all be table waiters. This wedding is in Berne, Indiana.

And congratulations also go to Leander and Karen. They picked August 28 for their special day. This wedding is in our community.

I was happy to have a short visit with my friend Ruth and her church friends. The week was too busy to go spend some time with all of them on Monday. Maybe next year will work out.

This week I’ll share with you the recipe that we are having for supper. It is called sliced baked potatoes. I don’t measure the ingredients; I just make this recipe according to how much of each item I want on the potato slices. Enjoy! God bless each of you and stay healthy!

SlicedBakedPotatoes+Toppings
A cookie sheet filled with sliced potatoes and baked with toppings.

Sliced Baked Potatoes

4-5 raw potatoes, sliced
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4-5 green onions, chopped
1 cup grated cheese of your choice
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven to 400°. Slice potatoes about 1/4 inch thick and brush both sides of potato slices with butter. Place them on a cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides, turning once. When potatoes are ready, top with bacon, cheese, and green onion. Continue baking until the cheese is melted.

Optional: add sour cream on top after baking.

BakedPotatoSliceUpclose
Close-up of a single sliced potato after baking.

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

 

Wedding, a new buggy horse “Mighty,” and birthday highlight week

The sun is shining bringing a little warmth with the chilly weather. Our mercury on the thermometer dipped down all the way to 35 degrees this morning. Brrr! Without heat in the house it felt good to wear a sweater. Even Izzy (Elizabeth’s Yorkie) is trying to find a spot to lie where the sun is shining into the house. This is the second day of this cool weather. I’m hoping the rest of the week will be warmer as we would like to put the rest of my garden out.

Today is Elizabeth’s last day of work at the factory until June 1. They get Friday and next week off and tomorrow she is taking the day off to go to her friend Linda’s wedding. Timothy and Elizabeth will be evening servers at the wedding. Elizabeth has to wear mint green and Timothy a white shirt with black pants and vest.

Next week is nephew John’s wedding and Elizabeth and Verena’s teal colored dresses have to be cut out and sewn yet. Timothy also needs to wear a teal color shirt for this wedding. Elizabeth will sew all three outfits so I’m so glad she gets some time off.

The wedding of nephew Levi and Barbara is now history. We arrived home around 11:00 p.m. A little over four hours later my husband Joe had to get up to go work at the factory. Needless to say, he was ready for an early bedtime Friday evening.

It was a nice, cool and sunny day for the wedding. Fried chicken was on the menu so the cool weather made it easier on the cooks that had to fry the chicken. My job was to help with the mashed potatoes. They had over fifty cooks so it didn’t seem like I had too much to do that day. Daughter Verena was a table waiter and had to wear light blue. The cooks all wore royal blue.

Typically the table waiters are given gifts for their service similar to the ones you see here. The middle one in white was given to Verena by Levi and Barbara.

TableWaiterGift3TableWaiterGift1TableWaiterGift2

All eight of us siblings were at the wedding. Brother Amos had a three year old horse at the wedding that he trained and was going to sell. Joe and I decided to buy him as we are in need of another horse. His name is “Mighty” and is a very gentle horse. Nieces Elizabeth and Emma’s special friends, Menno and Manuel, brought “Mighty” along up with them to our house on Friday evening. It was greatly appreciated.

Joe and I took Mighty to town on Saturday to get groceries. He’s so calm around the traffic and the farm equipment. That means a lot to have a horse who handles traffic well, keeping us safe and sound.

Daughter Lovina had her eleventh birthday on Monday May 18. She wanted to make her own cake. She used a heart-shaped pan. I helped her decorate it.

LovinaDaughter11thBirthdayCakeWe had grilled hamburgers and macaroni and cheese along with the cake and ice cream in honor of her birthday. Joseph, 12, and Lovina made cheddar and sour cream popcorn for Lovina to take to school to treat her classmates. Some of her classmates asked her to bring the popcorn that she makes for a birthday treat.

On Friday evening, Mose (Susan’s friend) brought brats and grilled them for our supper. Then on Saturday Timothy (Elizabeth’s friend) deep-fried blue gill fish for our supper. Elizabeth made French fries to go with the fish. I appreciated getting out of the cooking several nights.

Friday, Rhoda (a friend of our daughters), brought lunch for the men working here on our pole building. Her boyfriend Nate works with the crew and she wanted to surprise him. She served ranch potatoes, sloppy joe sandwiches, pork and beans, ice cream, and cake. I’ll share her recipe for ranch potatoes.

Ranch Potatoes

6 – 8 potatoes, peeled and chunked
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
2 tablespoons parsley
1 cup shredded cheese (plus extra for top)

Cook potatoes in salt water just until tender. Drain and set aside. Combine other ingredients; toss gently with potatoes. Place in greased 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 minutes.

 

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

 

 

 

Lovina makes homemade mozzarella for the first time

A rainy March day as I write this! Monday it snowed enough to cover the ground with snow again. The rain this morning made all the snow disappear. It is 38 degrees so hopefully the rain helps take some of the frost away in the ground.

Eleven years ago we moved to Michigan in March, and there was still quite a bit of snow on the ground that year. Our horse Itty Bit had a foal six days after we moved. We named the filly Ginger and she is our family horse now. We still have Itty Bit too.

Mose’s grandpa Ezra, age 87, died on Friday evening. His funeral was on Tuesday. We attended the viewing/visitation on Sunday evening. Our sympathy goes to the family. May God be with them as they face this difficult trial in life. Ezra’s brother Martin died not even two weeks before.

On Friday evening and Saturday we cooked down all the sap into maple syrup. This time we ended up with two and one-half gallons of maple syrup. We now have over four gallons of maple syrup that Mose boiled off from our trees.

CannedMapleSyrup

One evening this week we had pancakes, eggs, and sausage with the fresh maple syrup. It has a very good flavor.

Yesterday I tried my first attempt at making cheese. I used a recipe for mozzarella cheese that niece Marlene Troyer gave to me. It seemed to work out well, but it is time consuming. Maybe once I get used to the steps I’ll be able to make it faster. Thanks to the readers who sent cheese recipes to me. I would like to try different kinds. Our cow Bessie keeps giving us all the milk we need and more. My husband Joe wants to get a few little pigs to feed the excess milk to.

The Eicher family cow provided milk to make mozarella cheese.

The week of April 6 our children will be home from school for spring break and they are excited. Hopefully it will be a nice warm week. They have a little over eight weeks of school left for this term. Daughter Loretta is going to graduate from eighth grade this year so she is super excited. The long school days wear her out so it will be nicer for her when she doesn’t have to leave every day.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan had a few days off of work. They were sewing on most of their time off.

Timothy and Elizabeth will be evening servers at a wedding in May. Seems the sewing is endless. Elizabeth sewed Loretta a new dress which brought a smile to Loretta’s face. Elizabeth received a sewing machine and cabinet from Timothy one year. She spends all her spare time sewing. She is really getting fast. It doesn’t take her long to cut out a dress and sew it.

I’ll share the mozzarella cheese recipe this week. God bless you all!

MozarellaCheeseEdited

Mozzarella Cheese

2 gallons cold whole milk
3 teaspoons citric acid
1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup cold water
1/3 rennet tablet
2 quarts water
1/2 cup salt

Put milk in a large container. Dissolve citric acid in 1/4 cup cold water, then add to cold milk. Mix well and keep stirring until heated to 90 to 95 degrees. Remove from heat; add 1/4 cup cold water and rennet tablet. Stir well then let set for 1/2 hour. Cut into squares with a long bladed knife. Let set 5 to 10 minutes. Heat to 110 degrees. Continue stirring to keep curds from sticking. Remove from heat and let sit 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile heat 2 quarts of water with 1/2 cup salt to 175 degrees. Drain cheese in colander for 15 minutes. Cut or pull cheese apart into small cubes and put in a large bowl. Add hot salt water; use wooden spoon to stretch cheese in upward motion until soft and springy. Drain in colander. Knead a little bit as you would bread; put in container to cool. Bread pans work well. Very good!

 

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

Did your Thanksgiving turkey have a fever?

Oh my! We are already into the last month of 2014. Where did this year go?

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone. Although it’s not the only day that we need to thank God for our blessings, on that day we are especially reminded of all that we are thankful for. My list seems endless—family, friends, church, and so many more. I feel one blessing I should mention is the editors at MennoMedia. They deserve a lot of credit for the fact that this column is still going, as does my good friend Ruth, who has been by my side through good and bad. Trusted friends are rare, and they have been so good to me. Writing the columns isn’t always easy, but knowing you have a firm foundation makes it so much easier.

I also want to thank all of you readers for your words of encouragement. To those of you who send a stamped self-addressed envelope: bear with me, please. A reply will come, but forgive me for not always getting back to you sooner. Last but not least, I want to thank our Heavenly Father for his guidance through our most difficult trials.

We spent our Thanksgiving Day at brother Albert and Sarah Irene’s house. All my siblings were present, as were all the nieces, nephews, families and special friends (except for two nieces and one nephew). The family grows more every year, and although I don’t have a total, I know it’s more than 100 now.

Albert’s family grilled 140 pounds of chicken, plus they fixed two 22-pound turkeys. Needless to say, there were so many leftovers! I won’t begin to mention all the food, but a 14-foot dining table was filled to capacity. When everyone brings food, it adds up. Snacks were served before everyone left.

We four sisters here in Michigan always have a Thanksgiving meal together. This year we all gathered over at Jacob and Emma’s on Sunday. Emma fixed two turkeys stuffed with dressing. Also on the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, lettuce salad, sliced cheese, homemade bread, butter, jam, summer sausage, veggies and dip, hot peppers, pumpkin roll, pumpkin and peanut butter pies, a variety of Christmas candy and probably more that I can’t remember now. The table was set for 24 people, which is what we total now. After dishes were washed, we played games.

I got a laugh out of daughter Lovina. Sister Emma gave her the meat thermometer to hold in the turkey, to see if it was fully cooked. When someone asked her what she was doing, Lovina replied, “Aunt Emma wants to know if the turkey is running a fever.” We all thought it was funny!

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan are off work this week from the factory due to a cancelled order. We (Elizabeth, Susan, Verena and I) are enjoying our week. We started it out with going Christmas shopping on Monday. We had a nice time and made more memories together. It is hard to believe my three oldest daughters have grown this much.

The Christmas season is upon us. Let us remember: Jesus is the reason for the season!

For this week’s dish, I will share a few short recipes that were served as snacks at Albert’s on Thanksgiving Day.

Fruit Dip

8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup brown sugar
8 ounces whipped cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix together well. Serve with apples or any fruit.

Cheese Ball

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 package dried beef, chopped fine
1 small onion, chopped fine
seasoning of your choice

Mix all ingredients together. Serve with your choice of crackers.

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

Warm, sunny days ease the laundry load

Our four youngest children just left on the bus for another school day. It is a little after 7 a.m. and since the time is turned back an hour, it is now daylight when they get on the bus. It won’t be for long though, with each day getting shorter.

Thursday afternoon and evening will be parent-teacher conferences. On Friday there won’t be school. It is hard to believe the first quarter of this school term is over.

On Friday, we plan to attend the wedding in Berne, Ind., of Solomon and Rosanne. The children are excited that there is no school that day so they can go along to the wedding.

Last Friday we had snow flurries and it was very cold and windy. On Saturday the temperature didn’t go over the mid-40s. Then on Monday we had a nice, sunny day. Daughter Verena hung all the laundry outside. It was all dry by late afternoon. Days like that are going to be few from now on. It was so nice to be able to fold the clothes and put them away all in one day again.

Laundry
Daughter Verena hung all the laundry outside. It was all dry by late afternoon.

Son Benjamin isn’t working this week. Mose shut his sawmill down this week to get some deer hunting done. Mose and Benjamin went Monday but didn’t have any luck. Mose shot a deer last week with his bow and arrow.

Today Verena, Benjamin, and I plan to drive to town with the buggy and our horse Itty Bit. In his free time Benjamin likes to bike and collect aluminum cans. Here in Michigan there is a 10 cent deposit on the cans. He has saved up quite a bit of money doing this and it helps keep the countryside cleaner.

Animals
A view of the Eicher family animals.

Saturday evening those that were at Jacob and Emma’s for supper in honor of Jacob’s 42nd birthday were: my sisters Verena and Susan; our family, along with the girls’ friends Timothy, Mose, and Marvin; and also Menno and Manuel (Jacob and Emma’s daughters’ friends). We had a delicious supper of barbequed pork steak, potluck potato casserole, macaroni salad, pickled green beans, homemade bread, butter and strawberry jam, hot pepper butter, hot peppers, strawberry pie, dirt pudding and ice cream cake.

A reader asked for the recipe for the homemade bug exterminator. Take an empty plastic soda bottle, add 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup vinegar, and a banana peel. Fill the bottle three-fourths full of water and hang uncovered in a tree. It may take a week for the trap to start attracting bugs. It collects all kinds of insects. This was the only thing Dad would do for our apple trees. He didn’t like using chemicals so he did it this natural way.

With Thanksgiving Day only several weeks away, I will share the dressing recipe I use to stuff my turkey. We call it dressing if it’s baked in a baking dish. But we called it stuffing if we use it to stuff a turkey.

God’s blessings to all!

Dressing
Lovina’s homemade dressing.

Homemade Dressing

2 tablespoons chicken soup base

2 cups hot water

4 large eggs, beaten

1/4 cup diced carrot

1/4 cup diced celery

1/4 cup chopped yellow onion

10 slices bread, crumbled

1 teaspoon seasoning salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-cup casserole dish or cake pan. Dissolve the soup base in the water. Alternately, use 2 cups hot water, potato water, or chicken broth. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

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