Category Archives: Soups

Lovina and Her Family Gather to Can Applesauce

This is the last day of October already! Where does the time go? On Sunday, our clocks will fall back an hour, ending daylight saving time until next spring. I really do not care for the switching back and forth. I wish they would keep it one way or the other. Such is life!

Last week, we were able to get 10 bushels of apples into applesauce for daughter Susan and Ervin. It was an enjoyable day spent together working and visiting. I hadn’t seen Ervin’s mother Esther since the wedding last year, so it was nice to visit with her again. She had six boys and one girl, so she knows all about raising boys and is going to sew pants for Susan and Ervin’s three growing little boys. They are all so close in size that they can’t do hand-me-downs.

Daughters Loretta, Elizabeth, Verena, and I stayed to help until the applesauce was all in jars because we live closer than Esther and her daughters-in-law Rachel and Sarah. They had a driver bring them and probably had a 45-minute drive back home. Loretta, Denzel, Byron, and I went with their handicap buggy. We arrived back home at around 7:15 p.m. Later than we had anticipated, but I was glad to get the apples all done in one day for them. There were 157 quarts of applesauce canned for them, which will be a nice supply for the next year.

Joe and the boys harvested the remaining peppers and tomatoes from the garden. Photo provided.

Here at home, daughter Lovina had supper ready for our family and Dustin’s when we arrived. While we were gone, Joe and the boys had picked all the peppers and tomatoes from the garden and garden beds. Now, our garden is history for 2023.

Son Benjamin has only one week left until he goes to the doctor and hopefully gets the okay to have his cast off. It was a long seven-and-a-half weeks for him.

Church services were held on Sunday at our neighbors’. Sister Verena came here after church and has been here since. She gets lonely if she’s home for too long alone. Today, we want to wash out my two cupboards. Since it only has my good china and the dishes I use on special occasions, I like to wash all the dishes when I have them out. Verena said she can do that for me today so that I can do another job.

Lord willing, Christmas services will be held here on December 24, and we will have a potluck meal afterward. We are trying to get a head start on cleaning since the holidays are a busy time of gatherings.

Son Joseph used the pressure washer and washed off the porch. He also moved some of the porch furniture to the basement for the winter. I like my wicker set and patio table and chairs in the basement for the winter months for protection. We wouldn’t use it out there on the porch anyhow. We do use it in the basement during the winter months sometimes. It’s always cozy in our basement with the heat down there. I’m organizing down there on the days I get to it. I want to make a play area for the grandchildren when they come. I have a bookshelf with books as well. They love reading or “looking” at books.

We are in the process of getting a stairlift put in for son Kevin, 18. We had a used one that a kind reader had donated to us, but it finally gave up on us. Kevin’s bedroom is upstairs, and he can’t get up the steps anymore. Son Joseph carries him up every night to bed. He can still come down, but it isn’t the safest, so we decided to get another chairlift. Kevin is the tallest of our three sons—almost six feet.

We traveled to Ann Arbor for doctor appointments last Friday. They do a lot of testing for muscular dystrophy. It makes a long day for the children (and also for Mom). It is a two-plus hour drive, so we are on the road for almost five hours.

Until next time… God bless! Stay safe and healthy!

Broccoli and Mushroom Soup
1 cup unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced thinly
4 cups diced fresh broccoli
1 cup all-purpose flour
4–5 cups milk, divided
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Melt butter in a large saucepan or dutch oven on medium heat. Add onion, mushrooms, and broccoli, tossing and stirring vegetables in butter for 2–3 minutes. Sprinkle flour into the pan, continuing to stir so flour is evenly distributed and mixed with vegetables and the flour is being cooked—you are making a roux for this thick nourishing soup, so stir for another 2 minutes to blend completely.

Add 3 cups milk, continuing to stir vigorously to create a sauce. Turn the heat to low and continue stirring. As the soup thickens, add chicken broth and additional milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly so the soup stays smooth. Cook another 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add cheese, salt, and black pepper, stirring while the cheese melts. Add more milk if you want a thinner soup.

Lovina and Her Family Prepare for Cold Weather

This October week is bringing us cold, rainy weather. Today, the temperature was a high of 55 degrees and a low of 41 degrees. We have been burning our gas lights (propane) to help take the chill out of the house. Joe is getting the coal stove in the basement cleaned and ready for this winter’s use. We burn hard coal in the coal stove in the basement, and it has a jacket around it to help the heat come up through a floor vent. I dry all our laundry in the basement during the winter months. The coal stove heats all three stories of our house.

The leaves are starting to fall, and the colorful leaves are scenic.

On October 8, son-in-law Dustin had his 29th birthday. Dustin, Loretta, and sons; Tim, Elizabeth, and four children; and Ervin, Susan, and five children came yesterday for an early supper. Joe and I were alone all day, so we enjoyed their company. We put chicken on the grill and had a casserole, steamed green beans, cheese, pickles, etc., and blackberry shortcake and ice cream for dessert.

Recently, we had a nice surprise visit from another Uncle and Aunt. My dad’s brother Amos and Gyneth drove the two hours to visit us. Amos is the youngest of the 13 siblings and is 76. My dad was the second oldest of the 13 and passed away 23 years ago at the age of 69. I have nothing but good memories of him. Gone but not forgotten!

Friday evening, Joe and I, sons Benjamin and Kevin, son Joseph and his special friend Grace, daughter Lovina and her special friend Daniel, daughter Loretta and Dustin with Denzel and Byron all took supper to my sister Verena. The menu included grilled banana poppers along with a casserole and various other goodies. It was a nice evening spent together, although weather-wise it was rainy.

Today, I did laundry and hung some on the lines outside and some on the porch. It dried between the showers we had.

Another church family brought supper over. This was once again so much appreciated.

Tomorrow, I will go with son Kevin to the dentist for his cleaning. Then on Wednesday, I will go with son Benjamin to his two-week check-up at the doctor. This will be his first check-up since the surgery on his leg. We are hoping that all is healing nicely and that he can go back to walking without crutches in four weeks or so (and also back to work).

He appreciates all the cards and gifts and wants to thank everyone. God bless you for your kindness!

One day last week, many assisted niece Emma as she prepared to host church services this Sunday: daughter Elizabeth, Allison and Andrea, daughter Susan, daughter Verena, daughter Loretta, Denzel and Byron, sisters Verena and Emma, niece Elizabeth, nephew Benjamin’s wife Crystal and me. The other nine children came after school. They were all excited to be able to get off the bus there.

It is now the next morning, and I am working on my cookbook until it’s time to leave with Kevin.

Daughter Loretta and sons came over around 6 a.m. Denzel, 15 months, is sleeping in the playpen and Byron, 9 weeks, is sleeping on Loretta in the recliner. It’s almost 7 a.m., and I’m enjoying a coffee. All is still quiet. Joe and son Joseph left before 5 a.m., and Benjamin, Lovina, and Kevin aren’t up yet. I decided it was a good, quiet morning to get some “brain work” done on the cookbook. It stays dark for quite longer and is dark earlier at night. It will be darker even earlier once we are off Daylight-Saving Time.

Try this cabbage and beef soup if you have late cabbage from your garden yet or just want a good soup on a cold autumn night.

God’s blessings to all!

Cabbage and Beef Soup
2 pounds ground beef, browned
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 (32-ounce) can kidney beans, undrained
1 medium head cabbage, chopped
1 quart stewed tomatoes
1 quart tomato juice
4 teaspoons beef base
fresh parsley

In an 8-quart kettle, brown ground beef. Add all remaining ingredients, except parsley. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Garnish with parsley.


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 wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Mourning a Loss in the Community

Another week has gone by, and it’s already time to write another column. Last week was very hot and humid, making for some restless nights. This week, temperatures are cooler and even chilly in the early morning hours with the mercury dropping to 50 degrees. It makes for some nice sleeping with the coolness at night. Although this morning, I lit a gas light for heat after daughter Loretta and her little ones came. Baby Byron is doing well and is a little sweetie to cuddle with. Denzel is getting adjusted to having to share his parents with his little brother.

Friday evening, our whole family, sister Emma and sons Jacob and Steven, nephew Benjamin and wife Crystal and son, all gathered at sister Verena’s. A lot of work was done around there for her. We all took supper along. Sister Emma brought a cake, and we had a belated birthday for Verena as well. Joe grilled chicken for supper too. Verena was so glad for everything that got accomplished.

Saturday, we had a short visit from sister Liz, Levi, and daughter Suzanne. It was good to see Liz again. We hadn’t seen each other since daughter Susan and Ervin’s wedding nine months ago. They also stopped at daughter Loretta and Dustin’s house to see little Byron. Loretta and Suzanne are the same age.

We were shocked to hear the sad news of the accident that took the life of 22-year-old Harley. He was a special friend to my great niece Sarah. Sarah’s mother Elizabeth is the daughter of brother Albert and Sarah Irene. Harley was driving in his buggy along a highway when he was rear-ended by a car. He was taken to the hospital but died later on. Harley’s mother Mary Susan (husband Chris) was in my grade in school, and we were in the same church growing up. My heart aches for the family and Sarah to lose a loved one so early in life. Sarah showed us a card Harley had in his buggy and was found in the wreck that he had signed out to her. He left her a nice memory. May God help them through this difficult trial in life and comfort them as they mourn the death of their son, brother, and special friend.

Sisters Verena and Emma, Joe, and I traveled over two hours to attend the viewing on Sunday afternoon. We stopped in at sister Liz and Levi for a while. So Liz and I got to see each other again.

Saturday evening, daughter Tim and Elizabeth and their four children, daughter Susan and Ervin and their five children, and Joe and I were supper guests at daughter Loretta and Dustin’s house. Son Benjamin came over for supper before he left for the community building where the youth gather on Saturday evenings.

Sunday will be baptismal services for three young souls in our church district, including son Joseph, 21, and daughter Lovina, 19. As a parent, I am so thankful that they are taking this step in accepting Jesus Christ as their savior. May God always be their guide as they travel into the unknown future.

I need to hurry now as I’m going to town to get groceries. Tomorrow, the girls and I will have a cooking and baking day. I am in the process of making another cookbook, so the photographer will come to take pictures of the dishes we prepare. It’s always a lot of work but also enjoyable to have the girls here and work with them. This cookbook should be out next year sometime.

Until next week… God bless!

Good Goulash
1 pound hamburger
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cups macaroni
1 quart tomato juice
1 pint marinara sauce
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup sugar

Brown the hamburger and onion in a skillet, then drain off excess fat. While the hamburger is browning, cook the macaroni in water for 10 minutes. Drain off liquid. Combine all ingredients with macaroni and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve over mashed potatoes.


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 wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Lovina Answers Readers’ Questions

It’s hard to believe that it’s Wednesday already. This week is going much faster than I would like. I could hear the rain during the night, as it was warm enough in our house to have a window open in our bedroom. We have had absolutely gorgeous weather lately, and then last night, it started raining. Many leaves have fallen from the trees in our yard. The autumn scenery is so beautiful, and all created by our master artist. Are we thankful enough for all his blessings?

Sunday, our family had lunch at daughter Loretta and Dustin’s house across the road from us. The menu was mashed potatoes, beef and noodles, mixed vegetables, grilled hamburgers (and all the toppings for hamburger sandwiches), lettuce salad, fruit dip and sliced apples, and ice cream. It was delicious! We played Phase 10 in the afternoon and spent time outside since it was sunny and 75 degrees.

Tim and daughter Elizabeth and their four children stopped in on their way home from spending the day with his parents and sister and family. They had lunch there. Tim hitched their black horses Prince and Dusty double to their surrey buggy. A surrey is a two-seated buggy. Prince and Dusty are father and son and look very much alike. They look really nice running together.

Monday, sister Verena and I went to daughter Susan’s house. She had surgery to remove her wisdom teeth. Her friend Ervin went with her. She has a very painful mouth now, but I’m sure it will feel better after it’s all healed.

Sister Verena and I helped daughter Verena with the children, laundry, and cleaning up the house. Of course, dishes always accumulate, so sister Verena spent much of the day washing dishes. Daughter Verena and I washed Susan’s, Ervin’s, and the children’s laundry. The three little boys have shirts and pants that look all the same size. There are lots of little items to hang up with laundry for five little children. I am amazed at how well the children get along; to think they only knew each other since May. Ryan enjoys having little “brothers” to play with. Jennifer and Kaitlyn have become close “sisters” and are good at entertaining their little brothers.

Yesterday, we did our laundry. Both days were great for doing laundry.

Tim and Elizabeth left Allison, two, and Andrea, eight months, here while they took T.J. (Timothy) to get checked out. His asthma had fired up, and he was coughing all night. He could hardly talk without coughing and wheezing. They had been giving him nebulizer mist treatments. The doctor said they needed a different medicine for the nebulizer. He said doing what they had been kept T.J. from getting worse and from being admitted to the hospital. Hopefully, he’s doing better. I want to call Elizabeth this morning to see how he is doing.

This brings me to a question from a reader wondering about the calls and voicemails I wrote in an earlier column. Our community allows us to have a home phone in a building outside the house. Some have a loud ringer outside, so that the phone can be heard ringing. We can leave a voicemail to call back at a certain time to connect. Our phone is in our pole barn, not far from the house. I hope this answers your questions. Also, the pictures from the benefit were taken by an Amish driver Sue, so thanks to her, you got a glimpse of all the food.

Back to having Allison and Andrea here. . . Andrea gets around everywhere, pulls herself up, and walks behind a push toy. She has the biggest brown eyes, and her smile melts your heart. Allison is blonde-haired and has bright blue eyes (her daddy’s eyes). She came down to the basement with me while I was washing laundry. She’s good at entertaining herself. While I hung laundry out, she was swinging or riding the tricycle.

I always wanted to say congratulations to Vernon and Marsha. I hope they had a nice wedding day. We are sorry we were unable to attend. There was just too much happening on October 14. We appreciated the invite.

Last night we had vegetable soup and venison summer sausage (made by son-in-law Tim) for our supper. I’ll share my vegetable soup recipe. Enjoy! God bless!

Lovina and her family had vegetable soup and venison summer sausage for supper one evening. Photo provided.

Vegetable Soup
1 pint canned beef chunks
1 small onion (left whole)
1 quart tomato juice
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 pint canned or frozen corn
1 pint canned or frozen mixed vegetables
salt and black pepper to taste

Put beef chunks, small onion, tomato juice, and potatoes in a 4-quart pot. Cook until potatoes are soft. Add corn and mixed vegetables and heat until boiling. Onion can be taken out since it’s only for flavor. Or, if you prefer, you can dice it before adding and leave it in soup to eat.


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 wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Looking Back on a Special Day of Birth

June 14th was the 28th birthday of our first-born daughter Elizabeth. I wish her many more happy and healthy years. She has been married almost seven years to a nice loving husband, Tim, and they have been blessed with four precious children Abigail, five; Timothy (T.J.), three; Allison, two; and Andrea, four months.

This year was hot on June 14th, just like in 1994. That was a very hot night when Elizabeth was born at 9:58 p.m. We were living with my parents, and Joe’s aunt was my midwife. Dr. Osborne was also there just in case there were complications. Dr. Osborne had delivered me in that same house 23 years earlier. He delivered all eight of us siblings.

I had a long labor, and I remember how warm it was. It was warmer than when all my three July babies were born. We didn’t have fans like we do now, except my dad would use a little square fan that ran with batteries when it was that hot. He had asthma and hay fever, and that little fan would help him breathe. I still remember when Dad saw me having all the hard pain; he handed that fan to me and told me to use it for myself.

I was often thankful to have my mother there those next weeks when I tried to take care of our first baby. I had problems getting her to breastfeed, and Mom spent lots of nighttime hours helping me. I have many precious memories of my parents!

On Monday evening, daughters Verena and Susan and grandchildren Jennifer and Ryan spent the night here. It was supposed to storm, and they felt better to be here. We had a lot of wind. Some places had trees down, etc. We were very fortunate that everything here was okay. We have a sitting area in our basement, and with the heat and the storm coming, it was nicer to just sit down there after supper. Our basement is often a nice place to sit in with these days of excessive heat.

As we sat there visiting, it was funny when Jennifer said, “Kevin, you can smile. It will be okay.” Since he wasn’t smiling, she thought he was worried about the storm. Ryan wasn’t too worried. He found the toys down there and was playing, and of course he brought his black hat (his daddy Mose’s hat) and was wearing it again.

This week daughter Loretta and I made strawberry freezer jam from the 16 quarts of strawberries that neighbor Susan and Joas brought over.

Lovina prepared rhubarb juice with her daughter. Photo provided.

We also canned 66 quarts of rhubarb juice from my rhubarb. Now Loretta has jam and rhubarb juice in stock. We also did laundry yesterday, so it was a full day’s work.

It was so warm yesterday that we just had frozen pizzas to heat up for our supper. We ate over at Dustin and Loretta’s house after the last of the rhubarb juice was canned. I am so glad that is done.

Thursday evening through Sunday, our family has plans to go camping. We are renting three cabins and an RV by the lake. We plan to do some fishing, swimming, and just make more memories together. The grandchildren will have a lot of fun. It is also Father’s Day on Sunday. Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there.

June 15th is sister Emma and Jacob’s 27th anniversary. It’s her first anniversary without her dear husband. I’m sure today will be a hard day without him. My thoughts and prayers go to all those that have lost loved ones. May they rest in peace!

God’s blessings to all!

Cheese Broccoli Soup
1 tablespoon salad oil
3/8 cup chopped onion
3 cups water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups (4 ounces) of fine noodles
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (10 ounces) frozen broccoli (may use fresh)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3 cups milk
1/2 pound of American cheese
pepper to taste

Sauté onion in oil, add water and bouillon cubes, and heat to boiling until cubes are dissolved. Gradually add noodles and salt and continue boiling uncovered for 3 minutes. Stir in broccoli and garlic salt and cook for 4 more minutes. Add milk, cheese, and pepper and continue cooking until cheese melts, stirring constantly.


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 wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Early springtime fun with the grandchildren—and more beef

Another week has already passed us by, and it is time to pen this column again.

My plans for today are to wash daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s laundry. Daughter Lovina assisted her with her work for several hours yesterday. I went to pick Lovina up and brought the laundry home. Today sounds like it will be a warm day to hang it outside. The sun is trying to peep out from behind the clouds.

Baby Andrea is now four weeks old. Her cute little expressions are so fun to watch. I was only able to stay a few minutes yesterday. She would change her smile to a frown then back to a smile, as if she wasn’t sure if she should be happy or sad. Such sweet, innocent little angels. What does this world hold in store for them? Only God knows! Allison, 2, still wants to be held by Grandma, too. She is gradually adjusting to the fact that her mother’s attention isn’t all on her. She has had her share of falls from climbing. She is a little tomboy and tries to keep up with active little T.J., 3.

We stopped through daughter Susan’s and got to see Jennifer, 4, and Ryan, 2, for a few minutes. The weather was so nice, and they both came running out of the door barefooted, circling around the yard—but not for long, as Susan took them inside to get shoes on. I remember on those nice, warm March days as a child we would want to go outside barefooted, too. Mom would always tell us to wait until after March is over. I can still hear her say, “NO—don’t go out barefooted, it’s still March.” Oh, thinking of those sweet memories of her still makes me miss her so much.

We ended up helping daughters Susan and Verena cut up two quarters of beef on Friday. Son-in-law Dustin and son Benjamin didn’t have to work that day. Those helping were Dustin, Loretta, sons Benjamin and Kevin, daughter Lovina, sister Verena, and me. The steaks were cut out, hamburger ground and packaged.

Vacuum sealing the ground beef was part of this weekend’s work. Photo provided.

Susan canned some of the meat. We brought the steaks and T-bones home to put in our freezer overnight. My husband Joe then cut up all the steaks on Saturday. Loretta and I vacuum sealed the meat for Susan. Now it’s all in her freezer, and I’m so glad she has beef and pork to use in the coming year.

Then on Saturday, son Benjamin and I, daughters Susan and Verena assisted Tim and Elizabeth in cutting up their two quarters of beef. The hamburger was ground and packaged, steaks and T-bones sliced and packaged, some meat canned, etc. Daughters Susan and Verena did Elizabeth’s cleaning yet before heading for home. Needless to say, this Grandma was a wee bit tired Saturday night after two days of helping cut up beef. I am so glad to help the children whenever I can.

Sunday, Joe and I, son Joseph and his special friend Grace, my sister Emma, her son Benjamin and his special friend Crystal, and my sister Verena attended church in northern Indiana to partake in the blessing of nephew Andrew’s baptism. Andrew is brother Albert and Sarah Irene’s youngest son. In the afternoon, we made a short stop at brother Albert’s house. We hadn’t seen the new house he built. It is very nice. Alberts have three daughters and one son still at home. They have eleven children and all but four married, so their house seems emptier.

A notice to readers—I will be signing books on April 2nd at the Plain and Simple Craft Show in Shipshewana, Indiana. They will have over 130 vendors there. Then on April 9th, I will be at the Nappanee, Indiana, library from 2–4 p.m. I’m looking forward to meeting old and new readers there. In Shipshewana, daughters Elizabeth and baby Andrea, daughter Susan and children, Jennifer and Ryan, and daughter Lovina will be with me. Some family members are also planning to attend the meet and greet in Nappanee with me. God bless!

This week I will share the recipes for coffee soup and pon hoss due to many requests from readers.

Pon Hoss
Pork bones
Black pepper

Place pork bones in large kettle and add enough water to cover. Cook bones until the meat comes off bones. Remove bones and skim fat from broth. Measure the quantity of broth remaining. Return meat to broth. (We grind the meat before returning it to the broth.) Then add 4 cups of flour to every gallon of juice, sifting in the flour, as well as 2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon black pepper per gallon of juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, then pour in pans. Let cool, then slice and fry on each side until golden brown.

Coffee Soup
2 cups coffee
2 or more cups milk
1/2 cup sugar (or more, to taste)

Combine all ingredients and heat until hot, but do not boil. Pour over toasted bread or saltine crackers.


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 wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Different Ways to Prepare the Thanksgiving Turkey and Eat the Leftovers

December—the final month of 2021!

The Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone. We are mostly caught up with the leftover food from it. I made a stew with the turkey carcass from the turkey son-in-law Dustin made for us in his deep fryer. Everyone loved the stew, and it really is great way to get the most out of your turkey. I will share my recipe with this column.

Yesterday I spent the day at sister Emma’s house as she hosted a Pampered Chef party so she could earn some free kitchen items. Emma served lunch to all the ladies and children that came.

Daughters Elizabeth, Susan, and Verena and my grandchildren were there too. I got to spend the day with them as well. Granddaughter Abigail came there off the bus after school with Emma’s youngest son Steven. Steven is in eighth grade, so this will be his last year of school.

It is really quiet around here with everyone at work. My husband Joe at the metal shop, son Benjamin, 22, at the RV factory, son Joseph, 19, on his construction job, daughter Lovina, 17, at her job at McDonald’s, and son Kevin, 16, helping out this week at a butchering shop. It’s still hard for me to get used to the emptiness but that is a part of life.

Saturday Joe and I plan to do some Christmas shopping. We will have our family Christmas on December 18th (a year ago, son-in-law Mose’s funeral was on the 18th). We are having it a little earlier than usual as daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and family will travel by charter bus to Florida over Christmas. Tim’s parents and some of his family will be with them, and they well attend Tim’s nephew’s wedding in Florida. They will also travel to Kentucky with some of Tim’s family for a Christmas gathering at his sister’s house on December 11th. Elizabeth has been extra busy preparing for these upcoming trips.

Our family exchanged names for a gift exchange when we get together.

Daughter Verena spent Sunday evening here, while daughter Susan and children went to Mose’s sister’s house to spend the evening with his family.

I attended the Thanksgiving feast at Abigail’s school last week. It’s so different to go for a granddaughter than when I went for my children. It brought back memories of all the years our eight children attended that school. Abigail was excited to have her grandma, mother, siblings, aunts, cousins, and Uncle Kevin come to eat with her. Nephew Steven also ate with us.

We had a nice day together on Thanksgiving Day at sister Emma’s house. They had the table set for all of us. Her sons-in-law prepared a trash can turkey, which is somehow cooked under a trash can with charcoal around it. It was very delicious. Emma also baked a turkey in her oven so we had plenty of turkey. I had made some food to take along, and lo and behold I forgot to take the pumpkin roll. I thought I was forgetting something as I was loading up the food on the buggy but didn’t realize it until the dessert was being passed around. I always think we need a pumpkin roll for Thanksgiving, but we did okay without it. Let us thank God every day. We have so many blessings that we take for granted. God bless and stay safe and healthy!

Turkey Stew

Turkey carcass and mixed bones (your leftover holiday turkey)
1 medium onion, diced
6 stalks celery, diced
6 large carrots, dices
8 medium potatoes, diced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken soup base
seasonings to taste

Place carcass in large kettle and cover with water. Cook until meat removes from bones. Cool off enough so all the bones can be taken out of water. Then add meat, vegetables, and seasonings back in water and cook until potatoes are soft. Optional—cabbage or other vegetables you prefer can be added. We loved it!



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 wherever books are sold. 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 and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Sister Susan laid to rest

Yes, the good Lord has knocked on our door again … Those words are from a song cousin Ernest wrote after losing his mother and brother in accidents years ago. Those words came to my mind tonight.

Our hearts ache again as we laid dear sister Susan to rest beside Mose. A spot in between was reserved for daughter Susan, hopefully many, many years from now. After four weeks, sister Susan lost out to the battle. How it hurt to see her in those last hours of her life. Just two of the family were allowed to go in at a time to be with her in her final hours, but at 7 p.m. we were told we needed to leave until 7 a.m. We begged that they would consider at least one person staying with her during the night hours so she wouldn’t be alone. After no consent, we went to the motel to sleep until we were allowed back in at 7 a.m. Shortly before 6:30 a.m., the doctor called to tell us she passed away. Oh, to be able to be with loved ones when they need you would be such a blessing. At a time like that, your loved ones by your side would be a great comfort. Although Susan couldn’t talk much, she mouthed the words “I love you” to sister Verena before we left. Tears were rolling from her eyes, making it harder for us to leave her.

She died on January 31, and brother Amos died on the same date three years ago. She leaves to mourn five sisters, one brother, and many nieces and nephews.

The visitation and funeral were all held here again. Once again our church community stepped in to help, in every way they could.

Sister Verena is devastated and feels so alone with Susan not around. One of our daughters stay with her during the night.

Daughter Lovina is staying with her tonight and goes to work from there in the morning. Lovina, 16, started working at McDonald’s with some of her friends. She seems to enjoy it so far. I miss her help here at home. I think she likes the idea of getting out of the house and doing something different.

Friday, February 5, was a hard day for daughter Susan, as it was Mose’s birthday. Susan and her children spent a week here over the funeral of sister Susan. One morning, daughter Susan was lying on the couch beside Jennifer, 3. Jennifer asked her, “What’s wrong, Mom?” Susan told her, “I’m sad because I miss Daddy.” So Jennifer hugged Susan and said, “I’ll take care of you, Mom.” It was so cute and precious to see her wanting to comfort her mother.

One night Jennifer was singing the song “How Far Is Heaven” and asking for Mose. Jennifer and Ryan have been a great comfort to have around for Susan.

On Sunday evening, we had sister Verena join our family for supper. Daughter Verena went home with her for the night. Oh, how we miss our loved ones.

Today, February 9, is my good friend Ruth’s birthday. She has been such a help to me and my family. Happy birthday, Ruth! God’s blessings.

Uncle Emanuel will be 91 on February 17. He and my Dad shared the same birthday, with my dad being a year younger. Uncle Emanuel and Aunt Leah (Mom’s sister) came to the visitation of sister Susan, traveling the two-hour drive with their children and spouses. Sister Emma asked Uncle Emanuel what the secret is to his long life and he said, “Eat coffee soup every morning.” We had a laugh about that. Grandma Graber was in her 90s when she died, and she, too, ate coffee soup every morning.

My children also like coffee soup, but I don’t fix it as often as my mother did. I will share the recipe this week.

Coffee Soup

1 cup water
2 heaping teaspoons instant coffee
4 teaspoons sugar
3 cups milk
Toasted bread or crackers, optional

Heat water on the stovetop. Remove from heat and add coffee and sugar, then mix. Add milk and return to heat again until mixture is hot. Crumble bread or crackers into it, if desired.

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 wherever books are sold. 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 and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Autumn orchard visit for apples and grapes

In this week’s column Lovina shares about the process of juicing grapes with two large steamers, pictured. Photo provided.

We have entered October, which brings us closer to the end of 2020. Leaves are falling, farmers are harvesting corn, gardens are being cleared out and tilled. All of these events are a sure sign that autumn is here. We went to the local u-pick orchard and picked grapes and our supply of apples. I have lots of jars of grape juice concentrate again now. We put the grapes in two big steamers/juicers and the juice comes out through a hose that we use to fill the jars. Daughter Verena went over to help daughter Elizabeth with her two bushels of grapes. Daughter Susan brought her three bushels of grapes here to can since she doesn’t have a steamer. I have two and it helps so much to be able to do two batches at a time. Susan wants to can applesauce yet. I still have enough so I didn’t get apples to can—only for fresh eating. We did also get cider. Nothing is better than a cold glass of cider and a bowl of popcorn and apples for a snack on these cold evenings.

My husband Joe started our coal stove in the basement. It was getting quite chilly in the house with rainy weather and temperatures going down in the 30s. This week is milder, and the sun is shining every day. Some windows are open, so we are debating whether to keep the stove going or letting it burn out. Our coal stove is a hopper fed coal stove, so it doesn’t let us burn wood in it. It feels much more comfortable to work when it’s not cold in here, though.

Yesterday daughters Verena and Lovina went over to help daughter Elizabeth. Church service hosting is now over for them. Tim, Elizabeth, and their three children will travel to Kentucky today to attend the wedding of Tim’s sister Miriam’s daughter, which is tomorrow.

I sewed Abigail’s dress and apron a few weeks ago and yesterday I sewed Allison’s dress and apron for the wedding. Elizabeth sewed her dress, cape, and apron. Lots of packing even for just a few days for three little children.

On Sunday Tim and Elizabeth hosted council (rule church) meeting services. Communion will be in two weeks with intentions to ordain a deacon, Lord willing.

Tim was planning to have services in the tent but when it decided to be so cold and rainy, they cleared more things out of their basement and set the benches down there. There was enough room since usually there are not visitors at rule church. Around 11:15 a.m. a few benches of people at a time will come up to eat. There is a men’s table and a women’s table. When someone is done eating a new setting is put there for the next person. Elizabeth’s dining room table was opened all the way (10 feet) and set for the men and boys. Then two six-foot tables were set for the women and girls. Sixteen settings to each table.

Four big 12-quart kettles of chicken and noodles were made to serve along with homemade wheat and white bread, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, ham, pickles, pickled red beets, hot peppers, butter, jam, cookies, coffee, and tea.

Today looks like a nice, warm day to wash windows. They always seem to get dirty and of course with five little grandchildren coming often the little handprints are there. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I enjoy having them come.

It looks like I will be helping paint at Mose and Susan’s house later this week. Their kitchen cabinets are coming next week. It is coming along pretty good!

October 8th is Loretta’s friend Dustin’s birthday! Happy birthday Dustin! We appreciate all he does for Loretta and for our family. May God bless him for all his kind deeds!

I will share the chicken noodle soup recipe for those of you that need a kettle in that amount. God’s blessings to all!

Church Noodles

3 quarts chicken broth with meat
6 quarts water
3/4 cup chicken soup base
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 of a 10.5 ounce can of cream of chicken soup
3 pounds homemade noodles

Drain broth off meat into a 12-quart kettle. Set meat aside. Add water, chicken base, and salt to broth. Heat to boiling. Add meat, noodles, and cream of chicken soup and bring to a boil again. Put lid on, turn off heat, and let sit for one hour. If you can’t let it sit for an hour, simmer for 10-15 minutes and it should be ready in 30 minutes.


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 and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.


Gardening and games at home

Today was such a beautiful sunny day with the temperature around 60 degrees. Everyone is home due to the coronavirus precautions. It seems so different to not set an alarm. Of course, we sleep later since no one is leaving home.

The boys took advantage of the nice day and hauled a lot of manure out to the fields. My husband Joe tilled up both gardens. The soil looks so nice and black. We also did a lot of raking outside such as flower beds beside the buildings, etc.

We would like to make one of our gardens into raised garden beds to plant vegetables. We thought this would be a way our children with handicaps could help with the gardening. They could sit in the mobility scooter and plant, pick, or weed the vegetables. With Joe and I also getting older it would be nice to not bend down to weed and harvest the vegetables.

We would like to use something affordable, but we are not sure what to use. I know some use wood but are bothered with lots of ants and bugs in the plants. We would like to use vinyl boards, but our budget couldn’t afford to that. It would last a lifetime though. Joe measured that we would need 16-foot rows and would make them 4 feet wide and two and a half feet deep. To fill our one garden we would need eight of these. Maybe we will figure something out before planting season. It would work out so well if we could somehow make it work. I am wondering if any of you readers have suggestions about what to use. Joe says he doesn’t want to have to mow under them and wants something neat in appearance. We will see, but we would appreciate any suggestions from you.

I hope to go searching for dandelion greens tomorrow. My sisters Susan and Verena found enough already to make a meal of them. Yum! Looking forward to that!

One night our family sat around the table after we ate supper looking in Country and Country Extra magazines searching for the needles they hide in there. It was a challenge to see who would find it first. The girls also had tricks for us to do with picking a chair up somehow with our head touching the wall bent halfway down. We seem to find enough to entertain us while everyone is home. Some things seem silly but as a family we need to live, laugh, and love!

Most of all, let us read from our Bibles for encouragement and pray that God will be with us during this time of trial. It’s something most people have never seen. Our hearts and prayers go to those affected by the virus. God is in control even though the road ahead looks overwhelming. I try not to think about our income not coming in like so many others also are experiencing. I am thankful for the meat in our freezers and all the vegetables we canned last year from our garden. The fruits of our labor are worth all the hard work put in the gardens. Not everyone has a garden so it’s not as easy. Our biggest challenge is getting enough supply of toilet tissue to have on hand. Every time we make a trip into town, which is sometimes longer than a week apart, the shelves are empty already.

Let us be considerate of others. Stay healthy and safe everyone. This too shall pass.

Daughter Elizabeth says she is trying out recipes from my new cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, published by Herald Press. She loves making new dishes and trying different recipes. In my cookbook I try to stay with recipes that are simple and made with ingredients you have in your kitchen. You can find the cookbook online from various booksellers.

God’s blessings to all!


Potato Chowder

4 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup grated carrot
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon parsley
4 chicken bouillon cubes
6 cups scalded milk
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
Optional: shredded cheese

In a large kettle, combine potatoes, onion, carrots, salt, pepper, parsley, and bouillon. Add enough water to just cover the vegetables and cook until tender. Do not drain. In a separate pan, scald milk until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan. With a wire whisk, mix butter and flour with 1-1/2 cup scalded milk. Add remaining milk to vegetables, then stir in thickened milk mixture until blended. Simmer a few minutes on low heat. Yield: 8-10 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 and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.