Category Archives: Soups

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

Winter butchering means hard work, a full house, and family fun

February is more than halfway over already. We are happy to be done with our pork butchering for this winter. Friday evening my husband Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph, sons-in-laws Tim and Mose, and Loretta’s special friend, Dustin, dressed three big pigs.

On Saturday morning we began working early on cutting up the meat. Mose and Susan’s pig was cut up first. All the bones were cooked in the big kettle outside while the hams, pork chops, and bacon were sliced, the sausage ground, and lard rendered. Last of all, we made pon hoss. We had twelve gallons of juice to make into pon hoss.

Large kettles are used to cook the bones when butchering pigs, as Lovina describes in this week’s column.

Sister Emma and Jacob and sons and sisters Verena and Susan were also here on Saturday to help our family with the butchering. A cousin of Joe’s father stopped in to see how pon hoss is made and stayed most of the day.

Everyone came for breakfast. The girls and I made two big casseroles the night before to have for breakfast. Also on the menu were hot peppers, cheese, donuts, coffee, orange juice, apple juice, and milk.

For lunch, we fried fresh tenderloin, served along with mashed potatoes, gravy, mixed vegetables, corn, lettuce salad, cheese, hot peppers, blueberry delight, cake, brownies, peaches, and ice cream. We also pickled the heart and tongue from the pigs. We cooked them in the pressure cooker then diced them up and put them in vinegar and onions. A lot of people liked it, but I didn’t even try. I am just not into eating different things like that. Maybe if I didn’t know what it was it would be different.

The pigs were very lean, so we didn’t get as much lard, but our bacon was really meaty, which is what we like. We still had more than enough lard, which we poured into jars and sealed with lids. I think it stays fresh longer like that. We seasoned some of the cracklings with different spices and the boys tried making a few potato chips in the kettle.

At the end of the day Jacob and Emma went home, but sisters Verena and Susan, Tim and Elizabeth and family, Mose and Susan and family, and nephew Steven were our overnight guests. We put up air mattresses and found enough room for everyone to sleep. It was enjoyable to have everyone here.

Sunday morning sons Benjamin and Joseph and Dustin went to church at Dustin’s brother’s house. Loretta has a bad cough, so she stayed home. Daughter Susan and I were up already so she made them breakfast before they left. Everyone was tired from the long day, so we made brunch for everyone. On the menu were pon hoss, fresh bacon, eggs, soup, toast, cheese, cookies, cake, juices including homemade V8, coffee and milk.

We had a full house but its always fun to wake up with the grandchildren here. Ryan, almost seven months, Jennifer, 2, and T.J., 1, were awake right away. Baby Allison, 8 weeks, was also awake early and ready to eat. Abigail, 3, slept with the girls and was happy to wake up beside her aunts.

The rest of the day we mostly sat around resting and visiting. Everyone headed for home in the afternoon. Dustin, Benjamin, and Joseph came back from church. Benjamin and Joseph went back to Dustin’s brother’s house for supper after evening chores were done. Loretta was still not up to leaving so Dustin stayed here. I made fresh sausage sandwiches for supper for the ones still here at home. The house seemed quiet after everyone left.

This week I’ll share the recipe for campfire stew from my cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook. I made it earlier this week when my daughters and grandchildren were here and tried adding mixed vegetables instead of green beans. We all liked it that way. I also made it in a large pot on the stove instead of outside since it’s cold.

God bless!

 

Lovina shares her recipe for Campfire Stew this week, equally good prepared indoors on the stove during the cold winter months.

Campfire Stew

2 cups beef stew meat (or substitute a roast, cut into chunks)
4 cups red potatoes, unpeeled, cleaned, and diced
2 cups green beans, cut into small pieces
1 whole onion (to flavor the soup)
4–5 beef bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

Put beef chunks in a kettle or large pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Add potatoes, green beans, and onion, adding enough water so the vegetables are well covered. Add bouillon. Boil until vegetables and meat are tender. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Remove whole onion if you wish.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 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.

A freshly painted room and a pot of chili create warmth in cold weather

It’s amazing how another week has already gone by and it’s time for me to pen another column.

Son Kevin, 14, already left for school this morning. He will not have school tomorrow or Monday. It’s their mid-winter break. Son Joseph, 17, will be home today and possibly tomorrow from his construction job. The construction crew leader is spending time with his father out of state. His father is very ill, so I wish him the best.

The ground has about three more inches of snow this morning. Son Benjamin, 20, and a friend of his went ice fishing last night. After they came home, we had just finished eating supper, so I set the food out for them to eat. We had chili soup and hamburgers on the menu.

When I make a big pot of chili soup I always think of my father. He used to tease my mother when she made a big pot of chili, pointing to the kettle saying “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.” He meant that there was enough soup for several days, but it never lasted that long.

I never add chili powder to my chili soup but substitute with the spicy V8 juice we make. The chili powder gives my husband Joe heart burn, so I omit it so he can eat it. I always use sausage for the meat, and everyone loves when I add Rotel tomatoes to it. Benjamin’s friend liked the V8 juice. We think it is a good drink when you have a scratchy throat from allergies during the winter. It seems like more of our family is liking it. It has just enough spice without being too hot. All that labor we put into making it with all the vegetables from our garden in the summer sure does make it worthwhile to have a cold glass during the winter months.

We only have a few packages of sausage left in our freezer. Our plans are to butcher three pigs on Saturday. One will be for Mose and daughter Susan. They will dress the pigs on Friday night and let them chill overnight, then we will cut up the meat on Saturday, render the lard, and make pon hoss. It’s a big job, but it will be nice to have sausage, pork chops, ham, and bacon in the freezer again.

Daughter Verena is moved back into her freshly painted aqua bedroom now. It looks refreshing and blends in with the dolphin items she collects. Daughter Elizabeth had Verena’s name in our family gift exchange this year and gave her some new curtains that match with her new paint. In the swap bingo at sister Emma and Jacob’s house my niece Emma’s gift was an aqua comforter set and Verena ended up with that gift. She was excited to add these new things to her bedroom.

In today’s column Lovina shares about a painting project to freshen up daughter Verena’s bedroom walls, pictured. Photo provided.

Daughter Lovina, 15, and I painted the room giving it two coats of 2-in-1 paint/primer. We did both coats the same day. My muscles were sore for a few days from painting overhead. This was Lovina’s first time using a roller to paint and she did a really good job. She enjoyed painting but wasn’t fond of all the taping we had to do around the trim. I don’t care for that either, but it helps to have everything covered when you start painting.

While Lovina and I were painting, Verena ended up having to go to the dentist. She has a wisdom tooth coming through and one side of her face was swollen from it. The tooth is coming through okay so far and the dentist told her if it keeps coming through okay, she doesn’t need to get it pulled. She kept ice packs on it and used Orajel to numb it. She also gargles with warm saltwater. She is feeling better every day but it still hurts to chew on that side. I never had my wisdom teeth come in but heard it can be painful.

My page is full, and I need to get busy. I hope everyone stays healthy through this flu season. Thank you to all my readers for your encouragement. God’s blessings to all of you!

 

Chili Soup

2 pounds sausage (may substitute ground beef or venison)
1 fresh garlic clove, minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, undrained
3-4 cups tomato juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Brown sausage, garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Drain, then combine in a saucepan along with remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30–60 minutes for best flavor.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 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.

First snow, Sunday rest, and a family celebration

The ground had a thin layer of snow this morning. Our leaves are still not raked up. Maybe snow will cover them. Out of sight—out of mind. I’m just not ready for snow but we will take whatever the good Lord sends our way. Snowflakes are lightly falling as I write this.

Daughter Verena, 21, is washing dishes and doing the usual morning work. Daughters Loretta, 19, and Lovina, 15, are in the basement washing clothes. They will hang the laundry on the lines in the basement today to dry. We usually leave it to hang overnight and fold it the next day. It is a chilly 31 degrees outside so it’s best to dry the clothes indoors.

I had another doctor appointment this week and the doctor says that I have at least four more weeks of taking it easy and being careful about what I do. What a challenge it is, but may God grant me the patience to be content while my body heals.

Church services were held on Sunday at sister Emma and Jacob’s house. Lots of visitors were there and it sounds like their garage was filled to capacity. Everyone from our family attended except Loretta and her special friend Dustin and me. They stayed here with me, as I am not up to sitting in church that long yet. My husband Joe came home in the afternoon but some of the children stayed at Jacob and Emma’s for a hay-stack supper. It was a quiet day, but I had a nice restful day. Dustin and Loretta made the meals and I just sat in my recliner feeling lazy.

After supper I was surprised to be presented with a Sunshine Box from our church families. Sisters Verena and Susan brought the gifts, which are all nice and useful. I feel so unworthy of it all, but I want to thank everyone for the cards, gifts, letters, etc. that were given to me. It helps to know others care.

Yesterday, niece Elizabeth had a Pampered Chef bridal shower at my sister Emma’s house for my niece Emma. This was a belated shower, but Emma will still get much use out of the items she received. A good lunch was served to everyone afterwards. Our friend Beth took the girls and I with her van.

It was good to get out of the house awhile. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan with their little ones were there as well. It was nice to spend time with them. Granddaughter Abigail, 3, was singing a song she made up about her and granddaughter Jennifer, 22 months. As she sang, she hopped and skipped in circles. It was just so cute! Ten-month-old T.J. is at a challenging stage since he can walk and tries climbing stairs, chairs, or whatever he can. He is quite a handful for daughter Elizabeth right now. He comes up to kiss me, smiling his sweet smile. Ryan, 3 months, is smiling and cooing, winning all our hearts. Jennifer loves to hold her baby brother. What does this world have in store for these sweet innocent children? It is good that we don’t know the future. Let us take one day at a time and praise God daily for his many blessings!

Friday evening, daughter Elizabeth and Tim brought supper in for us. On the menu were potato casserole, macaroni salad, deviled eggs, cupcakes, finger jello, and homemade bread. Daughter Susan, Mose, and family joined us, and Susan brought chocolate pie. It was greatly appreciated!

Tomorrow we travel to Ann Arbor with our friend Beth for our children’s annual appointment with the team of doctors for muscular dystrophy. It’s always a long day of testing.

God’s blessings to all!

Lovina shares a recipe for Cheese Broccoli Soup in this week’s column. Photo credit: D. Lucas Landis/©MennoMedia

 

Cheese Broccoli Soup

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

Sauté onion in oil; add water and bouillon cubes and heat to boiling until cubes are dissolved. Gradually add noodles and continue boiling uncovered for 3 minutes. Stir in broccoli and garlic salt; cook 4 minutes more. Add milk, cheese, salt, 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, will be available in April 2020 from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box1689, 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.

Hosting the church community, gathering with family for a funeral

Daughters Verena, Loretta, and I have plans to go help sister Emma today. The wedding for her daughter Elizabeth and Manuel is fast approaching—15 days to be exact. Plans are to make noodles for the wedding. Some cleaning will be done as well. Sisters Verena and Susan and my daughters Elizabeth and Susan also plan to go, so we should get quite a bit accomplished.

I have lots of sewing to do next week. I need to sew Verena, Loretta, Lovina, and myself each a new dress, cape, and apron. I also need to sew son Kevin a new shirt and pants, so I better get started. Most of it is cut out, so once I get started, I’ll get a lot done. Why I always put this off until the last minute I don’t know, but we were busy cleaning for hosting church services, etc.

Sunday was a beautiful day in the 70s for hosting communion services in our pole barn. Services started at 9 a.m., and around 11:30 a.m. my sisters, daughters, nieces, and I had lunch ready to serve. We had 36 settings so people could take turns coming in to eat.

I made four 12-quart-size kettles of chicken-and-noodle soup. Also on the menu were homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, rhubarb jam, butter and cookies (monster, sugar, and chocolate chip). Also coffee and spearmint tea.

The bread and cookies were all brought in from the ladies in our church district. The hot peppers were furnished from sister Emma, as my supply was low. The rhubarb jam was made fresh by sisters Verena and Susan.

Communion was around 3 p.m. and services were over by 4 p.m. By 4:30 p.m. everyone had left for home except Jacob, Emma, and family; Manuel, Menno, niece Emma, and baby Jessica; Tim, Elizabeth, Abigail, and baby Timothy; Mose, Susan, and Jennifer; sisters Verena and Susan; and also Loretta’s boyfriend, Dustin. Before they all left, I put out sandwiches and heated up some chicken noodle soup for them to eat before leaving for home. We had plenty of leftovers from lunch.

On Saturday, Joe and I attended the funeral of Uncle Elmer. Traveling with a driver in a 14-passenger van to Berne, Indiana, we went with sister Emma and Jacob and sisters Verena and Susan. We headed south to northern Indiana to pick up brother Albert and Sarah Irene. We started out around 4:30 a.m., as it took extra time to pick everyone up. The funeral was held at cousin Ben and Carolyn’s house. Ben is a son to Uncle Elmer and Emma.

Driving past Uncle Elmer and Emma’s house on the way to the funeral brought back many memories of my childhood years. Our family would often travel with horse and buggy the 12-plus miles to Uncle Elmer’s. They had a pond and a shelter back in their woods where we had many picnics and lots of swimming and fishing done. Many holidays were spent back at this pond.

Cousin Amzie, his wife, and daughter now live on the farm, with a smaller house on it for Uncle Elmer and Aunt Emma. Aunt Emma will have many lonely days ahead, but she has a supportive family to care for her. Left to mourn are six sons, four daughters, 52 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Uncle Elmer was 79 years old. Rest in peace!

Tomorrow, May 10, is sister Susan’s 43rd birthday. She wants us to come in honor of her birthday on Sunday for a brunch. Sunday will also be Mother’s Day, so I wish all mothers out there a blessed day!

It is time for us to get ready to leave soon. It looks like rain, but hopefully it will clear up.

God bless each and every one!

 

Amish Noodles

1 quart chicken broth
3 to 3 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken pieces
4 pounds noodles*
7 quarts potato water or plain water
1 cup chicken soup base
1 tablespoon salt

Bring broth and chicken pieces to a boil in a 12-quart kettle; stir in noodles. Add water, chicken soup base, and salt. Return to a full boil and cook for several minutes, then turn off heat. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.

*Depending on the noodles, only 3 pounds may fit in a 12-quart kettle.

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.

Camping with the Eichers: Horses, wagons, boats and even a pontoon

Camping with the Eichers: Horses, wagons, boats and even a pontoon

Our whole family is spending this week (July 4) at a lake about 11 miles from our house. Timothy and Elizabeth and Mose and Susan’s places are only half that far from here. They came with horses and wagons. Timothy and Mose brought their boats and Loretta’s friend Dustin brought his pontoon.

This is July 5 and I’m sitting inside the canopy writing. The ducks are quacking away and I hear a bull frog croaking. My husband Joe went fishing with Dustin. Timothy and Mose are in their boat out on the lake. The rest are still asleep.

It was a long day yesterday. We traveled one-and-one-half hours with a driver to the community where nephew Levi and Arlene exchanged vows. It was a very hot day, but we can’t pick the weather for wedding days. I think I would rather deal with the heat than have cold rain all day long. When so much of a wedding is held in pole barns and tents it is always nicer for the ones preparing when its not cold or rainy. But we aren’t in control of the weather so we must take what we get and make the best of the situation.

I want to make breakfast after everyone is gathered. For me camping like this is more of a chore, but the memories we are making as a family are precious. Little 22-month-old Abigail is having the time of her life. She is such a busy body. She loves “swimming” in the lake with the rest. Six-month-old Jennifer is enjoying all the attention and they took her in the water too. We were all excited when her mother discovered Jennifer has two teeth popping through. Jennifer kept sticking her tongue out across her gums so we knew she was feeling something different.

This lake doesn’t have a public access so its very quiet and peaceful here. We cook with the grill and open fire a lot. We divided the family into six groups so that every day someone different cooks the main meal which is usually between lunch and supper.

I was just getting started writing this column on a picnic table outside when it started sprinkling so I decided to move under the canopy just in case it decides to rain harder. The sun was peeping through earlier but now it’s cloudy. We are catching a variety of fish such as bass, bluegill, pike, and perch.

Joe and I went home Tuesday after I came home from helping prepare for Levi and Arlene’s wedding. We did the laundry and Joe checked on all the animals. Jacob and Emma’s sons are taking care of Verena’s Yorkie dogs this week (Ricky and Ruby). They are also keeping daughter Elizabeth’s Yorkie dogs there so they have an extra chore. We told Jacob’s family to come for a cookout with us here at the lake one evening.

Sisters Verena, Emma, and I traveled the one-and-one-half hour on Tuesday to help get ready for the wedding. Sister Susan wasn’t feeling well enough to go with us. We think she overheated while mowing their grass Friday evening. There was an excessive heat warning out. After sister Verena and Susan came home from cleaning a lady from our church’s house, Susan went and mowed yet. It was very hot and humidity was high. Susan was able to attend the wedding yesterday but still feels very weak from it. The ride home from the wedding felt very good in our driver’s air-conditioned van. The trip went fast with our family all singing together on the way home.

Do I appreciate the life we have enough? So many broken families—let us pray for peace and contentment in this world. God does help those who trust in him.

It was so nice to see all my siblings at the wedding but someone special was missing. Brother Amos was greatly missed. I felt so sad for sister-in-law Nancy; she must feel so lonely at a place where we all are together. Her 13-month-old granddaughter Christine was admitted to the hospital a few days before the wedding. Nancy and her family left before supper to go visit with her daughter Lovina and Benjamin at the hospital which wasn’t too far from the wedding.

Space is running out here—maybe more about camping and the wedding next week. God be with you all!

Campfire Stew*

2 cups beef stew meat (may substitute a roast, cut into chunks)
4 cups unpeeled red potatoes, cleaned and diced
2 cups green beans, cut into small pieces
1 whole onion (used to flavor the soup; remove before eating)
4–5 beef bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

Put beef chunks in kettle or large pot with enough water to cover; bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Add potatoes, green beans, and onion, adding enough water so that vegetables are well covered. Add bouillon. Boil until vegetables and meat are tender. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Remove onion if you wish.

[*Recipe featured on p. 109 of The Essential Amish Cookbook]

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.

 

 

Long but not lazy days of summer

Long but not lazy days of summer

Diary of June 27, 2018

3:00 a.m. Time to get up and get my husband Joe’s lunch packed. A nice breeze is coming through the west windows. I heat chicken-and-noodle soup for his stainless steel thermos. Also put a peach, crackers, and cookies in his lunch and a mug of coffee for him to drink on his 45-minute ride to work. I fill his water jug with ice and water.

3:45 a.m. Son-in-law Mose rides with Joe’s same driver to work. Daughter Susan and baby Jennifer sometimes catch a ride with them to our house. This morning Susan and Jennifer come along to spend the day here. Of course, Joe needs to pay some attention to that sweet baby before they leave. Jennifer has the brightest smile when they bring her inside. Since its early yet, Susan, Jennifer, and I try to get some more sleep until daylight.

8:00 a.m. Breakfast is “breakfast burritos.” Son Benjamin is on his two-week vacation from the RV factory. Joe’s two-week vacation doesn’t start until next week.

9:30 a.m. I help Susan with the sewing she brought along for nephew Levi’s wedding.

11:30 a.m. The boys want me to come help butcher our 28 chickens. The hens are a few years old and aren’t laying as well anymore so we decided to make chicken broth from them. We will plan to raise new chickens next spring. Joe and the boys want to build a new chicken coop for them. For older chickens like this which we only use for canning broth, we skin the chickens instead of plucking the feathers.

Loretta’s special friend Dustin helped us which made it go much faster. Loretta and Lovina cleaned the chickens after I gutted them. Susan kept sewing and daughter Verena was home for the day from work. She cleaned the bathrooms, etc., while we butchered chickens.

2:00 p.m. Joe is home from work. We are just finishing up on the last of the 28 chickens. Son Kevin was really glad to see that mean rooster go. That rooster gave Kevin a surprise more than once when he had his back turned picking up the eggs.

3:00 p.m. We eat a late lunch but we wanted to get done before we pause for lunch. We have hamburger soup and sandwiches.

4:00 p.m. Verena and Lovina mix up some meat loaf and make scalloped potatoes for our supper. They put it in the oven around

5:00 p.m. Susan and I are sewing the projects she brought. Mose comes with their horse and buggy. He brought his welder so he could weld some stuff for Joe.

7:00 p.m. Supper is ready! Son-in-law Timothy, daughter Elizabeth, and sweet little Abigail stop in while out on a buggy ride. We tell them to join us for supper. Abigail fell asleep on their ride so she is very happy to wake up at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. She gives me a quick hug but she wants to go outside with daughter Lovina. She just recently really started choosing Lovina to take her everywhere. Probably because she’s a lot more adventurous.

9:00 p.m. Dishes are washed. Everyone has left for home. Susan’s sewing is done. I still need to put buttons on Jennifer’s dress and apron, but I’ll do that another day. This day has been long enough although I enjoy it when they all come home. Timothy is off work this week so they are enjoying their week without a schedule.

10:00 p.m. Everyone has gone to bed so I will too. Tomorrow daughter Loretta has an appointment in Ann Arbor so I need to get some rest. God’s blessings to all!

I will share the recipe for the hamburger soup we had. We omitted the rice but I added one pint of corn. Enjoy!

Hamburger Soup
1 pound lean ground beef
2 cups canned tomatoes
3 cups carrots, diced
2 cups celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 cups water
3 beef bouillon cubes
1/4 cup dry Minute Brown Rice (or corn)

Brown ground beef in a large stockpot. Remove fat. Add canned tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, salt, pepper, water and beef bouillon cubes and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Add brown rice or optional corn.

 

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.