Category Archives: Soups

Eichers attend early “Bethlehem” play by the Amish community

Eichers attend early “Bethlehem” play by the Amish community

Supper was later than usual tonight. The men were working on Mose and Susan’s house, sanding drywall. Mose and Susan bought the paint for the house today. Hopefully by Friday we can start painting.

Daughter Elizabeth, Abigail and Nikiah (the little girl Elizabeth babysits for) came here for the day. We all went to a local Amish store that is having a sale this week. They have daily drawings. Son Benjamin was a lucky winner. He won a big musical clock today. The grand prize drawing is two bus tickets for a round trip to Florida. The store had a discount storewide so we purchased some shoes, boots, coats, and the like.

My husband Joe grilled two whole chickens on the grill to go along with the rest of our supper. Timothy, Elizabeth and Abigail ate supper with us before leaving for home. Abigail makes all the animal sounds when we ask her how the puppy, kitty, and more, go. It is so cute listening to her chatter. We see her grow and learn from week to week.

Our whole family enjoyed Friday evening at the Community Youth Center where daughter Verena was a servant in the “Bethlehem Inn” play acted out by some of the Amish in this community. A vegetable stew was made in a black kettle outside. When the guests arrived we walked through the little town of Bethlehem where people were all dressed as they did in those days. People were selling eggs, fruits, nuts; there was a blacksmith shop, and even a jail. When my husband Joe couldn’t find his ticket for the play right away he was taken to jail for a few minutes. (This was all in fun but gave everyone a glimpse of what it might have been like back then.) There were beggars coming around to people as they walked through town. It was all a person’s imagination of what it might have been like on the night Jesus our Savior was born.

We were then ushered into the inn (the community center) where tables were set up. The whole building was lit by candle and lantern light. We were served the vegetable stew and dinner rolls. There were bowls of grapes and cheese on the tables. While we were eating, one of the scenes was Joseph and Mary coming to ask if they could have a room in the inn for the night. They were turned away and later when the inn staff heard of the bright star on top of the manger where baby Jesus was born, we were all lined up to walk outside past the scene of Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus. There would be so much more to share but space in this column will not allow it. My friends Ruth and Karen went with us and they were amazed at what the community did to put on this play. It was all on a donation basis and the money will be put into making improvements in the building. This play was given three nights and a few hundred people could attend each evening.

While the guests filed back inside after seeing baby Jesus, we were handed a plate of warm brownies with a scoop of ice cream on top. The guests all sang two songs together before parting for home. It was a spiritually fun evening, to enjoy with family and friends.

It was also so nice to meet all of the readers that attended the book signings in Highland and Crown Point, Ind., this past Saturday, Dec. 2. We had a very good turnout and unfortunately ran out of books. We ordered more and they will be signed and delivered to the Crown Point store before Christmas. Our regrets to anyone for whom this was an inconvenience.

The readers were very encouraging to me and I want to thank everyone that attended. I was very excited when Aunt Caroline Coblentz, plus my cousin David and his wife Karen came to our Crown Point signing. What a good surprise. I miss seeing another cousin, Larry Coblentz in the crowd. He would come to a lot of my signings. He passed away from cancer a few years ago. A big thanks to my friend Ruth and also to Karen for driving us there and back. Also to my husband Joe and daughters Verena and Lovina for going along for support. Verena did a great job running the cash register for me.

God’s blessings! Here’s some hot soup for a cold night.

Hamburger Vegetable Soup

1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced or shredded cabbage
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup rice or barley
1 cup tomato or V8 juice
4 cups water
4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon rosemary

Fry hamburger with onions and garlic until no longer pink; drain fat. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for one hour. Serves 6.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new 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

Distractions from toddler are hard to resist

A cool Wednesday evening—we finally have a break from the heat. Tonight was a nice evening to go to the local u-pick for grapes. Tomorrow we will steam the grapes into juice. We make grape juice concentrate. Sugar and water can be added to suit your own taste when you open the jars. A good healthy drink on those cold winter mornings. The steamers have saved so much work. I have two of them so it keeps me busy to keep both filled and filling the jars. We also purchased apples and cider. Yum! Fresh apples and cider with popcorn makes a good snack! I will finish this tomorrow. Good night.

Church services were held here with Mose and Susan hosting the services. That was round number three for church services being held here this summer. Along with hosting those and the family gathering, our house stayed extra clean and tidy. Now with that being over we can get out the sewing machines and start cutting out material for more wedding clothes. Yesterday, daughter Susan cut out her dress, cape, and apron for Mose’s sister Esther’s wedding. I’m to wear a dark blue dress and I have one already. But I need to cut out a dress for Loretta for next week. Her special friend Dustin’s brother Clint is getting married. Dustin and Loretta will be witnesses in the wedding. I was asked to cook so I will also go help with preparations for the wedding on Monday.

Last week we had a nice but very hot day for the wedding of our neighbor girl Mary and LaVern. My job was to wash dishes, and wash dishes I did—all day! Needless to say my hands were very clean by night time. Mary wanted my sisters Verena, Susan, Emma and our daughters to yodel for the guests after everything was over (except for washing and packing up dishes for the wedding wagon). Yodeling is a Swiss tradition I was brought up with. In this community it isn’t so common. As children we would help along as my mother and her sisters yodeled and this began a new generation of yodelers.

I was happy to meet some of my readers (relatives of LaVern) at the wedding. I am always glad when they come up and say hi. It gives me encouragement to go on even on busy days like today. I am quickly writing this before tackling the grapes that are waiting to be made into juice.

Daughter Elizabeth and her little Abigail came to help today. Laundry is being gathered to wash. I needed to go to the desk in my bedroom to finish this. Too many distractions; who could concentrate writing with sweet Abigail walking around? Chattering Abigail decided it’s faster to start walking instead of crawling. She is everywhere and Grandma’s house is again getting childproofed. She loves my cabinet with all my little Tupperware containers. Such a past-time she is and can very easily get this Grandma to neglect her work!

Mose and Susan served chicken and noodle soup for their church lunch along with bologna, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, freezer and dill pickles, pickled red beets, homemade wheat and white bread, butter, strawberry jam, hot peppers, ice tea, coffee and a variety of cookies.

We prepared four twelve-quart kettles of chicken and noodles. We added diced carrots and potatoes into the soup. That gives it a better flavor. There was a whole kettle left over so Susan passed it out to family. It made an easy lunch for the ones packing their lunch and also an easy supper Monday evening along with sandwiches.

I will share the recipe for the chicken noodle soup that we used. It is probably way too big for most people to use but if you ever need a big amount to feed a crowd it might come in handy.

God’s blessings to all!

Amish Chicken Noodle Soup

1 quart chicken broth
3–3 1/2 cups small cut up chicken pieces, cooked
4 pounds noodles
7 quarts potato water, if available; or plain water
1 cup chicken soup base
1 tablespoon salt
Add chopped carrots and chopped potatoes, as desired

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

Note: Depending on the noodles you use, you may need to adjust the amount to only 3 pounds for a 12-quart kettle.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new 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

Why work so hard cleaning for church services?

Today, as I write this, we will wrap up the month of August!

I am having a Tupperware party here today at 10:00 a.m., serving lunch to all who attend. I booked a party last year at daughter Susan’s Tupperware shower to help her get more points. The girls and I made two big pizza casseroles last night for lunch today. My sisters and daughter Elizabeth will bring in the desserts. I plan to make coleslaw yet to go with lunch.

Son Joseph is clearing out some of the garden and the cabbage heads are ready to be harvested. Last night we had sweet corn again. Our second patch is ready to use now.

Daughters Verena, Loretta and I attended the bridal Pampered Chef shower of our newly wed neighbor Rebecca. Supper was made for us by the Pampered Chef consultant.

A huge batch of Eicher thick and chunky salsa.

The girls and I made 52 pints of salsa yesterday so daughter Susan and Lovina finished cleaning up while some of us left for the shower. They also served supper to the men and boys here at home. Spaghetti and meatballs plus sweet corn were on the menu for them.

Saturday, September 2, is our youngest son Kevin’s twelfth birthday. Has it actually been that long since our youngest child was born? Time has a way of slipping by us.

Round one for hosting church services is done for us. We had a few families absent but company from other districts helped fill all the benches. We served eight tables of people for lunch. Each table seats 16-18 people. Toddlers and babies are fed ahead of time. Some women and girls that help serve also eat before so that makes less to serve at the table. We probably had around 150 people here for church services.

September 10 will be a baptismal church service here for daughter Verena and another girl, Anita, who is also following instruction for baptism. I’m not sure how many to expect. There is another church district in the community that is also having baptismal services for five girls on the same day. We couldn’t change it to Saturday as Verena is tablewaiter at her friend Rosanna’s wedding. The wedding is over an hour away from here. I still need to sew Verena’s dress for the wedding and also her baptismal suit.

Our church lunch this last time consisted of homemade wheat and white bread (forty loaves were brought in by the church ladies), ham, cheese, peanut butter spread, dill, and bread and butter pickles. Also had some freezer pickles; pickled red beets; hot peppers; tomatoes (from our garden); rhubarb, coconut, chocolate chip and sugar cookies; plus coffee and mint iced tea (sister Emma made tea concentrate so that made it easy for me). While dishes were being washed baggies filled with popcorn were passed out. I decided to not have anyone back for supper. It was nice to relax after a hard week.

A reader recently asked why we do all the cleaning before church services. I know that church services could still be held if we didn’t clean, but since we like to give the house a thorough cleaning what better time to clean than when you have a deadline. My mother taught us to keep our house clean and it’s just something that stays with me. It was harder to keep order in the house when the children were younger. I hope this explains to any other readers that were wondering about the cleaning. We can serve God from any house no matter how clean. What matters most is that we have a “clean” soul. May God grant blessings to every one of you readers!

And now I must not forget to mention that some of our children and I had the pleasure and joy of meeting sweet little Samuel Lee when he was five days old. He was born to niece Elizabeth and Samuel on August 24 weighing six pounds and some ounces. We enjoyed passing him back and forth. Such a sweet little angel. His bigger sister LaRose wasn’t too sure about us. She is 21 1/2 months old and loves her Grandma (my sister Liz).

I must get busy now. Kevin is waiting on the bus to come. Here is a recipe to maybe save to use up leftover turkey after Thanksgiving Day!

Cheesy Turkey Chowder

4 tablespoons margarine
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped potatoes
2 cups chopped carrots
4 cups milk
1 quart chicken or turkey broth
1 tablespoon chicken base
3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
pepper, if desired
2 cups Velveeta cheese
3 1/2 to 4 cups cooked turkey breast, chopped

Cook vegetables separately in margarine. Heat milk and broth; add chicken base. Make a paste of the flour and a little milk, add to heated milk and broth. Cook one minute, or until slightly thickened. Add salt, pepper, cheese, cooked vegetables and cooked turkey to cheese sauce. Heat, but do not boil. Serves 12–16.


Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new 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


NOTES TO EDITORS: text = 827 words; end material = 57 words
Contact:; 540-980-2434


Cozy days and a hog roast top a week with autumn colors peeking out  


Signs of autumn are everywhere! The trees here in southern
Michigan are absolutely beautiful as the leaves start changing color.

Its 5:45 a.m. and son Benjamin is leaving for work. My husband Joe left around 3:40 a.m. for his job at the RV factory. Son Joseph is fallcolorsohiogetting Bessie the cow in for her morning milking. Benjamin feeds the horses and Joseph takes care of the cow and calves.

It is raining this morning after some gorgeous autumn days. The temperature is staying in the mid-fifty’s. It looks like laundry will be put off until tomorrow. Daughter Verena plans to bake monster cookies today. We will take some to church on Sunday at our neighbor’s house. The rest will be for lunches and snacks around here.

The Eichers could have used one of these double buggies (seen parked at Susan and Mose’s wedding this summer) for the trip to Dustin’s home.

Saturday we took four horse and buggies from here the six and one-half miles to Loretta’s friend Dustin’s place. They live to the west and the roads get more rolling, making it a little harder for the horses to pull the buggies up and down the hills. The brakes on the buggies help a lot. Joe and I took Ginger our twelve-year-old horse. Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin took our pony Stormy. Benjamin and Verena took our four-year-old horse Mighty and Mose and Susan took our three-year-old horse Rex. All the horses did a good job with the rolling country roads. Dustin came to get Loretta. Timothy, Elizabeth, and Abigail had the farthest with thirteen and one-half miles from their house to Dustin’s.

The hog roast was in honor of Dustin and his dad’s October birthdays. The hog began roasting in the early morning hours. The meat was very delicious and seasoned just right. Lots of other food was served along with the pork. It was a nice, sunny, and warm day to sit outside and watch the food being prepared. We headed for home towards evening and spent the evening over at Mose and Susan’s (in the pole building). Nobody was hungry for supper so we enjoyed popcorn and apples. We played the game Aggravation which is always exciting. Lovina and Kevin wanted to spend the night at Mose and Susan’s even though it’s just fifty feet from our house. They have a spare bed and a fold out couch so the children found a place to sleep. Lovina and Kevin say Susan makes the best hot chocolate in the mornings. Lovina said it’s so cozy over at Mose and Susan’s.

Yesterday daughter Elizabeth and baby Abigail came here for the day. And of course the dogs Crystal and Izzy had to come along. Abigail is used to the dogs when they bark.

We all had fun holding Abigail. She is five and one-half weeks old and starting to coo and make such cute facial expressions. After a day at Grandma’s house she is probably glad to rest and get away from all the attention.

Sister Susan is planning a big surprise happy 50th birthday party for sister Verena this Saturday at the community building. Her birthday was August 22. More on that next week.

A happy birthday goes out to son-in-law Timothy. His birthday was October 18.

Try this recipe that a reader shared with me from Peru, Indiana. God’s blessings!

German Sausage Chowder

1/2 pound smoked sausage, chopped
2 cups chopped potatoes
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 cups water
4 cups shredded cabbage
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups milk (divided)
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
parsley (optional)

Combine first five ingredients with water and cook until nearly tender. Add cabbage and cook until tender. Stir in 2 1/2 cups milk. Blend 1/2 cup milk with flour. Stir into soup. Cook and stir until thickened. Stir in cheese. Enjoy!


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


Eicher family makes final preparations for Amish wedding

WeddingNoodlesIt is Thursday morning  as I write this, [July 28], and time keeps moving on faster and faster it seems. The wedding is tomorrow in a week! It’s getting too close for comfort! Tomorrow evening the wedding cook wagon, the cooler, and the trailer with the tables, dishes, etc. will arrive.

Saturday Mose’s family, Jacob, Emma and family, Verena and Susan (my sisters), Timothy and Elizabeth, and a few friends will come help set the tables for the wedding in the pole barn. The wedding wagon comes with a 350-place setting. We finished and insulated the other part of the pole barn so we can spread out the tables a little more. It seems you can never have too much space.

I still need to go shop for a lot of groceries. My list keeps getting longer and longer! It will be a relief once we have all the groceries. It’s easier to wait to get the groceries until the walk-in cooler and cook wagon are here so that we can put everything in there.

Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin are washing down the walls in the pole barn. Verena and Loretta will clean the windows once they finish their list of things to do in the house. My list of cleaning keeps getting smaller and smaller.WeddingNoodles

On Friday, sisters Verena, Susan, and Emma, and daughter Elizabeth came to help put 228 eggs into noodles. We have over 30 pounds of noodles made for the wedding now.

On Saturday, Timothy, Elizabeth, and sisters Verena and Susan came again to help. Verena and Susan had the pleasure of cleaning the boys’ bedroom. Daughters Verena and Susan and I were organizing drawers, the closet, etc., and trying to stay ahead of my sisters. The room looks so much better but I wonder for how long. It should stay cleaner after the wedding since Benjamin will move all his things into Susan’s bedroom. With just Joseph and Kevin’s things maybe it will stay more organized. Kevin has a bad habit of collecting everything, which doesn’t help.

Joseph still didn’t get a birthday cake but we have been so busy. Joseph said he can wait until after the wedding if we don’t find time before, but hopefully Sunday we will be able to. I don’t know what we would have done without Joseph’s help. He has done so many jobs for us that the girls and I couldn’t do.

Yesterday Mose’s mother Rosanna, his sisters Hannah and Linda, his sister-in-law Suzanne, my sister Emma, and daughter Elizabeth assisted us in our work. Hannah has four little children and Suzanne has a little boy. She also brought along Mose’s sister LeAnna’s little girl. Kevin and Steven helped keep the little ones entertained. Mose was here helping all day, too. He started a new job at an RV factory today. I hope he will like it. It will take a lot off him not to be running after saw mill parts all the time.

My neighbor Susan came over to help me get my grocery list ready and help see how much of everything I need. She took the pants I had cut out for Kevin and said she will get her daughter Barbara to sew them. I really appreciated that! I have my dress sewn and this afternoon I want to sew my cape and apron.

Daughter Susan was off work yesterday. She somehow hurt her shoulder and was having a lot of pain. She was still sore this morning but said she can’t miss another day. I really hope she doesn’t make it worse. She has an appointment after work today to get it checked out. Hopefully it will heal quickly.

I must get back to my work. Take care everyone and God’s blessings to all of you! Try this cabbage sausage soup with cabbage out of your garden.

Cabbage Sausage Soup

4 cups water
1 tablespoon chicken soup base
1 small cabbage, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 pound smoked sausage, fully cooked
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Velveeta cheese to taste

Bring water, soup base, cabbage, and onion to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until cabbage is tender. Halve sausage lengthwise and slice. Add sausage and heat through. Combine flour, salt, pepper, and milk in a gravy shaker. Shake until smooth; gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened. Add cheese to taste.


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


Early summer days bring garden goodies and a boatload of bluegills

We have entered the month of June already. It looks like we had just a little bit of rain during the night. We are really in need of rain! Last night we watered the garden, as it was getting really dry. Everything is coming up really well. We are still enjoying radishes, green onions and lettuce from our first planting earlier this spring.

The Eichers' garden is still yielding green onions and radishes from the first spring planting.
The Eichers’ garden is still yielding green onions and radishes from the first spring planting.

We had a nice three-day weekend. A lot of fishing was done. On Friday evening some went fishing on the lake, and then they went again Saturday and Monday.

On Sunday evening we ate outside around the fire. The men deep-fried fish and French fries. How nice to just sit and watch.

Timothy and Elizabeth went to church at his sister’s house in another church district. We kept their dogs, Izzy and Crystal, here while they were gone. Crystal doesn’t like to be separated from Elizabeth, but Izzy loves staying here. She will go hide when she knows they are leaving for home!

Saturday we had a short visit from sister Liz, Levi and family. Their daughter Elizabeth and Samuel and baby LaRose were also along, as was their daughter Rosa’s special friend, Menno.

LaRose is around six months old and looks like she doesn’t lack attention. She is Liz and Levi’s first grandchild, and she’s a sweetie. Daughter Elizabeth was here and got to see LaRose for the first time. Sister Liz is doing a great job at being a grandma and spoiling her.

Joe’s sister Salome and Morris are also first-time grandparents now. Their daughter Katie Edna and Ben had a son named Benjamin. Joe went to visit them while we were at niece Lovina’s wedding. I was a cook so I didn’t go with Joe. Hopefully I’ll get to meet little Benjamin soon—maybe at the family gathering in July. Joe’s sister Christine and Jake are planning to have all of Joe’s family there on July 2. They live about three hours north of here. We are looking forward to seeing everyone again. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen some of the family. Hope everyone will make it!

On Monday, everyone went fishing except daughters Elizabeth, Lovina and I. Timothy had his boat out, and both of ours were out as well. When they started filleting fish, they had more than 200 bluegills! Timothy’s nephew was also fishing and helped clean the fish. Everyone was here for a pizza supper before leaving Monday evening.

I usually have a bunch of bananas hanging on a banana holder on my countertop. Elizabeth took a banana and started eating it. Son Kevin, 10, told her that everyone needs to ask him for a banana, since that’s why Mom buys them. He said that since she’s married now, she doesn’t have to ask him. Elizabeth and I had a good laugh about that after he went outside. I don’t know where he got the idea that the bananas are his. I think he likes eating bananas more than anyone else does. When he was a little boy, he always asked for bananas when he saw them at the store. He wasn’t very old, and he would call them “monkey.” I think it was because we would call him a monkey when he was eating them.

I want to make rhubarb juice this week. Daughter Elizabeth made several batches and brought us a taste—delicious!

Susan is still working on getting her wedding invitations out. She said she didn’t realize there was that much work to get ready for a wedding. She said it looked easier when Elizabeth did it.

I must get back to work. God’s blessings!

Zucchini Soup

 2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup carrots, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups zucchini, grated
1 small potato, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
salt and pepper, to taste

In a 2-quart pot, melt the butter over medium heat and then add the carrots, celery and onion. Sauté the vegetables, stirring frequently, until the onion becomes translucent. Add the remaining ingredients and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are fork-tender, 30–45 minutes.

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

Lovina writes down her huge recipe for canned vegetable soup

We’re having another warm day with the temperature in the mid sixties. Yesterday was even warmer plus it was also sunny. We did laundry and hung it all outside on the lines. By the afternoon hours everything was dry. It sure gives a person spring fever. It was so good to be able to wash, dry, and fold clothes in one day and have it all put away. We had an extra huge laundry as we washed some bedding, coats, etc.

Today it is cloudy and no sun but it is still nice to be able to have a few windows open. So nice to smell the fresh air blowing in.

Susan’s friend Mose came last night to cook down some more sap into maple syrup. Since it has warmed up again, the sap is really running from the maple trees.

Son Joseph, 13, is now getting around without crutches. He still favors the leg and it still gets painful if he overdoes it. He walks with a limp but is back to milking our cow Bessie every morning and evening.

Son-in-law Timothy is still not allowed to put weight on his foot. It is improving more every day, but he is so ready to walk without the aid of crutches. Daughter Elizabeth had plans to come spend the day here but Timothy ended up being sick this morning so she stayed home with him. She plans to come tomorrow, which I always look forward to. I didn’t see her since last Friday so we have lots of visiting to catch up on. Daughter Lovina, 11, spent the weekend with Timothy and Elizabeth helping out wherever needed. She loves spending time over there.

Saturday we helped sister Emma and Jacob butcher two hogs. We were done early in the afternoon. The hogs were smaller than ours so things went a little faster. Pon hoss was made and lard rendered. We had breakfast pizza for breakfast, along with chocolate chip bars, jello cake, and peanut butter pies.

For lunch the menu consisted of fried pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, corn, macaroni salad, celery and carrot sticks, sliced cheese, tomato slices, and jalapeños that sisters Verena and Susan brought home from Florida. The desserts left over from breakfast were also on the menu plus ice cream.

My sisters had a nice time in Florida. Glad they are back home.

Saturday afternoon as Mose was bottling the maple syrup, some enjoyed ice cream with maple syrup as a topping. I didn’t try it but the ones that did really liked it.

Daughter Verena spent the weekend in a community in Indiana at a friend’s house. With Verena and Lovina both not home, the house seemed empty.

Sunday afternoon we had Joe’s cousin Leander, wife Rosina, and family as our visitors. We enjoyed popcorn while we visited. The Leanders have four married sons and one lives only a few miles from us. They had supper with their son Leander and wife Karen.

We spent the day just at home relaxing. With my husband Joe working every other Saturday and butchering in between on Saturday, we were glad to rest.

I would like to express my thanks to Carol for the gift certificate from Ridgeway books. I am enjoying some new books that I always wanted to purchase. May God bless you for your kindness!

A reader requested my vegetable soup recipe to can. I really don’t have a recipe but tried to write one down as close as I could to what I use.

Also, to all readers who have asked: Aggravation game boards made by my nephew Jacob can be ordered from Chupps at 269-659-3950. Call for prices.

God’s blessing to all!

Vegetable Soup to Can

1 quart onions, diced
1 quart potatoes, peeled and diced
1 quart carrots, diced
1 quart celery, diced
1 quart corn
1 quart peas
1 quart green beans
1 quart cooked beef chunks (can be simmered or stewed until cooked through, or purchase cooked)
6 quarts tomato juice
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic if vegetables to candesired. Put in jars and process according to your pressure cooker instructions.


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

More than 1000 friends and family gather to mourn passing of Uncle Benji  

hamburger pattiesThe month of February is already upon us. This past week went fast and it’s hard to believe its past time to pen this column again.

Saturday we ground all the hamburger from the beef we butchered. We made around two hundred fifty hamburger patties and packaged all the hamburger for the freezer. I will make vegetable soup yet from the meat we cook from the bones. This will wind down all the butchering from the beef. We canned the beef chunks and some hamburger. I like canned hamburger for casseroles. It doesn’t have to be fried before adding it so it saves a step. We also use it to make sloppy joes.


While working on the hamburger we got a call saying that Joe’s Uncle Benji Eicher passed away in Marysville, Indiana.

Sunday we attended church in Charlotte, Michigan, at Mose’s brother Daniel and Marianna’s place. It’s always interesting to visit other communities. We appreciated the hospitality!

We enjoyed visiting with Lydia Coblentz. Her husband Freeman was a cousin to my dad. He passed away twenty years ago. Lydia is almost ninety and has many interesting stories to tell from her youth. One of her granddaughters wrote a book called Seasons about Lydia’s life. I have the book and we all enjoyed reading it—a true story of an Amish girl growing up in hard times.

Monday morning Joe and I and five of our children headed south for Marysville. We arrived in Scottsburg around 12:30 p.m. We got a few motel rooms then went to the visitation which was almost twenty miles from the motel.

When we came back to the motel the children had fun swimming in the motel’s pool. All the motels in Scottsburg were filled with people that were attending the funeral the next day. Some people had to go to other towns further south for a motel.

Marysville is a new Amish community with not too many families there yet. On the day of the funeral there were over one hundred vans there bringing friends and family from all over. The funeral was held in a large pole barn and I’m guessing there were more than one thousand people there. Our sympathy goes to Aunt Margaret and the family. Uncle Benji left to mourn fourteen children, one hundred thirty four grandchildren, and one hundred fifty eight great-grandchildren.

We arrived back home in Michigan around 6:30 Tuesday evening. Daughter Susan, 20, and son Benjamin, 16, kept up with the chores here at home while we were gone.

We had plans to butcher hogs on Saturday but changed our plans due to a funeral of an eighty-eight year old man from this community, Menno Eicher. He is a father-in-law to three of Joe’s sisters. When I was a young girl I was in the same church district as Menno. Menno was a widower for quite a few years.

We plan to attend the funeral on Saturday. With two funerals in the same week my work has been pushed back so I need to get back to chores. We wish God’s blessings to all of you.

Try this potato soup on these cold winter evenings.

Potato Soup

1 pound bacon, fried and chopped
2 celery ribs, diced
1 onion, diced\
6-8 potatoes, peeled and cubed
32 ounces chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste|
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Place bacon in a large kettle. Add celery and onion and cook until softened. (Use bacon grease if desired.) Add potatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil then simmer until potatoes are tender. In a small saucepan melt butter, then whisk in flour and brown the mixture stirring constantly for a few minutes. Add heavy cream slowly while whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and continue whisking until mixture thickens. Stir cream mixture into the potato mixture. Gently stir in cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Feeds 12 or more.


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

Drawers that stick have got to go: Lovina helps sons organize space

Drawers that stick have got to go: Lovina helps sons organize space

It is Wednesday evening and I still haven’t taken time to write this column. Daughters Verena, Loretta, and Lovina are washing supper dishes. The boys and Joe are just relaxing and getting cleaned up.

Our supper was a simple, easy one. Verena and Loretta made One-Kettle Soup for our meal. Also on the menu were crackers, cheese, and venison summer sausage. One-Kettle Soup is a soup my mother always made at home. It is a favorite in our family. A quick soup when you’re running late for a meal.

While the girls prepared supper, I helped the boys sort through clothes in their bedroom. We put a bedroom suite in there that we bought at a recent auction. We needed some dressers replaced. After our house fire we had some older dressers given to us, but the drawers always would get stuck. Benjamin, 16, has his own bed and Joseph, 13, and Kevin, 10, share a bed. Our bedrooms upstairs are big rooms so there is enough space to fit two beds plus four dressers. Kevin was proud to have his own dresser for his clothes.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan are off work from the RV factory this week. Elizabeth and her dogs spent the day here yesterday. We had a nice day together. Timothy went deer hunting in the evening and was excited to get a 7-point buck with a 16 1/2 inch spread. This is the fourth deer he shot with his compound bow this year. They are getting their freezer stocked for the winter.

Tomorrow daughters Susan, Verena, Loretta, and I plan to go to Elizabeth’s house to help her do some cleaning. With her working every day she doesn’t always get to do all the extra cleaning. We will probably wash her windows and whatever else she needs done.

When Timothy and Elizabeth were here for supper one night and were ready to leave, Izzy went to hide. It was so cute that she wanted to stay here. She gets so spoiled. Crystal is different and will whine if Elizabeth goes outside without her. Whenever Elizabeth sits down, Crystal is right by her side or on her lap.

Recently, we were surprised to have visitors from Ohio. It was Joe’s Uncle Solomon and his Aunt Rachel. They had been here the evening before with intentions to spend the night here. We had been at our neighbor Ruth’s wedding. We had a voicemail when we came home from Solomon. They had already checked in at a motel but Joe told them to come for breakfast. We had a nice visit with them. This was the first time Rachel saw where we live.

Daughter Susan just came home. She went to Mose’s house tonight and then they went to town. Mose wanted to buy a new mattress for his bed. He took Susan out for supper. The rest are all in bed so I think I’ll join them.

God’s blessings to all!


I’ll share the recipe for One-Kettle Soup this week. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do.

One-Kettle Soup

1 pint canned chunk beef
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, left whole
1/2 pound noodles or thin spaghetti
salt and pepper

Fill a six-quart kettle with around three quarts of water. Add beef, potatoes, and onion. Boil 8–10 minutes, then add noodles. Stir often and boil until noodles are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove onion.

Note: More or less water can be added and more or less noodles. If I have company we add more to make a bigger amount.

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

Eichers anticipate spring training for the pony, and homemade butter and cheese

This column will wrap up my columns for February 2015. This year is going way too fast for me to keep up. I remember Mother telling me that the older your children get, the faster time goes. I see that is very true!

I often would be glad to have one more conversation with Mother. God had other plans, and I need to accept His will. Mother always had good advice. Especially when the children were sick, she would come over and take care of everybody. Memories—I’ll treasure them always!

Lovina’s daughter Susan is looking forward to warmer weather so that she can train her miniature pony, Prancer.
Lovina’s daughter Susan is looking forward to warmer weather so that she can train her miniature pony, Prancer.

We are all well again here at the Eichers. So many blessings to thank God for! Susan is still under a doctor’s care but is back to work. The chiropractor says she has pinched nerves in her neck. Susan is active and always full of energy. She is looking forward to training Prancer, our miniature pony, as the weather warms up. Prancer will be two years old in April. Benjamin is also glad to be going back to work.

Tonight we are getting a milk cow. This has been all the boys have been talking about. We sold our cow when we lived in Indiana. Since our move to Michigan almost 11 years ago, we have not had a milking cow. We go through so many gallons of milk in a week so the milk will be good to have. I would also like to make our own butter. Another thing I would like to try that I’ve never done is making cheese. If any of you readers have a good recipe for cheese, I would be happy to have it.

Susan’s pony, Prancer, soon after he was born.
Susan’s pony, Prancer, soon after he was born.

Sunday our family, Timothy, and Mose attended the baptismal services in Nappanee, Indiana, for niece Salome. Her special friend, Myron, was also baptized with her. What a blessing to the family and church!

We were all able to meet Henry and Loretta’s sweet little Damaris. The girls and I had fun holding her during church services. She was really smiling. She’s just a tiny bundle of joy, but her smile lit up the whole room.

Niece Verena and Melvin’s little Micah is already 11 months old. He is growing fast too. He’s a sweetie! Joe’s sister Christine, husband Jake, and nine children from Hershey, Michigan, were also there. It was good to see Melvin and Verena and Jakes again.

We also met Myron’s family. Everyone was friendly. We appreciated the hospitality. It’s always nice to visit other church districts in other communities and meet new people.

Friday evening we are invited to the local community building for Salome’s 19th birthday supper. Salome was born on February 29. Jake, Christine, and family have plans to come for this. It sounds like they might come to our house to sleep on Friday and Saturday evenings. Daughter Verena has some friends coming for the night as well. Somehow we will find room for everyone—the more the merrier!

Son Kevin and Jake and Christine’s son Matthew always have so much fun together. On Sunday after church, Kevin and Matthew were walking beside each other. Both were talking at the same time. I don’t think either of them was listening to the other! We had to laugh as we watched them. Seemed like they had so much to catch up on.

I’ll share a recipe for a favorite soup of ours this week.

This week's recipe for vegetable cheese soup makes a colorful and easy dish for late winter evenings.
This week’s recipe for vegetable cheese soup makes a colorful and easy dish for late winter evenings.

Vegetable Cheese Soup

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup onion, minced
1/4 cup flour
4 cups milk
pinch salt
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 10-ounce package mixed vegetables, cooked

Melt butter in saucepan. Add onions and sauté until onions are clear. Blend in flour, milk, and salt to taste. Cook until thick, stirring constantly. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add cooked vegetables. Let simmer for a while. You can add your own vegetables from the garden, such as corn, peas, or carrots.

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