Category Archives: Soups

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.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Asparagus Soup

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

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

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

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 LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

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 LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

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 LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS: text = 827 words; end material = 57 words
Contact: DorothyH@MennoMedia.org; 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.

buggies2
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 LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

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 LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

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 LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

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 LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.