Category Archives: Vegetables

Tapping trees, baking bread and going to baptism fill February days

We have had a few very warm spring-like days. Son-in-law Mose took advantage of the weather and tapped our maple trees. He also tapped sister Emma and Jacob’s trees. They asked him to cook their maple syrup for them. Son-in-law Timothy is tapping their trees to make their own maple syrup.

Son-in-law Mose uses bags instead of buckets to collect sap from the trees.

The weather has been colder the last few days, which slowed down the flow of the sap. On those warmer days Mose collected quite a few gallons of sap. He’s not looking for a good year for maple syrup though.

My daughters and I assisted sister Emma with her cleaning a few days last week as she prepared to host church services on Sunday. On Saturday, Joe and I plus our sons Benjamin, Joseph and Kevin went to help with the final preparations.

Daughter Susan and I baked ten loaves of bread on Friday to help out for Sunday. I think Emma also had around forty-five loaves of wheat and white bread coming in from some of the ladies in the church. That way we don’t have to bake bread for our own church when we host the services. Jacob and Emma hold church services in their heated attached garage that was added to their house a few years ago.

Now that Emma and Jacob’s turn to host church is over, we will concentrate on butchering. The temperature shows 19 degrees now, so it is perfect weather for us to butcher. We will butcher three hogs here at our place on Saturday. We will give one to Mose and Susan to help fill their freezer and canning jars since they are newlyweds.

We raised the hogs and they grew fast. They are very big and should make a lot of ham, bacon and sausage for us. And of course the family is looking forward to some pon hoss being added to our menus in the next weeks. We like to make plenty of pon hoss to share with others. For those of you who aren’t familiar with pon hoss, it is made with the meat and juice cooked from the bones. We add flour, pepper and salt and it thickens as it cooks. We do this outside in our big black kettle over an open fire. After it has been poured in pans and cooled off and set, it is ready to slice and fry.

Daughters Verena and Loretta attended church in Dustin’s church district on Sunday. They were disappointed that they couldn’t attend the services at Emma and Jacob’s, but they went to Dustin’s sister Grace’s baptismal services that were held the same day. Four other young souls and Grace were baptized into the Amish faith and are now members of the church. This is a big step for the Amish youth to take, and we wish them God’s blessings in life. How pleasing to God when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior! Life doesn’t get easier with time, so it helps to have God lead the way for us.

God’s blessings to all of you as well. Take care and stay healthy!

Sister Emma made fajitas similar to this recipe when we were there to assist them with cleaning to host church services.

FAJITAS

Marinade
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Meat
1 pound sirloin steak or boned, skinless chicken breasts

Sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
dash each salt and black pepper

 Vegetables
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
1/2 each green, red, and yellow bell peppers, seeded, thinly sliced

Tortillas and toppings
4 flour tortillas
shredded cheese
sour cream
guacamole
tomatoes

Combine the marinade ingredients, and place with meat in a plastic container with cover or a zip-top plastic bag and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Discard leftover marinade. Grill meat over medium flame, 4-5 minutes on each side. Cut meat into thin strips. Set aside and keep warm.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

Cook onion and peppers in oil until brown. Remove from heat. Pour sauce over onions and peppers. Combine meat with onions and peppers. Serve on flour tortillas with desired toppings. Yields 4 servings.

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 Kitchen, will be published in 2017. 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’s family enjoys fall’s bounty with fresh venison, grape juice, hot pepper butter  

Another chilly morning! The temperature is 48 degrees at 7 a.m. The propane lights throw off heat which makes the house feel cozy and warm.

We are in the process of getting things around to put up a chimney for where Mose and Susan have made their living quarters in our pole barn. We will burn hard coal in there. Right now it is chilly out there but usually warms up during the day. Hopefully the stove will be hooked up for them before it gets too cold.

Deer hunting season for bow is open now. Mose was a lucky hunter on Saturday, and so had fresh venison steak to grill one evening. Joe and all the children loved it! I grew up with beef and have a hard time getting used to the venison taste. I think sometimes if I wouldn’t know it was venison, I might like it better. I am glad the children like the meat because it is plentiful in this area.

Cooking the grapes to make grape juice.
Cooking the grapes to make grape juice.

Leaves are beginning to fall from the trees. Gardens are looking empty. We canned six bushels of grapes as grape juice. Two of the bushels were for Mose and Susan. We used the steamers to steam the grapes. The concentrated juice is put in jars to seal.

We also have apples waiting here to be made into applesauce. Those will have to wait awhile. Too many things on our list for this week.

Monday we washed our laundry. Tuesday we went to daughter Elizabeth’s and washed their laundry. Both were nice sunny days so that makes it so much easier to dry laundry.

Baby Abigail is doing well. I went with Elizabeth to Abigail’s one-month doctor appointment. She weighed eleven and one-half pounds at four weeks. She was eleven pounds at birth but lost some weight at the hospital. She still has lots of black hair and her eyes are blue. When I give her a bath and her hair is wet, it curls up. Needless to say she does not lack attention. She loves the baby swing that daughter Verna gave to them. Elizabeth is doing well and getting used to doing her work between Abigail’s naps. They will come to spend today with us. We are looking forward to having her and Abigail here.

Saturday we attended the hog roast held at our local feed mill for their customer appreciation day. We were canning grape juice that day so I appreciated not having to make lunch.

Loretta’s special friend Dustin’s birthday was Saturday, October 8. He invited our family to his parents’ house this Saturday for a hog roast in honor of his birthday.

Dustin has been a great help to Loretta. He sees past her handicap and has really brightened up her life. He has a good personality and is always cheerful when he’s around.

Yesterday I made hot pepper butter with the abundance of jalapeño and serrano peppers we have from the garden. We like this spread on a sandwich or even with breakfast, on toast. It’s a little spicy for those of you who don’t care for spicy foods. I will share the recipe for those who do enjoy “hotter” foods.

God bless each one of you!hotpepperbutter

Hot Pepper Butter

40 hot peppers (fewer can be used; some only use 14 hot peppers)
6 cups white sugar
1 quart vinegar
1 quart yellow mustard
1 tablespoon salt
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups water

Grind peppers and mix with sugar, vinegar, mustard, and salt. Boil 10 to 15 minutes. Mix the flour and water, and then slowly add to above mixture. Boil another 5 minutes. Stir often to keep from sticking to pan. Can be processed in jars and sealed according to instructions on your canner.

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.

How Lovina’s new mattress made the children late to school

Mornings are very cool lately here in southern Michigan. Another sure sign that autumn is here.

Our house seems extra empty this week. Daughter Verena, 18, is helping daughter Elizabeth with house work and the baby this week. Son Benjamin, 17, left Sunday afternoon with some friends for Pennsylvania. We miss them and look forward to having everyone home again for the weekend.

Baptismal services were held at our neighbors for a young girl in our church. This was held on Saturday instead of Sunday in order to make it possible for some friends to attend the service.

Monday we did laundry here and then went over to Elizabeth and Timothy’s house to do their laundry. It was a sunny, breezy day after the early morning rain was over. And of course, we had to take time to hold sweet little Abigail! She is such a precious baby to all of us! She smiles a lot! Her eyes seem to be turning blue.

Verena stayed there and daughter Loretta and I came back home which was already after suppertime. Son-in-law Mose had made supper for everyone on the grill. Brats and hot dog sandwiches were on the menu. I was so glad I didn’t have to get supper after doing all that laundry. I told my husband Joe that after that long day I actually felt like a Grandma! Ha, ha!

Friday evening Joe bought a new Serta mattress for our bed. We were certainly needing a new one. Well, between the mattress and a long day Monday, I was extra tired Tuesday morning. I woke up at 3:00 a.m., prepared Joe’s lunch, and when he left at 3:40, I went back to bed and set my alarm for 5:40 a.m. When I woke up the sun was shining and I looked at my alarm and it was 7:45 a.m. already. The school children were still in bed and the bus had stopped by around 7:00 a.m.

Joseph, 14, quickly milked our cow Bessie and did the other chores while daughter Lovina, 12, and son Kevin, 11, helped pack lunches and made each of them a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast. I called our friend Beth and asked if she would give the children a ride to school which she did. They arrived at school a half hour late. What a way to start the day! Joseph and Kevin were awake lying in bed but said they thought there might have been a fog delay and I left them sleep in. They had fun teasing me that they were tardy because I slept in.

Tomorrow at 5:30 a.m. we head for Berne, Indiana, to attend the wedding at brother Amos and Nancy’s for their daughter Arlene, marrying Robert.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Timothy’s cousin Paul’s wife, Mary. She was a passenger in a minivan which was rear-ended while they were waiting for a semi-truck in front of them to turn. She has multiple injuries and a long recovery ahead. Life has changed for their family. May God be with them as they go through this difficult trial in life. We wish her a complete and speedy recovery. The driver of the minivan Mary was riding in was killed instantly and our sympathy goes to his family. The funeral will be held at the local funeral home tomorrow. He was well known in the community and worked as a driver for Paul and Mary’s sawmill for years. We never know what our future holds.

I will share this recipe. It is a well-liked meal around here. God bless!

Italian Sausage and Potatoesitaliansausagepeppersbread

6 potatoes, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
2 large green peppers, sliced
2 pounds Italian sausage (sweet, mild, or hot; prefer Johnsonville        Brand, 5 links in each package cut in thirds)
1/2 cup olive oil
salt, pepper, oregano to taste

Mix sliced potatoes, onion, green pepper, salt, pepper, and oregano with olive oil. Bake in 9×13 pan covered (I use size larger) for 1/2 hour at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and drain. Cut sausage in pieces and add to potato mixture. Continue cooking for one hour or until sausage is done. Some broil this to finish cooking, uncovered, until sausage is browned.

 

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.

 

Yes, Amish men help with laundry, and other post-baby tales!

Today (Sept. 22) autumn officially begins! My garden is definitely showing all signs of it. We have been enjoying cabbage out of the garden. Son Joseph brought a head of cabbage in one night and out of curiosity I weighed it. It looked so big—and it was! It weighed ten pounds after the outer leaves were off.

Monday our school doors were closed due to the opening of the county fair. So our day at home was filled with doing laundry. We wanted to help daughter Elizabeth get her clothes washed as well as do ours. A few of the children and I went to Timothy and Elizabeth’s to wash their clothes. Son-in-law Mose wasn’t working that day so he and Joseph did our laundry. They did a very good job, but I really wish I could have been home to see them hang up all the clothes on the lines. We had a huge laundry and they did a great job!

Daughter Verena, 18, is still staying at Timothy and Elizabeth’s house helping out with house hold chores. Elizabeth has a well-organized house—a place for everything and everything in its place. That makes it so much easier for the one taking over. Elizabeth was the oldest of eight children so she had lots of experience in babysitting and helping out with her siblings.

Yesterday Elizabeth had another doctor appointment. The doctor said she is doing great. What a relief to hear! All is well that ends well!

After her appointment we talked Elizabeth into coming to our house for the rest of the day. We had so much fun having her here with Abigail. Needless to say the work we had planned was put aside and we just enjoyed Abigail! She is 12 days old and such a precious part of our family.

BabyAbigailToesEdited
Lovina’s family’s life has been revolving around this little one’s toes.

Son Benjamin, 17, came home early from work and we were surprised that he even stopped to pick up Abigail and hold her. She is so alert and acts so much older than 12 days. I could tell she won Benjamin’s heart. Son Kevin, 11, didn’t want to hold her at first but Elizabeth told him he should just hold her a little bit. Now yesterday he came home from school and asked to hold her. So lately our world has been revolving around Abigail. Need I mention that I feel so blessed to be her Grandma!

And now there is more sewing waiting to be done. Daughter Verena is table waiter at niece Arlene and Robert’s wedding next week. She has to wear the color hunter green. I was asked to help cook and also need to wear hunter green. I was happy to have that color already and no sewing for me.

Loretta and her friend Dustin have part in his cousin’s wedding on October 6 so we have that material here and needs to be sewn.

Next Friday Joe and I were also invited to my friend Ruth’s daughter, Jori’s wedding. We regret that we won’t be able to attend this wedding. Niece Arlene’s wedding is the day before and both weddings are a two-hour drive one way. With Joe working so much overtime it would be hard for him to take off more work days. May God bless both couples as they unite in holy matrimony!

A note to readers who have written letters to me in the past months: I am trying my best to answer as time allows. Sorry for the delay!

Cabbage Casserole
2 cups crushed corn flakes
1/2 cup melted butter
4 cups raw chopped cabbage
1 onion, diced
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup grated cheese

Mix corn flakes with melted butter. Spread half in a greased 8×12 casserole dish. Layer cabbage and onion on top of corn flakes. Combine soup, milk, and mayonnaise and pour over all. Top with remaining corn flakes and cheese. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 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.

 

Susan’s wedding is past, but the leftovers remain

It’s Thursday again, and my plan to have this column on its way yesterday failed. The weeks still fly by since the wedding is past!

Three little pigs are great ways to get rid of excess garden produce.
Three little pigs? What great ways to get rid of excess garden produce!

Our refrigerators are finally getting emptier. With all the wedding leftovers, they were packed. The garden is also getting emptied quickly. The boys pulled the rest of the corn, green beans, zucchini and cucumbers. They brought in red beets and hot peppers that are waiting to be canned, as well as tomatoes that need to be made into juice or something. After a busy summer, I really don’t mind if the garden is done early. Our tomatoes had blight but are doing better. We made the old-fashioned remedy—a mixture of raw milk and water—and sprayed the plants several times. It seemed to help. Our cow Bessie provides us with more than enough milk to use. We now have three little piggies that help drink the milk and eat all the excess garden vegetables.

Our new chickens still aren’t laying, but the old chickens provide enough for us yet. I was glad to have sister Emma and Jacob share their eggs for the wedding. Last year for Timothy and Elizabeth’s wedding I didn’t have to buy any eggs, as we had plenty of our own. It takes a lot of eggs to make the noodles, pies, dressing and other food at a wedding.

Sunday, August 14, was Timothy and Elizabeth’s first anniversary. We took barbecued chicken in and stayed to eat with them. Mose and Susan were also there. Most couples around this community save the top tier of their wedding cake and put it in the freezer until their first anniversary. But Timothy and Elizabeth didn’t get theirs out yet, as they still had cake from Mose and Susan’s wedding.

Lovina and her daughters canned two bushels of peaches last week.
Lovina and her daughters canned two bushels of peaches last week.

We canned and froze two bushels of peaches for Mose and Susan and us. I have another bushel on order. Last week we went to help daughter Elizabeth on Tuesday and Friday. We cleaned her basement and canned tomato juice and salsa for her on Tuesday. Then on Friday we washed off some walls and ceilings and cleaned her whole house. We also washed windows, curtains and bedding. I think she felt refreshed to have everything cleaned. She had been sewing for the wedding and helping here so much that her cleaning was neglected. Today she comes here to spend the day with us. We will probably do some canning.

We had a lot of rain on Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning. We had a total of 4.25 inches. The ground was so dry and needed it badly. Half of our huge load of laundry on Monday wasn’t quite dry when the rain started. Hanging outside in all that rain, it was wetter when we brought it in than when we put it out! Yesterday we had a nice day, so we just rewashed it all. So we ended up having an extra big laundry yesterday. We had a very nice day to dry everything.

My dad’s cousin Dave from this area passed away, and his funeral was on the same day as Mose and Susan’s wedding. Joe and I took some time the evening before the wedding to go to the viewing and visitation. Our sympathy goes out to his wife, Ruth, and family. Their daughter Sherri was a teacher to several of our children in the recent years. Ruth is a cousin to Joe’s dad, so we saw relatives there from both of our families. Dad’s cousin Leroy from Ohio stopped in at Mose and Susan’s wedding after the funeral to say “Hi” to all my family that was here.

I still remember that when I was a little girl, our family would go to visit dad’s uncle Mose and Amanda Coblentz in Hartville, Ohio. Mose and Amanda were Dave and LeRoy’s parents. The part I remember the most was the hills in their yard and the fun of running down them.

I will share the green bean recipe we used at the wedding. God bless you all!

Green Beans

2 pounds green beans
1/4 cup onions
salt to taste
3 tablespoons butter, browned
1/4 cup bacon bits
salt and pepper
seasoning salt

Cook green beans and onions until tender. Add salt as desired. Drain. Add browned butter to green beans and stir to coat. Continue to heat until the green beans are steaming hot. Add the bacon bits along with salt, pepper and seasoning salt.

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.

Dilemma: calculating how many noodles to make for hundreds of wedding guests

 

It is Thursday morning and it looks like we will have another hot day. Yesterday’s temperature reached the nineties and the humidity was high. The humidity is high again this morning so we want to get everything done we can outside before it gets too hot.

I have a breakfast casserole in the oven for our breakfast. Joseph is out milking Bessie our cow. I decided to write this column first thing this morning since I’m already a day later than usual. Daughters Elizabeth and Lovina will soon be here. Lovina went to Elizabeth’s house yesterday morning and now Elizabeth is coming over here to help clean and cook for Susan’s upcoming wedding. Lovina is always so excited when she gets to go to Elizabeth’s house.

Tomorrow my three sisters who live in this area will come help make noodles for the wedding. I want to make more than last time, as they used all we had made for Elizabeth’s wedding. I would rather have more than enough of everything than to run out of something. It takes a lot of brain work to make sure you have plenty of food on hand for over 1,000 guests in a day.

Lovina and Kevin picked over five gallons of green beans this week. GreenBeansThey cleaned them and I put them in the freezer. If the green beans keep doing well, that might be the vegetable we have at one of the wedding meals. I fixed some green beans one night this week. I diced onions, potatoes, and carrots in with them. Then I added crumbled bacon. Everyone liked the green beans a lot better fixed that way.

Joseph will be fourteen on Sunday, July 24. That will conclude the BensBirthdayCakeJuly birthdays in this family. Sister Emma turned forty-three on July 19 so I want to wish her a happy birthday. Her husband Jacob is planning a surprise birthday party tomorrow night for her. She will be here helping during the day so they should be able to sneak around her. We hope she will be surprised!

I should also mention that no matter if Mother isn’t here anymore, she is always remembered on her birthday. On July 18 she would have been 80 years old. She was a great mother to all of us children. We have so many good memories of her.

The porch deck is all stained now. That was a big job! Joe took all the vinyl railings off so we had it easier to stain. Now he’s put the railings back on. Sons Benjamin and Joseph are staining the ramp today. Hopefully they will beat the heat. It has rows and rows of railings (wooden) that need to be stained. It’s all time consuming but it will help preserve the wood better. I was helping the other evening with it and I had my share of it. I’m glad they will do the rest. I like painting walls a lot more than staining and I don’t even like to paint.

This is now after breakfast. Elizabeth and Lovina are here. Elizabeth is cutting out Kevin’s pants for the wedding. We want to wash laundry. There are so many unfinished jobs for the wedding that I have a hard time deciding where to start. I am starting to get a little nervous as time gets closer and closer. I want to try and stay calm and think everything will fall into place at the end.

Elizabeth always brings her dogs Crystal and Izzy along. This morning we heard meowing in the buggy. She is giving milk to two kittens which were orphaned when the mother cat was killed on the road. They look like they are doing well. The boys were teasing her about bringing two dogs, then two kittens, and wondered what she will bring two of next time. Kevin suggested that it will probably be ducks.

I must get back to work. Take care everyone! God’s blessings to all!

Zucchini Fritters

2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup flour
1 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 or 2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Mix together. Drop like patties in skillet and fry. You can omit the onion and pepper and make them just plain if you like.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding work frolic planned; sister promises eggs to help make wedding noodles

FrontPorch
Not much time to relax on the porch these days …

Today, 17 years ago, our oldest son was born to us after having three daughters. I remember seeing the look on my husband Joe’s face when he told me “It’s a boy!” He loved his daughters too but was excited to have a son. Benjamin was only four pounds and thirteen ounces at birth and caught the flu at a few weeks old. He ended up in the hospital and went down to four pounds. He was just a tiny baby but now he is far from that. We will give him a tool chest on wheels with various tools tonight. He enjoys working with tools and doing construction work.

Tonight in honor of Benjamin’s birthday, 20 to 25 youth will gather at our local Pizza Hut. Benjamin loves pizza so he will enjoy that and also being with his friends. Daughter Verena called Pizza Hut to reserve seats for all of them. I will need to make a cake for Ben but might wait until Saturday to have cake and ice cream since he won’t be home tonight.

Benjamin didn’t have to go to work yesterday so he and our son Joseph were mowing our pasture field with our big walk behind mower. It helps keep the weeds out to mow it down every once in a while.

Saturday we are having a “work frolic” for anyone who wants to come help us prepare for the wedding. Joe ordered material to insulate and finish the other end of the pole barn. We will use both parts of the building for the wedding and be able to spread out. Mose will be here to help but none of his family will be able to make it. Mose’s older brother Joe is getting married September 2 and that wedding will be at Mose’s parents’ house. They put up a new pole barn and are working on finishing that too. Hopefully we will get plenty of help to get a lot done.

We also want to have someone put a roof coating on our barn roof. We are springing a few leaks, so that should help. Joe also ordered stain for our ramp and deck. We wanted to let the wood season awhile before we apply the stain. The wedding is three weeks away so we need to keep busy. Joe has to work Saturday in a week so that’s one Saturday less for him to get ready.

I still haven’t made noodles for the wedding. Our chickens have not been laying so well. We have new ones started but they won’t lay eggs for a few months. We will butcher the older chickens and can the broth once the new hens are laying eggs. We like to get new hens every two years. I will use all my chicken broth I have left at the wedding so I will need more. The broth is used in the noodles and dressing.

Sister Emma and sons were here assisting us with our work yesterday. She said I can have some of their eggs to make noodles for the wedding.

I have had enough pickles to make three batches of freezer pickles. I am clear out of any canned or freezer pickles. Hopefully my plants keep doing well so I can restock with those. Plans are that church will be here in October so I want to have plenty of pickles.

Today I want to try and get started sewing my dress for the wedding. I once again have put it off too long.

Friday sisters Verena and Susan will come help me with some more cleaning. Daughter Elizabeth plans to come as well.

On Friday, July 15, Joe and I will have our twenty-third wedding anniversary. Twenty-three years! How can that be possible? I am blessed to be married to a kind, loving husband. Every marriage has ups and downs but with God’s help it all ends up making our love stronger for each other. Without God in a marriage, I can’t imagine it working well. God’s love for us is unconditional. May He bless each of you!

Cucumbers are the crop of choice in Lovina’s garden right now, and this week she shares a favorite recipe for cucumber salad.
Cucumbers to make a few batches of Freezer Pickles.

Freezer Pickles

Makes about 4 pints

I store these in large containers in the freezer so when I have church I can serve them for the meal afterward. But I can also freeze them in smaller containers so we can eat them at home on sandwiches. It is really surprising how crisp they are. These pickles will stay good in the freezer for up to a year. They taste so fresh and crunchy. The making of these pickles does stretch out over three days, so plan accordingly!

4 to 5 cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons salt
1 large onion, sliced
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

Day 1: Put the cucumbers, salt, and onion in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Day 2: Drain the juice from the cucumbers. Combine the sugar and vinegar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over the cucumbers. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Day 3: Take the pickles out of the refrigerator and pack into a freezer-safe container(s). Pour the syrup over the pickles and freeze until ready to use.

 

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.

 

Twelve-year-old daughter’s birthday stirs memories of seven-day hospital stay

This day is going way too fast for me. I finished sewing daughter Susan’s cape and apron for the wedding of niece Lovina and Benjamin tomorrow. Susan had her dress almost done so I also finished sewing that.

Last night I finally finished my dress, cape, and apron. I will be cook at the wedding and was asked to wear smoke blue. Susan and her friend Mose will be table waiters and Susan has to wear periwinkle. None of us had a color like that so it meant more sewing. With Susan working at the factory and training her pony in the evenings, she had a hard time getting to her sewing. And we can all guess which job was more interesting and important to her. She’s a fan of being
outdoors.

Today, May 18, daughter Lovina is 12 years old. She brought her friend Marianna home with her from school last night. They enjoyed each other’s company. Lovina got up earlier than usual so she could pop some popcorn to treat her classmates. Her classmates like the sour cream and cheddar popcorn she makes.

This morning while sewing, my thoughts traveled back to Lovina’s birth 12 years ago. We had moved in March and were still not unpacked. Sister Emma and Jacob were in the process of getting ready for a public auction on their property in Berne, Indiana. Life was not very settled yet after moving a family of eight to Michigan. I had been having trouble with gall bladder attacks and ended up having Lovina three weeks early by emergency C-section.

Due to complications I was in the hospital for seven days. I spent my birthday in ICU and wasn’t allowed to go see the baby for a few days due to a high fever. My husband Joe spent his day visiting me and then holding and feeding Lovina her bottles. We weren’t on the same floor in the hospital. At night Joe tried to sleep on chairs in the waiting room. He would go home every day to check on our other six children and do the chores, where my sisters Verena and Susan stayed with them day and night. Our oldest daughter Elizabeth was almost ten at that time. My doctor was thinking of sending me to a bigger hospital, but I took a turn for better and was transferred out of ICU the last few days.

I had our first six children at home with Joe’s Aunt Sylvia as my midwife. This was so different to not have all the family together as soon as the baby was born. It was hard not to see my baby for those few days, but I was so sick I didn’t really feel up to anything. Seven weeks later I had my gall bladder removed and felt so much better. Lovina has grown into a sweet young girl. She does very well in school and loves to read and write. She is outside helping Susan with her ponies every chance she gets. Washing dishes is probably her least favorite thing to do.

I am more than blessed with the family I have. They made me feel so loved on Mother’s Day. I was given flowers, and lots of thoughtful gifts from Joe and the children. My sister Emma and her husband Jacob had council meeting (which our churches have prior to communion) on Mother’s Day. Everyone was treated to ice cream in honor of all the mothers there. What a thoughtful and kind deed!

Our asparagus crop is slowly dying off. Joe picked a few radishes Asparagusfrom the garden last night. Usually I beat him to the first radishes. Those first ones of the season are always the best. Green onions are almost ready. Rhubarb is ready and so is the spearmint and peppermint tea. We are enjoying ice tea. It will taste even better once it warms up outside.

We had a few snow flurries Sunday forenoon on May 15. I don’t remember seeing that in May. Sunday we were at sisters’ Verena and Susan for a delicious meal in honor of Susan’s fortieth birthday which was May 10.

God bless!

Asparagus with Homemade Cheese Sauce

2 cups fresh asparagus, chopped to 1-2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups milk
seasonings to taste
3/4 cup soft cheese, cut-up

Thickening:

2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water
Mix together.

Cook fresh asparagus just until tender. Add milk, then add seasoning to taste. When hot, add soft cheese. When cheese is melted, stir in the thickening. Vary thickness by using more or less cheese.

 

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.

 

 

Longer bus ride not so good for Eicher children; plus sad horse news  

Daughter Verena made this for her cousin Rosa and her special friend. She makes it with plastic canvas and yarn.

I am a day late getting this column out. Every week passes by faster than the one before. Time does not stand still—that’s for sure.

Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin left for school a few minutes ago. The bus is coming earlier now because they are short one bus driver and need to put more students on one bus. We do not like this at all! 7:00 a.m. was early enough. We live three miles from the school and the children are on the bus over an hour. It wouldn’t be as bad if they wouldn’t have chores to do before they leave. Joseph always milks our cow Bessie before he showers in the morning. In the afternoon they get home almost a half hour later than they used to. I really hope it won’t be like this next term. It seems 15 to 20 minutes earlier in the morning can make a world of difference.

Yesterday I took our wheels for our pony cruiser to the repair shop which is about a half hour from our house by car. Since we were close to the bulk food store we did some grocery shopping. I like getting groceries in big quantities so they will last for a while. Daughter Elizabeth went along and so did daughter Loretta. Daughter Verena stayed home with Lovina and kept Elizabeth’s Yorkie dogs Crystal and Izzy here as well.

Lovina had a headache. I really do need to make an eye doctor appointment for her. At her last exam the doctor thought she might need glasses soon. She loves to read so her eyes get strained a lot. I had to start wearing glasses in the eighth grade. I still remember what a big difference they made. I always had a hard time seeing the chalkboard. I am near-sighted so without my glasses it’s hard to see things clearly far away.

VerenaCraftWork
Daughter Verena made this for her cousin Rosa and her special friend, “Menno.” She makes it with plastic canvas and yarn.

Last night son Benjamin and daughter Verena attended a work bee for the youth at one of the church families. They accomplished a lot in a short time. It is always a good feeling to help someone out. They were all served supper there.

Today daughters Verena, Loretta, and I will assist sister Emma preparing for church services at her house. Both her daughters work away from home so she is home alone with much to do. The girls are washing dishes while I write this, then we can leave. Son Benjamin put the harness on our horse Mighty to make things easier for us when we leave. We will have to hitch Mighty to the buggy yet.

Ginger and Itty Bit’s foals have grown a lot and are almost a year old. Itty Bit’s foal we named Black Beauty and she will be a year old on May 1. Ginger’s foal is Midnight and she will be one year old June 1.

We don’t have any idea what happened to Itty Bit’s back leg but we noticed she couldn’t walk on it anymore. We had the vet out several times and he thought it was a bad break. With her being 18 years old already, he thought it would be best to have her put down. This was very hard for all of us. She was a good horse in the 14 years we owned her. We brought her with us from Indiana and she delivered Ginger six days after our move. Our 22-year-old horse Diamond gave up on us last year and we miss him too. Diamond and Itty Bit were the two horses we brought from Indiana. They were always side by side in the field and we never thought they would both be gone, so close to each other. Itty Bit’s foal looks like she will turn out to be a good driving horse for us when she’s older.

We are enjoying fresh asparagus from our garden. Try this recipe!

God’s blessings to all!

Creamed Ham and Asparagus

1 pound fresh or frozen asparagus
1 1/2 cups milk, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried or fresh parsley
1 to 1 1/2 pounds fully cooked ham, cubed
3 hardboiled eggs, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
toast or biscuits

Cut asparagus into 1-inch pieces. In a saucepan cook asparagus in a small amount of water until tender. Drain and set aside.

In a medium saucepan mix cornstarch and 1 cup milk. Add butter, salt, pepper, and remaining milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Add parsley, ham, eggs, cheese, and asparagus. Cook and stir over low heat until ham is warmed and cheese is melted. Serve over toast or biscuits.

 

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.