Category Archives: Vegetables

Final cleaning tasks—including 42 windows—before holding Sunday services

The first day of May has arrived with it being a rather cloudy day. At 7 a.m. the sun is now out and shining so bright.

Daughter Verena and sons Benjamin and Joseph left tonight to attend a local wedding. They invited (as most couples in this community do) the youth for a 7 p.m. supper. Joseph came home from work around 6 p.m. and showered and left. He is working one-and-a-half hours from home, so it makes a longer day. He seems to enjoy his new job.

My husband Joe is outside doing some power washing. Loretta, Lovina, and Kevin are all reading or resting. I wanted to get this column written before I’m too tired.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and little ones came home for the day. They washed off walls, ceiling, cabinets, shower, etc., in the main bathroom. More windows were cleaned. Our house has 42 windows, so it takes a lot of cleaning. This is on three levels, with 22 of the windows being on the main level.

Communion services will be held here Sunday. On Saturday, Tim, Elizabeth, and children Abigail and Timothy, Mose, Susan and Jennifer, sisters Verena and Susan and daughter Loretta’s boyfriend Dustin were all here helping us clean. The men and boys took care of cleaning the pole barn floor, windows, etc., where church services will be held in. The women helped here in the house. A lot was accomplished, and their help was greatly appreciated.

On Sunday our whole family came home for lunch, which consisted of mashed potatoes, noodles, dressing, meat loaf, creamed asparagus (our first of the season), lettuce salad, cheese, hot peppers, celery, and carrot sticks. For dessert, Elizabeth brought a dirt pudding. We opened the dining room table and set the table for everyone.

I forgot to mention we also had hard-boiled colored Easter eggs and horseradish. Abigail and Jennifer colored eggs at Tim’s house on Friday and brought some here. We didn’t color any this year as we were gone all day on Easter and didn’t have the family home.

It warmed up nice in the afternoon and the men and boys went out to play croquet. The rest of us played Phase 10 here in the house. We decided to have an egg toss just for fun. Everyone had a partner and it was a little messy for a few people, but we had lots of laughs. Tim and Elizabeth were the winners. Our friends John and Carol were driving past and saw us outside and stopped to visit. John is a cousin to Joe’s late father. Before the children left for home, I heated up the leftovers for whoever was hungry. It was a nice enjoyable day making memories.

We received the sad news tonight that Uncle Elmer from Berne, Indiana, passed away. He doesn’t have to suffer any longer but will be greatly missed. Our sympathy goes to Aunt Emma (my mother’s sister) and extended family. He suffered much pain from that dreaded disease—cancer. May he rest in peace now. The funeral is planned for Saturday and our plans are to attend. This will shorten us by a day in preparing for communion on Sunday but somehow, we will manage. Sisters Verena and Susan plan to come help tomorrow so we should get a lot more accomplished.

On Monday my husband Joe, son Kevin, and I traveled to Ann Arbor to the C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital to have Kevin’s cast removed. He now wears an air cast for two weeks. Thanks to all who remembered him.

Once again I want to thank all of you readers for your thoughtfulness and encouragement. It helps to know others care, and may God bless each of you richly as we travel into the unknown future!

Breakfast Zucchini Casserole

1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped bell peppers
2 tablespoons butter
1 dozen eggs
2 cups Bisquick mix*
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups cooked meat of your choice: sausage, diced ham, smokie links, bacon
6 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Sauté onions and peppers in butter. Beat eggs; add the sautéed onions and peppers and all the remaining ingredients to beaten eggs except cheese. Put into a 9 x 13-inch pan, setting it into a larger pan filled partway with water. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, covered with tinfoil. Uncover. Bake another 30 minutes, then top with cheese.

Variations: Use shredded cooked potatoes instead of zucchini. *Instead of Bisquick mix, use 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Garage sales and that first batch of dandelion greens

It is 5:30 a.m. on a Thursday here in Michigan. It sounds windy outside. Temperature shows 38 degrees. It feels good to have heat coming up through the vent from our coal stove in the basement. After having 70-degree weather the house was too warm, so we let the fire in the stove go out. Yesterday morning my husband Joe started it again. Today daughters Elizabeth and Susan have plans to come, so at least it will be nice and cozy for the little sweeties.

Usually the girls come on a Wednesday, but on Tuesday my sister Emma and her daughters Elizabeth and Emma, my daughters Elizabeth and Susan, and I went to the Amish garage sales. We took Emma’s baby Jessica and grandson baby Timothy along. Granddaughters Abigail and Jennifer stayed here with daughters Verena and Loretta. Of course sister Emma and I had almost more fun helping out with our grandchildren than shopping.

Our daughters were fortunate to get many good bargains in clothes. With material so high it pays to get garage sale priced clothes (and including the time it saves), and it was also fun just spending the day together. I saved myself quite a few days of sewing with the clothes I bought, and the prices were reasonable. It seems the boys are always in need of pants and I was able to get some in their size.

While we were garage saleing my husband Joe was home planting some early garden. Now let’s hope it doesn’t get too cold and we will have the fruits of his labor next month. Joe would like to buy or make a little greenhouse so he could experiment starting a garden a lot earlier. I have no interest in doing that, but if he’s willing to do the work I’m all for it.

We enjoyed our first meal of dandelion greens this week. We eat them in a salad with homemade sour cream and hardboiled eggs diced up in it. Yummy! Some of the children just don’t get the excitement I have when I bring in that first batch of dandelion greens.

Son Benjamin, 19, left for work at 4:30 a.m. and son Joseph, 16, left for work at 5:00 a.m. At 6:00 a.m. daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, get up to get ready for the bus. Lovina leaves at 6:45 a.m. and Kevin’s bus comes at 7:00 a.m. or later. He is still riding to school with the county bus, as he needs the lift for his wheelchair.

When the girls come home today we will probably work at somemore cleaning. I am trying to stay calm and not think about the sewing I need to get done for the upcoming wedding of niece Elizabeth and Manuel, along with all the cleaning. It all usually falls into place, and it’s not that we can’t host church services with some dirty corners. That is not at all the point of cleaning, for it is just a deadline to get it all done so it’s cleaned for a while.

Last Sunday our neighbors hosted church services and had the youth singing in the evening. It was warm enough to take Kevin with the pony cruiser and our pony Stormy. It’s easier for Kevin to get in than the buggy. We all went back for supper and singing in the evening. Tim and Elizabeth and Mose and Susan came here after church and went back for supper and singing too. The afternoon was spent relaxing and resting and the little ones took naps.

Daughter Verena’s friends came through to pick her up to go to the singing. Sons Benjamin and Joseph spent all weekend in Indiana at their friend’s house. They weren’t home in time to go to the singing. By 8:30 p.m. everyone was back home, so it was nice to all get to bed early.

This week I will share a recipe a reader sent to me. God bless you!

 

Zucchini Fritters

1 pound zucchini, unpeeled and grated
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon fresh chives, minced
1 cup buttermilk pancake mix
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients except the oil, stirring well. Heat oil to 375 degrees F. Drop mixture by tablespoons into hot oil. Cook until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

Yields about 1 dozen fritters.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Remembering a beloved neighbor, and her first plate of cookies

Remembering a beloved neighbor, and her first plate of cookies

Daughters Verena and Loretta are making supper. On the menu is tater tot casserole, rare beef, and cheese. The casserole is a new recipe they are trying out. Rare beef is thinly sliced steak from our beef we butchered. It’s heavily salted and peppered, then deep-fried in oil. Verena will do the deep frying. The girls insist I still stay out of the kitchen at meal time. They make sure I don’t overstep my boundaries or do anything I’m not allowed to do.

Loretta and Joseph are still washing laundry twice a week and I’m amazed at how well it gets done. I almost think they get it done faster than when I’m down there helping. I am learning how hard it is to be patient but I think it is a good thing for me. Life doesn’t always go as we want it to. I feel this helps me understand the struggle my children who have special needs encounter on a daily basis.

Foremost on our minds tonight is the sad news of neighbor Irene’s passing. Our hearts ache for her family and our sympathy goes to them as well. Irene had her 91st birthday on February 9.

Fifteen years ago when we moved here to our home in Michigan, we met Irene. She lived across the road from us and came over to meet us with a plate of cookies. Through the years Irene was always willing to run me to town to a doctor with one of the children or to just get some groceries. Or then she would come over with extra vegetables from her garden. I would try to return the favors with a loaf of homemade bread, etc. I always felt that Irene would keep an eye on our animals and homestead when we were gone all day. Needless to say, our dear Irene will be missed!

Irene’s grandson Joe is also our neighbor and his daughter Jaelyn has spent lots of time visiting over here, or the children with her at her dad’s or grandma’s. I am sure this will greatly affect their lives. They were with Irene so much. Rest in peace, Irene. You were so greatly loved and will be missed!

Our thoughts and prayers are also with cousin Amos, wife Barbara and family. Last week they laid to rest their 22-year-old daughter Edna. Her death was caused by an accident at work. Such a tragedy! Our sympathy to the family.

Son Kevin is wearing his air cast and is getting around with the aid of a walker. He can now go to school with the school bus. He is tired after a day at school. Another week of the air cast, and then he can try to walk with a shoe.

Kevin and I both say thanks for all the cards, letters and gifts that were sent to us. Mail time is special and Kevin loves to come home to mail. Thanks to my friend Ruth that brings our mail from you readers. We appreciate all the kindness!

Last but not least I want to announce that niece Elizabeth was published to be married to Manuel on May 24. We wish them much happiness as they exchange vows until death do them part. May God be their guide always. Sewing machines will be busy this spring as we sew for this upcoming wedding.

Joe and Joseph are getting a lot of work done outside in the barn, building more horse stalls and hauling manure this week while Joe is off work.

Tomorrow evening daughter Elizabeth and Tim will bring our supper in. Last Friday evening daughter Susan and Mose brought us supper. It is greatly appreciated. Sons-in-law Tim and Mose are starting to cook the maple syrup they’ve tapped from trees.

God’s blessings to all!

Tater Tot Casserole

4 cups frozen tater tots
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound ground beef
1 envelope (.75 ounce) mushroom gravy mix
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix tater tots and shredded cheese. Set aside.

In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, brown beef over medium heat until completely browned. Stir in gravy mix then milk, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened (about 1 minute). Stir in vegetables. Top with potato mixture. Bake 25–35 minutes until sauce bubbles and tater tots are crisp. (If you don’t have an oven proof skillet, bake in a 9×9-inch pan.)

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

Garage sales yield great bargains, including gifts for the grandchildren (of course)

Daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, just left for school. It’s cold and windy outside, and the temperature has dropped to 54 degrees. We had just enjoyed a few nice warm and sunny days until yesterday, when it was rainy and cooler.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their little girls came to our house yesterday morning. Daughters Verena and Loretta kept Abigail and Jennifer here while Elizabeth, Susan and I went to the “community building.” There were 24 families from our community having garage sales with booths inside the building.

I always have fun going to garage sales, and I did really well. With the cost of fabric so high, it’s so much cheaper to buy clothes that are sewn up already at garage sale prices. I bought quite a few days’ worth of sewing! I brought home some pants for the boys, dresses and coverings for the girls, and of course some dresses for my little granddaughters.

When we got home, Abigail tried on the new clothes. She does well dressing herself. Jennifer couldn’t care less what dresses she has! I also was able to get a baby swing and stroller that were in good shape for a few dollars each. They will come in handy when my grandchildren come. And yes, I did buy some toys for the granddaughters to play with when at our house. It seems I don’t have many toys to keep them entertained. They both like to look at books, and they also liked the wooden blocks I brought home.

Elizabeth and Susan found good bargains on clothes, so it was worth it for them as well. We stopped at a few more garage sales on our way home. Elizabeth said Abigail hadn’t wanted to go to bed the night before, so Elizabeth told her when she wakes up, she can go to Grandma’s. When Abigail opened her eyes the next morning she smiled and said, “Going to Grandma’s!” and was wide awake. How precious!

Lovina’s daughter Loretta and her friend Dustin prepared grilled whole chickens and salmon (wrapped in foil).

Loretta’s special friend Dustin’s birthday was on Monday, October 8, so Loretta went to their house in honor of his birthday. On Sunday evening Dustin and Loretta prepared supper on the grill for our family, also in honor of his birthday. Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan and Jennifer joined us for supper. On the menu were grilled whole chickens, French fries, cottage cheese, sliced cheese, veggies and dip, cake and ice cream. The chicken was grilled and seasoned just right and was very juicy. It was a treat to me that supper was being prepared and I could just spend time with my granddaughters. Jennifer likes to gnaw at an apple; I think it feels good to her gums, with more teeth pushing through.

Next week’s plans include daughter Verena helping a lady from our church district who is on bedrest. Verena will watch her two little boys and get meals for them. Our church ladies are taking turns taking in supper, so there should be plenty of leftovers. It’s so good to help each other! I remember after my surgery how helpful it was to have people bring supper over to us almost every other night. That meant a lot to me.

We have now scheduled son Kevin’s surgeries for next year. He will have the heel lengthening surgeries done to help him get his balance better. He has what is called “limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A,” and he seems to have a hard time lately. The doctor doing his surgery at the children’s hospital is the same one who did both our daughters’ surgeries, so we know he’s in good hands.

The first foot surgery will be in January, and then the second foot in March. Hopefully it will all be healed for him when the warm days come next spring. Kevin will have many weeks in a wheelchair while recuperating. He won’t be allowed to put any weight on the foot for six weeks or more. I’m sure that going to school will help him pass the time.

God’s blessings!

Carrot Casserole

1 (2-pound) package carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 stick butter
1 sleeve (about 35) Ritz crackers, crushed

Boil carrots for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and slice into smaller pieces if desired. Add onion, sugar, cheese and mayonnaise. Stir and place in casserole dish. Melt butter and stir in crushed crackers. Spread on top of carrots. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

 

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.

 

Sticky lessons with Gorilla glue, and happy for supper on daughter’s patio

Head: Sticky lessons with Gorilla glue, and happy for supper on daughter’s patio

It’s 8:30 p.m. and we just came home from daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. Elizabeth made supper for us. She made cooked potatoes, cooked carrots, corn, Sloppy Joe sandwiches with ice cream for dessert. It was nice to not have to cook supper tonight. And it was a wonderful evening to eat out on their patio. Mose and daughter Susan and Jennifer also came over to eat there. Elizabeth and Susan were here today with their little sweeties Abigail and Jennifer. Elizabeth asked if we want to come over for supper so we took up the offer.

Tomorrow son Kevin and I will travel to the children’s hospital in Ann Arbor. He has an appointment with the surgeon that did our daughter’s surgeries. It’s such a big hospital and I still get turned around so I am always glad when my husband Joe can go along. This time he won’t go along as they were off so many days and with the four-day work weeks they are having he’s glad for every day he can work. Next week he will have to take a day off for a dentist appointment with a specialist and possibly have surgery to remove a tooth.

The glue that my husband Joe used to fix my washing machine hose last week gave up. Daughter Loretta and I wanted to do laundry on Monday so I used Gorilla glue to glue the end back on the hose. I didn’t know that glue swells up so when I wanted to drain the water from the wash machine it wouldn’t come out. The glue had swelled up enough to plug the whole inside of the hose. I had to break the glue back out so now before we wash clothes again the hose needs to be repaired. I did figure out that you need to use Gorilla glue sparsely.

Mornings have been foggy lately. I’m hoping it won’t be tomorrow morning when we travel the two hours to the appointment.

Our one garden is all cleared out and tilled now. Not much left in the garden anymore. Autumn begins this week already. Its always nice to finish up the canning season from the gardens. I am so thankful though for every jar that was filled and all that could be frozen.

Friday night we made a kettle of campfire stew outside in the kettle over the open fire. It was a nice evening to sit around the fire. We used fresh potatoes, green beans, and onions for the stew along with chunked steak from our freezer. It was delicious.

Our thoughts went back sixteen years ago on Monday, September 17, when dear Mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, passed away. She was in Blue Springs, Missouri, when she so suddenly passed. So far from home and we felt so helpless when we heard the news. I started penning the column after her. Joseph, 16, was just a couple months old. Mother will always be remembered. Life goes on but we still have our loved ones close in our hearts!

On our way home tonight from Timothy’s house we saw so many deer. One ran in front of our horse Midnight and startled her. But it was a very peaceful evening for a buggy ride. Signs of autumn are beginning to show on the trees. Folks are digging potatoes from the fields. Gardens are looking empty.

I will share a recipe for stuffed cabbage with you. A good way to help use up your cabbage from the garden. I always plant the late cabbage.

Until next week, God’s blessings to all!

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

1 head cabbage
1 onion finely chopped
2 tablespoons margarine
1-pound ground beef
1/2-pound ground pork (or veal)
2 cups cooked rice
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2-pound lean bacon
16-ounce can tomato sauce
8-ounce can tomatoes
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Remove core from cabbage. Scald cabbage in boiling water and remove leaves as they soften. Sauté onions in margarine very lightly; do not brown. Also sauté beef and pork. Combine meat with rice, eggs, sautéed onions, and seasoning. Mix well. Place 2 tablespoons of mixture in center of cabbage and roll. Wrap in bacon strips and insert wooden picks to hold together. Pour tomato sauce on rolls, then squeeze tomatoes from can and arrange on top of rolls. Sprinkle brown sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done.

 

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.

Stuck buttons, Abigail helps Grandma, and tight hugs

I’m sitting outside here by the grill as daughter Loretta grills hamburgers for our supper. We will also have vegetable soup with the hamburgers. The hamburgers are from our freezer which we packed individually last winter after butchering beef. This pack of hamburgers had cheese added.

Today daughter Elizabeth and Abigail plus daughter Susan and Jennifer spent the day here. We canned almost 40 quarts of vegetable soup and seven quarts of tomato juice. The last round of pressure cookers processing the jars are on the stove.

It’s a pleasant evening here in southern Michigan. After a few chilly and rainy days we are back to sunshine and warmer temperatures. After a hard day’s work it is really relaxing and peaceful to watch the sun sinking lower in the west. What a wonderful world we have by our great creator God! His work is amazing and it seems I feel less tired at night when I know He is there to help us through life’s many trials.

Little Abigail never ceases to amaze me with her “grown up” talk. How special it was for me—Grandma—to have Abigail help me pick the tomatoes from the garden this forenoon. She knew when she found a bad one and told me in her sweet little voice that it was bad and to throw it away. When we had picked four buckets of tomatoes she walked to the house to tell the girls Grandma needs help bringing the tomatoes in the house.

Abigail had her second birthday on September 10 so we went to her house Sunday evening to celebrate. Several other families were there and she enjoyed the attention and all the gifts she received. Elizabeth made her a cake and she blew out the two candles with the help of her daddy Timothy. She blew and blew but couldn’t get enough wind to come from her mouth. I think she was just too excited.

While we were in the garden today Abigail said, “Grandma, we need to sing.” She started to sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” Just so precious! Jennifer is eight months old now and reaches for me, then hugs me really tight. Such blessings for this Grandma!

My husband Joe is back to work this week at the RV factory. They didn’t have work last week. After this week they will again reduce to four-day work weeks. It makes it harder at this time of year when we need to buy hay for the winter and coal for heat. We will trust God that he will provide as he thinks best.

While Joe was home he caught up with work that needs to be done around here. The potatoes were dug up. The gardens were cleared all except tomatoes, watermelon, green and hot peppers and cabbage. Joe also helped me with laundry a few times while he was home. He got the button out that was stuck in my Maytag washing machine hose. He had to take off the end of the hose to get it out. (Water still came out of the hose but very slowly. It was a button off of one of the boy’s pants and it was stuck in there so the water had to run through the button holes.)

One day last week Joe and I also took the buggy eight miles to town with our horse Midnight. We started out after Lovina and Kevin got on the bus. Joe took me to a restaurant for breakfast before we started shopping. I always enjoy getting out of cooking for once.

Midnight does very well in town with all the traffic. She is so much calmer then her mother Ginger. Ginger is always impatient at stoplights but Midnight stands still well. That means a lot if a horse is traffic-safe in town.

The hamburgers are ready and the bottom of my page is coming up. I sampled the hamburgers and Loretta seasoned them just right. Time to set the table.

God be with you all and bestow His many blessings to you!

Three Bean Salad

1 16-ounce can yellow beans, drained
1 16-ounce can green beans, drained
1 16-ounce can red kidney beans, drained
1/2 jar chopped olives
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 onion, diced

Dressing:

1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 or 3 dashes paprika

Mix all the vegetables in a large bowl. Mix dressing ingredients together and pour over vegetables. Marinate for at least 12 hours in refrigerator. The taste is even better the second or third day.

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, , 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.

 

Summer’s waning days bring bucketloads of tomatoes and family hog roast

In addition to lots of tomatoes, the Eichers canned these great looking peaches recently.

Summer’s waning days bring bucketloads of tomatoes and family hog roast

It’s Wednesday evening around 7:00 p.m. Supper dishes are washed and put away. Everyone is cleaned up and relaxing before bedtime. The boys were outside tossing the football to each other while the girls washed the dishes.

Today daughters Elizabeth and Susan along with granddaughters Abigail and Jennifer came to spend the day here. Elizabeth brought along four buckets of tomatoes that Timothy had picked from their garden. They were 5-gallon buckets. They have already canned five batches of salsa from the tomatoes in their garden. I was very glad for the tomatoes. We made 37 quarts of tomato juice with the tomatoes, and I was glad for the help from the girls.

While we were working on the tomatoes, our friends from this community, Sam and Pearl, stopped in with some of their friends from Virginia, who are readers of my column. They stayed for a short visit. I appreciate the encouragement they gave.

While they were here my husband, Joe, came home from his job at the RV factory. While he was visiting with them, little Abigail brought in his new shoes, which had arrived in the mail earlier today. She started untying his shoes and wanted him to put on his new ones. How she understood that the shoes that came in the mail were her grandpa’s new shoes I don’t know. It was just so cute to see her bending down by his feet, untying his shoes!

On Saturday we were happy that Aunt Caroline Coblentz and cousin David and Karen Coblentz from Lafayette, Indiana, came for a visit. Aunt Caroline will celebrate her 86th birthday on September 3. We wish her a happy birthday with God’s blessings always. It was nice visiting with her, even though I was interrupted because I was keeping watch on my pies baking in the oven. The cherry and pecan pies were to take to daughter Susan and Mose’s on Sunday.

Aunt Caroline, David and Karen had lunch with my sisters Verena and Susan, and also visited with my sister Emma and family before heading south again. It has been five years ago since Uncle Andy (my Dad’s brother) passed away. I imagine Aunt Caroline has many lonely days, but David and Karen take real good care of her.

After they left last Saturday, the girls and I went over to Mose and Susan’s to help set up for church. The boys and Joe had left earlier. We helped with all the last-minute preparations, and the benches were set up under the big tent.

Sunday morning the church families gathered at Mose and Susan’s place for the services. They had a good lunch, similar to ours a few weeks ago.

A reader asked me recently about our church lunches. All church lunches are mostly the same, except the lunchmeat may be different or some may have cheese instead of cheese spread. Some might serve egg salad with no meat on the side. Always on the menu are bread, peanut butter spread, pickles, red beets, jelly or jam, butter, cookies, coffee and tea. The host can then add extras.

Mose and Susan are glad to have a lot of their cleaning done now. There is still canning to do, since the gardens in this area are slow this year. This coming Saturday will be my family gathering at sister Emma and Jacob’s. They are planning to have a hog roast with everyone bringing the side dishes, desserts and snacks.

It will be sad this year, with brother Amos not being there with us. I really hope his wife, Nancy, and family will still come; after all, they are still our family. We can also be comforted by spending time with each other, reminiscing about the precious memories we have of Amos. I still have such a hard time believing he is not with us. May he be resting in the arms of Jesus! God makes no mistakes, so we must accept his will.

I will share a recipe requested by a reader. God bless!

Zucchini Squash Bread

3 eggs
1 cup cooking oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups peeled and grated zucchini
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped nuts

In a bowl beat the eggs until foamy; add the oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla. Mix lightly but well. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and baking powder and mix. Stir in the nuts. Divide the batter into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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.

 

Ice cream ensures that back-to-school open house pleases even the littlest attender

Ice cream ensures that back-to-school open house pleases even the littlest attender

Happy birthday to my sister Verena, whose 52nd birthday was August 22. We wish her God’s richest blessings and many more happy, healthy years!

This is Thursday morning, and it seems the hours are going faster than I can keep up! School doors opened Tuesday, August 21, with son Kevin in seventh grade and daughter Lovina in eighth. Lovina decided that she would like to attend school again instead of doing another year of homeschooling. I think she missed her school friends. Kevin is also glad to have his sister back at school.

We were helping Susan yesterday. Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail were also there helping. We washed her laundry and washed off her kitchen walls, ceilings, and cupboards. We also did some other odds-and-ends. Baby Jennifer was fussy this week, so it’s hard for Susan to get her work done. I think Jennifer senses that her mother is extra busy. On Saturday we canned pizza sauce and hot peppers for Susan.

Last night was the open house at the school. Little Abigail cried when we were leaving Susan’s house, so we decided to just take Abigail with us. Daughters Verena and Loretta told Elizabeth they would bring her back home after the open house at the school. There was an ice cream social at the open house, and Abigail loved the birthday cake flavor. She also loved playing on the swings and slides at the playground. She didn’t want to leave. It is so precious to have her come home with us. Needless to say, she gets a lot of attention here!

This week Lovina and crew canned 24 quarts of homemade vegetable juice; she shares the recipe.

We did our first canning of tomatoes this week. We canned 24 quarts of homemade vegetable juice. I will share the recipe with you at the end of the column which comes from my earlier cookbook, The Amish Cook at Home. This is a good drink for breakfast or anytime of the day. It is healthy, given all the different vegetables it contains. I don’t always add every vegetable in the recipe. Sometimes I add potatoes, and sometimes I don’t. I add more hot peppers than the recipe calls for because we like it with a spicy flavor. Daughter Elizabeth doesn’t add many hot peppers so she can use it in soups and it won’t be hot for little Abigail.

Today we will wash laundry and then can some peaches. I have a bushel that needs to be done today. I’m not sure yet, but I may also freeze some that we can use for lunches.

Son Joseph, 16, started his new job at the RV factory. He is only allowed to do some small jobs because of his age. He enjoys it and is excited about having a job again and earning money. My nephew Benjamin also works there, so the cousins enjoy spending their breaks and lunchtime together.

I really miss Joseph’s help here at home, but I understand that he needs to get a job. It’s part of growing up. So many people take for granted that everyone can work any job. But when you have a disability, jobs are limited. Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair to our girls that they can’t go out and earn money like other girls. Life isn’t fair, and God has a reason for everything. We don’t always understand it, but someday we will. Keeping our trust in God is the best thing we can do.

My husband Joe is on four-day work weeks this month, so he can help Mose with his work. Things are falling in place in preparation for hosting church services there on Sunday. The church tent will be set up at Mose and Susan’s house tomorrow. Services will be held under the tent since they don’t have enough room in the buildings for the service.

I’ll share the vegetable juice recipe I used this week.

The process of making homemade vegetable juice is quite involved, but rewarding.

Homemade Vegetable Juice

15 pounds tomatoes, cut into chunks
4 onions, diced
4 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
6 large jalapenos, diced
6 small potatoes, peeled and diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 cucumbers, sliced 
2–3 teaspoons garlic powder
salt

Combine all ingredients except the salt in a 3-gallon stainless steel pot over medium-high heat. Cook until soft enough to go through a Victoria strainer, about 30 minutes. Strain and put into sterilized quart jars and add 1 teaspoon salt to every jar. Process according to your canner’s directions. Makes 14 quarts.

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.

 

Verena’s view from camping week, plus super easy supper on the grill

Verena and sister Loretta made this delicious supper on the grill.

Verena’s view from camping week, plus super easy supper on the grill

This is Verena, 20, writing for Mom this week. Mom isn’t home and I know she needs this written.

I’m off work on Wednesdays every week. I work the other four days for my cousin Emanul. He owns a woodworking shop so I work in the office. I really enjoy it and it seems to be working so far with my handicap. I really enjoy doing office work.

My sister Loretta, 18, Lovina, 14, and Kevin, 12, are also home so Loretta is getting lunch for all of us. Dad and Mom left to go do some shopping so Dad can do some repairs around here. He is off on vacation this week yet.

Loretta is heating up leftovers from last night’s supper for our lunch which is fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

Mose and Susan (sister) and niece Jennifer drove in last night just as we were getting ready to eat so we told them to stay and eat with us. Jennifer is full of smiles every time I see her. I love being Aunt to Jennifer and Abigail! They are my whole world!

We are back home getting settled after spending last week camping at the lake. My siblings and I told Dad and Mom that next time we do a camping trip we want to be far enough away from home so they can’t always be running home to check on things and doing laundry and chores.

We were at the lake from Sunday, July 1 to Saturday, July 7. It was very enjoyable with the entire family together. I will always cherish these memories we made.

We rented three older model RV’s from the campsite owner. They didn’t have electricity in them but the water for the toilet and the lights worked from being hooked up somehow to a 12-volt battery. It beat not having to sleep in tents. We divided up between the three RV’s and had a screened-in canopy for our cooking spot.

We all gathered once a day at least to have a meal together. Otherwise, some were fishing; some were swimming; and others were enjoying the little ones and visiting and relaxing together. The owner treated us very well and always was willing to do whatever he could to make our stay go smoother. We had a few very hot days but found comfort in cooling off swimming. Although we did use sunscreen, a few of us had sunburns which is not fun.

Abigail loved the water but Jennifer preferred only having her feet in the lake water. I loved spending time with Abigail and Jennifer on the swings, slides, etc.

Uncle Jacob and Aunt Emma and family took care of my Yorkie dogs (Ricky and Ruby) while we were gone. They also had sister Elizabeth’s dogs (Izzy and Crystal) so they had a handful of extra chores. We all appreciated it very much.

Thursday evening we invited Jacob and Emma and family, also their daughters Emma and Elizabeth’s boyfriends, Menno and Manuel, to the camp to spend the evening with us. The men went fishing after supper. Aunt Emma brought a wet burrito casserole for all of us. Dad grilled some brats to go along with it.

Sister Loretta turned 18 while we were at the lake (July 1). We had cupcakes in honor of her birthday. Brother Benjamin and Loretta are both the same age now until Saturday, July 14, when Benjamin will have his 19th birthday.

July 4 we attended cousin Levi’s wedding. I was a tablewaiter and had to wear a light gray dress, cape, and apron. It was nice to see family again!

We all packed up to leave the campground on Saturday evening.

Sunday we attended the viewing of our former bishop, John, who passed away. Our church became too large so we divided in two districts and John was bishop for the other district. He was 75 and a cousin of my deceased grandmother Elizabeth Coblentz, the original writer of this column. I stayed home from work on Monday so I could attend the funeral with my family. It was a big funeral!

On Tuesday I went back to work. We were busy catching up from our week’s vacation. It’s always enjoyable to have time off but I love when everything is back to a routine.

Well, you all take care and God bless! I’ll share a recipe with you the best I can of what Loretta and I made for supper Monday evening.

Supper on the Grill

1 pound steak cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound bacon cut into small pieces
1 package shrimp de-tailed (optional)
1 medium onion cut up in chunks
1 green pepper chopped
1 box fresh mushrooms
6 medium potatoes cubed
1 cup olive oil

Mix all together and add seasonings of your choice. Toss until seasoning is well mixed with all ingredients. Grill in tin foil on grill until meat is cooked and potatoes are soft. Serves about 12.

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.

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.