Category Archives: Vegetables

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.

 

 

Summer commences with sewing and cleaning projects

June is here, and we are almost halfway through 2018 already! It’s unbelievable how time just seems to go faster each year.

Speaking of time: we have more sewing that needs to be done. Congratulations are in order for nephew Levi Jr. and Arlene. They chose July 4 to unite in holy matrimony. Levi will be 24 years old on June 30. He was born two weeks after we had our firstborn Elizabeth. Elizabeth will be 24 on June 14. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and I are all asked to be cooks at Levi’s wedding. We need to wear the color “iris”—and none of us have a dress in that color. Daughter Verena needs to wear a light gray dress and son Benjamin a light gray shirt. They were both asked to be table waiters at the wedding.

So yesterday, while Elizabeth and Susan were here, we drove over to our local community store and bought our material for the dresses for the wedding in four weeks. Now we need to get them cut out and sewn. The week of July 4 is shut-down week for most factories in our area, so everyone in our family will be off work for the wedding.

My husband, Joe, and son-in-law Mose are off work from the factory right now for around a week. Makes it a little rough when bills need to be paid. But God is above, and we have much to be thankful for. It was just a little unexpected.

Some of Lovina’s family had extra time to fish this week—here’s a 21½ inch whopper husband Joe landed. They froze some of the fish.

Joe and Mose have spent a lot of time fishing, so it is good to see the freezer filling up with fish. The boys also go fishing every chance they get.

Congratulations also go to niece Lisa and Marcus from Tennessee! They chose June 15 for their wedding date. It doesn’t look like we will be able to attend. It’s about a nine-hour drive from here, if I’m not mistaken. With gas prices going up, traveling that far becomes more difficult.

Yesterday Elizabeth and her daughter Abigail, plus Susan and her daughter Jennifer spent the day here. Susan brought them in her horse and buggy. It’s always such a day brightener when I walk out to their buggy to help bring in the little girls and they both smile for me! Abigail now calls out “Grandma!” when she sees me coming.

Daughter Lovina went to her friend Mary’s house on Monday evening for Mary’s birthday supper. Mary is a girl from our church. Several other girls were also there in honor of her birthday.

I have been trying to get some cleaning done, as we will host church services in August, Lord willing. Joseph and Kevin’s bedroom should be painted, but we will see how far we get. It seems like the boys’ bedroom has more nicks and dents in the walls than anywhere in the house! I wasn’t too happy when I found a dartboard hanging on their wall a few years ago. Of course their darts missed the board sometimes and made holes in the wall. I am hoping the boys have grown up enough now that we would be safe to patch up the holes and repaint. They could help now, so that would be a great help to me.

I was hoping we could get our basement and the upstairs bedrooms all cleaned before the July 4 week. Time will go fast after that. Cleaning now would give us less to do on those hot summer days when canning will be in full swing.

We are still enjoying the early garden goodies. Several recent rains have given the gardens a boost. Plants are looking nice. Weeds are also taking over, so we need to get those out of there.

Here is a zucchini cupcake recipe to save to use when your zucchini are ready.

God’s blessings to all!

Zucchini Cupcakes

3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
1 can crushed pineapple, 15 oz.,  drained
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut

Beat eggs and add oil, sugar, zucchini and pineapple and set aside.

Stir together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Blend dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Add vanilla, coconut and nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes large batch of 30 or so cupcakes.

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.

Little Abigail gets introduced to the Coblentz family water battles

Little Abigail gets introduced to the Coblentz family water battles 

It looks dark towards the southeast like a storm could be forming. We sure could use the rain. It’s been dry this week. We watered the gardens a few times this week but hoped it would rain tonight. Our soil is sandy so all the rain we had several weeks ago is all dried up. Rivers and lakes are still filled to the banks. Our weather has been in the 90’s with high humidity. Michigan has finally decided winter is over.

Tomorrow is 12-year-old son Kevin’s last day of school for this term. He will be a seventh grader next year. The school picnic is tomorrow. We plan to attend. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan along with my sweet granddaughters plan to go with us. I’m sure little 20-month-old Abigail will have fun at the playground.

Daughter Lovina, 14, is winding down with her school work. I need to do some more grading and get her report card filled out. She does a wonderful job with her school assignments and books.

Our family did a lot of fishing over the holiday weekend and caught plenty of fish. We had a fish fry over at daughter Susan and Mose’s house on Monday evening. Sons-in-law Mose and Timothy and Loretta’s special friend Dustin deep fried the fish and made French fries outside in our deep fryer, run by propane. It was a nice but hot evening to sit outside and eat.

Sunday night our family gathered here and stayed all night. The men made campfire stew in the kettle over the open fire and grilled hamburgers. We ate outside under a screened-in canopy. It helped the mosquitoes and bugs stay off the little ones and was nicer even for the adults.

Since the grass was the floor our daughters decided to play a game where we had to take a swallow of water and hold it in our mouth. One person would say a joke or something funny. The first person to spit out their water had to take the place of the person saying the jokes. I tried it but thought it was much more fun to sit back and watch.

The children also had a water battle and even little Abigail was throwing water. After it was over Abigail didn’t realize it’s time to quit and caught a few of us by surprise when she dumped a cup of water on us. It was cute to hear her giggle when we jumped. I told daughter Elizabeth she must be a typical Coblentz. Our Coblentz reunions always end up with a water battle. I remember Uncle Menno as one of the first to throw water. We had many fun times on hot days at the reunion throwing water until everyone was cooled off from all the heat.

It is pretty quiet around here right now. Daughters Verena and Lovina are at Susan and Mose’s house for supper. Nephew Henry and Mose went fishing with the boat to the lake nearby. Son Benjamin, 18, had a dentist appointment tonight. Joseph had a dentist appointment today and is outside doing evening chores. Kevin is also helping him.

My husband Joe is showering and I’m writing by the kitchen table taking advantage of the peace and quiet. Daughter Loretta went to town with Benjamin. I haven’t decided what we will make for supper. It seems no one is hungry until after it cools off outside.

I will share a new asparagus recipe with everyone. Our asparagus is coming to an end for the season. We are enjoying lettuce, radishes, and onions from our garden. Both our gardens are now all planted. I still have a few things I need to plant. I’ll find room to squeeze them in somewhere.

I finally got to answering some reader mail this afternoon. Thanks for your patience. I always appreciate the kind words of encouragement. God bless!

Hot Asparagus Bits

20 slices white bread
3 ounces blue cheese
8 ounces cream cheese
1 egg
1/2 pound butter, melted
20 spears fresh or frozen asparagus, cooked and drained

Trim crusts from bread and flatten slices slightly with rolling pin. Thoroughly blend cheeses and egg. Spread cheese mixture over each bread slice. Roll an asparagus spear inside each slice and fasten with a toothpick. Dip each roll in melted butter. Place on a baking sheet and freeze. When firm slice each roll into three pieces. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Editor’s Note: If you are in the southern Michigan/northern Indiana area, head to a booksigning with Lovina and several family members, at Colon Township Library, Colon, Mich. on June 12 from 6 – 7 p.m. Address for the library: 128 S Blackstone Ave, Colon, MI

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.

 

 

Overnight, a new foal born without help

Ginger and her new foal.

Overnight, a new foal born without help; name ideas?

It’s Thursday morning around 6:30 a.m. Son Kevin, 12, is waiting on the bus to pick him up for school.

We had a few thunderstorms during the night. Loud enough to keep us awake a lot so I feel tired yet. I’m letting the ones that don’t have to go to work sleep in a little longer.

Last night Mose and daughter Susan and baby Jennifer were here for supper. We had a severe thunderstorm right before they wanted to leave for home. I am wondering if there could have been a tornado with it but maybe it was just the strong winds that did so much damage in this area. It flattened our neighbor’s barn and tore some of their house roof off. It downed trees and power lines. It tore the soffit from our porch ceiling off, took big branches off our trees, threw around a lot of things outside. We felt fortunate to not have anything major happen here. The hail that was hitting our windows sounded pretty big. It was one thunderstorm after another going through so Mose and Susan decided not to try taking the buggy home. Lots of roads were blocked off from fallen trees.

It was cute to see little Jennifer sleeping so soundly this morning when my husband Joe, and Mose were leaving for work. She had her hands stretched over her head. Jennifer has to wear mittens on her hands as she scratches her face with her fingernails. We have tried to clip her nails down but she still ends up with a scratch on her face. She doesn’t seem to mind the mittens.

Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail are coming today. She has a friend bringing them. I am glad she isn’t bringing the horse and buggy. We are having another thunderstorm right now. Kevin is on the bus and on his way to school. I decided to get this written before I wake up the rest. It seems to go faster that way—less noise around.

I went to the doctor on Monday after feeling sick all weekend. He said I have bronchitis and gave me several antibiotics to take. I feel so much better! I now wish I would have went in sooner. I didn’t cook any meals on Sunday. My husband Joe made dinner on the grill for everyone. He grilled chicken and potatoes. I sat on my recliner most of the day wrapped in blankets.

Following Mom.

Monday morning our horse Ginger had a little foal. When I looked out in the pasture field after daylight, I saw the little foal running beside its mother. The little ones always look so cute how they run and hop around the field. We haven’t decided on what to name this filly yet but she is a lot lighter in color than her sister Midnight is.

Horses always take good photos, don’t they?

Ginger gave birth to our horse Midnight three years ago on June 1. Midnight is what Joe and I drive leading our buggy. The other foal that year was Beauty and she was three years old on May 1. We gave Beauty to son Benjamin for his birthday. Ginger’s filly she had now will probably end up Joseph’s birthday gift in a few years when she is ready to drive.

Daughter Loretta was also excited when her special friend Dustin gave her a Tennessee Walker horse that is trained for riding. The horse’s name is Diamond. One horse we had for many years was named Diamond. We miss not having Diamond anymore. Loretta’s Diamond is a mare though. The horse is a smooth-gaited horse. Loretta has never ridden a horse before but is looking forward to learning. Dustin is a great friend to her and has done so much for her.

I hope to see some of you readers at my book signing in Warsaw, Indiana, on Saturday. Plans are to bring all my daughters and granddaughters with me.

This is the way we like to fix morel mushrooms that can be found in the wild around here.

God’s blessing to all!

Morel Mushrooms

1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
butter

Cut mushrooms in half lengthwise. Soak morel mushrooms in salt water for an hour or more to kill insects. Use 3 tablespoons of salt per gallon of water.

In a small bowl, beat egg; add milk. In a separate small bowl place flour for breading. Start with 1/2 cup and add as needed. Melt butter in frying skillet. Start with 1 tablespoon and add as needed. Put mushrooms into egg and milk mixture, then dip into flour. Shake off excess flour and fry in butter. Sprinkle each side with salt when frying. Fry until golden brown.

 

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.

 

 

Placid evening after family devotions a fitting finale for the day

Supper is over and we have had evening devotions. All the children have gone their own way now—some to bed and some reading, writing or just relaxing. I love evenings like this, when everyone is close by. Every mother has those moments, I’m sure.

Making my day even more complete was having daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their sweet little daughters, Abigail and Jennifer, home for the day. This grandma actually fell asleep holding the baby on the recliner. Jennifer loves being held and cuddled.

Elizabeth hasn’t started potty-training Abigail, but today I started asking Abigail if she has to go to potty. She even comes up to me and tells me she needs to go potty. Well, we go through the whole routine and then she just sits there. I told Elizabeth she will eventually get the hang of it. I don’t think Elizabeth is too enthused to start the potty-training process. I keep asking myself why I’m so happy to help potty-train my granddaughter when I dreaded it with my own children! Maybe it’s because I can do it for a few hours and then quit when they go home. My dad always told us if he had known that grandchildren were so much fun he would have had them first. It was just one of his many jokes.

Back to supper tonight: our menu was biscuits, sausage gravy, eggs, potatoes and cheese. Son Benjamin and nephew Henry went after a new bearing for the buggy wheel on our one buggy. Then nephews Benjamin and Steven and niece Emma came over with some pon hoss and fresh sausage. They butchered pork on Saturday.

The Eichers were happy to can and freeze food staples such as this beef, which is customary among most Amish families.

Our beef is all canned, bagged and frozen. Freezers are filled to capacity. Do we appreciate that we have plenty to eat? There are so many in this world who are less fortunate. Let us pray for those less fortunate and also pray for peace in the world. There is so much hatred. God can be our only comfort at times when all else seems to go wrong.

My husband Joe and several of the children made around 300 hamburger patties, which are all frozen individually so they can be taken apart and put right on the grill. The rest of the hamburger was bagged and canned. I like using the canned hamburger for casseroles when I’m in a hurry. I went shopping with daughters Elizabeth, Susan and Loretta on Saturday. I felt so happy coming home to find out that this big job was all done—and maybe slightly guilty for not helping!

On Sunday church services were held with Dustin’s (Loretta’s special friend) parents being hosts. Loretta, Lovina, Benjamin, Joseph and Henry attended church in their district. Joe and I were also planning to go but Joe wasn’t feeling well during the night so we changed our plans. Joe was also home from work one day, running a fever and just not feeling well at all. The next day he felt good enough to go back to work, but he was still ready to see the weekend come. Those early mornings come around so fast! So often we take our good health for granted.

Several of our children and I went to visit sister-in-law Nancy one day this week. So much sadness. I have such a hard time going there and not seeing my brother Amos come walking to greet us. He was always so overjoyed to see us when we’d stop in for a visit. Amos and Nancy’s daughters—Lovina and her daughter and Elizabeth and her son—were home for the day. And Lisa, Laura and Sam were home, so we visited with everyone.

We were happy to hear we have another nephew, Seth Paul, born to Joe’s sister Loretta and Henry on March 2. Seth makes child number eleven for them. Their oldest son, Henry, has lived with us for almost seven months now. He went home to greet his newest little brother on Friday night. That makes 59 grandchildren for Joe’s late parents. Joe’s mother died at age 54 when we only had Elizabeth. She would be so happy to see all her grandchildren now.

Daughter Verena seems to be doing okay with her cast on her leg. She is getting a little impatient and tries to busy herself writing letters to others who need cheering up.

A reader shared with me her recipe for hot wilted lettuce. She says they eat this on top of boiled potatoes.

God’s blessings to all!

Hot Lettuce

1/2-1 pound bacon
1 heaping tablespoon flour (or a little more if needed)
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water
1 head of lettuce, torn

Fry bacon in large skillet. Remove bacon. Stir flour into grease and brown. Put egg in medium bowl and beat a little. Add salt, sugar, vinegar and water and then add this mixture to skillet. Add lettuce (you can use more or less than a head, as desired) and crumbled-up bacon and stir briefly in skillet until lettuce wilts slightly. Serve immediately.

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

Eichers attend early “Bethlehem” play by the Amish community

Eichers attend early “Bethlehem” play by the Amish community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hamburger Vegetable Soup

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

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

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