Category Archives: Vegetables

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vegetable Cheese Soup

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

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

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

Remembering an uncle and enjoying an autumn haystack meal

Another week has passed, and it is time to get this column on its way.

Last Friday around 8:30 a.m. sisters Verena and Susan; sister Emma and her husband Jacob; and my husband, Joe, and I hired a driver with a minivan to take us to Lafayette, Ind., to Uncle Andy’s funeral. It took us more than three hours of driving time each way. All but two of Dad’s eight siblings made it to the funeral. Dad came from a family of three girls and ten boys, but eight of the boys are left now. It is sad to see the group of siblings get smaller. It was 7:30 p.m. until we made it back home safe and sound.

Baptismal church services were held at Emma and Jacob’s house on Sunday to take in two young souls as members. The services were held in a big pole barn. As baptismal church services are usually bigger in attendance, another bench wagon was borrowed from a neighboring district.

Amish baptism services are larger than normal church services, so extra benches like these are brought on the bench wagon to the house or barn where the special church service will be held.
Amish baptism services are larger than normal church services, so extra benches like these are brought on the bench wagon to the house or barn where the special church service will be held.

There were a lot of people to serve lunch to, but we had plenty of everything. Sixty-four loaves of white and wheat bread were brought in. Also on the menu were bologna, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, freezer pickles, dill pickles, pickled red beets, sliced tomatoes, strawberry jam, butter, coffee, and iced tea. There were also various kinds of cookies, such as sugar, oatmeal, chocolate chip, and chocolate crinkles.

Some of the church families and the youth were invited back for supper and singing. We had a haystack meal. A haystack is a variety of vegetables, toppings, and hamburger with taco seasoning. Sister Emma’s version consisted of layers of crushed Saltine crackers, hamburger, rice, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, chopped green peppers and onions, crushed tortilla chips, cheese sauce, and salsa. Dessert was a fresh fruit mixture of watermelon, muskmelon, grapes, and apples, as well as M&M bars, peanut butter swirl bars, Jell-O cake, and ice cream.

Daughters Elizabeth, 20, and Susan, 18, didn’t have work at the factory this week. Elizabeth is sewing her dress, cape, and apron and Timothy’s shirt for niece Elizabeth’s wedding in Berne, Ind., next week. Timothy and Elizabeth will be table waiters at the wedding. Daughter Verena, 16, will also be a table waiter at the wedding. I have her dress suit (the dress, cape, and apron) cut out but still need to sew it. The color they will wear is raspberry. I will help cook and need to wear a burgundy-colored dress suit. I still need to cut them out. It seems the weeks slip by so fast, and the wedding is suddenly closer than you think!

Lovina has been busy sewing dresses for her and her daughters for a family wedding next week. This is the dress her daughter Verena will wear as a “table waiter,” or server, at the wedding meal.
Lovina has been busy sewing dresses for her and her daughters for a family wedding next week. This is the dress her daughter Verena will wear as a “table waiter,” or server, at the wedding meal.

I need to take Joseph to his post-op checkup tomorrow. He still seems to be gaining back his health.

The girls are making bacon, scrambled eggs, and toast for our supper. I should be helping, but wanted to get this column done so I can start sewing early tomorrow morning.

Recently we picked up a lot of potatoes that the potato-picking machine missed from a neighbor’s field. They are not keepers, so we needed to get them used up. We shredded some of the potatoes to put in the freezer so that we can use them in casseroles later. This recipe is another good way to use them up. God’s blessings!

Seasoned Potato Wedges

  •  6 large potatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

Beat egg and milk. Combine flour and seasonings. Dip potatoes into egg-and-milk mixture. Dust with flour mixture. Place single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil. Bake at 450° for 20–25 minutes.

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

Busy butchering day proves a blessing

Today is our youngest child Kevin’s ninth birthday. Has it really been that long? It was also the first day of school, so he was a tired little boy tonight. Daughter Verena baked a horseshoe-shaped cake for him today since I wasn’t home all day. He requested a horseshoe cake and wanted chocolate cake.

Lovina's youngest child, Kevin, turned 9 this week, and his older sister made him this horseshoe cake.
Lovina’s youngest child turned nine this week, and his older sister made him this horseshoe cake.

Foremost on our minds is the sad news that Uncle Andy Coblentz, 81, passed away last night. He was the brother right after my dad in age. Dad would be 83 if he were still here. We are glad we were able to see Uncle Andy and Aunt Caroline at the reunion in July. Our sympathy goes to Aunt Caroline and cousins Andrea, Lori, and David, and also to all the grandchildren and great grandchildren. Our plans are to attend the funeral on Friday, which is over three hours from here. I’m sure Andy will be missed by many. May God be with them as they mourn for such a great man. Only God can bring us comfort in times like this.

On Labor Day we had a very busy day. A few of the girls washed the laundry while the rest of us butchered 51 chickens. In four hours we had the chickens all cut up. We soaked the meat in ice water to cool off before bagging it for the freezer. These chickens were broilers, which one can eat fresh or freeze. They were six weeks old and weighed around three and a half to five pounds. We had over 180 pounds of meat total. What a blessing to be able to put it all in the freezer for later use. We appreciated the help of Timothy and Mose, which made everything go faster. We had an assembly line, with one guy chopping off the heads of the chickens and a few people plucking the feathers after they were dipped in scalding water. Then they were gutted, cleaned and cut up into pieces. The gizzards and hearts were also saved to clean. The wings were bagged separately to be grilled for hot wings. After butchering chickens, none of us are ready for a meal of chicken for a while!

Sunday evening we had supper with sisters Verena and Susan, as brother Albert, Sarah Irene, and family were there. Albert’s married sons, Joe and Albert Jr., and their families were also there. Jacob and Emma’s children were also there, but Jacob and Emma couldn’t attend as Jacob wasn’t feeling good. We were served a good supper of barbecued chicken and all the trimmings.

My husband, Joe, doesn’t have work this week. Today Joe and I and sisters Verena and Susan traveled to Berne, Indiana. We spent most of the day at sister Liz’s house, helping her clean for the upcoming wedding of their oldest daughter, Elizabeth. Sister Leah was also there. Sister Emma has church services at her house on Sunday, so she wasn’t able to go. It was enjoyable to work together again, but we missed Emma. Tomorrow I will go help Emma with preparations for church services.

And like I don’t have enough to do, the peaches I ordered came today. Life gets too busy at times! Let us always take time for God. How easy it is to neglect God when we get busy.

Joseph, who had two surgeries recently, seems to keep gaining strength every day. We are so happy for that.

It is already 10:30 p.m. Everyone has gone to bed. I need to join them, but I knew I needed to write this column. Try this chicken biscuit stew sometime.

Wishing you all God’s richest blessings!

Chicken Biscuit Stew

  •  ¼ cup margarine or butter
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 cup potatoes
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1⅓ cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • ⅓ cup onions
  • biscuits

Melt butter and add flour, salt and pepper. Add milk to form a white sauce, stirring until thick. In a separate pan, boil potatoes, carrots and peas; drain. Add to white sauce and then add broth, chicken and onions. Put into 9×13 pan and top with unbaked biscuits. (You can use storebought biscuits in a tube or your own favorite biscuit recipe.) Bake at 375° for 20–25 minutes.

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

Garden goodies and a midsummer night’s sleepover

We are having all kinds of garden goodies lately. It makes meal planning so much easier. Our first batch of sweet corn is ready. We’ve also been enjoying tomatoes, green beans, buttered red beets, zucchini, cucumbers and hot peppers. The peas are now over for the season.

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Onions hang to dry on the porch.

The boys pulled all the onions from the garden and we tied them in bunches to hang under the porch to dry. Before it gets too cold we will move them to the basement. I hardly ever have to buy onions from year to year if I plant enough to store for the winter. We also like to plant enough potatoes but this year they didn’t do so well. I’m surprised if we will have enough for storage. There is a potato field close by, where we can go pick up potatoes after the picker goes through. They miss a lot and it’s easy to get plenty from the ground.

This Thursday we plan to travel to Berne, Indiana, to attend niece Marlene and Chris Troyer’s wedding. Daughter Elizabeth has almost completed sewing her periwinkle-colored dress for this occasion. Elizabeth and her friend Timothy will be table waiters and I’ll help cook. More on that next week.

Congratulations go to niece Elizabeth and Sam as they announced their wedding plans for September. This would be sister Liz’s oldest daughter and the first wedding to prepare for. Liz has a wedding wagon she rents out to people so she should be well prepared with all the tables, stoves and dishes that she will need for the wedding.

For my own wedding my mother had to borrow stoves, pots and pans, and some dishes—as wedding wagons were unheard of then. It was a lot of work to gather these things and then make sure everything was delivered back to its owner.

We are enjoying making banana poppers on the grill lately since our banana peppers are big enough to stuff with cream cheese and shredded Colby cheese. We then wrap bacon around the peppers and grill them. We make a few with jalapeños for Joe and me but the children prefer the banana peppers as they aren’t quite as hot. It seems like the banana peppers can’t grow fast enough to keep up with making the poppers.

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Banana peppers stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon. This is just before putting them on the grill.
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The finished banana peppers.

Son Kevin, 8, loves to husk the corn for me when we have sweet corn. I thought it was funny when he asked where he should put the wrappers when he takes them off. He was talking about the husk.

Son Joseph, 12, had four of his school buddies here for the night on his birthday, July 24. They slept out in a tent in our backyard. I think they told each other so many scary stories that they were a little scared to go to sleep. They came in and told me they saw eyes in the barn. After investigating, it happened to be our dog Rover. At 5:30 a.m. they all moved up to the boys’ bedroom as they said it was getting really cold sleeping in the tent. We had 54 degrees that morning, unusually cool weather for July.

Joseph wanted cupcakes instead of cake for his birthday. Daughter Verena, 16, baked chocolate and white cupcakes for him. She topped them with vanilla pudding frosting.

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Chocolate and vanilla cupcakes for Joseph’s birthday. To make the frosting, add 1 box instant vanilla pudding to a container of Cool Whip.

I want to thank all of you readers that have taken time to encourage me to keep writing. Life brings us disappointments in various ways. Being honest in all things and letting God be our guide is such great advice.

Until next week, God bless.

Green Bean-Egg Casserole

  • 1 quart green beans
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup cheese, grated

Cook green beans until tender (or use canned beans). Chop onion and sauté in 2 tablespoons butter. Slice or dice eggs and mix with the beans. Pour beans, eggs, and onions in 1½ quart casserole dish. Pour mushroom soup over all. Toast bread crumbs in 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle casserole with cheese and toasted bread crumbs. Bake 40 minutes at 350°.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 or at Editor@LovinasAmishKitchen.com.

Wedding prep and washer breakdown: all in a week’s work

All is quiet here at the Eicher household. Everyone has retired for the evening. I will be glad to join them, but I can’t neglect the duty of getting this column ready for the mail tomorrow. I will leave early to go help bake pies at brother Albert’s house.

Albert and Sarah Irene’s daughter, Irene, is getting married to Levi Raber on Wednesday. I will be a cook at the wedding, so some of us go to help prepare whatever needs to be done and bake pies. I still need to sew my cape and apron for the wedding. I finished my dress. Daughter Elizabeth and her friend, Timothy, are table waiters and Elizabeth has to wear the color berry. She has her outfit all sewn. It’s such a help to me that she can cut out and sew her own dress, cape, and apron.

On July 31 another of my nieces is getting married. Brother Amos’s daughter Marlene is getting married to Chris Troyer. This wedding will be in Berne, Indiana.

I was asked to be a cook, and Elizabeth and Timothy are table waiters again. Elizabeth will have to wear a periwinkle-colored dress for this wedding. Marlene chose the same dark blue color for the cooks as Irene did. That will make less sewing for me.

We were invited back to the place where church was held at today for supper. We decided to just stay home. It was a relaxing evening with all the family home and Timothy and Mose were here as well. Joe and our three sons, Timothy, and Mose played a few games of croquet. The girls aren’t very fond of playing that game so all five daughters went for a walk.

For supper, I made an Italian sausage and potato casserole, and also a garden salad with fresh lettuce from our garden. I will share the casserole recipe at the end of my column. Sisters Verena and Susan shared this recipe with me that a friend had given to them. I like trying something different, and it was a winner in the family as most of it was eaten up. There was just enough for Joe’s lunch for tomorrow at work.

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Fresh veggies from the Eicher family garden.

The girls did the chores for sisters Verena and Susan from Wednesday to Saturday. They went on a sight-seeing tour to Niagara Falls with a busload of their friends. There were 42 girls in all on the bus. It sounds like they had a nice trip.

On Friday while we were washing the laundry the wringer stopped working. We have a spare wringer when something like this happens, and guess what—the last time my wringer broke we laid it aside, never taking time to take it to be fixed. So there we were without a wringer and halfway through the washing of our clothes. Luckily, I have a spinner to help spin water out of the clothes but it was still a chore to wring all those clothes out by hand.

Sisters Verena and Susan do not have to work tomorrow and said the girls could bring the clothes over to wash at their house. Since I’m leaving they might just do that. I’m not sure how quickly our washing machine will be in working order again. We had to take the washing machine to get it checked out as well, as Joe thinks it could be the gears in there instead of the wringer.

We were excited to hear that we are uncle and aunt again. Joe’s brother, Benjamin, and Miriam from Sugarcreek, Ohio, were blessed with a little girl, Victoria Joy, recently. We look forward to meeting her.

Blessings to all!

Italian Sausage and Potato Casserole

  • 5 sliced potatoes
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 1 large green pepper (chopped)
  • 2 pounds Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, and oregano to taste

Mix sliced potatoes, onion, green pepper, and seasonings with olive oil. Bake in a 9 x 13 pan, covered, for one half hour at 350°. Remove from oven and drain, if necessary. Cut sausage in pieces and add to potato mixture. Continue cooking for one hour or until sausage is done.

 

Camping offers delights of food and family

My husband, Joe, returned to his job at the RV factory after being on vacation for a little over a week. Daughters Elizabeth, 20, and Susan, 18, are home a few more days before they will return to their jobs at the RV factory where they work.

Lovina's three youngest children got creative and took a water hose to write these words on the side of their barn.
Lovina’s three youngest children got creative and took a water hose to write this message on the side of their barn.

We had an enjoyable vacation, but it went way too fast. A lot of fishing was done, but we also accomplished a lot of work. Joe and sons Benjamin, 14, and Joseph, 11, put a new metal roof on the back of our barn. The roof had been leaking. It’s where we keep the chickens and calves, so it will sure be a lot better to not have a leak in the roof.

We put up almost 800 bales of hay in our barn over this past week. Hay is still expensive, and farmers are having a hard time getting their hay in between the rains. The rains are helping things grow and gardens are doing well.

During the camping trip, the Eicher family put the tripod and kettle that the children recently gave to their father to good use.
During the camping trip, the Eicher family put the tripod and kettle, which the children recently gave to their father, to good use.

One evening we went camping with my sister Emma and her husband, Jacob, and their family and my sisters Verena and Susan. We cooked supper out on the open fire with Joe’s new tripod and kettle. We deep-fried fish and had lot of food, with everyone bringing something. The children loved sleeping in tents. We cooked breakfast outside on the fire. Our menu was sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, sliced Swiss and Colby cheese, hot peppers, sliced tomatoes, watermelon, muskmelon, caramel cake, pudding, coffee, milk and orange juice.

Today we are washing laundry, and it turned out to be a beautiful day for drying clothes. We had a thunderstorm during the night and some more rain.

Son Benjamin is helping Susan’s friend Mose at his sawmill for a couple days. It seems quiet without Benjamin home. He does so many jobs for me when Joe is working.

Joseph, Lovina and Kevin are cleaning out the chicken coop, which is always a stinky job. But it has to be done. They are also cleaning out another area for our four new pigs, which will come today. We will raise them for meat this winter.

If it’s the Lord’s will we will have beef, pork and chicken to fill our canning jars and freezers for another year once it turns cold again. How thankful we are for having plenty to eat. It isn’t like that everywhere, and we pray that God will provide for the ones less fortunate as well. We need to thank God for our many blessings daily!

How thankful we are for having plenty to eat. We pray that God will provide for the ones less fortunate as well.

The rest of our week will be spent sewing for niece Irene’s wedding next week. I will help prepare for the wedding on Monday and be a cook at the wedding on Wednesday. Daughter Elizabeth and her friend Timothy will be tablewaiters at the wedding. Tablewaiters are friends and cousins who are chosen by the bride and the groom to serve food to wedding guests seated at the tables.

I’ll share the recipe for batter that I use to deep-fry fish. We also use this for onion rings, zucchini, and other vegetables.

Batter for Deep-Fat Frying

½ cup milk
1 egg
¾ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt (or seasoning of your choice)

Mix together all ingredients and stir until lumps are smooth. Dip fish filets or sliced vegetables in the batter. Drop in hot oil in a deep frying pan or Dutch oven and fry until golden brown.