Baby colt delights Eicher children; Lovina offers delicious spring asparagus recipe

BlackBeautyFoal
Black Beauty was born to Itty Bit May 1, 2015!

May is here already. It seems as though 2015 just began and now we are already in the month of May.

The first of May brought some excitement here. Our horse Itty Bit gave birth to a little filly. She is all black, so we named her Black Beauty. Such a lively young foal! Itty Bit is a very protective mother to the foal and it took some time for her to let us get too close to the foal.

PoleBuildingFraming
Framing went up on a new pole building, with the help of a contractor.

The construction crew started building our pole barn this morning. The poles are all set. Daughter Verena didn’t have to work today so she made chocolate chip bars and lemonade to serve to the men for their break.

My rhubarb is ready to use and I need to make rhubarb custard pie. My husband Joe always likes that.

Joe found out yesterday that they will soon be working nine hour days on Saturdays for a while. This makes him glad he hired help to put up the pole barn and didn’t attempt to put it up himself.

Last week I bought the royal blue material that I need to make address for nephew Levi’s wedding next week. I want to cut it out today and start sewing on it. I was so glad Verena could have the day off to help with the other work.

Our sympathy goes to Elizabeth’s special friend Timothy and his extended family. His grandpa died yesterday. The funeral is planned for Friday in northern Indiana.

We have radishes, peas, and corn up in the garden. We also have sweet onions planted. We had a few rainy days so once the garden dries off again we would like to plant some more of the garden. Our horseradish plant is looking nice. We want to make horseradish sauce. We grind up the root real fine and season it.

Son Kevin, 9, and Lovina are enjoying their ducks and amazed at how fast they are growing. I haven’t been out to the barn lately to see how big they are. Kevin is getting annoyed with our new rooster. He said this rooster is starting to get mean like the old one.

Thursday evening we will go to the middle school orientation with daughter Lovina, 10. Lovina and her classmates will present their career prep portfolio exit interviews to the parents. It doesn’t seem possible that number seven of our eight children has reached middle school level.

Saturday we attended the annual consignment auction. We sold our pony Tiger at the auction. Susan really hated to see him be sold but we have too many ponies around. We gave our miniature pony Minnie to Jacob and Emma’s son Steven. Lovina and Kevin are almost too big for her. Susan is training Minnie’s colt Prancer. She says he is easy to train.

It looks like we need to get the yard mowed. With the rain, the grass is growing fast.

We are enjoying asparagus fixed in different ways. Try it in this recipe. God bless!

Bunch of Green Asparagus
Bunch of green asparagus; (ThinkStock Photo)

Asparagus Ham Swirls

16 fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
16 slices fully cooked ham
16 slices processed Swiss cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup dry bread crumbs
cooking oil

In a skillet, cook asparagus in a small amount of water until tender-crisp, about six to eight minutes; drain well. Spread about one teaspoon of mustard on each ham slice. Top with one cheese slice. Place one asparagus spear on each piece of cheese (trim to fit if needed). Roll up each ham slice tightly; secure with three toothpicks. Dip ham rolls in egg, then in bread crumbs.

In skillet, heat one inch of oil to 350°. Fry rolls until golden brown (about three to four minutes). Drain on paper towels; keep warm. Cut each roll between the toothpicks into three pieces.

 

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.

 

 

Up early with the chickens, Lovina cans broth and shares chicken strata recipe


This week I will write a daily diary.

3:15 a.m. The alarm rings and it’s time to begin another day. I pack my husband Joe’s lunch and fill his water jug with ice and water. I pack extra food so Joe can eat a little something at break time. It’s too early at this time of the morning for him to be hungry. They start work at 5:00 a.m. and their break is at 9:00 a.m.

3:45 a.m. Joe’s ride is here to take him to the RV factory. The driver picks up four other Amish men before Joe is picked up. The ride usually takes 40 to 45 minutes from our house. I go back to bed for an hour after Joe leaves.

4:45 a.m. Daughters Elizabeth, 20, and Susan, 19, pack their lunches. Sons Benjamin, 15, and Joseph, 12, go out to the barn to milk the cow and feed the animals. Joseph usually milks the cow while Benjamin feeds the animals. I make Benjamin two grilled cheese sandwiches and pack his lunch. Benjamin likes ham sandwiches for lunch. He doesn’t want anything else. The girls divide a grilled cheese sandwich.

5:15 a.m. Elizabeth’s ride is here to go to the RV factory. Benjamin comes in to eat his breakfast.

5:30 a.m. Susan and Benjamin’s ride is here. Susan started her new job at nephew Emanul’s on Monday. Benjamin’s driver drops her off at Emanul’s shop when he takes Benjamin to Mose’s place to help with the saw mill.

5:40 a.m. Joseph brings the milk in. I put it through the strainer and put it in the refrigerator to cool. Joseph goes back out to get the gas lantern. Joseph usually lays down for a half hour nap until it’s time to get the others up. Sometimes he stays up and reads.

6:15 a.m. Verena, 17, Loretta, 14, Lovina, 10, and Kevin, 9, get up and get dressed for the day. Some of the children eat cereal but they usually wait until they get to school to eat breakfast. The school serves free breakfast to all students. They are hungrier by the time they get to school.

7:00 a.m. The bus is here. Loretta, Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin leave for school. Verena hardly ever eats much for breakfast. I make an egg and toast for me. Verena packs her lunch. Verena and I wash all the dishes and clean up the house.

8:30 a.m. Verena leaves for work. Our neighbor is here leveling out the ground. We hope to start on our new building next week. We are planning to put up a 50 x 80 foot pole barn.

11:00 a.m. A repair man comes to change the gas pilot assembly on my oven. He came out a week ago to see why it wouldn’t light and had to order a new part. I really missed being without an oven for a week.

1:00 p.m. Susan comes home from work.

CanningChickenBroth
Lovina’s kitchen is full of equipment she uses in canning chicken broth.

 

1:30 p.m. Joe comes home from work. I’m still canning chicken. We butchered our 34 older chickens on Saturday. I cooked the meat off the bones on Monday and Tuesday and am getting it in jars now.

3:00 p.m. Elizabeth is home from work.

3:30 p.m. Benjamin comes home from work and the children come home from school. I put two more pressure cookers of chicken broth on the stove. Since we will be using the stove burners for processing the chicken, the girls are making pizza for our supper. They also want to make a fruit pizza for dessert.

4:45 p.m. Verena comes home from work.

6:00 p.m. Supper is ready.

7:30 p.m. Dishes are all washed and put away. I’m so glad the girls cleaned up as I’m going to be canning more chicken broth tomorrow. Looks like I’ll get around 70 quarts. Joe and the boys are still outside working. They are moving a fence over that needs to be moved for the new building.

PoleBuilding2
Joe and his sons enjoy longer evenings to get some work started on a new pole building for the farm.

 

God bless! I will share a chicken recipe this week.

Chicken Strata

8 slices bread, cubed
2 cups cooked chicken (bite size)
1/2 cup onions
1/2 cup celery
3/4 cup green pepper
1/2 cup salad dressing
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 can mushroom soup
Dash of pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese

Place half of bread crumbs in bottom of baking pan. Combine chicken, vegetables, salad dressing, and seasoning. Spread over bread crumbs, then put rest of crumbs on top. Combine eggs, and milk and pour over the last layer of bread. Chill overnight or at least 1 hour. Add mushroom soup. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Add cheese on top and continue baking until cheese is melted.

 

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.

 

Welcoming a late spring with baby ducks and rhubarb coffee cake

If we thought spring weather was here to stay, we were wrong. Today the temperature is in the mid-30s, and we are having snow flurries all morning. The wind is so cold.

All is quiet here at the Eichers. Everyone is gone for the day. I did the morning work, mopped the floors and am folding laundry. I’m hoping to make butter yet before the girls get home from work. Susan wants to bake sugar cookies when she comes home. These cookies have buttermilk as one of the ingredients, so I thought I’d make butter so we have some.

Susan’s last day at the RV factory is Friday. She wants to take cookies to work to treat her co-workers. On Monday she will start working for nephew Emanul. He has a woodworking shop and has quite a few employees.

Lovina and Kevin were really excited on Saturday. Daughter Susan’s friend Mose bought them each a little baby duck. They named them Donald and Daisy and have had so much fun taking care of them. They keep them in a box in front of the coal stove in the basement. I hardly ever hear them. They aren’t as noisy as the little chicks that we have had in the house already. This is the first time we have had ducks, so the children are eager to see how they will be for pets when they get older. Once the weather warms up they can move them out to the barn.

The Eicher children are enjoying their new baby ducks, Donald and Daisy.
The Eicher children are enjoying their new baby ducks, Donald and Daisy.

Congratulations to nephew Levi and Barbara! We received an invitation to their May 14 wedding. Levi is sister Leah and Paul’s son. I will be a cook at their wedding. They would like the cooks to wear royal blue dresses. It looks like I will get another new dress.

I really need to get to my sewing. Son Benjamin could use more work pants. I have several cut out for him but need to sew them. Once I get started it won’t take long. Pants are easy to put together and sew.

Everything has been so busy this spring that my husband Joe hasn’t had much time for fishing. Son Benjamin went fishing Friday evening with Mose and two of his brothers. Saturday evening Benjamin and Joseph went fishing for a few hours after the work was done for the day.

Timothy (daughter Elizabeth’s friend) bought a bigger place and is in the process of selling his. He has a bigger and newer house and more acreage on the new place. He has some woods on the property, and a river runs behind it. We want to help him move once he’s ready.

My rhubarbs are really growing. I am hoping I’ll have some to use in a week or so. Try this rhubarb coffee cake when your rhubarbs are ready.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, diced

Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream sugar and shortening. Add egg. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream. Fold in rhubarb. Spread in greased 9×13-inch pan.

Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350° for 45–50 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.

Grateful for safekeeping, help from friends and children, plus dandelions!


A beautiful April spring day! Sun is shining and the mercury on the thermometer keeps rising. I love this weather and all the signs that spring is here. The tulips are looking really nice.

Everyone here at the Eicher house is gone for the day except me. My husband Joe, son Benjamin, and daughters Elizabeth, Susan, and Verena are all at their jobs working. The four youngest are at school.

It is too quiet with everyone gone except for Elizabeth’s two Yorkie dogs, Crystal and Izzy. Right now they are both sleeping.

Crytal_Izyy_JoesChair

It takes me longer to get things done without Verena’s help. Yesterday I washed all the laundry and it is surprising how much longer it takes if you do it all alone. It was a nice laundry day and the girls helped me get the clothes in and fold them after they were home from work. It goes so much faster when everyone takes their own clothes up to their bedrooms.

On Friday, son Benjamin was in a two-vehicle accident on his way home from helping Mose at his sawmill. We are thankful he wasn’t hurt and the rest involved had only minor injuries. It could have been such a different ending. God truly was watching over them. It reminds us how quickly life could change.

We are enjoying dandelion salad. I will share the recipe this week since we have quite a few new readers that might like the recipe.

We had to get back into the school routine after the children were home for a week on spring break. Joseph, 12, milks our cow Bessie before he gets ready for school in the mornings. He times himself on how long it takes to milk her. He is getting faster at it. He said he wants to milk her in eight to ten minutes like I can. I told him he has to build his muscles up and he should be able to. When we milked cows at home we had some that milked easy and some harder. Bessie is an easy cow to milk.

I want to make butter from the cream this afternoon. Susan brought a yogurt starter home from Mose’s mother Rosanna and tried her luck at making yogurt with Bessie’s milk. She tasted Rosanna’s yogurt and really liked it when she was at their house. I never made yogurt so hopefully I will learn now.

Before I go on with my work I want to answer some letters from my readers. It is a busy time of the year so please bear with me. I’ll try my best to answer everyone.

I owe a big thank you to my friends Jim and Ruth. I live in Michigan and my mail goes to South Holland, Illinois. Jim or Ruth always delivers my mail. I really do appreciate the time they take to do this.

Also, thanks to Pauline for sending the box of books for the girls. They were very excited. You will receive a personal reply from them.

May God bless everyone who has in some way helped or encouraged me to keep writing!

DandelionSaladDressing

Dandelion Sour Cream Salad

Serves 4 to 6

This is a recipe for dandelions smothered in our favorite homemade sour cream. You can, however, use just the sour cream part for other seasonal greens as well. This same sour cream is great when used with in-season, fresh-from-the-garden lettuce and endive. Home-cured ham also goes well with it. Any unused sour cream can be refrigerated for up to two days.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups whole milk
Salt (to taste)
4 hard-boiled eggs, diced
4 cups packed young dandelion greens

Combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, milk, and salt in a quart jar. Shake until smooth. Put the eggs and dandelion greens in a large bowl and pour the sour cream mixture over them.

 

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.

DIY on the farm: Make fresh noodles and avoid naming your next dinner

April! Signs of spring are everywhere! The early spring flowers are coming through. Also, rhubarb and horseradish are pushing through the soil.

My husband, Joe, planted some radishes, peas and sweet corn this week. Time will tell if they will grow. We had rain yesterday and this forenoon. We have been getting some of the yard raked between rains. It looks like it’s turning nicer now.

The schoolchildren are enjoying their week off. Yesterday we made noodles and cheese. I tried a different noodle recipe from the one I usually use. The noodles turned out really nice. We’ll have some tonight for supper. I was clear out of noodles, so it was time to make more. I would like to make a few more batches to store for the weeks ahead. We like beef and noodles or chicken and noodles, so they don’t last long around here.

Lovina made fresh noodles last week; see the end of the column for the recipe.
Lovina made fresh noodles last week; see the end of the column for the recipe.

Joe, Elizabeth, Susan, Verena and Benjamin are all working today. If the children weren’t home on spring break, I would be the only one home. Verena is enjoying the work she does. She does some office work and helps a lady with organic gardening. They will sell produce, among other items, at flea markets this summer.

On Good Friday Joe and I and some of the children attended the wedding of Benjamin and Elizabeth. We enjoyed getting to visit with aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. We arrived back home around 5:30 p.m.

Colorful Easter eggs on the Eichers' kitchen table.
Colorful Easter eggs on the Eichers’ kitchen table.

We received several more wedding invitations. Congratulations to nephew John and Arlene! They chose May 29 for their special day. Our neighbor boy Joe and his special friend, Susie, were published in our church on Sunday for a June 4 wedding. Congratulations to them as well! I have been asked to be a cook at both weddings.

We have three little pigs here now. We have extra milk from our cow, Bessie, to help feed them. Son Kevin, 9, wondered if he could give the pigs names. I told him it would be better to not make friends with them as they will be our meat next winter.

Lovina's son Kevin suggested naming their little pigs. His mother suggested otherwise.
Lovina’s son Kevin suggested naming their little pigs. His mother suggested otherwise.

I still remember when I was a little girl and my parents butchered one of our favorite old milk cows named Whitey. We had a hard time thinking about her being the beef we were eating. After that, Dad never butchered the milk cows. He would raise other beef for that. An older cow doesn’t make good steaks like a younger steer does.

This week, I’ll share the noodle recipe with readers. God bless you!

Noodles

2 cups egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2 cup boiling water
9 cups flour

Beat egg yolks, add boiling water and beat quickly until foamy. Pour into flour. Stir until most of the flour is mixed in. Put a lid on the bowl and let stand 10–15 minutes. Put dough on floured table and roll out. Cut into squares and put through noodle maker or cut by hand.

Either cook noodles right away or dry for future use. To dry, lay out and turn daily for a week, then store in an airtight container. After drying, the noodles can be frozen.

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.

Maple syrup spring gives way to Amish wedding season

March 31—the last day of March! Hopefully April will bring us nicer, warmer weather.

On Saturday Mose cooked up the rest of the sap into maple syrup. Our trees are done now for this year. I think we have more than a year’s supply of maple syrup now. It sure takes a lot of work and time to cook maple syrup!

The Eichers finished making maple syrup last week.
The Eichers finished making maple syrup last week.

Saturday evening we attended the annual spring program for the school. Around 40 youth were in the program. It takes a lot of work for these boys and girls. It was held at our local community building and lasted three hours. They did a good job! Everyone was treated to popcorn after the program.

Sunday forenoon Joe and I and daughters Verena, Loretta, and Lovina and sons Joseph and Kevin headed for Berne, Ind. Sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma, her husband Jacob, and their sons, Benjamin and Steven, also went with us. We attended the viewing and visitation of a friend. Our sympathy goes to the family.

We visited with sister Liz and family at the visitation. We stopped in at brother Amos and Nancy’s house and visited with them. Our next stop was with sister Leah and Paul. We had nice visits with everybody and were served good snacks at both places.

It was good to see everyone again. We also visited with some friends, uncles, aunts and cousins at the visitation. We arrived back home around 9:00 p.m.

Daughter Verena is mopping our floors and then plans to bake cookies. Her cookies don’t last too long around here. This time she plans to make peanut butter cookies. Tomorrow she is starting a new job, so I will miss her help on the days she will work. She isn’t sure how it will work out, but hopefully she’ll like it.

Next week our four school-aged children will be home for spring break. Joe and I and some of the children plan to attend the wedding in Rochester, Ind., on Good Friday. Our blessings to Joe’s cousin Benjamin and Elizabeth. May God be their guide as they unite in holy matrimony.

Three more couples in our community have been published for May and June weddings. It looks like wedding season is in full swing.

Easter is on Sunday. Hopefully the children can color some eggs on Saturday. A blessed Easter to everyone. Let us remember what this day is about—that Jesus died for all of us so that our sins can be forgiven.

This week I’ll share my rhubarb jam recipe. I have had several requests for it, so I want to share it before the rhubarb is ready to use.

 This week Lovina readies readers for spring by sharing her recipe for rhubarb jam.
This week Lovina readies readers for spring by sharing her recipe for rhubarb jam.

Rhubarb Preserves

5 cups rhubarb, finely diced
4 cups white sugar
1 3-ounce box strawberry gelatin

Combine rhubarb and sugar and let stand in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin until dissolved. Pour into jars and seal while hot, or freeze.

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

Lovina makes homemade mozzarella for the first time

A rainy March day as I write this! Monday it snowed enough to cover the ground with snow again. The rain this morning made all the snow disappear. It is 38 degrees so hopefully the rain helps take some of the frost away in the ground.

Eleven years ago we moved to Michigan in March, and there was still quite a bit of snow on the ground that year. Our horse Itty Bit had a foal six days after we moved. We named the filly Ginger and she is our family horse now. We still have Itty Bit too.

Mose’s grandpa Ezra, age 87, died on Friday evening. His funeral was on Tuesday. We attended the viewing/visitation on Sunday evening. Our sympathy goes to the family. May God be with them as they face this difficult trial in life. Ezra’s brother Martin died not even two weeks before.

On Friday evening and Saturday we cooked down all the sap into maple syrup. This time we ended up with two and one-half gallons of maple syrup. We now have over four gallons of maple syrup that Mose boiled off from our trees.

CannedMapleSyrup

One evening this week we had pancakes, eggs, and sausage with the fresh maple syrup. It has a very good flavor.

Yesterday I tried my first attempt at making cheese. I used a recipe for mozzarella cheese that niece Marlene Troyer gave to me. It seemed to work out well, but it is time consuming. Maybe once I get used to the steps I’ll be able to make it faster. Thanks to the readers who sent cheese recipes to me. I would like to try different kinds. Our cow Bessie keeps giving us all the milk we need and more. My husband Joe wants to get a few little pigs to feed the excess milk to.

The Eicher family cow provided milk to make mozarella cheese.

The week of April 6 our children will be home from school for spring break and they are excited. Hopefully it will be a nice warm week. They have a little over eight weeks of school left for this term. Daughter Loretta is going to graduate from eighth grade this year so she is super excited. The long school days wear her out so it will be nicer for her when she doesn’t have to leave every day.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan had a few days off of work. They were sewing on most of their time off.

Timothy and Elizabeth will be evening servers at a wedding in May. Seems the sewing is endless. Elizabeth sewed Loretta a new dress which brought a smile to Loretta’s face. Elizabeth received a sewing machine and cabinet from Timothy one year. She spends all her spare time sewing. She is really getting fast. It doesn’t take her long to cut out a dress and sew it.

I’ll share the mozzarella cheese recipe this week. God bless you all!

MozarellaCheeseEdited

Mozzarella Cheese

2 gallons cold whole milk
3 teaspoons citric acid
1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup cold water
1/3 rennet tablet
2 quarts water
1/2 cup salt

Put milk in a large container. Dissolve citric acid in 1/4 cup cold water, then add to cold milk. Mix well and keep stirring until heated to 90 to 95 degrees. Remove from heat; add 1/4 cup cold water and rennet tablet. Stir well then let set for 1/2 hour. Cut into squares with a long bladed knife. Let set 5 to 10 minutes. Heat to 110 degrees. Continue stirring to keep curds from sticking. Remove from heat and let sit 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile heat 2 quarts of water with 1/2 cup salt to 175 degrees. Drain cheese in colander for 15 minutes. Cut or pull cheese apart into small cubes and put in a large bowl. Add hot salt water; use wooden spoon to stretch cheese in upward motion until soft and springy. Drain in colander. Knead a little bit as you would bread; put in container to cool. Bread pans work well. Very good!

 

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.

Smells like spring: boiling fresh maple syrup and laundry drying outside

Spring will officially be here this week as I write this! Monday was a very beautiful day with the temperature going up in the 60s. We hung all the laundry outside to dry. It was so nice to be able to fold all the clothes and put them away the same day.

Susan’s friend Mose tapped all our maple trees for sap and also some of the trees at my sisters Verena and Susan’s place. He also tapped a few of neighbor Irene’s trees.

The sap is running but not as much as some years. Mose cooked the sap on Saturday and we now have fresh maple syrup. It is surprising how many gallons of sap it takes to get one gallon of maple syrup. A lot of work goes into it all.

BoilingMapleSyrup
Family friend Mose boils off some authentic maple syrup from the Eicher farm.

 

We all love the maple syrup. It tastes so much better on pancakes than pancake syrup. The children like to warm it and put it on vanilla ice cream.

CannedMapleSyrup
Five quarts of home canned real maple syrup taste way better than the store kind.

We had a nice day for Alvin and Susanna’s wedding last week. The wind was a little chilly but the sun was shining so that helped.

On the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, baked chicken, dressing, mixed vegetables, lettuce salad, sliced cheese, homemade bread, butter and strawberry jam, angel food cake with a strawberry topping, mixed fruit, and pecan, blueberry and cherry pies. Ice cream was also added for the evening meal. We wish Alvin and Susanna a long, happy married life together with all of God’s richest blessings!

We have several more wedding invitations for this spring. Joe’s cousin Ben and Elizabeth will exchange vows on April 3 in Rochester, Ind. They both lost their first partners. We wish them a happy, blessed life together!

Also, congratulations to Orlie Wayne and LaVera Ann! They will exchange vows on April 23. Joe and Orlie work at the same RV factory. We appreciate the invitations and hope to be able to attend.

We also received a “Save the Date” and an “invitation-to-follow” card from cousin Jane’s daughter Tiffany and her fiancé Samual. They plan to exchange vows on Sept. 5. Congratulations to the couple!

Our thoughts are with niece Suzanne, age 14 (sister Liz and Levi’s daughter). She has been in the hospital since Monday. She has asthmatic bronchitis pneumonia and a virus. We hope she will be well enough to go home soon and have a speedy recovery. It’s always a worry for the parents when our children are sick. Sounds like she was dehydrated with a high fever and was a very sick girl.

Sunday we had dinner with sisters Verena and Susan. Another beautiful day! The children enjoyed playing outside, biking, and riding the pony. Timothy and Mose also were there and sister Emma, Jacob, and family. Also their daughters’ friends, Menno and Manuel. Daughters Verena and Loretta spent the weekend in Indiana with friends so they weren’t there.

Joe and the boys took advantage of the nice weather on Saturday and hauled some manure out of the barn. I love spring! It’s always nice to see everything start blooming. I am keeping my eye open for those dandelion greens. Rhubarb stems should be peeping through too. This morning we had 23 degrees so we might have a few cold days yet.

A lady from our church shared this recipe with me. I bought the raised doughnut mix and cinnamon doughnut sugar at a bulk food store. I’m not sure if other stores would have it as well. Our children love these and it’s easier to make than doughnuts. Enjoy! God Bless!

RiseNRollBars1
Lovina’s recipe of the week is for an easy raised-type donut pastry, Rise and Roll Bars.

Rise and Roll Bars

2 packages yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 3/4 cups warm water
5 1/2 cups raised doughnut mix
1 1/2–2 cups cinnamon doughnut sugar (for topping)

Mix together yeast, sugar and warm water. Then add raised doughnut mix. Let rise 30–45 minutes. Knead and spread in a buttered 10 x 15 cookie sheet and let rise again for 30–45 minutes. Bake at 350° for 15–20 minutes.

Brown Sugar Frosting

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
3 cups powdered sugar

Cook together brown sugar and butter for 2–3 minutes. Add milk and bring to a boil. Take off heat and cool to lukewarm. Add powdered sugar. Spread bars with frosting then sprinkle with cinnamon doughnut sugar before the frosting dries.

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.

Happy preparations for Thursday wedding include homemade angel food cake

We had a lot of fog this morning. The schools had a two-hour delay because of the fog. This made for some happy children!

It has been a lot warmer this week with the temperature almost reaching 50 degrees on Monday. Sure gives a person spring fever. I am hoping it will be nice and warm for Alvin and Susanna’s wedding tomorrow.

I went to help prepare for the wedding on Monday at the bride’s home. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan didn’t have to work so they helped Verena with the laundry. They hung some of it outside and it dried really well. I was glad the laundry was done when I came home.

Other women were at the bride’s home too, helping prepare for the wedding. Women made pie crusts and crushed corn flakes to mix with ranch seasoning to coat the chicken for the wedding meals. We smashed and prepared two five-gallon-sized buckets of crushed corn flakes. Then I helped make angel food cakes. All the ladies brought in something for lunch which makes it so much easier on the bride’s mother. I took macaroni salad. There was so much left over I sent it with one of the ladies to the visitation for a man from our community. He passed away on Saturday evening and has lots of relatives in this community.

Lovina and daughters have been busy sewing new outfits for the wedding where they helped as cooks or servers.
Lovina and daughters have been busy sewing new outfits for the wedding where they helped as cooks or servers.

Yesterday I spent part of the day sewing on my dress for the wedding. The cooks have to wear a plum-colored dress. Mose and Susan are witnesses and Susan has to wear a purple dress with a white cape and apron. Timothy and Elizabeth are table waiters and Elizabeth will wear a different shade of purple for her dress, cape, and apron. The boys have to wear black pants and vests with white shirts. My job at the wedding will be to help prepare the chicken. It will all be baked for both meals.

The sun is shining brightly now and the fog has faded. I still need to finish sewing my cape for tomorrow, so that’s next on my list. Our snow is disappearing fast and the ground is getting really soft. We need some sidewalks from the ramp to the driveway. Hopefully the sun will help dry out the ground. The melting snow needs somewhere to go.

The Eicher family’s new cow, Bessie, eagerly provided the cream for the butter.
The Eicher family’s new cow, Bessie, eagerly provided the cream for the butter.

The children have been helping make butter from our cow Bessie’s cream that we get from her milk. I am hoping to get a butter churn or an easier way to make butter than shaking it in a jar. It is nice to not have to buy butter and milk now. Our children like the taste of homemade butter so we will be making lots more. Everyone takes turns shaking the jars and we soon have a lump of butter formed.

Butter
Lovina and her family make butter from the milk they get from their cow, Bessie.

 

We also have our own chickens so we have eggs and can make noodles from those.

This week I will share the recipe of the angel food cakes we made for the wedding tomorrow. After helping to make so many, I memorized the recipe.

Angel Food Cake (White)

Beat until foamy:
2 cups egg whites

Add:
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond flavoring

Beat in until stiff peaks form:
1 cup of white sugar, sifted

Sift together and fold in gradually:
1 cup pastry or cake flour
1 cup powdered sugar

Pour into angel food cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until cake feels springy.

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.

New cow provides cream for homemade treat


March! This year is going way too fast for me!

Daughter Verena and I just came in from milking our new cow, Bessie, and doing the outside chores. Son Joseph usually takes care of feeding the horses. I left the school children sleep later this morning so there wasn’t enough time. We are getting plenty of milk from Bessie.

BessieCow

I haven’t milked a cow since I was married almost 22 years ago. It was fun to milk a cow again but not something I want to do daily. The boys have been milking Bessie at night. Until Joseph gets faster at it, Verena and I usually milk her in the mornings. I can feel my arms aren’t used to it anymore.

When I was seven years old I started helping to milk our cows at home. Every morning and evening we had 12 to 14 cows we milked by hand. When Joe and I were married my parents gave us a milk cow, but Joe always milked her as I was always busy with the little children. Now our children aren’t so little anymore; this makes a person sometimes wish time would slow down.

Friday evening quite a few people attended the birthday party for niece Salome at the community building. Our family attended and so did Timothy and Mose. Guests played basketball and volleyball and also other games. Some of us sat and visited after supper. The community building is a nice, big place to have such an event in the cold winter months.

Joe’s sister Christine, Jake, and nine children came here for the night after the birthday supper. They were here until Saturday afternoon.

Saturday morning for breakfast we had biscuits, sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, cheese, hot peppers, coffee, milk, grape juice, and rhubarb juice.

For the noon meal Joe and Mose grilled ham and hot wings. Jake and his sons froze ice cream. Christine mixed the ingredients for the ice cream. We used the cream off of our cow’s milk. It sure makes so much better tasting ice cream. I also made a pasta casserole to have with the grilled meat and ice cream.

IceCream

The forenoon was spent playing games. Verena also had some friends over so there were plenty of people to play games.

Matthew (Jake and Christine’s son) and son Kevin had a hard time going to sleep Friday evening. They were so excited about being able to spend the night together.

Daughter Susan took Edwin and Rosetta (Jake and Christine’s two youngest children) for a pony ride with Tiger, our pony. Matthew and Kevin also went along. It was a cold ride but they dressed warm and enjoyed it! Daughter Lovina and Jake’s daughter Miriam also went along for the pony ride.

Kevin went to bed before dark Saturday evening and slept until the next morning. He was very tired from a long day and not sleeping much Friday evening.

Sunday we spent the day at home. Our afternoon visitors were nephews Jacob Jr. and Benjamin, and niece Emma, and her special friend Menno. Timothy and Mose were here for the day as well. The boys froze another batch of ice cream. Our children like my new ice cream recipe a lot better. I’ll share it with you this week. God’s blessings to all!

Homemade Ice Cream

6 cups cream
6 eggs
3 1/2 cups sugar
6 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 or 2 small boxes of instant vanilla pudding

Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Freeze in your ice cream freezer according to directions.

 

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.