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.

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.

Taste of spring and wedding invitations brighten February flu season

Oh dear! I completely forgot to write my column this week. I like to have it done on Wednesdays or before. Our four children just left for school, and I looked at the calendar and thought of the column. So before my work begins for the day, this will have to get written first.

So much has been going on here that it’s no wonder I have my days mixed up! Since last week it seems one of the children has been down with the flu. Yesterday I took daughter Susan, 19, and son Benjamin, 15, to the doctor. Susan has been having a very painful arm. The doctor says its bursitis from overusing it at her job at the RV factory. He told Susan she needs to slow down. He gave her a muscle relaxant and she needs to get a few adjustments at a chiropractor to loosen the joints. She will be home until Monday to rest the arm. She thought she should still go to work, but the doctor ordered rest.

Benjamin was having a high fever, but the doctor said it’s only a sinus infection and he tested negative for the flu. So hopefully with the medicine he will feel better. It’s hard to tell when Benjamin is sick because he keeps going. He really thought he should be able to go to work today, but I told him to wait until next week.

I’m hoping the flu has left our house now. The temperature has been cold this week, and the wind chill so much colder. We are getting more snow almost every day. I think I’m ready for spring!

We received our first wedding invitation for this year. Mose’s brother Alvin and Susanna will exchange vows on Thursday, March 12. They asked me to be a cook at their wedding and to come help a day before the wedding. Mose and Susan and Timothy and Elizabeth also have parts in the wedding. This means new dresses for Elizabeth, Susan, and I. Susan has been working on hers when time allowed the last few weeks. It only has to be hemmed and then it will be finished.

Daughter Elizabeth’s friend Timothy had the flu the last few days, so Elizabeth, 20, and Lovina, 10, went over there for a few hours last night. They washed his laundry and hung it on his enclosed porch to dry. They made supper and stayed to eat with him. Timothy bought a place of his own a few years ago. He lives by himself. With him working every day and having a few jobs after work, things can get pretty busy for him. I’m sure he was glad for the help and the company!

Several readers have asked for my recipe for rhubarb juice. I have changed the amounts of the ingredients over the years, and this is the way we like it best. Enjoy!

This week Lovina looks ahead to spring by sharing her recipe for rhubarb juice.
This week Lovina looks ahead to spring by sharing her recipe for rhubarb juice.

Rhubarb Juice

8 pounds rhubarb (can use frozen)
8 quarts water
2 12-ounce cans frozen orange juice
1 46-ounce can pineapple juice
4 cups sugar
3 3-ounce boxes strawberry gelatin

Combine rhubarb and water and cook until rhubarb is soft. Drain and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Freeze or can according to your preference.

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.

Ham and bean soup warms on frosty midwinter days

The temperature has dropped down to the teens this morning. It sounds windy outside.

Today is Thursday so it’s laundry day again. We usually wash laundry on Mondays and Thursdays. Usually by the next morning the clothes are dry on the lines in the basement. Oh, how nice when spring weather comes and we can wash clothes, dry them outside, and have them folded in one day.

Daughter Loretta came home from school sick on Monday forenoon. She hasn’t been able to go back yet. I called the doctor and he thinks it is probably the flu.

Tomorrow and Monday there isn’t any school, as it’s midwinter break. My plans are to take Joseph to the dentist to get a small cavity filled and to get some groceries.

Sons Benjamin, 15, and Joseph, 12, went over to Timothy’s house two nights this week to help him with his work. They really enjoy spending time helping him.

Son Kevin, 9, usually takes care of our chickens. He has been bringing in around 40 eggs every day from the new chickens we raised this fall. Kevin still has his run-ins with the mean rooster.

Last Saturday my husband, Joe, and sons helped Jacob and Emma dress a beef. With Loretta being sick, I haven’t had time to ask if they need help this week in cutting it up.

Brother Amos is back to work but has still been having dizzy spells. He has seen several doctors, but so far they haven’t really been able to figure out what is causing them. He still works construction work—helping build Menards buildings. They have quite a few hours of traveling to do every day. I hope it’s nothing serious. Amos has always been a hard worker and it’s hard to get him to slow down. He’s ten years older than I am and will be 54 this year.

Daughters Verena, 17, and Loretta, 14, recently attended their friend Grace’s birthday party. They enjoyed the evening with friends and made some new ones.

Joe plans to smoke the summer sausage this coming Saturday. He is hoping it won’t be too cold outside.

We still have lots of snow piled outside. The driveway is cleared off and the roads are dry, which is nice to see.

This week I’ll share a recipe that I tried for ham and bean soup. Not too many in our family like ham and beans, but if you do, I would suggest you try this recipe. I sent some over to Jacob and Emma, and they really liked it.

The Eicher family enjoyed ham and bean soup recently on a cold evening and this week Lovina shares the recipe with readers.
The Eicher family enjoyed ham and bean soup recently on a cold evening and this week Lovina shares the recipe with readers.

Ham and Bean Soup

1 pound dry Great Northern beans
8 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ham hock
1 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 stalk celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon mustard powder
2 bay leaves
2 cups ham, chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Rinse beans; bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt and beans and remove from heat. Let beans soak in hot water for at least an hour. Then place ham hock, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, mustard, and bay leaves in the pot and return it to high heat. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 60 more minutes. Remove ham hock, cut off meat, and discard bone. Stir in chopped ham and simmer 30 more minutes. Season with black pepper.

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.

February brings snow drifts, baptism services, and butchering

Greetings from snowy Michigan! We received more than a foot of snow over the weekend. Some had reports of 16-18 inches. It’s a pretty sight to look at. The evergreen trees have enough snow on their branches to make such nice scenery. What a wonderful creator our God is! The temperature also dipped down to almost zero degrees. The wind chill was even colder.

With all the snow and wind, the roads weren’t opened until Monday. Everyone was home—factories closed and schools all closed in the county. We did the laundry and Joe mixed the summer sausage so we could get it in bags. We hung it in the pole building to cure for a week or two. Then Joe will smoke it in the smoker. The recipe calls for 100 pounds of hamburger and sausage, so we ended up with almost 40 bags of summer sausage. We added cheddar cheese to some of it and also hot pepper cheese to some of it.

The Eicher family recipe for summer sausage is a large one—calling for 100 pounds of hamburger and sausage. They added either cheddar or hot pepper cheese to some of the sausage.
The Eicher family recipe for summer sausage is a large one—calling for 100 pounds of hamburger and sausage. They added either cheddar or hot pepper cheese to some of the sausage.

Saturday we helped Jacob and Emma with pork butchering. We made Pon Haus (similar to scrapple) out of 21 gallons of pork juice and rendered the lard.

Sunday we visited a neighboring church district to attend baptism services for four young souls. One of the boys is a brother to Mose (Susan’s friend). The building was filled to capacity with people. When we left in the morning only a few inches of snow were on the ground. By the time we started home in the afternoon, the roads had nice-sized drifts on them. Our ramp and steps to the house had quite a bit of snow on them. By the time we walked through the drifts of snow to the house, our shoes were all wet.

Our neighbor boy shoveled out our drive on Monday with their skid loader. In the yard we have huge piles of snow, which the younger children enjoy playing on.

Daughter Verena went to the community building on Saturday evening. The youth all gather there on Saturday evenings. A few sets of parents go as chaperones. Verena went home with niece Salome and some friends and spent the night at Salome’s house (Joe’s sister Loretta and her husband, Henry).

They all came to the baptism church on Sunday that we attended. Verena got to hold little Damaris, Loretta and Henry’s new baby. Sounds like she’s a real cutie! Salome will be baptized to the confession of faith in a few weeks, so we hope to attend the services in Nappanee, Ind. When children take this serious step, what a blessing it is to parents.

Tomorrow evening daughter Susan will go to her special friend Mose’s house in honor of his birthday. Happy birthday, Mose! Mose and Elizabeth’s friend, Timothy, have both been such wonderful friends to our daughters. They are always willing to pitch in and help when work needs to be done around here.

My very special friend, Ruth, will also have a birthday on Feb. 9. Happy birthday, Ruth! She has been a great help and encouragement to me to continue with this column. God bless her!

A reader requested a recipe for cashew crunch, which I didn’t have. But another reader was kind enough to send one to me. God bless!

Cashew Crunch

1 pound cashews, coarsely ground
1 5-ounce can chow mein noodles, coarsely ground
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 16-ounce package chocolate candy coating

Place cashews, noodles, and marshmallows in a large bowl. Melt coating and pour over mixture. Mix well. Pour onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet and spread out. Let cool and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

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.

Freezers filled, but two emergencies send family members to the hospital

Greetings from cold, sunny Michigan! I have ham bones in the pressure cooker. I want to make ham and beans for supper tonight.

Our pork is almost all pressure canned or in the freezer. We still want to smoke 100 pounds of summer sausage using hamburger and sausage.

BeefChunks
After butchering their own beef, the Eicher family canned some beef chunks.

The vegetable soup we canned last week totaled 30 quarts. I make it thick so that more tomato juice can be added to the soup at the point you open a quart if preferred.

VegSoup
Last week the Eicher family canned vegetable soup. Lovina likes to make it thick, so that more tomato juice can be added once opened.

Our freezers are filled beyond capacity. We ended up putting some meat in Timothy’s freezer for now.

Saturday we will help Jacob and Emma butcher pork. Then we should be done with that for another year. It’s a lot of work but well worth it once it’s in the freezer.

On Friday, my brother Amos was working with his construction crew. He was found outside, lying down. They called an ambulance. He was taken to the nearest hospital, where the doctors think he had a mini-stroke and a bad ear infection, causing dizziness, vomiting, etc. He still is almost too weak to walk but was released to travel home, about three-and-a-half hours away.

It was two years ago in January when Amos was also taken to the hospital by ambulance after being in a van accident on his way to work. They hit black ice, causing the van to roll numerous times and taking the lives of two of my cousins, Dan Graber and Chris Eicher. The Michigan hospital Amos was in this time is two hours from here. Jacob, sister Emma, sisters Verena and Susan, Joe, and I went to visit with Amos at the hospital Friday evening. Amos’s wife Nancy and children, and all their married children were at the hospital too. It was a long drive for them.

Saturday visitors here were sister Liz, Levi, Levi Jr., Rosa and Suzanne, and their married daughter Elizabeth with husband Samuel. They spent the night with sisters Verena and Susan. Rosa and Suzanne were going to spend the night here with my daughters Verena and Loretta. Plans changed when daughter Verena was taken to the emergency room after not being able to be awakened. Doctors ordered chest x-rays as her heart rate was dropping fast from hyper-ventilating. Diagnosis was a panic attack from being too stressed, and pain from headaches. They also gave her IV fluids as she was starting to dehydrate. It gave us all a scare but we are glad she is back home and doing well.

Sister Liz had her 46th birthday on Saturday, Jan. 24, as did daughter Susan celebrating her 19th. Happy birthday wishes to both!

God bless you all! Try these cookies. Sister Susan made them awhile back.

Delicious Cookies

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup soft margarine

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup nuts

1 cup oatmeal

1 cup Rice Krispies

1 cup coconut (optional)

Mix ingredients in order given. Shape into balls on cookie sheet. Dip a fork or glass in sugar and flatten each cookie. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 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.

Hog butchering, Amish style, plus recipe for hamburger-veggie soup

Another week has gone by already. These last weeks have been extra busy with working on our beef and pork.

On Saturday we butchered the four pigs we raised. They were pretty big already. After all the hams, pork chops, bacon, and ribs were cut out, the bones were trimmed of the meat and the meat cut into strips for the grinder. The bones were cooked in a big black iron kettle. After the meat was soft enough to come off the bones, it was taken off and put through the grinder.

The juice that is left from cooking the meat off the bones is saved and returned to the kettle after it is measured. We then return the meat and add flour, salt, and pepper to the kettle to make Pon Haus (something similar to Scrapple). After it is cooked to the right thickness it is poured into cake pans, baking ware, or whatever you want to use. After it is cooled you can slice and fry it as a meat.

PonHaus

The lard was rendered in the big black kettle and we now have many gallons of lard again. It turned out really nice and white. I like when it isn’t dark from being cooked too long.

The sausage is ground and seasoned. A lot of work goes into a day of butchering. We still have some sausage to make into breakfast links and brats and more meat that needs to be packaged for the freezer. We are gradually working on that this week.

Sausage

Today we are canning beef vegetable soup. We cooked the beef from the bones to put in the soup. How thankful we are to be able to fill jars and the freezer with meat for another year.

Saturday, January 24, daughter Susan will be 19 years old. It will also be sister Liz’s 46th, so happy birthday wishes to both of them.

The schools closed their doors yesterday due to icy roads. This morning they had a two-hour delay because of the roads. It worked out well yesterday, as I could take Kevin to get his new leg braces repaired. A few screws had fallen out and he was unable to use the braces. They help him a lot so we didn’t want to have him be without them too long.

For the new readers of this column: a few of our children have limb-girdle type 2A muscular dystrophy. Kevin needs the leg braces to help keep his heels on the ground. They help him stay balanced when he runs or bikes. Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement. It is not an easy thing to accept, but we know God makes no mistakes. We need to put our full trust in God.

Congratulations go to Joe’s sister Loretta and Henry! They were blessed with their tenth child. A little girl named Damaris Joy was born to them on December 31, 2014—the final day of 2014.

I will share a recipe for hamburger soup.

Hamburger Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup sliced carrots
2 cups tomato juice
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/3 cup flour
4 cups milk

Melt butter in saucepan and brown meat. Add onions and cook until onions are transparent. Add remaining ingredients except milk and flour. Cover and cook over low heat 20-25 minutes until vegetables are tender. Combine flour and one cup of the milk and stir into soup mixture. Bring to a boil. Add remaining milk and heat, stirring frequently. Do not boil after adding remaining milk.

 

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.

Whole family gets in on butchering this week

It’s another cold January day. The temperature is finally one degree above the zero mark. The sun is shining though, which gives everything a brighter look!

We are glad for all the sun we get in the winter months. The solar freezer we have depends on the sun to keep running. We are still glad we invested in it. We have not had to spend a penny on it since we bought it a few years ago.

Beefquarters
Workroom for beef butchering

Our freezers and canning jars are filling up fast with meat. We butchered a beef last week. I gave my husband Joe a meat grinder for his birthday in December. It has sure come in handy. The children gave Joe a hamburger patty and jerky maker for Christmas that attaches to the grinder. Joe made the jerky with it and now has made hundreds of hamburger patties with it. He is very happy for all of it. We put the patties in the freezer with freezer sheets between them. It is so handy to just pull them apart and put them right in the frying pan or on the grill.

We also canned a lot of beef chunks. I cooked the meat off the bones and want to make vegetable soup to can with the meat and broth.

friedbrains
Fried brains, a delicacy for some.

Joe and some of the children like to eat the cow brains. I have never tasted them! I fried the brains for them Sunday morning. Joe likes it with eggs and fried potatoes.

Our highlight of butchering is that we can make “rare beef.” We take very thin sliced pieces of the most tender steaks. Then we put salt and lots of black pepper on both sides of each piece and fry in very hot lard or oil. You only put it in for a few turns, then flip it over for a few more turns and it’s done. This is a favorite meat for us around beef butchering time. Everyone usually starts eating as I fry it, as it is best right out of the pan. I remember my mother standing by the Kerosene stove frying it one piece at a time. Now I know what she must have thought: it is a relief to be done when everyone has had their fill. It’s a greasy job and my propane stove keeps the oil lots hotter than when I had a Kerosene stove to make it on.

rarebeef
Rarebeef, a special treat

How blessed we feel to once again be able to put meat in the freezer and jars. Since we have two freezers, I can a lot less. It is so much easier to package it than to pressure can everything.

Saturday we have plans to butcher the four pigs we raised. They are really big already so they should give us a lot of pork.

Jacob, Emma and family and sisters Verena and Susan and all the special friends plan to come help us. Many hands do make lighter work. We appreciate all the help. I’ll write more about it in next week’s column.

Our school closed its doors two days last week due to extremely cold temperatures. Everyone is back to school and work this week, leaving all the work to daughter Verne and me again.

God’s blessings to all! This week I’ll share with you one of our favorite breakfast casseroles.

Sausage Gravy Breakfast Casserole

8 oz. bacon, fried and crumbled
1/2 package Smoky links, chopped
1/3 cup ham, cubed
2 cups shredded potatoes
6-12 eggs (scrambled), quantity depending on how many you are serving
1/4 cup green peppers, diced
1/4 cup onions, diced
1 cups Colby cheese, shredded
2 quarts sausage gravy

Mix everything together except gravy (see below). Spread in a greased 9 x 11 inch pan or larger. Spread gravy over everything. Bake at 350 degrees for 40- 45 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Sausage Gravy

1 pound bulk sausage
1/4 cup flour
4 cups milk
Salt and black pepper

In a cast-iron skillet, brown sausage over medium heat. Drain off grease. Sprinkle in flour and brown lightly. Gradually add milk and mix until very smooth. Bring gravy to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and cook until the desired thickness is reached. If gravy becomes too thick, additional milk may be added. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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.

Frigid cold but warm family fellowship over haystacks, barbecued meatballs

School doors closed for the day. We are having frigid temperatures with a bitter cold wind. The wind chill is minus 30 this morning and the temperature minus 8. Brrrr! But we are enjoying winter scenery. The ground is covered with snow.

My husband Joe and daughters Elizabeth and Susan are back working at the RV factories after a two-week break. Their holiday vacation went way too fast. Joe has been at this factory ten years now.

Jacob, sister Emma and family, sisters Verena and Susan, and the girls’ special friends Timothy, Mose, Marvin, Menno, and Manuel were all here for a breakfast brunch on New Year’s Day. We added an eight-foot table and a card table to our ten-foot dining room table to make room for 24 people to sit down. We had a breakfast haystack.HaystackBreakfastEditedFor a breakfast haystack you put a variety of foods on top of each other such as: scrambled eggs, diced ham, diced Smokies, crumbled bacon, crumbled biscuits, hash brown potatoes, diced tomatoes, diced green peppers, diced onions, hot peppers, salsa, cheese sauce, and sausage gravy.

After the brunch we exchanged gifts. We had traded names earlier. It’s always exciting to see what all everyone gets and who had each other’s name. Jacob and Emma’s son Benjamin had my name. He gave me three Pyrex bowls, two memory foam pillows, and cookie cutters.

In the afternoon Mose’s parents and some of his family came by to pick up Mose and daughter Susan. They headed to Iowa to visit Mose’s sister Marilyn for a few days.

Friday evening daughter Verena left to travel the couple hours to Marvin’s place. They attended a family gathering on Saturday.

Daughter Elizabeth and Timothy left Friday evening to attend a dinner that Timothy’s employer was having for all his employees. The house seemed empty with the three oldest not at home.

Saturday afternoon Timothy came over to help Joe and the boys dress one of the beef cows we raised. They think the beef weighed around 1,400 pounds. How thankful we are that we will have hamburger and beef chunks again.

Joe also smoked some venison trail bologna in the smoker. We made quite a few pounds of venison jerky and some venison breakfast sausage. This was all from the deer that Timothy and Mose gave to us.

VenisonSausage VenisonJerky

On Tuesday, January 6, Joe and all the children were home in honor of Epiphany. Timothy and Mose came for dinner and we had a nice family day together.

This week we are working on cutting up the beef. I will write more about that next week.

God bless you all! Stay warm and healthy during this cold weather. Try this recipe for barbecued meatballs. Enjoy!

Barbecued Meatballs

3 pounds ground beef
1 and 3/4 cups milk
2 cups oatmeal
2 eggs
1 cup chopped onions
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder

Mix and shape into balls. Put in a pan, only one layer per pan. Put the sauce on top. Cover and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Sauce:

2 cups ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

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.