Empty space when a child leaves home—even just for a vacation!

LovinaAndKevinKittenEdited
Lovina and Kevin are raising this kitten. It’s mother was killed on the road. It’s really doing well !

Oh my! I am running late getting this column out this week. It seems like one week after another goes by bringing us closer to Elizabeth’s wedding date. I am trying to not think of all that needs to be done.

Elizabeth, 21, seems to be slowly gaining her strength back from having double pneumonia. She is still coughing, so I’m hoping she continues to get better and not worse.

Yesterday she cut out Lovina’s dress and Kevin’s pants and shirt for the wedding. She also sewed Lovina’s dress. The day before, she sewed Verena’s dress for the wedding. She had already sewn Susan and Loretta’s dresses. The only dress we need to cut out now is mine.

I keep telling myself every day that I should get it sewn before we get closer to the wedding day. I surely don’t know what I would have done if Elizabeth didn’t help out with all the sewing. She is a fast seamstress.

JosephBlueGill
Lovina’s son, Joseph, caught a local blue gill.

Susan, 19, hasn’t been home since last Friday. She went with Mose’s family on a fishing trip almost 500 miles from here. We all miss her. It seems with only one of the children not home, it makes such an empty space. We talked with her for a few minutes several times when she called home. She said she is having a great time but misses home.

Since Benjamin helps Mose with his sawmill, he doesn’t have to work this week. Benjamin and Joesph, 12, have been getting things done outside that Joe wants done before the wedding.

Benjamin is excited for his upcoming birthday. He will turn 16 on Tuesday, July 14. At age 16 in our community, they join the youth group, so he’s extra excited for this birthday.

Verena, 17, and Lovina, 11, were helping watch a booth for a lady at the flea market yesterday. Loretta, 15, was home, deep cleaning her bedroom. That meant that only two of my five girls were home. As mentioned, Elizabeth was sewing and I did the laundry, and then helped Loretta clean. I washed the ceiling and upper walls with the wall mop. Overhead work like that is hard for her to do. She was really worn out last night. She doesn’t let her handicap keep her down, but she gets frustrated at times when she sees what the other girls can do that she can’t. God makes no mistakes, so we put our trust in Him.

A reader asked what we do with all the dresses we sew for all these weddings. We wear them to church or other weddings where we don’t have a special role to fill. Another wedding invitation is posted on our refrigerator for Lyle and Leah. Congratulations! Lyle’s dad is Joe’s cousin, Willis. He lost his wife to cancer several years ago. Leah’s dad, Ernest, is my cousin.

To all my Coblentz relatives that read my column—I hope you will have a nice day at the reunion on Saturday. We had hoped to come but it doesn’t look like we will have time. Maybe next year!

I’ve had numerous readers ask where they can send wedding cards for Timothy and Elizabeth. You can send them to the same address as my mail, but address it to them. Do not feel like you have to, but I do not want to take the joy away from those readers that want to personally congratulate them. God bless you for your thoughtfulness!

A reader from West Virginia, Mary, shared this recipe with me.

Tuna Casserole

1 small can tuna in water (drained)
2 cups macaroni (cooked)
1 small onion (diced)
2 cans diced tomatoes
½ cup cheddar cheese, cut up in small chunks
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup milk

Stir all together and bake at 350 degrees for 35 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.

 

Recycling lumber, worries over illness, and more weddings in the works

There is a lot of activity going on around here this week. Our neighbors Abe and Fredia are taking our old pole barn down to save the lumber that is still good enough to reuse. Abe, his sons, my husband Joe, and our boys have been busy taking it all apart. Last night they finished saving the rafters. Today the walls were taken down and all the wood that’s not reusable is being burned as I write this.

Our neighbor Marlin cut our oats and he will bale that crop for us. Neighbor Harlan is here digging the water line and hooking up more solar power. All three men and Joe work in RV factories and are on vacation this week. It isn’t proving to be much of a vacation for them. Joe and the boys are building a work bench in the new pole building when time allows. They want to organize all the tools.

Daughter Elizabeth is also on vacation for two weeks. The bad news is she is laid up with double pneumonia. She sure has had a hard time to recover. The doctor put her on some pretty strong antibiotics and she had to go back in for another shot. The doctor said if she didn’t improve with everything she is taking, then she would have to be admitted to the hospital. She showed improvement the next day so hopefully she can keep recovering at home. She has a hard time accepting the fact that she needs rest in order to get better. I think she worries too much that we won’t get things done before her wedding. I’m sure everything will fall into place. With all the extra projects going on, it did look hopeless for a while.

Tomorrow, July 1, is daughter Loretta’s 15th birthday. Her age is always easy to remember as she was born in the year 2000.

We have two more wedding invitations on our refrigerator. Niece Katie Edna and Ben are getting married on July 23. I was asked to be a cook. Mose and Susan and Verena will all be table waiters. This wedding is in Berne, Indiana.

And congratulations also go to Leander and Karen. They picked August 28 for their special day. This wedding is in our community.

I was happy to have a short visit with my friend Ruth and her church friends. The week was too busy to go spend some time with all of them on Monday. Maybe next year will work out.

This week I’ll share with you the recipe that we are having for supper. It is called sliced baked potatoes. I don’t measure the ingredients; I just make this recipe according to how much of each item I want on the potato slices. Enjoy! God bless each of you and stay healthy!

SlicedBakedPotatoes+Toppings
A cookie sheet filled with sliced potatoes and baked with toppings.

Sliced Baked Potatoes

4-5 raw potatoes, sliced
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4-5 green onions, chopped
1 cup grated cheese of your choice
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven to 400°. Slice potatoes about 1/4 inch thick and brush both sides of potato slices with butter. Place them on a cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides, turning once. When potatoes are ready, top with bacon, cheese, and green onion. Continue baking until the cheese is melted.

Optional: add sour cream on top after baking.

BakedPotatoSliceUpclose
Close-up of a single sliced potato after baking.

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.

 

Pondering on the porch in the cool of a summer evening

We are officially in the summer months now. We have had a few cool nights, with the temperature in the 50s by morning. Sure makes for good sleeping after some hot evenings with temperature in the 80s. Actually, this morning we had to close most of our windows. The thermometer showed 54 degrees. Not really normal June temperatures.

Yesterday we canned 45 quarts of rhubarb juice from 30 pounds of rhubarb. Our friend Barb and my sisters Verena and Susan gave us the rhubarb. I have rhubarb plants, but never enough to make a year’s supply of rhubarb juice. I think the children have already emptied two gallons of it! Rhubarb juice is a good thirst-quencher on hot days.

The Eicher family canned 45 quarts of rhubarb juice one day last week.
The Eicher family canned 45 quarts of rhubarb juice one day last week.

Joseph, 12, and Kevin, 9, were tilling and weeding the garden, so they wanted rhubarb juice when they took a break. Joseph is a good gardener and seems to take an interest in caring for the garden. Verena, 17, keeps my flowers watered, and they are looking very healthy. If it is left to me to water them, they usually die of thirst. I can make things grow in the garden, but flowers seem to not do well for me. I love flowers, so I am glad someone has taken over the duty to care for them!

My husband, Joe, brought in our first hot peppers from the garden tonight. Our tomato plants are loaded with tomatoes, and everything else looks like it is doing great.

We are all done with work for the evening. I’m sitting out here on the porch writing this. It’s a very cool and peaceful evening. Oh, the many blessings God gives us. We have so much to be thankful for, and so often we take it for granted. Let us remember to thank our wonderful God daily for all our blessings.

This column was pushed off until this evening, but I feel like we accomplished a lot today. The girls are cleaning their closets and getting ready to start some major cleaning in the upstairs bedrooms. Elizabeth is gradually packing the things she won’t need for now. She will move them over to Timothy’s house for after their wedding. It gives me a sad feeling, but I don’t want to take the joy away from her. I remember the exciting time of preparing for my wedding to Joe. With God’s help, I will get used to my firstborn leaving home to start her life with her husband. I’m sure a lot of parents have dealt with this feeling.

I think I will call it a night. I was up until midnight last night, waiting until the last of the rhubarb juice was cold-packed. Our neighbor has hooked our water over to solar power. It had previously run by a propane motor. From now on, the sun will power our water! It seems different to not hear the motor kick in when the water pressure gets low. Since the water was shut off due to the switch, I had a late start canning the juice, so that’s why it was so late until I was done.

A reader shared this recipe for green tomato bread with me. She said her family likes this bread better than zucchini bread. She grates her green tomatoes in the fall and puts them in the freezer to make this in the winter months.

Green Tomato Bread

2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cup nuts, chopped
2 cups grated green tomatoes

Mix sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla together. Add flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Mix well, and then add nuts and tomatoes. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until done.

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.

Published! What that means for the Eicher Amish home

We are already more than halfway through June 2015. The year is going way too fast!

On Saturday my husband, Joe, had to work at the RV factory. They are very busy, which makes it hard for him to get caught up with work here at home.

The rest of us helped Timothy move his belongings to his new place on Saturday. Joe biked over after he came home from the factory. It was a very hot and humid day. Some of Timothy’s family were also there to help.

On Sunday in church, daughter Elizabeth and Timothy were published to be married. “Getting published” in an Amish congregation means publicly announcing your engagement. They chose August 14, 2015, for their wedding day. We have a lot to do to prepare for this wedding! It will also be a very big change for our family: the first of our precious children to move away from home and start a new life. Congratulations to Timothy and Elizabeth! Timothy is a wonderful, kind man, and we are happy to have him join our family. He is the last of his 10 siblings to get married, while Elizabeth is the first of her 8 siblings. Timothy has a lot of nieces and nephews already.

The wedding services will be held over at our neighbors’ (Joas and Susan’s) place. The reception will be here in our new pole barn.

We still have quite a bit of sewing to do before the wedding. Elizabeth sewed her wedding dress. She also sewed Susan’s and Loretta’s. We still need to sew dresses for Verena, Lovina, and me. Then we also need to sew new shirts for the boys and Joe. We had hoped to have all the sewing done this spring, but with all the sewing we had to do for the other weddings, we are running behind.

WeddingInvitationElizabethJune2015Timothy’s sister was making the wedding invitation for Timothy and Elizabeth. She had a baby several weeks ago and was running out of time to finish them. On Saturday after we had everything moved for Timothy, the girls and I and some of his family helped finish some of the wedding invitations. Timothy’s brother-in-law dropped off the rest today, so we need to finish them so that Elizabeth can send out the rest of her invitations. They are very nice, but they took a lot of time. Also, my friend Ruth deserves the credit for printing the top of the invitation.

Elizabeth’s 21st birthday was on Sunday too. The church sang “Happy Birthday” to her. We surprised her in the evening with an ice cream cake. Chicken was also on the menu.

Donald and Daisy duck are growing fast.
Donald and Daisy duck are growing fast.

The ducks, Donald and Daisy, that Susan’s friend Mose bought for Lovina, 11, and Kevin, 9, are really growing. They stay around the barn and enjoy this rainy weather.

This week I’ll share my recipe for breakfast pizza. We made it for breakfast one morning this week.

I am sorry for getting behind with reader mail. Please have patience with me, as it will be very busy the next few months.

God’s blessings to all!

The Eicher family made this delicious breakfast pizza this week.
The Eicher family made this delicious breakfast pizza this week.

Breakfast Pizza

1 pizza crust
1 cup pizza sauce
12 eggs, scrambled
1 pound bacon, fried and crumbled
1 pound sausage, browned
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1/4 cup green peppers, chopped
1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup Colby cheese, shredded

Use your favorite pizza crust recipe. Spread pizza sauce on the crust. Layer all other ingredients on top and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake according to your crust’s instructions.

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.

 

All hands on deck for busy June days with the Eichers

Last week was a busy one, with attending two weddings. Daughter Elizabeth and Timothy are table waiters in a wedding again on Friday. Elizabeth has her dress done but needs to finish her cape and apron.

The dress that Elizabeth will wear to a wedding.
The dress that Elizabeth will wear to a wedding.

This week we are trying to get caught up with the work around here. On Saturday we filled the rest of the garden. We didn’t have enough space for some of the vegetables I usually plant. I have a small garden beside the house, but I can’t plant anything in it for now. We need to level some ground around the new building before we can plant. Hopefully there will be time for some late vegetables.

Joseph, 12, Lovina, 11, and Kevin, 9, are cleaning strawberries that Jacob and Emma’s boys brought over. The strawberries come from their plants. Verena is baking and Loretta is washing dishes. I am sewing again!

We canned 21 quarts of rhubarb juice this week too. We are enjoying iced tea from the spearmint tea plants out of the garden. We have been having nice rains this last while, which makes everything in the garden grow faster.

Timothy (Elizabeth’s friend) has been slowly moving his belongings to his new home. We went to see his new home, which is very nice. He has more acreage, a bigger, newer house and outbuildings. He does have to build horse stalls for the horses and put up fence around the pasture. On Saturday my husband, Joe, will probably have to work at the factory, but the rest of us will go help move the rest of Timothy’s things. Some of his family will help as well. Elizabeth and some of the girls were cleaning the house last Saturday.

We attended church services at Mose’s (Susan’s friend) parents’ on Sunday. Mose’s sister Hannah and Leroy furnished the lunch, as it was their turn. They are doing some remodeling, so they couldn’t host church services at their house. Wednesday evening the girls had so much fun babysitting for little six-week-old Caleb Lee. Caleb is Mose’s brother Alvin and Suzy’s little baby. It was Alvin’s birthday, so Suzy went fishing with him. Needless to say, that sweet little Caleb didn’t lack attention. It was so enjoyable to have a baby in the house to care for once again. I am sure that Suzy, being a new mother, was glad for a break for a while.

On Sunday, June 14, twenty-one years ago, our first child was born to Joe and me. Where have the years gone? We feel blessed to call Elizabeth our daughter. She has been such a loving daughter and always willing to help with the work. Being the oldest in the family made her mature at a younger age. I could always depend on leaving the little ones in her care when she was old enough to watch over them. May God be her guide through all her years and bless her richly.

At a wedding, my cousin Esther shared a recipe that a friend gave her to give to me. Her friend is a reader of my column. With all the rush, rush of the two weddings, I completely forget her friend’s name. So if she reads this, I want to say thank you! Daughter Verena made it today, and it is delicious!

A reader of the column shared this recipe for rhubarb cheese cake with Lovina's cousin, who shared it with her.
A reader of the column shared this recipe for rhubarb cheese cake with Lovina’s cousin, who shared it with her.

Rhubarb Cheese Cake

Crust:

1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter

Rhubarb layer:

3 cups fresh rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour

Cream layer:

12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs

Topping:

1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

For crust, mix flour, sugar and butter. Pat into a 10-inch pie plate. Set aside. For rhubarb layer, combine rhubarb, sugar and flour. Toss lightly and pour into crust. Bake at 375° for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare cream layer by beating together cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Pour over hot rhubarb layer. Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes or until almost set. For topping, combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Spread over hot layers.

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.

How Lovina and family will manage helping with two Amish weddings in one day!

June is here already! As I write this, tonight will be daughter Loretta’s eighth grade graduation at the school. This will be the fifth of our eight children completing their school years. Time slips by so fast. Life brings so many changes through the years.

Today, June 2, also marks five years now that daughter Verena, 17, had that bad brain concussion. At the time doctors told us that she will heal one hundred percent, but it will take time. We can now see what they meant, but there were some hard years for Verena and our family. How thankful we are. God is good and has given us many blessings.

This week is a very busy week with neighbor Joe and Susie’s wedding and nephew Ben and Lovina’s wedding, both on Thursday. We will work in both! We decided to go to Berne, Ind. and attend Ben and Lovina’s wedding, and after lunch, we’ll come back home and go to Joe and Susie’s wedding for the evening meal.

TableWaiterGift4
Table waiter gift for Verena at Ben and Lovina’s wedding, June 4, 2015.

I was asked to be cook at both weddings. Timothy and daughter Elizabeth were asked to be table waiters at both weddings. They were asked several weeks earlier to be table waiters at Joe and Susie’s wedding and had already said they would before Ben and Lovina’s plans were published. Joe and Susie bought the house just down the road from us and will be our new neighbors. Daughter Verena will be a table waiter at Ben and Lovina’s wedding. She will find a way home (back from Berne) with someone from my family. I need to do the finishing touches on her peacock colored dress suit yet. Elizabeth has to wear a tan colored suit to be table waiter.

Tomorrow morning I will go help bake pies for Joe and Susie’s wedding. I was also asked to help for Ben and Lovina’s wedding but since this is closer I’ll just walk over to help. I really wish both weddings wouldn’t have been on the same day but sometimes that happens.

The school will also have the school picnic on Thursday. Doors will close after the picnic until next term. They always do lots of fun things on the last day so Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin want to go to school. They will go with us to Joe and Susie’s wedding in the evening. Loretta can’t participate in a lot of the activities on fun day so she will go with us to Berne, Ind. My sisters Verena and Susan will travel with us to Berne and also come back for Joe and Susie’s wedding as they were asked to be dish washers. Usually the dish washers make sure all the dishes get packed back up in boxes and put in the wedding wagon. This takes a lot of the work load off the cooks and helps out cleaning up the next day.

GingerAndFilly1
Ginger and her newborn filly. Help the Eichers name her!

Our highlight of the week is our horse Ginger giving birth to a little filly. She is pure black like Itty Bit’s filly, Black Beauty. They could pass for twins but Black Beauty is a month older and has grown a lot.

GingersNewFilly+IttyBitAndBlackBeauty
Pastoral scene at the Eichers: newborn filly with her mother, Ginger, and Itty Bit with her growing filly Black Beauty, now a month old. Both colts are pure black!

We are still trying to figure out a name. Everyone has a different suggestion. Feel free to send your ideas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberries are in season. Try this cheesecake. God bless!

Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle

16 ounces cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
3/4 teaspoon almond extract, divided
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 angel food cake torn into bite-size pieces
2 quarts fresh strawberries thinly sliced
3 tablespoons sugar

In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add sour cream, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. Set aside.

In a small deep bowl, whip the cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and sugar. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Add cake pieces; set aside. Combine strawberries, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Layer together in a large clear glass dish starting with strawberries and then adding cake mixture. Continue layering, finishing with strawberries. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Serves 24.

 

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.

 

 

Birthday celebration for Lovina includes eating out, new gas grill

I am already a day late in getting this column to my editors. I appreciate their patience.

Tomorrow morning we leave at 5:30 a.m. for nephew John and Arlene’s wedding day. Everything is sewn as needed for this wedding. I am making Verena’s dress, cape, and apron for nephew Ben’s wedding next week. It is the color peacock. I need to cut out and sew mine yet. I am supposed to wear periwinkle.

I want to thank all the readers for their happy birthday wishes. My 44th birthday was on Friday May 22. My husband Joe took the family and I out to eat at Ponderosa. What a treat! The children asked the waitresses and waiters to sing “Happy Birthday” to me. Joe also gave me a gas grill for my birthday. I have always wanted NewGrill2015one but Joe prefers to grill on a charcoal grill. I have it on my front porch and have used it to grill hamburgers and pork steak. It has a burner on the side which I’m sure I’ll use a lot this summer to cook on to keep the house cooler and cleaner.

Daughter Elizabeth is enjoying her week off from the RV factory. She is getting a lot of sewing done. She has two more weddings to sew dresses for, where Timothy and she will be table waiters.

Saturday the younger children helped me get most of the garden planted. I wasn’t going to put out as many plants since I’m short in space with the pole barn going up where my other garden was. I went to get my plants at the green house and should have been counting how many tomato and pepper plants I was getting. I like to try different varieties and before I knew it I had 80 tomato plants and 40 green pepper plants to squeeze in one garden. It looks like I’ll be canning lots of salsa, pizza, and spaghetti sauce, V-8, tomato juice, etc. That is if they all produce well.

The men are here today finishing the pole barn. It is looking really nice! Neighbors Joas and Susan walked over here last night to look at it. Their son is getting married next week and they will be our new neighbors. The wedding is at Joas and Susan’s house so they are really busy right now.

HorseBuggyMighty2015The horse “Mighty” that we bought from brother Amos is still doing great for us. Daughter Susan drove him to work one day. She picked up my sister Susan and another girl on her way to work. Susan is still training Prancer every chance she gets. They are putting in longer hours at nephew Emanul’s woodworking shop so her time is limited in the evenings.

Our thoughts and prayers are with a family in our community. The 49-year-old mother died of that dreadful disease, cancer. She was laid to rest last week. Her daughter is getting married in a few weeks. Our sympathy goes out to the lonely husband and children. May God help them through this difficult trial in life.

Readers of my mother’s former column requested that I share her CutOutColumnRhubarbCrunchrecipe with my new readers. They sent me a copy marked with several changes. They say it’s a winner!

Blessings to all you readers!

Rhubarb Crunch

3 cups rhubarb (cut into small pieces)
1 box strawberry or cherry Jell-O
1 box cake mix (yellow or white)
3/4 cup melted margarine or butter
1 10.5-ounce package marshmallows

Put rhubarb cuts in buttered 9×13 baking dish. Pour dry Jell-O and marshmallows over this. Pour dry cake mix over all of this and drizzle margarine on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 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.

 

Wedding, a new buggy horse “Mighty,” and birthday highlight week

The sun is shining bringing a little warmth with the chilly weather. Our mercury on the thermometer dipped down all the way to 35 degrees this morning. Brrr! Without heat in the house it felt good to wear a sweater. Even Izzy (Elizabeth’s Yorkie) is trying to find a spot to lie where the sun is shining into the house. This is the second day of this cool weather. I’m hoping the rest of the week will be warmer as we would like to put the rest of my garden out.

Today is Elizabeth’s last day of work at the factory until June 1. They get Friday and next week off and tomorrow she is taking the day off to go to her friend Linda’s wedding. Timothy and Elizabeth will be evening servers at the wedding. Elizabeth has to wear mint green and Timothy a white shirt with black pants and vest.

Next week is nephew John’s wedding and Elizabeth and Verena’s teal colored dresses have to be cut out and sewn yet. Timothy also needs to wear a teal color shirt for this wedding. Elizabeth will sew all three outfits so I’m so glad she gets some time off.

The wedding of nephew Levi and Barbara is now history. We arrived home around 11:00 p.m. A little over four hours later my husband Joe had to get up to go work at the factory. Needless to say, he was ready for an early bedtime Friday evening.

It was a nice, cool and sunny day for the wedding. Fried chicken was on the menu so the cool weather made it easier on the cooks that had to fry the chicken. My job was to help with the mashed potatoes. They had over fifty cooks so it didn’t seem like I had too much to do that day. Daughter Verena was a table waiter and had to wear light blue. The cooks all wore royal blue.

Typically the table waiters are given gifts for their service similar to the ones you see here. The middle one in white was given to Verena by Levi and Barbara.

TableWaiterGift3TableWaiterGift1TableWaiterGift2

All eight of us siblings were at the wedding. Brother Amos had a three year old horse at the wedding that he trained and was going to sell. Joe and I decided to buy him as we are in need of another horse. His name is “Mighty” and is a very gentle horse. Nieces Elizabeth and Emma’s special friends, Menno and Manuel, brought “Mighty” along up with them to our house on Friday evening. It was greatly appreciated.

Joe and I took Mighty to town on Saturday to get groceries. He’s so calm around the traffic and the farm equipment. That means a lot to have a horse who handles traffic well, keeping us safe and sound.

Daughter Lovina had her eleventh birthday on Monday May 18. She wanted to make her own cake. She used a heart-shaped pan. I helped her decorate it.

LovinaDaughter11thBirthdayCakeWe had grilled hamburgers and macaroni and cheese along with the cake and ice cream in honor of her birthday. Joseph, 12, and Lovina made cheddar and sour cream popcorn for Lovina to take to school to treat her classmates. Some of her classmates asked her to bring the popcorn that she makes for a birthday treat.

On Friday evening, Mose (Susan’s friend) brought brats and grilled them for our supper. Then on Saturday Timothy (Elizabeth’s friend) deep-fried blue gill fish for our supper. Elizabeth made French fries to go with the fish. I appreciated getting out of the cooking several nights.

Friday, Rhoda (a friend of our daughters), brought lunch for the men working here on our pole building. Her boyfriend Nate works with the crew and she wanted to surprise him. She served ranch potatoes, sloppy joe sandwiches, pork and beans, ice cream, and cake. I’ll share her recipe for ranch potatoes.

Ranch Potatoes

6 – 8 potatoes, peeled and chunked
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
2 tablespoons parsley
1 cup shredded cheese (plus extra for top)

Cook potatoes in salt water just until tender. Drain and set aside. Combine other ingredients; toss gently with potatoes. Place in greased 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 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.

 

 

 

Wedding preparations for nephew’s wedding keep Lovina up late

It is Wednesday evening and I should be in bed already but this column has to be written.

Today, sisters Emma, Verena, Susan and I traveled the two hours to Berne, Indiana and picked up sister Liz and headed to nephew Levi’s fiancée’s house for final wedding preparations. Levi is the son of my oldest sister Leah and her husband Paul, so Leah was there too. My sister-in-law Nancy was also there so it was so nice to all be together which doesn’t happen very often.

We were also glad to see Paul and Leah’s son Ben, his wife Rosemarie and four children, who all live in Wisconsin. Paul and Leah greeted their newest grandchild for the first time. She is two months old and was named after her grandma Leah. Paul and Leah’s daughter Elizabeth and her two little girls were there helping too. Her little girls had on dresses that Elizabeth and her younger sister Mary used to wear at that age. Leah saved the dresses. Mary died at the sweet, young, innocent age of five. She died suddenly and I still remember the shock we all had when Mary left us. God has plans we don’t always understand, but we know God makes no mistakes, so let us trust God completely.

The ladies baking pies today did a lot of fast work and had all the pies in the ovens baking when we arrived. They were rolling out the dough for the knee patches (some call these “elephant ears”). Women toasted bread for the dressing tomorrow, mixed up fruit, baked bread and more. Many hands make light work.

It brought back lots of memories to be in our old neighborhood. We went past the place we were born and raised. Dad and Mom had a 104 acre farm which is now split into three parcels and three sets of buildings. It doesn’t seem the same. Next week, May 20, it will be 15 years since dear father passed on. How can it be that long? But then again it seems forever since we could talk to him. He was a great father and left us a legacy of faith, love, and many good memories.

Uncle Elmer and Aunt Salome were there today, which helps fill some of the emptiness of our parents not being here anymore. Always appreciate your parents while you still have them to honor, love, and cherish. I can’t count the times I have longed to have one more talk with my parents. They always had such great advice.

I also want to wish sister Susan a happy birthday which was on Sunday. She treated us to a delicious haystack dinner!

I need to bring this to a close. We will start out at 5:30 a.m. for Berne to attend Levi and Barbara’s wedding. I will be a cook and daughter Verena will be a table waiter. We wish them God’s blessings as they join hands together in Holy Matrimony. I’ll write more about the wedding next week. Until next week—God bless!

This week I’ll share my sister Susan’s recipe for rhubarb nut bread.

RhubarbBread

Susan’s Rhubarb Nut Bread

1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup salad oil
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups diced fresh rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Topping:

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat brown sugar and oil together until well blended. Stir in egg and buttermilk. Sift together flour, salt, and soda and combine with first mixture. Stir in vanilla, rhubarb and nuts. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Mix sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon and sprinkle over top of batter. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour.

P.S. This being rhubarb season and having mentioned being anxious to have a chance to make rhubarb custard pie for Joe, here are those pies!

RhubarbCustardPie

P.S. We wish Lovina a wonderful happy birthday today, May 22. Here are two beautiful baskets of flowers her daughter gave her! We may here more about her birthday in a follow-up column, we hope!

FlowersForLovina44thBirthday

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.

 

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.