Lovina unveils three recipes from her forthcoming cookbook

In order to take a little time off from writing this column, I’m sharing three recipes from my cookbook coming out in April,
(Herald Press). I, and about half my family, were down with the flu as my deadline for the column approached this week, so this “vacation” comes at a good time. There is a lot of stuff going around and I know many who are sick. It is that time of year. I hope your family is well.

Enjoy trying one or more of these: the first one for caramel corn we enjoy when we have time to play games as a family, such as on New Year’s Eve or Day. The second is for a salad using uncooked frozen peas that might make you think ahead to spring; finally, an easy recipe for BBQ chicken sandwiches using chicken you’ve cooked and cut into pieces.

Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis

Party or family gathering

QUICK CARAMEL CORN

1 cup butter
2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
½ cup light corn syrup
½ cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
6 quarts popped popcorn

Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan. Add brown sugar and corn syrup.

Heat to boiling and boil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the molasses and boil for an additional 2 minutes, continuing to stir frequently.

Remove from heat and add vanilla, salt, and baking soda, stirring briskly.

Pour over popped corn and stir until popcorn is thoroughly coated.

Salad

Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber – Landis

PEA AND CHEESE SALAD

1 (12-ounce) package frozen peas, thawed, or an equivalent amount fresh peas, cooked until just tender
1 cup celery, chopped
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 cup Colby cheese, cubed
½ cup radishes, sliced
¼ cup green onion, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon seasoned salt

In a medium bowl, combine the peas, celery, eggs, cheese, radishes, and green onion. In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, and salt. Pour mayonnaise mixture over the vegetable mixture and mix well.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Make sure the peas are well drained or the salad will be watery.

Meat

BBQ CHICKEN SANDWICHES

2 cups celery, diced
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup green bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons butter
6 cups chicken, cooked and diced
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
2 cups ketchup
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
2 cups water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a Dutch oven or large pan, sauté celery, onion, bell pepper, salt, and pepper in butter until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat for

1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serve on buns.

Makes 15 good-sized sandwiches.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. 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.

Eicher family’s Christmas plans; plus cookie decorating for children

Today is my husband Joe’s 48th birthday. I wish him a very happy birthday and many more healthy years ahead. I couldn’t ask for a better man to spend my life with. We were married on July 15, 1993. God blessed us with eight loving children. We have had trials and sunshine throughout the 23 years. I don’t know what we would have done without God’s guiding hand over us. I can’t thank God enough for all the blessings we have received.

Christmas is on Sunday! Our family will gather here on Saturday evening and spend the night. We are excited to have sweet little Abigail spending her first night at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. Daughter Elizabeth is going to bring a big breakfast casserole so we will have an easy breakfast. After dishes are done we will give each other gifts. Let us not forget that Christmas is not about gifts but about Jesus Christ’s birth in that manger so long ago. Life is so much easier for us than the hardships they experienced back then. Let us give thanks daily for this!

Our church district had the annual Christmas potluck after services on Sunday. The tables were filled with casseroles, salads, pies, desserts, bars, etc. More than enough food for everyone. I took pasta salad.

We stopped in at Jacob and Emma’s house on our way home from church. Timothy and Elizabeth also dropped in. We enjoyed oranges, peanuts and party mix as a snack. Sister Emma gave Elizabeth some of Marilyn’s clothes. This was a sad feeling but Emma felt like she wanted Abigail to have Marilyn’s clothes. For those of you new to this column, Marilyn was born to Jacob and Emma in 2009. At the tender age of eight-and-a-half months, she died suddenly. This left all of us in shock, and especially sister Emma, Jacob and family. She was such a sweet little angel loved by all. She was the only baby in our families at the time making her even more precious. We don’t understand God’s plans all the time but we know God doesn’t make mistakes. We need to trust God to help us someday understand.

On Monday we had very cold weather causing all the schools in the county to close. Our mercury dropped all the way down to minus 11 degrees, and never warmed up to more than six degrees all day. With the children being home, we cleaned the basement and did laundry. It seems the basement doesn’t take long to get disorganized in this house. With the coal stove going down there, it also gets really dusty fast.

Today is Joe’s last day to go to work until January 3. Also, the children will be dismissed at noon today and then are also off until the third.

I will share a new recipe for Christmas cookies daughter Susan is trying out in her kitchen. Our three youngest children will decorate them with Susan and big sister Verena supervising. Meanwhile, I’m happy to do mending in a quiet house.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Uncle Menno Coblenz as he recovers from heart bypass surgery. We wish him a complete and speedy recovery.

I wish all of you readers a Merry Christmas and God’s richest blessings in the New Year 2017.

White Christmas Cookies

1 cup Crisco
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
5 cups flour, approximately
1 teaspoon soda
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup cream or milk
1 tablespoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon vanilla flavoring

Cream Crisco and sugar. Add eggs and beat well.
Add flour, soda, salt and flavorings. Mix well.
Add milk or cream. Mix well.

Roll out very thin and cut with cookie cutters. Decorate with colored sugar sprinkles or whatever you like. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-8 minutes. Store in tightly covered container.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. 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.

 

“Mystery” biscuits make simple and appealing treat during busy Christmas season

A snowy Tuesday December evening! We received about seven inches of snow over the weekend. It makes for good sledding.

Daughters Susan and Verena mixed up some biscuits and then went out sledding with son Joseph, 14, and daughter Lovina, 12. I’m making sausage gravy and trying to write and watch the gravy at the same time. The biscuits are baking, and son Kevin, 11, is frying the eggs. He learned how to fry eggs in cooking class at school, so he is glad to try his skills at cooking here at home.

Son-in-law Mose is hunting tonight. Son Benjamin just came home from work. Husband Joe is taking a shower.

Daughter Loretta, 16, went with her special friend Dustin’s family to their school Christmas program. Dustin’s youngest sister, Rebecca, is in the program. She is in kindergarten. She was born nine years after the youngest of her six siblings, so is the only one still in school from their family.

It sure is different now that we don’t have any children in elementary school who have a Christmas program. Our youngest child, Kevin, enjoys middle school, where he switches classes every hour. He says the day goes much faster.

This is now after supper. Some of the children are playing Poppa’s Pizza Topple. It’s a game where you have to balance the pizza toppings on the pizza, which the pizza guy is holding.

Susan still comes over to our house to read a chapter from the Bible every day with the rest of her siblings. They each take turns reading a verse. I feel so thankful that they read the Bible every day. Life is so busy, and it is so often pushed aside. How comforting to read the words written by God! As parents, we have a great responsibility, and I realize this more and more as the children get older. We can’t say enough prayers for them as they grow up in a world filled with so much hate and sin. May God give us the strength to stay faithful to his will.

A store-bought birthday cake is a special treat in the Eicher family; this one is for daughter Verena's 19th birthday.
A store-bought birthday cake is a special treat in the Eicher family; this one is for daughter Verena’s 19th birthday.

Daughter Verena turned nineteen on Sunday. Our married daughters and family and Dustin were here Sunday evening in honor of her birthday. On the menu were chili soup, hot wings, jalapeño poppers, macaroni salad, cheese, cake and ice cream. The men fixed the hot food out in the kettle and on the grill. The girls and I enjoyed the break and took turns holding dear little Abigail. She giggled out loud for the first time. All those “firsts” are so precious.

I want to thank all the readers who have sent cards and money since my surgery. It is greatly appreciated. Hospital expenses are high these days, but our health cannot be neglected all the time. I do feel so much better since the surgery. I want to get to my sewing again. The boys need more pants.

I will sign off for this time. May God bless each of you! And may all of you with health problems recuperate to a complete recovery! We often take good health for granted until we don’t have it.

I will share the recipe we use almost all the time for our biscuits. The mayonnaise and milk give these biscuits a very moist texture. I think that is why they are so popular with the children in my house.

Mystery Biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a baking sheet or 12 muffin cups and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Blend in the mayonnaise, milk and sugar until the mixture is creamy. Drop by the tablespoon onto the baking sheet or fill the muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake until golden brown, 18–20 minutes. Makes 12 biscuits.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. 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.

 

Heaps of dessert but no salad at your last potluck? Take a lesson from Lovina and friends

Six weeks ago today I had my surgery. I am feeling pretty good but am still being careful about my blood clot. It gets better every day.

On Sunday I went to church for the first time since my surgery. I appreciated all the “welcome backs” and concerns for my health. On our way home Joe and I stopped in to visit with brother-in-law Jacob (sister Emma’s husband). He was home from church with a bad backache. They had a vanload of visitors from Berne, Indiana, including Jacob’s brother Martin and wife Edith and family. Also visiting were niece Elizabeth and Samuel and their daughter LaRose.

LaRose is sister Liz and Levi’s first and only grandchild. She was a year old on November 10. She’s running all over already. She’s a little cutie! It looks like she keeps her mother busy. I imagine that sister Liz and Levi have many fun times with little LaRose.

The grandfather, Levi had hip replacement surgery last week, so he will be laid up a long time. We wish him a complete and speedy recovery!

Our annual church Christmas potluck dinner will be in two weeks after church services. On Sunday, all the women wrote down what dishes they will bring. Usually, while we are eating the Sunday meal a few weeks before Christmas, the women pass a tablet around the table. Everyone chooses what they will bring, such as a casserole, salad or dessert. This way we don’t end up with more salads than desserts or the other way around.

Daughter Loretta, 16, traveled to Ohio to a family gathering with her special friend, Dustin, and his family. They had a six-hour drive there, so they left Friday evening and returned Saturday evening.

Sunday evening Timothy, Elizabeth and Abigail, Dustin, and all of us ate supper over at Mose and Susan’s. Joe made chili in the kettle over an open fire, and he also grilled chicken. Mose baked a cake and we also had ice cream. Some of the children played games, and Joe and I had fun enjoying baby Abigail. She is such a sweetie and is growing so fast!

Daughter Verena will turn 19 on Saturday, December 10. It doesn’t seem possible that she is that old.

Yesterday Verena and daughter Susan spent the day helping daughter Elizabeth with her work. Church services will be held at Timothy and Elizabeth’s in January, so Elizabeth is getting a head start with her cleaning. With a baby in the house, time is limited. Life changes, and the baby’s needs always come first.

Crystal’s puppies are four weeks old, and they plan to sell them to good homes when they get old enough. It’s just too much to have five little puppies in the house yet. They are very cute and playful.

So adorable: one of Elizabeth’s puppies born to her Yorkie, Crystal, soon after Elizabeth’s baby girl, Abigail was born.
So adorable: one of Elizabeth’s puppies born to her Yorkie, Crystal, soon after Elizabeth’s baby girl, Abigail was born.

I received a get-well card from Uncle Elmer and Aunt Emma. Aunt Emma had written a letter as well, which I appreciated. It is always nice hearing from my mother’s sisters. She had in her letter that Cousin Leah is home from the hospital after her accident, but has lots of healing to do yet. Our prayers are with her and the family!

Correction: I want to make a correction with an error that occurred in one of my recent letters. The two young girls that were killed in the tragic buggy accident were cousins to each other, not to me. It was a bit of a confusion to people who know me, so I wanted to make sure that is corrected. God bless!

Gold Rush Brunch Casserole

8 eggs, beaten
1 pound frozen Tater Tots or hash brown patties, thawed
1 pound sausage or ham, cubed
2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2–1 pound shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 3/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream

Scramble eggs on stovetop and set aside. Place potatoes in bottom of greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Fry meat lightly and layer on top of potatoes along with onion and parsley. Layer scrambled eggs on top of meat. Layer cheese on top of eggs. Set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan and whisk flour into butter, gradually adding milk. Cook and stir until thickened and boiling. Add pepper, salt and sour cream; mix well. Remove sauce from heat and pour evenly over casserole. Bake at 400 degrees for 30–40 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Yields 6–8 servings.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. 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 exchange names for Christmas

Today wraps up the month of November! While the children were waiting for the bus this morning, they said that Christmas is only 25 days away. I am having a harder time getting into the season this year. Even though we enjoy getting together with family and sharing gifts, let us always remember the true meaning of Christmas: the day Jesus our Savior was born.

Tonight a nativity scene is being played out at our local youth center. Tickets were sold out before I had the chance to get any. My sisters Verena and Susan are helping out, so I have some details from them. Everyone in the cast will dress as they did in those days, and live animals will be used to play out the scenes of how Jesus was born. A meal will be served afterward. The money raised will be used to help with the costs of running the youth center.

We spent Thanksgiving Day with Jacob, Emma and family at their house. With both our families and sisters Verena and Susan, we make a total of 25. Mose and Susan had Thanksgiving this year with his parents. We exchanged names after lunch for a Christmas gift exchange, which will be held here at our house. We haven’t decided when to have it yet.

A total of 25 enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner together at this long table.
A total of 25 enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner together at this long table.

Emma prepared two turkeys and all the trimmings. With all the food everyone had brought, the table was more than filled. Everyone took leftovers home for the next day. Granddaughter Abigail had the most attention all day. She is so precious to all of us! Her black hair and blue eyes and the dimples in her cheeks are adorable. Of course, all grandmothers love their grandchildren. For me it’s still a new feeling. God has been more than good to us, and we need to thank him all the time for our blessings, not just on holidays such as Thanksgiving.

Son Benjamin went hunting with son-in-law Timothy and was happy to shoot a deer. He ground the meat on Monday when he didn’t have work. It’s nice to have more meat in the freezer.

Recently Joe’s sister Esther and David and baby David Tyrell (age 3 1/2 months) had supper here. It was our first time to meet baby David. Our marrieds were here for supper as well. Needless to say Abigail and David were the center of attention. Our evening was spent singing together, which is always enjoyable.

Sunday was our week off of church, and we spent it at Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. We had a brunch, with this delicious menu: gold rush breakfast casserole (I need to ask her for the recipe), pancakes, baked French toast, milk, grape juice, orange juice, coffee and V-8 juice. We also had cherry pie and Swiss roll bars. After the dishes were washed, we played games and visited. The men and boys went for a walk through the woods while we stayed with Abigail, spoiling her.

Daughters Elizabeth (and Abigail) and Susan and I went grocery shopping after Abigail’s doctor appointment on Tuesday. We met up with Ruth Coblentz. It sounds like she has many lonely days since her husband Dave passed away in August. Dave was a cousin to my father. To all the Coblentz relatives who read this column: after talking with Ruth, I found out I made a mistake in my August column. Dad’s cousins Dave and Leroy were not brothers but cousins to each other. With my parents no longer around to answer my questions, I misunderstood how the relationship was. It was nice being able to talk with Ruth again even though the visit was short.

My thoughts and prayers go to the families affected by the Tennessee fires. I can’t imagine what they are going through. Prayers also for the families of the young people who died in the recent car-buggy accidents. God be with everyone and help ease their pain!

For this week’s recipe, I am sharing one of the recipes from my upcoming cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, which will be out next spring. This fudge is different because of the soda crackers added to it. My mother always made fudge around Christmastime, and then we wouldn’t have it again for a year. Give this one a try over the holidays. God bless!

Peanut Butter Cracker Fudge
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 box soda crackers, crushed

In a saucepan, bring sugar, butter, and milk to a boil and boil for one minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add peanut butter, vanilla and crushed crackers. Spread into greased 8×8-inch baking pan and allow to cool. Cut into one-inch squares.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. 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.

Tragic buggy accidents: Grief for others weighs on Eicher hearts

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. The children have their Thanksgiving feast at school today. Their cooking class teacher has to have a lot of patience to show all the students how to prepare this meal. Daughters Verena, Loretta, son Benjamin, and I plan to attend the feast. It is rainy here so Benjamin doesn’t have construction work today. Daughters Susan and Elizabeth and baby Abigail plan to go too.

Then on Thursday, our family is invited to have Thanksgiving dinner at sister Emma and Jacob’s house. A few of the children have other plans, but the rest of the family will go.

We have so many blessings to be thankful for, and not just on Thanksgiving but all year long. Do we thank God enough for all our blessings? How thankful we should be to have a warm house to live in and a bountiful harvest stored for the coming year. And also to be able to spend the day with family.

Unfortunately not everyone will be spending their day this way. Our thoughts and prayers go to the families of the two young girls that were instantly killed in a buggy wreck this past Sunday evening. The girls, and two boys who were giving the girls a ride home, were hit from behind by a truck traveling at a high rate of speed. The girls, Michelle, age 16, and Rebecca, age 17, were cousins. (Cousins of each other, not cousins of my family.) They leave to mourn their parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents and a lot of extended family. One of the boys is in the hospital in critical condition and the last we heard has not responded. I just can’t imagine how the families must feel. Let us keep them in our prayers so that God can help them through this difficult trial in life. We do not understand why things like this happen but we do know God makes no mistakes when bad things happen. The funeral for the girls will be on Thanksgiving Day.

Also in our prayers is cousin Leah as she is in the hospital in critical condition. She and her husband Joe and their two sons were in a buggy when they were also hit from behind. Leah landed in front of the car, which stopped on top of her. She has extensive head injuries. We talked to her sister Martha’s husband, David, yesterday. We haven’t heard many details so we were glad to talk with him and find out what really happened. Leah lives in the Berne, Indiana, area and is Uncle Emanuel and Aunt Leah’s oldest daughter. Her sister Martha was my age and we had so many good times growing up. Now we hardly see or hear from each other. Life gets busy with our own families.

I had another doctor appointment this week. The blood clot is still improving and I’m doing as well as can be expected since the surgery four weeks ago. I can tell my energy level isn’t normal yet but it all takes time to heal. The girls do a wonderful job helping me. I have to keep reminding myself to be careful and remember that the work won’t run away (although it would be nice if it would sometimes. Ha!).

Son-in-law Timothy brought us a deer that he shot. He had it all venison2016ground up and ready for the freezer. The family was all here Sunday evening for supper, so husband Joe grilled deer steaks on the charcoal grill, which we all enjoyed.

God bless all of you this holiday and keep you safe.

Jerky

 12 pounds lean meat (optional: beef, venison, pork)
1 cup Tender Quick
8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt petre
1 tablespoon Accent or meat tenderizer
1 cup brown sugar

Slice meat 3/16 inches thick. Mix remaining ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Use entire seasoning for 12 pounds of meat.

Layer your meat in a tub or on trays. Using a shaker with large holes, sprinkle seasoning between each layer. Let set 24 hours. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Flip over, bake another 15 minutes.

Hint: We use parchment paper on bottom of trays. When finished baking, meat still looks wet. Take your meat out of tray and discard remaining juice. Meat will dry up and still be moist. Good luck!

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook,
will be published in 2017. 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 shares turkey casserole recipe from her forthcoming cookbook

plasticcanvashobbydaughterlovina
Daughter Lovina is enjoying making projects out of plastic mesh and yarn.

Week after week goes by so fast! Christmas is only five weeks away from Sunday.

Yesterday our children didn’t have school due to fog. At first they had a two-hour delay, but cancelled after the fog didn’t lift. We have phones in an out building in this community. The school always leaves us a voice mail if school is delayed or cancelled. This makes it so much easier than it was years ago if there was a delay. When we lived in Indiana we didn’t have a phone on the property. If there was a delay the girls would still get ready and just wait to see if the bus would come. It was always easy for them to entertain themselves but it would have been nice if they could have slept later on those mornings. We could use our neighbor’s phone if they were home but I didn’t want to leave the children alone to go call the school. Days like that always seemed short for me.

Now it is 8:00 a.m. and daughter Elizabeth and granddaughter Abigail just arrived by buggy. Izzy also came along so she stays out of Crystal’s way. Crystal doesn’t let Izzy near her new puppies (see last week’s column). Izzy is nosy and tries to go as close as possible until Crystal chases her to the other end of the house.

Daughter Susan is leaving soon to go to work until 2:00 p.m. She was glad she could hold Abigail a little before she leaves. She will take the buggy and our horse Mighty today. The campgrounds are around five miles from here. She does hire a driver to take her some days but then it gives her less income if she has to pay a driver. This job doesn’t pay nearly as well as the factory did, but then she isn’t as rushed at work either.

Son Joseph, 14, went with son-in-law Mose deer hunting yesterday. His day off of school was enjoyable. They saw an eight-point buck come their way. Then something scared the buck off. Joseph was really hoping to get a shot at it. Maybe next time!

Abigail’s smile just gets sweeter! She is full of smiles today. Elizabeth had her to the doctor last week for her two-month checkup. She weighed 12 pounds 3 ounces and is 23 3/4 inches long.

essentialamishcookbookI am excited about my new cookbook coming out next April. It is called The Essential Amish Cookbook: Everyday Recipes from Farm and Pantry. The publisher, Herald Press, comes up with the title. But my family spent a lot of time helping with this cookbook. This is the first cookbook I published without working with a co-author. I have had lots of great help from family and friends. The recipes were all tested since I often cook without measuring ingredients. This will make it easier for those of you that don’t cook often and need exact measurements.

I’ll share one of the recipes that will be in the book. This recipe will come in handy with leftover turkey after Thanksgiving dinner. It is supposed to be made the day before but if you make it in the morning it will work well also.

We have a nice fall day with the temperature at fifty degrees and sunshine. Looks like the girls will wash laundry today. God bless!

Turkey Casserole (Overnight)

 2 cups cooked turkey, chopped
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 slices of bread
1 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a bowl, combine turkey, celery, green pepper, onion, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper. Cube the bread and place half in a large greased casserole dish or 9×13 inch baking pan. Pour turkey mixture over the top and add remaining bread cubes.

In a bowl, mix milk, eggs, and cream of mushroom soup and pour over top of casserole.

Let stand in refrigerator overnight. Top with cheese and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for one hour.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen will be published in 2017. 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.

 

 

Surprise puppies pop up for Elizabeth’s family

Thanksgiving Day is only two weeks away*. Unbelievable! Time goes so fast. And today baby Abigail is two months old.

I went to the doctor to have the rest of my staples removed. I still have the blood clot in my leg so I need to be careful with that. I’m trying to take one day at a time and be patieapplesforapplesaucent as I heal.

applesaucemaking2016The girls and I canned applesauce this week. We did one bushel for Susan and Mose and two bushels for us. I need to be careful when work like that has to be done. The girls don’t let me do too much and are all very good at keeping an eye on me so that I don’t do too much.

Susan didn’t like the long hours she was working at the RV factory so she quit her job there. She now works in the kitchen of a campground facility. They serve meals to groups of people. So far she enjoys it and works three to four days a week. I am so glad for her help here at home as well.

The chimney is up in the pole building and Mose and Susan are enjoying the nice even heat from their coal stove there. We were glad for the warmer days until they had heat in there. This morning’s temperature was in the thirty’s so heat in the house felt good.

Daughter Verena sprained her arm and the doctor wants her to keep it in a sling part time so she doesn’t overuse it. She reached into the Maytag washing machine to see if more clothes were in there. The agitator of the washing machine somehow pushed her elbow against the machine. It was very painful at first but an x-ray at the hospital showed no fractures—only badly sprained. We were so thankful to hear that nothing was broken.

Different families from our church district are still bringing in our supper three times a week. I just can’t be thankful enough for their kindness. This has been so much help to the girls as well.

Also, thanks to all that have sent cards, etc. I feel more than blessed!

Timothy and Elizabeth’s Yorkie dog Crystal gave birth this week to five little puppies. We are glad that all is okay with Crystal and the puppies. The puppies were unplanned. Our rat terrier dog Rover is the father to the puppies. We now know to be more careful when someone lets Crystal outside to go to the bathroom. The puppies are very cute and Crystal is being a good mother but it wasn’t on Timothy and Elizabeth’s agenda to take care of puppies yet. Such is life—always full of surprises!

It looks like a nice, sunny day to wash laundry. Days like this will be few before the snow starts flying.

Our new chickens are finally starting to lay eggs. We were getting short in eggs so I’m glad the hens started. After they are laying good enough we will butcher the old hens. I am low in chicken broth since Susan’s wedding. It takes quite a bit of broth to make chicken, noodles and dressing for a wedding crowd!

Try this easy dish. Although it takes more baking time, it is nice to just put it all in the oven to bake. God’s blessings!

Seven-Layer Supper

1/2 pound uncooked bacon, chopped into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
4 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 onion, sliced
4 carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon pepper, to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic salt, to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon seasoning salt, to taste
1 to 1 1/2 cups water

Place ingredients in order listed in greased 9×13-inch pan, pouring water over all until nearly covered. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

 

*A reminder that Lovina writes her columns for newspapers about a week before you see them here. Newspapers run them first. 

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 appreciates family and community help after surgery

We have entered the month of November this week. Son-in-law Mose and sons Benjamin and Joseph have been working nights to get all the leaves raked and burnt. We have lots of trees so this can seem like a never-ending job.

It seems like a while since I penned this column although it’s only been two weeks. Last week daughter Elizabeth offered to write as I was unable to.

I spent several days in the hospital having major surgery. I lost several units of blood so I still feel weak from that. The next six weeks of healing time will probably go slowly for me. I went to the doctor this week to have half of the staples removed. I was having pain in my leg and the doctor said it’s a blood clot. Now I need to take care of that so I have been keeping my recliner occupied a lot.

I cannot express enough thanks to all who have helped out. The day of the surgery I had my husband Joe, daughters Elizabeth (and baby Abigail), Susan, Verena, and Loretta, son Benjamin, sisters Verena, Emma, and Susan, and my good friend Ruth all at the hospital. What a support I felt. I went into surgery at 11:00 a.m. It was after 6:00 p.m. when I finally woke up after surgery. This was a long day of waiting for all of them. I know they were all concerned about me when it took longer than expected. May God bless them all for caring! This is called love! I am thankful that all is going as good as can be expected.

I am also so blessed to have such a caring church family and neighbors. So many meals have been brought in for us. This makes it so much easier on the girls. I feel so blessed and hope to return the kindness someday.

Yesterday Elizabeth and Abigail spent the day here. Oh what a fun pastime Abigail was to me! She looks at me and coos and smiles. It’s so precious to just “talk” to her and watch her angelic face light up.

birthdaypartyeditedverenabirthdaypartyeditedSister Susan accomplished her goal to surprise sister Verena on October 22 at the Community Youth Center for a fiftieth birthday surprise. birthdaypartyeditedroomVerena’s birthday was on August 22. Friends and relatives gathered there and Susan had lots of food for everyone to enjoy while they visited. All eight of us siblings were there. It was nice to see everyone again.

The blocks and mortar are here for the chimney that will be put up in our pole barn. Hopefully it will get done this week yet. We have had really nice warm weather lately which is a good thing with Mose and Susan only having a heater to heat their living quarters. After the chimney is up they will put in a coal stove and burn hard coal.

We have our coal stove going in the basement but some days we just have to open windows when it’s warm outside and bring some of that warm air in upstairs. It gets too chilly when we don’t have any heat in the house. It’s unusually warm for November it seems. Tuesday was such a nice and sunny day. The girls washed loads of laundry and it all dried and was folded and put away by evening. Days like that will be few with cold weather just around the corner. Try this recipe during apple harvest.

God bless you all!

Danish Apple Cheesecake

Crust:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Topping:
4 cups sliced apples
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon flour

Combine crust ingredients and press into bottom and sides of spring form pan. Mix softened cream cheese, egg, sugar, cream of tartar and spread over crust. Mix topping ingredients and pour over all. Bake at 350 degrees 40 to 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

 

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.

 

birthdaypartyedited birthdaypartyeditedroom birthdaypartyeditedverena

Lovina’s oldest daughter takes up the pen this week

Greetings from the Bontragers! I’m Lovina’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth, and I’m taking over for Mom this week. I’m not an excellent writer like Mom is, but I’ll give it a try anyway.

Mom underwent some surgery this week. Depending on how the surgery turns out, she may need to stay a night or two. We hope and pray everything goes well. Times like this make a person stop and think. Perhaps I take my mom for granted sometimes. She’s always there for us: for me and for her family. God has blessed us with an amazing mother. Mom—thank you for just being you!

Today baby Abigail and I spent the day at my parents’ with Mom, my sisters Susan, Verena and Loretta, and my brother Benjamin. Abigail gets lots of attention from them—lots of hugs and kisses. She’s starting to notice everything around her and also starting to coo. She smiles when we talk to her.

Our world changed tremendously when Abigail arrived. She wrapped her daddy around her little finger instantly! It was love at first sight for us. We feel blessed!

While I was laid up after her birth, my family came to help whenever they could. Sister Verena spent the first two weeks here. Husband Timothy has also helped out a lot. He canned the applesauce and grape juice for me. I suppose my canning is finished for this year. Mom always says it’s nice to see the empty jars fill up for winter, and now I know what she means.

It was a beautiful fall day yesterday, so in the early afternoon I decided to quickly do laundry. I wasn’t done hanging it out on the lines when Timothy came home, and so he finished it for me. I left some bath towels and Tim’s work pants hang out overnight. They were too wet to bring in.

It’s a bit more challenging keeping up with the household chores now with Abigail, but I love every minute of it! I must say, though, time has a way of slipping by so quickly now. Sunday was Abigail’s second time going to church services. It’s different having to dress a little one before we go away!

Abigail had her first bath in a baby bathtub last week. She really enjoyed it—kicking, splashing, and all smiles. Tonight she’ll receive her second bath—this time her daddy will be giving it. She’s been wearing several of my cousin Marilyn’s dresses that Aunt Emma gave to her.

Crystal and Izzy (our house dogs) are starting to warm up to Abigail more and more. Izzy acted okay with her when we brought her home, but Crystal went through a jealous spell. Crystal has been my shadow from day one, and I suppose it was just hard for her to accept Abigail at first.

Elizabeth says her dear Yorkies seem to be getting used to new baby Abigail.
Elizabeth says her dear Yorkies seem to be getting used to new baby Abigail.

On October 1 hunting season opened. We enjoy our venison steaks. Timothy makes the best on the grill! We don’t need too much venison meat this year, as we still have meat left over from the one-half beef my parents gave us last winter.

Timothy had his twenty-eighth birthday on October 18. He wasn’t too thrilled about being another year closer to thirty! On October 20 it was nine years ago that he fell twenty-one feet, leaving him with a badly broken back. He has come a long way since then.

Our garden is almost ready to be left alone for the winter. We just need to pull the carrots yet. Temperatures have been dropping during the nights. This morning we had a low of 30 degrees. Brr! Winter weather will be here before we know it.

Before I bring this to a close, I’d like to thank all the readers and friends who took the time to send a card or baby gift! We really appreciate it! May God bless you for your kindness.

Timothy and I plan to make homemade pizza for Mom and Dad’s and my family’s supper Friday night. We’ll surprise them! Try this pizza crust.

Best wishes to all!

Pizza Crust

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour

Mix together water, yeast and sugar, and let mixture stand for 10 minutes. Add oil, salt and flour and mix well. Let dough rise in bowl in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size.

Press into greased 16 1/2- x 12 1/2-inch baking sheet. Add toppings of your choice. Let rise a bit more while oven preheats. Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

 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.