Horses escape in the wee hours—but sons and daughters save the day

Our Sunday church services are set here for August 12. So right now we are extra busy cleaning everything. I know that we could have church services here without everything clean. To us though, that is our way of getting everything clean again. It gives us a goal to reach. We host church services once a year so at least once a year everything gets cleaned. It is always a good feeling and makes us feel like something got accomplished.

Joseph, 16, Lovina, 14, and I went out in the garden this morning and pulled a lot of weeds. It was 65 degrees so it was nice and cool to get that job done. We also pulled most of the onions. We need to hang those up to dry so they can be used this winter.

We are enjoying cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, green peppers and hot peppers from our gardens. Our sweet corn is not ready yet but Mose and Susan brought us a meal of it.

Joseph’s 16th birthday was on Tuesday, July 24. We had the sweet corn, cucumber salad, sliced tomatoes, green beans (with potatoes, onions, and carrots diced in) and hot wings for his birthday supper. Benjamin and Joseph grilled the wings on the charcoal grill. For dessert we had cake and watermelon. The cake was for both boys since we didn’t have a cake on Benjamin’s birthday. There are too many birthdays in July and sometimes too much cake. The boys wanted me to get one cake for both of them. Sometimes I just have a hard time with the fact that both boys are this old already. That also makes me appreciate that they are both healthy as far as we know and makes me remember others that are less fortunate healthwise.

Our sympathy especially goes to Rebecca, David, and daughter as they mourn the death of their 17-year-old son Joshua. We only know them through the letters daughter Verena and Rebecca have exchanged. Joshua died due to complications from muscular dystrophy. His brother also passed away from Duchenne muscular dystrophy at a young age. Rebecca and David have only their 18-year-old daughter now and I can’t imagine the pain and sorrow this family is experiencing. May God give them strength to go on.

Yesterday daughters Elizabeth and Susan came home for the day and of course our little sweeties Abigail and Jennifer came also. The young mothers brought breakfast for us which was French toast, pancakes, maple syrup, venison summer sausage, and brownies. That made my morning! Especially after a rude awakening: right before my husband Joe left for work, our neighbor Joe stopped to let us know our horses and ponies were out. They ran in the bean field so he closed the gate as he was on his way to work. My husband Joe’s ride was also here so I woke up the boys and they had to walk through the wet beans that are waist high to chase the horses into the other field. They came in all wet from the beans. Benjamin had time to change clothes as he had to leave for work at 4:30 a.m.

The horses had broken the chain off the gate and that’s how they escaped. They stopped in my garden to eat some sweet corn, the way it looks. I’m just thankful they didn’t cause an accident on the road.

With the girls all being home yesterday, we cleaned the basement, including the windows and bathroom down there. We also pressure washed the siding on the wrap-around porch and the floor and railings. I am so glad that is done.

God’s blessings to all!

This week I will share a recipe I received from a reader—peanut butter sheet cake. Thanks Neva!

Peanut Butter Sheet Cake

1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup water
2 sticks butter or margarine
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk or sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda

Bring peanut butter, water, and butter or margarine to a rapid boil. Pour over flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Mix and add the eggs and buttermilk or sour cream. Pour batter into a greased sheet cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Frosting:

1 stick margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter
6 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Bring margarine, peanut butter, and buttermilk to a rapid boil. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Frost cake while both are still warm.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

Many birthdays and a reunion bring far flung family together

Many birthdays and a reunion bring far flung family together

If my Mother was still with us she would be 82 today, July 18. She passed away almost 16 years ago. She penned this column for 11 years before her sudden death. Now I have written it for almost 16 years. Gone but never forgotten, dear Mother!

Tomorrow will be sister Emma’s 45th birthday. A happy birthday to her! Saturday, July 14, son Benjamin turned 19 and Sunday, Joe and I had our 25th anniversary. Also on Sunday was brother Albert’s 54th birthday. Two of his sons and his daughter-in-law also share his birthday. On July 24, our son Joseph will be 16. So we get plenty of cake in July. We wish them all God’s blessings in the coming year and always.

Today daughters Elizabeth and Susan along with my sweet granddaughters Abigail (22 months) and Jennifer (6 months) came here for the day. Susan’s horse Buzz brought them in the buggy. She went past Elizabeth’s house and picked up Elizabeth and Abigail. Daughter Verena was also home from work. We all ate breakfast together: eggs, fried potatoes, bacon, toast, plus chocolate milk, orange juice, and peanut butter cookies. When we were almost ready to eat, son Kevin, 12, asked “Where is the coffee soup?” I had told him yesterday that I’d make some this morning and forgot about it with the girls arriving. I quickly made some as it doesn’t take too long. After dishes were washed we all went down to the basement to start cleaning the room where I keep all my canned food. The cans get dusty so we clean the shelves and cans and reorganize the cans.

We hadn’t started very long when a van drove in with four of my uncles coming to visit: Uncle Joe and Betty Coblentz and Uncle William Coblentz from Geneva, Indiana; Uncle Menno and Martha Coblentz from Phoenix, Arizona; and Uncle Amos and Gynie Coblentz from Centerview, Missouri. We quit our work and visited with my uncles and aunts. We enjoyed coffee, peanut butter cookies, popcorn, and punch. The Coblentzs are a lively bunch and always full of jokes so we had a good time with all of them. They were also going to visit with sisters Verena and Susan, Emma and Jacob and family, then head to brother Albert’s and have supper there.

Saturday we attended the Coblentz reunion in Berne, Indiana. There were 13 children in my dad’s family. Ten boys and three girls with only seven of the siblings still living. All seven brothers were able to attend. Besides the ones that came to visit us there was also Uncle Bob and Barb Coblentz from Mississippi, Uncle Melvin and Katherine Coblentz from Wisconsin and Uncle Albert, Jr. and Shirley from Laffeyette, Indiana. Also, Aunt Mary (Jake) Coblentz from Phoenix, Arizona was able to attend. We missed Uncle Jake and brother Amos. Sister Leah and Paul weren’t there but the uncles loved the Long John rolls she made for them.

We saw a lot of my cousins as well. Families are growing and we now have to ask who some of them are. It was an enjoyable day and as always, so much food was brought in. Cousin Shannon made a cake in memory of Uncle Jake. A silent auction was held after lunch with the money going to the reunion funds.

Our children took Joe and I out for supper at a nearby restaurant one evening in honor of our silver anniversary. They reserved a table in the back where we could all be together to eat. It was an enjoyable evening!

We are eating green beans, cucumbers, green and hot peppers from our garden now. Tomatoes and sweet corn are slowly getting ready. We also have red potatoes to use.

I will share a recipe for peanut butter cookies. I baked 175 last week and took some to the reunion and to church, and the rest we enjoyed at home. God bless you all!

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup shortening, softened1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, cream together shortening, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until thoroughly mixed. (Editor’s note: While Amish cooks would not have an electric mixer, one can be used for this recipe on the lowest setting.) Stir in peanut butter, flour, baking soda, and salt. The batter will be thick and should be stirred vigorously with a wooden spoon or kneaded with your hands in the bowl until everything is thoroughly mixed. Chill dough for 1 hour.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Shape into 1 1/2-inch balls and place 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Press each cookie with the back of a floured fork to make a crisscross pattern on top. Bake until edges are brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from oven and leave on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack and then put into sealed containers. These cookies will stay fresh for up to 5 days. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

 

Verena’s view from camping week, plus super easy supper on the grill

Verena and sister Loretta made this delicious supper on the grill.

Verena’s view from camping week, plus super easy supper on the grill

This is Verena, 20, writing for Mom this week. Mom isn’t home and I know she needs this written.

I’m off work on Wednesdays every week. I work the other four days for my cousin Emanul. He owns a woodworking shop so I work in the office. I really enjoy it and it seems to be working so far with my handicap. I really enjoy doing office work.

My sister Loretta, 18, Lovina, 14, and Kevin, 12, are also home so Loretta is getting lunch for all of us. Dad and Mom left to go do some shopping so Dad can do some repairs around here. He is off on vacation this week yet.

Loretta is heating up leftovers from last night’s supper for our lunch which is fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

Mose and Susan (sister) and niece Jennifer drove in last night just as we were getting ready to eat so we told them to stay and eat with us. Jennifer is full of smiles every time I see her. I love being Aunt to Jennifer and Abigail! They are my whole world!

We are back home getting settled after spending last week camping at the lake. My siblings and I told Dad and Mom that next time we do a camping trip we want to be far enough away from home so they can’t always be running home to check on things and doing laundry and chores.

We were at the lake from Sunday, July 1 to Saturday, July 7. It was very enjoyable with the entire family together. I will always cherish these memories we made.

We rented three older model RV’s from the campsite owner. They didn’t have electricity in them but the water for the toilet and the lights worked from being hooked up somehow to a 12-volt battery. It beat not having to sleep in tents. We divided up between the three RV’s and had a screened-in canopy for our cooking spot.

We all gathered once a day at least to have a meal together. Otherwise, some were fishing; some were swimming; and others were enjoying the little ones and visiting and relaxing together. The owner treated us very well and always was willing to do whatever he could to make our stay go smoother. We had a few very hot days but found comfort in cooling off swimming. Although we did use sunscreen, a few of us had sunburns which is not fun.

Abigail loved the water but Jennifer preferred only having her feet in the lake water. I loved spending time with Abigail and Jennifer on the swings, slides, etc.

Uncle Jacob and Aunt Emma and family took care of my Yorkie dogs (Ricky and Ruby) while we were gone. They also had sister Elizabeth’s dogs (Izzy and Crystal) so they had a handful of extra chores. We all appreciated it very much.

Thursday evening we invited Jacob and Emma and family, also their daughters Emma and Elizabeth’s boyfriends, Menno and Manuel, to the camp to spend the evening with us. The men went fishing after supper. Aunt Emma brought a wet burrito casserole for all of us. Dad grilled some brats to go along with it.

Sister Loretta turned 18 while we were at the lake (July 1). We had cupcakes in honor of her birthday. Brother Benjamin and Loretta are both the same age now until Saturday, July 14, when Benjamin will have his 19th birthday.

July 4 we attended cousin Levi’s wedding. I was a tablewaiter and had to wear a light gray dress, cape, and apron. It was nice to see family again!

We all packed up to leave the campground on Saturday evening.

Sunday we attended the viewing of our former bishop, John, who passed away. Our church became too large so we divided in two districts and John was bishop for the other district. He was 75 and a cousin of my deceased grandmother Elizabeth Coblentz, the original writer of this column. I stayed home from work on Monday so I could attend the funeral with my family. It was a big funeral!

On Tuesday I went back to work. We were busy catching up from our week’s vacation. It’s always enjoyable to have time off but I love when everything is back to a routine.

Well, you all take care and God bless! I’ll share a recipe with you the best I can of what Loretta and I made for supper Monday evening.

Supper on the Grill

1 pound steak cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound bacon cut into small pieces
1 package shrimp de-tailed (optional)
1 medium onion cut up in chunks
1 green pepper chopped
1 box fresh mushrooms
6 medium potatoes cubed
1 cup olive oil

Mix all together and add seasonings of your choice. Toss until seasoning is well mixed with all ingredients. Grill in tin foil on grill until meat is cooked and potatoes are soft. Serves about 12.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Camping with the Eichers: Horses, wagons, boats and even a pontoon

Camping with the Eichers: Horses, wagons, boats and even a pontoon

Our whole family is spending this week (July 4) at a lake about 11 miles from our house. Timothy and Elizabeth and Mose and Susan’s places are only half that far from here. They came with horses and wagons. Timothy and Mose brought their boats and Loretta’s friend Dustin brought his pontoon.

This is July 5 and I’m sitting inside the canopy writing. The ducks are quacking away and I hear a bull frog croaking. My husband Joe went fishing with Dustin. Timothy and Mose are in their boat out on the lake. The rest are still asleep.

It was a long day yesterday. We traveled one-and-one-half hours with a driver to the community where nephew Levi and Arlene exchanged vows. It was a very hot day, but we can’t pick the weather for wedding days. I think I would rather deal with the heat than have cold rain all day long. When so much of a wedding is held in pole barns and tents it is always nicer for the ones preparing when its not cold or rainy. But we aren’t in control of the weather so we must take what we get and make the best of the situation.

I want to make breakfast after everyone is gathered. For me camping like this is more of a chore, but the memories we are making as a family are precious. Little 22-month-old Abigail is having the time of her life. She is such a busy body. She loves “swimming” in the lake with the rest. Six-month-old Jennifer is enjoying all the attention and they took her in the water too. We were all excited when her mother discovered Jennifer has two teeth popping through. Jennifer kept sticking her tongue out across her gums so we knew she was feeling something different.

This lake doesn’t have a public access so its very quiet and peaceful here. We cook with the grill and open fire a lot. We divided the family into six groups so that every day someone different cooks the main meal which is usually between lunch and supper.

I was just getting started writing this column on a picnic table outside when it started sprinkling so I decided to move under the canopy just in case it decides to rain harder. The sun was peeping through earlier but now it’s cloudy. We are catching a variety of fish such as bass, bluegill, pike, and perch.

Joe and I went home Tuesday after I came home from helping prepare for Levi and Arlene’s wedding. We did the laundry and Joe checked on all the animals. Jacob and Emma’s sons are taking care of Verena’s Yorkie dogs this week (Ricky and Ruby). They are also keeping daughter Elizabeth’s Yorkie dogs there so they have an extra chore. We told Jacob’s family to come for a cookout with us here at the lake one evening.

Sisters Verena, Emma, and I traveled the one-and-one-half hour on Tuesday to help get ready for the wedding. Sister Susan wasn’t feeling well enough to go with us. We think she overheated while mowing their grass Friday evening. There was an excessive heat warning out. After sister Verena and Susan came home from cleaning a lady from our church’s house, Susan went and mowed yet. It was very hot and humidity was high. Susan was able to attend the wedding yesterday but still feels very weak from it. The ride home from the wedding felt very good in our driver’s air-conditioned van. The trip went fast with our family all singing together on the way home.

Do I appreciate the life we have enough? So many broken families—let us pray for peace and contentment in this world. God does help those who trust in him.

It was so nice to see all my siblings at the wedding but someone special was missing. Brother Amos was greatly missed. I felt so sad for sister-in-law Nancy; she must feel so lonely at a place where we all are together. Her 13-month-old granddaughter Christine was admitted to the hospital a few days before the wedding. Nancy and her family left before supper to go visit with her daughter Lovina and Benjamin at the hospital which wasn’t too far from the wedding.

Space is running out here—maybe more about camping and the wedding next week. God be with you all!

Campfire Stew*

2 cups beef stew meat (may substitute a roast, cut into chunks)
4 cups unpeeled red potatoes, cleaned and diced
2 cups green beans, cut into small pieces
1 whole onion (used to flavor the soup; remove before eating)
4–5 beef bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

Put beef chunks in kettle or large pot with enough water to cover; bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Add potatoes, green beans, and onion, adding enough water so that vegetables are well covered. Add bouillon. Boil until vegetables and meat are tender. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Remove onion if you wish.

[*Recipe featured on p. 109 of The Essential Amish Cookbook]

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

Long but not lazy days of summer

Long but not lazy days of summer

Diary of June 27, 2018

3:00 a.m. Time to get up and get my husband Joe’s lunch packed. A nice breeze is coming through the west windows. I heat chicken-and-noodle soup for his stainless steel thermos. Also put a peach, crackers, and cookies in his lunch and a mug of coffee for him to drink on his 45-minute ride to work. I fill his water jug with ice and water.

3:45 a.m. Son-in-law Mose rides with Joe’s same driver to work. Daughter Susan and baby Jennifer sometimes catch a ride with them to our house. This morning Susan and Jennifer come along to spend the day here. Of course, Joe needs to pay some attention to that sweet baby before they leave. Jennifer has the brightest smile when they bring her inside. Since its early yet, Susan, Jennifer, and I try to get some more sleep until daylight.

8:00 a.m. Breakfast is “breakfast burritos.” Son Benjamin is on his two-week vacation from the RV factory. Joe’s two-week vacation doesn’t start until next week.

9:30 a.m. I help Susan with the sewing she brought along for nephew Levi’s wedding.

11:30 a.m. The boys want me to come help butcher our 28 chickens. The hens are a few years old and aren’t laying as well anymore so we decided to make chicken broth from them. We will plan to raise new chickens next spring. Joe and the boys want to build a new chicken coop for them. For older chickens like this which we only use for canning broth, we skin the chickens instead of plucking the feathers.

Loretta’s special friend Dustin helped us which made it go much faster. Loretta and Lovina cleaned the chickens after I gutted them. Susan kept sewing and daughter Verena was home for the day from work. She cleaned the bathrooms, etc., while we butchered chickens.

2:00 p.m. Joe is home from work. We are just finishing up on the last of the 28 chickens. Son Kevin was really glad to see that mean rooster go. That rooster gave Kevin a surprise more than once when he had his back turned picking up the eggs.

3:00 p.m. We eat a late lunch but we wanted to get done before we pause for lunch. We have hamburger soup and sandwiches.

4:00 p.m. Verena and Lovina mix up some meat loaf and make scalloped potatoes for our supper. They put it in the oven around

5:00 p.m. Susan and I are sewing the projects she brought. Mose comes with their horse and buggy. He brought his welder so he could weld some stuff for Joe.

7:00 p.m. Supper is ready! Son-in-law Timothy, daughter Elizabeth, and sweet little Abigail stop in while out on a buggy ride. We tell them to join us for supper. Abigail fell asleep on their ride so she is very happy to wake up at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. She gives me a quick hug but she wants to go outside with daughter Lovina. She just recently really started choosing Lovina to take her everywhere. Probably because she’s a lot more adventurous.

9:00 p.m. Dishes are washed. Everyone has left for home. Susan’s sewing is done. I still need to put buttons on Jennifer’s dress and apron, but I’ll do that another day. This day has been long enough although I enjoy it when they all come home. Timothy is off work this week so they are enjoying their week without a schedule.

10:00 p.m. Everyone has gone to bed so I will too. Tomorrow daughter Loretta has an appointment in Ann Arbor so I need to get some rest. God’s blessings to all!

I will share the recipe for the hamburger soup we had. We omitted the rice but I added one pint of corn. Enjoy!

Hamburger Soup
1 pound lean ground beef
2 cups canned tomatoes
3 cups carrots, diced
2 cups celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 cups water
3 beef bouillon cubes
1/4 cup dry Minute Brown Rice (or corn)

Brown ground beef in a large stockpot. Remove fat. Add canned tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, salt, pepper, water and beef bouillon cubes and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Add brown rice or optional corn.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Grateful memories of a stranger who helped out in a time of need

I decided to write my column while sitting in the waiting room in the doctor’s office. We are two hours from home. I am always glad when we are on our way home from these visits.

My thoughts go back to one of our recent trips to see the doctor. On the way there, our driver didn’t see a ramp that must have fallen off another vehicle. Earlier we had seen a truck with a skid loader on top of its trailer, so perhaps it was a ramp that fell off that truck. Anyway, a ramp was laying in the center of the lane in which we were traveling. Our driver swerved to miss it, but it slashed open the back tire of the fourteen-passenger van. It threw us around for a while, but how thankful we were that she gained control of the van. I think back at what could have happened and how bad it could have been, with the oncoming traffic. God was watching over us!

The van didn’t have a spare tire, and we were eight miles from the nearest town. A man from the house that we were parked beside came out to see if he could help us. He drove our driver to town to get a new tire and then he helped to put it on the van. Two hours later, we were back on our way. We actually made it in time for the doctor appointments. We make these appointments quite a few months early, and we always give ourselves enough time in case we have trouble on our way.

How nice to know there are still a lot of people in this world who will take time to help someone in need. We really appreciated the time the man took to help get us on our way. He wouldn’t take any money for his help. So if by any chance you read this column—thanks again, Mark from Coldwater, Michigan! May God bless you for your kindness that day.

On Saturday my husband, Joe, sons Benjamin, 18, and Joseph, 15, and I took time to till, weed and hoe both gardens. It really is easier when we all help each other!

Last week Lovina made eight pints of strawberry jam, which is tasty on top of the homemade bread that daughter Lovina, age 14, made this week.

Daughter Lovina, 14, mixed the dough for ten loaves of bread. She still needs to ask a few questions when mixing it. She caught on quickly that you must add more flour if the dough is still sticky. I put the dough in loaf pans and put it in the oven. I am hoping she can do that part soon as well. It would save me time if she could mix and bake bread, and it’s good for her to know how to do it. Five of the loaves were to take to church at our neighbors’ place on Sunday. I sent some home with daughter Susan and Mose, and we enjoyed the fresh bread over the weekend with fresh strawberry jam. The week before I made eight pints of strawberry jam. It is a favorite around here. I still want to make lots more for the freezer.

On Friday we will attend the wedding of Rhonda and Marlin. Rhonda is a girl from our church. It has been a rainy week, so I wish them a nice day on Friday. It’s nicer for the guests as well when the day is nice. I will help Susan by taking care of Jennifer while Susan cooks.

One day last week I was making some phone calls. We have a phone in an outside building. Before I was done, the phone rang, and it was the number brother Albert and his family usually call from. I answered, and it turns out that Albert had accidentally called us instead of the repair shop he wanted. Our number was on the same page, and somehow he dialed our number. He was really surprised and didn’t recognize my voice. I thought he was teasing when he asked if this is the repair shop, so I said yes!

Anyway, it was so good to talk to him again. With brother Amos’s sudden death in January, it’s even more precious to talk to siblings. I imagine sister-in-law Sarah Irene wondered where Albert was that long, but we had a nice talk together. It seems we don’t see much of Albert and his family. We all get busy with our own families, and it’s so easy to put off getting together. Nephew Levi’s wedding is in two weeks, so we hope to see the family there.

God bless you all!

Blueberry Applesauce Bread

 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cup blueberries

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, applesauce and melted butter. Add dry ingredients and stir until well blended. Fold in berries. Pour into one or two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50–60 minutes.

 Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to 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 and upcoming anniversary prompt reflections for Lovina

June 14. Twenty-four years ago today I became a mother! Daughter Elizabeth is 24 and a mother herself now. In honor of her birthday, the girls and I will go to her house to spend the day with Elizabeth and her 21-month-old daughter, Abigail. We will go past daughter Susan’s house and take her and baby Jennifer with us. Elizabeth told us she will make breakfast for all of us. We will take lunch in to her. It’s always fun spending time with my children and grandchildren.

Daughter Verena regrets that she has to work and can’t spend the day with us. She just left for work at 5:30 a.m. I decided to write this column while all is quiet yet. My husband, Joe, left for work at 3:45 a.m. and son Benjamin left at 4:30 a.m. for his job.

As I sit here and think back 24 years ago, so many memories come to mind. When Elizabeth was born, Joe and I were still living with my parents. It was nice being close to my mother as I cared for my first baby. Being a mother is special, but it takes many prayers and much patience to raise children. I am far from perfect, but I want to always try my best. I have been truly blessed in so many ways.

Next month Joe and I will have our silver anniversary! Unbelievable! Twenty-five years have gone too fast!

Yesterday son Joseph and I were working in the garden. Its still too wet to till, but we were weeding. Oh my! I could not believe how the weeds grew with all the recent rain we’ve had. The tomatoes, peppers, and corn all look like they are growing well, but are behind when compared to other years. It was a wet spring and hard to get the garden planted. Farmers are having a challenge with getting all their crops out.

Tomorrow night we will put in hay. Always good to see the haymow filled for the winter.

On Sunday evening our family gathered here for supper and ate outside. The men made supper outdoors, with fish on the menu. It was enjoyable to not have to cook. It was a good thing that Elizabeth had a change of clothes along for Abigail, as she discovered all our water puddles. Then, as if running through them wasn’t getting her wet enough, she sat in a puddle! Baby Jennifer is now five months and is such a sweetie. She smiles a lot and has discovered that she can “talk.”

I managed to get the clothes for nephew Levi’s wedding cut out and now I just need to get them sewn. Next Friday daughter Susan is a cook at the wedding of their neighbor girl. She is sewing a gray dress for that wedding. She will bring it along today and we will help her get it done. Life is more demanding after you have a child, so it gets to be harder to get things accomplished. I told Susan I would rather sew than wash dishes today.

Lovina hopes that border collie Buddy stays away from any skunks outside.

There is a strong smell of a skunk coming in the windows all morning. I really hope Mr. Skunk decides to leave soon! And hopefully our border collie dog, Buddy, does not try to fight with him. But the sun is peeping through and it looks promising for a nice day. What a joy after a lot of rainy days lately.

It was a great turnout at the book signing in Colon, Michigan. Thanks to all the readers who came! All my daughters and granddaughters joined me for the evening, which makes it even more enjoyable.

Does anyone have a good recipe for peanut butter pudding? A reader requested that recipe. Meanwhile, this zucchini recipe looks good, once zucchini season starts!

God’s blessings to all!

Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini

4 medium (6- or 7-inch) zucchini
1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Cut each zucchini in half, lengthwise. Place cut side down in large skillet; add 1/2 inch water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until zucchini are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Remove and drain water.

Sauté together sausage, onion and garlic until sausage is browned; drain. Add oregano, corn and tomato. Cook and stir until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in 2/3 cup cheese; set aside.

Scoop out and discard seeds from zucchini. Spoon sausage mixture into zucchini shells. Place in greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 12–15 minutes or until heated through.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Summer commences with sewing and cleaning projects

June is here, and we are almost halfway through 2018 already! It’s unbelievable how time just seems to go faster each year.

Speaking of time: we have more sewing that needs to be done. Congratulations are in order for nephew Levi Jr. and Arlene. They chose July 4 to unite in holy matrimony. Levi will be 24 years old on June 30. He was born two weeks after we had our firstborn Elizabeth. Elizabeth will be 24 on June 14. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and I are all asked to be cooks at Levi’s wedding. We need to wear the color “iris”—and none of us have a dress in that color. Daughter Verena needs to wear a light gray dress and son Benjamin a light gray shirt. They were both asked to be table waiters at the wedding.

So yesterday, while Elizabeth and Susan were here, we drove over to our local community store and bought our material for the dresses for the wedding in four weeks. Now we need to get them cut out and sewn. The week of July 4 is shut-down week for most factories in our area, so everyone in our family will be off work for the wedding.

My husband, Joe, and son-in-law Mose are off work from the factory right now for around a week. Makes it a little rough when bills need to be paid. But God is above, and we have much to be thankful for. It was just a little unexpected.

Some of Lovina’s family had extra time to fish this week—here’s a 21½ inch whopper husband Joe landed. They froze some of the fish.

Joe and Mose have spent a lot of time fishing, so it is good to see the freezer filling up with fish. The boys also go fishing every chance they get.

Congratulations also go to niece Lisa and Marcus from Tennessee! They chose June 15 for their wedding date. It doesn’t look like we will be able to attend. It’s about a nine-hour drive from here, if I’m not mistaken. With gas prices going up, traveling that far becomes more difficult.

Yesterday Elizabeth and her daughter Abigail, plus Susan and her daughter Jennifer spent the day here. Susan brought them in her horse and buggy. It’s always such a day brightener when I walk out to their buggy to help bring in the little girls and they both smile for me! Abigail now calls out “Grandma!” when she sees me coming.

Daughter Lovina went to her friend Mary’s house on Monday evening for Mary’s birthday supper. Mary is a girl from our church. Several other girls were also there in honor of her birthday.

I have been trying to get some cleaning done, as we will host church services in August, Lord willing. Joseph and Kevin’s bedroom should be painted, but we will see how far we get. It seems like the boys’ bedroom has more nicks and dents in the walls than anywhere in the house! I wasn’t too happy when I found a dartboard hanging on their wall a few years ago. Of course their darts missed the board sometimes and made holes in the wall. I am hoping the boys have grown up enough now that we would be safe to patch up the holes and repaint. They could help now, so that would be a great help to me.

I was hoping we could get our basement and the upstairs bedrooms all cleaned before the July 4 week. Time will go fast after that. Cleaning now would give us less to do on those hot summer days when canning will be in full swing.

We are still enjoying the early garden goodies. Several recent rains have given the gardens a boost. Plants are looking nice. Weeds are also taking over, so we need to get those out of there.

Here is a zucchini cupcake recipe to save to use when your zucchini are ready.

God’s blessings to all!

Zucchini Cupcakes

3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
1 can crushed pineapple, 15 oz.,  drained
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup coconut

Beat eggs and add oil, sugar, zucchini and pineapple and set aside.

Stir together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Blend dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Add vanilla, coconut and nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes large batch of 30 or so cupcakes.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Little Abigail gets introduced to the Coblentz family water battles

Little Abigail gets introduced to the Coblentz family water battles 

It looks dark towards the southeast like a storm could be forming. We sure could use the rain. It’s been dry this week. We watered the gardens a few times this week but hoped it would rain tonight. Our soil is sandy so all the rain we had several weeks ago is all dried up. Rivers and lakes are still filled to the banks. Our weather has been in the 90’s with high humidity. Michigan has finally decided winter is over.

Tomorrow is 12-year-old son Kevin’s last day of school for this term. He will be a seventh grader next year. The school picnic is tomorrow. We plan to attend. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan along with my sweet granddaughters plan to go with us. I’m sure little 20-month-old Abigail will have fun at the playground.

Daughter Lovina, 14, is winding down with her school work. I need to do some more grading and get her report card filled out. She does a wonderful job with her school assignments and books.

Our family did a lot of fishing over the holiday weekend and caught plenty of fish. We had a fish fry over at daughter Susan and Mose’s house on Monday evening. Sons-in-law Mose and Timothy and Loretta’s special friend Dustin deep fried the fish and made French fries outside in our deep fryer, run by propane. It was a nice but hot evening to sit outside and eat.

Sunday night our family gathered here and stayed all night. The men made campfire stew in the kettle over the open fire and grilled hamburgers. We ate outside under a screened-in canopy. It helped the mosquitoes and bugs stay off the little ones and was nicer even for the adults.

Since the grass was the floor our daughters decided to play a game where we had to take a swallow of water and hold it in our mouth. One person would say a joke or something funny. The first person to spit out their water had to take the place of the person saying the jokes. I tried it but thought it was much more fun to sit back and watch.

The children also had a water battle and even little Abigail was throwing water. After it was over Abigail didn’t realize it’s time to quit and caught a few of us by surprise when she dumped a cup of water on us. It was cute to hear her giggle when we jumped. I told daughter Elizabeth she must be a typical Coblentz. Our Coblentz reunions always end up with a water battle. I remember Uncle Menno as one of the first to throw water. We had many fun times on hot days at the reunion throwing water until everyone was cooled off from all the heat.

It is pretty quiet around here right now. Daughters Verena and Lovina are at Susan and Mose’s house for supper. Nephew Henry and Mose went fishing with the boat to the lake nearby. Son Benjamin, 18, had a dentist appointment tonight. Joseph had a dentist appointment today and is outside doing evening chores. Kevin is also helping him.

My husband Joe is showering and I’m writing by the kitchen table taking advantage of the peace and quiet. Daughter Loretta went to town with Benjamin. I haven’t decided what we will make for supper. It seems no one is hungry until after it cools off outside.

I will share a new asparagus recipe with everyone. Our asparagus is coming to an end for the season. We are enjoying lettuce, radishes, and onions from our garden. Both our gardens are now all planted. I still have a few things I need to plant. I’ll find room to squeeze them in somewhere.

I finally got to answering some reader mail this afternoon. Thanks for your patience. I always appreciate the kind words of encouragement. God bless!

Hot Asparagus Bits

20 slices white bread
3 ounces blue cheese
8 ounces cream cheese
1 egg
1/2 pound butter, melted
20 spears fresh or frozen asparagus, cooked and drained

Trim crusts from bread and flatten slices slightly with rolling pin. Thoroughly blend cheeses and egg. Spread cheese mixture over each bread slice. Roll an asparagus spear inside each slice and fasten with a toothpick. Dip each roll in melted butter. Place on a baking sheet and freeze. When firm slice each roll into three pieces. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Editor’s Note: If you are in the southern Michigan/northern Indiana area, head to a booksigning with Lovina and several family members, at Colon Township Library, Colon, Mich. on June 12 from 6 – 7 p.m. Address for the library: 128 S Blackstone Ave, Colon, MI

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to 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’s daughters and all five sisters surprise Lovina on her birthday

Lovina’s daughters and all five sisters surprise Lovina on her birthday

My 47th birthday was May 22. My daughters wanted me to spend the day with all of them at daughter Elizabeth’s house. When I walked in the house it was decorated with balloons and Happy Birthday banners.

Soon after I was there all five of my sisters and some of my nieces drove in to spend the day with me. What a wonderful surprise! It is not often that all of us six sisters get to spend a day together. My daughters had invited them, and everyone brought food.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan made the casseroles. Daughter Verena had taken the cake, ice cream, etc. to Elizabeth’s house the day before. I’m not sure if I can remember all the food that was brought in but I’ll try. There was salad, deviled eggs, cheese, veggies and dip, chips, cookies, cinn-a-pan rolls, rhubarb cake dessert, jello with fruit, chocolate cake, brownies, Rice Krispy treats, rhubarb juice and Pepsi. Then we also had a white birthday cake and ice cream. The cake had candles on it that spelled out “older” and “wiser.” Not too sure if the wiser proves true but definitely the older does. It is probably the first birthday I had that even the plates and napkins said “Happy Birthday!” They all helped make a great memorable 47th birthday.

We visited and visited. Not so sure if anyone was listening but I do know more than one was talking at the same time. It was fun and we sang a few songs after lunch. Of course we yodeled. My daughters always like when my sisters and I are together and yodel. Was sorry that our two sisters-in-law couldn’t make it for the day.

Sister Liz’s granddaughter La Rose and Abigail played together for the first time. It was so cute to watch them play. Sister Liz’s two grandsons were also there and daughter Susan’s baby, Jennifer.

The babies had more than enough attention. I appreciate that they all helped make my day special—some traveling two hours to spend the day. I also appreciated all the flowers, cards, and gifts very much.

We were shocked to receive the sad news of the death of my husband Joe’s brother Clarence Jr. He was 47 at the time of his death but would be 48 now. We don’t know the cause of death yet but are waiting on the autopsy results. Clarence was never married. He leaves to mourn three brothers, eight sisters, and many nieces and nephews. Once again we are reminded that we do not need to be old to die. In less than four months Joe and I both lost a brother. We question why but take comfort in knowing that God makes no mistakes.

Clarence Jr. will be buried in our local Amish community cemetery. Funeral services will be Friday. Son Benjamin will be one of the pallbearers along with eight other nephews. Nephew Henry will also be one of them. It’s a new experience for both of them.

In the Amish community the pallbearers help dig the grave. Tomorrow night they will gather at the cemetery to dig the grave for their uncle. Life brings many changes. May we trust in our Heavenly Father for his guiding hand to watch over us as we travel into the unknown future.

I wish all of God’s blessings to each and every one of you! I appreciate all the birthday wishes and words of comfort. Take care!

Asparagus Soup

1 pound fresh asparagus
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons sour cream

Cut asparagus into 2-inch pieces and cook in 1/2 cup boiling water 3–5 minutes until tender. Drain and reserve liquid; set aside. Melt butter in a Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté 4 minutes until tender. Add flour; cook and stir in reserved liquid until smooth. Add asparagus, milk, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Slowly add sour cream. Allow to cool slightly. Process asparagus mixture in batches in a blender until smooth. Return to Dutch oven to re-warm. Yield: 5 cups.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.