February Brings Snow Drifts, Baptism Services, and Butchering

A snow fort made by the Eicher children a few years ago.

February Brings Snow Drifts, Baptism Services, and Butchering

Editor’s note: Due to the death of Lovina’s brother Amos Coblentz on Jan. 31, 2018, this week’s column is a repeat from Lovina from February 2015.

[February 2015] Greetings from snowy Michigan! We received more than a foot of snow over the weekend. Some had reports of 16-18 inches. It’s a pretty sight to look at. The evergreen trees have enough snow on their branches to make such nice scenery. What a wonderful creator our God is! The temperature also dipped down to almost zero degrees. The wind chill was even colder.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cashew Crunch

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

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

Lovina’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 basket full of goodies makes its rounds to the Eicher house

Daughter Susan had her 22nd birthday on January 24. We had cake and ice cream for Susan after supper.

I will never forget how glad I was when my midwife (Joe’s aunt Sylvia) arrived the day Susan was born. It was blowing snow, and the roads were drifting shut. Susan was born at 2:37 pm, and she was 6 pounds and 19 inches long. After Susan was born the storm continued, but we were finally able to find a ride to get Aunt Sylvia home.

Aunt Sylvia was a very good midwife and always by our side when I had my first six babies. She had a lot of patience. I think having quite a few children of her own made her an understanding midwife. One of the hardest things when we made the move to Michigan was not having her for my midwife and her good advice.

Susan has a January birthday—along with her new daughter and others in the family—which she celebrated with some beautiful birthday flowers.

Baby Jennifer is ten days old today. Her checkup with the doctor shows that everything looks good. She is a few ounces below her birth weight, but that’s normal. She grew an inch and is 21 inches, 8 pounds, 6 ounces now. We are still having so much fun having her at our house! They are staying here while Susan recovers from toxemia. Susan is doing better every day and gaining her strength back. She needs to go get a blood test in a few weeks and another checkup at the doctor to make sure everything is healing okay. Jennifer is nursing well, and is very demanding when feeding time comes. Mose is finding out how babies keep you awake at night. He is a good daddy, and enjoys spending time with their firstborn.

The church ladies have a birthday basket that is passed from one lady to the next when a birthday comes. On your birthday, you take out what is in it and fill it up with whatever you want to give to the person who has the next birthday after you. Edna brought the basket to Susan yesterday and took a peek at little Jennifer. Susan needs to have it filled by tomorrow for Karen’s birthday. A covered cake pan is also passed with the birthday basket. Susan received chocolate bars and now needs to bake something for Karen. The girls will probably do it for her, since she has her hands full with the baby.

Sister Liz’s 49th birthday was yesterday also. So Susan was born on her 27th birthday. We wish her a happy birthday also and good health and God’s blessings in the year ahead and always!

Meanwhile sister Emma, Jacob and family are preparing to host church services Sunday. They all had the flu after they were home from Jacob’s father’s funeral.

Daughter Verena and I went to help Emma on Tuesday. Emma has brand-new oak cabinets now and is having fun finally getting her dishes back into cabinets since they started remodeling their house.

On Saturday Joe wants to help son-in-law Timothy get some work done that he needs to do before they host the next church services. I will go along and help Elizabeth with her work. The next two weeks will go fast for them.

Son-in-law Mose went to their own place last night to check up on everything, and discovered a broken water pipe in their laundry room. It brought the ceiling down and made a huge mess. Now they will need to get that repaired before they can move back home. It seems when it rains it pours, but it could be lots worse.

Loretta is waiting on me to go help wash laundry. We hang the clothes on the lines in the basement during these cold winter months. We let it hang until the next morning before we bring it up, fold, and put away.

I was hoping to go help sister Emma again tomorrow. Time will tell if I get that far.

Stay healthy everyone! The flu is making its rounds, and I wish everyone the best of health through this flu season. God bless!

Scrambled Egg Muffins
1/2 pound pork sausage
12 eggs
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1/4 cup green peppers, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Brown the sausage; drain. Beat eggs in a bowl. Add onions, green peppers and seasonings. Stir in sausage and cheese. Spoon by 1/3 cupfuls into muffin tins that are either greased or hold cupcake liners. Bake at 350 degrees for 20–25 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Yields one dozen.

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.

Find out what’s new at the Eicher household!

The sun is shining bright but the mercury is only at 16 degrees. We have had our share of cold weather.

I am very excited to share the news that Joe and I are grandparents for the second time! Jennifer Susan was born at 7:46 a.m. on January 15, 2018, to daughter Susan and Mose. She was 8 pounds, 10 ounces and 20 inches long, and she has a head full of black hair.

And if that isn’t enough excitement, I have more! Susan, Mose and baby Jennifer are staying with us since they were released from the hospital. How precious to hear that sweet cry during the night hours. She’s already smiling and has won all our hearts.

Lovina’s second oldest daughter Susan and husband Mose are the happy parents of a new baby girl, who is charming the Eicher household.

Susan was diagnosed with toxemia, but she is recovering as well as can be expected. That’s why they are staying with us for awhile until she feels better. Otherwise, mother and baby are doing just fine. And little Jennifer has more babysitters than she needs. I do not hear anyone complaining—except maybe for the fact that they think they might be getting cheated out of their turn holding the baby! Even Grandpa Joe asks for his turn to hold her.

Aunt Elizabeth quickly sewed this dress for Susan and Mose’s new baby daughter, Jennifer, in a half hour.

Daughter Verena is sitting in front of a tote bag full of baby clothes, deciding what she will put on her next. Daughter Elizabeth, after hearing the news that it’s a girl, went right to work, and a half hour later had a new pink dress sewed for Jennifer.

Last night Timothy, Elizabeth and Abigail came to see little Jennifer again. I told them to stay for supper. I made hamburger potato casserole and husband Joe grilled fresh pork chops from our recent hog butchering.

Sixteen-month Abigail is not so sure she likes her new little cousin, Jennifer. She was confused when she saw Aunt Susan with a baby. I am sure she will soon grow to love her little cousin and they will have lots of fun times ahead.

Mose’s four sisters came to meet their new little niece last night. Mose’s sister Hannah’s little four-year-old daughter, Alissa, is still in the hospital. She was admitted four weeks ago after suffering injuries from a buggy-car accident. Hannah, her husband Leroy and their four children were hit in their buggy by a drunk driver. All six were taken to the hospital. They have all been released now except Alissa. Christmas was a sad holiday for this family, with the day being spent mostly in the hospital. Alissa has to stay in the hospital for three more weeks until she is back at home with her family, and she has lots of therapy ahead. She will be five years old on January 20. Prayers for the family are appreciated! The horse was killed in the accident, and the buggy demolished.

Church services were set Sunday to be at Jacob and Emma’s house on January 28. I want to go help Emma tomorrow with her cleaning. Daughter Elizabeth plans to help too. Timothy and Elizabeth will host church services at their house two weeks after Jacob and Emma host, so we need to help her too.

Life seems to just get busier for this grandma! I am glad to have good health to work. So often we take our good health for granted. Having children with disabilities has taught me much patience and to take one day at a time. And I think I worry more when my daughters have babies than when I was having them myself! Susan wanted me to be there with her and Mose when Jennifer was born. We have an amazing Creator, and we thank God for all his blessings he has given to us. I wish God’s blessings on all of you as well.

I will share the hamburger potato casserole with you. It is a favorite around here and has been a favorite since I was a little girl at home. The potatoes and meat get fixed all at once in a skillet—no oven.

Take care!

Hamburger Potato Casserole
1–2 pounds raw hamburger
8–10 medium potatoes
1 medium onion
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
Seasonings of your choice
Colby cheese slices

Press the hamburger onto the bottom of a skillet with a lid. With a salad-maker, shred potatoes and onion on top of hamburger (you do not need to peel the potatoes). Then top with cream of mushroom soup (do not add milk). Season to taste.

Turn the burner onto a medium heat and cook until potatoes are soft, about 25–30 minutes. Layer cheese on top after the potatoes are soft. Turn off the burner and cover until cheese has melted.

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.

 

Runaway horse and buggy yank the Eicher family into a rousing new year

We spent New Year’s Day at sister Emma and husband Jacob’s house. We are four sisters in this area, and every year we all get together for a gift exchange.

Emma had a haystack brunch. A haystack brunch includes biscuits, bacon, ham, sausage, smokies, potatoes, scrambled eggs, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, hot peppers, salsa, cheese sauce and sausage gravy. The biscuits, meat and vegetables are diced. You pile whatever you want on your plate, so it’s just a little bit of everything. It always tastes good—but your “haystack” can get too big before you know it! The table was set for 26.

After breakfast dishes were washed, the girls and I had prepared a big plastic ball with gifts inserted in it, like we had for our Christmas. It was exciting to open the plastic wrap when our turn came. With 25 people around three eight-foot folding tables, it was fun and loud and lively as the ball was unwrapped. There were a few trick gifts in there that were just for laughs.

Then we exchanged our gifts. Daughter Loretta had my name. It was interesting to see who had who. I had my husband Joe’s name, but I think he suspected that I did. It’s hard to hide something from him! I gave him a zero-gravity chair, which I had had wrapped for awhile. He kept asking whose gift that was, and he wondered why I never told him whose name I had! Everyone had nice gifts to take home, and little Abigail was spoiled with extra gifts from everyone. She enjoyed tearing the wrapping paper off her gifts even though she doesn’t understand what a gift exchange is. Son Kevin had her name.

Lots of snacks were set out in the afternoon. With everyone bringing something, it added up. There were venison snack sticks, shrimp and sauce, bean dip, meat roll-ups, veggies and dip, oranges, grapefruits, clementines, cheeseball and crackers and much more. Needless to say, this was everyone’s supper as well.

Son-in-law Timothy and Mose decided to go hunting together in the evening, taking Timothy’s buggy and horse. Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail went home with daughter Susan and their horse and buggy. The girls decided to stop at a little store, and they tied up the horse, Rex, extra well because he was a little rowdy. Well, the horse somehow got himself loose. The rope was torn or bitten through. He must have backed the buggy up with no problem, and would you believe that horse actually came the three miles to our place!

One of the Eicher buggies, which is their main transportation unless going a longer distance.

A lady in a truck stopped to let the boys know that no one was in the buggy. Rex turned into our driveway, and son Benjamin ran out in front of him, waving his arms to get the horse to stop. We were all shaken up, not knowing where the girls and Abigail were. Henry and the boys and Verena decided to go to the store my daughters said they were going to stop at. When they got there, Susan had just walked out of the store and discovered the horse and buggy were gone. The rest of us were all shaken up until we knew all was well. God was watching over all of us!

On January 5 Jacob’s dad (Joe’s uncle) passed away. He was 65 years old. Our sympathy goes to the family. It’s hard parting with a loved one, but God makes no mistakes. We left home Saturday morning with Jacob and Emma and stayed in Berne, Indiana, until Monday afternoon after the funeral was over. I am sure Jacob’s mother will have many lonely days. May God be her guide in this trial in life and always!

At the viewing of Jacob’s father, we met Mr. and Mrs. Roger Muselman, who are the owners of The Berne Witness where my column is printed every week. They also are the owners of Clock Tower Inn in Berne. It was a pleasure to have a short visit with them.

I have had some requests from readers for recipes that I have not been able to find at the moment. The recipes requested are Tomato Jelly and Butter and Hot Lettuce. Would any readers have these recipes? Thanks in advance and your help is greatly appreciated!

I also want to thank readers for the cards and gifts sent to us over the holidays. May God bless you for your kindness.

Daughter Verena, 20, will have surgery on her foot on February 14 in Ann Arbor. She will have a cast on for six weeks and won’t be allowed to put any weight on her foot. This will be a hard time for her, so please keep her in your prayers. She was going to be in the spring youth program, but she won’t be able to now.

God bless you all!

Banana Cheesecake

Crust:
1 1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/3 cup butter, melted

 Filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup banana, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 eggs

Topping:
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla

For the crust, mix crust ingredients and press into a 9-inch springform pan and two inches up the sides. Bake at 350 degrees for 18–20 minutes until golden brown. Cool.

To make filling, beat cream cheese, banana, sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and continue beating. Pour into baked crust. Bake until center is almost set, about 35–45 minutes.

 Stir topping ingredients together. Spread over baked cheesecake and continue baking 10 minutes more. Cool well for several hours.

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.

Christmas memories linger: brunch, family . . . and a big ball of plastic wrap

A brand new year lies before us! 2018 is here, and I want to wish all of you a blessed new year, lots of love and good health! We do not know what the new year holds, but we know God is in control. Let us trust him to lead the way.

I had a nice two-week break from writing this column. It went so fast, though, that I can’t believe it is time for me to pen it again! I appreciated the girls giving me a break over the busy holiday season. I still have a few late Christmas cards to get out in the mail for family. I am wanting to enclose a letter before sending the cards. To me, a letter with a Christmas card is worth more even if it is late.

Tomorrow my husband, Joe, will take off from work to go with daughter Verena and me to a children’s hospital in Ann Arbor (Mich.) for an appointment for Verena. She is meeting with the surgeon. We aren’t sure if they will plan a surgery or not. The roads aren’t in the best shape and it keeps snowing, so we pray for a safe journey there and back. It’s over a two-hour drive and with the traffic, sometimes more.

We had a nice Christmas Eve with our children here all day. The married girls and family came home the evening before and spent the night here. We had a big breakfast brunch: fried eggs, potatoes, bacon, cheese, toast, butter, strawberry jam, hot peppers, coffee, vegetable juice, orange juice, milk, hot chocolate, oranges and cookies. We set our table for fourteen with Abigail in the high chair. Nephew Henry is still staying with us, so he had Christmas with our family.

We ate our brunch around 9:30, and then we washed dishes after that before opening our gifts. We had a lot of fun with a big ball of plastic wrap. Everyone stood around the table and took turns unwrapping the plastic wrap, which was filled with little gifts. The dice was passed, and the person rolling a six could unwrap the plastic and keep whatever gifts were falling out until the next person got a six. Then the dice was passed, on and on around the table, until the ball was all unwrapped and the “grand prize” was won at the end of the ball. It is an exciting game and included the whole family—except for Abigail, who just stared at us with big eyes trying to figure out what all the excitement was about!

After our gifts were opened, everyone brought out snacks, which was quite a variety of food. There were veggies and dip, cheeseball and crackers, bologna and cheese roll-ups, party mix, peanut butter balls, chocolate-covered pretzels, peanut butter fudge, chips and salsa, peanuts and M&M’s mixed together and probably more than I can’t remember now. We played games such as Aggravation, Phase 10, Life on the Farm, and Corn Hole all afternoon.

Time went too fast, though, and before we knew it, it was time for everyone to leave. Daughter Loretta went home with Dustin, as his family was having Christmas together on Christmas day. I made a soup for anyone who was still hungry enough in the evening to eat.

Fresh bacon for the Eicher family.

On December 26, Joe and our sons, plus Timothy, Mose, Dustin and Henry butchered our two hogs. I never had to go help, as they did it all in good time. Pon hoss was made in the big kettle outdoors. It was a cold morning of nine degrees when they started. Joe and the boys and Dustin ground the sausage and sliced the pork chops and ham the next day. Joe sure enjoyed using his new meat slicer. The bacon is sliced nice and thin as well. The meat slicer was Joe’s birthday gift. His birthday was December 22, and everyone came for grilled hot wings, deep fried jalapeño poppers, French fries and mushrooms—and of course, ice cream and cake. On butchering day, then, we had mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, corn, salad, French-fried tenderloin, peanut butter pies, cherry delight and cake.

Next week I will write about our day with my three sisters and the gift exchange we had on New Year’s Day at Jacob and Emma’s house.

Foremost on our minds is Jacob’s dad, who is also Joe’s uncle. He is in very bad shape, suffering from a stroke he had on New Year’s Day. We were all at Jacobs’ when they received the call. Jacob and Emma left that evening for Berne to visit with him, but there isn’t much hope for recovery. We pray and let it all in God’s hands.

God bless!

Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6–8 boneless pork chops

Mushroom gravy:

1/4 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
4 ounces mushroom stems and pieces
2 cups milk

Combine the first four ingredients in a large resealable plastic bag. Reserve three tablespoons of mixture. Add pork chops one at a time and toss to coat. In a large skillet, sauté chops in butter until golden brown. Transfer to a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

To make the gravy, sauté the onions and green peppers in the same skillet. Drain the mushrooms. Add and sauté with the onions and peppers until tender. Stir in reserved flour mix; gradually add milk until blended. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2–3 minutes until thickened. Pour over chops. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 50–60 minutes. Serves 6–8.

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.

Daughter, 13, writes her first column for Lovina’s Amish Kitchen

By Lovina Eicher, age 13

Greetings to readers around the world! This will be my first time ever writing this column. I am Lovina’s daughter Lovina, age 13. I am writing the column for a school project for my teacher (Mom).

On winter days like this I like to go sledding, then come inside and cuddle on the couch sipping hot chocolate. On warmer days I spend time outside with the horses, ponies and dogs. For now I have to deal with the cold weather! I love the snow, going sledding with my brothers, making all of them hot chocolate, staying warm and writing crazy stories. I love every part of winter.

Today I’m staying the night with my sister Verena at sister Susan and Mose’s house. Mose and Susan have moved into their new home now. Their house is cozy and warm. We brought Verena’s Yorkie dog, Ricky, with us. He propped himself in front of the stove and refuses to move.

Mose and Susan have a pellet stove. It is hopper fed and it makes a nice cozy heat. At home our coal stove is in the basement so Ricky doesn’t get to lay in front of it. With all the people we have at home, I’m not used to this quietness here at Mose and Susan’s house.

Today at church we had a potluck Christmas dinner. Every family brings a dish of food. They have casseroles, salads, fruits, pies, cakes, and the list continues. Sometimes I want to try everything but that wouldn’t be possible because I can’t eat that much.

Abby (Abigail) was at church today. I love spoiling her! She sure doesn’t like to sit quiet in church. She is always so full of energy and wants to run around. It seems Abby is growing up so fast that I can’t keep up with her. She’s starting to say words and know what they mean. I’m happy to say that she is my niece! She always makes my day even better.

Yesterday I helped sister Susan give her dog, Tippy, and Verena’s dog, Ricky, a bath. Today they are dirty again. They are kind of like the boys—never staying clean. The dogs like to jump in the snow and get soaking wet. Then they lay on the vent where the heat comes up from the basement to dry.

I’m excited for Christmas. Christmas is my favorite holiday. I can’t believe it’s that close already. There is snow on the ground. Dad and Mom are Christmas shopping sometimes and the days just seem to fly by. It is so cold and icy outside. Christmas is fun but the most important part is remembering the true meaning: Christ our Savior is born.

It is now Monday morning (December 17). I was so relaxed last night that I fell asleep early. Mose left for his job at the RV factory. He has their horse Rex harnessed and hitched to their buggy. Susan is coming to our house today to wash her laundry. They still aren’t set up to wash clothes at their house.

We are now at home. It was a chilly ride home. The five-and-one-half miles went fast with us three sisters chatting away. Mom made coffee soup and grilled cheese for our breakfast. Coffee soup is one of my favorite breakfast foods. It is just a little coffee with milk and some sugar added and heated. Then we put in crackers or toasted bread crumbs. Mom doesn’t think we should just eat coffee soup unless we eat something else with it. She doesn’t think it’s a healthy food.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. Drive safe and stay healthy. And God bless you!

The recipe I’m going to share is very easy to make.

Peanut Butter Fudge

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter

Bring sugar and milk to a boil. Boil for 2 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Put in an 8 x 8-inch pan and it’s done! Cool and serve.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is usually written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new 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 writes about her recent birthday “mystery supper”

A birthday “mystery supper”

Hi! This is Verena filling in for my mother. With the upcoming holidays Mom needed a few extra columns written so I offered to write one. In this column I will write about my recent birthday party.

My birthday was December 10 and I turned 20 years old. These years sure don’t slow down! I’m officially no longer a teenager.

I can’t believe it’s this time of year again. Snow flying and icy roads. Safe travels for those of you that need to drive in bad weather.

My favorite thing I like about winter is when Mom and my sisters and I all relax around the table with hot chocolate on those cold winter mornings. Oh, and of course we love to chatter and tell stories of days when we were children.

I remember the many fun times of winter sledding. I still enjoy it very much. Of course, I’m now the one driving our pony Stormy with a metal sled tied to the back of the pony cart. I drive fast trying to throw someone off into the snow—especially my ornery brothers. We have a nice open hayfield where we go sledding.

On Sunday, December 10, I had my friends and family over for a birthday supper. I wanted to do a little something different, so we had a mystery supper. It was quite interesting such as “Idaho’s pride and joy” was mashed potatoes, “gold digger” was a fork, “silvery moon” was a spoon and “happy harvest” was corn. I had no idea what anything was but knowing my mom very well (she made the menu) I figured out a lot. I ended up with a salad but no ranch dressing and no fork. I ate my salad with a spoon which was a little complicated. Also a few people ended up with no fork or spoon. I ended up with mashed potatoes and no gravy. Some got ranch dressing but no salad. One of them had to eat corn without any silverware. We had a good laugh at some of them trying to eat. I appreciated all the gifts I received.

The menu was hot wings, mashed potatoes, gravy, pork chops, corn, salad, veggies and cheese. For dessert we had dirt pudding and birthday bars. Later ice cream and cake was served. After everyone had their plate and we tried to eat what we had with what we ordered, we could go get whatever food (and silverware) we wanted. I had 20 friends here and then Dad and Mom, Timothy and Elizabeth, and Mose and Susan served our food to us. We had to mark six items from the menu. While the servers filled our orders we sang Christmas carols.

Mose and Susan are now happily enjoying their new home. They are loving every bit of it. We really miss not seeing them every day. They still have a lot to unpack so we assisted Susan one day. Sister Elizabeth, Nikiah (who Elizabeth babysits) and my sweet little niece Abigail were also there.

We sure enjoy little Abby. She loves taking my covering off my head and taking out my hair clips. She will then put them all back in my hair. Shoes are another thing she’s discovered. She’ll take my shoes off and try putting them on her little feet. She likes to walk around with “big girl” shoes. She’s been getting all her teeth so that makes her unhappy once in a while.

I have a few favorite quotes and I’d love to share one with you all (author unknown): “If you want to read a powerful love story don’t look in romance novels; look in the Bible. Jesus gave his life on a cross. It was the most perfect and painful act of love in history and he did it for you and me.”

Merry Christmas and may God be with each and every one of you as you travel into the New Year of 2018. God bless you!

I will share a recipe for white Christmas cookies but they are good any time of the year.

White Christmas Cookies

1 cup Crisco
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
5 cups flour (approximate)
1 teaspoon soda
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup cream or milk
1 tablespoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon vanilla

Cream Crisco and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Add flour, soda, salt and extracts. Add cream; mix well. Roll out very thin and cut into various shapes. 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 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.

 

Painting, packing, plus home-demonstration parties

A cold morning of 11 degrees. It’s freezing and as Abigail would say, “Brrrr – cold!”

Eleven days until Christmas day. I just can’t believe how much faster every year goes by. Life goes on. Changes are made, some good, some bad. The most important part in life is to always let God guide us into the unknown future. He already knows what lies before us. He knows all the changes 2018 will bring. And he alone can help us accept whatever those changes will be.

Our big change here at the Eicher homestead right now is packing Mose and Susan’s belongings and moving them five-and-one-half miles away to their new home.

Mose and Susan’s house is almost done. The flooring is being laid. It takes a little more time to remodel an old farm house but it’s looking better. Last Friday the girls and I helped paint the walls and ceilings. Mose helped us after he came home from work. My muscles were sore the next day. We gave both bedrooms, living room, and dining room two coats of paint. Mose had to go get more paint. New drywall always seems to absorb more paint. We used a “paint plus primer” so that was easier to have it all in one. We were almost done and saw we needed still more paint so nephew Henry went to town and bought more paint. That was a long day to get the painting all done.

Mose and I finished up around 7:30 p.m. I was tired but it felt good to have accomplished our goal. And what a surprise to come home with supper all made. Loretta’s special friend Dustin came to help us after he was off work. He also did some more jobs for Mose while he was there that needed to be done before they move in. Dustin and Loretta came home earlier and prepared supper on the grill which he brought in. They had steak, red potatoes and mushrooms on the grill along with cheese for our supper. It was all very delicious and very much appreciated after a hard day’s work! Lord willing, we plan to move Mose and Susan’s belongings on Saturday.

A beautiful finished omelet.

Tuesday evening we went to a presentation about stainless steel cookware. The man showed us how to cook without water or oil in pans. He prepared supper for the six couples that were there. We were served chicken, potatoes, green beans and carrots all cooked in his cookware. Also an apple cake was prepared on top of the stove in a covered skillet. He showed us ways to use the cookware to eat healthier. I saw a few of the men (including my husband Joe) sneak some salt on their food. I never add much salt to my food because Joe always adds salt without tasting it first. My children grew up not tasting much salt on their food and don’t mind potatoes without salt. We use mostly sea salt for our table salt. It was an interesting evening and I learned a few things. He also prepared an omelet for us without having to flip the omelet, but still fully cooking it.

Last night the girls and I made omelets for everyone for supper. We made a total of 14 omelets using my stainless steel frying pan I’ve had for years, but cooking them a little differently.

Prepped up to make omelets for the whole family.

Friday evening daughter Loretta is hosting a Tupperware wedding shower for Dustin’s brother’s wife, Lisa. We will serve supper to the guests after the party. Hopefully Lisa will have a successful party and pick out some free Tupperware for her new home. Jake and Lisa were married in May so a homemaker can always use some more containers, choppers, etc.

It helps to have everything organized and ready to go before you start.

Now I must get busy. We will wash laundry today. It is nice to see the sun come out because our battery packs were getting low storing solar. With our water running off solar we need a charged battery. We do have a back-up generator but if we don’t need to waste gas its better.

I wish all of you a blessed Christmas and God’s blessings in 2018 and always! Safe travels and good health to all!

Thank you for all your support and encouragement through 2017!

Pancake Pizza

3 cups cake batter
1 dozen eggs, scrambled
1 cup cheese
6 cups sausage gravy (a recipe for sausage gravy is in my new cookbook)
1 pound bacon

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Pour batter into 9×13 greased and floured cake pan. Bake 15 minutes or until done. Remove from oven.

While pancake is baking, scramble eggs in a large skillet. Layer eggs and cheese on top of baked pancake. Make a sausage gravy and put on top of eggs and cheese. Fry and crumble the bacon. Sprinkle on top of the gravy. Serve with or without maple syrup.

 

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 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.

 

 

Eichers attend early “Bethlehem” play by the Amish community

Eichers attend early “Bethlehem” play by the Amish community

Supper was later than usual tonight. The men were working on Mose and Susan’s house, sanding drywall. Mose and Susan bought the paint for the house today. Hopefully by Friday we can start painting.

Daughter Elizabeth, Abigail and Nikiah (the little girl Elizabeth babysits for) came here for the day. We all went to a local Amish store that is having a sale this week. They have daily drawings. Son Benjamin was a lucky winner. He won a big musical clock today. The grand prize drawing is two bus tickets for a round trip to Florida. The store had a discount storewide so we purchased some shoes, boots, coats, and the like.

My husband Joe grilled two whole chickens on the grill to go along with the rest of our supper. Timothy, Elizabeth and Abigail ate supper with us before leaving for home. Abigail makes all the animal sounds when we ask her how the puppy, kitty, and more, go. It is so cute listening to her chatter. We see her grow and learn from week to week.

Our whole family enjoyed Friday evening at the Community Youth Center where daughter Verena was a servant in the “Bethlehem Inn” play acted out by some of the Amish in this community. A vegetable stew was made in a black kettle outside. When the guests arrived we walked through the little town of Bethlehem where people were all dressed as they did in those days. People were selling eggs, fruits, nuts; there was a blacksmith shop, and even a jail. When my husband Joe couldn’t find his ticket for the play right away he was taken to jail for a few minutes. (This was all in fun but gave everyone a glimpse of what it might have been like back then.) There were beggars coming around to people as they walked through town. It was all a person’s imagination of what it might have been like on the night Jesus our Savior was born.

We were then ushered into the inn (the community center) where tables were set up. The whole building was lit by candle and lantern light. We were served the vegetable stew and dinner rolls. There were bowls of grapes and cheese on the tables. While we were eating, one of the scenes was Joseph and Mary coming to ask if they could have a room in the inn for the night. They were turned away and later when the inn staff heard of the bright star on top of the manger where baby Jesus was born, we were all lined up to walk outside past the scene of Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus. There would be so much more to share but space in this column will not allow it. My friends Ruth and Karen went with us and they were amazed at what the community did to put on this play. It was all on a donation basis and the money will be put into making improvements in the building. This play was given three nights and a few hundred people could attend each evening.

While the guests filed back inside after seeing baby Jesus, we were handed a plate of warm brownies with a scoop of ice cream on top. The guests all sang two songs together before parting for home. It was a spiritually fun evening, to enjoy with family and friends.

It was also so nice to meet all of the readers that attended the book signings in Highland and Crown Point, Ind., this past Saturday, Dec. 2. We had a very good turnout and unfortunately ran out of books. We ordered more and they will be signed and delivered to the Crown Point store before Christmas. Our regrets to anyone for whom this was an inconvenience.

The readers were very encouraging to me and I want to thank everyone that attended. I was very excited when Aunt Caroline Coblentz, plus my cousin David and his wife Karen came to our Crown Point signing. What a good surprise. I miss seeing another cousin, Larry Coblentz in the crowd. He would come to a lot of my signings. He passed away from cancer a few years ago. A big thanks to my friend Ruth and also to Karen for driving us there and back. Also to my husband Joe and daughters Verena and Lovina for going along for support. Verena did a great job running the cash register for me.

God’s blessings! Here’s some hot soup for a cold night.

Hamburger Vegetable Soup

1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced or shredded cabbage
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup rice or barley
1 cup tomato or V8 juice
4 cups water
4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon rosemary

Fry hamburger with onions and garlic until no longer pink; drain fat. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for one hour. Serves 6.

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 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.

Holidays mean feeding 26 mouths and learning the perils of mail-order shopping

We had a rainy morning, but now the sun is shining brightly. Tomorrow we enter December and still no snow. Hopefully we won’t get it all at once! The temperature is showing 42 degrees.

Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail are here for the day. Elizabeth takes care of a little four-year-old girl named Nikiah every day while her mother works. Her mother is a friend Susan used to work with. With Nikiah and Abigail, she has her hands full. Nikiah likes to dress in Amish clothes when she comes here, and she likes to ride in the buggy with Elizabeth and Abigail. She calls me “Mom” because I’m the “Mom” around here.

Daughter Susan just left for a doctor appointment. Elizabeth brought a French toast casserole for our breakfast. The girls are washing dishes and sweeping floors and, of course, visiting. I am debating if I should move to my desk in our bedroom. If I’m not careful, I’ll start writing what they are saying! Ha, ha!

After I have this column written, we have plans to go to an Amish general store that just opened a few miles from here. They have an open house this week. Daughter Verena volunteered to stay here with Nikiah and Abigail.

Feeding 26 people on Thanksgiving Day requires a long table.

On Thanksgiving Day we had a total of twenty-six here. Jacob, sister Emma, Elizabeth and special friend Manuel; Emma and special friend Menno; Jacob Jr., Benjamin and Steven; sisters Verena and Susan; Timothy, daughter Elizabeth and Abigail; Mose and daughter Susan; Loretta’s special friend Dustin and nephew Henry all joined us for Thanksgiving dinner.

On the menu were two big turkeys (one was a smoked turkey), mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, corn, lettuce salad, veggies and dip, deviled eggs, cheese, homemade bread and dinner rolls, apple, pumpkin, cherry, and peanut butter pies, pumpkin roll, fresh fruit mixture and ice cream. Needless to say, not many were hungry for dessert with dinner! Before everyone left I put out all the food again so they could eat something.

Lovina’s Thanksgiving menu included these mouthwatering dishes.

But we still had more food left over, so I took it along to Mose and Susan’s house the next day. Jacob and sons, Menno, Manuel, Timothy, Dustin and Joe and our sons assisted son-in-law Mose in putting up new drywall in their house they will move to. We women and girls heated up the leftover food from Thanksgiving Day here at our house and took it over there for those hardworking men and boys. We all ate in the garage, since the house was dusty. Mose and Susan really appreciated all the help they had. A lot was accomplished that day. Most of the drywall was hung. Last night my husband Joe went with Mose to get a stove and new flooring for the house. The house is ready for drywall mudding once the heat is going in the house.

I am doing a lot of mail-order Christmas shopping and decided to send off for a meat saw for my husband Joe for his birthday, which is on December 22. He will be 49 this year. The UPS truck drove in, and I didn’t think anything of it when Joe said he would go out to get the package. I just didn’t think his gift would be arriving yet!

So I didn’t know which way to look when Joe walked inside with the box, which clearly showed that it was the meat saw. He had a big smile on his face and asked where I want the box. I knew I couldn’t make him believe that it was for someone else, so I just told him happy birthday. He was very glad for it, as he had been wanting one for a while. His birthday is so close to Christmas, so I guess it’s nice to have his gift early for once.

God’s blessings to all!

60-Minute Dinner Rolls

2 packages dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup warm milk
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted

Add yeast and sugar to warm milk and let stand for 15 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Stir well and let stand in warm place approximately 20 minutes, until double in size. Form into 24 egg-sized rolls. Place on a well-greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

 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 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.