Sticky lessons with Gorilla glue, and happy for supper on daughter’s patio

Head: Sticky lessons with Gorilla glue, and happy for supper on daughter’s patio

It’s 8:30 p.m. and we just came home from daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. Elizabeth made supper for us. She made cooked potatoes, cooked carrots, corn, Sloppy Joe sandwiches with ice cream for dessert. It was nice to not have to cook supper tonight. And it was a wonderful evening to eat out on their patio. Mose and daughter Susan and Jennifer also came over to eat there. Elizabeth and Susan were here today with their little sweeties Abigail and Jennifer. Elizabeth asked if we want to come over for supper so we took up the offer.

Tomorrow son Kevin and I will travel to the children’s hospital in Ann Arbor. He has an appointment with the surgeon that did our daughter’s surgeries. It’s such a big hospital and I still get turned around so I am always glad when my husband Joe can go along. This time he won’t go along as they were off so many days and with the four-day work weeks they are having he’s glad for every day he can work. Next week he will have to take a day off for a dentist appointment with a specialist and possibly have surgery to remove a tooth.

The glue that my husband Joe used to fix my washing machine hose last week gave up. Daughter Loretta and I wanted to do laundry on Monday so I used Gorilla glue to glue the end back on the hose. I didn’t know that glue swells up so when I wanted to drain the water from the wash machine it wouldn’t come out. The glue had swelled up enough to plug the whole inside of the hose. I had to break the glue back out so now before we wash clothes again the hose needs to be repaired. I did figure out that you need to use Gorilla glue sparsely.

Mornings have been foggy lately. I’m hoping it won’t be tomorrow morning when we travel the two hours to the appointment.

Our one garden is all cleared out and tilled now. Not much left in the garden anymore. Autumn begins this week already. Its always nice to finish up the canning season from the gardens. I am so thankful though for every jar that was filled and all that could be frozen.

Friday night we made a kettle of campfire stew outside in the kettle over the open fire. It was a nice evening to sit around the fire. We used fresh potatoes, green beans, and onions for the stew along with chunked steak from our freezer. It was delicious.

Our thoughts went back sixteen years ago on Monday, September 17, when dear Mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, passed away. She was in Blue Springs, Missouri, when she so suddenly passed. So far from home and we felt so helpless when we heard the news. I started penning the column after her. Joseph, 16, was just a couple months old. Mother will always be remembered. Life goes on but we still have our loved ones close in our hearts!

On our way home tonight from Timothy’s house we saw so many deer. One ran in front of our horse Midnight and startled her. But it was a very peaceful evening for a buggy ride. Signs of autumn are beginning to show on the trees. Folks are digging potatoes from the fields. Gardens are looking empty.

I will share a recipe for stuffed cabbage with you. A good way to help use up your cabbage from the garden. I always plant the late cabbage.

Until next week, God’s blessings to all!

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

1 head cabbage
1 onion finely chopped
2 tablespoons margarine
1-pound ground beef
1/2-pound ground pork (or veal)
2 cups cooked rice
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2-pound lean bacon
16-ounce can tomato sauce
8-ounce can tomatoes
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Remove core from cabbage. Scald cabbage in boiling water and remove leaves as they soften. Sauté onions in margarine very lightly; do not brown. Also sauté beef and pork. Combine meat with rice, eggs, sautéed onions, and seasoning. Mix well. Place 2 tablespoons of mixture in center of cabbage and roll. Wrap in bacon strips and insert wooden picks to hold together. Pour tomato sauce on rolls, then squeeze tomatoes from can and arrange on top of rolls. Sprinkle brown sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done.

 

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.

Stuck buttons, Abigail helps Grandma, and tight hugs

I’m sitting outside here by the grill as daughter Loretta grills hamburgers for our supper. We will also have vegetable soup with the hamburgers. The hamburgers are from our freezer which we packed individually last winter after butchering beef. This pack of hamburgers had cheese added.

Today daughter Elizabeth and Abigail plus daughter Susan and Jennifer spent the day here. We canned almost 40 quarts of vegetable soup and seven quarts of tomato juice. The last round of pressure cookers processing the jars are on the stove.

It’s a pleasant evening here in southern Michigan. After a few chilly and rainy days we are back to sunshine and warmer temperatures. After a hard day’s work it is really relaxing and peaceful to watch the sun sinking lower in the west. What a wonderful world we have by our great creator God! His work is amazing and it seems I feel less tired at night when I know He is there to help us through life’s many trials.

Little Abigail never ceases to amaze me with her “grown up” talk. How special it was for me—Grandma—to have Abigail help me pick the tomatoes from the garden this forenoon. She knew when she found a bad one and told me in her sweet little voice that it was bad and to throw it away. When we had picked four buckets of tomatoes she walked to the house to tell the girls Grandma needs help bringing the tomatoes in the house.

Abigail had her second birthday on September 10 so we went to her house Sunday evening to celebrate. Several other families were there and she enjoyed the attention and all the gifts she received. Elizabeth made her a cake and she blew out the two candles with the help of her daddy Timothy. She blew and blew but couldn’t get enough wind to come from her mouth. I think she was just too excited.

While we were in the garden today Abigail said, “Grandma, we need to sing.” She started to sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” Just so precious! Jennifer is eight months old now and reaches for me, then hugs me really tight. Such blessings for this Grandma!

My husband Joe is back to work this week at the RV factory. They didn’t have work last week. After this week they will again reduce to four-day work weeks. It makes it harder at this time of year when we need to buy hay for the winter and coal for heat. We will trust God that he will provide as he thinks best.

While Joe was home he caught up with work that needs to be done around here. The potatoes were dug up. The gardens were cleared all except tomatoes, watermelon, green and hot peppers and cabbage. Joe also helped me with laundry a few times while he was home. He got the button out that was stuck in my Maytag washing machine hose. He had to take off the end of the hose to get it out. (Water still came out of the hose but very slowly. It was a button off of one of the boy’s pants and it was stuck in there so the water had to run through the button holes.)

One day last week Joe and I also took the buggy eight miles to town with our horse Midnight. We started out after Lovina and Kevin got on the bus. Joe took me to a restaurant for breakfast before we started shopping. I always enjoy getting out of cooking for once.

Midnight does very well in town with all the traffic. She is so much calmer then her mother Ginger. Ginger is always impatient at stoplights but Midnight stands still well. That means a lot if a horse is traffic-safe in town.

The hamburgers are ready and the bottom of my page is coming up. I sampled the hamburgers and Loretta seasoned them just right. Time to set the table.

God be with you all and bestow His many blessings to you!

Three Bean Salad

1 16-ounce can yellow beans, drained
1 16-ounce can green beans, drained
1 16-ounce can red kidney beans, drained
1/2 jar chopped olives
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 onion, diced

Dressing:

1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 or 3 dashes paprika

Mix all the vegetables in a large bowl. Mix dressing ingredients together and pour over vegetables. Marinate for at least 12 hours in refrigerator. The taste is even better the second or third day.

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, , 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.

 

Missing loved ones at a family reunion  

Photo by Grant Beachy

Missing loved ones at a family reunion

It was another hot and humid day with temperatures in the 90’s. Now we are having a thunderstorm. It might cool off after this. We are also getting a good soaking rain which we needed.

On Saturday we all attended the family gathering for my family at sister Emma and  Jacob’s. They had roasted a hog for the meat. I will try to remember some of the other foods brought in. Emma made several casseroles and then there was overnight salad, taco salad, cucumber salad, sliced tomatoes, hot peppers, cheese (several varieties), salsa, chips, venison, summer sausage, apple, cherry and bread pies, doughnuts, a variety of cookies, puddings, cakes, watermelon, cinnamon bread and so much!

I probably forgot to mention Sister Leah made the bread pie. I remember Mother making this pie a lot when she had an extra pie crust that needed to be filled when she was making pies. I will share her recipe of bread pie at the end of the column. It isn’t very hard to make at all and tastes better than you would think. It was always named Poor Man’s Bread Pie, probably because of the simple ingredients it takes.

If I counted right, the total of all our family members would be 133 without counting the ones that have passed away such as my dear parents, brother Amos, nieces Mary Shetler and Marilyn Schwartz. I counted around 75 (more or less) of our family who made it to the gathering. It was a low attendance this year. It is so hard to pick a day that suits everyone to come.

Also, it was my brother Amos and Nancy’s 35th wedding anniversary on Saturday. Although he has passed away our minds still were with him and Nancy. Nancy and family didn’t come for the gathering except their oldest daughter Susan, husband Joe, and family. They live in a community nearby, around 18-20 miles from here. We were glad to see them come but I know the day was hard on Susan. We all felt the emptiness and missed the presence of Amos and family.

Jacob and Emma had three big balls of gifts wrapped by plastic wrap to open; one was for the siblings, one for the nieces and nephews, and one for the great nieces and nephews. This is where one person is given the ball to unwrap and keep whatever little gifts fall out until the next person throws a certain number on a dice and then the ball gets passed on and on and at the end is the grand prize. It was exciting once the ball came close to being totally unwrapped.

Sister Liz won the grand prize for the siblings’ game which was $50.00 in a Tupperware container. Brother Albert’s daughter Sylvia won the same prize for the nieces and nephews’ game and LaRose (granddaughter of sister Liz and Levi) won the grand prize of the great nieces and nephews’ game which was a Tupperware tea set and $20. This was generous of Jacob and Emma to do this for everyone. Emma said she thought we might not feel like singing with brother Amos’s recent passing so she thought this would be better.

Before the six of us sisters parted, our daughters talked us into at least yodeling together for them so we sang a few yodeling numbers. What just made it worthwhile was little Abigail standing there trying to help us. When we would finish a song she would tell us to sing more.

Snacks were set out that everyone brought to enjoy before we all left for home. Next year, sisters Verena and Susan will take their turn hosting. Will we still all be together? Only God knows the future. Live every day as though it is your last.

On Sunday, September 2, son Kevin had his 13th birthday. We now have five teenagers in this house. Kevin had several friends come home from school with him Tuesday night and spend the night and go back on the bus with him the next day in honor of his birthday. The boys had a lot of fun!

On Sunday those here for an outdoor brunch were Jacob and Emma and family, Menno and Manuel, Timothy, Elizabeth and Abigail, Mose, Susan and Jennifer, Dustin, and sisters Verena and Susan. We made sausage gravy in a kettle over an open fire and cooked bacon on the grill. We also made biscuits plus ham and cheese omelet roll in the oven here in the house.

No more space to write so I’ll sign off wishing you all God’s blessings.

Poor Man’s Bread Pie

Bread crumbs
1 tablespoon flour
6 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
Milk

In an unbaked 9-inch pie shell, fill with crumbs of bread (can use up older pieces of bread) until full. Mix together flour, sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over bread crumbs. Fill crust with milk. Bake in a 375-degree oven until well set.

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’s waning days bring bucketloads of tomatoes and family hog roast

In addition to lots of tomatoes, the Eichers canned these great looking peaches recently.

Summer’s waning days bring bucketloads of tomatoes and family hog roast

It’s Wednesday evening around 7:00 p.m. Supper dishes are washed and put away. Everyone is cleaned up and relaxing before bedtime. The boys were outside tossing the football to each other while the girls washed the dishes.

Today daughters Elizabeth and Susan along with granddaughters Abigail and Jennifer came to spend the day here. Elizabeth brought along four buckets of tomatoes that Timothy had picked from their garden. They were 5-gallon buckets. They have already canned five batches of salsa from the tomatoes in their garden. I was very glad for the tomatoes. We made 37 quarts of tomato juice with the tomatoes, and I was glad for the help from the girls.

While we were working on the tomatoes, our friends from this community, Sam and Pearl, stopped in with some of their friends from Virginia, who are readers of my column. They stayed for a short visit. I appreciate the encouragement they gave.

While they were here my husband, Joe, came home from his job at the RV factory. While he was visiting with them, little Abigail brought in his new shoes, which had arrived in the mail earlier today. She started untying his shoes and wanted him to put on his new ones. How she understood that the shoes that came in the mail were her grandpa’s new shoes I don’t know. It was just so cute to see her bending down by his feet, untying his shoes!

On Saturday we were happy that Aunt Caroline Coblentz and cousin David and Karen Coblentz from Lafayette, Indiana, came for a visit. Aunt Caroline will celebrate her 86th birthday on September 3. We wish her a happy birthday with God’s blessings always. It was nice visiting with her, even though I was interrupted because I was keeping watch on my pies baking in the oven. The cherry and pecan pies were to take to daughter Susan and Mose’s on Sunday.

Aunt Caroline, David and Karen had lunch with my sisters Verena and Susan, and also visited with my sister Emma and family before heading south again. It has been five years ago since Uncle Andy (my Dad’s brother) passed away. I imagine Aunt Caroline has many lonely days, but David and Karen take real good care of her.

After they left last Saturday, the girls and I went over to Mose and Susan’s to help set up for church. The boys and Joe had left earlier. We helped with all the last-minute preparations, and the benches were set up under the big tent.

Sunday morning the church families gathered at Mose and Susan’s place for the services. They had a good lunch, similar to ours a few weeks ago.

A reader asked me recently about our church lunches. All church lunches are mostly the same, except the lunchmeat may be different or some may have cheese instead of cheese spread. Some might serve egg salad with no meat on the side. Always on the menu are bread, peanut butter spread, pickles, red beets, jelly or jam, butter, cookies, coffee and tea. The host can then add extras.

Mose and Susan are glad to have a lot of their cleaning done now. There is still canning to do, since the gardens in this area are slow this year. This coming Saturday will be my family gathering at sister Emma and Jacob’s. They are planning to have a hog roast with everyone bringing the side dishes, desserts and snacks.

It will be sad this year, with brother Amos not being there with us. I really hope his wife, Nancy, and family will still come; after all, they are still our family. We can also be comforted by spending time with each other, reminiscing about the precious memories we have of Amos. I still have such a hard time believing he is not with us. May he be resting in the arms of Jesus! God makes no mistakes, so we must accept his will.

I will share a recipe requested by a reader. God bless!

Zucchini Squash Bread

3 eggs
1 cup cooking oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups peeled and grated zucchini
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chopped nuts

In a bowl beat the eggs until foamy; add the oil, sugar, zucchini and vanilla. Mix lightly but well. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and baking powder and mix. Stir in the nuts. Divide the batter into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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.

 

Ice cream ensures that back-to-school open house pleases even the littlest attender

Ice cream ensures that back-to-school open house pleases even the littlest attender

Happy birthday to my sister Verena, whose 52nd birthday was August 22. We wish her God’s richest blessings and many more happy, healthy years!

This is Thursday morning, and it seems the hours are going faster than I can keep up! School doors opened Tuesday, August 21, with son Kevin in seventh grade and daughter Lovina in eighth. Lovina decided that she would like to attend school again instead of doing another year of homeschooling. I think she missed her school friends. Kevin is also glad to have his sister back at school.

We were helping Susan yesterday. Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail were also there helping. We washed her laundry and washed off her kitchen walls, ceilings, and cupboards. We also did some other odds-and-ends. Baby Jennifer was fussy this week, so it’s hard for Susan to get her work done. I think Jennifer senses that her mother is extra busy. On Saturday we canned pizza sauce and hot peppers for Susan.

Last night was the open house at the school. Little Abigail cried when we were leaving Susan’s house, so we decided to just take Abigail with us. Daughters Verena and Loretta told Elizabeth they would bring her back home after the open house at the school. There was an ice cream social at the open house, and Abigail loved the birthday cake flavor. She also loved playing on the swings and slides at the playground. She didn’t want to leave. It is so precious to have her come home with us. Needless to say, she gets a lot of attention here!

This week Lovina and crew canned 24 quarts of homemade vegetable juice; she shares the recipe.

We did our first canning of tomatoes this week. We canned 24 quarts of homemade vegetable juice. I will share the recipe with you at the end of the column which comes from my earlier cookbook, The Amish Cook at Home. This is a good drink for breakfast or anytime of the day. It is healthy, given all the different vegetables it contains. I don’t always add every vegetable in the recipe. Sometimes I add potatoes, and sometimes I don’t. I add more hot peppers than the recipe calls for because we like it with a spicy flavor. Daughter Elizabeth doesn’t add many hot peppers so she can use it in soups and it won’t be hot for little Abigail.

Today we will wash laundry and then can some peaches. I have a bushel that needs to be done today. I’m not sure yet, but I may also freeze some that we can use for lunches.

Son Joseph, 16, started his new job at the RV factory. He is only allowed to do some small jobs because of his age. He enjoys it and is excited about having a job again and earning money. My nephew Benjamin also works there, so the cousins enjoy spending their breaks and lunchtime together.

I really miss Joseph’s help here at home, but I understand that he needs to get a job. It’s part of growing up. So many people take for granted that everyone can work any job. But when you have a disability, jobs are limited. Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair to our girls that they can’t go out and earn money like other girls. Life isn’t fair, and God has a reason for everything. We don’t always understand it, but someday we will. Keeping our trust in God is the best thing we can do.

My husband Joe is on four-day work weeks this month, so he can help Mose with his work. Things are falling in place in preparation for hosting church services there on Sunday. The church tent will be set up at Mose and Susan’s house tomorrow. Services will be held under the tent since they don’t have enough room in the buildings for the service.

I’ll share the vegetable juice recipe I used this week.

The process of making homemade vegetable juice is quite involved, but rewarding.

Homemade Vegetable Juice

15 pounds tomatoes, cut into chunks
4 onions, diced
4 green bell peppers, seeded and diced
6 large jalapenos, diced
6 small potatoes, peeled and diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 cucumbers, sliced 
2–3 teaspoons garlic powder
salt

Combine all ingredients except the salt in a 3-gallon stainless steel pot over medium-high heat. Cook until soft enough to go through a Victoria strainer, about 30 minutes. Strain and put into sterilized quart jars and add 1 teaspoon salt to every jar. Process according to your canner’s directions. Makes 14 quarts.

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.

 

Hosting church brings surprise guests and plenty of fellowship

Today is the 59th birthday of my oldest sibling, sister Leah. Birthday blessings to her! Since we live two hours apart and I won’t get to see her, I sent a card and letter to her by mail.

Our children who still live at home spent today helping daughter Susan and her husband, Mose, in preparation for their upcoming hosting of church services. Also helping were sister Emma and son Steven, and my daughter Elizabeth and little Abigail. We all went over for breakfast, which was breakfast burritos, sugar cookies, peaches, and watermelon. We cleaned out cabinets, cupboards, and other items, and the boys cleaned out the barn.

Abigail kept herself entertained by playing with dolls and looking at books. She loves looking at books and really notices what a book is about. She plays “Mommy” and keeps her little “baby” happy. She asked her mother, Elizabeth, if she wanted to hold her baby. While she was handing the doll to Elizabeth, it almost dropped from her hands. Abigail said, “Be careful, Mom!” in such a grown-up voice. It was just so cute!

Baby Jennifer is seven months old today and also kept us entertained. She is just full of smiles but doesn’t like when her mom is extra busy, like today. She breastfeeds, so Jennifer enjoys those times with her mother.

We hosted church services last Sunday. There were some families missing but we had visitors, so I am guessing we had around 130 to 140 people here. It was a smaller group than I’m used to having, but it was nice to be done with the preparation. Dishes were all washed and packed up by 1:30 pm. Guests sat outside under the shade trees and enjoyed popcorn before leaving.

We had a nice surprise on Sunday morning. Sister Liz and husband Levi, nieces Suzanne and Elizabeth with Samuel and their children, LaRose and Samuel Lee, niece Rosa, Menno and baby Jeremiah, nephew Levi Jr. and Arlene all showed up for church services here. We were glad to have them! Liz and Levi were able to pick up Levi Jr. and Arlene on their way up to Michigan.

Our church lunch menu included: homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, bread and butter pickles, dill pickles, red beans (pickled), hot peppers, strawberry jam, butter, coffee, iced tea, plus chocolate chip, sugar and oatmeal cookies.

Saturday evening before church services here, our married children with grandchildren plus Loretta’s special friend, Dustin, as well as some friends of our sons spent the night here. We have a bed and cribs in the part of the pole barn where we have church services that was made into a temporary nursery for the ladies with small babies. Mose, Susan and Jennifer slept in there (their old living quarters when they lived here). It’s nice that they have their own bathroom out there. We also have a bed and bathroom in our basement, which is where Timothy, Elizabeth, and Abigail slept. The extra boy visitors divided up between our sons’ two bedrooms. So we had enough room for everyone!

Sunday morning, I made two breakfast casseroles and put them in the oven to bake while everyone dressed for church.

After church and lunch, Liz, Levi and family headed home in the late afternoon. Jacob, sister Emma and family, and sisters Verena and Susan, along with our family, were here for supper. Our menu was grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, chicken and noodles, gravy, peaches, cookies, sliced tomatoes, homemade bread, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, red beet pickles, hot peppers and more.

I didn’t invite more people to stay for supper, as we were so tired from all the extra work we did beforehand. Needless to say, we feel pretty relaxed this week and are taking life a little easier. God’s blessings to all!

Today’s recipe is for a super-healthy side dish that you can keep in the fridge for weeks to come. Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis.

Marinated Carrots

2 pounds carrots
1 large onion, sliced into rings
1 large green pepper, sliced
1 can tomato soup
1 cup sugar
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup salad oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Wash and scrape carrots. Cut into diagonal slices about 1 inch long. Cook in boiling water until tender. Drain and cool. In large bowl, combine carrots with onion rings and green pepper slices. Combine soup, sugar, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Pour hot mixture over carrot mixture. Cool. Cover and chill in refrigerator overnight. Keeps up to a month in the refrigerator.

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.

Pace of preparation picks up for Sunday church at the Eichers

Pace of preparation picks up for Sunday church at the Eichers

Benches and Ausbund hymnals are hauled from one home to another to use for church services in homes, pole barns or basements. Photo by Grant Beachy

Church services will be held here on Sunday, Lord willing. The extra project of getting wainscoting and trim on has felt a bit overwhelming.

We are also putting a new ceiling up since the drywall still looks different from being patched in when we had the house fire several years ago. They ran into some problems putting it up so it delayed us from some of the cleaning.

It has just been one late night after another and I will be so glad once we have it completed. We regretted that we even started with a deadline so close but we will be glad its another check off our “to do list” or as my husband Joe would call it, “honey do list.” It does look very nice to see the windows with trim and the doorways. The curtain rods have been hung with the curtains. Every day we get closer to being done and every day brings us closer to Sunday. It is nice to have a big house but it takes a lot longer to clean it as well.

Last night Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan, and Jennifer came to help some more. We  had an easy supper of a lot of garden vegetables. On the menu were potatoes, sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumber salad, breaded zucchini—all vegetables from our garden. We also had some barbecued chicken that was leftover from the day before.

On Sunday August 5 was Mose and Susan’s second anniversary. Next week on August 14 will be Timothy and Elizabeth’s third anniversary. I wish both couples a happy anniversary and God’s richest blessings. May they enjoy many more happy and healthy years together. We have been blessed with two great sons-in-law that are willing to help us when we need help with our work. We like to return the favor. It helps parents to know their daughters are happy in marriage. May God always be their guide as we travel into the unknown future.

The ceiling we are putting up is wood and needs staining. We are staining it a natural oak. All the work of the staining is being done by sons Joseph, 16, Kevin, 12, and daughters Verena, 20, Loretta, 18, and Lovina, 14. They have put in many hours of staining the 4×8 sheets by hand. We wanted it to have two applications but ran out of stain. Tomorrow morning we will get more so it can all be dry by evening.

We have more help coming tomorrow. Sister Emma and sons, daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their little girls will come in the morning. Their husbands will come after work to help finish hanging the ceiling and help with whatever else Joe needs done. Niece Emma’s special friend Menno will also come help. Also daughter Loretta’s special friend Dustin. We are sure appreciative of all their help. It seems with mowing, gardening, etc., its just a busy time of the year.

Last Saturday those assisting us with our work were Jacob, Emma, and sons Jacob Jr, 18, Benjamin, 16, and Steven, 11; Timothy, Elizabeth, and Abigail; Mose, Susan, and Jennifer; sisters Verena and Susan; and Dustin.

Joe has some work that he needs done in the barn. He wants to make room for a few new horse stalls so the chicken coop area is all being torn out. We butchered our old chickens and will wait until spring when we can start new ones in hopefully a new chicken coop separate from the barn. The young boys got the job of cleaning up the barn.

Jacob Jr. and Loretta were in charge of grilling 30 pounds of chicken for our lunch. They also made potatoes on the grill cooked in olive oil. With desserts being brought in and adding cucumber salad and tomatoes to the menu we had a delicious meal for all the hard workers.

Now I need to go to bed. Writing about all this work is even exhausting! Everyone else has gone to bed.

Good night and God bless!

Best-ever Blueberry Muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter or margarine melted
1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Combine eggs, buttermilk, and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in blueberries. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-24 minutes or until muffins test done. Yield: about 1 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.

 

 

 

Hosting church spurs Eichers to finally add trim and wainscoting

Hosting church spurs Eichers to finally add trim and wainscoting

Another busy week! Yesterday was a long day. Sister Emma and sons Jacob, 18, and Steven, 11, daughter Elizabeth with Abigail, and daughter Susan with Jennifer assisted us with our work.

Steven had his eleventh birthday on Monday, July 30. Son Kevin and Steven always enjoy spending time together. They both have muscular dystrophy, so they are limited with what they can do. Other children at that age don’t always want to take the time to play with someone that is slower at walking. It’s the age when others are active and want to run and play sports. So most of the time these two boys keep each other entertained at school, church, etc. Until I had handicapped children I never thought so much about it but once you are at this end of it you really appreciate the people that are considerate of your children. It is hard for boys this age to sit back and watch the other boys running and playing games that they can’t participate in. God helps us through our trials.

Yesterday our back entrance was cleaned from top to bottom. Some kitchen cabinets were also cleaned out. I sure was glad for what all was done. Everyone who came to help had a breakfast of biscuits, sausage gravy, fried eggs, cheese, chocolate chip cookies, watermelon, coffee, milk, and juice. For lunch we had vegetable soup and hot dog sandwiches.

In the evening my husband Joe, sons Joseph and Kevin and I went to Menards (a large lumber and supply store) to pick up our order of trim and wainscoting. Yes, we are finally getting our trim on. One year after another slips by since we moved in our new house. It seemed we could always use the money somewhere else and that is still the case but Joe said we need to get it done. It will look a lot better I’m sure. We have the family coming to help us with it on Saturday. Then we have one more week after that to be ready to host church services.

Daughter Verena, 20, is disappointed to be out of a job again. Nephew Emanul shut down his woodworking shop where she was a secretary. She had found some work suitable for her and it was working so good for her. Again we will trust God to lead the way. I sure am glad for her help with the cleaning but I understand that helping her mother doesn’t pay.

Last Friday my sisters Verena and Susan spent the day here helping. They cleaned a lot of windows. They used white vinegar in water to wash them and use cheese cloth towel to dry them. It made the windows nice and sparkling. Joe made grilled hamburgers and French fries for our supper before they left for home. I sure appreciate everyone’s help.

We were invited to a fish fry at neighbors Joas and Susan’s place last night but couldn’t attend as we had to go to Menards.

I have pickles that need to be canned today. I will also make freezer pickles with them. For canning pickles, I use the recipe that a lady in our church gave me called sweet dill pickles. I will share the recipe with those of you that like canning your own pickles.

God bless!

Sweet Dill Pickles

Cucumbers, (sliced, enough for about 3 quarts, or double plus extra for 6-7 quarts)
2 cups white vinegar
3 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons canning and pickling salt
2 cups water
4 garlic cloves (per quart)
2 dill heads (per quart)
pinch of alum (per quart)

Put sliced cucumbers, garlic, dill, and alum in jars. Heat vinegar, sugar, salt, and water together then pour over pickles. Cold pack according to your guide for water bath canning. Makes 3 quarts.

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.

 

 

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.