Guest columnist reveals what Lovina’s been cooking in the kitchen

Editor’s Note: Lovina Eicher took a vacation while her children were on spring break. Guest columnist is Melodie Davis, one of the editors at MennoMedia/Herald Press which syndicates Lovina’s column.

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I walked into Lovina’s kitchen on a beautiful October morning last fall to a hive of women cooking up a storm. A breakfast casserole was in the oven and some cookies were already cooling—and the coffee was on. Two huge bushels of apples sat over at the edge of the kitchen. Lovina, plus her daughters Verena and Loretta, were busy mixing and stirring.

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A man by the name of Lucas Landis was taking pictures as the Eichers worked—all without actually photographing faces or even backs. Most of us understand that Amish generally do not pose for any photographs as part of their faith and custom, aiming for simplicity in life and spirit (avoiding pride and boasting).

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What was the kitchen hum about that morning? If you haven’t guessed it yet, Lovina is producing an Amish-themed cookbook, the first one of her own in about four years. We at Herald Press are thrilled! It will be all her own recipes (aside from some, of course, sent by readers or obtained from friends and relatives—Lovina has more cousins than we can count) but each recipe will be tested and adapted by Lovina and her “English” friend Ruth Boss, plus a clutch of volunteer cooks from Ruth’s church.

I was pleased to also meet Ruth that morning, who arrived a bit later and had stopped at a nearby Amish bakery to buy sweet rolls, long johns and other delicacies for the work day. Ruth quipped, “They’ll have to carry us out of here,” because she knew just how plentiful and delicious the food would be that day. You may recall Ruth writing a guest column for Lovina late last summer on daughter Elizabeth’s wedding so Lovina could catch her breath.

Some of the dishes Lovina and daughters made that day included Shoo Fly Pie, Apple Pie, Apple Danish, Carrot Cake, M & M Cookies, Potato Pancakes, Vegetable Soup and more. She had scheduled three such “cooking days” last fall—in addition to everything else that Lovina does in a normal busy week.

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Lovina’s handwritten cooking list with items completed checked off.

Let me add that I was utterly amazed at how well and how much Lovina’s teenage daughters helped—they were in the kitchen all day cooking various recipes—all under Lovina’s watchful instruction. When they weren’t cooking, they were constantly washing dishes. Which is where Ruth and I jumped in—rinsing and drying the dishes, pans, and utensils! I put my hands in that steamy hot water and it felt like home—the wonderful hot water I love for cleaning dishes.

The name of Lovina’s new cookbook is The Essential Amish Kitchen: Everyday Recipes from Farm and Pantry. A cookbook takes extra-long to “cook up” so it comes out in April 2017. We hope you’ll want one to use whenever you want a taste of good home cooking from farm and pantry! The book will be sold online and at bookstores everywhere. Lovina’s column, along with her blog and Facebook page, will keep you posted on when it’s available for preorder.

Writing her weekly column and producing a cookbook like this is Lovina’s way of earning extra money for her family—which she can do right in her own home like many other Amish women in their cottage industries. And so many men too have businesses on the side or full time, now that it is so difficult to support a family on farm income. Family farms are small these days and land is hard to come by. We appreciate readers—and newspapers—being part of this extended family and community. We know readers enjoy sitting down once a week to enter into a little of Lovina’s family life, and learn from the strong faith she shares with us all. One man, who reads Lovina’s column online, said, “I [find] myself greatly blessed and refreshed.”

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The Eicher children wanted to take the cookbook photographer and his family for a quick wagon ride at day’s end.

I’ll share one of my own favorite recipes, adapted from another classic Mennonite cookbook, More-with-Less Cookbook, for Oatmeal Bread.

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Oatmeal Bread

1 cup quick oats
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Combine above ingredients in a large bowl.

Pour 2 cups boiling water over mixture, stirring to combine.

Separately dissolve:
2 packages dry yeast in
½ cup warm water

When batter is cooled to lukewarm, add the yeast mixture. Stir in 5½ cups white flour (you’ll probably add another ½ cup in kneading). When dough is stiff, turn onto a floured board and knead 5–10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. Punch down and let rise again. Shape into 2 loaves and place in greased 9x5x3-inch pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25–30 minutes. Cool on rack. Brush loaves with butter or margarine for a soft crust.

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Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Melodie Davis is a writer/editor for MennoMedia and Herald Press who also writes her own syndicated newspaper column, Another Way, and keeps a personal blog Finding Harmony Blog.

 

 

Guess who’d rather plant garden barefooted?

As I write this, we are almost through March. April 1 is already Friday. Next week our three children will be home from school for spring break. Parent/teacher conferences will be held on Thursday. After spring break there are only nine more weeks of school left. It is hard to believe how fast this term is going.

My husband Joe planted quite a few Red Pontiac seed potatoes on Saturday. We have been wanting to also get some peas and radishes planted. We are hearing that we will have another cold week coming with temperatures below freezing. I hope it will miss us but we can’t control the weather and need to accept what God sends.

Joe is always eager to start planting garden. It’s a good thing that he is because I like to put it off as long as possible. I like planting garden when it’s warm and I can go out barefooted to plant.

Daughter Susan has started training her pony, “Tough Boy,” now. He is already two years old. She is line driving him and teaching him the commands. He is almost ready to hitch to the pony cart. Susan works at the RV factory then spends her evenings working with Tough Boy.

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On Good Friday we had a nice relaxing family day. We set the table for all the family. The men and boys grilled the chicken while the girls and I prepared the rest of the menu.

Our meal consisted of mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, barbequed chicken, corn, taco salad, Easter eggs, dill pickles, hot peppers, celery and carrot sticks, sliced Colby and Swiss cheese, homemade bread, butter and strawberry jam. Also Swiss roll bars (that daughter Elizabeth brought), cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies, and ice cream.

It is always such a good feeling to sit down at the table when the whole family is present. Not everyone can do this and my heart goes out to broken families and also to families that have had loved ones that passed on before. God has given us so many blessings and so much to be thankful for. Do we thank God enough for all he provides for us?

Our five daughters fixed a tray of food to take over to our 88-year-old neighbor Irene. They walked it over to her house before we started eating. We also made mashed potatoes for our neighbor Joe’s little daughter Jaylyn. She had her tonsils removed and is only allowed soft foods. She loves mashed potatoes and we had more than enough for us. It is nice to have good neighbors.

Our afternoon was spent playing games. Joe has a croquet set that eight people can play but outside the wind was chilly so it was decided to play games indoors.

Daughter Susan is still only working four days at the factory so she will be home on Friday. Daughter Elizabeth has plans to come home on Friday. It’s always enjoyable to work with the girls.

Son-in-law Timothy is allowed to start putting weight on his foot. He is slowly getting around but still relies on his crutches at times.

This week I’ll share the recipe for Ho Ho Cake, which is kind of like a giant Hostess Ho Ho if you’re familiar with those. Several readers have requested it.

God’s blessings to all!

Ho Ho Cake

Bake one chocolate cake in a 9×13 inch pan. Let cool.

Topping 1:
5 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oleo
1 cup shortening

Mix flour and milk in saucepan and cook until thick, stirring constantly. Cream together sugar, oleo, and shortening. Add flour mixture, beat well and put on cake.

Topping 2:

1/2 cup oleo
1 egg
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 1/2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Melt oleo and cocoa together. Cool. Beat egg, vanilla, and water; add powdered sugar, blending well. Stir with oleo/cocoa mixture. Pour this topping over first topping on cake and refrigerate.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

When husband Joe surprised two little boys Easter morning

DaffodilsFriday is Good Friday and we look forward to Easter on Sunday. Good Friday we traditionally keep as a holiday, so no one in our family will go to work or school. The Amish churches in this community have “Fast” (no eating) and prayer until noon. Our family will all be here and have family time. Then we’ll gather here for the noon meal.

On Easter Sunday we will go to church. Easter is the time to rejoice and be thankful for the gift of life Jesus gave for someone like you and me.

Photo040418491The younger children still enjoy coloring eggs for Easter. As I was growing up we always colored eggs. The bright colored eggs always remind me of the colors of the rainbow. Our parents taught us the true meaning of Easter. May we all remember the true meaning of Easter.

Son Benjamin always gathered the eggs when he was a little boy around four and five. One Easter morning Jacob and Emma and family were here. My husband Joe knew Benjamin and Jacob would go gather the eggs from the hen house as soon as they were awake. Joe took all the eggs out and replaced them with colored eggs. I still remember the excitement those two little boys had when they discovered the colored eggs.

Dandelion greens are getting bigger every day. We had our first meal of dandelion salad this week, and I shared that recipe last week. This is a good way to use up the extra colored eggs since it takes hard-cooked eggs. I keep watching for the asparagus to pop through. The rhubarbs are looking good.

I love spring and all the signs of it. I know it brings more work but it is so nice to go out on a nice warm and sunny day and feel the gentle breeze blowing. I enjoy hanging the clothes outside again. What a wonderful creator God is!

Last Friday (the week before Good Friday), sister Verena had a Tupperware party in the forenoon. She and sister Susan made lunch for all who attended. They served hash brown casserole, potato salad, jello cake, golden M&M bars, apple and strawberry slices with fruit dip, punch, and coffee. After everyone else left, sister Emma and my daughters Elizabeth, Susan, Verena, and Loretta stayed and spent the afternoon with sisters Verena and Susan. Daughter Elizabeth came here in the morning and went with us to the party. Susan biked and Elizabeth, Verena, Loretta and I took Stormy our pony and the pony buggy. The ride was a little chilly but we didn’t have far to go. Stormy was eager to run and was a little rowdy. He doesn’t get out too much in the winter months.

Saturday evening Timothy and Elizabeth came for the evening and stayed here all night. Daughter Verena left them sleep in her bedroom, which was Elizabeth’s room before she was married. It seemed really good to have them here for the night. Mose (Susan’s friend) went home with Timothy to do their chores Sunday morning while the girls and I made breakfast.

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Tim and Elizabeth have a new colt, born to their horse, Shi Ann.

On our menu were eggs, potatoes, bacon, cheese, toast, strawberry jam, butter, and hot peppers, with chocolate milk, orange juice and coffee for drinks.

Timothy and Elizabeth stayed all day. We played games in the afternoon and enjoyed each other’s company.

I’ll share the recipe for golden M&M bars. We like them!

God bless and I hope you all have a blessed Good Friday and Easter.

Golden M&M Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vanilla chips
1 3/4 cups M&M’s, divided

Cream together sugars and butter. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir into butter mixture. Fold in chips and M&M’s, reserving 3/4 cup M&M’s. Spread in 9 x 12 greased pan. Sprinkle reserved M&Ms on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Time Enough: Signs of spring and a new baby “Lovina”!

Our time changed to what we call “fast time” on Sunday. I do not like the changing of clocks back and forth. I wish it would stay one way or the other.

My husband Joe tilled one of our gardens on Saturday. He is getting spring fever and is eager to get some potatoes planted. I on the other hand think we have enough time yet. Joe and sons Benjamin, 16, Joseph, 13, and Kevin, 10, have the yard raked and it’s ready to be rolled. We had a big truck get stuck in our yard. He thought he could drive through it and it was already too soft so it needs some straightening out.

I noticed the dandelion greens are peeping through enough where Idandelion.salad think I can get enough for a dandelion salad. We like to put this salad on top of steamed potatoes with bacon or fresh ham. Not all of our children will eat dandelion greens. Rhubarbs are peeping through—all signs of spring around us.

ice.cream&maple.syrupMose (daughter Susan’s friend) has pulled the taps from the maple trees. Maple syrup cooking is now over with for another year. The maple syrup has a really good flavor this year. I tried eating it on ice cream for the first time. They were telling me how good it is and I just didn’t think it would be that good. I really did like it.

Saturday morning I had a voicemail from nephew Joe Coblentz. This is brother Albert’s son. He wanted to let me know that he and Amanda had their third child Friday evening, a little girl they named Lovina! So now their daughter has the same name as I did until I married Joe: Lovina Coblentz. Nephew Joe laughed and said, “Now it’s going to cost you.” It looks like I better get sewing and make something special for this sweet little baby that shares my name. Joe and Amanda have three children now: Susannah, Harley, and baby Lovina.

Tuesday the women from several church districts gathered at an Amish family’s home to quilt on two quilts that will be donated to the Community Health Center benefit auction. Everyone packed their lunch. I love quilting so it’s always enjoyable to me. We all stopped to eat our lunch together, and then continued quilting.

There are ten church districts in our community so every district is scheduled to quilt a certain day. When we got there the quilts weren’t started yet. Both quilts had a very nice pattern but I’m not sure what the one was called. One of them was a diamond pattern. The one I quilted had feathers around the edge. We were all glad to get the feathers quilted and move on to some faster stitching further in on the quilt.

Yesterday I spent part of the day in a town about one-half hour from here by car. A friend took Kevin and I. Kevin’s leg braces had to be adjusted and he hadn’t been able to wear them. He wore them to school today and hopefully they won’t bother him. I told him if they bother him to take them off. It’s always hard to get a new pair worn in. He doesn’t like wearing them at all but the doctors really think we might be able to prevent surgery. They were really happy at the results at his last doctor visit. Kevin is not so happy about it. He did not have a good morning. The braces slow him down and he just gets all frustrated about it.

I’ll share my recipe for dandelion sour cream salad this week.

God’s blessings!

Dandelion Sour Cream Salad

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups whole milk
salt
4 hard-boiled eggs, diced
4 cups packed young dandelion greens

Combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, milk, and salt to taste in a quart jar. Shake until smooth. Put the eggs, and dandelion greens in a large bowl and pour the sour cream mixture over them.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Lovina writes down her huge recipe for canned vegetable soup

We’re having another warm day with the temperature in the mid sixties. Yesterday was even warmer plus it was also sunny. We did laundry and hung it all outside on the lines. By the afternoon hours everything was dry. It sure gives a person spring fever. It was so good to be able to wash, dry, and fold clothes in one day and have it all put away. We had an extra huge laundry as we washed some bedding, coats, etc.

Today it is cloudy and no sun but it is still nice to be able to have a few windows open. So nice to smell the fresh air blowing in.

Susan’s friend Mose came last night to cook down some more sap into maple syrup. Since it has warmed up again, the sap is really running from the maple trees.

Son Joseph, 13, is now getting around without crutches. He still favors the leg and it still gets painful if he overdoes it. He walks with a limp but is back to milking our cow Bessie every morning and evening.

Son-in-law Timothy is still not allowed to put weight on his foot. It is improving more every day, but he is so ready to walk without the aid of crutches. Daughter Elizabeth had plans to come spend the day here but Timothy ended up being sick this morning so she stayed home with him. She plans to come tomorrow, which I always look forward to. I didn’t see her since last Friday so we have lots of visiting to catch up on. Daughter Lovina, 11, spent the weekend with Timothy and Elizabeth helping out wherever needed. She loves spending time over there.

Saturday we helped sister Emma and Jacob butcher two hogs. We were done early in the afternoon. The hogs were smaller than ours so things went a little faster. Pon hoss was made and lard rendered. We had breakfast pizza for breakfast, along with chocolate chip bars, jello cake, and peanut butter pies.

For lunch the menu consisted of fried pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, corn, macaroni salad, celery and carrot sticks, sliced cheese, tomato slices, and jalapeños that sisters Verena and Susan brought home from Florida. The desserts left over from breakfast were also on the menu plus ice cream.

My sisters had a nice time in Florida. Glad they are back home.

Saturday afternoon as Mose was bottling the maple syrup, some enjoyed ice cream with maple syrup as a topping. I didn’t try it but the ones that did really liked it.

Daughter Verena spent the weekend in a community in Indiana at a friend’s house. With Verena and Lovina both not home, the house seemed empty.

Sunday afternoon we had Joe’s cousin Leander, wife Rosina, and family as our visitors. We enjoyed popcorn while we visited. The Leanders have four married sons and one lives only a few miles from us. They had supper with their son Leander and wife Karen.

We spent the day just at home relaxing. With my husband Joe working every other Saturday and butchering in between on Saturday, we were glad to rest.

I would like to express my thanks to Carol for the gift certificate from Ridgeway books. I am enjoying some new books that I always wanted to purchase. May God bless you for your kindness!

A reader requested my vegetable soup recipe to can. I really don’t have a recipe but tried to write one down as close as I could to what I use.

Also, to all readers who have asked: Aggravation game boards made by my nephew Jacob can be ordered from Chupps at 269-659-3950. Call for prices.

God’s blessing to all!

Vegetable Soup to Can

1 quart onions, diced
1 quart potatoes, peeled and diced
1 quart carrots, diced
1 quart celery, diced
1 quart corn
1 quart peas
1 quart green beans
1 quart cooked beef chunks (can be simmered or stewed until cooked through, or purchase cooked)
6 quarts tomato juice
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic if vegetables to candesired. Put in jars and process according to your pressure cooker instructions.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Limping into March—maple sugar time plus recipe!

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Border collie Buddy enjoys a buggy ride–even if it is to the vet for a shot.

We have entered the month of March. Our weather made a change from warm sunny days to cold, ice, and snow again. Schools in our area were closed Thursday and Friday of last week and Wednesday of this week.

Our son Joseph, 13, is still on crutches, but only missed two days of school since three were cancelled due to the weather. X-rays showed there isn’t a fracture, just a badly bruised knee. He still can’t put too much pressure on it. It swells up if he uses it too much. He did manage to milk our cow Bessie a few times but is limited in what he can do. We really miss his help. We had to laugh because older brother Benjamin, 16, said he didn’t think Joseph did that much of the chores but now he can see how much Joseph really does do.

While we are having cold and snow, my sisters Verena and Susan are enjoying the sunny south. I talked to them over the phone and they are having a good time. They saw an alligator up close. They had 80 degree weather on the day I talked to them while here in Michigan the temperature was in the teens.

Mose (daughter Susan’s special friend) has been busy cooking maple syrup. He tapped our trees and also sister Emma and Jacob’s trees. He also helps his dad with their own trees. The sugar content is really low this year so it takes gallons and gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.

Son-in-law Timothy is also still on crutches, from the chain saw accident he had several weeks ago. He is still not allowed to put any weight on his foot. He was determined to try to go back to work this week. He runs the saw at the saw mill. He sat on a step stool or something to run the saw. After a day at work his foot was so cold since he can’t wear shoes yet. He stayed home a day and went to get toe warmers and thicker socks. At this writing, I haven’t heard if he managed to make it through the rest of the week.

Sunday evening we took supper to Timothy and Elizabeth and had a nice evening with them. It was warm so we walked to the river behind their house. Timothy does pretty well on his crutches whereas Joseph is still getting the hang of his.

Timothy and Elizabeth have also tapped around forty trees and have been cooking down sap into maple syrup. Elizabeth gathers all the sap for Timothy is able to watch over the sap as it cooks down and keeps wood on the fire.

Their horse ShiAnn had a colt with four white feet and a nice star on its forehead. It is a frisky little thing and he was really trying out his legs on Sunday in the sunshine. Izzy and Crystal had fun running outside with us.

I want to make a correction to one of my recent letters. I said my dad was the third of thirteen children. He is the second oldest. I also wrote that cousin Emma’s son died several years before her husband Andy. It was actually several months before. I just thought I should correct that. I have no idea where my mind was when I was writing that day—possibly too many distractions going on.

God bless you all!

Maple Custard Pie

1 1/4 cups brown sugar
9 tablespoons flour
9 egg yolks
6 tablespoons maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups scalded milk

Frosting:

9 egg whites, beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
18 tablespoons powdered sugar (1 and 1/8 cup)
vanilla

  1. Mix flour and brown sugar and press into three unbaked pie crusts.
  2. Beat egg yolks and add maple syrup, salt, and milk carefully and pour the mixture over sugar mixture. Do not mix. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, lower to 325 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  3. Top with frosting and brown lightly in oven.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Saturday’s butchering fills freezers for another year

We butchered three hogs on Saturday. One of the hogs we butchered is for Timothy and Elizabeth. We raised an extra one to give to them.

This week the Eichers made pon hoss, a fried dish made from leftover hog meat.
This week the Eichers made pon hoss, a fried dish made from leftover hog meat.

We had plenty of good help, which made the workload lighter for everyone. The meat was cooked off the bones and used to make pon hoss, a fried dish made from leftover hog meat. We had enough to make 12 gallons of pork broth into pon hoss. The lard was rendered, making around 18 to 20 gallons of lard. The sausage was put through the grinder and seasoned with different kinds of seasonings. Then everything was packaged and put in the freezers. We still want to make summer sausage, using venison sausage and pork sausage. We add the pork sausage so it doesn’t get so dry.

We made a breakfast casserole on Friday evening so it was easy to put in the oven on Saturday morning. The men and boys started with the butchering at 4:00 a.m. All three hogs were really big—we guessed roughly around 500 pounds each. After the men had the hogs dressed, they all came in to eat breakfast.

The Eichers and their butchering helpers enjoyed a lunch of pork tenderloin on Saturday.
The Eichers and their butchering helpers enjoyed a lunch of pork tenderloin on Saturday.

Our noon meal was a little later. On the menu: fried pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken noodles, dressing, corn, hot peppers, lettuce salad, pasta salad, cheese, homemade bread, butter, strawberry jam, banana cake, brownies, chocolate chip bars, hoho cake, and ice cream.

It was a long hard day, but I am so glad to have the freezers filled for another year. And the boys are glad to have fewer chores out in the barn.

Timothy is still on crutches and off work yet. His foot seems to be in the healing process and he doesn’t have too much pain if he stays off his feet.

Last night son Joseph, 13, hurt his knee and leg. He was pumping air into a cold basketball and it blew up, knocking him back. His knee and leg are all bruised, and he can’t put weight on his leg. We have an appointment at the doctor this afternoon. Sure hope it’s not broken, but we will need to get an X-ray to determine that. Joseph learned a lesson: don’t pump up a cold basketball. Luckily it didn’t hit his head. I heard it blow up from the house and thought it was a gun being shot off.

Schools in the area are closed today, as we were dumped on with around eight to ten inches of snow. This was a good thing for Joseph, since he couldn’t have gone anyway. Daughter Susan, 20, is off from the factory until Tuesday. I am glad for her help. Son Benjamin, 16, is also home from work today as his driver didn’t want to drive in this snow. He has been busy all morning, shoveling out walks and the driveway. The snow is really heavy, so he’s going to be glad for a rest when he’s done.

We are doing the chores for my sisters Susan and Verena. They will be gone for ten days, staying with some friends in Ellenton, Florida, not too far from Sarasota. They picked a good week to be in Florida!

Recently our friends Jim and Ruth and their friend Sue invited our family, Jacob and Emma and family, and sisters Verena and Susan over to Jim and Ruth’s cottage by the lake. Ruth and Sue showed us all how to do CPR. Everyone had a chance to try it with the equipment Ruth had. We appreciated the time they took to show us and also for treating us to pizza and snacks. With all our horses and buggies, Jim and Ruth had to tie a rope from one tree to another to have room to tie all our horses. It is so good for everyone to know

how to do CPR. We also appreciated one of the local EMTs, who joined us and showed us more things to do in an emergency situation.

This week I’ll share a recipe for pork chops. God bless everyone! Stay healthy!

Glazed Pork Chops

6 pork chops
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon water

Place chops in a shallow baking dish or cake pan. Do not stack or overlap chops. Make a paste from the rest of the ingredients and spread over chops. Bake uncovered in a 250-degree oven for one hour, then 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Turn chops once after baking 45 minutes and spoon some of the mixture in the bottom of the pan over each chop.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Remembering an Amish father’s legacy of faith and work and reading

If my dad were still living, he would turn 85 years old today. But God had other plans, and Dad passed away in May 2000, at the age of 69. Every year on his birthday we still remember what day it is.

My dad left me a legacy of wonderful memories and of precious love. My dad was quiet in a group, but if you knew him, you would find him cracking a few jokes and find he had a sense of humor. Dad grew up in a family of 13 children. He was the third oldest. There were three girls and ten boys. Dad found out early in life how to work, and it stayed with him all his life. He was an early riser and never liked going to bed late. If he did have free time, he loved taking care of his purple martin birdhouses or reading. I inherited my love of reading from him. If he found a good book, he would always ask me if I wanted to read the book. Dad loved to read educational books and learn new things.

Dad passed away about five weeks before we had Loretta. Benjamin, 16, doesn’t remember him but the older girls remember him for teasing them a lot.

I’ll never forget when our first son, Benjamin, was born. I had him at home, with Joe’s aunt Sylvia being my midwife. Mom was also there, and after Benjamin was born, Dad and my sister Verena brought our daughters Elizabeth, Susan, and Verena back home to meet their new little brother. At first they didn’t want to look at the baby, and we couldn’t figure out why. Finally they said, “Well, Grandpa said that we have a brother now and that he will be able to handle all three of us.” They couldn’t figure out how that could be when they saw little 4-pound, 13-ounce Benjamin! We had a good laugh about it. Benjamin is not so “little” anymore, and is taller than all his sisters.

My uncle Emanuel’s birthday is also today. He is a year older than dad. If you get to read this, Uncle Emanuel, I wish you a happy 86th birthday! May God bless you and Aunt Leah with good health!

I had the privilege of visiting with Emanuel and Leah in Marysville at Uncle Benji’s viewing. Their daughter, cousin Emma, lives in Salem, Indiana, and was also at the viewing. I hadn’t seen Emma in years. After we looked more than once, we recognized each other. My thoughts are with Emma, as she has been a widow for almost nine years. A few years before she lost her husband, their almost 15-year-old son was killed. Emma has twelve children living yet, with all but a few married, if I am correct.

Yesterday the girls and I attended sister Emma’s Tupperware party. She served a delicious lunch to everybody afterwards. We picked up daughter Elizabeth to go with us to the party. Then in the evening Timothy and Elizabeth came here for supper.

Timothy is on crutches and will probably be off work for several weeks yet. A week ago he was cutting a piece of log with a chainsaw when it somehow slipped and went through his shoe, cutting right into his foot. He goes to get it checked out every few days. Elizabeth changes the bandages every six hours around the clock. It’s been very hard for him to sit quietly, especially knowing there isn’t any income coming in and the payments are still due every month. I told them God will provide if they keep their trust in him, although I do understand their concern.  Accidents like that can happen so fast. Hopefully it will heal quickly and without too much nerve damage in his foot.

We wish God’s blessings and good health to everyone. This week I’ll share the recipe for pepper steak potatoes. A good winter evening meal!

Pepper Steak Potatoes

5 small potatoes, cut into slices
1/2 cup water
1 pound beef steaks, cut into strips
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium green pepper, cut into strips
1 small onion, chopped
pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup beef broth

Cook potatoes in water until tender. Sauté beef and garlic in oil until meat is no longer pink. Remove and keep warm. Drain drippings. In the same skillet, sauté pepper and onion. Return beef to pan and add potatoes and pepper. In a small saucepan, combine cornstarch and broth until smooth. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened. Drizzle over meat mixture and toss.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Winter tastes like homemade soup and jerky at the Eichers

We have had quite a few inches of snow this week. Along with the snow we have also had colder temperatures. The mercury on the thermometer dipped down to 13 degrees this morning.

Yesterday daughters Verena, Loretta and I spent the day at daughter Elizabeth’s house. We helped her process 38 quarts of vegetable soup. She told us to come for breakfast so we did all our morning work and headed for her house. She made Egg Dutch for our breakfast. It was delicious. My mother fixed Egg Dutch a lot. It’s a simple and easy breakfast dish.

For our lunch Elizabeth made chili soup along with crackers, chips, dirt pudding, and ice cream. We were done with the soup around 2:00 p.m. We spent a few hours relaxing and visiting with her before coming home.

Canned vegetable soup makes for easy meals and quick lunches to take to school and work.
Canned vegetable soup makes for easy meals and quick lunches to take to school and work.

Earlier in the week we processed 46 quarts of vegetable soup for us. It is so handy to open up a few quarts of soup for a meal when you’re in a hurry. It also is nice to have on hand for school or work lunches.

After we came home, Elizabeth called and said Timothy had come home from work with a cut-up foot. Somehow he cut it at the sawmill where he is working. He will be off work for a few days. It sounds like it was pretty painful last night. It’s hard for Timothy to have to take it easy! I hope it will heal fast.

Our three school-age children will be home tomorrow and Monday. It’s their midwinter break. The girls are making deer jerky, which can be time consuming. Every batch takes a few hours of baking in a 200 degree oven. We are making several different kinds, such as hickory, cajun, and jalapeño. Joe wants to make summer sausage with the venison sausage too. He will add sausage from our hogs we butcher.

The Eicher girls were busy making venison jerky this week.
The Eicher girls were busy making venison jerky this week.

Our plans are to butcher our hogs February 20 since Joe has to work this Saturday. Last Saturday we attended a funeral of a local Amish man, so we postponed the hog butchering.

Last Friday, February 5, was the birthday of Mose, daughter Susan’s friend. A happy birthday to him. Also, I want to wish my friend Ruth a happy birthday, which was on February 9. I won’t mention her age in the column but she is getting to that “over the hill” part of life. I owe Ruth a big thank you for all she has done to help me with this column and in a lot of other ways. True friends like her are hard to find.

It is a relief that all the beef is done now. Once the pork is done I hope to find time to start sewing again. I still didn’t get all the clothes sewn that were given as Christmas gifts.

I hope all of you readers are staying healthy this winter. We can’t complain too much. So far we’ve been only battling colds. I started with a nagging cough a few days ago. I’m trying all my home remedies to get rid of it, and it seems better today.

I’ll share the Egg Dutch recipe for the readers who are new to the column. God bless all of you!

Egg Dutch

5 eggs
1 heaping tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Put into a bowl in the order given and beat. Pour into a heated, greased skillet and cover with a tight lid. Place over medium low heat. Cut and turn when half done and finish baking. I usually put cheese on top when almost done. Bacon bits can also be added.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

More than 1000 friends and family gather to mourn passing of Uncle Benji  

hamburger pattiesThe month of February is already upon us. This past week went fast and it’s hard to believe its past time to pen this column again.

Saturday we ground all the hamburger from the beef we butchered. We made around two hundred fifty hamburger patties and packaged all the hamburger for the freezer. I will make vegetable soup yet from the meat we cook from the bones. This will wind down all the butchering from the beef. We canned the beef chunks and some hamburger. I like canned hamburger for casseroles. It doesn’t have to be fried before adding it so it saves a step. We also use it to make sloppy joes.

cheeseburgers

While working on the hamburger we got a call saying that Joe’s Uncle Benji Eicher passed away in Marysville, Indiana.

Sunday we attended church in Charlotte, Michigan, at Mose’s brother Daniel and Marianna’s place. It’s always interesting to visit other communities. We appreciated the hospitality!

We enjoyed visiting with Lydia Coblentz. Her husband Freeman was a cousin to my dad. He passed away twenty years ago. Lydia is almost ninety and has many interesting stories to tell from her youth. One of her granddaughters wrote a book called Seasons about Lydia’s life. I have the book and we all enjoyed reading it—a true story of an Amish girl growing up in hard times.

Monday morning Joe and I and five of our children headed south for Marysville. We arrived in Scottsburg around 12:30 p.m. We got a few motel rooms then went to the visitation which was almost twenty miles from the motel.

When we came back to the motel the children had fun swimming in the motel’s pool. All the motels in Scottsburg were filled with people that were attending the funeral the next day. Some people had to go to other towns further south for a motel.

Marysville is a new Amish community with not too many families there yet. On the day of the funeral there were over one hundred vans there bringing friends and family from all over. The funeral was held in a large pole barn and I’m guessing there were more than one thousand people there. Our sympathy goes to Aunt Margaret and the family. Uncle Benji left to mourn fourteen children, one hundred thirty four grandchildren, and one hundred fifty eight great-grandchildren.

We arrived back home in Michigan around 6:30 Tuesday evening. Daughter Susan, 20, and son Benjamin, 16, kept up with the chores here at home while we were gone.

We had plans to butcher hogs on Saturday but changed our plans due to a funeral of an eighty-eight year old man from this community, Menno Eicher. He is a father-in-law to three of Joe’s sisters. When I was a young girl I was in the same church district as Menno. Menno was a widower for quite a few years.

We plan to attend the funeral on Saturday. With two funerals in the same week my work has been pushed back so I need to get back to chores. We wish God’s blessings to all of you.

Try this potato soup on these cold winter evenings.

Potato Soup

1 pound bacon, fried and chopped
2 celery ribs, diced
1 onion, diced\
6-8 potatoes, peeled and cubed
32 ounces chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste|
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Place bacon in a large kettle. Add celery and onion and cook until softened. (Use bacon grease if desired.) Add potatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil then simmer until potatoes are tender. In a small saucepan melt butter, then whisk in flour and brown the mixture stirring constantly for a few minutes. Add heavy cream slowly while whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and continue whisking until mixture thickens. Stir cream mixture into the potato mixture. Gently stir in cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Feeds 12 or more.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.