Published! What that means for the Eicher Amish home

We are already more than halfway through June 2015. The year is going way too fast!

On Saturday my husband, Joe, had to work at the RV factory. They are very busy, which makes it hard for him to get caught up with work here at home.

The rest of us helped Timothy move his belongings to his new place on Saturday. Joe biked over after he came home from the factory. It was a very hot and humid day. Some of Timothy’s family were also there to help.

On Sunday in church, daughter Elizabeth and Timothy were published to be married. “Getting published” in an Amish congregation means publicly announcing your engagement. They chose August 14, 2015, for their wedding day. We have a lot to do to prepare for this wedding! It will also be a very big change for our family: the first of our precious children to move away from home and start a new life. Congratulations to Timothy and Elizabeth! Timothy is a wonderful, kind man, and we are happy to have him join our family. He is the last of his 10 siblings to get married, while Elizabeth is the first of her 8 siblings. Timothy has a lot of nieces and nephews already.

The wedding services will be held over at our neighbors’ (Joas and Susan’s) place. The reception will be here in our new pole barn.

We still have quite a bit of sewing to do before the wedding. Elizabeth sewed her wedding dress. She also sewed Susan’s and Loretta’s. We still need to sew dresses for Verena, Lovina, and me. Then we also need to sew new shirts for the boys and Joe. We had hoped to have all the sewing done this spring, but with all the sewing we had to do for the other weddings, we are running behind.

WeddingInvitationElizabethJune2015Timothy’s sister was making the wedding invitation for Timothy and Elizabeth. She had a baby several weeks ago and was running out of time to finish them. On Saturday after we had everything moved for Timothy, the girls and I and some of his family helped finish some of the wedding invitations. Timothy’s brother-in-law dropped off the rest today, so we need to finish them so that Elizabeth can send out the rest of her invitations. They are very nice, but they took a lot of time. Also, my friend Ruth deserves the credit for printing the top of the invitation.

Elizabeth’s 21st birthday was on Sunday too. The church sang “Happy Birthday” to her. We surprised her in the evening with an ice cream cake. Chicken was also on the menu.

Donald and Daisy duck are growing fast.
Donald and Daisy duck are growing fast.

The ducks, Donald and Daisy, that Susan’s friend Mose bought for Lovina, 11, and Kevin, 9, are really growing. They stay around the barn and enjoy this rainy weather.

This week I’ll share my recipe for breakfast pizza. We made it for breakfast one morning this week.

I am sorry for getting behind with reader mail. Please have patience with me, as it will be very busy the next few months.

God’s blessings to all!

The Eicher family made this delicious breakfast pizza this week.
The Eicher family made this delicious breakfast pizza this week.

Breakfast Pizza

1 pizza crust
1 cup pizza sauce
12 eggs, scrambled
1 pound bacon, fried and crumbled
1 pound sausage, browned
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1/4 cup green peppers, chopped
1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup Colby cheese, shredded

Use your favorite pizza crust recipe. Spread pizza sauce on the crust. Layer all other ingredients on top and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake according to your crust’s 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.

 

All hands on deck for busy June days with the Eichers

Last week was a busy one, with attending two weddings. Daughter Elizabeth and Timothy are table waiters in a wedding again on Friday. Elizabeth has her dress done but needs to finish her cape and apron.

The dress that Elizabeth will wear to a wedding.
The dress that Elizabeth will wear to a wedding.

This week we are trying to get caught up with the work around here. On Saturday we filled the rest of the garden. We didn’t have enough space for some of the vegetables I usually plant. I have a small garden beside the house, but I can’t plant anything in it for now. We need to level some ground around the new building before we can plant. Hopefully there will be time for some late vegetables.

Joseph, 12, Lovina, 11, and Kevin, 9, are cleaning strawberries that Jacob and Emma’s boys brought over. The strawberries come from their plants. Verena is baking and Loretta is washing dishes. I am sewing again!

We canned 21 quarts of rhubarb juice this week too. We are enjoying iced tea from the spearmint tea plants out of the garden. We have been having nice rains this last while, which makes everything in the garden grow faster.

Timothy (Elizabeth’s friend) has been slowly moving his belongings to his new home. We went to see his new home, which is very nice. He has more acreage, a bigger, newer house and outbuildings. He does have to build horse stalls for the horses and put up fence around the pasture. On Saturday my husband, Joe, will probably have to work at the factory, but the rest of us will go help move the rest of Timothy’s things. Some of his family will help as well. Elizabeth and some of the girls were cleaning the house last Saturday.

We attended church services at Mose’s (Susan’s friend) parents’ on Sunday. Mose’s sister Hannah and Leroy furnished the lunch, as it was their turn. They are doing some remodeling, so they couldn’t host church services at their house. Wednesday evening the girls had so much fun babysitting for little six-week-old Caleb Lee. Caleb is Mose’s brother Alvin and Suzy’s little baby. It was Alvin’s birthday, so Suzy went fishing with him. Needless to say, that sweet little Caleb didn’t lack attention. It was so enjoyable to have a baby in the house to care for once again. I am sure that Suzy, being a new mother, was glad for a break for a while.

On Sunday, June 14, twenty-one years ago, our first child was born to Joe and me. Where have the years gone? We feel blessed to call Elizabeth our daughter. She has been such a loving daughter and always willing to help with the work. Being the oldest in the family made her mature at a younger age. I could always depend on leaving the little ones in her care when she was old enough to watch over them. May God be her guide through all her years and bless her richly.

At a wedding, my cousin Esther shared a recipe that a friend gave her to give to me. Her friend is a reader of my column. With all the rush, rush of the two weddings, I completely forget her friend’s name. So if she reads this, I want to say thank you! Daughter Verena made it today, and it is delicious!

A reader of the column shared this recipe for rhubarb cheese cake with Lovina's cousin, who shared it with her.
A reader of the column shared this recipe for rhubarb cheese cake with Lovina’s cousin, who shared it with her.

Rhubarb Cheese Cake

Crust:

1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter

Rhubarb layer:

3 cups fresh rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour

Cream layer:

12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs

Topping:

1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

For crust, mix flour, sugar and butter. Pat into a 10-inch pie plate. Set aside. For rhubarb layer, combine rhubarb, sugar and flour. Toss lightly and pour into crust. Bake at 375° for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare cream layer by beating together cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Pour over hot rhubarb layer. Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes or until almost set. For topping, combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Spread over hot layers.

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.

How Lovina and family will manage helping with two Amish weddings in one day!

June is here already! As I write this, tonight will be daughter Loretta’s eighth grade graduation at the school. This will be the fifth of our eight children completing their school years. Time slips by so fast. Life brings so many changes through the years.

Today, June 2, also marks five years now that daughter Verena, 17, had that bad brain concussion. At the time doctors told us that she will heal one hundred percent, but it will take time. We can now see what they meant, but there were some hard years for Verena and our family. How thankful we are. God is good and has given us many blessings.

This week is a very busy week with neighbor Joe and Susie’s wedding and nephew Ben and Lovina’s wedding, both on Thursday. We will work in both! We decided to go to Berne, Ind. and attend Ben and Lovina’s wedding, and after lunch, we’ll come back home and go to Joe and Susie’s wedding for the evening meal.

TableWaiterGift4
Table waiter gift for Verena at Ben and Lovina’s wedding, June 4, 2015.

I was asked to be cook at both weddings. Timothy and daughter Elizabeth were asked to be table waiters at both weddings. They were asked several weeks earlier to be table waiters at Joe and Susie’s wedding and had already said they would before Ben and Lovina’s plans were published. Joe and Susie bought the house just down the road from us and will be our new neighbors. Daughter Verena will be a table waiter at Ben and Lovina’s wedding. She will find a way home (back from Berne) with someone from my family. I need to do the finishing touches on her peacock colored dress suit yet. Elizabeth has to wear a tan colored suit to be table waiter.

Tomorrow morning I will go help bake pies for Joe and Susie’s wedding. I was also asked to help for Ben and Lovina’s wedding but since this is closer I’ll just walk over to help. I really wish both weddings wouldn’t have been on the same day but sometimes that happens.

The school will also have the school picnic on Thursday. Doors will close after the picnic until next term. They always do lots of fun things on the last day so Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin want to go to school. They will go with us to Joe and Susie’s wedding in the evening. Loretta can’t participate in a lot of the activities on fun day so she will go with us to Berne, Ind. My sisters Verena and Susan will travel with us to Berne and also come back for Joe and Susie’s wedding as they were asked to be dish washers. Usually the dish washers make sure all the dishes get packed back up in boxes and put in the wedding wagon. This takes a lot of the work load off the cooks and helps out cleaning up the next day.

GingerAndFilly1
Ginger and her newborn filly. Help the Eichers name her!

Our highlight of the week is our horse Ginger giving birth to a little filly. She is pure black like Itty Bit’s filly, Black Beauty. They could pass for twins but Black Beauty is a month older and has grown a lot.

GingersNewFilly+IttyBitAndBlackBeauty
Pastoral scene at the Eichers: newborn filly with her mother, Ginger, and Itty Bit with her growing filly Black Beauty, now a month old. Both colts are pure black!

We are still trying to figure out a name. Everyone has a different suggestion. Feel free to send your ideas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberries are in season. Try this cheesecake. God bless!

Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle

16 ounces cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
3/4 teaspoon almond extract, divided
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 angel food cake torn into bite-size pieces
2 quarts fresh strawberries thinly sliced
3 tablespoons sugar

In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add sour cream, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. Set aside.

In a small deep bowl, whip the cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and sugar. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Add cake pieces; set aside. Combine strawberries, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Layer together in a large clear glass dish starting with strawberries and then adding cake mixture. Continue layering, finishing with strawberries. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Serves 24.

 

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.

 

 

Birthday celebration for Lovina includes eating out, new gas grill

I am already a day late in getting this column to my editors. I appreciate their patience.

Tomorrow morning we leave at 5:30 a.m. for nephew John and Arlene’s wedding day. Everything is sewn as needed for this wedding. I am making Verena’s dress, cape, and apron for nephew Ben’s wedding next week. It is the color peacock. I need to cut out and sew mine yet. I am supposed to wear periwinkle.

I want to thank all the readers for their happy birthday wishes. My 44th birthday was on Friday May 22. My husband Joe took the family and I out to eat at Ponderosa. What a treat! The children asked the waitresses and waiters to sing “Happy Birthday” to me. Joe also gave me a gas grill for my birthday. I have always wanted NewGrill2015one but Joe prefers to grill on a charcoal grill. I have it on my front porch and have used it to grill hamburgers and pork steak. It has a burner on the side which I’m sure I’ll use a lot this summer to cook on to keep the house cooler and cleaner.

Daughter Elizabeth is enjoying her week off from the RV factory. She is getting a lot of sewing done. She has two more weddings to sew dresses for, where Timothy and she will be table waiters.

Saturday the younger children helped me get most of the garden planted. I wasn’t going to put out as many plants since I’m short in space with the pole barn going up where my other garden was. I went to get my plants at the green house and should have been counting how many tomato and pepper plants I was getting. I like to try different varieties and before I knew it I had 80 tomato plants and 40 green pepper plants to squeeze in one garden. It looks like I’ll be canning lots of salsa, pizza, and spaghetti sauce, V-8, tomato juice, etc. That is if they all produce well.

The men are here today finishing the pole barn. It is looking really nice! Neighbors Joas and Susan walked over here last night to look at it. Their son is getting married next week and they will be our new neighbors. The wedding is at Joas and Susan’s house so they are really busy right now.

HorseBuggyMighty2015The horse “Mighty” that we bought from brother Amos is still doing great for us. Daughter Susan drove him to work one day. She picked up my sister Susan and another girl on her way to work. Susan is still training Prancer every chance she gets. They are putting in longer hours at nephew Emanul’s woodworking shop so her time is limited in the evenings.

Our thoughts and prayers are with a family in our community. The 49-year-old mother died of that dreadful disease, cancer. She was laid to rest last week. Her daughter is getting married in a few weeks. Our sympathy goes out to the lonely husband and children. May God help them through this difficult trial in life.

Readers of my mother’s former column requested that I share her CutOutColumnRhubarbCrunchrecipe with my new readers. They sent me a copy marked with several changes. They say it’s a winner!

Blessings to all you readers!

Rhubarb Crunch

3 cups rhubarb (cut into small pieces)
1 box strawberry or cherry Jell-O
1 box cake mix (yellow or white)
3/4 cup melted margarine or butter
1 10.5-ounce package marshmallows

Put rhubarb cuts in buttered 9×13 baking dish. Pour dry Jell-O and marshmallows over this. Pour dry cake mix over all of this and drizzle margarine on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 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.

 

Wedding, a new buggy horse “Mighty,” and birthday highlight week

The sun is shining bringing a little warmth with the chilly weather. Our mercury on the thermometer dipped down all the way to 35 degrees this morning. Brrr! Without heat in the house it felt good to wear a sweater. Even Izzy (Elizabeth’s Yorkie) is trying to find a spot to lie where the sun is shining into the house. This is the second day of this cool weather. I’m hoping the rest of the week will be warmer as we would like to put the rest of my garden out.

Today is Elizabeth’s last day of work at the factory until June 1. They get Friday and next week off and tomorrow she is taking the day off to go to her friend Linda’s wedding. Timothy and Elizabeth will be evening servers at the wedding. Elizabeth has to wear mint green and Timothy a white shirt with black pants and vest.

Next week is nephew John’s wedding and Elizabeth and Verena’s teal colored dresses have to be cut out and sewn yet. Timothy also needs to wear a teal color shirt for this wedding. Elizabeth will sew all three outfits so I’m so glad she gets some time off.

The wedding of nephew Levi and Barbara is now history. We arrived home around 11:00 p.m. A little over four hours later my husband Joe had to get up to go work at the factory. Needless to say, he was ready for an early bedtime Friday evening.

It was a nice, cool and sunny day for the wedding. Fried chicken was on the menu so the cool weather made it easier on the cooks that had to fry the chicken. My job was to help with the mashed potatoes. They had over fifty cooks so it didn’t seem like I had too much to do that day. Daughter Verena was a table waiter and had to wear light blue. The cooks all wore royal blue.

Typically the table waiters are given gifts for their service similar to the ones you see here. The middle one in white was given to Verena by Levi and Barbara.

TableWaiterGift3TableWaiterGift1TableWaiterGift2

All eight of us siblings were at the wedding. Brother Amos had a three year old horse at the wedding that he trained and was going to sell. Joe and I decided to buy him as we are in need of another horse. His name is “Mighty” and is a very gentle horse. Nieces Elizabeth and Emma’s special friends, Menno and Manuel, brought “Mighty” along up with them to our house on Friday evening. It was greatly appreciated.

Joe and I took Mighty to town on Saturday to get groceries. He’s so calm around the traffic and the farm equipment. That means a lot to have a horse who handles traffic well, keeping us safe and sound.

Daughter Lovina had her eleventh birthday on Monday May 18. She wanted to make her own cake. She used a heart-shaped pan. I helped her decorate it.

LovinaDaughter11thBirthdayCakeWe had grilled hamburgers and macaroni and cheese along with the cake and ice cream in honor of her birthday. Joseph, 12, and Lovina made cheddar and sour cream popcorn for Lovina to take to school to treat her classmates. Some of her classmates asked her to bring the popcorn that she makes for a birthday treat.

On Friday evening, Mose (Susan’s friend) brought brats and grilled them for our supper. Then on Saturday Timothy (Elizabeth’s friend) deep-fried blue gill fish for our supper. Elizabeth made French fries to go with the fish. I appreciated getting out of the cooking several nights.

Friday, Rhoda (a friend of our daughters), brought lunch for the men working here on our pole building. Her boyfriend Nate works with the crew and she wanted to surprise him. She served ranch potatoes, sloppy joe sandwiches, pork and beans, ice cream, and cake. I’ll share her recipe for ranch potatoes.

Ranch Potatoes

6 – 8 potatoes, peeled and chunked
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
2 tablespoons parsley
1 cup shredded cheese (plus extra for top)

Cook potatoes in salt water just until tender. Drain and set aside. Combine other ingredients; toss gently with potatoes. Place in greased 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 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.

 

 

 

Wedding preparations for nephew’s wedding keep Lovina up late

It is Wednesday evening and I should be in bed already but this column has to be written.

Today, sisters Emma, Verena, Susan and I traveled the two hours to Berne, Indiana and picked up sister Liz and headed to nephew Levi’s fiancée’s house for final wedding preparations. Levi is the son of my oldest sister Leah and her husband Paul, so Leah was there too. My sister-in-law Nancy was also there so it was so nice to all be together which doesn’t happen very often.

We were also glad to see Paul and Leah’s son Ben, his wife Rosemarie and four children, who all live in Wisconsin. Paul and Leah greeted their newest grandchild for the first time. She is two months old and was named after her grandma Leah. Paul and Leah’s daughter Elizabeth and her two little girls were there helping too. Her little girls had on dresses that Elizabeth and her younger sister Mary used to wear at that age. Leah saved the dresses. Mary died at the sweet, young, innocent age of five. She died suddenly and I still remember the shock we all had when Mary left us. God has plans we don’t always understand, but we know God makes no mistakes, so let us trust God completely.

The ladies baking pies today did a lot of fast work and had all the pies in the ovens baking when we arrived. They were rolling out the dough for the knee patches (some call these “elephant ears”). Women toasted bread for the dressing tomorrow, mixed up fruit, baked bread and more. Many hands make light work.

It brought back lots of memories to be in our old neighborhood. We went past the place we were born and raised. Dad and Mom had a 104 acre farm which is now split into three parcels and three sets of buildings. It doesn’t seem the same. Next week, May 20, it will be 15 years since dear father passed on. How can it be that long? But then again it seems forever since we could talk to him. He was a great father and left us a legacy of faith, love, and many good memories.

Uncle Elmer and Aunt Salome were there today, which helps fill some of the emptiness of our parents not being here anymore. Always appreciate your parents while you still have them to honor, love, and cherish. I can’t count the times I have longed to have one more talk with my parents. They always had such great advice.

I also want to wish sister Susan a happy birthday which was on Sunday. She treated us to a delicious haystack dinner!

I need to bring this to a close. We will start out at 5:30 a.m. for Berne to attend Levi and Barbara’s wedding. I will be a cook and daughter Verena will be a table waiter. We wish them God’s blessings as they join hands together in Holy Matrimony. I’ll write more about the wedding next week. Until next week—God bless!

This week I’ll share my sister Susan’s recipe for rhubarb nut bread.

RhubarbBread

Susan’s Rhubarb Nut Bread

1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup salad oil
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups diced fresh rhubarb
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Topping:

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat brown sugar and oil together until well blended. Stir in egg and buttermilk. Sift together flour, salt, and soda and combine with first mixture. Stir in vanilla, rhubarb and nuts. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Mix sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon and sprinkle over top of batter. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour.

P.S. This being rhubarb season and having mentioned being anxious to have a chance to make rhubarb custard pie for Joe, here are those pies!

RhubarbCustardPie

P.S. We wish Lovina a wonderful happy birthday today, May 22. Here are two beautiful baskets of flowers her daughter gave her! We may here more about her birthday in a follow-up column, we hope!

FlowersForLovina44thBirthday

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.

 

Baby colt delights Eicher children; Lovina offers delicious spring asparagus recipe

BlackBeautyFoal
Black Beauty was born to Itty Bit May 1, 2015!

May is here already. It seems as though 2015 just began and now we are already in the month of May.

The first of May brought some excitement here. Our horse Itty Bit gave birth to a little filly. She is all black, so we named her Black Beauty. Such a lively young foal! Itty Bit is a very protective mother to the foal and it took some time for her to let us get too close to the foal.

PoleBuildingFraming
Framing went up on a new pole building, with the help of a contractor.

The construction crew started building our pole barn this morning. The poles are all set. Daughter Verena didn’t have to work today so she made chocolate chip bars and lemonade to serve to the men for their break.

My rhubarb is ready to use and I need to make rhubarb custard pie. My husband Joe always likes that.

Joe found out yesterday that they will soon be working nine hour days on Saturdays for a while. This makes him glad he hired help to put up the pole barn and didn’t attempt to put it up himself.

Last week I bought the royal blue material that I need to make address for nephew Levi’s wedding next week. I want to cut it out today and start sewing on it. I was so glad Verena could have the day off to help with the other work.

Our sympathy goes to Elizabeth’s special friend Timothy and his extended family. His grandpa died yesterday. The funeral is planned for Friday in northern Indiana.

We have radishes, peas, and corn up in the garden. We also have sweet onions planted. We had a few rainy days so once the garden dries off again we would like to plant some more of the garden. Our horseradish plant is looking nice. We want to make horseradish sauce. We grind up the root real fine and season it.

Son Kevin, 9, and Lovina are enjoying their ducks and amazed at how fast they are growing. I haven’t been out to the barn lately to see how big they are. Kevin is getting annoyed with our new rooster. He said this rooster is starting to get mean like the old one.

Thursday evening we will go to the middle school orientation with daughter Lovina, 10. Lovina and her classmates will present their career prep portfolio exit interviews to the parents. It doesn’t seem possible that number seven of our eight children has reached middle school level.

Saturday we attended the annual consignment auction. We sold our pony Tiger at the auction. Susan really hated to see him be sold but we have too many ponies around. We gave our miniature pony Minnie to Jacob and Emma’s son Steven. Lovina and Kevin are almost too big for her. Susan is training Minnie’s colt Prancer. She says he is easy to train.

It looks like we need to get the yard mowed. With the rain, the grass is growing fast.

We are enjoying asparagus fixed in different ways. Try it in this recipe. God bless!

Bunch of Green Asparagus
Bunch of green asparagus; (ThinkStock Photo)

Asparagus Ham Swirls

16 fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
16 slices fully cooked ham
16 slices processed Swiss cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup dry bread crumbs
cooking oil

In a skillet, cook asparagus in a small amount of water until tender-crisp, about six to eight minutes; drain well. Spread about one teaspoon of mustard on each ham slice. Top with one cheese slice. Place one asparagus spear on each piece of cheese (trim to fit if needed). Roll up each ham slice tightly; secure with three toothpicks. Dip ham rolls in egg, then in bread crumbs.

In skillet, heat one inch of oil to 350°. Fry rolls until golden brown (about three to four minutes). Drain on paper towels; keep warm. Cut each roll between the toothpicks into three pieces.

 

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.

 

 

Up early with the chickens, Lovina cans broth and shares chicken strata recipe


This week I will write a daily diary.

3:15 a.m. The alarm rings and it’s time to begin another day. I pack my husband Joe’s lunch and fill his water jug with ice and water. I pack extra food so Joe can eat a little something at break time. It’s too early at this time of the morning for him to be hungry. They start work at 5:00 a.m. and their break is at 9:00 a.m.

3:45 a.m. Joe’s ride is here to take him to the RV factory. The driver picks up four other Amish men before Joe is picked up. The ride usually takes 40 to 45 minutes from our house. I go back to bed for an hour after Joe leaves.

4:45 a.m. Daughters Elizabeth, 20, and Susan, 19, pack their lunches. Sons Benjamin, 15, and Joseph, 12, go out to the barn to milk the cow and feed the animals. Joseph usually milks the cow while Benjamin feeds the animals. I make Benjamin two grilled cheese sandwiches and pack his lunch. Benjamin likes ham sandwiches for lunch. He doesn’t want anything else. The girls divide a grilled cheese sandwich.

5:15 a.m. Elizabeth’s ride is here to go to the RV factory. Benjamin comes in to eat his breakfast.

5:30 a.m. Susan and Benjamin’s ride is here. Susan started her new job at nephew Emanul’s on Monday. Benjamin’s driver drops her off at Emanul’s shop when he takes Benjamin to Mose’s place to help with the saw mill.

5:40 a.m. Joseph brings the milk in. I put it through the strainer and put it in the refrigerator to cool. Joseph goes back out to get the gas lantern. Joseph usually lays down for a half hour nap until it’s time to get the others up. Sometimes he stays up and reads.

6:15 a.m. Verena, 17, Loretta, 14, Lovina, 10, and Kevin, 9, get up and get dressed for the day. Some of the children eat cereal but they usually wait until they get to school to eat breakfast. The school serves free breakfast to all students. They are hungrier by the time they get to school.

7:00 a.m. The bus is here. Loretta, Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin leave for school. Verena hardly ever eats much for breakfast. I make an egg and toast for me. Verena packs her lunch. Verena and I wash all the dishes and clean up the house.

8:30 a.m. Verena leaves for work. Our neighbor is here leveling out the ground. We hope to start on our new building next week. We are planning to put up a 50 x 80 foot pole barn.

11:00 a.m. A repair man comes to change the gas pilot assembly on my oven. He came out a week ago to see why it wouldn’t light and had to order a new part. I really missed being without an oven for a week.

1:00 p.m. Susan comes home from work.

CanningChickenBroth
Lovina’s kitchen is full of equipment she uses in canning chicken broth.

 

1:30 p.m. Joe comes home from work. I’m still canning chicken. We butchered our 34 older chickens on Saturday. I cooked the meat off the bones on Monday and Tuesday and am getting it in jars now.

3:00 p.m. Elizabeth is home from work.

3:30 p.m. Benjamin comes home from work and the children come home from school. I put two more pressure cookers of chicken broth on the stove. Since we will be using the stove burners for processing the chicken, the girls are making pizza for our supper. They also want to make a fruit pizza for dessert.

4:45 p.m. Verena comes home from work.

6:00 p.m. Supper is ready.

7:30 p.m. Dishes are all washed and put away. I’m so glad the girls cleaned up as I’m going to be canning more chicken broth tomorrow. Looks like I’ll get around 70 quarts. Joe and the boys are still outside working. They are moving a fence over that needs to be moved for the new building.

PoleBuilding2
Joe and his sons enjoy longer evenings to get some work started on a new pole building for the farm.

 

God bless! I will share a chicken recipe this week.

Chicken Strata

8 slices bread, cubed
2 cups cooked chicken (bite size)
1/2 cup onions
1/2 cup celery
3/4 cup green pepper
1/2 cup salad dressing
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 can mushroom soup
Dash of pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese

Place half of bread crumbs in bottom of baking pan. Combine chicken, vegetables, salad dressing, and seasoning. Spread over bread crumbs, then put rest of crumbs on top. Combine eggs, and milk and pour over the last layer of bread. Chill overnight or at least 1 hour. Add mushroom soup. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Add cheese on top and continue baking until cheese is melted.

 

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.

 

Welcoming a late spring with baby ducks and rhubarb coffee cake

If we thought spring weather was here to stay, we were wrong. Today the temperature is in the mid-30s, and we are having snow flurries all morning. The wind is so cold.

All is quiet here at the Eichers. Everyone is gone for the day. I did the morning work, mopped the floors and am folding laundry. I’m hoping to make butter yet before the girls get home from work. Susan wants to bake sugar cookies when she comes home. These cookies have buttermilk as one of the ingredients, so I thought I’d make butter so we have some.

Susan’s last day at the RV factory is Friday. She wants to take cookies to work to treat her co-workers. On Monday she will start working for nephew Emanul. He has a woodworking shop and has quite a few employees.

Lovina and Kevin were really excited on Saturday. Daughter Susan’s friend Mose bought them each a little baby duck. They named them Donald and Daisy and have had so much fun taking care of them. They keep them in a box in front of the coal stove in the basement. I hardly ever hear them. They aren’t as noisy as the little chicks that we have had in the house already. This is the first time we have had ducks, so the children are eager to see how they will be for pets when they get older. Once the weather warms up they can move them out to the barn.

The Eicher children are enjoying their new baby ducks, Donald and Daisy.
The Eicher children are enjoying their new baby ducks, Donald and Daisy.

Congratulations to nephew Levi and Barbara! We received an invitation to their May 14 wedding. Levi is sister Leah and Paul’s son. I will be a cook at their wedding. They would like the cooks to wear royal blue dresses. It looks like I will get another new dress.

I really need to get to my sewing. Son Benjamin could use more work pants. I have several cut out for him but need to sew them. Once I get started it won’t take long. Pants are easy to put together and sew.

Everything has been so busy this spring that my husband Joe hasn’t had much time for fishing. Son Benjamin went fishing Friday evening with Mose and two of his brothers. Saturday evening Benjamin and Joseph went fishing for a few hours after the work was done for the day.

Timothy (daughter Elizabeth’s friend) bought a bigger place and is in the process of selling his. He has a bigger and newer house and more acreage on the new place. He has some woods on the property, and a river runs behind it. We want to help him move once he’s ready.

My rhubarbs are really growing. I am hoping I’ll have some to use in a week or so. Try this rhubarb coffee cake when your rhubarbs are ready.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, diced

Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream sugar and shortening. Add egg. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream. Fold in rhubarb. Spread in greased 9×13-inch pan.

Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350° for 45–50 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.

Grateful for safekeeping, help from friends and children, plus dandelions!


A beautiful April spring day! Sun is shining and the mercury on the thermometer keeps rising. I love this weather and all the signs that spring is here. The tulips are looking really nice.

Everyone here at the Eicher house is gone for the day except me. My husband Joe, son Benjamin, and daughters Elizabeth, Susan, and Verena are all at their jobs working. The four youngest are at school.

It is too quiet with everyone gone except for Elizabeth’s two Yorkie dogs, Crystal and Izzy. Right now they are both sleeping.

Crytal_Izyy_JoesChair

It takes me longer to get things done without Verena’s help. Yesterday I washed all the laundry and it is surprising how much longer it takes if you do it all alone. It was a nice laundry day and the girls helped me get the clothes in and fold them after they were home from work. It goes so much faster when everyone takes their own clothes up to their bedrooms.

On Friday, son Benjamin was in a two-vehicle accident on his way home from helping Mose at his sawmill. We are thankful he wasn’t hurt and the rest involved had only minor injuries. It could have been such a different ending. God truly was watching over them. It reminds us how quickly life could change.

We are enjoying dandelion salad. I will share the recipe this week since we have quite a few new readers that might like the recipe.

We had to get back into the school routine after the children were home for a week on spring break. Joseph, 12, milks our cow Bessie before he gets ready for school in the mornings. He times himself on how long it takes to milk her. He is getting faster at it. He said he wants to milk her in eight to ten minutes like I can. I told him he has to build his muscles up and he should be able to. When we milked cows at home we had some that milked easy and some harder. Bessie is an easy cow to milk.

I want to make butter from the cream this afternoon. Susan brought a yogurt starter home from Mose’s mother Rosanna and tried her luck at making yogurt with Bessie’s milk. She tasted Rosanna’s yogurt and really liked it when she was at their house. I never made yogurt so hopefully I will learn now.

Before I go on with my work I want to answer some letters from my readers. It is a busy time of the year so please bear with me. I’ll try my best to answer everyone.

I owe a big thank you to my friends Jim and Ruth. I live in Michigan and my mail goes to South Holland, Illinois. Jim or Ruth always delivers my mail. I really do appreciate the time they take to do this.

Also, thanks to Pauline for sending the box of books for the girls. They were very excited. You will receive a personal reply from them.

May God bless everyone who has in some way helped or encouraged me to keep writing!

DandelionSaladDressing

Dandelion Sour Cream Salad

Serves 4 to 6

This is a recipe for dandelions smothered in our favorite homemade sour cream. You can, however, use just the sour cream part for other seasonal greens as well. This same sour cream is great when used with in-season, fresh-from-the-garden lettuce and endive. Home-cured ham also goes well with it. Any unused sour cream can be refrigerated for up to two days.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups whole milk
Salt (to taste)
4 hard-boiled eggs, diced
4 cups packed young dandelion greens

Combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, milk, and salt 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.