Tag Archives: Amish cooking

Abigail acting her age, plus other tales from the Eicher family

Church services are set to be here August 27. We are still busy with all the preparation it takes to host the services. I know that we could still have the services without cleaning, but this is one way to have a deadline every year to give your house a thorough cleaning.

My sisters Verena, Susan, and Emma and sons Jacob and Steven assisted us with our work one day this week. A lot was accomplished! Tomato juice and pickles were canned. The kitchen walls and ceiling were washed off. Some more windows were cleaned and more cabinets washed out. It’s nice to have a big house but it takes a lot to clean it too.

Since daughter Susan and Mose have their living quarters on one side of the “new” pole barn, we will use the other part where Joe keeps all his tools, etc. for the church services. That part has all been cleaned and washed out. The garden and flower beds need some weeding done.

The hibiscus that Verena gave to Lovina several years ago is in lovely full bloom–just in time for church!

Sister Emma is making plenty of tea concentrate so we can have iced tea with the church meal. I have twenty loaves of wheat and 20 loaves of white bread coming in for the after-church meal. The bread and cookies are made and brought by women from our church.

I have two bushels of peaches that we have to go pick up today. Those will need to be canned and frozen. Daughter Elizabeth and her little Abigail have plans to come today. Abigail will push a toy on wheels and walk but still not walk alone. She also stands alone when she’s not thinking that she’s doing it!

I was holding Abigail in church Sunday, held under a tent. Abigail is at the age where she doesn’t want to be held or stay quiet for that long. She wanted to get down and play on the grass. She would throw a toy on the floor so she could get down to pick it up. After several times I figured out that she was tricking me into letting her loose to crawl around. But I cherish these moments I spend with her. She took a turn sitting with Grandpa (husband Joe). Needless to say, she keeps us going.

Congratulations go to our neighbor girl, Mary and her husband-to-be, LaVern. They were published to be married on September 22. I have been asked to help cook at the wedding and so is daughter Susan. We are both to wear the color sage. We are glad we both have this color so no sewing needed for this wedding.

Also published on Sunday were Clint and Hannah so congratulations go out to them as well. Clint and Hannah chose October 5 for their wedding date. Clint is a brother to Dustin (daughter Loretta’s special friend). Loretta needs a new dress for this wedding. I was asked to help cook at this wedding also and need to wear the color Marine Blue. I think I have a dress very close to this color to wear.

Daughter Verena also has part in a wedding on September 9 and needs a new dress sewn before then. I also want to sew a new dress, cape and apron for Verena’s baptism service which will be held here at the second church service we host on September 10, Lord willing. September 10 is also Abigail’s first birthday.

School doors open next week already. This is the first year since we live here in Michigan that school starts before Labor Day. Son Kevin (almost 12) will be in sixth grade and the only one going to school. Daughter Lovina wants to be homeschooled for her seventh and eighth grade years. We plan to go pick up her school books tomorrow. I have to get my “thinker” going again to teach her. I homeschooled daughter Elizabeth for her last two years and daughter Susan on her eighth grade year.

God bless you!

Vegetable Bars

Crust:
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk

Topping:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup salad dressing

Vegetable and other toppers:
Summer vegetables such as diced or chopped peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes
1 large package shredded cheese
6 slices fried bacon, drained and crumbled

  1. Mix the crust ingredients and spread on cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Mix the topping ingredients and spread over the crust.
  3. Top with diced peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, and tomatoes; 1 large package shredded cheese; and bacon. Press down into cream cheese mixture. Yields: 1 cookie sheet. Cut in bars to serve.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canning, cleaning, and “flying” horses fill Lovina’s week

It is 10:00 p.m. Wednesday evening. Everyone has headed to bed except the girls and me.

I forgot all about writing this column until after daughter Elizabeth, Timothy and Abigail left for home. They came over for a while after supper. We had so much fun with Abigail. I was helping her walk and let go of her hands and she stood by herself for quite a while until she noticed I had let go of her hands. She will be eleven months old tomorrow. Time sure goes way too fast.

We are still busy cleaning for the church services we will host in two weeks from Sunday. The girls have been cleaning out drawers and kitchen cabinets. I am sorting through dishes that I hardly use. I am giving them to my daughters and what they don’t need I will put in a garage sale. What doesn’t sell I will put in our local free store. It’s like they say—one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Over the years things accumulate and I like to get rid of things that just sit around.

Yesterday we washed off walls, ceiling and windows in Joe’s and my bedroom. We also have a bathroom beside our bedroom so that was cleaned from top to bottom. We cleaned furniture, curtains and the bedding was washed and put back on. Today I cleaned our closet. My mending is piling up though and I keep hoping to get it caught up before church.

On Friday evening, neighbors, friends, and family will gather to help my sisters Verena and Susan move their furniture back to their house. It has been stored in our basement for over three months since their fire. The construction on their house is now done. It is a good thing that we can now clean our basement next week.

My tomatoes are ready to start canning. I will start with tomato juice since I ran out. I have plenty of V-8 canned yet, but it is too spicy to put in soup alone. I sometimes mix it with tomato juice.

I canned dill pickles for daughter Susan last Saturday. Mose’s mother sent dill and other pickles home with Mose and Susan Friday evening. Mose and Susan went to his grandma’s sale of her personal belongings so I thought I would can the pickles for her.

Son Kevin, 11, has been doing odds-and-ends jobs for us. He always has the dogs trailing after him. They just adore him. Daughter Verena’s Yorkie puppy Ricky is almost six months old and is looking like a little fur ball. She took him to the vet for another round of shots.

Kevin was burning trash out in the barnyard while we were washing clothes in the basement one day this week. Daughter Susan looked up and saw our whole herd of horses and ponies go flying past the window. They headed straight for neighbor Joe’s yard and galloped north. Our pony Stormy was in the lead like usual.

Susan ran to get a scoop of grain so she could bribe the horses into coming back. Fortunately, my husband Joe and son-in-law Mose had an early day and had just come home from work. I’m not sure if Stormy saw Susan shaking the scoop of grain but he decided to circle around the fence around our field and head back home. Once they were in our yard we corralled them back through the gate. I think Kevin won’t forget to chain the gate next time he burns trash. The gate was shut but not chained and it seems those ponies know exactly when it’s open.

Try this lettuce salad if you want to make a salad the day before serving it.

God’s blessings to all!

Layered Lettuce Salad

1 head lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup celery, diced
4 eggs, hard cooked and diced
1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas, uncooked
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
8 slices bacon, fried and diced
2 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

Layer the first seven ingredients in a 9×13-inch dish. Mix mayonnaise with sugar. Spread on top as if frosting. Top with cheese. Cover and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours. At serving time, garnish with additional bacon and parsley if desired.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot, humid days mean it’s time for haying—and a water fight

June 14, 2017: Twenty-three years ago today my husband, Joe, and I became parents for the first time. We were blessed with a little girl. We named her after my mother, Elizabeth. Since her marriage on August 14, 2015, she goes by the name Mrs. Timothy (Elizabeth) Bontrager. A little girl, Abigail, was born to Elizabeth and Timothy on September 10, 2016. Time goes on—one generation after another.

We are having a heat wave with temperatures in the nineties, and it’s very humid! The girls and I drove the seven miles to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house this morning by buggy. We spent the day with her and Abigail. We didn’t do much besides relax, which was so nice! My sister Verena gave Abigail a little kiddie pool for a baby gift. Daughter Lovina and son Kevin filled the pool, and Abigail had so much fun under the shade tree, splashing the water. The rest of us sat around the pool. All it took was one person throwing a little water at another and, well, it turned into a big water battle! At least it cooled us off on this hot, muggy day.

Tomorrow we will attend the wedding of our neighbor boy, Melvin, to Rebecca. It is hot weather to prepare for a wedding. Now tonight we are having thunderstorms and rain. It was so dry, and we needed the rain. Son-in-law Mose tilled the garden tonight before the rain. I made quite a few gallons of iced spearmint tea, which is a good thirst quencher on these hot days.

Lovina made lots of fresh thirst-quenching mint tea this week. Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis, from The Essential Amish Cookbook.

We have our haymow almost filled with hay for next winter. We appreciated all the help we had from family and neighbors to put in over thirteen hundred bales of hay in our barn last Thursday. Lots of hot, hard work! Having hay stored for future use is a good feeling. But it’s hard on the pocketbook, with hay still a little pricey.

Construction is finally underway at my sisters Verena and Susan’s house, who had a house fire last month. The new roof was put on today. They are still living in our basement.

I want to wish Uncle Jake and Aunt Mary Coblentz a happy 60th anniversary! Wow! That is a long time to be together. I wish them more healthy and happy years together. Jake was my dad’s brother. Jake and Mary have three children: Christina, Tabitha and Cornelius. I hardly ever see them anymore. It would be nice to attend the Coblentz reunion again in July.

Tonight daughter Susan and Mose had us over for supper. They also told my sisters to come eat there too. On the menu were sausage patties, French toast and scrambled eggs. How nice to have a break from cooking. Everything was delicious! The French toast tastes real good with fresh maple syrup poured over it. It was the syrup Mose cooked off from our maple trees this spring.

The girls are cleaning out their closets in their spare time. We are getting a head start on cleaning.

Timothy and Elizabeth visited one evening with their new Amish neighbors, John and Norma. They moved nearby from a community in Indiana. They will attend our church district. They have two daughters ages three and thirteen months. I am looking forward to meeting them on Sunday.

It is 11:00 p.m. now and past my bedtime. The rest have all gone to bed. I knew I might not have time to write tomorrow morning so decided to get this written tonight yet.

I wish everyone God’s greatest blessings! Good night to all!

Try this recipe while blueberries are in season.

Blueberry Cobbler

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup milk

Combine ingredients in a bowl, mix together and spread batter in pan.

Topping:
2 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup boiling water

Pour over batter and bake at 325 degrees for 45–60 minutes or until done. Try with different types of fruit.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, 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.

Son’s eighth-grade graduation tugs at Lovina’s heartstrings

It’s a sunny pleasant evening in June. The temperature stayed in the low 70s today. Tomorrow evening we will be putting in hay. It has been a good week for haymaking.

Last night our family attended the eighth-grade graduation for the class of 2017. Son Joseph was among the twenty students who graduated. Sixteen boys and four girls were in the class. Four of the boys and girls were Amish students, so this will be the last of their school education. The rest of the students will go on to high school.

It always tears at my heartstrings when another one of our eight children has their final day of school. Two out of the eight are still in school, with Lovina headed for seventh grade and Kevin for sixth grade. At the graduation, little nine-month-old Abigail enjoyed clapping with the crowd. And of course she liked to chatter while everyone else was quiet!

Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail were here today. Abigail gives kisses now, and we have just so much fun with her.

Last week niece Rosa and Menno had a nice wedding day. On the menu were: mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken and noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, broasted chicken, lettuce salad, carrot salad, sliced American and Colby cheese, homemade bread, butter, strawberry jam, cake, cookies, bars, frozen mocha dessert, mixed fresh fruit, cherry, pecan and chocolate peanut butter pies, and wedding nothings. The broasted chicken was made by brother-in-law Levi’s cousins. We had our driver pick-up time set for 5:00 a.m. and were back home around 1:00 a.m. It was a long day, but we enjoyed it.

Sisters Verena, Emma and I and a local lady from their church were the head cooks, so we had to keep everyone busy with their assigned jobs. It seemed like everything fell into place really well. Many hands make light work.

Sisters Verena and Susan went out there on Thursday morning with sister Emma and I. We helped with all the work that goes with preparing for a wedding crowd of people: “nothings” were made, seventy-five pies were baked, and vegetables were diced for dressing and salad. Sisters Verena and Susan stayed until Sunday evening to help sister Liz clean up from the wedding.

Friday is a half day of school and the last day for this term. We plan to attend the school picnic on Friday. Our youth are invited to the wedding of Richard and Hannah on Thursday evening and to the wedding of Robert and Eva on Friday night. There is also a funeral Friday. It is one of son-in-law Timothy’s aunts. Our sympathy goes to the family. Thirteen years ago, when we moved to this community, I don’t think two weddings and a funeral in two days would have been possible. Our community here has grown so much in the last few years!

This is now the following morning. It’s another beautiful day, and it’s laundry day for Loretta and me. My husband Joe, son Benjamin and daughter Verena are at their jobs. The three youngest have left for the last day of school.

Last night I finally stepped foot in our garden for the first time this year. Son-in-law Mose was tilling the garden while husband Joe and son Joseph helped me lay weed-control landscape fabric where we planted our cucumbers and watermelon. I always like to use that where my viney plants are, because it keeps the weeds down around them. We are enjoying radishes, green onions and garden lettuce.

The girls made macaroni casserole. It’s a new recipe I wanted to try, as I wrote it down for niece Rosa’s recipe shower. It was a hit in this family! It says it serves eight to ten people, but I would say twelve to fourteen. Our casserole mixture filled a 9 x 13-inch pan plus a two-quart baking dish. To those of you with small families, I would suggest cutting the recipe in half.

Lovina’s daughters made a new macaroni casserole that the whole family enjoyed.

We enjoyed meeting readers at the Blue Gate Restaurant and Bakery in Shipshewana, Ind., on Saturday, June 3. We also met some more people who never read the column but were interested to find out where they can read it. After six Saturdays of book signings, I am looking forward to this Saturday at home!

Macaroni Casserole

4 cups uncooked macaroni
3 cups cooked peas
1 pound any kind of cooked meat, cubed
1 pound processed cheese, cubed
2 cups milk
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
2 teaspoons salt

Cook macaroni according to package instructions and drain; add peas and meat. In another pot, simmer cheese, milk, soup and salt until cheese is melted. Add to macaroni mixture and place in greased baking dish. Bake at 300 degrees for one hour. Serves 8–10.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, 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.

 

Pie-baking, wagon-riding and book-signing usher in the month of June

We turn another page on the calendar today. Month number six already in 2017!

Tomorrow is the big day for niece Rosa and Menno. I wish them many happy, healthy years together. May God be their guide through the good and bad times in their marriage. It takes effort from both sides to make a marriage happy. And most of all, it takes prayers! Life doesn’t get easier as the years speed by. But I do think we get wiser from life’s experiences.

I am writing this column a few minutes after 4:00 a.m. Just a few short hours ago I went to bed—or so it seems. After I was in bed last night, it dawned on me that I hadn’t written the column this week. So I sat back up and reset my alarm clock for 4:00 a.m. this morning instead of 5:00 a.m. I must admit it has been nice setting our alarm at 5:00 a.m. instead of 3:00 a.m. this week. My husband, Joe, has off from work this week, so he’s getting caught up on spring work outside.

This morning at 6:00 a.m. my sisters Verena, Susan, Emma and I will drive the two hours to sister Liz and Levi’s house. Today is pie-baking day for Rosa’s wedding. It’s also the day for finishing everything else that needs to be done before the wedding tomorrow.

Daughter Elizabeth and I are both cooks, but Elizabeth decided not to go today. She thought that, with little Abigail, she might not be so much help anyway. Also it will be a long day for her tomorrow. We are to wear the color beige. Daughter Verena is a tablewaiter and will wear an ocean-blue dress. Son Benjamin is also a tablewaiter and will wear an ocean-blue shirt with black pants and vest. We are hoping for a nice day tomorrow weatherwise.

Our family spent Saturday evening and Sunday at daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s. Sunday we went on a wagon ride. Son Joseph and Lovina would get off the wagon sometimes and ride their RipStiks.

Son-in-law Mose has been taking over duties to get the garden planted this year. We are enjoying radishes and green onions from the garden. Lettuce is almost ready to use. Asparagus and rhubarb are also plentiful. I appreciate Mose’s help. This is the first year I have not helped plant the garden since we were married, which was almost twenty-four years ago. I am enjoying it, I must say.

Yesterday we did laundry. We usually wash Mose and Susan’s laundry right with ours. After we were finished, we washed my sisters Verena and Susan’s clothes for them. They were working, and so was daughter Susan. It was a very nice day to dry clothes.

It was so nice to meet the readers in Battle Creek, Mich., this past Saturday. My husband decided to go fishing, and so did sons-in-law Timothy and Mose. So daughters Elizabeth (and Abigail), Susan and Verena went with me to Battle Creek. And once again my friend Ruth put her duties aside and took the time to take us to the book signing.

Thanks for all the encouragement from readers. I enjoyed meeting all of you. Little Abigail was happy through most of the signing. She is so precious!

This week Lovina offers the recipe for this Make-Ahead Casserole, which she took along to her sister’s house for a day of preparation for her niece’s wedding.

I am making a casserole to take to sister Liz’s today. It’s called Make-Ahead Casserole. I will share the recipe this week. The instructions aren’t detailed; all the ingredients just have to be mixed together well.

God’s blessings to all!

Make-Ahead Casserole
4 cups seashell macaroni, uncooked
4 cups cooked chicken, cubed
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 pound cheese, shredded
2 cups milk
1/2 cup onion, minced
1/4 cup butter

In the morning, mix all ingredients well. Put the mixture in a large baking pan and refrigerate until you are ready to bake. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Serve with a large lettuce and tomato salad.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, 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.

Remembering the deep grief of seven years ago

May 24—this date always takes my thoughts back to May 24, 2010. The day started out just like any other day. I was out on the porch watering the flowers while the children waited for the bus. The bus came and I could hear our phone ringing in the pole barn. I decided to finish watering the flowers before going to check if we had a voicemail from anyone. When the phone kept ringing and ringing I decided I had better go answer it. I will never forget how that phone call affected our lives.

I called my neighbor Ann to see if she could take me to sister Emma and Jacob’s house right away. We arrived and the first responders were already there trying to revive sweet little eight-and-one-half-month-old Marilyn. She didn’t wake up that morning.

I went with Emma to the hospital following the ambulance. Ann stayed with us. Another good friend Irene went to go pick up Jacob which was about a forty-five minute drive where he was working at the time. Ann prayed with Emma and me as we waited. It was too late to save Marilyn. Her death was ruled sudden infant death syndrome. Our hearts and minds questioned why. God doesn’t make mistakes and He needed another angel in heaven. Although I was devastated for losing my sweet little niece I could not begin to imagine what my sister was going through. The baby she had breastfed since birth, the bonding, and the joy of the family. With our youngest being almost five it seemed that Marilyn was my baby too.

The doctor said we could hold Marilyn; we wrapped a blanket around her and thought we should see her open her eyes and smile that sweet little smile of hers. Jacob arrived at the hospital. How do you tell someone they lost their child? I offered to go to school and let Jacob and Emma’s children know and bring them home. I knew that my children would want to come home too. The children were all so shocked and I tried to brace up for their sake.

It was decided that the viewing would be held at our house and the funeral at the local community building. When I arrived home there were already church and family friends cleaning everywhere. Church services had been set the day before to be held at our house in two weeks.

In my column in September, 2009, I had shared the good and exciting news: “Congratulations to sister Emma and Jacob as they are blessed with another addition to their family. Marilyn Jane was born by C-section this morning. She is a very tiny bundle weighing four pounds ten ounces and is seventeen inches long.” Weeks and months passed by and Marilyn never lacked attention.

How well I remember the day before Marilyn’s death. We all went to church and when Jacob and Emma arrived at church, our daughter Loretta (age 9 at that time) ran like usual to get baby Marilyn and brought her to me. Marilyn was so happy to see me and gave me a baby hug. That evening Jacob and Emma and family came to our house for a pork chop supper in honor of my birthday (May 22).

My oldest daughter Elizabeth (almost 16 at the time), sister Emma, and I sat in the yard with Marilyn and watched the rest play basketball. As usual, baby Marilyn was passed back and forth. Little did we realize these were our final hours with her.

Seven years have passed and I miss our sweet little angel. My granddaughter Abigail is now the age Marilyn was at that time. She wore Marilyn’s dresses when she was younger but is bigger than Marilyn was at this age, so she has outgrown them.

Happy birthday cake for Lovina.

My sisters Verena and Susan, and our married children brought supper in for my forty-sixth birthday which was Monday, May 22. After eating, we all went on a hayride. It was so enjoyable sitting on the bales of hay and being all together with my family. It was a bit chilly so we wrapped little Abigail up warm. We stopped in to say “hi” to Jacob, Emma, and family while on the hayride.

A big thank you to all who offered good wishes for my birthday. I also want to thank the many readers who showed up at the book signings in Goshen, Ind. at Better World Books, and at Barnes & Noble in nearby Mishawaka. So much encouragement from all of you! God bless you all!

Rhubarb Bars

1 cup flour
5 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 cup margarine

Cut in margarine to the flour and powdered sugar. Mix well and pat crumb mixture into bottom of 9×13-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes.

1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups rhubarb chopped

Meanwhile, mix additional dry ingredients listed above. Add beaten eggs. Stir in chopped rhubarb. Spoon on baked crust and bake for additional 35-45 minutes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, 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.

 

Never a dull moment: remembering when baby Lovina was born

Today, May 18, is daughter Lovina’s thirteenth birthday. She is now a teenager. We now have five teenagers in the house so you can imagine there isn’t one dull moment.

I will never forget the day Lovina was born. I had gall bladder attacks before I had her which turned into pancreatitis. Lovina came three weeks early. She was born by emergency C-section and we were both in the hospital for a week as I had severe complications. I was so sick and was battling fever and my one lung almost collapsed. Due to being so sick, I wasn’t allowed to see the baby for two days. My husband Joe wanted to name the baby after me since she was born four days before my birthday. I spent my thirty-third birthday in the hospital and my gift was getting moved to a regular room from ICU. While I was in ICU Joe would go down a lot to the nursery and give Lovina her bottle. This was so different from my first six children that I had in my own bedroom. Joe’s aunt Sylvia was my midwife and she was always good at what she did.

Bessie and seven-week-old calf enjoy quiet moments in the pasture.

While I was in the hospital my sisters Verena and Susan stayed with our six children. Elizabeth was almost ten at the time and Joseph was twenty-two months. They had their hands full. Sister Emma and Jacob’s property was sold by public auction during this time so my sisters took all six children along to Indiana for the sale. Jacob and Emma helped out a lot too. And also our church families and neighbors. All this is just a memory to us now, but certain memories stand out more than others.

Lovina is now a sweet young girl and almost done with sixth grade. Lovina wants cupcakes for her birthday instead of a cake. She likes a whipped topping frosting. We are giving her a ripstick for her birthday. Joseph has a ripstick he got as a gift for Christmas. Lovina loves riding it. For those of you who don’t know what a ripstick is, it’s a caster board with two narrow platforms known as decks that are joined by a bar that has a strong spring. It’s on two wheels. I could never keep my balance to even try riding it.

Last Thursday my sisters Verena and Susan and I went to help at our neighbors to prepare for their daughter’s wedding. Vegetables were chopped, pies and bread baked, etc. All the women bring a dish so it makes having lunch easier.

Verena and Susan had a house to clean in the afternoon. I came home and we washed our clothes. Daughter Susan came home from work and helped get the clothes hung outside. They all dried really fast.

The wedding was on Friday for Regina and Wayne. Sisters Verena and Susan, daughter Susan, and I were all cooks at the wedding. Daughter Susan’s and my assignment was to make coffee all day for everyone. We used two big one-hundred cup drip-o-later coffee makers. We made a total of 500 cups of coffee for the whole day.

The menu consisted of barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, dressing, broccoli and cauliflower salad, homemade bread, rhubarb jam, butter, mocha dessert, fresh fruit mixture, pecan, peanut butter, and lemon pies, and candy bars. Ice cream was added to the menu in the evening. After a cold rainy week, Friday turned out to be perfect for a wedding day.

I sewed daughter Verena a black dress yesterday. She will wear a black dress with white cape and apron to church services while she follows instructions for baptism. What a joyful feeling to parents when your child wants to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. God is so good to us. Do we thank Him enough for His many blessings?

I need to get back to my work. I want to thank the readers that came to the book signing in Fort Wayne, Ind., this past Saturday. Also the ladies from the quilting group at the Amigo Centre. I appreciated all the encouragement! God be with all of you!

I had a request recently from a reader for peanut butter brownies. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Brownies

2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs

In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, mix butter, peanut butter, sugars and vanilla. Beat until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Spread evenly into a well-greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, 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.

 

 

 

 

Corralling nine horses: all in a day’s work for Lovina

Diary of May 10, 2017

7:00 a.m. Lovina and Kevin leave for school with the bus. Joseph bikes to school because he can be home 45 minutes longer. With the chores he does, biking doesn’t make him so rushed. School is only three miles from here so it doesn’t take him long.

7:30 a.m. I made grilled cheese sandwiches for my sisters Verena, Susan (staying with us after their house fire), and son Joseph, for their breakfast. Verena and Susan leave for work.

7:45 a.m. Joseph bikes to school. Daughter Verena doesn’t have to work today so I let her and Loretta sleep in until everyone else is gone for the day. They get the job of washing the dishes and cleaning up the house. Verena cleans some windows. She makes scrambled eggs and toast for herself, Loretta, and me. I can relax better by sitting down and eating breakfast after everyone else has left.

9:00 a.m. I start sewing on Susan’s dress, cape, and apron. I had a late start. Had to do some book work first, answer some mail, pay some bills, and now I can feel relaxed to sew.

1:30 p.m. So much for being relaxed. Verena looked out and saw our horses all out in the yard, happily eating grass. We have quite a few horses so they need to be caught and put back inside the fence. Usually one of them is a troublemaker and takes off running away. I caught our pony Stormy, and two-year-old Beauty that the boys are training to drive. The rest took off. Verena almost caught Tough Boy (Mose and Susan’s pony) but he decided to pull away and join the rest! I knew Verena, Loretta, and I wouldn’t be able to get them all in when they took off down the road and back behind our neighbor’s field. I called the school and asked them to send Joseph home to help. Our neighbor Joe drove his four-wheeler to go herd them back up while Joseph, the girls, and I tried to help chase them in through the gate. What a relief when the last one was inside. We have five horses and two ponies, and Mose and Susan have one horse and one pony. So all together there were nine head of horses. We chained the gate and were trying to figure out how they opened it. Then we saw our miniature pony Prancer go up and take the chain in his mouth and wiggle it back and forth. Joseph tied a rope to secure it better.

2:45 p.m. It was too late for Joseph to go back to school so he took our mower over to my sisters’ place and mowed their grass for them.

3:00 p.m. Lovina and Kevin came home from school on the bus. I am finally finished with daughter Susan’s dress, cape, and apron. She was happy to see it done when she came home from work.

4:00 p.m. Verena and I leave for town as I need some groceries.

6:00 p.m. We are back. Chores are done and the boys are out in the field line-driving Beauty. Beauty will be Benjamin’s horse once she’s trained. She will be his eighteenth birthday gift from us.

7:00 p.m. My sisters Verena and Susan are home from their jobs. They had extra cleaning to do so they worked later than normal.

A surprise for Susan’s (Lovina’s sister) birthday.

7:30 p.m. We are having pizza, ice cream, and a cake for my sister Susan’s birthday. She was surprised when she came home to see the cake, flower, and balloons we had for her. Loretta’s friend Dustin, Mose, and daughter Susan joined us for supper.

9:30 p.m. Everyone is ready for bed. Dustin, Mose, and Susan left. Now I sit here trying to stay awake and write this column. I feel sorry for the editor that gets to edit the column this week. My writing is showing exactly how tired I am.

We were glad to meet with column readers at Dorothy’s Hallmark Bookstore in Warsaw, Ind., last Saturday. I heard so much encouragement. May God bless you all! And thanks to Dorothy and staff for once again treating us so well. And also to Ruth Boss furnishing transportation and support!

Asparagus Hot Dish

1/2 cup butter
1 cup colby cheese, cubed
4 cups soft bread, cubed
1 cup asparagus, cooked
2 cups chicken meat, diced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk

Melt butter. Pour over cubed cheese and bread cubes. Put half of mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish. Put drained asparagus on top of bread mixture and chicken on top of asparagus. Mix can of soup with milk and pour over chicken. Add remaining bread mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Do not cover.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, 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.

 

 

 

Everyone pitches in after lightning strikes sisters’ home

Oh how good to see the sun shining this morning! We had rainy, dreary weather all weekend and until this morning (Wednesday). Is it possible that we have already entered the month of May?

Bread dough rising for 20 loaves of bread to sell at the Illinois book launch.

We had a nice time in South Holland, Illinois, over the weekend. The book signing at Peace Church was a success due to the many helping hands of the recipe testers for the new cookbook, and of course my good friend Ruth. She did more than her share to organize all this. I want to thank all the readers who came. It was so encouraging to hear your kind words. May God bless you each and every one!

The lightning struck and fire started very close to a propane tank.

We had decided to stay Saturday night in Illinois and come home Sunday. Around midnight we received a call letting us know that my sisters Verena and Susan’s house was struck by lightning and was on fire. It was windy and for a while it looked hopeless for the firefighters to save it. But the firefighters did some quick work and the structure was saved, although there was a lot of water damage.

Plans are to rebuild half of the house and try to repair the other half.

After the firefighters left they wanted someone to keep watch on the house to make sure fire didn’t start up again. Mose (son-in-law), Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) and Menno (niece Emma’s special friend) worked hard all night to move furniture out before the ceiling came down. Son-in-law Timothy also came to help once he found out what was going on. Daughter Elizabeth and little Abigail stayed at our house since it was so cold and rainy. During this time we were a few hours away. I wish I could have been there to help but a person never knows. I am just so thankful that no lives were lost. That is what matters most. Material things can be replaced but lives can’t.

This is now Thursday and I still need to finish this column. Sisters Verena and Susan are staying with us ever since the fire. Daughter Verena moved into our daughters’ Loretta and Lovina’s bedroom so my sisters can use Verena’s bedroom.

Meanwhile, amidst everything going on, I am managing to get the clothes sewn for Jake and Lisa’s wedding. Verena and Loretta’s suits are done. I have to finish my dress and then sew my cape and apron.
Next week is our neighbor girl Regina and Wayne’s wedding. I was asked to help bake pies on Thursday and cook at the wedding on Friday. It’s a busy time of the year and lots of weddings in this community. My dress for that wedding is cut out and waiting to be sewn. Daughter Susan is a cook at the wedding also. Daughter Elizabeth took Susan’s dress home to sew it for her. With Susan working full time again, it’s hard for her to find time to sew. Elizabeth was here for the day yesterday. She cut out dress pants for our son Benjamin. Loretta and I were glad for her help with the laundry. It ended up being a nice drying day for laundry.

Since I was busy sewing my husband Joe made supper on the grill. Those joining us for supper besides sisters Verena and Susan, were daughter Susan and her husband Mose, plus Moses’s brother Freeman and Loretta’s friend Dustin.

This morning sisters Verena and Susan did my weekly cleaning before they headed back to their house for the day. They are sorting through the mess and saving what is still okay. Thanks for all your prayers on their behalf. It is greatly appreciated.

I will share the recipe for frozen mocha dessert that I helped make for niece Emma’s wedding a few weeks ago. This is an easy dessert to make ahead of time if you are taking a dessert somewhere, or having company. Very tasty!

God bless you. Until next week, take care!

Frozen Mocha Dessert

2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 tablespoon hot water
¼ cup melted butter
3 cups crumbled Oreo cookies
16 ounces cream cheese
½ cup chocolate syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
16 ounce container whipped topping
small amount caramel syrup

Dissolve coffee in hot water. Mix butter with cookie crumbs. Put 2 ½ cups of crumbs on bottom of pan. Reserve ½ cup for top. Combine cream cheese, coffee mixture, sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate syrup. Beat well and add whipped topping. Cover and freeze a few days before serving. Drizzle with caramel syrup before serving.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, 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.

 

Busy spring days mean accepting that one person can’t do everything

It is past time for me to get this column on its way. There’s so much that should be done, but a person can only do so much. One day at a time!

We did manage to get our windows cleaned on Saturday. It doesn’t take long for them to get dirty, especially because of the rainy weather and running the coal stove. We haven’t had any heat in the house for several weeks now. On a few of the colder mornings, it would have felt good to have some! The propane lights heat up the house. We use a lot more battery lights on days that we don’t need heat.

My husband Joe, our sons and son-in-law Mose have planted some garden. This is the first year I haven’t helped plant. I’m not complaining if I don’t need to help! But we will still have the big garden to plant, so I’ll get my chance. They planted red potatoes, onions, radishes, lettuce and cucumbers. I’m not sure if they have any corn planted yet. I need to go get more seeds so we can finish the planting.

This week I have been busy sewing for the wedding next week. I have Loretta’s dress, cape and apron done. I hope to sew Verena’s today and hopefully I’ll get started on mine. I sewed Benjamin, 17, a pair of dress pants. He also needs work pants.

Laundry needs to be done today, but I am waiting to see what the weather is going to be. It is very windy and the sun comes out a little bit and then it rains a little.

We are enjoying asparagus from our garden. I like to fix it several different ways. Joe reminded me last night that we have rhubarb ready to use. I did get the hint that he’s hungry for rhubarb custard pie!

Loretta, 16, and I are alone today. The rest of the family are either at work or at school. Joseph, 14, reminded me this morning that he only has thirty more days of school left. He is in eighth grade, so this will complete his school years. He signed up to help detassel corn this summer. Joseph is tall for his age, so he will find that helpful when he works in the corn fields.

Posing in the mailboxes: Izzy has been Elizabeth’s Yorkie for many years, and puppy Ricky (also a Yorkie) has just joined the Eicher family as Verena’s special pet.

Yesterday daughter Elizabeth and Abigail came for the day. Abigail is getting everywhere on her tummy. She scoots herself around, and so I need to keep my floors clean! Abigail is growing up with Yorkie dogs, so she wasn’t scared of Verena’s new little Yorkie, Ricky. Ricky is doing great and is doing well with the potty training. He likes to hide from us. His favorite place to hide is under Joe’s recliner, where he peeks out at us. Yesterday everyone was looking for him. A few decided to look outside, because he loves to slip out when someone goes through the door. I looked around the living room and bedroom. I happened to look back and he was following me.

We are looking forward to meeting the readers in South Holland, Ill., this Saturday. Our good friend Ruth is once again doing so much for us. Since we live several hours from South Holland, she will come get us Friday evening and then we will stay at her house for the night and go to the book signing on Saturday. Joe, daughters Verena and Lovina and sons Joseph and Kevin are planning to go with me. Loretta and Dustin will go help up set wedding tables on Saturday for his brother Jake’s wedding. This will be at Jake’s girlfriend’s parent’s house, which is about one and one-half hours from here. Jake is the first of Dustin’s siblings to get married, so this will make a big change for their family.

With all of us leaving, that will put son Benjamin in charge of doing the chores here at home. Mose and Susan will be here to help him.

I’ll share Uncle Solomon’s horseradish recipe. Joe and I made some to serve with the colored eggs at Easter. Our horseradish plant is really big already.

God bless you all!

Uncle Solomon’s Homemade Horseradish

horseradish root
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt

Clean and chop horseradish root very fine. Combine vinegar, water, sugar and pinch of salt, adding only enough horseradish to make it the thickness you like. Add more sugar or salt to taste. Store in sealed container and refrigerate or use immediately.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, 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.