Tag Archives: Amish cooking

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 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.

Lovina’s Book Signings

Lovina’s Book Signings

If you’ve been wanting to meet Lovina and you live in the northern Indiana/southern Michigan area, you are in luck! Lovina has agreed to do a number of book signings in this area this spring/summer 2017. Put one or more of these on your calendar and you will love meeting this cook you’ve been reading for so long. Check back here for updates or changes to her schedule. Use the green highlighted links below to find locations of stores if you are not familiar. Thanks!

CONFIRMED BOOK SIGNINGS FOR LOVINA (subject to change)

Tues. April 18:  2-4 p.m. PLUS 5:30 – 7 p.m. after hours launch party – Shipshewana, Ind.

J Farver’s Books
451 S. VanBuren
Shipshewana, IN 46565

(located in Yoder’s Red Barn Shoppes next to Yoder’s Meat and Cheese Shoppe on SR5 in Shipshewana.)

Email contact: jfarvers@juno.com

Sat. April 29:  9 a.m. – noon – South Holland, Ill.

Peace Church

833 East 168th Street
South Holland, IL 60473

(Ruth Boss’s church where friends were involved with recipe testing)

Sat. May 6: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Warsaw, Ind.

Dorothy’s Hallmark

The Party Shop
3418 Lake City Hwy
Warsaw, IN 46580

Email contact: dana@thepartyshop.com

Sat. May 13: – 10 a.m. – noon – Fort Wayne, Ind.

Barnes & Noble –Glenbrook Square

4201 Coldwater Rd B-01,
Fort Wayne, IN 46805

Email contact crm2313@bn.com

Tues. May 16:  Amigo Centre –  Carol Honderich’s quilting class

2 p.m. Private event

 

Fri. May 19: 6 – 8 p.m. Goshen, IN

Better World Books

215 S Main St
Goshen, IN 46526
Phone: (574) 534-1984

Sat. May 20: 12 noon to 3 p.m.  Mishawaka, Ind

University Park Mall

Barnes & Noble 2358
6501 North Grape Road
Mishawaka, IN 46545
574-247-0864

 

Sat. May 27 – Battle Creek, MI 10:00 am – noon
Barnes & Noble

Lakeview Square Mall
5701 Beckley Rd., Lakeview Sq,
Battle Creek, MI 49015

 

Remember, if you can’t make it to any of these locations, you can purchase directly from the publisher here or Amazon or anywhere else you find the book online!

Heartfelt sympathy for family of 13-year-old relative after tragic death

The calendar tells us spring is here but the weather thinks differently. It has been cold so far this week. Son-in-law Mose is boiling maple syrup as fast as he can keep up in the evenings. Son Benjamin keeps the fire under the cooker going all day and adds more sap as it cooks down. The weather is perfect right now to get the sap running from the trees.

As soon as it warms up I have lots of windows that need to be cleaned. I really look forward to the warmer days ahead.

Our hearts are saddened since we received the shocking news yesterday of our cousins Samuel and Lydia’s granddaughter’s death. Samuel is Joe’s cousin and Lydia is my cousin. Their thirteen-year-old granddaughter, Lovina, was biking to school yesterday morning (March 22). She was hit by a passing truck that did not see her because of the blinding sunlight. Oh, I cannot grasp the feeling this family had when they heard the news. We also have a daughter Lovina just a few months younger than her and also in the sixth grade. I keep asking myself how I would have felt had it been my daughter. God doesn’t make mistakes and we pray that this family will find comfort in that; let God be their guide as they will have many lonely days of grief ahead.

Left to mourn her are father and mother Daniel and Lydia, three sisters, three brothers, grandparents and many more. She was the second child, oldest daughter out of the seven siblings. Visitation will take place tonight (Thursday) and Friday all day at the family residence. The funeral is Saturday at 9:30 a.m. They live in a community around thirty minutes from here by car. We have a hired driver to take us there. Our most heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family.

Yesterday daughter Elizabeth and baby Abigail came to spend the day here. It was a cold morning with the temperature around nineteen degrees. Abigail kept warm on the ride over and had a big smile when she woke up in Grandma’s house. Elizabeth helped me make sugar cookies and cinnamon rolls. It was a good day to bake with the cold temperature. I need to get some baby things around such as a high chair, walker, etc., that would be nice to have whenever Abigail comes.

After eleven years of small children, I didn’t need much of anything around so I gave my stuff away or sold it at a garage sale. Being grandparents is another change in life and so much fun. Abigail is always a day brightener when she comes.

I had a visit Monday morning from Ruth Coblentz (a relative). She has many lonely days since her husband Dave passed away last August. She brought me several cookbooks compiled by the Schwartz families. I am always glad for new recipes but this is special coming from family—Joe’s late grandmother Mae, on his dad’s side.

Daughter Susan tried a different casserole for supper one evening. It can be made for breakfast or any meal. I will share it with you readers this week. God bless you all!

Sausage Casserole

1 pound loose sausage
1 pound Tater Tots
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon mustard
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Brown sausage until no longer pink; drain. Layer Tater Tots in a greased 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with onion powder. Top with cheddar cheese. Top with browned sausage mixed with mustard. Mix together eggs and milk; pour over all. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Top with the mozzarella cheese and heat until cheese is melted.

 

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, will be published in 2017, 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.

 

 

Lovina’s daughter shares the news and a recipe for whoopie pies

Hi! This is Verena, 19, filling in for Mom this week. I had the urge to do some writing, and I thought Mom would be happy to have a break.

This last week has been absolutely beautiful spring weather. It’s hard to believe it’s only February. I will be happy to see summer come.

I started working at a daycare several days a week. I love the job—probably because I have always loved being around children. Right now we only have children from age one to five at the daycare. We might have a few babies to take care of later this year. Sometimes I also babysit for a family with three little boys, ages one, three, and five. They keep me busy but are fun to take care of. I enjoy being around children and watching over the dear little ones. The innocent mind of a young child makes me want to be a child again, with no worries in life.

Tomorrow my sister Elizabeth and my little niece Abigail will come here. I will go with Elizabeth to a Tupperware party. I’m so excited to get to see Abigail again. She is my whole world! I really enjoy being an aunt. Abigail is like therapy to me, on days when life doesn’t look too bright. She sure knows how to brighten up my days. I dream about the days when she will be old enough for me to take her on walks, pony rides, etc.

The exciting news of this week: the Teacup Yorkie puppy I have been waiting for was born yesterday. I had wanted a female but the mother only had two males. I decided I will take a male, which I’m sure will be just as cute and fun. I will name him Ricky. Thank you to the readers who have contributed money to help make it possible for me to get this puppy. I love dogs so much, and having my own little puppy in the house to take care of will be awesome! Now I have to wait for six to eight weeks until I can have the puppy. The lady who has the puppies said I can come visit whenever I want to.

The Eichers are happy to have the use of a cooker to help in the boiling-off process for the maple syrup.

Brother-in-law Mose has been keeping very busy with cooking maple syrup. The sap has really been running from our maple trees. The sugar content is low this year, and it’s averaging about 60 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. There is a lot of work involved in cooking maple syrup. We really love the maple syrup on our pancakes, scrambled eggs and French toast. While it is still warm, it is also really good on a dip of vanilla ice cream.

On Saturday we butchered the three hogs we raised. We had an early start, so most of the butchering was done by 2:00 p.m. We still had to clean up everything and Dad sliced all the pork chops, ham and bacon yet in the afternoon. One of the hogs was for Mose and Susan. My parents gave it to them to help with starting out on their own.

Those here to help with the butchering were Aunts Verena and Susan, Uncle Jacob and Aunt Emma and sons Jacob, Benjamin, and Steven, their daughter Emma and her friend Menno, my sister Elizabeth, Timothy, and Abigail, sister Loretta’s friend Dustin, and then Mose and Susan and our family.

We made the pon hoss out in the big black kettle and rendered the lard as well. Everyone was here for breakfast and lunch. Our lunch meal was mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, fried tenderloin, corn, lettuce salad, sliced cheese, dirt pudding, finger jello, oatmeal whoopie pies, brownie delight, and chocolate brownies.

I want to thank everyone for their prayers, cards, etc., after my hospital stay. It was all greatly appreciated. I am doing better than expected. God is great!

I saw the rough copy of Mom’s new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, which comes out in April. I love it! I enjoyed helping to test the recipes and learning a thing or two from it.

It turned out really well, which makes all the hard work worth it!

Oatmeal Whoopie Pies

Cookies

4 cups brown sugar
1 cup lard or shortening
4 eggs
4 teaspoons baking soda
6 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups flour
4 cups oatmeal (quick oats)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder

Cream the sugar and lard or shortening. Add eggs. In a separate bowl, dissolve baking soda in boiling water; stir into sugar mixture. Add the buttermilk and salt. Mix flour, oatmeal, cinnamon and baking powder. Add to batter. Bake at 400 degrees until done, about 10–13 minutes. Cool completely. These cookies should turn out soft and chewy.

Filling

2 egg whites
4 cups powdered sugar, divided
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup shortening, softened
4 tablespoons milk

Beat egg whites until stiff. Add 2 cups powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla. In another bowl, cream the shortening, adding a little of egg white mixture at a time. Add milk and remaining powdered sugar alternately. Beat well. Spread filling between two cookies.

Note: This a fairly large recipe and the amount it makes varies depending on how large you make each cookie; you use two cookies to make one whoopie pie, so that’s why the quantities are big. You can easily halve this recipe if you want to try it.

 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, will be published in 2017. 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.

Week marred by illness brightened by kind gesture

We have entered the month of February. The temperature has dropped to the teens again, and we have had several more inches of snow.

Last Friday the girls and I helped daughter Elizabeth with the final preparations for hosting church services on Sunday, January 29. Joe and I and the children went again Saturday so Joe and the boys could help Timothy set up the church benches in their basement. The girls and I helped Elizabeth peel the eggs she had cooked for egg salad. We also mixed the peanut butter spread. I made cheese spread here at home on Friday night. Elizabeth prepared two big roasters with casserole for Sunday evening. It makes it easier to have these prepared so they can simply be put in the oven Sunday afternoon for supper.

Timothy and Elizabeth were both really organized and finished everything that needed to be done by late Friday afternoon. They do not have the biggest basement to host church services in, but there was plenty of room to seat everyone. A lot of Timothy’s family from other church districts attended, but we had a few families missing from our church district. Those families were attending baptismal services in another church district. So it all worked out well.

The menu for lunch consisted of homemade wheat and white bread, egg salad, peanut butter spread, cheese spread, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, raspberry jam, butter, coffee and spearmint tea. For dessert there were chocolate chip, peanut butter, sugar, and oatmeal cookies.

Loretta’s friend Dustin surprised Lovina by volunteering to make his special skillet meal. The recipe appears in this week’s column.

On Friday night after coming home from helping Elizabeth, I had a nice surprise. Loretta’s special friend Dustin came with groceries and prepared supper for us. This was such a treat to me, as I had been thinking that I would have to come home and prepare supper yet. For the recipe this week, I will share one of the dishes he made for us. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did. Since Dustin doesn’t have a recipe for this dish, he helped me write one down the best we could. I told him I would name it Dustin’s Skillet, and he laughed.

I have left the not-so-good news for last. Sister Susan had been sick for a while and couldn’t attend church services at Timothy and Elizabeth’s house. Monday morning she ended up in the emergency room and was admitted to the hospital. She was there three days and then released to come home.

Little Abigail had a cough and it worsened over the weekend. Elizabeth took her to the doctor on Monday morning. The doctor said she has bronchitis and croup. Since they don’t have insurance, the doctor said they could try treating her at home for one night, giving her breathing treatments with a nebulizer. We still have the nebulizer that we had to use a lot on son Kevin, so they borrowed that. Elizabeth took Abigail back to the doctor the next day, and she was better than before. They are still giving her the treatments, and she seems to be getting better. Sweet little baby: she could still smile at us even though she had a fever. I’m thankful sister Susan and Abigail are both on the mend. Good health means so much!

May God bless you, and may you stay healthy. Thanks to all you readers for keeping Verena and our family in your prayers.

Dustin’s Skillet

1 pound breakfast sausage
1 pound bacon, cut into small pieces
12 ounces shrimp, cooked, with tails cut off
2 green peppers, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

In a skillet, fry together sausage, bacon and shrimp until sausage and bacon are cooked. Drain grease and put skillet back on burner. Add chopped green pepper and onions. Cook briefly. Then add sliced mushrooms and stir while heating until vegetables are hot.

 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, will be published in 2017. 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.

Can you ever have too much birthday cake?

Yesterday, January 24, was daughter Susan’s twenty-first birthday! My sister Liz also has a birthday on the same day. She turned forty eight. A happy birthday to both!

Friday evening, Mose’s family brought in supper here at Mose and Susan’s. It was a surprise for Susan. They wanted us to join them for supper. On the menu were a variety of homemade pizzas, lettuce, salad, and ice cream cake. Mose will have a birthday on February 5 so this was in honor of both of their birthdays. Mose’s brother Joe and wife Mary came for the event and spent the weekend with Mose and Susan. They live around an hour and fifteen minutes north of here.

Last night Timothy, Elizabeth and baby Abigail, Loretta’s special friend Dustin, and our family had supper over at Mose and Susan’s also in honor of her birthday. That night we had chili soup, banana pepper poppers, hot wings, macaroni salad, sliced cheese, cake, and applesauce. Mose and Susan have had their share of birthday cake.

Saturday Timothy and Elizabeth attended a late Christmas gathering for his family at his sister’s house. They are busy preparing to host church services on Sunday. Joe and I and some of the children assisted them with their work late afternoon and evening. We finished cleaning the basement where church services will be held. After we were done Timothy grilled venison burgers on the grill while we helped Elizabeth with the rest of the meal. We also enjoyed watching daughter Verena give Abigail a bath. Oh what fun to watch her kick in the water! She loves to play with the little rubber ducks in the water. She is growing so fast. She just jabbers away trying to “talk” to us. She has naturally curly hair and after it’s wet her curls are so cute.

Last week Loretta and I helped Susan with some organizing in their quarters in the pole barn. Loretta sewed curtains for some windows. Son Benjamin hung the curtain rods for us. Mose built a shelf for them to store some of their excess belongings. It makes it look a lot more organized and easier to find what they are looking for.

Tonight we made bacon, ham, and cheese omelets for everyone for supper. We told Mose and Susan to come eat with us. We added onions for those who wanted onions in theirs. We have lots of eggs so that makes an easy supper. Timothy and Elizabeth have a few chickens so their eggs are accumulating too. Elizabeth wants to make egg salad for the church lunch. I will make cheese spread for her. We have “dried up” our cow Bessie because she will be calving in March. If you wonder how that’s done, you basically just stop milking her. We first slowed down by skipping a milking every few days and then stopping. It’s different to have to buy milk again.

I will share the cheese spread recipe with you. This recipe will be in my cookbook this spring. I don’t always use the brand name Velveeta cheese. You can buy cheaper brands and it still works.

God bless you!

Homemade Church Cheese Spread
6 pounds Velveeta cheese
1 1/2 cups butter
8 cups cream

Put everything in a big roaster and bake at 150 to 200 degrees stirring every 15 minutes until all is melted. Remove from oven. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent it from getting a crusty top while cooling. The spread is served on a sandwich with or without meat. It is good just spread on bread with some pickles.

 

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, will be published in 2017. 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.

 

Heaps of dessert but no salad at your last potluck? Take a lesson from Lovina and friends

Six weeks ago today I had my surgery. I am feeling pretty good but am still being careful about my blood clot. It gets better every day.

On Sunday I went to church for the first time since my surgery. I appreciated all the “welcome backs” and concerns for my health. On our way home Joe and I stopped in to visit with brother-in-law Jacob (sister Emma’s husband). He was home from church with a bad backache. They had a vanload of visitors from Berne, Indiana, including Jacob’s brother Martin and wife Edith and family. Also visiting were niece Elizabeth and Samuel and their daughter LaRose.

LaRose is sister Liz and Levi’s first and only grandchild. She was a year old on November 10. She’s running all over already. She’s a little cutie! It looks like she keeps her mother busy. I imagine that sister Liz and Levi have many fun times with little LaRose.

The grandfather, Levi had hip replacement surgery last week, so he will be laid up a long time. We wish him a complete and speedy recovery!

Our annual church Christmas potluck dinner will be in two weeks after church services. On Sunday, all the women wrote down what dishes they will bring. Usually, while we are eating the Sunday meal a few weeks before Christmas, the women pass a tablet around the table. Everyone chooses what they will bring, such as a casserole, salad or dessert. This way we don’t end up with more salads than desserts or the other way around.

Daughter Loretta, 16, traveled to Ohio to a family gathering with her special friend, Dustin, and his family. They had a six-hour drive there, so they left Friday evening and returned Saturday evening.

Sunday evening Timothy, Elizabeth and Abigail, Dustin, and all of us ate supper over at Mose and Susan’s. Joe made chili in the kettle over an open fire, and he also grilled chicken. Mose baked a cake and we also had ice cream. Some of the children played games, and Joe and I had fun enjoying baby Abigail. She is such a sweetie and is growing so fast!

Daughter Verena will turn 19 on Saturday, December 10. It doesn’t seem possible that she is that old.

Yesterday Verena and daughter Susan spent the day helping daughter Elizabeth with her work. Church services will be held at Timothy and Elizabeth’s in January, so Elizabeth is getting a head start with her cleaning. With a baby in the house, time is limited. Life changes, and the baby’s needs always come first.

Crystal’s puppies are four weeks old, and they plan to sell them to good homes when they get old enough. It’s just too much to have five little puppies in the house yet. They are very cute and playful.

So adorable: one of Elizabeth’s puppies born to her Yorkie, Crystal, soon after Elizabeth’s baby girl, Abigail was born.
So adorable: one of Elizabeth’s puppies born to her Yorkie, Crystal, soon after Elizabeth’s baby girl, Abigail was born.

I received a get-well card from Uncle Elmer and Aunt Emma. Aunt Emma had written a letter as well, which I appreciated. It is always nice hearing from my mother’s sisters. She had in her letter that Cousin Leah is home from the hospital after her accident, but has lots of healing to do yet. Our prayers are with her and the family!

Correction: I want to make a correction with an error that occurred in one of my recent letters. The two young girls that were killed in the tragic buggy accident were cousins to each other, not to me. It was a bit of a confusion to people who know me, so I wanted to make sure that is corrected. God bless!

Gold Rush Brunch Casserole

8 eggs, beaten
1 pound frozen Tater Tots or hash brown patties, thawed
1 pound sausage or ham, cubed
2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2–1 pound shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 3/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream

Scramble eggs on stovetop and set aside. Place potatoes in bottom of greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Fry meat lightly and layer on top of potatoes along with onion and parsley. Layer scrambled eggs on top of meat. Layer cheese on top of eggs. Set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan and whisk flour into butter, gradually adding milk. Cook and stir until thickened and boiling. Add pepper, salt and sour cream; mix well. Remove sauce from heat and pour evenly over casserole. Bake at 400 degrees for 30–40 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Yields 6–8 servings.

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, will be published in 2017. 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.