Tag Archives: Amish cooking

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.

Eichers exchange names for Christmas

Today wraps up the month of November! While the children were waiting for the bus this morning, they said that Christmas is only 25 days away. I am having a harder time getting into the season this year. Even though we enjoy getting together with family and sharing gifts, let us always remember the true meaning of Christmas: the day Jesus our Savior was born.

Tonight a nativity scene is being played out at our local youth center. Tickets were sold out before I had the chance to get any. My sisters Verena and Susan are helping out, so I have some details from them. Everyone in the cast will dress as they did in those days, and live animals will be used to play out the scenes of how Jesus was born. A meal will be served afterward. The money raised will be used to help with the costs of running the youth center.

We spent Thanksgiving Day with Jacob, Emma and family at their house. With both our families and sisters Verena and Susan, we make a total of 25. Mose and Susan had Thanksgiving this year with his parents. We exchanged names after lunch for a Christmas gift exchange, which will be held here at our house. We haven’t decided when to have it yet.

A total of 25 enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner together at this long table.
A total of 25 enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner together at this long table.

Emma prepared two turkeys and all the trimmings. With all the food everyone had brought, the table was more than filled. Everyone took leftovers home for the next day. Granddaughter Abigail had the most attention all day. She is so precious to all of us! Her black hair and blue eyes and the dimples in her cheeks are adorable. Of course, all grandmothers love their grandchildren. For me it’s still a new feeling. God has been more than good to us, and we need to thank him all the time for our blessings, not just on holidays such as Thanksgiving.

Son Benjamin went hunting with son-in-law Timothy and was happy to shoot a deer. He ground the meat on Monday when he didn’t have work. It’s nice to have more meat in the freezer.

Recently Joe’s sister Esther and David and baby David Tyrell (age 3 1/2 months) had supper here. It was our first time to meet baby David. Our marrieds were here for supper as well. Needless to say Abigail and David were the center of attention. Our evening was spent singing together, which is always enjoyable.

Sunday was our week off of church, and we spent it at Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. We had a brunch, with this delicious menu: gold rush breakfast casserole (I need to ask her for the recipe), pancakes, baked French toast, milk, grape juice, orange juice, coffee and V-8 juice. We also had cherry pie and Swiss roll bars. After the dishes were washed, we played games and visited. The men and boys went for a walk through the woods while we stayed with Abigail, spoiling her.

Daughters Elizabeth (and Abigail) and Susan and I went grocery shopping after Abigail’s doctor appointment on Tuesday. We met up with Ruth Coblentz. It sounds like she has many lonely days since her husband Dave passed away in August. Dave was a cousin to my father. To all the Coblentz relatives who read this column: after talking with Ruth, I found out I made a mistake in my August column. Dad’s cousins Dave and Leroy were not brothers but cousins to each other. With my parents no longer around to answer my questions, I misunderstood how the relationship was. It was nice being able to talk with Ruth again even though the visit was short.

My thoughts and prayers go to the families affected by the Tennessee fires. I can’t imagine what they are going through. Prayers also for the families of the young people who died in the recent car-buggy accidents. God be with everyone and help ease their pain!

For this week’s recipe, I am sharing one of the recipes from my upcoming cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, which will be out next spring. This fudge is different because of the soda crackers added to it. My mother always made fudge around Christmastime, and then we wouldn’t have it again for a year. Give this one a try over the holidays. God bless!

Peanut Butter Cracker Fudge
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 box soda crackers, crushed

In a saucepan, bring sugar, butter, and milk to a boil and boil for one minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add peanut butter, vanilla and crushed crackers. Spread into greased 8×8-inch baking pan and allow to cool. Cut into one-inch squares.

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.

Tragic buggy accidents: Grief for others weighs on Eicher hearts

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. The children have their Thanksgiving feast at school today. Their cooking class teacher has to have a lot of patience to show all the students how to prepare this meal. Daughters Verena, Loretta, son Benjamin, and I plan to attend the feast. It is rainy here so Benjamin doesn’t have construction work today. Daughters Susan and Elizabeth and baby Abigail plan to go too.

Then on Thursday, our family is invited to have Thanksgiving dinner at sister Emma and Jacob’s house. A few of the children have other plans, but the rest of the family will go.

We have so many blessings to be thankful for, and not just on Thanksgiving but all year long. Do we thank God enough for all our blessings? How thankful we should be to have a warm house to live in and a bountiful harvest stored for the coming year. And also to be able to spend the day with family.

Unfortunately not everyone will be spending their day this way. Our thoughts and prayers go to the families of the two young girls that were instantly killed in a buggy wreck this past Sunday evening. The girls, and two boys who were giving the girls a ride home, were hit from behind by a truck traveling at a high rate of speed. The girls, Michelle, age 16, and Rebecca, age 17, were cousins. (Cousins of each other, not cousins of my family.) They leave to mourn their parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents and a lot of extended family. One of the boys is in the hospital in critical condition and the last we heard has not responded. I just can’t imagine how the families must feel. Let us keep them in our prayers so that God can help them through this difficult trial in life. We do not understand why things like this happen but we do know God makes no mistakes when bad things happen. The funeral for the girls will be on Thanksgiving Day.

Also in our prayers is cousin Leah as she is in the hospital in critical condition. She and her husband Joe and their two sons were in a buggy when they were also hit from behind. Leah landed in front of the car, which stopped on top of her. She has extensive head injuries. We talked to her sister Martha’s husband, David, yesterday. We haven’t heard many details so we were glad to talk with him and find out what really happened. Leah lives in the Berne, Indiana, area and is Uncle Emanuel and Aunt Leah’s oldest daughter. Her sister Martha was my age and we had so many good times growing up. Now we hardly see or hear from each other. Life gets busy with our own families.

I had another doctor appointment this week. The blood clot is still improving and I’m doing as well as can be expected since the surgery four weeks ago. I can tell my energy level isn’t normal yet but it all takes time to heal. The girls do a wonderful job helping me. I have to keep reminding myself to be careful and remember that the work won’t run away (although it would be nice if it would sometimes. Ha!).

Son-in-law Timothy brought us a deer that he shot. He had it all venison2016ground up and ready for the freezer. The family was all here Sunday evening for supper, so husband Joe grilled deer steaks on the charcoal grill, which we all enjoyed.

God bless all of you this holiday and keep you safe.

Jerky

 12 pounds lean meat (optional: beef, venison, pork)
1 cup Tender Quick
8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt petre
1 tablespoon Accent or meat tenderizer
1 cup brown sugar

Slice meat 3/16 inches thick. Mix remaining ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Use entire seasoning for 12 pounds of meat.

Layer your meat in a tub or on trays. Using a shaker with large holes, sprinkle seasoning between each layer. Let set 24 hours. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Flip over, bake another 15 minutes.

Hint: We use parchment paper on bottom of trays. When finished baking, meat still looks wet. Take your meat out of tray and discard remaining juice. Meat will dry up and still be moist. Good luck!

 

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,
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.

Surprise puppies pop up for Elizabeth’s family

Thanksgiving Day is only two weeks away*. Unbelievable! Time goes so fast. And today baby Abigail is two months old.

I went to the doctor to have the rest of my staples removed. I still have the blood clot in my leg so I need to be careful with that. I’m trying to take one day at a time and be patieapplesforapplesaucent as I heal.

applesaucemaking2016The girls and I canned applesauce this week. We did one bushel for Susan and Mose and two bushels for us. I need to be careful when work like that has to be done. The girls don’t let me do too much and are all very good at keeping an eye on me so that I don’t do too much.

Susan didn’t like the long hours she was working at the RV factory so she quit her job there. She now works in the kitchen of a campground facility. They serve meals to groups of people. So far she enjoys it and works three to four days a week. I am so glad for her help here at home as well.

The chimney is up in the pole building and Mose and Susan are enjoying the nice even heat from their coal stove there. We were glad for the warmer days until they had heat in there. This morning’s temperature was in the thirty’s so heat in the house felt good.

Daughter Verena sprained her arm and the doctor wants her to keep it in a sling part time so she doesn’t overuse it. She reached into the Maytag washing machine to see if more clothes were in there. The agitator of the washing machine somehow pushed her elbow against the machine. It was very painful at first but an x-ray at the hospital showed no fractures—only badly sprained. We were so thankful to hear that nothing was broken.

Different families from our church district are still bringing in our supper three times a week. I just can’t be thankful enough for their kindness. This has been so much help to the girls as well.

Also, thanks to all that have sent cards, etc. I feel more than blessed!

Timothy and Elizabeth’s Yorkie dog Crystal gave birth this week to five little puppies. We are glad that all is okay with Crystal and the puppies. The puppies were unplanned. Our rat terrier dog Rover is the father to the puppies. We now know to be more careful when someone lets Crystal outside to go to the bathroom. The puppies are very cute and Crystal is being a good mother but it wasn’t on Timothy and Elizabeth’s agenda to take care of puppies yet. Such is life—always full of surprises!

It looks like a nice, sunny day to wash laundry. Days like this will be few before the snow starts flying.

Our new chickens are finally starting to lay eggs. We were getting short in eggs so I’m glad the hens started. After they are laying good enough we will butcher the old hens. I am low in chicken broth since Susan’s wedding. It takes quite a bit of broth to make chicken, noodles and dressing for a wedding crowd!

Try this easy dish. Although it takes more baking time, it is nice to just put it all in the oven to bake. God’s blessings!

Seven-Layer Supper

1/2 pound uncooked bacon, chopped into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
4 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 onion, sliced
4 carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon pepper, to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic salt, to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon seasoning salt, to taste
1 to 1 1/2 cups water

Place ingredients in order listed in greased 9×13-inch pan, pouring water over all until nearly covered. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.

 

*A reminder that Lovina writes her columns for newspapers about a week before you see them here. Newspapers run them first. 

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

 

Lovina’s oldest daughter takes up the pen this week

Greetings from the Bontragers! I’m Lovina’s oldest daughter, Elizabeth, and I’m taking over for Mom this week. I’m not an excellent writer like Mom is, but I’ll give it a try anyway.

Mom underwent some surgery this week. Depending on how the surgery turns out, she may need to stay a night or two. We hope and pray everything goes well. Times like this make a person stop and think. Perhaps I take my mom for granted sometimes. She’s always there for us: for me and for her family. God has blessed us with an amazing mother. Mom—thank you for just being you!

Today baby Abigail and I spent the day at my parents’ with Mom, my sisters Susan, Verena and Loretta, and my brother Benjamin. Abigail gets lots of attention from them—lots of hugs and kisses. She’s starting to notice everything around her and also starting to coo. She smiles when we talk to her.

Our world changed tremendously when Abigail arrived. She wrapped her daddy around her little finger instantly! It was love at first sight for us. We feel blessed!

While I was laid up after her birth, my family came to help whenever they could. Sister Verena spent the first two weeks here. Husband Timothy has also helped out a lot. He canned the applesauce and grape juice for me. I suppose my canning is finished for this year. Mom always says it’s nice to see the empty jars fill up for winter, and now I know what she means.

It was a beautiful fall day yesterday, so in the early afternoon I decided to quickly do laundry. I wasn’t done hanging it out on the lines when Timothy came home, and so he finished it for me. I left some bath towels and Tim’s work pants hang out overnight. They were too wet to bring in.

It’s a bit more challenging keeping up with the household chores now with Abigail, but I love every minute of it! I must say, though, time has a way of slipping by so quickly now. Sunday was Abigail’s second time going to church services. It’s different having to dress a little one before we go away!

Abigail had her first bath in a baby bathtub last week. She really enjoyed it—kicking, splashing, and all smiles. Tonight she’ll receive her second bath—this time her daddy will be giving it. She’s been wearing several of my cousin Marilyn’s dresses that Aunt Emma gave to her.

Crystal and Izzy (our house dogs) are starting to warm up to Abigail more and more. Izzy acted okay with her when we brought her home, but Crystal went through a jealous spell. Crystal has been my shadow from day one, and I suppose it was just hard for her to accept Abigail at first.

Elizabeth says her dear Yorkies seem to be getting used to new baby Abigail.
Elizabeth says her dear Yorkies seem to be getting used to new baby Abigail.

On October 1 hunting season opened. We enjoy our venison steaks. Timothy makes the best on the grill! We don’t need too much venison meat this year, as we still have meat left over from the one-half beef my parents gave us last winter.

Timothy had his twenty-eighth birthday on October 18. He wasn’t too thrilled about being another year closer to thirty! On October 20 it was nine years ago that he fell twenty-one feet, leaving him with a badly broken back. He has come a long way since then.

Our garden is almost ready to be left alone for the winter. We just need to pull the carrots yet. Temperatures have been dropping during the nights. This morning we had a low of 30 degrees. Brr! Winter weather will be here before we know it.

Before I bring this to a close, I’d like to thank all the readers and friends who took the time to send a card or baby gift! We really appreciate it! May God bless you for your kindness.

Timothy and I plan to make homemade pizza for Mom and Dad’s and my family’s supper Friday night. We’ll surprise them! Try this pizza crust.

Best wishes to all!

Pizza Crust

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour

Mix together water, yeast and sugar, and let mixture stand for 10 minutes. Add oil, salt and flour and mix well. Let dough rise in bowl in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size.

Press into greased 16 1/2- x 12 1/2-inch baking sheet. Add toppings of your choice. Let rise a bit more while oven preheats. Bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

 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.

Definition of a ‘handful’? Loading baby and two dogs into a buggy

It is Thursday already, and this column should have been written yesterday! The sun is shining brightly, with the thermometer showing 62 degrees this morning.

Son Benjamin is home, as he doesn’t have work today. I hope he can clean up the remainder of the garden. We still have hot peppers, green peppers and cabbage in there.

Hot peppers from the Eicher garden, canned and ready to spice up winter meals.
Hot peppers from the Eicher garden, canned and ready to spice up winter meals.

Tonight we will go pick Concord grapes at the local U-Pick. We will also get our apples for applesauce. We are out of grape juice and applesauce, so it will be good to fill some jars with both. Timothy and Elizabeth and Mose and Susan will also go along to get grapes and apples.

Baby Abigail will be four weeks old on Saturday. She is sweeter than ever!

Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail came here for the day yesterday, and of course Crystal and Izzy (the Yorkies) came along. So Elizabeth has a handful as she gets Abigail and the dogs into the buggy! Abigail loves buggy rides, so at least she isn’t crying while they travel the almost seven miles. Their horse, ShiAnn, is a safe and sound horse for Elizabeth to drive. I keep reminding Elizabeth to take it easy, but she has a hard time not working too long. Since she became a mother, she has found out how your all nights of sleep are gone.

Monday was a cold, rainy day, so we put off laundry until Tuesday. Since we skipped washing clothes I cut out daughter Loretta’s dress, cape and apron for an upcoming wedding. I sewed most of it yesterday.

Tuesday we did our laundry, and after it was all washed and hung on the lines, we went over to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house to wash their laundry. It was a nice sunny, breezy day, so the clothes dried really well. It was almost dark by the time we made it home.

Mose had grilled hamburgers and Susan had heated up leftover pizza casserole for supper. Susan had made pizza casserole and baked five loaves of bread on Monday after she came home from work. She made a small casserole for us to take to Elizabeth’s. We took it along to her on Tuesday so she had an easy supper for her and Timothy.

Last Thursday Joe and I, along with daughter Verena and my sisters Susan and Verena, traveled to a wedding in Berne, Indiana. It turned out to be a beautiful day for the wedding of niece Arlene and Robert. Daughter Verena was a tablewaiter at the wedding. I was a cook and had to help make the lettuce salad. My five sisters—Leah, Verena, Liz, Emma and Susan—and I, and also sister-in-law Sarah Irene, were all on the job of making salad. It is always enjoyable to work with family.

On the menu were barbecued chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken and noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, lettuce salad, cheese, homemade bread and cinnabutter (peanut butter with cinnamon flavor). Niece Susan made it but I didn’t get the recipe. Desserts were tapioca pudding, mixed fruit salad, pecan, cherry, blueberry and pumpkin pie and angel food cake with strawberry topping. Wedding Nothings were on the menu as well.

Crispy Chicken

1 1/2 cup crispy rice cereal, crushed
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 cup melted butter
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Combine the first five ingredients. Dip chicken in butter and then into cereal mixture. Put in an 11 x 7-inch pan. Drizzle with remaining butter. Bake at 400 degrees for 20–25 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.

How Lovina’s new mattress made the children late to school

Mornings are very cool lately here in southern Michigan. Another sure sign that autumn is here.

Our house seems extra empty this week. Daughter Verena, 18, is helping daughter Elizabeth with house work and the baby this week. Son Benjamin, 17, left Sunday afternoon with some friends for Pennsylvania. We miss them and look forward to having everyone home again for the weekend.

Baptismal services were held at our neighbors for a young girl in our church. This was held on Saturday instead of Sunday in order to make it possible for some friends to attend the service.

Monday we did laundry here and then went over to Elizabeth and Timothy’s house to do their laundry. It was a sunny, breezy day after the early morning rain was over. And of course, we had to take time to hold sweet little Abigail! She is such a precious baby to all of us! She smiles a lot! Her eyes seem to be turning blue.

Verena stayed there and daughter Loretta and I came back home which was already after suppertime. Son-in-law Mose had made supper for everyone on the grill. Brats and hot dog sandwiches were on the menu. I was so glad I didn’t have to get supper after doing all that laundry. I told my husband Joe that after that long day I actually felt like a Grandma! Ha, ha!

Friday evening Joe bought a new Serta mattress for our bed. We were certainly needing a new one. Well, between the mattress and a long day Monday, I was extra tired Tuesday morning. I woke up at 3:00 a.m., prepared Joe’s lunch, and when he left at 3:40, I went back to bed and set my alarm for 5:40 a.m. When I woke up the sun was shining and I looked at my alarm and it was 7:45 a.m. already. The school children were still in bed and the bus had stopped by around 7:00 a.m.

Joseph, 14, quickly milked our cow Bessie and did the other chores while daughter Lovina, 12, and son Kevin, 11, helped pack lunches and made each of them a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast. I called our friend Beth and asked if she would give the children a ride to school which she did. They arrived at school a half hour late. What a way to start the day! Joseph and Kevin were awake lying in bed but said they thought there might have been a fog delay and I left them sleep in. They had fun teasing me that they were tardy because I slept in.

Tomorrow at 5:30 a.m. we head for Berne, Indiana, to attend the wedding at brother Amos and Nancy’s for their daughter Arlene, marrying Robert.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Timothy’s cousin Paul’s wife, Mary. She was a passenger in a minivan which was rear-ended while they were waiting for a semi-truck in front of them to turn. She has multiple injuries and a long recovery ahead. Life has changed for their family. May God be with them as they go through this difficult trial in life. We wish her a complete and speedy recovery. The driver of the minivan Mary was riding in was killed instantly and our sympathy goes to his family. The funeral will be held at the local funeral home tomorrow. He was well known in the community and worked as a driver for Paul and Mary’s sawmill for years. We never know what our future holds.

I will share this recipe. It is a well-liked meal around here. God bless!

Italian Sausage and Potatoesitaliansausagepeppersbread

6 potatoes, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
2 large green peppers, sliced
2 pounds Italian sausage (sweet, mild, or hot; prefer Johnsonville        Brand, 5 links in each package cut in thirds)
1/2 cup olive oil
salt, pepper, oregano to taste

Mix sliced potatoes, onion, green pepper, salt, pepper, and oregano with olive oil. Bake in 9×13 pan covered (I use size larger) for 1/2 hour at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and drain. Cut sausage in pieces and add to potato mixture. Continue cooking for one hour or until sausage is done. Some broil this to finish cooking, uncovered, until sausage is browned.

 

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.