Tag Archives: Amish cooking

Christmas memories linger: brunch, family . . . and a big ball of plastic wrap

A brand new year lies before us! 2018 is here, and I want to wish all of you a blessed new year, lots of love and good health! We do not know what the new year holds, but we know God is in control. Let us trust him to lead the way.

I had a nice two-week break from writing this column. It went so fast, though, that I can’t believe it is time for me to pen it again! I appreciated the girls giving me a break over the busy holiday season. I still have a few late Christmas cards to get out in the mail for family. I am wanting to enclose a letter before sending the cards. To me, a letter with a Christmas card is worth more even if it is late.

Tomorrow my husband, Joe, will take off from work to go with daughter Verena and me to a children’s hospital in Ann Arbor (Mich.) for an appointment for Verena. She is meeting with the surgeon. We aren’t sure if they will plan a surgery or not. The roads aren’t in the best shape and it keeps snowing, so we pray for a safe journey there and back. It’s over a two-hour drive and with the traffic, sometimes more.

We had a nice Christmas Eve with our children here all day. The married girls and family came home the evening before and spent the night here. We had a big breakfast brunch: fried eggs, potatoes, bacon, cheese, toast, butter, strawberry jam, hot peppers, coffee, vegetable juice, orange juice, milk, hot chocolate, oranges and cookies. We set our table for fourteen with Abigail in the high chair. Nephew Henry is still staying with us, so he had Christmas with our family.

We ate our brunch around 9:30, and then we washed dishes after that before opening our gifts. We had a lot of fun with a big ball of plastic wrap. Everyone stood around the table and took turns unwrapping the plastic wrap, which was filled with little gifts. The dice was passed, and the person rolling a six could unwrap the plastic and keep whatever gifts were falling out until the next person got a six. Then the dice was passed, on and on around the table, until the ball was all unwrapped and the “grand prize” was won at the end of the ball. It is an exciting game and included the whole family—except for Abigail, who just stared at us with big eyes trying to figure out what all the excitement was about!

After our gifts were opened, everyone brought out snacks, which was quite a variety of food. There were veggies and dip, cheeseball and crackers, bologna and cheese roll-ups, party mix, peanut butter balls, chocolate-covered pretzels, peanut butter fudge, chips and salsa, peanuts and M&M’s mixed together and probably more than I can’t remember now. We played games such as Aggravation, Phase 10, Life on the Farm, and Corn Hole all afternoon.

Time went too fast, though, and before we knew it, it was time for everyone to leave. Daughter Loretta went home with Dustin, as his family was having Christmas together on Christmas day. I made a soup for anyone who was still hungry enough in the evening to eat.

Fresh bacon for the Eicher family.

On December 26, Joe and our sons, plus Timothy, Mose, Dustin and Henry butchered our two hogs. I never had to go help, as they did it all in good time. Pon hoss was made in the big kettle outdoors. It was a cold morning of nine degrees when they started. Joe and the boys and Dustin ground the sausage and sliced the pork chops and ham the next day. Joe sure enjoyed using his new meat slicer. The bacon is sliced nice and thin as well. The meat slicer was Joe’s birthday gift. His birthday was December 22, and everyone came for grilled hot wings, deep fried jalapeño poppers, French fries and mushrooms—and of course, ice cream and cake. On butchering day, then, we had mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, corn, salad, French-fried tenderloin, peanut butter pies, cherry delight and cake.

Next week I will write about our day with my three sisters and the gift exchange we had on New Year’s Day at Jacob and Emma’s house.

Foremost on our minds is Jacob’s dad, who is also Joe’s uncle. He is in very bad shape, suffering from a stroke he had on New Year’s Day. We were all at Jacobs’ when they received the call. Jacob and Emma left that evening for Berne to visit with him, but there isn’t much hope for recovery. We pray and let it all in God’s hands.

God bless!

Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6–8 boneless pork chops

Mushroom gravy:

1/4 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
4 ounces mushroom stems and pieces
2 cups milk

Combine the first four ingredients in a large resealable plastic bag. Reserve three tablespoons of mixture. Add pork chops one at a time and toss to coat. In a large skillet, sauté chops in butter until golden brown. Transfer to a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

To make the gravy, sauté the onions and green peppers in the same skillet. Drain the mushrooms. Add and sauté with the onions and peppers until tender. Stir in reserved flour mix; gradually add milk until blended. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2–3 minutes until thickened. Pour over chops. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 50–60 minutes. Serves 6–8.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest 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.

Painting, packing, plus home-demonstration parties

A cold morning of 11 degrees. It’s freezing and as Abigail would say, “Brrrr – cold!”

Eleven days until Christmas day. I just can’t believe how much faster every year goes by. Life goes on. Changes are made, some good, some bad. The most important part in life is to always let God guide us into the unknown future. He already knows what lies before us. He knows all the changes 2018 will bring. And he alone can help us accept whatever those changes will be.

Our big change here at the Eicher homestead right now is packing Mose and Susan’s belongings and moving them five-and-one-half miles away to their new home.

Mose and Susan’s house is almost done. The flooring is being laid. It takes a little more time to remodel an old farm house but it’s looking better. Last Friday the girls and I helped paint the walls and ceilings. Mose helped us after he came home from work. My muscles were sore the next day. We gave both bedrooms, living room, and dining room two coats of paint. Mose had to go get more paint. New drywall always seems to absorb more paint. We used a “paint plus primer” so that was easier to have it all in one. We were almost done and saw we needed still more paint so nephew Henry went to town and bought more paint. That was a long day to get the painting all done.

Mose and I finished up around 7:30 p.m. I was tired but it felt good to have accomplished our goal. And what a surprise to come home with supper all made. Loretta’s special friend Dustin came to help us after he was off work. He also did some more jobs for Mose while he was there that needed to be done before they move in. Dustin and Loretta came home earlier and prepared supper on the grill which he brought in. They had steak, red potatoes and mushrooms on the grill along with cheese for our supper. It was all very delicious and very much appreciated after a hard day’s work! Lord willing, we plan to move Mose and Susan’s belongings on Saturday.

A beautiful finished omelet.

Tuesday evening we went to a presentation about stainless steel cookware. The man showed us how to cook without water or oil in pans. He prepared supper for the six couples that were there. We were served chicken, potatoes, green beans and carrots all cooked in his cookware. Also an apple cake was prepared on top of the stove in a covered skillet. He showed us ways to use the cookware to eat healthier. I saw a few of the men (including my husband Joe) sneak some salt on their food. I never add much salt to my food because Joe always adds salt without tasting it first. My children grew up not tasting much salt on their food and don’t mind potatoes without salt. We use mostly sea salt for our table salt. It was an interesting evening and I learned a few things. He also prepared an omelet for us without having to flip the omelet, but still fully cooking it.

Last night the girls and I made omelets for everyone for supper. We made a total of 14 omelets using my stainless steel frying pan I’ve had for years, but cooking them a little differently.

Prepped up to make omelets for the whole family.

Friday evening daughter Loretta is hosting a Tupperware wedding shower for Dustin’s brother’s wife, Lisa. We will serve supper to the guests after the party. Hopefully Lisa will have a successful party and pick out some free Tupperware for her new home. Jake and Lisa were married in May so a homemaker can always use some more containers, choppers, etc.

It helps to have everything organized and ready to go before you start.

Now I must get busy. We will wash laundry today. It is nice to see the sun come out because our battery packs were getting low storing solar. With our water running off solar we need a charged battery. We do have a back-up generator but if we don’t need to waste gas its better.

I wish all of you a blessed Christmas and God’s blessings in 2018 and always! Safe travels and good health to all!

Thank you for all your support and encouragement through 2017!

Pancake Pizza

3 cups cake batter
1 dozen eggs, scrambled
1 cup cheese
6 cups sausage gravy (a recipe for sausage gravy is in my new cookbook)
1 pound bacon

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Pour batter into 9×13 greased and floured cake pan. Bake 15 minutes or until done. Remove from oven.

While pancake is baking, scramble eggs in a large skillet. Layer eggs and cheese on top of baked pancake. Make a sausage gravy and put on top of eggs and cheese. Fry and crumble the bacon. Sprinkle on top of the gravy. Serve with or without maple syrup.

 

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.

 

 

Holidays mean feeding 26 mouths and learning the perils of mail-order shopping

We had a rainy morning, but now the sun is shining brightly. Tomorrow we enter December and still no snow. Hopefully we won’t get it all at once! The temperature is showing 42 degrees.

Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail are here for the day. Elizabeth takes care of a little four-year-old girl named Nikiah every day while her mother works. Her mother is a friend Susan used to work with. With Nikiah and Abigail, she has her hands full. Nikiah likes to dress in Amish clothes when she comes here, and she likes to ride in the buggy with Elizabeth and Abigail. She calls me “Mom” because I’m the “Mom” around here.

Daughter Susan just left for a doctor appointment. Elizabeth brought a French toast casserole for our breakfast. The girls are washing dishes and sweeping floors and, of course, visiting. I am debating if I should move to my desk in our bedroom. If I’m not careful, I’ll start writing what they are saying! Ha, ha!

After I have this column written, we have plans to go to an Amish general store that just opened a few miles from here. They have an open house this week. Daughter Verena volunteered to stay here with Nikiah and Abigail.

Feeding 26 people on Thanksgiving Day requires a long table.

On Thanksgiving Day we had a total of twenty-six here. Jacob, sister Emma, Elizabeth and special friend Manuel; Emma and special friend Menno; Jacob Jr., Benjamin and Steven; sisters Verena and Susan; Timothy, daughter Elizabeth and Abigail; Mose and daughter Susan; Loretta’s special friend Dustin and nephew Henry all joined us for Thanksgiving dinner.

On the menu were two big turkeys (one was a smoked turkey), mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, corn, lettuce salad, veggies and dip, deviled eggs, cheese, homemade bread and dinner rolls, apple, pumpkin, cherry, and peanut butter pies, pumpkin roll, fresh fruit mixture and ice cream. Needless to say, not many were hungry for dessert with dinner! Before everyone left I put out all the food again so they could eat something.

Lovina’s Thanksgiving menu included these mouthwatering dishes.

But we still had more food left over, so I took it along to Mose and Susan’s house the next day. Jacob and sons, Menno, Manuel, Timothy, Dustin and Joe and our sons assisted son-in-law Mose in putting up new drywall in their house they will move to. We women and girls heated up the leftover food from Thanksgiving Day here at our house and took it over there for those hardworking men and boys. We all ate in the garage, since the house was dusty. Mose and Susan really appreciated all the help they had. A lot was accomplished that day. Most of the drywall was hung. Last night my husband Joe went with Mose to get a stove and new flooring for the house. The house is ready for drywall mudding once the heat is going in the house.

I am doing a lot of mail-order Christmas shopping and decided to send off for a meat saw for my husband Joe for his birthday, which is on December 22. He will be 49 this year. The UPS truck drove in, and I didn’t think anything of it when Joe said he would go out to get the package. I just didn’t think his gift would be arriving yet!

So I didn’t know which way to look when Joe walked inside with the box, which clearly showed that it was the meat saw. He had a big smile on his face and asked where I want the box. I knew I couldn’t make him believe that it was for someone else, so I just told him happy birthday. He was very glad for it, as he had been wanting one for a while. His birthday is so close to Christmas, so I guess it’s nice to have his gift early for once.

God’s blessings to all!

60-Minute Dinner Rolls

2 packages dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup warm milk
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted

Add yeast and sugar to warm milk and let stand for 15 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Stir well and let stand in warm place approximately 20 minutes, until double in size. Form into 24 egg-sized rolls. Place on a well-greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 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 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.

 

When daughters do something their mother never even wanted to do

We have entered the eleventh month of the year already. 2017 is going fast but then every year does. It really seems like the older you get the faster it goes.

We will be having a change around here with daughter Susan and Mose being homeowners and moving in the near future. Saturday we will go help them with whatever needs to be done.

Yesterday daughter Elizabeth and Abigail came here for the day. We canned chicken broth for Susan and me. I will give some to Elizabeth since she doesn’t have any right now. It takes time to debone the meat and pressure cook the broth.

Son-in-law Timothy came here from work to drive the buggy home with Elizabeth and Abigail. He started a new job at an RV factory so his hours have changed. It always takes some getting used to a different job but it sounds like he likes it.

Abigail was her usual cute self just winning all the hearts around here. When Grandpa (my husband Joe) comes home from work she will go run so he comes after her. She takes him to the jar where he keeps suckers and reaches for one. How quickly they catch on to where candy is. She will lick the sucker for a while and then when she’s distracted we can sneak it away from her.

When we go out to the buggy to get her when they come she always has such a sweet smile for us. She was showing me her new pink mittens. I am surprised she leaves them on her little hands. Now this Grandma has to quit talking about her grandchild. I imagine all you grandparents know how precious it is to have grandchildren.

We were all excited for daughter Loretta, 17, last night. She shot her first deer with her compound bow. Son-in-law Mose and Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) helped track it down. Dustin dressed it and has it hanging ready to be cut up. Loretta never thought she would get the chance to go hunting or even be able to shoot the bow let alone hit the deer. We are happy for her. I told her she has done something I never could do.

We laughed when Mose told us about the time our daughter Susan almost shot a deer. When he asked her why she didn’t she said, “Well he was looking at me and I couldn’t pull the trigger.” When Loretta was a little girl she would go hunting with my husband Joe sometimes. She couldn’t hunt but the children liked to go sit with him in the woods. One time Joe saw a doe and it would have been a good shot but Loretta yelled to the deer so it could get away. She had been reading about Bambi and couldn’t bear to see a deer get shot. So now we are surprised she could shoot one of her own.

Last Friday was a cold and rainy day for the wedding of Melvin and Lisa in Rochester, Indiana. They had plenty of room for everyone to be inside which helped. Sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma, Jacob, and sons Benjamin and Steven, Joe and I, and sons Joseph and Kevin traveled the two hour drive to Rochester to the wedding. We were served a delicious meal consisting of barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, noodles, corn, broccoli, and cauliflower salad, sliced cheese, bread buns, butter, jelly, pumpkin, apple and peanut butter pies, fresh fruit mixture, tapioca pudding, cake, etc. We had a nice time visiting with friends and family. Sister Liz and Levi were also there so five of us sisters were there.

Lovina and family get ready for fall with some great pumpkin recipes. Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis.

The girls are washing laundry and it’s another rainy day so it looks like it will be hung on the lines in the basement. God bless!

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Avoid using paper liners as they make it difficult to remove cupcakes. You can use foil liners, just spray the insides first.

Mix the pumpkin, sugars, eggs, vanilla and milk. Add the flour, spice, salt, baking powder and soda to the mixture. Fill each muffin with 1/3 cup of the mixture. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.  Serves 12.

 

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.

Dropping temps mean heating the house and baking pumpkin whoopie pies

Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis

The mercury dropped down to 30 degrees this morning! I’m sure that it frosted in most places. It makes it feel good to have heat in the house. It was good timing for us.

On Tuesday we traded in our old hopper-fed coal stove for a new one. Last night my husband Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph, and nephew Henry set up the new stove and started it. We always use charcoal to get the coal started. It makes less smoke than wood. I can smell the new paint from the new stove, so I like to open a few windows slightly to get that smell out. It’s not too bad, though, because the stove is in the basement. We have an enclosed jacket around the stove so that we can control whether we want all the heat to come upstairs or heat the basement too. The heat travels upstairs to the bedrooms through our open staircase, which is close to the big vent in the floor over the stove in the basement. The boys like to keep their bedrooms cool, so they shut their doors during the day. Once it’s really cold outside they let the heat go into their bedrooms.

We still have a little coal left from last year, but Joe called and ordered our supply for the winter. I’s always a big relief to have our fuel for the winter! It gets expensive to buy coal, but I still think it’s nice that we can heat all three stories of our house with one stove. When I was growing up, the only heat we had upstairs in our bedrooms was what came up through the door. It was always chilly when we got out of bed in the morning, and we always hurried downstairs to stand by the coal or woodstove to warm up.

This week has been rainy and cold, so we will hang laundry in the basement to dry. I have lines down there and with the coal stove going, it should dry. Daughter Susan wants to wash the hunting clothes first. They wash those clothes in a special soap so that deer can’t smell their scent. Those clothes we will hang outside.

Son-in-law Timothy shot an eight-point buck last night with his bow. Daughter Loretta is still hunting, and son Benjamin has also gone hunting this fall. Loretta has a crossbow so it’s easier for her, with her disability, to shoot the arrow. I have never hunted in my life. I just could not see myself sitting quietly for that long! I would probably be making a mental list in my head of all the other things I could be doing.

Daughter Susan and Mose are excited to be homeowners now. We will miss having them beside us, but I know they want a place to call their own. The place they bought is five-and-one-half miles from here. Timothy and Elizabeth live six-and-one-half miles from here and will be only two miles from Mose and Susan. Mose and Susan plan to move as soon as we get the house cleaned and ready for them. They will pull out the carpet and put in new floors, and some painting will be done. It’s an old farmhouse, but the place has been kept up very nice. The garage is only six years old.

Tomorrow our plans are to attend a wedding in Rochester, Ind., for Melvin and Lisa. Lisa is a daughter to Joe’s cousin Leander and wife Rosina.

More exciting news: Jeremiah James was born to niece Rosa and Menno on October 23. This would make the third grandchild for sister Liz and Levi.

Try these pumpkin whoopie pies for Thanksgiving Day! These are very yummy when partially frozen. The family of Loretta’s special friend Dustin had a very good crop of pumpkins this year, with most of their pumpkins weighing over 100 pounds each.

Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Cookies:

2 cups mashed pumpkin
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Cookies: Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until just barely done, approximately 10–12 minutes. Cool.

Filling: Mix first three ingredients well and then add sugar. Spread filling between two cookies. Yields 16 whoopie pies.

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.

Mighty the horse that rides to town on a lovely autumn day

Today is our son-in-law Timothy’s birthday. He is married to our oldest daughter, Elizabeth. We wish him a happy birthday and many more happy, healthy years!

Foremost on our minds is the family of one of daughter Susan’s former classmates, Tyler. Tyler was a seaman in the navy. While on his way home from the navy he was in a car and semi-truck accident in Utah. Tyler was 20 years old; such a young age to leave this world. I cannot imagine the heartache of the grieving family. Tyler had two more sisters who went to our school. One of them was a classmate to daughter Loretta. One thing that I remember well about Tyler is his friendly personality. He would always say hi when we visited school. Everyone we talk to about Tyler says what a good attitude he had. What a nice memory for the family. I am sure they are still so shocked from the terrible news. Tyler was coming home to visit family and meet his new nephew. May God be their guide through this time of trial. Our sympathy goes out to the family.

One of the Eicher horses.

Today daughter Susan and I went to town with the buggy and our horse, Mighty. It was a lovely October day, and the ride to town was so nice and relaxing. I’m sure days like this are few before winter sets in.

Yesterday was also a nice sunny day. Daughters Susan, Verena, Loretta, and Lovina and son Joseph and I, with two buggies, drove to daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house and spent the day with her. Lovina did her schoolwork over there. Joseph did some odds and ends jobs for Elizabeth outside while we cleaned her house. When we arrived, Elizabeth had breakfast made for all of us. On the menu were biscuits and sausage gravy and scrambled eggs. She had also made chocolate and peanut butter pies the day before, so we sampled them. Elizabeth is trying her hand at making different pies. She has made quite a few different kinds already. We took our time cleaning and just enjoyed spending the day together. Of course, spoiling little Abigail was our favorite part of the day! She had fun showing us her toys, and she clearly enjoyed the extra attention. For lunch Elizabeth fried hamburgers and opened a jar of canned vegetable soup.

Friday turned out very nice as well, for the wedding of Esther and Wayne. Susan and I were cooks, and Mose and his brothers and brothers-in-law grilled the chicken for both meals. If I understand right, they grilled 450 pounds for the day.

On Saturday we butchered our chickens. Must be we had a few more than 100 from the beginning, because we ended up with 97 chickens. That was a big job! Those helping us were Mose, Susan, Dustin (Loretta’s special friend), nephew Henry, Joe and I, and our six children here at home. We had an assembly line going with some plucking feathers, some gutting the chickens, some cleaning, etc. Whew! What a big job—now done!

We had “breakfast for supper” tonight: fried eggs, potatoes, bacon, cheese, and toast.

Son Benjamin and nephew Henry just came from playing basketball with some of their friends at the community youth center. They were hungry, so we had plenty of leftovers for them to eat. They didn’t want to eat before they played.

It is time to call it a day and get ready for bed. Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail are coming tomorrow to spend the day. We will wash laundry if it’s another nice day, and of course we will enjoy little Abigail as we try to keep her from getting into everything. She can really carry on a conversation with us even though we only understand some of the words.

Good night and God’s blessings to all! I will share the recipe for fruit slush with you this week.

Fruit Slush

2 cups sugar
3 cups hot water
6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate
20 ounces crushed pineapple
1 quart canned peaches, chopped and undrained
1–2 (15-ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
4 bananas, sliced (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Stir in orange juice concentrate. Add fruit. Freeze in single-serving containers or in a large pan or bowl. Thaw slightly before serving. Note: fresh peaches can be used instead of canned.

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.

So many Amish weddings lately that it’s hard to keep up

It is a typical October day. Leaves are gradually changing color, evidence that autumn is here and making such beautiful scenery. Also, the sunsets have been absolutely breathtaking lately.

Laundry will be on the list to do today. I should be helping sister Emma today with her painting, but I am trying to heal a sore toe and painting would not have helped. I know being a cook at the wedding tomorrow will already make it hurt more.

On Tuesday daughter Susan and I helped with wedding preparations for the wedding at son-in-law Mose’s parents’ house. We diced carrots, celery, onions and potatoes for the dressing on Friday. The potatoes and carrots were cooked until softened a little so that they will be softer when the dressing is baking. We also peeled and sliced a bushel of peaches and added pineapples, orange juice concentrate and sliced bananas to make fruit slush for the wedding. Bacon was fried up and crumbled for the corn chip salad that will be served. Other jobs were completed as well.

Last Thursday was a lovely day for Clint and Hannah’s wedding. I will try to remember the menu. With so many weddings lately, it’s a little confusing to remember what was served at which wedding! On the menu were: baked and barbecued chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, green beans, corn chip salad, bread buns, honey, butter, fresh fruit mixture, pineapple dessert, cherry delight, frozen mocha dessert and candy bars. Candy bars are usually served at the end of each wedding meal.

Sunday, October 8, was Loretta’s special friend Dustin’s birthday. Mose butchered a few of the chickens, and Dustin fixed the whole chickens on the grill. Also on the menu were red potatoes and mushrooms (also fixed on the grill), sliced cheese, celery and carrots with ranch vegetable dip, cake and ice cream.

We wish Dustin another year filled with love and happiness. May God bless him for being such a wonderful friend to our daughter Loretta. With her disability it takes time and patience, and Dustin is always there for her. He made it possible for her to go deer hunting for the first time. She does very well with the crossbow when they do target practice. I’m sure, though, that once the deer is right in front of you, it can be a greater challenge!

Daughter Elizabeth was here yesterday and finished sewing Susan’s cape and apron for the wedding. I had the dress finished. It was a different pattern to sew, so it took a little more time.

We plan to butcher our 95 chickens on Saturday (although we had 100, the count is down to 95). I’m not sure we will get to all of them, but hopefully most of them. We will leave some whole and cut up the rest for frying or grilling or baking.

Chicken fajitas (shown above) and apple crisp were features of Lovina’s fall menus this week.

Last night we made chicken fajitas for supper. We had apple crisp for supper a few times this week. I also made some to take along this past Tuesday. We love it warm with a scoop of ice cream on top. I usually make this when apples are in season. It is on page 186 of my newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook.

I will share the recipe for corn chip salad this week. God’s blessings to all!

 

Corn Chip Salad

Salad:

1 head iceberg or romaine lettuce
1/2 pound shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound bacon, fried and crumbled
6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 1/2 cups corn chips, crushed

Toss together all ingredients except corn chips. Mix dressing with the salad, and add corn chips just before serving.

Dressing:

1 cup  salad dressing
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar

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.

This week: Sisterhood of the traveling snacks

Today is sister Liz and Levi’s silver wedding anniversary. Twenty-five years! They were married the year before Joe and I were. It just seems impossible that those years have passed by so suddenly.

We are done for the night, after getting our clothes ready for the wedding tomorrow and everyone getting cleaned up. Joe and I will attend the wedding tomorrow for Dustin’s brother. The rest will come in the evening. Of course, daughter Loretta and Dustin will also be there having an important part in the wedding. They will be witnesses.

Son-in-law Mose, Dustin and Loretta went deer hunting tonight. Bow season is in. Loretta is hunting with a crossbow. It’s her first year of hunting. They saw deer but didn’t get a chance to get any.

Monday I went to help with preparations for the wedding. We diced onions for the dressing. We then put the onions in glass jars to keep the onion smell in. Then we measured out the seasonings for the dressing. We made barbecue sauce for the chicken that will be grilled. Crispy rice cereal was crushed for some chicken that will be baked. Oreo cookies were crushed for the dirt pudding. Windows were cleaned, and some more jobs that can be done ahead of time were completed. On Tuesday and Wednesday, more women are coming to help. I took a casserole and all the other women brought a dish of some kind. Having lunch prepared makes it easier for the mother of the bride.

We are having nice fall weather this week. Leaves are changing color. My husband Joe and sons cleared out the rest of the garden for the season. Gardening is now history for 2017! I was glad to be done with the garden for this year. It’s nice to be done with the canning. Grape juice is in jars as well.

The next job on our “to do list” is butcher the 100 chickens we are raising for meat. Half of them will be for Mose and Susan. I will be glad when that big job is done!

On Tuesday of next week daughter Susan and I will assist in preparing for the wedding of Esther and Wayne. Esther is son-in-law Mose’s sister. Daughter Susan is also a cook. Their wedding will be on Friday the thirteenth.

This Saturday we are invited to the local feed mill for a hog roast. This is a customer appreciation dinner.

Today daughter Elizabeth and Abigail spent the day here. And of course daughter Susan came over. I love days like this. We did odds and ends and also made Long John rolls for the family in our church who will be hosting church services on Sunday. Our church district has a large plastic food storage container that travels around between families. The idea is that the container needs to be filled with some kind of snack and then given to the next family who will host church services. When you are getting ready to host church services and are too busy to bake for lunches or snacks for the ladies who come help you clean, the snacks make it easy. We made enough Long John rolls for us to have some as well. Long Johns are oblong-shaped frosted doughnuts.

My friend Ruth and five of her high school friends stopped in on Sunday afternoon. Monday daughter Verena, 19, and son Joseph, 15, gave them a horse and buggy ride and a pony-and-pony buggy ride. It was a very lovely autumn day. The group of ladies enjoyed a meal at a local Amish house. I joined them at Ruth’s lake house for an evening of visiting, and Ruth gave us a ride on the pontoon. It was nice to see the sun set over the lake. Only God could do such artistic scenes.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families that had lives lost and were hurt in the Las Vegas shooting. How terrible for all involved. May God be with all of them! Also prayers to all affected by the hurricanes and wildfires. I cannot imagine how people feel when they lose all their possessions. Then again, our earthly possessions can be replaced but not our loved ones.

God is a great comfort in times when we don’t understand why things happen. Stay strong and God bless each of you dearly!

I will share the barbecue sauce recipe that we made for chicken this week.

Barbecue Sauce

6 cups ketchup
2 tablespoons mustard
2 cups honey
1 cup white vinegar
4 tablespoons garlic, minced
6 tablespoons onion, minced
1 cup salt

Heat all ingredients together in a saucepan on the stove and stir until blended. Let cool and refrigerate until use.

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.

 

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.