Tag Archives: Amish cooking

Grilling for 60 at family picnic: 12-layer Jell-O salad echoes colorful fall

We have entered the month of October. It’s so hard to believe that autumn is here and the trees are showing their autumn splendor. Our yard is accumulating more leaves every day.

U-pick grape arbor
U-pick grape arbor.

Daughter Verena, 16, and I just came home from town. Verena had a dentist appointment and we picked up some groceries. I decided to quickly write my column before the children come home from school when the house won’t be so quiet.

Tomorrow we plan to go to a “U-pick” to gather grapes. Friday and Saturday will be spent canning grape juice. I have two steamers now so canning the juice should go faster. I’ll be glad when that job is done, and will be even happier to have some grape juice again.

Cooking the grapes to make grape juice.
Cooking the grapes to make grape juice.

Sunday we hosted a dinner for almost 60 people. Some were local families and we also had quite a few out of state visitors. Timothy and Mose (daughters Elizabeth’s and Susan’s special friends) helped my husband Joe grill pork steak and chicken for the noon meal. They had several grills going and started around 9 a.m. We raised the chickens ourselves, and readers will remember when we butchered and froze them a few weeks ago.

Also on the menu besides pork steak and chicken were: mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, corn, coleslaw, dill pickles, homemade bread, strawberry jam, butter, Jell-O cake, cheesecake, peanut butter and sugar cookies, 12-layer rainbow Jell-O, ice cream, coffee and lemonade. The men also grilled banana and jalapeño peppers with sour cream and seasoning.

It was a very nice, sunny day. The afternoon was spent with some playing croquet, and visiting out on the front porch. It was so nice to enjoy the lovely day outside. I’m sure we won’t have too many more days like that before winter arrives.

Joe and sons Benjamin, 15, Joseph, 12, and Kevin, 9, spent Saturday cleaning out our other garden. They planted winter radishes for a cover crop in the garden.

We still had green tomatoes on our tomato plants. The boys picked them all. A good way to keep the green tomatoes from ripening too fast is to wrap them in newspaper and store in a cool place. I think it gives them a better flavor than if they are just out in the open to ripen.

The sun is shining in through the door and Elizabeth’s puppy, Izzy, lays on the floor where the sun hits it. Like most dogs, she loves to soak the warmth of the sun on these chilly days. That puppy gets so spoiled around here.

For this week’s recipe I’ll share the 12-layer rainbow Jell-O that sister Emma made, from a cookbook that my sisters Verena and Susan put together and are selling now. It is recipes collected from my brothers and sisters, nieces, nephews and their children. They also have pictures throughout the book, including of the house in which we grew up. The recipe for the 12-layer rainbow Jell-O was submitted by Sara Graber, a granddaughter to brother Albert.

Until next week … God bless!

12-Layer Rainbow Jell-O

6 – 3 oz. boxes of cherry, orange, pineapple/lemon, lime, blueberry and grape Jell-O
16 oz. sour cream

Dissolve Jell-O powder for one layer at a time, adding 2 cups hot water for each box of Jell-O. Put 1/2 of dissolved Jell-O and water in a 9x13x4-inch pan. Chill. Save the other half and add 2 to 3 ounces of sour cream. Stir together.

Let first layer harden, then put sour cream and Jell-O mixture over that. Do this alternately with every flavor/color, letting each layer chill, and making 12 layers in all. You will have a beautiful rainbow when finished. Keep cold until served.

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.

 

A pony, A wedding, and a children’s cornfield hideaway

A lovely Tuesday evening! It was a chilly 41 degrees this morning but warmed up into the 70s.

Right now it is pretty quiet in this house. Six of our children decided to go the four miles to sister Emma and Jacob’s house. Some rode the ponies and some biked. They wanted to go see Jacob’s new pony.

Joseph volunteered to stay home and do the evening chores. Elizabeth stayed to help me with supper. On our menu tonight will be fish, French fries and onion rings. That is always a favorite meal around here.

The wedding for niece Elizabeth and Samuel is now over. We wish them God’s blessings as they join hands for life. They had a beautiful wedding day. On the menu for dinner were barbecued chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken and noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, lettuce salad, carrot salad, homemade bread, butter, strawberry jam, celery sticks and Nothings. Nothings are a sweet, thin pastry that has been deep-fried. Dessert was cake, cinnamon pudding, zucchini bars, a variety of cookies, mixed fruit and pies—cherry, Dutch apple, pecan and vanilla crumb. In the evening smoked sausage was added to the menu. My job was to help with the dressing. One hundred eggs were put into the dressing. I will share the recipe with you readers, but I had to reduce the recipe of 20 eggs down to 5 eggs so it will be easier for smaller batches.

There was plenty of food left over. It’s always easier to have too much than not enough. It is probably a big relief for sister Liz and Levi to have this over with. A lot of work is involved in preparing for a wedding.

The day before the wedding, daughter Verena and I traveled the two hours to Berne, Indiana, to help prepare food for the wedding. The group of us who helped made the Nothings, baked 80 pies, peeled potatoes, and chopped a lot of vegetables such as celery, carrots, onions, cauliflower, broccoli and radishes. This makes it easier to prepare salads, dressing, etc. On the day of the wedding, carrot salad was also prepared in serving bowls.

My husband, Joe, and sons Benjamin, Joseph and Kevin cleared out one of our gardens and hauled manure on it. It is now ready to till, and we will plant a cover crop. In the other garden we still have tomatoes, but otherwise I think everything is done for the season. We had a nice crop of cabbage this year, but our potatoes didn’t do so well.

Lovina’s cabbages did well this year. These heads were recently harvested from her garden.
Lovina’s cabbages did well this year. These heads were recently harvested from her garden.

The boys and daughter Lovina built a campout area by the big tree in the middle of our cornfield earlier this summer when the corn was short. They had a path through the corn to their camp. If I called for them, they could hear me. Sometimes they would go back there to read. Since it won’t be too long before the corn is harvested, they decided to take down their “camp” for the winter.

 

Lovina’s children made this campout area in their cornfield this summer.
Lovina’s children made this campout area in their cornfield this summer.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Wedding Dressing

  •  5 eggs
  • ¾ cup powdered chicken soup base
  • 1½ cups hot water
  • 18 slices bread, cubed
  • 1 cup chicken, cut up
  • 1½ cups onions, chopped
  • 1½ cups celery, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • ½ cup peas
  • 3¾ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup chicken fat or butter

Beat eggs. Dissolve chicken soup base in hot water. (I buy powdered chicken soup base in bulk, but you can substitute 3 or 4 chicken bouillon cubes.) Add this mixture, along with remaining ingredients, to eggs and mix well. Pour into a greased 9×13-inch pan. Bake at 375° for one hour or until well set.

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.

Memories of loved ones flavor the week

It’s a little after 7:00 a.m. As I look out toward the east, it looks like it will be a beautiful day. The red glow of the sun is beaming over the trees. What a sight to behold. And only our Master Artist can create such wonderful art.

The four youngest children left a few minutes ago for school. My husband, Joe, daughters Elizabeth and Susan, and son Benjamin are all at work. Daughter Verena and I are alone now through the day. I am so glad for Verena’s help with laundry, gardening, cooking, and cleaning—and the list goes on. Seems like it doesn’t take long for laundry to accumulate with ten people in the family!

Today is September 17—a day that brings sad memories of the passing of my dear mother, Elizabeth Coblentz. It has now been twelve years since she so suddenly left us. Memories—that is all we have left now. She was a great mother and will remain in our hearts forever! How often I would love to talk to her and share the joys and sorrows of my family with her. God has a reason for everything, so let me leave it in His hands.

I can only imagine the busy week sister Liz is having. Her oldest daughter’s wedding is this Friday. Daughter Verena and I will travel on Thursday, with some of our relatives, to help bake pies and help with whatever has to be done for the wedding. We leave at 4:30 a.m. on Thursday. We will travel the two hours back home again Thursday evening, and then our whole family will start out at 5:00 a.m. on Friday morning for the wedding. Timothy and Mose, friends of Elizabeth and Susan, will also be going with us.

Elizabeth and Timothy and Verena’s clothes are all sewn and ready for the wedding. I still need to sew my cape and apron today. My dress is finished, so it won’t take too long.

Lovina has spent a lot of hours sewing special clothing to wear at her niece's wedding.
Lovina has spent a lot of hours sewing special clothing to wear at her niece’s wedding.

Verena will bake 100 cookies to take along for the wedding. We thought that would be a way of helping sister Liz. Wish we lived closer so that we could help her more with the wedding preparations.

God has a reason for everything, so let me leave it in His hands.

Our thoughts and prayers are with teacher Barbara Kay, 20, and her family. Barbara Kay was in an accident not too far from here, along with some other Amish teachers traveling to Indiana to teach school. Barbara Kay was hurt the worst, and doctors think she will be paralyzed. God is above all and can perform miracles. His will is what we need to pray. I think this was Barbara’s first year of teaching school. The Amish van driver, Joe, was also hurt and had a hospital stay. May God comfort all of those that were involved in the accident. The community is having a bake sale to help with hospital expenses for Barbara Kay. Let us all pray that God will give her strength to go on. How suddenly our lives can be changed.

Timothy’s brother Alvin, Rhoda, and family took brunch in to brother-in-law Jacob, sister Emma, and family on Sunday forenoon. They invited us to come also. This was in memory of Marilyn, Jacob and Emma’s youngest child; she would have been five years old on Sunday. Marilyn died at the sweet, innocent age of eight-and-one-half months. She is missed dearly, but God wanted another angel. Alvin and Rhoda’s ten-month-old daughter, Clara, passed away three years ago. The two families can sympathize with each other.

I’m taking this peaches and cream coffee cake along tomorrow to sister Liz’s house. I have one baking in the oven right now, and it smells so good!

This week's recipe is peaches and cream coffee cake. This photo is of a doubled recipe, to feed a group.

This week’s recipe is peaches and cream coffee cake. The photo is of a doubled recipe, to feed a group.

Peaches and Cream Coffee Cake

Batter:

  • ⅔ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 large can sliced peaches or 2½ cups fresh peaches, sweetened with a few tablespoons sugar

Cream Filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons reserved peach juice

Topping:

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Mix batter ingredients together for 2 minutes. Pour into a well-greased 8-inch round or square pan. Drain peaches, reserving juice. Arrange peaches over batter. Cream together filling ingredients and spoon over peaches. Mix cinnamon and sugar together. Sprinkle on top and bake at 350° for 30–35 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.

Remembering an uncle and enjoying an autumn haystack meal

Another week has passed, and it is time to get this column on its way.

Last Friday around 8:30 a.m. sisters Verena and Susan; sister Emma and her husband Jacob; and my husband, Joe, and I hired a driver with a minivan to take us to Lafayette, Ind., to Uncle Andy’s funeral. It took us more than three hours of driving time each way. All but two of Dad’s eight siblings made it to the funeral. Dad came from a family of three girls and ten boys, but eight of the boys are left now. It is sad to see the group of siblings get smaller. It was 7:30 p.m. until we made it back home safe and sound.

Baptismal church services were held at Emma and Jacob’s house on Sunday to take in two young souls as members. The services were held in a big pole barn. As baptismal church services are usually bigger in attendance, another bench wagon was borrowed from a neighboring district.

Amish baptism services are larger than normal church services, so extra benches like these are brought on the bench wagon to the house or barn where the special church service will be held.
Amish baptism services are larger than normal church services, so extra benches like these are brought on the bench wagon to the house or barn where the special church service will be held.

There were a lot of people to serve lunch to, but we had plenty of everything. Sixty-four loaves of white and wheat bread were brought in. Also on the menu were bologna, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, freezer pickles, dill pickles, pickled red beets, sliced tomatoes, strawberry jam, butter, coffee, and iced tea. There were also various kinds of cookies, such as sugar, oatmeal, chocolate chip, and chocolate crinkles.

Some of the church families and the youth were invited back for supper and singing. We had a haystack meal. A haystack is a variety of vegetables, toppings, and hamburger with taco seasoning. Sister Emma’s version consisted of layers of crushed Saltine crackers, hamburger, rice, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, chopped green peppers and onions, crushed tortilla chips, cheese sauce, and salsa. Dessert was a fresh fruit mixture of watermelon, muskmelon, grapes, and apples, as well as M&M bars, peanut butter swirl bars, Jell-O cake, and ice cream.

Daughters Elizabeth, 20, and Susan, 18, didn’t have work at the factory this week. Elizabeth is sewing her dress, cape, and apron and Timothy’s shirt for niece Elizabeth’s wedding in Berne, Ind., next week. Timothy and Elizabeth will be table waiters at the wedding. Daughter Verena, 16, will also be a table waiter at the wedding. I have her dress suit (the dress, cape, and apron) cut out but still need to sew it. The color they will wear is raspberry. I will help cook and need to wear a burgundy-colored dress suit. I still need to cut them out. It seems the weeks slip by so fast, and the wedding is suddenly closer than you think!

Lovina has been busy sewing dresses for her and her daughters for a family wedding next week. This is the dress her daughter Verena will wear as a “table waiter,” or server, at the wedding meal.
Lovina has been busy sewing dresses for her and her daughters for a family wedding next week. This is the dress her daughter Verena will wear as a “table waiter,” or server, at the wedding meal.

I need to take Joseph to his post-op checkup tomorrow. He still seems to be gaining back his health.

The girls are making bacon, scrambled eggs, and toast for our supper. I should be helping, but wanted to get this column done so I can start sewing early tomorrow morning.

Recently we picked up a lot of potatoes that the potato-picking machine missed from a neighbor’s field. They are not keepers, so we needed to get them used up. We shredded some of the potatoes to put in the freezer so that we can use them in casseroles later. This recipe is another good way to use them up. God’s blessings!

Seasoned Potato Wedges

  •  6 large potatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

Beat egg and milk. Combine flour and seasonings. Dip potatoes into egg-and-milk mixture. Dust with flour mixture. Place single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil. Bake at 450° 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.

Routine surgery takes scary turn

It is Sunday evening around 9 p.m. All is quieting down here at the Eicher homestead. Tomorrow looks like a busy day and this column needs to be in the mail.

Son Joseph, 12, had surgery on Thursday to have his tonsils and adenoids removed. We arrived home by 4 p.m. and were thankful all went well. That night Joseph seemed very restless and wasn’t able to sleep for very long. Joe and I were up with him a lot trying to make him comfortable. Around 1 a.m. Joseph said that he felt like he had to throw up. Everything he threw up looked like blood, and there was a lot of it. I called the local emergency room and talked to a doctor, wondering what we should do. The doctor said to wait and see if he did it again, and that if he didn’t all should be fine. Around 5 a.m. daughters Elizabeth and Susan were getting ready for work and I was packing son Benjamin’s lunch. Joseph started throwing up blood again, so we called a friend to take us to the hospital. I was so glad Joe didn’t have to work and was home to go with me. While Joe was helping Joseph out to the van, Joseph passed out. That scared us even more.

The doctors checked him out and took some tests. He had a big blood clot on the incision and was badly dehydrated. They decided to transfer him to a bigger hospital an hour away by ambulance. Surgery was scheduled for as soon as we arrived.

How thankful we were, after waiting and not knowing what to expect, when the doctor came to tell us that the surgery went well and they were able to remove the blood clot and repair the incision. He lost quite a bit of blood but they thought he would be fine without giving him some blood. They kept him on an IV to get some fluids in him.

We were so happy that we could bring Joseph home again the same day. He felt a lot better that evening but I had to give him his medication around the clock. He slept lots better that evening but was still very weak.

Saturday morning we had an easy breakfast as my friend Ruth brought a blueberry French toast casserole ready for the oven. What a treat!

Timothy (Elizabeth’s friend) is in the process of having a pole barn put up on his property.

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He is doing all the labor with the help of family and friends. Saturday he had quite a few that came to help.

 

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The rafters and roof, along with the plywood around the outside walls, were all put on. The men and boys accomplished a lot in a short time.

Some of the women came along and some sent food with their men. By the time all the food was on the table, there was more than plenty.

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Joseph was able to come for a while. He isn’t allowed to ride in the buggy yet but Ruth brought him with her car and took him back home later. He was glad to be able to come see what’s going on, and said he wished he could be hammering on nails with all the other boys.

Trials like Joseph’s scare us but there is a God we can turn to for comfort. I often wonder how we would survive without His guiding hand.

May God bless each of you! I will share Ruth’s recipe for blueberry French toast casserole. I am usually not a blueberry fan but I did like this.

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

  • 12 slices day-old bread (cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese
  • 12 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup maple syrup

Sauce:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish. Arrange half the bread cubes in the dish and top with cream cheese cubes. Top with blueberries and remaining bread. In a large bowl, mix egg, milk, vanilla and syrup. Pour over the bread cubes. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Coffee-cake

The next morning, remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking and preheat oven to 350°. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then bake uncovered for another 25-30 minutes or until center is firm and lightly browned.

In a saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Mix in remaining 1 cup blueberries. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes until blueberries burst. Stir in the butter and pour over casserole.

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 Editor@LovinasAmishKitchen.com.