Tag Archives: Amish cooking

Fond memories—and peanut butter cups—grace year’s end

We are almost to the end of 2014. A brand new year lies ahead. What will it have in store for us? If we would know, would we be able to go on? Anything is possible if we let God lead the way and keep our full trust in him.

As I sit here thinking of how my family always spent New Year’s Day, a lot of memories come to my mind. When my maternal grandparents were still living they would have their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren home for the Christmas gathering. The day would start out early. We would get up early to get the cows milked and have breakfast. We lived very close to my grandparents, so some of the uncles, aunts and cousins would start gathering at our house as soon as breakfast was done.

It would still be very dark outside, and all of us children would be so excited. We would all walk over to my grandparents’ house in the dark, and sometimes we had a lot of snow to trudge through. We lived on a road that wasn’t traveled much back then, so it was an enjoyable walk. My grandparents had eight children and more than 80 grandchildren. Uncle Henry and Aunt Barbara lived in the big house attached to Grandpa and Grandma’s little house. They would set up tables in their dining room and living room to seat all the adults and the older children. The younger ones were fed before everyone else ate.

When we arrived at Grandpa and Grandma’s, all of us would stand outside their door singing the traditional New Year’s Song in German. The New Year’s Song is a song wishing everyone a good year. The English translation is as follows:

’Tis time now to welcome the happy new year,
God grant you to live and enjoy the new year.
Good fortune and blessings to dwell in your home,
God grant you such blessings in this year in your home.
In heaven before the great heavenly throne,
God grant thee reward in that heavenly home.
In closing this year we repeat this one wish,
God grant you on high once that heavenly bliss.

While it was being sung, everyone would go into the house. All of us grandchildren would line up to take our turn to wish Grandpa and Grandma a happy new year and give them a kiss. They would sit in their hickory rocking chairs.

After the noon meal was over and the dishes were all washed, Grandpa and Grandma would pass out gifts to all of us. For the grandchildren it was usually a dish of some kind, or a mug. And we would all get a lunch-sized bag with candy and an orange in it. I remember how my cousins and I would dump all our candy out of our bags and look at it before putting it back in our bags to take home. My mother would mark all the dishes they gave us and what year we got them. When I got married, I had a different dish or mug for every year.

After Grandpa and Grandma died, my parents always had our family Christmas gathering on New Year’s Day. We would all gather there for breakfast and set the tables again for the noon meal.

I will share with you my mother’s recipe for peanut butter cups. She would make these every Christmas season. She would have to hide them from us children as we loved them so much!

I wish all of you God’s richest blessings in the New Year 2015 and always!

Peanut Butter Cups

2 pounds peanut butter
1 pound margarine
3 pounds powdered sugar
melted semi-sweet chocolate

Mix peanut butter and margarine. Then work in powdered sugar until smooth. Shape into balls the size of big marbles. Dip in melted chocolate.

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.

Mother-daughter bonding and festive treats for the season

First of all, a happy 17th birthday to daughter Verena today, December 10. How could those 17 years have gone by so fast? I am glad to have Verena here at home during the day. It’s good to have someone to help me with cooking, cleaning, laundry, sewing, and all that goes with keeping a house going with a family of ten. Every one of the girls has helped me before getting a full-time job. This is a precious time to me: spending time with my daughters and making a lot of memories together that we will always treasure.

It is also a great learning experience for them to learn how to do sewing, canning, baking and cooking. I helped my mother after I was out of school, and I remember how precious it was to work and talk together. Not only was she my mother but also my best friend. I want the same friendship with my children. My daily prayer is to be a good example to my children and to always guide them to live the life God wants.

Since Verena’s special friend, Marvin, lives a couple hours away, we decided to surprise Verena on Sunday while he was here visiting in Michigan. Others who came in honor of Verena’s birthday were Timothy and Mose; Jacob, Emma and family; their daughters’ friends, Menno and Manuel; and also my sisters Verena and Susan.

On the menu was barbequed chicken, hot wings and T-bone steaks, mashed potatoes, chicken gravy, dressing, corn, potato salad, lettuce salad, sliced cheese, homemade bread, butter, strawberry jam, peanut butter pies and a variety of Christmas candy. Verena had another surprise when Marvin presented a Dairy Queen ice cream cake to her with candles for her to blow out.

Lovina's family celebrated daughter Verena's 17th birthday with a surprise party.
Lovina’s family celebrated daughter Verena’s 17th birthday with a surprise party.

I forgot to mention that Barbara, a friend of our daughters, was also here for Verena’s birthday. She and Verena were born not too far apart, and Barbara’s mother and I both had the same midwife. Right after Verena was born at 6:32 a.m., someone came to our house to get the midwife, because Barbara was being born. Happy birthday wishes to Barbara!

Christmas is only a couple weeks away. Joe and I did some shopping on Saturday. Verena is wrapping some of the gifts this afternoon. I don’t mind that job, but it seems I always have something else that needs to be done. I have a meeting at the school this afternoon.

I would like to thank Carol from Washington for the four 1,000-piece puzzles she sent. We will have lots of fun putting them together this winter. And also a thank you to all the rest of you readers for your encouraging letters!

This week I’m going to share my recipe for popcorn balls. Mother made these every Christmas. She would put red food coloring in the syrup to give them a reddish color. I usually do half of them with red food coloring and half with green. It gives them a Christmas look during the holidays.

Lovina's family celebrated Verena's 17th birthday with a surprise party.
Lovina shares her recipe for popcorn balls this week.

God’s blessings to all!

Popcorn Balls

2 1/2 quarts of popcorn (popped)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
food coloring (optional)

Cook sugar, water, salt, and syrup to a very hard-ball stage (256 degrees). Add vinegar and vanilla (and food coloring if desired) to light crack stage (270 degrees). Pour slowly over popcorn. Mix well to coat every kernel. Press into balls and cool.

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.

Did your Thanksgiving turkey have a fever?

Oh my! We are already into the last month of 2014. Where did this year go?

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone. Although it’s not the only day that we need to thank God for our blessings, on that day we are especially reminded of all that we are thankful for. My list seems endless—family, friends, church, and so many more. I feel one blessing I should mention is the editors at MennoMedia. They deserve a lot of credit for the fact that this column is still going, as does my good friend Ruth, who has been by my side through good and bad. Trusted friends are rare, and they have been so good to me. Writing the columns isn’t always easy, but knowing you have a firm foundation makes it so much easier.

I also want to thank all of you readers for your words of encouragement. To those of you who send a stamped self-addressed envelope: bear with me, please. A reply will come, but forgive me for not always getting back to you sooner. Last but not least, I want to thank our Heavenly Father for his guidance through our most difficult trials.

We spent our Thanksgiving Day at brother Albert and Sarah Irene’s house. All my siblings were present, as were all the nieces, nephews, families and special friends (except for two nieces and one nephew). The family grows more every year, and although I don’t have a total, I know it’s more than 100 now.

Albert’s family grilled 140 pounds of chicken, plus they fixed two 22-pound turkeys. Needless to say, there were so many leftovers! I won’t begin to mention all the food, but a 14-foot dining table was filled to capacity. When everyone brings food, it adds up. Snacks were served before everyone left.

We four sisters here in Michigan always have a Thanksgiving meal together. This year we all gathered over at Jacob and Emma’s on Sunday. Emma fixed two turkeys stuffed with dressing. Also on the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, lettuce salad, sliced cheese, homemade bread, butter, jam, summer sausage, veggies and dip, hot peppers, pumpkin roll, pumpkin and peanut butter pies, a variety of Christmas candy and probably more that I can’t remember now. The table was set for 24 people, which is what we total now. After dishes were washed, we played games.

I got a laugh out of daughter Lovina. Sister Emma gave her the meat thermometer to hold in the turkey, to see if it was fully cooked. When someone asked her what she was doing, Lovina replied, “Aunt Emma wants to know if the turkey is running a fever.” We all thought it was funny!

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan are off work this week from the factory due to a cancelled order. We (Elizabeth, Susan, Verena and I) are enjoying our week. We started it out with going Christmas shopping on Monday. We had a nice time and made more memories together. It is hard to believe my three oldest daughters have grown this much.

The Christmas season is upon us. Let us remember: Jesus is the reason for the season!

For this week’s dish, I will share a few short recipes that were served as snacks at Albert’s on Thanksgiving Day.

Fruit Dip

8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup brown sugar
8 ounces whipped cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix together well. Serve with apples or any fruit.

Cheese Ball

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 package dried beef, chopped fine
1 small onion, chopped fine
seasoning of your choice

Mix all ingredients together. Serve with your choice of crackers.

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 holidays with parents, plus pumpkin roll recipe

Monday morning and another rainy day here. Such a change from the snow and cold weather we had a week ago. The house is almost too warm now with the coal stove going. We have some windows open and the stove turned down so it’s not too bad.

I’m writing this column earlier in the week because of the upcoming holiday. This week will go fast with Thanksgiving Day on Thursday.

Brother Albert and Sarah Irene have the family gathering on that day. With all the weddings in the family this year they had a hard time finding a date. This is actually a late 2013 Christmas gathering. Sister Liz and Levi will host the 2014 Christmas gathering but they will probably have it next year sometime. Every year the family gets bigger, so some want the gathering during the warmer months. I miss the years when my parents were still here and would have all of us children and grandchildren home on New Year’s Day. Some of us would go the night before and spend the night there. Mom would always have a big breakfast for all of us. We would set the tables so everyone could sit down at once.

After breakfast dishes were washed, we would open the gifts. Then we would prepare the food for dinner and the tables were set again. We all enjoyed snacks before everyone left for home in the evening, although I don’t think many were hungry. Yes, we have many fond memories of those years we could spend with our parents. Parents seem to hold the family ties closer together.

Last Thursday was a cold, windy day for the wedding in Rochester, Ind., of Edwin and Rosa Mae. The sun was shining though. My husband Joe, daughter Loretta, and I traveled the two hours to attend the wedding.

We were served a delicious meal of barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, mixed vegetables, broccoli and cauliflower salad, several kinds of cheese, homemade bread, butter, jam, tapioca pudding, mixed fruit, cake, and three kinds of pies—apple, cherry, and pumpkin. Candy bars were passed around at the end of the meal.

Since the rest of the family wasn’t with us we decided not to stay for the evening meal. Joe was glad to see where his cousin Leander lives. Edwin is Leander’s son and the reception was held at Leander and Rosina’s (his parents).

We were glad to see cousins, uncles, and aunts at the wedding. We arrived home around 5:30 p.m. We were thankful that although the weather was bad the day before, the roads were clear on Thursday and traveling was good. We wish God’s blessings to the couple and may they have a long, happy married life together.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

This week I’ll share with you my pumpkin roll recipe. I like to make one or two every Thanksgiving Day.

PumpkinRoll-1

Lovina’s pumpkin roll

Homemade Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup fresh pumpkin
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup chopped nuts

Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces whipped topping

Beat eggs for five minutes with a wooden spoon. Or, for those with electricity, a mixer can be used. Add sugar and pumpkin. Beat well and add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Grease cookie sheet (with edges) and pour ingredients onto pan. Cover with nuts. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and, while hot, transfer onto a towel that has been sprinkled generously with powdered sugar. Roll up. When cool, unroll and spread with filling.

To make the filling, stir cream cheese, sugar, margarine, vanilla, and whipped topping until smooth. Spread on baked pumpkin base. Reroll and refrigerate for at least one hour. Slice and serve.

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.

Glide into winter with some Eicher vegetable soup

For this week I am going to write a diary of November 18, Tuesday.

3:25 a.m. The alarm rings and it’s time to start another day. I pack my husband Joe’s lunch. He doesn’t eat breakfast until his first break so I pack a ham and cheese sandwich for that. For lunch I put in some pizza casserole, peaches, a clementine, cookies, and crackers. Then I fill his water jug with ice cubes and water.

4:00 a.m. Joe leaves for work. I go back to bed.

5:00 a.m. I get up again as daughters Elizabeth, 20, and Susan, 18, are ready for work. Son Benjamin, 15, usually leaves around the same time as they do. Today he doesn’t have to work, as something at the sawmill is broken down. It is 10 degrees this morning with a wind-chill of minus 10 so I think Benjamin is glad to stay home.

5:15 a.m. The girls leave for work at the RV factory.

6:00 a.m. I check the phone for messages and have a message that says school is cancelled for the day. There is a winter storm warning and because the wind-chill is so cold, it is cancelled. The children weren’t awake yet so I let them sleep in.

8:00 a.m. Everyone is awake and we have grilled cheese sandwiches and cereal for breakfast.

9:30 a.m. Dishes are washed and the morning work is done. The boys carry the baskets of clothes up from the basement. We washed clothes yesterday and hung the laundry on the lines in the basement. They were dry and ready to bring up. The girls fold all the clothes and put them away.

11:30 a.m. The boys and Lovina are out in the field sledding down the big hill. There isn’t that much snow but enough ice to make the sled glide down the hill.

1:30 p.m. The children are back in and warming up. We have ham and cheese sandwiches and vegetable soup for lunch.

3:00 p.m. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan are home from work.

4:00 p.m. Loretta, 14, and Lovina, 10, have cleanings at the dentist so I leave with them. After their cleanings we go to get some groceries.

5:45 p.m. Back home. Joe came home from work soon after we had left. Chores are done.

6:30 p.m. The girls have supper ready, which is fried chicken, vegetable soup, cheese and crackers. We are also enjoying some venison summer sausage and jerky Timothy brought us from the deer he shot.

Venison

7:30 p.m. Dishes are washed and everyone is getting cleaned up for bed. The wind is still very cold with the temperature never going higher than 19 today.

9:00 p.m. Everyone is in bed so I think I’ll do the same. Until next week, God bless!

This week I’ll share my recipe for vegetable soup. We also can some (see below) so we will have it for a quick meal.

Soup

Vegetable Soup

1 pint canned beef chunks
1 medium yellow onion
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced green beans
2 cups corn kernels
2 cups green peas
4 cups tomato juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper

Brown the beef chunks in a large skillet over medium heat. Put the beef chunks and the whole onion in a large pot and add the remaining ingredients. Add enough water to cover all the vegetables. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are soft, about 30 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.

 

 

Fall family gatherings a time to reconnect

We are in the final week of October. It is a dark, dreary morning. This weekend we need to turn our clocks back an hour. I still have trouble getting used to the changing of time in the spring and fall.

My husband Joe, son Benjamin, and daughters Elizabeth and Susan are all at work. Daughters Loretta and Lovina and sons Joseph and Kevin are in school. The house is pretty quiet with just daughter Verena and me here at home. Verena is finishing up the morning work as I write this column.

Our plans for the day are to cut out quite a few pants for Benjamin. I cut out and sewed one for him yesterday as I needed a new pattern. He has grown so much and is taller than I am. The pants fit well and he wore them to work today. I didn’t want to cut out more until he tried one pair to see how it fit. I have had the material here for quite some time and always pushed the sewing to the back of my list. We also want to sew Kevin more pants. We’ll work on getting them all cut out.

I was really disappointed when sister Emma told me that aunt Lovina and uncle Abe Raber from Baltic, Ohio, and cousin Leah (Lovina’s daughter) and Elmer Schwartz from Campbellville, Ken., stopped for a visit when I wasn’t home one day last week. Lovina is my mom’s sister and we were always together growing up. I was named after her.

On Saturday, Joe’s brother Benjamin, his wife Miriam, and their children Josh, Adrianna, Beth Ann, Travis, Silas, and Victoria, from Sugarcreek, Ohio, came for a visit. Victoria is four months old and this was the first time we got to see her. She is a cutie with lots of black hair. The girls made popcorn and lemonade for everyone. The cousins don’t often see each other but it didn’t take them long to get reacquainted.

Saturday evening was so nice. We enjoyed barbecued chicken and hot wings since the weather was so nice. Also on the menu were lettuce salad, chips and ice cream. Those joining us for supper were Timothy (Elizabeth’s friend), Mose (Susan’s friend), and Marvin (Verena’s friend).

Joining us for brunch on Sunday were sisters Verena and Susan and sister Emma, her husband Jacob, and their family, as well as Timothy and Mose. Niece Elizabeth’s friend, Manuel, niece Emma’s friend, Menno, and Verena’s friend, Marvin, weren’t able to be here on Sunday as they had communion services in their church district.

Our menu for brunch was breakfast casserole, toast, strawberry jam, cheese, hot pepper butter, hot peppers, coffee, orange juice, chocolate milk, cinnamon rolls, delicious cookies, and peaches. Emma brought the cinnamon rolls, hot pepper butter, orange juice and chocolate milk. Verena and Susan brought the peaches and cookies so all I had to make was the casserole. We enjoyed a nice family day together.

Last week one evening, I made pizza using a different dough. We really liked the dough so I will share it with you readers. Enjoy!

Pizza
This week Lovina tried out a new recipe for pizza dough that she shares in the column.
Pizza3
With eight children in the household, it takes more than one pizza to feed to the family of Lovina and Joe Eicher.

Pizza2

Pizza Dough

2 packages yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

2/3 cup warm water

2 cups cold water

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon oregano

6 1/2 cups flour

Mix warm water, yeast, and 2 teaspoons sugar. Let stand 5 minutes until bubbly. In separate bowl, mix cold water, 2 tablespoons sugar, garlic powder, oil, salt, oregano, and 3 cups flour; beat until smooth. Add yeast mixture, then add rest of flour. Knead until elastic; let rise until double. Press half of dough on a greased pan. Let rise 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat with other half. Add pizza sauce and bake at 400° for 10 to 15 minutes. Add rest of toppings and bake until hot and cheese is bubbly.

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.

October is Lovina’s 12-year column anniversary, with four preschoolers

Another week has already gone by, which makes it time to get this column written. The weeks just fly by. I write my columns in one-subject notebooks which have amounted to quite a few in the years of penning this column. This month 12 years ago is when I wrote my first column. I think that was the hardest column for me to write.

writing
Lovina keeps all of her handwritten columns in spiral notebooks.

Joseph, 12, was my baby at that time. Elizabeth, 20, was eight and in second grade. Susan, 18, was in kindergarten and six years old. Verena was four, Benjamin three, Loretta, two. I remember how hard it was to write the column and keep an eye on the four preschoolers.

Life still seems busy now but I guess just in different ways. The children get older and each has different plans for the weekend sometimes. Last Saturday, Joseph spent the night at a friend’s house in honor of his birthday.

Susan had Mose’s sister’s two little boys here for part of the day Saturday. Loren is four and Jayden, two. Susan gave them pony rides and kept them entertained. Of course Lovina, 10, and Kevin, 9, were glad to help keep them entertained.

Elizabeth’s puppy Izzy was the only one not happy to have them here. She is not used to little children and the boys played too rough for her, so she stayed close by one of the girls.

My husband Joe started the coal stove Saturday, so the house is cozy again. Our coal was delivered for the winter. Joe hooked a [metal] jacket up around the coal stove in the basement to help get more heat up here if we need it. It has a door on the jacket we can open on days we dry laundry in the basement, to keep more heat down there. Verena and I plan to clean the basement today as dust seems to accumulate and things get misplaced. So it’s high time for another cleaning.

Saturday we had a killing frost in most places so the gardens are history for 2014.

We have two more wedding invitations on our refrigerator. Rosanne and Solomon will exchange vows on Nov. 7 and their wedding will be in Decatur, Ind. Then on Nov. 20, Edwin and Rosa Mae will exchange their vows in Rochester, Ind. We hope to attend both weddings. Both grooms are Joe’s cousin Leander’s sons. Joe and Leander had lots of good times growing up together. We wish both couples God’s blessings on their marriage and many happy, healthy years together.

This week I will share an omelet recipe I made for our breakfast on Saturday. I hope you will all like it as much as we did.

OmeletRollCropped
Two yummy breakfast omelet rolls for the Eicher family.

Meat and Cheese Omelet Roll

4 ounces cream cheese (softened)
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 eggs
1 1/2 cups meat (chopped bacon, sausage, ham, smokies, etc.)
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese
1/4 cup onions
1/4 cup green peppers, chopped
2 tablespoons mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine cream cheese and milk. Whisk until smooth, then add flour and salt. In another bowl, beat eggs and then add cream cheese mixture. Cut wax or parchment paper to fit jelly roll pan. Pour into jelly roll pan. Bake 30-35 minutes or until puffy and golden. While that is baking, chop meat, vegetables and shred the cheese. When omelet is done, remove from oven and spread with mustard, then layer meat, onions, pepper and cheese. Roll into jelly roll fashion, removing the paper from the omelet as you roll. Serve with salsa or cheese sauce.

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.

Fall treats: Driving the buggy through fall colors, a hog roast, cider and popcorn

 

The Eicher household dog, Izzy, finds a cozy spot of sunshine in a doorway.
The Eicher household dog, Izzy, finds a cozy spot of sunshine in a doorway.

First of all, I would like to thank all the readers for their support and many kind words of encouragement I have received. Including a self-addressed stamped envelope helps to get a reply back to you. It is so nice to be able to receive mail directly from my readers now.

Hundreds of leaves have already fallen from the trees around our house and we have such a beautiful array of colors on the trees. I love to drive the horse and buggy at this time of the year and take in all the beauty that only our Master Artist can create. The local farmers are busy in the fields harvesting the seed corn.

Fall scenery near the Eicher farm/home.
Fall scenery near the Eicher farm/home.

Last night we had a thunderstorm that brought some wind and hail. It is also deer hunting season with bow and arrow. Son Benjamin is eager to get his license to hunt with his bow. He has been doing target practice with Mose (daughter Susan’s friend). Mose said he thinks Benjamin is good enough to hit a deer with his bow.

Saturday we all attended the hog roast that our local feed mill had for customers. They had lots of good food that was prepared by some of the Amish women in our community. It was a cold day with the temperature staying under 50 degrees all day. The wind made it seem even colder.

My husband Joe is getting the stove ready to set up again for the winter. He had moved it when we had church services to make more room for benches. We have a coal stove in the basement and heat the whole house with it. There is a big vent in the floor that allows the heat to come up to the main floor. Our open staircase to the upstairs bedrooms allows the heat to travel up there as well. It is nice to have the mess from the coal and ashes down in the basement.

Daughter Verena and I plan to cut fabric for some pants for son Kevin, 9. I would like to teach her how to sew them. Kevin is getting so tall that he is in need of more pants. Then we also want to make son Benjamin some new pants. Since he is working every day he wears them out pretty fast. Benjamin was off work one day this week as the sawmill broke down. He is back to work as Mose has it running again.

Verena is almost done with the breakfast dishes and morning work so I best hurry around so we can start cutting out fabric and sewing.

We are enjoying cider and apples from the apple farm close by. Popcorn with that makes a good snack on cold evenings.

This week I’ll share a recipe for raw apple cake. God bless!

Lovina's deliciously moist raw apple cake.
Lovina’s deliciously moist raw apple cake.

Raw Apple Cake

2 cups sugar
4 cups chopped raw apples
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten

Combine these ingredients and allow to stand 20 minutes.

Add:

3 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chopped nuts

Mix all ingredients and pour in a 9 x13 greased cake pan. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until 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.

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.