Tag Archives: Amish cooking

All that goes with preparing for a wedding—and birthdays and Mother’s Day too

We had a nice sunny day in the 70s. That was a welcome change after some cool rainy weather the past week. Yesterday was also nice and sunny, making laundry dry fast. It was rainy on Monday so I spent my day sewing and we postponed washing laundry until Tuesday.

I had a good day with sewing. I sewed daughter Lovina’s dress, cape, and apron for the wedding next week of niece Elizabeth. I also sewed two shirts for son Kevin and gray pants for the wedding. Yesterday I sewed daughter Verena’s dress, cape, and apron for the wedding. Now its daughter Loretta and my suits left to sew. I am hoping to work on that tomorrow.

Today daughter Elizabeth and Susan were home with their sweet little ones. They brought their sewing for the wedding along, so I helped them instead of working on mine. Elizabeth has a two-year-old and five-month-old baby, so I know how many interruptions you can have trying to do extra sewing. Elizabeth and Tim are also hosting church services in June, so she has cleaning that needs done as well. And of course it’s time to plant the gardens.

My husband Joe has been tending to our gardens since he’s not working anywhere yet. He’s planting extra in hopes we can sell some by the road. Radishes, lettuce, and corn are up despite the cooler weather we had. Rhubarb is ready to use, so I need to make rhubarb custard pies sometime. That is one of the pies sister Emma plans to have us make for her daughter’s upcoming May 24th wedding next week. I will take my rhubarb if she needs more.

Saturday, Joe and I will go help at Jacob and Emma’s house to unload the wedding tables and dishes for the wedding. Tables will be set and all that goes with preparing for a wedding.

Last week my daughters and I and sisters Verena and Susan helped sister Emma and her daughters Elizabeth and Emma put 216 eggs into noodles. My husband Joe went along to help brother-in-law Jacob with his work. Working together making noodles is always fun. Of course, many hands make lighter work.

Saturday is also daughter Lovina’s 15th birthday, so a happy birthday goes to her.

Sunday, Jacob and Emma’s family and we and our children all gathered at my sister’s house in honor of sister Susan’s birthday. We enjoyed a haystack brunch and dessert. After dishes were washed, some played croquet outside and the rest of us played Rummikub. This was my first time playing the game. It seems similar to Phase 10 but has tiles instead of cards.

Sunday was also nephew Benjamin’s 17th birthday and Mother’s Day as well. I have some nice hanging flowers on my porch from our children. Daughter Elizabeth and Tim had their flower along in the buggy to give to me Sunday at my sister’s house. When Tim brought it in to give to me, granddaughter Abigail started crying. She said she wanted to keep the flower. She loves flowers, and it was so cute to see her want to keep it. My sister Susan went outside and picked a few flowers for Abigail, which made her happy again.

Before we all left for home, sisters Verena and Susan heated up the leftover haystack, making a casserole of everything that was left over from brunch. Everyone ate before parting ways to go home. It was an enjoyable day together!

God’s blessings to all!

 

Apple Rhubarb Crisp

2 cups apples, cut fine
2 cups rhubarb, cut fine
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Topping:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar

Mix apples, rhubarb, eggs, flour, sugar, and nutmeg together. Place in baking dish.

Topping: Combine butter, flour, and brown sugar to crumbly consistency mixture. Pour over apple-rhubarb mixture. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until done. Serve with milk or ice cream.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Hosting the church community, gathering with family for a funeral

Daughters Verena, Loretta, and I have plans to go help sister Emma today. The wedding for her daughter Elizabeth and Manuel is fast approaching—15 days to be exact. Plans are to make noodles for the wedding. Some cleaning will be done as well. Sisters Verena and Susan and my daughters Elizabeth and Susan also plan to go, so we should get quite a bit accomplished.

I have lots of sewing to do next week. I need to sew Verena, Loretta, Lovina, and myself each a new dress, cape, and apron. I also need to sew son Kevin a new shirt and pants, so I better get started. Most of it is cut out, so once I get started, I’ll get a lot done. Why I always put this off until the last minute I don’t know, but we were busy cleaning for hosting church services, etc.

Sunday was a beautiful day in the 70s for hosting communion services in our pole barn. Services started at 9 a.m., and around 11:30 a.m. my sisters, daughters, nieces, and I had lunch ready to serve. We had 36 settings so people could take turns coming in to eat.

I made four 12-quart-size kettles of chicken-and-noodle soup. Also on the menu were homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, rhubarb jam, butter and cookies (monster, sugar, and chocolate chip). Also coffee and spearmint tea.

The bread and cookies were all brought in from the ladies in our church district. The hot peppers were furnished from sister Emma, as my supply was low. The rhubarb jam was made fresh by sisters Verena and Susan.

Communion was around 3 p.m. and services were over by 4 p.m. By 4:30 p.m. everyone had left for home except Jacob, Emma, and family; Manuel, Menno, niece Emma, and baby Jessica; Tim, Elizabeth, Abigail, and baby Timothy; Mose, Susan, and Jennifer; sisters Verena and Susan; and also Loretta’s boyfriend, Dustin. Before they all left, I put out sandwiches and heated up some chicken noodle soup for them to eat before leaving for home. We had plenty of leftovers from lunch.

On Saturday, Joe and I attended the funeral of Uncle Elmer. Traveling with a driver in a 14-passenger van to Berne, Indiana, we went with sister Emma and Jacob and sisters Verena and Susan. We headed south to northern Indiana to pick up brother Albert and Sarah Irene. We started out around 4:30 a.m., as it took extra time to pick everyone up. The funeral was held at cousin Ben and Carolyn’s house. Ben is a son to Uncle Elmer and Emma.

Driving past Uncle Elmer and Emma’s house on the way to the funeral brought back many memories of my childhood years. Our family would often travel with horse and buggy the 12-plus miles to Uncle Elmer’s. They had a pond and a shelter back in their woods where we had many picnics and lots of swimming and fishing done. Many holidays were spent back at this pond.

Cousin Amzie, his wife, and daughter now live on the farm, with a smaller house on it for Uncle Elmer and Aunt Emma. Aunt Emma will have many lonely days ahead, but she has a supportive family to care for her. Left to mourn are six sons, four daughters, 52 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Uncle Elmer was 79 years old. Rest in peace!

Tomorrow, May 10, is sister Susan’s 43rd birthday. She wants us to come in honor of her birthday on Sunday for a brunch. Sunday will also be Mother’s Day, so I wish all mothers out there a blessed day!

It is time for us to get ready to leave soon. It looks like rain, but hopefully it will clear up.

God bless each and every one!

 

Amish Noodles

1 quart chicken broth
3 to 3 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken pieces
4 pounds noodles*
7 quarts potato water or plain water
1 cup chicken soup base
1 tablespoon salt

Bring broth and chicken pieces to a boil in a 12-quart kettle; stir in noodles. Add water, chicken soup base, and salt. Return to a full boil and cook for several minutes, then turn off heat. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.

*Depending on the noodles, only 3 pounds may fit in a 12-quart kettle.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Final cleaning tasks—including 42 windows—before holding Sunday services

The first day of May has arrived with it being a rather cloudy day. At 7 a.m. the sun is now out and shining so bright.

Daughter Verena and sons Benjamin and Joseph left tonight to attend a local wedding. They invited (as most couples in this community do) the youth for a 7 p.m. supper. Joseph came home from work around 6 p.m. and showered and left. He is working one-and-a-half hours from home, so it makes a longer day. He seems to enjoy his new job.

My husband Joe is outside doing some power washing. Loretta, Lovina, and Kevin are all reading or resting. I wanted to get this column written before I’m too tired.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and little ones came home for the day. They washed off walls, ceiling, cabinets, shower, etc., in the main bathroom. More windows were cleaned. Our house has 42 windows, so it takes a lot of cleaning. This is on three levels, with 22 of the windows being on the main level.

Communion services will be held here Sunday. On Saturday, Tim, Elizabeth, and children Abigail and Timothy, Mose, Susan and Jennifer, sisters Verena and Susan and daughter Loretta’s boyfriend Dustin were all here helping us clean. The men and boys took care of cleaning the pole barn floor, windows, etc., where church services will be held in. The women helped here in the house. A lot was accomplished, and their help was greatly appreciated.

On Sunday our whole family came home for lunch, which consisted of mashed potatoes, noodles, dressing, meat loaf, creamed asparagus (our first of the season), lettuce salad, cheese, hot peppers, celery, and carrot sticks. For dessert, Elizabeth brought a dirt pudding. We opened the dining room table and set the table for everyone.

I forgot to mention we also had hard-boiled colored Easter eggs and horseradish. Abigail and Jennifer colored eggs at Tim’s house on Friday and brought some here. We didn’t color any this year as we were gone all day on Easter and didn’t have the family home.

It warmed up nice in the afternoon and the men and boys went out to play croquet. The rest of us played Phase 10 here in the house. We decided to have an egg toss just for fun. Everyone had a partner and it was a little messy for a few people, but we had lots of laughs. Tim and Elizabeth were the winners. Our friends John and Carol were driving past and saw us outside and stopped to visit. John is a cousin to Joe’s late father. Before the children left for home, I heated up the leftovers for whoever was hungry. It was a nice enjoyable day making memories.

We received the sad news tonight that Uncle Elmer from Berne, Indiana, passed away. He doesn’t have to suffer any longer but will be greatly missed. Our sympathy goes to Aunt Emma (my mother’s sister) and extended family. He suffered much pain from that dreaded disease—cancer. May he rest in peace now. The funeral is planned for Saturday and our plans are to attend. This will shorten us by a day in preparing for communion on Sunday but somehow, we will manage. Sisters Verena and Susan plan to come help tomorrow so we should get a lot more accomplished.

On Monday my husband Joe, son Kevin, and I traveled to Ann Arbor to the C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital to have Kevin’s cast removed. He now wears an air cast for two weeks. Thanks to all who remembered him.

Once again I want to thank all of you readers for your thoughtfulness and encouragement. It helps to know others care, and may God bless each of you richly as we travel into the unknown future!

Breakfast Zucchini Casserole

1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped bell peppers
2 tablespoons butter
1 dozen eggs
2 cups Bisquick mix*
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups cooked meat of your choice: sausage, diced ham, smokie links, bacon
6 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Sauté onions and peppers in butter. Beat eggs; add the sautéed onions and peppers and all the remaining ingredients to beaten eggs except cheese. Put into a 9 x 13-inch pan, setting it into a larger pan filled partway with water. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, covered with tinfoil. Uncover. Bake another 30 minutes, then top with cheese.

Variations: Use shredded cooked potatoes instead of zucchini. *Instead of Bisquick mix, use 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Giving everything a thorough cleaning—but not without enjoying the company

Thursday morning and it’s almost 5 a.m. This column needs to be written, although my eyes still want to close for some more sleep. At least it’s not 3 a.m. That is the one thing I don’t miss from my husband not working at the RV factory. Son Joseph, 16, is waiting on his ride to go to work. Son Benjamin left for work at 4:30 a.m. The rest are still in bed. I feel extra tired this morning, but we did have a long day yesterday.

Yesterday my sister Emma, her daughters Elizabeth and Emma, and baby Jessica, along with my daughters Elizabeth and Susan and grandchildren, Abigail, Jennifer, and baby Timothy, all came here to assist us with cleaning for our upcoming church services. We will host here May 5. It will be communion services, so that usually lasts all day. We serve lunch halfway through the day, to a few tables of people at a time, until everyone is fed. Communion is usually around 3 p.m.

Anyways, back to my much-appreciated help . . . We accomplished so much yesterday but still had a nice day spent together. Walls, ceilings, furniture, etc. were cleaned from top to bottom in the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Curtains were washed and quickly dried with the nice, breezy, sunshiny day. Everything looks so crisp and clean this morning, and the curtains look nice and white hanging on the sparkling windows. I love to admire the clean windows because I know before long they will be speckled by flies resting on them. They used white vinegar and water to clean them, and that works really good.

Last week one day, daughters Verena and Loretta washed out both my cupboards. On Saturday my sisters Verena and Susan came to help, so they helped my daughters clean out cabinets. I really appreciated their help too.

I still need to defrost the freezer on our propane refrigerator and clean out the refrigerator. Also, my gas stove and oven need a thorough cleaning.

Everyone came for breakfast yesterday so I made a casserole with shredded hash browns, scrambled eggs, crumbled bacon, chopped green peppers and onions, shredded cheese, and topped with gravy. My sister Emma brought cherry coffee cake that was still warm, so that went good for dessert.

We enjoyed the four little ones. They are so precious and so much fun. Abigail wanted to help me hang out the laundry, so I told her to hand me the washcloths and a clothespin with each one. That kept her entertained for a while. She wanted to swing on the swing that hangs from our tree branch, so I lowered the seat for her. Jennifer came outside for a while, enjoying the nice day. She kept picking up little twigs and bringing them to me.

The two babies, Jessica (almost 3 months) and Timothy (4 months), took a nap on Kevin’s bed, which is still in our living room since his first surgery. Timothy is quite active and was entertained rolling over and trying to grab Jessica’s face after he awoke. The baby swing bouncer also entertained the babies while their mothers worked.

For lunch, daughter Susan brought spaghetti and meatballs and we also had leftover tacos from last night’s supper. Along with the coffee cake for dessert, it made a quick, easy meal.

While we were cleaning my husband Joe was outside in the garden planting early red potatoes. He also has sweet onions he wants to plant and some more seeds to get out in the garden. Our radishes and lettuce are up from his previous gardening. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and let them survive. It’s all controlled by God, so we trust in Him. He knows best!

I hope everyone had a nice Easter! God’s blessings to all!

Hamburger Potato Casserole

2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoons salt, divided
2 cups macaroni or shells
1 pint pizza sauce
2 quarts cubed potatoes
3 cups milk
2 rounded tablespoons flour
1 pound Velveeta cheese, melted

Place ground beef and onions in a large skillet. Add pepper and 1 teaspoon salt (or as desired) and cook over medium heat until brown. Pour into a big roasting pan or two large baking dishes.

Cook macaroni until soft, drain, then add pizza sauce. Pour on top of meat.

Cook potatoes until soft. Drain, then add milk, 2 teaspoons salt, and flour. Add cheese and pour over macaroni. Bake in a 350 degree F oven until it’s hot. Feeds a family of 12.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Busy hours fill the day: Diary for April 17, 2019

4:00 a.m. I get up to pack lunch for son Joseph, 16, and make him breakfast before he leaves for work. They are working an hour away so they will start out earlier than usual.

4:30 a.m. Joseph leaves for work. I go back to bed until I need to get up to wake the children for school.

6:00 a.m. Alarm rings again. Daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, start getting ready. They eat breakfast at school, as the school serves free breakfasts to all the students each morning.

6:45 a.m. Lovina leaves for school.

7:15 a.m. Kevin’s bus is here to pick him up. Kevin can now wheel his wheelchair down our ramp to the bus, so no one needs to help him. Coming home it’s harder for him to wheel his wheelchair up the ramp, so someone usually pushes him in.

8:00 a.m. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and children arrive with horse and buggy. Elizabeth is driving this week. They take turns each week. Son Benjamin, 19, goes out to take care of the horse for them. I help carry in the little ones. Abigail is awake but just too tired to walk in so she still wants Grandma to carry her in the house. Jennifer is smiling and in a good mood. Baby Timothy is four months old today and is as lively as ever. He is so active and rolls over and over.  He’s not safe on a bed and moves all over already. He looks like his daddy and is always smiling. So precious when he reaches his little hands out to come to Grandma.

My husband Joe is home, so he gets to enjoy the grandchildren too. Benjamin is off work this week as the RV factory he works for is shut down this week. He has been hauling manure out to the fields every day.

8:45 a.m. We are ready to eat breakfast, which consists of fried eggs and potatoes, ham, cheese, toast, butter and jelly, and coffee and grape juice. Daughters Verena and Loretta help get the little girls fed. Abigail and Jennifer love their aunts.

9:30 a.m. Verena and Loretta wash dishes and watch the little ones while Elizabeth, Susan, and I go down to the basement to start cleaning. On Monday, Susan was here and we cleaned the can room where we have shelves of all our canned food. That is a big job done. Susan cleans the windows and Elizabeth helps me organize and mop the floors, dust, etc. With our coal stove in the basement it causes a lot of dust down there.

Joe and Benjamin are cleaning out our pole barn where we will have church services in. It seems somehow things accumulate over winter. On Monday son-in-law Mose and Loretta’s boyfriend Dustin helped Joe run new water lines in the pole barn where we have cabinets and a kitchen sink, and also to the bathroom. This winter a pipe froze, breaking the hot water line, so we didn’t have any water out there. They ran a new kind of pipe and did better insulating. I’m glad that is done. It will be nice to do my canning out there this summer.

1:00 p.m. Verena and Loretta have lunch ready so we all gather in the kitchen to eat. We have chicken noodle soup and leftover pizza from supper last night.

2:00 p.m. We all go back to our work. Verena and Loretta rock the little girls for their naps. Elizabeth fed baby Timothy and he is sleeping.

3:15 p.m. Kevin is home from school.

3:30 p.m. Lovina is home from school and gives Abigail a swing ride. Jennifer is taking a walk with Verena. She’s still learning how to walk good over bumpy surfaces.

4:30 p.m. The girls leave for home.

5:30 p.m. Joseph is home from work. Benjamin has evening chores done.

6:30 p.m. Supper is ready. Campfire stew, cheese, and crackers are on the menu.

7:30 p.m. Dishes are washed and everyone is getting cleaned up for the day.

9:30 p.m. Everyone has gone to bed. Good night to all! God bless!

Note: I would also like to mention that a reader wrote explaining that the math in the column for the week of 3/18/19 isn’t correct. So I thought I needed to give credit to daughter Lovina, who wrote the column, and mention that it wasn’t her mistake but a publishing typo.

Daughter Lovina thanks all of you for the very nice letters written to her. I also want to thank everyone for the letters and cards of encouragement to our family

 

Rhubarb Cheesecake Bars

Crumbs:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups quick oats
3/4 cup sugar
2 sticks margarine

Filling:
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (8 oz) cream cheese
1 (16 oz) rhubarb filling (any kind of fruit filling is good; see recipe below)

Crumbs: Mix ingredients together, reserving 1 1/2 cups; put the rest into a 13 x 9-inch pan, pressing flat. Bake 15 minutes in a 350 degree F oven.

Filling: Mix cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk and pour over baked crust. Top with rhubarb filling (see below) and add the reserved crumbs on top. Bake 20–40 minutes.

Rhubarb filling:

3 cups rhubarb
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cook together on medium heat.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Helping hands make light work; words of encouragement lighten spirits

Yesterday daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their children came for the day. We cleaned Loretta and Lovina’s bedroom upstairs. We washed off the walls and ceiling, cleaned the furniture, washed the curtains and bedding, cleaned out the closet, and so on.

On Saturday my sisters Verena and Susan came to help us, so we cleaned Verena’s bedroom thoroughly. Now next on our agenda is tackling the boys’ bedrooms. Although the boys’ bedrooms always collect more dirt, I think cleaning the girls rooms takes more time. They have many more knickknacks sitting around than the boys. I also think the girls have more clothes than the boys. I appreciated all the help from everyone.

Yesterday was a long day it seemed, especially battling this cold. I am losing my voice, so I think everyone should enjoy the peacefulness. A person doesn’t realize how much they need to talk until it’s hard to. Maybe its just us, but around here “Mom” is the person everyone asks where their things are amongst a lot more questions.

My husband Joe was hauling manure out to the fields all day yesterday. Today he is finding inside jobs to do as it is rainy.

Daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, are on spring break this week from school. I think Lovina thinks we waited to start with the cleaning until she’s home from school. She has been a great help this week. Kevin has 25 more days until he gets his cast removed and gets an air cast.

Today daughters Verena, Loretta, and Lovina and son Kevin took a break from the work. They went to daughter Elizabeth’s to spend the day there. The little girl, Nikiah, that Elizabeth used to babysit for is on spring break, so she’s spending the day at Elizabeth’s. I had plans to also go but didn’t feel like leaving this morning after all. I am sure granddaughter Abigail will be excited to see Nikiah again.

The grass is looking greener every day. Hopefully soon I can go outside and collect some dandelion greens for dandelion salad. I always look forward to that each spring. We like to eat the salad over boiled or steamed potatoes with bacon or fresh ham.

Our neighbors had the youth singing on Sunday evening. We were also invited but we didn’t go. It sounded fun, but it was cold and windy and felt good to just stay home and make it an early night. We were also invited to supper at Dustin’s brother’s house, where his parents hosted church services that day. Maybe if it would have been a nice sunny, warm day we would have gone to one place or the other. Its hard to get Kevin in the buggy with his needing a wheelchair yet. Hopefully soon it will be warm enough for him to go with the pony and pony buggy. Daughters Verena and Loretta attended church services hosted by Dustin’s parents on Sunday.

I want to wish Melodie (one of my former editors) a happy retirement! May God bless her for all the great work she has done. I imagine she will enjoy more time with her family.

I also want to thank everyone for the cards, letters, and gifts that were sent to son Kevin and me. It was greatly appreciated. So many words of encouragement! God bless you all for caring!

When life gets busy and I sometimes think I don’t have enough time to write this column, then I think of all you readers who have always encouraged me. Thank you for that, and God’s blessings to all!

 

Barbecue Hamburgers 

1 1/2 pound ground beef
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup tomato juice
A few drops liquid smoke

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Form into patties and grill. Serves 6.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

With tongue in cheek, young Lovina says: Homework should be illegal

Dear readers. Today I, Lovina (youngest daughter of Lovina), thought I’d give Mom a little break and write her weekly column. In case any of you are confused, I was named after my Mom so we share the same name.

Although I’m not as busy as my Mom, it takes 90 percent of my energy to put so much brain into schoolwork! I think homework should be illegal, it is physically and mentally too stressful for our bodies.

For instance, when I ask Mom to help me with my homework, it doesn’t really get me anywhere. She’s smart but she wastes ten percent of the little time I have by doing the multiplication problems on paper instead of using the calculator.

I never thought I needed school. I always knew I was born a natural genius. Just don’t go asking any family members; they probably have stories that would tell you differently. Anyway, there’s no trying to get out of school now. Although I did try to get people to fall for my theory about being a natural genius, I gave up since this is my last year.

I’m going to be graduating from eighth grade middle school in May. Time flies, it seems like yesterday I was in kindergarten. Even though sometimes I forget I’m not an adult yet.

Sometime this month we are going to present our school portfolios. I think there is a special name for it, but I forget. After presenting our portfolio to our parents and some other people, we will serve them dinner. The best part is that we eighth graders get to bake the food for them ourselves. If I’m any good at that kind of stuff like my Mom is, then the food should be edible. The school also hires a comedian to come in and be funny, I think. I’m nervous abut presenting the portfolio but other then that it sounds like fun.

Right now Loretta and Verena are making cookies. I should be helping them but I get the fun part of eating them.

The weather here has warmed up a lot today. I can’t complain, I’ve been looking forward to it warming up. Earlier this week I had just started thinking that winter had left us … and then of course it snowed. On the bright side, there is still no doubt of me being a genius. I’m right 99.9 percent of the time. Apparently when it snowed that was the one percent of time I was wrong.

I should go get started on supper, and then go outside and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts. My brothers Joseph and Ben are doing chores. Kevin is reading his new sets of books that Mom got him. He is very proud of his books and gives me strict instructions on how to use them properly if I ask to read one.

Kevin asks me the most random questions that even I don’t know what they mean. Then when I can’t make sense of it, I sit in silence, which rarely happens with me. What else is there to do when my head is spinning in confusion?

Anyway, I’m going to help Mom and my sister make supper. Or the next question Kevin will be asking is, “Is supper ready yet?”

God bless you all! I will share one of my favorite recipes.

Oatmeal Pie

2 eggs, slightly beaten

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup white corn syrup

3/4 cup quick oats

1/4 cup melted butter

 

Combine eggs, sugar, and corn syrup and mix well. Add oats and butter and mix well. Pour into a 9-inch pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Life with children is more than just the work waiting for us

We are all home on this Wednesday. Our thermometer still shows -14 and the wind chill is -45. It is cold and windy with snow blowing. We are staying pretty warm here in the house. It is a little cooler in here than other days with that strong wind blowing outside. We hardly see any traffic go by. Joe’s RV factory shut down for the rest of the week and school was closed all week, so far.

My surgery was rescheduled for next week because of the cold weather. Its so nice to not have to go outdoors today. Joe and the boys did the chores and the horses are in the barn for the day. It sure wouldn’t take long to get frostbite in these temperatures.

Sunday the temperature was mostly in the single digits. Our daughter Lovina stayed home from church with Kevin with his cast since it was cold and snowing. Church families all brought gifts to church for Kevin, and my sisters Verena and Susan brought them to him after church. He received many nice things to pass the time while he’s in his cast. The kindness from everyone was greatly appreciated!

Our church had five new babies born in December and January. Four boys and one girl. Grandson Timothy, and a little one named Caleb made their first appearance in church. The other babies that we still didn’t get to see are Titus, Jayden and Velda.

On Monday daughter Elizabeth had a doctor appointment. We had the joy of watching baby Timothy and two-year-old Abigail while mommy went to her appointment. Timothy did really well for us; we had lots of fun holding him and of course spoiling Abigail.

Some of the Eicher beef will likely end up in a tasty and warming pot roast such as this, or beef stew for a cold day.

Last Friday Tim, Elizabeth and children, Mose, Susan and Jennifer came to cut up the beef quarters we gave to them. Lovina and Kevin went to school. Verena and Loretta watched the little ones here in the house while Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph and I helped Tims’ and Moses’ with the beef. Hamburger was ground and packaged, steaks cut and sliced, beef chunks and hamburger processed. Mose also made some beef bologna to put in cans and process. We were all tired by evening but so glad to have it all done for them. I remember how hard it was to get things done with little ones to care for. We had a casserole for supper and I made rare beef for everyone after we were done. Tims left for home and Mose and Susan decided to spend the night here and wait to take their meat home in the morning. Susan and I put on a few more pressure cookers the next morning from the jars of meat that didn’t get canned the day before. We had four pressure cookers going, so it went fast.

It was so nice to do all this outside in the heated pole barn. I remember having to cut up beef in the house and what a mess it was to clean up. Now this is so much easier. The hot water pipe froze out there, so we had to heat some water, but the cold water worked and the bathroom still worked. We need to do some more insulating out there for colder winters.

Kevin received a few puzzles among the gifts sent from church so we are going to start a 1000 piece this week. I have some mending I need to do yet, but I enjoy putting together 1000 piece puzzles. If we look only at the work waiting, we would never do anything else.

I will share a recipe for rigatoni and cheese casserole I made for supper Sunday evening when Tims’, Moses’, and Dustin were here. I didn’t have mozzarella cheese so I used Colby and it still tasted good. I used fresh hamburger that was ground on Friday.

As I write here by the kitchen table, I cannot believe how cold that wind sounds outside. Stay warm and safe everyone! God’s blessings to all!

Rigatoni and Cheese Casserole

1 16-ounce box rigatoni noodles, cooked
1 pound ground beef
2 26-ounce jars spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
16 ounces cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
4 cups mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In saucepan over medium heat, brown beef. Then add pasta sauce and seasoning. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine cottage cheese with 1 cup mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and eggs. Grease a 13×9-inch baking dish and spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce/beef mixture over the bottom. Top with half the noodles, cheese mixture and repeat in layers until everything is used up. Sprinkle remaining 3 cups of mozzarella cheese over top. Bake uncovered 45 minutes or until bubbly. Makes 10–12 servings.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Serving as head cook for 1,000 wedding meals leaves Lovina a bit tired

The wedding for Menno and Emma is now history. We wish them a long and happy married life together, with God guiding their way. Once again we do all that work for just one day, but it’s a special day they will always remember. When two become one in a marriage until death do them part, it takes effort from both to make it a happy marriage. My prayer is for every couple to have a blessed marriage.

The cold weather made it harder to prepare for this wedding than for most, but we actually stayed pretty warm all day. The building in which the tables were set up seemed warm. The wedding wagon [a rented unit in which the food is prepared] was throwing a lot of heat, and with the big tall propane heaters the building warmed up. Wedding services were held on Friday at their neighbors’, in a big heated building.

Their neighbor lady Laura and I were head cooks, so our job was to make sure we had all the ingredients there to feed 1,000 people or more for the day. Six hundred pounds of chicken were grilled by Menno’s uncle. They started at 3:30 a.m. Four hundred pounds of potatoes were bought.

The wedding wagon came with plate settings for 360, but there was only room for 260 plate settings. We needed to save room in the building for heaters and a place to fill the serving bowls of food, which we would have done outside in warm weather.

Many neighbors, church members and family brought their buggies to help with food preparation before the wedding of Lovina’s niece. Photo courtesy of Ruth Boss.

Laura and I were there Saturday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before the Friday wedding. Cooks came on Wednesday and Thursday to help prepare food and do jobs that could be done before the actual wedding day. Sixty-four pies were baked, the chicken cut up and washed, 30 loaves of bread toasted for dressing, pudding prepared for peanut butter pie and dirt pudding, vegetables diced and shredded, plus so many more jobs completed.

The menu consisted of chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, noodles, mixed vegetables, lettuce salad, cheese, dinner rolls, fruit topped with Danish dessert, angel food cake, dirt pudding, cherry, pecan and peanut butter pies, and candy bars. Ice cream was added to the menu for the evening meal.

Daughters Verena and Loretta and sons Benjamin and Joseph were all tablewaiters at the wedding (Loretta’s partner was her boyfriend Dustin). Daughter Lovina was a coffee server and son Kevin was a helper. He had to help pass the guestbook around and passed out little gifts to the guests such as pens with the bride and groom’s names and wedding date on it and also letter openers with the same on it. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan were cooks and their job was to make the many hundreds of dinner rolls fresh for the noon meal.

With the girls and I being there every day, our laundry kept piling up at home. On Saturday morning we finally washed our laundry, which was bigger than normal and then headed over to see if Jacob and Emma still needed help cleaning up. They had the cleaning up pretty well finished, and Menno and Emma were opening their wedding gifts. This is usually done on the day of the wedding under a tent, but with it being so cold outside, the tent wouldn’t have worked. I almost liked it better this way, because they could take their time and enjoy opening their gifts. Menno’s family was there to watch them open the gifts. I have to admit that I was tired by Saturday, so I didn’t mind getting out of cleaning up (smile!).

I want to thank my good friend Ruth for all she did to help us out over the wedding, and also for penning this column for me last week. My mind was going a thousand different directions, and I couldn’t concentrate to write.

I want to wish my daughter Verena a happy 21st birthday, which was on December 10. She is a great daughter, and I don’t know what I’d do without her or any of my children. It’s just so hard to believe she’s 21! Her two nieces adore their Aunt Verena.

God’s blessings to all!

Snowball Cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup walnuts
powdered sugar (for coating cookies)

Cream butter, sugar, salt and vanilla together. Crush walnuts until fine. Add to butter mixture. Slowly add flour to mixture until combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill several hours.

After chilled, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Drop the dough by small scoops onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool, then roll in powdered sugar.

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.

Lovina’s friend Ruth offers sneak peek into Amish wedding preparations

In this week’s column Lovina’s English (non-Amish) friend Ruth Boss gives us a glimpse into Lovina’s busy week as head cook for her niece’s wedding.

This week I helped with preparations for the wedding for Lovina’s niece Emma. As an outsider, I am impressed by how beautifully orchestrated these events are. Family, neighbors and the church community all pitch in to help with the work of hosting weddings.

When I arrived on Tuesday noon at Jacob and Emma’s, preparations were already in full swing. The wedding wagons (mobile kitchen trailers that the Amish rent for hosting weddings), were already in place, and the house was busy with activities. Lovina and the other head cook, Laura, were making a final shopping list. Outside a team was setting up a large tent where friends and family can gather while they wait for the wedding meal to be served. In the shed, the tables are set up and the dishes are already in place for the first meal seating.

Jacob and Emma had already picked up the 400 pounds of potatoes and a few other items from the local bulk food store. So with list in hand, several of us set out to finish the shopping. Some of the things on the list were 20 gallons of milk, 30 dozen eggs, 25 packets of cream cheese, and 20 heads of lettuce.

Early Wednesday morning I picked up Lovina, Laura, and Laura’s daughter Rhonda to head to Jacob’s house. It was still dark as the cooks and helpers began to arrive by horse and buggy. Lovina’s sisters quickly started on their list of cleaning chores. Other women went out to the wedding wagon to make cakes and pies. On their list was cherry pie, pecan pie, angel food cakes and crumbs for the peanut butter pie.

The women put together the many pies assembly-line style; here the crimpers go to work.

Everyone seemed to know their job and quickly went to work. Lovina’s neighbor Susan was in charge of making pie crusts. When the dough was ready, it went to women who rolled it out, and then to a crust-filler, and finally a woman making lattice tops and crimped edges.

On the other end of the wagon a helper whipped egg whites and added ingredients to make angel food cakes. There was lively conversation as neighbors, family and friends caught up on news and activities. In the main house, small children were cared for by some of the older girls.

Several decorated angel food cakes are ready for the Friday wedding and feasting.

At noon all the helpers shared a lunch of casseroles, salads, and desserts, all brought by the women who came to help. After lunch the 500 pounds of chicken leg quarters had to be cleaned and cut into pieces to be ready for grilling on Friday.

Thursday morning also started early, with more than 25 women showing up to help with the food prep, cleaning and sewing that remained. In the wedding wagon, the cooks were busy again. In Jacob and Emma’s house, Lovina’s daughters Elizabeth and Susan were mixing up dough to make rolls for the wedding. The dough has to be refrigerated overnight and then needs to rise, so they were doing a test recipe to make sure the rolls turned out. Emma was doing the last of her sewing for the wedding, and another friend was finishing up a quilt that will hang in the special corner where the bride and groom will sit during the wedding meal. Friends and family were washing windows, polishing furniture, and sweeping and mopping floors. At noon those present gathered to share a meal of dishes they had brought.

The women making rolls made a test recipe to make sure they turned out right.

Amish weddings in this area have a noon meal, a five o’clock meal, and then a late evening meal for the youth. So it is normal to be feeding more than 1,000 people in one day. This community of people, who don’t rely on text messages or social media to keep in touch, look forward to these events. They have good old-fashioned conversation and enjoy the time they spend together.

I enjoyed the time I spent helping this week, and I was grateful for new friendships. It became clear to me that despite the obvious differences in our lifestyles, we have much in common. We share the same core values rooted in our faith, and enjoy similar interests like cooking, gardening and sharing stories about children and grandchildren.

In next week’s column Lovina will write more about the wedding day. For now, I’ll share a recipe for delicious and easy bars that Lovina’s neighbor Susie brought along on Thursday for coffee time.

Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Bars

1 box yellow cake mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

In a bowl, combine cake mix, oil and 1 egg until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup of these crumbs and place the remainder in a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Pat the crumbs down in the baking dish. With a mixer, beat the remaining egg, sugar and cream cheese until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Carefully place this mixture on top of crumbs in pan and spread over all. Top with remaining crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. When cooled, cut into squares.

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.