Tag Archives: amish family

Gardening and games at home

Today was such a beautiful sunny day with the temperature around 60 degrees. Everyone is home due to the coronavirus precautions. It seems so different to not set an alarm. Of course, we sleep later since no one is leaving home.

The boys took advantage of the nice day and hauled a lot of manure out to the fields. My husband Joe tilled up both gardens. The soil looks so nice and black. We also did a lot of raking outside such as flower beds beside the buildings, etc.

We would like to make one of our gardens into raised garden beds to plant vegetables. We thought this would be a way our children with handicaps could help with the gardening. They could sit in the mobility scooter and plant, pick, or weed the vegetables. With Joe and I also getting older it would be nice to not bend down to weed and harvest the vegetables.

We would like to use something affordable, but we are not sure what to use. I know some use wood but are bothered with lots of ants and bugs in the plants. We would like to use vinyl boards, but our budget couldn’t afford to that. It would last a lifetime though. Joe measured that we would need 16-foot rows and would make them 4 feet wide and two and a half feet deep. To fill our one garden we would need eight of these. Maybe we will figure something out before planting season. It would work out so well if we could somehow make it work. I am wondering if any of you readers have suggestions about what to use. Joe says he doesn’t want to have to mow under them and wants something neat in appearance. We will see, but we would appreciate any suggestions from you.

I hope to go searching for dandelion greens tomorrow. My sisters Susan and Verena found enough already to make a meal of them. Yum! Looking forward to that!

One night our family sat around the table after we ate supper looking in Country and Country Extra magazines searching for the needles they hide in there. It was a challenge to see who would find it first. The girls also had tricks for us to do with picking a chair up somehow with our head touching the wall bent halfway down. We seem to find enough to entertain us while everyone is home. Some things seem silly but as a family we need to live, laugh, and love!

Most of all, let us read from our Bibles for encouragement and pray that God will be with us during this time of trial. It’s something most people have never seen. Our hearts and prayers go to those affected by the virus. God is in control even though the road ahead looks overwhelming. I try not to think about our income not coming in like so many others also are experiencing. I am thankful for the meat in our freezers and all the vegetables we canned last year from our garden. The fruits of our labor are worth all the hard work put in the gardens. Not everyone has a garden so it’s not as easy. Our biggest challenge is getting enough supply of toilet tissue to have on hand. Every time we make a trip into town, which is sometimes longer than a week apart, the shelves are empty already.

Let us be considerate of others. Stay healthy and safe everyone. This too shall pass.

Daughter Elizabeth says she is trying out recipes from my new cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, published by Herald Press. She loves making new dishes and trying different recipes. In my cookbook I try to stay with recipes that are simple and made with ingredients you have in your kitchen. You can find the cookbook online from various booksellers.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Potato Chowder

4 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup grated carrot
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon parsley
4 chicken bouillon cubes
6 cups scalded milk
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
Optional: shredded cheese

In a large kettle, combine potatoes, onion, carrots, salt, pepper, parsley, and bouillon. Add enough water to just cover the vegetables and cook until tender. Do not drain. In a separate pan, scald milk until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan. With a wire whisk, mix butter and flour with 1-1/2 cup scalded milk. Add remaining milk to vegetables, then stir in thickened milk mixture until blended. Simmer a few minutes on low heat. Yield: 8-10 servings.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now 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.

Spring Cleaning and Fresh Breezes

Last week my sisters Verena and Susan did a good job cleaning the windows in the upstairs bedrooms. We like to take the screens out and bring them to the basement to spray off with soap and hot water. The summer dust accumulates on them.

Just before lunch time Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty from Geneva, Indiana, drove in. They stayed for lunch and visited with all of us. I want to wish them a happy 50th wedding anniversary on March 14. Not everyone gets to see their 50th anniversary anymore, so I think that’s special!

We also washed laundry that day and with the temperature in the 50’s and the sun shining, we hung everything outside. We washed the curtains from the bedrooms upstairs while the windows were getting cleaned. All the laundry was dry, folded, and put away again, which is a sure sign spring is not too far away. The curtains were ironed and hung back on the sparkling windows.

Along with spring cleaning in preparation for hosting church services, Lovina and daughters did many loads of laundry this week and took advantage of the sunshine and warmer temperatures to hang it outside to dry. Photo Credit: D. Lucas Landis

Monday, daughter Susan and children and daughter Verena drove the five miles to the doctor’s office to have 7 1/2-month-old Ryan checked out. He had been running a temperature and was very fussy so Susan stayed home from church with him. The doctor says he had inner ear infection and gave him an antibiotic and ear drops. I had Susan bring her laundry here, and daughter Loretta and I washed it while they were in town. We washed ours too, so we put through quite a few loads of laundry. I hung most of it outside and it dried fast in the wind. It’s always harder to hang clothes on the lines on windy days, but they dry fast.

Wednesdays are usually the day our married daughters Elizabeth and Susan come home for the day along with our five sweet grandchildren. Yesterday Elizabeth and Susan washed off the walls and ceiling in the master bedroom, and also cleaned the windows and furniture. It was relaxing to go to bed last night with our bedroom so refreshed. The master bathroom still needs to be cleaned but that won’t take long for me to do one day.

My other daughters were baking cookies and washing dishes, rocking babies, etc. They made chocolate crinkle cookies. This recipe will be in my new cookbook coming out next month. They also made ranger cookies, which are an oatmeal cookie. They wanted to make outrageous cookies but we were out of chocolate chips. Granddaughters Abigail, 3, and Jennifer, 2, love when their aunts let them help mix and bake the cookies. Some turned out very small because the little girls were helping, but they enjoyed it. Ryan is back to smiling and chattering and is acting so much better than a few days ago.

I made a list of everything we hope to accomplish in cleaning before we host church services in April. It’s not that we can’t host the services if this doesn’t get done, but I like to set a goal and the list helps to get everything done. How refreshing once the house has a thorough cleaning from top to bottom. Plans are for me to do quite a few book signings after my new cookbook is out. I know I will relax much better leaving and knowing my house is cleaned for the summer months ahead. The girls are always happy to mark things off my list. They will also be glad when we are done.

This month 16 years ago my husband Joe and I and our six children made the move here to our home in Michigan from our home in Indiana. Eight weeks later we were blessed with our seventh child, Lovina. She came earlier than expected and I had her by emergency c-section and spent a week in the hospital. Sixteen months later we added another son, Kevin, to our family. Sixteen years went by so fast! Time does not stand still.

I want to get to answering my reader mail today. I am so sorry for the delay in answering but it’s so easy to put off for another day, week, etc. God bless!

 

Chicken ’n Rice Casserole
1 cup cooked chicken
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup cooked rice
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
2 hard-boiled eggs

Mix together all the ingredients and put in a two-quart casserole dish. Top with breadcrumbs, crushed crackers or tortilla chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, will be available in April 2020 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.

Spring cleaning and a horse chase

March! Spring is just around the corner! Our snow from last week has all melted. We took advantage of it and made ice cream in the hand cranked ice cream freezer. I always love the taste of homemade ice cream.

My husband Joe and son Benjamin left for work this morning at 3:40 a.m. Son Joseph’s ride will be here at 5:00 a.m. but he won’t be able to go. He got up during the night feeling really dizzy. I made him take his temperature and he has a fever. He started with a bad head cold which doesn’t help.

Our days are filled mostly with cleaning the house. It feels good to see the rooms clean and refreshed. Yesterday daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their children spent the day here. Some of my kitchen cabinets were cleaned and organized.

Today my sisters Verena and Susan plan to come help. Sounds like the temperature will hit the 50-degree mark, so plans are to clean all the windows in the upstairs bedrooms. There are ten windows up there. We wash our windows with white vinegar and water and wipe them off with flour sack towels that have not been washed in fabric softener. It sure makes sparkling windows. It really bothers me to see the windows in the main living area dirty. When the sun shines on them you can see they need a good cleaning. It will feel good to be able to open windows when warmer weather arrives. It freshens up the house after a winter of dust from the coal stove. I always enjoy hearing the birds chirping in the morning when the windows are open.

Yesterday when the girls were here, two of our horses found a post that was loose and managed to squeeze through the fence. Fortunately, someone saw it before more horses got through. We dropped what we were doing and ran to get them before they headed down the road. Susan ran in the barn and grabbed a scoop of grain and lured them to her. Our border collie dog Buddy thinks he knows how to round them up but he makes it worse. He goes in front of them instead of behind them. He has probably had too many bad results from their flying hooves.

After the horses were back in the barnyard, those horses knew where the bad post was and headed back there. The girls and I did our best to tie ropes around it to make it more secure until my husband Joe and sons could come home to repair it. Just for safety we pushed the buggy in front of the fence. It looked funny but it worked. Last night the men put in a new post so today will hopefully not include a horse chase.

We had pancakes, fresh sausage, and scrambled eggs for breakfast. The little ones ate by the little picnic table that we moved into the house from the front porch. They wanted their food on the little toy plates so we washed the little plates and small pots and pans and set their table. I really do think they ate better because they could use the tea set and small dishes.

For lunch we made One Kettle Soup to eat with cheese and crackers. Daughter Lovina made fruit dip and brownies to have with apple slices and ice cream.

Several of the girls took all the little ones outside except baby Allison. It was nice and sunny and the temperature was 45 degrees. They enjoyed watching their uncle Kevin come off the bus. It refreshed them to go outside awhile.

Baby Allison’s new cap and coat, handmade by Lovina’s daughter Elizabeth.

Baby Allison looked so cute in the new cap and coat daughter Elizabeth made for her and wrapped in the baby bunting a kind reader made. It sure keeps her nice and warm on the buggy rides to grandpa and grandma’s house.

Until next week—God bless!

 

Berry Cream Cheese Muffins

1 cup butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, blueberries, or raspberries dusted with 2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt, and gradually add to the butter mixture. Fold in berries and nuts. Spoon batter into muffin cups.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for three minutes before removing from pans. Makes 18 muffins.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, will be available in April 2020 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.

Fun with grandchildren as winter weather continues

Today baby Allison is already two months old. She’s so petite but very active. Last Sunday I was holding her in church, and she made so many facial expressions. When we started singing, she wasn’t sure if she should be sad or smile. It was so cute to see her smile then change to a frown and almost cry then smile again. Such little sweet innocent angels. She has brought much joy to daughter Elizabeth and Tim. Abigail likes being the big sister and T.J. isn’t sure if he wants to hug her or try to slap her. That little guy keeps them on their toes.

Baby Ryan is seven months old today. He weighs 20 pounds and is a tall guy. He gets around everywhere with his walker when he is in it. Ryan did his best to ignore me when he saw me holding baby Allison. Not until I took him would he look at me. Isn’t it amazing how fast they catch on to things? Jennifer makes sure to push Ryan’s walker away from things he shouldn’t have. She will say, “No, Ryan, you can’t have that.” Ryan has such a calm personality and is full of smiles. He tries to talk a lot. Jennifer and Ryan keep Mose and Susan busy, but they enjoy every minute of it.

Abigail, 3, sings a German song that she learned from just hearing her father Tim sing it. She does a good job. It’s amazing what young children pick up so fast.

In today’s column Lovina shares stories about spending time with her growing grandchildren.

Sons-in-laws Tim and Mose have been busy tapping Maple trees for syrup. They use bags now to collect the sap, instead of buckets.

Yesterday we awoke to winter weather again with the world coated in white. I would guess we have six to eight inches of snow. It’s the kind of snow that sticks to everything and, like our children used to say, the kind that makes good snowmen. I remember one year they made a snowman and the weather warmed up overnight. Son Benjamin wasn’t very old and woke up the next morning to see the snowman had disappeared. He looked up at the fluffy white clouds and said, “Mom, our snowman is up there.” He was so sure those fluffy clouds were his snowman.

Schools were closed yesterday due to the road conditions. Last night we had a voice mail from our school saying school has been cancelled for today as well.

Lovina and family experienced more snow this week in the waning weeks of winter.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan had plans to come home yesterday for the day with a driver. The driver cancelled at the last minute, so they had some disappointed little children who were looking forward to spending the day at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. It is understandable when the roads are not good but trying to explain that to little children is hard. Their plans are to come today instead. It has quit snowing so maybe it will work out.

Son Joseph, 17, was home from work Monday and Tuesday. The contractor he works for is son-in-law Tim’s brother-in-law. His father passed away and the funeral was Tuesday, so they didn’t work. Monday evening we went to the viewing, which was a two-hour drive with a hired driver. Those going with us were my sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma and Jacob, daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and baby Allison, my husband Joe and I, and son Joseph and daughter Lovina. We dropped Abigail and T.J. off at daughter Susan and Mose’s house until we came back. It was 4:00 p.m. when we started picking everyone up. It was after 11:00 p.m. when we got home so it was a late night by the time we made it to bed. Our sympathy goes to the family. It is never easy parting with loved ones. After traveling that many miles, we are always thankful to make it back home safely.

Sunday we will already be entering March. Where did the time go? Spring is just around the corner which I am so ready for, but God controls the weather so we will accept whatever he sends.

Take care! God’s blessings to all!

 

Almost Pizza
5 cups cooked and shredded potatoes
2 cups white sauce (see below)
1 cup pizza sauce
1-pound ground beef, browned
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
All your favorite pizza toppings

Layer potatoes in the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan. Pour white sauce over potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and layer on pizza sauce and remaining toppings. Bake 15 minutes longer.

White sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour until smooth and bubbly. Slowly add milk and salt stirring constantly until thickened and smooth.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, will be available in April 2020 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.

Winter butchering means hard work, a full house, and family fun

February is more than halfway over already. We are happy to be done with our pork butchering for this winter. Friday evening my husband Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph, sons-in-laws Tim and Mose, and Loretta’s special friend, Dustin, dressed three big pigs.

On Saturday morning we began working early on cutting up the meat. Mose and Susan’s pig was cut up first. All the bones were cooked in the big kettle outside while the hams, pork chops, and bacon were sliced, the sausage ground, and lard rendered. Last of all, we made pon hoss. We had twelve gallons of juice to make into pon hoss.

Large kettles are used to cook the bones when butchering pigs, as Lovina describes in this week’s column.

Sister Emma and Jacob and sons and sisters Verena and Susan were also here on Saturday to help our family with the butchering. A cousin of Joe’s father stopped in to see how pon hoss is made and stayed most of the day.

Everyone came for breakfast. The girls and I made two big casseroles the night before to have for breakfast. Also on the menu were hot peppers, cheese, donuts, coffee, orange juice, apple juice, and milk.

For lunch, we fried fresh tenderloin, served along with mashed potatoes, gravy, mixed vegetables, corn, lettuce salad, cheese, hot peppers, blueberry delight, cake, brownies, peaches, and ice cream. We also pickled the heart and tongue from the pigs. We cooked them in the pressure cooker then diced them up and put them in vinegar and onions. A lot of people liked it, but I didn’t even try. I am just not into eating different things like that. Maybe if I didn’t know what it was it would be different.

The pigs were very lean, so we didn’t get as much lard, but our bacon was really meaty, which is what we like. We still had more than enough lard, which we poured into jars and sealed with lids. I think it stays fresh longer like that. We seasoned some of the cracklings with different spices and the boys tried making a few potato chips in the kettle.

At the end of the day Jacob and Emma went home, but sisters Verena and Susan, Tim and Elizabeth and family, Mose and Susan and family, and nephew Steven were our overnight guests. We put up air mattresses and found enough room for everyone to sleep. It was enjoyable to have everyone here.

Sunday morning sons Benjamin and Joseph and Dustin went to church at Dustin’s brother’s house. Loretta has a bad cough, so she stayed home. Daughter Susan and I were up already so she made them breakfast before they left. Everyone was tired from the long day, so we made brunch for everyone. On the menu were pon hoss, fresh bacon, eggs, soup, toast, cheese, cookies, cake, juices including homemade V8, coffee and milk.

We had a full house but its always fun to wake up with the grandchildren here. Ryan, almost seven months, Jennifer, 2, and T.J., 1, were awake right away. Baby Allison, 8 weeks, was also awake early and ready to eat. Abigail, 3, slept with the girls and was happy to wake up beside her aunts.

The rest of the day we mostly sat around resting and visiting. Everyone headed for home in the afternoon. Dustin, Benjamin, and Joseph came back from church. Benjamin and Joseph went back to Dustin’s brother’s house for supper after evening chores were done. Loretta was still not up to leaving so Dustin stayed here. I made fresh sausage sandwiches for supper for the ones still here at home. The house seemed quiet after everyone left.

This week I’ll share the recipe for campfire stew from my cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook. I made it earlier this week when my daughters and grandchildren were here and tried adding mixed vegetables instead of green beans. We all liked it that way. I also made it in a large pot on the stove instead of outside since it’s cold.

God bless!

 

Lovina shares her recipe for Campfire Stew this week, equally good prepared indoors on the stove during the cold winter months.

Campfire Stew

2 cups beef stew meat (or substitute a roast, cut into chunks)
4 cups red potatoes, unpeeled, cleaned, and diced
2 cups green beans, cut into small pieces
1 whole onion (to flavor the soup)
4–5 beef bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

Put beef chunks in a kettle or large pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Add potatoes, green beans, and onion, adding enough water so the vegetables are well covered. Add bouillon. Boil until vegetables and meat are tender. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Remove whole onion if you wish.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, will be available in April 2020 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.

A freshly painted room and a pot of chili create warmth in cold weather

It’s amazing how another week has already gone by and it’s time for me to pen another column.

Son Kevin, 14, already left for school this morning. He will not have school tomorrow or Monday. It’s their mid-winter break. Son Joseph, 17, will be home today and possibly tomorrow from his construction job. The construction crew leader is spending time with his father out of state. His father is very ill, so I wish him the best.

The ground has about three more inches of snow this morning. Son Benjamin, 20, and a friend of his went ice fishing last night. After they came home, we had just finished eating supper, so I set the food out for them to eat. We had chili soup and hamburgers on the menu.

When I make a big pot of chili soup I always think of my father. He used to tease my mother when she made a big pot of chili, pointing to the kettle saying “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.” He meant that there was enough soup for several days, but it never lasted that long.

I never add chili powder to my chili soup but substitute with the spicy V8 juice we make. The chili powder gives my husband Joe heart burn, so I omit it so he can eat it. I always use sausage for the meat, and everyone loves when I add Rotel tomatoes to it. Benjamin’s friend liked the V8 juice. We think it is a good drink when you have a scratchy throat from allergies during the winter. It seems like more of our family is liking it. It has just enough spice without being too hot. All that labor we put into making it with all the vegetables from our garden in the summer sure does make it worthwhile to have a cold glass during the winter months.

We only have a few packages of sausage left in our freezer. Our plans are to butcher three pigs on Saturday. One will be for Mose and daughter Susan. They will dress the pigs on Friday night and let them chill overnight, then we will cut up the meat on Saturday, render the lard, and make pon hoss. It’s a big job, but it will be nice to have sausage, pork chops, ham, and bacon in the freezer again.

Daughter Verena is moved back into her freshly painted aqua bedroom now. It looks refreshing and blends in with the dolphin items she collects. Daughter Elizabeth had Verena’s name in our family gift exchange this year and gave her some new curtains that match with her new paint. In the swap bingo at sister Emma and Jacob’s house my niece Emma’s gift was an aqua comforter set and Verena ended up with that gift. She was excited to add these new things to her bedroom.

In today’s column Lovina shares about a painting project to freshen up daughter Verena’s bedroom walls, pictured. Photo provided.

Daughter Lovina, 15, and I painted the room giving it two coats of 2-in-1 paint/primer. We did both coats the same day. My muscles were sore for a few days from painting overhead. This was Lovina’s first time using a roller to paint and she did a really good job. She enjoyed painting but wasn’t fond of all the taping we had to do around the trim. I don’t care for that either, but it helps to have everything covered when you start painting.

While Lovina and I were painting, Verena ended up having to go to the dentist. She has a wisdom tooth coming through and one side of her face was swollen from it. The tooth is coming through okay so far and the dentist told her if it keeps coming through okay, she doesn’t need to get it pulled. She kept ice packs on it and used Orajel to numb it. She also gargles with warm saltwater. She is feeling better every day but it still hurts to chew on that side. I never had my wisdom teeth come in but heard it can be painful.

My page is full, and I need to get busy. I hope everyone stays healthy through this flu season. Thank you to all my readers for your encouragement. God’s blessings to all of you!

 

Chili Soup

2 pounds sausage (may substitute ground beef or venison)
1 fresh garlic clove, minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, undrained
3-4 cups tomato juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Brown sausage, garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Drain, then combine in a saucepan along with remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30–60 minutes for best flavor.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, will be available in April 2020 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.

Winter weather returns amid butchering and painting projects

Winter weather is back! We’ve received around three inches of snow and it’s still snowing. The roads must not be the best as school is cancelled for today! I let son Kevin sleep in, so he doesn’t yet know school is cancelled. He will be happy when he wakes up.

Lovina and family received over three inches of snow after a brief thaw. Photo provided.

Son-in-law Mose had a birthday yesterday, February 5. Mose, Susan, and Jennifer all had the flu so he didn’t have the nicest birthday. We will wash their laundry here for them today, since Susan didn’t feel up to washing clothes this week. In the winter months I like to add a laundry disinfectant to the water to help with germs during the flu season. I really think it helps.

Tuesday the girls and I spent the day at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. We washed a lot of laundry for them and cleaned her house. She was glad to have everything clean again. Daughter Lovina stayed there for the night and came home with Elizabeth and all three children the next morning. Daughter Susan and children couldn’t come as they still had the flu.

Monday the temperature went over 50 degrees so we hung some of our laundry out on the lines to dry. The bedding smelled so fresh when put back on the beds. We also cleaned our windows while the temperature was warmer.

Daughter Verena bought aqua colored paint to have her bedroom painted. So far, this week has been too busy to start with it. The boys did move Verena’s bed into Loretta and Lovina’s bedroom. The dressers will be moved to the middle of her room and covered up. Her bedroom walls are still the same color daughter Elizabeth had when she had that bedroom. It’s a burgundy color and Verena prefers aqua. Elizabeth has been married four and a half years and we still haven’t changed the color. It will brighten up the bedroom.

Saturday, we helped sister Emma and Jacob butcher two hogs. Sister Emma served us all breakfast when we arrived which was a breakfast casserole.

Read in this week’s column about how pon hoss is made (pictured here, sliced and ready to fry). Photo provided.

After the meat was cut up, we rendered the lard and cooked the pork off the bones. The meat from the bones was put through the grinder and then added back to the cooking water. Flour, salt, and black pepper were added to the cooking water making 17 gallons of pon hoss! We added four cups of flour, two tablespoons of salt, and one tablespoon of black pepper to each gallon of juice. The flour is sifted so it doesn’t get chunky, and someone stirs constantly to keep it from sticking to the big kettle while it cooks over an open fire. After the pon hoss is thickened, it is taken off the fire and poured into pans to cool. After it is cooled it can be sliced and fried in a pan until golden on each side. It can be fried longer for a crispier taste if preferred.

The sausage was all ground, seasoned, and packaged for the freezer. Some was processed in quart- and pint-sized jars. We usually season our sausage with brat and ranch seasoning we get at the meat market. It makes a good flavor for sausage patties or sausage gravy. The pork chops, ham, and bacon were also all sliced and packaged for the freezer.

Everything was mostly done by 1:30 or 2:00 p.m. then we had a delicious lunch of mashed potatoes, gravy, pork tenderloin, coleslaw, lettuce salad, cheese, Jello cake, cowboy bars, donuts, cake, and ice cream.

Baby Allison will be six weeks old tomorrow. She has the brightest blue eyes and smiles when you talk to her. So adorable and precious!

Stay healthy during this flu season! God bless!

 

Sausage Delights

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1/3 cup shortening
1-pound bulk sausage, fried
1-1 1/2 cup shredded Colby or cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients and cut in shortening. Add the fried sausage and shredded cheese. Stir in milk and egg and mix well. Drop onto greased pans and bake at 375 degrees until done. Serve plain or with butter or sausage gravy.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, will be available in April 2020 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.

Family Cheese Favorites and Apple Cinnamon Bread

On January 31, it was two years since brother Amos passed away in his sleep and shocked all of us. He was only 56 years old and left his wife Nancy, children, grandchildren, one brother, and six sisters to mourn. He is so greatly missed by many. We know God makes no mistakes, so we do not question why.

Friday evening, we traveled the five and one-half miles to daughter Mose and Susan’s house for the birthday supper honoring Mose, Susan, and Jennifer. On the menu were tater tot casserole, barbequed chicken, coleslaw, sliced cheese, and cake.

A reader recently asked why cheese is included with most of our meals. I think our love of cheese is a family thing. I remember my parents ordering their cheese by the horn from our milkman, and the money to pay for it would just be taken out of their milk check.

After Joe and I were married we also sent milk in with a milk truck that picked up our two stainless steel cans of milk every day. We ordered our cheese from him the same way my parents did. We eat mostly colby cheese, but like Velveeta in grilled cheese sandwiches as well. We also buy Swiss cheese for a change, but our children love colby with their meals. We go through a lot of cheese; with packing lunches every day and putting some in their sandwiches, it doesn’t take long to use up a horn of cheese. My neighbor Susan has a bakery and also sells some bulk foods, so I usually order my cheese from her. It is much cheaper to buy it by the horn than by the pound.

It’s nice to have a big griddle to fry eggs when Lovina’s daughters and grandchildren come home for breakfast. Photo provided.

Friday afternoon I sent sons Benjamin, 20, and Joseph, 17, to get a few groceries for me in town. I ordered two heads of lettuce so I could make a salad to take along to Mose and Susan’s. They usually do pretty well with getting my groceries, but saw the heads of cabbage, and thinking they were lettuce, bought two heads. That is how we ended up having coleslaw for supper. We did give them a hard time about it, but I am glad they went shopping for me. Joseph always likes lettuce with his sandwich for lunch. I asked him if I should put cabbage in there instead. I told them next time to feel how much heavier cabbage is than lettuce. I can’t complain though, because they do a good job of running after my errands, and coleslaw tasted good for a change. I usually only make coleslaw when I have cabbage from my garden.

Monday, Baby Allison was a month old and Ryan was six months old. Time does not stand still! Daughter Elizabeth took Allison to the pediatrician in town for her one-month checkup. T.J., age 1, also went with her, so daughters Verena and Lovina went along to help her. Abigail, 3, stayed here with Loretta and me.

We washed our laundry in the basement and Abigail was so entertained by playing. I opened a tote of toys our children used to play with including all their tea sets and little dishes. She was so fascinated that grandma finally has more toys. I don’t usually like to set them out as there are small items that T.J. would put in his mouth.

Allison now weighs 7 pounds 4 ounces and is 20 1/2-inches long. She was 6 pounds 1 ounce and 18 1/2-inches long at birth. She’s so petite but strong. So sweet!

Daughter Lovina helped Elizabeth and Tim on Tuesday, stayed overnight, and then came home with Elizabeth and children on Wednesday. Daughter Susan and children also came for the day. Mose came after work and they stayed for supper. Elizabeth and her three children left for home around five. She sure has her hands full; T.J. does not realize that climbing chairs and running on the table is dangerous. He is quite a handful to watch but is such a sweet and lovable little boy.

When Mose and Susan left for home, they told Jennifer to say thank you to grandma. She said, “thank you and welcome.” Such precious moments the grandchildren bring to us.

 

God’s blessings to all!

 

Apple Cinnamon Bread

1/3 cup brown sugar, unpacked
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 apple, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan. In a small bowl mix together brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Peel and chop the apple and set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the white sugar and butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time then add vanilla.

In a larger bowl, combine flour and baking powder then stir in the sugar/butter/egg mixture. Add the milk and stir until smooth.

Pour half the batter into prepared loaf pan. Layer half the apples and half the brown sugar mixture on top. Lightly pat apple layer into batter. Pour remaining batter over the apple layer, then top with remaining apples and brown sugar mixture, and pat into batter. Swirl through all layers with a knife. Bake 30–40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, will be available in April 2020 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.

Winter chores and celebrations

Son Kevin just left for school. Our driveway is really icy and slippery. I’m always afraid he will fall going out to the bus when its icy like this. One morning I saw him fall and was glad he didn’t hurt himself. Hopefully, it will warm up above freezing today so it will melt off the pavement. Yes, we were blasted with a winter storm on Friday and Saturday.

Saturday morning our family, sisters Verena and Susan, and sister Emma, Jacob and family had a late Christmas gathering at Jacob and Emma’s house. We enjoyed a haystack breakfast which is crumbled biscuits, scrambled eggs, hash brown potatoes, bacon, ham, smokies, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, cheese sauce, sausage gravy, and salsa piled up on your plate like a haystack. If you want to sample a little of all the toppings, you better not take too much of each or you’ll end up with a big plate of food. Orange juice, apple juice, chocolate milk, coffee, and donuts were also on the menu.

When we four sisters and families get together, we now total 30. The table was set in their attached garage. Dishes were washed and then we played swap bingo. Everyone brought a gift to swap. Our five grandchildren and Jacob and Emma’s granddaughter had exchanged names with each other so they also each had a gift.

After that we played games and had snacks such as veggies and dip, cheese ball and crackers, fruit and dip, pretzels and dip, venison summer sausage and jerky, chips and salsa, meat and cheese roll-ups, candy popcorn, etc. There was plenty there and we didn’t need another meal that day.

Yesterday daughters Elizabeth and Susan came here for the day with their little ones. Daughter Lovina went to Tim and Elizabeth’s house on Tuesday to help with household chores. Tim helped her do laundry after he was home from work. Lovina stayed there for the night and came home with Elizabeth and her children yesterday morning with the horse and buggy. Daughter Susan brought her horse and buggy too. It was a cold morning so the children were bundled up nice and warm. They have it so much nicer traveling in covered buggies than I did when I was their age with children riding in open buggies during the cold winter months.

Baby Allison will be a month old on Monday already. She is so precious! Such a tiny little girl but she has the most wonderful smile.

Tomorrow, January 24, is daughter Susan’s 24th birthday and also my sister Liz’s 51st birthday. Our plans are to go to Mose and Susan’s house for supper in honor of Mose, Susan, and Jennifer’s birthdays. Jennifer’s was last week (January 15) and Mose’s will be February 5.

Today we will wash laundry again. We usually wash clothes on Mondays and Thursdays. We fold clothes on Tuesdays and Fridays, so there aren’t many days out of the week that laundry isn’t a job to do. We hang the laundry on lines in our heated basement to dry. It will be nice once we can hang it outside and have it dried, folded, and put away all in one day.

This winter is going too fast for me. With the addition to the family and the holidays it seemed time just flew by. We still need to butcher pork and then get serious about cleaning. Church services will be here the first part of April if all goes as expected.

Loretta’s special friend Dustin bought our neighbor Irene’s house. It seems so different to go over there and not see Irene around. Irene died last year and we sure miss her. She was a good neighbor to us. Dustin will take good care of the place, so I’m sure she would be happy that he bought it.

Lovina enjoys baking for her family and this week she made several batches of Mother’s Sweet Rolls. She shares the recipe in her column. Photo provided.

I made several batches of mother’s sweet rolls this week. They are always a favorite around here. This is one of the recipes that will be in my new cookbook, Amish Family Recipes: A Cookbook Across the Generations, coming out in April.

God’s blessings to all!

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Sweet Rolls
1 1/2 cups milk, scalded
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 packages dry active yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 eggs, beaten
6 cups bread flour
butter, softened
brown sugar
cinnamon

In a large bowl, combine scalded milk, butter, sugar, and salt.

Add yeast to the warm water and let stand 5 minutes, then add it to milk mixture. Making sure the milk isn’t too hot, add eggs, then stir in 3 cups flour. Add remaining 3 cups flour and mix well.

Let dough rise until doubled in size. Punch down and divide in two. Roll each part out and spread with softened butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon as desired. Roll up lengthwise and cut into 3/4-inch slices. Place into baking pan and let rise until doubled in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, will be available in April 2020 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.

Eicher family celebrates a winter birthday with chocolate fudge cake

Diary of January 15, 2020

3:00 a.m. Alarm rings—time to start a new day. My husband Joe and son Benjamin, 20, get ready for work. They refuel both coal stoves for the day while I pack their lunches and make  grilled cheese sandwiches for their breakfast.

3:35 a.m. Joe and Benjamin leave for work. I go back to bed to catch a few more winks.

4:30 a.m. Son Joseph, 17, goes out to feed the animals while I pack his lunch and make him a grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast.

5:00 a.m. Joseph leaves for work. They have an hour drive to where they are putting up a pole barn, so he’s leaving earlier than usual. I set my alarm for 6:00 a.m. and take a nap on my recliner. I feel extra tired this morning and an extra hour of napping makes a lot of difference.

6:00 a.m. Son Kevin, 14, gets ready for another school day. We have had a mild winter, so he hasn’t had any days home from school.

6:45 a.m. Kevin leaves for school. Daughter Lovina, 15, is helping at my daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house and will come home with Elizabeth and children for the day. Daughter Susan and children will come with them.

I get some mail ready, and then, with the help of daughters Verena and Loretta, fold laundry that was washed on Monday. Son Benjamin carried the baskets of laundry up from the basement for us last night but we didn’t get it folded and put away. We also make sausage gravy and biscuits so that breakfast is ready when my daughters and grandchildren arrive.

9:15 a.m. Our friend Beth has a 14-passenger van, so she picks up all of them. Of course, it takes time to fasten all five car seats in the van. They are glad to have Lovina to help.

9:45 a.m. They arrive here and all the little ones are brought into the house. Beth won’t be able to take them home, so all the car seats are taken out of the van. Sons-in-law Tim and Mose will bring the buggies tonight to take them home. It is Jennifer’s second birthday today, so we sing “Happy Birthday” to her. She just smiles and tries to put two of her fingers up when we ask how old she is.

10:30 a.m. We are finally eating breakfast. I fried eggs, and we have cheese along with the biscuits and gravy. One-year-old T.J. doesn’t want his mom to feed him and comes to grandma to be fed. So sweet and precious! Baby Ryan is almost six months and enjoys being in the walker and playing with toys. He’s such a calm little guy and so patient. Susan breastfeeds him, so he doesn’t eat food yet. Abigail, 3, prefers her aunts over her grandma. They are more interesting to her, which I understand. She does like me but prefers to hang out with them. She loves books, as do all the children. Jennifer and T.J. will sit on the bottom step of the stairs and sing really loudly. They hold their books, pretending they are in church.

1:45 p.m. The day is going fast. Susan brought sewing along, so she is making a new shirt for Ryan and finishing one the same color for Mose. The girls made a light lunch of sandwiches and tater tots.

3:00 p.m. Joe and Benjamin are back home. They have fun with the little ones.

3:30 p.m. Kevin comes home from school. We get Abigail, Jennifer, and T.J. dressed for going outside. Lovina and Kevin give them rides in the little wagon. I tell Elizabeth to go take a nap, and we enjoy little 19-day-old Allison. She is so petite and has a great smile already. She lets everyone know when she is hungry.

4:00 p.m. Joseph is home too now, so the guys do evening chores. After they are done, they grill chicken and steak for our supper. It’s so handy to go to the freezer for meat when you need to make a meal. The girls make a cake for Jennifer. Mose and Susan will have a birthday party for her, but we thought we’d make a cake for her tonight.

6:30 p.m. Supper is ready. On the menu are vegetable soup, cheese, chicken, and steak, plus ice cream and cake. We lit two candles for Jennifer to blow out, but she wasn’t too enthused about doing that. She loved the cake, though.

7:30 p.m. Verena, Loretta, Lovina, and I wash dishes while they get all the tired little ones dressed to go home. It was a long but enjoyable day!

I’ll share the recipe for the chocolate fudge cake we made for Jennifer’s birthday. God’s blessings to all!

Chocolate Fudge Cake

2 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sour milk
2 cups flour
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup boiling water

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, salt, oil, sour milk, and flour. In a small bowl combine and stir well the cocoa, baking soda, vanilla, and boiling water. Add to the cake mixture and mix well. Pour into a greased 9×13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, will be available in April 2020 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.