Tag Archives: amish family

Camping and Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Another week has gone by and it’s time to pen this column again. It is 4:30 a.m. and both boys are off to work. The rest are still asleep. I could use a few more winks myself, but first I need to make sure this column is done.

We had a few warm days with the temperature almost hitting 90 degrees. We had thunder in the distance last night, but the storm missed us.

This is son Kevin’s last week of “school” before they come around to pick up his completed work. I wish he would have been able to have his 8th grade graduation, but such is life. It will really be different to not have any of our children in school anymore. It’s another reminder that we aren’t getting any younger.

Our whole family went camping over Memorial Day weekend. It was enjoyable to spend a few days and nights together. It was so enjoyable to wake up and see the grandchildren still sound asleep from a hard day.

A pontoon boat is just one of several boats the Eichers enjoyed riding and fishing from while camping. Photo provided.

We enjoyed pontoon rides, fishing, swimming, campfires, and, of course, making s’mores—those sticky, messy s’mores. Grandson T.J. was bound and determined to roast his own marshmallows for his s’more. Of course, we didn’t let him eat that marshmallow. It was dragged around in the sand before it ever hit the fire. He had so much fun doing that, and he doesn’t know we switched the marshmallow with a clean one. That little boy puts in many miles in a day’s time. When granddaughter Jennifer, age two, and T.J. get together, you better be on the lookout. Those two can find something to get into pretty fast. Such sweet and precious blessings. Abigail had lots of fun in the water, but she decided one time down the water slide was enough. She didn’t like the big splash-landing in the lake.

The Eichers enjoyed camping at a private spot on a nearby lake over the Memorial Day weekend. Photo provided.

The men did a lot of fishing, so we will have a fish fry one night with all the fish they caught. We also depended on them to do the grilling. Camping is fun, but it always seems like we snack too much.

Ryan is 10 months old today. He enjoyed the pontoon rides and swinging in the swing by the lake. Baby Allison is 5 months old today. She is such a bright-eyed, active little girl. She has bright blue eyes and not much hair. Abigail loves holding her little sister.

It is funny to see Ryan and Jennifer get into a little squabble about wanting the same thing. Ryan’s scream can get loud when he’s annoyed. Jennifer has an ornery look on her face and you can almost see when she’s ready to start some mischief. I could go on and on about my sweet little grandchildren, to which I’m sure all you grandmothers can relate. Our family, when together, is a total of 19 already, so we are quite a group.

Loretta’s special friend Dustin went with us. Also, daughter Lovina has a special friend too now. His name is Matthew, and he also went camping with us. There was not one dull moment all weekend and by the time Tuesday morning came around, I was still tired. Tired, but happy I could spend celebrating my birthday weekend with my loving family making memories, precious memories! Do I thank God often enough for all the blessings in life? With my husband Joe still laid off from work, the load seems a little heavier, but we are so blessed and need to be thankful for all we have.

Daughter Lovina, son Kevin, and I helped Joe finish planting the rest of the gardens. I really hope to get some more sweet corn in there somewhere.

Thank you to the readers, friends, and family for your birthday cards and gifts. May God bless you for your kindness! It was greatly appreciated. Take care. Stay healthy and safe!

 

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
8 ounces Greek yogurt, plain or vanilla
12 ounces fresh strawberries, diced

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 10-inch Bundt pan. Sift together 2 1/4 cups flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix in lemon zest and set aside. With a hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time then stir in lemon juice. Alternate beating in the flour mixture and yogurt, mixing just until incorporated. Toss the strawberries with the remaining 1/4 cup flour and gently stir them into the batter. Pour batter into Bundt pan and bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool at least 20 minutes in pan, then turn onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Glaze: Whisk together and drizzle over top of cake when completely cooled.

 

 

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.

May showers and tater tot casserole

 Today daughters Verena, 22, Loretta, 19, Lovina, 16, son Kevin, 14, and I went to assist niece Emma in preparing for hosting the next church services. Sister Emma and son Steven, niece Elizabeth, and sisters Verena and Susan were also there helping, along with my daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their children.

Emma told us all to come for breakfast and she had made a breakfast casserole. Everyone took a dish, so there were four different kinds of cookies, rhubarb pie, watermelon, and cupcakes. Daughter Susan took a tater tot casserole for lunch, so that made the day easier. Their laundry was washed and the living room and kitchen walls, ceilings, furniture, and windows were all cleaned.

My grandchildren enjoyed playing with Emma’s 16-month old Jessica’s toys. They all get along, playing together nicely. T.J., 17 months, enjoyed standing outside the chicken fence, watching the chickens.

We finally had a day of sunshine after having rainy weather here in Michigan. I think my husband Joe said we had over six inches of rain this week. The gardens are still too wet to put the plants out. Today it did rain lightly for a little bit, enough to make us run to get Emma’s laundry off the lines. The laundry was mostly dry, so we hung what wasn’t dry yet in the house on clothes racks.

I had the same problem with my laundry on Tuesday when I decided to chance it. It would start raining awhile and then stop, but the wind was strong and dried it fast. My new lines held out really well in the wind. I like laundry days when there isn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun is shining. That is much more relaxing than not knowing when you might need to run to get the clothes in because it has started raining. We cannot control the weather, so I must not complain. Such is life!

One of the first attempts at training son Joseph’s horse, Sugar. Photo provided.

Son Joseph, 17, is out in the field, line-driving his two-year-old horse, Sugar. He is training her, and eventually wants to hitch her to the buggy. It’s always challenging, with a little excitement, when they train a horse. Sugar is doing pretty well. My husband, Joe, has trained most of the horses that we have raised, so he can give Joseph pointers on training. Sugar will be our gift to Joseph in July for his 18th birthday.

Son Benjamin, 20, left tonight to go fishing with friends. Daughter Lovina went to a friend’s house for supper. Verena made potato soup and heated up the grilled meat from last night’s supper for our supper tonight. Of course, we needed cheese and crackers to go with potato soup.

Tomorrow is Ascension Day, so everyone will be home from work. We will fast and have a prayer day in the morning. Our family is all coming for the noon meal.

After lunch, we will have an egg hunt for our grandchildren that we couldn’t have at Easter. As a treat for our children, Joe and I wrapped small gifts in plastic, making a big ball. They will take turns rolling dice until they get a six and can unwrap the ball and keep the gifts that fall out before the next person rolls a six and takes over. This is always exciting to watch, especially when they get closer to the last gift, which is the grand prize.

Friday, May 22, will be birthday number 49 for me! This is my last year in my forties, and then it’s the big 50! I really am getting old! (smile)

I’ll share the recipe for the tater tot casserole that daughter Susan took to niece Emma’s. I wish God’s blessings to each of you! Stay safe and healthy!

 

Tater Tot Casserole

2 pounds hamburger
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 pounds tater tots
1 pint sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 soup cans milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound Velveeta cheese
2 cups crushed corn flakes or Ritz crackers
1/2 cup melted margarine

Fry hamburger with onions and set aside. Put tater tots in bottom of a large casserole dish. Mix together sour cream, soup, milk, salt, and pepper and pour over tater tots. Top with cheese and fried hamburger with onions. Sprinkle with corn flakes or cracker crumbs mixed with melted margarine. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes.

Variation: Lovina’s daughter Susan uses crushed Doritos instead of corn flakes or crackers.

 

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.

Birthdays and Rhubarb Custard Pie

We are having a cool May, making it a challenge to put any plants out in the garden yet. Yesterday the temperature hit the mid-60 mark, but the air had a chill in it.

Son Joseph doesn’t have to work today, so I will probably go to town with him this morning to get him new shoes and a few other things he needs for work. It is a little after 4:00 a.m. and son Benjamin left for his job. Everyone else is still in bed, so I am going to take advantage to write this column while all is quiet. Tomorrow Benjamin will be home, as they are on four-day work weeks, and Joseph will go to work. Hopefully it will be a nice day to do laundry again.

I received new cable-coated wash lines and new laundry baskets for my birthday, which is next week (May 22). I was very happy for the new lines, as I had a few lines break on me recently. It isn’t fun when your clean clothes need to be rewashed. I didn’t have cable-coated lines before, so the lines would break, and I would patch them up with wire. I think these lines should hold out for many years. It’s nice to hang up blankets and not have to watch so that they don’t touch the ground. My husband Joe and son Benjamin put the new lines up and put a fence stretcher on the end of each one so the lines stay in place.

I was also spoiled with flowers and meals brought in from my children on Mother’s Day. I felt honored and so unworthy of it all. It makes me so glad to be a mother to eight wonderful children. Each one holds a part of my heart and I can’t complain about any of them. They treat me like a queen and I thank God each day that he made me their mother. So often I fail as a mother, but I keep on doing my best, which is all we can do.

My sister Susan had her 44th birthday on Sunday, May 10 (Mother’s Day). The girls and I spent yesterday at her and sister Verena’s house. Sister Emma and her two daughters were also there. My sister Susan loves making cards and so do a few of the girls, so there was a table set up for that. Emma and I helped set up a flower bed for Susan outside, and just sitting around spoiling our grandchildren was enjoyable! I do not have enough patience to sit and make cards, but it’s nice to see the ideas they come up with. Abigail really took an interest in it.

Daughter Lovina’s 16th birthday will be in a few days, on May 18. Is it possible that 16 years went by so fast? She will be with the youth group now and son Kevin will be the only one of our children still not with the youth. That makes us feel older. Next year Kevin will also be in the youth group. Time goes much too fast.

We are enjoying many meals of asparagus and also rhubarb fixed in different ways. I still haven’t canned my rhubarb juice.

A reader has asked how we run electricity to use our vacuum sealer. We use a generator to run the meat grinder, slicer, and the sealer on the days that we butcher meat. Our solar power would not power all this, so we rely on the generator to do jobs like that.

I will share my mother’s recipe for rhubarb custard pie. This is for a 9-inch pan. When making and testing recipes for my cookbook, we discovered what a big difference it is to say “9-inch pie plate” rather than “9-inch deep pie plate.” Thus, the rhubarb custard recipe in my cookbook is a little different than my usual recipe, as I normally use the flat 9-inch pie plates. The rhubarb custard pies I made did not last long.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Rhubarb Custard Pie

1 1/2 cup rhubarb
2 tablespoons flour
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cream or whole milk

 

 

Mix all ingredients and pour in unbaked 9-inch pie shell. Bake at 350 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, 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.

 

Sunny Spring walks and answers to reader questions

We are in week number six of the coronavirus lockdown here in Michigan. A time in our life that will never be forgotten. The fact that we are having a few days of rainy weather doesn’t do much to improve the mood. But oh how much more we appreciate those nice sunny days! We cannot control the weather so we accept what God sends and try to do our best!

April always reminds us of my husband Joe’s dear parents, who both passed away in this month. His mother Salome was only 54 years old and it has been 25 years now since she passed away. At the time, we only had one child, Elizabeth, who was a little over 10 months old. None of our children will know Grandma Eicher, but we cannot question God’s plan.

Joe’s father passed away 11 years ago at the age of 70. We lived in the same community for five years before his passing so our children were able to see him more often, although our two youngest were still three and four at the time so they really don’t remember much about having a grandparent. My parents both had died before they were born.

I remember all my grandparents very well, so it’s sad when some never meet theirs. Again, God knows best even though we question why at times. Trust and have faith!

The boys have been hauling lots of manure into the fields and the barn is being kept extra clean, since we are still waiting for church services to be continued. We will host them here in our pole barn once they decide it’s safe to meet again because of the virus.

Sunday afternoon our family went for a walk. It was a nice sunny, warm day and very enjoyable to get out of the house for a while. My sisters Verena and Susan were sitting out on their patio so we stopped and chatted with them. The walk did wonders and refreshed us all! We played several board games after coming home.

Since news is scarce, I will answer more questions from readers. My editors copy them from the website and send them to me as I don’t see them otherwise.

A reader asks about heating our homes with coal and if it causes problems health wise. We have a hopper-fed coal stove in our basement, which has vents in the floor where the heat comes up to heat the main floor and travels up our open staircase to heat the bedrooms upstairs as well. We have a vent installed to take the carbon monoxide out. We add coal twice a day and I never smell coal. The stove is very tight and doesn’t let out any fumes. None of our family has respiratory problems, but when we burned wood it bothered a few of our children when they were younger, which is why we changed to coal.

Another reader asks what laundry disinfectant I use. I used to use Germ Clean, but I haven’t been able to get it anymore from Stanley, so now I use Lysol laundry sanitizer and it seems to do well.

A reader asked if we make our own cheese and butter. I did when we had a cow but since we sold her, I buy our cheese. I buy Colby cheese by the horn from our neighbor’s store. We love Colby cheese. We use a cheese slicer and slice it off the horn. We eat cheese with our sandwiches, with crackers, and with our meals.

Now I must get this column off to my editors.

My husband Joe and I made horseradish this week from our own horseradish plant. Joe’s Uncle Solomon gave us the horseradish root so we could try growing it ourselves. I will share Uncle Solomon’s recipe. It has become a favorite side dish to have with hard-boiled eggs in this household! Add additional salt and sugar to your own taste.

God bless you!

 

In today’s column, Lovina shares a family recipe for horseradish, pictured here. Photo provided.

Uncle Solomon’s Homemade Horseradish

1 (6- to 8-inch) piece horseradish root
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt

Clean and very finely chop the horseradish root. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a small bowl, adding only enough horseradish to make it the thickness and spiciness you like. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

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 memories while staying home

As I’m writing this on April 16, I remember that thirty-nine years ago today my oldest sibling, sister Leah, and Paul were joined in holy matrimony. I was in third grade at the time and remember seeing my mother cry as the bishop was uniting Paul and Leah in marriage. I could not understand why she was crying, but of course I now know the feeling of your firstborn getting married, moving out, and starting their own life. It’s not that we do not like to see them getting married, but the changes in life we accept and trust that God plays a role in their marriage.

Another memory I have is of the day after Paul and Leah’s Thursday wedding. It was Good Friday and I remember going out to the mailbox to get the mail. For some odd reason that always reminds me that we still get mail on Good Friday. In our community we have “fast and prayer day” on Good Friday, so it always seems like a Sunday. I want to wish Paul and Leah a Happy 39th Anniversary.

Last night after supper I signed a card for them, to put in today’s mail. I wrote a letter and before I knew it I had several pages written. We don’t often see each other with the 100 plus miles between us. Actually, with this pandemic going on I don’t see any of my siblings. It has been a different spring which I’m sure many people will remember in history. We have all been home three and a half weeks, and it looks like we have another three weeks until the “stay home” order is lifted.

Our church services have been canceled again, so Lord willing we will host Rule Church here on May 3 now.

It has been a challenge trying to keep the house clean with everyone home. And keeping son Kevin, 14, busy with his schoolwork is another challenge. With everyone around he doesn’t like to be seated at the table doing schoolwork. I cannot imagine how much of the day it takes out of mothers that have quite a few in school yet. Daughter Lovina helps Kevin with figuring out problems if he needs help.

We are having cold weather again and the ground was covered with snow for a while yesterday. Hopefully it won’t hurt the flowers and plants that are peeping out in the garden already.

Lovina’s husband Joe gets a head start on planting using a greenhouse, pictured, despite a spring cold snap. Photo provided.

My husband Joe has moved his plants in from the greenhouse. He has them on tables by the window in the dining room, instead of keeping heat in the greenhouse at night, until this cold spell is over.

I hung our laundry outside this week. Although everything dried well, my fingers were cold by the time I finished hanging up the clothes. I’m not used to it anymore, with lines in our heated basement.

I have a little more painting to do in the basement, in my can room, where I keep all my canned jars of food. I need more paint rollers and brushes, but that is shut off in stores now. It’s too bad, since now people would have time to do jobs like that. It would help keep them occupied.

I have had letters from readers asking for information on where they can order my newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes. My cookbooks can be ordered online from your favorite bookstore. I am really happy about how the new cookbook turned out. So many of our favorite recipes are in there, such as Breakfast Omelet Roll, which we had Sunday morning for breakfast. We like to top it with sausage gravy.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Breakfast Omelet Roll

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 eggs
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 pound bacon, fried and chopped
1 cup chopped ham
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

 

Additional fillings as desired, such as mushrooms, olives, smoked sausage

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut parchment paper to line a 10 x 15-inch jelly-roll pan.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and milk. Whisk until smooth. Add flour and salt. In another bowl, whisk eggs, then add to cream cheese mixture. Pour mixture into parchment-lined pan and bake 30–35 minutes or until puffy and golden.

Remove pan from oven and spread mustard and half the shredded cheese onto the omelet. Add the bacon, ham, onion, bell paper, any additional fillings as desired, and most of the remaining cheese. Roll up in jelly-roll fashion, removing paper as you roll. Garnish with remaining cheese. Cut into slices to serve.

 

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.

Fishing outings and home projects

We are all still home from the “stay home, stay safe” order due to the coronavirus.

We were to host church services this past Sunday but church services in our community were postponed until further notice. Maybe too often we take going to church for granted. It didn’t seem right to not meet with our fellow church members to worship God. We were home reading from the scriptures in the Bible, still honoring our Heavenly Father. I know that we have so much more family time while all this is going on.

My husband Joe and the boys head for the lake with our boat when they get too bored and need a way to relax. They came home tonight with their limit of bluegill which helps a lot on the grocery bill when they aren’t bringing in money at their jobs while things are closed.

With church being delayed we have time to get some more jobs done around here. We are painting our basement walls with Drylok paint that helps keep moisture out. It seems since we had a fire a few years ago, with all the water ending up in our basement, it has been more damp down there. Hopefully sealing off the walls with white paint will also brighten it up. It’s really looking good so far.

Joe has also set up a mini greenhouse and is growing some vegetable plants from seed. It is very small but it’s a start. He enjoys doing that. I told him when he started planting seeds in trays that I am not interested in that, so he said I don’t have to help. It’s kind of like a hobby to him but it will save us money to grow our own tomato, pepper, etc. plants. If he’s willing to do it, I won’t complain.

The girls made pizza tonight using the pizza dough recipe in my new cookbook, Amish Family Recipes. I will share the recipe at the end of this column.

This is now over a day later and I neglected to finish this column. Yesterday was spent painting in the basement again. I am sore from using muscles I don’t use every day. Our basement walls have a brick like finish, so it is taking much longer than I had anticipated. I love how it looks though, so it is worthwhile.

Joe and the boys took the boat out on a nearby lake again and came home with their limit of bluegill. The fish were filleted and bagged for the freezer. We will have quite a few meals of fish now. It warmed up to 75 degrees yesterday so they were a little sunburned. Joe put some chicken on the grill and that was our supper. We sat outside and ate it from the grill. It was nice but then started cooling off fast.

This morning it’s windy and 45 degrees and the temperature keeps dropping. Joe is going to put a little heat out in the greenhouse. We had let our coal stove go out since it has been so warm. We might have to start it up again, but Joe wants to clean it up first. It shouldn’t be too long before we can let it go out for the summer.

Easter will be on Sunday, reminding us of Jesus’ resurrection. Easter brings hope! Let us keep our faith! Until next week, stay healthy, be safe, and may God bless each of you!

 

My Favorite Pizza Dough

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour

In a medium bowl, mix water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add oil, salt, and flour and mix well. Press dough into a greased 10×15-inch jellyroll pan. Layer on sauce and toppings of choice and bake at 350 degrees until crust is golden brown, about 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, 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 salads and fun with grandchildren

I am writing this on the last day of March. Will April bring us nice days? We will accept what we get. My husband Joe planted peas and radishes in the garden so we will wait and see if it grows garden goodies. It sounds so good.

We had our first meal of dandelion salad this spring. Yummy! With steamed potatoes and fresh grilled ham it was a good meal. I was surprised at how many dandelion greens I could find already.

Rhubarb is coming up and soon asparagus will be popping through the soil. Joe also started some seeds in trays and hopes they will do well to plant in our garden once it warms up.

Everyone is still at home due to the coronavirus. Son Benjamin, 20, drove our horse and buggy to town to the bank and then also picked up a few groceries. So many items are limited but we have managed so far. With everyone being home a lot of neglected jobs are getting done. It does take a little more meal planning with everyone being home all day long.

The boys raked our yard and power washed our paved driveway. Everything looks so fresh and clean. I love to admire the fresh look of everything at the beginning of spring. The grass is getting greener each day. We also had a thunder storm one evening. Another sure sign that spring is here.

Son Kevin, 14, is still doing his school work here at home. Daughter Lovina has been tutoring him when he needs help. He says he wishes he could be at school. This is his last year of school. I never thought something like this would happen, which I’m sure everyone feels right now.

This month, sixteen years ago, we made the move from Indiana to Michigan. We brought our horses Diamond and Itty Bit along. Six days after we were here Itty Bit had a foal, and we named her Ginger. We don’t have Diamond and Itty Bit anymore but it is hard to believe Ginger is 16.

At the time our oldest daughter, Elizabeth, was only nine. She turned 10 that June. Joseph was the youngest child until Lovina was born in May. Now Elizabeth is a Mother to three sweet little children. Susan was eight years old and now has two sweet little children of her own.

We have so much fun with our grandchildren. Each one is special to us. Abigail, 3, picked some flowers for me one day and I put them in a little cup of water. She looked so proud that I liked my flowers. I am not even sure if they are flowers or some kind of weed, but it’s the thought that counts. My daughters laughed about it, saying they wonder if I actually kept their “flowers” that long. It does almost seem like you take more time for your grandchildren. Maybe it’s because you don’t have to be a parent to them and you still get a good night’s sleep when they go home. Whatever it is, I love my children just as much and pray each day that they will lead a life with God.

May each one of you stay safe and healthy. God will provide if we trust in him. We know God doesn’t make mistakes so there is a reason for this pandemic although we do not understand it at the moment. Trust and believe and have faith. God bless and good night to all!

 

Dandelion Sour Cream Salad
4 packed cups young dandelion greens
4 hard-boiled eggs, diced

Sour cream dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups whole milk
salt

Put the eggs and dandelion greens in a large bowl and pour the dressing over them.

Dressing: Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, milk, and salt to taste in a quart jar. Shake until smooth. Any unused dressing can be refrigerated for up to two days.

Variation: Substitute in season fresh-from-the-garden lettuce and endive for the dandelion greens.

 

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.

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.