Tag Archives: birthday

Family reunion fun with water balloons and abundant summer produce

Happy Birthday number 53 to sister Verena on August 22nd!

On Saturday, sisters Verena and Susan hosted the annual family reunion on my side of the family. It was greatly attended, with only seven of my parents’ grandchildren not attending. All of us siblings were present. Brother Amos was greatly missed. Nancy came with some of her children, who we were happy to see. It makes the circle seem a little more complete.

We were served a good meal of chicken, barbecued ribs, hot dogs, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, corn, and all the side dishes that were brought in. There were salads, desserts, and fruits too numerous to mention. Snacks were brought for the afternoon before parting ways to go home.

Of course, with my family the water hose was discovered, and the water balloons were soon put to use. Sister Liz and I tried to keep up with the younger ones. Some managed to stay dry. On that hot and humid day, it helped us stay cool.

Grandson Ryan was the youngest there being three weeks old that day. He seems to be gaining weight really well.

The new deck and ramp at my sisters Verena and Susan’s house came in handy. Recently, son-in-law Mose, husband Joe, and sons Benjamin and Joseph built the 12 x 24-foot deck for them. Son-in-law Tim also helped. On Saturday, they had tables set on it for some to eat while others sat by tables set in their pole barn with a canopy attached.

Sunday, we had brunch at daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house. Tim made sausage gravy and fried potatoes over the open fire while Elizabeth baked biscuits and fried eggs in the house. Abigail and T.J. were so excited to see us. T.J. is now eight months old and all over the house, so he needs to be watched closely. He sure is active.

Yesterday daughter Susan and Jennifer and baby Ryan, daughters Verena, Loretta, Lovina, and I helped Elizabeth can salsa. When we left T.J. was waving at us.

I have corn and tomatoes that need to be canned or frozen. I will make vegetable juice with the tomatoes and the corn will probably be bagged for the freezer. That is the last of the sweet corn for us this season.

Son Kevin is getting adjusted to the new schedule of going to school each day. He gets on the bus so much easier since his surgeries earlier this year. He is still not released from therapy but is slowly learning how to continue it here at home. It’s hard for him to find energy after a day at school.

One evening, James, a friend of ours, brought us some chicken of the woods mushrooms he found. This was the first time we had that kind of mushroom. The name comes from it resembling the taste of chicken. Everyone seemed to like it. It’s always nice to try something different. I seasoned it and fried it in olive oil. James had 25–30 pounds of mushrooms.

Monday, daughter Susan and her children came here for the day. She brought her dirty laundry and we washed it here after we did ours. We were glad to have a nice day for the clothes to dry quickly on the lines so we could take them off and put more on to dry.

Susan and Mose had company again the day before so she was tired. I told her to rest while we washed the clothes. She still needs to gain back her strength. Jennifer was contented watching me hang out laundry and playing with a doll. She tries to act like she’s taking care of her doll when Susan takes care of Ryan.

Tim brought in a 25 1/2-pound watermelon out of their garden when we were there yesterday. He sent half of it home with us. God bless!

This week I will share a recipe I received from a reader. Thank you, Barb!

Snickers Pie

Crust:
1 1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons milk

Filling:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 8-ounce cream cheese
1 Snickers bar, chopped
1 24-ounce Cool Whip (or a little less)
1 3-ounce box instant chocolate pudding

Crust: Mix dry and wet ingredients, press into a 9-inch pie plate, and mold to fit. Bake at 400 degrees for 21 minutes. Cool.

Filling: Thoroughly mix powdered sugar and cream cheese and scoop into cooled crust. Sprinkle 1/2 of chopped Snickers bar on top. Scoop Cool Whip into a large bowl and stir in chocolate pudding until smooth and not gritty. Spread on top of other layers in pie crust. Sprinkle remaining chopped Snickers bar on top. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight before serving.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God’s blessings to all!

 

Apple Rhubarb Crisp

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

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

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

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

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Eight inches of snow and family birthdays bring January to a close

Twenty-three years ago today, January 24, we were blessed with our second daughter, Susan. Susan is now a wife and mother. Time goes too fast for me! Happy 23rd birthday, Susan!

Today is also my sister Liz’s 50th birthday. Liz is a little over two years older than I am. I am not looking forward to seeing that big 50 when I get there. But why complain if we have good health? Happy 50th, Liz!

Lovina, 14, and Kevin, 13, are on their way to school after having the day off yesterday. We had freezing rain and ice everywhere. There were so many accidents. I wish all the best to anyone who had an accident or fall during those few days.

Last weekend we received almost eight inches of snow so the children had some fun sledding. Kevin wasn’t too happy that he had to watch from inside the house. He’s not allowed to get his cast wet, so there was no going out in the snow for him.

Sons-in-law Tim and Mose, Dustin (Loretta’s special friend), husband Joe and sons Benjamin and Joseph dressed the big beef on Saturday that we gave to Tims’ and Moses’ for their Christmas. It is hanging out in the cold pole barn. Tomorrow plans are for Tim, Elizabeth and children, Mose, Susan and Jennifer to come here and cut up the beef. The girls are bringing their pressure cookers and canning jars, freezer bags, and other supplies. We will process and package all their meat in the heated part of our pole barn. It will be nice for them to have the mess all out there.

Joe, Tim, Mose and son Benjamin are all off work tomorrow. Dustin isn’t working either so I’m not sure if he will come to help. In any case, we will have plenty help.

Baby Timothy will be six weeks old on Monday. He is nine pounds now and 21 inches already— two pounds heavier and two inches longer than when he was born. Abigail is starting to love her little brother Timmy. She loves to help Elizabeth take care of him.

On Friday evening our family all gathered at daughter Susan and Mose’s house in honor of Jennifer’s first birthday. Pizza casserole, cottage cheese, sliced cheese, grilled deer steaks and pork chops, pudding, brownies and cupcakes were on the menu.

Jennifer enjoyed her first chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting as we sang “Happy Birthday” to her. She loved getting to eat a whole one but mostly licked the frosting. Needless to say, she needed a bath afterward! When we arrived at Mose and Susan’s, there wasn’t any snow on the ground. By the time we left, there were quite a few inches and it was snowing hard all the way home. The wind made for some pretty huge drifts.

On Saturday while some worked on the beef, some cleaned out our driveway and sidewalks. Elizabeth and baby Timothy didn’t come along on Saturday. Abigail was excited she could still come with Daddy. She was all bundled up when Tim brought her in through the snow. Of course the girls and I had fun having her here. Daughter Susan and Jennifer came with Mose and spent the day here also.

This morning I will go to the hospital to have some tests done. I’m hoping that won’t take too long so we can do our laundry when I get home. Tomorrow we will be busy working on the beef.

Kevin seems to be doing okay with his casted leg and foot. Being stuck in his wheelchair does irritate him. He’s had a few tumbles out of the wheelchair from leaning too far forward trying to reach for something. He doesn’t like to ask us to get something for him; he wants to fend for himself. That’s a good thing, I guess. He has four more weeks until his appointment at the hospital in Ann Arbor. We are hoping they will remove the cast and put on an air cast.

I must get busy. My work doesn’t do itself, so I had better get with it. Stay safe and healthy! A reader requested the following recipe. God’s blessings to all!

Shoestring Apple Pie is the recipe of the week, but Lovina also baked an oatmeal pie, which her family clearly enjoyed.

Shoestring Apple Pie

2 cups shredded apples
1 (9-inch) pie crust, unbaked
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 heaping tablespoons flour
2 eggs, well beaten
2–3 tablespoons butter, melted
cinnamon

Place shredded apples in unbaked pie shell. Mix sugar, water, flour and eggs. Pour over apples. Drizzle with melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn down to 325 degrees and bake just until set. Best if you let it set or refrigerate for at least 6 hours before eating.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply); or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

A little bundle of joy before Christmas makes Lovina a grandma again

First, I need to share our very exciting news: my husband Joe and I are grandparents for the third time!

We welcome our first grandson, Timothy Josiah, born to daughter Elizabeth and Timothy on December 17. He weighed 7 pounds and is 19 inches long. He was born at 5:11 a.m. by C-section. I went to the hospital with Timothy and Elizabeth on Sunday evening. By the next morning complications had set in, and the doctor decided the baby needed to be born by C-section. Elizabeth was looking forward to a natural birth this time, but it would have been dangerous for her and the baby.

Timothy Josiah is greeted by his two-year-old sister, Abigail. She loves the baby but is not so sure she wants to share her daddy and mommy! It is hard for her to understand that she has to share her parents. She stayed at our house the several nights her parents were at the hospital. She slept with her Aunt Verena both nights. I was at the hospital the first night, but Abigail chose Verena over me when it came to rocking her to sleep!

So we now have three grandchildren: Abigail is two, Jennifer is 11 months, and our newest addition is two days. He is a sweetie and is very alert. Daughters Verena and Loretta are spending the night at Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. They made supper for them with fried chicken on the menu. I plan to go help spoil him tomorrow.

I want to bake bread in the morning to give to the children’s teachers for Christmas gifts. I will mix the dough up early so it can start rising.

Saturday, December 22, my husband Joe will have his 50th birthday. We don’t have any special plans, but I would love to do something special for the Big 50. With the holidays so close and the new grandbaby, it seems everyone’s schedule is full enough!

We received a wedding invitation for a nephew’s wedding. Congratulations go to John and Brooke! They planned a March 15 wedding at the bride’s home in Elkmont, Alabama. John is Joe’s sister Carol and Pete’s son from Tennessee.

Verena’s Yorkie gave birth to two puppies the same week as a third grandchild arrived for Lovina and Joe.

Daughter Verena’s dogs, Ruby and Ricky, are parents to two cute little puppies. Ruby is a good mother to her little ones. Verena wants to sell the puppies when the time comes.

We recently had our family here in honor of daughter Verena’s 21st birthday. Fried potatoes and grilled chicken were on the menu, along with cake and ice cream. After supper, everyone sat around the tables. We all had two little cups and a straw, with eight Skittle candies in one of the cups. The object of the game was to see which team (men against women) could suck the candies with a straw and move them from one cup to the next without using their hands.

Do I need to mention the winning team? Yes, of course, the women’s team won! We heard plenty of remarks from the men saying we are “windier” so we could do the job faster. It was so hard to do it without laughing. I really do think this was work for some of the men. I will be quiet now, just in case one of them happens to read this column. The girls suggest we not play this game again due to the men being so bad at it. Ha ha! Anyway: happy birthday, Verena!

Readers have been requesting the recipe for dinner rolls from Emma and Menno’s wedding, so I’ll include that here.

I wish everyone God’s greatest blessings over this holiday season. Let us remember Jesus is the reason for the season. Peace on earth!

Refrigerator Dinner Rolls
Makes 2 dozen rolls

1 cup warm water (105–115 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 4 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
additional melted butter

Combine warm water and yeast in a large bowl. (Do not use quick-rising dry yeast, as it’s designed to raise breads quickly.) Let mixture stand until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in butter, sugar, eggs and salt. Beat in flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough is too stiff to mix (you may not need as much flour as listed). Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or up to 4 days.

Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Turn the chilled dough out on a lightly floured board. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth round ball. Cover and let rise until double in size (about 1 hour).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake until rolls are golden brown, about 15–20 minutes. Brush warm rolls with melted butter.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available at 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.

When what doesn’t get done today won’t “run away” tomorrow

Susan'sIceCreamCakeIt’s Thursday noon already! This column should have been written yesterday.

Loretta and I have been cleaning the house this forenoon. Tonight men from church will come at 6:30 to practice singing church songs. We want to make some snacks for tonight yet. The laundry is waiting to be washed in the basement. Hopefully I can do that this afternoon. I guess if I don’t, it won’t run away for tomorrow. In the winter we just hang it on lines in the basement to dry until the next day.

Daughter Verena, 18, is babysitting in town for two little boys. The mother had a new baby last night. Verena went yesterday and stayed all night with the boys so the father could stay at the hospital. She will come home tonight and go back again in the morning. The boys are four and almost two in age so she has her hands full. She loves children so the time goes fast for her.

HamburgerReadyToPackWe have the beef all cut up but still need to grind some hamburger. We gave GrindingHamburgerTimothy and Elizabeth two quarters. They came here the last two evenings to help cut up their two quarters. We were able to get their hamburger ground, steaks cut up, and beef chunks cut up. They took all their meat home although the beef chunks need to be processed in canning jars. The hamburger will be bagged for the freezer.

The new building came in handy to cup up all the beef. I have a gas stove in there too so we could make supper and eat out there. It takes so much of the mess out of the house.

MakingRareBeef
“Rare” beef

Our most favorite thing to have when we butcher beef is what we call “rare beef,” which I’ve written about before, but for newcomers, I’ll repeat! We slice the steak real thin and put salt and pepper on both sides of each slice. Then heat some oil until it’s really smoking hot. Take a fork and put in a slice, turn around the pan once, flip over and give another turn and take it out. I make it as the family eats it because that’s how it’s best—right out of the pan. It’s very tender.

Elizabeth quit her job today so I’m looking forward to spending more time with her. We both want to can vegetable soup. We cook the meat off the beef bones and add vegetables.

Daughter Susan had a nice birthday Sunday, January 24. She had a few friends over for supper. Her special friend Mose grilled hot wings and bought her a Dairy Queen ice cream cake. Susan made pizza casserole (one of her favorite foods). We also had salad, dressing, and cinnamon rolls.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe’s Uncle Benji. He is in critical condition from suffering a brain aneurysm. My dad had an aneurysm on his brain right before he died. May God be with Aunt Margaret and the family through this trial in life. God is above all and can perform miracles but it isn’t always what we want. Uncle Benji will be 79 in May.

Sloppy Joes

1 pound hamburger
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard
1 cup tomato juice
1 teaspoon salt

Sauté hamburger and onion in a skillet. Drain. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes to one-half hour. If mixture is too juicy, sift in a small amount of flour while stirring vigorously. Serve in six to eight hamburger buns.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Published! What that means for the Eicher Amish home

We are already more than halfway through June 2015. The year is going way too fast!

On Saturday my husband, Joe, had to work at the RV factory. They are very busy, which makes it hard for him to get caught up with work here at home.

The rest of us helped Timothy move his belongings to his new place on Saturday. Joe biked over after he came home from the factory. It was a very hot and humid day. Some of Timothy’s family were also there to help.

On Sunday in church, daughter Elizabeth and Timothy were published to be married. “Getting published” in an Amish congregation means publicly announcing your engagement. They chose August 14, 2015, for their wedding day. We have a lot to do to prepare for this wedding! It will also be a very big change for our family: the first of our precious children to move away from home and start a new life. Congratulations to Timothy and Elizabeth! Timothy is a wonderful, kind man, and we are happy to have him join our family. He is the last of his 10 siblings to get married, while Elizabeth is the first of her 8 siblings. Timothy has a lot of nieces and nephews already.

The wedding services will be held over at our neighbors’ (Joas and Susan’s) place. The reception will be here in our new pole barn.

We still have quite a bit of sewing to do before the wedding. Elizabeth sewed her wedding dress. She also sewed Susan’s and Loretta’s. We still need to sew dresses for Verena, Lovina, and me. Then we also need to sew new shirts for the boys and Joe. We had hoped to have all the sewing done this spring, but with all the sewing we had to do for the other weddings, we are running behind.

WeddingInvitationElizabethJune2015Timothy’s sister was making the wedding invitation for Timothy and Elizabeth. She had a baby several weeks ago and was running out of time to finish them. On Saturday after we had everything moved for Timothy, the girls and I and some of his family helped finish some of the wedding invitations. Timothy’s brother-in-law dropped off the rest today, so we need to finish them so that Elizabeth can send out the rest of her invitations. They are very nice, but they took a lot of time. Also, my friend Ruth deserves the credit for printing the top of the invitation.

Elizabeth’s 21st birthday was on Sunday too. The church sang “Happy Birthday” to her. We surprised her in the evening with an ice cream cake. Chicken was also on the menu.

Donald and Daisy duck are growing fast.
Donald and Daisy duck are growing fast.

The ducks, Donald and Daisy, that Susan’s friend Mose bought for Lovina, 11, and Kevin, 9, are really growing. They stay around the barn and enjoy this rainy weather.

This week I’ll share my recipe for breakfast pizza. We made it for breakfast one morning this week.

I am sorry for getting behind with reader mail. Please have patience with me, as it will be very busy the next few months.

God’s blessings to all!

The Eicher family made this delicious breakfast pizza this week.
The Eicher family made this delicious breakfast pizza this week.

Breakfast Pizza

1 pizza crust
1 cup pizza sauce
12 eggs, scrambled
1 pound bacon, fried and crumbled
1 pound sausage, browned
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1/4 cup green peppers, chopped
1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup Colby cheese, shredded

Use your favorite pizza crust recipe. Spread pizza sauce on the crust. Layer all other ingredients on top and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake according to your crust’s instructions.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Wedding, a new buggy horse “Mighty,” and birthday highlight week

The sun is shining bringing a little warmth with the chilly weather. Our mercury on the thermometer dipped down all the way to 35 degrees this morning. Brrr! Without heat in the house it felt good to wear a sweater. Even Izzy (Elizabeth’s Yorkie) is trying to find a spot to lie where the sun is shining into the house. This is the second day of this cool weather. I’m hoping the rest of the week will be warmer as we would like to put the rest of my garden out.

Today is Elizabeth’s last day of work at the factory until June 1. They get Friday and next week off and tomorrow she is taking the day off to go to her friend Linda’s wedding. Timothy and Elizabeth will be evening servers at the wedding. Elizabeth has to wear mint green and Timothy a white shirt with black pants and vest.

Next week is nephew John’s wedding and Elizabeth and Verena’s teal colored dresses have to be cut out and sewn yet. Timothy also needs to wear a teal color shirt for this wedding. Elizabeth will sew all three outfits so I’m so glad she gets some time off.

The wedding of nephew Levi and Barbara is now history. We arrived home around 11:00 p.m. A little over four hours later my husband Joe had to get up to go work at the factory. Needless to say, he was ready for an early bedtime Friday evening.

It was a nice, cool and sunny day for the wedding. Fried chicken was on the menu so the cool weather made it easier on the cooks that had to fry the chicken. My job was to help with the mashed potatoes. They had over fifty cooks so it didn’t seem like I had too much to do that day. Daughter Verena was a table waiter and had to wear light blue. The cooks all wore royal blue.

Typically the table waiters are given gifts for their service similar to the ones you see here. The middle one in white was given to Verena by Levi and Barbara.

TableWaiterGift3TableWaiterGift1TableWaiterGift2

All eight of us siblings were at the wedding. Brother Amos had a three year old horse at the wedding that he trained and was going to sell. Joe and I decided to buy him as we are in need of another horse. His name is “Mighty” and is a very gentle horse. Nieces Elizabeth and Emma’s special friends, Menno and Manuel, brought “Mighty” along up with them to our house on Friday evening. It was greatly appreciated.

Joe and I took Mighty to town on Saturday to get groceries. He’s so calm around the traffic and the farm equipment. That means a lot to have a horse who handles traffic well, keeping us safe and sound.

Daughter Lovina had her eleventh birthday on Monday May 18. She wanted to make her own cake. She used a heart-shaped pan. I helped her decorate it.

LovinaDaughter11thBirthdayCakeWe had grilled hamburgers and macaroni and cheese along with the cake and ice cream in honor of her birthday. Joseph, 12, and Lovina made cheddar and sour cream popcorn for Lovina to take to school to treat her classmates. Some of her classmates asked her to bring the popcorn that she makes for a birthday treat.

On Friday evening, Mose (Susan’s friend) brought brats and grilled them for our supper. Then on Saturday Timothy (Elizabeth’s friend) deep-fried blue gill fish for our supper. Elizabeth made French fries to go with the fish. I appreciated getting out of the cooking several nights.

Friday, Rhoda (a friend of our daughters), brought lunch for the men working here on our pole building. Her boyfriend Nate works with the crew and she wanted to surprise him. She served ranch potatoes, sloppy joe sandwiches, pork and beans, ice cream, and cake. I’ll share her recipe for ranch potatoes.

Ranch Potatoes

6 – 8 potatoes, peeled and chunked
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
2 tablespoons parsley
1 cup shredded cheese (plus extra for top)

Cook potatoes in salt water just until tender. Drain and set aside. Combine other ingredients; toss gently with potatoes. Place in greased 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 minutes.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

 

Mother-daughter bonding and festive treats for the season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God’s blessings to all!

Popcorn Balls

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

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

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Busy butchering day proves a blessing

Today is our youngest child Kevin’s ninth birthday. Has it really been that long? It was also the first day of school, so he was a tired little boy tonight. Daughter Verena baked a horseshoe-shaped cake for him today since I wasn’t home all day. He requested a horseshoe cake and wanted chocolate cake.

Lovina's youngest child, Kevin, turned 9 this week, and his older sister made him this horseshoe cake.
Lovina’s youngest child turned nine this week, and his older sister made him this horseshoe cake.

Foremost on our minds is the sad news that Uncle Andy Coblentz, 81, passed away last night. He was the brother right after my dad in age. Dad would be 83 if he were still here. We are glad we were able to see Uncle Andy and Aunt Caroline at the reunion in July. Our sympathy goes to Aunt Caroline and cousins Andrea, Lori, and David, and also to all the grandchildren and great grandchildren. Our plans are to attend the funeral on Friday, which is over three hours from here. I’m sure Andy will be missed by many. May God be with them as they mourn for such a great man. Only God can bring us comfort in times like this.

On Labor Day we had a very busy day. A few of the girls washed the laundry while the rest of us butchered 51 chickens. In four hours we had the chickens all cut up. We soaked the meat in ice water to cool off before bagging it for the freezer. These chickens were broilers, which one can eat fresh or freeze. They were six weeks old and weighed around three and a half to five pounds. We had over 180 pounds of meat total. What a blessing to be able to put it all in the freezer for later use. We appreciated the help of Timothy and Mose, which made everything go faster. We had an assembly line, with one guy chopping off the heads of the chickens and a few people plucking the feathers after they were dipped in scalding water. Then they were gutted, cleaned and cut up into pieces. The gizzards and hearts were also saved to clean. The wings were bagged separately to be grilled for hot wings. After butchering chickens, none of us are ready for a meal of chicken for a while!

Sunday evening we had supper with sisters Verena and Susan, as brother Albert, Sarah Irene, and family were there. Albert’s married sons, Joe and Albert Jr., and their families were also there. Jacob and Emma’s children were also there, but Jacob and Emma couldn’t attend as Jacob wasn’t feeling good. We were served a good supper of barbecued chicken and all the trimmings.

My husband, Joe, doesn’t have work this week. Today Joe and I and sisters Verena and Susan traveled to Berne, Indiana. We spent most of the day at sister Liz’s house, helping her clean for the upcoming wedding of their oldest daughter, Elizabeth. Sister Leah was also there. Sister Emma has church services at her house on Sunday, so she wasn’t able to go. It was enjoyable to work together again, but we missed Emma. Tomorrow I will go help Emma with preparations for church services.

And like I don’t have enough to do, the peaches I ordered came today. Life gets too busy at times! Let us always take time for God. How easy it is to neglect God when we get busy.

Joseph, who had two surgeries recently, seems to keep gaining strength every day. We are so happy for that.

It is already 10:30 p.m. Everyone has gone to bed. I need to join them, but I knew I needed to write this column. Try this chicken biscuit stew sometime.

Wishing you all God’s richest blessings!

Chicken Biscuit Stew

  •  ¼ cup margarine or butter
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 cup potatoes
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1⅓ cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • ⅓ cup onions
  • biscuits

Melt butter and add flour, salt and pepper. Add milk to form a white sauce, stirring until thick. In a separate pan, boil potatoes, carrots and peas; drain. Add to white sauce and then add broth, chicken and onions. Put into 9×13 pan and top with unbaked biscuits. (You can use storebought biscuits in a tube or your own favorite biscuit recipe.) Bake at 375° for 20–25 minutes.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at Editor@LovinasAmishKitchen.com.

Family visits and a caramel cake for summer’s end

Sister Verena’s forty-eighth birthday was Friday, August 22. She recently had our family and Jacob, Emma and their family there in honor of her birthday. We enjoyed a pizza dinner. Sister Susan made a cake for Verena but then surprised her with an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.

Lovina’s sister Susan made this birthday cake for their sister Verena last week.

It has been over a week now since son Joseph’s surgeries. He seems weak yet, but he is getting better every day. We thank God for his many blessings!

This past week we were busy canning and freezing sweet corn. We have a total of 41 quarts so far. My tomatoes are also producing really well.

Some of the 41 quarts of corn that Lovina canned and froze last week.
Some of the 41 quarts of corn that Lovina canned and froze last week.

Sister Emma and Jacob will host baptismal services for a boy and girl in our church district in a few weeks. I was finally able to help her for a day last week. With Joseph not feeling well last week, it was hard for me to leave.

Joe’s sister Christine and her husband, Jake, and their family let us know that they would be at the church services at niece Verena and Melvin’s house. We were unable to go, as Joseph was still not able to stay up that long. We were sorry we didn’t get to see them. They live in a small community two and a half hours north of here.

We had surprise visitors Sunday evening. Joe’s sister Carol, Pete, and seven children came after supper. It was a hot evening so we all sat outside on our porch. The girls made popcorn and lemonade. Their family is planning to move to Tennessee, so we will not get to see them as often.

School doors will open next week for our four youngest children. Half of our children are done with their school years. Unbelievable! This is Loretta’s final year. She will be in eighth grade. Joseph, 12, will be in sixth grade; Lovina, 10, will be in fourth grade; and Kevin will be in third grade.

The first day of school, September 2, is Kevin’s ninth birthday. Kevin likes it better when I tell people that he is my youngest child than when I say he is my “baby.” He has grown up so much, but for some reason we don’t like to see time go so fast.

One evening this week the boys and Lovina decided to build a top to cover our little wagon. They were hammering away in the pole barn. Finally they pulled it out so we could see. I think the wagon will be a little top-heavy, but I was amazed at their ambition and success. They were creative and had fun doing it. I’m not so sure if Joe appreciated his tools being scattered around, and I told Joseph he wasn’t allowed to be pounding nails because of his surgery. Something tells me he didn’t listen after I was out of sight. Once children start to feel better after being sick, it’s hard to keep them quiet! Joseph told me he wants to be a carpenter when he gets older. He said it is fun using a hammer.

This week I will share my caramel cake recipe. I have had quite a few requests for it since I wrote about my sister Susan bringing one along when we went camping. Until next week—God bless!

Caramel Cake

 Cake:

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • ½ cup bread flour
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 2 eggs

Set aside 1 cup cake mix for topping. Combine remaining cake mix, flour, oil, water and eggs. Beat well and then pour batter into a 9×13 cake pan.

 

Topping:

  • 1 cup reserved cake mix
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup nuts
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine

Mix until crumbly. Sprinkle topping on cake and cut through batter with a knife to create a marble effect. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until done.

 

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water

Mix together and drizzle over cake when done.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at Editor@LovinasAmishKitchen.com.