Tag Archives: butchering

Placid evening after family devotions a fitting finale for the day

Supper is over and we have had evening devotions. All the children have gone their own way now—some to bed and some reading, writing or just relaxing. I love evenings like this, when everyone is close by. Every mother has those moments, I’m sure.

Making my day even more complete was having daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their sweet little daughters, Abigail and Jennifer, home for the day. This grandma actually fell asleep holding the baby on the recliner. Jennifer loves being held and cuddled.

Elizabeth hasn’t started potty-training Abigail, but today I started asking Abigail if she has to go to potty. She even comes up to me and tells me she needs to go potty. Well, we go through the whole routine and then she just sits there. I told Elizabeth she will eventually get the hang of it. I don’t think Elizabeth is too enthused to start the potty-training process. I keep asking myself why I’m so happy to help potty-train my granddaughter when I dreaded it with my own children! Maybe it’s because I can do it for a few hours and then quit when they go home. My dad always told us if he had known that grandchildren were so much fun he would have had them first. It was just one of his many jokes.

Back to supper tonight: our menu was biscuits, sausage gravy, eggs, potatoes and cheese. Son Benjamin and nephew Henry went after a new bearing for the buggy wheel on our one buggy. Then nephews Benjamin and Steven and niece Emma came over with some pon hoss and fresh sausage. They butchered pork on Saturday.

The Eichers were happy to can and freeze food staples such as this beef, which is customary among most Amish families.

Our beef is all canned, bagged and frozen. Freezers are filled to capacity. Do we appreciate that we have plenty to eat? There are so many in this world who are less fortunate. Let us pray for those less fortunate and also pray for peace in the world. There is so much hatred. God can be our only comfort at times when all else seems to go wrong.

My husband Joe and several of the children made around 300 hamburger patties, which are all frozen individually so they can be taken apart and put right on the grill. The rest of the hamburger was bagged and canned. I like using the canned hamburger for casseroles when I’m in a hurry. I went shopping with daughters Elizabeth, Susan and Loretta on Saturday. I felt so happy coming home to find out that this big job was all done—and maybe slightly guilty for not helping!

On Sunday church services were held with Dustin’s (Loretta’s special friend) parents being hosts. Loretta, Lovina, Benjamin, Joseph and Henry attended church in their district. Joe and I were also planning to go but Joe wasn’t feeling well during the night so we changed our plans. Joe was also home from work one day, running a fever and just not feeling well at all. The next day he felt good enough to go back to work, but he was still ready to see the weekend come. Those early mornings come around so fast! So often we take our good health for granted.

Several of our children and I went to visit sister-in-law Nancy one day this week. So much sadness. I have such a hard time going there and not seeing my brother Amos come walking to greet us. He was always so overjoyed to see us when we’d stop in for a visit. Amos and Nancy’s daughters—Lovina and her daughter and Elizabeth and her son—were home for the day. And Lisa, Laura and Sam were home, so we visited with everyone.

We were happy to hear we have another nephew, Seth Paul, born to Joe’s sister Loretta and Henry on March 2. Seth makes child number eleven for them. Their oldest son, Henry, has lived with us for almost seven months now. He went home to greet his newest little brother on Friday night. That makes 59 grandchildren for Joe’s late parents. Joe’s mother died at age 54 when we only had Elizabeth. She would be so happy to see all her grandchildren now.

Daughter Verena seems to be doing okay with her cast on her leg. She is getting a little impatient and tries to busy herself writing letters to others who need cheering up.

A reader shared with me her recipe for hot wilted lettuce. She says they eat this on top of boiled potatoes.

God’s blessings to all!

Hot Lettuce

1/2-1 pound bacon
1 heaping tablespoon flour (or a little more if needed)
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups water
1 head of lettuce, torn

Fry bacon in large skillet. Remove bacon. Stir flour into grease and brown. Put egg in medium bowl and beat a little. Add salt, sugar, vinegar and water and then add this mixture to skillet. Add lettuce (you can use more or less than a head, as desired) and crumbled-up bacon and stir briefly in skillet until lettuce wilts slightly. Serve immediately.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org

Nothing better in late winter than visits from Grandma’s little sweeties

We have entered the month of March, and it is definitely coming in like a lion! It is rainy, cold and windy here in our part of Michigan. We had several nice sunny days with temperatures hitting the upper 50s and lower 60s. It spoiled us and we really wanted it to stay. It sounds like we might get more snow though, so we better just be patient.

Our week has been spent cutting up beef, pressure canning, grinding hamburger and slicing steaks, and of course, bagging the meat for the freezer. Last Saturday we decided to butcher both beefs instead of waiting for another time. So we have double the work. My husband, Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph, son-in-law Timothy, son-in-law Mose and Loretta’s special friend Dustin helped dress the beef on Saturday. Timothy, Elizabeth, Mose and Susan have also been helping to cut it up. Work goes much faster with so many helping.

Lovina and Joe’s granddaughter Abigail gets excited when her parents’ buggy pulls in to Grandma’s house.

Elizabeth said when they came driving with their buggy, little Abigail spotted our house and said, “Grandma!” She was a little busybody last night. She loves to color and write. I’m amazed at how well she holds her pencil. Jennifer is such a sweetie too. She smiles often, and Susan said she reaches for the toys she hangs in her swing. I was so busy that I didn’t get to spend enough time with the sweeties last night.

I made rare beef for supper for everyone. The girls had made a casserole as well. I have mentioned before how we make rare beef. We slice the most tender steak into really thin pieces. I deep-fried it in olive oil last night. Some use oil and some use lard. You make sure your oil is really hot and then take a piece and stir around, flip over, stir once and it’s done. We put salt and black pepper on both sides of every slice before we start. We put on a lot of black pepper. It’s spicy, but it just doesn’t taste right without that much.

We didn’t put much pepper on Abigail’s pieces, but she still didn’t care for it! I remember when our children were younger they would have a glass of water to dip the meat in so some of the pepper would come off. I wouldn’t put on as much pepper when they were younger.

My grandpa Graber was an expert at deep-frying rare beef. Then my mother took after him and always made it for our family. Now I can see how she was probably glad once everyone had their share! I make the rare beef while everyone else eats so that it’s fresh. It doesn’t taste as good when it has cooled off.

Sunday we went to church and then stopped in to visit Jacob and Emma. Jacob wasn’t feeling well enough to come to church.

We ended up at Mose and Susan’s house for supper. Timothy and Elizabeth and Abigail, Dustin and nephew Henry were all there, plus all of our family. Mose grilled brats and Susan made pizza casserole. It was nice to get out of cooking. I spoiled Jennifer and Abigail while the girls made supper. Daughter Verena was glad to get out of the house for a while. She elevated her leg all day, as she lost her balance and fell on her cast. She had quite a bit of pain so I called the doctor. It helps to elevate it more often, and now Verena says it is feeling better. In three weeks we will go back to the doctor and see how it’s doing. I hope it is healing well!

I want to thank everyone for the sympathy cards you sent. May God bless you for your kindness!

A reader shared her recipe for butterscotch pie with me. She says it’s much easier to make than mine. I’ll share it with all of you as well. Thanks, Patricia!

Butterscotch Pie

1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold water
1 1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 pie crust, baked

Mix brown sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan; stir in water, milk and butter. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Boil one minute. Stir 1/2 of mixture into egg yolks, then blend into remaining mixture with vanilla. Pour into baked pie crust. Chill. When cold, top with whipped cream topping.

Christmas memories linger: brunch, family . . . and a big ball of plastic wrap

A brand new year lies before us! 2018 is here, and I want to wish all of you a blessed new year, lots of love and good health! We do not know what the new year holds, but we know God is in control. Let us trust him to lead the way.

I had a nice two-week break from writing this column. It went so fast, though, that I can’t believe it is time for me to pen it again! I appreciated the girls giving me a break over the busy holiday season. I still have a few late Christmas cards to get out in the mail for family. I am wanting to enclose a letter before sending the cards. To me, a letter with a Christmas card is worth more even if it is late.

Tomorrow my husband, Joe, will take off from work to go with daughter Verena and me to a children’s hospital in Ann Arbor (Mich.) for an appointment for Verena. She is meeting with the surgeon. We aren’t sure if they will plan a surgery or not. The roads aren’t in the best shape and it keeps snowing, so we pray for a safe journey there and back. It’s over a two-hour drive and with the traffic, sometimes more.

We had a nice Christmas Eve with our children here all day. The married girls and family came home the evening before and spent the night here. We had a big breakfast brunch: fried eggs, potatoes, bacon, cheese, toast, butter, strawberry jam, hot peppers, coffee, vegetable juice, orange juice, milk, hot chocolate, oranges and cookies. We set our table for fourteen with Abigail in the high chair. Nephew Henry is still staying with us, so he had Christmas with our family.

We ate our brunch around 9:30, and then we washed dishes after that before opening our gifts. We had a lot of fun with a big ball of plastic wrap. Everyone stood around the table and took turns unwrapping the plastic wrap, which was filled with little gifts. The dice was passed, and the person rolling a six could unwrap the plastic and keep whatever gifts were falling out until the next person got a six. Then the dice was passed, on and on around the table, until the ball was all unwrapped and the “grand prize” was won at the end of the ball. It is an exciting game and included the whole family—except for Abigail, who just stared at us with big eyes trying to figure out what all the excitement was about!

After our gifts were opened, everyone brought out snacks, which was quite a variety of food. There were veggies and dip, cheeseball and crackers, bologna and cheese roll-ups, party mix, peanut butter balls, chocolate-covered pretzels, peanut butter fudge, chips and salsa, peanuts and M&M’s mixed together and probably more than I can’t remember now. We played games such as Aggravation, Phase 10, Life on the Farm, and Corn Hole all afternoon.

Time went too fast, though, and before we knew it, it was time for everyone to leave. Daughter Loretta went home with Dustin, as his family was having Christmas together on Christmas day. I made a soup for anyone who was still hungry enough in the evening to eat.

Fresh bacon for the Eicher family.

On December 26, Joe and our sons, plus Timothy, Mose, Dustin and Henry butchered our two hogs. I never had to go help, as they did it all in good time. Pon hoss was made in the big kettle outdoors. It was a cold morning of nine degrees when they started. Joe and the boys and Dustin ground the sausage and sliced the pork chops and ham the next day. Joe sure enjoyed using his new meat slicer. The bacon is sliced nice and thin as well. The meat slicer was Joe’s birthday gift. His birthday was December 22, and everyone came for grilled hot wings, deep fried jalapeño poppers, French fries and mushrooms—and of course, ice cream and cake. On butchering day, then, we had mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, corn, salad, French-fried tenderloin, peanut butter pies, cherry delight and cake.

Next week I will write about our day with my three sisters and the gift exchange we had on New Year’s Day at Jacob and Emma’s house.

Foremost on our minds is Jacob’s dad, who is also Joe’s uncle. He is in very bad shape, suffering from a stroke he had on New Year’s Day. We were all at Jacobs’ when they received the call. Jacob and Emma left that evening for Berne to visit with him, but there isn’t much hope for recovery. We pray and let it all in God’s hands.

God bless!

Pork Chops with Mushroom Gravy

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6–8 boneless pork chops

Mushroom gravy:

1/4 cup butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
4 ounces mushroom stems and pieces
2 cups milk

Combine the first four ingredients in a large resealable plastic bag. Reserve three tablespoons of mixture. Add pork chops one at a time and toss to coat. In a large skillet, sauté chops in butter until golden brown. Transfer to a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

To make the gravy, sauté the onions and green peppers in the same skillet. Drain the mushrooms. Add and sauté with the onions and peppers until tender. Stir in reserved flour mix; gradually add milk until blended. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2–3 minutes until thickened. Pour over chops. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 50–60 minutes. Serves 6–8.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Mighty the horse that rides to town on a lovely autumn day

Today is our son-in-law Timothy’s birthday. He is married to our oldest daughter, Elizabeth. We wish him a happy birthday and many more happy, healthy years!

Foremost on our minds is the family of one of daughter Susan’s former classmates, Tyler. Tyler was a seaman in the navy. While on his way home from the navy he was in a car and semi-truck accident in Utah. Tyler was 20 years old; such a young age to leave this world. I cannot imagine the heartache of the grieving family. Tyler had two more sisters who went to our school. One of them was a classmate to daughter Loretta. One thing that I remember well about Tyler is his friendly personality. He would always say hi when we visited school. Everyone we talk to about Tyler says what a good attitude he had. What a nice memory for the family. I am sure they are still so shocked from the terrible news. Tyler was coming home to visit family and meet his new nephew. May God be their guide through this time of trial. Our sympathy goes out to the family.

One of the Eicher horses.

Today daughter Susan and I went to town with the buggy and our horse, Mighty. It was a lovely October day, and the ride to town was so nice and relaxing. I’m sure days like this are few before winter sets in.

Yesterday was also a nice sunny day. Daughters Susan, Verena, Loretta, and Lovina and son Joseph and I, with two buggies, drove to daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house and spent the day with her. Lovina did her schoolwork over there. Joseph did some odds and ends jobs for Elizabeth outside while we cleaned her house. When we arrived, Elizabeth had breakfast made for all of us. On the menu were biscuits and sausage gravy and scrambled eggs. She had also made chocolate and peanut butter pies the day before, so we sampled them. Elizabeth is trying her hand at making different pies. She has made quite a few different kinds already. We took our time cleaning and just enjoyed spending the day together. Of course, spoiling little Abigail was our favorite part of the day! She had fun showing us her toys, and she clearly enjoyed the extra attention. For lunch Elizabeth fried hamburgers and opened a jar of canned vegetable soup.

Friday turned out very nice as well, for the wedding of Esther and Wayne. Susan and I were cooks, and Mose and his brothers and brothers-in-law grilled the chicken for both meals. If I understand right, they grilled 450 pounds for the day.

On Saturday we butchered our chickens. Must be we had a few more than 100 from the beginning, because we ended up with 97 chickens. That was a big job! Those helping us were Mose, Susan, Dustin (Loretta’s special friend), nephew Henry, Joe and I, and our six children here at home. We had an assembly line going with some plucking feathers, some gutting the chickens, some cleaning, etc. Whew! What a big job—now done!

We had “breakfast for supper” tonight: fried eggs, potatoes, bacon, cheese, and toast.

Son Benjamin and nephew Henry just came from playing basketball with some of their friends at the community youth center. They were hungry, so we had plenty of leftovers for them to eat. They didn’t want to eat before they played.

It is time to call it a day and get ready for bed. Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail are coming tomorrow to spend the day. We will wash laundry if it’s another nice day, and of course we will enjoy little Abigail as we try to keep her from getting into everything. She can really carry on a conversation with us even though we only understand some of the words.

Good night and God’s blessings to all! I will share the recipe for fruit slush with you this week.

Fruit Slush

2 cups sugar
3 cups hot water
6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate
20 ounces crushed pineapple
1 quart canned peaches, chopped and undrained
1–2 (15-ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
4 bananas, sliced (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Stir in orange juice concentrate. Add fruit. Freeze in single-serving containers or in a large pan or bowl. Thaw slightly before serving. Note: fresh peaches can be used instead of canned.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

So many Amish weddings lately that it’s hard to keep up

It is a typical October day. Leaves are gradually changing color, evidence that autumn is here and making such beautiful scenery. Also, the sunsets have been absolutely breathtaking lately.

Laundry will be on the list to do today. I should be helping sister Emma today with her painting, but I am trying to heal a sore toe and painting would not have helped. I know being a cook at the wedding tomorrow will already make it hurt more.

On Tuesday daughter Susan and I helped with wedding preparations for the wedding at son-in-law Mose’s parents’ house. We diced carrots, celery, onions and potatoes for the dressing on Friday. The potatoes and carrots were cooked until softened a little so that they will be softer when the dressing is baking. We also peeled and sliced a bushel of peaches and added pineapples, orange juice concentrate and sliced bananas to make fruit slush for the wedding. Bacon was fried up and crumbled for the corn chip salad that will be served. Other jobs were completed as well.

Last Thursday was a lovely day for Clint and Hannah’s wedding. I will try to remember the menu. With so many weddings lately, it’s a little confusing to remember what was served at which wedding! On the menu were: baked and barbecued chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, green beans, corn chip salad, bread buns, honey, butter, fresh fruit mixture, pineapple dessert, cherry delight, frozen mocha dessert and candy bars. Candy bars are usually served at the end of each wedding meal.

Sunday, October 8, was Loretta’s special friend Dustin’s birthday. Mose butchered a few of the chickens, and Dustin fixed the whole chickens on the grill. Also on the menu were red potatoes and mushrooms (also fixed on the grill), sliced cheese, celery and carrots with ranch vegetable dip, cake and ice cream.

We wish Dustin another year filled with love and happiness. May God bless him for being such a wonderful friend to our daughter Loretta. With her disability it takes time and patience, and Dustin is always there for her. He made it possible for her to go deer hunting for the first time. She does very well with the crossbow when they do target practice. I’m sure, though, that once the deer is right in front of you, it can be a greater challenge!

Daughter Elizabeth was here yesterday and finished sewing Susan’s cape and apron for the wedding. I had the dress finished. It was a different pattern to sew, so it took a little more time.

We plan to butcher our 95 chickens on Saturday (although we had 100, the count is down to 95). I’m not sure we will get to all of them, but hopefully most of them. We will leave some whole and cut up the rest for frying or grilling or baking.

Chicken fajitas (shown above) and apple crisp were features of Lovina’s fall menus this week.

Last night we made chicken fajitas for supper. We had apple crisp for supper a few times this week. I also made some to take along this past Tuesday. We love it warm with a scoop of ice cream on top. I usually make this when apples are in season. It is on page 186 of my newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook.

I will share the recipe for corn chip salad this week. God’s blessings to all!

 

Corn Chip Salad

Salad:

1 head iceberg or romaine lettuce
1/2 pound shredded cheddar cheese
1 pound bacon, fried and crumbled
6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 1/2 cups corn chips, crushed

Toss together all ingredients except corn chips. Mix dressing with the salad, and add corn chips just before serving.

Dressing:

1 cup  salad dressing
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

This week: Sisterhood of the traveling snacks

Today is sister Liz and Levi’s silver wedding anniversary. Twenty-five years! They were married the year before Joe and I were. It just seems impossible that those years have passed by so suddenly.

We are done for the night, after getting our clothes ready for the wedding tomorrow and everyone getting cleaned up. Joe and I will attend the wedding tomorrow for Dustin’s brother. The rest will come in the evening. Of course, daughter Loretta and Dustin will also be there having an important part in the wedding. They will be witnesses.

Son-in-law Mose, Dustin and Loretta went deer hunting tonight. Bow season is in. Loretta is hunting with a crossbow. It’s her first year of hunting. They saw deer but didn’t get a chance to get any.

Monday I went to help with preparations for the wedding. We diced onions for the dressing. We then put the onions in glass jars to keep the onion smell in. Then we measured out the seasonings for the dressing. We made barbecue sauce for the chicken that will be grilled. Crispy rice cereal was crushed for some chicken that will be baked. Oreo cookies were crushed for the dirt pudding. Windows were cleaned, and some more jobs that can be done ahead of time were completed. On Tuesday and Wednesday, more women are coming to help. I took a casserole and all the other women brought a dish of some kind. Having lunch prepared makes it easier for the mother of the bride.

We are having nice fall weather this week. Leaves are changing color. My husband Joe and sons cleared out the rest of the garden for the season. Gardening is now history for 2017! I was glad to be done with the garden for this year. It’s nice to be done with the canning. Grape juice is in jars as well.

The next job on our “to do list” is butcher the 100 chickens we are raising for meat. Half of them will be for Mose and Susan. I will be glad when that big job is done!

On Tuesday of next week daughter Susan and I will assist in preparing for the wedding of Esther and Wayne. Esther is son-in-law Mose’s sister. Daughter Susan is also a cook. Their wedding will be on Friday the thirteenth.

This Saturday we are invited to the local feed mill for a hog roast. This is a customer appreciation dinner.

Today daughter Elizabeth and Abigail spent the day here. And of course daughter Susan came over. I love days like this. We did odds and ends and also made Long John rolls for the family in our church who will be hosting church services on Sunday. Our church district has a large plastic food storage container that travels around between families. The idea is that the container needs to be filled with some kind of snack and then given to the next family who will host church services. When you are getting ready to host church services and are too busy to bake for lunches or snacks for the ladies who come help you clean, the snacks make it easy. We made enough Long John rolls for us to have some as well. Long Johns are oblong-shaped frosted doughnuts.

My friend Ruth and five of her high school friends stopped in on Sunday afternoon. Monday daughter Verena, 19, and son Joseph, 15, gave them a horse and buggy ride and a pony-and-pony buggy ride. It was a very lovely autumn day. The group of ladies enjoyed a meal at a local Amish house. I joined them at Ruth’s lake house for an evening of visiting, and Ruth gave us a ride on the pontoon. It was nice to see the sun set over the lake. Only God could do such artistic scenes.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families that had lives lost and were hurt in the Las Vegas shooting. How terrible for all involved. May God be with all of them! Also prayers to all affected by the hurricanes and wildfires. I cannot imagine how people feel when they lose all their possessions. Then again, our earthly possessions can be replaced but not our loved ones.

God is a great comfort in times when we don’t understand why things happen. Stay strong and God bless each of you dearly!

I will share the barbecue sauce recipe that we made for chicken this week.

Barbecue Sauce

6 cups ketchup
2 tablespoons mustard
2 cups honey
1 cup white vinegar
4 tablespoons garlic, minced
6 tablespoons onion, minced
1 cup salt

Heat all ingredients together in a saucepan on the stove and stir until blended. Let cool and refrigerate until use.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Meat aplenty: Making pon hoss and cutting up beef

Saturday we left at 6:00 a.m. to go help sister Emma and Jacob butcher three hogs. One of the hogs was for Menno (Menno is a special friend of niece Emma, 19—Emma and Jacob’s daughter). Menno lives alone in the house Timothy (married to our Elizabeth) used to live in before he moved to the bigger place they have now.

My sisters Verena and Susan, Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan, and Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) were all there to help too. Many hands make lighter work and we were mostly done by early afternoon. We made pon hoss from the broth and meat cooked from the pork bones. Flour, salt, and pepper is added to thicken it to make what we call pon hoss. After the pon hoss has firmed up in pans, you can cut it in slices and cover with flour and fry it. Our children love pon hoss fried for breakfast. I must say I do like pon hoss, but I’m always glad when the last of it is fried up. This year we did put a few pans in the freezer. We will see how it tastes after it’s been frozen awhile.

I think people in some areas call pon hoss “scrapple.” But we do not put any pork liver in our pon hoss—only the meat cooked from the bones. My parents would always make liver pudding and use some of the meat from the bones. We don’t make liver pudding because it seems Joe is the only one that cares for it around here.

My husband Joe took our meat slicer along and sliced all the ham, bacon, and pork chops for Jacob’s and Menno. Everything was bagged and put in the freezer. Some of the sausage was canned.

Beef will supply food for the family for many months.

Our big project for this week is to cut up our big beef that’s butchered and hanging out in the pole barn. We are glad the temperature has dropped. The thermometer is at the 30 degree mark and it should chill the beef well. We will start cutting it up tomorrow afternoon and finish Saturday if we don’t get it finished. The pole barn isn’t heated so it makes a nice big cooler for the meat.

Sunday evening Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan, and Dustin were our supper guests. The men and boys played horseshoes outside. They were a gift Tim received at Christmas so he brought the game along. It was a very pleasant, warmer day so they were glad to be outdoors. The girls and I made supper, visited, and took turns spoiling little Abigail. She is growing so fast! She hugs us and holds her lips to our cheek like she’s kissing us. She will be six months old tomorrow already! She weighs fifteen pounds now and is twenty-six inches long. One day when we prayed before we ate, she put her hands together and acted like she was praying too. I will quit for now with stories about Abigail. Every grandma knows these feelings and knows how precious grandchildren are.

I am getting so many letters from readers asking where my new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook: Everyday Recipes from Farm and Pantry can be purchased. I thought I would share in the column where it can be preordered. You can call 800-245-7894 to preorder from the publisher, or if you go online, you can order from Amazon and other stores online. It comes out April 17. I appreciate all the interest in the new cookbook. It was quite an adventure to make my first cookbook without a co-author. I have so many people to acknowledge in the book. Without them I could not have done it! God bless!

Sour Cream Apple Pie

1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups tart apples, peeled and sliced or diced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

Beat first 7 ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Stir in apples and pour into pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients, mixing to make crumbs. Remove pie from oven and cover with crumb mixture. Return to oven for 20 minutes, or until crumbs are nicely browned. If necessary, cover crimped edge of crust with foil to prevent over browning.

 

 Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. 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.

 

Tapping trees, baking bread and going to baptism fill February days

We have had a few very warm spring-like days. Son-in-law Mose took advantage of the weather and tapped our maple trees. He also tapped sister Emma and Jacob’s trees. They asked him to cook their maple syrup for them. Son-in-law Timothy is tapping their trees to make their own maple syrup.

Son-in-law Mose uses bags instead of buckets to collect sap from the trees.

The weather has been colder the last few days, which slowed down the flow of the sap. On those warmer days Mose collected quite a few gallons of sap. He’s not looking for a good year for maple syrup though.

My daughters and I assisted sister Emma with her cleaning a few days last week as she prepared to host church services on Sunday. On Saturday, Joe and I plus our sons Benjamin, Joseph and Kevin went to help with the final preparations.

Daughter Susan and I baked ten loaves of bread on Friday to help out for Sunday. I think Emma also had around forty-five loaves of wheat and white bread coming in from some of the ladies in the church. That way we don’t have to bake bread for our own church when we host the services. Jacob and Emma hold church services in their heated attached garage that was added to their house a few years ago.

Now that Emma and Jacob’s turn to host church is over, we will concentrate on butchering. The temperature shows 19 degrees now, so it is perfect weather for us to butcher. We will butcher three hogs here at our place on Saturday. We will give one to Mose and Susan to help fill their freezer and canning jars since they are newlyweds.

We raised the hogs and they grew fast. They are very big and should make a lot of ham, bacon and sausage for us. And of course the family is looking forward to some pon hoss being added to our menus in the next weeks. We like to make plenty of pon hoss to share with others. For those of you who aren’t familiar with pon hoss, it is made with the meat and juice cooked from the bones. We add flour, pepper and salt and it thickens as it cooks. We do this outside in our big black kettle over an open fire. After it has been poured in pans and cooled off and set, it is ready to slice and fry.

Daughters Verena and Loretta attended church in Dustin’s church district on Sunday. They were disappointed that they couldn’t attend the services at Emma and Jacob’s, but they went to Dustin’s sister Grace’s baptismal services that were held the same day. Four other young souls and Grace were baptized into the Amish faith and are now members of the church. This is a big step for the Amish youth to take, and we wish them God’s blessings in life. How pleasing to God when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior! Life doesn’t get easier with time, so it helps to have God lead the way for us.

God’s blessings to all of you as well. Take care and stay healthy!

Sister Emma made fajitas similar to this recipe when we were there to assist them with cleaning to host church services.

FAJITAS

Marinade
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Meat
1 pound sirloin steak or boned, skinless chicken breasts

Sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
dash each salt and black pepper

 Vegetables
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
1/2 each green, red, and yellow bell peppers, seeded, thinly sliced

Tortillas and toppings
4 flour tortillas
shredded cheese
sour cream
guacamole
tomatoes

Combine the marinade ingredients, and place with meat in a plastic container with cover or a zip-top plastic bag and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Discard leftover marinade. Grill meat over medium flame, 4-5 minutes on each side. Cut meat into thin strips. Set aside and keep warm.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

Cook onion and peppers in oil until brown. Remove from heat. Pour sauce over onions and peppers. Combine meat with onions and peppers. Serve on flour tortillas with desired toppings. Yields 4 servings.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. 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.

 

Saturday’s butchering fills freezers for another year

We butchered three hogs on Saturday. One of the hogs we butchered is for Timothy and Elizabeth. We raised an extra one to give to them.

This week the Eichers made pon hoss, a fried dish made from leftover hog meat.
This week the Eichers made pon hoss, a fried dish made from leftover hog meat.

We had plenty of good help, which made the workload lighter for everyone. The meat was cooked off the bones and used to make pon hoss, a fried dish made from leftover hog meat. We had enough to make 12 gallons of pork broth into pon hoss. The lard was rendered, making around 18 to 20 gallons of lard. The sausage was put through the grinder and seasoned with different kinds of seasonings. Then everything was packaged and put in the freezers. We still want to make summer sausage, using venison sausage and pork sausage. We add the pork sausage so it doesn’t get so dry.

We made a breakfast casserole on Friday evening so it was easy to put in the oven on Saturday morning. The men and boys started with the butchering at 4:00 a.m. All three hogs were really big—we guessed roughly around 500 pounds each. After the men had the hogs dressed, they all came in to eat breakfast.

The Eichers and their butchering helpers enjoyed a lunch of pork tenderloin on Saturday.
The Eichers and their butchering helpers enjoyed a lunch of pork tenderloin on Saturday.

Our noon meal was a little later. On the menu: fried pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken noodles, dressing, corn, hot peppers, lettuce salad, pasta salad, cheese, homemade bread, butter, strawberry jam, banana cake, brownies, chocolate chip bars, hoho cake, and ice cream.

It was a long hard day, but I am so glad to have the freezers filled for another year. And the boys are glad to have fewer chores out in the barn.

Timothy is still on crutches and off work yet. His foot seems to be in the healing process and he doesn’t have too much pain if he stays off his feet.

Last night son Joseph, 13, hurt his knee and leg. He was pumping air into a cold basketball and it blew up, knocking him back. His knee and leg are all bruised, and he can’t put weight on his leg. We have an appointment at the doctor this afternoon. Sure hope it’s not broken, but we will need to get an X-ray to determine that. Joseph learned a lesson: don’t pump up a cold basketball. Luckily it didn’t hit his head. I heard it blow up from the house and thought it was a gun being shot off.

Schools in the area are closed today, as we were dumped on with around eight to ten inches of snow. This was a good thing for Joseph, since he couldn’t have gone anyway. Daughter Susan, 20, is off from the factory until Tuesday. I am glad for her help. Son Benjamin, 16, is also home from work today as his driver didn’t want to drive in this snow. He has been busy all morning, shoveling out walks and the driveway. The snow is really heavy, so he’s going to be glad for a rest when he’s done.

We are doing the chores for my sisters Susan and Verena. They will be gone for ten days, staying with some friends in Ellenton, Florida, not too far from Sarasota. They picked a good week to be in Florida!

Recently our friends Jim and Ruth and their friend Sue invited our family, Jacob and Emma and family, and sisters Verena and Susan over to Jim and Ruth’s cottage by the lake. Ruth and Sue showed us all how to do CPR. Everyone had a chance to try it with the equipment Ruth had. We appreciated the time they took to show us and also for treating us to pizza and snacks. With all our horses and buggies, Jim and Ruth had to tie a rope from one tree to another to have room to tie all our horses. It is so good for everyone to know

how to do CPR. We also appreciated one of the local EMTs, who joined us and showed us more things to do in an emergency situation.

This week I’ll share a recipe for pork chops. God bless everyone! Stay healthy!

Glazed Pork Chops

6 pork chops
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon water

Place chops in a shallow baking dish or cake pan. Do not stack or overlap chops. Make a paste from the rest of the ingredients and spread over chops. Bake uncovered in a 250-degree oven for one hour, then 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Turn chops once after baking 45 minutes and spoon some of the mixture in the bottom of the pan over each chop.

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.

Winter tastes like homemade soup and jerky at the Eichers

We have had quite a few inches of snow this week. Along with the snow we have also had colder temperatures. The mercury on the thermometer dipped down to 13 degrees this morning.

Yesterday daughters Verena, Loretta and I spent the day at daughter Elizabeth’s house. We helped her process 38 quarts of vegetable soup. She told us to come for breakfast so we did all our morning work and headed for her house. She made Egg Dutch for our breakfast. It was delicious. My mother fixed Egg Dutch a lot. It’s a simple and easy breakfast dish.

For our lunch Elizabeth made chili soup along with crackers, chips, dirt pudding, and ice cream. We were done with the soup around 2:00 p.m. We spent a few hours relaxing and visiting with her before coming home.

Canned vegetable soup makes for easy meals and quick lunches to take to school and work.
Canned vegetable soup makes for easy meals and quick lunches to take to school and work.

Earlier in the week we processed 46 quarts of vegetable soup for us. It is so handy to open up a few quarts of soup for a meal when you’re in a hurry. It also is nice to have on hand for school or work lunches.

After we came home, Elizabeth called and said Timothy had come home from work with a cut-up foot. Somehow he cut it at the sawmill where he is working. He will be off work for a few days. It sounds like it was pretty painful last night. It’s hard for Timothy to have to take it easy! I hope it will heal fast.

Our three school-age children will be home tomorrow and Monday. It’s their midwinter break. The girls are making deer jerky, which can be time consuming. Every batch takes a few hours of baking in a 200 degree oven. We are making several different kinds, such as hickory, cajun, and jalapeño. Joe wants to make summer sausage with the venison sausage too. He will add sausage from our hogs we butcher.

The Eicher girls were busy making venison jerky this week.
The Eicher girls were busy making venison jerky this week.

Our plans are to butcher our hogs February 20 since Joe has to work this Saturday. Last Saturday we attended a funeral of a local Amish man, so we postponed the hog butchering.

Last Friday, February 5, was the birthday of Mose, daughter Susan’s friend. A happy birthday to him. Also, I want to wish my friend Ruth a happy birthday, which was on February 9. I won’t mention her age in the column but she is getting to that “over the hill” part of life. I owe Ruth a big thank you for all she has done to help me with this column and in a lot of other ways. True friends like her are hard to find.

It is a relief that all the beef is done now. Once the pork is done I hope to find time to start sewing again. I still didn’t get all the clothes sewn that were given as Christmas gifts.

I hope all of you readers are staying healthy this winter. We can’t complain too much. So far we’ve been only battling colds. I started with a nagging cough a few days ago. I’m trying all my home remedies to get rid of it, and it seems better today.

I’ll share the Egg Dutch recipe for the readers who are new to the column. God bless all of you!

Egg Dutch

5 eggs
1 heaping tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Put into a bowl in the order given and beat. Pour into a heated, greased skillet and cover with a tight lid. Place over medium low heat. Cut and turn when half done and finish baking. I usually put cheese on top when almost done. Bacon bits can also be added.

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.