Tag Archives: Lovina Eicher

When the factory doesn’t have work, try not to worry

It’s 4:30 a.m. and son Benjamin, 19, just left for work. My husband Joe left over an hour ago to travel to his job. Joe has been working at the RV factory for over 14 years now. He has a 45-minute drive to and from the factory. With the road conditions this winter we can’t be thankful enough when they get there and back safely every day. Son-in-law Mose and Joe ride with a man who also works there and doesn’t live too far from us.

Next week there isn’t any work at the RV factory so Joe has a week off again. It sure makes a few more worries to not have that paycheck. I often think of the words “why worry if you can pray?” God always provides some way or another. Do we thank him enough for our many blessings?

Joe and son Joseph, 16, have plans to build a few extra horse stalls in our barn as we are in need of more. We can get lumber really reasonable from a man in our church district that has a sawmill.

This morning we leave at 6:00 a.m. for Ann Arbor. Daughter Loretta, 18, has an appointment there. Also son Kevin, 13, has an appointment at the children’s hospital. He hopes to get his cast removed and get an air cast. He will be so happy to be out of the wheelchair. It’s been a long six weeks for him. We really appreciated all the cards and gifts given to him. This week the Amish School in our church district sent little gifts from their 19 students. How thoughtful! The small gifts were wrapped with calendar pages which looked really nice. I am hoping the highways are cleared off for today’s travels. Son Joseph will go with us to help with Kevin’s wheelchair.

Last week the doctor only took out half of my staples so I had the rest removed this week. No lifting yet so I need to be careful when my sweet little granddaughters come up and reach for me. They can not understand why grandma doesn’t carry them. I am trying to be careful as I have a blood clot in my leg. Last report from the doctor is that it is shrinking so I just need to be patient.

My sister Liz also had surgery and ended up in the hospital again with influenza and pneumonia. She was dismissed yesterday. We live two hours apart so its not so easy to visit. She isn’t allowed to be around anyone with coughs or colds for a while. We wish her a speedy recovery!

We also received word that my Uncle Elmer, 79, and Aunt Emma, 78, aren’t doing well. Emma is my mother’s sister. Elmer has stage-4 cancer and I didn’t hear what was wrong with Emma but it sounds like they both had hospital stays. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

We had more snow and ice this week. I sure am ready for spring! The temperature is 36 degrees this morning so at least it is warmer than it was.

Neighbor Susan, her daughter Melinda and her two little ones came for a visit one afternoon. My daughters were happy to see Susan brought our supper along. It gave them a break from cooking.

Last night they made a taco supper which is a pretty easy meal but always delicious! We had tortilla chips or soft tortilla shells along with taco seasoned hamburger, lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, cheese, salsa and ranch dressing.

Until next week—God bless!

Cut-Out Cream Cookies

2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup margarine
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon extract
5 cups flour

Mix together all ingredients except flour. Fold in flour; dough will be soft. Chill for a few hours. Roll shapes and sprinkle with sugar or frost. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

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

Puzzles, laundry training, ouchies: Lovina, while recuperating, won’t get bored

It is now eight days since my surgery and I seem to be doing better every day. I had a few days after the surgery that I was running a high temperature so that made everything seem worse. Now I have a bad head cold but it is also getting better.

Abigail, 2, and baby Timothy are here this forenoon. Daughter Elizabeth had an eye appointment so she dropped them off on her way to town. We are enjoying having them here. Abigail is sitting beside me at the kitchen table looking at books. She loves books but now she decided she wants to write my column too. I gave her a pencil and paper and as she scribbles I wonder what goes through her mind. How precious!

Since having my surgery I haven’t had a chance to get bored. I get many visits from my children and grandchildren which keeps me entertained. I wasn’t up to visiting much but just having them here was nice.

Yesterday daughters Elizabeth and Susan along with their children came to spend the day. The day went too fast! Abigail asked Elizabeth why grandma has an ouchie but didn’t get a baby like she did when she had an ouchie. Such sweet innocence!

Son Joseph, 16, and daughter Loretta, 18, are downstairs washing laundry. Loretta is training Joseph pretty good in how to hang up laundry. She told me she’s glad I’m not down there to see how he hangs the clothes up because I would probably laugh.

Daughter Verena just changed baby Timothy’s diaper and he decided he wasn’t done. He can really smile at us now and coos. He is really content when he is here without his mother.

Sister Emma and Jacob are grandparents for the first time and are very excited to have Jessica Rose join their family. Jessica was born to Menno and Emma on January 30. Joe and I went over to meet her the Sunday before my surgery. She is a sweetie!

The girls are doing a good job fulfilling my duties in the kitchen. They are more than happy if someone shows up at the door with supper ready for us. It is greatly appreciated.

Daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, had a few days off from school again due to ice and snow. Son Benjamin, 19, also had a few days home from the factory due to bad weather. The factory Joe works in kept working so they just needed to allow extra time to get there. I for myself am ready for spring but we cannot control the weather so we need to be content with what we get.

This afternoon I have an appointment at the doctor to have my staples removed. Next week son Kevin will be able to have his cast removed after six weeks of wearing it. He will have an air cast for two weeks but will at least be allowed to put weight on it. His next surgery is planned for the middle of March and then he will start all over again. I know this has been really hard on his patience but going to school every day helped. Usually after a day at school he is ready for an early night.

The Eicher’s latest puzzle of a typical Amish farm scene is glued and ready to hang, called “Cuttin’ Barley.”

We have completed the 1000-piece puzzle that Kevin received. It is an Amish Country puzzle named “Cuttin’ Barley.” We glued it for Kevin to hang in his bedroom. Now we are working on a 500-piece puzzle called “The Last Day of Summer.” For myself I like the 1000-piece puzzles as they seem more of a challenge.

This week I will share a recipe for hot dog sauce that a reader, Joyce, from Indiana shared with me. Enjoy! God’s blessings to all!

Hot Dog Sauce

1 pound hamburger
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons cumin
3 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 teaspoon oregano
1 can tomato sauce
1 can water
1/2 cup ketchup
salt and pepper to taste

Brown hamburger in enough water to cover the bottom of pan. Break up meat and as it cooks add remaining ingredients. Simmer for one hour. Serve over hot dogs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rigatoni and Cheese Casserole

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

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

 

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

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.

Lovina asks about oldest reader; plus life heads back to a welcome routine

All is quiet here at the Eichers this morning except the yapping of daughter Verena’s Yorkie puppies. They are really playful but she is eager to sell them as they are now eating well on their own. If anyone knows of someone needing a nice house companion, let me know. These dogs do not shed hair so that is another good thing about them. Son Kevin will not like to see them go but we already have Ricky and Ruby here in the house.

Kevin has returned to school  yesterday for the first day since his surgery. A bus with a lift picks him up every morning at 7:00 a.m. and brings him home after school. This should help make his days go by faster. Daughter Lovina goes on their regular bus and leaves about 15 minutes earlier.

Last night daughter Elizabeth, Tim, Abigail and baby Timothy came for supper. We had mashed potatoes, beef and noodles, cheese, bread, butter, grape jelly, canned peaches and cookies. I hadn’t seen them for nine days so I was excited to spend time with the little ones. Baby Timothy is doing well and is four-and-a-half weeks old now.

Daughter Verena spent a few days over at Tim and Elizabeth’s helping out with household duties. Abigail is a busy body so she keeps Elizabeth on the run. Verena brought their laundry back with her. Tim washed their laundry last week but I told him we can do it this week. He has been battling a cold so I’m sure he was glad to not do it.

Today Verena will go with Elizabeth and her children to the children’s doctor appointments. It will make it easier for Elizabeth to have someone help with Abigail and baby Timothy. Daughter Susan needs to go to town so she will leave Jennifer here with Loretta and I. How fun!

Jennifer had her first birthday on January 15. On Friday evening we’ll all go to Mose and Susan’s house to see Jennifer eat her cake. Jennifer is taking a few steps but is still scared to go too far.

Grandchildren are special! Abigail kept asking Elizabeth when she can go to Grandpa and Grandma’s house again. This was the first time Tims were here since Kevin’s surgery. Abigail was fascinated by Kevin’s “big band aid.” She sat by her uncle Kevin most of the evening and he entertained her.

My husband Joe went back to work on Monday after being off for three weeks. They will only have four-day work weeks as of now. Life now seems a little more back to a routine since the holidays.

Daughter Verena also spent a day this week with my niece Emma (the one that just got married) at her new home. It was different for the two cousins spending the day together again. They did Emma’s laundry as they visited and then had lunch together there.

I’m relieved that our meat butchering, canning and freezing is now done for the year. We will not butcher hogs this year as we still have plenty of sausage in the freezer. We are still able to enjoy fresh pon hoss that Jacob and Emma brought over.

Pon hoss is a winter specialty breakfast (or supper) of sautéed cakes, made from pork broth cooked with cornmeal after butchering. Serve up with apple butter or local favorite condiment!

Joe and the children packaged over 200 hamburger patties for the freezer. He has a hamburger patty maker he attaches to our meat grinder so it went fast. He said it took them only a half hour. They had an assembly line going with someone putting the paper between the patties and some bagging them, etc. Many hands make light work, as most know! Working together as a family strengthens that family bond, I think.

The canned meat jars were cleaned and carried to the basement and put on the shelves in our canning room. So nice to see the freezer and shelves filling up. We need to thank our Heavenly Father for all the bounties he provides. Are we thankful enough?

I just answered a reader’s letter from Minnesota. Martha is 102 and still baking. May God bless her with good health and happiness. Are any of my readers older than Martha?

God bless!

Chuck Wagon Hot Dish

1 pound hamburger, fried and drained
6 medium potatoes, diced
2 cups diced, partially cooked carrots
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1 large onion, diced
1 (10.5-ounce) can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
3 cups water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
pepper to taste
shredded cheese

Mix all ingredients together and bake in covered pan at 350 degrees for one hour. Top with a little cheese just 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.

Any guesses who shouted “Happy New Year” to the neighbors?

Lovina’s newest grandchild, Timothy, has a cozy outfit to keep him warm riding in the buggy.

A brand-new year lies before us! What does it hold? Last year brought us two more grandchildren who bring us joy. But Joe and I each had a brother pass away unexpectedly which brought much sadness into our lives. We need to remember that God is in control and to fully put our trust in Him. He knows best and makes no mistakes.

Our year started out with our whole family coming for the night on New Year’s Eve. We played games around the kitchen table until midnight. (Sometimes I think I’m getting too old for this. Ha, ha!) My bed looks so much more inviting than staying up late in the evening.

Abigail was wide awake at the time the New Year came in and had fun going outside to shout “Happy New Year” to any of the neighbors who were still awake. Of course the other children outdid her little voice. They decided to go out to the pole barn where our phone is and leave voicemails on some friends’ and families’ phones saying, “Happy New Year!”

The next morning we had a late breakfast together, or rather brunch. We didn’t do much else other than wash dishes and clean up the house. Games were played and we had fun spoiling the little ones. Baby Timothy is so sweet to hold. Abigail and Jennifer on the other hand take up way more energy to entertain. So precious to us!

Church services were held at Jacob and Emma’s house on Sunday. Joe and I went to assist them with their work the Thursday before. I’m sure they are ready to relax now that their daughter’s wedding and hosting church services are over.

We will host the Christmas gathering for our Michigan family. Every year Jacob and Emma, and Joe and I, take turns hosting the gathering of us four sisters here in the community. Since our extended family gets together in the summer months now, it is nice to get together with those in our community. We are now a total of 27. We will get together on Sunday, January 6 for a 10:00 a.m. brunch and gift exchange. We also play games after dishes are washed; snacks are served in the afternoon before everyone leaves for home.

Son Benjamin, 19, will return to work at the RV factory on January 8. Son Kevin, 13, and daughter Lovina, 14, go back to school on January 7. My husband Joe has another week off. It’s not often that he has three weeks off for Christmas. Although its nice to get some work done around home its harder to not have a paycheck for three weeks. Joe has been at this factory 14 years. In  March it will be 15 years that we moved here from Indiana. Years go by much too fast!

Joe and our sons-in-law were disappointed to not go on their ice-fishing trip last week after all, but I’m sure it was smarter with the weather being warmer than usual. Our weather has sure been warmer than most winters and no snow over the holidays. Usually, they can go sledding in the fields this time of year.

Lovina’s children love this thinly sliced and fried beef hot out of the pan and covered with cheese. Yum.

Now that the holidays are over, we think of work, or so it seems. Yesterday sons Benjamin, Joseph, Joe and I cut up the beef we had hanging in the cold part of the pole barn. What a big job but I think we did well even though we were all tired by night time. Of course we couldn’t do that without having what we call rare beef for supper. We slice steak real thin and put salt and black pepper on both sides, and then deep fry it in oil. The oil has to be really hot; then take a slice and stir once, flip and stir again and its ready to eat. Usually I make it while they eat it. It’s best to eat fresh from the pan. It’s a greasy job but a favorite meat around here. Our children like eating Colby cheese with it.

Today the hamburger will be ground, steaks sliced, beef chunks canned, and I will also can a little hamburger. The rest will be packaged for the freezer. It looks like another busy day.

The girls did the housework, folded laundry, etc., while we worked on the beef. I enjoyed coming back to a clean house after working out in the pole barn all day. But we are so thankful for the meat to put in the freezer for the year ahead. So many are less fortunate!

Next week our church members that are able will go help can meat to send to other countries or to those that have no food. God bless everyone!

Apple Butter Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup soft butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup apple butter

Sift flour and spices and set aside. Cream butter and sugar together, then add eggs and beat thoroughly. Add flour and spice mix to the butter, sugar, and egg mixture, alternately with buttermilk. Then stir in apple butter and pour into greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes.

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God’s blessings to all!

Snowball Cookies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Bars

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

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

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

Lovina answers reader questions about Amish clothing traditions

This week my husband Joe, and son Benjamin, 19, are off all week for Thanksgiving. Son Joseph, 16, has off Thanksgiving Day and Friday, as well as Lovina, 14, and Kevin, 13 from school. So it seems as if this week will go faster than usual.

Saturday our three sons and Joe went to help at sister Emma and Jacob’s house again, preparing for the upcoming wedding of niece Emma and Menno on December 7. Menno’s family was there also helping. I decided to stay here and keep sewing. I did make a potato casserole to send along with Joe and the boys, to make lunchtime a little easier for Emma and her daughters.

Today Joe and Benjamin are helping son-in-law Mose replace some windows in their house. This should make their house warmer this winter. With the windows out, the house is cold so daughter Susan and baby Jennifer came here for the day. Susan brought her sewing along to work on here. After the girls and I washed our laundry, I also sewed and managed to get my dress and part of my cape sewn too.

Recently a reader asked what a cape is. It is the triangular piece of fabric that goes from the waist and over our shoulders and crosses in front. Then the apron is put over the bottom of the cape and belted around the waist. In our community capes are usually worn to church weddings and special occasions. For church, a white cape and apron is worn, but for a wedding we wear the same color cape and apron as our dress color and material, which we call a “dress suit.” I hope that explains enough on the cape.

I do not get to see your questions on the website, so I appreciate my editors taking time to print them out and mail them to me. I was encouraged by all of your kind words, so I want to say thank you!

Front of typical cape, apron and dress for a wedding in Lovina’s community.
The same dress for a wedding, showing cape and apron from back.

Another question was about what an Amish bride wears. This can vary from one community to the next. In some communities the brides will wear a black dress with white cape and apron. In our community, the bride chooses her color of dress, but wears a white cape and apron. Also in our church community, a bride wears a black covering to the wedding service. After she is married she changes to a white covering and won’t wear a black covering again. The unmarried girls wear black coverings to church services, but wear white coverings at all other times.

Daughter Elizabeth was married in a burgundy color dress and our daughter Susan chose a green dress. I hope this explains it well enough.

Some brides sew their own dresses, while other have their mother or someone else sew it. Daughter Elizabeth sewed her own wedding dress but I sewed Susan’s wedding dress. I made my own wedding dress but I didn’t have a choice in the color because all brides in that community wore black dresses with a white cape and apron to get married.

Another question a reader asked was why we use sawdust in horse stalls instead of straw. I think it is just whatever someone prefers. Joe thinks it’s easier to muck out the sawdust and we can also get it free from local saw mills.

To the reader wondering what we use to wash windows, we use white vinegar and warm water, using cheesecloth towels to wipe dry—and any rag to wash. Do not use any fabric softener to wash the cheesecloth towels.

A reader requested my Sloppy Joe recipe. I try to make it similar to son-in-law Moses’s “recipe” but since he doesn’t have a recipe and just puts in a little of this and that, I tried to write down amounts. Add or take out any of the ingredients if you prefer. Our children love when Moses makes Sloppy Joes. Enjoy!

God’s blessings to all and Happy Thanksgiving!

Sloppy Joe Recipe

1 pound sausage
1 pound venison (ground)
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon garlic salt or powder
1 teaspoon onion salt or powder
½ cup BBQ sauce (any type)
1 tablespoon mustard
½ cup ketchup

Brown sausage and venison together in skillet or large pan. Add rest of ingredients, stir well, and heat through. Serves 12 or so. Other seasonings of your choice can be added.

 

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.

Tim’s sister-in-law lands 17 point buck with a bow

Tim’s sister-in-law lands 17 point buck with a bow

We awoke this morning to more snow, adding to our already snow-covered white world. It has been snowing all morning. We had our first snow earlier than usual and it is staying with all the cold temperatures.

Last Friday, November 9, we had a snow-covered ground. Traveling the two hours plus to Ann Arbor and back seemed to go well even with the snow still coming down. Saturday morning we awoke to around five more inches of snow. The snow is very pretty this morning and sticking to everything. Thanksgiving Day is next week but our children say the snow makes it seem like we are closer to the Christmas season.

Today is also a very important day for deer hunters. It’s opening day for shotgun season to hunt deer. Daughter Susan and Mose and baby Jennifer are spending a few days at Mose’s brother’s house an hour-and-a-half north of here. Mose will go hunting with his brothers.

Son-in-law Timothy was excited last week when he was deer hunting with bow and arrow. He shot a 12-point buck. Although I do not understand all the deer-talk they were saying this buck had a 21 1/2-inch spread. I think if you are a deer hunter you will know what that means. So after Timothy let us know about the buck our three boys thought they had to go see this buck. He will make some nice meat for their freezer.

Timothy’s sister-in-law has also been hunting which I’m sure is nice for her after having 12 children. I can imagine the excitement when she shot a 17-point buck with her bow. That is a nice rack to have for helping put meat up for the winter.

Last Saturday our family helped Jacob and Emma with cleaning and preparing for the December 7 wedding of their daughter Emma and Menno. Some of Menno’s family plus Timothy’s and Moses’s were also there helping.

Saturday evening after we were done at Jacob’s house, Joe and I stopped by Mose and Susan’s house. They decided to pack their clothes and come to our house for the night and be there on Sunday. Of course Grandpa and Grandma offered to bring 10-month old Jennifer back with us. How sweet to have her cuddle in my arms on the way home. She fell asleep as we traveled the snow-covered roads with our covered buggy and our horse Midnight.

Midnight was a hard horse for my husband Joe to train. Now she has proven to be a safe and sound horse for us except she still needs to get used to water puddles in the road. She doesn’t mind the smaller puddles but if there is a bigger puddle she gets scared of going through it.

Before Jennifer fell asleep she was saying in Dutch (high German), “Horsey, horsey.” She already loves horses and when she sees one she gets excited and will make a clip-clop noise with her tongue. How precious! As she slept in my arms I thought of how it was when I held our first six children when they were that age. In weather like that with open buggies we wanted their face protected from the wind so they didn’t get to watch the horse running through the snow at a young age in the winter months. On Saturday evening we didn’t have our heater going but it was still fairly warm in our buggy.

My editors sent me a copy of emails and comments from readers. I do not get to see those so they are kind enough to copy and send them to me. The day I received this pack in the mail had not been a good day for me. After sitting down and reading all these encouraging words from you readers, I felt so much better and refreshed. If the column encourages you in any way, please give God the honor and glory as without his help I couldn’t do it. It seems at times that I do not have time to write but it makes it well worth it, too, when I read your kind words.

God bless you all and stay safe in this weather if you are having snow and ice.

Mystery Bars

1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup sifted flour

Mix together for two minutes. Pat into bottom of 9 x 12 inch pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Meanwhile, mix the following together:

2 eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup nuts (optional)

Beat for two minutes. Add nuts. Beat enough to blend. Spread over partly baked dough. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Cut while warm. Makes 2 dozen.

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.