Tag Archives: Lovina’s Amish Kitchen

After buying wedding groceries, groceries for church services are “nothing”

Monday after we were done hanging out the laundry we took time out of our busy schedule to watch the solar eclipse. We didn’t have any special glasses but held three pair of dark sunglasses together to see the moon pass in front of the sun. It was amazing to see! Only God can arrange how such a wonderful universe works.

It didn’t get too dark in our area but it almost looked like it was evening after the sun starts going down. It was worth it to let our work set for awhile as we watched. It seemed like the day was extra hot and humid. Then the rain we had during the night cooled everything off. Now we are having chilly mornings. The temperature showed forty-seven degrees this morning.

Yesterday our order for one-hundred broiler chicks came. These are butchering chickens for meat. Fifty are for us and fifty for Mose and Susan. It will be good to have chicken in the freezer to use. With our chilly mornings the chicks need a heat lamp yet to keep them warm. They are very active and can make quite a bit of noise.

Tuesday daughter Elizabeth and Abigail came to help us. Also sister Emma and son Jacob. Jacob is almost eighteen and has muscular dystrophy like some of our children do. He keeps busy making a lot of different things from wood. He carves out names or makes Aggravation board games, shelves, picture frames, and a variety of things.

A lot was accomplished Tuesday. The back entrance to our home was cleaned from top to bottom—windows, doors, etc. Also forty-eight quarts of tomato juice were canned. The next tomatoes we get will probably be put into salsa for daughter Susan.

We have more sweet corn that is almost ready. We planted three different times so it’s not all ready at once.

On Tuesday Kevin had his first day of school. It sure was different to see him be the only one getting on the bus. Today we will get the rest of Lovina’s seventh grade books for homeschooling.

Last Saturday, daughter Elizabeth and Timothy and little Abigail helped here all day, getting ready for the church services. Also sisters Verena and Susan. As if we didn’t have enough to do, our two bushels of peaches were ready to be canned and frozen. I always freeze a lot in small containers to put in lunches. It’s like a small ice pack for the other food in the lunch bag and will be thawed and ready to eat by lunch time.

Today, Thursday, a few of the girls and I will go get groceries for our church lunch on Sunday. I used to think it was a big task to go shopping for church groceries. After two weddings in our family the last two years, this seems like nothing.

Tomorrow we will do laundry, mop the basement floor and clean a few more windows down there. That should wrap up the cleaning for church.

Our gas stove and propane-run refrigerator need a good cleaning. I am hoping to do that after I get home from getting groceries. Son-in-law Mose has been getting the garden weeds under control and tilling up the ground that is done for the season.

Mose’s sister Esther will be baptized on Saturday. (Sometimes a baptismal service is held on a Saturday if too many other church districts also have someone following instructions for baptism.) So Mose and Susan will go to his parents’ house where the baptismal church services will be held. This will make two days of going to church for them.

I will share my recipe for frozen peaches. God bless you!

Frozen Peaches

20 pounds sliced peaches (or crushed)
7 cups sugar
3 12-ounce cans frozen orange juice concentrate

Mix peaches, sugar and orange juice concentrate together well. Put in containers and freeze.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abigail acting her age, plus other tales from the Eicher family

Church services are set to be here August 27. We are still busy with all the preparation it takes to host the services. I know that we could still have the services without cleaning, but this is one way to have a deadline every year to give your house a thorough cleaning.

My sisters Verena, Susan, and Emma and sons Jacob and Steven assisted us with our work one day this week. A lot was accomplished! Tomato juice and pickles were canned. The kitchen walls and ceiling were washed off. Some more windows were cleaned and more cabinets washed out. It’s nice to have a big house but it takes a lot to clean it too.

Since daughter Susan and Mose have their living quarters on one side of the “new” pole barn, we will use the other part where Joe keeps all his tools, etc. for the church services. That part has all been cleaned and washed out. The garden and flower beds need some weeding done.

The hibiscus that Verena gave to Lovina several years ago is in lovely full bloom–just in time for church!

Sister Emma is making plenty of tea concentrate so we can have iced tea with the church meal. I have twenty loaves of wheat and 20 loaves of white bread coming in for the after-church meal. The bread and cookies are made and brought by women from our church.

I have two bushels of peaches that we have to go pick up today. Those will need to be canned and frozen. Daughter Elizabeth and her little Abigail have plans to come today. Abigail will push a toy on wheels and walk but still not walk alone. She also stands alone when she’s not thinking that she’s doing it!

I was holding Abigail in church Sunday, held under a tent. Abigail is at the age where she doesn’t want to be held or stay quiet for that long. She wanted to get down and play on the grass. She would throw a toy on the floor so she could get down to pick it up. After several times I figured out that she was tricking me into letting her loose to crawl around. But I cherish these moments I spend with her. She took a turn sitting with Grandpa (husband Joe). Needless to say, she keeps us going.

Congratulations go to our neighbor girl, Mary and her husband-to-be, LaVern. They were published to be married on September 22. I have been asked to help cook at the wedding and so is daughter Susan. We are both to wear the color sage. We are glad we both have this color so no sewing needed for this wedding.

Also published on Sunday were Clint and Hannah so congratulations go out to them as well. Clint and Hannah chose October 5 for their wedding date. Clint is a brother to Dustin (daughter Loretta’s special friend). Loretta needs a new dress for this wedding. I was asked to help cook at this wedding also and need to wear the color Marine Blue. I think I have a dress very close to this color to wear.

Daughter Verena also has part in a wedding on September 9 and needs a new dress sewn before then. I also want to sew a new dress, cape and apron for Verena’s baptism service which will be held here at the second church service we host on September 10, Lord willing. September 10 is also Abigail’s first birthday.

School doors open next week already. This is the first year since we live here in Michigan that school starts before Labor Day. Son Kevin (almost 12) will be in sixth grade and the only one going to school. Daughter Lovina wants to be homeschooled for her seventh and eighth grade years. We plan to go pick up her school books tomorrow. I have to get my “thinker” going again to teach her. I homeschooled daughter Elizabeth for her last two years and daughter Susan on her eighth grade year.

God bless you!

Vegetable Bars

Crust:
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk

Topping:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup salad dressing

Vegetable and other toppers:
Summer vegetables such as diced or chopped peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes
1 large package shredded cheese
6 slices fried bacon, drained and crumbled

  1. Mix the crust ingredients and spread on cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Mix the topping ingredients and spread over the crust.
  3. Top with diced peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, and tomatoes; 1 large package shredded cheese; and bacon. Press down into cream cheese mixture. Yields: 1 cookie sheet. Cut in bars to serve.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canning, cleaning, and “flying” horses fill Lovina’s week

It is 10:00 p.m. Wednesday evening. Everyone has headed to bed except the girls and me.

I forgot all about writing this column until after daughter Elizabeth, Timothy and Abigail left for home. They came over for a while after supper. We had so much fun with Abigail. I was helping her walk and let go of her hands and she stood by herself for quite a while until she noticed I had let go of her hands. She will be eleven months old tomorrow. Time sure goes way too fast.

We are still busy cleaning for the church services we will host in two weeks from Sunday. The girls have been cleaning out drawers and kitchen cabinets. I am sorting through dishes that I hardly use. I am giving them to my daughters and what they don’t need I will put in a garage sale. What doesn’t sell I will put in our local free store. It’s like they say—one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Over the years things accumulate and I like to get rid of things that just sit around.

Yesterday we washed off walls, ceiling and windows in Joe’s and my bedroom. We also have a bathroom beside our bedroom so that was cleaned from top to bottom. We cleaned furniture, curtains and the bedding was washed and put back on. Today I cleaned our closet. My mending is piling up though and I keep hoping to get it caught up before church.

On Friday evening, neighbors, friends, and family will gather to help my sisters Verena and Susan move their furniture back to their house. It has been stored in our basement for over three months since their fire. The construction on their house is now done. It is a good thing that we can now clean our basement next week.

My tomatoes are ready to start canning. I will start with tomato juice since I ran out. I have plenty of V-8 canned yet, but it is too spicy to put in soup alone. I sometimes mix it with tomato juice.

I canned dill pickles for daughter Susan last Saturday. Mose’s mother sent dill and other pickles home with Mose and Susan Friday evening. Mose and Susan went to his grandma’s sale of her personal belongings so I thought I would can the pickles for her.

Son Kevin, 11, has been doing odds-and-ends jobs for us. He always has the dogs trailing after him. They just adore him. Daughter Verena’s Yorkie puppy Ricky is almost six months old and is looking like a little fur ball. She took him to the vet for another round of shots.

Kevin was burning trash out in the barnyard while we were washing clothes in the basement one day this week. Daughter Susan looked up and saw our whole herd of horses and ponies go flying past the window. They headed straight for neighbor Joe’s yard and galloped north. Our pony Stormy was in the lead like usual.

Susan ran to get a scoop of grain so she could bribe the horses into coming back. Fortunately, my husband Joe and son-in-law Mose had an early day and had just come home from work. I’m not sure if Stormy saw Susan shaking the scoop of grain but he decided to circle around the fence around our field and head back home. Once they were in our yard we corralled them back through the gate. I think Kevin won’t forget to chain the gate next time he burns trash. The gate was shut but not chained and it seems those ponies know exactly when it’s open.

Try this lettuce salad if you want to make a salad the day before serving it.

God’s blessings to all!

Layered Lettuce Salad

1 head lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup celery, diced
4 eggs, hard cooked and diced
1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas, uncooked
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
8 slices bacon, fried and diced
2 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

Layer the first seven ingredients in a 9×13-inch dish. Mix mayonnaise with sugar. Spread on top as if frosting. Top with cheese. Cover and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours. At serving time, garnish with additional bacon and parsley if desired.

 

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, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eichers sell their cow, get ready to host church services

It’s around 5:30 a.m. on a Thursday morning. My husband Joe left at 3:50 a.m. for the RV factory. About a month ago, son-in-law Mose started working at the same RV factory. They leave and come home at the same time.

Sons Benjamin, 18, and Joseph, 15, left at 5:15 a.m. to go help nephew Noah.

Daughter Susan quit working quite some time ago so she is a big help to me. Susan and Mose have been shopping for a place but it seems like nothing has come up that suits them. They need some acreage for their horses and it seems the places for sale have either too many or not enough acres. We don’t mind having them here beside us. I know the feeling that you want something to call your own. When Joe and I were first married we lived with my parents for a while before we moved into a mobile home on the other side of the drive from my parents and lived in that. We lived there until after we had Elizabeth and Susan. We bought a house several miles from my parents and lived there until we moved here in Michigan in 2004.

After much thought we decided to sell our cow Bessie to a close-by dairy farm. She gave way more milk than we could use and with the boys leaving so early it made an extra chore before they left. I’m sure Bessie will be much happier with other milk cows. Joseph was usually the one who milked Bessie mornings and evenings. He said it helped build up his arm muscles. Bessie was a good cow and I hope she does well for her new owners.

On Saturday, Aug. 5, Mose and Susan will have their first anniversary. How can it be a year already? And Aug. 14 is Timothy and Elizabeth’s second anniversary.

Yesterday daughters Elizabeth (and Abigail), Susan, and Lovina, 13, went garage saling with Elizabeth’s horse and buggy pulling our buggy trailer. There were around ten garage sales at Amish places so they were able to buy some clothes as well. Abigail thinks she has to hold the driving lines and tell the horse giddy up. Elizabeth said when they pass another buggy Abigail waves and says, “Hi!” Then she goes back to telling the horse to go.

Steven, son of sister Emma and Jacob, had his tenth birthday on Sunday, July 30. He was very excited to get to sit with the boys in church now. After the boys and girls turn ten they don’t have to sit with their parents. Son Kevin, 11, was so glad Steven could come in with him.

Today daughter Elizabeth and Abigail and sister Emma and Steven will come to help us prepare for the upcoming church services we will host in three weeks. It looks like we will be canning hot peppers and pickles. We are planning to wash out cabinets also and wash laundry if weather permits. Daughter Susan will also come over to help so we should get something accomplished today with all the help.

Friday Joe and I, along with daughter Verena, 19, and son Kevin, 11, traveled to Berne, Ind., with my good friend Ruth. We met readers and signed books at the Faith and Life Books and Gifts store in Berne. This was during the busiest time of the year for Berne—the Swiss Days Festival. After not being there for 14 or 15 years it has really expanded throughout the streets. I think the reader there for the signing who was from farthest away was Sharon from California. Then I found out she is a cousin to Aunt Gyneth Coblentz—a small world!

We stopped in to say hi to sister Leah and Paul. Then we stopped by my home place, where I was born and raised and lived until I was married with two children—bittersweet memories! We also went by the house Joe and I lived in for eight years. We stopped in and said hi to our old neighbor Emma, then we went to visit sister Liz, Levi, and daughters. Liz had surgery and was still recovering from that. She wasn’t feeling too good while we were there. Before heading for home we stopped at brother Amos and Nancy’s but no one was home so we headed back to Michigan. A big thanks to Ruth for once again taking time out of her life and away from her family to drive us!

God’s blessings!

Fried Corn

4 ears fresh sweet corn
2 strips crisp bacon and drippings
1 small onion, minced
Salt and pepper

Cut uncooked corn from cob and add to bacon drippings. Add onion, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat in a frying pan, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender, about 15 minutes. Crumble bacon over top.

 

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.

Daughter Verena updates all the Eicher family doings: from cleaning to pontooning

Hello! I hope you are all doing well. This is Lovina’s nineteen-year-old daughter, Verena, writing. Mom was so tired so I told her I’ll take her place for this week.

Loretta received this lovely birthday gift for her 17th birthday July 1 from her mother and father.

Loretta, 17, Joseph, 14, Kevin, 11, and Mom cleaned Joseph and Kevin’s bedroom—washed the walls and ceiling, cleaned their windows and closet. I don’t think I’m wrong when I say that their bedroom is probably the worst room in the house to clean. It’s always surprising what all we find in there. All the clothes they are missing show up in the room somewhere. You could say we were all relieved to check that room off our “to do” list. Now it’s just trying to keep it that way. Kevin collects everything. With Loretta cleaning in there I’m sure a lot of his collection ended up in the trash.

My bedroom is done except for a little dusting and my windows need to be cleaned. We are having church services here once in August and twice in September. One turn will be for Mose and Susan. We skipped our turn last year so that’s why we will have it twice this year.

On July 4 our family went on a hay ride. It’s always fun to have the whole family on the wagon. Especially ten-month-old Abigail. She chatted and said “hi” to everyone we passed. She is really getting into everything. She stands up along furniture and loves to take our hands and walk. She discovered our stairs and we see how far she goes up. We stay behind her to make sure she doesn’t fall back. She also discovered the kitchen cabinets.

Brother Benjamin will be eighteen years old on Friday, July 14. Hard to believe how fast time flies. I remember how slow time seemed to be while I was in school. Now time seems to not be slow enough.

Dad and brothers Benjamin and Joseph are in the process of training two-year-old Beauty and two-year-old Midnight. The horses look very much alike. Beauty is a gift to Benjamin from Mom and Dad for his eighteenth birthday. Benjamin is driving her in the buggy and she’s doing very well. Midnight is a different story. She is being difficult to train. She does well hitched double with another trained horse but after they put her alone in the buggy she doesn’t want to go.

My four-month-old Yorkshire Terrier puppy, Ricky, is doing very good. I taught him to sit, shake his paw and lay down. Now I’m teaching him to roll. He’s so playful and so much fun. Abigail gets very excited when Ricky runs to greet her when she comes.

Wednesday, July 5, our whole family rented two pontoons at a campground and spent all day on the lake. We did a lot of fishing. I discovered that I would rather fish for blue gill instead of bass. We also did a lot of swimming. It was so much fun to have Abigail in the water with us. So much laughter and fun makes great memories.

At lunch time we docked our pontoons and sat beside the lake. Dad grilled on a little grill we took along. He could only grill three big pieces of pork steak and a few hot dogs at a time. It sure was tasty as we ate it right after it was off the grill. Dad had a hard time staying ahead but he grilled meat until we all had enough. We also had chips, pickles, watermelon, macaroni salad and cookies. We didn’t have a table so we spread a blanket on the ground to put all the food on.

Sister Susan and I made supper tonight. We made cooked potatoes, BLT and sloppy joe sandwiches; fresh garden goodies always make it easier to get a meal together.

I like quotes so I’m going to share this one: “The difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude.” And a verse from the Bible: “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Cream Cheese Chocolate Cupcakes

1 8-ounce cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips

Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, egg, and salt; mix well. Fold in the chocolate and peanut butter chips, set aside.

For cupcakes, in a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla; mix well.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full with batter. Top each with about 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25–30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 18 cupcakes Note: The filling will partially cover the top of the cupcakes.

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, 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.

Hot, humid days mean it’s time for haying—and a water fight

June 14, 2017: Twenty-three years ago today my husband, Joe, and I became parents for the first time. We were blessed with a little girl. We named her after my mother, Elizabeth. Since her marriage on August 14, 2015, she goes by the name Mrs. Timothy (Elizabeth) Bontrager. A little girl, Abigail, was born to Elizabeth and Timothy on September 10, 2016. Time goes on—one generation after another.

We are having a heat wave with temperatures in the nineties, and it’s very humid! The girls and I drove the seven miles to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house this morning by buggy. We spent the day with her and Abigail. We didn’t do much besides relax, which was so nice! My sister Verena gave Abigail a little kiddie pool for a baby gift. Daughter Lovina and son Kevin filled the pool, and Abigail had so much fun under the shade tree, splashing the water. The rest of us sat around the pool. All it took was one person throwing a little water at another and, well, it turned into a big water battle! At least it cooled us off on this hot, muggy day.

Tomorrow we will attend the wedding of our neighbor boy, Melvin, to Rebecca. It is hot weather to prepare for a wedding. Now tonight we are having thunderstorms and rain. It was so dry, and we needed the rain. Son-in-law Mose tilled the garden tonight before the rain. I made quite a few gallons of iced spearmint tea, which is a good thirst quencher on these hot days.

Lovina made lots of fresh thirst-quenching mint tea this week. Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis, from The Essential Amish Cookbook.

We have our haymow almost filled with hay for next winter. We appreciated all the help we had from family and neighbors to put in over thirteen hundred bales of hay in our barn last Thursday. Lots of hot, hard work! Having hay stored for future use is a good feeling. But it’s hard on the pocketbook, with hay still a little pricey.

Construction is finally underway at my sisters Verena and Susan’s house, who had a house fire last month. The new roof was put on today. They are still living in our basement.

I want to wish Uncle Jake and Aunt Mary Coblentz a happy 60th anniversary! Wow! That is a long time to be together. I wish them more healthy and happy years together. Jake was my dad’s brother. Jake and Mary have three children: Christina, Tabitha and Cornelius. I hardly ever see them anymore. It would be nice to attend the Coblentz reunion again in July.

Tonight daughter Susan and Mose had us over for supper. They also told my sisters to come eat there too. On the menu were sausage patties, French toast and scrambled eggs. How nice to have a break from cooking. Everything was delicious! The French toast tastes real good with fresh maple syrup poured over it. It was the syrup Mose cooked off from our maple trees this spring.

The girls are cleaning out their closets in their spare time. We are getting a head start on cleaning.

Timothy and Elizabeth visited one evening with their new Amish neighbors, John and Norma. They moved nearby from a community in Indiana. They will attend our church district. They have two daughters ages three and thirteen months. I am looking forward to meeting them on Sunday.

It is 11:00 p.m. now and past my bedtime. The rest have all gone to bed. I knew I might not have time to write tomorrow morning so decided to get this written tonight yet.

I wish everyone God’s greatest blessings! Good night to all!

Try this recipe while blueberries are in season.

Blueberry Cobbler

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup milk

Combine ingredients in a bowl, mix together and spread batter in pan.

Topping:
2 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup boiling water

Pour over batter and bake at 325 degrees for 45–60 minutes or until done. Try with different types of fruit.

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, 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.

Pie-baking, wagon-riding and book-signing usher in the month of June

We turn another page on the calendar today. Month number six already in 2017!

Tomorrow is the big day for niece Rosa and Menno. I wish them many happy, healthy years together. May God be their guide through the good and bad times in their marriage. It takes effort from both sides to make a marriage happy. And most of all, it takes prayers! Life doesn’t get easier as the years speed by. But I do think we get wiser from life’s experiences.

I am writing this column a few minutes after 4:00 a.m. Just a few short hours ago I went to bed—or so it seems. After I was in bed last night, it dawned on me that I hadn’t written the column this week. So I sat back up and reset my alarm clock for 4:00 a.m. this morning instead of 5:00 a.m. I must admit it has been nice setting our alarm at 5:00 a.m. instead of 3:00 a.m. this week. My husband, Joe, has off from work this week, so he’s getting caught up on spring work outside.

This morning at 6:00 a.m. my sisters Verena, Susan, Emma and I will drive the two hours to sister Liz and Levi’s house. Today is pie-baking day for Rosa’s wedding. It’s also the day for finishing everything else that needs to be done before the wedding tomorrow.

Daughter Elizabeth and I are both cooks, but Elizabeth decided not to go today. She thought that, with little Abigail, she might not be so much help anyway. Also it will be a long day for her tomorrow. We are to wear the color beige. Daughter Verena is a tablewaiter and will wear an ocean-blue dress. Son Benjamin is also a tablewaiter and will wear an ocean-blue shirt with black pants and vest. We are hoping for a nice day tomorrow weatherwise.

Our family spent Saturday evening and Sunday at daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s. Sunday we went on a wagon ride. Son Joseph and Lovina would get off the wagon sometimes and ride their RipStiks.

Son-in-law Mose has been taking over duties to get the garden planted this year. We are enjoying radishes and green onions from the garden. Lettuce is almost ready to use. Asparagus and rhubarb are also plentiful. I appreciate Mose’s help. This is the first year I have not helped plant the garden since we were married, which was almost twenty-four years ago. I am enjoying it, I must say.

Yesterday we did laundry. We usually wash Mose and Susan’s laundry right with ours. After we were finished, we washed my sisters Verena and Susan’s clothes for them. They were working, and so was daughter Susan. It was a very nice day to dry clothes.

It was so nice to meet the readers in Battle Creek, Mich., this past Saturday. My husband decided to go fishing, and so did sons-in-law Timothy and Mose. So daughters Elizabeth (and Abigail), Susan and Verena went with me to Battle Creek. And once again my friend Ruth put her duties aside and took the time to take us to the book signing.

Thanks for all the encouragement from readers. I enjoyed meeting all of you. Little Abigail was happy through most of the signing. She is so precious!

This week Lovina offers the recipe for this Make-Ahead Casserole, which she took along to her sister’s house for a day of preparation for her niece’s wedding.

I am making a casserole to take to sister Liz’s today. It’s called Make-Ahead Casserole. I will share the recipe this week. The instructions aren’t detailed; all the ingredients just have to be mixed together well.

God’s blessings to all!

Make-Ahead Casserole
4 cups seashell macaroni, uncooked
4 cups cooked chicken, cubed
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 pound cheese, shredded
2 cups milk
1/2 cup onion, minced
1/4 cup butter

In the morning, mix all ingredients well. Put the mixture in a large baking pan and refrigerate until you are ready to bake. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Serve with a large lettuce and tomato salad.

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, 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.

Remembering the deep grief of seven years ago

May 24—this date always takes my thoughts back to May 24, 2010. The day started out just like any other day. I was out on the porch watering the flowers while the children waited for the bus. The bus came and I could hear our phone ringing in the pole barn. I decided to finish watering the flowers before going to check if we had a voicemail from anyone. When the phone kept ringing and ringing I decided I had better go answer it. I will never forget how that phone call affected our lives.

I called my neighbor Ann to see if she could take me to sister Emma and Jacob’s house right away. We arrived and the first responders were already there trying to revive sweet little eight-and-one-half-month-old Marilyn. She didn’t wake up that morning.

I went with Emma to the hospital following the ambulance. Ann stayed with us. Another good friend Irene went to go pick up Jacob which was about a forty-five minute drive where he was working at the time. Ann prayed with Emma and me as we waited. It was too late to save Marilyn. Her death was ruled sudden infant death syndrome. Our hearts and minds questioned why. God doesn’t make mistakes and He needed another angel in heaven. Although I was devastated for losing my sweet little niece I could not begin to imagine what my sister was going through. The baby she had breastfed since birth, the bonding, and the joy of the family. With our youngest being almost five it seemed that Marilyn was my baby too.

The doctor said we could hold Marilyn; we wrapped a blanket around her and thought we should see her open her eyes and smile that sweet little smile of hers. Jacob arrived at the hospital. How do you tell someone they lost their child? I offered to go to school and let Jacob and Emma’s children know and bring them home. I knew that my children would want to come home too. The children were all so shocked and I tried to brace up for their sake.

It was decided that the viewing would be held at our house and the funeral at the local community building. When I arrived home there were already church and family friends cleaning everywhere. Church services had been set the day before to be held at our house in two weeks.

In my column in September, 2009, I had shared the good and exciting news: “Congratulations to sister Emma and Jacob as they are blessed with another addition to their family. Marilyn Jane was born by C-section this morning. She is a very tiny bundle weighing four pounds ten ounces and is seventeen inches long.” Weeks and months passed by and Marilyn never lacked attention.

How well I remember the day before Marilyn’s death. We all went to church and when Jacob and Emma arrived at church, our daughter Loretta (age 9 at that time) ran like usual to get baby Marilyn and brought her to me. Marilyn was so happy to see me and gave me a baby hug. That evening Jacob and Emma and family came to our house for a pork chop supper in honor of my birthday (May 22).

My oldest daughter Elizabeth (almost 16 at the time), sister Emma, and I sat in the yard with Marilyn and watched the rest play basketball. As usual, baby Marilyn was passed back and forth. Little did we realize these were our final hours with her.

Seven years have passed and I miss our sweet little angel. My granddaughter Abigail is now the age Marilyn was at that time. She wore Marilyn’s dresses when she was younger but is bigger than Marilyn was at this age, so she has outgrown them.

Happy birthday cake for Lovina.

My sisters Verena and Susan, and our married children brought supper in for my forty-sixth birthday which was Monday, May 22. After eating, we all went on a hayride. It was so enjoyable sitting on the bales of hay and being all together with my family. It was a bit chilly so we wrapped little Abigail up warm. We stopped in to say “hi” to Jacob, Emma, and family while on the hayride.

A big thank you to all who offered good wishes for my birthday. I also want to thank the many readers who showed up at the book signings in Goshen, Ind. at Better World Books, and at Barnes & Noble in nearby Mishawaka. So much encouragement from all of you! God bless you all!

Rhubarb Bars

1 cup flour
5 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 cup margarine

Cut in margarine to the flour and powdered sugar. Mix well and pat crumb mixture into bottom of 9×13-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes.

1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups rhubarb chopped

Meanwhile, mix additional dry ingredients listed above. Add beaten eggs. Stir in chopped rhubarb. Spoon on baked crust and bake for additional 35-45 minutes.

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, 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.

 

Never a dull moment: remembering when baby Lovina was born

Today, May 18, is daughter Lovina’s thirteenth birthday. She is now a teenager. We now have five teenagers in the house so you can imagine there isn’t one dull moment.

I will never forget the day Lovina was born. I had gall bladder attacks before I had her which turned into pancreatitis. Lovina came three weeks early. She was born by emergency C-section and we were both in the hospital for a week as I had severe complications. I was so sick and was battling fever and my one lung almost collapsed. Due to being so sick, I wasn’t allowed to see the baby for two days. My husband Joe wanted to name the baby after me since she was born four days before my birthday. I spent my thirty-third birthday in the hospital and my gift was getting moved to a regular room from ICU. While I was in ICU Joe would go down a lot to the nursery and give Lovina her bottle. This was so different from my first six children that I had in my own bedroom. Joe’s aunt Sylvia was my midwife and she was always good at what she did.

Bessie and seven-week-old calf enjoy quiet moments in the pasture.

While I was in the hospital my sisters Verena and Susan stayed with our six children. Elizabeth was almost ten at the time and Joseph was twenty-two months. They had their hands full. Sister Emma and Jacob’s property was sold by public auction during this time so my sisters took all six children along to Indiana for the sale. Jacob and Emma helped out a lot too. And also our church families and neighbors. All this is just a memory to us now, but certain memories stand out more than others.

Lovina is now a sweet young girl and almost done with sixth grade. Lovina wants cupcakes for her birthday instead of a cake. She likes a whipped topping frosting. We are giving her a ripstick for her birthday. Joseph has a ripstick he got as a gift for Christmas. Lovina loves riding it. For those of you who don’t know what a ripstick is, it’s a caster board with two narrow platforms known as decks that are joined by a bar that has a strong spring. It’s on two wheels. I could never keep my balance to even try riding it.

Last Thursday my sisters Verena and Susan and I went to help at our neighbors to prepare for their daughter’s wedding. Vegetables were chopped, pies and bread baked, etc. All the women bring a dish so it makes having lunch easier.

Verena and Susan had a house to clean in the afternoon. I came home and we washed our clothes. Daughter Susan came home from work and helped get the clothes hung outside. They all dried really fast.

The wedding was on Friday for Regina and Wayne. Sisters Verena and Susan, daughter Susan, and I were all cooks at the wedding. Daughter Susan’s and my assignment was to make coffee all day for everyone. We used two big one-hundred cup drip-o-later coffee makers. We made a total of 500 cups of coffee for the whole day.

The menu consisted of barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, dressing, broccoli and cauliflower salad, homemade bread, rhubarb jam, butter, mocha dessert, fresh fruit mixture, pecan, peanut butter, and lemon pies, and candy bars. Ice cream was added to the menu in the evening. After a cold rainy week, Friday turned out to be perfect for a wedding day.

I sewed daughter Verena a black dress yesterday. She will wear a black dress with white cape and apron to church services while she follows instructions for baptism. What a joyful feeling to parents when your child wants to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. God is so good to us. Do we thank Him enough for His many blessings?

I need to get back to my work. I want to thank the readers that came to the book signing in Fort Wayne, Ind., this past Saturday. Also the ladies from the quilting group at the Amigo Centre. I appreciated all the encouragement! God be with all of you!

I had a request recently from a reader for peanut butter brownies. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Brownies

2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs

In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, mix butter, peanut butter, sugars and vanilla. Beat until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Spread evenly into a well-greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

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, 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.

 

 

 

 

Corralling nine horses: all in a day’s work for Lovina

Diary of May 10, 2017

7:00 a.m. Lovina and Kevin leave for school with the bus. Joseph bikes to school because he can be home 45 minutes longer. With the chores he does, biking doesn’t make him so rushed. School is only three miles from here so it doesn’t take him long.

7:30 a.m. I made grilled cheese sandwiches for my sisters Verena, Susan (staying with us after their house fire), and son Joseph, for their breakfast. Verena and Susan leave for work.

7:45 a.m. Joseph bikes to school. Daughter Verena doesn’t have to work today so I let her and Loretta sleep in until everyone else is gone for the day. They get the job of washing the dishes and cleaning up the house. Verena cleans some windows. She makes scrambled eggs and toast for herself, Loretta, and me. I can relax better by sitting down and eating breakfast after everyone else has left.

9:00 a.m. I start sewing on Susan’s dress, cape, and apron. I had a late start. Had to do some book work first, answer some mail, pay some bills, and now I can feel relaxed to sew.

1:30 p.m. So much for being relaxed. Verena looked out and saw our horses all out in the yard, happily eating grass. We have quite a few horses so they need to be caught and put back inside the fence. Usually one of them is a troublemaker and takes off running away. I caught our pony Stormy, and two-year-old Beauty that the boys are training to drive. The rest took off. Verena almost caught Tough Boy (Mose and Susan’s pony) but he decided to pull away and join the rest! I knew Verena, Loretta, and I wouldn’t be able to get them all in when they took off down the road and back behind our neighbor’s field. I called the school and asked them to send Joseph home to help. Our neighbor Joe drove his four-wheeler to go herd them back up while Joseph, the girls, and I tried to help chase them in through the gate. What a relief when the last one was inside. We have five horses and two ponies, and Mose and Susan have one horse and one pony. So all together there were nine head of horses. We chained the gate and were trying to figure out how they opened it. Then we saw our miniature pony Prancer go up and take the chain in his mouth and wiggle it back and forth. Joseph tied a rope to secure it better.

2:45 p.m. It was too late for Joseph to go back to school so he took our mower over to my sisters’ place and mowed their grass for them.

3:00 p.m. Lovina and Kevin came home from school on the bus. I am finally finished with daughter Susan’s dress, cape, and apron. She was happy to see it done when she came home from work.

4:00 p.m. Verena and I leave for town as I need some groceries.

6:00 p.m. We are back. Chores are done and the boys are out in the field line-driving Beauty. Beauty will be Benjamin’s horse once she’s trained. She will be his eighteenth birthday gift from us.

7:00 p.m. My sisters Verena and Susan are home from their jobs. They had extra cleaning to do so they worked later than normal.

A surprise for Susan’s (Lovina’s sister) birthday.

7:30 p.m. We are having pizza, ice cream, and a cake for my sister Susan’s birthday. She was surprised when she came home to see the cake, flower, and balloons we had for her. Loretta’s friend Dustin, Mose, and daughter Susan joined us for supper.

9:30 p.m. Everyone is ready for bed. Dustin, Mose, and Susan left. Now I sit here trying to stay awake and write this column. I feel sorry for the editor that gets to edit the column this week. My writing is showing exactly how tired I am.

We were glad to meet with column readers at Dorothy’s Hallmark Bookstore in Warsaw, Ind., last Saturday. I heard so much encouragement. May God bless you all! And thanks to Dorothy and staff for once again treating us so well. And also to Ruth Boss furnishing transportation and support!

Asparagus Hot Dish

1/2 cup butter
1 cup colby cheese, cubed
4 cups soft bread, cubed
1 cup asparagus, cooked
2 cups chicken meat, diced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk

Melt butter. Pour over cubed cheese and bread cubes. Put half of mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish. Put drained asparagus on top of bread mixture and chicken on top of asparagus. Mix can of soup with milk and pour over chicken. Add remaining bread mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Do not cover.

 

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, 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.