Tag Archives: Lovina’s Amish Kitchen

Daughter, 13, writes her first column for Lovina’s Amish Kitchen

By Lovina Eicher, age 13

Greetings to readers around the world! This will be my first time ever writing this column. I am Lovina’s daughter Lovina, age 13. I am writing the column for a school project for my teacher (Mom).

On winter days like this I like to go sledding, then come inside and cuddle on the couch sipping hot chocolate. On warmer days I spend time outside with the horses, ponies and dogs. For now I have to deal with the cold weather! I love the snow, going sledding with my brothers, making all of them hot chocolate, staying warm and writing crazy stories. I love every part of winter.

Today I’m staying the night with my sister Verena at sister Susan and Mose’s house. Mose and Susan have moved into their new home now. Their house is cozy and warm. We brought Verena’s Yorkie dog, Ricky, with us. He propped himself in front of the stove and refuses to move.

Mose and Susan have a pellet stove. It is hopper fed and it makes a nice cozy heat. At home our coal stove is in the basement so Ricky doesn’t get to lay in front of it. With all the people we have at home, I’m not used to this quietness here at Mose and Susan’s house.

Today at church we had a potluck Christmas dinner. Every family brings a dish of food. They have casseroles, salads, fruits, pies, cakes, and the list continues. Sometimes I want to try everything but that wouldn’t be possible because I can’t eat that much.

Abby (Abigail) was at church today. I love spoiling her! She sure doesn’t like to sit quiet in church. She is always so full of energy and wants to run around. It seems Abby is growing up so fast that I can’t keep up with her. She’s starting to say words and know what they mean. I’m happy to say that she is my niece! She always makes my day even better.

Yesterday I helped sister Susan give her dog, Tippy, and Verena’s dog, Ricky, a bath. Today they are dirty again. They are kind of like the boys—never staying clean. The dogs like to jump in the snow and get soaking wet. Then they lay on the vent where the heat comes up from the basement to dry.

I’m excited for Christmas. Christmas is my favorite holiday. I can’t believe it’s that close already. There is snow on the ground. Dad and Mom are Christmas shopping sometimes and the days just seem to fly by. It is so cold and icy outside. Christmas is fun but the most important part is remembering the true meaning: Christ our Savior is born.

It is now Monday morning (December 17). I was so relaxed last night that I fell asleep early. Mose left for his job at the RV factory. He has their horse Rex harnessed and hitched to their buggy. Susan is coming to our house today to wash her laundry. They still aren’t set up to wash clothes at their house.

We are now at home. It was a chilly ride home. The five-and-one-half miles went fast with us three sisters chatting away. Mom made coffee soup and grilled cheese for our breakfast. Coffee soup is one of my favorite breakfast foods. It is just a little coffee with milk and some sugar added and heated. Then we put in crackers or toasted bread crumbs. Mom doesn’t think we should just eat coffee soup unless we eat something else with it. She doesn’t think it’s a healthy food.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. Drive safe and stay healthy. And God bless you!

The recipe I’m going to share is very easy to make.

Peanut Butter Fudge

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter

Bring sugar and milk to a boil. Boil for 2 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Put in an 8 x 8-inch pan and it’s done! Cool and serve.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is usually written by Lovina Eicher, 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.

 

 

Verena writes about her recent birthday “mystery supper”

A birthday “mystery supper”

Hi! This is Verena filling in for my mother. With the upcoming holidays Mom needed a few extra columns written so I offered to write one. In this column I will write about my recent birthday party.

My birthday was December 10 and I turned 20 years old. These years sure don’t slow down! I’m officially no longer a teenager.

I can’t believe it’s this time of year again. Snow flying and icy roads. Safe travels for those of you that need to drive in bad weather.

My favorite thing I like about winter is when Mom and my sisters and I all relax around the table with hot chocolate on those cold winter mornings. Oh, and of course we love to chatter and tell stories of days when we were children.

I remember the many fun times of winter sledding. I still enjoy it very much. Of course, I’m now the one driving our pony Stormy with a metal sled tied to the back of the pony cart. I drive fast trying to throw someone off into the snow—especially my ornery brothers. We have a nice open hayfield where we go sledding.

On Sunday, December 10, I had my friends and family over for a birthday supper. I wanted to do a little something different, so we had a mystery supper. It was quite interesting such as “Idaho’s pride and joy” was mashed potatoes, “gold digger” was a fork, “silvery moon” was a spoon and “happy harvest” was corn. I had no idea what anything was but knowing my mom very well (she made the menu) I figured out a lot. I ended up with a salad but no ranch dressing and no fork. I ate my salad with a spoon which was a little complicated. Also a few people ended up with no fork or spoon. I ended up with mashed potatoes and no gravy. Some got ranch dressing but no salad. One of them had to eat corn without any silverware. We had a good laugh at some of them trying to eat. I appreciated all the gifts I received.

The menu was hot wings, mashed potatoes, gravy, pork chops, corn, salad, veggies and cheese. For dessert we had dirt pudding and birthday bars. Later ice cream and cake was served. After everyone had their plate and we tried to eat what we had with what we ordered, we could go get whatever food (and silverware) we wanted. I had 20 friends here and then Dad and Mom, Timothy and Elizabeth, and Mose and Susan served our food to us. We had to mark six items from the menu. While the servers filled our orders we sang Christmas carols.

Mose and Susan are now happily enjoying their new home. They are loving every bit of it. We really miss not seeing them every day. They still have a lot to unpack so we assisted Susan one day. Sister Elizabeth, Nikiah (who Elizabeth babysits) and my sweet little niece Abigail were also there.

We sure enjoy little Abby. She loves taking my covering off my head and taking out my hair clips. She will then put them all back in my hair. Shoes are another thing she’s discovered. She’ll take my shoes off and try putting them on her little feet. She likes to walk around with “big girl” shoes. She’s been getting all her teeth so that makes her unhappy once in a while.

I have a few favorite quotes and I’d love to share one with you all (author unknown): “If you want to read a powerful love story don’t look in romance novels; look in the Bible. Jesus gave his life on a cross. It was the most perfect and painful act of love in history and he did it for you and me.”

Merry Christmas and may God be with each and every one of you as you travel into the New Year of 2018. God bless you!

I will share a recipe for white Christmas cookies but they are good any time of the year.

White Christmas Cookies

1 cup Crisco
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
5 cups flour (approximate)
1 teaspoon soda
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup cream or milk
1 tablespoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon vanilla

Cream Crisco and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Add flour, soda, salt and extracts. Add cream; mix well. Roll out very thin and cut into various shapes. Decorate with colored sugar sprinkles or whatever you like. Bake at 350 degrees for 5–8 minutes. Store in tightly-covered container.

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.

 

Eichers attend early “Bethlehem” play by the Amish community

Eichers attend early “Bethlehem” play by the Amish community

Supper was later than usual tonight. The men were working on Mose and Susan’s house, sanding drywall. Mose and Susan bought the paint for the house today. Hopefully by Friday we can start painting.

Daughter Elizabeth, Abigail and Nikiah (the little girl Elizabeth babysits for) came here for the day. We all went to a local Amish store that is having a sale this week. They have daily drawings. Son Benjamin was a lucky winner. He won a big musical clock today. The grand prize drawing is two bus tickets for a round trip to Florida. The store had a discount storewide so we purchased some shoes, boots, coats, and the like.

My husband Joe grilled two whole chickens on the grill to go along with the rest of our supper. Timothy, Elizabeth and Abigail ate supper with us before leaving for home. Abigail makes all the animal sounds when we ask her how the puppy, kitty, and more, go. It is so cute listening to her chatter. We see her grow and learn from week to week.

Our whole family enjoyed Friday evening at the Community Youth Center where daughter Verena was a servant in the “Bethlehem Inn” play acted out by some of the Amish in this community. A vegetable stew was made in a black kettle outside. When the guests arrived we walked through the little town of Bethlehem where people were all dressed as they did in those days. People were selling eggs, fruits, nuts; there was a blacksmith shop, and even a jail. When my husband Joe couldn’t find his ticket for the play right away he was taken to jail for a few minutes. (This was all in fun but gave everyone a glimpse of what it might have been like back then.) There were beggars coming around to people as they walked through town. It was all a person’s imagination of what it might have been like on the night Jesus our Savior was born.

We were then ushered into the inn (the community center) where tables were set up. The whole building was lit by candle and lantern light. We were served the vegetable stew and dinner rolls. There were bowls of grapes and cheese on the tables. While we were eating, one of the scenes was Joseph and Mary coming to ask if they could have a room in the inn for the night. They were turned away and later when the inn staff heard of the bright star on top of the manger where baby Jesus was born, we were all lined up to walk outside past the scene of Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus. There would be so much more to share but space in this column will not allow it. My friends Ruth and Karen went with us and they were amazed at what the community did to put on this play. It was all on a donation basis and the money will be put into making improvements in the building. This play was given three nights and a few hundred people could attend each evening.

While the guests filed back inside after seeing baby Jesus, we were handed a plate of warm brownies with a scoop of ice cream on top. The guests all sang two songs together before parting for home. It was a spiritually fun evening, to enjoy with family and friends.

It was also so nice to meet all of the readers that attended the book signings in Highland and Crown Point, Ind., this past Saturday, Dec. 2. We had a very good turnout and unfortunately ran out of books. We ordered more and they will be signed and delivered to the Crown Point store before Christmas. Our regrets to anyone for whom this was an inconvenience.

The readers were very encouraging to me and I want to thank everyone that attended. I was very excited when Aunt Caroline Coblentz, plus my cousin David and his wife Karen came to our Crown Point signing. What a good surprise. I miss seeing another cousin, Larry Coblentz in the crowd. He would come to a lot of my signings. He passed away from cancer a few years ago. A big thanks to my friend Ruth and also to Karen for driving us there and back. Also to my husband Joe and daughters Verena and Lovina for going along for support. Verena did a great job running the cash register for me.

God’s blessings! Here’s some hot soup for a cold night.

Hamburger Vegetable Soup

1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced or shredded cabbage
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup rice or barley
1 cup tomato or V8 juice
4 cups water
4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon rosemary

Fry hamburger with onions and garlic until no longer pink; drain fat. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for one hour. Serves 6.

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.

When mothers can’t sleep until all the children are home

When mothers can’t sleep until all the children are home

It is Thursday morning and time to get this column written. Time goes so fast from week to week. How can it be Thanksgiving Day next week already? We will be hosting the Thanksgiving meal here for sisters Verena, Susan, Emma and Jacob and families, and our family. We four sisters get together every year on Thanksgiving Day unless there are other plans. We all exchange names for Christmas. We are a total of 25 now. We usually set the table for all of us which makes a pretty long table already.

We will have turkey and all the trimmings. Daughter Elizabeth wants to make all the pies for Thanksgiving this year. She is getting to be a good pie baker. My sisters usually all bring food as well so we end up with lots more food then we need.

My husband Joe and the boys are off to work this morning. It’s a little rushed on the mornings they all leave around the same time. Getting all those lunches packed and water jugs filled with water and ice takes time. I also make coffee for Joe and nephew Henry to take along in a coffee mug. Our sons don’t drink coffee. Joe and I are the only ones that do. Mose and Susan like tea instead. I remember my mother would have a cup of warm tea by all our plates for breakfast sometimes. Our children drink iced tea better than warm tea. They would also choose hot chocolate over tea in the cold winter mornings.

I put a salad in Joe’s lunch today. It’s hard to keep up with who likes what in their lunch. Son Benjamin always wanted ham sandwiches. One day he was so tired of ham and didn’t want any more. I started making burrito wraps and then that didn’t sound good any more. If they don’t have a way to heat up food it’s hard to think of what to put in their lunch. I heat up soup once in a while and put it in a thermos to keep it warm. It’s easiest packing your own lunch because you know what you are hungry for more than anyone else. Son Kevin, 12, packs his own school lunch every morning.

Yesterday my daughters and I spent the day at daughter Elizabeth’s house. They will be hosting church services in January or February so she is getting her closets cleaned and organized already. She has two spare bedrooms on the main level that they mostly use when they have overnight company. The one bedroom she does use for her sewing room as well. She has those two rooms cleaned. We helped her clean out the closet in the hallway area. Son-in-law Timothy put up three shelves in it so she can put all her cleaning supplies, rags, brooms, stock pots, etc. in there. We turned the laundry room she had into a baby room for Abigail. We moved the changing table, dresser and all of Abigail’s clothes in there. Timothy had moved the washing machine down to the basement earlier this fall so Elizabeth washes clothes down there now.

Abigail’s crib is in Timothy and Elizabeth’s bedroom. I know the feeling that it is nice to have your little one close by during the night hours. I well remember the sleepless nights caring for the children. There are nights when I can’t sleep now waiting until the last one is home. I don’t think a mother every stops looking after her children. The children say, “Mom go to bed, don’t wait up on us.” But until you are a parent yourself you don’t quite understand. I tell them I used to tell my mother the same thing and wonder why she couldn’t sleep until we were all home at night. God watches over us. His blessings to all!

Try this banana chocolate chip sheet cake. It is a new cake we enjoyed this week. I had ripe bananas to use up some way.

A great way to use up bananas that are getting older.

Banana Chocolate Chip Sheet Cake

1 2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup ripe bananas (3-4 bananas)
2/3 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened to room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/8 cup mini chocolate chips for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 1/2 x 15 inch sheet pan. Beat together butter and sugar until mixture resembles crumbs. Add eggs, vanilla and mix again. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, soda and salt than gradually add to butter mixture. Add mashed bananas and buttermilk and mix together well. Fold in 2/3 cup of chocolate chips. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Note: Cake is done when corners start to pull back from sides of pan and top of cake springs back when pressed gently in the center.

Frosting: Combine cream cheese, butter and vanilla; gradually add confectioner’s sugar and mix until smooth. Spread evenly on cooled cake and garnish with chocolate chips.

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.

 

Autumn’s “slow time” a reminder that Lovina has been writing column for 15 years

Autumn’s “slow time” a reminder that Lovina has been writing column for 15 years

We are finally seeing the sun shine after a dreary, rainy week. Why does life always seem better when the sun is shining? With our water system, freezers and other appliances working off solar power, the battery gets low when there isn’t much sun. When that happens, we have to use a generator to charge the big battery. We are always glad when the sun shines at least for a day to charge up the battery.

The Eicher household has a new hopper-fed coal stove in the basement. This stove heats the whole house. The outside jacket is on so they can route the heat upstairs or can open the door and let some of the heat into the basement when clothes are drying.

Last night daughter Loretta was excited to shoot another deer. This was a buck, and a nice-sized one. I wrote in my last letter that she uses a compound bow, but it’s actually a crossbow, not a compound bow. (I’m pretty sure other writers can relate that sometimes you mean one thing and write another!) And with me not being a hunter, I get the bows mixed up once in a while.

Loretta, Justin and Mose did not have to go far to find this deer, as Loretta had made a pretty accurate shot. Dustin dressed the deer last night for Loretta. The meat from the doe she shot last week is coming in handy. Dustin fixed the steaks on the grill, and the venison burger is getting bagged for the freezer. Son Kevin wants sloppy joe sandwiches made with the venison burger. He thinks venison makes the best sloppy joes.

We were helping over at Mose and Susan’s house on Saturday. There were still a lot of things in there from the former owners. They are going to remodel some of the rooms before they move in. That should make it heat better.

Some readers have asked what kinds of wedding gifts are received at Amish weddings. A variety of gifts are given, such as: household items, kitchen items, tools, towels, blankets, Tupperware bowls, garden tools, utensils, food choppers, clothes racks, pressure cookers and canning jars. A lot of people give money. The amount spent depends on how closely related you are to the couple. Parents and siblings and close friends usually give bigger gifts than the rest. I hope this helps answer questions.

Daughter Verena went to a practice session for the upcoming Bethlehem Inn play that will be held at the community youth center. They will act out the birth of baby Jesus. When Joseph and Mary come to the inn and are refused a place to stay, a meal will be served to the guests. We want to get tickets to go to this event.

I am now finishing this column the following morning. What a pretty sunrise in the east. Looks promising for another nice day. Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail will come to spend the day here. I want to make a breakfast casserole and put it in the oven so it’s ready when they get here. Abigail doesn’t like to be covered up in the buggy and always has cold little cheeks when she comes. She thinks she needs to help Elizabeth drive their horse, ShiAnn. She is always slapping the driving lines and saying, “Giddyap.”

Son Kevin, 12, left on the bus for another school day. With the time change—we call it changing back to “slow time”—there’s more daylight now when he leaves. It seems like we are going to bed earlier with the time change. It gets dark earlier, so I think we eat supper earlier even though it seems later. The deer hunters liked the fast time better, as they had another hour of daylight in the evenings. Joe is a morning person, so he likes the early daylight in the mornings. I really don’t mind either time, but I wish it would just stay to one! I don’t like the changing back and forth. Some of our clocks don’t ever get changed back sometimes.

This October it has been 15 years that I started penning this column. Mother wrote for 11 years before me. On September 17, it was 15 years since she passed away so suddenly. We still miss her so much. But God makes no mistakes.

God’s blessings to you!

Soup, cornbread, fresh veggies and cheese make a nice winter meal for lunch or supper. [Melodie Davis photo]
 Cornbread

1 1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Mix dry ingredients. Add liquids. Stir just until moistened. Do not overmix. Pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.

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

 

 

When daughters do something their mother never even wanted to do

We have entered the eleventh month of the year already. 2017 is going fast but then every year does. It really seems like the older you get the faster it goes.

We will be having a change around here with daughter Susan and Mose being homeowners and moving in the near future. Saturday we will go help them with whatever needs to be done.

Yesterday daughter Elizabeth and Abigail came here for the day. We canned chicken broth for Susan and me. I will give some to Elizabeth since she doesn’t have any right now. It takes time to debone the meat and pressure cook the broth.

Son-in-law Timothy came here from work to drive the buggy home with Elizabeth and Abigail. He started a new job at an RV factory so his hours have changed. It always takes some getting used to a different job but it sounds like he likes it.

Abigail was her usual cute self just winning all the hearts around here. When Grandpa (my husband Joe) comes home from work she will go run so he comes after her. She takes him to the jar where he keeps suckers and reaches for one. How quickly they catch on to where candy is. She will lick the sucker for a while and then when she’s distracted we can sneak it away from her.

When we go out to the buggy to get her when they come she always has such a sweet smile for us. She was showing me her new pink mittens. I am surprised she leaves them on her little hands. Now this Grandma has to quit talking about her grandchild. I imagine all you grandparents know how precious it is to have grandchildren.

We were all excited for daughter Loretta, 17, last night. She shot her first deer with her compound bow. Son-in-law Mose and Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) helped track it down. Dustin dressed it and has it hanging ready to be cut up. Loretta never thought she would get the chance to go hunting or even be able to shoot the bow let alone hit the deer. We are happy for her. I told her she has done something I never could do.

We laughed when Mose told us about the time our daughter Susan almost shot a deer. When he asked her why she didn’t she said, “Well he was looking at me and I couldn’t pull the trigger.” When Loretta was a little girl she would go hunting with my husband Joe sometimes. She couldn’t hunt but the children liked to go sit with him in the woods. One time Joe saw a doe and it would have been a good shot but Loretta yelled to the deer so it could get away. She had been reading about Bambi and couldn’t bear to see a deer get shot. So now we are surprised she could shoot one of her own.

Last Friday was a cold and rainy day for the wedding of Melvin and Lisa in Rochester, Indiana. They had plenty of room for everyone to be inside which helped. Sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma, Jacob, and sons Benjamin and Steven, Joe and I, and sons Joseph and Kevin traveled the two hour drive to Rochester to the wedding. We were served a delicious meal consisting of barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, noodles, corn, broccoli, and cauliflower salad, sliced cheese, bread buns, butter, jelly, pumpkin, apple and peanut butter pies, fresh fruit mixture, tapioca pudding, cake, etc. We had a nice time visiting with friends and family. Sister Liz and Levi were also there so five of us sisters were there.

Lovina and family get ready for fall with some great pumpkin recipes. Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis.

The girls are washing laundry and it’s another rainy day so it looks like it will be hung on the lines in the basement. God bless!

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

15 ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Avoid using paper liners as they make it difficult to remove cupcakes. You can use foil liners, just spray the insides first.

Mix the pumpkin, sugars, eggs, vanilla and milk. Add the flour, spice, salt, baking powder and soda to the mixture. Fill each muffin with 1/3 cup of the mixture. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon before serving.  Serves 12.

 

The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

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

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

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

One of the Eicher horses.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fruit Slush

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Corn Chip Salad

Salad:

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

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

Dressing:

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

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

Distractions from toddler are hard to resist

A cool Wednesday evening—we finally have a break from the heat. Tonight was a nice evening to go to the local u-pick for grapes. Tomorrow we will steam the grapes into juice. We make grape juice concentrate. Sugar and water can be added to suit your own taste when you open the jars. A good healthy drink on those cold winter mornings. The steamers have saved so much work. I have two of them so it keeps me busy to keep both filled and filling the jars. We also purchased apples and cider. Yum! Fresh apples and cider with popcorn makes a good snack! I will finish this tomorrow. Good night.

Church services were held here with Mose and Susan hosting the services. That was round number three for church services being held here this summer. Along with hosting those and the family gathering, our house stayed extra clean and tidy. Now with that being over we can get out the sewing machines and start cutting out material for more wedding clothes. Yesterday, daughter Susan cut out her dress, cape, and apron for Mose’s sister Esther’s wedding. I’m to wear a dark blue dress and I have one already. But I need to cut out a dress for Loretta for next week. Her special friend Dustin’s brother Clint is getting married. Dustin and Loretta will be witnesses in the wedding. I was asked to cook so I will also go help with preparations for the wedding on Monday.

Last week we had a nice but very hot day for the wedding of our neighbor girl Mary and LaVern. My job was to wash dishes, and wash dishes I did—all day! Needless to say my hands were very clean by night time. Mary wanted my sisters Verena, Susan, Emma and our daughters to yodel for the guests after everything was over (except for washing and packing up dishes for the wedding wagon). Yodeling is a Swiss tradition I was brought up with. In this community it isn’t so common. As children we would help along as my mother and her sisters yodeled and this began a new generation of yodelers.

I was happy to meet some of my readers (relatives of LaVern) at the wedding. I am always glad when they come up and say hi. It gives me encouragement to go on even on busy days like today. I am quickly writing this before tackling the grapes that are waiting to be made into juice.

Daughter Elizabeth and her little Abigail came to help today. Laundry is being gathered to wash. I needed to go to the desk in my bedroom to finish this. Too many distractions; who could concentrate writing with sweet Abigail walking around? Chattering Abigail decided it’s faster to start walking instead of crawling. She is everywhere and Grandma’s house is again getting childproofed. She loves my cabinet with all my little Tupperware containers. Such a past-time she is and can very easily get this Grandma to neglect her work!

Mose and Susan served chicken and noodle soup for their church lunch along with bologna, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, freezer and dill pickles, pickled red beets, homemade wheat and white bread, butter, strawberry jam, hot peppers, ice tea, coffee and a variety of cookies.

We prepared four twelve-quart kettles of chicken and noodles. We added diced carrots and potatoes into the soup. That gives it a better flavor. There was a whole kettle left over so Susan passed it out to family. It made an easy lunch for the ones packing their lunch and also an easy supper Monday evening along with sandwiches.

I will share the recipe for the chicken noodle soup that we used. It is probably way too big for most people to use but if you ever need a big amount to feed a crowd it might come in handy.

God’s blessings to all!

Amish Chicken Noodle Soup

1 quart chicken broth
3–3 1/2 cups small cut up chicken pieces, cooked
4 pounds noodles
7 quarts potato water, if available; or plain water
1 cup chicken soup base
1 tablespoon salt
Add chopped carrots and chopped potatoes, as desired

Bring broth and chicken pieces to a boil in 12-quart kettle; stir in noodles. Add potato water, chicken soup base, other veggies, and salt. Return to a full boil and cook for several minutes, then turn off heat. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.

Note: Depending on the noodles you use, you may need to adjust the amount to only 3 pounds for a 12-quart kettle.

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.

A day in Lovina’s Life: Diary of September 20, 2017

A day in Lovina’s Life: Diary of September 20, 2017

3:00 a.m. Alarm rings telling us it’s time to start another day. Mornings come around too quick. I pack Joe’s lunch and put on a pot of coffee so he can take some to drink on his way to work.

3:45 a.m. Joe and son-in-law Mose leave for the RV factory. I go back to bed and set the alarm for 4:45 a.m. I hear nephew Henry, 20, leaving every morning around 4:15 a.m. to go to work. He does really well to always hear his alarm and get ready for work.

4:45 a.m. I pack lunches for sons Benjamin, 18, and Joseph, 15. They will go help nephew Noah today on his construction job. The boys go do the morning chores while I make them a breakfast sandwich consisting of egg, ham, cheese, and toast. I wrap it in aluminum foil to keep it warm. Sometimes they eat their breakfast here and sometimes on their way to work.

Favorite breakfast fixings.

5:15 a.m. The boys leave for work. I get a cup of coffee and relax in my recliner until it’s time to get Kevin, 12, up for the bus. How different it seems from when I had five or six children to send on the bus by 7:00 a.m. Kevin makes his own breakfast and when he packs his lunch I help with that. I usually wake Kevin up around 6:15 a.m.

7:00 a.m. The bus is here and Kevin leaves for school. Lovina, 13, gets up to get ready to start her school work here at home. Daughter Susan and I are getting ready to leave today. Susan harnesses our pony Stormy up and hitches him to the pony buggy. Susan and I are going to help bake pies, etc., at our neighbors for their daughter’s wedding which is Friday. Susan and I are both cooks at the wedding.

Daughters Verena, 19, and Loretta, 17, will be here today with Lovina while we leave. Verena helps tutor Lovina on days I can’t. She grades her work for me and gives her the spelling tests. So far it’s really going well and Lovina understands the work well.

8:15 a.m.  Susan and I are ready to leave. We go pick up my sisters Verena and Susan as they were asked to help also and to be cooks at the wedding Friday.

12:30 p.m. Susan and I are back home from helping the neighbors. I helped with the pecan pies and making crusts for the peanut butter pies. Tomorrow they will make the cherry pies. We were done early with all the jobs that were assigned to us.

1:00 p.m. Susan and I are ready to leave to go get groceries for Sunday. Mose and Susan will host church services here on Sunday. It will be Rule Church (preparation for communion services) so services will go until mid-afternoon. We serve lunch during the services to two tables at a time while the services keep on going. Usually chicken noodle soup is on the menu with the regular church lunch.

4:30 p.m. Susan and I are back home. Benjamin and Joseph are back home. With everyone’s help the groceries are carried inside and put away.

Joe, Henry and Kevin are all home as well. Mose went to his parent’s house to help his dad set up their tree stands. Everyone is getting prepared for the upcoming deer season.

6:30 p.m. Dustin comes for supper or rather ends up making supper for all of us! We have supper outside on the porch. Dustin has the deep fryer going (propane). He makes French fries, jalapeño poppers (jalapeños with cream cheese inside and breaded), breaded mushroom,s and breaded mozzarella sticks. It’s a different kind of supper for us but easy to do and out of the house on this hot day. Temperatures are hitting the 80’s and it takes some getting used to after all the cool days we had.

7:00 p.m. Mose is back home and joins us for supper.

10:30 p.m. Finally everyone is settled for the night. Dustin left and it’s past our bedtime. It was a nice evening sitting on the porch.

One additional note: We had around 80 people here for the family gathering last Saturday. Quite a few of the nieces and nephews couldn’t attend. Joe and Mose grilled 100 pounds of chicken starting at 3:30 a.m. We had lots of food with everyone bringing a dish or two.

God’s blessings!

Pizza Casserole

1 pound sausage
1/3 cup onions, chopped
½ cup green bell peppers, diced
1 (4-ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
½ teaspoon salt
8 ounces rotini pasta, cooked
2 (10-ounce) cans pizza sauce, or equivalent amount homemade sauce
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
15–18 slices pepperoni (optional)

Brown the sausage, onion, and bell peppers in a skillet. Drain grease. Add the mushrooms and salt, then spoon into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Cover with cooked rotini. Pour sauce over top and sprinkle with cheese. If desired, arrange pepperoni on top of the cheese.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until cheese has melted and casserole is bubbling.

Note: This recipe can be made a day ahead; add 15 minutes to baking time if casserole has been refrigerated.

This recipe is from Lovina’s newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook. (Herald Press, 2017) If you love her cookbook, consider writing a review on Amazon. There are over 25 reviews and almost all rank them 4 or higher (on a scale of 1-5 stars)!

 

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.