Tag Archives: Lovina’s Amish Kitchen

Missing loved ones at a family reunion  

Photo by Grant Beachy

Missing loved ones at a family reunion

It was another hot and humid day with temperatures in the 90’s. Now we are having a thunderstorm. It might cool off after this. We are also getting a good soaking rain which we needed.

On Saturday we all attended the family gathering for my family at sister Emma and  Jacob’s. They had roasted a hog for the meat. I will try to remember some of the other foods brought in. Emma made several casseroles and then there was overnight salad, taco salad, cucumber salad, sliced tomatoes, hot peppers, cheese (several varieties), salsa, chips, venison, summer sausage, apple, cherry and bread pies, doughnuts, a variety of cookies, puddings, cakes, watermelon, cinnamon bread and so much!

I probably forgot to mention Sister Leah made the bread pie. I remember Mother making this pie a lot when she had an extra pie crust that needed to be filled when she was making pies. I will share her recipe of bread pie at the end of the column. It isn’t very hard to make at all and tastes better than you would think. It was always named Poor Man’s Bread Pie, probably because of the simple ingredients it takes.

If I counted right, the total of all our family members would be 133 without counting the ones that have passed away such as my dear parents, brother Amos, nieces Mary Shetler and Marilyn Schwartz. I counted around 75 (more or less) of our family who made it to the gathering. It was a low attendance this year. It is so hard to pick a day that suits everyone to come.

Also, it was my brother Amos and Nancy’s 35th wedding anniversary on Saturday. Although he has passed away our minds still were with him and Nancy. Nancy and family didn’t come for the gathering except their oldest daughter Susan, husband Joe, and family. They live in a community nearby, around 18-20 miles from here. We were glad to see them come but I know the day was hard on Susan. We all felt the emptiness and missed the presence of Amos and family.

Jacob and Emma had three big balls of gifts wrapped by plastic wrap to open; one was for the siblings, one for the nieces and nephews, and one for the great nieces and nephews. This is where one person is given the ball to unwrap and keep whatever little gifts fall out until the next person throws a certain number on a dice and then the ball gets passed on and on and at the end is the grand prize. It was exciting once the ball came close to being totally unwrapped.

Sister Liz won the grand prize for the siblings’ game which was $50.00 in a Tupperware container. Brother Albert’s daughter Sylvia won the same prize for the nieces and nephews’ game and LaRose (granddaughter of sister Liz and Levi) won the grand prize of the great nieces and nephews’ game which was a Tupperware tea set and $20. This was generous of Jacob and Emma to do this for everyone. Emma said she thought we might not feel like singing with brother Amos’s recent passing so she thought this would be better.

Before the six of us sisters parted, our daughters talked us into at least yodeling together for them so we sang a few yodeling numbers. What just made it worthwhile was little Abigail standing there trying to help us. When we would finish a song she would tell us to sing more.

Snacks were set out that everyone brought to enjoy before we all left for home. Next year, sisters Verena and Susan will take their turn hosting. Will we still all be together? Only God knows the future. Live every day as though it is your last.

On Sunday, September 2, son Kevin had his 13th birthday. We now have five teenagers in this house. Kevin had several friends come home from school with him Tuesday night and spend the night and go back on the bus with him the next day in honor of his birthday. The boys had a lot of fun!

On Sunday those here for an outdoor brunch were Jacob and Emma and family, Menno and Manuel, Timothy, Elizabeth and Abigail, Mose, Susan and Jennifer, Dustin, and sisters Verena and Susan. We made sausage gravy in a kettle over an open fire and cooked bacon on the grill. We also made biscuits plus ham and cheese omelet roll in the oven here in the house.

No more space to write so I’ll sign off wishing you all God’s blessings.

Poor Man’s Bread Pie

Bread crumbs
1 tablespoon flour
6 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
Milk

In an unbaked 9-inch pie shell, fill with crumbs of bread (can use up older pieces of bread) until full. Mix together flour, sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over bread crumbs. Fill crust with milk. Bake in a 375-degree oven until well set.

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

 

Pace of preparation picks up for Sunday church at the Eichers

Pace of preparation picks up for Sunday church at the Eichers

Benches and Ausbund hymnals are hauled from one home to another to use for church services in homes, pole barns or basements. Photo by Grant Beachy

Church services will be held here on Sunday, Lord willing. The extra project of getting wainscoting and trim on has felt a bit overwhelming.

We are also putting a new ceiling up since the drywall still looks different from being patched in when we had the house fire several years ago. They ran into some problems putting it up so it delayed us from some of the cleaning.

It has just been one late night after another and I will be so glad once we have it completed. We regretted that we even started with a deadline so close but we will be glad its another check off our “to do list” or as my husband Joe would call it, “honey do list.” It does look very nice to see the windows with trim and the doorways. The curtain rods have been hung with the curtains. Every day we get closer to being done and every day brings us closer to Sunday. It is nice to have a big house but it takes a lot longer to clean it as well.

Last night Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan, and Jennifer came to help some more. We  had an easy supper of a lot of garden vegetables. On the menu were potatoes, sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumber salad, breaded zucchini—all vegetables from our garden. We also had some barbecued chicken that was leftover from the day before.

On Sunday August 5 was Mose and Susan’s second anniversary. Next week on August 14 will be Timothy and Elizabeth’s third anniversary. I wish both couples a happy anniversary and God’s richest blessings. May they enjoy many more happy and healthy years together. We have been blessed with two great sons-in-law that are willing to help us when we need help with our work. We like to return the favor. It helps parents to know their daughters are happy in marriage. May God always be their guide as we travel into the unknown future.

The ceiling we are putting up is wood and needs staining. We are staining it a natural oak. All the work of the staining is being done by sons Joseph, 16, Kevin, 12, and daughters Verena, 20, Loretta, 18, and Lovina, 14. They have put in many hours of staining the 4×8 sheets by hand. We wanted it to have two applications but ran out of stain. Tomorrow morning we will get more so it can all be dry by evening.

We have more help coming tomorrow. Sister Emma and sons, daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their little girls will come in the morning. Their husbands will come after work to help finish hanging the ceiling and help with whatever else Joe needs done. Niece Emma’s special friend Menno will also come help. Also daughter Loretta’s special friend Dustin. We are sure appreciative of all their help. It seems with mowing, gardening, etc., its just a busy time of the year.

Last Saturday those assisting us with our work were Jacob, Emma, and sons Jacob Jr, 18, Benjamin, 16, and Steven, 11; Timothy, Elizabeth, and Abigail; Mose, Susan, and Jennifer; sisters Verena and Susan; and Dustin.

Joe has some work that he needs done in the barn. He wants to make room for a few new horse stalls so the chicken coop area is all being torn out. We butchered our old chickens and will wait until spring when we can start new ones in hopefully a new chicken coop separate from the barn. The young boys got the job of cleaning up the barn.

Jacob Jr. and Loretta were in charge of grilling 30 pounds of chicken for our lunch. They also made potatoes on the grill cooked in olive oil. With desserts being brought in and adding cucumber salad and tomatoes to the menu we had a delicious meal for all the hard workers.

Now I need to go to bed. Writing about all this work is even exhausting! Everyone else has gone to bed.

Good night and God bless!

Best-ever Blueberry Muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter or margarine melted
1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Combine eggs, buttermilk, and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in blueberries. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-24 minutes or until muffins test done. Yield: about 1 dozen.

 

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

 

 

 

Many birthdays and a reunion bring far flung family together

Many birthdays and a reunion bring far flung family together

If my Mother was still with us she would be 82 today, July 18. She passed away almost 16 years ago. She penned this column for 11 years before her sudden death. Now I have written it for almost 16 years. Gone but never forgotten, dear Mother!

Tomorrow will be sister Emma’s 45th birthday. A happy birthday to her! Saturday, July 14, son Benjamin turned 19 and Sunday, Joe and I had our 25th anniversary. Also on Sunday was brother Albert’s 54th birthday. Two of his sons and his daughter-in-law also share his birthday. On July 24, our son Joseph will be 16. So we get plenty of cake in July. We wish them all God’s blessings in the coming year and always.

Today daughters Elizabeth and Susan along with my sweet granddaughters Abigail (22 months) and Jennifer (6 months) came here for the day. Susan’s horse Buzz brought them in the buggy. She went past Elizabeth’s house and picked up Elizabeth and Abigail. Daughter Verena was also home from work. We all ate breakfast together: eggs, fried potatoes, bacon, toast, plus chocolate milk, orange juice, and peanut butter cookies. When we were almost ready to eat, son Kevin, 12, asked “Where is the coffee soup?” I had told him yesterday that I’d make some this morning and forgot about it with the girls arriving. I quickly made some as it doesn’t take too long. After dishes were washed we all went down to the basement to start cleaning the room where I keep all my canned food. The cans get dusty so we clean the shelves and cans and reorganize the cans.

We hadn’t started very long when a van drove in with four of my uncles coming to visit: Uncle Joe and Betty Coblentz and Uncle William Coblentz from Geneva, Indiana; Uncle Menno and Martha Coblentz from Phoenix, Arizona; and Uncle Amos and Gynie Coblentz from Centerview, Missouri. We quit our work and visited with my uncles and aunts. We enjoyed coffee, peanut butter cookies, popcorn, and punch. The Coblentzs are a lively bunch and always full of jokes so we had a good time with all of them. They were also going to visit with sisters Verena and Susan, Emma and Jacob and family, then head to brother Albert’s and have supper there.

Saturday we attended the Coblentz reunion in Berne, Indiana. There were 13 children in my dad’s family. Ten boys and three girls with only seven of the siblings still living. All seven brothers were able to attend. Besides the ones that came to visit us there was also Uncle Bob and Barb Coblentz from Mississippi, Uncle Melvin and Katherine Coblentz from Wisconsin and Uncle Albert, Jr. and Shirley from Laffeyette, Indiana. Also, Aunt Mary (Jake) Coblentz from Phoenix, Arizona was able to attend. We missed Uncle Jake and brother Amos. Sister Leah and Paul weren’t there but the uncles loved the Long John rolls she made for them.

We saw a lot of my cousins as well. Families are growing and we now have to ask who some of them are. It was an enjoyable day and as always, so much food was brought in. Cousin Shannon made a cake in memory of Uncle Jake. A silent auction was held after lunch with the money going to the reunion funds.

Our children took Joe and I out for supper at a nearby restaurant one evening in honor of our silver anniversary. They reserved a table in the back where we could all be together to eat. It was an enjoyable evening!

We are eating green beans, cucumbers, green and hot peppers from our garden now. Tomatoes and sweet corn are slowly getting ready. We also have red potatoes to use.

I will share a recipe for peanut butter cookies. I baked 175 last week and took some to the reunion and to church, and the rest we enjoyed at home. God bless you all!

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup shortening, softened1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, cream together shortening, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until thoroughly mixed. (Editor’s note: While Amish cooks would not have an electric mixer, one can be used for this recipe on the lowest setting.) Stir in peanut butter, flour, baking soda, and salt. The batter will be thick and should be stirred vigorously with a wooden spoon or kneaded with your hands in the bowl until everything is thoroughly mixed. Chill dough for 1 hour.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Shape into 1 1/2-inch balls and place 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Press each cookie with the back of a floured fork to make a crisscross pattern on top. Bake until edges are brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from oven and leave on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack and then put into sealed containers. These cookies will stay fresh for up to 5 days. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

 

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

 

 

 

Verena’s view from camping week, plus super easy supper on the grill

Verena and sister Loretta made this delicious supper on the grill.

Verena’s view from camping week, plus super easy supper on the grill

This is Verena, 20, writing for Mom this week. Mom isn’t home and I know she needs this written.

I’m off work on Wednesdays every week. I work the other four days for my cousin Emanul. He owns a woodworking shop so I work in the office. I really enjoy it and it seems to be working so far with my handicap. I really enjoy doing office work.

My sister Loretta, 18, Lovina, 14, and Kevin, 12, are also home so Loretta is getting lunch for all of us. Dad and Mom left to go do some shopping so Dad can do some repairs around here. He is off on vacation this week yet.

Loretta is heating up leftovers from last night’s supper for our lunch which is fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

Mose and Susan (sister) and niece Jennifer drove in last night just as we were getting ready to eat so we told them to stay and eat with us. Jennifer is full of smiles every time I see her. I love being Aunt to Jennifer and Abigail! They are my whole world!

We are back home getting settled after spending last week camping at the lake. My siblings and I told Dad and Mom that next time we do a camping trip we want to be far enough away from home so they can’t always be running home to check on things and doing laundry and chores.

We were at the lake from Sunday, July 1 to Saturday, July 7. It was very enjoyable with the entire family together. I will always cherish these memories we made.

We rented three older model RV’s from the campsite owner. They didn’t have electricity in them but the water for the toilet and the lights worked from being hooked up somehow to a 12-volt battery. It beat not having to sleep in tents. We divided up between the three RV’s and had a screened-in canopy for our cooking spot.

We all gathered once a day at least to have a meal together. Otherwise, some were fishing; some were swimming; and others were enjoying the little ones and visiting and relaxing together. The owner treated us very well and always was willing to do whatever he could to make our stay go smoother. We had a few very hot days but found comfort in cooling off swimming. Although we did use sunscreen, a few of us had sunburns which is not fun.

Abigail loved the water but Jennifer preferred only having her feet in the lake water. I loved spending time with Abigail and Jennifer on the swings, slides, etc.

Uncle Jacob and Aunt Emma and family took care of my Yorkie dogs (Ricky and Ruby) while we were gone. They also had sister Elizabeth’s dogs (Izzy and Crystal) so they had a handful of extra chores. We all appreciated it very much.

Thursday evening we invited Jacob and Emma and family, also their daughters Emma and Elizabeth’s boyfriends, Menno and Manuel, to the camp to spend the evening with us. The men went fishing after supper. Aunt Emma brought a wet burrito casserole for all of us. Dad grilled some brats to go along with it.

Sister Loretta turned 18 while we were at the lake (July 1). We had cupcakes in honor of her birthday. Brother Benjamin and Loretta are both the same age now until Saturday, July 14, when Benjamin will have his 19th birthday.

July 4 we attended cousin Levi’s wedding. I was a tablewaiter and had to wear a light gray dress, cape, and apron. It was nice to see family again!

We all packed up to leave the campground on Saturday evening.

Sunday we attended the viewing of our former bishop, John, who passed away. Our church became too large so we divided in two districts and John was bishop for the other district. He was 75 and a cousin of my deceased grandmother Elizabeth Coblentz, the original writer of this column. I stayed home from work on Monday so I could attend the funeral with my family. It was a big funeral!

On Tuesday I went back to work. We were busy catching up from our week’s vacation. It’s always enjoyable to have time off but I love when everything is back to a routine.

Well, you all take care and God bless! I’ll share a recipe with you the best I can of what Loretta and I made for supper Monday evening.

Supper on the Grill

1 pound steak cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound bacon cut into small pieces
1 package shrimp de-tailed (optional)
1 medium onion cut up in chunks
1 green pepper chopped
1 box fresh mushrooms
6 medium potatoes cubed
1 cup olive oil

Mix all together and add seasonings of your choice. Toss until seasoning is well mixed with all ingredients. Grill in tin foil on grill until meat is cooked and potatoes are soft. Serves about 12.

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

Grateful memories of a stranger who helped out in a time of need

I decided to write my column while sitting in the waiting room in the doctor’s office. We are two hours from home. I am always glad when we are on our way home from these visits.

My thoughts go back to one of our recent trips to see the doctor. On the way there, our driver didn’t see a ramp that must have fallen off another vehicle. Earlier we had seen a truck with a skid loader on top of its trailer, so perhaps it was a ramp that fell off that truck. Anyway, a ramp was laying in the center of the lane in which we were traveling. Our driver swerved to miss it, but it slashed open the back tire of the fourteen-passenger van. It threw us around for a while, but how thankful we were that she gained control of the van. I think back at what could have happened and how bad it could have been, with the oncoming traffic. God was watching over us!

The van didn’t have a spare tire, and we were eight miles from the nearest town. A man from the house that we were parked beside came out to see if he could help us. He drove our driver to town to get a new tire and then he helped to put it on the van. Two hours later, we were back on our way. We actually made it in time for the doctor appointments. We make these appointments quite a few months early, and we always give ourselves enough time in case we have trouble on our way.

How nice to know there are still a lot of people in this world who will take time to help someone in need. We really appreciated the time the man took to help get us on our way. He wouldn’t take any money for his help. So if by any chance you read this column—thanks again, Mark from Coldwater, Michigan! May God bless you for your kindness that day.

On Saturday my husband, Joe, sons Benjamin, 18, and Joseph, 15, and I took time to till, weed and hoe both gardens. It really is easier when we all help each other!

Last week Lovina made eight pints of strawberry jam, which is tasty on top of the homemade bread that daughter Lovina, age 14, made this week.

Daughter Lovina, 14, mixed the dough for ten loaves of bread. She still needs to ask a few questions when mixing it. She caught on quickly that you must add more flour if the dough is still sticky. I put the dough in loaf pans and put it in the oven. I am hoping she can do that part soon as well. It would save me time if she could mix and bake bread, and it’s good for her to know how to do it. Five of the loaves were to take to church at our neighbors’ place on Sunday. I sent some home with daughter Susan and Mose, and we enjoyed the fresh bread over the weekend with fresh strawberry jam. The week before I made eight pints of strawberry jam. It is a favorite around here. I still want to make lots more for the freezer.

On Friday we will attend the wedding of Rhonda and Marlin. Rhonda is a girl from our church. It has been a rainy week, so I wish them a nice day on Friday. It’s nicer for the guests as well when the day is nice. I will help Susan by taking care of Jennifer while Susan cooks.

One day last week I was making some phone calls. We have a phone in an outside building. Before I was done, the phone rang, and it was the number brother Albert and his family usually call from. I answered, and it turns out that Albert had accidentally called us instead of the repair shop he wanted. Our number was on the same page, and somehow he dialed our number. He was really surprised and didn’t recognize my voice. I thought he was teasing when he asked if this is the repair shop, so I said yes!

Anyway, it was so good to talk to him again. With brother Amos’s sudden death in January, it’s even more precious to talk to siblings. I imagine sister-in-law Sarah Irene wondered where Albert was that long, but we had a nice talk together. It seems we don’t see much of Albert and his family. We all get busy with our own families, and it’s so easy to put off getting together. Nephew Levi’s wedding is in two weeks, so we hope to see the family there.

God bless you all!

Blueberry Applesauce Bread

 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cup blueberries

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, applesauce and melted butter. Add dry ingredients and stir until well blended. Fold in berries. Pour into one or two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50–60 minutes.

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

Little Abigail gets introduced to the Coblentz family water battles

Little Abigail gets introduced to the Coblentz family water battles 

It looks dark towards the southeast like a storm could be forming. We sure could use the rain. It’s been dry this week. We watered the gardens a few times this week but hoped it would rain tonight. Our soil is sandy so all the rain we had several weeks ago is all dried up. Rivers and lakes are still filled to the banks. Our weather has been in the 90’s with high humidity. Michigan has finally decided winter is over.

Tomorrow is 12-year-old son Kevin’s last day of school for this term. He will be a seventh grader next year. The school picnic is tomorrow. We plan to attend. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan along with my sweet granddaughters plan to go with us. I’m sure little 20-month-old Abigail will have fun at the playground.

Daughter Lovina, 14, is winding down with her school work. I need to do some more grading and get her report card filled out. She does a wonderful job with her school assignments and books.

Our family did a lot of fishing over the holiday weekend and caught plenty of fish. We had a fish fry over at daughter Susan and Mose’s house on Monday evening. Sons-in-law Mose and Timothy and Loretta’s special friend Dustin deep fried the fish and made French fries outside in our deep fryer, run by propane. It was a nice but hot evening to sit outside and eat.

Sunday night our family gathered here and stayed all night. The men made campfire stew in the kettle over the open fire and grilled hamburgers. We ate outside under a screened-in canopy. It helped the mosquitoes and bugs stay off the little ones and was nicer even for the adults.

Since the grass was the floor our daughters decided to play a game where we had to take a swallow of water and hold it in our mouth. One person would say a joke or something funny. The first person to spit out their water had to take the place of the person saying the jokes. I tried it but thought it was much more fun to sit back and watch.

The children also had a water battle and even little Abigail was throwing water. After it was over Abigail didn’t realize it’s time to quit and caught a few of us by surprise when she dumped a cup of water on us. It was cute to hear her giggle when we jumped. I told daughter Elizabeth she must be a typical Coblentz. Our Coblentz reunions always end up with a water battle. I remember Uncle Menno as one of the first to throw water. We had many fun times on hot days at the reunion throwing water until everyone was cooled off from all the heat.

It is pretty quiet around here right now. Daughters Verena and Lovina are at Susan and Mose’s house for supper. Nephew Henry and Mose went fishing with the boat to the lake nearby. Son Benjamin, 18, had a dentist appointment tonight. Joseph had a dentist appointment today and is outside doing evening chores. Kevin is also helping him.

My husband Joe is showering and I’m writing by the kitchen table taking advantage of the peace and quiet. Daughter Loretta went to town with Benjamin. I haven’t decided what we will make for supper. It seems no one is hungry until after it cools off outside.

I will share a new asparagus recipe with everyone. Our asparagus is coming to an end for the season. We are enjoying lettuce, radishes, and onions from our garden. Both our gardens are now all planted. I still have a few things I need to plant. I’ll find room to squeeze them in somewhere.

I finally got to answering some reader mail this afternoon. Thanks for your patience. I always appreciate the kind words of encouragement. God bless!

Hot Asparagus Bits

20 slices white bread
3 ounces blue cheese
8 ounces cream cheese
1 egg
1/2 pound butter, melted
20 spears fresh or frozen asparagus, cooked and drained

Trim crusts from bread and flatten slices slightly with rolling pin. Thoroughly blend cheeses and egg. Spread cheese mixture over each bread slice. Roll an asparagus spear inside each slice and fasten with a toothpick. Dip each roll in melted butter. Place on a baking sheet and freeze. When firm slice each roll into three pieces. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Editor’s Note: If you are in the southern Michigan/northern Indiana area, head to a booksigning with Lovina and several family members, at Colon Township Library, Colon, Mich. on June 12 from 6 – 7 p.m. Address for the library: 128 S Blackstone Ave, Colon, MI

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

 

 

Warming up: Dandelion greens, rhubarb, and dirt under bare toes

Warming up: Dandelion greens, rhubarb, and dirt under bare toes

We finally managed to get some garden planted. The ground still felt a little cold under my bare feet. It just doesn’t seem right to walk in that soil with shoes on. I like wearing my crocs but with all the holes they soon filled with too much dirt.

We planted sweet onions, early frosty peas, radishes, and some lettuce. Makes my mouth water to think of some fresh garden goodies.

Temperatures have been in the 50’s and lower 60’s so we still haven’t had the warmest weather but I’m sure it will be here soon. Nephew Henry didn’t have work yesterday so he enjoyed the day on the lake fishing with a friend/co-worker.

On Saturday the boys and my husband Joe tilled up the gardens. They hauled manure into the one garden and tilled it in. Now every night the boys have been raking our yard and getting it ready to mow. We have a lot of trees, so lots of sticks and leaves accumulate over the winter months.

Last night Joe had an appointment, so we stopped for some groceries too. The girls had supper ready when we came home. They made hamburger with taco seasoning, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and green peppers, and shredded cheese. Some made tacos with soft tortilla shells and others made haystacks using these ingredients, putting crushed Doritos on top. We top it with salsa and ranch dressing. Sometimes we add chopped onions.

On some evenings we have been enjoying dandelion greens salad on top of steamed potatoes. Usually we like fresh ham or bacon with that either fried or grilled. I find the dandelion greens out in the yard and edges of the garden, etc. After they are washed very well I add them to a homemade sour cream dressing made with Miracle Whip salad dressing, apple cider vinegar, salt, and milk. I put in diced hardboiled eggs. Gathering and washing the dandelion greens is not my favorite thing to do but its worth it to be able to have dandelion salad. Although some of our children turn their noses up even thinking of eating something that grows in our grass.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their little sweeties have plans to come today. Looks like it will be another laundry day if weather permits.

Sunday evening Joe and I along with Verena, Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin went to Mose and Susan’s for supper. Timothy, Elizabeth, and Abigail went there as well. Mose grilled steak and I helped Susan make a pot of chili for an enjoyable evening. Mose and Susan live on a quiet road which is always so peaceful, with the only traffic being their neighbors.

Monday evening Susan and Baby Jennifer came here while Mose and Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) went turkey hunting. I had Jennifer laughing and chattering her baby talk. So precious!

Now I will share the sad news: Uncle Jake passed away on Tuesday. He was 81 years old. Uncle Jake and Aunt Mary live in Phoenix, Arizona, so we really regret that we won’t be able to travel the many, many miles between us. Jake will be missed at the reunions. He always had a great sense of humor like my dad and all his siblings did.

Out of the 13 siblings there are seven of dad’s brothers left. It’s a sad lonely feeling when another one passes away. Our greatest sympathy to Aunt Mary, cousins Christina, Cornelius, and Tabitha and their families as they mourn the passing of their husband, father, and grandfather. Daughter Verena had just received a card and long letter from Uncle Jake and Aunt Mary a few weeks ago. It was so thoughtful of them to think of her when dealing with their own health issues.

God bless you all!

Rhubarb Bread

1 cup cut up, cooked rhubarb
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon hot water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 5×9-inch loaf pan and set aside.

In a small pan, place cut up rhubarb and enough water to cover the rhubarb. Heat rhubarb to boiling and then lower to simmer and cook until rhubarb is soft, maybe 10-15 minutes.

In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it becomes light and creamy. Add the eggs and milk and mix well.

In a small mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to the butter mixture and stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Stir in the vanilla; drain water from hot rhubarb and add to the batter, mixing until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Topping: Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Use a pastry blender to mix thoroughly. Pour mixture over the bread batter. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the loaf pan then turn out onto a wire rack. Slice and eat either warm or cold.

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

 

Family spreads out, barn needs fixing

Family spreads out, barn needs fixing

The last few days have been warmer and we sure enjoyed the sunshine! Now this morning it rained, but the sun is out again.

Son Joseph is harnessing our horse Mighty, so I can take the buggy to a garage sale. The sale is being held by a neighboring Amish family. They’re selling clothes, so I thought I might be fortunate and find some, to save time in sewing. Fabric seems to go up in price so it pays to buy garage-sale-priced clothes.

Last Thursday we attended the wedding reception of niece Lisa and Matthew in Berne, Indiana. It was cold and rainy. We arrived there about 2 p.m. I helped fill the peanut butter pies so my job was pretty easy.

On the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken, noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, grilled sausage links homemade bread, butter, and strawberry jam. Desserts were tapioca pudding and angel food cake topped with a mixture of whipped topping, cream cheese, and strawberry glaze, as well as pecan, cherry and peanut butter pies. “Nothings” [pastries] lined the tables on plates, a tradition in that area.

My brother Amos was raising hogs to make fresh sausage for this wedding meal; after he died, his sons Ben and Sam took over butchering the hogs to make the sausage. We enjoyed seeing the family but there was an empty spot without brother Amos there. It just doesn’t seem possible that Amos isn’t here anymore. We must accept God’s plan, but I can understand why it’s hard for Nancy (Amos’s wife) to go on. The wedding reception especially made us miss Amos even more.

We arrived back home that night around 11:30 p.m. It was a short night as we had to be up by 3 a.m. for Joe to leave for work at 3:45.

On Friday evening, Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan, Jennifer, and Loretta’ special friend Dustin joined us for supper. We played games afterwards.

Saturday morning early, my husband Joe and I went to Menards to get lumber to rebuild part of our haymow. It was getting weak from all the hay and needed more support. Joe also is making more space for hay. Our barn is old so it always needs some fixing up somewhere, but I guess it still works. Joe and the boys would like to build a few more horse stalls in there and move the chickens to a coop outside the barn. Dustin, nephew Henry, sons Benjamin and Joseph, and husband Joe worked on the haymow the rest of the day. They accomplished quite a bit.

Later, Dustin and Loretta, and daughter Verena left for a friend’s house for supper. Henry and Benjamin went to a birthday supper as well. Daughter Lovina was helping at Mose and Susan’s house and stayed the night. Lovina then came to church with them on Sunday. So that left just four of us home for supper: Joe, Joseph, Kevin and me. We had grilled cheese sandwiches and fried eggs, an easy meal.

A few families from church took supper in to Mose and Susan’s on Sunday evening. They wanted to visit after Jennifer was born but didn’t get around to it sooner. I left Lovina go home from church with Susan and Mose to help her with Jennifer. Susan was glad for Lovina’s help. Saturday afternoon and evening, Jennifer was being fussy, which makes it hard for Susan to get much done. The baby loves having her gums rubbed. At three months old, I really hope she isn’t pushing through teeth already.

Yesterday Elizabeth and Susan and their little girls came for the day. Our breakfast was biscuits and gravy. For lunch we had leftover Tater Tot casserole from the night before. The girls took Abigail outside in the afternoon. It was so nice and she enjoyed being outdoors again.

I’m eager to get outside myself and look for dandelion greens. These warm days should be bringing them up. Rhubarb is peeping through and so are spring flowers. I think I’m having a bout of spring fever.

Take care and God’s blessings to all!

Pecan Pie Muffins

Ingredients:
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped pecans
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini or regular muffin pan with liners. Mix brown sugar, flour, and chopped pecans. Stir. Add eggs and butter until combined. Spoon batter in muffin cups about ½ full. Bake for 12 minutes for mini, or 16 minutes for regular size muffins.

Successful surgery for Verena; toddler Abigail helps “write” column

Successful surgery for Verena; toddler Abigail helps “write’ column

Daughter Verena’s surgery on her foot was a success! She has been having more pain since the numbness wore off but that can be expected from a surgery like this. Verena will probably have her cast on for six to eight weeks according to the doctor that did the surgery.

Dr. Caird does a wonderful job! She did the heel lengthening surgery on Verena’s other foot and also did it on both of daughter Loretta’s feet. The surgeries were all done at C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We arrived home a little before 6:00 p.m. So after several hours on the road Verena was ready to elevate her foot again. The cast comes all the way up to her knee. Elizabeth and Abigail are here today and Abigail is tickling Verena’s toes that peek out of her cast. Verena put a compression wrap on Abigail’s leg and foot and she held her leg beside Verena’s saying she has an “ouchie” too. It didn’t last more than a few minutes though until she was done with her bandage.

Abigail’s aunt Verena brought her her first crayon from a tour to the Crayola plant in Pennsylvania.

With the surgery yesterday and being gone all day I didn’t remember that I needed to write a column. After having breakfast with Elizabeth and Susan and children here I didn’t once think of it until all at once it dawned on me that I never wrote a column. So now this is where writing a column gets to be a challenge. Who can resist little Abigail. She was pretending to write too after I gave her a pencil and a little tablet. That didn’t last long before she was bored so Grandma here tries to teach her how to color in a coloring book and she’s more enthused with the crayons. I am again reminded how short attention spans 17-month-olds have. Daughter Loretta rocked her now and she’s sleeping. Baby Jennifer is also taking a nap so Grandma has no excuses to not get on with this column (except joining the girl’s conversations).

It is a foggy day here in Michigan. Visibility is not very good. Our school cancelled because of the fog. Kevin will also be home Friday and Monday for their mid-winter break. So I guess they get an extra day. Kevin isn’t complaining for the extra day. He wasn’t too overjoyed when I told him it would be a good day to clean up his bedroom.

I graded a lot of Lovina’s school work and she is ready for a unit test. I made up her schedule for the next few weeks. Home-schooling can get very time consuming and it also renews my brain again.

We had a nice enjoyable lunch with Amy from MennoMedia. It was great putting a face to her name and I’m sure she was glad to do the same. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan were also here so she was able to see my granddaughters.

A Happy Birthday to niece Emma Schwartz (Jacob and Emma’s daughter). She turns 20 today (February 15). Another niece, Emma (Coblentz) Wengerd, daughter of brother Albert and Sarah Irene, also celebrated her 21st birthday on February 9.

We had a laugh about Emma and her husband Johnny’s birthday surprise parties. Johnny’s birthday was February 6 so Emma invited both sides of their families for lunch on Saturday. Johnny wanted to surprise Emma for her birthday and invited both sides of their families for supper on Saturday. So everyone went for lunch, left again and went back for supper. I am sure there were a lot of laughs about this. Happy Birthday to Johnny and Emma!

Jacob (sis Emma) was off work due to having pneumonia. We wish him better health in the future.

Sunday church services were held at daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. It was a cold day! Lunch was served consisting of homemade wheat and white bread, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, bologna, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, butter, jam, coffee, tea, chocolate crinkle, sugar and chocolate chip cookies. Popcorn was served while dishes were being washed.

Our thoughts and prayers are often with sister-in-law Nancy and family. It’s still so hard to believe my brother Amos has passed on. God has a reason for this but we still question why. That is why we need to put our full trust in Him. Let go and let God!

Pineapple Burgers

2 pounds ground beef
3 tablespoons Italian dressing
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
15-ounce can pineapple slices, drained
8 slices bacon
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix ground beef and Italian dressing salt and pepper. Shape into 8 patties. Press pineapple slice into each patty. Wrap with a slice of bacon and secure with wooden toothpick. Mix remaining ingredients. Place patties in glass 13×9-inch dish. Pour barbecue sauce mix on patties. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Grill patties, pineapple side down, about 10 minutes. Turn and brush with sauce. Grill another 10 minutes. Heat remaining sauce to serve with burgers.

 

 

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

 

NOTES TO EDITORS: text=840 words; end material=61 words

Contact: DorothyH@MennoMedia.org; 540-980-2438

 

February Brings Snow Drifts, Baptism Services, and Butchering

A snow fort made by the Eicher children a few years ago.

February Brings Snow Drifts, Baptism Services, and Butchering

Editor’s note: Due to the death of Lovina’s brother Amos Coblentz on Jan. 31, 2018, this week’s column is a repeat from Lovina from February 2015.

[February 2015] Greetings from snowy Michigan! We received more than a foot of snow over the weekend. Some had reports of 16-18 inches. It’s a pretty sight to look at. The evergreen trees have enough snow on their branches to make such nice scenery. What a wonderful creator our God is! The temperature also dipped down to almost zero degrees. The wind chill was even colder.

With all the snow and wind, the roads weren’t opened until Monday. Everyone was home—factories closed and schools all closed in the county. We did the laundry and Joe mixed the summer sausage so we could get it in bags. We hung it in the pole building to cure for a week or two. Then Joe will smoke it in the smoker. The recipe calls for 100 pounds of hamburger and sausage, so we ended up with almost 40 bags of summer sausage. We added cheddar cheese to some of it and also hot pepper cheese to some of it.

Saturday we helped Jacob and Emma with pork butchering. We made Pon Haus (similar to scrapple) out of 21 gallons of pork juice and rendered the lard.

Sunday we visited a neighboring church district to attend baptism services for four young souls. One of the boys is a brother to Mose (Susan’s friend). The building was filled to capacity with people. When we left in the morning only a few inches of snow were on the ground. By the time we started home in the afternoon, the roads had nice-sized drifts on them. Our ramp and steps to the house had quite a bit of snow on them. By the time we walked through the drifts of snow to the house, our shoes were all wet.

Our neighbor boy shoveled out our drive on Monday with their skid loader. In the yard we have huge piles of snow, which the younger children enjoy playing on.

Daughter Verena went to the community building on Saturday evening. The youth all gather there on Saturday evenings. A few sets of parents go as chaperones. Verena went home with niece Salome and some friends and spent the night at Salome’s house (Joe’s sister Loretta and her husband, Henry).

They all came to the baptism church on Sunday that we attended. Verena got to hold little Damaris, Loretta and Henry’s new baby. Sounds like she’s a real cutie! Salome will be baptized to the confession of faith in a few weeks, so we hope to attend the services in Nappanee, Ind. When children take this serious step, what a blessing it is to parents.

Tomorrow evening daughter Susan will go to her special friend Mose’s house in honor of his birthday. Happy birthday, Mose! Mose and Elizabeth’s friend, Timothy, have both been such wonderful friends to our daughters. They are always willing to pitch in and help when work needs to be done around here.

My very special friend, Ruth, will also have a birthday on Feb. 9. Happy birthday, Ruth! She has been a great help and encouragement to me to continue with this column. God bless her!

A reader requested a recipe for cashew crunch, which I didn’t have. But another reader was kind enough to send one to me. God bless!

Cashew Crunch

1 pound cashews, coarsely ground
1 5-ounce can chow mein noodles, coarsely ground
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 16-ounce package chocolate candy coating

Place cashews, noodles, and marshmallows in a large bowl. Melt coating and pour over mixture. Mix well. Pour onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet and spread out. Let cool and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container.

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