Tag Archives: Lovina’s Amish Kitchen

Garage sales yield great bargains, including gifts for the grandchildren (of course)

Daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, just left for school. It’s cold and windy outside, and the temperature has dropped to 54 degrees. We had just enjoyed a few nice warm and sunny days until yesterday, when it was rainy and cooler.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan and their little girls came to our house yesterday morning. Daughters Verena and Loretta kept Abigail and Jennifer here while Elizabeth, Susan and I went to the “community building.” There were 24 families from our community having garage sales with booths inside the building.

I always have fun going to garage sales, and I did really well. With the cost of fabric so high, it’s so much cheaper to buy clothes that are sewn up already at garage sale prices. I bought quite a few days’ worth of sewing! I brought home some pants for the boys, dresses and coverings for the girls, and of course some dresses for my little granddaughters.

When we got home, Abigail tried on the new clothes. She does well dressing herself. Jennifer couldn’t care less what dresses she has! I also was able to get a baby swing and stroller that were in good shape for a few dollars each. They will come in handy when my grandchildren come. And yes, I did buy some toys for the granddaughters to play with when at our house. It seems I don’t have many toys to keep them entertained. They both like to look at books, and they also liked the wooden blocks I brought home.

Elizabeth and Susan found good bargains on clothes, so it was worth it for them as well. We stopped at a few more garage sales on our way home. Elizabeth said Abigail hadn’t wanted to go to bed the night before, so Elizabeth told her when she wakes up, she can go to Grandma’s. When Abigail opened her eyes the next morning she smiled and said, “Going to Grandma’s!” and was wide awake. How precious!

Lovina’s daughter Loretta and her friend Dustin prepared grilled whole chickens and salmon (wrapped in foil).

Loretta’s special friend Dustin’s birthday was on Monday, October 8, so Loretta went to their house in honor of his birthday. On Sunday evening Dustin and Loretta prepared supper on the grill for our family, also in honor of his birthday. Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan and Jennifer joined us for supper. On the menu were grilled whole chickens, French fries, cottage cheese, sliced cheese, veggies and dip, cake and ice cream. The chicken was grilled and seasoned just right and was very juicy. It was a treat to me that supper was being prepared and I could just spend time with my granddaughters. Jennifer likes to gnaw at an apple; I think it feels good to her gums, with more teeth pushing through.

Next week’s plans include daughter Verena helping a lady from our church district who is on bedrest. Verena will watch her two little boys and get meals for them. Our church ladies are taking turns taking in supper, so there should be plenty of leftovers. It’s so good to help each other! I remember after my surgery how helpful it was to have people bring supper over to us almost every other night. That meant a lot to me.

We have now scheduled son Kevin’s surgeries for next year. He will have the heel lengthening surgeries done to help him get his balance better. He has what is called “limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A,” and he seems to have a hard time lately. The doctor doing his surgery at the children’s hospital is the same one who did both our daughters’ surgeries, so we know he’s in good hands.

The first foot surgery will be in January, and then the second foot in March. Hopefully it will all be healed for him when the warm days come next spring. Kevin will have many weeks in a wheelchair while recuperating. He won’t be allowed to put any weight on the foot for six weeks or more. I’m sure that going to school will help him pass the time.

God’s blessings!

Carrot Casserole

1 (2-pound) package carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 stick butter
1 sleeve (about 35) Ritz crackers, crushed

Boil carrots for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and slice into smaller pieces if desired. Add onion, sugar, cheese and mayonnaise. Stir and place in casserole dish. Melt butter and stir in crushed crackers. Spread on top of carrots. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 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.

 

Grandma Lovina’s dilemma: Which granddaughter to pick up when the buggy arrives?

It’s 6:45 a.m. and daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, just left for school. It’s still quite dark outside. Daylight Savings Time lasts until November, so it seems most of the school year it’s dark when they leave with the bus.

I think this is my favorite time of the day. After the morning rush of getting everyone off to work and school, I get a little time to read, write or just relax for a bit before starting my day. Right now I’m debating if we should wash laundry today. I’m waiting to see if it will be a nice day for it to dry.

Yesterday daughter Elizabeth, with little Abigail, and daughter Susan, with her Jennifer, came here with Susan’s and Mose’s horse and buggy. The horse, Rex, is a little hyper when he starts out. So very early in the morning, Mose helped Susan get on her way to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house, which is two miles away, before he left for work. When Susan and Jennifer arrived, Timothy was still home to take care of the horse before he left for work. Susan and Jennifer napped there at Timothy and Elizabeth’s house until it was daylight, and then they all traveled the six-and-a-half miles to our place.

Grandma was excited, as always, to go out to the buggy and carry both little girls inside! I’m not sure how long it will be until they get too big for me to carry at the same time. But it’s so hard to choose which little girl to carry inside, so I always just carry both! Jennifer was sleeping, and when she awoke in my arms she smiled and smiled at me. She is starting to say “Amen” when we get done saying our prayer before we eat. So precious!

I made Egg Dutch for our breakfast, along with toast and cheese. While we were eating, Elizabeth said she hadn’t gotten her laundry done yet. I told her we would all go over to her house after breakfast and help her wash her laundry. She was very glad for our help. While we were hanging up the rest of the laundry, Susan and Loretta went over to Susan and Mose’s house and took her clothes off the lines. She had it still hanging from the day before, because it rained before it was dry. Elizabeth made soup and sandwiches for our lunch. After lunch Elizabeth, Susan and I brought all the laundry in while Verena and Loretta washed dishes and cleaned up the house. We folded most of the laundry and then we all headed back to our house.

Timothy and Mose had plans to go hunting together, so the girls stayed here for awhile before heading back home. It was a nice day to help each other. And what a sunshiny, warm autumn day, with temperature reaching the upper 80s! I’m sure days like that are numbered this year.

Sons Benjamin, 19, and Joseph, 16, went to help a family from our church district one evening this week. The husband is laid up from a farm accident and can’t work for several weeks. His wife is also not allowed to do much, as she is also under a doctor’s care. The boys carried a large pile of wood inside for them. We wish both of them health and a complete recovery. They have three small children.

Saturday was also a nice day, so the boys went fishing on the lake with Dustin, Loretta’s special friend. They were fishing for pike but didn’t have much success. They said it was relaxing, though, so no time was wasted.

Also on Saturday daughter Verena left with Emma and her special friend Menno to visit friends in a community about one-and-a-half hours away. They had supper with one of their friends.

Rainbow hues strike the eye as two-year-old granddaughter Abigail’s homemade dresses dry after washing.

As I was hanging out clothes on the lines at Timothy and Elizabeth’s house, it was so peaceful. They have 31 acres and the woods and river are right behind their house. A very lovely and scenic setting. Leaves have a tinge of color so it won’t be long before we will see our Master Artist’s magnificent scenery.

God’s blessings to all!

Pumpkin Pie Bread

3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt
2–3 cups sugar (use more or less sugar as desired)
1 cup oil (or applesauce)
4 eggs
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
1/2 cup water

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. In a separate bowl beat together sugar, oil (or applesauce), eggs and pumpkin. To this, add flour mixture alternately with the water. Pour into two large greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

Note: For best flavor, store wrapped in plastic wrap for one day at room temperature before serving.

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.

Fall dinners mean batter up for fried fish, vegetables and onion rings

This column will wrap up September. October starts on Monday already! It’s a big day for deer hunters with the season opening.

Son-in-law Mose took our son Kevin, 13, out hunting on Saturday, when the youth hunt was held. Kevin shot his first deer, so that was exciting for him. Mose said the first thing Kevin said when he saw the deer lying there was, “Is that even enough meat to feed all eight of us?” Mose helped with the processing. Kevin was really tired from walking through the woods but was glad he finally was able to go hunting. He passed his hunter’s safety course two years ago but had never gone hunting until Saturday.

My husband Joe and I are on our way to see the dentist in a town around 45 minutes away. Our local dentist referred Joe to this dentist, as he wasn’t sure if the tooth could be pulled or would need surgery to have it extracted. Our good friend Beth is taking us. She is always so patient when she takes us to appointments. Joe doesn’t have to work tomorrow, so he hopes to make deer jerky with some of the meat from Kevin’s deer. He has the meat marinating in the refrigerator.

Last weekend son Benjamin and daughter Loretta went salmon fishing with Loretta’s special friend Dustin’s family. They had a nice time even though they didn’t catch any salmon. A few others who were along caught salmon. It’s a big fish to catch!

Then last night Loretta went to Dustin’s parents’ house, where his family enjoyed some of the salmon that Dustin’s brother caught. The meal was also in honor of Dustin’s brother Daniel’s 17th birthday.

Our married daughters and granddaughters came home yesterday

Lovina and Joe’s horse Ginger has a five-month-old filly, Sugar, pictured here beside Buddy the border collie.

for the day. Then our sons-in-law came in the evening, and they were all here for supper before leaving for home. It’s always so fun to spend time with the sweet little granddaughters!

Recently we went to niece Emma’s special friend Menno’s house for a fish fry. We were served a delicious supper. Menno lives on the property son-in-law Timothy lived on before he was married. So it always brings back memories going to his house. It was a nice evening, and we ate outside under canopies. All our family was there along with sister Emma, Jacob and family and sisters Verena and Susan. The fish was deep fried outdoors in a propane deep-fryer. People played outdoor games such as cornhole and horseshoe toss.

I will share the recipe at the end of the column for the breading we use for fish, zucchini, onion rings or whatever you wish to deep fry. A reader requested this recipe. I have shared it already, but I’ll post it again for new readers or those of you who might have missed it.

I am having a hard time concentrating on getting this written while we are driving along such scenic roads! Leaves are starting to turn color.

Grapes are ready at the u-pick place, so the girls and I want to go pick some grapes to put into grape juice. Hopefully we can go tomorrow.

We are now sitting in the waiting room. We’re finished with all the paperwork, and I’m going to bring this column to an end until next week. God bless you all!

Batter for Deep-Fat Frying

1/2 cup milk
1 egg
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (or seasoning of your choice)

Mix together all ingredients and stir until lumps are smooth. Dip fish fillets or sliced vegetables in the batter. Drop in hot oil in a deep frying pan or Dutch oven. Fry until golden brown.

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.

Sticky lessons with Gorilla glue, and happy for supper on daughter’s patio

Head: Sticky lessons with Gorilla glue, and happy for supper on daughter’s patio

It’s 8:30 p.m. and we just came home from daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. Elizabeth made supper for us. She made cooked potatoes, cooked carrots, corn, Sloppy Joe sandwiches with ice cream for dessert. It was nice to not have to cook supper tonight. And it was a wonderful evening to eat out on their patio. Mose and daughter Susan and Jennifer also came over to eat there. Elizabeth and Susan were here today with their little sweeties Abigail and Jennifer. Elizabeth asked if we want to come over for supper so we took up the offer.

Tomorrow son Kevin and I will travel to the children’s hospital in Ann Arbor. He has an appointment with the surgeon that did our daughter’s surgeries. It’s such a big hospital and I still get turned around so I am always glad when my husband Joe can go along. This time he won’t go along as they were off so many days and with the four-day work weeks they are having he’s glad for every day he can work. Next week he will have to take a day off for a dentist appointment with a specialist and possibly have surgery to remove a tooth.

The glue that my husband Joe used to fix my washing machine hose last week gave up. Daughter Loretta and I wanted to do laundry on Monday so I used Gorilla glue to glue the end back on the hose. I didn’t know that glue swells up so when I wanted to drain the water from the wash machine it wouldn’t come out. The glue had swelled up enough to plug the whole inside of the hose. I had to break the glue back out so now before we wash clothes again the hose needs to be repaired. I did figure out that you need to use Gorilla glue sparsely.

Mornings have been foggy lately. I’m hoping it won’t be tomorrow morning when we travel the two hours to the appointment.

Our one garden is all cleared out and tilled now. Not much left in the garden anymore. Autumn begins this week already. Its always nice to finish up the canning season from the gardens. I am so thankful though for every jar that was filled and all that could be frozen.

Friday night we made a kettle of campfire stew outside in the kettle over the open fire. It was a nice evening to sit around the fire. We used fresh potatoes, green beans, and onions for the stew along with chunked steak from our freezer. It was delicious.

Our thoughts went back sixteen years ago on Monday, September 17, when dear Mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, passed away. She was in Blue Springs, Missouri, when she so suddenly passed. So far from home and we felt so helpless when we heard the news. I started penning the column after her. Joseph, 16, was just a couple months old. Mother will always be remembered. Life goes on but we still have our loved ones close in our hearts!

On our way home tonight from Timothy’s house we saw so many deer. One ran in front of our horse Midnight and startled her. But it was a very peaceful evening for a buggy ride. Signs of autumn are beginning to show on the trees. Folks are digging potatoes from the fields. Gardens are looking empty.

I will share a recipe for stuffed cabbage with you. A good way to help use up your cabbage from the garden. I always plant the late cabbage.

Until next week, God’s blessings to all!

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

1 head cabbage
1 onion finely chopped
2 tablespoons margarine
1-pound ground beef
1/2-pound ground pork (or veal)
2 cups cooked rice
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2-pound lean bacon
16-ounce can tomato sauce
8-ounce can tomatoes
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Remove core from cabbage. Scald cabbage in boiling water and remove leaves as they soften. Sauté onions in margarine very lightly; do not brown. Also sauté beef and pork. Combine meat with rice, eggs, sautéed onions, and seasoning. Mix well. Place 2 tablespoons of mixture in center of cabbage and roll. Wrap in bacon strips and insert wooden picks to hold together. Pour tomato sauce on rolls, then squeeze tomatoes from can and arrange on top of rolls. Sprinkle brown sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done.

 

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.

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.