Tag Archives: Lovina’s Amish Kitchen

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.

 

Runaway horse and buggy yank the Eicher family into a rousing new year

We spent New Year’s Day at sister Emma and husband Jacob’s house. We are four sisters in this area, and every year we all get together for a gift exchange.

Emma had a haystack brunch. A haystack brunch includes biscuits, bacon, ham, sausage, smokies, potatoes, scrambled eggs, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, hot peppers, salsa, cheese sauce and sausage gravy. The biscuits, meat and vegetables are diced. You pile whatever you want on your plate, so it’s just a little bit of everything. It always tastes good—but your “haystack” can get too big before you know it! The table was set for 26.

After breakfast dishes were washed, the girls and I had prepared a big plastic ball with gifts inserted in it, like we had for our Christmas. It was exciting to open the plastic wrap when our turn came. With 25 people around three eight-foot folding tables, it was fun and loud and lively as the ball was unwrapped. There were a few trick gifts in there that were just for laughs.

Then we exchanged our gifts. Daughter Loretta had my name. It was interesting to see who had who. I had my husband Joe’s name, but I think he suspected that I did. It’s hard to hide something from him! I gave him a zero-gravity chair, which I had had wrapped for awhile. He kept asking whose gift that was, and he wondered why I never told him whose name I had! Everyone had nice gifts to take home, and little Abigail was spoiled with extra gifts from everyone. She enjoyed tearing the wrapping paper off her gifts even though she doesn’t understand what a gift exchange is. Son Kevin had her name.

Lots of snacks were set out in the afternoon. With everyone bringing something, it added up. There were venison snack sticks, shrimp and sauce, bean dip, meat roll-ups, veggies and dip, oranges, grapefruits, clementines, cheeseball and crackers and much more. Needless to say, this was everyone’s supper as well.

Son-in-law Timothy and Mose decided to go hunting together in the evening, taking Timothy’s buggy and horse. Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail went home with daughter Susan and their horse and buggy. The girls decided to stop at a little store, and they tied up the horse, Rex, extra well because he was a little rowdy. Well, the horse somehow got himself loose. The rope was torn or bitten through. He must have backed the buggy up with no problem, and would you believe that horse actually came the three miles to our place!

One of the Eicher buggies, which is their main transportation unless going a longer distance.

A lady in a truck stopped to let the boys know that no one was in the buggy. Rex turned into our driveway, and son Benjamin ran out in front of him, waving his arms to get the horse to stop. We were all shaken up, not knowing where the girls and Abigail were. Henry and the boys and Verena decided to go to the store my daughters said they were going to stop at. When they got there, Susan had just walked out of the store and discovered the horse and buggy were gone. The rest of us were all shaken up until we knew all was well. God was watching over all of us!

On January 5 Jacob’s dad (Joe’s uncle) passed away. He was 65 years old. Our sympathy goes to the family. It’s hard parting with a loved one, but God makes no mistakes. We left home Saturday morning with Jacob and Emma and stayed in Berne, Indiana, until Monday afternoon after the funeral was over. I am sure Jacob’s mother will have many lonely days. May God be her guide in this trial in life and always!

At the viewing of Jacob’s father, we met Mr. and Mrs. Roger Muselman, who are the owners of The Berne Witness where my column is printed every week. They also are the owners of Clock Tower Inn in Berne. It was a pleasure to have a short visit with them.

I have had some requests from readers for recipes that I have not been able to find at the moment. The recipes requested are Tomato Jelly and Butter and Hot Lettuce. Would any readers have these recipes? Thanks in advance and your help is greatly appreciated!

I also want to thank readers for the cards and gifts sent to us over the holidays. May God bless you for your kindness.

Daughter Verena, 20, will have surgery on her foot on February 14 in Ann Arbor. She will have a cast on for six weeks and won’t be allowed to put any weight on her foot. This will be a hard time for her, so please keep her in your prayers. She was going to be in the spring youth program, but she won’t be able to now.

God bless you all!

Banana Cheesecake

Crust:
1 1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/3 cup butter, melted

 Filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup banana, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 eggs

Topping:
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla

For the crust, mix crust ingredients and press into a 9-inch springform pan and two inches up the sides. Bake at 350 degrees for 18–20 minutes until golden brown. Cool.

To make filling, beat cream cheese, banana, sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and continue beating. Pour into baked crust. Bake until center is almost set, about 35–45 minutes.

 Stir topping ingredients together. Spread over baked cheesecake and continue baking 10 minutes more. Cool well for several hours.

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.

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

By Lovina Eicher, age 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peanut Butter Fudge

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

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

 

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

 

 

Verena writes about her recent birthday “mystery supper”

A birthday “mystery supper”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

White Christmas Cookies

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

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

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

 

Eichers attend early “Bethlehem” play by the Amish community

Eichers attend early “Bethlehem” play by the Amish community

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hamburger Vegetable Soup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Banana Chocolate Chip Sheet Cake

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

Frosting:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God’s blessings to you!

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

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

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

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