Tag Archives: maple syrup

Supper, brunch, and maple syrup: Spring brings school celebrations and rising sap

We are at the end of March already. Temperatures are staying above the freezing mark on most days.

Tuesday evening our whole family attended the exit interviews for the eighth-grade class. Once again Mr. Ultz did an outstanding job having the 23 eighth graders make supper for all their families. On the menu were potatoes, ham, green beans, dinner rolls, and a salad bar, along with brownies and ice cream for dessert. As we finished up with our meal, comedian speaker Craig Tornquist entertained the group. Mr. Ultz has been teaching at the school for 46 or 47 years and Craig has been entertaining and speaking to the eighth-grade class for 20 years at our school. We were then able to watch daughter Lovina, 14, and the other eighth graders present their portfolios to the teacher.

Even though we have done this with our other children, it is always fun each time. Abigail and Jennifer were amazed at all the bright lights in the gymnasium and at everything in the middle school classroom. Son-in-law Tim took Abigail outside for a while on the playground. She had lots to tell us when she came back inside.

Yesterday my sisters Verena, Emma, and Susan, nieces Elizabeth and Emma and baby Jessica, my daughters Elizabeth and Susan, along with their children, all came here for a brunch and to just spend time together.

My friend Ann from Grand Rapids, Michigan, came to spend the day with us as well. And then we also had a surprise visit from Uncle Joe and Aunt Betty from Geneva, Indiana.

Usually, when we are all together, we are working on cleaning or something, and I thought we all needed this break and time to catch up. It was enjoyable, and now with my three grandchildren and sister Emma’s first grandchild, it is quite entertaining.

On our menu for brunch was a breakfast casserole, cheese, homemade bread, butter and jellies, hot peppers, also lots of desserts, as everyone brought something. Cherry, blackberry, and rhubarb pies, Reese’s peanut butter pudding, cherry-blueberry delight, and cake were the desserts, and of course it was much more than we could eat. Coffee, grape and orange juice, V-8 juice, milk, and lemonade were the drinks.

Joe and I, along with my sisters Verena and Susan, attended the funeral services of Joe’s aunt Mary Jane in Berne, Indiana, on Saturday. This is sister-in-law Nancy’s mother. It was a big funeral and we saw a lot of Joe’s aunts and uncles and cousins we don’t see often.

Before starting home we stopped in to visit with sister Liz and Levi. They were busy processing a beef. Their son Levi Jr. and Arlene and baby Ella Nicole were also there helping. Levi and Liz had four children, and now with three of them married they only have their youngest daughter, Suzanne, 18, at home with them. I can’t imagine our house that empty, and I hope it won’t be for many years.

My husband Joe is still looking around and waiting to hear an answer on another job. Meanwhile he’s getting work done around here that needs to be done.

Lovina’s sons-in-law Tim and Mose have cooked many gallons of sap into maple syrup this spring.

Sons-in-law Tim and Mose have cooked many gallons of sap into maple syrup this spring. It is a good year for maple syrup and they are running around 30 gallons of sap to one gallon of maple syrup.

Son Kevin, 13, is back to school this week after his surgery on his right foot. The county bus picks him up and drops him off every day. They have a lift for his wheelchair. Next week is spring break so he has a break again.

We are starting to clean for our upcoming church services that we will host in early May. Daughter Lovina remarked that she already knows what she will be doing on spring break.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Cappuccino Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

In a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, combine the milk and instant coffee granules; stir until dissolved. Cool the melted butter for a few minutes. Add the egg and vanilla to the butter and mix lightly. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Do not overmix! Fold in mini chocolate chips. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 375 degrees for 17–20 minutes.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Spring garage sales yield bountiful bargains

Joseph, 13, Lovina, 11, and Kevin, 10, went back to school this week after being off a week for spring break. The weather wasn’t anything spring-like! We had several inches of snow and cold weather most of the week.

Our three sons—Benjamin, Joseph, and Kevin—attended hunter’s safety classes and field day. It was cold and snowing that Saturday. All three boys came home excited that they passed the safety course. That made all the homework they did on hunting worth all the time and effort they put into it. Kevin was excited that he got to shoot off a shotgun. He had never shot more than a BB gun. Kevin came home telling us all about the rules he learned. I was really surprised that they all passed. This will make me feel better when they go hunting with someone, but accidents can still happen. You can’t be careful enough when hunting.

Daughter Verena has been going with my sister Verena on housecleaning jobs the last few weeks. I miss her help here at home. Verena, 18, is glad to earn a little extra cash, as she is saving up to buy a Yorkie puppy. She loves dogs and has always wanted her own puppy. They are expensive, so she is saving every penny.

While the children were on spring break, sisters Verena and Susan brought supper in for us one evening. They brought wings to put on the grill for hot wings and also jalapeño and banana poppers to grill. Along with that we had steamed potatoes, dandelion sour cream salad, and sliced Colby cheese. They brought this as a thank you to the children for doing their chores while they were in Florida earlier this spring.

Daughter Susan, 20, has her evenings busy training her pony, Tough Boy. Son Benjamin is helping her get him started, as he’s a little too much for a girl to handle. Tough Boy is giving her a hard time with the training. They are able to hitch him to the pony cruiser now and drive him on the road. This helps wear him down so he’s not so rowdy. I really do hope he will turn out to be a good pony for Susan. She has run a lot of miles behind that pony already, teaching him the commands for driving.

My sister Emma, daughters Loretta and Elizabeth and I had a fun day “garage saling” at some Amish houses in a community about a half hour from here. There were around 26 garage sales all within a few county road blocks. We had a lot of fun and got a lot of bargains. I feel like I saved myself weeks of sewing. I bought around 20 pants for the three boys. Some are for Ben to work in, some are for the boys to wear to school and quite a few are good dress pants. I could never have made all these for this price. The pants were anywhere from 50 cents to four dollars apiece. I also was able to get quite a few dresses for the girls.

The Eichers grilled thirty pounds of chicken when they had guests on Friday evening.
The Eichers grilled 30 pounds of chicken when they had guests on Friday evening.

Friday evening our supper guests were Joe’s sister Christine, her husband Jake and their nine children from Hersey, Michigan. Our whole family was home as well, so we had a nice time together. Joe grilled 30 pounds of chicken and the girls and I made pizza casserole.

Christine brought the dessert: dirt pudding and chocolate chip cookies. Joe’s sister Loretta and Henry were going to come but ended up at home with sick children.

God’s blessings! This week I’ll share the recipe for maple morning muffins.

Maple Morning Muffins

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup maple syrup

Combine flour, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, sour cream and maple syrup. Spoon batter into greased or paper-lined muffin tins, about 2/3 full.

Streusel topping:

1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter

Mix together and sprinkle on top of muffin batter.

Bake at 400 degrees 20–25 minutes or until done. Serve warm from the oven with butter. Makes 12 muffins.

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.

Time Enough: Signs of spring and a new baby “Lovina”!

Our time changed to what we call “fast time” on Sunday. I do not like the changing of clocks back and forth. I wish it would stay one way or the other.

My husband Joe tilled one of our gardens on Saturday. He is getting spring fever and is eager to get some potatoes planted. I on the other hand think we have enough time yet. Joe and sons Benjamin, 16, Joseph, 13, and Kevin, 10, have the yard raked and it’s ready to be rolled. We had a big truck get stuck in our yard. He thought he could drive through it and it was already too soft so it needs some straightening out.

I noticed the dandelion greens are peeping through enough where Idandelion.salad think I can get enough for a dandelion salad. We like to put this salad on top of steamed potatoes with bacon or fresh ham. Not all of our children will eat dandelion greens. Rhubarbs are peeping through—all signs of spring around us.

ice.cream&maple.syrupMose (daughter Susan’s friend) has pulled the taps from the maple trees. Maple syrup cooking is now over with for another year. The maple syrup has a really good flavor this year. I tried eating it on ice cream for the first time. They were telling me how good it is and I just didn’t think it would be that good. I really did like it.

Saturday morning I had a voicemail from nephew Joe Coblentz. This is brother Albert’s son. He wanted to let me know that he and Amanda had their third child Friday evening, a little girl they named Lovina! So now their daughter has the same name as I did until I married Joe: Lovina Coblentz. Nephew Joe laughed and said, “Now it’s going to cost you.” It looks like I better get sewing and make something special for this sweet little baby that shares my name. Joe and Amanda have three children now: Susannah, Harley, and baby Lovina.

Tuesday the women from several church districts gathered at an Amish family’s home to quilt on two quilts that will be donated to the Community Health Center benefit auction. Everyone packed their lunch. I love quilting so it’s always enjoyable to me. We all stopped to eat our lunch together, and then continued quilting.

There are ten church districts in our community so every district is scheduled to quilt a certain day. When we got there the quilts weren’t started yet. Both quilts had a very nice pattern but I’m not sure what the one was called. One of them was a diamond pattern. The one I quilted had feathers around the edge. We were all glad to get the feathers quilted and move on to some faster stitching further in on the quilt.

Yesterday I spent part of the day in a town about one-half hour from here by car. A friend took Kevin and I. Kevin’s leg braces had to be adjusted and he hadn’t been able to wear them. He wore them to school today and hopefully they won’t bother him. I told him if they bother him to take them off. It’s always hard to get a new pair worn in. He doesn’t like wearing them at all but the doctors really think we might be able to prevent surgery. They were really happy at the results at his last doctor visit. Kevin is not so happy about it. He did not have a good morning. The braces slow him down and he just gets all frustrated about it.

I’ll share my recipe for dandelion sour cream salad this week.

God’s blessings!

Dandelion Sour Cream Salad

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups whole milk
salt
4 hard-boiled eggs, diced
4 cups packed young dandelion greens

Combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, milk, and salt to taste in a quart jar. Shake until smooth. Put the eggs, and dandelion greens in a large bowl and pour the sour cream mixture over them.

 

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.

Lovina makes homemade mozzarella for the first time

A rainy March day as I write this! Monday it snowed enough to cover the ground with snow again. The rain this morning made all the snow disappear. It is 38 degrees so hopefully the rain helps take some of the frost away in the ground.

Eleven years ago we moved to Michigan in March, and there was still quite a bit of snow on the ground that year. Our horse Itty Bit had a foal six days after we moved. We named the filly Ginger and she is our family horse now. We still have Itty Bit too.

Mose’s grandpa Ezra, age 87, died on Friday evening. His funeral was on Tuesday. We attended the viewing/visitation on Sunday evening. Our sympathy goes to the family. May God be with them as they face this difficult trial in life. Ezra’s brother Martin died not even two weeks before.

On Friday evening and Saturday we cooked down all the sap into maple syrup. This time we ended up with two and one-half gallons of maple syrup. We now have over four gallons of maple syrup that Mose boiled off from our trees.

CannedMapleSyrup

One evening this week we had pancakes, eggs, and sausage with the fresh maple syrup. It has a very good flavor.

Yesterday I tried my first attempt at making cheese. I used a recipe for mozzarella cheese that niece Marlene Troyer gave to me. It seemed to work out well, but it is time consuming. Maybe once I get used to the steps I’ll be able to make it faster. Thanks to the readers who sent cheese recipes to me. I would like to try different kinds. Our cow Bessie keeps giving us all the milk we need and more. My husband Joe wants to get a few little pigs to feed the excess milk to.

The Eicher family cow provided milk to make mozarella cheese.

The week of April 6 our children will be home from school for spring break and they are excited. Hopefully it will be a nice warm week. They have a little over eight weeks of school left for this term. Daughter Loretta is going to graduate from eighth grade this year so she is super excited. The long school days wear her out so it will be nicer for her when she doesn’t have to leave every day.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan had a few days off of work. They were sewing on most of their time off.

Timothy and Elizabeth will be evening servers at a wedding in May. Seems the sewing is endless. Elizabeth sewed Loretta a new dress which brought a smile to Loretta’s face. Elizabeth received a sewing machine and cabinet from Timothy one year. She spends all her spare time sewing. She is really getting fast. It doesn’t take her long to cut out a dress and sew it.

I’ll share the mozzarella cheese recipe this week. God bless you all!

MozarellaCheeseEdited

Mozzarella Cheese

2 gallons cold whole milk
3 teaspoons citric acid
1/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup cold water
1/3 rennet tablet
2 quarts water
1/2 cup salt

Put milk in a large container. Dissolve citric acid in 1/4 cup cold water, then add to cold milk. Mix well and keep stirring until heated to 90 to 95 degrees. Remove from heat; add 1/4 cup cold water and rennet tablet. Stir well then let set for 1/2 hour. Cut into squares with a long bladed knife. Let set 5 to 10 minutes. Heat to 110 degrees. Continue stirring to keep curds from sticking. Remove from heat and let sit 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile heat 2 quarts of water with 1/2 cup salt to 175 degrees. Drain cheese in colander for 15 minutes. Cut or pull cheese apart into small cubes and put in a large bowl. Add hot salt water; use wooden spoon to stretch cheese in upward motion until soft and springy. Drain in colander. Knead a little bit as you would bread; put in container to cool. Bread pans work well. Very good!

 

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.