Tag Archives: potatoes

Verena’s vacation memorable, but she’s happy to be home with family

Dear Readers,

This is Verena, age 19. My mother asked me to write the column this week. Recently my life has been so busy with working Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the daycare. I also babysit for my friend’s three little boys whenever they need a sitter. I love children, so it makes me happy that my job includes taking care of many sweet little angels! With most of the children at the daycare being age five and under, it takes lots and lots of patience. The children are at such a tender, young, innocent age. I feel blessed to be able to care for them.

I recently took a trip to Rhode Island with a lady I work for at the daycare center. We traveled with a group. Our trip started on April 2. We left Michigan before daylight, traveling through Indiana, Ohio, and on into Pennsylvania. We stayed the first night in Pittsburgh. We had such beautiful scenery from our eleventh-floor hotel room. The hotel was twenty stories high.

Verena loved creating a special crayon wrapper for baby Abigail at the Crayola factory in Easton, Pa.

On Monday, we traveled to Easton, Pa., and toured the Crayola factory. We were able to play a few games and work with art. I was able to make two crayons of my own and could name the color on the crayon. I chose the names Abigail Elizabeth and Verena for my colors.

That evening we slept in New York City. The lights after dark are absolutely amazing. There is such a big difference between the lifestyles in a big city and the lifestyle I know as an Amish country girl!

On Tuesday, we left New York City around 6:00 a.m. and drove to Newport, R.I. By the time we reached Rhode Island we had traveled through nine states. We drove along the Atlantic Ocean and then crossed the bridge to Rhode Island. The scenery was such perfect artwork created by our wonderful God. The ocean is always amazing to see and makes us feel so small.

We stayed in Rhode Island two nights (Tuesday and Wednesday) in a nice hotel. We enjoyed swimming and relaxing in the hot tub. A few from our group took a three-mile walk along the ocean. I walked along the beach and saw seashells scattered about.

While in Rhode Island we went to the Audrain Auto Museum. It was quite something to see. We then drove to Shawnee on Delaware, in Pennsylvania. Shawnee on Delaware is an unincorporated community on the Delaware River, a part of Smithfield Township in Monroe County. We stayed in a cabin in the woods at the Shawnee Village Resort. It was a very nice place to stay.

Saturday, April 9, we started out and were going to stay the night in Ashland, Ohio, but decided to drive all the way home instead. I was so glad to reach home that night yet. I missed my family so much. It is nice to go on a vacation, but there is nothing like home and family. I was thankful that we had safe travels and a safe driver. I will forever remember this trip.

On Sunday I stayed home and rested all day while the rest of the family went to church. Later in the day our family—sister Elizabeth, Timothy and Abigail, Mose and Susan, Dustin, and aunts Verena and Susan—all went to Uncle Jacob and Aunt Emma’s for supper and an egg hunt. I was happy to see my little niece Abigail again. It was a great night with family. Like usual, we all enjoyed looking for the eggs. Supper was campfire stew, fresh grilled ham, cheese, crackers, cherry delight, Swiss roll bars, fruit dip, apples and grapes.

I’m getting excited for Saturday. I will be getting my Teacup Yorkshire Terrier puppy, Ricky. I have his bed and everything set up for him.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure. God bless!

I will share the recipe for skillet casserole. I made if for our supper tonight. I don’t add the carrots and I wait to add the cheese until the potatoes are soft. It’s a very good casserole!

Skillet Casserole

1 pound raw ground beef
5 medium potatoes, grated
1 onion, diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
6 or more cheese slices

Spread the ground beef on the bottom of a large skillet. Place potatoes on top of meat and then add a layer of onions. Pour the soup over top, and add slices of cheese over the whole casserole. Cover skillet and simmer for 40 minutes. Optional: diced carrots can also be added as a layer on top of the potatoes.

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 Kitchen, will be published in 2017, 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.

 

Remembering an Amish father’s legacy of faith and work and reading

If my dad were still living, he would turn 85 years old today. But God had other plans, and Dad passed away in May 2000, at the age of 69. Every year on his birthday we still remember what day it is.

My dad left me a legacy of wonderful memories and of precious love. My dad was quiet in a group, but if you knew him, you would find him cracking a few jokes and find he had a sense of humor. Dad grew up in a family of 13 children. He was the third oldest. There were three girls and ten boys. Dad found out early in life how to work, and it stayed with him all his life. He was an early riser and never liked going to bed late. If he did have free time, he loved taking care of his purple martin birdhouses or reading. I inherited my love of reading from him. If he found a good book, he would always ask me if I wanted to read the book. Dad loved to read educational books and learn new things.

Dad passed away about five weeks before we had Loretta. Benjamin, 16, doesn’t remember him but the older girls remember him for teasing them a lot.

I’ll never forget when our first son, Benjamin, was born. I had him at home, with Joe’s aunt Sylvia being my midwife. Mom was also there, and after Benjamin was born, Dad and my sister Verena brought our daughters Elizabeth, Susan, and Verena back home to meet their new little brother. At first they didn’t want to look at the baby, and we couldn’t figure out why. Finally they said, “Well, Grandpa said that we have a brother now and that he will be able to handle all three of us.” They couldn’t figure out how that could be when they saw little 4-pound, 13-ounce Benjamin! We had a good laugh about it. Benjamin is not so “little” anymore, and is taller than all his sisters.

My uncle Emanuel’s birthday is also today. He is a year older than dad. If you get to read this, Uncle Emanuel, I wish you a happy 86th birthday! May God bless you and Aunt Leah with good health!

I had the privilege of visiting with Emanuel and Leah in Marysville at Uncle Benji’s viewing. Their daughter, cousin Emma, lives in Salem, Indiana, and was also at the viewing. I hadn’t seen Emma in years. After we looked more than once, we recognized each other. My thoughts are with Emma, as she has been a widow for almost nine years. A few years before she lost her husband, their almost 15-year-old son was killed. Emma has twelve children living yet, with all but a few married, if I am correct.

Yesterday the girls and I attended sister Emma’s Tupperware party. She served a delicious lunch to everybody afterwards. We picked up daughter Elizabeth to go with us to the party. Then in the evening Timothy and Elizabeth came here for supper.

Timothy is on crutches and will probably be off work for several weeks yet. A week ago he was cutting a piece of log with a chainsaw when it somehow slipped and went through his shoe, cutting right into his foot. He goes to get it checked out every few days. Elizabeth changes the bandages every six hours around the clock. It’s been very hard for him to sit quietly, especially knowing there isn’t any income coming in and the payments are still due every month. I told them God will provide if they keep their trust in him, although I do understand their concern.  Accidents like that can happen so fast. Hopefully it will heal quickly and without too much nerve damage in his foot.

We wish God’s blessings and good health to everyone. This week I’ll share the recipe for pepper steak potatoes. A good winter evening meal!

Pepper Steak Potatoes

5 small potatoes, cut into slices
1/2 cup water
1 pound beef steaks, cut into strips
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium green pepper, cut into strips
1 small onion, chopped
pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup beef broth

Cook potatoes in water until tender. Sauté beef and garlic in oil until meat is no longer pink. Remove and keep warm. Drain drippings. In the same skillet, sauté pepper and onion. Return beef to pan and add potatoes and pepper. In a small saucepan, combine cornstarch and broth until smooth. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened. Drizzle over meat mixture and toss.

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.

Mild, dreary holiday weather has Eichers hoping for colder, sunnier days

Monday evening: supper is over, and everyone is relaxing for the evening. It is Christmas week already. Only a few days of 2015 left!

Daughter Susan is on a two-week break from the RV factory. The school has also closed its doors for two weeks. My husband, Joe, worked today but is now off work until January 4 as well. These two weeks will fly by so fast. Along with the holidays, we are also cleaning for church services, which will be held here in four weeks.

On Sunday our church district had our annual Christmas potluck dinner after church services. As usual, there was more than enough food. There were five different casseroles, all kinds of salads and desserts.

Tomorrow is my husband Joe’s forty-seventh birthday. His birthday always comes so close to the holidays. We want to have our family all together in honor of his birthday, but it doesn’t look like it will work for everyone until this coming weekend.

The last few weeks we have had rainy and dreary weather. This is making it hard for our solar panels to keep our battery pack charged. We have been using a generator to help charge the batteries. It is surprising how just one day of sunlight helps with the solar panels! We are always especially thankful for a sunshiny day since our water, freezer, and other items depend on the sun. Usually, we would have snowy weather in December, which makes the whole world seem brighter. The local newspaper said this December is making a record of being the warmest in December in years.

On Saturday morning the roads were covered in ice until the temperature rose and melted most of it. A lot of vehicles went off the road due to the slippery conditions. We had a friend take us to do some Christmas shopping around noon, and it was still really slippery. Now today it rained most of the day, with the temperature reaching 50 degrees. Joe turned our coal stove down as far as he can without it going out, and we still have to open a few windows. We are really saving on coal so far. I wonder if our whole winter will be this mild. I really am hoping we will get some colder weather, as it makes it nicer to butcher beef and pork. We will take whatever God sends for us and be thankful.

I wish all of you readers a merry Christmas. May God be with all of you this holiday season. I wish good health and safe travels to everyone. God bless all of you!

Delicious Fall Salad

6-8 slices bacon
3 cups sweet potatoes, thinly sliced
8 cups Chinese cabbage, chopped
Italian dressing

Fry and crumble bacon. Fry sweet potatoes in bacon grease, stirring several times until soft with crispy edges. Add crumbled bacon and fry several more minutes. Layer Chinese cabbage in a wide, shallow serving bowl. Top with hot bacon mixture. Do not stir. Serve immediately with Italian dressing.

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.

 

Gift exchange, school program, and potluck accent Eicher family Christmas

I am already a day late in writing this column. December is going way too fast for me! Christmas is almost upon us.

Tonight is the elementary Christmas program at our school. It is the last Christmas program with one of our children in it. Kevin will be in middle school next year—a fifth grader already! Kevin’s class is having a gift exchange, so he was excited to take his wrapped gift this morning. They don’t have a particular person’s name. Instead, the boys take a gift for a boy and the girls take a gift for a girl. This seems easier than keeping a secret from their friends about whose name they have.

We will have our Christmas with our family a day early, on December 24. Susan’s friend Mose’s family is getting together on Christmas day, so we decided to have it a day earlier. Our children don’t have any complaints about getting their gifts early!

Everyone will be here for supper on December 23, and then we give the gifts the next morning. I usually make a breakfast casserole the evening before so I can put it in the oven to heat while we open gifts. Such precious memories we make on a day like that. We need to take time to remember and thank God for sending Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Lovina and her daughters have been extra busy sewing clothes for Christmas gifts.
Lovina and her daughters have been extra busy sewing clothes for Christmas gifts.

Our day is usually spent enjoying our new gifts, playing games, and just enjoying being all together as a family. Our loved ones who have passed away always remain in our hearts on days like this.

Our family, sister Emma, Jacob and family, and sisters Verena and Susan always exchange names every year. We will get together on New Year’s Day for a Christmas dinner together. My parents always had our family home on New Year’s Day for breakfast and dinner and snacks before everyone left. Some of us would go the evening before and spend the night there. Since my extended family usually gets together in the summer months, it is nice for us four sisters here in Michigan to get together around the holidays.

Our church on Sunday will be at neighbors David and Barb. We will have our annual potluck dinner after the Christmas services on Sunday. I will take a tater tot casserole. Sister Liz had this recipe in our family cookbook that sisters Verena and Susan put together. I have made it a few times and the children enjoy it.

God bless you all!

Tater Tot Casserole

2 pounds tater tots
1 pint sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 soup cans milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound Velveeta cheese
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups cornflakes or crushed Ritz crackers
1/2 cup melted margarine

Put tater tots in bottom of casserole dish. Mix together sour cream, soup, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over tater tots. Fry ground beef and onion together. Top casserole with cheese, ground beef and onions. Sprinkle with cornflakes or cracker crumbs mixed with melted margarine. Bake at 350° for 45–60 minutes.

Variation: Cooked potatoes can be used instead of tater tots. This makes a large casserole. You can’t go wrong with a recipe like this—more or less of anything won’t hurt. Sometimes I put taco seasoning in the ground beef and crush Doritos on top instead of cornflakes.

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.

 

Wedding, a new buggy horse “Mighty,” and birthday highlight week

The sun is shining bringing a little warmth with the chilly weather. Our mercury on the thermometer dipped down all the way to 35 degrees this morning. Brrr! Without heat in the house it felt good to wear a sweater. Even Izzy (Elizabeth’s Yorkie) is trying to find a spot to lie where the sun is shining into the house. This is the second day of this cool weather. I’m hoping the rest of the week will be warmer as we would like to put the rest of my garden out.

Today is Elizabeth’s last day of work at the factory until June 1. They get Friday and next week off and tomorrow she is taking the day off to go to her friend Linda’s wedding. Timothy and Elizabeth will be evening servers at the wedding. Elizabeth has to wear mint green and Timothy a white shirt with black pants and vest.

Next week is nephew John’s wedding and Elizabeth and Verena’s teal colored dresses have to be cut out and sewn yet. Timothy also needs to wear a teal color shirt for this wedding. Elizabeth will sew all three outfits so I’m so glad she gets some time off.

The wedding of nephew Levi and Barbara is now history. We arrived home around 11:00 p.m. A little over four hours later my husband Joe had to get up to go work at the factory. Needless to say, he was ready for an early bedtime Friday evening.

It was a nice, cool and sunny day for the wedding. Fried chicken was on the menu so the cool weather made it easier on the cooks that had to fry the chicken. My job was to help with the mashed potatoes. They had over fifty cooks so it didn’t seem like I had too much to do that day. Daughter Verena was a table waiter and had to wear light blue. The cooks all wore royal blue.

Typically the table waiters are given gifts for their service similar to the ones you see here. The middle one in white was given to Verena by Levi and Barbara.

TableWaiterGift3TableWaiterGift1TableWaiterGift2

All eight of us siblings were at the wedding. Brother Amos had a three year old horse at the wedding that he trained and was going to sell. Joe and I decided to buy him as we are in need of another horse. His name is “Mighty” and is a very gentle horse. Nieces Elizabeth and Emma’s special friends, Menno and Manuel, brought “Mighty” along up with them to our house on Friday evening. It was greatly appreciated.

Joe and I took Mighty to town on Saturday to get groceries. He’s so calm around the traffic and the farm equipment. That means a lot to have a horse who handles traffic well, keeping us safe and sound.

Daughter Lovina had her eleventh birthday on Monday May 18. She wanted to make her own cake. She used a heart-shaped pan. I helped her decorate it.

LovinaDaughter11thBirthdayCakeWe had grilled hamburgers and macaroni and cheese along with the cake and ice cream in honor of her birthday. Joseph, 12, and Lovina made cheddar and sour cream popcorn for Lovina to take to school to treat her classmates. Some of her classmates asked her to bring the popcorn that she makes for a birthday treat.

On Friday evening, Mose (Susan’s friend) brought brats and grilled them for our supper. Then on Saturday Timothy (Elizabeth’s friend) deep-fried blue gill fish for our supper. Elizabeth made French fries to go with the fish. I appreciated getting out of the cooking several nights.

Friday, Rhoda (a friend of our daughters), brought lunch for the men working here on our pole building. Her boyfriend Nate works with the crew and she wanted to surprise him. She served ranch potatoes, sloppy joe sandwiches, pork and beans, ice cream, and cake. I’ll share her recipe for ranch potatoes.

Ranch Potatoes

6 – 8 potatoes, peeled and chunked
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
2 tablespoons parsley
1 cup shredded cheese (plus extra for top)

Cook potatoes in salt water just until tender. Drain and set aside. Combine other ingredients; toss gently with potatoes. Place in greased 9×13 baking dish. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Bake at 350° for 40 to 45 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.

 

 

 

Remembering an uncle and enjoying an autumn haystack meal

Another week has passed, and it is time to get this column on its way.

Last Friday around 8:30 a.m. sisters Verena and Susan; sister Emma and her husband Jacob; and my husband, Joe, and I hired a driver with a minivan to take us to Lafayette, Ind., to Uncle Andy’s funeral. It took us more than three hours of driving time each way. All but two of Dad’s eight siblings made it to the funeral. Dad came from a family of three girls and ten boys, but eight of the boys are left now. It is sad to see the group of siblings get smaller. It was 7:30 p.m. until we made it back home safe and sound.

Baptismal church services were held at Emma and Jacob’s house on Sunday to take in two young souls as members. The services were held in a big pole barn. As baptismal church services are usually bigger in attendance, another bench wagon was borrowed from a neighboring district.

Amish baptism services are larger than normal church services, so extra benches like these are brought on the bench wagon to the house or barn where the special church service will be held.
Amish baptism services are larger than normal church services, so extra benches like these are brought on the bench wagon to the house or barn where the special church service will be held.

There were a lot of people to serve lunch to, but we had plenty of everything. Sixty-four loaves of white and wheat bread were brought in. Also on the menu were bologna, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, freezer pickles, dill pickles, pickled red beets, sliced tomatoes, strawberry jam, butter, coffee, and iced tea. There were also various kinds of cookies, such as sugar, oatmeal, chocolate chip, and chocolate crinkles.

Some of the church families and the youth were invited back for supper and singing. We had a haystack meal. A haystack is a variety of vegetables, toppings, and hamburger with taco seasoning. Sister Emma’s version consisted of layers of crushed Saltine crackers, hamburger, rice, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, chopped green peppers and onions, crushed tortilla chips, cheese sauce, and salsa. Dessert was a fresh fruit mixture of watermelon, muskmelon, grapes, and apples, as well as M&M bars, peanut butter swirl bars, Jell-O cake, and ice cream.

Daughters Elizabeth, 20, and Susan, 18, didn’t have work at the factory this week. Elizabeth is sewing her dress, cape, and apron and Timothy’s shirt for niece Elizabeth’s wedding in Berne, Ind., next week. Timothy and Elizabeth will be table waiters at the wedding. Daughter Verena, 16, will also be a table waiter at the wedding. I have her dress suit (the dress, cape, and apron) cut out but still need to sew it. The color they will wear is raspberry. I will help cook and need to wear a burgundy-colored dress suit. I still need to cut them out. It seems the weeks slip by so fast, and the wedding is suddenly closer than you think!

Lovina has been busy sewing dresses for her and her daughters for a family wedding next week. This is the dress her daughter Verena will wear as a “table waiter,” or server, at the wedding meal.
Lovina has been busy sewing dresses for her and her daughters for a family wedding next week. This is the dress her daughter Verena will wear as a “table waiter,” or server, at the wedding meal.

I need to take Joseph to his post-op checkup tomorrow. He still seems to be gaining back his health.

The girls are making bacon, scrambled eggs, and toast for our supper. I should be helping, but wanted to get this column done so I can start sewing early tomorrow morning.

Recently we picked up a lot of potatoes that the potato-picking machine missed from a neighbor’s field. They are not keepers, so we needed to get them used up. We shredded some of the potatoes to put in the freezer so that we can use them in casseroles later. This recipe is another good way to use them up. God’s blessings!

Seasoned Potato Wedges

  •  6 large potatoes, sliced into wedges
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

Beat egg and milk. Combine flour and seasonings. Dip potatoes into egg-and-milk mixture. Dust with flour mixture. Place single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil. Bake at 450° for 20–25 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.