Tag Archives: rhubarb

With husband and children on vacation, Lovina serves up extra recipes

We recently butchered our old laying hens and canned around fifty quarts of chicken broth. My husband, Joe, and our children are home on vacation the week of July 4. So this week I’m sharing some extra recipes.

The Eicher family canned chicken broth this week—a staple for use at Amish weddings.

God’s blessings to all!

A reader recently requested a recipe for red velvet cake made with beets. Here is the recipe.

 

Red Velvet Cake with Beets

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup pureed, cooked beets
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Sift flour and baking powder together. In another large bowl, whisk together sugar, buttermilk, beets, oil, eggs, cocoa powder, food coloring, vanilla, vinegar, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture gradually to the bowl, stirring after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake about 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

A reader also requested the recipe for Cherry Delight.

Cherry Delight

1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups whipped topping
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 28-ounce can cherry pie filling (or 1 quart canned cherry pie filling)

In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and 1 tablespoon sugar. Spread on bottom of a 9 x 9-inch baking pan to form a crust. Beat together whipped topping and cream cheese, adding remaining sugar and vanilla until well blended. Smooth on top of crust. Top with cherry pie filling. Chill at least 3 hours.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon to coat the berries
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup rhubarb, chopped
1 cup strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and oil until smooth. Add the egg, yogurt and almond extract to the sugar mixture and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the first four dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet mixture. Add the chopped rhubarb and strawberries and lightly mix in. Place paper liners in muffin tins. Use a 1/4 cup scoop to fill the liners. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on the top of each muffin. Bake for 12–14 minutes or until golden on top. Makes 18 muffins.

 

Sunday Brunch Casserole

1/2 pound bacon, sliced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
12 eggs
1 cup milk
1 16-ounce package frozen hash browns, thawed
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dill weed

In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon; crumble and set aside. In the drippings, sauté onion and green pepper until tender; remove with a slotted spoon. Beat eggs and milk in a large bowl. Stir in hash browns, cheese, salt, pepper, dill weed, onion, green pepper and bacon. Transfer to a greased 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35–45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Yields 6–8 servings.

 

Also, I need to make several corrections to the Blueberry Cobbler recipe that appeared in my column in newspapers and online the week of June 19-23. Several readers alerted me to some problems, and I have made some revisions. Thanks for your feedback!

Blueberry Cobbler

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup milk

Topping:
2 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar

Combine ingredients in a bowl, mix together and spread batter in a 7 x 11-inch pan or 2-quart baking dish. Mix together blueberries and sugar; pour over batter and bake at 350 degrees for 45–60 minutes or until done. Try with different types of fruit.

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, 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.

Pie-baking, wagon-riding and book-signing usher in the month of June

We turn another page on the calendar today. Month number six already in 2017!

Tomorrow is the big day for niece Rosa and Menno. I wish them many happy, healthy years together. May God be their guide through the good and bad times in their marriage. It takes effort from both sides to make a marriage happy. And most of all, it takes prayers! Life doesn’t get easier as the years speed by. But I do think we get wiser from life’s experiences.

I am writing this column a few minutes after 4:00 a.m. Just a few short hours ago I went to bed—or so it seems. After I was in bed last night, it dawned on me that I hadn’t written the column this week. So I sat back up and reset my alarm clock for 4:00 a.m. this morning instead of 5:00 a.m. I must admit it has been nice setting our alarm at 5:00 a.m. instead of 3:00 a.m. this week. My husband, Joe, has off from work this week, so he’s getting caught up on spring work outside.

This morning at 6:00 a.m. my sisters Verena, Susan, Emma and I will drive the two hours to sister Liz and Levi’s house. Today is pie-baking day for Rosa’s wedding. It’s also the day for finishing everything else that needs to be done before the wedding tomorrow.

Daughter Elizabeth and I are both cooks, but Elizabeth decided not to go today. She thought that, with little Abigail, she might not be so much help anyway. Also it will be a long day for her tomorrow. We are to wear the color beige. Daughter Verena is a tablewaiter and will wear an ocean-blue dress. Son Benjamin is also a tablewaiter and will wear an ocean-blue shirt with black pants and vest. We are hoping for a nice day tomorrow weatherwise.

Our family spent Saturday evening and Sunday at daughter Elizabeth and Timothy’s. Sunday we went on a wagon ride. Son Joseph and Lovina would get off the wagon sometimes and ride their RipStiks.

Son-in-law Mose has been taking over duties to get the garden planted this year. We are enjoying radishes and green onions from the garden. Lettuce is almost ready to use. Asparagus and rhubarb are also plentiful. I appreciate Mose’s help. This is the first year I have not helped plant the garden since we were married, which was almost twenty-four years ago. I am enjoying it, I must say.

Yesterday we did laundry. We usually wash Mose and Susan’s laundry right with ours. After we were finished, we washed my sisters Verena and Susan’s clothes for them. They were working, and so was daughter Susan. It was a very nice day to dry clothes.

It was so nice to meet the readers in Battle Creek, Mich., this past Saturday. My husband decided to go fishing, and so did sons-in-law Timothy and Mose. So daughters Elizabeth (and Abigail), Susan and Verena went with me to Battle Creek. And once again my friend Ruth put her duties aside and took the time to take us to the book signing.

Thanks for all the encouragement from readers. I enjoyed meeting all of you. Little Abigail was happy through most of the signing. She is so precious!

This week Lovina offers the recipe for this Make-Ahead Casserole, which she took along to her sister’s house for a day of preparation for her niece’s wedding.

I am making a casserole to take to sister Liz’s today. It’s called Make-Ahead Casserole. I will share the recipe this week. The instructions aren’t detailed; all the ingredients just have to be mixed together well.

God’s blessings to all!

Make-Ahead Casserole
4 cups seashell macaroni, uncooked
4 cups cooked chicken, cubed
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 pound cheese, shredded
2 cups milk
1/2 cup onion, minced
1/4 cup butter

In the morning, mix all ingredients well. Put the mixture in a large baking pan and refrigerate until you are ready to bake. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Serve with a large lettuce and tomato salad.

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, 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.

Hop in the pony buggy for the last day of school

It’s a nice sunny day for the clothes to dry, and we have the lines filled with laundry. We have been blessed with several rains over the weekend and this past week.

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Here’s the pony and buggy, giving a ride to Lovina’s cookbook photographer and family last fall. Photo by Melodie Davis.

Yesterday was the last day of school for the term. Daughters Verena and Loretta and I picked up my married daughter Elizabeth and attended the school picnic. It was a little chilly until the sun came out. All the pupils were released at 11:30 a.m. Joseph, Lovina and Kevin took our pony Stormy and the pony buggy to school in the morning.

We all headed to Elizabeth’s house after leaving the school. We spent the afternoon relaxing on their back patio. They have a woods behind their house, and the river runs close by on their property. They have a new puppy that is a coonhound and Australian Shepherd mix. Hopefully, when it gets bigger, it will help keep the raccoons away from their house. They are having problems with raccoons getting in their flower pots and bird feeders at night, and I am afraid that the racoons will bother their garden.

The new puppy is named Shelia, and Kevin had so much fun with her. He walked her through the woods. He told us he was trying to teach her where to look for raccoons. Kevin has never been coon hunting, but he probably thinks the puppy doesn’t know that.

Joseph mowed the yard in an hour and 35 minutes. We bought a big walk-behind mower at the local consignment auction this spring. Joseph loves to mow with it, and he handles it very well. Joseph is tall for his age so he can handle the big mower.

Lovina's family was excited to receive 42 baby chicks this week.
Lovina’s family was excited to receive 42 baby chicks this week.

Our 42 baby chicks came this week. We will butcher our hens after these new chicks get bigger and start laying eggs.

On June 14, Elizabeth will be 22. Our family is planning to spend Saturday evening and Sunday at Timothy and Elizabeth’s house. Plans are to put tents up in their back yard and cook outside. I am looking forward to all of us being together. It seems the older the children get, the harder it is, because everyone goes different directions on weekends.

Elizabeth is helping to get ready for Susan’s wedding by sewing for me at her house. She likes to use her sewing machine to sew. I cut out my dress, cape and apron for the wedding. I hope to get it sewed soon. Mose’s mother and I have to wear sage-colored dresses.

Next week I will take Loretta, Joseph, Lovina and Kevin for eye exams. Loretta and Joseph only need glasses for reading. It’s been awhile since they had their eyes tested. Last time the eye doctor thought Lovina might need glasses. She has been having headaches when she reads. She’s a bookworm. I always loved to read and still do, but time is limited a lot more now. When the children were younger, our six oldest children all had to wear glasses. Elizabeth is the only one who needs to wear them all the time now. Susan, Loretta and Joseph do for reading. Verena and Benjamin are okay to go without now.

I had my eyes tested last week. The eye doctor thinks I will do better with bifocals now, which I’m dreading. Hopefully I’ll get used to them quickly.

God bless!

Rhubarb Coffeecake

1/2 cup shortening
1 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups fresh rhubarb, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the shortening, 1 1/4 cup brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and lemon juice or vinegar. Add this to the sugar mixture and stir well. Add the flour, baking soda and salt, and stir until the flour is moistened. Mix in the rhubarb. Pour the batter into a greased 9-inch square pan.

In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and butter and sprinkle over the top of the batter. Bake for 35–40 minutes until golden brown in color. Serve warm or cold.

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.

Pondering on the porch in the cool of a summer evening

We are officially in the summer months now. We have had a few cool nights, with the temperature in the 50s by morning. Sure makes for good sleeping after some hot evenings with temperature in the 80s. Actually, this morning we had to close most of our windows. The thermometer showed 54 degrees. Not really normal June temperatures.

Yesterday we canned 45 quarts of rhubarb juice from 30 pounds of rhubarb. Our friend Barb and my sisters Verena and Susan gave us the rhubarb. I have rhubarb plants, but never enough to make a year’s supply of rhubarb juice. I think the children have already emptied two gallons of it! Rhubarb juice is a good thirst-quencher on hot days.

The Eicher family canned 45 quarts of rhubarb juice one day last week.
The Eicher family canned 45 quarts of rhubarb juice one day last week.

Joseph, 12, and Kevin, 9, were tilling and weeding the garden, so they wanted rhubarb juice when they took a break. Joseph is a good gardener and seems to take an interest in caring for the garden. Verena, 17, keeps my flowers watered, and they are looking very healthy. If it is left to me to water them, they usually die of thirst. I can make things grow in the garden, but flowers seem to not do well for me. I love flowers, so I am glad someone has taken over the duty to care for them!

My husband, Joe, brought in our first hot peppers from the garden tonight. Our tomato plants are loaded with tomatoes, and everything else looks like it is doing great.

We are all done with work for the evening. I’m sitting out here on the porch writing this. It’s a very cool and peaceful evening. Oh, the many blessings God gives us. We have so much to be thankful for, and so often we take it for granted. Let us remember to thank our wonderful God daily for all our blessings.

This column was pushed off until this evening, but I feel like we accomplished a lot today. The girls are cleaning their closets and getting ready to start some major cleaning in the upstairs bedrooms. Elizabeth is gradually packing the things she won’t need for now. She will move them over to Timothy’s house for after their wedding. It gives me a sad feeling, but I don’t want to take the joy away from her. I remember the exciting time of preparing for my wedding to Joe. With God’s help, I will get used to my firstborn leaving home to start her life with her husband. I’m sure a lot of parents have dealt with this feeling.

I think I will call it a night. I was up until midnight last night, waiting until the last of the rhubarb juice was cold-packed. Our neighbor has hooked our water over to solar power. It had previously run by a propane motor. From now on, the sun will power our water! It seems different to not hear the motor kick in when the water pressure gets low. Since the water was shut off due to the switch, I had a late start canning the juice, so that’s why it was so late until I was done.

A reader shared this recipe for green tomato bread with me. She said her family likes this bread better than zucchini bread. She grates her green tomatoes in the fall and puts them in the freezer to make this in the winter months.

Green Tomato Bread

2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cup nuts, chopped
2 cups grated green tomatoes

Mix sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla together. Add flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Mix well, and then add nuts and tomatoes. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until done.

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.

All hands on deck for busy June days with the Eichers

Last week was a busy one, with attending two weddings. Daughter Elizabeth and Timothy are table waiters in a wedding again on Friday. Elizabeth has her dress done but needs to finish her cape and apron.

The dress that Elizabeth will wear to a wedding.
The dress that Elizabeth will wear to a wedding.

This week we are trying to get caught up with the work around here. On Saturday we filled the rest of the garden. We didn’t have enough space for some of the vegetables I usually plant. I have a small garden beside the house, but I can’t plant anything in it for now. We need to level some ground around the new building before we can plant. Hopefully there will be time for some late vegetables.

Joseph, 12, Lovina, 11, and Kevin, 9, are cleaning strawberries that Jacob and Emma’s boys brought over. The strawberries come from their plants. Verena is baking and Loretta is washing dishes. I am sewing again!

We canned 21 quarts of rhubarb juice this week too. We are enjoying iced tea from the spearmint tea plants out of the garden. We have been having nice rains this last while, which makes everything in the garden grow faster.

Timothy (Elizabeth’s friend) has been slowly moving his belongings to his new home. We went to see his new home, which is very nice. He has more acreage, a bigger, newer house and outbuildings. He does have to build horse stalls for the horses and put up fence around the pasture. On Saturday my husband, Joe, will probably have to work at the factory, but the rest of us will go help move the rest of Timothy’s things. Some of his family will help as well. Elizabeth and some of the girls were cleaning the house last Saturday.

We attended church services at Mose’s (Susan’s friend) parents’ on Sunday. Mose’s sister Hannah and Leroy furnished the lunch, as it was their turn. They are doing some remodeling, so they couldn’t host church services at their house. Wednesday evening the girls had so much fun babysitting for little six-week-old Caleb Lee. Caleb is Mose’s brother Alvin and Suzy’s little baby. It was Alvin’s birthday, so Suzy went fishing with him. Needless to say, that sweet little Caleb didn’t lack attention. It was so enjoyable to have a baby in the house to care for once again. I am sure that Suzy, being a new mother, was glad for a break for a while.

On Sunday, June 14, twenty-one years ago, our first child was born to Joe and me. Where have the years gone? We feel blessed to call Elizabeth our daughter. She has been such a loving daughter and always willing to help with the work. Being the oldest in the family made her mature at a younger age. I could always depend on leaving the little ones in her care when she was old enough to watch over them. May God be her guide through all her years and bless her richly.

At a wedding, my cousin Esther shared a recipe that a friend gave her to give to me. Her friend is a reader of my column. With all the rush, rush of the two weddings, I completely forget her friend’s name. So if she reads this, I want to say thank you! Daughter Verena made it today, and it is delicious!

A reader of the column shared this recipe for rhubarb cheese cake with Lovina's cousin, who shared it with her.
A reader of the column shared this recipe for rhubarb cheese cake with Lovina’s cousin, who shared it with her.

Rhubarb Cheese Cake

Crust:

1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter

Rhubarb layer:

3 cups fresh rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour

Cream layer:

12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs

Topping:

1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

For crust, mix flour, sugar and butter. Pat into a 10-inch pie plate. Set aside. For rhubarb layer, combine rhubarb, sugar and flour. Toss lightly and pour into crust. Bake at 375° for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare cream layer by beating together cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Pour over hot rhubarb layer. Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes or until almost set. For topping, combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Spread over hot layers.

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.

Birthday celebration for Lovina includes eating out, new gas grill

I am already a day late in getting this column to my editors. I appreciate their patience.

Tomorrow morning we leave at 5:30 a.m. for nephew John and Arlene’s wedding day. Everything is sewn as needed for this wedding. I am making Verena’s dress, cape, and apron for nephew Ben’s wedding next week. It is the color peacock. I need to cut out and sew mine yet. I am supposed to wear periwinkle.

I want to thank all the readers for their happy birthday wishes. My 44th birthday was on Friday May 22. My husband Joe took the family and I out to eat at Ponderosa. What a treat! The children asked the waitresses and waiters to sing “Happy Birthday” to me. Joe also gave me a gas grill for my birthday. I have always wanted NewGrill2015one but Joe prefers to grill on a charcoal grill. I have it on my front porch and have used it to grill hamburgers and pork steak. It has a burner on the side which I’m sure I’ll use a lot this summer to cook on to keep the house cooler and cleaner.

Daughter Elizabeth is enjoying her week off from the RV factory. She is getting a lot of sewing done. She has two more weddings to sew dresses for, where Timothy and she will be table waiters.

Saturday the younger children helped me get most of the garden planted. I wasn’t going to put out as many plants since I’m short in space with the pole barn going up where my other garden was. I went to get my plants at the green house and should have been counting how many tomato and pepper plants I was getting. I like to try different varieties and before I knew it I had 80 tomato plants and 40 green pepper plants to squeeze in one garden. It looks like I’ll be canning lots of salsa, pizza, and spaghetti sauce, V-8, tomato juice, etc. That is if they all produce well.

The men are here today finishing the pole barn. It is looking really nice! Neighbors Joas and Susan walked over here last night to look at it. Their son is getting married next week and they will be our new neighbors. The wedding is at Joas and Susan’s house so they are really busy right now.

HorseBuggyMighty2015The horse “Mighty” that we bought from brother Amos is still doing great for us. Daughter Susan drove him to work one day. She picked up my sister Susan and another girl on her way to work. Susan is still training Prancer every chance she gets. They are putting in longer hours at nephew Emanul’s woodworking shop so her time is limited in the evenings.

Our thoughts and prayers are with a family in our community. The 49-year-old mother died of that dreadful disease, cancer. She was laid to rest last week. Her daughter is getting married in a few weeks. Our sympathy goes out to the lonely husband and children. May God help them through this difficult trial in life.

Readers of my mother’s former column requested that I share her CutOutColumnRhubarbCrunchrecipe with my new readers. They sent me a copy marked with several changes. They say it’s a winner!

Blessings to all you readers!

Rhubarb Crunch

3 cups rhubarb (cut into small pieces)
1 box strawberry or cherry Jell-O
1 box cake mix (yellow or white)
3/4 cup melted margarine or butter
1 10.5-ounce package marshmallows

Put rhubarb cuts in buttered 9×13 baking dish. Pour dry Jell-O and marshmallows over this. Pour dry cake mix over all of this and drizzle margarine on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 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.

 

Welcoming a late spring with baby ducks and rhubarb coffee cake

If we thought spring weather was here to stay, we were wrong. Today the temperature is in the mid-30s, and we are having snow flurries all morning. The wind is so cold.

All is quiet here at the Eichers. Everyone is gone for the day. I did the morning work, mopped the floors and am folding laundry. I’m hoping to make butter yet before the girls get home from work. Susan wants to bake sugar cookies when she comes home. These cookies have buttermilk as one of the ingredients, so I thought I’d make butter so we have some.

Susan’s last day at the RV factory is Friday. She wants to take cookies to work to treat her co-workers. On Monday she will start working for nephew Emanul. He has a woodworking shop and has quite a few employees.

Lovina and Kevin were really excited on Saturday. Daughter Susan’s friend Mose bought them each a little baby duck. They named them Donald and Daisy and have had so much fun taking care of them. They keep them in a box in front of the coal stove in the basement. I hardly ever hear them. They aren’t as noisy as the little chicks that we have had in the house already. This is the first time we have had ducks, so the children are eager to see how they will be for pets when they get older. Once the weather warms up they can move them out to the barn.

The Eicher children are enjoying their new baby ducks, Donald and Daisy.
The Eicher children are enjoying their new baby ducks, Donald and Daisy.

Congratulations to nephew Levi and Barbara! We received an invitation to their May 14 wedding. Levi is sister Leah and Paul’s son. I will be a cook at their wedding. They would like the cooks to wear royal blue dresses. It looks like I will get another new dress.

I really need to get to my sewing. Son Benjamin could use more work pants. I have several cut out for him but need to sew them. Once I get started it won’t take long. Pants are easy to put together and sew.

Everything has been so busy this spring that my husband Joe hasn’t had much time for fishing. Son Benjamin went fishing Friday evening with Mose and two of his brothers. Saturday evening Benjamin and Joseph went fishing for a few hours after the work was done for the day.

Timothy (daughter Elizabeth’s friend) bought a bigger place and is in the process of selling his. He has a bigger and newer house and more acreage on the new place. He has some woods on the property, and a river runs behind it. We want to help him move once he’s ready.

My rhubarbs are really growing. I am hoping I’ll have some to use in a week or so. Try this rhubarb coffee cake when your rhubarbs are ready.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups rhubarb, diced

Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream sugar and shortening. Add egg. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream. Fold in rhubarb. Spread in greased 9×13-inch pan.

Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350° for 45–50 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.

Maple syrup spring gives way to Amish wedding season

March 31—the last day of March! Hopefully April will bring us nicer, warmer weather.

On Saturday Mose cooked up the rest of the sap into maple syrup. Our trees are done now for this year. I think we have more than a year’s supply of maple syrup now. It sure takes a lot of work and time to cook maple syrup!

The Eichers finished making maple syrup last week.
The Eichers finished making maple syrup last week.

Saturday evening we attended the annual spring program for the school. Around 40 youth were in the program. It takes a lot of work for these boys and girls. It was held at our local community building and lasted three hours. They did a good job! Everyone was treated to popcorn after the program.

Sunday forenoon Joe and I and daughters Verena, Loretta, and Lovina and sons Joseph and Kevin headed for Berne, Ind. Sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma, her husband Jacob, and their sons, Benjamin and Steven, also went with us. We attended the viewing and visitation of a friend. Our sympathy goes to the family.

We visited with sister Liz and family at the visitation. We stopped in at brother Amos and Nancy’s house and visited with them. Our next stop was with sister Leah and Paul. We had nice visits with everybody and were served good snacks at both places.

It was good to see everyone again. We also visited with some friends, uncles, aunts and cousins at the visitation. We arrived back home around 9:00 p.m.

Daughter Verena is mopping our floors and then plans to bake cookies. Her cookies don’t last too long around here. This time she plans to make peanut butter cookies. Tomorrow she is starting a new job, so I will miss her help on the days she will work. She isn’t sure how it will work out, but hopefully she’ll like it.

Next week our four school-aged children will be home for spring break. Joe and I and some of the children plan to attend the wedding in Rochester, Ind., on Good Friday. Our blessings to Joe’s cousin Benjamin and Elizabeth. May God be their guide as they unite in holy matrimony.

Three more couples in our community have been published for May and June weddings. It looks like wedding season is in full swing.

Easter is on Sunday. Hopefully the children can color some eggs on Saturday. A blessed Easter to everyone. Let us remember what this day is about—that Jesus died for all of us so that our sins can be forgiven.

This week I’ll share my rhubarb jam recipe. I have had several requests for it, so I want to share it before the rhubarb is ready to use.

 This week Lovina readies readers for spring by sharing her recipe for rhubarb jam.
This week Lovina readies readers for spring by sharing her recipe for rhubarb jam.

Rhubarb Preserves

5 cups rhubarb, finely diced
4 cups white sugar
1 3-ounce box strawberry gelatin

Combine rhubarb and sugar and let stand in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in gelatin until dissolved. Pour into jars and seal while hot, or freeze.

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.

Taste of spring and wedding invitations brighten February flu season

Oh dear! I completely forgot to write my column this week. I like to have it done on Wednesdays or before. Our four children just left for school, and I looked at the calendar and thought of the column. So before my work begins for the day, this will have to get written first.

So much has been going on here that it’s no wonder I have my days mixed up! Since last week it seems one of the children has been down with the flu. Yesterday I took daughter Susan, 19, and son Benjamin, 15, to the doctor. Susan has been having a very painful arm. The doctor says its bursitis from overusing it at her job at the RV factory. He told Susan she needs to slow down. He gave her a muscle relaxant and she needs to get a few adjustments at a chiropractor to loosen the joints. She will be home until Monday to rest the arm. She thought she should still go to work, but the doctor ordered rest.

Benjamin was having a high fever, but the doctor said it’s only a sinus infection and he tested negative for the flu. So hopefully with the medicine he will feel better. It’s hard to tell when Benjamin is sick because he keeps going. He really thought he should be able to go to work today, but I told him to wait until next week.

I’m hoping the flu has left our house now. The temperature has been cold this week, and the wind chill so much colder. We are getting more snow almost every day. I think I’m ready for spring!

We received our first wedding invitation for this year. Mose’s brother Alvin and Susanna will exchange vows on Thursday, March 12. They asked me to be a cook at their wedding and to come help a day before the wedding. Mose and Susan and Timothy and Elizabeth also have parts in the wedding. This means new dresses for Elizabeth, Susan, and I. Susan has been working on hers when time allowed the last few weeks. It only has to be hemmed and then it will be finished.

Daughter Elizabeth’s friend Timothy had the flu the last few days, so Elizabeth, 20, and Lovina, 10, went over there for a few hours last night. They washed his laundry and hung it on his enclosed porch to dry. They made supper and stayed to eat with him. Timothy bought a place of his own a few years ago. He lives by himself. With him working every day and having a few jobs after work, things can get pretty busy for him. I’m sure he was glad for the help and the company!

Several readers have asked for my recipe for rhubarb juice. I have changed the amounts of the ingredients over the years, and this is the way we like it best. Enjoy!

This week Lovina looks ahead to spring by sharing her recipe for rhubarb juice.
This week Lovina looks ahead to spring by sharing her recipe for rhubarb juice.

Rhubarb Juice

8 pounds rhubarb (can use frozen)
8 quarts water
2 12-ounce cans frozen orange juice
1 46-ounce can pineapple juice
4 cups sugar
3 3-ounce boxes strawberry gelatin

Combine rhubarb and water and cook until rhubarb is soft. Drain and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Freeze or can according to your preference.

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.