Tag Archives: summer vegetables

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.

That time the toddler conspired to free the baby from the playpen . . .

Another week has gone by, and it’s time to get another column on its way. This will wrap up June already. Half of 2017 is now history.

We are invited to a wedding in Berne, Ind., tomorrow for Lana, the daughter of one of Joe’s cousins. She is getting married to my cousin’s son, Abe. It doesn’t look like it will work for us to go. It will be Joe’s last day of work before a week’s vacation. We appreciated the invitation, though.

Saturday will bring us into July. Daughter Loretta was born to us on July 1, 2000. Her birthday goes with the year, so it’s always easy to remember her age! She will be 17. Son Benjamin is 17 until July 14, when he turns 18. Loretta always teases Benjamin that she caught up with him in age—although that only lasts for two weeks.

That was a few rough years when those two were toddlers! Growing up that close in age meant there was a lot of competition between the two.

I remember one day when Loretta and Benjamin were young and we were still living in Indiana. We had an attached garage, where I did my laundry. Back then I had to heat all my water on the stove in the house and carry it to the washing machine in the garage. Joe would fill up big garbage cans with cold water for me so I didn’t have to carry all the cold water. At first we had a washing machine without a motor, so it had to be operated by hand. But that is what I had grown up with, so I was used to that.

Still, I was pretty excited the day Joe brought me home a Maytag washing machine with a motor. We had only one motor, so Joe would take it off the pump jack that pumped the water from our well and hook it up to my washing machine. So if I decided I wanted to do laundry when Joe wasn’t home, I couldn’t. Finally, I figured out how to switch it myself. If there’s a will, there’s a way!

Now to get back to the story I started: on laundry day, I would put Loretta in the playpen while I carried hot water. She could crawl by that time, and I didn’t want her to get in the way. She didn’t like not being able to get out of the playpen. One day I went in to check on her and Benjamin. He had climbed up on a chair, reached my scissors in my desk and cut a hole in the playpen netting so Loretta could crawl out.

It still makes me shudder to think how easily he could have cut himself or Loretta doing that! Loretta was all smiles about the fact that her big brother helped her escape. Needless to say, the playpen didn’t work very well after that, what with a hole in it.

Another time, after we moved to Michigan and Loretta was three and Benjamin four, I was hanging out laundry. It was chilly that day, and I thought Benjamin and Loretta were entertained enough with their toys. Joseph was taking a nap, and the three oldest were in school. I would hang out one basket of laundry and then come in the house to check on the little ones. That day I found Benjamin and Loretta scrubbing my brand-new oak kitchen table with dish soap and scouring powder! They told me they wanted to “help” me. They had managed to use up almost a bottle of dish soap and a big can of scouring powder. I caught it before it did too much damage to the finishing on the table.

Lovina shares a delicious recipe for Italian Cucumber Salad—great for using ample fresh garden cukes!

I must say that Benjamin and Loretta have both grown up to be kindhearted young teenagers. But they are typical teenagers, so life still isn’t dull with the two of them. We have five teenagers in the house, so there’s never a dull moment!

So a happy birthday to Loretta! We wish her many more happy years. We plan to get together somewhere for pizza with the family of Dustin, Loretta’s special friend, in honor of Loretta’s birthday.

My daily prayer is that God will give Joe and me guidance to show our children a good example of serving such a wonderful God that we have, in good times and bad times.

May God bless all of you!

Italian Cucumber Salad

2 cups cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup onions, sliced
1/2 cup green peppers, chopped
1/2 cup Italian dressing

Mix vegetables together. Add dressing and toss.

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.

 

What happens when Lovina accidentally sleeps in—until 6:30 a.m.

It is already Thursday forenoon, and I still don’t have this column on its way! I made an attempt to write it last night after everyone went to bed, but I kept dozing off. I finally gave up and decided I would write it this morning.

Well, my day didn’t start out as intended. I woke up at 3:00 a.m., packed my husband Joe’s lunch, and went back to bed after he left at 3:40 a.m. I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. Sons Benjamin and Joseph are helping nephew Noah and his construction crew at my sisters’ house today. They will be repairing everything that was burned and damaged when lightning struck their house on April 29 and caused a house fire. Noah told the boys to meet him there at 6:30 a.m.

At 6:30 a.m., son Benjamin woke up, and I was still sound asleep. He woke me up and said he thought we overslept. He jumped on his bike and left while Joseph quickly milked our cow, Bessie, before he left. Bessie had to be in the farthest corner of the pasture field, and she seemed to walk slower to come up to the barn. It probably just seemed that way, since Joseph was in a hurry.

But if there is actually such a thing as picking a good day to oversleep, today was such a day. On other days, a driver for the crew would have had to wait for them.

Joseph was on his way thirty minutes after Benjamin left. I sent their water jugs with Joseph and told the boys we would send them something for lunch since I didn’t get their lunch packed. On warm days like this, they like meat and cheese roll-ups. I use soft tortilla shells, add some ranch dressing and meat and cheese and roll them up. Other than maybe a few protein bars, the boys don’t want much else in their lunch. It gets too warm to eat, and they would rather wait until we have supper.

I decided that since I made the boys late, I would send a morning break to all the workers there. We made breakfast burritos, iced tea and coffee, and the girls took it over to my sisters’ house.

Daughter Verena has been going with sister Susan on house-cleaning jobs the last few days. Sister Verena is laid up and under doctor’s care. Some tests were taken. Hopefully she will soon be on the mend, but for now she has to keep her legs elevated. Sisters Verena and Susan are still staying here with us since their house fire. They will be glad when they are able to get back to their own house after it is finished.

Son-in-law Mose is keeping the garden watered on dry days. Our soil is sandy, so it dries up the moisture really fast. We replanted cucumbers as some plants died off. It seems everything is a little late this year. We are having a nice, steady, drizzling rain right now.

I am writing this column in my bedroom at my desk. If too many people are around, I need to get away from all the noise so I can think better. Then again, I can’t get too relaxed or I’ll start falling asleep again!

I’m glad we did laundry yesterday when it was nice outside. We are starting to do laundry three times a week. The boys need more work pants, so until I get more pants made, I need to do laundry more often.

Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail came for the day yesterday. It looks like Abigail’s first two teeth are finally ready to pop through. My children always had teeth before they were her age. She keeps rolling her tongue where the teeth are coming through. She probably feels the tiny bumps. Her sounds are really coming out, and she just gets sweeter all the time!

The bishop for Lovina’s Amish community made this beautiful little bench for baby Abigail Elizabeth. The bishop’s wife’s name is also Elizabeth.

Try this recipe with your zucchini this year. God’s blessings to all!

Butterscotch Zucchini Bars
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups finely shredded zucchini, packed

Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butterscotch chips

Beat together eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla. Beat in soda, salt and baking powder. Mix in flour until well mixed. Stir in zucchini. Pour into greased 15x10x1-inch pan. Mix together brown sugar and butterscotch chips and sprinkle over batter in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until it tests done with a toothpick.

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.

September means back to school, grilled stuffed peppers, and another wedding

School doors opened yesterday, September 6, throughout the county. It seems quiet around here with Joseph, 14, Lovina, 12, and Kevin, 11, all back to school. The bus is here around 7:00 a.m. We are so glad the pickup time is later this term. Joseph milks our cow Bessie in the morning, and then showers and gets ready for the bus.

It was a nice day last Friday for Mose’s brother Joe and Mary’s wedding. It was nice and cool in the morning, which made it bettter for the cooks.

My job was to help with mashed potatoes. For the noon meal we made twelve eight-quart kettles of mashed potatoes. For the evening meal we had three twenty-quart kettles of mashed potatoes. They had a larger group of people in the evening. After everyone had eaten we had a ten-quart kettle left over. The potatoes were easy to mash using the Bosch mixers that the wedding cook wagon has.

On the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, barbequed chicken, corn, lettuce salad, butterhorns, butter, and strawberry jam. Dessert was apple crumb, pecan, and peanut butter pies, date pudding, and lime fruit salad. Ice cream was served with the evening meal as well.

Kevin’s eleventh birthday was the day of the wedding (September 2). Since we were there we waited to celebrate his birthday until Labor Day. We had cupcakes instead of a cake. We gave him a youth bowKevinsCompoundBow for his birthday. He is glad to be able to target practice with Mose and his brothers. Daughter Lovina is really interested in their bows. It looks like we will have another hunter in the family. She wants to take the hunter’s safety course sometime. She is an outdoors girl like Susan. If we can’t find her she is usually out in the field petting the horses and ponies.

Joe put in eleven hours at the RV factory yesterday. Since they were off work on Monday for Labor Day they will have to put in longer hours this week. With this hot humid weather Joe is ready to call it a day when he gets home from work.

Joseph and Lovina picked the jalapeño, serrano, Hungarian wax, and sweet banana peppers from the garden. I have to get those canned. We like to stuff and grill the sweet banana and Hungarian wax peppers. We stuff them with cream cheese mixed with shredded Colby cheese, and wrap them with bacon. Our family just loves them.

One night Joe made a chili soup outside in the kettle while Mose grilled chicken. We are glad when we don’t have to get supper in the house on these hot evenings.

Mose and Susan took Joe and me out for supper in town one evening just as an appreciation for us letting them live here. We enjoy having them here and when Tim and Elizabeth come home to join us for a meal, it makes everything seem complete.

Loretta spent Labor Day at her special friend Dustin’s house with his family.

I’ll share the recipe for butterhorns I received from a friend. Enjoy! God bless!

Butterhorns RollsButterhornsSept2016

1 tablespoon yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted
4 1/2 to 5 cups flour

Blend yeast with water and 1 tablespoon sugar. Add eggs, rest of sugar, salt, and margarine. Add flour and mix well. Put in greased bowl and refrigerate overnight. Roll out like pie dough, cut
in pie-shaped pieces and roll up. Dip in melted margarine or brush lightly with margarine. Let rise 3 hours. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. If you leave in refrigerator several days, punch down each day.

 

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.

 

Neighborliness and community: paying back past kindnesses

FrontPorch
Lovina enjoys writing from her front porch.

As I write this, we mark the last day of August. I’m just amazed at how time seems to fly by faster each year. Do we take enough time in our busy lives for God? Our children also need us in their lives so much. Let us pray for them daily so that they will let God be their guide. Life doesn’t get easier and his guiding hand helps so much.

Son, Kevin (our youngest) will have his eleventh birthday on Friday, September 2. It is unbelievable but true that he is that old and starting middle school (fifth grade) on Tuesday. Son Joseph will be in eighth grade, the final year of his school years. Daughter Lovina will be in sixth grade.

Friday we are invited to Mose’s brother Joe’s wedding. Joe and Mary will have their wedding at Mose’s parents’ house. Mary’s parents live in Wisconsin and she has made Michigan her home for several years. Joe lives about one-and-a-half hours north of our community. They will live at Joe’s house after their marriage.

I was asked to be cook at their wedding. I have to wear a sage dress, cape, and apron to the wedding. I was in luck as this was the same color the mothers wore at Mose and Susan’s wedding.

Mose and Susan are table waiters. Susan has to wear another shade of green. She finally cut out her dress, cape and apron last night. It looks like I will get the job of sewing it. With her working every day she doesn’t get much extra time. Last Saturday, Susan and Mose went to help set tables for the wedding. Tomorrow (Thursday) I will go help get ready for the wedding. Not sure what jobs they will have for me but most likely bake pies, bread, etc. Lots of vegetables have to also be cut up. I will take a casserole to help out with lunch.

Saturday a new family from Iowa is moving into our church district. They will make their home a few miles from here. Since they don’t have much family in the community, some members from our church will go help them unload and get settled in their new home. From what we heard they have three small children. We wish them God’s blessing on their move.

It brings back memories of twelve-and-a-half years ago when we were making such a move. It’s a big change to move from the community where you were born and raised. We enjoy our new home and community which made it easier to adjust to changes. The good deeds that were done to help make our move easier will always be remembered. Now I hope we can go help lighten the load for someone else.

We canned another bushel of peaches yesterday. Now we should be done canning until applesauce and grapes are ready to be canned.

I came across this recipe for “Turkey Cabbage Bake” and since we have so much cabbage I like to try different recipes with cabbage. Our children don’t eat cabbage so well. I always think that I might find a way that they will like it better. The meat doesn’t have to be turkey. It can be replaced with chicken or hamburger, etc. The crescent rolls could be replaced with regular pie dough.

Turkey Cabbage Bake

2 8-ounce tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
2 cups finely chopped cabbage
1 can (10 3/4 ounce) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Unroll one tube of crescent dough into one long rectangle; seal seams and perforations. Press onto the bottom of a greased 13x9x2 baking dish. Bake at 425 degrees for 6–8 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile in a large skillet, cook turkey, onion, carrot and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add cabbage, soup and thyme. Pour over crust; sprinkle with cheese. On a lightly floured surface press second tube of crescent dough into a 13×9 rectangle, sealing seams and perforations. Place over the casserole. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 14–16 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Yield: 6 servings

 

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.

Horse-and-buggy trip to Indiana caps the end of summer

We had a nice rain tonight. Our rain gauge shows that we had more than a half inch. Our garden still has tomatoes, cabbage, green peppers and hot peppers left in it. Yesterday we canned almost eighty pints of pizza sauce. We gave twenty pints to Mose and Susan. We also canned hot peppers. Susan wants to make pizza casserole tomorrow night to try out the sauce.

As summer winds down, the Eicher family has been busy picking tomatoes from their family garden.
As summer winds down, the Eicher family has been busy picking tomatoes from their family garden.

Mose and Susan are getting more settled as the weeks pass by. They have been helping Mose’s parents, as they are hosting the wedding for Mose’s brother Joe and his fiancée, Mary, next week.

I was asked to be cook at the wedding and to go help bake pies, etc., the day before. Mose and Susan will be table waiters at the wedding. Susan still needs to cut out and sew her dress for the wedding. With her working every day, I will probably have to help her get it sewn.

Saturday Joe and I and the six children here at home attended the picnic for the RV factory where Joe works. It was interesting to tour all the RVs and motorhomes that they make. We were served a good meal, and lots of door prizes and awards were given to the many, many employees. The grand prize was a Howard Miller grandfather clock. It rained and rained after lunch, but they had plenty of tents set up for everyone to stay dry.

A very happy birthday goes to sister Verena. She turned fifty on August 22. Mose, Susan and most of the children went over to sing “Happy Birthday” to Verena that evening.

Tomorrow morning I leave with daughter Susan for a town around 45 minutes away. Susan needs to get her married name put on her Social Security card, and she wants me to go along.

Tonight Mose grilled banana pepper poppers and I made chicken noodle soup. We still don’t have all the water lines hooked up to Mose and Susan’s living quarters, so it’s easier for her to use my kitchen. Most often they just eat the evening meal with us.

The boys and Mose are often spending their free time having bow practice. Mose has a big target set up, so it’s an easy place to test out their skills. Hunting season will be here before we know it. The boys passed their hunters’ safety class earlier this year.

Saturday evening Timothy and Elizabeth came for supper. After supper Timothy, Mose, Loretta’s special friend, Dustin, and son Joseph practiced shooting their bows. The girls and I just relaxed and visited. Joe has been working longer hours, so he’s always glad to rest and get to bed earlier.

Daughter Verena and son Benjamin, with some other young folks, drove to northern Indiana with horses and buggies. They spent the night at niece Susan and Joe’s house. The next morning they drove to brother Albert’s. Church services were held at Albert’s home. Their daughter Emma was baptized at the service.

Sunday afternoon Verena and Benjamin started the journey home. They had around twenty miles to go to get to niece Susan’s house, and around seventeen miles to get home from Albert’s house. Our horse Mighty handles these long trips really well. They do take their time, and let Mighty walk a lot of the time.

School doors will be opening in less than two weeks. Our school starts September 6. All three children will be in middle school. Joseph will be in eighth grade, with this being his final year of schooling. Where does time go? Lovina will be in sixth grade and Kevin in fifth. Kevin will be eleven next week. It seems like he was just born, and now he’s already turning eleven!

The Eichers canned pizza sauce using tomatoes from their garden.
The Eichers canned pizza sauce using tomatoes from their garden.

This is a recipe for breadsticks niece Elizabeth shared in our family cookbook. Our children like to dip them in pizza sauce.

Until next week, God bless!

Breadsticks

1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, divided
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoon yeast
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 egg, beaten
pizza seasoning

Heat the milk, sugar, salt and 4 tablespoons butter; remove from heat as soon as butter is melted. Add the flour, yeast, garlic powder, oregano and beaten egg. Let rise until double. Roll out and cut the size you want. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a pan, and sprinkle pizza seasoning over it; roll breadsticks in this mixture. Place breadsticks on cookie sheets and let rise again until double. Bake at 350 degrees for 15–20 minutes or until done. Breadsticks can be dipped in pizza sauce or cheese sauce when eating. Yield depends on the size of the breadsticks.

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.

 

Susan’s wedding is past, but the leftovers remain

It’s Thursday again, and my plan to have this column on its way yesterday failed. The weeks still fly by since the wedding is past!

Three little pigs are great ways to get rid of excess garden produce.
Three little pigs? What great ways to get rid of excess garden produce!

Our refrigerators are finally getting emptier. With all the wedding leftovers, they were packed. The garden is also getting emptied quickly. The boys pulled the rest of the corn, green beans, zucchini and cucumbers. They brought in red beets and hot peppers that are waiting to be canned, as well as tomatoes that need to be made into juice or something. After a busy summer, I really don’t mind if the garden is done early. Our tomatoes had blight but are doing better. We made the old-fashioned remedy—a mixture of raw milk and water—and sprayed the plants several times. It seemed to help. Our cow Bessie provides us with more than enough milk to use. We now have three little piggies that help drink the milk and eat all the excess garden vegetables.

Our new chickens still aren’t laying, but the old chickens provide enough for us yet. I was glad to have sister Emma and Jacob share their eggs for the wedding. Last year for Timothy and Elizabeth’s wedding I didn’t have to buy any eggs, as we had plenty of our own. It takes a lot of eggs to make the noodles, pies, dressing and other food at a wedding.

Sunday, August 14, was Timothy and Elizabeth’s first anniversary. We took barbecued chicken in and stayed to eat with them. Mose and Susan were also there. Most couples around this community save the top tier of their wedding cake and put it in the freezer until their first anniversary. But Timothy and Elizabeth didn’t get theirs out yet, as they still had cake from Mose and Susan’s wedding.

Lovina and her daughters canned two bushels of peaches last week.
Lovina and her daughters canned two bushels of peaches last week.

We canned and froze two bushels of peaches for Mose and Susan and us. I have another bushel on order. Last week we went to help daughter Elizabeth on Tuesday and Friday. We cleaned her basement and canned tomato juice and salsa for her on Tuesday. Then on Friday we washed off some walls and ceilings and cleaned her whole house. We also washed windows, curtains and bedding. I think she felt refreshed to have everything cleaned. She had been sewing for the wedding and helping here so much that her cleaning was neglected. Today she comes here to spend the day with us. We will probably do some canning.

We had a lot of rain on Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning. We had a total of 4.25 inches. The ground was so dry and needed it badly. Half of our huge load of laundry on Monday wasn’t quite dry when the rain started. Hanging outside in all that rain, it was wetter when we brought it in than when we put it out! Yesterday we had a nice day, so we just rewashed it all. So we ended up having an extra big laundry yesterday. We had a very nice day to dry everything.

My dad’s cousin Dave from this area passed away, and his funeral was on the same day as Mose and Susan’s wedding. Joe and I took some time the evening before the wedding to go to the viewing and visitation. Our sympathy goes out to his wife, Ruth, and family. Their daughter Sherri was a teacher to several of our children in the recent years. Ruth is a cousin to Joe’s dad, so we saw relatives there from both of our families. Dad’s cousin Leroy from Ohio stopped in at Mose and Susan’s wedding after the funeral to say “Hi” to all my family that was here.

I still remember that when I was a little girl, our family would go to visit dad’s uncle Mose and Amanda Coblentz in Hartville, Ohio. Mose and Amanda were Dave and LeRoy’s parents. The part I remember the most was the hills in their yard and the fun of running down them.

I will share the green bean recipe we used at the wedding. God bless you all!

Green Beans

2 pounds green beans
1/4 cup onions
salt to taste
3 tablespoons butter, browned
1/4 cup bacon bits
salt and pepper
seasoning salt

Cook green beans and onions until tender. Add salt as desired. Drain. Add browned butter to green beans and stir to coat. Continue to heat until the green beans are steaming hot. Add the bacon bits along with salt, pepper and seasoning salt.

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.

Cleaning house for Susan’s wedding, Eichers save worst bedroom for last . . .

We are wrapping up the month of June. The year 2016 is now already halfway done. Amazing how time seems to go faster and faster. The wedding for Mose and Susan is only five weeks away. It’s getting too close way too fast for me!

We still want to make noodles for the wedding, and there is still a lot of cleaning that needs to be done. Sisters Verena and Susan were helping us Saturday. The girls’ bedrooms upstairs are all cleaned. We saved the worst for last: the boys’ bedroom. I have been organizing in there. After the wedding, Benjamin will move into Susan’s bedroom. Joseph and Benjamin share a lot of the same clothes. We are separating the clothes so half of them can get moved into Benjamin’s bedroom. Susan has quite a bit of her own furniture in her bedroom, so the room will look empty.

As of now, Mose and Susan plan to make living quarters in a small part of our pole building until they find a place suitable for them to live. I am happy Susan won’t be moving off the property yet. She and Mose both will be working, and this way she won’t have to keep a house going.

After Joe and I were married, we lived with my dad and mom until Elizabeth was born. We then moved into a trailer house across the driveway until after Susan was born. We then moved to a place about two and a half miles from there. That is where we lived until our move to Michigan in 2004.

Now it is 2016, and daughter Loretta will be sixteen on July 1. We will have pizza and ice cream cake tomorrow evening in honor of her birthday. Loretta and Lovina share a bedroom. Loretta doesn’t like anything out of place, and her bed is made every day. Lovina gets annoyed at the neatness and is learning fast that her end of the room has to stay “cleaned up” as well. If I let things clutter up too much, Loretta takes over cleaning up my things. It’s good to have someone stay organized after working in the boys’ bedroom. I teased them and said we are going to put Loretta in charge of cleaning their bedroom. They said she would probably call their treasures “junk.”

Tomorrow we are invited to the wedding of one of Joe’s coworkers, Joseph and Edna. We won’t be able to attend but appreciate the invitation. Another of Joe’s coworkers, Jerry, was married to Diane on June 16. We were all invited but unable to attend. We wish God’s blessings to both young couples. May they have a long and happy married life together, letting God lead their way.

Lovina’s husband, Joe, loves salad for lunch, and right now all the vegetables for his salad come from their garden.
Lovina’s husband, Joe, loves salad for lunch, and right now all the vegetables for his salad come from their garden.

Today is Joe’s last day in the factory until July 11. His vacation won’t be much of a vacation, though, with the upcoming wedding to prepare for. We will take a few days off and take the whole family up north for a few days. I’ll write more about that next week.

Saturday, July 2, Joe’s sister Christine and Jake have Joe’s family gathering at their house. They live around three hours from here in Hersey, Michigan.

Last Sunday, Jacob and sister Emma and family, my sisters Verena and Susan, and Timothy and Elizabeth were all here for a fish fry, with Joe cooking. He also made French fries. Verena and Susan each brought a salad, and Emma and Elizabeth brought desserts, so it was an easy lunch for me. We set up tables on the porch to eat. The men and boys enjoyed playing croquet in the afternoon while the rest of us just visited and relaxed.

Cucumbers are the crop of choice in Lovina’s garden right now, and this week she shares a favorite recipe for cucumber salad.
Cucumbers are the crop of choice in Lovina’s garden right now, and this week she shares a favorite recipe for cucumber salad.

Our cucumbers are really getting ready fast. We are enjoying cucumber salad a lot. I’ll share this recipe with you. May God bless each of you always!

Cucumber and Onion Salad

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1–2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
1/2 cup onions, sliced

Mix first four ingredients well to make the dressing. Add cucumbers and onion. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Serve 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.

What do you do when the puppy thinks your flower bed is a playground?

It is a cool June morning with temperatures only in the low 60s. I had to close a few windows as it was chilly with them all open. Summer is officially here now.

It seems empty around here. My husband Joe, daughter Susan, and son Benjamin are working. Daughter Lovina is staying at Elizabeth and Timothy’s house for a few days.

On Sunday we attended church at Mose’s parent’s house. They just recently put up a new building, so the services were held in there. We were served a good lunch, plus—in honor of Father’s Day—ice cream, strawberries, and brownies were served.

Mose’s mother has so many beautiful flowers. She has a flower garden and grows all kinds of flowers, herbs, spices, and teas. They have some of their garden planted in raised beds, and are able to cover that up as a greenhouse in the colder spring months. They have big tomatoes hanging from their plants already. Also their sweet onions are big. They are harvesting red potatoes too. With the raised beds, weeding is so much easier.

Jacob and Emma and family and my sisters Verena and Susan also went to church there. We ended up all going to Jacob and Emma’s house for supper. Timothy and Elizabeth came over for awhile after supper.

Our children gave my husband Joe a propane fish deep fryer for Father’s Day, as well as a grill light and grill utensils. He was really happy! Monday evening he deep-fried fish and French fries here on the front porch. It worked very well, and we all could eat outside. Joe loves cooking outside, and I’m not going to complain. It’s so nice to get a break from it.

Yesterday sister Verena hosted a Pampered Chef party. Niece Rosa was the consultant. Her mom (my sister Liz) also came to Michigan with Rosa for the party. Daughter Elizabeth came through here and picked us up to go to the party. Five out of us six sisters were there, as sister Emma came as well. So sister Leah was the only one not there. The party was a big success, and Verena earned lots of free items.

All the ladies and girls helped prepare lunch using the Pampered Chef pans and utensils. It was fun, and there was lots of laughter while everyone did their job. While the food was in the oven we played a game and were introduced to the various products. I already have quite a few Pampered Chef items in my kitchen and love them.

After everyone enjoyed the lunch, they all left for home. My sisters and I, as well as our daughters who were able to attend, visited for awhile. When my daughters watch us sisters visit, they always say that everyone is talking and no one is listening. (I don’t think it’s quite that bad!) Daughter Lovina went home with Elizabeth after the party.

Keeping Benjamin’s new puppy out of the flower beds has been a challenge for the Eichers, but these petunias and salvia look healthy.
Keeping Benjamin’s new puppy out of the flower beds has been a challenge for the Eichers, but these petunias and salvia look healthy.

Son Benjamin bought a part coon, part Australian Shepherd puppy from our neighbors. It is a brother to the puppy Timothy and Elizabeth have. The boys want to train it to hunt raccoons. I have not been too enthused about little “Buster.” He seems to think my flower beds are his playground. Mose bought flowers and replanted some of the flowers in my flower beds because they were made for full sun and were getting too much shade. Mose takes after his mother and is a pro with flowers. I, on the other hand, do better with vegetables in the garden. Needless to say, Mose has my flower beds looking very nice!

Lovina enjoys growing a variety of vegetables in her large garden.
Lovina enjoys growing a variety of vegetables in her large garden.

I will share with you one of the recipes that I helped to make at the party: Taco Ring. It was delicious! God’s blessings to all!

Taco Ring

4 cups ground beef, browned and drained
1 (1.25-ounce) package taco seasoning
1 cup (4 ounces) cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons water
2 (8-ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
1 medium green bell pepper
1 cup salsa
3 cups lettuce, shredded
1 medium tomato
1/4 cup onion
1/2 cup pitted olives
sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine browned and drained ground beef, taco seasoning, cheese, and water. Unroll crescent rolls and separate into triangles in a circle on large round pan, with wide ends overlapping in center and points toward the outside. There should be a 5-inch diameter opening. With a medium scoop, scoop meat mixture onto widest end of each triangle. Bring points of triangles up and tuck under wide ends of dough at center of ring. Bake 20–25 minutes or until golden brown. Cut off top of bell pepper, discard top membranes and seeds and fill pepper with salsa. Garnish dough with sour cream and then decorate with lettuce, tomato, onions and olives. Place pepper in the middle of the ring. Slice and serve.

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.

Early summer days bring garden goodies and a boatload of bluegills

We have entered the month of June already. It looks like we had just a little bit of rain during the night. We are really in need of rain! Last night we watered the garden, as it was getting really dry. Everything is coming up really well. We are still enjoying radishes, green onions and lettuce from our first planting earlier this spring.

The Eichers' garden is still yielding green onions and radishes from the first spring planting.
The Eichers’ garden is still yielding green onions and radishes from the first spring planting.

We had a nice three-day weekend. A lot of fishing was done. On Friday evening some went fishing on the lake, and then they went again Saturday and Monday.

On Sunday evening we ate outside around the fire. The men deep-fried fish and French fries. How nice to just sit and watch.

Timothy and Elizabeth went to church at his sister’s house in another church district. We kept their dogs, Izzy and Crystal, here while they were gone. Crystal doesn’t like to be separated from Elizabeth, but Izzy loves staying here. She will go hide when she knows they are leaving for home!

Saturday we had a short visit from sister Liz, Levi and family. Their daughter Elizabeth and Samuel and baby LaRose were also along, as was their daughter Rosa’s special friend, Menno.

LaRose is around six months old and looks like she doesn’t lack attention. She is Liz and Levi’s first grandchild, and she’s a sweetie. Daughter Elizabeth was here and got to see LaRose for the first time. Sister Liz is doing a great job at being a grandma and spoiling her.

Joe’s sister Salome and Morris are also first-time grandparents now. Their daughter Katie Edna and Ben had a son named Benjamin. Joe went to visit them while we were at niece Lovina’s wedding. I was a cook so I didn’t go with Joe. Hopefully I’ll get to meet little Benjamin soon—maybe at the family gathering in July. Joe’s sister Christine and Jake are planning to have all of Joe’s family there on July 2. They live about three hours north of here. We are looking forward to seeing everyone again. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen some of the family. Hope everyone will make it!

On Monday, everyone went fishing except daughters Elizabeth, Lovina and I. Timothy had his boat out, and both of ours were out as well. When they started filleting fish, they had more than 200 bluegills! Timothy’s nephew was also fishing and helped clean the fish. Everyone was here for a pizza supper before leaving Monday evening.

I usually have a bunch of bananas hanging on a banana holder on my countertop. Elizabeth took a banana and started eating it. Son Kevin, 10, told her that everyone needs to ask him for a banana, since that’s why Mom buys them. He said that since she’s married now, she doesn’t have to ask him. Elizabeth and I had a good laugh about that after he went outside. I don’t know where he got the idea that the bananas are his. I think he likes eating bananas more than anyone else does. When he was a little boy, he always asked for bananas when he saw them at the store. He wasn’t very old, and he would call them “monkey.” I think it was because we would call him a monkey when he was eating them.

I want to make rhubarb juice this week. Daughter Elizabeth made several batches and brought us a taste—delicious!

Susan is still working on getting her wedding invitations out. She said she didn’t realize there was that much work to get ready for a wedding. She said it looked easier when Elizabeth did it.

I must get back to work. God’s blessings!

Zucchini Soup

 2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup carrots, sliced
1/2 cup celery, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups zucchini, grated
1 small potato, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
salt and pepper, to taste

In a 2-quart pot, melt the butter over medium heat and then add the carrots, celery and onion. Sauté the vegetables, stirring frequently, until the onion becomes translucent. Add the remaining ingredients and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are fork-tender, 30–45 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.