Tag Archives: summer

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.

 

Hot, humid days mean it’s time for haying—and a water fight

June 14, 2017: Twenty-three years ago today my husband, Joe, and I became parents for the first time. We were blessed with a little girl. We named her after my mother, Elizabeth. Since her marriage on August 14, 2015, she goes by the name Mrs. Timothy (Elizabeth) Bontrager. A little girl, Abigail, was born to Elizabeth and Timothy on September 10, 2016. Time goes on—one generation after another.

We are having a heat wave with temperatures in the nineties, and it’s very humid! The girls and I drove the seven miles to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house this morning by buggy. We spent the day with her and Abigail. We didn’t do much besides relax, which was so nice! My sister Verena gave Abigail a little kiddie pool for a baby gift. Daughter Lovina and son Kevin filled the pool, and Abigail had so much fun under the shade tree, splashing the water. The rest of us sat around the pool. All it took was one person throwing a little water at another and, well, it turned into a big water battle! At least it cooled us off on this hot, muggy day.

Tomorrow we will attend the wedding of our neighbor boy, Melvin, to Rebecca. It is hot weather to prepare for a wedding. Now tonight we are having thunderstorms and rain. It was so dry, and we needed the rain. Son-in-law Mose tilled the garden tonight before the rain. I made quite a few gallons of iced spearmint tea, which is a good thirst quencher on these hot days.

Lovina made lots of fresh thirst-quenching mint tea this week. Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis, from The Essential Amish Cookbook.

We have our haymow almost filled with hay for next winter. We appreciated all the help we had from family and neighbors to put in over thirteen hundred bales of hay in our barn last Thursday. Lots of hot, hard work! Having hay stored for future use is a good feeling. But it’s hard on the pocketbook, with hay still a little pricey.

Construction is finally underway at my sisters Verena and Susan’s house, who had a house fire last month. The new roof was put on today. They are still living in our basement.

I want to wish Uncle Jake and Aunt Mary Coblentz a happy 60th anniversary! Wow! That is a long time to be together. I wish them more healthy and happy years together. Jake was my dad’s brother. Jake and Mary have three children: Christina, Tabitha and Cornelius. I hardly ever see them anymore. It would be nice to attend the Coblentz reunion again in July.

Tonight daughter Susan and Mose had us over for supper. They also told my sisters to come eat there too. On the menu were sausage patties, French toast and scrambled eggs. How nice to have a break from cooking. Everything was delicious! The French toast tastes real good with fresh maple syrup poured over it. It was the syrup Mose cooked off from our maple trees this spring.

The girls are cleaning out their closets in their spare time. We are getting a head start on cleaning.

Timothy and Elizabeth visited one evening with their new Amish neighbors, John and Norma. They moved nearby from a community in Indiana. They will attend our church district. They have two daughters ages three and thirteen months. I am looking forward to meeting them on Sunday.

It is 11:00 p.m. now and past my bedtime. The rest have all gone to bed. I knew I might not have time to write tomorrow morning so decided to get this written tonight yet.

I wish everyone God’s greatest blessings! Good night to all!

Try this recipe while blueberries are in season.

Blueberry Cobbler

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

Combine ingredients in a bowl, mix together and spread batter in pan.

Topping:
2 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup boiling water

Pour over batter and bake at 325 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.

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.

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.

Summer menus major in strawberries and family memories

We are halfway through June! It is a lovely but warm evening. Everyone has retired for the night except daughter Verena, who is reading on the porch swing, and me. I am also on the porch, writing at the patio table. I’m enjoying the peacefulness. God has created such a wonderful world, and people do not appreciate it enough. How often we get so caught up in the busyness of life that we don’t even notice the beauty of it all. I’m watching two hummingbirds that are buzzing by the feeder. They are such tiny birds but can make quite a lot of racket!

Today was a warm day to travel to town with the buggy and our horse, Mighty. Daughter Lovina, 12, and son Kevin, 10, had appointments at the eye doctor. Lovina needs glasses now, but Kevin’s eyes test very well yet. I was able to pick up my new glasses as well.

My husband, Joe, made supper on the charcoal grill tonight to keep the heat out of the house. I appreciate that, especially after coming home from town late in the day. Verena and Loretta had cleaned out some more cabinets while I was gone.

Yesterday, June 14, was daughter Elizabeth’s twenty-second birthday. How can it be that our firstborn is already that old? Lovina has been spending Monday night and Tuesday with Elizabeth. Timothy and Elizabeth brought her home last night, and I made one of Elizabeth’s favorite meals, since it was her birthday. On the menu: mashed potatoes, beef gravy, macaroni and cheese, corn, lettuce salad, sliced cheese and strawberries and ice cream.

Elizabeth22birthdaycakeEdited

Our whole family went to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house on Saturday in honor of Elizabeth’s birthday. We all spent the night there and stayed until Sunday evening. It was an in-between Sunday, and so we didn’t have a church service that morning. We had such a good time as a family—making memories.

PepperPoppers Grilling Timothy had the grill going to make supper outside. We all gathered around the fire after supper and made s’mores. We took a cake for Elizabeth, but I forgot the candles at home. I think Elizabeth was glad I did! She thinks she’s too old for that.

On Sunday morning, Elizabeth put in the oven a big breakfast casserole, which she had prepared the day before. She also had biscuits to go with it. Also on the menu were sliced cheese, tomatoes, hot peppers, watermelon, cake, strawberries, rolls, brownies, grape and orange and rhubarb juices, coffee and chocolate milk.

After dishes were washed, we all went for a wagon ride in Timothy and Elizabeth’s big two-seated wagon. We put some chairs on to make room for all of us. We went to the lake and enjoyed snacks under the shelter there. Some went swimming in the lake. They have a nice beach area. Then we headed back to Timothy and Elizabeth’s house. The sun was out, but there was a good breeze blowing so the ride was pleasant.

We all enjoyed pizza before we headed home. The day went so fast, and I enjoyed it so much. How different to have someone else doing most of the cooking! Elizabeth does a good job. She has been blessed with a good husband. Seeing that our daughter is happily married means so much to us as parents.

Twenty-one years ago today, sister Emma and Jacob were united in marriage. Happy anniversary to them!

StrawberriesForJam

We cleaned 32 quarts of strawberries that we will make into jam tomorrow. Some of it will be for Mose and Susan’s wedding in August, and the rest will be for the freezer so we have some for another year. Strawberry jam is our favorite jam.

God’s blessing to all!

 

 

Frozen Strawberry Dessert

1 cup flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup cold butter
½ cup pecans, chopped
2 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

Combine flour and brown sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Press into an ungreased 9 x 9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 14–16 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool. Crumble the baked pecan mixture. Set aside ½ cup for topping. Sprinkle remaining mixture back into the baking pan. In large bowl, beat strawberries, sugar and lemon juice until blended. Fold in whipped cream. Spread evenly onto dish. Sprinkle with reserved pecan mixture. Cover. Freeze for eight hours or overnight.

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.

 

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.

P1080497
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.

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.

Whew! No time to catch breath after wedding when you host church the next week

Another week has passed, and it is time to write another column.

The Eichers set up benches for church services in their new pole barn.
The Eichers set up benches for church services in their new pole barn.

Church services were held here Sunday in our new pole barn. Made a lot more room than when we had it in the basement. Benches were all filled, even though some of our church families were attending baptismal services in another church district. We had quite a few visitors from northern Indiana.

Our menu for lunch consisted of homemade wheat and white bread (out of 50 loaves, we had only a few left), smoked sausage links (which we heated up in the oven before serving), cheese spread, peanut butter spread, dill pickles, freezer pickles, red beets, hot peppers, butter, strawberry jam, coffee, iced tea and cookies. We had butterscotch, chocolate chip, sugar and ranger cookies.

We served seven tables at one time and four of them were reset, so we had eleven tables to serve altogether. I didn’t have anyone back for the evening meal like we usually do. We were all worn out from having Elizabeth’s wedding here a week before!

This week we are busy canning. Yesterday we canned 34 pints of salsa. We still have more tomatoes that need to be canned into something. I would like to make pizza and spaghetti sauce, and I also want to can some salsa for daughter Elizabeth, who just got married. She went back to work and is working ten-hour days. It wears her out to get much done in the evenings.

Our cabbage heads are ready to be harvested. We made coleslaw and chili soup for our supper last night. Sons Benjamin, 16, and Joseph, 13, took some garden goodies over to Timothy and Elizabeth. They don’t have a garden, so we want to share with them. We have green beans and hot peppers waiting here to be put into jars. I might freeze the green beans. Also have peaches coming next week.

I did take a half-day break and went to neighbor Barbara’s for a Tupperware party one day. It was a Tupperware shower for neighbor Susie, who was married on June 4. They served lunch to us before we left. Sometimes getting away from home for a while boosts your energy.

Tomorrow we plan to attend the wedding of Leander and Karen. The wedding will be about six miles from our house. Leander is a son of Joe’s cousin Leander and his wife Rosina. Son Leander recently moved to our community.

School doors will open on September 8. Our three youngest are ready for that day. Joseph will be in seventh grade, Lovina in fifth (and in middle school), and Kevin will be in fourth grade (his last year in elementary). The years keep going by way too fast!

This week Lovina shares a recipe for homemade salsa. Her recipe makes 15 pints of canned salsa.
This week Lovina shares a recipe for homemade salsa. Her recipe makes 15 pints of canned salsa.

This week I’ll share my salsa recipe with you readers. God’s blessings to all!

Salsa

14 pounds tomatoes, scalded, peeled, and diced
5 cups onions, chopped
10 green peppers, chopped
4–6 jalapeño peppers, chopped
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
1/4 cup salt
2 teaspoons oregano flakes
3 teaspoons chili powder
10–12 tablespoons Clear Jel (not instant)

Mix all of the ingredients except Clear Jel in a big pot. After the mixture boils, cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then mix Clear Jel with 1–2 cups of water before adding to the rest of the ingredients to thicken. More jalepeño peppers can be added to desired taste, and more Clear Jel can be added for a thicker salsa. Cold pack according to your canner’s instructions. Makes about 15 pints.

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.