Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Holidays mean feeding 26 mouths and learning the perils of mail-order shopping

We had a rainy morning, but now the sun is shining brightly. Tomorrow we enter December and still no snow. Hopefully we won’t get it all at once! The temperature is showing 42 degrees.

Daughter Elizabeth and Abigail are here for the day. Elizabeth takes care of a little four-year-old girl named Nikiah every day while her mother works. Her mother is a friend Susan used to work with. With Nikiah and Abigail, she has her hands full. Nikiah likes to dress in Amish clothes when she comes here, and she likes to ride in the buggy with Elizabeth and Abigail. She calls me “Mom” because I’m the “Mom” around here.

Daughter Susan just left for a doctor appointment. Elizabeth brought a French toast casserole for our breakfast. The girls are washing dishes and sweeping floors and, of course, visiting. I am debating if I should move to my desk in our bedroom. If I’m not careful, I’ll start writing what they are saying! Ha, ha!

After I have this column written, we have plans to go to an Amish general store that just opened a few miles from here. They have an open house this week. Daughter Verena volunteered to stay here with Nikiah and Abigail.

Feeding 26 people on Thanksgiving Day requires a long table.

On Thanksgiving Day we had a total of twenty-six here. Jacob, sister Emma, Elizabeth and special friend Manuel; Emma and special friend Menno; Jacob Jr., Benjamin and Steven; sisters Verena and Susan; Timothy, daughter Elizabeth and Abigail; Mose and daughter Susan; Loretta’s special friend Dustin and nephew Henry all joined us for Thanksgiving dinner.

On the menu were two big turkeys (one was a smoked turkey), mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, corn, lettuce salad, veggies and dip, deviled eggs, cheese, homemade bread and dinner rolls, apple, pumpkin, cherry, and peanut butter pies, pumpkin roll, fresh fruit mixture and ice cream. Needless to say, not many were hungry for dessert with dinner! Before everyone left I put out all the food again so they could eat something.

Lovina’s Thanksgiving menu included these mouthwatering dishes.

But we still had more food left over, so I took it along to Mose and Susan’s house the next day. Jacob and sons, Menno, Manuel, Timothy, Dustin and Joe and our sons assisted son-in-law Mose in putting up new drywall in their house they will move to. We women and girls heated up the leftover food from Thanksgiving Day here at our house and took it over there for those hardworking men and boys. We all ate in the garage, since the house was dusty. Mose and Susan really appreciated all the help they had. A lot was accomplished that day. Most of the drywall was hung. Last night my husband Joe went with Mose to get a stove and new flooring for the house. The house is ready for drywall mudding once the heat is going in the house.

I am doing a lot of mail-order Christmas shopping and decided to send off for a meat saw for my husband Joe for his birthday, which is on December 22. He will be 49 this year. The UPS truck drove in, and I didn’t think anything of it when Joe said he would go out to get the package. I just didn’t think his gift would be arriving yet!

So I didn’t know which way to look when Joe walked inside with the box, which clearly showed that it was the meat saw. He had a big smile on his face and asked where I want the box. I knew I couldn’t make him believe that it was for someone else, so I just told him happy birthday. He was very glad for it, as he had been wanting one for a while. His birthday is so close to Christmas, so I guess it’s nice to have his gift early for once.

God’s blessings to all!

60-Minute Dinner Rolls

2 packages dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup warm milk
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted

Add yeast and sugar to warm milk and let stand for 15 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Stir well and let stand in warm place approximately 20 minutes, until double in size. Form into 24 egg-sized rolls. Place on a well-greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

 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 Cookbook, 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.

 

Where Lovina hopes to be over a bug at Thanksgiving!

Where Lovina hopes to be over a bug at Thanksgiving!

It’s Wednesday morning and we have lots to do today. I think I have some kind of stomach flu. It makes me feel weak so I haven’t moved too far from my recliner yet. Hopefully I will feel better soon. I do not have time to be sick! Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and I need to be well for my guests.

The school is having their annual Thanksgiving feast today. I won’t be able to make it but maybe the girls can go. Son Kevin, 12, wanted me to come, but I can’t when I’m feeling like this.

The Living Skills class always prepares and serves the feast. The menu is turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, corn, squash, applesauce, squash bread, and homemade pies. I don’t think this would be possible without the guiding hands of teacher Mr. Ultz. He has worked many years at the school and taught many students how to cook. The school would be lost without him for this class. It would take lots of patience to teach all the students how to cook. He has taught cooking to all eight of our children.

The girls or I usually fry the eggs for breakfast but one Saturday morning, my youngest son Kevin told me he would fry our eggs. He said Mr. Ultz taught him how to fry them so I showed Kevin how I fry six to eight eggs at one time on my griddle. Kevin fried up all two dozen eggs for breakfast that morning! He did a very good job. When we have fried potatoes we all like eggs fried over-easy. Son-in-law Mose does not like his eggs over-easy so it is always nice to have someone that will eat the eggs that break in the skillet and turn out well-done.

An Ohio buggy on a rainy day. Photo by M. Davis

We have not had more than a few snow flurries this season. Yesterday we had rain. Daughter Susan and I took our buggy and horse Mighty to town to get groceries. It rained on the way home. We have a small trailer that we pull behind the buggy to get groceries. On days when it’s cold and rainy, it makes me glad for our covered buggies. I was raised in a community with open buggies and how well I remember the cold rides. Our buggy has a heater but it’s not hooked up right now. We wait until it gets colder. I wear glasses, so when it rained in the open buggies and if I was driving, my glasses would be hard to see out of. We have hand-operated windshield wipers on our buggy now. Even though the wipers are hand operated (with batteries), it really helps to have them wiping off the outside of the windshield. Plus, I am always glad to have Mighty in town. He’s safe around traffic.

Last Saturday my husband Joe, sons Benjamin, Joseph and Kevin, and nephew Henry all assisted Mose and Susan with blowing in insulation in their house walls and attic. Joe and Mose were over there one afternoon after work this week and also put new drywall up in the bedroom. They want to put new drywall in the dining room and living room. They will also take out a wall and add a hallway going to the bathroom from the living room. The insulation and drywall will make the house so much easier to heat. The carpet was pulled out and new floors will be put in after the painting is done.

I have two turkeys to get ready today to put in the oven early in the morning. I always like to have the dressing mixed together and the potatoes peeled and in chunks. It makes it so much easier if all of this is done before tomorrow morning.

Last night son-in-law Moses shot his first doe this hunting season. That is now the third deer that is getting processed here. Loretta was fortunate enough to get two deer in this first hunting season for her.

I’ll close with a delicious recipe for another day! And I wish each of you a blessed Thanksgiving tomorrow. For those of you that have to travel—safe travels to you. God bless you!

Loaded Chicken and Potatoes

2 boneless chicken breasts, cubed
6-8 medium red potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon pepper
½ tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 cups fiesta blend cheese (or your favorite kinds)
1 cup bacon bits
1 cup diced green onions

Mix oil and seasonings. Add chicken and potatoes. Stir to coat and carefully transfer into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 55-60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes until cooked through, crisp and browned on outside. Top with cheese, bacon and onions. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted. Serve with hot sauce and/or Ranch dressing or sour cream.

 

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 Cookbook, 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.

 

 

When mothers can’t sleep until all the children are home

When mothers can’t sleep until all the children are home

It is Thursday morning and time to get this column written. Time goes so fast from week to week. How can it be Thanksgiving Day next week already? We will be hosting the Thanksgiving meal here for sisters Verena, Susan, Emma and Jacob and families, and our family. We four sisters get together every year on Thanksgiving Day unless there are other plans. We all exchange names for Christmas. We are a total of 25 now. We usually set the table for all of us which makes a pretty long table already.

We will have turkey and all the trimmings. Daughter Elizabeth wants to make all the pies for Thanksgiving this year. She is getting to be a good pie baker. My sisters usually all bring food as well so we end up with lots more food then we need.

My husband Joe and the boys are off to work this morning. It’s a little rushed on the mornings they all leave around the same time. Getting all those lunches packed and water jugs filled with water and ice takes time. I also make coffee for Joe and nephew Henry to take along in a coffee mug. Our sons don’t drink coffee. Joe and I are the only ones that do. Mose and Susan like tea instead. I remember my mother would have a cup of warm tea by all our plates for breakfast sometimes. Our children drink iced tea better than warm tea. They would also choose hot chocolate over tea in the cold winter mornings.

I put a salad in Joe’s lunch today. It’s hard to keep up with who likes what in their lunch. Son Benjamin always wanted ham sandwiches. One day he was so tired of ham and didn’t want any more. I started making burrito wraps and then that didn’t sound good any more. If they don’t have a way to heat up food it’s hard to think of what to put in their lunch. I heat up soup once in a while and put it in a thermos to keep it warm. It’s easiest packing your own lunch because you know what you are hungry for more than anyone else. Son Kevin, 12, packs his own school lunch every morning.

Yesterday my daughters and I spent the day at daughter Elizabeth’s house. They will be hosting church services in January or February so she is getting her closets cleaned and organized already. She has two spare bedrooms on the main level that they mostly use when they have overnight company. The one bedroom she does use for her sewing room as well. She has those two rooms cleaned. We helped her clean out the closet in the hallway area. Son-in-law Timothy put up three shelves in it so she can put all her cleaning supplies, rags, brooms, stock pots, etc. in there. We turned the laundry room she had into a baby room for Abigail. We moved the changing table, dresser and all of Abigail’s clothes in there. Timothy had moved the washing machine down to the basement earlier this fall so Elizabeth washes clothes down there now.

Abigail’s crib is in Timothy and Elizabeth’s bedroom. I know the feeling that it is nice to have your little one close by during the night hours. I well remember the sleepless nights caring for the children. There are nights when I can’t sleep now waiting until the last one is home. I don’t think a mother every stops looking after her children. The children say, “Mom go to bed, don’t wait up on us.” But until you are a parent yourself you don’t quite understand. I tell them I used to tell my mother the same thing and wonder why she couldn’t sleep until we were all home at night. God watches over us. His blessings to all!

Try this banana chocolate chip sheet cake. It is a new cake we enjoyed this week. I had ripe bananas to use up some way.

A great way to use up bananas that are getting older.

Banana Chocolate Chip Sheet Cake

1 2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup ripe bananas (3-4 bananas)
2/3 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened to room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/8 cup mini chocolate chips for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10 1/2 x 15 inch sheet pan. Beat together butter and sugar until mixture resembles crumbs. Add eggs, vanilla and mix again. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, soda and salt than gradually add to butter mixture. Add mashed bananas and buttermilk and mix together well. Fold in 2/3 cup of chocolate chips. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Note: Cake is done when corners start to pull back from sides of pan and top of cake springs back when pressed gently in the center.

Frosting: Combine cream cheese, butter and vanilla; gradually add confectioner’s sugar and mix until smooth. Spread evenly on cooled cake and garnish with chocolate chips.

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 Cookbook, 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.

 

Dropping temps mean heating the house and baking pumpkin whoopie pies

Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis

The mercury dropped down to 30 degrees this morning! I’m sure that it frosted in most places. It makes it feel good to have heat in the house. It was good timing for us.

On Tuesday we traded in our old hopper-fed coal stove for a new one. Last night my husband Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph, and nephew Henry set up the new stove and started it. We always use charcoal to get the coal started. It makes less smoke than wood. I can smell the new paint from the new stove, so I like to open a few windows slightly to get that smell out. It’s not too bad, though, because the stove is in the basement. We have an enclosed jacket around the stove so that we can control whether we want all the heat to come upstairs or heat the basement too. The heat travels upstairs to the bedrooms through our open staircase, which is close to the big vent in the floor over the stove in the basement. The boys like to keep their bedrooms cool, so they shut their doors during the day. Once it’s really cold outside they let the heat go into their bedrooms.

We still have a little coal left from last year, but Joe called and ordered our supply for the winter. I’s always a big relief to have our fuel for the winter! It gets expensive to buy coal, but I still think it’s nice that we can heat all three stories of our house with one stove. When I was growing up, the only heat we had upstairs in our bedrooms was what came up through the door. It was always chilly when we got out of bed in the morning, and we always hurried downstairs to stand by the coal or woodstove to warm up.

This week has been rainy and cold, so we will hang laundry in the basement to dry. I have lines down there and with the coal stove going, it should dry. Daughter Susan wants to wash the hunting clothes first. They wash those clothes in a special soap so that deer can’t smell their scent. Those clothes we will hang outside.

Son-in-law Timothy shot an eight-point buck last night with his bow. Daughter Loretta is still hunting, and son Benjamin has also gone hunting this fall. Loretta has a crossbow so it’s easier for her, with her disability, to shoot the arrow. I have never hunted in my life. I just could not see myself sitting quietly for that long! I would probably be making a mental list in my head of all the other things I could be doing.

Daughter Susan and Mose are excited to be homeowners now. We will miss having them beside us, but I know they want a place to call their own. The place they bought is five-and-one-half miles from here. Timothy and Elizabeth live six-and-one-half miles from here and will be only two miles from Mose and Susan. Mose and Susan plan to move as soon as we get the house cleaned and ready for them. They will pull out the carpet and put in new floors, and some painting will be done. It’s an old farmhouse, but the place has been kept up very nice. The garage is only six years old.

Tomorrow our plans are to attend a wedding in Rochester, Ind., for Melvin and Lisa. Lisa is a daughter to Joe’s cousin Leander and wife Rosina.

More exciting news: Jeremiah James was born to niece Rosa and Menno on October 23. This would make the third grandchild for sister Liz and Levi.

Try these pumpkin whoopie pies for Thanksgiving Day! These are very yummy when partially frozen. The family of Loretta’s special friend Dustin had a very good crop of pumpkins this year, with most of their pumpkins weighing over 100 pounds each.

Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Cookies:

2 cups mashed pumpkin
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Cookies: Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until just barely done, approximately 10–12 minutes. Cool.

Filling: Mix first three ingredients well and then add sugar. Spread filling between two cookies. Yields 16 whoopie pies.

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 Cookbook, 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.

Eichers exchange names for Christmas

Today wraps up the month of November! While the children were waiting for the bus this morning, they said that Christmas is only 25 days away. I am having a harder time getting into the season this year. Even though we enjoy getting together with family and sharing gifts, let us always remember the true meaning of Christmas: the day Jesus our Savior was born.

Tonight a nativity scene is being played out at our local youth center. Tickets were sold out before I had the chance to get any. My sisters Verena and Susan are helping out, so I have some details from them. Everyone in the cast will dress as they did in those days, and live animals will be used to play out the scenes of how Jesus was born. A meal will be served afterward. The money raised will be used to help with the costs of running the youth center.

We spent Thanksgiving Day with Jacob, Emma and family at their house. With both our families and sisters Verena and Susan, we make a total of 25. Mose and Susan had Thanksgiving this year with his parents. We exchanged names after lunch for a Christmas gift exchange, which will be held here at our house. We haven’t decided when to have it yet.

A total of 25 enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner together at this long table.
A total of 25 enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner together at this long table.

Emma prepared two turkeys and all the trimmings. With all the food everyone had brought, the table was more than filled. Everyone took leftovers home for the next day. Granddaughter Abigail had the most attention all day. She is so precious to all of us! Her black hair and blue eyes and the dimples in her cheeks are adorable. Of course, all grandmothers love their grandchildren. For me it’s still a new feeling. God has been more than good to us, and we need to thank him all the time for our blessings, not just on holidays such as Thanksgiving.

Son Benjamin went hunting with son-in-law Timothy and was happy to shoot a deer. He ground the meat on Monday when he didn’t have work. It’s nice to have more meat in the freezer.

Recently Joe’s sister Esther and David and baby David Tyrell (age 3 1/2 months) had supper here. It was our first time to meet baby David. Our marrieds were here for supper as well. Needless to say Abigail and David were the center of attention. Our evening was spent singing together, which is always enjoyable.

Sunday was our week off of church, and we spent it at Elizabeth and Timothy’s house. We had a brunch, with this delicious menu: gold rush breakfast casserole (I need to ask her for the recipe), pancakes, baked French toast, milk, grape juice, orange juice, coffee and V-8 juice. We also had cherry pie and Swiss roll bars. After the dishes were washed, we played games and visited. The men and boys went for a walk through the woods while we stayed with Abigail, spoiling her.

Daughters Elizabeth (and Abigail) and Susan and I went grocery shopping after Abigail’s doctor appointment on Tuesday. We met up with Ruth Coblentz. It sounds like she has many lonely days since her husband Dave passed away in August. Dave was a cousin to my father. To all the Coblentz relatives who read this column: after talking with Ruth, I found out I made a mistake in my August column. Dad’s cousins Dave and Leroy were not brothers but cousins to each other. With my parents no longer around to answer my questions, I misunderstood how the relationship was. It was nice being able to talk with Ruth again even though the visit was short.

My thoughts and prayers go to the families affected by the Tennessee fires. I can’t imagine what they are going through. Prayers also for the families of the young people who died in the recent car-buggy accidents. God be with everyone and help ease their pain!

For this week’s recipe, I am sharing one of the recipes from my upcoming cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, which will be out next spring. This fudge is different because of the soda crackers added to it. My mother always made fudge around Christmastime, and then we wouldn’t have it again for a year. Give this one a try over the holidays. God bless!

Peanut Butter Cracker Fudge
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 box soda crackers, crushed

In a saucepan, bring sugar, butter, and milk to a boil and boil for one minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add peanut butter, vanilla and crushed crackers. Spread into greased 8×8-inch baking pan and allow to cool. Cut into one-inch squares.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. 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.

Bacon on the turkey, games and errands compose Thanksgiving weekend

Lovina's Thanksgiving Day table awaits her guests.
Lovina’s Thanksgiving Day table awaits her guests.

We had a nice, enjoyable Thanksgiving Day. We have so many blessings and so much to be thankful for!

My sister Emma, Jacob and family, sisters Verena and Susan, and daughter Elizabeth and Timothy spent the day with us. We set the table for all of us. I stuffed two turkeys with dressing. I like to lay strips of bacon on top. Joe’s dad always did this. It keeps the turkey moist while baking it, and the flavor of bacon adds an extra taste to the turkey.

Bacon-draped turkey was the signature dish for the Eicher family Thanksgiving.
Bacon-draped turkey was the signature dish for the Eicher family Thanksgiving.

Also on the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, macaroni salad, corn chip salad, a variety of sliced cheeses (such as pepper jack, Colby, and Swiss), veggies and dip, homemade bread, butter and strawberry jam, dill pickles, hot peppers, fruit dip (with orange, apple and pineapple slices), pumpkin roll, pumpkin pies, a variety of cookies, and ice cream. We had way too much food, but when everyone brings something, it all adds up! I don’t think many were hungry for dessert. We snacked later in the day.

Scrumptious side dishes rounded out the Thanksgiving menu.
Scrumptious side dishes rounded out the Thanksgiving menu.

Games were played, with Connect Four and Aggravation being the main ones. We have a game board that nephew Jacob made, and we like playing with six people in three teams. It can get really exciting—and aggravating as well! Joe and I, Mose and Susan, and Timothy and Elizabeth played this in the evening too. Daughters Verena and Loretta left with friends in the afternoon and had supper with them.

Sons Joseph, 13, and Kevin, 10, went home with Timothy and Elizabeth. Joseph wants to go deer hunting with Timothy. Kevin enjoys going to spend time with their dogs, Crystal and Izzy.

On Friday Joe and I went to Jacob and Emma’s house. Joe helped with mudding drywall in the new upstairs bedrooms. I took our leftover food from Thanksgiving dinner and helped Emma prepare the meal for the men working there. Timothy and Elizabeth dropped the boys off there on their way to town to go shopping. The girls stayed home and washed clothes and mopped the floors and cleaned up from Thanksgiving Day. Son Benjamin went to work helping Mose at his sawmill. I want to help Emma with painting the walls when she is ready to start on that.

Kevin was fitted for new leg braces to help him with his muscular dystrophy. We have seen a lot of improvement with the braces, although Kevin does not look forward to wearing them again. The doctors suggest he keep wearing them, so we will try them again.

Yesterday daughters Verena and Loretta and I went to a Tupperware shower for our neighbor girl Ruth, who was married in October. Lunch was served to all of us. From there we traveled a few miles farther to go see what bargains we could find on material at the local Amish store that was having a sale. We found enough material to keep us busy sewing for Christmas gifts. Time is limited between now and Christmas!

I’ll share the corn chip salad recipe that daughter Elizabeth brought on Thanksgiving Day.

Corn Chip Salad

Salad

1 head iceberg or romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 pound cheddar cheese, shredded
1 pound bacon, fried and crumbled
6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 1/2 cups corn chips, crushed

Dressing

1 cup Miracle Whip
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar

Toss together all salad ingredients except corn chips. In a separate bowl, mix dressing ingredients and then stir into salad. Add corn chips just before serving.

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.

 

Autumn days bring fond memories of Lovina’s mother and her column

October—such a beautiful autumn month! Our leaves on the trees are very pretty and colorful! We had a frost this weekend, which put an end to our garden for 2015. I really was ready for the garden to be done this year. It was such a busy summer, and it’s nice to have that extra job over. (Although it still has to be finished with cleaning it out, fertilizing and tilling.)

October also marks another year of penning this column. It is 13 years since I took this over after my mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, so suddenly passed away. She will always be remembered dearly! I enjoy hearing from readers who read her column from the beginning. I was only 19 years old and living at home when she began writing the column.

I remember her sitting at the table sometimes to write, after some of us girls were married and had come home to spend the day. Now I can imagine how hard it probably was for her to concentrate, with all of us girls and our young children there talking. She was always so glad to see us come home, and she was always so willing to cook a meal for everyone.

I now know the feeling of joy when a married child comes home to visit or to spend the day. Daughter Elizabeth works at the RV factory, so she doesn’t come home as often as I would like her to. She and Susan will have this coming Friday and next week off. I am excited, as it will mean getting more time to spend with Elizabeth. She plans to come home for the day Friday. Our other children are always glad to see Elizabeth and also to see the dogs, Izzy and Crystal, again. I hope that a day next week we can go help her at her house with catching up on whatever she needs to get done. It will be so nice to spend time together.

We had communion services in our church district on Sunday. It makes for a long day but always such a refreshing feeling to serve our great Heavenly Father.

After the services we stopped in at sister Emma and Jacob’s house to see the progress of the new addition they are building onto their house. It is looking very nice already! Jacob and Emma have lived in a three-bedroom ranch house since they moved to Michigan 11 1/2 years ago. So you can imagine they are excited to be expanding to more space. They are adding a second story with three bedrooms, so that will make room for a bigger kitchen and living room area. They will have five bedrooms after everything is done.

My husband, Joe, wanted to start the coal stove on Saturday when the temperature dropped to 30 degrees. Brrr! When he went to check out the stove pipes, he saw that a piece of it had rusted. He went after a piece at a store nearby, but they were out of stock on that size. It was ordered and should be in this week. Now the weather has turned warmer, with the temperature reaching over 70 degrees yesterday.

This week's recipe for dressing, which Lovina prepares for Thanksgiving, is frequently requested by readers.
This week’s recipe for dressing, which Lovina prepares for Thanksgiving, is frequently requested by readers.

I have had several requests to reprint my dressing recipe. I always use it to stuff my turkey on Thanksgiving.

Until next week—God bless!

Homemade Dressing

2 tablespoons chicken soup base
2 cups hot water
4 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup carrot, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 cups hot water (use potato water for better flavor), or enough water to make the dressing moist but not soggy*
10 slices bread, crumbled
1 teaspoon seasoned salt

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease an 8-cup casserole dish or cake pan. In a large bowl, dissolve the soup base in 2 cups hot water. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 40–45 minutes, or stuff inside a turkey before roasting.

Special recipe footnote from Lovina–appearing on website only: 

*A newspaper editor asked, “Does this really call for 4 cups of water?”

Lovina: “It depends a lot on the bread. If it’s homemade or the slices are big, it takes more water. I think last time we had this recipe I tried it with 4 cups and it worked ok. Yesterday I used it to stuff a chicken and I wanted it drier so I used only 2 cups but my bread was smaller slices. I think I would leave the 4 cups total because it could get too dry when baking; my eggs are farm eggs and bigger so that makes more liquid as well. If I remember right this question came up before and I tried it with 4 that time and it worked well.”

 

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.

Did your Thanksgiving turkey have a fever?

Oh my! We are already into the last month of 2014. Where did this year go?

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone. Although it’s not the only day that we need to thank God for our blessings, on that day we are especially reminded of all that we are thankful for. My list seems endless—family, friends, church, and so many more. I feel one blessing I should mention is the editors at MennoMedia. They deserve a lot of credit for the fact that this column is still going, as does my good friend Ruth, who has been by my side through good and bad. Trusted friends are rare, and they have been so good to me. Writing the columns isn’t always easy, but knowing you have a firm foundation makes it so much easier.

I also want to thank all of you readers for your words of encouragement. To those of you who send a stamped self-addressed envelope: bear with me, please. A reply will come, but forgive me for not always getting back to you sooner. Last but not least, I want to thank our Heavenly Father for his guidance through our most difficult trials.

We spent our Thanksgiving Day at brother Albert and Sarah Irene’s house. All my siblings were present, as were all the nieces, nephews, families and special friends (except for two nieces and one nephew). The family grows more every year, and although I don’t have a total, I know it’s more than 100 now.

Albert’s family grilled 140 pounds of chicken, plus they fixed two 22-pound turkeys. Needless to say, there were so many leftovers! I won’t begin to mention all the food, but a 14-foot dining table was filled to capacity. When everyone brings food, it adds up. Snacks were served before everyone left.

We four sisters here in Michigan always have a Thanksgiving meal together. This year we all gathered over at Jacob and Emma’s on Sunday. Emma fixed two turkeys stuffed with dressing. Also on the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, lettuce salad, sliced cheese, homemade bread, butter, jam, summer sausage, veggies and dip, hot peppers, pumpkin roll, pumpkin and peanut butter pies, a variety of Christmas candy and probably more that I can’t remember now. The table was set for 24 people, which is what we total now. After dishes were washed, we played games.

I got a laugh out of daughter Lovina. Sister Emma gave her the meat thermometer to hold in the turkey, to see if it was fully cooked. When someone asked her what she was doing, Lovina replied, “Aunt Emma wants to know if the turkey is running a fever.” We all thought it was funny!

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan are off work this week from the factory due to a cancelled order. We (Elizabeth, Susan, Verena and I) are enjoying our week. We started it out with going Christmas shopping on Monday. We had a nice time and made more memories together. It is hard to believe my three oldest daughters have grown this much.

The Christmas season is upon us. Let us remember: Jesus is the reason for the season!

For this week’s dish, I will share a few short recipes that were served as snacks at Albert’s on Thanksgiving Day.

Fruit Dip

8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup brown sugar
8 ounces whipped cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix together well. Serve with apples or any fruit.

Cheese Ball

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1 package dried beef, chopped fine
1 small onion, chopped fine
seasoning of your choice

Mix all ingredients together. Serve with your choice of crackers.

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.