Tag Archives: The Essential Amish Cookbook

Grandchildren add fun and happiness

We have entered the month of July. The year 2019 is halfway in the past. July 1 was daughter Loretta’s birthday. She turned 19 years old. Son Benjamin is also 19, until his birthday on July 14. It always brings back memories from that year they were born. My dad passed away at age 69 six weeks before Loretta was born. Then we had church services at our house when Loretta was five weeks old. With Loretta being our fifth child and my oldest only being six at that time, I do not know how I did it. I do remember that I said never again would I host church services with a five-week-old baby. I depended a lot on my mother and five sisters to help out and get my cleaning done for church services.

Loretta’s boyfriend Dustin, Loretta, daughter Verena, and son Kevin went fishing out on a nearby lake on Dustin’s pontoon. On Loretta’s birthday the girls helped get laundry washed before they left. In the evening, Tim, Elizabeth, Abigail, and baby Timothy, Mose, Susan, and Jennifer also came in honor of Loretta’s birthday. Pizza and chicken wings were on the menu.

Tim, Mose, Dustin, and son Benjamin are all on vacation this week. Son Benjamin is gone for three days fishing on Lake Erie with a few friends. They are camping in tents close by the lake. They planned to go walleye fishing out on the lake. I’m sure he’s having an enjoyable time, but the house seems empty without him around.

Yesterday, Tim and Elizabeth left Abigail, age two, and six-month-old baby Timothy (or T.J., as little Abigail calls him) here, as Tim and Elizabeth were heading to town with horse and buggy. We had fun watching them. Abigail likes to follow Kevin around and ask him one question after another. Kevin does pretty good entertaining her.

When she heard Loretta had a birthday, Abigail said, “My birthday is September 10 and I will be three.” I was surprised that she knew that.

The little grandchildren add so much fun and happiness to our life. My dad would always joke around and say if he had known the grandchildren would be that much fun, he would have had them first.

Tomatoes grow tall in Lovina’s garden.

We are having more goodies from the garden, although it seems later than other years. We had quite a few days of 90-degree weather with the humidity really high. Tonight we had a shower, so the rain makes it more bearable. The garden was in need of rain.

Today I went with my husband Joe to the doctor. They did an EKG and found he has fluid around his heart. He has an open wound on his leg that doesn’t want to heal, and his legs and feet are swollen bad. The doctor gave him a few antibiotics and wants to see him in a few days. They also did some more tests and blood work, which will probably let us know more when we go back. But meanwhile, the doctor ordered him to keep his feet elevated and to stay out of the hot sun. Joe sees the garden get more weeds and thinks he should go work out there. A big garden is nice to have, but it requires a lot of labor.

We traveled to Bryant, Indiana, to Aunt Lizzie’s funeral last week. We saw many uncles, aunts, cousins. It was different to not see Uncle Elmer with Aunt Emma. I’m sure it refreshed everything with losing her husband not too long ago.

Cucumber vines begin to stretch across the garden. 

After the funeral the six of us sisters walked through Aunt Lizzie’s house reminiscing of long ago. How well I remember when Uncle Chris and Aunt Lizzie packed up their belongings and we helped them move to this home. Only a pole barn to move into, but now the property has two houses, a big barn, two chicken barns. Their daughter Lovina and husband Pete and family live in the big house. I’m sure with Aunt Lizzie gone the little house will seem really empty.

Life goes on, changes are made—God helps us accept these changes, but it all takes time to heal.

God’s blessings to all!

Old-Fashioned Cucumber Salad

1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1–2 tablespoons sugar, if desired

Combine cucumber, bell pepper, and onion in a bowl. Combine water, vinegar, salt, and optional sugar, and pour over vegetables. Refrigerate for a brief time before eating, or make ahead for the next meal.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

 

Apple-butter-sweet memories in times of loss

It’s a beautiful Tuesday morning with a lot of sunshine. How we treasure mornings and days like this. We didn’t wash laundry yesterday due to the dreary, rainy weather. Now today we were blessed with a nice day to dry the laundry. This afternoon I will take son Kevin for his therapy appointment and get some groceries while I’m in town.

Last week Joe’s Uncle Phillip was laid to rest, and now we receive the sad news of another family member that passed away. My Aunt Lizzie, age 85, died yesterday forenoon, and her funeral will be held on Thursday in Bryant, Indiana.

Aunt Lizzie was my mother’s only brother Chris’s wife. Uncle Chris and her son Danny preceded her in death. She leaves to mourn nine more children, 73 grandchildren, and 99 great-grandchildren.

I have so many memories of Uncle Chris, Aunt Lizzie, and family from my younger years. We would help each other with hog butchering, putting up hay, and so on. And every year we would make gallons and gallons of apple cider at Uncle Chris’s house. The evening before we would all gather around their big kitchen table and peel apples for apple butter day the next day. Uncle Chris would cook down the apples in his big outdoor copper kettle, making the perfect-tasting apple butter! The apple butter would be processed into canning jars, and everyone took their share home. In my growing-up years we always had a dish of apple butter on the table. Apple butter sandwiches were also a snack we would have when coming home from school hungry.

It takes many hands to schnitz—peel, core, and slice—enough apples for apple butter. Apples, cider, and sugar are traditionally cooked in a kettle over a fire for many hours until the mixture is reduced to a thick, creamy consistency. Photo Credit: Grant Beachy/©MennoMedia

Another fond memory I have of Uncle Chris and Aunt Lizzie is driving with them to church with their team of horses and their big bobsled. They would come driving in on a cold snowy Sunday morning on their way to church and take our family along. Uncle Chris would be standing in the front driving the team. He would always wear a long black wool overcoat in the winter. Bales of straw were stacked on either side of the bobsled where my mother, dad, Aunt Lizzie, and all of us children snuggled under big buggy robes to keep us warm.

After Joe and I were married, Uncle Chris and Aunt Lizzie would stop in for a short visit if they were driving by. Aunt Lizzie was always more quiet but always friendly. She will be missed by many. Our sympathy goes to the family. How well I know what they are going through to be without parents. God helps us through these trials of life.

My sisters Verena and Susan, sister Emma and Jacob, brother Albert and Sarah, and Joe and I have plans to all drive together to go to the funeral. I am so glad that we have others to go along with us so the cost isn’t so much. Traveling to Ohio alone was quite expensive, but we want to attend the funerals if we can to show our support. God will bless us in another way if we do a good deed.

We enjoyed helping to package 7,000 gift/care packages last week for the Christmas Behind Bars program. For over three hours we filled bags. The care packages usually include Bibles, devotional books, hygiene items, and snack items. After the bags were filled, they were all loaded into a semi-trailer ready to travel south to a prison. If I remember right, I think they said Alabama. It was a good experience for Joe and I and the children. So often we get busy with our own lives and don’t take time to reach out to others.

Apples destined to be cooked down into apple butter—the perfect sandwich spread for an afternoon snack. Photo Credit: Grant Beachy/©MennoMedia

This week I am sharing the recipe for cider apple butter that is in my mother’s words, so it might not be a recipe you will make in that amount, but for sentimental reasons I felt led to share it with you readers. God bless!

Cider Apple Butter

12 gallons schnitz apples*
20 gallons cider
12 pounds sugar

Makes 9 gallons apple butter. It takes 2 bushels of apples to schnitz the 12 gallons. Greens are good for cooking but McIntosh apples seem to cook up better.

*Schnitz refers to peeling, coring, and slicing apples.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Giving everything a thorough cleaning—but not without enjoying the company

Thursday morning and it’s almost 5 a.m. This column needs to be written, although my eyes still want to close for some more sleep. At least it’s not 3 a.m. That is the one thing I don’t miss from my husband not working at the RV factory. Son Joseph, 16, is waiting on his ride to go to work. Son Benjamin left for work at 4:30 a.m. The rest are still in bed. I feel extra tired this morning, but we did have a long day yesterday.

Yesterday my sister Emma, her daughters Elizabeth and Emma, and baby Jessica, along with my daughters Elizabeth and Susan and grandchildren, Abigail, Jennifer, and baby Timothy, all came here to assist us with cleaning for our upcoming church services. We will host here May 5. It will be communion services, so that usually lasts all day. We serve lunch halfway through the day, to a few tables of people at a time, until everyone is fed. Communion is usually around 3 p.m.

Anyways, back to my much-appreciated help . . . We accomplished so much yesterday but still had a nice day spent together. Walls, ceilings, furniture, etc. were cleaned from top to bottom in the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Curtains were washed and quickly dried with the nice, breezy, sunshiny day. Everything looks so crisp and clean this morning, and the curtains look nice and white hanging on the sparkling windows. I love to admire the clean windows because I know before long they will be speckled by flies resting on them. They used white vinegar and water to clean them, and that works really good.

Last week one day, daughters Verena and Loretta washed out both my cupboards. On Saturday my sisters Verena and Susan came to help, so they helped my daughters clean out cabinets. I really appreciated their help too.

I still need to defrost the freezer on our propane refrigerator and clean out the refrigerator. Also, my gas stove and oven need a thorough cleaning.

Everyone came for breakfast yesterday so I made a casserole with shredded hash browns, scrambled eggs, crumbled bacon, chopped green peppers and onions, shredded cheese, and topped with gravy. My sister Emma brought cherry coffee cake that was still warm, so that went good for dessert.

We enjoyed the four little ones. They are so precious and so much fun. Abigail wanted to help me hang out the laundry, so I told her to hand me the washcloths and a clothespin with each one. That kept her entertained for a while. She wanted to swing on the swing that hangs from our tree branch, so I lowered the seat for her. Jennifer came outside for a while, enjoying the nice day. She kept picking up little twigs and bringing them to me.

The two babies, Jessica (almost 3 months) and Timothy (4 months), took a nap on Kevin’s bed, which is still in our living room since his first surgery. Timothy is quite active and was entertained rolling over and trying to grab Jessica’s face after he awoke. The baby swing bouncer also entertained the babies while their mothers worked.

For lunch, daughter Susan brought spaghetti and meatballs and we also had leftover tacos from last night’s supper. Along with the coffee cake for dessert, it made a quick, easy meal.

While we were cleaning my husband Joe was outside in the garden planting early red potatoes. He also has sweet onions he wants to plant and some more seeds to get out in the garden. Our radishes and lettuce are up from his previous gardening. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and let them survive. It’s all controlled by God, so we trust in Him. He knows best!

I hope everyone had a nice Easter! God’s blessings to all!

Hamburger Potato Casserole

2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoons salt, divided
2 cups macaroni or shells
1 pint pizza sauce
2 quarts cubed potatoes
3 cups milk
2 rounded tablespoons flour
1 pound Velveeta cheese, melted

Place ground beef and onions in a large skillet. Add pepper and 1 teaspoon salt (or as desired) and cook over medium heat until brown. Pour into a big roasting pan or two large baking dishes.

Cook macaroni until soft, drain, then add pizza sauce. Pour on top of meat.

Cook potatoes until soft. Drain, then add milk, 2 teaspoons salt, and flour. Add cheese and pour over macaroni. Bake in a 350 degree F oven until it’s hot. Feeds a family of 12.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Garage sales and that first batch of dandelion greens

It is 5:30 a.m. on a Thursday here in Michigan. It sounds windy outside. Temperature shows 38 degrees. It feels good to have heat coming up through the vent from our coal stove in the basement. After having 70-degree weather the house was too warm, so we let the fire in the stove go out. Yesterday morning my husband Joe started it again. Today daughters Elizabeth and Susan have plans to come, so at least it will be nice and cozy for the little sweeties.

Usually the girls come on a Wednesday, but on Tuesday my sister Emma and her daughters Elizabeth and Emma, my daughters Elizabeth and Susan, and I went to the Amish garage sales. We took Emma’s baby Jessica and grandson baby Timothy along. Granddaughters Abigail and Jennifer stayed here with daughters Verena and Loretta. Of course sister Emma and I had almost more fun helping out with our grandchildren than shopping.

Our daughters were fortunate to get many good bargains in clothes. With material so high it pays to get garage sale priced clothes (and including the time it saves), and it was also fun just spending the day together. I saved myself quite a few days of sewing with the clothes I bought, and the prices were reasonable. It seems the boys are always in need of pants and I was able to get some in their size.

While we were garage saleing my husband Joe was home planting some early garden. Now let’s hope it doesn’t get too cold and we will have the fruits of his labor next month. Joe would like to buy or make a little greenhouse so he could experiment starting a garden a lot earlier. I have no interest in doing that, but if he’s willing to do the work I’m all for it.

We enjoyed our first meal of dandelion greens this week. We eat them in a salad with homemade sour cream and hardboiled eggs diced up in it. Yummy! Some of the children just don’t get the excitement I have when I bring in that first batch of dandelion greens.

Son Benjamin, 19, left for work at 4:30 a.m. and son Joseph, 16, left for work at 5:00 a.m. At 6:00 a.m. daughter Lovina, 14, and son Kevin, 13, get up to get ready for the bus. Lovina leaves at 6:45 a.m. and Kevin’s bus comes at 7:00 a.m. or later. He is still riding to school with the county bus, as he needs the lift for his wheelchair.

When the girls come home today we will probably work at somemore cleaning. I am trying to stay calm and not think about the sewing I need to get done for the upcoming wedding of niece Elizabeth and Manuel, along with all the cleaning. It all usually falls into place, and it’s not that we can’t host church services with some dirty corners. That is not at all the point of cleaning, for it is just a deadline to get it all done so it’s cleaned for a while.

Last Sunday our neighbors hosted church services and had the youth singing in the evening. It was warm enough to take Kevin with the pony cruiser and our pony Stormy. It’s easier for Kevin to get in than the buggy. We all went back for supper and singing in the evening. Tim and Elizabeth and Mose and Susan came here after church and went back for supper and singing too. The afternoon was spent relaxing and resting and the little ones took naps.

Daughter Verena’s friends came through to pick her up to go to the singing. Sons Benjamin and Joseph spent all weekend in Indiana at their friend’s house. They weren’t home in time to go to the singing. By 8:30 p.m. everyone was back home, so it was nice to all get to bed early.

This week I will share a recipe a reader sent to me. God bless you!

 

Zucchini Fritters

1 pound zucchini, unpeeled and grated
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 teaspoon fresh chives, minced
1 cup buttermilk pancake mix
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients except the oil, stirring well. Heat oil to 375 degrees F. Drop mixture by tablespoons into hot oil. Cook until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

Yields about 1 dozen fritters.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.

Stuck buttons, Abigail helps Grandma, and tight hugs

I’m sitting outside here by the grill as daughter Loretta grills hamburgers for our supper. We will also have vegetable soup with the hamburgers. The hamburgers are from our freezer which we packed individually last winter after butchering beef. This pack of hamburgers had cheese added.

Today daughter Elizabeth and Abigail plus daughter Susan and Jennifer spent the day here. We canned almost 40 quarts of vegetable soup and seven quarts of tomato juice. The last round of pressure cookers processing the jars are on the stove.

It’s a pleasant evening here in southern Michigan. After a few chilly and rainy days we are back to sunshine and warmer temperatures. After a hard day’s work it is really relaxing and peaceful to watch the sun sinking lower in the west. What a wonderful world we have by our great creator God! His work is amazing and it seems I feel less tired at night when I know He is there to help us through life’s many trials.

Little Abigail never ceases to amaze me with her “grown up” talk. How special it was for me—Grandma—to have Abigail help me pick the tomatoes from the garden this forenoon. She knew when she found a bad one and told me in her sweet little voice that it was bad and to throw it away. When we had picked four buckets of tomatoes she walked to the house to tell the girls Grandma needs help bringing the tomatoes in the house.

Abigail had her second birthday on September 10 so we went to her house Sunday evening to celebrate. Several other families were there and she enjoyed the attention and all the gifts she received. Elizabeth made her a cake and she blew out the two candles with the help of her daddy Timothy. She blew and blew but couldn’t get enough wind to come from her mouth. I think she was just too excited.

While we were in the garden today Abigail said, “Grandma, we need to sing.” She started to sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” Just so precious! Jennifer is eight months old now and reaches for me, then hugs me really tight. Such blessings for this Grandma!

My husband Joe is back to work this week at the RV factory. They didn’t have work last week. After this week they will again reduce to four-day work weeks. It makes it harder at this time of year when we need to buy hay for the winter and coal for heat. We will trust God that he will provide as he thinks best.

While Joe was home he caught up with work that needs to be done around here. The potatoes were dug up. The gardens were cleared all except tomatoes, watermelon, green and hot peppers and cabbage. Joe also helped me with laundry a few times while he was home. He got the button out that was stuck in my Maytag washing machine hose. He had to take off the end of the hose to get it out. (Water still came out of the hose but very slowly. It was a button off of one of the boy’s pants and it was stuck in there so the water had to run through the button holes.)

One day last week Joe and I also took the buggy eight miles to town with our horse Midnight. We started out after Lovina and Kevin got on the bus. Joe took me to a restaurant for breakfast before we started shopping. I always enjoy getting out of cooking for once.

Midnight does very well in town with all the traffic. She is so much calmer then her mother Ginger. Ginger is always impatient at stoplights but Midnight stands still well. That means a lot if a horse is traffic-safe in town.

The hamburgers are ready and the bottom of my page is coming up. I sampled the hamburgers and Loretta seasoned them just right. Time to set the table.

God be with you all and bestow His many blessings to you!

Three Bean Salad

1 16-ounce can yellow beans, drained
1 16-ounce can green beans, drained
1 16-ounce can red kidney beans, drained
1/2 jar chopped olives
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 onion, diced

Dressing:

1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 or 3 dashes paprika

Mix all the vegetables in a large bowl. Mix dressing ingredients together and pour over vegetables. Marinate for at least 12 hours in refrigerator. The taste is even better the second or third day.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest 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.

 

Using up scraps to make matching dresses for the grandbabies

Using up scraps to make matching dresses for the grandbabies

The sun is out! The sky is so lovely today. What a great master artist we have. Only He could paint a picture like this. The temperature is at 36 degrees.

The Eicher sewing machine gets plenty of use!

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan spent the day here yesterday and of course sweet little Abigail and Jennifer. My daughters were occupied cutting out and sewing baby dresses. They were using up some scraps of material I have. It seems so much of the time I have just enough material left that I can’t make a shirt for the boys or a dress for the girls. So now it can get used on the little grandbabies. The girls decided to cut out matching dresses for Abigail and Jennifer to wear to church on Sunday.

I went with Susan to Jennifer’s one-month checkup at the doctor. She weighs 10 pounds 7 ounces now. She weighed 8 pounds 10 ounces at birth so she’s doing well on gaining. She was 20 inches at birth and is 22 inches long now. Monday she will be six weeks old. I miss not seeing her every day since they moved back home. It’s good for them to be able to be back in their own house now.

Daughter Verena was glad for the extra activity yesterday and entertaining Abigail and holding Jennifer. She has days when she gets bored with her cast on. Once the weather gets nicer outside and warmer, she can go outside more often. She had some visitors Sunday afternoon. Timothy and Elizabeth told us to come for supper. Timothy grilled hamburgers and Elizabeth made macaroni and cheese, chips and ice cream. They also told Mose and Susan to come over so they drove the two miles. The whole family was there and it was an enjoyable evening. The boys put Verena in the buggy for the drive to Timothy’s. It was refreshing for her to go on a buggy ride.

Saturday husband Joe and the boys plan to dress and hang our beef. Timothy and Mose will come help too. One half of the beef will go to Mose and Susan. We have another beef we are raising that we still need to butcher yet this winter. We decided to butcher one at a time. It will be nice to have that big job done. We will cut up, can, and bag the meat for the freezer at our house.

The mail just came and had a card and letter from sister-in-law Nancy’s sister Sharon (Nancy and Sharon are cousins to my husband Joe). Sharon said in her letter that Nancy hasn’t been sleeping well at night which is understandable. Wish I could be closer to visit more often. I am glad Nancy’s parents and her siblings all live close to her.

Daughter Verena has been writing and sending cards to Nancy and her ten children. It gives her something to do. She looks forward to mail time.

I answered a lot of reader mail this morning. I was getting behind like usual. A big thank you to all you readers that sent the recipes I requested. I will share them in future columns. I will not be able to share all of them but will look through them.

Our sympathy goes to the family of Marcella, age 88, from Minnesota. She was daughter Elizabeth’s pen pal for over three years. Marcella and her niece Rachel traveled from Minnesota in 2015 to come here to Michigan for Elizabeth and Timothy’s wedding.

Lots of flu going around. Stay healthy everyone!

God’s blessings to all!

Tomato Jelly

4 cups peeled chopped tomatoes
4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (white vinegar is okay too)

Boil ingredients together 20 minutes. Turn off and add a 3-ounce box of strawberry jello. May be canned or frozen.

Note: One recipe says to add one 3-ounce box of jello and another one said two.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest 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 sell their cow, get ready to host church services

It’s around 5:30 a.m. on a Thursday morning. My husband Joe left at 3:50 a.m. for the RV factory. About a month ago, son-in-law Mose started working at the same RV factory. They leave and come home at the same time.

Sons Benjamin, 18, and Joseph, 15, left at 5:15 a.m. to go help nephew Noah.

Daughter Susan quit working quite some time ago so she is a big help to me. Susan and Mose have been shopping for a place but it seems like nothing has come up that suits them. They need some acreage for their horses and it seems the places for sale have either too many or not enough acres. We don’t mind having them here beside us. I know the feeling that you want something to call your own. When Joe and I were first married we lived with my parents for a while before we moved into a mobile home on the other side of the drive from my parents and lived in that. We lived there until after we had Elizabeth and Susan. We bought a house several miles from my parents and lived there until we moved here in Michigan in 2004.

After much thought we decided to sell our cow Bessie to a close-by dairy farm. She gave way more milk than we could use and with the boys leaving so early it made an extra chore before they left. I’m sure Bessie will be much happier with other milk cows. Joseph was usually the one who milked Bessie mornings and evenings. He said it helped build up his arm muscles. Bessie was a good cow and I hope she does well for her new owners.

On Saturday, Aug. 5, Mose and Susan will have their first anniversary. How can it be a year already? And Aug. 14 is Timothy and Elizabeth’s second anniversary.

Yesterday daughters Elizabeth (and Abigail), Susan, and Lovina, 13, went garage saling with Elizabeth’s horse and buggy pulling our buggy trailer. There were around ten garage sales at Amish places so they were able to buy some clothes as well. Abigail thinks she has to hold the driving lines and tell the horse giddy up. Elizabeth said when they pass another buggy Abigail waves and says, “Hi!” Then she goes back to telling the horse to go.

Steven, son of sister Emma and Jacob, had his tenth birthday on Sunday, July 30. He was very excited to get to sit with the boys in church now. After the boys and girls turn ten they don’t have to sit with their parents. Son Kevin, 11, was so glad Steven could come in with him.

Today daughter Elizabeth and Abigail and sister Emma and Steven will come to help us prepare for the upcoming church services we will host in three weeks. It looks like we will be canning hot peppers and pickles. We are planning to wash out cabinets also and wash laundry if weather permits. Daughter Susan will also come over to help so we should get something accomplished today with all the help.

Friday Joe and I, along with daughter Verena, 19, and son Kevin, 11, traveled to Berne, Ind., with my good friend Ruth. We met readers and signed books at the Faith and Life Books and Gifts store in Berne. This was during the busiest time of the year for Berne—the Swiss Days Festival. After not being there for 14 or 15 years it has really expanded throughout the streets. I think the reader there for the signing who was from farthest away was Sharon from California. Then I found out she is a cousin to Aunt Gyneth Coblentz—a small world!

We stopped in to say hi to sister Leah and Paul. Then we stopped by my home place, where I was born and raised and lived until I was married with two children—bittersweet memories! We also went by the house Joe and I lived in for eight years. We stopped in and said hi to our old neighbor Emma, then we went to visit sister Liz, Levi, and daughters. Liz had surgery and was still recovering from that. She wasn’t feeling too good while we were there. Before heading for home we stopped at brother Amos and Nancy’s but no one was home so we headed back to Michigan. A big thanks to Ruth for once again taking time out of her life and away from her family to drive us!

God’s blessings!

Fried Corn

4 ears fresh sweet corn
2 strips crisp bacon and drippings
1 small onion, minced
Salt and pepper

Cut uncooked corn from cob and add to bacon drippings. Add onion, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat in a frying pan, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender, about 15 minutes. Crumble bacon over top.

 

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.

Eicher family’s Christmas plans; plus cookie decorating for children

Today is my husband Joe’s 48th birthday. I wish him a very happy birthday and many more healthy years ahead. I couldn’t ask for a better man to spend my life with. We were married on July 15, 1993. God blessed us with eight loving children. We have had trials and sunshine throughout the 23 years. I don’t know what we would have done without God’s guiding hand over us. I can’t thank God enough for all the blessings we have received.

Christmas is on Sunday! Our family will gather here on Saturday evening and spend the night. We are excited to have sweet little Abigail spending her first night at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. Daughter Elizabeth is going to bring a big breakfast casserole so we will have an easy breakfast. After dishes are done we will give each other gifts. Let us not forget that Christmas is not about gifts but about Jesus Christ’s birth in that manger so long ago. Life is so much easier for us than the hardships they experienced back then. Let us give thanks daily for this!

Our church district had the annual Christmas potluck after services on Sunday. The tables were filled with casseroles, salads, pies, desserts, bars, etc. More than enough food for everyone. I took pasta salad.

We stopped in at Jacob and Emma’s house on our way home from church. Timothy and Elizabeth also dropped in. We enjoyed oranges, peanuts and party mix as a snack. Sister Emma gave Elizabeth some of Marilyn’s clothes. This was a sad feeling but Emma felt like she wanted Abigail to have Marilyn’s clothes. For those of you new to this column, Marilyn was born to Jacob and Emma in 2009. At the tender age of eight-and-a-half months, she died suddenly. This left all of us in shock, and especially sister Emma, Jacob and family. She was such a sweet little angel loved by all. She was the only baby in our families at the time making her even more precious. We don’t understand God’s plans all the time but we know God doesn’t make mistakes. We need to trust God to help us someday understand.

On Monday we had very cold weather causing all the schools in the county to close. Our mercury dropped all the way down to minus 11 degrees, and never warmed up to more than six degrees all day. With the children being home, we cleaned the basement and did laundry. It seems the basement doesn’t take long to get disorganized in this house. With the coal stove going down there, it also gets really dusty fast.

Today is Joe’s last day to go to work until January 3. Also, the children will be dismissed at noon today and then are also off until the third.

I will share a new recipe for Christmas cookies daughter Susan is trying out in her kitchen. Our three youngest children will decorate them with Susan and big sister Verena supervising. Meanwhile, I’m happy to do mending in a quiet house.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Uncle Menno Coblenz as he recovers from heart bypass surgery. We wish him a complete and speedy recovery.

I wish all of you readers a Merry Christmas and God’s richest blessings in the New Year 2017.

White Christmas Cookies

1 cup Crisco
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
5 cups flour, approximately
1 teaspoon soda
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup cream or milk
1 tablespoon lemon extract
1 tablespoon vanilla flavoring

Cream Crisco and sugar. Add eggs and beat well.
Add flour, soda, salt and flavorings. Mix well.
Add milk or cream. Mix well.

Roll out very thin and cut with cookie cutters. Decorate with colored sugar sprinkles or whatever you like. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-8 minutes. Store in tightly covered container.

 

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.