Tag Archives: vegetables

Tapping trees, baking bread and going to baptism fill February days

We have had a few very warm spring-like days. Son-in-law Mose took advantage of the weather and tapped our maple trees. He also tapped sister Emma and Jacob’s trees. They asked him to cook their maple syrup for them. Son-in-law Timothy is tapping their trees to make their own maple syrup.

Son-in-law Mose uses bags instead of buckets to collect sap from the trees.

The weather has been colder the last few days, which slowed down the flow of the sap. On those warmer days Mose collected quite a few gallons of sap. He’s not looking for a good year for maple syrup though.

My daughters and I assisted sister Emma with her cleaning a few days last week as she prepared to host church services on Sunday. On Saturday, Joe and I plus our sons Benjamin, Joseph and Kevin went to help with the final preparations.

Daughter Susan and I baked ten loaves of bread on Friday to help out for Sunday. I think Emma also had around forty-five loaves of wheat and white bread coming in from some of the ladies in the church. That way we don’t have to bake bread for our own church when we host the services. Jacob and Emma hold church services in their heated attached garage that was added to their house a few years ago.

Now that Emma and Jacob’s turn to host church is over, we will concentrate on butchering. The temperature shows 19 degrees now, so it is perfect weather for us to butcher. We will butcher three hogs here at our place on Saturday. We will give one to Mose and Susan to help fill their freezer and canning jars since they are newlyweds.

We raised the hogs and they grew fast. They are very big and should make a lot of ham, bacon and sausage for us. And of course the family is looking forward to some pon hoss being added to our menus in the next weeks. We like to make plenty of pon hoss to share with others. For those of you who aren’t familiar with pon hoss, it is made with the meat and juice cooked from the bones. We add flour, pepper and salt and it thickens as it cooks. We do this outside in our big black kettle over an open fire. After it has been poured in pans and cooled off and set, it is ready to slice and fry.

Daughters Verena and Loretta attended church in Dustin’s church district on Sunday. They were disappointed that they couldn’t attend the services at Emma and Jacob’s, but they went to Dustin’s sister Grace’s baptismal services that were held the same day. Four other young souls and Grace were baptized into the Amish faith and are now members of the church. This is a big step for the Amish youth to take, and we wish them God’s blessings in life. How pleasing to God when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior! Life doesn’t get easier with time, so it helps to have God lead the way for us.

God’s blessings to all of you as well. Take care and stay healthy!

Sister Emma made fajitas similar to this recipe when we were there to assist them with cleaning to host church services.

FAJITAS

Marinade
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Meat
1 pound sirloin steak or boned, skinless chicken breasts

Sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
dash each salt and black pepper

 Vegetables
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
1/2 each green, red, and yellow bell peppers, seeded, thinly sliced

Tortillas and toppings
4 flour tortillas
shredded cheese
sour cream
guacamole
tomatoes

Combine the marinade ingredients, and place with meat in a plastic container with cover or a zip-top plastic bag and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Discard leftover marinade. Grill meat over medium flame, 4-5 minutes on each side. Cut meat into thin strips. Set aside and keep warm.

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

Cook onion and peppers in oil until brown. Remove from heat. Pour sauce over onions and peppers. Combine meat with onions and peppers. Serve on flour tortillas with desired toppings. Yields 4 servings.

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.

 

Week marred by illness brightened by kind gesture

We have entered the month of February. The temperature has dropped to the teens again, and we have had several more inches of snow.

Last Friday the girls and I helped daughter Elizabeth with the final preparations for hosting church services on Sunday, January 29. Joe and I and the children went again Saturday so Joe and the boys could help Timothy set up the church benches in their basement. The girls and I helped Elizabeth peel the eggs she had cooked for egg salad. We also mixed the peanut butter spread. I made cheese spread here at home on Friday night. Elizabeth prepared two big roasters with casserole for Sunday evening. It makes it easier to have these prepared so they can simply be put in the oven Sunday afternoon for supper.

Timothy and Elizabeth were both really organized and finished everything that needed to be done by late Friday afternoon. They do not have the biggest basement to host church services in, but there was plenty of room to seat everyone. A lot of Timothy’s family from other church districts attended, but we had a few families missing from our church district. Those families were attending baptismal services in another church district. So it all worked out well.

The menu for lunch consisted of homemade wheat and white bread, egg salad, peanut butter spread, cheese spread, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, raspberry jam, butter, coffee and spearmint tea. For dessert there were chocolate chip, peanut butter, sugar, and oatmeal cookies.

Loretta’s friend Dustin surprised Lovina by volunteering to make his special skillet meal. The recipe appears in this week’s column.

On Friday night after coming home from helping Elizabeth, I had a nice surprise. Loretta’s special friend Dustin came with groceries and prepared supper for us. This was such a treat to me, as I had been thinking that I would have to come home and prepare supper yet. For the recipe this week, I will share one of the dishes he made for us. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did. Since Dustin doesn’t have a recipe for this dish, he helped me write one down the best we could. I told him I would name it Dustin’s Skillet, and he laughed.

I have left the not-so-good news for last. Sister Susan had been sick for a while and couldn’t attend church services at Timothy and Elizabeth’s house. Monday morning she ended up in the emergency room and was admitted to the hospital. She was there three days and then released to come home.

Little Abigail had a cough and it worsened over the weekend. Elizabeth took her to the doctor on Monday morning. The doctor said she has bronchitis and croup. Since they don’t have insurance, the doctor said they could try treating her at home for one night, giving her breathing treatments with a nebulizer. We still have the nebulizer that we had to use a lot on son Kevin, so they borrowed that. Elizabeth took Abigail back to the doctor the next day, and she was better than before. They are still giving her the treatments, and she seems to be getting better. Sweet little baby: she could still smile at us even though she had a fever. I’m thankful sister Susan and Abigail are both on the mend. Good health means so much!

May God bless you, and may you stay healthy. Thanks to all you readers for keeping Verena and our family in your prayers.

Dustin’s Skillet

1 pound breakfast sausage
1 pound bacon, cut into small pieces
12 ounces shrimp, cooked, with tails cut off
2 green peppers, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

In a skillet, fry together sausage, bacon and shrimp until sausage and bacon are cooked. Drain grease and put skillet back on burner. Add chopped green pepper and onions. Cook briefly. Then add sliced mushrooms and stir while heating until vegetables are hot.

 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.

Susan’s wedding is past, but the leftovers remain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Green Beans

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

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

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cucumber and Onion Salad

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

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

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

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.

Mild, dreary holiday weather has Eichers hoping for colder, sunnier days

Monday evening: supper is over, and everyone is relaxing for the evening. It is Christmas week already. Only a few days of 2015 left!

Daughter Susan is on a two-week break from the RV factory. The school has also closed its doors for two weeks. My husband, Joe, worked today but is now off work until January 4 as well. These two weeks will fly by so fast. Along with the holidays, we are also cleaning for church services, which will be held here in four weeks.

On Sunday our church district had our annual Christmas potluck dinner after church services. As usual, there was more than enough food. There were five different casseroles, all kinds of salads and desserts.

Tomorrow is my husband Joe’s forty-seventh birthday. His birthday always comes so close to the holidays. We want to have our family all together in honor of his birthday, but it doesn’t look like it will work for everyone until this coming weekend.

The last few weeks we have had rainy and dreary weather. This is making it hard for our solar panels to keep our battery pack charged. We have been using a generator to help charge the batteries. It is surprising how just one day of sunlight helps with the solar panels! We are always especially thankful for a sunshiny day since our water, freezer, and other items depend on the sun. Usually, we would have snowy weather in December, which makes the whole world seem brighter. The local newspaper said this December is making a record of being the warmest in December in years.

On Saturday morning the roads were covered in ice until the temperature rose and melted most of it. A lot of vehicles went off the road due to the slippery conditions. We had a friend take us to do some Christmas shopping around noon, and it was still really slippery. Now today it rained most of the day, with the temperature reaching 50 degrees. Joe turned our coal stove down as far as he can without it going out, and we still have to open a few windows. We are really saving on coal so far. I wonder if our whole winter will be this mild. I really am hoping we will get some colder weather, as it makes it nicer to butcher beef and pork. We will take whatever God sends for us and be thankful.

I wish all of you readers a merry Christmas. May God be with all of you this holiday season. I wish good health and safe travels to everyone. God bless all of you!

Delicious Fall Salad

6-8 slices bacon
3 cups sweet potatoes, thinly sliced
8 cups Chinese cabbage, chopped
Italian dressing

Fry and crumble bacon. Fry sweet potatoes in bacon grease, stirring several times until soft with crispy edges. Add crumbled bacon and fry several more minutes. Layer Chinese cabbage in a wide, shallow serving bowl. Top with hot bacon mixture. Do not stir. Serve immediately with Italian dressing.

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.

 

Gift exchange, school program, and potluck accent Eicher family Christmas

I am already a day late in writing this column. December is going way too fast for me! Christmas is almost upon us.

Tonight is the elementary Christmas program at our school. It is the last Christmas program with one of our children in it. Kevin will be in middle school next year—a fifth grader already! Kevin’s class is having a gift exchange, so he was excited to take his wrapped gift this morning. They don’t have a particular person’s name. Instead, the boys take a gift for a boy and the girls take a gift for a girl. This seems easier than keeping a secret from their friends about whose name they have.

We will have our Christmas with our family a day early, on December 24. Susan’s friend Mose’s family is getting together on Christmas day, so we decided to have it a day earlier. Our children don’t have any complaints about getting their gifts early!

Everyone will be here for supper on December 23, and then we give the gifts the next morning. I usually make a breakfast casserole the evening before so I can put it in the oven to heat while we open gifts. Such precious memories we make on a day like that. We need to take time to remember and thank God for sending Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Lovina and her daughters have been extra busy sewing clothes for Christmas gifts.
Lovina and her daughters have been extra busy sewing clothes for Christmas gifts.

Our day is usually spent enjoying our new gifts, playing games, and just enjoying being all together as a family. Our loved ones who have passed away always remain in our hearts on days like this.

Our family, sister Emma, Jacob and family, and sisters Verena and Susan always exchange names every year. We will get together on New Year’s Day for a Christmas dinner together. My parents always had our family home on New Year’s Day for breakfast and dinner and snacks before everyone left. Some of us would go the evening before and spend the night there. Since my extended family usually gets together in the summer months, it is nice for us four sisters here in Michigan to get together around the holidays.

Our church on Sunday will be at neighbors David and Barb. We will have our annual potluck dinner after the Christmas services on Sunday. I will take a tater tot casserole. Sister Liz had this recipe in our family cookbook that sisters Verena and Susan put together. I have made it a few times and the children enjoy it.

God bless you all!

Tater Tot Casserole

2 pounds tater tots
1 pint sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 soup cans milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound Velveeta cheese
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups cornflakes or crushed Ritz crackers
1/2 cup melted margarine

Put tater tots in bottom of casserole dish. Mix together sour cream, soup, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over tater tots. Fry ground beef and onion together. Top casserole with cheese, ground beef and onions. Sprinkle with cornflakes or cracker crumbs mixed with melted margarine. Bake at 350° for 45–60 minutes.

Variation: Cooked potatoes can be used instead of tater tots. This makes a large casserole. You can’t go wrong with a recipe like this—more or less of anything won’t hurt. Sometimes I put taco seasoning in the ground beef and crush Doritos on top instead of cornflakes.

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.

 

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.

 

Drawers that stick have got to go: Lovina helps sons organize space


Drawers that stick have got to go: Lovina helps sons organize space

It is Wednesday evening and I still haven’t taken time to write this column. Daughters Verena, Loretta, and Lovina are washing supper dishes. The boys and Joe are just relaxing and getting cleaned up.

Our supper was a simple, easy one. Verena and Loretta made One-Kettle Soup for our meal. Also on the menu were crackers, cheese, and venison summer sausage. One-Kettle Soup is a soup my mother always made at home. It is a favorite in our family. A quick soup when you’re running late for a meal.

While the girls prepared supper, I helped the boys sort through clothes in their bedroom. We put a bedroom suite in there that we bought at a recent auction. We needed some dressers replaced. After our house fire we had some older dressers given to us, but the drawers always would get stuck. Benjamin, 16, has his own bed and Joseph, 13, and Kevin, 10, share a bed. Our bedrooms upstairs are big rooms so there is enough space to fit two beds plus four dressers. Kevin was proud to have his own dresser for his clothes.

Daughters Elizabeth and Susan are off work from the RV factory this week. Elizabeth and her dogs spent the day here yesterday. We had a nice day together. Timothy went deer hunting in the evening and was excited to get a 7-point buck with a 16 1/2 inch spread. This is the fourth deer he shot with his compound bow this year. They are getting their freezer stocked for the winter.

Tomorrow daughters Susan, Verena, Loretta, and I plan to go to Elizabeth’s house to help her do some cleaning. With her working every day she doesn’t always get to do all the extra cleaning. We will probably wash her windows and whatever else she needs done.

When Timothy and Elizabeth were here for supper one night and were ready to leave, Izzy went to hide. It was so cute that she wanted to stay here. She gets so spoiled. Crystal is different and will whine if Elizabeth goes outside without her. Whenever Elizabeth sits down, Crystal is right by her side or on her lap.

Recently, we were surprised to have visitors from Ohio. It was Joe’s Uncle Solomon and his Aunt Rachel. They had been here the evening before with intentions to spend the night here. We had been at our neighbor Ruth’s wedding. We had a voicemail when we came home from Solomon. They had already checked in at a motel but Joe told them to come for breakfast. We had a nice visit with them. This was the first time Rachel saw where we live.

Daughter Susan just came home. She went to Mose’s house tonight and then they went to town. Mose wanted to buy a new mattress for his bed. He took Susan out for supper. The rest are all in bed so I think I’ll join them.

God’s blessings to all!

OneKettleSoup

I’ll share the recipe for One-Kettle Soup this week. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do.

One-Kettle Soup

1 pint canned chunk beef
4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, left whole
1/2 pound noodles or thin spaghetti
salt and pepper

Fill a six-quart kettle with around three quarts of water. Add beef, potatoes, and onion. Boil 8–10 minutes, then add noodles. Stir often and boil until noodles are soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove onion.

Note: More or less water can be added and more or less noodles. If I have company we add more to make a bigger amount.

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.

Steer runs laps in Lovina’s garden, and more autumn adventures

Autumn has arrived! The trees are showing signs of it with the leaves starting to turn colors. It is a beautiful, sunny day here in Michigan.

Our horses and pony are all being reshod by Leander, a man from our church district. Verena and I were glad for his help getting in one of the steers that escaped through the fence. We discovered the battery on the solar powered fence charger was dead. It seems that one steer always knows when the battery is dead. It always takes the same route to go through the gate and has to make several laps in my garden. After it does that, he will stand there and stare at us.

Needless to say, I will be glad when he will be our meat in the freezer this winter. He has sure caused enough trouble getting through that fence more than once. We chased him out into the pasture field with our milk cow Bessie, since he didn’t want to go back to the field he came through. The boys can have the fun of getting him back to his field after they come home.

The children are leaving every night again this week for German classes. It sure is quiet at nights. They eat before they go, but are always ready for popcorn or some kind of snack when they arrive back home.

RedBeetsPrepped
Prepping the beets for canning.

Daughter Susan received a traveling journal from a friend in Ohio. Almost four years ago a girl from Shreve, Ohio, started this journal and sent it to another girl. Every girl writes about their family and life and sends it to another girl around the same age. This journal is very interesting and has traveled to many states such as Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Maryland, Delaware, Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas, and New York. Within some of those states, it traveled to quite a few different Amish communities. Very fascinating!

RedBeetTwoPounds
This beet weighed two pounds!
RedBeetsHuge
A Joe-size beet — which he loves!

The girls and I want to go pull all the red beets in the garden this afternoon. We will make and can pickled red beets using them. I also like to fix cooked buttered beets, but Joe and I are the only ones that seem to eat those.

I hope we will have time on Saturday to start cleaning up the garden. It looks like most of the plants are almost done producing anything.

On Saturday, Joe and I and some of our children attended the local consignment auction. Daughters Susan, Verena, and Lovina went shopping elsewhere with daughter Elizabeth. Sounds like they had a lot of fun together.

Son Benjamin went to try his luck for the youth hunting day, using bow and arrow. He missed a doe and was a little disappointed.

I’ve had requests from readers for a granola recipe. I’ll share my niece Susan’s recipe for granola cereal. Enjoy!

God’s blessings to all!

Granola Cereal

12 cups oatmeal
3 cups brown sugar
4 cups flour
1 box raisins
3 cups melted oleo (or margarine or butter)
2 cups coconut
8 ounces almonds
2 cups wheat germ

Combine all ingredients in large roaster. Bake at 300 degrees until golden, stirring every 10-15 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.