Tag Archives: vegetables

Corralling nine horses: all in a day’s work for Lovina

Diary of May 10, 2017

7:00 a.m. Lovina and Kevin leave for school with the bus. Joseph bikes to school because he can be home 45 minutes longer. With the chores he does, biking doesn’t make him so rushed. School is only three miles from here so it doesn’t take him long.

7:30 a.m. I made grilled cheese sandwiches for my sisters Verena, Susan (staying with us after their house fire), and son Joseph, for their breakfast. Verena and Susan leave for work.

7:45 a.m. Joseph bikes to school. Daughter Verena doesn’t have to work today so I let her and Loretta sleep in until everyone else is gone for the day. They get the job of washing the dishes and cleaning up the house. Verena cleans some windows. She makes scrambled eggs and toast for herself, Loretta, and me. I can relax better by sitting down and eating breakfast after everyone else has left.

9:00 a.m. I start sewing on Susan’s dress, cape, and apron. I had a late start. Had to do some book work first, answer some mail, pay some bills, and now I can feel relaxed to sew.

1:30 p.m. So much for being relaxed. Verena looked out and saw our horses all out in the yard, happily eating grass. We have quite a few horses so they need to be caught and put back inside the fence. Usually one of them is a troublemaker and takes off running away. I caught our pony Stormy, and two-year-old Beauty that the boys are training to drive. The rest took off. Verena almost caught Tough Boy (Mose and Susan’s pony) but he decided to pull away and join the rest! I knew Verena, Loretta, and I wouldn’t be able to get them all in when they took off down the road and back behind our neighbor’s field. I called the school and asked them to send Joseph home to help. Our neighbor Joe drove his four-wheeler to go herd them back up while Joseph, the girls, and I tried to help chase them in through the gate. What a relief when the last one was inside. We have five horses and two ponies, and Mose and Susan have one horse and one pony. So all together there were nine head of horses. We chained the gate and were trying to figure out how they opened it. Then we saw our miniature pony Prancer go up and take the chain in his mouth and wiggle it back and forth. Joseph tied a rope to secure it better.

2:45 p.m. It was too late for Joseph to go back to school so he took our mower over to my sisters’ place and mowed their grass for them.

3:00 p.m. Lovina and Kevin came home from school on the bus. I am finally finished with daughter Susan’s dress, cape, and apron. She was happy to see it done when she came home from work.

4:00 p.m. Verena and I leave for town as I need some groceries.

6:00 p.m. We are back. Chores are done and the boys are out in the field line-driving Beauty. Beauty will be Benjamin’s horse once she’s trained. She will be his eighteenth birthday gift from us.

7:00 p.m. My sisters Verena and Susan are home from their jobs. They had extra cleaning to do so they worked later than normal.

A surprise for Susan’s (Lovina’s sister) birthday.

7:30 p.m. We are having pizza, ice cream, and a cake for my sister Susan’s birthday. She was surprised when she came home to see the cake, flower, and balloons we had for her. Loretta’s friend Dustin, Mose, and daughter Susan joined us for supper.

9:30 p.m. Everyone is ready for bed. Dustin, Mose, and Susan left. Now I sit here trying to stay awake and write this column. I feel sorry for the editor that gets to edit the column this week. My writing is showing exactly how tired I am.

We were glad to meet with column readers at Dorothy’s Hallmark Bookstore in Warsaw, Ind., last Saturday. I heard so much encouragement. May God bless you all! And thanks to Dorothy and staff for once again treating us so well. And also to Ruth Boss furnishing transportation and support!

Asparagus Hot Dish

1/2 cup butter
1 cup colby cheese, cubed
4 cups soft bread, cubed
1 cup asparagus, cooked
2 cups chicken meat, diced
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk

Melt butter. Pour over cubed cheese and bread cubes. Put half of mixture in the bottom of a casserole dish. Put drained asparagus on top of bread mixture and chicken on top of asparagus. Mix can of soup with milk and pour over chicken. Add remaining bread mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Do not cover.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

 

Busy spring days mean accepting that one person can’t do everything

It is past time for me to get this column on its way. There’s so much that should be done, but a person can only do so much. One day at a time!

We did manage to get our windows cleaned on Saturday. It doesn’t take long for them to get dirty, especially because of the rainy weather and running the coal stove. We haven’t had any heat in the house for several weeks now. On a few of the colder mornings, it would have felt good to have some! The propane lights heat up the house. We use a lot more battery lights on days that we don’t need heat.

My husband Joe, our sons and son-in-law Mose have planted some garden. This is the first year I haven’t helped plant. I’m not complaining if I don’t need to help! But we will still have the big garden to plant, so I’ll get my chance. They planted red potatoes, onions, radishes, lettuce and cucumbers. I’m not sure if they have any corn planted yet. I need to go get more seeds so we can finish the planting.

This week I have been busy sewing for the wedding next week. I have Loretta’s dress, cape and apron done. I hope to sew Verena’s today and hopefully I’ll get started on mine. I sewed Benjamin, 17, a pair of dress pants. He also needs work pants.

Laundry needs to be done today, but I am waiting to see what the weather is going to be. It is very windy and the sun comes out a little bit and then it rains a little.

We are enjoying asparagus from our garden. I like to fix it several different ways. Joe reminded me last night that we have rhubarb ready to use. I did get the hint that he’s hungry for rhubarb custard pie!

Loretta, 16, and I are alone today. The rest of the family are either at work or at school. Joseph, 14, reminded me this morning that he only has thirty more days of school left. He is in eighth grade, so this will complete his school years. He signed up to help detassel corn this summer. Joseph is tall for his age, so he will find that helpful when he works in the corn fields.

Posing in the mailboxes: Izzy has been Elizabeth’s Yorkie for many years, and puppy Ricky (also a Yorkie) has just joined the Eicher family as Verena’s special pet.

Yesterday daughter Elizabeth and Abigail came for the day. Abigail is getting everywhere on her tummy. She scoots herself around, and so I need to keep my floors clean! Abigail is growing up with Yorkie dogs, so she wasn’t scared of Verena’s new little Yorkie, Ricky. Ricky is doing great and is doing well with the potty training. He likes to hide from us. His favorite place to hide is under Joe’s recliner, where he peeks out at us. Yesterday everyone was looking for him. A few decided to look outside, because he loves to slip out when someone goes through the door. I looked around the living room and bedroom. I happened to look back and he was following me.

We are looking forward to meeting the readers in South Holland, Ill., this Saturday. Our good friend Ruth is once again doing so much for us. Since we live several hours from South Holland, she will come get us Friday evening and then we will stay at her house for the night and go to the book signing on Saturday. Joe, daughters Verena and Lovina and sons Joseph and Kevin are planning to go with me. Loretta and Dustin will go help up set wedding tables on Saturday for his brother Jake’s wedding. This will be at Jake’s girlfriend’s parent’s house, which is about one and one-half hours from here. Jake is the first of Dustin’s siblings to get married, so this will make a big change for their family.

With all of us leaving, that will put son Benjamin in charge of doing the chores here at home. Mose and Susan will be here to help him.

I’ll share Uncle Solomon’s horseradish recipe. Joe and I made some to serve with the colored eggs at Easter. Our horseradish plant is really big already.

God bless you all!

Uncle Solomon’s Homemade Horseradish

horseradish root
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt

Clean and chop horseradish root very fine. Combine vinegar, water, sugar and pinch of salt, adding only enough horseradish to make it the thickness you like. Add more sugar or salt to taste. Store in sealed container and refrigerate or use immediately.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Easter, a wedding and the first book signing headline Lovina’s week

Everyone has gone to bed and I am still here at the kitchen table, writing. I think I am almost caught up in answering all my reader mail. The ones I have left need a recipe they lost. The recipes take time to write out, so please have patience with me. Sometimes my friend, Ruth, prints them out for me, which makes it so much easier.

Last Friday was the wedding day for niece Emma and Johnny, at my brother Albert’s. My job was to help with the mashed potatoes. On the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, dressing, barbecued chicken, corn, lettuce salad, cheese, frozen mocha dessert, fruit salad and angel food cake, as well as pecan, peanut butter, raspberry and ground cherry pies.

My husband, Joe, helped grill more chicken in the afternoon. Joe and I also served punch to the family, cooks and youth in the evening. It was an enjoyable but long day. Daughter Verena was a tablewaiter. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan were also cooks. In the evening Timothy, Elizabeth, Mose and Susan were evening servers.

Sunday was Easter day. I hope everyone had a blessed Easter. Our family was here for the day.

Friday in two weeks is the wedding of Jake and Lisa (Dustin’s brother). I have three suits to sew before then.

Yesterday I signed copies of my new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, in Shipshewana, Ind. at J. Farvers bookstore. Mark was a great host and so were his employees. They made a lot of the recipes from my new cookbook, and everyone was able to taste them.

A list of the upcoming book signings will be listed is at the end of this column. I look forward to meeting with many readers at the book signings. Thanks to all the readers who are buying the new cookbook. I saw it for the first time in print yesterday. It turned out really nice! Lots of hard work went into this book but seeing the finished product makes it worth all the time invested.

A list of upcoming book signings  is below

Sat. April 29:  9 a.m. – noon – South Holland, Ill.
Peace Church (Where Ruth goes to church and many women helped test recipes from there)
833 East 168th Street
South Holland, IL 60473

Sat. May 6: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Warsaw, Ind.
Dorothy’s Hallmark/The Party Shop
3418 Lake City Hwy
Warsaw, IN 46580

Sat. May 13: 10 a.m. – noon – Fort Wayne, Ind.
Barnes & Noble –Glenbrook Square
4201 Coldwater Rd B-01
Fort Wayne, IN 46805

Fri. May 19: 6 – 8 p.m. Goshen, Ind.
Better World Books
215 S Main St
Goshen, IN 46526

Sat. May 20: 12 noon to 3 p.m.  Mishawaka, Ind.
University Park Mall
Barnes & Noble 2358
6501 North Grape Road
Mishawaka, IN 46545

Sat. May 27: 10:00 a.m. to noon. Battle Creek, Mich.
Barnes & Noble
Lakeview Square Mall
5701 Beckley Rd., Lakeview Square
Battle Creek, MI 49015

Sat. June 3: 1-4 p.m.
The Blue Gate Restaurant
105 E Middlebury St
Shipshewana, 46565

Berne, Ind. Swiss Days:
Faith & Life Books –
July 28 5-7 pm
Jilaine Graber
159 W. Main St
Berne, IN  46711

 

I will share a recipe from the cookbook for Hobo Suppers. We make these a lot during the hot summer evenings so we don’t have to have any heat in the house to cook.

Vegetables and meats are chopped and put into foil wrapper for cooking in gas grill, oven, or campfire, (depending on fire regulations and conditions in your area). Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis.

Until next week . . . God bless!

Hobo Suppers

10 red potatoes, unpeeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup green peppers, diced
2 cups carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, chopped
1 (16-ounce) package smoky links or 1 pound smoked sausage, cut into pieces
salt and pepper, as desired
cheese, sliced

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together except the cheese. Divide the mixture into the amount you want for each serving, placing individual servings on sheets of aluminum foil. Fold foil over, wrapping tight, and set on grill for 10 minutes on each side.

Open up foil; if potatoes are soft, add a slice of cheese. (If potatoes need more time to cook, close pouches and return to grill before adding cheese.) Rewrap and grill a few more minutes until cheese is melted.

Alternatively, can be cooked in oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then turned over and cooked for 10 additional minutes. Check doneness of potatoes before adding cheese.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

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.