Category Archives: Salads

Susan and Ervin Set a Wedding Date

November is here. Today, November 1, would have been my brother-in-law Jacob’s 50th birthday. He is greatly missed by his family and friends. We have many precious memories of the years we spent together. Jacob’s wife Emma is my sister, and he was a first cousin to my husband Joe. Rest in peace, Jacob. You will be remembered always!

And now, on a happier note, I want to announce the exciting news of daughter Susan and Ervin’s wedding date. The couple has picked December 30 for their wedding. Both have lost their first love, and what a great God we have that they were able to find love again. They will never forget their first loves, and we know God has a reason for everything.

So now there is lots of wedding planning going on. Susan and her two children, Jennifer and Ryan, will move in with Ervin and his three children, Kaitlyn, Isaiah, and Curtis, after they are married. As far as I know, daughter Verena will continue living in Susan’s house. We would love to have her move back home, but I understand she likes her independence.

The wedding will be different from our usual weddings. The service will begin at 9 a.m., with the couple being married by around 11:30 a.m. Only one meal will be served. Usually, we have two meals served for weddings. This is the second wedding for both, so they preferred a smaller wedding. The church, uncles, aunts, the bride and groom’s families, and their deceased partners’ families will be invited, which already brings the total up more than they anticipated. The wedding meal will be served cafeteria style except for the bride and groom and their families. Tables will be set for them, and they will have table waiters to wait on them. The wedding will be held at our local community building, which already makes it much easier.

Ervin and Susan very much appreciate every act of kindness that was done for them in the two years since they lost their loved ones.

Please continue praying for them as they join hands together with their five children. I will keep you posted as we prepare for this wedding.

Ervin’s mother Esther has been so kind in her offer to help sew for our family for the wedding clothes. This is a great help to Susan and some of my other daughters. She is a great sewer and has done so much to help Susan sew clothes for the five children. Sewing was never one of Susan’s favorite things, so she’s so happy to have someone help her. I remember when Susan was still at home and would come home from work. I asked her if she wanted to sew her dress. She said no and that she was very tired. The next thing I knew, she was line driving one of the ponies she was training. I soon figured out that her energy came when there was something she enjoyed doing. I remember asking her if she would rather move her sewing machine to the barn so she would feel more like sewing. Haha!

Tomorrow, sister Verena and I plan to help Susan at Ervin’s house. Susan is moving over some of her things she doesn’t need before the wedding. It’s easier to move it while it’s warmer and before the snow starts flying. Her cupboard was emptied, and now we want to set it up in Ervin’s house and put the china dishes back in.

I have finally caught up with reader mail. I sent out letters (answering letters) to eight different states the other day. I don’t thank you readers often enough for all the kind letters of encouragement. A big thank you to Karen from Kansas for the nice box of things you sent. So many useful items, and my grandchildren are so excited about Grandma’s new toys. They often get bored with the same toys I have, so they are very excited.

We have leaves, leaves, leaves. Saturday, we raked a lot of leaves, but the grass is already getting covered with lots more.

Son Joseph is working with the rest of his construction crew this week in Hart, Michigan. They don’t often go overnight. We miss him being home at night, but this hardly ever happens. They wanted less driving time. It is bedtime—good night, sweet dreams, and God’s blessings!

Macaroni Chicken Salad
2 1/2 cups macaroni, uncooked
2 cups diced chicken
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced carrots
1/2 cup sweet relish
1/2 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Rinse with cold water and drain well; cool. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well, chill.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Daughter Verena Shares Her Train Adventures

Hello, this is Lovina’s daughter Verena. It’s Tuesday evening, and I decided to write Mom’s column. The sun is shining nicely, and there’s a nice breeze flowing.

I keep looking back at life at the age of sixteen. I was so excited to turn sixteen, and life seemed to go so slow. Now I am at the age of twenty-four and life seems to be going too fast. I wonder what I will be saying at the age of fifty!

I recently got to experience going on an Amtrak train. I left with friends Samuel and Wilma and their three-month-old daughter Kimberly. I enjoyed the train ride—the only part I didn’t enjoy was trying to sleep. It wasn’t too comfy. We left the morning of July 11. We then arrived in Colorado at Samuel’s brother Freeman and his wife Sarah’s house the evening of July 12. That is where we stayed until July 16. Samuel’s sister Laura and Laura’s friend Liz drove back with us on the train. Laura and I shared a seat. We sure had an enjoyable time.

On July 17, we had to get off and go on another train. While we were waiting at the train station, we decided to go find some food to eat. I saw the escalators and I got a wild idea to try one out with my mobility scooter. Without thinking of any consequences, I took the scooter up the escalator. It did a good job, so I wanted to try going down. So I did, and it worked perfectly. Although it didn’t impress the caretakers of the station. They had to put over the intercom that wheelchairs or any kind or scooters are supposed to take the elevators, not the escalator. It was a fun and funny experience. I do not suggest anyone tries it though!

Around midnight on July 18, we arrived an hour from home—just to discover our driver forgot to pick us up and had been fast asleep. Now we had to find a way to call home and find another driver. We finally were able to do that, and the driver came around 3 a.m.—we arrived home around 4 a.m. I did not sleep right away, either, so I definitely lost a lot of sleep, but it was definitely worth it.

Laundry day at Daughter Susan’s house, where Verena lives. Photo provided.

Sister Susan’s boyfriend Ervin moved up here into a rental house. It’s six miles or so from Susan’s house, which has made life much busier and brought more changes. The changes are good though. I’m very happy for Susan and Ervin. I’m also happy for the children—they sure have adapted well together.

Every morning, Ervin’s work driver picks me up around 3:10 a.m. That means I have to get up by 2:45, at least. Ervin makes sure to have my mobility scooter sitting out there so I can just drive it into the house once I get there. Ervin’s three children are still fast asleep, so I lay down close by them somewhere. They normally get up around 6 or 7 a.m. I then get them breakfast, then I wash the breakfast dishes and of course entertain the children. Around 11:30 we have lunch, and then I put them down for a nap. After they are napping, I wash the dishes, sweep the floors, and mop the floors if needed. Not all that gets done all the time before Ervin gets home. I then have a driver take me back to Susan’s after Ervin is home. Ervin gets home normally around 1­­–2:30 p.m. I also make sure to have supper prepared for him so he doesn’t have much to do.

Today I loaded all three kiddos up on my scooter and we drove to my parents’ house. Mom made breakfast for us, and the children loved it. We then went over to my sister Loretta’s house to see baby Denzel again. He sure is growing, and is doing well.

Wednesday, July 27, my nephew Ryan will be three years old. Ryan is Susan’s son. Ervin offered to have our family there at his rental house for Ryan’s third birthday.

I hope you are all doing well, and God’s many blessings to you all!

 

Garden Salad
3 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
1 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings
3 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup oil

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well to mix. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Saturday Night Supper and Sunday Brunch

After my husband Joe and our sons Benjamin, twenty-two, and Joseph, nineteen, left for work, I took a shower and now want to get this column written.

Daughter Lovina will go to work this morning helping stain trim at a friend’s house. My plans are to go help daughter Loretta get her house cleaned for the Tupperware shower daughter Elizabeth is hosting for her. It’s a belated wedding shower, and lunch will be served afterward.

Sister Verena spent a few nights here again. It gets lonely for her when she doesn’t see anyone for almost a week. She came Sunday night and had supper here, then went home Tuesday.

On Monday, she went with me to daughter Loretta and Dustin’s house. We helped Loretta clean windows, wash some laundry, etc. Then in the evening, daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and four children came to help. Sons Benjamin and Joseph also came over. The men did the plumbing and installed two new toilets and a new vanity for the bathroom. They worked late to try to get the water hooked back up. Dustin was glad for their help. Elizabeth and I helped Loretta make supper which was mashed potatoes, beef and noodles, corn, mixed vegetables, etc. The rest of our family (Joe, daughter Lovina, and son Kevin) also came over to eat supper.

Their house is looking good with the remodeling they have done and much more open space. I think they will be glad when it’s all done. It still needs trim and baseboards, but at least it’s livable now. She has much more cabinet space now as well.

Sister Verena came home with us again that night. It was late by the time we came home, but at least we didn’t have far to go as Dustin and Loretta just live across the road.

The children had fun roasting hot dogs and making s’mores. Photo provided.

Saturday night, our family went to Elizabeth and Tim’s house for supper. We sat around the campfire and sang together. That was something we hadn’t done in a while. The children had fun roasting hot dogs and making s’mores. Some of us stayed the night, and some went home and came back for brunch on Sunday. Air mattresses were put up for extra beds.

It was fun to wake up and play with the little grandchildren. Andrea is almost four months old and is such a sweetie. She tries to talk, and her smile is so precious.

Of course, grandson Ryan, two, has to come with his dad Mose’s old black hat. He thinks he has to wear that all the time even though it’s much too big for his head. When Grandpa Joe puts his hat somewhere, Ryan will take his hat off and set it on top of Grandpa’s.

Brunch was delicious; the menu included biscuits, gravy, scrambled eggs, cheese, hot peppers, donuts, brownies, rhubarb and grape juices, and coffee. It was an enjoyable weekend!

Yesterday, son Kevin and I washed laundry. It was a nice day to dry it. In the afternoon and evening, we had grandson T.J., three, and granddaughter Allison, two, here while Tim and Elizabeth, baby Andrea, and Abigail went shopping. It was fun to have them here. I made hamburgers on the gas grill and had buttered beets and macaroni and cheese with that.

T.J. fell asleep on the couch right before supper, so he didn’t have supper yet when Tim came back to pick them up.

Those two little ones put in so many miles in a short time. They kept Grandma busy. They slipped upstairs to daughter Lovina’s bedroom and sprayed perfume all over them, so I had to change their clothes because it was so strong. They were really giggling about it.

I soon remembered that two- and three-year-olds are not safe to be left alone long. Smile! They were enjoyable to have here. God’s blessings to all!

I want to let all readers know that the mailing address has changed, so make sure you send all mail to the new one, which is P.O. Box 234, Sturgis, Michigan 49091.

Pea and Cheese Salad
1 12–16-ounce package of frozen peas, thawed
1 cup chopped celery
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 cup cubed Colby cheese
1/2 cup sliced radishes
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Stir into pea mixture. Chill until ready to serve.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Upcoming Graduations and Weddings

The last day of May brings us temperatures in the 80s. A nice breeze is blowing, helping us stay cool. This breeze will help our hay dry. Hopefully, it will get baled tonight.

Tonight is nephew Steven’s eighth-grade graduation, which we plan to attend. This is the last of sister Emma’s (Jacob) children to graduate from school.

Son Kevin never had his graduation since it was in 2020 when everything was shut down from COVID-19.

A trio of Lovina’s horses. Photo provided.

Emma’s son Benjamin and Crystal have been published to exchange wedding vows on August 5th Lord willing. Congratulations to them. August 5th would be daughter Susan and Mose’s sixth wedding anniversary if he were still with us. We must accept God’s plan and life goes on. Mose will never be forgotten, and we treasure the memories we have of him.

Tomorrow my husband Joe and I will attend the wedding of Jeremiah and Sarah. Jeremiah is from our church district, and they bought a place in our district to live after they are married. We have a few more wedding invitations on our fridge. Congratulations and God’s blessings to all the young couples as they unite in marriage.

We had a great turnout Friday night and the pleasure of listening to Robert Rogers tell his story. Many tears were shed as he told us about losing his wife and four children in a flash flood in Kansas in 2003. His faith in God is amazing. His encouragement to all the families that have lost loved ones is amazing.

We were also happy to meet his second wife, Inga, and their five children.   It was also great to meet Inga’s parents as well. They are readers of my column, and we had a lovely visit.

We appreciated all the church members that came in support as well. Ham and hotdog sandwiches and snacks were enjoyed afterward.

Our hearts ache for the families in Texas who lost loved ones in the school shooting. Also, for the ones who witnessed the tragedy. May God be their guide and his many blessings be showered upon them. Lots of prayers are needed!

We had a few questions about the church meal: Egg salad was made from chopped hot dogs, chopped hard-boiled eggs, and mayonnaise. This mixture is spread on homemade bread, and many add pickles on top. Some also add hot peppers.

Another question was asked if we use both the house and pole barn when we have church. Church services are held in the pole barn, but the house is open as well. The women with babies or young children use the house as a nursery to care for their little ones. With only one bathroom in the pole barn, some come in during the service to use the bathrooms in the house.

I will share the egg salad recipe we used for church. I do not add onions or celery when I make mine.

God’s blessings to all!

Egg Salad

3 pounds of hot dogs (may substitute ham)
2 1/2 dozen hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
2 cups whipped salad dressing
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
1/3 cup celery, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Grind the hot dogs in a grinder. Place ground hot dogs in a large bowl and stir in the hard-cooked eggs, whipped salad dressing, mayonnaise, onions, and celery until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.

It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Spring Cleaning and Connecting with Readers

We are into month number four of 2022 already. Unbelievable!

With church services set here to host in less than six weeks, we are starting to clean some corners out.

Yesterday I cleaned out the master bedroom closet. It felt good to get that dreaded job done. How things manage to accumulate so fast is beyond me. Am I the only one that tends to overstuff a closet? Out of sight, out of mind, they say! I was actually proud of myself for parting with the things I didn’t really need but still hang on to. I never wanted to be a pack rat, but as the years go by, you accumulate things that you never use, so I have a pile of things to give away.

Saturday, daughter Elizabeth, seven-week-old baby Andrea, daughter Susan, and children Jennifer, 4, and Ryan, 2, daughter Lovina, and I, with our friend Jodi as our driver, attended the Plain & Simple Craft Show. It was a pleasure to meet author Wanda Brunstetter. Our tables were beside each other as we signed and sold books to our great readers. It was fun to have my daughters and some of my grandchildren along. We had a great outcome in sales. Daughter Verena couldn’t attend as she was at a lake house with her friends. She had an enjoyable time! Looking forward to meeting the Nappanee and surrounding area readers April 9 at Nappanee Public Library!

Sunday church services were at our neighbors, so Joe and I walked to church with daughter Susan and the children. Susan came Saturday night, so she’s closer to church services. Joe pushed the stroller with Jennifer and Ryan in it as it was too far for them to walk. Or we were afraid they would get tired of walking, so we decided to take the stroller.

During church service, daughter Elizabeth had to go feed baby Andrea, so I took two-year-old Allison to sit with me. She was not too happy that her mother was taking care of Andrea. I told her that Andreas was a baby, and her mom needed to feed her. Allison said, “Well, Mom has two babies, me and Andrea both.” It was so cute to hear her little voice complain. Sister Verena was sitting beside me and gave her a candy. I told her to say “thank you” to Verena. She said, “But I don’t want to thank Verena.” Finally, she pouted herself to sleep and woke up refreshed after a good nap. Grandchildren are sunshine for your soul and medicine for your mind!

We are enjoying dandelion greens now. We eat them in a dandelion sour cream salad on top of steamed potatoes. Son Joseph grilled fresh ham and ribs to go along with that. It’s been a while since I shared my dandelion sour cream salad, so I will this week. We like lots of hard-boiled eggs diced in ours. Bacon also goes well with it.

Our sympathy goes to Gloria Yoder, who pens the Amish Cook column, and her family. Her husband Daniel died from injuries in a logging accident. I never met Gloria but talked with her over the phone years ago when I quit writing the Amish Cook column and joined the great team at MennoMedia.

Daughter Susan knows the pain Gloria is experiencing at this time. I never lost a husband, but I have felt the pain of losing very close loved ones. It changes so much in your life, but we must go on. God has a reason for everything, and the comfort of knowing He makes no mistakes helps us go on. Let us pray for each other. Everyone has trials in different ways. God’s blessings to all.

Lovina recommends adding lots of hard-boiled eggs to this dandelion salad recipe. Photo provided.

Dandelion Sour Cream Salad
4 packed cups of young dandelion greens
4 hard-boiled eggs, diced

Sour Cream Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups whole milk
salt

Put the eggs and dandelion greens in a large bowl and pour the dressing over them.

Dressing: Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, milk, and salt to taste in a quart jar. Shake until smooth. Any unused dressing can be refrigerated for up to two days.

Variation: Substitute in season fresh-from-the-garden lettuce and endive for the dandelion greens.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold.  Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.

Spring salads and fun with grandchildren

I am writing this on the last day of March. Will April bring us nice days? We will accept what we get. My husband Joe planted peas and radishes in the garden so we will wait and see if it grows garden goodies. It sounds so good.

We had our first meal of dandelion salad this spring. Yummy! With steamed potatoes and fresh grilled ham it was a good meal. I was surprised at how many dandelion greens I could find already.

Rhubarb is coming up and soon asparagus will be popping through the soil. Joe also started some seeds in trays and hopes they will do well to plant in our garden once it warms up.

Everyone is still at home due to the coronavirus. Son Benjamin, 20, drove our horse and buggy to town to the bank and then also picked up a few groceries. So many items are limited but we have managed so far. With everyone being home a lot of neglected jobs are getting done. It does take a little more meal planning with everyone being home all day long.

The boys raked our yard and power washed our paved driveway. Everything looks so fresh and clean. I love to admire the fresh look of everything at the beginning of spring. The grass is getting greener each day. We also had a thunder storm one evening. Another sure sign that spring is here.

Son Kevin, 14, is still doing his school work here at home. Daughter Lovina has been tutoring him when he needs help. He says he wishes he could be at school. This is his last year of school. I never thought something like this would happen, which I’m sure everyone feels right now.

This month, sixteen years ago, we made the move from Indiana to Michigan. We brought our horses Diamond and Itty Bit along. Six days after we were here Itty Bit had a foal, and we named her Ginger. We don’t have Diamond and Itty Bit anymore but it is hard to believe Ginger is 16.

At the time our oldest daughter, Elizabeth, was only nine. She turned 10 that June. Joseph was the youngest child until Lovina was born in May. Now Elizabeth is a Mother to three sweet little children. Susan was eight years old and now has two sweet little children of her own.

We have so much fun with our grandchildren. Each one is special to us. Abigail, 3, picked some flowers for me one day and I put them in a little cup of water. She looked so proud that I liked my flowers. I am not even sure if they are flowers or some kind of weed, but it’s the thought that counts. My daughters laughed about it, saying they wonder if I actually kept their “flowers” that long. It does almost seem like you take more time for your grandchildren. Maybe it’s because you don’t have to be a parent to them and you still get a good night’s sleep when they go home. Whatever it is, I love my children just as much and pray each day that they will lead a life with God.

May each one of you stay safe and healthy. God will provide if we trust in him. We know God doesn’t make mistakes so there is a reason for this pandemic although we do not understand it at the moment. Trust and believe and have faith. God bless and good night to all!

 

Dandelion Sour Cream Salad
4 packed cups young dandelion greens
4 hard-boiled eggs, diced

Sour cream dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups whole milk
salt

Put the eggs and dandelion greens in a large bowl and pour the dressing over them.

Dressing: Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, milk, and salt to taste in a quart jar. Shake until smooth. Any unused dressing can be refrigerated for up to two days.

Variation: Substitute in season fresh-from-the-garden lettuce and endive for the dandelion greens.

 

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available now 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.

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.

 

Hosting church brings surprise guests and plenty of fellowship

Today is the 59th birthday of my oldest sibling, sister Leah. Birthday blessings to her! Since we live two hours apart and I won’t get to see her, I sent a card and letter to her by mail.

Our children who still live at home spent today helping daughter Susan and her husband, Mose, in preparation for their upcoming hosting of church services. Also helping were sister Emma and son Steven, and my daughter Elizabeth and little Abigail. We all went over for breakfast, which was breakfast burritos, sugar cookies, peaches, and watermelon. We cleaned out cabinets, cupboards, and other items, and the boys cleaned out the barn.

Abigail kept herself entertained by playing with dolls and looking at books. She loves looking at books and really notices what a book is about. She plays “Mommy” and keeps her little “baby” happy. She asked her mother, Elizabeth, if she wanted to hold her baby. While she was handing the doll to Elizabeth, it almost dropped from her hands. Abigail said, “Be careful, Mom!” in such a grown-up voice. It was just so cute!

Baby Jennifer is seven months old today and also kept us entertained. She is just full of smiles but doesn’t like when her mom is extra busy, like today. She breastfeeds, so Jennifer enjoys those times with her mother.

We hosted church services last Sunday. There were some families missing but we had visitors, so I am guessing we had around 130 to 140 people here. It was a smaller group than I’m used to having, but it was nice to be done with the preparation. Dishes were all washed and packed up by 1:30 pm. Guests sat outside under the shade trees and enjoyed popcorn before leaving.

We had a nice surprise on Sunday morning. Sister Liz and husband Levi, nieces Suzanne and Elizabeth with Samuel and their children, LaRose and Samuel Lee, niece Rosa, Menno and baby Jeremiah, nephew Levi Jr. and Arlene all showed up for church services here. We were glad to have them! Liz and Levi were able to pick up Levi Jr. and Arlene on their way up to Michigan.

Our church lunch menu included: homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, bread and butter pickles, dill pickles, red beans (pickled), hot peppers, strawberry jam, butter, coffee, iced tea, plus chocolate chip, sugar and oatmeal cookies.

Saturday evening before church services here, our married children with grandchildren plus Loretta’s special friend, Dustin, as well as some friends of our sons spent the night here. We have a bed and cribs in the part of the pole barn where we have church services that was made into a temporary nursery for the ladies with small babies. Mose, Susan and Jennifer slept in there (their old living quarters when they lived here). It’s nice that they have their own bathroom out there. We also have a bed and bathroom in our basement, which is where Timothy, Elizabeth, and Abigail slept. The extra boy visitors divided up between our sons’ two bedrooms. So we had enough room for everyone!

Sunday morning, I made two breakfast casseroles and put them in the oven to bake while everyone dressed for church.

After church and lunch, Liz, Levi and family headed home in the late afternoon. Jacob, sister Emma and family, and sisters Verena and Susan, along with our family, were here for supper. Our menu was grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, chicken and noodles, gravy, peaches, cookies, sliced tomatoes, homemade bread, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, red beet pickles, hot peppers and more.

I didn’t invite more people to stay for supper, as we were so tired from all the extra work we did beforehand. Needless to say, we feel pretty relaxed this week and are taking life a little easier. God’s blessings to all!

Today’s recipe is for a super-healthy side dish that you can keep in the fridge for weeks to come. Photo by Lucas Swartzentruber-Landis.

Marinated Carrots

2 pounds carrots
1 large onion, sliced into rings
1 large green pepper, sliced
1 can tomato soup
1 cup sugar
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup salad oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Wash and scrape carrots. Cut into diagonal slices about 1 inch long. Cook in boiling water until tender. Drain and cool. In large bowl, combine carrots with onion rings and green pepper slices. Combine soup, sugar, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Pour hot mixture over carrot mixture. Cool. Cover and chill in refrigerator overnight. Keeps up to a month in the refrigerator.

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.

Prayer and fasting give way to joyous Easter for Eicher family

We are in the last week of March with Friday being Good Friday and Easter is Sunday, April 1. It’s an early Easter this year.

My oldest sister Leah and Paul were married 37 years ago on April 16. I remember that Good Friday was April 17 in that year (1981) and was the day after their wedding. I was in the third grade and still remember going to the mailbox to get in the mail on Good Friday. That is one way I can always remember that mail does go on Good Friday.

In our community, we honor Good Friday and have a time of prayer and fasting in the forenoon. We usually have lunch with family or friends and enjoy the rest of the day visiting.

Daughter Elizabeth and Timothy want our family to come to their house this year. Timothy plans to grill some chicken, with Elizabeth making all the trimmings. I always look forward to spending time with family. Of course, spoiling my little granddaughters is so much fun.

Right now little Jennifer is staring at me and smiles when I look up. How precious! Daughter Susan just breastfed her and is rocking her to sleep. Susan came this morning, as she has a very stiff neck and it was hard for her to lift the baby off the bed. Mose and the driver dropped them off here early this morning when the driver picked up my husband, Joe, to go to work.

After applying heat and cold packs and taking some pain relievers, Susan says her neck is feeling a little better. She thinks she sprained it from lying on it during the night while feeding Jennifer. A stiff neck can be miserable! Jennifer is extra fussy today, so I’m glad she is here so we can help her. And no one complains when they have to hold Jennifer!

Daughter Verena was excited to have her cast cut off last week at her doctor’s appointment. She does need to wear an air boot for four more weeks. She is having some pain as she gets used to walking on her foot again, but it’s getting better every day. Mail time is still exciting for her. We appreciate everyone who took time to send a card, write a letter or mail a gift to her. May God bless you for your kindness.

Son Kevin, 12, went along to the appointment so that Verena’s doctor could check his feet. The doctor decided to wait six months and have him wear night splints that help his feet. It’s very miserable to sleep with the splints on, and he can’t walk in them. He wasn’t too excited, but he chose those over the braces, which he would have had to wear during the day. We will see what is going on in six months and will try to prevent surgery if possible.

Yesterday the girls and I attended sister Emma’s Tupperware party and stayed for lunch. Our friend Beth picked us all up with her van, and she picked up daughters Elizabeth and Susan as well. Emma served us a good lunch of tater tot casserole, macaroni salad, cheese, dirt pudding, applesauce, Jello and chocolate chip bars. She had leftover food so she sent some home for our supper. It was nice to have supper made. Daughter Loretta left with Dustin and his family to attend a visitation and viewing for a friend of the family who died. Son Benjamin and nephew Henry went to town to get some groceries for me. The boys were back for supper but Loretta wasn’t.

Our horses, Midnight and Beauty, will be three years old this spring. We gave Beauty to Benjamin for his 18th birthday last year. The horses need miles, and it helps when the boys drive them during the week. My husband, Joe, trained both horses last summer. We saw a lot of excitement, and I was glad when he had the horses going in the buggy! Midnight was a challenge and I didn’t think she would ever listen. But now she takes us wherever we want to go.

Lovina shares her recipe for a large traditional potato salad serving 12-18, great for a get together or potluck.

I need to finish this column so that I can get to my sewing. Jesus has risen! Have faith in Him and He will always be there for you. I hope you had a blessed and happy Easter. Peace to all!

Potato Salad

2 1/2 pounds potatoes, cooked until tender
6 hard-boiled eggs, cut up
1 cup celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing (or store brand)
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons salt

Dice potatoes or put through slicer. Then combine potatoes, eggs, celery and onion in a bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together salad dressing, mustard, vinegar, sugar, milk and salt. Pour over potato mixture and stir together. Large recipe serves 12-18.

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.

So many Amish weddings lately that it’s hard to keep up

It is a typical October day. Leaves are gradually changing color, evidence that autumn is here and making such beautiful scenery. Also, the sunsets have been absolutely breathtaking lately.

Laundry will be on the list to do today. I should be helping sister Emma today with her painting, but I am trying to heal a sore toe and painting would not have helped. I know being a cook at the wedding tomorrow will already make it hurt more.

On Tuesday daughter Susan and I helped with wedding preparations for the wedding at son-in-law Mose’s parents’ house. We diced carrots, celery, onions and potatoes for the dressing on Friday. The potatoes and carrots were cooked until softened a little so that they will be softer when the dressing is baking. We also peeled and sliced a bushel of peaches and added pineapples, orange juice concentrate and sliced bananas to make fruit slush for the wedding. Bacon was fried up and crumbled for the corn chip salad that will be served. Other jobs were completed as well.

Last Thursday was a lovely day for Clint and Hannah’s wedding. I will try to remember the menu. With so many weddings lately, it’s a little confusing to remember what was served at which wedding! On the menu were: baked and barbecued chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, green beans, corn chip salad, bread buns, honey, butter, fresh fruit mixture, pineapple dessert, cherry delight, frozen mocha dessert and candy bars. Candy bars are usually served at the end of each wedding meal.

Sunday, October 8, was Loretta’s special friend Dustin’s birthday. Mose butchered a few of the chickens, and Dustin fixed the whole chickens on the grill. Also on the menu were red potatoes and mushrooms (also fixed on the grill), sliced cheese, celery and carrots with ranch vegetable dip, cake and ice cream.

We wish Dustin another year filled with love and happiness. May God bless him for being such a wonderful friend to our daughter Loretta. With her disability it takes time and patience, and Dustin is always there for her. He made it possible for her to go deer hunting for the first time. She does very well with the crossbow when they do target practice. I’m sure, though, that once the deer is right in front of you, it can be a greater challenge!

Daughter Elizabeth was here yesterday and finished sewing Susan’s cape and apron for the wedding. I had the dress finished. It was a different pattern to sew, so it took a little more time.

We plan to butcher our 95 chickens on Saturday (although we had 100, the count is down to 95). I’m not sure we will get to all of them, but hopefully most of them. We will leave some whole and cut up the rest for frying or grilling or baking.

Chicken fajitas (shown above) and apple crisp were features of Lovina’s fall menus this week.

Last night we made chicken fajitas for supper. We had apple crisp for supper a few times this week. I also made some to take along this past Tuesday. We love it warm with a scoop of ice cream on top. I usually make this when apples are in season. It is on page 186 of my newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook.

I will share the recipe for corn chip salad this week. God’s blessings to all!

 

Corn Chip Salad

Salad:

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

Toss together all ingredients except corn chips. Mix dressing with the salad, and add corn chips just before serving.

Dressing:

1 cup  salad dressing
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar

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.