Category Archives: Side Dishes

Wedding Celebration and Gratitude for Help

Dustin and Loretta had perfect weather for their wedding day. All week was nice and sunny, which we were so grateful for.

We ended up with around 450 here for the noon meal and 550 for the evening meal. We could seat 350 people in one setting. Around 100 or more people eat before, such as the cooks, table waiters, special helpers, babysitters, some of the cooks’ children, and drivers that bring family and friends from farther away.

At 4:30 p.m. the tables were set for the cooks to eat supper then at 5:30 p.m. for the guests. At 7 p.m. the youth and Dustin and Loretta’s family ate.

We ended up having 600 pounds of chicken grilled. Although we had quite a bit left, I think we would’ve run out if we didn’t get another 100 pounds. A family in our church has a huge grill and grills for others, so we had them grill the chicken. We bought 400 pounds of potatoes but had 150 pounds left that didn’t get cooked for mashed potatoes. Our goal was to have 75 pies, but we ended up with around 80. Sometimes there is extra pie filling that they just use up in a few extra pies. The pecan pies were eaten except a few pieces. We had a few pumpkin pies, and a dozen or more cherry pies left.

Our menu consisted of barbequed chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, buttered noodles, dressing (40 loaves of bread were toasted for this and took 18 dozen eggs), green beans with cheese sauce, overnight salad, and homemade bread with grape jelly and butter.

Dessert was pecan, pumpkin, and cherry pies, caramel pudding, fresh fruit (watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, and grapes), chocolate and white cupcakes, candy bars, and coffee.

The bridal party table referred to as the “Eck” was beautifully decorated in a fall theme. Photo provided.

It is tradition that the bride and groom furnish candy bars to serve after each meal. Dustin and Loretta bought 1200 for the whole day. They had quite a few left. The parents buy all the other food for the day.

Dustin’s parents have their own chickens, so they brought over 40 dozen eggs for the wedding foods. That really helped out. We don’t have chickens right now.

Loretta did a fall theme for decorating the “Eck,” the corner reserved for the bride and groom and bridal party. Her colors for the cooks and table waiters were all fall colors. Loretta chose a dark rose-colored dress for her wedding day. Dustin’s mother and I wore olive-colored dresses. The cooks wore rust. The table waiter girls wore orange dresses, and the boys wore black pants and vests with white shirts. Daughter Verena and Dustin’s brother Willie were witnesses. Daughter Lovina and her special friend Daniel (also Dustin’s brother) were the other witnesses.

Without the help of friends and family it wouldn’t be possible for us to prepare for such a big event. Many hands make lighter work.

We were so thankful for the ones that helped clean up and pack all the dishes and tables in the wedding wagon. The neighbor ladies cleaned the cook wagon, and we’re also thankful for my three head cooks that kept everything so organized.

A special thank you to my great friend Ruth for taking me shopping and not even charging me for gas. Ruth did a lot of the shopping on the final days, as I didn’t have time to go after everything.

Ruth and I went after the wedding cake the night before, and we were relieved once we had it home safely.

Our dear family members were missed very much over the wedding prep and that day. Sisters Verena, Emma, and our daughter Susan all did well to put their grief aside and be happy for the newlyweds. Daughter Loretta now lives across the road with Dustin. Today we will go help her put away the many nice gifts they received.

Dustin and Loretta want to thank those of you that sent gifts, well wishes, etc. May God bless you!

 

Green Beans with Cheese Sauce (served for lunch and supper)

8 quarts green beans, cooked or canned

Cheese Sauce
1 cup butter
1 cup milk
2 pounds Velveeta cheese
3 teaspoons Greek seasoning
3 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon seasoning salt

Heat sauce ingredients on low until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally. Place the beans in a roaster and pour over the cheese sauce. Heat at 300 degrees until hot.

Cracker Crumb Topping
15 sleeves Ritz crackers
1 3/4 cup melted butter

Crush crackers in sleeves and mix with melted butter. Spread on cookie sheets and toast in oven until browned. Use 1/2 cup crumb topping per 2-quart bowl of beans.

 

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. 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.

Travels and wedding celebrations

Another week has passed by since my last column. We made it to Kentucky and Tennessee for both weddings and are now back in Michigan. We were thankful for safe travels to and from the weddings. Dan’s (who died in the accident with son-in-law Mose) wife Jodi was our driver and she did a wonderful job. It couldn’t have been easy driving for all of us. She is a nice person to have around. I know she is still hurting just like daughter Susan, both missing their loved ones. It always makes me sad when I see Susan and her children drive in without her beloved Mose beside her. Seeing sister Emma without Jacob and sister Verena without sister Susan seems so unreal. It can get overwhelming and that is why we need to let go and let God. We need to trust his plans are different than what we want sometimes.

At Michael and Laura’s wedding I was a cook and my job was to prepare the fresh fruit for the fruit bowls. It was a good combination of strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and kiwi. The menu consisted of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, buttered noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables, broccoli/cauliflower salad, bread, butter and jam, several kinds of pies, angel food cake, mixed fruit, and pudding.

In the afternoon we started out on the 4 1/2 hour drive to Tennessee. We stayed at a motel and attended the wedding at the church for Jamin and Saloma. Their weddings are different than ours as the father walks the bride down the aisle. The couple left after the wedding for their several week honeymoon. We wish both couples God’s blessings as they start their lives together as one.

The menu for this wedding was boneless chicken breasts and barbequed chicken, diced red potatoes, coleslaw, dinner rolls, ice cream, donuts, lemonade, and coffee.

We had supper with Saloma’s parents Pete and Carol (Joe’s sister) along with some of Joe’s family and others who had attended the wedding. We then headed back to the motel. The children enjoyed swimming at the pool. The next day we drove towards home about 5 1/2 hours then slept in a motel outside of Indianapolis, IN. The next day we spent the day at the Indianapolis zoo. We had a little over three hours to drive home.

We had a nice time but everyone was glad to be home again.

The Eicher family celebrated Kevin’s 16th birthday with cake and ice cream, after a supper of sausage and potatoes (recipe in this week’s column). Photo provided.

Son Kevin turned 16 on September 2nd while we were gone. Monday night we had cake and ice cream in honor of his birthday. Also on the menu were banana poppers and Italian potatoes and sausage.

We had some storms go through our area again but we didn’t get anything much. Hopefully no one else did either. Daughter Susan and children and daughter Verena came for the night.

Today Joe’s sisters and nieces will come help us clean. Plans are to clean the basement and can room, and if we get that far, our breezeway.

Saturday we have more help coming. Church services were set to be here September 19th. That isn’t far off and then the wedding of daughter Loretta and Dustin is coming up right after that.

God bless all of you as we travel into the unknown future.

Italian Sausage and Potatoes
6 potatoes, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
2 large green peppers, sliced
2 pounds Italian sausage (sweet, mild or hot)
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt, pepper, oregano to taste

Mix sliced potatoes, onion, green pepper, salt, pepper, and oregano with olive oil. Bake in a 9×13 inch pan covered for 1/2 hour at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and drain. Cut sausage in pieces and add to potato mixture. Continue cooking for 1 hour or until sausage is done. Some prefer to broil uncovered, cooking until sausage is browned.

 

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. 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.

Eichers prepare for upcoming weddings

We had a good soaking rain during the night but also some lightning and wind. I am so thankful when all is okay after a storm. After our last storm we think of it more. The sun is shining this morning, but it feels like it’ll be another hot, humid day.

Daughters Susan and Verena and grandchildren Jennifer and Ryan have plans to come here today. Verena wants to clean her bedroom and Susan will help me paint the master bedroom. We moved our bedroom suite into the living room so it’s a little bit crowded in here right now. Hopefully it will all be back in place by tonight.

Last week daughter Susan helped me paint Lovina’s bedroom upstairs. Little by little we are getting some cleaning done. Daughter Loretta finished her wedding dress. I had to help her here and there but she’s catching on fast. She needs to sew herself a dress for the wedding of Mary and Danny that they have a part in. Mary is the girl in our church getting married a week before Loretta.

I now have my material for the wedding next week of nephew Michael & Laura in Kentucky. I was asked to be cook and to wear royal blue. Son Joseph and Grace (his special friend) were asked to be tablewaiters (servers) at their wedding. Grace is supposed to wear royal blue as well.

Daughter Lovina and Daniel (her special friend) were asked to be servers in niece Saloma and Jamin’s wedding next week in Tennessee. Lovina needs to wear black at their wedding.

The material for Dustin’s pole barn should arrive this week. Plans are to try to frame the 40-ft. x 80-ft. pole barn and put the roof on Saturday if enough help shows up. Then it should take another day to pour cement, put the sides on, and install windows and doors if there is enough help there. We will take one day at a time.

Sunday was the first time we attended church since brother-in-law Jacob passed away. Sister Emma had a hard time being there without him. We all felt the emptiness. Nephew Steven, 14, has started his last year (8th) of school, and I’m sure it isn’t easy not being able to have his dad around. They all need our prayers as they travel into the unknown future.

Sunday was also sister Verena’s 55th birthday. Emma and all of her family and all of our family took supper to Verena’s house. All of sister Susan’s belongings are still there, and we miss her dearly. Daughter Susan brought her horse and her borrowed buggy. It was dark before she left, so son Benjamin packed his clothes and went home with her. He carried the sleeping children in the house for her and took the harness off the horse and turned it out in the field. Susan said this helped her out so much, as she always has to do that. Benjamin had his driver pick him up at Susan’s on Monday morning to go to work. Since Benjamin went home with Susan, daughter Verena decided to come home for the night.

Sister Verena is starting to stay some nights by herself. Life goes on and the road ahead still looks long but with God’s help we will make it through our many trials. God’s blessings to all!

Pizza Stuffed Peppers

6 bell peppers (any color)
1/2 pound ground beef or sausage, browned
2 ounces pepperoni slices, diced
1 pint pizza sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 4-ounce can mushrooms, drained
3 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
Shredded mozzarella cheese, approximately 1/2 cup

Remove tops of peppers and inside seeds and blanch 3-5 minutes in boiling water. Drain and set aside. Combine all remaining ingredients except mozzarella. Set peppers in baking dish and fill each pepper half-full of mixture. Add a layer of mozzarella, then fill top of pepper. Cover and bake about 1 hour at 350 degrees. Uncover and arrange additional mozzarella on top, then return to oven briefly to melt cheese.

 

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. 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.

Wedding Food & Prayer Requests

It is 4:45 a.m. and my husband Joe just left for work. Sons Benjamin and Joseph left before that.

On Thursday I had to help with the wedding food prep at the home of neighbors Joas and Susan, for their daughter Carol. Sisters Verena, Emma, and I went together. My job was to help cut up the broccoli and cauliflower for the salad. We also cup up the potatoes for the dressing. Quite a few other women were there doing various jobs.

We regret that we couldn’t attend the wedding of Jacob and Margaret (cousin Esther’s daughter). We appreciated the invitation, and wish them a long and happy married life.

On Friday we attended Carol and Aden’s wedding. My job as cook was to help peel potatoes for mashed potatoes. The noon meal was very delicious and consisted of mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, grilled chicken, buttered noodles, green beans, broccoli/cauliflower salad, homemade bread, strawberry jam and butter, mixed fresh fruit, peanut butter and strawberry pies, angel food cake topped with strawberry glaze, and candy bars.

After the noon meal, we headed home to prepare for our trip to Kentucky. We started out later than we wanted, with waiting on everyone to get home from work. It was nice for our whole family and sister Verena to travel on a bus.

On Saturday we spent the day at Joe’s sister Salome and Morris’ house. It was a nice day! Not all of Joe’s siblings attended, but we had a good time visiting with those who came. The day went much too fast. The children enjoyed a water balloon fight, which cooled them off on that hot day.

We headed home for Michigan on Sunday around noon. It was good to get home safe and sound. Everyone was ready for bed early. We had a nice trip. Always thankful for God’s protecting hand.

Last night we had good attendance at my book signing at the Middlebury, Indiana library. Thanks so much to all the readers who came, gave encouragement, and bought books. Thanks also to the librarians for their hospitality. My friend Ruth again took time from her family to drive for us. Daughters Verena and Susan and grandchildren Jennifer and Ryan also attended. It was good for Susan to get out of the house and get her mind off everything. The readers there were very caring about her situation.

This afternoon I will go to daughter Susan’s house to help her get ready for all the help that is coming tonight. Our church is making a work night at her house to help her get caught up with whatever needs to be done. Supper is being brought in as well.

Foremost on our minds is brother-in-law Jacob. He was admitted to the hospital yesterday. He hasn’t been feeling well lately, so doctors are running tests to see what is going on. I talked to sister Emma last night after she came home from the hospital. Please keep Jacob in your prayers.

With everything that has happened in our family, it just makes me worry. But why worry if we can pray? That is sometimes easier said than done. God is a great help. Today six months ago was the accident of Dan and Mose. Jodi and Susan (their widows) are on my mind this morning. They need our continued prayers. God bless you all!

Green Beans

2 pounds fresh green beans, cut up
3 tablespoons butter
8 ounces bacon, cooked to the desired crispness and cut into small pieces
salt
black pepper
seasoning salt

Place the green beans in a large pot, cover with water, salt as desired, and cook until the green beans are tender. Drain. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook until browned. Add the green beans and stir to coat. Continue to heat until the green beans are steaming hot. Add the cooked bacon, along with salt, pepper, and seasoning salt, and 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. 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.

June Gatherings and First Garden Fruits

We have entered the month of June. Is it possible that 2021 is almost halfway through?

I managed to get my gray dress suit sewed last week, and I still have a shirt I want to sew for my husband Joe. The wedding is Friday at the home of neighbors Joas and Susan, for their daughter Carol and Aden. Tomorrow (Thursday) I’ll go help with food preparation for the wedding. Friday I’ll be cook, but I can only help for the noon meal. At 2:30 p.m., our whole family and sister Verena have a bus taking us all to Kentucky for the weekend. Joe’s sister Salome and Morris are hosting a family reunion for Joe’s brothers and sisters and their families. The drive is over five hours. I want to get that shirt sewed for Joe for the reunion. He needs more shirts, and it seems the only way I get it done is to set a goal to have it finished.

I want to let readers know that I will be signing my cookbooks on June 8th at 7 p.m. in Middlebury at the library, 101 East Winslow Street, Middlebury, Indiana. I’m hoping some of my family can attend with me. It would be great to see and meet some of you there. Later this month I will be at Light of Grace Books & Gifts in Nappanee. We haven’t confirmed the day and time yet.

Last night we finished planting the rest of our second garden. Joe brought in our first meal of radishes on Monday, and lettuce is also ready to use. The green onions should be good to pull by next week. Our asparagus is slowing down but there is lots of rhubarb yet.

Lovina sometimes lights these candles, given to her as memorial gifts from her children, to remember her dear sister Susan and dear son-in-law Mose. Photo provided.

Yesterday was sentimental for us. All five of us sisters were together for the day at sister Verena’s house. The absence of dear sister Susan was very real. It still doesn’t seem right to not see her there. Coming out from Indiana with sister Leah and Liz were Liz’s daughters Suzanne, Elizabeth and her children LaRose, Samuel, and Elizabeth Ann, Rosa and her children Jeremiah and Kayden, and Liz’s daughter-in-law Arlene and children Ella and Gloria. Coming from this community were sister Emma and son Steven, Emma’s daughter Emma and her children Jessica and Menno Ray, my daughters Elizabeth and children Abigail, T.J. and Allison, Susan and children Jennifer and Ryan, Verena, Loretta, son Kevin, and me.

LaRose, 5, is the oldest of the children there, so there were 14 children age 5 and under. There wasn’t a dull moment with all the children.

On the menu for lunch were cheesy ranch potatoes, meatballs, Spanish rice, pasta salad, lettuce salad, deviled eggs, tomatoes, pickles, hot peppers, various desserts, bars, and cookies. By the time everyone brought a dish or two, it added up to more food than was needed.

The day was spent visiting and sharing memories. Life brings so many changes, and letting God be in control is a great help. We are so glad we don’t know what the future holds. Let’s take one day at a time.

Hopefully when we get back from Kentucky, we can get our hay mowed.

Our church is also planning a work night at daughter Susan’s next week. It is so good to have the support of the church, friends, and family. Daughter Susan would be so glad if she could still have her dear husband Mose to help her with the outside work that can get overwhelming. Again, we want to take life one day at a time and trust in a higher hand. God’s blessings to all!

Ranch Potatoes

6-8 potatoes, peeled and chunked
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup cooked, crumbled bacon
2 tablespoons diced parsley
1 cup shredded cheese (plus extra for top)

Cook potatoes in salted water, just until tender. Drain and set aside. Combine other ingredients; toss gently with potatoes. Place in greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.

 

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. 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.

Secret Pal Revealing and Remembering Sister Susan

My husband Joe and I and son Kevin spent last weekend at daughter Susan’s house.

Our community sets up “secret pals” for widows, widowers, people with disabilities, etc. This means Susan has had a secret pal since December. Secret pals send gifts to their receiver for a year. Usually they go from May to May, and then they reveal themself. Last weekend, they had a secret pal revealing for this past year’s 30-plus secret pals. They said Susan could bring someone along to be with her, so she asked me if I would. Around 8:30 a.m., Susan and her children, Jennifer and Ryan, and I were picked up by an Amish driver, along with others, and taken to a family’s home. We were served a delicious meal that was prepared by all the secret pals. The menu consisted of barbeque chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, various salads, cheese, various pies, ice cream, coffee, and punch.

Before we ate, there was singing, guessing games, and door prizes. After we ate, we played bingo until the gifts were all gone. There were games for the children to win gifts, as well. Then the secret pals all revealed to their receiver who they were and gave them a final gift. It was very interesting. Bless the heart of the givers to send secret gifts to a person for a year. It can be hard for it to stay a secret at times. At 2:30 p.m., the drivers all came back to take us all home. Susan was the only widow in her 20s, reminding us of how early in life she lost her dear husband. God’s ways are not our ways, and someday we will understand why.

Joe and son Kevin did outside work for Susan while we were gone. Her garden was tilled, grass mowed, etc. We all stayed the night again on Saturday night. Then on Sunday we were all invited to daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s house for a brunch in honor of Mother’s Day. On the menu was scrambled eggs, sausage patties, sausage gravy, biscuits, cheese, hot peppers, and grape juice.

The rest of the day we played games and visited. Then Tim grilled brats and hot dogs before we headed home. Our house felt cold, so sons Benjamin and Kevin came home to do the chores and start the coal stove. By the time we got home, it was much warmer in the house.

On Friday, sons Joseph and Kevin and nephew Steven were asked to go along on a fishing trip on Lake Erie to catch walleye fish. The group included Joseph’s boss, his son, and another boy, and all expenses were paid. They left here at 2 a.m. and came back by early evening. With Kevin and Steven having a handicap, this meant a lot to them to be able to go out on that big boat and catch their limit of walleyes. Joseph and Kevin came home with their walleyes filleted and bagged.

The family lit solar flowers “planted” in cowboy boots in memory of Sister Susan.

On Monday was dear sister Susan’s 45th birthday, so in memory of her we went to sister Verena’s house for the evening. Also there were daughters Verena, Susan and children, daughter Elizabeth, Tim and children, Dustin (Loretta’s special friend), sister Emma, Jacob and sons, Crystal (nephew Benjamin’s special friend), niece Elizabeth and Manuel, and niece Emma, Menno, and children. We all pitched in mowing Verena’s yard, weeding her flower beds, etc. My sister Susan had a collection of cowboy boots that she would plant flowers in every year. Since sister Verena isn’t able to keep the flowers watered, we put solar flowers in each boot in Susan’s memory. After dark it looked very nice with the flowers lit up and changing colors. We all took supper in.

Verena was so thankful for everyone’s help. Before we left for home, paper lanterns were flown in the air in memory of a dear sister/aunt. Rest in peace, dear sister. You are missed so much. Another person was deeply missed that night—dear son-in-law Mose. Daughter Susan misses him so much. May God help us through the heartaches. God bless!

Deep-Fried Morels

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
Olive oil for pan-frying
12 to 15 large morel mushrooms

Stir the flour, salt, milk, and egg together in a large bowl. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet until sizzling. Dip the mushrooms in the batter and place in the skillet. Fry each side until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Serves 6 to 8.

 

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. 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.

One day at a time for Eicher family

Another morning of sitting here watching the sun rise with tears rolling down my face. I’m wishing that I could turn the clock back to December 8th, the day before our life so drastically changed. Back before that awful tragedy, back before our dear son-in-law Mose was in that terrible accident that completely shattered daughter Susan’s life. Back before dear sister Susan fell ill and was also taken from us so suddenly.

That’s when I need to let go and let God. I know he makes no mistakes, and he chose us to go through this and make us stronger in our faith. Our human nature tries to tell us otherwise, to make us question God’s ways. We need to remind ourselves over and over that God’s ways are not our ways. So we appreciate all your prayers and support. One day at a time is all we can do.

Sunday afternoon daughter Susan and children came driving with her horse Mighty and buggy to come for supper and stay the night. Oh how that tears at a mother’s heart strings to see her lonely daughter drive in alone. I feel like I need to brace up and be strong for her, but I too miss her dear husband and grieve right along with her. I know how much more it is hurting her. She tries to stay so positive and I give her a lot of credit for that, but I know she’s not that strong when she’s alone. God takes care of his own and we need to fully trust in him to lead the way. Without God this would be almost unbearable.

It is now almost bedtime, but I want to finish writing. I took the laundry off the lines in the basement and put it in laundry baskets. Since son Joseph is home, I had him carry all the baskets up for me. Daughter Loretta and I folded all of it and Joseph took everyone’s stack of clothes to their bedrooms. We had a lot of extra laundry with bedding so that usually makes a few more loads.

Joseph then headed over to help son-in-law Tim cut a load of wood for us. Daughter Elizabeth, Abigail, T.J., and Allison came with Tim to deliver the wood and they stayed for supper.

Daughters Verena and Susan, and children Jennifer and Ryan also came for supper and to stay for the night. Daughter Verena went to go get sister Verena to come join us for supper and also stay the night. The girls will all be here tomorrow (except Lovina) so we told sister Verena she can be here too.

Supper for the Eicher family included rare beef. Photo provided.

I had a simple easy supper for everyone—macaroni and cheese, rare beef, and sliced cheese. We slice the steak so thin that it isn’t actually rare but nice and tender. I use olive oil to deep fry the meat.

I also did the mending this afternoon, so I feel like I accomplished something to get that off my “to-do” list. I would like to get some sewing done but we are also gathering all the things we don’t need anymore so we can have a garage sale this spring. That takes a lot of time.

Good night and may God’s protecting hand watch over all of you.

Oven Fried Potatoes

6 large potatoes
1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thoroughly scrub potatoes and cut into strips. In a large plastic bag, combine the oil, cheese, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper. Add potatoes, seal bag tightly, and shake to coat. Spread in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown, stirring once about midway. Serve with sour cream if desired.

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. 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.

In loving memory of Sister Susan

Our hearts are once again mourning the loss of a dear loved one. Sister Susan, age 44, lost her battle and passed away on January 31. Three years ago on the same day, brother Amos died unexpectedly at age 56. Please keep praying for God to give us the strength we need to go on.

Sisters Susan and Verena made a cookbook with recipes from the family members of Ben and Elizabeth Coblentz, my parents. The memories and recipes this week are from their book.

Susan’s Memories

There are a lot of memories we could talk about. When I was a sixth grader at school, our class was supposed to bring in some kind of food. Then we had to prepare it in front of the class so we could all see how different foods were made. We just had to make enough so the class could all have a taste of what everyone prepared. So I made a potato salad. I had the potato mixture in one container and then the salad dressing mixture in another. Everything was already cut up and diced; I just had to mix it together then tell the class what and how much was in it. Mom helped me with the potato salad recipe and also got everything prepared. She was an excellent cook, baker, and mother. My sixth-grade teacher said she wanted to taste my potato salad, as she said she knows what a good cook Mom is! My teacher liked the potato salad! I still get hungry for Mom’s food. I put the potato salad recipe in the cookbook that Mom had gotten ready for me to take to school that day.

Dad was a great carpenter and father! He loved watching his birds and had his Martin houses, and he’d watch to see how many sets of Martins he would have.

I always like playing games with Dad and Mom. With Dad I liked to play the game Connect 4 and with Mom, Aggravation! Good old memories—they are gone, but not forgotten.

Potato Salad

2 1/2 pounds potatoes, cooked (whole) until tender
6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups salad dressing
2 teaspoons yellow prepared mustard
1/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons salt

Dice potatoes or put through a slicer. Combine potatoes, eggs, celery, and onion together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together salad dressing, mustard, vinegar, sugar, milk, and salt. Pour over potato mixture and stir together.

Susan’s Meatloaf

1 1/2 pounds hamburger
3/4 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 cup tomato juice or V8 juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, beaten

Sauce:

1/2 cup ketchup
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard

Combine hamburger, oats, onion, eggs, tomato juice, salt, and pepper and mix thoroughly. Shape into 2 logs in a 9×13-inch pan or 2 loaf pans; pack firmly into pan. Whisk sauce ingredients together and spread on top of meatloaf. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for one hour. Let sit 5 minutes before slicing.

Beef and Gravy

This is a recipe sister Susan wrote in her own words from watching Mother make the gravy.

4 heaping tablespoons flour
1 pint canned beef chunks
1 medium onion
Potato water (from mashed potatoes)

Put 4 heaping tablespoons flour in a pan and brown flour until it’s dark. Let flour cool. In a 3 1/2-quart kettle, add 1 pint of beef and 2 pints of water. Put 1 whole onion in it. When it starts to boil, take out beef and put potato water in it. If you don’t have potato water, then use water. If extra water is needed, just put more water in kettle. Then mix the cooled flour and water to make a thickening until it is a little watery. Then mix the beef and thickening in the kettle until it boils.

 

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. 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.

A week filled with family time and visiting

It is a Friday night and we had a nice, sunny day in the 60s. I spent the day with our children who have muscular dystrophy at their annual appointments in Ann Arbor. It was a long day, leaving home at 5:30 a.m. and returning at 3 p.m. It’s also a stressful, tiresome day for them to do all the testing, etc. It’s a two-hour drive each way so we hired a driver to take us.

My husband Joe mixed up 25 pounds of deer jerky yesterday and was putting it in the dehydrator today. Son-in-law Tim brought us a doe he shot. We were glad for the meat.

Joe is grilling chicken for our supper and I heated up leftover spaghetti and meatballs from last night to go with the chicken.

Sons Benjamin and Joseph will leave after supper. Benjamin will go spend the night at Mose and Susan’s and go deer hunting in the morning. Joseph will go to Tim and Elizabeth’s and go deer hunting with Tim.

Little granddaughter Allison (Tim and Elizabeth) is really walking everywhere now. She likes to sing the song “High Cotton,” and we just think it’s the cutest thing. She acts so much older than her age.

Last week we had pon hoss. Last winter we canned pork broth, so Joe opened up some broth, added flour, salt and pepper, and made pon hoss. Usually we only have that after butchering pork in the winter months. It made two cake pans of pon hoss, which was used up in a few meals. Of course, they wanted coffee soup with the pon hoss.

Joe hauled manure on the garden too. It seems he is getting lots of jobs done around here but there is only one problem—it doesn’t bring in a paycheck. It’s frustrating but we need to trust in God. He will help us through difficult times. We have so much to be thankful for.

Last Sunday we attended church at nephew Benjamin’s girlfriend’s (Crystal) house about 45 minutes from here. We went with sister Emma, Jacob and sons, sisters Verena and Susan, niece Emma, Menno and children, and niece Elizabeth and Manuel. It was an enjoyable day meeting new people. We appreciated all the hospitality and am glad I got to talk with readers of this column! They have no idea how much their encouragement meant to me.

This is now Monday morning at 4:45 a.m. Sons Benjamin and Joseph are off to work.

Yesterday daughters Loretta and Lovina and son Joseph went to church with Dustin and Daniel (Loretta and Lovina’s boyfriends) to their church district. (Our community has 15 church districts with each having an average of 20-plus families. When a district gets too big, they divide and a new set of ministers, a deacon and a bishop are ordained in whichever side needs a replacement. The dividing line is what determines which side you are going to go to.)

Sons Benjamin and Kevin and daughter Verena spent yesterday at sister Emma and Jacob’s house. Joe and I were home alone so we decided after breakfast to go for a ride. We went to Mose and Susan’s house and enjoyed playing with Jennifer, 2, and Ryan, 1. Then we headed to Tim and Elizabeth’s house to enjoy some time with Abigail, 4, T.J., 23 months, and Allison, 10 1/2 months. They put out snacks such as venison jerky, popcorn, chips and salsa for us to enjoy before heading home the 6 1/2 miles. It was snowing but nothing stayed. Stay safe and healthy and God bless!

 

Turkey & Dressing Casserole

2 1/2 cups leftover dressing
1/2 cup canned mushrooms
2 cups cooked turkey, cubed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream

Spread the dressing in the bottom of a two-quart casserole or 9×9 inch baking pan. Add the mushrooms in a layer, then the turkey. Combine the soup and sour cream and spread over the turkey layer. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Additional note: Leftover mashed potatoes can also be added or used to replace the sour cream and chicken soup. I sprinkle mixed vegetables on top and add cheese too.

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.

Thanksgiving preparations at the Eicher homestead

Thanksgiving Day is coming upon us. A great day to spend with family! My sister Emma and I take turns hosting Thanksgiving dinner for our families and sisters Verena and Susan. This year sister Liz and Levi and daughter Suzanne have plans to join us since they will be in the area that day.

We had a surprise visit from Joe’s sister Esther and David and their son David Tyrel, age 4. It was so good to see them again and have a visit with them. David Tyrel is really growing up fast. They live in the Sugarcreek, Ohio, area.

This week I am sharing many recipes for your Thanksgiving celebrations.

This turkey casserole is a great way to use up leftover turkey.

 

Turkey Casserole

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cups turkey, diced (or chicken)
1 cup shell macaroni, cooked
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
1 small onion, diced

Mix mayonnaise and soup together. Add remaining ingredients and place in a buttered casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Another recipe I’ll share is the pumpkin roll we always have for Thanksgiving.

 

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine eggs, pumpkin, and sugar, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend together well. Pour into a 15x10x1-inch cookie sheet that has been greased. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle clean towel with powdered sugar. Flop out the pumpkin cake into the towel when it comes out of oven. Roll up like a jellyroll; let cool completely before filling.

 

Filling:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix filling ingredients together until smooth. Unroll cooled cake, then spread with filling and roll up again without towel and refrigerate.

I use this dressing recipe to have with the turkey. It’s a simple, easy dish to add to your menu.

 

Dressing

4 eggs
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup diced celery or celery leaves
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 cups hot water (use potato water, if you have some)
2 tablespoons chicken-flavored soup base
10 slices bread, crumbled

Dissolve soup base in hot water, then add rest of ingredients and mix well. Pour into a greased casserole dish or cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

I never think we can go without pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day either. Whipped topping or ice cream finishes it off. This recipe is for a 9-inch regular pie plate (not deep dish). If you use a deep-dish plate you will probably need to double the recipe.

 

Pumpkin Pie

1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon flour
Cinnamon

Mix all ingredients except cinnamon. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce to 350 degrees until set. Makes 1 pie.

And to finish off a good meal there is nothing better than some dinner rolls warm from the oven. Mix these up after your turkey and dressing are in the oven and bake them last so they are warm to serve with the Thanksgiving meal.

 

60-Minute Dinner Rolls

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

 

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

I wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Let us give thanks for all the blessings we receive from our Father in Heaven. May God be with each of you. Let us pray for unity in our nation. Peace to all and God’s blessings!

 

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.