Category Archives: Soups

Looking Back on a Special Day of Birth

June 14th was the 28th birthday of our first-born daughter Elizabeth. I wish her many more happy and healthy years. She has been married almost seven years to a nice loving husband, Tim, and they have been blessed with four precious children Abigail, five; Timothy (T.J.), three; Allison, two; and Andrea, four months.

This year was hot on June 14th, just like in 1994. That was a very hot night when Elizabeth was born at 9:58 p.m. We were living with my parents, and Joe’s aunt was my midwife. Dr. Osborne was also there just in case there were complications. Dr. Osborne had delivered me in that same house 23 years earlier. He delivered all eight of us siblings.

I had a long labor, and I remember how warm it was. It was warmer than when all my three July babies were born. We didn’t have fans like we do now, except my dad would use a little square fan that ran with batteries when it was that hot. He had asthma and hay fever, and that little fan would help him breathe. I still remember when Dad saw me having all the hard pain; he handed that fan to me and told me to use it for myself.

I was often thankful to have my mother there those next weeks when I tried to take care of our first baby. I had problems getting her to breastfeed, and Mom spent lots of nighttime hours helping me. I have many precious memories of my parents!

On Monday evening, daughters Verena and Susan and grandchildren Jennifer and Ryan spent the night here. It was supposed to storm, and they felt better to be here. We had a lot of wind. Some places had trees down, etc. We were very fortunate that everything here was okay. We have a sitting area in our basement, and with the heat and the storm coming, it was nicer to just sit down there after supper. Our basement is often a nice place to sit in with these days of excessive heat.

As we sat there visiting, it was funny when Jennifer said, “Kevin, you can smile. It will be okay.” Since he wasn’t smiling, she thought he was worried about the storm. Ryan wasn’t too worried. He found the toys down there and was playing, and of course he brought his black hat (his daddy Mose’s hat) and was wearing it again.

This week daughter Loretta and I made strawberry freezer jam from the 16 quarts of strawberries that neighbor Susan and Joas brought over.

Lovina prepared rhubarb juice with her daughter. Photo provided.

We also canned 66 quarts of rhubarb juice from my rhubarb. Now Loretta has jam and rhubarb juice in stock. We also did laundry yesterday, so it was a full day’s work.

It was so warm yesterday that we just had frozen pizzas to heat up for our supper. We ate over at Dustin and Loretta’s house after the last of the rhubarb juice was canned. I am so glad that is done.

Thursday evening through Sunday, our family has plans to go camping. We are renting three cabins and an RV by the lake. We plan to do some fishing, swimming, and just make more memories together. The grandchildren will have a lot of fun. It is also Father’s Day on Sunday. Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there.

June 15th is sister Emma and Jacob’s 27th anniversary. It’s her first anniversary without her dear husband. I’m sure today will be a hard day without him. My thoughts and prayers go to all those that have lost loved ones. May they rest in peace!

God’s blessings to all!

Cheese Broccoli Soup
1 tablespoon salad oil
3/8 cup chopped onion
3 cups water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups (4 ounces) of fine noodles
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package (10 ounces) frozen broccoli (may use fresh)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3 cups milk
1/2 pound of American cheese
pepper to taste

Sauté onion in oil, add water and bouillon cubes, and heat to boiling until cubes are dissolved. Gradually add noodles and salt and continue boiling uncovered for 3 minutes. Stir in broccoli and garlic salt and cook for 4 more minutes. Add milk, cheese, and pepper and continue cooking until cheese melts, stirring constantly.

 

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.

Early springtime fun with the grandchildren—and more beef

Another week has already passed us by, and it is time to pen this column again.

My plans for today are to wash daughter Elizabeth and Tim’s laundry. Daughter Lovina assisted her with her work for several hours yesterday. I went to pick Lovina up and brought the laundry home. Today sounds like it will be a warm day to hang it outside. The sun is trying to peep out from behind the clouds.

Baby Andrea is now four weeks old. Her cute little expressions are so fun to watch. I was only able to stay a few minutes yesterday. She would change her smile to a frown then back to a smile, as if she wasn’t sure if she should be happy or sad. Such sweet, innocent little angels. What does this world hold in store for them? Only God knows! Allison, 2, still wants to be held by Grandma, too. She is gradually adjusting to the fact that her mother’s attention isn’t all on her. She has had her share of falls from climbing. She is a little tomboy and tries to keep up with active little T.J., 3.

We stopped through daughter Susan’s and got to see Jennifer, 4, and Ryan, 2, for a few minutes. The weather was so nice, and they both came running out of the door barefooted, circling around the yard—but not for long, as Susan took them inside to get shoes on. I remember on those nice, warm March days as a child we would want to go outside barefooted, too. Mom would always tell us to wait until after March is over. I can still hear her say, “NO—don’t go out barefooted, it’s still March.” Oh, thinking of those sweet memories of her still makes me miss her so much.

We ended up helping daughters Susan and Verena cut up two quarters of beef on Friday. Son-in-law Dustin and son Benjamin didn’t have to work that day. Those helping were Dustin, Loretta, sons Benjamin and Kevin, daughter Lovina, sister Verena, and me. The steaks were cut out, hamburger ground and packaged.

Vacuum sealing the ground beef was part of this weekend’s work. Photo provided.

Susan canned some of the meat. We brought the steaks and T-bones home to put in our freezer overnight. My husband Joe then cut up all the steaks on Saturday. Loretta and I vacuum sealed the meat for Susan. Now it’s all in her freezer, and I’m so glad she has beef and pork to use in the coming year.

Then on Saturday, son Benjamin and I, daughters Susan and Verena assisted Tim and Elizabeth in cutting up their two quarters of beef. The hamburger was ground and packaged, steaks and T-bones sliced and packaged, some meat canned, etc. Daughters Susan and Verena did Elizabeth’s cleaning yet before heading for home. Needless to say, this Grandma was a wee bit tired Saturday night after two days of helping cut up beef. I am so glad to help the children whenever I can.

Sunday, Joe and I, son Joseph and his special friend Grace, my sister Emma, her son Benjamin and his special friend Crystal, and my sister Verena attended church in northern Indiana to partake in the blessing of nephew Andrew’s baptism. Andrew is brother Albert and Sarah Irene’s youngest son. In the afternoon, we made a short stop at brother Albert’s house. We hadn’t seen the new house he built. It is very nice. Alberts have three daughters and one son still at home. They have eleven children and all but four married, so their house seems emptier.

A notice to readers—I will be signing books on April 2nd at the Plain and Simple Craft Show in Shipshewana, Indiana. They will have over 130 vendors there. Then on April 9th, I will be at the Nappanee, Indiana, library from 2–4 p.m. I’m looking forward to meeting old and new readers there. In Shipshewana, daughters Elizabeth and baby Andrea, daughter Susan and children, Jennifer and Ryan, and daughter Lovina will be with me. Some family members are also planning to attend the meet and greet in Nappanee with me. God bless!

This week I will share the recipes for coffee soup and pon hoss due to many requests from readers.

Pon Hoss
Pork bones
Flour
Salt
Black pepper

Place pork bones in large kettle and add enough water to cover. Cook bones until the meat comes off bones. Remove bones and skim fat from broth. Measure the quantity of broth remaining. Return meat to broth. (We grind the meat before returning it to the broth.) Then add 4 cups of flour to every gallon of juice, sifting in the flour, as well as 2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon black pepper per gallon of juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, then pour in pans. Let cool, then slice and fry on each side until golden brown.

Coffee Soup
2 cups coffee
2 or more cups milk
1/2 cup sugar (or more, to taste)

Combine all ingredients and heat until hot, but do not boil. Pour over toasted bread or saltine crackers.

 

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.

Different Ways to Prepare the Thanksgiving Turkey and Eat the Leftovers

December—the final month of 2021!

The Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone. We are mostly caught up with the leftover food from it. I made a stew with the turkey carcass from the turkey son-in-law Dustin made for us in his deep fryer. Everyone loved the stew, and it really is great way to get the most out of your turkey. I will share my recipe with this column.

Yesterday I spent the day at sister Emma’s house as she hosted a Pampered Chef party so she could earn some free kitchen items. Emma served lunch to all the ladies and children that came.

Daughters Elizabeth, Susan, and Verena and my grandchildren were there too. I got to spend the day with them as well. Granddaughter Abigail came there off the bus after school with Emma’s youngest son Steven. Steven is in eighth grade, so this will be his last year of school.

It is really quiet around here with everyone at work. My husband Joe at the metal shop, son Benjamin, 22, at the RV factory, son Joseph, 19, on his construction job, daughter Lovina, 17, at her job at McDonald’s, and son Kevin, 16, helping out this week at a butchering shop. It’s still hard for me to get used to the emptiness but that is a part of life.

Saturday Joe and I plan to do some Christmas shopping. We will have our family Christmas on December 18th (a year ago, son-in-law Mose’s funeral was on the 18th). We are having it a little earlier than usual as daughter Elizabeth, Tim, and family will travel by charter bus to Florida over Christmas. Tim’s parents and some of his family will be with them, and they well attend Tim’s nephew’s wedding in Florida. They will also travel to Kentucky with some of Tim’s family for a Christmas gathering at his sister’s house on December 11th. Elizabeth has been extra busy preparing for these upcoming trips.

Our family exchanged names for a gift exchange when we get together.

Daughter Verena spent Sunday evening here, while daughter Susan and children went to Mose’s sister’s house to spend the evening with his family.

I attended the Thanksgiving feast at Abigail’s school last week. It’s so different to go for a granddaughter than when I went for my children. It brought back memories of all the years our eight children attended that school. Abigail was excited to have her grandma, mother, siblings, aunts, cousins, and Uncle Kevin come to eat with her. Nephew Steven also ate with us.

We had a nice day together on Thanksgiving Day at sister Emma’s house. They had the table set for all of us. Her sons-in-law prepared a trash can turkey, which is somehow cooked under a trash can with charcoal around it. It was very delicious. Emma also baked a turkey in her oven so we had plenty of turkey. I had made some food to take along, and lo and behold I forgot to take the pumpkin roll. I thought I was forgetting something as I was loading up the food on the buggy but didn’t realize it until the dessert was being passed around. I always think we need a pumpkin roll for Thanksgiving, but we did okay without it. Let us thank God every day. We have so many blessings that we take for granted. God bless and stay safe and healthy!

Turkey Stew

Turkey carcass and mixed bones (your leftover holiday turkey)
1 medium onion, diced
6 stalks celery, diced
6 large carrots, dices
8 medium potatoes, diced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken soup base
seasonings to taste

Place carcass in large kettle and cover with water. Cook until meat removes from bones. Cool off enough so all the bones can be taken out of water. Then add meat, vegetables, and seasonings back in water and cook until potatoes are soft. Optional—cabbage or other vegetables you prefer can be added. We loved it!

 

 

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.

Sister Susan laid to rest

Yes, the good Lord has knocked on our door again … Those words are from a song cousin Ernest wrote after losing his mother and brother in accidents years ago. Those words came to my mind tonight.

Our hearts ache again as we laid dear sister Susan to rest beside Mose. A spot in between was reserved for daughter Susan, hopefully many, many years from now. After four weeks, sister Susan lost out to the battle. How it hurt to see her in those last hours of her life. Just two of the family were allowed to go in at a time to be with her in her final hours, but at 7 p.m. we were told we needed to leave until 7 a.m. We begged that they would consider at least one person staying with her during the night hours so she wouldn’t be alone. After no consent, we went to the motel to sleep until we were allowed back in at 7 a.m. Shortly before 6:30 a.m., the doctor called to tell us she passed away. Oh, to be able to be with loved ones when they need you would be such a blessing. At a time like that, your loved ones by your side would be a great comfort. Although Susan couldn’t talk much, she mouthed the words “I love you” to sister Verena before we left. Tears were rolling from her eyes, making it harder for us to leave her.

She died on January 31, and brother Amos died on the same date three years ago. She leaves to mourn five sisters, one brother, and many nieces and nephews.

The visitation and funeral were all held here again. Once again our church community stepped in to help, in every way they could.

Sister Verena is devastated and feels so alone with Susan not around. One of our daughters stay with her during the night.

Daughter Lovina is staying with her tonight and goes to work from there in the morning. Lovina, 16, started working at McDonald’s with some of her friends. She seems to enjoy it so far. I miss her help here at home. I think she likes the idea of getting out of the house and doing something different.

Friday, February 5, was a hard day for daughter Susan, as it was Mose’s birthday. Susan and her children spent a week here over the funeral of sister Susan. One morning, daughter Susan was lying on the couch beside Jennifer, 3. Jennifer asked her, “What’s wrong, Mom?” Susan told her, “I’m sad because I miss Daddy.” So Jennifer hugged Susan and said, “I’ll take care of you, Mom.” It was so cute and precious to see her wanting to comfort her mother.

One night Jennifer was singing the song “How Far Is Heaven” and asking for Mose. Jennifer and Ryan have been a great comfort to have around for Susan.

On Sunday evening, we had sister Verena join our family for supper. Daughter Verena went home with her for the night. Oh, how we miss our loved ones.

Today, February 9, is my good friend Ruth’s birthday. She has been such a help to me and my family. Happy birthday, Ruth! God’s blessings.

Uncle Emanuel will be 91 on February 17. He and my Dad shared the same birthday, with my dad being a year younger. Uncle Emanuel and Aunt Leah (Mom’s sister) came to the visitation of sister Susan, traveling the two-hour drive with their children and spouses. Sister Emma asked Uncle Emanuel what the secret is to his long life and he said, “Eat coffee soup every morning.” We had a laugh about that. Grandma Graber was in her 90s when she died, and she, too, ate coffee soup every morning.

My children also like coffee soup, but I don’t fix it as often as my mother did. I will share the recipe this week.

Coffee Soup

1 cup water
2 heaping teaspoons instant coffee
4 teaspoons sugar
3 cups milk
Toasted bread or crackers, optional

Heat water on the stovetop. Remove from heat and add coffee and sugar, then mix. Add milk and return to heat again until mixture is hot. Crumble bread or crackers into it, 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.

Autumn orchard visit for apples and grapes

In this week’s column Lovina shares about the process of juicing grapes with two large steamers, pictured. Photo provided.

We have entered October, which brings us closer to the end of 2020. Leaves are falling, farmers are harvesting corn, gardens are being cleared out and tilled. All of these events are a sure sign that autumn is here. We went to the local u-pick orchard and picked grapes and our supply of apples. I have lots of jars of grape juice concentrate again now. We put the grapes in two big steamers/juicers and the juice comes out through a hose that we use to fill the jars. Daughter Verena went over to help daughter Elizabeth with her two bushels of grapes. Daughter Susan brought her three bushels of grapes here to can since she doesn’t have a steamer. I have two and it helps so much to be able to do two batches at a time. Susan wants to can applesauce yet. I still have enough so I didn’t get apples to can—only for fresh eating. We did also get cider. Nothing is better than a cold glass of cider and a bowl of popcorn and apples for a snack on these cold evenings.

My husband Joe started our coal stove in the basement. It was getting quite chilly in the house with rainy weather and temperatures going down in the 30s. This week is milder, and the sun is shining every day. Some windows are open, so we are debating whether to keep the stove going or letting it burn out. Our coal stove is a hopper fed coal stove, so it doesn’t let us burn wood in it. It feels much more comfortable to work when it’s not cold in here, though.

Yesterday daughters Verena and Lovina went over to help daughter Elizabeth. Church service hosting is now over for them. Tim, Elizabeth, and their three children will travel to Kentucky today to attend the wedding of Tim’s sister Miriam’s daughter, which is tomorrow.

I sewed Abigail’s dress and apron a few weeks ago and yesterday I sewed Allison’s dress and apron for the wedding. Elizabeth sewed her dress, cape, and apron. Lots of packing even for just a few days for three little children.

On Sunday Tim and Elizabeth hosted council (rule church) meeting services. Communion will be in two weeks with intentions to ordain a deacon, Lord willing.

Tim was planning to have services in the tent but when it decided to be so cold and rainy, they cleared more things out of their basement and set the benches down there. There was enough room since usually there are not visitors at rule church. Around 11:15 a.m. a few benches of people at a time will come up to eat. There is a men’s table and a women’s table. When someone is done eating a new setting is put there for the next person. Elizabeth’s dining room table was opened all the way (10 feet) and set for the men and boys. Then two six-foot tables were set for the women and girls. Sixteen settings to each table.

Four big 12-quart kettles of chicken and noodles were made to serve along with homemade wheat and white bread, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, ham, pickles, pickled red beets, hot peppers, butter, jam, cookies, coffee, and tea.

Today looks like a nice, warm day to wash windows. They always seem to get dirty and of course with five little grandchildren coming often the little handprints are there. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I enjoy having them come.

It looks like I will be helping paint at Mose and Susan’s house later this week. Their kitchen cabinets are coming next week. It is coming along pretty good!

October 8th is Loretta’s friend Dustin’s birthday! Happy birthday Dustin! We appreciate all he does for Loretta and for our family. May God bless him for all his kind deeds!

I will share the chicken noodle soup recipe for those of you that need a kettle in that amount. God’s blessings to all!

Church Noodles

3 quarts chicken broth with meat
6 quarts water
3/4 cup chicken soup base
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 of a 10.5 ounce can of cream of chicken soup
3 pounds homemade noodles

Drain broth off meat into a 12-quart kettle. Set meat aside. Add water, chicken base, and salt to broth. Heat to boiling. Add meat, noodles, and cream of chicken soup and bring to a boil again. Put lid on, turn off heat, and let sit for one hour. If you can’t let it sit for an hour, simmer for 10-15 minutes and it should be ready in 30 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 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.

 

Gardening and games at home

Today was such a beautiful sunny day with the temperature around 60 degrees. Everyone is home due to the coronavirus precautions. It seems so different to not set an alarm. Of course, we sleep later since no one is leaving home.

The boys took advantage of the nice day and hauled a lot of manure out to the fields. My husband Joe tilled up both gardens. The soil looks so nice and black. We also did a lot of raking outside such as flower beds beside the buildings, etc.

We would like to make one of our gardens into raised garden beds to plant vegetables. We thought this would be a way our children with handicaps could help with the gardening. They could sit in the mobility scooter and plant, pick, or weed the vegetables. With Joe and I also getting older it would be nice to not bend down to weed and harvest the vegetables.

We would like to use something affordable, but we are not sure what to use. I know some use wood but are bothered with lots of ants and bugs in the plants. We would like to use vinyl boards, but our budget couldn’t afford to that. It would last a lifetime though. Joe measured that we would need 16-foot rows and would make them 4 feet wide and two and a half feet deep. To fill our one garden we would need eight of these. Maybe we will figure something out before planting season. It would work out so well if we could somehow make it work. I am wondering if any of you readers have suggestions about what to use. Joe says he doesn’t want to have to mow under them and wants something neat in appearance. We will see, but we would appreciate any suggestions from you.

I hope to go searching for dandelion greens tomorrow. My sisters Susan and Verena found enough already to make a meal of them. Yum! Looking forward to that!

One night our family sat around the table after we ate supper looking in Country and Country Extra magazines searching for the needles they hide in there. It was a challenge to see who would find it first. The girls also had tricks for us to do with picking a chair up somehow with our head touching the wall bent halfway down. We seem to find enough to entertain us while everyone is home. Some things seem silly but as a family we need to live, laugh, and love!

Most of all, let us read from our Bibles for encouragement and pray that God will be with us during this time of trial. It’s something most people have never seen. Our hearts and prayers go to those affected by the virus. God is in control even though the road ahead looks overwhelming. I try not to think about our income not coming in like so many others also are experiencing. I am thankful for the meat in our freezers and all the vegetables we canned last year from our garden. The fruits of our labor are worth all the hard work put in the gardens. Not everyone has a garden so it’s not as easy. Our biggest challenge is getting enough supply of toilet tissue to have on hand. Every time we make a trip into town, which is sometimes longer than a week apart, the shelves are empty already.

Let us be considerate of others. Stay healthy and safe everyone. This too shall pass.

Daughter Elizabeth says she is trying out recipes from my new cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, published by Herald Press. She loves making new dishes and trying different recipes. In my cookbook I try to stay with recipes that are simple and made with ingredients you have in your kitchen. You can find the cookbook online from various booksellers.

God’s blessings to all!

 

Potato Chowder

4 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup grated carrot
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon parsley
4 chicken bouillon cubes
6 cups scalded milk
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
Optional: shredded cheese

In a large kettle, combine potatoes, onion, carrots, salt, pepper, parsley, and bouillon. Add enough water to just cover the vegetables and cook until tender. Do not drain. In a separate pan, scald milk until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan. With a wire whisk, mix butter and flour with 1-1/2 cup scalded milk. Add remaining milk to vegetables, then stir in thickened milk mixture until blended. Simmer a few minutes on low heat. Yield: 8-10 servings.

 

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.

Winter butchering means hard work, a full house, and family fun

February is more than halfway over already. We are happy to be done with our pork butchering for this winter. Friday evening my husband Joe, sons Benjamin and Joseph, sons-in-laws Tim and Mose, and Loretta’s special friend, Dustin, dressed three big pigs.

On Saturday morning we began working early on cutting up the meat. Mose and Susan’s pig was cut up first. All the bones were cooked in the big kettle outside while the hams, pork chops, and bacon were sliced, the sausage ground, and lard rendered. Last of all, we made pon hoss. We had twelve gallons of juice to make into pon hoss.

Large kettles are used to cook the bones when butchering pigs, as Lovina describes in this week’s column.

Sister Emma and Jacob and sons and sisters Verena and Susan were also here on Saturday to help our family with the butchering. A cousin of Joe’s father stopped in to see how pon hoss is made and stayed most of the day.

Everyone came for breakfast. The girls and I made two big casseroles the night before to have for breakfast. Also on the menu were hot peppers, cheese, donuts, coffee, orange juice, apple juice, and milk.

For lunch, we fried fresh tenderloin, served along with mashed potatoes, gravy, mixed vegetables, corn, lettuce salad, cheese, hot peppers, blueberry delight, cake, brownies, peaches, and ice cream. We also pickled the heart and tongue from the pigs. We cooked them in the pressure cooker then diced them up and put them in vinegar and onions. A lot of people liked it, but I didn’t even try. I am just not into eating different things like that. Maybe if I didn’t know what it was it would be different.

The pigs were very lean, so we didn’t get as much lard, but our bacon was really meaty, which is what we like. We still had more than enough lard, which we poured into jars and sealed with lids. I think it stays fresh longer like that. We seasoned some of the cracklings with different spices and the boys tried making a few potato chips in the kettle.

At the end of the day Jacob and Emma went home, but sisters Verena and Susan, Tim and Elizabeth and family, Mose and Susan and family, and nephew Steven were our overnight guests. We put up air mattresses and found enough room for everyone to sleep. It was enjoyable to have everyone here.

Sunday morning sons Benjamin and Joseph and Dustin went to church at Dustin’s brother’s house. Loretta has a bad cough, so she stayed home. Daughter Susan and I were up already so she made them breakfast before they left. Everyone was tired from the long day, so we made brunch for everyone. On the menu were pon hoss, fresh bacon, eggs, soup, toast, cheese, cookies, cake, juices including homemade V8, coffee and milk.

We had a full house but its always fun to wake up with the grandchildren here. Ryan, almost seven months, Jennifer, 2, and T.J., 1, were awake right away. Baby Allison, 8 weeks, was also awake early and ready to eat. Abigail, 3, slept with the girls and was happy to wake up beside her aunts.

The rest of the day we mostly sat around resting and visiting. Everyone headed for home in the afternoon. Dustin, Benjamin, and Joseph came back from church. Benjamin and Joseph went back to Dustin’s brother’s house for supper after evening chores were done. Loretta was still not up to leaving so Dustin stayed here. I made fresh sausage sandwiches for supper for the ones still here at home. The house seemed quiet after everyone left.

This week I’ll share the recipe for campfire stew from my cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook. I made it earlier this week when my daughters and grandchildren were here and tried adding mixed vegetables instead of green beans. We all liked it that way. I also made it in a large pot on the stove instead of outside since it’s cold.

God bless!

 

Lovina shares her recipe for Campfire Stew this week, equally good prepared indoors on the stove during the cold winter months.

Campfire Stew

2 cups beef stew meat (or substitute a roast, cut into chunks)
4 cups red potatoes, unpeeled, cleaned, and diced
2 cups green beans, cut into small pieces
1 whole onion (to flavor the soup)
4–5 beef bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

Put beef chunks in a kettle or large pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Add potatoes, green beans, and onion, adding enough water so the vegetables are well covered. Add bouillon. Boil until vegetables and meat are tender. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Remove whole onion if you wish.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 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.

A freshly painted room and a pot of chili create warmth in cold weather

It’s amazing how another week has already gone by and it’s time for me to pen another column.

Son Kevin, 14, already left for school this morning. He will not have school tomorrow or Monday. It’s their mid-winter break. Son Joseph, 17, will be home today and possibly tomorrow from his construction job. The construction crew leader is spending time with his father out of state. His father is very ill, so I wish him the best.

The ground has about three more inches of snow this morning. Son Benjamin, 20, and a friend of his went ice fishing last night. After they came home, we had just finished eating supper, so I set the food out for them to eat. We had chili soup and hamburgers on the menu.

When I make a big pot of chili soup I always think of my father. He used to tease my mother when she made a big pot of chili, pointing to the kettle saying “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.” He meant that there was enough soup for several days, but it never lasted that long.

I never add chili powder to my chili soup but substitute with the spicy V8 juice we make. The chili powder gives my husband Joe heart burn, so I omit it so he can eat it. I always use sausage for the meat, and everyone loves when I add Rotel tomatoes to it. Benjamin’s friend liked the V8 juice. We think it is a good drink when you have a scratchy throat from allergies during the winter. It seems like more of our family is liking it. It has just enough spice without being too hot. All that labor we put into making it with all the vegetables from our garden in the summer sure does make it worthwhile to have a cold glass during the winter months.

We only have a few packages of sausage left in our freezer. Our plans are to butcher three pigs on Saturday. One will be for Mose and daughter Susan. They will dress the pigs on Friday night and let them chill overnight, then we will cut up the meat on Saturday, render the lard, and make pon hoss. It’s a big job, but it will be nice to have sausage, pork chops, ham, and bacon in the freezer again.

Daughter Verena is moved back into her freshly painted aqua bedroom now. It looks refreshing and blends in with the dolphin items she collects. Daughter Elizabeth had Verena’s name in our family gift exchange this year and gave her some new curtains that match with her new paint. In the swap bingo at sister Emma and Jacob’s house my niece Emma’s gift was an aqua comforter set and Verena ended up with that gift. She was excited to add these new things to her bedroom.

In today’s column Lovina shares about a painting project to freshen up daughter Verena’s bedroom walls, pictured. Photo provided.

Daughter Lovina, 15, and I painted the room giving it two coats of 2-in-1 paint/primer. We did both coats the same day. My muscles were sore for a few days from painting overhead. This was Lovina’s first time using a roller to paint and she did a really good job. She enjoyed painting but wasn’t fond of all the taping we had to do around the trim. I don’t care for that either, but it helps to have everything covered when you start painting.

While Lovina and I were painting, Verena ended up having to go to the dentist. She has a wisdom tooth coming through and one side of her face was swollen from it. The tooth is coming through okay so far and the dentist told her if it keeps coming through okay, she doesn’t need to get it pulled. She kept ice packs on it and used Orajel to numb it. She also gargles with warm saltwater. She is feeling better every day but it still hurts to chew on that side. I never had my wisdom teeth come in but heard it can be painful.

My page is full, and I need to get busy. I hope everyone stays healthy through this flu season. Thank you to all my readers for your encouragement. God’s blessings to all of you!

 

Chili Soup

2 pounds sausage (may substitute ground beef or venison)
1 fresh garlic clove, minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, undrained
3-4 cups tomato juice
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Brown sausage, garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Drain, then combine in a saucepan along with remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30–60 minutes for best flavor.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 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.

First snow, Sunday rest, and a family celebration

The ground had a thin layer of snow this morning. Our leaves are still not raked up. Maybe snow will cover them. Out of sight—out of mind. I’m just not ready for snow but we will take whatever the good Lord sends our way. Snowflakes are lightly falling as I write this.

Daughter Verena, 21, is washing dishes and doing the usual morning work. Daughters Loretta, 19, and Lovina, 15, are in the basement washing clothes. They will hang the laundry on the lines in the basement today to dry. We usually leave it to hang overnight and fold it the next day. It is a chilly 31 degrees outside so it’s best to dry the clothes indoors.

I had another doctor appointment this week and the doctor says that I have at least four more weeks of taking it easy and being careful about what I do. What a challenge it is, but may God grant me the patience to be content while my body heals.

Church services were held on Sunday at sister Emma and Jacob’s house. Lots of visitors were there and it sounds like their garage was filled to capacity. Everyone from our family attended except Loretta and her special friend Dustin and me. They stayed here with me, as I am not up to sitting in church that long yet. My husband Joe came home in the afternoon but some of the children stayed at Jacob and Emma’s for a hay-stack supper. It was a quiet day, but I had a nice restful day. Dustin and Loretta made the meals and I just sat in my recliner feeling lazy.

After supper I was surprised to be presented with a Sunshine Box from our church families. Sisters Verena and Susan brought the gifts, which are all nice and useful. I feel so unworthy of it all, but I want to thank everyone for the cards, gifts, letters, etc. that were given to me. It helps to know others care.

Yesterday, niece Elizabeth had a Pampered Chef bridal shower at my sister Emma’s house for my niece Emma. This was a belated shower, but Emma will still get much use out of the items she received. A good lunch was served to everyone afterwards. Our friend Beth took the girls and I with her van.

It was good to get out of the house awhile. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan with their little ones were there as well. It was nice to spend time with them. Granddaughter Abigail, 3, was singing a song she made up about her and granddaughter Jennifer, 22 months. As she sang, she hopped and skipped in circles. It was just so cute! Ten-month-old T.J. is at a challenging stage since he can walk and tries climbing stairs, chairs, or whatever he can. He is quite a handful for daughter Elizabeth right now. He comes up to kiss me, smiling his sweet smile. Ryan, 3 months, is smiling and cooing, winning all our hearts. Jennifer loves to hold her baby brother. What does this world have in store for these sweet innocent children? It is good that we don’t know the future. Let us take one day at a time and praise God daily for his many blessings!

Friday evening, daughter Elizabeth and Tim brought supper in for us. On the menu were potato casserole, macaroni salad, deviled eggs, cupcakes, finger jello, and homemade bread. Daughter Susan, Mose, and family joined us, and Susan brought chocolate pie. It was greatly appreciated!

Tomorrow we travel to Ann Arbor with our friend Beth for our children’s annual appointment with the team of doctors for muscular dystrophy. It’s always a long day of testing.

God’s blessings to all!

Lovina shares a recipe for Cheese Broccoli Soup in this week’s column. Photo credit: D. Lucas Landis/©MennoMedia

 

Cheese Broccoli Soup

3/8 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon salad oil
3 cups water
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups (4 oz.) fine noodles
1 10-ounce package of frozen broccoli (may use fresh)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3 cups milk
1/2 pound American cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Sauté onion in oil; add water and bouillon cubes and heat to boiling until cubes are dissolved. Gradually add noodles and continue boiling uncovered for 3 minutes. Stir in broccoli and garlic salt; cook 4 minutes more. Add milk, cheese, salt, and pepper, and continue cooking until cheese melts, stirring constantly.

 

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, will be available in April 2020 from the publisher, Herald Press, 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box1689, 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 the church community, gathering with family for a funeral

Daughters Verena, Loretta, and I have plans to go help sister Emma today. The wedding for her daughter Elizabeth and Manuel is fast approaching—15 days to be exact. Plans are to make noodles for the wedding. Some cleaning will be done as well. Sisters Verena and Susan and my daughters Elizabeth and Susan also plan to go, so we should get quite a bit accomplished.

I have lots of sewing to do next week. I need to sew Verena, Loretta, Lovina, and myself each a new dress, cape, and apron. I also need to sew son Kevin a new shirt and pants, so I better get started. Most of it is cut out, so once I get started, I’ll get a lot done. Why I always put this off until the last minute I don’t know, but we were busy cleaning for hosting church services, etc.

Sunday was a beautiful day in the 70s for hosting communion services in our pole barn. Services started at 9 a.m., and around 11:30 a.m. my sisters, daughters, nieces, and I had lunch ready to serve. We had 36 settings so people could take turns coming in to eat.

I made four 12-quart-size kettles of chicken-and-noodle soup. Also on the menu were homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, pickles, red beets, hot peppers, rhubarb jam, butter and cookies (monster, sugar, and chocolate chip). Also coffee and spearmint tea.

The bread and cookies were all brought in from the ladies in our church district. The hot peppers were furnished from sister Emma, as my supply was low. The rhubarb jam was made fresh by sisters Verena and Susan.

Communion was around 3 p.m. and services were over by 4 p.m. By 4:30 p.m. everyone had left for home except Jacob, Emma, and family; Manuel, Menno, niece Emma, and baby Jessica; Tim, Elizabeth, Abigail, and baby Timothy; Mose, Susan, and Jennifer; sisters Verena and Susan; and also Loretta’s boyfriend, Dustin. Before they all left, I put out sandwiches and heated up some chicken noodle soup for them to eat before leaving for home. We had plenty of leftovers from lunch.

On Saturday, Joe and I attended the funeral of Uncle Elmer. Traveling with a driver in a 14-passenger van to Berne, Indiana, we went with sister Emma and Jacob and sisters Verena and Susan. We headed south to northern Indiana to pick up brother Albert and Sarah Irene. We started out around 4:30 a.m., as it took extra time to pick everyone up. The funeral was held at cousin Ben and Carolyn’s house. Ben is a son to Uncle Elmer and Emma.

Driving past Uncle Elmer and Emma’s house on the way to the funeral brought back many memories of my childhood years. Our family would often travel with horse and buggy the 12-plus miles to Uncle Elmer’s. They had a pond and a shelter back in their woods where we had many picnics and lots of swimming and fishing done. Many holidays were spent back at this pond.

Cousin Amzie, his wife, and daughter now live on the farm, with a smaller house on it for Uncle Elmer and Aunt Emma. Aunt Emma will have many lonely days ahead, but she has a supportive family to care for her. Left to mourn are six sons, four daughters, 52 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Uncle Elmer was 79 years old. Rest in peace!

Tomorrow, May 10, is sister Susan’s 43rd birthday. She wants us to come in honor of her birthday on Sunday for a brunch. Sunday will also be Mother’s Day, so I wish all mothers out there a blessed day!

It is time for us to get ready to leave soon. It looks like rain, but hopefully it will clear up.

God bless each and every one!

 

Amish Noodles

1 quart chicken broth
3 to 3 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken pieces
4 pounds noodles*
7 quarts potato water or plain water
1 cup chicken soup base
1 tablespoon salt

Bring broth and chicken pieces to a boil in a 12-quart kettle; stir in noodles. Add water, chicken soup base, and salt. Return to a full boil and cook for several minutes, then turn off heat. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.

*Depending on the noodles, only 3 pounds may fit in a 12-quart kettle.

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.