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Amish Kitchen: There’s plenty to celebrate, including a vegetable garden’s bounty

We are having great weather this week. It cools down at night and makes sleeping more comfortable. Very pleasant days so far. Mornings are actually chilly, with temperatures in the upper 50s. It sure beats the heat from last week.

Yesterday we canned pickles. Cucumbers and dill from the garden make such good pickles. Today we plan to can hot peppers. We are also enjoying zucchini, green peppers and tomatoes from the garden. Also a few meals of potatoes. Sweet corn is almost ready. I love this time of year. It makes meal planning so much easier.

Yesterday was son Joseph’s 17th birthday. He was 8 weeks old when my mother died. I started penning this column then, taking over for my mother. She had written the column for 11 years before she died. With my 17 years of writing, it makes 28 years altogether.

I like reading back through the columns, as it’s like a diary for me. I was 19 years old when my mom started penning the column. She wrote about our wedding and the births of her first six children. We will always have fond memories of her. She is still greatly missed.

She did a wonderful job along with my father of raising a family of eight children. Now Joe and I have eight children also. I hope we can raise our children while also teaching them the true values in life and always having God as our guide.

Our family was all here last night for supper. We had a big cake in honor of our three children who have July birthdays. Serving cake separately for each one makes too much cake in a few weeks’ time, so we often have the cake on one of their birthdays.

Also on the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, cucumber salad, grilled steak, banana peppers, cheese and ice cream. Daughter Elizabeth also brought zucchini bars.

Garden produce.jpeg
Zucchini, cucumbers and peppers provide many options for canning, cooking, and even baking into desserts. Provided photo

Elizabeth and children Abigail and baby T.J. and Susan and her daughter Jennifer came for a brunch in the forenoon. Our brunch was pancakes, sausage and eggs. The girls and Abigail went for a walk to our neighbors while Jennifer and T.J. took naps. They delivered a casserole I made for our neighbors Melvin and Rebecca, who have a new little one, and they got to see the new addition. Little Zachary is almost 3 weeks old.

T.J. is 7 months old and gets around fast in the walker. He also likes to sit on the floor with toys. He sure is active and always smiling.

Son Benjamin’s place of work (the RV factory) has next week off because of work being slow again. This is also where daughter Loretta’s special friend Dustin works. (A reader asked if I mean boyfriend when I say special friend, and yes, that is what I mean. Just thought I would clarify that.)

Son Kevin is keeping my hanging flowers watered on the front porch. I just reminded him that they are looking a little dry. Most times he remembers to water them when he fills the stock tanks up for the animals with the hose.

My flowers do much better when someone else waters them. Although I am wondering if anyone would know if softener salt in the water could affect plants. When I watered the plants, I always used water from the kitchen sink. Kevin and my husband Joe always use water from the water hydrant that doesn’t have a softener hooked up to it.

I want to bring this to a close wishing you all God’s blessings. Here is a recipe for zucchini nut chip cookies.

Zucchini nut chip cookies

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions: Mix butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until creamy. Add flour, baking soda, salt and zucchini. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 8–10 minutes. You can also use carrots or sweet potatoes instead of zucchini.

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.

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