Archive for January, 2012

Spicy Chili

Fry ground beef in oil with onion. Add 2 tsp. seasoning mix. Heat tomatoes and beans; add meat mixture and 3 more tsp. seasoning mix. Simmer 10 minutes. Serves 6. 1 lb. ground beef

1 med. onion, chopped

5 tsp. seasoning mix

1 quart diced tomatoes or tomato juice

1 can kidney beans

Spicy Chili Seasoning Mix:
1/2 cup chili powder

5 tsp. ground coriander

5 tsp. ground cumin

1 Tbsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

The recipe above appears in:

Norman and Marlena Miller, along with the entire Evart, MI Amish community, set out to compile their family favorites, they did so with a song and plenty of inspirations. And that’s exactly the recipe they used for Cooking With Praise. This cookbook has a delicious spread of Amish favorites: Potato Salad, Poor Man’s Steak, Tator-Tot Casserole, and Oreo Pudding, to name a few. Then there are the seven sections for those who watch their diet. Then like a good cook who adds a pinch of this and a dash of that, bringing the taste to perfection, the Millers have added hymns and inspirational thoughts throughout. Cooking With Praise is ready for your table and your guests. 450 recipes. 254 pages. Spiral bound with laminated covers. Fully indexed. (Top image from Seamusiv of Flickr)

Cooking With Praise More info. and/or Buy please go to

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I’m seeing so many of the Amish doing this, and just like us they also sometimes need some extra utility space!
A classic Ford Mustang and i think a 1969 or 70 model

Much nicer than the boring interiors of most new cars today i think

My first car was a 1972 olds cutlass that i inherited from my dad, so i have a soft spot for anything Oldsmobile

 The Chevrolet Chevelle ss, a much feared car during that day if you were into racing. A much sort after car today and increasing in value every year

Intercourse Pennsylvania

Kells Shepherd’s Pie recipe

Source: Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub, Portland, Oregon 1 1/2 pounds ground free-range beef
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
1/2 cup baby carrots, diced
1 to 2 teaspoons garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 cup Guinness draught stout
1/4 cup cabernet wine
7 ounces (3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 cup peas, preferably fresh, or frozen (thawed)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Ulster Champ Topping

Brown beef in a Dutch oven or other large heavy
saucepot over low to moderate heatablespoon Allow to simmer until cooked throughout, about 5 to 10 minutes. Drain excess fat when cooked and
add onion, carrots, garlic, stout, wine, broth, Worcestershire sauce, basil, oregano, sage and marjoram. Stir and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook 15 minutes or until carrots are fork tender. Add peas.

While meat is simmering, bring large pot of water to boil for potatoes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter and stir in flour to make a roux (paste of equal parts butter and flour used to thicken liquids). Slowly incorporate roux into simmering beef mixture until desired thickness is achieved. (If mixture was simmered too long or cooked too high, less roux is needed.) Continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes to allow roux and flavors to meld. Season with salt and pepper. Remove to a 9 1/2-inch round casserole dish or deep
pie dish.

While meat is simmering, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare Ulster Champ
Ulster Champ Topping 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, about 4 medium
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup finely grated Irish white Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely minced
1/3 cup scallions or chives, chopped
Salt and white pepper to taste

Scrub and peel potatoes. Cut into large pieces.

In a large pot, simmer potatoes in water until fork tender. Drain well and return pot to low heat to remove excess moisture. Stir in butter and cheese and whip, gradually adding milk, parsley and scallions or chives. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon potato topping evenly over
meat mixture, making irregular peaks with the back of a spoon. Alternatively, use a pastry bag and star tip to pipe potatoes over meat mixture.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown and crusty on edges and mixture is heated throughout. If desired, place casserole under broiler for 1 to 2 minutes to crisp potato topping. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly to set, and serve immediately from casserole dish. Serve with HP sauce (Irish-English steak-style sauce), steak sauce or pan gravy, if desired.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Note: Pie can be cooked and served in individual baking dishes. Adjust final baking time as needed.

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Martha and Joseph are old order Mennonites who live on a farm in New York state with their family, and like the Amish use horse and buggy when traveling.

 Some very good questions were asked by one of the readers,so i will try to answer them for you. The first question is how many people join the Old Order Mennonite and Amish? I can only tell you what I know in our area. I spoke with our Old Order Mennonite Deacon and the Amish Bishop that moved in here about a year ago, when the first of the Amish moved in our area. Both of them said that many people are interested in joining, but when they see our way of life-they change their minds. Martha

 Between the Old Order Mennonite and Amish, I am the last person to join, so far, and that was either 16 or 17 years ago. Now you must understand that the Amish just moved in here about two years ago. Most of the Amish that are here moved in about a year ago. Our Old Order Mennonite have been here since the 1970’s which is about 40 years ago. So the  Amish information might be different from a more established Amish area. I don’t know. You are a good age to join because you are young enough to be willing to change. I seriously decided to join when I was 20 or 21. I’m not saying older people couldn’t join-but you have to decide to change. The first thing I would do is to pray and ask the Lord. Also, I would read books about the Old Order Mennonite. I like novels, but that’s not what I read. I mean books on our heritage and way of life.

 If you could get a written  book by someone who was  Old Order Mennonite that would be the best, but still there are other book’s that are good. If you live in an area where you could go visit the Old Order Mennonite area, I would highly suggest that. It’s late in the year for fruit stands, but maybe someone is selling quilts, buggies, wood items, etc. in their home – stop and talk with them. It would be nice if you at least looked at what they were selling.

If there are a lot of Old Order Mennonites in an area, there is usually a General Store that one family owns. If you come across an Old Order Mennonite General Store you could get more information there-most of the Old Order Mennonites come there to do shopping. If they are not too busy and talk with them, they will probably tell you anything you ask. Should you hit it on a busy day-ask a customer they should help you. If you run into people about your own age-they would be great help, too.

if you do not live near an Old Order Mennonite area, I would suggest putting an add in the Budget explaining that you were considering joining Old Order Mennonite and you would like to work on their farm. You might want to offer to pay something, too, but I don’t think they’ll take it. You might have to run it a few times before someone answers, but I think someone would. Tell them you are a man, and put in your age.

Right now farming is slow so it might be better to run in the Spring. Willing to work would means a lot because many of us farmers are looking for extra workers during the Spring and Summer.Advertise you will need boarding and meals. They might even pay you, too. Also, they might ask for references-maybe a deacon from your meeting (church), place you worked, etc. Lately if we don’t know someone or they aren’t sent by someone we know, we usually ask for references. It’s sad, but we have to be careful today, especially if we have children.

A short video of clips from Canada’s old order Mennonite community.

Old Order Mennonite have electric and telephones but you might want to start seeing if you can do without the television, computer, radio, car and more. I would try one thing at a time. It will give you an idea if you are able to do without some of these items.

My other advice is don’t listen to people that tell you can’t do it. When I joined I had people both English (which I was before I joined Old Order Mennonite) and Old Order Mennonite tell me I wouldn’t be able to give up all of the Old World. Two things that helped me are that I loved Joseph and the Old Order Mennonite-plus I met Jean and she encouraged me.

Joseph and I have been married for 15 years and there are still some people who aren’t sure I am going to stay. I wouldn’t  leave. Even if something happened to Joseph and he went to be with the Lord-I wouldn’t leave. I am Old Order Mennonite and believe I am in the right religion-the place God wants me to be. I couldn’t go back to the Old World again. Trust in God, Martha

Canadian Mennonite Plum Custard Kuchen recipe

A tea-biscuit base with neat rows of plums surrounded by custard – this is a delicious dessert.

1 1/3 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/3 cup margarine or shortening

1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk

Plums, pitted and halved


1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon


1 beaten egg

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup buttermilk or yogurt

1/3 cup sugar

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in margarine. Beat egg and milk and stir into mixture. Pat the dough over the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan. Arrange nicely in rows enough pitted plums to completely cover the dough. Sprinkle topping over the plums. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.
Recipe from

To read Martha’s very first post on why she left our world and became old order Mennonite just click this link:

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The Amish Cook

Please note folks: I’ve just been informed that the editor of the Amish Cook will no longer be letting other web sites like mine post LOVINA EICHER’s column anymore, so this will be the last post from her on Amish Stories. I thank Kevin for allowing me to re-publish the Amish Cook on my own blog, so please visit the Amish Cooks web site  to continue reading her very enjoyable column. Richard

This has been a different winter so far weather-wise. We had another snowstorm during the past week, but then as quickly as it snowed, it warmed back up. Now it rained during the night and the temperature is up to 45. We also had some thunder and lightning during while we slept. The snow is mostly gone except in the ditches and where it was piled up. Some men have been ice fishing but it has not been possible for most of the winter due to the warmth. Joe hasn’t been able to go yet, but he is eager to do so. Hopefully it will turn colder again so he can.

One up side, with the warmer temperatures it takes less coal to heat the house. I like when the ground stays frozen so the house doesn’t get tracked up with mud so much. It always seems like snow makes a brighter world during the winter.

Saturday Joe and the boys went to help Elizabeth’s friend Timothy cut up some trees. Timothy’s brother and nephews were also helping. Sounds like they got a lot accomplished. Joe likes doing outdoor work like cutting up wood. Meanwhile, here at home, the girls done the cleaning and folding the laundry from the day before’s wash. While the girls were doing that I baked apple and custard pies and Verena baked an apple dump cake. She brought one home from school that she made in cooking class. She will write down the recipe and I will share it with you readers in a future column. Everyone seemed to like it so Verena doubled the recipe.

On Sunday we went to Emma and Jacob’s house for a delicious dinner. We enjoyed barbecued baked ribs, scalloped potatoes, baked beans, cottage cheese, Cole slaw, and sliced cheese, hot peppers, homemade vanilla ice cream, chocolate cake, and apple and custard pie. She put the ribs single layer in baking pan, seasoned them with salt and pepper and barbecue sauce and baked. Joe, Jacob and the boys froze two 2-gallon cans of homemade vanilla ice cream while we were preparing dinner.

 Homemade ice cream is always a favorite for us. The children spent a lot of the afternoon outside playing in the snow. The rest of us played games after the dishes were washed away. It seems like it doesn’t take long to get the dishes washed when everyone pitches in to help. We started for home around 5 p.m. The boys did the evening chores and Joe fueled the stove for the night. We only had snacks as everyone said they weren’t hungry for supper after the big noon dinner at Jacob’s. We all retired early for the night as Joe had to start a new week at the factory and the children back to school.

Tomorrow, January 24, daughter Susan will have her 16th birthday. Seems hard to believe she has reached that age. Where has the time gone to so fast? Susan enjoys outdoor work, and she loves horses and enjoys training ponies. She would rather go clean out the barn than do housework. She does like to bake, though, but I am still trying to get her to sew.
I always tease her that I’ll move the sewing machine out to the barn if it would make sewing more enjoyable for her with the horses close by. It is good that we don’t all have the same interests or talents otherwise life would be less interesting. When I need a horse harnessed so I can go run some errands, she is always volunteering to help go get it ready. We wish her a happy 16th birthday and many, many more happy years.

This is a recipe that a lot of Amish give as gifts around the holidays, or maybe for Valentine’s Day coming up. (Editor’s Note: A video demonstration of these cookies being made by the Amish Cook’s editor can be seen in a new online video program, An Almost Amish Kitchen. To view, visit


2 /3 cups all-purpose flour

1 /2 teaspoon baking soda
1 /2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 /4 teaspoon salt
1 /3 cup brown sugar
1 /3 cup white sugar
3 /4 cup chocolate chips
1 1 /2 cups quick oats
1 /2 cup pecans, chopped
Optional M & Ms

Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt . Place flour mixture in a 1 quart jar. Pressing down firmly layer remaining ingredients in order given. Top with lid and decorate with fabric or ribbon if giving as a gift. Recipe to attach to the jar:

Beat 1 stick softened butter, 1 large egg, 1 /2 teaspoon vanilla in a large bowl until blended. Add cookie mix, mix well breaking up any clumps. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes. Yield 2 dozen cookies. Published with permission from

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Hearty Hamburger Soup

Melt butter in saucepan; brown meat; add onion and cook until transparent. Stir in remaining ingredients except flour and milk. Cover and cook over low heat until vegetables are tender. Combine flour with 1 c. of milk. Stir into soup mixture. Boil. Add remaining milk and heat, stirring frequently. Do not boil after adding remaining milk. 1 Tbsp. butter

1 c. chopped onion

1 c. sliced carrot

1/2 c. chopped green pepper or celery

1 lb. ground beef

2 c. tomato juice

1 c. diced potatoes

1½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. seasoned salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/3 c. flour

4 c. milk

This excellent collection of authentic Amish recipes will be a treasured addition to any cookbook collection. Includes Amish home remedies. 217 pages, 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″, comb bound, illustrated. To order this book please see our friends at

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Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State.Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.

 January 30, 2012 We have finally gotten the snow that we were waiting for. Michael’s public school was closed today, but when a couple of his Old Order Mennonite friends found that out they talked him into going to the one room school house that Susan goes to. David got our big sleigh out, hooked the horse’s up and picked up the children to go to our school that hadn’t walked to our house. I had made Michael along with Susan a lunch for school. Michael had never been to our one room school house as a student, but said he really liked it, and  Liked it better than the public school. He said some older students help the younger students. The teacher did chose him to answer some questions-and he knew the answers.

Seeing we had our first big snow storm of the season, I thought I would tell you about Old Order Mennonites and snow. We feel that snow, like rain is a gift from God. Previously when the snow just covered the ground, David and Michael, would go out in the fields and plow it under the soil. Now, that all the ground is covered with snow we feel that the ground has come to rest. The snow to us is like a ground blanket. We feel that God sends us items in the snow to rest it, that will help it grow produce in the spring, summer and fall. It is our time to leave the fields alone until spring.

Now is the time, David will go over all our machinery-tractors, harvest machines, plowers, and more. All the farm machinery are gone over, any repairs are done so they are ready in the spring. If any repairs need to be made on the barns – they are also done during the winter. When all the farm work is done, David and Michael will start working on David’s parents new house and my grandparents house. If they get those jobs done-we would like to modern up our kitchen. Of course all our regular jobs such as feeding the animals, milking the cows, doing washing, cleaning the house, cooking meals, etc. still go on. No season stops those.

Snow doesn’ t mean all work. Tonight Michael along with some of his Old Order Mennonite and Amish friends are at a Englisher’s house sledding. The house is at the top of a large hill so they allow the young folks to come over and sled down their home. At first, they use to have a dinner for the young folk, but when they saw the young ladies bringing dishes to pass they don’t have a dinner. The young ladies bring a dish to pass or a snack. The family whose house they are at furnish cocoa, soda pop drinks, tea, etc. Most of the young folk had eaten dinner with their families before sledding – but they are hungry again. The Englisher allows all young folk as long as they don’t bring any alcohol, drugs or cause any trouble.

Tomorrow Martha and Joseph are having the Old Order Mennonite and Amish young folk at their house. It was suppose to be ice skating on a pond near their house, but it’s not frozen solid enough. As the Englisher lives down the road from Martha and Joseph, the young folk can go sledding again. This time, when they are done, they will come to Martha and Joseph’s to eat and singing. Michael will be going there in our buggy. Michael really knows how to hook up the horse and drive the buggy after David and I taught him.

There are also hills around that the young folk can go skiing on. Finally, Michael is getting to use some of the presents he got for his birthday. He is also glad that Bristol Resort has real snow and not using machine making snow.

On Sunday night, is an evening for young folks, but Michael can not go. It is for young folks that are 15 or older. Young folks that are looking for partners. Even though they asked Michael on the Christmas caroling – here we do not allow young folks under the age of 15. Michael looks older than he is-but we go for age. Some of his friends are 15 or 16 and he wishes he could go, but next year will be his time.

Also David and I take Susan and Baby David sledding. We go to the Englishers house or one of the hills around where we live. Usually a group of us parents take our children so we have company. One of us invites everyone home for coffee or tea for the adults and cocoa for the children. We also have cake, pie or cookies to munch on. When we are with the little ones sledding-David and I also sled, too. When the ponds get frozen solid, we will also ice skating with the children.

Be With God,


From Jean: This recipe came from my Grandmother. When I told her I was giving it to Amish Stories-she said I can’t use her name because it wasn’t her recipe. It came from the Betty Crocker Cookbook that she had. So all credits for this recipe that has been used by three generations in my family comes from Betty Crocker.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

12 Cabbage Leaves*

1 pound hamburger

1/2 cup uncooked instant rice

1 medium onion, Chopped (about 1/2 cup)

I can (4 ounces) mushroom stems and pieces

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon garlic salt

1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce ( I always use tomato sauce that I canned)

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon water

*To separate leaves from cabbage head, remove core and cover cabbage with cold water. Let stand about 10 minutes; remove leaves.

Cover cabbage leaves with boiling water. Cover and let stand until leaves are limp, about 10 minutes. Remove leaves; drain.

Mix hamburger, rice, onion, mushrooms (with liquid), salt pepper, garlic salt and 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce. Place about 1\3 cup hamburger mixture at stem end of each leaf. Roll leaf around hamburger mixture, tucking in sides. Place cabbage rolls seam sides down in un-greased square baking dish, 8x8x2 inches. Mix remaining tomato sauce, the sugar and lemon juice; pour over cabbage rolls. Cover and cook in 350 degrees oven until hamburger is done; about 45 minutes.

Mix cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in saucepan. Stir in liquid from cabbage rolls. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Serve sauce with cabbage rolls.
This Friday Martha returns to Amish Stories with a post about how to join the old order Mennonite Church from the outside!

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Some of the newer folks who are now readers to Amish Stories may not remember the contest that i had last year the revolved around the 1985 movieWitness“. In that contest i was looking for someone to come up with a sequel to that movie, and give us an update and a new twist for a “Witness part two”. I was looking for something around 300 words so not very long but just to give me an idea on the direction for a new movie, as if they were writing the movie themselves
The new movie was to have as many of the original actors in it as possible otherwise to me it just wouldn’t work, so a long story short 2 people won that contest with our own Marilyn being one of them. I did not judge this contest myself which is what i requested from Brad Igou of the tour company “The Amish experience” based in Lancaster county and publisher of the Amish country news who was this contests sponsor.Marilyn was not able to attend this tour with her being in New York state so she offered that winning ticket to me, and to be honest since this may be the very last tour of this farm where a lot of the movie was filmed i was going regardless before it ended last October. So i thank Marilyn for helping kick off what would be this very post about what it was like and what i saw. Another thing that’s most likely coming to an end would be this post about the movie itself on Amish Stories, so since we had that contest and I’ve posted another thing or two about this really great movie this should be the last major post about it on here. Unless i can get an interview from someone who was in this movie ( tried with Kelly McGillis) but with no luck) the movie as a main post pretty much stops here on Amish Stories.      Richard
The long road: After driving over a covered bridge the tour bus headed over to where the farm is located, and its interesting to note that when this movie was filmed at that time the folks living on this farm were English and now its Amish owned. I’m sure this very long driveway looks very familiar because its the same road that Danny Glover and the other 2 Philadelphia police officers walked down with their weapons drawn, and who were about to inflict harm to John Book and maybe this Amish family as well. 

The driver of this van had asked if anyone wanted to walk this road before heading down, i jumped out of my seat along with a gentlemen from Australia and we both walked down together taking pictures and talking about the movie.

Not the original house as it was torn down to make way for this new Amish home.

The same barn that Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis were dancing in while listening to music on John Books old Volkswagen car radio, part of the original barn has since been updated after the movie was made.

I know everyone remembers this bird house, well its not the original but was built and placed in the same spot for the tour.

Not a prop folks just owned by the Amish family living here.

A better view of the barn, you can kind of see where the addition was added to the original from the movie, with Amish owners buggy in the back ground.

The original section of the barn and finally looking very much like in the movie, we were asked not to go into this part of the property which i found disappointing.

And now to the most famous perhaps and still intact building from Witness, this small building is where the all of the kitchen shots were filmed as well as the funeral. This building was only meant for the movie and was supposed to be taken down after it was all shot, but the original owners decided to leave it as it was. Which is a testament to how well it was made by the set builders. The original bell that young Samuel Lapp was ringing that was used to bring help, and we did ring it!

Now inside the kitchen area, with everything being the same as we remember it from the movie.

As the kitchen looked in the movie with the actors

I was really surprised how small everything looked in person, this is where the family ate breakfast at 5am or so, and with Harrison Fords character saying ” honey now that’s darn good coffee“.

Image that was on the wall in the kitchen is of actor Jan Rubeš (Eli Lapp) taking a walk during filming.

The Amish family who own the farm now sell canned items to the tour like these peaches, reminds me very much of when Rachel Lapp had some on hand in the movie.

Dont they look so good!

Its amazing to me that this little make shift movie house was used for the funeral in the movie and as well as some other scene’s in Witness, I’m still blown away by that and how they pulled that off when we all saw this movie in 1985.

Image that was on the wall of the film crew painting this was was supposed to be a temporary building for the movie. 

Leaving the building

This was here when the movie was made

Samuel Lapp’s favorite fishing hole seen in the movie

A better view of the pond from the movie
Looking out towards the main road from the farm

One could almost hear the bell ringing as we left this farm………..

The long road 

That Harrison Fords character (John Book) took  as he left for the very last time, and he left a woman who was very different than himself yet both shared something that transcends  all cultures…………………………….Love

Sunset over an Amish farm that i took at the end of this tour, and a fitting end to this last “Witness” post on Amish Stories.

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Casserole

Cut bacon into small pieces and fry until crisp. Cut bread slices in cubes and place in a greased 2 qt. casserole dish. Cube cheese and put on tip of bread. In mixing bowl beat eggs, milk, salt, and mustard. Pour over bread and cheese. Sprinkle bacon pieces on top. Cover and refrigerate overnight. bake covered at 350° F. for 50-60 minutes or until puffed up. Serve immediately. 1/2 lb. bacon

6 slices white bread

1/2 lb. Velveeta cheese

6 eggs

2 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk Pancakes Beat egg, buttermilk and soda with wire whip. Then add rest of ingredients, beat until smooth. Fry on greased skillet. Makes 10 – 4″ pancakes. 1 c. flour 1 T. white sugar 1 t. baking powder 1/2 t. baking soda 1/2 t. salt . 1 egg 1 c. buttermilk 1 T. vegetable oil

Beat egg, buttermilk and soda with wire whip. Then add rest of ingredients, beat until smooth. Fry on greased skillet.

Makes 10 – 4″ pancakes.

1 c. flour

1 T. white sugar

1 t. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

                                                                          1    egg                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                      1 c. buttermilk

                                                                     1 T. vegetable oil

To order these Amish recipe cook books please visit our freinds at

For Amish related tours in Lancaster county

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The Amish Cook

3:15 a.m. Time to get up. I prepare my husband Joe’s lunch which is homemade chicken noodle soup, crackers, ranger cookies – which daughter Susan baked yesterday – and some frozen peaches. Joe like soups better than sandwiches for lunch. But he always tells me not too put too much food in his lunch because he can eat better after he is done working, so he likes a light lunch. His job is to set the cabinets in RV trailers. He has been working for this company for over 7 years. In March it will be 8 years that we made the move from Indiana to Michigan.
3:45 a.m. Joe leaves for work. They start working at 5 a.m. every day but the drive takes 40 to 45 minutes. With all the slippery roads and blowing snow I hope they have a safe ride there. I go back to bed until it is time to wake the school children up.
6 a.m. I go to check the messages on our phone in the shed. Since the roads are slippery and snow is blowing I decide to check if there is a school delay. Someone from the school usually calls the Amish and leaves a message if there is a school delay or cancellation. Since we don’t have radios or TVs they do this to let us know. We appreciate this very much. If it is foggy or the roads are bad I always check the voicemail on the phone before waking the children. This morning I find that there is one that says school is cancelled for the day. I decide to let the children sleep in a little longer.  When I lived in Berne we didn’t have this option since we weren’t permitted phones there, so sometimes we’d have to wait for the bus for two hours before finding out school was cancelled.
8:30 a.m. Everyone is up and ready to eat breakfast. The girls made baked French toast and scrambled eggs for our breakfast.
9:30 a.m The boys are out shoveling snow. They said they are trying to pile the snow up so they can make a tunnel under the snow. The girls and I are doing laundry, the dishes, and the weekly cleaning. I also slice and fry the poor man’s steak that I mixed together yesterday. After it is fried I layer it in a roaster and top it with cream of mushroom soup. This will be part of our supper tonight.
1 p.m. Lunch is ready. We are having soup which is always good on a cold day.
2 p.m. Loretta and I leave to go to town. Loretta has an appointment and I need to get some groceries. The boys take breaks but keep on working to get our drive shoveled out. The girls finish with the cleaning while I am going.
4:30 p.m. Loretta and I are back home again. Joe is also home from work. He helps the boys finish the shoveling. It is snowing again so maybe they will have to shovel again tomorrow. The girls have scalloped potatoes ready for the oven.
6:30 p.m. The outside chores are done and they are ready to eat supper. Our menu consists of poor man’s steak, scalloped potatoes, pork and beans, cheese, and ranger cookies. Elizabeth’s friend Timothy comes and joins us for supper.
7:30 p.m.   Dishes are washed. Some of the children are reading and some are playing games. The boys are writing and drawing in their writing tablets. Recently they have started keeping themselves entertained for a long time just writing and drawing. Kevin likes to use pencils to draw all kinds of different things. He likes to write so much that he will write any kind of paper or tablet lying around. He discovered this book that I write my columns in and decided to add his writing. Sometimes he ends up writing on the back of someone’s homework.
9:30 p.m. Everyone has gone to bed. The children enjoyed their day home from school even though it included helping with the work.
Good night to all and God bless.  Try this poor man’s steak recipe!
1 – 1 1 /2 pounds lean hamburger
1 can 10 3 /4 ounce cream of mushroom soup
1 teaspoon salt
1 /4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup bread crumbs, dry
2 eggs
1 small onion, chopped
Mix all of the ingredients except for the cream of mushroom soup and shape into a narrow loaf pan. Let set for at least 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Slice into pieces and grill or fry just enough to brown each side. Put slices in layers in a roaster pan and spread cream of mushroom soup over it (without adding water). Bake for one hour at 325. Published with permission from oasisnewsfeatures.
EDITOR’S DISCUSSION TOPICS: Lovina mentions the phone in her shed in this column. This is actually increasingly common among the Old Order Amish. Twenty years or so ago, it wasn’t. But a concession to modern communication is that the Amish often are permitted to have a phone in an outbuilding for emergencies or business. The issue isn’t that there is anything wrong with the phone itself, it’s that if the phone is in the house than the outside world can interrupt any time…so having a phone in an outbuilding provides a measure of control. Still, phones have not caught on everywhere. In many conservative Amish settlements, telephones are not permitted anywhere on the property. And, ugh, can you imagine getting up at 3 a.m. for work each day? I can’t, but I bet some of you can….what time do you get up to leave for work? – Kevin Williams, Editor

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Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State.Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.

Someone asked how did Michael enjoy his first Christmas with us. On Christmas morning Michael went to meeting (church) with us like he does every Sunday. When we got home, I kept Michael down stairs while David put Michael’s presents under the Christmas tree Michael had in his bedroom. I saw David come down so I sent Michael up to change his clothes and he found his presents. Michael received a baseball bat, baseballs, catchers MIT, a new winter jacket, and clothes. Michael gave me a beautiful wooden revolving serving dish for the kitchen table-that he had made. He gave David a hunting belt where you can put water, snacks, etc. Susan he gave a tea set that she had wanted very badly. Baby Michael received a stuffed bear. We thought these gifts were very kind and special of him.

He enjoyed our dinner which had turkey, ham, scalloped potatoes, sweat potatoes, turkey stuffing, jello salad, tossed salad, chow chow, string beans, beets, pie and some things I’m sure I forgot. I think he was a little disappointed after dinner. If we having Christmas at my parents, or David’s parents or a “family” dinner at our house some of my nephews would have been there to play ball with him. As he had wanted just our immediate family he didn’t have anyone his age to play ball with. He and David went out in the back yard with Michael hitting and David pitching – then visa versa. Michael had fun but not like he would have with young folk his age. Later he told us that he would like Christmas with the whole family next year.

On second Christmas (December 26th) we went to my parents which was a combination of my family and David’s family-so lots of people were there. My parents, grandparents and David’s parents pooled together and bought Michael a season pass to Bristol Ski Resort. He and many of his friends like to go there skiing. We paid for Michael to go once, but it is expensive. With a pass it is a lot easier. The only thing he would have to buy is food, if he wants and young folks his age usually want to eat after skiing. Bristol Ski Resort makes their own snow with machines when it gets in the 40’s and we don’t have any natural snow. After dinner, he had young folks to pay ball with on Second Christmas.

Michael has taken down his tree, and lights. They were returned to  Marilyn and his friend who loaned these to him. Next Christmas he will not have a tree, or lights and we won’t wrap the presents like we did this year. He agrees-he just wanted to have one Christmas with the decorations. One thing he said is that the tree, lights, Santa Claus, etc. sort of take the real meaning out of Christmas.

There is still bullying going on at Michael’s school. As Foster Parents we must call Social Services when this happened. For a few minutes they thought of transferring Michael to a family who were not Old Order Mennonite, but didn’t. Michael didn’t want to go, but they pay no attention to him as he is a minor in that  way. As we are in the process of adopting him, it changed Social Services mind. We have been to the school a few times.

One of the people bullying Michael was a “friend” of his that came to our house for his Birthday, to play soft ball, and more. We advised Michael to forgive him. One night David had readings from the Bible on forgiving and not seeking revenge. Michael agreed and told his “friend” he forgave him, but the two of them haven’t been together since that. Some of his friends have sided with Michael and told the people bullying him to leave him alone-which has helped more than us adults can do.

I thank all of you that use my recipe’s especially Lissa. I enjoyed the pictures of the goodies Lissa made. Sometimes I wondered if anyone made made the recipes that I gave to Richard to put on, but now I know that you do. If you are looking for any special recipes, please let me know and I will see if I have. Not only do I have recipes, but my Mother, grandmother, David’s Mother and Martha have recipes so one of us might have what your looking for.

Be With God, Jean

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The Amish Cook



We are now a week into 2012 and a whole new year lies ahead of us. I hope you readers had a blessed holiday season. This week husband Joe is back to work after a two-week break and our six youngest children will also go back to school. It was wonderful having everyone home but it is always nice to get back to a normal schedule.

Friday, January 6, we went to Jacob and Emma’s house for dinner. We had a breakfast haystack which is almost like a regular haystack but you use breakfast foods. We had biscuits, broken into bite-sized pieces, fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, sausage, ham, tomatoes, green peppers, hot peppers, shredded cheese, onions, salsa, cheese sauce, and sausage gravy. By the time you put a little bit of everything on your plate you have a nice-sized haystack. This is the first time I had breakfast haystack. I think I prefer it over a regular haystack. A lot of people in the community have breakfast haystacks when they have their family Christmas gatherings. There are a variety of other foods that can be added to breakfast haystacks like olives, mushrooms, bacon, smokies and so forth. Also on the menu were Long John Rolls, cinnamon rolls, peanut butter bars, rhubarb, orange and V-8 juices, coffee, tea, and chocolate milk.

After all of that delicious food, the afternoon was spent playing Aggravation which was enjoyable for everyone. We had snacks later on then . It was an great day to spend time together with family.

On Saturday we had Joe’s family here for a late Christmas gathering. We had a carry-in brunch. Ten of his 12 siblings were here so we had almost 90 people at our house. We made fried potatoes, biscuits, and sausage gravy and the rest of the food was brought in. Among the foods brought in: three big breakfast casseroles, cottage cheese, sliced Swiss, pepper jack, and Colby cheese., venison summer sausage, and lots of desserts, coffee, chocolate milk, orange, grape, and V8 juices. Later on we had snacks that everyone brought. Games were played and some singing was done. It was a nice, sunshiny day with temperatures almost reaching 50 degrees. The children spent most of the day outside playing ball and other outdoor games. It is not often that you can play ball outside in January. All of our snow has melted from our last snow. We have sure had a mild winter so far!

We were surprised to see Joe’s Uncle Solomon come to the Christmas gathering. We were glad to have him join us. He brought Joe’s sister and family from Indiana. With Joe’s Dad being deceased it was nice to have one of his brother’s here. Joe has four married nieces and nephews and all were able to attend. Joe’s parents would now have 9 great-grand children and 55 grandchildren. Before everyone left the tables and benches were taken down and the basement floor was swept. The basement is where we had all the food and where everyone ate. We were glad for the help in cleaning up. Sister Emma, Jacob, and family came for awhile as Jacob wanted to say “hello” to all his cousins. Jacob is a first cousin to my husband Joe. Jacob’s joined in to help clean up. Before Friday we had managed to complete the 1000 piece puzzle. We received a 750 piece puzzle from a reader for Christmas which will probably be our next project. I would like to thank all the readers for the cards and gifts that were sent to us. They were greatly appreciated. Also, thanks for the encouraging words that help keep me writing this column. May God bless you all in the New Year and always. Try this delicious snack, a twist on the traditional cheese ball!


1-8 ounce package of cream cheese

1 /2 cup oleo, softened

3 /4 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 /4 teaspoon vanilla

3 /4 cup mini-chocolate chips

Graham crackers or chocolate graham crackers

Beat together cream cheese and oleo until smooth. Mix in powdered sugar, vanilla, and brown sugar. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Shape into a ball and serve with graham crackers. Published with permission from

Please stop by this Friday as i tour the farm where the 1985 movie “Witness” staring Harrison Ford was made in Lancaster county. This may be the last time that this Amish owned  farm will be open to outsiders and I’m including 2 Amish recipes!

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