Archive for January, 2012

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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Mennonite Apple Strudel

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons shortening
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup warm water
5 cups sliced apples
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup seedless raisins
1/2 cup chopped nuts
5 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Grated rind of 1 lemon

Sift the flour and salt together. Cut in the shortening and add the eggs and water. Knead well, then throw or beat the dough against a board until it blisters. Stand the dough in a warm place under a cloth for 20 minutes.

Cover the kitchen table with a small white cloth and flour it. Put the dough on it and pull it out with your hands very carefully to the thickness of tissue paper. Spread with a mixture of the fruits, sugar, melted butter, cinnamon and lemon rind. Fold in the outer edges of the dough and roll like a jellyroll – about 4 inches wide. Bake in a very hot oven (450 degrees F) for 10 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and bake about 20 minutes longer. Let cool. Cut into slices about 2 inches wide. It should be flaky and moist. Published with permission from Recipe Goldmine. Richard from Amish Stories.

Lissa is one of our favorite readers, and i believe no one has made more from Jeans recipes on Amish Stories. So I’m again showcasing some of her work using some of Jeans recent recipe’s, and id call her a  Tasmanian Devil of the kitchen!
Lissa stirring-up the apples
A closer look at her work
And the final product of apple butter, which would make Jean very proud

Believing in taking chances, Lissa bravely tried to make the famous “Shoofly pie”

And Lissa’s big risk paying off with a perfect looking pie using Jeans recipe!

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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.


 Christmas Days are past and we hope that people will try to keep the same religious feelings and charity throughout the year and not just at Christmas Time.

We attended Susan’s School program. Poor Susan got up to say the poem she memorized and forgot part of it. She started to cry. We were sitting up front and David tried to whisper loudly enough so she could hear them, but she was too upset. What we tried to tell her later that she wasn’t the only first grader that forgot what they were suppose to say-and she wasn’t. We believe she was just nervous for her first time in front of all those people. She got home and we asked her to tell us the poem and she did it perfectly.

I was surprised to find that I got my new washer and dryer for Christmas. I saw the Sears truck pull up one day and couldn’t figure whey they were here. Thought maybe they had the wrong house. The man came to the door to check our name and address, then opened the back of the truck where I saw the washer and dryer. I didn’t know that David and Michael had moved the old washer the night before. David had made sure there was a hook up and vent for the dryer.

All this was going on and I didn’t even know it. I had a washer but this was my first dryer. I still try to hang clothes, sheets, towels, etc. outside, but when it gets real cold that dryer is great. Now they won’t freeze nor do I have to hang clothes in the basement. My washer went to the lady that didn’t have one. David went over and made sure it was working. Then he, Michael and a couple of friends moved it over to her house.

That woman was really surprised. When they delivered the washer, I gave them a box of food. We found she hardly had any food in her house so we knew we had to do more. One of our deacons contacted her church-they didn’t know how much she needed or she had such problems. Both churches bought her and her children Christmas Gifts. Her church bought Christmas tree, ornaments, television, etc. We bought them blankets, cooked food, gave them canned goods, some quilts we made, we took money and more. It warmed our hearts to see their reaction to all they were given. They really appreciated receiving it and we enjoyed giving it.

When Michael came up from the basement one evening he said our basement was more modern than my kitchen. The washer, dryer and freezer are the modern silver color. In the kitchen are white appliances, the cupboards are the original that David’s grandparents built in when they built the house. We have since put new tile on the floor and replaced the counter top-but that’s it. When we get our new house built we are selling, we think, to one of our relatives. They said to tell them if we wanted to sell as they wanted it. Now we are wondering if we should do the kitchen over. If we did, I would want to knock the wall down between the kitchen and the dining room.

 In our kitchen we have a table, but we also have a dining room. I would want to enlarge the kitchen a bit and have it so you talk with your dining guests while your in the kitchen. That way guests wouldn’t have to be in the kitchen, feel they must help but you could still talk. Also, I would want to make the doorway wider between the kitchen and the dining room. Make it so two people could come through at the same time. Move the food faster. David has his parents and my grand-parents houses to do first. Of course Michael will be helping when he can.

Before the public school closed for Winter vacation (we call it Christmas vacation) we got called to the school. It seems some of the Michael’s classmates had been bullying him because of his living with us. Michael did not tell us this and we asked him why. He said that he didn’t want us to know and he could handle it. We explained to him that was kind of him, but we are his parents and have a right to know what is going on. The principal had spoken to some of the students about this, but it was still happening. David and I offered to come to the school and speak with the students and their parents.

We want this bullying stopped. If the students or classmates had a problem, we would rather hear it than our having Michael hear it. Michael was given to us by the state and he has no say where he lives. We are glad we want to adopt him and he wants us to adopt him, but we don’t want his classmates giving him a hard time.

Some of the things these classmates have said are we are not smart people. We are dumb because we drive a buggy, don’t have television, listen to music and more. That our school is a one room school house. They do not belong to our meetings, but have seen Michael dressed in his meeting clothes and mock him. We are willing to go to school to talk with the students to let them know our way of life and why. Michael does not wear his meeting clothes to school-he dresses like the other students. Also, we are praying for how to handle this.

If any of you have any questions, I would be glad to answer them for you, if I can. Hope you all are enjoying the New Year.

Be With God, Jean

Pork Chops and Acorn Squash or Potatoes: 6 pork chops 12 prunes dried 12 whole cloves 12 apricots dried 1 cup orange juice (use more if desired) Squash or potatoes Brown chops in pan. Put cloves into prunes. Arrange prune, apricots, potatoes or squash on top of chops. Pour orange juice over all ingredients and cook covered over low heat, about 45 minutes. Enjoy. Jean
Recipe of the week this Wednesday featuring picture’s from  reader Lissa Holders apple butter and shoofly pie using Jeans recipes. 

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I have a lot of history with this particular motel and its restaurant , you see i first paid a visit when i was very young in 1967 , so this place has reserved that special place in my heart. This motel was the very first place that me and my family had stayed in on what was our first ever visit to Lancaster Pennsylvania coming from New York City, which also would be the first time for us being exposed to some people (Amish) who seemed so very different than we were.


   We stayed only for one night in the summer of 1967 because we had very little money, but its that one night that was the beginning of what would be a life time of memories and continued visits that still are taking place for me today. (See  restaurant review below)       Richard

Some facts for 1967: President of the united state’s Lyndon B Johnson. Adverage cost of a home $24,600. Median household income 7,143. Cost of a movie ticket $1.20. Cost of a big mac 45 cents. 1967 Chrysler town and country cost 4,086. A gallon of gas 33 cents and a gallon of milk one dollar and 3 cents. The number one song for the month of  March 1967 is from the   Doors “Light my fire”. Actor George Kennedy wins an academy award for best supporting actor in the movie “Cool Hand Luke”.

Introduction:  Since i was in the area for the “Witness” farm tour the movie that stared Harrison Ford in 1985 i needed someplace to have dinner before the start of that tour which was to begin at 5pm this past fall. First let me ask “does anyone remember when this motel and restaurant was calledDeitsch Shier before best Western bought it and made it part of its chain of motels.

 Those of you who knew that  answer  were surly  here in the old days when this area was not on the top of most every one’s vacations list like it is today, with a lot of those visitors coming from the northeast states since its drivable. I walked-in hungry after not really eating for most of the day, and was seated by a friendly waitress.

 My Review: Having been here many times than i could even count i was fully aware of how packed  this place could get with Amish and non-Amish customers, so because i was early i had my pick of any seat in the restaurant. After getting a cup of coffee and an ice tea i made my decision to order the  Lasagna with salad which was the special of the day with all you could eat for around $7.99 plus drinks. 

 These specials that this restaurant offers is great for those who have maybe been walking or biking, or who just have a big appetite like i did on this day and the price wont break the bank if you chose what’s on the menu wisely like i did. The lasagna was pretty good but if your looking for Italian  restaurant quality then you should order something else like what they really do best which is  their meatloaf or local Lancaster ham.

To be honest with you I’ve never really had a bad meal here, and breakfast time might be the best time to drop by because of all the Amish tradesman that stop by in the morning for a quick meal. If you love chili soup then you will truly be paradise here because its great with a good amount  of tomato’s and beef along with beans, and best of all its not sweet tasting (i hate that).

If your hungry then id give the specials a look, and if your looking to maybe strike-up a conversation with some of our local Amish then id sit at the counter to have your meal and enjoy some good conversation. Then when that meal is all over it will be now part of your own memories for your own tails to tell someone, just like I’m now doing with almost 45 years of them locked in that special  place that i sometimes like to remember.  Richard

Amish one room school house in north Lancaster

A his/her outhouse

The north part of Lancaster county which has a fairly good sized old order Mennonite settlement, and this buggy is something that i like to call a Mennonite work buggy. With its stainless steel trim in the back and tough look makes it for them a sort of old order Mennonite version of a pick-up truck!


A teaser really for what’s coming up next Friday when i post all of the image’s from the Witness movie farm tour that i had gone to the same day as my visit to the village restaurant, And since i had a good amount of images from that movie location’s tour i decided to post a few of the  very first images of the start of my tour. We had some flooding in the Lancaster and Lebanon area among other counties, so some of the other covered bridges that we were to take a look at were flooded out and one was almost destroyed and was washed away from its original location. That bridge will  now be restored so thankfully it was saved.


Don’t you just love covered bridges
Hey i go for the detail’s, i have to see whats under a bridge!
I took this picture while the tour van was still on route to the farm home where the movie was filmed, so its really a picture of a picture that was in a book being passed around to all of the folks on the tour

The Amish Experience tour van and this is where this post stops, you will have to drop by next Friday for the complete post with lots of images from this day. Now how’s that for promoting folks,lol.    Richard

 Overnight Lasagna recipe

2 pounds ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large can or jar spaghetti sauce

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

Lasagna noodles, uncooked

16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup water

Brown hamburger and onion, drain. Add spaghetti sauce, garlic powder, and tomato sauce.

Place a layer of lasagna noodles on bottom of greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Place half of hamburger mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with Mozzarella. Repeat layers. Pour water around edges. Refrigerate covered overnight or freeze.
Bake 1 hour covered at 350 degrees F, then 15 minutes uncovered or until golden. Let stand 15 minutes.

Recipe from

Serve with garlic toast or Parmesan bread.

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These are some easy, fun holiday recipes. Blessings to all the readers for a happy, healthy New Year. These recipes are from my editor’s new book, The Amish Recipe Project. They look interesting to try!


2 cups sugar

1 1 /3 cups peanut butter

1 /2 cup milk

1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow crème

In a saucepan bring sugar and milk to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and marshmallow crème. Mix well. Quickly pour into a buttered 8 inch square pan. Chill until set. Cut into squares.


5 cups milk

5 eggs

1 /2 cup sugar

1 teaspoons vanilla

1 /8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 /8 teaspoon salt

Handful of ice cubes

Combine everything in blender until the ice is shredded. Serve cold.


1 lb. sauerkraut

1 cup. sugar

6 slices cooked bacon

1 tsp. black pepper

Mix sauerkraut, pepper and sugar together

in 1-1/2 quart dish. Cut bacon slices in

1 inch pieces and mix slightly with sauerkraut.

Bake at 325 degrees for 2-1/4 hours

The Amish Recipe Project can be ordered from For more videos, pictures, and recipes, “like” The Amish Cook Fan Page on Facebook. Posted with permission from

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