Archive for August, 2012

1971 Coca Cola original vintage advertisement. Sponsoring a rare television special featuring Paul Newman in “Once Upon a Wheel”. The top names in racing, television and motion pictures in thrilling competition.   Image courtesy of

Chili with Corn Dumplings

Makes: 6 servings

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 can (15.25 ounces) Green Giant whole kernel corn, undrained
1 can (16 ounces) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon red pepper sauce
1 1/3 cups Original Bisquick mix
2/3 cup cornmeal                          
2/3 cup
milk2 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, if desired

1. Cook beef and onion in Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain. Reserve 1/2 cup of the corn. Stir remaining corn with liquid, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder and pepper sauce into beef mixture. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.

2. Mix Bisquick mix and cornmeal. Stir in milk, cilantro and reserved 1/2 cup corn just until moistened.

3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonsful onto simmering chili. Cook uncovered over low heat 10 minutes. Cover and cook 10 minutes longer or until dumplings are dry. Recipe from

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           Breakfast Casserole      

  Mix all together and pour into a greased 9×12 pan. Refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator and top with Velveeta cheese slices. Bake in oven at 350° F. for 30 minutes. 6 eggs, beaten
ham, bacon, or sausage, browned
chopped onion
1 t. dry mustard
2 c. milk
6 pieces bread, cubed

From mouth-watering Amish-style main dishes to kitchen dream desserts, this on has it all. Over 600 from-scratch recipes that please the appetite and are easy on the food budget.  You’ll get a whole section on canning and food preparation. The Amish, long known for their originality in the kitchen, share their favorites with you. This 275 page spiral bound cookbook has over 600 recipes . Cooking with the Horse & Buggy People. To buy this book go to

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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.

Please keep your questions for Jean coming folks, she really enjoys answering them!  Richard 

Time has sure flown by this summer.  It hardly seems that Susan will be back to school on August 13th.  She just had her birthday and she is 7 and going into second grade.  My she is growing so fast.  Michael and Edward are in the public school and don’t go back until September 5th. They will be grade 10 or sophomores.  The Mennonite School that Susan goes too starts earlier than the public school, but it ends earlier like the end of April next year. 

Michael and Edward feel sorry that Susan starts so soon, but then again she only has to go to the eighth grade and they have to go until 12-or at least that’s how it stands now.  Maybe when Michael’s adoption goes through that might change. As like most farmers in our area, we took a bad loss in the crops and fruit this year.  It was a combination of early blooming do to early warm temperatures and the loss of crops due to the little rain and hot temperatures.  Because of this, we have decided not to build a new house.  

David believes that we can complete our attic and that will give us another two or three bedrooms.  That is a winter project from David, Michael and Edward. Michael and Edward would like the attic for their bedrooms-we will see.  David says with the fire, my surgery and the crop loss-it would be best to wait on the house-unless I really wanted it.  I told him another year or two doesn’t matter.  We did make enough crops for what we sell to the government to help feed the armed forces.  

Also, we have enough for my canning for the winter.  I have some canned goods that I am sending to Farmers Market, but not like we have had sent in previous years. Also, not as good as previous years. We thank the Lord that we have enough to meet our needs. We also thank the Lord, that we made out better than many others did.  David is hoping that maybe he can find a job for this winter-that would help.

Edward and Michael enjoyed the work they did down state helping repair houses that were damaged by Hurricane Irene.  This was Edward’s first time on anything like that.  He really enjoyed it.  They worked Monday Thru Friday and on Saturday there was a picnic for all the work they did.  Recently there was a wind and rain storm here that David, Michael, Edward, and myself went just east of here. We did not get damaged but an area near by did. The men cut trees, and did emergency work on the houses.  

The ladies provided the meals for the workers and people whose houses were damaged.  It was hard work, but we really enjoyed it. Michael and Edward are getting their main birthday present a little early.  David and I told them that David was taking them to a Yankees game in New York City.  They were both shocked and happy.  Michael tried to tell David we couldn’t afford it, but David insisted.  This was separate money that David and I had set aside for this.  

Also, this is the one and only Yankee’s trip they will make as it is not something Old Order Mennonite usually do.  David got permission from our Bishop.  As they are foster children we are allowed to do this on this one time basis.  David has the trip all booked.  They will be going before the boys go back to school.

Edward is doing much better reading do to our retired teacher helping this summer.  At prayer time now, David rotates the Bible between Edward, Michael and himself for the readings of the day.  That also has helped to improve Edward’s reading.  He will continue to go to our retired teacher even when school starts. 
My letter is a long this week, so I will end now.  I plan on answering more of your questions in my next post. Be with God.         Jean

Banana Milk Shake
1 1/2 cups milk                              
2 bananas, sliced and frozen
2 teaspoons honey                                 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in container of an electric blender; blend until smooth. Serve immediately. Recipe from

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To order the signs of Lancaster poster please go to 


The Amish and Commerce

by Tana Reiff

I last wrote for this blog about the experience of creating the Signs of Lancaster County poster. It continues as a fundraiser for The Literacy Council of Lancaster-Lebanon ( And I continue to cruise around taking more signs pictures. I’m also now working on a photo collection with a bird theme …

                                                 Images provided by  Tana Reiff         

Back to the topic … 

I thought readers might be interested in some information about Amish commerce.
A PBS American Experience show called “The Amish” aired a few months ago. The cinematography was gorgeous. The cameras went all over the countryside to showcase the beauty of Amish farms. But I was surprised to see not one single scene including a handmade (or any) sign along a road. Charming signs are all over the place, and these signs make a statement about Amish commerce that the documentary didn’t even mention.
While the Amish are philosophically cut off from the “English” world, they still need ways to trade goods and services. You see Amish families buying in bulk at Costco or even at the supermarket, with the horse and buggy tied to the shelter in the parking lot, or with their English van driver waiting outside. Our Amish neighbor takes turns asking us for rides. 

At Christmas he asked a guy to drive his wife to Walmart to buy a whole lot of Chex cereal because their kids love Chex Mix around the holidays. But the Amish also patronize Amish-run stores and visit each other’s farms to get or trade for things they don’t produce themselves or can’t get elsewhere.

And so, many of the hand-lettered signs, especially those off the beaten path, are aimed at attracting fellow Amish or Mennonites. Like Moses, the hat man, a farm might have a specialty — shoe repair, horseshoeing, layer hens, wringer washers, or other goods and services particular to the Amish. They might also go to someone else’s farm that specializes in growing onions or sweet potatoes, as not everyone grows everything, at least not in large amounts.

However, many of the signs are invitations to tourists, not just other Amish or Mennonites. When I am out photographing, I find many catchy signs on the very same roads where I get stuck behind one of those big tourist buggies or a slow-moving car full of tourists. No coincidence!

You see, the Plain people have struck up a bargain with tourists. They did not invite the curious and the foreign to rubberneck at them and their homes and land. But if that’s the way it is, then why not sell stuff to them? With a smile, too. Tourists get a charge out of driving up a farm lane and meeting “real Amish” or respecting the honor system by leaving money in a container by the road. Unless you’re being downright rude, the people who have invited you onto their property through their signs are very friendly. It’s a good deal for the Plain and the English alike.                             Tana Reiff

Pennsylvania Dutch Banana Bread

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached regular flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon 
baking powder
1/2 cup soft margarine  
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil
2 cups mashed ripe 
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Dash of cinnamon (optional)
Dash of nutmeg (optional)

Cream sugar and margarine; add eggs and mix well. Stir in baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add oil and stir again. Add bananas and mix. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, and stir well after each addition.

Grease and flour 4 to 5 bread tins. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour. Test for doneness with wooden pick until it comes out clean. When cool, wrap in plastic. Loaves may be frozen. Recipe from

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1951 Schwinn Phantom Bicycle original vintage advertisement. “America’s favorite bicycle 9 to 1. The guaranteed bike!”  Image courtesy of

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Backwoods Chili Rice Skillet 

 1 pound ground beef 
4 cups Uncle Ben’s Quick brand rice 
3 cups water                                   
1 cups chopped onion 
1 large green bell pepper, chopped 
1 package chili seasoning mix 
1 can tomatoes, undrained 
1 can kidney beans, drained 
1 tablespoon salt 
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey jack cheese

In a large skillet, brown meat, drain. Add remaining ingredients except cheese; stir. Bring to a vigorous boil. Cover tightly. Simmer about 5 minutes or until desired consistency. Sprinkle with cheese. Serves 8.  Recipe from

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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.

  If you folks have any questions for Jean please feel free to ask them in your comments, this helps her come-up with “new” topic’s for future post’s. Thanks everyone.  Richard 

have had a couple of requests for home remedies.  First let me say that neither myself (Jean), Richard or Marilyn are doctors so please consult your doctor before using these remedies.  Also we do believe in going to chiropractors, and medical doctors.  We do not use acupuncture  but I know that many of our people do. 

Many times there are more remedies for one situation.  I will only give one.  Also these remedies have been passed from generation to generation. Also there are remedies when you should clearly go to the doctor or hospital like appendicitis-so I won’t give those.

Aching Muscles-add 2 Tablespoons dry mustard powder to a hot bath and soak for 15 minutes.

For a Relaxing Bath: Add: rose petals, mint leaves, sweet marjoram, lemon balm, verben and lavender to hot bath water.

Corns-Soak your feet in warm water for 15 minutes, then apply the inside of a small piece of lemon peel to the corn and tape it overnight. After three nights, the corn should just lift off.

Headache-Apply a mixture of oil of rosemary at the temples and gently massage in to skin-keep away from eyes.

Itching-apply witch hazel or rubbing alcohol.

Sinus Congestion-To your vaporizer add peppermint or spearmint oil at night. 

Quit Smoking-Drink only unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices to cleanse the 
system for several days.  Take a relaxing bath each day.

Drink tea from gentian, magnolia, or catnip to reduce cravings.

Toothache-Soak a piece of cotton in oil of clove and place next to sore tooth.
These are just a few remedies.  If you are looking for anything particular, please ask. 
Be With God,

Kraut in Jars

This is how many pioneers made sauerkraut.

5 pounds mature cabbage
3 1/2 tablespoons salt
Cold water
Remove outer leaves and cut clean cabbage very fine. Mix well with salt. Pack firmly into clean sterile quart jars. Fill jars with cold water. Be sure water goes to the bottom of the jars. Remove any air bubbles by inserting a knife where you can see bubbles in jars. Put on cap and screw the band tight. Kraut will ferment in 4 or 5 days.
When fermentation is over, wash jars, tighten bands, and store without processing. Will be ready to cook with pork or hot dogs in 6 to 8 weeks. This keeps for many months in a cool place.

Garlic Dill Pickles

4 pounds 3- to 4-inch pickling cucumbers
2 cups water
2 cups distilled white vinegar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup pickling salt
2 tablespoons pickling spice

Prepare 7 (1 pint) jars according to manufacturer’s directions. Slice cucumbers into quarters lengthwise. Combine water, vinegar, sugar and salt in a large pan. Toss pickling spice into the liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.

For each jar:
1 fresh dill “head” with seeds
1 bay leaf
2 to 3 garlic cloves
1 small dried hot chile
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

With clean hands, pack the cucumber spears snugly in the jars. Add dill, bay leaf, garlic, chile and mustard seeds to each jar. Pour the hot liquid over the cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process the jars in a water bath for 10 minutes. For best flavor, let the pickles sit for at least one week before serving them. Recipe from

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Images by Amish Stories

Anne Murray’s Cherry Cake

1 1/2 cups butter 375 mL
2 cups granulated sugar 500 mL
4 eggs
1 teaspoon each vanilla, 
Almond and lemon extract 5 mL
4 cups all-purpose flour 1 L
2 teaspoons 
 baking powder 10 mL 
1 teaspoon salt 5 mL
1 cup milk 250 mL
1 1/2 cups each halved red and green candied cherries 375 mL

With electric mixer, cream butter with sugar thoroughly. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in extracts.

Combine 3 1/2 cups (875 mL) of flour with baking powder and salt; mix thoroughly. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Toss cherries with remaining 1/2 cup (125 mL) flour; fold into batter. Pour into well-greased and floured 10-inch (3 L) Bundt pan. Bake in 235 degree F (160 degree C) oven for 1 3/4 hours or until tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool a few minutes in pan, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely. From

This coming Monday Jean shares some natural home remedies that she uses as requested by the readers.  And next Friday Author and Lancaster native  Tana Reiff writes about “The Amish and Commerce”. 

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1970 Kodak 124 Instamatic Camera original vintage advertisement. For budget be-ins: the little 124 camera in a complete outfit for less than $22. Nothing to set. Or forget. Just pop on a flashcube indoors. Kodak Instamatic color cameras from less than $10. 

                                          Image courtesy of        

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Cowboy Beans with Cornbread Fritters

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons (or less) chili powder
3 cans chili hot beans

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and diced onion. Drain off the excess fat from the beef. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix well. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with cornbread fritters.

Cornbread Fritters: 

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup milk

1 egg

Mix ingredients together well and drop tablespoonsful into a skillet of hot oil. Brown on both sides. From

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