Good food for busy times


To any of you who have long days and wish for more to do, I wish you could have been here to watch all the action at our house this last week. It’s not just been action from six young children. We’ve had two work nights for the youth who helped clear out the shop and mulch flower beds and around our pine trees. The church ladies came to help wash walls and windows. Daniel has been putting in new flooring to replace our old chipped one, and the list goes on.

There would have been plenty of watching for you to do without even needing help!

Amish weddings are usually hosted in a shop or large tent. Using it as a wedding venue was practical because our woodworking shop was large enough to host several hundred people. My friend Carolyn, who is my age, is getting married to Matthew Wengerd, and we are delighted to have the privilege of hosting their wedding at our house. The countdown is ticking away fast; it’s only two days off!

The warehouse area now occupies benches to seat three to four hundred people from many different states. The work area is now completely emptied of all tools, equipment, and furniture dollies and carts and is now squeaky clean, with long rows of folding tables set up for the reception.

The front section of the shop where we keep our gardening tools, and the children have their trikes, little wagon, bats, and such, is also cleaned from top to bottom and has tables for food preparations to feed the guests. A rented ‘kitchen on wheels’ has been secured and parked right outside the garage door, where the cooks will be doing the actual cooking and baking the next two days and the day of the wedding.

Daniel has done a fantastic job helping me with things around the house. You know how little fix-it jobs tend to pile up, like a hinge that needs to be tightened, a water leak that needs attention, the list goes on. An occasion such as a wedding is the perfect motivation to get things as such done. Bless Daniel’s heart. He’s patiently chopped many items off his list and done more besides. Imagine how delighted I was when he told me he’d be buying a new kitchen floor!

The old light blue floor, which faithfully served us since I was a girl, revealed all tell-tail crumbs and dirt and was chipping away. It took sweeping three times a day with a family our size and washing it up twice a week to have it looking presentable. Now, as Daniel and I picked out the new flooring, I felt like an excited little girl. We finally picked out a floating vinyl floor with a wooden look, and it should last for years and does not get damaged when getting wet by four-year-old dishwashers.

The kitchen hadn’t been painted for several years and was also showing wear and tear of family life, so we painted it when the trim around the doorways was taken off to redo the floor, plus we didn’t need to worry about getting some splatters on the old floor. Maybe it was the little girl inside of me choosing the color for the kitchen; I’m not sure. I chose pink. It blends well with burgundy curtains at the windows.

I have had so much fun in my “new” kitchen. It makes me feel like a queen. Oh, I need to tell you about my birthday cabinet. Last fall, Daniel told me he’d make a cabinet to replace our old entrance sink, which is on a wing right off of the kitchen. He did it a few weeks ago since it hadn’t worked out for him to do it over my birthday. A spacious cupboard and stainless steel sink replace the tiny stained and chipped one we had. Besides using it to wash dirty little hands, we’ll also use the larger one for cleaning fruits and veggies from the garden.

Julia and Austin have helped me tremendously. Whether cleaning or babysitting, they have made a big difference for me. They prefer having a list of things to do, and that way, they know exactly what needs to be done before they can play.

As you can imagine, It’s challenging to know what’s most essential and how always to keep God and my children the highest priority. Now, this afternoon, I talked with my mother-in-law. She related how a 78-year-old doctor told her, “I’m a servant; I just wash other people’s feet.” It clicked. That’s it. If I’m here to selflessly serve others instead of trying to impress them with a spic and span house, it’ll all fall into place!

During these busy times, people have been so good to us. I have no idea how many food dishes were randomly dropped off at our house the last week or two. Matthew’s mother made this Quick Tater Tot Casserole for us, it was a hit by all! It’s super simple and delicious.

Tater Tot Casserole

1 pound hamburger

1 teas salt

½ teas black pepper

¼ cup chopped onion

1 cup sour cream

1 small can cream of chicken soup

¾ cup milk

¼ pound melting cheese, such as Velveeta

1 pound tater tots

Sprinkle salt and pepper over hamburger, add onion, brown until hamburger is done, drain. In a separate saucepan, melt cheese with sour cream, chicken soup, and milk. When melted, add hamburger mixture, and put all in a 9 by 9 inch pan. Spread tater tots on top and bake at 325 for 45 minutes or until heated through. Remove from oven and serve.

By Gloria Yoder

The Amish Cook

Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427.

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