Amish Church Soup Makes a Simple Lenten Supper

In our family, we observe the season of Lent by abstaining from meat on Fridays, but also on many other days. In fact, my husband and I decided to give up meat completely this year, as both a spiritual exercise and for health reasons. So when I came across this simple soup recipe, I was intrigued. A little searching led me to the following information.

It seems at many local Amish church services – which can last up to a three hours, I’m told – this soup is served afterward to babies and toddlers. It’s called “baby soup.” I can imagine why the little ones (and their mothers) must love it: it’s warm, filling and comforting and uses incredibly simple ingredients. Other sources told me the soup used to be served to everyone after Amish church, with large bowls set upon tables and several people eating from one bowl. (Today, a typical after-church meal consists of homemade bread with peanut butter spread, ham, cheese, red beets, pickles and of course, pies. We’ll talk about all THAT after Lent is over!)

Whatever the history of this soup, simple ingredients, simple preparation and a simple meal go a long way in helping us appreciate our blessings as a family. And that’s something I think the Amish understand well.

Amish Church Soup/ Simple Lenten Soupwhite beans

  • 1 yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
  • 3 cups cooked navy beans
  • 4 cups milk
  • homemade or whole wheat store-bought bread, cut into bite sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large pot. Add chopped onion and saute until soft. Add beans and milk and stir to combine. Bring just to boiling. Ladle into bowls and add bread cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. (Serves 4)

Snow Day Popover Baking

As the snow piles up around the house, softening the lines and edges outside, it feels good to be warm and cozy inside with a fire burning and the soft sounds of the girls’

Handmade Heritage Blue Stripe Mixing Bowls, at and our store in Kidron.

Handmade Heritage Blue Stripe Mixing Bowls, at and our store in Kidron.

laughter coming from the living room. On days like this, when nothing demands our attention, it’s fun to do something special in the kitchen. Lately though, my kitchen has been taken over by my 12 year-old daughter, Miss Phoebe. She’s homeschooled and we have been working on fractions and multiplication. Cooking is the perfect place to practice those skills.

Today, she’s making popovers. Popovers are a perfect first baking experience for kids. The recipe couldn’t be easier and the results are pretty magical. They use very inexpensive ingredients, things that most people have on hand all of the time. Kids love them. Even a picky eater can’t resist a hot popover filled with melting butter and their favorite fruit jam or jelly. Continue reading

40 Below

Editor’s Note: Writer and cowboy Mark Pendl has been travelling the American West and Canada for the past several years researching his latest book on cow ponies. He’s travelling and living in a horse trailer outfitted with the bare essentials of survival. Read on Snow Textureto experience his blizzard adventure.

I have experienced the bitterness of cold weather; so cold in fact, that you thought you were going to die. Traveling the back-roads of the United States and Canada can place you into some really remote parts of this country. It can be a real challenge in winter months.

New Mexico, the Enchanted State, can throw some bad storms your way. A year ago I buckled down to face one of the coldest storms I’ve known. I was working on the Diamond K Ranch when a hard winter blizzard hit. I live in a horse trailer with little insulation. I can handle a few icicles hanging from the trailer’s ceiling, but what the forecast of this storm offered would test my survival skills and preparations for facing such drama. The weather forecast called for wind gusts ranging from 50-70 mph with temperatures reaching
-40 Fahrenheit. That is too cold for this cowboy! Continue reading

Thrifty Laundry Soap Recipe (From a Mother of 7)

As the snow piles up around Barefoot Farm, my outside chores come to a complete halt.

Our starter set includes everything you need to make several batches - enough to wash more than 800 loads at less than 7¢ per load.

Our starter set includes everything you need to make several batches – enough to wash more than 800 loads at less than 7¢ per load.

My husband does the necessary animal care and keeps the stove burning, but mostly February is the time of year for reflection and preparation. I look back on what worked, what didn’t and what I can do to make the coming year flow more easily. This year, in particular, as we adjust to higher costs for electricity and food as well as reduced income as we work less, I am concentrating on ways to save money without sacrificing the things that matter to us. Today is my day to examine the laundry. Continue reading

Celebrate A Healthy Heart with the ABCS’s

Editor’s Note: This month we welcome Christine Kendle, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension Tuscarawas County, to Lehman’s Country Life. Christine is a wealth of information on healthy living in all its forms.

Growing a garden - even a small one - is a great way to stay active AND reap the health benefits of eating fresh, healthy foods. Broadfork at our store in Kidron and

Growing a garden – even a small one – is a great way to stay active AND reap the health benefits of eating fresh, healthy foods. Broadfork at our store in Kidron and

Welcome, Christine! 

While February is typically thought of as the month filled with hearts and flowers for one’s sweetheart, it is also an important month for your very own heart – February is American Heart Month! And even though the month is almost over, it’s never too late to learn and adopt healthy habits for your lifestyle.

Heart disease and stroke are the two leading causes of death in America. One in three Americans suffer from high blood pressure. These factors have led to US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to launch the Million Hearts Initiative ( This initiative aims to prevent 1 million deaths from heart disease by the year 2017. They are already well underway with screenings and educational efforts.

Do you know your ABCS’s for heart disease prevention? Continue reading

Planning the Family Garden Together

Gardening is a rewarding hobby that can help you eat fresh healthy foods. But we need to

Our child's garden tools have sturdy wood handles and durable, colorfully painted steel implements. At our store in Kidron and

Our child’s garden tools have sturdy wood handles and durable, colorfully painted steel implements. At our store in Kidron and

be realistic – gardening is hard work: cultivating, planting, weeding, spreading compost, watering. So when you plan your garden, plant the foods you enjoy eating. This was a hard lesson I learned when I planted my first adult garden off on my own. I planted all the foods my parents had grown. Hard work and food I didn’t like to eat later. Needless to say, I made major changes the following years.

Changes were made again when my family came along. Children like gardening more when they like to eat the foods they help raise. It is important to supply them with quality tools that are their size and not to over-anticipate their attention spans.

These are our basics; yours will be foods your family enjoys.

• Potatoes – Yukon Gold
• Cabbage –Napa, Red, Solid white
• Cucumbers Continue reading

English Muffin Bread: A Toasty, Fill-You-Up Breakfast

English Muffin Bread

On a recent snow day at home with my kiddos, I decided to try this recipe, which I had been eyeing on Pinterest for a while. We love English muffins at our house, and this seemed like a perfect case of “something we like from the store that mom can make at home.” The original recipe called for using rapid rise yeast and a single rise for the dough. I didn’t have rapid rise yeast (and I wasn’t about to pack up three children and brave the roads to get some). So, I tweaked the recipe by using regular yeast and two rise times.

I will admit, when I took the freshly baked loaf from the oven, I thought, “Oh no. I just baked a brick!” Do not be alarmed if this happens to you. It’s supposed to be a very dense, heavy bread. And even though it did not contain the famous “nooks and crannies” that some brands of English muffins boast, we all loved it. Eaten plain, it would have been passable, BUT toasted, slathered with butter and either honey or some of our favorite jam, it made a delicious, fill-you-up breakfast (the little ones had orange juice and I nibbled mine while sipping my coffee).  Continue reading

Seed Starting Secrets

The snow lies deep in the back pasture. The wind whines sharply between the branches

Want pure, delicious syrup but don't have the time to make your own? We've made it for you.

Want pure, delicious syrup but don’t have the time to make your own? We’ve made it for you.

of the pine trees and the days remain painfully short. But still, something is happening. I can see it in the changed slant of sun’s rays at 4:00. The chicks I hatched last spring are laying pullet eggs and the year-old Buff Orpingtons are gifting us with huge, double yolkers. Wood piles are shrinking and there is tubing snaking through the maple bush waiting for the first run of sap that will be boiled into syrup. It’s just in time too, as last year’s batch is nearly finished and no one who has eaten the good stuff is willing to settle for the sugar-water-artificial syrup-like substance you can buy at the market in town. Continue reading

Positively Downton!

Many of us here at Lehman’s enjoy the ragingly popular “Downton Abbey” series. And

downton abbey house

Photo source:

maybe it’s our trained eyes, but when we see something on the set that could be straight out of our store, we get a little excited. As some of you know, Lehman’s has become sort of a “one-stop shopping” destination for many film crews and set designers, especially for period pieces like “Downton Abbey.” And while it would take quite a bit of digging to find out if any of the things we spot came directly from us, we still like to point them out – “Hey, that’s just like the one we carry!”

If you’d like to bring a little bit of Downton to your home, you may be interested in some of the things we’ve noticed on the show. Read on… Continue reading

Riding Out the Storm

Unless you live in a cave, you are by now well aware that the Northeast was pounded by KathyHsnowa storm last week. It was a whooper if you live near the coast, a doozy if you lived a bit inland, and little more than a nuisance for those of us in the Western-most regions. There is a lesson to be learned from the hit-or-miss pattern of snow and wind, and that’s that the forecast models are not precise. Weather people do a good job, but you really never know.

Always, just in case, we take storm preparedness seriously. I find that is far better to have things ready that I don’t need than it is to need something major that I don’t have.
The preparations begin with water. We can manage 10 days without power for water. Even so, it isn’t something we can afford to waste, especially if the power is out for a long while, and many more people than usual have to access the water supply form the main Continue reading