Real Mince Pies Recipe, Straight from Olde England


My younger sister spent a year of her college career as an exchange student to Leeds, England. There she learned many life lessons, including how to drink lots of tea, how to drive on the left side of the road, and how to make these rich mini pies, which are now a Christmas tradition in her household (and which I am lucky enough to devour when we visit her). Continue reading

8 Reasons Old Cookbooks Are Important

old teakettles

by Gaye Levy, Backdoor Survival
Reposted with Permission

A couple of months ago I was going through some old boxes tucked into the hidden recesses of my garage and I stumbled upon a box of old cookbooks.  Since I learned to cook long before the age of computers, most of my self-taught efforts came by way of these cookbooks. I started to collect cookbooks in high school and little did I know then what I know now: old cookbooks are important. Continue reading

Youthview: What Does That Memory Taste Like?

Alli Ervin, Youthview blogger.

Alli Ervin, Youthview blogger.

This first Youthview blog is by Alli Ervin, granddaughter of Lehman’s founder, Jay Lehman, and daughter of Glenda Lehman Ervin, vice-president of marketing. At 15, Alli’s in a perfect position to share thoughts and opinions of younger folks.                                                                         –Editor, Country Life

What do you think of when you’re eating ripe, juicy watermelon or drinking a tall glass of cold, sugary lemonade?  Probably a hot summer day, sitting by the pool, basking in the sun…

What image comes to mind when there’s a mug of hot chocolate and a plate of fresh-baked cookies in front of you?  Perhaps a cold winter night, and you are cuddling by the fireplace with your family, watching traditional Christmas movie together. Continue reading

Amish Country Farm Grows Goats, Guinea Hogs and Great Family

Sarah Jo's children and her kids.

Sarah Jo’s children…and her kids.

Country Life first met Sara Jo and her family through her cousin, Diane, who’s a marketing team member at Lehman’s. She submitted a great recipe for goat’s milk custard (it’s below), but CL wanted to know more. What drove this young family to a homesteading lifestyle right here in Wayne County, Ohio? And although dairy’s a big business here, why choose goats? Sara Jo was patient with questions, and here’s her story.

I was born in Orrville and grew up on family dairy farm on North Kohler Road. My grandfather, Paul Maurer, owned the farm and worked it along with my father, Joe Maurer. My father sold the cows about 4 years ago, so the farm is a crop farm only now.

I tried all kinds of other jobs and even lived in Columbus for a while. It just wasn’t home. I loved the farm. In fact, as far back as you can find the U.S. census lists “farmer” as the occupation for my dad’s family. I guess the love of family and farming is just in my blood.

Jason, my husband, was also born in Orrville.  He was employed by Besancon’s in Smithville milking cows. He worked the first years of our marriage at Rohrer Farms (also in Smithville.)  He grew to love the work and the livestock as well. Continue reading

Simple Sorbets a Refreshing Alternative

Ice Cream Spade

It’s all in the design. This spade is so popular in our store we can barely keep it in stock. Now you can have one without traveling to Ohio.

Chris Funk, today’s guest contributor, has been experimenting with sorbets for a while. A great home cook, Chris is also known for his pretzel buns. Today, he’s sharing his simple sorbet recipe, which is perfect for seasonal berries, stone fruit, apples, and pears.

                                                                                                            –Country Life

I’ve mainly started making sorbets because it was a healthier alternative than a full heavy cream or  a half and half ice cream. So it started with a strawberry sorbet: a delicious base mix, but a pain to make due to the seeds!

Then I moved onto raspberry, then peach, and now pear. Pears are just coming in here in southwest Ohio, and we have some really great ones grown locally.  Any favorite fruit will work, you just sometimes have to take the juiciness of the fruit into consideration when you’re making the sorbet. This is especially important if you decide to use a frozen fruit for the sorbet. You’ll have to thaw and drain it before moving on with the recipe.

Continue reading

Have Your Ice Cream (and Top It Too!)

Ice cream freezers

Heirloom quality with today’s technology. Choose 4, 6, 8 quart freezers from Lehman’s in Kidron or from

Another set of great family ice cream recipes to share during National Ice Cream month! Hope you’re enjoying these as much as we are.  –CountryLife

When it comes to taste, texture and downright nostalgia, you can’t beat 
homemade ice cream. Of course, part of its deliciousness comes from the effort part – yes, the cranking, and the waiting part – that is, until it’s sufficiently frozen 
to eat. It’s a summertime tradition here in Ohio, no doubt about that.

Amish, non-Amish and everyone in between, we all love ice cream. In fact, my in-laws (from whom the next two recipes came) used to give their dog his own special bowl of the stuff each and every time it was made. He’d patiently sit right beside the freezer as we all cranked, and cranked, and talked, and laughed, and cranked some more. Mix these two tried-and-true recipes in your own hand-crank ice cream freezer, and see below for some unexpected and delectable topping ideas. 

Grandmother’s Heirloom Vanilla Ice Cream (Grandmother’s recipe) 

4 eggs, well beaten 
2 Tablespoons vanilla 
2 cups sugar 
1 pint whipping cream 
6 cups milk 
1/2 teaspoon salt 

Mix together and freeze in freezer. Makes 1 gallon.
Please note: This recipe requires raw eggs. Please be cautious. Children and persons with reduced immune systems should avoid eating raw eggs. See previous July–National Ice Cream Month posts for alternate recipes that do not use raw eggs.

Heirloom Lemon Ice Cream (Great-grandmother’s recipe) 

1 quart thin cream OR 1 cup milk plus 3 cups heavy cream 
2 teaspoons lemon juice 
1 cup sugar 
dash of salt 

Scald cream with sugar, salt and lemon juice. Cool and freeze. 

Charming retro bowls are perfect for sundaes. At Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio, and

Charming retro bowls are perfect for sundaes. At Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, and

Six Luscious Homemade Ice Cream Sundaes 

1. Berry Shortcake Blast – Crumbled vanilla wafers (or other favorite 
vanilla cookie), sliced strawberries, whole blueberries and/or black raspberries. 

2. Cherry Crisp – Tart cherries, your favorite granola, chopped almonds 
and a drizzle of molasses 

3. Candy Bar – Milk chocolate chips, chopped nuts and drizzled caramel 

4. Red and White Delight – White chocolate chips and red raspberries 

5. Salted Caramel Sundae – Crushed Pretzels and coarsely chopped caramels 

6. Tropical Treat – Crushed pineapple, mandarin oranges, chopped 
maraschino cherries and flaked coconut 

*The above toppings are best with homemade vanilla ice cream.

Tip: For cookouts and parties, portion out ice cream into bowls 2-3 hours ahead of time, cover and freeze until ice cream is completely firm. Add toppings and serve immediately. 

Rock Your Reunion with These New Twist Dishes 

Chop quickly and neatly! Lehman's Curved Blade Chopper, available at Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio or at

Chop quickly and neatly! Lehman’s Curved Blade Chopper, available at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio or at

Everyone loves family reunions (ok, most of us do?), but I think we can all agree that sometimes the food turns out to be…pretty predictable. Yes, we all enjoy those heirloom family favorites that are handed down for generations, but personally, I’ve had enough deviled eggs, green bean casserole and gelatin salad to last me a looooong time.

This summer, I’m “wow-ing” my relatives and friends with some new tastes that are sure to complement the old favorites, too. Try them yourself, and who knows? They may become heirlooms, too!

Cool ‘Cado Salsa :

2 avocados, peeled, pitted and finely chopped
4 medium tomatoes (any variety, Romas work well), finely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. lime juice
2 T. olive oil
1 T. red or white wine vinegar
1 T. fresh cilantro, minced
1/2 cup feta cheese

Gently mix together all ingredients, adding the cheese last. Chill for at least 2 hours. Serve with tortilla chips, corn chips or pita wedges. Note: This salsa is best served the same day it’s made. It’s delicious for days, but the avocado tends to turn a bit brown after a day or two.

Make a few slices fast! Microwave Bacon Cooker at Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio, or at

Make a few slices fast! Microwave Bacon Cooker at Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, or at

Cashew Crunch Salad 
10 oz. frozen peas, thawed (or 10 oz. fresh garden peas)
1 1/4 c. celery, diced
1 1/2 c. cauliflower, chopped
1/2 c. green onion, chopped
1 1/4 c. cashews, whole or chopped (to your preference)
1/2 c. sour cream (can use fat-free)
1 c. ranch-style salad dressing
1 c. cooked bacon, crumbled

Combine all ingredients and chill well. If desired, reserve a few chopped cashews and some bacon to sprinkle on top. Note: To use fresh peas instead of frozen, bring 3/4 c. water and 1 tsp. sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add peas and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes; drain.

Lehman's 55th Anniversary Cookbook

Check out our family favorites! At Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, or

Maple Baked Beans (from The Lehman’s 55th Anniversary Cookbook)
1 lb. dry navy beans
4 qts. water, divided
6 slices bacon, cut up
1 medium onion
1 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. ketchup
1/4 c. favorite barbecue sauce
5 T. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Rinse beans and place in a 4-qt Dutch oven. Cover with 2 quarts cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans. Return beans to Dutch oven and cover with remaining water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until beans are almost tender. Drain and reserve bean liquid.

In a 2 1/2 qt. casserole or bean pot, combine beans with remaining ingredients. Bake, covered, at 300 degrees for 2 1/2 hours or until tender. Stir occasionally; add reserved bean liquid as necessary.

Serves 10-12.

And of course, a smashing dessert:

Lemon Sours
3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. shredded coconut
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/8 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. lemon rind
1 1/2 T. lemon juice
2/3 c. confectioner’s sugar

Mix flour and butter to fine crumbs. Sprinkle evenly in 11″x9″ pan. Bake 10 min. at 350 degrees. Meanwhile, beat eggs and add brown sugar, coconut, nuts, baking powder and vanilla. Take pan from the oven and spread this mixture on top of baked crumb mixture. Return to oven and bake 20 min. longer. Mix lemon rind, juice and confectioner’s sugar to make a creamy mixture. Spread over the top as soon as you remove from oven. Let cool completely and cut into bars. If desired, garnish with candied lemon peel.

Fancy Flavored Coffee Creamers, Made Right At Home

Heritage Blue Stripe Stoneware Sugar and Creamer Set

As you serve up a hot cup of coffee to friends and family, just reach for this charming sugar and creamer set.

Coffee creamers come in a wide variety of flavors these days.  Unfortunately those flavored creamers also tend to be full of preservatives and chemical stabilizers.

I have a family full of people with allergies and sensitivities to some of those chemicals, so I started exploring ways to make my own flavored creamers with more natural ingredients. It’s gone well, and I’m happy to share my recipe with you. Continue reading

Our Wandering Cowboy’s “Waffling” Through The West

Pure Mexican Vanilla

Available at or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

One of the best things I’ve been able to do while looking for the perfect cowpony is perfecting my ability to cook various dishes, both on the range and in town.
I put this rich–but tasty!–recipe together on my spring travels, and it’s so good. You can make it in your own kitchen!

Bread Pudding and Waffle Dessert with Walnut or Pecan Ice Cream

Bread Pudding/Custard:
8  large eggs
1  teaspoon salt
2  cups sugar
5   and 1/2 cups of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2  pound French bread
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
4  ounces butter, (1 stick), melted

Continue reading

Behind the Scenes At Lehmans: A Sweet 16!

Andi's Root Beer Float cupcakes

Here you can see the final chocolate-rootbeer cupcake, the ‘root beer float’ topping, and the ‘ice cream’ scoop. Lehman’s USA-made muffin pans are a perfect fit for cute cupcakes too!

Andi Williams joined Lehman’s merchant group just over two months ago, but she’s already served up a great treat for Country Life! She shared photos of the cupcakes she served from her son’s 16th birthday party: root beer floats and popcorn were featured.

After a trip to Lehman’s in Kidron, I was set to make root beer float cupcakes. I started with this recipe from a favorite baking site, which calls for TWO CUPS of root beer–it makes a rich, fudgy, tasty cupcake.

Lehman’s has a wide selection of root beers to choose from.  I chose to make the cupcakes using Dad’s Root Beer and supplemented with Homebrew Root Beer Soda Pop Base. Continue reading