I write Amish novels (release of The Stranger is this November. White Rose Publishing. More info to come at that time.)
Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this blog and the wonderful photos (many from trips I have made to the Amish community in Montgomery County, NY) facts, and even some yummy recipes.
I post new Amish 'discoveries' regularly.
We noticed many blue doors on homes (and the school house seen in the first photo) in the Palatine, NY area in Montgomery County.The reason given is 'tradition.' Some say it is a POW WOW superstition passed down by the PA Dutch to ward off evil entering the house. Others say it is part of their particular rules. Whatever the reason, I learned that the Byler Amish in Wilmington, PA, also adhere to the same practice. It seems these NY Amish are a sister group of the Wilmington sect.
Hard to see, but the frame of the screen door on the left is light blue on this home.
(Please note that the face of this little guy has been smudged to be respectful of the Amish rule of no pictures. Note the blue door.)
In the Amish novels I've read, the children and women characters go barefoot during the warmer months. Well, as we drove by the one room school house, it was apparently lunch time or a recess, and all the children were indeed barefoot. Note that even the young teacher in the top pic is barefoot. (Her face has been smudged to respect their wishes of not appearing in photos.)
Photo by Sylvia Hasenkopf Another 'discovery' while driving around the Palatine area....I'm trying to figure out what this larger wagon (the white one) is used for. Probably to transport something.
Being Sunday today, I'm wondering...could it be a church wagon? It looks a bit small for that, unless the district has only a few families. And why would it have windows if just for transport of benches? Hmmmm.
But since we're on this subject, here is a bit more discovered info...the Amish have 'church' in their homes. Every two weeks services are held in the house of a different family where all the church members of that district gather. Thus the reason for needing benches.
Much preparation goes into cleaning the home or the barn (if large enough they hold church in the barn) and also in having simple foods ready to serve at the common meal that follows. Usually peanut butter spread, cheese, hearty bread, and pickled beets, or even a soup (in winter.) Foods that can be served quickly to a large group and also be economically practical.
Church wagons are used to transport the backless benches used for sitting during the service, and also used as make-shift tables for the common meal.
(Photo taken by Sylvia Hasenkopf) In the Montgomery area of upstate New York, we saw many light brown colored buggies in the Palatine section, rather than the typical black buggies found in PA. I am told that the color designates the particular sect of the Amish. NOTE: It seems that these brownish buggy tops are considered 'yellow' by the Byler Amish who are originally from Wilmington, PA. An interesting Amish 'discovery' for certain! More to come as the research unveils other tid-bits...
My friend and I spent the whole day yesterday in Amish country in the Palatine section.
Keep a look out for more photos of the various areas visited in the Montgomery Amish settlement.
My friend, Sylvia, making nice to a horse at a hitching post next to The Price Chopper supermarket, while taking a photo.
Got wonderful corn...12 ears for $3.00 which is 25 cents each. I told the Amish woman she needs to charge more for her corn. A couple there gave her an extra dollar. The Amish woman called back to them saying that they overpaid. The couple told her it was intentional. She just smiled.
Too busy to bake an Amish pie recipe? Just go to: http://www.amishpie.com/catalog/pies-1-1.html The Amish Pie Co. has lots of pies to choose from, a variety of Apple and even pumpkin, perfect as we enter into the autumn season. And they are made by an Amish baker.
Another good Amish discovery for sure and for certain!
It's that time of year when apples are most popular at the farm stands and supermarkets. Here is a tasty PA Dutch apple recipe that's easy to make with ready-to-use biscuit dough.
No one know for certain the exact origin of Apple Pandowdy, but it appears to date as far back as Colonial times. Sometimes it was made in a pan on the stove top.
The following recipe is courtesy of, The Amish Homestead Cookbook.
4 tart apples
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup molasses
2 tablespoons butter
Biscuit dough as directed
Pare and slice apples and arrange on a well greased shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with the cinnamon, drizzle over molasses and dot with the butter. Cover with biscuit dough that has been rolled to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut gashes in dough to allow steam to escape. Bake in moderate oven about 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve hot with cream flavored with nutmeg.
A group of five young Amish men and
woman have decided to make a move that will change their lives forever,
risking everything and everyone they've ever known, But the group
finds out early, chasing their wildest dreams may be easier said, than
The Amish might say: "tsk, tsk" to this version of Whoopie Pies, but they're quick and easy when in a hurry, if unexpected visitors or little ones drop by, or you're just in the mood for a Whoopie Pie and are too tired to make them from scratch.
Keep some frosting on hand and have some mini muffins or plain mini cupcakes in the freezer and you can make these any time the urge strikes.
Recipe: Take twelve mini muffins or cupcakes of choice (Choc, chip muffins were used in this recipe.) And one 14-ounce can of vanilla frosting.(You'll probably only use half the can. Save the rest in the fridge for next time.)
Slice the tops off of all the muffins/cupcakes and spread approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons of the frosting onto six of the flat side of the muffin tops. Then cover each one with the remaining tops.
Place a dollop of frosting on top of the remaining bottoms of each muffin or cupcake (Using a pastry tip makes it look nicer) and arrange them along with the mini Whoopies on a doily lined plate. Makes a nice presentation. See above photo.
(Photo by author)
If you just want a nice big Whoopie Pie of your own, take two regular size muffins or plain cupcakes, slice off the tops, spread frosting on the inside of one top, cover with the other and take a big bite! Save the bottoms for dessert. Slice them and top with a dollop of leftover frosting, as shown in the following photo.
Muffin/Cupcake Whoopie Possibilities (Photo by author)
Note:Yesterday the recipe for Whoopie Cookies called for some marshmallow creme mixed with the frosting. It works well with soft flat cookies, but the consistency makes it difficult for the tops of
muffins/cupcakes to stay in place. They tend to slide off. If you really prefer that combo, use a toothpick to keep the tops from slipping. Also notethat the large muffinWhoopie Pie is difficult to stand on its own, so simply slice off a bit of the roundness on the end that will sit on the plate. Enjoy!
These are sooo easy and a nice alternative to baking the real thing when a quick urge for a whoopie pie strikes, or for an unplanned coffee and tea get-together.
Favorite soft cookies
Favorite store-bought cake frosting
For each Cookie Whoopie, mix equal parts of icing with marshmallow creme. (About a heaping tablespoon of each - depending on the size of the cookies.)
Spread on the flat side of one cookie. Top with another cookie, flat side facing filling.
You can make different color fillings depending on the frosting you use. the choices are endless with all the kinds of great cookies and frosting now available.
I'm thinking of some soft pumpkin cookies with vanilla filling for this time of year.