Monday, March 29, 2010


It's a delight to introduce an excellent book by someone who has been such a help to me in my Amish fiction. Erik Wesner, the go-to guy for all things Amish and author of the popular AmishAmerica blog, has a book out now--SUCCESS MADE SIMPLE: AN INSIDE LOOK AT WHY AMISH BUSINESSES THRIVE. Whether you are interested in Amish culture or in entrepreneurship, you'll find this book simply fascinating. With his easy, engaging style and wealth of knowledge about all things Amish, Erik has created a book that deserves a spot in your library.

Here's a bit about the book:
According to the Small Business Administration figures, only half of all newly opened companies will survive for five years. In comparison, an Amish small business stands a 95 percent chance of thriving. SUCCESS MADE SIMPLE is the first practical book of Amish business success principles written for the non-Amish reader. The book offers a fascinating look at the reasons for the remarkable success of Amish businesspeople.

SUCCESS MADE SIMPLE reveals how, with only an eighth-grade education, these thriving businesspeople choose and manage employees, acquire skills and know-how, get and keep customers, and lead their companies to lasting success. The common threads woven throughout their experiences stress the vital importance of cultivating strong relationships, creating long-term goals, taking the welfare of others into account, and maintaining personal integrity. As one Amish businessman says, "Erik Wesner shows that success has many more dimensions than numerical growth. SUCCESS MADE SIMPLE is a valuable read not just for mainstream American business people but also for the Amish."

SUCCESS MADE SIMPLE is available now. You can find it at your local bookstore or order it online at

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring and Dandelion Greens

Spring is finally here in Pennsylvania--lots of mud, crocuses blooming, daffodils up, and a faint green haze on the willow trees. In RACHEL'S GARDEN, Rachel sees spring as a time of renewal, taking comfort in the signs of new life all around her as she recovers from her long winter of grief.

One of the favorite dishes of spring here in the country will be ready before long--Dandelion Salad! Dandelions may be something to dread in suburban lawns, but not here in the country. When the first tender leaves come up, it's time to enjoy a treat.

Here's my recipe for Dandelion Salad. I also enjoy using this dressing with fresh spinach and leaf lettuce.


Pick about 2 quarts of small, tender dandelion leaves.(Note: you can only do this is early spring, before the center stem comes up.) Wash thoroughly and drain. Fry 1/4 lb. of bacon until crisp and break up.

For dressing: beat 2 eggs, add 1/2 C sugar, 1/2 C water and 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar. Add to the bacon pieces in the pan and stir over low heat until the dressing thickens. Pour over the greens and add sliced hard-cooked eggs and/or sliced mushrooms, if desired.

This recipe and other Pennsylvania Dutch favorites are in my PA Dutch Recipes brochure. If you'd like a copy, just e-mail your mailing address to me at