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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Country Cousin - End of Summer

Summer is drawing to a close far too rapidly. Leaves are already starting to turn in some spots. It's half past August, and September is coming on fast. Let's get out there and enjoy it while we can, heat or no heat! Take to the water to cool off. Visit the county's wonderful waterfalls. Enjoy the County Fair next week, the festivals coming up this weekend.

We're promised a beautiful moon this week, weather permitting. The moon is full on Thursday, Aug. 18. Tuesday night TIMESland enjoyed a balmy, beautiful moonlit summer night of the type that dreams and movies are made of. Until the rains hit. But we needed rain, too, so that's okay! Always did believe rain should fall at night, when we're sleeping, so we get the needed moisture without spoiling any of our fun in the sun.

KID FUN

If the youngsters are getting antsy on days either too hot or too wet to play outdoors, get them busy with Fruit Loop Air Hockey.

You'll need a box of any O-shaped cereal, a piece of paper, and enough drinking straws for each player to have one.

Have each kid draw a goal box on his or her edge of the paper, and you draw a small circle directly in the center. Place a piece of cereal into the center circle, and give each child a chance to blow the cereal piece into another player's game box. Each time that happens the player who blew it there gets a point. The first to get five points wins.

Let's add another dimension. The winning player gets to keep all the cereal pieces from that game. Once there are say 20 pieces of cereal in their bowl they get some milk to eat them with. Could be some hungry kids if the game is to win their breakfast.

HOMEGROWN HAIR CARE

To achieve a summery, wind blown look for your hair at very little cost and without the drying alcohol that many of the commercial products include, simply mix 8 ounces of warm water, one tablespoon of sea salt and two tablespoons of coconut oil in a clean spray bottle and use it to spritz dry hair. Then tousle the hair and push it into places you like before it dries. The salt adds texture and a little curl, and the coconut oil moisturizes for shine.

If summer humidity causes your hair to fall flat, try this almost free kitchen cure and give it the lift you crave.

Simply add about a tablespoon of baking soda to a dollop of shampoo and then wash your hair as you normally do. Shampoo with this twice a week. Hair care gurus say the soda has negative ions that react with the hair's normal positive ions to lift the follicles off the scalp and plump the hair.

Haven't tried either of these yet but they sound good.

ON THE SOAP BOX

YELLOW JOURNALISM


In recent weeks have been seeing so many examples of yellow journalism from some members of the mainstream national press that I'm almost ashamed to share their profession. Makes one wonder if they've joined ranks with those in the world's oldest profession.

For those who don't know about yellow journalism, that's when a journalist twists facts to suit his or her own purposes, or attempts to create news when it didn't exist, again to further a particular political viewpoint.

For example, in some of the recent articles the authors implied that Donald Trump no longer wants to be president, and asked leaders of the Republican Party what they would do if he went crazy, or voluntarily withdrew from the race.

Mind you, you may disagree with what Trump has to say, but he has not hinted that he wants to withdraw, so it's a made-up question, designed to make him look bad as a candidate.

It may be a valid question that should be answered for either party in any election, but it seems to have never been asked before.

To have an honest and balanced news story, these same authors - won't disgrace the profession any more by calling them journalists - should have asked Democratic party leaders what they would do if Hillary Clinton were to be indicted and/or found guilty of the felonies for which she was being investigated.

Absolutely!

There also should be an answer waiting in the wings for what would happen if a presidential candidate were to die after winning a spot on the ballot but before the election.

But the time to ask these questions is not when they're intended to plant doubt in the minds of voters. The questions in the latest round of national media opposition to Trump were not raised by the parties or the voters, but by reporters wanting to write stories detrimental to a candidate they do not like!

STILL ON THE SOAP BOX

That said, lots of folks, Yours Truly included, are not 100 percent sure about Donald Trump. He does indeed seem to be a bit unpredictable to say the least.

However, facts are facts. We have Hillary Clinton on one side, Trump on the other.

We know from the lack of response at Benghazi that caused several unnecessary deaths, the e-mail scandal, the Clinton Foundation and indeed as far back as Whitewater, that Clinton has been guilty of some very poor judgments. And that's putting her actions in the best possible light, giving her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she really isn't bright enough to know, for example, that high security government secrets should not be posted via an unsecured private e-mail account. Less serious violations would bring a Private in the United States Army in front of a military tribunal. So we have an unknown risk on one hand, and a known risk on the other.

Suppose you were driving on a back roads trail in the mountains and your brakes went out. You come to a fork in the road. You know the fork to the left heads straight downhill and dead ends - literally - at a cliff with nothing to stop you from going over. You are not sure which way the right fork will take you. It could lead to an uphill slope where you could some to a safe and slow stop. Or it might not. Don't know, and no way to find out.

Which fork would you take?

We are somewhat faced with just that critical of a decision in this fall's presidential election.

Refusing to vote is not really an option. That would be voting for Hillary. We know she's capable of some extremely poor decisions at best, and no telling how far she would let us go over that cliff if it meant some gain for her interests.

Still don't know which way to go?

BATHE AWAY ALLERGIES

Lots of us are plagued with more allergies this year than usual. According to an article by M.D. Leo Galland in Women First magazine, bathing in epsom salt can help wash them away.

Article says about 80 percent of women over 40 have a shortage of magnesium, and this can aggravate allergies.

He says studies show that adding two cups of Odom Salts to a warm bath and soaking in that solution for 12 minutes daily can raise the body's magnesium levels by 35 percent in a week.

Not to mention that Epsom Salts also help soak away aches and pains and relaxes the body wonderfully for a good night's sleep.

For an added bonus, slather on a facial mask - or grease with coconut oil before stepping into the tub and relaxing for that dozen minutes. Maybe you want to make it 20 minutes. Won't hurt!

INCREDIBLE, EDIBLE EGGS

Remember when the government experts told us eggs were bad, would raise cholesterol, and if we wanted to avoid an early death we probably should eat no more than one or two a week, preferably without yolks?

Now they're admitting they were wrong about eggs, just as they were wrong about coffee and chocolate. Eggs, particularly the yolks, pack a host of health benefits into their little shells.

Eggs do indeed raise cholesterol, but they raise the good kind, which in turn reduces the amount of bad cholesterol your body manufactures and minimizes bad effects on the arteries.

When you eat eggs, you get protein for muscles, iron for your blood, phosphorus for your bones, lutein and other good things for your eyes, essential fatty acids for your brain, and other minerals and nutrients including magnesium, vitamin A, the B vitamins, selenium, and calcium.

Not only that, they help you lose weight. One recent study showed that women who ate eggs for breakfast ate less food for the next 36 hours. Pretty sure the same would be true for men. Another study found that on a calorie-restricted diet, those who regularly ate two eggs for breakfast lost more weight, lowered their BMI, reduced their waist size and decreased their overall body fat faster than those who did not. Eggs are low in calories and nutrient rich, causing you to feel fuller faster and longer.

Have always said that based on the multitude of ways to enjoy them, as well as their nutritional value, if I could eat only one food for the rest of my life, it would be eggs.

COOKIN' TIME

Gardens and yielding more than we can consume. it's time for corn roasts and BLTs, for fresh green peppers, creamed cucumbers, most everything good that can be grown for eating here is ready to enjoy except early spring asparagus, regular spinach, and early peas. It's too late for them, but if the craving hits, they're available at the supermarket.

CAESAR VEGETABLE MEDLEY used 8 17 16

This is a beautiful side dish to serve with the chicken, or to take as your offering to a family get-together, or both. Makes 10 to 12 servings, and uses a lot of the good things from the garden. It's designed to be made at least 6 hours ahead, overnight is even better, so that's a plus too.

2 cups small fresh mushrooms

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets

1 medium zucchini, sliced

1 medium yellow squash, sliced

1 red onion, sliced into rings

1 bottle (8 ounces) Caesar salad dressing

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil leaves, optional

In large bowl mix everything except the cherry tomatoes. If you don't have fresh basil, leave that out, or substitute fresh parsley. Cover and refrigerate until nearly time to eat. Add the halved cherry tomatoes and serve. This is very attractive served in a fancy glass bowl, but it also travels well in a plastic dish with tight fitting lid.

EASY SHAKSHUKA

This popular Mid-Eastern breakfast dish deserves to become popular here. Easy, quick, and all kinds of nutritious! Doesn't really need the Like me, you may not know what Za'atar seasoning is. Mix up your own with readily available ingredients. Recipe follows.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, cut into 2 inch pieces

1 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces

5 cups peeled diced fresh tomatoes (or use a 28-ounce can whole peeled plum tomatoes with juice or one 14-ounce can stewed/seasoned tomatoes with oregano, celery and basil and one can of diced tomato)

1 teaspoon paprika, or to taste

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 slices pickled jalapeno pepper, finely chopped

Salt and pepper

4 eggs

4 (6 inch) pita bread (optional)

Za'atar seasoning (optional)*

1. Heat the vegetable oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, onion, and bell pepper; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, paprika and jalapenos; stir, using the back of a spoon to break up the tomatoes. Simmer for about 25 minutes.

2. Crack an egg into a small bowl, then gently slip the egg into the tomato sauce. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Cook the eggs until the whites are firm and the yolks have thickened but are not hard, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. If the tomato sauce gets dry, add a few tablespoons of water. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, place onto a warm plate, and serve with the tomato sauce and pita bread. The tomato base can be made ahead of time (it actually is better the longer it sits so it is great if you have leftovers). The next morning reheat the mixture to boiling and then add the eggs. Done in no time flat.

ZA'ATAR MIX

Za'atar spice is used in all Middle Eastern cooking and as a condiment for salads. It is also used as a dip for bread.

1 cup roasted, ground sesame seeds

1/4 cup dried ground thyme

1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano

1 tablespoon dried leaf marjoram

1 tablespoon dried leaf savory

1/2 tablespoon salt, or to taste (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together. Taste and add the salt if desired. Keep the za'atar mix in a tightly sealed jar in the fridge or freezer to keep it fresh. The sesame seeds will last 5-6 months maximum. Makes about 2 cups.

GRILLED ZUCCHINI COINS

3 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick

cooking spray

1/4 cup Italian salad dressing

1 clove garlic, minced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (or whatever nuts you have on hand)

Heat grill to medium high for direct cooking. Coat zucchini with cooking spray. Grill for five minutes, turning once. In bowl mix Italian dressing, garlic, two teaspoons lemon juice and one teaspoon zest. Drizzle over hot zucchini. Add Basil and stir. Top with cheese and nuts.

BLACKBERRY PEACH PIE

You might need to buy the peaches, but the blackberries are there for the picking right now if you know where to look. This recipe comes from one of the earliest paperback cookbooks, copyrighted for the first time in 1942 by Pocketbook Books, Inc.

Cream Cheese Pastry:

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

12 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup shortening

Cold water

Sift together flour and salt. Cut in cream cheese and shortening using two knives, a pastry blender (or your food processor until the mixture looks like flour with rice-size lumps.) Add just enough water to hold everything together, mixing with a fork while you add the water until it forms a ball. Wrap in waxed paper and chill slightly. Roll out slightly over half the mixture and fit it into a 9" pie shell. Roll out the remaining mixture and cut into strips. Fill the pie, then moisten edges of pastry and weave on the lattice top crust, alternating strips.

1 1/2 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca

2/3 cup sugar

few dashes salt

1 teaspoon grated orange rind

2 cups sliced peaches

2 cups blackberries

Make pastry, following directions for lattice two crust pie. Mix tapioca, sugar, salt and orange rind and sprinkle about two tablespoons this mixture into the bottom of the pastry shell. Combine peaches and blackberries and put in the shell. Sprinkle on remaining tapioca mixture. Cover with pastry strips. Bake in 425 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

Thought for the week: Aim high, take risks, and keep working. If Michaelangelo had looked down instead of up, had been afraid to take risks, and not willing to put in two years lying on his back at the top of scaffolding about 60 feet above solid ground, he'd have been painting the floor of the Sistine Chapel instead of the ceiling. By now his beautiful work would be all walked off. How sad would that be???

(This column is written by Shirley Prudhomme of Crivitz. Views expressed are her own and are in no way intended to be an official statement of the opinions of Peshtigo Times editors and publishers. She may be contacted by phone at 715-291-9002 or by e-mail to shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo.com.)

Country Cousin


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