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Country Cousin

Issue Date: August 24, 2016

School Days Are Coming!...

Sadly, Summer is winding down. By next week at this time the kids will either be back in school or seriously getting ready to go there. We'll still have Labor Day weekend to look forward to, and some great community festivals are coming up, but they are more Fall events than Summer ones. Glad the muggy heat seems to be over, but also sort of sad that sweltering season is probably done for this year.

FIGHT THE GROGGIES

Hot weather and hard work can lead to dehydration, particularly in those over 40, and according to a popular women's magazine, dehydration can cause the groggies. Researchers say that's because when the brain dries out it produces fewer energizing beta waves.

To prevent this, drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated when it's hot or you're working hard. You might not realize you're thirsty, but take those sips anyway.

But to get those beta waves going again if your energy lags and alertness fails, enjoy about three mint candies, making sure to savor both the flavor and the odor. Research has found that the scent of mint stimulates the brain's alertness center, increasing energy levels by 23 percent in two minutes.

Not sure how they measure energy levels so precisely, but know most of the time mine could use some improvement!

Keeping a packet of fresh mint leaves in a sachet should also be effective. European friends several years ago told us aroma therapy was very popular there.

HAIR CARE

If summer sun and winds have taken their toll of your hair, give it some special nourishment with Epsom salt treatments twice a week for two weeks or more. The minerals in Epsom salts, including magnesium, calcium and potassium, help repair and strengthen hair strands and encourage new growth.

Mix two tablespoons of liquid hair conditioner with two tablespoons of Epsom salts and apply to damp hair from ends to roots. Leave on for 20 minutes, then rinse with cool to lukewarm water.

The benefits may not show up instantly, but you should see increased shine and strength within two weeks.

EXERCISE AND AGING

A friend who likes to share wisdom gleaned from the Internet says that God wisely planned ways to force oldsters to get the exercise they need.

Says God decreed that seniors should become forgetful so they would have to search for their glasses, keys and other things, thus doing more walking.

He also made seniors lose coordination so they would drop things. This requires them to bend, reach and stretch. Then he weakened their bladders so they would need more frequent trips to the bathroom, again increasing their exercise.

So, he claims, these problems with growing old are not really problems at all, they are enforcers of actions that help keep us young.

Yeah, sure!

He also observes that death is the number 1 killer in the world, life is sexually transmitted, and maintaining good health is simply finding the slowest possible rate at which to die. Says health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital, dying of nothing.

Anyway, Red Skelton said there are three signs of old age. First was loss of memory, and he forgot the other two.

Gracie Allen said she didn't need to worry that her long-time husband George Burns would chase another woman. "He's too fine, too decent, too old."

A man who understandably insists on remaining anonymous says he has another memory problem. "I remember when I got married. I remember where I got married. But for the life of me, I can't remember why I got married."

ADD TO COUNTRY COUSIN

MURPHY'S LAW


We've all heard of Murphy's Law, and I personally even knew Murphy, but did you know all sorts of other folks have been pronouncing laws, rules and maxims of their own?

For example:

Churchill's Commentary on Man: Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.

Sattinger's Law: "It works better if you plug it in." That one is related to Cahn's Axiom: "When all else fails, read the instructions."

Jone's Motto: Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.

Knight's Law: Life is what happens to you when you're making other plans.

Krueger's Observation: A taxpayer is someone who does not have to take a civil service exam in order to work for the government.

And finally, the Ultimate Law, "All general statements are false."

ON THE SOAP BOX

NO COMPROMISE


You can't compromise with evil, and you can't negotiate. Peace and accord under Islamist extremist terms will be achieved only when we all live under Sharia law, in a world where simply criticizing the regime and the religion it claims to represent is punishable by imprisonment, beatings, beheadings, burnings and hangings. We're headed there. Is that the legacy we want to leave for our children? Or is freedom worth fighting for? Our forefathers thought so!

Now we're being criticized by some politicians for agreeing with them. Let's be careful not to put those people in office when election time comes.

STILL ON THE SOAP BOX

METHOD TO HIS MADNESS


Know I can never, ever vote for Hillary Clinton, but have been a bit worried lately about Donald Trump. Some of his comments made out loud, in public, reflect what many of us are thinking and saying, but did not sound like a viable candidate for president.

Members of the mainstream media have long hated Trump and in fact anyone whose thinking wasn't far to the left of what's good for this country lately began wondering in print if he was literally going crazy.

Then read an article, written by a member of that anti-freedom mainstream media, that leads me to believe Trump once again is crazy like a fox.

A very successful local politician who did little but spoke often was returned to office term after term. He once told me when it comes to elections, it doesn't matter what the press says about you, as long as you get your name in print.

Trump's recent controversial comments have put his name in the headlines repeatedly, and in many of those headlines he's saying in public what many supporters are saying in private, and saying them in a way that makes him come off like a real, fallible human being, not a well-groomed puppet mouthing words written by others.

He has gained free publicity, and pushed Hillary off center stage. And he still has time to moderate his views and explain his comments (many of which were misquoted or taken out of context anyway) in time to swing the popularity polls back his way.

Certainly would rather have a president who sometimes puts his foot in his mouth than a president who sends sensitive national secrets via private e-mail, and expresses no guilt over her Benghazi inaction that cost the lives of innocent people who depended on her for protection. Granted, an apology would not bring them back to life, but she appears to have learned nothing from what at best was a tragic error, and at worst a horrendous crime.

ANT CONTROL

Ants of all colors and sizes are moving indoors again, entire colonies of them, apparently. They want to make our home their home, and we likely aren't the only ones with this problem.

That means it's time to repeat an ant control remedy that has worked for us in the past, and hopefully will do so again. It uses no poisons, so creates no risks for pets or children.

Just mix 1/4 cup dry yeast with 1/2 cup sugar and stir in 1/4 cup honey. Put this out where the ants can find it and let them merrily eat their way to oblivion.

The plan is that the worker ants dine at the feast provided by their hosts, and carry what they can back to the rest of the ant community, where everybody eats. Their feast includes the yeast granules which expand in their little tummies, and Pouf! No ant. The ant population gets smaller and smaller until they are gone.

COOKIN' TIME

Long ago, we had a wonderful landlord who came from Armenia, and shared some of his wonderful homeland recipes which in fact turned out to be Greek. Recently found them on-line and simply must pass a few along.

GREEK GREEN BEANS

Fresh green beans are still available, so eat and enjoy. Our friend Ed would only make this dish when he could get the beans and tomatoes fresh from his garden.

2 pounds fresh green beans

3 medium potatoes, sliced

1 large onion, grated

1 pound fresh ripe tomatoes, pureed

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons water

Salt and pepper to taste

Use small whole beans if possible. Cut off both ends and remove threads if necessary. Peel the tomatoes and puree them in your food processor. (This isn't exactly what Ed did, but it's a lot easier.) Gently fry the grated onion in the olive oil in cooking pan for two minutes. Add the chopped garlic and fry another two minutes. Add the green beans and potato slices and stir for another minute. Add the tomato puree, water and seasonings, cover pan and simmer for an hour. Check occasionally, and if needed, add more water so it doesn't burn. If most of the liquid isn't absorbed when the hour is up, remove cover and boil until it is. Add the parsley and boil for another two to three minutes.

GREEK GYROS

With beef so costly these days, we can almost afford lamb. Found that ground turkey mixed with ground beef also makes a passable substitute for lamb if necessary, but it's certainly not authentic. Ed even made his own pitas. Had to. Forty years ago they simply couldn't be purchased, at least not in Appleton or probably anywhere else in northern Wisconsin.

4 soft pita breads

1 pound ground lamb

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cucumber sauce

Yogurt sauce

Mix the ground meat, salt, pepper and garlic. Form into eight patties and grill or pan fry until done as you like it. Cut the pita bread in half and open to make a pocket. Slip in the cooked pattie. Add cucumber relish and yogurt sauce to taste. Serve one or two halves per person.

CUCUMBER RELISH

2 cups cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 cup thinly sliced red or yellow onion

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives (optional)

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1 Jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced

1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed

3 tablespoons olive oil

Mix everything together and set aside for at least an hour. Lasts several days in fridge if you keep it well covered, which you definitely should any way because of the garlic and onion.

YOGURT SAUCE

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup minced mint leaves

1 clove minced garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together. Serve right away or chill until serving time. This too keeps well if made ahead.

WATERMELON BOWL

Easy and tasty conversation piece. Great to pack along for a Labor Day picnic.

1/2 of 16-pound seedless watermelon

4 packages (3 ounces each) Cherry Flavor Gelatin dessert mix

Cut 1/2-inch-thick slice from rounded bottom of watermelon half to prevent it from rolling around. Scoop watermelon pulp into large bowl; reserve shell. Blend pulp, in batches, in blender until smooth; pour each batch of juice into separate large bowl. (You should have about 7 cups juice.) Pour two cups of the juice into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add dry gelatin mixes; stir 2 minutes, or until completely dissolved. Add to remaining juice in the large bowl and mix well. Refrigerate 45 minutes or until thickened, stirring every 15 minutes. Pour into the watermelon shell. Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm. When gelatin is firm, cut away any watermelon rind that extends above the gelatin layer, so you end up with a beautiful green bowl filled to the brim with bright red watermelon/cherry Jell-O.

STRAWBERRY WATERMELON DAIQUIRI

2 cups cold water

2 teaspoons liquid Strawberry Lemonade Flavor Drink Mix

2 cups frozen sliced strawberries

2 cups frozen chopped watermelon

1/2 cup rum (or more), optional

If you do not use the rum, increase water to 2 1/2 cups. Put everything in blender and process until smooth. Freeze until slushy, stirring occasionally. Serve while frozen to the texture of a slushy, or serve chilled, over ice, crushed if possible.

WATERMELON SALAD

Marvelously refreshing first course salad. Tempts heat jaded appetites very well indeed. Who would have thought watermelon could pair so nicely with cucumber and onion?

8 cups loosely packed torn Boston lettuce

2 cups seedless watermelon chunks (1 inch)

3/4 cup quartered cucumber slices

1/3 cup thin small red onion slices, separated into rings

1/3 cup Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Combine first four ingredients in large bowl. Whisk dressing gradually into mayo until blended. Add to salad and toss to coat just before serving.

FANOUROPITA

August 27 is the name day of Agios (Saint) Fanourios, the patron saint of things lost. In Greece, his name is invoked when praying for the recovery of lost items. Fanouropita is a cake traditionally eaten there on his name day. There are various recipes for this treat. Here is one of them.

3 3/4 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 3 large oranges)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup seedless raisins, optional

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan, (preferably the springform type with a removable bottom) with olive oil and dust with flour, knocking out any excess. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and sugar. Add olive oil, orange juice, and vanilla and stir to combine. Stir in raisins if using. Batter will be very thick. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until golden and a tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes then release springform and continue to cool on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners sugar before serving.

Thought for the week: In this time when morality is seen as prejudice, we need to remember the truth of these words from Patrick Henry: "Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent reference to fundamental principles."

(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.)

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