Country Cousin - There's A Reason They Call It Fall...
Impossible but true! Summer of 2016 is most definitely over. We can still have some glorious days, but the possibility of any more swimming weather this year is extremely slim.
The Fall color season will soon reach its peak, especially in the northern reaches of Marinette County. Colors seem exceptionally bright this year, possibly because trees are healthy due to the great amount of rain we've had.
Leaves are already falling from some trees, but provided there are no exceedingly strong winds or killing frosts we still have a few beautiful weeks to enjoy the ever changing brilliance of Fall.
FIRE PREVENTION MONTH
October is Fire Prevention Month, probably because it includes the anniversaries of the Great Peshtigo Fire and the Great Chicago Fire, both occurred on Oct. 8, 1871.
Good time to check your household's smoke alarms, and make sure there are fire extinguishers available where they are most likely to be needed. That almost certainly includes the kitchen, and having a fire extinguisher available in the garage is also a good idea.
The life you save could be your own!
Halloween is popping up all over. Statisticians tell us that the day - and now the season - for ghosts, goblins, ghouls and trick or treating now ranks just behind Christmas as America's favorite holiday. A look at the more and more lavish Halloween decorations make that easy to believe. Before long, the outdoor ones will outdo Christmas. Maybe it helps that the weather is a lot better for decorating now than it is in December!
HUNTING OR HAUNTING
Halloween is gaining ground everywhere as a favorite holiday, but it's doubtful that the season for haunting will ever become more important in Marinette County than the season for hunting - known to some folks hereabouts as the High Holy Days of Deer Season. Bow and some game hunting seasons are on now, but we're talking about the one week in November when hungry sportsmen can use a gun to bag their buck.
Speaking of Halloween, there are lots of special events coming up, and communities all across TIMESland are setting hours when it is legal for miscellaneous creatures to be out and about threatening to trick if there's no treat.
Nobody seems to really trick any more, now that the holiday has turned respectable, but my father used to tell some tales of overturned outhouses, soaped windows, eerie sounds piped into houses via taut strings, and tricks that were far, far worse.
In the 1950s there were no hours for trick or treating, and it was never, ever officially recognized as okay. In the years between fourth and seventh grades we stayed out until nearly midnight. We wouldn't dream of starting out before dark, even when we had to let our costumed younger siblings tag along. No one seemed to get mad at us. There were no rules, because Halloween was the night for breaking rules, but we didn't bother houses where the lights were out.
Halloween parties for adults and kids can be found all over, including in Peshtigo's Badger Park on Saturday, Oct. 8, and the Harmony Arboretum from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15.
The Badger Park fun on Oct. 8 includes a pumpkin carving contest and a costume contest to be judged at 4 p.m.
Check the newspaper, bulletin boards and web sites for events in your community. If there isn't one, why not make one yourself?
Columbus Day, which comes this year on Monday, Oct. 10, commemorates the historic voyage on which Christopher Columbus and his three sailing ships, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, sort of proved that the world is round.
They landed on islands off the coast of South America and arrived there without falling off the edge of the earth as many feared, but it wasn't until Magellan sailed around it that anyone actually truly proved that the world is round.
That said, Columbus braved not only the unknown seas to make his historic voyage, he braved the anger of the Inquisition, and was actually jailed as a heretic for a time for denying the church's official position that the world was flat and the sun, moon and stars revolved around it.
It may be true that Columbus and his crew were cruel to the Native Americans they discovered here, but the fact remains that they were brave enough to make the trip.
Americans have been observing the anniversary of the voyage since colonial times, but Columbus Day, became an official Federal holiday in 1937, held on October 12 to commemorate the anniversary of the first landing on the Americas. In 1971, the date of the holiday was changed to the second Monday in October.
None essential federal employees and school children have the opportunity to have a day off, but virtually no businesses close in observation of Columbus Day.
Today, few festivities are held for Columbus Day although, during the month of October, schools may dedicate lessons to teaching about Christopher Columbus. Most communities across the United States do not have any formal celebrations in place.
Some states have opted not to observe the holiday at all. Alaska, Hawaii and South Dakota do not recognize Columbus Day and, elsewhere, there is controversy surrounding whether Columbus Day should be a holiday. Some citizens of the United States argue that Christopher Columbus and his crew were cruel to the indigenous people when they arrived in the Americas.
In 2014 the Seattle (Washington) City Council voted to rename Columbus Day as Indigenous People's Day to honor the culture, heritage, and contribution of Native Americans. The holiday will continue to be celebrated on the second Monday in October.
South Dakota celebrates Native American Day instead of Columbus Day, while Hawaii has chosen to celebrate a holiday known as Discoverers' Day as a tribute to the Polynesians who discovered the islands.
While many are putting Columbus down for various reasons, others see Columbus' landing in America as somewhat akin to the Apollo landing on the Moon.
John Fiske said, "We shall be inclined to pronounce the voyage that led the way to this New World as the most epoch-making event of all that have occurred since the birth of Christ."
Edmund Arthur Helps summed it up, "Columbus had all the spirit of a crusader, and, at the same time, the investigating nature of a modern man of science."
On the other hand, Arthur Goldberg remarked that if Columbus had an advisory committee he would probably still be at the dock. Others opined that Columbus didn't know where he was going when he set sail, didn't know where he had been when he got back, and was punished by having the continent he discovered named after somebody else.
THE EGG AND YOU
Like coffee, eggs are being rehabilitated. Some scientists say eating three eggs a day has some very significant health benefits.
True, they contain cholesterol, but there are two types of cholesterol, LDL, which is bad, and HDL, which is good. HDL does not clog arteries like its evil counterpart, LDL, and, in fact, prevents LDL from building up. When we get our cholesterol tested, we should pay attention to which type they measured.
The latest research repeatedly shows that eggs do not negatively affect cholesterol levels in the blood, and that eggs actually raise HDL levels and increase the size of small LDL to make them more benign.
Eggs contain large amounts of the Lutein and Zeaxanthine, antioxidants that help your eyes by protecting your retinas from age-related eye disorders like macular degeneration and cataracts. They also safeguard your eyes from harmful UV rays from the sun.
Eggs are also rich in choline, compound that stimulates your brain and aids your memory. In pregnant women, it lowers the risk of abnormalities in the developing fetus.
If you have memory problems, are lethargic or suffer brain fog persistently, you (like 90% of the U.S. population) may be deficient in choline. One egg yolk delivers about 215 mg of choline.
Pass the eggs, please!!!
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, and this helps your bones and teeth stay strong. Vitamin D (which is really a steroid hormone) also protects against heart disease, autoimmune diseases and infections. It can even help improve your mood! One egg gives you 21% of the recommended daily value of vitamin D.
Proteins are needed by every cell in your body, and they are the building blocks of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. Protein is also essential for energy. Eggs pack so much, they are the standard by which protein is measured in other foods. Eggs also contain all of the essential amino acids, so they provide a complete protein.
When you eat eggs, you get iron for your blood, phosphorus for your bones and essential fatty acids for your brain, and supply other minerals and nutrients including magnesium, vitamin A, the B vitamins, selenium, and calcium.
With all that, some doctors still advise against eating them, and I guess Doctor knows best!
Anyway, if you're among those who are once again eating both the whites and the yolks of eggs, there are a few good ideas for using them in today's recipes.
Garden season is drawing to a close, but zucchini and lots of other veggies are still plentiful. Today we have two recipes for zucchini bread. Try them both,and take your pick. Bake a bunch of loaves now while zucchini are cheap or free, then wrap them well to have on hand for Deer Season or for Christmas giving and feasting.
ITALIAN VEGETABLE SOUP
Quick, easy, nourishing and inexpensive. What more could you want? For a really satisfying meal this goes wonderfully with grilled cheese or grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.
6 cups broth, vegetable, chicken or beef
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup cut green beans, or 1 can
1 can kidney beans
28 ounce can diced tomatoes, or 3 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups uncooked penne pasta
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cups small zucchini, scrubbed and diced, optional
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
In large pot put broth and prepared vegetables, except the spinach. (If you use canned, do not drain, just add the whole thing. Do not use canned spinach though. Changes the texture.) Bring to a boil and then stir in the tomato paste. Return to boil and simmer about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the penne and chopped spinach and cook another seven minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
BREAKFAST EGG MUFFINS
Packed with protein, dairy and good greens, this is almost a complete meal in a muffin cup! In less than an hour, only 20 minutes of actual hands-on time, make 12 muffins for nourishing snacks or breakfasts on the go. Refrigerate and reheat these mini-meals easily in microwave or toaster oven.
1/2 pound ground pork or turkey sausage
14-ounce can artichoke hearts, chopped
6 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup cooked chopped spinach, drained well
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
1 pound Fontina or other cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin papers and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cook the ground meat in a skillet over medium-high heat until brown and starting to crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. While the meat cools, whisk the eggs together in a large bowl, then add the spinach, oregano, artichoke hearts, salt, and pepper. Add the meat once it has cooled slightly so the eggs don't immediately begin to cook. Ladle the egg batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them halfway. Nestle 2-3 cheese cubes into each muffin cup. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the eggs are opaque and set. Serve warm, or reheat in a microwave or toaster oven.
SPECIAL SCRAMBLED EGGS
Interesting in a good way. Add 1/4 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce and a tablespoon of milk or half and half per two eggs and whisk everything together well. Worcestershire sauce is already really salty, so you don't need to add any more salt. You can add pepper if you like, but it's not really necessary either. In frying pan over low heat melt a tablespoon or so of butter or bacon grease. Pour in the egg mixture, and with heat still on low, cook your eggs low and slow, scraping up from the bottom and sides with a pancake turner until they are set but not over done. Add about a teaspoon of butter right at the end. The eggs develop a slightly tangy, smoky, umami-rich flavor that's unlike any scrambled egg you've ever had before. If you have Worcestershire sauce on hand anyway, give this a try. It just might become your favorite scrambled eggs recipe.
DEATH BY CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD
1/2 c. melted butter, plus more for brushing pan
1/2 c. cocoa powder, plus more for dusting pan
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. grated zucchini (from 1 large or 2-3 small)
2/3 c. chocolate chips
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
Flaky sea salt, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and dust a loaf pan with cocoa powder. In large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In another large bowl, stir together sugar, egg and egg yolk until smooth. Add melted butter and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Add zucchini, then add flour mixture in 3 additions. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts if you're using them. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake 50 minutes. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Let cool slightly in pan, then transfer to a cooling rack.
MEXICAN CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD
Lots of south of the border recipes add cinnamon to chocolate, and it's a most delicious combination.
2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate until melted. Stir occasionally until chocolate is smooth. In another dish toss chocolate chips and nuts (if you're using them) with 2 tablespoons of the flour and set aside. In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil, grated zucchini, vanilla and chocolate; beat well. Toss together the remaining flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and stir into the first mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts (if you're using them). Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean.
The Country Cousin
Thought for the week: "It's good to look back once in a while to see why things happened, but it's better to spend most of your time looking forward. There's a reason why the windshield is bigger than the rear view mirror." - advice from Coleman School District Administrator John Polomis.
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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