Country CousinIssue Date: October 18, 2017
The Spooks Are Out...
We're still having some mighty fine weather for mid-October, but winter's chill is definitely in the air, and some, but not all, of TIMESland has had some killing frosts. Have you noticed how much earlier darkness is setting in?
Jack-O-Lanterns, scarecrows, haunts and witches are showing up all over. There are corn mazes and haunted houses to visit. Halloween lights at some homes are almost as impressive as those we enjoy at Christmas.
It's time for a traditional Oktoberfest! Saint Thomas Aquinas Academy in Marinette is hosting their annual celebration and dinner on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017 in the High School gym. This is always a great event, with lots of fun and wonderful food. A traditional German buffet will be served served from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., featuring pork roast, sauerkraut, German potato salad, vegetables, mashed potatoes, and a variety of side dishes. It is finished with a decadent Black Forest torte. A variety of beverages will be available. Before and after dinner there will be timeto win some great prizes, and dancing completes the evening.
Kudos and thanks to some honest citizen and Fae Olson of Marinette County Sheriffs Department for quick and caring response that saved a young woman from Crivitz a great many headaches and heartaches.
On Thursday, Oct. 12 the woman and her 2-year-old daughter were in Marinette, taking care of some last minutes business. Early the next morning they were to board a plane for Reno, Nev. where they would join her spouse. He had gone there in July to start a new job and set up a new home for the three of them.
In her wallet were credit cards, ID cards and the plane tickets.
While buckling the little one into her car seat after a farewell lunch at the Chinese restaurant she set her wallet on the roof of her car. Left it there and drove off.
Unaware that the wallet was gone, she started the drive back to Crivitz. She doesn't know the rest of the story, but somewhere along the way, probably still in the parking lot, the wallet and the car parted company. A conscientious passerby found it and delivered it to either a nearby deputy or directly to the Sheriff's Department at the county Law Enforcement Center.
There was no phone number on papers in the wallet, but Olson recognized the family name on the ID, realized she probably knew the grandmother, whose phone number she happened to have. Called her to be sure. She was right. Grandma provided the phone number, and the young woman got the call that her wallet was found before she even knew she lost it.
She was only about half way back to Crivitz. Turned around, retrieved the wallet, boarded the plane as planned on Friday, and is now safely in Reno. She and her family extend sincere thanks to the honest person who found the wallet, to whatever officers were involved, and to Olson, for caring enough to track her down.
This quick return of the wallet may or may not be a minor miracle, but a prayer of thanks to the Man Upstairs seems to also be in order.
Sympathy goes out to State Rep. John Nygren of Marinette for the heartache he must feel over the fate of their daughter, Cassandra. Thanks to choosing bad company and using bad drugs, she is charged with a double homicide and faces the very real possibility of spending most of her remaining years in prison.
Only 28 years old, Cassandra (Cassie) will have to live with the knowledge that drugs she apparently helped produce and sell caused the death of a pregnant mother and her unborn child.
Addiction is a wicked and cruel companion. During her sober periods, Cassandra Nygren has been a strong spokesperson against drug use, but she kept going back to it.
Hopefully, some young people tempted by the drug scene will look at what happened to her, or rather, what she did to herself, and decide not to take that path to perdition.
And hopefully, her father will continue his efforts to help other addicts win their battle over the cruel master to whom they have given their lives.
ON THE SOAP BOX
WISHING FOR STRAIGHT UP NEWS!
President Donald Trump and his lovely First Lady, Melania, are another couple that has been working to stem the tide of drug addiction in this country.
On Tuesday, Oct. 10, Melania Trump visited Lily's Place, an infant recovery center in Huntington, West Virginia, that helps families dealing with drug addiction, more specifically babies born with drug addictions and their mothers. It was her first visit with affected families since her husband took office, and reportedly her first solo participation in a round table discussion that involved her position as First Lady.
"I want to be here to support you and give a voice to Lily's Place and also for the opioid epidemic," Mrs. Trump said to those in the discussion, adding that it is a "passion" of hers to help children and open the conversation about opioid abuse.
Her husband, President Donald Trump, in case you've forgotten, has said fighting the opioid abuse epidemic in this country would be one of his priorities as president.
So what was the "Yahoo" headline about Melania's visit to Lily's Place? A critique of her shoes! And what was the sidelight article? A report on a verbal feud between the First Lady and her husband's ex-wife, Ivanka, who appears to have started it.
It would be so refreshing to open a newspaper or magazine or website without seeing a pseudo-news report bashing something our president, vice president or first lady have done.
Some of us remember when John Kennedy was president and Jackie-O was his First Lady. He was a multi-millionaire, and not even self-made, as Trump is. Jackie had a style all her own, and was saluted for it, not insulted.
Whether we agreed with Kennedy's political positions or not, we respected him and Jackie as the leaders of our land, the faces that other nations see when they look at our nation.
So it should be with the Trumps. Melania is a most attractive First Lady, obviously not totally comfortable with being so much in the political spotlight.
Only a jealous female could not find her lovely to look at. If she can manage those super spike heels, more power to her. Those of us who can't toddle around in that kind of shoe shouldn't spite her because she can! Petty jealousy from folks in the media is highly visible and extremely unattractive!
So the polls say Trump's popularity keeps going down. Guess the twisted media types believe if they keep repeating a lie often enough, people will believe it. (Think Hitler was one of those who said that in past history.)
Remember, those same pollsters and political observers telling us that we hate Trump also said he didn't have a chance to win the election? They were wrong then too!
Does the national press have no shame? Those poor substitutes for journalists wouldn't say a nice thing about the Trumps if they had single handedly rescued every hurricane survivor in Texas.
Hang in there, Mr. President. Do what we elected you to do!
If some of the other Republicans who got elected would work with you and try keeping their campaign promises along with yours we could all be happy.
Am willing to bet that eventually, if things get done as they should be done, and conditions then improve across the nation as they absolutely will, even those who voted on the other side last November will be glad they didn't win. A few of them might even admit it!
Now is a good time to plant new trees and shrubs and apply a layer of mulch around the plants to keep the soil moist. Incidentally, do not add mulch around established bushes and flower or bulb beds to prevent winter damage until after the ground freezes.
Till the soil in your vegetable garden now to help reduce pests next spring, and remove any plant debris from your garden to eliminate pests. Test your garden soil if you have not already done so, and make any necessary changes to improve it for next spring.
COOKIN " TIME
There are a few recipes today that you may find handy if you're planning a Halloween party, either for adults or kids. When carving Jack-O-Lanterns, don't forget to save and clean the seeds for roasting. And keep in mind that eventually the Jack-O-Lantern could make some very good pie or other treat. (By the way, the cleaned seeds can also be dried and strung on fishing leader for "teeth" to dress up Halloween costumes.)
Pop some potatoes in the oven while it cooks, along with a foil packet of fresh or frozen green beans with a sprinkle of water and some butter, salt and pepper, and you'll have a whole meal with no fuss at all.
2 to 4 tablespoons butter
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small onion, finely chopped
to 2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic (or to taste)
1 small red or green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme (can use more)
1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
1 1/4 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup ketchup or chili sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded or finely diced
2 teaspoons seasoned salt (or to taste)
1-2 teaspoons black pepper (or to taste)
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Put in the mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, garlic and thyme and sauté for about 6 minutes. Let it cool for a bit, then add all remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. (the original recipe says "with clean hands", but I'm going to assume you know that.) Place mixture into 9x5-inch loaf pan and set it in the oven on a baking sheet to catch possible spills. Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
"Tis the season to preserve the fruits of the fall! What could be better than Apple Butter made with nice ripe, tart, juicy apples? This isn't quite what grandma used to make, but it's easy and very good. Wouldn't jars of this special treat make wonderful little Christmas gifts? Recipe makes about eight cups of great old time flavor.
5 cups prepared apples (just over 4 pounds to start)
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 box Sure Jell fruit pectin
1/4 teaspoon butter
6 cups sugar
Have ready eight 1-cup containers, with lids and rings rinsed and sterilized. Use McIntosh, Cortland, Empire, Beacon or Granny Smith apples for best results. Quarter the apples and core, being sure to cut away the blossom and stem parts also. Put pieces into a 4-quart saucepan, add water and lemon juice, stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until apples are tender, stirring occasionally. Put mixture through food mill or coarse strainer, forcing pulp through with a wooden spoon. Discard the peels. (Grandma never wasted anything. She used to re-boil the peels and use the resulting juice to make apple jelly. But that's another story.) Measure exactly 5 cups prepared fruit into a 6 or 8 quart sauce pot. Stir in the cinnamon. Stir in the pectin and add butter to stop the foaming, if desired. Bring to a full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in the sugar. Return to a full rolling boil and boil exactly one minute, stirring constantly. Use a metal spoon to skim off any foam. Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of the top. Wipe jar rims and threads with a very clean cloth or paper towel. Cover with 2-piece lids, screwing bands on tightly. To be sure the apple butter stays good, process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. To do this, put the jars upright in a canner rack and lower into the canner which is partly filled with hot water. Add more hot water if needed to bring to an inch or two over the tops of the jars. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. Once the jars are cool check to be sure they have sealed by pressing the middle of the lid. If it goes down and springs back the jar is not sealed and must be refrigerated. It's still good to eat, but use the unsealed jar first.
CINNAMON RED HOT APPLESAUCE
It's still harvest time for apples. If you're making apple butter, try a variation on flavor. Instead of your usual spices use 1/2 cup red cinnamon candies and 1 tablespoon cinnamon for every 10 cups apples, along with the regular amount of sugar. Gives a perky flavor and a pretty pink color. Makes a refreshing taste treat alone or mixed about half and half with cottage cheese.
WITCHES BREW PUNCH
12 ounces orange juice concentrate, frozen
12 ounces white grape juice
2 large bottles 7-Up
1 pint sherbet, orange, lemon or lime
green food coloring
Mix together orange juice, white grape juice, 7-Up, sherbet, and several drops of green food coloring. If desired, serve with large, buoyant, and well-washed plastic spiders or other creepy crawlies on the top! For an even better effect, make some ice cubes with creepy crawlies frozen inside. Be sure they're big enough that no one will swallow them. For an adult party you can add rum, tequila or vodka to the mix.
These cook up a nice, ghastly white, and taste great alone, with ice cream, or dipped into a cauldron of melted chocolate or Creamy Pumpkin Dip. Be sure to do the preparations before you beat up the bones, because they won't hold.
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and salt until foamy. Gradually, one spoonful at a time, add the sugar, beating well after each addition so that the sugar is completely dissolved and absorbed into the meringue. The mixture should not feel grainy. Continue beating until the meringue stands up in glossy, firm peaks when you lift the beaters out of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla. Spoon the meringue into a pastry decorating bag with a plain round tip approximately 3/8-inch, no smaller than 1/4-inch. If you don't have a pastry bag, put the mixture into a zipper-type plastic bag and then cut a small diagonal bit off one corner. Pipe 3-inch bone shapes (one long line with two rounded blobs on each end.) Pipe all the meringue at once because it cannot be baked in batches " it will deflate if it sits too long. Put the cookie sheets in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour. Do not open the oven door. Again without opening the oven door, turn the heat off and let the meringues remain in the oven for 1 more hour to dry and crisp. Remove from cookie sheets carefully while still a bit warm. You don't want any broken bones!
Absolutely too easy! Ready in 10 minutes. Make with artificial sweetener if you like. Use this as a dip for the bones. Makes three cups. Also good with graham crackers, Nilla wafers, and the like. This is a great healthy and easy snack for the kids that you can keep on hand in the fridge for a while.
16 ounces canned pumpkin
8 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Powdered sugar or artificial sweetener to taste
In a food processor, mix the pumpkin, cream cheese, salt and pumpkin pie spice until smooth. Add sugar to taste until desired sweetness is reached. It may need to be at room temperature to be soft enough to dip without hurting the fragile bones, or provide knives for spreading if necessary.
Thought for the week: Taken from a Lakota Sioux prayer: "I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy - myself. Make me always ready to come to You with clean hands and straight eyes, so when life fades, as the fading sunset, my Spirit may come to You without shame."
(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. Contacted her by phone at 715-291-9002 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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