Country CousinIssue Date: July 8, 2020
Drink, Drink, Drink...
Once again, the coming week in TIMESLand will be filled with hot days and balmy nights. There is only a little rain in the forecasts, and no severe storms are predicted. The weather professionals are talking highs of 90 on some of the days (with none below 80), and at least a week where nighttime temperatures do not drop below 60. No sweatshirts required for evening campfires. Will be humid, too, so fire up the grill for outdoor cooking, keep that air conditioner blowing, drink lots of water, and get to one of our beautiful beaches to cool off as often as you can.
DRINK, DRINK, DRINK
Not talking here about wild parties with lots of Red Solo Cups to measure drinks in. Talking about the need to stay hydrated to stay healthy during this or any other hot spell.
Dehydration is particularly dangerous for elderly adults, infants and very young children, but can affect anyone. When it's hot (or when it's extremely cold outside), remember to drink plenty of non-caffeinated liquids, especially plain old water. If you've been sweating profusely it's a good idea to include some sports drinks to replenish supplies of electrolytes and essential minerals like sodium and potassium. However, avoid liquor, colas, coffee and sugary sodas. They're liquids, but they help deplete the body's water supply because they're also diuretics.
Drink lots of water - preferably not ice cold. Brothy soups are excellent summer fare, and there's a good reason lemonade is such a popular summer drink. Citrus fruits are great at helping your body replenish its internal water supply, and soups, especially homemade, supply liquid, salt, potassium and lots of minerals.
When you're dehydrated, your body dips into its stores of carbohydrates stored in your body, and wants you to get busy replacing them, so you're likely to start feeling hungry and craving sweets, when in fact you're actually thirsty instead. Don't reach for candy if its very hot and you feel a craving. Drink a tall glass of water or eat some juicy fresh fruit, or do both. Tonic water is also good, but avoid overly sugary drinks.
If your urine is dark yellow instead of light, it's too concentrated. If you feel cold when you should be warm, your body may be fighting off dehydration by slowing blood flow to the surface. In either case, give your body more liquids.
Read on one web site that a "skin test" is another way to find out if you're sufficiently hydrated. Pinch the skin on the top of your hand. If it moves back quickly, fine. If it moves back slowly, you're probably mildly to moderately dehydrated. If the skin seems to stick together, meaning that it "tents," this is a sign of severe dehydration and you need to take up drinking - water - immediately.
If you start feeling dizziness, extreme exhaustion, muscle spasms or charley horses, the situation may be getting serious. Drink water, preferably not ice cold, and sip frequently rather than huge glasses at one time. Drink milk, lemonade or a sports drink. Eat an orange or some chunks of watermelon. And eat yogurt. Plain yogurt contains about 85 to 88 percent water and is loaded with potassium and sodium. Add some juicy fruit to it for an extra boost.
Had a very uncomfortable experience myself with dehydration a few days ago. Had simply forgotten to drink water, and had forgotten to eat. Had lots of coffee though. Woke up with horrendous leg cramps that wouldn't go away, and dizziness struck when I tried to walk them off.
As I leaned against the counter to keep upright, common sense struck. Drink water! Poured a glass, drank some, and realized only then that I was thirsty! Downed the first glass, which fortunately was at room temperature, and poured another one. Started feeling better in about 15 minutes, so drank still another one and then went back to bed.
Have read that long-term dehydration can cause a whole host of long-term health problems for your kidneys, heart and brain. Severe dehydration, long-term or not, is life threatening. It can cause a reduction in the amount of blood our bodies produce and result in hypovolemic shock, which is one of the most serious and sometimes life-threatening, complications of dehydration. It occurs when low blood volume causes a drop in blood pressure and a drop in the amount of oxygen in your body.
So yes, I'm being a spoilsport. The message is to eat, drink and be healthy when it's hot, provided the drinks are non-alcoholic, not overly sugary, and do not contain caffeine.
RED SOLO CUPS
Many, maybe most, of us have had drinks out of those red solo cups.
Just learned that the ridged lines on those cups have a purpose: the line closest to the bottom measures one ounce, which is equivalent to one shot of hard liquor. No shot glass needed. The next line up is at five ounces, which is the perfect amount of mixer to add for a mixed drink with one shot. The line at the top marks 12 ounces, the standard size of one beer. Handy if you're serving from a keg or a quart bottle.
ON THE SOAP BOX PROUD TO BE AMERICANS?
Recently read an opinion piece on a survey of how high school and college students feel about America. It was written by Wisconsin's own former Governor Scott Walker, and printed in the Washington Times, a conservative daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.
Walker comments: "The chaos and destruction across the country seen over the past month have left many people wondering if the majority of us - particularly younger citizens - are proud to be Americans." He cited statistics in a poll of 800 high school and 800 college-age students. The study was commissioned by Young America's Foundation and conducted by Echelon Insights between June 21 and 26, 2020.
Walker cited results showing that most young people still love our country and what it stands for, but the favorable percentage drops very sharply between high school and college.
Only 55 percent of high school students and 37 percent of college students agreed that America is: "A country that is a good example for other countries."
If the students polled were chosen impartially, those results leave me wondering if our college students are being provided with good factual information or anti-American propaganda. Maybe it's a good thing that the coronavirus shutdowns brought a 45 percent drop this spring in the number of high school seniors who applied for financial assistance to attend college.
Anyway, Walker said 88% of the high school students and 69% of the college students said they were very or somewhat favorable to the U.S.A, while 91% of high school students and 73% of college students were very or somewhat favorable to the American flag.
He cited similar drops in the percentages who would describe our nation as "a country that is exceptional and unique," and "a country that offers opportunity for all who work for it,"
For the phrases, "a country that values justice" and "a country that values equality," high school students listed support at 56% and 52% while college students were at 37% and 34%."
Walker found it interesting that, despite those opinions, 85% of the high school students and 74% of the college students believed in the statement: "If I work hard, I will have the opportunity to succeed in life."
Based on those numbers, he observed, "Whether they call it that or not, our young people still believe in the American Dream."
"Asked if they were glad to live in the United States of America, 85% of high school students said they strongly or somewhat agreed, while only 73% of the college-age respondents said the same thing," Walker wrote. I wonder where the other 27 percent would rather live?
When asked about the statement, "Lots of people from around the world would love the opportunity to move to the United States of America," 88% of high school students and 77% of college students strongly or somewhat agreed.
Walker's article continued, "The students' top reasons why people would want to come to our country? Good job opportunities, our freedoms, and constitutional rights, and the ability to strive for "the American dream.' Not exactly what we see in the news or on social media these days," he commented.
On the statement, "Americans should be proud of their country," 79% of high school students strongly or somewhat agreed, while the percentage for college students was only 60.
"Our young people, particularly those in high school, are more patriotic than the media and social media makes them out to be these days," Walker continued. "The good news is that the fundamentals are there as young people understand the concept of the American Dream. They believe that working hard can lead to success and they believe the United States offers opportunities for those who work hard."
Walker added: "At the same time, the survey reveals the influence of students by left-wing professors and activists on college campuses. Unfortunately, many incoming freshmen are overwhelmed with negative views about America once they arrive for classes."
Firmly agree with Gov. Walker's conclusion: "An objective view of U.S. and world history, along with basic economics, will affirm the strengths of our country and reveal the ongoing fight to provide liberty and prosperity for all. From ev'ry mountainside, let freedom ring! These are the founding principles we celebrate."
Also firmly believe if students were taught more real history through all their school years their opinions of our nation would be much higher, and that subversive professors biased against the nation that supports them should be replaced, or at least balanced by others who understand enough about history to really teach it. And believe history lessons in grades K-12 should give students enough knowledge to resist the false arguments put forth by communist/socialist professors who hate personal freedom and individual opportunity.
Yes, our nation is a work in progress, but if we as a nation learn from errors of the past, we can move on to a better future. If our past history is hidden, destroyed and distorted, future generations are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.
The great men who founded our nation were not perfect, but they were exceptional for their day, statesmen who negotiated the wonderful Constitution our nation was founded on and led the world down the path to freedom from tyrannical monarchies.
Most of us use more fresh fruits and vegetables now than we do in the winter months, and serve more of them raw. They often come with pesticides and other contaminations from the humans who picked and handled them, so they need to be cleaned well, especially if they're to be used for a salad that will stand for a while.
Many believe the best way is to soak your produce in a bowl with one teaspoon of baking soda per two cups of water. Others say mix the water with a quarter cup of vinegar. Either way, after soaking briefly, swish them around a bit or scrub with a clean damp sponge or veggie brush and they're good to go!
If you don't have a garden of your own, or enough friends that do, UWEX personnel have compiled a local produce guide that includes a map showing the location of growers in Marinette, Oconto and Florence counties who sell their own home-grown produce directly to the public. The guide, posted on the UWEX web site, includes a map and a list of what is being sold where, with names and phone numbers so you can be sure the produce you want to buy is available before driving all the way there only to find that they're sold out for the day.
Makes eight luscious burgers. Made for serving on buns with ketchup, pickles, etc., but also delicious grilled and served as a hamburger steak on a plate with a grill-baked potato, sour cream and a fresh vegetable salad.
2 pieces white bread, crusts removed
1/3 cup milk
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
3 pounds 80% lean ground beef
2 green onions, very finely sliced (optional)
8 thin ice cubes
8 hamburger buns, split
Butter for the buns
Preheat grill to high and oil the grates. Cut the bread into quarter-inch cubes. In a large bowl, mash the bread and milk together with a fork until they form a chunky paste. Add the salt, pepper, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup and mix well. Add the ground beef and green onions and, with your hands in rubber gloves, mix everything together until just combined. Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions and form each into a ball with an ice cube in the center. Flatten the balls into 3/4-inch patties about 4-1/2 inches across, with the ice cube completely covered with meat. Form a slight depression in the center of each patty to prevent the burgers from puffing up on the grill. Grill the burgers, covered, until nicely browned on the first side, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip and continue cooking for a few minutes more until done as you like. While the burgers cook, butter cut surfaces of the buns and toast them. Have toppings available, and let everybody add their own - pickles, mustard, ketchup, sliced or diced onions, and perhaps mayo, lettuce and tomato slices.
GRILLED YUKON GOLDS
If you can't get baby Yukon Golds, tiny red potatoes work well also. Cut any defects out while you're cleaning them. You can par-boil and refrigerate the potatoes a day ahead if you want to, but put into the sauce mixture and then bring them to room temperature before cooking time.
1 pound baby Yukon gold potatoes
1/4 cup real mayonnaise, not low fat
1/4 Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, optional
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, also optional
Wash potatoes and put them in a medium pot with the tablespoon of salt and enough water to cover by an inch. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 12 minutes. Drain the potatoes; then place them back in the pan and run under cold water to cool. Preheat grill to medium-high. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, remaining teaspoon salt, pepper, garlic and thyme. Drain the potatoes and slice them in half into the mayonnaise sauce mixture. Toss to coat evenly, taking care not to smash the potatoes. Clean and oil the grill grate. Place the potatoes on it, cut side down, for about three minutes or until nice grill marks show. Turn over and grill another three minutes or so, until crisp and golden all over. Put potatoes in serving dish and sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
GRILLED PEACHY PUDDING
Use four halves of canned peaches if you don't have fresh ones. To make this indoors, broil the peach halves 4 inches from heat under the oven broiler.
4 large egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 medium peaches, halved and pitted
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 potato dinner rolls, halved
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup caramel sundae syrup
Sweetened whipped cream, optional
In a small bowl, whisk the first five ingredients until blended; refrigerate until assembling. Shortly before time to prepare the dessert, heat the grill to medium heat, or turn it down a bit if you were cooking the main dish on high. Brush the peach halves with butter, place on oiled grates and grill, covered, over medium heat until lightly browned, 5-6 minutes, turning once. Grill the rolls, uncovered, until lightly browned, 3-4 minutes, turning once. Cool slightly. Cut the peaches and rolls into 3/4-inch cubes. In a large bowl, combine peaches and brown sugar and stir in bread cubes. Spoon into 12 well-greased, disposable individual aluminum muffin cup liners in muffin tin. Pour egg mixture into muffin cups on top of the peach/bread mixture. Push the coals to one side, because you need to cook these over indirect heat. Place the muffin tin on the grates over the part of the grill with no coals and grill, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until a thermometer reads at least 160 degrees. Cool in pan at least 5 minutes before serving Serve with caramel syrup and, if desired, whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Thought for the week: Never pass up an opportunity to do a good deed. As we get older we begin to realize that our fondest memories are connected not with nice things we have done for ourselves, but with the nice things we have been able to do for someone else, or the nice things people have done for us. Conversely, the sharpest pains in life are to be found in the helping hand we didn't extend, the words of comfort we didn't speak. Lord, help me respond to opportunities to do good when they are offered and to realize that sometimes a day later is too late. Amen.
(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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