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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Country Cousin

Issue Date: January 10, 2018

Keeping Resolutions?...

The bitter cold in TIMESland has relented, at least a little bit. Folks have been enjoying temperatures just slightly below the freezing level for a few days, and with sunshine, too. Stars have been brilliantly beautiful on recent nights, and we've been able to stop shivering long enough to look at them. So now of course, the weather prognosticators are predicting snow, or perhaps freezing rain. Figures!

Anyway, this may be the traditional January thaw, even if things aren't thawing, so let's enjoy it while we can.

RESOLUTIONS

Lots of folks made New Year's Resolutions again this year. A fews are keeping them. (Note that the wording here did not state "a few of us".) Anyway, the year is still pretty new. Now that the holidays are over and most of the goodies are either gone or too old to eat would be a good time to get started or re-start.

Behavioral experts at HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital and Prevea Health of Oconto Falls recommend making (and keeping) resolutions that focus on improving health. They also offer some tips on maintaining those resolutions throughout the year.

Rule One is to set realistic goals. They advise if your resolution is to eat healthy, start by eliminating one unhealthy food from your diet, instead of all unhealthy foods.

Rule two is to pick one or two specific resolutions and set reachable goals for them. They say starting small increases the likelihood of success.

Rule Three calls for creating a game plan and tracking it. "Using a calendar or journal to monitor those few, challenging goals will dramatically improve your success rate," they advise.

Rule Four involves setting up a support system. Telling family and friends about your resolution gives you more confidence and a higher level of accountability. If your resolution starts to waiver, others can help keep you motivated. (Also, but they didn't mention it, your own pride may help keep you motivated.)

Finally Rule Five is to stick to it. Falling off the Resolution Route once doesn't mean you have to stay off. The exerts say it takes approximately 21 days for a new activity, such as exercising, to become a habit and six months for it to become part of your personality.

But don't let that daunt you. Take one day at a time and don't quit.

Or, simply make a resolution to be nicer to the folks around you, perhaps by paying one sincere compliment every day. Whether that compliment is paid to a family member, friend, enemy or stranger doesn't matter, as long as you look for opportunities to do it and then follow through.

You won't lose any weight that way, but you might win a few smiles and gain a new friend or two. That matters a lot!

FUN TIMES

There are a few fun outdoor events slated for the coming weeks. This may be a good time to start toughening up. Maybe you should run around outdoors a bit barefoot, wearing only a muscle shirt and workout shorts regularly to get your body acclimated.

Just kidding. But seriously, you might benefit from some sort of advance tolerance training if you plan to participate in the annual "Da Yooper Plunge," which involves a dip in the icy waters of Green Bay at the Menominee Marina (Victory Beach) to benefit the River Cities Pool Association and the DAR Boys and Girls Club of Menominee. Events there start at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27, and include Da Yooper Pooper Toilet Trot Outhouse Races, Da Yooper Plunge and Da Yooper Chill-y Cook-off

This event started in 2009 with less than 50 plungers, and incredibly the number of people crazy enough to jump in has risen each year. You don't have to get wet to join the fun. Just watch and eat chili if you like.

Elsewhere in TIMESland there are ice fishing derbies, snowmobile races, and more outdoor fun in the works. Don't miss all the winter fun. Watch the ads and read the community bulletin boards.

SUPER SUBS

A Peshtigo church youth group is hoping to travel to Texas in July by subway. Not the transit system. Not the boat. The sandwich.

You can help them get there by ordering sub sandwiches to enjoy during the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 4.

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Youth Group of Peshtigo, is selling Super Bowl Subs to help them get to the 2018 ELCA National Youth Gathering Houston, TX in July. The travel group includes seven young people and three adult chaperones.

Sandwiches are $3 each for 6" subs or $15 for 6 sandwiches, which is a real deal. Choose an American sub with ham, turkey and provolone or Italian sub with ham, pepperoni, provolone and a side of marinara sauce. They all come with lettuce, tomato and onion on the side.

Order by calling the church office at 715-582-3595, e-mailing gslcpeshtigo@centurylink.com, or at the church after services on Sunday, Jan. 21 and Jan. 27. Pick up your sandwiches at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 331 Pine St. in Peshtigo, between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 4, before you relax and enjoy the game.

Packers aren't playing, but we can watch anyway!

ON THE SOAP BOX LAWMAKER IN TRAINING

Friend Maggie tells of a recent immigrant who walks into a cafe one morning. This story has been changed to make it politically correct.

Anyway this immigrant walks into a diner . He has a shotgun in one hand and is pulling a male buffalo with the other. Says to the waiter: "Want coffee."

Waiter delivers a tall mug of coffee. Immigrant drinks it down in one gulp, turns and blasts the buffalo with the shotgun, and walks out. Buffalo parts are everywhere.

Next morning the immigrant returns. Again he has his shotgun in one hand and is dragging a male buffalo with the other.

Walks up to the counter and says: "Want coffee."

Waiter refuses. "We're still cleaning up your mess from yesterday. What was all that about, anyway?"

Immigrant smiles proudly. "Training to be a United States Senator. They tell me, "Come in, drink coffee, shoot the bull, disappear for rest of day. Leave mess for others to clean up.'"

Obviously since Maggie appreciates that. She also believes that there is no problem so great that government cannot make it worse.

Brings to mind the recent struggles Pound Village Board faced in trying to provide health insurance coverage for its two full time employees in accord with Obama Care regulations. Monthly premium for the most reasonably priced basic policy offered on the "Affordable Health Care" marketplace website exceeded the amount most folks around here earn in a month.

Health insurance wasn't nearly so expensive before government got involved and forced Obamacare on us!

Oh, yeah. Forgot. For some folks Obamacare really is cheaper, and some of them actually like it. That's because the rest of us are paying their premiums as well as our own!

COOKIN' TIME

Enjoying stir fry dishes is one way to make following a healthy diet easier. Lots of meats, veggies and healthy fats. If your diet is low carb, don't serve the stir fry mixture on rice, just enjoy as is, or eat over scrambled eggs.

Recently learned one of the secrets of good stir fry meats. It's called "velveting". Works with any type of meat or poultry, an may be the reason the meat from your Chinese takeout tastes so much more moist and tender than it does when you make it at home.

Velveting meat is simply coating the meat in a mixture of egg white, rice wine vinegar, corn starch, and salt and then letting it marinate for about 30 minutes before cooking. (When preparing meat slices for stir fry, always be sure to cut across the grain, not with it.)The meat is then briefly cooked in a mixture of boiling water and oil,  then strained and dried before stir-frying. The method works by locking in the juices and keeps the meat moist when you cook it over a high heat. It is a little more work, but the combination of the marinade and the quick blanching in hot water ensures moist and succulent chicken pieces.

Another method for velveting beef or pork is to slice the meat against the grain and then let it marinate for about 20 minutes in a paste of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and water, as described in the following recipe. You can do this with chicken too, but then marinate it in the soda paste for only about 10 minutes. Be sure thoroughly wash off all of the baking soda mixture before you proceed on to the next steps.

BEEF AND BROCCOLI STIR FRY

If you don't have a wok, just use a large heavy bottomed frying pan for the cooking. Isn't authentic, but it works. You can also add about a cup of green or red bell pepper strips about a minute after you add the broccoli to the pan. If you, do add a minute or two to the cooking time.

1 pound rump steak

4 tablespoons baking soda

2 to 3 tablespoon water (enough to form a paste)

3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the base of your knife

1 large onion, peeled and cut into strips

1 head of broccoli, florets only

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water

Slice the beef against the grain, to help the velveting process by getting into the fibers better. Make sure to remove all the white sinewy bits as they will not soften and will make the meat tough. Place the beef slices a bowl and toss with the baking soda and water until the beef pieces are coated. Cover and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes. While the meat marinates, put the rice on to cook and then prepare the other ingredients. You need to have everything ready, because things go very quickly once you start cooking. Rinse the baking soda mixture off the meat very well. Use as much water as you need to do this. Feel the beef and if there are any grains of baking soda left keep rinsing it under running water until it's smooth. Then pat dry with a couple of paper towels. Mix the cornstarch into the two tablespoons water and set aside. Place a large wok or pan on high heat and add some oil. Fry the beef, browning it until it's almost cooked through. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. Add more oil and then the onion and garlic. Fry until they are soft and translucent, but not brown. Toss in the broccoli (and bell pepper strips if you're using them). Fry, stirring constantly, for about three minutes. Add the soy sauce, sugar and beef and toss quickly and briefly until the beef is a little more done. Push aside the beef and vegetables to get to the sauce. Stir the cornstarch and water mixture again and then add it to the cooking pan and stir until the sauce boils and thickens. Stir everything back together again and turn off heat. Serve over cooked rice or rice noodles, and top with crunchy fried chow mein noodles if you like.

PORK LO MEIN

It's optional, but a good idea, to velvet the meat in advance with either the baking soda paste or by letting it marinate for about 15 minutes in a mixture of egg white, rice wine vinegar, corn starch, and salt as described above, and then letting it drain well before browning. Serve over rice instead of the noodles if you prefer.

1 (8 ounce) package linguine

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon white sugar

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 cups snap peas

1 small sweet onion, chopped

1 (12 ounce) pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips

1 (8 ounce) package sliced white mushrooms

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger, or to taste

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3 green onions, sliced

Once the meat is marinating, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook the linguine until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 to 9 minutes. Then drain. Have everything ready before you start cooking the stir fry mixture. Whisk soy sauce, vinegar, cornstarch, sugar, and sesame oil together in a small bowl. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook and stir snap peas, mushrooms and onion in the hot oil until onion is softened, about 2 minutes. Add pork, red bell pepper, 1 clove garlic, and ginger. Cook until the pork is no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Mix the remaining two cloves of garlic into the pork mixture and cook for one more minute. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the pork mixture, and then cook and stir until sauce thickens and boils, about 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat. Serve over noodles. Sprinkle green onion slices on each serving.

MAPLE CINNAMON BREAKFAST BARS

Make these ahead, then wrap individually and freeze for a quick to-go meal. Be sure to use real pure Maple Syrup, not the maple flavored pancake syrup. Maple syrup has lots of nutrients, and has to be good for you. Look how tall and strong it makes the maple trees grow! These bars are definitely high carb, but very healthy otherwise, and gluten free. Great for after school snacks or breakfast on the run for active kids. Am told that pretty much all oatmeal is now gluten free, but if you're really touchy, check with the manufacturer to be sure. Had a friend so allergic to peanuts that he almost died after eating a sweet roll fried in peanut oil.

2 1/2 cups certified gluten free old fashioned oatmeal, divided

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cu milk, any kind

1 cup mashed banana (about one large)

1/4 cup real maple syrup plus 2 additional tablespoons

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup pecans, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8" baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside. Put 1 cup old fashioned oats into a food processor or blender and process until oats have turned into flour. Set aside. (Alternatively you could use a scant cup oat flour if you have it.) Put milk, mashed banana, maple syrup, coconut oil, egg, and vanilla into a large bowl then whisk to combine. Add remaining 1-1/2 cups oats, oat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt then stir to combine. Fold in chopped pecans then pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the center has set. Check after 25 minutes, and if the edges are browning too quickly, cover the baking pan with a piece of foil. Cool, then slice into bars. Store in the fridge, or wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze. Friend who passed along this recipe says she likes to microwave her bar for about 15 seconds before eating, and then enjoys it with a nice cold glass of milk.

Thought for the week: Lord, please help me to master the art of giving advice without giving offense, and to know when to speak up and when to clam up. Amen.

Country Cousin

(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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