Country CousinIssue Date: February 16, 2022
Buds Are Showing
After brutal cold for almost a week temperatures have moderated and Wednesday morning, at nearly 30 degrees, felt almost like shirtsleeve weather.
Despite the continued zero-degree weather, trees know spring is coming. Twigs on our wise old oak, which has stood through more than a hundred winters, are already showing new leaf buds. Yes indeed. Spring will come!
GOOD OLD SERVICE
Anyone else remember how it was, back when service stations were service stations?
When you pulled in to get gas, a friendly attendant would come over to help. He would put in as much gas as you wanted, and while it pumped he'd wash your windshield, and even check the oil and pressure in the tires if you asked him to.
Well, we can all sample that good old service station service - or at least the pumping gas part - from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the three service stations in Peshtigo on Sunday, February 20. Volunteers from Peshtigo Police Department, Marinette County Sheriff's Department and perhaps other area police forces will be doing the volunteer "service station" work in return for contributions to their "Pumping for a Purpose" fund raiser for two families in Peshtigo whose children are battling cancer.
On Monday, Feb. 21, some Federal government workers and a few others in the labor force get a paid day off because of President's Day. The rest of us don't have much to celebrate.
Remember when Feb. 12 used to be Abraham Lincoln's Birthday and Feb. 22 was George Washington's Birthday, and they were national holidays, and we all paid tribute to those great men individually?
ON THE SOAP BOX
THE BUFFETT RULE
Remember the line in that country song, "What would Jimmy Buffett do?"
Well, he reportedly came up with some answers for what to do about Congress. Haven't researched this information for myself, but it came from long-time friend Dave Kipp, who generally does his homework.
He says for starters, salaries and benefits could be changed, to bring our elected officials into line with the real world.
Right now, salaries are:
Retired US Presidents $180,000 for life
House/Senate members $174,000 for life
Speaker of the House $223,500 for life
Majority / Minority Leaders $193,400 for life
Average Teacher Salary $40,065 when working
Average Salary Soldier $38,000 when deployed
In an interview with CNBC, Buffett offered one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling: "I could end the deficit in five minutes. You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3 percent of gross daily product, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election."
Kipp's comments included suggestions for a new Amendment to the Constitution to repair and replace the double standard through which our Federal legislators are immune from many of the laws they impose on the rest of us.
He noted the 26th Amendment (granting the right for 18 year-olds to vote) took only three months and eight days to be ratified! And that was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.
Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land - all because of public pressure.
There are proposals out there to end the "for life" pay for legislators, and to make them participate in Social Security like the the rest of us. It's called the Congressional Reform Act of 2022.
Serving in Congress should be an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and go back to work.
Anybody ready to follow through?
We get all kinds of advice on how to keep looking young, but Michael Pritchard one of the unsung philosophers of our day, had advice on how to really stay young. No matter the problems you face, look at the bright side, and seek the humor, and keep laughing. "You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing," he said.
Heard about a man who asked his wife if she would still love him when he was old and wrinkled.
"Of course I do," was her reply.
I understand they're still speaking.
Hollywood makeup artists often offer advice on how to look more beautiful. The late, great Audrey Hepburn - star of Breakfast at Tiffany's" and countless other hit movies of previous decades - has been cited by some publications as the most beautiful woman of all time. At her funeral services in 1993, some of her favorite lines by author Sam Levinson were recited by her son, Sean Frerrer. They contain advice on staying beautiful inside, where it counts.
For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you'll never walk alone.
The tender. loving c are of human beings will never become obsolete.
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed and redeemed and redeemed.
Never throw out anybody.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find it at the end of our arm. As you grow older, you'll find that you have two hands - one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.
And, finally, "Your "good old days' are still ahead of you. May you have many of them."
Thank you, Mr. Levinson.
Fuel costs keep rising, and it's good to conserve in any case. If you're using the oven, cook an entire meal at one time. In fact, plan ahead and cook dinner for tomorrow, too, so you just have to nuke when the family gathers. (Or when you get hungry, whichever comes first.)
GARLIC ROASTED VEGETABLES
Company special and almost too easy. Do these when the oven is on anyway, to cook whatever meat will go with them. These veggies go great with meat loaf, baked chicken, beef roast, whatever. We're told to expect shortages of a variety of things, partly due to the trucking protests, and we may need to do some substituting, and this is a very forgiving recipe. No rutabagas? Leave them out. No zucchini? Use summer squash, cut up winter squash, or whatever is available. No Brussels Sprouts, or don't like them? Toss some cut-up asparagus with the other veggies for the last 10 minutes. 1/4 cup olive oil, divided 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 3 cloves garlic, not peeled 2 large parsnips (or one rutabaga) 1 sweet or red onion 4 small potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold 1/2 pound carrots 1 cup quartered brussels sprouts 2 zucchini 2 yellow squash Slice parsnips or rutabaga and onion, Cut potatoes and carrots into bite-size chunks and cut the Brussels Sprouts in half. Slice the squashes. (Feel free to mix and match with other vegetables if you prefer. Mushrooms are really good in this.) Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a large baking sheet with sides toss the garlic, pepper, parsnips and/or rutabaga, onion, potatoes and carrots with three tablespoons of the olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, add the squash slices and Brussels Sprouts and toss again. Return to oven and bake for 20 more minutes, or until the vegetables are all fork tender. Remove the garlic and put the rest of the veggies into a serving dish large enough to toss them around a bit. Slip the peel off the garlic and mash it into the remaining oil. Toss with the veggies, season to taste with salt and pepper, and then enjoy.
GERMAN SAUSAGE AND CABBAGE
Learned when looking up this recipe that "mettwurst" in German means minced pork without bacon. You could also use bratwurst or good-quality ring bologna for this dish.
2 rings smoked sausage, like Mettwurst, or 8 German-Style sausages of any kind
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 medium head green cabbage, cored and chopped to make 8 to 10 cups
1 large sweet apple, cored and cut into half-inch pieces
1 large garlic clove, crushed or minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon water
Salt and pepper to taste
More cider vinegar in a cruet, to serve as seasoning
Boiled whole red or yellow potatoes, for serving
Additional mustard for serving
Cut the smoked sausage into 2-inch slices and brown slightly with the oil in a large skillet with a lid. If you're using another type of sausage, prepare according to package instructions, remove from pan and set aside to keep warm. In the same skillet, over medium heat, add the onion and cook until just softened. Add the cabbage, stir, cover, and cook until it starts to get tender, perhaps 20 minutes. (If the cabbage doesn't all fit at once, put what you can in the pan and add the rest when it cooks down, which it will. While this cooks, mix the garlic, mustard, vinegar and 1 tablespoon water in a small container. Once the cabbage softens and cooks down, add this mixture and the apple to the pan and stir to combine. Cook, covered, for another 10 minutes or so, until the cabbage are softened to your taste. Add salt and pepper if necessary.
CHOCOLATE CHERRY POKE CAKE
The story about president George Washington chopping down the old cherry tree turned out to be false, but regardless, cherry desserts have come to symbolize his day. Celebrate our first president with this easy and delicious dessert. 1 loaf (16 ounces) frozen pound cake, thawed 3/4 cup boiling water 1 package (3 ounces) cherry flavor gelatin 1/4 cup cold water 1 ounce semisweet chocolate 2 cups whipped cream or thawed whipped topping, divided 1 1/2 cups cherry pie filling, divided
Buy the kind of cake that comes in a foil baking pan. Remove lid from the cake package. Do not remove cake from the pan. Pierce cake with a skewer at 1/2-inch intervals, poking skewer through cake to bottom of pan, but be sure not to puncture the pan. Add boiling water to the gelatin mix in small bowl; stir for two minutes, until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water; pour over cake. Refrigerate for an hour or longer, if you want to. Meanwhile, make curls from semisweet chocolate. (See tip below.) Invert cake onto platter. Cut cake horizontally in half. Spread bottom half of cake with 1/3 cup whipped topping; cover with 1 cup pie filling and top cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake with remaining whipped topping. Garnish with remaining pie filling and chocolate curls.
To Make Chocolate Curls: Microwave chocolate on HIGH a few seconds to warm it slightly. Draw vegetable peeler slowly over flat bottom of chocolate to form thin curls. Place on waxed paper-covered plate. Refrigerate until ready to use. Make up to 12 hours ahead of time.
FILLET OF BEEF SMOTHERED WITH
Excellent main dish with red beans, rice and a mixed green salad or cooked greens.
1 fillet of beef (or any nice roast, preferably boneless)
1 tablespoon flour
8-ounce can sliced mushrooms
6 onions, sliced fine
1 tablespoon lard
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups hot water
Salt, pepper and cayenne to taste
1/3 cup sherry, white wine (optional)
16-ounce can stewed tomatoes
Salt and pepper the fillet and pat on the flour. Melt the tablespoon lard and in it brown the meat slowly on all sides. Remove the meat and in the same pan brown together the mushrooms, onions and garlic. Add the thyme and bay leaves, and remaining ingredients except the tomatoes and stir. Return the meat and smother it with the mixture in the pan. Let simmer for about half an hour, then add the tomatoes and their juice. Let the mixture simmer for an hour and a half longer, season well and serve, pouring the gravy over the fillet. Sometime before the simmering is done taste so you can correct seasonings if needed.
SWEET POTATO PUDDING
Delicious! Keep this in mind also for Easter dinner. It's marvelous with ham. And you can make it the day ahead.
2 cups mashed or grated raw sweet potatoes
1/2 pound sugar
1/2 pound butter
8 eggs, separated
1 orange, juice and grated rind
1 lemon, juice and grated rind
1/4 teaspoon each of salt, ground mace, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg
2 tablespoons brandy (optional but good)
1/2 cup sherry (optional but good)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. In a large separate bowl beat the butter and sugar until creamy, add the egg yolks and beat some more. Add the grated or mashed sweet potatoes, spices, lemon and orange juice and rinds. (I prefer it with only a little grated rind.) If you're not using the sherry add an extra half cup of orange juice. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Turn into a buttered baking pan, and let the pudding bake in a moderate oven for three-quarters of an hour. Serve hot or cold, with cream, ice cream or a cream sauce if desired. The cream sauce can be sweetened or not, as you prefer.
RED BEANS & RICE
We're told just about every New Orleans native has his own method of cooking Red Beans and Rice, and believes his way is the best. This is one of them. And it is good. by the way, serving beans and rice together makes a complete protein similar in value to meat. Make it without the ham or salt pork and add a spoon of lard instead and you have a fine meatless dish.
1 quart dried red beans
1 medium onion
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound ham or salt pork, diced
Salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
Water as needed
2 cups cooked rice
Wash the beans and soak them over night, or at least five to six hours, in fresh, cold water. When ready to cook, drain off this water and put the beans in a pot of at least two quarts cold water. Let the water heat slowly to simmering, then add the ham or salt pork and the herbs, onion and carrot, everything minced fine except the bay leaf, which you will remove later. Boil the beans at least two hours or until tender enough to mash easily with a fork. Mix in the cooked white rice. Or remove from the pot, put the salt meat or ham on top, and serve hot as a vegetable with boiled rice on the side.
Thought for the week: Perhaps we can all take small steps to share our thoughts and concerns, but stop some of the animosity that seems to keep growing, not only in our country, but all over the world. Most of us are not bad people, even though our ideas may not be yours. There is a story that during the Civil War the great President Abraham Lincoln had occasion at an official reception to refer to the Southerners as erring human beings rather than as enemies to be exterminated. An elderly lady, a fiery patriot, rebuked him for speaking kindly of his enemies when he ought to be thinking of destroying them. "Why, madam," said Lincoln, "do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?"
(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 715-927-5034 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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