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Country Cousin

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Hi Folks!

Here we are in the middle of Holy Week. The Easter Bunny will need to hop through a lot of snow to deliver his eggs on Sunday, and temperatures in the 40s could lead to a bit of mud besides. Outdoor egg hunts here in TIMESland are not very likely.

But families can still don their best big and tucker for church on Easter Sunday and seek eggs and baskets inside their homes.

The big news about Easter, new every year, is that Jesus died for us and rose again, and because of Him we can all someday be welcomed into heaven. Now that is something to celebrate!

REMEMBER THE SHOES?

New shoes were always an event in our family, and generally we got them for Easter. The ones I liked best as a youngster were shiny black patent leather, and they did not get along well with cold or moisture. Because weather on Easters back then was so much like it is this year we almost never got to wear our new shoes to church until later in the season.

On Easter we had to trek out in our dingy old winter boots, and then put on our new shoes when we got inside at Grandma’s house.

ELECTIONS

Monday, April 1 is April Fools Day, and Tuesday, April 2 is Election Day in Wisconsin.

Hope voters don’t get the two mixed up!

MAJOR HOAX

Occasionally someone manages to pull off a really significant April Fool’s Day hoax. One, back in 1976, had some folks believing that a planetary realignment had caused a decrease in the Earth’s gravity.

Story is that back then British astronomer Patrick Moore announced on BBC Radio 2 that at 9:47 a.m. a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur that listeners could experience in their very own homes.

The planet Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would counteract and lessen the Earth’s own gravity.

Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment that this planetary alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 a.m. arrived, BBC2 began to receive hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman even reported that she and her 11 friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room.

ON THE SOAP BOX

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES!


Does it appear to anyone else that our esteemed President Barrack Obama is punishing the public for Congress’ failure to handle the budget the way he would like?

Talking here about his decision to eliminate White House tours and skip the traditional Easter Egg Hunt on the White House lawns because of the “sequester” budget cuts.

Those decisions may have ruined visits to our nation’s Capital for some families, families who perhaps saved for years to take the trip of a lifetime.

Strange that President Obama saw a need for those little “economies” but didn’t see fit to eliminate plans for some very pricey vacations his family will enjoy this month. But then again, have always harbored the suspicion that Easter is probably not that important to our First Family.

That said, if the White House operating budget is really that tight, the President and his lady missed a golden opportunity to help balance the budget. They could be charging admissions for White House visits, maybe even host $100 a plate breakfasts and $1,000 overnights with the first family and contribute the profits to the national coffers. Make the White House self supporting.

Ditto for the Easter Egg hunt. Maybe they could put some real prizes in the eggs to cash in big time, sort of like the lottery, but with an Easter flavor.

To heck with the kids.

He’s said to heck with them already anyway.

Let the folks with the big money get in on the fun, hunt for the golden egg, and resolve that White House budget crisis at the same time.

Speaking of the trips planned by the First Couple and their offspring: Not only do they travel top of the line, they naturally must be accompanied by a full contingent of Secret Service agents and security guards. Armed with the very type of weapons our President and his friends are trying to take away from the rest of us.

Guess our lives aren’t as important as theirs.

GROWIN’ THINGS

Grandma always said peas had to be planted on Good Friday, but most years in those days that simply would not be possible. This year too, that planting won’t happen. Don’t believe peas or anything else would do well if planted in the snow. Never know where they’d end up come real spring.

That said, it would be possible to plant a dozen or so in little peat pots and set them into the ground once it thaws. Maybe this year I’ll try it. Our soil is extremely sandy and peas are one thing we always have trouble with. Haven’t harvested any in years except from other people’s gardens.

Did plant some on Good Friday last year and then when it was time to till the garden forgot they were there and they got tilled under. So much for good intentions!

GLOBALLY FAMOUS

This is a small fact, but something Marinette residents should be very proud of:

Just learned that every McDonald’s in the world is protected by Ansul fire suppression equipment made by Tyco in Marinette!

Way to go, Ansul! So often we don’t give credit to good things right in our own backyards.

IDENTITY CRISIS

Absolutely love it when a self important windbag gets put down.

This story, relayed by friend Maggie Lardnois, may or may not be true, but do like to think it’s for real.

Seems that a crowded flight from a New York airport was canceled and a hard-pressed ticket agent was struggling to get a long line of passengers booked onto other flights.

One of the passengers - who probably deserved to fly cargo - pushed his way to the front of the line, slapped his ticket on the counter and loudly demanded to be given a spot in first class on the very next flight.

The agent replied, “I’m sorry, sir. I’ll be happy to try to help you, but I’ve got to help these folks first; and then I’m sure we’ll be able to work something out.”

The passenger was unimpressed. He asked so loudly that everyone around and behind him could hear, “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM?”

Without hesitating, the agent smiled sweetly and grabbed her public address microphone. “May I have your attention, please?”, she began, her voice heard clearly throughout the terminal. “We have a passenger here at Gate 14 who does not know who he is. If anyone can help him with his identity, please come to Gate 14”.

With gales of laughter around him, the man glared at the agent, gritted his teeth, and growled, “_____ You!”

Without missing a beat the agent again smiled sweetly and advised, “I’m sorry sir, you’ll have to get in line for that, too.”

That girl deserves a medal!

Maggie is right. Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.

Have a good day!

COOKIN’ TIME

Easter is almost here, and those of us who love to cook are always looking for new recipes to make it even more special. Today’s offerings start with a great brunch dish, and then go on to homemade candies and a couple of desserts.

SPINACH, BEEF & EGG HASH

This hash is a breakfast/brunch treat for everyone, but especially for those who aren’t crazy about ham.

1 pound fresh or frozen spinach

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped

1/2 pound ground chuck

3 eggs, beaten

Grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Trim spinach, wash in several changes of water, then blanch in a pot of boiling salted water over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and cool under cold running water. Squeeze out excess water; roughly chop. (If using frozen spinach, skip the first steps and just thaw, drain well and chop coarsely.) Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for 10 minutes; add ground chuck and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until brown, about 3 minutes. Add spinach, cook for 2 minutes; add eggs and cook, without stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove from heat, stir, and season to taste with grated parmigiano-reggiano, salt, and pepper.

RASPBERRY PAVLOVA

Here’s a lovely dessert for anyone to enjoy on Easter, but especially anyone on a restricted diet. Light, lovely and luscious. Easier than you’d think, too. Almost fat free if you make it with fat free whipped topping. Can also be quite sugar free if you use diet gelatin mix and sugar substitute.

1/4 cup sugar

1 package (3 ounces) raspberry flavor gelatin dessert mix

4 egg whites

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 cups thawed whipped topping, or real whipped cream

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

1 kiwi, sliced, quartered

Heat oven to 275 degrees. Beat egg whites in medium bowl with mixer on high speed for five minutes or until soft peaks form. Mix sugar, corn starch and gelatin dessert mix and add, 1 tablespoon at a time, to the egg whites, beating constantly, until stiff peaks form. Gently stir in lemon juice until blended. Spread into an 8-inch circle to make a nest on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Bake at 275 degrees for an hour and a half. Cool completely. Works well to bake it the night before, then turn the oven off and go to bed without taking it out. Next day it will be cool and crisp and easy to handle. Put the baked meringue onto a serving dish, make a next of the whipped topping, ill it with the fruit and serve proudly.

PEANUT BUTTER PRETZEL BARS

Sort of like a salty, crunchy Reese’s candy bar for dessert.

2 cups finely crushed pretzels

2/3 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup sugar

2 packages (3.9 ounces each) Chocolate Instant Pudding

mix

2 cups cold milk

1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter, divided

1-3/4 cups thawed Whipped Topping, divided

2 bananas, sliced

24 miniature pretzel twists

Mix first 3 ingredients until well blended; press onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool completely. Meanwhile, beat dry pudding mixes, milk and 3/4 cup peanut butter in medium bowl with whisk until well blended. Stir in 3/4 cup whipped topping. Spread 3/4 cup peanut butter mixture over crust; top with bananas and remaining peanut butter mixture. Whisk remaining peanut butter and half of the remaining whipped topping in a separate medium bowl until well blended. Stir in remaining whipped topping. Spread over dessert. Refrigerate 2 hours. Top with whole pretzels just before serving.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE EGGS

1/2 cup cold milk

1 package (3.9 ounces) Chocolate Instant Pudding

36 Oreo Cookies, finely crushed (about 3 cups)

12 ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted

1 ounce White Chocolate, melted

Stir milk and pudding mix in medium bowl with large spoon just until pudding mix is moistened. Immediately stir in cookie crumbs; mix well. Shape into 42 (1-inch) egg shaped balls. Freeze 10 minutes. Dip in semi-sweet chocolate; place in single layer in shallow waxed paper-lined pan. Refrigerate 20 minutes or until firm. Drizzle with white chocolate; refrigerate 10 minutes or until firm. Put in mini muffin cups to serve if you like.

TROPICHICKS

1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained

1 package (3.4 oz.) vanilla flavor Instant pudding mix

40 square shortbread cookies, finely crushed, (about 3

cups)

1 6 ounces white chocolate, broken into pieces, melted

3/4 cup flaked Coconut

Pastel mini gum drops or other small Easter candies

Use food processor to crush the shortbread cookies into fine crumbs. Combine pineapple and dry pudding mix in medium bowl. Immediately stir in cookie crumbs. Refrigerate 30 min. Shape into 32 (1-inch) egg-shaped balls. Roll 16 of them in coconut and place on waxed paper-covered rimmed baking sheet. Dip remaining balls in melted chocolate; add to baking sheet. Decorate with mini candy-coated chocolate morsels and decorating gels to resemble baby chicks or ducks. Tint the coconut green or yellow if you wish by putting it into a plastic bag with a few drops food coloring and shaking well.

FROG EYE SALAD

This is a perfect holiday or party salad. Incredibly easy. One batch makes 20 servings, but don’t worry. It will get eaten. Recipe was shared by Michelle Witt. Thanks ever so much. Our family will be enjoying this on Easter Sunday.

THE SALAD:

8 ounces Da Vinci Acini de Pepe macaroni (rice shaped)

1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, drain and reserve juice

2 small cans mandarin oranges, drained, save the juice

8 to 10 ounces frozen whipped topping or whipped real

cream. sweetened

THE DRESSING:

1 3/4 cup pineapple juice (If the juice you drained from the can of pineapple is not enough, add orange juice to make up the difference.)

3 tablespoons flour

1 cup sugar (or less, to taste)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

Mix the flour, salt and sugar together and add to the juices in a medium saucepan. Beat in the eggs. Cook, stirring, until thick. Mix into the macaroni and let stand overnight. Next day add the whipped cream or whipped topping and the fruit. Keep refrigerated.

Thought for the Week: May God shed His saving grace on all of us. May you and yours be blessed with all the joys of Easter and all the beauties of the coming Spring.

(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 shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo. com.)

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Peshtigo, WI 54157
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