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

Hearts...

Hi Folks!

January is finally over, and February seems to have brought at least a slight relief from the bitter cold that gripped Timesland for most of December and January. Don’t get too comfortable, though. Subzero cold is slated to return on Thursday, Feb. 6, and below average readings are predicted for at least the next 10 days.

Sunday, Feb. 2 dawned bright and sunny and stayed that way all day, so certainly the critter did see his shadow, if he was brave enough to poke his nose out in the cold.

Groundhog’s Day shadow or not, this corner of the globe is slated for six more weeks of winter...if we’re very, very lucky. Otherwise it will be more, could realistically be another nine to 10 weeks. It’s happened in years past that Spring didn’t arrive until near the end of April. Recall as a child laughing at the notion of anyone picking flowers outdoors on May Day. Now, aren’t you glad I brought that up?

ABE LINCOLN’S BIRTHDAY

Don’t forget to give some thought to President Abe Lincoln on his birthday, Wednesday, Feb. 12. He was indeed a great man. In addition to being our Civil War president, he was perhaps the first president to prove that a young man could indeed start from very humble, backwoods beginnings and grow up to become President!

ROMANTIC ISSUES

Valentine’s Day is coming up, the day for hearts, flowers and romance. Friday, Feb. 14, is the day Cupid is said to be about, casting arrows into the hearts of lovers everywhere.

If you and your sweetie are into outdoor sports, you might consider one of the evening cross country ski hikes in various parts of the county on the weekends of Feb. 8 and 15,or for even more active adventure consider Human Ice Bowling at Thornton’s Resort on Saturday, Feb. 15.

There will be an evening ski along the Peshtigo River from the Spring Rapids trailhead 5 miles west of Crivitz on Co. W from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8. Contact the state forest for more information at 715-757-3965.

Another option is ice fishing at the High Falls Fish-O-Rama all day at High Falls Flowage off Boat Landing 3 Road. The event includes fishing contests, snowmobile races and numerous games.

Peshtigo Parks and Recreation Department has scheduled a snowshoe hike through the River Recreation Park starting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12.

On Saturday, Feb. 15 there will be a Candlelight Ski/Hike event from Gov. Thompson State Park on Woods Lake west of Crivitz from 6 to 9 p.m.

Or consider an afternoon at the theater. Theatre on the Bay Children’s Theatre will be presenting Charlotte’s Web at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9.

HEARTS, FLOWERS AND MEMORIES

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, there are more than a few ways spouses express affection, and some of them are occasionally hard to recognize.

My husband has been gone for 10 years, and I’ve found what I miss most is the teasing, and having him to share laughs with. Only a few times during our decades together did he come through on Valentine’s Day with a sentimental gesture, and those were special times indeed.

But he regularly managed to get me riled with some outrageous comment. Took a long time, but eventually I caught the twinkle in his eyes as he watched my response. He was doing it on purpose, just to see how I’d react! We both finally learned to laugh together over his version of a joke.

We used to enjoy going to the casino occasionally, for which we each had an allowance. He was a pretty lucky person, but apparently I was luckier, because generally his money would be gone while I was still at my machine. He’d sit and watch, which irritated me because I thought he wanted me to hurry and get done so we could go.

Finally I complained and asked if he couldn’t find something better to do. Still today, I tear up when I recall his response, No - I like to watch your eyes light up when you win!

How often we misinterpret the intent of the one we love most! Wonder how many marriages have begun disintegrating over just such misunderstandings?

This Valentine’s Day, resolve to give your honey the benefit of the doubt. Look for loving intentions behind everyday acts and see what happens.

And never, ever, be too proud to mention that you still really, really care. Pick something specific you like about him or her, and comment on it. You might be surprised.

FRIGID REACTIONS

Friend sent this report on reactions to temperatures at various levels. Folks accustomed to different climates respond differently to extreme temperatures.

Responses listed are:

At 60 degrees: Californian and Florida natives put on sweaters (if they can find one in their wardrobe), and turn on the heat.

At 40 degrees: Californians shiver uncontrollably, Minnesotans and Wisconsinites go swimming.

At 32 degrees: Water freezes and Italian cars don’t start.

At 25 degrees: You plan your vacation to Australia, Minnesotans put on T-shirts, politicians begin to worry about the homeless, British cars don’t start, Boston water freezes, Californians weep, and Canadians go swimming

At 10 degrees: French cars don’t start, you plan a vacation in Mexico, and you need jumper cables to get your car going.

At Zero: You plan your vacation in South America. American cars don’t start, politicians start worrying about the homeless, the cat insists on sleeping in bed with you, Alaskans put on T-shirts, and even Wisconsinites think it’s too cold to go ice skating.

At 10 below: German cars don’t start, eyes freeze shut when you blink, you can cut your breath and use it to build an igloo, Arkansas residents stick tongues to metal objects, and Miami residents cease to exist.

At 20 below: Cat insists on sleeping in your pajamas with you, politicians actually do something about the homeless, Minnesotans shovel snow off roof, and Japanese cars don’t start.

At 25 below: It’s too cold to think; you need jumper cables to get driver going.

At 30 below: You plan a two week hot bath, the Mighty Monongahela freezes, Wisconsinites wear gloves, and Swedish cars don’t start.

At 40 below: Californians disappear, Minnesotans button top button, Canadians put on sweaters, and your car helps you plan your trip south.

At 50 below: Congressional hot air freezes, Alaskans close the bathroom window, Hell freezes over and Polar bears move south!

Happy Winter, everyone!

HAIR CUTS

There are lots of reasons for boys to get a hair cut. One is simply to look neat, presentable, and, well...clean cut.

Another reason is to show support for a youngster fighting cancer and raise money for the cause, which lots of kids from Crivitz did by getting their heads shaved last week. Their teachers and principals did it the week before.

The students and entire community are to be commended. Student efforts at getting pledges, and an overwhelmingly generous community response, raised $14,000 to help defray expenses for Joey Pickett’s counter attack on the deadly enemy. Almost 100 students, mostly boys, but some girls as well, had their heads shaved by nine beauticians who gave up their Friday afternoon appointments to shave student heads.

ANOTHER REASON

However, heard of a young man, not from Crivitz, who recently passed his driver’s test. Asked his dad about use of the family car, and was told they would work out a deal if he would raise his grade average from a C to a B, spend some time studying the Bible, and get his hair cut.

Came report card time, and the young man proudly showed his dad the results - a B Plus average. Pointed out he had ben reading the Bible, too, and asked again about chances of using the car.

Dad praised the grades and said he had noticed the Bible reading going on, but pointed out the hair was still long.

Well, Dad, was the reply, I noticed in the Bible that Samson had long hair and lost his strength when it was cut. Moses had long hair, so did John the Baptist, and there is strong evidence that even Jesus had long hair. So why do I need to get mine cut?

Son, Dad replied. Did you also notice that those people in the Bible also all walked everywhere they went?

COOKIN’ TIME

Cook up some Valentine’s Day treats for this weekend or next. Your family will love you for it!

TASTY TURKEY MEAT LOG

Bake this turkey meat loaf in the shape of a log in honor of Honest Abe, who was once a log splitter. To get double or triple duty from the oven, pop in some baked potatoes and a packet of vegetables to roast while the meat loaf cooks. Bake sweet potatoes for tomorrow’s dessert (see next recipe) at the same time.

1 sweet red pepper, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 egg, beaten

3/4 cup ketchup, divided

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 pounds ground turkey breast

36 Snack Crackers (like Ritz) crushed (about 1-1/2 cups)

1 cup Mexican Style Finely Shredded Four Cheese,

divided

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put oil in large skillet and add red peppers, onions and garlic. Stir over medium heat for about five minutes, or until crisp-tender. Stir in black pepper and then cool. While the peppers and onions cool, mix the egg, 1/2 cup ketchup, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce in a large bowl. Stir in the vegetable mixture. Add ground turkey, cracker crumbs and 3/4 cup of the cheese; mix well. Shape into 10x5-inch log-shaped roll in a shallow pan; top with remaining ketchup. Bake about an hour or until done (should be 160 degrees inside). Top with remaining cheese after 50 minutes so it melts and begins to drizzle down the sides.

SWEET POTATO CAKE

Turn dessert into a vegetable dish, or vice versa. Get double duty out of the fuel you use by baking the potatoes while the meat for another meal roasts, and you’ll help heat the kitchen while dinner cooks.

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium or 2 large)

2 cups flour

1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Pinch or two of ground cloves, if you like

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 large eggs

First, pick the the sweet potatoes all over with the sharp tines of a fork, and then place on baking sheet and roast 45 minutes to an hour in a 375 degree oven until soft. (Tip: Bake a few extra to serve as a vegetable with dinner, and save enough for the cake.) The baked sweet potatoes can be kept in the fridge for up to three days if baked in advance. When you’re ready to make the cake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of an 8 or 9 square baking pan with parchment paper and then butter the paper and sides of pan or spray with buttery flavored cooking spray. Peel the cooled sweet potatoes and run the insides through a potato ricer or mash until very smooth. A food processor will work. (Hint: if you have mashed a bit more sweet potato than needed for the sake, set it aside and while the cake bakes warm it with a pat of butter and a sprinkle of salt, and maybe a sprinkle of brown sugar. Eat this yourself. Must test to be sure the potatoes are good, you know! My, the sacrifices we cooks make!) Anyway, on with the cake. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, using electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy, about two to three minutes. Beat in the vanilla and eggs, then mix in the sweet potato puree. Stir in the dry ingredients just until they disappear. Put the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, probably 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan, on a rack. Frost with your favorite cream cheese icing or seven-minute frosting.

TICKLED PINK CINNAMON ROLLS

Looking for ways to increase your family’s vegetable intake? How about sneaking them into some delicious sweet rolls like this recipe does? The color is intriguing too, and perfect for Valentine’s Day. Takes a bit of effort, but not too much.

Dough:

2 (1/4 ounce) envelopes dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

5 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup pureed beets (drain canned beets and use food

processor)

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

4 teaspoons grated orange zest

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

Cooking spray

Using the mixer bowl for a stand mixer, combine yeast, water and sugar. Stir until blended, then let stand for five minutes. Add a half up of flour and mix for two minutes. Add the pureed beets, egg, buttermilk, the half cup of sugar, butter, zest, salt and soda. Stir in most of the flour, making sure it is all incorporated before adding more. Dough should form into a ball. Put dough into a buttered dish and turn to coat the entire surface with butter. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until it doubles in size, about half an hour. Keep the dough away from drafts.

Filling:

3/4 cup melted butter

2 cups pecans, chopped

2 tablespoons cinnamon

Pinch of salt

Just stir it all together.

While dough rises, make filling, then go do something else until the rising time is up. After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down on a lightly floured cookie sheet or other flat area. Roll out into a rectangle about a quarter inch deep. Spread filling on the dough, leaving an inch around the edges. roll up long-wise, making a log. Cut the log into 1-inch thick slices and place in a 9x13x2 baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free place for 25 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, starting it shortly before the rolls have risen enough. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. The rolls should be a light golden brown on the outside, rosy pink inside.

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup butter

3 ounces cream cheese

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugar, milk, butter, cheese and ginger in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a light boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla . It’s done.

When the rolls have finished baking, invert onto a wire rack that you have placed over a cookie sheet and drizzle the glaze over them. When the rolls cool enough for the glaze to set, place on a decorative platter and serve, probably with butter, or even with a dollop of whipped cream if they’re still warm.

Thought for the Day: As You Slide Down that Banister of Life You Should Pray That All The Splinters Are Pointed The Other Way. As the cartoon lady says, Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be amused.

(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 to shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo. com.)

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