Country CousinIssue Date: March 5, 2014
Tired of the Winter doldrums? Arent we all? Buck up. Hang in there. There is hope. Sunshine this week carried with it some warmth, unlike the bitter cold rays of January and February.
In case your youngsters havent noticed, there was enough moisture in the snow that fell early Tuesday morning to make a snowball. Not sure if a snowman could be accomplished yet, but it might be worth trying.
DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME
Some of us love Daylight Saving Time and some of us dont, but regardless, it starts again for the year this coming Saturday night, March 8, when we move the clocks ahead in order to get up at the right time Sunday morning.
Some of us, after losing that precious hour of sleep, will then be tired until Fall, when we get the hour back.
This has been a long, hard winter, but actually, its nothing new, just a return to conditions that were prevalent here a couple of decades ago.
Some old definitions of a Wisconsinite was someone who:
Eats dinner at noon and supper at night.
Wears camouflage to church, and maybe to weddings.
Has more miles on his snow blower than on his car.
Finds minus 20 degrees a little chilly.
Believes driving conditions are better in winter because all the pot holes are filled with snow.
Knows that there are only two sets of driving conditions: Snow Covered and Slippery and Under Construction.
Carries jumper cables in his car, and his wife or girlfriend knows how to use them.
Understands why there are seven empty cars running in the parking lot at Mills Fleet Farm at any given time. His is usually one of them.
Recognize any of those folks?
Havent heard much recently about the importance of humidifiers in winter-dry homes. For years they were heavily promoted, but they werent so badly needed in the past few warm winters. Mine failed and didnt replace it. Bad mistake. The cheaper furniture and woodwork are showing the effects of dry winter air, literally falling apart. Facial wrinkles deepen, hair goes dry and frizzy, coughs increase, and house plants need more frequent watering. Without sufficient humidity in the air, you even need to keep the temperature higher to feel warm.
If your home lacks a humidifier, at least set some open containers of water near heat vents and simmer a pot or two of soup now and then. Resolve now to buy a humidifier when they go on sale in spring. The better ones even filter the air to remove dust motes, mold spores and other nastinesses, so your house stays cleaner and healthier.
LENT IS HERE
Lent is a time for each of us to increase our faith through penance, prayer, and instruction. Instead of watching television or playing video games, spend some time each day saying special prayers or reading the Bible, particularly the New Testament.
Do penance by denying yourself favorite treats, perhaps candy, perhaps coffee, perhaps alcohol. Maybe you could set aside alms from the money you save as a charitable penance.
Catholics are expected to not eat meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays of Lent, which is abstinence, and to fast, which means eating only one main meal each day, with the other two being very light meals but together less than a full meal, and no snacking.
A spirit of fasting can include limiting such activities as television watching, internet surfing, playing video games, shopping, and going out with friends.
The entire family could choose to give up desserts or a favorite TV show, or each could choose individually what they will give up. No fair giving up washing dishes, hauling out the trash or hitting your sister or brother.
Ash Wednesday may have come and gone, but until Easter actually gets here (and even after it does), its not too late to start preparing your soul for it!
LENTEN READING PLAN
One proposed reading plan is:
Ash Wednesday: Luke 4:1-13; Thursday: Romans 8:1-17; Friday: Galatians 5:16-26; Saturday: Ephesians 4:17-24;
Week 1: Sunday: Psalm 51; Monday: Matthew 6:5-15; Tuesday: Matthew 18:21-35; Wednesday: Luke 15:11-32; Thursday: Ephesians 4:25-5:2; Friday: 1 John 1:5-10; Saturday: Psalm 130;
Week 2: Sunday: Genesis 12:1-9; Monday: Genesis 22:1-19; Tuesday: Isaiah 51:1-16; Wednesday: Luke 2:22-34; Thursday: Romans 4:13-25; Friday: Hebrews 6:13-20 ; Saturday: Psalm 62;
Week 3: Sunday: Luke 17:11-19; Monday: 2 Corinthians 9:1-15; Tuesday: Ephesians 5:6-20; Wednesday: Philippians 4:1-9; Thursday: Colossians 3:1-17; Friday: 1 Chronicles 16:7-36; Saturday: Psalm 103;
Week 4: Sunday: Matthew 23:1-12; Monday: Mark 10:35-45; Tuesday: John 15:1-17; Wednesday: Romans 12:9-21; Thursday: Romans 13:8-14; Friday: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Saturday: 1 John 4:7-21;
Week 5: Sunday: Luke 5:1-11; Monday: Luke 9:22-27; Tuesday: Matthew 10:16-33; Wednesday: Matthew 10:34-42; Thursday: John 15:18-27; Friday: 2 Timothy 2:1-13; Saturday: 2 Timothy 3:10-17;
Week 6: Sunday: John 13:1-20; Monday: Philippians 2:1-11; Tuesday: Psalm 22; Wednesday: Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Thursday: Luke 22:39-71; Friday: Luke 23:1-56, and Saturday: Hebrews 4:14-5:10.
Keep this reading plan, meditate on the message, and youre almost guaranteed to have a joyous and Blessed Easter, confident in the ageless message of salvation!
Prepare now to make a lovely Easter Egg garland to decorate your home for Bunny Day. Start by blowing out eggs you use in cooking instead of cracking them open. Unless you live alone, in no time at all you should have the 36 egg shells youll need for this decoration.
To blow eggs, use a large darning needle or a metal skewer to make a small hole in the bottom of an egg. (Sometimes I need to use a small pointy tipped paring knife to get the hole started.) Holding your finger over the bottom hole, make another hole in the top of the egg. You might have to enlarge the bottom hole just a bit. Then, holding egg over a small dish or measuring cup, blow through the top hole to force the egg yolk and white out into the dish. Rinse the now empty shells with clean water and allow them to dry completely. Insert a bamboo skewer into the bottom hole of each egg. Once the eggs are skewered, use a one-inch artist brush to apply one coat of acrylic paint to the eggs shells and place the skewered eggs in a tall drinking glass to dry. Or if you prefer, prepare regular Easter Egg dyes and dip the eggs into it. Youll need to force them down so they fill with dye if you want to get even colors. Once dyed drain out the coloring and stand the shells up to dry. Paint decorations and Easter symbols on eggs if you wish. Felt tip markers work well for this. For glittered eggs, working one at a time, coat entire surface of the eggs, colored or otherwise, with all-purpose white glue. (Put the shell on the wooden skewer so you dont need to touch the surface.)Then hold the egg shell over a bowl of glitter and spoon glitter over wet glue, turning the egg on the bamboo skewer to coat all sides evenly. Place glittered egg in a tall drinking glass and allow glue to dry. Decorate the painted eggs by using a small brush to paint polka dots, swirls or other designs with glue onto the shells and then sprinkle the still-wet glue with glitter. Let these dry as well. Then take some tissue paper, white, or in colors that go well with the egg shades youre using. Cut layers of tissue paper into one and one half inch squares. Stack three or four squares and fold into small accordion folds. Run a string through the center of each and tie off individually with a knot on each side of the folds. Using a sharp scissors, cut each end into a point Set these aside. They will become flowers. When its time to assemble the garland, use an upholstery needle to pull hemp twine or knitting yarn through one of the tissue packets. Leave enough of the twine at the end to make a loop for hanging, and then tie a knot to hold the tissue in place. Add shells, one by one, alternating colors,designs, etc. Insert one of the tissue packets after every third egg. When you have your creation as long as you want it tie a knot after a final tissue and then tie a loop for hanging. Now go through and pull the folded tissues into pouffy flower shapes. If you have eggs and tissue packets left over, use them to decorate an Easter Egg tree or simply nestle into a bowl or basket filled with Easter grass.
ON THE SOAP BOX
NEW GENERATION, SAME MISTAKES!
Seems like we simply wont learn from history. Back in the Adolph Hitler days we had let our American Armed Forces dwindle to nearly nothing. We chose to do nothing as the Nazis gobbled up one nation after another. Eat one small bite at a time, and pretty soon the whole cake is gone, you know.
Then, when the Nazi regime was almost too big to fight, we decided to get into a battle for the world.
Wouldnt be so bad, but we had done nearly the same thing a generation earlier, and World War I was the result.
Now it seems were doing it again. In a few short years under our current fearless leader America has gone from a respected leader of the free world to pretty much of a laughing stock for everyone.
Now, Russia has invaded Ukraine, probably the first step in trying to regain the Evil Empire they gained at the end of World War II, was before Ronald Reagan succeeded in getting that infamous wall torn down.
And what do we do?
Allow our Secretary of Defense to announce at almost precisely the same time that he intends to cut military spending, reduce armaments, and cut the size of our standing Army to its lowest numbers since before World War II.
If that isnt an invitation for aggression, what is?
Russia, tremble in your boots. If you dont behave, well yell at you!
Putin must be absolutely terrified.
When he isnt busy laughing!
President Teddy Roosevelt had it right when he said, Speak softly and carry a big stick.
Every great leader the world has ever produced has understood that the best defense is the ability to mount a strong offense. When we are strong, other nations behave themselves and leave the free world alone. When we allow ourselves to grow weak, everyone suffers, and the entire free world loses.
Is this entire fiasco an idiotic mistake, or is it just part of the overall Obama administrations long-term game plan?
Read the books our illustrious leader wrote before he was elected to the highest office in this land, and perhaps youll be as frightened as I am!
With Spring a long time coming, were pretty much getting tired of heavy winter meals, but its too cold to be doing any outdoor grilling. Time to serve more hot soup and cold sandwich meals, perhaps? Also offer some meatless dishes today for those who follow the Lenten restrictions, for those who are eating light for swim suit time, and for those who just want something deliciously different.
CURRIED CHICKEN SALAD SANDWICHES
Friend Niki, who says she hates regular chicken salad but absolutely loves this. Also, its very nearly fat-free so its as easy on the conscience as it is on the taste buds. Brainstorm! May try this with tuna instead of chicken for a new twist to a meatless Lenten sandwich. See no reason that too wouldnt be delicious.
1/4 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
2 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup halved red seedless grapes
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Whisk until blended , then stir in chicken, grapes, celery and pecans. To toast pecans, in a small dry nonstick skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Delicious on English muffins, flat bread, or honey wheat bread or toast.
ASIAN BAKED FISH
For this you need to buy the Kraft Recipe Makers mix. Dont usually promote brand names, but this is worth it. Your fish doesnt need to be tilapia. Could be pollack, cod, or skinless, boneless fillets of whatever youve succeeded in catching through the ice.
1 package (16 ounces) frozen stir-fry vegetables, thawed
1-1/2 cups instant white rice, uncooked
1 package (12.2 ounces) Kraft Recipe Makers Asian Fish
1 cup water
6 tilapia fillets (1-1/2 pounds)
Spray 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Combine vegetables, rice, Baking Sauce and water in prepared baking dish. Top with fish and Finishing Sauce. Bake 30 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork. Good garnished with sliced green onions and chopped peanuts just before serving. Since this is an off season, feel free to use canned greens
Talk about a Spring tonic, this is it! This is an off season for greens, so if you cant get a variety of fresh ones, take advantage of the freezer section, and the recently available canned greens. Fans say if you eat a bowl of this Green Soup for lunch, and another for dinner every day the Winter doldrums will disappear, the pounds will drop off, gray hair will turn to gold again, eyes will sparkle and and wrinkles will fade away. Well, maybe the part about the hair isnt true, but the rest is, pretty much anyway. Of course, you need to cooperate a bit, too. For example, get more fresh air and exercise and watch the rest of your diet, preferably by eliminating sugar. By the way, the extra nutrients will also help fight off Spring colds and such.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
3 cups water
1/4 cup brown rice
1 pound mixed greens (green chard, kale, turnip greens,
mustard greens, beet greens)
12 to 16 ounces spinach
4 cups prepared vegetable broth
Big pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste
More olive oil or some coconut oil, for garnish
Combine the three cups water, three quarters of a teaspoon of salt and rice in a soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 35 minutes. While the rice cooks, heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onions and a quarter teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring, until the onions begin to brown, which should take about five minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer, stirring frequently, until the onions have greatly reduced and turned a lovely caramel color, about 25 minutes. (You dont want crisp, you want succulent.) While the rice and the onions simmer, trim the spinach and greens, getting rid of tough stems. Coarsely chop the greens. When the rice has cooked half an hour or so, stir in the greens. Simmer another 10 to 15 minutes. When the onions are sufficiently caramelized add them, along with the spinach. return to a boil and simmer until the spinach is tender but still bright green, about five minutes more. You can eat the soup as is, or puree it with an immersion blender or in batches in a regular blender or food processor. Before serving, stir in the lemon juice and garnish with some olive oil or coconut oil.
Thought for the Week: Dear Lord, Help our nation return to You, to the moral values that made us great. Turn the heats of our nations leaders so they allow us to once again become one nation under God and reject the atheist bigots who are turning us from You. Let this Lent be a national time of renewal that leads us back to Your ways. 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 715-927-5034 or by e-mail to shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo. com.)
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