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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: June 15, 2011

Dads...





Hi Folks!

Isn’t June wonderful in Wisconsin - at least when the rains finally stop? We’ve had a few marvelous days, and the nearly full moon Tuesday night, June 14, was spectacular. Hope the weatherman cooperates with a few more good days before the dreary drizzles start again! A good weekend would be in order, are you listening Mr. Weatherman? Sunday, June 19 is Father’s Day, and Porterfield Country Fest will be in full swing.

DAD’S DAY

Speaking of Father’s Day and fathers in general, have been enjoying a reread of Bill Cosby’s book, Fatherhood. What a wonderful, refreshing perspective he puts on the subject! Incidentally, he mentions that for Father’s Day he does not want a tie, or soap on a rope, or garden shears or a sweater or socks. He wants a Corvette, or a Mercedes! Don’t we all!

It’s really hard for kids to come up with good gifts for the Main Man in the family dynasty, because usually things he does not buy for himself carry a hefty price tag well beyond any normal kid’s allowance or paper route earnings. Also generally those things - like the Mercedes or Corvette or Harley - are also beyond Mom’s allowance or earnings.

How about for a week you let him pick the evening’s TV shows?

Teenage sons, consider rising early and washing and waxing the car for Dear Old Dad. Vacuum the inside too.

Or buy him a day at the golf course, provided of course that he does golf.

Maybe a ticket to a ball game, or a gift certificate for his favorite restaurant?

The idea here is to show him you realize he’s a person, that you pay enough attention to at least have a vague idea of what things he’s interested in, of things he’d enjoy if he wasn’t so involved in making the family finances stretch from one payday to the next.

WINDOW WASHING

Friend Carol has come up with a window cleaning solution that sounds so good I just can’t wait to try it. And that’s saying a lot, considering that washing windows stands very high on my don’t want to do list.

Simply get a clean spray bottle, and into it put 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol, 1 tablespoon of ammonia and two drops of plain Dawn dishwashing soap. Don’t shake,or you’ll get bubbles, even from that little bit of soap, but do tip it around a bit to mix, then spray away. Wipe clean with ordinary paper towel. Carol says it works great on inside and outside windows, as well as mirrors, TV screens, microwave doors, and anything shiny and stainless or glass in the house.

ON THE SOAP BOX

Was delighted to learn that the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the legislature’s budget repair bill action, including new rules for unions that represent public employees, including teachers.

We still hear a lot about them taking away the teachers’ right to collective bargaining. Maybe so, but the Legisla-ture, in that very same action, gave them back the right to choose whether not they want that union to speak for them, and whether or not they want dues paid to any specific organization from their hard earned paychecks (except the IRS). In short, Wisconsin has once again become a right to work state, at least as far as the majority of public employees are concerned.

Stick with it, legislators. Brickbats notwithstanding, you’re on the right track, at least on that issue.

It’s sort of disturbing to hear everyone demanding smaller, cheaper government, lower taxes, and lower deficits, and then hear them yell bloody murder whenever their personal pet project is affected, for example the outcry over elimination of recycling subsidies.

As one who was closely involved when the mandatory recycling program was started in Wisconsin, may I point out it was never intended to get an eternal subsidy.

The idea at the time was to develop markets for recyclables so eventually the recycling programs would become self supporting. They may not be there yet, but the spread between the cost of collecting the recyclables and their value when sold is narrowing. At least responsible units no longer have to pay someone to take the tin cans, paper, plastics and glass containers that the programs collect and use them as fuel or raw materials for manufacturing processes.

DAD’S DAY RIDDLES

1. What do you call your dad when he falls through the ice?

2. How is the baby bird like its dad?

3. What’s the difference between a pack of cookies and a pack of elephants?

See answers after Cookin’ Time.

COOKIN’ TIME

There used to be a saying that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. In today’s world, where wife and hubby so often really do share household chores like cooking, that may not be as true, but it’s still fact that food someone else prepares for you with love almost always tastes better than anything you do yourself. So prepare a feast for Dad on his Day and present your offerings with love.

BRUNCH FOR A BUNCH

Prepare this Dad’s Day breakfast treat while Dad sleeps in if the clan has gathered at the old homestead in honor of its Patriarch. Serve with sliced tomatoes on the side, and pop in some packaged biscuits while the oven is on. For a full brunch meal, add a plain fruit salad, no dressing, slices of melon, or lightly sugared sliced strawberries and/or blueberries served the German way, with milk poured over.

6 slices bacon, chopped

2 cups frozen shredded hash browns, thawed

1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 each red and green pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 dozen eggs

1 tablespoon salad mustard

1/3 cup sour cream

3/4 pound (12 ounces) pasteurized processed cheese, thinly sliced

Cook bacon in large skillet on medium heat 10 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from skillet, reserving 2 tablespoons. drippings in skillet. Drain bacon on paper towels. Meanwhile, add potatoes, mushrooms, peppers and onions to drippings; cook 10 minutes or until peppers and onions are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Spread the vegetable mixture onto bottom of a 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Whisk eggs, mustard and sour cream until well blended and pour over vegetable mixture. Top with bacon and cheese. Bake for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted about an inch off center comes out clean. Let sit a few minutes before serving and the center will finish cooking on its own.

DAD’S DAY FRENCH TOAST

Here’s another breakfast treat, this one for a clan with a sweet tooth. If Dad’s on a low fat or diabetic diet, use Neufatchel cheese, two whole eggs and two egg whites instead of the four whole eggs, skim milk instead of whole, and sugar-free instant pudding. Skip the butter and spray pan with buttery flavored cooking spray. To save time in the morning, assemble the night before and add 10 minutes or so to the baking time. Remember to not put an icy cold baking dish into a hot oven. Better to let it warm a bit, or don’t preheat the oven.

4 ounces Neufchatel or cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

4 eggs

5 cups milk, divided

2 tablespoons butter

1 loaf French bread (16 ounces), ends trimmed, cut into

18 slices

1 package (12 ounces) frozen unsweetened raspberries

1 box (3.4 ounces) vanilla flavor instant pudding

Beat first 4 ingredients in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, then gradually beat in 2 cups milk. Melt the butter and pour into the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking dish, or spray the dish with buttery flavored cooking spray. Put in half the bread slices, cover with half the berries and top with remaining bread slices. Pour cheese/egg mixture over bread. Let stand at least 30 minutes, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. About an hour before breakfast pop the dish into an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown and somewhat firm in the center. Meanwhile, bring remaining milk just to boil in saucepan; gradually add dry pudding mix, whisking until well blended. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, microwave remaining raspberries in small microwaveable bowl on high 15 to 20 seconds or until warmed. Spoon pudding over individual servings of French toast and top with berries. (Try substituting about a pound of fresh blueberries, slightly crushed, or sliced strawberries for the raspberries.)

BREW PUB PORK CHOPS

If Dad loves showing off at the grill, make him look good by marinating the chops for him ahead of time and let him cook them to perfection. Baked potatoes, grilled asparagus packets and sliced ripe tomatoes are great go-withs. Or how about slicing some apples onto a large sheet of buttered foil, sprinkle on some sugar and cinnamon, dot with more butter, seal and grill along with the chops but slightly off the hot coals so they don’t burn?

1 cup beer

1 cup water

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon lemon pepper

4 bone-in pork chops (1-1/2 lb.)

1/4 cup mayonnaise (not salad dressing)

1 tablespoon Grey Poupon or Honey Dijon Mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Mix first 4 ingredients until sugar is dissolved; pour over chops in shallow dish. Turn chops over to evenly coat both sides of each chop. Refrigerate 1 hour to marinate. Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Remove chops from marinade; discard marinade. Grill chops 5 to 6 min. on each side or until done (160F), brushing occasionally with mayo mixture.

CHOCOLATE CHERRY CHEESECAKE

This lovely cheesecake, made with white chocolate, will fill Dad’s sweet tooth very nicely.

1 cup pecan halves, toasted, divided

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

3 packages, 8 ounces each cream cheese, softened

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

6 ounces white baking chocolate, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla, divided

4 eggs

1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling

1 cup thawed frozen whipped topping

Preheat oven to 300 degrees, if using a silver 9-inch spring form pan or to 275 degrees for a dark nonstick 9-inch spring form pan. Reserve 16 of the pecan halves for garnish. Finely chop remaining pecans; mix with graham crumbs, sugar and margarine. Press firmly onto bottom of pan. Beat cream cheese in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sweetened condensed milk, beating until well blended. Add chocolate and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour over crust. Bake 1 hour or until center is almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim from the pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Mix pie filling and remaining teaspoon vanilla; spoon over cheesecake. Top with whipped topping and reserved pecans. Cut into wedges to serve. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.

RIDDLE RESPONSES

1. A POPsicle!

2. It’s a chirp off the old block.

3. Wow! it’s a good thing you don’t do the grocery

shopping!

Thought for the Week: Dad, you’ve gone on to Heaven ahead of us, but on this Father’s Day, hope you know we’re thinking of you. Hope you can hear us remembering all the little things, the times you came home dead tired from working a double shift, and then stayed awake to give us rides home from high school ball games or dances; the times you rocked us to sleep and dozed off yourself, the miniature tricycle you built and proudly delivered when your first grandson was newly born, the miles you drove to help your often ungrateful children; the chores you did to make our lives easier; the jokes you told, usually on yourself; the way we always knew you loved us, no matter what. And Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving care, and thank You giving us the Dad we had. We were truly blessed!

COUNTRY COUSIN


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