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

Healthy...

Hi Folks!

If all the rain and slush that’s fallen here in the last month or so had been snow, we’d be buried up to our eyeballs. Wisconsin Weather Service says TIMESland has had 5 to 6 inches of precipitation since mid-November. Each inch of rain translates to 4 to 20 inches of snow, depending on the moisture content. So if all the rain, slush and sleet that’s fallen this winter was light snow, and if it had stayed, we could be buried in about 12 feet of the stuff. Even with high moisture snow, at a four to one ratio, there would be about two feet on the ground right now.

Anyway, National Weather Service charts say Marinette County precipitation from Jan. 11 through Feb. 11 was 300 times higher than the 30-year average for the same time period, so anyone who feels we’ve been getting dumped on lately is right.

And that’s all good, except for the ice. Keep the snow coming, and maybe in spring the lake and stream levels will go back up to where we’d like them to be.

But it sure would be nice if there wasn’t so much horribly slippery sleet and slush. School cancellations are sensible when conditions are hazardous, as they have been too often lately, but if the bad driving conditions keep up our kids will be celebrating the Fourth of July and the first day of summer vacation at the same time! They love it now, though. But some Moms are starting to complain. When it’s rain instead of snow that keeps them home they can’t even go outside and play.

Right now it seems like we’ve got at least six inches of ice in our driveway. Walking is hazardous. Driving is impossible. Not quite smooth enough to skate on, but pretty close. Main roads are in good driving condition, though. Hats off to the hard working guys on our county, town, city and village highway departments! It’s amazing how quickly the slippery mess is gone, especially on county and state roads! Thanks, fellas. You’re saving a lot of lives, or at least a lot of fenders!

EASTER SEASON

Mardi Gras is over and Lent is here. We Christians, should use the coming six weeks as a preparation time for Easter, spiritually and materially. If we do that, we will truly have a Happy Easter, even if there’s still snow on the ground here in northern Wisconsin, and it looks like that might be the case.

A Lenten wreath makes nice family observance for the season. Make a floral wreath with space for six purple candles around the wreath, and a pink one in the center. Each Sunday of Lent, light one more candle, starting with one this week, two next week, and so on, and say a brief prayer each time

GOTTA WONDER

Apparently some women will go to any lengths to look a bit younger. or at least, to think they look a bit younger. A web-based plastic surgeon/beauty expert type offered a couple of suggestions for women who don’t want to risk corrective surgery or injections for creepy, droopy eyelids and fallen brows.

Believe it or not, one suggestion is to lift up those brows with a high bun or pony tail, tight enough to pull out some hair if you wear the style too often or leave it in too long! The beauty expert says this sleek, classic look never goes out of style, and lifts everything up and back. Guess the chronic surprise look must be in style!

If buns and ponytails aren’t your thing, she suggests taking a small section of hair (about a quarter inch wide) from each temple and pulling the pieces up and back. If your hair is long enough, tie the pieces together in the back, high on the crown, and hide the tie under the rest of your hair. Or, if the pieces are too short, pin them securely above and behind your ears.

Recall a product that came out a few years ago. It was like heavy-duty Scotch tape that you could use to pull up sagging cheeks and then style hair so it hid the reinforcements. Sort of did work, but can you imagine the embarrassment if one of the tapes let loose while you were talking with someone?

Simply not worth the risk, except maybe if posing briefly for a photograph.

STAYING HEALTHY

NAPSA, a national news clipping service, says there’s good news for those at risk of catching the flu. They pass along some simple steps you can take to help to keep yourself and your family healthier.

Experts are reporting a more active flu assault than last year. The potentially deadly illness is responsible for approximately 200,000 hospitalizations and 25,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, yet only 46 percent of Americans get flu shots.

Dr. Alfred Damus, medical advisor for PrescribeWellness’ A Million More Flu Shot Initiative, recommends six important tips to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy this flu season:

• Get a flu shot. This simple and effective yearly practice dramatically decreases your chances of getting the flu.

• Cover mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze. Teaching young children to cover their mouths and noses with their elbows instead of their hands can help prevent spreading cold or flu.

• Wash your hands frequently while traveling, carrying moist towelettes or hand sanitizer. The easiest way to catch the flu is by touching your eyes, nose or mouth after coming into contact with the virus.

• Disinfect your kitchen and bathroom sinks, trash cans, doorknobs and bathtub and shower faucets regularly. These are some of the germiest places in your house.

• Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water. Carry a water bottle and try to avoid caffeine when possible.

• Stay rested and avoid stress. Get at least eight hours of sleep each night and avoid stressful situations that can lower your immune system.

NAPS says A Million More is working with pharmacies across the country in a national health initiative aimed at improving awareness and education in the areas of preventive health. Each quarter A Million More focuses on core personal practice areas such as immunizations, heart health, and other screenings to prevent the onset of disease.

For example, its campaign in the fall of 2012 helped pharmacists educate and motivate their patients to get a flu shot.

The initiative is also giving away a chance to win a million dollars, KHS Bicycles and other prizes to flu shot recipients who check in at participating pharmacies around the country.

For more information on the A Million More Flu Shot Initiative or to find a pharmacy near you, visit www.amillionmore.com.

ON THE SOAP BOX

LINCOLN/OBAMA PARALLELS


It is no secret to anyone who reads this column that Yours Truly has less than high regard for the intentions, opinions and character of President Barrack Obama. His State of the Union address did nothing to change that.

If you agree, you may enjoy these comparisons between the President in office today and the late, great Civil War President, Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday some of us observed on Tuesday, Feb. 12. Incidentally, Abe Lincoln was the first Republican president in America. Thanks, Maggie, for passing these comparisons along.

1. Lincoln placed his hand on the Bible for his inauguration. Obama used the same Bible.

2. Lincoln came from Illinois . Obama comes from Illinois .

3. Lincoln served in the Illinois Legislature. Obama served in the Illinois Legislature.

4. Lincoln had very little experience before becoming President. Obama had very little experience before becoming President.

5. Lincoln rode the train from Philadelphia to Washington for his inauguration. Obama rode a train too.

6. Lincoln was a skinny lawyer. Obama is a skinny lawyer.

7. Lincoln was a Republican. Obama is a skinny lawyer.

8. Lincoln was in the United States military. Obama is a skinny lawyer.

9. Lincoln believed in everyone carrying their own weight. Obama is a skinny lawyer.

10. Lincoln did not waste taxpayers’ money on personal enjoyments. Obama is a skinny lawyer.

11. Lincoln was highly respected. Obama is a skinny lawyer.

12. Lincoln was born in the United States . Obama is a skinny lawyer.

13. Lincoln was honest, so honest he was called Honest Abe. Obama is a skinny lawyer.

14. Lincoln saved the United States . Obama is a skinny lawyer.

COOKIN’ TIME

Some of us still observe meatless Wednesdays and Fridays during Lent, so it’s time to come up with some new recipes featuring fish, seafoods, cheese and eggs. Found a few.

Since Monday, Feb. 18 is President’s Day, this seems like a good week to pass along at least one recipe enjoyed by one of the former White House tenants. sounds like typical New England fare, but it may have been prepared in the White House kitchens as well, since the Kennedys were Roman Catholic and surely had to observe the required meatless days.

KENNEDY’S SEAFOOD CHOWDER

This hearty chowder fills the bill on both counts - it’s meatless and supposedly comes from a collection of recipes used by former President John F. Kennedy and his family. It may or may not be an authentic release from the National Archives as the friend who passed it along claims, but is certainly is a delicious variant of clam chowder. Recipe makes only six servings, but it’s easy to double. Calls for haddock, but it’s also good and a lot easier with boneless cod, or even the inexpensive pollack. (Cook the smaller pieces of fish maybe five to eight minutes instead of 15.) If there’s an ice fisherman in the family, try it with some of our local game fish as well. It’s basically a meatless meal, even though it does have a smidgeon of salt pork.

2 pounds Haddock (the whole fish)

2 ounces salt pork (diced)

2 onions (diced)

4 potatoes (diced)

1 cup celery (chopped)

1 Bay leaf (whole)

1 quart milk

3 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Simmer haddock in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes, drain and reserve broth. Remove skin and bones from fish. Saut diced pork until crisp, remove and set aside. Saut onions in pork fat until golden brown. Add potatoes, celery, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Pour in fish broth plus enough boiling water to make 3 cups of liquid. Simmer for 30 minutes. Fish out the bay leaf and discard it. Add the milk, butter, salt and pepper and simmer for five minutes. Add the cooked fish to the kettle and bring back to a boil. Sprinkle with chopped parsley if you wish. Sprinkle some of the diced pork in each bowl and put the chowder over it to serve. (It adds to the carb content, but I like to shake up about three tablespoons flour with some of the cold milk and add it along with the remainder of the milk, butter, salt and pepper to the soup pot. Stir until the chowder boils and thickens a bit, then simmer about five minutes or more, add the fish and serve sprinkled with parsley. Add a splash of half and half or whipping cream at the end to make it even better.)

OLIVE GARDEN PASTA E FAGIOLI

According to NAPS, Basil throughout history has been thought to incite romantic passions. In Italy, it symbolizes love. Remember Lady and the Tramp? It had to be basil in the spaghetti sauce, right? Anyway, this copycat version of the famous Olive Garden soup includes a savory amount of basil, and can handle a bit more if you prefer. So brew up a pot of this hearty Italian soup as a love potion and serve it to your Valentine. Because of the garlic content, be sure you both partake. Otherwise, keep some breath mints on hand or have a few sprigs of fresh parsley to nibble on. By the way, fresh curly parsley makes charming greenery for dainty floral bouquets.

1 lb ground beef

1 cup diced onion

1 cup julienned carrot

3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes

1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans (with liquid)

1 (15 ounce) can great northern beans (with liquid)

1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (12 ounce) can V-8 vegetable juice

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 pound Ditali pasta (or broken spaghetti)

Brown beef in a large stock pot over medium heat. Drain off fat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saut for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour. After 50 minutes boil pasta to al dente. Drain well. Add pasta to the large pot of soup and simmer for 10 minutes.

LOVE THAT FONDUE

You won’t believe this recipe. Fill your sweet tooth without guilt. Just 20 calories, 8 grams of carbs and 1 gram of fat per serving, not counting whatever you dip into it! Recipe comes from the makers of the sugarless sweetener Truvia, so let’s give them credit!

2⁄3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

1 cup skim milk

4 tablespoons Truva natural sweetener spoonable* (14

packets)

1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Additional optional flavorings:

1 tablespoon strong brewed coffee

1 teaspoon almond or fruit-flavored extract

2 Tablespoons cherry or other fruit-flavored liqueur

2 Tablespoons Irish cream or coffee-flavored liqueur

DIPPERS: Strawberries, Granny Smith apple slices, pineapple chunks, banana chunks, grapes, kiwi chunks, clementine sections, angel food cake cubes, pretzels, cheesecake cubes or graham cracker sticks.

Place cocoa powder, salt, milk and Truva natural sweetener in heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat. Cool slightly, whisk in vanilla and any of the optional flavorings you want to use. Transfer to a fondue pot and serve warm with a variety of dippers.

Thought for the Week: Lord, help us to overcome the darkness within us and around us. Especially during these days of Lent, let us open our hearts, shine Your Light into our darkness. May we acknowledge to You our sins and acknowledge to ourselves our everlasting need for Your loving forgiveness and grace. May this Lenten season make us more aware how much we all need Your healing grace in our lives. May we realize how much our sins added to Your pain when you died on the cross so many centuries ago, and how much our sins still grieve You today. We can never achieve it, but may we strive to be worthy of the love You have showered on us, and may we cling fast to the redemption Your pain and suffering and death earned for us. 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 at shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo. com.)

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