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Country Cousin

Ants...

Hi Folks!

Like it or not, Summer is officially over. Fortunately, Summer weather apparently is not. This week promises to beautiful, right up through an extremely busy weekend. No rain in the forecast until Monday, Thank goodness!

No excuse for being a stick-in-the-mud stay-at-home this weekend either. The problem will be deciding which of a host of fun-filled events you want to enjoy. Peshtigo Historical Day is Saturday, Sept. 7. So is Lena Dairy Fest on the Holy Cross Church Grounds and their community wide rummage sale throughout the village, as well as the Marinette County Republican Party Corn Roast in Evergreen Park at Wausaukee. Crivitz School District is celebrating its Centennial Friday and Saturday, Sept. 6 and 7.

The Peshtigo, Lena and Crivitz events all include parades, food stands, music, fun and games.

ANTS NOT WELCOME HERE

Wrote lately about tricks or ant control. Reader Fred Schmidt of Racine kindly passed long his trick for keeping the little pests out of his house and minimizing them in his yard. Says this ant control method has worked for him for 15 years.

Just go to the grains aisle in the supermarket - probably near the oatmeal. Buy a container of Quaker grits - costs about $1.50 a box. He said there’s no need to mix it with anything, just sprinkle it on ant hills and around the house foundation. It sinks into the ground and swells up, so the ants can’t surface through their ant holes. The beauty part of this treatment, he notes, is that there is no mixing, no chemicals and no harm to animals or the environment.

Speaking of ants, our kitchen recently has been invaded by an army of itsy bitsy ones - not much bigger than a microbe. Think it’s time to wipe the cupboard down with a strong bleach solution and let some of it dribble into the cracks and crevices. If that doesn’t help will try doing the same with boric acid. Will certainly also be sprinkling around some of those grits. These ants are so small they probably couldn’t carry away a grain of sugar, much less eat a yeast granule!

Wouldn’t be so bad, but the little pests don’t seem to wipe their feet when they come in and they do make a mess everywhere they walk!

ON THE SOAP BOX

IMPEACH OBAMA?


At last, at least one national organization has come out and publicly declared President Barrack Obama’s handling of the attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Lybia one year ago, on Sept. 11, 2012, and his lies to the American people afterward, may be impeachable offenses.

The Washington, D.C. Based Committee for Justice has sent out questionnaires asking readers if they believe 10 specific alleged offenses by President Obama are grounds for impeachment.

Most of the questions involve Benghazi or ObamaCare. More about the questions in the future.

But on Benghazi their summary states: “Instead of using American Security personnel to protect the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, as required by U.S. law, the Obama Administration relied on a radical Islamic fundamentalist militia group (called the “Martyrs of the February 17 Revolution Brigade”) to provide security for the U.S. mission in Benghazi. This radical Islamic group failed to provide security (as anyone with common- sense should have anticipated) as their jihadist colleagues attacked and murdered American officials.”

The related question asks those polled if they believe this violation of U.S. law that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans is an impeachable offense.

What do you think?

Another Benghazi-related question notes that President Obama and his administration repeatedly insisted to Congress, the United Nations and the American public that this attack was a spontaneous mob uprising triggered by an anti-Islam video, “when he knew from Day One that this was an organized attack by well-armed al Qaeda terrorists.”

(Only later did the Obama administration admit that the Libyan government was right about the military style attack and the video, although offensive, had nothing to do with it.)

The survey asks whether or not the lies should be considered an impeachable offense.

We all know the attack happened and the lies happened. Another president, Richard Nixon, faced impeachment for lying to Congress on a far less serious issue.

What do you believe?

Now President Obama is preparing to ask Congress to okay what seems to be a punitive attack on Syria for its heinous use of chemicals that left 1,400 Syrian citizens dead. According to all reports, most of the victims were innocent of any political intrigue, and many of them were children.

No one disputes that this was a horrible crime and the perpetrators - the Syrian government - should be punished.

The question is, should the United States get involved in still another war that it doesn’t intend to win?

And a related one is what, if anything, is President Obama prepared to do to protect our ally, Israel, from an attack that Iran has threatened will happen if the United States attacks Syria?

Will he do whatever it takes to protect Israel and our national honor, or will he leave Israel unprotected as he did the Consulate at Benghazi?

We haven’t got a very good track record lately for protecting our friends. Is it any wonder Great Britain declined to back us in military action against Syria?

HOME REMEDIES

If you’re taking advantage of these fine early fall days to refresh and repair some household furnishings, here are some tips that might prove helpful.

You may be able to repair scratches or blemishes on varnished furniture without refinishing. Try rubbing the damaged area with cooking oil and a soft cloth. To color in nicks or scratches in wood stained furniture, cabinets and trim, rub the area with a pecan nut to “restain” the wood. If the wood furniture has a water stain, rub the stain with mayonnaise (not salad dressing) and let it sit overnight. Wipe it off in the morning, and the finish should be good as new.

When putting loose knobs back on doors and drawers, dip the screws in clear fingernail polish or shellac before resetting them. This helps the knobs stay tight much longer.

COOKIN’ TIME

Garden goodies are everywhere, especially tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and now apples. Eat, cook and enjoy.

ZUCCHINI CAKES

Wonderful with eggs for breakfast, ham, fish, or deli fried chicken for any other meal. Fresh sliced tomatoes are a marvelous go-with. Two more good ways to add vegetables to the family menu.

2 zucchini

1 cup baking mix

1/2 medium onion, diced small

2 eggs

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup sour cream, for serving

2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves

Grate the zucchini. Put it into a clean kitchen towel and squeeze well to remove the excess water. In a large bowl combine the zucchini, baking mix, onion, eggs and garlic and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Mix well to thoroughly combine. Heat the canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Using a 1/4 cup measure drop about 6 to 8 portions of the zucchini mixture into the skillet. Fry on both sides until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the skillet and drain on a paper lined sheet pan. In a small bowl mix together the sour cream and parsley and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the zucchini cakes on a serving platter and serve with the sour cream mixture.

PARMESAN ZUCCHINI CRISPS

Tasted these years ago on the buffet at a hotel down south. They were arranged beside the shrimp sauce, and everyone in our party tried some, thinking they were some type of shrimp. They were delicious, but we couldn’t at first figure out just what they were. They certainly weren’t shrimp. Some of us, including a grown up niece, went back for seconds. When we decided they were zucchini slices the niece put down her fork and refused to eat any more. “I don’t like zucchini!” she declared. Unless your kids are equally prejudiced against vegetables, they should thoroughly enjoy these. With that one exception, and a son who wouldn’t taste in the first place, everyone has loved them. Easy, different and delicious way to get in another serving of vegetables.

Cooking spray

2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound total)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (3/4-ounce)

1/4 cup fine, dry bread crumbs

1/8 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Slice the zucchini into 1/4-inch thick rounds. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the oil. In a small bowl, combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, salt, and a few turns of pepper. Dip each round into the Parmesan mixture, coating it evenly on both sides, pressing the coating on to stick, and place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake the zucchini rounds until browned and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove with spatula. Serve immediately. Really good with shrimp sauce.

CROCK POT APPLE BUTTER

When making applesauce or apple butter, if you have a choice use two or three different types of apples. This recipe makes three pints. Uses a 4-quart crock pot, packed. If you want a bigger batch, multiply the recipe and use a bigger crock pot. If you want apple butter with almost no work, put about three quarts unsweetened applesauce into the crock pot, add the sugar and seasonings, and proceed as recipe directs.

5 pounds apples, peeled, cored and finely sliced

1 1/2 cup white sugar

1 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon mace (optional)

1/4 teaspoon salt

Place apples in slow cooker in thirds, layering sugar between each layer. Add rest of ingredients on top and pack them down as well as you can. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low. Open and give it a stir. Keep covered and cook 8 hours or until thick and dark brown, stirring occasionally. (You can do this overnight and can in the morning). Uncover and cook for the last hour on low. If a smoother apple butter is desired, you may puree in blender or food mill. Place in sterile jars with lids and process for 10 minutes in hot water bath or you can freeze.

ANOTHER APPLE BUTTER

Make your own applesauce, or buy some unsweetened, in which case you might need to cook it down more, because some brands add water.

6 cups unsweetened applesauce

3/4 cup apple cider

1 cup brown sugar (packed)

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Put apple sauce into crock pot, add remaining ingredients; stir to mix well. Cover and cook on high till begins to bubble, reduce heat cook 8 hours. Stir occasionally as it thickens to prevent bottom from sticking. Uncover and continue cooking till nice and thick. Allow to cool slightly, stirring often. Fill sterile jars and can, using water bath method, or spoon into freezer containers, leaving 1/2-inch head space, refrigerate uncovered till cold, then cover and freeze.

YOUR OWN BAKING MIX

If you’re out of commercial baking mix, or just prefer to make your own economical version, make up a batch of this and keep it on hand. Use it for any of the baking mix recipes. For this you need the old fashioned shortening that comes in a can, which I generally don’t approve of. You could also use butter, margarine, or even coconut oil, provided you keep the mix refrigerated. Incidentally, coconut oil is solid at room temperature, unless the room is too warm. Then it liquefies. And coconut oil is very, very good for you.

6 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup shortening

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the shortening with a pastry knife or fork until the mixture is well blended. You probably should keep this in the fridge, since it contains no preservatives.

ANOTHER BAKING MIX

Just like the boxed kind of biscuit mix that you buy, but you know where this one is made, and what’s in it. Costs less too. Can be made in the food processor if you have a full-size one.

8 cups all-purpose flour (or 4 cups each all-purpose flour

and whole wheat flour)

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 Tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups dry nonfat milk

2 cups shortening

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar, baking soda, nonfat milk, and shortening together in large bowl (if you have a large mixer it is ideal to use for blending this mix but it can also be done quite adequately using a pastry blender to cut in shortening). Add shortening about a half cup at a time mixing well after each addition. Mixture will be mealy rather than chunky when mixed adequately. Put in airtight container and store either in refrigerator or at room temperature. Use within about 3 months. Makes 12 cups.

For Biscuits: Mix 2 cups of Baking Mix with 1/2 cup water. Bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

For Muffins: Mix 2 cups of Baking Mix with 2 Tablespoons sugar, 1 beaten egg and 2/3 cup milk. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

For Pancakes: Mix 2 cups of baking mix with 1 beaten egg and 1 1/3 cup milk.

For Waffles: Mix 2 cups of Baking Mix with 1 beaten egg, 2 Tablespoons oil, and 1-1/3 cup milk.

IMPOSSIBLE FRENCH APPLE PIE

6 cups sliced, tart apples

1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup baking mix

Streusel Topping:

1 cup baking mix

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons firm butter

Grease a 10 inch pie plate. Mix apples and spices, turn into the pie place. Beat together milk, butter, eggs and sugar and 1/2 cup baking mix with a hand beater or electric mixer on medium for 1 minute, or until smooth. Pour over apples. Combine streusel ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle streusel over pie. Bake at 325 for 55-65 minutes or until a knife inserted into center comes out clean.

Thought for the Week: The speed with which Summer came and went this year should be a message to all of us that time is too precious to waste.

As an unknown poet said: “Have you watched kids on a merry go round? Listened, really listened, to the rain lapping on the ground? Followed a butterfly’s erratic flight? Gazed at the sunset into the fading night? Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask, ‘How are you?’ do you wait for the reply?”

(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.)

COUNTRY COUSIN


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