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

Safety...

Hi Folks!

Looks like those folks who were wanting to fight global warming have succeeded! Sure do wish they’d stop whatever it is they’re doing. Cannot, in all my years, ever remember the thermometer dipping so close to zero this early in the year! Eleven degrees in the first week of November is a bit frightening. Wonder what Winter will bring!!

SNOWMOBILE SAFETY TIPS

Our time for outdoor fun in the north woods is here, with Deer Season about ready to start and snowmobile season to follow shortly after. Or maybe this year, it will come before, who knows? Anyway, here are some tips for safe snowmobiling, and they apply just as well if your vehicle of choice on woodland trails is an ATV instead.

Avoid drinking and driving, whether on a recreational vehicle or in a truck or automobile. Alcohol causes body temperatures to drop at an accelerated rate, which can lead to hypothermia, so even if you’re just a passenger, imbibing too much is not a good idea.

Drive at reasonable speeds, especially after dark. Suicidal white tails can jump out in front of a snowmobile as easily as they can jump in front of a car.

Carry a first aid kid with flashlight, knife, compass, map and waterproof matches. Cell phones can be lifesavers, because with today’s technology, even if you don’t know where you are, your cell phone can lead help to you.

Once Winter really gets here, avoid crossing bodies of water if you aren’t certain of the thickness of ice. Underwater currents can keep ice thin in spots even if it’s safe somewhere else. Especially dangerous are lake inlets and outlet areas, or where underwater springs bubble up. Snow cover too can prevent strong ice from forming, so if it snows early, be aware of that.

Dress warmly, in layers, and do wear helmets and safety goggles.

Stay on marked trails, or road shoulders where allowed. Watch out for fences, stumps and wires that may be hidden by snow.

If you can’t avoid riding alone, be sure someone knows where you’re going and when you expect to be back.

A relatively minor accident can be fatal if help doesn’t arrive before you freeze to death!

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING

Gift buying time is almost here, and money speaks loudly. If you don’t like the way things have been going in recent years, speak with your pocket book and credit card. Don‘t buy from folks that insult God and defile Christmas!

We can stop this trend toward taking Christmas out of the holidays if we want to. Let’s speak with our purse strings, and keep them fastened in stores that believe in Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. And let your school boards know in no uncertain terms that our children deserve to learn our Christian traditions, sing our beautiful Christmas carols and have a Christmas vacation. In many, but not all, schools, teachers and administrators who wouldn’t bat an eyelash about teaching pagan hymns because they’re historic traditions prevent our kids from learning the words to Silent Night and Away In A Manger.

If Christ isn’t in your school’s Winter Program, boycott it. Or better yet, we need to show up with Merry Christmas signs, but not go in. We need to not block doorways or be obnoxious, but stand politely aside, while singing the Christmas carols dearest to our hearts at the top of our lungs. We need to be there before the holiday program starts, and after it ends. And we need to let the school boards know, before they finalize their programs, that that’s what we plan to do if they persist in leaving Christ out of Christmas.

We need to take a stand before it’s too late. Even folks who pretend they don’t believe in God should at least respect our precious ethnic traditions!

CLEAN NAILS

Some of us are cursed with fingernails that just naturally seem to collect dirt and stains, especially if we do household chores like re-potting plants and applying furniture polish.

Discovered by accident recently that a brief soak in quick acting denture cleaning solution removes the stains from under fingernails without irritating the fingers attached to them. I used the powdered kind, but expect the tablets would work just as well, as long as they don’t require soaking overnight.

Now the lilly white hands can remain that way, at least for a little while, so sitting on hands can be eliminated. Fingernail polish helps a bit to hide those stains, but doesn’t really do the whole job, you know.

HOMEMADE COFFEE CREAMER

Ran these recipes about a year ago, but a friend recently asked for a repeat because she lost her copies, and I’m glad she did. (Sorry it took so long.) These recipes are great to have on hand for deer hunting guests. Make the flavors to order, depending on their preference. They’re good in hot cocoa as well as hot coffee.

Love the flavor of artificial coffee creamers, but don’t like the unnatural ingredients? Bet you can’t pronounce half the words on the label! Cannot be good for you! By contrast, these easy homemade concoctions don’t cause indigestion. They’re fairly inexpensive too, so they also don’t cause indigestion of the pocket book. If you’re determined to go low fat, try them with nonfat evaporated milk.

Set them up in pretty decanters or little covered pitchers, tie with a bow color coordinated to the flavor, and bring along as hostess gifts to holiday gatherings.

Experiment. The original recipes all called for maple syrup, but if you prefer, omit that and sweeten to taste with an equal amount of sugar, honey or no cal sweetener. Add extra if you like things sweeter. Like your creamer creamier? Substitute whipping cream or half and half for some or all of the milk. These flavored creamers are also delicious on hot cereal in the morning.

Each flavor starts by mixing 1 cup whole milk and 1 cup heavy cream. Or just use 2 cups Half and Half. Each recipe makes 2 cups.

SUGAR ‘N’ SPICE CREAMER

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons maple syrup

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

CHOCOLATE ALMOND CREAMER

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

4 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon almond extract

PUMPKIN SPICE CREAMER

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons pureed pumpkin

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

4 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FRENCH VANILLA CREAMER

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla

PEPPERMINT MOCHA CREAMER

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons maple syrup

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

For each of the above mixtures, whisk together everything except the liquid extracts in a medium saucepan. Keep whisking over medium heat until the mixture begins to steam. Remove from heat and stir in whatever extract or extracts are called for. Pour into a glass bottle and store, covered, in the refrigerator. Keeps about 10 days, but probably won’t last that long.

COOKIN’ TIME

If the frost is still on your pumpkin, it’s too late to save it. Eleven degrees isn’t frosted, it’s frozen! Thank goodness for canned pumpkin. It’s easier to use, and almost as good anyway. You can also substitute cooked winter squash for pumpkin in almost any recipe. Cooked sweet potatoes work well as pumpkin substitutes too, but add a little extra liquid.

CREAMY SAUSAGE CASSEROLE

Make up a batch for your deer hunters.

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium red onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup vodka (optional)

1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes with juice, lightly

crushed with hands

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 pound rigatoni

10 ounces baby spinach

12 ounces smoked sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced

1/4 inch thick

6 ounces fontina cheese, 4 ounces cut into 1/2-inch cubes

and 2 ounces coarsely grated

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic. Remove from heat; add vodka, if desired. Return to heat; cook until almost evaporated, 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, basil and oregano; cook until tomatoes are falling apart, 10 to 15 minutes. Add cream; cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente, according to package instructions. Add spinach, and cook just until wilted. Drain, and return contents to pot. Add tomato sauce, sausage, and cubed fontina to pot; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Divide evenly between two shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dishes. Top with grated fontina and Parmesan. Bake until browned and edges are crisp, 20 to 30 minutes.

CROCK POT STUFFED CABBAGE

This isn’t totally an economy meal but it comes pretty close. Cabbage is a vastly under used vegetable, very healthy and very inexpensive. This sounds like work at first glance, but requires very little kitchen time for an impressive and satisfying meal. You serve it over boiled wide noodles, so prepare for those too. As an alternative, if there’s room in your crock pot, tuck a few peeled potato halves into the bottom of the slow cooker before you abandon it for the day. Carrots and onions are good too, and then you have a sort of stuffed cabbage boiled dinner. If you do that you don’t need to make the sauce. Also great with mashed potatoes instead of noodles.

1 head cabbage

1 can beef broth or 2 cups prepared beef bouillon

Stuffing:

1/2 pound bulk pork sausage

1/2 pound hamburger

1 egg

1 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Sauce:

1/2 pint sour cream

2 tablespoons tomato paste

garlic salt and pepper to taste

Cut the center out of the cabbage head and save it for tomorrow’s cole slaw. You don’t have to be fancy about the cut, just make room for the stuffing. Maybe do this part the night before to save time in the morning. In frying pan brown the sausage and hamburger. Drain off excess fat and mix in the rest of the stuffing ingredients. Pack it into the cabbage head and set the whole thing in the slow cooker. Pour the broth or bouillon around the outside of the cabbage. Cover and cook at low all day, 6 to 8 hours. About 15 minutes before serving time boil wide noodles, remove cabbage from the crock and mix sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Heat but do not boil. (Sour Cream will probably curdle if it boils) Serve with buttered noodles or mashed potatoes and pass sauce to pour over all.

PUMPKIN MINCE MUFFINS

To make pumpkin pie spice, see below.

Buttery flavored cooking spray

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

3/4 cup sugar, divided

2 large eggs

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin

1 (9 oz.) package None Such Classic Original Condensed

Mincemeat

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 24 muffin cups with no-stick cooking spray or line with paper liners. Combine flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice and salt in small bowl; set aside. Beat butter, sweetened condensed milk and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin; mix well. Gradually stir in flour mixture only until moistened. Stir in mincemeat. Fill prepared muffin cups 3/4 full. Combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice; sprinkle evenly over muffins. Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pans; serve warm.

PUMPKIN PIE SPICE

I don’t use this in pumpkin pie, but it’s handy for recipes like the muffins above and a few other things. To make 1 teaspoon, mix:

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger, ground

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, ground

For a larger quantity, do the math. For example, to come up

with four teaspoons mix:

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger, ground

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground

Mix and store in a little jar or whatever. This is even good sprinkled into hot apple cider.

Thought for the Week: Dear Lord, Help us as a people be the best that we can be. Help us have the courage to stand up for You, to hold fast to our beliefs and not be afraid to speak out, even when speaking out is not politically correct. And as Thanksgiving approaches, help us all to recognize that it is You who created this beautiful world and put us in it. Thank You! 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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