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

Gettysburg...

Hi Folks!

Hard to believe, but here we are, practically on the eve of Deer Season, and next week is Thanksgiving. Hate to admit it, but I’m still hoping for Indian Summer. Suppose it will come when all the hunters are hoping for a light snowfall for tracking purposes.

Speaking of snow during Thanksgiving Week, remember when we were really disappointed if that didn’t happen? Maybe there is something to this Global Warming.

On the other hand, we’ve had snow fall a few times already this year, once, lightly, back in October.

Considering all the rain we’ve had lately, we should all be giving thanks that it didn’t fall in the form of snow. We’d be buried! On the other hand, if you hear of someone building an Ark, please let me know. I’d like to buy a ticket. Just for insurance, you know.

NATIONAL BIRD

Back when this nation was young, and our Founding Fathers were selecting things like a new flag and a national emblem, the very wise and witty Benjamin Franklin wanted the wild turkey chosen as the national bird, in preference to the Bald Eagle. He may have had something there. Turkeys are very good to eat. On the other hand, they are notoriously somewhat less than intelligent, so maybe they wouldn’t make a good national mascot at all, except in roasted form, on a platter! Then again, sometimes we haven’t been very intelligent either, so maybe the turkey would be a suitable national symbol.

GETTYSBURG ADDRESS

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, and Tuesday, Nov. 19 was the 150th anniversary of the battlefield’s dedication as a national cemetery, and of President Abraham Lincoln’s famed Gettysburg Address.

There is some dispute about what he exactly said on that famed day a century and a half ago, but the version known as the Bliss copy, the only one with Lincoln’s signature, is widely accepted as accurate.

Lincoln wrote (and said):

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

May we today also resolve that the brave soldiers who fought on that field, and on all the other battle fields that followed, did not die in vain. It is our sacred duty to do what we can, what we must, to preserve the American dream of freedom based on self reliance, on government from the people up, not from the top down.

ON THE SOAP BOX

A SAD SONG


This verse was passed along by a friend who is as sad as everyone else ought to be over what we are allowing to happen to Christmas in the name of “tolerance” and “diversity.” Wanted to get the point across now, before Black Friday gets here, and Christmas shopping really gets started. If we all work at it, we might make a difference!

Do we really think it’s okay to insult God on His birthday, but not to insult those whose religions encourage them to kill Christians every chance they get?

Do you really think it’s okay for us to respect their right to stand up for their beliefs, while keeping silent of our own? Oh, ye of little faith! We should all be ashamed if we do not speak out! God deserves better! We can speak with our pocketbooks, and we ought to.

’Twas the month before Christmas

When all through our land,

Not a Christian was praying,

Or taking a stand.

The children were told by their schools not to sing

Of Shepherds and Wise Men

And Angels and Kings.

It might hurt people’s feelings,

Their teachers would say

Christmas is now just “Holiday”

As Targets were hanging their trees upside down

At Lowe’s the word “Christmas”

Was not to be found.

At K-Mart and Staples and Penny’s and Sears

You won’t hear the word Christmas;

It won’t touch your ears.

Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen

On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !

At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter

To eliminate Jesus in all public matter.

And we spoke not a word,

As they wiped out our faith

Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace.

The true Gift of Christmas they’ve changed and discarded

So as you celebrate “Winter Break” under your

“Dream Tree”

While sipping your Starbucks,

Now listen to me:

If stores make no mention of Christ,

Or His birth, the manger, or shepherds,

Or of stars and of kings,

Leave gifts on their shelves,

And buy other things,

Somewhere else!

Let them know now,

Before it’s too late,

That CHRISTMAS is coming,

And we’ll celebrate!

PERFECT PIES

The lovely ladies at http://www.LivingOnADime.com have passed along some wonderful pie baking tips. Some are designed to save time and/or money, some to save calories, and some to very simply produce extra good eating for our Thanksgiving tables.

They suggest ways to get the homemade pie taste without as much work. For example, if your family loves pumpkin pie but every year you notice that they only eat the filling and leave most of the crust. Then, this year, don’t put your pumpkin pie filling in a crust. Just pour it into a well greased baking dish or pan to bake. This will save you time and calories. (Or, and this came from an Early American cookbook, clean all the stringy material from a pumpkin to hollow it out, and put your pie filling in there to bake. Use a bit of extra sugar in the pie filling. Bake until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, which generally will take about 15 minutes longer than it would to bake a pie of that size. Serve a bit of the pumpkin shell with each spoon of filling. On the other hand, they might eat the pie crust if it isn’t soggy. So, before you pour in the filling, bake the crust for 2 to 3 minutes in a 450 degree oven, just until it starts puffing a little on the bottom. Watch carefully because it only takes a minute and you don’t want to totally cook it. Then pour in the filling and bake as usual.

If your family loves apple pie but you don’t have time for a crust then make an apple crisp instead. If you’re making apple pie with canned pie filling, add apple pie or pumpkin pie spice to it before baking, and replace a quarter of the white sugar with brown sugar. For something different, try serving your apple pie with butter pecan ice cream instead of the usual vanilla and/or top it with a little caramel ice cream topping.

When making fruit pies, microwave the filling for 5-7 minutes before pouring it into the crust. This prevents the crust from becoming overly brown before the filling is completely cooked. In the case of an apple pie, you won’t have to worry about partially cooked apples.

Like cheese with your apple pie? Mix 1 cup grated cheddar cheese into your pie crust and then layer the apple filling with another cup of grated cheese.

If your pies are too runny, add a tablespoon of tapioca to your filling.

When making pecan pie, melt the butter in a saucepan until it turns golden brown. Watch it so it doesn’t burn. This adds the most wonderful caramel like flavor to your pie.

When you need to make a graham cracker crust, crush enough crumbs to fill a large container or coffee can. The next time you make a crust, just scoop out the amount you need. The food processor works great! Add a little cinnamon to the mix for a graham cracker crust. Really, really good with chocolate fillings.

COOKIN’ TIME

Whether you’re packing meals and treats for your Great White Hunters to tote along to their favorite hunting camp, or stocking the kitchen for the onslaught of kin who come home to stalk the elusive white tails on the traditional family hunting grounds, today’s recipes are intended to be of help.

NO PEEK CHICKEN OR CHOPS

Remember this good old standby? Sometimes we get too cozy with a recipe for a while, then neglect it so long we forget about it. This is a perfect make-ahead dish because it reheats beautifully in a slow oven, say 250 degrees. Just add a bit of water or milk before you put it into the oven for the second go-round. Individual servings also heat well in the microwave. Wonderful with leftover cranberry sauce for the week after Thanksgiving.

2 cups raw rice

2 1/2 pounds or so raw chicken, cut into serving pieces, or equal amount of pork chops or lean pork roast, sliced across the grain

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 package dry onion soup mix

Butter a sizable casserole dish, one with a cover if possible, but if not you’ll use aluminum foil. Mix the 2 cans of soup and the soy sauce. Mix half of this with the rice and put into the casserole dish. Put the chicken or pork on top. Pour over this the remaining soup, then sprinkle the packet of dry soup over the top. Cover tightly and bake for 2 1/2 hours at 350 degrees. Do not peek!

THE VERY BEST PIE CRUST

If you’re making a savory pie such as French Meat Pie, leave out the sugar. For a healthier crust, use ice cold Coconut oil, which is hard like shortening when cold, but melts at room temperature. Hydrogenated shortening is really not at all good for you. Even lard is better!!

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/4 cups shortening, cold

1 egg, cold

1 tablespoons vinegar, cold

5 tablespoons cold water

sugar

Mix flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives. Add egg, vinegar and 3 tablespoons water. Mix lightly. If dough is too dry, add more water. Mix with hands. Don’t over mix. Mix just until the dough sticks together. Divide into thirds. Roll out to make 3 pie crusts. When using the crust for the top of the pie sprinkle sugar on top. Crust can be frozen in balls and then defrosted and rolled out when ready to use. Makes 3 crusts.

SWEET TREATS

The next two recipes come from the folks at NAPSA, a national news clipping service, courtesy of the folks at Karo Syrup. Both feature Karo corn syrup, which is made without the unhealthy high fructose corn syrup we’ve been warned against. Both are easy enough for the kids to help with, and healthy enough for them to eat, even if they are high carb. Hunters in their deer stands might find even the big bucks are attracted to the scent of peanut butter and jelly bars, and they’re easily portable in hunting jacket pockets for in-stand refreshments.

COOKIES & CREAM

CEREAL BAR TREATS

Put these together in 15 minutes. Recipe makes two dozen bars, without using the oven.

Mazola No-Stick Cooking Spray

6 cups chocolate crispy rice cereal

2 cups crumbled chocolate sandwich cookies

1 cup Karo Light Corn Syrup

1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Optional toppings: chocolate cookie crumbs, mini chocolate chips, mini candy-coated milk chocolate pieces

Spray 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray; set aside. Combine cereal and cookies in a large bowl. Combine corn syrup and chocolate chips in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook until mixture just begins to boil. Remove from heat. Pour over cereal, stirring to coat completely. Pour into prepared pan; press firmly to level. Top with any of the optional toppings, if desired and pat into place. Cool and cut into bars. Store in air-tight container for up to 2 days.

PEANUT BUTTER & JELLY BARS

These take a little longer, and do require baking. Haven’t tried them, but they do sound tempting! Recipe makes 24 bars.

1 cup butter, room temperature

11/4 cups sugar

1/4 cup Karo Light Corn Syrup

2 eggs

2 cups creamy peanut butter

3 cups all-purpose flour

11/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon Argo Baking Powder

1 1/3 cups strawberry jam

2/3 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter, sugar and corn syrup in a large bowl with mixer at medium speed 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in eggs and peanut butter until combined. Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl. Add to peanut butter mixture; mix on low speed until dough forms. Divide dough into thirds. Press half of the dough in the bottom of a greased 13x9-inch pan (or for easy removal, line pan with greased foil, leaving 2 inches of foil extending over pan at ends). Spread strawberry jam over dough. Drop small pieces of remaining dough over the jam. (Dough will spread during baking and cover jam.) Sprinkle top with peanuts. Bake 40 to 45 minutes until light golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack at least 30 minutes. If pan is lined with foil, use foil to lift bars from pan. Cut into bars. Delicious with a glass of cold milk or a cup of hot coffee!

Thought for the Week: Former TIMESland resident Joyce Bedora, who now lives in Krakow, wrote this beautiful poem of Thanksgiving, and generously shared it with us. What could be more suitable for grace at the start of the family’s Thanksgiving Dinner? Takes a bit longer than “Father, Son, Holy Ghost, him that eats the fastest gets the most,” but it’s a lot more appropriate, too!With grateful hearts,we thank You, Lord,

For all the blessings You have bestowed.

For food and shelter, health and strength,

For Thy loving kindness, which knows no length.

For friends and family we hold so dear,

For Thy dear presence, ever near.

For answered prayers, for peace and joy,

For Thy steadfast love, no one can destroy.

For freedom of worship, for peace in our nation,

For Thy precious word, which gives consolation.

But most of all, Lord, we thank You for Thee,

For Thy great sacrifice, on Calvary’s tree,

For salvation’s plan, so full and so free,

And the hope that we have, for eternity.

COUNTRY COUSIN


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