God blessed America!

By: 
Shirley Prudhomme

Summer just got here, but June is all but over, with all the rain of the past week, some members of our family were trying to figure out just how big a “cubit” is, to determine the size of an ark they felt compelled to build. Hope they were planning to make it big enough for the whole family!

Am more convinced than ever that if God doesn’t actually live in TimesLand, He certainly spends vacations and weekends here. He parted the clouds so the sun could shine for the Marinette County June Dairy Month Breakfast on the Farm on Sunday, June 23.  Turnout was huge, and as usual everybody had way too much to eat. Am told that over 5,000 people turned out to enjoy the food and fun.

Gardens are growing, and in many farm fields the corn is already knee high. Grandpa’s rule of thumb was that for a successful crop, field corn had to be knee high by the Fourth of July.

GROWIN’ THINGS

Most of us know Vicks VapoRub as an old time remedy for the stuffy noses that go with head colds, but it turns out Vicks has a host of other benefits, including being an insect repellent.  

Not only does it drive away the sniffles, good old Vicks helps keep pests of the crawling, flying and four legged variety away from gardens. They dislike strong scent of menthol and eucalyptus in Vicks acts as a natural deterrent for many pests, keeping them away from you and your plants.

Rub it on various parts of your body to help keep mosquitoes and biting flies away with no side effects at all.

Apply Vicks VapoRub around the edges of planted pots or along garden borders to repel insects like ants, mosquitoes and spiders, and on your garden fence to make deer, rabbits and other critters less enthusiastic about getting in, and to keep your cat from using it as a litter box. 

SOMETHING FISHY 

Some folks like to raise gardens, some like to fish and some like to do both. Turns out that fishing and gardening can have a symbiotic relationship.

We have a family friend who grows the greatest tomatoes of all time. He says his secret is fish heads, but any part of the fish will do, including the whole fish if it’s not a variety you want to eat. He says the fish parts provide nitrogen and calcium when they decompose and these nutrients encourage healthy growth

ON THE SOAP BOX

By this time next week we will have celebrated the 248th anniversary of our nation’s Declaration of Independence. We will have watched parades, enjoyed picnics and enjoyed time off from work.

But how many of us will have given any thought to what made our nation great? 

Recently read a Facebook rant that made me want to cry. The writer demanded to know why we thought God would bless this nation more than any other. 

Most nations on this planet were formed by kings or rulers of whatever other name they came up with, and settled by people who were hoping to become wealthy enough to become rulers themselves.

America’s first settlers, on the other hand, came here seeking religious freedom. They did not seek fame and fortune, nor did they expect to find it.

Little did they know that what they would find was far more valuable than any treasure that can be measured in terms of fortune or power.

They found freedom.

The pilgrims came to set up a new and different way of life in a new world, with God at its center. We don’t hear much about it, but Maryland also was settled by people seeking religious freedoms.

Many of the early settlers in what is now the United States of America were the renegades, the outcasts of the societies where the elite ruled with lavish elegance and everyone else had to bow to them.

Our nation’s Founding Fathers were a group of men who believed in God and freedom and were willing to die for it. God blessed us by bringing those Founding Fathers together at a time in history when they could make a difference in the entire world, and they did.

God blessed us with George Washington, who could have made himself king, but chose instead to return to his plantation when his two terms as President were up.

Yes, indeed, God has blessed America. And because of that, America is special.

To everyone who has an opportunity to influence the coming generations: Please, please, make sure they get the message that America truly has been blessed by God, and we need to thank Him for that, and protect the incredible gift of freedom that He has given us.

KEEP RASPBERRIES FRESH

The All Recipes.com website had some hints for keeping raspberries fresh longer. The advice is to spread them out in a single layer on paper towels and then let sit a few minutes to absorb any excess moisture. If any berries are squashed or moldy, remove them so they do not cause the rest of the berries to go bad. Return the raspberries to their clamshell or perforated container they came in. Place the container of raspberries at the front of the shelf in your fridge, rather than at the back or in the crisper drawer, because these areas generally have more humidity, plus you get a visual reminder to enjoy them right away. Right before serving time, gently wash the raspberries and then pat them dry with paper towels if they will be added to baked goods or whipped cream. 

COOKIN’ TIME

Summer time, especially Fourth of July week, is perfect for enjoying outdoor meals that can easily be taken to wherever you plan to be, whether on the road, at the beach, or in the backyard at home.  And don’t miss the patriotic Red, White and Blueberry trifle that is one of our family traditions for the Fourth of July. 

PICNIC PACKETS

Make these at home and pack along for an on the road picnic, or just make them at home for an easy and delicious at-home barbecue.

1 to 1 1/2 pounds beef round steak, 1/2 inch thick or 4 large pork steaks

1 package frozen peas (10 ounces)

4 medium carrots, thinly sliced

4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 envelope onion soup mix

Heat oven to 450 degrees or light coals and let them heat to all-over ash. You want moderate heat with a covered grill if possible. If you’re preparing these at home to be cooked at a picnic site, follow preparation directions, then keep them chilled until it’s time to cook a few hours later. Cut the meat into 1-inch pieces. Place peas in colander or sieve, run cold water over them until thawed enough to separate. Drain well. Tear off four large pieces heavy-duty aluminum foil, 18”X15”. On center of each piece place one carrot, thinly sliced, one potato, thinly sliced, and 1/4 of the meat. Stir together the soup and soup mix, spoon 1/4 over each packet and top with the peas. Wrap securely, sealing foil well by crimping open edges together, Place in oven on ungreased cookie sheet, or on grill. Bake 50 minutes or until meat is tender. If cooking on grill turn every 10 minutes, being careful not to break the foil.

BROCCOLI SALAD

This can be made the day before, or just in time for dinner. 

1 Head Broccoli (ground or chopped)

1 small onion (chopped)

8 pieces bacon, fried and broken up

1/3 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 cup salad dressing

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vinegar

A food processor is ideal for this. Fry the bacon ahead of time and let it cool. Chop in food processor and dump into bowl. Chop carrot, then add onion and chop again until as fine as you like. Add broccoli and chop coarsely. Add to dish with bacon. Add almonds and raisins. Mix the last three ingredients together, then add to the vegetable mixture. Chill until serving time, or serve at once.

RED, WHITE AND BLUEBERRY TRIFLE

Beautiful Fourth of July dessert. This is at its best served 4 and 24 hours after you make it. but  will last three to four days in the fridge. Make this in a clear bowl, preferably one with fairly straight sides, so the colors show. The bowl I use is about 8 inches in diameter and 5 inches deep. 

2 pounds fresh strawberries

1 pound fresh blueberries

1/2 cup sugar

1 package instant vanilla pudding (6 serving size)

3 cups milk

1 teaspoon almond extract

8 ounce tub whipped topping, or real whipped cream, whipped

16 ounce pound cake or angel food cake, purchased, clean the strawberries, cut them into quarters and stir in the sugar to start the juices flowing. Let them sit for at least half an hour. Meanwhile, make the pudding mixture as directed, adding the almond extract. Stir in the whipped topping. Set this in the fridge while you tear the cake the cake into bite size pieces. After the strawberries have sat with the sugar for at least 30 minutes, strain the juice into a container with a pourable spout so none of it will be wasted. Put about one third of the cake pieces into the bowl and drizzle on about one third of the strawberry syrup. Spread on one third of the pudding mixture and about one third of the strawberries. Add about one third of the pudding mixture, then another layer of cake, with a third of the berry juice drizzled on. Spread on a little more of the pudding mixture and add the blueberries. Make sure some of the blueberries are touching the sides of the bowl. Add the final layer of cake, drizzle on the remaining berry juice. Add the rest of the strawberries, and top with the remaining pudding mixture. Serve with additional whipped topping or sweetened whipped cream if you want.  

Thought for the week: Thank You Lord, for all the blessings You have showered on America. Was it a miracle that brought all our nation’s founders together to create a government designed to serve the people, rather than the politicians? We have not always used Your blessings wisely, Lord, and today too many are turning away from You. Please help us as a nation to return to the Bible-based principles on which our Founding Fathers based the Declaration of Independence and then the Constitution that governs us. Please help us to remember it is because of You that we have food on our tables, fuel in our vehicles and roofs over our heads. 

(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) 291-9002 or by e-mail to shirleyprudhommechickadee@yahoo.com.)

Shirley Prudhomme

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