Let freedom ring!

By: 
Shirley Prudhomme

Impossible to believe that June is gone and the wonderful Fourth of July weekend is here. We who are lucky enough to live in TimesLand will have a hard time deciding which of the many fun events coming up we can find time to enjoy. As one nationally published travel writer once stated after visiting here years ago, “Summers are short here, but they are filled with fun. People start celebrating when the snow melts and they don’t stop until it falls again.”

He was right about the first part, but missed that we do a lot of fun things in winter too. That, however, is a story for another day, so back to the present.

Stephen Colbert was right when he described the Fourth of July weekend in America as “exploding Christmas.” The fun and the fireworks just go on and on. What a marvelous time of year!

The parades, parties and picnics scheduled by communities, clubs and businesses all over TimesLand in the next week or two are far too numerous to list here. Check the pages of the Peshtigo Times, check the web, and check the community bulletin boards so you don’t miss any.

WATER HAZARDS

TimesLand is filled with places to have fun in, near and on the water, but when water is too easily accessible, it can pose some special hazards, especially to toddlers, who seem to always be attracted to it.

Whether your water hazard is a creek, pond, wading pool or a full-size swimming pool, some safety precautions are in order, especially when little ones are around.

Most everyone recognizes the dangers of larger bodies of water like pools, lakes, rivers, streams, etc. But how many of us even think of the danger a wading pond can offer to the little tykes? A small child can actually drown in less than two inches of water. 

For starters, be sure little ones are fenced or otherwise prevented from getting into the water when they aren’t supposed to. If you do or don’t spend a lot of time near water, teach your youngsters to swim as early as possible. 

Older kids need to know not to swim alone and to limit horsing around in the water. Cries for help when it isn’t needed should be considered a major crime and be treated as such. But if you or someone else needs help don’t hesitate to scream as loud and long as you can. 

Never dive into strange water. In fact, don’t jump in until you know exactly where the bottom is. Personally, when swimming in a strange lake I always walk out and swim back so I know just where the bottom is. 

MENEKAUNEE OLD TIMERS

Speaking of swimming, Red Arrow Park in Marinette offers a fine swimming beach, and is a wonderful place to go on a hot summer day.

The 45th annual Menekaunee Old Timers Reunion will be held at noon there this year on July 20 in the park’s enclosed pavilion, rain or shine. This event is for anyone 50 years old or more with ties to Menekaunee, and swimming is optional.  (Actually, not likely for most of us who plan to attend.) Attendees should bring lawn chairs and beverage.

Cost is $10 if paid by July 15, or $15 if paid later.  Checks should be made payable and sent to Menekaunee Old Timers, 160 W Bay Shore St., Marinette.  Sharon Brix Powilaites invites anyone with questions to call her at (715) 735-5577, and then advises, “Let the reminiscing begin!”

COOKIN’ TIME

Rhubarb and strawberries are among the most popular summertime treats for good reason. The season for enjoying them fresh is short, so let’s take advantage while we can.

CHICK KEBABS

To go with this, parboil some nice little new potatoes until barely tender, cool and then marinate them in the same mixture as the chicken and grill until they are toasty hot. The par boiled potatoes can go right in the bag with the chicken if there’s room. Travels well if you fill the bag (or bags) before you leave home. Marinating overnight doesn’t hurt provided you keep everything well chilled. As an extra precaution, if you’re keeping them overnight, put the chicken and vegetables in separate bags. 

2 chicken breasts, cubed

1 red peppers, cut into large chunks

1 red onion, cut into wedges with root intact

1 white onion, cut into wedges with root intact

6 to 8 mushrooms

6 to 8 cherry tomatoes

Chicken Marinade:

1/2 cup olive oil

Juice of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Put chicken cubes in a large zipper-type plastic bag. Whisk whisk the marinade ingredients together and pour into the bag. If the bag is big enough, add the red pepper chunks, onion wedges, mushrooms ad cherry tomatoes too. Seal bag and marinate in refrigerator for one hour. About half an hour before you want to eat start the charcoal, light the fire or turn on the grill. You want the coals to be medium-hot when you start cooking. To assemble skewers, slide chicken and desired vegetables onto skewers. Bush or rub with olive oil to avoid sticking to the grill. Salt and pepper all sides. Grill on medium-high for about 3-6 minutes on each side (varies by grill). For a variation, use whatever vegetables you like. Summer squash are very good.

UPSIDE DOWN RHUBARB CAKE

5 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2” pieces

1 package strawberry gelatin, 6 ounces

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups miniature marshmallows

1 package white or yellow cake mix (18 ounces), prepared

Whipped Cream or Bourbon Sauce

Place rhubarb in a buttered 13”X9” cake pan, preferably glass or enamel. Over this sprinkle evenly as possible the gelatin, sugar and marshmallows. Prepare the cake mix according to package directions and pour the batter over the marshmallows. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes or until it tests done. Cool for 10 minutes and invert onto serving tray.

FRESH SUMMER FRUIT SALAD

The rhubarb sauce makes a marvelous dressing and keeps other fruits from turning brown.

1/2 cup water

2/3 cup sugar

3 cups thinly sliced rhubarb

15 seedless grapes, halved

1/2 orange, sectioned

10 fresh strawberries, hulled and halved

1 apple, cored and diced

1 peach, sliced

1 plum, pitted and sliced

15 pitted Bing cherries

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the rhubarb, Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer until rhubarb is soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Mash and chill in the refrigerator, about one hour.  Mix the grapes, orange, strawberries, apple, peach, plum, cherries, and blueberries with 2/3 cup of the rhubarb sauce. Stir gently, but thoroughly to coat. Refrigerate for at least two hours to allow the flavors to blend.

STRAWBERRY CHESECAKES TO GO

This treat is by far best made with sweet locally grown strawberries, freshly picked, but is even good with frozen berries if you must. 

6 pecan shortbread cookies (such as Keebler Sandies), finely crushed

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons white sugar

6 half-pint canning jars with lids

12 ounces sliced fresh strawberries

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped

Mix cookie crumbs, butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in a bowl until combined. Divide mixture evenly among jars, about 3 1/2 tablespoons each, and gently press (do not pack) into bottoms. Halve 6 strawberries for garnish, and set aside. Chop remaining strawberries. Beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and lemon juice in bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Fold in whipped cream and chopped berries; divide evenly among jars, about 1/2 cup each. Top each with a 2 berry halves and cover with lids. Chill at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

(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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