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Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Southern Illinois Peach Season Makes for Delicious Recipes

  • 2/3 – 1 c. sugar
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, optional
  • 1 c. water
  • Ashley’s amazing biscuit dough, using 2 T. sugar
  • 3 heaping cups ripe peaches, peeled or not, cut into bite-sized pieces, including any juice that accumulates when cutting them.
  • Coarse sugar (sometimes labeled Sugar in the Raw or Demarara) for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 400°.

To peel peaches easily, cut an X into the blossom end (opposite the stem) and drop into boiling water for 30 seconds. Plunge into ice water, and peel as soon as they’re cool enough to handle.
Prepare the biscuit dough up to before forming into biscuits, and set aside.

Mix the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon, if using, in a large saucepan. Bring the water to a boil in a microwave, then whisk it into the sugar mixture until smooth. Return to a boil on the stove over medium high heat, then stir in the cut peaches.

Pour the hot peach mixture into an approximately 10-inch x 6-inch baking dish, then, using the drop method, place 6 equal dollops of biscuit dough evenly over the peaches. Brush the biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle them with coarse sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown on top and cooked through, and the peaches are bubbling. Serve warm, either as is, drizzled with a little heavy cream, or a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

No Bake Chocolate Chip Lasagna

August 4th is national chocolate chip cookie day. While I love to celebrate with a cookie I thought I might off a different spin on things. WIth August being so super hot and many of us desiring not to bake I thought I would show the chocolate chip in a different spot light. This dessert allows the baker to not heat the kitchen up and still enjoy and share a delicious dessert

For the crust

  • 34 crunchy chocolate chip cookies (like Chips Ahoy)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter

pulse cookies in a food processor until fine crumbs. Or use a ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin! Add melted butter to the cookie crumbs and pour into the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish. Using the palm of your hand or the bottom of a cup, firmly press the crumbs into the bottom of the dish. Set aside.

For the first layer

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz Cool Whip, thawed
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, beat softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth and creamy. Fold Cool Whip in cream cheese mixture until blended. Fold in mini chocolate chips. Pour over crust. Using an offset spatula, spread the mixture evenly over the crust layer.

For the second layer

  • 2 boxes (small box size) Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
  • 2 1/2 cups cold milk (I used skim milk)

In a large bowl add two packages of INSTANT chocolate pudding mix. Make sure you purchase the instant variety or this won't set up properly.
Whisk in milk. You'll use less milk than the box says because you want this layer extra thick and fudgy.
Once the pudding mix is well blended, spread the pudding over cheesecake layer.

For the topping

  • 8 oz Cool Whip, thawed
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Add remaining Cool Whip to the top of the chocolate lasagna. Sprinkle with more mini chocolate chips and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
Slice and serve. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days. ENJOY.

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Monday, August 3, 2020

Watermellon Day

As you drove down highway 1 in Southern Illinois in years past you would have seen the large watermellon stands. My daddy took a job down here in the early '80s and while it had no reasoning on taking the job my daddy also loved watermellon. We would visit the stands nearly weekly and enjoy a nice slice of watermellon. Perhaps you are aware that today August 3rd is National Watermellon Day. 

Many family picnics and cookouts would not have been the same without a slice of watermellon. While watermellons are 90% water they also have a delicous flesh to enjoy on a hot summer day. A grand variety of watermellons are common in the United States and Mexico. Watermellons with flesh colors of reed, pink, white and yellow in a varity of sizes and shapes. The largest mellon in the guiness book of world records tipped the scales at 350.5 lbs. 

Did you know that pioneers would use the watermellon as sort of a canteen?? You can find facts like this and more at In fact did you know that you can eat every inch of the watermellon including the green rind?? Here are a few ways to do just that:

  • Because the cucumber rind is a bit like that of a cucumber many will use the rind to make up watermellon rind pickles
  • This next way may surprise you a bit as you can make juice from the rind of a watermellon. 
  • You can even make a watermellon rind be part of the supper by stir frying it. 

 4 qts prepared watermelon rind
3 Tbsps Mrs. Wages® Pickling Lime
2 qts water
8 cups granulated sugar
1 qt Mrs. Wages® Pickling & Canning Vinegar (5% acidity)
1 qt water
1 lemon, thinly sliced
2 Tbsps whole cloves
3 sticks cinnamon (3-inch pieces)
2 pieces ginger root (1-inch long)

To prepare watermelon rind, trim dark skin and pink flesh from thick watermelon rind. Wash and cut in 1-inch pieces or as desired. Dissolve lime in 2 quarts water in a food grade storage container. Pour over rind. If needed, add more water to cover rind. Let stand for 2 hours at room temperature.
Drain and rinse several times to remove all lime. Put rind in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to boil. Simmer just until tender and drain.
Prepare home canning jars and lids according to manufacturer’s instructions. Keep jars hot. Tie cloves, cinnamon, and ginger in cheesecloth bag. In a large saucepan, combine spices with sugar, vinegar, the remaining 1 quart water, and lemon. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add watermelon rind and simmer until rind is clear. Add boiling water if syrup becomes too thick before rind is clear. Remove spice bag.
Pack rind into hot jars, leaving 1⁄2-in headspace. Add syrup leaving 1⁄2-in headspace. Remove air bubbles and wipe rims. Adjust lids and process for 10 minutes, using boiling water bath method.

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Sunday, August 2, 2020

National Immunization Month have You been Vaccinated

August for many means back to school. Back to school month also means a time to ensure that our childrens health is current. National Immunization Awareness Month occurs each year in August. It is not just a time for our children to ensure their vaccination is up to date but that individuals of all ages are up to date on immunizations. Heath care professionals, parents, and patients are all responsible for ensuring that immunizations are completed so all stay healthy

For many parents the decsion to vaccine their child or not can be a hard one. While most parents follow the recomended vacine schedule others may have a bit of doubt. There is a lot of information out there and some of it is incorrect information so what is one to do?? One of the most important things to do is to talk to your childs doctor about any concerns you may have. 

The job of vaccines is to prevent diseases.  Diseases that can be prevented by vacines can be dangerous and at times deadly Measles, mumps, pertussis or any of the diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. Some may say that vaccines are no longer needed as the number has decreased, however no parent wants to take a risk with their child's health or life. Perhaps you are one of the parents that do all they can to protect their child but has second thoughts when it comes to vaccines, why should you when you do all you can to prevent other types of accidents why not prevent un-needed health issues as well. 

Just so you can stay up to date here is a list of important immunizations

Vaccines go through extensive lab testing before they become available to the public. This helps to ensure that it is safe and effective for use. They may take as many as several years to be sure that they are ready to use Even after they are allowed to use a vaccine the FDA, CDC, and other agencies help to monitor that they are safe to use. 

What is your stance on immunizations?? 

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