Delicious recipes for Lenten season

Why is it that the weekend days seem to go faster than the weekdays? First, one thinks, “Great it’s TGIF!” and before one blinks twice, it is Monday morning and the alarm is going off to summon one to work. If you can figure out that puzzle, let me know. We all seem to live “too fast,” but the weekends going by faster than ever just isn’t the way it should be. Maybe it is because I don’t move as fast as I used to do.

The daffy daffodils are showing their buds already this week. Of course, the cold temperatures will kill them off. Mother Nature seems to be slipping a bit this year by letting the spring bulbs think it is time to wake up and bloom. Even the furnace is having a hard time trying to decide when to come on and when to shut off. Just our valley’s regular weather cycle acting up, I guess.

My old college, Mississippi Southern, got hit with a tornado last weekend. It was sad to look at the pictures. Of course, if I went back to visit now, I probably wouldn’t recognize anything anyway the way the campus has grown. Sometimes I wonder where some of my former classmates finally ended up and what is going on in their lives. It is sad when we are too busy living to keep in touch with those who have touched our lives. It would be easier now with the “social networks” unless there is someone in the household who doesn’t like anything about new technologies.

Now that Lent has started, we are on the way to Easter. That means a lot of different things to different folks. It used to be about everyone would “give up” something for Lent. One now seldom hears anyone discussing that tradition. Of course, it is a personal decision and if one brags about it, the reason for it is destroyed anyway. Maybe one should not think about “giving up” something, but instead think about “taking on” something. Study, volunteer, get a better attitude, help your neighbor something along those lines and just do it without talking about it. We could all improve ourselves (and maybe some more than others, but we can’t judge.)

There are six old tomato seeds that have sprouted in pots on the window sill. It will be a challenge to see if I can keep them growing. The rosemary that looked so nice when I potted her up last fall is not looking so good, but then, rosemary and I don’t do well getting along in the house. Everyone else can grow beautiful herbs inside, but they like to die on me. Maybe, if spring comes early, that rosemary will rejuvenate itself enough to start growing outside again. I like fresh herbs with which to cook, but it looks as if the grocery store will be furnishing me with the dried ones this year.

The “mouse wars” seem to be doing a better job than the herbs. There hasn’t been a mouse caught for several days now, and the bait is still on the traps. They may just have grown smarter or moved on or all of them met their everlasting in the traps. The next few weeks will tell who won. One of the “joys?” of living in the country is the invasion of critters who want to share the warm house.

Recently, skunks have been seen along the road. That is “sign of spring.” Hopefully, none will venture close to the house the dumb dogs that live here seem to love to chase them and then it is a chore to get them presentable again. Some folks say they make nice pets but I wouldn’t trust one. They belong in the woods far away from this hilltop. In the past, they have dug up the spring bulbs for a snack and that is one reason my flowerbed has few of those spring flowers left. I don’t mind providing food for most of the woods creatures, but the skunks are not on the invitation list.

Monday is Presidents Day. Back in the Stone Age, school kids would celebrate a separate day for each of Washington and Lincoln and we learned more about each of them that way. In the recipes today is one from George’s household. I didn’t find one for Abe unless one for groundhog would do and I didn’t think anyone would try that one. He might have eaten a meal made from hunting when he was growing up but I am certain that was never served in the White House.

Another recipe today is from Brother Bill. Sounds like a good one for a family meal.

As we go from warm days to snow and COLD, try to just ride with weather wave. Before long, we will be complaining about the hot heat of summer. Guess we humans have to have something to complain about all the time, and the weather is better than taking it out on fellow humans. Plan your garden and summer vacation, too. Use the Lenten season for your personal growth and inner peace.

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MEXICAN CASSEROLE

12 small corn tortillas

One pound ground beef, cooked and drained

One-fourth cup diced onion

One can (10-oz.) Enchilada Sauce (El Paso Med.)

One can Cream of Chicken soup, directly out of the can

One can Cream of Celery soup, directly out of the can

One cup grated cheese (Kraft Mexican cheese a combo of Cheddar and Pepper Jack)

One can (4 oz.) diced green chiles

Combine cooked beef, raw onions, chiles, Enchilada sauce and soups in a mixing bowl. Spray a baking dish, 9 x 13, with cooking spray. Layer the tortillas, than the beef mixture, as you would lasagna. Top with grated cheese. Cover with foil and bake in preheated 300 degree (325-?) for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another five minutes.

NOTE: Don’t skimp on the cheese add a few different kinds to add a different taste treat. Try adding a layer of cheese on the first layer of the casserole. Try using a can (6- to 10-oz.) of chicken instead of the beef.

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GEORGE AND MARTHA’S FAVORITE PUMPKIN PIE

Three-fourths cup sugar

One teaspoon cinnamon

One teaspoon ginger

One-half teaspoon salt

One-and-one-half cups pumpkin, steamed and strained

Three eggs, well beaten

One cup milk

One cup heavy cream

One tablespoon butter

Put sugar in wooden mixing bowl. Blend in spices and salt. Stir in steamed and strained pumpkin, custard-like beaten eggs, milk, heavy cream and melted butter. Blend thoroughly. Pour into pastry lined pie pan. Bake I moderate oven (350 degrees) for about 45 minutes or until done. Set aside and allow to cool. Especially good when served with whipped cream.

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SOUTHERN FRIED CATFISH

Two cups self-rising cornmeal

One tablespoon garlic powder

Two tablespoon dried thyme

Three pounds catfish fillets

One cup buttermilk

One tablespoon salt

Two teaspoons ground black pepper

Two teaspoons ground red pepper

Oil for frying

Combine cornmeal, garlic powder and thyme in a shallow dish such as a pie pan. Dip the fillets in buttermilk, allow excess to drip off, sprinkle with salt and peppers and dredge in the cornmeal mixture. Using a deep fryer or Dutch oven, pour oil at least two inches deep and heat to 375 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Fry fillets 3 to 4 minutes or until they float. Don’t crowd two at a time unless your fryer is large. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

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ANOTHER RECIPE FOR FRIED CATFISH

One large egg, lightly beaten

One-fourth cup milk

One-half cup flour

One-half teaspoon salt

One-half teaspoon ground red pepper

One-half teaspoon garlic salt

Two pounds catfish fillets

One-half cup butter or margarine, divided

One-fourth cup oil for frying (peanut or vegetable)

Two tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Two tablespoons lemon juice

One teaspoon lemon zest

One-half teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Fresh parsley sprigs and lemon wedges for garnish

Combine egg and milk in a shallow dish. Combine flour salt, garlic salt and pepper in another shallow dish. Dip fillets in egg mixture and dredge in flour mixture. Melt one-fourth cup of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and increase heat to medium-high. Place fillets in hot skillet and cook about four minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when you test it with a fork. Drain on paper towels, and then place on serving platter. Melt remaining one-fourth cup butter in the same skillet in which fish was fried. Stir in chopped parsley, lemon juice and zest, and Worcestershire sauce. Spoon this over fillets. Garnish with fresh parsley sprigs and lemon wedges.

These same two recipes work with other kinds of fish, too. Both are good.