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The Cooking Corner

April 23, 2009
Reinbeck Courier
By BERNICE VOLKENS        April is designated as “Earth Month” and this week is “Earth Week” this week and a time to make us think about where we live and our environment.  Because taking care of our planet has become a part of our everyday lives all of us should be thinking “Earth-thoughts” all the time.  There are four basic forces of nature – earth, air, fire and water and they come together to create a world and all its many wonders.  By doing just some simple things we can make a difference starting today. Iowa will be in the spotlight this year when President Obama celebrates Earth Day in Iowa.  The president will visit the town of Newton on Wednesday, April 22---the first presidential visit to that town in over a century.  There is no doubt that the state of Iowa had a lot to do in electing him president.  Now, as President Obama still seems willing to use this state as a political backdrop and Newton a town of around 15,000 may seem like a peculiar place to celebrate Earth Day but if you know the story it is very appropriate. Five years ago the town was facing a lot of trouble because of the mishandling of the Maytag factory.  It was in a lot of trouble and a factory that produced the best washing machine for a hundred years was going broke.  The only way out, they thought was to move most of their manufacturing south of the border but that didn’t work either and the long time Maytag was bought out by Whirlpool.  The hope was that Whirlpool would keep the factory in Newton but that didn’t happen either.  Maytag closed and here was a town where over half their people lost their jobs.  Obama campaigned that he would make no promises, but when he visited the town in November 2007 he saw the need of the displaced Maytag workers.  He will be in town to support wind energy and to support Iowa as # 2 in the nation in wind production.  It will be difficult to overcome Texas because they are quite a distance ahead of us, but Iowa overtook California, so perhaps even Texas someday. The reason for this is because the old Maytag factories in Newton are now employing the misplaced Maytag workers by manufacturing wind turbines and parts.  This factory is very “green” oriented.  Green energy technology and equipment means we now have a factory that is making solar and wind production equipment.  American workers are making wind turbines and installing them.  American workers are installing American made solar panels on American homes. This is one way our country can be independent of foreign energy. Some of you are probably thinking I’m getting political but saving our planet has nothing to do with politics. Several weeks ago I had a couple of crock-pot recipes for you readers to try and from what I hear they were successful, but I was asked if I had any dessert recipes for a slow cooker because her family wasn’t satisfied unless they finished a meal off with dessert.  Also using a slow cooker is a energy saver. SLOW-COOKER CARMEL APPLE DELIGHT 1/2 cup apple juice 7 oz. pkg. caramels, unwrapped 1 teas. vanilla 1/2 teas. cinnamon 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter 4 to 5 tart apples, cored, peeled and sliced Combine apple juice, caramels, vanilla and cinnamon in slow cooker. Add peanut butter and mix well.  Add apples; cover and cook on low setting for 5 hours.  Stir thoroughly, cover and cook on low setting one additional hour.  Makes 4 to 6 servings. Serve this sweet, gooey delight over vanilla ice cream or slices of angel food cake. “Make Earth Day every day.”




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