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Archive for February, 2009

Home For The Weekend White Chili

White chili is great if your children come home with guests and you want to serve an informal lunch or supper but still have it special.

First, a caution about heat.  If you get it too hot there is little you can do to correct it.  If you don’t get it hot enough, you can add heat at the last minute.  So just before you are ready to take it off the stove, give it a taste test.

If you cann’t find the cans of combined diced tomatoes and green chilies, one of the small cans of green chilies will be too much.  If you decide to skip the chili powder for your own combination of ground red pepper and oregano, try only a 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper and 1 tablespoon of oregano.

1 1/2 to 2 lbs. of cubed pork filet

1 chopped onion

3 cloves of minced garlic

Olive oil  Use just enough to start the recipe.  When recipes call for 1 tablespoon I always need more.

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 (10 oz.) cans diced tomatoes and green chilies

2 (16 oz.) cans of white or navy beans, drained and rinsed

1 diced bell pepper

3/4 cup of hot or medium salsa

Toppings:  Shredded cheese or sour cream or a side of crusty bread

In a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat, cook pork, onion, and garlic in oil 5 minutes.  Sprinkle chili powder, cumin, and salt. and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, beans bell pepper, and salsa, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Serve with topping or side.  Serves 6.  Charles Marlin

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There are a lot of sweet potato pie recipes out there, and you may remember with wonderment your grandmother’s pie.  You cann’t recreate the experience of your youth; but even if you don’t have her recipe, you can make a pie no one can beat.

1/4 cup dark rum                                                                                            

1 cup raisins

2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes without the skins (about 2 medium sweet potatoes)

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 large egg (or 2 small eggs)

Zest of 1 orange (do this while the sweet potatoes are cooking)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon mace (or nutmeg)

1 pie shell

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Bring the rum to a simmer and add the raisins.  Set aside for 15 minutes.

With a blender, mix the sweet potatoes, sugar, buttermilk, egg, orange zest, vanilla, cinnamon and mace until semismooth without lumps.

Stir in the rum and raisins, then pour the filling into the pie shell.  Bake 10 minutes at 425 degrees, reduce to 350 degrees for another 45 minutes.  Cool before slicing.

Hopefully you have discovered the superiority of a ceramic pie pan, if not go online and select a Fiesta in a color you like.  There is a full size Fiesta that is 10″, and a half size Fiesta that is 6″.  Once you try a ceramic pie pan you might as well give your other pie pans away.  You will never use them again.  Charles Marlin

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file01052I love to shop at thrift stores.   A number of years ago I found Betty Crocker’s New Boys and Girls Cook Book for 5 cents.  It was a first edition, first printing from 1965.   I grabbed it since it reminded me of my sister who had a copy when we were younger, much younger.

At the time, we would have an occasional lunch time buffet where I worked.  Each of us would bring in something.  I made the “Salted Peanut Crisps” from the Betty Crocker’s New Boys and Girls Cook Book.  A number of coworkers wanted the recipe and it was fun to bring them copies and tell them that the recipe was from a 1965 kid’s cook book.  John Hink

file01071

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The Heartland Center for Leadership Development of Lincoln NE has developed a list and publication Clues to Rural Community Survival.  You can find the list on the Wyoming Community Foundation web page www.wycf.org and if you want to spring for the book you can get it at www.heartlandcenter.info 

It is a heavy duty list that begins with “1. Evidence of community pride,” and ends with “20. Conviction that, in the long run, you have to do it yourself.”  Well, amen.  When you check the list off according to how you see yourself and your willingness to participate if the resources and opportunities are made available, then your score may well be up there close to twenty.  If you check off as other community leaders perceive you, your score may not be nearly so high.

I want to concentrate on only the last clue –number twenty.  Everyone thinks it would be wonderful if new scholarships, new unrestricted funds, a fund for veterans and their families, a fund for food and nutrition, a fund for parenting, and a fund for county libraries would be endowed by someone with the money to spare.  Get real.  There is no someone, there is only you.

Waiting for a stranger to do the good deed means that neither you nor anyone else will ever see the good deed done.  The good deed hides within you and depends upon you to grow it into something wonderful.  The good deed is not dependent upon big numbers nor does it have anything to do with massive resources.  It has all to do with you deciding you will help, you will step forward because the time is as right as it is ever going to be.  It has to do with your belief that your kindness and generosity will be meet in someway by kindness and generosity in others.  Even if that does not happen and you stand alone, you know you stand in the right place and at the right time.  What more can you ask of yourself?

The community foundation movement would never have grown from its single beginning in 1914 to a world wide blanket if it had not been for one good person after another good person deciding to take action.  General goodwill is nothing.  Single, dedicated action is everything.  No one can predict the future, but a person can certainly influence how the future evolves.  When your good deed continues to work decade after decade into centuries, you have made possible your own renewal in that good deed.

The procedure is simple.  Call me Charles Marlin Board President of Clarion County Community Foundation at (814) 797-2233, or call Steve Kosak Executive Director of Bridge Builders Community Foundations at (814) 677-5085.  Charles Marlin

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Our recession will be long regardless of governmental response and it will fall heavily on the prudent and foolish alike.  The foolish think it will never end, and the prudent endure the present while planning for the future.

The prudent will avoid financial moves that put them at risk without reward.  The prudent will spend cautiously, and for that reason I want to explain a giving plan that is made for the prudent.  It is Installment Philanthropy.  Usually community foundations dress it up with a metaphorical name such as Acorn Society.  If you don’t find it under that name, just keep looking.  The web page will have it somewhere.  The plan is for those who would like to be the creator of an endowment fund but do not feel comfortable with a large single payment or making a binding pledge for a large amount in the future.  What they are looking for is a plan that stretches over a comfortable period of time, sticks to very reasonable amounts, and can be self-adjusted if personal circumstances dictate.

For example, a donor decides that he will set a goal of $10,000 for his endowment fund  and plans yearly payments over a period of ten years.  If he makes a $725 payment every year in ten years he will have given $7,250 but the fund will be worth more than $10,000.  This works out because the fund is not activated until it reaches $5,000, and the payout does not exceed 3% plus a very low administrative fee.  While it is building, payouts from the fund may be held over from one year to the next so the amount is large enough to make a difference.  At the end of ten years the donor is free to decide if he wants to set a second goal.

Another example may be a donor who can afford a larger initial payment of $5,000 but then plans to make a $1,000 payment each of the next ten years.  He has contributed $15,000 to a trust fund that in ten years is approaching $20,000.  If the donor encounters a slow year and skips a payment, he knows he can make future adjustments to cover what he skipped.

Another donor may time his payments to end when he reaches retirement.  So whether it is 9 years or 13 years he knows the payments will be completed during his peak earning years.  He may set a minimum payment knowing that he will exceed the minimum during good years.

In any of the examples the donor may find that he can not complete the payments.  The fund remains intact and grows but at a slower pace.  If the donor has been able to build the fund up to or near $10,000, a fund that size can survive on its own.  Naturally the larger it is when the payments stop, the stronger and more productive it will be.

The fund contract setting the name, purpose, rules, and sunset provision does not need to indicate any specific donation total.  Your payments are based on prudence and honor and should never become a burden or drudgery for you.  We can put together a payment coupon booklet with a tan cover just like the bank uses so you have a funky record of how you have built your own endowment fund.

We have all taken on payments for things we knew were too important to do without or to delay until we had the money saved.  Credit can be a smart move.  With this giving plan you are not taking on credit, you are building a trust fund.  Trust is also a smart move.  Installment philanthropy makes possible a wonderful life achievement.  Reach out and take advantage of it.  Charles Marlin

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The Clarion County Community Foundation Board of Directors met February 18th closing our second year of service.  We held a moment of silent respect for James Boyd Alexander, 1943 – 2009, one of our Founding Directors.  We noted that Nancy Kurtz-Lewis and Anna Mae Winder end their service on the Board.  We commended their contribution and fellowship.

Election of officers occured: President Charles Marlin, Vice-President Janice Horn, Treasurer Jerry Belloit, Secretary Jane Schautz, Directors for ’09 – ’12 Bill Hearst and Randy Vossburg, Ex-offico Directors without voting privilege Executive Director Stephen Kosak and Assistant Administrator Jeanne Best.

We approved a motion that the CCCF shall celebrate Founders Day March 13th by annually placing a flower with our name attached on the grave of memorial donors.

We approved a grant of $1,000 from the Rimersburg Medical Center Maintenance Fund originally created by a bequest from the estate of Ralph M. Eccles.

We continue to have open positions on the Board of Directors and again invite interested individuals to call Charles Marlin (814) 797-2233.  Charles Marlin

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I should go on the campus of Clarion University and put up a help wanted sign with email tabs asking for a young Muslim student with a slightly rebellious bent to write a 250 word review of Michael Muhammad Knight’s The Taqwacores.  After reading the book I know I am too far removed from the narrator Ysef Ali, a Pakistani-American freshman in Buffalo living off-off-campus at a Muslim controlled rental house.  And the promotional hype calling it a “Catcher in the Rye for young Muslims” is discordant noise as well as the glossy promotion of the author on the web.  So much noise suggests sales promotion more than anything else.

If this is a valid account of Muslim-American punk rebellion, then parents have little to worry about.  Their noisy children are only one or two moves away from marriage, mortgage, and jobs when they can find them.  Just tell those noise makers that a nice car is theirs when they get their first permanent job, and that you are talking with a financial advisor about starting an educational fund for the grandchildren.  There is no need to be subtle about this.

If you think your American children gave you fits, you need to prepare for those grandchildren.  There are, however, two universal truths to sustain you as they have all grandparents.  First, the grandchildren will be beautiful and smart.  Second, Allah will protect them.  Ask any grandparent.  Charles Marlin

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