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Hot and Cold of January

 Connie Moorered amarillis blooms

In the coolest area next to icy-cold windows, amaryllis bloom. They make a refreshing statement as to the strength of warm over cold. Hyacinth bulbs are chilling out in the back of the fridge, waiting for their February warm–up in a pot of soil on the counter next to the amaryllis.

Birds have been fed numerous times, while squirrels scrounge below, wanting so badly to climb the cold metal sleeve on the feeder pole but knowing from past experience it is futile. Cold air swirls their fur as they move.

An apple barn aroma permeates the cold back porch as boxes of Arkansas Black apples lay waiting in their wrappings for a chance to be hot apple crisp or pie or a sweet covering for pancakes. The pancake batter is mixed and waiting for the hot griddle.

A typical January Saturday has begun with its division of hots and colds. It seems the month is all about hot versus cold with only a thin wall or door or a few minutes on an oven timer to keep them apart.

Like most others, our family likes to keep cold outdoors and hot inside, preferably in the form of nourishment. So, here are two reader’s choices from years past. (My At Home column has been in print for 20 years so reader favorites are cooked up often.)

If you’re going out, bundle up. If you’re staying in, chill out with a good book or a puzzle while something hot (or cold) is happening in the kitchen.

Note: Just as I’m ready to send this blog, a request for a lost recipe of quick chocolate fudge came into the office so it’s included too. We never say no to chocolate!

red blooms in window

Barley Mushroom Bake

1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup barley
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 cups mushrooms, fresh or canned & drained
2 cans (15 ounce) beef broth

In skillet, brown onion and barley in butter, cooking over med/low heat for about 15 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and broth. Pour into casserole dish, cover and bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until liquid is absorbed. Serve hot with roast beef, roast pork or as main dish.

Cheesy Broccoli Casserole

1 med. onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter or margarine
10-ounce bag frozen broccoli
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Cheez Whiz, processed cheese
1 cup fresh-cooked or 1 cup leftover cooked rice

Cook onion in butter in skillet. Add broccoli, soup, water, milk, cheese and rice. Stir well until cheese melts and ingredients are blended. Pour into buttered casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Easiest Fudge on the Planet

(Also called Emergency fudge or Canned fudge)

One tub chocolate frosting
One jar (16 ounce) crunchy peanut butter
Garnishes: chopped peanuts, walnuts, candy chocolates, chopped maraschino cherries, coconut

Place frosting and peanut butter in microwave safe bowl. Heat on HIGH for 30 seconds. Stir and heat again on HIGH for 30-45 seconds. Stir well to blend ingredients, pour into a lightly buttered dish or pan. Smooth top out. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for a while.

Garnishes are not necessary but if the kids are making this, they probably will have fun.

Cut into small pieces as this is very sweet. Creamy peanut butter may be used.

For thicker fudge, spread into a 9x9-inch pan or 9-inch pie plate. For thinner fudge spread into a 13 x 9-inch dish. Recipe was adapted from fundraiser cookbook, Heavenly Delights, Springfield, Ohio — contributor Martha Rutherford.

To read other At Home columns, go to New Carlisle News or New Carlisle News on Facebook or Tipp Gazette or Troy Tribune.