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Out of order

September 19, 2012
By Pat Jensen , Marshall Independent

It's an early August afternoon and my dependable laundry companion of 12 years has suddenly stopped working. The washing machine came to a halt after agitating a load of my husband's work clothes. The machine was suppose to spin out the water and then refill for the rinse. That wasn't happening.

I reached into the machine and retrieved the soaking wet clothes, attempting to wring some of the water out before placing them in a basket. Then I headed for the laundromat. About 25 minutes later I was back home and putting the clothes into the dryer.

Now I needed to remove the water from the washing machine. I first used a large plastic pitcher. Luckily, the floor drain is located directly behind the washing machine. Once I got the water level down, I used a wet/dry vac to remove the remaining water.

After taking a closer look at the washing machine, I discovered that the mechanism responsible for spinning had been dislocated. I attempted to put the part in its proper place and tighten the screws, but they wouldn't hold. I thought to myself, "What would Red Green do?" I found some duct tape!

I managed to reposition the "thingamajig" responsible for my woes. Then I applied a few (OK, more than a few) strips of duct tape to hold it in place. As a result of my ingenuity, I was able to wash three more loads of laundry before the tape began to loosen.

Because the washing machine is 12 years old and also has a small intermittent leak, I believe it's time to get a new machine.

I'll be sure to have a conversation with my hubby when he returns home from the lake. For reasons I can't explain, his trips to the lake always seem to coincide with problems here at home ... and he misses out on all the fun. This time, he'll have to "pay the price."

A taco on a plate


1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 T. olive or veg. oil

1-lb. ground beef

1/4 to 1/2 tsp. Seasoned Salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce

1 T. taco sauce (I use mild)

1 tsp. chili sauce

Corn chips

Lettuce, shredded

Cheddar cheese, shredded

Hot sauce or taco sauce

Sour cream

In a large skillet briefly saute onion and celery in the oil. Add ground beef, seasoned salt and pepper. Brown the ground beef. Drain off any fat. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, taco sauce and chili sauce. Cover skillet. Simmer 20 to 30 min. Stir occasionally.

Serve over corn chips. Top with lettuce, cheese, sauce and sour cream if desired.

Notes: Ground turkey can be substituted for ground beef. For added flavor, use a can of diced tomatoes with roasted garlic and onions. You can make your own sour cream by combining 1/2 cup cottage cheese (2% or 4%) and 1-1/2 tsp. lemon juice. Mix until smooth ... I use an immersion blender. Easy clean-up.

No dough to roll out

PAN PIZZA (9 x 13)

1-lb. ground beef

1/2 cup (or less) diced onion

1/3 to 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper, opt.

Dash of salt and pepper

1 cup flour

1 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1/8 tsp. oregano

2 eggs

2/3 cup milk

1 can (15 oz) pizza sauce

1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

In a skillet brown ground beef with onion, bell pepper, salt and pepper. Drain off fat. Set skillet aside.

Combine flour, salt, pepper, oregano, eggs and milk. Stir with a spoon. Pour this batter into a greased and floured 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Distribute meat mixture over the batter. DO NOT STIR. Bake at 375 for 15 min. Remove dish from oven and top with pizza sauce and cheese. Return to oven and bake another 15 min.

Note: Sliced olives may also be included in the topping.

Enjoy these before or after school - with a glass of milk


1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine, softened

2 large eggs

1-1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. almond extract

1/2 tsp. salt

3 cups oats, uncooked (quick)

1 cup chopped dried apricots

3/4 cup dried cranberries

3/4 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup slivered almonds

In a large bowl mix sugars, butter and margarine until creamy. Reduce mixer speed; add eggs, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, almond extract and salt, mixing just until blended. Stir in oats and remaining ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 for 14 to 15 min. or until tops are golden. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Note: I used "air-bake" pans; baked cookies for 14 min. and allowed them to stand one minute before removing from pan. Yield: 5 to 6 dozen.

Food for Thought: What will today's children be able to tell their children they did without?



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