This week's column is dedicated to the citizens of Maine, who, irregardless of what Mother Nature throws at them, keep right on cleaning, working and cooking – with or without electricity.


Macaroni Vegetable Soup

1 package ( 1.4 ounce) vegetable soup mix

1 envelope (0.6 ounce) Cream of chicken soup mix.

2 cans ( 5 1/2 ounces each) spicy tomato juice

4 cups water

2 cans ( 15 ounces each) mixed vegetables, drained

dash red pepper flakes

dash dried minced garlic

1/2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni

In a dutch oven, combine soup mixes and tomato juice. Stir in water, mixed vegetables, pepper flakes, and garlic, bring to a boil. Add macaroni. Reduce heat, cook uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes or until macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally.


Classic Venison Meat Loaf

2 eggs

2 cups soft bread crumbs

1/2 cup chopped sweet onion

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 pound ground venison

1/2 pound bulk pork sausage

4 bacon strips

In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Crumble venison and sausage over mixture and mix well. Shape into a loaf in a 11 inch by 7 inch baking dish. Top with bacon strips. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160 degrees. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.


Apricot Crisp

3 cans (15 1/4 ounces each) apricot halves, drained

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 tablespoon ground ginger

In a large bowl, combine the apricots, brown sugar and ginger. Divide among four greased 8-ounce dishes.

In a small bowl, combine:

1/4 cup flour

3 tablespoons quick-cooking oats

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons flaked coconut

Cut into this mixture 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over apricots. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until filling is bubbly and top is golden brown. Note: This crisp also may be baked in an 8 inch square baking dish for 23 to 25 minutes.


Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups chopped peeled tart apples

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Caramel Sauce

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup half and half cream or evaporated milk

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon. Gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in the apples and walnuts. Pour into a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Meanwhile, for the caramel sauce, combine the brown sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, cook and stir until thickened, about 3 minutes. Serve cake warm, or cold, with warm caramel sauce.


Our thought for the week: How can cemeteries raise burial costs and blame it on the cost of living?