Monday, February 27, 2017

Cookie Crumbs: Let the good times roll with Mardi Gras cookies

We Energies Cookie Book recipes are perfect for celebrations of all kinds. No matter the occasion, you’ll find a recipe that’s just right.

“Laissez les bons temps rouler” (or, “let the good times roll”) with these New Orleans Mardi Gras Cookies. Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, marks the start of Lent and the time to reduce your indulgences, so we suggest making these fun and festive cookies now.

These cookies were featured in the 2015 We Energies Cookie Book. Called the Holidays Across America edition, the 2015 book featured recipes from friends and family throughout the United States who had special connections to Wisconsin.

New Orleans Mardi Gras Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1-1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, divided

3 egg yolks

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Gold, green and purple sprinkles, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In mixing bowl, cream butter, 1 cup sugar and 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Add egg yolks, honey and extracts; mix well. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cream of tartar and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing well. In shallow bowl, combine remaining sugar and cinnamon. Shape rounded tablespoons of dough into logs; roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Loosely coil into spiral shapes. Place 1-inch apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on wire cooling racks. Drizzle cooled cookies with Icing; decorate with sprinkles, if desired. (Note: cookies may be decorated with sprinkles before baking, if desired.) Makes about 3 dozen.


2 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup warm water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

In medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, water, vanilla and lemon juice until smooth.

Need some baking inspiration? Our Cookie Book archive has recipes dating back to the 1930s. Go online and find your new favorite today!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Cookie Crumbs: Bars to the Stars

We Energies Cookie Book recipes are perfect for celebrations of all kinds. No matter the occasion, you’ll find a recipe that’s just right.

2017 marks the 89th anniversary of both the Academy Awards and the We Energies Cookie Book. To celebrate, we are featuring a recipe from our Cookie Book archives: Bars to the Stars. In 1998, when these bars made their Cookie Book debut, “Titanic” won eleven Academy Awards including Best Picture. “Titanic” was nominated for 14 awards – the most received by a single film, tying it with “All About Eve” in 1950 and “La La Land” this year.

Bars to the Stars will reprise their role as a favorite among stars and starstruck fans alike. The bars are rumored to have been enjoyed by celebrities from singer-songwriter Rod Stewart to children’s entertainer Captain Kangaroo, and always receive rave reviews. These tasty, no-bake treats are sure to be the highlight of any Oscar-viewing party or movie night!

Bars to the Stars

2 cups butterscotch morsels

1 cup chunky peanut butter

8 cups puffed rice cereal (like Rice Krispies)

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup powdered sugar

¼ cup butter

2 tablespoons water

Combine butterscotch morsels and peanut butter in large bowl. Microwave until melted and smooth. Add rice cereal. Stir until well-coated. Press half the cereal mixture into a greased 9" x 13" pan. A good way to press mixture evenly is to lay a sheet of waxed paper over mixture and press down with another 9" x 13" pan. Chill while preparing fudge mixture. Combine and heat chocolate morsels, powdered sugar, butter and water. Melt, stirring often until mixture is smooth. Spread over chilled mixture.

Spread remaining half of cereal mixture over top of fudge layer. Press mixture down firmly, again with waxed paper and another pan. Chill until firm. Cut into squares. Makes 24 bars.

Need some baking inspiration? Our Cookie Book archive has recipes dating back to the 1930s. Go online and find your new favorite today!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Employee recognized with national award

Cows milk themselves at some Wisconsin dairy farms, thanks to robotic milkers. Some farms also use electric feed pushers that distribute food to cattle automatically. These are the types of technology being studied by Joann Henry and her team as they investigate “electrification,” the application of novel, energy-efficient electric technologies as alternatives to fossil-fueled or non-energized processes.

Henry, a market strategist in our wholesale energy and fuels department, has been recognized by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) for her leadership in customer efficiency efforts. She received a Technology Transfer Award for developing internal electrification teams, establishing electrification programs and working with customers to advance targeted electrification technologies.

“This has been a company-wide effort,” said Henry. “From account managers, to our agriculture services team, to our environmental and regulatory departments, dozens of employees have been helping our customers be more efficient.”

Henry also was involved in an EPRI case study working with an industrial customer to develop a business case for switching from fossil fuels to electricity using induction melting. Henry was recognized in the electrification category along with a dozen peers from other utility companies.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

High-flying training drill at Milwaukee’s Valley Power Plant

How does rappelling 200 feet down the stack of a power plant sound to you? It’s just another day on the job for members of the Milwaukee Fire Department’s Heavy Urban Rescue Team (HURT). 

Recently, the HURT team visited our Valley Power Plant in Milwaukee to practice some high-flying maneuvers. They practiced rappelling from two different elevations at the plant, including one of the power plant stacks. They also performed a mock rescue, lowering one of their team members to the ground on a stretcher from the power plant’s roof.

The training is part of a continued partnership between We Energies and MFD as both agencies work together to enhance preparedness of first responders in an emergency. Our electric and gas crews often work alongside firefighters at fire scenes. We also help educate firefighters about the hazards associated with natural gas and electric emergencies.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Candidates graduate from natural gas training program

A partnership between We Energies and the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (WRTP) has produced another class of future utility workers. In a joint effort between the two, We Energies hosted a six-week training class for seasonal natural gas inspectors. Candidates were provided through WRTP, also known as Big Step.

Graduates and We Energies employees
“I felt that the program was a wonderful opportunity, a wonderful learning experience,” said graduate James Swain. “I’m definitely thankful to We Energies. I’m definitely thankful to WRTP, Big Step, for giving us the opportunity, for giving us a chance that otherwise might not have been.”

WRTP hosted a graduation ceremony on Feb. 17 for a class of ten graduates. This is the second year We Energies and WRTP teamed up to offer the program.

Congratulations, graduates.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Cookie Crumbs: Show your love by baking a sweet treat for your valentine

We Energies Cookie Book recipes are perfect for celebrations of all kinds. No matter the occasion, you’ll find a recipe that’s just right.

Show your love by baking a sweet treat for your valentine. For a twist on the traditional cut-out cookie, try John McGivern’s Jelly Sandwich Cookies, which were featured in the 2016 book.

Jelly Sandwich Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 egg whites, lightly beaten

1/2 cup finely chopped blanched almonds

1/4 cup coarse sugar

1/4 cup red currant jelly

In mixing bowl, cream butter and granulated sugar. Add egg; mix well. In separate bowl, combine flour and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Divide dough in half; wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Roll the other portion of dough to 1/8-inch thickness; cut with 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter. Using a 1-inch cookie cutter, cut a hole in middle; place on ungreased cookie sheets. Brush egg whites over cookies with holes; sprinkle with almonds and coarse sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 9 minutes. Cool on wire cooling racks. Place about 1/2 teaspoon jelly in center of cookies without holes, then top with cookies with holes. Makes about 3 dozen.

Need some baking inspiration? Our Cookie Book archive has recipes dating back to the 1930s. Go online and find your new favorite today!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Love is in the air, but party balloons shouldn't be

Dimming the lights on Valentine's Day can set a romantic mood. A total power blackout caused by a party balloon – not so much.

We would like to provide these balloon safety tips:

Helium-filled metallic or Mylar balloons caused more than a dozen power outages affecting more than 18,000 of our customers in 2016. The metallic surface of the balloon can act as a conductor, creating a short circuit in a power line.

Balloons typically are found on power lines in residential areas. That’s cause for great concern because lines damaged by a short circuit from a balloon could fall across fences or in front of homes.

No matter the cause, downed power lines can be energized and dangerous. Always stay at least 25 feet away and tell others to do the same. Call us at 800-662-4797 to report a downed line.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Service with a smile

We Energies employees, including members of its Women’s Development Network, provided, prepared and served dinner Thursday for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Wauwatosa.

Together the volunteers prepared fresh garden salad, watermelon and blueberry fruit salad, more than 20 pounds of meat for sloppy Joes, and nearly 1,000 tater tots, along with various relishes and desserts. Other employees who were unable to attend helped purchase food ahead of time.

The evening marked We Energies employees’ latest support of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Wisconsin, which provides a home away from home for families with children who are hospitalized. In 2016, in addition to volunteering for other Family Meal Program opportunities, they selected the organization to receive a $10,000 gift from the We Energies Foundation through the company’s Safety Charity Challenge. A similar $10,000 gift was made in 2015.

“It’s always good to give back to the community and see a smile on the kids’ and parents’ faces. They’ve been through so much,” said Cindy Gaffney, ITS Service Desk representative.

“As citizens, it’s our duty to serve those who are dealing with these major life issues. It’s important to let them know people care,” said Leonard Brown, operations supervisor – gas operations and third-time company volunteer for the Family Meal Program. “Everyone goes through things where they need to feel that others will say ‘I care about you and I support you.’”

The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Wisconsin’s Family Meal Program regularly provides meals for guest families who have spent the day with their seriously ill children receiving treatment at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Since 1984, the facility has provided more than 38,000 family stays for families from 569 Wisconsin communities, all 50 states and dozens of countries around the world. Contact Ronald McDonald House Charities at 414-475-5333 for more information.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Score energy savings at your Big Game party

Huddle up and consider these energy-saving plays before your Big Game party:

  • Tackle your old TV: Energy Star televisions are typically 25 percent more efficient than conventional models. 
  • Score an extra point with a power strip: By plugging your TV and other electronics into an advanced power strip, you can turn everything off at once. You won’t have to worry about idle electronics using phantom energy.
  • Sack your stove: Using a microwave or slow cooker to make your party food uses less energy than firing up the oven. 
  • Run a reverse on your thermostat: Setting it a few degrees lower may not be noticeable with a house full of guests warming your home naturally.