Life on Regal-Hill: April 1, 2009

Now that it is spring here at Regal-Hill I had hoped the weather would stay warm, but so far this week it has been too cold during the day for the sap to run very much. Even though most of those here working at sapping needed a break, they were disappointed the sap wasn’t running more. The next few days should be warmer, so the sap should be running better again.
George hung a few more buckets by the road so we should have more sap to boil in he house, unless he lets the neighbors boil it. They have improvised an arch with cinder blocks and boil syrup down some so it requires less boiling inside.
One very delicious confection that was made here and we all enjoyed was walnut halves dipped in soft sugar. I had never tasted it before. We are looking forward to trying some maple cream as soon as someone has time to make it. It is delicious on hot buttered toast or as frosting on a plain white cake.
Some maple producers also make lollipops and little leaf-shaped maple candies. All are delicious and worth trying, selling or giving as gifts.
Allegra doesn’t seem to be into making syrup, but she is into gardening already as she has started some watermelons and two kinds of pumpkins in the house. She has the pumpkins marked for carving or cooking. Hopefully, they will do well and she will be able to sell many of them. She is also planning to sell maple syrup along with her vegetables this summer when she sets up her stand in front of her house. She loves to sell things. She certainly is different than her grandmother in that respect.
We use a lot of ground beef. I find it easy to use and can be used in many different types of entrees. Try these recipes and see if you don’t agree.

Pierogi Beef Skillet
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) beef broth
1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen cheese and potato pierogis, thawed
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and drained
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain, reserving 3 tbsp. drippings. Sprinkle flour over beef and drippings; stir until blended. Gradually add beef broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Stir in the pierogis, vegetables and seasonings. Cook, uncovered, for 4-5 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with cheese.
Yield: 4 servings
Taste of Home Simple & Delicious March/April 2009

Hearty Taco Salad
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
2 cups torn mixed salad greens
1 cup canned red beans, rinsed and drained
1-1/4 cups coarsely crushed nacho tortilla chips, divided
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 medium tomato, diced
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons sliced ripe olives, drained
3 tablespoons green goddess salad dressing
3 tablespoons prepared ranch salad dressing
In a small skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in water and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Cool slightly.
Divide the salad greens between two salad bowls or plates. Top with the beans, half of the tortilla chips and the beef mixture. Sprinkle with cheese, tomato, onion, olives and remaining chips; drizzle with salad dressings.
Yield: 2 servings
2009 Taste of Home Annual Recipes