Life on Regal-Hill: Dec. 30, 2008

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. We sure did. It is always fun to get-together with family, no matter how often. We even had a Christmas tree at the last minute. With all the snow making it difficult to get a tree, I thought that we wouldn’t have one this year.
Now that 2008 is over it is nice to look back over the year and see what the high points were.
High points included finally being able to grow a blue hydrangea, going to Alder Lake, Allegra getting her horse and taking a vacation in the fall when the leaves were so nice.
I have wanted a blue hydrangea bush for a number of years, and I finally got one and it grew very well. Its beautiful blossoms weren’t as large as what I have seen in California, but they were so perfect that one could almost think they weren’t real. Now I hope that it will survive the winter and do well again next year.
One Sunday we went for a ride and ended up at Alder Lake so we were able to see the remains of the Coykendall Lodge. Since then the state has demolished it and only the stonework remains. It is a terrible shame it was allowed to become so unsafe. It was on the National Registry of Historic Places. However the lake is still beautiful and there is a nice hiking path around it.
You already have heard about Allegra getting her horse, Thunder. For Christmas she put up a stocking for him and put carrots in it for his Christmas gift. I heard that he really enjoyed them since he doesn’t get them every day.
Allegra made a stocking for her cat, Yellow, and he found canned fancy cat food in his stocking. That was a real treat for him since he usually gets dried cat food.
I have already written about our vacation trip. We both really enjoyed getting away and seeing some other parts of the Northeast. Of course it is always nice to get back home. After all, there is no place like the Catskills especially if you have practically always lived here.
I trust that you also had many highs in 2008 and that 2009 will be even better.
Happy New Year!
Now that the holidays are over you may be thinking of serving healthier meals to your family. These recipes contain less fat and calories, so they are healthier.

Stuffed Pork Chops
3 slices whole wheat bread
6 bone-in pork chops (2” thick), trimmed of all visible fat and butterflied (see note)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/2 onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 large green apple quartered and thinly sliced
1/3 cup raisins
2-4 tablespoons water
Place the bread in a food processor or blender. Process or blend to form coarse bread crumbs. Set aside.
Open the 2 flaps of each chop like a book with the bone at the spine. With the flat side of a meat mallet or rim of a heavy skillet, pound the flaps thin. Sprinkle the chops with pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a large shallow baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Melt the butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bread crumbs. Cook, stirring frequently, for 6 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Stir in the cinnamon, allspice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the apple, raisins and 2 tablespoons water. Stir to mix. Add up to 1 tablespoon more of water, if needed, to moisten. Spoon 1/3 cup of the stuffing onto one flap of each of the chops. Fold the other flap over the stuffing. Fasten with toothpicks. Place the chops in a single layer in the prepared baking dish. Bake for 1 to 1-1/4 hours, or until the chops are tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the chop, not touching the bone, registers 155 degrees F. Turn once during the baking. If needed, remove the pan from the oven and spoon off and discard any excess fat accumulated in the baking pan.
Makes 6 servings.
Each serving is 264 calories when prepared this way when otherwise it would have been 469 calories. There are now 12 grams of fat whereas before 22 grams.
Cook’s note: To butterfly a pork chop, place it on a large cutting board. With a sharp knife parallel to the cutting board, cut through the middle of the chop from the other edge toward the bone. Leave the meat attached to the bone. If possible, ask your butcher to butterfly the pork chops for you.
Jeanne Jones’ Homestyle Cooking Made Healthy

Cucumber-Dill Pasta Salad<?strong>
3 cups cooked pasta
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrot
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup parboiled broccoli florets
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup reduced fat cucumber salad dressing
1 teaspoon dill weed
Pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a large salad bowl. Chill until serving time.
Yield: 6 servings
Calories per serving, 1/6 recipe, 150 calories and no cholesterol.
Taste of Home Low-Fat Country Cooking