Life on Regal-Hill: Jan. 6, 2010

For a number of years we have not had a pet in the house. In fact we haven’t had a dog in the house since we had to have our dog, Ebony, put to sleep. He loved the farm and especially George. I didn’t realize how nice a dog he was until he was gone, even though I had to clean up cow manure and dirt off the couch or chairs after he had been in the house. He was very patient with the children and barked only when he wanted us to know someone was here. He really liked to ride on the tractor or in the truck so he could be with George.
Then several years later, Buster chose us as his caretakers when he appeared at the farm and knew George would let him stay. It was several years before he would have anything to do with anyone else. He still likes to bark at everyone except George although as he gets older he doesn’t bark as much. Also he won’t come in the house even when it is cold.
Some time ago, Allegra had befriended two tom cats in the barn that she had named Yellow, a dark yellow cat and Spunky a lighter yellow color. She and Yellow were soon the best of friends. Spunky decided he would like to be with Allegra more too so he began going over to their house as well. Well it soon became evident that they didn’t need two cats, especially since they would meow in the night to go out and one was enough to have to get up for. Allegra kept telling me I needed a cat here in the house at Regal-Hill. Only recently I gave in and now he comes up often.
The last cat to be in the house was Smoky, a gray, long haired male cat. I think he came here as a stray from Margaretville. George’s sister learned of him being around town without a home. After he died I didn’t bother to have another cat in the house.
Spunky seems to love to eat and sleep in the sun. He also loves to sleep in a rocking chair even if the sun doesn’t shine. He stretches out and often you can see him lying on his back with his legs up in the air. So far he has been real good about letting me know when he needs to go out. Lately when he goes out he goes directly to the barn and spends time sleeping on a bale of hay with the other barn cats. Why he wants to go out in the cold and come up here I dont know unless he gets hungry and knows there is food here for him and he doesn’t have to compete with the other cats and kittens for something to eat.
I guess Allegra was right, it has been nice to have a cat in the house again as he is a lot of company and so far his hair doesn’t come out much so I don’t mind having him sleep in my lap when I sit down.
Now that we are starting a new year it may be time to start some new challenges. Two of the challenges being serving healthier food to our families and saving money while we do it.
Pizza can be healthier by topping it with vegetables that you have grown yourself or are inexpensive and not using meats or cheeses that are unhealthy or expensive. Try these recipes for pizza and see if they don’t satisfy your family as well as your pocketbook.

Afredo Bacon Mushroom Pizza
1 loaf (1 lb.) frozen pizza dough, thawed
1/2 lb. Bacon strips]
1 cup roasted garlic Alfredo sauce
1-1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large Portobello mushroom, stems removed
1/4 tsp. pepper
Roll dough into a 15-in. circle; transfer to a greased 14-in. pizza pan and build up edges slightly. Bake at 425 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until lightly brown.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon just until done. Drain on paper towels; cut into 1-in. pieces.
Spread Alfredo sauce over crust; sprinkle with cheeses. Cut mushrooms into 1/2-in. strips; place over cheese so they resemble spikes of a wheel. Sprinkle with bacon and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.
Yield: 8 slices
Country Woman October/November 2009

Personal Veggie Pizzas
1 pkg. (6-1/2) pizza crust mix
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan cheese
1 plum tomato, thinly sliced
1/4 cup crumbled tomato and basil feta cheese
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
3/4 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped fresh or frozen chopped broccoli
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Prepare crust mix according to package directions. Divide dough in half; press each into a 7-in. circle on a greased baking sheet. Build up edges slightly.
In a small bowl, combine the oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper; spread over crusts. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Top with tomato, feta, mozzarella, onion, mushrooms, broccoli and pepper flakes. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.
Yield: 2 servings
Country Woman October/November 2009