Life on Regal-Hill: Nov. 18, 2009

It would seem to me that we are having Indian summer now, although George disagrees with me. We are enjoying it anyway. At least it isn’t raining or snowing. I am sure that will come soon enough.
We are trying to make the most of this nice weather by keeping the cattle on pasture, spending time outdoors, putting wash outside and hopefully getting the outside Christmas decorations set up so that as soon as Thanksgiving is over, all that will need to be done is plug in the lights and we didn’t have to freeze ourselves doing it.
We finally got the storm window on the back storm door today. Now I just need to wash it. It does help to keep the cold out, but it also means more glass to keep clean. I had already put the storm glass up on the front door so hopefully no heat from inside will leak to the outside. All of the window glass that includes both front doors was cleaned. I also cleaned the big window. The only way to clean the big window on the outside is to do it outdoors.
These days would be perfect for cutting wood but George can’t lift yet so he can’t run the chain saw; I have never tried to use one but I have never wanted to either. That is something I have been able to leave to the male gender. Allegra will help grandpa use the wood splitter. But there is more that needs to be done to the wood before it is ready to be split, like cut it in certain lengths and get the fallen trees or limbs near the house. George really enjoys working at wood, especially when the weather is nice. Of course much of the wood we have now will be allowed to season and be burned next winter.
So, as you can see, we have been trying to make good use of these late fall days.
Since Thanksgiving Day will soon be here it is time to plan a dinner menu and what family and friends you will invite to share the day with. Perhaps you would like to include some traditional recipes along with some new ones this year. Here are some suggestions for stuffing and dessert. Hopefully you will find these suggestions so good you will make them again next year.

Sweet and Savory Stuffing
1/2 lb. bacon strips, diced
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
5 cups unseasoned stuffing cubes
1 large tart apple finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1-1/4 to 1-3/4 cups chicken broth
In a large skillet, cook bacon and onion over medium heat until bacon is crisp. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the stuffing cubes, apple, parsley, sage, salt and pepper. Stir in just enough broth to reach desired moistness.
Transfer to a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
Yield: 7 cups
Simple & Delicious Nov., Dec. 2009

Cranberry Celebration Cheesecake
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
3/4 cup plus 1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cranberry juice
4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
In a food processor, finely chop dried cranberries. Add flour, almonds and confectioners’ sugar; process until blended. Add butter; pulse just until crumbly.
Press onto the bottom and 1-1/2-in. up sides of a greased 10-in. spring form pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for `10 minutes. In a small saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar and cornstarch; stir in cranberry juice until smooth. Add berries. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Set aside.
Beat cream cheese, vanilla and remaining sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat just until combined. Pour half of batter into crust. Carefully spoon 3/4 cup berry mixture over batter; top with remaining batter.
Bake for 45 minutes. Reduce heat to 250 degrees. Bake 25-30 minutes longer or until center is almost set. Combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla; spread over top. Bake 20-30 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Spread remaining berry mixture over the top. Refrigerate overnight.
Beat cream until stiff peaks form; fold in ground almonds. Pipe around top edge of cheesecake; sprinkle with sliced almonds.
Yield: 16 servings
Country Woman December/January 2010