Life on Regal-Hill: Feb. 6, 2008

I am not sorry to see January end and February begin here. I am always glad when a cold month has passed. Hopefully February will be warmer, especially since there is an extra day in February this year. If we could get rid of the ice we presently have, I would be grateful. I don’t want to fall nor do I want someone else to fall.
The heifers seem to be content no matter how cold or warm the weather is. I don’t think they are thinking about Valentine’s Day either. If they get to go outside they seem glad and they exercise either in the barnyard or run up the walkway into the pasture where they do more exercising. They don’t seem to need music to run and jump to either. But then I don’t know what music would be appropriate for animals to exercise to. Maybe it would be music with a beat between a waltz and a polka since sometimes they really get to moving around.
At least we don’t need to try to think of a way to help the heifers celebrate Valentine’s Day since every day is Valentine’s Day to them. Besides, they don’t care for special dinners, chocolates and other sweets either as our heifers prefer silage, hay and grain and citrus garbage from the house. They do love orange, grapefruit, tangerine or clementine peels as well as apple and banana peels that we give them whenever we have them. The problem is trying to remember who got them last so another one can have some.
Now you know that the heifers enjoy food and exercise as much as we should and appreciate it as well. Perhaps more so since they have to depend on us to feed and exercise them even for Valentine’s Day.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
If you plan to prepare something special for your valentine, here are a couple of suggestions, unless you have food traditions you adhere to each year on Valentine’s Day.

My Truelove Cake
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling, divided
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Beat in water and oil until smooth.
Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. heart-shaped baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Beat in cream and extract. Place one cake on a serving plate; spread with half of cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Top with one cup pie filling and second cake; spread with remaining cream cheese mixture. Make a hear-shaped indentation in center of cake; fill with remaining pie filling. Refrigerate until serving.
Yield: 12 servings
2006 Taste of Home Annual Recipes

Mediterranean Chicken Stew
The vibrant red color of Mediterranean Chicken Stew makes it perfect for this special valentine’s dinner.
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) stewed tomatoes
1 medium green pepper, julienned
1 medium sweet red pepper, julienned
1 cup pitted ripe olives
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons corn starch
3 tablespoons cold water
Hot cooked rice if desired
In a large skillet, sauté onion and garlic in oil for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Add chicken and cook for 6-8 minutes or until meat juices run clear. Stir in the tomatoes, peppers, olives, salt and oregano; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Combine corn starch and water until smooth; stir into chicken mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for one minute or until thickened. Serve with rice.
Yield: 6 servings
2005 Taste of Home Annual Recipes