Zucchini Boats

Happy Earth Day! I thought today would be a great day to share a great vegetarian recipe since meat is considered to be such a threat in terms of global warming. Everyone has their own opinions about what makes up a “healthy” or “balanced” diet, but I think people are finally beginning to understand that most people only need¬† about 1/4 the amount of meat the average American consumes per week, and for those of you that are trying to cut back or add some variety to your diet, this is a great recipe to start with since it’s so hearty and flavorful.

If you’ve ever grown zucchini or squash in a backyard garden, you are all too aware that you’ll reach a certain point in the summer where you begin running out of ideas of what to do with all of it. Unfortunately, it’s still spring so that wonderful problem isn’t quite upon us yet, but I thought that with the weather quickly warming, now is a good time to start prepping for the summer squash bonanza.

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Little Bee by Chris Cleave

I recently considered joining a book club until realizing the book of the month was Little Bee. I have read this novel cover to cover, always hoping that there would be some point and some value to the story, but now that I have re-read the book and listened to the audio book I can conclusively say there is nothing but sadness and depression ahead of you if you read this book.

I don’t often come across books that I cannot appreciate for one reason or another, but this one takes the cake. I will say this: the novel is well written and quite emotional. However, in the same breath I feel obliged to say that being well written and emotional but offering nothing but sadness is a bad combination. There is no salvation for the young girl fleeing Nigerian civil war, the British family that the finds falls apart because of knowing her, and the end is violent in an ambiguous way that leaves the reader unsatisfied and in need of hugs and comfort food.

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The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

I’m always looking for unusual forms of narration, and The Lover’s Dictionary has proved to be quite a delightful twist from the norm in that regard. By distilling a relationship in to it’s most defining and/or memorable moments and finding precisely the right word with which each moment could be summarized is one of the most interesting perspectives on relationships that I have ever encountered. Add to this that the words are organized alphabetically, beginning with “abyss” and ending with “zenith,” hitting on each letter in between, and the fact that it creates a narrative at all is beyond impressive.

The narrative is not necessarily chronological is it arcs from the first date all the way to the breaking point(s) of the relationship, and yet, David Levithan skillfully captured a wide spectrum of emotions without actually concluding the relationship, and without ever actually providing closure of any sort. It is so brief, and yet I could spend many hours pouring over the pages with the Oxford English Dictionary pulled up trying to research the root, history, past use, and current complexity of meanings with each word. Piecing together the many ways in which the word is rightfully assigned to each moment. In addition to that, however, what I found most compelling about this carefully crafted narrative is that it reads, in many ways, like a poem, yet it also reads like a conversation you might have over drinks with a friend who just needs to get some stuff off his chest about his relationship.

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Risata il Rosso

I have found that I’m beginning to like wine more and more over the years. I’m not a big drinker, but my boyfriend’s parents came to visit so I wanted to pick up a bottle to have with dinner. Since I don’t particularly like wine, I went with a sweet red, which I understand, is not very respectable in the world of winos. Regardless, I actually really loved the wine we got: Risata il Rosso. According to the bottle, ‘risata’ means laughter in Italian, which is always a good sign, and it tastes of cherries and strawberries. I picked up on a mixed berries sort of flavor, but the cherry didn’t really stand out to me. This delicious, sparkling, sweet red wine, however, won me over and I actually had two glasses at dinner! I hardly ever finish a glass, so everyone was stunned to see me refill my glass.

I highly recommend this delicious gem of a wine that I picked up for a scant $14.00 at a Fresh Market. I served it with an Italian beans and rice dish (Riso e Fagioli) which turned out to pair really nicely. The food was hearty and earthy, so I liked the way the sweetness of the wine contrasted, and then I cut up a Honeycrisp apple to serve for desert (non-dairy deserts are often rather depressing, but fresh fruit is always a winner in my book) and it went really well! Even my boyfriend, who isn’t usually in to sweets or fruit commented on how well the wine paired with the apple.

I will definitely be purchasing another bottle of this soon and keeping it on hand for a summer evening of entertaining as well as for an evening spent cuddled up with a blanket and a good book. I hope you can find a bottle in your area! It would be well worth your search. Cheers!