On Family Visits and Zucchini Boats

First off, how is it possible we are near the end of December already? And that the year is 2022?

I still feel stuck somewhere back in 2019. If I were writing this as a SciFi thriller, it would turn into one of those altered reality loops, so we could all go back and have a long do-over without the corona virus and other poxy things.

The actual present isn’t bad at all, even though the feeling of being flung into a hyper-speed reality still floats in the background. This week brought our youngest son and his partner to stay with us for a week. It’s been really fun hanging out with them, and seeing a bit more of our oldest son and his wife as well. I like these older versions of our kids a lot. They’re lovely people.

They buy their own presents now, instead of needing me to take them shopping for others. I’ll admit to loving what they pick out now but miss the sweetness of holding their hands as we shop for Dad’s presents. Time has tumbled forward and now I take my 93-year-old Mom shopping for her presents at the mall. There were lots of kids visiting Santa and people enjoying the glitz at the Northpark Mall here in Dallas. The place is high on the glam scale. The decorations and displays are worth going to see if you’re in the neighborhood. I enjoyed the 12 Days of Christmas a lot, and there are puppeteers as well.

Shopping with Mom is a very slow process, a far remove from the normal way I execute my chores during the holiday time. She walks with a cane, so we stopped and rested often. But she knew what store she wanted to go to, and where she was going to find things. She had fun, which was the important thing for me. It was rather nice to slow down, and people watch, and listen to Mom comment on the latest styles. She was quite the fashionable lady in her day, and has a good eye to the balance of color and form. She was quite taken with a pink sequined outfit, but I couldn’t convince her to try one on.

Another great thing about having family here is that they bring their friends over, and we get to cook for large numbers of people. I miss doing that. We used to be one of the homes all the kids would congregate in back in the high school days and we’d make burgers and brownies for them. I just love listening to them chat with each other. I also like that the probability is high that my husband will make pasta from scratch on these occasions. Win/win.

These adult versions of our kids also bring along their own recipes and cook for us. We’re trying to balance our usual feasting and baking as we lead into the holiday with a few healthy meals that are heavy on the veggies. This one is for Zucchini Boats. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

ZUCCHINI BOATS (Taylor Willis, recipe)

Feeds 4-6 people

6-8 large zucchini – cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the middle with a spoon. Seasoned with salt and pepper. (Save the insides)
1 large onion chopped
1 box of mushrooms (optional)
Package of ground turkey
Pasta sauce – 1 jar or can
Oregano, Thyme, or Zaatar spice to taste.
Shredded Cheese mix, about a cup.

Bake the zucchini hollowed side up on a baking sheet. Spritz them with a bit of olive oil and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. They should look a bit crispy when they are done.

Meanwhile, saute mushrooms dry, or with a bit of olive oil, if you wish. Add chopped onion to your pan and cook until translucent. Then add in the ground turkey and brown. Add back in the zucchini insides, chopped. Cook until they are done, pour in the pasta sauce and use spice as you like it.

Stuff the boats with your mix, then top with the cheese and broil until cheese is melted. Serve with a side salad.