Thursday, April 7, 2016

Lost My Marbles, Found My Beads - Zoodle Ziti

Although I swore a solemn oath to forego starting any new fiber-based project (that includes knitting, crochet, and looming) until I had made satisfactory inroads on completing the 9 million UFOs (UnFinished Objects) tucked ever-so-neatly into my nifty closet, cunningly designed to make the best possible use of a ratty old dormer window area, by Diane of D&R Interiors, I am dying to head off into a new direction.

Ratty-looking dormer

(D&R also remodeled the rest of the house, starting with My Favorite Kitchen and My Amazing Bathroom (amazing because with very little space she created a 2-part bathroom with a full shower (we hate bathtubs) and put in a good-sized laundry room.) There's more that I love, but just take my advice - next time you are thinking about making interior changes to your house, call D&R.)  

Magical interior of ratty-looking dormer

More magical interior of 3-sided walk-in closet with built-in shelves

Where was I before I wandered off wherever I wandered off to? Ah ha HA, the self-imposed ban on starting new fiber-based projects (it hurts, it really does).

Fortunately it is a ban that excludes my other happy hobby, jewelry design. So I am engaged in something new, designing a Pandora knock-off for a friend, gathering baubles, beads and bits to create a meaningful story. (I also make drop earrings and stitch markers but this friend does not have pierced ears and she does not knit.)

This is a minor hobby in terms of volume, and it is hardly as time-consuming as knitting a bedspread, or even a pair of socks. But, if you have ever received one of these bracelets as a gift from me, or have taken a look at one from my personal collection, you may begin to understand the time that goes into finding just the right beads and charms that not only look good together, but create the symbolism I'm trying to convey.

I've also worked beads into some of my knitting, but we don't wanna go there now.

Still not in the mood for cooking. Lotsa leftovers, though. I'm done. If you know how to work a microwave, you won't starve in my home.

What? What? What? Its fewking Wednesday, and I haven't even tried blogging since last Saturday. Too much to do the past 3 days, too much shopping for food , files, and beads (uh oh) and too many fibromyalgia flare episodes peppered between those tasks. Monday, for example, while integrating that great stack of papers into the file drawers, I was moved to tears twice by the pain generated by the simple act of bending down to place papers in the lower drawers. I napped - a lot. Same with the bookshelves, which took 5 days for me to do an hour's worth of work.

Not done yet, poppets, but looking much better. Between that and the closet, I can see myself moving my base of Organizational Operations to the dining room, wherein I will probably get lost for at least a month. At least.

I did, however, partially regain my cooking mojo, but even that simple dish - cottage pie - is being stretched out over several days and many hours.  Standing is bad. So is sitting.

I had an appointment with the rheumatologist yesterday, and one with the therapist today. That finished me for the day, although I did leave my nice, comfortable bed long enough to watch the Magic lose to the Detroit Pistons, coached by Stan Van Gundy and featuring the not inconsiderable talents of Tobias Harris.  I yelled at the TV a lot, and then I slept badly. I still miss Stan - the last time the Magic made the playoffs, and actually made Eastern Conference champions, is when he was the coach, before the Dark Times - before the Dwightmare. Tobias was one of my favorite Magic players these past few years. Trading him to the Pistons was as stupid as trading J.J. Reddick to the L.A. Clippers.

See, being that I believe the two most important human traits are kindness and loyalty, I am infuriated  by the chronically asinine trades one sees in the NBA. Trading players is a game to these basketball types, and it has gotten out of hand. Where is Jameer Nelson? And Vince Carter? I know those two would have happily given their best to the Magic until retirement.

So now it is Thursday, and I am still working on that cottage pie. The meat layer is done - that's three out of four - but I had a brainstorm this morning that involves the purchase of a small rutabaga as part of the mashed potato topping. Maybe tomorrow. So what if it will take 4 days to make a cottage pie? It's taking me 5 days to write a single blog post!

But I have finally typed up the recipe for the zoodle ziti I made about 2 weeks ago - as we say in Fibromyalgia Land, better late than never.

Baked Zoodle Ziti

Zoodles are noodle or pasta substitutes made from spiralized zucchini. Really delicious, and better for you at so many levels.

2 medium zucchini, spiralized on medium blade
15 oz. container whole milk ricotta
1 egg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for layering and topping
Parsley flakes
Kosher salt and ground white pepper
1 pound package whole milk mozzarella, sliced
1 jar prepared spaghetti sauce (I used Prego sauce with meatballs)

Steam the zucchini until just tender; set aside to drain off excess liquid. With kitchen scissors, snip the long strands into thirds or quarters.

Mix together the ricotta, egg, 1/4 cup Parmesan, parsley flakes, salt and pepper.

Construct the zoodle ziti: on the bottom of a baking pan, spread a few tablespoons of the sauce. (My sauce had been used to cook the meatballs I made to accompany the ziti.) Layer 1/2 of the zoodle said, 1/2 of the ricotta mixture, 1/2 of the sliced mozzarella, 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan, and 1/2 of the sauce (about 1 cup). Repea, ending with the sauce.  Bake uncovered in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkle a generous amount of Parmesan over the top, and return to the oven for 15 minutes more, until the dish is bubbly and the cheese is melted. Let set 15 minutes before cutting into portions.

This is so good, you will not miss the pasta. Or not too much.

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