Stuffed Zucchini Boats

My neighbor shared a beautiful big zucchini with me yesterday. Jack immediately asked me to make my Stuffed Zucchini Boats for dinner.

I was feeling a little under the weather, so I was moving slowly. I sometimes believe I cook best when I go slowly. These certainly did come out nicely.

Here is the recipe for my

Stuffed Zucchini Boats.

20190731_185411Not the best picture, but it was very good!

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 large zucchini
  • 1 c. onion
  • 1 cup chopped green & red peppers
  • 1 c. rice (I used Basmati Rice)
  • 1 large jar tomato sauce (I use Classico Sausage, Onion & Pepper)
  • 1 tbs Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 chopped fresh basil
  • 8 slices Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped finely

Cut Zucchini in half and scoop out the center.
Place on a microwave plate and microwave on high for 3 minutes.
Place zucchini shells in a casserole dish.
Sauté beef, garlic, onion, and peppers until done, add cooked rice.
Mix tomato sauce with Italian Seasoning, then pour 1/2 into the dish with beef mixture.
Cook until hot.
Stuff cooked mixture into zucchini and pour remaining tomato sauce over zucchini.
Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
Uncover. Top with cheese and bake another 10-15 m. minutes or until zucchini is tender.

Why Grooved Pavement Isn’t Groovey!

We have five seasons here in New England.

  1. Autumn
  2. Winter
  3. Spring
  4. Summer
  5. Road Construction

Now Road Construction occurs overlapping Spring, Summer, and Autumn, but is at its peak in mid-summer. Thus, our roads and bridges are in a current state of disrepair!

On Monday I had to drive down to Manchester for a doctor’s appointment.  Going down I went through about 10 miles of grooved pavement.

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I am not a fan of grooved pavement. It can grab your tires and drag you one way or another. I found myself tightly gripping the steering wheel and holding on tight. I slowed my speed and fought the road the entire way through the roadworks! I would love to know how many accidents this has caused.

It’s not like they groove up the road and immediately repave it. This started back in May and this is the end of July! Enough!

82zddThere are signs warning motorcycles of the danger. There are also a few signs that say pass at your own risk. After today I am not too interested in driving on that road! Even though I know I will have to next week.

So even though I know that this type of grooved surface helps the new pavement adhere to the road, I am not a fan! If they are going to groove it up, then have the paving set up for the next day or so. Not months!

I know I have grouched about this enough. What do you think of grooved surfaces? Does it bother you to drive on them, or am I making too much of it?

Tell me what you think?

The Weekend Wrap

weekend wrap 1For me, it was a really busy weekend.

I knew I  had grocery shopping to do, (Friday),  Laundry to do, (both Saturday and Sunday), beds to change, (Sunday), and cooking to do, (all three days).

I decided to do something novel. Instead of just working myself into a frenzy, I would work on something until a certain task was complete, then I sat down to read a new book I have, “Alice, PrincessAndrew of Greece” by Hugo Vickers. I would read for an hour and then go back to whatever project I was doing. It made the time spent cleaning and cooking go much faster.

Because it was also very hot and very humid, at one point I didn’t want to be outside so I found a lovely movie on Amazon Prime TV with James Garner and Julie Andrew. It was called “One Special Night”.

 It was a love story about two people in their 70’s. Well being 70 is ten years away for me (close enough) so this appealed to the romantic in me in a new way. I could relate to the Seniors in the film. Plus I love Julie Andrew and James Garner both.

It’s another hot and humid day here on Monday. Ugh! Worst of all, I have a doctors appointment in Manchester, so I will be off at 9:30 to drive south.

Have a wonderful Monday, everyone!

Italian Style Eggplant Parmesan

I found this quite interesting. Real Italian Eggplant Parmesan is not breaded! I had it when I was down in Connecticut and fell in love, all over again, with this great meal! Try it!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 pounds eggplants (about 3 smallish or 2 medium, peeled)
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
  • ¼ cup tomato paste (give or take)
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes, preferably the Italian Basil variety
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil, plus additional basil for garnish
  • Freshly grated part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 1 ½ cups, packed).

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • To roast the eggplant: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven.
  • Line two large rimmed, baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Slice off both rounded ends on one eggplant, Peel, then stand it up on its widest flat side.
  • Slice through the eggplant vertically to make long, even slabs ¼- to ½-inch-thick.
  • Brush both sides of the eggplant slabs lightly with olive oil (you’ll likely need about ¼ cup oil).
  • Arrange them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle the top sides with a few dashes of salt and pepper.
  • Roast until golden and tender, about 20-30 minutes—halfway through baking, rotate the pans 180 degrees and swap their positions (move the pan on lower rack to upper rack, and vice versa).
  • The pan on the lower rack might need a few extra minutes in the oven to turn golden. You may need to flip the eggplant.
  • Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, to make the tomato sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil until shimmering.
  • Add the onion and green pepper, and a pinch of salt.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very tender and translucent, about 4 to 7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and tomato paste.
  • Cook, while stirring, about 1 minute.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, stir to combine, and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce has thickened about 15 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the chopped basil, salt.
  • Taste, and add more salt if necessary (I usually add another ¼ teaspoon).
  • When you’re ready to assemble, spread about ¾ cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9” square baker.
  • Arrange about one-third of the eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping slightly (cut them to fit, if necessary).
  • Spoon another ¾ cup of the sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle with ¼ cup mozzarella cheese.
  • Arrange about half of the remaining eggplant slices evenly on top.
  • Spread another ¾ cup sauce on top and sprinkle with ¼ cup mozzarella cheese.
  • Layer the remaining eggplant slices on top and top with ¾ cup sauce (you might have a little leftover) and the remaining mozzarella cheese.
  • Evenly sprinkle the Parmesan on top.
  • Bake on the lower rack, at 350 degrees, uncovered, until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden about 1 hour.
  • Let it cool for at least 15 minutes to give it time to set, then chop and sprinkle additional basil on top.
  • Slice with a sharp knife and serve.
  • Leftovers keep well, covered and refrigerated, for about 4 days. Reheat before serving.

The Friday Five

A day late!

The Friday Five

I sort of lost my days this week and instead of doing a Friday Five yesterday, I wrote about my sister’s birthday. So, even though it is Saturday, her

  1. Connecticut is far away from me. WAZE said I could get there in 3 hours and 55 minutes, but trust me, this is not possible. I left early and it took me 4 hours and 20 minutes. Glad I left early! Still, it was a pretty ride and a beautiful day.
  2. It was so good to see my sister, her kids, and grandchildren. Her oldest grandson was the reason I moved back to New England from Florida. I wanted to be closer so I could visit the baby. The baby is now all grown up, finished with school and working at a great job!
  3. Driving home was more hectic. I took a different route and it was more highway driving. There was a lot of construction and it was not a fun drive.
  4. Friday, Jack and I drove out to do our weekly grocery shopping. I sort of nagged him to hurry up, as it is tourist season. The store was mobbed, the lines long (40 minutes at the Deli counter). From 10:30 to 1:00 we were shopping! Too long.
  5. We stopped at our usual Chinese Buffet and it was terrible. Not just the food, but the waitresses were rude. The previous owners sold out this spring, and it has only gone downhill! Sadly, it’s the last time we will visit this place.

So that was the week that was. Lots of good stuff and a little frustrating stuff.e is this week’s Friday Five.

The Birthday Bash!

My trip down to the State of Connecticut was highly successful! I went down to celebrate my sister’s birthday, and with the help of #2 son and his sweet girlfriend, I was able to pull off a surprise party for her on her big day!

I come up with great ideas, but in this case, it would have been impossible to pull off without Tim and Erica.

My job was simple. Supply the things I could hide, and get Melodie out of her house for the day!

67266316_355217625172240_1496811903840681984_nMe with my sister, Melodie.

Between the two of them, they decorated my sister’s house, helped me come up with a menu and Tim ordered and picked up all the food. Erica handled the decorations and she also ordered the cake!

I cannot begin to tell you what a fabulous party and meal that it was. My sister’s oldest son and his wife and their three children came, as well as Tim’s eldest son. His younger son was working.

Now here is where things got dicey. I knew that I wanted to have Eggplant Parmesan for one of the two main courses. We decided on Sausage and Peppers for the other.

I was pretty convinced that there would be a ton of the Eggplant Parm leftover (hoping!), but that entree on the buffet went quickly and there was just a small bit left at the end.

It was simply the best Eggplant Parmesan I have ever had. In fact, the next time I go down I want to order one and bring it home to freeze into sections, to enjoy over a couple of months.

Here is a picture of the Buffet Table. Isn’t it just beautiful?

20190723_175704The Eggplant is the first item at the bottom of the picture! My mouth is drooling like a St Bernard just looking at this!

The Sausage and Peppers were also great as was the salad and the Italian bread!

We sat out on their deck and enjoyed our meals and watched Melodie open her gifts.

67098028_350385052540939_4945848991045648384_nMel’s daughter-inlaw, Karan, me, her husband, Ron, and Melodie.

20190723_175639Everyone signed a seashell and the cake was in the center. It was the most amazing cake and decorations for a “Beach themed Birthday Bash!”

My sister is really good at doing this for everyone else, in fact, she even threw a surprise birthday party for me! So it was time for us to treat her.

67389581_359770604706293_908556123370422272_nErica, Melodie, and Karan.

67232283_401409527144966_721887215369584640_nMel and her two sons. Mike, left and Tim, right.

I wish I’d gotten pictures of her grandchildren, but it was a crazy happy time and I was not thinking. I will tell you that everyone had a great time and the kids were all super happy to be at a party!

67091920_487194112110704_3065550860483297280_n (1)Melodie and her husband of nearly 48 years, Ron.

So once again, a Happy Birthday to my beloved sister, Melodie. I wish you many, many more, and I also hope we can continue to share them together!

Happy Birthday, Melodie!

Today is my sister’s birthday. I am down with her to celebrate in Connecticut, while Jack stays home with the doggies!

I wanted to tell you all what a wonderful sister Melodie is. She is five and a half years older than me, and I was her “first baby”. She cared for me like a little mother and was always more like a mother to me, than a sister.

Mel is one of the kindest women that I know. She always has a smile and a warm greeting for those around her. She loves her family with her whole heart and rejoices in their successes and comforts them in their sorrows.

50007542_10216876265591982_963175381387444224_n (2)

Ron and Melodie

She has been married to her husband, Ron for 48 years. They met at the age of 13 at summer camp and wrote to each other for many years before their wedding in November of 1971.

So today, on her sixty-sixth Birthday I want to wish my beloved sister, Melodie a very Happy Birthday!

Mel & Me

So by the time you read this, I will be on my way to Connecticut to my sister’s house. I haven’t seen my sister in almost a year and so I am really looking forward to this visit.

31564165_10156103190411183_6175445862433423360_nMelodie and Me.

It usually takes me 4 hours and 15 minutes to get to her place. I am hoping that the traffic won’t be bad and I will breeze on down. I’m taking the back way across New Hampshire first to Vermont and then to Massachusetts and then to Connecticut.

I’m taking my Ipod so I can listen to and sing along with my favorite songs, and I have a new cell phone holder, so I can have my phone available to use as my GPS with an App called Waze.

Spending time with my sister! It doesn’t get much better than this!

46436778_364378414135206_4687094382740897792_nMel and Me.

The excitement builds!

Hot Fun In The Summertime

Saturday I decided I needed to get a lot of things done before my trip to see my sister. I needed to cook meals for Jack, do laundry and of course work on packing.

Now mostly it was fine, and I did get things accomplished, but sweet mother of God (!) was it hot!!!

67299691_453962705153511_2161444774203097088_nOur thermometer at our home said it was 100. To me, I felt every degree of heat and oh yes, the humidity too!

Yes, hot fun in the summertime for sure!

The spaghetti sauce came out very well. One of the best I have made in a long time. It’s loaded with onions, peppers, garlic, carrots, sweet Italian sausage, and hamburger. I also went out and picked fresh basil off my basil plant, chopped it up and added that to the pot. A little oregano here, a little salt and pepper there and a large can of diced Italian tomatoes and a jar of plain spaghetti sauce. Then it simmered and simmered to perfection!

I also roasted eggplant and I will be making eggplant pizza on a cauliflower crust for myself. That will be amazing!

I measured out all the dog food and labeled it for their breakfast and dinner. I have also put out their cans of food to make it easier for Jack.

Sunday I’m making Beef Stroganoff for Jack to have while I am gone. All these meals he will simply need to warm up.

I’ll be looking forward to going off for a few days, just so I can get out of the kitchen!

The Samoan Clipper

At the dawn of commercial aviation, Pan Am was a leader in the development of International Flight Routes. Some of their first planes were Sikorsky S-42B’s  or what was commonly known as the Flying Boats.

BdrUMkZCQAAAILnThe Samoan Clipper

Edwin Musick had been with Pan American from the very beginning when, as “pilot number 1” he flew the fledgling airline’s first scheduled airmail flight from Key West to Havana on 28 October 1927 on a Fairchild FC-2 floatplane.

Time-cover-1935
He would go on to lead nearly all of Pan Am’s expanding routes to the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Pacific.  At one time, Musick held more records and honors than any other active pilot including the 1935 Harmon Trophy which recognized him as “the world’s outstanding aviator.” He was known as a pilot’s pilot.

2.-Ed-Musick-Arriving-in-Auckland-1937Captain Musick, in New Zealand after completing the first survey flight from San Francisco to Aukland, New Zealand, March 29, 1937.

On the morning of January 11, 1938, the Samoan Clipper shoved off from the Pan Am dock at Pago Pago, where at 05:32 (local time) Musick throttled up and lifted off for the final leg of his last survey journey to New Zealand.

Things went wrong pretty quickly as they had an oil leak in engine #1 and the crew, led by Captain Musick, decided to turn back to Pago Pago. Since they were filled with fuel, they knew that before landing they would need to do a fuel dump.

At 07:59 the plane was sighted over Apia (in what was then the New Zealand-administered trust territory of Western Samoa) and headed in the direction of Tutuila (the main island of American Samoa) 75 miles away.

Another radio contact was received starting at 08:27 informing the PAA station that Musick would be dumping fuel to lighten his now underpowered and still heavily laden ship before attempting to land in the severely restricted waters of Pago Pago harbor just a short distance ahead.

After 08:35 all contact was lost with Samoan Clipper and her crew.

Within hours, reports reached Pago Pago that “native fishermen” had spotted smoke off the NW coast of the island.  A US Navy plane was dispatched to search the area and quickly sighted an oil slick that “appeared to be coming from the ocean floor.” The minesweeper/seaplane tender USS Avocet (AVP-4) sailed from Pago Pago and was vectored to the scene some “12 miles north of Tapu Tapu Point” (the western-most tip of Tutuila Island).

7-USS-Avocet-AVP-4-rszUSS Avocet

Shortly after first light on 12 January, Avocet’s crew spotted the tell-tale sheen of fuel mixed with assorted debris floating on the surface.  A ship’s boat was launched to collect what they could.  Recovered items comprised mainly small, charred pieces of “flooring, partitioning, books, papers, interior wall parts, and the navigator’s drift target tray.”  Most telling and heartbreaking of all was a tattered Pan American Airways officer’s jacket with its distinctive winged “PAA” logo identified as belonging to Samoan Clipper’s radio officer, T.J. Findley.

The position of these finds was recorded and preserved in a Bureau of Air Commerce accident report (dated 1 April 1938) that concluded the loss of the Samoan Clipper was probably due to “fire and explosion associated with the dumping of fuel, the precise cause of ignition being undeterminable.” Speculation focused on a static charge, engine exhaust or a spark from the electrically driven flap actuators as they were engaged before landing, but without any opportunity to closely examine the main body of wreckage, the exact reason for the destruction of NC16734 was reluctantly left a mystery.

A renewed search for Samoan Clipper began in early 2014 with a white paper co-authored by Russ Matthews (President and Co-founder of Air/Sea Heritage Foundation), noted maritime archaeologist Dr. James Delgado, and aviation historian Lonnie Schorer (A New Hampshire resident, who lives just down the road from us.)  The Air/Sea Heritage Foundation, began this expedition to locate, identify, and document the wreckage of Samoan Clipper, a Pan American Airways Sikorsky S-42B flying boat lost off the northwest coast of Tutuila, American Samoa in January 1938. If successful, the resulting survey will characterize an archaeological site with major significance to aviation and American Samoan history, determine the final resting place of pioneering Captain Edwin C. Musick and his 6-man crew, plus investigate the wreckage for evidence as to what lead to their fate.

They have not had a lot of luck. I think part of me believes that the plane, and the remnants of the crash, are probably sitting well below the seafloor, some 10,000 leagues or so under the sea.

I would like for the Samoan Clipper to be found. Like the Titanic, so much could be learned from that day, so long ago.

I want to note that I have gotten information for this Blog entry from the “Pan Am Heritage Foundation” as well as “The Air/Sea Foundation”.

As always I am interested in this due to Jack’s history as a Flight Engineer, First Officer and then Captain for Pan American World Airways.

Jack (2)Captain Jack