Hey friends! I had a super great Labor Day weekend, how about you? I have a delicious recipe to share with you today, but first I have a few other random things to share.
1. We went camping 2 weekends ago. I haven’t been camping in forever because, well, I don’t like camping. Don’t get me wrong. I love the outdoors. I love hiking, I love mountains and lakes, I love bonfires and roasted marshmallows. But I’m a horrible sleeper.
Earlier this year we spent thousands of dollars on a new mattress and it was seriously the best purchase of my life. Sleeping bags, air mattresses, tents. Not my friends. Basically, for me to be able to sleep through the night… the stars have to align. Ear plugs, white noise machine, eye mask, 65 to 69 degree ambient temperature, life savings mattress… and the stars aligning. All this to say… I don’t sleep when I’m camping. And I’m not pleasant when I don’t sleep. Therefore, I do not enjoy camping.
However. Hubby loves camping and has been bugging me to go forever. I finally ran out of excuses and gave in. And though I loved setting up camp, hiking through beautiful forests, hunting for the perfect marshmallow stick, dining al fresco and burning everything in sight (pyro alert!)… once bed time came along, I remembered how much I hate it. I think I slept about an hour all night. I didn’t even enjoy my camping pancakes and just wanted to go home to take a nap. Oh well. I tried.
2. I mostly read food and healthy living blogs, but lately I have been super obsessed with gardening and homesteading blogs. Now that I have my little backyard farm, I really just want 10 acres with chickens and 100 garden beds and every kind of fruit tree on earth. I found an amazing blog called Garden Betty and I’m trying to learn everything from her so I can grow all my own food!
Speaking of which, the garden is doing great. I am still getting a ton of chard, zucchini, squash and cherry tomatoes. We already harvested our pumpkins and (tiny) butternut squash, and have some spaghetti squash started. I’ve got carrots and beets almost ready to harvest and this past weekend started planting our winter garden– kale, broccoli and snap peas to start!
3. Our pooch Kaiser got his own Instagram account!
You can follow him @kaiser_dog!
4. Yesterday was our 2 year wedding anniversary! Woohoo! You can read our wedding story here and here. We kind of dropped the ball on planning something special, so we did a last minute overnight trip to the coast. We spent the day on Saturday in Paso Robles wine tasting. We visited a couple new-to-us wineries as well as one of our favorites. On Sunday, we went to Morro Bay and tried out paddle boarding! It was so fun and I didn’t even fall in! The paddle boards were surprisingly stable, even through the wakes of the boats going by. I thought it was easier and even dryer than kayaking!
We got about 10 feet from some otters and seals, and saw bat rays flitting by underneath us. I was a little less than thrilled when I realized that we made the mistake of heading downwind and with the tide on our way out. Meaning we were battling both wind and tide to get back to the dock, after 2 hours of paddling! Needless to say, my shoulders are a little sore. But we had a great time and I would definitely do it again!
Okay… time to share some food! That’s what you all come here for, right? I made some homemade spaghetti sauce (very similar to this recipe) with tomatoes, carrots, peppers, basil, chives and rosemary from my garden. Instead of cooking up some pasta, I thought I’d use up some of my overabundance of zukes! This recipe is just like lasagna, but uses thin-sliced zucchini instead of noodles.
(adapted from SkinnyTaste)
serves 6 – 8
- 3 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
- 3 medium zucchini, sliced 1/8″ thick
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg
- Salt & pepper
- 1 lb shredded mozzarella cheese
To prepare the zucchini “noodles”:
Place zucchini slices on a baking sheet or cooling rack. Salt both sides and let sit 15 minutes until zucchini has released some of its water. Preheat broiler. Dry zucchini with paper towels, then set on baking sheets. Broil until just beginning to brown, about 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove from oven and place zucchini on dry paper towels to cool.
For the lasagna:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together ricotta, Parmesan and egg, and season with salt & pepper.
Spread a layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan or casserole dish. Top with a layer of zucchini. Next, spread a layer of ricotta mixture over top, then a sprinkle of mozzarella. Repeat the layers until you are out of ingredients, finishing with a sprinkling of mozzarella.
Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
While I did miss the noodles a little bit (I admit, I am a carbaholic), this was a really yummy vegetable dish to use up my zucchinis. So that I didn’t miss out on carbs, I served this with some nice crusty bread which was just perfect for soaking up all the sauce. I am definitely looking forward to the leftovers! The flavors– especially with the homemade sauce– were amazing and I loved the melty ricotta in between the layers.