Ooh-wee! It is hot in Minnesota! It is also State Fair time which traditionally is one of the hottest 10 days of the summer, so what do we expect? In Minnesota we should have learned to expect the unexpected that’s for sure but somehow we never learn.
We have gone most of this summer being somewhere between cool and too cool. The garden has grown in a stunted fashion because, after all, it needs warmth to grow. People who own boats have had to stay away from the water (as I mentioned only last week) because it was just too cold to enjoy. Then when we have finally resigned ourselves to not having a real summer and a garden that is something less than useful, Mother Nature turns on the blast furnace and raises the thermostat to 100.
Oh well, I am grateful for the heat. My garden grows again. My green beans are producing a plethora of the little beauties that can be made in to Chinese Hot and Spicy green beans. I am even freezing them to enjoy this winter. My zucchini, which were not growing at all, are producing several long green squash a day and that even allowed me the extravagance of making stuffed zucchini the other day (I will share the recipe at the end of my blog because it was easy and tasty). My tomatoes are ripening at last and my “winter” squash are bearing fruit but guess what? They aren’t winter squash at all. They are yellow summer squash, so yet another packet of seeds got a little confused.
Speaking of confusion
Yes, it seems there is always something that you are surprised to find out and this weekend I had such an experience. I had the pleasure of having our daughter and her two adorable boys overnight on Friday. This seems to be the only way my daughter and I find time to talk, so it was really fun and we are so grateful that she is willing to traipse over here with all her accoutrement.
A surprising revelation came up in one of our many discussions that made me think I might owe my readers a bit of an apology. It seems a friend of hers follows my blog (although she may no longer be following it). In talking to her friend my daughter learned that her friend, in trying to live up to the lofty ideals about which I write, became somewhat depressed. That is, trying to eat real food and live a healthy lifestyle was causing her to be depressed and down on herself because she just could not keep up with feeding her family in the ways I write about (more truthfully it is what I used to write about).
What came first, happiness or health?
This made me think I might be or might have been emphasizing the wrong things and for that I apologize. I have never professed to live a 100% healthy lifestyle as defined by Weston Price or Dr. Joe Mercola. I write about them because so many people just don’t know or are not exposed to a healthy lifestyle smorgasbord, so they can some here and learn something new and exciting. I find them fascinating and want to share whatever I learn BUT I am a firm believer in my version of the 80/20 Rule.
What is my version? I mean by 80/20 that you live a healthy lifestyle 80% of the time and allow some wild abandon 20% of the time. It may not be a guarantee of living to 150 years of age but to me finding your happiness and joy is far more important than being self-righteous and somehow superior because you never, ever, ever cheat. If you have no joy what is 150 years of life really going to do for you?
I confess. I do cheat now and then. I do have sweets. I do have wine and alcohol. I have hot black caffeinated tea with real milk every morning. I don’t exercise every day (although I am now running barefoot most days) but every day I do one thing. I try to find joy in my life. Finding joy and happiness comes from gratitude and keeping track of the good things in your life is really important. To remind me of the joy in my life I have a daily gratitude notebook. I write in it most days and when I make my entry I try to find at least one thing that makes me smile when I write it.
Can joy really make you healthy?
I think happiness makes you healthy above all else. Sometimes it is difficult to lift your head and smile but when you finally do the joy will heal you and your soul. You can live by all the rules, never drink alcohol, always eat whole foods, never eat feedlot beef or penned up pork, exercise every single day but if you never smile, never laugh or are incapable of seeing the bright side of life I believe you will not be healthy.
There has to be balance and I try really hard to balance my life. I have an autoimmune disease that makes some things impossible. I can’t eat wheat or food that contains gluten. I can’t have coffee anymore as it seems to react much like gluten does and gives me aches and pains. I can’t avoid taking drugs because I depend on T3 for my survival. I can’t avoid supplements because a body with an autoimmune disease has trouble maintaining healthy levels of nutrients no matter how good the food is you eat.
In other words I do have some limitations within which I must live, some things are musts for me to live comfortably. I guess everyone has those things that they simply must do or not do and for all of us it is different. I really do apologize to anyone who ever read my blog and thought that you simply couldn’t live up to the lofty standards held within these pages. This blog was never here to lecture; it was always, and will always be here, simply to educate. What you do with the knowledge is your business and no one should feel judged nor condemned by their choices.
I love my readers and writing my blog brings me great joy and tremendous satisfaction. I thank you all and wish all of you happiness and joy. See you next week and then Krisinsight will take a break and resume when autumn has arrived.
Now on to the recipe (the original can be found here).
Hamburger Stuffed Zucchini
- 2 Medium zucchini, cut in half, the center scooped out and reserved
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 2 tablespoons sauteing oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1-2 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 7-ounce jar of tomato paste
- Basil, oregano, garlic granules, salt and pepper
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
After you have scooped the center out of the zucchini, dice up the scooped out bits and reserve. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop the zucchini halves in the water; bring back to a boil and remove in about 5 minutes and drain. Place them in a baking pan that holds them snugly in place, so they don’t tip over.
Saute the diced onion for a few minutes in oil that covers the bottom of your pan. Add the ground beef and gently cook until the meat is no longer pink, add the diced up zucchini innards and the minced fresh garlic. Cook for a few more minutes and then remove from heat.
In a large measuring cup combine the tomato paste, garlic granules, basil and oregano as well as a generous amount of salt and freshly ground pepper. I think using an amount that appeals to you is more important than a suggested amount but I used a teaspoon and a half of basil, oregano and about a teaspoon of garlic granules. Add this mixture to the hamburger and mix thoroughly.
Scoop the meat mixture in to the center of the zucchini, cover with cheese and bake in a 350º oven. Bake for about an hour but check to see the cheese is not browning too much. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving. Bon Appetito!