People are getting creative when it comes to housing these days. Home loans are harder to come since the plug was pulled on badly written loans letting the air out of the housing boom. Rental owners sensing blood have sent home rental costs soaring making alternative options more interesting. Homes fit for one, maybe two if you really like each other, offer affordable options if providing somewhat cramped quarters. 400 square feet of living with everything tailored to “living small”. Some models come with hookups to your pickup or SUV allowing the owner the flexibility of moving at a moment’s notice without packing a box. This has all the earmarks of something turtle inspired, but I can’t say I hate the idea.
We lost 3,000 square feet of living space when moving here. At first I thought I would feel confined, but was surprised to find the adjective I would choose instead might be cozy and or more relaxed. Interesting. With the two floors and the gorgeous view we have in our new surroundings, I don’t even notice the loss of space.
If I was to win the lottery (I know I first have to play, yes.) I believe I would have several different locations to hang my hat. None of them opulent, I don’t need much these days, but each of them offering up something different by way of topography. Perhaps a modest seaside home in Corfu during the winter months in the states. Whitewashed buildings starkly contrasting with a backdrop of brilliant green gardens bursting with blooms. I might while away my days shopping in the myriad of quaint villages on the island, bringing home a jar of olive marmalade or a container of local honey to spread on my toast at breakfast. Perhaps while out, I’d stop at an outdoor cafe for a plate of Souvlaki, succulent kebabs of chicken or pork wrapped in delicate slices of ham. A boat would be nice addition to life by the water. Hoisting the sails just after sun up, dropping anchor in an azure cove on the Diapontia Islands for lunch on deck and a quick swim. This might be close to perfection to my mind. I’ve never been to Greece, except in my dreams, but I can’t imagine it would disappoint.
Next perhaps again by the sea, a cottage on Hubbard’s Bay in Nova Scotia. Chillier by Mediterranean standards, but a gorgeous jewel tucked away on the Nova Scotia peninsula. The area was often visited by my family when I was growing up. Each summer we rented the same cabin, owned by friends of my grandparents. Sitting on a hill overlooking a sandy beach, the deck was frequented often by gulls looking for a handout. Neighbors, there for a week or permanently, stopped by to chat about the weather or bring a bucket of wild blueberries which my grandmother would turn into batter for her delicious griddle cakes dripping with Canadian maple syrup. Ahhhhh, makes my mouth water at the thought.
Like a leaf gathered by the wind, I have spent a good deal of my life floating from yard to yard dropping for a while to join the other leaves until whisked up again and carried on down the road. Rather than fearing change I have always viewed it as a new adventure. Each move has offered me the opportunity to meet new people, explore my new surroundings, and spread my wings.
In the end, I would have to add California to the list. In spite of the high cost of living, crowded urban sprawl, and extreme drought at the present, California has gotten under my skin and I would need to include it on my list. For me, again with the lottery money, it would be an aerie high on a cliff along Highway 1. Mendocino County might be my first choice as I’ve visited the are many times, and am always drawn back. A houseboat might be fun as well. Since watching Sleepless in Seattle for the first time I’m envied Tom Hanks’ character his living style and thought perhaps that would be something I’d like to do if given the chance.
For today, I’m headed out for a walk with a friend in our glorious woods. This casserole is sooooo cheesy and delicious. It’s a bit of a process to pull together, but in the end well worth the trouble.
4 large zucchini, trimmed
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. garlic powder, divided
1/4 cup olive oil, plus
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
3/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil strips for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray 13 x 9″ casserole dish with cooking spray.
Slice zucchini lengthwise in 1/4″ slices.
Mix together four, pepper, salt, and 1/4 tsp. garlic powder in shallow bowl. Dredge zucchini in flour mixture.
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil over med. high heat. Saute onions for 5 mins. Drain on paper towels. Working in batches saute zucchini until golden brown on both sides, about 3 mins. per side, adding oil as needed. Drain on paper towels.
In medium mixing bowl mix together tomatoes, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.
In a separate mixing bowl mix together cheeses.
Spread small amount of tomato mix on bottom of casserole dish. Top with 1/2 of the zucchini in a single layer. Top with all onions.
Spread 1/2 of tomato mix over zucchini. Sprinkle with half the cheese. Repeat layers ending with cheese.
Bake for 25 mins. until cheese is bubbly. Top with fresh basil.
Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.