Getting Cozy with Books & Moussaka

Last book I cozied up with.

Last book I cozied up with.

I read year-round, but this time of year I read more than usual. One reason is what happened today by me (I’m writing this on the 8th) – blowing snow and single digit temperatures. Schools are closing because of snow. During this season, I watch more TV than usual, too. But even with a few hundred TV channels, I would still rather get cozy with a good book than a TV show.

I’m not the only one. As is usual this time of year, I’ve noticed a jump in the sales of my books. For the last few years, people have said that this is because of the e-readers that were Christmas presents, but I think that a lot of people have reading devices already – even if it’s their phone or their tablets. My guess is that the weather is a big contributor.

Another book I read recently.

Another book I read recently.

I’m also trying to eat healthier. Last summer, I thought I had symptoms of hypothyroidism – tiredness and brain fog being the scariest. I had a blood test, and my numbers were solidly in the normal range. But something was wrong, and I wondered if I had food allergies. Instead of getting more tests, I cut down on gluten and dairy. Almost immediately, I noticed a change for the better. And today I caught a Dr. Oz show. He named the symptoms of gluten intolerance, and they are similar to the symptoms of hypothyroidism. I still eat cheese (I love cheese!) and some dairy, and I seem to be okay there. Though I do eat some gluten, I don’t make a habit of it. I even drink gluten-free beer.

So for my blog today, I’ll share a gluten-free, healthy recipe. It’s from Entrees – Food Writers’ Favorites: Quick & Easy Recipes, edited by Barbara Gibbes Ostmann and Jane Baker. This recipe is from Carla H. Eschmann:

Moussaka with Zucchini or Eggplant

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 small zucchini, unpeeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices (or 1 medium eggplant, unpeeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices)
1 large onion, sliced
1 lb. lean ground lamb*
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon*
3/4 teaspoon salt*
1 cup diced feta cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in large skillet. Add zucchini (or eggplant) and onion; cook until tender-crisp. Remove from skillet and put in a 2-quart baking dish. Set aside.

In the same skillet, brown lamb, stirring with a spoon to break up meat. Drain fat. In a small bowl, combine tomato sauce, garlic, salt and cinnamon. Pour over lamb; mix well. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes.

Spread lamb mixture evenly over zucchini mixture in baking dish. Sprinkle feta cheese and Parmesan cheese over top, covering completely. Bake in preheated 350-degree over 30 minutes.

Note: I haven’t used ground lamb (because of the price), but we’ve used ground turkey, ground chuck, and ground beef, and they’ve all been good. We like cinnamon and garlic, so I use about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and a big garlic clove or 2 small cloves. And if you have salt already in the tomato sauce, you probably don’t need to add any.

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6 Responses to Getting Cozy with Books & Moussaka

  1. Mary Hughes says:

    Hi, Edie,

    Thanks for the recipe. I’m so glad you discovered the cause of your symptoms and are feeling better!

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Mary, my pleasure. If you like feta cheese and the other ingredients, I’m sure you’ll like this. I doubled the recipe a few weeks ago and made it for guests. It’s an easy yet elegant meal.

  2. I tend to read more this time of year too. I think because it’s so cold outside. It makes curling up with a book even more appealing. And you can’t give up cheese! LOL. Although I am trying to do the same thing — cut down on gluten and dairy this year.
    Jennifer Estep`s last blog was …More Gin on the way …

  3. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Edie,

    That gluten (and sugar) will get you every time! Congrats on working on getting healthier. We don’t want to lose you any time soon. 🙂

    I find I watch more TV at this time of year, maybe I’m just so sick of reading my own crap, I can’t read other people’s books who are obviously much better writers than I am! Must go with the gray skies and cold weather. 🙂

    • Edie Ramer says:

      Dale, I’m used to being healthy, and I think of myself as healthy, too. So I really want to get back to it.

      LOL about being sick of your own writing. Ditto here.

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