Friday, September 5, 2008

Have You Ever Seen A Spiritual Zucchini?

It’s that time of year when people start to realize that some might consider zucchini a weed. Or else reality sinks in and you have forgotten that last year you made a solemn oath that you would not plant a row of six squash plants this year. But you did it again because they are so cute when they are small. I’ve mentioned before that some of you may have heard that there are people who put zucchini on porches in the middle of the night and run. But of course that is only rumor.

Today I would like to change your thinking about abundant zucchini and its willingness to provide so much for so little.

And of course you know by now that this blog will eventually get around to discussing preparedness. Today’s firm, solid rule for hard times, tight budget times, economically correct times – in other words being prepared times – says that you eat what you have on hand, whether you happen to like it or not. It is a rule to live by.

When my husband and I went back to school with two tweens, to live among the land of non-living as students again, our preparedness program and abilities were what sustained us for the long haul. Most of the time we ate what we had on hand because we couldn’t afford to do otherwise. Did we always relish how delicious it was. No!!! But were we blessed? Yes!

One of the most touching and spiritual experiences that I can remember during those “back to school as adults” days was a Sunday afternoon when we were invited to dinner at a friend’s house. The meal consisted of zucchini bread, sautéed zucchini and battered deep-fried zucchini, with water to drink. A couple of zucchini plants were what the garden consisted of. With a little bit of flour the zucchini was stretched into bread. The prayer of thanks was heartfelt and the gratitude of having squash to share was real.

I remembered that day today as I picked my baseball bat squash that had remained hidden until now. I remembered our motto with our preparedness to always eat what we have and count our blessings.

So today I picked all of the overgrown squash, the green beans that were getting tough, the yellow squash that was now bumpy and some tomatoes that had rested on the ground and were not quite perfect any longer.

Don’t throw out the squash that has gotten too big. You can always make bread, or soup or shred it and freeze it to bake with later. I know, I know, many of you work and that elusive thing time is hard to come by. But on the other hand you have been given produce. Make a quick casserole – double batch- and share it. Call your Relief Society President and find out if there is a need that you can donate to anonymously. Or … ?

Eat what you have and make it tasty!

Today I created a “throw-together” recipe for you as a remembrance, that in the process of becoming prepared we might be grateful and recognize the blessings that may be hiding right under our very noses – or a squash leaf.

Summer Garden Soup
Squash, yellow and/or zucchini (2or 3) 2”X7” long, cubed = about 2 ½ - 3 Cups
A handful of no longer tiny and tender green beans, chopped = about 1 Cup
2 med. potatoes (from someone else’s garden) cubed = about 3 Cups
2-3 sm.– med. tomatoes, cubed = about 2 ½ C
½ large onion, chopped = ¾ Cup
¼ head of cabbage, chopped = 1 ½ cups
left-over cooked chicken, chopped 1 ½ cups
1 can chicken broth
¾ Cup pasta, tiny shells
Water, 2 –3 cups
Seasonings – thyme, basil, oregano, marjoram

Combine all in large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Cook to the tenderness you prefer in the vegetables.

If you use a larger squash that has a lot of seeds you may scoop them out, or simply cube them with the rest of the squash.

Adjust these ingredients to whatever you have on hand or in the garden.

This made a very large batch, enough for two days or enough to share or enough for a good-sized family.

All of these ingredients I had on hand. I did not have a specific recipe.

I thought about “using what we have on hand” all the time I was picking and preparing. The principles of being prepared need to be a part of our continued thoughts and thankfulness. It would seem that if this principle can be applied to summer’s over abundance of zucchini it can be applied anywhere.

Return to the Neighborhood