Drive Out the Dreary

When a Monday morning starts out cloudy, rainy, and somewhat cold for mid-Summer, I can't shake its presence throughout my day. The mood seems bleak, and everyone seems less joyful than usual. Well, I wouldn't call anyone on my morning commute joyful, but at least when the sun is out, people seem mildly more awake. Just a little.

So as the drab Monday continued, I tried to determine a dinner plan that would excite us and turn the day a little bit brighter. But my plans got foiled when my workout at the gym went awry (the treadmill tried to kick me off), and I just got stuck in a pickle of feeling unmotivated in terms of a dinner plan.  This is rare, especially early in the week, since my dinner-plan-fatigue had not yet set in and I'm not too tempted to run out for tacos (it's only Monday after all!). 


But then, out of nowhere, my inspiration came back! Or, in literal terms, I remembered a recipe I saw online last week that I really wanted to try! And that we had prepped for during grocery shopping over the weekend. Hello, memory, thanks for showing up!  


I did my usual pre-dinner scroll of Stories on Instagram (let's be honest, I scroll through constantly), and noticed many folks making cold-weather dishes, specifically pasta, for this unusually chilly July evening. Our new plan would fit right in! 

One of my favorite sources for easy, delicious, and quick weeknight recipes is The Lemon Bowl. Her account is full of great photos and terrific dinner recommendations. The tagline is "healthy recipes made delicious," and that is completely accurate. Recently, a dish was featured using zucchini noodles, kale, and sausage, and I knew it would be perfect for one of our weeknight meals. Simple ingredients we buy often, lots of flavor, and the added benefit of being low-carb and high protein. Dinner Goals! 


A brief moment about zucchini noodles: while the world seems to affectionately call them zoodles, my preference is to not use such a term. While I acknowledge that it does combine the words quite handily, I cannot get myself to use it in conversation let alone in a public forum. Zucchini noodles - I love them - but refuse to adapt my vocabulary to include the term (shudders) "zoodles." You may mock me as much as you'd like. 


Back to dinner! We followed the recipe for "Zucchini Noodles with Sausage and Kale," exactly as printed except for two tweaks: I definitely measured out more than a half cup of Parmesan (sue me) and we added a third clove of garlic. We also chose to sprinkle in chili flakes, and topped with fresh basil as garnish - that balcony garden is really a showcase lately. Lovely!  


So, we made the meal, placed it carefully in a bowl, snapped some photos, and (finally) sat down to eat.  My husband and I have dinner together, at the table, every night. Unless he is traveling for work, this is a nightly routine in our house. I love it.


We also stick to a (most of the time) rule of shoving our phones aside so we can chat about the day, or in this case, scream about how awesome this dinner turned out to be. OK, I was the only one screaming. And it wasn't so much a yell as a quiet, stern murmur as I shoved bites into my mouth: this is sooooo good. I don't want to keep eating because then it will be gone and I'll be sad. Truly!


I strongly recommend making this meal for your next dinner. Or dinner party! Naturally gluten free and Celiac-safe, tons of incredible flavor, and you can add Parmesan until your heart's content. It's a win-win for us all. And maybe, just maybe, I'll give in to calling them "zoodles," but don't hold your breath. ;-)