The waters of life constantly ebb and flow.
There are times that we float around in the calm stillness, where barely a ripple can be found as the sun shines down on the surface, sparkling and twinkling a mesmerizing tranquility that almost lulls us into dreaminess; and then there are times when our little boat—our being-ness—finds its way into more turbulent waters, where the waves lap and come up over the edge, a bit too close for comfort, and the clouds move in casting a cool, windy greyness that sends a slight shiver down the back.
Truly, the only constant in life is that nothing stays the same; and so we endeavor on each day with the hope that we can be present and alert, and left intact, no matter where the waters bring us. We only long for our little boats to stay upright and not overturn, as we navigate these living waters of life that we float along on.
As much as I think that I’d prefer to have control over all the things that go on in my life, I find the most peace when that golden realization dawns on me that I actually have very little of it.
And that’s the best thing.
Not knowing where the waters will slowly cause me to drift in any moment in life is opportunity for me to stay present in the current moment; to stay conscious not of yesterday, or what I think may come tomorrow, but of today, for today is all that I have.
Now is all that any of us have. And the only question that seems to be fitting to ask, in that case, is, “what do I do with now, then?”
Staying conscious of the current moment—staying present with eyes, ears, and mind open to what is before us in the here and now, is how one keeps the boat afloat and upright, no matter what kind of waters we find ourselves in.
A mind that is present, that is observing, is one that can be comfortable with the unknown and even finds excitement in the mystery of what’s to come.
The only focus of a present mind is to keep that vessel—the boat—upright and bobbing on the water, whether on glass-like stillness or treacherous thrashing waves, so that it may eventually be brought into newer waters once again for a fresh experience to be had.
It seems that keeping our boat afloat—keeping our presence of mind and our awareness of now and today—is what the goal is. And where our boat takes us, and what the waters will be like when we arrive, is something we’ll find out sooner or later, without any effort on our part.
To stay upright and present in today, in what we do have before us and around us, floating over top of the water, is all that need be of any concern to us. And the rest will surely be revealed in due time; today—now— is enough.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Cheesy Italian Grilled Zucchini Boats stuffed with Spicy Sausage and Quinoa, topped with Four Cheeses, Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce and Basil
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Makes 8 boats
• 1 cup cooked quinoa, warm
• 2 links spicy (or mild) Italian sausage, casing removed and crumbled and cooked, then drained of fat
• ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1 teaspoon flat-leaf parsley, plus 1 tablespoon, chopped, divided use
• 4 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and seeds/center scooped out, leaving a bit of a border on the sides
• Olive oil
• Black pepper
• 2 cups shredded Italian four-cheese blend
• Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce (recipe below)
• ¼ cup julienned basil leaves
-Line a baking sheet with foil, and preheat your broiler on low, for the time being.
-Prepare your filling by adding the cooked quinoa, the cooked sausage, the Italian seasoning and the teaspoon of flat-leaf parsley to a bowl, and toss to combine; add a pinch of salt/pepper, if needed.
-Heat a grill pan on medium-high; drizzle a bit of oil over your prepared zucchini, along with a pinch or two of salt and pepper.
-Once the grill is hot, add in the zucchini, cut-side down, and grill until charred and softened, about 3-4 minutes; turn and grill for another 2 minutes, just until crisp-tender; remove from grill pan and allow to cool just slightly so they can be handled.
-Spoon the filling into the cavity of each grilled zucchini, place onto the prepared baking sheet, and top with a generous amount of cheese; turn the broiler to high, and broil for a moment or two just until the cheese is melted.
-Finish the zucchini boats by spooning over as much of the Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce as you’d like, and sprinkle over the remaining tablespoon of flat-leaf parsley and the julienned basil; serve 1-2 zucchini boats per person, depending on desired amount.
Fire-Roasted Tomato Sauce Ingredients:
• Olive oil
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 2 (14.5 ounce) cans fire-roasted and diced tomatoes, with juice
• Pinch or two salt
• Pinch or two pepper
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
-Add a drizzle of oil to a small saucepan, and allow it to heat; add in the garlic, and once it becomes aromatic, add in the tomatoes.
-Add in the salt/pepper, plus the Italian seasoning, and stir to combine; allow the sauce to simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, to reduce and thicken.
-Serve as is, or use an immersion blender (as I did) to lightly puree the sauce; serve hot.