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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Safety Measures for Little League Play

Spring has arrived and with it comes little league sports. Both my grand-daughter and grand-son play.

While I love to see them having fun I also want to make sure they are safe. Good exercise is something we all need but overuse is something that all baseball coaches and those that love the players should be aware of. Each year there are over 100,000 injures related to playing baseball and softball that occur among children 5 to 14.

For the most part youth little league ball is one of the safest sports as well as one of the most popular youth sports in the United States. There are 8 million plus children ages 6 to 17 that play each year. A few tips to help make sure your little leaguer has fun and less chance of injury here are a few tips for you

  • For batters: batting helmets with face protection, such as polycarbonate eye protection or metal cages.
  • For catchers: helmets, masks with throat guards, chest protectors, and shin guards.
  • For male players: hard plastic athletic cups.
  • For all players: shoes with rubber-spiked soles.
  • Coaches should be prepared to call 911 and have rapid access to an automated external defibrillator if a player experiences cardiac arrest or a related medical condition.
  • All coaches and officials should be aware of extreme weather conditions, such as excessive heat or lightning, and postpone or cancel games if conditions worsen and players are at risk.
  • Parents and coaches should recognize that not all children will develop at the same rate, and repeated instruction and practice are essential for young baseball and softball players to acquire basic skills while learning the fundamentals of the game.
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Friday, April 19, 2019

Khao Soi – Thai Curry Noodles from Chiang Mai

5 large, whole dried red chiles (such as pasilla, ancho, or New Mexico), stemmed but not seeded
1/2 cup diced shallot
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons garam masala or other Indian spice mix of your choice
Vegetable oil for frying
1 big handful of the noodles you will be using for the main dish
3 (13.6-ounce) cans coconut milk
1/2 cup light soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 to 1 1/2 pounds packaged fried tofu (see head note)
Kosher salt
1 cup water
1 cup Chinese pickled mustard greens
OR 1 cup Sichuan pickled vegetable (see page 000)
OR 1 cup sliced napa cabbage (1/8 inch thick) tossed with 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound fresh flat (about 1/8 inch wide) or spaghetti-shaped Asian egg noodles, minus a handful fried up for garnish
4 Key limes, halved, or 2 regular limes, quartered
Fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallot

For the curry paste
Place a medium skillet over medium heat. Put the chiles in the pan and dry-toast them for 2 minutes. Add the shallot, ginger, and garlic and continue to cook, tossing once or twice, until the chiles are very fragrant but not burning. Add the coriander seeds, turmeric, and garam masala, toss to combine, and remove from the heat. Let cool slightly, then puree in a mini-food processor (or with a mortar and pestle), adding about 1/4 cup of water (or more as needed) to form a coarse paste.
For the crispy noodles
In a very small saucepan, heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Throw in one noodle, and when it sizzles, add half of the noodles that you have set aside for crisping. Cook, turning frequently with tongs, until golden brown and crispy. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate and repeat with the rest of the noodles to be crisped.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and warm four serving bowls in a low (200°F) oven.
For the sauce
While the pot of water heats up, pour 1 can of the coconut milk into a large saucepan (at least 4 quarts), place it over medium heat, and simmer until it begins to separate. Stir in about half of the curry paste, along with the soy sauce and sugar, and continue cooking until the sauce becomes thick enough to coat a spoon, about 10 minutes. Add the fried tofu and simmer 10 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt if desired. If you like it hotter, stir in more of the chili paste. Add the remaining 2 cans of coconut milk and the water, and bring back up to a simmer.
To complete the dish
Drain and squeeze most of the liquid out of the pickled vegetable. Boil the noodles according to the package directions; cook until they are tender but still have a bit of bite. Drain and divide among the serving bowls. Top each serving of noodles with one-quarter of the sauce and tofu, a squeeze of lime juice, a handful of the pickled vegetable, one-quarter of the crispy noodles, and a few cilantro leaves. Serve immediately, passing the thinly sliced shallots, remaining limes, and curry paste for each diner to apply.

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Lyme Disease in Dogs

Oh boy, the weather has been lovely and spring it seems has finally arrived. I know the first day of spring was sometime back but the weather has really been nice as of late. With the warm weather comes some issues that could be dangerous to the ones we love. Our four legged family members are in danger of Lyme disease when warm weather arrives. Perhaps it is time that I share some information regarding this dangerous and often common disease.

  • Lyme disease (LD) is an infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a type of bacterium called a spirochete (pronounced spy-ro-keet) that is carried by deer ticks(Click here for pictures of deer ticks). An infected tick can transmit the spirochete to the humans and animals it bites.

Lyme disease in dogs is often on the rise during spring months. While it can take several months for symptoms to appear Lyme disease does have some characteristic symptoms that include:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Stiff, painful joints (limping, walking with an arched back, etc.)
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Loss of appetite

There are a few things that you can do to reduce the chances of your dog contacting Lyme disease. While ticks can be as close as your backyard there are a few things you can do to protect your pet.

  • having your pet on a monthly tick prevention medication that is available at your vets office will help to protect your dog
  • check your pet often for ticks. If you find any remove them by using tweezers and pulling it out by the head. 
  • Keep weeds and grasses cut short and make sure there are no piles of leaves, wood or other debris near your home to make the area you live not only nicer but less desirable for ticks and other pests
  • keep your dog away from live or dead wildlife
  • consider the Lyme disease vaccine available at your vet
Enjoy warm weather season even more knowing your pet is protected

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Testicular Cancer

April is often decked out with violet ribbons. The ribbons are helping to draw awareness to Testicular Cancer. This is one of the most common cancers it is one that does not get a lot of talk. With an average of one out of every 263 men diagnosed with Testicular Cancer during their lifetime and out of these around 400 cases are fatal. Perhaps the best news is that like with many cancers if caught early Testicular cancer is 99% survivable.

Testicular cancer affects the testicles in a man's body. The testicles are part of the male reproductive system and are responsible for creating male hormone and creating sperm. Some cases of Testicular cancer can begin while the male is in the youth years but this is very rare. It is important for every male starting at the age of 33 to be screened. In addition knowing the risk factors will help in the battle as well. Risk factors include:
  • having an undescended testicle
  • family history of testicular cancer
  • HIV infection
  • previous diagnosis of testicular cancer
  • race / ethnicity
  • body size

Monthly self exams should be performed as well. In the same manner as breast self exams the monthly exams will make one more aware of their own body. Take note of any irregularities and reporting these to their doctor. These irregularities can be any lumps that are felt that were not present before. Another great source that awareness is striving to bring about is educating the public about Testicular Cancer

One of the best defenses when it comes to health care is education. Knowledge allows us to be prepared when something may go wrong. So place your violet ribbon where all can see it. Both men and those that love them should be prepared with knowledge and ready to share awareness with all. 

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

National Donate Life Month

April is National Donate Life Month. It was established by Donate Life America in 2003. Each April the date is celebrated with planned local, regional and national activities to help encourage Americans register to be organ donors. In addition it is a great time to celebrate those that have saved lives through the gift of donation.

The 2019 theme is inspired by bicycles and the slogan "Life is a Beautiful Ride".  Just like bikes that come in all styles, shapes and sizes that are created to support the rider and converting their energy into motion. Much in the same way those that give organ, eye and tissue donations give individuals hope, support and strength to those waiting for organs, recipients and donor families. Simply by registering as a donor offers hope by many.

The month of April is a great chance to consider how you can help in this lifesaving activity through donations or registering for living donation. 

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Bringing Awareness to Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia

With all the things expectant parents have to worry about there are some things that they should be aware of as well. Birth defects should be on that list. Many babies are born with birth defects from the very minimal to major defects that effect life. One type of birth defect is Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. An average of 1600 babies are born each year with CDH in the United States.

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia is a birth defect that occurs when a baby's diaphragm fails to fully form, allowing abdominal organs to enter the chest cavity and prevents lung growth Organs that are normally located in the abdomen are the stomach, intestine, liver and spleen. These organs travel to the chest cavity through a hole in the diaphragm. Thus the lungs are not allowed to grow or develop properly. 

Babies born with CDH may suffer from a form of underdeveloped lungs known as pulmonary hypoplasia. This condition affects the distance that oxygen has to travel to reach the blood vessels in the lungs, the amount of blood that can be carried in the blood vessels in the lungs and other issues may occur. 

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia can be caused a few different ways. One is that the baby's chromosomes has a problem or a genetic disorder is present. Other ways that CDH occur without any genetic causes. Often genetic testing is required. 

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Pecan Praline #Recipe

1 1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 tbsp salted butter
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a pot, combine the milk, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Stir, and bring to a boil( over medium high).
Let boil for 1 minutes then add in the pecans, and butter. Stir in. Let the candy reach 240 F degrees ( use a candy thermometer )
Remove the pot from the heat, and add in the vanilla.
Stir the ingredients, and let cool for 3 minutes.
Stir the mixture, until it starts to thicken.
Grease/ Butter a cookie sheet.
Spoon out the mixture onto the cookie sheet, and let the candy cool and firm.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

Take advantage of this nutty month as we celebrate national pecan month

Enjoy this recipe 

This German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bar is perfect to take along, bake-sales or dessert Enjoy 

3 cups pecan halves
1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 & 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 large eggs
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Arrange pecans in a single layer of a shallow baking pan. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Stir halfway through baking.
Line the bottom and sides of a 9″x 13″x 2″ baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on two short sides. Grease foil.
Whisk together the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and cocoa. Add the cold butter, and combine with a pastry blender* until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Press the mixture into the bottom and about 3/4-inch up sides of prepared pan.**

Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over crust. Allow to cool on a wire rack at least 30 minutes.
Place the eggs in a large mixing bowl, and beat lightly. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and melted butter. Whisk together until smooth. Stir in the coconut and pecans. Pour evenly over the partially baked crust.
Bake 28-34 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the filling has set. Cool completely on a wire rack. Then, refrigerate for an hour.
Using foil overhang, lift the bars from the pan and place on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into bars.

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Pizza Pasta Salad


16 oz. rotini pasta
1 cup pepperoni, diced or 5 oz bag of the mini pepperonis
1 can olives, sliced
1 cup mozzarella, cut into small pieces ( 6 string cheeses-  will work so great for this!)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1 bottle of  Italian dressing

Cook pasta according to package directions.
While the pasta is boiling, you can get everything else ready to assemble.  Cut up the cheese, olives and pepperoni if needed.
When pasta is cooked, drain and rinse with cold water.
Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, cover and store in the fridge until ready to serve.  You can serve it immediately if necessary, but is ideal to let it chill for at least a few hours before serving. I like to prepare this the night before so everything has a bit of a chance to marinate.  Just make sure to re-stir everything up again right before serving to make sure the dressing is well mixed!

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Healthy Sesame Chickenpink saturday

½ cups Honey
5 Tablespoons Tamari
½ teaspoons To 1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
2 cloves Garlic, Pressed Through A Garlic Press
4 Tablespoons Sesame Seeds
3 whole Medium Size Chicken Breasts, Cubed Into 1 Inch Pieces
2 pinches Kosher Salt
2 pinches Black Pepper
2 whole Egg Whites, Lightly Beaten
4 Tablespoons Cornstarch
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, Divided
½ whole Red Bell Pepper, Diced
½ whole Green Bell Pepper, Diced
1 whole Medium Yellow Onion, Diced
4 whole Green Onions, Sliced
Prepared White Or Brown Rice, To Serve

In a medium bowl, combine honey, tamari, sesame oil, garlic and sesame seeds. Whisk until combined and set aside.
Season cubed chicken with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl whisk together the egg whites and cornstarch. Add in the seasoned chicken and toss.
In a large 10- to 12 inch nonstick skillet, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and heat over medium-high heat. Once hot, add in the diced peppers and sliced onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until slightly softened. Remove to a plate.
In the same skillet, heat up the remaining 2 tablespoons of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add in the chicken and cook for 5-8 minutes until golden and fully cooked. Add the peppers and onions back in along with the sliced green onions and the sesame sauce.
Stir and serve over prepared white or brown rice.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Taxes are Due

The deadline approaches, just a few hours a way, are you ready?? The deadline I speak of is deadline to file your taxes. It occurs each year on April 15th unless the day falls on a weekend or holiday. However, the 15th of April has not always been known as tax day.

The 16th amendment created income tax day February 3, 1913. The tax deadline that year would be March 1, 1913 and only taxed incomes above 4,000. Before income tax the federal government would raise money on tariffs on imports and exports as well as taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. Previously there was a national income tax in 1894 that taxed on states population.

The tax according to where you lived was deemed unconstitutional and had to be amended. The 16th amendment allowed everyone time to file but very few did. The Revenue Act of 1918 moved the deadline to file to March 15 and imposed a 77% tax on the highest income. During World War I this tax worked out well. However, the Depression lowered incomes and led to individuals not paying taxes.

By World War II paying taxes had become a patriotic duty to pay taxes. Irving Berlin wrote songs and  the IRS created posters that reminded people to pay. During this time the Treasury Department also began withholding taxes from worker's paychecks and the W-2 was created. It seemed the world of taxes was changed. However, there were more changes to come.

In 1954 the deadline for taxes was moved to April 15th.

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Spider Control

They are ookey and spooky and a bit eery as well. Spiders are one of the most feared of all pests in the home that people want to exterminate. There is reasoning behind the fear of spiders as getting bit by the wrong one could land you in the hospital. However, there have been only 6 reported deaths due to spider bites.

Chemicals or pesticides are not very effective against spiders. Simply spraying for spiders will not do a real good job. Spiders have long leg and poor circulatory systems that decrease the chance of spray on the surface ever reaching them. Perhaps the old way of killing insects using a newspaper, shoe or whatever you choose to use as a weapon would improve your chances over the sprays.

If you do choose to use sprays select a high area of traffic for the spider. Spray along the cracks in baseboards, along edges of carpet or wood trim around a window. Keeping their food source of other insects helps to reduce the spiders as well. Sticky traps or glue traps also capture spiders. Place them in dark quiet areas where spiders often travel.

Tips to Ridding The House of Spiders

  • Stack firewood away from the house, clean up leaves and other yard debris, and trim back any trees and shrubs that contact the home
  • Caulk seal cracks and gas in the homes foundation, windows and doors
  • reduce insects 
  • reduce or eliminate piles of papers, boxes, bags and other clutter 
Remember that the old shoe is a better killer than many of those chemicals

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Innocent Murmurs

Heart murmurs are They are made by blood circulating through the heart's chambers and valves, or through blood vessels near the heart. Many children will have what is known as an innocent heart murmur sometime during their childhood. They often disappear and may reappear again. While innocent and most likely no cause of concern doctors may order testing to confirm the murmur is innocent.

Testing has the ability to prove or disprove that the murmur is innocent. Children with innocent murmurs require no medication and does not have a heart issue. They can live as normal like other children. In addition most children with innocent murmurs disappear as a child reaches adulthood but some adults still have them.

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Pecan Pie Muffins

Name the only nut tree native to North America. ... You guessed it........ Pecan trees

1 cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
½ cups All-purpose Flour
1 cup Chopped Pecans
⅔ cups Softened Butter
2 whole Eggs, Beaten
Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven 350 F.

Grease your muffin pan (whatever size) or use the silicone cups. I grease my silicone muffin cups with Crisco or lard.
In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour and pecans. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and eggs together until smooth. Stir into the dry ingredients just until combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Cups should be about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on wire racks when done.

Option: when you take them out of the oven, place a slice of butter on top and eat warm. You may also use walnuts instead of pecans.

recipe resource here

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The Date of Leonardo Da Vinci Birth

Today, April 15th is the date that Leonardo Da Vinci celebrated his birthday. Leonardo was an artist, humanist, scientist, philosopher, inventor and naturalist. Born in 1452 Da Vinci would go down in history among the great players that were part of the Italian Renaissance. However, with so much known about Leonardo da Vinci what do you personally know??

Did you know:

  • Leonardo attended "abacus school" and trained in commercial math. Other than that formal education he was a self taught individual
  • Da Vinci never was married or had any children
  • He was born in the village of Vinci in Tuscany Italy to parents that were unmarried. His mother was a peasant girl 
  • his last name was given based on place of residence
  • was not required to go to school because he was illegitimate. Spent his days experimenting and exploring and keeping notes of what he learned. 

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Pepperoni Pizza Chili

2 pounds ground beef
 1 pound sausage
 1 package (8 ounces) sliced pepperoni, halved
 1 large onion , chopped
 1 large green pepper , seeded and chopped
 4 garlic cloves , minced
 1 jar (16 ounces) salsa
 1 can (16 ounces) hot chili beans, undrained
 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
 1 can (12 ounces) pizza sauce
 1 cup water
 2 teaspoons chili powder
 1 teaspoon dried oregano
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/2 teaspoon pepper
 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

In a large Dutch oven, cook the beef, sausage, pepperoni, onion, green pepper and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
Stir in the salsa, beans, pizza sauce, water, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle servings with cheese.

taste of home recipe

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Palm Sunday

Are you aware that Palm Sunday was celebrated today?? It is a date that may change every year but it always occurs the Sunday before Easter. Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week that leads up to Easter. Easter is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was the Sunday prior to this event Jesus triumphantly had entered Jerusalem where he had been greeted with crowds of people throwing down palms as he passed.

Jesus had rode into the town on a donkey. Jesus was given the royal treatment as large crowd had gathered him laying their cloaks and palms as he passed. There were shouts of "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!" It seemed that Jesus had a celebrity like following of those who had heard of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Perhaps, the crowd wanted Jesus to be the king but he had no desire to be the king here on the earth for the plan had all ready been created and now Jesus was to fulfill the promise. .

Today, we celebrated Palm Sunday by going to church and enjoying an Easter cantata tonight. What a beautiful time to celebrate our Jesus and what he did for us.

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Hot Cross Buns

1/4 cup apple juice or rum
1/2 cup mixed dried fruit
1/2 cup raisins or dried currants
1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk (save the white for the topping)
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 large egg white, reserved from above
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4 teaspoons milk, or enough to make a thick, pipeable icing

Lightly grease a 10" square pan or 9" x 13" pan.
Mix the rum or apple juice with the dried fruit and raisins, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave briefly, just till the fruit and liquid are very warm, and the plastic starts to "shrink wrap" itself over the top of the bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Note: If you worry about using plastic wrap in your microwave, simply cover the bowl with a glass lid.
When the fruit is cool, mix together all of the dough ingredients (including the eggs and the egg yolk from the separated egg); hold out the fruit for the time being. Knead the mixture, using an electric mixer or bread machine, until the dough is soft and elastic. It'll be very slack, sticking to the bottom of the bowl and your hands as you work with it (greasing your hands helps). Mix in the fruit and any liquid not absorbed.
Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy, though may not double in bulk.
Divide the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces, about 3 3/4 ounces each. A heaped muffin scoop (about 1/3 cup) makes about the right portion. You'll make 12 to 14 buns. Use your greased hands to round them into balls. Arrange them in the prepared pan.
Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they've puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.
Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns.
Bake the buns for 20 minutes, until they're golden brown. Remove from the oven, carefully turn the buns out of the pan (they should come out in one large piece), and transfer them to a rack to cool.
Mix together the icing ingredients, and when the buns are completely cool, pipe it in a cross shape atop each bun.

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Zucchini Pizza Boats

6 small zucchini (2 1/2 lbs)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic , finely minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup marinara sauce (I used Classico Four Cheese)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (6 oz)
1/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese (1.4 oz)
1/2 cup mini pepperoni slices
2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat liner, set aside.
Cut each zucchini into halves through the length (if they don't lie flat trim a thin portion from bottoms so that they will lie mostly flat. I only had to do this with one of them). Pat insides dry with paper towels (cut portion). Align on prepared baking sheet.
In a bowl, stir together olive oil and garlic then brush lightly over tops of zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste then brush a slightly heaping 1 Tbsp marinara sauce over each zucchini, leaving a small rim near edges uncoated.
Sprinkle tops evenly with mozzarella cheese then with parmesan cheese. Top with pepperoni slices (placing them more near centers as the cheese will melt and spread). Bake in preheated oven 12 - 18 minutes (bake time will vary depending on how thick your zucchini are and how crisp/tender you want them).
Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped fresh oregano. Serve warm.
Recipe Source: The Comfort of Cooking

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