Z is for Zucchini and Zzzzzzzz’s!

Of course Zucchini is a summer squash which can reach nearly a meter in length, but which is usually harvested at half that size or less. Along with certain other squashes, it belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo. Zucchini can be dark or light green. A related hybrid, the golden zucchini, is a deep yellow or orange color.

In a culinary context, the zucchini is treated as a vegetable, which means it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, however, the zucchini is an immature fruit, being the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower. Wikipedia – what would I do without Wikipedia.

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Zucchini is also great in stir fry or in baking. Here is a yummy cake recipe. OF course when your belly has a taste of this heavenly recipe you will be ready for some ZZZZ’s.

Deep Dark Chocolate Sour Cream Zucchini Cake

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup canola or other mild vegetable oil
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 or 2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini (about 2 smallish, or 1 large)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or chocolate chips, or both (optional)

 Preheat oven to 325°F and spray a Bundt pan with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugar on high speed with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes, until thick and pale yellow. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a smaller bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add a third to the butter mixture and beat just until blended; add half the sour cream and do the same. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, the rest of the sour cream, and the rest of the flour. Stir in the zucchini and the nuts and/or chocolate chips, if you’re using them, and pour the thick batter into the pan, smoothing the top.

Bake for an hour, until the top is cracked and springy to the touch. Invert onto a plate or cake stand while still warm. Serves 8-16.

There are SO many benefits to ZZZZZ’s/Sleep:

Anyone that has trouble sleeping knows the health hazards associated with a loss of sleep.

I had to go to a sleep lab and sleep overnight and of course I was hooked up to what seemed like a million wires. The results are still in progress but I have learned a lot about sleep and sleep patterns.

REM sleep occurs 90 minutes after sleep onset. The first period of REM typically lasts 10 minutes, with each recurring REM stage lengthening, and the final one may last up to an hour.

Polysomnograms show brainwave patterns in REM to be similar to that recorded during wakefulness. In people without sleep disorders, heart rate and respiration speed up and become erratic during REM sleep. During this stage the eyes move rapidly in different directions.

Intense dreaming occurs during REM sleep as a result of heightened brain activity, but paralysis occurs simultaneously in the major voluntary muscle groups. REM is a mixture of encephalic (brain) states of excitement and muscular immobility. For this reason, it is sometimes called paradoxical sleep.

 During the deep stages of NREM sleep, the body repairs and regenerates tissues, builds bone and muscle, and appears to strengthen the immune system. As you get older, you sleep more lightly and get less deep sleep.

My problem is that I do not have deep sleep… Actually, REM sleep is not as “deep” as Deep sleep, both in terms of brain activity as well as ease of arousal. Deep sleep is called “deep” because neural activity produces deep, slow waves during this phase and because it is more difficult to rouse someone from this sleep phase than others.

For the body, the deep sleep has a purifying, restoring and energizing function.

10 Benefits of Sleep:

1. Improves your Memory!
 2. Builds a Stronger Immune System so you can fight off those nasty winter colds and flus and bugs
3. Curbs Inflammation, which is linked to heart disease, stroke, premature aging, and diabetes
4. Spurs Creativity and learning functions
5. Improves Athleticism
6. Strengthens your Attention Span and Sharpens Your Attention to Detail
7. Balances/Steadies and increase Metabolism
8. Lowers Stress Levels which greatly improves the ability to weight loss
9. Decreases Anxiety and Lowers the chances of obtaining Depression
10. Gives you More Energy, of course!

I know when I don’t have enough ZZZZ’s. Here is a list of some of the signs of a lack of Z’s:

• Tired all the time
• Drowsy in the car
• Needing a coffee to wake up
• Inability to concentrate
• Irritated
• Feeling sickly most of the time

If you have any sleep issues I hope you resolve them quickly or least a pattern toward that end.

Sleep is the best medication and meditation. Me 😀

A well-spent day brings happy sleep. Leonardo da Vinci

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Creator God, only makest me dwell in safety.

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May you sleep like a baby!

Thanks for reading my bLoG!

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