from C.D. Hersh
Love and food go together like romance and a happily-ever-after ending.
Maybe that’s why in most of our novels the hero and heroine share a meal of some sort. There’s just something magical about a special dinner with the one you love. Don’t you remember that special dinner, or dinners, with your honey? On the first dinner Catherine made for me she accidentally fed me a toothpick. Trust us, we remember that!
Like most humans, we like to eat, and food works its way into our stories. In Blood Brothers it was a steak dinner. In Son of the Moonless Night exotic fish was on the table. And in all of The Turning Stone Chronicles books the immortal Scottish Keeper of the Stone has an ever-present cup of tea and scones on the kitchen table.
In our newest release, Can’t Stop the Music (The Soul Mate Tree Book 2) the hero cooks an Italian meal for the heroine that is positively orgasmic. Can’t Stop the Music is a nostalgic romance set in Woodstock 1969 and contains a paranormal element. The paranormal involves a magic Soul Mate Tree that grants soul mates to deserving persons.
The Soul Mate Tree is
An ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds.
To some, it’s nothing more than a dream.
To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations.
For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.
And our heroine and hero are in definitely in need of a happy ending.
Speaking of happy, who doesn’t love a delicious pasta dish? We do, but pasta is something we don’t eat a lot of anymore because of the high carb content. Recently, we’ve begun experimenting with ways to make high-carb pasta meals friendlier, because we do miss our pasta. In the process, we’ve discovered things like lentil and soybean pastas that are great substitutes for wheat pasta. They have a high fiber to carb ratio, which not only puts more fiber in the diet, but slows the release of sugars into the blood stream, both which are great boons to people with insulin resistance issues. The soybean pasta is fantastic and has become our go-to pasta for spaghetti.
Unfortunately, we haven’t found a soybean lasagna. So, Catherine got creative and made a meatless version of lasagna that uses a smaller amount of noodle on the bottom of the dish and substitutes sliced zucchini for the pasta in the other layers. Putting a single layer of pasta on the bottom provides the traditional taste of lasagna and helps the servings come out of the dish better, without the added high-glycemic carbohydrates. We made this lasagna recipe meatless, but you could use a meat sauce if you prefer. This recipe serves 4. Bon appétit!
2 small zucchinis, ends trimmed and sliced into scant ⅛ inch thick ribbons
2 sheets oven-ready lasagna pasta
½ jar (1⅓ cup) spaghetti or marina sauce, any flavor you prefer
2-3 ounces fresh baby spinach, 2-3 handfuls
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
12 tablespoons low-fat ricotta cheese
Fit the zucchini into a square 1½ quart baking dish. Trim to fit the dish snugly. Remove to a plate and salt liberally both sides. Let stand about an hour to draw out the excess moisture. Rinse off salt and pat slices dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Rinse mushrooms and place in a skillet or large saucepan. Using 2 sharp-bladed spatulas, coarsely chop mushrooms in the pan. (Alternately, you could use a knife and cutting board, but Catherine found this method to be quicker.) Sauté mushrooms in a couple tablespoons of water until the mushrooms darken and excess water from the fungi has appeared in the pan. Drain and set aside.
Fit the 2 sheets of pasta in the bottom of the baking dish, breaking edges off as necessary so the pasta lays flat in the bottom. Remove pasta and broken pieces from the dish.
Pour ⅓ cup pasta sauce in the bottom of the dish and lay the pasta sheets and broken pieces on top.
On top of this base, layer ⅓ cup pasta sauce, ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, ⅓ cup mushrooms, a handful of spinach, and four tablespoons of ricotta cheese (dotted over the top of the spinach), and enough zucchini slices to cover the ingredients. Spread the ingredients so they are evenly layered. Repeat layers to the depth the dish allows, ending with a layer of zucchini, sauce, ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Let stand a couple of minutes before cutting. Catherine found using a chef’s knife to cut the layers works best to cut through the zucchini without destroying the layers.
Serve with a fresh salad and warm, Italian garlic bread for a complete meal.
Note: We went light on the cheeses, which gave each square of lasagna about one serving each of the cheeses. If you like a heavier cheese taste, add more cheese on each layer.
After the dishes are done and you’re ready to relax, download Can’t Stop the Music and take a trip back to Woodstock 1969 with our heroine Rose and her Italian stallion Dakota. To whet your appetite, here’s a peek at Rose and Dakota’s first meeting. Enjoy!
Dakota meets the girl of his dreams at Woodstock, but a jealous wannabe girlfriend drives them apart before he can discover Rose’s last name and where she comes from. After he sees a disappearing tree that promises him true love, a frantic search to find Rose comes up empty-handed.
Magic and music bring them together at Woodstock in 1969. Misunderstandings tear them apart. Will two flower children find one another again, or live with missed opportunities?
As they made their way to the festival site, Rose and her friends grooved to the music coming from the stage. When they reached the makeshift bridge over the road, someone yelled, “Hey beautiful! You with the red hair.”
She looked around to see if there was anyone else with red hair. Then she glanced up and spotted two guys, one blond and the other dark-haired, leaning over the side of the bridge.
“Yeah, you,” the blond called out as he caught her gaze.
Willow halted beside her. “He’s cute. How about him?”
Rose looked away, her gaze landing on the other guy.
He jabbed his companion in the ribs. “Quit trying to pick up every girl you see.” Then he leaned farther over the rail. “Don’t pay any attention to him. He’s high.”
“So she’s not beautiful?” Willow yelled to the hippie.
She poked her friend. “Stop it, Willow, you’re making a scene.” In spite of her protest, her gaze remained on the dark-haired guy.
He rested his elbows on the rail and stared back at her. The intensity of his expression shot heat into her belly.
“I didn’t say that, just that she shouldn’t pay attention to him.” He flapped a hand at his blond buddy, then tapped his own chest with his thumb several times as if to say, ‘Choose me!’
Does he want me to pay attention to him? Her heart thumped in rhythm to his jabbing thumb.
“Take that one,” Willow whispered. “He’s the real cutie.”
Before she could respond, the crowd pushed them forward. When they reached the other side of the bridge, she looked back, searching for the dark-haired hippie, but the spot where he’d stood was empty.
Just my luck. I see someone who’s intriguing and he disappears.
With a sigh, she continued the trek to the festival grounds.
AMAZON BUY LINK
The books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available on Amazon. They also have a short Christmas story, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow: Soul Mate Christmas Collection, with seven other authors.
They look forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life.
Learn more about C.D. Hersh on their website and their Amazon Author Page.
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