Ronnie Paul: Zoom into fall |

Ronnie Paul: Zoom into fall

I don’t Tweet, FaceTime or talk on my cell phone. This, plus the fact that I wish I’d been born into the quiet life of the 19th century, makes me surprised that I use Zoom. Although I could get online instruction in beading or Portuguese, I limit my Zooming to yoga classes.

My preparation time in my living room equals what it used to take me to drive to the studio. After hefting aside an armchair, a coffee table and a standing lamp, I unfurl my yoga mat. Fortunately, this is also an arm strengthening exercise. Then I trot upstairs and get the straps and blocks I’ll need for class which gains me a few valuable extra steps and a bit of cardio work. Chances are excellent that when I return to the living room, our large tabby will be stretched out on the yoga mat, deeply asleep, whiskers twitching, and paws running. This is yet another weight lifting opportunity as I lift and move the boneless twenty-pound feline.

The class begins, and along with seventy-five other students, I twist and bend with the teacher’s instructions. The only hitch has been the time my over-achieverism had me holding a difficult pose for an interminably long time. When I finally looked up, I realized the teacher’s internet had failed, and the monitor was blank.

I don’t Zoom when I’m in the kitchen. I hope you delight in using these recipes in person.

DIY Pizza with a polenta crust

1 12-inch pizza (6-8 pieces)

Here’s an opportunity to awaken your inner pizza-child.


½ cup polenta

¼ teaspoon salt

4½ cups water

1 tablespoon butter

1 pressed garlic clove

Chose a few toppings:

Pesto spread on the crust

Roasted tomatoes, zucchini, … you decide

Raw veggie slices

Sliced black olives

Artichoke hearts

Sausage slices

Grated cheese

Bring the salt and water to a boil. Turn down the flame and slowly add the polenta, stirring so there are no lumps. Stir frequently as it simmers for about 15 minutes until thick.

Generously grease a 12-inch pizza pan. Pour on the cooked polenta and spread. Smooth the surface and crimp the edges. This may take you back to your childhood Play-Doh days. Cover the polenta with a piece of wax paper and flatten the center a bit. Then put it in the refrigerator to chill.

When you’re getting ready for dinner, remove the wax paper and bake the crust in a 450-degree oven for 40 minutes until slightly firm. Add the toppings and broil for 3 minutes.

Eat-Your-Oatmeal Bread

1 loaf

Lately, I eat my morning oatmeal by the slice.

11/3 cups vanilla yogurt

1 beaten egg

¼ cup melted butter

11/3 cups white flour

1½ cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 tablespoon baking powder

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup raisins

½ cup walnut pieces

Combine the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Stir in the raisins and walnuts.

Pour into a well-greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Bake for 60 minutes at 350-degrees until the sides pull away from the pan. Let it cool a bit.

For easy handling, slice the loaf, spread the pieces on a plate, and freeze before bagging.

Ronnie Paul is a Nevada County freelance writer.

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