Melissa is a butterfly.jpg

Hi! I’m Melissa

When I was young I had wings, but they were taken from me. When I turned 50, I took them back. I’m now a Chef, Photographer, Fitness Nerd, and an Artist. This is my diary about food, fitness and adventure along with tips to master midlife & live a more fulfilling life at any age. Click here for my About Page.



Cooking struck me as something I wanted to do at a very early age (circa late 1960’s). I watched Julia Child with Mom when I came home from kindergarten and after Julia came Gram Kerr, a.k.a. , “The Galloping Gourmet” and I’m leaving that one alone but I will say that I always confused him with Dick Van Dyke. Is anyone still reading?

Ratatouille recipe French Squash Casserole from the food and lifestyle blog,

My point is, they both inspired me at a very young age to enjoy cooking as a form of art - much differently than how my Mother explained cooking to my Dad and me in an extremely loud, angry voice from the distant kitchen where she hand washed dishes while Dad and I delighted in the latest episode of Hee Haw or Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom (that Tom, he got the short stick, didn’t he?). Dishwashers cost a year’s salary back in those days, so, no Hee Haw for Maw.

Yes, I’m that old.

Eat well and respect your body. Your life depends on it!



Serves 6
WW Points: 5


1/4 cup EVOO
3 small leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced lengthwise with a mandoline
3 medium zucchini, ends removed and thinly sliced lengthwise with a mandoline
3 medium yellow squash, ends removed and thinly sliced lengthwise with a mandoline
1 cup finely shredded Gruyere or Parmesan
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced lengthwise with a mandoline
Flaky sea salt to garnish (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook until softened, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, approximately 2-3 minutes. Spread into a 9-inch round baking dish

  • Meanwhile, on 2 large baking sheets, spread the zucchini and yellow squash and brush with the remaining oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the cheese.

  • Tightly roll 1 slice of zucchini and place it in the center of the dish, on-end, on top of the leeks. Working outward, continue rolling and wrapping squash slices until you reach the edges of the dish. Season the tomato slices with salt and pepper, then tuck them in between zucchini slices in intervals around the dish

  • Bake for 30 minutes or until all squash are tender and lightly browned on top in spots. Sprinkle with sea salt, if using

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