Meatball Recipe

It seems I spend every waking minute of my life in the kitchen.  I usually spend my weekend prepping our lunches for the upcoming week and cooking big elaborate meals which I don't have time for on weekdays.  My boyfriend and I usually pack soup and fresh veggie juice for lunch.  Last weekend I made pasta fagioli as our "soup of the week."  One of the meats in this soup is meatballs, so I decided to share my recipe for meatballs!

Look at those tasty meatballs swimming in that fagioli!

What you're gonna need:

large chunk of bread
2 lbs ground meat
2 eggs
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 tbsp chipotle pepper powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste

Here we go.  Start off with a large chunk of bread (the size of your hand...ish).  Now get it soaking wet.  Yes, that's right.  We need wet bread.  Nice, soggy, dripping wet bread.  Whatever bread you have on hand will probably work, but I usually use a chunk from a fresh loaf of Italian or ciabatta.  Hold it up over the sink until it stops dripping, then squeeze out a little bit of the excess.  Now crumble that into a bowl until you have a pile of what looks like soggy bread crumbs.  I don't ever measure anything, but I suppose if you wanted to be really precise, this pile might be something like 1 heaping cup.

Now throw in your two pounds of ground meat, eggs, and spices.  I like to use 1 lb ground turkey thighs and 1 lb ground beef chuck roast.  Mash everything together.  Yay.  Squishy burger goo.  You're probably wondering why there are two pics of my squishy burger goo.  I forgot some stuff the in the first pic...and I decided to add more chipotle and paprika.  Things rarely go smoothly in my kitchen. Don't judge me.

Roll this squishy burger goo into little balls.  I like them to be this size...

Now place them on a lined baking pan.  Well, really, who am I to tell you what to do.  Line it or don't, but I highly recommend you do.  

Turn your oven on to the broil setting and put a rack in the top slot.  Slide the baking sheet of balls in, and broil those suckers for about 10 minutes.  When they're nice and golden brown and sizzly, take them out and flip them...or do whatever you can that's as close to flipping as possible.  These guys don't really like to flip.  They are balls, after all.

Then cook them for another 10 minutes or so, or until the other side is nice and golden brown and sizzly.  Then slice open one of the larger balls and make sure it's not pink inside.  If there are any signs of pinkness, throw them back in for a few more minutes.  Rinse and repeat until no more pinkness.  But, don't really rinse.  These are meatballs, and that's just a saying...

Now eat these delicious suckers!

What's your favorite way to eat meatballs??  I need some ideas!  I have extra and I'm not a big fan of meatball subs...


Paleo, Raw, or Gluten-Free?

I've been making a lot of changes to my diet lately. My journey into a healthy lifestyle of self-healing started out being very confusing and overwhelming.  Now I find myself almost back where I started years ago, but with a few tweaks.  Let me explain.  


I started my healing journey by converting to a mostly raw diet, which worked for me for quite a while, although I had cooked meats sometimes with dinner.  I was going whole hog with it.  Green smoothies for breakfast, fruits and veggie snacks throughout the day, a gigantic salad for lunch, raw dehydrator crackers and snacks, then another green smoothie for dinner, or whatever I was cooking for my family.  This was great for a while, but I was super bloated by the end of most days (I think I was eating too much fruit), and I was craving a lot of meat and soup.  


To combat the being bloated thing, I bought a juicer and started mixing up fresh veggie juices.  Somehow, I was on an almost completely liquid diet before I knew it.  I was drinking almost 48 oz of fresh juice per day, then coming home and eating a cooked meal for dinner, which consisted mainly of meat and veg, maybe some rice.  As crazy as it might sound, this was actually very satisfying.  I would snack on some nuts in between juices to keep me satisfied, but the juice was surprisingly filling.  Eventually, my boyfriend hopped on my juicing bandwagon, and I had to reduce my juice intake.  The grocery budget demanded it.  We simply could not afford the vegetables it was taking to produce 48 oz of juice per day for 2 people.  That's like $100+ just for juicing veggies per week.  Sorry Charlie, we just can't afford that.  

To compromise, I started making about 16-32 oz of juice for each of us per day, and taking soup for lunch, and nuts and fruit for snacks.  This was working well.  I was also by this time, unintentionally, not eating many grains.  I was pretty much not eating any processed foods, except for the occasional slices of bread for a sandwich here and there.  By "here and there" I mean something like 1 sandwich per week, usually eaten for lunch at the farmers market on the go while shopping with the fam.  


I was eating plenty of meat at this time, as well.  Lots of meat in my lunch soups, and plenty of meat with our dinners.  I had stopped buying CAFO meats from the grocery store and started buying healthy local meats from the farmers markets.  Yes, this is like 3x as expensive as meat from the grocery store, but trust me, it's totally worth it...flavor and quality-wise.  And, as and added bonus, it's way more environmentally friendly!  No more styrofoam trays!  Yay!  

By this time, I was feeling GREAT.  Very little endometriosis related pain to speak of.  I'm sure it was everything (juicing, avoiding processed foods and sugars, healthy meats, raw foods, etc...), but for some reason at the time I attributed it mostly to the grain-free (which translated into gluten free, in my mind) eating habits I had recently acquired.  So I started avoiding gluten.  


Jump to last week, I was in a rush for breakfast foods because I didn't have time to juice, so I raid the cabinets, find some KIND granola and decide this will be a suitable, well rounded breakfast, paired with a banana and some raw milk.  After all, the child eats cereal every day for breakfast and she doesn't explode, so I figure I'll live.  

I get to work, figuring this day will be a misery of throbbing pelvis and cramped back... but no.  No pain to speak of for the entire day.  Hmmm...mysterious.  So I repeat the next day.  Same thing, no pain.  Super.  Repeat all week long...and I'm still feeling great.  I'm convinced it's the raw milk, but now I'm also convinced that I'm not as gluten sensitive as I had once thought.  But then again, perhaps 1 cup of "healthy" grains (not to quote the KIND slogan) per day isn't so bad.  *scratches head in confusion* 


To sum it all up, basically, I really don't know what the hell I am doing with my diet anymore.  I know I'm more discriminative about what I bring into my house to feed my family.  Although I thought I was healthy before, I feel completely different about "health food" now.  I look at food through a completely different lens now.

I thought I was raw/vegan, then I thought I was paleo, then I thought I was gluten free.  Then I realized I was some strange hybrid of all three.  I picked from each what worked for me, because honestly, I don't really think any of those things are for me.  At least not 100%.  I do look for paleo friendly recipes because I know that they are going to contain foods and ingredients that I'm actually comfortable feeding myself and my family.  I do cook my veggies with dinner (I know I'm killing the enzymes and I don't care).  I do not strictly adhere to any one diet.  I do what feels right and makes me feel good. Right now, eating the way I do, I feel great and effortlessly maintain a healthy body weight without counting calories or nutrition facts.  I've done a lot of research, read a lot of books, and studied nutrition endlessly for months on end.  After reading the China Study years ago, I was convinced meat caused cancer.  Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't.  I know that I've read a lot on both sides of the meat debate and many other controversial dietary issues, and I'm now comfortable with my dietary choices, eating meat included.

Currently, I:

  • avoid processed junk
  • am careful with my omega 3/omega 6 ratio balancing
  • eat healthy, local meat
  • make bone broth
  • am eating more fresh vegetables than ever (through juicing and with dinner and snacks)
  • eat very little fruit (except in green smoothies)
  • eat tons of saturated fats and do NOT avoid cholesterol
  • avoid soy
  • eat sugar sparingly

Whatever you want to call that, I call it a healthy diet which makes me feel great.