Apologies in advance for the pictures in this post. Photography is NOT one of my strengths but these are probably worse than usual. Then again, how great can pictures of a kitchen appliance and vegetable ribbons really be? If your answer is “way better than those!” I know, kindly keep it to yourself please and thank you.
On top of being a bad photographer, I have also not been a very good blogger lately. Life has been insanely busy and I just haven’t had the time to devote to sitting down and writing a post. This makes me sad because I really enjoy writing this little blog. In my perfect world the day would be a few hours longer (and I would have a little more energy, a lot more crafting prowess, a never ending supply of perfectly ripe avocados AND be a professional photographer). But alas, there are only 24 hours in a day which means life often takes precedence. Sometimes I guess you have to be a bad blogger to be a good wife/friend/employee/puppy-mommy .
So, I won’t beat myself up about it, and instead I’ll just vow to try to devote more time to my blog when I can, but not at the expense of all the fun (and some not so fun) life things I’ve been doing lately…like planning a baby shower and wedding shower for sweet friends, furniture shopping (yay), playing with my favorite furball, and working on some very exciting and fulfilling personal projects (more on those later).
So remember these meatballs from last week? They have become a staple at my house during this busy time. Making diverse, healthy dinners for Robert and I is a priority for me. Since time is so limited, I am typically a mono-eater during both breakfast and lunch during the week. Yes, that is a real word. I read it in a food (or maybe fitness?) magazine years ago and it stuck with me at the time because it reminded me so much of Robert. A mono eater eats the same thing (or same type of food) regularly with little to no variation. Before I started packing his lunches for him, Robert would eat the exact same sub from Subway, every.single.day. for lunch. When we were dating I thought this was the most bizarre habit around, how could you go into a restaurant every day and never want to try something different? I mean he literally ate the exact same sub with the exact same toppings EVERY DAY! Ham, American cheese, black olives and spinach with mustard, oil and vinegar. I think those ingredients will be engraved onto my brain until the day I die. His excuse was always that he was so busy during the work day and had so little time for lunch, that it was just easier and faster to order the same thing. Robert’s mono-eating became kind of a running joke between us and our friends but if I’m being totally honest, I have to take back all the fun I poked at him, because either he’s rubbed off on me or I’ve turned into a major creature of habit in my old age because the mono-eater club now officially has it’s second member.
Since the school year started, I have one of three different breakfasts every day during the week, and the same lunch….every day. And he was right, it IS easier and faster to grocery shop and prepare when I know exactly what to expect. Since breakfasts and lunch are not exciting and don’t differ much, it is very important to me to put time and creativity into our dinners. I am constantly trying new recipes and we almost never have the same thing twice. The one exception to this rule, is zucchini noodles and meatballs. When time is tight, they hit our dinner table at least once a week. They are easy, fast and Robert always declares them delicious as he licks his plate clean.
If you are looking for a way to increase your vegetable intake (or decrease your carb/refined flour/gluten intake), you should really try replacing pasta with vegetable noodles. There are many ways to create veggie noodles, but after a few failed attempts using my mandolin and julienne vegetable peelers, Robert bought me this spiralizer for my birthday two years ago and it is without a doubt the easiest method. I know no one needs another kitchen gadget, but this one is pretty inexpensive (around $30) and it is my most used appliance behind my blender. It has also increased our veggie intake exponentially and given us new ways to prepare old favorites. Almost any vegetable can be “spiralized” aka turned into pasta ribbons. Squash and zucchini reign supreme in our house as I think their texture most mimics pasta and holds up well, but I throw in carrots pretty regularly and have even tried sweet potatoes.
The gadget is pretty straightforward, you cut off the ends of your vegetable, pierce it on the spiked end and crank the handle. It’s similar to an old hand crank apple or potato peeler. I typically use three medium to large zucchini to make a meal for Robert and I. After washing and spiralizing, I like to sprinkle the zucchini noodles with salt and wrap them in a clean kitchen towel to draw out the water. After that you just cook your meatballs, toss your zoodles in a skillet, add your sauce until heated through and voila! Spaghetti(ish)! I’m kind of ashamed to call this a recipe, but if you need very explicit instructions (no judgment here!) see below.
Here’s to non-recipe recipes, more time for blogging and busy, beautiful life. XOXO
Zucchini Noodles & Meatballs
3-4 Medium Zucchini
1-2 Cups Marinara Sauce (I like Rao’s Homemade if I’m going with store bought)
Sausage and Beef Meatballs (I usually use 3-4 per person)
Optional: Grated Parmesan or Mozzarella Cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350. Bake fresh (or previously frozen and thawed) meatballs for 25-30 minutes until cooked through.
2. Meanwhile, Spiralize your zucchini into noodles (or use method of your choice). Sprinkle with salt and wrap in a clean dish towel to wring out excess water. Set aside.
3. Spritz a saute pan lightly with olive or coconut oil and heat over medium heat. Add zoodles and season with salt and pepper (I usually throw in a few pinches of crushed red pepper as well). Saute zoodles for 3-5 minutes, tossing with tongs occasionally until heated through.
4. Add marinara sauce and meatballs and stir. Simmer until sauce and meatballs are both warm. Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately! Enjoy!