Saturday, February 9, 2013

Whole30 Meatballs

When you ask my son Judah what his favorite food is, he'll begin listing everything meat. (He'll actually list pizza first, but for the purposes of this post, I'm going to pretend he begins with meat.)
"Meatballs. Meatloaf. Beef." (I just asked him and that's honestly what he said.) He's like his father in that way.
So, ground meat formed into any shape is always a win at our house. However, I usually stuff it with things like breadcrumbs and cheese and a little bit more cheese and it. is. fabulous. Alas, cheese and breadcrumbs are now on the no-no list but the funny thing is ... the meatballs taste just as amazing without them. Surprises await me around every corner!
I served these with spaghetti squash and in anticipation that my kids wouldn't be too happy about it I also roasted some broccoli in the oven. My intuition was correct - their squash went cold and was met with tears. Oh well. I'm thankful for the broccoli back-up!

2 lbs ground meat (I used beef because it is what I had but any ground meat will do.)
2 whole eggs
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder (fresh garlic would be good too...I was feeling lazy)
1/2 ish cup broth (beef, chicken, bone...whatever you got!)
(adjust all the spices to your family's taste preference. I honestly just tossed them in there until I felt I had the amount that I would like.)
Throw all the ingredients into a bowl and mash it all together until it's all combined. Then form it into balls. (Wow...I sound like a food genius, don't I?! "Form it into balls..." So technical.) You should have around 15 or so.
Heat a large pan over medium high heat. If you are using a lean meat, like chicken or turkey, or even lean ground beef, add a little coconut oil to the pan. Once the pan (and oil!) is hot, add the meatballs. Brown evenly on all sides. Don't worry about cooking them all the way through, just get that nice crusty brown on the outside. Once the meatballs are brown, add your stock to the pan. Turn the heat down to low, and let the broth simmer until it is absorbed into the meatballs. Your meatballs may be done cooking before this happens, and in that case, you've got (thin) gravy! Yummy!
Now eat them and if you can get away with it ... make your kids eat spaghetti squash. It really is yummy!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Food stuff

In an effort to reset our systems, Mike and I have embarked on the Whole30 program. We have a few reasons, but our biggest motivator is that our seven year old, Judah, has been having migraines. After a CT scan revealed nothing (thankfully!) we decided we needed to do something drastic to help his body heal. I suffer from migraine headaches as well and know that sugar is a trigger for me and over the last few months I've been eating way too much of it.
After a few long conversations with a good friend about the changes she's made to her diet over the last year and how her health has improved, I was certain that the paleo (or caveman) diet was going to be the direction our family needed to go. After making that decision, my friend suggested we begin with the Whole30 in order to break our cycles of food addiction and cravings. 

Black coffee on morning number 2. Not as terrible as I'd anticipated!

We are only on day 4, but already I've struggled coming up with meals. It's tough to realize that I've totally been in a food rut - chili, chicken and noodles, spaghetti, tacos...repeat. It's not bad food, but it's the same week after week, and cooking and coming up with new recipes is totally out of my comfort zone.
But, thank God, for the internet and Pinterest! So far we've had some winning meals and I've been spamming my Instagram newsfeed with pictures of what we've been eating, knowing that there will be a time (probably next Tuesday) when I have no idea what to make for dinner and will need to look at the pictures to help get my creative juices flowing again. I've been asked for the recipes by a couple of people, so I thought I'd share the ones we've enjoyed here. (Please excuse the photos as they've all been taken with a phone or iPad and quality isn't the greatest).

Tonight I made my variation of this coconut curry recipe I found on Pinterest via the PaleoPot. (I heart you, Pinterest.) Honestly, if the kids eat it AND Mike and I like it, then it's going to be something that goes into the rotation.

2 cans coconut milk (we use Native Forest)
3ish tablespoons red curry paste (I found one that is Whole30 approved at Whole Foods)
3 chicken breasts (mine were frozen)
1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper
1/2 head of cabbage
salt, to taste

Dump your coconut milk and curry paste into a crock pot. Mix together until the paste is dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Cook on high for 5-6 hours (if your chicken is frozen. Seriously, I'm no crock pot genius, so you'll have to use your discretion on this!). Once the chicken is cooked through, use two forks to shred it. We served ours with green onions and I would have loved to add a little garlic chili sauce (Sriracha anyone? Yum.) but alas, it isn't Whole30 approved. However, the dish is great on it's own!

Today for lunch we made hamburger patties with this salad. Yum. The salad was just romaine lettuce with apples, avocados and pecans. I wanted to add more flavor than just some olive oil (and again...wanted to get the kids to eat it!) so I used a variation of a vinaigrette that my cousin showed me a few years ago.

1/2 c olive oil
1 tsp dry mustard
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed
juice from one lemon

Chop your garlic, dump some salt on top of it (about 1/2 tsp. or so) and using your knife smash the salt into the garlic.
In a bowl, mix the lemon juice and dry mustard. Add the smashed garlic and pepper.
I think the correct way to do it at this point is to slowly drizzle the olive oil into the bowl while you are vigorously whisking the lemon juice but I just added the olive oil and the lemon juice mixture to an old salsa jar and shook it for a minute or so until it was all mixed up.

Happy eating!!