Friday, October 26, 2012

A Recipe From My Best Friend

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the Pioneer Woman is my best friend.

Ree Drummond, aka: The Pioneer Woman.

Granted, she has no idea who I am.  And she certainly has never heard of my blog.  But that's okay.  I have high hopes of meeting her one day and presenting her with my running list of reasons for why we should be best friends.  Or at least pen pals.

Until then, let me share one of my favorite recipes with you from her first cook book.

If you don't own this cookbook, go buy it.  Right now.  Literally!  Run to your nearest Target (if you're blessed to have one near you, unlike me) or Barnes and Noble or whatever store is close to you and BUY THIS BOOK.  (See Ree?  I'm promoting you. We should be best friends. Call me maybe?)

On to the real reason we're here: FOOD!

So, let me start by saying that my children have a slight obsession with meatballs.  Seriously.  As long as something is round and has the appearance of a meatball, they will eat it.  It can be turkey, it can be beef, it can be pork, it can be homemade or the frozen store-bought ones you throw in your crock pot and serve as an appetizer at a football game.  (Er...I mean hockey game. I'm still trying to get used to my new-found Canadian roots.)  But you get my drift?  The boys love 'em.  I always welcome new meatballs into my repertoire.  So, when I saw this recipe in her cookbook, I knew it was going to be one of my first ones to try.

Introducing comfort meatballs.

These were a pleasant surprise because my husband hates meatloaf.  And these meatballs taste like bite-sized bits of heavenly meatloaf.  He will argue with you, of course, and insist that they don't taste anything like meatloaf. But after you read this and you go home and make these, like I know you will, I'm sure you'll agree with me that they do in fact taste just like really really really good meatloaf.  And every bite has ketchup on it.  Which is the best part anyway, am I right?

And if you, like my man, dislike meatloaf...give these a try.  You may share the same tastebud DNA as him and think they just taste like good 'ol fashioned meatballs. If there is such a thing.

(...I think at this point, it's fair to offer a disclaimer that this recipe is in no way, shape or form a part of our clean-eating system.  But my oldest boy asked me to please, please, please make meatballs because it had been a while, so I did.  And now I'm sharing with you because I felt like, hey, some of you aren't doing the eating-clean thing, and you might enjoy these bad boys. Some of you may just need ideas for food that your kids will actually eat.  So, here they are. Blame my son, ok?).

These meatballs aren't the store-bought-frozen-ones you make in a crock-pot, as I mentioned earlier.  No sir. These are homemade.  You combine the meat with some oatmeal, milk, a little onion, salt and pepper.  I used lean ground turkey, because, although it's not necessarily a "clean" meal, I still feel an obligation to feed my family a certain way.  But, hey, you can use whatever meat you have in your freezer or whatever is on sale.  I'm not judging!

After your roll them up into their meatball shape, stick them in the fridge for a bit, about 45 minutes, just to firm 'em up.

After they are nice and cold, take them out of the fridge (or if you're like me and always forget this step because you don't have 45 extra minutes for your meatballs to just be sitting there when they should be cooking, take them out of your FREEZER after a 15 good minutes in there.'s my shortcut. Don't tell PW.)  

Now we dredge the meatballs in some flour and brown them in canola oil (or, if you're like me, you'll use some coconut oil!).

Can I just pause for a minute to brag on my little electric skillet here?  This is one of the few items Ryan and I bought when we were first married almost (cough cough) 10 years ago.  It's one of my favorite versatile kitchens items.  At the risk of sounding like Bubba, you can fry in it, saute in it, make pancakes in it in the morning and make a stir-fry in it at night. It has sides so you can make big batches of things without the risk of spilling over.  Let's  have one more look at her:

As the picture above shows, when the meatballs begin to get brown, put them in a 9x13. Or if it's dirty and you don't feel like washing it out, like yours truly, then grab 2 smaller dishes. Voila! Problem solved.

Stir together the sauce ingredients (which you'll find below).  And pour the sauce all over the meatballs.  Make sure each meatball feels some of the love, ok?  Don't let any of those guys go without sauce. 

As a small side note, to make the sauce, it requires minced onion.  How do you mince your onion?  I use THIS:  

It's not a slap chop, but it's the same idea.  Mine is the pampered chef brand and, much like my electric skillet up there, I love this little gadget.  It keeps my tears to a minimum, literally, and minces  my onion up so fast it takes about 15-20 seconds. think of all the years I spent without this little guy.

Speaking of little guys...this is what my 3 guys were doing while I made dinner:

 Amazing, isn't it?  I put newspaper and paint down and said "go."  Worked like a charm.

Back to the meatballs!

Stick them in the oven for 45 minutes or until they are bubbly and hot. Watch and be amazed as your kids hover around your oven waiting for dinner.

When they are ready, serve them to a house full of hungry boys.  Or, whoever you are blessed to feed.

In my case, it's boys boys boys. And I love it! 

Now go make some meatballs!

Comfort Meatballs
from: The Pioneer Woman, aka Ree Drummond

1 1/2 lbs ground beef (or turkey or pork)
3/4 cup quick oats
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons very finely minced onion
1 1/2 tsp salt
ground black pepper
(and, if you are feeling healthy, throw some wheat germ in there...I did!)

1. In a bowl, combine all of the above.
2. Roll the mixture into tablespoon sized balls and refrigerate 30-45 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350.
4. Heat 4 tablespoons canola oil (or coconut oil!) in a large skillet over med heat.
5. Dredge the meatballs in some flour.
6. Brown the meatballs until light brown.
7. As they brown, stick them in a 9x13.

1 cup ketchup 
2 tablespoons sugar (or you could use honey or agave nectar; just slightly decrease the amount to 1 or 1 1/2 tablespoons as agave is sweeter than sugar)
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
4-6 tablespoons minced onion

1. Stir together all of the above and pour evenly over the meatballs.
2. Bake for about 45 minutes, or til hot and bubbly.

Serve with mashed potatoes, or even better...quinoa!! 

I promise that the next time I post a recipe, it will be a clean-eats recipe. :)

Until next time, my friends!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Writers-Block, Anyone?

Ok, so it's been a while.

A very long, silent, and slightly uncomfortable, while.  I've been asked about the blog and why I seemingly stepped away or got too busy for it. (Too busy? a stay-at-home-mama with 3 loud and crazy boys? pfff...).  No, the real reason for my "absence" is a prolonged case of writers-block.  Allow me to explain:

1. We moved to Vancouver in January from Alabama.  If you've followed my blog in the past, you know this, so I won't re-hash into all of it. But if you are new, you can read this old blog to bring you up to speed.

2.  We not only moved, but we moved into my in-laws house.  Now, let me preface what I am about to say with this: I have a terrific, fantastic, beautiful relationship with my in-laws. They let us live with them for 9 months and invade their space, their kitchen, their yard, and their lives with our "stuff."  But, I do believe that when God said to "leave your father and mother's house and cling to your wife",  he knew what he was sayin'!  It's hard living with parents again, especially once children are in the mix.  It's a little un-natural.  And, for the record, I want to honor my in-laws with my words about them, because they truly gave so selflessly for so long, but I feel that I can speak for them when I say...they felt the same as we did. Come September, it was time for us TO GO! :)

3. I home-schooled our kindergartner last semester.  Enough said.

...So, what I am trying to say here is this: not only was life a little topsy-turvy for my Friesen Five boys and I, it was downright hard.  Hard, hard, hard.  I decided that blogging about my hard times and the hard lessons God was teaching just wasn't necessary.  Who wants to listen to a complainer, right?  Not me.  Plus, my mom taught me well: if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.  So I've still been writing, almost daily, just not for everyone else to see.  It's been a steady flow of conversation between me and the Lord and it's been GOOD.

So, I'm back now!  In my up-coming blogs I am excited to share about some of the lessons I've learned through this last year.  I'll also post a few pics of the new house for my friends down south who've been harassing me about it. I mean asking me about it.  I may even post some pictures of my weird kids and share some new recipes.  We've been doing this eating-clean thing and I figured I could share some of what I've learned.  Stick around!

Ok, go have a great day. Or night. Depends on your time zone I guess.

And because we've been away for a while, you've missed out on the beautiful weirdness of my kids.  I feel the need to share the love:

He's from Alabama. Oh yes he is.

Why do men like to play the guitar in their underwear?


Lots of Love to you all...