Monday, Monday – Recipe: Spaghetti with Special Meatballs

While Friday is one of my favorite days of the week, Monday is one of my least favorite days.  Sean goes back to work, the boys go back to school, and Summer and I are happy that we are home together but sad that three-fifths of what makes us whole is gone.

We had a great weekend, though, and I am glad that I had those fun memories to look back on today and smile.  I flipped through that scrapbook in my brain quite a few times today, thinking of certain smiles, sounds of laughter, and moments that made me very joyful.

One of the things that helps me perk up on Monday is the thought of it being Pasta Day in our home.  Some days I know exactly what I want to make, and other days, like today, allow me to get my creative cooking juices flowing as I look in the freezer, the refrigerator, and the pantry to decide what to put together.  Once I did that, I started planning for dinner tonight, knowing that we would be complete as a family again….and already looking forward to Friday.

Of course, when I do things like that to try to speed up time, I realize that it also accelerates all of the moments that I do truly enjoy throughout the week.  So, while I will probably not like Mondays anytime soon, I am trying to appreciate that even Monday holds some beauty in it, even if it is something as simple as Pasta Day.

Spaghetti with Special Meatballs

Spaghetti with Special Meatballs

I kept the sauce, meatballs, and pasta separate because everyone likes their spaghetti a bit differently. So, I made a little spaghetti bar and allowed everyone to add what they wanted to their spaghetti.

Ingredients

Sauce

Olive oil

3 gloves of garlic, minced

2 15 ounce cans of tomato sauce

1 small can of tomato paste

Salt

Pepper

Italian seasoning

Onion powder

Sugar

Meatballs

1 pound of ground beef

1 egg

2 ounces of soft goat cheese

Salt

Pepper

Italian seasoning

Extras

1 orange bell pepper, diced

1/2 onion, diced

Sausage link, diced (about 1 cup)

Spaghetti pasta

Instructions

    Sauce
  1. Add olive oil and garlic to medium sauce pan, and saute over medium heat.
  2. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and seasonings - I use about 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon onion powder, and 1 teaspoon of sugar.
  3. Simmer for about 30 minutes on low heat.
  4. Meatballs
  5. While the sauce is simmering, mix up the meatballs.
  6. Mix the ground beef, egg, goat cheese, and seasonings.
  7. Form the meat into balls, about the 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  8. Heat a frying pan over medium heat.
  9. Add the meatballs and allow to cook for about 3-4 minutes.
  10. Extras
  11. Add the onion and bell pepper, and allow to cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  12. Then, add the sausage.
  13. Cook everything together for another 5-6 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.
  14. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with hot water.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/09/12/monday-monday-recipe-spaghetti-with-special-meatballs/

This pasta magically turned Monday into unicorns and rainbows, after all.

Baking to Remember – Recipe: Pumpkin Muffins

I am sure that everyone knows where they were on September 11, 2001.  I was sitting at work when a co-worker came in to tell me that a plane had just flown into a building in New York City.  I instantly started looking on my computer while calling my husband at work, just a few buildings away.  Within minutes, the televisions were on, and it became very clear that it was more than just an accident.  I remember going home early, not knowing how to process what had just happened.  In the next few days, I remembered even more.

I remember firefighters who went above and beyond, while proudly showing the colors that let everyone know that we might be bruised…but we would not let this break us.

I remember a President who, amidst his grief, remained strong for our Nation.

I remember a school who captured the Nation with its dedication to remembering, its belief in standing together to heal.

I remember a wife who knew on that day that I wanted to be a mom.  I know that it was a crazy time to decide that, but I just knew.  I knew that I wanted little people in my life, little people who would always give me a reason to always stay strong, to always stay filled with hope, to always love to a capacity that I did not even know was possible.  We moved in with my in-laws the very next month because we wanted to be ready when the perfect house became available, the perfect home to start a family, to welcome a baby.  We did finally find the perfect house, and we moved into it in the middle of June, Father’s Day weekend.  We found out that Gabriel was in my belly on July 1.  I remember that day like it was yesterday.

Today, I bake to remember.  I bake because i love it.  I bake because I want my children to always remember September 11, to always know what it meant to our nation, what it meant to me.  I told my littles this morning that I knew 10 years ago today that I wanted to be a mommy.  I knew it then, and I still remember it now.

God bless America.  God bless the men and women who fight the daily battle to keep us safe, to keep us free, to give us hope as we remember a day when someone tried to take it away from us.

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup white rice flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Put liners in muffin cups.
  2. Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum, and spices.
  4. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture, and mix until combined.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop, add a scoop of the batter to each of the muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 18 minutes.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/09/11/baking-to-remember-recipe-pumpkin-muffins/

I frosted them with this frosting.

Enjoy, remember, bake, love!

Summer Lovin’ – Recipe: Fruit Roll-Ups

My Summer has a zest for life like I have never seen before.  She is energetic, happy, full of absolute joy and love.  She completed our little family of five.  When Summer was a baby, I remember telling my sister that just holding her brought me absolute peace.

So, needless to say, I have held her and held and held her.  I have carried her so much that people at school comment on how her legs will be dragging the ground soon.

Sometimes it would seem as if we are connected, literally.  When we are at home, and she looks up and notices that I am not in the room, I hear a panicked, “Momma!  Mommy!  Where are you?”

All of this to say that today was a really huge day for my Summer Lovin’.  My little girl went to dance school.

And, she loved it!  When I picked her up, she asked when she could go back….just as I predicted that she would.

My heart is full of joy mixed with a touch of sadness tonight.  I am so proud of my baby girl.  Yet, I am very aware of how quickly the time passes.  It really does not seem like that long ago when I was telling my sister that just holding Summer brought me absolute peace.

I was reminded of that very moment again this morning when Summer crawled into my arms, scared to leave me.  I told her how, at one time, she fit perfectly in my arms.  So, she tried to squish up her legs to be as small as she was when she was a baby.  It brought a smile to my face as I fought back the tears, determined to be strong for my little girl.

Yes, she is growing more and more each day.  But, as much as I loved and cherished every moment of their infancy, I equally love and cherish every moment of the stages that they are at right now.

People often ask us how we are so aware of how quickly the time passes; how we are so mindful of each precious moment.  Well, I am not sure if this is the correct answer or not.  But, I think that it has something to do with knowing how sick Ethan was at one point, of holding our breath each time we would get new test results.  We know that life is precious, that our children are the reason that we live and breathe.

So, if I hold them a little longer than normal, that is why.  We will continue to cherish their childhood, knowing that days, like today, take them one stop closer to that next stage of development, a stage where they might not crawl into my arms so that I can remove their latest and greatest fears.

But, just so they know…my arms will always be open.

I could not let this special day come and go without a special treat for my special ballerina princess girl.  After reading the blog post on Our Best Bites yesterday, I truly thought that they posted their new recipe just for me – something naturally gluten and dairy free, something befitting a little girl on her first day of dance school.

Recipe: Fruit Roll-Ups

Recipe: Fruit Roll-Ups

I made this recipe for my littles, but I did not create it. I found it at Our Best Bites.

Ingredients

2 1/2 – 3 cups ripe or slightly over-ripe diced fruit

sweetener to taste - honey, sugar, agave, etc.

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

optional: seasonings, spices, extracts to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to lowest temperature. 140° or higher.
  2. Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  3. Pour onto a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap, or a silicone baking mat, and spread to 1/8 inch
  4. thick.
  5. Place in oven and bake for 6-8 hours, until center is not tacky anymore.
  6. Remove from oven and peel off of baking sheet.
  7. Cut into strips and roll in parchment or plastic.
  8. Store in airtight container or freeze.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/09/08/summer-lovin/

Enjoy!