Whole30 – Week 3 – Yep, I Cheated.

There ya have it….. I fell off the wagon – I admit it, I did it – I cheated!! I didn’t care, I gave in and I ruined the entire Whole30!! Well, ruined may be too harsh of a word….  I guess that’s depending on who your talking to.

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Saturday morning I committed a cardinal sin of the Whole30 – while I knew I was going to measure/weigh in at the half way point – I did it even earlier than planned – on day 13.  I was hoping to give myself a little motivation as we had plans to go out that night for a friends Birthday/Going Away party and I had PLANNED not to drink. AT all. I thought seeing positive results on the scale would inspire to stick with this and fight the wine craving. We can now say my plan backfired – miserably….

Frustrated, disappointed, agitated, sad, overwhelmed, and upset are all words that described how I felt at the moment I stepped on the scale and saw the reading. ONE POUND??? ONE flipping POUND??? You have got to be kidding me.

YES – there is a huge change to my body – but it wasn’t enough for me…. it just wasn’t good enough. Not to mention Jeremy has already dropped 8 pounds I was beyond frustrated at the entire process.

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Now before everyone flies off the handle and tells me “its not about the weight or the number on the scale and that its more about the inches you lose” you have to understand something about me and HOW I typically lose weight.

I have ALWAYS been a fit person. Well, for the most part. As I have mentioned previously I was an athlete my entire life. Those who knew me  in high school would probably categorize me  as a “jock” I am sure. I played every sport you could think of from the time I was 5 until I was 22. I never had to work a day in my life to stay in shape or fit until I was well into my 20’s. Not only did I play – practice and train with my teams throughout the years  but I also ENJOYED (and still enjoy) working out on my own and I like to incorporate it as part of my everyday life.

Working out has always remained a priority to me. There have been times I have let it go to to the wayside and months where I quite frankly just didn’t care and did nothing in the way of exercise – but I always come back to it – I always bring it back.

Nutrition goes hand in hand with this for me. It’s something I enjoy, but not anything I obsess over – there is definitely a balance in my nutrition and workout routine. We typically eat healthy…. with a little “bad” mixed in and I tend to go to the gym or am doing something physical a few times a week. Ultimately when it comes to fitness or nutrition – fitness wins out in my book. I would MUCH rather work out then miss out on anything I may want to enjoy or taste. Basically if I want something I am going to eat it and I will be prepared to work it off if need be.

The year before we got married I weighed the most I have ever weighed in my entire LIFE. The day I stepped on that scale in 2008 was a turning point for me. I was officially disgusted with myself. It took me 10 months but between working out and eating “healthier” I managed to work off 37 pounds!!! Now I was the skinniest I had been in years. 8 months later we found out we were expecting Gavin – I was a decent weight when I got pregnant with him and just happened to be the exact same weight when I found out I was pregnant with Makenna – I decided that was my “maintainable” weight. Then came breastfeeding …. somehow I managed to get down even lower…. lower than I was on our wedding day. I was super psyched – but it just wasn’t a realistic number for me to maintain. Summer ended, the holidays came and went and now here we are.

As soon as we started the Whole30 back on January 5th – I have been BUSTING MY ASS at the gym. And when I say busting my ass – I mean this is the hardest I have worked out in YEARS. Really pushing myself, really pressing the limits of what my body can handle and testing my own endurance, strength and drive to make a change. Exhausting myself both mentally and physically.

I know what activities to do to lose weight and I know where to push myself to see results. Understandably its only been 13 days – but with the way I have been hitting the gym – I EXPECTED more than a pound to have shed. Its happened before when I WASN’T also part of a “healthy eating food program” so that combined with not really feeling like I have lost any weight this entire time hit me like a pile of bricks when I saw only ONE POUND was gone. I wanted to quit right there and be done with the entire thing. If I’d been able to lose weight in the past…. while maintaining my own personal meal plan – why was this not working??? What was I doing wrong? Something is not adding up.

1) Yes I am eating healthier – organically grown, fresher produce than ever before and no processed foods. Yes I am cooking ALL of our meals from scratch, prepping 10+ hours a week and making healthy choices 99% of the time. However, (b) I am also eating MORE…. WHAT? Whyyyyyy? I am eating snacks when I would never normally throughout the day. I am eating after 8 pm which I NEVER do and I am eating foods that are higher in fat more often than I would ever dream to in “real life” just because they are “whole30 approved”.

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It’s  just not making sense. While most everything with the Whole30 is good change, not all the changes are not necessarily for the better…. It’s the short reality of this for me.

I cut out all alcohol (which I joke about constantly) and quite frankly this was not that difficult to handle, but at that moment of the great scale debacle I wanted nothing other than a huge glass of WINE. Right then. I was over this program and I wanted a drink. Was all of this a tad dramatic? Yep, but that’s me sometimes. SO I had my tantrum, cried like a baby, talked to Jeremy and my sister in law and headed out for the gym. 2.5 hours later (45 minutes of cardio mixed in with some weights, ab work and other random aerobic activities) and a cute pair of Heather Grey booties (from my little Target stop) I was back on board and ready to tackle this head on once again. The wine craving was gone and I was ready to finish out the 30 days.

I lost 4 inches on my belly…. that in itself is a huge accomplishment – I needed to let go of the “weight” issue and just push through. On the way to the bar for the party that night I was still quite conflicted on what to do – to wine or not to wine. Did I really feel that 1 (or 3) glasses was going to make or break me? Nope. Did I feel like it was THAT big of a deal? No I didn’t. BUT I told Katie I wasn’t doing it. I was going to fight the urge and I wasn’t going to have a drink. I wanted to be a woman of my word and I wanted to finish the 30 days out strong. My decision was made!!! I could do it.

WELP….. that all went out the door the second we walked up to the bar. My will power was gone and I told Jeremy “screw it” lets just have a good time. SO we did and I don’t regret it for a second.

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Balance – we ALL have to find a balance, what works for us and what is realistic for our lifestyle. Once this “challenge” is over – we’re going to have to eat in the real world again, with real foods and real temptations – restaurants and take out galore. We’re going to be indulging in adult beverages again and we’re going to incorporate some of our old habits back into our meal plans. Finding a way to make it all work together is not something I am against doing beginning now. SOME how I managed to be 5 pounds down the morning after that night at the bar…. and I doubt my 4 inches have been gained back – it’s got to be a balance. I COULD have stuck it out and continued on for the 30 days, I know I could have…. I chose not to. I made a deliberate choice to order the glass and I made a deliberate choice to drink it.

Sunday, today (day 14) we were back on track. Eating correctly and NO wine…. no desire for it really either. We’re going to finish out the next 16 days – following Whole30 rules and no getting on the scale.

I DON’T think I have ruined this entire thing by indulging for one night. I still think this can work and that I will see results at the end. I AM disappointed with myself for giving in…. I normally never “quit” or give into temptations like this so for me I definitely let myself down …. ONLY from that standpoint though – the giving in. I surprised a lot of people as well- those who know my will power and drive to do the things I say I am going to do were actually shocked I gave in. I am the last person they thought would fall short.  My best friend even made a BET with her husband saying I wouldn’t give in!!!

I still don’t regret my decision – if that makes ANY sense whatsoever. We had a good time and we added some balance and chill fun adult time to the last 2 weeks.

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Update and Plans for Week 3: I have a LOT less cravings for certain things then I did the first 2 weeks. I no longer feign for Coke-Zero and I “handled” my wine craving so I really have zero desire for that right now either. I am not craving bread anymore and I can do without the cheese. I honestly don’t even WANT any of these things at this point. For the coming week, I am planning to cut back on the high fatty foods and to eliminate “snacks” unless I feel like I REALLY need something. So basically no eating just cause I think I “should”.  We’re going to continue kicking ass at the gym and I have a bit of prep work to do tomorrow for the week ahead. I did our shopping on Friday and made a “to-die-for” homemade Tomato Soup. It was SO good. I am not discouraged from my little “set back” and I know we can get back on track with this thing!

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Week 3 Menu

Friday: Baked Tilapia with Sauteed Mushrooms and Spinach – Jeremy surprised me with Sea Scallops as well which we cooked in Ghee
Saturday: Lemon and Onion Baked Salmon with Bacon Balsamic and Garlic Brussels Sprouts.
Sunday: Baked Old Bay Wings and Asparagus Fries
Monday: Baked Herb encrusted Pork Chops with Zucchini and Squash Pasta
Tuesday:
Wednesday: Salads with Grilled Chicken and Homemade Balsamic Dressing
Thursday: Steaks with Sweet Potato and Arugula Salad.

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This weeks recipe: Whole30 Tomato Soup.

I actually got this recipe from an Instagram post that popped up in my feed. I had made another batch of Chicken Salad this past weekend and I wanted something we could pop in the microwave to have with it. This was perfect but I was nervous as I’ve never made Tomato soup before.

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What you need:

6 Tomatoes, quartered (I cut them a little more than quartered as my tomatoes were pretty large).
4-5 Cloves Garlic, diced
1 Yellow Onion, diced
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Cup Coconut Milk
2 cups Chicken Broth (I used homemade stock from the Chicken I cooked for my chicken salad but you can use Organic).
1 tbsp Basil
1.5 tbsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
Fresh Basil for Topping

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What to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Ferignheight. Place sliced tomatoes, onions and garlic on a baking sheet. (I used Ghee to coat). Drizzle olive oil over top and season with Salt and Pepper generously. Roast for 45 minutes.

Put the tomatoes, onions and garlic in a stock pot. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, oregano, basil and garlic powder. Bring to a boil then simmer on medium-medium low for about 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally.

I used my regular food processor (the original recipe says to use an immersion blender – if I had one I would have used it for sure and will be purchasing one for future use) to blend the ingredients. I just poured my stock pot contents into the processor and mixed. It was pretty easy and it blended nicely. I added some salt and pepper to taste and then transferred to a storage container.

This is absolutely delicious!!!

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We also used it as a “dip” for our Asparagus Fries this evening!!

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Onto next week!!! I admit – I am a “quitter” – but I might just be a better, happier, more balanced Whole30-ier for it!! Have a great week all!!

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The Whole30 and Toddlers…. and a Second Week Check-in.

I have gotten a lot of questions on how we’re doing this Whole30 thing with the kiddos. I am sure there are a lot of parents out there who can complete the Whole30 while also feeding their toddlers all the yummy fruits, veggies, and delicious poultry, seafood and beef creations they materialize day after day…. said no parent ever. (No really, I am sure SOME people make it happen – but not us crazy folk).

Toddlers don’t eat this stuff!!!!!!!!! Well, mine don’t at least!!!

WAIT!!! I take that back. I really believe Makenna would give pretty much everything we have made a whirl and a pretty decent effort if she didn’t insist on eating dinner at 4:30pm every.single.day. Occasionally we’re able to give her leftovers but it’s not as often as I would like as we normally take all the leftovers for lunch at work (Bad parents?? Ha – Maybe). However, my Gavin – doesn’t stand a chance with the Whole30 – it’s silly to even try. The child has a 5 item meal rotation – chicken nuggets, boxed pizza, fish sticks, PB&J, Granola Bar – and repeat. To boot, all of these items have to LOOK exactly the same each and every time we serve them to him or it’s a no go…. and I am not kidding – in any way shape or form. He only eats green beans out of a can and they are the ONLY veggie he will even come close to entertaining. He eats strawberries and bananas, grapes, apples and mandarin oranges and is a huge carb feign but – trying new things is not really up our Gavin’s alley. Pointless really.

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SO making the decision to do the Whole30 was easy for us so to speak when it came to possibly complicating life with toddlers…. We feed our kids separately every night as it is (not ideal, but reality)….. not much changed!!! Wasn’t an issue! Whew!!

OK moving on to Week 2!!! Week #1 went really well and we’re jumping head first into Week 2!!

Over last week I planned our menu for this week and it quickly evolved into an amazing variety of different meals I was really excited about.

The list however was a tad overwhelming – maybe even intimidating for me.

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I went to my new favorite store: Wegmans – with my list handy and spent an HOUR and a HALF picking through the produce, meat section, grocery aisles and spice racks to gather everything we would need. I managed to find everything but ONE item and decided I could substitute instead. (Who manages to find Ras El Hanaut in the store anyhow?)

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After my shopping trip we were ready!! This weeks menu was a little steep in price (I think Jeremy had a small heart attack when he saw the total bill) – but we needed to restock on a lot of the spices for certain recipes and also got totally new items we’ve never used or cooked with before. I honestly had a really good time looking for all the difference items and filling my cart. (I lead a wild life don’t I??? Don’t get too crazy now!!)

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I spent all of Friday afternoon after work and evening  prepping for different dishes we could save and use through out the week. It was a ton of work and I was exhausted.

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Week 2 Menu
Friday – Beef, Pork and Veal Bacon Burgers with Spicy Avacado and Cilantro Dipping Sauce. Side was a Tomato, Cucumber and Onion Salad with Garlic, Basil and  homemade Balsamic Dressing
Saturday: NY Strip Steaks with Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions (in Coconut Aminos) along with Sweet Potatoes and Steamed Broccoli
Sunday: Smoked Bacon Chili
Monday: Curry Chicken with Kale and Cauliflower
Tuesday:  Herb encrusted Pork Chops with Sauteed Broccoli and Tomato Cucumber Salad.
Wednesday: Steak Salads with Balsamic Dressing
Thursday: Chicken and Shrimp Stir Fry with a side of Zucchini and Squash Pasta

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I also made Chicken salad – from a whole chicken I boiled and shredded. I used the homemade mayo we made and added celery, onions and a variety of spices.  (I made homemade chicken stock – killed two birds with one stone so to speak – that I plan on using for homemade chicken and vegetable soup in the coming weeks).

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I put together an Egg Salad that we ate for our breakfast with Smoked Salmon and Bacon…. DELISH!

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I am finding that after just one week of planning, shopping and cooking this way – I am learning and growing in my knowledge of “good food” and what I am looking for and want to make. I am learning to actually read labels and I am understanding the actual ingredients and what we’re putting in our bodies and I am loving every second of it. It’s quite eye opening to say the least. I don’t think I will ever look at certain foods the same – something I never thought I would EVER care about. I am even starting to REALLY look at the labels of the food we feed to the kids and am looking into better/healthier options (as if that is an easy task).  I love seeing all the natural colors on our plates mostly and I really enjoy buying and eating organic and grass fed meats again! (Again – we’re living on the wild side over here!!)

Here are a couple of the delicious meals we made over the last couple of days.

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Last week my Kimmie showed me how to make the homemade mayo…. We used this recipe and its actually really very good. (Tastes alot like store bought if you ask me). I tried my own hand at this craft this  past weekend and wasn’t so successful the first time around. You REALLY have to follow the instructions and pour the Olive Oil EXTREMELY slow to get the right consistency. Otherwise you will end up with soupy, nasty curdled oil with egg in it. YUK.

The “good” Mayo.

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I have also been killing it in the gym recently. I have always been a gym/fit/love to work out type of person but with 2 kids and Jeremy’s work schedule it’s become really hard to stay consistent. I realize that sounds like an excuse or a cop out and that there tons of parent’s who go to the gym with their kids and put them in the gym daycare, but my kids are already in daycare 9+ hours a day – I cannot imagine picking them up to put them in ANOTHER daycare just so I can work out.  I really hope (with Jeremy’s work schedule) I can keep this up. I made it to the gym 5 times last week and it’s also my goal for this week as well. I am feeling really good with my work out routine and I LOVE incorporating this aspect of my life into the Whole30.

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I am allowing myself to weigh-in at the half way point (which you’re NOT supposed to do on the program- but whatever)… which happens to be next Monday and I am really looking forward to it. Maybe it will even be a little motivational push!!!

Happy Whole30 week Two – I am honestly loving this entire challenge and new way of eating and living!!

This week I will leave you with this AMAZING Smoky Bacon Chili Recipe we made for dinner last night!! I tweaked it a bit and we ate it sans Sweet Potato but it was SO delicious I can’t help sharing it.

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What I used:

  • 6 slices of bacon, cubed (I didn’t drain the grease, it just added to the flavor in my opinion).
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • Diced Portabella Mushroom Slices (Use as many as desired).
  • 1 small Jalapeno Pepper, diced
  • 1lb ground beef (I used a Beef, Pork and Veal combination).
  • Minced Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 (14) ounce cans of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (8) ounce can of tomato sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste

What I did:

  1. I decided to chop all my veggies prior to starting so everything would be ready to go.
  2. In a large stock pot, I add the cubed bacon and let it cook down.
  3. When the bacon finished browning and was a bit crisp, I added the garlic clove and onions. (Do not drain the grease).
  4. I let that cook for a few minutes then added the rest of the veggies one by one.
  5. I let this cook for about 6 or so minutes, then I added the ground beef (I used Beef, Pork and Veal combination meat) and all the spices.
  6. Once the beef is browned, I added the tomato sauce and 2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes (I used more than the original recipe).
  7. I stirred frequently while I brought to a boil while letting all the flavors come together.
  8. I then simmered on low for the next 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

SO GOOD. Seriously SO Good.

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The Whole 30 Journey- Part One.

In November 2014 after consuming entirely too many calories and adult beverages for 2 people in a one month time span (and quite frankly feeling sick about it ) not to mention a huge lack of working out due to long work schedules and other nameless excuses, Jeremy and I decided we would start the ever popular but also effective Whole30 Food Program and get our butts back into the GYM!

Not a Resolution but a different way of being!

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We wanted to start the New Year off healthy, get back in the swing of working out full time and we wanted to be devoted to changing our eating habits and lives for the better.  (Side note: I had made a promise to myself on the very last day of vacation this previous summer that I would be in a bikini next season for the first time since having kids (summer of 2010)…. I have a lot of work to do and this seemed like the right place to begin).

I did some initial research and realized that hey, this really wasn’t going to be THAT difficult. Besides not being able to have a glass of wine while cooking dinner, during dinner and several after dinner a few times a week…. we could totally do this right?!?!

All joking aside – the Whole30 Food Plan is essentially not too far off how we grocery shop and cook normally – when we put the effort in, which is realistically 85-90% of the time. What really gets us is the weekends, the random “crap” we snack on, being lazy with boxed/processed side dishes and foods, eating out and take out, and adult beverages.

I personally have NEVER had any desire to do a detox or diet of any kind…. I have always been of the mindset that eliminating certain parts of your diet is unhealthy and not for me. AT all. I was an avid athlete my entire life and saw the effects of different foods on the body and how they are are needed for balanced nutrition. It was something I held on to.

Friends have done these programs as well as other popular options, and I have watched them and never had any desire to join in. Ever. EVEN when it worked!! I am not sure what changed in November but I was on-board – completely ready to go and Jeremy was too!!

We finished 2014 out with our normal day to day – cooking dinner, and bringing breakfast and lunch to work pretty much everyday but as Holiday’s go – there were lots of lunches bought out (which definitely didn’t help our overweight cause) and many weekends where take-out became the go-to.

I got more excited as this all kept happening and it fueled my fire to do this whole thing and get healthy come January.

We set a date: January 5, 2015 to begin which fortunately fell in line with a LARGE amount of our friends and family who were also doing the same thing! Having a big support group is another amazing perk.

Around the middle of December I began planning out our first week of meals. I printed out the download pages of the Whole30 website and got myself organized. The Shopping Lists and tips & tricks were a huge help when making my own lists and creating a meal plan for the week became super easy. Recipes were easy to come across and I found that with slight variations, many of the things we already made on a constant basis would work for the the Whole30.

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I am a weirdo and meal plan during the work week for the following week – Friday to Friday (I am sure most people plan Sunday to Sunday right? Or at least Saturday to Saturday and do your shopping on the weekend?). I work from home on Fridays so I do my shopping on Fridays as well as its easy to get out of the house right after work and before I have to pick the kids up from school. (Everyone knows taking 2 toddles to the grocery store alone = ZERO fun). However for this instance, I planned Sunday-Friday for our first week as I knew Jeremy and I would be shopping together as we had a long week at home after the New Year. I also knew we would want to get our “last meals” in that last weekend!!

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(Side note: Yes I know the Coconut Milk pictured here has added sugar, we wanted to ease in (although this tastes just as bad) – we also have canned Coconut milk with no additives).

Most of the time I plan dinners which can double as lunch for the next day so we don’t have to worry about two separate meals but occasionally we’ll make something specifically for lunch. This week – everything worked out to take leftovers which was a plus for the first week!

Our first week went as follows: 
Sunday – Chicken Meatballs with Homemade Marinara Sauce (Recipe Below)
Monday – Salads with Grilled Chicken and Homemade Balsamic Dressing
Tuesday – Spaghetti Squash with Sauce (Same that was made on Sunday but I added Ground Turkey meat)
Wednesday – Pulled Pork over Zucchini pasta (Kim and Brian brought this for our weekly dinner date)
Thursday – Steaks with Zucchini and Squash “pasta” and Side Salads.

We prepped hard boiled eggs to take for breakfast at work with bacon as a side. We sliced peppers and celery, and bagged fruit and pistachios for snacks.

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We weighed ourselves and took measurements and pictures. (Maybe I will post the before and after in February depending on how well we do – maybe not!)

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We had our last meal – Potbelly, and drank our last drinks – A Coke-Zero for me and Rum and Coke for Jer.

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We were ready!

Day 1) Daycare Provider has the flu so Mama is home.

Breakfast = change of plans. I kept the eggs and bacon we had prepped in the fridge and whipped up some scrambled eggs with diced peppers, onions and cilantro and added my bacon and I was golden.

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I ate the same lunch (left-over Chicken Meatballs with Sauce) that we had planned along with some snacks (a banana and half a handful of Pistachios) and felt great. I was able to leisurely prep the fixings for the Salads for dinner and lunch the next day. (And when I say leisurely – I mean not within 20 minutes of walking through the door from work while also feeding the kids and trying to spend some time with them while knowing that bath and bed are right around the corner).

The salads turned out AWESOME – we did Romaine Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion, Baby Bella Mushrooms, Cucumber and Homemade Balsamic Dressing…. I sauteed up chicken breast with spices to taste and fresh lemon juice and we were ready… Simple, easy, refreshing and DELISH!!

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The gym is also a huge aspect of this Whole30 Program for us as well. I got a Polar Heart Rate Monitor for Christmas and I plan to put this baby to use as much as I can. I used it for the first time on the first day of the Whole30 and LOVED it. What a great way to push myself even harder!!

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As for now we’re on the second day and while Jeremy seems to think his insides are eating themselves – they are not – we’re realistically eating the same amount of food that we normally would….  We’re doing pretty good!!!

I plan to post updates, and recipes in the next coming weeks and we’re really hoping to see some good results from this program!!

For now I will leave you with the recipe for the FAMOUS Spicy Chicken Meatballs and Homemade Spaghetti Sauce (one of our favorites – stolen from my SIL Katie!!)

Spicy Chicken Meatballs and Homemade Sauce

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For the Meatballs:

2lbs Ground Chicken (we used Organic this time around and hope to continue doing so in the future)
Fresh Garlic (Minced)
Diced Fresh Cilantro
Diced Jalapeno Pepper (I used 1.5 medium sized total for the meatballs and the sauce)
Diced Fresh Parsley
Diced Onion
1 Egg
Normally I would use Bread or Panko crumbs but this week I did not….(I was afraid the meat wouldn’t stick but I think with all the spices it did nicely).
Dried Spices to taste: Crushed Mint, Oregano and Thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl thoroughly. Form into meatballs and place in cupcake tin (don’t ask why I do this  – but they cook perfectly this way). Bake for 20-25 minutes (until cooked through) on 350 degree ferinheight.

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For the Sauce:

I change this up a bit here and there to cater to our specific taste but this last go around was the best yet!

1 16oz can Organic Diced Tomato
1 16oz can Organic Crushed Tomato
Organic Tomato Paste (about 1/2 a cup).
Organic Tomato Sauce (maybe a little more than 1/2 a cup).
Diced Green Pepper
Diced Portabella Mushroom
Freshly Diced Parsley
Diced Jalapeno Pepper
1 Small Diced Yellow Onion

I used Organic canned tomatoes as I am no farmer and do not have time to can my own (haha joke)…. and you can normally find these with little to no sugar additives at your grocery store.

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Saute the Onions and Garlic in a pot on Medium Heat until soft. Add the Green Peppers and Mushrooms and cook 5-7 minutes. Pour in the cans of tomatoes (I usually just dump everything in at once) as well as the Tomato Paste and Sauce.

Add spices and fresh herbs. Bring to a slight boil.

Simmer on medium/medium low for 30 minutes.

Pour over meatballs and ENJOY!

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