This year has been off to a great start! Right before the New Year, I got exciting news about a new job (or dare I say career opportunity) that will bring to light my love for health and nutrition. Upon my return to Portland after taking a month long hiatus home in California, I jumped right into the swing of things and haven’t really stopped since. I did not even have time to think about New Year’s Resolutions and my hopes of what I wish to accomplish this 2016 year. But I did some deep thinking the past few nights and I am really excited for what the future holds.
Firstly, I just turned 26. To tell you honest truth, this number terrified me. I mean, literally the last month of my 25th existence was nothing but dreading the upcoming age. But truthfully it hasn’t been that bad. In fact, it has been awesome. Turning 26 is quite a mental transition in that, for some reason, any age before 26 seems youthful. So stepping ground into 26 makes me feel more mature. I guess I have felt this sudden urge to start adulting – and yes, that’s a word. I don’t exactly know what that means, but truthfully I feel really excited about adult things such as having a 9 to 5 job, cooking meals at home, going to bed at a reasonable hour, budgeting, etc. I guess all I needed was a birthday to help me realize what my needs, and wants, are. So anyways, I’m 26 and that brings me to my second point.
Secondly, I actually did write out some New Year’s Resolutions and excited to announce that none of them entail the typical get healthier, become financially savvy and secure, or be more involved with friends and family. Because honestly, all of these areas in my life I have worked hard over the years to develop and sustain them in a healthy way without the need of a New Year’s Resolution. I’m always working hard to improve each of these areas, which can only be accomplished with time and dedication. There is no overnight solution, but a little bit here and there goes a long way for optimal health and wellness in all areas of life. This then brings me to my third point.
Thirdly, my New Year’s Resolutions. There is a list of them, but I will only give you a few, mostly because I do not want to bore you. One of my resolutions is to continue to learn and expand my mind. There have been years where I have felt stuck and mentally numb, going with the flow of life hoping to just survive day in and day out. In essence, I have been searching without truly understanding what it was that I was searching for. Now that I have a better idea of who I am and the life I want to create for myself, I feel a great desire to learn things that will add value and purpose to my life. Secondly, I want to overcome my fears of writing on this blog. Yes, any blogger can tell you that it is terrifying to be vulnerable and give the world a bit of your soul. But I strongly feel connected to this blog and feel something big can come from it, if only I give it all that I have. I’m also tired of asking myself, “What if?” and would rather redirect that energy towards putting it into action. And lastly, “I want to live simply, gracefully, kindly, peacefully, beautifully.” Those are the exact words that I wrote in my journal. And such a woman I will be.
With these 2016 goals in mind, there is really no end to them by the end of this New Year. Rather, these goals are to flow, grow, and develop as I am. Continuously I hear my mother’s mantra, “Life is not a destination, but a journey.” That is how I choose to see and live these goals, as not a means to an end, but a means to become a better person, living life courageously, intentionally, with hope and with love.
This recipe was a dual creation by my roommates, Lynnsey and Mike, and myself. As always, we bought a ton of food from the grocery store and used our creative minds to come up with a recipe that was delicious, satiating, and warm on the cold, rainy night. With some sips of wine and our thinking caps on, we got to cooking and were pleasantly surprised by the outcome of this incredible, delicious, mouth-watering meal. Although it may look complicated, there are four relatively easy steps for preparation followed by the simplest step, putting it all together onto one big dish. I promise, you will not be disappointed.
1 spaghetti squash, medium size
1 pound grass-fed beef
½ zucchini, diced
½ yellow squash, diced
½ red onion, diced
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
1 to 2 cups marinara sauce (I used pre-made & canned Old Soul Farm marinara sauce)
12 Brussels sprouts, quarter diced
12 mushrooms, diced
½ red onion, diced
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ghee, grass-fed butter, or coconut oil
4 stems of kale, pealed
Dash of salt & pepper
1.To prepare spaghetti squash, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the squash long ways down the middle with a chef’s knife. Place the squash face down on the baking sheet and cook for 30 to 45 minutes, or until soft. Once tender, take squash out of the oven, and with mits on, turn over the squash and begin spooning seeds. See note below on how to discard the seeds.*
2.To prepare the meatballs, place grass-fed beef in large bowl. Add zucchini, yellow squash, onion, garlic, egg and cumin, and mix together thoroughly. Grab a small handful of mixture and begin rolling in hands to make a ball. Place meatball on a dish, and then make another. Once all raw meatballs are made, deliver to stovetop. In a large pan, place marinara sauce on bottom of pan and bring to medium to high heat. (Try to avoid boiling the sauce, but keep it hot.) Once sauce is hot, slowly add meatballs. Avoid dropping them as this will cause splatter! Turn every few minutes or so until meatballs are cooked to liking.
3.To prepare Brussels sprouts and mushroom mash, take medium to large pan and melt fat (butter, ghee, oil) on medium to high heat. Add in onion and garlic, and stir for 2 to 3 minutes until onion is translucent. Finally, add in Brussels sprouts and mushrooms. Keep stirring ingredients every 1 to 2 minutes or continuously until Brussels sprouts and mushrooms are well cooked.
4.Add the spaghetti squash to the Brussels sprouts and mushroom mash, and stir in until homogenous. Add in the kale and stir until kale has shrunk and well cooked. Transfer the vegetable mash onto a large (LARGE) dish.
5.Add the meatballs and all the marinara sauce onto the vegetable mash and stir in completely, followed by a dash of salt and pepper. Serve on individual plates, and enjoy!
* Notes: There are a number of things you can do to discard of your spaghetti squash seeds. First, it is easy to roast the seeds and eat them. Here is your "How To" Guide from The Kitchn. If seeds aren't your favorite snack, you can also compost the seeds for the garden/farm or use as feed for birds.