Spaghetti (Squash) & Meatballs

Brian and I hosted our second Gluten Free Living: Diner & Discovery party last night.  My friend, Kim opened her (amazing) shop, Eclipse Holistic Fusion to us for the evening.  It was so much fun!IMG_8382

It is exciting to be able to share all the things we’ve learned over the past two years of living Gluten Free.  We’ve learned so much about our health and the influence that food has on us.  We always knew that it was important to eat healthy… but what exactly is “healthy”… and how do you know if what you’re eating is doing you any good?  I’d always thought that I had a fairly healthy diet… I just thought that I ate too much… or maybe it was the sugar?  That donut couldn’t have been causing my headaches.  A slice of bread wouldn’t make my knees ache… or cause my insomnia….. right?

Wrong!  Sometimes now I want to run up to people and slap the bagel right out of their hands.  “That thing will kill you!”

Mom keeps warning me that I sound like a televangelist… “Be gone foul flour!”

I just struggled for so long and felt so bad…. I would have never believed that wheat (and gluten) was causing so many of my health problems… until I was so bad that I was willing to try nearly anything.  I eliminated wheat and suddenly I was on the road back to healthy…. after years of trying and struggling.  For a generation that was raised on “healthy whole grains” it sounds insane….. “Healthy Whole Grains” were killing me.

photo 1 2Now I have the opportunity to share my experiences and help others find their way back to health too.  Hopefully, through these classes we’ll be able to help others transition to a wheat-free life easier.  Sharing favorite GF products and restaurants… travel tips and new cooking techniques…. how to incorporate more healthy fats and oils into our diets… healthy sweets!

In class I am pushing people to try things that they wouldn’t expect to enjoy.  Last night we started with guacamole for our appetizer.  There are healthy fats in the avocado that make you feel more satisfied… I’ve become hooked on guacamole.  (One avocado and 2 tsp of Wildtree’s Guacamole Seasoning… YUM!) Several people admitted that they hadn’t expected to like guacamole…. but they did like it!

Salads in a Jar and How to Roast a Spaghetti Squash demonstrations followed.  Neither recipe is difficult, but both were things that we’d all heard of or considered, but hadn’t tried for one reason or another…. I shared my tips and tricks and hopefully saved the others from making some of the same blunders that I made in the beginning.

An Avocado Brownie doesn’t sound delicious…. but it sure tastes delicious!  It was easy to convince everyone to try the brownie… The coconut oil in their hot tea?   Enh…?  Peer pressure can be a good thing sometimes.  No one quite believed me that it would taste good and not like a hot cup of grease…. but if everyone else was going to try it…. and darned if I wasn’t right!  A teaspoon of coconut oil in your coffee or hot tea is a yummy way to get a bit of extra fat into your diet and help balance blood sugar, improve your metabolism and a whole bunch of other goodness! (Check out what Dr. Oz says about coconut oil.)

For our main dish we had Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs.  Who knew that a squash could be substituted for our beloved/evil pasta… be be just as good, if not yummier?  My class!  They know first hand now!

Spaghetti (Squash) & Meatballs

Ingredients

Meatballs 

  • 1 lb Ground Turkey (or Hamburger)
  • 1 lb Pork Sausage
  • 1 Onion, small, chopped
  • 2 Tbs Garlic, diced
  • 2 tsp Wildtree’s Garam Masala Blend
  • Red wine or beef/chicken stock

Sauce

Squash

See how to roast a spaghetti squash HERE.

Directions

In a large bowl combine all of the meatball ingredients until thoroughly mixed.  Roll mixture into 1 – 2 inch balls.  Add meatballs into a hot pan. (Make sure meatballs are not piled on top of one another.  They should all be touching the pan and have room to roll around. You will most likely have to cook them in 3 to 4 batches.)  Add 1/4 cup wine or stock to the pan and cover.  Allow meatballs to cook 7-10 minutes, giving the pan a good shake to roll the meatballs around every few minutes.

Meanwhile combine the crushed tomatoes and Wildtree’s Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Blend in a sauce pan and allow to simmer at least 20 minutes.  (Longer if desired.)

Top the spaghetti squash with the sauce and meatballs… and cheese!

Freeze the extra meatballs to use later.

Grandma’s Stuffed Peppers: Redo

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We’ve had some crazy busy weeks lately and I don’t see things slowing down until late September… (hopefully).

Since I’m not always sure when Brian or I will be getting home each evening, I’ve been using the crock-pot a lot lately.

As I’ve admitted before… I’m a little freaked out by crock-pots.  I just don’t trust them not to burst into flames and burn down the countryside…. Brian thinks I’m ridiculous. Before we got married he lived off of crock-pot meals. He swears that crock-pots are perfectly safe….. I’m not entirely convinced….I still clear everything off the counter before using the crock-pot, but I have to admit it is really nice to come home to the smell of a delicious dinner.

So the other day when I stopped at the fruit stand and they had a huge pile of beautiful, green peppers…. I swear I heard Grandma’s voice…  It’s moments like these that I miss Grandma horribly and then feel so blessed to have had the time that we did.

In my family, Stuffed Peppers are either loved or hated… there is no in-between.  My Aunt Sheila and I love them… so when Grandma would make Stuffed Peppers Sheila and I would get a call to come over for dinner.  I have lied and told Grandma that I hadn’t made dinner yet… taken dinner out of the oven and gone to Grandma’s for Stuffed Peppers.  Of course, Grandma has passed, I’ve gone Gluten Free and Sheila has turned vegetarian (and almost gluten-free)….. things have changed, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have my beloved Stuffed Peppers… they just have to change a little too.

Brian was lucky enough to have had Grandma’s Stuffed Peppers a time or two… I’m not sure if he was as excited about the Peppers as I was or if it was the mashed potatoes that he loved so much.  Grandma always made mashed potatoes with stuffed peppers… I’m not sure why, considering that we topped the peppers with a tomato sauce….. but it just worked.

I always think of Stuffed Peppers as an Autumn type meal,  but summer is really the prime time for garden fresh peppers and tomatoes.  I had a bunch of tomatoes from my garden that I needed to do something with….. I don’t know why I plant them.  I always end up with more tomatoes than I know what to do with, but every spring I am compelled to buy tomato plants.  I decided to make my own homemade spaghetti sauce using Wildtree’s Hearty Spaghetti Sauce seasonings.  OMG!  It was sooooo good!

I make a few changes from Grandma’s original recipe.  I add pork sausage, where Grandma just used hamburger… I often use turkey instead of hamburger too.  I also use Wildtree’s Garam Masala Blend… it sounds a little odd, (Ingredients: Organic Cinnamon, Organic Cardamom, Organic Cumin, Organic Coriander, Organic Black Pepper, Organic Cayenne Pepper, Organic Nutmeg, Organic Cloves, Organic Turmeric) but the flavors go together just perfect.

 

 Grandma’s Stuffed Peppers: The New Way

Ingredients:

Stuffed Peppers

  •  1 lb – Ground Turkey (or Hamburger)
  • 1 lb – Pork Sausage
  • 1 – Onion, chopped (small)
  • ½ c. – Celery, chopped
  • 1 t – Garlic, chopped
  • 1 t – Wildtree’s Garam Masala Blend
  • 1 c – Rice
  • 6 – Green Peppers
  • Salt & Pepper

Spaghetti Sauce

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together; roll into balls and stuff into the peppers.

Meanwhile, dice the tomatoes and onion.  In a medium sauce pan, combine the onion, tomatoes, garlic and seasonings.  Allow sauce to simmer at least 20 minutes.  (Or longer if desired.)

Bake at 350* for 1 ½ hours.

Or place in a crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  If you use the crock pot you could add the spaghetti sauce to the crockpot and allow it to cook with the peppers all day.