Most Italian families have their own way of making meatballs. My family is no exception. I joke that I make the best meatballs in my family but the truth is, it’s my mom’s recipe! There are a million different ways to make Italian meatballs but my mom and I agree, just make sure you use Pecorino Romano cheese! 

BEFORE we begin making meatballs, we make our sauce so it’s hot by the time our meatballs are ready to be added.

If you’re making homemade sauce, you’ll want to do the same and start the sauce first.

If you’re using your favorite store-bought sauce, you don’t need as much time but you’ll want to start heating your sauce right after you finish rolling your meatballs. Remember, the longer your meatballs are cooking in the sauce, the more flavor your meatball will have so make sure you love your sauce and that it’s hot and ready to go!

Joanie’s Meatballs:

Level of Difficulty: EASY (Two steps: assembling the meatball and sautéing it). 

Prep Time: 25 – 30 minutes

Cook Time: 6-8 minutes sautéing and for as long as you like in your tomato sauce! 

What you’ll need:

1 pound of ground beef chuck (or if you prefer you can do 1/3 ground beef chuck, 1/3 veal and 1/3 pork but it’s not necessary). 

1 cup of Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs (not plain)

1 egg, beaten 

1 cup of grated sweet onion 

½ cup of minced parsley (you should see the green flecks throughout the mixture)

1 clove minced fresh garlic

½ cup of Pecorino Romano cheese, grated

½ cup of whole milk

1 teaspoon of salt -OR- garlic salt and black pepper

What you do:

In a large mixing bowl, add your meat, your breadcrumbs and so on. We add it in the order of the ingredient list. The most important thing is to make sure the ingredients are mixed together well.

Now, we’re ready to roll! We try to get 12 meatballs per pound. For reference, try to roll yours slightly smaller than a golf ball. Keep your meatballs compact and uniform. 

In a large skillet, heat 1 cup of olive oil on med-high. Once at the med-high heat, add one meatball. If the oil sizzles, you’re good to add the rest of the meatballs. Just make sure you’re not overcrowding the skillet as you will need room to turn them. Depending on the size of your  skillet, you should be able to fit 8-12 meatballs in one skillet or saute pan. 

In terms of doneness, our general gauge is 3 minutes per side. We want to make sure there’s a nice brown crust on your meatball. 

Once your meatballs have been turned you can add to your sauce or let them cool and freeze them for future meals.

Happy New Year from my back porch!

It’s that time of year when we’re all making resolutions, resolving to do more of this, and less of that. For most of us, it’s losing weight, exercising more, eating better, etc. etc.

For sure, one of my mantras for this is year is #20in20. I definitely want to lose these same (and last) 20 pounds that I’ve been trying to lose since Abbey was born. In 1997. She was born in 1997, y’all. She’s 22.

BUT, this note isn’t anything about losing weight. It’s more about habits, and changing 1 or 2 things, in order to make actual sustainable changes. Here’s what I mean….

Last year, I made 2 adjustments (created new habits) at the beginning of the year. And I am thrilled to tell you that I stuck with them! I have never stuck with a “resolution” in my life. Like, EVER. And last year – 2019 – I stuck with 2 of them!

First, I didn’t call my adjustments resolutions. I didn’t even use the word. I made 2 decisions. They were:

Read the Bible in a Year. Did I finish? No. But, here’s the thing, I didn’t quit! Years prior, I would start the Bible Plan for fill-in-the-blank year, and I’d get to about April. So, I added a layer (new approach) last year. I told myself, “No podcasts, Audiobooks, or any other electronic consumption until you do your daily readings. I made that one adjustment, and I stuck to it. I started out each day listening or reading my daily scriptures before I listened to anything else. Yes, there were days I missed, but there was never a day that I listened to a podcast without having listened or read scripture first. As I mentioned, I didn’t finish in one year, but I will this year!! And does it really matter if we finish in 1 year or 18 months? The point isn’t the timeframe, but the fact that we’re in the Word!

The 2nd habit/re-framing I did was that I looked at the start of every month as a “mini new year.” Yes, I am crazy! I don’t know why I have always loved the first of every month, but I have! Maybe it’s the whole fresh start thing. My favorite times of the year are the first of the year, back to school, and the first day of every month. Each feels like a new beginning, a re-set, a new season, or a new chapter.  Actually, if you think about it, as believers, we get a “clean slate” every morning! Oh thank you, Jesus, that your mercies are new every day! Ok, back to what I was saying… Last year, I decided to make the 1st of every month a re-set. I took a few minutes to evaluate what I accomplished the month before, how I ate, how often I exercised, how much I read, and so on. Perhaps it’s just me playing games with myself, but it really did help me last year. By nature, I tend to chuck it all if I slip. For example, if I end up eating a slice of pizza for lunch, then I’ll go ahead and have nachos, a Pub sub, or something similar for dinner. And, yes, dessert too. If I’ve “blown” the day, I might as well as enjoy. This is terrible thinking! But, more on this later in another post. The point is sometimes we make all these big New Year’s Resolutions, and once we fail, we chuck the resolutions for the year. Sometimes it’s in January, sometimes we make it to April. BUT, looking at the 1st of every month, gave me a dozen re-sets. By doing this, I found that I got more things done, exercised more than I ever have before (more on that too!), and I was overall just more mindful of my time and how I was spending it, and my progress in the areas that I wanted to change.

I don’t know if any of this will help you at all, but here’s the best I can offer:

Pick 1 or 2 things you really want to do/change. We can’t (effectively) change 10 things all at one time. We have to do it in degrees. For me, it was being in scripture every day and exercising 120 times (I ended up exercising 160 times last year! Again, more on this later!! I’ll share the trick that worked for me). Give yourself grace, and don’t become legalistic about it.

I heard somewhere that you do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your habits. Your goals are where you want to be, but your daily choices and habits are what will get you there.

My two new habits this year will be:

-10 pushups every day. This will literally take less than 30 seconds.
-I want to write more and consume less. I want to communicate more with you and less time scrolling Instagram.

I love our little community here, and I love hearing from YOU! What new habit do you want to incorporate this year?

And finally, here’s my girlfriend, Tammi’s favorite things from 2019! She has the best taste and would highly recommend any of these as a last minute gift idea!

1. Wristlet

2. Southern Firefly Candle– The best scent is “Nashville.”

3. Wreath

4. “Brave” Bracelet

5. Peppermint Bark

6. Spanx Faux Leather Leggings

7. Apron from Sur La Table

8. Hester and Cook – The best paper tableware for any occasion. We always use their place cards!

9. Popcorn Maker

10. Gold Votives

11. Drybar Dry Shampoo

12. Faux Fur Throw