Serious Eats for One Month- Keep Calm and Meatball On.

My husband is a meticulous man.  I guess that’s why he loves watches- all the gears, the movements, the jewels- they all work in meticulous harmony in a little teeny tiny case to keep accurate time.

He’s meticulous to a fault sometimes.  He will research and draw plans and measure a billion times before he even thinks of starting a project.  That’s the point where his confidence says, “you know how to do this, you are prepared but if you even think of starting you will fuck this up.”  I’d like to kick his wimpy little confidence in the teeth sometimes.  I KNOW he’s capable of marvelous things but that self-doubt holds him back a lot.  He’s one of the smartest and talented persons I know but I can’t get him to do crap around the house until he’s damn good and ready.

Same thing with cooking.  He never used to help in the kitchen unless it was making tuna sandwhiches.  He makes a DAMN good tuna sammich, and I tell him that every time.  I don’t remember when it was that I asked him to make chicken cutlets (breaded and fried) but he mastered that, too.  Practically everyone loves MR’s chicken cutlets.  And venison cutlets.  Don’t ask me to do the venison.  Whatever I do is not to his standards, so I don’t even try (much).  Fine by me if he has specialties.  Less time at the stove for me.

Meatballs were a natural progression from cutlets.  He researched online, grilled his mom on how she makes hers and experimented until he perfected his meatballs to his and everyone else’s liking.  They’re moist, garlicky and actually the star of our spaghetti and meatball dinners because as you recall, my sauce is shit.  Well, it was.

When I asked him to make meatballs following a Serious Eats recipe for the sake of our experiment, he was dubious.  “Send me the recipe and I’ll look at it.”  I sent it to his office and a few minutes later he came out to the living room and declared these meatballs will not be good.  No garlic, no cheese, no oregano.  What the heck is Adobo, he asks me?  I hesitated before I told him it was a Spanish seasoning.  He turned and walked away muttering to himself.

But he made them, and they were good, they were just not the meatballs we love.  He makes them with love, and you can tell.  We will love them and continue to let him make them his way.

Super Simple Friday Night Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • For the Sauce:
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 to 8 cloves minced garlic (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Meatballs:
  • 4 slices bread, crusts removed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 pounds 80/20 ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons adobo seasoning (such as Goya), see note above
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Pasta and grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Procedures:

Tear bread into rough chunks and pulse in the food processor until reduced to fine crumbs. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the eggs and mix with your hands until combined. Add beef, adobo seasoning, and half of the parsley. Combine mixture with your hands, working the bread crumbs into the meat until meat mixture can form a ball that holds together when tossed back into the bowl. Do not over mix.

Place a small amount of mixture on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high until cooked, about 20 seconds. Taste and add salt and/or pepper to mixture to taste. Using wet hands, form the mixture into balls roughly 2 tablespoons each, about 1 1/2- to 2-inches across. Place the balls on a large parchment or wax paper-lined tray as you work.

Add enough oil to a large cast iron or stainless steel sauté pan to form a thin layer across the bottom. Heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add as many meatballs as will fit in a single layer and cook until well browned on first side. Gently turn balls with tongs or a thin metal spatula and continue cooking and turning until well browned on all sides. As the meatballs finish browning, add them to the pot of sauce and replace them with raw meatballs. Continue, adding more oil as necessary, until all meatballs are browned and in the sauce. (MR baked the meatballs because the sauce was not done yet.  I personally like baked meatballs over fried anyway.)

And btw- I ordered a Lodge Enamel Dutch Oven from Target yesterday.  It was only $57.99, free shipping!  It’s freaking orange, my favorite color!  I went through Ebates and got $1.43 back- woot woot!

KINKYBOOTS!

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Looking Over My Shoulder

I know it’s coming- the bad luck, the sickness, the accident or the tragedy.  It’s how my life rolls, where there is good, evil is usually not far behind.

Life has been so good lately that I’m half expecting a tsunami to come through my living room.

School is wrapping up today and Zombiegirl has once again done us proud.  She had perfect attendance again this year (that makes TWO years in a row) and was put into three honors classes for Eighth Grade.  She received a few High Achievement awards (English and Physical Fitness) and she took a state physical fitness test and was cleared to play soccer at the Varsity level (that’s High School- she’s in Middle School).  She’ll try out for the team in August and we’re pretty confident she’ll make it.  She wrapped up a season playing softball with the MS and won a few of the game balls (free balls!).  She’s managed to avoid most of the middle school drama and only catches that teen attitude on days that end in “y”.  (She’s not really that bad…)  She loves her soccer team players and all her friends.  Life with this kid is good.

Speaking of soccer, the girls had a great season and a nice tournament in Gettysburg.  The most exciting news is we managed to overthrow our soccer dictatorship.  The soccer coach, K, took a season off for personal reasons and so J, MR’s hunting buddy and assistant coach, stepped in as Head Coach.  He did a great job- the team won more games than the last two seasons and the girls really started to click on the field.  Just when we’re looking forward to another great season, she wants back in.  Really?  She’s very close to opening her own business, I find it hard to believe she’ll find the time to be a coach as well.  She barely showed up to the practices when she was Head Coach and she hardly came to any of her daughter’s game last season.  Plus, the girls don’t like her– she’s egotistical and competes with the girls on the field (Look at me!  I run fast!  I’ve never played soccer before!)  The parents got together and composed a letter stating they wanted things to remain as it was.  THE GIRLS got together and composed a letter stating they didn’t want K and her husband (who was another assistant coach, treasurer of the soccer board AND team treasurer) back as coaches at all!  Twelve out of 16 girls signed that letter.  If I were K, I wouldn’t show my face on the field ever again.  But, egotistical as she is, she fought for the position and DUN, DUN, DUNNNN, she lost.

Who did they make Head Coach?  J?  Nope.

My MR.  He was the only one who didn’t have any complaints (or red cards) against him and besides, he’s the only one who ever really played (and plays) organized soccer.  So now we’re looking forward to an even BETTER season because all the ex-coaches have to stay on the parent’s side of the field!  I know for K and her husband, it’ll be for the first time.  He said early on when the kids were young, “No one coaches my daughters except me”.  LOL!  Sucker!

This has done wonders for MR’s ego.  He truly cares about these girls and their soccer situation so it’s a win-win all around.

Speaking of MR, he’s been really busy with the business.  He’s adding more clientele weekly and has big ideas for growing the business.  He sees every opportunity, every person he meets as a bonus to the business or as a new client.  He even asked Utah if she could get them referrals from her company.  He’s happier, which makes us happy.

Speaking of Utah, she’s doing really well in her job.  With the stupidity of the Hut behind her, she says she likes her new job and she’s making “normal” friends.  I know this kid is smart (okay, she’s not a kid- she’s going to be 22!) and I know she’ll do well in anything she does.  She just has to find her right pathway.  And pay attention when she’s driving so she doesn’t drive down the path the wrong way. (lol!) I love having her home most nights, we really have to plan more things to do…like go to the gym…it’s just been busy around here lately.  She and Beena have a standing date to go out to dinner on Fridays.  I love that they’re finally all on the same schedule so that they can do things like this.

Speaking of Beena, she’s still loving her teaching position.  Although she didn’t get hired to teach summer school, she’ll still have a busy summer tutoring and working at the Learning Center.  She came through her first year teaching with high commendations and students (and teachers) loving her.  She still cracks us up with tales from school and I’m so glad it’s been a positive experience after the rough start she got.

Me?  I find myself smiling all the time.  Remembering the impromptu kickball game between our soccer girls and a rival team while they waited for a thunderstorm to blow over in Gettysburg.  Picking up my CSA vegetable bounty every Tuesday and actually looking forward to trying these beautiful new vegetables.  Connecting with a long-time neighbor and finding out you have so much in common (music, lacto fermenting, gardening).  Acting onstage with a group of wonderful teenagers and youth leaders.  Planning fun things to do with our newly formed Youth Group.  Counting points and eating healthier than ever before.  Listening to Dad talk about his day without a hint of sadness in his voice.  Watching people stop and look at my herb/vegetable front lawn.  Rocking on my porch and talking to neighbors after being inside all winter.

Waiting for that tsunami.

I have six blog posts drafted. 

I have 23 pictures in the WordPress Media Library waiting to be written about.

I have three dreamscapes I need to get out of my head.

I have two poems 99% written.

I have 11 awesome websites I want to add to my web pals and links I love.

I have things to say, people to thank, Christmas stories yet to share. 

I can’t find the time to type.

I can’t even think of a title for this post.

What I HAVE been doing is sewing.  And sewing.  Oh, and sewing.  Several different projects all on a deadline and not finished yet

And since we’ve been averaging one snowstorm a week, I’ve been playing in said snow, making a HUGE snow dinosaur with Zombiegirl.  I can’t even finish that.

And, I’ve been taking care of MR.  Seems the more he gets in shape playing soccer, the more he hurts himself.  Since starting to play with the Owls two seasons ago, he’s had shin splints, a sprained ankle, broken ribs, groin tears, three inch blisters and other various bumps, bangs and bruises.  These guys are brutal.  Friday night he had to play goalie since RSS couldn’t make it and nobody else was crazy enough to do it.  He deflected a ball kicked at him from five feet away going 100 mph and bent his right wrist back to a position usually seen in some freaky vampire movie.  Thank goodness he didn’t break/fracture it.  He can move his fingers but can’t twist it or put pressure on it.

Unfortunately, he can’t partake in his favorite pastime.  I have to help him with that…

It did turn pretty colors, though.

The pictures don’t do it justice.

Yeah, I need to get on the ball.  The blog ball, not the soccer ball.

Come With Me…My Love…To The Sea…The Sea of Love

Today MR and I celebrate our 13th Wedding Anniversary.  Lucky 13!  I tease him that I’ve been married to him longer than anyone else, and he still introduces me as his first wife.

Ha.

Kidding aside, I truly can’t believe it’s been 13 years.  The year 1997 was a magic year for me.  We bought our house, adopted Maggie the cat,  got married and I started a new job- all within six months time.  And, after all these years, we still have the house, Maggie’s still living, MR and I haven’t killed each other, and I’m still working for the same (yet different) company.

Although the details are fading, I only have to look at the pictures of that day to remember how much fun we had.  We didn’t want the typical catering hall type of wedding, so we booked the paddleboat that used to dock in the same town as our beach house.  We encouraged our guests to go fishing, we had a “guest” captain aboard and MR found many, many things under my dress before he got to the garter.  My wedding party included my own two kids and my new sister-in-laws as well as my Maid of Honor from my first wedding.  The groomsmen were close friends of MR that became close friends of mine.  We were married in a gazebo, danced to “Sea of Love” and the bride wore sneakers.

It was a great day. 

I love you, Mr. R.  You’re my rock, my heart and my laughter.  Thanks for all you’ve put up with these past 13 years. 

A Man and A Goat

I get these email updates from Scott Towels at work- little tips for cleaning, housekeeping- tips to make life easier. Friday’s tip was interesting…to kill weeds, spray a mixture of vinegar, water and dish detergent on them daily until they’re dead. That got me to thinking about killing all the poison ivy at the beach house. I did a quick Internet search for “vinegar kill poison ivy” and got quite a few hits. Seems the vinegar/dish detergent/water mixture will also kill poison ivy- without all the chemicals.

This is good news.

Anyone who knows me knows I am VERY susceptible to poison ivy. To kill it without chemicals also soothes my greener side. I can’t wait to try it.

While surfing the net, I found another sure fire way to kill poison ivy.

Get a goat.

Nigerian Dwarf, Angora and Spanish goats love to eat poison ivy, and will even climb on steep slopes to eat it. They’ll also eat honeysuckle (which we’re overrun with, but Zombiegirl takes care of eating that.) Goats are very popular these days. Fainting goat videos have gone viral. Z-girl cracks up watching these videos, and says before she dies she wants to see a fainting goat. And there’s a new movie starring George Clooney, Jeff Bridges and Ewan McGregor called The Men Who Stare at Goats.

So MR and I were lying in bed last night and I told him about the goats.

Me: The goats will eat all the poison ivy at the beach house. We should so get a goat.

MR: A goat.

Me: Yes! An Angora goat! And the goat’ll also give us wool. Angora! We can make sweaters!

MR: A goat.

Me: Yes! (I’m starting to get frustrated with his lack of enthusiasm.)

MR: Will it be a girl goat?

Me: ?

MR: I’ll have to meet her, first.

[snort] I looked at him, and he looked at me, and we both cracked up.

NABloPoMo #28- I Was Blogging, I Swear!

Oh for crying out loud, I can’t wait until August is over and I can forget to blog a day and not feel guilty.

I was blogging last night, really.

Just not here.

My hubby- he who still does not have an ATM card, fought to NOT get EZ Pass and won’t join Facebook- has a blog.

Yes. You read correctly.

You see, he has a love of watches- much like Rachel Zoe loves shoes, or a drug addict loves a speedball- he loves watches. He tries to talk to me about the 75mm o-ring or the 32 jewels in the automatic setting but I just kinda…

Oops. Sorry. Spaced out a little there. See? That’s what happens when he starts watch talking to me. So I suggested awhile back that he start a blog so that he can spout all his expertise to other watch collectors.

So having some blog experience I helped him set up his account and template. He figured out how to upload the pictures himself, bless his heart! His very clever, so if you can get through the watch mumbo-jumbo, he writes a good blog.

From Time to Time. Read it and comment- make him feel good!