Homemade Meatball & Marinara Sandwich

I haven’t always loved to cook, honestly I didn’t really start enjoying it until after I married Jason. Before I met him my version of cooking was pulling something frozen out of the freezer and throwing it in the microwave oven. I never really had the opportunity to learn how to cook other then sometimes helping out with holiday meals at my grandparents house. Once I got over the fear of the kitchen, oven, stove basically anything in the kitchen & realized I could create anything I wanted things started to be easier & definitely more fun. As I said in a previous blog post our financial situation the last year was very tight. Every time Jason needed to have surgery on his foot he needed to take 2-4 weeks off for not only the procedure but recovery/healing time. He was getting paid short term disability but that wasn’t even close to what he would have been making if he had been at work his normal hours. We had to cut expenses somewhere so I needed to start getting creative when it came to meal times. I needed to find ways to spend less money on groceries but still get the same amount of meals out of what we did buy. I spent many hours searching the internet and with the help of Google and Pinterest I was able to find some tasty ideas for meals.

One meal that has been a hit since the very first time I made it was homemade meatball & marinara sandwiches. I didn’t really follow any particular recipe for the meatballs or the marinara sauce I sort of just winged it but they turned out so good I had to quickly think about  what I used to make everything so I wouldn’t forget. Then I figured what better place to keep my recipe then on my blog.

preparing meatI started by preparing the meatball mixture. I took 1lb of hamburger meat and placed it in a bowl with some garlic salt, garlic powder, pepper, Italian seasoning, parsley, an egg and some crusted up crackers. I didn’t measure out any of the spices I just used my best judgement and crossed my fingers that they were seasoned enough.  After mixing all the ingredients together I rolled them out into roughly the size of golf balls and placed them in a Pyrex dish that I had sprayed with some nonstick spray.  Then placed them in a 350* oven for about 25 minutes.

While the meatballs were in the oven I preheated a skillet then added a roughly chopped white onion, some minced garlic & sliced mushrooms. I waited until the onion started to caramelize, the garlic became very fragrant and the mushrooms started to cook down before adding a can of stewed tomatoes into the skillet. I covered the pan and turned the heat down to low and let all the flavors blend together.

A little twist to this sandwich is it is made on garlic bread. A little trick I learned from watching a friends video on youtube is to melt some butter, olive oil and minced garlic in a pan until the garlic become very fragrant and everything is incorporated. I took the bread out of the package, cut them open using a serrated knife and placed them on a pizza pan. Cooked Garlic bread

The garlic mixture was separated between the rolls and once the meatballs were cooked to perfection I added them to the marinara sauce to simmer while the garlic bread was placed under the broiler until they were golden brown. Let me just tell you my house smells amazing every single time I make this recipe. The smells of garlic, onion, meatballs & homemade marinara filled the air so much so Jason could smell it all the way down the hallway when he got home from running some errands. The sandwiches taste just as amazing now as they did the very first time I made them. It also makes me happy to know what my family is putting into their mouths and I don’t have to worry about any chemicals or additives that I can’t pronounce. This has been added to our meal time rotation and has been made many, many times since I first made them in October last year. I’m so glad I took that creative leap in the kitchen and I can’t wait to try new recipes.

Would any of you be interested in me making regular blog posts about recipes that I have made or tried??meatball sandwich

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Wordless Wednesday

Snow suit warmthI know wordless Wednesday is pretty self explanatory but I just feel compelled to write a small paragraph with a little background for this photograph,

It was January of last year and we had gotten a pretty good amount of snow and thought it would be a great idea to take the girls outside. I got Aurora in her little snow suit and sat her in the bumbo while I finished getting myself ready along with Mackenzie to go outside. Little miss Aurora just couldn’t resist the warmth of the snow suit and feel asleep in her bumbo. I love looking back at these pictures it reminds me she was in fact an itty bitty at one time. Even though looking at her now you’d never think it was possible.

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Where have I been??

It’s hard to believe that January is almost over and its even harder for me to believe that it has been almost 3 weeks since the last time I posted a blog.

Life has been crazy since January has started and I would love to say its because we went on this elaborate family vacation to some place exotic like the Bahamas or Bali ( a mama can dream right?!) but sadly we have been stuck in the Midwest with Arctic temps while sickness has been spreading like wildfire in our house hold.

A few days after the first of the year Jason started feeling a tickle in his throat & said he just didn’t feel good. Less then 48 hours later he was laid up in bed with body aches, chills, coughing, headache, sore throat, running nose and a fever of 102.4. He some how managed to catch the flu and for the next 72 hours all he could manage was walking from the bed to the bathroom and then back to the bed. I was left alone to care for the girls while trying to also take care of him as best I could and keep the house disinfected to try and reduce the chance of it spreading. Two days after Jason got Sick Mackenzie woke up in the middle of the night and said she didn’t feel good. She seemed really flushed so I grabbed her thermometer and hoped she didn’t have what Jason had been battling for the last 48 hours. Unfortunately her temp was 101.7 so we immediately went into the bathroom for a luke warm bath which seemed to help a little bit. So I gave her some ibuprofen, filled up the humidifier in her room and made sure she had just a light blanket and laid her back down to go to sleep. Tuckered OutThe whole next day Mackenzie’s temperature kept climbing no matter how much Tylenol and Ibuprofen we gave her. Her temp got all the way to 103.7 and we started to wonder if we should take her in to get looked at. So Jason  called the clinic where her pediatrician is and left a message for the on call dr. Luckily it was our pediatrician and he called back within 20 minutes. His reassurance that we were doing everything we could was great and since she was still drinking and asking for food there was no need for us to take her to the emergency room to get checked out.  The next day Aurora spiked a fever and was all around cranky. Luckily hers only lasted 24 hours I think because she slept so much that day helped her little body fight the infection (plus she did have a flu shot and we think that protected her from getting what Jason had). Unfortunately Mackenzie didn’t seem to be getting any better so I made an appointment for her because she developed a really nasty cough. She was diagnosed with RSV and we were told it would take care of itself so no antibiotics were needed. I don't wanna have my picture taken

A week after Jason got sick with the flu I finally convinced him to go see the doctor because he still wasn’t feeling better.  (Does anyone else find its like pulling teeth to get their significant other to go to the Dr? I mean really you would think after spending most of the last 7 days in bed with only short breaks of 15-20 minutes at the most on the couch he would freely go to the dr but no he has to make it as difficult as possible.) But any way he did finally go get checked out by a Dr only to find out he had the start of pneumonia. Luckily it was only in the top of his lungs and the Dr said a round of antibiotics should clear it right up.

I’m really hoping and keeping my fingers crossed that this is the only sickness we encounter this winter or at least the worst of the ones we encounter but its really hard to believe that some days when Jason comes home from work on almost a daily basis talking about how someone left early the night before because they were vomiting. Or how cold it has been in the plant & every one was complaining they didn’t feel good. I’ve been making sure we all take our vitamins, try to get enough sleep and disinfect everything that could possible spread unwanted germs. But spring can definitely not come soon enough for this mama! Let’s hope the rest of our winter is a little easier and the germs stay at bay.

What do you do to keep germs from spreading to other members of your family??

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Crochet Mood Blanket 2014

Towards the end of 2013 I started seeing lots of posts on Facebook and Instagram talking about #crochetmoodblanket2014 and I was intrigued so I started searching to find out exactly what it was. What I discovered was something I was very excited to join in the fun. Every day of 2014 you crochet a granny square or a row of a blanket using a color that depicts your mood for the day or you are drawn to. On December 31, 2014 you will have a finished blanket.  So I grabbed my yarn supplies yarn suppliesand made sure that they were in a place convenient so I wouldn’t forget to crochet every single day. It has only been a week but so far I am loving how my blanket is turning out. I’m so happy I went a little bold with some of my colors even though I wasn’t 100% sure they would look good together. But I have been very pleasantly surprised and I honestly can’t wait to see what my finished blanket looks like. There are so many of my friends on Facebook who are also participating in #crochetmoodblanket2014 that someone created a page so we could share our progress with each other. day6 Here is a picture of my progress so far.  I’m sure I will do a couple other blog posts throughout the year showing the progress I have made on my blanket. Just thought I would share in case anyone else was interested in joining in the fun of #crochetmoodblanket2014. It’s not too late you can still catch up.

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2013 The year review in pictures

It’s so hard to believe 2013 is over and today is the very first day of 2014. 2013 seemed to go by at light speed and I honestly feel like the years are just going to keep going  faster and faster now that we have two little ones who I would love to stay little forever. But since that’s not possible I thought it would be a great idea to do a 2013 year review in pictures since I have no shortage of them.

Sleeping BeautyIt’s still so hard to believe she was ever this little. It really seems like it was all just a dream and as sad as it makes me I still love to look as these pictures of her. She still always looks so serious when she sleeps.

 

 

 

 

sistersMackenzie has always loved being the center of attention so I know having to now share that attention with her younger sister has been really tough for her. But I’ve always tried to get lots of pictures of them together as well as separate but since she is older now she doesn’t always like to cooperate when its picture taking time.

 

 

Are these people really my relatives

 

The expression on her face explains it all so very well and whats even better is the saying on her onesie goes with her expression even more. I sometimes have that same look on my face when I think about my relatives too.

 

Lifes a beachWe may have struggled financially this last year but we still managed to have lots of fun family adventures. Aurora got to have her very first beach day and played not only in the sand but also in the lake.  She seemed to love both so much which is so different from her older sister. When Mackenzie was younger she cried when ever we put her in the sand. I’m not sure if it just felt too warm to her or if she just didn’t like the feeling of the sand between her toes but she has grown to love the beach just like her father and I.

 

ChubkinsMy chubkins, she was about 5 months old in this picture and I miss her chub so much! She is slowly loosing it as she gets older and more mobile. All that’s really left is her chunky little thighs.

 

 

 

Wanted ... a bigger lapA few days after we brought Aurora home from the hospital Jason took a picture of both girls on my lap and every few months I have made sure to take another one. It’ll be fun in years to come to see all of these pictures and I can’t wait to show them to the girls too.  I just love my two girls so much and I don’t think I will ever be able to find the words to express how blessed and lucky I feel that I am the one they call mama.

 

 

 

2013-08-06_11-19-39_675It seems the more pictures I take of Mackenzie the more her personality starts to come out. She is definitely a little character and she makes sure everyone knows it.

 

 

 

 

sleepy babies

 

I love watching my girls sleep. Sometimes I feel like that is absolutely the only time they are completely still. I wonder what they dream of when they are sleeping. They look so unbelievably peaceful and I hope they never loose that as they get older.

 

 

 

There are so many more pictures I want to post but today is slipping away and I’m running out of time to actually get this up on January 1st so I think I will end this post with a family picture that was taken on Thanksgiving.

family3

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No more New Years Resolutions for Me!

I made a resolution to myself a few years ago to not make anymore resolutions because the outcome was always the same. I would make resolutions on New Year’s Eve, be all psyched, excited and ready to conquer them all come January first. But as the days went by my excitement and readiness to conquer those resolutions would slowly fade. By March or April the excitement has completely disappeared and its like the same as it was the previous year. Just living day to day not really happy with anything but not really motivated enough to change anything. There’s a saying you can’t do the same things over and over again and expect different results. In order to get different results you need to change what you are doing so I started looking at the new year differently. Instead of making resolutions I make promises to myself. To work on things that just make sense to me and after spending the last couple of weeks thinking about these promises I think I have come up with a short list that I can definitely stick to for the new year.

1. I promise to work on my crocheting more, I honestly never thought I would say this 122413 flower headband and I’m pretty sure my grandmother is smiling down on me and saying see I told you how much you would love it all you had to do was give it a try. Crocheting makes me happy  even if I’m in the worst mood some how once I’ve sat down and started crocheting everything just melts away and I’m in my happy place

2.  I promise to look at everything through the eyes of my children. As an adult it is so  very hard to not look at things through tainted eyes. When you see nothing but bad news being reported on a daily basis while flipping through channels at night its hard to not be completely disappointed in humanity. But I don’t want to lose my hope in humanity because I know there are amazing acts of kindness that happen on a regular basis.  DSC_0885I want to look at things with brand new eyes and a new perspective, one of wonder and fascination. Perspective can be a wonderful thing it can make a seemingly bad day turn into a memory you can cherish for years to come.

3.  I promise to spend more time as a family doing fun things that don’t necessarily require lots of money or any money for that matter.  This last year was tough financially with Jason needing to take off 3-4 weeks at a time to have procedures done on his foot. We rarely had the extra cash for elaborate family trips. So we had to get creative and find fun things to do as a family that didn’t require anything other then us loading up into the car and driving somewhere relatively close.  Beach funWe had lots of fun times at the lake right down the street from our house and who can resist the cool wind in your hair and the heated sand  between your toes as you slowly dig them in while laughing & smiling as your husband and oldest daughter splash around in the cool water.

4. I promise to cook more home made meals.  We definitely had to get more creative with our meals this last year and learn how to stretch our dollars even more then they already where. meatball sub closeeup But I’ve learned that I love being in the kitchen and trying new recipes even if those recipes have only been made up in my head. I love cooking food for my family and it brings me such joy when they tell me how yummy the meal was and how much they enjoyed it. It’s also wonderful to know exactly what is in the food we eat and I don’t have to worry about some strange additive I can’t pronounce being on the label.

5. Last and certainly not least I promise to spend more time on myself. Again so many things happened in 2013 not only to my family in general Christmas morning but I was diagnosed with full blown diabetes and I need to start taking better care of myself. It’s so very easy to forget about myself when I have 2 young children, a husband and a household to take care. I always put myself last and I know that is one of the many reasons why I have ended up in the situation I am in at this very moment. I spend so much time taking care of everyone else and I spend no time putting that much effort into who I am and not only where I want to go but also what kind of example I want to set for my children. I don’t want to be the mom who sits on the sidelines while their child is out running and playing in the backyard. I want to be the mom who is out there by their side running, jumping and playing right along with them. A mom who doesn’t get winded climbing a flight of stairs, someone who can’t ride on the roller coasters with them because I’m too big for the seat.  I want to feel 1000% comfortable in my body and my skin, I want to feel sexy and not have to dread going clothes shopping. Wondering if I will be able to find something that I can not only fit into but doesn’t make me feel worse then I already do.

I know out of all the promises I am making to myself promise #5 is going to be the hardest one for me to keep. This isn’t my first rodeo I know how difficult this is going to be because it isn’t about a diet its about a complete lifestyle change and a change like that doesn’t just happen over night. I didn’t get to be this weight and think this way about myself over night it has taken many years and the same will go for this promise. I know there will many ups and downs, falling off the wagon and many, many days/weeks I will want to just give up and forget about everything. But I need to remember to not be so dam hard on myself and remember tomorrow is a new day filled with new chances to change myself for the better.

2013 may  have been a very tough year for my family but here we are December 31, 2013 and we are stronger then we were when we started this year and I know it can only get better from here on out.

                            So here is to 2014.

May we all have a year filled with laughter, love, happiness and more blessings then we know what to do with.

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Genetics and the dreaded D word….

I have know for some time now that being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes was always a possibility. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes with both of my pregnancies even though they were 3 years apart. Christmas morningI could definitely tell that the GD was worse with Aurora’s pregnancy I needed way more insulin then with Mackenzie’s pregnancy and it just seemed way harder to keep my numbers under control.  Plus my mother was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 4 years ago. So when I have the dreaded glucose test at my 6 week follow up appointment after Aurora I had sort of mentally prepared myself to fail it. Something inside me just knew the results were not going to be great and I would have to start dealing with the diabetes thing all over again.  My intuition was right I failed the test and my ob referred me to an Endocrinologist .

When I finally got in to see the Endo he thought it was a good idea to test my A1C along with a few others just to see exactly where I stood. The results were I was considered pre diabetic and my vitamin D levels were low. That was in April so he wanted me to be tested again in November. Even though I was expected the results to not be great that still didn’t take away the sting from the Diabetes diagnoses. I am considered a full blown diabetic now and now it was time to get a little more aggressive with the treatment. I would still stay on Metformin but he also wanted me to start taking Invokana  I’m hoping this combination of medication along with diet and exercise can keep it from getting worse. But now I need to be concerned that the new medication can make my potassium levels rise too high. There really just doesn’t seem to be an easy fix anymore. I guess the easy fix would have been to not end up in this situation in the first place. But since that isn’t a possibility anymore I’m hoping this new plan will help get me moving in the right direction.

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