Summer Vegetables and Meatballs

Summer is officially in full swing and I can feel the heat just sitting inside my darkened house. I swear if you didn't know any better you'd think houses in Texas were inhabited by vampires since I keep the blinds shut all day long to keep the house cooler.

In the words of Xander on one of the best shows ever created, Buffy the Vampire Slayer..."You know, our friends, that sleep all day and have no tans..." Yep. Texas looks like it's full of vampires in the summertime.

However, the one great thing about Texas is the variety of veggies that come out. Particularly, zucchini and my new favorite heirloom tomato blends. Yum.

I decided to start a Whole30 in between events this summer. That's after my nephew's graduation from High School and before #leohusband's birthday, even though that means a Whole30 July 4th - American Independence Day for my non-US readers.

I feel confident that my two servings of fruit from a cold watermelon on Independence Day is just fine with me in lieu of peach pie.

Unfortunately, my back has been totally f'ed up since April and I haven't had the chance to sit down and evaluate what I need to do to actually feel better. I've been in pure survival mode hanging on by my fingernails trying to keep up my blog, keep up with my daily 'I need to do this to feel normal' activities, promote my awesome new podcast Chronic Warrior Women with Rebekah Svensson aka #awkwardyethealthy, be social with family and friends, oh, and do my daily responsibilities like laundry and ironing, etc...forget about getting a meal on the table.

By the time I'm done with all that I'm done - stick a fork in me!

Needless to say, I haven't been eating that great, not bad, but not up to my normal standards. In fact, I had to switch my morning affirmations from I love my life, to I love to cook. This is so weird to me because back when I was teaching, I did love to cook, it was my stress reliever. Now, it's my stress inducer. Crazy!

So yesterday was my first Whole30 day. Well, I felt so bad I didn't even start eating until lunchtime when #leohusband woke up and made breakfast for lunch. LOL! Then all I had to do was dinner.

Summer Vegetables and Meatballs

5-6 Zucchini
2-3 t salt

First, prep the Zucchini. Wash, dry, and spiral about 5-6 large zucchini. Place the spiraled zucchini in a colander, in the sink, and generously salt the zucchini. Set a 20-minute timer and start working on the meatballs.

1 lb of grass fed ground beef
1 egg
1 T almond flour (as long as it's not the main ingredient this is OK on the Whole30)
1/2 T Italian blend herbs, divided.
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper

Mix all ingredients in a medium-large bowl with your hands. Wet your hands and then roll the mixture into 1.5-2" balls. Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment at 375 for 20-30 minutes. Around this time the zucchini should be finished.

1 T olive or avocado oil
1 t of minced garlic
1/2 small onion, diced
1 lb of mixed cherry tomatoes
1/2 T Italian blend herbs, divided.
1 t salt
1 lemon zested

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic and onions and saute until fragrant and the onions are slightly translucent.

While the onions and garlic are sauteing, slice the cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise. Add the tomatoes to the pan and salt and pepper the vegetables.

Head to the sink and grab the zucchini and a bar or tea towel. Dump the spiraled zucchini in the middle of the towel. Pick up all four corners of the towel and now you are going to twist the towel to "ring out" the excess water from the zucchini.

Add the drained zucchini to the tomato mixture. Saute for 5-7 minutes.
Around this time the meatballs should be finishing. Check to make sure that they are done in the middle. Temp should be around 165 degrees in the center and juices should run clear. If the meatballs are done add them to the skillet.

Toss everything and top with lemon zest. Serve.