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Of hobbies and getting meals to the table

I have too many hobbies. Most of them cater to my girls interests.

I have made them a cardboard dollhouse, and I am completing the handmade furniture inside. I have been painting peg dolls to live in said dollhouse.

There is also my sourdough breadmaking addiction, which is in addition to the other stuff I bake. Our oven is on most days!

There is also my blog, A Yellow Bowl.

However, recently, I have become fascinated by watercolors. As I am a total beginner, I have picked up a couple of books that catered to those starting their watercolor journey. I watch (and try to follow) Youtube tutorials and have been following way too many watercolor artists on Instagram. It can be inspiring seeing how good they are, and at the same time, very intimidating.

But, as they all say, I must put in my ‘brush miles’. In short, practice, practice, practice. Putting paint to paper can be quite therapeutic and stress-relieving.

So, if you don’t have a hobby yet, I strongly recommend you get one.

***

I am also pushing myself to be better at meal-planning. Due to the pandemic, my husband is working from home, so I need to prepare lunches and dinners. I have been experiencing cooking fatigue and I am looking for ways to be able to get meals faster to the table to give me more time to pursue my aforementioned hobbies.

I aim to meal plan every Friday so that when we go to the grocery on Saturday, my list is almost complete. One of the meals (or meal component) that I make regularly are these Basic Meatballs. I have these in the freezer most of the time as it enables me to prepare quick meals.

Basic Meatballs

This recipe uses oatmeal as an extender and is adapted from a recipe of Joey of 80 Breakfasts. If you have a food processor, grind the oatmeal into smaller pieces so it will be indiscernible from the ground meat.

1 cup oatmeal, soaked in ½ cup milk for at least 10 minutes

500 g ground meat (I use a mix of beef and pork)

1 large carrot, chopped finely

1 white onion, chopped finely

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp dried herbs of choice (I recommend a mix of oregano, thyme and parsley)

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp mustard

1 tsp fine sea salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 egg

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients well using your hands.

Heat a small frying pan over medium heat and test a small patty if it is seasoned to your liking. Adjust seasonings if needed.

Form into meatballs. Mine are usually around 1-inch in diameter and I get around 40 pieces. Arrange on a lined baking pan and freeze if not cooking immediately.

Serving suggestions (For 4)

Bake or pan-fry and serve with ketchup (for the kids) and honey barbecue sauce.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Cook 300 g spaghetti according to package directions.

Pan-fry 20 meatballs until browned. Set aside and in the same pan sauté 3 cloves of minced garlic and 1 chopped white onion. I sometimes add a chopped carrot or bell pepper, too. Optional but highly recommended: deglaze with ½ c red wine. Add two 400g tins of chopped tomatoes, 1 tbsp tomato paste, and ½ c beef broth (or ½ c water with ½ beef broth cube). Season well with salt, pepper and dried oregano and thyme. Add in the browned meatballs and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Check seasonings and serve over spaghetti. Grate cheese on top!

Curried Meatballs

Pan-fry 20 meatballs until browned. Set aside and in the same pan sauté 4 cloves of minced garlic and 1 chopped white onion. Pour in 400 g of coconut milk and 1 cup chicken broth (or 1 cup water and half a chicken broth cube.) Season with 1 1/2 tbsp curry powder, 2 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp turmeric, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper. Add 2 cubed potatoes, 1 chopped carrot (or sweet potato, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower or other vegetable of choice) and simmer until the vegetables are almost cooked. Remember to add the vegetables according to how long they cook. Add in the meatballs and cook for a few more minutes until the meatballs are cooked through. Taste if it is seasoned to your liking. Add spices as needed. Serve over rice.*

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