Guiltless Pasta + Meatballs

The last few months have been so busy in our home that finding time to test and write up new recipes has taken a back seat to literally everything else. Full disclosure, I've basically stopped cooking. Between travel and work it's been much easier to order out than plan, prep, and prepare. What is not easier is seeing how much all the eating out depleted the ol' bank account. In our house, Indian food (our go to take out) doesn't last longer than a day. Also, Seamless orders at $40 a pop add up quickly. 

Seriously, we ate so much cake on vacation. I want to say it was all watermelon but that's a dirty lie.

Seriously, we ate so much cake on vacation. I want to say it was all watermelon but that's a dirty lie.

There's all that and a very gluttonous six day trip to South Carolina where all diet bets were off. Getting back to a healthy diet was and remains priority #1. (Mostly because anything to avoid going new jeans shopping and bathing suit season is far from over.) In an effort to streamline both the budget and the waistline, I went for an oldie but goodie - meatballs + pasta. Instead of making the classic, both full of carbs and carbs, I substituted healthier ingredients. The result is flavorful and just as hearty. I made a big batch of the meatballs and stuck some in the freezer for future quick meals. Instead of pasta we made sweet potato "noodles" with our zoodler because yes, we're those people now.

 

 

Guiltless Pasta + Meatballs

Ingredients

Halve the recipe if you don't want to stick some in the freezer.

  • 2 lbs ground chicken
    • As usual with my recipes, feel free to experiment and substitute turkey for chicken, pork for turkey, lamb for pork... you get the idea. Or just get crazy and mix 2 meats together because why not??
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • bunch chopped parsley (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup very finely chopped walnuts (food processor!)
  • 1 yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup chopped basil
  • 1 cup almond flour (use more if the mixture isn't holding together well)
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • s+ p to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Or if you're lazy, which I am, use a sheet pan that's seen the test of time and you don't care about getting all grimy. No judgment here.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. I use my hands because it's faster.
  3. Pour a glug of olive oil into a heavy bottomed pan. Heat it up.
  4. ***Form small balls with your hands, no bigger than a golf ball, brown on the skillet.
  5. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake through 10-15 minutes until nice and golden.

*** The alternative is to keep cooking these on the pan and add BBQ sauce or marinara. Choose your own adventure!

For sweet potato "noodles" just toss them in olive oil, s+p, and sautée on that same pan. You can also use zucchini, onion, regular potato, carrot. Seriously any vegetable. I won't get into it here because there's a whole world on the internet of people making noodles out of not pasta. I made a lot and didn't cook all the noodles. They keep really well in tupperware in the fridge so you can use for sides all week long!

We ate this with a side of tzatziki sauce because something about walnuts, parsley, and basil screams "dip me in Greek yogurt + cucumber" to me.

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Summer Stories

Hello! Going to start out by telling you this is a catch up post. I have to acknowledge I haven't written anything since April, it would be bizarre not to. Three months is a long time and a lot has happened since I "Prepped My Space for Spring". Jumping back in with a recipe or a tip for how to arrange your locally sourced eucalyptus would be ridiculous. To be totally honest, it feels like I blinked and now this year is half through. The last six months have absolutely blown by due in no small part to all of the travel we've been lucky enough to do. Be it for work or for pleasure, 2017 has involved more time away from home than not. Over the next few weeks I'm going to really commit and dive back into developing this space (I mean it this time baby, I swear). No surprise, as it's something I address regularly, but balancing work and everything that falls outside of it is an ongoing thing.

In the meantime, I want to share a few photos from our travels. I've posted quite a lot on Instagram but want to put together a small travel diary. Since January, we've hopped around to North Carolina, Baltimore, Virginia, London, Montreal, California, Upstate NY, and South Carolina (pics + recipes in a future post). Holding onto our hats because it looks like this year is not slowing down. I'm flying home to Michigan in just two weeks!

I hope you enjoy! 

North Carolina

We've packed our bags for NC twice this year. First in March for a show - Ian's in a band called Handsome Foxes (shameless plug, check 'em out!) and again in April to attend the loveliest farm wedding. In between we caught up with old friends, visited Duke Gardens, and drank our weight in coffee. 

Snapshot of my favorite Handsome Foxes flyerup at a Raleigh coffee shop.

Snapshot of my favorite Handsome Foxes flyerup at a Raleigh coffee shop.

If you're ever in the Chapel Hill area, Honeysuckle Tea House, is a must. Located on a tea farm about 15 min. outside of town it's a gorgeous retreat complete with a yurt, rows and rows of growing berries and tea, and hammocks to lounge around for hours in.

Set up for a beautiful wedding ceremony.

Set up for a beautiful wedding ceremony.

London

In March, I was lucky enough to spend an entire week in London. I didn't have much time for sightseeing (it was a work trip + by far the most professionally rewarding) but forced myself up around 6AM most mornings to walk around and catch a few glimpses of the city.

Rule of thumb: the day a woman cuts bangs she starts to grow them back out again. This photo will serve as a great reminder to never cut bangs ever, ever, ever.

Rule of thumb: the day a woman cuts bangs she starts to grow them back out again.

This photo will serve as a great reminder to never cut bangs ever, ever, ever.

I know, I am the first person to take this photo.

I know, I am the first person to take this photo.

My lovely room complete with always open work computer.

My lovely room complete with always open work computer.

California

The state that makes me realize that I'm not getting enough Vitamin D, tacos, or athleisure in my life.

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Montreal

Last but not least, Ian surprised me with a trip to Montreal for my birthday! Four days were just enough time in this charming and quiet city. Our roomy and affordable apartment ($56/night, thanks again AirBnB) in Le Plateau-Mont-Royal district was walking distance from downtown. So, we kept things chill and spent the days wandering and stuffing ourselves full of croissants and fresh seafood.

airbnb decor was on point.

airbnb decor was on point.

The best coffee shop i've ever been to, Cafe olimpico, not just because that's their slogan.  Legitimately old school (only whole milk on tap!), amazing espresso, and nutella filled donuts? yes, please. Also, they show soccer all day long. So, if you're interested in dropping off your husband and spending a few hours shopping solo - this is the place for you.

The best coffee shop i've ever been to, Cafe olimpico, not just because that's their slogan.  Legitimately old school (only whole milk on tap!), amazing espresso, and nutella filled donuts? yes, please. Also, they show soccer all day long. So, if you're interested in dropping off your husband and spending a few hours shopping solo - this is the place for you.

Guest Post: Prep Your Space for Spring!

Well, hello there! I'm Sara, but my friends call me Bee. My love for interior design started around the age of 7, when I began insisting on rearranging my bedroom every week. After graduating from High Point University with a BS in Interior Design, I put my love for color and composition to the test with a career in visual merchandising. The Burrowing Bee first came about in 2011 as a creative outlet and homage to everything design. It's ever evolved since then, with the purchase of my first home, a 1940s bungalow in dire need of a fix-up. I've recently ventured out on my own in the hopes of helping people all over achieve the places and spaces of their dreams, while continuing to share as I create my own. Need help with your space, but don't know where to start? Let's set up a consultation, I'd love to help!

Prep Your Space for Spring!

The weather down south has been teasing us lately, 80 degrees here, 40 degrees there. Every day I wake up not knowing if I’ll be walking the dog in flip flops or cozy boots. Nevertheless, I’ve started getting ready for the warmer weather by taking these seasonal, never fail steps. Who doesn’t love a change of season! Here are four ways to prep your apartment for spring without spending a fortune!

Step One: Add Greenery

Not only do plants liven up a space, but choosing the right ones can really clear up the air. Spider plants, English ivy, and rubber plants to name a few, are great oxygen creating choices. You can display them all together, or spread them out throughout the house for little lively points of interest.

Step Two: Lose the Layers

I love cozying up under a stack of blankets and pillows as much as the next person, but there’s something so refreshing about peeling away the layers. Fold up your blankets and keep them near by in a cute basket or on top of a side chair. You’ll still have easy access for those days when all you want to do is take a nap with the windows open. A coverlet or quilt is a great lightweight, spring option to keep handy!

Step Three: Clear the Entryway

Whether you’re in the city or down south, there is nothing more annoying than a cluttered entryway. Piles of shoes and winter coats make for a depressing first impression, and hallelujah it’s time to clean them up! Tuck the winter coats away in the closet or underneath a bed. You can style your hooks with your go to grocery bags and a pair of rain boots, just in case. Just past the front door is a great spot to showcase your favorite spring time hats as well!

Step Four: Organize

This is my last and personal favorite step! Maybe it’s weird, but I organize when I’m anxious (or happy, or sad, or awake). The first thing we did when we bought our house was replace the cabinets surrounding the kitchen window with open shelves. This immediately flooded our otherwise seemingly small kitchen with light and gave us plenty of display space for our favorite baking necessities. Whether it’s shelves, rails, or hooks, you can’t go wrong with organizing out in the open. Add some greenery to the mix and you’ve got yourself a fully loaded Spring time kitchen. Now, don’t you feel better?

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Getaway, on a Budget

One of my absolute favorite rabbit holes to fall down is the great wide world of weekend getaway travel. I've spent countless hours scrolling through feeds of idyllic cottages surrounded by birch trees, beach side escapes, spa vacations in the mountains, and the ever popular "traipsing through a vineyard" posts. I've fantasized about picking up and just taking off for a weekend à la Vogue Magazine for as long as I can remember. Not a a care in the world, floppy hat and perfectly curated outfits in tow. Here's the thing though- floppy hats make me look like an absolute jerk. Perfectly curated outfits take me days to plan. (Have we discussed that I'm an over planner?). Also, let's just real talk for a second: the entire idea of picking up and "taking off for the weekend" is a huge function of privilege. If you live in a city the cost of renting a car, tolls, staying overnight, meals, and even the aforementioned winery tour fee all add up really quickly. Don't even get me started on boarding dogs.

A few weeks ago, instead of falling down yet another rabbit hole of jealousy coupled with "how can people afford this?!" thoughts, I decided to plan a weekend trip. Something special for Ian's birthday which would allow us to explore upstate New York but in a way that wouldn't break the bank.

  1. First, I chose a weekend that wasn't super popular. Ian's birthday, usually the first weekend of April, is still fairly chilly in New York so most people aren't raging to get out of the city.
  2. Found a hotel that wasn't on the beaten path. (The Hamptons are out of the question and also not the only place to go outside of NYC. Don't let Vogue and Harper's feed you lies.) I knew I wanted to stay on the water in the Hudson River Valley but the city of Hudson, NY can get quite pricey so, my search focused on the surrounding small towns.
  3. Found a nearby winery with an affordable tasting/entrance fee. We were driving, one stop for wine would be enough.
  4. Picked one meal to splurge. Husband's birthday dinner, naturally.
  5. Limited our adventure to one night. Why? Boarding the dogs for an entire weekend is incredibly expensive ($300!). Also, the absolute last thing I want to do after work on a Friday is drive for three hours. Kicking things off after a good night's sleep and leaving the work week completely behind felt far more luxurious. Saturday morning through early Sunday evening is the perfect amount of time to getaway and get back. 
The Stewart House in Athens, NY.

The Stewart House in Athens, NY.

I'm not sure if we got lucky or discovered a diamond in the rough, but last weekend felt like something out of a movie. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful or relaxing experience. The Stewart House is a small, intimate hotel located right on the Hudson River in the small town of Athens, NY. We pulled up after exploring a local winery and were greeted by the warmest, kindest staff. They truly went above and beyond. I'm not just saying that because they did a good job. I've never stayed anywhere where the manager insisted, several times, that we take our time checking out. "Seriously, ignore the check out time. Lounge, enjoy!". Believe me when I say we took full advantage, especially after we saw our room.

Every detail, every piece of furniture, even the paint accents make The Stewart House feel like stepping into an alternate universe where life is actually filtered through Instagram. I could write a book about how the decor is straight out of Design Sponge meets Vanity Fair mixed with Dwell fantasy but I'd rather just show you. Some photos from the weekend are below, I've been taking them in all week and already planning our return trip.

Our bedroom suite was an actual dream. A bathtub in the bedroom...

Our bedroom suite was an actual dream. A bathtub in the bedroom...

Directly below our room, just two flights down these copper patina and turquoise stairs, is The Stewart House restaurant. We celebrated Ian's birthday with steak, squash + sage ravioli, and the sweetest tiramisu with a birthday candle. I even took my (sixth... oops) glass of Prosecco back to the room with me after our waitress topped it off and insisted I couldn't just leave it! Woman after my own heart.

Also, I know- I can't take a straight photo to save my life. Stay with me people, slowly but surely my photography skills will improve. That's part of this whole "realistic approach to blogging thing", right? I think so...

Also, I know- I can't take a straight photo to save my life. Stay with me people, slowly but surely my photography skills will improve. That's part of this whole "realistic approach to blogging thing", right? I think so...

Bubbles before bed, that's how you know it's really vacation.

Bubbles before bed, that's how you know it's really vacation.

Breakfast nook on the second floor of the hotel. Fresh coffee, juice, cereal bar, delicious pastries to start off the morning. I thought I'd go out and explore but...

Breakfast nook on the second floor of the hotel. Fresh coffee, juice, cereal bar, delicious pastries to start off the morning. I thought I'd go out and explore but...

... spent the entire morning on Sunday reading + eating in that tub.

... spent the entire morning on Sunday reading + eating in that tub.

Most relaxed I've ever been. Ever.

Most relaxed I've ever been. Ever.

Happy husband.

Happy husband.

I'll wrap up this love poem to our weekend away by saying that it's totally plausible to take a break from the city without spending a fortune. (Also, floppy hats are overrated.) This post wasn't sponsored at all so a little planning and figuring out ways around what's dictated as the right approach by magazines and most travel blogs is the way to go. Figure out what you like, what you can afford, and make it work for you. In my case, it's eating coffee cake in a giant white tub on the banks of the Hudson River the same week as I wrote out a rent check. Huzzah!