Spicy Italian Meatballs are a wealth of flavor from start to finish—and perfect to make in large batches. A delicious addition to both soups and pasta.
I woke with thin rays of light yellow sunlight just barely beginning to trickle through my window. This is my favorite time of year in Florida because it means I can sleep with my windows open and feel a slight breeze as I drift off to sleep and as I wake.
At night, I fall asleep to the sounds of crickets, and in the morning, I pray that all I hear are the normal song birds and not my neighbor’s squawky chickens.
Or my other neighbors’ 9 dogs.
Altogether there are 2 wolf hounds, 1 Boston Terrier, a lab mix, a Jack Russell, 2 mutts, 1 rottweiler, and a chihuahua.
I live just outside of the city (in county), so everything goes here. One of my neighbors has a cat that lives on the roof, and they put a bowl of food up there for it. Sometimes I can see one of the local ducks from the lake waddling down the roof line toward the bowl to steal the cat food.
Last year, one of the giant tortoises from next door ATE ITS WAY through my fence, and Mike & Bob had to pour concrete in the spot to keep it from digging or eating its way any further.
There’s another woman who has 4 chihuahuas that Yip! Yip! Yip! every time they’re outside. They stir up the other 9 dogs, and then all 13 of them will bark at once.
But this morning, it was perfect and still as I slipped out from between my covers and into my clothes to start the day.
I padded to the kitchen, fed my Sophie kitty, and made myself a cup of coffee before heading out to the grocery store to buy a couple things I forgot over the weekend.
Unlike so many of you dear readers with children and spouses, roommates, and farm animals…my morning was spent quietly, with nothing to interrupt me except a few brief hungry meows from my cat.
I feel that this is both a lonely time and a time to cherish. As much as I’m inclined to keep wishing for the next chapter where I envision (and wish and pray) that God blesses me with a man I can keep and love and lots and lots of babies—I know that this chapter I’m in has purpose. There is a reason I’m here. If I wasn’t supposed to be here, I wouldn’t be. Because God would have me somewhere else. It’s that simple to me.
On being alone
It took me some adjusting to live alone after my divorce and subsequent break up with my live-in boyfriend. Sigh. I might as well admit it to you at this point. It is a part of my story, after all.
When I was 18, I moved out of my mom’s house and into a shared apartment with roommates. When I was 19, I married. And then after I divorced, my boyfriend and I lived together because it was practical and we wanted to. I was in the East Bay of San Francisco, and at the time we felt that living separately was simply too expensive to make much sense.
After moving to Florida, I had still never lived alone in my entire life. For the first time ever, I found myself living in a place where I had no family and no connections.
And surprisingly, with no one next to me at night, I was suddenly afraid of the dark.
For months, I slept with the lights on because I didn’t know what I kept hearing in the night. I dragged Sophie with me from room to room just to have company and constantly played music just so the air would feel less empty.
Purpose in the silence (which is really not silent at all)
But this year, God has done a great thing in me. This year, the silence has changed. The silence, which used to be oppressive, has transformed into all of this wonderful opportunity to speak and to listen to God.
Do you know how hard it is to speak to God when other people are demanding your attention? Or when you’re distracted? How much harder is it to listen with all the noise and clamor of life and other people?
It is in the silence of this chapter of aloneness that I’ve been able to hear God’s voice more clearly than I ever have in my life! And it’s given me a spirit of thankfulness for this time of personal and spiritual development I’m undergoing.
It’s such a very different perspective than I had at the beginning of this chapter of single-hood. At the beginning of this chapter, I was angry and bitter about my break-ups and my self-esteem was in the trash. I felt as if God had abandoned me, betrayed me.
But He hadn’t abandoned me. He was beckoning me! And so, I’ve used the silence to learn how to listen.
I consider this my training ground.
Quite often, I feel desperately that I want God to do something MORE with my life. But He keeps whispering to my spirit that I’m not ready yet.
Even if he gave me all that I want RIGHT NOW, He has said to me, “Oh Courtney! Even if I was to bless you, you would not know what to do with it!” And it’s true!
“This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”
― Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place
Every day, He is speaking to me in that small voice and showing me that I am here for His purpose. If I was not meant to be here, then I wouldn’t be. It’s that simple.
So I must believe that I’m in training. I’m not even sure for what. But I am young, and He has instructed me to be faithful in the small things. I pray that doing this will be pleasing in His sight and that one day I might be entrusted with something bigger and harder and even quite possibly painful.
Regardless, I want to be ready, and I trust that this journey I’m on is God’s way of preparing me to do a great work for His Kingdom here on earth. May the Lord be glorified forever and ever! Amen!
And now, for Spicy Italian Meatballs
You’re such a trooper for putting up with my rambling thoughts long enough to get to this recipe.
First things first, I know some of you don’t like spicy. So if you don’t, simply leave out the red pepper flakes, and voila! You’re left with plain ol’ Italian Meatballs.
Except there’s really nothing plain about these. These are a wealth of flavor from start to finish. Here’s what’s in them:
2 lbs ground grass fed beef (alternatively 1 lb beef, 1 lb pork)
1/2 onion, minced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I like to used crushed Italian croutons)
1/2 cup milk
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
2 tsp dried oregano or 1-1/2 TBSP fresh oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
These are so simple to make and perfect for creating in large batches and then storing in the freezer for later use. I love to double or even triple this recipe, so I have meatballs I can freeze and pull out anytime I need a quick flavorful punch of protein.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix together with your hands to make sure everything is distributed evenly. Chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes, then form into golf-ball sized balls and place in a single layer baking pan. Cook on 425˚F for at least 20 minutes or until slightly brown on top.
- 2 lbs ground grass fed beef (alternatively 1 lb beef, 1 lb pork)
- ½ onion, minced
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup breadcrumbs (I like to used crushed Italian croutons)
- ½ cup milk
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
- 2 tsp dried oregano or 1-1/2 TBSP fresh oregano
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
- Mix together with your hands to make sure everything is distributed evenly.
- Chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
- Then form into golf-ball sized balls and place in a single layer baking pan.
- Cook on 425˚F for at least 20 minutes or until slightly brown on top.