Lessons in Time-Saving Food Prep: Frozen Meatballs

Kitchen, kid, chef.There are times when I want something home made and yet I want to put out zero effort. Since I’ve been put on timeout on the Sam’s Club chickens (I’m only allowed to bring one home every other week now), I had to find another multi-meal, quick prep option. My solution: meatballs!

I used to have to make them from scratch and freeze them myself (I have a rocking recipe that include spinach) because Mr. Rinaldi does not eat beef, pork, or any other red meat. So if we wanted turkey meatballs there was labor involved.

I have since discovered Tyson, Butterball, Jenny-O and Foster Farms all produce turkey meatballs. Here are some quick recipes – less than 30 minute to table. You can go turkey, beef, or homemade and freeze your own. Just make sure the meatballs are precooked.

Meatball Pizza: Use a Boboli pizza crust, a shmear of sauce, a bit of cheese and some fresh mushrooms and/or roasted red peppers, add some thawed and sliced meatballs – pop it in the oven at 475° for 15 or so minutes and you have dinner.

Summer Green and Meatball Soup: In a large pot, simmer 6 cups of chicken broth, 1 can of cannellini beans (rinsed), 4 to 6 cloves of chopped garlic and some whole meatballs, add 4-8 cups of any combination of the following torn into bite-size pieces – spinach, escarole, chard or kale (remove any tough stems). Simmer until meatballs are heated through and greens are wilted. Just before serving add 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice to the pot, season with salt-and-pepper to taste – optional Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.

Sweet-and-Sour Meatball Mess: When I got the recipe for this one after trying it at a potluck years ago I couldn’t believe it. Take a medium pot and toss in enough meatballs for 3 to 4 servings, add 3/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup grape jelly and 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice. Heat through the simmering. Serve with crusty bread and crudités.

Red Curry Meatballs: In a large skillet sauté one sliced onion, one sliced zucchini, 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms and a sliced red or green bell pepper in olive oil until tender. Add 2 tablespoons red curry paste and one can of coconut milk. Add the meatballs and season with salt and pepper and cilantro to your taste. Serve over rice or noodles.

Meatball Bahn Mi: Heat the meatballs in the oven, on stovetop or in micro. While meatballs are heating mixed together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon garlic chili sauce (available in Asian markets or ethnic food aisle at your grocery), and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Spread on a split baguette and top with sliced meatballs, shredded carrot, cilantro sprigs and thinly sliced radishes.

What are some your favorite time-saving recipes?

Why Coaching Is So Important

I say our thoughts create our beliefs, our beliefs create our behaviors, our behaviors create the world around us.

The thing about behaviors is that we bring our past to them until we learn a different perspective. We do what we’ve always done. It may not be what you want, it may not be what we like, but it is what we know. So it is what we do.

I have a simple reminder that keeps me humble enough to know when it’s time for me to find another coach and work on something I’m having trouble with.

517568C – ’cause
O – our
A – attitude
C – controls
H – how we
I – implement
N – new
G – growth


When I find myself with a less-than-stellar attitude about something, it’s because I’m uncomfortable. I realize I need a new perspective or a tool to help me implement the new growth I’m facing.

Think about that the next time you’re faced with new growth.

Are You An Emotional Eater?

Comfort food.I’ve never been hugged by a bowl of mashed potatoes, and chances are neither have you. Yet we often refer to things like cake, pasta, or other starch-laden food items as “comfort foods.”

When I worked in healthcare many of us had become addicted to what we termed white flour Thorazine. We knew we were using simple sugars, fats and high glycemic index carbs for their sedative qualities. We worked in a highly-stressful environment and ate to alleviate that stress.

Foods that are high in fat, carbs, and/or sugar are highly addictive for a reason. They kick off a set of chemical reactions that lead to a boost in serotonin in your brain. Bottom line: they make you feel good. If only for a short time.

I’m embarrassed to say that at one point during the most stressful period of my life I had more than doubled my weight. I’ve since lost 50 pounds and kept it off, but the battle is far from over. I’m still 100 pounds over my normal healthy weight, and until I make the change in my own mind that this battle is a priority, it will continue to be a daily process of determining whether I am eating for hunger, stress, exhaustion, addiction, or a myriad other reasons.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you think you’re eating for emotional reasons:

  • Do I eat because others are eating?
  • Do I eat when I’m not particularly hungry?
  • Do I get a sense of peace or soothing while I’m eating?
  • Do I feel bad about what I’ve eaten when I’m done?
  • Do I find myself regularly craving high carb or fatty foods?

If you find you’ve said yes to even one of these questions perhaps it’s time to start looking at what’s eating you as opposed to what you’re eating.

Remembering Wayne Dyer – That Scurvy Elephant!

Many years ago while watching PBS I met and fell in love with a man who inspired me to many things – one of them was to be a “scurvy elephant.”

In the 20 or so years since I discovered Wayne Dyer‘s work, I witnessed his conversation go from behaviorally focused to Pure Spirit. Pure Light. Pure Love. He took me with him, as he took so many others.

I was lucky enough to have seen him lecture live nearly a dozen times. I got to shake his hand and on one occasion even give him a hug.

He often told a story of being called a “scurvy elephant” as a child. He came home from school one day and asked his foster mother, “What’s a scurvy elephant?” She told him she’d never heard of one and asked where he’d heard it. “From my teacher; she said I was a scurvy elephant.” Bewildered, his mother called the teacher and asked what she had meant. The teacher responded, “As usual Wayne got it wrong. I didn’t say he was a scurvy elephant; I said he was a disturbing element!”

Wayne Dyer taught through storytelling and wove some of the best metaphors for the purpose of change. He looked at and approached things differently than many of us would. He was a disturbing element to me as I transitioned from my pain to my purpose. He showed me it was OK to be vulnerable, to make mistakes, to grow from exactly where you think you’re stuck.Outlined cheerful elephant

Wayne Dyer made his transition one month ago, on August 30, and will be influencing us from the place we all return to. He is greatly missed. My prayers of peace continue to go out to his family, friends and the world he influenced.

Here’s to the greatest Scurvy Elephant ever.

Where Were You On 9/11?

Downtown New York CityThanksgiving weekend of 2000, Rick and I were driving back from Las Vegas. While staring out the passenger side window I became entranced by the desert scenery. It was during that period that I channeled the following message:

The following year will be the worst year we ever face, personally. Before the year is over we will have lost one of our fathers. We will be tested on faith in ways we can’t comprehend.

While channeling was not something that was new to me, Rick had never been present for a channeling before this. He asked why I would say such a thing. I asked him what I had said, and he carefully repeated each of my words. While those words shook me, I understood that if I was being told this information, it was because there was something I could do about it.

Fast-forward to summer of 2001. I would frequently wake up in the middle of the night and research the atrocities against women and others that various terrorist factions who called themselves followers of Islam were perpetrating throughout the world. It hurt my heart greatly. Yet I couldn’t stop. I was compelled to read as much as I could. To try to understand.

Labor Day weekend 2001, 2 p.m. on a Friday, Rick calls me at work to tell me his father is receiving last rites in the high desert. His family was being called together to support each other during this period. He had no intention of making the drive (for those of you who understand … this was over the Cajon Pass on the Friday of the holiday weekend) – so I was home in 20 minutes and we were on the road in 40. While sitting in that parking lot they sometimes call the 15 Freeway, my father called.

He wanted to inform me that he had gone off his chemo meds nearly a year before, he was tired, he didn’t want to take any more meds – we were going to go see the oncologist on Tuesday, together. According to him, he “didn’t want me to lose my shit” when we were there. Also, he had decided he wanted to live. I remember being so angry, so hurt, so confused. I remember lashing out and telling him he may have taken that option off the table. Telling him we were on our way to Frank’s bedside, where he was receiving last rites.

Tuesday, September 11, approximately 6:30 a.m. PT, my father calls me and tells me to turn on the television. He tells me that life as we know it will never be the same. He’s crying. I watch in stunned silence for about five minutes. I tell him I’ll call him back. I knock on the bathroom door, where Rick is in the shower. I step into the bathroom. I can’t even articulate what has happened. I’m crying. I tell him to get out of the shower, get dressed. Come downstairs and watch what has happened. All I can say is it’s terrible, you have to see it. I can’t even begin to explain it.

We spend the next several hours on the phone with friends, family, work – comparing notes. Comparing feelings. Sharing comfort and terror.

Our worlds changed in an instant.

September 11 is five days before my birthday. There are things I do every year – Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, the Los Angeles County Fair. We went to each of these public venues and experienced an outpouring of human connection from those who ventured out in public. We had been warned that high-profile public locations were probably not safe at this time, but I needed the routine. I needed to be around other people. We shared meals with strangers. We embraced. We held hands. We cried on each other’s shoulders. We shared comfort and terror.

Rick lit a candle that morning. For five years he kept a candle burning on our hearth – 24/7. In remembrance. In honor. As a silent tribute and plea to God, the universe, our Angels and anyone else who would listen. A plea for peace. A plea for healing.

He erected a 10-foot flagpole in our front yard – an American flag has hung every day for 14 years, a memorial to our country and our first responders.

Rick’s father passed September 30, 2011. I remember thinking, “perhaps he’ll understand why this horrible thing happened.” I look back and know I was given the information not because I could change anything, but because I could prepare myself. I could find a place from which to dig deep in order to hold that place of peace for others.

Today is the 14th anniversary of that day that changed our lives. I remember where I was. I remember what led up to it. I know what has changed in my life.