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Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce + Zucchini Meatballs

As I mentioned in my last post, podcasts are my new normal, and as the somewhat type A being that I am, I'm happy to have this opportunity to open my mind beyond reading (sometimes my eyes are not up for this), and those miles on the treadmill or steps on the stair master (my cardio of choice at the gym) definitely pass easier with an inspiring listen - when I'm not craving a release from listening to music. One thing that resonates over and over again throughout the Minimalists podcasts I've been soaking up is the word, and the idea of just what value really is, and means.

At the end of the day, we all want and need to be valued. It's the way we feel loved, needed, appreciated, and a big favourite: purposeful. Being valued and appreciated is definitely a basic human need, and I would venture to say that all of us can recognize this. But what about turning this word outwards to evaluate what we as citizens, family members, and friends are adding to the outside world? What do we do that adds value to other people's lives? What adds value to your life? Looking at life from this perspective makes eliminating anything that you don't value fairly easy, but it has also inspired me to ensure that whatever I put out is ultimately adding value to other people's lives.

Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce + Zucchini Meatballs
Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce + Zucchini Meatballs

It means that this blog should be a place that might hopefully inspire others - you - to cook simple healthful meals (if it doesn't already). To me, it means that all the recipes here will be meals that are always easy to make and that will nourish you and those you share it with. As a small business owner, I'm very committed to supporting other local businesses - and so I want to share those with you too, along with the products and brands I'm using. Lastly, it means that the words I write are geared towards adding value - always a nugget or takeaway that can be used or applied in our sometimes-too-hectic daily lives. I hope you'll always be able to count on discovering something of value here, or at least a tasty recipe now and then. I love your feedback too, and now that I'm back with a little more regularity, I'm always open too to anything you'd like to see here.

A few tidbits from my corner of the world this week:

GRAIN has a new Insta-stories campaign called #ShowUsYourPantries, and is now selling these gorgeous home flour mills. You can also now buy GRAIN online in the USA and across Canada! Stay tuned for more on this, as we are so excited.

This podcast has me thinking that preparation and planning are everything (especially if you live in Vancouver or Seattle).

This recipe is going to be added to the dessert rotation after I made it with great success this weekend (tahini makes things so delicious, as do toasted seeds).

I finally started reading this book and am enjoying it immensely. Watch this powerful video if you have not already, and listen to this song by The Weakerthan's John K. Samson.

If at all possible, get rid of any teflon in your house, immediately, and replace it with an inexpensive cast iron pan or stainless steel if you can. Support quality, values based small businesses. It makes a world of difference to them. I'll be writing more about this in my next post, and hoping you'll be able to help me a little too.

Finally, I truly believe that despite what it feels like a lot of the time, this life is long. Long enough to fit in enough of the things you love to do, so long as you take things one day, and one thing at a time. Whatever you are doing, be all there. I hope you enjoy this recipe, big thanks to The Food Gays for this delicious meatball - and finally a great new use for zucchini. This meal is all kinds of good ;) Enjoy!

Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce + Zucchini Meatballs
Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce + Zucchini Meatballs

Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce:

7-8 medium red bell peppers, washed
3 tbsp grape seed oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 tsp salt
2-3 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
2 cups Passata
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 tsp sugar or honey
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
2 tsp lemon juice
chopped fresh basil or parsley for garnish
1 package pasta of choice
Grated parmesan for the bowls

    Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Line the bottom of the oven with foil and place the whole peppers directly onto the oven racks. Cook for about 20-25 minutes, turning here and there, until the skins are blackened and blistering. Once the peppers are roasted until looking charred, remove them and place them directly into a large bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate to allow the peppers to collapse into their own steam. Set aside for 10 minutes covered.

    While the peppers do their thing, heat the oil in a large saucepan. Cook the onions and salt for 2-3 minutes and then add the optional garlic. After 6-7 minutes, add the Passata and the black pepper. Turn off the heat and set the pan aside. Remove the cover from the peppers and allow them a few minutes to cool before handling (this is a good time to work on the meatballs). When the peppers are handling temperature, remove the stems, seeds, and as much skin as possible from the peppers (it should pop and slide right off). Once they are all prepped, add them straight to a blender. Add the sautéed mixture to the blender and blend the sauce on high until completely smooth. Return to the cooking pot and hold until ready to heat and serve.

    Zucchini Meatballs by the Food Gays:

    1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
    4 zucchini, grated (6 heaping cups)
    1 small onion, minced
    1 tbsp salt
    1/4 tsp pepper
    ½ teaspoon paprika
    1 egg
    1 cup breadcrumbs
    ½ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
    2 packed tbsp flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

      Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat the oil in a large skillet, then add zucchini and chopped onion. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Cook until water begins to evaporate, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander, and place in the sink to drain. Once it cools, squeeze any excess liquid out with your hands (this will also mash-up the zucchini nicely). In a large bowl, combine zucchini, parsley, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and egg. Shape into even-sized balls, and place on an oiled baking tray. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

      While the meatballs cook, put up a large pot of water to boil for your pasta. Heat the sauce on medium until piping hot. Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain when done. Serve individual pasta bowls with freshly cooked pasta covered in red pepper sauce and 2-3 meatballs per serving. Garnish with fresh parsley or basil, along with any extra grated parmesan, and serve.

      Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce + Zucchini Meatballs
      Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce + Zucchini Meatballs

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