Fall has slowly been creeping up, which has been giving me the autumn decorating/baking/recipe itch. You’ll be proud to know I already have pumpkins, mums and gourds on my front porch… and have since this weekend. Don’t ever let anyone shame you, Autumn is a great thing to celebrate!
Back to the weather. It’s been getting quite chilly at night, and I couldn’t overcome the urge to make some good old fashioned comfort food. On my quest to make things bread/guilt free, I decided to pursue dairy free as well. This was prompted by some indulgence in fried queso fresco last week and the after-effects that I’d like to not re-live. But maybe once more… that cheese was really good.
Well, cue the children running, angels singing, and grandma smiling in her kitchen, because I came just about as close as I think is possible to an enjoyable, indulgent-without-the-guilt big family dinner without the loads of butter, cream and flour. You can even sneak a few more veggies in, if you’re a sly little chef whose constituents dare not eat leafy greens… knowingly, at least.
This meal came at a great time – this past weekend was the Mushroom Festival, and super busy in general. I haven’t been sleeping well, and that all came back to bite me when I went into work on Friday and let a short 3 hours later due to heartburn and general exhaustion. I drank a few swigs of Apple Cider Vinegar (lifesaving technique, by the way), sent some emails, and wrapped my day up with a nap.
It’s not really like me to leave work or to slow down while doing anything, actually. I can’t sit still, I am very routine/schedule oriented, and I haven’t sat through a full episode of literally anything on TV in probably years. Because of my penchant for running around, this all came to a screeching halt on Friday, and I realize this was the only thing that would really stop me in my tracks. I wasn’t listening to myself, and it came back to bite me.
Perhaps you’ve thought about fate, or destiny, or really any semantics used to describe something bigger than you laying your path down for you. This could be as small as turning a corner and running into that friend you were thinking of, meeting the love of your life at an event brought on by tragedy, catching a cold only to miss a rained-out event, or potential car accident that only amounted to a near-miss. Everything happens for a reason, and I think that was the universe telling me that I needed to slow down and take a nap.
At some point, if you’re moving so quickly that you can’t see alerts and signs to what you’re looking for, it will stop you in your tracks if that’s what it takes. Take the time to care for yourself, mentally, physically and spiritually… it’s a fine balance that, if thrown out of order, will correct itself. Save yourself the trouble — be self-aware!
With that, I decided I needed this delicious recipe. Gluten free, and dairy free! Load this dinner up with herbs and spices and surprisingly, almond milk! Serve over some…. what’s that, you ask? Paleo mashed potatoes? Recipe for that later this week 🙂
Paleo Garlic Thyme Meatballs with Gravy
For the Meatballs:
- 1 ½ lbs grass-fed beef, 90/10% fat
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup almond flour
- 2 tbsp ghee, melted
- 1 tsp Himalayan sea salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 medium yellow onion, minced
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a medium sized frying pan, add 1 tbsp of ghee along with the onion and stir, cooking for 7-8 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and mushroom, continuing to stir for another 4-5 minutes, or until onions start to brown. Set aside and let cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients thoroughly.
- Roll into 1 to 1 ½ inch balls and place on a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving 2 inches between each meatball.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until meatballs start to brown. If the meatballs produce a lot of juice, be sure to remove them and set aside immediately after baking, or into the gravy.
While the meatballs are baking, we make the sauce…. J
For the Gravy:
- 4 cups high quality beef stock
- 1 ½ cups almond milk
- Salt/Pepper to taste
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, finely minced
- 1 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 1 ½ tbsp tapioca starch, plus more if needed
- In medium sized skillet (I use a cast iron), heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and stir, cooking for 7-8 minutes, until translucent.
- Add garlic, mushroom and a pinch of salt and pepper, continuing to stir for another 4-5 minutes, or until onions start to brown. Add thyme and parsley, and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes until aromatic.
- Add beef stock, and bring mixture to a boil. Once bubbling, reduce heat to low to allow to simmer. Add in tapioca starch 1 tbsp at a time, and whisk simultaneously to prevent clumps, ensuring you’re stirring vigorously. Once mixed, add almond milk, one cup at a time, continuing to stir.
- Allow to simmer for another 10-15 minutes, and taste to see if additional salt or pepper is needed. If gravy consistency is not at desired thickness, add more beef stock to thin, or a pinch of more tapioca starch at a time to thicken.
Leftover gravy can be stored in an airtight jar for up to 5 days.