Turkey Meatballs + Spaghetti Squash

I have always been the girl to sheepishly write "nothing" under exercise while at the doctors office. That or sarcastically write "chasing my toddler" ...oy. I have never been someone who has worked out mainly because I have either been bored with whatever I was doing, or just didn't feel like I needed it that much. Well, let me tell you - two kids will definitely tell your body that you need a little more fitness in your life. Not just to lose weight, which is certainly one of my goals, but mainly to work towards becoming a whole person. Working out has become an emotional outlet at the end of a long day of parenting, and I already feel so much more physical strength and energy after only 2 short weeks. I feel so silly talking about exercise because I literally know NOTHING and on top of that, I am a baby at it. But cheer me on? I need the encouragement :) 

I just finished a fitness challenge last week that lasted 15 days.  As I shared in my goals post, I am trusting God for physical and emotional wholeness this year. In part, this includes finding my own rhythm for exercise.  

Having the accountability of a challenge to follow along with has been so good for me! I love the encouragement from others in the challenge and from the trainer herself. The challenge comes with a meal plan, which I followed loosely. I like to do my own thing :)

Turkey Meatballs + Spaghetti Squash... Paleo and Whole 30 approved, quick dinner // Natasha Red

One of the dinner ideas she calls for is spaghetti squash with marinara. I went ahead and threw a bunch of things together and came out with some pretty delicious and easy meatballs to make my own version!

Turkey Meatballs + Spaghetti Squash... Paleo and Whole 30 approved, quick dinner // Natasha Red

I used the Poor Man's Vodka sauce from Nourished because it's so so good and I usually have 1 cup portions sitting in the freezer ready to go. But you can use whatever sauce you like. 

PS: Read to the end of the recipe instructions for how to make this meal Whole 30 compliant. 

Turkey Meatballs + Spaghetti Squash... Paleo and Whole 30 approved, quick dinner // Natasha Red

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey 
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsely
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (25 ounce) jar marinara sauce OR Poor Man's Vodka sauce from Noushied Cookbook
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Cook your Poor Man's Vodka sauce as directed in the recipe OR heat up marinara sauce in a large pot. 
  2. Put ground turkey, parsley, salt, garlic powder, chili powder and pepper in a stand mixer and connect the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until all the herbs and spices are fully mixed with the turkey. 
  3. Use a cookie scoop to scoop out perfectly portioned meatballs, pressing lightly together with your hands. If you don't have a cookie scoop, you can use a spoon and your hands. 
  4. Place meatballs in the sauce, cover the pot and simmer on medium low for about 15-20 minutes. 

For the squash:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F
  2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half length-wise. 
  3. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard. 
  4. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  5. Drizzle olive oil and a splash of water in the well that is formed inside the squash from removing the seeds. 
  6. Quickly flip the squash flesh-side down onto the foil-lined pan so the water stays as contained as possible. 
  7. Pour about a teaspoon of olive oil on the skin of one of the squash slices, rubbing in with your hands all over the skin. Do the same on the other slice. 
  8. Bake for 1 hour. Once cooked, let cool a bit and scrap out the spaghetti squash with a fork. 

Pour sauce and meatballs over squash and serve! 

*Notes: To make this Whole 30, omit the sugar from the Poor Man's Vodka Sauce recipe...or use a sugar free jarred sauce. 

Turkey Meatballs + Spaghetti Squash... Paleo and Whole 30 approved, quick dinner // Natasha Red

Are you trying to eat healthier this new year or starting to exercise more? Would love to hear about it! 

Roasted Asparagus, Chicken + Quinoa Salad

In a season full of stews and soups, sometimes it's nice to have something a bit lighter for dinner while still incorporating your favorite elements of the season. This salad is that kind of dish for me. This dish also makes a great addition to a baby shower, birthday party table or a potluck dinner! 

Roasted Asparagus, Chicken + Quinoa Salad ... an easy winter salad!

I love the crunch of the pumpkin seeds mixed with the tangy sweetness of dried cranberries. Since this dish includes protein, veggies and quinoa, we just eat a bowl of it and call it a day for dinner...super simple!

Roasted Asparagus, Chicken + Quinoa Salad ... an easy winter salad!
Roasted Asparagus, Chicken + Quinoa Salad ... an easy winter salad!
Roasted Asparagus, Chicken + Quinoa Salad ... an easy winter salad!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken thighs
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (I prefer unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

For the dressing: 

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey 
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F
  2. Chop the hard ends off the asparagus and discard. Chop the remaining asparagus and add to a baking sheet lined with foil. 
  3. Drizzle asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. 
  4. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides and place on top of the asparagus on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. 
  5. Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to the package instructions (usually 1 cup of dry quinoa and 2 cups of water, boiled until water is completely absorbed).
  6. When the chicken and asparagus are done baking, take them out of the oven and let the chicken cool for a few minutes. Rough chop the chicken and mix it with the asparagus, quinoa, cranberries pumpkin seeds and dressing in a large bowl. 
  7. Serve at room temperature. 

My 2017 Word of the Year

Deep breaths. Feet planted. Roots soaking in moisture and nutrients. Healing. Growth. Raw. 

These are all words that came to the surface when I was prepping my goals for the year. I highly recommend the PowerSheets, in part because they have some great prep work that have helped me uncover things below the surface that I wouldn't have known were there. I had a few contenders: raw, transparent, depth, cultivate, roots, tethered. As I looked up definitions, none of these resonated with me beyond the initial word. However, the word "rooted" felt like it fell right into the center of my heart. It was screaming at me all the lessons I had learned in 2016. It's the breath of fresh air I need going into this year with hope, after such a trying 2016. 

R O O T E D : firmly implanted. a part of the body of a plant that develops from the radicle (plant embryo) and grows downward into the soul, anchoring the plant and absorbing nutrients and moisture. to implant or establish deeply. 

Here are some thoughts from my journal that came into my mind after reading these definitions: 

  • secure
  • established
  • anchored
  • growth
  • nutrients - healthy
  • flourishing
  • connected
  • reliant on the sun (or the Son)
  • needs tender care
  • quits growing when the roots are severed - stay connected to Jesus! 

F R O M     T H E      W O R D

Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him... Colossians 2:7 (NLT)

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by water that sends out it's roots by the stream. It does not fear when the heat comes; it's leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)


If you read my goals post from a couple of days ago, maybe you saw this theme. I'm asking God for spiritual, emotional, physical and mental wholeness. More time in the Word. More time reading. More margin. More grace for my kids and husband. Depth in friendships. Anchored and secure in who God made me. Free in His love for me. I'll be honest, the first few days of this year have been trying. It's not like January 1st happens and magically everything changes. I sense the trials of the past year bleeding into a new one, but am still trusting that despite the wind and waves, I may be anchored securely into the depths of the Earth, trusting in God no matter what comes. 

Do you have a word for the year? I'd love to hear it!


Other 2017 goals posts:

My 2017 Goals

25 Books for 2017

25 Books for 2017

Yesterday I shared my goals for 2017. Part of the learning process for me is reading, and it is something that really refreshes me too. I want to spend more of the margins of my day reading, and I'm excited to dig into all the ones listed below. 

Last year (or maybe a couple years ago?) I read a similar post from Val of Val Marie Paper sharing her book rec's for the year and I loved it! I got so many great ideas of books I would have never heard of from her. I hope sharing these with y'all will also be a help!

The past two years I've been able to complete about 14 books, so having a side goal of reading 25 is pretty intimidating for me! However, when I look back at the time I spent doing other things last year when I could have been reading - I do think it's doable. Many of those times were in the morning after my bible reading, during nap times and at night. This year I was so flat out exhausted from parenting I'd veg on the couch and look at Instagram or watch Netflix after the kids went to bed. I'm hopeful that this year will bring more stability in that area since I don't have a newborn anymore. I just need to remember that my phone drains me...books refresh me :) 

My plan is to read 2 books a month....I'm nervous about that! But I'm holding this loosely and just going to do as much as I can! If I can read even just one book from each category, that would be awesome progress for my goals this year. 

Whether you plan out goals very specifically like I do, or take a looser approach, I'm hoping these books will be a spring board for your own growth this year. 

The books with a * will be books I read if I have time. 


Stewarding Money

Emotional Health

Physical Health

Seasons

Friendship

Parenting 

Business 

Prayer + Reliance on the Word

Marriage


Books to read in other categories I want to grow in but didn't necessarily make my goals list:

Hospitality 

Peace (my word for 2016)  

Are you a reader? Do you have any books on your list for this year? I'd love to hear, share with me in the comments or over on Instagram

My 2017 Goals

It's been so good to get off Instagram and just be still this past week. I've gotten a lot of time in the Word and reading meaningful books, and it's been so refreshing. It's been nice to read in the margins of my day rather than checking Instagram. I love Instagram so much, but I need to develop some real boundaries for it or it starts to take over my day. I know some of you can relate. 

I love this quote from my PowerSheets (goal setting planner)...it sums up the reason for goal setting perfectly:  

While I was away, I planned out my goals for 2017. I'm a goals girl. If you have been reading the blog for a while or following me on social media, you know I am action-oriented and love to plan (hello, I created a meal planner ;)). It helps me so much to start the year with some hopes and dreams, and with a plan for how to live. It's not rigid, just helps me put into practice what I already want to be true of my life. 

I've included my WHY behind each goal + a few action steps I'm taking. Part of my action steps for each goal is to read a couple books, but I will save that for another post. 

1. Steward our money well and live free from financial stress

I have noticed since moving to our new home just how discontent my heart can be. I think this was stifled a bit in our old home because it was so far from what I wanted aesthetically. Since we were renting, I just accepted it and moved on. It wasn't until I knew we could do better that I started becoming discontent (yuck). I have really skewed the line between "want" and "need" this past year and I want that to change. Jordan and I really want to be on the same page, steward our money well, be able to save for our big life goals, and give abundantly. Here are just a few action steps I'm taking:

  • Look at our Mint app before spending anything (I'm going to try this for 30 days and see how it goes)
  • Update Mint app after spending anything
  • Use the Everyday Money Workbook
  • Monthly budget meeting with Jordan

2. Record my Dad's legacy

This is a tough one, but one that is so essential to me. My dad is in his 80's, and not in the best of health. I feel a deep sense of urgency to record his legacy and take all of his stories, life lessons, recipes, and heirlooms and keep them organized. Here are just a few action steps I'm taking:

  • Go through all of his physical heirlooms and organize
  • Schedule a couple days a month to record stories using the Story Corps app
  • Plan an outline for what to record on Story Corps (what stories to tell, etc.)
  • Check Nancy Ray's blog for legacy resources

3. Grow in being emotionally and physically whole

There's a reason I didn't use the word "healthy." I do want to be healthy, but more than that I want to be whole. 2016 was a doozy emotionally and physically. I gave birth to our second child, have been breastfeeding, have suffered from crippling PPD, gone through counseling, and gotten on medication for PPD. This is something I haven't shared anywhere online, and I'm not totally ready to share fully about it. It is my reality though so I am moving forward and believing God can heal.

In regards to the physical, I haven't lost any baby weight, and I have had lots of weird sicknesses all year. This is probably the goal that feels the heaviest. It's something only God can do. This year I want to reclaim and take ownership of my health for God's glory. Here are just a few action steps I'm taking:

  • Regular meetings with my counselor
  • Wean off medicine - replace with exercise
  • Exercise 30 minutes a day
  • Complete 3 Mommy Fit challenges 

4. Ease into the rhythmic way of life God has designed in the seasons

Over the last 3 years or so, I have fallen in love with the idea of seasons. There seem to be universal shifts in our schedules and hearts with each season, and I know that was an intentional design by God. Our foods change, weather changes, music changes, family routines change, etc. I want to explore what this looks like and as noted in my goal, ease into implementing changes to how we live based on what I learn. Part of this will also be exploring the liturgical year. Here are just a few action steps I'm taking:

  • Make master document of all traditions for each holiday
  • Review Sacred Ordinary Days Essentials Workbook
  • Add liturgical seasons to planner 

5. Grow roots down into friendships

Last year my friendship goal was to grow in vulnerability. I think I made some really good progress there, and this year I want to go a lot deeper in my friendships. Share the ugly sin, be bold, not live in fear. Here are just a few action steps I'm taking:

  • Keep a list on my phone of deeper topics to discuss with friends to make conversations more than mommy drama 
  • Add notes on how to best love friends under their contact info on my phone
  • Share my ugly sin (not just the socially acceptable sin)
  • Continue seeing a friend at least twice a week

6. Grasp grace in parenting and help my children love and cherish the Gospel

My biggest struggle in parenting is applying the gospel to discipline and showing my kids grace. I've always lived with very high standards for myself, and therefore others, and it has taken it's toll on my kids. It's heartbreaking for me to admit that, but obviously it's something I want to change. I want to soak in how grace applies to my parenting and give that out to my kids. I want my kids (but especially Reaghan since she is 3 years old) to know how to the gospel abundantly and completely meets them in the midst of their sin and in mommy and daddy's as well. Here are just a few action steps I'm taking:

  • Create a vision for our kids with Jordan - need resources for this
  • Pray out loud often with kids
  • Confess sin to kids, ask for forgiveness 

7. Sink deep into the mission of Natasha Red and grow my business

This verse has been so convicting and refreshing for me lately:

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. 

Galatians 6:4-5 (MSG)

My business is not owned by me, but by God. He has a purpose for it and it is my responsibility to uncover that purpose and be faithful to share it with the world. I am called to pray for my business, really take things slow and grow something meaningful that will both help women and honor Him. I'm not to look to the right or left and compare myself to what others are doing. To take notes from others on how to run my business, but to ultimately look to God for my business direction. This is so hard, being alone in this business (well Jordan is there for me, but it's basically just me working on this thing). Here are just a few action steps I'm taking:

  • Work through goal setting sheets form The Shop Files 
  • Create a Pinterest plan for my business 
  • Keep learning from Story Brand
  • Re-set weekly work hours
  • Time block work tasks for each work day

8. Design a life giving, simple, practical, and God honoring meal planner

Each of these words are intentional! It's my hope for the meal planners. Life giving - that they would be easy to use, fun to work through the devotionals, and a great resource for making both cooking + hospitality happen. I want women to look forward to filling out their meal planner, not dread planning their meals. Simple - I want the design to be easy to follow and clear. Not crowded, but easy on the eyes and beautiful to look at. I don't want it to be overwhelming, but make meal planning fun and simple for women. Practical - I want women to feel equipped, like they have the information they need to move forward with cooking simply and extending hospitality. God honoring - above all, I want God to inspire every inch of this new journal. I've learned so much from designing this past journal, and I don't want to rush anything just to get it out there. I don't need it to be perfect, but I want to go slow so I can listen to God along the way. Here are just a few action steps I'm taking:

  • Take a Skill Share class on InDesign 
  • Meet with Erin to discuss InDesign
  • Pray before each design session
  • Work on it weekly
  • Purchase my fonts and graphics
  • Have it edited for content + biblical integrity
  • Host a local focus group for feedback before printing 

9. Grow in my prayer life + reliance on the Lord

It has become abundantly clear to me that I need Jesus all day and that He is my only source of nourishment. I don't pray as often as I should, and usually struggle with finding the words to pray when I do. I want to go to Scripture as my rest, not media. Here are just a few action steps I'm taking:

  • Finish my "war room"
  • No TV on weekday nights (we already do this)
  • Set reminder on my phone to read scripture morning, at noon and before bed

10. Grow in oneness in marriage

We grew a lot in our marriage last year, and I want to go deeper into that. Here are just a few action steps I'm taking:


If some of my action steps seem a little incomplete, it's because I've included books in each category. Reading is a big way for me to learn and I anticipate a lot of personal change from just implementing what I learn from books. 

Tomorrow I'll be sharing the 25 books I'll be pairing with each of these goals! Then on Wednesday I'll share my word for the year :) 

Do you set goals? I'd love to hear about them. Share in the comments or leave a link to a post on goals so I can read! :)