“The Real Deal” Hamburger Buns (Paleo)

Hey Everyone!

Thanks for hanging in there during these times when I am not able to post much. I have just reached my first “break” for the NTP course through the Nutritional Therapy Association! So far it has been absolutely INCREDIBLE! I have learned so much and met soooo many wonderful, likeminded people! I highly recommend looking into it if you also have a passion for helping yourself and others heal by using the power and intuition of the body and nutrient dense foods.

While I think I have finally found a happy balance of doing school work again with my daily life activities, I tend to always tip the scale towards doing “too much” and running myself into the ground (at a steady rate). Just when I think I am pretty efficient at doing A-Z tasks, I realize there is always room for improvement. So, lately I have tried being less lackadaisical when it comes to meal prep (thinking that basic, quick, daily meal prep and shopping was the best route) and really focused on having one or a maximum of two full meal prep days where I make most of my meals (and my clients meals) in one chunk of time. Not only does this get me to plan more creative meals but also gives me a chance to try out new fun recipes myself and takes the extra hour out of other days that I would normally stop what I am doing to shop-cook-etc.

For the past MONTH (or so) I have been working on making a paleo hamburger bun that actually resembles a typical hamburger bun. Mostly I’ve gotten a lot of things that taste good but don’t have the right consistency, until now! By total accident, I made this bun with two types of flours, and to my surprise they both came out wonderfully. The cassava flour version of this bun is slightly less-moist and has an awesome macro-ratio for those that are following specific macro-oriented eating plans, while the cashew flour version is a bit more spongey and higher in fat (which is certainly not a bad thing, you need those good fats!). Try them out and let me know which version is your favorite!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup Cassava Flour (or 1 cup Cashew Flour)
  • 3 TB Psyllium Husk Powder
  • 4 free-range, organic eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1/3 tsp. Natural Baking Soda
  • 2/3 tsp. Cream of Tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Toasted Sesame Seeds (optional)

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

– In a food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until fully combined.

-Let the mixture sit for a minute to fully absorb the liquids, then with damp hands, form dough into 4 large balls (the dough will be wet and sticky but will hold a “hamburger bun” shape).

-Sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds if you’d like!

-Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops start to turn golden brown.

-Let cool for 2-3 minutes and then cut in half and enjoy with your favorite burger!

Macros Counts:

Cassava Buns (1 bun)= 157 Calories, 4.9g Fat, 21g Carbohydrates, 6.8g Protein.

Cashew Buns (1 bun)= 265 Calories, 20.7g Fat, 12.7g Carbohydrates, 12g Protein

Sweet Potato Sloppy Joe Sliders (Paleo)

I’m not going to lie, the holidays are crazy, and so is my schedule right now! Instead of boring you with my weekly life-lessons and updates, we’ll just get right to the point. Here is a fun recipe that turns another childhood favorite into a more sophisticated, comforting meal. I hope you enjoy it as much as I (and a few taste testers) did!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4″ thick rounds
  • 1 TB. avocado oil
  • 1 TB. coconut oil
  • 1 lb. grassfed ground beef
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 TB. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 TB. raw honey
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 TB. water
  • 1 cup spinach leaves (optional)

Instructions:
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F)

-In a large bowl toss the sweet potato rounds in avocado oil, salt and pepper

-Place seasoned sweet potato rounds on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 30-35 minutes, flipping halfway

-While potatoes are baking, add the coconut oil to a large skillet over medium heat and cook the beef until only a little pink remains

-Add the onion, celery and garlic and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes

-Add tomato paste, cumin, chili powder and paprika to the meat mixture and stir for 1 minute

-Add the honey, apple cider vinegar, tomato sauce and water to the mixture, stir to combine and summer on low for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper

-Once the sweet potatoes are done cooking arrange them on a serving plate with toppings of your choice! I like to add spinach leaves for a fun color pop (they also hold on the meat quite well) or you could use larger lettuce leaves as a “boat” for the sliders

Lamb Stuffed Delicata Squash (Paleo)

You know how life goes, just when you think something is going to go down a certain way, things change. It’s the story of my life, and probably yours too. Amidst getting ready to celebrate thanksgiving with my family I received news that the offer on my house had fallen though, the same day that I had just accepted two new jobs in the area I had intended on moving to. Obviously all of the change, the new jobs, and etc. were based on the fact that my house was going to sell and that was seemingly going to be a quick process, so you can imagine the chaos that went through my mind after getting this news. Coincidentally when I got this phone call I was at my parents house, it’s always a blessing to have people around that love and support you no matter what when the sky feels like its suddenly falling on you. To my surprise, my dad, who can at times be quite negative (in a protective, only wanting the best for his daughter, kind of way), had the most positive reaction to the situation and said something I always say, “what’s meant to be will happen, something better will come”. Seeing my dad staying positive in this situation reminded me that everything I had been working towards in my “new” life: objectives, goals, and plans; was correct. Just because this one piece of the puzzle didn’t fit where I expected it to doesn’t mean that it won’t fit somewhere else- where it is supposed to be. The house is now back on the market, showings are often, another open house is planned, I start one of my new jobs tomorrow and I couldn’t be happier to start this new chapter in my life. Sometimes the things worth having in your life take the most work, but in the end the struggle makes the success that much sweeter. Just a little monday motivation to keep pursuing those goals 😉

Oh yah, and that recipe thing! Lamb isn’t something I’ve always loved but I’ve recently found that when it’s paired with the right ingredients it can be quite tasty and a nice change from my go-to proteins. I found this amazing locally sourced ground lamb and local produce from my favorite spot, River Valley Market. I highly recommend finding a trusted butcher or market that can tell you about your meats: where they come from, how they are treated, meet the farmer if you can! The most nutrient dense meats come from healthy, happy animals and supporting these sustainable and ethical farming practices is beneficial for the consumer, the producer and the environment alike. Happy cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 2 delicata squash, halved and de-seeded
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1 TB. coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup mint, finely chopped
  • 2 TB. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F)

-Place the halved squash face up on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until it can be easily punctured by a fork

-While the squash is cooking, heat coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat

-Add onion to the saucepan and cook until translucent, 3-5 minutes, then add garlic and ground lamb, using a spatula to break up lamb into small chunks

-Cook lamb until mostly brown then add in orange zest, juice, rosemary, mint, salt and pepper, turn to summer and cook for 2-3 more minutes

-Remove from heat and set aside until squash is done cooking, then fill each halve of squash with the lamb mixture and return to the oven on broil for 2-3 minutes until the tops are slightly crisp

-Remove from oven, garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve!

Apple & Cherry Stuffed Pork

Pork has been on sale at River Valley Market for a few weeks now. Depending on when I’m able to get there I usually stock up on whatever is a good deal! Most of their meats are locally sourced, pasture raised, hormone and antibiotic free- so the good news is you can’t really go wrong there! Same for the butcher shop in Northampton: Sutter Meats. Everything there is top of the line, although it’s a little more expensive so I tend to just get specialty items there like marrow bones.

Anywho, the last few times we’ve eaten pork chops the recipes have been super basic: grilled, seasoned and baked, etc. So today I wanted to change things up a bit. I’ve stuffed pork chops with all sorts of things, but growing up I HAD to have applesauce with my pork so for me, pork and apples are like peanut butter and jelly. When I was thinking of other ingredients to add to the mix I quickly shuffled through the usual suspects like pears, bacon, cranberries, and decided to try out cherries! For shits and giggles I googled stuffed pork recipes and what do you know- I definitely wasn’t the first one with this idea!

PaleOMG popped up as one of the first recipe links so I happily followed her recipe (with a few variations) and it came out pretty darn good! Heres what I used:

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 thick cut pork chops
  • 1 medium apple, cored and finely diced
  • 3/4 cup red cherries, pitted and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 TB coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees

-In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in 1 TB of coconut oil until translucent

-Add the apple, cherry, cinnamon, garlic powder and cloves to the skillet an cook until soft, about 6 minutes

   

 -While stuffing is cooking cut pockets in the pork through the fatty side of the meat, be careful not to chop off a finger or cut through to the other side!

-Season the outside of the pork chops with salt and pepper then stuff them with as much yummy goodness as possible

-Place stuffed chops on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes

-Then enjoy!

  
 

 

 

 

Parsnip and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Thighs (Paleo, AIP, 21DSD)

Sometimes life likes to throw everything at you all at once, for me this happens quite often. As much as I feel like I handle multiple tasks well, the body isn’t made to be in a constant state of overdrive. If you think about the human lifestyle before the modern convenience of homes, cars, grocery stores and etc, humans hand to find a way to survive and thrive on their own. Hunting and gathering were tasks that involved much walking, short bursts of high intensity movement, and selectively expending energy if the payoff was greater than the loss. Humans slept when the sun went down and woke when the sun came up. They had to expend enough energy each day to achieve deep restorative sleep each night, they couldn’t rely on coffee and energy drinks to get them moving in the morning. The human body works the same way as it did back when life was simply about survival.

When the body is in a state of heightened alertness, it is in fight or flight mode. Essentially your body is turning up its senses and getting ready to react to whatever situation may arise. In this state, the focus is on survival, all other processes like digestion are slowed so the body can react quickly. Your body enters the fight or flight stage more often then you think, this response can be triggered by daily deadlines, important phone calls, incoming bills, making big decisions, or simply running late for work. Most of us live in this state quite often, and even though it may not trigger a panic attack or extreme anxiety that being chased by a bear would elicit, the effect on your body remains the same.

In addition to living in a world where the daily hustle exists in almost everyone’s lives, we tend to stack harmful behaviors against our bodies by not getting the proper quantity or quality of sleep. Sleep is the only anabolic state for the body… deep sleep, that is. Being awake is a catabolic state, meaning our bodies are breaking down daily and the only way to restore and replenish them is by getting DEEP sleep! Can you see how this would be important? Deep sleep is also known as stage 3 and 4, Non-REM, during this stage you typically do not have dreams. Your body can only make growth-hormone when you sleep, and it’s also smart enough to only make this available at night. if you think you can outsmart your circadian rhythm and sleep whenever you feel like it and reap the same benefits, you are sadly mistaken.

Recognizing the importance of getting adequate sleep and spending large parts of the day in rest-and-digest mode instead of fight-or-flight is the first step. Doing so in such a fast-paced modern world presents its own challenges. While I am doing my own experimentation on learning how to find the proper balance to support my body, learning and listening to other people’s methods of relaxation is always helpful. I have recently tuned into a few new podcasts. I highly recommend listening to episode #51 from the Total Human Optimization podcast called Sleep Smarter with Shawn Stevenson. (Thank you Rick for recommending that one!) There are also some great talks on the Underground Wellness Podcast, and tune into the Functional Wellness Summit that will be available to listen to for FREE from April 14-21st, all you have to do is enter your e-mail to receive the link to the interviews. There is always more to learn and educating yourself is the best way to start living a better life.


Now for the recipe! This is another one that came out of the “whatever is in my kitchen” approach, but I have to say its savory, satisfying and delicious! Oh, and its pretty easy! Try it out 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. boneless chicken thighs (I used skinless but you could also leave the skin on!)
  • 3 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 1 package of sugar-free bacon
  • 2 cups spinach
  • sea salt
  • poultry seasoning

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-In a large skillet, cook 2 slices of bacon until crispy.

-In the microwave or on the stove, steam parsnips until you can easily pierce them with a fork and mash them until no large chunks remain

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-When bacon is cooked remove it from the skillet and add the spinach, sauté until spinach is wilted

-Chop the crispy bacon into 1/4 inch pieces and add it to the mashed parsnip

-Add the cooked spinach to the parsnips also, mix to combine ingredients

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-Season the inside and outside of the chicken thighs with salt and poultry seasoning

-Place a large scoop of the parsnip mixture in the center of each chicken thigh and wrap with an uncooked slice of bacon (use a toothpick to secure the bacon if needed)

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-Place the stuffed thighs on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes

-Turn the oven to HI broil and cook for 2-4 minutes, flipping halfway so the bacon cooks on all sides

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-Remove from oven and serve! Yum!

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Hidden Liver Bacon Meatballs (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

I hope everyone had a great Easter! I spent my day working at Jake’s and baking most of the evening. I did, of course, miss seeing my family and my boyfriend’s family but I plan to see them all another time soon! This past Saturday I had a great Primal Treats and Eats tasting at my home gym, Crossfit Iron Will. It was the last day of the Lurong Paleo Challenge and I was super impressed by everyones improvements and overall results. I love the paleo challenges because it motivates people to try paleo and stick to it for a certain amount of time. Obviously not everyone is successful in staying on track, but at the very least it helps people develop the skills to live a healthier lifestyle. I wish everyone would take these skills and continue on with the paleo diet and lifestyle after the challenges, but if they don’t then I hope they were successful enough during the challenge to see and feel the difference in their body when it is properly nourished. (Here’s where I will remind everyone that gluten remains in your system for about 14 days… if you can’t go 2 weeks without consuming gluten then you will never know how great your body can feel without it!)

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Here’s a shot of my setup at CFIW! I love being able to provide people with paleo treats! I do, however, know that treats are treats, and they aren’t meant to be binge eaten just like conventional processed crap. I take pride in making sure all of my treats have only the highest quality, organic, locally sourced (when possible) and nutrient dense ingredients. These are intended to be consumed as treats! They are perfect for special occasions, for a quick boost of energy, and as a reward for a long week of hard work. I bake them because I find that there aren’t many (if at all) good options for paleo treats, and they have become part of a modern lifestyle. I also happen to really enjoy creating beautiful, delicious and nutrient dense treats, and the same goes for meals. Paleo can be fun, interesting, exciting, and challenging if you commit yourself to it. It can also be pretty darn easy! It is what you make of it, and I hope that more people start to realize that you only have things to gain when you switch to a paleo lifestyle.


Today I wanted to share this awesome recipe that I created to work on incorporating more organ meats into my daily life. Organ meats are some of the most nutrient dense foods out there, and it’s a shame that people get so irked by them! I love liver pate but I wanted to make a recipe that incorporated liver and could appeal to a larger group of people, including kids! I think these tasty bacon-wrapped meatballs might be the key, try it out and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. grassfed ground beef
  • 3-4 chicken livers, diced into 1/4 inch chunks
  • 1 package of sugar-free bacon (if your having a hard time finding this try US Wellness meats or Pete’s Paleo)
  •  2. TB arrowroot
  • 1 TB. dried rosemary, finely ground
  • 1 TB. dried thyme
  • 1 TB. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. himalayan sea salt
  • dash of freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except for bacon and mix until well incorporated

-Form meat mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and wrap a half a slice of bacon around each

-Place meatballs in a large rimmed baking dish, with the ends of the bacon slices tucked under the meatballs

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-Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for 5 more minutes

-Remove from oven to flip back over so the bacon is on top and turn oven to broil

-Return meatballs to oven for 3-5 minutes until bacon is crispy (make sure to leave the oven cracked open when broiling or else the meatballs will be overcooked

-Let cook for a few minutes and then enjoy!

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Notes: I like chicken livers because they have a more mild taste than beef liver. I have not tried beef liver in this recipe yet but once I do I will update this post with the results! Also, make sure you are using high quality chicken livers, just like the rest of the meat from the animal, organs of poorly fed and maintained animals should be avoided! Look for locally sourced, organic, pasture raised chickens without hormones or antibiotics. If you live in western mass check out Sutter Meats or River Valley Market if you can’t get to a local farm. If you have a meat grinder feel free to use that to grind up the liver. If not, a sharp knife will work just fine. Also- If you are not avoiding FODMAP’s try adding some sautéed onions and grated garlic to the meatballs! Yum!

PBLT Burgers (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

This week is panning out to be a long one! It’s only tuesday and I’m feeling a little run-down already, luckily I have the day off tomorrow and hope to get some relaxing in between baking, errands, vet visits and the gym. I’ve started to work my way slowly back into lifting and doing some controlled WOD’s on a more regular basis and it seems to be going well! My back is completely healed now and my shoulder hasn’t been getting the shooting-intense pain that it was before, just resting annoying dull pain… I know that doesn’t sound good either but it’s what I’ve been dealing with on and off for over a year now. Between chiropractic, electric stim, low level laser therapy, massage and now also acupuncture, its GOT to get better! Please??

Anyways, I made this recipe about a week ago while I was i the midst of perfecting my pork belly recipe. At Jake’s we have a “Spicy PBLT” with pork belly, lettuce and tomato. Seeing as nightshades are a group of foods that I likely will ever be able to reincorporate into my diet, I thought I would come up with my own version of a “PBLT”. So, the Pork Belly, Lettuce and Turkey Burger was born! This has got to be the best turkey burger I have ever had… I hope you enjoy it as well!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 lb. pork belly
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup jicama, peeled and shredded
  • 1 tsp. rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

Instructions:

-Follow my recipe below for crispy pork belly, after braising the pork belly and letting it cool in the fridge, cut into desired sized pieces, cut off the skin and pan sear the pork belly until the fat has rendered off. This should take about 15 minutes so plan accordingly!

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-In a large bowl combine the ground turkey, scallions, jicama, rosemary, turmeric and sea salt. Mix with hands to incorporate and then separate into three 1/3lb. patties.

-In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat sear the turkey patties for 5 minutes per side.

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-Place the skillet with burgers into the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes until no pink remains in the center

-Remove from oven and garnish with a large slab of pork belly, and some sautéed spinach. If your feeling up for it add a sweet potato bun or wrap in a large leaf of lettuce.

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Enjoy!

Notes: These burgers can also be cooked on the grill… mine just didn’t happen to be accessible at the time!

Guacamole Stuffed Squeeler Bugers (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

Yesterday was my day off for the week so I celebrated by hanging out with some of my best friends and of course cooking all day. I love cooking and it makes it even more enjoyable when you have appreciative mouths to feed! I also got to ride my horse in the morning and took a nice long Epsom salt jacuzzi bath to add some therapy and relaxation into my day. More about the importance of magnesium and Epsom salt baths coming soon!



This is how three gluten free girls get down on a Sunday: tea’s all around!


I started the burgers by making individually wrapped guacamole squares and throwing them in the freezer so when we were ready to cook the burgers, the guacamole was frozen. Avocados are listed as a “moderate FODMAP” food, so in order to keep these on the lower-FODMAP side I used one slightly ripe avocado and one unripe avocado. If you have a hard time determining how ripe avocados are the coloration is a pretty good determinant, but you should also feel each one. The more ripe the avocado is the more “squishy” it will be. Be careful not to buy avocados that are over-ripe because they will have black spots on the inside. 



From left to right: the darkest avocado is the most ripe, while unripe avocado is green. 

 Ingredients for the Guacamole:

  • 2 avocados (one slightly ripe, one unripe)
  • 1/2 fresh lemon (or lime)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt

Instructions: 

 -Cut the avocados in half and remove the seed 

 -Scoop the meat out of the avocado into a large mixing bowl. For the unripe avocado you will have to use a little elbow grease to get the meat out, and before adding it to the bowl I suggest chopping it into small pieces because it will not “mash” like the slightly ripe avocado will 

 -Add the lemon, cilantro and salt to the avocado 

 -Mash with a fork until the mixture is well incorporated and on the softer side 

 -Scoop about 2 TB. of the mixture onto some plastic wrap or parchment paper, forming into small squares or circles

 -Wrap each glob of guacamole individually and throw them in the freezer for a few hours until frozen



 For the Burgers:

  • 1 lb. grassfed ground beef
  • 1 lb. pasture raised ground pork
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Instructions: 

-Preheat grill to medium-high heat 

 -In a large mixing bowl combine beef, pork, salt and pepper 

 -Toss well to combine then section into 1/4 lb. balls 

 -Remove your frozen guacamole squares or circles from the freezer and work them into the center of each meatball forming them into patties 

-Grill for 5-8 minutes per side depending on how you like your burger cooked 

 -Top with whatever you like and enjoy!

I topped our burgers with Irish bacon and wrapped them in rainbow chard. Yum!



Orange Chicken Meatballs (Paleo, AIP, LowFODMAP, 21DSD)

The hard part of my week is officially over, I finished the Smolov Jr. squat program today and will be testing my back squat next week to see how I have improved. Honestly if I hit my max of 205 again with better form I will be happy with that! The only thing I have left this week is the opens WOD tomorrow. Chest to bar pull-ups and overhead squats… I actually really like the format of the workout but those movements are still pretty questionable for my almost-healed back and pinched nerve that affects my right trap (especially overhead). So, here I am again stuck between the fact that I know I can do the workout RX’d but not sure if thats the best choice for my physical health at this point in time. I plan on trying to mash the crap out of my traps tonight and hope to be feeling good in the morning.

Anyways, I got a bunch of ground dark meat local chicken at the coop the other day and wanted to take another shot at making orange-glazed chicken so here it goes!

Ingredients:


For the Meatballs:

  • 2 lbs. ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 TB. arrowroot
  • 1 1/2 tsp. orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric

Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-In a large bowl combine all of the above ingredients and mix well

-Form meat mixture into 2 inch balls and place on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet

-Bake for 30 minutes, turning halfway

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For the Orange Glaze:

  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • 2 tsp. ginger, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 TB. apple cigar vinegar
  • 1 tsp. arrowroot

Instructions:

-In a large bowl combine the orange juice, coconut aminos, ginger and vinegar

-Bring liquid to a low boil then simmer for 5 minutes

-While whisking continuously, slowly add the arrowroot until sauce reaches desired consistancy (this is important to do slowly or else the arrowroot will clump and the sauce will not thicken!)

-When meatballs are done, toss them in this delicious sauce and serve!

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