Slow and savory

Spaghetti sauce and meatballs fill a quiet afternoon

The right choice is sometimes the one that hurts the most.

After one last heartbreak, I made the decision to end my suffering and give up my hopes for a daughter. My mind and body can take no more, and now I am left in a void. For so long my focus, my future, my identity was consumed by this plan I had for my life that was completely out of my hands.

Without that goal, I have been wandering in a daze, searching for the person I will be. I had planned to stay home until both children were in school and then return to work, but now that my only child is in school all day, my time as a stay-at-home mother must come to an end.

Another season of my life has abruptly passed.

Job hunting takes time and patience, but I am desperate to speed the process and end my time in this uncomfortable limbo. Suddenly faced with whole days alone in an empty house, I feel guilty in the silence. How useless I am as a stay-at-home cat mom.

I try to busy myself with productive and enjoyable tasks, but nothing fills the empty spot in my heart. I need to be needed, to nurture, to mother. It was almost everything I was, and now it just isn’t anymore. Not entirely, anyway.

I am determined to meet this need in employment. There are so many souls who could benefit from my caring heart, there are many children to nurture, and many lives to touch.

Anchored by my roots to my home here on the strawberry patch, I will soon make my own branch in the community. I will meet new people and make new friends. I will learn more about myself and this life I love. I don’t know who I will be yet, but I know I will succeed.

With my many hours of guilty silence one day, I made a batch of slow spaghetti sauce and some turkey meatballs. These savory meatballs are loaded with enough cheese and herbs to change your mind about ground turkey, but you can substitute pork or beef if you wish.


1 pound ground turkey

½ cup ricotta cheese

1 tablespoon finely minced garlic

½ cup finely grated Parmesan

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ cup fresh minced parsley

1 egg


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with your hands.

Wash your hands and prepare a bowl of ice water large enough to dip your hands in. Keeping your hands cold while you form the balls will prevent them from sticking to your hands and will result in a smoother meatball.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. I like parchment better for this because the meatballs tend to stick less on ungreased parchment than they do on ungreased foil. If you’re using foil, I suggest a little nonstick spray.

Roll the meat into balls using your cold hands. The meatballs should be about the size of a golf ball — remember they will shrink a bit when cooked.

Bake until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. I would give you a specific time for this, but with ground poultry I must insist you confirm with a thermometer that the meat is thoroughly cooked. Start checking at 15 minutes.

Serve with pasta, salad, and topped with tomato or Alfredo sauce.