I've been making a meal very similar to the one in this post ever since Jared and I got married. I decided, now that I'm an adult, I need to start cooking! This recipe was my favorite because it was so easy, filling and tasty. I've never had meatballs better than this, and they couldn't be simpler. Now, as I am a more seasoned cook, I decided to update this tried and true recipe to suit my current tastes. After a week of eating oatmeal for breakfast and pizza for lunch and pasta with toast for dinner (no joke!), I decided I needed to cut back a bit on my gluten intake. So, instead of couscous which the original recipe called for, I switched to quinoa. I've also been trying to eat more vegetables, so I threw in some spinach. I new it would be a more nutritious version, but I didn't realize how much better it would taste! I had to share it with you.

First, get your quinoa cooking. You'll need 1 cup - 1 1/2 cups of quinoa, cook according to package directions.
Quinoa is all the rage right now, but it really is good! It is a gluten-free seed that has a couscous like consistency and a nutty flavor when cooked. If you haven't tried it, I definitely recommend it. 
Next, make your meatballs! Well, first, preheat your oven to 350. Then, make your meatballs! You will need 1 1/2 lbs ground beef, 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs, 1/2 cup pesto, 1 egg, salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients together with your hands. Isn't cooking fun?
Now mold the meat into 12 equally sized meatballs. Grease a cookie sheet or some other pan with a rim with just enough olive oil, you don't want to fry your meatballs. Unless you do, I bet that would taste awesome! Place the meatballs in the pan.
Bake for 15 minutes and flip the meatballs. Then bake for another 10 minutes. While the meatballs are cooking, wilt some spinach. You will need: 2 bags of pre-washed spinach and about 2 inches of water in a pretty big pot. Boil the water and then throw in as much spinach as will fit into the pot.
Stir it around with the hot water and as it starts to wilt continue to add more spinach, until you have cooked both bags. 
Man I love spinach. I love how it leaves your teeth feeling clean, you know what I mean? Maybe that's just me. Once you cooked down both bags, drain out the water and set the spinach aside. When your meatballs are done, spoon the quinoa into bowls, and top with 3 meatballs and a healthy helping of spinach. Top with some more pesto mixed with a bit of olive oil to make it more like a sauce. If you're pesto is already quite liquidy then skip this step, you can just spoon it over the meatballs and spinach as it is. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired, and serve!
This recipe could be easily adapted to be gluten free; just substitute the bread crumbs in the meatballs with some gluten free stuff, or take it out altogether. Your meatballs may not stay together as well, but you break 'em apart anyway when you eat. Pesto Meatballs with Quinoa and Spinach could also be dairy free if you don't add parmesan cheese. Just make sure to buy (or make) a pesto that does not have any cheese in it already.
Pesto Meatballs with Quinoa and Spinach
Serves 4

1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
3/4 cup pesto
1 egg
1 1/2 cups quinoa
2 bags pre-washed spinach
salt and pepper
olive oil
grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare quinoa with package directions. In a large bowl combine ground beef, bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of the pesto, egg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Grease a rimmed pan with olive oil. Form 12 evenly sized meatballs and place on pan. Bake for 15 minutes, turn once and bake for another 10 minutes. You might want to cut up one meatball to make sure it's done before serving. Bring about 2 inches of water to a boil in a large pot. Add as much spinach as will fit in the pot and cook down until there is room for more spinach. In this way wilt all the spinach. Drain the water and set spinach aside. 

Spoon quinoa into bowls and top with 3 meatballs and lots of spinach. Mix 1/4 cup of pesto with some olive oil to make it more liquidy, if necessary. Top meatballs and spinach with pesto. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on it too, why not?

What a weekend! It was 0 degrees (or degree?) yesterday. Today, I am in the process of grading a pile of papers about 2 inches tall. If that doesn't sound like that much, get out a ruler, hold it perpendicular to a flat surface, and imagine pages filling that space, each sheet requiring careful scrutiny. Oh, I'll just save you the trouble.
But I shouldn't complain. The kids are doing well on their assignments, and that makes me happy. Plus, I've been imagining that I'm sitting in an adirondack chair digging my feet into warm, white sand and drinking a mojito as I gaze on the cerulean sea. That helps a lot. To further my fantasy, I've been listening to bossa nova all day! This is a ritual I have every winter since we moved to Chicago, but I forgot about it this year for some reason! Until Thursday night, when I was watching a weird Brazilian movie called Black Orpheus. 
Now, I had a perfectly good reason for watching such a weird movie, but before I defend my choice, I want to make it clear that I am known to watch strange foreign films for no reason at all and usually enjoy them thoroughly. One of my students is going to read Ovid's Orpheus and Eurydice myth (yes that's right...Ovid, my favorite Latin author whom I mentioned in a previous post, I am so excited!) and I was doing research on other versions of the myth and came across this film, which just happened to be in Netflix's instant watch category! I dropped everything and watched it, and I'm so glad I did because it was one of the most charming movies I've seen in a long time! 
See?! So sweet. Not only was it charming, it also had wonderful Brazilian music, which reminded me of my ritualistic brumal escapism. My artist of choice is Bebel Gilberto, the daughter of Joao Gilberto. I adore her! Here's one of her more famous songs.
*sigh* Doesn't it just melt the tension in your shoulders? I love it.

 Do you indulge in escapism? Whence do you escape and whither do you go?
Like I said yesterday, I spend way too much time on etsy. But, it's a good thing, because I find all sorts of stuff that really inspires me! So I thought I would start sharing my finds with you, in the hopes that you too would be moved to create something! Or at least enjoy the craftsmanship of others! You can click on these images and it will take you to the etsy store. Enjoy!

I am fully ensconced in my etsy shop, Art of Ariadne now! I've made 9 sales! Jared's brother even made a cool logo for me!
Neat, huh! The yarn is wrapped around the finger because Ariadne helped Theseus remember his way out of the Labyrinth! Clever girl! 

I'm working on a new item tonight, a pencil holder with a pretty knit cover. I'll post pictures when I finish!
5. Read an entire work (something good), in Latin!

I'm a Latin teacher, for those who don't know, but...brace yourself...I've never read an entire book in Latin. Whew, it feels good to get that off my chest. So, I wanted to find a book that was really worth the effort and that I would thoroughly enjoy. Nothing too lofty or abstract. But I think I finally found something! 
Thisbe-John William Waterhouse
When I was at home for Christmas break, I found some old textbooks from college and one of them has selections from Ovid's Metamorphoses! My favorite story from Metamorphoses is Pyramus and Thisbe. It's essentially the inspiration for Romeo and Juliet, so, it's kind of a big deal. Not only is it a beautiful story in itself, but the Latin is so...charming! I can't think of a better word for it.  Reading it makes my heart race and I can't help but smile! Get a load of this!

conscius omnis abest, nutu signisque loquuntur,
quoque magis tegitur, tectus magis aestuat ignis.

Just read it out loud, don't worry about what it means. Gorgeous isn't it? muah! bellissimum! If Pyramus and Thisbe is this great, I'm sure the rest of the Metamorphoses will be delightful.

6. Now for an equally lofty literary endeavor, to complete the Buffy Season 8 comic book series!
This will probably be the easiest goal for me to complete this year, but I'm still super giddy about it!
If you're like me, you've been craving light, zesty, summery meals after all the festivities featuring decadent seasonal treats. So, tonight I whipped up one of our favorite meals, a pasta tossed with olive oil, grape tomatoes, garlic and basil then sprinkled copiously with parmesan. So simple and so delicious, it really doesn't need any explanation. I'll just jump straight to the recipe.
Summer Garden Pasta
adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home

4.5 pints grape tomatoes, sliced in half.
1/2 cup olive oil
6 cloves minced garlic
1 bunch of basil leaves, about the size depicted above, cut chiffonade style. Leave a few whole for garnish
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound whole grain angel hair or linguine pasta.
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

Combine the tomatoes, oil, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir to combine and let sit for as long as you can stand it! Ina Garten recommends at least 4 hours, but I usually can only handle waiting 2 hours, and it's still delicious! About 15 minutes before you are ready to serve, boil water for your pasta, and cook according to the package directions. Drain and add to tomato oil mixture. Toss with 1 cup parmesan cheese and plate. Garnish with a few whole basil leaves and sprinkle with a bit more parmesan.