These are words I’m trying very hard to live by these days. In this modern world, it’s incredibly easy to get sucked into all the technology that’s constantly surrounding us.
I heard on the radio (so it must be true) that 15 years ago, the average human attention span was 12 seconds. Doesn’t sound like much, but compare that to today’s average of only 8 seconds, and that’s a real shocker. To put that into perspective, a goldfish is said to have the attention span of 9 seconds. Yup, goldfish can stay focussed on something longer than us humans can.
When you really think about it, though, it’s not too surprising. The birth of the smartphone made so much information accessible to us instantly. A world of knowledge you can find in a few mere seconds, all while you eat your breakfast cereal or stand in line waiting for the bus.
You’d think we’d all be geniuses, with all that we could know.
Sadly, though, the majority of us use our smartphones for playing Candy Crush or lurking on Instagram. I’m guilty of it, I’ll admit. It’s hard not to get sucked into it – it’s right there. How many of us play silly games on our phones while simultaneously binge-watching Netflix? I do it. I’m ashamed of it, but I still do it. It’s kind of like multi-tasking, right?
But what ever happened to just being in the moment? What happened to life without endless technology at our fingertips?
Since the weather has been so fantastic this past month, a few friends and I have started a weekly hiking group. We get together on Saturday afternoons, drive somewhere new, and go on an adventure. There’s a rule, though: no smartphones (unless we get lost). Sure, take a few photos, but any form of social media is not allowed.
You don’t need to instagram that gorgeous lake you’re looking out over. Just enjoy it in the flesh, without a screen.
It seems like a silly rule to have to make, but you’d be surprised. There’s something to be said about enjoying the moment you’re in, and not having to document every second. Just be still, take life in, enjoy the moment without a screen in your hand. Stand on that cliff, close your eyes, breath in the fresh air. Feel the breeze, the sun, hear the leaves rustling and the squirrels climbing the trees.
It’s therapeutic. I love my weekly hikes… they take me away from the busy city and plunk me down in the middle of the forest, and it’s beautiful.
It’s easy to forget how wonderful nature is. I live in the city, I work in the city, I see thousands of cars and miles of cement every day. But there’s such a big, beautiful world out there, a world where smartphones don’t matter, Candy Crush is irrelevant, and Instagram is unimportant.
I’m trying (trying!) to “plug in less” in my every day life. I don’t need to check my Instagram feed when I eat my cereal in the morning. I don’t need to play solitaire while watching Netflix in the evenings. Hey, I don’t even need to watch Netflix in the evenings. Reading, it’s a thing! I don’t need to check my email while I’m laying in bed at night.
Plug in less. Life is so much better that way.
One thing that gets me – and I say this knowing how completely ironic it is – is people who take photos of their food. Now, hang on, I know, I co-run a food blog and take photos of my food. But it’s food that I’ve made, food that I love, food that I share. I take photos for the blog so I can share my favourite recipes with you and we can all be foodie friends. What I don’t understand is when people take pictures of food in restaurants when they go out to eat. At the dinner table, in a restaurant, with people around you. Can you just enjoy the food and the company you’re with? Do you really need to document it?
Hey, to each their own. I can understand people wanting to share the joys of food.
Sometimes, biting into something delicious is just as therapeutic as being in nature. Close your eyes, breath it in, take a bite, revel in the taste, texture, and flavour.
This recipe is one of those recipes that is in my regular rotation, it’s just that good. These meatballs are baked, making them easy and healthy, and they’re packed with heart-happy ingredients like quinoa and zucchini so you can fill your body with good-for-you-foods without knowing you’re filling your body with good-for-you foods. Hidden vegetables that the kids will actually want to eat. Served over a bed of creamy, warm polenta with a flavourful marinara sauce, it really doesn’t get any better than that. Light, healthy, satisfying comfort food.
If you’ve never had warm, creamy polenta, then I suggest you try it, asap. It’s not something I grew up with – actual noodles were my family’s go-to – so the concept was strange to me. Now I’m a creamy polenta convert; the texture and flavour of the polenta is to die for when paired with a saucy, meaty topping.
Of course, you can pair these meatballs with spaghetti and it’ll still be a delicious meal.
So next time you’re hanging out with your friends, put the smartphone away and don’t look at it until you’re home. Enjoy your friends, enjoy their company, be in the moment. Maybe make some yummy, healthy meatballs on polenta, and enjoy it with your senses rather than with your screen.
I promise, it’s worth it.
|Baked Turkey, Mushroom & Quinoa Meatballs on Creamy Polenta|| |
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup cooked quinoa*
- 1½ cup zucchini, grated and patted dry
- 600 grams ground turkey
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ½ tsp red chili flakes (optional, for heat)
- 1 tsp ground oregano
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ¼ cup red wine (optional)
- Fresh parsley, to serve
- Parmesan cheese, to serve
- Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil; set aside.
- To make polenta: Add water and salt to a medium pot over medium-high heat. Slowly pour in the polenta, whisking constantly to avoid clumping. Reduce heat and whisk continuously until thickened, about 5 minutes. Cover the polenta and cook on low heat, stirring every 10 minutes or so, for about 35 minutes. Once done, remove from heat and stir in butter.
- While polenta is cooking, make the meatballs: In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onion in oil until softened, 5 minutes. Add in garlic cook another 3-4 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Transfer onions to a food processor, then add quinoa, zucchini, turkey, parsley, chili flakes, oregano, pepper, and egg; pulse until combined. Shape into tablespoon-sized balls and place on prepared baking pan; bake for about 20-25 minutes until cooked through.
- While meatballs are cooking, make the sauce: In the same skillet you used previously, saute onion in oil for 5 minutes until softened. Add in garlic and stir, cooking another 3-4 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add tomatoes, salt, thyme, basil, oregano, and wine. Simmer on low heat until meatballs are done cooking.
- Serve polenta topped with sauce and meatballs. Garnish with basil and Parmesan cheese, if desired, and serve immediately.
Rinse ⅓ cup quinoa in a fine mesh sieve. Combine quinoa with ⅔ cup water, a pinch of salt, and a small glug of olive oil. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.