Hello everyone!

My name is Amy and I am the Support Ministry Manager here at Thrive! I live in Nashville, TN with my husband and children. Can I just start by saying I love food! One of my favorite authors Shauna Niequist says in one of her books that there are two kinds of people: people that wake up thinking about what's for dinner and people who don't. I am one of those people that wakes up thinking about food. And not just any kind of food but good food.

For me, three things define good food.

#1: Fresh.

#2: Well prepared.

#3: Natural. 

With that being said, I'm not perfect. I don't make my own pasta. I can't always get my produce from the farmer's market. I eat Reese's Sonic Blasts from time to time. And I most definitely indulge in some bread and chocolate when I have a bad day.

But every day I try to make healthy choices that nourish my body. I also try to enjoy cooking. Meal preparation can be so much fun. I love the ooze of the tomato in that first slice. I love the smell of bread dough after it's been rising for an hour. I love the anticipation of the first bite into a new dish. I find it therapeutic to sit and peel and cut apples for apple pie. There's something about working with my hands in the kitchen that is completely soothing and satisfying. 

So get your hands dirty and have fun in the kitchen this week! Whether you include your kiddos in a fun recipe or send them off with their daddy while you take some time to cook alone, schedule out a night to cook a meal for you and your family. Pick something comforting. Pick something new and exciting. Pick whatever your little tummy desires. Just cook something.

Here is my recipe for a healthy version of traditional spaghetti that I adore. I came up with this recipe after many trial and errors at my kitchen stovetop and I have to say it's been perfected after many failures we trashed or somehow made ourselves stomach even though it was not good in the slightest. It is super easy and a big hit with my kids! This is a great meal to make and freeze, take to a friend, or make for a new mama.

Traditionally Healthy Spaghetti

This serves 8 people. This is a large recipe so invite your friends over!

Ingredients

1.5 lbs organic ground beef (we buy ours at Costco)

1 package brown rice pasta (we buy ours at Trader Joe's)

*Optional: Some kind of italian blend of cheese - ours is a four cheese blend from Trader Joe's 

8 ripe tomatoes (we get ours at our local farmer's market)

1 whole onion (also from the farmer's market)

2 tbsp sea salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp basil

1 tsp black pepper

Instructions

Let's start with the most important part -- the sauce

Dice the tomatoes & onion and combine with the spices into a blender. Blend for approximately 2 minutes pulsing on and off or until smooth.

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Once you have blended the sauce, put it in a pot on the stovetop and let it simmer for about 45 minutes on medium low heat while you prepare the rest of the meal.

Next, brown your ground beef in a skillet. Most people put their skillet on medium heat and cook the meat as fast as possible. I like to let mine slow cook for the remaining time of the sauce (around 40ish minutes) on medium low heat also. I think it gives the meat the best chance to be tender and not tough.

After you get your meat going, sit down and relax for a minute. Cooking doesn't always have to be rushed. I like to read a quick book to my two year old, do a few dishes, make more coffee, or of course scroll through instagram.

When there is around 10-15 minutes left, add your meat into your pasta sauce and turn it down to low heat. Then, start cooking your pasta. The brown rice pasta I use only takes 10 minutes. Strain your pasta just before it feels tender. The pasta sauce will be hot when you add it to your pasta and will finish off that last minute of cooking to make your pasta perfectly soft and tender.

Combine pasta with your meat sauce and top with cheese. Serve and enjoy!

I loved sharing with all you wonderful mamas today! You can find me on social media and here at Thrive! Have a wonderful week!

Blessings,

Amy - Joy Unbundled

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