Curried Turkey Meatballs and The Choice to Always Be a Homemaker

Autumn is here in our sleepy town of Oakwood. I'm sitting in my sunny upstairs bedroom with windows on both sides opened, listening to the neighbors crunch the fallen leaves as they take their morning walk to town for a cuppa and a scone at the best little English tea shop. 

These mornings are usually only ones for the weekends~ as I am rushing out the door alongside the boys and Mike to get to the studio (3 blocks away) for work during the week.
Today is a luxury~ Issue seven just headed to print yesterday and so I will savor this mug of coffee and bowl of overnight oats with pumpkin a little more slowly.
I am often asked if life is still 'normal' for us. And by that I know what they mean. What they want to know is, 'are you too busy to do homemaking anymore?" My answer is always "no".

Can you ever really leave behind a passion that is written on your heart?
I surely hope not.
In my case it is impossible.

Creating home is my ethos. Simplicity with purpose makes sense to me. Candlelit family dinners around our farm table are a foundational practice for our family. Baking with my boys brings me greater joy than any issue hot off the press ever will. And curling up for Masterpiece Mystery with Mr. Handsome will always give me butterflies.

The magazine is a beautiful addition to my already full life.

A few weeks ago I was tucking Ezra under the covers for sleep. He looked up in a moment of seriousness (rare for this giggle box of an 8 year old boy) and asked, "Do you think you'll do the magazine forever?" Immediately mom-guilt set in. "Poor boy", I thought, "he misses having me home. My travel schedule must really be getting to him finally...... (my mind did several laps around this sort of thinking in a matter of seconds.)
My question back to him was, "do you miss having mommy home?" His response took me back. And it filled my heart with gratitude for such an amazing set of men I get to have in my life everyday. His response was this- " I hope you always do the magazine mom. It's so cool and it makes everyone who reads it really happy."

Woah. How's that for affirmation?

And indeed, it does make everyone happy. And that's an incredible job to go to each day.

But our routine remains much the same, in essence, as it did three years ago. Boys go off to school~ leaving a house that looks just as quaint and "Smith-like" as ever; filled with family artwork, tattered antique furniture, loads of kitchen wares that get used often, and cozy quilts that we sink into each night.
We still cook and bake and make things and play games and explore in nature and take road trips just for the heck of it.

But the reality is that I am not a full time homemaker anymore. I put on heels and skirts and go to big-time meetings. I rush to the airport to catch flights, just to have them delayed and then sit people watching for hours in a smelly, outdated terminal. I prepare speeches to give to large audiences (gulp) and I set editorial calendars via Skype with my team.

Nevertheless~ food and home are my comfort and they make our family feel connected.
To keep them central, it is utterly essential to schedule them in a day.

As of late, my routine is this: (if I'm in town....if I'm on a work trip, refer back to the sitting-in-terminals-waiting-on-delayed-flights bit)

8am:Kiss the 4 boys and send them off to school/work before walking to the studio.
For the next 7 hours: Work. This means conference calls, meetings, planning, designing, bookkeeping, dreaming, emailing, sketching, dictating, directing, signing, shipping.....
3pm: Sign out of email. Put my phone away and give myself 10 minutes to plan the evening meal.
3:15: Off to the grocery store.
3:45: Pick up Otto at preschool
4pm: Greet the boys who have just returned from school/the library on their bikes
4-9pm: Solid family time. No work texts and emails. No checking on get the point.
These hours are so precious to us all. We spend them wisely. Mike and I cook together and chat about the day. We help the boys with homework and give them their daily chores to complete. We set the table, light candles, sit and eat together. We create art in the evenings while listening to jazz (Canaan's favorite), we get lunches together for the next day. We laugh, we play, the boys wrestle their dad.

That little bit of the day between 3-3:45 has become "me" time in my day. And I love it so. Its my decompression time between wearing my CEO hat and my Homemaker hat. I let myself linger in the aisles, not just grabbing the first mango chutney I see but slowing down enough to appreciate the massive selection of chutneys our little town grocery store offers. I talk to the butcher and I smile at people I pass. The one thing I don't allow myself to do is look at magazines in the check out lane :)

I love the ritualistic nature of going to the store each day~ only buying what we need instead of loading up on what might spoil over the course of a week after a big grocery outing. I used to think that going to the store meant you spent more money on groceries. I'm finding the exact opposite to be true. We are spending less. Buying less snack foods and avoiding putting things in a cart with the 'we might want this this week' mentality.

Below was last nights meal. I love Indian kids are still getting acclimated to the taste. They have grown to love Thai curry, the shift to Indian is a bit more of a process. Nonetheless, these meatballs are a great introduction for any palate to the flavors of Indian cuisine. They have a hint of sweetness from honey and just a touch of spice (not heat...just spice) to make your taste buds say 'oh hello!'.
They are super easy to make and quick to bake. They completely fall into the 'healthy' category and will no doubt be consumed in massive quantities at your holiday party this year.

A mild mango chutney is a great accompaniment for dipping them in. We added to the table, basmati rice that everyone could top with slivered almonds and a little batch of chicken curry for the Mr and the kids yet another chance to keep developing that palate for a curry other than Massaman.

Curried Turkey Meatballs with Mango Chutney
Recipe developed by Megan Smith; Art of Homemaking

1lb lean ground turkey
1/2 yellow onion, chopped finely
1 Tbsp. mild curry
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp minced ginger (I buy the squeeze tube you can find in the fresh herb section of the store)
1 egg
1 cup breadcrumbs (I make my own with 2 slices of bread and my aging Cuisinart food processor)

Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl. Grab up 2 Tablespoon sized portions of the meat mixture into your palms and roll into tight balls. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake the meatballs in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, break one meatball in half to check for doneness. If no longer pink in the middle, your little gems are ready for munching! But first....bump your oven onto the broil setting and leave the meatballs under a high broil setting for 1 minute to get them browned on top.

Once removed from the oven, you can go above and beyond by brushing a bit of honey on the tops. Its just that extra step of TLC that'll make them shine (literally and figuratively).

Serve them with some sweet, mild chutney (or spicy, of course!)

They make a great appetizer, football watching noshing, or addition to a very cozy Indian meal.


P.S. One more tidbit of advice....always keep some (freshly popped) popcorn around for munching during dinner has kept me many-a-times from sampling a whole plate of dinner before the meal :)
Just no butter!