In preparation for the first week, I spent some time gathering recipes to keep me focused. I love sitting down with a good cookbook or cooking magazine; it lifts my mood and gives me inspiration. Although a few times, I got excited about a recipe only to realize I couldn't eat most of the ingredients. Ok, so that was a bummer, but I didn't let it get me down...there is still so much more out there to eat!

For instance, I found a recipe for Vietnamese Grilled Pork Balls in the gorgeous cookbook Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid. It was just the inspiration I needed to do some kitchen prep. I already had some ground pork defrosting, so I put my own spin on Vietnamese Pork Balls:

Vietnamese Pork Ball Lettuce Wraps

For each pound of ground pork, add
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 Tbs finely chopped ginger
1-2 Tbs Red Boat fish sauce (depending how "funky" you like it)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup chopped shallots or red onion

Gently mix. Form into patties or meatballs. Cook patties in a oiled pan over medium heat until cooked through. For meatballs, cook at 350° for 15 minutes. Then fire up the broiler and brown them for 5 minutes more.

I used a medium scoop from OXO to standardize the meatballs. A pound & a half ground pork made 24 meatballs and two 3-inch patties. I put half the meatballs and the patties in the freezer. Those will be grab & go breakfasts and lunches.

I made lunch with six of the freshly cooked batch and served them cut in half with carrot, cucumber, red onion, and avocado in a romaine lettuce boat. Tasty!