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Does someone smell smoke?!?

Last summer my friend Cindy suffered a very serious leg injury while riding a horse. Not even the medical professionals could figure out exactly how it happened. In addition to being very painful, she also had to spend the majority of the next several months sitting (and sleeping) in a recliner in her den.

One day I went over to visit her. It was the Friday of Labor Day weekend. We were heading out later that day to go spend the weekend with my parents in Hot Springs, AR.

I had decided to make a meal that we could take with us to the condo. SO bizarre and unlike me to think ahead like that I know…which may explain why things went a little crazy, but hey, I tried!

I made bar-b-que meatballs. Not just any meatballs (because mostly I buy them at Costco and pour bar-b-que sauce over them), these were the real deal. And they had a secret ingredient of oatmeal in them so I envisioned them being not only good, but healthy.

I spent the morning preparing them and then popped them in the oven and went to visit Cindy.

I still don’t know why I forgot I had put them in the oven.

But while I was visiting with Cindy (and her 14 year old son, Max, who also happened to be home from school with a leg injury of his own that day), I remembered the meatballs. And by now, they were probably burned to a crisp.

So I yelled … OH NO!!! MY MEATBALLS!!!

And then I ran out of the house.

Now they didn’t even know I was making meatballs.

And I offered no explanation, no nothing.

I was just gone.

You know, to rescue my meatballs.

After a second Max cautiously asked his mom … “is she ok?”

Now Cindy expects this kind of behavior from me, but Max, well not so much.

I think I kind of freaked him out a little bit.

But Cindy just said … “she’s all right … it’s just Darla.”

And she knew that at some point I’d be back with a tale of my meatballs.

And sure enough … after I rescued my meatballs, I came back.

And to this day Max and I still crack up about it.

So, I’m sharing the meatball recipe. Which, after I cut off all the burned edges, were actually quite tasty. And as I said … they have oatmeal in them so they are both delicious AND nutritious.

Oh, and they smell really good while cooking too.

OH NO Meatballs #

3 lbs. ground meat 2 cups oatmeal 2 eggs 1 cup milk 2 T. onion flakes 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 2 tsp. salt 2 tsp. chili powder


2 cups ketchup 1 1/2 cups brown sugar 1-2 tsp. liquid smoke (clearly I didn’t need this!) 2 tsp. onion flakes 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add oats, milk, onion, salt, garlic powder and chili powder. Add beef and mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place in pan and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and drain. In the meantime, bring all sauce ingredients to a boil in a saucepan. Pour sauce over meatballs and continue baking for 45 minutes or done.


Oh, and feel free to change the name to “really good meatballs” or something equally quippy. For me, I have to stick with “Oh NO Meatballs.”

Because Max and I think it’s funny.