a meatball date (and a recipe!)

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right now, eleanor’s favorite food is “spaghetti with meatballs.” she would eat it every day if we let her. :) we’ll be at a chinese restaurant and she’ll ask for it. we’ll be eating breakfast and she’ll ask for it. lol.  so the other day when she randomly grabbed josh’s hand and said, “papa, we should make meatballs together sometime”, it just made sense. haha! josh was elated! he does the majority of the cooking right now in our home (so thankful we are able to really divide and conquer when it comes to being a team over here at the davis home when it comes to work, chores, parenting, all of it.), so he was all about having a little helper help him make some meatballs!

eleanor helped him with every step of the meatball making, too! from picking out a few of the ingredients at our local grocery store, to grating the parmesan cheese and packing the meatballs. i grabbed my camera and popped into the kitchen every once in a while to snap a few photos of these two together because seriously, it was the sweetest thing. besides making some good food together, i’m really thankful for their daddy-daughter bond, and as a wife and mother, witnessing that bond and friendship and love means everything to me.

anyway, a really delicious (and easy!) meatball recipe below, plus a ton of photos (you know i can’t help it!)

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i know i’ve talked about this before, but that parmigiano reggiano cheese is our absolute favorite!! (i think you can get it most places.)

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sounding out the words and helping papa read the recipe!  (i’ve included it below if anyone wants to try it!)

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bread crumbs! i was actually kind of bummed that both samson and conrad were napping during this, because i know this step in the process had their names written all over it! pouring bread crumbs everywhere?! probably a good thing they were napping, in retrospect.

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grating nutmeg! she told papa it reminded her of his ginger cookies he always makes on christmas eve and that they should make those next. :)

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sprinkling the last touches of parmesan on top of their finished dish!

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so delicious! conrad was still snoozing, but samson and i enjoyed the biggest bowls!

meatballs by josh and eleanor:

hi everyone! this is josh. some of naomi’s neighbors gifted us an italian cookbook as our wedding present. it has turned out to be one of the best things we received. it’s called “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” by Marcella Hazan. i use it often as the basis for our italian recipes, changing them up a little bit based on which ingredients we like or don’t like and sometimes doing them a little bit in my own way. here is the meatballs recipe i did with eleanor (which i doubled).


1/4 to 1/3 of a loaf of italian or artisanal style white bread (try to leave it out to dry for 3 days before hand so it is hard)
1/3 cup of milk
1 pounds of ground beef (preferably chuck, 20% fat)
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 egg
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (24 month aged is best!)
1 whole nutmeg
fine unflavored breadcrumbs
vegetable oil (i used safflower oil)
1 cup of fresh tomatoes, diced (and/or whatever marinara sauce you are using for your pasta)


  1. trim away the bread’s crust, soak the bread in the milk in a large bowl, flipping the bread so both sides can soak
  2. prep all other ingredients while it soaks, put the bread crumbs on a plate, and start boiling water for your pasta if you need it
  3. mash up the bread in the milk with your hands or a fork, then add the meat, parsley, cheese, 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, egg, olive oil, salt and pepper
  4. mix all the ingredients by hand and roll into balls 1-2 inches wide
  5. roll the meatballs in the breadcrumbs and set aside on another dish
  6. heat a skillet or frying pan big enough to hold all the meatballs in a single layer with enough vegetable oil to make it 1/2 inch to 1 inch deep
  7. once the oil is very hot (try flicking a few drops of water in it to see), place the meatballs gently in, turning over only after one side is firm and a medium dark brown color
  8. drain the oil, add the tomatoes (or whatever sauce you are using for your pasta), mix carefully, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes (or until they are cooked throughout)
  9. test the meatballs to ensure they’re cooked, add salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!
  10. if you’re eating the meatballs with pasta (and you don’t have to!), cook your pasta noodles so they are done shortly after the 20 minutes. just make sure the meatballs are done first! they will stay warm in a covered pan long enough for your pasta noodles to cook at the end too.


  1. Julia

    Looks absolutely amazing!! :D

  2. Rena

    I see Eleanor and Josh are the perfect cooking team! And you inspired me now to cook spaghetti with meat balls soon :) Thanks for the recipe as normally I cook only a “normal” bolognese for my family.
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  3. shni

    1 whole nutmeg is a lot to consume in one dish.
    please check out the side effect of this amount of nutmeg.
    even wikipedia will give you this information.

    • TAZA

      if you read the recipe, you’ll see that you only use 1/8 of a teaspoon of nutmeg! they were grating a fresh one to get 1/8 of a teaspoon! thanks!

  4. bri

    oh, goodness this is the sweetest! i love watching my husband do special things with each little one and, you’re right, it’s such a treat!

  5. Mika J

    It looks absolutely divine! Bravo sweet Eleanor, you’re a natural! love the Davis family.

  6. tilly

    sounds delicious! i think im well overdue for a yummy meatball dinner… and this one looks perfect! will have to give it a try. thank you for the recipe josh and eleanor!

  7. Erin

    Yum! My 2 year old loves cooking with her daddy too! Can I ask where are your aprons from??

  8. Lacey

    I love that cookbook! Her bolognese recipe is one of my favorites…I make it at least ten times a year!

  9. Valentina

    Hi there! what a wonderfull idea to make spaghetti with meatballs…even if (maybe you already know this) actually here in Italy this recipe doesn’t exist at all! :) I tried and learned it when I was in USA for holidays and… so yummy..now I make it once in a while at home when we want a “USA flavoured” dinner.
    Thanks a lot for sharing your colorful and inspiring family life.
    Greetings from Reggio Emilia (home of your beloved Parmigiano Reggiano)


  10. Corina

    Josh and E are adorable in these photos…well, in all photos. But in here you can almost feel the special daddy-daughter bond they share.

  11. Krista

    Looks delicious and sounds pretty easy! Definitely going to give this one a go :) Thanks for sharing Josh and Naomi!

  12. Teresa

    I love that Josh is writing on here and that recipe looks incredible! I can’t wait to try it!

  13. Melissa

    Good meeting you on the street today! Love how small NYC can feel. Have a great day!

  14. Ohh, I just love photos of children in the kitchen, cooking, especially when Dad is involved. Your daughter is a very lucky little girl to have you both as parents:-)

  15. Dayna Magleby

    Had to comment because my six year old daughter requests spaghetti and meatballs every time for every meal too and it just made me laugh out loud because she requested to make this with me tomorrow for dinner. This recipe couldn’t have come at a better time! You can tell Eleanor she isn’t the only little girl passionate about spaghetti and meatballs! Ha!

  16. Ash

    hahaha I’m sorry – the “please check the side effect of this amount of nutmeg – it’s even on Wikipedia” comment has me ROLLING LAUGHING. ;) So good.

    Love this post – what sweet images to capture a special memory between a beautiful daughter and her papa doing something they love!

  17. Van

    You should make a vlog of the kids helping out with cooking. So cute and precious!

  18. Katrin

    OMG, this looks so good!!!
    Yesterday, I was craving pasta soooo bad…I guess I will try your recipe now :)

  19. Its looks delicious!!! Could you invite me the next time?? :) Thank you

    Kisses from France

  20. Rachael

    I swear…every time I read your posts and see your pictures, at one point I find myself saying “come on…are you kidding me?!” – In a good way! Your family is just so precious. You can feel the love in every picture. What beautiful memories you are making with them.

  21. Rachel

    Love this post so much. Eleanor and Josh look adorable together.Such a great moment to capture on camera!!

    Also I’m loving your new instagram banner at the top of the page!!! Super cute!!

    Rachel // http://illustratedteacup.com

  22. Hope

    This is too cute and so sweet! I always loved daddy-daughter time with my dad growing up, and still cherish and remember those memories as some of the best ones to this day. These photos just warm my heart! :)

  23. Your little girl is already on her way to becoming a better cook than me! :)

  24. Oh my goodness this just made my heart so happy! I gasped out loud when I saw that picture of Eleanor reading the recipe, she is the absolute double of you Naomi!

  25. Karen

    These are lovely, albeit personal, moments that you’ve captured. Do you ever post or blog about your children re: thoughts on online sharing and privacy?

  26. Tara

    They look amazing! Do you make your own sauce too? If not, what do you buy?

  27. Marcey

    Hi Davis Family,
    Long time reader, first time commenter. Random question for you…Would you share the brand of your window security gate? I just bought a place and would like to replace the current one with something a little more stylish. I know it was probably installed by the management company, but perhaps there is a name on the gate somewhere?

  28. Rachel

    Do you remember the name and brand of that green paint you used on your wall? (And the blue paint in your other wall ;)? I am looking at doing a bright color and LOVE the ones you have! You’ve got great taste! And Eleanor and josh laughing together while cooking is about the cutest thing ever.

  29. Megan

    That looks so delicious! I can’t help but notice your amazing green walls! What paint color is that?!!