Hey, friends! We had quite the busy, exhausting, and FUN week! We finally made it to Florida to visit family, so today's roundup of Our Week in Meals includes travel fare, too! Plus, don't miss the new reader-requested recipe for Amish Sweet and Sour Coleslaw, which we took to a potluck last weekend. So, so delicious!
But first! For those of you who are new to the blog, Our Week in Meals is where I share a little bit about what we’ve been up to over the past week — as it relates to our meals each night. This series gives you a glimpse “behind the scenes” at some highlights from our life, shows you how I balance a busy schedule with feeding my family, and offers a few new ideas for your own weekly meal plan. Now let’s back up to last weekend…
On Sunday we were treated to the most gorgeous, unseasonably cool weather for Central Virginia at this time of year! We slept with the windows open, listened to the crickets, and felt the breeze all night long. Heavenly! I also started the morning with a chilly sunrise walk, which is one of my absolute favorite things to do right now.
We took care of a lot of house work that morning, which included 5 loads of laundry for me and mowing (very dry) grass for Keith.
I also baked a batch of brownies to take to a cookout that afternoon! Pro Tip: always add extra chocolate chips on top before baking.????
In addition to the brownies, I brought along this Amish Sweet and Sour Coleslaw, which has a fun story behind it.
After I recently shared my recipe for Mrs. Peachey's Amish Sausage-Stuffed Green Peppers, I received a note from a blog reader named Marilyn. Marilyn was hoping that I might have a recipe for Amish Sweet and Sour Coleslaw, which is something that her late mother used to make from a friend's "secret" recipe. After Marilyn's mom passed away, Marilyn and her sister searched for the famous coleslaw recipe, but never found anything written down.
For me, there's just nothing better than the positive memories associated with food, recipes, and fellowship. That's why I made it my mission to help Marilyn solve the mystery of the Sweet and Sour Coleslaw so that she could enjoy the dish again -- just as her mom used to serve it!
After some back-and-forth discussion with Marilyn about her recollection of her mom's coleslaw, and some browsing through a used Mennonite cookbook of my own, I think I've landed on something pretty darn close to the Amish Sweet and Sour Coleslaw that Marilyn remembers...
Amish Sweet and Sour Coleslaw
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons minced onion
- 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
- ½ cup ketchup
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup oil such as vegetable or canola oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 medium head cabbage shredded (or 1 14-ounce bag of pre-shredded coleslaw mix)
- 1 onion finely diced
- 3-4 carrots shredded
- In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar, garlic salt, minced onion, paprika, ketchup, vinegar, and oil. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute, whisking the entire time. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely in the refrigerator (at least 4 hours, or overnight). Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Combine all vegetables in a large bowl and pour cooled dressing over top. Note: you will not need all of the dressing, so I suggest that you add the dressing slowly until the vegetables are coated completely, but not too soggy. You can keep any extra sauce in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and use it as a salad dressing, as a marinade for chicken, or as a stir-fry sauce.
- Serve coleslaw immediately, or allow to chill for a few hours.
With the brownies and the Sweet and Sour Coleslaw in hand, we headed over to Mollie and John Paul's farm for a cookout at the pool house that afternoon.
Such a perfect way to end the weekend!
John Paul (the Texan!) made some awesome ribs and chicken for dinner, which deserve their own special shout-out here!
The kids and I were home on Monday morning, so in my effort to keep them away from electronics and "screen time," we stayed busy with soccer in the yard, sidewalk chalk,
painting wind chimes,
and making Snap Circuits. Gibbs made circuits with fans, flying saucers, sound systems, and lights. He's totally obsessed at the moment, so I highly recommend this to any parents or grandparents who are looking for a STEM gift idea for the little ones. It's very similar to Legos, but with electrical circuits that snap together instead. My brother gave Gibbs the Snap Circuits a couple of years ago, and we're finally at the right age to fully enjoy them.
I put dinner in the slow cooker later that morning before feeding everyone lunch and heading out the door for play dates. I dropped Gibbs off at a friend's house to go swimming at the pool, and then picked up Henry to join Casey for the afternoon here.
Dinner was the final recipe testing project for the printable Healthy Fall Slow Cooker Recipes booklet that I'll be sharing with you in a post very soon. I think you're going to love all of these new options! I made the Slow Cooker Chicken and Vegetables in White Wine by placing carrots, celery, onion, garlic and seasoning in the bottom of my Crock Pot.
I added bone-in chicken breasts and chicken thighs on top (skin removed), seasoned the meat, and added wine and chicken broth over all of it. I served our chicken and veggies with rice for an easy and very affordable supper.
We spent Tuesday morning at home so that I could get things organized for Wednesday's trip. The kids played outside, while I packed suitcases, printed boarding passes, and pulled together carry-on entertainment for the boys.
We headed to the pool for swimming lessons in the afternoon while our dinner cooked in the Crock Pot (again)! I'm super excited about this delicious (and easy) version of Slow Cooker Brunswick Stew, so I'll share it on the blog next month. I served our stew with biscuits and honey for a simple Virginian supper!
And then we were off! On Wednesday morning the boys, my mom, and I got in the car by 5:00 a.m. and made the drive up to the D.C. area to catch a flight to Florida. Remember a couple of weeks ago when our trip was cancelled due to mechanical problems with the plane? Well I was able to find some relatively affordable tickets out of Dulles mid-week, so Keith stayed home to work while my mom joined us instead. This was the last possible week that we could squeeze in a visit before the cousins return to school next week!
We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast in the car on the way to the airport; ate snacks on the plane mid-morning; and arrived in Florida by lunchtime.
United's in-flight treats.
My brother and his wife just welcomed baby #4, so we got to meet 1-month-old Riley!
The rest of the afternoon was spent poolside!
For dinner Jackie made slow cooker chicken tacos and quesadillas, which everyone devoured.
I almost forgot to snap a photo in all of the excitement, so here's the half-eaten plate!
And dessert was a real treat: Uncle Spencer's thick chocolate milkshakes!
Scenes from Thursday...
Cousins (and grandmother) on a Train.
Shaved ice at the zoo.
Lots of pool time.
Greek salads with grilled chicken for dinner.
And ice cream pie to celebrate Aunt Jackie and Uncle Spencer's birthdays!
This particular pie has been a favorite since we were kids! My mom makes it with a chocolate graham cracker crust, fills the crust with softened French Silk ice cream, tops it with a layer of fudge, and "frosts" it with thawed Cool Whip. Stick the entire pie back in the freezer to firm up until you're ready to serve! Simple, but also incredibly gooooooood!
Friday was our last morning in Florida, so the kids squeezed in some final pool time before we had to leave for the airport.
We packed lunches to eat at the gate (The Perfect PB&J!), and spent the rest of our day en route back to Virginia.
It was late, we were tired and hungry, and we needed something easy for dinner on the long drive home from the airport that night, so we hit the McDonald's drive-thru and ate along the way. It wasn't great, but it did the trick in a pinch!
Southwest Chicken Salad.
While we loved our trip to Florida, we were also happy to wake up at home on Saturday morning!
My shadow (i.e., Spencer) accompanied me to the grocery store so that I could stock up on food for the week ahead (our fridge was bare after our trip), while Keith and the older boys went shopping for new soccer equipment!
We spent the afternoon unpacking, doing laundry, and settling back into our routine. Since the weather was gorgeous outside, we thought it would be nice to grill supper. I used this marinade that I found in the pantry to marinate chicken breasts and chicken thighs, and we were SO pleasantly surprised. The grilled chicken was absolutely delicious -- highly recommend this sauce!
We also had a salad, a lot of local corn on the cob that was super-cheap at the store this week, and biscuits on the side. It was simple, but it was probably one of the best dinners that we've had all summer. Everything tasted great together!
And finally, one last reminder: have you signed up for the FREE 5-Day Meal Planning Challenge for 15-Minute Dinners? The fun starts tomorrow morning, so if you think you'd like a simple meal planning system, be sure to join for free HERE!