Good morning, and happy Sunday! From lakes to museums, tractor pulls to pools, it's been another week of summer adventures and tasty treats around here. All of the highlights from the past few days, along with our easy dinners, are included in today’s roundup of Our Week in Meals!
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 dinners 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…
I took an early, foggy, humid walk on Sunday morning with the dog,
and then returned home to bake a batch of Raisin Bran Muffins to have on hand for snacks or breakfasts during the week (recipe is in my old eBook).
My main priority for the day was to watch the Women's World Cup Final, so that's exactly what we did! After lunch, we all rallied and got ourselves organized for an afternoon hike at Berry Hollow here in Madison.
Up in the mountains the temperature was only 77 degrees, so it was a perfect opportunity to get out in the woods.
The boys even found some raspberries to pick trailside (the few that the bears hadn't already devoured)!
All together on a plate (there's creamed spinach hiding under that fish), along with some leftover salad from the night before that needed to be finished!
On a gray, cloudy Monday morning, I dragged the kids to the gym so that I could meet my friend Mollie for a walk on the track while they played basketball in the kids' area.
As usual, we grabbed snacks on the way out of town -- iced mocha for me!
Gibbs's friend Will came over to play for the afternoon, so the boys baked a batch of peanut butter cookies for snack.
They used this store-bought dough and added tons of sprinkles and mini M&M's on top before baking. Warm cookies, a glass of milk and some grapes made four boys very happy!
I served the boys' chicken on sandwich rolls, while I had mine inside half of a cantaloupe. Love that sweet and savory combo! Paired with some chips and a salad, this was a nice, light meal on a hot day.
Tuesday was such a beautiful morning -- finally less humid!
After picking so many blueberries on Saturday, I was inspired to make an old favorite for breakfast -- Berry Overnight Oatmeal! I used strawberries and blueberries, but you can pick just one berry, or add in some raspberries or blackberries. A perfect grab-and-go option for summer when you don't want a hot bowl of oats in the morning!
Properly fueled, I then met my friend at the gym for a yoga class at 8:15 while our boys played together in the kids' room. We stopped by two of my neighbors' farms on the way home in order to pick up fresh eggs, scones, tomatoes, zucchini and green beans. Thank goodness for friends with bountiful gardens, because I'm not growing anything other than herbs this year!
We joined Ashley and her two girls at the pool for an afternoon swim,
and then came home to another easy summer meal. I took advantage of Jan's tomatoes and made B.L.T. sandwiches, which I paired with salad and fruit on the side. Believe it or not, my kids don't really care for bacon (gasp!), so they had cheese on their sandwiches instead.
I finished another book that night! Am I the last to read Educated by Tara Westover? It's seen a lot of press over the past year, and now I know why. What a compelling memoir! Here's a quick summary in case you're like me and you're a bit later to the game...I can't recommend this one enough:
Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
On Wednesday morning, the boys and I headed south to my parents' house in Nelson County for the day.
We took the kids to the lake for a swim before lunch, where the trampoline in the water was the big hit.
When everyone was tired and hungry, we returned to my folks' house for lunch: tuna melts on English muffins and delicious sweet cherries!
While the boys played quietly, Mom and I made two batches of blueberry jam (using the blueberries that we picked last weekend) and two batches of peach jam (using the local peaches that Mom picked up the day before). Now our cabinets are stocked with holiday gifts for the neighbors!
We returned to Madison in time for supper, and it was a good one! I made Quick and Easy Cuban Mojo Chicken, which I served with white rice and my neighbor's sautéed French green beans. A can of seasoned black beans would also be a nice addition to the meal, but I didn't think of that until I had already been grocery shopping. Next time!
On Thursday morning, I took the kids over the mountain and down to the valley to Harrisonburg to visit the children's museum. It's always clean, quiet, bright and not at all crowded.
The TV studio and the giant building blocks were favorites...
We left the museum when everyone got hungry, and headed to a nearby playground for lunch.
I packed a picnic, which included peanut butter and banana pita sandwiches, Goldfish and apples.
Followed by a stop for ice cream at Sweet Frog before leaving Harrisonburg.
The day before, my mom had sent me home with some of her leftover beef ragù, so I just reheated that for dinner on Thursday. Love an easy meal that I don't have to make!
I served the ragù over rigatoni pasta with garlic bread and my neighbor's sautéed zucchini (and leftover green beans from the night before). It was delicious, so of course I asked my mom for her recipe. As usual, she didn't really use a recipe -- BUT, I pinned her down and had her tell me exactly what she did so that I can recreate it for the blog. I'll post it on here in the coming months, once I get it "mastered" and have some specifics to share with you!
The boys and I headed to the gym on Friday for our "play dates" -- they hung out with their buddies in the kids' room while I worked out with my girlfriend.
We had some storms roll through the night before, so it was a beautiful-but-steamy start to the day! Virginia is SO humid at this time of year...
We spent the afternoon at the pool with friends,
and then came home to an easy dinner that was waiting for us in the Crock Pot. We had Slow Cooker Greek Chicken Gyros served in pita and topped with a store-bought Tzatziki sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion, cucumber, olives and feta cheese. The kids don't love feta cheese, olives, or red onion, so they had their pita with just grated cheddar and the chicken. Another example of a simple meal that I could easily adapt to keep everyone happy! Plus some frozen mini spanakopita triangles (which I told the boys were Greek "egg rolls"). Hah!
Yesterday was pretty quiet, which was nice after a busy week.
I spent the morning photographing a couple of new recipes while Keith entertained the boys. We walked the dog, took care of house chores, and then picked up an early dinner from Miranda's restaurant in town.
Salads, Chicken Parmigiana Subs, Chicken Tenders, Spaghetti and Corn. Everyone was happy!
As soon as we finished supper, we were back out the door for the annual Tractor Pull here in Madison. Next to Christmas and his birthday, I'm pretty sure this is Spencer's favorite day of the year!
Boy was it HOT out there, though -- 90+ degrees at 5:00 p.m.!
And that's it for now, friends! Thanks, as always, for stopping by today. I hope that you've found a few new ideas for your own easy meals in the week ahead. Have a great Sunday!
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