Good morning, and happy Sunday! An amusement park, pool time, and football practices kept us busy this week, as our summer is starting to wind down.???? 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 met my friend Mollie bright and early for a hike in the woods before the day got too hot.
Spencer had swimming lessons at the rec center in Culpeper after lunch,
and we grilled The Perfect 15-Minute Salmon for dinner.
I paired the salmon with Cucumber Salad...
and Grilled Potatoes. Such a great summer meal!
While Keith watched a baseball game on TV that night, I finished up another book. When I saw On Mystic Lake for sale at Target last week, I quickly scooped it up. I loved two of Kristin Hannah's other books -- The Great Alone and The Nightingale, so I knew that I would enjoy this one as well. While it wasn't quite as good as her newer novels, On Mystic Lake was still a really entertaining summer read:
Annie Colwater's only child has just left home for school abroad. On that same day, her husband of twenty years confesses that he's in love with a younger woman. Lonely and afraid, she retreats to Mystic, the small Washington town where she grew up, hoping that there she can reclaim the woman she once was—the woman she is now desperate to become again.
In Mystic, she is reunited with her first love, Nick Delacroix, a recent widower unable to cope with his grieving, too-silent six-year-old daughter, Izzie. Together, the three of them begin to heal, and, at last, Annie learns that she can love without losing herself. But just when she has found a second chance at happiness, her life is turned upside down again, and Annie must make a choice no woman should have to make. . . .
Monday started with a hot and humid dog walk...
...and then, since there were storms in the forecast for the afternoon, the boys and I hustled to the pool as soon as it opened. They needed to get outside before the weather changed!
I served an early supper that evening, since Gibbs had his first football practice of the season at 6:00 that night. We enjoyed Taco Pasta, along with a salad, chips and salsa on the side.
Tuesday morning brought with it soaking rains and cooler temps (both of which we desperately needed), so I joined my friend Mollie at the gym for an early yoga class while our boys played together in the kids' room.
While we were in Culpeper, I needed to drop off a package at the UPS store -- which just happens to be right next door to the Starbucks. I treated the boys to their first Frappuccino experience (minus the coffee and caffeine, they don't need that!). The older two were in love with that S'mores flavor, while Spence just stuck with a bagel.????
I tried the Iced Caramel Cloud Macchiato -- also delicious!
We spent the rest of the afternoon at home, and then had another early supper so that I could get ready for the 6:00 p.m. PTO meeting that I was hosting at our house. Every single mom drove a minivan, so my driveway looked like a dealer's lot.????
On the dinner menu: Dump-and-Bake Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes, with a side of Creamed Spinach (I'm working on perfecting a recipe) and some dinner rolls.
Plus a double batch of brownies for dessert during our meeting...
I had a check up at the dermatologist in Charlottesville on Wednesday morning, so my parents met me there and watched the boys while I was at my appointment. Afterwards, we all had lunch together at Chik-Fil-A before heading back home.
Chicken Cool Wrap
Two of my boys had football practice that evening, so I put dinner in the Crock Pot in the morning and an early meal was ready for us when we needed it! I served Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches, along with a green salad and potato chips on the side.
Thursday was the perfect day for a trip to King's Dominion!
My friend Mollie and I took our boys and spent the entire day on the (smaller) roller coasters and water rides. We paused for a brief picnic lunch (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that we brought from home), and were very grateful that the weather cooperated.
Such a fun summer adventure!
By the time we walked in the door at 5:00 p.m., we were all exhausted and in need of a very easy dinner. I reheated a pot of Summer Vegetable Soup (which I had prepared the day before), and paired the soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. Hit the spot!
I made the soup on the stovetop this time, but there are also slow cooker and Instant Pot instructions. Great way to take advantage of fresh summer veggies, and you can freeze any extra soup for a chilly fall evening down the road!
I think the kids were still recovering from the amusement park on Friday morning, because they were quite happy to play quietly at home while I tested some new fall recipes in the kitchen.
I had a 1:00 p.m. conference call with a brand, and then it was play time! We changed into our suits and went over to a friend's house to swim in the pool with her boys for the afternoon.
Dinner that night was my easy Dump-and-Bake Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole. This time, however, I tried it in the Crock Pot since we were planning to be gone for a few hours (the oven-baked method is still my favorite, but 5 hours on LOW worked well)!
On the side we had some of my neighbor's fresh corn on the cob (which he harvested that morning!), as well as steamed broccoli and dinner rolls.
Saturday morning started with a smoothie and the sunrise! My friend Molly recently sent me some of the Arbonne protein powders to try, along with this Cherry Almond Smoothie recipe. I haven't tried the chocolate powder yet, but the vanilla flavor is surprisingly good! Might just be my new favorite...
Blend together vanilla protein powder with 7 frozen cherries, 1 cup of almond milk, ¼ avocado, a handful of spinach (which I skipped because I didn't have any in the fridge), a few drops of almond extract (the key!) and about a cup of ice. Topped with granola for added staying power!
A long hike in the cool woods of Shenandoah National Park here in Madison was the perfect way to spend a couple of hours. White Oak Canyon was bustling with tourists!
Fellow dog owners -- we have used this water bottle for Teddy all summer long! My mom gave it to me last spring, and it has seen a lot of use over the past few months. The top also serves as a bowl, so it's an easy way to give your pup water on the go. Great little find!
Hannah came to babysit that evening so that Keith and I could go out to dinner. We drove down to Public Fish and Oyster in Charlottesville, which turned out to be one of the absolute best seafood meals we have ever enjoyed! Every single thing that we tasted was just so fresh and so well done. We ordered a bunch of different dishes and then just shared everything...
3 different types of raw oysters
"Virginia Greens Salad" with strawberries, salty almonds, pickled red onion, feta and balsamic vinaigrette
"The Steam Pot:" snow crab legs, mussels, shrimp, clams, chorizo, corn on the cob, red potatoes, and extra crab legs and peel-and-eat shrimp -- plus plenty of Old Bay seasoning!
And finally, my favorite -- the Fried Brussels Sprouts with aioli, smoked paprika, apple and fennel. SO GOOD!
And that's all, folks! Thanks so much for stopping by today -- I hope that you've found some new meal inspiration for your own week ahead. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!
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