Good morning, and happy Sunday! I hope that you are all doing well, in spite of the very sad, heavy times that our country is experiencing. My goal is to show love and kindness towards all humans, and to raise the next generation of compassionate, respectful young men who make this world a better place. In my attempt to keep this space a positive light in your day, I am popping in to share the regular update from our life and meals recently. I hope that it offers a brief escape...if only for a few minutes.❤️
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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…
We woke up on Sunday to the most perfect sunny (but not humid) weather, so the boys and I headed out on a walk near our house right after breakfast. It was too beautiful to stay indoors!
Casey's always finding the honeysuckle...
...and they can't stay out of the water.
The whole family went to Cedar Mountain Civil War battlefield after lunch -- taking full advantage of the fresh air before the real heat set in for the week.
I noticed that the farmer's market had homemade Naan bread for sale last Saturday, so I planned Chicken Souvlaki for dinner that night.
In addition to the naan, chicken and tzatziki sauce, I also served hummus and veggies for dipping, a green salad that I tossed with Lemon Vinaigrette...
I finished another book that night, too! Multiple blog readers have recommended A Man Named Ove, so when I realized that it was written by the same author as Bear Town (which I loved), I immediately picked it up.
The story itself reminded me a lot of the Arthur Truluv books, which I also really enjoyed. However, I found A Man Called Ove to be a bit more sad, and the novel weighed heavily on me for the first ¾ of the book. I'm so glad that I charged ahead and read it all of the way through, though! The ending is heartwarming and beautiful. A great read!
More sunshine on Monday!
It's definitely hay making season around here...
Checking out the neighbor's tractor.
I baked a Funfetti cake for my aunt's birthday the next day, and frosted it with our family's favorite homemade chocolate frosting (the best!).
After lunch and chores, I decided that a round of mini golf at the nearby course would be a great way for the boys to spend the afternoon. We were the only ones there, so it felt like a safe option for a change of scenery.
I found this homemade fettuccine at the farmer's market last week, which inspired our dinner for the evening.
We had my mom's Spaghetti Meat Sauce with the pasta...
...along with roasted broccoli from my neighbor's garden and garlic bread (from the freezer!).
On Tuesday morning we headed south to spend the day at my parents' house in Nelson County.
Casey and my dad enjoyed their favorite pastime again: hunting for golf balls in the stream. They came home with two winners (and wet shoes for Casey), so it was a good day!😂
We made it home in time for dinner, which was another delicious summer meal: Grilled Chicken Caprese Sandwiches, served with salad and potato chips. The kids had their sandwiches deconstructed, and ate the grilled chicken with pesto pasta on the side. They loved it, too!
After I made our weekly run to the grocery store on Wednesday morning, we loaded the boys' bikes into my car so that we could meet a friend and her girls at the school for bike riding and chatting.
It was the hottest afternoon we've had all year (in the 90's), so we spent some time at another friend's pool with her two boys before dinner. Thank goodness for safe, outdoor play! We've really missed our buddies over the past few months...
The kids requested salmon for dinner that night, while Keith and I thought that crab cakes sounded good. I don't normally go to the effort of preparing two different meals for the adults and kids, but I make an exception when there's pricey lump crabmeat involved! While the boys will eat the crab cakes, they certainly don't appreciate them given the expense -- and they were much happier with the more affordable Sweet Heat Southern Glazed Salmon that I made them instead.
Plus Crab Cakes for two!
I paired our seafood with Coleslaw,
corn, and Easy Potato Salad. Fortunately, most of the meal could be prepped in advance, so I really just had to fry the crab cakes and stick the salmon in the oven when we got back from the pool.
After all of the sunshine, heat, and outdoor activity on Wednesday, the boys were happy to have a quiet morning at home on Thursday.
I walked the dog up the road, and then spent a couple of hours testing recipes in the kitchen.
After lunch, we headed down to the river so that the kids could splash in the water, build rock towers, and look for fish.
Not much else to do outside when it's humid and 90+ degrees! That water coming down from the mountains was freezing, though...
Clam chowder totally reminds me of summer days at the beach, so that's what we had for dinner. I guess when we're cool in the air conditioned house, I can enjoy soup year-round!
We paired the chowder with a fresh loaf of No-Knead Bread and a side salad. Better than a restaurant (minus the dishes)! I'll share my favorite New England Clam Chowder recipe on the blog as soon as I can get it posted.
I snuck out for an early walk on the trails with a friend on Friday morning before Keith had to start working, and then spent most of the rest of the day at home with the boys.
When we got stir-crazy that afternoon, we braved the heat and went on a dinosaur scavenger hunt in the woods.
Madison County Parks and Rec organized this cute little hunt on the wooded trails at the local park, so the boys and I had fun trying to track down as many dinosaurs as possible (before we called it quits and headed home to cool off).
Friday night pizza was on the menu again! This time we all had cheese pizzas (using this dough recipe), with homemade pizza sauce from my neighbor, sliced fresh mozzarella, and basil from our garden. Casey helped me with the pizzas this time, and he suggested brushing the crusts with garlic butter. That 9-year-old is a genius! Served with a salad on the side...
We woke up to some very humid fog on Saturday morning, which the sun quickly burned off.
I was so happy to see that our little farmer's market has had more to offer the past couple of weeks, now that we're really getting into the summer growing season. Our order from Saturday included cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, blueberries, strawberries, hydrangeas, and tomatoes.
I intended to make my Zucchini and Squash Gratin as a side dish with our pizza for dinner the night before, but I totally forgot! Since I already had the ingredients on hand, I made it for lunch the next day and served it with the pizza leftovers. This dish would also be great with Italian Marinated Grilled Chicken, Tomato Pesto Pasta, or Grilled Salmon!
Another afternoon on the river -- this time near Graves Mountain Lodge here in Madison.
Keith smoked ribs for dinner that night (here's my Crock Pot version, also great!)...
...which we served with Skillet Cornbread,
and Arkansas Green Beans. Classic summer picnic!
And that's where I'll leave it for now, friends. Thank you so much for joining me here today. I'm sending you love and praying for everyone's safety. Have a wonderful week ahead, and treat yourself to something delicious!❤️