Good morning, and happy Sunday! I hope that you've had a nice weekend and that all of my American friends are enjoying a festive July 4th holiday (even if it looks different this year). We've spent the past few days returning south from our beach vacation in New England, soaking in some summer sun, and having a fun little Fourth of July celebration at home. 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.
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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…
Sunday was our last full day of vacation at my parents' house on Martha's Vineyard, so we made the most of the beautiful weather -- starting with a morning at the beach!
We went for bike rides and walks that afternoon, packed up our bags, and then had a delicious meal for our last supper on the island. My mom made Crab Cakes,
which we paired with cornbread,
a green salad, and the rest of the Southern Tomato Pie from the night before.
We left the Vineyard on an early ferry Monday morning, and spent the rest of the day in the car making our way back to Virginia.
We packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, a boatload of snacks for the drive, and eventually made it home to Madison as the sun was setting.
After 13 hours of travel, a bowl of cereal for dinner was all that I could muster from our very bare kitchen!
One benefit of a day in the car? Plenty of time to read! I finished A Gentleman's Murder by Christopher Huang, which turned out to be a really great mystery. I had zero expectations for this book, but went ahead and read it because it came highly recommended by both of my parents. If you enjoy a good who-dunnit with a dose of historical fiction, then you'll really like this novel, too!
Tuesday was a day to get back to our routine -- but first, coffee in my new mug from Chilmark Pottery.
Breakfast included yogurt, peaches and my favorite Blueberry Muffins (which were stashed in the freezer).
I spent the morning unpacking suitcases, doing laundry, sorting through mail, and re-stocking our kitchen with groceries.
New England is lovely, but it was so good to be home with the mountains and cornfields of Central Virginia!
We had some work to do in our garden, including harvesting 5 big cucumbers from Casey's plant (with many more on the way).
I stopped by my neighbor's farm to pick up our eggs for the week, and then drove over to another neighbor's farm because she had some green tomatoes for me to fry!
Re-stocking the fridge also included a big pitcher of Sweet Tea,
plus a batch of Seafood Salad to have on hand for easy lunches.
Since it was 90 degrees outside, I thought that a Chicken Caesar Salad sounded good for dinner.
We paired the salad with garlic bread and pasta in homemade pesto sauce. Such a great summer meal!
Wednesday was hot and sunny (again), but we somehow managed to get caught in a surprise thunderstorm when we walked down to the pond. It sent us running right back to the house!
The wildflowers (or weeds!) that Spencer picked for me while we were out...❤️
I have my mom to thank for this delicious lunch idea: a fried green tomato sandwich with pimento cheese! She's a genius...
Dinner was one of my personal favorites: Doritos Taco Salad! An 80's classic that still tastes great.
The pool is finally open, so the boys and I packed a picnic lunch and spent Thursday morning swimming with friends. Fortunately for me, a few hours in the water meant a very quiet afternoon at home! Those kiddos were exhausted...
I made my Greek Chicken with Potatoes for dinner,
which I paired with a Cucumber, Tomato and Onion Salad. I was taking advantage of Casey's bounty of cucumbers from the garden, and I happened to have all of the other ingredients on hand. This one is perfect for the season!
On my short walk up the road with the dog, I encountered 3 separate groundhogs (one of which jumped out of the bushes and ran straight at Teddy, causing me to SCREAM), a rabbit and a lizard. I love nature, but not that close!
I dropped Teddy off at the groomer and then stopped in Yoder's Country Market on my way home. In addition to the regular staples like cheese, yogurt, homemade peanut butter, cornmeal and bread, I also picked up the best caramel popcorn, big crunchy pretzels (Gibbs' request), fiesta snack mix (my mom's fave), and a few new jars of jam. That "Southern Sunshine" jam is a combination of oranges, pineapples, apricots and peaches. So tasty!
Keith had the day off from work, so he took the younger boys to get shaved ice that afternoon while I stayed home with Gibbs. It was the final day of Gibbs' online computer coding camp, which has turned out to be a big hit. Highly recommend it if you have kids of a similar age that might enjoy that type of activity. He would normally have attended the camp in-person at UVA, but times are obviously different right now...
I made a few pizzas for dinner that night, and kept them simple with just homemade sauce (from my neighbor) and cheese, as well as fresh basil added at the last minute.
Plus a salad on the side dressed with a really simple red wine vinaigrette using all of the fresh herbs that I could pick.
Saturday was the Fourth of July! The holiday felt different this year, but we still did our best to make it festive.
I made a batch of fluffy buttermilk pancakes, bacon and blueberries for breakfast, and then spent a couple of hours cooking while Keith and the kids did yard work.
We found a shady trail for an afternoon hike, but the boys still spent most of the time complaining about the heat.😬
There were so many raspberries along the path...
Our dinner was All-American, including grilled hamburgers...
baked beans (from a can), watermelon, and a very simple green bean salad. These were filet beans that my neighbor harvested that morning! I just blanched them in boiling water for a few minutes and then tossed them with the leftover red wine vinaigrette from the night before and let the salad marinate until dinnertime.
Plus a pitcher of Homemade Lemonade -- kids' request!
I often make my mom's Easy Apple Pie for the occasion, but I realized that I only had one pie crust in my freezer, so instead I made a free-form Apple Galette. It's even easier -- and equally delicious (will share the recipe next month)!
Later in the evening, we piled into the car and drove over to Graves Mountain Lodge here in Madison to watch the fireworks. We were a little bit uncomfortable with the thought of being near large groups of people, so we just pulled over on a side road and watched the show from a distance. Again, it wasn't quite a "normal" Fourth of July, but we made it feel special nonetheless!
I hope that you've had a great weekend as well, and that you've found a few new ideas to try in your own kitchen this week. Thank you so much for joining me here today!❤️💙🇺🇸