Good morning, and happy Sunday! We’ve spent the first part of our Labor Day weekend at a cabin in nearby Natural Bridge, Virginia — the boys’ last hurrah of summer! 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 easily the nicest day of the summer — blue skies, a cool breeze, and very little humidity. A rare August treat in Virginia!
I walked the dog, Keith took care of yard work, we had lunch, and then we headed to the pool for the afternoon. Spencer was determined to jump off the diving board before the summer’s end, and that was his last weekend to do so!
Keith grilled steaks for dinner that evening,
which we paired with baked potatoes (Casey’s favorite),
and Sweet Molasses Brown Bread. Tasted like we were dining out at a steakhouse! I’ll share the bread recipe in the coming weeks — it couldn’t be easier.
Not too much to report from Monday! It poured rain all day, so we were stuck indoors with the exception of a quick run into town at lunchtime for stops at the post office and the bank. I’ve got another great book to tell you about this week, though…
I have always loved the picks from Reese’s Book Club, so I was excited to dive into her June selection — The Guest List by Lucy Foley. It did not disappoint! I seriously could not put this one down. Part-mystery, part-thriller, the suspenseful novel sucks you in and throws you so many curveballs and unexpected twists along the way. Such a fun read!
Since it was rainy and cool that evening, I decided that a cozy dinner was in order. I made a big pot of Chicken Tortellini Soup, which I paired with crusty garlic bread on the side.
Tuesday was wet and gray again. The boys had their first day of distance-learning school, which was really just an online orientation. They’ll return to the building for a few days each week after Labor Day. This whole process will be a learning experience for all of us!🤪
My parents stopped by around lunchtime and brought food from Yoder’s. This was my club sandwich, which included country ham, turkey, bacon and cheese.
The kids and I got outside for a short walk when the rain stopped late afternoon…
…and then I made Easy Shrimp Creole for supper.
Plus rice, salad and cornbread on the side!
Wednesday was misty, humid and gray…yet again.
I picked up a grocery order that morning, did some recipe testing and baking that afternoon, and took the boys out in the woods before dinner for some fresh air and exercise.
We had a kid-favorite that evening: Meatloaf!
Plus mashed potatoes, peas, and dinner rolls from my neighbor.
Then we piled in the car and made our way over to the elementary school for the older boys’ back-to-school socially-distant drive-thru ice cream party. I think the kids appreciated the chance to wave to their new teachers, and I know they enjoyed the ice cream sandwiches…😂
The sun returned on Thursday!
The boys spent the morning on Zoom calls for school, and then we visited the Primary school in the afternoon for a drive-by meet-and-greet with Spencer’s teacher.
Dinner that night was super-simple Tuna Melts! Definitely a childhood favorite for me…my mom is the Queen of Tuna Salad. Hah! Friends used to invite themselves over for lunch just so that they could enjoy one of Mom’s tuna sandwiches (or tuna melts) throughout my youth. I served these with side salads, chips and pickles…and I swear…the older I get, the more I turn into my mom. 😁
Our Labor Day weekend started a little early on Friday when we drove to nearby Lexington, Virginia for a weekend “staycation” in a mountain cabin.
The kids were excited about the bunk beds in the loft, the jacuzzi tub, and — most of all — the caboose in the back yard.
In town, we walked around Washington & Lee University and the Virginia Military Institute. Spencer was in awe of the “soldiers” at VMI!😁
Ice cream hit the spot on a 90-degree day. This was Golden Oreo flavor and it was delish…
I packed all of our food for the weekend since we weren’t near any grocery stores and the kitchen amenities were minimal. Dinner that night was a Chicken and Stuffing Casserole, which I prepped and froze earlier in the week. On the side we had steamed broccoli with butter, dinner rolls, and a salad.
Plus my mother-in-law’s recipe for homemade fudgy brownies for dessert. I’ll share those details in the coming weeks…
Brief rain showers brought in some much cooler weather that evening!
We were up with the sunrise on Saturday, and boy was it chilly. Definitely felt like fall!
Since we’re still working our way through the loads of honey crisp apples that the kids picked a few weeks ago, I decided to make a loaf of Apple Bread to bring with us for breakfast. We also packed Greek yogurt, fruit, cereal, milk and OJ for the two mornings at the cabin.
Then we were off to the drive-thru Virginia Safari Park!
The setting was beautiful and it was really funny to watch the animals come up to the car to get food from our buckets. Some of them wanted to climb right in…
We grabbed a picnic lunch from the Natural Bridge General Store afterwards.
Easily one of the best chicken salad sandwiches I’ve ever had (plus coleslaw on the side). They buttered and toasted that sourdough bread, so you know it was going to be good.
After a short break at the cabin, we regrouped for a hike on the Appalachian Trail.
Keith grilled hamburgers for dinner, which I served with canned baked beans, a salad, corn and chips.
And to finish off the night on a high note, a batch of Peanut Butter Blossoms! It wouldn’t be vacation without a few great desserts, and my favorite recipe for these classic cookies will be on the blog soon. Stay tuned!
That’s where I’ll leave it for now, friends! We’ve got a visit to Natural Bridge State Park on our agenda this morning, and then we’ll make the short drive home this afternoon. Enjoy your long holiday weekend, and have a wonderful week ahead. Thanks for spending time with me today!