Good morning, and happy Sunday! Our last week of summer break wrapped up with plenty of sunshine, pool time, and back-to-school prep. 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 morning started with a beautiful walk with two of my friends at Mollie's farm. It was cool and crisp, so we enjoyed some fresh air before the regular heat and humidity of August in Virginia returned.
I spent a good chunk of the day photographing new recipes, and then Keith grilled New York Strip steaks for supper.
...followed by oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert!
Let's talk books again this week! I recently finished Scorched Earth by David Robbins, which is a novel that takes place here in Virginia. "Part mystery, part legal thriller, it is a story of crime and punishment set in a small southern town during one brutal, hot, and unforgiving summer that lays bare the potential of the human heart to hate–and, ultimately, to heal." I really, really enjoyed this book. It was well-written, it tugged at my heartstrings, and it kept me turning the pages.
Monday marked the start of the last week of the boys' summer break.
It was hazy, hot and humid, so we took a picnic lunch to the pool -- and otherwise enjoyed the air conditioning inside.
This little guy let me and Teddy get shockingly close to him before scurrying off. The wildlife abounds at the moment. My neighbor called me this week to let me know that she saw a black bear on a nearby farm, as well as a den of 7 foxes in her backyard. I better keep the dog on a tight leash...
I used my friend's recipe for Damson plum preserves to process a couple of jars that afternoon, taking advantage of the fresh fruit that we picked up at a local orchard the day before.
The day included some recipe-testing in the kitchen for me, and a short hike in the shady woods with the kids that afternoon.
Enjoying the last of the summer hydrangeas by our porch...
...while the apples on our trees remind me that fall is just around the corner.
Wednesday was another scorcher, so we spent the morning at the pool, and returned home in time for me to take the dog to the vet and make it to a dentist appointment that afternoon.
I had some extra bacon in the fridge, and I knew that I wouldn't have much time to prep a meal after my appointment, so breakfast-for-dinner was on the menu. I made the kids' favorite baked pancake squares,
which I paired with the bacon and fruit salad.
The highlight of Thursday was meeting the kids' teachers at the back-to-school open house.
We hit all 3 schools -- the primary school (for Spencer's 2nd grade class), the elementary school (for Casey's 5th grade classes), and finally the middle school (for all of Gibbs's 6th grade teachers).
I served Pesto Tortellini with Pancetta and Broccoli for dinner, which seemed like a quick, summery meal that I could throw together at the end of a busy day. Plus dinner rolls on the side!
Friday was another day to "get stuff done" before the start of the school year. Keith stayed home with the boys that morning so that I could go to my annual check-up with my doctor, and then I took Casey back into town that afternoon for his doctor's appointment.
In between appointments, I baked a damson plum pie using the preserves that I made earlier in the week. This is a vintage dessert that's been a popular choice here in Virginia for generations. In fact, a few of my local friends have told me about their great grandmothers' recipes! I'll share the details soon...
Since I was out of the house until dinnertime, Casey and I picked up pizzas for supper on our way home. Always a win-win -- the kids love this meal, and I love that I don't have to wash dishes at the end.
I spent time in the kitchen, took care of house chores, and tackled the major task of sorting through all of the kids' summer and fall clothes.
Another bouquet from the farmer's market...
Keith and Gibbs went to visit my in-laws at their mountain house for the night, so Casey, Spencer and I were on our own for dinner. I had been testing a shrimp recipe earlier in the day (similar to these New Orleans BBQ Shrimp), so I just reheated the leftovers and paired them with a crusty baguette. Delish!
And that's it for now, friends! I hope that you've found some new recipe inspiration for your own kitchen in the days ahead. Thank you for joining me here, and have a great week!