Good morning, happy Sunday, and happy Easter or Passover to those who celebrate! We had a beautiful week of spring weather and fresh blooms here in Virginia, complete with a couple of new books, sports practices, and holiday prep. All of the highlights, along with each of our 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...
My morning started with a walk at Mollie's farm with three of my girlfriends, followed by an afternoon on the soccer fields for Casey's game.
We got home just before dinner, so Keith grilled pork chops,
I made a pot of rice and some Parmesan roasted squash for the side,
and sliced a loaf of zucchini bread that I baked earlier in the day.
Plus an easy chocolate pudding pie for dessert. The perfect Sunday supper!
After a week off for spring break, everyone returned to work and school on Monday. The boys were definitely not happy about this, but I reminded them that they only have 6 weeks left in the school year...which seems mind-blowing to me, and seems lightyears away to the kids.
I had a busy day of cooking and testing recipes in the kitchen, picked up the last of my neighbor's eggs from her farm (she lost all of her chickens to a fox over the weekend 😞), and eventually fed everyone an early supper before two different soccer practices.
Tuesday included a couple of walks with my girlfriends, work at the computer, and house chores.
I also prepared a double-batch of buttermilk biscuit dough to stash in the freezer for Easter. The key to smooth, stress-free holiday meals is lots of prep in advance!
We ate another very early supper that night before Keith took Casey to his soccer practice in Orange. On the menu: our favorite oven-roasted lemon chicken breast,
along with roasted asparagus, and pasta with pesto sauce. I tossed the asparagus with olive oil, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and added it to the baking sheet with the chicken during the final 12-15 minutes -- no extra pans to wash!
Not too much to report from another routine Wednesday...
I started the morning with a walk with Ashley after school drop-off, and then came home to prepare the dough for homemade dinner rolls to bake on Easter. You can't have a ham around here without biscuits and rolls! I just shape the rolls in advance, and then freeze them in the pan before the second rise.
We had New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp for supper, which is one of the kids' favorite meals,
along with cornbread and steamed green beans on the side. Then out the door for Gibbs's soccer practice.
I've got another book to share this week, and I'm not sure how I felt about it. I picked up Oh, William! by Elizabeth Strout because I've heard some folks say that it's the best book they've ever read. I suppose that's setting very high expectations, but I was definitely disappointed. Strout is a Pulitzer prize winner, and this novel was a New York Times bestseller, but I found the stream-of-consciousness format to be very odd...and I just wasn't a fan. That said, others obviously adore this one. Have you read it? Am I missing something?! I'd love to hear your thoughts. Here's the summary from Amazon:
Lucy Barton is a writer, but her ex-husband, William, remains a hard man to read. William, she confesses, has always been a mystery to me. Another mystery is why the two have remained connected after all these years. They just are.
So Lucy is both surprised and not surprised when William asks her to join him on a trip to investigate a recently uncovered family secret—one of those secrets that rearrange everything we think we know about the people closest to us. What happens next is nothing less than another example of what Hilary Mantel has called Elizabeth Strout’s “perfect attunement to the human condition.” There are fears and insecurities, simple joys and acts of tenderness, and revelations about affairs and other spouses, parents and their children. On every page of this exquisite novel we learn more about the quiet forces that hold us together—even after we’ve grown apart.
At the heart of this story is the indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who offers a profound, lasting reflection on the very nature of existence. “This is the way of life,” Lucy says: “the many things we do not know until it is too late.”
The temperature reached 88°F on Wednesday, and the fruit trees seemed to "pop" overnight! By Thursday morning, the yard was looking particularly colorful...
File this under "Things that Make Me Really Happy": (1) my first iced coffee of the season, (2) outside at the warm picnic table, (3) with fresh clippings in a vase handmade by my very talented mom!
We had two soccer practices on the schedule that evening, so I made an easy dinner in advance that we could serve straight from the fridge whenever folks needed to eat: Cold Peanut Sesame Noodles with Chicken -- an oldie-but-goodie!
Much of my Friday was devoted to running errands in Culpeper, including the groomer, the car wash, Target, and drive-thru lunch sandwiches for me and Keith from Panera Bread.
The kids and I stopped for ice cream cones as a fun after-school snack, and then came home for a quiet evening without any organized sports on the agenda for the holiday weekend.
I had some meatballs in the freezer, so I made the easiest meatball subs for dinner,
which we paired with potato chips and a Caesar salad.
I have one more book to share this week, since it's a quick read that I see as a "bonus!" Daffodil Season is book #9 in Melanie Lageschulte's Melinda Foster series. These books remind me a lot of Hallmark movies -- light and predictable, but also entertaining and heartwarming. I love reading a new one at the start of each season, so this was the perfect way to kick off spring. If you're interested in diving into the series, I'd definitely recommend starting with the first book, Growing Season, which takes place during the summer -- perfect for the coming months!
Saturday was another gorgeous day, and since the kids didn't have any soccer games scheduled, I was able to spend a big portion of the day getting ready for Easter. We're hosting my parents, my in-law's, and both of Keith's brothers and their families, so we have a fairly big group coming to the house this afternoon.
My mother-in-law is bringing the ham and a green bean casserole, my mom is bringing the potatoes and a bunny cake for the kids, and my sister-in-law will have the appetizers and a salad. In addition to the biscuits and dinner rolls that I prepped earlier in the week, I baked an easy one-bowl carrot cake on Saturday,
and made a key lime pie (Keith's favorite) to add to the dessert table.
I arranged flowers for the centerpiece (saved from the pruned limbs that Keith cut from our red delicious apple trees),
pulled out my grandmother's china to set the dining room table, wiped down the pollen-coated outdoor furniture, stuffed plastic eggs for an egg hunt, and assembled the Easter baskets. I think the Bunny is ready!
And after a busy day of prep, I told Keith that I was taking the night off from the kitchen (as I usually do on Saturdays). He picked up Pizza Hut for dinner, and we called it night!
So happy that porch-sitting season is upon us, and I'm looking forward to adding potted flowers and hanging baskets as soon as it's warm enough!
Have a wonderful Easter Sunday or Passover for those who celebrate, and thank you for joining me here today. I hope that you've found some new inspiration for your own table in the days ahead. Enjoy the week!🐰🐣💐