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Good morning, and happy Sunday! It’s been a week of emotional highs and lows, from the tragedy in Texas, to the end of the school year and the start of summer vacation. 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…
So much of Virginia is in bloom right now!
I met three of my girlfriends for a walk at Mollie’s farm early on Sunday morning before the heat of the day really kicked in.
Casey had a soccer game mid-afternoon, so we didn’t make it back home until close to dinnertime. Instead of trying to prepare a big meal when we were all hot and tired, we opted for takeout pizza from the local Italian restaurant instead!
Monday was cloudy and cooler, which felt like a nice reprieve from the hot and humid summer weather of the weekend.
The boys returned for their last few days of school, Keith went to work, and I took a short walk before tackling my own to-do list for the day (computer time, laundry, errands, etc.).
This rabbit actually hopped towards me when we met along the road. I certainly didn’t expect that, since they normally scurry off as soon as they see me coming. It stopped me in my tracks, until he did eventually change his mind and jump into the weeds.
Chinese food was on the dinner menu that night! I made dump-and-bake General Tso chicken, along with rice and steamed broccoli. So easy, but always a hit with the kids!
It rained most of Tuesday, which meant a quiet day in the kitchen testing new recipes and photographing others.
How about a book review? The Soulmate Equation is a light, fun romance by Christina Lauren. I loved this easy read — perfect for summer! Here’s the quick summary from Amazon:
Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. After all, her father was never around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before her daughter was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close but working constantly to stay afloat is hard…and lonely.
But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands.
At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98 percent compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Peña. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Peña. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get ‘to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could launch GeneticAlly’s valuation sky-high, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.
The sun returned on Wednesday, and the boys headed off for their last day of school!
I met my friend Ashley for an early walk, took care of my work, and planted some more flowers and herbs.
Before Casey’s soccer practice, we ate an easy stromboli crescent braid for supper,
along with a Caesar salad on the side.
The boys joined me for a few errands in Culpeper on Thursday morning, where we also grabbed lunch at Panera before heading back to Madison. I really like that new Mexican Street Corn Chowder that they’ve added to the menu!
Mollie came over for a walk in the afternoon, and then we had an early supper before Casey’s last soccer practice of the season.
Gibbs requested stuffed peppers (which I made with ground turkey and brown rice),
Friday was yet another rainy day at the house, without too much new or exciting to report. The kids were happy to play quietly inside and out (even in the gross weather), while I got some work done and joined a Zoom call. The local farmers worked hard early in the week to bale the hay before the rain…
I do have another really great book to share, though! Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman was one of the best novels I’ve read in a long time. Reminiscent of Fried Green Tomatoes and The Help, this well-written coming-of-age story is heartwarming, funny, and full of wisdom. Here’s the quick summary from Amazon:
Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille-the tiara-toting, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town-a woman trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. But when Camille is hit by a truck and killed, CeeCee is left to fend for herself. To the rescue comes her previously unknown great-aunt, Tootie Caldwell.
In her vintage Packard convertible, Tootie whisks CeeCee away to Savannah’s perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity, a world that seems to be run entirely by women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapons, to Tootie’s all-knowing housekeeper, Oletta Jones, to Violene Hobbs, who entertains a local police officer in her canary-yellow peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.
Laugh-out-loud funny and deeply touching, Beth Hoffman’s sparkling debut is, as Kristin Hannah says, “packed full of Southern charm, strong women, wacky humor, and good old-fashioned heart.” It is a novel that explores the indomitable strengths of female friendship and gives us the story of a young girl who loses one mother and finds many others.
All of the showers bring lots of flowers, right?!
Casey has a soccer tournament in Fredericksburg this weekend, so we spent Saturday on the sidelines at multiple games.
We made it home late in the afternoon,
so I was happy to have dinner to pull from the freezer: baked rigatoni with Italian sausage, plus store-bought garlic breadsticks and sauteed Swiss chard that I bought at the farmer’s market last weekend and needed to use.
And that’s where I’ll leave it for today! This has been an incredibly challenging week for all of us, and my thoughts and prayers are with the devastated community in Uvalde, Texas. I hope that this space remains a bright, temporary escape from the more difficult news, and continues to serve as inspiration for your week ahead. Thank you for being here. Take care of yourselves and each other!💓💞💗