Good morning, and happy Sunday! It was another week of fall sports, good books, and easy autumn recipes. 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...
It rained a lot on Sunday, so soccer games were canceled and we had a rare quiet day at the house. We cleaned, picked up groceries, and -- most importantly -- organized the kids' closets for the cooler months ahead. I also snuck in an afternoon walk with my neighbor, Barbara, when there was a break in the weather. Look at that muddy water!
Keith grilled our favorite 15-minute salmon for supper that night,
which we paired with rice and sauteed spinach.
There's a lot of football on our TV right now, so I'm getting a lot of reading done in the background! This week I have a few more books to share, starting with The Paris Diversion by Chris Pavone. I checked out this page-turning espionage thriller since I enjoyed his more recent novel, Two Nights in Lisbon, so much. I appreciate the smart writing and the exciting plot twists, but I realized I probably should have read book #1 in this Kate Moore series before jumping into book #2. Here's a quick summary from Amazon:
American expat Kate Moore drops her kids at the international school, makes her rounds of chores, and meets her husband Dexter at their regular café: a leisurely start to a normal day, St-Germain-des-Prés.
Across the Seine, tech CEO Hunter Forsyth stands on his balcony, wondering why his police escort just departed, and frustrated that his cell service has cut out; Hunter has important calls to make, not all of them technically legal.
And on the nearby rue de Rivoli, Mahmoud Khalid climbs out of an electrician’s van and elbows his way into the crowded courtyard of the world’s largest museum. He sets down his metal briefcase, and removes his windbreaker.
That’s when people start to scream.
Everyone has big plans for the day. Dexter is going to make a small fortune, finally digging himself out of a deep financial hole, via an extremely risky investment. Hunter is going to make a huge fortune, with a major corporate acquisition that will send his company’s stock soaring. Kate has less ambitious plans: preparations for tonight’s dinner party—one of those homemaker obligations she still hasn’t embraced, even after a half-decade of this life—and an uneventful workday at the Paris Substation, the clandestine cadre of operatives that she’s been running, not entirely successfully, increasingly convinced that every day could be the last of her career. But every day is also a fresh chance to prove her own relevance, never more so than during today’s momentous events.
And Mahmoud? He is planning to die today. And he won’t be the only one.
Next up: Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. This was a recommendation from Reese's Book Club, and I have to say...it wasn't my favorite. The novel wasn't bad, but I wouldn't say it's a must-read. It's funny in parts, and it addresses important issues related to racism in our society, but it also felt a bit slow and hard to get into.
And finally, Firefly Season by Melanie Lageschulte. This is the final novel in the Melinda Foster series, which read like easy, breezy, Hallmark movies. I started with the first book, Growing Season, which takes place in the summer, and then read each subsequent story as the seasons changed. They're simple, cozy, light reading with characters that I thoroughly enjoyed. Now I'm sad that they're done!
A foggy Monday morning...
I stopped at Yoder's Country Market for apples, lunch meat, and buttermilk, and couldn't resist the fall display. I came home with a cart full of pumpkins and gourds to join the mums on our front porch.
I baked this apple Bundt cake for dessert, and shared some of it with the crew that was doing construction at our house that day. It's one of my very favorite fall desserts!
Gibbs had soccer practice that evening, so we ate an early supper beforehand. The kids' request? Pizza quesadillas (or as they call them, "pizzadillas")! They'll take pizza in any form they can get it. I added a salad on the side for some greens, too.
I spent most of Tuesday in the kitchen testing new recipes. We're in the full swing of fall baking, and I can't wait to share some fresh ideas with you. It's my favorite time of year to whip up cozy treats, since it doesn't come with the added stress and commitments of the holiday season. Stay tuned!
I left dinner warming in the Crock Pot, as we had a full schedule of activities after school. Gibbs went to golf, while the younger boys headed to Orange for their separate soccer practices.
On the menu that night: Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup, along with additional tortilla chips, salsa, and guacamole on the side. It's also tasty with cheese quesadillas for dipping, but we skipped those since we had pizza quesadillas the night before!
Please notice the porch at sunset, with Spencer's creepy skeleton in the background. The boys change the poses on that skeleton almost daily, and in this shot he's "diving to catch a football." Hah!
Wednesday morning was cool and crisp -- perfect for a walk in the woods with my friend Mollie.
I spent the rest of the day largely at the computer, and prepped another quick meal before we had to leave for three soccer practices again that evening. We had leftovers from my Dutch oven pot roast in the freezer, so I reheated the shredded meat and served it on sandwich rolls with cheese on top (broiled to melt the cheese) and chow-chow for an acidic, pickled garnish. Paired with a tray of roasted veggies (to clean out the veggie drawer), as well as potato chips.
Thursday included a walk with Ashley, followed by another day of work and chores at the house.
We had the night off from kids' activities, so I made one of the boys' favorite dinners: chicken and stuffing casserole.
On the side, one-bowl pumpkin muffins, cranberry sauce (from a can), and steamed broccoli.
Friday morning! After school drop-offs and another walk with a friend, I headed up to Culpeper to run a few errands.
Casey had soccer in Charlottesville that evening, so I took him to that, while Keith took the other two boys to the high school football game.
We picked up chicken nuggets from Chik-Fil-A for a quick dinner while we were in town after Casey's practice, and I tried the new Autumn Spice milkshake (it was gooood).
Then we met up with Keith and the boys for some small town Friday Night Lights (and funnel cakes)!
A loaf of chocolate chip banana bread to kick off Saturday morning...
...followed by a day on the soccer fields.
We were home mid-afternoon in time for Adria to come over for a visit and walk, while Keith prepared a smoked turkey breast for supper.
And that's it -- another week of easy dinners! I hope that you've found some new options to serve your family in the days ahead. Thank you for being here, and have a wonderful Sunday!