Hello, friends! As I type this, we're packing up and heading home from a week-long family vacation.Today's roundup of Our Week in Meals will be a little bit different than usual, because I'm sharing our beach adventures, our 4th of July fun, and the delicious summer dinners that we enjoyed on our travels.
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…
Keith and the boys spent the morning outside taking care of yard work, while I packed suitcases indoors (as well as snack bags, entertainment bags, and everything else that's required to get a family of 5 out the door for a road trip)!
Having way too much fun with this task...
It was about 100 degrees that day, so we decided that we would stay as cool as possible by going for a hike in the shady woods after lunch.
The boys wore their bathing suits so that they could get wet and muddy in the river -- and they were very happy campers.
Casey was so proud of his rock tower.
Since we were leaving town the next day, we had very minimal groceries in the house by Sunday evening. I had stashed some turkey burgers in the freezer (and we had buns in the pantry), so dinner that night included burgers, frozen French fries that I baked in the oven, and frozen veggies (microwaved) plus a few green beans that the kids picked from the garden.
We did happen to have some bacon and cheese in the refrigerator as well, so our humble turkey burgers turned into delicious Bacon Cheeseburgers.
Not glamorous, but it worked!
Oh my goodness...I hardly know where to start with Monday's adventures!
Our alarm went off bright and early at 4:45 a.m. so that we could hit the road for our trip north. We had smoothies at home and then grabbed (much needed) coffee and breakfast sandwiches at the first Starbucks we passed -- about an hour into our drive.
Our ultimate destination was my parents' house on Martha's Vineyard for a beach vacation; however, we made a fairly last-minute decision to split the drive into two parts since our boys aren't exactly patient with long car rides.
I did my best to keep the kids busy while on the road, and these cards were a big hit with each of them.
We made it from Central Virginia to New York City by about 11:30 a.m. -- ready to get out and stretch our legs.
It was about almost degrees in the city, so our first stop was in shady Bryant Park for some lemonade and a French baguette to hold everyone over until we could find a late lunch.
I honestly don't know how everyone felt about NYC. To say that my country boys were overwhelmed by the crowds, noise, and busy-ness of the city would be an enormous understatement!
We stayed at a Hilton in Times Square (probably the most chaotic part of Manhattan?!), so it was just WAY too much for them to handle. By dinnertime, Casey was sitting at our restaurant table in tears!
BUT, all of that said, it was a very exciting adventure. They were particularly impressed by:
- the skyscrapers
- the subway (!!!)
- the elevators in our hotel
- and the parking garage!????
We had a delicious lunch at Ben's Kosher Deli, which was a classic New York delicatessen.
We loved our meal there, and now I'm on a mission to make a simple, really good chicken noodle soup at home, since my boys devoured it at the restaurant!
I opted for a Chef Salad on such a hot day, which hit the spot. The house-made deli meats (including the smoked turkey on my salad) were particularly tasty.
Casey and I also loved the dill pickles on the table.
We took a very sweaty walk from Times Square to Central Park after lunch, where we immediately cooled off with ice cream cones and milkshakes in the shade.
So good! Soft serve will always be my fave!
Of course, the only thing that these boys wanted to do was climb on rocks in Central Park (which we can easily do at home in the mountains)!
After resting for an hour or two in our hotel rooms, we took a short walk to Pig n' Whistle Pub for an early supper.
Keith and I had fried calamari and salads for dinner, which were mediocre.
But the boys were very happy with their burgers, pasta, and chicken fingers, so we'll call it a success.
We changed our plans slightly on Tuesday morning, because my overwhelmed kiddos just wanted to get out of the city.
Instead of trying to go up in the Empire State Building, we grabbed a quick breakfast at Allegro Coffee inside the Whole Foods near our hotel before getting back in the car to continue on our travels.
We took our giant glazed donuts, fruit, yogurt, and coffee across the street to Bryant Park to eat outdoors and it was...perfect.
Who needs tours of skyscrapers when you can just feed pigeons in the park?! The kids got a lot of entertainment out of those birds...
Back on the interstate, we stopped for lunch at a Subway in Massachusetts, and finally made it to Woods Hole to catch the ferry to Martha's Vineyard.
We arrived at my parents' house late afternoon, which gave the kids time to take a swim at the beach and play with their cousins before dinner.
My brother's family was there from Florida as well, so we had all 7 of the grandchildren under one roof!
We enjoyed a delicious Mexican feast that night, including grilled steak and chicken fajitas, pico de gallo, chips and salsa, refried beans, and margaritas.
The kids were up bright and early on Wednesday morning, so a few of us started the day with a short walk to the airfield to check out the planes.
Spencer and Abby made brownies with my mom,
and then we all headed to the beach for the day.
Don't picnics always taste best on the sand?
At 5:00 we went into town for Edgartown's annual 4th of July parade, which is always one of our summer highlights.
We were all ready for dinner by the time we got back to the house, so fortunately my mom had a classic American cookout ready to go on the grill.
Hamburgers, hotdogs, potato salad, baked beans, chips, a green salad (and brownies for dessert).
On Thursday morning we took this crew on a Pirate Adventure in Oak Bluffs.
They loved sailing the ship out into the ocean to shoot water cannons, drink grog, and pull up a treasure chest.
We made it home in time for a late lunch and an afternoon swim at the beach.
I'm not sure who enjoys the waves more -- my mom or the kids!
Our meal that evening was a delicious Vineyard supper: homemade lobster rolls and salad! Quite possibly my favorite dinner of the year so far...
As if that wasn't good enough, we finished off the evening with a double-layer chocolate cake that I made for Abby's birthday!
My brother's family flew back home to Florida on Friday morning, and my crew of early-risers hit the beach by 8:30 a.m.!
There was rain in the forecast for the afternoon, so we wanted to make sure that they got some fresh air before we were stuck indoors.
I was chilly sitting in my chair wrapped in a towel, but the kids didn't seem to mind the temperature. They had a great time swimming and digging in the sand.
Casey even found this live conch in a shell, which he wanted to bring home. Instead, he agreed to a photo to document the creature before we threw it back into the ocean!
After lunch, Keith took Spencer and Gibbs to rake for clams in the bay (not my cup of tea!), while Casey and I went with my parents to one of my favorite island spots: Chilmark Pottery.
I came home with a couple of new coffee mugs and a bowl, which I'm sure you'll see in recipe photos soon!
I also visited one of my other favorite local spots later that afternoon to pick up a few vegetables for dinner.
Morning Glory is seriously the most beautiful farm stand with a selection of some of the best baked goods and produce that you will ever come across.
Those cherries were SO good!
For happy hour, we had the grilled fresh clams that Keith caught,
along with cheese, crackers, and fresh figs from the farm stand.
Our supper consisted of more fresh seafood that Keith picked up at the fish market: grilled halibut and salmon, grilled corn on the cob and broccoli from Morning Glory, and Italian bread. Perfect end to another summer day!
Saturday was our last day on the Vineyard, and we were blessed with gorgeous New England weather.
We took advantage of the cooler, sunny temps and went to Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary for a hike that morning.
We had lunch back at the house, and then made our way into Edgartown for ice cream treats.
It wouldn't be a visit to the island without a trip to Mad Martha's, and this Reese's Peanut Butter Cup cone did not disappoint!
The rest of our afternoon was spent at the beach, splashing in the surf for one last time.
Then Keith and I were treated to a night out, since my parents stayed home with the kids.
We had dinner reservations at State Road, which was a much fancier dining experience than we're used to (and we enjoyed every minute of it).
These are the gardens that you walk through to enter the restaurant. Many of the dishes use locally sourced ingredients, including produce from these beds.
We started the meal with house-made garlic focaccia and lemon butter (ah-mazing!!!).
Lightly Roasted Menemsha Oysters with smoked paprika, roasted garlic, lemon and chives.
Brussels Sprouts with cajeta, pomegranate seeds, almonds, shiso vinegar, and island sea salt.
My Pan Seared Scallops with celery root puree, pickled grey barn rhubarb, asparagus, saba.
Keith's Dry Aged Ribeye with confit fingerlings, red pearl onion escabeche, black garlic butter, and ramp pistou.
Holy yum! We loved every bite, and tapped out with very full bellies before we could even consider a dessert course.
Just like that, our beach vacation came to an end! Today we're leaving the Vineyard on an early ferry to make the long trip home. Wish me luck with those 3 kiddos in the car, and be sure to check back here tomorrow for another new (easy) recipe!
Need some help planning your family’s meals? When you join Simply Mailed, I will send you 3 quick-prep dinner recipes and a grocery shopping list each week (for about $1 per week!!!). This super-affordable service takes the stress out of dinner, saves you time and money, and brings your family together at the end of the day. There are even options for smaller households of just 1 or 2!