Happy Sunday, friends! After another full week of summer travel, camp, and tractor pulls, I’m checking back in with the latest roundup of Our Week in Meals. Let’s get right to it!
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…
We spent the previous week on Martha’s Vineyard (full details on that getaway here), so on Sunday morning we were up early to catch the 6:00 a.m. ferry off the island. Vacation was over and it was time to get back to Virginia!
We stopped for a much-needed breakfast and coffee at Cape Cod Bagel in Falmouth once we got off the boat, and then our day-long journey in the car officially began.
Ham and egg sandwich on pumpernickel bagel.
We made it all of the way to New Jersey before stopping for lunch at a very uninteresting roadside rest stop. Chicken, pizza, and salads were the best we could scrounge together…
One benefit of being stuck in a car for 12 hours+ with three little boys? Plenty of time to read this book, which was great!
The novel centers around the true story of the art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Massachusetts, which still remains the largest unsolved art theft in history. It was a fun read that totally reminded me of the movie The Thomas Crown Affair.
Pit stop snacks for some very cooperative travelers:
Since there was no food in the kitchen at home, we picked up dinner en route at a random gas station somewhere near Baltimore. Classy, right?
My chef salad wasn’t great, but at least I didn’t have to cook!
We even made it home in time to pick the peaches that were ripe on our trees that evening.
Getting back into a routine after vacation is always tough, but when I headed out on a walk on Monday morning, I was SO glad to be home!
My day was largely devoted to re-stocking the kitchen, unpacking, and doing laundry. While Gibbs was at Lego camp for the morning, I picked up a grocery order at Walmart (it makes shopping so much easier)!
We had lunch at home, and then I dragged all 3 boys with me to Costco that afternoon — largely to grab produce and seafood.
Snack for my shoppers:
The kids had lacrosse practice that evening at 6:00, so they needed an early dinner. Keith was working late, so he needed to eat after practice. My solution? An easy B.L.T. Pasta Salad that I could prep earlier in the day and then serve whenever we needed it.
This is an oldie-but-goodie blog recipe, and it’s always a hit! The perfect light meal for the season…
Tuesday flowers in a pottery vase that my mom made! She’s so darn talented (but she’d never admit it…)
While Gibbs was at camp that morning, I spent a few minutes in the kitchen preparing a cream cheese apple dip to photograph.
Sure enough, the little vultures descended and ate up the dip as soon as I could share. It’s officially kid-approved, so I’ll post the recipe on the blog next month!
We spent the afternoon at the pool, which was basically our only option given the 95-degree temps, and then we came home to a healthy and easy dinner.
I made Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Salmon with Sliced Zucchini, which is a new recipe that I was testing for my Simply Mailed subscribers. We had the fish and veggies with rice and salad on the side.
On Wednesday Gibbs returned to camp for the morning, while the younger boys and I met Mary Kate at the playground. She watched the kids while they ran around for an hour, so that I could walk nearby with Mollie and Martha. Fitting in exercise while kids are home for the summer can sometimes get tricky…
Thanks goodness for the shade of trees, because Central Virginia is HOT in July.
We returned to the pool after lunch for an afternoon of swimming! I try hard, but I’ve decided that it’s practically impossible to wear these boys out…
For dinner I prepared one of the easiest recipes on my blog — seriously. This was actually the first dump-and-bake recipe that I ever posted…way back in October of 2013 when I was 8 months pregnant with Spencer and I was trying to stock my freezer with plenty of meals to enjoy during the newborn days.
My 4-ingredient Dump-and-Bake Ravioli Casserole takes a grand total of about 5 minutes to assemble, making it a busy mom’s dream. Let me know if you try it!
Dessert that evening was such a treat! Since the peaches on our trees are finally ripe, we have baskets full of them sitting on the counter right now (believe me — I’m not complaining — it’s just challenging when they all ripen at exactly the same time!).
Earlier in the day, I used a combination of the fresh peaches and some frozen blueberries to make my Healthy Blueberry Peach Cobbler. Love this for an easy summer breakfast, snack, or dessert…especially when paired with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or yogurt.
Thursday morning was all about divide-and-conquer! I had a service appointment for my car, so I took Gibbs to camp, left Casey with the babysitter, and brought Spencer along with me to the dealer.
He didn’t want to miss an opportunity to sit in the massage chairs…
It was a beautiful afternoon to be outside, so I took the boys to the pool after lunch.
It definitely wasn’t one of our finer visits — I felt like a referee breaking up fights the whole time!???? Just so that you know it’s not all rosy around here…
Working on his swimsuit model pose!????
In another effort to use up our fresh peaches, I made an old blog recipe for dinner that night called One Skillet Peach Glazed Chicken. Love this sweet-and-savory spin on supper! I used chicken breasts instead of thighs this time, because that’s what I had in the freezer.
On the side we had biscuits and roasted Brussels sprouts (because I’m still trying to recreate the amazing Brussels sprouts that I had at the Vineyard last week!). Unfortunately, Keith hates the smell of roasting Brussels sprouts, so I think my experimenting has been banned for awhile…????
The boys had lacrosse practice on Thursday evening, so after the late night and the bad behavior at the pool earlier that day, I knew that we would need a very low-key activity on Friday morning.
Gibbs didn’t have camp, so I took the whole crew a few miles up the road to Grelen to pick (many) pints of sweet, juicy blackberries. The picking goes by quickly when I have an army of assistants.
Keith’s mom came for a visit that afternoon, so she was kind enough to entertain the boys for a little while so that I could sneak out for an afternoon walk with my friend Mollie. We just stayed on the gravel road at her farm since it was our easiest option on this particular afternoon.
Carole knows the way to my boys’ hearts: a huge box full of sprinkle donuts from Duck Donuts!
I realized that we hadn’t had pork in awhile, and I had two pork tenderloins in my freezer from Costco, so for dinner that night I decided to make Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Barbecue Sandwiches.
I loosely followed my recipe for Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Alabama White Barbecue Sauce, but I skipped making my own barbecue sauce and instead just served the shredded pork with a bottle of our favorite Stubbs barbecue sauce.
I also used the two tenderloins instead of a pork shoulder (since that’s what I had), and I’ve found that cooking the tenderloin low and slow for a really long time (about 9+ hours) really makes it tender and juicy. With the tenderloin you don’t need a full 1 cup of broth to cook it in — just a splash (about 1/4 cup) is plenty. It’s obviously not as flavorful as a pork butt, but it’s still good — and definitely a lot leaner.
I met my friends Mollie and Maggie for a beautiful early morning walk in the woods on Saturday, which was a perfect start to the day. Keith even picked up a grocery order for me that morning, which was a huge treat to have that chore checked off my list!
Gibbs went to a friend’s house for a pool party and sleepover that afternoon, while I stayed busy in the kitchen making Blackberry Jam.
I used this recipe, which was very easy. It took me a total of about 1 hour from start to finish, and I ended up with 8 jars of jam in varying sizes.
That afternoon I prepped a Cheesy Turkey, Tomato and Zucchini Casserole for our early dinner. This is a great healthy option to take advantage of summer produce!
We ate at 5:00 so that we could get to the annual Madison Young Farmer’s Tractor Pull by 6:00. This is truly one of Spencer’s personal highlights each year!
Not sure what a tractor pull is? You can read more details in my post here from way back in 2013. Gibbs and Casey were such babies back then, and Spence wasn’t even alive yet!
And that’s where I’ll leave it for now. I hope that you all have a wonderful week ahead!
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!
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