meals, sept 13-19

This weekend is starting off with a surprise little trip for the kids! My husband and the kids are going camping — so fun! I am going to head over during the day but return home each day. I know what you’re thinking: It’s a bummer someone has to stay back to keep the dog company ­čśë

Honestly, though, I am really looking forward to the weekend. We are going to make s’mores and it’s just going to be a blast. A nice little break in the back-to-school routine. My husband and I packed the kids each a book to read with some downtime, a horse-shoe game, a frisbee, and a football.

Last week’s rogue supermarket trip was really nice. I like the calmness of not having to plan everything. I did have to run to the store a few times this week to pick up a thing or two, but overall, I think I’m going to try to shop like this more often. I typically do my shopping on Thursdays, so that gives me Friday morning to look at my haul and figure out what we are going to eat for the week. It’s been nice cooking off the top of my head without following tons of recipes (though, we did get back to True Roots and Cravings last week).

We are going to keep things super simple for the weekend, since everything will be cooked either over a campfire or at the site (they have charcoal grills).

Friday: Hot dogs, carrots, and fruit. I figured that we’d want something simple while we set up the tent and we want to make sure we have time for a campfire and the s’mores that go along with it.

Saturday: For breakfast, we are going to do sausage, egg & cheese English muffins. We are testing out the dutch oven cooker we bought for camping this weekend and will use it for dinner when we make a batch of vegetable chili with s’mores to follow, of course.

Sunday: Same breakfast as the day before. We will be home by lunch and will do a fun little lineup for Sunday football of chips and salsa, homemade pizza, buffalo chicken dip and spinach-artichoke dip. I can’t wait!

Monday: We are back in the grind of life and work and school. I wanted to keep things easy so we are going to do pasta & zucchini with sauce and chicken sausage and salads.

Tuesday: Taco night with crunchy tacos, ground beef, refried beans, and beets. This is probably our favorite dinner of the week, honestly.

Wednesday: My husband is going to make his family favorite and ever so famous buffalo chicken salads (Pittsburgh style, with fries, cheese, and hard-boiled eggs). These are amazing.

Thursday: Black bean tacos with salad.

Having the kids make their own lunches and breakfasts has turned into, to put it ever so lightly, a nightmare. They ‘forget’ to eat breakfast most days and 11 literally packed himself a container of lettuce and nothing else one day; the next day, followed it up with a meat stick and popcorn… only. In an effort to make things super easy on everyone; lunches are going to be largely pre-made or sandwiches until 11 & 13 are better able to get themselves set up — this week, I grabbed meatballs, breakfast sausage (so they can finish the french toast bites), and things to make sunbutter sandwiches. I also grabbed two boxes of cereal bars and a box of applesauce, so there is something for my husband to keep in the car in case they forget breakfast.

My husband is going to try a new breakfast idea for the week with getting bell peppers, slicing them in half, and using the pepper to hold an egg, some quinoa, and ham. Hopefully, he likes this; we are always trying to find things that will work as a post-run breakfast after school drop-off. Lunches will be cauliflower and rice or quinoa bowls with chicken sausage, peppers.

My meals aren’t really planned during the week. I typically eat eggs for breakfast and salads for lunch but sometimes I grab something while out and about with 3, so we don’t really plan anything. This is something that’s nice about being home and not having to think about what we will have because we can always go to the store if we want something specific.

meals, sept 6-12

Well, it’s official: We are finally entering our first full week of school. 3 starts preK-3 on Monday and I’m sure someone will shed a few tears about it. (It’s me. I’m the someone.) We went today to pick out a new backpack. I wish Pottery Barn Kids didn’t carry such cute things, but they do and thus they can take all of my money. He picked out a camo blue small backpack, which will fit his school folder in it. 3 is really anxious about starting school but I think it’s going to be great for him. There are only a dozen children in his class and his teacher is straight out of college, so I’m hopeful that he will have the energy required to keep up with my child. I can’t wait for him to make some friends and talk about his days; I’m truly looking forward to it.

After our trip to PBK, we walked to Whole Foods and did our grocery shopping for the week. There I was, a typeA, overbearing, over-planned mom without a list or idea of what to make next week. The two of us basically grabbed all of the fruits and vegetables that sounded good to us at the time, swung by dairy for some kefir and nutpods, and then hit the meat counter. I have a free trial of Amazon Prime that I used to get my textbooks, so I got the discount for that at WF. I saved nearly $20 and now I get to struggle with figuring out if it’s worth getting Prime or not — I rarely shop on Amazon except to buy meat sticks and, in this case, textbooks (thanks to the free 2-day delivery). I am happily accepting any weigh-ins around Amazon Prime and whether or not its worth it…

Until then, I looked at my meats and vegetables and came up with this loose plan for the week (Who even am I right now?!):

Friday: I have a dentist appointment in the afternoon, so I wanted something quick and easy. We are doing kraut and kielbasa with mashed potatoes. I can’t wait.

Saturday: It is unofficially fall and I am eager to make Chrissy Teigan’s Cheeseless Eggs (Cravings). The Defined Dish posted a soup recipe this past week on Instagram and noted that Nutpods can be used in place of heavy cream; so, I grabbed some and will test this out over the weekend. We will also add the blistered tomatoes and possibly the garlic bacon to this ensemble. I have no idea what we will have for dinner — maybe we will try blackened grouper and have it with leftover potatoes and saut├ęed spinach. Sounds good to me!

Sunday: I bought leeks and we have some Italian sausage, so I may want to do a frittata of some sort, but we will see what we are in the mood for when Sunday AM rolls around. Sunday being the first full day of football, we are going to really dig in and enjoy — my husband is going to make buffalo wings and we are going to try our hand at making blistered shishito peppers; we will keep things simple and serve this with carrots.

Monday: We are going to do roasted chicken (True Roots), roasted potatoes, and roasted beets. Everything in the oven at once!

Tuesday: I am thinking that mushroom, pepper, zucchini, and spinach fajitas will be in order; simple and quick. Plus, if we have any leftover chicken, we can toss it in with them. I bought the Siete cashew queso to go along with this.

Wednesday: I am thinking a sheet pan meal of chicken thighs, potatoes, and carrots with a stone-ground mustard. I saw the recipe online but will probably just toss some mustard and spices on everything and back it until it’s done. I’m so savvy in the kitchen; what can I say.

Thursday: I grabbed a flank steak at the meat counter and plan to marinate and grill it and serve it with some saut├ęed spinach and roasted potatoes.

I bought a gigantic tub of spinach (can you believe that TWO POUNDS of spinach is only $1.50 more than 10oz?! Me neither.), so I will be eating this for lunch most of the week. I will probably thaw and cook shrimp to go with it — now that the dinners are going to get increasingly heavier, I’d like to keep my lunches a little on the lighter side and loaded with nutrients. I also will likely bust out the Vitamix this week and get back to making my cinnamon smoothies or match smoothies that I enjoy so much!

meals, sept 1-5

Our new schedule is under way and we are trying to adjust. Typically, I make the kids breakfasts and lunches and have everything queued up for them to pack in the mornings. This year, they are responsible for making their own breakfasts and lunches; they can write out their lists of what they want and if they forget, then they’ll just take when I grab.

This week, their lists are as follows:
13 — Breakfast, french toast sticks – grapes – cheese stick; Lunch, salads – berries – cukes – kettle corn; Afternoon Snack is a meat stick.

11 — Breakfast, chia pudding – grapes – cheese stick; Lunch, dumplings – berries – yogurt – peppers – kettle corn; Afternoon snack, almonds.

I love that 11 has the palate of a 95 year old. Perhaps this is where 3 gets it… 3 doesn’t start preK until next week but since he is typically with me when I shop, he can pick out his snacks for the week.

My in-laws were in town the beginning part of the weekend and are leaving on Tuesday after dropping 13 & 11 off at school. I will also head to campus on Tuesday to make sure everything is set up and I can access my course info without issue. I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of things and have a few meals planned:

Monday — marinated, grilled chicken; grilled potatoes with cheese & Greek yogurt; and a tossed salad.

Taco Tuesday — chicken soft tacos with the usual goodies: jalape├▒os, Greek yogurt, cheese, and hot sauce; we will probably do beets and Spanish rice to round it out.

Wednesday — The Defined Dish’s crispy salmon sticks (or haddock if S&S doesn’t have salmon) with Alexia fries and a Greek salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and a lemon vinaigrette.

Thursday — grouper; grilled potatoes with cheese & Greek yogurt; and leftover salad/beets.

Friday, I will probably head up to Trader Joe’s and load up on some things for the coming week and we will likely order Thai food or something so we can kick off our weekend in a relaxing way.

meals, aug 16-22

It’s been a busy week and we’ve been playing catch-up, but we are getting into a groove this week where things are going to be simple. It’s the last full week of summer vacation for 13 & 11. I hate the feeling of summer coming to a close. Though I am on a sabbatical this academic year, I am taking graduate classes and 3 is starting preK. We are celebrating the last week of summer vacation with trips to the beach, a beachside arcade, and our town’s community night (complete with s’mores). I have a hair appointment and dinner plans with a friend, which I’m also looking forward to.

Friday & Saturday, we are going to grill marinated chicken with corn/potatoes, and either beets or green beans.

Sunday & Monday, Chile-lime burgers, veggie burgers, and kielbasa on the grill with raw vegetables with Greek yogurt ranch.

Taco Tuesday (and Wednesday) with chicken, jalape├▒os, salsa, cheese, and Greek yogurt and a chopped salad kit. I have a hair appointment and need to get some things squared away on campus before the semester starts (parking permit, ID, bookstore visit, connecting my laptop to the Internet, email on my phone, etc). Wednesday, we will use the leftover rotisserie chicken for more tacos/burrito bowls.

Thursday, I am going out to dinner with a friend, but I’m planning on tossing some leftover ricotta in with chickpea pasta and sauce for a baked penne. We will use the leftovers for lunch on Friday.

Breakfasts are going to be simple: multi-grain English muffins with cream cheese; 3 requested salmon cream cheese because he’s turning 92 in the fall… I’ll probably add some plain Greek yogurt and berries to this and the kids will have squeezable yogurts with berries as well.

Lunches are going to be a hodgepodge of things we have in the freezer (mini pizzas, nuggets, mini chicken wontons) and leftovers. I like trying to keep things simple, especially with this being the last full week of summer break. I’d like to spend a good bit of time playing and having fun and these quick lunches will allow me to get the kids fed and 3 down for his nap with ease.

 

meals, aug 10-16

What a week it’s been! My parents are visiting and we’ve been out and about at the beaches in town; we’ve also been eating all of the homegrown tomatoes. (My parents brought us BAGS full of tomatoes from their garden — I’ve been having toast and tomato for breakfast and lunch pretty much daily and then pizza shells with tomatoes for dinner!)

Prior to the visit, I got to spend some 1:1 time with 13 & 11. I took them to Water Country, USA on Monday. We had a blast and went on nearly all of the water slides (several of them multiple times). We packed lunches and snacks and enjoyed ourselves in the NE sun!

My parents are leaving Monday morning, so we will get back to our normal eating habits after that. We’ve been still doing a lot of grilling and my mom made an eggplant dish last night that the kids ate before any of the adults could have seconds! Tonight, my husband and I are trying a local wine bar for a date night. We are really excited! Tomorrow, we are going to use the last of the pizza shells and more tomatoes for dinner and on Sunday, we are going to be at the Sox game and will likely introduce my dad to The Sausage Guy. So fun!

On Monday, I want to familiarize myself with campus. I’m going back to school and my anxiety really skyrocketed when we paid my tuition last week. I am really nervous to juggle everything. My husband is going to grill chicken and corn on the cob Monday. Tuesday will be similar but with a marinated flank steak. We figure on Wednesday, we will hit Chipotle to celebrate the end of t-ball and then Thursday, grilled chicken sausages and Caprese salad with our fresh tomatoes. We will likely have fresh tomato and cucumber salads from my parents’ garden all week with our dinners.

I’ve really been enjoying the easy nature of grilling dinners. I know it’ll be fun to be back in the kitchen more when fall rolls around but for now, this is really easy and delicious. We’ve been walking to get ice cream many nights after dinner since we have such little cook time/clean up.

Summer is winding down but we still have two full weeks of fun and beach days planned. I am hoping to enjoy each and every day.

meals, july 19-25

Hello, all!

I am still struggling to settle into a summer routine. We spend a lot of time at the beach and in general outside. Meals continue to be easy with us relying on our fast favorites (read: grilled chicken & raw vegetables with healthy sides of stone fruit/watermelon).

Today is my husband’s birthday and we have a sitter! This is our first date night since before our Disney trip in June. To say we are excited is an understatement! I got this jumpsuit for dinner:

I’m really just looking forward to some 1:1 time with my husband. Our birthdays are only four days apart and we were out celebrating mine last weekend. This coming weekend, we are planning a beach day Saturday and then a bbq at home to celebrate my husband’s birthday. We are grilling the usual burgers/hot dogs but I wanted to add one nicer element, so I grabbed burrata for a burrata, tomato, artichoke, and balsamic glaze salad. Our plan is to walk to a local ice cream shop for dessert!

Sunday, we are expecting to see 90s again. We’d originally planned to hit the farmer’s market after church but we may forgo that and just have the kids change and hit the beach again. We are going to play it by ear.

The rest of the week is going to be busy with all three kids in camp. 3 is really excited for his first summer camp experience; 11 is attending a science camp and their email today gave a long list of activities planned; 13 is doing a counselor in training camp. Needless to say, everyone will be BUSY BUSY BUSY. My plan is to head to the beach after drop offs until I have to pick 3 up — I have two books I’d like to finish next week, so hopefully that works out for me.

Because the kids will be busy at camp, they wanted simple lunches (works for me!), so we are all doing sandwiches/wraps next week with buffalo chicken breast and/or turkey breast. Easy Peasy.

Breakfasts are also going to be easy. I have cereal, breakfast bars, cheese sticks, and loads of fruit; we will also boil a bunch of eggs.

Dinners will vary but we are keeping up with the simple theme:

Friday — make your own pita pizza; raw vegetables & Greek yogurt ranch dip.

Saturday & Sunday — corn on the cob, cheese/hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelon, burrata salad, raw vegetables & Greek yogurt ranch dip, and lemonade.

Monday — It’s supposed to rain, so we are doing a rainy day favorite: chicken parmigiana and Caesar salad.

Tuesday — black bean tacos and beets.

Wednesday/Thursday — One of these days, we will probably go out to eat or order delivery; the other, we will grill marinated chicken and serve it with a salad kit.

We are looking forward to a fun weekend and I am most definitely looking forward to tonight’s date night!

meal planning, july 12-18

We have a few birthdays coming up this week, which is really exciting! We have been keeping meals SUPER SIMPLE with lots of grilled meats and vegetables. This week will be no different.

Friday: Shrimp fajita pitas — this is a really simple recipe and I will try to post it. We’ve been doing a lot of chicken/shrimp fajita pitas and they’re a big hit with everyone in the house. We will likely serve this with Greek yogurt ranch dip.

Saturday: Grilled chicken, corn on the cob, and grilled asparagus & zucchini.

Sunday: My birthday! We originally planned to go into Boston but the high is 86 and it’s supposed to be sunny, so we may hit the beach and do dinner someplace local (probably TexMex).

Monday: Probably more fajita pitas but this time with chicken; more raw vegetables.

Tuesday: Shrimp scampi — this is a recipe my MIL gave me. It has spinach, roasted red peppers, and uses chicken broth.

Wednesday: Black bean crunchy tacos and raw vegetables & beets.

Thursday: Thursday is my husband’s birthday, so we are lining up a sitter and going out to a nice date-night dinner.