We had a full week of fun. Living in a small downtown area makes doing life together with friends so much easier. We see our tribe every day as we walk to pick up our girls from school, on the tennis courts for lessons or at the high school football game. One thing I love about small towns is impromptu dinners. We invited some good friends over for dinner at the last minute on Sunday. Doing life together with people, in the context and comfort of your home, is good for the soul. I tell you often that I am no cook; that I often stumble my way through recipes, yet pushing your insecurities aside and inviting others in your home chips away at that insecurity. You don't have to do much to feed others. I'm currently reading "Bread and Wine" by Shauna Niequist and in it she says,
"Each one of us should be able to nourish ourselves in the most basic way and to create meals and traditions around the table that tell the story of who we are to the people we care about. And the only way to get there is to start where you are. If you don't cook, begin by inviting people over. Order pizza and serve it with a green salad and a bottled salad dressing...Focus on making people comfortable, on creating a space protected from the rush and chaos of daily life, a space full of laughter and safety and soul."
I took that advice to heart. Our appetizers were simple: store bought hummus, pita bread cut in triangles (cheated on gluten), cut veggies, chips and guacamole. For dinner, we grilled some chicken which was marinated in olive oil, minced garlic, little squeeze of lemon juice, salt, dried, oregano and pepper. I bought a bag of lettuce and added tomatoes and red onion and cooked a side of frozen green beans. It doesn't have to be fancy to create a meaningful meal.
Monday - Leftovers
Tuesday - I tried a new recipe for GF, DF Meatballs made with coconut flour. These were a win with everyone! They sound complicated but they were surprisingly easy to make. We had the meatballs with leftover green beans and salad.
Wednesday - Almond Chicken Bake with roasted cauliflower & onions and rice. Rory's favorite veggie is roasted broccoli so I told her that the cauliflower was broccoli's sister. It was a huge success. She sung the praises of roasted cauliflower all night. I simply toss whatever I'm roasting in olive oil and kosher salt and roast for 30 minutes (tossing halfway through) at 400 or 425 (depending on what other dish I'm using the oven for). The chicken has good flavor but does take a bit of prep work. For the girls, I added a slice of GF bread from Trader Joe's (Udi's brand is our other favorite).
Thursday - The girls ate grilled chicken nuggets & fries from Chick-fil-a and I ate leftovers from the night before.
Friday - We went to our first local high school football game. We have friends that live across the street from the school so we tailgated at their house with several other families. Small town. Friday Night Lights. So fun.
Saturday - Something about Labor Day Weekend calls for grilling burgers. I made my mother-in-law's burger recipe which is 1 pound of ground beef, 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, 1 egg, 1/2 cup of GF bread crumbs, 1/2 t salt, 1/4 t of pepper. Form into patties and grill. These were definitely filling and more dense than a normal burger. So our sides were simple--corn on the cobb and guacamole with chips. If there is one recipe that I have perfected, it's guacamole. I tend to lean towards simple so all it calls for is avocado, red onion, salt & pepper and lemon or lime juice. For us, I mashed up two avocados, finely chopped about 2 T of red onion, S&P to taste and a small squeeze of lemon juice.
I want to close with one other quote from Bread and Wine: "That's what this is about. This isn't about recipes. This is about a family, a tribe, a little band of people who walk through it all together, up close and in the mess, real time and unvarnished." I want to encourage you this week to invite someone over for dinner. Start where you are. Be simple. Have fun. Do life together with other people. Invite someone into the mess of life and your heart (and stomach) will be full.