Sunday, September 15, 2013

End of Summer Bounty

So how's everybody's Sunday going? I just came back from a Bed, Bath & Beyond trip and a little pampering at the nail salon, and am currently feet up watching the football games while Riker naps, windows open and fall scented candles burning. I'd say it's a pretty good end of the weekend around here. :) I had a lot of housework and running around to do the last two days so it feels good to relax.

Yesterday after a quick workout, meals planning and grocery shopping, I stuck around the house while Matt and one of his work friends made a short voyage up to north Jersey to claim a large piece of meat they'd ordered earlier in the year. That's right, a large piece of meat. A whole side of beef, to be exact.

I came across this company, Vermont Natural Beef, while home visiting my parents last winter and really wanted to give their program a try. They have a farm of all natural, grass fed, well treated and happy cattle, and they sell it at practically wholesale prices. The catch is you have to buy an entire side (that's nearly 300 pounds of beef) and they only sell once a year. So we got a few friends to join in and split it amongst 5 couples. I think we have enough ribs, steaks and ground meat in the freezer to last Matt and Riker the entire winter. I won't be partaking, but I like knowing that my family is eating healthy, humanely raised beef.

Getting the delivery yesterday meant one thing for Matt: steaks for dinner. So we invited Heather & Kevin and their two girls, Delia and Avery, over for dinner.

The boys had grilled T-bone steaks, which they said were super tender and really delicious, but I made habanero peach grilled shrimp for me and Heather. The shrimp were part of an organic delivery service we're trying out (they deliver wild caught seafood and local organic meats and other products right to your house), and were pretty good.

Before dinner we had a few simple snacks of veggies with spicy dip, and tomato mozzarella salad with fresh basil and tomatoes from my garden.

My basil was dying a few weeks ago, but all the sudden it's become huge and healthy, so I'm taking full advantage. I actually roasted the tomatoes with garlic before adding them to the salad, which made them super juicy and sweet. The warmth was also a nice change to the typical chilled caprese salad.

Heather and I chatted over Blue Moons and glasses of white wine while I cooked and the boys played with the kids outside. It was so nice to just sit and catch up. I'm telling you, I am ready for fall and nights at home. :)

I made a few different sides for dinner, including baked sweet potato fries, grilled zucchini and summer squash, and a winter slaw I saw on Barefoot Contessa a week or two ago. The slaw had raw Brussels sprouts, radicchio and kale with a lemon vinaigrette and parmesan cheese.

All dressed up:

I loved this salad. It was crunchy and colorful, and slightly bitter. All that raw greenery also made it feel like a power salad with so many vitamins in one bowl.

For dessert I made homemade watermelon pops for the kids - which they actually didn't eat since they opted for carrot cake that Delia brought over instead, and honestly, I would've made the same choice. ;) For the adults I made chocolate avocado mousse parfaits with strawberries and homemade whipped cream.

Yum! I can promise you I'll be sharing this recipe later in the week. What a great night with our good friends!


Today started with paleo apple cinnamon "pancakes", coffee & day planning, and clearing the garden of the last of its bounty.

We got one really good final crop.

Eggplants, peppers and tomatoes, oh my!

I see eggplant rollatini and a large pot of chili in my future. Speaking of, I'm giving myself another 20 minutes of being a couch potato before getting my butt into the kitchen for some meal prepping for the week. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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