Forgive me…that old art song, “The Last Rose of Summer,” is drifting through my head.  I’m taking a minute to get the meal plan posted for you all, and in that minute I’m breathing, and that makes me realize that August is IT.  This is it for the summer, for the long days of wet and sandy children, for the aspirational list we made (foolishly and optimistically) months ago of all the fun stuff we wanted to accomplish with the boys before September reared its head.  This is it for L. being a preschooler, and maybe for P. being a part of the young-preschool class that’s been such a great place for him (since they are talking about moving him to L.’s old classroom soon – a shock to my system!).  This is THE MONTH for tomatoes, and eggplant, and peppers, and peaches, and already the time for strawberries has passed.

It’s momentous.  And nothing has changed.

As usual, dinner will still need to happen, and I’m still going to be trying to serve it all up with speed and calmness so we can eat in the backyard with our shoes off  — our new favorite nightly ritual – to soak up the last of the sun.  So forgive me if this month’s plan seems pedestrian in any way.  I just don’t want the fuss right now, not in THE MONTH.

Wednesday, 8/1: Grilled nitrate-free uncured ham steaks and vegetables
Thursday, 8/2: Whole-wheat pasta tossed with farmer’s market vegetables and herbs, fruit, cheese
Make it GF: Use Jovial brown rice pasta.
Friday, 8/3: Car picnic, as we’re going to see family for the weekend!  On the menu: Roast beef wraps, tomato-mozzarella skewers, fruit, and chocolate-dipped graham crackers (because in the car, I’m not above a little bribery).
Make it GF: Omit the whole-wheat tortillas and just roll up your vegetables and cheeses inside the slices of roast beef.  Instead of chocolate-dipped graham crackers, dip fruit or marshmallows in chocolate.
Saturday, 8/4 – Sunday, 8/5: Not cooking.  Sorry, folks!
Monday, 8/6: Burgers, sweet potato fries, and fruit
Make it GF: If you don’t want to use a gluten-free bun for your burgers, you could do lettuce wrap burgers, or simply serve the burgers off the buns altogether (we did that during our GF days, and we still do from time to time).

Lazy Girl’s pickle relish on a grass-fed cheeseburger.

Tuesday, 8/7: J. and L.’s birthday!  I’ll be honest and say that our plans are still a bit up in the air.  But if we’re home and I’m cooking, my bet is on the boys requesting lobsters.
Wednesday, 8/8: Waffle iron Panini, fruit and vegetable platters
Make it GF: Use GF bread, or make quesadillas instead of Panini, using corn tortillas.
Thursday, 8/9: Chicken fajita salad
Friday, 8/10: Fend night
Saturday, 8/11: L.’s birthday party!  I’ll post the photos and recipes after we’ve pulled this thing off.
Sunday, 8/12: Fish (and probably, given the events of Saturday, a loooong nap).

Brown rice pasta with scallops, squid, tomatoes, and eggplant.

Monday, 8/13: Grilled chicken sausages, grilled vegetables, whole-wheat pita
Make it GF: Omit the pita and substitute fruit, GF crackers, or potatoes.
Tuesday, 8/14: Fish
Wednesday, 8/15: Vegetable stir-fry with brown rice
Thursday, 8/16: Whole-wheat spaghetti with fresh marinara
Make it GF: Use Jovial brown rice pasta.
Friday, 8/17: Fend night
Saturday, 8/18: Fish
Sunday, 8/19: Oven fried chicken, tahini coleslaw, corn

Tahini coleslaw

Make it GF: Crust your chicken in a mixture of cornmeal and rice flour for a delicious, crispy batter.
Monday, 8/20: Fish
Tuesday, 8/21: Grilled whole-wheat pizzas
Make it GF: I’m going to have to say that there is just no substitute for pizza. J  Luckily, there are gluten-free crusts and crust recipes out there, so you can still indulge!
Wednesday, 8/22: Grilled chicken with blueberry-ginger chutney, quinoa, vegetables
Thursday, 8/23: DIY Salad night
Friday, 8/24: Fend night
Saturday, 8/25: fish
Sunday, 8/26: BLT panzanella, fruit
Make it GF: I would use cornbread croutons (made with masa rather than wheat flour) for this panzanella.  You could also substitute big chunks of chicken for the bread and make it a chicken club salad!

BLT Panzanella

Monday, 8/27: Back-to-school dinner for L.  We’re having his favorite flank steak and vegetables.
Tuesday, 8/28: Fish
Wednesday, 8/29: Homemade chicken nuggets, vegetables, couscous salad
Make it GF: My kids love gluten-free nuggets crusted with a mixture of pulverized oats, popcorn (yes, really!), and puffed brown rice cereal.  1 part oats, 4 parts popcorn, 2 parts puffed rice, blended with a little garlic powder, salt, and pepper – and your nuggets will cook perfectly.
Thursday, 8/30: Salmon burgers and salad
Make it GF: I make my own salmon burgers, and I use panko in the mixture, but you could substitute pulverized oats very easily.  Serve the burgers without buns, on a bed of rice or quinoa.
Friday, 8/31: Fend night

Here’s something fun for those of you who are into Pinterest: I’ve been dabbling, and I have an idea board up for the August meal plan as well, so you can see it in two places now!

Happy end of summer, everyone.  Don’t spend too much time in the kitchen.