the fleeting summer and a recipe: balsamic roasted summer vegetables

I have the post-vacation blues this week. I expected to be in a bit of a funk for a day or so, but it’s sticking around a bit longer than it should.

Is this what I get for having such a restful, carefree vacation?

We spent last week in Rosemary Beach, a gorgeous beach town in Florida’s panhandle. Some good friends of ours, with children around the same ages of Madeline and Oliver, came with us on the trip and shared the house with us. The house was huge,  three stories, and only a three minute walk to the beach and a two minute walk to the pool.  I brought my laptop but I let it sit, powered off and unopened, and eventually it became piled high with random articles of clothing. I finished one book and read another two books during the more relaxed moments of the trip. It rained many of the days, but that just gave me more time to read. I made sandcastles with my son, and I watched my daughter play on her boogie board until her shoulders were browned. I spent hours over cups of coffee – or glasses of wine or mojitos or sangria – deep in conversation with my dear friend. I didn’t exercise once, unless you count climbing the three sets of wooden stairs up and over the sand dunes each day.

It was a good week.

It’s hard to come back to my daily routine and responsibilities after such a blissful week away. I anticipated perhaps a day of getting adjusted, but not this. I don’t think it’s just post-vacation melancholy. It feels like something more.

I can feel summer dissipating.

The heat is still here. It’s not going anywhere until October, or maybe late September if we’re really lucky. It’s the sense of summer freedom that is disappearing, slipping away like a handful of sugary, white beach sand through my fingers. The fact that school starts in less than 3 weeks is a harsh reminder that the end of summer is near. Back-to-school supplies are in the stores and the meet-the-teacher date has been set. I had to order my daughter’s new school uniforms this week.

I love fall, I really do. It’s my favorite season. But I haven’t had enough summer yet.

I need more time.

Yield: Serves 6-8.

Balsamic Roasted Summer Vegetables


2 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2-3 large yellow crookneck squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss vegetables with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Spread out on even layer on a large baking sheet and sprinkle vegetables with a generous pinch or 2 of salt and 2-3 grinds of fresh ground black pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring at least once during roasting.

    Pin It

15 Responses to “creamy grits with corn, bacon, and tomatoes”

  1. 1
    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — August 19, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

    How nice that you got to spend a week off with your kids. They are beautiful! The grits look delicious, love the toppings you chose!

  2. 2
    Shea Goldstein — August 19, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

    That looks right up my alley, yum!! And your kids are beautiful 🙂

  3. 3
    LiztheChef — August 19, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

    Lovely post – I keep subscribing to your feed via email and don’t get your posts – but see them on fb and twitter easily enough…You are a great friend – and, belatedly, my admiration to you for getting on a plane and DOING SOMETHING for Jennifer when she needed it. XO Liz

  4. 4
    Jenni — August 19, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

    1)I love that you took some time off to hang w/the wee ones!
    2)Your cat is Beautiful.
    3)So are the grits.

    At the restaurant I used to work in, we made grits w/heavy cream and duck fat. Fantastic. Just something to tuck away next time you’re feeling Decadent! 🙂

  5. 5
    Kimmie — August 19, 2011 @ 4:36 pm

    Your kids (both human and furry) are adorable! As a Texan, I love love love anything to do with grits – will definitely try this one out! =)

  6. 6
    Gail — August 19, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

    Grits are the perfect comfort food. For you and for us.

  7. 7
    Kristen — August 19, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

    I think I’m ready too – and your kiddos? So darn cute!

  8. 8
    Paula — August 19, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

    Your week at home sounded like it was just what you needed. The food, the fun, the time-outs and the squabbles…everything that is family…everything that matters.

    Best wishes at the conference, hope the kids (sooo cute) have a great school year and hoping that getting back into the routine at work come without too much difficulty.

    Happy End of Summer. Great looking grits!

  9. 9
    Aggie — August 20, 2011 @ 7:57 am

    I really love that you took the week off. I bet your kids were thrilled to have mommy time ALL day ALL week 🙂 We started school this week and it was like a breath of fresh air. What a nice feeling to be in routine again.

    Your kids are so stinkin adorable. Love those smiles!!

    I am shamelessly admitting that I’ve hardly made grits in my life. Maybe a packet of instant here or there. But the real thing, no. crazy!!! I’ve been dreaming of shrimp and grits for as long as I can remember…and now this. I am loving this.

  10. 10
    Barbara | Creative Culinary — August 20, 2011 @ 10:34 am

    While I’m not ready for summer to end I do look forward to the days cooling off and some of the foods we can look forward to with the start of that cooler weather.

    The southerner in me (yes, 10 yrs in the south counts!) is awakened whenever I hear grits. The addition of corn, tomatoes and bacon? Over the top wonderful.

    Though I sort of expected to see that adorable little cat’s head in the photo of the bowl, yes I did.

  11. 11
    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme — August 20, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    MJ – Your children are just adorable and it’s wonderful that you got to spend a whole week with them before the rush of back-to-school. Enjoy the time while they’re little. It passes so quickly!

    You *know* I love any recipe with grits! They’re just the most comforting thing you can put in your mouth. Love the way you’ve enhanced yours with corn, tomatoes and bacon. Brilliant!

  12. 12
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — August 21, 2011 @ 12:57 am

    You really deserve the Mom of the Year award. You are amazing. Truly.

  13. 13
    Russell at Chasing Delicious — August 21, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

    Such a comforting, delicious looking recipe! It sounds like you’ve had a good week too. I remember when I got my first bunk bed. Makes me miss being a kid. The homework, not so much!

  14. 14
    Karriann Graf — September 6, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

    This looks like a delicious and comforting meal! Happy Cooking!

  15. Pingback: The Merry Gourmet slow-cooker creamy southern grits | the merry gourmet

Leave a Comment