A lot can happen over a meal. Many a romance has started while sharing a bottle of wine and picking away at a charcuterie board. Much more than romance can happen though… Reconciliation, growth, honoring, celebration, commitment, or departure. All of this symbolism plays out in the classic movie, “Babette’s Feast”

I won’t give away all of the plot, but a special meal is planned and for a small group of stoic guests. As the meal unfolds, their hearts do, too. The food and wine, spark the senses, enabling these stoic souls to open up; allowing them to enjoy the experience, and delight in the other guests. And, without knowing it, healing starts for these men and women, relationships are restored, hope once again shines its light. And by the end of dinner, this meal started them on a new path together towards joy. It is very symbolic of the Last Supper actually.

Food brings us together and breaks the ice. It provides the opportunity to do what we do best as God’s sons and daughters: to commune, be in community, enjoy one another and how beautifully God made each one of us. Consider taking advantage of the 4th of July parties and meals as an opportunity to recall all that God has given us, including our freedom, while growing in relationship with one another.

Here are a few delicious summer dishes to bring you and your loved ones together…maybe while you’re enjoying good food and each other a loving word will be expressed, or a healing story will be shared. Who knows what this holiday weekend will hold!  

1. Steak Salad with Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette

Believe me, you will make this salad again! Everyone will be happy with a steak (what a treat!) and all of those healthy veggies. It makes for the perfect summer meal. 


• 1 10-ounce grilling steak (boneless prime rib)
• 4 oz. Arugula
• 1/2 Avocado
• 1 cup Cherry tomatoes
• 1/2 English cucumber
• 1/4 cup Red onions
• 1 tsp. Avocado oil
• 1/2 tsp. Salt and pepper
• 1 pinch Salt and pepper
• 2 tbsp. Olive oil

(More: Visit “The Endless Meal” for Instructions.)

2. Avocado, Watermelon and Cucumber Salad

I once attended a watermelon-themed birthday party. I wish I had this recipe then! especially because it has the best things in life: cilantro and lime! Need I say more?? Try this one especially if you’re in a rush: it takes less than 15 minutes. Ask for help to make the prep time shorter and more enjoyable!


• 2 avocados (pitted and sliced or cubed)
• 1 seedless watermelon (cut into 1-inch cubes)
• 2 cucumbers (peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes)
• 2 tablespoons (fresh lime juice)
• 1 tablespoon (olive oil)
• 1/3 cup (freshly chopped cilantro)
• salt and pepper to taste

(More: Visit “Ambitious Kitchen” for Instructions.)

3. Cilantro Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad

Since July 4th falls on a Saturday this year, this could be the perfect Friday dish as you head into the holiday weekend, especially if you try to abstain from meat on Fridays. It won’t taste like much of a sacrifice though! 


• 1/4 tsp. sea salt
• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (approximately 2 limes)
• 1 tsp. minced garlic (approximately 2 cloves)
• 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro (packed)

Additional Ingredients

• 1 lb. wild-caught jumbo shrimp (cooked, peeled and deveined, chopped, 16-20 count)
• 1/2 cup corn
• 1/2 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)
• 1 cup cherry tomatoes; halved (approximately 12-14)
• 1/4 cup sliced red onion (more or less to taste)
• 1 large English cucumber (sliced lengthwise and then half (or 2 small seedless cucumbers)
• 2 avocados (peeled, pitted and chopped)

Garnish (Optional)

• black pepper (to taste)
• pinch freshly chopped cilantro (one or two will do)
• Lime juice (optional – to taste)

(More: Visit “With Peanut Butter on Top” for Instructions.)

4. Herby Lemon Chicken Skewers

Skewers are so easy to put on your paper plate and head to the picnic table or sit in the grass. You don’t have to remember your fork and they’re just fun! Chow down on these and head onto the fun you have planned…boating? Corn hole?


• Chicken (skinless, boneless chicken breasts but thighs can also be used)
• Olive oil
• Lemon juice and zest
• Garlic
• Herbs (rosemary, oregano, and parsley)
• Salt and pepper

(More: Visit “Simply Delicious Food” for Instructions.) 

5. Caprese Peach Salad 

I do believe I’ve saved the best for last. I can’t wait to go down to my kitchen and bite into a peach! Mozzarella, peaches, and balsamic vinaigrette! Oh, my! Be sure to make this your side salad if you make the chicken skewers. 

For the Salad

• 4 large fresh peaches
• 8 oz. fresh mozzarella
• 1/2 cup chopped basil

Balsamic Vinaigrette

• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
• 2 tsp. minced red onion
• 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1/2 tsp. sugar
• 1/4 tsp. pepper

(More: Visit “Lemon Tree Dwelling” for Instructions.) 


I'm a farm girl from Ohio with an intense love for Christ and His Church. Because I know your relationship with God is holy ground, one of the greatest privileges of this ministry (and my life) is to speak Christ's own words, "Be not afraid," into your beautiful feminine heart. Thank you for being here. 

Before you dive in more deeply... Hello! I'm Amanda Zurface! 

I'm a Certified Spiritual Director, and I have such a deep awareness of your goodness and worth that it both aches and lights me up (it's OK; it's a good ache). 

Forget the junk mail, I’ll send you life-giving encouragement, and resources for ongoing growth, all rooted in the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Consider every email as a page in your very own spiritual direction manual.

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