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Another week, another birthday around here! Three out of five of our family members have November birthdays, so we finished off a month of celebrating when Gibbs turned seven on Wednesday! But before we get to those details, let’s take a look at Our Week in Meals. For those of you who are new around here, this is where I share a little bit about what we’ve been up to over the past week — as it relates to our meals each night. I hope that this series gives you a glimpse “behind the scenes” at some highlights from our life, shows you how I balance a busy schedule with feeding my family, and offers a few new ideas for your own weekly meal plan.

Last Sunday we spent a lot of the day decorating the house for Christmas. I had plenty of “help” from a few very enthusiastic little elves.

boys-with-tree

It was a Christmas miracle that not a single ornament broke (yet)! We definitely had a few close calls…

spence-tree

We also took a break from the ornaments and garland to get outside and enjoy a beautiful afternoon.

boys-hiking-woods

For awhile now, Casey has been asking to bring along his art journal on a hike so that he can “record the nature that he finds.” That’s exactly what the older two boys did!

casey-journal

This was serious business…

boys-on-log

Keith grilled steak for dinner that evening, and I served it with roasted sweet potato, spinach, and my grandmother’s sauerkraut (I’ll share the recipe soon)!

steak-dinner

Spencer and I spent Monday morning in Charlottesville, where we attended his tumbling class with my friend Kristin and her son, Jonathan. We also stopped at Costco and HomeGoods before finally making our way home.

spence-tumbling

Since we were gone until mid-day, I was happy to just reheat some delicious Lucky Hoppin’ John for a late lunch. This is Aunt Bee’s recipe (a New Year’s Day must-have), so I’ll be sure to share the recipe in the coming weeks! So much delicious, smokey bacon in here…

hoppin-john-7

Dinner that night was one of my grandmother’s recipes that I recently discovered in her old file: One Pot Hamburger Helper. It’s healthy, delicious, and ready in about 20 minutes. Can’t beat that! {recipe coming soon}. I served this with dinner rolls and peas.

hamburger-helper-7

Tuesday morning was rainy, so instead of my usual walk with friends while Spence was at preschool, I returned home for a couple of hours to get a few things done around the house. My mission: wrap Gibbs’s birthday presents, stuff goodie bags for his friends at school, put dinner in the slow cooker, and decorate Minion Cupcakes for his class!

Cake decorating stresses me out and never turns out the way that I think it should. I spent way too long on this little task (I have no patience and it seemed to take forever), but at least they were somewhat recognizable at the end. Were they perfect? Not even close. Did Gibbs think they were wonderful? Absolutely! That’s all that matters.

minion-cupcakes

While I had time in the morning, I also started the Crock Pot for dinner. We had Slow Cooker Chicken and Biscuits, which was the perfect comfort food for the damp, cool day. Since the grocery store didn’t have organic chicken thighs when I was shopping on Saturday morning, I used just over 3 lbs. of bone-in chicken drumsticks instead. I prefer dark meat in the slow cooker because it stays so much juicier than chicken breast, so the drumsticks seemed like the next best option. I pulled the skin off before putting them in the slow cooker, and then when the meat was cooked through at the end I just removed the bone and diced the chicken before stirring it back into the pot. Worked great!

This was also an evening when Keith worked late, so I ate early with the boys and then I just left the chicken warm in the slow cooker until he arrived for his own meal. The biscuits were reheated for a few seconds in the microwave and round 2 dinner was served. Crock Pots are lifesavers for those evenings when I’m trying to feed the family in stages and I don’t want to have to cook multiple meals.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Biscuits 6

Wednesday was Gibbs’s birthday, so he weighed in on all of the meal choices for the day. He requested chocolate frosted donuts for breakfast (so glad that I could send him to school after that)!

doughnuts

And for lunch he wanted a sub from Subway. I picked up the sandwiches and then headed to the school cafeteria for a special birthday lunch with Gibbs and the rest of the first graders.

gibbs-blair-lunch

For dinner he requested my Lightened-Up Mini Meatloaf with fries, carrots, and ranch dip, so that’s what we did! {I will share the meatloaf recipe soon!}

lightened-up-mini-meatloaf-5

Followed up by Minion cupcakes for dessert!

gibbs-candles

While Spencer was at preschool on Thursday morning, I took advantage of my kid-free time by heading to Culpeper to get my car serviced.

blair-car

I sat in the massage chairs at the dealer, sipped on some coffee, and caught up on work before heading back to get Spence. While I missed my usual walk with my girlfriends, it wasn’t a terrible way to spend the morning!

laptop

I kept dinner that evening very simple (as usual) with a slightly different version of my Dump-and-Bake Crispy Garlic Butter Shrimp. I served the shrimp with pasta and marinara sauce plus broccoli. The shrimp is very kid-friendly and all 3 of my boys went back for seconds!

Tip for Moms with Picky Eaters: Introduce your kids to seafood or other new foods by using familiar ingredients (like butter and garlic), and by serving the new foods with favorites (like pasta). That way, even if your picky eater only takes one bite of shrimp, he can still fill up on the spaghetti. Over time, he will probably acquire a taste for some of the new foods and you won’t have to worry about serving separate dinners to each member of your family. It’s less work for you, and you still get to enjoy the foods that YOU love!

Dump and Bake Crispy Garlic Butter Shrimp 7

For this particular dinner, I skipped the breadcrumbs called for in the original recipe and increased the butter. ?

garlic-butter-shrimp

Tasted great! Here’s what I did:

Oven Roasted Garlic Butter Shrimp

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings 4 -6

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Spray a very large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Spread shrimp evenly on the baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.
  • Pour butter mixture over the shrimp and toss to coat.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 7-10 minutes (or just until shrimp turn pink). If you are using smaller shrimp, they will probably cook faster, so keep your eye on them!
Author: The Seasoned Mom

On Friday morning, Spence and I ran errands around town (post office, etc.), he threw a MAJOR tantrum when I wouldn’t go through the McDonald’s drive-thru for lunch, and we did some holiday baking. I made a batch of Mrs. Hodgdon’s Chewy Ginger Oatmeal Cookies…and ate some cookie dough while I was at it! It wouldn’t be Christmas around here without some of these treats. A favorite from my childhood!

Ginger Oatmeal Cookies 2

We had a very early light dinner — grilled cheese, carrots, and apples —

grilled-cheese

which the kids enjoyed by candlelight!

santa-candles

We then headed out the door for Casey’s friend’s birthday party, which was in a building adjacent to the Madison Christmas Parade.

casey-party

A small town parade is one of the cutest ways to get in the holiday spirit! It was basically just the high school marching band, the power company’s cherry picker, the cops, and the fire trucks!?

christmas-parade

After we put the kids to bed that night, Keith and I watched the movie Bad Moms. Have you seen it? We had pretty low expectations at the outset, but we ended up laughing throughout the movie and really enjoying it.

Saturday morning breakfast: egg, cheese, and avocado sandwich! Not sure what was better — the fact that KEITH made it for me, or the combo of flavors. Yum!

Served on Casey’s Christmas plate, complete with the leftover maple syrup from his pancakes because I was too lazy to wash another dish. Classy!?

egg-breakfast

As a fun birthday treat, I took Gibbs and his friend Liam to the trampoline park,

gibbs-liam-2

and then out to lunch afterwards. Of all of the options in Charlottesville, these two wanted McDonald’s? for Happy Meals, ice cream,

gibbs-mcdonalds

and a Southwest Chicken Salad.

mcdonalds-salad

Keith and I were able to schedule a babysitter last night so that we could go out to dinner with friends. We opted for Jack’s Shop Kitchen in Ruckersville, which specializes in farm fresh, local food.

We started with appetizers — wine + roasted pumpkin soup, a cheese plate, and fried green tomatoes.

jacks-shop-apps

fried-green-tomatoes

I had the Blue Crab Cobb Salad for dinner, which was an enormous portion with tons of crab meat, bacon, avocado, egg, and blue cheese plus a garlic dressing. The food was great, and our company was even better…you know it’s a good time when you laugh so hard that you cry (multiple times). Perfect Saturday night!

salad

And that brings us to this morning! Our calendar is pretty clear, so I’ll be taking some recipe photos and otherwise getting work done around the house. Have a great week ahead!

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. Love the Santa candlesticks! Too cute. Also, I have to know-where did you get your red plain vest? I’ve been looking for one just like it? Happy Sunday!

    1. Hi, Alison! I love that vest — especially at this time of year! It’s from Land’s Eng…last year. BUT, I noticed that they have another similar version this year, so maybe you can scoop it up on sale? Let me know if you get one! Twinsies! 🙂

  2. I have to say that their Southwest Chicken Salads — are MY FAVORITE! I prefer them over Chick Fil A which is blasphemy to my kids because you can’t beat a Chick Fil A lunch…. but yes… LOVE LOVE that salad! 🙂