Hey, friends! Happy Sunday to you! I'm back today with another roundup of Our Week in Meals, which included lots of rain, plenty of easy dinners, and everything Pumpkin Spice! Let's get right to it!
For those of you who are new to the blog, Our Week in Meals is where I share a little bit about what we’ve been up to over the past week — as it relates to our dinners each night. 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. Now let’s back up to last weekend…
Sunday was kind of a gray and rainy day, and we didn't have too much on our agenda for the first time in ages. I took a walk after breakfast when the skies briefly cleared, and I saw some first glimpses of fall colors -- even though we hadn't had much fall weather yet!
I spent the rest of the morning in the kitchen, where I prepared turkey Sloppy Joe meat for Monday's dinner, put chili in the slow cooker, and did some baking! I made a loaf of pumpkin bread, which the boys love for snacks, and I made a batch of cornbread to have with our chili that evening. Keith entertained the kids with football-watching and Monopoly-playing, so I also managed to clean out my closet and take care of other house chores. Yipee!????
We had Casey's favorite Slow Cooker Beef Chili for dinner that night (recipe is in this post), which he requests regularly. On the side I served cornbread and salad. I love this meal because I basically get two dinners for minimal effort. The recipe makes a huge batch of chili, and both the leftover chili and the leftover cornbread freeze really well for another day.
I ran to the grocery store to pick up some baking supplies on Monday morning while Spencer was at school. The can of pumpkin puree in the baking aisle practically jumped into my cart, and I was instantly reminded of one of my favorite smoothies. I haven't had a smoothie in ages, but the weather was hot and humid on Monday and a Pumpkin Spice Smoothie sounded perfect for lunch.
Once I was back at home, I blended together a few simple ingredients and grabbed my Pumpkin Spice Smoothie, along with a piece of leftover cornbread from the night before, and jumped back in the car to pick up Spencer from preschool at noon.
I can't believe that I haven't shared this recipe on the blog before, since I've been making it (or something similar) for years and years. Here's my basic recipe if you want to give it a try...
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
- 2 ½ cups of crushed ice
- 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
- ¼ - ½ cup of pumpkin puree I eyeball it, but I probably used about ⅓ cup
- ½ cup - ¾ cup milk again, add it slowly just until you have enough liquid to get your smoothie to blend. I try to use as little liquid as possible so that the smoothie is thick enough to eat it with a spoon!
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Pinch of salt
- Blend everything together in a high speed blender until thick, smooth, and creamy!
I spent the afternoon working on a holiday baking project (with Spencer's "assistance" in the kitchen)! I decided that I wanted to recreate the old fashioned gingerbread that my brother and I used to love from Colonial Williamsburg, so that's what we did! It was a little odd to have the air conditioning on while baking Christmas cookies, but the house sure smelled amazing. Recipe coming to the blog later this season...
Dinner wasn't fancy that night, but it was easy! We always have soccer practices on Monday evenings, which means I need to feed the boys really early and Keith usually eats when he gets home later. I try to plan meals that I can reheat at different times to accommodate different schedules, and Turkey Sloppy Joes are always a hit. I served the Sloppy Joe meat on a salad (for myself) and in sandwich buns for the boys. Oven-baked french fries on the side!
Spencer and I met my parents for lunch at Jason's Deli in Charlottesville on Tuesday. I love their salad bar,
and Spencer loves their free soft-serve ice cream + fudge sauce for dessert!
I don't often make it to Trader Joe's for groceries because it's just not convenient for us. However, since we were already in town, I figured we should probably swing by to pick up some of their seasonal specials. I love shopping at that store during the month of October!
My "assistant" and I tracked down just about every single one of their fall items, including fall harvest trail mix, fall harvest salad, fall harvest salsa, tea, pumpkin spice waffles, bagels, cookies, granola bars, cereal, lotion, and MORE. I'd say it was a successful detour!
Casey had a soccer game at 5:30 that evening, so we had another early supper before heading to the fields. I kept it super simple with chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, and steamed broccoli. The kids were thrilled!????
It rained all day on Wednesday, so I spent a couple of hours getting work done at home before heading back to pick up Spencer from preschool at noon. I stopped in an antique store in town on my way, since I'm on the hunt for some special dining room chairs. They had a few good options, but I didn't come home with anything that day...
Gibbs had another soccer practice (in the rain) that evening, so I planned another meal that I could easily re-heat and serve in "shifts" to accommodate everyone's schedules. It was a cozy dinner for a rainy night -- Wild Rice and Leftover Turkey Soup! This meal comes together really easily and it's a great way to use up leftover meat. I had some cooked chicken in my freezer, so I used that instead of turkey. Worked just as well! We had the soup with a loaf of my dad's French bread (that was also in the freezer) and a salad on the side.
It was rainy again on Thursday, so Spencer and I did our best to entertain ourselves inside -- including music with Alexa and lots of trampoline jumping!
When he got stir crazy and just needed some fresh air, Spencer headed out in the rain to take care of some "yard work."????
Otherwise, our afternoon was spent inside eating leftover soup for lunch and sipping on this new tea. It has been a great caffeine-free option for the afternoons, and I love the flavor blend of cinnamon, ginger, hibiscus, chamomile, orange peel, and apple.
Mid-day I started the Crock Pot for our dinner, which came straight from the week's Simply Mailed meal plan: Slow Cooker Buffalo Ranch Chicken Tacos with Corn and Black Bean Salad on the side. I just leave the buffalo sauce off of the kids' tacos for a non-spicy version.
Friday was pretty routine (in a good way). I dropped everyone off at school in the morning and then met Mollie for a walk at her farm while we had a break in the rain. It was so nice to get some fresh air, and I'm loving these new shoes that I've been walking in! So bouncy, comfy, and supportive!
He's no longer crying every time I drop him off at preschool. Hooray!
I had a bunch of leftovers in the refrigerator that night, so instead of our usual Friday night pizza, we cleaned out the kitchen! Keith had soup, the boys had leftover Sloppy Joes, and I had leftover slow cooker ranch chicken from the night before on top of my Tossed Salad with Apple Butter Vinaigrette. Perfect (and easy)!
Plus these Cornbread Crisps on the side (soooo good)! They would also be great with a bowl of chili!
Our Saturday was packed! First, our favorite former babysitter-turned-professional photographer arrived at the house around 8:30 to take our annual family photos. This is definitely one of the boys' least favorite activities, and it usually ends in tears or frowns for the camera! Instead, I got smart this year and bribed the kids in advance. If they put on their collared shirts and smiled cooperatively for 30 minutes of photos, then I would take them to the dollar store to pick out toys afterwards. Worked like a charm!
Post-photos, they changed into their soccer uniforms and we made a quick run to the dollar store for necessities like footballs, gem mining kits, puzzles, and army tanks.
We ate an early lunch at home before heading to the soccer fields for most of the afternoon. Both Casey and Gibbs had games, and my parents were able to join us for some of the spectating fun. After soccer, I took my meal plan for the week and made an organized shopping list before going to the grocery store with Spencer to stock up. Of course, shopping with a three year old, I came home with way more junk than was on my list!????
Keith and the boys requested burgers for dinner that night, so that's what we did!
Served with salad and fries...
And by the end of the evening I was exhausted! We crashed early and that's where I'll leave it for now! I hope that you found some new meal ideas for your week ahead, and thanks so much for reading along with us!
Need some help planning your family's meals? When you join Simply Mailed, I will send you 3 quick-prep dinner recipes and a grocery shopping list each week (for less than $1 per week!!!). This super-affordable service takes the stress out of dinner, saves you time and money, and brings your family together at the end of the day. There are even options for smaller households of just 1 or 2!
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