Happy Sunday, friends! Are you sipping on a hot mug of coffee and enjoying some cool fall weather? After 90-degree temps in Virginia earlier this week, the current 50’s and 60’s feel like a welcome change! We’ve taken full advantage of the season over the past few days, including an Apple Harvest Festival, an air show, a Thai date night, and plenty of easy weeknight dinners — and I’m sharing all of the details in this week’s roundup of Our Week in Meals!
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 started with a foggy morning walk in the woods with my friend Mollie, before I made a quick stop at the grocery store on my way home.
We went to the local Apple Harvest Festival in the afternoon, where the kids climbed on hay bales, ran through a maze, and took a hay ride through the orchard and pumpkin patch.
All of the usual festival foods were there, from fried apple slices to pork rinds, apple butter donuts, funnel cakes, and kettle corn. Not surprisingly, my kids went with their favorites — soft pretzels and ice cream.
We were home in time for supper, and all 4 of my boys requested grilled burgers (yet again)! We had the burgers with fries and a salad for an easy meal on a very hot, summer-like evening!
After a quick stop at Yoder’s Country Market for lunchmeat and a loaf of sourdough bread, I spent the rest of my Monday morning working at home until Spencer got off the bus at lunchtime.
Gibbs had soccer practice that evening, so we ate a quick supper of Dump-and-Bake Tortellini Alfredo with Chicken and Veggies before heading out the door. Keith got a reheated portion later that night!
Tuesday is always the craziest day for us, and this week was no exception!
After school drop off, I headed into the town of Orange to meet my friend Mollie and her toddler for a walk. I also picked up a few groceries on the way home, which I needed for some recipe testing on Wednesday.
Back at the house, I prepped a batch of corn muffins and started dinner in the slow cooker so that our meal would be ready later in the evening when we needed it FAST.
Gibbs had an after school club until 4:30, and we had two different soccer practices at 5:30 (one of which I was coaching), so we didn’t have time to sit down and eat beforehand. Instead, I had a batch of Turkey Chili in the Crock Pot (I used this recipe and just subbed ground turkey for the beef) and the corn muffins waiting for us when everyone arrived back home at 7:00 p.m.
Keith was in charge of dinner and baths because I was BACK out the door for a 7:00 p.m. PTO meeting at the school. Needless to say, I came home very ready for bed…
I’ve resisted letting him wear them to school because he can’t unbuckle the bibs on his own to go to the bathroom. The kid’s persistent, though, so that morning when the weather was a little cooler, I allowed him to wear his new outfit to show his friends…but I also sent his teacher a note apologizing/thanking her for her help with bathroom duties (Hi, Mrs. Taylor)! Hah!
I worked at my desk for the morning while he was in school, and then I dragged him along to my haircut appointment before we had to pick up his brothers. Not a very exciting day, but it was productive!
Why do their games always have to involve tackling each other?! ????
Keith was out of town that night, so I let the kids pick our dinner menu. Casey wanted spaghetti and Gibbs wanted meatloaf (again), so we had both! I made my Healthy Mini Meatloaf and served it with a side of pasta and marinara sauce. Steamed green beans rounded out the meal, and everyone was happy.
I squeezed in a hike with Mollie in the damp, hot and humid woods on Thursday morning. It was not a very nice day, but the fresh air (and conversation) was still a treat.
We stayed indoors the rest of the afternoon, and Casey’s soccer practice was cancelled due to rain from the outskirts of Hurricane Michael.
Our dinner was a new experiment for me. I’ve never prepared ribs in my slow cooker, but I saw this recipe for Tangy Sorghum Barbecue Ribs in a magazine and I was intrigued.
I didn’t follow the recipe exactly (because it seemed way too involved), but I used the suggested cooking method. Basically, I bought 6-7 lbs. of pre-seasoned pork loin back ribs, and cut them to fit in the slow cooker. I put 1/2 cup of beef broth and about 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke in the Crock Pot, added the seasoned ribs, and put some barbecue sauce on top. The ribs cooked on LOW for 9-10 hours. Just before serving, I put the cooked ribs on a sheet pan, basted with more barbecue sauce, and popped them under the broiler for 3-5 minutes.
We had the ribs with leftover corn muffins from earlier in the week, store-bought potato salad, baked beans, and a green salad. A simplified weeknight Southern picnic!
We woke up to the most beautiful cool, crisp fall weather on Friday!
These two were just happy that it was almost the weekend…
I worked on a batch of Old Fashioned Chewy Molasses Cookies that morning, from a recipe that we’ve been using for years. Unfortunately, it took me a couple of tries (over the course of a couple of days) to get it right, since I didn’t chill the dough long enough the first time around (ugh…I’m so NOT a baker)! I’ll share the details on the blog in the coming month — they truly are DELICIOUS!
Dinner that night was an old favorite that I’ve now tweaked slightly (i.e., the easiest way to cook)! We had Dump-and-Bake Wagon Wheel Pasta Casserole with sautéed zucchini, a salad, and Spencer’s favorite dinner rolls. An easy vegetarian meal that the kids adore!
We had to be dressed and on the soccer fields for team photos by 7:45 a.m. on Saturday morning, followed by games at 8:30 and 9! We may have been a few minutes late, but it all worked out…
We stopped by the house briefly to change clothes, and then made our way to Culpeper for lunch at Chipotle:
Steak bowl + guacamole = delicious!
and a visit to the Culpeper Air Fest. We had never been to an air show before, but Mollie offered us free parking passes that allowed us to drive right onto the tarmac, so we couldn’t turn down the opportunity. The boys enjoyed front row seats as they watched the jets. Such a fun way to spend a beautiful afternoon.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay too long, though — Gibbs had a soccer training session with the JV team at Woodberry Forest School at 3:00 that afternoon. On the way home, Keith picked up pizza for the boys’ dinner, while I got us organized to leave the house for for a date night.
Hannah arrived at 6:00 to babysit so that Keith and I could go down to Charlottesville for dinner at Thai 99. It was great — and such a treat, since we rarely have access to Thai food!
We shared dumplings and a Thai salad to start (loved that peanut dressing),
and I had the Panang Curry for my main course. SO GOOD. We’ll definitely be back!
That’s another week in the books, friends! I hope that you all enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow!
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