Good morning, and happy Sunday! We had another full week around here, including lots of Christmas prep and Gibbs's 9th birthday celebration! I’m sharing all of the highlights, along with our easy dinners, in today’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…
Our Sunday started slowly at home, while Keith and the boys did yard work, I shot some recipe photos, and Teddy lounged in bed.
It was a gorgeous day, so we all hit the trails for a short hike after lunch before Keith had to leave for the airport to go on a business trip for the week.
"Hunting for bears..."
The rest of our afternoon was pretty quiet at home. Shortly before supper, Spence and I took the dog out for a quick walk up the road.
Spence was happy to watch the cows across the street eating their dinner as well!
On our menu for the night? My Maple-Glazed Sheet Pan Salmon with Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli. Everything cooks on one tray, so it's the easiest cleanup!
After dropping the boys off at school on Monday, I took the dog for a quick walk in the drizzling rain before making our weekly stop at Yoder's Country Market on the way home.
I was happy to see that the Christmas Jam is back in stock (which is really just a combination of strawberry and cranberry jam). It's also the season of eggnog in my coffee!
Speaking of fun holiday things, I've been meaning to tell you about a couple of other new items. First, for my fellow peanut butter-lovers! I recently ordered the 4-pack of seasonal peanut butters from Wild Friends, and let me tell you: these are GOOD. Not sponsored in any way, just something that I paid my own money for!
The Gingerbread and the Sugar Cookie flavors are my favorite, but the Pumpkin Spice and the Chocolate Pumpkin Spice flavors are also tasty. Such a fun addition to my morning toast these days!
My new fresh wreath for our front porch arrived this week, too! I ordered this from Lynch Creek Farm, which has the most gorgeous holiday greenery in a variety of styles. The wreaths also happen to be more reasonably priced than other similar products. I think I might place an order for a table centerpiece as the holiday gets closer, too.
Last year I got the Majestic Magnolia wreath (which was beautiful), but this year I wanted to try something new. I chose the Country Christmas wreath, but I don't think that you can go wrong with any of them!
And now, onto a perfect gift idea! I know that many of you are cooking for just one or two in your home, so when fellow blogger April reached out to me to see if I'd like to review a copy of her new cookbook, I jumped at the chance. I wanted to check it out, since I figured that it would be helpful for many of my readers.
April's book is called Gourmet Cooking for One or Two, and it's full of scaled-down recipes to serve a small family. No more wasted leftovers or endlessly repeating the same boring dishes! You can try comfort food like this Saucy Baked Ravioli,
as well as updated classics like this Chicken with Red Wine Sauce and Cauliflower Mash.
I think the book is great, and it would be a wonderful gift for yourself or for someone you love!
I dragged Spencer to my hair cut that afternoon, picked up the older boys from school, and then came home to a cozy dinner -- Dump-and-Bake Chicken Wild Rice Casserole. I served the chicken and rice with a side of steamed veggies from the freezer, leftover cranberry sauce, and pumpkin bread (that I bought at Yoder's that morning). Such a tasty meal!
Tuesday morning was sunny, but cold, so we bundled up and headed into town to meet my friend for a walk.
Teddy wore his new coat!????
The boys had hair cuts that afternoon, and then we came back to the house for a quick supper before we had to return to the school that evening for Casey's class presentation. I prepped these easy Salmon Patties earlier in the day, so that I only had to spend about 10 minutes frying them in a skillet for dinner that night.
We had the salmon patties with coleslaw and potato chips. I'll share the recipe on the blog soon, so stay tuned!
After another chilly morning walk in the woods with the dog on Wednesday, I spent the rest of the morning at home working on birthday prep!
I had to be at the house to wait for the delivery of a new dishwasher, so I took advantage of the kitchen time and did some baking.
Gibbs wanted to bring brownies to his classmates for his birthday treat on Friday, so I stirred together a couple of batches of his favorite mix.
For his birthday dessert at home on Friday night, he had a very specific request: a double-layer chocolate cake with chocolate chunks in the batter and chocolate frosting in between layers and on the outside. Well, okay then! I baked the cake layers for this dessert on Wednesday morning so that I just had to frost it on Friday.
After lunch, Spencer and I walked up the street so that he could "check the crops for harvest."
This corn is ready, he says.
I made one of our favorite chicken dishes for dinner that night: Dump-and-Bake French Onion Chicken, which I served with cheesy toast (of course) and a side salad.
I spent Thursday morning taking care of some work at the house and meeting Mollie for a hike in the woods. That afternoon, my dad and I drove out to Sperryville to shop for new dining room chairs, and walked the dogs up the road while my mom picked up the older boys from school.
These cows (who live across the street from us) were so funny. They trotted along the fence line to keep up with the dogs, as though they wanted to play (or come for a walk with us). The dogs were not enthusiastic about that idea.
My folks stayed for dinner that night so that we could celebrate Gibbs's birthday with them (one day early). I served my Slow Cooker Farmhouse Beef Stew, along with dinner rolls and a salad. This is one of my favorite comfort food recipes from childhood!
Mom brought dessert -- M&M Rice Krispies Treats, which she knew the kids would love!
Friday started bright and early when the boys woke up around 5:00 a.m. because they were so excited for Gibbs to open his birthday presents. Keith came home from his business trip in the middle of the night so that he was around to celebrate as well.
Keith, Spencer and I joined Gibbs and his friends in the school cafeteria for lunch that day. He wanted Subway, so we picked up sandwiches and brought them with us to the school. We also had the brownies to share with his class.
I spent the rest of the afternoon in Charlottesville, where I stopped at Costco for a few essentials and then popped in to Trader Joe's to fill my cart with poinsettias, eggnog-flavored yogurt, gingerbread bars, cranberry "rustico bread," and whatever other seasonal goodies I could find.
For his birthday dinner, Gibbs wanted to go to the little Italian restaurant here in Madison called Bonano's.
We had a huge spread of grilled salmon, Caesar salads, steak, different pastas, dinner rolls, and more. Everyone left full!
Of course, we came home for his special dessert: a triple chocolate layer cake! I tried hard, but I am just NOT a baker. It's a good thing 9-year-old boys aren't picky, because this was just about the most crooked, messy cake you've ever seen. Nothing that a few cans of frosting can't fix, though!????
Saturday was such a gross, rainy day. I took the dog out for an early walk before the rain arrived, and then we were off to basketball!
Both of the older boys had practices that morning, and Spencer starts soon, too!
They had name tags on their backs for identification during the evaluations.
It's time for everything gingerbread (candle from my mother-in-law; soap and lotion from Bath & Body Works)!
After lunch, Gibbs's friends arrived for his birthday celebration! Instead of a big party, Gibbs wanted to take 4 of his buddies to Jump in Charlottesville for some fun on the trampolines. Keith was in charge of the big boys' outing, which included a stop for ice cream on the way home.
Meanwhile, I stayed with the younger boys and took care of housework (plus a quick run to Yoder's for Gingerbread House decorating candy). Not nearly as exciting, but that's how it goes! At least I got a head start on dinner while they were gone.
Gibbs requested meatloaf, so I used Aunt Bee's recipe. It's the same as her Swedish Meatballs recipe, but you shape the meat into a loaf and bake it in the oven instead of frying meatballs in a skillet (the full meatloaf instructions are included in the recipe notes).
We had baked potatoes and salad on the side. So easy!
I know a photo of raw meat isn't exactly appetizing, but I wanted to show you how I prepared this as a "sheet pan dinner." I put the meatloaf on one half of the tray and the small russet potatoes on the other. The potatoes and the meatloaf both needed about 1 hour in the oven at 350 degrees F, so it worked out perfectly (and clean up was a breeze). Larger potatoes may need about 90 minutes, so you would want to start them sooner. And don't forget to scrub the potatoes, prick them all over with a fork, rub with olive oil, and then season with salt and pepper before placing them on the tray.
When the meatloaf and potatoes are done, just add a salad and your meal is ready. Total comfort food (for a very tired birthday boy) on a cold night!
The rest of our evening involved the Alabama vs. Georgia football game and an early bedtime!
I hope that you have a wonderful week ahead, and thanks so much for stopping by!
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