Good morning, and happy Sunday! We're in that awkward period between Christmas and New Year's, and I hardly know what day it is! We've had a jam-packed week full of holiday fun...with no end in sight. 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…
Sunday was a very full day, which started with an early morning dog walk in the 26-degree weather. There was still frost on the farms!
I picked up groceries, and then we all headed out for a walk before lunch to enjoy the beautiful weather.
I spent the early afternoon baking a loaf of Mom's Cranberry Bread for Christmas brunch,
and setting the table for Christmas dinner.
I also packaged up our neighbor's holiday gifts so that we could deliver them later that afternoon. This year I gave away cookies, Candied Pecans, and jars of blueberry and blackberry jam that we made over the summer.
Then it was party time! We joined 5 of our favorite families for a potluck Christmas gathering.
Our friends have an old log cabin on a Preserve on a distant part of their farm, which offered the perfect venue for our party.
The boys played football and rode around on the mule,
while the girls played with Teddy all evening!
John Paul smoked ribs (THE BEST!) and chicken for dinner, and the rest of us contributed the sides and dessert.
We had the ribs and chicken with salad, funeral potatoes, and baked beans.
I brought a cookie tray and My Grandmother's Bourbon Balls for dessert,
as well as the makings for s'mores around the fire. Such a fun night!
Christmas Eve started bright and early with a dog walk up the road before we loaded everyone in the car.
We drove a couple of hours north to visit Keith's family for the day, stopping for Starbucks on the way. We had pumpkin bread, cinnamon crumb coffee cake, cake pops, bagels, and a Gingerbread Latte with a side of puppy!
We spent the afternoon opening gifts, visiting with Keith's brothers, and enjoying the sunshine outside.
My mother-in-law served her famous Christmas Eve Lasagna for lunch,
along with salad, fruit and bread.
Dessert was one of the most delicious pies I've ever had: Turtle Pie (chocolate, pecan and caramel)!!!
We made it back home at dinnertime, so I knew that we would need a simple meal that I could pull together quickly for the tired kiddos. We had my Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup with quesadillas on the side. Hit the spot!
Then it was time for baths, Christmas pajamas, and cookies for Santa!
Christmas Day began with Santa gifts at 6:30 a.m. sharp, followed by a delicious holiday brunch.
I served my neighbor's Raspberry Sweet Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting (to die for!),
scrambled eggs, and country ham biscuits.
We had simple sandwiches for lunch mid-day, and then my parents and my aunt and uncle arrived early afternoon.
I set out some appetizers to start, including pimento cheese, a few different kinds of crackers, cheddar cheese, sausage, homemade Chex mix from another neighbor, and my candied pecans.
Plus the cured salmon that my mom made!
We keep our Christmas dinner menu pretty much the same every year, because why mess with a good thing?!
Keith grilled our Southern Bourbon-Glazed Beef Tenderloin,
my mom brought Aunt Bee's 3-Ingredient Cheesy Potato Casserole,
I made an Easy Creamed Spinach Casserole,
and my Dreamy 6-Cup Ambrosia.
I put together a bread basket with some more of the Cranberry Bread, biscuits and Parker House rolls, and Aunt Barbara brought the Christmas Salad!
As if that wasn't good enough, we finished off the feast with a tray of Christmas cookies (including my favorite Old-Fashioned Williamsburg Gingerbread Cookies and everyone else's favorite Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies), as well as the Chocolate Raspberry Trifle that my parents made. YUM.
Once the holiday is over, I'm always itching to get my house put back together! I spent Wednesday morning sorting through boxes and gift bags, hauling out trash, and putting away the new Blue Willow dishes (!!!) that I received.
I also started my day with the leftover cured salmon on a cream cheese bagel, some of my dad's Christmas stollen,
and my new Nespresso (thank you, Keith!).
My eggnog latte "art" needs some practice, though!
I broke from the house chores for a hike in the woods with my friend Mollie before lunch (while Keith and the boys ran an errand), and then spent the rest of the afternoon un-decorating the house.
Meanwhile, the kids had a relaxing day enjoying their new toys and playing tackle football in the yard. I love how Teddy is right in the mix (always)!!
Gibbs had basketball practice that evening, so we sat down to an early supper beforehand. Leftovers were on the menu!
The boys had the beef tenderloin on hoagie rolls, while I turned mine into a steak salad -- with leftover spinach casserole, ambrosia, and cranberry bread on the side. Not fancy, but it sure tasted good!
Thursday was a nice, quiet day. Keith and the boys left around lunchtime to go up to Northern Virginia for the night. Keith was headed to a Caps hockey game with friends, so the boys tagged along and spent the night at their grandparents' house.
Meanwhile, I met my friends Mollie and Kate for a walk at Mollie's farm while the sun was shining.
The rest of my afternoon involved more house clean up and laundry, photographing a couple of recipes, and running out to the post office to mail a package to my nephew. Checking to-do's off the list!
When dinnertime rolled around, I wanted a cozy, easy meal that didn't require much effort. I'm not interested in cooking an elaborate meal for myself!
Instead, I reheated my favorite Ham and Bean Soup from the freezer and enjoyed that with some leftover Cranberry Bread on the side.
My night included time on the couch with Teddy and my latest book: Crazy Rich Asians! It's a fun, quick read and I'm looking forward to seeing the movie next.
Keith and the boys didn't return until lunchtime on Friday, so I had a chance to join my friend for a spin class at her gym in Culpeper that morning. It was nice to have an outing on a very nasty, rainy day (and my legs were definitely feeling it afterwards!).
I had a free drink to redeem at Starbucks, so I treated myself to a Cinnamon Dolce Misto on my way home.
When the girl at the window saw Teddy in the passenger seat, she included a "pup cup" of whipped cream for him, too.????
I made an old favorite for dinner that night, which I knew the kids would enjoy: Root Beer Barbecue Chicken. Instead of using the slow cooker, I tried it in the Instant Pot this time -- and I'm happy to report that it worked really well! Served with coleslaw and potato chips...
I was so happy to see the sun return on Saturday morning!
Exercising a puppy in the rain is no fun, so Teddy and I both appreciated the improved weather!
I made my weekly quick stop at Yoder's Country Market for lunch meat and bread,
but I also snagged some sauerkraut, macaroni salad and these "Million Dollar" pickles! Plus cranberries to make another batch of my favorite 3-Ingredient Cranberry Orange Sauce to have with our supper on Sunday.
We met friends at the school playground after lunch for bike and scooter riding, laser tag,
and drone flying. It was 61 degrees outside and it felt like spring, so we had to take advantage!
I wanted to look for a new pair of shoes, so we all drove up to Culpeper later that afternoon for a quick shopping trip and an early dinner at Glory Days.
We started with the chips, salsa and guacamole (kids' request!)...
and I ordered the Salmon BLT Sandwich on focaccia, a cup of Minestrone soup, and a Caesar side salad.
I appreciated the night off from cooking, while Keith and the boys enjoyed watching college football on the TV at our table. We all left full and happy!
Today I'll leave you with our holiday card photo, wishing you and your family a happy New Year! Thanks for your support in 2018 and for following along with us on this wild ride!
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