Good morning, and happy Sunday! The past few days around here have included a return to our regular routine after the Thanksgiving holiday, with a bit of Christmas fun thrown into the mix. 'Tis the season! All of the highlights, along with our easy dinners, are included in today’s roundup of Our Week in Meals!
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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 morning was cold and rainy, so we had a slow start to the day. I stayed in my pajamas, drank coffee, and spent quite a bit of time doing some online holiday shopping. I also made a quick run to the grocery store before lunch, took Gibbs to a friend's house to play for the afternoon, and snuck outside for a walk with the dog once the weather improved.
The boys requested shrimp for dinner, so I made this Shrimp Scampi recipe, which I served with crusty bread and a side salad.
After a week of Thanksgiving feasting and birthday celebrations, it was nice to get back to the routine on Monday morning. The boys headed to school, Keith returned to work, and I spent a few hours in the kitchen working on new recipes.
The cows across the street came to greet Teddy on our walk!
I met my friend at the gym around lunchtime, and then prepped an easy dinner before the kids climbed off the school bus. We had my Great Aunt Bee's Leftover Turkey Casserole with a side of steamed broccoli. Still putting those holiday leftovers to good use!
Tuesday started bright and early with a morning strength class at the gym once the boys were on the bus.
For the first time in days, the weather was warm and sunny, so I took a break from the computer after lunch and headed out for a walk with the dog.
I made a pot of Southern Tomato Bisque for dinner that night, which I paired with grilled cheese sandwiches. Perfect simple meal for this time of year, and the soup is ready in about 30 minutes!
I met my friend for a cool, gray walk on Wednesday morning at her farm, and then stopped by the grocery store on my way home.
News alert! For those of you who also love holiday-themed products...they're all available now! Gingerbread donuts, Peppermint ice cream, Egg Nog ice cream, and Frosted Sugar Cookie creamer. What did I miss?! ???????? And don't worry -- I also bought produce, meat and other "real food" that I could actually use for meals.????
I made Spinach Stuffed Shells for dinner that night, but I divided the full recipe between two 8-inch square pans. That way I could bake one pan right away and I could freeze the extra pan to enjoy for a later meal. Might as well get two dinners for one effort!
We had garlic breadsticks and a Caesar salad on the side.
We woke up to crazy strong winds on Thursday, which had managed to blow my rocking chairs off the front porch and even took off the top half of a cedar tree behind our house!
I wasn't interested in getting blown away by walking the dog on our normal route up the street, so instead we took our morning exercise to the woods where it was more sheltered.
I was still freeeezing afterwards, though -- so a stop at Sheetz for a caramel cappuccino seemed like a good idea on the way home! This was jet fuel to get me through a long morning of photographing recipes for Taste of Home and another client.
My parents stopped by after lunch to drop off Tiller, who stayed with us overnight while my folks were out of town. Teddy was in heaven with another dog in the house (even if it was a 13-year-old dog who doesn't have much energy to put up with Teddy's antics)!
I also got a fun delivery that afternoon! My friends at Overnight Flowers gifted me another festive bouquet to complete the Christmas decorations in our house.
As you might remember from last week's post, Overnight Flowers gave away a free bouquet to one of my blog readers (congrats to the winner, Michelle, who has already been contacted!) and is offering a 20% discount to all of YOU with the code "BLAIR20."
The online flower “shop” offers handcrafted, hand-tied bouquets with free overnight shipping. With proper care, the flowers can last in great condition for weeks, and would make the perfect centerpiece for your Christmas table, a lovely hostess gift, or a great addition to your holiday decor (especially if you're hosting a party)!
I picked the "Simply Elegant" bouquet this time, which is an arrangement of roses, hydrangea and lilies in beautiful shades of red, white and green. There are a number of other Christmas options available on the website right now, too!
These are currently sitting next to my sink in the kitchen so that I can enjoy them while washing dishes and cooking. They brighten up the whole room and look beautiful alongside the many potted poinsettias that are also on display throughout the house.
Speaking of holiday decorations, I also got my fresh wreath from Lynch Creek Farm this week. Now we're all dressed up and ready for Santa!
Dinner was my mom's recipe for Ground Beef Casserole with Cornbread Crust, which I served with a side of buttered green beans. Comfort food!
I was out of the house almost all day on Friday taking care of a random mix of chores. I dropped off canned goods at the older boys' school for the food drive, I met a friend at the gym in Culpeper, and I got sucked into the Target time warp. By the time I finished at Target, it was noon and I was hungry, so I treated myself to lunch next door at Panera Bread before heading back towards Madison to pick Teddy up from the groomer.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup + Baguette
After dropping off the dog and my shopping bags at home, I ran back out to meet my friend Ashley for a walk and for PTO fundraiser stuff at Spencer's school. By the time I made it back to the house, it was about time for the kids to get off the bus!
We picked up an early dinner of pizza and salads so that we could get to the 5:45 Christmas Tree Lighting and Parade. It's always such a fun evening in our small town!
Favorites included the cookies and cocoa that the church handed out, the 4-H Goat Club, and our babysitter's dance troupe performance!
We spent the bulk of our morning at Walmart, where I needed to buy a number of gifts for a family that we adopted from the Angel Tree. Naturally, we found the donut case in the bakery as well!
The kids grabbed Christmas Tree frosted donuts, cream-filled donuts, and raised glazed donuts...but my favorite will always be the classic old-fashioned!
This is also what happens when I take three little boys shopping...
I finished a book that afternoon, which I highly recommend: Jacqueline Winspear's Leaving Everything Most Loved. I initially read (and enjoyed) the Maisie Dobbs mysteries years ago when they first came out, and then promptly forgot about them. My mom recently gave me a couple of more recent novels from the series, which have reignited my love for this smart sleuth!
Dinner that night was an easy Crock Pot meal (which you can also make in the Instant Pot if you prefer). I made Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken (a recipe from a reader many years ago), and served the meat inside soft tacos with all of the toppings, plus chips, salsa and guacamole on the side.
So there you go! Another week's worth of easy dinner ideas! I hope that you've found something new to add to your own menu in the week ahead. Thanks so much for being here!