Good morning, happy Sunday and happy Easter! This holiday doesn’t exactly look like it usually does, but we’re feeling particularly grateful for our health and safety right now, and we’re making the most of the circumstances. This past week was supposed to be the boys’ spring break, and we were supposed to be in Charleston, South Carolina for a family vacation. Just like millions of other people, those plans were obviously cancelled and instead we had another week of quiet time at home. But that’s okay — we still managed to stay busy, sneak in a little bit of fun, and even scrounge together some tasty food (in spite of bare store shelves). All of the highlights from the past few days, 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 was a beautiful spring day here in Virginia, so I started the morning with a “virtual walk” with my girlfriend. We miss our in-person walks right now, so instead we plan a couple of times each week to walk on our own roads while we catch up via phone. It’s almost as good as an in-person date!
Back home, we spent the day cleaning bathrooms (fun, fun), playing football in the yard (not me, just them), and getting some work done.
Plus an afternoon walk at a nearby Civil War battlefield.
One thinks he’s a farmer…
while the other thinks he’s a soldier.
We had some ButcherBox pork chops in the freezer, so Keith put those on the grill (recipe coming soon), while I prepared the sides.
Most of our meals over the past couple of weeks have been a mish-mash of whatever few ingredients I can find on my weekly grocery run, whatever I can pull from the pantry, and whatever I can order from the limited options at the farmer’s market. Sunday night’s meal included a box of Rice-a-Roni (from the pantry), sautéed spinach (from the farmer’s market), leftover cornbread from the night before, and this Ukrainian Root Vegetable dish that I bought already prepared from the farmer’s market and then just warmed in a skillet. It was a combination of blue potatoes, crowder peas, carrots, local beets, dilly beans and onions in an olive oil and parsley dill sauce. I thought it was delicious (and enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next day), but all 4 of the boys in my house took one look and refused to try it!😂🙄
After a few minutes of math on Monday morning, the kids and I moved “school” outside to complete this scavenger hunt that Gibbs’s teacher sent over. For the moms out there trying desperately to entertain the little ones — this was a pretty manageable activity that the boys had a lot of fun with. Definitely give it a try if you can safely get your children outdoors!
Here they are standing in front of the “purple” tree that they checked off the list.
We made a batch of brownies for an after-lunch treat…
…and then walked over to my neighbor’s farm to pick up some face masks that she sewed for our family.
This is the same neighbor who I used to buy our bread and scones from — but she has now shifted to producing the masks instead! Crazy how times have changed, but I am grateful to have them!
I made a batch of Chicken Pesto Meatballs for dinner that night, which we served with spaghetti, salad and garlic bread. This recipe came in my Taste of Home Special Delivery Box last month, but you can also find it online here. I subbed ground turkey for the ground chicken, because that’s all that I could find at the store.
This week’s book: The Sunday Potluck Club! I read a review for the new release in a magazine, and ordered it based on the positive write-up. I won’t say that the book was bad, but it was just light and very predictable. If you need a fun escape, you might enjoy this story. If you’re looking for significant piece of literature, you may want to skip it.😬 Here’s a quick summary:
New friends can be found in unexpected places. For Bridget and Amy, that place was the cancer ward of an Anchorage hospital. Now, as each struggles to overcome loss, they lean on each other for support—sharing suppers, laughter and tears...As weeks go by and the group grows in unforeseen ways, both Bridget and Amy are inspired to find greater purpose. Amy reaches out to a student whose father bravely faces his own struggle. Bridget volunteers at the local animal shelter, rehabilitating dogs whose unconditional love will bring others a chance to heal. And with the help of two special men, Bridget and Amy are realizing that there’s always room at the table for love and rekindled joy…
One of the boys’ highlights from Wednesday was an early Easter egg hunt! I put their afternoon snack in plastic eggs and then made them go outside and find the eggs before they sat at the picnic table to eat.
I filled the eggs with little treats like these Birthday Cake flavored Bunny Grahams (which we LOVE), Froot Loops, Goldfish and fruit snacks. No Easter candy yet (saving that for the holiday), but they were just as excited about this little game.
We needed an extra dose of fun that afternoon — I could tell that the boys had reached a point in this quarantine where they were feeling frustrated and grumpy, they were bickering more, and they were just generally unsettled. While we’ve mostly been doing really well at handling the situation, I’m regularly reminded just how hard this is on all of us.❤️
Since my crew can’t get enough hamburgers, Keith grilled burgers that night (again). Feels like we’ve had them a lot recently, but they’re a very common request around here!
On the side I served 3-Ingredient Crispy Seasoned Red Potatoes and leftover salad from the night before.
The boys did a little bit of school work on Wednesday morning while it was raining, but once the sun came out, we were all ready for some fresh air.
At one point that afternoon, I entertained them with an oldie-but-goodie: Easter Eggs-ercises! You can check out the full details in that old post. Even though the kids are bigger now, they still thought this was pretty fun.
I made my Cowboy Casserole with Cornbread and Chicken for dinner that night, which we paired with biscuits and steamed broccoli.
By Thursday it had been a full week since I’d gone to the grocery store, so I made an early run to Yoder’s Country Market to pick up a few staples to get us through another week. I was one of only two shoppers in the store, so it felt a bit safer than a larger grocery store. Like so many of you, I just don’t have access to all of the typical ingredients that I would normally use…which means that our Easter menu will look a little different this year!
It was so windy that afternoon, I thought the little willow tree might blow away!
I also managed to paint my nails for the first time in ages. This new polish by Essie called “Expressie,” dries in about 1 minute, so for once I didn’t smudge it! The pretty pink color called “Crave the Chaos,” feels cheerful for spring and reminds me of tulips. Hasn’t chipped yet either, so I’ll consider it a win.
We had breakfast for dinner that night (taking advantage of more pantry staples)! I made 5-Ingredient Dump-and-Bake Buttermilk Pancakes…
…which I served with bacon, scrambled eggs, and Southern Fried Apples. Definitely the kids’ favorite meal of the week, and one of the easiest! I didn’t have any buttermilk, so I just used all regular milk for the pancakes. For the bacon, I lined a rimmed baking sheet with foil and put the bacon in a single layer on the pan. It goes in the oven with the pancakes for about the same amount of time (flip halfway through).
I spent Friday morning in the kitchen working on some new recipes, while the boys built forts, played outside, and entertained themselves on the computers. Then it was time to get to work! Our task that day was tackling the bedrooms upstairs…including changing the bed sheets, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, polishing and cleaning baseboards.
The vacuum is Teddy’s nemesis!
These boys will learn to “keep house” by the time this is all done — whether they like it or not.
Fresh air before dinner…
I pulled our meal almost entirely from the freezer: fish n’ chips! We had fried fish filets (from Costco) and paired them with tater tots, buttered green beans, sweet garlic pickles and coleslaw (from Yoder’s). Plus tartar sauce on the side! This was another big hit with the kids…
Saturday morning was beautiful weather for a walk up the road and a phone chat with a friend.
Back home, I did a little bit of cooking in preparation for our Easter breakfast this morning: I made a small batch of Easy Deviled Eggs…
…plus some Morning Glory Muffins.
Lunch was a tasty combo of pulled pork barbecue (from Yoder’s), Ranch-style pinto beans, leftover coleslaw from the night before, carrots with Ranch, and leftover cornbread.
Then my parents came by for a “socially distant” visit! We haven’t seen them in person since the start of the outbreak, so it was really great to see them from afar. They dropped off Easter goodies for the kids, we chatted for a little while outside, and then they were on their way. Looking forward to the day when we can celebrate normally with our families again!
Dinner was Blackened Salmon (just 5 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep!)…
…which I served with a quick stovetop mac and cheese (will share my go-to recipe as soon as I can get it up), Caesar salad and fresh bread (from our farmer’s market order).
Plus bunny cupcakes for dessert, courtesy of my mom!
And that’s where I’ll leave it for today! Thank you for joining me here this weekend, and I hope that you have a wonderful holiday if you’re celebrating. I’m off to hide some Easter eggs and whip up a tasty family meal — even if it’s not quite the same as usual. Stay safe and healthy, friends!