Good morning and happy Sunday! We're finishing up another week at home, complete with a little Easter celebration, home school, a new book and plenty of fresh air. 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 started bright and early with a sunrise Easter egg hunt (of course). Those boys were outside as soon as it was light enough to see...
Knowing that it would be a busy morning, I prepped a couple of simple options the day before that I could set out when we got hungry. We had Morning Glory Muffins (my choice),
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (the boys' favorite),
and Easy Deviled Eggs. Plus fresh fruit on the side!
I did some cooking in the kitchen to prepare sides for dinner that night, and then we all headed out for a walk after lunch. We went over to some trails on a friend's nearby farm for a change of scenery. Even Shenandoah National Park has been closed here in Madison, so our options for hikes and daily walks have become a bit more limited.
We were blessed with a beautiful day, which made it easy to get outside!
For our Easter dinner, I had to get a little bit creative and work with the ingredients that I could either find at Yoder's or in my kitchen. I was avoiding a trip to the grocery store the week before, so sadly some recipes were not an option this year (like my Pineapple Casserole and my Coconut Cream Cake). I'll have to think of some other excuse to make those favorites again soon! In the meantime, we still managed to have a delicious spring feast.
First up: the Virginia Brown Sugar Baked Ham! Since I was just feeding our family of 5 this year, I went with a smaller 3-lb. boneless ham, which was plenty of food for us.
We paired the ham with some delicious dinner rolls that I bought from my neighbor at the farmer's market, as well as a Strawberry Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing (I used butter lettuce instead of spinach, though, since it's all I could get)...
my grandmother's Potato Salad (very simple recipe coming soon),
and a savory Southern Tomato Pie (will also share this recipe soon).
As I mentioned above, I couldn't get to the grocery store for the ingredients to make my favorite Coconut Cake, so instead I kept it really simple and prepared a classic Southern Sour Cream Pound Cake with the ingredients that I already had in my kitchen. This is equally delicious (and there's a lovely story behind the recipe), so I'll share it soon as well. Garnished with fresh berries!
Monday morning was the start of the boys' official fourth quarter of the school year. Before this time, we had just been doing a small amount of light school work each day (like reading or math), based on whatever review materials I had on hand. As of Monday, the kids will be working through a structured distance learning program with assignments that need to be completed each day. Let's just say it's been an adjustment for all of us!
I feel like I'm constantly pulled between the three of them -- whether it's supervising the kindergartener who doesn't know what to do next, the third grader who needs help with technology that isn't working, or the fourth grader who just doesn't want to be bothered with any of it.🤪 I know the other moms out there can relate! Once the rain stopped and our work was done, we busted out for some fresh air before lunch...
Our afternoon consisted of a couple short dog walks...
...as well as a few rounds of Guess Who (Spencer's current game of choice).
I made very basic tacos with ground beef and a seasoning packet for dinner (which the kids request constantly), and served the tacos with corn, tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole.
I also finished a really good book that night! I'm a big fan of all of Kristin Hannah's work, but I can honestly say that Firefly Lane has been my favorite of her novels so far. What a beautiful story! It's one of those books that I'm still thinking about. Not only does she manage to weave a complex story and create characters with depth that you actually care about, but she also adds that element of mystery or suspense that keeps you turning the pages. I couldn't put this one down. Highly recommend!
I started Tuesday morning with a walk (while I chatted on the phone with a friend), which is great for my sanity before sitting down to tackle school work with 3 disinterested little boys.
We picked up our weekly eggs from my neighbor, played outside, and then returned home for an easy lunch from the freezer.
I had leftover Slow Cooker Chicken Corn Chowder, which I reheated and served with the rest of the chips and salsa from the night before.
I'm obviously working through my chest freezer these days, because dinner was another meal that I just pulled out and thawed. The last time I made Spinach Stuffed Shells, I divided the recipe between two smaller 8-inch square pans (freezing one for a later date). This extra pan came in very handy this week! We paired the stuffed shells with garlic bread and side salads.
Wednesday was another routine day of...not going anywhere!
We kept busy with school work, cooking, cleaning, and outdoor play. Thank goodness for the sun that keeps shining (especially after nights of rain)!
Dinner was quick and easy (as usual): Chicken Salad Sandwiches, which I paired with salad and potato chips. Sometimes a hot meal just isn't in the cards, and I'm totally fine with that.
The fun forts kit is still a big hit around here...
The rest of our Thursday included a Zoom meeting with Casey's classmates, school work, a couple of short dog walks, and (never-ending) house chores. Kind of feels like Groundhog Day around here!
Keith grilled steaks for dinner (his request!)...
...which I paired with Garlic Roasted Broccoli,
Brown Sugar Roasted Carrots and rice.
Friday started with another walk and phone chat with a friend. It was chilly and not very spring-like, but the fresh air was still a great way to start the day.
Back home, I dove into school stuff with the boys, while Keith volunteered to do our weekly grocery run. A task that I'm happy to delegate these days!
So many Legos...
I used our leftover Easter ham and the leftover broccoli from dinner the night before to prepare a Ham, Cheddar and Broccoli Quiche for lunch that day. Served with a side salad it was a great way to change up the mid-day meal. I just keep store-bought pie crusts in the freezer so that I can easily stir together a quiche when I've got leftovers to use up. So good!
And dinner was a fish fry! I made my Crispy Southern Fried Catfish...
...which we paired with tater tots (from the freezer) and coleslaw. Everyone cleaned their plates for this meal!
And then it was Saturday! Keith and I were talking about how quickly the time seems to be passing these days. Given the fact that we're not going anywhere and not really doing anything, one day kind of bleeds into the next...and before we know it a whole week has gone by!
Beautiful snap dragons that I bought from my neighbor for a cheerful pick-me-up!
I spent my morning working in the kitchen, while Keith and the boys took care of yard chores and picked up an order from the farmer's market. My in-law's stopped by that morning for a short "socially distant" visit outside, and dropped off some very welcome Duck Donuts!
The kids received some money from their grandparents for Easter, so they picked out their gifts online (since we couldn't go to a store to let them shop). This is what Casey chose to buy with his Easter money: a ghillie suit! He was SO excited when it arrived that day. These boys are too much...
We had pulled pork for dinner that night,
along with Skillet Cornbread (recipe will be on the blog this week),
sautéed kale with bacon (from the farmer's market), leftover coleslaw from the night before, and some chow chow that I picked up at Yoder's.
So that's where I'll leave it for today -- another week of easy meals in the books. I hope that you've found some new inspiration for your own dinners in the week ahead. Take care and stay healthy!