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Hey, friends! I’m back today with another Round of Our Week in Meals! For those of you who missed last week’s post, this is where I share a little bit about what we’ve been up to over the past week — as it relates to our meals each night. I hope that 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. With that, let’s back up to last weekend!
Sunday morning started especially early, thanks to Daylight Savings (my kids didn’t get the memo)! At least I had a delicious breakfast ready to go: an egg, a grapefruit, and these Pumpkin Overnight Oats (using up the rest of a can of pumpkin from the fridge). I didn’t really use a recipe, but this combo was great: about 1/3 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree + 1/2 cup Old Fashioned oats + 1/4 cup whole milk Greek yogurt + 1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon chia seeds + loads of pumpkin pie spice + dash of vanilla extract. Stir all of the ingredients together until completely combined, cover, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning you will wake up to thick, creamy, and filling oats. Since it was chilly, I heated my oats in the microwave for about a minute to warm them up. Topped with some nuts for crunch, and sweetened with a tiny bit of maple syrup, to taste! And a dark photo since it was still pitch dark outside at about 5:00 a.m.?
In a bowl that my talented mom made!
And some Gingerbread Spice tea on the side.
We spent the day at home recovering from our busy Saturday, getting some work done, and playing in the beautiful fall weather. I’m pretty sure that the boys were outdoors for about 90% of their waking hours…and I was occupied with picking up leaves from the floors of my house all day long.
Keith smoked two organic chickens from Costco on the grill, so dinner was deeeeelicious (especially because I didn’t have to do much work). This has become a bit of a routine, which Keith calls his “Sunday Chicken.” The boys had about 3 servings each — definitely a hit — and we had plenty of leftovers to enjoy for lunches during the week. Served with buttered green beans and biscuits.
Keith’s meat-heavy plate!?
Since I knew that I would be out of the house most of the day on Monday, I thawed one of our favorite slow cooker freezer meals in the refrigerator overnight so that I could just dump it in the Crock Pot at 8:00 a.m. the next morning before taking the kids to school. Spence and I spent the morning in Charlottesville at his art/tumbling class and then ran errands before coming back home.
Sensory play at art class…
and the best form of indoor exercise to wear out a toddler (although he still refuses to nap)!
I served the slow cooker meatball soup for dinner and topped it with shredded mozzarella cheese. On the side I gave my carb-loving boys some garlic breadsticks for dipping, too.
Spencer didn’t have school on Election Day, so he tagged along with me in the morning when I went to vote (fortunately there are never any lines for voting around here…patience is NOT his strength these days). And THAT is the extent of any political talk that you will ever find on this blog.?
We took advantage of the beautiful morning by meeting my friend Mollie for a walk before returning home.
While Spencer finally snoozed on the couch after lunch, I was able to photograph our dinner: a delicious Dump-and-Bake Chicken Fajita Quinoa Casserole. So easy, so tasty! I just reheated it later that evening when it was time to eat. I’ll share the recipe on here soon!
Wednesday morning was rainy and gray, so we made a quick stop at the grocery store and then headed back home for most of the day.
Multi-tasking: eating snacks and driving a shopping cart
On the food front, I prepared a Crock Pot freezer meal! I bought the ingredients with the intention of making this Slow Cooker Cuban Pork for dinner on Thursday, but when I found out that Keith would not be coming home for supper that night, I figured I should stick it in the freezer so that it wouldn’t go to waste. I made the Mojo Sauce in my blender, poured it into a ziploc bag with the pork, and froze it for another day. The recipe is from Julie Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook.
I also dragged out my spiralizer to make this Spiralized Breakfast Casserole, but I used whole eggs rather than egg whites. An easy breakfast to keep in the fridge and reheat throughout the week!
Spencer couldn’t wait to help with his whisk.
Dinner that night was a Dump-and-Bake Smothered Chicken with Bacon (just 5 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep, guys!),
served with spaghetti squash that I cooked in the slow cooker. My boys have oddly been asking for spaghetti squash recently, so I picked up two at the store on Monday. I wasn’t in the mood to hassle with roasting them or trying to cut them raw, so I tried the slow cooker method for 3 hours on HIGH. Worked great! I just sliced them once they were soft, discarded the seeds, and used a fork to make “spaghetti” with the insides. The dinner was delicious, and I’ll be sharing the chicken recipe next week!
Thursday was one of the most perfect fall days that we’ve had all season. I was gone from the house almost the entire day, so the cooking and meal prep was definitely minimal. I went for a walk with friends while Spence was at school,
and tried to snap a selfie of my dress so that I could show you the ideal way to wear a sweatshirt without actually looking like you’re wearing a sweatshirt!? I’m all about comfort when it comes to my clothes, so my most recent Fabletics purchase is great: it’s a fleece sweatshirt “dress” that I can wear with leggings and sneaks for an outfit that transitions easily from a walk outside to a Board Meeting at the preschool. It’s warm, soft, and cozy!
In between my walk and my Board Meeting, I was home just long enough to deal with laundry, respond to some emails, and bake a batch of blueberry streusel muffins.
I ate lunch in the car on the way back to the preschool. This was the last of Tuesday night’s Chicken Fajita Quinoa leftovers topped with an overripe avocado that needed to be eaten ASAP. Still delicious!
And just as my meeting was over, I got a call from the school nurse to inform me that Gibbs had a fever and needed to come home early. Since Keith was out of town for the night and Gibbs wasn’t feeling well, dinner was very low-key. We went with a breakfast-for-dinner theme, so the younger boys had oatmeal + cheese + fruit, while I munched on some roasted broccoli and cauliflower, plus toast piled high with avocado + smoked salmon. All while Gibbs snoozed on the couch! And since this whole Daylight Savings time change has their clocks screwed up, the boys were awake by about 4:45 a.m. every morning this week, making the evenings very (ahem…) interesting around here. After a morning at preschool and no nap, Spencer basically spent the entire afternoon crying about one thing or another before I finally tucked him into bed at 5:55 p.m. (and he slept until 6:45 a.m. the next morning)!
half-eaten avocado toast in a very dark kitchen…some nights that’s about the best I can do!
Gibbs stayed home from school on Friday, so we had a quiet morning while he rested on the couch and Spencer constructed massive train tracks that took over my living room.
We then rallied and met Kristin and her youngest, Jonathan, for a lunch date at The Market at Grelen to celebrate our joint November birthdays.
Such a wonderful way to spend the afternoon!
We each started with a glass of local wine — this was the King Family Chardonnay Viognier Blend — while we supervised the boys in the sandbox.
We ate our picnic lunch by the sandbox as well! Grilled cheese for the kids, a Curried Chicken Salad for Kristin, and the “Everything” Salad for me, which was smoked turkey, ham, bacon, corn maque choux, tomato, cucumber, avocado, havarti cheese, pickled onion, toasted seeds, arugula, and balsamic vinaigrette. So much goodness!
Kristin also gave me this Crisp Morning Air candle that smells amazing, so I wanted to share. The scent is hard to pinpoint, but the company’s description is spot on: “With the crisp scents of eucalyptus and mint layered beneath soft pear and sage, it’s like that first deep breath of bright, clean air on a morning far, far away.” It’s earthy, fresh, and beautiful.
Keith was still out of town that evening, and I treated the boys to their favorite Friday night tradition — a movie (Star Wars), blankets on the floor, and a pizza party in the living room.
We were supposed to go to a birthday party on Saturday morning, but I decided that it was probably best to keep our sick germs to ourselves and stay home instead. While the boys played with Legos and ran around outside, I finally cooked some more of the giant bag of bulgur that I’ve had in my pantry for ages.
There’s kind of a story to this bulgur (of course), because it’s not something that I would ever think to purchase on my own. Awhile ago, I was in Yoder’s with the kids and it was just one of those bad days when nothing was going smoothly. I went in to pick up a couple of items, but it turned into a stressful outing with misbehaving children (I’m sure the other moms out there can relate). Casey was running around the store goofing off with Gibbs when he crashed into a shelf and knocked over the display. I was so embarrassed, quickly tried to pick everything up, but then realized that one of the bags of bulgur had come open and spilled all over the floor during the crash. I carefully picked up the half-empty bag and sheepishly brought it to the register to pay for it since we had obviously ruined it for anyone else. Long story short, I was suddenly the proud owner of a lot of bulgur! Turns out it’s actually pretty good. Bulgur is a whole grain that reminds me a lot of a quick-cooking brown rice or couscous. It works nicely as a savory side dish for dinner, and it’s often used in salads like tabbouleh, but I’ve been more inclined to prepare it as a breakfast porridge similar to oatmeal. This was my snack mid-morning:
Warm bulgur with whole milk and seasoned with cinnamon, vanilla extract, and some maple syrup. Now you know what I’ll be eating in the coming days (thanks to Casey)!
With Keith gone, Spence decided that he should be in charge of lighting our wood stoves…?
In other food news, I baked a batch of mini cupcakes for Spencer’s birthday so that I could put them in the freezer to use in the coming week. I will frost them once they’re thawed later, but at least the baking part of the job is done.
This is about the extent of my baking skills…
My Aunt Barbara and her college friend Martha, who was in town from Atlanta, came by for a visit late morning. They delivered the ULTIMATE gift to me: volumes of old recipes to sift through! Martha carried this giant bag of hardback cookbooks on the plane with her, and Aunt Barbara had a huge envelope of my grandmother’s old favorites. Maybe it’s the history major in me, or maybe I’m just a lover of all things vintage (hence my 100-year-old farmhouse), but this kind of thing brings me SO much joy. Sifting through the recipes of past generations is like taking a step back in time. It’s so fun to see how women cooked during various periods, and (for me) there are so many stories wrapped up in the way that we cook, the meals that we serve, and the way that we nourish our friends and family.
Anyway, you can expect to see even more retro-inspired recipes in the months to come. So many treasures — like my grandmother’s recipe for Marge Johnson’s Pie — lemonade and a chocolate crust?! I might skip that one…?
And finally, dinner last night was a freezer meal that I dumped into the slow cooker. Those are the best! I thought that my Pesto Chicken & Rice Soup sounded like the perfect comfort food for sick kiddos…
And that was our Week in Meals! Keith is back home this morning so the older two boys are staying with him while I take Spencer to a friend’s birthday party. It’s crazy how fast the weekends fly by. Thanks for following along, and have a great week ahead. Talk soon!