Good morning, and happy Sunday! I hope that you're enjoying a cozy, quiet fall weekend. We celebrated my birthday this week, enjoyed many, many cakes, and took advantage of some beautiful weather. 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...
It poured rain all of Sunday morning, so we stayed close to home and dry inside. I baked a batch of old-fashioned chewy molasses cookies (a personal favorite)!
When the weather finally improved after lunch, we were all ready for a walk and some fresh air.
Keith grilled Butcher Box steaks for dinner that night,
which we paired with baked potatoes,
and broccoli with cheese. It's a quick 15-minute side dish that's a nice change of pace when I want something other than salad. Plus, the cheese is also great on top of the potatoes!
We all returned to work and school on Monday morning -- Spencer was in the classroom, while the older two boys were home with me for their distance learning.
It was sunny and beautiful -- in spite of the crazy wind gusts. In fact, Casey made a teepee out of the branches that fell from some of our trees!
I roasted a chicken with vegetables for supper, which seemed like a cozy meal for a very chilly evening. This time I left out the potatoes since we had potatoes the night before.
Instead, I served the chicken with an Easy Green Bean Casserole (it's not just for Thanksgiving!),
as well as a quick package of stovetop stuffing. I warmed a few Cranberry Muffins from the freezer, too.
Book time! This week I read Death on Nantucket by Francine Mathews. It's book #5 in the Merry Folger Nantucket Mystery series, but I think it's only the 2nd or 3rd book that I've read by this author. I definitely have not read them in order, and I don't think that you need to. I've had no trouble picking up on the characters and storylines. These are just well-written, entertaining mysteries that you'll cruise through!
Gosh, Tuesday was another gorgeous day. It was also Election Day!
After so much rain the week before, we truly appreciated the sunshine this week.
I voted that morning, which was a quick in-and-out experience (thank goodness). The only other person there was my neighbor, so I suppose these are the perks of living in a very rural community with a small population.😉 After that, the older boys and I got to work on their school assignments before heading out for their soccer practice after lunch.
Dinner that evening was super-simple, since I just thawed French Onion Soup from the freezer. There was enough for two adult-sized bowls, so the kids had tomato soup and grilled cheese, which they prefer anyway. Everyone was happy! Plus salads and extra French bread on the side...
That golden autumn glow on Wednesday!
The boys and I made it out for a walk in the woods when we were done with their school work...
...and since Keith wasn't going to be home for dinner that night, I let the boys pick our menu. They opted for Chinese takeout, so I appreciated a night off from the kitchen. We had a mix of sesame chicken, shrimp with broccoli, moo shu pork and spring rolls.
I turned 41 on Thursday! I spent my morning in a PTO meeting at Spencer's school, and then drove up to Culpeper to do some shopping at Target while I was waiting for Teddy to finish at the groomer's.
This was a cart full of holiday cheer -- including gingerbread granola, Christmas decorations, seasonal flavored coffee, this candle and this candle (which smell so good!), Lego advent calendars for each of the boys, and a handful of gifts for Spencer's upcoming birthday.
Plus my free birthday coffee from Starbucks on my way out of the store -- a salted caramel mocha!
My parents brought lunch to help me celebrate, including tuna melts...
...and a 4-layer Boston Cream Pie (recipe is from Ina Garten's newest cookbook, Modern Comfort Food). Totally decadent, and SO delicious!
All 3 boys had football practice that evening, so I planned a supper that would be easy for me to heat up when we got home afterwards. We had Stuffed Shells that I had prepped last month and stashed in the freezer...
And we finished off the meal with some more cake! It's become a nice little tradition for me to bake myself a Red Velvet Cake each November, and I don't plan to stop the birthday treat anytime soon. There's no better gift!😂 I'll finally share my go-to recipe in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for that...
I met my friends Sallie and Mollie for a walk on Friday morning, my mother-in-law stopped by for a quick visit outside, and then my aunt came over in the afternoon. We had so much fun going through some of my grandmother's and great grandmother's jewelry, which was the perfect way to spend a couple of hours. Endless memories, stories and laughs!
I made Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta for dinner, which I paired with rice,
and a loaf of No-Knead Bread. Quick tip: my friend Sallie's mom said that she added a handful of grated cheese to the bread recipe and it tastes delicious. If you like cheese bread, give that a try!
Plus a delicious three-layer carrot cake that my mother-in-law gave me. It was a cake-filled week!
I took the dog for a walk up the road and cleaned out kitchen cabinets (ugh!) on Saturday, while Keith and the boys took care of yard work outside.
The leaf crew!
Keith picked up sandwiches from Piedmont Deli for a picnic lunch in the backyard...
...and we served grilled pork chops for dinner (taking advantage of a beautiful 75 degree day).
I paired the pork with a quick stovetop mac and cheese,
salad and Drop Biscuits.
What a week! Our joyful November has just begun, as we've got many more family birthdays (and cakes!) coming up, along with the Thanksgiving holiday to look forward to. Thank you for joining me here this morning, and I hope you have a wonderful, delicious week ahead!