Good morning, and happy Sunday! We enjoyed a quiet Thanksgiving as a family of 5 this week, cut down this year's Christmas tree, and are looking forward to celebrating another November birthday tomorrow. We're doing our best to focus on the good and make the most of the holiday season, in spite of everything that's been thrown our way this year. 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.
First, I have a special request from you! If you're an avid reader, I would love to know the best book that you read this year. Send me an email here or leave a comment below! So many of you have asked me to pull together a list of my favorite books from 2020, so that's exactly what I'm doing. I would also like to include some of your favorites in my post, since we can all use new recommendations. I'll share the compiled list in the coming weeks, so send me your top picks ASAP! Thank you in advance...I think this will be a really great resource!
Now, let's back up to last weekend...
Sunday was cloudy and gray, but it was pretty warm, so we spent as much time outside as possible.
I met Sallie and Mollie for a walk at Mollie's farm that morning, and then headed back out for a walk in the mountains with the family after lunch.
Spencer is obsessed with these plastic Wolverine claws that he got for his birthday last week!
We had a chicken for dinner,
as well as my grandmother's easy Potato Salad (Keith's request!),
2-Ingredient Pumpkin Gingerbread (leftovers that I thawed from the freezer),
and Brussels Sprouts with Bacon -- my favorite, not the boys'!
Spence returned to school on Monday morning, while the older two boys stayed home for their virtual learning. But first, an early walk in the woods for some fresh air!
In order to make Thanksgiving manageable and stress-free, I gave myself two prep-ahead tasks per day. On Monday's agenda: my 3-Ingredient Cranberry Orange Sauce,
and my grandmother's Easy Sauerkraut with Bacon. Both of these items keep really well in the fridge, so they were fine hanging out for a few days before the main event.
Another quick walk with the dog after lunch on a gorgeous afternoon...
I prepared a double batch of homemade meatballs for supper that night (using half ground beef and half ground pork), so that I could freeze half of the batch for another meal. One effort for two delicious dinners!
We served the meatballs with spaghetti and marinara sauce, salad and garlic bread.
A chilly Tuesday morning!
The boys had their last day of school for the week, and I continued with my Thanksgiving prep. On the agenda that day: Apple and Butternut Squash Casserole (I just wait to add the topping until right before baking)...
...and the classic Easy Green Bean Casserole.
We enjoyed a short afternoon walk before I had to pick up Spencer from school.
The leaves are almost entirely off the trees, but the mountains are still beautiful!
It was all about cold-weather comfort food for dinner that night: Chicken Pot Pie with a side of broccoli.
I read another great book this week: Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera. This novel reminded me a lot of one of my favorite books from last year -- Where the Crawdads Sing. Highly recommend hunkering down under a warm blanket and cozying up with this heartwarming, powerful story!
I started my Wednesday with a walk in the woods with my two girlfriends, followed by a couple of errands in town. I dropped Teddy off in the parking lot of the vet for his vaccinations, and then picked up an online Christmas order at Plow & Hearth's store (which happens to be here in Madison).
The rest of my afternoon was largely spent in the kitchen. I made the Sausage Stuffing for Thanksgiving...
...as well as the Pumpkin Chiffon Pie for dessert.
I also whipped up a batch of my easy homemade pizza dough so that we could have pizza and salads for dinner that night. An Italian-inspired meal sounded like a good contrast to the holiday supper that we'd have the next day.
Thursday was Thanksgiving!
I started the morning by baking a batch of Aunt Bee's 3-Ingredient Buttermilk Biscuits,
A family walk before lunch -- Mother Nature blessed us with a beautiful holiday!
Our afternoon involved watching football, Zoom calls and FaceTime with family, and the last-minute cooking for our Thanksgiving dinner. I prepped two turkey breasts (which Keith smoked outside),
stirred together the ambrosia,
made some honey butter,
started the Crock Pot Mac and Cheese in the slow cooker,
and at the last minute made the gravy and warmed the crescent rolls.
Even though it was just the 5 of us this year, I obviously wanted to do a full traditional meal and set my regular holiday table -- complete with my favorite turkey dishes and candles!
Here was our complete menu: turkey and gravy, sausage stuffing, mac and cheese, apple and butternut squash casserole, green bean casserole, sauerkraut with bacon, orange cranberry relish, ambrosia, and crescent rolls with honey butter. Followed by the ultimate pumpkin chiffon pie and whipped cream for dessert. Phew! All together on a plate...
On Friday morning, we quickly shifted gears into Christmas mode -- starting with a slice of Eggnog Bread and gingerbread-flavored coffee for breakfast!
We also cut down our tree at a local farm.
Keith's dad joined us for a walk that afternoon,
and we did some decorating before supper. I just served leftovers from the night before, so I'll spare you another identical shot. Turkey and all of the sides!
By the way, I hung these "Scentsicles" on the tree this year, which add the loveliest hint of cinnamon to our hall. The aroma isn't strong at all -- very subtle -- and they come in a "pine" scent too, in case you have an artificial tree and miss that fresh smell. I found mine at Target (of course)!
I met my friend for an early walk on Saturday morning and then picked up a grocery order on my way home.
I did a little bit more decorating (my fresh greens centerpiece and my wreath are from Lynch Creek Farm again this year),
and I baked a chocolate cake in preparation for Gibbs's birthday tomorrow.
After two nights in a row of turkey for dinner and turkey sandwiches for lunch in between, we were all ready for a change that evening! Keith took advantage of the warm weather and grilled salmon for supper...
And that's it, my friends! Another week full of celebrating, feasting, and enjoying the season. I hope that you had a nice holiday weekend, even if it didn't look the same as past years. Wishing you a lovely week ahead -- and don't forget to send me your favorite book title!