Good morning, and happy Sunday! We celebrated another birthday, did some more holiday prep (hello, online shopping!), and otherwise had a quiet week at home. 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 with a walk up the road on a beautiful morning, followed by some recipe photography and birthday prep for Gibbs (including gift-wrapping, cake-decorating and balloon-purchasing!).
We had Beef Tips with Mushroom Gravy,
and Broccoli with Cheese for supper. So cozy and delicious!
Followed by s'mores down at the firepit for dessert!
Gibbs turned 11 on Monday!
Spence headed to school, the older boys worked on their virtual learning assignments, and I made a batch of soft pretzels for lunch -- the birthday boy's request. These are his all-time favorite food, and I've finally mastered an easy homemade recipe (that tastes like Auntie Anne's). Can't wait to share!
When the rain stopped mid-day, we got outside for a short walk and some play in the puddles.
Even at age 9, Casey's still building "sailboats" out of leaves and sticks...simple pleasures!
Gibbs chose the dinner menu for his special day, and this year he picked take-out pizza. I added a salad to the meal, but otherwise I was off the hook and didn't have to do any cooking.
And the chocolate-loving birthday boy asked for a chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting for dessert. I'll share my go-to recipe for the perfect chocolate cake and my great-grandmother's frosting next month, so stay tuned for that!
It felt like winter on Tuesday morning when the boys and I met our friends for a short walk in the woods. December had definitely arrived!
We made a quick stop at Yoder's for some local apples and other staples, and then returned home to tackle more online schoolwork and house chores.
Dinner that night was a cozy pot of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. I've heard from so many of you recently who have enjoyed this meal, so I was inspired to make it in my own kitchen again, too! It would also be great with leftover turkey if you've got any of that hanging around. I served the soup with homemade baguette and side salads.
All 3 of the boys were home on Wednesday, so we spent the morning focused on Zoom calls and other school-related work.
There's still a little bit of corn left to harvest in December!
This one loves having the kids around so much! Life is way more fun when there are 3 boys to play with...
That afternoon we decorated a gingerbread house from my mother-in-law. They ate about 95% of the candy, and a few spare pieces actually made it onto the house!😂
And since the wild rice soup from the night before wasn't the kids' favorite, I humored them with taco quesadillas on Wednesday evening! This is a meal that they can all agree on.
Plus chips, salsa, easy guacamole, and buttered corn.
The older boys returned to school on Thursday for the first time in two weeks. I thoroughly enjoyed the quiet house!😊
After a walk in the woods with my friend Ashley, I came back home to work on a couple of recipes before dropping the dog off at the groomer.
I popped into the Target in Culpeper while waiting for Teddy to be done, and treated myself to my first Chestnut Praline Latte of the season. This is about as exciting as it gets these days!😉
I finished another book that night, too! By the way, did you see my list of Favorite Books of 2020? Due to popular request, I compiled all of the best books that I read this year into one spot, and I also included recommendations from many of you. Thanks for sending me your suggestions -- it's the ultimate resource!
I wouldn't say that Peaceful Season makes it onto my Favorites, but it was a really fun, cozy read. This is the third book in Melanie Lageschulte's Growing Season series, and I've thoroughly enjoyed the novels about a 40-something-year-old woman who transforms her life by moving from Minneapolis back home to a small farm town in Iowa. The Christmas-theme of this book made it particularly appropriate right now. I've already purchased the next book in the series, so I suppose I'm hooked!
Friday was cloudy and gray, but I squeezed in a morning walk with friends before the rain arrived in the afternoon. The rest of my day was spent behind the computer catching up on work while the kids were at school. Not exciting, but productive!
I made one of our very favorite pork recipes for dinner that night: 4-Ingredient Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin (I double the recipe for our family).
and Homemade Applesauce that I had canned earlier in the fall. Such a delicious winter meal! Plus, the pork, cornbread and cabbage all roast in a 400-degree F oven, so you can prepare all of these meal components simultaneously.
I joined Mollie, Sallie and Betty for a walk at Mollie's farm, picked up a grocery order, and hung around the house with this little guy while Keith and the older boys ran an errand in Culpeper.
We had Dump-and-Bake Cranberry Chicken for supper, along with rice,
And there you go -- another week of simple, tasty meals! I hope you've found some inspiration for your own dinners in the days ahead. Thank you for joining me here, as always!