Good morning, and happy Sunday! We had another quiet week at home, complete with holiday prep, tasty meals, and lots sweet treats. 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, though, a quick note to let you know that my latest recipe for Nutella-Stuffed Cookies is over on Taste of Home now! These thick, soft, and chewy chocolate chip cookies are filled with a molten surprise in the center. Talk about holiday decadence! I hope you'll check out the recipe and try them in your own kitchen soon!
Now, let's back up to last weekend…
We stayed close to home on Sunday, went for a few short walks up the road, and Keith mowed the grass for the last time this year (hooray!) while I tested a couple of recipes in the kitchen.
We saw some snow flurries during our walk in the woods on Monday morning!
They didn't last long, but the kids were excited...
Otherwise, our afternoon was spent at home -- taking care of school assignments, laundry and work.
Soup sounded perfect on a very cold, damp evening, so I made a pot of Chicken Tortellini Soup for supper that night. Plus a crusty baguette and side salads to round out the meal!
Tuesday was another quiet day at the house while Spence was at school.
The older boys did school work, I tested recipes, and did some baking. I made a few more batches of Boston Brown Bread, because I wanted to try "steaming" the loaves in the oven by baking them with a cover. The old-fashioned steamed bread was made in coffee cans, so I was determined to figure out a way to bake a similar bread in a loaf pan in the oven. This worked great, so I've updated the recipe to reflect that modified cooking method.
I made Fried Oysters for dinner that night and paired them with remoulade sauce and hoagie rolls for Oyster Po' Boys (one of Keith's favorites). The kids don't love oysters -- and the oysters are pricey -- so instead of buying an extra pint to feed 5 of us, the boys got fish sticks!
I served our po' boys with coleslaw, potato chips and pickles.
I also finished a new book that evening! My mother-in-law's book club enjoyed Greenwood by Michael Christie, and I'm so glad that she passed it along to me.
This beautifully-written novel is slow in some parts, but it is also a magnificent generational saga that charts a family’s rise and fall, its secrets and inherited crimes. And throughout, there are trees: a steady, silent pulse thrumming beneath Christie’s effortless sentences, working as a guiding metaphor for withering, weathering, and survival. A shining, intricate clockwork of a novel, Greenwood is a rain-soaked and sun-dappled story of the bonds and breaking points of money and love, wood, and blood—and the hopeful, impossible task of growing toward the light. I highly recommend diving into this powerful book!
All 3 of the boys were home with me on Wednesday, so I spent my morning juggling homework and Zoom calls with various teachers. I feel like a "hall monitor" at a school -- constantly keeping little boys on task!
By lunchtime, we were finished with our work, so we headed south to visit my parents for the afternoon.
Searching for golf balls -- no matter the season. They found one this time, and they even retrieved it without falling in the water (a first, I think)!
We made it back home in time for dinner: Garlic and Rosemary Pork Chops...
...served with rice, broccoli, and pumpkin bread.
Thursday was a wonderfully quiet day at the house! The boys all went to school, so I had a chance to walk with a friend, and then I sat at the computer to get my work done -- uninterrupted -- for the day.
I also got dinner started early in the afternoon so that I could let the Beef Ragu simmer in a Dutch oven on the stovetop for a few hours. The house smelled so good by the time dinner rolled around!
We served the ragu over pasta with garlic bread and a salad on the side. Cozy and perfect!
I took advantage of a gorgeous Friday, starting with a walk with my friend Mollie...
...followed by a glamorous lunch date at the Wendy's drive-thru with Keith in Culpeper! Our kid-free dates have obviously been very limited this year, so while the boys were at school we met near Keith's office for a quick Christmas shopping errand, followed by mediocre sandwiches in the parking lot.😂 I was very excited about the Frosty that I ordered, but they totally forgot to include it in my bag!
I served crispy and juicy Oven BBQ Chicken that evening (a favorite with all of my boys...and so easy!),
along with mac and cheese, steamed green beans, and leftover pumpkin bread from earlier in the week.
Then it was Saturday!
I had stashed extra (undecorated) Gingerbread Men,
and Italian Ricotta Cookies in the freezer, so the kids and I had our own little cookie-decorating party that afternoon. My kitchen looked like sprinkles and frosting had exploded all over it by the end, but I know that the boys had fun. I think it was a contest to see who could cram more sprinkles and piles of icing on top of each individual cookie.🙄🤢 We will not be gifting those to any neighbors!😂
That evening, we drove over to a local farm to check out the Christmas light display, and then picked up take-out pizza for dinner on the way home. Love when I get a night off from dishes!
Plus my favorite Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Cake for dessert. 'Tis the season!
There you go, friends -- another week of simple meal ideas and plenty of holiday goodies. I hope that you find something delicious to make in your kitchen in the days ahead. Have a great Sunday!