Good morning, and happy Sunday! Our week was full of "snow" days, holiday prep, and cozy meals. We're in the homestretch for the holidays and the kids are getting so excited! 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…
We were treated to the most beautiful Sunday sunrise!
I met Mollie for a walk at her farm, and then returned home to take care of house chores and cooking while Keith and the boys picked up subs for lunch in Culpeper.
Gold Dust came over to say, "hi" to Teddy!
My mom made my Beef Burgundy for dinner last week and reminded me of how good that dish is at this time of year, so I added it to our Sunday night menu.
Served with a side of steamed green beans and dinner rolls!
It poured rain almost all day on Monday, so the older boys and I stayed busy indoors with their virtual learning while Spence was at school. I also made 6 batches of my mom's Candied Pecans to share with neighbors and friends. They'll be getting jars of strawberry jam, apple butter, spiced apple pear jam, or blueberry jam that I canned earlier in the year, too.
My friend Jackie delivered a batch of her Fruitcake Cookies spiked with bourbon, so those were a tasty mid-morning snack with coffee. 'Tis the season!
The sun finally came out late afternoon...
Dinner that night was a kid-request: Chicken Tenders with tater tots and a side of corn and peas. If you don't want to fry the chicken, these baked nuggets (or tenders) are also one of my boys' favorite meals.
We woke up to a cold, frosty Tuesday morning! The kids and I met our friends for a walk in the woods, and then returned home for school work. Other than errands to drop off teacher gifts at the schools and stops at the bank and gas station, it was a quiet day at the house.
I made Meatball Subs for dinner that night using these homemade meatballs that I prepared a couple of weeks prior and stashed in the freezer. On the side we had potato chips, carrots, and cucumbers with Ranch dip.
I finished another good book this week, too: The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny. This is the 11th book in Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series and it was great -- as usual. If you haven't already discovered her mysteries, I highly recommend starting with the first book, Still Life. You'll be hooked!
We had our first snowfall of the season on Wednesday, so I spent the bulk of my day helping the kids take gear on and off, washing wet hats and gloves...
...and stirring pots of hot chocolate (with marshmallows and candy canes, of course)!
Not much snow actually stuck to the ground (we really just had a "dusting"), and it quickly turned to rain that afternoon, but it was pretty while it was falling.
I served the boys one of the coziest lunches I could think of: homemade chicken broth with homemade egg noodles -- just like my great grandmother used to serve my dad! I'll share the simple recipes soon.
Dinner was another cold-weather favorite: Slow Cooker Cioppino (I actually made it on the stovetop this time)...
...paired with a loaf of No-Knead Bread and side salads.
Even though we only had a tiny bit of snow, schools were closed again on Thursday morning thanks to icy roads.
We stayed home all day and kept busy with multiple trips outside, as well as some holiday prep. I put on The Grinch movie for the boys to watch, shut my bedroom door, and got busy with the wrapping supplies!
I also received a fun delivery that afternoon! I always look forward to the seasonal Special Delivery boxes from Taste of Home, and the winter package did not disappoint. Cozy soups and stews was the appropriate theme, so this box included Taste of Home's Soups, Stews & More cookbook, as well as recipe cards with pairing suggestions, and plenty of kitchen gadgets to make soup prep simple. There was a test-kitchen-approved vegetable peeler, a "Whiskle" (combination whisk and spatula), a mini collapsible colander, an herb infuser, coffee, chicken stew mix, and more! If you're interested in receiving (or gifting) a Special Delivery box, you can check out the details here.
Dinner that night was a quick 30-minute meal: Lemon Chicken Piccata served with pasta and salad. Always easy, and always tasty!
More of the same on Friday -- icy backroads and another day school day cancelled.😭
We did manage to leave the house for the first time in days, though! We met my aunt in Charlottesville to deliver Christmas gifts (since we won't be able to spend the holiday together), and I treated the boys to the Chik-Fil-A drive-thru for lunch while we were in town. I finally got to try the Peppermint Chip Milkshake and it was delish. It doesn't take much to get us excited these days!😂
I made the easiest Burritos for dinner that night...
...plus chips, salsa and guacamole on the side.
A very chilly dog walk on Saturday morning...
I got an early start and made a batch of Saltine Toffee before breakfast to gift to our favorite babysitters (using Aunt Bee's recipe, but swapping the graham crackers for saltines since that's what I had on hand).
Later that afternoon, I spent a couple of hours delivering homemade jam and treats to friends and neighbors in the area. It was fun to see everyone -- outside, from a distance!
I was ready for a night off from the kitchen, so Keith picked up pizza for dinner that evening...which always makes our crew happy. The rest of the night was spent in front of the fire with a book. The best!
There you go, friends -- another week of simple and tasty dinner ideas! I hope that you found something new to try in your own kitchen in the days ahead. I'll be back next Sunday with a full recap of our holiday fun and all of the delicious goodies that we enjoy. Christmas will be different this year, but I still want it to feel magical for the boys. Have a healthy and joyful week!