Good morning, and happy Sunday! It was a week full of Christmas cheer, unexpected bumps, and plenty of delicious food. 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 an early (and chilly) walk at Mollie's farm,
...and then Sallie brought her son over that afternoon to stand in our yard and wave to Santa as he rode past on a fire truck. Bless the volunteer fire department for "delivering" a little bit of holiday cheer around our county this season -- even though we couldn't have the usual Christmas parade on Main Street.
Before supper, our neighbors came caroling and delivered baskets to the farms and houses along our road. It's such a special small town!
Keith smoked ribs for dinner that night at the boys' request (my Crock Pot recipe is here),
which we paired with an Easy Broccoli Casserole,
and Macaroni Salad.
This thick fog hung around all morning on Monday, which made it slightly easier to keep the boys inside to focus on their distance learning assignments and Zoom calls with teachers.
By that afternoon, the sun was out and it was clear that we were all ready for some fresh air in the woods.
The evening threw us a curveball when our well pump died and we suddenly had no water at the house! Ugh. I abandoned my plan to serve a pasta casserole for dinner, and instead opted for something quick and easy that wouldn't require water to cook or dishes to wash. Frozen pizza on paper plates to the rescue!🤪
Tuesday was a beautiful day for a well repair!😉
We stayed close to home while the technicians worked, the boys finished their last morning of virtual school before the holiday break, and by early afternoon we had running water again! Of course, the rest of my day was spent tackling the piles of laundry and dishes that had accumulated in just 24 hours...
I made Chicken Spaghetti Casserole for dinner that night, along with salad...
...and fresh baguette!
I also finished a great book that evening! I've always loved Fannie Flagg's books, so when I realized that she had a Christmas-themed novel, I quickly snatched it up. A Redbird Christmas definitely involves the holiday, but it's not exclusively a Christmas book. The story actually reminds me a lot of one of my other favorites from last year, The Story of Arthur Truluv. It would be a light, cozy, and fun read at any time of year!
I met my friend Mollie for a walk on Wednesday morning...
...and then made the trip into Charlottesville after lunch for the boys' dentist appointments. We treated ourselves to soft pretzels and ice cream from the Dairy Queen afterwards!
It poured rain almost all day on Thursday, so I spent a large part of Christmas Eve in the kitchen prepping dishes for that evening and for Christmas day. I didn't want to be stressed or busy with last-minute cooking on the holiday, so it was nice to have a few hours to get it all done in advance. But first -- Stollen Bread for breakfast!
We normally join Keith's family for a Christmas Eve dinner, but we didn't think it would be safe to gather as a large group this year. Instead, I prepared a special meal at home, and then we joined my in-laws on FaceTime while the boys opened gifts from their grandparents.
Our menu included Virginia Brown Sugar Baked Ham,
Plus a tray of gingerbread men...
...and Hello Dolly Bars for Santa!
As always, Christmas morning started early in our house -- well before the sunrise.
After opening gifts from Santa, we enjoyed Cinnamon Rolls...
...and a Quiche Lorraine for breakfast.
The rest of our morning included a dog walk up the road and an early lunch (leftover ham sandwiches), before my parents arrived to visit and exchange gifts.
After my folks left, we had Zoom calls with my brother's family and my aunt and uncle, and I set out a tray of snacks that included candied pecans, cheese, crackers, sausage, grapes, chocolates and crab dip.
We had a small dinner with just the 5 of us, but I still served our traditional Christmas menu: Southern Bourbon-Glazed Beef Tenderloin,
And for dessert...my favorite Red Velvet Cake! It wasn't a "normal" holiday for us, and we were certainly missing our extended family, but the season still felt special and we are absolutely counting our blessings.
By Saturday morning my friends and I were desperate for some kid-free mom time, so we braved the 22° F temps and met for a walk outside. It was obviously chilly, but it wasn't windy so we bundled up and stayed warm by moving!
I picked up a grocery order, and the rest of my day was otherwise spent cleaning up Christmas and getting our house back in order. I love the festive lights and holiday decorations, but I also love feeling like my house is clean and organized again.
You know what else I love?! Leftovers! We had two big holiday meals in a row, so I was ready for a break from cooking. Instead, we pulled all of the goodies from the fridge that night and had a mish-mash of meats and sides from the previous few days. I'll spare you a repeat food photo, and instead share our family picture from this year's holiday card.
Thank you for being here each week, for trying my recipes, for leaving kind comments, and for just generally making this space a fun place to be. I'm grateful for each and every one of you, and I'm sending you warm wishes for a happy New Year!