Good morning, and happy Sunday! This week saw more holiday prep, cozy dinners, and a new Christmas-inspired book. 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 bright and early when I joined three of my friends for a walk at Mollie's farm.
Keith took the boys to get fried chicken for lunch, while I finished up a couple of work projects at the house. Then back outside for another short walk that afternoon, before ultimately returning to get started on dinner.
Keith smoked ribs,
which we enjoyed with collard greens,
and no-boil, overnight mac and cheese (an oldie-but-goodie recipe from my hairdresser!).
Plus banana pudding for dessert. The perfect Sunday supper for this crew!
Back to work and school on Monday! I picked up our weekly eggs from my neighbor's farm, swung by the middle school to get fundraising materials, and otherwise spent the day in the kitchen tinkering with recipes.
First a walk with my friend Ashley early on Tuesday morning, followed by a stop at the dollar store for Christmas candy for Casey's class, and then a day at the computer.
I made a pot of Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana for supper, along with a loaf of crusty bread for dipping!
I have another Christmas book to share this week! The Santa Suit is Mary Kay Andrews' latest holiday novel, and it's such a fun, feel-good story. Nothing heavy or difficult, just a lighthearted romance about a newly-single gal who moves from Atlanta to an old farmhouse in the mountains of North Carolina. When she finds an old Santa suit in a closet at her new house, Ivy discovers a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love. This one's a great way to get in the spirit of the season!
Wednesday started off very cold and gray -- we even saw a few snow flurries (and of course the kids were disappointed when they still had to go to school!).
I stayed inside until it warmed up a bit, and then ventured out for a dog walk, a grocery pick-up, and later popped into a local antique shop. Always squeezing work and house chores in where I can, too!
The boys and I were on our own for supper that night, so I made a cozy chicken and rice casserole with cream of mushroom soup (using up some leftover rotisserie chicken from the freezer). Paired with steamed broccoli and cheese biscuits to round out the meal!
Thursday morning was off to a good start with cranberry orange scones for breakfast, plus gingerbread coffee with eggnog. Happy holiday season, right?! I just thawed the scones from the freezer, so I wasn't actually doing any baking that morning. Some of my favorite scones ever, these would be perfect for Christmas!
The kids just had a half day of school, so I raced around in the morning to check off my most important tasks. After a quick walk with the dog, I stopped by Yoder's Country Market to pick up our weekly lunch meat and buttermilk, plus coleslaw to have with dinner, since I knew that I wouldn't have time to make my own from scratch. My mom taught me that you can't have fried fish without coleslaw! I also picked up many bags of bulk pecans, as well as fresh oysters for oyster stew.
Casey's friend came home with him after school, so the boys entertained themselves all afternoon, while I stayed busy in the kitchen making 8 batches of candied pecans to share with our friends and neighbors. I packed each bag of nuts with a jar of Christmas jam or blueberry jam that I made earlier in the year for easy homemade gifts.
I met my friend Mollie for a walk in the woods on Friday morning, ran up to Culpeper to get stocking stuffers at Target, and finally made my way back home by lunchtime. The winter woods are looking very bare -- and very chilly!
Saturday's weather wasn't great, so I spent the morning cooking in the kitchen, while Keith changed a flat tire on his vehicle and played football with the boys.
This Oriental Bittersweet might be an invasive weed, but I still think it's a pretty pop of color right now!
Fresh haircuts that afternoon!
And since the kids haven't eaten in a restaurant in about 2 years, we let them pick our dinner destination that night. Their choice? Chili's in Culpeper. Keith couldn't believe that this was the spot they missed most, but their excitement was contagious. We enjoyed endless chips and salsa, burgers, chicken tenders, and my chicken and shrimp fajitas!
It was very dark, but you get the idea...
And that's it for now, friends! Thank you so much for joining me here each week. I hope that you've found some new inspiration for your own table in the days ahead. Have a wonderful Sunday!