Good morning, and happy Sunday! We're cleaning up and recovering today after a very exciting, festive, and delicious Christmas celebration. I hope that you enjoyed the holiday with friends or family, too! 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 was a fairly quiet day at the house. I did some cooking in the morning while it was rainy outside, and Gibbs had a friend come over in the afternoon.
There was plenty of football on TV, as well as in the yard. At one point Spencer had me taking videos of his throw (he's determined to grow up to be Tom Brady)...😂
We're trying really hard to gradually clean out and work through the food in our deep freezer (because it's kind of a disaster right now), so our dinner was an odd hodgepodge of grilled salmon (because there was one small piece in there for Keith), Dutch oven beef stew (so perfect for me on a chilly night!), and grilled burgers for the kids (since there were some frozen patties tucked away). I also sauteed asparagus for us to enjoy on the side, and toasted a loaf of crusty bread. Slowly making a dent in the freezer madness!
The kids had school on Monday and Tuesday before they were off on Christmas break, so I did my best to take full advantage of the last of my quiet time.
In addition to my regular work at the computer, I visited my neighbor's farm to pick up eggs for the week, took the dog for a walk, and then returned home to do some baking.
We needed to re-stock our Chex Mix stash, so I stirred together a batch of that...
...and also made Keith's favorite treat: Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Paired with the dark chocolate peanut butter balls that my friend Jackie delivered that same day!
After a chilly morning walk with my friend Ashley on Tuesday, I drove all of the way to Ruckersville (the town with the closest Starbucks) to treat myself to a white chocolate peppermint mocha. A blog reader named Kelly recommended this new-to-me drink, and I was instantly intrigued. I needed to sneak it in before the holiday.😉 Delicious!
Back home, I made a batch of farmhouse cinnamon roll dough to stash in our freezer for Christmas morning. While I had the bread flour and yeast out on the counter, I also stirred together the dough for a loaf of overnight no-knead bread. It only takes about 5 minutes!
Lunch was a cozy bowl of roasted butternut squash soup, which I thawed from the freezer in my continuing effort to use up the food that we have on hand.
Book report time! I recently read The Land of Mango Sunsets, which was recommended to me by a blog reader after I mentioned one of Dorothea Benton Frank's other novels (Shem Creek). I really enjoyed this heart-warming story, which is light enough for a relaxing vacation read, but also addresses some more complex emotional and relationship issues. It's not total fluff, but you'll cruise through this one!
To celebrate the end of the boys' school semester and the start of vacation, we had a homemade pizza night. They love this meal (not surprising!), which I served with a green salad for some extra veggies.
The boys requested Chik-Fil-A for lunch on their first day off from school, so we headed up to Culpeper on Wednesday morning. On our way to pick up lunch, we stopped at the Civil War battlefield at Cedar Mountain for a walk. Ran off some energy and enjoyed the sun!
I made a batch of saltine toffee that afternoon...
...and then Gibbs' friend came over to join us for dinner before their basketball practice. I served the kids spaghetti, while Keith and I finished off the last of the beef chili that I had stashed in the freezer.
Plus a loaf of my crusty no-knead bread on the side!
Thursday was a cozy day at home. Knowing that we would be gone on Friday, I spent time in the kitchen getting prepared for Christmas -- making gingerbread cake, cranberry sauce, corn sticks, and au gratin potatoes.
Keith was working from home, the boys were content in the yard or playing quietly, and there was a fire in the wood stove. The perfect slow day before the excitement of Christmas Eve!
I had a lone sheet of puff pastry hanging out in the freezer, so I made one of my favorite comfort food meals for supper that night: Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry, which I served alongside a green salad and a loaf of pumpkin bread.
Friday was Christmas Eve!
We drove a couple hours north to celebrate with Keith's family for the day. Lunch was our main meal, which included my mother-in-law's Christmas Eve lasagna, ambrosia, salad, and bread. Followed by a slice of pecan pie for me...
...and donuts for the cousins!
Then Christmas finally arrived!
Highlights of the day included a tackling dummy and receiver gloves for Spencer, a soccer goal for Casey, and a flying yoke for Gibbs' computer. Plus lots of Lego, always!
My aunt and uncle came over for a visit in the afternoon, so I set out a cheeseboard complete with candied pecans, mixed nuts, Chex mix, crackers, cheeses, sausage, jams, mustard, fruit, and assorted holiday cookies. A tasty substitute for lunch!
And last but not least, Christmas dinner! Keith grilled a standing rib roast (good thing it was almost 70 degrees in Virginia), which we served alongside pineapple glazed ham, au gratin potatoes, homemade dinner rolls, cranberry orange sauce, and a house salad.
Plus old-fashioned gingerbread cake for dessert!
Ho, ho, ho! I hope that you all had a relaxing, festive holiday as well. Thank you for joining me here today, as always. Wishing you a very happy and healthy New Year!🥂🎉🍾