Hey, friends! Happy Sunday morning to you! I hope it's been a nice, long holiday weekend. I'm back today with another recap of Our Week in Meals. For those of you who are new around here, this is where I share a little bit about what we’ve been up to over the past week — as it relates to our meals each night. I hope that 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. With that, let's backtrack...
Last Sunday morning started with a batch of cinnamon rolls (from a can!), which made the whole house smell amazing!
And then we went out for a late morning walk at Montpelier to get some fresh air.
The weather was beautiful, but it was windy and COLD...and the kids spent the whole time complaining that they were freezing. Time to toughen them up!
I was assigned a kid-friendly dessert for Thanksgiving dinner as an alternative to the Pumpkin Pie that my mom always makes. I let the boys choose what we should make, and the consensus was BROWNIES! Of course, all 3 of them wanted to help me bake them (which meant that it took 3 times as long, but whatever)!
I love that the bowl is WAY bigger than Spencer!
I used a boxed brownie mix (because that's how I roll), stirred in loads of extra chocolate chunks, baked them, and then put the pan in the freezer for a few days. That way, the only work to do on Thanksgiving was thaw, frost them, and add plenty of Thanksgiving-themed sprinkles to the top!
Can you see the little turkey-shaped sprinkles?
After lunch at home, I dumped the ingredients for these Slow Cooker Southern Green Beans into my Crock Pot for dinner that night. I just used frozen cut green beans and frozen diced onion so that there was very little prep involved.
I served the green beans with some whole wheat cornbread (that I had stashed in the freezer), as well as this Garlic Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin (recipe coming next month).
And I've been meaning to mention my favorite snack these days -- Bare Apple Chips. Dip them in peanut butter for a filling, crunchy, sweet, and salty snack!
Spence and I were out of the house on Monday morning for a variety of chores -- Costco, grocery pick-up, and his 3-year-old well check at the pediatrician's office. This is the best photo that I could get because the kid literally did NOT stop moving/jumping/climbing the entire time we were there...
Dinner that night included these Lightened-Up Mini Meatloaves (so kid-friendly, and cooked in a muffin tin for a shorter baking time); plus fries and steamed broccoli on the side. Comfort food for a chilly evening (the meatloaf recipe will be on the blog next month)!
On Tuesday morning I did some antiquing for a few minutes before heading to pick up Spencer at school. There are so many little shops like this around us, but I never bother to stop in because I always have at least one little boy with me. Breakable stuff + Boys = BAD IDEA. I found a plate, some linens, and an $800 table that I didn't need. I passed on the table!
Then it was time for the preschoolers' Thanksgiving feast!
Refusing to smile.
Lunch was a treat for me: carry-out from Real Food. This was the Manhattan Salmon Chowder and a salad with pomegranate seeds, Pink Lady apples, spiced pecans, greens, and a pomegranate vinaigrette. Delish! At this time of year, I can't get enough of their soups!
Followed up by a whole milk foamy tea latte.
Since I noticed that cod was on sale at Harris Teeter this week, I was excited to make my 4-Ingredient Baked Fish with Tomato and Basil Sauce for dinner. On the side I served pasta to have with the sauce, as well as a salad.
Many of you have asked me for tips on feeding a family when you eat at different times. Tuesday night was a good example of how I normally handle the multi-stage meals. Keith was working late (as he often does), so I knew that I would need to feed the kids before he got home. Instead of prepping dinner twice (who has time for that?!), I just divided the fish into two smaller dishes. I baked the boys' fish right away, and I kept our dish covered in the refrigerator until I needed to bake it later. I reheated the extra pasta for us to enjoy once Keith got home, and I kept the salads fresh in the refrigerator after preparing them in advance. Hope that helps some of you who regularly deal with similar situations.
Salad dressing of choice when I'm not making my own!
My older boys had a half day of school on Wednesday morning, so before picking them up I ate an early lunch of dinner leftovers from the night before. The kids were hoping to go to a nearby restaurant for a lunch date so that they could play on the indoor playground. Unfortunately, when we got there, the playground was closed.
At least they still got their fried chicken and biscuits (not a veggie in sight)!?
Dinner that evening was my Slow Cooker Pumpkin Chili, served with cornbread on the side.
Thursday morning started with a sunrise walk near our house for some fresh air and exercise.
We had leftover chili for lunch, and then we packed up the car and headed south to my parents' house in the valley for Thanksgiving dinner. My contributions were very low-stress: the brownies that the kids helped me make and decorate for the children's dessert, and my Cranberry Pecan Corn Pudding. I also brought along a loaf of Cranberry Bread to share with Mom.
My brother and his family flew in from Florida, my in-laws joined us for dinner, and my Aunt Barbara and Uncle Gary were there too. It was a full (and very lively) house!
My "baby" brother.
We spent the afternoon backyard fishing with GrandDaddy (they caught 3!),
and going for a walk before dinner.
Aunt Barbara brought this delicious Cranberry Stilton cheese as an appetizer. Such a great combo of sweet and savory!
And then it was time to eat!
The kids' favorites were the turkey/ham + desserts.
My Thanksgiving dinner plate: turkey, sausage + oyster stuffing, cranberry sauce, sauerkraut, green bean casserole, corn pudding, ambrosia, butternut squash + apple casserole. Phew! No wonder I was so full...
We spent the night at my parents' house, so on Friday morning my brother made a giant platter of perfectly cooked pancakes for breakfast,
while I was in charge of the scrambled eggs and sausage.
We went for a walk, did some more fishing, ate Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch (of course!), and Casey decorated my parents' Christmas tree.
While Spence (finally) crashed on the couch,
Aunt Barbara and I helped the older kids decorate a gingerbread house!
Our family friends came from Lynchburg for a visit, and then we headed back to Madison for the evening. I picked up pizza for dinner on the way home to feed our very tired and very hungry crew.
Saturday morning was officially the start of Christmas around here! I lit my new candles,
put away our fall decorations, and I spent a whopping 5 minutes prepping breakfast for the rest of the week: my Slow Cooker Gingerbread Oatmeal. This tastes great, but it also makes the house smell amazing while it cooks! When it's ready, I divide the oatmeal into individual microwave-safe containers and store in the refrigerator for easy breakfasts later. It reheats in the microwave when you stir in some milk, and it can be topped with pecans, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, or anything else that you can dream up!
After lunch we went to a local tree farm to cut down our Christmas tree,
but unfortunately Keith was feeling really sick. We had scheduled our babysitter to come over for the evening so that Keith and I could go out on a date, but I had to cancel those plans when Keith ended up at Urgent Care in search of a strep test instead.
Since I wasn't planning to cook dinner that night, I had to improvise from the pantry. Soup to the rescue! I stirred beans into the red pepper soup and topped it with diced avocado. Did the trick on a chilly evening!
And that brings us to this morning. I'm excited to pull out the Christmas decorations and get our tree up. I hope that you all have a great week ahead, and I'll see you back here tomorrow for a tasty and easy new dinner idea!