Hey, friends! We had another fun week of fall adventures -- including a harvest festival, a short school week for the boys, and a Halloween party! It's time for another roundup of Our Week in Meals, so let's get right to it!
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…
I spent some time cooking on Sunday morning, and then after lunch I took the kids on an outing to the Apple Harvest Festival at Graves Mountain here in Madison. It's one of our favorite events all year!
The boys climbed hay mountains, ran through the hay maze, jumped in the bouncy houses, and went on a hay ride through the apple orchard and pumpkin patch.
In addition to the activities, there are many vendors and food stands available at the festival. We spied apple cider donuts, pumpkin donuts, funnel cakes, apple cider, apple pie, apple wine, and Brunswick Stew (always!). The boys had ice cream cones for snack,
and brought home a giant bag of kettle corn for later. Such a fun time!
Supper that night was a treat! I wanted to recreate my parents' Southern Bourbon-Glazed Beef Tenderloin, which they serve each year for Christmas dinner. I'll be sharing it on the blog for the holidays, so this was our trial run. Keith grilled the beef, which I served with a loaf of Italian bread and some steamed broccoli. Perfect!
We were a few minutes early to drop Spencer off at preschool on Monday morning, so I grabbed a quick Pumpkin Spice Coffee while Spencer got to watch the train pass through town. This was the perfect way for both of us to start the week!????
I then headed to Mollie's farm for a very foggy, cool, gray morning walk. We had a great time catching up, as always...even if we couldn't see 10 feet in front of us!
Both of the older boys had soccer practice that evening, so I served an early dinner before we went out to the fields. On these practice days we tend to eat at 4:30 in the afternoon because the kids are hungry by that point and we have to get to soccer by 5:30. That just means that we eat in shifts, since Keith usually needs dinner much later when he gets home from work. Meals that I can easily reheat or prep ahead are a must, and this was no exception. I made an Easy One Pot Hungarian Goulash on Sunday morning, which I just warmed and served over (store-bought) mashed potatoes on Monday night. I'll share the Goulash recipe soon -- it was great!
Tuesday was a quiet day. Spence and I stayed close to home after the older boys went to school, so we took advantage of the beautiful weather and spent quite a bit of time outside.
He found an old bag of Legos that I had stashed in storage, which entertained him for hours. Seriously. Cheapest entertainment in town = used toys!
On my way to get the kids from school, I ran into Yoder's to pick up some apples and lunch meat for the week.
I've been going there even more often than usual this season because they have an awesome selection of local apples. These "Candy Crisp" are literally the best of any variety that I've ever tasted!
Yoder's always has shelves and shelves of great seasonal products too!
I summoned all of my willpower on this particular visit and skipped the homemade apple cider donuts. Maybe next time?! I've been thinking about those darn donuts ever since, so I think I'll likely pick some up soon! The kids will support me in this.???? I did come home with this gingerbread pancake mix, though. It made for a tasty breakfast on Wednesday morning!
I just prepared a batch of the mix and cooked it in my waffle iron on Tuesday evening, then stored the cooked waffles in the refrigerator overnight. So easy, and they reheated perfectly in the toaster the next morning (the toaster gets them crispy on the outside, but still soft on the inside)!
Our dinner was grabbed straight from the Simply Mailed meal plan this week -- an oldie but goodie vegetarian dinner recipe that's perfect for fall: Marinara Soup! I served our soup with the last of the loaf of Italian bread that I initially sliced on Sunday. Toasted with butter and garlic, it was a great side for dipping!
Spencer's preschool class had a field trip to the library on Wednesday morning, which meant that I had an hour to kill in town before I needed to be back at the school to chaperone the little ones. We don't quite live close enough to town to allow me time to get back home in that short period. No worries, though! The weather was cool, crisp and perfect, so I decided to take a walk through town to get some exercise while I had a few minutes to myself.
Scenes from my walk that day...
Fountain + Sun.
Spencer's favorite -- Railroad Crossing.
This house had some great Halloween decorations on the front porch, but I didn't want to get too close to take a picture (and look like a total creeper)!????
When we got home around lunchtime, Spence and I spent some time baking in the kitchen. We made one of my favorite childhood cookie recipes, which I will share on the blog for the Christmas season. There was a lot of messy flour involved...
and some hot cocoa for dipping (which the older boys enjoyed after school, too)!
We didn't have any sports practices that evening and Keith made it home from work at a decent hour, so we all had dinner together that night. I served another recipe from the Simply Mailed meal plan -- Dump-and-Bake Chicken Supreme! So great! We had dinner rolls and green beans with almonds and bacon on the side.
The older boys only had a half day of school on Thursday, so after I wrote out a meal plan for the week and jotted down my shopping list, Spence and I headed to the grocery store to restock our kitchen.
Can you tell that he inherited my sweet tooth? Holding a chocolate donut while eyeing the cakes...
Speaking of sweet tooth, we came home with a pack of these new Caramel M&M's. Have you tried them? I snapped a photo so that I would remember to tell you how delicious they are! They remind me of Rolo chocolates with a thick, chewy caramel center.
Keith's mom arrived for a visit late morning, so we all jumped in the car and headed to pick up Gibbs and Casey at noon. We celebrated a short school week with a lunch date at Subway!
While Carole stayed at home with the kids that afternoon, Keith and I had teacher conferences at the boys' school. Keith then had dinner plans with some of his guy friends, so the boys and I were on our own for dinner.
This meal was SO good, you guys! I can't wait to share the recipe with you soon. I made Dump-and-Bake Maple Balsamic Chicken, which I served with mashed cauliflower that my friends at Alexia sent me. They have a whole line of new frozen veggie sides that are seriously the best I've ever tried. Again, can't wait to tell you more about them in an upcoming post...
Friday the boys were off from school, so I dragged all 3 of them into Charlottesville that morning for Casey's flu shot.
He was NOT happy with this plan...
We made a quick stop at Costco since we were already in town, which went very smoothly until Spencer spotted the $60 giant NERF guns and decided that he had to have them. Tantrum ensued, of course! Fortunately, he collected himself and could wait patiently at a table while I was checking out...
Everyone was hungry after our errands, so I let Casey choose the lunch spot. We ended up at McDonald's...
They come for the toy in the Happy Meal!
Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad.
The kids spent the rest of the afternoon at home playing outside, which is all that they really wanted to do on their day off anyway. ????
For dinner I kept it super-simple and served Costco's rotisserie chicken salad on fresh croissants from the bakery. Easy and delicious!
I met Mollie for a beautiful walk on Saturday morning,
and then came home to bake a batch of brownies to take to our party that night. My assistant joined me to help!
Casey never misses an opportunity to lick the bowl...
Casey had his last soccer game of the season after lunch,
and we went to our friends' house later in the evening for a Halloween party. I brought the brownies and some flowers, and didn't have to make dinner that night!
Amy has been planning this party all month, and she did an amazing job. The decorations were incredible (inside and out),
and she had an enormous spread of delicious party foods -- from dips to cheeses, mac and cheese, meatballs, cakes, and so much more. Plus, she served my "Hallowine" Sangria!???? Such an awesome party and a perfect way to celebrate the holiday!
And that's where I'll leave it on this cool, rainy Sunday! We don't have many plans for the day, so I'll be preparing a batch of Roasted Butternut Squash Soup for the week ahead, catching up on laundry, and resting up for the festivities of the week ahead! Have a safe and very fun Halloween!
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