Merry Christmas Eve, friends! It’s been a very busy week around here — full of parties, baking, and incredibly excited kids who are literally bouncing off of the walls!
Before we run off to celebrate with family today, I wanted to pop in and wish you all a very happy holiday. Thank you for being here, for your support, and for all of your kind comments over the past year. I so appreciate you!
And since it’s Sunday, how about a roundup of Our Week in Meals?
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…
We woke up to a beautiful sunrise on Sunday morning!
Keith was still out of town, so I dragged the kids on an early trip to pick up a grocery order and to get me some coffee.
Our coffee maker broke last Friday (the horror!), but fortunately a new one was delivered by Sunday afternoon. 2-day shipping to the rescue!
That’s my Koffee Straw!
Sunday was also a busy day in my kitchen.
I started a pot of Lentil Soup in my new slow cooker before getting to work on the rest of my to-do list.
This fancy piece of equipment can brown, sautee, and steam ingredients as well — perfect for multi-step recipes!
While the soup simmered, I baked a batch of my Cherry White Chocolate Chip Christmas Cookies (Keith’s favorite),
and prepared My Grandmother’s Bourbon Balls.
It wouldn’t be the holidays without these two treats!
Spencer’s teacher asked me to bring goodies to send home with the preschoolers after their Christmas performance on Tuesday.
I wanted to make my Rudolph Rice Krispies Treats because they’re so darn cute, but I was worried that they wouldn’t transport very well (since the kids would be bringing their treats home after school instead of eating them at a party). I didn’t want Rudolph’s antlers to break in transit! Instead, I used this box of holiday colored Rice Krispies,
and made traditional Rice Krispies Treats that I frosted with white chocolate and holiday sprinkles (similar to this recipe).
I packed the individual treats in these cute little containers (from Target), along with additional Christmas candies and chocolates.
We had an easy (but tasty) dinner that night — Grilled Chicken, Apple, and Brie Sandwiches. Love a sweet-and-savory combo!
I got this idea from the delicious Turkey, Apple and White Cheddar Sandwich that I enjoyed at Panera last week. Since I already had a wedge of Double Cream Brie in the fridge from Trader Joe’s, as well as Honey Crisp apples and leftover Dump-and-Bake Basil Chicken, these sandwiches were really easy to assemble (with some Dijonnaise as well).
I served our sandwiches with a salad on the side.
I took advantage of an unseasonably warm, sunny Monday morning and met Mollie for a walk while the kids were in school.
When I picked Spencer up at noon, he had a handful of really cute Christmas projects to show me — including this handmade ornament for our tree.
I wanted to share it in case you need a last-minute craft idea for the kiddos (or grandkids) — no special skills necessary!
They used paint sample strips to cut out a tree, decorated it with glitter glue and stickers, and added a star sticker to the top. Adorable!
Dinner that night was a new recipe that I was testing for the blog. I tweaked some things, made it again on Wednesday morning, and I’ll share the final recipe on here soon.
This was Easy Cheeseburger Pie, which I served with carrots, cucumber and Ranch dip on the side for some quick veggies. It was a huge hit with the family, so I bet you’ll love it too!
We packed up our goodie boxes and headed to the theater in Orange on Tuesday morning for Spencer’s preschool Christmas program.
He wasn’t happy about being on stage (or about wearing his snow pants), but at least he didn’t cry this year!
The boys had basketball practice that night, which meant that I only had a few minutes to get everyone fed, changed, and back out the door after school.
I reheated the Lentil Soup that I made on Sunday afternoon and served the kids grilled cheese sandwiches on the side as well.
It was Spencer’s lucky morning at Costco on Wednesday — they were giving out free samples of chocolate truffles!
I also dragged him with me to my haircut that afternoon before we had to pick up the older boys from school, where he got another chocolate! Simple pleasures!
I served salmon for dinner, and it turned out to be a HUGE winner. Can’t wait to share this 4-ingredient baked salmon recipe with you in just a couple of weeks. It seriously doesn’t get much easier…
I had purchased the salmon at Costco that morning, so I wanted to use it while it was still fresh. The other 3 ingredients are kitchen staples, so this recipe is an easy last-minute option.
We had the salmon with steamed broccoli and rice.
I spent Thursday morning setting the table for Christmas dinner,
playing with Spence, and getting some house work done.
We broke for lunch, which was so tasty!
I used the Cranberry Walnut bread that I bought from Costco’s bakery and turned leftovers from the night before into salmon salad (just a spoonful of mayo as a binder, chopped green onions, and salt and pepper). I wish every lunch at home tasted this good!
We spent the afternoon at the primary school, helping with the second grade Christmas party in Gibbs’s class. So fun!
I just reheated some leftovers from the freezer for dinner that night. The kids love this Spaghetti Bolognese (with a salad on the side).
Please try this one if you haven’t already — it’s a family favorite!
The older boys had a half day of school on Friday, so my mom arrived around lunchtime to join us for a visit. She also brought me a loaf of Stollen that my dad made.
I wanted Stollen for our Christmas breakfast, but when I realized that it would be a pretty labor-intensive process, I just asked Dad to make it instead.???? I’m a lucky gal and it was delivered to my door about a week later — just in time for the holiday!
Before Mom got here, Spence and I ran a few errands: we dropped off a box of Christmas cookies for our neighbors (these and these), and stopped at Yoder’s to pick up pecans, angel biscuits, and country ham for Christmas brunch.
I used the pecans to make a double batch of Mom’s Spiced Nuts!
This is the best recipe that I’ve tried for candied nuts, and they’re a perfect gift for friends and family at the holidays. They’re also delicious on salads or on appetizer and cheese trays throughout the year.
My mom found the original Spiced Nuts recipe on allrecipes.com, but she has tweaked it a bit over the years. They’re really delicious, so I hope that you’ll give them a try! Here’s what she does:
Mom's Spiced Nuts
- 1 egg white lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon water
- 3 cups pecan halves
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg white with water. Stir in pecans until well moistened.
Mix together sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the nuts.
Spread nuts on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until nuts are toasted and crispy (but not burned). Definitely keep your eye on them during the final 5 minutes, because mine were ready to come out of the oven after just 27 minutes.
We picked up the kids at noon, and they requested Subway for lunch (as usual!).
Mom and I had the Turkey Reuben, which is definitely one of our faves there.
Casey and I delivered Spiced Nuts to another neighbor, and then I took the night off from the kitchen.
Instead of cooking, we indulged in our regular Friday fare: pizza!
I also tried the weekly special — kale salad — on the side, but it wasn’t my favorite.
I was expecting a kale Caesar, but this had a tangy vinegar-based dressing. I still managed to eat it.????
Before the rain arrived on Saturday, I managed to squeeze in a walk with Mollie in the woods and a grocery order pick-up for the week ahead.
The boys were getting restless after lunch, so I packed them up and took them to an indoor playground. So much energy in these little ones!
Dinner that night was fridge clean-out! I pulled out a bunch of different leftovers and let everyone choose what they wanted to eat. We had leftover pizza, leftover salmon salad, chicken, and even some hot dogs.
Now my refrigerator has plenty of space for the Christmas recipes that I’m about to prepare!
And today I’ll leave you with simple wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! Thank you so much for being here!
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