The Weekly Mess || Week 3

Before we get into the amazing, easy weeknight dinners, I have to start with a few anecdotes. What I am about to tell you is my new WORST nightmare:


a cute little brown haired boy in tan skinny jeans and a black and white Beastie Boys t-shirt stands in front of a wall full of framed street art.
Photo by Emma K. Morris

Ok, so that may be a tad bit dramatic, but I in fact DID have a brief moment where I thought that was how I was going to go…ALONE, at home, still in my pajamas at 11am, with my hair in a circa 1994 banana clip trying to swallow a liver support supplement. Oh man, what a pathetic end that would be, I thought to myself as I stood there silently gasping like a fish out of water for what felt like FOREVER. And, what a horrible way for my children to find their mother!

Needless to say, I made it through, my body did what it was supposed to do and I have vowed to only take supplements in the presence of others from now on but I felt a PSA was necessary in case you do wild and crazy things when you’re home alone too, like take supplements.

Anyways, moving on, I also figuratively almost died recently…

A woman is in a macrame swing, a little boy in a white and black t-shirt is pushing her. She is laughing. They are in a room with a black spiral staircase in the back and lots of colorful artwork on the walls.
Photo by Emma K. Morris

Speaking of dramatic, our son went to church with our new neighbors a couple of weekends ago and his God-honest take on what he thought was happening was the most hysterical thing I’ve ever heard in my life, but admittedly it was also simultaneously mortifying.

Background: Kash attended a church based preschool for 3 1/2 years complete with “chapel” days every week and frequent visits with the pastor of the church, my grandfather was a preacher and although we aren’t in regular attendance at any particular church I don’t necessarily feel like we are heathens! I at least thought our son had a handle on the basics, obviously he does not. I’m going to do my best to correct that in the near future. 

When asked what he thought about his visit to church, my son replied, “It was weird. At first everyone was just sitting there in their chairs. And then the TV screens came on and they had weird shapes and colors on them. Then they started to play music and everyone just started putting their hands up and dancing! I THINK they were messing with their brains! After that, I knew they were all hypnotized because they were all just STANDING there listening to them read a book…I think it was the Dictionary! ”  

Cue me, mouth gaped in horror at the words coming out of his mouth, jaw on the floor, eyes wide open at my child’s brutally honest observation. Also, while we’re at it, cue heaping piles of mom guilt for not prepping him with the information that church services/worship styles come in all different shapes and forms some reserved and some more robust as far as the energy in the room goes. 

A little boy on roller blades wearing a Ghost Busters sweat shirt . He has a metal kitchen strainer on his head like a hat.


I could have just DIED! Ok, not really, but you know what I mean…I wanted to curl up into a little ball and hide my self from the world at that very moment. I still don’t know if he was really serious or half playing but, I have to admit I think that kid’s pretty freaking funny too and while I was mortified in the moment, I am 100% sure we are going to be laughing and telling this story for years to come.

Honestly, I think 7 is my favorite age yet for him. For the most part he can take care of himself, he brushes his own teeth, he can get a snack and entertain himself…but he isn’t too big to cuddle with his mom. He’s just at the right age to have a REAL conversation about his feelings and views on all sorts of things from school, Lego sets, and apparently religion. (PSA: don’t get him started on politics unless you are ready to be simultaneously horrified and slapping your knee in laughter. He has quite the soapbox for a 7 year old!) I never quite know what he’s going to say – sometimes he says nothing at all. But, his reactions are always priceless!

Needless to say, two near-death (not really) experiences in one week. I could use a cocktail and a nap!

Do you have little ones in your life keeping you on your toes? Or near death experiences with your supplements? Please, share with me your most hilarious/mortifying mom moments in the comments below so I don’t feel so exposed over here! 



These weeknight dinners are super easy without sacrificing taste or nutrition.

Our modern family table seats an eclectic bunch of eaters and I am tasked with feeding them all breakfast, lunch, and dinner! While there are only 5 of us gathering at the table each evening, between us the dietary restrictions and preferences can be a bit overwhelming and finding the answer to the question “What’s for dinner?” a bit nerve wracking. Over the years, I have developed a system that combines meal planning and big batch cooking throughout the week. Recipes like these easy weeknight dinners keep me sane.

MONDAY || Sheet Pan Fried Rice + Marinated Zucchini from Mad Genius Tips by Justin Chapple

My family LOVES fried rice, but I absolutely hate paying for takeout for all 5 of us here in Georgia, mainly because it almost ALWAYS sucks! Plus, this sheet pan version is way healthier than its restaurant counterpart. Feel free to swap up the original recipe by subbing brown rice instead of white and sub in your favorite veggies for the carrot shreds, onions, and zucchini that I use. Our German exchange student, Salome, isn’t a fan of eggs with runny yolks, so I scrambled all of the eggs separately in a skillet, chopped them up into small pieces and stirred them in when the rice came out of the oven.  The marinated zucchini was such a great pairing for the fried rice – I highly suggest it! 

Close up of a bowl of broccoli pesto pasta
Photo by Greg Dupree for Rachael Ray Magazine

TUESDAY || Broccoli Pesto Pasta from Rachael Ray Magazine (BIG BATCH TIP: This serves 4 as-is, but if you double the recipe you’ll have delicious vegetarian lunches and meatless mains for the days ahead.)+ toasted gluten free baguette slices + Alouette cheese

Since I have gluten free-er’s dining at our table I subbed the pasta in this easy weeknight dinner recipe for my favorite Pamela’s gluten free pasta. It tastes great the first time you serve it AND doesn’t loose its texture when refrigerated so delicious pasta salad leftovers are possible again! 

5 flour tortillas filled with taco fixings; Korean beef, kimchi, chopped peanuts, and cilantro
Photo by Pinch of Yum

WEDNESDAY || Instant Pot Korean Beef Tacos by Pinch Of Yum + Black Beans (BIG BATCH TIP: This makes 1 pound of beans, so you will have leftovers for the days ahead) + Basmati Rice

I happened to have a rare day where I was able to be at home ALL afternoon last week, so I put my trusty Instant Pot to work twice in one day! Instead of tacos I set up a buffet for burrito bowls with basmati rice and all the taco fixings including the chopped kimchi, peanuts, and cilantro from the Korean Beef Tacos. The kid’s and I couldn’t get enough of the Korean Beef while my vegetarians piled their bowls high with black beans. The leftover black beans are perfect for adding into quesadillas, scrambles, and salads for other easy weeknight dinners. 

THURSDAY || Creamy Weeknight Mac ‘N Cheese by Alison Roman

I wanted to LOVE this stove top mac n’ cheese…but unfortunately it wasn’t a hit. The short 5 ingredient list (7 if you count salt and pepper) and 25 minute cook time made my heart pitter patter with anticipation but the aftertaste from the cream cheese hit a sour/tangy note for the kid’s and I, even though I used a super sharp cheddar cheese that I blended with a bit of white cheddar to try and mask it. If you are a big cream cheese fan, the stay be your thing. It just wasn’t ours. 

8 golden falafel on a bed of greens with lemon wedges

FRIDAY || Homemade Falafel {BIG BATCH TIP: Truly authentic falafel is a bit involved, but it makes a lot. That way you can prep once and eat twice!) + Hummus + Israeli Vegetable Salad from Cook Like a Pro by Ina Garten + Quinoa

This falafel is the #1 recipe on our site and for good reason, its FREAKING delicious!! It’s also easy enough for quick weeknight dinners. I whip up a falafel feast every few months and since it makes a ton one batch makes enough to feed us twice. So, I cook off half of the falafel balls immediately and freeze the other uncooked falafels in an even layer on a sheet pan before transferring them to a freezer bag once they’re completely frozen solid. Then on another night when we are craving falafel, I can simply take the frozen falafel straight to the fryer with only an additional minute or so of cook time. For the Israeli Salad, I simply eyeballed Ina Garten’s Instagram post and piled it all on top of hummus.

Here is my version of the hummus topping: 1 1/2 cups chopped mini San Marzano tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes), 1/4 cup minced red onion, 2 Persian cucumbers diced small, 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley, juice of half a lemon, drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss everything together in a bowl and let it marinate for at least 5 minutes. Spread hummus in a thick layer across a serving platter and top with the marinated veggies.

TREATS || Oatmeal Date Cookies + Bananas Foster Upside Down Cake by Eating Well magazine

With the weeknight dinners set, try these easy dessert recipes as well! These cookies are like currency in our house, so I have been making them a TON lately! They’re easy to whip up and keep for up to 4 days at room temperature before they start to dry out a bit. My daughter is obsessed with bananas foster, so when I saw the recipe for this upside down cake I knew I had to make it.

To convert the recipe to gluten free I substituted King Arthur Gluten Free All Purpose Flour for the all purpose flour called for in the recipe and I used teff flour as a substitute for the whole wheat flour. The result was a decadent upside down cake that tastes EXACTLY like the bananas foster that we all love! I’ll definitely be making this again soon. 

If you’ve tried any of these easy weeknight dinners, I would be so grateful if you would rate it. Let me know what you think in the comments below. I just love hearing from you, and your reviews and comments really help others that visit This Mess is Ours!

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  1. Beth Erickson January 31, 2019 at 2:51 am

    We were also not regular church attendees and our 4 year old daughter was present when we had much more devoted Christian neighbors over for dinner one evening. My husband asked who would like to say grace. Little Dena insisted she be allowed. Hubby and I exchanged panicked glances when our guest of honor told her she could say grace. We all bowed or heads and closed our eyes only to hear or daughter solemnly say “Grace.”

    I nearly died right then. Moment saved when the gentleman roared with laughter.

    1. thismess January 31, 2019 at 11:58 am

      OMG Beth!! Bwahahahahah!! Kid’s really do say the darnedest things don’t they? I would have died laughing too! Thank you for sharing, it makes me feel a little less like a heathen over here.

  2. Summer Wimberly January 30, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    So when my now 23 year old was about 5ish, I took him mini golfing. A sort of, Mommy-son time with my favorite little human. As we’re finishing up to turn in our golf clubs, a family turns the corner towards us and the parents are little people. I say hello and my beautiful, cutie patootie son starts screaming at the top of his lungs!! Uncontrollably inconsolable and a tad (dare I say) psychotic…
    I’m standing there apologizing profusely all while trying to politely (yet very sternly) calm my child. He proceeds to run in the opposite direction while his beyond embarrassed mother trails behind him. So yes, I too, almost died in front of a ton of strangers and a beautiful family who thought they were just going out for a night of golf.

    1. thismess January 30, 2019 at 7:30 pm

      Oh my goodness Summer this is TOO good!! I swear, kid’s really do know how to humble us don’t they? Thank you for sharing so I don’t feel so alone.


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