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Good morning, and happy Sunday! This week we celebrated Memorial Day, spent time at the pool, and embraced the start of summer break. All of the highlights, along with each of our 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…

The house spotted through the boxwoods on Sunday morning…

Casey had a soccer tournament up in Fredericksburg to finish off his season, so we were up and out of the house early that day.

Finally got to try the new cornbread donut from Dunkin’ — basically a combination of two of my favorite foods!

We made it home that afternoon in time to have a classic Memorial Day weekend cookout for dinner: grilled hamburgers and hotdogs,

Hands serving a tray of the best grilled hamburger recipe with a side of pickles

served with baked beans (from a can!), potato salad, and coleslaw.

Overhead shot of a bowl of Southern vinegar slaw with serving tongs

Plus a red, white, and blue mixed berry cobbler for dessert (I used a combination of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries) with vanilla ice cream on top!

Close up shot of a skillet blueberry cobbler with three scoops of vanilla ice cream on top

Monday was a holiday, and Keith spent the morning in the yard, while I took some recipe photos inside.

Ranunculus just might be my favorite…

We made it to the pool in the afternoon,

and had another cookout for dinner: grilled chicken thighs,

Overhead image of a tray of grilled chicken thigh marinade

cornbread, and a salad.

White wooden tray full of squares of sweet cornbread

Memorial Day and summer vacation = popsicles on the front porch and towels drying on the clothesline!

On a 93°F Tuesday, the woods seemed like the best place to stay cool.

The boys wanted to go for a short hike in Shenandoah National Park here in Madison, where they could wade in the Rapidan river…

…and Casey could try out his new LifeStraw (a birthday request!).

Gibbs snapped this pic of Teddy on my phone while I was standing on a rock holding his leash. The dog looks like he’s posing for the camera!

Baked a loaf of Morning Glory Farm zucchini bread for snack…

Three slices of zucchini bread stacked on a plate

…and served sheet pan steak fajitas for dinner that night, along with tortilla chips, guacamole, salsa, and rice.

Round metal tray full of sheet pan fajitas steak and sides

Wednesday’s adventure included a short drive over the mountains to neighboring Page County, where my mom met us at Luray Caverns for some cave exploration.

Luray boasts the largest caverns in the eastern United States, and they are absolutely incredible. The kids also loved the toy museum and the antique car museum on site — all of which we could “tour” at our own pace (ideal for my fast-moving boys).

I kept dinner really simple that evening, and just served pasta with marinara sauce, Caesar salad, and homemade garlic bread (the second half of a loaf that I had stashed in the freezer).

Front shot of bowl of pasta with homemade marinara sauce recipe on top

Spence had a doctor’s appointment in Orange on Thursday morning, I made a stop at Yoder’s for buttermilk and a handful of other ingredients, and then we eventually made our way to the pool for a short swim before the storm clouds rolled in.

I served baked chicken tenders for supper, along with French fries and broccoli. A classic, kid-friendly meal!

Close up shot of a plate of the best baked chicken tenders recipe served with a side of honey mustard for dipping

We took the dog to the groomer on Friday morning,

and went for a walk up the street to enjoy the cooler temperature.

Spencer helped me bake our favorite one-bowl chocolate cake, and my aunt joined us for lunch to celebrate her upcoming birthday.

Slice of one bowl buttermilk chocolate cake on a white plate.

I read a couple more good books this week, too! First up: These High Green Hills by Jan Karon; the third book in Karon’s Mitford Years series. I love her writing, which reminds me of Fannie Flagg’s, and I appreciate the charming characters, the humor, the poignant lessons, and the uplifting, wholesome stories in these novels. Highly, highly recommend starting with the first book, At Home in Mitford.

Next up: The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller. This novel tackles some tough topics (like infidelity, rape, and death), so definitely avoid it if you don’t want to read about those issues. In spite of the heavy subject matter, I also found the story to be moving and well-written. I always enjoy the recommendations from Reese’s Book Club, and while this wasn’t one of my favorites from her list, it was still worth the read! Here’s the quick summary from Amazon:

It is a perfect August morning, and Elle, a fifty-year-old happily married mother of three, awakens at “The Paper Palace”—the family summer place which she has visited every summer of her life. But this morning is different: last night Elle and her oldest friend Jonas crept out the back door into the darkness and had sex with each other for the first time, all while their spouses chatted away inside.

Now, over the next twenty-four hours, Elle will have to decide between the life she has made with her genuinely beloved husband, Peter, and the life she always imagined she would have had with her childhood love, Jonas, if a tragic event hadn’t forever changed the course of their lives. As Heller colors in the experiences that have led Elle to this day, we arrive at her ultimate decision with all its complexity. Tender yet devastating, The Paper Palace considers the tensions between desire and dignity, the legacies of abuse, and the crimes and misdemeanors of families.

Dinner that night was Spencer’s request: shrimp fried rice — because he tried the fried rice in the school cafeteria this year and decided that he loved it. Hah!

Front shot of two plates of easy shrimp fried rice on a wooden table

I paired the fried rice with a side of egg rolls (store-bought from the frozen section), as well as a ramen noodle salad.

Overhead shot of hands serving a bowl of ramen noodle salad

Then it was Saturday! The week seemed to fly by with Monday’s holiday, and I’ve realized (once again) that I need to significantly adjust my work schedule now that the boys are home for summer break.

Whether I like it or not, the weekends seem to be a good opportunity to get things done, now that soccer games are over. On Saturday morning, Keith took the boys into Charlottesville for donuts and a couple of errands, while I stayed home to work. I also managed to squeeze in a walk with my neighbor!

That afternoon we went to Casey’s end-of-the-season soccer team party at his coach’s farm.

We had a shrimp boil and fried chicken for supper, plus potluck-style sides like baked beans and mac and cheese…and plenty of desserts.

The kids requested requested a tray of chocolate chip cookies and brownies, so that was our contribution. Everything was delicious, and it was really fun to spend time with these friends off of the fields!

Stack of soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies on a dark surface

That’s where I’ll leave it for today, friends. I hope that you’ve found some new meal inspiration for your own table in the days ahead. Thank you for being here, and have a wonderful week!


Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Square overhead shot of hands serving a chicken pot pie recipe with biscuits
Overhead image of a bowl of chili mac on a dinner table with cornbread
Hands serving a platter of sheet pan sausage and potatoes

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      1. Blair do you ever make Fried Green Tomatoes? We love them but I have never made them.
        We have so enjoyed each of the recipes that we have tried from your blog. Thank You! Eileen

  1. Jan Karon is one of my favorites too!
    Have you read any of Karen Kingsbury ‘s books? Another favorite. Thanks for all your delicious recipes & fun to read blog! Happy summer!

    1. Hi! No, I haven’t read Karen Kingsbury. I’ll have to check out her books — thank you for the recommendation!

      1. Definitely second Karen Kingsbury! So many of her books and series follow the same family members tho so make sure you find the first one! She has so many!

        1. Oh, good! I’m hopping over to Amazon right now to see if I can figure out where to start. She has so many to choose from!

  2. I look forward each week to reading what you’ve been up to with your family. The scenery photos are beautiful! So green and lush. Enjoy the summer with your boys! The best of times!

    1. Thank you, Tylene! It’s always great to hear from you. Hope you’re having a good summer!

  3. Love seeing your pictures and recipes! I want to try those chicken thighs!

    Did you get to do the garden maze at Luray Caverns? That was so fun when we went there!

    1. Hi, Sarah! We didn’t! The boys were excited about it, but it was closed when we got there. It opens a bit later than the caverns, and by the time we were done with the the caverns, it was 95 degrees and the kids were hungry…so no maze. We’ll have to go back, though. It looked awesome!

  4. Wow! Virginia sure is ahead of us as far as summer weather goes.
    I noticed the grain field in one of the pictures looks so golden that
    it’s just about ready to be cut down. Can’t get over that, as today is
    June 6th. The fields around here are just getting started. Everything is behind schedule around here due to all the rain we’ve been getting, preventing the fields from being planted with seeds. The only thing that’s growing well is the grass and the weeds!!
    Sandra W.

    1. Oh, wow! Yes, we’ve got a lot growing at this point! Our strawberries weren’t too great this year because of the rain and cooler temps, but other crops are thriving at the moment. The farmers have been making hay like crazy, and the corn looks good…

  5. I absolutely love Jan Karons books! I have the whole set. I think there are 12 in all with Father Tim. Have a few others, also. Loved the menu this week want to try the cake recipe. Virginia is beautiful we vacationed there one summer, but didn’t know about the caverns. Sounds beautiful.

  6. I’m menu planning for the week and will use this post to fill in most of the suppers. Thank you! We’re also transitioning to our summer schedule and it has been quite an adjustment after having all three kids in school this year. Hope you have a wonderful summer and keep up the great work!

    1. I’m so glad that you find the recipe ideas helpful! And yes — it sounds like you can totally relate to the drastic change that comes from having three kiddos home all day. Pluses and minuses, for sure! 🙂