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Good morning, and happy Sunday! We’re in the heart of summer right now, and leaning into pool time, bike riding, book reading, and quick recipes. All of the highlights, along with each of our dinners, are included in today’s roundup of Our Week in Meals!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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…

It poured rain on Sunday morning, so instead of my planned walk with friends at Mollie’s farm, I stayed indoors and baked a few loaves of bread. Gibbs has been requesting his favorite English muffin bread for weeks, so I finally made that…

Side shot of a buttered slice of easy English Muffin toasting bread

…and also baked off a loaf of no-knead Dutch oven bread that I had started the night before.

Close up front shot of a loaf of no knead bread on parchment paper in a dutch oven

We took the boys to ride their new bikes when the weather cleared that afternoon,

…and I met up with my neighbor and my friend Adria for a short walk around Barbara’s farm, plus cold drinks in the shade of her front porch!

Keith grilled marinated flank steaks for dinner,

Close overhead image of sliced grilled flank steak on a serving platter

which we paired with the crusty no-knead bread that I baked earlier in the day, grilled potatoes,

Close up front shot of grilled potatoes on a plate with butter and chives

…and roasted green beans with bacon, onion, and garlic.

Overhead shot of a tray of the best roasted green beans recipe

The classic heat and humidity of a Virginia summer returned in full force this week, so we packed up a picnic lunch on Monday morning and spent a good portion of the day at the pool.

Keith’s parents stopped by briefly, I took Gibbs to a doctor’s appointment to deal with a lingering ear infection, and the kids requested Goldfish chicken nuggets (yet again!) for dinner. I try to let everyone weigh-in and make specific meal suggestions when I’m planning suppers for the week ahead, and the boys routinely request these chicken nuggets (or some similar variation of homemade chicken tenders or nuggets), pizza, burgers, tacos or quesadillas, and spaghetti. Predictable, right?!

Basket of chicken nuggets with ketchup

I made vinegar coleslaw on the side, plus some frozen French fries. I realized that we had potatoes two nights in a row, but oh well — nobody complained about that!

Close up side shot of a bowl of vinegar coleslaw

It poured rain almost all day on Tuesday, so I got quite a bit of work done while the boys played (mostly) indoors. Do rainy summer days make you want to curl up with a book? Here are a few good ones that I’ve read recently: first, Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid. This novel received quite a bit of “hype” when it was released a couple of months ago. I definitely thought it was entertaining, but it didn’t necessarily live up to my high expectations. A fun beach read, though! Here’s the summary from Amazon:

Four famous siblings throw an epic party to celebrate the end of the summer. But over the course of twenty-four hours, the family drama that ensues will change their lives forever.

Malibu: August 1983. It’s the day of Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over—especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.

The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud—because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he’s been inseparable since birth.

Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can’t stop thinking about promised she’ll be there.

And Kit has a couple secrets of her own—including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.

By midnight the party will be completely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family’s generations will all come rising to the surface.

Malibu Rising is a story about one unforgettable night in the life of a family: the night they each have to choose what they will keep from the people who made them . . . and what they will leave behind.

Next up: Someone We Know by Shari Lapena. This mystery-thriller wasn’t too creepy or scary, but it had a fun surprise ending! Here’s the summary:

Maybe you don’t know your neighbors as well as you thought you did. . .

This is a very difficult letter to write. I hope you will not hate us too much . . .  My  son broke into your home recently while you were out.

In a quiet, leafy suburb in upstate New York, a teenager has been sneaking into housesand into the owners computers as welllearning their secrets, and maybe sharing some of them, too.

Who is he, and what might he have uncovered? After two anonymous letters are received, whispers start to circulate, and suspicion mounts. And when a woman down the street is found murdered, the tension reaches the breaking point. Who killed her? Who knows more than they’re telling? And how far will all these very nice people go to protect their own secrets?

In this neighborhood, its not just the husbands and wives who play games. Here, everyone in the family has something to hide . . .

And finally, Big Cherry Holler by Adriana Trigiani. This is the second book in Trigiani’s Big Stone Gap series. I remember reading the first book years ago when it came out (back in 2003, I believe), but then I kind of forgot about it. Now that Trigiani has a new book coming out this summer, I decided to dive back into her work. I love that the Big Stone Gap series takes place here in Virginia, and in many ways reminds me of the little town where we live. The books are well-written, with loveable characters, heartwarming stories, and a good mix of humor, romance, and drama. Here’s the summary for this sequel:

Eight years have passed since Ave Maria Mulligan married Jack Mac, moved up into the hills, and dug in her roots even deeper. But Ave Maria soon discovers that the mountains cannot shelter her from the painful lessons of the heart. As her life reaches a crossroads, almost everybody in town has advice to offer—including the Bookmobile’s self-appointed sexpert Iva Lou Wade, savvy pharmacy owner Pearl Grimes (“a very mature twenty-four”), crusty chain-smoking cashier Fleeta, and of course, the always-wise band director Theodore Tipton, now unofficially “out” and about. But when Ave Maria takes her daughter to Italy for the summer, her passion for a seductive stranger will test her marriage—and push her to choose the man who is truly her destiny.

At once funny and deeply poignant, resonant with the power of love and forgiveness and the unexpected events that force us to stake a claim in our own lives, Big Cherry Holler is a wise, wonderful story to treasure.

The boys and I finally got outside when the weather cleared that afternoon, and then Keith took Spencer into Charlottesville to pick up his new bike.

While Keith and Spencer had dinner in town, the older boys and I stayed home and kept it really simple: a tuna melt for me (grilled cheese for them) with a side of pretzels,

Close up side shot of a tuna melt recipe stacked on top of each other

and tomato, cucumber, and onion salad.

Wooden spoons in a white bowl full of the best cucumber onion tomato salad recipe

Wednesday morning’s adventure took us to The Wilderness Battlefield, which the kids really enjoyed.

Exploring the woods and finding the trenches…

We stopped for lunch in Orange on the way home — burritos and burrito bowls from My Avocado.

Mollie came over for a walk that afternoon, and then I made a ground beef noodle casserole for supper.

Ground beef noodle casserole with a wooden serving spoon on a table

Plus corn muffins and steamed broccoli on the side!

Close up shot of a basket of corn muffins with a blue and white checked towel

Thursday was one of those lazy summer days, where it was so hot and humid that nobody really wanted to do anything outside.

The boys and I took Teddy to the groomer in the morning, and grabbed a cartful at the Target in Culpeper while we waited for him to finish up.

Gibbs’s dinner request: sheet pan chicken fajitas. We paired the fajitas with rice, tortilla chips, salsa, and guacamole.

Overhead image of a pan of easy chicken fajitas

A Friday morning walk,

and bike riding at the school by 8:00 a.m. to beat the heat.

We met friends at the pool…

…and then, since Keith and Gibbs took an overnight trip to D.C. to watch a Nationals baseball game, I let the younger two boys decide where the three of us went out for dinner. Their choice? The IHOP in Culpeper for giant stacks of pancakes.

PShere’s my favorite recipe for homemade buttermilk pancakes!

And finally, a beautiful, breezy evening on the front porch with my friend while our boys played basketball and stick games in the yard together until bedtime. What a day! The kids crashed hard that night…

Saturday was gorgeous weather, so we took care of the necessary house chores, and otherwise spent a good amount of time outside.

Keith and Gibbs returned home from their getaway, so we had a low-key evening at the house. Supper included grilled pork tenderloin,

Front shot of a grilled pork tenderloin on a cutting board

along with parker house dinner rolls (store-bought), fried corn,

Front shot of a bowl of fried corn topped with bacon and fresh basil

and a salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

Close up front shot of the best balsamic vinaigrette recipe in a glass bottle

That’s all for now, friends! Happy Father’s Day to all of the special guys out there. Thank you for sharing part of your Sunday with me, and have a great week ahead!


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!

Read More

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. I love your recipes and your books suggestions. Thanks for helping me every week with my meal plan.
    How can I look at your Amazon store

    1. Thank you, Celsa! I’m so glad that you enjoy the recipe ideas! I don’t have an Amazon store at this time, but maybe I should?!

      Have a great week!

  2. Loving the new bikes! Happy Father’s Day to Keith. And thank you Blair for all your great recipes, I have made quite a few of them. Hope you have a great week ahead.

      1. Hi Blair! I am truly enjoying all of the summer pictures of the fun activities that the boys are doing! Both you and your husband are such loving parents to them! I also love the new bikes they got! I was so happy to see the pancake recipe you posted! I will be making these, I can let u know how they turned out! Life gets so busy. I forget about the fun simple foods like pancakes for breakfast! I hope you have a good week ahead, and stay cool from the heat!

        1. Thank you, Stephanie! I hope that you love the pancakes! Kids are great about reminding us of these easy favorites. 🙂

  3. G.ood morning.I’, anxious to try your recipe for English muffin bread and no nead Dutch oven bread. I live at an elevation of 6500 feet. Would you recommend the addition of vital wheat gluten or any other changes due to elevation?

    1. Hi, Chris! I’ve honestly never baked at elevation, so I’m not the expert to ask in that regard. 🙂 That said, I did a little bit of online investigating and found these tips from King Arthur Flour:

      Decrease the amount of yeast in the recipe by 25%, and make water/flour adjustments as necessary to get a dough with the correct texture. Make sure your bowl has plenty of room for the dough to rise in. Since rising times are much shorter at higher altitudes, you have a number of options to help its flavor.

      Give the dough one extra rise by punching it down twice before forming it.

      Try covering the dough and placing it in the refrigerator for its first rise, to slow the action of the yeast give the dough more time to develop.

      If you have sourdough starter on hand, use it to replace a portion of the liquid in the recipe (25% is a good place to start). If you don’t have any sourdough starter, make a quick sponge by mixing the yeast, liquid, and 1 to 2 cups of the flour called for in the recipe. Cover and let the sponge work for a few hours in the refrigerator to develop it before proceeding.