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Good morning, and happy Sunday! This week was full of books, baked goods, pool time, and other summer fun. 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…

I met two of my friends for an early walk on Sunday, took recipe photos, and otherwise stayed close to home to get work done around the house.

Keith grilled shrimp for dinner,

Close up side shot of the best grilled shrimp recipe garnished with parsley and limes on a blue and white plate

which we paired with sauteed zucchini, rice, and skillet cornbread.

Close overhead shot of a white plate with sweet cornbread and butter and honey

Let’s chat about some of my recent reads! First up, Assaulted Caramel by Amanda Flower. This is the first in a series of mysteries set in an Amish town in Ohio. It’s similar to Linda Castillo’s Kate Burkholder books, but much lighter, and not at all scary or gory. This cute and entertaining novel actually reminds me a lot of the baking mystery series on the Hallmark Channel starring Allison Sweeney (Murder, She Baked). Here’s the summary from Amazon:

Bailey King is living the sweet life as assistant chocolatier at world-famous JP Chocolates in New York City. But just when Bailey’s up for a life-changing promotion, her grandmother calls with news that her grandfather’s heart condition has worsened. Bailey rushes to Harvest, Ohio, where her grandparents still run Swissmen Sweets, the Amish candy shop where she was first introduced to delicious fudge, truffles, and other assorted delights.

She finds her grandfather is doing better than she feared. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for a local English developer, whom Bailey finds dead in the candy shop kitchen—with Jebediah King’s chocolate knife buried in his chest. Now the police are sweet on her grandfather as the prime suspect. Despite the sincere efforts of a yummy deputy with chocolate-brown eyes, Bailey takes it on herself to clear Jebediah. But as a cunning killer tries to fudge the truth, Bailey may be headed straight into a whole batch of trouble . . .

I also finished Out to Canaan by Jan Karon, which is the fourth book in the Mitford series. I just love Father Tim and these funny, feel-good novels so, so much. Working my way through the whole set! If you’re interested, you’ll definitely want to start with the first novel, At Home in Mitford.

Finally, a light romantic comedy that I also adored — perfect for summer beach reading! The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood is predictable (yes!), but the characters were so good, and I found it to be a wonderful escape. Couldn’t put this one down! Here’s the summary:

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding…six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.

Gibbs attended another day camp this week on Monday through Thursday, so the younger two boys started their Monday with a bike ride,

and then were dragged along on my various errands for the rest of the morning.

I baked a batch of chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies at the kids’ request that afternoon,

Close up shot of a stack of old-fashioned soft and chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

and made a Cool Ranch Dorito Chicken Casserole for supper.

Overhead shot of a pan of cool ranch dorito chicken casserole

On the side, we had a tomato salad and corn, using the veggies that we picked up from the farm stand earlier in the day.

Side shot of the best tomato salad recipe served on a wooden farmhouse table

A Tuesday morning walk with Keith…

The local corn is growing so tall, thanks to plenty of rain from the regular afternoon thunderstorms we’ve had recently.

Spencer and Casey made a “house” out of sticks at the base of this tree in our yard for the frog that they found while riding their bikes. It stayed in there for a long time, so I guess it was cozy and safe (or maybe just too terrified to move?!).

We packed a picnic lunch and met friends at the pool, then picked up Gibbs from camp,

and baked a loaf of our favorite zucchini bread for an afternoon snack. ‘Tis the season!

Overhead shot of a loaf of sliced zucchini bread on a blue and white platter

He asked for sheet pan steak fajitas for supper, so that’s what we had! Plus a side of tortilla chips, salsa, and guacamole, of course.

Round metal tray full of sheet pan fajitas steak and sides

Wednesday was non-stop — a morning walk, a swim at our friends’ pool so that the boys could burn off some of their energy with their buddies, and then home to shower and change before I jumped on a work-related Zoom call.

We picked up Gibbs from camp, went over to my friend Adria’s house to check out her garden,

…and finally returned home for supper.

I kept the meal really simple — crescent roll pizza pockets with a Caesar salad on the side!

Overhead shot of hands holding crescent roll pizza pockets

Thursday started with an early morning walk with my neighbor, Barbara. The humidity was already stifling at 7:00 a.m.! I know that many parts of the country are experiencing a similar heat wave this week (and next), and it’s no joke…

The younger boys and I made a quick stop at Yoder’s Country Market for peaches, blueberries, corn, and buttermilk,

…and to say hi to the animals. Otherwise, our day was spent up in Culpeper visiting the Open House for the final day of Gibbs’ camp.

I left a pork shoulder slowly cooking in the Crock Pot all day while we were gone, so we came home to pulled pork sandwiches for supper. Instead of chicken broth, I added a can of Coca Cola as the cooking liquid (it was great). I also stashed enough leftover meat in the freezer to use in a pulled pork casserole or on pulled pork nachos at another time. Double win!

Close up side shot of a crock pot pulled pork sandwich with bbq sauce

We paired the sandwiches with quick refrigerator dill pickles, store-bought coleslaw, and potato chips.

Side shot of a jar of fresh refrigerator dill pickles

I brought some sour cream blueberry muffins to my friend before our walk on Friday morning, and she gave me homemade grape juice, grape jelly, applesauce, and some of the purple potatoes from her garden. Yes, please!

Blueberry muffins cooling on a wire rack

Our only other outing of the day was a trip into Charlottesville to meet my parents for lunch at Burton’s Grill. This was the corn chowder, a seasonal special, with a Caesar salad.

Back home, I spent the afternoon plugging away at work, before breaking to make supper. Casey requested homemade Spaghetti O’s, which I paired with salad and garlic bread knots.

Close overhead shot of a white bowl full of homemade spaghetti o's on a wooden dinner table

And that brings us to Saturday! Keith took the kids to the pool for a swim and to Yoder’s for ice cream, while I stayed home to get work done.

My hydrangea is finally blooming!

I was ready for a break from the kitchen that night, so we picked up supper from The BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville, which is one of my local faves. A little bit of everything: pulled pork, mac and cheese, coleslaw, baked beans, collard greens, pickles, and cornbread!

There you go — another week of dinner ideas! I hope that you’ve found something new to add to your table in the days ahead. Thank you for being here, and have a wonderful Sunday!


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. Hi Blair. Hope you and your family are well. I look forward to reading your story every Sunday. I enjoy your pictures and what you tell us on your daily basis. Keep them coming.
    Thank you,

    1. I absolutely love your photos! Thank you so much for all the great recipes this week. Looking forward to making the pizza pockets and the blueberry muffins.

  2. i love your pictures of all the lush green fields- we are really suffering here in texas from the heat and flowerbeds and lawns don’t do as well with city water. i have tried several of your recipes and really enjoy sharing results with family who all have such busy schedules and families of their own! as to the fresh corn- the air fryer is the way to go- we are addicted and can make it a meal- regards from Texas ranchers.

    1. Thanks, Nana! I can image how dry Texas is right now. The heat you’ve been experiencing is unbelievable! So far, everything here is greener than usual for this time of year. We haven’t had a lot of rain, but enough thunderstorms each week to keep everything going. We’ll see if it continues! 🙂

  3. I love your recipes, stories of your week, and eagerly read your book reviews. Usually borrow the books from my County Library.

    1. Thank you, Mayris! I agree — the library is the way to go. I’ve been loving the Libby app for online library checkouts that I can read on my Kindle. So much more affordable than buying the books!

  4. Hi Blair!
    Love reading similar books…did you know the “Murder She Baked” series on Hallmark is based on a book series? It’s the Hannah Swensen mystery series by Joanne Fluke. They’re one of my favorite series!

    1. Hi, Katie! No, I didn’t know that! I’ll have to look for those mysteries. They sound right up my alley. Thank you!

  5. Thank you for the reminder of the Jan Karon books. I read them years ago and checked out a Jan Karon bedside companion with excerpts but I have forgotten so much that, as you suggested, I think I’d better start at the beginning again. Don’t forget my recommendation of the two series by the author Miss Read. One series is the Fairacre and the other is the Thrush Green series. Both are much like Jan Karon’s books but they take place in England. Both series are very enjoyable.
    Another commenter recommended Joan Fluke’s series. I recommend that you start at the beginning with the Chocolate Chip Murder. She has written SO MANY in that series and the recipes are still good but the plots in the later books aren’t nearly as good as in the beginning, in my opinion. See what you think
    Have you ever read Susan Wittig Albert? She, with her husband in some cases, have written several great series but my favorite is the Darling Dahlias mysteries. They take place in a small town called Darling in Alabama in the 1930s. The Darling Dahlias is the local gardening club with a number of ladies ranging from their 30s to one in her 80s. The ladies are not in the law enforcement directly but everyone know everyone and the ladies are well involved with the town and it’s goings on. The first book is called The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree. I got the latest book from the library and I thought “Oh, my gosh, I have to tell Blair about this series”! Talk to you soon. Take care of yourselves!

    1. Great suggestions! I just checked out one of the Darling Dahlias books from the online library at your recommendation. Will hopefully get to it soon!