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Good morning, and happy Sunday! The kids returned to school this week, fall sports picked back up, and we enjoyed a lovely preview of the cooler weather to come. 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 started Sunday morning at Mollie’s farm for an early walk with three of my friends.

The rest of the day included chores at the house, a grocery pick-up, and general prep for the week ahead. Keith smoked a turkey breast for supper,

Thanksgiving table with meat and sides

so I ran with the fall theme and paired the turkey with store-bought Stove Top stuffing, cranberry sauce, a salad, and one-hour, no-knead dinner rolls.

Close up side shot of easy dinner rolls in a bowl

Book time! I’ve got some new books to share this week, spanning the genres of romance, mystery, and magic! First up: Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank. My mother-in-law introduced me to this author after our trip to Charleston and Sullivan’s Island last year. I’ve now read quite a few of her novels, which are fun escapes and perfect “beach reads.” I would equate them to a low-country version of Elin Hilderbrand’s Nantucket-based books. Here’s the quick summary from Amazon:

Beekeeper Holly McNee Jensen quietly lives in a world of her own on Sullivans Island, tending her hives and working at the local island library. Holly calls her mother The Queen Bee because she’s a demanding hulk of a woman. Her mother, a devoted hypochondriac, might be unaware that she’s quite ill but that doesn’t stop her from tormenting Holly. To escape the drama, Holly’s sister Leslie married and moved away, wanting little to do with island life. Holly’s escape is to submerge herself in the lives of the two young boys next door and their widowed father, Archie.

Her world is upended when the more flamboyant Leslie returns and both sisters, polar opposites, fixate on what’s happening in their neighbor’s home. Is Archie really in love with that awful ice queen of a woman? If Archie marries her, what will become of his little boys? Restless Leslie is desperate for validation after her imploded marriage, squandering her favors on any and all takers. Their mother ups her game in an uproarious and theatrical downward spiral. Scandalized Holly is talking to her honey bees a mile a minute, as though they’ll give her a solution to all the chaos. Maybe they will.

Queen Bee is a classic Lowcountry Tale—warm, wise and hilarious, it roars with humanity and a dropperful of whodunit added for good measure by an unseen hand. In her twentieth novel, Dorothea Benton Frank brings us back to her beloved island with an unforgettable story where the Lowcountry magic of the natural world collides with the beat of the human heart.

The next book came as a recommendation from a blog reader. She suggested that I read the Darling Dahlias series by Susan Wittig Albert, since I enjoy Jan Karon’s Mitford books so much. I started with book #2, The Darling Dahlias and The Naked Ladies, since that’s what was available in my online library. These fun, lighthearted mysteries are set in Depression-era Darling, Alabama. The Darling Dahlias are the women of the local garden club, who set out to take on a member of Al Capone’s gang, buy a property, and solve a 30-year-old mystery — all within the span of about a day. Funny and entertaining!

Finally, I read The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez. Classic “chick lit,” this entertaining, heartwarming romance kept me turning the pages. It’s nothing life-changing, but it was the perfect quick read before bed. Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

Artist Sloan Monroe just can’t seem to get her life on track. But one trouble-making pup who randomly jumps into her car with a “take me home” look in his eyes is about to change everything. With Tucker by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker’s owner reaches out. He’s a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.

Well, Sloan’s not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can’t deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There’s no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?

Monday was rainy, cool, and felt like fall might actually make an appearance soon! I spent the morning at the doctor’s office in Orange for my annual checkup, Keith’s parents stopped by for a quick visit after lunch, and I took Spence to the dentist in Charlottesville for some fluoride later that afternoon.

We had leftover cooked taco meat in the freezer, so I thawed that and made these easy nachos for supper. Always a hit! Plus corn and zesty black beans on the side.

Overhead shot of a hand reaching and picking up simple homemade nachos recipe on a tray

Back to school on Tuesday morning! Casey (6th grade), Gibbs (7th grade), and Spencer (3rd grade).

It was odd to have such a quiet house after months of constant activity, but I took a deep breath, got down to work, and enjoyed the uninterrupted time to focus!

The younger two boys had soccer practice that evening, which meant a very early supper for some of us before heading out the door. I prepped shrimp rolls in advance so that we could easily assemble the sandwiches as we needed them. Served with potato chips and refrigerator dill pickles.

Overhead image of shrimp rolls on a table with a side of lemon and fresh parsley

Wednesday started off cloudy…

…but quickly turned into a gorgeous afternoon.

I went for a walk once the kids were off to school, and then spent most of the day getting work done at the computer.

I also deep-cleaned the fridge and freezer, picked up corn from my neighbor’s garden, and baked a loaf of zucchini banana bread (one of Casey’s favorites).

Close up side shot of slices of zucchini banana bread on a platter

Dinner was weird that night, since Keith and I were divided in opposite directions for the kids’ activities. He took Gibbs to play golf in Greene County right after school, so they picked up supper while they were out.

Meanwhile, I fed Casey and Spencer a quick meal at home at about 4:30 p.m. before taking them to Orange County for their separate soccer practices. They requested pesto pasta, so I made a pan of my mom’s 4-ingredient pesto tortellini with pancetta and broccoli (but used bacon instead of pancetta, since that’s what was in the fridge). A quick 20-minute meal for those nights when you don’t have much time (or desire) to cook!

Close up shot of pesto tortellini in a skillet with a wooden spoon

Thursday was relatively quiet. I met Mollie for a walk at her farm that morning, and spent the rest of the day working at the house.

We had chicken bog for supper, along with Arkansas green beans and cornbread. I’m getting excited for more cozy comfort food to come!

Chicken bog in a white dutch oven with fresh parsley on top

I met my friend Ashley for a walk at a park in town on Friday morning after dropping the boys off at school, and then came home to shoot some recipe photos.

We were off in different directions again that evening — Keith and Casey to soccer in Charlottesville, Gibbs to a pool party at a friend’s house, and Spencer home with me. I prepped a pot of corn chowder earlier in the day, and then just reheated it for whoever was hungry over the course of the evening.

Side shot of a spoon in a bowl of corn chowder

Plus blueberry muffins on the side. I hope that you’ll make these before the season’s end!

Blueberry muffins cooling on a wire rack

Sunset after the rain showers…

Casey rode over to Ruckersville with me to do some shopping at Snow’s Feed Store Antiques on Saturday morning, and then I met my friend Barbara for a walk after lunch.

We stopped at Jenkins Orchards for fresh produce that afternoon,

and then grabbed dinner at Rappahannock Pizza Kitchen in Sperryville for cheesy bread, Caesar salad, and pizzas. Definitely one of the kids’ favorite spots right now!

And that’s it for now, friends! I hope that you’ve found some new inspiration for your own meals in the coming days. Thank you for being here, 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!

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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, you’ve inspired me to make some wonderful meals for my family. I save you’re weekly e-mails and pull the back up when I’m stumped for a meal. Thank you for rescuing me time and time again
    I hope the boys have a great school year. They have grown so much this year! I’m sure it’s hard to keep them in clothes.

  2. Enjoyed your post as always. I SAW about last week’s update being your 300th weekend update. Wow! I’ve been reading your blog and sending in comments for so long that I feel like a family member by now. So I must tell you that I’m so proud of your perserverence!!!!! I do love the flowers the landscapes, the recipes, but most of all I truly appreciate the chance to share your family life. I really miss family activity since my parents died.
    I’m pleased that you liked the Darling Dahlias. I’ve re-read the first three in a row and I think I may take a break for a while and come back in a few weeks. But I do love the whole series.
    I can understand your boys’ reluctance to start school. They had a great summer. But I do hope it’s a good school year for all of them. Middle school, I remember, is a big step up from elementary. More homework, boo. They’ll be busy but I bet the sports are the spoonful of sugar which helps the rest go down. I was so pleased to see that Gibbs is playing golf. That was my grandfather’s major sport and my brother played for a while in high school. Is Gibbs going to go on with soccor as well? I remember Spencer has had a thing for football. Do they have football for 3rd graders?
    The weather is finally, finally starting to cool enough to make cooking feasible so I will have a lot of homework, too, as I look over your recipes and start cooking, really, for the first time in three years. I wasn’t much of a cook before I broke up housekeeping before my move and now I’m out of practice. I’m sure I’ll have lots of questions for you which I hope won’t be annoying. I am so grateful that you are so ready and willing in answering comments!
    I am going to have to learn prices as well. I’ve known inflation is high but I hadn’t really much attention. Two weeks ago, I saw a local price for canned chicken was six cans, like tuna, you know, was 20 dollars! OMG. A 12 pack of Coca Cola cans was 6 dollars! That is IF you were willing to buy 4 of them. I was well and truly stunned.
    As always, I send my love and good wishes and hope to talk to you again soon! Take care!

    1. Thank you so much for following along with us, Marion! Yes, Gibbs will continue soccer and golf lessons this fall. He’s new to golf, but really enjoying it.

      You’re right — Spencer has wanted to play football for ages. He played flag football when he was younger, but really just wants to play tackle. I don’t think the tackle football officially starts here in Madison for his age yet, and he’s so busy with the travel soccer that we’ve tried to hold him off. 🙂 We have to manage our schedules or we’ll go crazy!

  3. I enjoy all your recipes each week, thank you. Speaking of blueberries I saw your recipe for your blueberry crumb bars in the Taste of Home Cookies Bars & More. Congratulations to you!! I recognized the beautiful picture of those bars and thought I’d seen that picture before! What an accomplishment, again thank you for all you do
    The boys have grown so much good luck to all of them in their endeavor.

    1. Good to know, Glenda! 🙂 I don’t think I realized that the recipe was in that publication, but I’ve done a lot of work with Taste of Home over the years. They’ve always been good about sharing my recipes, and I enjoy our collaborations.

  4. This is such a wonderful blog! I am new to your blog and so happy that I stumbled upon it – I can’t remember exactly how I did that. I wish your boys a great school year! I have two boys close in age (now adults!) and also a preschooler (!) – he starts in September. I am looking forward to making a lot of your recipes when things get back to normal (we have a couple of camping trips planned for the rest of August). Thank you for sharing and your inspiration!

    1. Hi, Colette! Welcome! I’m so glad that you found my site! Good luck to you as you send your “baby” off to school. I hope that you find some new favorite recipes to add to your rotation!

  5. I have found so many wonderful recipes following your blog! Thank you for all the work you put in and sharing your recipes

  6. Blair, I’ve read many of Dorothea Benton Frank novels, and they are all wonderful. I was sad to find out that she passed away on 9-2-19. Have you ever tried the Miss Julia series by Ann B Ross? I’ve read them all too, & they are fun. I too am ready for cooler temperatures and comfort foods. Have a great week, & thanks for all that you do!

    1. Hi, Leslie! I didn’t realize that she had passed away. That’s really sad!

      I’ve not heard about the Miss Julia series, but I’m adding it to my list to look for. Thank you for that recommendation!

  7. I started reading your blog earlier this year and look forward to your week in review posts. I have to thank you for the Arkansas Green Beans recipe. Being from Arkansas, I can’t say I have ever eaten green beans this way, but there’s no other way I care to eat them now. My teen daughter and I have become green beans snobs. Haha!