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Good morning, and happy Sunday! It was another week full of school, fall sports, and a birthday “celebration” for our favorite furry 4-year-old. 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 snuck in a walk at my friend Mollie’s farm on Sunday morning before the rain arrived. Since it poured almost the entire day, I stayed inside and took care of cleaning and other chores, while Keith and the boys trimmed trees and got wet outdoors.

Keith grilled steaks for supper,

Close up square shot of a grilled New York Strip steak recipe on a cutting board with a cold beer in the background

which I paired with sliced tomatoes from the farm stand, corn on the cob from my neighbor’s garden, a Caesar salad, and crispy rosemary roasted potatoes that I had picked up at the farmer’s market a couple of weeks ago and promptly forgot to use. A classic summer meal as we close out August!

Overhead shot of rosemary roasted potatoes on a blue and white platter

A very foggy Monday walk,

followed by a day at the computer while the kids were in school.

We took Gibbs to the orthodontist that afternoon, and then came home for an easy dinner that I had prepped in advance: chicken enchiladas. Served with guacamole and tortilla chips on the side.

The best chicken enchilada recipe in a blue baking dish on a wooden table

Let’s chat about this week’s books! First up: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. This is a feel-good story with a touch of magic and a bit of suspense. Here’s the summary from Amazon:

In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it…

The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.

A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants–from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys–except for Claire’s rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before.

When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire’s quiet life is turned upside down–along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy–if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom–or with each other.

Enchanting and heartfelt, this captivating novel is sure to cast a spell with a style all its own….

Next, I read Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn — an easy, breezy romance set in New York City. I really liked this one!

And finally, Gone Missing by Linda Castillo. This mystery thriller is book #4 in the Kate Burkholder series, which is set in Ohio’s Amish country. I continue to enjoy these page-turners! If you’re just starting out, it’s worth picking up book #1 first: Sworn to Silence. Warning: they can be a bit gruesome or scary in a few parts, which I tend to quickly skip over!

Teddy turned 4 on Tuesday!

He spent most of the day in his favorite spot…lounging in the sun on the window seat. Rough life!

And just for fun, here’s a picture of baby Teddy when we brought him home almost 4 years ago:😭

I met my friend Ashley for a beautiful walk after school drop-offs,

…and stopped at Yoder’s country market on my way home. I just had a couple of regular items on my list (lunch meat at the deli and my weekly re-stock of buttermilk)…but of course, I was a sucker for their fall displays. I came home with plenty of treats, including gummy pumpkins, candy corn mixes, and chocolate-covered pretzels,

as well as some “harvest jam” from their endless shelves of jams, jellies, and fruit butters. The harvest jam is a tasty combo of apples, cranberries, orange peel, cinnamon, and pecans. It’s similar to my Christmas jam, which was also inspired by one of their other seasonal products!

I fed Keith and the boys a very early supper of flatbread pizzas that afternoon, since they had to leave for their soccer practices by 4:30 (and they don’t get back until 8). When feeding the family in shifts on nights like this, I appreciate meals that I can easily assemble and cook as needed. Not surprisingly, these pizzas are a favorite with the kiddos.

Sliced flatbread pizza on a wooden cutting board

I also made a salad with my favorite balsamic vinaigrette for something green on the side, which the boys didn’t touch.🤷‍♀️

Bottle of homemade balsamic vinaigrette

The older boys have been very into smoothies for breakfast over the past few weeks, and Wednesday morning was no exception. If you’re currently experiencing blazing summer heat (like we had this past week), you might want to try one of their favorites: a banana blueberry smoothie or a strawberry banana smoothie. I keep a stash of frozen overripe bananas and frozen berries in the freezer, so I only have to spend about 1-2 minutes blending the smoothies before school. Of course, that’s not enough to fill them up, so there are always biscuits, toast, muffins, etc. on the side!

Healthy strawberry smoothie in a glass with a black background

Back to Mollie’s farm for a walk and visit once everyone was out the door,

and a day of working and prepping recipe ingredients in the kitchen.

I assembled dinner in advance, so that we could eat early again before I took the younger boys to their soccer practices that evening. On the menu: Italian Ground Beef Casserole, plus garlic bread and another salad with the dressing that I made the night before.

Overhead shot of a fork in a bowl of ground beef pasta bake

And a colorful sunset at the end of the day…

My friend Ashley joined me for a hot and humid walk on Thursday morning, and then I got to work in the kitchen photographing recipes.

We had a rare evening free from sports, and I used the opportunity to just clean out some of the leftovers from our fridge and freezer. Keith and the boys reheated a couple of the dishes that I had photographed earlier that day, while I finished a serving of Brunswick stew. Plus cornbread on the side…always!

Side shot of two bowls of brunswick stew on a rustic table with cornbread

Friday started off foggy…

…but the sun quickly came out, the skies cleared, and it turned into a beautiful (but steamy) August day.

A lunch date with Keith at Yoder’s! This was the weekly special: Lebanon bologna, mayo, jalapeno cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and banana peppers on toasted sourdough, plus dill pickle chips. YUM.

Keith took Casey to Charlottesville for a soccer practice that evening, and they picked up pizza for a late supper while they were in town. Meanwhile, Spencer and I took Gibbs to Ruckersville for a golf lesson,

and made a stop at Lowe’s while we waited for him to finish. Spencer couldn’t possibly leave the store without this guy…

Apparently we’re decorating for Halloween early around here, as he’s now occupying a rocker on our front porch. The first fall decor is officially up — and this time it wasn’t my doing!

Before heading back home to Madison, I let Spencer and Gibbs choose our dinner spot. They opted for Burger King, so here’s a very glamorous photo of my Whopper. Hah!

We drove about 1 ½ hours north to Fredericksburg on Saturday morning for Casey’s soccer game. That took up the bulk of our day, so I squeezed in an afternoon walk with my neighbor, Barbara, and some quick dinner prep.

Keith grilled salmon,

The best salmon marinade on a piece of grilled salmon on a blue and white plate

which I served with rice, a salad, and a cast iron skillet full of 3-ingredient buttermilk biscuits. These easy biscuits are one of those go-to recipes that I make at least once or twice a week. They’re fluffy, layered, buttery, and perfect with honey, jam, or apple butter. They also make great country ham sandwiches!

Keith was just happy because college football season officially started this weekend. Now, if only the weather would cooperate and bring us some fall-like temps!

Bowl of the best 3 ingredient biscuit recipe

There you go, friends — another week of easy dinners DONE! I hope that you’ve found some new inspiration to add to your late summer table in the days ahead. Thank you so much 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!

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. A “ go to” biscuit recipe I use is simple. When I make ham biscuits or biscuits and sausage gravy, I like thin biscuits.
    During the summer months we have covered dish suppers once a month here at the beach. I always make my ham biscuits and they are always gone quickly. People say they like them because there is not so much bread.
    1 cup self rising flour.
    8 oz. container sour cream
    Stir together with a fork.
    Dough will be soft and sticky.
    Spray a piece of waxed paper with
    Put dough on paper.
    Spray hands with Pam.
    Pat dough out with hands to about
    1/2 in. thick.
    Cut with biscuit cutter.
    Place on a Pam covered cookie sheet.
    Bake at 425 for about 8 minutes.
    The tops will not brown.
    Check doneness by looking at bottom of a biscuit. You want bottom to be golden brown.
    1.) For ham biscuits I add 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese to the dough. The Daisy cheese from Yoders is great in the dough.
    To use with sausage gravy I do not add the cheese.
    2.) the dough is very soft and sticky so you have to use Pam plentifully on wax paper, your hands, baking pan, and sometimes biscuit cutter.
    3.) for ham biscuits I use a small biscuit cutter.
    4.) the biscuits do not raise very high.
    This is what makes them good for ham biscuits.
    5.) to make the ham biscuits:
    When biscuits have totally cooled
    Slice in half. They are very thin but they do cut easily.
    Brush each side with melted butter.
    Cut a stack of 6 slices of Kites Country ham into 9 squares.
    Place 3 of the square slices on the bottom half of biscuit. Top with other half.
    Place finished biscuits on cookie sheet and heat in 350 oven until they are hot. The bottoms will be a little crunchy.
    These are delicious!
    If you use a larger biscuit cutter, cut the ham slices into 4ths.
    I usually double the biscuit recipe.
    When making a bunch it goes quickly.
    Have all biscuits cut in half.
    Place on cookie sheet.
    Using a brush, brush butter on all cut sides.
    Have ham already cut so pick up 3 squares of ham for each biscuit bottom. Top with top biscuit.
    At this point i usually put foil over them and into refrigerator until ready to heat them up.
    I make them in the morning. Then heat them up before dinner. To take them somewhere, I put them in a rectangular glass baking dish.. you can layer them with nothing in between. Cover with foil. Wrap in a bath towel. Put into a cooler. They will still be piping hot an hour or so later when you take them out.
    Trust me. They will be a hit.
    And simple to make.

  2. Happy Birthday Teddy!
    What an adorable puppy picture-Sweet!!
    I have made the 3 ingredients biscuits-they are very good, but I can’t seem to get any biscuits I make to be tall and fluffy…. I have done the “don’t twist the biscuit cutter”! Don’t seem to have the right touch!?

    1. Thank you, Sherrie! I think the real key to tall and fluffy biscuits is keeping the ingredients very cold. Fold the dough over multiple times to create those layers, and then chill the biscuits in the fridge or freezer before baking. Also, don’t add too much buttermilk. It will be tempting at first, because the dough will feel dry and crumbly. Once you start folding it, though, the dough will come together. If you add too much extra buttermilk, you’ll end up with a dense dough that doesn’t rise as nicely.

  3. Blair, I love all your boys but I must admit Spencer is the one who makes me laugh! That look of pride that he found that skeleton AND the joy and anticipation since you said he could have it! That photo of him and the skeleton, side by side on the porch, is so special and funny it made me laugh more than anything else this week.
    Speaking of boys, Keith is either an incredibly good sport or he’s a kid himself. Out there trimming trees in the rain! I wish you had gotten a picture of that.
    I love all your outdoor photos but that sunset picture is extra special. Yes, definitely, I love your recipes and your kind, prompt replies but I also appreciate the “extras” which you inculde in your Sunday reports.
    I wish I could visit Yoder’s store. All the candy and preserves are mouth watering. Do you know if they mail order?
    I notice that you seem to read 3 books a week. I am proud and amazed that reading comes so easily to you!
    Finally, I really like the picture of Gibbs practicing his golf! I can just imagine my grandfather standing somewhere nearby, watching and eager to coach if needed! Warms my heart. I know that my mother had several trophies which he had won. I’m afraid they’ve been lost over the years.
    As always, take good care and my love to all!

    1. Thank you Marion, as always, for your kind words. Yes, Spencer cracks us all up!

      Yoder’s does ship some of its products. Here’s the store link in case you want to look into that: https://www.yoderscountrymarket.net/

      I do read an average of about 3 books per week, which is more than I used to get through. I’ve been listening to some audio books that I can check out via my Libby app using my library card, so that’s a great distraction when I’m doing chores like laundry or cleaning. Otherwise, I read about 1-2 hard copy books in a good week. 🙂

      Take care!

  4. Happy Birthday to Teddy! Yorkie’s are such nice dogs, and smart.
    That beautiful sunset picture is awesome!
    Do you find your books at a library? I’d like to get the ones you posted today. Reading is a passion for me, ever since I was about 10 years old. ( I could read, and write when I started school off with 1st grade; at that time your age determined what grade you started out with, and the kids that had late fall birthdays got to start with 1st grade).
    I can tell you that my late Father was responsible for my interest in reading. Every day, after supper we would go to the living room and he would read the comic section to me. Eventually, I got interested in learning the alphabet and putting the words together. In those days, reading was learned through the phonic system, which I still believe is the best way to go. My own child learned reading by the new whole word system. When he came home from school to practice with this system, I took it upon myself to teach him that certain letters together also made up certain sounds as well. Once he learned that, reading became easier for him. That strategy was passed on to his own sons.
    Thank You for all of your work for every Sunday in the “mailbox”.
    Sandra W.

    1. Hi, Sandra! Yes, reading is definitely a favorite hobby of mine!

      Our little county library is very small, so the selection is limited. I occasionally go there to get a book, but most often I use my library card via the Libby app to check out audio books and Kindle e-books for free. I love that service!!

      1. Thank you Blair for another great Our Week! May I ask you a question about your ice cream maker you received for Mother’s Day 2 yrs ago? I have been looking at them for Christmas gift for my son and daughter, wow makes my head spin. I remember you were very pleased with yours, can I ask you what one did you receive? Thank you for your response, enjoy the coming week.

        1. Yes! I’m impressed that you remember, Glenda! Keith got me the Cuisinart brand, which works well. Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000F94GPQ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

          We’ve gotten out of the habit of using it, but it’s definitely a fun “toy” for the kitchen. You don’t need a mix, but I ended up buying this packaged mix because I wanted the soft serve to taste like Dairy Queen. 🙂 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01F0KL12K/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  5. I got to pre-read Love Lettering…it is a book I LOVED!! I also do lots of books from the library and audio books on Libby each week. I am a kindergarten teacher, so it slows WAY down about this time of year though! HA! I do always love your suggestions on books!

    1. Oh, yes! I can imagine that your reading time drops off significantly when you’re in the classroom all day, Michelle! 🙂

  6. Dear Blair,
    You are living my dream! I visited Charlottesville for the first time in 1973 and fell in love with it and Albamarle County! My husband graduated from the University of Virginia Law School and I always hoped we would settle in the area…..even though I were born, raised, and educated in New York City. That was not to be but we visit Charlottesville every year and when our children attended the University, we visited a few times a year.
    We always stop at Yoder’s on our way back home for ice cream, treats, jams, and whatever else looks inviting.
    Thank you for sharing your life, recipes, family, and love of books in such a beautiful part of the country! Your email is the highlight of my Sundays!

    1. That’s awesome, Paula! My dad graduated from UVA’s law school as well. 🙂

      It’s so fun when folks know the area and appreciate it’s charm. Central Virginia is a special place, and I’m honored that I can share it with you each Sunday!

  7. Hi Blair, Happy Birthday Teddy from Heidi and Hanna my two pups. Would like to know about the beautiful red flowers in your picture. Not sure if they are your or at Yoder’s.

    1. Thanks, Laurel! Those bright pink flowers are on the crepe myrtle trees at the front of our property. They’re in bloom right now, and so beautiful! 🙂

  8. Hi Blair,
    Your Italian ground beef pasta recipe sounded really good to me tonight. I remembered you had one in the past with zucchini & mushrooms, & had a zucchini in the fridge I needed to use up, so I looked that up & found your recipe for One-Skillet Vegetable and 5-Cheese baked ziti & made that. Not the same, but still pasta & still delicious! You help so many people easily plan meals…Thank you for sharing your talents with us! Have a wonderful week!

  9. Wow, so hard to believe Teddy is four already! I distinctly remember when you brought him home…seems like maybe it’s only been two years!!!!

    Love the skeleton! A perfect porch addition!

    Need to comment on your Beef Chili which I made recently…it was great!

    1. That’s what Keith said, too — it doesn’t seem like it’s been 4 years! Time really flies. 🙂

    2. Just getting a chance to read this week’s blog and got a great big chuckle out of the picture of Spencer & his new Halloween decor! This past weekend my husband & daughter went to Lowe’s as well. She came home with, you guessed it, our new “family member” we now call “Bones”. I’m thankful to report that we have a slightly smaller version of that darn skeleton. Won’t we all have fun storing these until next Halloween!