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Good morning, and happy Sunday! It was a week of ups and downs around here, including some beautiful fall weather and a nasty stomach bug. 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…
Sunday started with a walk with three of my friends at Mollie’s farm.
Adria brought us each some of the dahlias from her garden, which have been a beautiful pop of color on the table all week long.
Gibbs went to a friend’s birthday party, the younger boys went for a bike ride, and Keith watched football. Happy campers!
We grilled hamburgers and hotdogs for supper, which I paired with our favorite “house salad,” baked beans, and curly fries.
Back to work and school on Monday morning!
In spite of the unseasonably warm weather we had earlier in the week, it’s definitely starting to look like autumn around here.
I spent a good chunk of my day at the doctor’s office getting COVID booster shots with the kids. Not fun, but glad to have that checked off our list for now. Flu shots are next!
I served this 30-minute Italian sausage pasta for supper that evening before Gibbs’ soccer practice, along with Caesar salad and garlic bread.
Let’s chat about books again! I read two really great novels recently, and one that was just okay. First up: The Maid by Nita Prose. Part-mystery, part-thriller, part-coming-of-age story, this heartwarming book was one of my favorites in a long time! Here’s the quick summary from Amazon:
Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.
Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.
But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?
A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.
Another book that I loved this week: Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. This is such a cool concept for a novel, as I found myself Googling the band to find out if it was based on a true story (it’s not…but it was supposedly inspired by Fleetwood Mac). It’s an entertaining behind-the-scenes look at the complicated rise and fall of a successful rock band in the 70s. Definitely recommend this one!
And finally, The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale. This one was entertaining, but I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the previous two. The story focuses on the competitive lifestyle of a trio of ballerinas at the Paris Opera Ballet. An interesting subject, but I also found it to be be a bit too dark and sad in parts.
I spent most of Tuesday in the kitchen working on new recipes.
The boys had golf and soccer practices that evening, so we headed in different directions and ate at different times. I prepared a pot of classic beef chili in advance, which we reheated and served with tortilla chips, guacamole, and all of the toppings.
A beautiful Wednesday morning included a short walk up the road and a couple of errands in town.
Teddy and I both got haircuts that day — but not at the same place. Hah! Those ears!😂
I also received some fun mail that afternoon when my friends at Taste of Home sent me their new seasonal Special Delivery Box, which features recipes, cooking tools, and a cookbook all centered around fall baking. This subscription box is such a fun gift idea for an avid home cook! The autumn box includes the new Taste of Home Fall Baking cookbook, along with an egg separator, my favorite Wilton cookie scoop, knife sharpener, cooling rack, kitchen shears (one of my most-loved kitchen tools), pastry brush, and more.
Before the kids’ soccer practices that evening, I served an easy dinner of baked chicken nuggets, store-bought mac and cheese, pickles, and a side salad.
Spencer woke up in the middle of the night with a nasty stomach bug, so I canceled most of my plans for Thursday and instead stayed home to take care of him.
In the meantime, I juggled a couple of Zoom meetings and computer work.
I made one of my favorite autumn-inspired meals for dinner that evening before sending Casey off to another soccer practice: roasted chicken breast with molasses and apples. I used sorghum instead of molasses, since that’s what was open in the pantry.
Served with buttermilk biscuits, rice, and steamed green beans. Comfort food!
The winds on the first official day of fall brought in a cold front, and we woke up on Friday morning to the most gorgeous “sweater weather” of the season.
It was chilly — but not so cold that we needed coats. Hooray!
Even our animal neighbors were enjoying it…
Spencer was feeling much better that day, but I kept him home from school so that he could continue to rest and recover. We had a relatively quiet day at the house while I worked and took Zoom meetings, before picking the older boys up from school.
Back home for supper, we kept it simple, cozy, and kid-friendly: bowls of roasted tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches on the side.
And that’s where this week’s post comes to an abrupt halt! I came down with Spencer’s stomach bug on Friday evening, and Casey got sick on Saturday morning. We spent Saturday in bed while Keith handled the other soccer obligations, and I definitely do not have any food to report. Just ice chips!
Before I go, I wanted to share one more source for fun fall recipe inspiration. The Homemade Harvest collection over on RecipeLion features a couple of my seasonal favorites, along with many other ideas.
Thank you for being here, and have a wonderful week, friends!
I hope everyone is feeling better. No fun whatsoever!
Exactly — no fun! We’re getting there, thank you!
Hope you’re feeling better soon Blair!
Thank you, Ruth! I’m on the mend!
Oh, gosh, Blair, I’m so sorry you, Spencer, and Casey all got sick. Sounds like there must be a stomach virus making the rounds, maybe in the schools? I wouldn’t be surprised if Gibbs and Keith are looking at each sideways like “How do you feel, son? I dunno, Dad, how do you feel?”
I know I’m blessed in that I have only had stomach virus, or food poisoning and also the flu just one time each in 62 years. No Covid yet, either. thank God!
I hope you are all well very shortly!
Thanks, Marion. Casey and I are feeling better today, but Keith and Gibbs got sick in the middle of the night. They seem to be recovering well, so I’m glad that we’ll be able to move on from this soon. It’s definitely rampant in the schools right now!
You’re so lucky that you’ve not been too sick over the years. It’s no fun!
Oh, no! I thought I was kidding about Keith and Gibbs! Well, at least it seems to be a fairly short- lived bug and, as you say, now that you all have it, maybe it will be gone from your family! Take care and love to all.
I hope everyone is feeling better! When your child/ children are sick…it’s the worst.
I also read “The Maid”. It was the best book I read this year. Happy to hear that you enjoyed it too.
I also get the Taste of Home kitchen box. It’s fabulous! I recommend it for any one who likes to cook.
Have a good week! Thank you for all that you do!
You’re right, Paula…a sick child is the worst! Glad that you love the Taste of Home box, too. It’s such fun mail to receive!
Sounds like you need to swap out your tomato soup for matzah ball soup!! Xoxo feel better blair!
No kidding! 🙂 It was ROUGH for a few days, but I hope we’re all on the mend now. Thank you!! xoxo
Hi Blair! I’m glad you’re all recovering from the stomach bug. Schools are just a petri dish for viruses and bugs! Can’t avoid them, and thankfully most are short-lived.
I was so excited to read your review of “Daisy and the Six”! I read it a few months ago, and I swear it was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. And the ending — so unexpected and yet so perfectly right!
Can’t wait for next Sunday’s email. It’s the highlight of my Sundays!
Yes to all of that, Paulette! 🙂 Thank you for your kind note.
I am so happy to hear you are all on the mend. I always look forward to hearing about how you and your family is doing. Thank you for all that you do and the inspirations for meals to make with my family.
Thank you, Mary!
Glad your family is starting to feel better ! I just wanted to tell you that ALL of the recipes that I have tried from your site are GREAT ! They have been a hit with my family ! Thank you for all of your posts – I look forward to checking your recipes every day !!
That’s so good to hear, Laura. Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note and let me know! 🙂
Glad you are starting to feel better. I just wanted to ask how do you manage to fit reading three books into your week? I guess being sick gave you some downtime? 🙂 I love to read and look forward to your book recommendations. But I am always in awe how you read so many books in a week. I’m happy if I can get through one book in the three weeks that the library allows me!
Hi, Liz! I used to read about 1 book per week, but ever since I got my Kindle last year for my birthday, I’ve been cruising through more and more books. I love it! I’ve started using the Libby app, which allows me to check out e-books and audiobooks for free with my public library card. It’s cheaper and faster than buying books on Amazon, and it’s so convenient. I typically read about 1-2 books per week on my Kindle, and listen to 1-2 audio books. I don’t watch much TV, so while the boys are watching sports each night, I read next to them on the couch. I also read before bed, in the car at the school pickup line, or when I’m waiting for the kids to finish at their sports practices. I’ll listen to an audiobook while I’m washing dishes, folding laundry, etc. if I’m home alone. 🙂
Feel better everyone and looking forward to your next week in meals.
Thank you, Jill! I’m glad to report that we’re on the mend! 🙂
Thank you Blair for resending Sunday’s blog.