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Good morning, and happy Sunday! What a week we’ve had — from a birthday celebration to a TV appearance, the flu and more — there were many ups and downs! All of the highlights, along with each of our dinners, are included in today’s roundup of Our Week in Meals.

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…

A cute little neighbor!

Sunday morning started with apple cider donuts, which my parents brought us from a local orchard. You can find my baked version here (equally delicious!).

Baked apple cider donuts in a metal tray with a mug of coffee

It was an unexpectedly quiet day at the house, since Casey wasn’t feeling well and therefore couldn’t play in his soccer game. Instead, we took care of chores at home, watched football on TV, and just let everyone get some rest for the week ahead.

Keith was out of town that evening, so I decided on a fun, Halloween-themed supper for the boys: mummy hot dogs, along with bats and ghosts chips and some cut-up veggies.

For each mummy dog, cut one triangle of crescent roll dough into thin strips and wrap the strips around a hot dog. Place the wrapped hot dogs on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake in a 375°F oven for 11-15 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Use a toothpick to dot mustard eyes on each mummy before serving!

And then I set out all of the ingredients so that the kids could make their own “Ghosts in the Graveyard” pudding cups for dessert!

Front shot of easy halloween dessert recipes with dirt pudding cups on a platter

Let’s chat about books again! My favorite book from this week was one that a blog reader recommended: With Love from London by Sarah Jio (the alternate title for this book in other countries is The Bookshop on Primrose Hill). I loved this entertaining novel, which offered a bit of romance, a bit of mystery, and a bit of heartache. Here’s the quick summary from Amazon:

When a woman inherits her estranged mother’s bookstore in London’s Primrose Hill, she finds herself thrust into the pages of a new story—hers—filled with long-held family secrets, the possibility of new love, and, perhaps, the single greatest challenge of her life.

When Valentina Baker was only eleven years old, her mother, Eloise, unexpectedly fled to her native London, leaving Val and her father on their own in California. Now a librarian in her thirties, fresh out of a failed marriage and still at odds with her mother’s abandonment, Val feels disenchanted with her life.

In a bittersweet twist of fate, she receives word that Eloise has died, leaving Val the deed to her mother’s Primrose Hill apartment and the Book Garden, the storied bookshop she opened almost two decades prior. Though the news is devastating, Val jumps at the chance for a new beginning and jets across the Atlantic, hoping to learn who her mother truly was while mourning the relationship they never had.

As Val begins to piece together Eloise’s life in the U.K., she finds herself falling in love with the pastel-colored third-floor flat and the cozy, treasure-filled bookshop, soon realizing that her mother’s life was much more complicated than she ever imagined. When Val stumbles across a series of intriguing notes left in a beloved old novel, she sets out to locate the book’s mysterious former owner, though her efforts are challenged from the start, as is the Book Garden’s future. In order to save the store from financial ruin and preserve her mother’s legacy, she must rally its eccentric staff and journey deep into her mother’s secrets. With Love from London is a story about healing and loss, revealing the emotional, relatable truths about love, family, and forgiveness.

I also enjoyed In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren, which is a sweet holiday romance. Nothing life-changing, but a great way to get excited for the season to come!

And finally, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke. This is the first in the series of Hannah Swensen murder mysteries, which were turned into the “Murder, She Baked” television series on the Hallmark Movie Channel. I didn’t realize that those shows were based on a book series until multiple blog readers recommended them to me. Thank you for the suggestions! These are fun, “sweet” reads with a mystery to solve, but they aren’t too gory or scary for bedtime.

Back to work and school on Monday morning!

While the day started off sunny, rain and clouds rolled in that afternoon, causing the local trick-or-treating event in town to be canceled and rescheduled for the following night. The kids were so bummed! Instead, we had a low-key evening at home, complete with pizza quesadillas for supper (the boys’ request) and a Caesar salad on the side.

Tuesday was a gorgeous warm, sunny, fall day, and I spent the bulk of it working at the house.

I prepped a batch of pumpkin turkey chili the day before, so we reheated that for a quick, early supper, and served it alongside a skillet of cornbread before heading out for the evening.

Close up side shot of a bowl of pumpkin chili on a table with cornbread

It was a day late, but the boys finally went trick-or-treating at the town’s trunk-or-treat event at the high school.

They had a blast, and came home with more than enough goodies!

My Wednesday morning got off to a very early start, as I drove about 90 minutes east into downtown Richmond to film a cooking segment for the CBS station’s Virginia This Morning show. The experience was very exciting, nerve-racking, and fun…and I was relieved when it was done!

Unfortunately, I had to leave my phone in the green room, so I don’t have any actual photos of me in the studio. Stay tuned, though! I’ll share a link to the segment when it’s posted on the station’s website. I made my grandmother’s one-pan homemade “hamburger helper” on set, and the host, Bill, seemed to love it — he finished the entire bowl.😉

Overhead shot of hands serving homemade hamburger helper recipe from a big skillet.

While I was in Richmond, I got a call from the school nurse telling me that Gibbs wasn’t feeling well and needed to come home. Keith scooped him up right away, and I spent the rest of my afternoon playing nurse. Dinner looked like potato chip chicken strips, coleslaw, and French fries before the younger two boys had to leave the house to get to their soccer practices. What a day!

Dipping potato chip chicken strips in ranch dressing

Thursday was a fun one, since it was largely devoted to celebrating my birthday (a couple of days early)! Mollie brought over some gifts in the morning, and joined me for a walk up the road…

…and then my aunt delivered flowers, lunch, and packages in the afternoon. She picked up the sandwiches from one of our favorite local shops, The Market at Tiger Fuel, (sounds funny, I know — gourmet sandwiches at a gas station). I had “The Keswick,” which is Kite’s country ham (from here in Madison!), along with Swiss, honey mustard, herb mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato on a baguette. Perfection. In fact, I ate the other half before I thought to take this picture!

Casey was feeling really crummy again that afternoon, so I took him to the doctor where he tested positive for the flu and an ear infection. Needless to say, I kept dinner as simple as possible: 3-ingredient taco mac and cheese for supper, plus homemade guac, chips, and salsa on the side.

Overhead image of a bowl of taco mac and cheese on a green dinner table

Both of the older boys were home sick on Friday, so I don’t have too much to report. I got outside for a short walk, jumped on a mid-day Zoom meeting, and otherwise spent the day taking care of my kiddos. It’s so stressful when they’re not feeling well, and this flu season has ravaged the local schools!

We had basic spaghetti with meat sauce (leftovers from the freezer) for supper, since I was in no state to cook, along with garlic bread and salad. The garlic bread was also stashed in the freezer, so I just had to pop it in the oven to bake. When life gets crazy, we resort back to the easy, go-to comfort meals.

Overhead shot of a bowl of pasta with the best spaghetti sauce recipe

Fortunately, everyone was feeling a bit better by Saturday morning. After a couple of days of not eating, Casey woke up hungry for a loaf of banana nut bread, so that’s what I made for breakfast!

Square image of slices of easy banana nut bread on a wooden cutting board

Keith’s parents stopped by bearing gifts and cake for my birthday, and then I took Spencer to his soccer game in Charlottesville that afternoon while Keith and the older boys stayed home.

Casey was back to feeling really sick again that evening (the flu is NO joke!), so we kept my birthday dinner as simple as possible: takeout pizza from Giovanna’s,

followed by my mother-in-law’s white Texas sheet cake for dessert. I was just happy to get a night off from cooking!

Fork taking a bite out of a piece of white texas sheet cake

And that’s all for now, friends! I hope that you’ve found some new meal ideas for your own table in the days ahead. Thank you for being here, and have a great Sunday!

blair

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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Comments

          1. I am really enjoying your new website format. Your recipes have helped me out of mant “what am I going to cook” situations. At 74 I find inspiration isa little lacking some days…too many years; too many meals.
            Thankyou

          2. That’s wonderful, Irene! I’m so glad to serve as inspiration to you. Have a great week!

        1. Happy birthday & congratulations on your segment!!! That’s amazing! You’re a wonderful photographer, cook, writer, wife, mama, daughter, friend, and inspiration to all of us online! I thoroughly enjoy every email from you. Keep on keepin’ on!

          1. Thank you, thank you!!! You are such a bright light, Amanda. Totally made my day. 🙂

      1. Hi Blair!

        So happy to hear that you enjoyed the book I suggested….my title was The Bookshop of Primrose Hill. I didn’t realize that it was also published under a different title till I saw it in a bookstore.

        Any suggestions for make ahead side dishes for Thanksgiving?

        Have a wonderful week…..and thank you for sharing your family and your recipes!
        Paula

          1. Hi Blair! Being sick is no fun! I was down and out and on antibiotics for 2 weeks with a sinus and chest infection. A month later l got my Bivalent booster and flu shot and was under the weather for a few days. Ugh! Hope your boys are on the mend! Belated birthday wishes!

          2. You’re absolutely right, Cindy. It’s no fun, and it’s really hard to parent sick little ones. So stressful! Glad that you’re feeling better!

  1. Happy Birthday,Blair! I love your recipes and have made several.Hope everyone is feeling better.Looking forward to seeing your tv segment

  2. I also hope all are feeling better, and am looking forward to watching your spot on VTM. Enjoy your blog each week, gives me lots of new recipe ideas to try! Thanks!

      1. You’re welcome, and happy birthday wishes. Every week when I read your blog, it reminds me to check with my friends to see if we need to plan a road trip to Yoder’s ( haven’t been since spring, we all wished we lived closer)!! 🙂

  3. Happy belated birthday!. Love, love the new blog layout. Thank you.
    No one ever tells you how much you’ll worry as a Mom. They all seem to forget to mention that.
    Hoping everyone is 100% feeling better!

    Love opening my email on Sunday mornings and seeing your email. It’s like a special little treat just for me.

    1. Exactly! The worry and the caretaking are all-consuming when the little ones are so sick. Thank you for your kind note, Lisa!

  4. Hi Blair,

    I didn’t finish reading your blog….I was excited that you read the book I suggested…so.I just read about your birthday and the boys being sick. So…..Happy Birthday……I’m sorry that it was not an easy one…I hope all the boys are feeling better!

    Paula

  5. Aw, poor Casey! The one and only time I got flu was when I was just about his age. My brother got it first. The day he went back to school I went to school as usual. I felt fine. About an hour into the morning, I got body slammed by chills and fever. I was sick for more then a week. One of the sickest times in my life. It hasn’t happened again, thank God. But I get a flu shot every year, just to hopefully even the chances.

  6. Happy Birthday, Blair!

    Hope your kiddos are well again very soon – sounds like the flu is “making camp” at your home!

  7. Can’t wait to see the cooking segment. How exciting! I’m so sorry about Casey getting the flu. It’s definitely no joke. I hope he, and your family have a much better upcoming week.

  8. Happy Birthday, Blair! I have been following The Seasoned Mom for about a year now, and love trying lots and lots of your recipes … so delicious. The new website format is fantastic as well. Besides recipes I love seeing the landscape photos. I’m curious how your winters are in that region of Virgina.
    Looking for our retirement location that has mild winters but still all 4 seasons. Our MI winters can be very cold, snowy and dismal.
    Thank you again for all of the tasty recipes and helpful tips!!

    1. Hi, Alli! Thank you for following along with us!

      This part of Virginia definitely has all 4 seasons, with a more mild winter than most. We get snow each year, but sometimes it’s just one storm, while other years we might have a few storms. January and February always feel damp and gray, but spring usually returns by mid-to-late March. The summers can be the worst, though — very hot and humid here in July and August! It’s a small price to pay for the more moderate temps the rest of the year, though. 🙂

      1. Hi Blair-

        Thank you for your assessment of winter in your area. Might be worth visiting the region to see for ourselves! Enjoy your week.

        Alli

  9. Happy Birthday. Your cake was really pretty and looked so good. Hope your family is much better now. The scenery in your photos are just beautiful, loved the baby calf.

  10. Happy Belated Birthday wishes, Blair!!! I do hope that Casey and the rest of your family are feeling somewhat better…I case after two years of hardly any flu it is making itself felt!!! Love your new look…your email is the bright spot on my Sunday morning – love the photos of the Blue Ridge and your area of Virginia – my favourite place after my home here in Ontario, Canada!!! after living in the Shenandoah Valley for over 20 years they bring back special memories…and your recipes – so many of them have become favourites…at 77 I still love trying new ones out…please take care and tell Casey hope he feels better…

    1. Thank you, Wendy. You are so kind. I appreciate your positive words, and I will pass along your healing thoughts!

  11. I love the new section at the top that highlights the recipes! I always get so excited quickly scroll to see what you made first, then go back and read the article. Thanks; Blair!!

  12. Hi,
    Happy Birthday!! How does it feel to finally turn 25?
    I am so happy I discovered your website!! I have tried some of your recipes and some are just like the ones my mom use to make that I forgot about. Thank you

  13. Happy Birthday Blair! Mine is next Sunday =) I read In a Holidaze last season and LOVED it!! I’m definitely going to check out the other ones. I enjoy your book recommendations. The new blog looks great! Hope you have a calmer week this week!

    1. Happy almost-birthday to you, Michelle! November is a great month. 🙂 Thanks for your kind words about the new website, too. That makes me really happy to hear!

  14. The Market at Tiger Fuel is good but we’ve found a much better option; just a “little” out of the way in Dyke. It’s also located at a fuel and called Maybelle’s Market. They have lots of delicious specialty sandwiches or you can build your own. We pick up sandwiches and then go to Stone Mountain Winery to enjoy the beautiful view.

    1. That sounds amazing, Jill! Keith loves nothing more than a gourmet sandwich, so I’ll have to tell him about that spot. Thank you!

  15. I really enjoy your stories. They are so real and I appreciate that. I also enjoy your recipes and find them so easy to prepare. Who doesn’t like easy!!!!
    Thank you so much for sharing your family with us!!!! Oh and Happy Birthday, hope it was a good one@@

  16. Hi,

    Thanks for another nice newsletter. Hope you had a great birthday. I also pray you didn’t catch the flu.

    Since air fryers are so popular do you have one and if so plan on giving us any simple recipes? I know you make good home cooking and chances are you might not have one….if not, that’s ok.
    I just ordered one for myself.

    Have a great week!
    Beverly

    1. Hi, Beverly! I do have an air fryer, but it’s not an appliance that I use regularly. I’ve just found that it’s too small to prepare enough food (at least for a main dish) for my family of 5 with hungry, growing boys, so I was having to cook things in batches. That seemed to be more trouble than just using an oven, so I generally stick to the basics. Many folks love them, though — especially when cooking for just 1 or 2 at a time.