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Good morning, and happy Sunday! This week we celebrated another birthday, reluctantly welcomed winter-like weather, and traveled to Williamsburg for a soccer tournament. I was also on TV! 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.

Before we dive into this week’s meals, I wanted to share the clip of my recent TV appearance, which aired on Friday morning. We made my grandmother’s one-pan hamburger helper, and you can watch the full segment on the station’s website at the following link:

>> VIRGINIA THIS MORNING VIDEO <<

Now, let’s back up to last weekend…

Sunday morning started with an early walk at Mollie’s farm…

Once I was back home, we packed lunches for the car and headed over the mountains to the valley for Spencer’s soccer game in Waynesboro.

We returned in time for supper, and pork tenderloin with apples was on the menu!

Overhead shot of apples and fresh herbs surrounding a platter of pork tenderloin with apples

We paired the pork with Duke’s mac and cheese (which Gibbs requested), as well as rice,

Close overhead shot of a pan of easy mac and cheese with a serving spoon

and a fall salad with maple balsamic vinaigrette. I used romaine instead of kale, since that’s what the boys in my house prefer!

Overhead image of fall salad with pumpkin seeds and other autumn ingredients on a wooden table

Shall we chat about this week’s books? My favorite of the bunch was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. This psychological thriller was such a page-turner! The story wasn’t too scary, but it was definitely intense — with plenty of twists and turns. Here’s the quick summary from Amazon:

EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Next up: Life’s Too Short by Abby Jimenez. I picked this one up because I was ready for a lighter romance; however, the story was heavier than I expected. It still had all of the elements of the other “chick lit” novels that I’ve enjoyed, but it also addressed some more difficult topics.

And finally, Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens. This novel is by the same author as This Time Next Year. While it was a cute romance, it wasn’t anything special in my opinion. Maybe my expectations were too high, since I know that a lot of folks have really loved this one. I’d say it’s worth the read if you enjoy the genre — it just might not knock your socks off!

Once the boys were at school, Keith and I went for a short walk on Monday morning. Then it was a full work day for me in the kitchen — photographing old recipes and testing new ones.

I took the kids to get haircuts after school, and then returned home for supper. We had this quick pasta with sausage and spinach, as well as garlic bread on the side.

Overhead shot of a bowl of pasta with sausage and spinach on a wooden table

Spencer turned 9 on Tuesday! He had us all up by 6 a.m. so that he could open his gifts before school. Toy soldiers and various sports paraphernalia were on the wish list this year!

I snuck in a walk with Mollie that morning, and then got my hair cut before the rain arrived. It was so cold and wet! Instead of showing you pictures of gray clouds, I figured I’d mention my new planner for 2023, which arrived in the mail that afternoon.

If you’re a paper-and-pen gal like me, then I can’t recommend Emily Ley’s Simplified planners enough. The quality is incredible, the size is perfect (not too big and not too small), and they come in a variety of happy colors and designs. I got the “blue bonnet” cover in the weekly planner format for the year ahead…and they’re currently on sale!

My parents stopped by for a visit that afternoon, and soccer practices were canceled that evening due to the weather. Spencer requested my Crock Pot Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken for supper, which we paired with rice, broccoli, and frozen egg rolls.

Bowl of rice with sesame garlic chicken

And instead of a cake, he asked me to bake these easy chocolate chip cookies for dessert. He also blew out the candles on the white Texas sheet cake that my mother-in-law made him (shown in the picture above). Plenty of desserts to go around!

Close up front shot of a plate of milk and easy chocolate chip cookies

The sun returned on Wednesday, so I met my friend Ashley for a walk before buckling down to work at the computer for the day.

Both of the younger boys had soccer practices that evening, which meant an early supper of easy fish tacos with slaw, as well as tortilla chips, homemade guacamole, salsa, and corn before heading out to the fields. I used a bag of coleslaw mix for the slaw to make this meal even faster, since I didn’t have to chop the cabbage.

Overhead shot of a table with chips, limes, beer, and easy fish tacos on a plate

A pretty — but very chilly — walk on Thursday morning!

It’s starting to look (and feel) more like winter than fall around here. I know that some of you up north are already seeing snow, which I just can’t even imagine…

We had a full schedule that evening, including golf for Gibbs and two soccer practices for the younger boys, plus a parents’ team meeting afterwards…so dinner was a prep-ahead option that I could bake and serve early before we all went off in different directions.

We had my mom’s easy chicken pot pie, which is the best comfort food at this time of year! If you have some extra time, this made-from-scratch version is my absolute fave (but they’re both really great, and you can’t go wrong either way!).

Overhead shot of hands scooping out a serving of easy chicken pot pie.

I sipped a decaf chestnut praline latte at Starbucks while placing an online grocery order and waiting for Gibbs to finish his golf. Lovely! My favorite tote bag is on sale right now, too!

And that brings us to Friday! After a walk with Ashley and a trip to the groomer for Teddy, I jumped on a work-related Zoom call, packed up the car, and then scooped Spencer up early from school so that we could make our way to Williamsburg for his final soccer tournament of the season. Keith and the older boys stayed home for Casey’s tournament in Fredericksburg. Divide and conquer!

One of my birthday presents from Keith was a gift card to Dunkin Donuts (because my love for donuts runs very deep!), so Spence and I made a pit stop for afternoon snacks on our way to drop the dog off with my parents in Charlottesville. Apple fritter! I also wanted to try their seasonal special, the Cookie Butter Cold Brew, but I knew that drinking caffeine so late in the day wouldn’t be wise…

We grabbed steak and cheese subs for dinner at a Subway outside of Richmond while we were en route to Williamsburg, and finally arrived at our hotel in time for Spencer to join his teammates for an evening swim at the indoor pool in our hotel.

Spencer’s first game on Saturday wasn’t until mid-day, so we had some time in the morning to walk around Colonial Williamsburg.

It never disappoints! The weather was beautiful, it wasn’t very crowded, and we hit our favorite shops for gifts and souvenirs. Spencer always remembers to stop in the Wythe candy shop!

They even had some of their early Christmas decorations up. Being here reminds me so much of my grandmother, who always loved to visit Williamsburg during the holiday season. It’s such a special part of Virginia.

After two soccer games that afternoon, we refueled with Italian food at Carrabba’s for dinner. Spence had a big plate of pasta, while I ordered the sausage and lentil soup to start,

as well as the Johnny Rocco Salad, which included shrimp, roasted red peppers, olives, and loads of Parmesan. All was great!

And as if that wasn’t enough activity for one day, Spencer and the rest of the boys finished off the evening with a couple more hours of swimming in the pool! We’re heading back to the fields for more soccer today, so off I go. Thank you for being here, and have a wonderful week ahead!

PS — I’ll be randomly drawing the winners for my 10th Anniversary giveaway on November 23, so don’t forget to enter if you haven’t already!

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!

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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Comments

  1. I enjoyed watching your segment on Virginia Today and I enjoy your blog every Sunday morning over coffee. I’ve used alot of your recipes and have loved every single one!

  2. Thanks as always for the wonderful recipes, I can’t wait to try the pork tenderloin recipe. Thanks as well for the link to VTM, looks like Bill really enjoyed your dish!!!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. I really enjoy your blog, and look forward to seeing it every week. Your pictures from your farmhouse are beautiful, and I enjoy trying your recipes, as well as your suggestions for books, coffee drinks or your favorite things. I tried your Crockpot Chicken and Stuffing, it was Delicious! Thank you, Blair. Your blog brightens my day!

  4. I love the white Texas Sheet cake. I made it for friends at the beach and they also loved it!
    I’m wondering if tourism is “off” in Williamsburg.
    I was there the end of October and usually that time of year it is packed with people, but we all noticed very few people were there.

    1. I don’t know, Debbie. We were there early before most of the shops and buildings were open, so I know that’s why it was quiet at that point. Hopefully they have a good holiday season!

    2. Good Morning Blair,
      Great Job on the TV Show! I enjoyed watching it! I have made that recipe, my husband and I really enjoyed it! I am going to make the pumpkin cornbread to have with Thanksgiving Dinner. Thank for the great recipes! I always look at your blog every Sunday before I go food shopping for the week to get inspired for my meal plan.
      Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

      1. Wonderful! I hope that you enjoy the cornbread, Annette. It’s one of my favorite versions. Have a great Thanksgiving!

  5. Congratulations on your TV inauguration! You did great and it was fun to watch!

    Whoa–wasn’t it nasty on Tuesday?!? We were down in your neck of the woods that day at the Madison UVA PT and then to Culpeper for some shopping. Felt chilled to the bone by the time we got home!

    Hard to believe Spencer is 9! I seem to mark time on your blog by him since he’s the youngest and it’s going by too fast!

    Have been working through some of your recipes that are suitable for a Keto/Carnivore diet. Made your Chicken Sheet Pan Fajitas (a fave of ours!) this week which is a bit of a cheat but not much since we didn’t use rice. Flavors are so good and it’s so quick and easy.

    Enjoy the Thanksgiving season!

    1. Thanks, Norma! It’s hard for me to believe that he’s 9, too!

      I’m glad that you’re able to find some lower carb options on the site. It’s definitely not my specialty.

  6. Blair, Great job on the Virginia Today program! I always enjoy your blog. Great recipes and I love your photographs. Not only the ones of your family, but also the beautiful Virginia countryside…which I miss. A bit different landscape in Texas! Also, particularly enjoyed your photos in Williamsburg this week. Lots of fun, happy memories.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your precious family.
    Hugs,
    Susie

  7. Love Colonial Williamsburg! Lucky enough to visit there several years ago! Enjoyed seeing some familiar photos. As usual, all your menu ideas and photos make me hungry!

  8. Happy Sunday Blair!
    As always, I’m set to read your ‘Our Week in Meals’ this Sundy morning.
    I must have total silence…LOL…while I drink my coffee and ‘socialize’ with you.
    Congrats on your guest spot, YAY BLAIR!!
    Two of your recipes, Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Pasta with Sausage and Spinach are going on my menu this week. They both look so tasty; hubby will be happy.
    Since I’m the one with a major sweet tooth in the family, I’m going to bake the White Texas sheet cake. I mean, its cake, who doesn’t like cake?!
    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy the recipes, Dalila! Hopefully those dinners are a hit with your husband. I’m like you — always in the mood for cake!

  9. Good Morning from snowy Ontario, Canada!!! well we have about 6 inches on the ground and it is still snowing but we are thankful that we are not in Buffalo, N.Y. with their over 6 feet in some places…reading your blog and ‘drooling’ at your recipes gets my Sunday morning off to a good start…belated birthday wishes to Spencer…it’s good to see the boys all healthy this week…sorry unable for some reason to watch your video but I am sure it went wonderfully…well time for a good cup of hot tea…

  10. Hi, Blair! Loved the cooking video for your local t.v. station. I predict more appearances by you in the coming months, especially since the host seemed to enjoy sampling your food! You’re
    a natural! And how fortunate for you and your family to live close by so many historical sites. We
    are able to “visit” them and enjoy the sites with you. Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. Colonial Williamsburg looks like fun. My aunts and grandmother lived in Alexandria, Virginia. We went to the historical part of Alexandria at least once and I loved it. We had lunch at a pub and, I believe, my one experience eating crab. It was stuffed crab and stuffed back into a shell for serving. So good and special. Except for a very brief time in Baltimore when I was a tiny baby, we have never lived close enough to eat much shell fish. In land, it can either not be very good or hideously expensive. As a great treat, mother would buy shrimp once or twice in the spring and boil it. We’d eat it peel-and-eat style and she fixed oyster stew on Christmas Eve. During the year, she’d cook fish occasionally. She cooked to please my father and I don’t thiink he cared particularly for fish. Nowadays, so much meat is so bland that I often prefer fish. Much more flavor.
    Happy birthday to Spencer. For so long I’ve thought of him as kind of your “baby ” but, no, he’s growing up too! Long legs and arms and his face is maturing. My birthday is this coming Friday.
    I’ll have to watch your video when I get the chance.
    Take care, have a nice holiday, and love to all

  12. Blair, thanks so much for posting the photos of Williamsburg. I have been twice, once during the Christmas season, and it is really a favorite destination of mine. And Happy Belated Birthday to you and your son. –Gina

    1. Congratulations on your TV debut, Blair! You did so great and it was so fun atching you! A big Happy 9th Birthday to Spencer!!!

  13. Blair-

    Congratulations on being featured on Virginia This Morning and thank you for linking the segment. It was a really good piece.

    And Congratulations on 10 years!! I hope you realize you have impacted thousands of decisions in the “What am I going to make for dinner tonight?” arena across the country & beyond. Thank you! I so appreciate you & look forward to the years ahead.

    Have an amazing & safe Thanksgiving.

  14. My husband and I went to Williamsburg when we lived in Norfolk. Your beautiful pictures brought many lovely memories.

  15. Blair, congratulations on the tv spot and happy belated Birthday to Spencer! I’m going to make the pasta with sausage and spinach this evening.
    …..and my email is working fine, just in case you need to contact me about the contest today!
    Have a great Thanksgiving with your family.
    Tim