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Good morning, and happy Sunday! This week we finished the kids’ soccer season, celebrated Thanksgiving, and decorated the house for Christmas. 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.

This week’s Recipes

Now, let’s back up to last weekend…

Spencer and I were still in Williamsburg for his soccer tournament on Sunday morning, while Keith and the older boys were in Fredericksburg for another tournament.

After Spencer’s morning game, we headed home to Madison and spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking, picking up groceries, and getting settled for the week ahead.

Keith and the older boys returned from their soccer tournament right around dinnertime. We all sat down to spaghetti with Bolognese sauce, as well as Caesar salad and a baguette that I picked up at Panera when we stopped for lunch in Richmond. First meal together as a family of 5 in a few nights, and it felt good to be back!

Close overhead image of a fork in a bowl of the best bolognese sauce.

Shall we chat about this week’s books? First up, The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews. This was an entertaining page-turner with a little bit of suspense, mystery, humor, and romance. Definitely a fun read!

I also read the 8th mystery in Linda Castillo’s Kate Burkholder series, Among the Wicked. Set in Ohio’s Amish country, these novels are always great. I’d recommend starting with the first book in the series, Sworn to Silence.

And finally, my favorite of the bunch: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Here’s the quick summary from Amazon:

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results. 

But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.  

Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.

The kids went back to school on Monday morning, and I spent most of the day working in the kitchen.

We’re done with fall soccer for the season, so our weeknights are suddenly much quieter.

Gibbs had an orthodontist appointment after school, but otherwise we watched the World Cup on TV, followed by Monday night football, and had the kids’ favorite baked Goldfish chicken nuggets for supper.

Overhead shot of a white plate of homemade baked chicken nuggets with ketchup on a wooden table

I paired the chicken with cucumber dill salad,

Overhead image of a blue and white bowl full of cucumber and dill salad recipe

baked apple slices, and frozen French fries.

Overhead image of baked cinnamon apple slices in a pan on a wooden table

Tuesday was the boys’ last day of school before the Thanksgiving holiday, so I tried to take full advantage of my time. First, a walk in the beautiful weather…

…and then a stop at Yoder’s Country Market for the week’s supply of buttermilk and other groceries, as well as some “extras” for Thursday.

I grabbed Kite’s country ham for ham biscuits, the best farm-fresh eggnog (which makes a great coffee creamer at this time of year)…

…and the weekly special panini sandwich from the deli counter for lunch. This was the “turkey cranberry delight,” which included their homemade sourdough bread pressed with homemade cranberry salad, turkey breast, and havarti. You could recreate this one with your Thanksgiving leftovers!

I made one-pot creamy beef and shells for supper,

Overhead shot of a bowl of creamy beef and shells with fresh parsley on top

along with sauteed zucchini,

Overhead shot of the best sauteed zucchini recipe on a blue and white serving plate

and one-bowl cranberry orange muffins.

Front shot of cranberry orange muffins on a cooling rack

Wednesday was the perfect combination of work and play. The boys were off from school, so they spent their time watching World Cup soccer, playing football in the yard, and helping Keith rake leaves. It was 60 degrees outside most of this week!

Mollie came over for a walk that morning, and then I spent some time in the kitchen preparing for Thursday.

I was in charge of appetizers, so I made a batch of my 3-ingredient buttermilk biscuits (for a platter of Virginia country ham biscuits), but added some shredded cheddar cheese for even more flavor,

Tray of cocktail ham biscuits on a wooden table

a batch of pimento cheese to set out with crackers,

Jar of easy pimento cheese spread in a jar with a red and white lid

and a batch of my mom’s easy candied pecans. Everything could be done in advance, which made Thanksgiving that much smoother.

The kids requested chicken lo mein for dinner,

Hands serving a white bowl of easy chicken lo mein recipe on a wooden table

which I paired with ramen noodle salad (another favorite with the boys), and frozen egg rolls.

Side shot of ramen noodle coleslaw with cornbread and fried chicken in the background

On Thursday, we started the slow holiday morning with waffles for breakfast, which Casey helped me make.

Pouring syrup over a stack of waffles

This was the first time in years that I wasn’t responsible for hosting Thanksgiving dinner, since our house is currently undergoing a renovation. Plumbers were here all week, the water was turned off, and the back half of our house has been demolished!

Instead, we headed south to Nelson County to my parents’ house that afternoon…and it was quite nice to have the day “off” from cooking!

He might be in middle school now, but some activities never get old!

Hunting for golf balls…

And this almost-13-year-old rarely wants to pose for photos!

I was in charge of the appetizers, which I mentioned above (country ham biscuits, candied pecans, and pimento cheese and crackers).

Mom stuck with our classic Thanksgiving menu for dinner, which included smoked turkey breast and gravy, green bean casserole, sausage stuffing (she adds oysters, too!), cranberry sauce, my grandmother’s sauerkraut, and butternut squash and apple casserole. My aunt brought the ambrosia, and I added pumpkin bread to the table!

My Thanksgiving outfit: poncho + flannel shirt + green cords + cowboy boots (and most of it’s on sale right now)!

And dessert was another annual tradition: pumpkin chiffon pie. We went home happy and stuffed!

Friday’s adventures included lunch out at a delicious Mexican restaurant in Orange, where we loaded up on chips, salsa, guac, burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and this shrimp salad with chipotle ranch dressing

…followed by a stop at a local farm here in Madison to cut down this year’s Christmas tree.

We spent the rest of the afternoon watching the US play England in soccer and decorating the house. I took the easy route and made Crock Pot BBQ Chicken for supper, which we paired with store-bought coleslaw, pickles, potato chips, leftover biscuits, and pumpkin bread from the night before.

Overhead shot of a bowl of pulled crockpot bbq chicken

And that brings us to Saturday! I got out for a walk with my friends Adria and Barbara that morning, picked up a grocery order to re-stock our kitchen for the week ahead, and decorated our tree with the boys.

Speaking of holiday decor, I’ve kept it pretty simple this year since our house is under construction and the clutter is just too much. That said, we have a handful of favorites (some new, some collected) — most of which I’ve picked up on sale, sometimes during “Christmas in July” events.

Many of these are also on sale at the moment, and would make cozy additions to your home:

Keith and the boys went to hit golf balls that afternoon, and then we sat down to a tasty supper. It was a hodgepodge of meat that we needed to use up from our freezer, including beef ribs (that Keith grilled), as well as pan-fried pork chops.

Overhead shot of a cast iron skillet on a wooden table with two thick cut bone in fried pork chops

Paired with broccoli, baked potatoes, and corn sticks for a simple Saturday night meal!

Close up side shot of a serving tray with Southern corn sticks and butter in background

Finally, before I let you go today, I wanted to remind you that the winners for my 10th Anniversary giveaway have been selected and notified. Congrats to Jessica Gordon, the Grand Prize winner, as well as Deb, Tylene, Cammie, Dalila, Robyn, Margaret, Tim, Lisa, Doris, and Dee, who each won $25 Amazon gift cards. I have notified each winner by email, so please check your email (or junk email folder). If I’ve already heard back from you, you should have received your gift by now. Congrats to the winners, and thanks to all of you for being here each week!💓


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. Good morning, thank you for sharing your recipes and Christmas decorating ideas with us! Looking forward to trying the gingerbread recipe soon, as well as the pot roast. Congratulations to all the winners, and hopefully the remodel will be done soon with minimal disruption.

  2. What a ‘happy life’ you have with your family and friends. Sharing the pictures on your website is such a joy to enjoy…….and the foods……wonderful too!!!

    1. Thank you, Virginia! It’s certainly not perfect, but I choose to focus on the good to share here. 🙂 Thanks for reading along with us!

  3. Good morning, Blair
    And a happy Sunday to you!
    Congrats to all the lucky winners!!
    Soccer season is done, but something tells me you will not be having extra time on your hands.
    When my son was little, sports was always on our schedule, no breaks…LOL!
    But all the fun and get-togethers were such a blast for us.
    Not to mention all the snacks and food I made for family and his friends.
    Those boys had endless bellies, where did they store it all?!!
    I penciled in your recipe for the Crock Pot BBQ Chicken and those pan-fried pork chops.
    I’m going to try out that pumpkin chiffon pie, it looks so yummy!
    The Linen Holiday Tea Towels look pretty, I’m going to check those out.
    Thank you for the gift ideas, I’m pretty sure my friends will like them.
    Have a lovely week, Blair!

    1. Thanks, Dalila! You’re absolutely right — the boys’ hockey starts tomorrow. 🙂

      So glad that you like the gift ideas. Have a great week!