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Good morning, and happy Sunday! This week included the usual sports, school, work, and books, as well as a handful of delicious sweet treats and quick suppers. 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…

I spent most of Sunday morning in the kitchen taking recipe photos, and then headed to the roller hockey rink for the younger boys’ game that afternoon.

The weather was mild, so Keith grilled salmon for supper,

Close up side shot of grilled salmon with skin on a white plate with a salad in the background

which I served with a loaf of no-knead Dutch oven bread, a Caesar salad, and jasmine rice.

Overhead shot of a loaf of golden brown bread in a Dutch oven

Followed by a pineapple upside down cake for dessert, since it was our anniversary (we celebrated the night before with dinner out)! I’ll share this easy cake recipe on the blog soon — it starts with a box of cake mix.

Let’s chat about this week’s books! First up, Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind by Ann B. Ross. This novel reminded me of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (and some of Fannie Flagg’s other writing). It was funny, poignant, and sweet. This popular series includes a total of 22 books, so I just might have to dive down that rabbit hole! Here’s the quick summary from Amazon:

Miss Julia, a recently bereaved and newly wealthy widow, is only slightly bemused when one Hazel Marie Puckett appears at her door with a youngster in tow and unceremoniously announces that the child is the bastard son of Miss Julia’s late husband. Suddenly, this longtime church member and pillar of her small Southern community finds herself in the center of an unseemly scandal-and the guardian of a wan nine-year-old whose mere presence turns her life upside down.

With razor-sharp wit and perfect “Steel Magnolia” poise, Miss Julia speaks her mind indeed-about a robbery, a kidnapping, and the other disgraceful events precipitated by her husband’s death. Fast-paced and charming, with a sure sense of comic drama, a cast of crazy characters, and a strong Southern cadence, Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind will delight readers from first page to last.

I also enjoyed Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren, another easy, breezy, but well-written love story if you’re in need of a light escape.

And finally, Beach Read by Emily Henry. This book had been on my library holds list for months, so I was excited to finally get my hands on it. It was a quick and enjoyable “beach read” — even in the middle of winter!

Monday was a holiday, so Keith and the boys were all home from work and school. I baked a loaf of banana nut bread that morning (Casey’s request!),

Close up side shot of slices of the best banana nut bread recipe on a cutting board

Gibbs went over to a friend’s house for the day, and I headed over to Mollie’s farm for a walk with two of my friends.

We ran some errands in Culpeper, grabbed lunch with the younger two boys at their favorite Chinese buffet while in town, and then came home for an early supper before their hockey practice that evening.

I served beef and beer chili

Front shot of hands eating a mug of beef and beer chili with a side of cornbread

…and a skillet of cornbread on the side. This would be a perfect Super Bowl meal in a few weeks!

Drizzling honey on a slice of cornbread

It rained nonstop on Tuesday morning, so once the boys were off to school, I lit a candle, poured myself another cup of coffee, and sat down at the computer to get some work done.

This is the “kindling campfire” candle by Otherland, which I recently received as a gift from the gals at the Steel Magnolias podcast. The scent was inspired by smoky cedar, fringed suede, wool blankets, redwood trunks, moonlit saloons, mezcal cocktails, and chopped wood.” Definitely sets the mood for a cozy, rainy day. Love it!

The weather cleared by lunchtime, so I got out for a walk before joining a Zoom meeting that afternoon.

I marinated chicken thighs for supper, and then just baked them in the oven for an easy meal. They’re also delicious on the grill!

Overhead shot of marinated chicken thighs with rice and green beans.

On the side, we had roasted broccoli and cheddar biscuits with chives and bacon.

Side shot of a cheddar biscuit on a blue and white plate

I met Mollie for a morning walk on a beautiful, 60-degree Wednesday morning…

…and joined Keith for a lunch date at Piedmont Deli that afternoon. This was the “gourmet” tuna salad sandwich — made fancier with some sliced olives and other extras. 😉

I made a batch of this really simple marinara sauce for supper, which we enjoyed over pasta

Jar of homemade marinara sauce recipe

…along with garlic bread and salad dressed in Dijon vinaigrette.

Hands tossing a salad with mustard vinaigrette

Plus these salted dark chocolate peanut butter balls for dessert, which my friend Jackie dropped off earlier in the day!

Front shot of a copper bowl full of dark chocolate covered peanut butter balls

I snuck in a walk with my friend Ashley on Thursday morning, in spite of the nasty, rainy weather. The rest of the day was spent dry and warm at the computer getting work done!

Hello, neighbor!

Before Keith took Casey to an indoor soccer practice in Charlottesville, we had King Ranch Chicken casserole for supper (an oldie-but-goodie!), along with tortilla chips, salsa, and guacamole.

Overhead shot of a casserole dish full of king ranch chicken

Highlights from Friday included a long morning walk with Keith once the boys were off to school, and some antique shopping in Ruckersville around lunchtime.

Remember how my friend Barbara and I canned the easiest concord grape juice last fall? Well, Casey recently asked me to use the last two jars of our juice to make grape popsicles…so that was on my agenda for Friday as well! It took all of about 2 minutes with these easy silicone molds.

Close up front shot of concord grape juice in a glass bottle

I baked a cream cheese pound cake to use in some photos the following day — one of my very favorite desserts of all time.

Old fashioned cream cheese pound cake sliced on a plate on a cake stand

Keith took Gibbs to a golf lesson that evening, and then we had 20-minute bratwurst sandwiches for supper once everyone was back home.

Hands serving a tray of beer brats on buns

I paired the brats with this store-bought sweet and sour red cabbage, steamed green beans, and crispy rosemary roasted potatoes.

Overhead image of a tray of pan roasted potatoes with rosemary

Keith took Casey up to Fredericksburg for soccer training on Saturday, while I stayed home with the other two boys. We met my parents in Charlottesville for Spencer’s soccer game, but otherwise had a quiet day at the house.

Keith was out watching football with friends that evening, so the kids and I were on our own for supper. I reheated some leftover Appalachian soup beans topped with chow-chow, as well as cornbread for myself, and baked a pizza for the boys. Tasty, effortless, and everyone was happy!

Overhead shot of soup beans with chow chow on top

So there you have it — another week of easy dinner ideas! I hope that you’ve found something new to add to your own table in the days ahead. Thank you 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. So happy to hear you ‘discovered’ Miss Julia! She is one of my favorites.
    My introduction to her (now the entire series!) came about as I was rushing through a bookstore looking for something to read on a (long) plane ride. Let’s just say this was one time I didn’t dread being on a plane!

    I really enjoy my early Sunday morning reading your email/blog. Hits all the right notes in that it gives me meal inspirations, reading suggestions, and ideas of where to go when we head out for a long weekend drive ‘to nowhere’ later this spring/summer.

  2. Thank you for the kitchen inspiration! Your pictures this week were excellent, makes me wish I was back out in the country! I agree, the “Miss Julia….” book series is excellent! Have a great week!

  3. I love the Miss Julia books. I look forward to a new every year. Dive down the rabbit hole, you will enjoy the books.

  4. Sundays are a treat for me in many ways including your blog. Living in Fredericksburg, it’s great learning about local spots. While it’s just me these days your writings remind me of those days when I was working full-time and raising 2 active kids! I am so excited you discovered the “Miss Julia” series. Ann Ross is a talented writer and I enjoyed her series so much that one year I actually traveled to Winston Salem to hear her in person. She’s as delightful in person as she is in her writing. Thank you for your weekly spots that enlighten so many lives!