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Good morning, and happy Sunday! This week I’m sharing a house construction update, a good book, and a handful of easy weeknight suppers. All of the highlights from the past few days, 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…

Sunday was sunny and warm, so I met three of my friends for a walk at Mollie’s farm to start the day.

It’s looking more and more like spring!

Muddy, happy horses!

We had a rare day without sports commitments, so the boys played soccer in the yard, rode bikes, and Keith and Gibbs hit golf balls at the range.

Keith smoked a turkey breast for supper,

Close up side shot of the best smoked turkey breast without brine

which we paired with one-hour no-knead dinner rolls,

Side shot of hands holding a basket of the best dinner roll recipe

simple green beans with brown butter, store-bought cranberry sauce, and this easy 3-ingredient cheesy potato casserole.

Close overhead shot of a cheesy potato casserole with a serving spoon

And for dessert, I baked a super-moist one-bowl vanilla buttermilk cake. If chocolate cake is your preference, this version is the best!

Close up shot of slices of one bowl vanilla cake on a table

As far as this week’s reading goes, I really enjoyed The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen — a story where love and secrets collide in Venice during WWII.

I’ve also got a house update for you! Over the past 6 months, I’ve mentioned that we’ve had construction crews working on our home. Many of you have asked for more details on this project, so I finally got around to taking some process shots this week. It’s definitely not finished, but it’s starting to feel like there’s an end in sight!

These are just exterior photos for now, since the inside isn’t finished. The drywall is up, the trim is largely done, and there’s a fresh coat of paint on the walls, but otherwise the indoor space is empty.

The back half is the new addition!

As the boys continue to get older (now 13, almost 12, and 9), we realized that we were quickly outgrowing our home. We live in a traditional 4-square Virginia farmhouse, which was built in 1915. It currently has 3 bedrooms and just one full bath upstairs.

Over the course of the past couple of years, we’ve worked with architects, interior designers, and custom home builders who specialize in renovating old homes and creating new spaces with historic character. Our primary goal was to blend the old with the new — adding extra space that looks and feels like it’s part of the original 100-year-old house.

This has meant sourcing antique mantles, porch columns, and furniture for the addition, using reclaimed heart pine wood for flooring, repurposing some of the original wood from the home to use for countertops in the scullery, and matching the unique crown molding, base boards, and interior window trim to the original home.

New side entrance to the mudroom and laundry room. That back bay window is my new photography studio!

Upstairs, this project will give us 3 new bedrooms (Keith will use one of these for a home office), an additional full bathroom for the boys, and a redesign of the master suite so that we have walk-in closets and a bigger bathroom.

Downstairs, we’re adding a walk-in “scullery” (i.e., pantry) off of the kitchen, a larger family room, a photo studio for my work, a laundry room/mud room, and a half-bath. You’ll also see that we’ve included a second porch (outside of the new family room) that matches our existing front porch, and a side entrance on the other side of the new addition that will go directly into the mudroom. No more soccer gear and boots sitting out on the front porch!

We’re very excited about the progress so far, but we know that we still have months of work ahead. I’ll just continue to bribe the crew with baked goods and hot lunches…they have become great taste-testers!

This is the addition on the other side of the house. The glass doors on the side porch go into our new living room, while the door on the right goes into the scullery, which connects to the kitchen. Quick access for grilling and dining outside! Our picnic table is just to the left of the porch (out of view), and the porch looks out on the Blue Ridge.

Back to the routine on Monday morning!

Keith and I went for a walk up the road, I prepped dinner in advance (knowing that the afternoon would be rushed), and we had a meeting with the cabinetry guy to make decisions about the cabinets and vanities in the scullery, laundry room, and bathrooms.

The younger two boys had soccer practices in Charlottesville that evening, so I fed everyone a very early dinner after school. Beef enchiladas are a great make-ahead option, so I just had to pop them in the oven. We also had tortilla chips, pico de gallo, and homemade guac on the side.

Overhead shot of beef enchiladas in a dish with onions on top

Fresh air with Keith on Tuesday morning, followed by a day of work at the computer.

We didn’t have any sports practices on the schedule that evening, so we all sat down to supper at a normal hour! I made baked bbq chicken thighs (an easy 30-minute weeknight meal),

Overhead image of oven bbq chicken thighs with cornbread.

along with a skillet of cornbread,

Overhead shot of cast iron cornbread on a rustic wooden table

store-bought baked beans, and a house salad with candied pecans.

Overhead shot of a bowl of house salad with mandarin oranges on a wooden table

I met my friend Ashley for a walk with our dogs on Wednesday morning, and then came home to photograph recipes for most of the day.

We had multiple soccer practices that evening, so we ate an early supper before heading down to Charlottesville. On the menu: Gibbs’s favorite Duke’s mac and cheese,

Close overhead shot of homemade mac and cheese in a white dish

along with sauteed zucchini and blackberry muffins. I had some leftover blackberries from a recipe that I was testing, so I put them to good use!

Side shot of a blackberry muffin on a plate

Thursday started with a walk with Mollie once the boys were off to school, followed by a day of work at home.

Gibbs had golf that evening, and Keith was out of town, so we had “breakfast for dinner” beforehand. I made these quick and easy secret ingredient Bisquick waffles, along with Vermont maple sausage and fruit.

Pouring syrup on a plate of easy homemade waffles

Ashley and I met for a morning dog walk on Friday, and then I spent most of the rest of the day in Culpeper.

While I was waiting for Teddy to finish at the groomer, I did some Easter shopping at Target, ran a few other errands, and got myself a quick chicken burrito bowl for lunch at Chipotle. We don’t make it into “town” very often, so I have to take full advantage while I’m there!

Spencer’s soccer practice was canceled (thanks to rain in the forecast), so we had a chicken tater tot casserole and a simple side salad for dinner, followed by a very welcome quiet evening at home.

Chicken tater tot casserole on a wooden table with a side salad

And then it was the weekend! Spencer had a wet soccer game that morning, but the sun came out mid-day and it was almost 80 degrees.

Keith picked up sandwiches for lunch at Yoder’s, and I was really excited to try their weekly special called the “Southern Sweet Heat” sandwich. This was a combination of chicken on sourdough toast with mayo, a drizzle of hot honey, lettuce, tomatoes, coleslaw, and pickles. A winner!

My in-laws stopped by for a visit that afternoon, and then we headed up to Chili’s in Culpeper for dinner. The kids’ request! I was just happy to be able to take a night off from the kitchen.

We ate our weight in chips and salsa, plus burgers, shrimp fajitas, ribs, salads, and fried chicken.

So there you go, friends — another week of dinner ideas! I hope that you’ve found something new to try on 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!

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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. Thank you so much for the recipes, photos, and especially the update on the house- it really looks great from outside, and blends perfectly with the original house! It’s great you are able to maintain the architectural integrity of the farmhouse. Have a great week!

  2. My forever favorite is a yellow home with green accent! It’s always so beautiful. It sounds like you’ll have a good amount of space for your growing boys and work & hobbies. This is wonderful! I’m so happy for you. I love it when a new addition is made to look like it has always been there inside & out!

    I cleaned out the fridge last night & found some red potatoes I knew I had. I was trying to remember what I had in mind to make with them when I bought them…. Thanks to you & Aunt Bee to the rescue!

    I just cannot get over how blue your skies are! Spring is definitely on its way. Blair, thank you for the beautiful photos, recipe ides & sharing with us. Those lucky contractors are going to be remembering this job for years to come…. And not just because of the work, but because of the taste testing opportunity! Have a great week

    1. Thank you for such kind words, Kris! I hope that you enjoy the potato dish! Have a wonderful week. 🙂

  3. Older homes have so much character and I’ve been curious to see what you’ve been doing. Thank you for sharing some updates. The new addition is seamless and coincides with the existing architecture perfectly! Looking forward to seeing some interior pictures!

    Thanks again for sharing all your wonderful meal ideas. The chicken tater tot casserole sounds especially good.

    Have a great week and Happy Easter!

  4. Good morning, Blair,
    I wanted to let you know how much my grandmother and I love reading about your week. She is 93 years old and blind so I share your story with her after breakfast. I don’t cook much but I love looking at recipes!
    We hope you have a great week!
    Mary and Angie

    1. That makes me SO happy to hear, Angela. Tell your grandmother Mary that I send her a warm hug! Take care, and have a great week!

  5. Looks great, Blair! So many decisions to make in renovations–it can at times seem overwhelming! It will all be worth it when finished!

    1. That’s so true! I try to take it one step at a time, and not get too overwhelmed with deciding everything at once. We’re pretty decisive and know what we like, so at least that part is smooth! It’s still A LOT to take care of, though. 🙂

  6. Thanks so much for sharing your spring – not so spring-like yet in Nebraska but we are getting there – I think!
    I have been wondering about your construction projects so your update is much appreciated – thanks for sharing. As others have said, it looks wonderful! I hope you new for-the-boys bathroom is large. We raised 2 boys and FOUR girls and a big bathroom makes life much easier!!
    Happy Easter!! Hope you have some Easter recipes to share with us!

    1. Oh my goodness! I can imagine that a big bathroom would be mandatory with 4 girls! Hah! Yes, it will be a decent size — much bigger than they’re used to (but nothing fancy). 🙂

  7. Hi Blair – I love seeing how the new addition looks from the outside. It’s beautiful and what I wouldn’t give to sit on your porch and gaze at that scenery. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

  8. Blair, I love what you’re doing with the new addition! It’s a MUCH larger project than I had imagined and it looks like you guys have really invested in planning and design, which will certainly pay off. Thanks for sharing the progress, and I know many of us can’t wait to see the finished product (can’t imagine how anxious you must be by now!).
    Your pics are beautiful this week. Spring is just gorgeous in central Virginia and the colors will really be popping in April. We will be waiting a while longer up north!
    Your crab cakes are planned for dinner this evening– it’s a great recipe. Have a wonderful Easter week!

    1. Thank you so much, Tim. I’m jealous of your crab cake dinner! I haven’t made those in a while, and they sound so good. I’ll have to find some good crab soon!

  9. Thanks so much for sharing your ‘life’ with us…I love my Sunday mornings with you and your family and seeing the fantastic exterior of your new ‘dream’ house I can only imagine what the inside will be like…of course we all look forward to the fantastic recipes each week…may I wish you and your wonderful family a very Blessed Easter…may the Lord richly bless you all!!!!

  10. I look forward to reading your posts every Sunday! Thank you so much for all the great recipes and other ideas…love all the beautiful photos. I have also loved your recommendations for candles (Warm & Cozy) and tea (Williamsburg Ginger Cake and Holiday Heritage) and wonder if you have any springtime favorites! May you and your family have a blessed Easter.

    1. Hi, Donna! I’m so happy to hear that! I will try to share some “spring-themed” favorites in upcoming posts!

  11. Wow. That beautiful blooming tree! What is that? I really miss garden flowers and blooming trees from when I was a child in West Virginia. There were a few where I lived in Central Texas but not many and, as for southern New Mexico, well, not much luck finding them here! I wear White Shoulders as my routine perfume, just to try and help make it up to myself. I figure if I can’t see them, I can WEAR them!

    The exterior of your house is lovely and it sounds like the interior will be sensational when it’s done! That extra bathroom for the boys sounds like an excellent idea. The older they get, the more showers and cleaning up they’ll want, especially as they begin to date. All the sports! And shaving! I would love a mud room. You all get so much rain.

    Take care and much love as always!