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Good morning, and happy Sunday! This week included Christmas decorating, a museum visit, and more birthday celebrations. 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…

I kicked off Sunday morning with an early walk at Mollie’s farm with a couple of friends.

The University of Virginia men’s soccer team was playing Indiana in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament that afternoon, so we picked up subs for lunch on our way into Charlottesville and met friends at the game.

My go-to order: “The Jefferson” — maple turkey, sharp cheddar, lettuce, cranberry relish, and herb mayo on French bread.

The weather changed off and on all day — cloudy and cool one minute…

…and sunny and nice the next. Unfortunately, UVA lost 1-0 in a close game.

Back home, we had baked bbq chicken thighs for supper,

Overhead image of oven bbq chicken thighs with cornbread.

along with a Southern Caesar salad (using leftover cornbread from Thanksgiving to make the croutons!),

Close overhead shot of wooden servers in a bowl of caesar salad with cornbread croutons and bacon.

rice, and flaky biscuits.

Close up side shot of a bowl of buttermilk flaky biscuits on a wooden table.

Finally, we decorated the Christmas tree!

Now, let’s chat about books. My mother-in-law loaned me her copy of Banyan Moon by Thao Thai. It took me a bit to get into this one, but by the end I was invested! It’s the story of three generations of Vietnamese American women, their love, sacrifices, and bonds that hold them together. Beautifully written!

The boys reluctantly returned to school on Monday, while I spent most of my day in the kitchen working on new recipes.

Casey had a late soccer practice that evening, so dinner was served at 4:30 p.m. before I had to drive him down to Charlottesville!

I reheated leftover Crock Pot chili from the freezer, baked potatoes, and stuffed the potatoes with the chili, cheese, green onions, and sour cream.

Close overhead image of classic beef chili in bowls with toppings.

Served with a side of broccoli and cheese, which goes so well with baked potatoes.

Broccoli and cheese in a serving bowl

More sunshine for a walk with Keith on Tuesday morning!

It was otherwise a quiet day of work at the computer. Keith took Casey to soccer practice, while I stayed home to make supper. I love this little cut-through on the neighbor’s property line. It’s like a secret passageway!

We ate a late meal once everyone was back home, including pork meatballs with apples and cheddar cheese, buttered noodles, and sauteed green beans.

Overhead shot of two plates of pork meatballs on a wooden dinner table with a side salad.

Wednesday was incredibly chilly, but sunny and beautiful. I started my day with a walk in the woods with Mollie, and then came home to work at the house. There was time at the computer, as well time spent in the kitchen re-testing a recipe that wasn’t perfect earlier in the week.

We had a free evening without sports practices, which I always appreciate! I served ground beef tacos with Spanish rice, corn and beans, chips, salsa, and guacamole for supper, and we stayed warm by the fire while working on a puzzle and finishing up our holiday cards.

Kids hand picking up homemade ground beef tacos.

Gibbs turned 14 on Thursday!

That’s the golf shirt that his coach gave him…

After the boys were off to school, I took a walk, and then spent the bulk of the day cooking and photographing a couple of recipes.

The younger boys both had soccer practices in Charlottesville that afternoon, and Gibbs had a golf lesson, so his birthday dinner was a late one. He requested 5-ingredient chicken Parmesan sandwiches, which I paired with potato chips and salad.

Two chicken parm sandwiches on white plates on a wooden table.

And instead of cake for dessert, he wanted one-bowl homemade brownies!

Side shot of three brownies with chocolate chips on a white plate.

After a walk with Ashley on Friday morning, most of my cloudy, rainy day was devoted to running errands in Culpeper — the dog groomer, Target, groceries, the car wash, and Starbucks! This was the sugar cookie latte, which was okay — but I definitely prefer the gingerbread latte.

We had Gibbs’s friends over after school that afternoon to celebrate his birthday, complete with pizza, salad, and more brownies for dinner.

And then it was the weekend! Keith and Gibbs took a day-trip up to Northern Virginia on Saturday so that Gibbs could visit the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center. He was particularly interested in seeing the space shuttle Discovery, and it did not disappoint!

Meanwhile, I stayed home with the younger boys and took them to a friend’s birthday party. A foggy day after the rain!

We were all back home in time for supper, which included these 20-minute bratwurst sandwiches (and regular hot dogs for those kiddos who didn’t want the sausages),

Overhead shot of brats on sandwiches with red cabbage and mustard

as well as baked apple slices,

Stirring a pan of baked cinnamon apple slices

roasted dill potatoes, and roasted zucchini and yellow squash (cleaning out that vegetable drawer!). Followed by an evening of college football on TV to round out our Saturday…

Overhead shot of a platter of dill roasted potatoes

So there you have it, friends — 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 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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  1. I made your one bowl brownies a few weeks ago and……they were amazing! They are my husband’s favorite brownie….and he is very particular about his brownies. Since it is only the two of us, I freeze some, just the way you recommended, and they stayed almost as fresh as if they were newly made. And…..the recipe is SO easy! I use my large sauce pot to melt the butter and chips and then just mix everything else in the pot. Your one bowl brownie is my one pot brownie.
    The best brownie ever!!
    Do you think Gibbs will go to UVA for college? I noticed that the UVA hat is a staple for him! Though we live in CT we are a UVA family…husband, son, daughter, and visit there two or three times a year. We always stop at Yoder’s on the way home!

    1. I’m so glad that the brownies were a hit, Paula. Thanks for letting me know!

      We’re not sure about UVA yet, but he’s definitely a fan. 🙂 My dad went to law school there, and is now an adjunct professor at the law school in his retirement, so the kids get a lot of UVA gear from him, too! I love that you’re familiar with Yoder’s. It’s a gem!

  2. Hi Blair – We saw the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center in LA a couple of years ago. It was so huge and quite impressive!

  3. Hi Blair! What a great post of delicious recipes! I was wondering if you’ve ever froze or had any success with freezing your baked apples or sautéed apples? I have apples I need to use!

    A very big Happy birthday to Gibbs! I hope his birthday was a special one for him! My Grandson always wants me to bake him my homemade brownies for his birthday too, and I love doing it! The more powdered sugar on top the better in his eyes!

    Thanks for sharing all the delicious recipes and your family with us, Blair! Have a great week!

    1. Hi, Deb! Funny you ask…I have a jar full of the leftovers from last night in the fridge right now. They definitely keep well in the refrigerator for a few days, but you can also freeze them. I prefer not to freeze them since the texture changes when the fruit thaws, but maybe you don’t mind. They will have a slightly mushy texture when thawed. To freeze, allow the apples to cool to room temperature. Seal in an airtight container or Ziploc bag, and the apples will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, and then reheat according to the directions in the post above.

      By contrast, applesauce does freeze very well (and you don’t have to worry about a mushy texture when thawed!). You can find my applesauce recipe here, if you’d like to try that: https://www.theseasonedmom.com/homemade-applesauce/

      Hope that helps, and have a great week!

    1. Blair, I love your recipes and Sunday blog! I also love your recommendations for books. As we near Christmas, I was wondering what your recommendation would be for a Hallmark type story for my 83 year old mom? She loves the feel good novels similar to a Hallmark movie! I knew you would know! Thank you.

      1. Hi, Jill! I’m honored that you thought to ask, and you’re right — Hallmark-type Christmas novels are right up my alley. 🙂 I have a few to recommend:

        – The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews was a fun one that came out last year: https://amzn.to/4aaLWMk
        – This year she released another one (which I just finished) called Bright Lights, Big Christmas. Equally entertaining! https://amzn.to/481FvcE
        – I also read A Season for Second Chances by Jenny Bayliss a year or two ago, and loved it. Definitely one of my favorites! https://amzn.to/47H6dYd
        – Finally, another that comes to mind is called Christmas By the Book by Anne Marie Ryan: https://amzn.to/3TceXBt

        I think any of these would be great entertainment for your mom!

  4. So enjoy reading your blog and pictures if the farm. Your recipes always leave me hungry. I live getting them . Copy them down all the time.

    1. Thank you so much, Phyllis! We’re happy to hear you enjoy the recipes and are so glad to have you here.