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Scattered Sunday

Bean Protocol update! My skin looks…maybe a bit better. Not seeing a giant improvement, but it is probably my fault. I’m not doing the “full” protocol of cutting other things out of my diet. I’m just eating a lot of beans.

Oh, and because I knew you were going to ask, still no bloating/gas. Everyone is thrilled about that.

But I will say that holy smokes, the beans are keeping me SO full during the day. There is now a “bean hierarchy” in my head of which ones work better (for me) as a meal addition. It goes like this: pinto beans>black beans>chickpeas.

I consumed 1 cup of beans per day for two weeks and this week I ramped it up a little bit. It’s not an exact measurement; just like garlic, I am measuring it with my heart. I am now probably consuming about 1.5-1.75 cups a day, most days.

I had been making Katie’s Instant Pot Black Beans and they were delicious with my breakfast. But one day I realized I was out and only had about 10 minutes to prep breakfast. I snagged a can of organic pinto beans from the pantry and opened/rinsed them.

I ate them with the same breakfast that I have 360 days a year, and my goodness I was FULL. As in, I looked at my watch at 2 pm and realized I never ate lunch and didn’t even want to because I was still full from breakfast. That was something I absolutely did not expect.

So, this week I made Katie’s Instant Pot Pinto Beans and have a bunch meal prepped and frozen. Chickpeas are great in this salad but I notice the time between lunch and dinner I do get a little bit of a craving for snacks. But also, snacks are delicious and I love them. 

I do find that I feel better in the morning if I don’t eat much in the hours between (post) dinner and breakfast. First thing in the morning is also when I like to run (I don’t actually LIKE to run, but if I’m running that is the best time for me) and I think I feel better if I work out before breakfast.

Adding beans with dinner keeps me full until breakfast. But, if I am hungry during that window of time, I do eat something! For me, it’s not about “how long I can go without eating” (that is disordered eating and no thank you), but more about recognizing the power of soluble fiber for keeping me feeling full and satiated (because food is delicious). 

I have also found that with more beans in my life, my blood sugar stays pretty consistent and my energy levels are not spiking. If you’re trying to consume enough whole foods to keep yourself from being stabby between meals, 1/4 cup of beans with meals is pretty magical. 

a boy hiding in clothes in a closet

Bennett hid in our closet for 10 minutes just to scare Troy after he got out of the shower. I have to admire that kind of dedication to a prank.

Jack had his second vaccine this week and the poor guy felt like poop the next day. I had him follow the same basic plan that both my sister and I did – drink A LOT of water before the shot, drink more afterward, and take a Tylenol before bed.

Sadly he followed Troy in terms of his reaction to the jab, and not me. He woke up at 3:45 with a fever and a general feeling of “meh”. He felt like crap all day but thankfully was on the mend within 24 hours. Popsicles, coconut water, and just letting him chill for the day seemed to help.

A month or so ago (time no longer has meaning), my eye doctor prescribed a medication that was supposed to help with my uber dry eyes. It had the added side benefit of helping some patients with their skin. Well, I tried it for 10 days and decided it was absolutely not for me!

For one thing, it made me puke. No thanks. I have two boys in my house that made me puke enough to last a lifetime. And, I am convinced it was impacting my sleep. In the first seven days of taking it, I was waking up 10-20 times a night. I was a zombie! 

I was also using a medicated eye drop that was burning the ish out of my eyes and did not seem to be helping. I was basically a walking dry-eyed mess.

My eyes are only dry while I’m wearing my contacts, but I cannot wear glasses all the time. I need sunglasses even on cloudy days (Troy calls me a snowflake vampire) and would need multiple pairs of prescription sunglasses to make life work.

I had a follow-up visit with my doc last week and we both agreed that those medications sucked and weren’t working for me. He wrote a referral for me to be evaluated for LipiFlow which honestly looks like a torture device to me.

While I was waiting for the referral to come through, he told me there was one more brand of contacts left to try. I have tried pretty much every kind they make over the last two years. But I was willing to give this other brand a shot.

From the second I put those things in my eyes, I knew I had finally found the solution to my dry eyes. Not only did they feel amazing in my eyes but my vision was so much better. I could see details! I’m not affiliated with them in any way, but if you’re having similar problems that I do, the brand is called Precision1.

But as with everything good in life, there is a downside. They’re daily contacts (I have always worn monthlies) and I’m trying not to think about all the packaging waste generated by my quest to see. Blah!

I took most of May off from running because my hips were so tight. It’s not a running thing; it’s an “I’m not remotely bendy” thing. My muscles are always locked up tight. I can’t even touch my own toes. So that’s cool.

Being Type A, I decided that I do better when I have structure. The farthest I have ever run is 5.5 miles but I never have the time or desire to make that a regular thing. I realized what I needed was a better method to improve endurance other than “just run longer”.

I downloaded a 5k to 10k training app. Well, technically, it is a couch to 10k app, but if you’ve already been consistently running they let you skip to the middle of the training. So far it has been fine. I’m sure I’ll learn to hate that avatar “trainer” in the end.

a cat on a deck table

Celebrating Baby GG’s fake birthday with kinetic sand cake.

Today will be our first day back IN church since March 2020. We’ve had what I call “couch church” since then, watching services our pastor put together on Youtube. There have also been a few parking lot services, but that’s challenging with kids. We’ve missed seeing our church family so much.

I’m on our church council (I’m actually the vice president) and we were trying to figure out how to serve coffee and donuts safely. Many of the women who arranged this every week are not ready to be back in church. And we are also trying to encourage folks to do their fellowship hour outside.

During our last meeting, I suggested we try a mobile coffee/espresso truck, and today will be the first Sunday we test it out. It frees up church members to not have to deal with serving, encourages people to be outside, and helps a local small business. I’m excited to see how it goes!

pea plants growing up a metal trellis

There are two meal trains this month that I am participating in. If you’re not familiar with a meal train, basically, someone sets up a schedule and invites others to gift meals to someone going through a time of need. One of our friends will be going through cancer treatment, and another is a member of our church who is having surgery.

The meals that people brought us in the last two weeks of my mom’s life were so appreciated. But one thing I learned from that experience is that everyone brings dinner. It’s always dinner. And I’m not complaining at all, but sometimes you don’t want to have to think about other meals too.

With that in mind, I always provide people with breakfast food in these situations. They can have breakfast for dinner or use it for actual breakfast. And I always make enough for a few meals. 

I’m making the exact same meal for both groups – Make-Ahead Scrambled Eggs, a bunch of bacon I baked in the oven, and frozen berry cake. If I have time, I might also make some Mini Quiche because they keep in the fridge for a few days and are amazing in the freezer.

A few tips if find yourself in the position of donating food:

1) send everything in disposable containers. Do not make the person getting the food have to keep track of returning dishes. Every grocery store sells disposable baking dishes/pie plates, etc., in the baking aisle. Use those. I have also gone to Goodwill, picked up a regular pie plate for $1, and included a note with the food that says “keep the dish”.

2) Keep it simple and make something that is delicious when reheated. 3) If sending dinner, don’t forget veggies. We received a lot of salad kits with our meals and it was so nice to not have to think about finding healthy stuff to serve on the side.

4) Include a card and in some way write something that basically says “please focus on getting better and do not send me a thank you card”. If they want to send a card, they will. If they’re too exhausted to, your note will be the greatest gift of all. I also encourage this for teacher or new baby gifts!

In the Garden This Week

Big week for the garden! Late last week we had a really great hardcore rain. And then THIS week it was Seattle hot for four days in a row. It seems like everything doubled in size in less than seven days and I am here for it!

Harvested this week: carrots, beets, and lettuce. Oh my gosh, so much lettuce. ALL THE LETTUCE. I’m not a huge salad fan but have been packing away two per day. Send favorite salad recipes, please and thank you.

A few weeks ago I removed the plastic sheeting from the lettuce bed and replaced it with a fabric shade cloth. Even in the peak heat of the day, it keeps the lettuce about 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the garden. Even better, it keeps direct sunlight off of the greens and prevents rapid evaporation after I water. You can see the DIY of the super affordable frame I built for the row covers here.

a raised bed filled with salad and covered with white cloth

At the edges of the bed with all the lettuce I planted our green beans. Once they start growing at a decent clip, I’ll remove the row cover frame and put in one of our DIY trellises. Hopefully, there will be enough shade from the bean vines to shade the lettuce. But chances are the greens will have bolted by then anyway.

I planted cucumbers in the raised bed that houses the peas. I planted them far enough on the inside of the bed so the cucumbers won’t interfere with the peas. And then once the peas are done for the season (they shrivel up when it gets too hot for too long), I’ll yank those and then train the cucumbers to climb the recently vacated trellis. It’s not ideal, but this is what small space gardening looks like!

Our zucchini also got planted along with some chives that a neighbor gifted me. Strawberries are chugging along but looking rough from when Troy pressure washed the sidewalk. Whoops! I have been watering them daily trying to get all the dirt off the leaves and fruit.

Housekeeping

I’ve been testing out these Zip Top containers for the last few weeks and I LOVE them! They have a flat bottom and they sit flat on the counter which makes them easy to fill (no spilling!), they’re freezer, microwave, and dishwasher safe.

Thanks to the design of the bottom, they are by far the easiest of our reusable bags to clean. No turning inside out in the dishwasher! They also stack really nicely for easy storing without taking up a lot of space.

Even better, they’re made in the USA and are a female-founded company. You can take 15% off with coupon code SUSTAINABLECOOKS15.

What I’m Listening To This Week

I’ve been making my way through the Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend archives and have been laughing my butt off the entire time. The episode with Paul Rudd had me laughing so hard while I was out on a walk that I guarantee drivers of cars passing me were concerned.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Long-time reader, Patricia, left this five-star review on our Instant Pot Garlic Rice {Pin this recipe}:

I made this rice tonight and OMG…so freaking delicious! I skipped the parmesan because my husband is a fuss pot and I loved it.

a side view of rice in a blue bowl topped with parsley

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Instant Pot Mexican Rice – Make this Instant Pot Mexican Rice for a fast side dish that the whole family will love! This copycat restaurant rice pairs well with so many dishes. No pressure cooker? You’ll also find stovetop instructions in the recipe. {Pin this recipe}

A black bowl filled with Mexican rice and topped with cilantro and limes on a board with avocado and other garnishes

Frozen Strawberries in Syrup – A batch of Frozen Strawberries in Syrup is a wonderful thing to have in your freezer stash. You can enjoy them all year long on desserts, pancakes, waffles, and so much more. {Pin this recipe}

bricks of frozen strawberries in syrup on a white plate with a sprig of mint

Low Sugar Strawberry Jam – Canning Low Sugar Strawberry Jam is a delicious and fresh-tasting spread for toast, yogurt, or dessert recipes. Homemade strawberry jam is an amazing way to preserve the harvest. {Pin this recipe}

Three jars of homemade strawberry jam with fresh strawberries on a white board

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. How to Freeze Spinach – so many people are going to have awesome smoothies this winter!  {Pin this tutorial}
  2. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan/vegetarian as written, but you can make your version to your tastes.  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Instant Pot Garlic Rice – we always have a bag of this in the freezer for quick meals. {Pin this recipe}
  4. Air Fryer Home Fries – awesome for breakfast, side dishes, or a dinnertime scramble.  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Homemade Peach Ice Cream – oh, hello there summer!!! {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

As things always go, last week’s meal plan got scrambled and things had to change. The boys spent a day living their absolute best lives with my inlaws. Since my mother-in-law made them dinner, Troy and I just had leftovers and didn’t make anything new.

Monday:: A new recipe I am photographing (Bennett will be thrilled and Jack will be annoyed), Instant Pot Garlic Rice, and salad from the garden.

Tuesday:: Troy’s much-belated sloppy joes, fries, and salad are finally happening. Probably?

Wednesday:: Takeout to support a local small business. (side note: happy birthday to longtime reader, Tina!)

Thursday:: Retesting another upcoming recipe, organic hot dogs on the side, and salad from the garden.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Troy’s belated birthday dinner.

Sunday:: TBD

 

What are you having this week?

 

 

 

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18 comments on “Scattered Sunday”

  1. Hi

    I’m a daily contact lens wearer as well. Here in the UK there is a company called Terracycle which recycles contact lens packaging and even the lenses themselves. There might be an outlet near you https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/brigades. I have been known to cheekily drop my empty packets into any opticians, just to keep the waste out of landfill.

    Steph

    • We have TerraCycle here and I didn’t even think about them for recycling the packaging. Thank you!!!

      Do your opticians recycle them? I would think they’d just toss them.

  2. This is a lettuce recipe but it is NOT a salad. Like you I am not a fan of lettuce but occasionally a head of it shows up in our CSA. This recipe has been my go to solution for years.

    The Simplest Stew
    from James Barber, Flash in the Pan

    2-3 cheap lamb chops (pork chops will work)
    1 medium onion, sliced
    ½ head of lettuce
    1 tsp green dill weed
    Juice of ½ lemon
    1 egg yolk

    Brown chops on both sides while you slice a medium onion.
    Push the meat to one side. Toss onions in with salt and pepper, saute quickly.
    Turn the heat down to low. Create a bed with the onions and place the meat on top of the onions with a few onions on top of the meat.
    Layer lettuce leaves on top of the meat and onions. Approximately ½ half a head.
    Sprinkle with dill weed and cover.
    Simmer on low for 1 ½ hours.
    Before serving, a few drops at a time beat the juice of ½ lemon into the yolk of one egg.
    Beat 6 tablespoons of juice, 2 T at a time, into the lemon/egg mixture. Pour this mixture back into the pan and combine with the lettuce, onions and meat.

    Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.

  3. I took a meal train meal this week and finally just went to Smart and Final (pick whatever store in your area also caters to small businesses – if a Costco Business was closer I would have gone there) and got the same kind of plastic, leak proof take out containers that restaurants use. They come in multiple sizes – I grabbed 32oz, 16oz, and 8oz and a pack of lids that work for all of them. All the sides (beans, rice, guac, salsa, watermelon) went into those and I used a disposable lasagna pan for the chicken veggie enchiladas. I’ve previously used thrifted pyrex and mason jars for meals like this, but people still want to give me back the pans and quite frankly I’m feeling a little hoardish with my mason jars these days given the still feeble and inconsistent stock in all the stores in our area. I also always include snacks (especially for new parents) and/or easy breakfast food on top of whatever meal I’m taking.
    Something that was helpful for us when we had our first kiddo was our friends set it up for meals to be delivered every other day and since most of the meals we received were very generous we ate leftovers on the in-between days. It kept us well fed but not overwhelmed. 

    • Those containers rule! We’ve received a few during our year of supporting local small restaurants with takeout, and you bet your butt I cleaned and saved them.

      The snacks are a great idea. And I totally agree with you on the every other day thing. In the meal train sign-up I’m part of, I saw everyone saying “xxx food with enough for leftovers”.

  4. I can’t remember how I found you in the last few weeks, but I’ve decided I need you to move next door and be my bestie. Oklahoma sounds good, right?

  5. Aloha.. I’m going to try the Mexican rice recipe.. we’ll see how it turns out in my end. Have you seen “Wanderlust”? It’s an older (10 years) movie with Paul Rudd as the lead.. it is probably our most quoted and loved movie cause it’s ridiculous.. not for young people. 🤪anyways keep us laughing with your wonderful life adventures.. And a Very Hau’oli  Lā Hānau to Troy..Mahalo.. Steph 

  6. Hello fellow unflexible, hip pain sufferer! If you have not already, look into stretches for your IT band. When I used to be a regular runner/exerciser, I used to get terrible hip pain. Apparently your IT band goes from your hips to your knees, and for many people results in knee pain, but for a few people (of course. I am always one of the few people who gets weird stuff) it results in hip pain. There are some stretches you can do that really help, and a foam roller is also super helpful (but hurts like hell when you’re actually in the process).

    And speaking of being one of the few, I got my first round of vaccine on Thurs and felt like garbage on Friday. Most everyone I know reacts just to the second but noooo…also seeing as how I’ve actually already had Covid, I had this vague idea that maybe when i got the vaccine my body would recognize it and I would be totally fine with both shots. Now I’m dreading the second one 🙁

    I hope you guys have a wonderful day back at church!

    • Yes, I am stretching those, thank you!! I learned about them because that is where Troy’s legs are always the tightest. It’s a lot of work to carry those calves around. HA!

      I’m so sorry you felt crappy. That being said, a lot of my friends felt like junk with the first one and were fine with the second dose. In fact, my sister had no reaction to dose #2 but felt like she had a minor flu for dose #1. Fingers crossed you have the same experience.

  7. Hi! (FYI just want you to know that your zip top link is dead.) 
    I made your ip vanilla extract and even gifted some! I will NEVER buy vanilla again! 
    So glad you are back to actual inchurch church!  
    Can’t wait to see what you do with all your garden goodies! My raspberries are going nuts so I think it’s gonna be a year for making and freezing  raspberry white chocolate scones. Thank you for giving me the courage to try growing them!

  8. P.s. thanks for the link and discount code for the Zip-top containers! I’ve been picking up a few reusable bags each grocery trip, but wanted something made in the USA. Just ordered a set!

  9. Thank you for the birthday wishes! Happy birthday to Troy!

    So, did Bennett scare Troy?

    We are moving (I know, it’s beyond ridiculous at this point) on the 15th so any energy I have after working and managing a very exuberant puppy goes towards getting ready to move. I haven’t gotten much moving prep done. I am also slacking on the Prep Once Cook Twice challenge, but I’m excited to jump in once we get settled.

    For my birthday (belatedly) we will be setting up some raised beds and getting some food planted. I am so freaking excited about it!!!

    I love the idea of breakfast for meal trains. I use to keep thrifted Pyrex pie pans to use for making fritatas (and let folks know to keep it or pass it on) And with our food issues, we always included a veggie tray or bagged salad. I also include a note with all the ingredients used just incase they also have food sensitivities.

    Thanks for the bean update. I think we will give this a try as well.

    • I think you’re officially a carnie (carney?) at this point with all the moving. 🙂

      Oh, and Troy heard him so he wasn’t scared. But he did play along.