Sustainable Cooks
First Time Visiting? Start Here!

Scattered Sundays

Happy Sunday, friends! Guess what? Our floating kitchen shelves are done. Done. DONE! And they are everything I hoped for. And so much more.

wooden shelves on a kitchen wall

I knew exactly how I wanted these shelves to look, and when we tried to find some ready-made, we were shocked to find they were $250+. FOR SHELVES. My dang pantry shelves didn’t even cost that much! Troy told me he could build some for a buttload cheaper than that.

He took a 2×12 board (~$16ish), and cut two shelves from it, with more leftover for his squirrel stash of random bits and bobs of lumber. He then used a hand sander to round the edges and make them look extra AF.

I’m sure there is an architectural design way to position shelves and kitchen designers would groan at how high ours are. But, if you’ve never accidentally slammed your face into a cabinet or shelf in a kitchen, I’m very jealous.

The worst-case scenario would be we drilled into our tile to hang these, only to find out that they were the perfect height to slam my face into when I’m cooking. So, we used the very “official” method of Troy holding the shelves in various positions and me trying to hit on my head on them.

We bought these brackets and then Troy installed them into the tile wall while the boys and all our neighbors learned some new colorful vocabulary. He really had a blast with those brackets. That was probably the moment he was closest to leaving me.

Once the brackets were installed, he marked on the boards where they would need to be inserted. He drilled holes into the backs of each board with a paddle bit on a hand drill. He also had to insert a piece of PVC pipe in each hole to give it a bit of structure/support.

After that, there were two coats of the same stain he used on the windowsills that he also made. Then came a coat of polyurethane (<—spellcheck had to come through in a big way for that word) to make them waterproof.

Troy hung them on the wall and then I had to wait an agonizing 24 hours before I could organize them. That’s like telling me you bought me a new pack of highlighters, but I can’t use them to make a list.

One second after the 24 hours was up, I very quickly arranged everything how I wanted it. It was fast because I had already “played” with it before they were even stained.

a small teal bluetooth radio on a wooden shelf

Top shelf: we have canning cookbooks, this Yoda bookend, more cookbooks, and a “Cook” sign that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas. It was a light green color but I spray-painted it a bright teal to make it pop a bit more.

Bottom shelf: this cute little retro Bluetooth speaker that was a kitchen-warming gift from some friends, a plant from Trader Joe’s, a clock, and more cookbooks.

a brass bell on a wooden shelf

sleep well tonight dearie; she’ll see you in your dreams.

I also placed this creepy little bell on the bottom shelf. My mom taught elementary school for years, and this nightmare-inducing brass lady sat on her desk for most of her career. It’s fun to ring “the dinner bell” and to have a part of my mom on these shelves. And when we can finally have people over again, it will be fun to haunt their dreams with her creepy shiny face.

a pantry with white doors

And installing them made us realize we have to paint this whole damn wall. Doh!

Troy also picked up pantry doors this week to cover our very naked pantry. The boys have campaigned for us to not get doors because they love the easy access to snacks. Pardon me while I sprain my eyes from rolling them so hard at their first-world priorities.

He worked really hard one day to paint the doors with three coats. He wanted them to look perfect. It was the next day that he realized he had painted the wrong side and had to completely start over.

At least, the big install moment came for the doors…only for Troy to realize that our tile is too thick and thus the doors are too tall. That led to him having to cut some height off the doors without them looking janky. He’s having so much fun with these projects! 🙂

daffodills

daffodils growing in the middle of blackberry vines – giving off very 2020/2021 vibes

Are you doing anything special for Easter next Sunday? This year, this very holy day also falls on Jack’s birthday. We will be having an Easter/birthday dinner with Troy’s parents and his sister’s little family. Rates are decent where we are, and 50% of the family is fully vaccinated.

Jack picked his birthday dinner that we’ll eat the night before, but we’ll have homemade cake on Easter. Jack is so my kid and each year requests that I make a dark chocolate cake with chocolate chips and chocolate buttercream. It’s a very intense cake, and I remember making it for his birthday celebration in preschool. Not one of the kids other than Jack could even finish half of their cupcake.

We’re doing a little “drive-thru” birthday on Saturday where we have invited a few friends/extended family members to swing by. I saw a meme last fall that you’ll know kids who grew up during the lockdown because even when they are older they will say “whose birthday is it” when they hear a car horn.

a laughing woman with soap on her face and glasses

Last week Bennett missed two days of school because of a cold. Sunday night came and Jack started sniffling, coughing, and had a really low-grade fever. Blast. The only thing these two actually share is germs. FML.

They were both out of school until the end of the week. It is made me realize how spoiled I had been to have them both gone twice a week for the last six weeks. After a year of lockdown and no school, those two days a week had felt like a fancy vacation.

Both kids needed a negative covid test to return to school. The point of contact for absences at both schools seemed surprised that I was so willing to do that and wasn’t fighting them on it. Listen, people. Everyone is just trying to do their best and do their job to keep students safe. Stop BEING A TOOL.

Troy took them both for tests, which we assumed would be a fast drive-through scenario. It was not, and led to them being there way past dinnertime. Because both boys had experienced some symptoms, they had to be seen and also given strep tests.

People who live in other countries that have their ish together will be shocked that we will then have to pay a copay on those visits. The tests were free, but we were roped into an exam for both kids. I know, if you have a national health care system in your country, you’re rolling your eyes at the stupid US system. I am too. I am too.

I’m fortunate that we have insurance, but that “quick” test to get back in school will cost us $100 in copays for the two of them. That is dumb. What if we didn’t have that money and desperately needed those tests to get the kids back in school so we could work hourly jobs? It is a messed up and ridiculous system.

Not to bury the lead, but both kids tested negative, as we knew they would. We still kept them home for another few days until their sniffles and coughs cleared up. It’s spring and we’re now all doing that “is it a cold or is it allergies” dance. Time to drug up the whole family every day with allergy meds.

a very mess kid's room

Bennett’s online organizing course will launch next week.

Troy couldn’t handle The Americans anymore (pity), so we watched one episode of The One on Netflix. I loved it because nobody does great suspense/crime thrillers like the Brits. But I’m not sure if Troy was a fan, so we switched over to The Flight Attendant.

I liked the first episode fine enough, but it started clicking better for me around episode two. I have a really hard time watching people being self-destructive and make super dumb life choices. B,ut the mystery aspect has me curious enough to keep watching. Kaley Cuoco is absolutely fantastic in it.

Honestly, when this is done, I just want to watch The Office and Ted Lasso on repeat. Ted Lasso is a gift to all humankind and should be automatic viewing whenever anyone is having a rough day. Ted Lasso, all day, every day.

a kiddie pool with mud and toys

Our kitchen has been BUSY this week! I have been testing new spring and summer recipes that I am so excited to share with you in the next few weeks/months. And it is pure joy to use our new space for this process. I still do a happy gasp when I walk in each morning and turn on the light.

All of our recipes are tested a minimum of three times so that by the time they hit your inbox, all the kinks and issues have been worked out. Food and time are expensive, and my goal is never to waste either of those.

And a note if you didn’t know this “fun fact”: all of our Instant Pot and air fryer recipes also include alternative cooking techniques. While I do love kitchen appliances (LOVE THEM), I create my recipes so that anyone can make them, regardless of the gadgets they have at home.

So, the next time you see an “Instant Pot x” or “Air Fryer Y” recipe on the blog, don’t skip it even if you don’t own those appliances. Check the recipe card in each post, because guaranteed I’ll tell you how to make it in the oven, on the stovetop, or in a slow cooker.

Housekeeping

I have now been taking Flo Vitamins for two months, and I am a FAN! My stupid adult acne has greatly improved, and cramps went from “this is the moment I die” to “pretty manageable”. To me, that is a giant win.

My friend and I both started taking them at the same time (and we both spent our own money on them) and she too has noticed a big change in her hormonal acne.

I would continue to take them regardless of the taste, but the fact that they taste like gummies definitely doesn’t hurt. Even better, new customers can get $10 off their first order via this link.

What I’m Listening To This Week

I binged Your Own Backyard pretty quickly last week. It’s about a missing college student from the central coast of California in the 90s, and the very bungled investigation to find her.

The podcast actually renewed interest in the case, and new developments are essentially happening every few weeks. It’s been interesting to listen to the podcast and then see things happening in real-time.

What I’m Reading This Week

I finished Normal People and oh boy, it was a downer of a read. The writing was gorgeous, but I feel like I needed a palette cleanser after that.

Sadly, I did not listen to myself and started Beartown. It started off pretty light and engaging, and I am realizing that it is not going to end in a pretty happy bow.

I am on the waitlist for a ton of books at our library. It’s going to be a busy and interesting spring.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Erin (hands down, my most reliable rater/reviewer. Gold star, Erin) left this five-star review on our Blistered Shishito Peppers {Pin this recipe}:

I saw these peppers at the Costco and knew that I had no excuse not to try Sarah’s method. My impatient self burned the first batch but I soon got the hang of it. They were all delicious! She is right when she says they make a great snack. The peppers paired so well with our fake-out-take-out!

a blistered shishito pepper dipping a pardon pepper into a spicy dipping sauce

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

You might sense a theme with this week’s post, and yes, of course, it was intentional! Everything this week was all about helping you get ready for Easter. Yep, I even want to help you meal prep a holiday dinner.

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls – Imagine waking up to the amazing scent of soft, gooey, and delicious homemade Overnight Cinnamon Rolls baking in your oven. Spoil your family with these make-ahead cinnamon buns with homemade orange cream cheese frosting. {Pin this recipe}

Gluten-Free French Fried Onions – You’re in for a treat with these Gluten-Free French Fried Onions! They are so good that it’s hard to believe these healthy crispy fried onions are Whole30 compliant, keto-friendly, and vegan. These fried onion strings can be made in the air fryer or baked in the oven. {Pin this recipe}

a bowl of crispy fried onions with parsley and dipping sauce

How to Make Brown Sugar – Learn how to make brown sugar in under five minutes, with only two ingredients. Make this brown sugar recipe at home, and never run out of this crucial baking ingredient again. {Pin this recipe}

a bottle of molasses, a jar of sugar, and a bowl of homemade brown sugar

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan/vegetarian as written, but you can make your version to your tastes.  {Pin this recipe}
  2. Air Fryer Potatoes – skip using the oven and make these crispy taters in the air fryer.  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Air Fryer Pizza Rolls – the childhood favorite with none of the burns on the roof of your mouth.  {Pin this recipe}
  4. Air Fryer Tofu – one of my quick go-to dinners or lunches. Top with your favorite sauce and then stuff your face.  {Pin this recipe}
  5. How to Freeze Spinach – ’tis spring. Yep.  {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: Air Fryer Tofu, Garlic Butter Rice, and a new recipe that I am photographing.

Tuesday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Wednesday:: Another recipe that I am testing. Again. We had it two weeks ago and everyone cleaned their plates. It was SO good. But I need to test it again because, for anyone who has an Instant Pot that gives a burn notice, this one would have set that off.

Thursday:: Pasta with marinara from the freezer (and if you think that is foreshadowing for an April post, then you are correct…) and salad.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Jack’s birthday dinner aka takeout to support a local small business.

Sunday:: Easter dinner (I mean, there will be food but I’m just eating chocolate).

 

What are you having this week?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

11 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. The term is “buried the lede”, buddy.

  2. Teeeeeeeed Laaaaaaasssoooooo!
    We just finished the series and fell in love. He is a cool guy, and we were so uplifted. It is a joy to watch TV that isn’t … well, American. My husband scans his online news and social media, catches up on magazines and mail while I watch TV. He watched every moment of this and said he thinks we’ll have to watch it again. He’s never said that before. We are big fans of BBC, and they didn’t disappoint. 

    • Did you know that Roy (the “older” soccer player) is one of the writers on the show? I found that out on a podcast a few months ago. I also found out that the show was created based on a silly character that Jason Sedikous (sp?) created for NBC sports.

      I’m like your husband when we watch TV – I’m never fully focused on it. But just like your husband, my attention was fully on the screen when Ted Lasso was on.

  3. My periods have been a nightmare the last few years and I was so happy when you posted about Flo! I had tried some other powdered drink mix and while it did help with PMS symptoms, it looked like pond water and tasted worse than it looked. I just got my 2 month supply of Flo in and they are surprisingly delicious and I’m anxious to see how they work for me! Also we made your air fryer ranch potatoes last night and my husband RAVED about them. Guess they’re going in the regular rotation. 🙂

    • Girl, same. What in the hell is up with that? With each kid, it was like my body was trying harder each month to kill me.

      They are delicious, right? My friend and I noticed a difference in our skin within about 2 weeks. My second period on them was noticeably lighter and for that, I was thankful.

      Want to be a total ninja with those potatoes? Follow my “how to freeze potatoes” instruction and you’ll already have the spuds cut, ready to season, and throw into the air fryer. Because they will be frozen when they go into the AF, I would preheat it for 5 min.

  4. I totally ordered thos vitamins for Emma. She has a dr. appt coming up, so we will run by the doc first, but I’m willing to try anything that may help!

    I also bought myself some Figs. I LOVE the Kade cargo pants. Even the petite are a touch too long so I’ll hem them a bit, but they are so comfy! Thank you!

    I just finished Exercised by Daniel Liberian and it was great. I already knew movement was important, but this book shed lots of light on why I suck at getting enough movement. I also geeked out on a lot of the studies, details, and charts.

    Your shelves are amazing! Troy did a great job!

  5. Your kitchen just gets prettier and prettier!

    I am sorry to tell you that Beartown is going to rip your heart out and hand it to you on a platter.  Shredded.  I love Fredrik Backman’s books but that is a tough one.

    We have two birthdays this week—my middle daughter Friday and oldest Saturday.  So Friday will be green chili chicken tacos for sure, her absolute favorite and I’m guessing Saturday will be cottage pie.  We celebrated my middle yesterday with a trail ride and picnic yesterday and the oldest is doing an outdoor fancy high tea with finger sandwiches, scones, and pastries the weekend after Easter.  Hope Jack has a happy Easter birthday!

    • Thank you! 🙂

      I’m about 60-70% done with the book. The plot line went exactly where I expected it to, and yep, it’s brutal.

      That is a busy week of birthdays! Happy birthday to all the kiddos.