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Scattered Sundays

Great news! The Prep Once Cook Twice Challenge is officially open for enrollment! If you could see me in person, I’d be doing a very terrible version of The Carlton.

I’m that dang excited about this meal prep system! <—-things cool people say. At least that is what I’m telling myself.

a mock of an ebook on a white background

This challenge has been a three-month work in progress. Though I would say it has also been a total labor of love. Conservatively, I would say I have put 100 hours of work into it. And it likely would have been a faster process if I wasn’t interrupted every 3.5 minutes with someone asking me something or wanting to tell me about a video game. GO AWAY.

Creating this system has completely taken me out of my comfort zone. It involved learning five new types of software and then integrating them all together despite none of it being intuitive. My greatest single accomplishment is not drop-kicking my laptop off the deck during this process.

I feel like I just birthed a baby. But unlike an energy-sucking newborn, THIS baby is designed to help YOU. 

My plan is to run this as a challenge twice – in June and again in September. The June group is the group that I’m going to learn from as much as educate. We’re going to work together to make sure everything is 100% fine-tuned and that it answers every single question someone could have about removing the stress from weeknight cooking.

As a result, the June challenge is offered at a lower price point. The September group will be full-priced, so if you like getting amazing value, join us in June! You can sign up here and we’re so excited to have you be part of this fan-freaking-tastic challenge.

a sloth on a tree and a little boy on a tree acting like a sloth

On Monday of this week, I started something called “The Bean Protocol” to try to help finally do away with my stupid adult acne. I’ve tried all the meds and have cut all the things from my diet, so maybe it is time to add something in and see what happens.

At a very basic level, The Bean Protocol is a whole foods-based solution that aims to solve/help problems with soluble fiber. Issues, especially things like hormonal acne, have shown great improvement with an increase in consuming soluble fiber.

I’m not an expert in The Bean Protocol and didn’t go through a formal training, buy a book, or take a course. I’ve basically been following along with others’ experiences on Instagram. I honestly don’t even know if there is anything to buy to get all the details for this process, but you can check out the founder’s IG profile if you want in-depth details.

At this point, I have tried medication in the form of pills and creams. One medication made me puke (the one that was supposed to help my dry eyes and had the reported side effects of helping with skin), and another really helped but was also a diuretic. I’m already a well-hydrated lady and don’t need to pee MORE.

Differin has been helpful but makes me more prone to burn in the sun. As if my pasty self needs MORE challenges with staying safe and pale.

And I just need to throw this out there – please do not email me with your MLM skincare, oil, shake, or vitamin solutions. I’m not interested. And please go listen to season one of the The Dream immediately. 

I started taking Flo Gummies to combat the horrible menstrual cramps that I get, and they had the wonderful side benefit of making my acne at least 50% better. But it is the remaining 50% that I truly need to get a handle on. And I’d love to not look like I’m 14 anymore unless we’re talking about how my abs looked back then.

So here I am, eating beans and hoping this works. This is a really low barrier to entry thing to try. I don’t need to see a doc to get a prescription, I don’t need an expensive cream, and my skin isn’t going to fry while I’m out working in the garden. If this doesn’t work, I’ve invested about $6 in dried beans. Ha!

I believe if I were doing The Bean Protocol the “right” way, I would also cut out sugar, gluten, and caffeine. But I have been sugar-free for months at a time and was dairy and gluten-free for almost a year when Jack was a baby. And my skin wasn’t any better and I looked and felt miserable. Oh, and I didn’t really start drinking caffeine until 2019 and my skin still sucked.

So, for me, simply adding more soluble fiber in the form of beans is what I’m doing. Since I have the best/snarkiest nutritionist on speed dial, I chatted with Katie. She recommended starting this protocol slowly to give my gut time to adjust, AKA not be a walking fart machine.

My goal is to consume 1 cup of cooked beans per day, and I split them into 1/4 cup portions. So far I have been having 1/2 cup at lunch in the form of this chickpea salad. I made it on Monday and have been eating it every single day for lunch. It just keeps getting better and better the longer it is in the fridge, and it’s the simplest grab-and-go lunch ever (I pair it with some other leftovers like a bowl of soup).

I used Katie’s instructions for Instant Pot Chickpeas and Instant Pot Spicy Black Beans to make quick and cheap AF beans for the week. You can cook unsoaked dried beans to perfection in under 1 hour in an Instant Pot. Hollah! The chickpeas I made went into that salad, and the black beans have been added 1/4 cup at a time to breakfast and dinner.

For breakfast, I always have the same thing: Make-Ahead Scrambled Eggs, a protein, and Encurtido. Now, I just reheat 1/4 cup of black beans with the eggs. I FINALLY get the appeal of “beans on toast” because even that tiny 1/4 cup keeps me full. I no longer crave snacks at 10 am. And I am a girl who LOVES snacks.

I’ll simply heat up a tiny portion of beans with my dinner, or eat them after dinner or before bed. The funny thing is, no one in my house knows I am doing this protocol, and so far, no one has said “why are you eating a dish of beans at 7 pm”. That being said, if I lived with females it would probably be noted.

And because I’m easing into this, my guts are just fine. I knew you were going to ask. 🙂 I’m going to keep the 1 cup portion in place for two weeks, and then will try to increase it by 1/4 cup and see how that goes. I’m going slow and steady so I don’t deal with bloat or gas.

I’m committed to trying this for one month. And at the end of it if my skin isn’t better, then I truly lost nothing. But if it works, then praise be! Maintaining after that point seems so manageable and affordable. Even canned beans are about $1 per day if you buy organic beans that are not on sale. Or I can use dried beans and make enough for the month for $6.

a boy in a sloth costume drinking a smoothie

My vaccinated self went out with my vaccinated sister and after 15 months, we finally got pedicures. I’m pretty sure the lady who was assigned to me groaned when she saw the state of my hooves. I’m so sorry!

It was nice and a way to dip our toes (<—- see what I did there?) back into normal society. And unlike the last 15 months, it did not involve being surrounded by our children. Pure heaven! 

In other “getting out into the world” news, I’m heading into Seattle this week to meet up with a long-time reader! She’s in town visiting her son and I’m so excited that her visit coincides with me living my best post-vax life. We’ll meet up outside and stay outside, but I’m still stoked! I’m in full-on post-vax Rumspringa mode.

a pink shirt on a clothesline that says "Drink Water, Love Hard, Fight Racism"

I bought myself this shirt from here. If it said “and turn the damn lights off after you leave the room” on the back, I’d think I created it in a fever dream.

Troy and I have been watching two great shows lately. We’ve binged Shrill (Hulu) and have enjoyed it very much. It’s 100% not kid-safe, but each episode is short enough that we can watch two after the boys go to bed. If you enjoyed Dave, Shrill gives off major Dave vibes.

We’re also watching Mosquito Coast (Apple TV. I think?) and it’s really good and super stressful. It is based off of a book that the lead actor’s uncle wrote years ago. I can’t think of a show to compare it to, but it is very well-done and entertaining.

a boy with facepaint to look like a cat sloth

Living out his dream of being a kitty sloth named Mittens.

In the Garden This Week

So much weeding this week, but thankfully it wasn’t ALL from me! My dad’s section of the garden is all flowers and is also prime morning glory territory that grows up from the neighbor’s yard. Last fall I had weeded half of this space, put down landscaping cloth and then bark, and then we started our remodel.

The other half of this space got abandoned and looks very much like the cover of Where the Wild Things Are. The weeds roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth. I’ve been working on it bit by bit but I haven’t been able to keep up with it AND weeding our gardens. Enough!

So this week, self-care looked like hiring a few youths from our church to do it. They get some cash and I don’t have to deal with it hanging over my head. They’re going to be working on it over the next two weeks and then I’ll lay down landscape fabric and bark. 

We’re mainly harvesting lettuce, beets, and carrots right now. The lettuce is so tender and sweet and has made me officially give up on growing spinach again.

Spinach is a finicky little butthole that needs to be harvested almost daily if you want tender baby greens. Whereas I can kind of ignore the lettuce a bit if needed. I need more things in my life that I can kind of ignore.

2 raised garden beds with garlic and lettuce growing in them

I finally got the cattle panel trellis in the raised bed that has the peas, and I am calling that a win considering the really busy week I had. In the middle bed, the garlic is looking fantastic, even though I um, planted it at least six weeks later than I really should have. Whoops.

The tomatoes are also planted but looking kind of sad without their cozy blanket of woodchips. This year Jack helped me map where I was planting what since I always forget to write it down and then spend all summer guessing what we’re eating. “This is delicious, Sarah. What is it called”? “Um…a tomato…”?


I’m so dang excited about our Prep Once Cook Twice challenge that it is the ONLY thing this week I am recommending! Seriously, it’s that good.

If you have tried meal prep before and it didn’t work, it’s not your fault. Without the right systems in place, meal prep can be overwhelming, boring, and leads you to reheating frozen meals you didn’t really want in the first place.

Our system teaches you to prep fresh ingredients so that you can throw together a fresh homecooked meal in 20-30 minutes.

What I’m Listening To This Week

One of my favorite podcasts, How I Built This has had amazing guests lately. I love hearing the “origin” story of how many huge and successful businesses were created. In particular, I really loved the recent interview with the founds of Pipcorn.

Even if you’re not interested in business stories, the human aspect of this podcast will have you smiling and nodding your head. I’ve discovered fantastic new products and brands to follow thanks to this podcast. 

What I’m Reading This Week

I finished The Nightingale (loved it) and picked up Who is Maud Dixon. It’s been a great and engaging read so far. There was some plot set up early on in the book that I figured would lead to where it led. BUT it’s still been fun to delve into it.

It’s a pretty fast read and I wanted to spend an evening and just finish it in one night, but that didn’t happen. This week was bananas as I finished up all the backend work on the challenge and I had our church council meeting. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how this ends.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Katie left this five-star review on our Instant Pot Brown Jasmine Rice {Pin this recipe}. I feel like “basic” posts like how to make plain rice are not the posts that are sexy and get a lot of attention. But they’re truly the building blocks to creating homemade meals.

Wow, I am a believer! I can never get brown rice to cook all the way through for me on the stove top! So I tried your recipe and my rice turned out perfect!!! Thank you so much for sharing this! ❤️❤️

Two bowls of Instant Pot brown rice on a white board

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

How to Make Tomato Powder – Learn How to Make Tomato Powder to preserve a delicious summer crop! Homemade Tomato Powder is an incredible zero-waste addition to your spice cabinet. {Pin this tutotorial}

a glass canning jar of homemade tomato powder

Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce – This fresh, homemade Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce is a delicious meatless sauce made from scratch. This sugar-free spaghetti sauce creates magic from fresh tomatoes and herbs. {Pin this recipe}

a bowl of crockpot spaghetti sauce with tomatoes and herbs

Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp – This is the best Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp you’ll ever eat! Made with an incredible gluten-free crumble topping, this strawberry dessert can also be made dairy-free or vegan. {Pin this recipe}

strawberry rhubarb crisp in a white baking dish with a bowl of strawberries

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 Tofu – so good and a great “gateway” recipe if you’re scared of trying tofu. {Pin this recipe}
  3. Air Fryer Cookies – when you don’t want to heat up your whole house for cookies in the oven. {Pin this recipe}
  4. Air Fryer Zucchini Chips – I know summer is starting when I see this recipe hitting the top 5. {Pin this recipe}
  5. How to Freeze Carrots – SUCH a timesaver for me when making soups, stews, and roasts. You’ll never find me without a bag of frozen carrots in my kitchen. {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: Troy is making sloppy Joes, tots, and salad.

Tuesday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Wednesday:: The weather will be cool, so I’m thinking homemade tomato soup, grilled cheese, and salad.

Thursday:: It’s been a long time since we’ve had Air Fryer Meatballs, so I’m going to double that recipe and freeze half. Will serve it with pasta, Freezer Spaghetti Sauce, and salad.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Takeout to support a local small business.

Sunday:: Troy is making a casserole thing with chicken and broccoli. I don’t know if it has an official name, but I don’t have to make it so I’m am excited!

What are you having this week?


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19 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I have found that newspaper under mulch works better than landscape fabric. I put down a pretty thick layer – maybe 10-15 sheets thick – and oveerlap. After a few years, the paper breaks down and helps to enrich the soil. Plus, it’s basically free, since we still get a newspaper daily.

    Also free, sort of, is what I use to wash my face – extra virgin olive oil. It even cuts through sunscreen, and also leaves my skin soft. I massage it in for a few moments, then wipe with a clean washcloth moistened with very warm water. My skin has never been clearer, and when my dispenser is empty, I refill it with the same stuff I use to cook.

    • I use the lasagna gardening method which has uses newspaper and cardboard. I find they break down more quickly in our damp climate vs the landscaping fabric. I can put down cardboard in fall and by March it has decomposed. May be a climate thing?

      I use the oil cleansing method for washing my face, but instead of olive oil I use sweet almond oil. Basically the same concept and yes, it is amazing for keeping skin soft! My skin is much better with this method but not entirely clear.

  2. I hope the bean protocol is like magic for you.
    We’re having “mom’s going to survive the last week of school so eat what you can find” every night this week. I prepped some soup and sides (It’s going to be 80 every day this week – I don’t care. Either eat the soup or don’t.) and my husband grilled lots of things yesterday, so kiddos, make a salad, and if you like me, make two. Put onions on that second one. Don’t ask me about food and I won’t ask you what you ate today.

  3. I want to know does it matter what kind of beans?  I have a ton of dried pinto beans I would love to use. PS.  I am closing in on 50 and still have acne. But,  I do have significantly less wrinkles than some of my friends (the Botox, fillers, laser lift free ones that is). 

  4. I’m curious to see how your bean challenge goes! I have learned a lot about using niacinamides (vitamin B) to help with acne and oily skin. The Ordinary has a serum for $6 and it has really helped with my oily skin, and helped combat those wonderful breakouts from wearing masks in last summer’s heat and humidity. I think you can also find some lotions like CeraVe that include it in their moisturizers. Just another thing to try if need be.

  5. The single best thing I have eliminated/severely limited for my hormone issues is soy. It is in everything! Consequently, I was getting way too much.
    I no longer have hot flashes.

    • I have been soy-free before for over two months. Didn’t do a thing. Bodies are soooooo weird!

      But you’re 100% right; it is in EVERYTHING.

  6. I totally did a happy dance when the email announcing the launch of Prep Once Cook Twice showed up!! I’ve got it printed and I just need to dig out the binder I plan to put it in.

    Hmm, I’m interested to hear how the Bean Protocol goes. The kiddo could use more fiber AND help with acne. When we did the Vegan challenge a few years ago one of our favorite meals was the Chickpea Sammie from the cookbook Thug Kitchen.
    The kiddo has been doing the Flo vitamins for just over a month… two months? Her last cycle cramps were way more manageable. I’ve also heard of Seed Cycling for help with cycle hormones. I bought the seeds but never got around to getting it going.

    And yay for post-vaccine adventures!

    • I’m so excited that you and your office supplies are joining us! 🙂

      As far as I know, lentils also count as soluble fiber. It doesn’t *just* have to be beans. And I’m thrilled that the Flo vitamins have helped. I cannot speak highly enough about them. After I tried them for two months I went to the subscribe and save option to save $$.

  7. For tv shows – I ended up binging a show called Letterkenny on Hulu. It is one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in a long while. It’s about a small town in Canada called…Letterkenny. It’s both witty and a little bit absurd. Love it!

  8. Thanks for posting what you’re reading!  I have liked/disliked enough of the same books as you that now when you say you enjoyed a book, I add it to my library list!

    I hope the beans are your Magic Solution for acne!  The only thing that works for mine is benzoyl peroxide which is horrifying to my “clean beauty product” shilling friends and yes, it turns colored towels and pillow cases orange so it’s probably some level of toxic???  But it means I only have wrinkles rather than wrinkles AND acne!  That said, if the beans work for you, I may give them a try so I could ditch my Neutrogena face wash habit!

    This week we’re going to have green chili chicken tacos, turkey meatballs with sheet pan veggies, ginger chicken with broccoli, smoked pork chops with baked potatoes and veg, and Friday I am going out for a work retirement party so my husband will probably get Chinese take out for the kids and himself on his way home from work!

    This our last week of school and I have already told my daughters that, starting next week, they will each be in charge of planning and cooking one meal per week.  We tried this during spring break and it was a great success.  They are 10, 12, and 13 and fairly capable in the kitchen.  I’m looking forward to seeing what new recipes they will find and having three nights of planning off my shoulders!  I will be suggesting that they follow you on Pinterest to get some great ideas!

    • I had to laugh at your clean beauty product shilling comment. My friend and I started Flo gummies at the same time and BOTH noticed around the same time that our skin was better. It then set off a two-day text thread along the lines of “I don’t care if they use manatee tears for these, I’m going to keep buying them”. Ha!

      Your menu this week sounds delicious!

      I love the idea that the girls are going to be cooking dinner. That is how I got started cooking…and also learning how to clean as you go so that the entire kitchen isn’t a trainwreck.

  9. Yay for prep once!  I’m in!