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Scattered Sundays

I’m not sure if it is the change in weather or what, but my feet have been sweating buckets lately! Long-time readers may remember I had this issue after Bennett was born. Breastfeeding was so painful (again. WTF?) and my body’s natural reaction was to release 15 gallons of sweat anytime he latched on. I used to have to wrap my feet in burp rags.

But now? No clue why my feet have turned against me.

Can just your feet go through menopause?

Asking for a friend.

The only thing saving my bacon right now is wearing my favorite wool socks around the house (they’re super absorbent) and using these terrycloth inserts in my shoes when I go barefoot. I’ve had the same washable inserts for three years now and they’re a godsend.

Our spring is off to an amazing start with glorious blue skies and temps hovering around 70. With the loveliness comes a return of seasonal allergies for all members of the Cook household. It’s not yet at the point where I want to peel my face off and pressure wash underneath, but that moment is imminent. Hoping you and your family are not too sneezy and snotty!

Hey, so I’ve heard from a ton of you that my emails are going into inboxes, spam folders, promotions or social tabs. Email providers are real pills sometimes. Here are some ways to ensure my emails go right to your inbox:

Gmail – If the email goes to social or promotions tab, drag the email to your Primary tab. Gmail will ask you if you want to make the change permanent. You do so check “yes”. Congrats, you just pushed google around.

Apple mail – Click on my email address at the top of my email and select “Add to VIPs”. And then you’ll get my emails in your inbox and I’ll get a giant head for feeling like a VIP.

MSN

  1. Sign in to MSN Explorer.
  2. Click the Mail & More icon.
  3. From the menu bar click Help and Settings, then click E-mail Settings.
  4. Click Junk E-mail Guard and click on Junk e-mail filter. If your Junk Mail filter is set to Exclusive or Strong, set it to Moderate and click Save Changes.

Outlook/Hotmail:

1. Click the “Junk” folder on the left pane. 
2. Check to see if my emails are in this folder.
3. If you see any of my emails, click the box on the left of each message to put a check mark and then click the “Not Junk” button.

If you’re not already signed up for my email list, you can hop on the train right now (and get a free ebook in the process. Whoo whoo <—that’s a train sound):

What’s the deal with sous vide? I’m seeing it everywhere on Instagram these days. Anyone doing this at home? I don’t need any more kitchen tools (famous last words) but I would love to hear your experiences! What do you love to make with it?

There are seven years between my kiddos, so finding activities that both of them enjoy can be really challenging. It usually ends up that Jack has to do things that are too young for him, or Bennett is doing things that most three-year-olds aren’t. Like laser tag.

But we found a game that both kids like and it doesn’t suck for adults. The boys played Shark Bite at my sister’s house and I picked up the game a week later when it was on clearance at a local store. It goes super fast and involves minimal counting. The boys played with it for 40 minutes without fighting. That is a legit miracle.

Adventures in dressing himself continues

Hey, I’ll be in Utah the first week of May for a food blogging conference (my first one! All those people and talking/learning about a topic I love? That’s like catnip to extroverts who work from home and miss human interaction). I don’t have the full schedule yet, but I’d love to meet up with any readers in the Layton area. If you’re around May 1-4, could you please email me or message me on Instagram

Jack’s birthday was on Thursday and I am a big believer of getting whatever you want for breakfast on your birthday. He always chooses overnight cinnamon rolls, so I was surprised that this year he wanted the homemade pop tarts from Smitten Kitchen that I always make for Troy’s birthday.

This is a recipe that only looks complicated. If you’ve ever made a pie crust, you can make homemade pop tarts. And because you can assemble them ahead of time, I made them even way back when my office job had me leaving the house at 6 am for daycare drop off. Make and fill the night before and pop (<—-see what I did there) them into the oven before you jump in the shower. Wham, bam. Birthday breakfast.

What I’m Listening To This Week

Two years ago, a reader recommended the podcast Pantsuit Politics to me. The hosts are two females – one is a Republican and one is a Democrat. There is almost no drama, no screaming, and the nuanced discussions they have are wonderful.

This week they had John Delany on and I knew absolutely nothing about this presidential candidate. The episode was great and I found their discussion really interesting and inspiring.

I’m an independent voter and even spent a few years working for a Republican member of the House of Representatives. So anytime I can hear rational people speaking about both sides an issue, I’m all ears!

Comment/Review of the Week

Patricia left this hilarious five-star review for Sweet Potato Fries Dipping Sauce. Anytime I can make someone swear about food I’m a happy girl.

I made this to have tonight with roasted cauliflower but ended up trying it with the quesadillas I made for lunch and it was awesome!!! I forced my sour cream-hating husband to try some with his quesadilla and he was blown away. His comment “That’s pretty [expletive]ing good.”

a tray of sweet potato fries with sweet potato fry dipping sauce

{Pin this recipe}

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

I stuck to my two new posts for the week goal. Go me! I have to tell you, I was soooo much more relaxed this week not writing four posts. Especially because it was spring break and I was tripping over kids every 10 seconds.

10 Easy Stuffed Chicken Breast Recipes – Feel fancy but save time making these 10 Easy Stuffed Chicken Breast Recipes. You’ll love all of these stuffed chicken recipes for fast and tasty meals. In this post, you’ll find baked stuffed chicken breast recipes, healthy stuffed chicken breast recipes, easy stuffed chicken breast recipes, and even some creamy cheese stuffed chicken breasts.

four photos of easy stuffed chicken breast recipes

{Pin this}

Vertical Strawberry Planter {DIY Strawberry Tower} – Learn how to make a Vertical Strawberry Planter with just a few affordable supplies. These DIY strawberry towers are PVC-free and are perfect for small gardens, balcony gardens, and greenhouse planting. You’ll love how simple it is to make these long-lasting strawberry planters so you can grow your own organic berries.

{Pin this}

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

I’m changing things up with the 10-14th most popular posts this week. No one wants to see the Virgin Mojito again for a few weeks. Right?

  1. (though really #10) Healthy Orange Chicken {Pin this}
  2. (#11) The Essential Whole30 Costco Shopping List {Pin this}
  3. (#12) The Ultimate Guide to Roasting Frozen Vegetables {Pin this}
  4. (#13) Vertical Strawberry Planter {Pin this}
  5. (#14) Why We’re Doing Things Differently With This Kid (an oldie but a goodie)

Meal Plan

Looking for someone to do the meal planning for you? I’m partnering with Real Plans to bring you personalized meal plans that fit all dietary needs. Try it yourself for free!

Monday:: New recipe I am trying out. Wouldn’t you like to know what it is? Oh, you would? Well, wait a few weeks and I’ll tell your nosy ass. This is kind of a sheet pan situation since you people only want one pan dinners from me and basically ignore everything else I pour my heart and soul into. Well fine. I’ll play your game.

Tuesday:: Another new recipe (can you tell the kids are finally back in school and preschool is happening again?! I have my two hours back to photograph!). This one is breakfast based.

Wednesday:: Annnnnnd, another new recipe. NO, YOU SHUT UP.

Thursday:: TBD. With our return to back to school, a few days are up in the air. There may be a lot of leftovers from the previous few nights.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Chef salads because I’m unoriginal and the kids won’t whine and I don’t have to fight for no thank you bites.

Sunday:: My father-in-law’s birthday dinner.

What We Bought This Week

Thrive: $40.65.

So, this was my first order from Thrive and I’m a fan! I needed a bunch of bone broth for an upcoming post and I couldn’t find certain brands in my small town. And Thrive‘s prices were $2 cheaper than Amazon and shipping was two days (just like Amazon). And because it was my first order I saved an extra 25% off.

One day last month I was building a fire and was using some newspaper as fire starter and came across this article about the environmental impact of toilet paper. And the toilet paper we buy was rated a big fat F.

Ugh, I felt (for lack of a better term) like crap. So, since I was already ordering from Thrive I decided to check out their TP selection. Most of the brands were $5 more on Amazon, so I went for it.

We’ll be testing out the three types over the next few months/months and I’ll eventually report back on our favorite. I’m literally putting my ass on the line for you all. Hee hee.

Four days later…

Get an extra 25% OFF your first order + a 30 day free trial membership when you sign up at Thrive Market! (Valid on orders $49+, max $20 discount)


Thrive Market

Smith Brother’s Farms: $14.48

If you’re in the Puget Sound area, get a $20 credit for signing up with Smith Brothers for their awesome home delivery.

Costco: $84.45

 

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14 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I sous vide. It’s really excellent for red meat, but I am eating a lot less of that, so I am interested in finding some new recipes. Chicken is a bit difficult because, guess what, it can be fully cooked and safe to eat using this method, but still have a pink tinge. I can’t really get past that, so I when I do poultry in the sous vide, I will do it at a higher temp for longer. Still more tender than baking it to death, but, yeah.

    I would love more vegetarian recipes and ones that don’t use beef. A REALLY amazing resource is this series from Claire Lower, who is one of my favorite writers, and she’s also in the PNW. You may enjoy it as well: https://lifehacker.com/c/will-it-sous-vide

  2. I have a deal with myself that, if I get down to a certain weight, I’ll buy a sous vide. I want to for meat (mainly steaks) but I’d also be excited to try it for yogurt.

    • Girl, I always do that too with goals and milestones. I make everything a challenge! I can’t wait to hear about your experience when you get it!

  3. I have also been enjoying the rational discussions on pantsuit Politics.

    I broke down and bought the waffle iron you have. We have been without a waffle iron for several years and I have bought and returned more than I care to share. Our Krups came Wednesday and we used it Saturday for the most amazing crispy waffles! And my husband loved the easy cleanup. So thank you for sharing your recommendations and saving me from another 3 years of trial and error!!

    • I can’t remember that far back…was it you who recommended that podcast to me?

      I’m so glad you like the waffle iron! The dishwasher aspect is so lovely!

  4. I have an Anova immersion circulator and have had it for a few years now.  I used to use it ALL the time.  I can FINALLY make pork chops that are not all dried out!  Then hubby got diagnosed with heart disease and pork chops are not really “allowed” (he was told to ‘limit anything that used to have four legs to once a month’)  We aren’t crazy about fish, so I make chicken, chicken, chicken most of the time.   Your timing of this question is kind of interesting though, because I tucked the Anova away and forgot about it for months and months. and JUST added a few new sous vide recipes to our menu to get  back into using it.  
    I have NEVER had a dry chicken breast or pork chop using sous vide.  But I DID have gross chicken once.  You shouldn’t use citrus juice as a marinade with this method.  Apparently, marinating in citrus starts ‘cooking’ the meat (there is a word for that, but I forget).  You end up with chicken that has the consistency of mushy cardboard.  It still tasted good, be we all had to choke it down because the texture was so gross. (we don’t waste food here.  If a new recipe is not great, we eat it anyway and throw out that printout so we don’t accidentally make it again!)
    Apparently you can make the most amazing egg bites using sous vide, but I haven’t tried that either (again, hubby is only supposed to have 2 eggs in a week, so he makes them count).
    We have done another thing with the anova, but it is illegal in some places (not here though, plus my husband has a prescription -we are Canadian),  THAT was a huge win, it never stunk the house up or anything, and he ended up getting two uses out of one expensive product.
    Sous vide is kind of a ‘set it and forget it’ method, which works GREAT if you are home.  Some models have a bluetooth feature that you can use from away, but that involves setting up your pot with ice water.  That is way more trouble than I am interested in, but I am home most of the time anyway.

    Kids love of boxes doesn’t stop.  I bought a chair a while ago that came in a big box and my girls (maybe…. 17 & 13?) asked me to keep it until the  next recycling day so they could play with it.  We went away for the weekend, leaving the girls at home, and when we returned, they had decorated it and turned it into a ‘coffee shop’.  Apparently they played with it ALL weekend!  I’ve also got a photo where they “helped” me grocery shop and they were playing in the boxes I brought the groceries home in.  I guarantee that if a large box entered my home now, the one who still lives here would be all over it (well, maybe not this week…. it is the end of the school year for her and the year-end assignments are keeping her very occupied)
    I clicked the TP link and am bummed (haha) to discover my beloved Kirkland is rated an F as well.  I assume Kirkland TP in Canada is the same as Kirkland TP in America.  Not sure I am willing to risk using sandpaper though…..  I think I will wait to see what your results are.
    I like that tote bag in your Costco cart!  I *think* it says Trader Joe’s?  That is a supermarket, isn’t it?  Is that tote insulated?

    • I *believe* the term you’re thinking about is ceviche with the citrus? So interesting that you can’t sous vide with any citrus!

      And it’s legal in Washington too.

      My MIL’s dad worked at a furniture company for a few years and used to bring home the old wooden boxes couches came in. I can only imagine the forts that she built with her brother!

      We buy Kirkland TP too. I was so sad it was on the list because the price is wonderful. Fun fact: Kirkland is a city in Washington where Costco first started!

      It is an insulated bag from Trader Joe’s. It’s a good size, but Costco has huge ones (at least at our store).

      • I think it is just citrus JUICE that causes the reaction/problem. Our dinner tonight is SV and has lemon slices involved.  And YES, that was the term!

        I think that **I** would have fun with a wooden crate fort! I’m picturing him strapping the crate to the top of a station wagon to bring it home…

        I did not now that was where the Kirkland name came from!

        I’ve seen the huge Costco bags and imagine that they would get heavy fast.  I am lucky enough to live minutes away from a couple Costco locations. So I do not require the insulation.  When we move in ten-ish years I will be a 5-hour drive away from one.   Hopefully they build another one in Newfoundland (there is ONE in the entire province!) before we get there! 
        I should go set up that dinner now!

      • Amazing to be so close to that many Costcos!!

        I hope the dinner turned out well.

      • The dinner was a solid ‘meh’.  The amount of garlic and fresh thyme should have made it FULL of flavour, but it was pretty bland.  But it was cooked well and not even a little dry.  My 21 year old even commented on that, saying about them (skinless boneless chicken breasts) “Holy juicy boobs!”  (we often call them ‘chicken boobs’)  So in that respect it was a win.  Because I was expecting them to be so flavourful, we just had a mix of quinoa and brown rice on the side and a veggie.

        It can be amazing to live close to Costco, but it can also be REALLY expensive! 

      • We call them boobs too!

        I was reading a SV chicken post and it said to sear the chicken after it was done cooking to boost the flavor. Is that something you all do?

  5. Since my surgery, I haven’t really been sweating. Probably something to bring up at my next follow up.

    I’ve been eyeballing Thrive. With the increase in prices we are about to experience moving for MI to CA, I’m going to stop eyeballing and actually check it out.

    I love Bennett’s fashion sense! When Emma was that age, I was big into upcycling and sewing, so she ended up with some interesting clothing. Luckily kids are cute enough (and oblivious to criticism) at that age to get away with an odd fashion sense!

    Have fun in Utah!!

    • Were you sweating much before in the MI winter?

      I enjoyed my Thrive experience and look forward to ordering more from them in the future.

      Does emma choose her clothes now or is she still pretty ok with whatever comes into the house? Bennett is the 4th boy in the family and has three more little boy cousins that just came along. The end of the line of clothing is pretty hilarious at this point.