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Scattered Sundays

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Here is how my brain works. Three weeks ago, I put my head down and just plowed through work with the goal of getting far ahead so I could dial back my hours over the holidays. The boys are home for 16 days and I have never taken a true break when they’re on break.

And I did! I got loose ends tied up, worked my way into the first weeks of January to give myself some wiggle room. It was great! And then I paused for a second, had a conversation with Katie, and somehow that lead me to text her “maybe I should just covert my ebook to a physical product”…

How it started: I’m going to take time off during the break. How it ended: I need to learn all new kinds of software, get super far out of my comfort zone, learn how to buy ISBNs, and become a self-published author. Y’all, my brain and my plans are constantly out to get me.

I have to give a big shoutout to my friend Chelsea who was really helpful with the process and patient with my 39,412 questions about Amazon’s print-on-demand systems. She self-published this incredible sous vide meal prep guide and had lots of valuable insights while I was tearing out my hair.

The process took me way out of my comfort zone, and a few mornings Troy would wake up to find me at the kitchen table with a dazed/angry/overly-caffeinated look on my face as I struggled (HARD) getting everything ready to go.

But it’s done and I’m so so SO excited to be able to offer my Prep Once Cook Twice workbook as an actual physical product. You can hold it in your cute little hands without going to Staples to have it printed! :throws confetti in the air and then promptly sweeps it up cause you know I hate a mess:

a screenshot of a book on Amazon

Would this have been better like three weeks earlier so you could get it as a holiday gift? YES. Is it available now and able to help you with any New Years’ resolution around meal planning? ALSO YES! Should I stop coming up with new last-minute ideas? UM, yes.

Shifting gears from my bonkers brain, how were your holidays? We kept things small and planned to do Christmas day with my inlaws over here for breakfast and gifts. But something very very rare for Seattle was in the works – a white Christmas, so as we have had to do 4 billion times over the last two years, we pivoted.

We live on a steep hill that is fantastic for sledding but terrible for winter driving. And my inlaws always love to spend the end of the year at Ocean Shores, and the idea of driving there in snow was not ideal. So, we simply shifted our celebration with them to Christmas Eve day.

They came over on Friday for a brunch and opening the presents they got the boys and we got for them. It was nice and laid back with Overnight Cinnamon Rolls (doy), Make-Ahead Scrambled Eggs, and my MIL made hashbrown casserole, a small ham, and fruit.

It was nice and simple, and if there is anything we have learned from Troy’s weird schedule, it is that the holidays are about when you celebrate them together. Not the day that the calendar says you should celebrate it.

And then we got up the next morning and found that Santa had left a very small but well-chosen number of gifts for the boys. And we opened those and the gifts from us and other family members and friends who sent things along.

As far as pandemic Christmases go, it was perfectly lovely. Looking forward to spending it (hopefully) with lots more family in the future. Oh, and that white Christmas? Didn’t happen. But that’s ok. 

The lead-up to Christmas was as fun as I could make it without also making it stressful. We went to Zoolights with friends and ate in our first restaurant as a family in two years. Not the best time of year/pandemic for that to happen but we went SO early and were basically alone in our part of the restaurant.

Masks were worn when we weren’t eating.; everyone was super good about it. I wouldn’t jump to do it again anytime soon but it was ok given the situation. Instead, we will continue to support small restaurants with weekly takeout. Everyone’s comfort level is different right now, and I fully accept that some people think I’m being too cautious and yet others will think we’re not being cautious enough. 

a boy in a christmas pageant costume

The irony of this little shepherd at the church Christmas pageant wearing a German shepherd mask was lost on everyone.

The week found me also making one more batch of old-fashioned fudge and TWO batches of almond roca. There has been a lot of sugar and butter used in this house in the last week. Goodness. But we got to gift delicious things to nice people. And um, ourselves.

The boys and I also made sugar cookies on Wednesday and frosted them on Friday after my inlaws left (I used this frosting recipe with the least amount of milk it called for). I posted some photos on Instagram stories showing pictures of the boys making cookies in the old kitchen, and it was yet another reminder of how grateful I am to have the new kitchen. I’ll never stop being amazed that we did that enormous project and survived.

2 boys making Christmas cookies

Our friends left for a trip back east on Christmas Day, and they asked Jack to catsit. Bennett, of course, is devastated, because the idea of it being an actual job to snuggle and feed cats is his dream career. I used to pet sit all the time for neighbors and I think this will be great for Jack.

It’s also great for the cat and the family since they don’t have to board him. They were going to pay Jack a stupidly high amount of money per day but I told them that was a bit excessive. We came up with a much more reasonable daily rate. It’s a cat, not a Faberge egg. Jack is excited to have a job and earn some of his own cash. 

We have (Seattle) COLD temps and multiple days of snow in the forecast. Honestly, no one is more excited than me. Living on a super steep hill means so much sledding when it snows. When the kids are tired and cold, I’m still hitting the slopes and flying down at somewhat reckless speeds. As my uncle used to say “you’re only young once, but you can be immature forever”.

This week I need to meal prep more frozen minced garlic because it is my absolute favorite kitchen hack. If you’re looking to dip your toe into meal prep, start with something simple like freezing chopped garlic or minced onions. It’s super simple and SO useful!

a drawing of 2 cats

Merry Christmas from Baby GG and Cotton Candy

HOUSEKEEPING

If you’re looking to revamp your meal prep in the new year (did you know I have a book for that…), you might also need some new food storage to hold all your awesomeness. Zip Top silicone containers are completely free of BPA, lead, PVC, and phthalates, made in the USA, and each bag can replace up to 5,000 single-use plastic bags. Yep, 5,000.

In addition to being made in the USA, the company is also female-owned/led which is absolutely rad. We LOVE our Zip Top bags – my favorite part is how easy they are to wash and air dry (cause you know this bish does not towel dry a thing).

Interested in getting your own? You can also take 15% off your purchase using coupon code SUSTAINABLECOOKS15 over on their website.

What I’m reading this week

I finally finished Harlem Shuffle after three weeks. Maybe four? I actually really liked the book, the characters, and the setting. But I think I just wasn’t in a reading zone in my brain and I simply wasn’t making time for it.

I started Before the Ruins and am not too far into it yet, because it’s the holidays and I have children. And as much as I love them, I also need them to leave me alone and get out mah face. Before the Ruins is giving me some “The Guest List” vibes.

READER SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK

Long-time reader (and avowed hater of the actual act of cooking), Lisa, left this five-star review on our brand new Chicken Pasta Broccoli Bake {Pin this recipe}:

This was so good! Perfect for my cooking skills. Easy to follow steps! It was delicious. I’ll definitely be adding this to my weekly rotation. 

a spoonful of chicken broccoli pasta

ON SUSTAINABLE COOKS THIS WEEK

Instant Pot Recipes For BeginnersMake these healthy and delicious Easy Instant Pot Recipes For Beginners to help you learn to make amazing quick and simple meals. Tasty dinner, soup, breakfast, and other recipes to get you started on the road to Instant Pot expert. {Pin these recipes}

9 photos of Instant Pot recipes

How to Can PineappleAn easy step-by-step tutorial on Canning Pineapple. This simple recipe for preserved pineapple is perfect for newbies and experienced canners alike. Instructions include low-sugar and no-sugar options. {Pin this tutorial}

Canning tongs lifting a mason jar of cubed pineapple out of a canner

Instant Pot Turkey ChiliCozy up to a bowl of this amazing and easy Instant Pot Turkey Chili! This recipe contains no beans for a Whole30 compliant and/or paleo dinner. {Pin this recipe}

a white bowl with turkey chili topped with green onions and cilantro

THE FIVE MOST POPULAR POSTS THIS WEEK

  1. Old-Fashioned Fudge– this juggernaut of a post has been 25% of my traffic over the last week! But, I predict it will start to freefall in approximately 32 seconds. Post-Christmas fudge is just not a thing. {Pin this recipe}
  2. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan and vegetarian as written but super customizable! {Pin this recipe}
  3. Air Fryer Pizza Rolls – like the ones you ate as a teen, but without the burning lava cheese stuck to the roof of your mouth. {Pin this tutorial}
  4. Stovetop Candied Pecans – great for snacking and baking and tis’ the season. {Pin this recipe}
  5. Instant Pot Beef Tips – I guess everyone was searching for what to do with just the tip this week… {Pin this recipe}

MEAL PLAN

Monday:: Instant Pot Tortellini Soup and salad. 

Tuesday:: Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos, Garlic Rice, and salad.

Wednesday:: Troy is making chicken teriyaki and rice.

Thursday:: Takeout! The boys are spending the night at my sister’s (she and my BIL are gluttons for punishment I guess) and Troy and I are getting takeout and renting No Time to Die because I am James Bond obsessed.

Friday:: “East coast” New Year’s Eve (aka, everything is wrapped up by 9 pm) at my sister’s. Can you believe that fool wants to keep my kids for a full 24 hours? I guarantee my BIL was not involved in this decision.

Saturday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Sunday:: Troy is making homemade pizza and salad.

What are you having this week?

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8 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Absolutely stalk you!!!
    Wanting to Congratulate you on your amazing talents Sarah along with beautiful love for Troy & creations of J & B.
    From afar my adoration runs extremely deep and joyful. Thank you for you❤️
    I love you and want you to always know that.
    Happy Holidays 
    Sled like a maniac Always ❤️👍

  2. Just the tip… Hehehe I come for the cooking content and stay for the inappropriate jokes. Merry Christmas and congrats on your book! *Cautiously throwing a few prices of confetti as to not contribute too much to the mess*

  3. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year … I laughed and got tears in my eyes seeing the photo of Bennett with the German shepherd mask on being a shepherd for  the Church event.. it would not have been lost on me…. Simple joys to laugh and just want to say again you are truly my favorite of any blogger, or story teller or whatever you call yourself and you would make a lot of people happy if you did write an e-book on anything …. You’re a delightful woman and so is your family.. Aloha, Steph

  4. Happy Christmas! Next week, I’m mostly recovering from the Christmas food coma with vegetables and leftovers. Today we are recovering from Christmas Day at my brother’s. Tomorrow is a roast beef and yorkshire pudding day and the rest of the week is that hazy between Christmas and New Year where I don’t need to work and I’ll be trying to catch up with everyone I didn’t get to see before Christmas (while the LFT’s are still negative!), distributing cinnamon rolls (thanks for that recipe!) and mince pies..