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Scattered Sundays

This week brought another “spruce up” to ye old blog. I’m really loving all the tweaks we’ve been adding and I think they’re making the site more helpful and better looking.

Y’all have been loving the ingredient measurements now being in the recipe card instructions and I’m thrilled about that! I’m still making my way through old recipes to update them, so drop any “hurry up and do x” requests in the comments.

Last week, at my request, my website designer created some color “blocks” that I can now put around things in posts that I want to highlight. This helps me organize the content so it’s easier for me to get across the most pertinent info…and so that readers might actually stop and pay attention to the tips/tricks.

Now, when someone says something like “I didn’t realize the milk needed to be warmed first”, I can point out that the info was in the post surrounded by a big giant light teal box. Skim the site at your own risk, friends cause I bring the receipts. 🙂 This color block below is from our Baked Brie With Garlic.

a large teal shaded box around text on a website with an orange arrow pointing to it.

I got back from the Tastemakers conference on Saturday evening. It was in Chicago…in March…so you know, pretty tropical. Katie of Hey Nutrition Lady, Emmeline of Always Use Butter, and I shared an Airbnb near UIC that was just ok.

I haven’t stayed in a lot of Airbnbs, but it seems pretty reasonable for the host to provide salt and pepper and at least one extra blanket per bedroom. Maybe?

My flight landed hours before theirs, and my friend Rachel ordered me to go to Manny’s Deli and get a potato pancake, and sandwich. I walked back to the Airbnb with my food and realized that the sandwich contained more meat than I eat in 2-3 weeks. It took me three days to finish it all.

a deli sandwich in a plastic clamshell

We had a good time and did A LOT of walking around the city. The conference was three miles from where we were staying, and we walked home on the first day and walked there the next morning. You know I love my walks and this was a fun way to see a new city.

On one of those walks, the girls spotted a Trader Joe’s, and it was on like Donkey Kong. I do believe Emmeline’s entire suitcase on the flight home was full of TJ’s products and hot sauce from the grocery store.

a woman taking a photo of groceries on a floor
This was after their first trip. They went again after I flew out.

One of the nights we went to Girl & The Goat and had an absolutely fantastic meal, despite both ladies being horribly jetlagged. The restaurant was started by a former Top Chef winner (season 4), Stephanie Izard. Even though the restaurant did have a lot of goat dishes on the menu, six of the seven small plates we shared were 100% vegetarian.

There was a naan (flatbread) on the menu that might have changed my life. We were all trying to figure out what was on top so that we could recreate it. I know there was crispy garlic and onions, scallions, and also some sesame seeds. And I’m going to go ahead and guess a dash of magic.

a woman smiling in a restaurant.
Katie and the life-changing naan.

Saturday morning we hit up a diner because apparently American diners are not really a thing in Sweden. Who knew? Just kidding, I knew. We all ended up with breakfast tacos and had a nice walk around the neighborhood after we finished.

That walk somehow turned into a trip to Do-Rite Donuts right before I had to leave for the airport. But not without my share of the donuts before I had to bounce. The crumb of the donut was fantastic and I loved the unique flavors they offered.

a woman in a beige sweater cutting into a box of donuts

I discovered the cult of Garrett’s Popcorn at the conference and hit up the shop at O’Hare. I was that jerk boarding the plane with three carry-ons…one being an entire canvas bag of popcorn for gifts for people back home.

The conference itself was…fine. The previous conference Cassie from Cook it Real Good and I attended in 2019 (in the “before times”) was HUGE with so much food, and that is the only thing I have as a baseline.

I can’t say I learned all that much, but the networking was great. As was just being around other people who understand that what you do is actually a job. So nice to not have to explain yourself over and over.

Leading up to the conference we were told that every attendee had to be fully vaccinated, provide a negative test 72 hours before entry and that masks were mandatory. Welp, that Monday, the local indoor mask mandate was dropped and masks were now optional at the conference.

I ended up being 1 of maybe 10 people (out of 200+) who had their mask on the whole time, except while eating. It was the first super crowded place I had been in over two years and I just wasn’t emotionally at a place where I was ready to take it off just yet.

Would it have been fine? Probably. Have my kids already missed enough school because of colds and covid-like symptoms? Definitely. To have gotten through the last two years without any of us catching the Rona (that we know of), I just didn’t want to ruin that streak because of a conference.

Yeah, it was annoying to keep it on, but nobody made me feel weird. It also helps that I don’t give two craps about what people think. 🙂

I did text Jack during it to let him know I was often the only one in a room with a mask on and that it felt odd. Being a tween (almost a teen!) is so dang hard, and I think it probably helped him know that things can still seem awkward in your 40s.

3 women on a street smiling for a camera
Katie and her toque

The evening the conference ended we all went to The Inspired Home Show across the street to network with brands. I had the biggest moment of my life when I talked to the rep from Ball Canning and SHE KNEW WHO I WAS. Every little girl grows up dreaming about meeting the rep from Ball Canning! Total fangirl moment for me.

After the home show, we hit up a restaurant with Shannon from Pass Me Some Tasty and Vanessa from Maple & Mango. And from there, a bar (I had…water. Delicious) to meet up with Chelsea from A Duck’s Oven and the creators of a new cooking/recipe app.

But we all left because they cranked up the music about 5 minutes after we got there and it was so loud that everyone was shouting but you couldn’t even hear the person sitting next to you. We old.

5 women at a restaurant with food on the table

Jack has had an expander on the roof of his mouth for over a year. It’s been super annoying but manageable. We turn the little key twice a week…or at least we’re supposed to. We were super diligent about it at first but have definitely been slacking for a few months now.

I noticed about three weeks ago that when I turned the key there was no resistance. I finally called his orthodontist and they got us in the next day. And…it appears that his mouth has expanded as far as it can go! He gets it removed at his next appointment in a few weeks.

His ortho is an hour round trip, and he was only at the appointment for about 45 seconds. Ugh, so much gas money; I wish they had just taken the dang thing out then. But, Jack is THRILLED it will be removed. Apparently, the thing he wants to eat first is noodles. I guess noodles are extra challenging to eat with an expander in.

He’s had his upper braces on since September and by Christmas, his teeth were already looking so straight. It’s shocking how quickly that happened! We’re still waiting on a few baby teeth to fall out before they put the bottom braces on.

I’m not sure why, but Jack’s mouth naturally refuses to barf out baby teeth. We’ve had (at least) nine teeth pulled so far and I’m sure we’re probably going to have to yank the rest out eventually.

This week during a discussion about rising gas prices, Jack asked me why Putin was invading Ukraine. I told him there were 1,000 years of history behind that decision, but the root cause was that Putin wasn’t hugged enough as a child and still needs attention even as an adult.

So now, I jump out from behind walls and doors and tackle him in hugs and smooches while yelling “I won’t let you become Putin”. One of us is enjoying this history lesson immensely.

I’ve been using the track around the soccer field while Jack has soccer practice. It’s nice to not have my head on a swivel looking for cars, aggressive dogs, and creepers. I did a run on Tuesday and ended up completing a 10k!

Well, my watch said it was a 10k…the tracking app said 6.1 miles which is always my greatest fear; that I’ll get that close and stuff won’t track correctly.

I had to keep slowing down a bit for a teammate’s little sister who would run a few steps for me every lap, but I got near the end and realized I was thiiiiiiisclose to completing a sub 60 minute 10k. Maybe next time!

a running report from an apple watch.

A friend who is a runner recommended I try Bombas socks. I like my Darn Tough running socks and my running shoes are sooooo comfy, but I do get sore big toes after I run twice in the same week. The Bombas should be here next week. Fingers crossed they rule.

My dumb hips are soooooo tight after I run, no matter how much stretching I do. I wish I were a bendy person. I am not. We got a massage thingy from Costco that helps a bit but I might have to break down and actually try yoga. Ugh.

What I’m reading this week

I finished up Still Life this week. It took me many chapters to find the rhythm of this book. I’m not saying I almost stopped reading it, but I definitely couldn’t figure out why I should keep going with it.

But, I found the flow and ended up really enjoying the book – even if I didn’t like the last few chapters. I liked the book so much that it makes me want to plan a trip to Italy. Just don’t tell Troy; long flights are not his thing.

Next up: Cloud Cuckoo Land. I’m 100% confused with this book and feeling discombobulated with it. I’m really hoping that it starts to make sense soon and I can find my flow with it.

READER SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK

Melissa left this five-star review on our Refrigerator Dilly Beans {Pin this recipe}:

I love this recipe and have been making it about every week for a LONG time. It’s perfect.

Two jars of dilly beans with garlic and red peppers on a wooden board

ON SUSTAINABLE COOKS THIS WEEK

Air Fryer Mahi MahiTender and flaky Air Fryer Mahi Mahi is a fast and tasty recipe that is ready in only 20 minutes (including prep!). Enjoy this delicious fish with your favorite side dishes for a fast weeknight meal. {Pin this recipe}

a plate of grilled air fryer mahi mahi topped with mango pico de gallo.

Cheesy Garlic BreadTransform a simple baguette into Cheesy Garlic Bread with the best homemade garlic butter spread. This easy garlic cream cheese bread recipe lets you make a delicious and affordable side from scratch. {Pin this recipe}

pieces of garlic bread on a beige plate

Instant Pot Jasmine RiceMake perfect Instant Pot Jasmine Rice for a fast side dish that the whole family will love! Made in a flash in a pressure cooker, this delicious rice is great for meal prep and is pairs well with so many dishes.{Pin this recipe}

THE FIVE MOST POPULAR POSTS THIS WEEK

  1. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan and vegetarian as written but super customizable! On, and did you know you can FREEZE these? {Pin this recipe}
  2. Homemade Pizza Rolls – freezer-friendly too! Basically, I think everything should be frozen. {Pin this recipe}
  3. Instant Pot Garlic Butter Rice – so easy and so comforting! {Pin this recipe}
  4. Air Fryer Pretzel Bites – one of my favorite air fryer recipes of all time! And these beautiful bites of dough are freezer-friendly too. {Pin this recipe}
  5. Air Fryer Appetizers – because eating a few different appetizers and calling it dinner is pretty rad. {Pin these recipes}

MEAL PLAN

Monday:: A new air fryer dinner I’m testing (fingers crossed it will be on the blog in April), with an air fryer side dish I’m also testing (on the site in March!).

Tuesday:: Troy is making pasta with meatballs and salad.

Wednesday:: Photoshoot day! A new Instant Pot recipe is on tap as well as a delicious (and gluten-free) side dish! Veggies on the side.

Thursday:: It’s going to be a BONKERS night with 3 activities happening at once. We’re getting takeout and the boys will eat it at church after Jack’s soccer practice but before my church council meeting starts.

Friday:: Troy is making grilled chicken, some sort of potatoes, and veggies.

Saturday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night. Moved to Saturday because of t ball.

Sunday:: TBD. Might be another bit of a bananas day.

What are you having this week?

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14 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Thanks for all the Chicago food recs, this Canadian girl is planning a trip there soon, so it was very timely! Looking forward to have my life changed by naan 😂

  2. Cloud Cuckoo Land lives rent free in my head and I am not upset about it. The audiobook is amazing; Marin Ireland is such a wonderful narrator and really added to the entire experience. 

    • I love the saying about living rent-free in your head. I’m stealing that.

      I just cannot get into this book. Someone on IG told me to stick with it. I loved the All The Light You Cannot See, so I know this author writes things I do enjoy.

  3. I am retired and STILL have two baby teeth! I hope I have them forever because I never grew any permanent teeth below them. They each have been filled at least twice and are now sporting porcelain crowns. And, I have never had any wisdom teeth which is such a blessing. No teeth = no removal! We don’t need them anyway apparently because everyone except Yours Truly gets them removed. I like to think I am more highly evolved. My husband says that is questionable. Good luck to Jack with the teeth removal and congratulations on the expander removal. I had an expander as well. Definitely not for the faint of heart.

    Speaking of 45-second appointments sandwiched between long, costly drives . . . last week, my husband paid $6.06/gallon for medium grade gasoline. In 1 1/2 weeks, we are taking a 100-mile drive to meet up with our daughter, son-in-law, and our precious (relatively) new granddaughter. We are thinking of taking out a loan to pay for gas.

    • Oh wow, I had no idea that they could stick around that long! But yay for no wisdom teeth. I had a great experience with my removal surgery but I know a lot of people who had rough recoveries from that.

      Jack is missing three adult teeth and STILL doesn’t have enough room in his mouth. Bodies are weird!

      Good luck with the drive and hang out in the slow lane with cruise control on. 🙁

  4. It’s wonderful to read about your trip to Chicago .. fun time with lovely people and enjoying time away from your boys.. I know the travel to and  back is not fun .. but you were successful and made it back to a wonderful life and family you created and I again am grateful to read about your adventures even if it’s simple matters like taking your child to the orthodontist.. I was lucky never to have to deal with that but I do have my own issues with dental needs and the horrible Medicare debacle that does not cover dental ..😒 aloha 

  5. Is there a running list of the books you’ve read? Or should I just go thru all the Sunday posts? I need some new book recommendations. 

    • I don’t, I’m sorry! If you want to email me, I can send you the notes app on my phone that has all the books I’ve been tracking. Nothing fancy but it works.

  6. One of my kids had to have a baby tooth pulled; it would not come out and also was developing a lovely little infection. That was about 9 years ago and he STILL REMEMBERS the weirdness. All sympathy to Jack.

    • Yikes to the infection!!

      It’s definitely a weird feeling. Jack hated it so much that I paid to have him sedated the last time. They took out 3-4 in the amount of time it would take them to yank out 1 because he was wiggly and fighting.

  7. Welcome home! I am so glad you enjoyed your time with friends at the conference. I will have to be on the lookout for teal boxes.