Sustainable Cooks
First Time Visiting? Start Here!

Scattered Sundays

We hosted our first Thanksgiving since 2019, and I think it was a success! I can always tell when I try to do things from “the before” times but am out of practice with it.

For instance, I didn’t tell a single person what time Thanksgiving started, and everyone had to text me to ask. Ooops.

I figured as long as I was wearing pants, and enough clean dishes for everyone, it was going to be a win. My baseline was very low this year.

We were supposed to have 19 people total, but one of the cousins and his family caught some sort of bug. They were dearly missed, but 14 people also seemed fairly manageable for our first big event in three years.

The weather was absolutely stunning this year. It was chilly but super sunny and crisp. It felt like mid-October weather, and definitely the nicest Thanksgiving weather I can ever remember. It was nice not dealing with wet shoes in the entryway.

Everyone brought wonderful dishes. I’m always down to make things from scratch, but I figured with our first big dinner in years and given the fact that I’m still recovering from surgery, there was no need to go balls to the wall.

I supported a small business and ordered two pies from a local bakery, but made homemade whipped cream (with homemade powdered sugar). I outsourced mashed potatoes and gravy to my mother-in-law (and she did a wonderful job!) and had everyone else bring appetizers.

powdered sugar in a container and on a counter.

Usually, I do a huge food prep on Wednesday (and clean the house), but this year I knew I couldn’t physically overdo it. I started doing things on Monday and Tuesday and definitely distributed the kitchen work an hour or so at a time instead of being on my feet for eight hours straight on Wednesday.

I did the usual dry brine turkey (soooooooooooo much easier and less messy than a traditional brine. Never again), my Cheesy Green Bean Casserole, Sage and Sausage Stuffing, homemade rolls (I’ve made them for so long the recipe lives only in my head), Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, Orange Cranberry Sauce (that I had prepped and froze), and salad with Candied Pecans.

For the mac and cheese, it was so nice to make it right before dinner was served and then just leave it in the instant pot. I knew it would be sitting a bit longer than normal, so I increased the evaporated milk by half of a can. I’ll save the other half for some Old-Fashioned Fudge.

A friend of mine made my mac and cheese recipe a day before Thanksgiving, and I encouraged her to add a whole extra can of evaporated milk to it. She said it reheated beautifully and was so creamy.

a roasted turkey in a pan.
Not burn spots on top. That’s garlic. YUM!

Stuffing is Troy’s favorite dish and I always make a big 9×13 pan of it, and then a smaller casserole dish just for Troy so he can have leftovers. When I started prepping for it on Tuesday (by cutting the veggies), I made the decision to double it. I figured with 19 people, we’d need a lot of stuffing.

On Thursday, I quickly realized that doubling it hadn’t been remotely necessary. There was soooooo much stuffing. I had three 9×13 pans of it, plus a small pan for my vegetarian niece.

The handing out of leftovers became a “you cannot get out of this house until you take 6 cups of stuffing) swindle. Even with everyone taking some, we still ended up with an entire 9×13 pan of it. I’ve been having a big salad and a bowl of stuffing for lunch and still feel like I’m not making a dent.

We had friends join us…that I invited at the last minute because I truly don’t know how to socialize anymore. Their son and Jack get along so well, and I’m so thankful and glad they were able to come.

a kitchen counter with Thanksgiving food in dishes.
There were extras of all the dishes on the island that are not pictured. Sooooo much food!

Right before dinner we all said what we were thankful for, Troy said a prayer, and then we sat down to eat. And with my first bite of food, my heart dropped. Y’all…everything tasted SO SALTY.

When I cook, I add a bit of salt to enhance flavor, but never go overboard because I figure everyone likes to salt their food how they see fit. But somehow, I seemed to have been super heavy-handed with the salt this year.

Everyone was eating and was being so kind and complimentary of the dinner. I spent the entire meal thinking they were taking pity on me and nobody was brave enough to yell “we’re not deer, why did you serve us salt licks”.

It really sucked, I couldn’t chew because I was so miserable, and I didn’t even finish my plate. I felt horrible – hosting my first big meal in three years and it was ruined. RUINED! Devastating. That’s like going to the Super Bowl and tripping when you walk onto the field.

It wasn’t until dessert that I realized that perhaps everyone wasn’t being kind and maybe the problem was me. I put some whipped cream on my slice of pie and almost spit it out. It tasted like pure salt.

With all the post-dinner clean-up, I was eating my dessert late, and the only people left were people who would be 100% honest with me. I asked them if the whipped cream and pie were salty, and the looks on their faces indicated that um no, the dessert didn’t taste like pure salt.

I’m not sure if this was a lingering issue from my post-surgery taste issues, or if I had become dehydrated while cooking (I drank soooooo much water all day but I was also hustling), but the problem was mine and mine alone. Thank the Lord.

a kid in front of a woodstove holding spaghetti noodles.

Friday was a pretty low-key day, and I needed it to be. I snagged a few online deals on some things we’re using for our basement remodel. Nothing like a little washing machine flood forcing you to decorate a space you’ve wanted to tackle for a while.

We have an ugly but clean loveseat in the basement but it’s not functional in any way for the small space. Instead, I ordered two of these chairs and will put one on each of these walls. The red lines are clearly drawn to size.

a corner of a basement with red lines drawn on it.
Enjoy a bin of laundry in the photo. You’re welcome!

The basement is the place for Jack and his friends to hang out during sleepovers, and these chairs convert to little cots which will be nice. We’ll be replacing the carpet eventually, but the chairs will still likely be comfier than directly sleeping on the floor.

On Friday, Troy took the boys to spend some bookstore gift cards and to my inlaws for a bit, while I worked on the boy’s annual photo books from Shutterfly. I can always find a deal on the books, but the shipping costs on those things surprise me every single year.

Rakuten was offering 12% cash back for most stores, so I got a bit of shopping done but a lot of cashback. My brain never shifts into Christmas mode until mid-December, so I feel like scoring a few good sales and getting a kickback was a bonus.

Saturday found us at my sister’s for the Apple Cup – the annual “big rivalry” football game between the University of Washington and Washington State University. As an alumnus of WSU, I still really don’t care how the game turns out. But the food and company are always a good time. And my sister made sugar cookies, which are my kryptonite.

This coming week feels like we will finally have a normal week. There are no holidays, the kids are in school all five days (praise be), and the extra-curriculars seem to be manageable. It will be nice to have a predictable week for work. Famous last words?

That being said, the forecast will not settle and the predictions are swinging wildly. We could have nighttime lows in the teens (or 20s) and we could have multiple days of snow…or none at all.

A low-key week will likely turn into us being snowed in the house for days. Cause that’s how it always goes. We shall see! I might need to make more stuffing…


Long-time reader, Tina left this five-star review on our Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana {Pin this recipe}:

LOVE this soup! I took the lazy route and bought the pre-chopped kale, but it wasn’t really chopped, so wasn’t a time saver… I’m sad it’s taken me so long to make it since the last time!

a bowl of dairy-free instant pot zuppa toscana with kale


Turkey Casserole With RiceThis delicious and easy recipe for Turkey Casserole With Rice is a delicious and simple way to use up leftover turkey. This healthy dish creates a completely new and exciting dinner that the whole family will love. {Pin this recipe}

a plate of turkey casserole with rice on a white plate with cilantro.

Gifts For the Busy Home CooksThese Gifts for the Busy Home Cook will help you find the perfect present for the frantic foodie fanatic in your life. These 18 amazing kitchen tools will save them time and make cooking a breeze! {Pin this list}

kitchen items as gift ideas on a white background.

Frozen Biscuits in the Air FryerThese super fluffy Frozen Biscuits in the Air Fryer are a delicious addition to any meal! This easy grab-and-go air fryer side dish is simple to make and cooks in under 12 minutes. {Pin this recipe}

4 frozen air fryer biscuits on a grey speckled plate.


  1. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan and vegetarian as written but super customizable! Oh, and did you know you can FREEZE these? {Pin this recipe}
  2. Garlic Butter Rice – I can’t think of a week that goes by in this house without at least one batch of this comfort food being made. {Pin this recipe}
  3. Canning Apple Butter – I cannot explain to you how amazing your house will smell with this apple butter simmering away in the crockpot. Recipe includes canning and freezing instructions. {Pin this tutorial}
  4. Air Fryer Orange Chicken – a fan favorite that I want to be eating right now! {Pin this recipe}
  5. Air Fryer Cookies – this one popped into the top five out of nowhere, but I’m a big fan of this recipe and you’re going to love it! {Pin this recipe}

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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

6 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I am so glad you were able to have family and friends over! And also super glad it was just you that thought the food was salty. But it also sucks that you thought the food was salty.

    We were suppose to have family come up from Florida, but Emma caught some sort of bug last week and it was still kicking her butt the day they were suppose to leave to drive up. Dang germs.

    I just finished up the last of the Zuppa Toscana this morning. There wasn’t much left so I added some mashed potatoes. It was amazing!

    • Oh man, I was sweating the whole dinner! So thankful it was just me.

      Everyone I know has some sort of bug/virus in their house right now. I hope she is feeling better and is on the mend.

  2. That’s amazing that you hosted Thanksgiving. I’m sorry your tastebuds are giving you heck.

  3. I had covid when everything tasted salty like that. Not to freak you out!

    How is the ongoing raging battle with the raccoon? Hope your ladies are able to get out again into their run. I’m still laughing at the pic of you stalking their run with the BB gun. 

    I’m so happy you are feeling better every week. It takes so long to recover after surgery (or surgeries for you!!)

    • I’m not freaked out. This has been a months-long battle with my tastebuds and it started as soon as I woke up from my second surgery. Troy’s aunt had the same issue after her hysterectomy in the 80s so it’s just one of those weird body things.

      Sigh, the raccoon is winning this battle but I will win the war. The ladies remain locked up and bored but that trash panda hasn’t gotten another one.