Sustainable Cooks
First Time Visiting? Start Here!

Scattered Sundays

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Merry merry Christmas to those who celebrate! And for those who don’t, may your Sunday morning be filled with cozy jammies, delicious food, and joyful people.

We are at home this morning with my inlaws to open some gifts, eat cinnamon rolls, and celebrate the incredible gift of this day. This afternoon we are headed to Troy’s cousin’s house for dinner and more gifts with extended family.

I’m bringing rolls (it’s this recipe but the dough is rolled into small rounds and baked for ~20 minutes), salad, and Sage Sausage Stuffing. I very much enjoy cooking a big Thanksgiving dinner, and I also very much enjoy being a passive participant at other large meals.

a kid in a tshirt with a kitty in a santa hat.
This shirt is potentially my best Goodwill find ever.

This was the last week of school before break, and the one thing I did not want to happen was to have a single snow day this week. So, naturally, we had two. Oooph!

All my “get things done before the boys start break” list went straight to hell. All the presents were not wrapped, despite the boys constantly badgering me with “when will the presents be under the tree”.

At least Jack had a moment of realization on Tuesday afternoon when he said “you can’t put the presents under the tree because you can’t wrap them with us here, right”. And I told him that was correct.

He “graciously” offered to take Bennett downstairs for an hour so that I could wrap. And I laughed and laughed and said it takes much longer than an hour to wrap gifts.

I’m trying to raise my male children to be fully-aware future parents and partners and I think Jack was a bit taken aback by the amount of work that it takes to make holiday magic “happen”.

We had planned to ship the boys off to my inlaws for one day during the week, but per usual, Bennett started to get snarfy early in the week. The law of averages is that anytime we make plans, Bennett gets one of his episodes.

But, we watched and waited, and nothing actually developed with him. He was snarfy in the mornings and then fine all day. And unlike his normal super high fevers, his temp remained the same. We gave him a ‘rona test and then shipped their butts off to grammy and grampy’s house.

With them gone, presents did finally get wrapped. And because I’m a terrible wrapper, I used our cloth fabric bags. The actual wrapping process isn’t hard…it’s figuring out where all the presents are hidden around the house and then organizing them in one space that takes so much time.

a Christmas tree with wrapped gifts.

I had planned to make cinnamon rolls for staff and a few teachers at Bennett’s school early in the week. In looking at the forecast for snow, and knowing that schools close at the drop of a hat around here, I busted my butt to get everything made and delivered by the end of school on Monday.

This was my most ambitious cinnamon roll-making extravaganza to date, and I definitely got over my skis with this one. There were a few hiccups that made the process take much longer than expected, but I rallied.

Our local restaurant supply store stopped carrying the disposable pans I always use for gifting cinnamon rolls. So I was forced to order some and didn’t realize until I went to use them…that they smelled horrible! They had a weird tinny smell to them that I have never experienced with other pans.

Nervous that they would ruin all the cinnamon rolls I was busting my butt to make, I soaked them in hot soapy water and then “cooked” the empty pans in a hot oven for 10 minutes. It did get rid of the smell but added a bunch of work that I wasn’t expecting.

I have a standard-sized kitchen aid mixer and was able to make two batches in the mixer at a time. This saved me a lot of work, as I ended up needing six total batches of rolls.

After starting the first batch, I transferred the dough to a bowl, put a hot damp towel on the top, and then placed it over our heating vent. Yes, if you come to my house and are enjoying a yeasted dough, chances are it was on the floor by a heating vent. Just go with it. 🙂

It was so cold outside and even with the furnace going, the dough wasn’t rising at all. I was freaking out because the idea that I had wasted that much butter, flour, and eggs was pretty devastating.

I thought perhaps the milk was too hot and killed the yeast, but then remembered I could proof the dough in the Instant Pot. I put the dough in the Instant Pot, plopped the glass lid on it, put it on the yogurt setting, and then prayed. And…it worked! So well.

dough rising over the top of an Instant Pot.

Even after making a giant batch of brown sugar the day before, I ended up needing to make more the day of. Which is fine. Brown sugar is super simple to make, but again, it was just one more thing I wasn’t expecting to have to do.

The good news is, the powdered sugar I made the day before for the frosting was more than enough, and I didn’t have to make any more on the fly. The frosting turned out beautifully and had just enough orange zest to make it extra interesting.

I gift people the cinnamon rolls unbaked so that they can bake them within 48 hours or freeze them for later. Not baking them ahead of time also makes the process of mass-cinnamon roll production much more streamlined.

a tin of cinnamon rolls.

We have to leave the house around 3 to get in the pickup line at Bennett’s school. I finished boxing up the last batch and cleaning the kitchen at 2:46 pm. Phew! I was beat and nothing else I wanted to do that day got done, but I made the deadline.

I rolled up to school like Santa with a giant bag of cinnamon rolls and handed them out in the office. I gift them to the amazing office staff, B’s teacher (and his beloved kinder teacher from last year), the specialists (PE, music, library), our custodians, the school nurse, paras who help out in first grade, the principal, counselor, and the other amazing support staff we’re blessed to have at our school.

My rush was not for nothing as school was indeed closed for the next two days due to snow and ice. I can only hope people took them home that night as I encouraged them to do. His beloved kinder teacher messaged me the sweetest note on Wednesday that they were enjoying them that morning.

Sadly, the one thing I forgot was to make sure Jack took his teacher gifts to school that morning. Middle school and high school teachers seem to be forgotten for the gift-giving holidays, so fingers crossed they still enjoy their gift cards to a local coffee stand in January 2023.

a stack of trays of cinnamon rolls in front of a wall of white subway tiles.

The snow, ice, and low temps this week made me so very thankful for our woodstove. I’m always the first one awake in the house and I would quietly start a fire and get the house so cozy by the time others stumbled out of bed. There is nothing like a fire on a cold morning.

Our stove is so efficient that we can heat the entire upstairs of the house with ~1 log per hour. If we burn all day, by the evening, we’re cracking a few windows to cool the place down. It’s the absolute best.

I was even more thankful for the stove on Thursday morning when we realized that our furnace which was well beyond in need of servicing…stopped working. You know, on the coldest day of the year.

The roads were sheer ice and the idea of making an HVAC person come out to fix it was too scary to consider. We’re so fortunate to be able to have a secondary source of heat.

Even with the snow and ice, I was still able to get out each day (except for ice rink Thursday) for a walk. Sure, it took a lot longer to go my normal distance because I was trying to not slip and die. But my snowboots are fantastic and my Carhartt mittens kept my ice-cold fingers as warm as possible.

During large snow storms, our hill usually takes 4-8 days to see a snow plow. With the accumulation being light this time, the plow came up the first afternoon that it snowed.

There is no way to get out of my neighborhood that doesn’t involve going up or down an extremely steep hill. I noticed that the snow plow left a bunch of slush at the bottom of our hill and I figured it would probably turn into a (cold) hot mess overnight.

I love shoveling snow (probably because I only have to do it a few times a year), so I happily scraped all the remaining snow and slush off the bottom 100 feet of our steep hill. The next morning on my walk through the neighborhood, I saw cars trying (and failing) to not slide at the bottom of their hills. Ours? Well, it was bone dry. You’re welcome, neighbors!

A friend moved from Iowa to Seattle this summer and she messaged me during the first snow “event” that she finally understood the tricky combo of ice and hills. 🙂 You can be super used to driving in snow, but if everything is flat, you get a chance to exercise some new skills navigating steep inclines.

2 boys sitting on a kitchen counter.


So many comments have been coming in this week, and let me say thank you so much for taking the time to leave a note and a starred review.

Bloggers are small businesses and our overlord, Sir Google, loves those stars and reviews. It’s a totally free way to support food blogs, which spend enormous sums of money to…give you free content.

I’m going to share one that I received thru my DMs on Instagram about our Overnight Cinnamon Rolls because it absolutely made my day. I woke up grumpy because school was closed due to snow, and this message was one of the first things I read. It completely changed the trajectory of my day.

A long-time reader J (she didn’t post this on the blog so I’m leaving her full name out) told me: These were SPECIFICALLY requested for Christmas day lunch by my father-in-law. He was a tough cookie to crack but the day he ate these, I swear, was the day he started hugging me hello and goodbye. Doesn’t hug anyone else.

I’m not crying, you’re crying!!!!

two plates with overnight cinnamon rolls, a fork, and orange juice


Onion PizzaThis incredible Onion Pizza is simple, delicious, and so comforting. Sweet caramelized onions, fresh thyme, and cheese come together in a delicious and simple homemade vegetarian pizza recipe. {Pin this recipe}

sliced white pizza.

Air Fryer RavioliCrispy and packed with flavor, these Air Fryer Ravioli are a fun and poppable treat! Perfect as a quick appetizer or a healthy game-day snack, toasted ravioli is sure to become a crowd favorite. {Pin this recipe}

a plate of air fryer ravioli

Air Fryer Brussel SproutsThese Air Fryer Brussel Sprouts are absolutely delicious. Perfectly caramelized in the air fryer, these roasted and crispy brussels sprouts are ready in under 10 minutes. {Pin this recipe}

brussel sprouts on a blue/grey speckled tray with a fork.
Fun fact: that brussel sprout on the fork is there to hide the price tag glue that I could not remove from the fork.


I think this is the first time since summer that there hasn’t been a single canning post in the top five!

  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. Old-Fashioned Fudge – smooth, creamy, and packed with amazing chocolate flavor. Donna loves this recipe! IYKYK. {Pin this recipe}
  4. Air Fryer Cookies – I’m a big fan of this recipe and you’re going to love it! {Pin this recipe}
  5. Chocolate Pretzel Bark – sooooooooooo easy to make and it is essentially a no-bake dessert. {Pin this recipe}

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

6 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Merry Christmas Cook Family! I would love to know how many rolls you issue to each school staff member (4?,8?), how many batches of dough it took, where you got the frosting cups with links to recipes and all on one fabulous page (extensive homework, I know..) in an attempt to me trying to replicate your generosity. We have a new-to-middle-school 6th grader and I do feel like his staff gets forgotten. I could try to shoot for Easter!? We also have a preschooler and her teachers are showered (rightfully so) with gifts and would like to attempt to do the same for our middle schoolers staff as well but would absolutely need some of your help. Any chance? Thanks!

    • Each tin held 4 cinnamon rolls. They were 6×8. For staff members that I knew had larger families, I did 4 rolls in one pan and 3 rolls in another. I made 6 total batches of dough.

      Frosting cups were from the dollar store. They were not what I wanted to use, but I could not find a more eco-friendly option. I used 36 frosting cups and made a triple batch of frosting.

  2. Merry Christmas!