Sustainable Cooks
First Time Visiting? Start Here!

Scattered Sundays

Happy 2023, my friends! May the best of your 2022 be the worst of your 2023. I’m wishing good and exciting things for everyone.

You know that feeling when you score an amazingly close parking spot at Costco on a busy day? That’s what I hope 2023 is like for you.

True to form, we’re in the peak purging zone in the Cook household. This actually started before Christmas but is slow going. I began with Bennett, my little packrat.

Given a 6-year-old’s attention span, I’ve been taking this slowly. We started with two small tubs in the basement and then quit for the day. The next day we spent about 30 minutes in his room and then stopped. Slow and steady with this one.

My love of purging knows no calendar but always seems extra timely in the dead zone between Christmas and New Year’s. The kids are bored, there is no structure, and Christmas gifts from family bring an “in with the new and out with the old” mentality.

An extra layer of wanting to get rid of all the things has been added with the basement washing machine flood. Everything is piled on top of everything down there and it feels like we are living in constant chaos. Which, no surprise is not my preferred way to live.

To add to the overwhelming feelings of stuff, due to our ice storm, our garbage wasn’t picked up for two weeks and recycling still hasn’t been picked up. It just feels like we’re living amongst piles of things that will be gone “someday”.

I have unloaded some treasures on friends with a one-year-old boy, got rid of others on Facebook Buy Nothing, and have two large boxes waiting to go to Goodwill. They’re not full…but they will be soon!

With all the cardboard that comes with the holidays, plus some new cookware I ordered for myself (write-off!) before the holidays, the mountain of boxes was too much. We finally hit up the county dump for their free recycling services. The line to get in was our family and 400,000 others parents who were also OVER IT.

a boy building a lego set at a table.
Super duper into building with Lego these days.

Something that I forgot to mention last week was how gladly I celebrated the winter solstice on December 21st. Three friends and I welcome this day each year, as we anxiously wait for minutes of daylight to be added to our dark days.

One friend lives here in Washington, another in Michigan, and finally, Katie in Stockholm. Washington and Michigan have similar hours of daylight (which is not enough) in fall and winter, but Katie “wins” with 2:30 pm sunsets.

The flipside for all of us is incredibly long spring and summer days. In my part of the world, the 4th of July fireworks don’t even really kick off until 10/10:30 pm because it’s not dark enough until then. And the sun rises around 4:45 am.

I remember when we moved to Los Angeles, it was mid-May and I was flabbergasted to realize that sunset was around 8 pm. I couldn’t understand a dark May evening before 9:30 pm.

As a natural creature of hygge who also has pasty skin, I don’t mind the fall/winter darkness overall. But man, oh man, I do hate driving in it. And so, we celebrate the solstice and the slow creep to more daylight.

a hand drawn Christmas penguin

Despite anxiously waiting for the insurance adjuster to actually return my emails and phone calls (ahem…), we are slightly closer to starting work on the basement, post-washing machine flood. And by closer, I mean we have chosen carpet.

The only carpet we have in the house covers about 150 square feet – on our stairs and in the small portion of the basement that the boys use (the rest of the basement is my dad’s apartment). The carpet we had before was chosen based on my criteria of “dark enough to hide stains, but light enough so I could see spiders”.

The new carpet also went through a similar “rigorous” selection process. I walked into the store and kinda liked the first carpet I saw on the floor (the entire store is covered in large patches of different flooring). It looked fine!

I asked how long it had been there and the salesperson said a few years. It was RIGHT inside the door and still looked clean despite dirty feet walking on it for years. Surely it can survive two boys. I said “done” and my choice was made. And that is why I don’t have an HGTV show.

a boy reading a book on a stuffed tiger.

And speaking of shows, there was so much good TV at the tail end of December! Troy had two weeks off and we were able to actually finish up Jack Ryan (on Amazon Prime) and the absolutely joyful Knives Out The Glass Onion (on Netflix).

I loved both of them, but I will say it wasn’t my favorite season of Jack Ryan. This isn’t a dig, because the previous two seasons were fantastic; the bar was set very high. I love John Krasinski in this role.


I was listening to the delightful Ed Helms on Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend and found out that Ed also has a podcast called Snafu.

“SNAFU is a podcast about history’s greatest screw-ups. On Season 1, we tell the story of Able Archer 83, the NATO military exercise that almost caused a nuclear war in November of 1983… or did it?” (source)

If you’re a big ol’ history nerd, this podcast is lots of dorky fun.

What I’m reading this week

Tis the end of the year and per my phone’s notes app, I:

  • Started 46 books
  • Finished 45 books
  • Gave up on one (It Starts With Us – no idea why this book is a best seller. It’s pure poorly written trash.)

Books that really stuck with me this year:

  • The Fire Keeper’s Daughter
  • This Tender Land
  • Damnation Spring
  • Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
  • The Ink Black Heart (I love this whole series)


Dana left this five-star review on my Nana’s Almond Roca recipe {Pin this recipe}:

This was such a huge hit this year with our holiday treat giving! I will be ordering a candy thermometer as I think I let the mixture go just a second too long but it was still so well received that I shared the recipe site at least five times.  Thanks for your awesome instructions as this helps my confidence when trying brand new recipes. Another recipe win!

a bowl of homemade almond roca on a white board with almonds and chocolate chips


Vegan Quinoa SaladThis Vegan Quinoa Salad is packed with flavor and cooks in a flash! A delicious make-ahead quinoa side dish that is full of crunchy veggies and a homemade zesty sauce. {Pin this recipe}

a bowl of instant pot quinoa with veggies on a white board with lime and cilantro

Easy Instant Pot RecipesMake 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.

Confessions – everyone’s favorite silly post of the month.

A woman with a finger up to her mouth saying "shhhhh"


  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. Old-Fashioned Fudge – smooth, creamy, and packed with amazing chocolate flavor. Donna loves this recipe! IYKYK. {Pin this recipe}
  3. 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}
  4. Air Fryer Cookies – I’m a big fan of this recipe and you’re going to love it! {Pin this recipe}
  5. Make-Ahead Scrambled Eggs – do yourself a favor and prep your breakfast! {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.

4 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. We turned off Glass Onion last night. Couldn’t get into it after 45 minutes. They were so “I’m rich and I talk like it” and they admitted it flat out.
    Happy New Year! And thank you for your wishes.

  2. I left our Buy Nothing group after a short run. The zealots who administered my site slapped warnings on users for suspect reasons (how dare someone suggest donating a brand new Kitchen Aid mixer (yes!) to a food kitchen rather than give it away to the many wealthy members on my site; and ignored those who “wanted” everything in order to resell it. 

    Completely loving The Jaipur Trilogy (Alka Joshi). And completely with you on “It Starts with Us.” I put it right up there with “Eat Pray Love,” the book AND the movie; along with anything by JoJo Moyes.

    Happy New Year!

    • Ha, I see you have the same thoughts about the admins as I do. Ours recently posted about 200 words on how you shouldn’t say “and the winner is” when selecting someone because that implies that the people who don’t get the free stuff are “losers”. I roll my eyes so hard at it that I may sprain them.