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Scattered Sundays

Praise be, Bennett headed back to school on Wednesday! He was always mostly symptom-free during his covid quarantine but was still testing positive. The line definitely got lighter, and I know that many people can test positive even after they are no longer symptomatic.

He was thrilled to get back to school, and we were happy to send him (in a mask!). He missed his friends and teacher, and genuinely really enjoys school. He often tells us that he wishes school days were longer and that weekends weren’t a thing. You and me both, buster.

Even after finishing up my antibiotics from my very toddler-like ear infection, my hearing had not come back by Wednesday morning. Given that I am someone who will impatiently tell a microwave to hurry up, I was not content to keep waiting to see if everything just resolved itself.

I headed back in for another check-up, and I’m glad that I did. The doctor said that the infection had cleared (huzzah!) but that 1) there was still a lot of fluid in my ear and 2) scabbing on my ear drum leads him to believe that my ear drum had burst recently.

Welp, that would explain the intense ear pain I was experiencing on January 8th. I knew I hadn’t been imagining things! The doctor prescribed five days of prednisone to start eliminating the inflammation that was keeping all the fluid in my ear.

I’m not one to jump on the medication bandwagon, but at this point, I was like “gimme all the meds”. I just want to hear again. Please and thank you. And with the steroids, I can maybe break a 5-minute mile. Or not.

a rock on a beach with some seaweed
Guess what? Rock butt.

Last week was my first time photographing recipes since before my mid-October surgery. I definitely felt a little bit rusty, but it had been a treat to not bust out all the photography equipment for a bit.

This week, I ended up photographing three recipes in one day. And I also did two recipe tests in two days. Nothing like getting back into the swing of things, right? Just jump on in!

I come from a long line of “dump cooks” as in we add things without measuring (just dumping it in, ya know?), so it never fails to surprise me that my actual job is writing precise recipes for people. I will often make a new recipe and go with my gut, but then retest it 2-10 times with exact measurements to make sure I’m getting it right.

I’ve had some recipes that have confounded me for a year, and I usually have to walk away from them for a month at a time because I’m livid that I can’t get them just right. Groceries and time are valuable resources and I never want to waste those of others.

So, yeah, I made these Air Fryer Cheese Curds like seven times and made A LOT of Asparagus Risotto before I felt confident enough to share it with the masses. I also made so many Stuffing Biscuits and French Onion Pork Chops that my family nearly staged a revolt.

a stuffed cat with a sign on the couch.

In great news, we haven’t seen that chicken-eating trash panda since mid-December after we believe we um, took care of him. I have started letting the chickens out occasionally and whenever I hold the coop door open wide, they run out, so happy.

We lost a total of four chickens to the trash panda. That, plus an aging hen population, and the short fall and winter days mean we didn’t get any eggs for almost three months. We had eggs all throughout the previous winter, but my girls are getting older and henopause is setting in.

I know egg prices are fluctuating wildly around the world right now. Thanks so much, avian flu. It’s been a really bad year for that and soooooooo many egg-laying hens had to be culled.

A chicken friend (a friend who raises chickens, not a chicken that is my friend) said the current strain of avian flu is impacting egg-laying hens more than meat chickens. As a result, eggs cost a lot right now, yo.

Due to Troy’s allergies, we don’t get the pleasure of raising cute and fuzzy little baby chicks. We’ve always been at the whim of asking (and paying) others to raise chicks for us until they are old and large enough to be introduced to our flock.

Our last big addition to the ladies was in 2020 or maybe 2021, and it is time for some new girls to join the Cook Coop. We’re super lucky that someone Troy works with is a pro at chick-raising and was more than willing to raise some ladies for us when we asked.

She even sent us the link to the chick mail-order service she uses and told us to pick whatever we wanted. My friends, that’s like (for all the 80s kids) when the JCPenny’s holiday toy catalog was delivered. I was like a kid in a candy store! Assuming I was choosing candy that would poop breakfast.

We have plenty of room in the coop for even more girls, but I think 8 is a nice number. Not to mention that sadly, 1-3 of the chicks might pass away in transit, and a few might not make it during the first few weeks. Baby chicks are cute but so very very dumb.


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Since so many podcasts were on winter break, it’s been a long time since I have recommended one! I’ve been enjoying the podcast, Red Elvis. Due to my nerdy interest in WWII history which always tips over into the start of the Cold War, this time period is fascinating to me.

“Dean Reed’s Hollywood career was brief, but he became an international superstar during the height of the Cold War, living in Latin America and communist Europe. After going public about wanting to return home to the United States, Dean’s life came to a mysterious end. Decades later, his daughter Ramona is determined to find out what really happened to him.” (source)

What I’m reading this week

Thanks to sticking around home because of a covid-positive kiddo, I finished Demon Copperhead in just a few days. It was a LONG book, but wow, I felt like I flew through it.

It was extremely powerful and one that I think a lot of people should be reading. If you have read Empire of Pain, the book about the Sackler family and how they have destroyed much of the world by creating and heavily pushing oxy, Demon Copperhead is a must-read.

Due to a recommendation from the ladies over at Pantsuit Politics, I picked up Good Inside by Dr. Becky Kennedy. So far I’m not finding anything groundbreaking in the book, but it’s a nice change of pace from the heavy reading I have done so far in 2023.


Longtime reader, Jackie left this five-star review on our Healthy Banana Muffins {Pin this recipe}:

I forgot how good these are but was reminded when I made them again yesterday. I made them as mini muffins and did a mix of cinnamon and chocolate chips. Delicious. I had to stop the kiddo after he had 6. 

And I only had enough bananas to make a half batch but can testify that wasn’t a problem. Now I have to make sure to add some extra bananas to my shopping list so I can make them again soon. Thanks for the awesome recipe, Sarah!

a muffin tray with a fluffy healthy banana chocolate chip muffin in focus


Air Fryer Green BeansThese Air Fryer Green Beans are delicious and simple to make. Perfectly cooked in the air fryer, these roasted green beans are ready in under 10 minutes. {Pin this recipe}

a white oval plate with roasted air fryer green beans, two lemon slices, and rose gold silverware on a white board.

Air Fryer CornbreadThis incredible Air Fryer Cornbread recipe comes together in just a few minutes with basic pantry staples. Perfect for fast dinners, breakfast, or snacks, this from-scratch cornbread is a delicious treat the whole family will love. {Pin this recipe}


  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. Air Fryer Cookies – I’m a big fan of this recipe and you’re going to love it! {Pin this recipe}
  4. Air Fryer Pizza Rolls – unlike the ones from our childhood, these are not filled with lava and regret. {Pin this recipe}
  5. Pretzel Bites – a Cook family favorite AND they’re freezable! {Pin this recipe}


Monday:: We’re eating a recipe that I’m photographing early in the day. I’m updating an old post that definitely needs new photos.

Tuesday:: Troy is making dinner and we’ll be excited to eat it!

Wednesday:: Testing a new recipe.

Thursday:: Takeout from a local small business.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Bennett’s birthday, so I assume he will request sushi because that child is truly a cat and loves fish.

Sunday:: Bennett’s family birthday party. We’re serving pizza.

What are you having this week?

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6 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. OUCH!!  Your ear situation sounds so painful.  I hope the new meds help fix it right up.  I always take for granted things like hearing, tasting, etc. but when I get a nasty cold and things are off it’s always so discombobulating.

  2. Oh my… burst eardrum is a tough thing to go through and so glad you’re on it when it comes to getting things checked out…I had no idea chickens stopped laying after a couple of years.. Bennett loving sushi … who would figure but yes he seems to be catlike … I am going to try maki g the banana muffins as I just realized I have vital wheat gluten and didn’t know what the heck I was going to do with it. Yeah! We’ll take care Sarah.. hoping the ear is on the mend …I can’t wait to read Demon Copperhead… BK (my fave) 
     Aloha … Steph

  3. Just wondering about your dad. Does he still live in his basement apartment?

    • Yes! He’s out of town right now, which is great because his room was destroyed by the washing machine flood. He’ll be back as soon as his place it put back together.

  4. Glad that Bennett is back at school, for everyone’s sanity. So 8 new chickens, any particular type are you going for egg colour or anything? I know they all taste the same but I love all the colourful eggs on Insta!! I need to read Demon Copperhead, it was the BBC R4 book at bedtime before Christmas, and I’ve been meaning to get round to it since then. I’m (finally) a week away from the kitchen build so I’m eating all the odds and ends in the fridge and freezer, before I defrost it and they come to take it away..

    • Hurray for the kitchen remodel finally happening! That’s been in the planning since before the pandemic, right?

      I chose a mix of colorful eggs and productive layers. Some of the productive layers can lay light green to olive green eggs.