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Scattered Sundays

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Thanks for your comments, emails, and good wishes, and healing thoughts on my wrist. It’s feeling a lot better. It’s not 100%, but I’m being a good patient and following orders. Mostly.

It all started weeks ago when I noticed my right wrist was getting sore throughout the day. It would start sore (almost swollen feeling) in the morning, and then get progressively more tender throughout the day.

Then, on Thursday the 16th, it was entirely unusable by 2 pm. I had a marathon day of cooking and photographing recipes the day before, so I’m not sure if that did me in, or if my body was finally just ready for a rest.

I went to urgent care the next day and carpal tunnel was ruled out, and even I knew it wasn’t broken. They deemed it a strain and I was ordered to wear a hard brace, ice it, and take an obscene amount of Advil for the next week.

The funny thing about Advil is, just the day before Troy asked if I had taken anything for the pain. I just looked at him with a blank face like “oh right, that’s a thing”. I had been uncomfortable for weeks and hadn’t thought to take any meds.

It’s not me not wanting to take meds or just trying to power through it. The thought simply never occurred to me.

Now that I am not dealing with terrible periods and endometriosis, pain medication is just not a part of my life anymore. And for that, I’m grateful! But I also forget that Advil is a thing.

I think the doctor at urgent care initially didn’t realize she was dealing with a Type A patient. They took my blood pressure and I was told “this is textbook perfect. You should get an award”. I was like “yes, please. I’ll wait here while you get it”. Blink, blink.

After my surgery in October, when I was slowly fading away from unknown internal bleeding, my BP was 80/40 after the second time I passed out. I was laying down when Troy took that, and he said had I been standing, the BP would have been even lower.

Going from near death to “textbook perfect” was a pretty good swing. Between watching my parents and their health struggles, and that scary incident in October that led to an emergency second surgery, well, let’s just say that I’m never short on gratitude for health. Or a desire for certificates. 🙂

a boy with 2 cats.
The cat cafe was a hit last week. Have you ever seen such joy?

Speaking of annoying health things, my left ear still hasn’t recovered from the ear drum bursting back in January. I finally got a referral for an ENT and I see her in two weeks. The first step in securing that appointment was seeing an audiologist in her office, which I did on Wednesday.

Y’all, I didn’t realize that audiologists practice straight-up witchcraft. This lady blew my mind! We did alllllll the hearing tests and she noted that my hearing was perfect (again with the awards, please!).

And then she waved her magic wand and said “I bet you have seasonal allergies and grind your teeth at night”. Witch! I do have allergies and I DO grind my teeth at night!

I wear a custom nightguard, but my jaw is still going all night. She said that teeth grinders often can inflame their eustachian tubes – a tube known as the auditory tube. It’s what opens when you swallow or you’re taking off on a plane. And mine is being a persnickety butt face.

a boy nose to nose with a cat.

In pure happy news, I’m headed to Chicago on Wednesday for a food blogging conference and I get to meet up with Katie, Emmeline, (and hopefully) Shruti! Chicago, in early March, is not exactly ideal, but meeting up with people who actually get what you do for work is priceless.

I fly out Wednesday and get back on Saturday evening. The conference itself is only two days but I’m looking forward to it. Networking and getting to meet new people is pure joy for extroverts who work from home. And my friends, BALL CANNING is going to be there. YES!

a basement with flooring.

Let’s keep the good news training rolling (whoo-whoo)…my dad’s apartment downstairs has a floor! Early in the week, we had lots of rain and really cold temps. Our contractor is framing a house locally, decided he didn’t want to be outside all week and told us he was going to start the floors the next day. SURPRISE!

We had ordered the second portion of the flooring (the stuff we had to pull up during the second demo after the contractor found more freaking mold) and a moisture barrier from the flooring store a few weeks ago. In order for the contractor to start the next day, we had to hope the moisture barrier had arrived.

I stalked the store the second they opened and who-hoo, the barrier WAS in! The store is an hour round trip, so Troy went to get it immediately, and the contractor and his “flooring guy” got to work.

About an hour after Troy returned, the flooring store called to let me know that the rest of our order had just arrived from the warehouse. Back to the store we went, because the contractor and flooring guy were going too quickly, and they were running out of flooring.

On Wednesday evening they stopped with just a bit left to go, tasking us to get a special transition from a special store that is only in one part of Tacoma. So, despite school being closed on Thursday due to ice, I headed out at 7 am on Thursday, hoping against hope that they had the transition.

Why didn’t we call ahead to make sure before driving another hour each way? Well, we tried. But they said “we don’t give inventory over the phone. You just have to come in”.

When I rolled in and told them what we wanted (the same thing we had said over the phone), the guy walked 3 feet from the register and showed me where they were in stock. In three colors. My internal rage. It was strong.

a boy on a bike in the woods with snow.

We had our typical “last gasp” of winter this week. It always happens in the Seattle area around President’s day. Why do I remember that? Because President’s day is a 4 day weekend for school, and I always remember being livid that my kids are home for additional days that week due to snow.

I was at church Wednesday night for Ash Wednesday. Our church does Wednesday soup suppers during the Lenten season, and it is a tradition that the church council provides soup and bread for Ash Wednesday. As the VP of the council, I brought soup and stayed to serve.

By the time everyone got their food, headed into the service (where my pastor said “we’re giving away free ashes”. Ha!), and we got cleaned up, it was 7:30. I walked out to my car to find it covered with a dusting of snow. And a heavy sense of foreboding.

I texted my sister “they better not cancel school tomorrow”, and sure enough, they did. At first, the school alert went out at 5 am saying that school was 2 hours late due to ice. Then 2 hours later, they canceled it. Boooooo, hiss.

As much as it pains me to say it, it probably was the right call the cancel. The roads were terrible, and as I carefully drove to Tacoma, I saw lots of people who had spun out, crashed, or were stuck. My beloved Subaru and I were cautious and made it safely.

The sun came out and the ice on the roads had melted and was clear by noon. It was sunny all day but very (Seattle) cold. We kept the woodstove going throughout the day and all night. Forever grateful for that modern miracle of cast iron.

a table of crockpots and an instant pot full of soup.

I mentioned that I made soup for Ash Wednesday. It was my Instant Pot Gnocchi Soup. In a sea of Lutheran crockpot devotees, I was the lone Instant Pot.

I shared this tip about doubling soup in the Instant Pot over on Instagram, and wanted to share it with you lovelies too! The more volume in an Instant Pot = the more time it takes to come to pressure and depressurize.

So, the trick when doubling is to add just enough water/broth to cover the ingredients and then cook it according to the recipe. When it has finished cooking and depressurized, add the REST of the liquid and stir to incorporate.

The gnocchi soup recipe, when doubled, calls for 7 cups of chicken stock. I put in about 4 cups to cover all the veggies, gnocchi, and chicken and then cooked it for the normal amount of time. The other 3 cups were added when everything finished cooking. It works great!

The gnocchi soup was a hit and I left with an empty Instant Pot. With my wrist being annoying, I was thankful that I had two bags of soup veggies already sliced and frozen in the freezer. I just barely thawed them, dumped them into the pressure cooker, and lived my best life.

A few times a year I will prep 4-5 batches of soup veggies (carrots, celery, and onions. Garlic is always prepped and frozen in this house) for the freezer. I use the slicing blade on my geriatric food processor and can get everything sliced and chopped in 10-15 minutes.

The veggies get portioned out (I eyeball them), transferred to half-gallon Stasher bags, and frozen. To use them, I only slightly thaw them, toss them in a soup like gnocchi, lentil, beef barley, or chicken pot pie. Then make the recipe as directed. It’s my version of homemade fast food.

I always get questions on Instagram when I’m doing this. Mainly, “do I need to blanch the veggies before freezing them”? And the answer, in this case, is no. Unlike freezing carrots, celery, and onions individually to use in specific recipes, these veggies are destined for soup within a few months and are fine unblanched.


This week I made a batch of Air Fryer Steak Bites for the crew. I swore I had enough steak from our most recent Butcher Box order, but I absolutely didn’t. I had to run to the store for more top sirloin so that I could make enough for the family + a bit of leftovers.

My friends, even the littlest of the Cooks could tell the difference between the grocery store and Butcher Box steak. Same cut of meat, but the difference in quality was shocking.

Our Butcher Box steak was tender and melt in your mouth. The grocery store steak was tough and missing a lot of flavor. They were cooked in the same batch at the same time and for the same amount of time.

Right now, Butcher Box is offering all new clients free chicken nuggets from humanely-raised chickens for a year. I know from a friend that their gluten-free chicken nuggets are freaking delicious.

What I’m reading this week

Last week I finished Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry. Heartbreaking!

I started and finished Why Didn’t You Tell Me by Carmen Rita Wong. It reminded me a bit of The Ugly Cry by Danielle Henderson. It’s a gripping memoir about identity, secrets, and finding a place to belong.

My mother-in-law gave me a hard copy of Lessons in Chemistry that I started this week. When she handed it to me, I said “but it’s pink” and wrinkled my nose. I’m excited to dig into it though!

Fun fact: back in the day, I always asked for physical books for Christmas. My mother-in-law used to pre-read them before wrapping them for me. I loved knowing that once I finished it, I’d have someone I could discuss it!


We had two readers jump on the brand-new Air Fryer Steak Bites recipe this week. So, for the first time, I’m sharing two reviews for the same recipe. {Pin the steak bites}

From Sheila: Oh my word, these were fabulous! I could’ve eaten the entire batch myself. I prepped them in the morning and cooked them up for dinner. This recipe will definitely be in my dinner rotation, such a simple recipe with amazingly delicious results (insert tongue licking lips).

From Brenda: This was so easy and fast and amazingly tasty!  I will make it again and again.  Prepping the meat ahead of time made the meal come together quickly  – something I always appreciate. 

a spoonful of garlic butter being drizzled over air fryer steak bites topped with chopped parsley.


Overnight Pizza DoughDelicious and perfect, you’ll love this simple Overnight Pizza Dough recipe! Easily made in a mixing bowl, this homemade no knead pizza dough is fool-proof and sure to become a family favorite. {Pin this recipe}

an overhead shot of a pepperoni pizza on a black pizza stone.

Whole Wheat WafflesThis Fluffy Whole Wheat Waffles recipe turns out perfectly every time. These easy waffles are light, crispy, and made from scratch. Only you will know they’re 100% whole-grain. And secrets are fun! {Pin this recipe}

a stack of 4 whole wheat waffles on a plate topped with raspberries.


  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. Air Fryer Pretzel Bites – one of our favorite snacks and the dough is freezable, which makes this a “heat and eat” kind of snack. {Pin this recipe}


Monday:: Instant Pot Zuppa Toscana and veggies for this cold night of soccer.

Tuesday:: TBD. Jack’s choice and he didn’t tell me in time.

Wednesday-Saturday:: Troy is in-charge and will feed the children.

Sunday:: Homemade pizza on overnight pizza dough, veggies on the side.

What are you having this week?

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6 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. “Geriatric Food Processor”  Ha. If yours is geriatric, mine is prehistoric. I purchased a 1970’s vintage Cuisinart food processor (almond and brown in color; Carol Brady would have loved it!) at a tag sale in 1996 for…$30, along with the original attachments and instruction manual. It sat in storage for nearly 10 years while we were overseas, and yet it’s still going strong! 

    I started Lessons in Chemistry; it landed on the DNF list. Thank goodness it was from the library. That is all I shall write. 

    This week’s Empty Nester Menu:

    Monday. Lentil Curry because I’m in the mood to make Naan
    Tuesday. Thinking Spring. Swiss Chard Pasta with Leeks and Tarragon
    Wednesday. Maybe Mapo Tofu. 
    Thursday. Savoy Cabbage Rolls with Béchamel as a last hurrah (I hope) for Winter
    Friday. Leftover-palooza with an outstanding Red. Or a pizza with Calabrian Chilies if there aren’t leftovers.

  2. I just started Lessons in Chemistry and am really enjoying it so far! I’m about 25% of the way in.

  3. I love conferences where you see ’your people.’  Have the best time! Also yay for finally *knock on wood* things going decently around the Cook household!