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Scattered Sundays

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I don’t mean to brag, but on Tuesday I got to give a presentation on food blogging and air frying to an independent living retirement community.

Back in December, a member of our church who lives there asked me a few months ago to participate in their lunch and learn series. I had a legit blast!

All the residents have fully equipped kitchens and there is a restaurant onsite. I made the case for why using an air fryer is a great addition to their cooking repertoire for both healthy eating, but it’s also great for anyone with reduced mobility.

With watching my dad use his air fryer, there is no bending over to access his oven (even though his oven is lifted to accommodate his height, it still involves bending!) with his leg that doesn’t necessarily bend. You also don’t need to lift heavy pans should you have reduced strength in your wrists or arms.

Even better, with the cost of energy increasing (thanks, Putin), an air fryer needs 1-5 minutes to preheat (if you need to preheat at all), vs. 10-20 minutes with a standard oven. Air fryers are basically saving you some cash money every time you use them instead of an oven.

They also asked that during the presentation I talk about food blogging. I wasn’t really sure how interested the residents would be in that aspect, so I gave a little bit of a high-level explanation of what it means to run a web-based business.

I talked about the time that goes into each post (10-31 hours per post), and did some education on why we can’t just “give you the recipe”.

The shortened version: our overlord, google requires our posts to have at least 300 words before they will show them to anyone. Most professional bloggers use those 300 words to give tips and tricks and helpful details in their posts. NOT long-winded stories.

I did a tutorial on how to use my website (showed them where the recipe archives are, the multiple search boxes, etc.), and walked them through how using the “jump to recipe” button is both easier and faster than complaining about getting 100% free recipes.

And since half of the presentation was trying to get them part of the air fryer cult bandwagon, I also did a little hands-on presentation. I wanted to show them how to make an entire meal with separate dishes in under 20-25 minutes. So, I made no breading air fryer chicken tenders, air fryer Texas toast, and air fryer asparagus.

As if the air fryer presentation on Tuesday wasn’t exciting enough, I hopped onto a plane to Chicago the next day to head to the Tastemakers conference. Because I’m a tastemaker? I guess?

Katie, Emmeline, and I stayed in a Sonder property, which was definitely a new experience for me. I think Emmeline found the listing back in the fall of 2022, and the place looked great, the price was super affordable thanks to prebooking, there was a washer and dryer in the unit, and everything was new and clean.

Last year, we did an Airbnb at a place that was pretty basic, had almost zero amenities (they didn’t even have salt and pepper) and there were three of us with one bathroom. It was also pretty far away from the conference, and while I didn’t mind the walk there or back, we weren’t close to anything cool. And you know how much I love being “in the scene”. <—-haha, not one of you believed that. Not even for a second.

a woman standing in an orange dress in front of a mirror.

Katie and Emmeline flew in from Stockholm on Monday (the jet lag game for them was strong last year), and I flew in Wednesday at noon. And Katie was nice enough and took on the role of cruise director for meals and booked us some incredible restaurants for dinners.

We’re a slightly odd group when it comes to food. Katie is a vegetarian and loves trying interesting cocktails, beer, and wine. Emmeline and I eat meat but don’t drink. Finding a place that excites us all equally can be a bit of a challenge. Katie did great!

Wednesday night we enjoyed Duck, Duck, Goat, a restaurant from Stephanie Izard (she won season four of Top Chef!). It markets itself as inspired Chinese American food. Holy smokes, it was incredible.

We also met up with Jess from Inquiring Chef and Katy from Mitten Girl for dinner. We tried so many incredible dishes, and our waiter was fantastic. I fell deeply in love with their shishito peppers and the dan dan slap noodles.

bowls of food from duck duck go restaurant.

Thursday was another Chef Izard restaurant, The Girl and the Goat. Katie and I had a religious experience with their flatbread last year. Life-changing carbs.

We were supposed to have a bigger group but everyone was tired and bailed. Katie and I rallied, went alone, sat at the bar, and bullied encouraged two ladies across from us to order the flatbread. It was so joyous to be reunited with that bread.

a table at a restaurant with flatbread, small plates, and small bowls.

Anytime I travel, I get Troy a t-shirt as a souvenir. Last year, as the ladies and I were sitting in The Girl and the Goat, I noticed all the servers wore shirts with goat puns on them. And they were all different! The only one for sale at the time was a black shirt that said “Chicagoat” on it.

My favorite was from a server who had been there for YEARS and had a shirt with a cartoon similar to Jaws, except it was a goat instead of a shark. And it said, “we’re going to need a bigger goat”. Genius.

I was excited to see what they had for sale this year, and it was fine (Valentine’s theme with a cupid goat that says “all aboard the love goat”) but not my favorite. The best ones I saw on servers this year said “goat shorty it’s your birthday” and “wet hot goat summer”.

Friday, because we’re fancy ladies, we headed to Proxi. And Amanda from Midwest Nice joined us! Oh, friends. It was so much fun. So much laughter and delicious food. Emmeline and I had a delicious mocktail called the Argyle Sock.

3 women at a restaurant taking photos of food with their phones.

But, we were actually there for a conference and not just to eat amazing food! The conference was two really long days on Thursday and Friday, and it was definitely much bigger compared to last year.

When the schedule and list of sponsors came out in early January, Katie immediately spotted Ball Canning listed as a sponsor. BALL FREAKING CANNING! That’s like me meeting (insert someone famous you care about here).

Katie told me I had to wear my Baller shirt, and you bet your butt that I did! And…then I found out that the Ball rep wasn’t able to come and nobody from the brand was there. Sob.

Another highlight was gorging myself on the Garett’s cheese and caramel popcorn that Chicago is very famous for. I was introduced to it last year and bought a bunch of the boys at the airport on my way home.

The cheese is soooooooo deliciously cheesy! I love it more than the caramel and eat them separately because I’m not a weirdo who likes cheese and caramel together. You freaks. 🙂

a woman holding up a plate in a dark restaurant.

While I was in Chicago, Troy was holding down the fort back home. The second day I was gone, he decided that Baby GG needed a full-scale makeover. He soaked, scrubbed, and totally rehabbed Bennett’s beloved kitty.

He sent me a series of photos and videos of the makeover, and it was a whole “spa day” theme. I can’t share them all, but this one is my favorite and the world needs to enjoy it.

a stuffed kitty with a towel on its head.

In “life is still normal and we still have normal things happening” news, this week Bennett started baseball. You all know my feeling about baseball. It’s so FREAKING BORING to watch, even when it’s your kid who is involved. Big, big snore.

But, Bennett mostly enjoyed tball last year and isn’t much of a sports kid, so when he said he wanted to do coach pitch, we were fine with signing him up. And naturally, his first practice was on the same night Jack had soccer, Troy was at work, and the practices were across town from each other, at the same time. Oh, and it was snowing.

Nooooow I remember why I love that Bennett doesn’t like playing sports. It’s going to be a long season my friends.

What I’m reading this week

I was lucky to have a lot of reading time waiting at airports and on long(ish) flights and was able to give my ancient Kindle a little workout.

I started and finished Lucy by the Sea on the flight there and it gets a big two “mehs” from me. This author has won alllll the awards, and I have never read anything by her before, but I found this book borderline obnoxious.

It’s about the first weeks and year of Covid and the lockdown, and a lot of the character’s emotions mimicked a lot of what I remember about that time. The unknown of it all, especially in the first few weeks.

But I found the main character so freaking annoying that I couldn’t really care about her. There were random italicized words and lots of !!!!!!! to the point where I wanted to check to see if this was written by an 8th-grade girl.

Next up I started The Twist of a Knife, and I can’t remember how this book ended up on my list. It’s weird because it reads like a non-fiction book because it mentions real actual actors, but puts them in fictional settings.


Longtime reader, Paulette, left this five-star review on our Instant Pot Chuck Roast {Pin this recipe}:

One of my favorite things about your recipes is that you reference each ingredient in the directions! I don’t know any other site that does that, including the New York Times Food Section!!! I am sure it takes you a lot of extra time to do it, and I want you to know how much easier it is to follow your recipes than ANYONE else’s and that I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

a grey plate with shredded whole30 pot roast, cut carrots, potatoes, and a bowl of horseradish,


Air Fryer Chicken FajitasThese juicy and flavorful Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas come together in just minutes with only a few ingredients. This easy one-pot wonder is a speedy and delicious dinner. {Pin this recipe}

a white bowl of chicken fajitas

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. Air Fryer Cookies – I’m a big fan of this recipe and you’re going to love it! {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. Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole – this brand new post had itself a great little week! {Pin this recipe}
  5. Air Fryer Pizza Rolls – unlike the ones from our childhood, these are not filled with lava and regret. {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Monday:: TBD

Tuesday:: Sheet pan gnocchi, and salad.

Wednesday:: Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos, Garlic Butter Rice, and veggies.

Thursday:: Jack’s school is doing a takeover at a sandwich shop for a fundraiser. Troy is obviously devastated. Ha!

Friday:: TBD

Saturday:: We have a nighttime soccer game 90 minutes away (annoyed). We’ll eat at the field, and Jack will eat in the car on the drive home after having a snacky Hobbit dinner before the game.

Sunday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

What are you having this week?

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10 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I absolutely love Elizabeth Strout but HATED Lucy By the Sea. If you want to give her another shot, try The Burgess Boys.

    • Ok, good to know. I figured she was a first-time author or something, and then saw all her awards at the end of the book. I was quite confused!

  2. Troy! That spa day picture is so cute! Love it

  3. Yay… I’m back to seeing your Sunday posts… love that you went and spent time at a retirement community… you have a special place in heaven for such a good human as you… thanks for sharing the brief info on blogging and the basic requirements for what it takes to do so… the sauna kitty photo is precious … and so happy you had a wonderful time in Chicago.. tasting the food and meeting up with like minded friends… Aloha 

  4. Love the spa pic! Hilarious! Laughed so hard! Glad you enjoyed your day in the spotlight at the senior center and it sounds like you really enjoyed your trip. So glad.

  5. I. Just. Can’t. With the spa day picture. These are things that make you fall in love with your spouse all over again… am I right?!?

    Glad you had a fab trip and good hanging with friends time. So good for everyone to have times like that. 

    Hope your wrist is doing well. 

    • Aren’t they fantastic!

      The little cup GG was “using” was a Tupperware branded mug from my sister and my play kitchen when we were girls.

      Wrist is mostly better, thank you!