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Scattered Sundays

My dad’s apartment is done. I repeat: my dad’s apartment is done. It has been restored, no flood damage remains, and not a single contractor, plumber, or electrician will need to come through my house in the near future.

Knock on wood.

Our contractor finished up the kitchen portion of my dad’s place this week and he was able to save all the cabinets. Praise be! Finishing the cabinets was his final portion of the project and set the stage for the plumber to come in and do his thing.

Bill the plumber came around on Thursday and hooked up my dad’s sink, dishwasher, fridge, and toilet. He also took a look-see at our new sink in the laundry room because Troy hooked it up but wanted a professional set of eyes on it.

Our portion of the basement is pretty close to being totally finished. All the major things have been done, but Troy needs to fill the nail holes, sand, and paint the trim in the laundry room and (for lack of a better word) playroom. It’s always the last 5% of work that is the absolute worst.

colorful flowers.

About a month ago, I sat down and made a big ol’ list of recipes that need to be photographed. I’ve never hidden the fact that photography is my least favorite portion of this job. But hey, nobody likes 100% of their job, right?

I realized a few years ago that photographing only one recipe at a time was a waste of a setup. It takes time to get the lights, flash, tables, etc., set up. So, batch work became my normal. I will usually photograph 2-5 recipes at a time.

I also realized that trying to take over the kitchen and living room when the kids are home is a terrible idea. So, last year, I had a big hairy goal to have all summer recipes photographed before summer break started.

It was a giant marathon, but I did it and I don’t regret it for a second. I don’t think I busted out my photography equipment from July until mid-September last year. And that was absolutely delightful.

I’m setting the same goal this year, but this time, I’m hoping to photograph all summer and September recipes, before the end of June. It will be a mix of a marathon and a sprint, but I know that the future version of me will definitely appreciate this work.

And since I made that photo list a month ago, I’ve already knocked quite a few projects off. I went from 37 total recipes that need to be photographed, and I’ve whittled it down to 25. To quantify that a different way, that’s approximately 15 million hours of dishes.

This coming week I’m planning to knock 5 more off the list. Wish me luck. And don’t forget, I love you all enough to run my dishwasher nonstop until I die. You’re worth it.

a boy smushing his face together with his hands.
Anyone else picking up Garth from Wayne’s World in this one?

And while we’re on the subject of how much I love your faces, it’s a good time to remind you that comments with star ratings on recipes matters so much to us as food bloggers. I’m saying “us” as a collective term.

Like it or not, Google is our overlord and we must please it. Those star ratings help Google view a recipe as quality and if we hold our breath just right and make the correct sacrifices, those star ratings might help our sites get in front of more eyes.

If you’ve made a recipe from a site that you’ve loved, even if you have made your own changes to the recipe, we truly do appreciate it if you take a few minutes to leave a review with star ratings.

And if you did make changes, please include them in the review. I see a recipe as a guideline for making something your own. And other/future readers love to know if you made the recipe gluten-free, dairy-free, subbed in a different ingredient, etc.

That being said, if you changed up a bunch of the recipe, switched cooking methods, and subbed in half of the ingredients and it didn’t turn out, don’t put that on us. That’s a you problem! 🙂 Don’t leave a crappy review on a recipe that you essentially didn’t follow.

Besides our undying love, one of the benefits of rating a recipe is that you could be featured in our “Reader Spotlight of the Week” section in our Sunday posts. Worldwide fame could be yours for the low low price of 2-3 minutes of your time.

And if you haven’t seen the web stories section on the first page of Google results, this is something that’s been around for about two years. You can only see web stories on mobile, so if you’re a desktop user, you might have no idea what I’m talking about.

Thanks to stealing an idea from Katie, who stole it from Emmeline, I’m now updating my existing web stories to include a review from a reader. See a snapshot of one of the stories from our GOAT reviewer, Erin.

a screenshot of a google webstory

And just a quick note about leaving a review. If you don’t feel comfortable using your real name, that’s totally fine. It does require that you input a real email address, but I’m the only one who sees that; it’s never ever published online.

a screenshot of a food blog.

Last but not least, about a month ago, I introduced your gorgeous faces to “cook mode” from the creator of our recipe card plugin. Toggling the little switch prevents your screen from going dark when you’re making one of our recipes.

And no, it’s not called “cook mode” because my last name is Cook. 🙂 This is available to any food blogger who uses the software. But obviously, I’m their favorite and so they named it after me.

At the time I shared this awesomeness with you, it had not yet rolled out to iphones. Well, friends, it is finally here, and if you’re an iPhone user, this feature is now available! Happy cooking!

white cherry blossoms against a cloudy blue sky.


I learned about the new podcast, “Make Me Care About“, when the host, Jen Hatmaker was interviewed on this episode of Pantsuit Politics. Each episode is a mini deep dive into topics that we should care about, like our local sewer systems, motherhood mortality rates, etc.

The podcast makes the case that whatever is happening across the world does impact us wherever we live. In a global society, there is nothing left that is an “over there” problem.

What I’m reading this week

I finished up The Ocean at the End of the Lane this week and boy was that a weird book. Not in a bad way, but it was definitely odd. It’s not remotely what I expected it to be when I started to read it. It was good and a very fast read.

After finishing it, I dipped my toe into Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune, who wrote one of my favorite books that I read in the last two years, House in the Cerulean Sea.


Ann left this five-star review on our Ham and Beans recipe {Pin this recipe}:

I tried your ham and bean recipe, and we loved it.  My Mom made ham and beans a lot when we were growing up, but adding the celery and carrots really made a difference.  Thank you.

a white bowl with handles filled with ham and beans and topped with a slice of bread.


How to Reheat Pizza in an Air FryerLearn how to reheat pizza in an air fryer to make the best use of leftover pizza. You’ll get perfectly crispy crust, melted cheese, and warm toppings when you use your countertop air fryer for leftover pizza. {Pin this tutorial}

2 slices of leftover pizza in an air fryer with a blue air fryer liner.

Mint Simple SyrupLearn how easy it is to make your own Mint Syrup for desserts, cocktails, tea, and other recipes. You’ll love the amazing flavor of mint simple syrup for drinks and more. {Pin this tutorial}

a glass bottle of green mint syrup with fresh mint and limes on a white board.

Air Fryer BeetsThese Air Fryer Beets are an easy and delicious side dish that is ready in a flash! Perfectly caramelized in the air fryer, these simple roasted beets will become a go-to recipe. {Pin this recipe}

Air fryer roasted beets on a tan plate with a fork


  1. 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}
  2. Air Fryer Cookies – I’m a big fan of this recipe and you’re going to love it! {Pin this recipe}
  3. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan and vegetarian as written but super customizable! Oh, and did you know you can FREEZE these? {Pin this recipe}
  4. Ham and Beans – Comfort food that is affordable AND cleans out your fridge for the win! {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}


Monday:: A new recipe that I’m photographing and I think the kiddos will love it!

Tuesday:: A new recipe that I’m photographing + veggies.

Wednesday:: Troy is making dinner and we’ll be excited to eat it.

Thursday:: Air Fryer Steak Bites to go with TWO carby mccarberton recipes that I am photographing. Veggies and salad on the side.

Friday:: Pasta or leftovers depending on how the fridge is looking.

Saturday:: Family dinner. I think! It’s been a hot minute.

Sunday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

What are you having this week?

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8 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Is it weird that when my dog killed a raccoon in our yard this week, I thought about how that probably wouldn’t make you sad?  We don’t have chickens but plenty of people around here do and, while I wasn’t thrilled by murder happening at my house, at least it made the neighborhood a little safer for our chicken population???

    • Ha, I feel seen! Bennett and I watch a lot of raccoon videos on Instagram and they are so cute. And I never ever want to see them in my yard again.

  2. I hard core, red faced, drool chin bawled reading Under the Whispering Door, 100% a great read. Was it because of the birth control pills I was on? maybe in part. But mostly I think because it was just wonderful. 
    So happy you’re out of the construction/repairs!
    And I love that now you is taking care of future you with photo prep. I’m also glad to know I’m not the only one thinking of a future me, and sometimes cursing a past me 🙂

    • Have you read House in the Cerulean Sea? Same author as Under the Whispering Door, and I loved it so much!

      Haha, future and past us both have a complicated relationship with ourselves, don’t we? LOL

  3. Five stars for your instant pot Mac n cheese!   I have to say my son Troy thinks Kraft shells and cheese is the ultimate but he gave in and said yours is the best.  Insanely easy.  Thank you!!!