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Scattered Sundays

Hey there everyone! Look what you did:

If you’d like to donate to Jennifer’s campaign, you can do so here.

What a gift for the soul. And I think we all need those warm fuzzies these days.  Is it just me or is it exhausting to just be a human over the last few weeks and months?

So much terrible news, anger, and violence. Finding the rays of light in this world is what keeps us going.

These moments of generosity and basic “humanness” restores my faith in people on a daily basis.

Since Selma Blair started talking about her Alinker, they have become so popular that they are now back-ordered through October. The upside to that is the company is offering free shipping to people who order one now. If you know of anyone in your life who needs one, the free shipping makes it a very good time to get one. And no, this is not an affiliate thing!

Listen, I know social media can be a place for really intense debate, but I have to say the throw down that happened on my Instagram stories this week was shocking, even to me.

I mean, really! Who are all these people eating hot zoodles? What in the world?

Zoodles are best served cold or lukewarm with a hot sauce poured over them. Warm zoodles make me feel like they’re worms or something. Can’t do it. Won’t do it.

This week Bennett and I were in the kitchen making zoodles, and a UPS truck drove by our house without stopping. Bennett asked “is Felix mad at us”?

Felix is our UPS guy. Ahem. I don’t order that much stuff online kid, geez.

In my defense, we live in a small town and things I need can be hard to find! Like, I recently bought espresso powder for an upcoming recipe that is going to blow.your.mind. But it definitely was not available locally.

And yes, I’ll have other alternative ingredients listed in the post for those of you who can’t source this. I never forget you! I’m like an elephant.

Who are you again? New blog. Who dis?

First time helping out with communion and he was soooo proud of himself.

We got the school year guidelines for Bennett’s new preschool and holy hell the lunch requirements are bananas. They’re only following rules set by the state, but the people who determined these have clearly never raised little kids before.

Any item missing from his lunchbox will cost me $1 because the school legally has to provide it for him.

First off, I have to send 6 oz of milk with him every day. Bennett drinks milk occasionally, but will easily waste 75% of that milk. So now, I have to buy a separate water bottle just for milk that he will not drink.

And we just got him a lunch bag with a water bottle holder. They don’t freaking make lunch bags with TWO water bottle holders!

What about the kids with dairy issues? My oldest has never wanted to drink milk because of lactose issues. 

Additionally, I have to send so many ounces of whole grains anytime he has lunch. We have tried sending Bennett to school with a sandwich and he never eats it. Such a waste.

Instead, both of my boys have always preferred rolled up lunchmeat with no bread. I’m tempted to get a fake dinner roll and just put it in his lunch all year long. He likes whole-grain crackers, but that crunchy goodness wasn’t listed on the two-page lunch packing bible.

And the kiddos who have gluten issues, what are they supposed to do?

I do like the guidelines require that we send 1/2 cup of fruits and vegetables each day. Done, no problem. B-nut is a cucumber and carrot fanatic.

This is good for everyone, but still, my heart goes out the families who may not be able to afford fresh fruit and veggies each day for their kiddos. 

The rules and regulations about his lunch made my head spin. I eventually put down the packet and just walked away from it. 

The most delicious time of the year. Also, the weirdest of light situations ever.

This week marked a milestone in blogging for me. I get pitches daily from companies who want me to test their products for free in exchange for writing about them. I stopped this policy a long time ago as I can’t pay my power bill with free stuff.

But Monday I got an email that had me laughing and smiling for a solid 20 minutes. It is from a company that has created personal care items for, um, men’s junk. They asked if I would be interested in testing them out, which I found confusing but hilarious.

If you own an Instant Pot and actually use it (ahem, just do it), chances are the inside of the insert has become stained. After trying all different ways to clean mine, I found just a little corner of a Mr. Clean dry erase marker made it sparkly and new again.

Bennett desperately wanted shin guards and soccer socks like his big brother. I let him pick out whatever ones he wanted, and he fell head over in heels in love with the bright pink ones.

And yes, that is a pajama shirt. He loves it. Oh well.

If he’s happy, we’re happy! Jack’s team wears pink socks in October for breast cancer awareness month, and B is excited to show his support as well.

Waiting sooooooooo patiently for big brother to notice his awesome outfit.

Our favorite meal of the week:

The meat was from Butcher box, the crispy halloumi croutons (ala Hey Nutrition Lady) were made from Trader Joe’s halloumi. The rest of the food came from the garden or the farmer’s market. Even with only eating one of those pieces of grilled garlic bread, and I was still full all evening.

Anyone following along on Instagram saw me making the halloumi croutons. It was so simple and everyone in the family loved this crispy cheese. The people over at Mealthy sent me their new stainless steel pan to try out, and I christened it with making fried cheese. As nature intended.

The pan was fantastic and I felt like a real fancy pants using it. The weight and balance of it made up for the fact that we have the worst stove ever manufactured. Mealthy is offering my readers $10 off the pan of the CrispLid (which is currently on sale) or any of their other products with the coupon code “sustainablecooks10”. Discount applies to any purchase over $95.

What I’m Listening To This Week

I’ve been listening to the podcast Culpable since it came out, and it seems to be wrapping up. It is the story of a young man whose death was ruled a suicide, but everything about it suspicious.

It’s very well-reported and you really feel for the family as they try to get justice.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Kori left this five-star review on our Healthy Cinnamon Apples:

These are seriously delicious! I like everything tart so tossed in a little lemon (also prevents browning as they sit in the counter while your kids distract you), they satisfy my sweet and sour cravings!

{Pin this recipe}

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

The Softest Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip CookiesA one-bowl easy recipe for the best whole wheat chocolate chip cookies ever! Packed with flavor and oh so good, these are hands down the softest whole grain chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever had.

four whole wheat chocolate chip cookies on a plate with a glass of milk

{Pin this recipe}

Freezing Zucchini {How to Freeze Zucchini}Learn all the tips and tricks for Freezing Zucchini to extend the harvest. Learning how to freeze zucchini using multiple methods, is a great way to preserve this delicious summer veggie. Find out how to stock your freezer with frozen zucchini with or without blanching. And for my friends outside the states, I’ll teach you how to freeze courgettes!

freezer bags with shredded zucchini and zoodles

{Pin this recipe}

Refrigerator Dilly Beans {Pickled Beans Recipe}Learn the secrets of how to make amazing Refrigerator Dilly Beans. This easy recipe for pickled beans involves zero canning and will help you “put up” the summer bounty in a delicious and snackable way.

Two jars of dilly beans with garlic and red peppers on a wooden board

{Pin this recipe}

Easy Instant Pot Iced Tea and Tea ConcentrateYou’ll love this smooth and Easy Instant Pot Iced Tea for a quick and healthy refreshing drink. You can also make tea concentrate to get that same great flavor while saving space in your fridge. As always, non-Instant Pot cooking instructions are included in the recipe.

iced tea with garnishes

Those ice cubes are fake AF

{Pin this recipe}

Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce {Sugar-Free Spaghetti Sauce}This fresh, homemade Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce is a delicious meatless sauce made from scratch. This paleo/Whole30 spaghetti sauce creates magic from fresh tomatoes and herbs. Make a huge batch of fresh tomato sauce and learn how to freeze it to enjoy your garden bounty all year long.

a bowl of crockpot spaghetti sauce with tomatoes and herbs

{Pin this recipe}

Azure Standard Shopping List: Save Big Money on Organic GroceriesSave money and time on healthy eating with Azure Standard! Azure Standard is an amazing source for bulk organic and sustainable products at incredibly affordable prices. All the benefits of warehouse club pricing without any membership fees. Save 20-40% off of grocery store prices!

a collage of items from Azure Standard

{Pin this post}

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

Yes, yes, my Mojito Mocktail is still #1 and the Trader Joe’s Whole30 Shopping List is still #2, and the rest of the posts are a celebration of delicious summer eating. And prepper food. ????

  1. Canning Peaches  {Pin this tutorial}
  2. Dill Pickle Relish  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Peach Ice Cream  {Pin this recipe}
  4. Air Fryer Zucchini Chips  {Pin this recipe}
  5. (Welcome to the leader board) Canning Pears  {Pin this tutorial}

Meal Plan

If you’re looking for some help with meal planning, we highly recommend Momables. Momables emails you a weekly meal plan, shopping list and prep list for $10 a month. It rules.

Monday:: Jack is making homemade pizza and salad. He was supposed to make this last week but he pissed me off so much I couldn’t trust myself to be alone in the kitchen with him. Mom of the year.

Tuesday:: TBD. I have an appointment until 5 and Jack has soccer at 6.

Wednesday:: Soup (the one I was going to make last week for an upcoming blog post but it was soooo hot), salad, and bread.

Thursday:: A birthday for our cousin’s kiddo. 

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night

Saturday:: TBD

Sunday:: Family dinner


What are you having this week?

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28 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Nope, sorry, the school and I would be having words. At the end of which would be me sending my child to school with food he will actually eat, not some arbitrary BS. And if they tried billing me a $1 an item for stuff that would be wasted, we’d fast be finding ourselves a lawyer.

    • In this instance, I know it’s the state requirements. I don’t fault the school. They’re just following rules they’re required to extend and doing their best to keep their licensing.

      Hopefully, we’ll get more clarity at the parent orientation in a few weeks!

  2. Aidan had those same pink socks last year when he played soccer! The halloumi croutons look delicious. I need to try them asap!

    And those lunch requirements are asinine. I wish the people who make any decisions/requirements with schools and kids had to actually live with their decisions/requirements. I think too many of them are so far removed from reality they have no idea how it affects the average person.

  3. Don’t know how I’d handle the lunch requirements – prob get the dr to write me a special note!

    I’m not getting the emails again. I have to remember to come to your site to see your posts. 
    Just wanted you to know because I can’t be the only one who keeps getting unsubscribes. 

    • I’ve elevated your case to the retention people at my email system. They’re working on it. For September I’m publishing one post a day, so a daily check will keep you caught up until they can figure this stupid thing out!

  4. Oh my gosh what is this lunch requirements business?! That sound ridiculous. Sure kids need a well rounded diet but policing lunch boxes everyday seems excessive.

    We don’t have anything like that over here but these days most schools have egg and nut bans for allergies. Even that can prove difficult for parents though. 

    I LOVE B’s pink socks – he is pulling them off! 

    • Yeah you guys don’t have lunch for purchase, right? That might have something to do with it. Theoretically, our school lunches are “balanced” but they’re usually made up with crummy low-quality ingredients. It’s a bummer.

      I’ll see if B will let you borrow them next May. 🙂

  5. I stir fry zoodles (or corgetti as we call it in the UK) but I’ve never managed to get it quite right, it’s always too wet, even after leaving it overnight in the fridge.

    Those halloumi croutons look amazing but alas I am the only halloumi eater in the house.

    • Do you salt the corgetti before leaving them overnight. The salt helps draw out excess moisture. Do you put them in a strainer (colander) or just in a bowl?

      Halloumi lasts a long time, so you can eat yours slowly. You’re worth it!

  6. This could be a good alternative for your lunch dilemma in the short term. If your children can eat rice or quinoa cold then add more vegetables for a salad or perhaps a small wheat free muffin.

    You can also find out if there is an exemption for gluten and lactose intolerance. This might require a letter from your family doctor for both your children. Because you have had to become a gluten and lactose free household. Make sure the letter covers the complete length of tbeir attendance from now until they will be attending high school.

    As long as you are providing highly nutritious lunches, you should not have any problems.

    • Bennett doesn’t have any food issues. I was just waxing poetically about families who might face that.

      I’ve decided to buy a few of those shelf-stable milk boxes and just keep sending the same one in his lunchbox for the whole school year. If he decides to drink it, he decides to drink it. But I have a feeling he just won’t.

  7. Regarding having to send 6oz of milk that sounds like it will be wasted – do half milk/half water (or whatever ratio works for you). It will look like milk, but eliminates some of the waste.

    • I’ve decided to buy a few of those shelf-stable milk boxes and just keep sending the same one in his lunchbox for the whole school year. If he decides to drink it, he decides to drink it. But I have a feeling he just won’t.

  8. Lunch Dramatics Input- I am going to guess that you picked a program that is licensed by your state, they have a HUGE guide they have to follow and things get updated on the weekly it seems…( Oh yea… I work for a state lic program also.. and I am in administration so I get it).. So in this wonderful program they have a million things to do to stay compliant.. keep your kid safe, know how many kids are in their care at the drop of a question, follow ratios, stay up to date on training, not leave knives or bleach cleaner around.. and if the program is considered *Full Day* they are likely required to monitor and enforce a minimum standard of food… If they were providing all the meals then you don’t feel the pinch b/c their dietitian just makes and serves it all responsibility on them… But when parents provide the food they need to make sure that Little Sally is not munching on a lunch of doritos, hawaiian punch and unsliced grapes…IT SUCKS…
    State inspection shows up unannounced.. they stay all day.. ALL FREAKING DAY.. They will be standing there when lunches are unpacked and they WILL write you up if the lunches are not appropriate and you do not have a supplement to fulfill every *requirement*… No- you cannot FORCE a kid to drink milk if it is not their beverage of preference.. but you must have it sitting there for them…

    NOW.. with regard to the kids will dairy allergies.. that child will not be given milk, or a cheese stick or yogurt.. because there is no doubt a medical care plan in their file SIGNED BY A DR ( b/c a parent is not allowed to make their own mind up regarding this food item) and they must have a equal supplement in their lunch to compensate for this failure( joke people, joke)… SO a vegan child must also have a signed form stating that they are removing entire food groups and a lunch must meet comparable levels of protein, vegetation etc… SO your school just puts it out there and put a price penalty on it to
    ensure that decent meals are PACKED.. b/c it is not like they can force a kid to eat anything…

    Trust me.. I HATE this.. My boss HATES it.. and this is the ONLY area in our licensing that we are lax. We always have *fruit and grains* b/c that is what we serve for snack… If a kid comes in and needs extra or new ( we are nut free.. that means no nuts or peanut butter parents and grandma!) I always have stuff we can put together… Applesauce cups, cheese sticks, yogurt tubes, crackers, juice etc…. I think I am going to have a few frozen mac and cheese in freezer also.. just in case… But we simply tell parents to provide a *healthy* lunch their child WILL EAT. Because no one likes a hangry child…
    (We had a kid (a few years ago) who stayed for lunch and his YaYa picked him up at 2 every day.. he would not eat at noon.. absolutely refused.. well behaved kid.. but not ready to eat.. So in effort to comply dad packed in his box every day.. a basic lunchable.. with turkey, cheese and crackers… a baggie with berries or cucumbers and bottle of water.. He sometimes ate the fruit/veg, sometimes not.. used his water bottle.. and left the lunchable… then yaya would pick him up and go feed him her homemade greek lunch…We lost count on how many weeks that same lunchable would come back.. We laughed so hard.. Dad did not want us to be bothered or get in trouble.. he was ingenius!

    • Yep, it’s a program licensed by the state and has Ecap and Head Start as “wings” of the preschool. Soo…regulated within an inch of their lives.

      We have a parent orientation next week and I hope to get more clarity on the various requirements. Bennett can eat gluten and drink milk, but I was just throwing out a “what it” for the other families. Glad to hear there are potential workarounds!

      If I were that kiddo I wouldn’t eat anything until my Yaya picked me up if she was serving greek food!

      I’ve decided to buy a few of those shelf-stable milk boxes and just keep sending the same one in his lunchbox for the whole school year. If he decides to drink it, he decides to drink it. But I have a feeling he just won’t.

  9. We are pretty hardcore water with meals around here. What if you were vegan? (Im not, because cheese is my life) but there has to be alternatives?? Also, the whole grain thing is Greta, but that cannot only mean bread! Dyl has been known to take oatmeal in a thermos. Boom whole grain. We are also known to load lunches with veggies, fruit, and protein and no grains bebause kid gets plenty of grains at bfast, dinner, etc. I’ve clearly already been kicked out ????

    • Ok. I am not sure who Greta is….I swear I typed bread.

    • Just out of curiosity I looked up the milk requirements here in Ohio, where I live.,..there are quite a few hoops to jump through if either a) your kid can’t tolerate cow’s milk or b) you choose not to give him/her cow’s milk. First, you have to prove that it’s a medical issue “non-disabling allergies” is one of the caveats, or a sincerely-held religious or cultural belief. Then, the “alternative beverage” must be nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk–they have a whole list of the nutrients and exactly what it needs to provide, including protein.

      Now this is my hobby horse. I can’t tolerate dairy milk. But I also can’t tolerate soy, which is one of the few alternatives that provides equivalent protein–there is pea protein milk but it’s very expensive where I shop. Almond milk is cheaper, but almond milk would not cut the mustard according to these guidelines. So if I had a kid who had these dietary issues, it would be pricey. Never mind that most of my kids prefer to drink water with their meals which is completely healthy! I mean..water! You could eat a piece of cheese instead of drinking a cup of milk and get a similar nutritional profile to your meal. It’s. So. Nuts.

      I know that part of why they’re doing this is so they can prove all the kids on the premises are getting nutritionally sound lunches. But there was a case where a mom packed a lunch of leftover homemade beef stew with carrots, potatoes, and some fruit and milk and the kid’s lunch was deemed to be “lacking” because it didn’t have a grain…so the kid was made to eat Ritz crackers with it, for which the mom was fined $5. Another kid in another school was told her lunch of a turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips and apple juice was not nutritious enough and the lunch was taken away and she was made to eat the school’s chicken nugget meal.

    • Yep, we’re big water drinkers as well. The kiddos just never drink milk.

      You’re never welcomed back to the preschool, sorry lady.

  10. Those lunch requirements are. Bananas. Completely. If I had to follow those I would end up lying down on my fainting couch with a cold cloth over my head. Like you said, do they allow for a milk alternative? Are they gonna sample everything to make sure it’s got whole grains? It’s ridiculous and makes me glad I homeschool because I wonder if they do the same thing here in our state. I have a kid who only wants to eat Trader Joe’s mac and cheese every day for lunch. They would probably haul me up before a lunchlady tribunal.