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Scattered Sundays

A friend and I were recently having a conversation about the best candy bars. I have a strong preference for a challenging to find and stupidly expensive imported candy bar called Ritter Sport (the original one with butter biscuits).

Due to the price, they’re a rare treat, but every time I eat one, my life gets much better.

So that leads me to ask you…what is your favorite candy?

If you’d like to try a Ritter Sport for yourself, I can always find them at Trader Joe’s or at Target with the candy by check out.

Long-time readers remember how hard Jack’s time at preschool and kindergarten were. By the end of kinder, I was convinced his college fund would eventually be used for bail money.

The turning point for us was being paired with a first-grade teacher who changed our lives. You can read the love letter I wrote her here. Since then, school has been so easier for all of us. Jack was even awarded the primary student of the year in second grade. #humblebrag #Ineverthoughtwewouldsurvive

Considering our strife with kindergarten, I almost cried this week when Jack came home on Monday and told us about his day. He has the official job of “kindergarten monitor” which means every morning he walks the little ankle-biters from the library to their classrooms. He did this last year too.

This year he was also selected as “kindergarten bus buddy” which means he walks a few of the little kiddos to their bus at the end of the day. And his teacher chose him and two other fifth-graders to go to the lunchroom for the first week to cheer up the kindergarteners and make them feel welcome.

Jack got on red his third day of kindergarten. The phone calls and emails home about his behavior were devastating. If I could go back six years and tell myself that it was going to be ok, I would. I was so hard on him his first year in school. Seeing the evolution has been an education in grace for my smart and talented little guy. And for myself.

And hopefully, by being honest with our struggles, some of you have had moments of grace for yourself and your own kiddos when going through school challenges.

Hey, if you’ve sent me an email this week and didn’t get a response, I apologize! I actually HAVE been responding but something is going on with some external email addresses and people are reporting not receiving my emails. You can always try sending me a DM on Instagram if you didn’t hear back from me.

We finally cooked the random brisket that came with our Butcher Box order. And…it was delicious! I looked at all the recipes you all sent (thank you) and ended up combining a few of them into something that was manageable for a weeknight.

I did a basic rub of Montreal Steak Seasoning (we use that ish on everything) and let it sit on there for an hour. In hindsight, everything I read said it should have marinated 2 to 24 hours. Ooops.

I used a little beef broth leftover from my where to buy bone broth post in the bottom of the Instant Pot and did a manual high-pressure cook for 75 minutes and then a 15-minute natural release. I got the cooking times from this post on Instant Pot Brisket.

I had professional headshots done this week. It’s always so weird to have your photo taken while you try not to be awkward. WHAT DO I DO WITH MY HANDS??

Next month I’m working with a brand (can’t wait to share details in October!!!) that needed photos of me in the kitchen. If you’ve been around here for a hot minute you know my kitchen looks like a 1970’s dumpster fire. Thankfully, my sweet neighbor with the beautiful kitchen allowed us to invade her gorgeous home for 2 hours.

The photos will be available later this week and I’ll be rolling them out as needed. Look for random kitchen items in my hands to try to make myself look natural.

Troy and my father-in-law are installing a new window in our kitchen this week. Please don’t get too worked up about the exciting life we lead.

It involves scaffolding so that should be interesting. Our house was built in 1971 and most of the windows are single-paned aluminum framed windows. They sweat in the winter and you can feel the cold coming right through them.

A house full of windows allows for some great photography options, but they’re oh so expensive to replace. We’re coming to the end of the affordable replacement sizes. Gulp.

The garden continues to keep giving us blueberries and raspberries, though the new growth is slowing down. My ability to freeze berries has increased dramatically with the dramatic decrease of Jack being interested in going out and picking. He is a berry garbage disposal and none ever made it in the house.

So far, I’ve put up 4 gallons of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. If you find yourself in the same position, check out these posts on Freezing Strawberries and Freezing Blackberries.

I even made another batch of Raspberry Freezer Jam on Wednesday. It was a busy day, but considering freezer jam only takes 5 minutes, it was easy to fit in. TWSS

In a baller parenting move on my part, I have bribed Jack with electronics time if he does Bennett’s speech homework games with him every day. Bennett has no desire to do the work with us, but when his hero brother wants to play with him? 

What I’m Listening To This Week

Um, is it vain to say this week I’m listening to an episode of the Eat Blog Talk podcast because I’m on it? Oh, it is? Oh well.

I talk all about the evolution of how I blog, why I now focus on my reader (you!!) first and foremost with everything I do, and what Star Wars has to do with all of my recipes.

I had horrible seasonal allergies when I recorded it, so it sounds like I’m talking underwater. Turn listening to the episode into a drinking game and take a shot anytime I say “life-changing”. DRINK!

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Rochelle left this five-star review on our Crunchy Salad Toppers:

This is a delicious addition to my daily green salad and worth the little extra effort. Thank you so much for posting!

a small jar with crunchy salad toppers with salad

{Pin this recipe}

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Spicy Vegan Butternut Squash SoupThis Vegan Butternut Squash Soup is packed with flavor and sure to become a family favorite! A comforting and healthy butternut squash soup that can be made in under 30 minutes. Fast and convenient, this soup recipe uses frozen butternut squash to make it a fast weeknight meal. 

a bowl of vegan butternut squash soup with herbs and bread

{Pin this recipe}

Instant Pot Farro {How to Cook Farro}Instant Pot Farro is a hardy and delicious whole grain that is amazing in soups, salads, stews, or flavorful side dishes. Learn how to cook farro in a pressure cooker or on the stovetop for a delicious and fast meal. If you’re bored with rice, you’ll love cooking farro for a fun new option!

a bowl of instant pot farro with herbs and tomatoes

{Pin this recipe}

Easy Instant Pot Soup RecipesYou’ll love these 13 Easy Instant Pot Soup Recipes for delicious, fast and healthy meals. Many of these pressure cooker soup recipes are gluten-free, or vegetarian, or vegan, or Whole30, or low-carb. There is an easy instant pot soup recipe here for anyone! Unless you (gasp) hate soup.

{Pin this recipe}

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. Canning Pears  {Pin this tutorial}
  2. Canning Peaches  {Pin this tutorial}
  3. Virgin Mojito  {Pin this recipe}
  4. Canning Tomato Soup  {Pin this tutorial}
  5. Canning Whole Tomatoes  {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.

This weekend will be a bit bananas so all weekend meals are TBD

Monday:: Quick whole wheat pasta with marinara and cucumbers from the garden on the side.

Tuesday:: Soup and garlic bread. It’s an old recipe that I’m updating because the photos are a hot freaking mess.

Wednesday:: Trying this chicken recipe with chicken breasts from our Butcher Box shipment (new customers can now take $30 off their first shipment!), plus two side dishes I am photographing the day before.

Thursday:: Our trusty Crispy Gnocchi recipe. I have all the ingredients in the freezer and soooo many random bags of half-eaten frozen veggies.

Friday:: Pizza. Jack has a meeting after school so we can’t do movie night.

Saturday:: TBD

Sunday:: TBD

What We Bought This Week

Fred Meyer: $32.19

Farmer’s Market: $22


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21 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. Are those “summer Cuties” pretty good?  I keep seeing at the stores and have never tried them this time of year.

    • I haven’t tried one. I usually prefer my citrus in winter, but Bennett begged for them promising he was going to eat them.

      Guess who has only eaten one since I bought them?

  2. My current candy obsession is this, which I only buy one of at a time (regretfully, as I live too far from Trader Joe’s to easily restock):

  3. Please keep telling us how much better Jack is than his previous self. My kindergartener got removed from Sunday school this morning for his behavior. I need someone telling me daily that this won’t last forever.

  4. Despite hating almost all of your chocolate bars because they should never be made with corn syrup ???? my favourite is actually a milky way! It’s the first thing I buy when I arrive in the states!

  5. Thanks to you I now have those same little reusable produce bags! I love them, although one is currently out of commission due to a molded cucumber incident that I haven’t quite been able to wash out completely…oops!

  6. As far as I’m concerned the only chocolate worth anything is Cadbury’s, unless I’m visiting the US then my bag home is full of Ghirardelli.

    I’m on a mission to fill the freezer this week so we’ve got lasagna, pulled pork and your chicken bruschetta planned.

    I’m making zoodles to go with the chicken, last time I asked you recommend salting them to avoid the wetness, I don’t add salt to my food because I don’t like the taste so how much salt do I put on 3 zucchinis of zoodles to draw the water out?

    • I would probably do 1 tsp of kosher salt for the zoodles.

      Cadbury in the US is just as bad as all our other terrible chocolate. All other countries have the chocolate game locked down. We’re terrible with our crappy sweets.

  7. in Germany “Ritter Sport” is neither expensive nor exotic, just one of several chocolate bars, the mini chocolates, 200 grams in 12 different tastes are often given as a present to children and adults, I myself love everything sweet

  8. I absolutely love Lake Champlain Chocolates Caramel Five Star Bar. The bars are caramel with bits of almond and dark chocolate covered in milk chocolate. It is by far the best caramel that I have ever eaten. They are a bit expensive and not available locally. My mom and I both love them so we save them for a special treat. We cut each 2 oz bar into 12 pieces. We each have a piece of the chocolate bar on our Saturday and Sunday coffee dates. The pieces are rather small but they are enough to enjoy and make our precious chocolate last a long time! I do think that it is pretty neat that the two of us can make one chocolate bar that we love last three weeks!

    I was excited to see your soup round-up this week! It is finally getting cool enough to think about soup. Last week we made some lentil quinoa soup. This week I am thinking I might need to try your potato soup recipe. We have piles of potatoes from the garden begging to be used.

    • Do you have to order these directly from the company or something? They sound delicious and I love the tradition that you have with them and your mom!

      • You can order them on line. We buy them when we visit Whole Foods. I think the nearest one is about three hours away. When we pass by we stock up. I would recommend trying one if your Whole Foods sells them. It is a Vermont company. I’m not sure how regional stock is at Whole Foods.

      • I go to Whole Foods about 2 times a year but I’ll look for them. Thanks friend!

  9. My favorite candy is one I actually can’t find in the States. When I was 16 I went with my French class on a trip to France; our first stop off was London and I found myself in a tiny, quaint sweets shop (think Willy Wonka but niftier). I bought a selection of a few things I’d never heard of. One has always stuck with me: an aniseed ball (yuk, yuk, I know). It tasted of sweet black licorice, and inside was a whole aniseed, and I don’t know, it was just so different and delicious that I’ve remembered that taste ever since.

    I am not a big chocolate fan any more, I think working in a Godiva store during grad school ruined chocolate for me. I’m more a savory/salty person. Maybe that’s why the aniseed balls were so delightful, they were sweet but with a bite to them.

    • I’m going to have to trust you on that one Karen. I just can’t get behind black licorice!

      Have you ever ordered some?

      • They are actually sweeter than black licorice! At least they were 30 years ago, ha!
        I’ve looked on Amazon but they are not cheap! So sad. I can’t eat regular black licorice because of the wheat flour used in it, but I have always wanted to try the salted black licorice I’ve read about. Apparently it’s very popular in Scandinavian countries.